Marie Kondo’s unique KonMari Method of tidying up is nothing short of life-changing—and her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, has become a worldwide sensation. In Spark Joy, Kondo presents an in-depth, illustrated manual on how to declutter and organize specific items throughout the house, from kitchen and bathroom items to work-related papers and hobby collections. User-friendly line drawings illustrate Kondo’s patented folding method as it applies to shirts, pants, socks, and jackets, as well as images of properly organized drawers, closets, and cabinets. This book is perfect for anyone who wants a home—and life—that sparks joy.
I like my stuff, I always have. I live in a studio apartment in the downtown area, and it is just enough room for me. I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t really buy anymore big things without getting rid of some other things. It’s a far cry from the air mattress and four rubbermaids I started with when I moved in. Working full-time and on the night shift, I had noticed that I had begun to let things slip, laundry was piling up, dishes sat for a week at a time, the leftovers in my fridge had started to demand better living conditions. It was getting to be a problem.
The thing that really set me off was my family visiting. Both sets visited me with only about a month in between and I found that it was actually a struggle to hide all the crap that had gathered between the two visits. Just after my mom visited I noticed that there was some dust, well to be honest a lot of dust, on my shelves. As a kid if something stood still long enough to gather dust it often ended up heading to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. Military Brats often have to winnow out their belongings every few years, due to moving and often times there will be that one box that hasn’t been opened since the last move. I had 2 rubbermaids that had been consolidated and shoved in a corner. My laundry was never done and I had so much stuff, it was creating its own geological layer on the floor.
I picked up Spark Joy in order to give myself a goal in tidying up. This book is incredibly polarizing online. Either people love it or hate it. Perhaps because I haven’t read the 1st book I am safe from those extreme feelings. I found the organization ideas and discarding guidelines helpful. The extreme lengths she goes to explaining the feelings of the items must be a cultural thing that I’m not getting. It reads almost like someone trying to convince me that their OCD is just good planning. It’s a bit scary and tough to understand, but there are some good ideas on how to refold your clothes and organize your stuff. That being said, it did help me get a jump start on my cleaning and I was able to give away 7 bags full of clothes and other things I didn’t need or things that didn’t bring me joy as the KonMari method would say. So I’d say borrow this book from the library and take it with a grain of salt. It might help it might not.
Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.
When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancerian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.
Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.
But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?
The old adage about not judging a book by their covers must be a bane to cover designers everywhere. I can readily admit that sometimes I will pick up a book just because of a clever title or a beautifully designed cover. I am constantly checking the bookstagram and booklr tags on social media and Zodiac came up a surprising amount. The cover I received on the hardback version was designed by Vanessa Han, a cover designer and self proclaimed bunny mother. After seeing everyone’s different shelfies and their reviews of Zodiac as romantic and girl-power, I decided to give it a go.
Since becoming a part of this group of people who review books for the sheer love of reading and prospect of getting a good book out of it, my books have varied from disaster, to incredibly well done. Zodiac was interesting, entertaining, and well written; A real success and a good read. The amount of sheer world building and to an extreme, universe building, author Romina Russell has created a book that has left me wanting not only a sequel but also a prequel. Though we are given little bits and pieces of the histories of these people, there seems to be other parts that are missing. I want to know about those first peoples. I want to know about the first struggles after coming through, the terra-forming and the first war. I NEED these details!
I enjoyed the Human Expansion story with the twist of the Astrology race idea. Typically I don’t hold much store in the idea of astrology, but if it brings comfort to people and helps them explain their lives, who am I to say otherwise? While it had a bit of a Divergent feel with the people split up by their defining characteristics, I do like the idea that there are people who don’t fit into these boxes and they can change houses. The Astrology twist also gave the story something that each reader could connect with and I think that is an extremely creative way to draw in your audience. By introducing certain houses throughout the story, it kept you reading so that you could find out what your own personal house was about and to see if you would have fit in or been a Riser.
Even with the common tropes and themes, such as The Chosen One, The Hero Secret Service, the Hope Bringer and the ever popular Love Triangle, I enjoyed this book and Russell’s attention and overabundance of details that really fleshed out the story. This is supposed to be the beginning of a trilogy, but I would not be surprised and a little disappointed if there weren’t side novellas and at least one prequel. I would recommend Zodiac for Young Adult series readers, and anyone who likes a good magical space adventure.
Author’s bio: Romina Russell (aka Romina Garber) is a Los Angeles based author who originally hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina. As a teen, Romina landed her first writing gig—College She Wrote, a weekly Sunday column for the Miami Herald that was later picked up for national syndication—and she hasn’t stopped writing since. When she’s not working on ZODIAC, Romina can be found producing movie trailers, taking photographs, or daydreaming about buying a new drum set. She is a graduate of Harvard College and a Virgo to the core.
Rowan is a Second Child in a world where population control measures make her an outlaw, marked for death. She can never go to school, make friends, or get the eye implants that will mark her as a true member of Eden. Her kaleidoscope eyes will give her away to the ruthless Center government.
Outside of Eden, Earth is poisoned and dead. All animals and most plants have been destroyed by a man-made catastrophe. Long ago, the brilliant scientist Aaron al-Baz saved a pocket of civilization by designing the EcoPanopticon, a massive computer program that hijacked all global technology and put it to use preserving the last vestiges of mankind. Humans will wait for thousands of years in Eden until the EcoPan heals the world.
As an illegal Second Child, Rowan has been hidden away in her family's compound for sixteen years. Now, restless and desperate to see the world, she recklessly escapes for what she swears will be only one night of adventure. Though she finds an exotic world and even a friend, the night leads to tragedy. Soon Rowan becomes a renegade on the run – unleashing a chain of events that could change the world of Eden forever. ~Goodreads Blurb
There seems to be quite a number of reviews already posted about this book from fans who readily admit that they haven’t even read the book. I can understand their excitement but as someone who hasn’t seen Joey Graceffa’s YouTube channel before reading this book, it does make it difficult to get a read on what others thought of this book. I try to see most of the books I review through other people’s eyes so I can see if I missed something. With Children of Eden, I seem to have missed a few years of daily videos and a fandom that wants to support their creator. I can respect that.
The title page threw me for a second, while the cover lists Joey’s name and calls him a New York Times Best Seller, just underneath it is the name, Laura L. Sullivan. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that she is his ghost writer. I can’t say that this is a bad book, but it isn’t particularly amazing either. I would call it a good beginner book. There are standard tropes that have flooded the Young Adult and the Dystopian Fiction Marketplace. This seems to be a mashup of the greatest hits. You have some of the Giver, some Hunger Games, some Maze Runner, a bit of Divergent and a few others that have become standard fare. The reason I call it a good beginner book, is that with the simple language and the made up curse words, it can appeal to readers who are just getting into the genre.
There really isn’t anything that can be described as offensive, though some religious parents may find the romance a bit outside their ballpark. I personally found it refreshing even if it stayed in the lines of an odd love triangle. The curse words are made up and while you can insert your choice of bad word, that’s up to you. It is difficult to really decide what to say about this one. On the one hand, it isn’t really all that special, but part of me thinks that the authors’ goal may have been to appeal to the broadest base. In which case, they have succeeded. The next great novel, not so much. So if you have a young reader and you want to ease them into Dystopian fiction without jarring them, this would be a good choice. There are some difficult points that might bring up questions but most of it is basic dystopian fiction. I would recommend this to young readers and would say buy it as a Christmas present or borrow it from your local library.
The Goodreads profile for Joey Graceffa reads: Joey Graceffa is one of the fastest-growing personalities on YouTube. A popular brand ambassador, he has partnered with Topshop, Audible, eBay, and H&R Block. In 2013, between his daily vlogs and gameplay videos, Joey produced and starred in his own Kickstarter–funded supernatural series, “Storytellers,” for which he won a Streamy Award. He also starred in The Amazing Race on CBS and returned in 2014 for the all-star edition. He grew up with his family in Boston before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in entertainment.
