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review 2017-09-20 01:46
Confusing
The Best Kind of People - Zoe Whittall

I found this book to be more confusing than anything else. The story starts inside the head of school shooter, bent on taking out his girlfriend who works at the school. I assume this is to show how George's heroic actions during the crisis endeared him to the community, but there is little else about it throughout the book. From there, it jumps to a few years later and into the middle of an intimate scene between Sadie, George's 17 year old daughter, and her boyfriend, and I'm still scratching my head over the relevancy of that. Once George is arrested, I expected the real story here to begin taking shape and thought that I would learn something of his guilt or innocence, which would create some suspense to the story. Instead, I got what began to feel like an information dump about a lot of other people. There are pages and pages of the sexual activity of teenagers, along with their drug use and drinking, but the story reads as if all the teenagers in this community are participating in such activity, making it hard to empathize with Sadie's behavior being the result of the charges against her father. In fact, I found little about any of the characters to elicit empathy, other than the wife. Joan's behavior and reactions were the only ones that made much sense. But, as crazy as it sounds, I did keep reading, mostly out of curiosity about George than anything else, but the bulk of the story was just more of the same. George, who this story supposedly revolves around, isn't what I would consider even a secondary character. Finally, we get to the ending, which was a disappointment at best. The conclusion is rushed and unrealistic in many aspects. After giving it some thought, I believe there were just too many characters and too much going on for the author to stay on track and instead of one family's struggle to cope, it became a bit of mess of several characters running in different directions. 

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review 2017-09-10 00:20
The Best of Us
The Best of Us: A Memoir - Joyce Maynard

By: Joyce Maynard

ISBN: 978-1635570342

Publisher:  Bloomsbury USA

Publication Date: 9/5/2017 

Format: Hardcover

My Rating:  5 Stars

From New York Times bestselling author Joyce Maynard, a memoir about discovering strength in the midst of great loss--"heart-wrenching, inspiring, full of joy and tears and life." (Anne Lamott)

 

From the author of (2016) Under the Influence Joyce Maynard once again delivers a mesmerizing and beautiful journey and love story.  Love, loss, grief, and marriage. Cancer, and its battles. Life changing experiences. 

 

I loved THE BEST OF US! A deeply moving and powerful tribute. One of the best memoirs I have read in 2017. 

 

Raw and honest, a poignant and beautifully written memoir that accompanied me for a 20 hr. car ride in bumper-to-bumper gridlock traffic while evacuating Hurricane Irma from South Florida. This was supposed to be a birthday weekend trip with my sons coming into town from NC to Florida. Then with IRMA, the hotel canceled and the airlines. Not happening. 

 

Recalculate. Now, I had to evacuate and leave Florida. The perfect book would be THE BEST OF US. Loaded on all my devices and synced to my car. I knew she would carry me through. 

 

What was supposed to be a trip to Highlands, NC (Western Mountains north of Atlanta) to escape Florida and IRMA on Thursday before the upcoming disaster. With only two roads out of Florida and 7 million people in South Florida trying to evacuate. This would have been a 12-15 hr drive. 

 

However, it turned into a 20 hr. drive and never even got out of Florida, much less cross into Atlanta or NC. I could not wait to get out of the car and no hotels on this strip of the turnpike. I only made it a little north of Orlando, in Ocala, FL. (On a normal day, would take you 4 hrs.). At the end of the Florida Turnpike, when I saw I-75 after driving all night, lack of sleep, lack of fuel for travelers, overcrowded highways, and no vacancy; you can bet I grabbed the first hotel I could find when they had a last minute cancellation. 

 

I recall sitting there in the heat, trying to decide where to go, with my A/C running at a truck stop on the turnpike with hundreds of stranded families with their children and pets, sitting in my car listening to THE BEST OF US. 

 

I looked around at all the hundreds of families that may never see their homes again and are sleeping in their cars. While listening to Joyce and her brave fight as well as Jim's courage and tenacity.  

