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review 2015-11-28 16:53
The Witch of Painted Sorrows by MJ Rose
The Witch of Painted Sorrows - M.J. Rose

Full review on my blog.

I chose to read this book because of the author, the book cover, the title and the description. It was an all in one for me.

The Witch of Painted Sorrows is the story of Sandrine Salomé, a woman who decides to escape her unhappy marriage in New York to find shelter at her grandmother’s house in Paris. Her grandmother is a famous Parisian courtesan, who has accumulated innumerable treasures in her house. When Sandrine arrives, she finds herself homeless, as her grandmother had moved out of the house in hopes of turning it into a museum. Her grandmother doesn’t want Sandrine near the house. There is something about the house, Sandrine can’t let go of it, she manages to inhabit the house and along with Julien Duplessi, the architect in charge of the museum project, she embarks in a life changing journey of discovery, not only of the dark mysteries of her family’s past hidden inside the house but also a journey that will lead her to discover her passion for art and her own sensuality.

The Witch of Painted Sorrows is a delight for the senses. The setting is described in such a way that it is impossible not to feel like you are right there, inside that house, exploring the hidden room, mixing the pigments, creating the paintings, walking through the Parisian streets, or living the bohemian life in Paris in 1890.

And the provocative romance, it is impossible not to feel seduced by it. It is I must say a book for adults. I wouldn’t recommend it for YA nor the advanced YA readers. Not that kids today aren’t reading about sex, but I wouldn’t want to give kids the idea that adultery is enchanting. The sensual content in this book is more likely to be enjoyed by adults.

The Witch of Painted Sorrows is a story that gets sexier and darker with every page you read. Reading it feels like touching velvet. It is a bewitching story. I couldn’t put this book down. I was so into the story that when I finished it, it left me hungry for more. I wanted to keep reading; I wanted to stay in that magical world for a while longer. And this abrupt ending is the main reason it didn’t get 5 stars in my rating.

Nevertheless, this book confirmed that I am a fan of MJ Rose. I can’t wait to read more of her work. If you’re looking for a book with an exquisite blend of history, romance, eroticism, magic, witchcraft, paranormal, mystery, and art, this is the book for you. If you’re looking for a book that will make you travel back in time to the bohemian life of the Belle Époque in Paris, this is the book for you. If you’re looking for a hypnotic story filled with passion, mystique and drama, this is the book for you.

Full review and other musings of mine on my blog.






I received an Electronic copy of this book but was not financially compensated in any way nor obliged to review. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my personal experience while reading it. This post contains affiliate links
Source: bloggeretterized.wordpress.com/2015/11/28/read-reviewed-74-the-witch-of-painted-sorrows-by-m-j-rose
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review 2015-03-18 00:35
The Witch of Painted Sorrows by M.J. Rose
The Witch of Painted Sorrows - M.J. Rose

Such a good book. This one seemed to have just about everything. We have a wife on the run from her horrible husband, the beautiful setting of historical Paris, dark family secrets, and a love affair. These are all woven beautifully together to create the story of La Lune and Sandrine.

I'm not even sure where to begin. You are eased into the paranormal elements as more of a family legend. But when the legend seems to be slowly coming to life, things begin to really take off. Sandrine is the focal point of this and her time in Paris was amazing. I loved watching her slowly changing to become more that what she really was. This is seen in her personality, her art, and even the way she dresses. But it happens so slowly that we don't really notice it all coming together until her grandmother throws it in your face!

The history was fantastic. M.J. Rose really draws you into 1890's Paris and the art scene as it changes and evolves under the influence of mysticism movement. People are more and more interested in the occult and it just adds a nice element in the layering of the story.

My only complaint was the ending. It came very fast and very sudden. It was a great climactic scene, but I felt like I didn't have a chance to really enjoy everything coming together and being revealed before it was just over. I'm really hoping the series continues with this storyline. I still have so much more I want to see.

*This book was received in exchange for an honest review*

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text 2015-01-29 08:48
TBR Thursday - the Birthday edition!
My Family and Other Animals - Gerald Durrell
The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia 9th Edition - Frank Knight,Graham Pizzey
Interior Desecrations: Hideous Homes from the Horrible '70s - James Lileks
Devil in the Deadline - LynDee Walker
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
The Dress Shop of Dreams - Menna van Praag
Twilight of the Belle Epoque: The Paris of Picasso, Stravinsky, Proust, Renault, Marie Curie, Gertrude Stein, and Their Friends Through the Great War - Mary McAuliffe
The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays - Oscar Wilde

If they all arrived the week of my birthday, they count as birthday presents, right?  That's my story anyway...


