An incredible story of dangerous and hidden friendships, ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice.
The year is 1739. Eliza Lucas is sixteen years old when her father leaves her in charge of their family's three plantations in rural South Carolina and then proceeds to bleed the estates dry in pursuit of his military ambitions. Tensions with the British, and with the Spanish in Florida, just a short way down the coast, are rising, and slaves are starting to become restless. Her mother wants nothing more than for their South Carolina endeavor to fail so they can go back to England. Soon her family is in danger of losing everything.
Upon hearing how much the French pay for indigo dye, Eliza believes it's the key to their salvation. But everyone tells her it's impossible, and no one will share the secret to making it. Thwarted at nearly every turn, even by her own family, Eliza finds that her only allies are an aging horticulturalist, an older and married gentleman lawyer, and a slave with whom she strikes a dangerous deal: teach her the intricate thousand-year-old secret process of making indigo dye and in return -- against the laws of the day -- she will teach the slaves to read.~Goodreads Blurb
All too often it is the Civil War that defines the South and its slaves. Set just before the revolutionary war, The Indigo Girl shows the life of the south before the war. You have all the usual antebellum tropes but there is an additional historical anchor in the rebellions and the Spanish freedom and subsequent re-enslavement of slaves in their colonies. On the surface, this is a fun strong girl taking over her father’s plantation to gain her own freedom.
It was the relationships between the slaves and the plantation owners that I found interesting. While the sheer idea of a “good” master makes me cringe, I couldn’t help but wish that the author's depiction of the masters was true. It definitely played on white guilt a bit. It was okay for them to be slaves because they were happy slaves and that sort of idea. It was hard to take seriously the abolitionist speak of equality and rights when all the while she owns slaves and makes her living off of their backs. The story was definitely painted in a good light and to dive to deeply into this story would do it no real good. As a light story about the transplant of indigo to South Carolina, it is a good story. As a story about master and slave relations, it falls short.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing in exchange for honest feedback*
When royal sleuth Georgie Rannoch receives a letter from her dearest friend Belinda, who’s in an Italian villa awaiting the birth of her illegitimate baby, she yearns to run to her side. If only she could find a way to get there! But then opportunity presents itself in a most unexpected way—her cousin the queen asks her to attend a house party in the Italian Lake Country. The Prince of Wales AND the dreadful Mrs. Simpson have been invited, and Her Majesty is anxious to thwart a possible secret wedding.
What luck! A chance to see Belinda, even if it is under the guise of stopping unwanted nuptials. Only that’s as far as Georgie’s fortune takes her. She soon discovers that she attended finishing school with the hostess of the party—and the hatred they had for each other then has barely dimmed. Plus, she needs to hide Belinda’s delicate condition from the other guests. And her dashing beau, Darcy is (naturally) working undercover on a dangerous mission. Then her actress mother shows up, with a not-so-little task to perform. With all this subterfuge, it seems something is bound to go horribly wrong—and Georgie will no doubt be left to pick up the pieces when it does.~Goodreads Blurb
It can feel a bit strange to find yourself reading the perfect summer read in the middle of winter, but that is where I found myself this past Winter Solstice. I was surprised, after I had finished, to learn that not only was it not the first in the series but that it was, in fact, the 11th of the series. I felt as if I knew these characters and parts of their past relationships. There was enough backstory to understand who they were but not enough to spoil any of the previous books.
It was lighthearted and yet focused on some interesting historical and societal norms of the times. The blending of historical fact and the creation of the author were so beautifully done it wouldn’t surprise me if the events had taken place. With strong multi-faceted characters and a well-written mystery, I am looking forward to adding the rest of the series to my TBR light reading lists.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and Berkley Books in exchange for honest feedback*
`Crime never changes. Punishment does.
In a time when prisons no longer contain inmates behind concrete and steel, the convicted serve their time while asleep, rehabilitating in virtual reality while blissfully unaware of their crimes.
Roger Parker is a professional prison breaker, skilled at navigating these strange penal dream worlds and extracting those imprisoned there—for a price. Parker wants out of the game, but a powerful senator, desperate to save his son, convinces Parker to pull one last job. The clincher? An opportunity for Parker to find his wife, herself interned, lost somewhere in a treacherous, time-shifting Manhattan cyberscape.
As Parker and his team make their hallucinatory journey between worlds, memory and motive lose coherence and integrity, and the clock begins to run out: internal security detects the breaker, and sets out to remove him—permanently.
