Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Date Like A Girl Marry Like A Woman by Jessica R Bunevacz : A Review


BOOK TITLE: Date Like A Girl Marry Like A Woman

AUTHOR: Jessica R Bunevacz

ISBN/ASIN: B01DR16QLK

GENRE: Adult Non Fiction (Self help, romance, love, memoir)

NUMBER OF PAGES: 241

FORMAT: Digital / Kindle

SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: I thank Laura of iRead Book Tours

SUMMARY:

Date Like a Girl, Marry Like a Woman: The Polished Woman's Guide to Love, Romance, and Sex will help you navigate how to have a good time with "Mr. Right Now" and how to hold onto "Mr. Right" once you find him. Providing a mix easy to follow rules, and anecdotes showcasing how they worked (and in some cases what happened when they were ignored), Jessica Bunevacz is the best friend you'll wish you had all along and the one whose advice you'll go back to again and again.

Unlike “The Rules”, its successors, or similar books offering guidance on how to snag a man, this book isn't about playing hard to get, instead it's about playing to win. And the only way that you can truly to that is when you acknowledge yourself as the MVP. This is why one of the first rules in Date Like a Girl, Marry Like a Woman: The Polished Woman's Guide to Love, Romance, and Sex is about shedding your insecurities, and why other rules offer insight on looking, feeling, and being your best, with an emphasis on having your own life. Additionally, while other guides stop when you get to a marriage proposal, this is the book you'll come back to after you say “I do”. Understanding that happily ever after may be a good way to end a movie, but isn't a good way to start a marriage there are real tips about everything from friendship to sex to finances with both humor and heart.

Ultimately Date Like a Girl, Marry Like a Woman: The Polished Woman's Guide to Love, Romance, and Sex is a work that is meant to transcend beyond the pages as it's lessons are applied in daily life. It never asks a woman to shy away from her impulses or to hide who she is or what she wants, and instead celebrates her independence and sensuality while showing her ways that she can make her romantic life more fulfilling.

FIRST IMPRESSION:

As far as titles go, this one (not with the help of the subtext / tagline) caught my attention. I expected the book to be a set of rules, dos and don'ts that would give women looking for a date or hoping to find the right life partner. The cover looked fitting for the title and the summary ppromised something different. 

REVIEW:

Some books do not let you guess about their contents much. Not with the summary, or with the other details. Once you begin reading, however, the content take you completely by surprise and really change your perspective. This is one such book. Dating advice can be of many ways - it can be a personal account of things that worked and didn't work, an impersonal list of things that might work or a generic list of advice passed down generations. This book is a combination of all three. Peppered with 'tips' that are in the do / don't format, sounding like strict instructions. It has incidents from the author's life (that is where the 'memoir' part comes) that she uses as an example to supplement her tips. Then it also has generic ideas - simple ones like no matter how independent the woman might be, it should be the man who pays for the dates.

The book was divided into two parts, the first one being 'date like a girl' and the second one being 'marry like a woman'. Not much of a surprise, and quite a neat organisation. While both parts have thirty rules each, the first one is a varied set while the second one is the set of instructions for how a 'polished wife' should behave. The sixty tips each have different things to offer, and it can be said that the author keeps it varied. Some are long, spanning into many pages while some are decidedly shorter, depending upon the experiences the author has had and the importance of that particular instruction / tip.

The organisation of the book's content is clear. Each individual chapter follows a particular format. The tip comes first, followed by a short explanation and an incident from her life, finally with a section on how to put that tip into action. This unconventional approach is fun to read and makes the book look cleaner. One positive thing I could note is that the author admits early on that she didn't necessarily follow all the things she preaches. (Some people might think this defeats the purpose of a self help book but this quite makes it realistic). The chapters are neatly divided, and the language is clear enough to understand.

But the book fails in the actual content at places. While I did expect a different book that gives radical dating advice, what I did not expect was the advice that sometimes might backfire. The parts relating to personal hygiene and keeping appearance intact - before and after marriage are in depth advices probably not found in many other books. But the main theme of 'having fun' while dating and advising withholding information and multiple dates might shock old school beliefs. The book began on a great note, the first solid dating advice being very sound. But as time progressed, I was not quite comfortable with some of the other parts of the book.

