Friday, April 18, 2014

{Review} SONGS OF THREE ISLANDS: A MEMOIR by Millicent Monks

ISBN #: 978-1935212447
Page Count: 264
Copyright: October 8, 2013
Publisher: Prospecta Press; 2nd Edition

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

SONGS OF THREE ISLANDS is a stunning memoir about the astounding Carnegie family's struggle with mental illness combined with a beautifully evoked meditation on motherhood and madness. In describing five generations of mental instability in the female line of her family Millicent Monks attempts to bring mental illness out of the shadows and comfort those who are suffering from thoughts and feelings they don’t always understand. In her own words “People, they say, are divided into two kinds: those who have known inescapable sorrow and those who have not. Because sorrow cannot be changed, one’s lifestyle and feelings must be changed to accommodate it.” 

This heartfelt account highlights the struggle and frustration felt as you watch those you love being destroyed by mental illness. It's easy to presume that having riches beyond your wildest dreams automatically means you have it all, but being blighted by mental illness is something many families, rich and poor alike, struggle to come to terms with. This memoir will not only leave the reader feeling positive and enlightened, but filled with enormous admiration for and gratitude towards Millicent Monks for sharing this unique story about her legendary family. This frank account highlights her own personal struggle and determination to survive against many odds.

Mandy's Review:

I'm thinking I need to stop reading memoirs about famous people/families. I don't enjoy them. Yes, I feel sorry for Ms. Monks and how she had to deal with a mother who was mentally unstable. I also feel sorry for her because that trait seemed to be inherited by herself and her daughter. However, reading her memoir did not leave me feeling "positive and enlightened" as the summary suggests. I felt bored and I struggled through the reading of this book.

There were a couple times that I got lost and/or confused while reading. Some of the dates didn't mesh and there was quite a bit back-and-forth between the memories. It didn't flow well for me, basically.

I think I'll stick with the fiction books from now on. I've given enough non-fiction books a try that it's now time for me to stop. I just don't care for them.

*A physical copy of the book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

{Review} THE BLONDE by Anna Godbersen

ISBN #: 978-1602862227
Page Count: 400
Copyright: May 13, 2014
Publisher: Weinstein Books

About the Author:

Anna Godbersen, author of The Blonde, is the New York Times bestselling author of The Luxe and Bright Young Things. Anna grew up in Berkeley, California, graduated from Barnard College, and lives and writes in Brooklyn, New York.

For more information please visit and follow the author of Facebook and Twitter.

Book Summary:

At the height of the Cold War, Marilyn Monroe was the object of the world's desire. That's the part you already know, but here's the part that's never been told: Marilyn Monroe was a Soviet spy tasked with seducing presidential candidate John F. Kennedy.

In 1947, a young, unknown Norma Jean meets a mysterious man in Los Angeles who transforms her into Marilyn the worldwide star. Twelve years later, he comes back for his repayment, and Marilyn is given her first assignment from the KGB: Uncover something about JFK that no one else knows.

But what begins as a simple job turns complicated when Marilyn falls in love the the bright young President, and learns of plans to assassinate Kennedy. Now the most famous woman on the planet will do anything to save her man, the leader of the free world. Part biography, part love story and part thriller, The Blonde is a vivid tableau of American celebrity, sex, love, violence, power and paranoia.

Lupe's Review:

This book was everything is described and more. The mystique and intrigue, the love and hate relationships, The Blonde fulfilled all of those requirements. I think what I loved most about the book is that it all seemed feasible. I mean, why COULDN'T Marilyn have been a spy? Everyone believed that she and JFK were having an affair, why couldn't that have been the truth? Godbersen makes it all so convincing and that's why I loved it so much. I could see how all of those scenarios could go down. At the same time, she made it so convincing that, even though I KNOW that JFK dies (I mean, history, duh!) I was STILL pulling for him to be saved, knowing it wasn't going to happen. Such a good story line.

Godbersen made Marilyn a REAL person, not just the starlet that the world knew her as, and she even portrayed JFK as a real man, one whose stresses included the Bay of Pigs, and the attempted overthrow of Castro. I really do encourage those who are fans of historical fiction to read this. I am pretty sure they will be completely satisfied.

*A physical copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, April 14, 2014

{Blog Tour Review} BOUND TO REMEMBER by Lola James

ASIN #: B00608Q37A
File Size: 222 KB
Page Count: 144
Copyright: October 26, 2011
Publisher: Lola James

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Vampires and Witches and Myths, oh my!

Toni is a young doctor with a past she can't remember and a deadly reason for forgetting it.

Ben is a nurse who has his own tragic past and transfers hospitals after an act of heroism forces his secluded life public.

Ben can’t believe his eyes when he meets Toni, she has an uncanny resemblance to an old friend of his, and Toni can’t help but find Ben irresistible.

Enter Kevin, Toni’s sexy but arrogant Ex. Kevin’s jealousy of Ben blinds him from his main objective, Toni.

A dangerous secret is revealed and a magic spell seems to be a quick remedy, but the witch that helps has a little more than magic up her sleeve…

Mandy's Review:

The book wasn't very long, so that lent to the story evolving fairly quickly. Within a matter of days, Toni is attracted to, and has started having feels for, Ben. I know that's happened to all of us at one point in our lives, but the depth of her feelings seems to have developed extremely fast, even for a novella.

Ben is hiding several major secrets from Toni. Secrets concerning a dead girlfriend, a vampire, and a witch. Toni doesn't believe in vampires ... even though Ben's always cold, drinks "Bloody Marys" instead of eating food for a meal, works at night, and seems to have sun-eliminating shades on all of his windows. Ben also seems a little sneaky in that he's made Toni forget what he's asked her on two different occasions. So, can he really be trusted?

Then there's Toni. She's being manipulated and used by more people than she even knows. I kind of feel sorry for her but, then again, I don't. It's difficult for me to pinpoint one specific characteristic, but Toni feels a little naive to me.

Overall, I did enjoy this book and would consider reading it again.

As a side note: On Amazon, it shows that this book has been recently re-edited. I'm glad because I almost stopped reading this book after Chapter 1 due to all of the editing issues that were missed.

*An ecopy of this book was provided by the tour host in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, April 7, 2014

{Review} CITY OF DARK MAGIC by Magnus Flyte

File Size: 782 KB
Page Count: 464
Copyright: November 27, 2012
Publisher: Penguin Books

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Once a city of enormous wealth and culture, Prague was home to emperors, alchemists, astronomers, and, as it’s whispered, hell portals. When music student Sarah Weston lands a summer job at Prague Castle cataloging Beethoven’s manuscripts, she has no idea how dangerous her life is about to become. Prague is a threshold, Sarah is warned, and it is steeped in blood.

Soon after Sarah arrives, strange things begin to happen. She learns that her mentor, who was working at the castle, may not have committed suicide after all. Could his cryptic notes be warnings? As Sarah parses his clues about Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved,” she manages to get arrested, to have tantric sex in a public fountain, and to discover a time-warping drug. She also catches the attention of a four-hundred-year-old dwarf, the handsome Prince Max, and a powerful U.S. senator with secrets she will do anything to hide.

And the story continues in City of Lost Dreams, the mesmerizing sequel, which finds Sarah in the heart of Vienna, embroiled in a new web of mystical secrets and treacherous lies.

Mandy's Review:

Reading the summary you would think all of these individual elements wouldn't work together. I mean, Beethoven, a time-warping drug, and a suicide (murder?) ... it does seem a little far-fetched to me. However, after I finished the book, I realized that all of the individual elements intermingled well together.

Sarah has a keen set of senses and she trusts her nose to guide her in different situations. It even helped her to recognize danger when she would've otherwise been oblivious. She also seems to have an overactive libido, which does get her in trouble a time or two ... once with the Prince.

Speaking of the Prince, he seems an odd duck at times. One minute I'd trust him with my life and the next I'm suspicious of his behavior. Perhaps this is only because others have lied about him or what he's done. What if he did say or do what others have indicated? Although I know how the book ends, I still have my eye on him.

I think Nico/Jepp, a 400-year old dwarf, was my favorite character. Despite his stature, the man knows how to handle himself and get things accomplished. He does like to rifle through others' belongings and steal things on occasion, but don't we all? He has a wicked sense of humor that I appreciate. I can't wait to see what situations he's become involved with in the next book.

This book has a sense of fantasy to it as well as the more prevalent mystery of what really happened to Sherbatsky. It was an intriguing read that I think many of you would enjoy.

*An ecopy was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

{Review} TY & THE FLY by Andrea Leask

ISBN #: 978-1770843998
Page Count: 14
Copyright: March 22, 2014

Book Summary:
(Taken from the back cover)

A story about a mean green fly.

Mandy's Review:

Oh my gosh. I adore the cuteness of this children's book. Each page is filled with bright, imaginative artwork. The "voice" of Ty sounds exactly how I think a dog would sound: excited, curious, and ready for the next adventure.

I would highly recommend this to all children's book lovers out there, whether you have a child or not.

P.S. - This isn't available on Amazon, so if you want to purchase this book you can click here.

*A physical copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
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