Disney’s Land by Richard Snow

Publication Date: December 3, 2019
Publisher: Scribner
Rating: ★★★★

A propulsive history chronicling the conception and creation of Disneyland, the masterpiece California theme park, as told like never before by popular historian Richard Snow.

One day in the early 1950s, Walt Disney stood looking over 240 acres of farmland in Anaheim, California, and imagined building a park where people “could live among Mickey Mouse and Snow White in a world still powered by steam and fire for a day or a week or (if the visitor is slightly mad) forever.” Despite his wealth and fame, exactly no one wanted Disney to build such a park. Not his brother Roy, who ran the company’s finances; not the bankers; and not his wife, Lillian. Amusement parks at that time, such as Coney Island, were a generally despised business, sagging and sordid remnants of bygone days. Disney was told that he would only be heading toward financial ruin.

But Walt persevered, initially financing the park against his own life insurance policy and later with sponsorship from ABC and the sale of thousands and thousands of Davy Crockett coonskin caps. Disney assembled a talented team of engineers, architects, artists, animators, landscapers, and even a retired admiral to transform his ideas into a soaring yet soothing wonderland of a park. The catch was that they had only a year and a day in which to build it.

On July 17, 1955, Disneyland opened its gates…and the first day was a disaster. Disney was nearly suicidal with grief that he had failed on a grand scale. But the curious masses kept coming, and the rest is entertainment history. Eight hundred million visitors have flocked to the park since then. In Disney’s Land, Richard Snow brilliantly presents the entire spectacular story, a wild ride from vision to realization, and an epic of innovation and error that reflects the uniqueness of the man determined to build “the happiest place on earth” with a watchmaker’s precision, an artist’s conviction, and the desperate, high-hearted recklessness of a riverboat gambler.

Review:

Thank you to Richard Snow, Scribner & NetGalley for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

“The Main Street lights coming on at dusk looked just as good to me in 2019 as they had in 1959, easing my gloomy wonder that sixty years had disappeared since Uncle Win and I had together watched them shine.” 

I had fun with this novel. I am a huge Disney fan and it was easy to see that I would enjoy this. Richard Snow really went in depth about the stories and information about Disney & Walt himself.

I am someone who has never to been to California, only to Florida. It was very interesting to learn about the history of Disneyland itself, not just Disneyworld. Every word was thought out and informational.

The only reason why I didn’t give this a five-star rating is because it could be a little dry at times. However, when giving off that much information and knowledge about a specific topic like Disney, it’s bound to happen at some point.

I’d recommend this to anyone who loves Disney and anyone who loves history. Learning about everything that happened with Walt and how certain characters came to light, etc., was very intriguing and I’m glad I picked this one up!

The Seduction Expert by Saya Lopez Ortega

Publication Date: July 26, 2019
Publisher: VSP Publishing
Rating: ★

She’s the seduction expert.

Women contact her to take over their love lives. She steps in when they’re lost, she’s supposed to succeed where they failed. She handles their single status, their relationships, their breakups, and very often their partners’ affairs. Her job is a life priority, she spends most of her time at the office or between two flights in business class and the fact of having a sports car that can reach one hundred kilometers in less than six seconds often make her feel like a superheroine in service to women.

Anyway, take her card.

You’ll see, it’s much better than spending holidays in St Barts.

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, VSP Publishing, and Saya Lopez Ortega for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

I requested this book because it immediately gave me The Devil Wears Prada vibes. The genre was listed as Contemporary Romance and Iknew I just had to read it. I went on Goodreads and saw that it had a lot of great ratings (I’ll get to this later in the review), so I was very excited. I began reading and… well I don’t even know what to say. This was not a romance at all. I’m not even sure what it could be classified as. I actually read the whole thing because it was short, and I understand that it’s a series, but what the heck was that ending?!

Let’s just start here – the main character is supposed to be a woman that helps other women with their love lives. What I found was a woman that was just a straight up bully. She was rude and just overall was unlikable. I couldn’t stand her, especially towards the end. She was extremely manipulative and not a symbol of feminism, which is what I think the author tried to portray her as.

The chapters were short and choppy which had me questioning if this was a novella or not. The writing felt forced and very terse. I was able to read it within an hour/two because it was really short and each page was a new chapter. There was no depth to anything in these chapters. I read them as what they were – just words on a page. Like I said before, I have no idea what to classify this book as. She has a boyfriend but then there’s drama and then there’s more drama and it just is a weird circle of something new each page. I couldn’t get into it at all.

Now, as for the reviews that were 5 stars and how this book is so highly rated on Goodreads:

I believe that VSP Publishing did something shady and had private accounts on Goodreads go on and rate this book 5 stars. All of the accounts that I clicked on were private or had little to no Goodreads activity. Every reader, that I’m friends with or has actual Goodreads activity, all rated this book 1-2 stars. When I googled this book, other blogs had this book also at 1-2 stars.

Next, I saw in other reviews of actual readers that VSP Publishing sent emails separate from NetGalley with a request of not putting low ratings on the Goodreads page and on their blogs. I personally didn’t receive this email, but that’s still really low of a publisher to do something like that to avid readers and to people who really care about books.

Here is a review from a blog that I follow dating back to May. Her review starts as: Let me start off by saying The Seduction Expert has over 500 reviews on Goodreads and most reviewers give it a gushing 5-stars. So keep that in mind when I say that I absolutely hated this book. 

There is something wrong here and I think it’s because something happened on Goodreads that shouldn’t be allowed. If you see this book or this publisher, run. It’s unfair for authors that really put the work in and accept negative reviews as motivation to learn and do better for the next one. Criticism is needed, whether a person likes it or not. It’s to help, not to hurt. Overall, this book and this situation is a mess. Stay away.