The Art of War by Sun Tzu: #bookreview #DBowieBooks

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Goodreads Synopsis

Conflict is an inevitable part of life, according to this ancient Chinese classic of strategy, but everything necessary to deal with conflict wisely, honorably, victoriously, is already present within us. Compiled more than two thousand years ago by a mysterious warrior-philosopher, The Art of War is still perhaps the most prestigious and influential book of strategy in the world, as eagerly studied in Asia by modern politicians and executives as it has been by military leaders since ancient times. As a study of the anatomy of organizations in conflict, The Art of War applies to competition and conflict in general, on every level from the interpersonal to the international. Its aim is invincibility, victory without battle, and unassailable strength through understanding the physics, politics, and psychology of conflict.

(Original publication date was circa 500 BCE.)

Details

Title: The Art of War

Author: Sun Tzu

ISBN: 1590302257 (ISBN13: 9781590302255)

Published: Originally published circa 500 BCE

Genre: Classics, Eastern Philosophy, Non-Fiction

Source: Own Copy

My Rating: 4/5 StarsThis book is part of the

Amazon

GoodreadsGoodreads

This book is part of the David Bowie Reading Challenge #DBowieBooks

1. 1984

2. The Great Gatsby

3. The Gnostic Gospels

4. A Clockwork Orange

5. Lady Chatterley’s Lover

6. The Art of War

My Thoughts

Although The Art of War was written over 2000 years as a war manual for Chinese soldiers, many of the lessons can be applied to almost any situation where there is conflict, particularly the business world. The 13 topics in each chapter include: laying plans, attack by strangers. tactical dispositions, energy, weak points and strong, maneuvering, variation in tactics, the army on the march, terrain, the nine situations, the attack by fire, and, the use of spies.

While it is relatively safe to skip some of the more detailed descriptions of Chinese terrain, there are some valuable and universal lessons to be learned. The biggest take aways for me is that to effectively ‘win’ when conflict arises it is important to learn as much about the situation as possible and deploy the right tactic for each situation. Only sometimes is an all-out attack is the best option:

“To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting”.

The Art of War is the 6th book I read since undertaking the David Bowie Reading Challenge approximately one year ago and today is the anniversary of the day Ziggy Stardust went back home. I still wish he was here but the past 12 months have brought my own little Ziggy Stardust into my life and I have thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated every single book that I’ve read from David Bowie’s top 100 books of all time.

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My own Ziggy Stardust

 

I’m going to pair this novel with David Bowie’s recently released posthumously track, No Plan. After being ripped off in his early years Bowie strategically built his empire to be so strong that he is still in control of when and how his music is released!

It Was Only Ever You by Kate Kerrigan

youDescription

Set, like Maeve Binchy’s early bestsellers, in late 1950s Ireland and New York, this is the story of three women and the charismatic man with whom their lives are interwoven.

Patrick Murphy has charm to burn and a singing voice to die for. Many people will recognise his talent. Many women will love him. Rose, the sweetheart he leaves behind in Ireland, can never forget him and will move heaven and earth to find him again, long after he has married another woman. Ava, the heiress with no self-confidence except on the dance floor, falls under his spell. And tough Sheila Klein, orphaned by the Holocaust and hungry for success as a music manager, she will be ruthless in her determination to unlock his extraordinary star quality.

But in the end, Patrick Murphy’s heart belongs to only one of them. Which one will it be?

Details 

Title: It Was Only Ever You

Author: Kate Kerrigan

Published: October 6th 2016 by Head of Zeus

AISN: B01AATYCBS

Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction (1950s)

Format:  Paperback

Pages: 389

Source: Review copy from publisher

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Amazon 

Goodreads

My Thoughts

It Was Only Ever You is my first introduction to Kate Kerrigan, but before I even picked up the book I knew that I had been missing out! With comparisons to the great Maeve Binchy and high praise from romance stalwarts, Marian Keyes, Cecelia Ahern, and my good friend, Tess Woods, I knew this would be a great book. And I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

The novel is set in County Mayo and New York in the 1950s and told from multiple points of view. Patrick leaves his sweetheart, Rose, the beautiful doctor’s daughter, behind in Ireland to emigrate to New York and make it big as a rock star. In New York, he meets Ava, a wealthy but shy girl, except for when she is on the dance floor. Holocaust survivor, Sheila, manages to talk her way into becoming Patrick’s manager, despite being on the run from the mob.

