from the corner of the oval by Beck Dorey-Stein

From the Corner of the Oval: A Memoir by [Dorey-Stein, Beck]

The compulsively readable, behind-the-scenes memoir that takes readers inside the Obama White House, through the eyes of a young staffer learning the ropes, falling in love, and finding her place in the world. (Blurb)

In 2012, Beck Dorey-Stein is working five part-time jobs and just scraping by when a posting on Craigslist lands her, improbably, in the Oval Office as one of Barack Obama’s stenographers. The ultimate D.C. outsider, she joins the elite team who accompany the president wherever he goes, recorder and mic in hand. On whirlwind trips across time zones, Beck forges friendships with a dynamic group of fellow travelers—young men and women who, like her, leave their real lives behind to hop aboard Air Force One in service of the president.

As she learns to navigate White House protocols and more than once runs afoul of the hierarchy, Beck becomes romantically entangled with a consummate D.C. insider, and suddenly the political becomes all too personal.

Against the backdrop of glamour, drama, and intrigue, this is the story of a young woman making unlikely friendships, getting her heart-broken, learning what truly matters, and, in the process, discovering her voice.

I wanted to read this book because of the behind the scenes look at Obama and what goes on during all of that travel.

While it began strongly, Beck gets caught up in the trap of drinking with and sleeping with her co-workers. I’m not sure how she got anything done as drunk as she always is and not really picky about who she is sleeping with.

We got a few interesting glimpses of Obama and other staff members, but it was all overshadowed by her almost teen-aged angst and sleeping with men already in relationships. It could have been something with some heavy editing.

So no, I wouldn’t recommend this one.

Netgalley/Spiegal and Grau  July 10, 2018

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THE HELLFIRE CLUB by JAKE TAPPER

The Hellfire Club

The debut political thriller from Jake Tapper, CNN’s chief Washington correspondent and the New York Times bestselling author of The Outpost — 1950’s D.C. intrigue about a secret society and a young Congressman in its grip

Charlie Marder is an unlikely Congressman. Thrust into office by his family ties after his predecessor died mysteriously, Charlie is struggling to navigate the dangerous waters of 1950s Washington, DC, alongside his young wife Margaret, a zoologist with ambitions of her own. Amid the swirl of glamorous and powerful political leaders and deal makers, a mysterious fatal car accident thrusts Charlie and Margaret into an underworld of backroom deals, secret societies, and a plot that could change the course of history. When Charlie discovers a conspiracy that reaches the highest levels of governance, he has to fight not only for his principles and his newfound political career…but for his life.

I enjoy listening and reading Jake Tapper, the journalist. I was excited to see this book.

I know it is set in the 1950’s but Charlie is not a stupid man. He knows right from wrong, he served our country in the military. He has principles. Oops, not a good thing to have as a politician.

You don’t even need to  have average intelligence to know that Washington is one big game of who you  know, who you owe, and who owes you. Trust no one and keep your mouth shut.  I can’t believe with his famous father Charlie didn’t grasp that quickly. If you didn’t figure out what was going on by Chapter 2, after the car crash, well keep those rosy glasses on.

Other than a lot of political name dropping and the mix of fact and fiction, there wasn’t a lot of meat to this book. The characters were vague and some a bit over the top. All in all I was bored.

But I sure hope Mr. Tapper keeps up the journalistic career!

NetGalley/April 24th 2018 by Little, Brown and Company

WE WERE EIGHT YEARS IN POWER: AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY BY TA-NEHISI COATES

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy

This was a difficult book to review. It was also difficult to read and to know that what I was reading was truth. If you don’t know it as truth, you need to go way back and look at how we became America and who the people were that made up the rules that some people, based on their sex or skin color, were considered less than.

I’ve studied slavery and the Civil War for a long time. I worked with the Middle Passage Museum and met John Lewis, Coretta Scott King, and many other leaders of the rights movement and survivors of the what is still a racist South and North. Some people are just more blatant about it.

I along with a lot of other people expected Obama to stand up for race inequalities. But as it turned out he wasn’t going to rock the boat either way.

This journalist does. Here you get the unvarnished truth about all sides. In my humble opinion this should be a must read for all high school students. Especially places like Mississippi which in some towns have only in recent years, or make that year, have been forced to stop segregating blacks to the other side of the track schools.

There is no such thing as white supremacy. There are just insecure people who need to have someone to be better than so they aren’t the ones on the bottom.

Thank you for this book Netgalley and Random House! Due to release October 3, 2017

Smooth Operator by Stuart Woods and Parnell Hall

A Teddy Fay Novel Featuring Stone Barrington

Smooth Operator (Teddy Fay, #1)

Stone’s presence is requested at the White House by President Kate Lee. A matter of urgency and secrecy. Of course, this is Washington D.C.

The House Speaker’s daughter has been kidnapped and the people who have her are threatening to kill her if a certain bill isn’t passed. Stone has the perfect guy for the job. Teddy Fay! Now working out in movie land with Stone’s son, Peter. CIA background scrubbed, new identity and no one has any idea who he really is.

With all of the killing going on my head was spinning. Is it a terrorist act? A home grown conspiracy?
Full of twists and turns all the way to the final page! This time we get to see almost all of our favorite characters. Holly, Kate, Anne, and of course Teddy! All time best bad ass!

I am hoping we see much more of Teddy! He is one of my favorite characters.

Where Did We Go Wrong???

beerandwine1

I don’t know what types of questions or bonds your particular state voted on last night, but I would love to hear!

You will all be pleased to know that that in exactly one year we will be able to buy full strength Beer and Wine at the Grocery Store. Then you won’t have to leave your children in the car anymore while you peruse the Liquor Stores where they can not go in.

We also passed the Death Penalty Question…basically saying Kill ’em anyway you want to.

What didn’t pass was the raise the teachers deserved. Why? Well first see above, then it was because it included an increase in the sales tax which would have made us the highest tax in the country. Which offset any raise for the teachers here. And Lord knows this state needs them!

We also passed 2 mental health initiatives bringing more funding and less putting folks in jail for minor drug offenses and using that money on mental health.

And thank goodness the Right To Farm Bill tanked. Really Oklahoma, I know you haven’t been a real state for long, but we’ve been farming for years. We don’t need your permission.

All I’ve seen is nastiness on Twitter. Thousands of people who just opened Egg accounts jut to tell Rosie O’Donnell to get the f**k out. I also noticed he got the most votes from under educated white men and women.

The only good thing I see is that not a darn one of us has to be Politically Correct anymore! And for all of you Rich White Guys, I also called ICE this morning and gave them your names and the names of your illegal workers. You voted for him….

You are Welcome…xxP (from the Caymans)

 

 

All The Presidents’ Gardens by Marta McDowell

All the Presidents' Gardens: Madison’s Cabbages to Kennedy’s Roses, How the White House Grounds Have Grown with America

Madison’s Cabbages to Kennedy’s Roses-How the White House grounds have grown with America.

Starting with the plant-obsessed George Washington and ending with Michelle Obama’s kitchen garden, All the Presidents’ Gardens is a rich and compelling narrative that masterfully reveals how the White House grounds reflect what is happening in the country.

The book is written in chronological order beginning with George and Martha Washington in the years 1789 to 1797, the original inhabitants of what was called Versailles on the Potomac.

Ms. McDowell takes us through the centuries and how those 18 acres surrounding the White House have been nurtured, designed, planted and re-planted, changing with the times as well as each of the families who lived there and contributed their own personal mark on the gardens.

The book is full of rich history of not only our Presidents, but the whys and hows each plant came to be in the garden. The stories are informative as well as entertaining.

Each horticulturist is mentioned as well as every shrub and plant growing in the garden, with information about every one. The book is full of lovely illustrations and photographs, along with quotes from our past Presidents and their families.

I found this book to be not only educational, but I will definitely keep it as a resource for my own garden. Ms. McDowell took on a huge task with this project and I for one am glad she did!

The Author:

Marta McDowell lives, gardens and writes in Chatham, New Jersey. She teaches garden history and horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden. where she studied landscape design. A popular lecturer, she speaks to gardening groups across the country. She is also the author of Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life.

I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher.