#TBT Review: Longbourn by Jo Baker

Category: Historical Fiction

Published: 2013

Read: 2014

Score: 3/5

Synopsis: (Goodreads) If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats, Sarah often thought, she’d most likely be a sight more careful with them.
 In this irresistibly imagined belowstairs answer to Pride and Prejudice, the servants take center stage. Sarah, the orphaned housemaid, spends her days scrubbing the laundry, polishing the floors, and emptying the chamber pots for the Bennet household. But there is just as much romance, heartbreak, and intrigue downstairs at Longbourn as there is upstairs. When a mysterious new footman arrives, the orderly realm of the servants’ hall threatens to be completely, perhaps irrevocably, upended.

Review: This is an interesting book and a different take on a classic. If you a lover of Jane Austen like I am you would be as excited as I was to read this book. I was a little disappointed but some parts of this book were entertaining and great from a different point of view.

It’s the story of Pride and Prejudice but from the point of view of all the helpers and staff in the houses featured in the book. You get glimpses of the story through out the entire book of what you know from Pride and Prejudice.

It’s all mainly from the point of view of Sarah and she travels from both the Bennett house to the other houses either by her self and with the Bennet’s. This is how she gets to meet the different servants and all these other people in the house. It’s interesting to see how different households are run depending on how much money the owners have.

I found the writing very well done. It was fast paced and fun to read from different points of views. What I didn’t like is the fact is was sooo long. I felt the book could have been cut in half and still been a great story. Plus some of the interactions with characters we already know and love were upsetting as they were painted as not nice people and Mr. Wickham like a rapist or soon to be rapist.

As the first book I’ve read of Jo Baker I was not happy but it will not stop me from reading more books by her and give her another chance. I will not read this one again thou. 

YOU WILL LIKE THIS BOOK IF YOU LIKE:

Pride and Prejudice, anything by Jane Austen. Historical Fiction.

#TBT Review: Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Aslanea

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Category: Adult Fiction

Published: January 2005

Read: March 2014

Score: 3/5

Synopsis: (Goodreads) ‘Girls of Riyadh’ captures the trials and tribulations of a middle-class society quite unlike our own and blows the lid off all our preconceptions of Arab life.

Review: This was an interesting book that I am glad I read but will probably not read again. It is a story about four different women who is from Saudia Aribia or lives there now. Being someone who has never traveled there or known anyone from this particular country I can’t say for sure if it’s an honest telling but I can say it’s an interesting take on a different culture and society which I will never be  a part of. I do know people who are Arab but I was unable to ask them if they can vouch for this book or not.

Each story is different and follows the women through a part of their life. New love, going to school, going to America are some of them.

Some of the stories are great, as the women who find love and go to school have wonderful and fulfilling lives and are happy. They set their own rules and do what they want to do and makes their dreams come true. Despite their dreams being different from each other.

The story of the women who went to America bothered me a lot. I know this much happen a lot but it was still hard to read. Her husband turned out to be super abusive and she had a child and came back to her parents but because was getting a divorce and had a child she was an outcast and unloved and considered below everyone. I could not even imagine what it’s like to be like this and it hurts to read about despite it probably being true.

This was a story that was well written despite the content and I think it’s important to read and learn about other cultures despite not agreeing with them. I feel this is a good book to read now as with what is going on in the world and the views that are expressed about cultures like this one.

I will not read it again but I am glad I read it once.

YOU WILL LIKE THIS STORY IF YOU LIKE: Different cultures, stories about women, stories about different women, fiction like The Kite Runner.

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#TBT Review: Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy

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Category: Adult Fiction

Published: March 2012

Read: September 2013

Score: 4/5

Synopsis: (Goodreads) The body of a young girl is found mangled and murdered in the woods of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania, in the shadow of the abandoned Godfrey Steel mill. A manhunt ensues—though the authorities aren’t sure if it’s a man they should be looking for.
Some suspect an escapee from the White Tower, a foreboding biotech facility owned by the Godfrey family—their personal fortune and the local economy having moved on from Pittsburgh steel—where, if rumors are true, biological experiments of the most unethical kind take place. Others turn to Peter Rumancek, a Gypsy trailer-trash kid who has told impressionable high school classmates that he’s a werewolf. Or perhaps it’s Roman, the son of the late JR Godfrey, who rules the adolescent social scene with the casual arrogance of a cold-blooded aristocrat, his superior status unquestioned despite his decidedly freakish sister, Shelley, whose monstrous medical conditions belie a sweet intelligence, and his otherworldly control freak of a mother, Olivia.

Review: This is one heck of a novel and I still remember the feeling of what it was like to read it the first time. I have also watched the Netflix series (season 1) and have the experience of doing both.

You have a bit of everything in this novel like sex, werewolves, demons, scientific experiments. You name it, this book probably has something about it in the book.

It follows Roman and Peter. One is a “gypsy” and the other is a rich kid whose family basically owns the town. They meet after a girl is found murdered in the woods to what looks like an animal attack. Then rumors start flying that it’s a werewolf. It could be many different things like Peter, who claims he’s a werewolf, or the White Tower where they do experiments. It’s a who done it with a gothic overtone and lots of action and sex throughout. When you find out what is happening it’s fantastic ending and a twist I did not expect.

It also leaves it open for a second book but you can end the story here and be happy with how it ended. No suspense for what is to come. pic_1405533277_4

The book is better than the show, the show changes a lot but really are we surprised. This happens all the time with an adaption. That being said the show is not bad and for entertainment value is also very good and I did enjoy watching it.

This is a book for you if you like these supernatural stories, or an action packed adventure in finding out what did what and why. For teens or anyone younger I might not recommend this book to the really young or sensitive ones. It’s graphic in different ways and might not be appropriate.

If you liked the book than I highly recommend you watch the show as well. Happy Reading!

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#TBT Review: The Death of Innocence by John Ramsey and Pat Ramsey

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Category: Auto-Biography/True Crime

Published: March 2000

Read: 2006

Score: 3/5

Synopsis: (Goodreads) The parents of JonBent Ramsey, murdered in her Boulder, Colorado, home on Christmas night, 1996, answer their accusers by sharing their hearts, emotions, and reflections, and they reveal their own theories about the crime. of photos. Proceeds to go to the JonBent Ramsey Children’s Foundation.

Review: First and foremost, the only reason this is a post is because it’s the 20 year anniversary of this poor little girls death and that as I have read the book in the past I feel like it would be a good one to review as it’s rare in the sense the parents of the murdered child wrote this and it’s such a sad and horrible story.

I do not have an opinion as to who I think did it and if I did I wouldn’t be sharing it here. This is a partial review with all options open.

Also keep in mind that this book was written before DNA was done and during the height of these parents being in the media spotlight.

It is from the point of view from both John and Pat and start from before the murder, to the day of, to the aftermath up to the time the book was published. My heart goes out to anyone who looses a child and this is a brutal and horrible way for it to happen.  You really do feel their grief in this story and can feel it in how they write about what happened in those 48 hours leading up and after the murder took place. Right from the start they claim they are innocent and stand by that throughout the whole book.

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They write about the aftermath  and the media and what happened with their son. They kept some things out that we have found out since in the media and I am sure that is due to the fact the case was still open and very active at that time. They provide their own theories on who they think might have done this and why. Most of them involve a family friend, people in the pageant scene or someone who had seen Jon Benet in the public and become obsessed.

You get more details of the death and what happened and how they felt the whole time. You do not hear from the son, who we have now heard from now that time has passed.

There is a lot of references to religion in this book and good on them for keeping their faith throughout this whole ordeal but it was a bit tedious to read over and over again which is one of the reasons why I gave it a lower score. I get it is a big part of their life but when it takes up whole chapters it can make you a  little weary and want them to get to the point or progress the narrative.

It’s written well in a sense and not a long read at all. If you like true crime or books of this nature this is for you. Also if you are interested in this case and would like more from their point of view this is also a good book for you.

I hope for the sake of this poor, little girl that this case is solved. Until then it will always be a question of who could do something so horrible.

#TBT Review: Mistress of the Art of Death (Book #1) by Ariana Franklin

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Category: Adult Fiction

Published: February 2007

Read: January 2010

Score: 3.5/5

Synopsis: (Goodreads) In medieval Cambridge, England, four children have been murdered. The crimes are immediately blamed on the town’s Jewish community, taken as evidence that Jews sacrifice Christian children in blasphemous ceremonies. To save them from the rioting mob, the king places the Cambridge Jews under his protection and hides them in a castle fortress. King Henry II is no friend of the Jews-or anyone, really-but he is invested in their fate. Without the taxes received from Jewish merchants, his treasuries would go bankrupt. Hoping scientific investigation will exonerate the Jews, Henry calls on his cousin the King of Sicily-whose subjects include the best medical experts in Europe-and asks for his finest “master of the art of death,” an early version of the medical examiner. The Italian doctor chosen for the task is a young prodigy from the University of Salerno. But her name is Adelia-the king has been sent a “mistress” of the art of death. Adelia and her companions-Simon, a Jew, and Mansur, a Moor-travel to England to unravel the mystery of the Cambridge murders, which turn out to be the work of a serial killer, most likely one who has been on Crusade with the king. In a backward and superstitious country like England, Adelia must conceal her true identity as a doctor in order to avoid accusations of witchcraft. Along the way, she is assisted by Sir Rowley Picot, one of the king’s tax collectors, a man with a personal stake in the investigation. Rowley may be a needed friend, or the fiend for whom they are searching. As Adelia’s investigation takes her into Cambridge’s shadowy river paths and behind the closed doors of its churches and nunneries, the hunt intensifies and the killer prepares to strike again . .

Review: This is a historical crime fiction which is good and bad at the same time. It is the start of a series and as of this review there is three more books after this so the author is  on a roll.
compIt is a murder mystery set in Medieval times and involves children so you know it’s an intense read. It is a women who is the main character and “mistress in the art of death” which is basically the first term for forensic detective. Being a women in these times are hard enough but this makes it more intense for her. She is also Italian and has to go to England to solve these murders. The author incorporates hate for certain types of people which is always a major subject no matter what time period you are talking about.

