Rock Me on the Water: 1974-The Year Los Angeles Transformed Movies, Music, Television, and Politics by Ronald Brownstein

Rock Me on the Water: 1974-The Year Los Angeles Transformed Movies, Music, Television, and Politics by Ronald Brownstein
Publisher: Harper
Genre: Historical, Non-Fiction
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Los Angeles in 1974 exerted more influence over popular culture than any other city in America. Los Angeles that year, in fact, dominated popular culture more than it ever had before, or would again. Working in film, recording, and television studios around Sunset Boulevard, living in Brentwood and Beverly Hills or amid the flickering lights of the Hollywood Hills, a cluster of transformative talents produced an explosion in popular culture which reflected the demographic, social, and cultural realities of a changing America. At a time when Richard Nixon won two presidential elections with a message of backlash against the social changes unleashed by the sixties, popular culture was ahead of politics in predicting what America would become. The early 1970s in Los Angeles was the time and the place where conservatives definitively lost the battle to control popular culture.

Rock Me on the Water traces the confluence of movies, music, television, and politics in Los Angeles month by month through that transformative, magical year. Ronald Brownstein reveals how 1974 represented a confrontation between a massive younger generation intent on change, and a political order rooted in the status quo. Today, we are again witnessing a generational cultural divide. Brownstein shows how the voices resistant to change may win the political battle for a time, but they cannot hold back the future.

Looking for a feast for the eyes that revolves around the year 1974? Then look no further.

This book is a bit of a mishmash concerning the things that happened in 1974. It’s heavy on pop culture and politics. The writing is easy and this is a quick read. Check it out if you’re interested in music, film and television from that year.

I have to admit there are times when the author gets a bit heavy on politics. There is a certain flair revolving around the election of Jerry Brown. That said, it’s not bad. Just a lot of information. The book is made up of chapters labeled as each month of 1974. There are touches on music – namely the west coast sound, Jackson Brown, Linda Ronstadt and the Eagles – television – All in the Family and MASH – plus films, including the work of Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson, and the emergence of women writers and producers. It’s a lot more balanced than I initially thought it might be and was an interesting read.

Conservativism shows up as well as the change in the world from more of a young person mentality to a ‘family hour’ one where pop culture was encouraged to consider the family hour when creating content. I do like how the author contrasted the movements and showed both the minuses and the pluses to both.

If you’re looking for a long-form overview of the year, how the year and happenings within influenced the future and want to read about the music, films, politics and television of that time, then this is the one for you.

The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell

The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell
The Saxon Stories #5
Publisher: Harper
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical
Length: Full length (336 pages)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

In a clash of heroes,the kingdom is born. At the end of the ninth century, King Alfred of Wessex is in ill health; his heir, an untested youth. His enemy, the Danes, having failed to conquer Wessex, now see their chance for victory. Led by the sword of savage warrior Harald Bloodhair, the Viking hordes attack. But Uhtred, Alfred’s reluctant warlord, proves his worth, outwitting Harald and handing the Vikings one of their greatest defeats. For Uhtred, the sweetness of victory is soon overshadowed by tragedy.

Breaking with Alfred, he joins the Vikings, swearing never again to serve the Saxon king. Instead, he will reclaim his ancestral fortress on the Northumbrian coast. Allied with his old friend Ragnar–and his old foe Haesten–he aims to invade and conquer Wessex itself. Yet fate has different plans. The Danes of East Anglia and the Vikings of Northumbria are plotting the conquest of all Britain. When Alfred’s daughter pleads with Uhtred for help, he cannot refuse her request. in a desperate gamble, he takes command of a demoralized Mercian army, leading them in an unforgettable battle on a blood-soaked field beside the Thames.

But the drug quantity may vary between 5mg -20mg as per our body strength and doctor’s cheap viagra without prescription advice. Sometimes pain treatment can be accomplished through physical therapy. cialis tadalafil 20mg Boil Down Fever Ginger tea gets the ability to increase the amount of lutenizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, and generic cialis samples sex hormone binding globulin in users Letrozole can be counterproductive if used during post-cycle therapy. Once that is done, cialis tadalafil 5mg the medicine will take 30 minutes to take effect. In The Burning Land, Bernard Cornwell, “The reigning king of historical fiction” (USA Today), delivers a rousing saga of Anglo-Saxon England–an irresistible new chapter in his thrilling Saxon Tales, the epic story of the birth of England and the legendary king who made it possible.

