For What It's Worth

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Review: Float Plan by Trish Doller

  

Critically acclaimed author Trish Doller's unforgettable and romantic adult debut about setting sail, starting over, and finding yourself...

Since the loss of her fiancΓ©, Anna has been shipwrecked by grief—until a reminder goes off about a trip they were supposed to take together. Impulsively, Anna goes to sea in their sailboat, intending to complete the voyage alone.

But after a treacherous night’s sail, she realizes she can’t do it by herself and hires Keane, a professional sailor, to help. Much like Anna, Keane is struggling with a very different future than the one he had planned. As romance rises with the tide, they discover that it’s never too late to chart a new course.

In Trish Doller’s unforgettable Float Plan, starting over doesn't mean letting go of your past, it means making room for your future. ~ Goodreads

Source: Library – Audiobook narrated by Sarah Naughton

 

I haven’t been this completely absorbed in a romance (or book for that matter) in a very long time. I immedietly connected to Anna and her grief over losing her fiance, Ben, to suicide and struggle to find a new future that doesn’t include him.

After a year of coasting through life, Anna decides to take their sailboat out intending to take the trip to the Caribbean that Ben had planned. But Anna didn’t absorb as much knowledge about sailing as she thought she did and the trip becomes dangerous and she hires Keane, a professional sailor, to help get her there.

 


πŸ’”        Heartbreak. From the very first page I felt like I knew Ben, understood what he meant to Anna, and was swept up with both their memories and the loss. Ben’s no longer alive but is ever present throughout the story and it was done in a really beautiful and respectful way, even as Anna moves on.

Adventure! Just as I was caught up in Anna’s changing emotions, I was just as excited and nervous about her trip – despite knowing nothing (or caring to) about sailing. The writing was so immersive, I felt like I was traveling right along with Anna and loved meeting the locals and learning about each new place she visited.

😍      Romance! Keane is such a stand up guy. Always giving Anna space when needed but support as well. He has his own struggles. He lost a leg in a sailing accident and although he still gets jobs in the field, he’s looked over for competitive sailing events – something he used to love. Their relationship evolves slowly but it was just as lovely to see them as friends and partners – exploring, sharing and having fun – as it was seeing them become more.

πŸ’€     Caution: As the one left behind – Anna experiences both anger and guilt about Ben’s suicide. So just a heads up if the topic might be upsetting for you.

πŸ™Œ     Overall – Yes, there is a romance but Float Plan was about so much more and Doller allowed Anna the space to grieve and grow without pushing a romance narrative. Instead letting things flow naturally for a truly captivating story. My favorite book of 2021 so far - not that I've read much but I really loved this one!

Monday, March 22, 2021

Reading Update



I’ve had another successful reading week! Again – not so much with the quanity but with quality.

Finished:

Float Plan by Trish Doller. LOVED this one and have a review ready to post on Thursday

Reading:

I’m still reading Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali but I’m almost done. It’s about Janna, an Arab Indian American Muslim teen navigating high school, divorced parents, a new interest in boys (one in particular – who is not Muslim) and the very serious topic of sexual assault by someone highly respected in the Muslim community and within Janna's friend group. I’m enjoying it but probably won’t write a full review but I will say that it’s a wonderful coming of age story that juggles both lighthearted and tough topics with humor, care and love.


Get a Life, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert – I’m listening to this on audio and LOVING it!!! I’m super picky about romance on audio but the narrator, Ione Butler, is brilliant at capturing both Eve’s quirky yet vulnerable and Jacob’s stick-up-his-assedness lol and awkwardness. I just adore them and their mostly hate with fluttery feelings blossoming budding romance so far.





And a dud:

Playing the Palace by Paul Rudnick – I really, really disliked this one. Having said that – it could be an it’s just me kind of thing. It’s funny and quirky but it seems to move at a breakneck speed with the men meeting, dating, falling in love, breaking up, the ending just hurtling. Also, EVERY. SINGLE, THING is over the top and exaggerated. This is where I say it might be me – if that’s what you enjoy as a reader then go forth and read! It has a large cast of enjoyable characters and the guys are sweet. Just not my thing.  (also – this is not Red White and Royal Blue – nor was I expecting it to be but I guess a lot of readers thought it would be similar but nope. Much lighter and rom-com-ish)





HAPPY SPRING!!!

I'm ridiculously happy that spring has sprung and there are more sunny days. We spent the weekend exploring the Portland area. We ate at Sugarpine Drive-in, a place I've been wanting to try. It was rainy & kind of cold but still nice enough to eat at the outdoor picnic tables and have a waffled grilled cheese and tomato soup with a sundae for dessert. Then we discovered several plant nurseries in the area and planted all our new trees and flowers while we're still getting some rain to get them established before the dry season. 

We moved to a new house last year and it is basically a clean slate with no plants and just a lawn. I can't wait to lure the butterflies and birds to the yard. That's the one thing I miss the most from FL - I had a HUGE butterfly garden and all kinds of nature.

After spending almost a decade trying to fix our sandy FL soil - I now have to fix our muddy clay soil and I would take sandy over clay any day. Trying to dig in clay/mud is hard work and I end up covered in it no matter how careful I am. We've also needed to buy several different tools just to break through the damn ground. lol

Once it's done though it will be so much fun to sit and relax in the yard on those cool breezy evenings.

How is everyone doing? What are you reading/watching? (I've been watching tv a lot! so I think I'll have to do a post about that soon) 

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Review: Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour

 

For fans of Sorry to Bother You and The Wolf of Wall Street—a crackling, satirical debut novel about a young man given a shot at stardom as the lone Black salesman at a mysterious, cult-like, and wildly successful startup where nothing is as it seems. 

There’s nothing like a Black salesman on a mission.

An unambitious twenty-two-year-old, Darren lives in a Bed-Stuy brownstone with his mother, who wants nothing more than to see him live up to his potential as the valedictorian of Bronx Science. But Darren is content working at Starbucks in the lobby of a Midtown office building, hanging out with his girlfriend, Soraya, and eating his mother’s home-cooked meals. All that changes when a chance encounter with Rhett Daniels, the silver-tongued CEO of Sumwun, NYC’s hottest tech startup, results in an exclusive invitation for Darren to join an elite sales team on the thirty-sixth floor. 

After enduring a “hell week” of training, Darren, the only Black person in the company, reimagines himself as “Buck,” a ruthless salesman unrecognizable to his friends and family. But when things turn tragic at home and Buck feels he’s hit rock bottom, he begins to hatch a plan to help young people of color infiltrate America’s sales force, setting off a chain of events that forever changes the game.
Black Buck is a hilarious, razor-sharp skewering of America’s workforce; it is a propulsive, crackling debut that explores ambition and race, and makes way for a necessary new vision of the American dream.

Source: Libro.fm in exchange for an honest review

Review: I had such a wild reading experience with Black Buck. Thanks to narrator, Zeno Robinson, I was all in on Darren (Buck) and whatever he wanted to do. He’s just a solid, unassuming, all around good guy and master Starbucks barista. He was also valedictorian and both his mom and girlfriend, Soraya, see great things for him if he would only push himself but he’s mostly satisfied with his life the way it is.

His big break comes one day when Rhett Daniels, CEO of the hot start up Sumwun, comes in to get his coffee and Darren persuades him to change his regular drink. Rhett sees the same thing his mom and Soraya do in Darren and makes an offer he can’t refuse.

At first, Darren and the reader, have no clue what Sumwun actually does and that’s intentional. The author wants you to get caught up in the initial confusion, energy and eventual success of Darren, now nicknamed Buck (for Starbucks obviously) without making judgements about the company or it's mission.

First Buck has to endure “hell week”. It’s a week of intense training – making cold calls to sell the company product (which I won’t spoil here). It’s as bad as you would expect a hell week to be with the added racism Buck endures as Sumwun’s only Black employee.

I had a seriously hard time stomaching a lot of this. Between the corporate hard sell tactics, the bullying of the employees and the racism – it’s not an environment I could ever see myself staying at. I understood why Buck did. He’s trying to make his mom proud while his Black elders keep telling him to endure and not let the white men win.

Buck does endure and rises through the ranks but not without great personal costs. He becomes a salesman and gets absorbed into the Sumwun tech company culture, money and all that comes with it.

His old neighborhood sees him as a sellout while his new corporate friends use him as needed both because he’s good and to boost their diversity cred whenever they are in trouble.

Meteoric rises lead to meteoric falls and Buck’s is no exception. This is when Black Buck takes a turn and has Darren flipping the script and using his sales techniques and everything he’s learned to help uplift his Bed-Stuy community. 

The story takes a bit of a weird turn here and I’m not really sure I liked it. Or anyone in the book (other than Soraya, his mom and one or two other people). Black Buck is provocative at times and rooted in reality but also went off the deep end a bit (or maybe not with the way the world is right now). However, Buck’s never-ending…not quite optimism - but pragmatic - look at life and his ability to *close the sale* and pick himself back up to change his own narrative kept me captivated until the end.

Black Buck was a bit of a mixed bag and it's final message (while valid) really had very little to do with anything prior but I can’t think of a better book for a book club. Between the complicated characters and the societal/ethical issues it confronts the reader with, I can see this being quite polarizing but also an eye opening, cautionary tale.

CW: Racism, bullying of different characters including one with tourettes syndrome, illness, death,  violence, drug use and probably more but just to warn you before you go in.