The Parisians

       Paris, 1940. The Nazis have occupied the city¬—and the Ritz. The opulent old hotel, so loved by Parisians, is now full of swaggering officers, their minions and their mistresses.

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Content Trigger Warning: There are a couple of instances of sexual assault (not rape but other things). Details of some torture [mostly beating nothing to do with anything too gory], a miscarriage [and an abortion].

This is a story of Nazi-occupied Paris, so, it definitely got its dark bits.

I really felt Marius Gabriel captured the spirit of Paris and The Ritz in this and even more, he was more historically accurate than most others out there. I was so impressed with this book and I read it as if I were needing air haha I couldn’t put it down. I will say that at some parts Oliva’s chapters were too flowery for me, but, on the whole, I went from being a bit annoyed with her character to admiring her. I wasn’t sure what type of ending it would be as the novel did go quite dark, which was reasonable given the plots, but it was a really satisfying one.

Olivia is probably the least interesting of the three women; Coco Chanel, Arletty, and Olivia Olsen. She also though showed the greatest growth and in the end I did like her much more than I started off I have to say one of the reasons this only got four stars were the flowery bits of hers, she was a bit too naive and I felt myself during those parts wanting to get back to the others and see what they were doing!

Coco and Arletty were very dynamic and I wasn’t sure what I was going to get reading this book, maybe just some fluff, but it turned out to be more than that. Coco is shown more as we now know her to be, Nazi sympathizer (and spy for them in fact though this wasn’t touched on too much in the book, her espionage I mean) who was bitter about her business done with the Wertheimer and wanting what she felt was hers at any cost. Her love for women was written as casually as her love for men was, though this novel focused on her relationship with her Baron Nazi spy.

Arletty was even better though. She is presented to us at the beginning in a quiet relationship with a Countess and we watch her unable to do business with the Nazis due to her feelings on their ‘politics’ but falling in love with one anyway. She wants her career as an actress she wants to be free, and she will not be held down by what others want or expect of her.

We also have Heike, a woman who is hardened by life and by the fact that she’s not really a woman but trapped in a woman’s body, she’s a Nazi and though there’s some small sympathy for her, she’s a monster of the world and her own making.

[Both relationships of Coco and Arletty and their German lovers are true, as for their sexual orientations? Coco’s is pretty much fact at this point while Arletty’s can probably be assumed to be true.]

You were allowed to feel sympathy and revulsion at some parts, to look at the darker parts of the human soul and still allowed some hope. The writing is eloquent, the shift of the characters lets you know the author has thought greatly on how each perspective will be laid out for the reader and I look forward to reading more by Marius Gabriel.

I was allowed to read a free e-copy from NetGalley of this in exchange for my honest opinion. I’m not paid, I’m poor, a hobo really who just happens to like lovely books and this is one of them.

Also. ALSO. Guys. This is an actual quote from Arletty when questioned about her German lover:  “My heart is French but my ass is international.”- Arletty (Leonie-Bathiat)

Top Ten Tuesday

Hi there everyone! Look at me, joining a meme, it’s like watching a foal standing for the first time lol.

Anyway this meme, Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you from ThatArtsyReaderGirl

I’m excited, I feel like I’m learning so many new things and meeting so many neat people, who I will call my friend against their wills probably, #creepy but #sorrynotsorry.

This has really been a crash course for me this week and there are so many things to try out and explore in this book blogging community. I’m so grateful to not be doing this all on my own! I’m getting mushy. Please make it stop. I’m ginger, I have no soul, this is painful.

ANYWAY. AGAIN.

Top Ten Tuesday, here are my top 10 on my TBR, in no particular order and with no guarantee that I will get to then in the next six months lol.

1. Dead Man’s Blues
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This is the sequel to The Axeman’s Jazz
It’s in Chicago this time, and Louis Armstrong makes an appearance again, I’m excited. End story.

2.Stalking Jack the Ripper
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I may have maybe should have already….read this. I will! I swear it! I have till February 21!

3.Le Belle Sauvage
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-Uhhhh His Dark Materials. ‘Nough said. But really, I loved that series so I’m SUPER looking forward to this one

4. Metro 2034
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-If you’ve read my review on Metro 2033, you know how much I loved it and this one has my fave character as the main focus, yaaaaas.

5. The Hobbit

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-It’s time to get my Tolkien on.

6. An Autobiography, Agatha Christie

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-The last nonfiction I read about her sucked marbles, so, I need this, this year lol.

7. The List

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-Seems interesting, but the reviews are super varied, someone help me out, I was excited but is it worth it? (This is why I try not to read reviews on Goodreads beforehand lol)

8. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Original Screenplay

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-It’s on my shelf staring at me every day. Besides, at least I know what to expect lol

9. Good Omens

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-My husband gets to pick a book for me to read every so often and he thought I would like this one (actually he picked it 2 years ago, I’m that bad at procrastinating)

10. The Book of M

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-It had a pretty cover and the blurb about it really caught my attention. Another one though with some tepid ratings.

And that’s it for me, time to actually go read now, bahaha jk food first.

Have you read these? Anything I should know about them if you have? What are some of your TBRs you’re hyped for? Have a TTT list? Post it in the comments so I can see it!

I don’t know if there’ll be a post from me tomorrow as it’s the Hub-bub’s birthday [Oh yea, I call him that, it’s his name for me in his phone unless he pisses me off, then I change it to Heathcliff]

Thanks to ThatArtsyReaderGirl for the meme!

My Top 5 Sci-Fi Picks!

It’s Monday! I hate life, I get to travel for 2.5 hours for a just under 2-hour choir rehearsal on Mondays in the very very cold night. Monday is not my friend it is an evil monster.

Anyway, I’m not quite done with my two current reads but you all will probably get two reviews from me this week, so, there’s that. I’ll also be doing a couple of other things that will hopefully pan out nicely! The Alienist has been so far the book I needed to lift my spirits after a roller coaster of anger from The Memory of Lost Dreams and I’m so thankful for that!

So, my top 5 favorite Sci-fi novels? Well, I’m going to do a countdown of them!

So starting from the bottom up…..

5. Speaker for the Dead

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Some sequels fall flat on their face and who knows you may think I’m crazy for loving this one. I have to say I believe Ender’s Game does best as a standalone novel in my opinion but I can’t help but love this book. Because on some level, I needed it. I needed to know about Ender later on, and I needed to know that he would be okay (or to at least find out if he wasn’t going to be). There are other books I do enjoy in the Ender-verse but none of them come close to this one or Ender’s Game. I did put it at number 5 because I do recognize its flaws and again though personally needed it for some more closure, it really wasn’t necessary (and the others even less so despite my enjoyment of them).
4. Dune

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Okay, okay, I know, this is one of the best sci-fi novels in existence, it is one of the most famous ones, and it is amazing, I do not argue that there’s a reason it is on my list. Why is it number 4? I didn’t always appreciate Paul, I actually think his Mom is so kickass and his sister too, one of the reasons I want to read other Dune novels, but, I am hesitant to do so. I’m sure I’ll get around to them eventually. Why do I love it? Well hello, sandworms! Cool desert people, prophecized heroes, awesome fight scenes, and mysterious powers and happenings! Again it’s on my top 5 for a reason, and though most call Frank Herbert the Father of Sci-Fi…I think it would be appropriate to remember he is indeed not, [COUGH COUGH, MARY SHELLEY=MOM, COUGH COUGH] but he does give us our modern Sci-Fi and we should remember that!

3. The Time Machine

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Come on. How could I not add it? TIME TRAVEL, GUYS. [I’m a huge Dr. Who fan as well, so…again, TIME TRAVEL] I really feel that this was the prime of its time and continues to be the prime of ours. I urge anyone who likes Sci-Fi to read this. It also gives us a future that gives us a taste of Utopia on the surface (totally dystopian though, I love it, so much). Wells was ahead of his time, he thought of things that of course didn’t really happen literally but hit close to home in a way that I don’t think most saw coming. I had to rate this higher than Dune for one simple and important fact, I enjoyed it more. He accomplished more things in fewer pages than Frank did as far as making the read better for me.

Alright, onward!
2. Ender’s Game

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Predictable? Probably. I know without the other works before it that Ender’s Game wouldn’t be possible but it still ranks above them and is one of my favorite novels ever, I’ve lent it out more than any other book and recommend it more than any other. Reading this in middle school [Sixth Grade to be specific, holy shit I’m old], it changed my world. Someone had lent it to me, one of my closest friends who I still love and adore so maybe part of the reason I love it so much is because I associate with her but it’s also the book I’ve reread the most. This has such an impact on kids at that preteen-young adult age (on adults too I’m sure) it gives you this sort of hope, if you feel like a ‘Third’ your whole life until that point, that being different can be amazing, it can be hard but it could lead you to do great things [and to not be afraid for thinking differently]. Admittedly I am no longer a big fan of Orson Scott Card himself but I still adore this book. It gives you everything you want in a sci-fi novel and that ending, ugh that ending.  We watch kids do things that adults forget they truly are capable of doing, and we see strategy and aliens and space military school…<3 I will never NOT love this book….so what could top it?….
1. The Alien Chronicles

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That’s right, I’m cheating. Whatcha gonna do about it? Huh?? My first pick? The Alien Chronicles, only one of the most beautiful and well-written trilogies that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I read these just soon after Ender’s Game, lent to me by the same friend. These again just completely rocked my reading world. I mean these and Ender’s Game were pre-Harry Potter, so imagine just how crazy I was for them as we all -most of us- went crazy for Harry Potter! These, though not at all Christian, do have a very Moses/biblical like plot. We have the love between two beings, not quite sibling but more like soulmates in friendship, and then having to face them being ripped apart when one realizes their true past and the true history of what has happened to their enslaved people. The life that Ampris, our ‘Moses’ and Heroine, faces afterwards is everything that is beautiful and tragic and happy, I mean this trilogy brought me to tears and continues do so. The trilogy follows closely Ampris, her once beloved friend Israi, and Elrabin. The characters have so many emotions,  would say more so Ampris and Elrabin, they are full well rounded and just I can’t say enough about them, I’m gushing like the fangirl I am. This is called by some as a ‘Space Opera’ if you’re wondering more on the subgenre. I couldn’t just pick one out of the three, so I didn’t.

There you have it! My top 5!

Do you have any Sci-Fi favorites or recs for me? I’d love to hear them!

[I didn’t include Frankenstein because I still consider it more of a horror and overall I did not include Dystopia novels (The Time Machine was the closest one).]

The Book That Gave Me Indigestion

I am going to start off firstly, by saying how this is not typical of me to be so worked up over not liking a book. And I usually don’t not like books either. I’m super easy going in my reading.

And the worst part is….this didn’t frustrate me because it was just horrible all the way through. It frustrated me because the Author had such cool ideas and then literally decided to not care enough to do his own creativity justice.

The Memory of Lost Dreams (In case you were feeling curious and/or a masochist)

My rating: 2.5/5 (It only got that high because I truly thought the concept was interesting)

Blurb: A dystopian novel set in a post-apocalyptic future. A young man, Malik, flees his village, stumbles upon a ruined city from the past and discovers REQUIEM and he is transported to another world. I mean it’s cool, this world is actually the past (or is it? I’m not spoiling it for those who are curious and want to read it). A Chief Overlord has imposed a dystopian culture on society and most seem to just accept it, but there is a hero amongst them and will stop at nothing to help the world and Malik is caught in the middle.

Despite this not being a first edition and not truly an ARC (Published in 2015 first), it was in need of some HEAVY editing. There were so many grammatical errors and they were enough that you were like ‘did anyone read through this beforehand? Did a seal edit this and its flippers caused some of these errors?’

Most of his writing is standard, easy/simple as if one might be reading a middle school level book (and you know what, it could easily be one with a bit more editing and some rewrites) but things would be written so awkwardly that you just ended up wondering ‘WHYYYYYYYY.’

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BUT THEN
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BUT THEN, this man comes out of nowhere and literally gives you some wonderfully written sentences with prose that makes you raise your eyebrows and nod quietly as you read it..I mean I don’t know how you’d nod noisily but that’s not the point. The point? It was hard to be thrown around like two authors were playing some prank on you because that’s what it felt like when the style had such an abrupt change.

TBH I’ve also never read such awkward dialogue, guys, it was bad, like you winced, because it felt so unnatural. And in fact, it was those parts that usually had me sighing dramatically as I checked the page counter. [431 pages, divided into 2 parts if anyone is curious] The characters use speech that is either too relaxed or dramatic depending on the situation and lord, my knickers were in a twist whenever Malik and Rachel spoke, it was like watching a train crash and being forced to keep watching it, unable to turn away. [Also on a small personal annoyance, I’m really annoyed that Malik’s karate instructor was named Mr Saito. Don’t ask why but it caused me to roll my eyes whenever it was mentioned.]

A lot of people complained about character development and I could see why but I do have to say something in defense of the Author at this point; his story wasn’t about the characters. It was about society, it was about the power of government and what is plausible if people let others take power and never step in. Not every story we read is about the characters, but, the others were right to a point, Malik (our main character) did not seem to grow and at one point in the book when one would think he would have matured he doesn’t. Not to mention he and the others are so flat, that with the fact that the rest of the writing is subpar, means that unfortunately this novel was a huge NO for me at the end of the day despite me really wanting to like the story.

I hope he does more editing, frankly, it needs to be rewritten but if he does and really works at it, I could see it being a pretty damn good novel, for now? I’m gonna go detox.

Great ideas, definitely a creative mind to come up with them but poorly executed.

[I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. I think we can all say my review was definitely honest.]

Just a General Update of Crap and Books

I wish I could have woken up feeling at least like I didn’t hate the world, but, not only did I wake up in my usual mood but I woke up at 4:25AM. THERE IS NO GOD/ARE NO GODS/I HATE EVERYTHING.

On that note, I was able to get some early ass morning reading done.

The Alienist is progressing, it’s a digital library loan so I actually have to really just pick up my feet and get to it, I’m enjoying it but it is essentially right up my alley so, no surprise. *I also watched the show on Netflix and loved it, but it is kind of a bummer to know the outcome, but also fun to see what’s different of course*

I’m reading an ARC (that’s not really an arc just a free digital copy) that I need to finish by the 5th but right now all it’s doing is causing me indigestion. Oh trust me you’ll hear more on that from me later and to be fair I’m like such a horribly non-critical book reviewer usually so, it’s gotta be somethin’ special for this chick to be like *Smashes head on desk*. A shame too because it has so much potential.

And five other arc/free digital copies to get to varying from like…next week to the 19th of February….Let me explain myself here

Have you ever gone to a buffet, saw all the gleaming, delicious treats and thought ‘Yes, I’ll take that and that and that….’ and your eyes were too big for your stomach?

This is me

I have done this and I have almost no regrets! You know, aside from the fact that I bit off more than I can chew, but I’ll get it done and if I don’t and drown in my own bad choices, you’ll know by the lack of posts as I’ll be dead somewhere, buried in a pile of e-docs. I would be boldface lyin’ if I said otherwise and please excuse my absence of the Gs on words, I am a trashy Southern Belle, I cannot be contained, jk, when I blog I type how I speak, trust me, when I write like a proper little thing, my Gs are there.

I need to read Stalking Jack the Ripper by 21 of February also and Becoming Obama is on my February TBR list and this doesn’t include things I just pick up, like a crow that sees something shiny, and start reading.

Anyway there you have it, I’m alive, my mug of tea is cold, I have used my plant’s dead flowers to make a pretty bookstagram picture, and I am going to go read more and pretend I got this handled.

Also, I’m looking for more blogs/bookstagrams/twitters/goodreads to follow, so drop a comment with a link!

TOODLES

Danger on the Downs ARC Review

Just a side note: Technically my copy is still an ARC one, but, this book is officially available today!

My rating, wait for it, you’re gonna be fuckin’ freakin’ shocked……
3.5/5

I read this in a few hours, and can only say I found it really charming (and I was happy to have something to read that suited my mood lol). Bianca Blythe has set us up with a  protagonist who takes people unawares with her sleuthing abilities as they think her only a silver screen darling. [Note: This is book 2 in her; A Sleuthing Starlet Mystery series. I have not read book 1]

Cora Clarke is charming and a bit adorable if I’m honest, flaws and quirks and all, and I enjoyed the voice Bianca has given her. I had not read book one in this series but found it wasn’t necessary which I find to be a huge bonus when you pick up a book that seems up your alley. I mean there were a couple of things in relation to the romance where you were able to know from context clues that you’d missed something but that was about it.

She kind of harkens back to a Shirley Temple vibe, the whole child actor unable to transition into an adult actor, she also has a best friend who is the pinnacle of seductive Hollywood star/all superior celebrity and their relationship is cute and fun and it fits for the novel….and I can’t help it, I LOVE books set between 1900-1945. Bianca’s writing is simple and clean (any Kingdom Hearts fans out there start jammin’ to the theme song in your head? No? Just me? Pffffft) and I really enjoyed that, sometimes when an author gets too heavy with their vernacular in a novel like this it just makes it stuffy and overly ridiculous and not in a good parody way, but she kept it on a nice easy read level and it was enjoyable.

The style is a bit reminiscent of Agatha Christie, a dinner party, no one else in or out which means its one of the guests or servants and it is a fun game of guess who. Some of you may find you’ll know who did it right off the bat, but, she still provides enough twists and turns to divert you if you aren’t sleuthing yourself for the real culprit. Overall if someone is not into grisly murder mysteries but want a good ‘whodunnit’ novel with some adorable romance… they’ll find this one truly a delight, the sleuthing starlet is definitely a series I look forward to keeping an eye out for.

I read a free ARC of this that I accessed from Netgalley, I was not paid or enticed to give anything but an honest review. Seriously guys,

I make no money, off of anything, I’m writing this to you from a box under a bridge. It just happens to have spectacular wifi.

The Axeman’s Jazz

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I FINISHED

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Sorry. I have so much to read and I felt myself dragging with this because well…because I think I like to be difficult even to myself. First off, I enjoyed this, I did, but I did also try to be a bit more analytical in my reading so that I’m not always like ‘guys this was so good, go read it, kthxbye.’ So here we go, wish me luck, I’m super bad with critical thinking, it’s the 1/4 potato in me, I’m not sure how I’ve survived this long…okay, review:

I’ve rounded up on Goodreads to a 4, but really I give it 3.5/5. (holy crap nevermind it stays a 4 this is this man’s debut novel, crap, it has so much promise)

The book was highly entertaining and some of his descriptions were just delightful to read as someone who is an adopted Louisianian with experience in New Orleans.

Things I loved:
-The descriptions were so crisp and easily recalled images to my head of the bayous and swamps.
-The characters were DEFINITELY intriguing.
-I have a master’s in Musicology with a concentration in Jazz…how could I not love the fact that Louis freakin Armstrong was a character and not just that but an amateur sleuth as well!
-There were three completely separate investigations of this case and so you got the examine it from different angles and I couldn’t think of anything more awesome than that as a lover of crime and mystery.
-Did I mention how much I loved having a 1919 Noir era setting in New Orleans? People forget about it!
-The various twists and changing forms of this Elusive Axeman which turned out to be great for me, exactly what I like when I read this genre

-The epilogue was perfect, it gave me life, ugh, perfect entrance to book 2

Things I did not love:
-The pacing, sometimes it really did fit, sometimes I wanted to cry because I felt like not only was I not getting anywhere but neither were the characters
-Louis Armstrong is actually a point for and a point against this book, it almost breaks your suspension of disbelief. (But it didn’t for me which is why I loved it)
-Character growth could have been more, so many things happened to the characters and yet you found out so little about how it affected them on a deeper level
-It almost WASN’T a crime/mystery/thriller because of the slow pacing, I felt as if I were reading filler episodes.

-Though I loved the descriptions of the bayou, I felt that once you got out of the French Quarter the beautiful descriptions seemed to dwindle, but, still, that’s like me just nitpicking because of my ties to New Orleans (city where everyone asks you how far you are from it no matter where in Lousiana you live, amiright? Honestly, I lived four hours away, and when you try to tell people you live near Shreveport or Monroe they just stare at you blankly, sorry, rant over)

This was a lot of fun to read but I’m hoping the issues I had in pacing are fixed in Dead Man’s Blues which I already had checked out before this, not realizing they were part of a series, a quartet actually.

Overall: Ray Celestin is great, I can’t wait to read the next one and it was so great to be transported to New Orleans 1919, BRING ON CAPONE & CHICAGO 1928!!!!

Spoilers: (Highlight below to see them)
-What the hell about poor Riley, do we find out more?! WHAT WAS THIS RAY?!
-WHAT ABOUT LUCA?! (Also, I mean guessing from how that was left, what the hell did happen to our Axeman?)