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Apr
01

The Samaritan: Fred Venturini

From the author of “Detail”, a short story included in the collection The Death Panel: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, comes The Samaritan, Fred Venturini’s debut novel.

Since the sixth grade, Dale Sampson loved the idea of being in love; even if it means being used by the prettiest girls in school. Unfortunately for Dale he never learns how to recognize the signs that perhaps love could be hazardous to his health.

Dale’s foray into the wiles of women begins at recess, when three of the school’s queen tweens blindfold Dale and lead him into every potentially painful object they can find, before the girls finally put life and limb on the line (Dale’s) by throwing him into the center of a basketball game led by Mack “Truck” Tucker in pursuit of attention (their own).

What could have been fatal instead turned pivotal, when Dale and Mack forged the beginning of a life-long bond.

By high school, Mack is ticking off one female conquest after another, while Dale had yet to speak to a girl; but then, he finally sees them—the Carpenter twins—and Dale has his sights set on Regina. Painfully relegated to the “friend zone”, Dale continues his campaign for Regina’s heart.

Just as things began to fall into place, everything Dale had ever hoped and dreamed about were taken from him in an eternity of seconds.

Among all the loss and devastation that Dale experiences, there is one glimmer of hope and perhaps the potential for salvation—the ability for his body to regenerate. Whether this scientific anomaly is a gift or a curse remains to be seen.

The Samaritan encompasses so much. It’s about love, loss, unbreakable friendship and the death of dreams. It’s the poster child for life happens while you’re busy making plans. It’s the age old argument between fate and destiny; of predetermination versus free will. It’s a cautionary tale proving that no good deed goes unpunished. Above all, it’s a story of the determination of one man to find love, no matter what the cost.

Fred Venturini’s writing is incredibly captivating and never misses a beat. The flow of his prose softly lull and embrace the reader while hurtling them toward an inescapable train wreck of life’s manic ups and downs.

With a style so complex in its simplicity and so pleasurable to read, The Samaritan fuels the desire to read more by Fred Venturini.

 April 1st, 2016  
 bookfetish  
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Apr
01

The Frugalista Files: How One Woman Got Out of Debt without Giving Up the Fabulous Life: Natalie McNeal

Following in a long line of blogs to books, Natalie McNeal’s The Frugalista Files is just another example of how some things are just better left on line.

Though saving money isn’t a new concept, it is a good one.

However, the premise of the book is deeply flawed. Despite the claim of saving money without “giving up the fabulous life”, Ms. McNeal does exactly that. It only stands to reason, how else will you change your situation, if no sacrifices are made?

No more shopping sprees, no more hanging out at trendy bars, no more restaurants and no more salon pampering spells sacrifice. However, if a dinner of nuked fish and vegetables and doing your own hair is your idea of the fabulous life…then I guess you’re on the right track.

On the other hand, Natalie McNeal deserves major props; not only for working hard to rectify her debt situation, but for creating a successful blog that took a lot of courage to write. Ms. McNeal let people know that they’re not alone in the struggle and her blog provides a forum where others can share not only the trials and tribulations of being in debt, but the ideas and successes of how they’re getting out.

Through no fault of the author, the structure and essence that made the blog so popular (interaction, among other things), was, if not lost in translation, then rendered a bit diluted. Those who judge the book by its title and expect to solve their money problems without giving anything up will be very disappointed.

Ms. McNeal should also be commended for her attitude. Unlike Save Karyn, who put her plight on-line and requested donations, Natalie McNeal did things the old fashion way: through sacrifice, perseverance and hard work.

In the end, Ms. McNeal not only reduced her debt, but garnered praise and recognition for building something productive, helped a lot of people along the way and set off on the career path of her dreams—you can’t put a price on that.

 April 1st, 2016  
 bookfetish  
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