Reality Jane

October 31, 2011

Reality Jane
By: Shannon Nering
259 Pages

Summary: Jane moves from Canada to LA to work as a Producer on reality television. See how this Canadian transplant deals with the backstabbing nature of LA, interacts with the men she meets, and handles landing the "dream job" she desperately wanted.

If you have ever wondered what it's like behind the scenes of reality shows, you're about to get a front row seat. Jane starts working on a reality show called The Purrfect Life and finds out why she needed to report to work right away. The star of the show is less than nice, polite, & cooperative. Jane also gets a hard lesson in friendship dynamics in the work place. Not to mention trying to navigate dating in La-La land.

But everything changes when she applies for her  "dream job" on Fix Your Life. The show she thought she was going to be working for turns out to be anything but. Reality brings a cold hard slap on her face and Jane has to decide how long she can handle it in order to reach the goal she set for herself. Not only does she have to deal with her morals, but will she have to choose between her "dream job" and her dream guy? And will she burn bridges with real friends along the way?

Overall, the book was a fun read. This book was what really happened to the author. While names of shows have been changed, it's pretty obvious which shows they were. It was interesting to see how these reality shows work. I had to hand it to Jane, I wouldn't have lasted nearly as long as she did.

Rating: Borrow From The Library

Escape From Verona Romeo & Juliet Part 2

October 19, 2011

Escape From Verona  Romeo & Juliet Part 2:
The Lost Diary of Juliet Montague
By: David Gray
496 Pages

What if Romeo & Juliet didn't really die in the tomb? What if they faked their death and escaped Verona in order to be together? How would they do it? Would they be able to do it? Can they escape their enemies before lies, false accusations, and murder are charges Romeo and Juliet are forced punished for?

*** I must preface this review with a confession: I have NEVER read anything by Shakespeare- including Romeo & Juliet. ***

Escape From Verona literally picks up where Shakespeare left off. The story begins with Romeo and Juliet in the tomb. Juliet awakens from the potion she took and is about to kill herself when she realizes that Romeo is not dead, but under the influence of the same potion Juliet took. From here she smears Paris's blood on herself and stages her own stabbing. Under the darkness of the night, Juliet smuggles herself and a deeply sleeping Romeo out of the tomb and out of the graveyard. However, they don't go unnoticed. A night watchmen comes upon them and Juliet leads him to think she is a witch, sending the watchmen to run in fright to report this. And here starts her charges of witchcraft.

Juliet manages to get them out of the city, but life is never the same again. Romeo & Juliet are now on the run for peace- and their lives. A cat and mouse game is soon begun between them and Ugo. Not born of noble birth, Ugo wants all that nobility gives, and isn't afraid to do the dirty work he has to do. He has quickly figured out that capturing the two lovers is key, and sets forth to manipulate everyone he can to his advantage.

While Rome and Juliet are running through the forests and country side trying to get out of Verona, Ugo is one step behind them staging murderous scenes. Ugo kills several and carves RM into the bodies so it looks as though Romeo is a murderer. Eventually Ugo manages to get ahead of them, all the while watching and waiting their every move.

I enjoyed this book very much. I worried that I may have trouble since I've never read the original Romeo and Juliet, but you are given all the information you need at the very beginning. The story of this book is every bit as good as the actual story itself. The original manuscript for parts of this book were buried within a house's walls centuries ago. David Gray tells you which parts are from the manuscript and which parts he adds. 

I loved that Othello makes more than one appearance in the book. There could have been other Shakespeare characters in here as well, but I only recognized Othello's. I loved how he's introduced and the role he plays in the book. His storyline, though brief, was thoroughly enjoyable.

The one aspect I struggled with was the missing romance factor. I found very little romance between Romeo and Juliet in this book. For being a legendary story, and for having gone to such extremes to be together, I would have thought there would be more time dedicated to that love. For a time in the beginning Romeo came off as impatient with Juliet. He seemed to have little tolerance for how hard everything was on her. While I understand the situation didn't call for a lot of a peaceful "honeymoon", I would've thought his attitude could have been slightly different. For about the first half of the book it seemed that Juliet was the smarter of the two, but that changed in the second half of the book.

This book is a good read. Fans of the legendary couple may or may not like it. You don't get a lot of the romance factor that made these two characters so famous. However, you do go on one hell of an adventure with the two. I wish there was more of a romance storyline, but there is a reason there isn't.

Rating: But It- I'd buy it if it were in the bargain section./Borrow From The Library

Eleanor Roosevelt's Life of Soul Searching & Self Discovery

October 17, 2011

Eleanor Roosevelt's Life of Soul Searching & Self Discovery
By: Ann Atkins
176 Pages
** reviewed by: Betsey Brooks **

See how this remarkable woman learned to forge her own way in life even when the odds were against her. See how she stood on her own two feet and did things her way at a time when that was never what a woman was supposed to do.

I am a huge fan of Eleanor Roosevelt, so I was very interested to read Ann Atkins' book. Having read several books on Eleanor's life I was curious to see what new things I would learn about this amazing woman. The book starts by introducing  your to her parents and their world of wealth and high society.  This helped me to have a better understanding of how Eleanor was raised.  Her childhood was one of neglect and put downs. She was not the pretty, outgoing child her mom had wanted.  Eleanor learned to stay in the background as a way of protecting herself from being embarrassed by derogatory comments made in front of her.

The brightest spot in her world was her father who, unfortunately, was seldom with her. Being an alcoholic lead him to make many promises, but seldom kept them. After her mother's death, her grandmother decides to send Eleanor to a private school. This was her saving grace. She flourished and made many friends. One of her teachers took Eleanor under her wing and gave her love and encouragement. Eleanor proved to be a good student, made many friends, enjoyed discussing politics and finally learned to express her own opinions.  This was not a trait that was approved of in the world she returned to.

Meeting and marrying Franklin was a happy time except for his overbearing mother Sara Roosevelt. She doted on Franklin and continued to manipulate him throughout her life.  Eleanor had six children, but sadly lost their third child . Depression set in. Sara Roosevelt ran the household from choosing the place they lived to picking out furniture and continued on undermine Eleanor's place as a mother. Sara spoiled the children, showering them with gifts.  Eleanor didn't seem to be able to deal with this so she concentrated on her husband and helping him with his ambitions.

Life changed completely when she found out that Franklin had been having an affair with her social secretary and friend Lucy Mercer. Eleanor offered him a divorce. Once again Franklin's mother took control and threatened to cut him off from the money she doled out to him so lavishly. His dreams of a political career would be finished so he promised to end the affair. Franklin would continue to be involved with women for the rest of his life. Lucy Mercer would discreetly remain in the picture. Eleanor slowly established her place in his world.

Ann Atkins adds bits and pieces about the people of this time. It is interesting to see how she shows Eleanor mature and finally become the strong intelligent woman we all think of today. Many people helped to mold Eleanor.  The effects these people had on  Eleanor and history are amazing. She goes from being the lonely wife and mother to  a full time nurse for Franklin when he is struck with infantile paralysis and continues on to campaign for Franklin's presidential run.  Her campaigning and globe trotting helped to shape our history. One of her many achievements was the passing of  the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This book tells of many of the concessions she had to make to achieve her goals along the way. Eleanor Roosevelt continued to give to her country and the world until she passed away. 

I would recommend this book to those of you that enjoy reading about history and the people that helped make it. Enjoy.

Head Over Heel: Seduced By Southern Italy

October 11, 2011

Head Over Heel: Seduced By Southern Italy
By: Chris Harrison
320 Pages

I have always loved reading what I called "destination books". These are books that take you different countries in the story. Since I can't afford to travel abroad, I get to "travel" through the characters. A match made in Heaven, if you ask me.

Through Head Over Heel, I get to venture my way through southern Italy- one of my favorite places to explore. Between the beautiful scenery, delicious foods, and embracing customs I jump at any chance to read a book taking place in Italy. This book was no disappointment. Mr. Harrison has a talent for turning the supportive characters from people I will never meet to people I feel like I've known. He has an amazing talent for telling a story that pulls you in and holds you there..

Chris Harrison falls in love in an instant. But not just with anyone, a woman who is about to go back to her home country of Italy. Eventually he joins her there and the fun begins. You get to see how an Australian adjusts to life in a foreign country with customs very different from his own. Between the lax airport security to the slow pace of the Italian police you will have a pleasant read on your hands. More than once I chuckled at his descriptions and events that unfolded for him. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.

Rating: Borrow From The Library/ Buy It

Always The Wedding Planner, Never The Bride

October 3, 2011

Always The Wedding Planner, Never The Bride
By: Sandra D. Bricker
320 Pages

Sherilyn and her fiance, Andy, met and fell in love very quickly. They were engaged on their 10th date. On top of planning a wedding, they move back to their hometown of Atlanta. Both have pasts to put to rest and a future to get ready for. It would be a lot easier if her wedding dress choices would stop disappearing.

Sherilyn meet, fall in love, and get engaged all within their first 10 dates. As if that wasn't enough, they decide to move back to Atlanta. Sherilyn gets the wedding planner job at the Tanglewood, a wedding destination hotel. Both she and Andy make friends, but both are struggling with their past, and the rapid pace their relationship has been on. Andy freaks out when they tour a possible house, she may be allergic to him. Throw in a famous actor, known more for his behind the scenes antics than his talent, and you have cute visit.

I thought this book was cute. It was a great way to pass the time in between books and would be perfect to read after having finished a heavy read. I enjoyed meeting all the characters and watch them interact. Russel, the actor, was great! I thought I had Sherilyn's mysterious past upset all figured out, and I was wrong. This isn't a book you can't put down, but it was an enjoyable read.

A great, relaxing read. Get comfy in your favorite reading place and enter the world of Tanglewood.

Rating: Borrow From The Library

Barcelona Calling

October 1, 2011

Barcelona Calling
By: Jane Kirkpatrick
320 Pages

Annie Shaw wants to make her new book the success her 2 previous ones weren't. Easy way to do that is to go on Oprah. But first, you have to get her attention...

Annie Shaw is a writer who has one successful release to her credit and two not-so-successful releases under her belt. She and her friends decide they need to get Annie's book on the Oprah show. From adopting a dog to getting a car stickered as a walking ad for the new book, Annie tries numerous things to achieve the goal she has set. However, none of them go quite the way they were supposed to.

I always enjoy reading about a character's attempts that go awry, and Annie Shaw has her share of them. There was the plan of posing as a maintenance worker so she could leave her book at a radio station. Hiding out in the bathroom wasn't part of the plan, but nor was 2 men mistaking the women's bathroom for the men's. Or the theory that using the same dog groomer Oprah used would be a sure fire way to get Oprah's attention. It did the job- but only because Annie's dog flipped out a little & got all the other dogs there to help destroy the place. And I couldn't leave out Annie's last ditch effort to get Oprah's attention. She decides to buy an old clunker of a car and give it a makeover: she turns it into a walking ad of her book for Oprah. Too bad the car caught fire... and took Annie's eyebrows with it.

Barcelona Calling is cute and charming, but not gripping. It wasn't a book I couldn't put down or couldn't wait to get back to. The book is cute, but not one you won't forget. Sadly, I don't see this book appearing on the New York Times Bestseller list. I just don't think this book is able to stand out among all the other choices of books it has to compete with.

Rating: Borrow From The Library

New Series Alert- The Shimmering

Attention all Fantasy & Science Fiction Fans! There's a new series for you to read and enjoy! May I introduce to you The Shimmering:

The Shimmering
By: William Westwood Jr
Book One Available Now
Read & Reviewed by: John Nelissen

An excellent and rapid read, The Shimmering introduces us to Michael who is fourteen years of age.  Embarking upon a hike he encounters a most unusual singularity and finds himself in another world.  He must make the choice to follow his "calling" and this results in a series of wonderful adventures.

Like Harry Potter you'll finish this book panting for the next installment.  The author indicates his affinity for the writings of J.K. Rowling, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien & Walter Farley.  To that I would add Robert A. Heinlein, as influences of all these are apparent.
A truly enjoyable book.  Mr. Westwood, when can we expect the next one???

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