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review 2018-06-04 16:12
Tracey Learns No Lessons
Slightly Settled - Wendy Markham

Oh wow, this second book really just went downhill for me. Tracey is 100 percent scared to be single. I really wish besides some characters giving that some lip service here and there, it actually had been addressed. Tracey throws herself into a something with a guy she meets at her job called Jack while also still harboring feelings for her ex and sort of wanting to be with a long time guy friend. The ending made me roll my eyes. 

 

Tracey, without realizing it, is pretty much advocating taking pills (she takes them for anxiety) cause they are helping her to lose even more weight. She is still talking to her ex-boyfriend Will twice a week cause apparently she has no spine and cannot just ignore his freaking phone calls. When Tracey ends up meeting a guy at her job named Jack, she tells herself to just think of him as a transitional boy, but she of course starts thinking about weddings and being with him forever. She also still harbors a crush or something on her guy friend Buckley. 


This whole book felt exhausting to me. I just wanted Tracey to get her crap together. Instead she is sitting in judgement of mostly everyone she is close to and ping ponging between two guys. I say two since Will is mostly just a voice on the phone for this book. 

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review 2018-06-04 15:44
The First Book I Read from Red Dress Ink
Slightly Single - Wendy Markham

So back in the day I was obsessed with Red Dress Ink books. I have all of the "Slightly" books still on my Kindle along with Kindle and paperback copies of books by Sarah Mlynowski, Melissa Senate, Brenda Janowitz, Carole Matthews, and other writers. I was in love with all things chick lit back in the day and these writers and their books delighted me.

 

Now reading the first two books in the "Slightly" series by Markham this weekend has me realizing that the main character Tracey kind of sucks. Okay, no kind of, she really does suck. Self absorbed and nasty about her friends and family (mentally and not to their faces), I had a hard time rooting for her. I liked her okay in this first book, but found myself getting increasingly irritated by her in book #2.  You do have sympathy for Tracey, she is in a long time relationship (his name is Will) with a struggling actor who really doesn't care about her (just a few scenes with the guy should let you know that he is not in love with Tracy) and she is determined that while they spend the summer apart, she is going to work on improving herself for him.

 

Tracey is overweight and not really trying to do much about her apartment. She is just passing time until Will deigns to propose to her so she doesn't see much of a point in making her life better without him. When Will goes away during the summer to participate in Summer Stock, Tracey decides to focus on losing weight and reading books.

 

If Tracey was doing any of these things without Will being the main reason behind it, I would cheer her. Instead Tracey wrongly believes that if she was somehow perfect, Will will propose and they will live happily ever after.

 

Most of this book is just Tracey telling you how much weight she has lost and it seems barely eating any food. We also have her being highly judgmental about her two best friends (Raphael and Kate) who love Tracey as she is and keep telling her that Will really isn't the right one for her. Tracey also looks down her nose when it comes to her coworkers. 


Tracey ends up meeting a guy named Buckley who she starts to think about romantically, but really wants to keep him on the back burner cause there is still Will.

 

If that isn't enough, Tracey goes into her blue-collar family that lives in Brookside, New York, about 500 miles away from her current location of New York, New York. She also looks down on her family due to her mother and sister not doing anything but living for their spouses and both being overweight. She seems indifferent towards her brothers. 

 

I think if the book had shown Tracey really dealing with her relationship with Will and coming into her own I would have liked it better. The ending was such a non-starter for me when re-reading. It doesn't feel like Tracey learns anything since she still seems to hate being alone and doesn't get why her life didn't magically get better when she lost weight. 

 

The other characters don't feel very developed to me. Will is, but Raphael reads like a gay stereotype. Tracey pretty much calls Kate a gold-digger. Or at least she is referred to that in book #2. Tracey's work friends seem pretty awesome and have a better handle on their own lives. 

 

The writing is typical chick lit. The main premise of most of these stories is to tell a romance usually dealing with a single woman having semi-comedic situations happening to them. I guess for me while reading, there was not that much that made me laugh. 

 

The setting of New York is used very well here. Tracey makes New York sound hot, gross, and smelly most of the time. I could feel the heat and also felt slightly hampered by her describing her tiny apartment. 

 

The ending leaves Tracey on a different path than the one she envisioned. 

