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text 2017-01-10 09:58
Joel Landau with New Resolutions

As an established and experienced reporter, Joel Landau was covering breaking news story even in the days before the Internet frenzy. But as time changed, so did he, and nowadays his main focus is YouTube and other viral videos and stories. Pushing the envelope with his coverage, Landau soon gained praise and respect from some of the most respected editors. Landau was able to build this modest success by taking a careful approach to the craft of writing. For him, it is all about the quality of the service he provides, and for that, he needed a well-developed approach that works best for him, helps him stay focused and doesn't allow any distractions to interfere with his writing.

 

In Joel Landau’s case, it was the desire for truth and his passion for writing that brought him to into journalism and made him the inspiring reporter that he is today. Known for his hard-charging manner in which he chases news stories, his career has included working for a number of professional newspapers and news site, and most recently as a reporter on YouTube and other viral videos. Landau has always been interested in newspaper reporting mostly because researching the truth is one of his biggest preoccupations. His ultimate goal is getting people educated and informed on various issues, and making a positive impact by helping the public be more informed, and thus more able to drew their own decisions.

 

For almost 20 years, Joel Landau has been recognized as an author, a newspaper reporter, but recently he made some new resolutions and decided to stretch his professional horizons by pulling himself out of his comfort zone and trying something new, fun and creative. Determined to delve into a new undertaking he started looking up interesting YouTube and other viral videos, and the more time he invested in it, the more he became involved, and that turned out to be one of the most professionally fulfilling undertakings of his life. Searching the internet and looking for those videos or stories has also been an adventure, and he assures it will be an even bigger adventure for those who will join him.

Source: www.goodreads.com/author/show/3877220.Joel_Landau
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review 2016-12-06 00:00
Kinky Resolutions and other New Year's Disasters: A Standalone Romantic Comedy
Kinky Resolutions and other New Year's D... Kinky Resolutions and other New Year's Disasters: A Standalone Romantic Comedy - Frankie Love,Teresa Banschbach description

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I enjoyed this one. It was really humorous and fairly light-hearted. The foursome scene had me LMAO. Both characters were likable in their own right. A manwhore Baseball player and a geeky straight-laced introvert. It was a cute combo. I HATED Bridget, she was an awful BFF in my opinion. *lol*

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That said, the lack of communication between them drove me up the wall. I was yelling JUST F-ING TALK already to my tablet on more than one occasion. The book was also very time-jumpy in they would be together then not see each other for months. Rinse and repeat over the course of the year the book takes place in. The ending felt rushed as well and with no epilogue it left me feeling a little letdown. This really would have benefitted from an extra "in the future" chapter.

Overall, despite my issues, the humor carried this one and I ended up enjoying it. So one and a half thumbs up from yours truly.

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review 2016-12-03 14:00
Thoughts: Whirlpool
Whirlpool - Elizabeth Lowell

Whirlpool
by Elizabeth Lowell


My TBR List -- November Winner!
See Other My TBR List Reviews @ Because Reading

 

 

As a child, Laurel Swann barely knew her father.  Always an enigma, intriguing and inscrutable, he was an elusive shadow flitting in and out of her life.   Even now, years later, he remains a stranger to her.  Still, when a mysterious parcel arrives containing a priceless Fabergé egg, Laurel is certain it came from him.  But she doesn't realize that her father's gift has brought death and terror into her world...

Against her will, Laurel is being dragged down into a swirling vortex of betrayal and violence.   And there's nowhere to turn for help--except to Cruz Rowan, an ex-FBI agent and her father's sworn enemy.  A strong, secretive, and dangerous man, Cruz has his own agenda and is spinning his own webs.

And he is her last and only hope...



First of all, I read this book as part of the My TBR List monthly voting meme (see links above).  But I couldn't finish it in time for so many reasons--one of those reasons being that I just couldn't really get into the book.

Elizabeth Lowell is an author I have read before--there were a few of her books I enjoyed.  Her Romantic Suspenses are exciting and constantly forward-moving, which helps to keep the reader in the game even if said reader has no idea exactly what's going on.  Because Elizabeth Lowell DOES also have the tendency to scatter the focus of her books.  Sometimes there are so many story tangents and characters that you have a hard time figuring out what the story is actually about.

When it comes to Whirlpool, I was actually quite satisfied with the story progression, story outline, and the story concept, in general.  The execution wasn't terrible.  I knew where the book was taking me, and I knew what the main conflict was.  In contrast, it was actually the characters that made the book unbearable for me.  Because when you insert two alpha-jackass heroes and one doormat heroine... it really makes for some rage reading.

I have so many issues with our main couple, and the heroine's father.

Laurel really is a bonafide Category Romance heroine.  To be honest, I didn't have as big a problem with her as I had with how she handles the situation between her father and her lover.  Both men are nothing but jackasses to her.  But she lets them use her, and then lets them turn around and continue shoving her around.  They keep talking (and monologue-ing) about how much they care about her and how they have her best interests at heart; but they act like they don't care one way or another if she gets hurt in the process.

Despite what Cruz kept saying about Laurel--that she's the innocent who got dragged into the mess her father created; that her father is just using her; that he never really wanted to hurt her--he still went and did those exact same things.  And it doesn't help that Laurel doesn't even blame him or get angry or upset.  She just allows him do whatever he wants.  Then she wants to go and blame herself if two testosterone-fueled men end up killing each other.

And it's the same way with her father, too.  Although, to be honest, I dislike her father much more than any other character in this book.  Because with as much experience in the dark, twisted world of government politics, and private mercenary dangers as Jamie Swann has, I refuse to believe that he DIDN'T know the kind of danger he was putting his daughter into the moment he sent the stolen Fabergé to her address.  From that moment forward, he already put a target on her back, and it matters not a whit that he figured he'd just disappear and Laurel could go on with her life.

I'm not entirely sure whether to blame the character himself, or poor planning on the author's part.  Because Laurel's father--who keeps claiming over and over again that if Laurel just stays out of the entire business then she'll be safe--keeps making other stupid decisions and saying other stupid things that lead killers and assassins right to Laurel's door.  I have a hard time believing that someone as highly trained and experienced as him wouldn't have figured that out.

I'm just a common layperson reading a book, and I figured it out.

If he had intended to keep his daughter safe, he should have never contacted her in the first place or done anything to draw her attention to the bad guys... (a relative term considering the fact that I'm not even sure that old man Swann was a good guy himself).

And then the things he says to Laurel when he finds out that she's working with Cruz... highly crass and inappropriate.  He does not get to say things like that to his own daughter, especially since he spends a lot of time trying to convince her that he's got her best interests at heart... when obvious actions seem to say otherwise.  Also, I figure he kind of forfeited his right to be judgmental about his own daughter when he wasn't exactly a pillar of fucking morality himself.  And when he's the one who brought all this trouble down into her life in the first place.

Jackass AND stupid.

But anyway...

Romance-wise, the feelings and love development was way too insta and way too abrupt.  I have a hard time accepting stories wherein a strange man breaks into the heroine's home, but the heroine still manages to immediately feel the stirrings of attraction, and immediately decides that she trusts him not to do bad things to her.  The continued antagonistic development of Laurel and Cruz's relationship was also hard to accept because of everything going on between them.  And especially when Cruz continually broods over the fact that Laurel is protective over her father.

I mean, what did Cruz expect?  That Laurel, who has always loved her father despite how he's treated her her entire life, would suddenly turn around and go, "Oh.  Okay.  I'll help you track down my father, capture and arrest him, or possibly get him killed!"


Anyway, basically this book was just chock full of romantic clichés and frustrating people.

At least the suspense part of the story wasn't too bad, even if the random forays into our villain's heads was a little disturbing.


***

2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
Reading Assignment Challenge
Bookish Resolutions Challenge
Mount TBR Challenge

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/12/thoughts-whirlpool.html
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text 2016-12-01 14:41
#BookishResolutions Progress Report ~ November 2016

#BookishResolutions Progress Report ~ November 2016

 

Source: imavoraciousreader.blogspot.com/2016/12/bookishresolutions-progress-report.html
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review 2016-11-26 04:36
The Crystal Cave Read-Along | Final Update and Review
The Crystal Cave - Mary Stewart

The Crystal Cave
by Mary Stewart
Book 1 of Arthurian Saga


The first three books of the Arthurian Saga is also known as The Merlin Trilogy.  This series is being read as part of a Buddy Read @ BookLikes.

See Also: Week One Update | Week Two Update

 

 



Book III: The Wolf
Progress on 11/16/16:  338 of 519 pages (65%) 

The last few chapters of the third part of The Crystal Caves certainly took an interesting new turn in events.  While I'm not entirely certain about how much I liked the way it was executed, it was certainly a significant new turning point in the book, which I suppose was also a significant event in history.

Still... I really don't have much else inspiring to say about this.  Merlin's Sight is ever finicky, and Merlin's character still feels rather flat.  But as is still true, I find the rest of the goings-on in the book quite interesting.

 

 



Book IV: The Red Dragon
Progress on 11/21/16:  428 of 519 pages (82%) 

To be honest, the entire book is written well, but up to this point, I've had this feeling in the back of my mind that I'm reading a rather personalized history text book.  Events happen and then we move on.  There is very little emotion attached to any of the events, whether they are significant deaths, victorious battles, or even that strange thing that happened between Merlin and Keri... of which I'm still not quite certain I understand.

I'll be honest:  my knowledge of Arthurian legend is scant at best, so maybe I'm just not picking up on the significance of a lot of the events taking place.

A lot of things happen in this fourth section and the time frame even shifts quite quickly, though it all feels like everything happening at the same time on fast-forward.

 

 



Book V: The Coming of the Bear
Progress on 11/21/16:  519 of 519 pages (100%) 

I guess it's a little hard for me to take seriously an entire section dedicated to an event surrounding a planned adultery in the name of God.  But that's the modern female in me talking, because I suppose Mary Stewart had to write the book to fit the legend.  Then again, I suppose that's better than the original option where the conception of Arthur happened through a more forced deception.

Yes.  That's my take away from that last section of The Crystal Cave, unfortunately.

 

 



Final, Overall Thoughts:

I still stand that The Crystal Cave is a well-written book, which takes the reader on a journey following the re-imagining of the Wizard Merlin's origins.  We get to see moments in Merlin's life as a youth: during his life living with his family in Wales as an unwanted child; to his escape to Brittany where he meets some other significant figures in his life such as Ambrosius Aurelianus and Uther Pendragon, the future King Arthur's uncle and father, respectively; to his learning how to understand his magical powers.

A lot of time passes by in this book from Merlin's childhood and on into his adulthood.

I suspect that Stewart still remains quite true to the original legend--again, my knowledge of Arthurian legend is quite depressing, I realize, as I read through this first Merlin trilogy book.  The biggest complaint I have is connected to this, however, which is pretty much the entire presentation of the events in The Crystal Cave.

I had stated in an earlier update (probably above somewhere), that the book read like a history text that was being documented in a more personal tone.  Events are mentioned... and then we move on to the next part of history.  And now, as I write this, it makes me realize why I had found the book a little boring and dragged out.  Personally, The Crystal Cave feels like it was written to accommodate original events from the original legends.

Don't get me wrong: Stewart's re-imagining of Merlin's life wasn't all that bad.  But it just felt like she would be writing the story quite smoothly, when all of a sudden she decides that she needed to make sure to drop a known story event from the original legends, or even from historical fact, into the flow of the story.  And it is done quite awkwardly.  Which is probably what jars me out of the fictional setting and made me think I was reading a history text.

Which, to be honest, I suppose I sort of am since Merlin as an old man is actually recounting his life as well as all the significant historical occurrences that took place during those times--this we had already been told at the outset in the book's prologue.  So maybe there was a reason for the amount of detachment presented in the telling.

It was still a little hard for me to follow without my mind wandering, however.

Another complaint I would have about this book is the way in which Merlin claims everything is pre-ordained.  It is God's will, as he tells everyone, whenever something or anything happens.  Whenever he sees a vision, it is God speaking through him, and since that is the case, anything he states during those visions will come to pass.  If God wishes him to see something or know something, he does.  If God wishes him NOT to know something, he doesn't.

Except for the fact that in that last section of this book, The Coming of the Bear, our young wizard seems to take great pains and a lot of planning to almost force an event that he says is God's will--the engineered conception of Arthur.  And then things go to hell, so it makes me wonder about Merlin's visions just as much as Uther did.

I'm not entirely sure where I was headed with that last tidbit, but I have always had negative reactions to the idea that everything in life is already set up by destiny.  It gives you the impression that you have no control over your own life and that if something were going to happen, it will happen regardless of what you do.


But enough of my soapbox.

In the end, The Crystal Cave is still an enjoyable, well-written book.  It wasn't easy to read, nor was it easy to remain focused, to be honest.  Although I suspect that a lot of my loss of attention had to do with me.



***

2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge

 

The Reading Task:  Read a book set in the UK, preferably during the medieval or Victorian periods (for those of us doing the Merlin read-along, the Crystal Cave works for this task).

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/11/the-crystal-cave-read-along-final.html
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