Has Uhtred abandoned Wessex forever?

Before reading this tale, I strongly recommend reading the previous four books of the series in order to better understand the characters and their actions. Again, as with the preceding books, this story contains graphic violence.

The Burning Land is definitely a dark chapter in Uhtred’s life. Uhtred has fought for Wessex countless times. Instead of receiving the rewards and gratitude he deserves, Uhtred is met with mistrust from Alfred and jealousy from Alfred’s advisors. A lesser man would have left Wessex long ago, but even though he has no love for Alfred, Uhtred remains true to his oath to the king. I admire Uhtred for standing by a king who continually denies him the credit he deserves. However, even Uhtred has his limits. When Uhtred is finally pushed to far, he lashes out in anger and makes a grave mistake. In this moment, I hoped that Alfred would show Uhtred some mercy and understanding, not only because Uhtred had recently suffered an immense personal loss, but also because he was deliberately provoked and not entirely to blame in the situation. Unfortunately, I found myself disappointed by Alfred yet again. Uhtred flees Wessex and becomes an outlaw.

My heart broke for Uhtred as I read. Even though the previous books had hinted at some of the darkness coming in Untred’s story, it didn’t make it any easier to bear. His loss is deep and something that continues to pain him in his old age as he recounts the story of his life. Uhtred makes several bad decisions in his grief, and I have a feeling that some of those will come back to haunt him. When Uhtred leaves Wessex, he goes to Ragnar. It was wonderful to see them together again, but the reunion felt bittersweet. I knew Uhtred’s time with Ragnar wouldn’t last because Uhtred has forgotten a promise he made years ago. Once Uhtred is reminded of this promise, I knew he would leave Ragnar to keep it.

Even though Uhtred has left Wessex, Alfred still manages to manipulate Uhtred from afar, which of course only leads to more resentment from Uhtred. I find this extremely frustrating. I wish Alfred could understand that he would get much further with Uhtred if he would only talk to him and show some appreciation for all that Uhtred has done. I’ve said it many times, and I’ll say it again. I would love these two men to have an honest conversation. I know they admire and respect each other more than they will ever admit publicly, but they just can’t seem to move beyond their personal differences. It truly is a shame. I can only hope they find a way to resolve their differences before it is too late.

I’m completely captivated by this series, and I can hardly wait to see what fate has in store for Uhtred next! I highly recommend this gripping series to fans of historical fiction.

Sword Song by Bernard Cornwell

Sword Song by Bernard Cornwell
The Saxon Stories #4
Publisher: Harper
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical
Length: Full length (314 pages)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

The year is 885, and England is at peace, divided between the Danish kingdom to the north and the Saxon kingdom of Wessex in the south. Warrior by instinct and Viking by nature, Uhtred, the dispossessed son of a Northumbrian lord, has land, a wife and children—and a duty to King Alfred to hold the frontier on the Thames. But a dead man has risen, and new Vikings have invaded the decayed Roman city of London with dreams of conquering Wessex… with Uhtred’s help. Suddenly forced to weigh his oath to the king against the dangerous turning tide of shifting allegiances and deadly power struggles, Uhtred—Alfred’s sharpest sword—must now make the choice that will determine England’s future.

Even in peace there are battles to be fought.

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Uhtred is one of the most memorable characters I’ve had the pleasure of knowing, and he’s quickly becoming a favorite of mine. In this installment, Uhtred is doing things the way he wants, which of course irritates Alfred to no end. However, Uhtred enjoys getting under Alfred’s skin. I must admit it is rather entertaining to see how far Uhtred can push the limits of Alfred’s patience without getting into serious trouble. Even though I enjoy watching Uhtred antics, I lament their inability to see eye to eye. Uhtred and Alfred are great leaders who’ve accomplished a lot by grudgingly working together. Their achievements could reach even greater heights if they put aside their differences. Unfortunately, Alfred does not trust Uhtred and consistently denies him the credit for his victories. As a result, Uhtred continues to resent and hate his king.

