The Wildling Sisters

The Wildling Sisters
The Wildling Sisters by Eve Chase

Murder Served Cold

Murder Served Cold
Murder Served Cold by Paula Williams

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The First Kiss of Spring by Emily March- Feature and Review




ABOUT THE BOOK:

Spring has come to Eternity Springs in the newest installment in this New York Times bestselling series by Emily March.

When Josh Tarkington gets stuck on a gondola with the lovely Caitlin Timberlake, he thinks his consistently bad luck might have changed.

After their blossoming romance is interrupted, Caitlin realizes that her encounter with Josh was a sign that she needed to make a major life change. So she packs up her things and moves to Eternity Springs, opens a day care, and sets her cap for the town’s mechanic—Josh.

But Josh is hiding a well of secrets that would ruin him, and his relationship with everyone in Eternity Springs—especially Caitlin. When tragedy strikes, Josh and Caitlin find themselves, and their relationship, tested beyond imagining. Will they be able to find their way back to each other?


READ AN EXCERPT:





MY REVIEW:


The First Kiss of Spring (Eternity Springs #14)The First Kiss of Spring by Emily March
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The First Kiss of Spring by Emily March is a 2018 St. Martin’s Press publication.

A Touching story of home, family, and redemption.

At first glance, Josh Tarkington is an ordinary resident of Eternity Springs, an auto mechanic by trade, but unknown to many, he may be one of the unluckiest people on planet earth.

So, it’s just his luck when he gets stuck on a gondola ride. However, he manages to pass the time with Caitlin Timberlake, who is in Colorado for a wedding. Before all is said and done, he’s agreed to be her ‘plus one’ for the event.

Could his luck be changing? Well, maybe not right away. Josh just happens to be harboring a big secret about his past, a secret he will protect at all costs. But, if his past has taught him anything, it’s that he can’t do relationships, or fall in love. The stakes are too high, and he won’t risk hurting himself or anyone else, ever again.

Caitlin is ready to leave the rat race of New York City. She’s returning home to Eternity Springs and plans to open a daycare center. But, she knows her parents, her mother, especially, may not be thrilled by her news. But, when she meets Josh Tarkington the realizes something very special could develop between them and plans to pursue all those possibilities. In fact,she's positive, someday she'll marry Josh Tarkington.

Emily March always manages to strike just the right balance in her stories. This one is a perfect blend of insightful family drama mixed into a sensual and emotional love story.

When Josh explains to Caitlin that despite her charms, she shouldn’t set her heart on him. He’s upfront and very honest about that. He's so sincere, in fact,he had me totally convinced. But, Caitlin still feels like he’s worth risking a broken heart for, so they agree to have a ‘friend affair'.

Meanwhile, Caitlin must convince her parents that she’s doing the right thing by leaving her career and moving back to Eternity Springs. But, her father isn’t as concerned about her career as he is about her interest in Josh Tarkington, a man he’s decided, rather hypocritically, isn’t good enough for his daughter.


The last book in this series was a really nice summer frolic, but this story is more of a return to form, dealing with some very heartbreaking themes. However, as with many ‘Eternity Springs’ novels, this story has a whimsical quality to it, a lightness that balances out the heavier subjects, the angst, and occasional sadness.

Caitlin’s unwavering faith, her confidence in her decisions, knowing what she wants and going for it, and her willingness to risk everything for a chance at true love is inspirational.

But, I think, Josh’s story is the centerpiece of the novel. He’s gone through some really tough times and carries around an enormous amount of weight in his heart. He’s the sort of damaged soul that breaks my heart and makes me want to reach inside the pages and give him a big hug!! The reader is made aware of some parts of his past, via his journal entries, but some of his revelations are simply stunning. The conclusion, though, is about as heartwarming as it gets, but you know it wouldn’t be an Eternity Springs novel if it wasn’t.

This is another stellar installment in this fine series. I can't hardly wait for the upcoming Christmas edition!!


GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/First-Kiss-Spring-Eternity-Springs-ebook/dp/B074DZG9GG/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-first-kiss-of-spring-emily-march/1126245287

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Emily March is the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels, including the critically acclaimed Eternity Springs series. Publishers Weekly calls March a "master of delightful banter," and her heartwarming, emotionally charged stories have been named to Best of the Year lists by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Romance Writers of America. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Emily is an avid fan of Aggie sports and her recipe for jalapeƱo relish has made her a tailgating legend.

