Nikki Vision on The Echoes of Love

theechoesofloveThe Echoes of Love
Hannah Fielding
Amazon | Website

Hello!  The Review Board here to give thoughts on The Echoes of Love by Hannah Fielding.  What does Nikki see in the story?  Let’s find out:

nikkibannerfinal
This book started quite well. The establishing of the character and the tone of the novel was good, and there were some rather nice descriptions of setting, to uphold the romantic feel of the piece.

However, right from the first paragraph clichés slipped in. “Heart skipped a beat.” And a ghostly figure reflected in a mirror that when she turns around is gone. Oh, I thought, I was actually excited about reading a well-written romance with a bit of originality.

th_hmmm-anm-hmmm-female-smiley-emotico
Well, it is well written, with excellent formatting and lay out, although I’m not sure why it is brown.I didn’t notice any typos or glaringly obvious grammatical errors. Thinks to self, if I were really into this book, I wouldn’t be talking about how good the layout is in the second paragraph of my review.

yawn
Yes, I was a little bit bored by this novel.

toomuchdetailponySo there’s a tourist guide and a cookbook. Great, but where is the story?

Hannah Fielding is great at physical descriptions. Her attention to detail is staggering. I did feel that there was perhaps too much description in minute detail, as I wanted the story to get going and not know who eats what and exactly what they eat. Unless pertinent to the plot, such descriptions hinder rather than help. I know the author wants to show us Venice, and descriptions are useful, but practically every paragraph was just a list of what they are eating, wearing and where they are located.

staring
The plot is fairly typical of the genre: girl leaves troubled life behind her travels to the romantic city of Venice and falls for a handsome troubled man with a dark secret past. She likes/not likes him because he is a bit arrogant. They are drawn to each other and…well you get the picture. Venetia and Paolo seemed to gaze at each other for unrealistically long periods of time. Paolo comes across as stereotypical: he is suave and handsome and all knowing. “The shadow of dark stubble over Paolo’s jaw enhanced the masculinity of his bronzed face…” I’m sure that people who like romances in exotic locations will probably enjoy reading this rather predicable novel.

I felt that the book could use a bit of editing to make the narrative pacier and more enjoyable to read. Each chapter is so very long, I found myself wanting to skip long passages in order to get to the next chapter. I found the dialogue rather stilted, and often there purely to explain the history, or the plot.

 rabbit sexfrom pickelope.com

The sex scenes were so clichéd. Volcanoes erupting, throbbing climaxes, crescendos and wait, there’s more: “Venetia soared and swooped, crying out her ecstasy, sobbing and convulsing under the shattering power of the most intense orgasm she’d ever experienced.” Blimey! Towards the end of the book, they go at it like rabbits, only with more perfect climaxes. (I imagine, knowing nothing about rabbit sex.) He does some odd things to her like “Showered butterfly kisses down her throat.” I don’t about Venetia, but I wanted to gag at that point.

I really did want more of a complex plot line to keep me engaged and caring about what happened to the main characters. It seemed for most of the book that Paolo and Venetia just want to engage in the perfect sexual act. But it is a romance book so I shouldn’t really expect anything else. But, really, just what is “The secret core of her femininity”? Oh It’s her “…moist, silken pink petals” that he does things to so well that – “Venetia could feel her loins trembling; soon she would be flooded.” Just like Venice itself does every year.

giphy

Sorry, but, bleh. Then we’re off again with page after page of detailed descriptions of where they are going, what they are wearing, eating, and where they are dining. Story please – plot anytime soon?

There is a lot of sex and then long passages of expositions explaining either back story or giving history lessons about Venice, which is okay, but again, where is the plot? There was a bit of action, besides the lovemaking, Paolo and Venetia have a car accident. Suspected foul play. Then more descriptions. giggles
The so-called twist at the end was laughable I’m afraid. So silly and utterly far-fetched. The final sentence, well – yeuk –‘nough said.

5starsVision Verdict: 5 out of 10 TRB Stars
Nice Description. Daft Ending.

Thank you for checking out The Review Board.  Feel free to like, share, and subscribe.  Have a great day.

Unleashed Speaks on Summer Slam 2014

Leaked Poster for Summer Slam 2014 (pre-order DVD)

 

Greetings everyone!  Unleashed here to speak on Summer Slam 2014.  Before we get into the thick of it, Mr. Controversy and I talked a bit prior to the pay-per-view to share our takes on who we thought would win.  After my pick, I’ll give a very brief reason as to my pick.

Matches:

The Miz vs. Ziggler (IC Championship):
Mr. Controversy–The Miz
Unleashed–Ziggler

Why Ziggler? It sparks the level of surprise since quite a few people think that Miz is going to win.  However, I think it is time WWE put trust back in Ziggler to carry some gold, and Summer Slam is the perfect place to do it (Hollywood, FL vs Hollywood, CA, so to speak).

AJ Lee vs. Paige (Divas Championship):
Mr. Controversy–AJ Lee
Unleashed–AJ Lee

Why AJ Lee? I still think Paige has a lot of polishing to do before she is truly champion material.  Although I like her wrestling set, she has to do a better job of not botching up moves and become more credible on the microphone when cutting her promos.

Rusev vs. Swagger (Flag aka Country Bragging Rights Match):
Mr. Controversy–Rusev
Unleashed–Rusev

Why Rusev? If they are truly pushing Rusev, it would be a bad idea to have him lose at Summer Slam.

Ambrose vs. Rollins (Lumberjack Match)
Mr. Controversy–Rollins
Unleashed–Rollins

Why Rollins? Rollins needs the win more than Ambrose.  Despite Seth having the Money in the Bank briefcase, he hasn’t shown me that he has earned anything.  He’s going to need all the help he can get and Ambrose is actually assisting with Seth securing the victory with all of the extra hands on death as opposed to helping himself.

Jericho vs. Wyatt
Mr. Controversy–Wyatt
Unleashed–Wyatt

Why Wyatt? Because Bray Wyatt’s star hasn’t been as bright since suffering the loss to Cena a few months back.  Wyatt needs the win to ensure that his momentum doesn’t stagnate.

Brie vs. Stephanie
Mr. Controversy–Stephanie
Unleashed–Brie

Why Brie? I just mainly want to see Brie get some type of revenge on Stephanie.  Besides, I don’t really care a lot about this feud, despite the awesome buildup.  (With the exception of the imitation “Claire Lynch” affair B.S. which wasn’t needed)

Orton vs. Reigns
Mr. Controversy–Reigns
Unleashed–Reigns

Why Reigns? As much as I like Orton, this is a test to see if Orton will do what is best for business–play his role in grooming Reigns as the future of the company.  Quite a few don’t think Orton will, but we will see.

Cena vs. Lesnar
Mr. Controversy–Lesnar
Unleashed–Lesnar

Why Lesnar? You guys know I can’t stand Lesnar, yet the only way to have the Undertaker’s streak ending have meaning is to have the 1 in 21 and 1 beat John Cena, convincingly.  It can’t be none of this count out, disqualification B.S.  It has to be clean.

So who was right?  Who was wrong?

This PPV was a bit tougher for me to judge so to get a better overall rating, I have to approach it a little differently.  There are three factors I will take into account with Summer Slam 2014:

  • unpredictability factor
  • length of match
  • quality of match

The preshow I won’t really cover.  All I want to say is that I am very disappointed how WWE is treating Cesaro at this stage in the game.  I do like Rob Van Dam, don’t get me wrong, but he didn’t really need that win against Cesaro.