I loved the way this story was told. I can definitely see some similarities to Maeve Binchy’s heartfelt romance style Kerrigan captured the mood of old-school Ireland and the 1950s rock and roll scene of New York perfectly. I particularly enjoyed the scene where Sheila watches Bill Haley and his CometsBill Haley and his Comets in one of their earliest performances, especially as Rock Around the Clock was my grandmother’s favourite song!

The Devil You Know by Terry Tyler: Book Review @TerryTyler4

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Description

Every serial killer is someone’s friend, spouse, lover or child….

Young women are being murdered in the Lincolnshire town of Lyndford, where five people fear someone close to them might be the monster the police are searching for.

One of them is right.

Juliet sees an expert’s profile of the average serial killer and realises that her abusive husband, Paul, ticks ALL the boxes.

Everyone likes Pru’s new boyfriend—except her teenage daughter, Maisie.  Is she the only one who can see through Gary’s friendly façade?

Jake fancies Tamsin.  Tamsin loves Jake.  But then her love turns to suspicion…

Steve is worried.  Is his childhood friend, Dan, just being his usual, misogynistic self, or has a new friend’s influence taken him down a more sinister path?
Dorothy’s beloved son, Orlando, is keeping a secret from her, and a chilling discovery forces her to confront her worst fears.

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW is a twist-rich, character-driven psychological drama/thriller that will keep you guessing until the very end!

Details 

Title: The Devil You Know

Author: Terry Tyler

Published: October 3rd, 2016 by the author

AISN: B01LXQISIY

Genre: Mystery, Psychological Drama

Format:  Kindle

Pages: 340

Source: Review copy from author

My Rating: 5/5 Stars!

Amazon UK

Goodreads

My Thoughts

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Terry Tyler fan, and The Devil You Know is one of my favourites so far! It’s a psychological drama, which is a completely different genre from her other novels, and I very much admire how effortless she made it look to master a new style. I also loved the multiple points of view, which is a technique this author has perfected. I always love piecing the story together from different characters. I feel like you get the full story that way, not just one or maybe two character’s perspective.

The Devil You Know is told from the viewpoint of five different characters who each suspect that somebody they know could be the Lyndford Strangler serial killer. As the story progresses each character becomes more and more convinced that their suspicions are correct as the murders become more frequent and people continue to behave suspiciously.

I was definitely surprised when the true Lyndford Strangler was revealed and, in true Terry Tyler style, I never saw the big surprise coming in a million years. I love that even though I know this author is an expert at sneaky plot twists that I’ve never been able to figure it out until the very end yet!

December #TBR Pile

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It’s already been December for a while now and I am so not ready for Christmas! I have family coming soon from all over the place, presents are not sorted, I still need to buy some bits and pieces to complete my 1950s style outfit that I plan to wear on Christmas day as a little surprise for my Pop, and I have only just began finished week 2 of this study period at uni. You should all feel very sad for me because I actually have an assignment due on Dec 23rd! 😦 But I do have some exciting books that I hope to be able to review this month, plus some very nice Heavenly teas that I have been loving this week.

devil

Title: The Devil You Know

Author: Terry Tyler

Genre: Psychological Drama, Whodunnit

Description:

Every serial killer is someone’s friend, spouse, lover or child….

Young women are being murdered in the Lincolnshire town of Lyndford, where five people fear someone close to them might be the monster the police are searching for.

One of them is right.

Juliet sees an expert’s profile of the average serial killer and realises that her abusive husband, Paul, ticks all the boxes.

Maisie thinks her mum’s new boyfriend seems too good to be true. Is she the only person who can see through Gary’s friendly, sensitive façade?

Tamsin is besotted with her office crush, Jake. Then love turns to suspicion…

Steve is used to his childhood friend, Dan, being a loud mouthed Lothario with little respect for the truth. But is a new influence in his life leading him down a more sinister path?