Emily invites you visit her website at www.EmilyMarch.com

Monday, July 30, 2018

Jilliand: A Story of Love and Freedom by Clare Gutierrez- Feature and Review






ABOUT THE BOOK:


“Bruised, bloody, and barely dressed, she knew it was over. She had no doubt the Vikings would search for her if she tried to run—especially now, with their companion lying dead. It would be dark soon, and she had no idea where she could go or hide. Jilliand knew they would come for her. The Vikings were not likely to let this go—especially it being an attack by a woman. She was defeated. Weak and shaking, she stared at the man’s body. I think tonight I die.”


READ AN EXCERPT:





MY REVIEW:


JilliandJilliand by Clare Gutierrez
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jilliand by Clare Gutierrez is a 2018 River Grove Books publication.

I love historical romances set in Medieval days, or those featuring Vikings, or Pirates. Sadly, they don’t write many of those types of books anymore. So, naturally, this novel piqued my interest and that gorgeous cover lured me right in, giving me high hopes for a rip roaring, high seas, sweeping saga.

To be clear, one should not approach this book with the same mind set you would with the typical historical romance. This book is not written in that style or format. This story is more of a historical saga with an epic love story at its core. Don't expect high angst or the usual battle of the sexes or the standard conflict that usually accompanies historical romances. This one actually might do better under the historical fiction category, just to keep those types of preconcieved notions at bay.

This book moves slowly but still has enough intrigue and adventure to keep readers engaged in the story. As a person who is a fan of this genre, I was already prepared for the many trials and travails that our heroine would endure in her life. For some, the amount of adversity Jilliand faces may seem harsh, but it’s common in this type of literature.

I don’t necessarily enjoy watching characters suffer unduly, but I don’t mind the drama, and the way these strong women, who have everything in the world going against them, who can’t seem to catch a break, rise to the occasion, proving their mettle, always managing to perservere in whatever situation they find themselves in. Of course, I always hold out hope, even it is against all odds, that maybe after all is said and done they will finally have their hard earned, long overdue happily ever after.

JIlliand is such a character. Her upbringing is unusual for an English lady and her young life is marred by abuse. Her goal, which is to find her way to freedom, is thwarted time and time again. Just as she finds peace, love, happiness, and contentment, she will once again face yet another round of adversity.

I used to love novels that put the heroine through the ringer by separating her from her lover, time and again, where her life is fraught with danger, before they finally fight their way back to one another for good. Somehow, it made the ending all the sweeter because of the depths they went to to be together. However, the modern reader, who may be accustomed to that steady, overstuffed, over saturated diet of Regency period historicals may not know how to digest or cope with Jilland’s struggles.

While, it is evident the author has done her homework, and I do see how much effort she has put into this novel, the writing is uneven, the pacing a little too slow, and the dialogue is slightly wooden. I think the love story may be too understated, as the chemistry between Jilliand and her beloved Viking- Rurik, is a very slow burner and despite assurances they love one another, the passion is very muted. This is one of those times where there is a clear distinction between a romance novel and a love story. As with many historical fiction novels, such as this, there are some implausible moments that might not have seemed feasible. Those moments do glaring stick out, unfortunately.

That being said, one point I did want to stress, though, is that despite Jilliand’s being somewhat of an anomaly among women, with an education and warrior skills no proper English lady would ordinarily possess, I thought the author made the situation clear from the start, and if this falls into the ‘inaccurate’ slot, so what? I’ve finally come to realize the distinction between authentic and realistic. The authenticity was there, but a few situations and conversations were unrealistic- if that makes any sense.

I’ve been trying to relax and enjoy the story more instead of making monumental issues over a few perceived inaccuracies, just so long as my intelligence isn’t insulted to the extreme. In this instance, we want a strong female character, one our modern sensibilites can embrace, which may mean taking a few liberties. Otherwise, the story would be much harsher, and Jilliand would be impossible for us to relate to at all.

To that end, for the most part, I really enjoyed this novel. The author’s heart is in the right place and the effort is evident. Her research unearthed some interesting information about the Vikings that may seem to contradict the usual portrayal of them in movies and television. The story is indeed a sweeping saga, with many twists and turns, and was certainly a welcome change of pace for me.

GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Jilliand-Story-Freedom-Clare-Gutierrez-ebook/dp/B07CGZ62VM/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/jilliand-clare-gutierrez/1128506150


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Clare Gutierrez is a registered nurse who grew up on a cattle ranch in rural Colorado as one of four children. After living in Carlsbad, NM, for twenty-eight years, she now lives in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. She and her husband, Dr. Beto Gutierrez, host first-class photographers from the world over at Santa Clara Ranch, a 300-acre wildlife sanctuary. Jilliand is her third novel.






