The Astronaut Wives Club, by Lilly Koppel

The Astronaut Wives Club: A True StoryThe Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story by Lily Koppel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lilly Koppel, the author of The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal (Harper 2008), has done it again! Her book, The Astronaut Wives Club, is an amazing journey back into a time when Squares stayed square and men walked on the moon.

The A. W. C. as some of the women called themselves. starts off with a list of all the wives, beginning with The Mercury Seven and ending with The Nineteen. Several first hand accounts are told with wit and kindness by Koppel.

The book details how each woman struggled with the celebrity status of being an Astronaut’s wife, NASA, husbands absences, Cape Cookies, (the women who ruined several marriages)children, and unthinkable tragedies while upholding a pristine imagine of a 1950’s house wife. NASA instructed these women to refrain from adding any stress to their husbands while they were training for Space. These women, who on the outside were Proud, Thrilled and Happy, (Their motto) where able to band together and support each other behind closed doors.

Each woman was followed by a reporter from Life magazine, per NASA’s instructions. These reporters were with them from the moment their husbands became Astronauts to when they left NASA or died. Their day to day life was captured in photos for the world to see. But, the real stories where never told to the public. Koppel has captured many of these in her book.

If want to know more about these amazing women, who were the backbone of the Space Race, pick up a copy of this book.

Special thanks to Tiffany Sanchez and Hachette Book Group for sending this fantastic work of art to me.

Happy Reading!
~ C

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Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznica

burtalyouthreviewblu

I woke to an amazing email from Anthony Breznican, the Author of Brutal Youth. He has included part of my review of Brutal Youth in the current paperback copy. If you have not read this amazing book, please take a moment and pick up a copy. It will change the way you see bullies and their victims. You can find my full review here. Follow the link to buy the book here.

Thank you for this amazing honor, Mr. Breznican. I am looking forward to reading more of your work!

~C

Penguin Random House First to Read

First To Read

Just signed up for Penguin Random House First to Read program. I am excited. I am currently reading about the First Special Service Forces. Adleman, Robert H.; Colonel George Walton (1966). The Devil’s Brigade. Philadelphia, PA: Chilton Books. It is an older book but a great look at the First Special Service Force. The unit was just awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in Febuary in Washington, D. C. This unit of 1800 American and Canadian men are the reason the Allies were able to enter Rome a few days before Normandy. If you have not heard of this elite force, can find more information on the Force’s page here.

I am looking forward to reading the Penguin Random House books as soon as I finish The Devil’s Brigade.

My grandfather was a Forceman. He died in 1991.

Just heard back from Ace and Roc Books. I didn’t get selected as a reviewer for them personally but, they did send me two books. I plan on reviewing both of them. I will post the reviews on here for you all. Have you received any good books to review? If so, post them in the comments. Happy Reading!

New books from Ace and Roc Books to review!

New books from Ace and Roc Books to review!

Paris Red A Novel by Maureen Gibbon

Paris RedParis Red by Maureen Gibbon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paris Red, a novel by Maureen Gibbon and published by W.W Norton and Company is an interesting read. It is told from the point of view of a poor, 17 year old girl in 1862, who works in a silver polishing factory. She enters into a love triangle with her roommate and a man they meet on the street.

They play a little game of you touch her and then touch me for several chapters, before she leaves her roommate, and joins the man in his studio. He is a painter; an Artist, who ends up being Edouard Manet. Manet was a French painter during 19th century.

Manet’s painting, Olympia, caused great controversy when it was painted. In Paris Red, the story teller is that of his muse, Victorine Meurent. Olympia is a striking nude panting. It was unlike anything that had been painted before it.

In order to understand Paris Red, the reader has to understand a little about Manet and his famous work. It took until the end of the novel to understand who was who. I also had to use Google, because the novel does not come out and say who the young painter is for most of the book.

This is a fictional account of the relationship between Manet and Meurent. It read a lot like another book, and might have been called Fifty Shades of Paris Red, due to its content. This novel contains graphic sex including, some eyebrow raising acts that might shock those not expecting it. The vibe is similar to the other book mention; a relationship between a man and woman, based on sex, lust and control.
Paris Red is not for the modest. If the reader did not like Fifty Shades of Grey, they may not like this book, either.

What I didn’t like about Paris Red is pretty easy to guess. I dislike the over sexual nature of the book. I wish the author had included more history of the man. Instead, Manet remains a mystery for most of the book. There were a couple of sexual parts that didn’t need to be explained in such detail. I really wanted the story of them and not just some repeat of another book. I disliked how his muse was so greedy that she left her roommate; who was supposed to be part of this relationship. He had wanted both of them in the beginning. I also, found myself skipping the excessive sex to find the story.

What I did like about it was the way it flowed. Paris Red is told from the point of view of his muse. The detail in which the author describes each person and object is amazing. The novel is sensual at times and beautiful. The details of the two girl’s living area and working conditions were amazing. It brought me to tears.
Overall, this is as intense as the back cover suggests it is. It is a striking erotic work, loosely based on Manet and his muse. I enjoyed the book, once I understood the history of Manet.

A big thanks to Maureen Gibbon, the author, the publisher and Goodreads for allowing me to review this gem.

Disclaimer: This book was won after entering a contest on Goodreads 1st reads.

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Lacy Eye by Jessica Treadway

Lacy EyeLacy Eye by Jessica Treadway
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I won this book after entering a giveaway on The Reading Room.

Lacy Eye is a powerful, depressing book about the murder of one parent and the injury of another. The mother and father are attacked in their bed one night over Thanksgiving. The mother survives, but is unable to remember the event in detail. The man who killed her husband is her daughter’s boyfriend or so she thinks. Everyone around her, including her other daughter, believe her youngest daughter had something to do with the event. She is unable to see this until it is too late.

Lacy Eye is a difficult read for anyone who is a parent. It is depressing to follow the main character as she tries to figure out if her daughter was involved in the murder of her husband. The lengths she will go to, to not remember are amazing.

As a parent, the one thought that continued to run through my brain while reading this was, “what would I do if this happened to me?” Even after finishing the book, I still could not answer this question. I found myself wanting to reach through the book and shake the mother until she stopped living with blinders on.

This book is disturbing because we all know someone who lives in a very small box and refuses to see what type of person their own child is. We know the mother who says “it is just a phase.” or “He didn’t mean it like that.” or “He is so misunderstood. If only people would stop judging him..”

Lacy Eye describes the behavior of someone close to me so well, I had to check who the author was several times. This is not a feel-good work of fiction. It won’t make you warm and fuzzy. If you are prone to depression, this might not be the book for you. If you know someone who has a hard time seeing their own children as the world sees them, you might want to give them this book when it comes out in March 2015. Then again, they might not even understand why you are giving it to them.

A big thanks to The Reading Room, author and publisher for allowing me the chance to read this book. I will be looking for more books by Jessica Treadway.

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