When Felix is deposed as artistic director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival by his devious assistant and longtime enemy, his production of The Tempest is canceled and he is heartbroken. Reduced to a life of exile in rural southern Ontario—accompanied only by his fantasy daughter, Miranda, who died twelve years ago—Felix devises a plan for retribution.
Eventually he takes a job teaching Literacy Through Theatre to the prisoners at the nearby Burgess Correctional Institution, and is making a modest success of it when an auspicious star places his enemies within his reach. With the help of their own interpretations, digital effects, and the talents of a professional actress and choreographer, the Burgess Correctional Players prepare to video their Tempest. Not surprisingly, they view Caliban as the character with whom they have the most in common. However, Felix has another twist in mind, and his enemies are about to find themselves taking part in an interactive and illusion-ridden version of The Tempest that will change their lives forever. But how will Felix deal with his invisible Miranda’s decision to take a part in the play?~Goodreads Blurb
The thought I had almost immediately was that those who convert to a religion or find their faith are usually the most devout, the most outspoken, the quickest to claim something is sacrilegious. When you grow up with something, it gives you a bit of leeway, a touch of humour about it all. You can joke about Jesus’ obsession with washing people’s feet(foot fetish much?)or the streaker at the arrest of Christ (Mark 14:52.)For some of us, Shakespeare is our faith. He’s a voice for the masses, not just for the upper classes. Shakespeare was never meant to be a punishment or a requirement for those who love going to the theatre. If you go to see Shakespeare and no one laughs, no one gasps, no one is drawn in, get out. Go to a Festival, go to Bard on The Beach in Vancouver, go find my people.
Shakespeare was never meant to be taken so dry and dull, it can be serious stuff but with a light ever present. There’s a reason we still talk about Old Billy Shakes. His plays have been used as a stepping stone throughout modern films and television, it all still works. Instead of requiring that every word be spoken, and nothing changed(Looking at you, Ken Branagh’s Uncut 4 hours of Hamlet) , there are some of my favorites, my people, who take the essence of Bill’s plays and bring it to new life for us. Lucky for us, Margaret Atwood is one of my people. While she doesn’t stick directly to the play the feel and the madness of the Tempest is felt. The personal choices Atwood takes to show the crazy vibe, that can be hidden or overlooked in Tempest when it is produced, really draws you into this obsessive nature of Felix or Prospero. A part of Hogarth’s Shakespeare retelling series, Hag-seed is another jewel in both Atwood and Hogarth’s collection.
Even without staying 100 percent true to the original text, Atwood gives us this amazing view into the play by using one of Shakespeare’s own tools: The play within a play. Similar to Hamlet, Felix uses this Tempest play to show how he’s been wrong and to strike guilt and fear into his enemies. Tempest has always seemed to be a strange play to me. Prospero has never seemed like a reliable witness, and Atwood magnifies the little quirks and puts them in a modern context.I realize it may be an odd thing to note, but the old adage “Does a madman know he’s crazy?” really jumps to the foreground with Hag-Seed. The audience is constantly second guessing Felix, and wondering if it’s just stress or grief or has he really lost it? Is he simply an avant-garde director, or a nutter they placed in charge of the circus? His revenge takes an almost Poe like twist, while his mind seems to struggle to push through the play versus real life.
There were times when I had to set the book down and physically walk away to think about it. I knew going in that it was a re-telling of Tempest, and that was one of the reasons I requested an ARC from Blogging For Books. Knowing the story and how it’s going to end is usually an A to B to C map, not for an Atwood novel. I kept wondering how this was going to end in the playbook happy ending. She drew me in, and even seeing the life of the characters imitate the characters in the play within the book(a bit of a mess I know), I had to finish it. Whether you buy the book or borrow it from your library, I am begging you to read this book. At 301 pages, you’ll tear through it and have enough time to go back and ask yourself “How did I miss that?”
Random House provides this information about Margaret Atwood: Margaret Atwood, whose work has been published in thirty-five countries, is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. In addition to The Handmaid’s Tale, her novels include Cat’s Eye, short-listed for the 1989 Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; Oryx and Crake, short-listed for the 2003 Man Booker Prize; The Year of the Flood; and her most recent, MaddAddam. She is the recipient of the Los Angeles Times Innovator’s Award, and lives in Toronto with the writer Graeme Gibson.
For more info on Hag-Seed click here.
Big Thanks to Blogging For Books for providing an ARC for me to review!
When Michelle receives a call from a Richmond historian, she sees the chance for a much-needed adventure. All she has to do is find a century-old key. Three others – a guitarist, an engineer, and a retiree – receive similar calls. Each family possesses a key to a four-lock safe found buried in a Virginia courthouse, though their connection is as mysterious as the safe itself. Their ancestors should not have interacted, had no apparent reason to bury the safe, and should not have disappeared thereafter.
Bearing their keys, Michelle and the other descendants converge in the courthouse basement and open the safe, revealing the truth about their ancestors - a truth stranger, more deadly, and potentially more world-changing than any of them could have imagined. Now it’s up to them to keep their discovery out of the wrong hands.
I have to give this author props. The amount of diversity within this story is incredibly encouraging. Not only do the characters come from many different backgrounds they all seem to have a well written back story.
The secret hidden in plain sight has always been a good way to get me to read a book. Ever since The Da Vinci Code, they’re my less than secret pleasure. I even enjoyed the National Treasure Movies. That being said this was another fun history mystery book. The kind you can pick up and breeze through in a couple of days. It is by no means the next great American Novel, but there are times when you want to read for fun and this is definitely one of those books.
Side Note and slightly Spoiler: I love that the characters didn’t seem to ignore the existence of a good Google search as so many history mysteries do, but in this day and age finding a powdery white substance in a government building would scream “ANTHRAX” to anyone
In the midst of the Second World War, Eva receives the devastating news that her husband is missing and presumed dead. Neither wife nor widow, she lives in a numb state of limbo until, in the heat of an English summer, she meets Bill, a black American GI. Despite their vastly different backgrounds, neither can deny the love that overcomes them in the frantic weeks that follow, when every day could be their last.
After Eva discovers she’s pregnant, Bill is shipped off to join the D-day fight, leaving her alone in a bigoted world. As her mixed-race daughter, Louisa, grows up, how far will Eva go to keep her safe and bury the past? And how far will Louisa go to uncover the truth?~Amazon.com Summary
Right off the bat, readers are pulled into the 1940's. The war is on and the men folk are off doing solider things. The women have taken over the men's jobs and the only blokes around are the old, the infirm, the children, and the allies. I've read stories like this a hundred times, and yet I can only assume I was just waiting for this one. Ashford has managed to not only make a wonderfully written historical fic, but also turned it into a family saga that gives me a warm gushy feeling of a Hallmark Classic.
Family saga stories are a tricky business. They only really excel if they are able to give us, as readers, a sense of closure that we aren't always able to get in the real world. That missed opportunity that might have made the difference between happiness and despair, It’s a wonderful “what if” feeling that haunts us as we get older. With a well done family saga story all the ends are finally gathered into a beautiful family tapestry. The Good Guys get their rewards and the Bad Guys get what’s coming to them. If only life could be as well written as Ashford’s story.
Another note that has to be made is the truly realistic human element of this love story. It isn’t all sunshine and roses even with the war on. There’s racism, sexual assault, false accusations, death, and yet there is an overwhelming message of human survival in the face of everything.That is what kept me going throughout the story. I wanted everything to work out, I wanted them to be happy and I was able to put this book down satisfied that life was finally going to be okay for them. This ability to draw me in and cause me to care for the characters will make me pick up and read anything else by Ashford that passes my way. BUY IT.
On the brink of a life-changing decision, Alexis Fielding longs to find out about her mother's past. But Sofia has never spoken of it. All she admits to is growing up in a small Cretan village before moving to London. When Alexis decides to visit Crete, however, Sofia gives her daughter a letter to take to an old friend, and promises that through her she will learn more.
Arriving in Plaka, Alexis is astonished to see that it lies a stone's throw from the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga - Greece's former leper colony. Then she finds Fotini, and at last hears the story that Sofia has buried all her life: the tale of her great-grandmother Eleni and her daughters and a family rent by tragedy, war and passion. She discovers how intimately she is connected with the island, and how secrecy holds them all in its powerful grip... Goodreads Blurb
Family saga stories can be quite tricky. There often are certain parts that become more annoying background noise that the reader tries to ignore or force their way through to get to the parts they care about. For me that is what the beginning way for me. I found myself not caring so much fro the modern story that was taking place, while I was raring to get to the past story. The story of Eleni and her two daughters, Anna and Maria, was the story that truly interested me. Theirs was a tale set in 1939 and the following few decades.
The underlying catalyst for this family is the disease, that most of us only know of from biblical times, leprosy. The mother catches it and has to be sent off to the leper colony straight away. This leaves dad to take care of the two daughters. They grow up and try to live their own lives but it all circles back to the leper colony when the daughter is discovered to have the same illness. That is as much as you are gonna get out of me plot-wise. It's a rather good story but.... and I hate to add a but, since I really did enjoy reading this story. I ended up finishing it in a couple of days rather than the week it has been taking me lately. BUT... I couldn't help but be annoyed at the two sisters. One was angelically good while the other one was selfish and greedy. This polar division leaves the characters rather flat. Yes they have moral qualms that we as readers get to know about, but their characters have already been set and it seems that not even death, time, or disease will change them. This flat stroke paints the characters into their corners and gives away the ending. Even with all that I would recommend this book for those who like family stories and overcoming the odds to survive.
This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.
The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.
That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power. ~Goodreads Blurb.
The hype that surrounded this first book was well placed, the basic components of good Young Adult Fiction were all well placed throughout. I really enjoyed this first book and bought it up from Amazon after borrowing it from the library.
With YA Fiction there is often a need for someone to rebel from either the Establishment or at the least from the way things have always been. Our main character, Mare, fits that to a tee. Though she starts out simply wanting to survive she is quickly thrown into a world very different from her own. From Underdog status to powerful being, Mare rises from the Stilts to the Palace. The fun thing about watching someone rise to the top is that you know that the happy ending isn't going to come in Book 1. Victoria Aveyard, the author, is drawing us into a three book series with a couple of side novellas.
In this story there is no Superman. No one has all the powers and no one has unlimited power. There's no Magic Manic Pixie Girl and definitely no ebony dark'ness dementia raven way.The powers that the Silvers have seems to be held in a genetic sort of way, which leads to a very modern science based genetic coding and mutations. Our main character happens to be one of those mutations and it causes a stir that will change the very system of government. When characters are suddenly raised above their station sometimes you can get characters who automatically change and blend in without thinking about what the change really means. This story not only gave me an underdog story but one that still gave a damn about where she came from rather than simply thanking her lucky stars that she met Cutie #1.
Something that I think really separates this book from a lot of similar themed books is the amount of diversity. When you think Red versus Silver, you might expect that all the Silver blooded folks might be some pale pasty white folks, not in this book. The amount of diversity that covers not only the Silver houses but also the Red folks leaves me in wonder as to why more authors don't write about more than the White bread castle and the less white lower castes. I would like to have seen more obvious couplings than just boy+girl but I will hold out hope in the other books.
My only real issue has to be the standard, girl meets boy, and then meets other boy and now we have to choose who she should end up with. There's about 3 different men in her romantic wheelhouse and to be honest I would rather she come out of this series alive than coupled.
The Author, Victoria Aveyard’s website gives this information about her: I’m a writer repped by Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc. I split my time between my hometown East Longmeadow, Massachusetts and Los Angeles. After graduating with a BFA in Screenwriting from the University of Southern California, I decided to try my hand at writing a novel. My debut RED QUEEN came out of the terrifying, unemployed year after college. The sequel GLASS SWORD released in February 2016.Currently I’m working on the third book in the RED QUEEN series, along with pursuing other projects in literature and film. My proudest achievements are riding a horse in the mountains of Montana and navigating from London to Edinburgh without GPS.
Irish patriot, Civil War general, frontier governor—Thomas Francis Meagher played key roles in three major historical arenas. Today he is hailed as a hero by some, condemned as a drunkard by others. Paul R. Wylie now offers a definitive biography of this nineteenth-century figure who has long remained an enigma.
The Irish General first recalls Meagher’s life from his boyhood and leadership of Young Ireland in the revolution of 1848, to his exile in Tasmania and escape to New York, where he found fame as an orator and as editor of the Irish News. He served in the Civil War—viewing the Union Army as training for a future Irish revolutionary force—and rose to the rank of brigadier general leading the famous Irish Brigade. Wylie traces Meagher’s military career in detail through the Seven Days battles, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. Wylie then recounts Meagher’s final years as acting governor of Montana Territory, sorting historical truth from false claims made against him regarding the militia he formed to combat attacking American Indians, and plumbing the mystery surrounding his death.
Even as Meagher is lauded in most Irish histories, his statue in front of Montana’s capitol is viewed by some with contempt. The Irish General brings this multi-talented but seriously flawed individual to life, offering a balanced picture of the man and a captivating reading experience. ~Goodreads Blurb
The title is unfortunately a lie, I'm so sorry. While I don't have a list of why Maegher is bae, it appears someone else had such a man-crush on him that he sent a letter to President Lincoln. In author Paul A Wylie's own words, "By the end of 1861 a surreptitious campaign had begun to have Meagher named the permanent commander of the Irish Brigade. Probably with his knowledge, but surely without his editing, an awkward, anonymously authored, and unsigned document titled "Reasons Why Colonel Thomas Francis Meagher Should Be Appointed Brigadier General of the Irish Brigade." was delivered to President Lincoln. Written in a hand different from Meagher's usual jagged right-slanted, nearly illegible penmanship, the pamphlet gave ten reasons why he deserved the appointment." Less than 30% into the book and I had to laugh out loud at the sheer fact that it seemed like a time travelling Buzzfeed editor was to blame for Thomas Meagher's appointment in charge of anyone, let alone a large group of soldiers.
Paul Wylie has done an amazing job putting together this biography on Thomas Meagher, a man that Montana history has started to forget. Lauded as an Irish Rebel and a brilliant orator, Meagher had nothing but trouble as soon as he stepped outside his wheelhouse. As a General he lead most of his men to the slaughter. Not believing any real cause other than Irish independence, Meagher saw the Civil War merely as a training ground for the Irish to gain experience and weapons. Most of the men he lead onto the field would not return to their homes. The man even chose to equip his men with less than modern weapons because he felt it would make a better picture and story. This man with his romantic views on war and rebellion was not a great general or even a good leader. He was a brilliant speaker and if only he had be satisfied with his speeches and rhetoric, perhaps things would have gone differently.
This fast paced but detail filled biography is incredibly well written. Without choosing to call Meagher a villain or a hero, Wylie simply lays the facts before us in a easy and simple manner, thus leaving the name calling up to the reader. At times the sheer amount of data and facts can make it a bit too dry, the action and the additional sources show what Meagher's journey from Ireland to Montana would have been like.
