Girl in Dior by Annie Goetzinger

Girl in Dior by Annie Goetzinger

girlindiorA girl falls into the world of high fashion and then out of it and then back in again. A so-so storyline that should have been elevated by, come on, Dior! Sadly, that was not the case.

I would have enjoyed this more if it had just been panels of the dresses rather than pretending to be a story.

Literally, a girl in Dior on each page would have been epic.

Only recommended for serious fashionistas or those who study graphic novel art. Every one else, strut your stuff on down the library aisle and pick another book.

Thanks for reading!

Mother Teresa: In My Own Words by Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa: In My Own Words by Mother Teresa

motherteresaA powerful testament to Mother Teresa’s humanity, humbleness and faith. I do not share all of her views, but I found it impossible not to be swayed by her unwavering belief in the unseen.

“Not given to much talking, Mother Teresa spoke only when necessary. Thus her words, never labored nor many, were convincing.” pg vii, introduction.

“I have the feeling that we are in such a hurry that we do not even have time to look at one another and smile.” pg 23. I believe that too. What does a smile cost? Nothing.

“Sometimes people can hunger for more than bread. It is possible that our children, our husband, our wife, do not hunger for bread, do not need clothes, do not lack a house. But are we equally sure that none of them feels alone, abandoned, neglected, needing some affection? That, too, is poverty.” pg 27. I was most moved by Mother Teresa’s thoughts about poverty in the first-world. We do suffer from a plague of unkindness, loneliness and greed. I believe that the soul needs more than food to thrive.

“Peace and war begin at home. If we truly want peace in the world, let us begin by loving one another in our own families. If we want to spread joy, we need for every family to have joy.” pg 47. Yes.

Finally: “As far as I am concerned, the greatest suffering is to feel alone, unwanted, unloved. The greatest suffering is also having no one, forgetting what an intimate, truly human relationship is, not knowing what it means to be loved, not having a family or friends.” pg 91. Wisdom from a woman who worked with some of the poorest people on the planet.

A beautiful collection of quotations from a beautiful soul- recommended for everyone but especially those in need of loving words and some peace.

Thanks for reading!

Bracelet of Bones (Viking Sagas #1) by Kevin Crossley-Holland

Bracelet of Bones (Viking Sagas #1) by Kevin Crossley-Holland

braceletofbA young adult, coming-of-age Viking tale that attempts to examine the religious differences between the Norse religion and Christianity while taking the heroine on a cross country adventure.

I liked the characters. I liked the setting. I even liked the time period. Bracelet of Bones should have been a home run for me, but it just wasn’t.

At first, I thought that the book was going to feature a struggle between pagan religions and Christians: “Most of the families living along our fjord have been baptized,” Asta retorted, “but they still worship Odin and the other gods as well.” The young priest shook his head. “I will pray for you,” he said, “and visit you again.” pg 25. But, he was never heard from again. At least, not in this title.

Then, I thought that this book was going to be primarily about Solveig’s journey to find her father. That was closer to the truth: “I’ve never felt so afraid. But I’ve never been so sure of what I have to do. Mother, my mother, my journey will either lead me to my father or lay me down like you.” pg 29. Her mother has been dead for a long time. Not a spoiler, that is explained in the first few pages of the book.

Solveig joins a few different groups of travelers on her way. Some of the characters are trustworthy, others are not, but none of them are very memorable.

My favorite parts were the storytelling moments of Bracelet of Bones and I wished that there were more of them: “This girl lived on our fjord and she told a story about how the winter was so bitter that even the gods were famished and Skadi herself had to go ice-fishing and hunting. But she told it on the eve of the spring solstice. Her words stopped the sun from warming the earth!” pg 191.

The quote that best encapsulates this story is: “…you can sit at home by the fire and stir the stew-pot and nothing much will change, or you can say your prayers and step out and face what’s unknown.” pg 275. I endeavor to step out that door and face the unknown every day. Some days I’m more successful than others.

Only recommended for those who enjoy tales about Vikings. Though it reached for thrilling heights, Bracelet of Bones feels to me like a book that chose to stay at home by the fire and stir the stew-pot.

Thanks for reading!

Adulthood Is a Myth (Sarah’s Scribbles, #1) by Sarah Andersen

Adulthood Is a Myth (Sarah’s Scribbles, #1) by Sarah Andersen

adulthood is a mythAn utterly charming collection of simple cartoons which illuminate some of life’s undeniable truths.

For example, thinking about putting on your pajamas all day and then the joy of actually doing so.

Or considering being productive but then laying around on the couch in a stupor.

Totally relatable and reminiscent of I Was a Child by Bruce Eric Kaplan, Adulthood is a Myth is for anyone who tries to be a normal, functional adult but doesn’t succeed. And isn’t that all of us?

Thanks for reading!

Bringing the Tarot to Life: Embody the Cards Through Creative Exploration by Scott Martin

Bringing the Tarot to Life: Embody the Cards Through Creative Exploration  by Scott Martin

bringingthetarotBringing the Tarot to Life is a unique tarot manual that invites the reader to use her own imagination in assimilating and interpreting the cards. I’ve never read anything quite like it.

Scott Martin was an actor and theater teacher for many years. “It struck me that just as an actor delves into his character, so a student of the tarot can explore the archetypes that are represented in the seventy-eight cards in the tarot. He can develop his intuitive abilities by participating in the written and performance exercises an actor uses to hone his talent and to create his role in a play.” loc 112-128, ebook.

He based the first two sections of the book on that idea and created a series of theater-inspired games and exploratory exercises to be played in groups or alone.

The last portion of the book consists of Martin’s interpretations of the cards. I found that section to be the least interesting, but there could be descriptions in those pages that others may not have heard. So, don’t let me deter you.

There was also some trivia included for tarot enthusiasts. Something that I didn’t know was that before Paul Foster Case helped to form The Golden Dawn, he was in theater. Paul Foster Case became interested in tarot in 1900 when someone asked him where he thought playing cards came from. … Prior to that, he was actively involved in the theater. He was the musical director on a showboat and later worked in musical theater and vaudeville.” loc 128, ebook. But old man river, he just keeps rolling along…

I agreed with Martin’s thoughts on improving your intuition: “How does one develop his intuition? One obvious answer is to expose the mind to more creative and imaginative ways to thinking and looking at the world. Creativity and intuition are inextricably linked.” loc 164. Indeed.

My favorite of the exercises presented in this book is “I Am What I Do” loc 231, ebook. It encourages readers to assign jobs to the different cards. “Many people in life, as well as characters in plays, define themselves to a great extent in terms of what they do. … the possibilities are virtually limitless: The Ten of Pentacles- a family counselor. The Five of Swords- a crooked hedge fund manager. The Knight of Cups- a poet.” loc 231. I thought that was hilarious. And, I was looking at the cards in ways that I never had before. Talk about ‘Bringing the Tarot to Life’!

Recommended for beginners or advanced practitioners of tarot cards. Every reader will most likely find an exercise or two to their liking because of the huge variety Martin offers.

Thank you to NetGalley and Llewellyn publishing for a free digital advance reader’s copy of this book. Reminder: the brief quotations that I cited in this review may change slightly in the final published version.

And, thanks for reading!

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

heartlessThis is the tale of how the Queen of Hearts became the cold and heartless character of Through the Looking Glass fame.

Origin stories and fairy tale re-tellings are where its at. I’ve lost track of how many books I’ve read that examine well-known stories from a different point of view. Marissa Meyer does an excellent job maintaining the whimsy of the first book while weaving her new story in-between.

I’ll confess- I wasn’t expecting to enjoy Heartless as much as I did.

A few months ago, I read her Lunar Chronicles and I was sorely disappointed with it. Meyer is playing upon all of her strengths here. She tells the story of two or three characters rather than a cast of twelve or more. Whenever her character’s conversations threatened to bog down the action, they were cut short.

The pace is excellent. The tale kept me guessing. And the ending was something to be enjoyed rather than eye-rollingly trite. (Unlike some other books by this author that I won’t sully this review by mentioning.)

Catherine is the daughter of the Marquis and Marchioness of Rock Turtle Cove. She loves to bake and dreams of the bakery shop that she will surely one day own with her dear friend and maid, Mary Ann. Unfortunately, Catherine’s mother has other plans.

I liked that Meyer made Catherine both a product of nature and destiny. See the description of Catherine’s mother: “She was often a warm, loving woman, and Cath’s father, the Marquis, doted on her incessantly, but Cath was all too familiar with her mood swings. All cooing and delighted one moment and screaming at the top of her lungs the next. Despite her tiny stature, she had a booming voice and a particular glare that could make even a lion’s heart shrivel beneath it.” pgs 14-15. Sounds familiar, no?

The King of Hearts and his court of cards, talking animals and other magical creatures were also similar to the original book: “The King was a sweet man. A simple man. A happy man, which was important, as a happy king made for a happy kingdom. He simply wasn’t a clever man.” pg 26.

One of my favorite characters, the Cheshire Cat, appears in this too:“She slumped against the baker’s table. “I never dreamed such a thing could happen here.” Cheshire’s yellow eyes slitted as he held her gaze for one beat, two. Then he began to unravel from the tip of his tail, a slow unwinding of his stripes. “These things do not happen in dreams, dear girl,” he said, vanishing up to his neck. “They happen only in nightmares.” pg 93. Dun, dun, daaaaaaah!

And also, the merry, merry unbirthday singer and snappy dresser himself, Hatta, also known as the perhaps-not-yet-mad Hatter: “Was he mad already? She couldn’t help inspecting him, newly speculative and curious. He didn’t seem mad. No more mad than anyone else she knew. No more mad than she was herself. They were all a little mad, if one was to be forthright.” pg 222. Harkens back to the original text: “We’re all mad here.”, doesn’t it.

We are introduced to an entirely new character, the King’s joker, a man named Jest. At the beginning of the story, Catherine finds herself dreaming of a man with yellow eyes and guess who matches that description?

Mix all of these together and you have a great young adult fantasy. Recommended for anyone who is curious as to why a raven is like a writing desk.

Thanks for reading!

The Accidental Highwayman: Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, His Horse Midnight, a Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons Besides (Adventures of Kit Bristol #1) by Ben Tripp

The Accidental Highwayman: Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, His Horse Midnight, a Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons Besides (Adventures of Kit Bristol #1) by Ben Tripp

accidentalhighwaymanThis is the story of Kit, a half-fairy princess, a highwayman, a tightrope walker, a man who’s lost his memory and more.

The Accidental Highwayman is not a “swashbuckler.” I listened to the digital audiobook and didn’t see that description of this story until I came to its Goodread page. That’s a positive thing because I may have felt cheated otherwise.

Though it has a large cast of characters, the pace is quite slow. This is a book that can be savored but I see how it could just as easily be put aside.

I confess, I nearly gave it up when I went nearly four chapters in a row with nothing happening other than the wagon moving onwards. But, I stuck with it to the end.

The style of storytelling feels more like a Victorian era book rather than a modern fairytale. I believe this was a purposeful choice on the part of Ben Tripp- to give it a faux-classic feel.

I feel like The Princess Bride could be an apt comparison if you slowedBride‘s pacing way down and remove almost half of the adventure. The Accidental Highwayman has charm in my opinion, but not a lot of substance.

That being said, it contains one of the most over-the-top romantic lines I’ve ever heard in an audiobook: “If I don’t kiss you, I shall perish.”pg 269. If you like that kind of thing, you might enjoy this book very much. Think “slow burning wick” of a romance. Very slow. And not graphic but sweet.

Actually, The Accidental Highwayman was sort of like The Night Circus but with more goblins and less immersive descriptions. In that book, as in this, I felt like the story was reaching for more but never quite made it.

In conclusion, I recommend this book for readers with buckets of patience and a penchant for the fantastical and overly dramatic.

Thanks for reading!