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Michael Landon The Career and Artistry of a Television Genius by David R. Greenland

Review:

MICHAEL LANDON: THE CAREER AND ARTISTRY OF A TELEVISION GENIUS - Cindy Landon, David R. Greenland

I’m actually a bit surprised how much I came to enjoy this book after I discovered that this book was not so much a Michael Landon biography as a study of Landon’s work both front and behind the camera. This should teach me to check what I request from NetGalley a bit more careful. But then again I did request this book when I was more eager to get books and less cautions to pick books that I probably would like. Safe to say; I have quite a lot to read now thanks to me being a bookaholic and a period of request madness.

Anyway, this is not a book if you want a biography of Michael Landon. What this is instead is a book about his work as an actor, writer and director. Of course much of the books is about Bonanza, Little House of the Prairie and Highway to Heaven. And, projects he did before Bonanza and between the series. He did not start to write until he got the role of Little Joe on Bonanza, but that was the start of a long careers both front and behind the camera. I found the Little House of the Prairie and Highway to Heaven part of the books most interesting. That, despite the fact that I have never seen Highway to Heaven. I had thought I would find the part not that interesting and I was fully prepared to skim read the part, but I enjoyed it quite much and now I really want to see the series. Strangely enough I found the part about Bonanza not that interesting, but I was more of an Adam fan than Little Joe and I stopped watching Bonanza after Pernell Roberts left the show.

I would have loved to read a biography about Michael Landon, but this one was quite good despite being just about his work. It was not a thick book so it didn’t take so long to read it and I was surprised how much in the end I came to like the book. It really showed me another side of Michael Landon.

 

Thanks to Bear Manor Media and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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maddan3.booklikes.com/post/1265682/michael-landon-the-career-and-artistry-of-a-television-genius-by-david-r-greenland


The Forgotten Girls Sara Blaedel

Review:

The Forgotten Girls - Sara Blædel

A woman’s body is found in the forest, but no one seems to know who she is. Louise Rick then discovers than the woman is already dead, or rather that she was a patient in a state mental institution  and was declared dead 30 years ago. Now Louise and her colleague Eik must find out how a woman can be declared dead and then end up dead for real decades later.

Have you ever read something good, but at the same time revolting to read? You know the kind of engrossing book, but with a really really sick ending? This book is that kind of book. I started to read it yesterday, read it this night when my cat didn’t want to sleep and kept me up and I finished it today. And, it was such a good book, a real page turner.

Louise Rick is the new commander for the Missing Persons Department and I sometimes found her to have a bit of an attitude problem, but slowly pieces from her past was reveled and that made it easier to understand her. Eik her new colleague annoyed Louise quite a lot in the beginning and I can understand that since she had to pick him up from a pub in the morning and he was a bit hungover not the best first impression, but they worked well together when she realized what a great cop he is. The case itself was interesting and as I mentioned quite disturbing. Beside the fact that they have the dead women mystery to figure out, a rapist is also attacking women in the woods where they found her. Louise also has to deal with memories from the past and her best friends problems with her upcoming wedding.

The book was really good and I want to read the previous six books in this series.

 

Thanks to Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

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maddan3.booklikes.com/post/1262743/the-forgotten-girls-sara-blaedel


The Determined Heart blog tour + giveaway

Review:

The Determined Heart: The Tale of Mary Shelley and Her Frankenstein - Antoinette May

The Determined Heart: The Tale of Mary Shelley and Her Frankenstein

Paperback: 410 pages

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (September 29, 2015)

 

Frankenstein lives on as one of the most fascinating fictional creations of all time, but the true personal story of the women behind this work of genius is equally as compelling. In her new historical novel, The Determined Heart: The Tale of Mary Shelley and Her Frankenstein (Lake Union Publishing; September 29, 2015), New York Times bestselling author Antoinette May brings to life the tragic story of obsessive love, betrayal, and redemption that spawned an enduring classic. In a story more dramatic and tragic than anything a writer could invent, the lives of Mary Shelley, her great love, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and her complex web of family and friends entwine in a chronicle of strange behavior, bohemian attitudes, and unconventional acts as far ahead of their time as the amazing literary work that grew from them.

 

Mary Godwin Shelley was the daughter of two revolutionary thinkers—political philosopher William Godwin and philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. An unconventional childhood in an intellectual, if impecunious household would shape the young girl’s renegade spirit. When still a teenager, she ran off with the already-married poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, an act of equal parts passion and defiance that led to a life of wandering destitution. Espousing free love, the couple would endure its share of tragedies, each of which would add to their romantic legacy. From the darkness that surrounded her life, though, the brilliant and talented Mary imagined a timeless work of fiction that secured her place in history, if not her happiness.

 

The Determined Heart is a masterful work of historical fiction that reanimates the timeless story of an iconic literary life.

 

“Epic in scope, this is a beautifully written novel about a woman whose story is every bit as extraordinary and gripping as that of the epic character she created, Frankenstein. May’s meticulous research and exquisite prose shine on every page.” —Erika Mailman, author of The Witch’s Trinity and Woman of Ill Fame

“May displays a deft flair for historical fiction…” –BookList on Pilate’s Wife, A Novel of the Roman Empire

 

Review:

 

It’s remarkable to think how young Mary Shelley was when she wrote Frankenstein. Then again, she met Percy Bysshe Shelley when she was fourteen, run away with him when she was sixteen and bore him four children of which only one survived to grow up. What a fantastic and tragic life she lived.

 

Mary Wollstonecraft died in childbirth so Mary and her older sister Fanny grew up with their father William Godwin who later married Mary Jane Clairmont who already had a daughter called Claire Clairmont. She had a troubled relationship with her stepmother and stepsister. She burns all the bridges when she runs away with Bysshe. Bysshe is already married with a child and a baby on its way. But they are in love and that’s all that matters. The problem is that Clair is running away with them and that is the start of a love triangle since Bysshe is all for free love and even encourage Mary to sleep with another man. Still they stay together and their love story will live on after they both are gone.

I read Passion by Jude Morgan a couple of years ago. Passion takes up the women who loved Shelley, Byron and Keats. This book focus on the love story between Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelly, but Lord Byron is also a big part of the story since he had an affair with Claire Clairmont and he was a friend to both Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelly. It’s an often tragic book to read because, despite the deep love between Mary and Bysshe couldn’t he be truly faithful even though she was the woman he loved the most. Mary had to face a life with a man who truly believed that marriage wasn’t necessary and they would probably never have married if he didn’t want to gain custody of his children with Harriet, the wife he left behind. Also, Mary had to put up with Claire all through her marriage. But the hardest part in this book to read was the death of all the children. One after another died and it’s really tragic to think that of all the children Mary gave birth to, only the youngest Percy survived.

 

I think this book was well written and interest to read. I already have some previous knowledge about the lives and fates of Bysshe and Lord Byron, but I didn’t know that much about Mary Shelley and it was intriguing to learn more about her growing up and her life with Bysshe and after his death. Antoinette May has written a really good book and I felt enriched when I finished the book. Not only did I learn more about the characters in this book I learned more about the time they lived in and I really keen on reading more about Mary Wollstonecraft, a woman I have heard about, but not know so much about.

 

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

 

About Antoinette May

Antoinette May is the author of Pilate’s Wife and The Sacred Well and coauthor of the New York Timesbestseller Adventures of a Psychic. An award-winning travel writer specializing in Mexico, May divides her time between Palo Alto and the Sierra foothills.

 

 

 

 

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Antoinette May’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Tuesday, September 29th: FictionZeal

Tuesday, September 29th: The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, September 30th: BookNAround

Thursday, October 1st: From L.A. to LA

Friday, October 2nd: Guiltless Reading

Monday, October 5th: It’s a Mad Mad World

Tuesday, October 6th: Books a la Mode – author guest post

Wednesday, October 7th: Kritter’s Ramblings

Thursday, October 8th: Outlandish Lit

Monday, October 12th: A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, October 13th: A Literary Vacation

Wednesday, Otcoter 14th: Mom in Love with Fiction

Thursday, October 15th: Just One More Chapter

Monday, October 19th: Reading Reality

Tuesday, October 20th: Mom’s Small Victories

Wednesday, October 22nd: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Monday, October 27th: Bibliophilia, Please

Date TBD: Romantic Historical Reviews

 

Original post:
maddan3.booklikes.com/post/1264572/the-determined-heart-blog-tour-giveaway


The Good Neighbor by AJ Banner

Review:

The Good Neighbor - A. J. Banner

Sarah and her husband Johnny have a perfect life together. They live on an idyllic street with nice neighbors and now they are trying to have a child. But everything change one night when Johnny is away. The house beside theirs burns down and Sarah is injured and their house is also damaged. Sarah and Johnny have to move away to a new house and slowly try to move on, but Sarah feels that something is wrong. Johnny is acting strange after the fire. Soon she doesn’t know what to believe, is their marriage at risk, or is she being paranoid?

This is a past-paced book with short chapters. Which meant when I started to read it last night was it hard to stop because I really wanted to know the truth about the fire, about Sarah’s marriage. If she was being paranoid or not. So I read half the book even though I was only going to read a little.

 

It’s not a perfect book. I feel the ending was a bit too open for my taste. But still a good ending, I wasn’t disappointed over it. I just felt that, unless there will be a sequel was it left way too open.

But in the end did I find The Good neighbour to be a good mystery book. I enjoyed reading it and I especially liked that it was a fast-paced that was something I needed after having read some heavier books lately.

 

Thanks to Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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maddan3.booklikes.com/post/1264581/the-good-neighbor-by-aj-banner


Wonderland by Jennifer Hillier

Review:

Wonderland - Jennifer Hillier

A body is found on Wonderland on Vanessa Castro’s first day as a deputy police chief of Seaside, Washington. And, if that wasn’t enough; a young boy working at the amusement park goes missing the same day. Vanessa discover soon that more boys has gone missing in the last decade as she investigates the murder and the missing boy cases. Is there someone out there kidnapping and murdering boys, and what’s the connection to Wonderland?

I have to admit; I was totally captivated by the cover of this book and the blurb. Murder at an amusement park? A clown on the cover? I must read this book and I have eagerly waited for its turn to be read. Too bad that the book lacked on important thing: suspense. I mean it was good, I liked the story and the characters, but it was just not thrilling to read. Most of the book was about finding clues to what had happened to the boys, and I usually like finding clues, but most of the book was about that and it was just at the very end that some action happened when the truth came out. And, it wasn’t even thrilling then because I never felt that any of the main characters was in danger. But I was surprised towards the end, Hillier’s manage to twist the story good there.

So why the 3 star rating? I liked the characters, Vanessa, Jerry and Tanner. Never really cared that much for Oz, I found Tanner a much more interesting character. It could be the tattoos. Vanessa’s daughter Ava was OK, but it knew since she had a large part in this story that she would play a big role towards the end. Especially when she started to work at the clown museum. The story was for most part good, it wasn’t boring, just lacking suspense, but the ending was good and I would like to read more about Vanessa and her family in Seaside (or some other town) and know more about her and her family’s past.

All and all, not a bad book, but not a great one either. A thriller that’s not thrilling.

 

Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Original post:
maddan3.booklikes.com/post/1264559/wonderland-by-jennifer-hillier


Wicked Ever After by Delilah S. Dawson

Review:

Wicked Ever After - Delilah S. Dawson

I read Wicked as They Come a couple of years ago and thought the book was quite OK, but I never read the two books that came after since they weren’t about the characters from the first book. Not that I don’t want to read the books. I will probably do that I just wasn’t that interested at the moments to read about other characters. Anyway, then this book showed up on NetGalley and it was the conclusion of Criminy and Tish story and that I felt was a story I must read.

I admit that I didn’t remember that much from the first book, but it came back to me as read on.

 

Tish is still human she can’t give up that and become a bludwomen since that means she would have to cut of all ties with her old life on Earth and never see her nana again. Then, she decided after a conversation about vampires with her nana that why not bring nana to Sang and let Criminy make her a bludwoman? So, she does that and that decision set in motion all whole lot of stuff for Tish and Criminy.

There are several times during the book that I thought that the decision to make nana an bludwoman was the stupidest idea ever and Criminy should never ever have agreed to that. That until the ending when it actually started to make sense. I fully understand nana or Ruby as she wanted to be called that after being sick for so long she wanted her own life and I think that Tish idea of bringing her nana over to Sang was a bit selfish. She wanted her nana well again and in her life. Instead, she got to see nana turn into Ruby and not at all act as her nana any more. Then, Ruby disappears from the caravan and Tish must go after her and get her back since Ruby is still her nana.

 

The story in itself isn’t really that complicated or anything, I mean I have forgotten so much from the first book that when the bad characters made it into the story didn’t I really know who they were and what they had down (it all became clearer when it was explained). I was a bit lost to why for instance someone that should remain nameless wanted revenge.

But one thing I really liked was the humor that made the book worth reading. Of course there are a couple of sex-scenes and a couple of drinking blud scenes, this is still a book about vamp…I mean bludmen. Well the sex-scene in the air balloon felt a bit to much and really didn’t bring much to the story.  

All and all. I do think you should read the first book in this series, before you read this one. I mean the story isn’t that complicated. You will probably get most of it. But take it from me, it’s hard to read the ending when the big bad person is reveled and all you can think is “right who’s that was that person in the first book?”

Also, damn that good looking cover. All the books in this series have gorgeous covers. And, I’m not even that fond of half naked men on covers, but Criminy looks so good!

 

Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Original post:
maddan3.booklikes.com/post/1263169/wicked-ever-after-by-delilah-s-dawson


A Place We Knew Well by Susan Carol McCarthy

Review:

A Place We Knew Well: A Novel - Susan Carol McCarthy

I have never really thought about how life must have been those 13 days 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I have read about it, seen documentaries about it and seen movies about the days. But I have never really thought about how it must have been like in America during those days, with little knowledge about what was going on in the White House and in Soviet and still having to go on with your life as usual.

For the Avery family is it time for the Homecoming and the daughter in the family has a date with a boy from Cuba whose family is still there.  They try to get on with their lives, the mother in the family is about to break down from stress and inner tumult and the father is doing everything he can to keep his family together. And, then a relative comes to their town. Someone they all thought had died and with that arrival a long buried secret is reveled.

I think what makes this story so compelling to read is that the story about the Avery family would be an OK read in any context, it’s a good story, but it gets even better with the Cuban Missile Crisis in the background because as they struggle with everyday problems during the 60s they also have to face that this could be the start of WW3 and any moment a missile could end their lives. I mean this could really be the last ever Homecoming.

I liked this book because it got me to picture an American family during a difficult historical time. It got me to feel with them and it gave me greater understanding of the how lives must have been back then.  It gave me so much reading this book. The Cold War may be over, but war never ends…

 

Deleted scene from the book:

 

In this scene, on Saturday, October 27, 1962, the darkest day and night of the Cuban Missile Crisis, 17-year-old Charlotte Avery drives to Saint Charles Catholic Church in search of Emilio, her date for the Homecoming Dance.

 

The hard rain had everyone scurrying, umbrellas lowered, oblivious to the cars attempting to park. She made two passes through the lot before finding an open spot then dashed into the sanctuary where the noise level was an unrelenting roar. She’d never been in a Catholic Church before. The gold leaf, the slanted tables full of gleaming candles, the spicy smoke of incense surprised her. She’d been stopped short by an odd sense of trespass. Forgive us our trespasses. The pews were jam-packed with people, most of them on their knees praying or weeping. Long lines snaked along the walls on both sides, shuffling toward the small wooden doors where, apparently, priests were hearing confessions.

Initially, she stood at the back beside a raised stone basin, until a woman carrying an infant came running in, dripping wet, screaming for a priest. “My baby needs christening now! Now, I tell you! I won’t let her wind up in limbo!” the mother wailed, then sank with hoarse, hiccupping sobs into a folding chair.

Attempting to walk down the left side aisle past the line, searching the faces for someone, anyone she knew, she was stopped by an angry looking couple and told, “No cuts!”

That left the center aisle. Shyly, uncomfortably, she made her way there. Halfway down on the end, she spotted Vivian, the lady who worked at Parisian Dry Cleaners, head bowed and covered with a black lace shawl.

“Vivian, excuse me,” she whispered, lightly touching her shoulder. It had startled the woman so she nearly dropped the beaded necklace she held in her hands. “I’m looking for Father Tom. Do you know him?”

“Father Thomas?” Vivian repeated, pronouncing it Toe-MOSS. She pointed a long finger toward the front, the door at the left. “Try the Social Hall across the courtyard.”

Outside, she was forced to turn sideways to make her way through the tight knots of two, three, or four people huddling beneath their umbrellas in tense conversations. Winding through the crowd, she heard snatches about “Senator Keating…,” “…papal intercession?” “…complete disarmament!” and, from the last group of all women, “his parents in Ft. Lauderdale,” and “Poor Jackie and the kids.”

The Social Hall was a lot like the crowded cafeteria at school. In fact, she wondered if it was the cafeteria for the kids who attended Bishop Moore School. Off to the side, in the doorway to the kitchen, she spotted a big burly priest, caught his Irish accent, and moved to stand in front of him. “Father Tom?” she asked, suddenly breathless. “I’m Charlotte Avery, looking for Emilio.”

“Hello, young lady. Emilio? Why he’s…”

“Here, right here.”

She turned and Emilio was there, smiling. And right then, in front of him, the priest, and everybody, she burst into tears. When Emilio stepped forward to comfort her, she crumpled against his chest. Without thinking, she wrapped her arms around his waist and sobbed into his shirt. Eventually, he led her to a quiet corner where, because there were no chairs, they sat on the floor—she with her back against the wall while he sat in front her, shielding her from the rest of the room.

“The thing is…,” she told him, blowing her nose on a wad of napkins someone had handed him, blotting tears with the sleeve of her sweatshirt. “…in the beginning, I never wanted any of this homecoming stuff. Really! But then…,” she sniffed, “you asked me to the dance, and we had so much fun at the parade, and now…well, now, it’s supposed to be our big night and this, all this…” She waved her hand at the room, the church, the whole wide world. “…has happened. Why? And why now? It’s just all so…inconvenient!”

Emilio chuckled at that. “Oh, mija,” he said warmly, “life can be inconvenient, especially when it involves a crazy person like Fidel…”

“Or my mother, at the moment.”

“Oh, I promise you, your mother’s no match for Fidel in the loco department. Honestly, our best hope is that Khrushchev realizes how crazy Fidel is before he gives him the codes to anything. But, in the meantime, Charlotte, life can be fun as well. That’s why I’m here, no? To make sure we have the most fun night ever, yes?”

“Yes and yes,” she told him. “Thank you.”

Later, walking out the door, someone pressed a flyer into her hand—EIGHT SIMPLE AIR RAID RULES. She dashed to the truck, tossed it onto the seat, and headed home.

Turning on the radio, she heard the “special breaking news” of a Pentagon announcement. Turning onto her street, she made up her mind. If this was it, if they were all bound for a white-flash-mushroom-cloud death, she wouldn’t cower in their shelter, or drop into the cringing shame of duck-and-cover, chin on her knees, arms over her head. At school, at her height, she’d only ever half fit under the desk anyhow. No! She would walk out, with dignity, to meet her fate. And yet… and yet, her heart cried as she pulled the truck into the carport. I don’t want to die! Not now, when I’m just starting to live!

 

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