Dorothy’s beloved son, Orlando, is keeping a secret from her—a chilling discovery forces her to confront her worst fears.

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW is a character-driven psychological drama that will keep you guessing until the very end.

war

Title: The Art of War

Author: Sun Tzu

Genre: Eastern Philosophy, Classics, Non-Fiction #DBowieBooks

Description:

Conflict is an inevitable part of life, according to this ancient Chinese classic of strategy, but everything necessary to deal with conflict wisely, honorably, victoriously, is already present within us. Compiled more than two thousand years ago by a mysterious warrior-philosopher, The Art of War is still perhaps the most prestigious and influential book of strategy in the world, as eagerly studied in Asia by modern politicians and executives as it has been by military leaders since ancient times. As a study of the anatomy of organizations in conflict, The Art of War applies to competition and conflict in general, on every level from the interpersonal to the international. Its aim is invincibility, victory without battle, and unassailable strength through understanding the physics, politics, and psychology of conflict.

(Original publication date was circa 500 BCE.)

princessbride

Title: The Princess Bride

Author: William Goldman

Genre: Fantasy, Classics, Romance, Adventure, Young Adult (Umm, what does this story not have!?)

Description:

What happens when the most beautiful girl in the world marries the handsomest prince of all time and he turns out to be…well…a lot less than the man of her dreams?

As a boy, William Goldman claims, he loved to hear his father read the S. Morgenstern classic, The Princess Bride. But as a grown-up he discovered that the boring parts were left out of good old Dad’s recitation, and only the “good parts” reached his ears.

Now Goldman does Dad one better. He’s reconstructed the “Good Parts Version” to delight wise kids and wide-eyed grownups everywhere.

What’s it about? Fencing. Fighting. True Love. Strong Hate. Harsh Revenge. A Few Giants. Lots of Bad Men. Lots of Good Men. Five or Six Beautiful Women. Beasties Monstrous and Gentle. Some Swell Escapes and Captures. Death, Lies, Truth, Miracles, and a Little Sex.

In short, it’s about everything.

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Title: In Cold Blood

Author: Truman Capote

Genre: True Crime, Classics,  Non-Fiction #DBowieBooks

Description:

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.

unrivaled.jpg

Title: Unrivalled (Beautiful Idols #1)

Author: Alyson Noël

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Mystery

Description:

Everyone wants to be someone.

Layla Harrison wants to leave her beach-bum days for digs behind a reporter’s desk. Aster Amirpour wants to scream at the next casting director who tells her “we need ethnic but not your kind of ethnic.” Tommy Phillips dreams of buying a twelve-string guitar and using it to shred his way back into his famous absentee dad’s life.

But Madison Brooks took destiny and made it her bitch a long time ago.

She’s Hollywood’s hottest starlet, and the things she did to become the name on everyone’s lips are merely a stain on the pavement, ground beneath her Louboutin heel.

That is, until Layla, Aster, and Tommy find themselves with a VIP invite to the glamorous and gritty world of Los Angeles’s nightlife and lured into a high-stakes competition where Madison Brooks is the target. Just as their hopes begin to gleam like stars through the California smog, Madison Brooks goes missing. . . . And all of their hopes are blacked out in the haze of their lies.

Unrivaled is #1 New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noël’s first book in a thrilling suspense trilogy about how our most desperate dreams can become our darkest nightmares

you

Title: It Was Only Ever You

Author: Kate Kerrigan

Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction, 1950s

Description:

Set, like Maeve Binchy’s early bestsellers, in late 1950s Ireland and New York, this is the story of three women and the charismatic man with whom their lives are interwoven.

Patrick Murphy has charm to burn and a singing voice to die for. Many people will recognise his talent. Many women will love him. Rose, the sweetheart he leaves behind in Ireland, can never forget him and will move heaven and earth to find him again, long after he has married another woman. Ava, the heiress with no self-confidence except on the dance floor, falls under his spell. And tough Sheila Klein, orphaned by the Holocaust and hungry for success as a music manager, she will be ruthless in her determination to unlock his extraordinary star quality.

But in the end, Patrick Murphy’s heart belongs to only one of them. Which one will it be?

