Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Book Talk with R & T: R's Review of The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin


Hopefully everyone is excited as Tamara and I are about our latest installment of "Book Talk with R & T" !!  As we told y'all yesterday, all week we will be highlighting "The Fortune Hunter" by Daisy Goodwin. Today we are celebrating the book's US release and I'm posting my review. Later this week we will be chatting about the covers, movie cast, and anything else that strikes our fancy. Have you read "The Fortune Hunter" yet? We want to chat with you! 

Title: The Fortune Hunter
Author: Daisy Goodwin
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: July 29, 2014
ISBN: 9781250043894
Number of Pages: 480
How I Got It: Staci Burt / St. Martin's Press Publicity
Format: Paperback
Publisher's Description: THE FORTUNE HUNTER (St. Martin’s Press; July 29, 2014) is a brilliant, new novel that explores the irresistibility of the public lives and private longings of grand historical figures. Empress Elizabeth of Austria, known as "Sisi," is the Princess Diana of nineteenth-century Europe. Famously beautiful, as captured in a portrait with diamond stars in her hair, she is unfulfilled in her marriage to the older Emperor Franz Joseph. Sisi has spent years evading the stifling formality of royal life on her private train or yacht or, whenever she can, on the back of a horse.
Captain Bay Middleton is dashing, young, and the finest horseman in England. He is also impoverished, with no hope of buying the horse needed to win the Grand National—until he meets Charlotte Baird. A clever, plainspoken heiress whose money gives her a choice among suitors, Charlotte falls in love with Bay, the first man to really notice her, for his vulnerability as well as his glamour. When Sisi joins the legendary hunt organized by Earl Spencer in England, Bay is asked to guide her on the treacherous course. Their shared passion for riding leads to an infatuation that threatens the growing bond between Bay and Charlotte, and all of their futures.

My Review: 
To be honest, I had a tough time with the first 60 or so pages. There are a lot of character introductions and everyone seems to be called by multiple names and titles. Once I got in rhythm with the writing, I was fully submerged. At the center of the book is a love triangle between Charlotte (heir to the Lennox fortune,) Elizabeth / Sisi (the Austrian Empress,) and Bay (a horseman.) Charlotte is a self-assured young heiress. Her interest in photography rather than parties and social events clashes with the expectations of family members. Sisi travels in order to hide from her husband and the public. The aging beauty sets her sights on (and opens her purse to) Bay. Bay wants to marry Charlotte, but the interests of the Empress draw him away from his love.
This novel has everything I'm looking for in historical fiction. A time in history that would have otherwise been uninteresting to me (because most of my high school and college history classes focused on men and politics rather than all people and their daily lives) came to life in this book. The European locations, the balls, the rules of royalty,  the horse riding, the newness of photography and cross country railways, the vast frontier of America, everything is presented in a crisp, exciting way.
Not often is the secondary cast of characters as interesting as the main characters, but Daisy Goodwin wraps you up with social climbers, flamboyant Americans, spurned suitors, and the whole range of household servants.
Out of the secondary storylines my favorite is the relationship between Charlotte and her soon-to-be sister-in-law Augusta. These two women are very close in age with similar upbringings but their personalities and demeanors are so opposite of each other. Their quips and snide remarks back and forth had me laughing and I loved every time Charlotte got Augusta worked up about something.

About the Author: 
DAISY GOODWIN is the author of The American Heiress. She is a Harkness scholar who attended Columbia University’s film school after earning a degree in history at Cambridge University and is a leading television producer in the U.K. Her poetry anthologies have introduced many new readers to the pleasures of poetry, and she was Chair of the judging panel of the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction. She and her husband, an ABC TV executive, have two daughters and live in London.



Be sure to check out Daisy's WebsiteFacebook, and Twitter





Monday, July 28, 2014

Book Talk with R & T : The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin

Big Announcement! We're doing it again!!

Tamara (from Traveling with T) and I are back with another installment of "Book Talk with R & T."  We had so much fun a few months ago highlighting Samantha Hayes' "Until You're Mine" that we decided to do it again! This week we will be talking all about "The Fortune Hunter" by Daisy Goodwin. So check back in throughout the week on both of our blogs for reviews, chats, questions, and who we would pick for our dream movie cast!  
                          

Be sure to check out Daisy's WebsiteFacebook, and Twitter

Don't forget to follow us on Twitter! 
@Rockstar1023
@IvoryOwlReviews

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Co-Parenting with a Toxic Ex by Amy J L Baker and Paul R. Fine

My review and related article are featured on page 28 of the August issue of Athens Parent Magazine





Title: Co-Parenting with a Toxic Ex 
Author: Amy J L Baker and Paul R. Fine
Publisher: New Harbinger Publications
Publication Date: May 1, 2014
ISBN: 9781608829583
Number of Pages: 224
How I Got It: NetGalley
Format: Kindle

NetGalley Description: 
There's no question about it: your children are the most important thing in your life. But if you have gone through a messy divorce, your relationship with your children may become strained if you have to deal with a toxic ex. Your ex may bad-mouth you in front of the kids, accuse you of being a bad parent, and even attempt to replace you in the children’s lives with a new partner. As a result, your children may become confused, conflicted, angry, anxious, or depressed—and you may feel powerless.
In Co-parenting with a Toxic Ex, a nationally recognized parenting expert offers you a positive parenting approach to dealing with a hostile ex-spouse. You'll learn to avoid the most common mistakes of coparenting, how to avoid “parental alienation syndrome,” and effective techniques for talking to your children in a way that fosters open and honest response. In addition, you’ll learn how to protect your children from painful loyalty conflicts between you and your ex-spouse.
Divorce is often painful, especially if your ex habitually tries to undermine your relationship with your children. But with the right tools you can protect your kids and make your relationship with them stronger than ever. This book can show you how.

My Review:
General co-parenting books are not going to cover the specific struggles of co-parenting with a toxic ex. Authors Amy J L Baker and Paul R Fine provide information about positive parenting techniques with sections that range from "Five Components of Successful Family Meetings" to "Nine Ways to Be Involved in Your Child's Education That Don't Require Your Ex's Approval."
Baker and Fine also impart useful suggestions for situations such as when your child states "My dad told me, so it must be true!" or when your child's response to your new relationship is "Mommy says she loves me too much to start a new family." The authors emphasize the opportunities presented in these situations to provide your child with the information, love, and support they need. The list of resources and worksheets make this book indispensable to anyone co-parenting with a toxic ex.

You can find out more about this book and about author Amy J.L. Baker at www.amyjlbaker.com.

** I received this book in exchange for an honest review **