Book Recommendations

Book Review | Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

Vernitra Jones, writer and book blogger

Book Review | Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris (2016)

by Vernitra Jones

Does the perfect guy really exist? What about the perfect wife? Or the perfect marriage? In this psychological thriller set in England, B.A. Paris twists the idea of perfection and confirms one never truly knows what goes on behind the closed doors of another.

When Grace meets her husband-to-be, star-attorney Jack Angel, she thinks she has won the man jackpot. On the surface, her new beau appears to be a total dime. He is handsome, successful, compassionate, and impeccably well-mannered. However, once Grace gets knee-deep into her love story, she discovers a dangerous element lurking beneath the glossy veneer of her marriage.

While I enjoyed the mystery element and steady pace of this novel, I must admit, over the course of the story, I began to grow decreasingly interested in the antagonist’s motivations. Also, without giving too much away, there is an event in the story involving a book, and I wish that particular plot line had thickened, because it seemed to be headed in an interesting direction. As for the ending, it was not as satisfying as I hoped it would be. 

Overall, I enjoyed my experience reading the book, and I am interested in reading more books by the author. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good, non-gory psychological thriller and anyone who enjoys reading about other people’s marriages.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Book Review | If This Was Happiness: A Biography of Rita Hayworth by Barbara Leaming (1989)

ifthiswashappiness

20171108_164229_6_75percent

Vernitra Jones, Writer, book blogger, and classic-movie fan

Book Review | If This Was Happiness: A Biography of Rita Hayworth by Barbara Leaming (1989)

by Vernitra Jones

One of the most legendary screen goddesses in motion-picture history, Rita Hayworth epitomized 1940s glamour. With her angelic face, warm eyes, toothy smile, and luscious mane of fluffy, coppery curls, Rita Hayworth became one of the most adored faces on the silver screen. A trained professional dancer, Rita could glide across the floor and move to a tune like nobody’s business. While Rita capitalized on her picture-perfect image of soft, alluring feminine grace, she led an often tumultuous life plagued by toxic relationships with men and self-destructive tendencies.

In her biography about Rita Hayworth, Barbara Leaming paints an honest picture of the star’s life, one that begins with the childhood sexual abuse which conditioned Rita for a lifetime of damaging relationships with men, in both her personal and professional lives.

From Rita’s early days as a disciplined child dancer, to her reign as a pin-up girl and box-office queen, to her various roles as real-life wife to Eddie Judson, Orson Welles, Prince Aly Khan, Dick Haymes, and James Hill, Leaming spares no tough detail. Leaming provides just enough Hollywood glamour but anchors her story on the harsh realities of Rita’s life.

Ending with Rita’s untimely descent into Alzheimer’s disease, this book provides a candid portrait of the woman behind the glamorous visage.

I enjoyed listening to the audio version of this book, and I recommend it to anyone interested in learning about Rita Hayworth, Old Hollywood, Hollywood gender dynamics, and the effects of childhood abuse.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Bookshelf | Tell-All by Chuck Palahniuk (2010) | An Old Hollywood tale with a dark twist

chuck-palahniuk-tell-all-cover

This novel is dripping with Old Hollywood, and if you love that kind of stuff—as do I—you will enjoy this book. The story transported me back to that glamorous era where inimitable stars like Joan Crawford and Bette Davis reigned over Tinseltown and gossip mongers like Hedda Hopper and Lillian Hellman had the power to either enhance or tarnish a star’s reputation.

The star of the book is Hazie Coogan, who really isn’t a star at all but the trusty maidservant and companion to excessively glamorous and untouchable former film star Katherine Kenton. For decades, Hazie has spent her life not only catering to every need and want of her “Miss Kathie” but also protecting her and–most importantly–her glittering star from harm. Now, Hazie’s focus is protecting Miss Kathie from the loving arms and machinations of one Webster Carlton Westward III—a handsome, young, smooth-talking gentleman caller who is finding it quite easy to cozy up to the older and vulnerable Miss Kathie. (more…)

Bookshelf | Married Lovers by Jackie Collins (2008)

Married Lovers

When beautiful Cameron Paradise flees her abusive surfer husband in Australia, she lands in Los Angeles, where she starts a new life as a personal trainer at a posh gym facility. Determined to sustain her newly-gained independence, her main objective is working hard and saving money, so she can fulfill her dream of one day opening her own gym. While the men she encounters can’t seem to resist her stunning beauty and perfect physique, she blocks all their advances with a steely determination. (more…)

Bookshelf | Bossypants by Tina Fey (2011) | You might bust your pants… From laughing!

This book is hilarious! I listened to it on audiobook, and it made me laugh so much that I want to listen to it again. That’s how much I loved it.

As a comedy writer, actress, producer, mother, and wife, Tina Fey plays many roles, and she candidly reflects on all of them in this funny, well-crafted memoir. (more…)