 

I am currently riding out the impending storm here in Ocala, FL at the same hotel for its duration before I can return home to Palm Beach. This central location may still face issues as well, but at least I will not be on the waterfront in South Florida. Still waiting it out until Monday and beyond to see what will happen. 

 

Without the audiobook, to accompany me on this stressful journey, narrated by Joyce, not sure I could have made it thru this time. I always purchase her audiobooks. Her voice is spellbinding. Her stories grab you by the heartstrings and never let go. 

 


 

While listening, filled with anxiety and stress worrying if I would (will) have an apartment to return to on the water, top floor in West Palm Beach and on the heels shortly after my dad's death in June (heart) and mom's (cancer) last August, I had to take a moment to think beyond my current situation, while listening to this beautiful and heartbreaking love story. I related on so many levels. I have so much to be thankful for. Her voice was calming and soothing. 

 

Being around the same age as the author, and single (divorced), I found it refreshing —two courageous and talented people were able to find one another and bring so much joy to one another if only for a short time. 

 

From the love, tears, fears, and sorrows, I adore Joyce Mayard's writing and highly recommend this amazing book. Flaws and all, she shares a personal story with passion, heart, and soul; filled with humor, wit, love, grief, honesty, and raw emotion. From the darkest hours to the magical moments. 

 

An added bonus for the audiobook readers, the author, and Jim share their wedding vows. Priceless! Readers, you have to meet Jim. An incredible man and one which will not be forgotten. 

 

An inspiring story! For readers who enjoyed When Breath Becomes AirHighly Recommend the author and this amazing book. Buy the audio!  An ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions. Book Guide 

 

 

 

 

 The New York Times 

 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/08/01/The-Best-of-Us
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review 2017-08-27 00:45
The Best American Magazine Writing 2017 ... The Best American Magazine Writing 2017 - Sid Holt,The American Society of Magazine Editors

"The Best American Magazine Writing 2017" is, just as it says, a collection of great magazine articles written in 2017. Duh! Now, how to write a review based on a wide-ranging selection of stories.....
I found some of the articles to be fascinating. Jeffrey Goldbergs "The Obama Doctrine", written for the Atlantic, was one. It really brings the sometimes confusing style and thinking of President Obama into focus. A thorough examination, it's not one based on the 30 second sound bites we received from the national news. Rather, it appears to get through the hype and really explain Obama's reasoning. I only wish Obama himself could have explained himself better, to a wider audience, in language they could understand. Then, maybe, people would appreciate him more.
Another great article was by Matt Taibbi, of Rolling Stone. "President Trump, Seriously and "Appetite for Destruction" and the Fury and Failure of Donald Trump. A serious examination of how we (America) got to where we are today. The failure of the two party system. I'm going to quote some of the article, but it really helps to get the gist of it. "Lie No. 1 is that there are only two political ideas in the world, Republican and Democrat. Lie No. 2 is that the parties are violent ideological opposites, and that during campaign season we can only speak about the areas where they differ (abortion, guns, etc) an never the areas where there's typically consensus.....Lie No. 3 is that all problems are the fault of one party or the other, and never both. Assuming you watch the right channels, everything is always someone else's fault." How true!
My favorite article was written for Mother Jones, by Shane Bauer. It was called "My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard". Bauer spent four months working for a private, for-profit prison. I, myself, worked for the Federal Bureau of Prisons for 21 years. It was interesting to see the growth of Bauer as he worked as a correctional officer. I experienced many of the same emotions and questions, found myself at similar crossroads, and thought many times whether or not I was crazy for choosing this career. The author has a way of putting into words many disparate thoughts and ideas that he had. While his stint was for a pay-to-play company, and I think a much less "honorable" organization, he learned some valuable lessons about himself. There is one line in the article that really, really shows me that the author "got it". When he realized what an inmate told him was true, and could make his life in prison a lot easier...."Just know at the end of the day, how y'all conduct y'all selves determines how we conduct ourselves. You come wit' a shit attitude, we go' have a shit attitude". That ladies and gentlemen, is the one thing you need to learn is you want a career in corrections. Spot on!
There are many other articles in the book, some great, some good, some not-so-good. It all depends on your own perspectives. But there is something for everyone in here!

