Posted in Book Review

Book Review: First Women: The Grace And Power Of America’s Modern First Ladies by Kate Andersen Brower

“…all Bushes love the Johnsons.” ~ Barbara Bush in a 1998 letter to Lady Bird Johnson

first-women-the-grace-and-power-of-americas-modern-first-ladies-by-kate-andersen-browerIt has been a while since I posted a blog, Dear Bloggites, and for that I am sincerely sorry.  This book review is over the October book choice for the Books & Broads Book Club.  The book I am going to review is First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies by Kate Andersen Brower.  Man is that a mouthful to say, as well as, type! 🙂

I was pleasantly surprised that this book was an interesting read.  I was worried the writer would skew their writing to support their political viewpoint, but it was really written in a matter of fact way where the information was given in concise statements without any lean toward one side or the other.

The book covered ten first ladies from Kennedy to Obama and how their rare membership to the elite club of First Ladies has forged friendships that bypassed any political standings.  I enjoyed reading excerpts from various letters or statements made between the first women in the transition of outgoing to incoming Presidents and the support system given throughout each other’s time in the office as well as after their time in the office.

The first 3/4ths of the book, was an easy read, but the last 1/4th was a beating to get through.  Once I reached this point, I was re-reading stories that were already covered earlier in the book and it became annoying.  I fault this on the editors as well as the author, Kate Andersen Brower, for not cleaning up the book better.  I understand that the stories may fit into various categories (which is how the book was broken up) but after the third or fourth time of reading the same story, it killed my interest in going on with the story.

The setup of the book was rather confusing until you realized the title for each chapter was the subject being given in the various relationships such as the chapter titled The Good Wife covered the different first ladies and how they handled being married to the President of the United States.  The reader is confused at the jumping back and forth between the ladies until you realize it was connected to the title and not in chronological order of each President’s term in office.

Overall, I enjoyed the book until the final chapters which is really bad because I truly enjoyed the relationships between the ladies without the feeling of the author gossiping about anyone.  I just wished they would have edited the book better in the end and compiled the stories in a better format.

I give First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies by Kate Andersen Brower 3 out of 5 Bookmarks.  If you like politics and the inner workings, this book is probably for you.


~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Tribe by Sebastian Junger

Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary.  It’s time for that to change. ~Sebastian Junger

This quote above pretty much sums up the purpose of the book I am going to review.  Tribe (On Homecoming and Belonging) by Sebastian Junger is about how our society lives in an individualistic mindset which has caused many of the divides in America today.  Tribe compares the mindset of several American Indian tribes and their social infrastructure that is based on an egalitarian system.  The author also compares the mindset of soldiers who are in the midst of war and their mindset which reflects that of the America Indians and how this mindset makes it hard for Veterans who are back from the war trying to fit into the individualistic mindset of today’s current society.

tribe-by-sebastian-jungerI had never heard of this book until one of the Awesome Books & Broads Book Club friend came to me and showed me the book saying she thought of me when she saw the title because I always reference the Books & Broads Book Club Members as My Tribe, the ones who get me, warts and all, but still accept me into their fold.  I asked her if I could read the book and return it back to her at our next meeting and she agreed to let me borrow it, and man am I so glad!  As all of you know, Dear Bloggites, I come from a family of military that reaches back many generations, so I have a soft spot for Veterans and their plight of trying to fit in once their tour is over.

Sebastian Junger’s book, Tribe, talks about how the world has changed and evolved over the years and while technology and all the current information we have access to is good for the economy, it hurts the unified mindset that founded this country.  People used to live to help care for each other and worked to ensure all members of society are taken care of from the youngest to the oldest and all other walks of life in between.  But with the growing economy and knowledge, people’s views turn from the care of others to the care of themselves and so the separation begins thus causing a divide within the society we have worked so hard to create.

Tribe discusses the habits and mindset of the American Indians and the history of early America and how the mindset has changed and warped into the current “me” society we see.  Sebastian Junger discusses the mindset of the military soldiers that are fighting war first hand and how their mindset is much like the America Indians where the belief is everyone receives equal parts and everyone gives to the members by doing their fair share of the work to ensure all members return and none are lost.   Junger also touches on how Veterans have a hard time leaving war from the mindset of we are all equal parts in this world to return to society and it’s mindset of we are all individuals who only take care of ourselves and no one else.  This lack of feeling useful for the Veterans tend to cause any form of PTSD to feel worse because of their need to feel useful in a world that seems to have no use for them anymore.