The first three up there were actual presents: The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia 9th Edition was from my husband; a supremely thoughtful gift and likely a small act of self preservation on his part.  Now when I go "what's that bird??" he can direct me to my own bookshelf.  My brother-in-law and his wife got me My Family and Other Animals and Interior Desecrations: Hideous Homes from the Horrible '70s.  I've flipped through Interior Desecrations and it has absolutely lived up to its title; I was cackling at how god-awful some of those interiors were.  Who does that?!?!


I have been accused of having a concerning number of copies of P&P.  This is possibly true but I admit to nothing.  I read the front cover of this gem, Pride and Prejudice and died laughing, so it got added to the "happy birthday to me" list.  I'd like to share this snipped from the back cover:


"Mrs. Bennet is on a mission to marry off her five daughters to rich men.


Enter, Mr. Charles Bingley and his rather fit friend, Darcy."


"..his rather fit friend" had me cackling with laughter all over again.


The cigarette, though, is the crowning touch, IMO.


The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays by Oscar Wilde was purchased because A. I've never read any Wilde and feel remiss and B. it fits the "over 100 years old" prompt in the PopSugar Challenge.


After reading Dawn of the Belle Epoque, I needed to know what happened next so...Twilight of the Belle Epoque: The Paris of Picasso, Stravinsky, Proust, Renault, Marie Curie, Gertrude Stein, and Their Friends Through the Great War - Mary McAuliffe  


I'm a devoted fan of LynDee Walker's Headline in High Heels series (stupid name for such a good series) so Devil in The Deadline - LynDee Walker  has been on the list for months.


Last, but not least, I first started eyeing The Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna van Praag  because its story line is similar to a favorite cozy series (Magical Dressmaking by Melissa Bourbon) and then after reading Obsidian Blue's review, that 'buy now' button sort of just pushed itself.  I swear.



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text 2014-12-31 22:30
2014 in Review
Lamentation - C.J. Sansom
Twilight of the Belle Epoque: The Paris of Picasso, Stravinsky, Proust, Renault, Marie Curie, Gertrude Stein, and Their Friends Through the Great War - Mary McAuliffe
Someone Knows My Name: A Novel - Lawrence Hill
A Trick of the Light - Louise Penny
Wings Of Fire - Charles Todd
The Boleyn King - Laura Andersen
The Windsor Faction: A Novel - D.J. Taylor
Archduke Franz Ferdinand Lives!: A World without World War I - Richard Ned Lebow
The Magicians - Lev Grossman

2014 was a very good reading year.


2 new reads (not counting knitting books) worth 5 stars: Lamentation, by C.J. Sansom, and Twilight of the Belle Epoque, by Mary McAuliffe.  Three more came close, coming in at 4.5 stars: Someone Knows My Name (aka The Book of Negroes), A Trick of the Light, and Wings of Fire.


Standout author discovery: Louise Penny.  I read eight of her excellent Inspector Gamache novels this year.  I kind of want to move to Three Pines, Quebec, now.  Except for the dead bodies thing.  (Note: read in order.  Order counts with this series.)


Biggest disappointment: The Boleyn King, for taking a great alternate history idea (Anne Boleyn lives, as she gives birth to a boy in 1536; Henry VIII has only two wives), and wastes it on a teenaged Tudor love triangle, featuring a Mary Sue in the lead role. 


Worst reads: The Windsor Faction, which sells itself as alternate-history thriller (Edward VIII is king in 1939 when WW2 starts; will he pull Britain out of the war?) but is actually a literary novel about a wet mess of a girl whom I neither liked nor cared about.  Archduke Franz Ferdinand Lives!, which features a pompous author, inconsistent arguments, and a poor sources page (mostly "learn more in my other books!").


Hardest to rate: The Magicians, alias Holden Caulfield goes to Hogwarts.  Parts of it I liked, a few parts I liked a lot (like when he was magically unable to speak), and parts I hated, like the WTF? ending.   Apparently the first volume of a trilogy.  I shall not be reading the rest of it.

