Thursday, September 27, 2018

Two Love Stories, Washington and Wrestling?

Yes, as the title indicates this round of books has two love stories (one mostly sad and one mostly happy), as well as a book on professional wrestling, and another about George Washington.

The Two of Us by Andy Jones was a book I thought I'd love based on cover alone. The summary and quotes made me think that this one was going to be a romantic comedy in book form. However, that's just not what I read. This book revolves around Fisher and Ivy. Fisher and Ivy have been a couple for just 19 days, and they already sense they've got something that could last for awhile. The book revolves around where the relationship goes from there as Fisher narrates through the events and emotions of their relationship. Here'e the thing - This is sad book. Nothing on the cover said that, so my guard for the feels was down, and that was definitely not the type of book I went in expecting/needing. I also wanted more depth with the relationship "stuff" for the love story of it all, but when only one person in the relationship (Fisher) narrates, you get what you get. All in all, this one left me more emotionally drained than I was anticipating, and while this is totally on me, I wanted something different than what I ultimately got in this read.

Read this book if - You're looking for a book that's going to get really, really into your feelings. You want a love story with a lot of realness.

Perfect Harmony by Emily Albright was an absolute treat of a read. When I read YA, I like to think back to when I was in the target demographic. Y'all, this one spoke to the high school version of me like you would not believe. First of all, the main character in this one is Pippa who is a cellist in her high school orchestra. For those who don't know, I was all about orchestra (I play violin), so on that plot point alone I was here for this story. Then, there was the storyline of Pippa's long-time crush on her brother's friend, Noah. Noah is a jock, and without taking an unnecessary (and unwanted) trip down memory lane, the unrequited love wrapped up in this spoke to teenage me like whoa. Pippa's world is then rocked. First of all, Declan arrives. Declan is a cellist, and he's coming for Pippa's first chair status. Then, things might be changing in her relationship with Noah. Pippa now has to navigate these two men in her life while also hoping she'll get into her dream school. I cannot tell y'all how much I adored this read. It was the romantic comedy that I would have written for myself as a teen. I loved so incredibly much that the heroine was in orchestra, and I also loved that experience was so authentically written. There was a depth to the orchestra experience that isn't always in a story like this. So often they focus on the trope of the "nerd" and/or the want to be popular, and this one instead focused on centering the things Pippa loved throughout. Orch dorks don't always get love stories like this, and my heart was so happy to see this happen. Oh, and a big thank you to NetGalley for bringing this book into my life.

Read this book if - You were in high school orchestra, and you want a love story that was written just for you. You love a love story that reads like a romantic comedy.

Death of the Territories: Expansion, Betrayal and the War that Changed Pro Wrestling Forever by Tim Hornbaker focuses on the rise of Vince McMahon's vision of a nationwide wrestling program. However, rather than exploring Vince's process, this one really focuses on the regional wrestling model and where it all fell apart. For those who aren't aware (ad admittedly I didn't know a lot of this information prior to reading the book), pro wrestling used to be built on a regional model. Different promoters "ran" different cities, had regular venues in those cities, and had their own talent. With the regional promoters, there was some crossover with superstars, but they each maintained their niche. With Vince McMahon's rise, he sought to change this and expand the reach of a wrestling organization. For me, I found this to be a captivating read (and a thanks to NetGalley for letting me check it out). I learned a lot about the beginnings of some of my favorite wrestlers from the nineties. Not knowing the "way things used to be" with wrestling, I assumed that they'd just come through the WCW/WWE circuit. This was very much blowing up what I thought I knew and providing me some intriguing perspective on the industry. This is both a "what might have been" had the business plans of some organizations gone differently, as well as a "how this came to be as it is" explanation. It was a good dose of nostalgia, while also doing an in-depth exploration of the industry.

Read this book if - You were a fan of professional wrestling in the 70s, 80s and/or 90s. You enjoy reading history around sports. You like sports books that also infuse some business strategy.

The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot Against George Washington by Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch was an outstanding read about a historical happening . This one won't be released until January 2019 (I read it as an ARC from Flatiron Books), and y'all will want to add this one to your to-read list now. This was nonfiction that read like a thriller which is a rare feat. It was a book that I asked my husband "Did you know. . .?" as I read another happening, and/or I recounted what I had just read because it was so fascinating. This book focuses on the realities of the Revolutionary War. While there were those who were focused on fighting for our new country, there were also Loyalists. Part of the battle wasn't just the war, but devious plans to gain an edge. One of these plans was to (literally) take out George Washington. This book does an amazing job of trekking through how that plot came to be, all the players who were involved, and how the still forming government addressed the issue. This was a book where I learned so much and couldn't stop reading because I needed to know what happened next. Obviously, I knew George Washington was going to end up okay, however I didn't know how that all came to be. I absolutely loved this book in a way I don't normally love nonfiction/history. It had all the drama and all the twists, and this is a book I'll be recommending for readers of all types for the foreseeable future.

Read this book if - You're really into history. You're really into thrillers. You're looking for something that'll keep you turning the pages because you are so wrapped up in the (true) story. You want a nonfiction read that makes you say "Wait, that really happened?" throughout.