Solid Story, Could Have Used Better Structure. This was a solid story of a woman trying to find herself after putting her career on pause to raise her kid and give him a life she had never had. For me, though, the structure of the storytelling itself would have dramatically benefited from a slight variation of the technique here. Here, we get a mostly dual timeline story, a bit scattered at times (date stamps alone would have been useful in that regard, even if just “x years ago”) but workable. What *really* could have elevated this story though would have been to take a page from another tale of another professional struggling to find his way and looking back on his life – Billy Chapel in the *movie* version of For Love Of The Game. (We shall not speak of the book – one of very few cases where the movie is by far the superior story.) There, the story is told in the same dual timeline approach that we get here – but with *both* timelines happening before the seminal event (in that case, the last game Billy Chapel will ever pitch as a professional baseball player, in this case an important concert), then some follow-up after the event itself. Ultimately just a tweak, though a significant one, that would have made the story flow so much better for at least this reader. Still, truly a worthy read and very much recommended.
Fun, Short, Indiana Jones Type Adventure. A lot of times when I say something is “Indiana Jones type Adventure”, I usually mean that it has elements of travel, mysterious ancient artifact and/ or creature, some action of both gun and non-gun type, and usually some form of “Bond girl”… but set in current-ish times. With this book… no. You still get all of that, but the setting itself is actually Indiana Jones type as well – set in the early 30s, though completely in the US. Wood even manages to toss in a line or two about current real world affairs, *very* tightly disguised and well within scope of the characters, setting, and plot. (Which is one reason I love Wood and many of the authors I’ve long associated in his loose group of authors who have at times collaborated together – he does this so well, yet also so minimally.) Also quite a bit of humor that transcends time period here. All in a fairly short (half ish the length of a standard Maddock adventure, from his long running Dane Maddock series) book that is truly a very quick yet fun read. Very much recommended.
For this blog tour, we’re looking at another Book 2 of a series that again can be read as a standalone and again features a pair of brothers. This week we’re looking at Best Laid Plans by Roan Parrish.
Here’s what I had to say about it on Goodreads:
Solid Romance, Animals Again Nearly Steal The Show. This was a solid romance featuring one guy that never really had a chance to find himself, and another that perhaps had too much time to find himself. The connection to the prior book is fairly loose, in the way that many romance series are these days, with Charlie of our primary couple here being introduced in Book 1 (Better Than People) as the brother of one half of that book’s couple. We get a touch of his back ground in that book, mostly as it relates to the brother, but here we get even more. And yes, the brother and his boyfriend from Book 1 show up a few times, even to the point of the new guy in this book befriending the boyfriend of Book 1 – which apparently is common when dating siblings. (At least according to what I’ve observed of my wife and sisters-in-law.) But in addition to the new guy, we are also introduced to a new *cat* in Chapter 1… and this cat damn near steals every scene it is in. Even moreso than the cats and dogs (including Charlie’s own cat) of the first book. For me, this book completely worked. There were far less issues reading it than the first book, as while I identified with different elements here, it wasn’t to the point of knowing all too well what certain … sometimes “debilitating”… issues are like. But, yeah, blog tour – I also knew I had to finish this thing soon no matter what, anyway. 😀 Still, truly at least as strong as Book 1 (I could see a strong debate on which tale is “stronger”, and I could probably argue either side of it), and at least for this cat-lover, with its emphasis on cats over dogs, I’ll give this one a *slight* edge on the first one. 😀 Very much recommended.
After the jump, about a page or so from Chapter 2 (IIRC), courtesy of the publisher, Carina Adores. And then the book information from the publisher.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: Best Laid Plans by Roan Parrish”
As always, the Goodreads review:
Continue reading “[UPDATED] Featured New Release Of The Week: Count Down by Shanna Swan and Stacey Colino”
Eye Opening, Yet Critically Flawed. Bedat does *phenomenal* work in this text when reporting what she has found in her investigations of trying to track even a “typical” cotton *garment* from the cotton seed to its eventual use and destruction. Using each chapter as a way to trace one particular step in the chain was truly a stroke of editing genius, as it concentrates just what is happening at that particular stage. And some of it – including the direct link, in Bangladesh at minimum, between garment factories and sex work (where in one particular harrowing tale, a source tells Bedat that when she gets in the van to be taken to a factory as a day worker, she sometimes finds herself at a massage parlor instead) – is utterly horrific. It is these sections of the book that are *so* strong that the book *had* to be rated fairly highly.
HOWEVER, when Bedat speaks almost at *all* of policy or her own opinions… well, this is when the critical flaws become apparent. To be fair, she *is* at least somewhat more balanced than many leftists, and outright points out things that ardent Bernie Sanders / AOC types won’t want to hear. But in her attacks of “neoliberalist capitalism” – a running strawman throughout the narrative – … eh, I’ll be a touch gentle and go with “YMMV”. If you happen to be on that side, you’re going to love her commentary here. If, like me, you find yourself more an adherent of Milton, Mises, Hayek, Bastiat, etc (the so-called “Austrian School of Economics)… you’re not going to like her commentary so much. The star reduction, to be clear, isn’t from the fact that I don’t like much of the commentary – but that I can so easily refute it, despite not being a trained economist (just a – clearly 😉 – well read human :D).
And yet, the actual reporting here is simply too strong, too eye opening. This is a book that *needs* to be read for its current issues reporting, if for no other reason – and even if her commentary leads one to contemplate defenestration of the book. If you’ve read Hafsa Lodi’s Modesty or Virginia Postrel’s Fabric of Civilization (among presumably numerous other recent texts on fashion / clothing/ fabric), do yourself a favor and read this one too. Even if you haven’t, do yourself a favor and read all three books. 😉
Very much recommended.
Blatantly Hypocritical, Yet Strong Discussion Regardless. Davis repeatedly claims that he is not “selling a particular religion, creed, or cause”… and yet the very subtitle of the book is “The *CASE* for Commitment…” (emphasis mine). Though to be fair, the examples Davis cites tend to be individual trees, while making the case that they are representative of the forest they are in. Davis, in this text, isn’t selling a tree – he is trying to sell the forest. Yet he *is* trying to sell a *particular* forest – the forest of long standing and wide reaching oaks, rather than the taller, shallower, and less connected pines. Still, the case he makes (and I’m forgiving the lack of bibliography, for the moment, as this was an ARC – though I *do* expect an extensive one to be provided in the published edition), is at minimum worthy of consideration and discussion. Yes, the language choices are a bit leftist at times, and yes, there are a few holes in the logic and reasonings, but overall, the case made is an interesting contrast to the currently dominant thinking, and this is why I’m willing to overlook the lack of bibliography in this ARC and rate the book at 4, rather than 3, stars. In the end, an interesting take on things that perhaps goes a bit *too* far at times, but is a refreshing change of pace at others. Recommended.
Excellent Examination Of US Judicial System. This is an excellent examination of the US Judicial system, from a former US District Court judge. Indeed, the *singular* outright flaw in the ARC copy I read was its lack of bibliography and citations, which I expect will be corrected in the published edition. For the most part, Judge Rakoff’s examinations and explanations ring true and he cites several well known works in the field, including Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow during the discussion of the problem of mass incarceration. My only quibble – and it is just a quibble, just as the comments I am about to refer to are almost asides themselves – are a couple of points where the Judge makes comments about a couple of cases of a more political nature. (Including Bush v Gore and Citizens United, among perhaps a handful of others.) Overall one of the better examinations of the breadth of the US Judicial system, and even its acknowledged origins as a set of essays isn’t really obvious or noticeable. Very much recommended.
Remarkable Look At Often Unnoticed Regions. Marshall’s prior work in this space, Prisoners of Geography, was much lauded and at least a bit derided. Here, well, the exact same approaches and reasonings abound, so whatever you thought of that first text will likely be similar to your feelings about this text, where he analyzes regions that many don’t think of. The Space chapter (the final chapter) actually discusses the real-world power plays that Matthew Mather’s CyberStorm series of fiction books uses to spin some great yet fictional tales around, while other chapters such as that on Ethiopia, the Sahel, Iran, and Australia do remarkable jobs of showing both the history and current issues facing these regions. Truly an enlightening look at global issues, and one that everyone should read more as a “global politics 101” level of information, if for no other reason. Great work, and very much recommended.
Fascinating Read About Seemingly Forgotten History. Let’s face it, these days (and even when this elder Millenial was in school in the late 80s – early 2000s), American schools (at least, perhaps, outside the Southwest) barely even teach World War 1 itself – much less the other actions that were going on as America was trying to stay away from that war. I knew of exactly one story from the Punitive Expeditions before reading this book, and that was the story of George S Patton’s first ever motorized attack – one of the events early in his career that made him truly legendary. Here, Guinn does a truly remarkable job of setting the stage and scope of the entire situation, from its earliest beginnings (even repeatedly referencing when the Spanish first came to central America) through the fates of the key players he has spent the text explaining. If you’ve never heard of this last war on Continental US soil before, do yourself a favor and read this book. If you want to understand more context for a lot of the current simmering tensions along the US/ Mexico border… do yourself a favor and read this book. Yes, the actions themselves were now slightly over a century ago – but if you’re able to read at all, it means that it was in the time of no further from you than your great-great grandparents, and these actions still reverberate to this day in the lands and minds of those whose own great-great grandparents (or more recent) were actively involved here. Very “readable” narrative, never sounds overly “academic”, and well documented to boot. Very much recommended.
Solid Exploration. Once one gets past the rampant (and expected) proof texting and leftist/ West Coast language barriers. Here, Willems makes a lot of really strong points about Jesus, pain, and Jesus’ humanity that many have rarely if ever considered. And thus this is truly a strong book. It drops a star due to the rampant (beginning on page 2 or so) proof texting (which was expected, he *is* a pastor, after all) and I am waging a one-man war against the practice, with my book reviews being really my only weapon. And thus, any time I see the practice in a book I am reading, it is an automatic one star deduction, no matter how strong the rest of the text is. The rest of the text, away from the prooftexting, will largely vary by the reader’s comfort level with leftist/ West Coast language, which is also rampant. To me, Willems could have adjusted the diction in these places to reflect more inclusive – see what I did there? 😉 – language and arguably made a stronger book as a whole. As it is, the book reads a bit political with its talk of privilege and context and intersectionality, among other terms, even as Willems actually repeatedly makes the point that if you’re looking to politics for solutions, you’re looking in the wrong place. So ultimately the book will likely play better in certain crowds than others, and truly YMMV with the text solely based on the diction Willems uses. But ultimately his actual points are sound no matter your own political bent, and that is the very reason this book is recommended as highly as it is. Seriously, don’t let Willems’ word choices have you throwing the book out the window in disgust, keep reading and auto-translating in your head. It was very much worth it, at least for me. Truly a strong book with a couple of quibbles, it is still very much recommended.