Friday, 28 July 2017

The Assignment - Geraldine Solon

           The Assignment is not the average bodice-ripping, flowery romance novel. Rather it is a touching love story that manages to tell the story of not one, but two couples, who battle life issues so that they can be together. The author doesn’t use sex to draw the reader in but instead creates a story that intertwines all of the characters into one story. The two couples, Sophie and Eric, Marina and Yakoda, have parallel love stories although one is set in the 40s during the Japanese invasion of the Philippines and the other one is set in the 80s. The setting for both is very richly written by Ms. Solon and it shows the great knowledge and love for the Filipino culture that she so obviously has. I loved the inside look at the food of this land and how family plays such an important part of their everyday life. I learned more about this world from this book than I ever thought I would learn from reading a romance. There’s also quite a bit written about the political unrest in the Philippines during the 80s. It’s not a historical text by any means but it is quite factual and makes for very interesting reading. It was really nice to read a romance that wasn’t just a load of flowery prose and “fluffy” characters.
                The characters are very well written and each had multifaceted personalities. Marina, for me, was the most interesting and showed the most realism. Her story, set in the 40s, was by far my favourite of the two love stories. The way Marina and Yakoda met and the tragedy of their story really tugs at your heart strings. The beauty of Ms. Solon’s writing really makes the reader experience the fear that Marina and her family must have felt during the occupation and the fact that she still found love is made believable by the author’s talent at story telling.             
                Sophie is the main character and the hinted at secret that is eventually revealed in the end is actually quite easily guessed long before the reveal. There are a few hints throughout the book and I don’t know whether they were planted on purpose or just coincidence but when you look back you realize it was very obvious.
                This is a sweet love story that turned out to be much better than I originally thought. It is a very good way to spend a summer afternoon. The cover is attractive but I have to admit that it was the title that drew me to the book. I read it on my ereader and it formatted well.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Social Media - David Kelly

Social Media: Strategies to Mastering Your Brand Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat is a short book (156 pages in digital format) filled with tons of information. There is so much information that it really should be overwhelming but due to a free-flowing style of writing  it is easy and fast to read. It’s the type of book that a business owner should have on hand so that they can use it as a reference in dealing with their social media business lives. It’s set up in such a manner that finding information about certain media platforms, such as Facebook, can be done easily and in a timely manner.
                Mr. Kelly starts the book by writing about the importance of using social media for businesses in order to be successful in today’s market. Whether we like it or not, social media is now a huge part of how a business can market their service or product and that is not going to change. I found it very interesting when the author said that being present on social media in order to promote your business involves 20% promoting the business and 80% interacting with others which will get your name out there. If you think about it, this is so true and makes complete sense.
                Mr. Kelly then presents, chapter by chapter, how to use the main social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Each chapter is set up in the same easy to read format that tells the reader, step by step, how to use each platform to promote a business. The author points out that the best messages, in regards to having your business be memorable are short and to the point. Most people are visual so including pictures is important also. As I wrote above, there is so much information and helpful hints such as these above that after reading this book it should be much easier to bring your business into the social media world. I’m not great with Twitter as trying to put what I want to say into 140 characters drives me crazy but here, in this book, Mr. Kelly gives some examples which help the reader to see how other businesses have achieved success in this way.
                I love books about advertising and reading about how different companies subtly draw customers in. This is a perfect book for anyone trying to grab a piece of the social media market and has made me look at the advertising on my Facebook in a much different way. The writing style is excellent and this is a really great read.
                I read this in a digital format and translated to my ereader well. The cover is brightly coloured and interesting to look at. 

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The Secret of Being Together - Amos Tsur, Tsafy Tsur