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text 2018-05-20 13:46
Elephants

Lynn and MbD's exchange about elephants reminded me of Beryl Markham's comments on the subject in West With the Night, which FWIW I'll just render here verbatim:

"I suppose, if there were a part of the world in which mastodon still lived, somebody would design a new gun, and men, in their eternal impudence, would hunt mastodon as they now hunt elephant.  Impudence seems to be the word.  At least David and Goliath were of the same species, but, to an elephant, a man can only be a midge with a deathly sting.

 

It is absurd for a man to kill an elephant.  It is not brutal, it is not heroic, and certainly it is not easy; it is just one of those preposterous things that men do like putting a dam across a great river, one tenth of whose volume could engulf the whole of mankind without disturbing the domestic life of a single catfish.

 

Elephant, beyond the fact that their size and conformation are aesthetically more suited to the trading of this earth than our angular informity, have an average intelligence comparable to our own.  Of course they are less agile and phyiscally less adaptable than ourselves -- Nature having developed their bodies in one direction and their brains in another, while human beings, on the other hand, drew from Mr. Darwin's lottery of evolution both the winning ticket and the stub to match it.  This, I suppose, is why we are so wonderful and can make movies and electric razors and wireless sets -- and guns with which to shoot the elephant, the hare, clay pigeons, and each other.

 

The elephant is a rational animal.  He thinks.  Blix [NB: Baron Bror Blixen, Karen Blixen's husband and Markham's close friend] and I (also rational animals in our own right) have never quite agreed in the mental attributes of the elephant.  I know Blix is not to be doubted because he has learned more about elephant than any other man I ever met, or even head about, but he looks upon legend with a suspicious eye, and I do not.  [...]

 

But still, there is no mystery about the things you see yourself.

 

I think I am the first person ever to scout elephant by plane, and so it follows that the thousands of elephant I saw time and again from the air had never before been plagued by anything above their heads more ominous than tick-birds.

 

The reaction of a herd of elephant to my Avian [plane] was, in the initial instance, always the same -- they left their feeding ground and tried to find cover, though often, before yielding, one or two of the bulls would prepare for battle and charge in the direction of the place if it were low enough to be within their scope of vision. Once the futility of this was realized, the entire herd would be off into the deepest bush.

 

Checking again on the whereabouts of the same herd next day, I always found that a good deal of thinking had been going on amongst them during the night.  On the basis of their reaction to my second intrusion, I judged that their thoughts had run somewhat like this: A: The thing that flew over us was no bird, since no bird would have to work so hard to stay in the air -- and anyway, we know all the birds.  B: If it was no bird, it was very likely just another trick of those two-legged dwarfs against whom there ought to be a law.  C: The two-legged dwarfs (both black and white) have, as long as our long memories go back, killed our bulls for their tusks.  We know this because, in the case of the white dwarfs, at least, the tusks are the only part taken away.

 

The actions of the elephant, based upon this reasoning, were always sensible and practical.  The second time they saw the Avian, they refused to hide; instead, the females, who bear only small, valueless tusks, simply grouped themselves around their treasure-burdened bulls in such a way that no ivory could be seen from the air or from any other approach.

 

This can be maddening strategy to an elephant scout.  I have spent the better part of an hour circling, criss-crossing, and diving low over some of the most inhospitable country in Africa in an effort to break such a stubborn huddle, sometimes successfully, sometimes not.

 

But the tactics vary.  More than once I have come upon a large and solitary elephant standing with enticing disregard for safety, its massive bulk in clear view, but its head buried in thicket.  This was, on the part of the elephant, no effort to simulate the nonsensical habit attributed to the ostrich.  It was, on the contrary, a cleverly devised trap into which I fell, every way except physically, at least a dozen times.  The beast always proved to be a large cow rather than a bull, and I always found that by the time I had arrived at this brilliant if tardy deduction, the rest of the herd had got another ten miles away, and the decoy, leering up at me out of a small, triumphant eye, would amble into the open, wave her trunk with devastating nonchalance, and disappear."

And a little later she warns:

"Elephant hunters may be unconscionable brutes, but it would be an error to regard the elephant as an altogether pacific animal.  The popular belief that only the so-called 'rogue' elephant is dangerous to men is quite wrong -- so wrong that a considerable number of men who believed it have become one with the dust without even their just due of gradual disintegration.  A normal bull elephant, aroused by the scent of man, will often attack at once -- and his speed is as unbelievable as his mobility.  His trunk and his feet are his weapons -- at least in the distateful business of exterminating a mere human; those resplendent sabres of ivory await resplendent foes."

And she proceeds to prove her point by recounting an instance where she and Baron Blixen literally came within an inch of being reduced to dust themselves, courtesy of a large elephant bull.

 

Markham, one of aviation history's great female pioneers (among several other accomplishments), was hired as an aerial scout by elephant hunters in a time when the ecological devastation wrought by their dubious occupation was not a noticeable concern; and she makes no bones about the fact that this was part of how she was earning her living at the time.  Given her comments in the opening paragraphs of this excerpt, however, and her alertness to the the unconscionable havoc that humans with guns can wreak, I would like to think that she'd be on the side of conservation these days (even if she'd probably also be unapologetic about her past) -- having grown up in Africa and considering it home, she clearly loved its wildlife vastly better than most of its human society.  Her comments elsewhere in the book (as well as, again in the opening paragraphs of this excerpt) also make it quite clear that like most of those who have seen the damage that guns can do in action, she was appalled by the notion of easy access to guns, and of guns in hands where they don't belong.  In another part of the book, she quotes with approval her friend (and flying instructor) Tom Black's disdainful comment on an amateur hunter's severe injuries at the claws of a lion he'd shot but not killed immediately: "Lion, rifles -- and stupidity" ... and she makes it perfectly clear that from her point of view, the lion's later death from its gunshot wounds was the vastly more regrettable and anger-inducing outcome of that encounter than the hunter's injuries.

 

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review 2018-02-03 15:02
strong heroine
Scandal And Miss Markham (The Beauchamp Betrothals) - Janice Preston

She makes her own decisions and also tells the hero when he's being an ass, excellent, many romance heros need telling that to and this one learns, mostly.

 

Lord Vernon Beauchamp is looking for his cousin. The mystery brings him to the doors of the Markhams where Thea is anxiously looking for her brother, who went away several days ago and hasn't been heard from since. Now she wants to help Lord Vernon, but he can't see any reason a woman could help him with his mission so she follows him, in boys clothing.  As they hunt for both their missing men they discover an attraction that is distracting them both.

 

Entertaining.  I liked Thea, even if she was occasionally out of her depth and trying to ignore consequences.

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review 2017-08-07 16:49
Blood Bank by Zoe Markham Giveaway & Review @ZoeMarkham @YABoundToursPR
Blood Bank - Zoë Markham

 

 

Amazon  /  Goodreads

 

Blood Bank
by Zoe Markham
Genre: YA Fantasy/Horror
Release Date: July 2017

 

MY REVIEW

 

There is so much that drew me to Blood Bank by Zoe Markham – the title, the cover, the subject matter…

 

At first, I kept getting confused and had to go back and read the blurb. It seemed to be all over the place. But, maybe that was just me, because it didn’t take long for it to come together.

 

I know people tend to have a love/hate relationship with Twilight, so I must warn you right out of the gate, if you hate Twilight, you might want to move on. I loved Twilight and the further into the story I go, the more it comes to mind. Works great for me.

 

Zack owes a vampire a debt and must come when called. The debt will be paid in blood…his. They own him. There is no way out, but death. Or is there?

 

Zack is summoned and he leaves his girlfriend, Lucy, high and dry in a seedy part of town and I know something wicked this way comes.

 

Ben is part of The Clan and they use the internet and Club Dystopia to fulfill their financial and feeding needs. They walk among us, they look like us…sorta…talk like us, and could be standing right next to us. You do not want to get on the wrong side of them.

 

But Ben is different and is about to cross the vampiric line…Do vampires have souls?

They want nothing to do with women. Why? Is it true that we are the stronger of the species?

 

Zoe Markham got me good when Lucy was attacked with needles. I was fooled and I love when an author is able to pull that off.

 

As the characters are drawn together, the story heats up, the danger rises and lives are at stake, human and vampire alike. How they’ll get out of the mess they’re in, I am trying to figure out. They are flawed characters and I empathize  with their conflicting thoughts and feelings.

 

OH MAN…no ending. I was left in an okay place, and I can guess most of what is to come, but I still want to take the journey with Lucy, Ben and Zack, right to the end.

 

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of Blood Bank by Zoe Markham.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  4 Stars

 

Read more and enter the giveaway here.

 

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Source: www.fundinmental.com/blood-bank-zoe-markham-giveaway-review-zoemarkham-yaboundtoursprzoe mark
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