The Miz vs. Ziggler

Side Note: Was that a cape or a robe?  I don’t know what it was that the former Treasure Troll (oops, I mean The Miz) was wearing but I just thought it was strange that’s all.

I like to think of this as the battle of the two Hollywood’s (Miz from the one in CA and Dolph from the one in FL).  I paid particular attention to this match for quite a few reasons:

1.  To see if Miz was truly going to be a transitional champion (which I prayed for)
2.  to see if WWE finally ready to reward Ziggler for all of the hard work he’s been putting in and put trust in him to hold the belt

yaydolph
Winner:  Dolph Ziggler
My reaction(s): Yes, yes, yes! About damn time! Looks like the first match is setting the tone for Title Changes.

  • unpredictability factor (high): Although my prediction was correct and they put the belt on Ziggler, I know for many others, it was unexpected.  The sheer joy that erupted from that arena.  Nice!
  • length of the match (low): A bit short in my book
  • quality of the match (med high): Relatively decent .

AJ Lee vs. Paige (Divas Title)

20130403_Divas_Show_LIGHT
I was not particularly impressed with this match.  All of the pulling of hair and hair strand loss seemed a bit ridiculous to me, especially since it looked like the same strand of hair.  But I could be wrong.  The ending was the same when AJ Lee had her lengthy title run and Paige came in and defeated her.  Nothing bells and whistles about it.

Winner: Paige
My reaction(s): Well, that definitely was a surprise for me.  Another title change! As I stated earlier I don’t think Paige is groomed enough yet to be a champion.  She’s still making too many mistakes on the grand stage and she hasn’t quite found her own style when it comes to delivering promos.  I also don’t think it made any sense to have AJ take the title only for Paige to get it back anyway.  Just feels like WWE was trying to correct a creative mistake.

  • unpredictability factor (high): Since Mr. C. and I both got this one wrong and the reaction of the crowd told a lot, too.
  • length of match (low): also short (at this point, I’m wondering will there be a squash match because we aren’t quite at the 40 minute mark and heading into the third match already.)
  • quality of match (low): The “extension snatching segments” made this match a bit laughable for me.  It seemed as if Paige was visibly trying to figure out what she should do next, despite delivering some pretty impact filled moves to AJ

Rusev vs. Swagger (aka Russia vs. USA, aka Bragging Rights Match)

alexanderrusev
Winner: Rusev
My Reaction: Not surprising but quite a match.  Yet it was also done to where it didn’t portray Swagger as being weak, either.

  • unpredictability factor (mixed bag): For the patriotic bunch (high); for Mr C. and myself (low).  For me, Rusev has been marketed as this superior athlete so it wouldn’t have made sense to have Swagger win, despite it keeping in theme with patriotism.  Also, I wonder if Swagger is finally getting some level of punishment for the clumsiness which caused Wade Barrett to vacate the IC title some months back.
  • length of match (low): They are going to have to stretch the heck out of the remaining matches, I guess.  Plus I’m still wondering whether there’s a squash match.
  • quality of match (high): The sneak attacks before the match began were a plus.  Swagger stay diligent in attacking Rusev’s ankle and really tested the endurance and determination of Rusev.  The hinted vocal dissension between Lana and Rusev made things interesting as well as the difficulty Rusev had in putting on his finisher due to the abuse to the ankle.  Also in the end, Swagger never tapped out but instead passed out.  It reminded me of that match between Stone Cold and Bret Hart where blood was gushing out of Stone Cold Steve Austin’s Head and Bret had his finishing maneuver on him.  Stone Cold never tapped; he passed out–so although Stone Cold lost, it still felt like he won after the reaction he got from the crowd.  I don’t know if that happened for Swagger but at least he didn’t give the impression that he quit.

Ambrose vs. Rollins (Lumberjack Match)

WWE-SummerSlam-Dean-Ambrose-VS-Seth-Rollins-In-A-Lumberjack-Match

Ambrose has been looking strong against Rollins ever since Kane Rollins won the Money in the Bank contract.  So when Ambrose got the chance to choose the stipulation and he said “Lumberjack match”, I already knew he put the nail in his coffin.

Yes, none of the other people particularly liked the Shield as a unit but if there is someone in the Authority’s pocket, it gives that person the chance to help out Seth Rollins in the event he gets in a jam–with no repercussions.

Ambrose was dominant through the majority of the match.  The match went in the crowd.  Bodies all over the place.  Authority Kane comes out to restore order–just to end up giving the opening needed for Rollins to hit Ambrose upside his noggin with the briefcase.

Winner: Rollins
My Reaction: That doesn’t surprise me.  Let the feud continue.

  • unpredictability factor (low): If it hadn’t been for the chosen stipulation, then this would have been shaken up a bit.
  • length of match (low-mid): With the amount of chaos, I did expect it to go for at least twenty five minutes but it didn’t.  I’m still wondering if there’s going to be a filler match.  Or is Cena vs. Lesnar going to be phenomenal?
  • quality of match (high): This was based more off high flying moves and the assistance of the lumber jacks more so than wrestling itself.  I think that Rollins did too much trying to get away from Ambrose than actually wrestling.  Yet despite this, the match kept my attention.

Jericho vs. Wyatt

jerichowyattSource: Cageside Seats

Side Notes:
~Bray Wyatt’s ensemble: You know he means business when he is not rocking the white pants and has that long ass apron on, like he’s about to cut up some meat.
~Jericho’s jacket: It looks like he changed up the lights.  Plus, I thought one of Fozzy’s songs was the theme to Summer Slam, yet I rarely heard it played.  I heard that other song (the Flo Rida “Goin’ Down”) a whole lot more than the Fozzy tune.

Winner: Wyatt
My Response: Momentum recharge.  Excellent work to both wrestlers.

  • unpredictability factor (low): The majority of people sensed this was a “must win” match for Bray Wyatt.  Jericho has always done a great job as far as doing what he can to put people over.  As I predicted, Wyatt suffered the loss at Battleground to set up his eventual win for Summer Slam.
  • length of match (mid-high): This match was in the right range for me.  I got a chance to see more of Bray and Jericho didn’t look nearly as rusty as he did at Battleground.
  • quality of match (high): Although Bray is bigger than Jericho, he definitely matched him with pacing, speed, and tenacity.  Both of them play off each other extremely well.  Solid–through and through.  I was very glad Harper and Rowan were not allowed at ringside because Bray demonstrated his solo star without the threat of a tainted victory.  Clean was needed, and clean was achieved.

Brie vs. Stephanie

queendom-wweuniverseSource: WWE Universe

Stephanie’s outfit: I was digging it.  Bionic boobs looked ready to kick ass and chew bubble gum.  Plus, the definition in those arms.  Say what you want to about Steph but she’s in incredible shape.

Winner: Stephanie
My reaction: Shock but more because of the awesome twist at the end with Nikki Bella.  #twinturn

twinturnSource: Bleacher Report, WWE Universe

  • unpredictability factor (high): This was well played.  A few weeks ago when Stephanie kept saying to Nikki to blame Brie, I thought I saw a baby spark where Nikki was taking it in.  Yet when Brie came to the show and the twins embraced each other, I shook it off and didn’t think any more of it.
  • length of match (high): It corresponded with the amount of hype it was given (although the hype could have done without the affair angle)
  • quality of match (mid-high): Both ladies put on a decent match.  It was very cool to see each wrestler use the husband’s moves.  I bet Daniel Bryan was proud of those kicks, and Steph’s Pedigree looked rather nice.

