Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Book Review of Blood Drenched Beard by Daniel Galera



Blood Drenched Beard by Daniel Galera is very atmospheric.  Our narrator can't remember faces, ever, so needs to identify other qualities of people if he is to recognize them, which he only sometimes does.  The woman he loves marries his brother, a writer, while he drifts, teaching swimming and doing triathlons.  His parents are divorced and his father is attached only to his dog.

Then his father tells him that he will be committing suicide and asks our narrator to euthanize his dog after.  And he tells him that his grandfather, long missing, was murdered in a fishing/vacation village not so far away from their town in Brazil.

And our narrator moves there, with the dog, to find out what happened to the grandfather he never knew.  But he's looking for so much more as are the people around him.  But the plot isn't the story.

Galera translates as well as writes.  He lives in a small vacation and fishing village on the water in Brasil.  This book is both a light and enjoyable narrative and a deeper symbolic novel about life.  It's absolutely wonderful.

Book Review Bred to Kill by Franck Thilliez



Bred to Kill is the follow up to Franck Thilliez' earlier murder-mystery Syndrome E.  Both of them are dark mysteries full of double dealing and sophisticated science.  Syndrome E introduced us to police Lucie Henebelle and Inspector Franck Sharko, her ex-lover.

I really don't want to give too much away as the book has it's twists.  But essentially a sign language speaking chimp seems to have murdered a graduate student.  Except of course, the chimp is innocent so who did it?  Something having to do with the violence which some left handed men seem unable to control.

The story goes back decades, as did Syndrome E, and crosses continents.  The story can get predictable and fall into cliche but it's just so fun.  I really enjoyed this book and Syndrome E.  You can see where the story is going, and it's a traditional hard boiled detective story.  But Thilleiz does such a good job developing the premise the book is both hard to put down and thoroughly enjoyable.

Thilleiz is a bestseller in his native France.

Book Review Black Diamonds by Catherine Bailey



I love Downton Abbey and I love the books Catherine Bailey writes about that timeframe.  Bailey's books mix in history with personal history creating well crafted stories which grab my attention.  Black Diamond is no exception and I really loved this book.  I even had a hard time putting it down, but it wasn't always easy reading.

Unlike Downton Abbey which glamorizes the England of the British aristocracy heading into the 20th century Bailey is willing to touch on the harsher realities of the inequity and, frankly, selfishness, of the rich which led to them losing their place (in the world).  And the lesson is a powerful one in today's world, in which the gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow.

Black Diamonds tells the story of the downfall of a great family, the Earl Fitzwilliams, mixed in with the crushing brutality of the British coal industry.  Bailey is hindered by the family's destruction of a great stretch of documentation by them and about them which covers the period she describes.  But her sympathies clearly rarely lie with any family member as the whole lot seem selfish, self preoccupied and quite entitled.  Instead she creates a nuanced narrative of their world around them, which they touched but also largely ignored.

And this book is so good, not to taste the glamour of the period but rather the exploitation and privilege  which characterized too many like families.  This one even has a Kennedy twist along with epilepsy, addiction, insanity, abuse and self destructiveness.  It's a great story, though more about the time period than the family.

Highly recommended.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Serum Giveaway: Joy and Karma Vitamin C Serum or Hyaluronic Serum

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Giveaway is for US or Canada only.  I will give away one of each serum, so there will be two winners.

59% off on Amazon for these products Code below.  Instructions on how to use it: http://joyandkarmablog.com/vip/youtube-50-off.html

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Tom Ford 02 Raw Jade Eyeshadow Palette Spring 2015 Review and Swatches


Very pretty…but a little stiffer and harder to build up than my other Tom Ford shadows.



Etude House Dear My Wish Lipstick in Or203 Review and Swatches


Gorgeous vivid orange coral…very pigmented…


Spring Sultry Smokey Pink, Purple and Grey Eye Look With Viseart Cool Mattes


Instead of standard pastels this spring I've been doing more muted smoky yet soft looks…like this one using the Viseart Cool Mattes palette.