Friday, July 27, 2018

Flashback Friday - For All Her Life by Heather Graham- Feature and Review


ABOUT THE BOOK:


Sometimes our exes are exactly how we remember them. Sometimes they’re better . . .

Kathy and Jordan Treveryan used to have everything. They fronted the enormously successful rock band Blue Heron, they had two beautiful daughters, and they had a passionate marriage. But life as they knew it came to an abrupt end when their bandmate, Keith, was killed in an apparently accidental fire. Soon after, the band and their marriage fell apart.

In this tale of unstoppable love, Jordan pursues Kathy as he tries to reunite the band and lay to rest the mysterious circumstances of Keith’s death. And while Kathy finds herself torn between her current boyfriend and her lingering feelings for her ex-husband, romance reignites—and the exes may even unravel the truth behind what made them separate so long ago.

This e book features an illustrated biography of Heather Graham, including rare photos from the author’s personal collection.


MY REVIEW:



For All of Her LifeFor All of Her Life by Heather Graham Pozzessere
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For All Her Life by Heather Graham is a 2012 Open Road Media publication. (Original publication date: 1995/1999)

Kathy and Jordon were riding high with the success of their rock band, Blue Heron. They had everything they ever dreamed of- a good marriage, two beautiful daughters, making a living doing what they loved- but then one fateful night, one of their band members perished in a fire. Things were never the same after that. The band broke up- as did Kathy and Jordon.

Now, ten years later, Jordan is trying to get the band back together. He wants Kathy to come to a party he’s having, which will also coincide with their daughter’s birthday. Reluctant at first, Kathy eventually agrees. But, someone is trying to thwart the reunion.

As memories resurface Kathy and Jordon discover their love for each other is still as strong as ever. But, as details about the night of the fire all those years ago begin to slowly emerge, they could find themselves in grave danger.

My first impressions of Heather Graham came from her historical romances, which to this day, I still believe is her strongest suit. However, Graham moved into the contemporary realm and enjoyed some nice success with a string of romantic suspense novels, before she struck just the right chord, at just the right time in the paranormal romance category.

This book was published back in 1995, but Open Road Media has formatted the book in digital format, which as most people know, I am a huge supporter of. Now, these books can find a new audience, while those who lost track of old favorites, or books they have a hard time finding anymore, can enjoy these books all over again.

This story is a fine example of the usual romantic suspense format in the late nineties, but despite its age, it stood up well with the passage of time. The writing style is a little dated, but other than that, it could work just as well today as it did when first published. The dialogue between Jordon and Kathy is not especially sharp, and Kathy’s constant worry about her age bordered on overkill. Still, I loved the chemistry between them, which really sizzled and of course the second chance at love theme is a personal favorite. The suspense is a cut above, and I have to say that while I suspected everyone at one point or another, the killer was mostly a surprise to me. There was a taut, sinister atmosphere from the beginning with some pretty tense moments added in to boot.
The romance and suspense elements are well-balanced, making this book a great textbook example of how to satisfy fans of both genres- something I find many writers of romantic suspense struggle with.

Overall, this was a solid romantic suspense novel. If this book is any indication, I think Graham’s other back-listed titles warrant a closer look.
Note: Zebra has released this book in Paperback and Audio under the title of "Up in Flames" early in 2018 if you would prefer the print edition or would like to add audio.

GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/All-Her-Life-Heather-Graham-ebook/dp/B00A11P6ES/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/for-all-of-her-life-heather-graham/1000901650


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Heather Graham Pozzessere
aka Heather Graham, Shannon Drake

Heather Graham was born on March 15, 1953 and grew up in Dade County, Florida, and attended the University of South Florida at Tampa, majoring in theater arts and touring Europe and parts of Asia and Africa as part of her studies. After college, she acted in dinner theaters, modeled, waitressed, and tended bar. She married Hershey Dennis Possezzere, and after the birth of her third child, she was determined to devote her efforts to her writing: her dream. She sold her first book in 1982.

Today, this author's success is reflected not just by reader response and the over 20 million copies of her books in print, but in many other ways. In addition to being a New York Times bestselling author, Heather has received numerous awards for her novels, including over 20 trade awards from magazines such as Romantic Times and Affaire de Coeur, bestseller awards from B. Dalton, Waldenbooks, and BookRak, and several Reviewers' Choice and People's Choice awards.