Orton vs. Reigns

Both competitors looked strong going in.  Orton tapped back into his ferocious side to up the ante for the match.  Reigns continued to secure victories and increased his smoothness in being able to trash talk.  (I am still chuckling over that punch he gave Miz on Miz TV.)

Pretty classic match through and through, but if WWE wants to keep on point with Reigns’ growth, there could be only one winner in this match.

Winner: Reigns

wrestlinghdwallpapers.blogspot.com (Source)

wrestlinghdwallpapers.blogspot.com (Source)

My Reaction: As most of you know, I’m a big Randy Orton fan.  Yet I even know who is next when it comes to the future.  I have liked Reigns ever since he came on the scene.  There’s just something about him.  He’s just “that guy”.  I just hope WWE doesn’t go to the well too much with Reigns before he gets to the top.

  • unpredictability factor (low): There was just this huge anticipation for Reigns to win.  Guess WWE is like, “Why go against the tide?”
  • length of match (mid): It was almost right but I do think they had to rush a tiny bit of it because there wasn’t a whole lot of time for Cena vs. Lesnar
  • quality of match (high): Both wrestlers looked impressive against each other.  Although Orton looked awkward the times he went against Cena, he did well in this showing with Reigns.

Cena vs. Lesnar (WWE WHC)

beastSource: SB Nation
“Even Paul Heyman knows it’s about to go down.”

Side Note:
~Every time I hear Lesnar’s music, I feel like wanting to throw down a can of whoop ass.
~So…Cena’s shirt’s red this time.  If I didn’t know any better, I would think he was running out of colors.

This wasn’t a match.  This was a massacre.  For those who totally hate Cena and were having a dream that Cena would be annihilated, you have officially gotten your orgasm and this is the pay per view that you definitely needed to see.  (If you didn’t get a chance to see it, you can catch it on replay on the WWE Network for only….)

Moving on.

16 German suplexes
2 F5’s

Um…yeah.

shocked-smiley-face-EEK
Can we say concussion?  Cena looked like he had one (or a few) after that match.

Eat
Sleep
Suplex
Repeat

Eat
Sweat
Turn Red
Repeat

(I know it doesn’t rhyme but I couldn’t help myself.)

**Well, no one ever said Brock was built for endurance.  That’s why he tries to take your ass out as quick as possible–before he passes out from too much effort. (I’m just saying)**

For those of you who were expecting a wrestling match: Really, are you serious?  Brock is like a hurricane or a tornado (just f*cks shit up).  Cena got f*cked up–brutally and convincingly.

brocklesnarSource: Twitter, Bleacher Report

Absolute Winner: Brock Lesnar
My Reaction: THANK YOU WWE for letting the Streak ending have meaning and credibility.  If Cena would have ended up on top, the Streak end would have been for naught.  No, I still don’t like Brock Lesnar.  No, I still don’t like that you had Lesnar end the streak.  Yet the only conclusion to this match had to be this one.

  • unpredictability (mixed bag): For the Cenation (high): They can’t believe their ‘hero’ got sliced up like some deli meat and pounded like some cube steak.  For Mr. C. and myself (low), for the reason stated in my reaction–Brock would not be considered credible if he had lost.
  • length of match (mid): Just enough for Brock Lesnar.  Almost too long the way he was sweating and getting red.
  • quality of match (mixed bag): As an actual wrestling match=low; as a total ass whooping=high

Prediction Results: I got 6 out of 8 in regards to my predictions (the ones involving the women).  Mr. C. got the same (6 out of 8) but with the IC and the Divas Match.

Verdict Time:  Prior to Summer Slam, I wasn’t overly enthused about the card, particularly how terrible Battleground turned out.  I wasn’t expecting anything super coming out of this pay per view.

There were still some cons committed:

  • Continued suffocation of Cesaro’s push (preshow)
  • No tag team match
  • No US Title match
  • Ambrose vs. Rollins should have gone longer

Despite those (and taking the other three factors into account), I have to give this pay-per-view its credit:

4-Stars
Unleashed Verdict: Title Change, I mean Summer Slam 2014 gets 4 out of 5 Stars based on the alternate scale for music, movies, and more.

  • What is next for the WWE WHC, since Brock is a part timer?
  • What’s going to happen with Nikki (is she really part of the Authority or just pissed at her sister)?
  • Which direction will Bray Wyatt go next?

We will all just have to stay tuned.  (I definitely will stay tuned to see where in NY/NJ is Summer Slam 2015 getting held.)

Thanks for checking out the Unleashed segment of The Review Board.  Feel free to like, share and subscribe.  Have a great day!

Controversy Unleashed Exclusive (WWE and the UIWS)

First Note: Parts of this article were written before the matches on the Summer Slam card were officially announced.

Second Note: This isn’t an official review but pertinent observations. (lol)

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen!

cropped-nolabelsunleashed
My name is No Labels Unleashed and I am a long time observer of wrestling.  Notice I did not use the word “fan” because “fan” can include someone that just starting liking wrestling a week ago and just follows whoever is popular at the time.  My philosophy on what I think of that, as well as my disdain for “sports entertainment” overshadowing “pure wrestling” is for another day.

Seriously, I was trying to get my intro to sound Heyman-esque.  Did you pick up on it?  Even if you didn’t, it did seem a bit cool.

Moving on.

TheRockEyebrow
I’m not sure how often I’m going to do this.  It may be a one time thing or it may be something on a consistent basis.  I couldn’t tell you.  All I know is there are some things going on in wrestling that has me doing a mixture between the Rock’s raised eyebrow and the angry Miz girl, along with a Seriously, WTF.  I don’t even know if I could do all those expressions at the same time.

In WWE (I haven’t looked at TNA much since they dropped the ball with AJ Styles), there are quite a few people who are in the UIWS.  For me, UIWS stands for the following: Utilized Inefficiently Wrestling Squad.  That means, there are wrestlers on the roster that I feel WWE Creative hasn’t been using much at all or the way they are using them is similar to trying to eat soup with a fork–you can attempt it but it won’t be all that successful.

During a conversation with Mr. Controversy, I mentioned it would be a good idea for us to come with a list.  I wanted to get his take because although he hasn’t watched wrestling as long as I have, I think he’s seen enough to gather who may unwillingly be in the UIWS.  Plus, I’m curious how in sync we are going to be with our selections.

Here are my five and my summation as to why I feel these WWE wrestlers haven’t been utilized to the best of their abilities.  I’m sure there are more than these five but for me, these stand out.  These aren’t in any particular order.

1.  Tamina Snuka: Legend’s Daughter Treated Like a Leftover

tamina_bio_20121129
I know Tamina Snuka is recovering from surgery, so I’m not talking about now.  I’m talking about from before.  Tamina is the daughter of the legendary Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka.

In an episode of WWE Divas, Natalya (daughter of Jim the Anvil Neidhart and niece to Bret the Hitman Hart) spoke of how tough it is even for her, despite being part of what is considered “wrestling royalty” as it pertains to the Hart family.

maxresdefault
Yet, I speak on Tamina more so than Natalya because at least Natalya is getting some air time, not just with wrestling here and there but being part of the reality show Total Divas.