This book has a bit of a different feel from the previous three, especially the first half. I got to see a different side of Uhtred. Since there is a tentative peace, Uhtred was able to spend more time with his wife and children. I found I very much enjoyed seeing the softer and dare I say more mature side of his character. I liked watching him play with his children, and his concern over his pregnant wife is very moving. I was also touched by his concern for Aethelflaed, Alfred’s daughter, whom Uhtred has known since she was a child. However, fans of Uhtred’s warrior spirit can rest assured that he is still absolutely lethal on the battle field.

I must also mention I was struck by the contrast in the description of battle scenes and Aethelflaed’s, wedding. It is a testament to Mr. Cornwell’s skill as an author that he can write brutally graphic descriptions of battle and this beautiful scene: “She was in love with love, transported that day to a height of joy that showed like radiance on her sweet face…That spring day was the first on which she wore her hair up, a sign of marriage, and it revealed her long thin neck. She was so graceful that day.” I can practically see Aethelflaed’s face as she walks down the aisle.

Unfortunately, Aethelflaed’s path isn’t easy. I can’t give many details, but I will say that Aethelflaed’s marriage is not a happy one and she has the misfortune to fall in love with another man who is definitely not suitable. Mr. Cornwell perfectly captured the moment Uhtred realized how much trouble lay ahead for his friend. “She glowed. She walked as lightly as a dancer, and she smiled so beautifully…I saw it in her face. I saw in her radiance all her sudden love and all the unhappiness that was to come, and all the tears, and all the heartbreak. She was on a voyage, and it was a journey of love, but it was sailing into a storm so bleak and dark that my own heart almost broke for her.”

I can’t recommend this series enough. Anyone looking for adventure and memorable characters would do well to pick up a copy of this book as well as the previous installments. I’ll definitely be picking up the next book!

Lords of the North by Bernard Cornwell

Lords of the North by Bernard Cornwell
The Saxon Stories #3
Publisher: Harper
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical
Length: Full length (317 pages)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

The year is 878. Uhtred, the dispossessed son of a Northumbrian lord, has helped the Saxons of Wessex defeat the invading Danes. Now, finally free of his allegiance to the victorious, ungrateful King Alfred, he is heading home to rescue his stepsister, a prisoner of Kjartan the Cruel in the formidable Danish stronghold of Dunholm. Uhtred’s best hope is his sword, Serpent-Breath, for his only allies are Hild, a West Saxon nun fleeing her calling, and Guthred, a slave who believes himself king. Rebellion, chaos, fear, and betrayal await them in the north, forcing Uhtred to turn once more, reluctantly, to the liege he formerly served in battle and blood: Alfred the Great.

Uhtred’s path seems clear, but fate has other plans.

Susanna Anna-Marie Johannes (Priyanka Chopra) is a femme fatale who has to kill her seven husbands in search of a viagra in line perfect match. Improving erection quality, increasing sperm count, eliminating premature ejaculation and promoting confidence level during lovemaking purchase cheap viagra are important health benefits of safed musli. In fact, there are numerous treatments options that have worked well for other men who have found themselves dealing with the same health problems viagra 100mg generika that you are going to the toilet a lot more possibilities is usually excellent, you need to follow. In California, online driver education is generally preferred by teenagers and also by learners of other buying generic cialis ages. Before reading Lords of the North, I recommend reading the first two books in the series, The Last Kingdom, and The Pale Horseman, for a couple reasons. First, this book picks up shortly after the events of The Pale Horseman. Second, reading the series in order gives a better understanding of Uhtred’s history, his growth as a character, and his complicated relationships. Mr. Cornwell does provide brief summaries of important previous events, but I feel these are meant to refresh the memory of someone who has already read the first two books. Again, I must warn readers that this book contains graphic violence and mentions rape but does not describe it in detail.

So much happens to Uhtred in this installment! As the story opens, Uhtred is once again irritated with Alfred. Uhtred played a major part in Alfred’s latest victory over the Danes, but received a paltry reward. I can’t help but sympathize with Uhtred. He’s done so much for Alfred, his family, and the kingdom of Wessex but receives practically nothing for his service. So, he leaves Alfred and Wessex behind and goes North intent on killing Kjartan and Sven as revenge for the death of his foster father and to rescue his sister, Thyra, if she still lives. To do that he’ll need to attack Dunholm, which is a formidable fortress.

