Tuesday, February 28, 2012

'My Week with Marilyn' Book Review

My Week with Marilyn
Colin Clark
Weinstein Books
De Capo Press

                When I first seen the preview for this movie, I was immediately hooked. Being that I am a huge Marilyn Monroe fan I knew that I just had to see it. However when I found out that it was taken from a book, as most amazing movies are. At least in my opinion they are. I then knew I had to read the book and the book became much more important to me than the movie did and to this day I am writing this having just finished the book and still have not seen the movie. I do have the movie sitting on my dresser right next to me but I am the kind of woman that believes the books are so much better and I must read them before even beginning to watch the movie.

                Now with that being said, ‘My Week with Marilyn’ is a book showcasing Colin Clark’s story of his week with Marilyn which he titled, “My Week with Marilyn” in its other releases as well as his own personal diary entries which were titled, “The Prince and the Showgirl”, those were written while he worked as a 3rd Assistant Director on the film, starring Marilyn Monroe and Sir Laurence Oliver.  This was the first time both forms had been put together as a book; they had both previously been released separately.

                I was very excited to start this book; I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it would hold in it, I mean imagine actually getting to spend a week with Marilyn Monroe! This book had to be good! The first part of the book, which is ‘My Week with Marilyn’, is extremely intriguing. You get to see everyone who was a part of that movie and what their role is. You see from Colin’s point of view what his take is on everyone including everyone in Marilyn’s party, which includes herself. At this point in time she was married to playwright Arthur Miller. This book did not portray Arthur as a very kind fellow, more of an egotistical self-centered jerk. Colin felt sorry for Marilyn in most of the book; he stated numerous times that the people surrounding her were so terrible for her and this I completely agree with and I believe they were a great contribute to her demise.

The Strasbergs, Milton Greene, and Hedda were the people that were her team. Lee and Paula Strasberg were her acting coaches on this film although Paula was the only one present; Lee was always contacted by phone when big problems arose. Milton Greene was her partner in Marilyn Monroe Productions and the man who got her out of her wretched contract with 20th Century Fox; he was in charge of getting her to the studio each day, which proved to be a great burden considering she was always late. Hedda was a secretary and really no help at all considering she was drunk most of the time.

Colin worked for Sir Laurence Oliver but somehow got twisted up into Marilyn’s life. He said she was just so hypnotizing no one could stay away from her. He feared for her well-being during the filming, because Milton’s way of helping her cope was to continuously feed her pills she did not need. In the end the film turned out to be torture for everyone. 

I really enjoyed reading the first half of this book, the way he told his story of his week with her was wonderful, even though I do believe it was only a few days that they interacted and not a full week. However once I got halfway through the diary entries I lost a lot of interest, it seemed he was writing the same thing over and over again. Marilyn was late and seemed confused, Sir Laurence Oliver was getting more and more upset and didn’t know what to do about it. That was the general idea of every diary entry. Don’t get me wrong I did enjoy a lot of the diary entries but it was hard to read through all of them, with the same repetition it had.

It also doesn’t tell you much about Marilyn that you probably don’t already know, so if you are looking for a story of her life this isn’t it, this is a story of the filming of ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’.

Overall it was a wonderful book and a wonderful insight into the filming of ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’ which was intriguing. It is a nice piece to read and have if you are a Marilyn fan, I must say.

*I was given this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Monday, February 20, 2012

'The Lifeguard' Book Review

The Lifeguard
By: Deborah Blumenthal

To be honest when I first picked up ‘The Lifeguard’ I wasn’t all too interested in it. The description of the book sounds like the typical love story. The typical a girl is going through a tough time and falls in love during summer vacation.

But I was pleasantly surprised by the wonderfully captivating story this book told. I was really impressed by the characters. They weren’t your typical fairy tale love story main characters. Sirena had real problems. Her parents getting divorced really tore her whole world apart and instead of doing her usual routine for summer by going to camp with her best friend, Marissa. She is forced to go say with her Aunt Ellie in Rhode Island, who she barely knows.

Her life takes a lot of new turns and has new meaning as she begins volunteering at the local hospital, reading to the children. Her eyes really begin to open to the world around her. She also meets Antonio, an eighty year old man who is an amazing painter and a brilliant man. Antonio becomes a mentor to Sirena and helps her with a lot more than just getting her talent to paint back.

Then there is Pilot, who is just the most beautiful human being on the planet to Sirena. Her brain just couldn’t seem to function around him. He was gorgeous yes but he wasn’t like anyone she had ever met. He was mysterious and quiet and seems to be around whenever anyone is in trouble.

So when Sirena is in a terrible accident that brings her very close to death will Pilot be her hero and come to her rescue.

‘The Lifeguard’ was a beautiful story I found myself caught up in the story. You become very emotional. So many things happen in this story that will really tug at the heart strings. ‘The Lifeguard’ was a definite treat; I would recommend this book to anyone looking to escape into a life of love and fantasy.

*I was given this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts sre my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Burned (House of Night)

P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
St. Martin's Griffin
ISBN: 978 – 0 – 312-38796 – 9

                We return to the battle of good versus evil in ‘Burned’ the seventh installment in the House of Night series. ‘Burned’ takes on a more morose and dark feeling. Zoey’s soul has shattered and with that brings a very real life or death situation to the whole group. As the team works together in Italy figure out how to help piece Zoey back together. Stevie Rae is back at the House of Night fighting her own battles literally.
What everyone doesn't know is that Stevie Rae is dangerously teetering on the edge of light and darkness. She knows that a lot of her actions are wrong and she shouldn't feel the way she does. But unfortunately she doesn't know where to turn or what to do and that is showcased in this book. In the end who will Stevie Rae’s true loyalty lie with?
Will Zoey be able to overcome her guilt and heartbreak over Heath’s death and pull herself together to continue to fight the forces of evil, Kalona and Neferet? Or will her friends be left to face them alone without their high priestess?
So, ‘Burned’ was by far my favorite book in the series yet I felt like this installment was the first book where all the characters left all the childishness behind them and became adults. There is much more depth to the characters in this one. They actually stood for something and fought for what they believed in. Stark blew me away in Burned his character really shined in this one he stood for something beautiful and powerful, loyalty and honor.
This book really kept me hooked until the very end. There were lots of twist and turns, loyalty and deception, love and hate all the things you need in a good book. Again I was happy to see less typos in this installment, which is always a good thing nobody likes typos.

I really love what is happening with Stevie Rae. I am very interested to see where this road leads her and what Zoey is going to do when she finds out about Stevie Rae's larger-than-life secret! ‘Burned’ was the best one in the series yet and it definitely pulled hard at the strings of light and darkness. Highly recommended.

* I purchased this book on my own accord and decided to review it. I was not compensated for this review.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Wedding Gift Book Review

The Wedding Gift
Kathleen McKenna

‘The Wedding Gift’ is set in the small town of Dalton, Oklahoma. It tells the story of 17 years old, Leanne, who is the ‘prettiest girl in town’ and she is darn proud of it! She begins dating George Willets Jr. of Willets Petroleum. The Willets family is the richest family in town and Leanne’s family the Worthier’s are, well let’s just said they are on the opposite side of the track as the Willets. This could be a really good thing considering the Willets are labeled as a ‘terrible family’.
            So when George asks Leanne to marry him, to his mother’s horror, Leanne accepts, not because she loves him. No that was never the reason that she was with him to begin with if she’s honest about it. However she did always imagine herself marrying a rich man and becoming rich and important. George makes her that as well as giving her all the materialistic things she could want. Including his big wedding gift to her a mansion that belonged to his aunt and uncle.

     Only the story behind that mansion isn’t so happily ever after. His Aunt Robina murdered all of her five children then her husband Roger and then herself. After that massacre everyone swore the house was haunted and no one have every lived in that house again. However who was Leanne to turn down a free mansion. So she gets over her initial fear and moves into the mansion. Then Robina’s ghost starts visiting Leanne, in a lot of different places and things become a lot more complicated.

                Ok so first let me begin by saying I loved the plot and background story of Robina and Roger. As well as all the secrets of the Willets family that begins to unravel as the story progresses.

With that said I had a few problems with the book. The language in this book was terrible. It took southern language to a new low. Part of my family is from the south and I can assure you none of them talk like that. I am sure some southerners would find it insulting even. It made the characters, especially Leanne sound about as smart as a box of rocks. I’m sorry to say this because I really liked the plot of this story and there is a lot of talent and good writing in this book just not in this portrayed southern dialogue. Even though I never considered Oklahoma southern, but then again I don’t know too much about Dalton, Oklahoma.

The other thing that bothered me was how very vain Leanne is and how very little regard she has for anyone else’s feeling or lives for that matter. In her eyes it’s always about her, and she loves hearing people call her by her title, ‘the prettiest girl in town’. She even marries a man she doesn’t love and gets mad when she is referred to as a ‘gold digger’! Well I would hate to be the one to inform her that she is! Hello, she doesn’t love George and is only with him for the things he can give her. If that’s not gold digging, I don’t know what is.

Overall Leanne’s character put a damper on the story for me. I did like the history and the ghost story aspect of it though. There was talent in the writing and I didn’t have to force myself through it. Overall I give it three stars and I would read another book by her to see what other stories she is capable of. She has peaked my interest.

* I was given this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. I did not recieve compensation for this review.