Heather has appeared on Entertainment Tonight, Romantically Speaking, a TV talk show that aired nationwide on the Romance Classics cable channel, and CBS Sunday News. She has been quoted in People and USA Today, been profiled in The Nation, and featured in Good Housekeeping. Her books have been selections for the Doubleday Book Club and the Literary Guild. She has been published across the world in more than 15 languages and has published over 70 titles, including anthologies and short stories.

Now, she had five children. Somehow, this prolific author manages to juggle it all - family, career, and marriage - while reaching a level of success to which few can aspire.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist: A True Story of Injustice in the American South by Bradley Balko and Tucker Carrington - Feature and Review

                                                                ABOUT THE BOOK:

After two three-year-old girls were raped and murdered in rural Mississippi, law enforcement pursued and convicted two innocent men: Kennedy Brewer and Levon Brooks. Together they spent a combined thirty years in prison before finally being exonerated in 2008. Meanwhile, the real killer remained free.
The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist chronicles how the courts and Mississippi's death investigation system--a relic of the Jim Crow era--failed to deliver justice for its citizens and recounts the horrifying story of the two men who built successful careers on the back of this system. For nearly two decades, medical examiner Dr. Steven Hayne performed the vast majority of Mississippi's autopsies, while his friend Dr. Michael West, a local dentist, pitched himself as a forensic jack-of-all-trades. Together they became the go-to experts for prosecutors and helped put countless Mississippians in prison. But then some of those convictions began to fall apart. 
Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington argue that bad forensics, structural racism, and institutional failures are at fault, and raise sobering questions about our criminal justice system's ability to address them.




LISTEN TO AN EXCERPT:






MY REVIEW:


The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist: A True Story of Injustice in the American SouthThe Cadaver King and the Country Dentist: A True Story of Injustice in the American South by Radley Balko
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist: A True Story of Injustice in the American South by Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington is a 2018 Public Affairs publication.

“The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it”- Flannery O’Connor

This book is shocking me, yet, it doesn’t shock me. I know our system has its flaws, that each state has their own peculiar laws and that corruption reigns supreme everywhere. I’ve been reading about the wrongfully convicted since the early eighties when I picked up a book entitled “A Death in Canaan”, which chronicles the incredible story of Peter Reilly who was wrongfully convicted of murdering his mother. Since that time, I’ve followed other cases, such as Timothy Masters, who was convicted based on a fantasy drawing he sketched as a teenager, and the notorious case of the West Memphis Three. Now, Netflix’s “Making a Murderer” has catapulted wrongful convictions in the national spotlight turning such stories into a craze.

“Just as a cockroach scurrying across a kitchen floor at night invariably proves the presence of thousands unseen, these cases leave little room for doubt that innocent men, at unknown and terrible moments in our history, have gone unexonerated and been sent baselessly to their deaths”

Unfortunately, these situations are entirely too common- almost reaching epidemic proportions and often do not get the press like the aforementioned cases garnered. This book highlights a shocking amount in wrongful convictions in the state of Mississippi. While we generally hear the details once a long overdue exoneration occurs, such as when DNA evidence coming to light, we rarely get the full picture, and if you aren’t a resident of Mississippi, or a fan of true crime programming where this case might pop up on your radar, you probably never even heard of these cases, much less the incredible circumstances that sent two innocent men to prison for decades.

I strongly urge you to read this eye opening, incredulous saga which exposed Steven Hayne, a prolific performer of autopsies- the amount of which is mind-boggling, and his partner in crime-Michael West- a dentist who claimed to be an expert in bite mark forensics. However, the question really is- How did these two men manage to get away with their treachery for so long?

The criminal justice system in Mississippi will leave you slack jawed. What’s worse, it that no one with the ability to expose the cracks, or plug the holes, seems to care. It's like they prefer it this way. It’s appalling!

The book focuses primarily on the cases of Levon Brooks and Kennedy Brewer, who were each wrongfully convicted of murdering three- year old girls, in separate cases. Both Hayne and West helped put the men behind bars, tag teaming at the trial by testifying about the discovery of a bite mark found after the body was submerged in water for over twenty-four hours, in one case. !!! Really? Yep. The judge allowed it and jury believed it.

Readers are also given a lesson on what is viable DNA and forensic evidence. This was a real eye-opener for me- and I even felt a little abashed after reading the margin of error in ‘pattern matching’ forensics.