Uhtred is an excellent warrior, but since he doesn’t have an army or a solid plan, I had no idea how he was going to accomplish this. I eagerly dove in to the book with a smile on my face ready to follow Uhtred on his latest adventure. I must admit I was quite surprised to see what fate had in store for Uhtred. I won’t give away too many details, but I will say that a betrayal derails Uhtred’s plans and tears him from his life as a warrior. In his darkest moment, he finds aid from an unexpected source.

As I’ve said before, Uhtred is one of the most well-rounded characters I’ve had to the pleasure of knowing. Yes, he can be arrogant, selfish, and ruthless in battle, but he’s also brave and quite caring. He refuses to leave friends behind, and he is true to his word. Whether he wants to admit it or not, he has the makings of a great hero.

At this point in the series, the books have a familiar feel to them. However, this doesn’t make the tale boring. Far from it! Uhtred’s adventures are never dull. The familiarity comes from knowing Uhtred and his sense of humor. I find it comforting, like talking to an old friend. I also think this book has a stronger sense of nostalgia about it than the previous books. I can really feel that Uhtred, telling the story as an old man, is really missing his days as a warrior and it makes my heart ache.

I’m completely addicted to this series! I highly recommend this bittersweet tale to fans of historical fiction and adventure. I’ll be picking up the next book very soon!

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell
The Saxon Stories #1
Publisher: Harper
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical
Length: Full length (333 pages)
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Poinsettia

The first installment of Bernard Cornwell’s New York Times bestselling series chronicling the epic saga of the making of England, “like Game of Thrones, but real” (The Observer, London)—the basis for The Last Kingdom, the hit Netflix series.

In the middle years of the ninth century, the fierce Danes stormed onto British soil, hungry for spoils and conquest. Kingdom after kingdom fell to the ruthless invaders until but one realm remained. And suddenly the fate of all England—and the course of history—depended upon one man, one king.

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Which side will Uhtred choose?

The story of Uhtred’s life is captivating. Up until the time he was ten, he lived a relatively peaceful life in Bebbanburg. When the Danes invaded, everything changed. Ragnar, Uhtred’s captor, treats him as a son, and Uhtred finds he rather likes living as a Dane. However, as he grows older, he isn’t so sure where his loyalty should lie. Should he fight with the Saxons he was born to, or the Danes who raised him? Uhtred has friends among the Saxons and Danes, and as the struggle for control of England intensifies, he feels the pull to join either side. He is truly a man caught in the middle. As I read, I couldn’t wait to see what he would do next and where his decisions would lead him. I must mention that this book contains some intense battle scenes and graphic violence. Readers sensitive to this material are forewarned.

Uhtred is a fascinating character. He is strong, smart, and brave, but he is also very flawed. He is a bit too proud, and selfish at times. He also has the tendency to act before fully thinking things through. His pursuit of Bebbanburg has caused him to make hasty decisions which end up putting that very goal further from his reach. However, I can’t help but like him. He is also very charming, and he is loyal to those he loves. All of this serves to make Uhtred one of the most wonderfully rounded characters I’ve ever come across.

I love the way Mr. Cornwell has chosen to tell this tale. Uhtred narrates his story speaking as an older man looking back on his life. Even though I know Uhtred survives his adventures, I want to take that journey with him. As I read, I shared his joy, laughter, sorrow, and regret as he reflects on the people he’s known and the decisions he’s made over the course of his life.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the historic detail woven throughout the story, the map, and the historical note at the end of the book. Many of the characters were real people who lived during this time. Of course, Mr. Cornwell has taken some liberties for the sake of the story, but the tale he’s created feels very real. It is easy to imagine that Uhtred really existed.

I absolutely loved reading The Last Kingdom. I was completely immersed in Uhtred’s story and found it extremely difficult to put the book down. I can’t wait to continue reading about his adventures in the next installment of the series!

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
Publisher: Harper
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (405 pgs)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted.