Unable to rely on his perceptions, unsure of the truth or even his very identity, will Parker break out . . . or be broken~Goodreads Blurb
Like looking at a Monet up close, this book resembles a beautiful mess. Then once you finish it and take a step back, you can see all the brushstrokes and plot twists come together to weave a wonderful story. There are just so many layers of this story, that you are drawn further and further in. When I read the blurb and started the story I kept stopping and going back. The story being told and the story I was reading didn’t seem to match. I kept waiting for Delaney to give up and stick to formula but it kept getting away from any box I put it in.
The sheer amount of world building can be overwhelming at first but once I was able to fit myself in, I was pulled into another layer of the details. The characters were a bit hit or miss but I found myself so drawn to the story that I didn’t really care that much. The sheer futuristic concept of a reality prison and how to break people out is a refreshing concept and had just enough Twilight Zone feel to it to feel familiar and yet strangely different. If you enjoy being surprised (in a good way) by your books and you want a fun time, this is the book for you. My only suggestion would be to get rid of the book blurb and just go with “It’s really good...trust me.”
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and 47North in exchange for honest feedback*
1. How often do you visit your local library?
My Goal is at least once a month. In the summer time I can just walk the 4 blocks with no problem. Because I live on a one way, driving there in the winter is a bit more work and not always safe with all the snow.
2. Are you the type of person who checks out more books than you know you can read or are you someone who only checks out the exact amount of books you intend on reading before they are due?
I always check out way too many books. I also very rarely get the books back in time. I usually have to either drop them off early in the morning so the librarians don’t see me or I go online and extend my hold.
3. How old were you when you got your first library card?
I believe the rule was that you had to be 10 years old to get a base library card and 13 for the city library. I left Great Falls for 9 years and came back to find that my library card was still valid because I owed 5 dollars from 2005.
4. Do you go to your library looking for a particular book or do you check out anything that peaks your interest?
I like to go online and place a hold for at least two books that have caught my attention. Then when I go in, I’ll take time to browse the new books and see if there is anything that catches my attention. The GFPL does a great job with their displays and I have never left without at least 4 books in my arms.
5. Do you use your library to check out just books or do you also check out dvds, audiobooks etc.?
When I first arrived, I didn’t have my internet setup yet and the job I had planned fell through. So I was spending a lot of time in the library using their wifi and borrowing DVDs and audiobooks so that I had something to do at home while I waited for a call back.
6. From what section of your library do you check out a majority of your books? ( YA, middle grade, adult, nonfiction.)
I love the adult section collection of murder mysteries, but I am also a diehard YA reader. I get a lot of book recommendations from my sister who works in a library in Amarillo. She has really great taste!
7. What is your favorite part of using your local library?
I love seeing kids who are coming to the library for the first time. The sheer awe and wonder on their faces is just so heart warming. There also is this strange sort of togetherness that come from a library because you are all there to dive into a world that differs from your own. You get to see people at peace for just a bit as they walk past a book they have read before and you see them smile a bit, like saying hello to the books.
Long overlooked in histories of finance, women played an essential role in areas such as banking and the stock market during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Yet their presence sparked ongoing controversy. Hetty Green's golden touch brought her millions, but she outraged critics with her rejection of domesticity. Progressives like Victoria Woodhull, meanwhile, saw financial acumen as more important for women than the vote. George Robb's pioneering study sheds a light on the financial methods, accomplishments, and careers of three generations of women. Plumbing sources from stock brokers' ledgers to media coverage, Robb reveals the many ways women invested their capital while exploring their differing sources of information, approaches to finance, interactions with markets, and levels of expertise. He also rediscovers the forgotten women bankers, brokers, and speculators who blazed new trails--and sparked public outcries over women's unsuitability for the predatory rough-and-tumble of market capitalism. Entertaining and vivid with details, Ladies of the Ticker sheds light on the trailblazers who transformed Wall Street into a place for women's work.~Goodreads Blurb
Since Occupy Wall Street has faded from our headlines and rarely do we mention the 99 vs the 1 percent, it was surprising to me how I had never noticed the role that the stock market and women’s role in investing had made in my life. Coming from a Conservative turned Independant background, I knew that I had always been suspicious of self made millionaires of the stock market. I always pictured them as men in ties with oily hair and too bright teeth. Men who gargle with Red Bull and shout into phones all day.
I suppose I never really thought about why the image in my head was always of men doing the job. Reading through this book “Ladies of the Ticker” I was brought up short by how much the past still affected the present and how we view gender roles in our stereotypes. It was very entertaining to see the women who busted those stereotypes but more enjoyable were the women who used the stereotypes against society.