The book is not particularly a dating guidebook. It is a morale booster for women, encouraging them to have fun while they can and marry right. Maybe it serves the purpose if you want to read a book that gives you tips and tells you that you are beautiful.

VERDICT:

Not a book I would follow but has some valid tips.

RATING: 3.5/5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

What do you get when you mix a strict Catholic upbringing, a strong curiosity for the opposite sex, and the need to grow up quickly? If you're lucky you get an outcome like Jessica Bunevacz, the vivacious and outspoken first time author behind Date Like a Girl, Marry Like a Woman: The Polished Woman's Guide to Love, Romance, and Sex.

Born Jessica Rodriguez in the Philippines and raised by her grandparents after the separation of her mother and father, Bunevacz was thrust into the role of provider after the murder of her mother when she was fifteen. With four siblings relying on her she began work early, first as a live mannequin and later as a model, actress, talent manager and television host. The jobs not only helped her to support her siblings, but also her first two children. One of her proudest moments while working in entertainment was as the force behind a project called “Miss Ugly No More” where women were showed how they could feel and look their best. Juggling family and work Bunevacz was not content to simply sit on the sidelines while life passed her by, and dating became her favorite contact sport.

Traveling frequently for work and fascinated by men it wasn't long before she developed a set of rules to snag them, and guidelines for how she could remain at her best without being bested by the games others were playing. It wasn't long before she became a self-proclaimed MANnizer, capable of capturing and holding the attention of whoever interested her, while also continuing to do what was in her best interest as both a mother and entrepreneur with both family and a business to protect.

A romantic at heart however she soon stopped her pursuit of “Mr. Right Now” when she met the man who was “Mr. Right”, the man who became her husband. Newly married, she found herself rethinking everything she knew and realized that the same qualities that made a woman an amazing girlfriend didn't necessarily work for a wife. Rather than wait for someone else to write a marriage manual, she retooled her dating rules for herself to apply for a life after marriage. Jessica Bunevacz is now a happily married wife and mother of three currently residing in California.

While her life has been unconventional she has no regrets, and lives with the understanding that we all have the same basic desire: to feel loved, whether it's just for one night or for an entire lifetime. Using her own life experiences as a basis she develop real-world relationship advice to help women feel more confident and comfortable whether they're dating or have already said "I do".

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Kindle and Paperback

PRICE $.9.92 for Kindle, $17.50 for Paperback

BOOK LINKS: Amazon

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Guest Post by Chuck Waldron, author of The CleanSweep Conspiracy

Hello, my name is Chuck Waldron, author of the dystopian thriller, The CleanSweep Conspiracy. Thanks for allowing me to be a guest today
The CleanSweep Conspiracy is the result of an active (some have said overactive) imagination, a gift from my parents. My writing is a reflection of a solid Midwestern upbringing and a satisfying career in children’s mental health and non-profit management. Ah, but the real joy is giving in to the creative writing urges that have followed me along that entire path.
The idea behind The CleanSweep Conspiracy, how I came to write it?
  • The emergency police force of over 10,000 uniformed officers from surrounding police.
  • Add 1,000 security guards and several military units.
  • Drawing lines on a map to outline an area with checkpoints to monitor who enters and leaves. People would be issued identity cards to determine who belonged.
  • More than a billion dollars would be spent to head off rioting and trouble makers
  • Police wearing black tape over their shields to prevent identification.
That couldn’t happen, you say, only to learn that the news story above-described actual events that occurred in a major North American city? The G-20 Economic Conference place in Toronto, Canada in 2010 but might it happen in any town?
  The seed for the story line of The CleanSweep Conspiracy was planted as I read about the planning, the riots, and the follow-up of that event.
As the story was coming to me, I came up with the working title Deception. That changed to conspiracy. I like to have a working title as motivation.
The CleanSweep Conspiracy is about ordinary people who have to make a choice. When they hear the actual nature of the evil they face, will they be able to act? That was the inspiration for my protagonist, Matt Tremain.
My novel looks at the motives of a group of men who took it upon themselves to create a matrix, a way of determining those who somehow didn’t fit in. Wouldn’t the city be a better place if the annoying people were made to ‘disappear?’
It’s a story as old as social engineering, even before we knew to call it that.
If the conspirators could only organize another conference, similar to the real one described above, infiltrate the city with a small army of thugs, causing panic and destruction, people would do anything to feel safe again.
That was the inspiration for evil personified, Charles Claussen.
I’ve been asked What’s it like being published for the first time?
Words can’t do justice to the feeling of seeing my first book in print. It’s now up to four, and the feeling is still the same. Joy comes close. Now, I still delight in seeing one of my stories in print. The CleanSweep Conspiracy is no exception.
I’m asked what I do besides writing.
It’s been said I’m a decent public speaker, entertaining and inspiring at times. I can still keep my balance on a two-wheel bicycle. I’m a pretty good poker player but wouldn’t give up my writing to go on the Professional Poker Tour. That said I have heard I feign interest, lack perseverance and could use a good talking to.
On a serious note, I’m proud to be a volunteer at Save the Chimps. It’s nearby and happens to be the world’s largest rescue sanctuary for our chimp cousins.
Looking ahead, there’s always more to write about. I’m currently working on a sequel to The CleanSweep Conspiracy and think it will be a trilogy.