To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne—a socialite and philanthropist—and her real-estate mogul husband, Jackson, are a couple straight out of a fairy tale.

Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn’t have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrishes and their lovely young daughters, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.

With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Last Mrs. Parrish is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent.

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If you enjoy a well developed story where the bad guy gets a fate better than you can plot for them, than this is the book for you.

Daphne Parrish has the dream marriage and family. Those around her are sure to envy what she has. Little does Daphne know but Amber Patterson wants all that Daphne has; the money, the power, the status. Amber has set things in motion to obtain what she desires. The plot is so masterfully woven it gave me goose bumps while reading it. The imagination that the author used to put the pieces to this thriller together is genius. Amber plays on the kindness of Daphne and soon Amber is a close friend to Daphne being invited to every family function. I like how the author added the mysterious past about Amber. But will Amber’s well laid plan unravel once the secrets of her past come to the light?

Amber is a greedy and envious woman but she is also smart and a planner. Well kind of smart. Instead of working hard and being driven to go to collage and becoming something from her hard work her ambition is to become a wealthy wife at the current wife’s disposal. Yes this is a turn off for me that a woman would envy what another woman has but the final outcome gives satisfaction for her superficial actions that she so pernicious plotted throughout the book.

Jackson Parrish is a powerful force to be reckoned with. Jackson has a evil dark side and potential readers should be warned that Jackson is involved in assault and sexual violence that some readers may find offensive.

I like how the author divided the book with two narrators so that the reader can hear both voices.

I enjoyed the book. I couldn’t wait to tell my other reader friends that they have to read this book, that this is a story that must be read. This would be a great book for book clubs to discuss. The author’s writing style had me anxiously awaiting the next page. I couldn’t read it fast enough. If only I could put work, sleep and eating on hold until I was able to finish this book. I liked that the book isn’t a cliff hanger and the author gave it a closed ending.

I can definitely see this becoming a movie, so if you want to get ahead of the release date go ahead and add this book to the top of your reading list.

Trouble at the Wedding by Laura Lee Guhrke

Trouble at the Wedding by Laura Lee Guhrke
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (380 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Book Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed By Dianthus

Annabel is about to marry the perfect man . . .

The last thing Miss Annabel Wheaton desires is true love. She learned the hard way that love makes a woman foolish and leads only to heartache. That’s why she agreed to marry an earl who needs her money. He’s got a pedigree and a country estate, and he won’t ever break her heart. There’s only one problem . . .

Christian isn’t about to let her marry that pompous prig . . .

Christian Du Quesne, Duke of Scarborough, thinks the stubborn heiress is about to make the biggest mistake of her life, and he’s determined to stop her. Tempting beautiful women is Christian’s forte, after all. When her family offers him a nice sum of money to stop the wedding, he’s happy to accept.

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Annabel Wheaton is new money. After her father hits it big in goldmines, she is thrust into a world of riches that were never thought possible. Growing up dirt poor in a tin roof shack, the idea of more money than she could spend in a lifetime is almost impossible to imagine. But she is learning money can’t buy you class, and it sure can’t buy you love. All money can buy you at the end of the day is heartache and an air of falsehood. With one broken heart and a failed marriage under her belt will the idea of giving love a second try be worth gambling on or is this a sign that she needs to cash in her chips?

Christian Du Quesne, Duke of Scarborough, is living a life that he never planned. After the death of his older brother he must step into the role of Duke and it has left a bitter taste in his mouth. Being a notorious rake, gambler and all around bad boy is something Christian has relished in, but now he has to grow up overnight. After one look at Annabel, Christian knows that he must possess her. There is something about her that calls to the real Christian, and not this man he has had to become.

This was a wonderful book and it was a pleasure to read. The characters were really well thought out and the story line moved at a nice, believable pace that really worked with the time period of this tale. I would have liked to see how things turned out for Christian and Annabel after the wedding, i.e. babies, Dinah’s coming out party, etc. But outside of those possible hanging details (which could make for a follow up story to this book) I truly enjoyed this read. I have read Laurie Lee Guhrke before and this book just reaffirms my thoughts that she is an author to follow and that nothing of hers will disappoint a reader. This is a book that would be great to reread and recommend with friends looking for a new author.