Thursday, May 28, 2015

Nonfiction Review - Haunted Plantations of the South by Richard Southall

Hey y’all, 

Today I’m reviewing a non-fiction history book, Haunted Plantations of the South by Richard Southall. 



Summary from Netgalley: When you hears the word "plantations," most people think of grand homes with pillars and sweeping staircases. These houses of grandeur were located all through the South in the days before the Civil War, and there are some that still resonate with the loveliness they had in their heyday. These majestic homes have a long history, and some of those who lived in these homes remain today. The ghosts of soldiers, slaves, and the elite family who lived in the plantation homes still wander the halls. 
Richard Southall explores gorgeous plantation homes and those that are abandoned and in decay to present a colorful history of the ghosts that linger there.
More after the jump!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Romance Review - Unforgiven: Athos by Michele Hauf

Hey y’all, 

Today I’m reviewing Unforgiven: Athos by Michele Hauf. #PrettyPrettyCovers #Rawr



Summary from Goodreads: Musketeer Arnaud de Sillègue d’Athos is ready to bid adieu to the King's Guard and to lay down his sword. Yet he's been charged with one final mission—to apprehend a dangerous enemy of the king, the Belle Dame Sans Merci. Despite his desire to apprehend a woman who causes such destruction, Athos refuses... until he sees a sketch of her. It's the same villainess with whom he had been locked in a passionate, sensual moment. 

Emmanuelle Vazet never gives up control, even if briefly, in the arms of a blue­eyed stranger, she felt the need to give in and let desire take over. But now circumstances have placed her at the scene of a murder. Her reputation—and the ridiculous name—has preceded her, even if she isinnocent. Now her nameless lover is the enemy. A royalist. A musketeer who could be her undoing... unless she becomes his undoing first.

More after the jump!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

YA Review - Flavia de Luce Novels One & Seven by Alan Bradley

Hey y’all, 

Today I’m reviewing The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce #1)  and As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust (Flavia de Luce #7) by Alan Bradley. 



Summary from Goodreads: (First) It is the summer of 1950–and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath.

For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.”

(Seventh) Hard on the heels of the return of her mother’s body from the frozen reaches of the Himalayas, Flavia, for her indiscretions, is banished from her home at Buckshaw and shipped across the ocean to Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy in Toronto, her mother’s alma mater, there to be inducted into a mysterious organization known as the Nide.

No sooner does she arrive, however, than a body comes crashing down out of the chimney and into her room, setting off a series of investigations into mysterious disappearances of girls from the school.

More after the jump! 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Historical Nonfiction Review - Manchu Princess, Japanese Spy by Phyllis Birnbaum

Hey y’all, 

Today I’m reviewing Manchu Princess, Japanese Spy: The Story of Kawashima Yoshiko, the Cross-Dressing Spy Who Commanded Her Own Army by Phyllis Birnbaum. 


Summary from Goodreads: Aisin Gioro Xianyu (1907--1948) was the fourteenth daughter of a Manchu prince and a legendary figure in China's bloody struggle with Japan. After the fall of the Manchu dynasty in 1912, Xianyu's father gave his daughter to a Japanese friend who was sympathetic to his efforts to reclaim power. This man raised Xianyu, now known as Kawashima Yoshiko, to restore the Manchus to their former glory. Her fearsome dedication to this cause ultimately got her killed.

Yoshiko had a fiery personality and loved the limelight. She shocked Japanese society by dressing in men's clothes and rose to prominence as Commander Jin, touted in Japan's media as a new Joan of Arc. Boasting a short, handsome haircut and a genuine military uniform, Commander Jin was credited with various daring exploits, among them riding horseback as leader of her own army during the Japanese occupation of China. 

While trying to promote the Manchus, Yoshiko supported the puppet Manchu state established by the Japanese in 1932, which became one of the reasons she was executed for treason after Japan's 1945 defeat. The truth of Yoshiko's life is still a source of contention between China and Japan -- some believe she was exploited by powerful men, others claim she relished her role as political provocateur. China holds her responsible for unspeakable crimes, while Japan has forgiven her transgressions. This biography presents the most accurate and colorful portrait to date of the controversial princess spy, recognizing her truly novel role in conflicts that transformed East Asia.

More after the jump! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

YA Review - Fairy Tale Reform School: Flunked by Jen Calonita

Hey y’all, 

Today I’m reviewing Fairy Tale Reform School: Flunked by Jen Calonita. 



Summary from Goodreads: Would you send a villain to do a hero's job? An exciting new twisted fairy tale series from award-winning author Jen Calonita.

Full of regret, Cinderella's wicked stepmother, Flora, has founded the Fairy Tale Reform School with the mission of turning the wicked and criminally mischievous into upstanding members of Enchantasia.

Impish, sassy 12-year-old Gilly has a history of petty theft and she's not too sorry about it. When she lifts a hair clip, she gets tossed in reform school-for at least three months. But when she meets fellow students Jax and Kayla, she learns there's more to this school than its sweet mission. There's a battle brewing and she starts to wonder: can a villian really change?

More after the jump! 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

YA Review - Atlantis Rising by Gloria Craw

Hey y’all, 

Today I’m reviewing Atlantis Rising by Gloria Craw. 



Summary from Goodreads: I am different. I have always been different, but no one can know or my life will be in danger. So I hide in plain sight, wearing drab clothes and thick glasses and trying to be invisible. I’m so good at hiding, no one has ever noticed me. Until Ian…the mysterious and oh-so-cute boy I know I need to avoid.

Now I have been seen. And more terrifying still, I am wanted—by those who would protect me and those who would destroy everything and everyone I love. But if they’re all terrified about who I am, wait until they see what I can do…

More after the jump! 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Historical Nonfiction Review - Patriotic Betrayal by Karen M. Paget

Hey y’all, 

Today I’m reviewing Patriotic Betrayal: The Inside Story of the CIA’s Secret Campaign to Enroll American Students in the Crusade Against Communism by Karen M. Paget. 


Summary from Goodreads: In this revelatory book, Karen M. Paget shows how the CIA turned the National Student Association into an intelligence asset during the Cold War, with students used—often wittingly and sometimes unwittingly—as undercover agents inside America and abroad. In 1967, Ramparts magazine exposed the story, prompting the Agency into engineering a successful cover-up. Now Paget, drawing on archival sources, declassified documents, and more than 150 interviews, shows that the Ramparts story revealed only a small part of the plot.

A cautionary tale, throwing sharp light on the persistent argument, heard even now, about whether America’s national-security interests can be advanced by skullduggery and deception, Patriotic Betrayal, says Karl E. Meyer, a former editorial board member of the New York Times and The Washington Post, evokes “the aura of a John le Carré novel with its self-serving rationalizations, its layers of duplicity, and its bureaucratic doubletalk.” And Hugh Wilford, author of The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America, calls Patriotic Betrayal “extremely valuable as a case study of relations between the CIA and one of its front groups, greatly extending and enriching our knowledge and understanding of the complex dynamics involved in such covert, state-private relationships; it offers a fascinating portrayal of post-World War II U.S. political culture in microcosm."

More after the jump!