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Search tags: yo-ho-ho-and-a-bottle-of-rum
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review 2017-10-02 15:45
The Bottle Stopper (The Paper Duchess #1)
The Bottle Stopper (The Paper Duchess Book 1) - Angeline Trevena

 

 

An excellent story and a creative world dreamed up by author Trevena. The reader can't help but empathize with the main character, Maeve, and her dire circumstances dealing with her evil Uncle Lou. Her tribulations are many, but so is her quick thinking. Maeve takes the cruelest acts against her and tries in her way to make them right. Revenge, but in a unique and twisted way. The descriptions of the people she meets, her friend, and the places she visits are deeply cultivated within the rich world that the author ables us to see and feel. The stairs leading up to a better place may not be the stairway to heaven after all. The winding plot gets thicker, as more revelations push Maeve into drastic situations requiring extreme measures. There is a lot of bad happening in this dystopian world, not only for Maeve. Still, there is hope, and the twist, in the end, will give hope. It also leads well into the next story. You'll want to pick up the next in the series. Well written and provoking book, I recommend you read the series.

 

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review 2016-10-30 21:15
So Much More than Jeannie
Jeannie Out of the Bottle - Wendy Leigh;Barbara Eden

Wow. This was amazing. When most people think of Barbara Eden, they think the bubbly, naive genie in a pink harem costume. But there is so much more. This book covers the gammit. From her very religious, straight-laced childhood to dancing in a chorus line to even singing in Vegas. I had no idea she did all that. Motherhood, heartbreak and courage are just some of the things this book has. I loved every page. And I send my love and prayer to Mrs. Eden for the loss of both her children.

 

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review 2016-10-29 00:00
The Bottle Factory Outing: A Novel
The Bottle Factory Outing: A Novel - Beryl Bainbridge Two young women somehow get together and get themselves a job in a factory that bottles wine. The factory is run by Italians and all the other workers are Italian.

Freda is 26 and is tall and "plump"—something like 5'10" and 225 lbs. She thinks of herself as an aspiring actress and carries herself as such. She never succeeds in any auditions, so needs some kind of other work to make ends meet. She's brash and bossy.

Brenda is about 35 and was once married to a brute who took her off to the country where they lived with his nasty mother. He spent his time out drinking with his buds. Eventually Brenda couldn't take it and ran away. She's very shy and will do almost anything to avoid open conflict.

Freda and Brenda join forces and take a bed-sit together. They need money, so they get a job working at a wine bottling factory run my an Italian, Mr. Paganotti. Virtually everyone else working at the factory is Italian, with the exception of Patrick, who is the van driver. Mr. Rossi, who is the factory manager, takes a shine to Brenda and keeps trying to get her into spaces where he can seduce her. Freda, on the other hand has decided she's in love with Vittorio, Mr. Paganotti's nephew (or cousin?), and who is nominally engaged to another cousin still living in Italy.

So, Freda conceives the idea that the workers in the factory should have an outing, where they visit a grand house and also a safari park. Her prime purpose is to give her a chance to seduce Vittorio. Things, naturally, do not go as planned.

On one level, this book is rather absurd, dark humor. But the ending is enigmatic and really makes little sense to me. It would seem that there are no attachments beyond lust or thralldom. I dunno, the first 70% of the book was mildly amusing, but the conclusion left me cold. Beryl Bainbridge was a well celebrated British author in her time, but based on this example, I'm not sure if I'll attempt another of her offerings or not.
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-10-27 05:18
Message in a Bottle - Nicholas Sparks

(Two stars for the first 60-ish percent and three stars for the last 40-ish percent.)

 

Not my favorite Nicholas Sparks book. I was relatively bored for about half of it. Maybe more. But it did eventually pick up and I enjoyed the wrap-up.

 

I loved Garrett's dad most of all, I think. He was so sweet. I was so sad for him when Theresa missed the Thanksgiving meal he had put so much love and effort into preparing.

 

I remember getting pissed at Theresa at one point because she was upset with Garret for still being in love with his deceased wife when that's what attracted her to him in the first place... but then her friend called her out on it, so I felt better. Haha.

 

There was also a definite overuse of the phrase "something tightened in his/her stomach". And when it came time for the inevitable sex scene, I almost scoffed openly (while in line at an amusement park) at the line "They had both waited too long for this moment..." They met, like, 3 days ago. Please.

It did get me thinking about the struggles of dating a widower. I imagine I'd be too insecure. Always thinking "But if he could have her back, he would..." Which then makes me think of Prince Henry's ramblings about love in Ever After:

 

...Let's say God puts two people on Earth and they are lucky enough to find one another. But one of them gets hit by lightning. Well then what? Is that it? Or, perchance, you meet someone new and marry all over again. Is that the lady you're supposed to be with or was it the first? And if so, when the two of them were walking side by side were they both the one for you and you just happened to meet the first one first or, was the second one supposed to be first? And is everything just chance or are some things meant to be?

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review 2016-09-27 18:37
The Bottle Factory Outing: A Novel - Beryl Bainbridge

Having the knowledge that Beryl Bainbridge’s novel was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the understanding that the novel was listed as one of the 100 greatest novels of all time by The Observer can consciously and unconsciously color the reader’s immediate expectations when approaching her novel for the first time. Such expectations would most likely be high. But having such high expectations beforehand might lead the reader to become overly critical in their reading, and thereby potentially lose the respect Bainbridge’s novel deserves.  

 

Bainbridge’s novel is best described as a madcap satire, not the kind of story one would immediately associate with such a lauded book. The pairing of British flatmates Freda and Brenda within the setting of a bottle factory during the 1970s has an American counterpart with the relationship between Laverne and Shirley. Like the many adventures Laverne and Shirley experience, the escapades involving Freda and Brenda are not meant to be taken seriously, often involving crazy solutions to the various problems they face. As a result, these situations are funny in the sense that they’re so fantastical and unrealistic. Bainbridge’s novel is meant to be read this way as well. 

 

Yet at times, Bainbridge can make this difficult, by actively playing with the reader’s sensibilities. When her novel transitions into a kind of murder mystery, something akin to Hitchcock’s The Trouble with Harry, she takes turns that could easily be read as excessive, at times even bordering on horrific, sentiments that are only heightened by the vividness of her writing. Part of her dark, comedic satire plays with readers’ preconceived notions of what’s real and unreal through her use of outrageous exaggeration. While the turn of events is not entirely unexpected given the imagery and tone associated with the novel’s opening scene, the contrast of melancholy tradition and its highly irregular variation at the novel’s close is not an image that’s easily forgotten. 

 

The novel’s dark humor is aided by the quick pace of Bainbridge’s storytelling. One scene flows readily into another, and she adroitly groups the characters in interesting ways. Yet despite the story’s speed, Bainbridge somehow manages to create lasting comedic images within the mind’s eye. This is in part due to her characterization of her novel’s cast of characters and the way she dispels information. She is clever in her use of detail, offering just enough to entice and even beguile the reader. The novel ends with a stated confession of guilt. However, Bainbridge offers enough details that can allow the reader to question the veracity of this potentially neat conclusion. In a way, Bainbridge seems to also be satirizing the traditional endings readers usually associate with British mysteries. She arguably allows the reader to assume the role of detective to more effectively determine what really happened during that outing. 

 

One might not expect much from a short madcap satirical novel, yet Bainbridge has provided readers with an interesting and solid work.

 

Copy provided by NetGalley

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