                The Secret of Being Together is an in-depth look at a unique form of couples therapy provided by two therapists who are a couple themselves. The book highlights some of the couples they have worked with, telling their stories, how they helped them, and the results of the therapy. The couple also provides some questions for the reader to ask themselves about their own relationships. The book addresses everything from sex addiction to empty nest syndrome to sadomasochism and much more.  Interestingly, there’s also a chapter for those who decide that they don’t want to be in a relationship. Rather they want to “marry” themselves. As strange as it sounds, after reading the chapter it makes sense. The authors write about how, within this marriage to yourself, there is a man part, a woman part, and they must get along with each other for there to be harmony in the “relationship” with yourself. The reader may or may not agree with this but it does make for fascinating reading and result in the reader asking themselves some questions about their own relationships.
                I love studying people and what makes them tick. This is not a normal couple’s therapy manual. It is more so a look inside the relationships of a variety of couples and how they interact with each other and the therapists. The therapists use a lot of the technique of closing your eyes and letting your subconscious take over, supplying you with the answer via imagery. I’m not all together sure how much of this concept I believe in but I can see how it would work for some people. It certainly seems to work for these couples in the book. One of the things I liked that the authors write in the book is that there are three parts to a relationship: you and your partner but also the relationship itself. All have to be nurtured and in harmony for a successful future together.
                At the end of the book is a list of recommended reading and a couple of the books are ones which I have read and can attest to being very good. If you’re looking for a self-help manual for relationship problems then this is probably not the book for you. However, if you’re interested in how humans think and how therapy affects them, then this is fascinating.

                I read this on my ereader and it formatted well. The cover wasn’t particularly eye catching but in this case, it’s the information that is most important.

Friday, 14 July 2017

The Captivity of Choice - William R. Herr

                The Captivity of Choice is the second book in William R. Herr’s Broken Throne series that is set in a fantasy world where young girls become strong warriors, prophets can change the world, and the shadows hold all sorts of untold evil. I hadn’t read the first book in the series and, although sometimes you can get away without reading the previous books in a series, in this case I think it would be quite beneficial to do so. Trying to figure out what was going on, the past history, and character relationships really took away from my enjoyment of the story. Nothing is explained about this world in this book so for the first going off the pace was quite slow for me. After I read a bit and found my footing in regards to the back story (google helps wonders when I looked up book one), I found myself enjoying the book much more. It is very “battle-centered” and much of it revolves around the lives of some of the soldiers and there are lots of logistics about how battles will go down. I don’t really understand a whole lot of that sort of thing. There is romance but not in the traditional bodice-ripping sense. Instead, the love story between Gidon and Kira is more in-depth and their relationship is quite intricate and somewhat forbidden. It is just this that makes the love story more realistic than most because it’s not all about lust. Gidon and Kira actually respect each other which makes their positions in the army all the more difficult. 
                There is also another part to the book that involves a prophet named Malachi. I found this part to be much less interesting that Kira and Gidon but that’s probably because I became quite invested in those two characters and wanted to keep getting back to them.
                Mr. Herr’s writing style is quite unique. It’s not the easiest to read and although there is flow to it, it does get quite dark at times. In other words, this is by no means a “feel good” novel. It is quite challenging at times but if you stick with it then you’ll be rewarded with a detailed world and fantastic story. It’s not a book for everyone but dark fantasy lovers will probably be delighted by this book and the rest of the series.
                I read this in digital format and it translated from print to ereader well. I can’t say the cover did a whole lot to entice me but it does follow the style of most dark fantasy novels.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Love, Murder and Mayhem - Russ Colchamiro

                Love, Murder and Mayhem is a fifteen story collection filled with superheroes, sci-fi action and lots of humour. This anthology was a refreshing surprise for me because I’m not usually a fan of science fiction or superhero stories and yet I thoroughly enjoyed reading these delightful little gems. There isn’t one that I can single out as having not been enjoyable and it’s very hard to choose one that would be my favourite. Super Mom’s Cookie Caper is a cozy little story about a superhero mom trying to keep her identity hidden from her children. As Time Goes By is funny in its own strange and devilish way and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the maĆ®tre d’ be brought down a few pegs. All of the stories involve, as the title implies, a bit of romance, a tidbit of murder, and best of all, lots of great humour. All of the authors are incredibly talented and at the end of the book there is a bunch of mini-biographies about each author. I’ll be sure to check out some of the other books written by these authors and I love when an anthology provides these bits of information for the reader. The most unique story in the collection was written by Glenn Hauman, called Make It Didn’t Happen, in which Kelly’s future self is quite deranged and has the ability to travel through time. Imagine how you would stop yourself from being a future murderer.
                This collection is perfect for that easy vacation read where you just want to be amused and not read anything too deep. This wonderful anthology of talented authors makes this book an easy choice to make.