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Title: The Pretty Delicious Cafe

Author: Danielle Hawkins

Genre: Romance, Contemporary

Description:

Food, family and fresh beginnings. For fans of 800 Words, Offspring, Josephine Moon and Monica McInerney.

On the outskirts of a small New Zealand seaside town, Lia and her friend Anna work serious hours running their restored cafe. The busy season is just around the corner, and there are other things to occupy them. Anna is about to marry Lia’s twin brother, and Lia’s ex-boyfriend seems not to understand it’s over.
When a gorgeous stranger taps on Lia’s window near midnight and turns out not to be a serial killer, she feels it’s a promising sign. But the past won’t let them be, and Lia must decide whether events rule her life or she does.
The Pretty Delicious Cafe will remind you of those special, good things we love about living. And the food is great.
A warm, witty novel, brimming with the trademark romance, friendship and eccentricity that Danielle Hawkins’s fans adore.

PRAISE FOR DANIELLE HAWKINS
Dinner at Roses
‘A cross between All Creatures Great and Small, Bridget Jones’s Diary and something the Topp Twins would write if there was only one of them and she was straight, this is a very funny book.’ Next Book Club
‘What really carries it is the quality of the writing. The dialogue is absolutely spot on. You would almost believe the author wrote for TV or writes sitcoms. It’s very, very funny.’ Paper Plus, Winter Reads
‘It’s so good that it’s hard to believe it’s a first novel. It had better not be her last. Please, Danielle’ Lee Matthews, Manawatu Standard
‘Reading this is better than sleeping!’ Sunday Star Times
Chocolate Cake for Breakfast
‘Another sweet, gently funny depiction of life in the back blocks of New Zealand.’ Next
‘Helen is frankly delightful – intelligent but oh-so-human … a plausible, relatable storyline and hugely appealing characters. A charming summer read, and a giggling good time’ Australian Women’s Weekly
‘The only problem I could see in the book was the Wallabies did not win often enough’ Jodie, GoodReads
‘This is a delightful, contemporary romance’ – Herald Sun

I wonder how many of these I will be able to make my way through by the end of the month? Stay tuned for some reviews coming soon, because I think I have some very enjoyable reading days coming my way soon!

I’ll save that for later

I had a very strange moment today. In the picture below, you will see an old copy of The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay, a box full of buttons, and a Twiddle Muff I finished making for my Pop today.

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A Twiddle Muff AKA Fidget Cloth is a sensory activity used in many nursing homes, and I believe sometimes for children as well, to give people who get the fidgets something to do with their hands. Or sometimes it can just be nice to look at, hold, or maybe talk about.

The strange moment came when I got to the part where I added the buttons. Because I’m not really that much of a crafty kind of person, I had to go and buy every single thing I used except for those buttons. Because I already had a box full of buttons that belonged to my grandmother. Using her buttons today, some that I remember from when she used the exact same ones on her own craft projects, put a whole new spin to the phrase: “I’ll save that for later”

I started to think about what kind of things I save for later and the answer was pretty obvious. I never ever throw out a book if I can help it. In fact, I still feel a little bit lost without the hundreds of books I somehow agreed to get rid of in the middle of a packing panic when I moved interstate. But I did hold onto this copy of The Magic Pudding, which originally belonged to my Aunty, and then it lived at my grandparent’s house for a long time until I claimed it. It’s a story that is remembered fondly by a lot of people in my family, including my Pop, as I discovered one day when I brought it along when I went to see him.

Now, I’m definitely not saying that it’s a good idea to become a total hoarder and just hold onto a whole bunch of useless clutter. But maybe it’s a good idea to put some thought into some of the things that you do save for later. Because there are so many strange little things that you just never can tell when they will come in handy, or stop and make you remember something very special.

Dementia Sucks!

It’s been three months since my last blog post…I’ ve been a terrible blogger! But in that time I have done my best to be the best granddaughter that I can possibly be and to keep up with my university studies as well. I’ve sat down at my computer hundreds of times to write a review or just to let you know where I’ve been but I’ve had the biggest case of writer’s block that I have ever experienced. And let me tell you, writing 2500 word essays on copyright law is not a pleasant experience with a case of writer’s block!!

