‘The Paris Hours’ Book Review

“Paris is always there, waiting for him on the other side of the door.”

Chapter 39.

Paris, between wars, everyone has lost something. Camille has lost a dear friend, the one who held her biggest secret. The notebook where it was written is now missing. Her reputation depends on it not landing in the wrong hands. Souren is a refugee from Armenia, he has lost his homeland and his family. Then there is the artist Guillaume he has lost a great love and is in a serious debt and has to find the money to pay it or his life could be taken from him. Finally, there is Jean-Paul, a writer, who dreams of America but cannot leave France because he truly believes his daughter is not dead but lost in the streets of Paris.

This is a character driven novel and those are my favorite kind of books to leave. Usually, shorter books seem to be more plot driven but that was not the case for ‘The Paris Hours’. This book is less than 300 pages but I feel like we got to connect with the characters so well in that span of time. (The book only lasts the course of a day.) I will be honest though and tell you, that not all these characters had entertaining chapters. I think Souren and Camille have the best chapters and they were my favorite to read from. I feel like Souren had the strongest story out of all of them and I think it can be applied nicely to the refugee crisis we have seen in recent years. I might have connected with Camille more since she is our only lead female character but I just enjoyed her chapters and her mission to protect herself and her family. Guillaume is our lovesick character. I just did not connect with him and I still do not understand why he was in the debt that he was in. Yes, sometimes I did feel for him but at other times I felt he might be a tad selfish but that is better than having a novel filled with Mary Sues, I just did not connect with his character. Lastly, Jean-Paul, he was not one of my favorite characters but I could really feel the emotion in his chapters. His plot left me with my jaw dropped at times. You could just really connect with him. The characters are getting a five out of five.

‘The Paris Hours’ is a love letter to the city of love that is in its title. This book just gave off such a French aesthetic or vibe. You just instantly feel like you are walking the streets with the Eiffel Tower towering in the smoggy skies of the French capital. The atmosphere also gets a five star.

The writing, the writing! Oh my gosh, the writing is so good in this book. I think it will be an acquired taste, much like other French things. This writing was just so beautiful and so romantic. It never dragged but it never got too fast either. It was such a breath of fresh air to read. I think this writing goes perfect with the setting of France and especially at this somewhat of an awkward time in the country’s history. There is so much I could say but I just cannot get the words out. I think you will understand more when I tell you that the writing is a five out of five star.

“Some things you cannot leave behind. Your history will pursue you doggedly across frontiers and over oceans. It will slip past the unsmiling border guards, fold itself invisibly into the pages of your passport, a silent, treacherous stowaway.”

Chapter 23.

I left the quote above because I think it perfectly describes the plot of this story. We all have a past and there is no running from it, there is no changing it. The past has happened and there is nothing we can do about it except move on. Sometimes we do have to accept it and think about it first though, before we can actually move on. All these characters have a past and that is what is impacting their decisions and the actions that they are taking throughout this day. Again, this is not a real plot heavy book and if that is something that you are into then you probably won’t like your journey reading this I think you really have to dig to find that true plot and story. The plot gets a 4 out of five.

The short chapters really helped with the intrigue. They just leave you wanting more and then you have to wait to get through all the other POVs to get back to the character. It is a good technique. Short and fast chapters will always be the best. I am going to give this a four though because I felt like some we did not really get a wrap on.

I feel like I do have to state that there were some typos throughout the novel, which there are probably some typos in this blogpost so I should not be one to judge but I also do not have an editor. So there were some instances where a space was forgotten and words were pushed together. The biggest however was in the second to last chapter, on page 249; “He is leg is hurting, and he wants to go home.” I am assuming the author meant “His leg is hurting.” I just hate to see things like that in books, maybe there needed to be a better editor on hand.

Time Travels in one direction only. There is no going back.”

Chapter 32.

I really, really, did enjoy this book. I did not think that I would feel that way going on because of the ratings on Goodreads and that I have heard nothing of this book before, I got it from BOTM. This was such a wild card for me, my favorite so far this year. The characters were fabulous, I might not have connected with all of them but that is life, we do not connect for every soul that we meet. I loved the French setting, the author did such a good job dropping us into 1927 Paris. This was the best writing that I have read in a long time. The plot is something that I will not forget. Again, I really enjoyed this book and I will be looking into more books by Alex George.

