War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

In Russia’s struggle with Napoleon, Tolstoy saw a tragedy that involved all mankind. Greater than a historical chronicle, War and Peace is an affirmation of life itself, `a complete picture’, as a contemporary reviewer put it, `of everything in which people find their happiness and greatness, their grief and humiliation’. Tolstoy gave his personal approval to this translation, published here in a new single volume edition, which includes an introduction by Henry Gifford, and Tolstoy’s important essay `Some Words about War and Peace’

“…man’s greatest happiness lies in struggling to achieve them [truth and goodness]. We must live, love and believe.” – Tolstoy

This novel has taken up four and half months to finish reading. It’s hard to write a short review for such a long book but I must say that I’m glad I read it.

My book has tags all throughout the book because there were so many moments where the writing resonated with me. This book may appear to be about the Napoleonic War in Russia, but it is actually more about life, the lack of control we have or felt (during war and peace), it explores the meaning and purpose of life and an in-depth exploration of the human condition during times of war, and peace. I enjoyed each of the character’s reflection on their life and choices. Parts of the novel contains Tolstoy’s point of view in an almost essay form, which is very un-novel like. I was surprised by how liberally Tolstoy used his narrator’s voice in the book to share his views about the war and life in general.

It was an interesting read despite being someone who doesn’t really like war themed books, however I can see why this is a very important and relevant novel to read as it contains many great reflections on life, war, happiness and purpose.

-NJ

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The Pride and Prejudice Special

“I cannot fix the hour or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun…’
-Darcy

Pride and Prejudice was my first ‘adult’ classic that I read and watched – it is one of my all time favourites and since reading the original, I branched out into the Pride and Prejudice re-tellings. Here are some I love and highly recommend…

Pemberley Quaking by Melanie Schertz

In November of 1795, an earthquake struck Derby shire. Trapped in the basement of the mercantile in Lambton are Gerald Darcy, his son Fitzwilliam, and Miss Elizabeth Bennet. What will happen in the wake of the earthquake?

This was an interesting take on Pride and Prejudice. Fitizwilliam Darcy and his father meet Elizabeth and Aunt Gardeners fathers store where she is helping out. Darcy Snr knows that Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam are perfect for each other and forces them to marry after the earthquake! With the twist that happened in Pemberley Quaking, I didn’t see it coming..

Darcy’s Midsummer Madness by Cass Grix

There is nothing like a love potion to make a party interesting. Caroline Bingley schemes to make Mr. Darcy fall in love with her, but her plans are thwarted by a mischievous footman who puts her love potion in the pastries served at the Netherfield Ball. This sets off a series of romantic misadventures.

Mr. Darcy is falling for Elizabeth Bennet and she begins to fall for him, but will their love last beyond midnight?

Darcy’s Midsummer Madness is a whimsical Pride and Prejudice Variation Novella based on Jane Austen’s most famous couple and loosely inspired by Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. What fools these Mortals be!

Pride and Prejudice and a Midsummer’s Night’s Dream have joined to bring us a tale about Netherfield Ball. Let the gaiety ensure. Darcy’s Midsummer Madness is told from multiple characters point of view. So you get into their mid set when certain events happen (looking at you Caroline Bingley).

Much Ado About Darcy by Jane Grix

A rainstorm prevents Fitzwilliam Darcy from giving Elizabeth Bennet a letter after his botched proposal, so they part ways with their misunderstandings bitter and unresolved. They hide their passions behind a war of wit until some well-meaning friends conspire to bring them together.

Much Ado About Darcy is an Austen and Shakespeare Mash-up, a Pride and Prejudice Variation Novella set in the Regency era.

Much Ado About Nothing meets Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth and Darcy are in the roles of Beatrice and Benedict and they play their roles well. This is a quick and fun read.

Fair Stands the Wind by Catherine Lodge

We all know that in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Mr Darcy is proud and prejudiced because he is a wealthy landowner who believes himself above his company; and that Elizabeth Bennet can afford to be proud and prejudiced because she believes she has the freedom to make choices for herself.

But what if Mr Darcy is the second son, sent to sea at a young age? What if Elizabeth is trapped by circumstances, with an ill father on one side and an understandably desperate mother on the other?

Meet Captain Darcy of the Royal Navy, a successful frigate captain, with ample prize-money and a sister he needs to provide for while he is at sea. Meet Elizabeth Bennet, who needs a husband and is trying to resign herself to Mr Collins, the worst “least worst alternative” in the history of literature.

Fitzwilliam Darcy is the second son of the family. His father sent him to the Navy when he was nine years old. Fitizwilliam is now a well respected navy captain. Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth’s marriage starts off as a convient one.. But it doesn’t necessarily end as it started… or does it???

The Perfect Gift: A Pride and Prejudice Novella by Christie Capps

TIMELESS ROMANCE FOR THE BUSY READER

On the path to love, will Elizabeth ever catch up?

In this sweet modern variation of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, Fitzwilliam Darcy has been his usual prideful/arrogant self and Elizabeth Bennet would rather have gum stuck to her shoe than be stuck in a room with him.

When the turmoil of having a pre-teen sibling reach puberty knocks Darcy off his pedestal, his only saving grace will be the one woman who confounds him, teases him, torments him, and intrigues him. They say love is blind, but is it totally insensible as well?

Follow along as Elizabeth’s journey to happily-ever-after is filled with obstacles, roadblocks, and her own obliviousness to Darcy’s growing affections. Will she ever find her way?

Set in the modern day, where both Elizabeth and Darcy are authors. Elizabeth and Darcy start off getting into arguments and debates even if they started out having a normal conversation. But when Darcy asks Elizabeth for help with his younger sister Gianna, let’s see what happens…

This story can be read in about an hour and is just over 100 pages in length.

 

“He is a gentleman and I am a gentleman’s daughter. So far we are equal” Elizabeth Bennett

 

Pride and Prejudice special post is brought to you by Meredith

 

Pemberley: Mr Darcy’s Dragon by Maria Grace

For the Jane Austen fans: This is book 1 in Jane Austen’s Dragons Book series

Whilst England is overrun by dragons of all shapes and sizes, most people are blissfully unaware of them and the Pendragon Treaty that keeps the peace between human and dragon kind.  Only those born with preternatural hearing, like Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are able to hear and converse with dragonkind…  Elizabeth shares a unique bond with dragons, stronger than anything Darcy has ever experienced…

Pride and Prejudice and Dragons.. what more can you ask for?

..Meanwhile.. a dragon egg gets stolen and ends up somewhere in Hertfordshire. Darcy and Elizabeth need to find the egg before it hatches. While they are searching, they can’t draw attention to what they are doing. Not all humans can hear dragons talk..

One of my favourites!!

-Meredith

Read3r’z Re-Vu Mother’s Day Special

In Australia, Sunday 14 May 2017 is Mother’s Day.
For a day that should be celebrated everyday, Read3r’z Re-Vu wanted to take this time to wish our beautiful mothers and all the beautiful mothers out there a wonderful day!!!

This special is a selection of recommendations for all of the mothers who love to read and the mothers who are looking for their next book to read to their children…

-featured photo of Tulip brooch handmade by Curio Boutique, a Read3r’z Re-Vu major sponsor-


An oldie but a goldie.. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
This was my introduction to the classics and the regency period in books. I love how it teaches you that first impressions are not always accurate. I am recommending this for Mother’s Day as I find there are a few (or a lot of) reasons to recommend Pride and Prejudice to the mothers who love reading and are looking for a story that can apply to different people. The characters are multi layered and have their own faults.
-Meredith


The Wave in the Mind: Talks & Essays on the Writer, the Reader & the Imagination (About Writing)
by Ursula K. Le Guin

Overview: Ursula K. Le Guin explores a broad array of subjects, ranging from Tolstoy, Twain, and Tolkien to women’s shoes, beauty, and family life. With her customary wit, intelligence, and literary craftsmanship, she offers a diverse and highly engaging set of readings. 

Thoughtful, profound and inspiring. I found Le Guin’s voice to be refreshing, present and ever so relevant in today’s society for authors and readers alike. Topics explored include (but not limited to): imagination, life, society, oppression, feminism, reading and writing. Le Guin’s progressive and well thought-out perspectives and critiques are insightful, honest, delightful and empowering to read. Highly recommended for those who is after an interesting, inspiring and provocative read.
-NJ


Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton
This recommendation is for all the mothers who love Young Adult, Fantasy Fiction – especially stories with an Arabian Nights Inspiration!!! This is the sequel to the epic debut: Rebel of the Sands, where the story isn’t about blood or love now it’s about treason and takes place approximately 1 year after the first book. Like the debut, this sequel was amazing! And I’m not just saying that because I love Arabian nights inspired stories. From start to finish the story really kept me turning the page as there was always something happening, always some action and plot twists, especially on the very last chapter – left me gaping and yearning to know what happens next! The plot and the setting really grabbed me, I found the plot progresses really well it’s not an info dump you follow the story as it progresses, you have insight into Arabian nights stories that form as part of the main plot, insightful backstories that paint a clear picture of the current plot and I felt this time I got to know the characters better than the first book and really want to continue with their story. If you haven’t yet read Rebel of the Sands, read it so you can read Traitor to the Throne!
Many thanks to Allen & Unwin Publishers for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest review.
-Annie


Her Mother’s Secret by Natasha Lester
This is a story about a brave young woman who is chasing her dream in the face of society’s disapproval.
Recommended to mothers who enjoy Historical Fiction, this story is set in 3 different eras: 1918 England, 1920’s and takes you through to the 1930’s. At a time of celebration, tragedy strikes and this story takes you through a woman’s struggle and strength that leaves you asking.. can you guess her mother’s secret? Beautifully and elegantly written, you can also see the work and effort that was put into this book for historical accuracy that is intertwined with the fictional plot. Beautiful read.
Many thanks to Hachette Publishers for providing me with an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.
-Annie



Blackwater Moon by B. Michael Radburn
Andy Walker knows tragedy is only ever a heartbeat away. When an inmate escapes from the prison farm upriver and abducts Nathan, a child Andy has vowed to protect after losing his own son years before, Andy discovers that the escapee is a dark figure from his past, the devil who changed his life and the man who introduced him to ‘The Game’
I really enjoyed this book and it really wasn’t what I was expecting. At first I was expecting the story to be similar to a domestic violence scenario where the woman is the victim but I was wrong. I really felt the emotion of the main character, Andy, to the point I cried and I even had to put the book down for a few hours but to have that sort of emotional reaction to the book just proves the author did a top job in conveying such a powerful story. The story does take you to a dark place which hits you to the core, it is heavy reading but I am a mother and I recommend this to mothers who love reading books that set your heart pounding but can handle heavy content. It really is worth the read.
Many thanks to Pantera Press who provided me with this book at the Read3r’z Re-Vu Mini Conference: 2016.
Many thanks to Read3r’z Re-Vu for having me on here as a special guest reviewer.

-Bec


Play by Jez Alborough
This is a recommended read for young mummies who love reading to their young kiddies or babies.
What can I say? This book was just TOO CUTE!!! Beautifully illustrated that tells such a cute and funny story in very few words. Play is about a little monkey who just wants to play.. play, play, play – even when Mummy says stay, he wants to play – and of course he wanders off like little kids do – so it’s an adventure to try and get home to his Mummy. The ending was adorable. Highly recommend this as a great kids picture book.
Many thanks to Walker Publishers for sending me an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.
-Annie


My Mum is Fantastic by Nick Butterworth
Regardless of age – this is the perfect Mother’s Day Gift!!!
A picture book that is suitable to toddlers reading their first books, it’s a beautiful way that explores all the wonderful things our mothers do for us and we take for granted. My mum is fantastic is that one book that captures how great our mothers are and giving this to your mother will tell her how much you love her!!
Wonderfully illustrated and large print – very suitable for the little tikes.

Many thanks to Walker Publishers for providing me with a Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.
-Annie

Read3r’z Re-Vu wishes our beautiful mothers and all the beautiful mothers a wonderful and Happy Mother’s Day!!!

(photo credit: Pink roses gratitude ring by Curio Boutique)

The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934 by Anaïs Nin, Gunther Stuhlmann (editor)

“We once admired those who did not compromise, who destroyed themselves. We will come to admire those who fight the enemies of life.” – Anaïs Nin

“I postpone death by living, by suffering, by error, by risking, by giving, by losing… The romantic submits to life, the classicist dominates it.” – Anaïs Nin

5 stars – A reflective, poignant journal of Anaïs Nin’s internal surreal world

Reading The Diary of Anaïs Nin is like diving into an ocean of poetic feelings and nuanced perspectives written with artistry, eloquence and surrealism. It makes you want to swim in her sea of words and discover who she really is (beyond the essayist and writer). The Diary volume 1 is a interesting (but expurgated) account of Anaïs Nin’s life aged 28-31 years old. Anaïs is a complex woman; she is unafraid to explore her psyche and desperate need for love. She writes about all the roles that she must play in life for others – the artist, writer, patient, lover, daughter and friend.

Anaïs is an eloquent writer and a progressive thinker of her time. Her intimate diary accounts self-reflections on her relationships, art, being a woman, life, love, passion, writing, surrealism, seduction, feminism & femininity, psychoanalysis, compassion, honesty and her relationship with her father. I enjoyed reading her unique view of the world, which is truthful, perceptive and deeply poignant. She writes thoughtful and observant points about life and people. Near the end, I was shocked by her experiences and touched by her revelations. It’s no small thing to be able to describe feelings so accurately like she did. In my view, her diary is about self-discovery and individualism; it’s about her coming to terms with her own choices and her relationships. It’s also an intriguing read about her neurotic, artistic friends and lovers. Anaïs’ diary however does contain [spoiler alert] undertones of her incestuous relationship with her estranged father (you have been warned), this in no way detracts from her potent and expressive sophisticated writing. Recommended for readers that enjoy reading different perspectives on life and self-reflection, and readers who like eloquent, poetic writing and a provocative read. I will be getting the internationally acclaimed volume 2 soon!

– NJ

Other interesting quotes from the book:

“For my life is slowed up by thought and the need to understand what I am living.”

“He overlooked the deeper cravings of an artist, for whom deep love is the only possible form, no simmering life but a boiling one, no small compromise with reality.”

“Ordinary life does not interest me. I seek only the high moments. I am in accord with the surrealists, searching for the marvellous.”

“I thought of my difficulties with writing, my struggles to articulate feelings not easily expressed. Of my struggles to find a language for intuition, feelings, instincts which are, in themselves, elusive, subtle, and wordless.”

“You cannot possess without loving.”

“As an ordinary woman I might have been serenely happy with such a miniature life, but I am not that woman.”

“I want the key, the key to the lies” [Henry] “Passion and violence never opened a human being.” [Anais] “What opens human beings?” “Compassion.”

“You have no gratitude because you have no love. To be grateful, one must first know how to love.”

“Proofs of love and friendship are what I give to others all the time. And everyone seems to need them.”

“I want to give him life and adventure, but I cannot convey to him that it is the mood, not the places, the relationships which can light up shabby hotel rooms, stained cafe tables, brimming  noisy streets, sour wine.”

“Create a world, your world. Alone. Stand alone. Create. And then love will come to you.”

“I wondered whether he was right that it was the rituals we had lost, or whether it was that people had lost the power to feel, and that no ritual would give it to them.”

“For the absolute, one dies if one wants the absolute.” 

“The neurotic is the modern romantic who refuses to die because of his illusions and fantasies prevent him from living. He enters a combat to live. We once admired those who did not compromise, who destroyed themselves. We will come to admire those who fight the enemies of life.”

“When others asked the truth of me, I was convinced it was not the truth they wanted, but an illusion they could bear to live with. I was convinced of people’s need of illusion.”

“It is the woman who has to speak. And it is not only the woman Anais who has to speak, but I who have to speak for many women. As I discover myself, I feel I am merely one of many, a symbol. I begin to understand June, Jeanne, and many others…, women of yesterday and today. The mute ones of the past, the inarticulate, who took refuge behind wordless intuitions; and the women of today, all action, and copies of men. And I, in between… My life has been one long series of efforts, self-discipline, will. Here I can sketch, improvise, be free, and myself.”

“We love best those who are, or act for us, a self we do not wish to be or act out.”

“The struggle to live by my own truth is so difficult, so weary… I am like the adventurer who leaves all those he loves, and returns with his arms full of gold; and then they are happy and they forget how they tried to keep this adventurer from exploring, from his voyage and his search.”

“Poetic vision is not the outcome of blindness but of a force which can transcend the ugliest face of reality, swallow and dissolve it by its strength, not evasion.” 

Click here for the book blurb on Goodreads.

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind

Translated by John E. Woods

5 stars!

This book demanded my utter surrender to its terrible beauty and elegant prose, made me consider whether love meant the ultimate possession. Grenouille’s strong need for love driven by hate, cruelty, apathy and loathing is so palpable that it stays with you. A meditative reflection on humanity, a loveless world and time, and a forsaken man driven to possess love in a bottled perfume. What a dangerous, heady mix… Highly recommended, an enrapturing read that ensnares you from page 1.

Click here to read the book blurb on Goodreads.