Thursday, 28 June 2018

‘MINE’ BY J. L. BUTLER




MINE by newcomer J. L. BUTLER (a pseudonym for established novelist Tasmina Perry) is an effective tale of a high-flying lawyer who’s way over her head when she falls for a rich client who may or may not have anything to do with the disappearance of his soon-to-be divorced wife. The author wastes no time in taking you into this fast-paced world of the court justice, with a little glamour on the side and a lot of romance in between. The result makes for an engagingly enough read despite the fact it is not exactly my cup of tea.  

Suspense books are very big nowadays, so I understand Miss Perry in trying to make a name for herself (albeit a different one) in that field—though I must say, the last couple of her books do verge toward that goal. And she deserves succeeding since MINE, like I said, is very well-crafted. The central character is a lovable one and the plot does keep you interested up until the obligatory climax, which, alas, wasn’t much of a huge surprise to me. Yet I would say yes to MINE. But don’t expect to be wowed by it. Although if you’re into this attorney-in-jeopardy shtick I’m sure you’ll enjoy the novel more than I did. 

If J. L. Butler turns out to be a bigger name than the one of Tasmina Perry, then kudos to her for having reached that goal. Let’s just hope that Tasmina Perry is not forgotten in the long run, for I really love what that name has been offering all these years.


Thanks to the publisher HarperCollins UK and NetGalley for the chance to read this novel in exchange for an honest review.

  

Until next post—Martin

Monday, 18 June 2018

THE DEVIL’S DAUGHTER (1973)




Hell hath no fury like a Shelley Winters scorned. Dressed in black with orange hair and lipstick to match, and using the power of the evil eye whenever feeling double-crossed, she could probably make anyone tinkle from fright.  As it must have happened to Belinda Montgomery’s character when shunning Winters after finding out she was (moody organ music, please) THE DEVIL’S DAUGHTER.  Yes, this soapy 1973 ABC TV-movie of the week is heading for high-camp, thanks mostly to director Jeannot Szwarc (JAWS 2).  


The man who more recently was at the helm of some episodes of Grey's Anatomy, Supernatural and Bones has gathered then a bunch of talented people to recreate what ROSEMARY’S BABY had been for the big screen: a scary tale of Satan and His crazed followers.  What we get instead is a decently-made but way over-the-top romp that wickedly highlights the crazed antics of its star nemesis, Miss Winters.  She truly embodies the role of a 666 groupie who must lure innocent Belinda Montgomery into her circle of hell aficionados that includes a bunch of other well-known old-timers such as “Dark Shadows” Jonathan Frid, WILD AT HEART Diane Ladd and CITIZEN KANE Joseph Cotten.  Since she’s no picnic, you can imagine the degree with which she partakes in her scheme to sponsor the netherworld.  Szwarc almost makes her drool at the mouth every time she does her thing, which is often and which is such a blessing, as we wouldn’t want it any other way.



Same thing with the so bad it’s so good storyline. Put together by HAROLD AND MAUDE screenwriter Colin Higgins, its premise may have looked somewhat decent on paper but the execution is nothing but.  Melodramatic with a tempo that matches the script trite dialogue, this poor man’s Polanski offering is just a cinematic time bomb ticking for the inevitable explosion, which comes sooner than we think with a mind-boggling dance of the devils little number involving the cast.  You should see drug-induced Montgomery going at it as her evil opponents chant to her every move; so far out in its absurd choreography, you wouldn’t believe. The film has one good scene in its favor and it’s the devil devotee’s glowing eyes sequence nearing the climax that adds a little substance to what’s been left without for the past 70 minutes.  The setting in which it simmers may be a chill giver (finally!) but in the end guffaws can only best describe this outrageously-made hot piece of celluloid delivery.





Until next post—Martin



Monday, 4 June 2018

‘WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LULULEMONS’ BY LAUREN WEISBERGER



I got to admit that I have yet to read REVENGE WEARS PRADA, the sequel to 2003 THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA. I had planned on doing so but life threw me a couple of curveballs I just couldn’t ignore. Nonetheless, I was certain that I would still enjoy the third book in the Prada series WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LULULEMONS now available from Simon and Schuster, and of course I was right. Author Lauren Weisberger gives you exactly what you need: a feel-good, funny, sometimes touching sometimes sad, slice of suburban pie, with a front row seat to the goings-on of the celebrity image consultant craze.


Last time I checked, Emily was still working for the very hip but very scary Miranda Priestley, but in this novel she is a married woman and an image maker to the stars. Anything involving celebrities gets my motor going so we’re off to a good start. When she gets shrug off by the latest teeny bopper for the workings of a rival, she is pissed as she should. I mean, how can she stay successful if she starts losing big clients, right? In comes former supermodel now a senator's wife Karolina who, one day, gets falsely busted for driving under the influence. Angry and scared she withers like shrunken Lululemon yoga pants. But with the help of Emily and good friend Miriam—who has an image crisis of her own passing from a successful career as an attorney to a stay-at-home chubby mom—Karolina will try to turn a new leaf and, in return, change the lives of the people surrounding her. That is, if she doesn’t get cold feet first.

The theme for this third entry is the suburbs versus the non-suburbs, through the eyes of the three women but more precisely through the character of Emily, who, of course, wouldn’t be caught dead living there. It makes for some funny encounters, not to mention cringe-worthy situations (in over-the-top parties mostly), that never fail to entertain. The three ladies are likable and you certainly find yourself rooting for them in the long run. Yes, some situations are more effective than others but the overall effect is quite addictive to say the least. As a bonus, you even get cameos from Miranda Priestly and Andy Sachs themselves. All in all I would definitely recommend WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LULULEMONS. I even look forward to the continuing saga of these charming if flawed grand ladies.



Thanks to the publishers and Net Galley for the chance of reading this novel in exchange for an honest review.




Until next post—Martin