During the time Tamina was healthy, she was primarily used as AJ Lee’s bodyguard during AJ Lee’s lengthy reign as Divas Champion.  Each time WWE Creative teased about possible dissension between AJ Lee and Tamina, it got squelched.

True, Tamina may not be the strongest talker on the mic or well versed in doing promos.  True, she may not be the “Barbie doll look” in what WWE is looking for.

But I remember when women wrestlers were the ones that people came to see, and it was more because of their ability in the ring than their actual looks.  I’m not saying that Trish Stratus is to blame but she did open the floodgates to where beauty started becoming the thing to look for more so than any type of wrestling ability It placed some people in the mentality that the men wrestlers should be the ones people are focused on and that any type of ladies’ matches are the times to switch the channel or take a bathroom break.

Tamina is powerful and the splash she does off the rope in respect to her father is a thing of beauty.  I can only hope when Tamina fully recovers that she is put in a position to be more of a competitor than a bodyguard for another champion (whether that be AJ Lee, Paige or any one else for that matter).

2.  Dolph Ziggler: The Show Off Gets the Brush Off

Source: wrestlingenigma.com

Source: wrestlingenigma.com

On his show The Ross Report a while back, Jim Ross made the statement that “some air time is better than no air time at all”.  I understand what he means, yet I want to take it a step further in saying that I want to see the wrestler used in a great way.

Dolph Ziggler has the body type of what WWE seems to go for in terms of muscle definition and the marketable look.  He does a decent job at talking trash and has a decent wrestling set.

Ziggler WHC
Yet WWE doesn’t seem to know what to do with him.  His reigns with the title are hardly memorable, and one was cut short due to an injury caused by Jack Swagger.  Ziggler has been in limbo for quite a while and I think it’s time for the limbo to pay off.

I’m not saying that Ziggler should have the WWE belt again right now.  I do know that he’s been putting in work.  His showing at the IC Battle Royal definitely spoke volumes, and he did all that work just for Miz to capitalize at the last pay per view.

If Wade Barrett isn’t back at one hundred percent to battle Miz at Summer Slam for the belt he never lost, I would love for Ziggler to get some type of payback on Miz–to challenge Miz for the IC Belt at Summer Slam. (<—It’s been signed. Woot!) If Miz having the belt is indeed a transitional move and all of that was for Ziggler to get the title on a grander stage, then Ziggler’s purgatory is somewhat forgivable.

If not, then I really feel like they need a steadier direction for Ziggler to go in because all the time before now hasn’t been working.  I don’t really want another woman being a valet to him.  I still just want him to be on his own.

3. Damien Sandow: Currently in Job City

moneyinthebankWhen Damien Sandow first came out, he reminded me of an updated version of The Genius.

The Genius "Lanny Poffo, brother of the late Macho Man Randy Savage

The Genius “Lanny Poffo”, brother of the late Macho Man Randy Savage

Maybe the reason why Damien Sandow is now looking like a buffoon is to mimic the lack of utilization they did with The Genius.  Or to replace Santino for comedic entertainment, since Santino announced his retirement.

If it wasn’t for what WWE was trying to do with Damien Sandow in the early going, quite honestly he wouldn’t be on this list.  But at one point they saw something.  He was the holder of the Money in the Bank briefcase last year.  It looked like they were going to set him up to have a more dominant position in the company.

  • Perhaps it was one of those times where someone sat back and was like, “Hmmm…maybe we are pushing this guy too fast.”
  • It could be, “Hey we can’t have John Cena be the only man who lost when he tried to cash in his MITB opportunity against CM Punk.”
  • Or Creative could have forgotten what the hell they were supposed to be doing with the storyline, which has happened more often than not.

The glorious cash in attempt by Damien Sandow on Monday Night Raw against John Cena October 2013 was one of his best matches.  Damien really gave Cena a run for his money and demonstrated what he could do, not only as a talker but as a wrestler.

Then just like that, Cena summoned his Superhero powers and Damien Sandow joined Cena as a man who failed to cash in the MITB briefcase successfully. Even more so, it served to be a nail in the coffin for Damien Sandow’s hinted push.

He went from someone credible as competition for the top prize to a chump.  It’s almost painful to see Sandow on the screen now–having to see him job to someone like Adam Rose, who is getting placed in the spotlight with nothing more than groupies, a dancing bunny and an extremely limited move set where his matches don’t even last a full ten minutes.  When Adam Rose comes on, unless he’s beefing with someone I want to see wrestle, I tend not to even look at the match.

As my grandma would say, “Bless his heart.  That’s a darn shame.”

It just adds on to the speculation on whether Sandow actually said something to put him in that position.  Or is WWE taking true fan disdain for what’s going on with Sandow, and rather than giving the fans what they want (Sandow as a formidable opponent), they continue to have him play the comedic role?

Whether it’s punishment or gimmick, I’m not happy.

4.  Kofi Kingston: The Cycle of S.O.S.

kofikingston_1_full_20130815
It’s time to upgrade Kofi, and not just his outfit.  In the land of giants, he’s not the biggest guy nor the strongest guy.  But he has some moves and antics that have people talking long after the matches are over with.  He’s stellar in any ladder match and can hold his own when it comes to speed and endurance.  He needs to add more to his arsenal–not too much.  I’ll even take one to two new moves at this point.

Kofi is a prime example where it’s better to be a fantastic promo man than it is to be a great wrestler.  I would be faking the funk if I were to tell you that Kofi is good on the mic.  It doesn’t seem natural to him, and I feel like Kofi should just ad lib and do what feels right to him rather than sticking to the script.  Yet this is one of the characteristics that has deterred WWE from taking the chance with him to put the WWE WHC belt on him and have him “not quite” returning to IC glory.

Source: wrestlingenigma

Source: wrestlingenigma

I’m waiting to see what is going to come from this group he’s in with Xavier Woods and Big E Langston.  If it is marketed right (like the whole Nation of Domination spiel), it could set Kofi up to gain more spotlight as well as discovering if Kofi can be taken seriously as a heel.

Side Dreaming: I would love to see how this “New Nation” would look with Mark Henry along with him.  Mark Henry has been in WWE for a very long time and this veteran could serve useful along with Xavier Woods and Big E.

This isn’t the first time WWE has dropped the ball, but quite honestly, I hope they don’t.  Kofi needs a surge but until this surge comes into full fruition, he will have to stay on this list for now. (<—Update: Unfortunately, faction push fell through.  Ball drop successful.)

5.  Antonio Cesaro: Swiss in Shellshock

Source jimmosangle.blogspot.com

Source jimmosangle.blogspot.com

There was something about Cesaro that I liked right away.  Perhaps it was his displays of strength when he would just dead lift someone.  It may have been the uppercuts.  Although I think the Cesaro swing is a bit silly, you do get a bit caught up on how many times he can swing someone.

cesaro-kiss-aksana
When Cesaro first premiered, he was the love interest of Aksana–to the dismay of Teddy Long.  Then once Aksana was no longer in the picture, he was part of Zeb Colter’s faction “The Real Americans”.

Around the beginning of the year, tension arose which lead towards a break up.  Fans started to cheer Cesaro and lots of great things were going his way, including winning the Andre the Giant Invitational Battle Royal while going solo.

Just when we all were getting used to Cesaro being promoted as a face, here comes Paul Heyman.  The timing of this was suspect to me for a number of reasons:

1.  Paul Heyman’s client Brock Lesnar ended the Undertaker’s winning streak.  People ended up talking about almost as much (if not more) than Daniel Bryan finally winning the WWE WHC.

Leaked Poster for Summer Slam 2014 (pre-order DVD)

Leaked Poster for Summer Slam 2014 (pre-order DVD)

2.  It had already been leaked months in advance (unfortunately–has since been removed) that Lesnar would be at Summer Slam and that his opponent would be John Cena.  Although the leaked cover didn’t show that John Cena was the champion, this match WWE deems a “money maker” wouldn’t be as impressive unless Cena was the champion.

So we have Cesaro busting out as a singles’ competitor and getting momentum.  Then we have part timer Brock Lesnar about to make another appearance to build up hype for Summer Slam.

Between Cesaro hype and Lesnar dollar signs, who do we think WWE as a whole is going to be more concerned about?  This is a “no brainer”.  Besides, whenever Heyman was with Cesaro, there was not a moment when Paul wouldn’t talk about being the man who was “the 1 behind 21 and 1 at Wrestlemania.”

My problem is this: If Paul is supposed to be fully representing Cesaro, why would talk of Lesnar even fly out of his mouth?  It’s sending the message, “Yeah, Cesaro you’re my client and all, but you see, Brock Lesnar is THE CLIENT.”

Yes, the disassociation between Cesaro and Heyman needed to happen, but they had no business building that alignment in the first place with Summer Slam right around the corner and Brock coming to collect his check… #justsaying

Would it be a good idea (just so that Cesaro’s momentum isn’t totally rained on) to throw him in the fray at Summer Slam and make the battle for the WWE WHC along with Heyman?  It’d be a cool story angle–former Heyman guy, current Heyman guy (Lesnar), both on the side of the Authority, to take Cena out.  Only downfall is that angle was already played with the Fatal Four Way match with Kane and Orton.

Another spoiler with this idea also depends on whether Brock is going to come out victorious at Summer Slam.  What will it say if the man who ended Undertaker’s streak can’t defeat Cena?  If Brock wins the title, where do things go then?  Will it be a similar situation when Rock held the title and he didn’t wrestle until Wrestlemania time once again?  Does WWE Creative even think anything through anymore?

Is Cesaro in as bad as shape as some of the other people I’ve mentioned?  No.  But if WWE doesn’t have a definite game plan now that he’s no longer with Heyman, then he will be.

Well there’s my five.  I can hardly wait to see what Mr. Controversy’s 5 will be.
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Mr. Controversy here and I will be speaking on my Top Five Most Underutilized Superstars in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Although there are MANY people that I feel and believe are being underutilized within this company and product, there are five specific superstars who are being kicked onto the back burner and treated like illegitimate stepchildren.

underutilize

[uhn-der-yoot-l-ahyz] Spell Syllables

verb (used with object), underutilized, underutilizing.

  1. to fail to utilize (to put to use; turn to profitable account) fully

Let’s get to it then!

 

Ziggler Banner

#5: Dolph Ziggler

Is he Perfection, or is he Here to Show the World? One thing is for sure: since The Show Off dropped the World Heavyweight Championship to Alberto del Rio (and suffering a legitimate concussion), WWE has been QUITE gun shy about putting another belt, let alone giving another opportunity to DZ outside of a Main Event.

 

Ziggler WHC

MAYBE this is Ziggler’s design: get into the BEST form of his life (BEFORE the concussion), show WWE that he has the grapes to hold his own, and let them know that he is indeed ready for the next level as he has shown us all by defeating the VERY PERSON who would go on to beat him and take advantage of his concussion later on (Alberto del Rio).

For me personally, I have seen football quarterbacks suffer concussions and bounce back (some, not so much). It hurts my heart to see that a company who boasts about being THE Superpower of Sports Entertainment is wrapping Kryptonite barbed wire around the wrists, legs, and throats of some of their most talented stars after suffering a nasty injury of any kind. A concussion is HARDLY the end of the world yet for some strange reason Dolph’s world has shrunk in size, and his stature (IN MY EYES) has been miniaturized.

Ziggler Guts
*LOVE how he stuck it to Batista!!!*

Ziggler Torque

To date, The Show Off has another opportunity to grab some gold and add it to his list of achievements and accomplishments when he faces Michael “The Miz” Mizanin for the WWE Intercontinental Championship at this Sunday’s SummerSlam. HOPEFULLY, this is a step in the Right direction, as opposed to Zigg getting Zagged yet again.

 

Kofi Banner

#4: Kofi Kingston

Trouble has been in Kofi’s Paradise for some time, unfortunately…

He is an amazing talent and high flyer (THANK GOD), yet it seems that his flight has been grounded for some time. He is a consistent babyface who does not disappoint in the ring (EXCEPT for that one match with Randy Orton where the RKO finisher was botched SOOO BADLY, not even Steak Sauce and Beef Gravy could cover it up. ODDLY enough since that botch, a downward spiral for the young Ghanaian superstar has begun).


I have known WWE when it was World Wide Wresting Federation (WWWF), and I am CERTAIN that Papa Vince (Vincent J. McMahon, not to be confused with Vincent K. McMahon, Jr. the current ringleader of this circus) did NOT take too kindly to botching. Even in a botch, there are lessons to be learned. I am sure that Kofi Kingston, like all of us who are NOT PERFECT, is one who is learning and evolving with each passing day.

However, in this day and age of “wrestling to Perfection” as well as minimizing injuries in as well as outside of the ring, I understand WHY WWE is being hesitant with pushing K.K. to Main Event status.

Kofi Leap

On the same token, to see Kofi Kingston in action, SPECIFICALLY in Pay-Per-View (PPV) events that involve the element of elimination (over-the-top battle royal, Royal Rumble PPV), WWE has a VERY UNIQUE WAY of showcasing his athleticism in ways that are EXTREMELY refreshing. In these scenarios, he shows WHY he should be Main Eventing: he is creative, innovative, and that creates inspiration.

 

Kofi Chair

Kofi Handstand

Why would WWE keep someone down who can do these amazing athletic feats? Maybe Kofi’s botching is the anchor that is keeping his ship at the dock while sending out S.O.S’s.

 

20130403_Divas_Show_LIGHT

#3: The ENTIRE WWE Divas Division

This is going to be the SHORTEST section that I will write about, for the WWE apparently does not care about this division either.

Well, I would not COMPLETELY say that I PERSONALLY do not care about this division. I would more say…

The WWE Divas Division was birthed from the days of AMAZING TALENTS like The Fabulous Moolah, Mae Young, Alundra Blayze, Bull Nakano, Lita, Chyna, and Beth Phoenix.

They have been reduced to Eye Candy, WWE Total Divas (the LATEST Brain Draining Indoctrination to the already Brain Dead WWE Fan who has NO IDEA of what WWF stood for once upon a time), pinups for a calendar, and Bathroom Breaks (somewhere in The World, male AND female members of the WWE Universe are inappropriately touching themselves in said bathroom).

2014 WWE Divas Calendar

The WHOLE DIVISION is Completely Wrong! Why have subpar wrestlers (with the exception of Tamina Snuka and Natalie “Natalya” Neidhart) that look like they are wrestling (DESPITE decent training, I have seen TOO MANY botches)? They would rather release Kharma (Awesome Kong to my TNA fans) and focus on keeping Eve Torres around, and Summer Rae’s dancing with the Modern Disco Inferno (Fandango AKA Ticket Man) and her fake ass manly crying.

 

maxresdefault

But hey, WHO CARES?

Three Words: JACK OFF MATERIAL.

 

Sandow Banner

#2: Damien Sandow

My senses have been dulled due to the fact that the “Intellectual Savior of the Masses” has become a Novelty Jobber.

COME ON!!

Let’s Review:

-Dressed up as rapper D-Sizzle (got his ass whooped by R-Truth in the process)

-Dressed up as Davy Crockett (got his ass whooped by Adam Rose in the process)

-Dressed up as Abraham Lincoln (got his ass whooped by Big E Langston in the process)

-Dressed up as Indianapolis Pacers player Lance Stephenson (got his ass whooped by Big Show in the process)

-Dressed up as Cleveland Cavaliers player Lebron James (got his ass whooped by Bo Dallas in the process)

-Dressed up in what APPEARS to be a ballet onesie (sans tutu) sporting a ribbon for twirling (tagged with Fandango and got BOTH of their asses whooped by The Usos in the process)

-Dressed up in a shitty Magneto costume from the “X-Men” (in order to help in the promotion of “X-Men: Days of Future Past”) while starting crap with Hugh Jackman and Dolph Ziggler (getting his ass whooped in the process)

-Dressed up as WWE Chairman Vincent K. McMahon (which was HIL-F’N-LARIOUS, and got his ass whooped by The Great Khali in the process)
Well, you all get the idea.

 

Damien Commentary

And what does Damien Sandow do to express his feelings?

I DO NOT BLAME HIM: NOT ONE FUCKING BIT.

Sandow Swing

Think about it: EVER SINCE he wrestled John Cena for the World Heavyweight Championship (which was Damien’s BEST MATCH EVER IN HIS LIFE in my HONEST Opinion), he suffered from what we would like to call “The John Cena Effect.”

“The John Cena Effect” is where if ANYONE who is gaining momentum to be catapulted to a higher echelon within the hallowed halls of WWE, where they wrestle John Cena and lose. From there, they get put into the Recycle Bin. Then, they are either going Mid-Card, or end up like Damien Sandow.

Listen to my words, Damien: I feel PHYSICALLY ILL seeing how you are being treated in this way.

He is an All Around AWESOME wrestler who should have held a belt 2 years ago.

Sandow Neck Breaker

Sandow Leg Sweep

SPEAKING OF…

Chaotic Wrestling Heavyweight Championship (1 time)

Chaotic Wrestling Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Edward G. Xtasy

FCW 15 Championship (1 time)

FCW Florida Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Titus O’Neil

IWA Hardcore Championship (1 time)

OVW Heavyweight Championship (2 times)

OVW Southern Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Nova

OVW Television Championship (1 time)

Third OVW Triple Crown Champion

WWC Puerto Rico Heavyweight Championship (1 time)

WWC World Tag Team Championship (4 time) – with Shawn Spears (1), Chicano (1), King Tonga Jr. (1) and Abbad (1)

And ALL of those Championships he had obtained throughout his career has culminated to his winning the WWE Money in the Bank (2013 – World Heavyweight Championship contract), ONLY to drop it to John Cena in what would MOST LIKELY BE his ONLY Championship Match in WWE (IF he gets another opportunity, I would be SHOCKED based off of all of this bullshit) If he had a previous Championship Match, I do not recall.

Sandow Youre Welcome

I can very much advocate for Damien Sandow even more (You’re Welcome!), yet one other person is being EXTREMELY underutilized right now. And his name is…

 

Cesaro Banner

 #1: Antonio Cesaro

I am scratching my head AND shaking it because Antonio Cesaro was pushed to be the Future of the WWE alongside CM Punk and Daniel Bryan.

Cesaro is ONE HELL OF A WRESTLER who shows and showed up EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and gives and gave his all. If the man had the Flu, I WOULD NOT KNOW because of his consistency.

Cesaro was an Aksana Guy. Then he became a Stand Alone Guy. He would then team with a former World Heavyweight Champion that is Jack Swagger (becoming a part of The Real Americans), making him a Zeb Coulter Guy. He won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at Wrestlemania 30 while declaring on the following night that he became a Paul Heyman Guy.

Cesro Eliminates Show

 

Cesaro Trophy

Now he is the Stand Alone “King of Swing” Guy who is trying to get into the Good Graces of The Authority.

King of Swing

While rubbing my temples in UTTER confusion, MORE confusion,  and frustration, I DO recall John Cena endorsing Antonio Cesaro and THAT got my Heart Pumping!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMRAUUNcfXk

WHAT IN THE ENTIRE FUCK HAPPENED AFTER THAT?!!

Is WWE waiting for the Right Time to push Cesaro? Is WWE halting the Cesaro Train for some ridiculously absurd reason? WHAT IS IT, WWE?!!

 

Cesaro Super Uppercut

*The Champ Got Owned!!*

 

I am with Cesaro

I am waiting (along with EVERYONE ELSE) for Cesaro to make it to the Promised Land and become WWE World Heavyweight Champion, World Heavyweight Champion, or WWE Champion.

FOR NOW, we will keep waiting while Cesaro is putting on Show after AWESOME SHOW. I will watch him Swing EVERY SINGLE WRESTLER from Rey Mysterio to Big Show, Super Uppercut the Mother Crap out of John Cena, Neutralize The Great Khali, and be a Cesaro Guy UNTIL AND AFTER his Time arrives.

 

Cesaro Swing

And it seems that Miss Labels and I are NOT the only ones on the Cesaro Ocean Liner…
Cesaro Guys

Be mindful, WWE:

We WILL NOT wait for too long. Citing how your product is sinking faster than an anvil in quicksand, your company’s days are numbered.

Shape Up, or We The People WILL Ship Out and move on to the Next Big Thing SOONER RATHER THAN LATER.
Bathroom Break

And now, I need to go to the bathroom…

* chuckling to self*

Well, it looks like Mr. Controversy and I are on the same page.  Who are  your top five?  Feel free to share your thoughts and whether you are open to see even more wrestling commentary on TRB.

The Wordsmith of Controversy on Hubba Hubba Santa Claus

hubbahubbasantaclausHubba Hubba Santa Claus
LaRae Parry
Amazon

Genre: Romance

Greetings everyone!  Is Christmas coming in August?  It definitely does feel like it as The Review Board takes a look at Hubba Hubba Santa Claus by LaRae Parry.  Before diving into this title, let’s get a short blurb courtesy of Amazon and provided prior to the Wordsmith’s review:

Blurb: Shelly Sam, an aspiring journalist poses as a man to play Santa to get her foot in the door of a publishing company. While dressed as a man, she runs into “the one” . . . too bad he thinks she’s a man. Shelly gets herself into so much trouble that it only Santa Claus could fix her mess. Too bad he isn’t real . . . or is he?

Without further adieu, let’s allow the Wordsmith to unwrap this work with her thoughts.

WordsmithLogo
The Wordsmith Weighs In:

Hubba Hubba Santa Claus is a quirky, chuckle-filled read. While we may have seen this plot enacted and repeated in hundreds of television shows and movies, Parry brings a delightful spin to the switcharoo scenario.

