First, I would like to thank Cat Mann for allowing me an opportunity to read her book and for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest...moreFirst, I would like to thank Cat Mann for allowing me an opportunity to read her book and for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
A Beautiful Fate begins with Ava Baio moving from her home in Chicago following the death of her mother, to attend a boarding school, picked out for her by her less than loving grandmother, in Dana Point, California. Ava finds herself suffering from the nightmare of reliving her mother's accident and death in her sleep along with other nightmares she doesn't understand. After meeting her Adonis like neighbor Ari, who sneaks into her room at night to calm her after she's awoken screaming from the latest nightmare, Ava finds herself falling for the mysterious boy. Eventually, Ava comes to learn that the reason for her dreams, and the foreknowledge of her own mother's death, is all due to the fact that she is the last descendant of the Greek Fate, Atropos. With the knowledge of her heritage and true destiny, Ava finds herself fighting for her life and the lives of those she loves in order to put an end to the evil Kakos family.
Being a huge fan of mythology, especially Greek mythology, I found myself highly intrigued by the concept of a young girl who is a descendant of the Greek Fates, specially Atropos, the one who cut the thread of people's lives. From the very start of the book, up to the climactic and cliff hanger ending, I found my interest continually sustained and peaked as I anxiously flipped through pages to find out what was going to happen next.
The biggest detractor for me was the relationship between Ava and Ari. I found that their constant mooning over one another and ill humor when things weren't going right in their relationship or when they were apart to be annoying and overly unrealistic. At times, I felt as though I was rereading about the relationship between Edward and Bella in Twilight. Despite my annoyance over their relationship and the fact that Ava would on more than one occasion allow their relationship to cloud her mind and keep her from doing the job she was meant to as the thread cutter, I must say that I was happy that their relationship at least progressed faster and at a much better clip than that of Edward and Bella's.
In the end, I would recommend this book to those who enjoy modern takes on Greek mythology, teen romance fans, and readers who enjoy a good cat and mouse game between the hero and an unseen foe; all things which when combined in Cat Mann's book, lead to one incredibly aggravating (I yelled my discontent) cliff hanger of an ending. Despite my hand ups over the love story, I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series as I am officially hooked.
Overall rating: 3.5, would've been a 4-4.5 if not for the romance which annoyed me too much at times.(less)
Matthew Goodman's story about Victorian women, Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland, in 1889, covers the rather interesting and sensationalist jo...moreSynopsis:
Matthew Goodman's story about Victorian women, Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland, in 1889, covers the rather interesting and sensationalist journalism story of two female reporters who set out to beat Jules Verne's fictional character, Phileas Fogg from "Around the World in Eighty Days", by circumnavigating the globe. When Nellie Bly, investigative journalist for Joseph Pulitzer's "World" newspaper first sets out, she believes that she is only attempting to defeat Phileas Fogg's record; unbeknownst to her, she is in a race against "The Cosmopolitan" magazine's female reporter Elizabeth Bisland as well.
As the two women battle to defeat Fogg's record and one another, the country finds itself captivated by the race and by two women who couldn't be more different from one another. One, Nellie Bly, was an ambitious and driven reporter from the coal mining country of Pennsylvania who was always embroiling herself into the most sensational news stories, many times disguising herself and going undercover to expose the true injustice of society. While Elizabeth Bisland hailed from an aristocratic Southern family and preferred to spend her time reading novels and poetry amongst her fellow literary and artist friends over reading a newspaper. Despite their differences in upbringing, reporting, and looks, both women were very talented women who had managed to create for themselves highly successful careers in a male driven society.
I first learned about "Eighty Days" after reading about it in the Sunday New York Times Book Reviews, I then finally came across the book sitting on the staff recommendation shelf at my local library as I was on my way to check out my other books. Once I got the book home and started reading it, I was not disappointed in the least. Not knowing anything about this true and exciting event in both US, Women's and journalistic history, I found myself captivated by the various events the two women found themselves embroiled in, all in an attempt to beat a fictional character's trip around the world while winning a huge monetary prize for their editors who had placed a bet on which of their female reporters would win in the end.
As I read the book, I knew that it was one I would want to own, and in deciding this returned the book and purchased it on my nook so I could make notes along the way. As someone who has spent much of her life traveling from a very young age, as well as having lived overseas twice before, I found various quotes resonating with me. One such quote was in regards to the American public traveling to foreign countries more and to go about doing so: "I think it best in traveling to see foreign countries slowly, but if anymore enterprising Americans desire to emulate Miss Bly's example it is much better to travel rapidly than not to travel at all." I couldn't agree with this statement more, as made by the Right Honorable Sir Mountstuart Grant Duff to "The World's" reporter Tracey Graves. The world is so vast and has so much to offer that it is a shame when people don't take advantage of traveling and getting to see all that's out there and to learn just how the rest of the world views the place from which they hail from.
Another statement which I found rang true in my experience of international travel and seeing how some people from the US act overseas was one made by Mary Cadwalader Jones in her book "European Travel for Women: Notes and Suggestions" in which she made the suggestion that "unless travelers are willing to leave national prejudices behind them, and ready to see whatever is characteristic and excellent in a foreign country, without finding fault because it is unfamiliar, they had better remain at home. Americans are among the worst offenders in this regard." This particular quote really made me laugh as the whole description of the "ugly American" is one which rang true in 1889 and continues to ring true today, over 100 years later.
Despite the success of the two women in their safe travels around the world, granted one did beat out the other in the endeavor, it was interesting to learn how much their lives were affected by their trip around the world and all of the attention that was heaped upon them. I couldn't help but both admire the women for their ability to travel the world during the Victorian age unescorted by men, and to feel sorry for them at the same time as the women found that they weren't able to completely able to return to the lives they had previously lived, for the career of female journalists was changing as a result of their escapade and they each suffered hardships but in different ways following their return.
In the end, I would recommend this to those who enjoy a good historical adventure story complete with strong minded, independent women who served as inspiration to women at a time when women didn't think they were capable of doing more than marrying and raising a family. This a book for people who enjoyed Verne's "Around the World in Eighty Days" and are interested in reading about a real life event in which someone tried to complete the same task in an age before travel would make this a concept hard to truly understand or appreciate in our day and age. And really, I recommend this book to those looking for their next great non-fiction read.
My final rating is a 4.5. Although I highly enjoyed this book and have recommended it to friends and family, there were a few parts where I found it dragged, thus it rating a 4.5 instead of a whole 5.(less)
I first read The Great Gatsby when I was in high school and I hated it. A few years later I saw the movie with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow with hope...moreI first read The Great Gatsby when I was in high school and I hated it. A few years later I saw the movie with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow with hopes that I would like the movie better than the book, I disliked it as well. My re-read of Fitzgerald's classic novel was brought about for two reasons, 1. to see if now that I'm oldet if I would like the book any better and 2. to refresh my memory on everything before seeing Baz Lurhmann's take on the film with Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mullogan.
Alas, my second read of the book has had the same results as my first read, I still hate the book. My dislike of the book is due in large part to the narrator. Nick Catraway's approach to depicting the tragic love story of Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan I found to be less than fulfilling to the point that at no time do I find myself rooting for Gatsby to succeed in his attempts to woo Daisy away from her husband. I found Daisy to be fickle and selfish and both times I read the book I was disappointed that Daisy didn't die at the end of the book.
Despite my continued dislike of the book, I still fully intend to see the new film release because I love the casting and I really enjoyed Luhrmann's telling of "Romeo and Juliet." His approach to Shakespeare's tragic romance actually made me enjoy that play more than my original read and I'm hoping his version of "The Great Gatsby" will have a similar result.(less)