Thursday, June 4, 2020

Unleashed Speaks on Take Back the Memory (#ThrowbackBookReview)


Too-doo-loo everyone! Ova Veugh here. It's throwback time at Unleashed Truth. Today, we travel back to November 2016 where The Unleashed One shares her views on "Take Back the Memory" by Augustine Sam.

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Take Back the Memory by Augustine Sam


Blurb: Paige Lyman, an accomplished psychiatrist, is on the verge of madness but she doesn’t know it yet. The madness begins when she gets it into her head to write her memoirs. As her brilliant mind assembles bits and pieces of her life for the book, ugly skeletons, long forgotten in the closet, begin to rear their heads.

It had all begun with a simple act of love. And love, for her, was a blond-haired Irish boy named Bill, so when Bill abandoned her for priesthood the world around her collapsed. Seized by a different passion—vengeance—she seeks her proverbial pound of flesh in the beds of various priests…

Until she meets Stern W, a medical researcher, who sweeps into her life like a hurricane and marries her. It is not until he dies in a helicopter crash that she discovers the startling truth about who he really was. And now, transformed from psychiatrist to patient, Paige is seared by a damning awareness that she had, in fact, gotten what she had always yearned for without realizing it.

Take Back the Memory is the saga of her compelling backward journey through her own life on a psychotherapist’s couch.

I am a believer that the blurb should tell the contents without revealing the whole of the book. This blurb tells about seventy-five percent of the book without one having to read it. That, in itself, causes the work to lose about ½ a point from the gate … at least for me.

As a suggestion, Take Back the Memory should have a disclaimer in the blurb about the erotic content. I’m no prude—people know that one of my favorite genres is erotica (when it’s done properly). However, as a favor to one perusing something to read, it would help that person to know if there’s going to be a “phallus” or “nipple” in every other chapter.

I confess to not being the greatest advocate of books that use people on the cover. Blame it on my high appreciation for the abstract and wanting to use my mind to dictate the beauty of a character. Yet, I do believe the image of the character should match the description of her in the book. Also, it is hard to tell whether the backdrop is actually of Kenya or of lands you would find through the Midwest or the South part of the United States. It didn’t match the content at all, so minus a whole point.

That is before getting to the content at hand.

Let’s get to the content.


Normally I would start with the pros yet there was not one pro for me. Even the author’s attempt to romance the words so that the sexual scenes would be stimulating was a fail. As a matter of fact, I compare it to watching a porn video but not being able to “get off” due to being distracted—the lady’s nails are chipped, the man’s butt is ashy, the music doesn’t fit the mood. Not that I’m an expert at looking at porn or anything … lol. I’m basically saying that it was more comical than sensual, especially one line which stated that a man’s eyes “were eating into her buttocks”. I don’t know about anyone else, but the thought of a man’s eyes eating into any part of my body, especially my derrière, conjures up another type of word. Trust me, it isn’t sensual, satisfying, or sexy.


The misplaced modifiers were the main culprit that kept Take Back the Memory from scoring any points in the syntax area. I would point them out but that would take up the majority of the review, and I want to spend more time on the actual premise of the book.

It takes more than “speaking of love” to establish a love connection. It was expressed over and over again how much Paige had this “love at first sight” bond with this guy named Bill. However, they were very young at the time—try at around age eight or so. I kept waiting for examples, painted out as vividly as the sex scenes—for this special chemistry between them in the interim. Instead, the foundation that led to the vendetta was skipped over, as if the author was in a hurry to get to the corruption of not only Paige’s way of thinking but also of these priests that caved in (too quickly if you ask me) to her seductive whims. I was not convinced of the love connection—even with the twist in the end.

Also, there were other happenings which confused me. For one, if Paige is a psychiatrist, why did she act ignorant of the technique that the psychotherapist was using on her when it was first introduced? Just because Paige did not practice this with her patients doesn’t mean that she wasn’t shown or taught it during the time she attended school. That did not ring authentic to me. In addition, the chapters had so much material that I believed covered several sessions, only for me to discover that only one session had passed.

Plus, I’m not one hundred percent sure if Paige was experiencing “madness”. Acting out, maybe. Being eccentric, for sure. However, there’s not enough revealed in Take Back the Memory for me to drink the psychiatric Kool-Aid. Besides, with Paige being a psychiatrist, she would be knowledgeable on the ins and outs of what justifies insanity, if you will. How could one really be sure that her deterioration was not conjured, as opposed to involuntary? For those who may talk about “nudity” as a side effect, maybe Paige just enjoyed being naked in her home. I never heard discussion of Paige romping around in her birthday suit in public. There were not any gaps between the ending of one session and the beginning of the next for me to draw up a definite conclusion, which placed Swiss cheese holes in the point of this tale to begin with.