Earlier this year my grandfather (Pop) had a stroke and now has severe dementia. My family had to make the decision to put him into a nursing home because he needs a high amount of care. I’m sure all of you who have a loved one or friend suffering from this cruel disease, in any of its variations, knows that it’s shit. And I’m sure the rest of you can imagine.

Having to place your loved one into the care of strangers is equally shit, but I think this experience is one that is impossible to imagine unless you’ve gone through it yourself. Even if it’s a ‘good’ nursing home, which in most respects my Pop’s home is, it’s still shit. Probably the biggest shock for me was to discover that there are no mandatory staff ratios for aged care homes in Australia  and a pattern over the last 10 years or so of an increase in the amount of unqualified personal carers and a decrease in the amount of Registered Nurses working in aged care. This seems to be a worldwide issue and one that I really think more people should be aware of. We’re all going to get old one day!

Besides from that tiny little rant, I’ve been doing my best to be there for my Pop. As difficult as it can be sometimes, it makes it all worth my while when I’m able to make him smile and show me his usual cheeky self.

Here’s a collection of some of my favourite pics. I might be a little bit biased but I think my grandparents are beautiful!

Stay tuned for a ginormous catch-up of book reviews coming soon!

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Me and Pop
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The love of his life
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My last visit before the stroke
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This is his most favourite photo of himself

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The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight #bookreview

Fast paced thriller with a complex teen heroine. outliers

The Outliers began with such an interesting concept. Kimberly McCreight wrote that she became interested in the highly emotional frequency that her daughter and many of her female friends often operate on. This is often seen as a flaw in character, but the idea that perhaps it’s actually a great strength led the author to explore this concept in The Outliers.

I really enjoyed this aspect of the novel. A lot of people would say that I’m far too sensitive and emotional, but I have recently begun to see some of the benefits this can bring. I often look back to times where people or situations made me feel uncomfortable and more often than not hindsight tells me that I should have listened to what my gut instinct was telling me!

The main character, 16 year old Wiley, suffers from extreme anxiety and agoraphobia which has gotten much worse since her mother passed away in a recent car accident. Even though her relationship with her best friend, Cassie, has been on the rocks lately when she goes missing Wiley knows that she has to help her.

Wiley and Cassie’s boyfriend, Jasper, decide to drive across the country to rescue Cassie when they start receiving text messages from her asking for help. I have to admit that it is a little bit unbelievable that Wiley was able to leave the house so easily, but you never know how strong you can be until you’re in the middle of an emergency.

There are so many plot twists to Wiley and Jasper’s trip to rescue Cassie that I probably shouldn’t get too much into this part of the novel to avoid spoilers. It’s incredibly fast-paced and expect to have everything that you thought was going on turned on its head at least a couple of times.  I’m definitely hanging out to read the second installment of the series after the huge plot twist at the end!!

Description

It all starts with a text: Please, Wylie, I need your help.

Wylie hasn’t heard from Cassie in over a week, not since their last fight. But that doesn’t matter. Cassie’s in trouble, so Wylie decides to do what she has done so many times before: save her best friend from herself.

This time it’s different, though. Instead of telling Wylie where she is, Cassie sends cryptic clues. And instead of having Wylie come by herself, Jasper shows up saying Cassie sent him to help. Trusting the guy who sent Cassie off the rails doesn’t feel right, but Wylie has no choice: she has to ignore her gut instinct and go with him.

But figuring out where Cassie is goes from difficult to dangerous, fast. As Wylie and Jasper head farther and farther north into the dense woods of Maine, Wylie struggles to control her growing sense that something is really wrong. What isn’t Cassie telling them? And could finding her be only the beginning?

Details

Title: The Outliers (The Outliers #1)

Author: Kimberley McCreight

ISBN: 0062359096 (ISBN13: 9780062359094)

Published:  May 3rd 2016 by HarperCollins
Genre:   Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: Paperback 468
Source: Review copy from publisher (HarperCollins Australia)

My Rating: 4/5 stars

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Amazon UK

Amazon AU

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