A judge, remember, allowed this evidence in at trial, and while there some insinuation that the jurors should have balked at the testimony of West and Hayne, I’m afraid most of us would have believed the ‘expert witnesses’, especially after having been exposed to this type of information on numerous crime shows and in plenty of crime fiction, which is passed off as fact, with zero margin for errors, when in truth they are subjective. Most people naively believe in the justice system, and as such, gave these men the benefit of the doubt- especially since they probably didn’t know how much they were being paid for their testimony.

“Recent investigations, exonerations, and studies have also revealed scientific shortcomings in ballistics comparison, tire tread analysis, shoe print analysis, handwriting analysis, and even fingerprint matching. Shaken Baby Syndrome has come under scrutiny. Drug field test kits have been shown to have scandalously high rates of false positives, as have drug-sniffing dogs and dogs used to identify suspects based on scents taken from clothes or from the air.”

This book is quite informative, but if you suffer from high blood pressure, you may want to digest it in small doses because it is absolutely infuriating. It is also a good idea to read it in increments due to the subject matter, and the volume of information one must digest. I found my eyes crossing on a few occasions, as the book did grow tedious in spots and wasn't always he most exciting material,since it was very fact driven, and not written in the 'true crime novel", format, so it could be pretty dry reading. I don't know if there was a way to jazz up the presentation, really, but it did seem to drag on at times. I read other books in between, and found it very easy to pick up where I left off, but it did take a while to get through it.

That being said, I can not even begin to imagine spending eighteen years of my life in prison for a crime I did not commit- or being sent to death row!! My stomach was in knots thinking about the flaws in forensics, the corruption, outright lies, bribes, and of course the enormous role poverty and race plays in getting a proper defense. Thank goodness for The Innocence Project and for books like this one that will perhaps educate the public so that we will exercise our critical thinking skills more often, especially if you ever find yourself serving on a jury. This book will certainly give readers a great deal to think about, and maybe even send a few shivers down your spine. The very idea that there are more people out there like Hayne and West should give you more than a few restless nights.

GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Cadaver-King-Country-Dentist-Injustice-ebook/dp/B01NCHP7XH/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-cadaver-king-and-the-country-dentist-radley-balko/1127061517


ABOUT THE AUTHORS: 





Tucker Carrington

 is the director of the Mississippi Innocence Project at the University of Mississippi School of Law. He has worked as a criminal defense lawyer for his entire legal career, most of it as a public defender in Washington, D.C.



Balko is also credited with bringing national attention to the case of Cory Maye, a black man who prior to Balko’s work was on death row in Mississippi for shooting and killing a white police officer during a raid on Maye’s home. Balko’s Reason feature on Maye was also cited in an opinion by the Mississippi State Supreme Court. National Journal also profiled Balko’s coverage of the case. Balko’s November 2007 investigative report on Mississippi medical examiner Steven Hayne won second place in the investigative reporting category for the 2007 Los Angeles Press Club awards.

Balko was formerly a policy analyst with the Cato Institute. He has been a columnist for FoxNews.com, a senior editor at Reason, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Playboy, Time, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Slate, Forbes, ESPN, the National Post, Worth and numerous other publications. Balko has also appeared on the BBC, CNN, CNBC, Fox News Channel, MSNBC and NPR.

Balko is also the author of Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces, published in 2013. He graduated from Indiana University with a degree in journalism and political science.



Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Ghostwriter by Alessandra Torre - Feature and Review



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Four years ago, I lied. I stood in front of the police, my friends and family, and made up a story, my best one yet. And all of them believed me. 

I wasn't surprised. Telling stories is what made me famous. Fifteen bestsellers. Millions of fans. Fame and fortune.

Now, I have one last story to write. It'll be my best one yet, with a jaw-dropping twist that will leave them stunned and gasping for breath.

They say that sticks and stones will break your bones, but this story? It will be the one that kills me.


This book is not a romance. It is contemporary fiction, but very suspenseful in nature. It is about a famous romance author and a dark secret she keeps.

READ AN EXCERPT:






MY REVIEW:


The GhostwriterThe Ghostwriter by Alessandra Torre
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Ghostwriter by Alessandra Torre is a 2017 publication.

