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video 2018-02-09 18:25

"Lascia ch'io pianga" from Georg Friedrich Händel's Rinaldo, as performed by Renee Fleming.

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review 2014-03-07 00:00
Valerie's Retreat
Valerie's Retreat - Joseph M. Rinaldo Book Info
ebook, 323 pages
Published October 31st 2013 by self-published
edition languageEnglish
other editions None found
Source:Digital copy of book from Author

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Valerie, a 40-ish Head Teller at a bank, has met Franco, 16 years younger and studying for a doctorate in archaeology. He is stunned yet eager to begin a relationship with this attractive "cougar", and they become lovers. Their lives begin to unravel when Valerie's female bisexual boss makes advances (and threats) toward Valerie and Franco is accused of the theft of an Incan artifact from a museum where he has been working part-time. Frustrated, under surveillance by the FBI, and seeing no way out of their dilemma, they decide to steal money from Valerie's bank and flee the country. They go to Peru to start a new life, but they find there the same type of corruption and threats. How can they escape their nightmares and make their dreams come true?

My Thoughts

Valerie worked her way up to the position of Head Teller, a job which she enjoys and is very good at but which has become a cause of stress when her male branch manager is replaced with a female who makes every effort to show she is attracted to Valerie physically. The unwelcome advances are never witnessed by her fellow employees and as it becomes apparent Valerie will only be promoted if she has a relationship with her new boss her options on how to continue in an environment that is no longer acceptable are few.

Franco is a young man who Valerie meets while out with a friend, they hit it off and soon become involved and even though he is only in his middle 20’s they find themselves enamored of each other mentally as well as physically.

The pair decide that since Valerie’s job has become unbearable and Franco’s loss of employment at the museum means that it is only a matter of time before they will have to part ways that the way for them to stay together is for Valerie to steal a few hundred thousand dollars from her bank so they can leave the US and start over in a foreign country.

Once in Peru they find a marina to buy that will allow Valerie’s dream to come true as she loved working at one when she was young and has always wanted to run her own business. Getting the marina is only one step closer to their new life, they also find that there is a nearby University that Franco can work at part time allowing him to be a part of the archeology department and participate in expeditions.

Unknown to Valerie and Franco their status as fugitives has come to the attention of the officials in Peru, this leads to some interesting developments which allow them to quickly become Peruvian citizens and also causes their fledgling business to attract customers no sooner than they had opened at which point life really becomes interesting for the couple!

A tale that starts out with an older woman whose life has become routine until she meets and falls for a younger man, what happens to them after they pull off their “heist” is as exciting for the reader as it is for Valerie and Franco. A true “underdog” story which will appeal to a wide audience, even those like me who firmly believe that “crime does not pay”.

[Digital copy from Author in exchange for honest review]
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review 2012-09-01 00:00
Hazardous Choices
Hazardous Choices - Joseph Rinaldo,RinaldoWrite Hazardous Choices tells the story of a former street gang member trying to make good in a new life in a small Kentucky town. With a place on the football team, new friends and a chance to start over, things are looking up for Darnell. However, in the Summer he returns to his former neighbourhood and becomes embroiled in gang ‘politics’ and hazardous choices transform Darnell’s life once again.

There are aspects of the book that make for a well written story. Despite some very poor choices, Darnell does come across as quite a sympathetic character, embroiled in a culture that originally seemed to offer security but which quickly becomes a burden. There’s an incredible weight of expectation on this young man and Rinaldo does manage to get the message across that the walls seem to be closing in on his bright new future and the panic that that creates in Darnell’s world.

There were other aspects of the books I found harder to connect with. There is quite a lot of jargon about football and even though this is a huge part of Darnell’s world I did think it was sometimes overplayed within the book. Additionally, sometimes I did feel that the book was slightly repetitive or circling. At 279 pages, some of it felt a little like ‘filler’ and it could have been stripped down.

Rinaldo shows promise with this title and does seem to have an aptitude for character development and a good storyline. While the book didn’t rock my reading world it was an interesting story.

**Review originally published on Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dave. I received a copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I did not receive any additional compensation and all views are my own.
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review 2011-10-31 00:00
Hazardous Choices
Hazardous Choices - Joseph Rinaldo, Rina... Hazardous Choices - Joseph Rinaldo, RinaldoWrite 2.5* but as there are no 1/2 stars i will upgrade to 3

Initially I was totally out of my depth, I know absolutely zero about American football and the opening chapters are full of talk about the game with sports terminology that went right over my head. I also got very confused between all the coaches…….this team had so many different ones that I couldn’t keep track of who’s who! It was slightly frustrating and slowed the pace of the story down for me…..but saying that if American football is your thing then that won’t be a problem for you.

This was a typical coming of age book with the added hardship of gang life, Darnell was a nice lad who had no choice but to join a gang, The ‘gangsta’ talk got a bit annoying ‘ Dis, dan, da, dat, dem, dey, ‘cuz dat ain’t where dey lookin’ fo' us.” But obviously that’s how Darnell and his ‘home’ friends spoke so it was relevant to the story and was needed. The general plot wasn’t very unique though I haven’t read anything like Erics story before so that made a nice change. I enjoyed the fact that there was a character with Down’s and we were given insight into the condition. Just because Eric couldn’t speak didn’t mean he was ‘stupid’. JMR managed to get the message over quite subtly that we should not judge on first appearances or discriminate over disabilities. It was nice to see that eventually Eric managed to learn how to communicate with the people around him.

I did struggle with this book, mainly because of the crass dialogue, and the football references but also because I found it a bit boring. Sorry.

Copy supplied for review
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review 2011-10-05 00:00
The Story of Noah's Ark: Wall Clings
The Story of Noah's Ark: Storybook and Wall Clings - Lori C. Froeb A cute read for my kids and the wall clings were ok till the boys said they were falling off. Otherwise this is a cute book for children to learn about Noah's Ark and the flood. I would share this books with others.
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