Change Me into Zeus’s Daughter: A Memoir

Change Me into Zeus's Daughter: A MemoirChange Me into Zeus’s Daughter: A Memoir by Barbara Robinette Moss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Change me into Zeus’s Daughter: A Memoir, by Barabara Robinette Moss is one of those sleeper books. I bought it at a used books store when a huge sale was going on and it sat on my self for some time before I picked it up.

I found out I was sick with a rare brain disorder in Jan of 2016. After years of trying going to doctors and ED visits and being sent home, I finally had an answer. The treatment options were not promising and I was also told I was going blind and deaf. If I refused to have surgery, this would only get worse until I would no longer be able to see. It was due to this diagnosis that I started to read everything in my house I could get my hands on. I didn’t want to waste one single moment I had left with my eyesight. I love to read, books are everything to me, as is my sight, and I could not think of being without the ability to hold a book in my hand and read the printed words.

This brings me back to Change Me into Zeus’s Daughter: A Memoir. The pages were worn, yellowed with age, and dogeared. I didn’t care. I peeled the discount sticker off the cover of the paperback, and squinted at the black and white photo of the family sitting on the front steps, trying to see their faces through my fading vision.

The story is not about a famous starlet, sports start or other popular person. This story is about a simple person who grew up very poor with an equally abusive drunk father, and a mother who allowed the abuse. With a large amount of siblings, living in the south, with a dysfunctional family, somehow Barbara Moss brings both humor and light to living in her world. She is able to show the reader both her life as a child through the eyes of an adult, and those as a child.

This Memoir to some, may seem sad, and many may not want to read books about sad or abusive stories. It would be a shame to pass up this book. Barbara Moss captured me almost immediately with her quick wit, her direct way of writing, and above all else, her determination to survive at all costs, as a child.

It was by reading this book I was given the courage to go ahead and have the surgery I dreaded. I felt if she, a simple, ordinary person, like me, could survive the things in her life that she did, then I, could gather myself up and do what needed to be done.

It took courage to write her story about her life, her abuse and her family. I hope, if she ever reads these reviews, she will know how much her book, helped this ordinary woman find the courage and strength to do what I needed to do, after reading her book.

Thank you Barbara Robinette Moss for having the courage to tell your story. I find it is the ordinary, everyday people whose stories have the most effect on me, and are the most interesting.

This is a well written book, easy to read, easy to follow and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in reading Memoirs, history, large families, poverty and abuse.

(Disclaimer: I am also the survivor of abuse. This book may be a trigger for some. It wasn’t for me, but it maybe for some.)

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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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Secrets of a Charmed Life-Best Read for 2015

Secrets of a Charmed LifeSecrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I won an uncorrected proof of Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner, after entering a contest on Goodreads.

Secrets of a Charmed Life, by Susan Meissner is a beautiful book. Kendra Van Zant, an American scholar is trying to win a place in the world and sets out to interview a reclusive survivor of World War II. Isabel MacFarland has a secret and is ready to tell her story about her life during and after the war. The novel takes place in Present day, Oxford, England and 1942, England.

Kendra is under the impression she is going to be told a simple story about one woman in World War II. The story is anything but simple. Before the famous Blitz, almost one million children are evacuated to the country in England, into homes of people they do not know. With tags around their necks and belongings, they leave their homes, and journey by train. Kendra learns of one 15 year-old who does not want to be sent away to the country with her sister. Emmy’s passion for drawing wedding dresses and her future, are very much on her mind, when her absentminded mother orders her to leave the city and travel with her younger sister to the country. Emmy is determined to return to the city, without her sister, to finish her dream of becoming a Wedding Dress Designer. Things don’t go as planned and something devastating happens.

Meissner has woven a portrait of life during World War II in England that is unforgettable. Some have compared this novel to The Orphan Train. Meissner takes the story of these children so much further than The Orphan Train ever did. Her writing is smooth, and hypnotic. She has captured the pain and struggle of those during WWII with ease.

I recommend this novel to everyone I meet. I look forward to reading more of Meissner’s work. Look for this book in February 2015. Make sure it is on your reading list!

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