The CleanSweep Conspiracy by Chuck Waldron: A Review


BOOK TITLE: The CleanSweep Conspiracy

AUTHOR: Chuck Waldron

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1479143320

GENRE: Fiction - Thriller/ Dystopian

NUMBER OF PAGES: 304

FORMAT: Digital / Kindle

SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: I thank Laura Fabiani of iRead Book Tours for this review copy

SUMMARY:

Matt Tremain publishes Verité, a modest blog dedicated to writing about the truth and exposing scams. Currently, he’s following up on rumors concerning something called CleanSweep, a mysterious project in Toronto, Canada.

Matt gets his break when a whistleblower connects CleanSweep to billionaire Charles Claussen. Claussen plans to rid Toronto of undesirables, beginning with street people and extending to any citizens who don’t match Claussen’s restrictive screening matrix.

With the help of a high-ranking government official, Claussen plans to incite riots and violent unrest, conning Torontonians into sacrificing privacy and civil liberties for illusionary security and safety. Toronto will be reduced to a repressive city-state.

The information overwhelms Matt, who doubts he has the courage, skill, or readership to take on CleanSweep. But the murder of his source convinces the blogger to take a stand—although he’s too late to prevent chaos from gripping Toronto’s streets.

To get the word out, Matt’s going to need allies. He may have found some in a Toronto police detective and a local TV reporter pursuing the same story—presuming they aren’t allied with Claussen. If they are, Matt’s going to become yet another victim of CleanSweep, and the truth will be buried forever.

FIRST IMPRESSION:

Having promised myself not to read Dystopian for some time at least, I found myself taking this up because the summary was exciting and some part of it relatable. The cover looks slightly unsettling, and that probably was the desired effect. I began this book with no preconceived notions and the thousand reasons why I had avoided dystopian books in the recent past. 

REVIEW:

The story line is simple - some individual who wields some amount of power, political or monetary or sometimes both, decides that certain parts of the society are not to his liking. Initiating a mass genocide to clean up people who are undesirable to them seems to be the logical next step. They create an environment where these people are hated and the common public's minds are swayed. They are convinced that the 'undesirable people' are really dangerous and only the individual with power can protect them. They willingly give up their privacy and ideals in return for a false feeling of security. An unlikely hero emerges from amidst the deluded people, probably a person shunned by society and sees the shocking reality. Some people from the corrupt government support the hero who fights the powers that be unto death / victory.

The above generic plot can become very specific within minutes if applied right. No matter what format dystopian novels follow, there can be no denying the fact that they succeed because they are, at least in parts, eerily similar to the current world scenario. While I was reading about the CleanSweep conspiracy, I could not help remembering the collective events from the past and present that have shaped what our future is going to become. Revolutions happen not because people are uncomfortable with surrendering to autocracy but because they want to regain what is rightfully theirs. No single person/ a group of persons can decide whether or not they like a certain section of people and have the power to 'cleanse' the world.

Matt Tremain is a blogger. Someone who has not really seen the limelight and shies away from it. He runs a small blog that focuses on exposing scams and bringing the truth out. When it comes to CleanSweep, a security project that might be the dangerous concoction of someone who is on a mission to eliminate certain sections of people - homeless, LGBT, etc., - for reasons best known to themselves and which are probably baseless. A whistleblower finds out a link between CleanSweep and billionaire Charles Claussen. Matt is hesitant and unsure of his next step as he learns Clussen planned to stage riots and unrest with the help of some powerful officials of the government. Matt's indecision goes when his source becomes a victim and he decides to dig deeper.

What happens next forms the rest of the story. As a book, it is extremely well paced. The language is a bit on the complex side, with many descriptive words clearly giving life to the story. But the narration falters in a few places. The big plot elements are handed out on a platter, making the readers lose interest at places. The story, though, makes up for it and reminds one of the frightening mass killings that happened in the past. Overall, the book is a great combination of what was and what could be, merging real life with fiction so perfectly that it becomes hard to put down once you are involved!

WHAT I LIKED:

  • The book maintains an exciting pace evenly (save a few parts) - making it a good page turner
  • The events are relatable and eerily frightening
  • The characters are well defined and do justice to their roles.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER:

  • The book is clearly divided into the good and evil characters - making it hard to get attached to / understand the deeper causes of why the villains do what they do.
  • The big reveals happen so casually, without any adrenaline rush.
  • The approach of showing plans by the way of discussion between characters made me feel like I was watching one of those movies where the evil guy reveals the plot and his mega plans to the hero in a monologue
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The views expressed here are mine and remain unbiased. 

VERDICT:

A page turner. One you shouldn't miss if you are a fan of this genre.

RATING: 3.8/5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR



Born in Iowa, Chuck Waldron lived in Ontario, Canada, before relocating to Florida’s Treasure Coast. Over the years, he’s held many jobs. The ones he can mention in print include US Army soldier, truck driver, office manager, mailman, real estate salesman, social worker, hardware store clerk, and shuttle driver.

Fate played a crucial role when he walked into his first writing class, and he still honors the memory of the teacher, Henrietta. She gave him permission to write. That—along with countless writing groups, classes, seminars, and much sweat—has resulted in over fifty short stories and four novels.

Waldron often likes to pretend interest, lacks perseverance, and could generally use a good talking to—until it comes to his writing, that is. He and his wife Suzanne reside in Port St. Lucie, Florida. While keeping an eye out for hurricanes, alligators, and Burmese pythons, he’s busy writing his next novel

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Kindle, Paperback

PRICE $2.99 for Kindle, $12 for Paperback

BOOK LINKS: Amazon

Thursday, June 2, 2016

300 Days by Bragadeesh Prasanna : A Review


BOOK TITLE: 300 Days

AUTHOR: Bragadeesh Prasanna

GENRE: Fiction - Romance

NUMBER OF PAGES: 402

FORMAT: Digital

SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: I thank the author for this review copy!

SUMMARY:

Nanowrimo winner - 2013.

300 Days follows the life of protagonist Jai and his relationship with Sravani, who is from a different culture. He gets to spend only 300 days with her while crossing all the seven stages of love. Can love transcend cultures, age barriers, distance and language? Will Jai be able to cross all the barriers while in a long distance relationship with Sravani?

In a cold December morning of 2009 Jai meets Sravani in middle of a forest and falls for her at first sight. Sravani is four years elder to him, speaks different language and is already in a relationship. Jai develops friendship with Sravani which ends abruptly when she leaves to her state. Unable to move on, Jai contacts her after two years and they both renew their relationship and take it beyond friendship. Will they successfully get together at least this time? Or will they have to part ways for the better good?

FIRST IMPRESSION:

The title of the book was the first thing I noticed. Though I could easily guess the significance from the blurb, I had a pleasant anticipation about what it would actually mean. The cover, of my favorite shade of blue was simple and to the point. I loved the minimalistic design and concluded (after reading the book) that anything more would not have been fitting to the story and would be going overboard. And yes, the design of the number 300 was a wow!

The blurb was, again, quite short, with only enough to get the reader involved. After that, it was the work of the story to keep the interest alive.