I would recommend to history buffs, and folks interested in Montana history. It is very well written and there are plenty of pictures if that's what you require. Even though I am not a fan of the man he writes about, I have to appreciate the work that went into Wylie's biography.
In 1886, Ludwig II, the Fairy-tale King of Bavaria, was deposed after being declared insane by doctors who had never met him. He died mysteriously soon thereafter, his eccentric and beautiful castles his only legacy. In The Ludwig Conspiracy, master of historical suspense Oliver Pötzsch brings the Mad King back to life. An encoded diary by one of Ludwig’s confidants falls into the hands of modern-day rare-book dealer Steven Lukas, who soon realizes that the diary may bring him more misery than money. Lukas teams up with a beautiful art detective, Sara Lengfeld, to investigate each of Ludwig’s three famous castles for clues to crack the diary’s code as mysterious thugs and Ludwig’s fanatical followers chase them at every step. Just what in the diary could be so explosive?---Amazon.com Summary
Since reading Oliver Pötzsch Hangman’s Daughter Series, I have grown to really enjoy his style of writing and I looked forward to reading this new one, The Ludwig Conspiracy. That being said, I feel as though this wasn’t what I hoped for. The writing was lovely and the author has a great knack for describing the scenes so that the imagination can paint a picture. The history and facts were laid out and yet the characters just didn’t hold as well as I would have liked. As much as I judge formula writing, I have to admit it has its advantages. There as certain boxes that have to be checked in order for a novel to work and at times it can help round out an otherwise flat story line. This story follows an idea, and a formula similar to The Da Vinci Code and the National Treasure series.
I hadn’t really heard of Ludwig II in any real sense except to know that the Disneyland castle was mirrored off of his castle. Even in German class, he was only touched upon, before moving on to more modern leaders of Germany and Austria. Historical fiction as a whole genre is a gift in that regard. It takes historical characters that the average reader might not have more than a baseline understanding of who they are and through the novel, the readers learn to care about them and their story. This isn’t just my viewpoint obviously if one looks at how many stories are written about the Tudor family alone. The story is broken up into two tales one in modern times and another in the time of Ludwig II. The history in the story is solid and the end of monarchs usually have good stories behind them. This is no exception. Anyone who read and enjoyed the Da Vinci Code, will like this to a degree. I would equate it to a nice summer read of a book. You don't expect as much out of it and are pleasantly surprised when it's good.
While the writing was well done, the characters weren't fleshed out very well. Couple that with the fact that every character had to have some twist to their lives left me suspicious and not sure who I was rooting for. Not only do both narrators have their honesty questioned, but they are both obviously hiding something. The problem with this unreliable narrator theme is that it leaves the audience not certain if they should care. If they don't care then why should they finish the story?
Small spoiler for you here, there is a bit of a love story going on in each tale. It may seem a little harsh but I felt that it was an unnecessary element in the modern side. It felt fake and read like something added in to check a box. History- Check. Mystery- Check. Romance-Well if I have to, Check. Not only that, but when it came to a moment of plot twist reveal, of which there were several, I was left puzzled. Character elements were added that simply led me to be confused and rather annoyed. Then when Lead Man was forced to be parted from Lead Lady, he seemed indifferent and left without much of a struggle. After being forced into this adventure over the course of several days, most of which would bond these two together, it left me feeling as though he wouldn't even add her to his Facebook (if he knew what that was.)
At the end of it all, I would recommend this book. I wouldn't buy it, I would definitely borrow it, or use my KindleUnlimited for it. Another option would be to support your local library and hit them up for books. If you enjoy Historical Mystery Fiction, please check out The Hangman's Daughter Series, because it is very good and this author deserves so much more.
Oliver Pötzsch is a German writer and filmmaker. After high school he attended the German School of Journalism in Munich from 1992 to 1997. He then worked for Radio Bavaria. In addition to his professional activities in radio and television, Pötzsch researched his family history. He is a descendant of the Kuisle, from the 16th to the 19th Century a famous dynasty of executioners in Schongau.