It’s a fast read, and an easy read over all. There are not a lot of medical terms and the ones they do talk about are easy to understand. It’s well written and there are a lot of description. If you like these types of mystery’s this is a series you should check out.
CAMBR-KINGS-GENERAL-001-BMy problems with the book is I found the climax was underwhelming. It was a big build up to not much of a conclusion. I also didn’t find that the main character was one I got to know well. I realise that with series this is usually the case but it was disappointing. A little more substance would have made it a wow book. These are the reasons I would not give it more of a score than I did.

I wouldn’t read it again but I am happy I did get to read it once.

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#TBT Review: Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace … One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

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Category: Biography

Published: 2006

Read: 2013

Score: 3/5

Synopsis: (Goodreads) Anyone who despairs of the individual’s power to change lives has to read the story of Greg Mortenson, a homeless mountaineer who, following a 1993 climb of Pakistan’s treacherous K2, was inspired by a chance encounter with impoverished mountain villagers and promised to build them a school. Over the next decade he built fifty-five schools—especially for girls—that offer a balanced education in one of the most isolated and dangerous regions on earth. As it chronicles Mortenson’s quest, which has brought him into conflict with both enraged Islamists and uncomprehending Americans, Three Cups of Tea combines adventure with a celebration of the humanitarian spirit.

Review: This is a good book in a sense but also some of it hard to believe. It’s a good story in the sense that it is uplifting and great when you hear about someone who is trying to help people in a part of the world where people usually turn a blind eye.

mortenson-schoolIt is told of how Greg, on a trip up a huge mountain in Pakistan comes across a group of people who all live in poverty and none of the children goes to school. This changes the way he thinks for ever and after that goes on a mission to help them and get them the schools they so desperately need, and ones where even girls can go to learn which in this part of the world is not something you hear of.

Of course, even before the events of 9/11 and all that have followed there is a way of thinking against people in this part of the world and Greg was out to change that. He helped them grow and get those schools built even though he didn’t have backing from most Americans and of course other people in Pakistan who didn’t want to see (especially girls) get educated. A lot of the story is based around these issues and how hard it was for him to overcome these obstacles but did so in the end to achieve great things like build over 50 schools.

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The reason it didn’t get more of a score from me because a lot of it was dragged out. I think it would have been a better story if it was written better and we maybe got to know a bit more about some of the people he worked with over the years instead of the bad ones who tried to stay in his way. I read the book yes, but I would not read it again. Did it open my eyes? Certainly! But I still wouldn’t read it again.

This is a book for anyone who likes feel good stories as well as a good biography or something along the those lines. It’s not a light read, there is a lot that is hard to hear but at the end of the day it’s the truth. There are plenty of books like this but this is a great one to start if you looking for a fall read.

#TBT Review: My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares

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Category: Adult Fiction

Published: June 2010

Read: January 2012

Score: 4.5/5

Synopsis: (Goodreads) Daniel has spent centuries falling in love with the same girl. Life after life, crossing continents and dynasties, he and Sophia (despite her changing name and form) have been drawn together-and he remembers it all. Daniel has “the memory”, the ability to recall past lives and recognize souls of those he’s previously known. It is a gift and a curse. For all the times that he and Sophia have been drawn together throughout history, they have also been torn painfully, fatally, apart. A love always too short.

Interwoven through Sophia and Daniel’s unfolding present day relationship are glimpses of their expansive history together. From 552 Asia Minor to 1918 England and 1972 Virginia, the two souls share a long and sometimes torturous path of seeking each other time and time again. But just when young Sophia (now “Lucy” in the present) finally begins to awaken to the secret of their shared past, to understand the true reason for the strength of their attraction, the mysterious force that has always torn them apart reappears. Ultimately, they must come to understand what stands in the way of their love if they are ever to spend a lifetime together.

Review: This is a book that I read and still have on my shelves because it was a tumblr_le88z7qg871qav92co1_500wonderful read and I was surprised. I am not in to the love stories per say but this was a beautifully written story that as you can see in the synopsis spans over a long period of time.

It was written by the lady who did Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. Not a book I was a huge fan of but I can tell you if you liked that story you are going to like this one, and if you were not a huge fan like me you might still like it.

It is two stories at once. You meet both Sophia and Daniel in present day. You learn that they are two separate souls that fell in love at…well the beginning of man kind and have been finding each other ever since. Daniel is aware but Sophia isn’t and Daniel spends his life finding her and making her fall in love with him all over again. abandoned-monastic-school-shadows-favim-com-474994

The separate stories are not very confusing at all. You are aware of what time you are in and who is talking which is great as when it’s done this clear I find it very confusing. This is not the case with this book.

It’s also not very lovely either. You do have the love part of it of course, which is a big basis of the story but overall it’s not overwhelming and the entire story. It’s about resilience and the power of feelings and what brings people together.

Well written and an easy read, it’s not a big book either which is nice. I plan on reading it again one day and highly recommend it as a good easy read. One that maybe a good pick up for summer, and with it being in soft cover now…not expensive 🙂