Sorry about that but this title just begs for a bit of Loretta Lynn...
'Stand by your Manny' is the third book in Amy Lanes 'Mannies' series and while I listened to the first book on audio, I unfortunately took a pass on the second book and I honestly wish I hadn't. I was ok with this one because having listened to the first book on audio I was familiar with Sammy, one of the MCs, Sammy's Uncle Channing and Channing's partner, Tino. Since Channing and Tino are the MCs from 'The Virgin Manny' the first book in this series and Sammy is or was the seven year old in that story.
Now, where things fall short for me is that some of the other secondary characters are from 'Manny Get Your Guy', the second book in this series. So needless to say I was a little bit 'who? what? where?' when it came to this part of the story and while it didn't make it hard for me to follow the story it was a bit distracting and I actually found myself going back and reading the blurb for the second book to try and give myself a better perspective of how these characters connected to the others and it did help a little bit. But while I wouldn't say that reading the first 2 books is necessary, I would definitely say that it would have made the reading experience better. So all things considered while 3.5 stars isn't quite my usual rating for an Amy Lane book it's still pretty good and first chance I get I'm going after book 2 on audio and redoing the whole experience...because re-dos on Amy Lane books are such a hardship...NOT!
So, as I mentioned before we first met Sammy 14 fictional years ago on the pages of 'The Virgin Manny' when he was a sweet little 7 year old and now he's 21 and basically the light of everyone's life. His family adores him and he's an incredibly gifted young man with so many hopes, dreams and plans...full of ambition and an illness that could keep those dreams from coming true.
Cooper's had a very different life from Sammy and his dreams have consisted of having the basics in life...a place to life, food to eat, health insurance all the things that so many people take for granted and eventually to being able to provide those things to a sweet, young girl who like Cooper has fallen through the cracks of the foster care system and has come to be the beginnings of the family that Cooper's going to make for himself.
Together Sammy and Cooper begin to make each other whole again...filling in the holes and missing pieces. Creating new hopes and dreams for themselves and for each other.
It's not very often that I get to read a book where one of the MCs was a child from a previous story so this was actually a bit of a reading treat for me and it was nice to get a peek at the MCs from the first book so many years later. Plus there were some delightfully humorous moments in this one.
Peter B. Brooke was the narrator for 'Stand By Your Manny' and in spite of the fact that he has 54 audio books to his credit this was in fact my first time listening to a book narrated by him and for me the jury's still out on this one. At times when I was listening to the book I found that things just weren't working for me but there were other times that the narration was going really well so, in all fairness to this narrator I went and checked out the audio samples on a few of those books. What I found was that for the most part his voices in the samples I listened to showed a varied range and there may have been more than a couple of them that are now on my audio TBL list (To Be Listened-to) so at the end of it all for me on this one the narration was ok but I definitely think there's strong potential and I'll be checking out a few books by this narrator...you know purely for research purposes, right?
My recommendation on this one...best when read/listened to in order, after enjoying 'The Manny Virgin' and 'Manny Get You Guy'...not required but strongly encouraged.
An audio book of 'Stand By Your Manny' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I've, mostly, given up on Ashley as her writing style/voice more often than not, constantly draws me in with promise but never delivers. This was a Kindle Freebie and Random Number Generator picked it out of the abyss.
An Ashley hero calling the heroine "babe" and/or "baby"? NEVER. (She has an English accent so he also calls her Duchess)
"Executed a perfect 3 point turn". Why did I read this sentence over and over again? Was Ashley a driver instructor in a former life??
Sandwiched between the "babe" calling, three-point turning, and drama ending was some honest to god deep emotional issues (domestic violence, rape, disabilities) that get broached but never fully developed. Ashley's ability to incorporate these issues and emotions are what tempt me to keep reading her (the promise I was talking about) but ugh, no development. These issues almost start to seem sensationalized and click-bait reading because Ashley doesn't develop the issues and characters.
