March 2020 Reading Wrap Up – Part Two [Books]

March 2020 2JanuaryFebruary / March Part 1

Here we have part 2 for my long March reading wrap up, a month in which I read 16 books. So here are the last 8 I read in that strange, strange month. I thought April would be a lot less, but checking what I’ve read so far about halfway through the month, I’m currently on 11. So maybe I’ll be hitting my 50 books 2020 goal a lot sooner than expected.

Esme’s Gift – Elizabeth Foster

esmes giftMy Review

This is proving to be an absolutely delightful series. The first book set up the world and characters, and it was a joy to dip back into it and explore it more. It’s a lot of fun to read, and puts the characters in enough danger to keep readers completely engrossed.

Black Mountains: The Recollections of a South Wales Miner – David Barnes

black mountainsMy Review

This was a really interesting book about a Welsh man’s life at the start of the Twentieth Century. Easy to follow, with some fascinating snippets of his life during that time, it’s told a very conversational tone, which made it that much more enjoyable.

Shallow Waters, Volume 3 – Edited by Joe Mynhardt

shallow waters vol 3My Review

This is a fantastic series of horror flash fiction, put out by Crystal Lake Publishing. The fifth is due for release soon, so it’s a great time to pick up the first four and check them out.

Ghost Mine – Hunter Shea

ghost mineReview coming soon on Dead Head Reviews

This was the second Hunter Shea novel I’ve read (the first being the absolutely amazing Creature) and this one didn’t disappoint. I’m not normally one for literature Westerns, but Shea really does something different with the settings and characters, and this book pushed him, for me, from ‘author I like’ to ‘one of my favourites’. I really hope I get to read Slash some point soon, as I’ve heard fantastic things about it.

DisneyWar – James B. Stewart, Narrated by Patrick Laylor

disneywarMy Review

This is a book for people interested in the world of business, not a book for Disney fans. It’s interesting in some parts, but a lot of the boardroom politics got frustrating at points. It felt like listening to a rundown of bickering children. I can see why people would be interested, and it covers turning points in one of the world’s biggest companies. The narration from Laylor also stops it being absolutely boring, but it wasn’t something I particuarly enjoyed.

Charm – Sarah Pinborough

My Review

This is a series I have absolutely fallen in love with, and now I’m upset because I’ve actually finished the third book and there is no more. Charm takes the tale of Cinderella in a really interesting direction, and I love the way Pinborough tells the original story with her own personal twists. My review for the third book Beauty will hopefully come up soon.

Harrow Lake – Kat Ellis

harrow lakeReview Coming Soon

I am so excited to share this review with you. Harrow Lake is an absolutely fantastic YA Horror, and Ellis is clearly a very talented writer. Keep an eye out for it – I’m on a blog tour for this one, so don’t forget to check out my review and the other blogs who will be participating, too.

Peter Pan – J.M. Barrie (Audible Original Drama)

peter panMy Review

The last book I finished in March. I actually finished listening to this on the last day in March, so that was good. It’s a drama version of Peter Pan, and for me it just didn’t hit the mark. There are changes made to the original story, but those changes don’t really affect anything, and the female characters are badly written. The performances, however, were absolutely fantastic.

So there we have it! My March wrap up. And now I have a lot of reviews to write up for April before we get April’s wrap up sometime in May. Look out for reviews coming up on some great books, both here and on Dead Head Reviews.

DisneyWar – James B. Stewart

disneywarAh Disney. A world of magic and wonder and pure happiness. For most people, anyway. This book, as implied by the title, isn’t about the joy of Disney, but instead the business side, boardroom dealings and back stabbings. I love Disney. A lot. To the point I had a run of Disney themed blog posts back in November, when I was off in Disneyland Paris for my 30th birthday. I was hoping for a glimpse into the inner workings of Disney itself, and yes, I was attracted by that title. But this is less a Disney cultural history that I was hoping for, and more a biography of former Disney CEO, Michael Eisner.

I listened to the audiobook for this, using my first ever Audible credit, and it took me months to actually work through it. Partly because I got distracted by the fantastic Into the Drowning Deep,and partly because I found a lot of aspects of this to be incredibly boring.

The narration was good. Patrick Laylor does manage to bring a lot of this to life, and with his inclusion I forgot sometimes I wasn’t listening to the actual author. The best moments were made even better by his narration, especially the opening, talking about the author working for a day at a Disney park. It was actually my favourite part of the book. There’s also a bit about the history of Disney, how Walt and his brother Roy formed the company, and the treatment of Roy Disney Jr when he started.

I actually kind of wished the book itself had been more focused on Roy. Instead, much of the book is about Eisner, his personal history, how he drove the company forward, his lack of give when it came to anyone. It does do a good, balanced job of presenting Eisner, but sometimes it feels a lot like the author is trying really hard to add an extra ‘good layer’ to him.

Eisner feels ruthless and sometimes, downright cruel. Over-ambitious, and focused so much on the bottom line, the actual core of Disney is missed. Prior to this, my main knowledge of Disney history came from the fantastic Waking Sleeping Beauty, which takes a look at Disney leading up to the renaissance at the end of the 80s and start of the 90s. So DisneyWar added a lot to my knowledge in some aspects, but mainly made me feel like for a long time, Disney was run by a bunch of bickering children.

The news broke recently current though exiting executive chairman Bob iger – who from DisneyWar was another person treated poorly by Eisner – and chief executive Bob Chapek, among others, are either forgoing their salaries or taking pay cuts due to the current crisis. And yes, these people get paid an incredibly, ridiculously high amount, the likes of which I will probably never see, but after listening to this audiobook, I couldn’t help but wonder, would Eisner have done the same, in this situation?

I feel like he would have, but he would have been pressed into doing so, likely wouldn’t have forgone his whole salary, and would have moaned to anyone listening about it.

Maybe it’s harsh, to judge someone I really don’t know, but Eisner tried so hard to be Walt Disney, while seeming to miss the magic of Disney itself. And the book delves pretty deep into his life, even explaining how he judged others for basically not having grown up in money (like he had) and not being educated to his highly educated standard.

He just sounded like an all round not nice guy.

Perhaps that had some impact on my ‘enjoyment’ of the book. In some ways it was good to get a look into the dirty side of Disney, and to see more of the business in that way, but for the most part I found the thing incredibly dull, with names shooting by so fast it was hard to keep track of who was who.

I think this is one more for people interested in business, in boardrooms and the like, than people interested in Disney.

And on that, if anyone does have some more Disney-focused recommendations for me, I would absolutely love to hear them.