Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

Product Details

The Knockoff: A Novel
by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

May 19, 2015 | Kindle eBook

Book Description

 May 19, 2015
An outrageously stylish, wickedly funny novel of fashion in the digital age, The Knockoff is the story of Imogen Tate, editor in chief of Glossy magazine, who finds her twentysomething former assistant Eve Morton plotting to knock Imogen off her pedestal, take over her job, and reduce the magazine, famous for its lavish 768-page September issue, into an app.
When Imogen returns to work at Glossy after six months away, she can barely recognize her own magazine. Eve, fresh out of Harvard Business School, has fired “the gray hairs,” put the managing editor in a supply closet, stopped using the landlines, and hired a bevy of manicured and questionably attired underlings who text and tweet their way through meetings. Imogen, darling of the fashion world, may have Alexander Wang and Diane von Furstenberg on speed dial, but she can’t tell Facebook from Foursquare and once got her iPhone stuck in Japanese for two days. Under Eve’s reign, Glossy is rapidly becoming a digital sweatshop—hackathons rage all night, girls who sleep get fired, and “fun” means mandatory, company-wide coordinated dances to BeyoncĂ©. Wildly out of her depth, Imogen faces a choice—pack up her Smythson notebooks and quit, or channel her inner geek and take on Eve to save both the magazine and her career. A glittering, uproarious, sharply drawn story filled with thinly veiled fashion personalities, The Knockoff is an insider’s look at the ever-changing world of fashion and a fabulous romp for our Internet-addicted age.

From the Hardcover edition.

This may be touted as a  different take on the book, “The Devil Wears Prada”, but   any of the ‘gray hairs’ that this book pokes fun at will know in an instant that this is an up dated, tech filled remake of “All About Eve”.  You might even say that it has just a touch of the original 1939 “The Women” added to the mix too.  Granted it really does have a generous helping of The Devil Wears Prada also!

This was really a depressing book for me at the start.  I too, am a tech dinosaur/gray hair just hanging around until I become extinct.  But the more I read, the more I really got into this book and could see that the authors went to great pains not to make those of us no comfy with tech too uncomfortable (plus I really did learn a lot!) with this book.

This is a great, gossipy, bitchy, well written, back biting and hair tearing out frustrating book.  You may want to smack Imogen around a few times for not doing what can at times seem so obvious to the reader…you will definitely  want to thrust a shiv into Eves back a time or twelve. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Simple Prayer (Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel)

A Simple Prayer (Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel)

Paperback – May 5, 2015

by Amy Clipston (Author)

            Product Details

Book Description
 May 5, 2015Linda is no stranger to hardship. Now she dares to hope for a chance at love and a new beginning.
As the sole survivor of a buggy accident that left her orphaned at age four, Linda Zook was reluctantly raised by her Uncle Reuben. She longs to be worthy of someone, but the lasting trauma of her injuries and embittered upbringing have destroyed her self-worth. When Hannah Peterson asks her to work at the Heart of Paradise Bed & Breakfast, she’s finally able to realize some confidence.
Aaron Ebersol left the Amish community seventeen years ago when he could no longer bear the restrictions or the constant tension with his father. Despite years of unanswered letters to his parents and the roots he’s put down in Missouri, Aaron rushes back to the Amish community of Paradise, Pennsylvania, after receiving word of his mother’s stroke. Hesitant to get too close to the family he was once a part of, he decides to stay at the Heart of Paradise Bed & Breakfast. Talking with Linda allows him to explore his feelings about his family and his position in the Amish community.
As Linda and Aaron open up to each other, their feelings for one another turn into more than friendship, and Aaron must make a decision about his future as an Amish man.
Can Linda and Aaron forgive the family members who have deceived and forsaken them? And will Aaron be able to convince Linda that she is worthy of his love?

I'm a bit reluctant about writing this review, but since I promise the publisher I would, here goes.

I have not read anything else in this series, or by this author, so I was unaware that threads from other books would get tied up in this one. For a first-time reader this may bake for a somewhat confusing or frustrating read.

In my eyes, much of the book was very repetitive - the issues that Linda and Aaron had with their respective families had been repeated often with various other secondary and tertiary characters as well as between the both of them.

I am not a follower of this faith but I do occasionally like to read these types of books so I can get a glimpse into other worlds -this books message did give me a goodly amount to ponder and the Amish parts of it was quit interesting but some of it seemed a bit flawed...unless I don't understand the Amish way of living that I thought I did. I understand that there are different levels of living 'Plain' and this may just had been a level that I had not seen before.

If I were to nit-pick, I would say I was a bit troubled by the author's way or rather a lack I should say, of describing things, places and even the weather. These things are important to me a d allows me to feel a better understanding of what the characters are living through.

We do get a great HEA and Aaron does get to see, if not quite justice done, (that would be sending the wrong message) at least an apology from the one who wronged him.

A good, solid Faith based read that just didn't ring all the important bells for me.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Jack of Spades: A Tale of Suspense (Not Really!)

 Product Details
Book Description
 May 5, 2015
By - Joyce Carol Oates 
From one of the most inimitable writers of our generation, Jack of Spades is an exquisite, psychologically complex thriller about the opposing forces within the mind of one ambitious writer, and the line between genius and madness.
Andrew J. Rush has achieved the kind of critical and commercial success most authors only dream about: his twenty-eight mystery novels have sold millions of copies in nearly thirty countries, and he has a top agent and publisher in New York. He also has a loving wife, three grown children, and is a well-regarded philanthropist in his small New Jersey town. But Rush is hiding a dark secret. Under the pseudonym “Jack of Spades,” he writes another string of novels—dark potboilers that are violent, lurid, even masochistic. These are novels that the refined, upstanding Andrew Rush wouldn’t be seen reading, let alone writing. Until one day, his daughter comes across a Jack of Spades novel that he has carelessly left out and begins to ask questions. Meanwhile, Rush receives a court summons in the mail explaining that a local woman has accused him of plagiarizing her own self-published fiction. Rush’s reputation, career, and family life all come under threat—and unbidden, in the back of his mind, the Jack of Spades starts thinking ever more evil thoughts.

If you have read Stephen Kings “The Dark Half”, then you will get the joke behind this rather mediocre short novel.  At 200 and a few more pages, it reads more like a novella or an unfinished novel.

If this was supposed to be a humorous or even satirical book, I just didn’t get it. The characters are thinly written, the plotting was weak, the story-line was silly and so unbelievable that even for horror it had me scratching my head in bemusement and the humor was for me- non-existent.  I couldn’t find myself emotionally bonding with any of the characters.  

On the other hand this book does seem to find so many of today’s issues that are plaguing the writing world, especially the self-published and yanks these issues out into the open and lays them bare.
I wish I had read this book in its finished format to see just how the author explains her using Stephen Kings name (among other very famous authors) and his reactions when Ms Oates made him a plagiarist as part of her story.

I have heard of Ms. Oates before and had always meant to read something by her, but if this is what I can expect then I think I will take a pass at anything else.   

*ARC supplied by publisher