The ending, my god, the ending. Drama after sensationalized drama. The repeat situations our heroine found herself in got to be tedious and one of the villains ended up being portrayed cartoonish.
I can see why Ashley is popular and I can see why she in not popular. All I know is, my kingdom for an Ashley hero to speak in full coherent sentences.
I just marked this book as finished on my Goodreads and I noticed that there were a lot of bad reviews. But as far as I am concerned, I think it was a great and entertaining book.
I really had fun reading it; it was fast-paced, the characters were nice, and the setting was original. I wish the magic system was a little bit more developed though, I feel like there should have been more explanation about it. I was waiting for something that never came.
But we all agree to say that the most important part of this book is the romance. I could describe this book as an impossible love in a magical setting. Because I think I know why people are disappointed; when you read the description of the book, you may expect something more than that. But, this is “only” a romance novel. But that was totally fine with me.
I think the romance is cute and I liked learning more about those two characters. However, it is true that everything that happened beyond that was not relevant and I did not really care about the supposed war. The story could have happened in a contemporary setting it wouldn’t have made any difference to me.
I recommend this book to anyone looking for a cute (same sex) romance.
David Bowie: A Life
Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Crown Archetype (September 12, 2017)
Reviewed by: Dr. Wesley Britton
When Prince died on April 21, 2016, just four months after the passing of David Bowie on January 10, there were immediate and numerous comparisons made between the two giants of music in terms of importance and influence. I well recall one TV commentator certain Prince was the more influential of the two.
I can’t figure out that reasoning at all. For one matter, by the time of Prince’s first successes in 1979, Bowie had already made a decade-long cultural impact difficult to match. As some of the interviewees in Dylan Jones oral history of the life of David Bowie opined, Ziggy Stardust was where the ‘60s ended and the ‘70s began. A large number of British acts from U2 to Duran Duran acknowledge Bowie as an important influence. Not to mention acts like Mott the Hoople, Iggy Pop, Lulu, and Lu Reed who all benefited from Bowie’s career-saving hand. Later, Madonna and Lady Gaga also pointed to Bowie as a seminal influence on their careers. And all this before Prince set foot into a recording studio.
And, judging from the countless verbal snapshots in Dylan Jones oral history, Bowie’s impact on the many people who knew or simply met him was profound on many levels. For one matter, he was a figure with a deep well of interest from music to the visual arts to theatre and film to fashion to literature. Because of his shifting guises throughout his career, he worked with a wide range of collaborators, producers, musicians, and business advisors. Depending on your point of view, Bowie was simply following his vision or was callous in his leaving some of his associates behind as he changed directions throughout his career.
While painting a “warts and all” portrait of Bowie in the words of hundreds of personal interviews, Dylan Jones presents a more than rounded portrait of an artistic giant worthy of the many accolades Bowie received before and after his death, but certainly he was no saint. In his personal life, he enjoyed a wide range of sexual experiences. Many of them, by 2018 standards, could be considered child molestation. During the ‘70s, Bowie did a bit too much coke. And during the ‘80s, his artistic vision let him down when he crafted some admittedly substandard albums.
But, in the main, most commentators on Bowie in Dylan Jones’ biography remember Bowie in a very favorable light, from his private personal life to his work in the studio to his interactions with, well, seemingly everyone he ever met. From start to finish, Bowie is seen as an innovative artist with drive, talent, a special physical presence as well as intellectual abilities and curiosity. It’s such a personal book that those looking for insights into Bowie’s creative process may feel slighted, but there are no shortage of other books that explore such aspects of Bowie’s output.
I’ve always shied away from using the term “definitive” for any biography as many are comprehensive but usually lack in one aspect or another. Dylan Jones A Life comes close as he actually wrote very little but instead compiled a year-by-year history of Bowie and his circles using the voices of so many observers. It might not be the one and only book you should read about Bowie, but I can’t imagine any other tome out there that touches so many bases. Maybe not definitive, but certainly indispensable.
This review first appeared at BookPleasures.com on Aug. 20, 2018: