The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

How would you react if your father asked you to become a ghost bride? Would you agree if it meant a future of prosperity

This would have to be listed as one of my favourite reads for 2017!!!

Though ruled by British overlords in Colonial Malaya, the Chinese Malayans hold ancient customs, values and superstitions close to heart. Set in the sleepy port town of Malacca, this takes us back to the 1880’s and follows the story of Li Lan, our female protagonist and the daughter of a genteel yet bankrupt family with few prospects. Li Lan receives an unusual proposal from a wealthy and influential family – the Lims – who propose she become a ghost bride for their late and only son who recently died under mysterious circumstances. An ancient custom, becoming a ghost bride was said to placate a restless spirit and guarantee prosperity for the bride – but what happens when this restless spirit starts to haunt the potential ghost bride? What happens when rather than following regular protocols to rid a restless spirit from the human world, Li Lan embarks on a journey that leads her to a peculiar supernatural cross over.

Exploring old Malayan folklore, superstitions and intertwining of Malaysian culture with true historical events – this haunting, dark yet fascinating tale kept me turning the page to the very end! I was captivated from the first chapter and I strongly recommend this to fans of Frances Watts’ “The Peony Lantern”

Many thanks to Allen and Unwin Publishers who gave a copy to me as a prize for a competition I won.

This is one great book!!!

-Annie

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The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club by Sophie Green

As the founder of a major network of readers, I can say I can relate to this book. When living in a crazy world, going through hardships of your own, finding friendship with avid readers through a bond which is our love for reading truly is refreshing. Personally I’m more of a YA reader however I really enjoyed this book for adult readers given the themes covered in this book and the setting. It’s said to suit those who loved “The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul” and “The Thorn Birds.”

This book is set in the Northern Territory during the 1970’s at a time of calamity – Cyclone Tracy almost wiped Darwin off the map and telecommunications have yet to be revived. A bomb exploded outside of the Hilton Hotel in Sydney killing 3 people and Former Australian Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies dies.

I refer to this book as historical fiction due to the accurate reference to special events that took place in the 70’s. I enjoyed the intricate breakdown of each character that helped us get to know the character: Sybil, Sallyanne, Rita, Kate and Della at my own pace. What also kept me hanging to the end was how each of these women have their own hardships and stories to tell yet in a story of pain, there is the story of hope when friendships are formed over their love of books.

Highly recommended to fans of adult fiction set in Australia – not necessarily for just women. May also be of interest to those who lived in the 70’s.

Special thanks to Hachette Publishers for sending me an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.

And I Darken by Kiersten White

This was a book I thoroughly enjoyed from page 1. The plot was so intriguing and although this is an alternative history story, I can see the immense research the author put into this book.

Taking us back to the era of the Ottoman Empire, this book follows a female protagonist one may consider cruel and brutal, though if you were a Princess who was abandoned by their father to be raised in Ottoman Sultan’s courts and living in a world where women did not have rights, I guess I can understand Lada Dragwyla’s character. Ruthlessness is her key to survival, especially when her lineage has made her and her brother targets in this cruel world.

As the story progresses, Lada hones her skills as a warrior as she nurtures plans to wreak revenge on the empire that holds her captive. Then she and her brother Radu meet the sultan’s son, Mehmed, and everything changes!!! The characters were so well defined which made the story so great. Lada was the ruthless one, Radu is struggling to be true to himself and Mehmed is the misunderstood son of the Sultan that Lada plans to seek vengeance on.

Personally, I found the plot intriguing even the strain between Radu, Lada and Mehmed wasn’t cliché, it was interesting given the year and time it was set in. I found the alternative history setting very thorough and I was especially excited to see accurate Islamic representation in this book through the dialogue as the characters discussed the 5 pillars of Islam, prayers and even the Umrah/Hajj pilgrimage!! This is the first of an epic trilogy and I am really excited to read the sequel, “Now I Rise” as soon as possible.

Special thanks to Penguin Random House for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest review.
-Annie

My Name is Victoria by Lucy Worsley

Riveting read for those who like history with a twist!

My Name is Victoria is a sensational read about the young Queen Victoria in a fictional setting. It’s an interesting read that explores the young Queen’s life from when she was a young princess up to adolescence. I enjoyed the themes explored including friendship, loyalty, and selflessness. There are some twists and turns which did surprise me. I recommend this book for young readers who like history and learning about Queen Victoria’s struggles growing up in a royal household and fighting the “system” that she was born into. The chapters are set at different life stages of Queen Victoria as well as well known landmark settings like Kensington Place and Winsor Castle. I particularly liked the illustrations at the beginning of each section which depicts the setting of the story and the black silhouettes at the beginning of each chapter which gives the book a fairy-tale vibe. This book makes you want to learn more about the monarchy and the secrets behind what it is like to be royal. It’s a worthwhile, well researched and entertaining read!

– NJ

The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye

fantastic sequel that was just as epic as its debut!!!

“When two imperfect people come together, they make a perfect whole…”

“Nothing is more remote than yesterday, nothing is closer than tomorrow..”

In a nut shell.. I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!

This story continues from where we left off in the The Crown’s Game and we return to the characters I love so much.. Vika, Nikola and Pasha.. For those who read the first book, you remember what happened to these guys? (Really don’t want to give any spoilers here) Like book 1, book 2 kept me on the edge of my seat however I found this story to have even more mystery, intrigue and action!! The Crown’s Game focused on the building of alternate Russia and gave us insight into how The Crown’s Game worked – where enchanters entered into a competitive battle to win the position of Imperial Enchanter. However, now.. we look at the burning question – what happens when it’s not about fighting for the position of Imperial Enchanter anymore? It’s a fight for the throne…

Written so incredibly well, the story flowed amazingly even with various storylines. I absolutely loved the accurate referencing to Russian history within a fantasy story of magic set in alternate Russia. It’s definitely one of those books you can tell the author put a lot of thought, plan and research into it. I can officially say this book is another 2017 favourite!!

Special thanks to Harper Collins Publishers for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest review.
-Annie

Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession (Six Tudor Queens) by Alison Weir

An intense, refreshing and intriguing account of life as Anne Boleyn

Expected publication: 18 May 2017

Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession takes on a new intense, sympathetic perspective on Anne Boleyn’s life. In particular, the author explored a refreshing feminist perspective where Anne was a heroine in her own right – using her powers to influence social policies of the day and using her charm and wit to gain the favour of Henry VIII. What I enjoyed most about this novel is that whilst the story is overall sympathetic to Anne Boleyn, it was told in a believable way. The author added layers to her personality by showing that Anne Boleyn was an imperfect, ambitious woman who is also fragile and insecure throughout her life as mistress and then Queen of Henry VIII. This book chronologically accounts Anne Boleyn’s life from the glamorous French Court where she served as lady in waiting, to her time in the English Court where she ensnared the lust and obsession of Henry VIII. It accounts all her struggles against Queen Katherine (Henry VIII’s first wife) and daughter Mary, the harrowing path to become the new but much hated Queen of England and ending with her well-known downfall. Overall, it’s a long but intriguing read about what life would have been like as Anne Boleyn who was portrayed as a progressive and spirited woman. A woman who had to choose between love and power, faith and desire, passion and duty. There was substantial research done by the author to make this book an authentic read. I recommend this book for historical fiction lovers!

– NJ

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)