Friday, January 23, 2015

Rebel Queen by, Michelle Moran

Rebel Queen by, Michelle Moran

Release date: March 3, 2015

Wow Michelle Moran does it again. Such an amazing story about a time and place I really knew nothing about and am now completely mesmerized with. I want to read anything else I can find about this time period, even though they probably won’t compare to how this is written.

These were absolutely amazing women and as always with Moran's books it made do more research the first thing I searched was images of the clothing how gorgeous they must have been. The way they dressed was amazing and seeing the pictures even made it more real. The freedom these women had in Jhansi was extraordinary especially compared to the village women who could never leave the house, which is how Sita grew up plus she had an overbearing grandmother to add to the stresses of daily life. Having a girl child in India in the 1800’s was not a happy occasion if it was not a son then it just didn’t matter, girls were sometimes killed, given away to who knows where and kind of horrible circumstance they would end up in. (prostitution, slavery, nunnery etc.)  But Sita was lucky her father loved her even after her mother dies her father never thinks of getting rid of her in one of these horrible ways, though his mother has other ideas (she is an awful person!), so to keep his mother from doing anything bad to Sita he decides she should become a Durga Dal for Queen Lakshmi or the Rani as she is called. The Durga’s are women soldiers and guards of the Rani who dress in beautiful silks but fight better than most men. This is such a fascinating chunk of history that I knew nothing about and if you love books with strong female characters look no further than this one.

Every character in this book is drawn to perfection, there are no one dimensional characters to be found, everyone has a distinct personality and background. There are some great characters in this book even the ones you don’t like; you will find you are still fascinated by their actions. Sita is the person telling the story of what happened during those fateful times when the British decided to just take over India and India and their culture and traditions be damned they just wanted it. The end of the book is heartbreaking, well, so are a few parts in the middle!  

I of course had to love that Sita loved to read and because in her Village women didn’t leave the house very rarely going outside this is called purdah, but Sita lived many lives through books she read as she says, “Even prisoners can escape if they have books.”

I was completely and thoroughly enthralled with this story, I learned so much and felt completely immersed in the sights, sounds and clothing of this time. Michelle Moran always writes so beautifully that you feel like you are there with the characters and this book is no exception. This book doesn’t even come out until March 7, 2015 but I want another Moran book already!

5 Stars

I received this from edelweiss and the publisher for a fair and honest review.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Girl on the Train: A Novel By Paula Hawkins Narrated By Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher

The Girl on the Train: A Novel By Paula Hawkins Narrated By Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher

This book has had so much hype that I was honestly a little worried that it wasn't going to live up to it but holy cow did it ever.

This was a twisty turny, keep you guessing to the end kind of book, with completely unreliable narrator's all three of these women were unreliable narrator's which is kind of fascinating because you never knew who was telling the truth or the truth as they saw it or are just lying completely. Every time I thought I had it figured out it would turn a different way, I thought I had it figured out many times and I never did.

Told by 3 women:
 Rachel- alcoholic, scorned woman, she is the girl on the train and honestly quite a mess.
 Anna- Rachel’s ex-husbands new wife and mother of his child, self-centered and paranoid of Rachel.
Megan- missing, confused, self-centered and craves attention.

The three audiobook narrators Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey and India Fisher all did such a fantastic job they truly brought these women to life and endowed each with such emotion. These were all new to me narrators and I will definitely be looking for other books any of these women have narrated!

This book was amazing, it was great from beginning till end never bogged down and kept me guessing all the way through. I don’t want to give any more away because this is one of those books where the wrong word could be a spoiler, suffice it to say Just Read This Book! Now!

5 stars

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Missing One by, Lucy Atkins

The Missing One by, Lucy Atkins

Release date February 16th 2014

This has a gothic atmosphere to it that I liked very much and it kept me on the edge of my seat most of the time and was a hard book to put down.

 Kal( Kali) is in a bad place her mother just died and she found some texts on her husband’s phone that don’t look good, and while cleaning out her mother’s things she finds some postcards from a woman she has never heard of and in her mental state she decides to go half way around the world to talk to this woman to find out more about the mother she was never close to. The woman she finds is Susannah who is at best an unreliable narrator at worst well…

A lot of this book is at a frenetic pace because it moves along with Kali’s mind which is going in 20 different directions and it’s palpable while reading this book, I felt a sense of the frantic as I read and also dread because you just felt there was more to things and Kali was too wound up to see straight, but the problem is she brought her child along for the ride. The recent death of her mother has Kali in a tailspin she can’t think straight but she goes on this mission to find out more about her mother’s youth what was she like in college and is the reason they didn’t get along because her mother gave up her PhD study to have her?  But there is the old adage “be careful what you wish for” because what she finds out may not be what she wanted to know.

I don’t want to give too much away because I don’t want to ruin anyone’s enjoyment of this story. So I will close this by saying I really enjoyed this book; I loved the gothic thriller feel to it and as I said I had a hard time putting it down because I needed to know what was going to happen next. My only little qualm was the ending chapter but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of this book. So if you like gothic atmosphere, thrillers, and family secrets give this one a try.

