Bukhonina’s book covers several famous artists and the inspiration, usually women though in some casesDisclaimer: ARC via Net galley and Museyon Inc.
Bukhonina’s book covers several famous artists and the inspiration, usually women though in some cases men, that inspired them. She deals not only with artists in terms of the literal sense of the word, but also writers, musicians and film makers. In some cases, she focuses more on the inspirational person than on the artist. The book starts off with Alexandre Dumas’ father includes Mata Hari, Marie Dupleiness, and Doyle. Among these more well-known individuals, Bukhonia also includes the true story of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”, theater manager Renee Harris, Suzanne Valadon, as well as Hachiko, Japan’s famous loyal dog. She also includes people who might be polarizing, such as Hattie McDaniel who can be a polarizing figure because of the roles that she portrayed. It is to Bukhonina’s credit that she includes women whose lives inspired and women who were more like muses – think of Picasso or Dali’s relationships with their perspective women. She also does not shy away from mentioning the more abusive aspects of some of the relationships. At times, though not often, the style is somewhat like a checklist. Mention this, mention that, mention this. There is also a point where it is not quite clear that she is talking about Alexandre Dumas fils or the more famous Alexandre Dumas, his father. Yet despite the fame and well known histories of some of the subjects, the book does an excellent jump and makes for exciting reading. It is an enjoyable, enlightening, quick read. ...more
I have to say that this is the first Winemaker Detective book that I have disliked. Undoubtedly, it is**spoiler alert** Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley
I have to say that this is the first Winemaker Detective book that I have disliked. Undoubtedly, it is because I read it during an American election cycle that, in part, has to do with characterization and portrayal of women. Perhaps if I had read it at a different time, I would feel differently.
The writing hasn’t suffered in terms of characterization. Benjamin, Virgile, and Elisabeth are as always. One of the best parts of the book is Benjamin and Elisabeth’s visit to a restaurant/tea room. The problem isn’t even the mystery per se, it is the sub-plot that is paired with the mystery.
The mystery concerns the death and possible rape of a young women. To the attentive reader, the big reveal is hardly surprising and, to a female reader, can come across as slightly troubling considering that the behavior of one of the supporting male characters. It also comes across as a variation of women shouldn’t play with the boys. This is something that almost seems out of character for the series. Paired with the subplot involving Benjamin’s father, one is left with a book with plenty of male characters who most defend themselves from women. Normally, this wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but considering how few female characters there are (two with detailed speaking roles, and two who effect the plot by absence) compared to the male characters (six with detailed speaking roles).
However, my reaction to this could simply be because of timing. I read the book while watching one presidential candidate admit to sexually assaulting and implying that his opponent doesn’t have a perky ass. My tolerance is low at now and even the charm of Benjamin doesn’t do much to help. ...more
Disclaimer: ARC Via Netgalley and Riverdale Avenue Books
So I find it really hard to be negative about anything that expresses a love for the Jason anDisclaimer: ARC Via Netgalley and Riverdale Avenue Books
So I find it really hard to be negative about anything that expresses a love for the Jason and Argonuats movie by Harryhausen. Just saying.
In fairness, I should note that I am not a huge romance fan. I really am not. But how can you pass up a book that actually acknowledges that the Argonauts weren’t just rowing oars?
Curlovich does a fine job of bring the legend to life.
The story of Jason and his quest for the fleece is told via Acastus, his cousin, and son of the man who stole Jason’s father’s throne. Acastus is not a typical Greek prince, something that no doubt can be traced to dedication to the Muses. His father is not quite right and there is a sense of decay in the kingdom. The arrival of Jason and the quest for the fleece suggests a solution to the problem.
In some respects, the book is a typical romance. There is instant love between Acastus and his partner, there is instant lust as well. Curlovich does an excellent job at showing the love between the men, in particular when it is the true love of equal. This actually makes the use of instant love less annoying because the relationship does develop and not every character is going “oh, does he love I don’t know for sure” like in another book I recently read.
Acastus is a fully rounded character whose conflicts might be too modern in some aspects, but, perhaps because of this, his voice makes it easier for the reader to enter the realm of the story. He isn’t perfect, and at times, he uses too modern a tone – there is a reference to differences in cultural values that does seem to fit an ancient Greek.
The sequence describing the Argonauts quest for the fleece is good and contends the right amount of daring do. The drawback is that too few of the crew stands out. While this is understandable considering the source material, it can also be a little confusing or disheartening as some characters seem to pop up and go away again, making it hard for the reader to become attached to them. At times, too, it does feel like Curlovich is pairing all of them up. This makes Atlanta an oddity because she is the sole women on the ship. While I wish her role had been larger, Curlovich includes her, which is more than many modern retellings do.
Still, that is a very interesting part of the book. While I might not agree with Curlovich’s reading of the Medea story, his use of homosexuality in terms of Greek culture as well as woman’s place in that culture is well thought out. What do the powerless do when they are cut out of most aspects of societal control? It is an interesting theory that Curlovich plays with, and it does make sense.
This is the first male romance book that I have read, and I want to read more Curlovich. ...more
Disclaimer: ARC via Llewellyn Worldwide and Netgalley
I made a nice woman roll her eyes at me this summer. I didn’t mean to; I was answering a questioDisclaimer: ARC via Llewellyn Worldwide and Netgalley
I made a nice woman roll her eyes at me this summer. I didn’t mean to; I was answering a question truthfully. It is true that I got interested in Virginia history by reading the ghost folklore collections of L. B. Taylor Jr.
And that’s why I love ghost stories, the “true” ones. Well told, they can get interested in history.
Swayne’s collection of ghost folklore, dealing with country singers and country music sites, is a pretty good collection. It may not be long or even short on American history, but it is full of Country Music History, and will make the person who only has a passing interest in Country Music want to listen to more.
The famous people included in the book include Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, and Johnny Cash. Elvis makes an appearance as well. Famous includes concert venues but also bars and honky tonks. It’s a pretty good collection. The stories are well told and the factual information is present. It’s a great little collection and well worth a read if you are interested in country music or ghost folklore. ...more