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review 2017-08-15 23:48
Fun read
The Making Of A Family: Gay Best Friend ... The Making Of A Family: Gay Best Friend Billionaire Romance - Van Cole

This extended version of the original is so much better. It's still a bit busy and frenetic, but there are some much needed details that were missing in the shorter version and the story is more developed. The connection between Mason and Luke felt more real and I found myself rooting for this pair even though I already knew how that part of the tale would play out. It's a fun read with some silly thrown in to keep things light.

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review 2017-08-14 14:37
Review: Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell
Illegal Contact (The Barons) - Santino Hassell

My review cross-posted from Wit and Sin

 

A warning to anyone about to start Illegal Contact: make sure you leave yourself time to read the entire book in one sitting. Santino Hassell has a compelling writing style that makes Gavin and Noah’s love story impossible to put down. Even if you’re not a football fan, this is one sports romance you don’t want to miss.

Gavin Brawley isn’t your typical hero. He may be gorgeous and talented both in the bedroom and on the field, but he’s also got a short temper that he lets fly. Add in an attitude and an unwillingness to be anything but straightforward and it’s easy to see why he’s a public relations nightmare. Gavin isn’t wholly the jerk the media makes him out to be, but he’s got a chip on shoulder and the forced confinement of house arrest (even if that house is a mansion) makes him even more irritable. So why did I find him so compelling? What sold me on Gavin from the start – even when he was at his most disagreeable – was that he’s utterly and completely loyal, protective, and caring when it comes to his friends. I loved peeling back the layers of his character and watching Gavin grow and change over the course of the story. He’s never going to be the smiling sports star pictured on your boxed cereal, but he does become an ever better, more well-rounded version of himself.

Noah Monroe is the catalyst for Gavin’s change, and I flat-out loved him. Noah is one of the most relatable protagonists I’ve come across in quite some time. When he applies for the job of Gavin’s personal assistant, it’s not because he’s a football fan or a celebrity-chaser. He’s simply a recent college grad drowning in student loan debt and desperately needs a job. Noah may be smart, no-nonsense, a bit of a geek, and look like a sexy Clark Kent, but he’s also an over-thinker with flaws of his own. Noah isn’t cowed by Gavin’s temper and his straightforwardness with the other man about how he comes across is part of the reason why Gavin starts to examine his own attitude.

Noah and Gavin don’t hit it off from the start; in fact, they piss each other off more often than not. The sparks fly fast and furious and I loved watching Gavin and Noah go from antagonizing one another to respecting each other to becoming more than cranky football star and overwhelmed employee. While there’s definite attraction in the beginning, the romance is a slow burn. I loved that Gavin and Noah actually got to know each other before the love story kicked things into high gear. And when the sexual tension between the two men boils over…watch out, because you’re in for some dirty, sexy fun. I loved these two together, but even after they start to fall in love, you know things aren’t going to be easy. Coming out as bisexual could destroy a career that has saved Gavin, and homophobia isn’t something you can wave a magic wand at and make disappear. I won’t say how things work out, but I will say that the ending of Illegal Contactleft me with a huge smile on my face.

Illegal Contact is the first book in Mr. Hassell’s Barons series and I can’t wait for more. Noah and Gavin are complex, interesting characters and their love story is layered, engaging, sexy, and surprisingly sweet at times. I also fell in love with Gavin’s teammates and best friends Simeon and Marcus, and I cannot wait to see what Mr. Hassell has in store for Simeon in Down by Contact. Until I find out, I’m content to keep re-reading Gavin and Noah’s story – their romance is just that addictive.


FTC Disclosure: I received the e-book edition of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2017/08/review-illegal-contact-by-santino.html
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