The Badass We Needed

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Goddess

by Kelly Gardiner

Versailles, 1686: Julie d’Aubigny, a striking young girl taught to fence and fight in the court of the Sun King, is taken as mistress by the King’s Master of Horse. Tempestuous, swashbuckling and volatile, within two years she has run away with her fencing master, fallen in love with a nun and is hiding from the authorities, sentenced to be burnt at the stake. Within another year, she has become Mademoiselle de Maupin, a beloved star at the famed Paris Opéra. Her lovers include some of Europe’s most powerful men and France’s most beautiful women. Yet Julie is destined to die alone in a convent at the age of 33.
Based on an extraordinary true story, this is an original, dazzling and witty novel – a compelling portrait of an unforgettable woman.

Sadly, this book took me a lot longer to read than I ever planned. I was so excited due to the fact it’s about one of my favourite historical figures – someone I learned about like some many others, from the badass of the week. As the author said at the end of the book, Julie’s story is one that has been told again and again, there is no right or wrong way to tell it. So the story of the book and the things that people know are both right and wrong, because not every story is true or false. Does she marry the mysterious nun she loves? Does she kill people or does she only wound? It’s possible, but this book doesn’t always follow the story we might think we know.

The first half of this book was a bit slow. I had a really hard time getting into it. I’m not overly sure if it was the writing style or if it was simply because I wasn’t in the mood for historical fiction at that moment. The writing style IS a bit different. We are told part of the tale by Julie as she lays dying in a convent. But then, we go back to that time and watch her live through her life. There’s a lot of skipping about, only small glimpses of her life seen. This does tend to be one of my biggest struggles with books when they do this. So there’s a good chance this and some slowness with the story had made me put it down until last week, where I picked it up again and was able to push through until the end of the story.

I WAS able to get to the story telling with the skipping in this case. For once, I felt it didn’t skip important pieces that can some times happen with skipping. Instead, I felt the author actually did a good job at capturing the important parts and skipping forward once more. However – my one main issue was I wished the author had spent more time on the lovers that made such a huge impact on Julie’s life. IE, Clara. I felt as if some of her female loves weren’t given the same attention for being her true loves as some of the men she slept with and might have felt a little something with that got talked about again and again. However, that might be because these loves tended to be cut short for Julie compared to the friendships of these men.

I loved the sass and snark of the older Julie as she tells her story to you. She isn’t afraid to mince words, to give the ‘father’ she’s telling her story to a hard time. It lightens some darker moments. It made me laugh more than once. I felt like the author did a pretty great job of capturing the spirit of her, the spirit you expect a woman who is the best swordmens of her age, who dared to be with women and men without much of a thought and dressed as man as she pleased. I can’t imagine it being any other way. It also helps through some of the darker moments of her short life. It helps ease some of that pain of reading it. I’m also happy though that the author kept her bi. It was a fear that this wouldn’t end up being the case. It would have been so easy to just erase it from her story. It happens all the time in these stories. But thankfully, she stays bi. She loves her men and women. Maybe her true loves in this were more likely women, but she still loved men in her own way.

Rating – 3 stars

Books with ALL THE BEST COVERS (part 5)

I just finished this book and it was pretty great (ending felt a tad rushed, but still good) when I realized this was going to be my next pretty book cover post. For those not following my Listy (chasingmermaids) or goodreads (mousycherise) and didn’t see my constant live blogging of it, the book was The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell. A quick library read to get my mind a bit clearer after reading so many review books of late. And I found out I was basically in love with the covers for this book. All. Of. Them. And without further ado, here they are.

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(Portuguese, English, and Unspecified cover)

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(English cover. Original cover I saw)

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(English Paperback)

Though the middle one was the original cover I saw, I love all three so far released. Why? They’re all true to the story. They add elements directly from the story and bring it to life on the cover. Some covers don’t do this – they simply fit slightly and look pretty. But these are the story. And I can’t get enough of them and want prints of them all as posters.

Books with ALL THE BEST COVERS (part 4)

I totally meant to do this one sooner, but it totally slipped my mind. Boy, Snow, Bird is a new favourite book of mine and worth checking out. It’s probably one of the more original retellings of Snow White.

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(English Cover. Main Cover)

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(English Cover)

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(New Unspecified Cover)

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(French & Italian Cover [Not my fave, but it actually does remind me of the book])

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(French Cover)

Wicked Deeds [ARC Review]

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As I Descended

by Robin Talley
Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—even if no one knows it but them.

Only one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey.

Golden child Delilah is a legend at the exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. She runs the school, and if she chose, she could blow up Maria and Lily’s whole world with a pointed look, or a carefully placed word.

Expected publication: September 6th 2016 by HarperTeen
I was a HUGE fan of Robin’s first book ‘Lies We Tell Ourselves’ and I’ve been doing what I can to get my hands on any of her books when they come out. I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this book, though I wasn’t sure just how it might work out, being so completely different from the historic fiction of the first book (though closer to the second book, which I haven’t had a chance to read just yet). But I’m also a big fan of supernatural books, so I was on-board to see how this book went.
All in all, this book within the first few chapters were a dream book to me. Robin, like in her other book doesn’t make the sexuality of her characters the main plot, but a side plot at the most (if even that). She also is good about adding diversity to books and no disabilities. All of which were part of a character, but not the plot, which is something I know a lot of people (including myself) have been desperate for in books. Not only that, but she like a lot of other authors recently decided to do a retelling, and this being Macbeth. Which is exactly the case in this book, where supernatural forces takes the main plot from the first chapter. The characters are seen as more than their sexuality and the disabilities are seen past, an issue that isn’t often addressed in popular culture and in real life, it’s addressed in this book. I loved that there was a mixture of cultures all coming together. It brings a Mexican Legend into the story and even brings the language into the story as well. Thankfully for us that doesn’t speak Spanish well, there were translations throughout the book.
Looking at my notes for this book, for the most part I’m either pointing out key things I liked or editing issues that I won’t bore you with in this blog post (I will have them sent the publication company however). Instead, here are a few more things I liked. This book has not only gay characters, but bi characters, along with those undecided. There are a few comments within the book that are sort of a joke to those who read YA books, such as one character saying ‘Love triangles? Spare me’. I enjoyed that this book switches point of views throughout it. It leaves you wondering what if in different situations. Which characters are really the ones that can’t be trusted? Is it supernatural things happening or is it something else? And I liked this questioning, even if I myself felt like I knew where this book was going.
I did enjoy the ending of this book and how it ended, however, there was some spots where the plot felt stiff and didn’t fully explain things. The change within Maria seemed to happen too fast and I didn’t fully agree with the sudden distance thrust between Lily and her. Not only that, but Lily’s own change seemed to come out of nowhere and it made me question how they were the same person from the start and the middle of the book. I think it could have been written a bit more smoothly, that the end events still should have happened (because rarely do you see an author take this chance with their characters). Everything came full circle, but the middle left much to be desired. Areas that should have left my heart racing fell a bit flat, despite the fact I was very much invested in this story and characters. I feel like there should have been more questioning of the ghosts and events, that there was evidence in some cases that didn’t point to supernatural right away to leave the reader feeling a need to question Maria and supernatural belief right away. Mateo might have questioned it until the end, but I felt like there should have been more for him to keep this footing. Because there wasn’t, he seemed pigheaded and stubborn to the point of being annoying.
All that being said, I do think this book is something to consider reading and I’ve already suggested it to a few friends.
Rated – 4 stars

Summer of #ReadWomen

For those of you who DON’T know, #ReadWomen is a thing a friend of mine decided to do for a month last year. It caught on in the book community and had a LOT of responses from people. Some good and some bad. I tried to help her with it the best I could by making posts to try and get people to see why this hash tag was important. Because it’s simple – for a month, those of us who wanted to take part read books only by women to spread love for female authors after a lot of backlash to female authors and the fact though they are gaining numbers, it takes a lot more work for them to be published because they were female, simply because of their gender, and they are often under appreciated (IE YA books have been becoming more popular and loved due to female writers restarting the genre. However, John Green is called the savior of the genre), they make less, and aren’t taken seriously.

I got hate for simply telling people that JK Rowlin was a prime example of why due to the fact she was told to use JK to keep young boys interested who would otherwise not read her books. Simply because she was female. Not because her books aren’t good. Though I got hate due to the fact it didn’t effect JK in the long run (which wasn’t the point), a lot of people stepped forward to give more examples, past and present.

She’s bringing it back again, but she’s doing it starting June and ending at the end of the summer. And you bet I’m taking part in it again. So I’m letting you guys know ahead of time that my reviews on here WILL be only female authors until the summer is over. I’m not telling you guys to take part or anything (it’s your choice), I’m just letting you know. I’ll probably try to keep to female authors in all respect because it’ll be nice to promote them, but I can’t promise that. I’m also hoping to read more non-mainstream female authors and more authors of colors and helping word get out about them!