Helena, a novelist, has terminal cancer and is given only months to live. She lost her husband and child tragically and feels little need to fight hard against the disease. But, she does have some unfinished business she needs to take care of – her last book. Due to her illness, she will need help writing it. To that end, she employs a Ghostwriter- but not just anyone, mind you. The writer she insists on, is an author whose career she helped to derail and one she has traded barbed emails with over the years. But, once Mark agrees to write the book with Helena, the animosity between them wanes as Helena unveils a shocking truth about her life, her husband and child, and the circumstances surrounding their death, for which she has claims complete responsibility- guilt being the only factor driving her to complete her final book- but there is much more to her story than anyone could possibly imagine-

This book was nothing like I had anticipated. As I dove into my lovely beach books and more light -hearted summer reading, this book immediately tossed cold water on my sunny mood. It was dark, depressing, and I wasn’t really in the mood to read about such heavy topics at this time, but then Helena drops a massive bombshell, I never, ever could have seen coming, and suddenly I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

I think the author did a great job of portraying the character’s strengths and weaknesses, told a riveting story, and reminds readers that authors are not like the characters in their books. The squabbles between two authors is also one that is entirely plausible, but I enjoyed the way Mark and Helena worked together despite their differences. It’s a testament, too, that someone would go to the lengths Mark did when he had every reason not to. This is something we could all learn from. This story has no happy endings, per se, but some inspiration does spring forth, wrongs are righted, as best as they can be, and peace is found, which is all I could have asked for.

Despite the somberness of the story, I found it to be compelling and more suspenseful than I bargained for initially, and I’m glad it was recommended to me by several of my Goodreads friends.

GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Ghostwriter-Alessandra-Torre-ebook/dp/B0762HY74M/

THIS BOOK IS ALSO AVAILABLE WITH A KINDLE UNLIMITED SUBSCRIPTION

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Alessandra Torre is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of seventeen novels. Torre has been featured in such publications as Elle and Elle UK, as well as guest-blogged for the Huffington Post and RT Book Reviews. She is also the Bedroom Blogger for Cosmopolitan.com. In addition to writing, Alessandra is the creator of Alessandra Torre Ink, a website, community, and online school for aspiring authors. 

Learn more about Alessandra on her website at www.alessandratorre.com, or you can find her on Twitter (@ReadAlessandra) or her Facebook fanpage.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Hooked on Hollywood: Discoveries from a Lifetime of Film Fandom by Leonard Maltin- Feature and Review


                                                          ABOUT THE BOOK:

Leonard Maltin opens his personal archive in this book where he takes readers on a fascinating journey through film history. He first interviewed greats of Hollywood as a precocious teenager in 1960s New York City. He used what he learned from these luminaries to embark on a 50-year (and counting) career that has included New York Times bestselling books, 30 years of regular appearances coast-to-coast on Entertainment Tonight, movie introductions on Turner Classic Movies, and countless other television and radio performances. From one-on-ones with Warner Bros. sexy pre-Code siren Joan Blondell; Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated actor Burgess Meredith; Cecil B. DeMille’s right-hand-man Henry Wilcoxon to in-depth interviews that reveal what life was like under Louis B. Mayer, Jack Warner, Harry Cohn, and the other titans of Hollywood. What emerges is a fascinating and at times uproarious homage to Golden Era Hollywood. In addition, key feature articles from Maltin’s newsletter Movie Crazy are published here for the first time, providing new perspectives on the Warner Bros. classics Casablanca and Gold Diggers of 1933 as well as many other masterpieces—and bombs—from Hollywood history. Finally, Maltin looks back at what he considers Hollywood’s “overlooked” studio, RKO Radio Pictures, which gave us such classics as King Kong and the many dance musicals of Astaire and Rogers. In Leonard’s unique and witty style, he looks at dozens of obscure RKO features from the 1930s, including saucy pre-Codes, musicals, comedies, and mysteries. Leonard Maltin’s love of movies and vast knowledge about their history shines through from the first page to the last in this unique volume, which includes 150 rare photos and a comprehensive index.

MY REVIEW:


Hooked on Hollywood: Discoveries from a Lifetime of Film FandomHooked on Hollywood: Discoveries from a Lifetime of Film Fandom by Leonard Maltin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hooked on Hollywood: Discoveries from a Lifetime of Film Fandom by Leonard Maltin is a 2018 publication.

If you are a film buff with a healthy appreciation for old movies and old Hollywood, you simply must treat yourself to this book!!

Having based a successful career around the movie industry, all his knowledge about the business, the information he gleened from interviews, and the critical eye he was required to apply to his movie reviews, could have left Maltin feeling a little jaded. After all, it is a job, just like any other, but this book makes it obvious the author is still enthralled with his subject. Despite the professional approach, the movie fan in Maltin still shines through.

Maltin has been interviewing actors and actresses since he was in high school, and he certainly has a knack for it. He’s been doing interviews and reviewing movies for over fifty years. So, naturally, during that time, he’s learned quite a few interesting tidbits and trivia about Hollywood, some of which he has compiled here in this book, along with some of his early interviews.

I found the interview with Burgess Meredith quite interesting. I only knew him in a few roles- mainly ‘Batman’, a role he was quick to say he enjoyed playing. However, I was surprised by the depth of his career. I was also impressed by the amount of time he sat with Maltin and the interesting answers he gave.



                                                     BURGESS MEREDITH

And... I love Joan Blondell-

Many may know her from the movie "Grease" but, her career spanned over fify years.

She once did 32 pictures in 27 months!! She gave an interesting, blunt, and insightful interview, as well.

The ‘Conversations’ section differs slightly from in the interview segment, the main difference being that Maltin’s subjects were given more latitude, and the answers were much lengthier with many more interesting details, opinions and impressions.


                                                  JOAN BLONDELL - PRE-CODE

Other interesting conversations for me were from people whose names I did not recognize.








I was not familiar with Madge Evans or Peggy Webber ,but found their careers and interviews very intriguing. As it turns out Peggy’s career was quite long, as she ‘looped’ and ‘dubbed’ for many films.

                                                              MADGE EVANS

But, perhaps the most interesting part of the book is the section about RKO Studios. RKO stopped making movies in the 1950’s, and as Maltin says- the corporate name lived on, but it was in many respects the ‘forgotten’ studio. But, RKO studio had some real blockbusters back in its prime- like ‘King Kong” for example.




But, here, Maltin takes a closer look at some lesser known gems- some of which even the most avid film buff may not be aware of, or if they are, wouldn’t know half of the information Maltin as provided for us here. The pre-code gems were a fantastic addition to the list. I’ve seen some pre-code media and it’s amazing what was allowed on film- especially for those of us who have always lived under the strict ratings system we have today.

To tell the truth, I’ve long ago given up on the movie industry, but the rest of my family are avid movie fans. For me, the older movies are the only ones I will spare time for. Old Hollywood has always been fascinating to me, and I tend to gravitate towards books, fiction or non-fiction, that explore that era of time. This book, then, was very fun for me, and I discovered many movies I had not heard of, learned many interesting facts about actors and actresses I was aware of, and of course a few I was unfamiliar with.

The book is well organized and packed with a wealth of little -known facts and frank conversations, which may also make it appealing to those who enjoy history, pop culture, nostalgia, or to those who thrive on trivia.



This book can be read straight through, but I enjoyed picking up between reads and savoring it a little at a time. This is a book I will keep as a reference from time to time, or to simply reminisce.

Hooked on Hollywood: Discoveries from a Lifetime of Film FandomHooked on Hollywood: Discoveries from a Lifetime of Film Fandom by Leonard Maltin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hooked on Hollywood: Discoveries from a Lifetime of Film Fandom by Leonard Maltin is a 2018 publication.

If you are a film buff with a healthy appreciation for old movies and old Hollywood, you simply must treat yourself to this book!!

Having based a successful career around the movie industry, all his knowledge about the business, the information he gleened from interviews, and the critical eye he was required to apply to his movie reviews, could have left Maltin feeling a little jaded. After all, it is a job, just like any other, but this book makes it obvious the author is still enthalled with his subject. Despite the professional approach, the movie fan in Maltin still shines through.

Maltin has been interviewing actors and actresses since he was in high school, and he certainly has a knack for it. He’s been doing interviews and reviewing movies for over fifty years. So, naturally, during that time, he’s learned quite a few interesting tidbits and trivia about Hollywood, some of which he has compiled here in this book, along with some of his early interviews.

I found the interview with Burgess Meredith quite interesting. I only knew him in a few roles- mainly ‘Batman’, a role he was quick to say he enjoyed playing. However, I was surprised by the depth of his career. I was also impressed by the amount of time he sat with Maltin and the interesting answers he gave.

And... I love Joan Blondell-

Many may know her from the movie "Grease" but, her career spanned over fify years.

She once did 32 pictures in 27 months!! She gave an interesting, blunt, and insightful interview, as well.

The ‘Conversations’ section differs slightly from in the interview segment, the main difference being that Maltin’s subjects were given more latitude, and the answers were much lengthier with many more interesting details, opinions and impressions.

Other interesting conversations for me were from people whose names I did not recognize.

I was not familiar with Madge Evans or Peggy Webber ,but found their careers and interviews very intriguing. As it turns out Peggy’s career was quite long, as she ‘looped’ and ‘dubbed’ for many films.

But, perhaps the most interesting part of the book is the section about RKO Studios. RKO stopped making movies in the 1950’s, and as Maltin says- the corporate name lived on, but it was in many respects the ‘forgotten’ studio. But, RKO studio had some real blockbusters back in its prime- like ‘King Kong” for example.

But, here, Maltin takes a closer look at some lesser known gems- some of which even the most avid film buff may not be aware of, or if they are, wouldn’t know half of the information Maltin as provided for us here. The pre-code gems were a fantastic addition to the list. I’ve seen some pre-code media and it’s amazing what was allowed on film- especially for those of us who have always lived under the strict ratings system we have today.

To tell the truth, I’ve long ago given up on the movie industry, but the rest of my family are avid movie fans. For me, the older movies are the only ones I will spare time for. Old Hollywood has always been fascinating to me, and I tend to gravitate towards books, fiction or non-fiction, that explore that era of time. This book, then, was very fun for me, and I discovered many movies I had not heard of, learned many interesting facts about actors and actresses I was aware of, and of course a few I was unfamiliar with.

The book is well organized and packed with a wealth of little -known facts and frank conversations, which may also make it appealing to those who enjoy history, pop culture, nostalgia, or to those who thrive on trivia.

This book can be read straight through, but I enjoyed picking up between reads and savoring it a little at a time. This is a book I will keep as a reference from time to time, or to simply reminisce.

I love books like this one. It appeals to my love of history, old Hollywood, and my ever -increasing fascination with anything off the beaten path or obscure, lost or forgotten. Maltin’s first -hand experience adds that special added touch of magic, and even feels a little poignant, as well.



 I love books like this one. It appeals to my love of history, old Hollywood, and my ever -increasing fascination with anything off the beaten path or obscure, lost or forgotten. Maltin’s first -hand experience adds that special added touch of magic, and even feels a little poignant, as well.








  GET YOUR COPY HERE:


https://www.amazon.com/Hooked-Hollywood-Discoveries-Lifetime-Fandom-ebook/dp/B07DF86Q8N/



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Leonard Maltin, is an American film and animated-film critic and historian. 

Maltin began his writing career at age fifteen, writing for Classic Images and editing and publishing his own fanzine, Film Fan Monthly, dedicated to films from the golden age of Hollywood. After receiving a journalism degree at New York University, Maltin went on to publish articles in a variety of film journals, national news-papers, and magazines, including Variety and TV Guide.
Maltin in 1990

As an author, Maltin is best known for Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide, (some editions titled as his ...Movie and Video Guide), a compendium of synopses and reviews that first appeared in September 1969 and has been annually updated since October 1987. (It was published under the title TV Movies until the 1990s, and in 2005 spawned a spin-off, Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide, limited to films released in 1960 and earlier to allow the regular book to cover a larger number of more recent titles.) He has also written several other works, including Behind the Camera, a study of the art of cinematography, The Whole Film Sourcebook, Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia, Our Gang: The Life and Times of the Little Rascals, and Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons.

Since May 29, 1982, Maltin has been the movie reviewer on the syndicated television series Entertainment Tonight. He also appears on the Starz cable network, and hosted his own syndicated radio program, Leonard Maltin on Video, as well as the syndicated TV show Hot Ticket with Boston film critic Joyce Kulhawik (originally E! personality and game show host Todd Newton). He currently hosts a television show entitled Secret's Out on ReelzChannel movie network. He also spearheaded the creation of the Walt Disney Treasures collectible DVD line in 2001,[4] and continues to provide creative input and host the various sets.

He appeared on Pyramid twice as a celebrity player, in 1987 on the CBS $25,000 version and in 1991 on the John Davidson version. He appeared on Super Password as a celebrity guest in 1988.

In the mid-1990s, he became the president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and is on the Advisory Board of the Hollywood Entertainment Museum. For nearly a decade, Maltin was also on the faculty of the New School for Social Research in New York City. He currently teaches in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California.

In 1998, Maltin settled a libel suit brought by former child star Billy Gray, of Father Knows Best fame, whom Maltin identified as a drug addict and dealer in his review of the film Dusty and Sweets McGee for the movie guide book. The statement appeared in print for nearly twenty-five years before Maltin publicly apologized for the error.[5]

He currently hosts "The Maltin Minute" for DirecTV customers. Maltin also teaches at the University of Southern California.