A Harvest of Thorns by Corban Addison Review

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Synopsis: In Dhaka, Bangladesh, a garment factory burns to the ground, claiming the lives of hundreds of workers, mostly young women. Amid the rubble, a bystander captures a heart-stopping photograph—a teenage girl lying in the dirt, her body broken by a multi-story fall, and over her mouth a mask of fabric bearing the label of one of America’s largest retailers, Presto Omnishops Corporation.

Eight thousand miles away, at Presto’s headquarters in Virginia, Cameron Alexander, the company’s long-time general counsel, watches the media coverage of the fire in horror, wondering if the damage can be contained. When the photo goes viral, fanning the flames of a decades old controversy about sweatshops, labor rights, and the ethics of globalization, he launches an investigation into the disaster that will reach farther than he could ever imagine – and threaten everything he has left in the world.

A year later, in Washington, D.C., Joshua Griswold, a disgraced former journalist from the Washington Post, receives an anonymous summons from a corporate whistleblower who offers him confidential information about Presto and the fire. For Griswold, the challenge of exposing Presto’s culpability is irresistible, as is the chance, however slight, at redemption. Deploying his old journalistic skills, he builds a historic case against Presto, setting the stage for a war in the courtroom and in the media that Griswold is determined to win—both to salvage his reputation and to provoke a revolution of conscience in Presto’s boardroom that could transform the fashion industry across the globe.

My Thoughts: This book took me some time to get through as it was more of a cerebral read. It was an extremely important book for Americans to read and very interesting, but it wasn’t an enjoyable book for me. This was difficult at times as I tend to read more for pleasure and to escape.

The subject matter was something that really made me think and I will continue to think about it when I purchase clothes and other items that are produced in other countries. It’s easy to live in our little first world bubbles and “forget” about the things that are happening in the world around us. The story made me uncomfortable and sad, especially when finding out that it’s loosely based on true events that have occurred in the past and are without a doubt occurring at this very moment.

I had a bit of trouble with the writing style, the pacing seemed to be disjointed at times. One thing I loved was the atmospheric quality to the story…the reader travels around the world and each place is described vividly.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this story to everyone. It definitely isn’t a “happy” read but it’s definitely an important story.

My Rating: 4 stars

I received this book from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

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The Fatal Gift of Beauty by Nina Burleigh

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Description: The sexually violent murder of twenty-one-year-old British student Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy, on the night of November 1, 2007, became an international sensation when one of Kercher’s housemates, twenty-year-old Seattle native Amanda Knox, as well as her Italian boyfriend and a troubled local man Knox said she “vaguely” knew, was arrested and charged with the murder. The Fatal Gift of Beauty is award-winning author and journalist Nina Burleigh’s mesmerizing literary investigation of the murder, the controversial prosecution, the conviction and twenty-six-year sentence of Knox, the machinations of Italian justice, and the underground depravity and clash of cultures in one of central -Italy’s most beloved cities.

When Perugia authorities concluded that the murder was part of a dark, twisted rite—a “sex game”—led by the American with an uncanny resemblance to Perugia’s Madonna, they unleashed a media frenzy from Rome to London to New York and Seattle. The story drew an international cult obsessed with “Foxy Knoxy,” a pretty honor student on a junior year abroad, who either woke up one morning into a nightmare of superstition and misogyny—the dark side of Italy—or participated in something unspeakable.

The investigation begins in the old stone cottage overlooking bucolic olive groves where Kercher’s body was found in her locked bedroom. It winds through the shadowy, arched alleys of Perugia, a city of art that is also a magnet for tens of thousands of students who frequent its bars, clubs, and drug bazaar on the steps of the Duomo. It climaxes in an up-close account of Italy’s dysfunctional legal system, as the trial slowly unfolds at the town’s Tribunale, and the prosecution’s thunderous final appeal to God before the quivering girl defendant resembles a scene from the Inquisition.

To reveal what actually happened on that terrible night after Halloween, Nina Burleigh lived in Perugia, attended the trial, and corresponded with the incarcerated defendants. She also delved deeply into the history, secrets, and customs of Perugia, renowned equally for its Etruscan tunnels, early Christian art, medieval sorcerers, and pagan roots.

A New York Times bestseller, The Fatal Gift of Beauty is the thoughtful, compelling examination of an enduring mystery, an ancient, storied place, and a disquieting facet of Italian culture: an obsession with female eroticism. By including the real story of Rudy Guede, it is also an acute window into the minds and personalities of the accused killers and of the conservative Italian magistrate striving to make sense of an inexplicable act of evil. But at its core is an indelible portrait of Amanda Knox, the strangely childlike, enigmatic beauty, whose photogenic face became the focal point of international speculation about the shadow side of youth and freedom.

My Thoughts: I went into this book with very little knowledge about the trials of Amanda Knox or the murder of Meredith Kercher. Initially I found this book to be very interesting but the vast amount of information caused me to lose interest. The day of the murder isn’t described until around page 175 and by that time, I was bored with the story. The book would have been better, in my opinion, if some of the information dumps had been edited out.

The facts are presented in a fairly non-biased way, which allows the reader to form their own opinion about the case. I feel very like I know almost everything about this case now but it took a long time to wade through all the information.

My Rating: 3 stars

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Because You’re Mine by Colleen Coble Re

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Synopsis: Alanna has been plagued by tragedy. So it should come as no surprise that in the beauty that surrounds Charleston, all is not as it seems.

When her husband is killed by a car bomb while their band is on tour in Charleston, Alanna doesn’t know where to turn. Her father-in-law is threatening to take custody of the baby she carries, but the one thing she knows for sure is that she can’t lose the last piece of Liam she has left.

Their manager offers her a marriage of convenience to gain her U.S. citizenship and allow her to escape her father-in-law’s control. It seems like the perfect solution . . . but her doubts begin almost as soon as she arrives at Barry’s family home, a decaying mansion surrounded by swamp.

To make matters worse, Liam’s best friend survived the car bomb. She’s never really liked Jesse and now she can’t seem to get away from him. When he takes Liam’s place in their band, it’s almost more than she can bear.

But then things start happening. Things that could easily cost Alanna her life—or the life of her unborn child. Are they merely coincidences? Or is there something much more sinister at work?

My Thoughts: I had never read a book by Colleen Coble but she’s a popular author in the Christian Fiction world so I was excited to request and read this book. I was a bit hesitant about it as I’m not a fan of romance but this book was light on the romance and heavy on the suspense (which is what I love).

The story was unique and had a gothic feel as a large part of it took place in a large dilapidated mansion in Charleston, South Carolina. It was very atmospheric and entertaining to read.

I enjoyed each page that I read, the writing was very fluid and the pacing was steady. I found the story very entertaining. Unfortunately, it was also very predictable and extremely far-fetched and unrealistic. I guessed each surprise and was a bit disappointed in the main character’s lack of insight into what was really happening.

Although the story was far-fetched and predictable, I still found it very entertaining and would definitely pick up another book by Colleen Coble in the future.

My Rating: 3 and a half stars

I received this book from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.