4 Stars

I received this book from Netgalley and the publisher (Quercus) for a fair and honest review

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Mill River Recluse: A Novel (Mill River #1) By, Darcie Chan narrated by, Amy Rubinate

The Mill River Recluse: A Novel (Mill River #1) By, Darcie Chan narrated by, Amy Rubinate

This was a very different book than I was expecting when I started, I guess from the description I assumed it was a mystery but it turned out to be kind of a feel good story. It was the story of a town and the woman who looked down from her mansion on a hill because she couldn’t leave her house due to severe social anxiety disorder, however Mary does have one friend Pastor Michael who has been there for her when she had no one else. I felt this book was also about this friendship that was true and real their friendship was one most people dream about, the kind of friendship that knows all your secrets (or almost all as in this case) and accepts you for who you are faults and all.

I enjoyed this book, it told a good story, even if at times some characters didn’t get fleshed out as much as one would have liked. It’s hard to characterize this book into a genre; it’s has family drama, a bit of a whodunit, town secrets, abuse, friendship and social anxiety so if you can figure out what genre it belongs in let me know!

Amy Rubinate’s narrations was fabulous as always all her voices were distinct and every character had their own voice. She also did well at aging the characters voices as they sounded younger when they were recalling the past and older in the present day. Narration was very well done.

As I said even though I went into this book thinking it was something it was not I still enjoyed it, and would recommend to people who enjoy a well told story. I will be reading the next book in this series as I am curious at what else is going on in Mill River.

3 ½ Stars

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What She Left Behind, by Ellen Marie Wiseman narrated by, Tavia Gilbert

What She Left Behind, by Ellen Marie Wiseman narrated by, Tavia Gilbert

Wow, just, wow, this book is great! I wasn’t expecting so many holding my breath moments. It always fascinates and horrifies me to learn of the treatment in some of these so called hospitals and the reasons so many women were put into these places. Poor Clara all she did was fall in love with a man her father didn’t approve of so she was locked up and lied about and left there with no-one to turn to, in 1929 this was okay for a father to do to his child. Clara starts out in a little better place at least she had one nice nurse but when the crash hits and her father can no longer pay the bill Clara ends up in Willard hospital a state run home that is an awful, awful place!  In the present day we have Izzie, she is a foster child whose mother is in prison for killing her father her foster parents are doing a project on Willard for the local museum and when Izzie finds Clara’s diary she becomes fascinated with learning more about this woman. Both of these stories are interesting Clara’s more so but there are parts of Izzie’s story that will break your heart too.

This book grabbed me right from the beginning and didn’t let go till the end it was never boring and there were times I was yelling at my ipod because of things that happened to Clara and Bruno. I was surprised at how invested I got in these characters and that there were some really intense scenes I wasn’t expecting.  

Tavia Gilbert’s narration was as always fantastic; everyone had a different voice and inflection so you were never confused as to who was talking. All voices from the main characters Izzy & Clara to the side characters were all done to perfection.

Loved the ending …Oh Clara!

If you are a fan of The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox I’d say to give this one a try, you won’t be disappointed.

5 stars

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Mademoiselle Chanel by, C.W. Gortner

Mademoiselle Chanel  by, C.W. Gortner

Release date March 17, 2015

Enthralled, captivated, fascinated, enamored, I'm not even sure if these words come close to explaining how great this book was and how captivated I am with this woman. This book was impossible to put down I needed to know more and more and more. This is one of those books that when you get finished you want to go back to the beginning and start again because you don't want it to end.

She was definitely a woman before her time she was an absolutely fascinating woman, what she did, not only as a designer but as a single woman in France in the early 1900’s is awe inspiring, she did what she had to do and look what she accomplished, and when you learn where the famous trademark stems from and the origins of her famous perfume it is so interesting. Her rise and how she got there and the people she met along the way is so interesting I am just awe-struck by this woman. I am far from being a fashionista but I want to go see these older dresses and see more of her life.

This book also made me look up everyone she meets along the way and to look at her styles and the scary lobster dress by her rival Schiaparelli . I love Chanel’s more conservative simple dresses; really without her we wouldn’t have the little black dress. And that she stopped women from wearing fruit and birds on their heads that was a great thing.

But above all she was a woman ahead of her time; independent, opinionated, beautiful and rich, but she didn’t start out that way and everything she had was from her hard work, yes, yes men helped her along the way but she paid every one of them back and without her talent she would have never become the icon that she became.

The life she lived and the people she knew is a who’s who in the artistic world of the time, she was accepting of everyone from the snobs of the British aristocracy, to gay men and women, to the drug addled artists, dancers and musicians, she accepted everyone despite their flaws, she was also a very caring woman though her outward attitude didn’t seem that way I believe from this book that if Coco liked you she would do just about anything for you. Some of the things she did during the war are tough but I believe this version she never wanted to hurt anyone and a person had to survive. I do hope that she was able to find some peace and love at the end of her life.

Okay, I could go on and on about this book but I will stop now and just say read this book the minute it comes out, you will not be disappointed!

5 Stars (if I could give it more I would)

**I received this book from edelweiss and the publisher for a fair and honest review**

As I have said in previous reviews I love a historical fiction book that makes me want to do research and boy howdy did this book make me want to look stuff up, everything from pictures of the clothes to learning about the people she met along the way so here are some of the sites I found with great picture of Coco and her crowd:

CW Gortner's Pintrest page:

This is a great site to see  pictures of some of the people and places you will meet in this book

An article about Coco and the ballet with a picture of her and Serge Lifar

A neat tribute to Misia Sert as muse to so many artists in the early 1900’s

Picture of Boy