I really enjoyed reading this book and it made me want to do my part in helping to integrate Veterans back into society by hearing their stories while at war and helping make them feel like they are needed still even though their tour is over.  Everyone wants to feel needed and when our need is not met, we flounder and feel less of a person than we would if we were providing a use to the world around us.  I am currently going through this with the loss of my Father, a Vietnam Vet, who just past a couple of months back.  I was by his side being useful every day practically 24-hours and at the end, 24-hours a day until he passed away.  Now I am floundering trying to find my way again because my life and world was put on hold, willingly and gratefully, to be there for my Dad and care for him.  This book touched my very core and I feel so much better after reading it because it gave me a call to action to do something to help fill the void of my life, a void that was left when my Dad passed on.

I give Tribe by Sebastian Junger 5 out of 5 Bookmarks.  Go read a copy, it will change your world for the better after you do! 🙂

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Transformed: Paris by Suzanne Falter & Jack Harvey

Hello, Dear Bloggites.  Well, this is a first for me and man was I pleasantly surprised.  As you all know, I love helping new and up-and-coming authors promote their books, so I was truly touched when I received an email from the author, Suzanne Falter, who offered a free copy of her book to me if I was willing to write a review for her.  Of course, I accepted because based on her description of the book, I was intrigued by the storyline.

transformed-paris-by-suzanne-falter-jack-harveyThis book review is on Transformed: Paris by Suzanne Falter & Jack Harvey.  It is indeed a fun spy novel.  When I saw the little sub-title of the book that said, “A Quirky Queer Spy Novel” I did not think anything of it other than thinking it was going to be a good old-fashioned old school spy novel.  Never did it cross my mind that it was about a multitude of sexual preferences throughout the spy storyline, because my brain does not go to homosexuality or pansexuality or transgender when I see the word queer.  My brain is not built like that, people are people to me, any sexual preference they may have is fine with me.  I am a heterosexual gal, but have many, many friends who prefer a different lifestyle, so I think nothing of words and their slang meanings in this day and age.

That being said, I loved this book and all the quirky characters I met within the pages. 🙂  The two main characters are Charley, a Transgender spy, and his girlfriend, Electra, a dominatrix.  Charley has been sent on an assignment to Paris, France to help break up a plan for planting dirty bombs all over Paris.  Of course, Electra is not one to sit on the side lines and immerses herself into the thick of things once she arrives in Paris with Charley.  The reader instantly falls in love with these two characters because of how they interact with each other.  Almost immediately, you are introduced into all the players of the storyline.  From the bad guys to the good guys and some surprise helpers, the reader can relate to one of the many dimensions of each character.

The author, Suzanne Falter and her co-author, Jack Harvey, did a wonderful job with how they wrote all the characters.  Each character in the book had unique personalities and habits and tendencies that the readers can relate to throughout the storyline.  You want sexual tension, this novel has it; you want intrigue, you can find it here; you want loveable characters, look no further!  This novel has it all from espionage to kidnapping to love, found and lost then found again, you have it all, Dear Bloggites!

The novel was well written in an easy to read style that does not trip up the reader or make the reader struggle to read through the chapters.  My only critique I have of this book is that the writers put a little too much emphasis on the sexual preference of each character at the beginning and they also discussed different terms that most people, who do not live that lifestyle, would not know and it was not explained in the novel.

The storyline kept me totally interested in wanting to know what was going to happen next and any reader of this book will find that they are anxious to see what will happen next.  If I had not been fighting an illness, I would have sat down and read this novel in one sitting because the storyline kept me wanting more.  Kudos to Suzanne and Jack for providing a wonderful, unexpected story that I will gladly share with all my non-Neanderthal friends who love a good read!

I give Transformed: Paris (A quirky queer spy novel) by Suzanne Falter & Jack Harvey 4 out of 5 Bookmarks!  Thank you, Suzanne, for trusting me with your novel and I will definitely be checking in on Charley and Electra in future stories. 🙂

~4-Ever, P