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text 2014-12-13 00:51
Gli anarchici della Belle Époque - Giovanni Ansaldo

Sarà che non ho colto sangue borghese che scorre nelle vene, bensì rosso e umile sangue proletario, ma io non l’ho trovato un “gustoso viaggio nel mondo e nelle idee dell’anarchismo” e tantomeno un libro “godibilissimo” come recita la nota in quarta di copertina. Non ho trovato né il mondo né le idee dell’anarchismo, bensì irritanti “etichette”, che cerco di seguito, nonostante la mia poca capacità raziocinante, di commentare.


L’autore ci spiega che l’approccio dei giovani intellettuali, “di un certo livello sociale”, col pensiero anarchico rimase “letterario”. Quello “dei mezzo-intellettuali venuti dai ceti artigiani od operai” fu invece d’impatto più vigoroso. E ci spiega Ansaldo il perché: “Sul cervello di costoro le nuove idee, attuate nelle letture frettolose, hanno un effetto ben più forte che sul cervello dei figli dei borghesi, e sono essi che raccolgono la parola d'ordine di Kropotkin” ("Rivolta permanente con il discorso, con lo scritto, con il pugnale, con il fucile, con la dinamite").
Ansaldo parlando dei gruppi anarchici descrive l’anarchico più o meno così: quello spagnolo se la prende col prelato, è un bombarolo che colleziona teschi e tibie clericali. Quello francese è fantasioso, dà titoli pittoreschi ai propri gruppi, di possibile estrazione piccolo borghese irritato e invidioso dell’altrui bella vita. Puzza persino di odi audaci e preferisce l’attentato alla dinamite.
Infine, quello italiano, che pur subendo l’influenza dei compagni fuori porta è fatto di un altro legno, un legno più nobile. Non se la prende con la borghesia, se non in modo ridotto perché da noi la prosperità borghese è assai modesta. Allora punta in alto, punta ai grandi della terra. I re.
Insomma, tutte macchiette, mezzo-intellettuali quando va bene, dei poveretti che han l’impulso ad agire più sviluppato della facoltà raziocinativa.
E veniamo ai nomi:
Sante Caserio, figlio di gente buona e onesta di campagna, il cui difetto più grave è quello d’avere una forte venatura di pellagra nel sangue. Penultimo di sei o sette figli è un bambino campagnolo che a 10 anni lavora dal fornaio. A 14 va a Milano e lì, la sua povera testa di ragazzo campagnolo prende fuoco sotto l’azione delle letture avventurose e dei discorsi infiammati nelle riunioni internazionaliste e operaie.
Giovanni Passanante (il primo attentatore di Umberto I), lo sguattero di Salvia, che leggiucchia qualche cosa dell'internazionale; forse conosce il nome Carlo Cafiero, “ un Erostrato da sottoscala, cui la troppa fame sofferta aveva sconvolto il cervello, fino a fargli vagheggiare la sinistra gloria dei regicidi”.
Pietro Acciarito (secondo attentatore di Umberto I), fabbro ferraio, con poca voglia di lavorare, “preso nel giro di ideologie anarchiche più nette e precise del Passanante. La ricetta, da lui enunciata più volte al padre: "per far passare la miseria bisogna fare la festa a qualche pezzo grosso", rivela la marca della sua rudimentale dottrina”.
Gaetano Bresci (terzo e ultimo attentatore di Umberto I). “Nella famiglia c'era stata una spinta a elevarsi dalla condizione di contadini, a studiare, a farsi innanzi”. Un fratello diventa tenente nel 10° reggimento artiglieria. “Quanto a Gaetano, pur con tutte le sue farraginose letture di giornaletti e libercoli, dovette in gioventù sedersi al deschetto di calzolaio; e ciò non giovò alla serenità del suo carattere. [...] Il primo sedimento di ostilità sprezzante verso lo Stato italiano e la monarchia di Savoia, il Bresci lo derivo senza dubbio dall'ambiente di piccola gente pratese, in cui venne su”.
Riassumendo: spagnoli bombaroli, francesi attentatori, italiani regicidi.


Ben diversi, invece, il tono e il linguaggio nella lunga parte dedicata a Giuseppe Bandi (fondatore del giornale per cui lavorava Ansaldo) e a Umberto I nel ricordo che ne ha Ansaldo bambino. Chissà poi perché.


Concludendo questo libro “godibilissimo”, di godibile ha una sola cosa: la brevità. Ma io non sono, come era invece l’autore, nata in una colta e borghese famiglia. Appartengo a quella masnada di teste balorde, povere d’intelletto. Sarà per questo. Amen.


P.S. Se, data la mia scarsa intelligenza, avessi mal interpretato questo "libro", qualcuno mi illumini.

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