This book is a bit heavy on the details and I would have enjoyed more human interest stories to balance out the straight facts. This would have made it longer and it would have felt more complete to me. As it is I feel as though there is more to learn and yet I am not sure of what direction to take. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy nonfiction and have an interest in women’s history.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and University of Illinois Press in exchange for honest feedback*
Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation is the first anthology to broadly collect solarpunk short stories, artwork, and poetry. A new genre for the 21st Century, solarpunk is a revolution against despair. Focusing on solutions to environmental disasters, solarpunk envisions a future of green, sustainable energy used by societies that value inclusiveness, cooperation, and personal freedom.
Edited by Phoebe Wagner and Brontë Christopher Wieland, Sunvault focuses on the stories of those inhabiting the crucial moments when great change can be made by people with the right tools; stories of people living during tipping points, and the spaces before and after them; and stories of those who fight to effect change and seek solutions to ecological disruption.
This is one of those books that gave me a real warmth in my heart while reading it. I love a good dystopian fiction as much as the next English Major but there is just something so nice about Solarpunk. I have seen the criticism that it is too simple and not realistic enough. Add that to the ongoing discussions of race, class and religion and there have been some pretty solid brawls in regards to the group. My opinion is that while Solarpunk is a nice idea, it is important to continue to have these discussions. If you are exposed to only one view the world very quickly loses definition and a realness that becomes obvious in the writing. It doesn’t need to be utopian in order to be Solarpunk, there are still struggles and arguments that happen in these worlds. There is just such an overwhelming layer of hope as the bedrock of these stories and poetry that you can’t help but see these stories as the authors’ children.
One of the things that I find difficult about anthologies, is that they are made up of short stories. I have just enough time to get into a story and connect with the characters before they are ripped away from me by the turning of the pages. I hope that there is enough of an outpouring of desire for more Solarpunk stories that some of these characters come back for further adventures. Even though I was given this by Netgalley and the publishers I exchange for honest feedback, I will be looking for a copy for my coffee table.
A man is forbidden to uncover the secret of the tower in a fairy-tale castle by the Rhine. A headless corpse is found in a secret garden in Paris – belonging to the city’s chief of police. And a drowned man is fished from the sea off the Italian Riviera, leaving the carabinieri to wonder why his socialite friends at the Villa Almirante are so unconcerned by his death.
These are three of the scenarios in this new collection of vintage crime stories. Detective stories from the golden age and beyond have used European settings – cosmopolitan cities, rural idylls and crumbling chateaux – to explore timeless themes of revenge, deception, murder and haunting.
Including lesser-known stories by Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, G.K. Chesterton, J. Jefferson Farjeon and other classic writers, this collection reveals many hidden gems of British crime.
There is such an other worldliness about placing your story in another country. You take your readers out of their comfort zones in the first break of the story. Without the creature comforts of their own lives, readers are automatically put on edge. Throw in a mystery and suddenly we are simultaneously wishing for our own beds and looking or shoulders for the next crime. Martin Edwards has put together a lovely collection of short crime stories. This anthology has all the best thrills a fan of Poirot and Marple could ask for. You have damsels, socialites, rogues, lovers and of course the police.
If you are tired of the same old villages or the noise of London is too much and leaves you longing for Golden Age mysteries that still have a bit of a surprise to them, then I highly recommend this collection. It gives you just what you need. Beautifully put together and spaced out so that you are not in France forever and then in Italy forever. You are bounced around the continent which I feel adds a whirlwind sense to match the characters. I don’t typically like antholigies as I have an unhealthy distrust of short stories. This one however has opened me back up to honoring the short and long stories. It introduces you to new author and new viewpoints. Even if you do not particuarly like one story there is bound to be a dozen more that you will enjoy.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press in exchange for honest feedback**
These are definitively in no particular order. They are all really great Podcasts and you should give them a listen. Fair Warning: If you learn something, bust a rib laughing or get distracted during your morning commute, it's not my fault so I don't have to say sorry. ENJOY!
1.The West Wing Weekly
This one I just started. Even though I have seen every episode of the West Wing I really enjoy listening to this while I get things done around the house. Josh Malina and Hrishikesh Hirway do a great job of making this fun and entertaining, while giving some context and background information.
Who doesn't enjoy a good story time? Clisare has managed to create a fun story driven podcast with loads of friends and good times. They talk about fun silly things and also serious important things. I watch it on youtube but it is on soundcloud and iTunes.
3. Personality Bingo
Warning: The theme song will get stuck in your head. It is going to happen just be prepared. It's a lovely little chat between Tom Moran and a bunch of comedians, actors, and musicians. Basically just a load of lovely people.