Unleashed Verdict


#Ehh

Due to misplaced modifiers, story holes, and not being able to take any of the characters seriously, I cannot recommend Take Back the Memory. I feel if there was more thought given to the background to build the conflict and less focus on the sex, this book could have possessed better resonance.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Unleashed Speaks on Roads and Circuses (#ThrowbackBookReview)


Hello everyone! Ova Veugh in the building, presenting an episode of Throwback Tuesday. Today, we travel back with The Unleashed One December 2016, as she discusses her thoughts on "Roads and Circuses" by Tom Mazzone.


Roads & Circuses by Tom Mazzone

Note: A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Genre: General Fiction

Blurb:

Some Civil Servants are not so civil.
Marcus O’Malley is the brown-nosing suck-up everyone despised in school. He also happens to be Ireland’s best-known barrister who truly has it all: a beautiful runway-model wife, two perfect children, prestige, power and wealth. When he refuses a dangerous villain’s request to defend him of heinous crimes, Marcus is rightly intimidated. A seemingly random opportunity to run for political office pops up and only as means to save him from the threats does he decide to dive in.
With his reputation as a do-gooder, Marcus takes like a duck to water to the local scene and his meteoric rise through the party’s rank begins. But as he sets his sights on becoming Prime Minister, he must cooperate with unsavory colleagues, bide time and determine what’s best for him versus what’s best for the party. Could outside forces bring him down, ruin his career and potentially send him to jail? Can he play the game in the shark-infested waters of Irish politics? Does he want power just for the sake of having power? Is he able to see that the chaos and the mayhem in his life are self-created? Can he continue to fool all of the people all of the time? Including himself?
Roads & Circuses is a thrilling satirical look at the world of politics and the duplicitous mind of a politician. It’s not so much what a politician says or does that should worry you, it’s what they actually THINK! And although set in Ireland, Marcus O’Malley could exist in any country or political party in the world.

Note: I must warn that for some readers, this may not even come across as humor. For me, the “ha-ha” moments occurred in the Prologue, which was included in the copy of the book I received. The rest of it mimicked observation that would be discussed via CNN or MSNBC. Therefore, if you are the type of individual that is not into political ping-pong, then this type of read may not be for you.

Before I get into the content of the book, I would like to give two thumbs up to the cover concept. It really mirrors what this story represents—a balancing act between self-interest, party interest and people interest. It does really feel like a circus.

There was only a scoopful of things that I considered cons, so these will be touched on rather quickly.

Cons


Some of the sentence structure was elongated—to the point where run-on sentences were formed. The thoughts could have been better delivered in a more succinct fashion and better placement and usage of punctuation.

I feel as if the blurb/synopsis gave away quite a bit of the events. That is one of the reasons why if the blurb seems a bit too long, I get wary, due to the strong possibility of revealing crucial bits of information I’d prefer to stumble upon.

There were actions (coughing, mumbling, chuckling, tearing, wiping, etc.) that were written as if it were a screenplay, as opposed to being conveyed as if it was a story. The amount wasn’t immense, yet it was distracting enough to keep this from a perfect score.

However, those are light in comparison to the points that were refreshing.

Pros


I could relate very strongly to Marcus O’Malley. He had an initial thirst for helping his fellow man and gave tremendous thought as to whether what he went beyond benefiting him. I admired him for that because I tend to do my own pros and cons battles with decisions that I make. No, I am not in politics, but every choice in life has a benefit and deterrent. The winner is usually the choice which tips the scales out of balance. Marcus learned that the quicker one rises to the top, some of his core principles get worn down and he has to fall in line to prevent running into a career brick wall. With all of these different forces tugging at him, sacrifice is imminent. In Marcus’ case, the trip takes on a route of outrageousness with many detours into extremism.

The author did a fine job of bringing the reader into Marcus’ world—taking time to map out the differences between West Dublin and East Dublin, as well as painting the local mannerisms of each segment.

There were some passages that I really enjoyed, and I’d like to share a particular segment that hit home. It embarks on Marcus’ initiative to repair the roads, and he is explaining why it is important.

A bumpy road may be a fact of life and indeed a more interesting ride, but it is the well-maintained road that allows one the energy to be well and truly able for one’s destination and the reason one travelled in the first place.

Give a man a vehicle and he has the ‘What’ and the ‘How’ …

Give that same man a good road and he now has the ‘Why’ and the ‘Where’ …

There were some striking parallels between this series and what is happening in politics, touching on circumstances that hit the United States. It makes the absurdity, the greed, and the angst very real, resulting in a small, nervous chuckle on each occurrence.

Unleashed Verdict


I recommended Roads and Circuses not as humor but as a tale with mirrors political pitfalls that can apply to any area in the world, not just in Ireland.