Saturday, November 12, 2016

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden


Chiyo is taken away from her family in a fishing village of Japan and sold to become a geisha in Kyoto. She has very unique eyes which sparks interest from men and jealousy from women. The current geisha of her household does not take well to Chiyo and does what she can to ensure Chiyo doesn't become a geisha. In Chiyo's despair, she happens upon a man of high standing that treats her well and gives her a handkerchief to wipe her tears. Chiyo decides she must become a geisha to find this man again. A rival house offers to train Chiyo and she becomes Sayuri and a very well known geisha.

This book offers some insight in to a world I knew nothing about and it uses very engaging characters to do so. You can instantly connect with Chiyo and how scared she is being sold to a completely different world. The bad characters are interesting as well and you can hate them pretty easily. The characters I didn't completely understand were the men. Why do men pay extravagant amounts of money to have someone pour them sake and tea? Maybe it's because I'm not a man that I don't understand it.

I don't usually enjoy books with flowery descriptions of things, which this book has, but here I thought they were rather lyrical and didn't mind them. If you're looking for a book to get lost in another world, this is a great one.

First Line: "Suppose that you and I were sitting in a quiet room overlooking a garden, chatting and sipping at our cups of green tea while we talked about something that had happened a long while ago and I said to you, 'That afternoon when I met so-and-so... was the very best afternoon of my life, and also the very worst afternoon.'"


Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Madame Presidentess by Nicole Evelina

Historical Fiction

Victoria Woodhull was the first female to run for President of the US, back in 1872. She came from a poor family and abusive childhood where her father forced her to work at a young age and her mother was an alcoholic. Trying to get herself out of the situation, she married only to find her husband also abusive. Her spirits tell her she's destined for great things so she bears this marriage until she can divorce her husband and move on. Eventually she pulls her sister away from her parents and the two move to New York to act as spiritual guides for the rich in New York. One of their clients is Cornelius Vanderbilt.

Using Vanderbilt's connections, Victoria and her sister Tennie open up a brokerage in New York, becoming the first females on Wall Street. The two become incredibly rich and the family returns to try and beg for scraps. But Victoria is destined for even more. She believes in the rights for women to vote, and the right for couples to divorce if they no longer love each other. She wants to become president of the USA to bring these rights to the American people.

I'd never heard of Victoria Woodhull before. Susan B Anthony, yes, who is more famous for the women's right movement (and she was made to sound like quite a mean woman). But Victoria Woodhull was an important part of this movement, specifically with her try at the American Presidency. Her story is a fascinating one. She could commune with the spirits, made huge in-roads for the women's movement, and was ultimately destroyed by vanity and gossip.

Now for a bit of honesty. It wasn't until about half way through that I realized Victoria Woodhull was a real person. This reads like a completely fictional novel. I think this is because it feels like everything is over the top and very much dramatized. This treatment of the story got me really engaged. I was looking up Victoria Woodhull when I finished the book and if I didn't enjoy the novel I wouldn't be doing that!

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for letting me be a part of this tour!

First Line: "By the time I was three, I head learned to fear the dark - that was when Pa came home smelling of sharp, unpleasant odors and vented his day's worth of rage on us."

About the Author
Nicole Evelina is a multi-award-winning historical fiction and romantic comedy writer. She spent 15 years researching Arthurian legend, Celtic Britain and the various peoples, cultures and religious practices that shaped the country after the withdrawal of Rome. Other historical interests include the Middle Ages and women who made their mark on history. And she LOVES Chicago.

Find her on Twitter, Facebook and at her website.

Madame Presidentess Giveaway