After a failed apprenticeship, working her way up to head housekeeper of a posh London hotel is more than Sara Smythe ever thought she'd make of herself. But when a chance encounter with Theodore Camden, one of the architects of the grand New York apartment house The Dakota, leads to a job offer, her world is suddenly awash in possibility--no mean feat for a servant in 1884. The opportunity to move to America, where a person can rise above one's station. The opportunity to be the female manager of The Dakota, which promises to be the greatest apartment house in the world. And the opportunity to see more of Theo, who understands Sara like no one else . . . and is living in The Dakota with his wife and three young children.
In 1985, Bailey Camden is desperate for new opportunities. Fresh out of rehab, the former party girl and interior designer is homeless, jobless, and penniless. Two generations ago, Bailey's grandfather was the ward of famed architect Theodore Camden. But the absence of a genetic connection means Bailey won't see a dime of the Camden family's substantial estate. Instead, her -cousin- Melinda--Camden's biological great-granddaughter--will inherit almost everything. So when Melinda offers to let Bailey oversee the renovation of her lavish Dakota apartment, Bailey jumps at the chance, despite her dislike of Melinda's vision. The renovation will take away all the character and history of the apartment Theodore Camden himself lived in . . . and died in, after suffering multiple stab wounds by a madwoman named Sara Smythe, a former Dakota employee who had previously spent seven months in an insane asylum on Blackwell's Island. ~Goodreads Blurb
Fiona Davis has beautifully crafted this story within a story. Based around the historical building the Dakota, “The Address” weaves its way back and forth between 1880 to 1980s flawlessly. With human intrigue, romance, drama, a mystery, and family story spanning a hundred years, Davis delivers a story that draws you and has you watching your back page after page. This historical fiction novel has earned its place on my shelf and I would be wary of loaning it out for fear that it would not come back. There was clearly a lot of research that went into the writing of this story, and the way it was shared with the reader, felt conversational rather than a lecture. There was a very clear “Restoration not Gentrification” vibe that really warmed my heart. Too often it is a tear it down and make it shiney and new conversation, rather than a bring back the light on these beautiful works. Fiona Davis clearly has a taste for NYC history and architecture that I hope draws a few more books out of her. I very quickly added “The Dollhouse” to my TBR list and I can’t wait to see what else she produces. The architecture, the history, the celebrities( hey Nellie Bly totally counts as a celebrity) it really is a great read and I strongly encourage you to buy a copy for yourself and a copy to share.
*This ebook was provided by Dutton Books and NetGalley in exchange for honest feedback*
Nick and his sister Anne know well the cruel justice of King Charles I and the dangers of speaking out against the Crown. Burning with righteous passion for the cause of political and religious freedoms, hotheaded Nick fights against royalist forces with Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army while his talented sister, Anne, works with their father to print illegal Dissenter pamphlets in a tiny shed hidden on Lord Owen’s land. The fruit of their covert political rebellion for justice in England is realized when they are witnesses to the historic trial and execution of the hated monarch, but their hopeful outlook for peace in the Commonwealth and Anne’s wedding day is shattered with the tragic death of their five-year old sister. The arrest of Lord Owen’s wicked son Rupert for the crime begins a chain of events that entwine their lives leading to a night of violence that irrevocably seals their fates, and Anne and Nick must embark on a dangerous voyage across the sea to a new beginning in the English colony of Virginia. ~Goodreads Blurb
It is not often that there is historical fiction from the life of the everyday sort of folks. It is the lives of the upper class and the royals that are not only more often recorded but they are seen as better and more interesting fodder for the everyday reader. I wasn’t sure that I would enjoy this Stuart Era piece at first but once I got past the first few chapter I began to see the appeal. Not only does the author have a family connection to her subjects but she has managed to make her own family history entertaining, and not strictly informative. There is an unhealthy amount of stories with either an unfair over-assumption about the base knowledge of one’s readers or the reader is assumed to be tabula rasa and then we, the readers, have to slough through a never ending lecture about something like Elizabethan policy making. Author DJ Presson has created a very neat balance between these two all too common pitfalls, by giving some backstory without dumping an entire textbook on us. It felt familiar to the works by Oliver Pötzsch (The Hangman’s Daughter Series) in that it is an author writing about his own family. Yet both of these authors have managed to create stories that mesh into history without over glorifying the families. It is no shame to be from a family that struggled or had to politically flee. It is nice to hear about the other families and not just the Tudors and the other royal families. With only 265 pages, it is a quick read but entirely enjoyable throughout. The story moves along at a fair clip and doesn’t drag its heels. If you enjoy Cromwell era historical fiction, this will be another on your list.
*This eBook was provided by Kwill and Keebord Publishing and Netgalley in exchange for honest feedback*
Freelance Editor & Reviewer