This book gets the rating of 5 out of 5 stars.

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“Pirate Women” Book Review

Laura Sook Duncombe saw that there was a lack of books on pirates about the females who also sailed ships and looted for treasure across the seven seas. So, she decided to write her own and that is how we have “Pirate Women”. I picked up this book at the Pirate Museum in St. Augustine, Florida. I was not expecting much as it was just one, I had picked up at random with no research on but Duncombe blew me away with this book. This is not just a pretty cover with cool colors, there is so much information inside that I never about before.

This book does go in chronological order, I am so thankful for that as it does not confuse the reader at all. That being said we start in the ancient world on the Mediterranean with the Greeks and Romans, these were ancient queens like most women throughout this book we do not know if they were fact or fiction or somewhere in the middle. That is a common theme here, women were often written over in history and there is not a lot of information to be found on these women. They were just supposed to sit there looking pretty and baring children to their husbands not fighting against other Greek city states.

The next step we take is towards Ladgerda and the Vikings who are trying to reach the halls of Valhalla. The writer debates on if these warrior women should be listed as literal pirates. Most of the fighting was done on the shores of England or other states on the North and Baltic seas. It was fighting and raiding on land and then back on the ship to Scandinavia.  Nevertheless, the tales of these female Viking warriors are interesting and had been pasted orally for hundreds of years.

I did not find the pirates of Brittany in the middle ages as interesting as the Vikings, but I do think some will. There should be a television show or at least a historical fiction book on these women and what they did to protect their thrones and rights. Throughout this chapter I could not help but think that George R.R. Martin, the author of A Game of Thrones, took inspiration from some of these women for his universe in the A Song of Ice and Fire series.

And then on and on we go throughout history, the Barbary era of pirates with the sultans, Queen Elizabeth I with the sea dogs she hired to take on the Spanish Armada. The Golden Age of piracy taking place in the 1700s with the likes of Anne Bonny and her crew. The story takes us all the way to China in the twentieth century. There was so much to learn in this book that is so small that it is less than three hundred pages long.

Enough of the summary for now, lets get to my likes and dislikes. As I stated previous, I like that this is in historical order, so I did not have to sit down and write out a timeline for myself. seriously, if you are writing a nonfiction book, please go in chronological order. One thing I loved that the author is a woman, writing about women, and most of the sources that she used were also female. It was just awesome to see! The book was easy to understand and I was never confused. The chapters had a good page length, usually around fifteen pages long. (Another bit of advice if you plan to write a book, never make a chapter fifty pages. I will lose interest.)

Duncombe also does a good job at setting the scene. Yes, this is a nonfiction piece of work, but she does a great time at describing the world that these women were living in and how it might have attributed to their actions. The author also reminds us time and time again that we do have enough information on these women to know their stories full and well. We also must remember that the things we learn in history are never one hundred percent certain as we are not hearing all the sides of it and we were not there. That information is so important to remember as we learn or read anything that is nonfiction.

I only have small complaints. The last chapter about actual pirates, chapter 13. I felt like it was rushed. We had so many women to discuss and only got a few short paragraphs about them and I feel like I did not learn as much about them as I did about the previous women and that is strange as these female pirates were all in the last century, some in my life time. Then there was the last chapter about pirate women on the big screen. I felt this chapter to be unnecessary as these are all known works of fiction. The chapter was basically the full plots of movies that I will never watch. It was a waste of time.

I really enjoyed this book. It is probably my favorite nonfiction that I have read this year and I will have to look and see if Laura Sook Duncombe has any other books out that I can have the pleasure in reading. Just learning about how these women got into these situations rather it be that they were born or married into it, joining the sea life, dressed as a male to get out of societies standards. It was just so interesting to read and I definitely want to read more about pirates in the future. Five out of five stars read.

‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ Review

I took a week long break in the middle of this book so my thoughts might be weird and I am not going to be doing a deep synopsis.

