Book Review: Benson

bensonBenson is an autobiography from George Benson. With a foreward by Bill Cosby, you know you’re in for something good.  George has had a career for over 50 years and has received 10 grammys.  Finally, he decided to tell his story, in his own words.  You probably best know him for “On Broadway”, I know that is what I most knew him for – even though it has been recorded by many others as well.

I really liked the writing style – with words italicized for emphasis, it almost felt like I was sitting with George and having him tell me these stories instead of just reading them from paper.

Throughout the book there are interludes, which are little side stories that add some more character to the book. These are a bit shorter than the other chapters in the book as well.

I always prefer to read an autobiography to a biography because it makes the book a bit more personal.  There were certainly some ups and downs in his life and career, but I think that he has led a fantastic career!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Over the course of his fifty-year career, George Benson has performed for hundreds of millions of fans around the world, received ten Grammy Awards, and recorded with some of the most revered musicians of his era. In 2011, he earned a National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Masters Award. And he has finally decided to tell his story.

Benson: The Autobiography follows the musician’s remarkable rise from the ghettos of Pittsburgh to the stages of Dubai, and everywhere in between. His tales of scuffling on the road with jazz legend Brother Jack McDuff, navigating his way through the recording studio with Miles Davis, and emerging as the first true (and truly successful) jazz/soul crossover artist will enthrall devotees of both music history and pop culture.

An open and truthful raconteur, Benson discusses his near-arrest for domestic abuse, the tragic illnesses that afflicted his family, the secret lives of his musical cohorts, and racism’s effect on his life and art. His long-awaited book allows readers to meet one of the most beloved, prolific, and bestselling musicians of any era.

Book Review: Burned

burnedThe Cosmo Red Hot Reads have been a bit of hit or miss lately – but I have to say that I considered this one to be a hit! It was a nice quick read, which was just what I was looking for! And it took place in London, although there weren’t too many mentions of that so I wasn’t really picturing London unless something specific was mentioned.

The book is about Rosie.  The story starts with her boyfriend telling her that she needs hobbies like baking! Which is not what Rosie is into at all.  She is a personal-trainer and a black belt. Baking just isn’t her thing. So she walks out on Brian.  Also in the restaurant is her ex – Hunter Black.  She leaves and hopes that she won’t bump into him (although she’s probably kind of hoping she will.)  She ends up confronted in an alley by 4 men.  She starts to fight them off, when Hunter swoops in to help save the day.  He tells them the fight isn’t fair.  You know 2 vs 4.  Except, he and Rosie could totally kick all 4 of their asses no problem and THAT is why it’s not fair.

Hunter brings Rosie home.  She doesn’t want to get back with him – but this is a Cosmo Red Hot Read so guess what ends up happening?  He ends up becoming her new boss! (Oh and whatever else you guessed probably happened too.)  Rosie tells him that she doesn’t want to get involved with him because it will be awkward at work – but will it stay that way?

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book
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Every girl needs some self-defense. But at Fit and Physical, you’ll learn martial arts and get fit at the same time. Look great, feel better and kick a little butt! Check out one-on-one personal training with our favourite karate black belt, Rosie Miller. She loves her job, the world of martial arts, and her life is just…well, brilliant.

Trainer and martial artist Rosie Miller’s zen is seriously compromised when Hunter Black—her former coach and lover—becomes her new boss. With all the sexual energy still crackling between them, her poor little zen doesn’t stand a chance. So this time, Rosie is determined to do more than put up self-defense. She and Hunter are going to play by her rules….

Book Review: The Beast Within

beastI wasn’t sure exactly what to expect with this book.  I probably shouldn’t have looked up reviews before I read it either, because that seemed to confuse me all the more.  Is this a prequel to Beauty and the Beast? Or a companion piece? Or perhaps a piece based off the same characters but not linked to the movie at all…

I think to a certain extent this is the prequel to the movie because it tells you about Beast and what happened in his earlier years that led to him becoming cursed and turning from a Prince to a Beast.  However, the timelines don’t seem to match up so that where this book ends, the movie picks up, so you may want to keep an open mind when reading this.

The Prince is best friends with Gaston – but after telling a girl he didn’t want to see her anymore because she wasn’t royalty – she and her sister – who as it turns out are all witches – put the curse on him that will turn him into the Beast unless he finds true love.

I have not seen the movie in a while (though I am tempted to go and watch it now) so if there were any inconsistencies with plots or characters they were not enough that it stuck out to me.  I did see the others did notice such inconsistencies and had the book ruined a bit by it.

My best advice is that if you like the movie and want to read some of Beast’s story – then by all means read this book as it is a quick and easy read and I found it to be enjoyable.  Just go into it with an open mind and that it may be in a different time than the movie by Disney and you should be ok 🙂

I also enjoyed that the Prince said that Gaston was the Prince of Buttchinland.  Maybe it was because I was reading it before going to sleep and probably should have been already asleep by that time but I found it to be quite funny!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

A cursed prince sits alone in a secluded castle. Few have seen him, but those who claim they have say his hair is wild and nails are sharp–like a beast’s! But how did this prince, once jovial and beloved by the people, come to be a reclusive and bitter monster? And is it possible that he can ever find true love and break the curse that has been placed upon him?

Book Review: Shining Star

shiningstarShining Star – Braving the Elements of Earth, Wind & Fire is a memoir from the lead singer of the group – Philip Bailey. The book tells about his life and how he has always been interested in music since a very young age.  Then he found out that he could get paid for playing music!

This give a behind the scenes look to sex, drugs, rock n roll , payola, etc. into the music industry around the time that EWF was coming up.  Certainly an interesting story and I always like to hear all the behind the scenes things going on. Especially with a group that often switched out some of the members.

I dare you to read this book and not end up with “Shining Star” stuck in your head for the rest of the day. (or week!)

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

A revealing and heartfelt memoir from the lead singer of the legendary Earth, Wind &FireWith more than ninety million records sold and eight Grammy awards throughout its forty-year history, Earth, Wind & Fire has staked its claim as one of the most successful, influential, and beloved acts in music history. Now, for the first time, its dynamic lead singer Philip Bailey chronicles the group’s meteoric rise to stardom and his own professional and spiritual journey.Never before had a musical act crossed multiple styles and genres with a quixotic blend of astrology, Universalism, and Egyptology as Earth, Wind & Fire (EWF) did when it exploded into the public’s conscience during the 1970s. The group’s shows became sensory experiences with their dramatic staging, shimmering costumes, elaborate choreography, baffling magic tricks and a thumpingbackbeat. At the center of it the group was its charismatic founder Maurice White and Bailey, with his soaring multi-octave range and distinctive falsetto. After being signed by recording titan Clive Davis,EWF went on to produce a remarkable series of platinum and gold albums and headline stadiums around the world. As Philip and Maurice were profoundly influenced by genius producer CharlesStepney, as well as famed arranger David Foster,EWF elevated Sly Stone’s multiethnic “I Wanna Take You Higher” message to an even higher level.Bailey hit the wall due to fame, fortune, and the excesses of global success. The constant touring and performing took its toll on him publicly and privately. While White and Bailey’s relentless work ethic shot the band into the stratosphere, it also exhausted and emotionally gutted the group. In 1983, White abruptly dismantled the band, leaving Bailey and the rest of the members to fend for themselves. As a solo act, Bailey recorded “Easy Lover,” a worldwide smash duet with Phil Collins, launching the next stage of his career until EWF reunited later that decade.

Shining Star is the true story of what happens when real life exceeds your dreams, when the power and pain of building a legacy brings both joy and faith-testing challenges.

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