REVIEW:

Some stories and characters win because they have been extremely well written, gathering hordes of followers, each person finding something new and magical in the way the words were strung together. Some books win because the stories are outlandish, fantastic, and like an escape into an entirely different make believe world, far, far away from what is harsh reality. But there are some stories that win because they are too close to reality, too relatable and make sense. These are the stories that have a little of the reader and a little of the author in them. They win not because they have very elaborate flowery writing, not because they introduce new worlds and portals. They relate with the lives of normal people and make everyday things look extraordinary. 300 days is one such story.

Narrated by Jai, a young man who is just out of a failed relationship, falling in love (at first sight, no less) with Sravani on a trek, this story has one of the most powerful opening paragraphs. And from there, the story travels slowly. Jai strikes up a conversation with the elusive and quiet Sravani. From there, a friendship develops. Slowly, the recluse Sravani starts talking with Jai and their conversations run late into nights. But like many stories in real life, complications arise. Sravani is already committed to Sai, a person who belongs to her home state and own community, conditions Jai cannot fulfill. From there, the story blossoms into a relationship, a self imposed break, reconcilation and the ultimate climax.

300 Days is not just a story. It is more of an experience. The blurb and the one liners do not do justice to the tale of love, loss and the pain of separation. Jai as a character is nothing remarkable. He is just an ordinary man. But the way he falls in love, with Sravani, and the way he expresses himself is what makes the story remarkable. The story begins slowly, and progresses at an uneven pace, but something in the way it moves makes you want to turn the pages and know what happens next. The best parts of the story come in its second half, Jai scoring infinite points in his proposal and Hyderabad visit. The rules exchanged between the two lovers in the funny format is something I would take back and remember for some time to come.

The maturity of a love story devoid of infatuation is very evident in the narration and even the conversations between the characters. In this day and age where even two people are not able to co exist without misunderstandings, 300 Days speaks about the old school idea of how even distant relatives might have a say in the lives of two people who are in love. The length, sometimes daunting, should not put you off reading what is surely a beautiful novel. I would go ahead and say some parts might be taken out to reduce the length, but that would ruin the story as most of it is in dialogues and even little things come to play at the end. In the pre social media era, there was undeniable beauty in GTalk, the power medium of communication and it was a joy to see the little green dot appear. Just how many people remember that? This book will make you wonder if having so many ways to communicate has actually lessened our desire and ability to do so!

Every character is flawed, human, and unapologetically normal. No one is glorified and faultless. The friendship between Jai, Sinduja and Chris, purest, simplest and prone to every human weakness is one of the highlights of the story. The other major, unexpected surprise was the characterisation of Jai's parents, it is sure to make many youngsters look back wistfully.The relationship between Jai and Sravani, the focus point of the book sounds too real, and some parts of the story seem like they are not pure fiction. But then, which story is? Somewhere down the line, every book is the writer's way to understand and come to terms with what was and getting a clearer idea of what should be. By the time I finished the book, I was not only familiar with Jai, but also with Sindhuja and Chris, and that speaks volumes about the characterisation.The ending is not what I wanted this book to have, but what I expected it would come to. If nothing else, the title should have given me a clue!

The language and quotes are simple, the magic lies in the narration, which flows in its own pace, attractive as a whole. The reading experience is marred with the typos and grammmatical errors, abundant in places. But the story more than makes up for it. Most importantly, the book has reinstated my belief that a romantic tale can be written without episodes of physical intimacy - often used a lot in recent novels I read from this genre. I had almost given up hope of reading a romance novel that does not focus on the physical aspect and then came 300 days - beautiful, simple and heart touching. Don't be fooled by the lethargic first half. 300 days offers more in the latter half of it!

WHAT I LIKED:

  • The character of Sravani - confused, unsure and a paradox.
  • The pace of the book in the second half was awesome and happening!
  • Jai's way of saying Chilakamma - I did hear a voice for the word!
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER:

  • The book should have had yet another round at editing, to catch the missed typos.
  • The pace of the first half is slow and might discourage readers who are not fans of this genre
  • The ending and Jai's magnanimity was a tad unrealistic at least to me! But maybe that is how reality is.
VERDICT:

Go for this book. This might be the simplest amazing love story you have read.

RATING: 3.8/5 (Points taken for the length and typos).

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Kindle

PRICE Free on Kindle Unlimited at present. $2.47 for Kindle on Amazon.com

BOOK LINKS: Amazon