Usually longer books are longer I assume that they are more character driven than plot driven but with this one, I really do not know. The story is told through Buendia family but the story is about the history of the town of Macondo. The town is the main character rather than the actual people. Back to the humans though, most of the characters had names of their parents or grandparents. The same names were being used over and over and I just kept getting confused if it was junior or senior. I understand that this is common in real life but I do not think it is wise in literature. Two out of five for characters.

I like the idea of following the town throughout its beginning to its end. I liked Macondo. I just do not know if it was executed properly. Three out of five for atmosphere.

Now time for the writing. I was surprised how good the writing was for this being a translated work, from Spanish to English. Some paragraphs were just absolutely beautiful. Gabriel Garcia Marquez really can put a picture of what you are reading into your head. Four out of five for writing.

The plot somewhat ties in with the atmosphere. (That seems strange to type.) I love the idea of the town being the main character and the story being the history of this town but I just do not think it was executed properly. Generational tales are my absolute favorite but when you have characters living to be 122 years old and having the same names it just gets confusing. Plot gets a four out of five.

Logic? Was there really any logic here? That like a lot of things in this novel, I truly do not know. One character living to be 145? I am not sure if that is possible in this time but who knows. Also, there were no dates in this book so I was having to guess when everything was taking place. I still do not know. Logic gets a two out of five.

Before I wrap things up here I want to say a lot of things in this book are unusual, and that is putting it nicely. We do have to remember this book takes place in the past when cousin marriage was common and arranged marriages as well. With that being said some of the things in this book did make me uncomfortable and I would recommend you up the trigger warnings before reading.

I would not say that I did not enjoy this book. It was a classic three star for me. I did enjoy getting to learn about a different culture that I had not known a lot about before. I got another classic under my belt and that feels pretty good. Have you read ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’? Let me know!

3 out of 5 stars.

Into the Black: The Inside Story of Metallica Review

Metallica became the biggest band in the world in 1991. The band was already ten years into their career but the were just now releasing their self titled album, more commonly known as ‘The Black Album”. This album was produced by more of a mainstream producer, Bob Rock, who had done albums with Bon Jovi and Motley Crue in the past. That sounds like a thrash metalhead’s nightmare.

The band received loads of criticism for this album. Some saying they were selling out to Hollywood and forgetting their metal roots.The band was growing and trying different things. The album did sell well, becoming one of the top selling albums of the decade. The band had to ride off of this high and continue the momentum. That was done by touring with huge acts of the time on giant stadium tours, making music videos for MTV, and a last making more music.

The 1990s was an awkward time for rock music. Glam was getting thrown out the door and the Seattle grunge was coming in. Bubblegum pop and bands that wouldn’t last for five minutes were taking over the scene. Metal prevailed, Metallica prevailed though while all others fell.

First and foremost, I should state that Metallica are one of my favorite bands. I knew most of the facts going into this book, therefore, it was easy and fast for me to read and understand. I felt like this book did a good job compiling over twenty years into an almost three hundred page book.

This book is about the music and the industry that it is in. Don’t come to this for a juicy tell all but I really don’t think Metallica fans would be looking for that to begin with. At some points there were little personal paragraphs but only about James. I get that he is the frontman but do I really need to know that his eye sight was getting bad and he needed glasses? Just pure randomness.

As I said, I am a fan of this band, mainly their work in the eighties. I don’t think their later albums are bad, bands need to evolve and grow. I think it is important to try different sub genres. I know that Miley Cyrus gets a lot of hate but one of the awesome things about her is that every album is different, never the same. Metallica are the same and I applaud them for that. I learned a lot about that process in this book. I never realized how much criticism the band got for their more modern albums.

My few complaints are very minimum. The writers did get somethings wrong, example one being “[Lars] had flew from Los Angeles to California to see the band perform at the Woolwich Odeon in south London.” Okay, how do you fly from Los Angeles to California and I don’t think London is in California. Point number two, the paragraph is talking about Ron McGovney driving the band to San Francisco from Los Angeles.. on Interstate 95. I95, is the east coast connector and not the west coast. All these “typos” happen in the last twenty pages, I don’t know if the writers were rushing to finish or what. I thought the writers did at times sound cocky. They acted like Metallica were the only band in the world or better than everyone else. That didn’t leave a good feel with me. If you like heavy metal and want to know more, pick this book up.

4 out of 5 stars.