A Mimi Matthews Appreciation Post
16 Oct, 2019

A Mimi Matthews Appreciation Post

/ posted in: Reading A Mimi Matthews Appreciation Post The Work of Art by Mimi Matthews
on July 23, 2019
Pages: 390
Published by Perfectly Proper Press
Setting: England

An Uncommon Beauty...

Hidden away in rural Devonshire, Phyllida Satterthwaite has always been considered more odd than beautiful. But in London, her oddity has made her a sensation. Far worse, it's caught the eye of the sinister Duke of Moreland--a notorious art collector obsessed with acquiring one-of-a-kind treasures. To escape the duke's clutches, she's going to need a little help.

An Unlikely Hero...

Captain Arthur Heywood's days of heroism are long past. Grievously injured in the Peninsular War, he can no longer walk unaided, let alone shoot a pistol. What use can he possibly be to a damsel in distress? He has nothing left to offer except his good name.

Can a marriage of convenience save Philly from the vengeful duke? Or will life with Arthur put her--and her heart--in more danger than ever?

Goodreads

I first heard of Mimi Matthews through a blog tour for The Matrimonial Advertisement. I was immediately impressed by her writing. These books read more like historical fiction novels than a lot of other historical romances. I love historical romances but some of them are definitely a little less than concerned about strict historical accuracy. These books seem to be well researched and firmly set in their time and place.

She quickly became a must-buy author.

I recently read a group of her books back to back.

The Work of Art is the story of a woman who wants to live a quiet life in the country rescuing injured animals. Her relatives bring her to London and set about getting her noticed by a duke who likes to collect unusual things. Phyllida looks unusual enough that they think he’ll be interested. The problem is that his last wife died mysteriously and he doesn’t like Phyllida – he just wants her so no one else can have her.

Arthur is a disabled veteran who befriends Phyllida and wants to help her. The Duke is known to be violent towards people who get in his way. How is Arthur supposed to be able to protect her?

These people were fun to read about. Arthur and Phyllida actually liked each other and grew closer through the course of the book. I’m not a big fan of hate to love type stories. I don’t really like the fighting. I also liked the helping animals aspect of the book.


A Mimi Matthews Appreciation Post The Lost Letter by Mimi Matthews
on November 6, 2017
Pages: 244
Published by Perfectly Proper Press
Goodreads

A PROUD BEAUTY

Society beauty Sylvia Stafford is far too pragmatic to pine. When the tragic death of her gamester father leaves her destitute and alone, she finds work as a governess in a merchant’s household in Cheapside. Isolated from the fashionable acquaintance of her youth, she resigns herself to lonely spinsterhood until a mysterious visitor convinces her to temporarily return to her former life–and her former love.

A SCARRED BEAST

Colonel Sebastian Conrad is no longer the dashing cavalry officer Sylvia once fell in love with. Badly scarred during the Sepoy Rebellion, he has withdrawn to his estate in rural Hertfordshire where he lives in near complete seclusion. Brooding and tormented, he cares nothing for the earldom he has inherited–and even less for the faithless beauty who rejected him three years before.

A SECOND CHANCE

A week together in the remote Victorian countryside is the last thing either of them ever wanted. But when fate intervenes to reunite them, will a beastly earl and an impoverished beauty finally find their happily-ever-after? Or are some fairy-tale endings simply not meant to be?


This is a story of misunderstanding.  I’m not usually a big fan of this trope either but this book was well done.

An attachment was formed between the main characters several years before.  Immediately afterwards he headed back to his post in the Army.  Letters then went astray leading each of them to believe that the other cut off communication.  Now Sebastian’s sister realizes that he still cares for Sylvia and sets out to find her to see if she can help him with his recovery.  She’s desperate and isn’t bothered by lying in the service of her cause.

I always find it hard to review romance because they always sound formulaic.  The trick is to find books where the writers take these well worn ideas and write the story well enough that you care about the characters even though you know how it is going to end up.  That’s where Mimi Matthews excels.  The books are warm and comforting to read.  You just want to sink down inside of them.


A Mimi Matthews Appreciation Post A Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Matthews
on November 13, 2018
Pages: 175
Published by Perfectly Proper Press
Goodreads


A Courtship of Convenience

Sophie Appersett is quite willing to marry outside of her class to ensure the survival of her family. But the darkly handsome Mr. Edward Sharpe is no run-of-the-mill London merchant. He’s grim and silent. A man of little emotion—or perhaps no emotion at all. After two months of courtship, she’s ready to put an end to things.


A Last Chance for Love

But severing ties with her taciturn suitor isn’t as straightforward as Sophie envisioned. Her parents are outraged. And then there’s Charles Darwin, Prince Albert, and that dratted gaslight. What’s a girl to do except invite Mr. Sharpe to Appersett House for Christmas and give him one last chance to win her? Only this time there’ll be no false formality. This time they’ll get to know each other for who they really are.


This was a fun book about a man who was following the advice of a dating manual.  Too bad the advice was absolutely horrible.  His would-be-bride breaks off the relationship because he is just too boring.  Her family isn’t going to stand for that though.  They need her to marry well to get them out of financial trouble and this boring fellow is just what they need.  They make her invite him to a holiday house party so she can get to know him better.  Together they need to get past the social and financial barriers between them to find their real selves. 

This is a novella and it is so cute.  I never end up reading holiday books at the appropriate time of year.  Pick this one up whenever you want.

Slay
11 Oct, 2019

Slay

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading Slay Slay by Brittney Morris
on September 24, 2019
Pages: 336
Genres: Fiction, Young Adult
Published by Simon Pulse
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is an honors student, a math tutor, and one of the only Black kids at Jefferson Academy. But at home, she joins hundreds of thousands of Black gamers who duel worldwide as Nubian personas in the secret multiplayer online role-playing card game, SLAY. No one knows Kiera is the game developer, not her friends, her family, not even her boyfriend, Malcolm, who believes video games are partially responsible for the "downfall of the Black man."

But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, news of the game reaches mainstream media, and SLAY is labeled a racist, exclusionist, violent hub for thugs and criminals. Even worse, an anonymous troll infiltrates the game, threatening to sue Kiera for "anti-white discrimination."

Driven to save the only world in which she can be herself, Kiera must preserve her secret identity and harness what it means to be unapologetically Black in a world intimidated by Blackness. But can she protect her game without losing herself in the process?

Goodreads

Slay is a great book if you are capable of massive suspension of disbelief.

I love the description of the game.  The virtual reality world that this game exists in sounds absolutely amazing.  I’d love to see video games like this.  In the world of this book V.R. technology appears to be commonplace.  It is much more technologically advanced than we are now but everything else besides gaming seems to be about the same level of technology.

Slay is a virtual world where people duel using powers granted to them by cards that they draw from a deck.  The cards are based on aspects of black lives across the globe.  Mom’s Macaroni and Cheese makes the ground your opponent is standing on gooey so they get stuck.  The Afro card surrounds you in a protective bubble of hair.  Other cards on based on famous people.  I loved reading about the cards.  The world building here was so inventive and funny.  It was everything I love about fantastical worlds. 

In order to play Slay you need to have a passcode from another player.  It is understood but never explicitly stated that you have to be black to play.  When a top player is murdered in real life because of a dispute about the game, the media finds out about the exclusivity of Slay.  They start to debate about whether or not it is racist to limit play to black people. 

There are great discussions about harassment of black videogamers and the importance of having spaces where you can be yourself.  Who gets to decide what is black culture? 

This part of the story is all good.  The problems come if you think about the details too much.

Supposedly this game was built by a teenager.  It has 500,000 players using virtual reality.  Where is this being hosted?  How is it being paid for?  It is a free game with no apparent advertising.  The murder was over people pooling resources in the game.  It implies that there was money being spent on the game but she never seems to collect any money.  How would a minor be able to set up a company that could do that alone?  Somehow her family has never noticed that she is running a massive undertaking from her bedroom.  She doesn’t really seem to do much but moderate some large duels.  She talks about adding new features and about some glitches but she never seems to fix anything.  She goes to school full time, has a boyfriend, tutors, does her homework, and goes to bed early.  Nothing ever seems to crash or absolutely need her attention.  Games need teams of people to keep them going but she checks in for a few hours a day when she can get away from her family?  Not likely.

If you can let all that go and pretend that this is a totally self sustaining game, then you can enjoy the larger social issues brought up in the story. 

The Wilds
10 Oct, 2019

The Wilds

/ posted in: Hometown TouristPhotos

I got to fulfill a lifelong dream of mine recently.

When I was in middle school we had to write a list of things that we wanted to do when we grew up.  One of the things on my list was to sleep in a yurt.  This was way before yurts were cool in the U.S.  I only knew about them because in fifth grade I read a book about a man who went to Mongolia.  I think this was my first historical fiction experience.  Ever since that time I wanted to go to Mongolia and sleep in a yurt.  (He also ate sheep eyeballs and I totally didn’t want to have to do that to have my yurt time.)

I managed the yurt and no sheep eyeballs were necessary.

We stayed overnight in the yurt camping area at The Wilds.  I don’t think that the guy in the book I read had a yurt this fancy.  I don’t remember any descriptions of air conditioning, full bathroom, or wi-fi.

 
The Wilds is a 10,000 acre reclaimed strip mine in Ohio. It is now managed by the Columbus Zoo. It is a little like Jurassic Park with large mammals instead of dinosaurs.

ostrich

On the first day I went for a horseback ride. I was actually nervous about that. It has been a long time since I’ve ridden. We were told to mount at the mounting block and let the horse walk forward without putting our feet in the stirrups. I flat out panicked at the suggestion. They wanted to adjust our stirrups for us because I was the only person who had ever ridden before. However, stepping away from a mounting block without feet in stirrups is exactly what happened right before the accident where I broke my pelvis. I calmed myself though and got on and put my feet in immediately. Not doing that again.

The ride was fun once I let myself relax and stop overanalyzing. It was a trail ride on a horse who was used to this, not a ride on a high strung knucklehead like I owned.

After the ride we had a private dinner in a dining room reserved for overnight guests. We also had a large fire pit overlooking the camel pasture to relax at.

camel1

The next day we had breakfast provided and then we went on our tour through the park.

cheetahhead

The Wilds is a fun way to see animals in a slightly more relaxed environment than in a zoo. The herbivores are all wandering huge pastures and living their lives in a much freer manner than in most zoos.

cheetahlove

The Wilds is in Cumberland Ohio. It is absolutely worth a visit if you are ever in the central Ohio area.
 

October 2019 Foodies Read
01 Oct, 2019

October 2019 Foodies Read

/ posted in: Foodies ReadReading

 

Welcome to October 2019 Foodies Read!

This is a monthly link up for books about food.  Reviews of fiction, nonfiction, and cookbooks are welcome!

This month I’m recommending a podcast.  Listen to LeVar Burton reading N.K. Jemisin’s short story Cuisines des Memoires.  This is the story of a restaurant where you can have any meal from any point in time recreated.

 

Every entry is entered into a monthly drawing to win a gift card.  Once you win a prize you are not eligible to win for 6 months.

We had 31 links in September!  The winner of the drawing for a gift card is Deb for her review of The Food Explorer.


You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


30 Sep, 2019

September 2019 Wrap Up

/ posted in: Reading

Well, when I left off at the end of August I had hardly read anything at all.  Something happened though as September rolled around.

I started reading again.  Seriously reading.  As in I read 5 books by September 2.  Once again romance novels paved the way out of a reading slump.

I read 18 books in September.

 

The books I read were:

  • All fiction
  •  0 finished audiobooks – I kept starting and abandoning them.
  • Set in the U.S., England,  and Haiti

What were my favorites?

These two were some of the best plotted romance novels I think I’ve ever read.  They both have twists in them that kept the romance formula from getting routine.  I love both authors from other works and these books reminded me of why.

 


sign-up-post

 

Sign-up info

I didn’t add anything in September.

 

 

What I’ve read so far in 2019:

  • Righteous by Joe Ide
  • Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee
  • The Class by Heather Won Tesoriero
  • North by Scott and Jenny Jurek
  • Internment by Samira Ahmed
  • Tikka Chance on Me by Suleikha Snyder
  • Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan
  • The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan
  • Bury What We Cannot Take by Jean Kwok
  • Instant Indian by Rinku Bhattacharya
  • The True Queen by Zen Cho
  • Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss by Rajeev Balasubramanyam
  • A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee
  • Spices and Seasons by Rinku Bhattacharya
  • Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok
  • The Lost Vintage by Ann Mah

I’m aiming for 21-30 books to be at the tapir level.  16/21 so far

 


Reading All Around the World challenge from Howling Frog Books

  • Read a nonfiction book about the country – or
  • Read fiction written by a native of the country or someone living for a long time in the country.

I added Haiti this month.

 

 


 

Barnabas Tew
18 Sep, 2019

Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Enlightened Cow

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Enlightened Cow Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Enlightened Cow by Columbkill Noonan
on September 18, 2019
Pages: 205
Genres: Fantasy
Published by Darkstroke
Format: eBook
Source: Book Tour, From author/publisher

Rama, the Hindu god who maintains dharma, or the balance of all things, is in terrible trouble, and only Barnabas and Wilfred can save him!

Private detectives to the gods, Barnabas Tew and Wilfred Colby, believed they’d discovered the secret to taking charge of their destinies. Unfortunately, they’re about to be taught a hard lesson: nothing is as it seems and taking control is easier said than done.

Fresh off their most challenging case to date, the two detectives step into a cenote: an otherworldly portal that connects worlds and can take them anywhere if they know how to use it. Each is hoping to be reunited with someone he left behind, but they soon realize that something has gone terribly, disastrously wrong. Instead of being reunited with their lady-loves, they find themselves in a Hindu temple, together with Kamadeva, the Hindu god of desire.

Kamadeva asks them to save his friend Rama, who is in grave danger. It seems an innocent enough request, but Barnabas and Wilfred have learned that not everything is at it seems, and the right thing to do is not always so obvious. It doesn’t take long to discover that not all the gods want Rama saved, leaving the two detectives to make a terrible choice.

The detectives have faced dangerous deities before, but the Hindu gods are different. Otherworldly, wise, and full of shadowy motivations, they all seek to manipulate the hapless detectives to suit their purposes.

Can Barnabas and Wilfred see through the illusions and the lies to uncover the truth of the matter? Or will they fail, and choose the wrong side?

Goodreads

I loved the synopsis for this book.  The idea of a pair of detectives for the gods is right up my alley.  There have been several books in the series previous to this one but I didn’t feel like I was missing anything by just reading this one.

They mistakenly end up with the Hindu gods after trying to use a portal in a cenote and failing miserably.  They spend the first several pages of the book arguing about this instead of interacting with the beings that they have appeared in front of.  That was one of my issues with this book.  I understood these to be British detectives who spend a lot of time ignoring or disparaging their surroundings.  When they are ignorantly mocking things like a group of people doing yoga with an attitude of their own superiority it gets a bit uncomfortable.

There isn’t really much a plot here.  They wander about interacting with some of the gods that they meet.  They never really know what is going on.  They discover things mostly by accident.  I did enjoy the part where they were turned into fish and had to figure out how to get from a moat to an ocean.  They were active participants in their own story for this – not just passive observers that events happened to.

 

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Columbkill Noonan is the author of the bestselling “Barnabas Tew” series, which features the bumbling-yet-lovable Victorian detective Barnabas and his trusty sidekick, Wilfred. Columbkill combines her love of mythology and her affinity for period fiction to craft unique cozy mysteries that will leave you guessing (and chuckling!) till the very end.

10 Sep, 2019

Learning to Market Online

/ posted in: FitnessFood

Yesterday I talked about wanting to tell more people about the products that helped me lose weight.  When you sign up to be able to sell products, they tell you to have a party and invite your friends.  That would work if everyone you know locally wasn’t in the room with you when you learned about the product.  What do you do then?

That’s the spot I found myself in.  I literally didn’t know anyone else to invite to a party.  All my family lives a few hours away.  If I want to sell products, I need to do it online. 

I’ve also always been interested in people who build passive income streams online.  I’ve read their information but while I understand it in theory I’ve never quite understood how to make it work for me.

So I’m taking a course on online marketing.  One of the things I’m doing is starting a Facebook page to talk to other people who are running home businesses to see what is working for them.  I’m going to be having interviews and I’m doing Facebook lives about what I’m learning. If you also are part of a network marketing company, I’d love to interview you!

If you are interested in this information, join me on my page

What’s Happening with my Arbonne Challenge?
09 Sep, 2019

What’s Happening with my Arbonne Challenge?

/ posted in: FitnessFood

Back in April I went to a party that a coworker was throwing for Arbonne.  I’d never heard of the company but I went to be supportive. 

The company has several lines of products including skin care and nutrition.  At the time I was working out 5 days a week and steadily gaining weight.  I was actually getting pretty scared.  I knew I was heading into perimenopause and it was just going to get harder to lose weight.  I couldn’t stop the gaining!  This wasn’t gaining muscle either.  It was fat.

They have a program called 30 Days to Healthy Living.  You get a huge box of products to use for 30 days to jump start weight loss.  I’ve always been hugely dismissive of meal replacement shakes.  I wasn’t going to do that.  I get hungry.  But, I was desperate and there was a money back guarantee if I wasn’t happy. (Also, the presenter said that she made her shakes at night for the next day.  I don’t know why that appealed to me so much.  Maybe because I’m lazy in the morning.)  So I signed up.

I lost 15 lbs in the first month!  Easily lost 15 lbs.  I gave myself permission to have healthy snacks with breakfast and lunch so I was never hungry.  You combine the shakes with a clean diet – no refined sugar, no gluten, no dairy.  I’ve done diets like that before and always do well on them.  I know it is best for me.  Why do I ever wander off the path?  Also, I didn’t work out that month.  I wanted to see what the program alone would do.

After my 30 days was up, I went on a modified program.  I still do shakes for breakfast and lunch.  I stay mostly on the clean diet but have been known to stray.  I got used to being lazy and didn’t pick my workout routine back up. 

What happened?  I maintained the weight loss but I didn’t lose any more. 

I put my husband on the program.  He didn’t lose a bunch a weight but his blood sugar stabilized.  My boss started the program and he is losing weight. 

Now I want to kick myself in the butt again and lose more of the weight I need to lose.  I’m doing to be stricter about my diet and I’ve started walking again.  I even got up this morning at my normal work out time and did some yoga.  I’m so stiff from not exercising!  I need to do yoga for at least a week to get everything moving again before I try anything harder.

I’d also love to start getting more people on this program.  It is the only thing that worked for me.  If you are interested in more information, let me know.

 

07 Sep, 2019

Love Delusion

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading Love Delusion The Love Delusion by Nicola Mostyn
on February 2019
Pages: 224
Genres: Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: Book Tour, From author/publisher

LOVE IS . . . A MYTH?
That's the belief of Frida McKenzie, devoted member of The Love Delusion movement, determined to cure humans of our ridiculous obsession with love.
But there's something she's forgotten...
When Frida finds a mysterious picture of herself with a man she barely knows, the certainties she has about her world begin to unravel.
What are the sinister roots of the cult that seems to have gripped humanity? Why can't she remember anything about her life before - including the strange(ly attractive) man in that picture? And just when exactly did she take up fantasy role play?
As a battle approaches that's been millennia in the making, it's beginning to look like there's only one question that really matters: if love conquers all, what happens when it's gone?

Goodreads

This is the second book in a series where I didn’t read the first.  Usually that is a problem but this series is perfect for this situation.  The book opens with two people being captured.  You don’t know why they are running.  The next chapter is two years later and their memories have been wiped.  If you didn’t read the first book you get to figure out what is going on right along with the characters. It worked really well.  I’m sure reading this book is a totally different experience if you read the first book and know everything that they have forgotten.

Frida is active in a group that aims to support and protect the rights of single people.  They are changing the culture.  No more requirements to pay double occupancy rates on trips if only one person is going.  No social shaming for not having a date.  The group is growing rapidly.  People are figuring out that love is a delusion and they don’t have to fall for it.  Frida enjoys her life until she meets a protestor on her way to a meeting.  She feels drawn to him but she doesn’t know why.  Then she finds a picture that she doesn’t remember of the two of them together. 

I read this a long time after I signed up for the book tour so I didn’t remember anything about the synopsis.  I was totally surprised by everything that happened just like the characters.  I think I was expecting something along the chick lit/romance line but this is more of a light fantasy book.  There is magic all around. 

I quite enjoyed this book.  It would be perfect for anyone looking for a fun, fast paced story with twists and turns that you might not expect.

 

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Author Bio –
Nicola was born and lives in Manchester. She has a Master’s degree in English Literature and has spent more time immersed in the works of Philip Larkin than is strictly healthy. Her inspirations are Stephen King, Tina Fey and Joss Whedon and as such she’s a big fan of the funny – both ha ha and peculiar. Her debut, The Gods of Love, was shortlisted for The Writers’ Guild Best first novel. The Love Delusion is the companion novel. As well as writing novels, she works as a creativity coach and has written a non-fiction book for aspiring writers, Seven Creative Gremlins. For more about Nicola visit www.nicolamostyn.com
Social Media Links –
Twitter – @nicolamostyn
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/nicolamostynauthor/
Insta: @NicolaMostyn
http://nicolamostyn.com
https://linktr.ee/nicolamostyn

September 2019 Foodies Read
01 Sep, 2019

September 2019 Foodies Read

/ posted in: Foodies ReadReading

 

Welcome to September 2019 Foodies Read!

 

Need some ideas for books about food to read?

Raspberry Chocolate Murder: A Cozy Murder Mystery (Dolphin Bay Cozy Mystery Series Book 1)Raspberry Chocolate Murder: A Cozy Murder Mystery by Leena Clover

 

 

Clean Eating Bowls: 100 Real Food Recipes for Eating CleanClean Eating Bowls: 100 Real Food Recipes for Eating Clean by Kenzie Swanhart

 

The Best American Food Writing 2019 (The Best American Series ®)The Best American Food Writing 2019 by Samin Nosrat

 

 

 

 

 

Every entry is entered into a monthly drawing to win a gift card.  Once you win a prize you are not eligible to win for 6 months.

We had 18 links in August.  The winner of the drawing for a gift card is Cam for her post on Funny in Farsi.


You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


31 Aug, 2019

August 2019 Wrap Up

/ posted in: Reading

I finished 7 books in August.  SEVEN!  I don’t think I’ve ever finished that few books in a month.  That’s being generous too.  One was a short story and one was a graphic novel.

The books I read were:

  • All fiction
  •  1 audiobook
  • Set in the U.S., England,  France, and Mexico.

What were my favorites?

 


sign-up-post

 

Sign-up info

What I added in August:

 

What I’ve read so far in 2019:

  • Righteous by Joe Ide
  • Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee
  • The Class by Heather Won Tesoriero
  • North by Scott and Jenny Jurek
  • Internment by Samira Ahmed
  • Tikka Chance on Me by Suleikha Snyder
  • Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan
  • The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan
  • Bury What We Cannot Take by Jean Kwok
  • Instant Indian by Rinku Bhattacharya
  • The True Queen by Zen Cho
  • Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss by Rajeev Balasubramanyam
  • A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee
  • Spices and Seasons by Rinku Bhattacharya
  • Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok
  • The Lost Vintage by Ann Mah

I’m aiming for 21-30 books to be at the tapir level.  16/21 so far

 


Reading All Around the World challenge from Howling Frog Books

  • Read a nonfiction book about the country – or
  • Read fiction written by a native of the country or someone living for a long time in the country.

Mexico!

 

 


 

The Chocolate Maker’s Wife
27 Aug, 2019

The Chocolate Maker’s Wife

/ posted in: Book ReviewFoodies ReadReading The Chocolate Maker’s Wife The Chocolate Maker's Wife by Karen Brooks
on August 20, 2019
Pages: 608
Genres: Fiction, Historical
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks
Format: Paperback
Source: Book Tour, From author/publisher
Setting: England

Australian bestselling novelist Karen Brooks rewrites women back into history with this breathtaking novel set in 17th century London—a lush, fascinating story of the beautiful woman who is drawn into a world of riches, power, intrigue…and chocolate.

Damnation has never been so sweet...

Rosamund Tomkins, the illegitimate daughter of a nobleman, spends most of her young life in drudgery at a country inn. To her, the Restoration under Charles II, is but a distant threat as she works under the watchful eye of her brutal, abusive stepfather . . . until the day she is nearly run over by the coach of Sir Everard Blithman.

Sir Everard, a canny merchant, offers Rosamund an “opportunity like no other,” allowing her to escape into a very different life, becoming the linchpin that will drive the success of his fledgling business: a luxurious London chocolate house where wealthy and well-connected men come to see and be seen, to gossip and plot, while indulging in the sweet and heady drink.

Rosamund adapts and thrives in her new surroundings, quickly becoming the most talked-about woman in society, desired and respected in equal measure.

But Sir Everard’s plans for Rosamund and the chocolate house involve family secrets that span the Atlantic Ocean, and which have already brought death and dishonor to the Blithman name. Rosamund knows nothing of the mortal peril that comes with her new title, nor of the forces spinning a web of conspiracy buried in the past, until she meets a man whose return tightens their grip upon her, threatening to destroy everything she loves and damn her to a dire fate.

As she fights for her life and those she loves through the ravages of the Plague and London’s Great Fire, Rosamund’s breathtaking tale is one marked by cruelty and revenge; passion and redemption—and the sinfully sweet temptation of chocolate.

 

 

Goodreads

Purchase Links: 

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

Let me just start this review by saying that I really liked this book.  It was over 600 pages but it flew by.  I felt fully immersed in the world of 1660s London.  However, this book also really made me angry.  The reason for that is the treatment of the female characters. 

The story starts with Rosamund, as a teenager, working as a serving girl in the inn that her mother and stepfather own.  You quickly find out that her stepfather and two stepbrothers have been sexually abusing her since she moved in with them years earlier.  This is not spelled out in detail but is made clear from their interactions. 

In an attempt to run away from her brothers to avoid being raped again, she meets a wealthy man.  He offers to take her to London with him for reasons that he doesn’t make clear.  Her mother sees this as an opportunity to get her daughter away from the men in her life and get her a better life.  She arranges a fast marriage ceremony and then sends Rosamund away with orders never to return. 

Her new husband turns out to be a controlling man who owns slaves and who tells her that he doesn’t want to her any opinions or ideas from her.  Her job is to learn to make chocolate.  Her husband is going to be opening a chocolate house and he wants her to serve the chocolate.

You learn a lot of chocolate at this time in England.  It is just being introduced.  It is considered a very racy drink.  The English are started to add sugar and milk and herbs to it to fit their tastes instead of drinking it straight like Central Americans and Spaniards. 

Rosamund is an anomaly.  She is in the chocolate house.  She is seen in public.  So of course in the minds of the men in the area she is up for grabs.  There are more attempted rape just because she is on the street.  In the chocolate house she is molested and called all kinds of names just for existing in public.  The attitude of the men of the era is completely repulsive.  I want to shove this book into the hands of everyone who tells me that women had it better when they lived at home and were protected.  This is what it was like to have zero rights even as a noblewoman.  It is even worse for the few other female characters.  There is a widow who cleans the chocolate house, there is a young girl who starts working there, and there is a female slave in the household of Rosamund’s new husband. Add the sexism into the hatred of the poor and into the racism of the time and these women were just hanging on. 

Real events of the time period like outbreaks of plague and the Great Fire are detailed to show how this affected people living in London at the time.  I really did learn a lot in this book.  I appreciate a book that can make me angry at the injustices that fictional characters are faced with.  So, read this book – just don’t be surprised if you feel like yelling at men afterwards.

 


About Karen Brooks

Karen Brooks is the author of twelve books, an academic of more than twenty years’ experience, a newspaper columnist and social commentator, and has appeared regularly on national TV and radio. Before turning to academia, she was an army officer for five years, and prior to that dabbled in acting.

She lives in Hobart, Tasmania, in a beautiful stone house with its own marvellous history. When she’s not writing, she’s helping her husband Stephen in his brewery, Captain Bligh’s Ale and Cider, or cooking for family and friends, travelling, cuddling and walking her dogs, stroking her cats, or curled up with a great book and dreaming of more stories.

Find out more about Karen at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Instagram Features

Tuesday, August 20th: Instagram: @owlslittlelibrary

Tuesday, August 20th: Instagram: @books.coffee.cats

Wednesday, August 21st: Instagram: @theunreadshelf

Thursday, August 22nd: Instagram: @writersdream

Friday, August 23rd: Instagram: @giuliland

Saturday, August 24th: Instagram: @rendezvous_with_reading

Sunday, August 25th: Instagram: @wherethereadergrows

Monday, August 26th: Instagram: @bookishwinterwitch

Review Stops

Tuesday, August 20th: BookNAround

Wednesday, August 21st: A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, August 22nd: Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile

Friday, August 23rd: Broken Teepee

Monday, August 26th: Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader

Tuesday, August 27th: Based on a True Story

Wednesday, August 28th: Reading Reality

Thursday, August 29th: Laura’s Reviews

Friday, August 30th: Patricia’s Wisdom

Friday, August 30th: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books

Monday, September 2nd: Jathan & Heather

Tuesday, September 3rd: Tina Says…

Wednesday, September 4th: Book by Book

Thursday, September 5th: bookish bliss and beauty

Friday, September 6th: Real Life Reading

 

Confessions of a Traveler
26 Aug, 2019

Confessions of a Traveler

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading Confessions of a Traveler CONFESSIONS OF A TRAVELER: The Observations of Alien 597 by Clara Molina
Genres: Fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Book Tour, From author/publisher

Confessions of a Traveler: The Observations of Alien 597
Grotesque insect looking beasts, which burst out of your chest, and have acid for blood. Grey and short aliens with big eyes, who want to take over your mind, and they do horrible experiments with instruments that go up your anus. They’ve come to take over the world, and make you into a zombie or dinner. If they ever land in full view, they would either be worshiped and a new religion would form, or murdered immediately, and their ship parts sold to the highest bidder. Alien 597 read her report about aliens that humans had encountered. 



A short story about an alien visiting Earth.

Goodreads

Alien 597 didn’t want to grow up to be a traveler.  But now her species has found out about humans and she is going to go and observe life on Earth. 

I love fish out of water stories about people (or aliens) finding new cultures.  This is a very quick read since it is a short story.  She makes many mistakes trying to understand how humans are interacting with her. 

 


Author Bio –
Clara L Molina writes Science Fiction books most of the time, dabbles in comic drawings occasionally, and writes to laugh at herself all the time. She has a computer science degree, but has been a lifelong writer. She currently lives in San Antonio, Texas, and enjoys fresh air and days where her hair is not frizzy.

The Lost Vintage
16 Aug, 2019

The Lost Vintage

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading The Lost Vintage The Lost Vintage by Ann Mah
on June 19, 2018
Pages: 384
Genres: Fiction, Historical
Published by William Morrow
Format: ARC
Source: Book Tour, From author/publisher
Setting: France

To become one of only a few hundred certified wine experts in the world, Kate must pass the notoriously difficult Master of Wine Examination. She’s failed twice before; her third attempt will be her last. Suddenly finding herself without a job and with the test a few months away, she travels to Burgundy, to spend the fall at the vineyard estate that has belonged to her family for generations. There she can bolster her shaky knowledge of Burgundian vintages and reconnect with her cousin Nico and his wife Heather, who now oversee the grapes’ day-to-day management. The one person Kate hopes to avoid is Jean-Luc, a neighbor vintner and her first love.

At the vineyard house, Kate is eager to help her cousins clean out the enormous basement that is filled with generations of discarded and forgotten belongings. Deep inside the cellar, behind a large armoire, she discovers a hidden room containing a cot, some Resistance pamphlets, and an enormous cache of valuable wine. Piqued by the secret space, Kate begins to dig into her family’s history—a search that takes her back to the dark days of the Second World War and introduces her to a relative she never knew existed, a great half-aunt who was teenager during the Nazi occupation.

As she learns more about her family, the line between Resistance and Collaboration blurs, driving Kate to find the answers to two crucial questions: Who, exactly, did her family aid during the difficult years of the war? And what happened to six valuable bottles of wine that seem to be missing from the cellar’s collection?

Goodreads

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


I’ve read Ann Mah’s nonfiction about french food while traveling through France, so I jumped at a chance to read her fiction about a vineyard in Burgundy.

This book was inspired by stories of what happened to French women following D-Day.  Many were treated as traitors for having collaborated with the Germans.  This was mob justice so no investigations were done to see who was innocent and who wasn’t.  No distinctions were made for women who willingly were sleeping with German soldiers and those who were raped.  Women who had nothing to do with the Germans were turned in as collaborators by angry neighbors. 

There is a lot going on in this book.  The present day story involves a woman who is studying for a wine test.  She goes to a family vineyard where the current generation is trying to modernize against the will of the older generation.  There is an ex-fiance next door.  There is a potential new love interest who may be up to no good.  (I felt like that was a story line that could have been taken out.)  She finds a hidden area in the wine caves with evidence of a relative that no young people have heard of and no older people will discuss.

I found the historical fiction aspect of the story more interesting.  Helene-Marie’s story is told mainly through her journal.  They find out that she was denounced as a collaborator after D Day.  This causes some issues in the family because no one wants to think of their family helping the Nazis.  Do they want to dig deeper into what really happened?

This is an interesting point to raise.  We all want to think that we (and by extension our families)would be on the right side of history but that obviously isn’t true.  I think about this a lot.  I want to be on the morally correct side of conflicts, not just a bystander who let things happen because they weren’t affecting me directly. 

Using a journal as a story telling device lets the author dive deeply into what life was like in occupied France.  It shows clearly how much there was to gain by collaborating with the Germans.  Do you starve with your morals intact or do you live through actions that you might have previously disapproved of?  Do you let your family starve?  What were the risks of working with the Resistance? 


 

About Ann Mah

Ann Mah is a food and travel writer based in Paris and Washington DC. She is the author of the food memoir Mastering the Art of French Eating, and a novel, Kitchen Chinese. She regularly contributes to the New York Times’ Travel section and she has written for Condé Nast Traveler, Vogue.com, BonAppetit.comWashingtonian magazine, and other media outlets.

Find out more about Ann at her website, and connect with her on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest.


Instagram Features

Tuesday, August 6th: Instagram: @jennsbookvibes

Wednesday, August 7th: Instagram: @tarheelreader

Thursday, August 8th: Instagram: @lavieestbooks

Friday, August 9th: Instagram: @rendezvous_with_reading

Saturday, August 10th: Instagram: @basicbsguide

Sunday, August 11th: Instagram: @giuliland

Monday, August 12th: Instagram: @crystals_library

Monday, August 12th: Instagram: @reallyintothis

Review Stops

Tuesday, August 6th: BookNAround

Wednesday, August 7th: A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, August 8th: I Wish I Lived in a Library

Friday, August 9th: Write – Read – Life

Monday, August 12th: Lesa’s Book Critiques

Tuesday, August 13th: Books and Bindings

Wednesday, August 14th: Iwriteinbooks’s blog

Thursday, August 15th: Ms. Nose in a Book

Friday, August 16th: Based on a True Story

Wednesday, August 21st: Into the Hall of Books

Thursday, August 22nd: Always With a Book

Friday, August 23rd: Bookapotamus

 

 

14 Aug, 2019

When I’m Not Reading

/ posted in: Entertainment

I feel like I’m not getting much reading done lately.  What have I been doing instead?

I went tubing.

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Then I went kayaking.

kayakriver

I’ve been playing a lot of canasta on my ipad. I used to be ok at it and now I am horrible. I dropped 40 points in rank right back down to where beginners start and I’m still losing.

I started binging the reboot of Battlestar Galactica. I vaguely remember watching the original but I couldn’t have told you what the story was about.

I tried to be nice to a dog at work but she didn’t like the dog video I started for her.

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13 Aug, 2019

A Spark of Light – A Sassy Review

/ posted in: Reading

It’s been a few years since I’ve any Picoult.  I was previously a fan.  This book, though…  It gave me some agita.

 

First of all, there is a family of three that are sort of the center of the book. I hate them all with the passion of a thousand suns.

There is a 15 year old girl, Wren, who is in the clinic to get birth control. Her aunt is with her. Her father is the hostage negotiator. They are all horrible.

Wren is the absolute center of everyone’s universe and it shows. She’s so infantilized by her family that she can’t do anything for herself. When the shooting starts a person realizes that she has a cell phone on her and they tell her to call 911. She does not. She texts her father. He doesn’t answer because he’s busy but instead of then calling 911 she proceeds to leave him over 50 text messages. Not a helper. She endangers people over and over and does in fact get people killed.

The father is an arrogant jerk. Once he realizes that he has family in the building he doesn’t tell anyone. He knows that he is required to do this and to step aside as negotiator for very good reasons. He does not because he feels that this shouldn’t apply to him.

Also, (I feel the need to shout this part)

YOU DO NOT OWN YOUR DAUGHTER’S SEXUALITY!

I got no tolerance left for this trope.  I don’t want to hear about how you wanted to beat up a three year old boy who held hands with your daughter in preschool.  I don’t want to hear about how you want to know who your daughter’s boyfriend is so you can intimidate him.

Then this fool is talking to his ex-wife on the phone and says, “Take care of yourself” when he gets done.  He’s all proud of himself because he considers this a horrible insult to say to a woman because it implies that her man can’t provide for her.  First of all, there is no human in the universe who would interpret that statement that way.  Second?

Take it away, Emma.

He can get out of my sight until he can act right.

The aunt thinks she has some huge secret that is obvious from the first few chapters.  She gets shot (not a spoiler for reasons we will discuss) but all she can do while she is laying on the floor bleeding into her chest is mouth Wren’s name because Wren is a pretty, fragile princess who is the center of the universe in case you forgot.  (Don’t worry, they will discuss this ad nauseum in the book.  You won’t forget for long.)

Personally, I was driving my car around listening to the audiobook, yelling, “Someone needs to shoot Wren!” for days.  But, no one shoots Wren.  I did not have any hope whatsoever because of the warped structure of the book.  It starts a few hours after the shooting when all the hostages are released except for Wren.  The father then trades places with her so he is the only remaining hostage.  (In case you didn’t know, she is the center of his universe.)  From here it jumps back and hour in time and tells the story.  Then it jumps back another hour.  You literally start out knowing who lives and who dies and then meet them all as you move backwards in time.  I keep trying to figure out why this choice was made.  It doesn’t make sense to me.  If you took the chapters as written and just rearranged them you’d have a much more powerful story.  You would meet all the characters.  The author does a good job of making you care about everyone else (except Wren and her family).  If she had built up all this care and empathy for the characters and then they were killed unexpectedly it would have been much more effective.  You would have the suspense of hoping that the characters were going to make it.  Now you find out about people and think, “She was a nice lady.  Too bad people have been stepping over body since chapter 1.”

 

 

My Women In Translation TBR list
12 Aug, 2019

My Women In Translation TBR list

/ posted in: Book DiscussionReading

August is Women in Translation month!  I wasn’t going to formally do anything for it but found myself picking up some translations at just the right time.

The Murmur of BeesThe Murmur of Bees by Sofía Segovia

“From the day that old Nana Reja found a baby abandoned under a bridge, the life of a small Mexican town forever changed. Disfigured and covered in a blanket of bees, little Simonopio is for some locals the stuff of superstition, a child kissed by the devil. But he is welcomed by landowners Francisco and Beatriz Morales, who adopt him and care for him as if he were their own. As he grows up, Simonopio becomes a cause for wonder to the Morales family, because when the uncannily gifted child closes his eyes, he can see what no one else can—visions of all that’s yet to come, both beautiful and dangerous. Followed by his protective swarm of bees and living to deliver his adoptive family from threats—both human and those of nature—Simonopio’s purpose in Linares will, in time, be divined.

Set against the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution and the devastating influenza of 1918, The Murmur of Bees captures both the fate of a country in flux and the destiny of one family that has put their love, faith, and future in the unbelievable.”

I finished this one already. It was pretty good even though I felt like it dragged a little in the middle.


Memoirs of a Polar BearMemoirs of a Polar Bear by Yōko Tawada


“Three generations (grandmother, mother, son) of polar bears are famous as both circus performers and writers in East Germany: they are polar bears who move in human society, stars of the ring and of the literary world. In chapter one, the grandmother matriarch in the Soviet Union accidentally writes a bestselling autobiography. In chapter two, Tosca, her daughter (born in Canada, where her mother had emigrated) moves to the DDR and takes a job in the circus. Her son―the last of their line―is Knut, born in chapter three in a Leipzig zoo but raised by a human keeper in relatively happy circumstances in the Berlin zoo, until his keeper, Matthias, is taken away…”

This one just came in from the library.


This next one is my current audiobook. I know that it isn’t written by a woman but it is a translation so I’m mentioning it because you should read it.

If Cats Disappeared from the WorldIf Cats Disappeared from the World by Genki Kawamura

“The postman’s days are numbered. Estranged from his family, living alone with only his cat Cabbage to keep him company, he was unprepared for the doctor’s diagnosis that he has only months to live. But before he can tackle his bucket list, the Devil appears to make him an offer: In exchange for making one thing in the world disappear, our narrator will get one extra day of life. And so begins a very bizarre week…”


I’m always on the lookout for fun translated books. I feel like most of what gets translated is Very Serious Literature and isn’t what I want to read. Where are the urban fantasy, light sci-fi, chick lit, romance?

Mrs Sommersby’s Second Chance
08 Aug, 2019

Mrs Sommersby’s Second Chance

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading Mrs Sommersby’s Second Chance Mrs. Sommersby's Second Chance (The Sommersby Brides #3) by Laurie Benson
on July 16, 2019
Pages: 288
Genres: Fiction, Love & Romance
Published by Harlequin Historical
Format: eARC
Source: Book Tour, From author/publisher

She’s played Cupid for others

Now she’s met her own unlikely match!

Widowed society matchmaker Mrs. Clara Sommersby thinks handsome, self-made businessman Mr. William Lane is just the man for her neighbor’s overlooked daughter. He’s successful and confident, if somewhat emotionally distant, until suddenly—shockingly—his attention turns to Clara herself! She thought her days of romance were over, but is this younger man intent on giving her a second chance?

Goodreads

I’m an absolute sucker for older female protagonists in fiction.  As soon as I saw the description of this book, I was all in even though she is only in her 40s. Bring me all the older ladies!

Clara entertains herself but selecting a young woman each season in Bath and working as her matchmaker.  She’s not looking for romance for herself.  She is a widow and honestly, she’s doing quite fine on her own, thank you very much.  Her husband wasn’t much of a business man.  He never listened to her ideas.  When he died she bought a hotel for gentleman that she had had her eyes on.  She set up a male relative as the supposed owner but she actually runs the business. 

She meets a man in the pump room and gently flirts with him.  What she doesn’t know is that he just bought the property next door to her hotel and is looking to buy her property also if he can just figure out who owns it.

I loved this book for its description of all the locations in Bath. I visited there a few years ago and could visualize most of the places they discuss.  It added to the story to have all these famous places as background. 

This was a great storyline that you don’t often see in romances.  This woman isn’t pinning all her hopes on finding the right man.  She is living an independent life and she needs to consider the real risks to her freedom of allowing another man in her life.  She will lose all her legal rights if she remarries.  Is it worth it?

 

America for Beginners
06 Aug, 2019

America for Beginners

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading America for Beginners America for Beginners by Leah Franqui
on July 24, 2018
Pages: 336
Genres: Fiction
Published by William Morrow
Format: Paperback
Source: Book Tour, From author/publisher

Recalling contemporary classics such as Americanah, Behold the Dreamers, and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, a funny, poignant, and insightful debut novel that explores the complexities of family, immigration, prejudice, and the American Dream through meaningful and unlikely friendships forged in unusual circumstances.

Pival Sengupta has done something she never expected: she has booked a trip with the First Class India USA Destination Vacation Tour Company. But unlike other upper-class Indians on a foreign holiday, the recently widowed Pival is not interested in sightseeing. She is traveling thousands of miles from Kolkata to New York on a cross-country journey to California, where she hopes to uncover the truth about her beloved son, Rahi. A year ago Rahi devastated his very traditional parents when he told them he was gay. Then, Pival’s husband, Ram, told her that their son had died suddenly—heartbreaking news she still refuses to accept. Now, with Ram gone, she is going to America to find Rahi, alive and whole or dead and gone, and come to terms with her own life.

Arriving in New York, the tour proves to be more complicated than anticipated. Planned by the company’s indefatigable owner, Ronnie Munshi—a hard-working immigrant and entrepreneur hungry for his own taste of the American dream—it is a work of haphazard improvisation. Pival’s guide is the company’s new hire, the guileless and wonderfully resourceful Satya, who has been in America for one year—and has never actually left the five boroughs. For modesty’s sake Pival and Satya will be accompanied by Rebecca Elliot, an aspiring young actress. Eager for a paying gig, she’s along for the ride, because how hard can a two-week “working” vacation traveling across America be?

Slowly making her way from coast to coast with her unlikely companions, Pival finds that her understanding of her son—and her hopes of a reunion with him—are challenged by her growing knowledge of his adoptive country. As the bonds between this odd trio deepens, Pival, Satya, and Rebecca learn to see America—and themselves—in different and profound new ways.

A bittersweet and bighearted tale of forgiveness, hope, and acceptance, America for Beginners illuminates the unexpected enchantments life can hold, and reminds us that our most precious connections aren’t always the ones we seek.

Goodreads

I loved this book that brought together several people who are new to America.  I love reading books that give you a new perspective of America.

Mrs. Sengupta is newly widowed.  She has lived a sheltered life in Kolkata, constrained by what was expected by her husband’s traditional family.  Now her husband is gone and she is going to take this opportunity to do what she wants to do and no one will stop her.  Her only child moved to America.  He called home and told her husband that he was gay.  Soon afterwards her husband told her their child had died.  She never knew if he was lying or not.  Now she is going to go see the country that her son loved and find out for sure what happened.

Ronnie Munshi is a Bangladeshi man who runs a tour company catering to high class Bengali tourists.  He doesn’t want anyone to know that he and all his tour guides are just pretending to be Bengali. 

Satya is his newest hire.  He’s never seen anything outside of New York but he has his guide books.  What could go wrong escorting one widow on a country-wide tour?

Rebecca is an American struggling actress who is hired to be a companion to Mrs. Sengupta.  She knows when Satya is making things up.  Is she going to bring the whole scheme down?

Mrs. Sengupta, Satya, and Rebecca take off across the country enduring bad Indian food, multiple tourist traps, and subpar hotels all while each is confronting their ingrained biases and attitudes.  They rub against each other’s sharp edge and find themselves reshaped into people they didn’t imagine that they could be.

This is a character driven novel that is beautifully written.  Suspense comes from wondering what she is going to find when she gets to Los Angeles and the last known address of her son. 

 

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Photo by Priyam Dhar

About Leah Franqui

Leah Franqui is a graduate of Yale University and received an MFA at NYU-Tisch. She is a playwright and the recipient of the 2013 Goldberg Playwriting Award, and also wrote a web series for which she received the Alfred Sloan Foundation Screenwriting award (aftereverafterwebseries.com). A Puerto Rican-Jewish Philadelphia native, Franqui lives with her Kolkata-born husband in Mumbai. AMERICA FOR BEGINNERS is her first novel.

Find out more about Franqui at her website, and connect with her on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

Review Stops

Tuesday, July 30th: BookNAround

Wednesday, July 31st: Books and Bindings

Thursday, August 1st: A Bookish Way of Life

Friday, August 2nd: The Desert Bibliophile

Monday, August 5th: Girl Who Reads

Tuesday, August 6th: Based on a True Story

Wednesday, August 7th: Instagram: @readingwithmere

Thursday, August 8th: Thoughts From a Highly Caffeinated Mind

Friday, August 9th: Bookapotamus

Monday, August 12th: Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader

Tuesday, August 13th: Doing Dewey

Thursday, August 15th: Literary Quicksand

Law and Addiction
05 Aug, 2019

Law and Addiction

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading Law and Addiction Law and Addiction by Mike Papantonio
Genres: Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Source: Book Tour, From author/publisher
Setting: West Virginia

One week before Jake Rutledge is scheduled to graduate from law school, he receives the devastating news of the death of his fraternal twin, Blake. What makes this death even more terrible for Jake is that his brother died of a drug overdose. Until hearing of his death, Jake had no idea his brother was even using drugs.

When Jake returns home to Oakley, West Virginia, he takes a hard look at the circumstances of his brother's death. In the five years Jake has been away for his schooling, his hometown has drastically changed. Because of the opioid epidemic, and the blight it has brought, many now call Oakley Zombieland. Jake can see how his town's demise parallels his brother's.

Undeterred, the newly minted lawyer takes on the entrenched powers by filing two lawsuits. Jake quickly learns what happens when you upset a hornet's nest. The young attorney might be wet behind the ears, but is sure there is no lawyer that could help him more than Nick Deke Deketomis and his law firm of Bergman/Deketomis. Deke is a legendary lawyer. When he was Jake's age he was making his name fighting Big Tobacco. Against all odds, Jake gets Nick and his firm to sign on to his case before it's too late.

Goodreads

I was interested in reading Law and Addiction because I work in a town that has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic.  Every week I read the local paper purely for the police blotter.  In between the entertaining tales of some really stupid criminals there is report after report of officers treating overdoses.  I find it interesting to see how many dose of naloxone they need for each person.  The record I’ve seen so far is 14 doses.  (That person then woke up and refused all other medical treatment.)  So when this book describes the cost to towns of treating all these addicts and overdoses I understand what it is talking about.

I’ve also had a few people bring their dogs in who they claim are on mega doses of tramadol for their arthritis.  Usually an in-depth conversation about alternatives to controlled medication and a discussion of the dispensing schedule we will have them on to make sure they aren’t getting too many means we never see those people again. 

In the middle of reading this book I actually had to put it down to go pick up some opiates from a pharmacy.  The husband had had surgery and was prescribed opiates even though it was fairly minor.  He took some prescription NSAIDS and iced the area and did well.  Opiates were a bit of overkill in this instance.  (He asked how we were going to get rid of them.  I said I’d take them to work.  He slowly questioned again, “What are you going to do with them?”  Yeah, he knows the town I work in.  “Getting rid of them” there can be interpreted a few ways.  For the record, I am going to put them in the Drug Destroyer solution.)

On the other hand, my doctor side comes out and I don’t really want more regulation on access to them by doctors for people (and animals) who really need them.  They have a place in medical care.  Proper dosing and monitoring are the key. 

Down the street from my house there is a place with a chalkboard in the front lawn with a running total of people who died from overdose in the city since they started keeping count.  I think they are in the 600s. 

All of that means that I can relate to the setting for this story.  Jake is a new lawyer who has lost his twin brother to an overdose.  He decides to try to get local governments to let him sue pharmacy companies on their behalf for the cost of treating the addiction crisis. 

The book does a good job explaining the various causes and effects of the problem.  Some of them I hadn’t thought of before.  I hadn’t tied together economic collapse due to decreased business in affected communities with the ability for other people to buy up real estate cheaply potentially leading to gentrification and large profits. 

A lot of this book consists of lawyers sitting around and discussing how they are going to build their case.  It is a lot of exposition.  That is interesting if you want to see how people put these kinds of large cases together.  It is also how you get the information about how opiates came into these towns and what it causes.  I think this book works as an educational piece but it doesn’t really work as a thriller for me.  There is a bit of mystery but it never really gets intense and “can’t put it down.”  Use this as primer on opiate addiction and the economic effect on towns more than a nail biting story.

 

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