Written with sometimes subtle but more often “slap your forehead while thinking ‘doh, really?!’” humor, Hubba Hubba is a cute holiday themed romance. The main character Shelly is a character you love to scoff and laugh at, her antics bizarre in her disguise and efforts to maintain it. Yet you also feel for her even if only in an “oh you poor daft girl” humanistic way; we all want the heroine to win the day and snag the man don’t we? Rooting for the underdog is part of our humanity.

I know a lot of people like Shelly’s sister Rhonda who is the antithesis of Shelly’s personality. Shelly is rainbows and unicorns to Rhonda’s prudent rooting in reality. Parry’s analogy of “She’s a spreadsheet. I’m a paper jam” is so spot on I fell in love with the phrase. The dynamics between the sisters are one of the story’s biggest sources of humorous interplay but there is clearly a long suffering bond between them that goes beyond familial obligation.

Shelly’s paramour Brant Fields starts out as a mystery but fleshes out by the end. Initially I thought the guy had to be a few donuts short of a dozen to enjoy and even believe the Bubba-Bubba story Shelly feeds him. However, Parry weaves in an eventual explanation that is as touching as it is bizarre. By the end of the story we see that Brant’s willingness to suffer Bubba-Bubba’s antics is only because they appeal to his brand of bizarre quirkiness. They really are a match.

mistletoe
I enjoyed the Christmas theme and was intrigued by the introduction of some magical elements. But what Christmas romance is complete without some Santa magic to encourage love in blossoming?

Overall I enjoyed this book. The story was cute and refreshing in its quirkiness. Parry delivers strange but believable characters with real connections. I chuckled, smirked or snickered frequently during the reading and that’s always a good thing.

Santa_in_a_chimney_T“I know when I see errors.”

I did notice some editing misses:

Page 51 That’s why we need to spy on Brant to learn more about him.” (missing quotation)

Page 56: “Oh, ho, ho, ho—that—I shaved it crooked so my Santa mustache would fit better. I knew that didn’t make any sense, but hoped he would buy it. (missing quotation, should be: better.” I knew that….)

Page 83: It sort of sounded like an in-between voice—a shmalefe.” (misplaced quotation)

I also have only one notable mention, and that is to comment on the book’s cover. It does nothing for the story except to indicate it’s a Christmas romance but in a bland, unoriginal way. I would have liked a bit more pizzazz to go with the quirkiness of the story and writing.

In the end I gave Hubba Hubba Santa Claus 8 out of 10 stars with the addendum that her humor has me leaning toward checking out her other stories to get another dose.

Is this story a merry delight to Mr. Controversy?  Let’s find out!

controversybanner

LaRae L. Parry’s “Hubba Hubba Santa Claus” is a 154-page read which revolves around a young lady named Shelly Sam, a young (and strange) writer who is looking for her big break in the form of writing for a big celebrity magazine.

What is standing in her way? A Santa Claus gig that is sponsored by said celebrity magazine where Santa Claus impersonating, in Shelly’s mind, is a Boys’ Club!

So how does Shelly Sam counterbalance this issue? By dressing as a man in order to dress up as AND become Santa so that she can have SOME KIND of “in” with the sponsor so she may obtain employment with them!

It is a Plan that is SO GREAT, it is like a Fluffed Pillow for when you sneak out of the house and you KNOW that no one is going to notice!

 

 

*YEAH: what my friend Odion said*

Shelly’s sister Rhonda is the analytical realist Certified Public Accountant who is the Voice of Reason and Logic in the story. Rhonda’s mannerisms are indicative of the quintessential big sister: protective, bluntly honest, and true to herself. From Shelly’s point of view, a perfect complement to Shelly’s irrationalities and “leaping before you look” mindset.

Things become EVEN MORE complex for our friend Shelly Sam when she meets a young Heaven Sent Saint of a man named Brant Fields, and then needs to figure out how to tell him what she is trying to achieve while figuring out how he feels about her (despite being disguised and acting as a man).

 

I (as always) am going to be honest:

I have read some Cheesy Care Bear Business in my time, but THIS STORY?

THIS STORY I can see on the Hallmark Channel during the Christmas Holiday AS WELL AS “Christmas in July”! This is EXACTLY the type of Christmas Story that can be read to people of all ages (as long as they are open-minded enough to understand the concept of a woman dressing as a man in order to play the role of one of the most popular fictitious males in history in order to land a job at a magazine). Also to get me OF ALL PEOPLE to laugh at your story is a special and unique talent that favors those who are capable of such a feat.

It is a very pleasing story where profanity IS NOT found anywhere. If there was, I did not notice due to the progression and flow of the story.

Errors were minor (quotation misplacement) and as stated earlier, the flow was pleasing enough for me to remain entertained.

Survey Says: 9.5 out of 10

thumbsup

LaRae L. Parry did a Fine Job in telling the story of “Hubba Hubba Santa Claus”. This is certainly a book that I would read to my twin nephews when they get older (my apologies: Proud Uncle Moment).

Trust and Believe that you WILL get a good number of laughs out of “Hubba Hubba Santa Claus,” and so will your friends and family.

Now let’s add the scores and divide by 2.

9stars

9 out of 10 TRB Stars

Overall Hubba Hubba Santa Claus gets an 8.75 out of 10, which was rounded up to 9 TRB Stars.

Thanks for checking out The Review Board.  Feel free to like, share and subscribe.  Have a terrific day!

Prism Unleashed on Smiling in the Storm

smilinginthestormSmiling in the Storm
20 Moving Stories of AIDS Patients who Defied the Disease
James E. Mutumba, Editor
Amazon | Amazon Author Page

Genre: Short stories, non-fiction, HIV/AIDS Awareness

Greetings everyone!  The Review Board here to share our thoughts on Smiling in the Storm: 20 Moving Stories of AIDS Patients who Defied the Disease, edited by James E. Mutumba.  First up, Casey Prism:

caseyprism
“The more difficulties one has to encounter, within and without, the more significant and the higher in inspiration his life will be.” ~Horace Bushnell

Smiling in the Storm is a compilation of short stories from people in Uganda that have succumbed to the disease perhaps in body but not in spirit. The work is compiled and edited by James E. Mutumba and many also have been translated by him as well.

Little is lost in translation (as is sometimes the case when reading a work from a different culture). I found that Mr. Mutumba did a successful job of easing this transition for the reader.

The messages throughout the book are clear. To defy the loss of will and to have good faith: “…but suffice it to say that a self-controlled life, especially a spiritually regenerate life is the most potent protection against AIDS.”

This Christian inspirational work is (as it’s aimed to be) a wonderful tool for spreading awareness and I surely hope that it encourages others to become more aware of the situation worldwide.

I give Smiling in the Storm: 20 Moving Stories of AIDS patients who Defied the Disease 8 out of 10 TRB stars.

blackdividerThat was definitely to the point! Let’s see what the Unleashed one has to say:

nolabels-tftsNote: This is based on the copy submitted to me by the editor in exchange for an honest review.

Unleashed Speaks:

With this book, edited by James E. Mutumba, I had to approach it a bit differently. First, because it dealt with accounts from twenty different individuals sharing their battle with AIDS. I definitely commend the bravery it must have taken to share their tribulations to assist and help others. Second, because of the common thread that joins these stories outside of the illness—the power of accepting Jesus Christ into one’s life to smile, not only in the storm, but through the storm.

Taking my own philosophy about religion out of the equation, this collection is a demonstration to the following:

  • The power of prayer assists in the direst of situations
  • It is important to have a support group in one’s corner
  • Acceptance of Jesus Christ into one’s life assist in forgiveness and provides a positive outlook in dealing with the present
  • In this particular work, abstinence is the only surefire way to avoid catching AIDS

All of the accounts really tugged at my heart. The organizations assisting the people were (and are) indeed God sends. It was very unfortunate to hear that funding was discontinued for one of them. I am hopeful that other groups will step in its place to provide similar services as the former.

"Let's take a closer look..."

“Let’s take a closer look…”

Now looking at the visual composition of the book, there were things I felt needed improving. Some are more preference while others I feel should be implemented for ease of the read.

(1) I would have preferred in the table of contents that a symbol guide have been used as opposed to typing out “pseudonym”, “true name” and “forename”. Something similar to this:

* Pseudonym
** Forename

Anything that didn’t have those variations of symbols next to it, the reader could assume that the actual full name was being used since the editor did indicate previously that not all people would be using their actual names in the accounts. For me, it would have made the appearance a bit cleaner.

(2) Underneath the beginning of each chapter, I would have liked the person’s name and date of testimony at the start rather than the end. Since all accounts are in first person, I could quickly match a name to the narrator if all is in the front. Like this:

One
How My Calamity Was Eased

Lydia (August 1993)

(3) In a few spots, the phrasing was a bit awkward. Yet perhaps most of it could be dismissed as being translated from one language to another. For instance,

“…One of our women staff is down with AIDS and…” (from page 10)

In American slang, “is down with” means “in agreement” or “in support”. Yet, what the person is really trying to say is this:

“One of our women staff is (“infected”, “sick”, “suffering”) with AIDS and…” (No ellipses needed at the beginning of the sentence as well.)

(4) In spots, there was some punctuation misplaced (page 16, 17, 23 for starters), and some words here and there that were not needed (like “a wrong timing” instead of “wrong timing”). They didn’t fully detract from the read but they were noticeable enough to mention.

th_hmmm-anm-hmmm-female-smiley-emotico
(5) Little footnotes were in strange places—the middle of the text to be exact. For instance, this sentence:

“Being a business woman trading between Uganda and Zaire*, she tricked me and my three brothers by inviting us to become her business partners, but on condition that we took the HIV test.”

Later in the text, on the next page, was the footnote: *Former Zaire is now called the Democratic Republic of Congo—editor”

This was placed right smack dab in the middle of this sentence: “He looked at me without winking and said, “Your blood has been found to be reactive.”

To avoid interruption of reader flow and rhythm, I would like to present these two solutions:

(A) To put this side note near the bottom of the page where it is being mentioned. The reference to Zaire was mentioned on page 26 of the copy I received from the author. The editor’s note should have been mentioned on the exact same page just above the number 26.

* Editor’s Note: Zaire is now called the Democratic Republic of Congo. (The word “former” isn’t needed when the word “now” is mentioned to signify transition or a new name.)

(2) Or, if one didn’t want to go through the trouble to place it at the bottom, place the Editor’s Note in parenthesis ( ) right after the statement:

“Being a business woman trading between Uganda and Zaire*, she tricked me and my three brothers by inviting us to become her business partners, but on condition that we took the HIV test.” (*Editor’s Note: Zaire is now called the Democratic Republic of Congo.)

(6) The emphasis of important points through bold and highlights: This point is more for style than anything. During points where certain phrases were placed within in the narratives, I think they should have been made bold at that first moment of statement, as opposed to being repeated, put in bold and highlighted. It detracts from the novel like readability of the work.

Or, if the editor wanted to put this together in a self help type of construct, it would have been nice to put the takeaways (the parts he really felt needed highlighting) towards the end of each story. Kind of like “The moral of the story is…” type of setting. I didn’t like them being repeated while I was trying to soak in each person’s struggle.

There is no needed for any adding and dividing by two, since Casey and I are in accord with our rating:

8starsOverall TRB Rating: 8 out of 10 Stars

Visual hiccups aside, I am glad James E. Mutumba shared these heartwarming stories and hope in the future he will put together even more collections that outline other aspects of the AIDS epidemic.

Thank you for stopping by The Review Board.  Feel free to like, share, subscribe and comment.  Have a terrific day!

Put Your Best Face (I mean Book) Forward

nolabels-tftsGreetings!  No Labels here.  I’m taking a slight breather from all things reviews to chat a little to those who are sending works in to get reviewed.  I’m saying this not just on behalf of The Review Board but to any website where you may be submitting your work.

Source: qmix.com

Source: qmix.com

I like to think of sending a book to a reviewer like an episode of online dating.  One person is getting to know another person for the very first time.  Sure, you two seem to gel well through IM and email but now it is time for the big meeting.

Yes, you want to be yourself but you also want to put your best face forward.  Unless your first date is to take place at a slumber party, you wouldn’t wear your “just chilling” gear to an expensive “wine and dine restaurant”.  If you do, prepare to get a few strange looks.

I know by now,  you are thinking, “Unleashed One, what could this scenario and review submissions have to do with each other?”

lightbulb
Thanks for asking.  Getting one’s work reviewed is the final step in the process, if you will.  The work should get reviewed after other eyes, red pens, and hands have been on it (in no particular order)–alpha readers, beta readers, editors, proofreaders, copy editors, Cousin Pete (well, you get the idea).  Every one else who can possibly spot a glaring flaw needs to be on it–like acne cream on a zit–before any website, blog, or organization doing reviews gets a hold of it.

readingsmiley
As an author, the visual representation that you want the reader to connect with should be the one you are sending to the review spots, not the copy before the copy before the final copy.

The only way that is acceptable is if a review organization says it is willing to take a significantly flawed prototype.  The majority of review websites I know of (particularly some where you are paying hundreds of dollars just for the name associated with the review) do not.

TRB is no exception, and we want the writer to be at his/her best.  If a writer has an updated copy of the work and we haven’t reviewed it yet, you are more than welcome (in fact, we HIGHLY recommend) to submit the newer version of your work.  We base our reviews on the copy that you submit to us.  Therefore, since you reached out to us, it is YOUR responsibility to give us the updated information.

TRB doesn’t have time to go through hundreds of requests to send out reminders to give us the good stuff.  In addition, if we base our reviews on the copies you submitted to us, and you wait until AFTER the review is up to say “Hey I had an updated copy.  I want you to change your review”, here is what is going to happen:

(1) We will emphasize that the review is based on the copy that was submitted to us at the time of initial request.

(2) We will say, “Although we appreciate the knowledge, we won’t go back and change the review based on a copy that we had no possession of.”

(and)

(3) It doesn’t matter how long the work has been in the queue, it is the author’s responsibility to keep up with who he/she has sent work to (for those who seem to love mass emailing…ugh) and update those people when more cosmetic work has been done.

Followed by referring you to the guidelines, which everyone is provided the link to them upon initial contact via email.

Source: epicreads.tumblr.com

Source: epicreads.tumblr.com

Put your best book forward.  It may mark the difference between something being “just okay” to “well worth the read”.

Deuces.