Book Review #11 The Magdalen Girls

Hello everyone and welcome to my 11th book review!! This review is about The Magdalen Girls by V.S. Alexander, a 292 page book so a very quick and easy read. Special shout out to Kensington books for giving me and advanced copy of the book! Review time!

Overview: It’s 1962 in Dublin Ireland, within the beautiful city lies the convent of the Sisters of the Holy Redemption. In the redemption lies the magdalen laundries. Once a place of refuge now turned into a terrible working house. Where some of the fellow magdalens or better known as inmates are fallen women: unwed mothers, prostitutes, or petty criminals better known to the nuns as “sinners”. However most of the women at the Sisters of Holy Redemption for false accusations of being “sinners”: being too pretty, too independent, or too passionate in life. And now the Sisters of the Holy Redemption are receiving two new inmate “sinners”: Teagan Tiernan and Nora Craven.

Teagan is a sixteen year old girl who was sent to the Sisters of the Holy Redemption by her family because her natural beauty provoked the lustful intentions of a young priest. Nora is also sixteen and has become too much of a brash independent girl for her parents to deal with. Within the Sister of the Holy Redemption Teagan and Nora and the “sinners” before them lose their old life, given a new name, and stripped of their freedom from the outside world or their own choices. They can’t even leave the Sisters of the Holy Redemption even when they turn 18, they must have someone sign them away from that place. Teagan and Nora soon become great friends trying to scheme and plan their way to get out of that horrible place while dealing with agonizing labor and inflections of cruel dehumanizing punishments from the nuns who run the place. Will Teagan and Nora make it out or will they break and become hollow magdalens like the rest of the girls before them?

My Opinion: I really enjoyed this book for a multitude of reasons, but I do give it a 3/5 stars. V.S. has a wonderful, fluid writing style. One scene would flow into the next never leaving me to question what happened and how did the story get to where it was. The pacing was just absolutely amazing, V.S. never spent too much time on one scene. Which made me never really get bored of the book, and it also didn’t make the story feel rushed at all.

The beginning was amazing, I loved that the reader actually gets to read the plot of how Teagan and Nora ended up in the Sisters of the Holy Redemption. Instead of just them already being in the convent telling each other their stories for back ground plot for the reader. The reader really gets a perspective of Teagan and Nora living their good lives to being forced into something awful. The middle of the book was great as well: seeing Teagan and Nora adjust to their new life and how they were struggling to keep their will strong to get out of this horrible place. V.S. did a great job showing how time can affect the human spirit. The ending however felt a little supersaturated and stretched out for the plot. It wasn’t bad but, I felt V.S could have excluded a few things. However, I liked how it ended.

I loved the characters they were easy to relate to and sympathize with especially Teagan, I admired her fighting spirit and courage. I loved Nora’s rebellious attitude towards the nuns and the convent, she was such a bad ass punk! But as mentioned before how time can affect the human spirit it was great to see what they were becoming from being trapped in the Sisters of Holy Redemption and other challenges they had to face in the book.

I very much enjoyed the subject matter as well, not just as a historian but also as a reader. The subject of the laundry reformatories is a fascinating yet very tragic. I don’t know if America had anything like the laundry reformatories, or just the regular mental reformatories but they were popular in Europe. But it is a subject I would love to further research. Plus this is a subject that definitely should be brought to attention not just in Europe but all over the world. It’s a very sad subject to lose your freedom and have your life dramatically altered for the worse by someone you trusted and loved.

I defiantly recommend The Magdalin Girls to everyone because it is such a fascinating subject with great characters. It’s a quick good read that depicts the fighting spirit in women!

 

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Book Review #10 Star Wars: The Paradise Snare

Hello everyone, I know it has been a while! I’m excited to write my tenth book review! This time my book review can get about as nerdy as you can get because the book I choose is Star Wars: Paradise Snare by A. C. Crispin, Han Solo’s back story. It’s a 306 page book that was a very quick easy read. I’m a huge Star Wars fan, I’ve seen the movies a million times and I thought it was time to start reading the books. I really only want to read the books that are canon to the main story line (excluding any book related to the prequels). I choose to start with Paradise Snare because I love Han Solo, he is my favorite character and I wanted to read what his life was like before he met Luke and Leia. I know at the time that I am writing this there is a start of a Han Solo stand alone movie about his beginnings (like they haven’t even started filming it but are casting and all that pre-filming stuff) that may make this book series null and void to the canon of Han Solo’s past just like other book series when The Force Awakens came out. However, I really want to read these books and I think it will be fine changing the story if it’s something Star Wars fans can enjoy.

Overview: Han is a young man at the age of 18 or 19 and just escaped the cruel grip of the malicious Captain Shrike and his ship to become his own man. Han wants to become the best pilot in the galaxy and to join the Imperial Navy and be a pilot for them. Before Han can do that he needs to sharpen his piloting skills and make some money to pay for the admission fee for the Imperial Navy. Han is already a decent pilot but he find a job on the Planet Ylesia to train in his skills and make some good money. Ylesia, is a paradise planet filled with religious promises and a hidden illicit drug trade but Han knows it will make him great amount of money. However, Han soon learns everything promised on this paradise planet is not what it seems especially with the religious leaders running the place. Han must find a way to escape with his new friends or be stuck to become a brain washed fool.

Overview: Besides the fact that I love Star Wars and that it is a Star wars book I really did enjoy it. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. It was really fun learning about Han’s past from when he was a kid to the point it reached for the starting point of the book with Captain Shrike. There was plenty of action, conversation, and mystery to the book that could keep me and other readers entertained. Even if you’re not a Star Wars fan it’s a fun book to read, you really don’t need to watch the movies in order to understand Paradise Snare. Paradise Snare doesn’t focus on the Jedi, Sith, or the politics of the world like the senate it is easy to understand a story about a regular man trying to make his own in the Star Wars universe. Even if you take out the factor that it’s in the Star Wars universe it’s an action packed story about a young smuggler in space.

My two biggest complaints is that one it was a very easy read. It really took me a day to read this book. It doesn’t present the reader with much of a challenge, but that’s ok. It’s probably going to be pretty fun to watch this as a movie. My second complaint is that A. C. Crispin switches the names of the characters with their alien race names when she writes what they’re doing. For example: Crispin would write “Han said…” then later in the paragraph she wrote “the Corelliean…”. So sometimes I would forget what alien races these characters were and have to re-read just to see who she was talking about. Also sometime the alien race’s names would match the name of a character, so again I’d have to re-read who she was talking about. Just stick to the character names unless you’re describing what the alien race looked like.

What I do love about the book was the characters. Even though I couldn’t really relate to a character because I have never been in space or exist in the Star Wars universe or been in their situation, these characters were people I would cheer for in life or befriend. Even though this a short easy read I think this book makes the reader focus on the characters and develop attachments to characters  than the plot of the book. I got really attached the characters besides Han Solo especially with Muuurgh, Han’s body guard. I also love that a woman wrote this story. She captured the essence of Han Solo’s character and the adventure story-like telling of the Star Wars movies. Women like Star Wars too!

Since this is a trilogy series the ending left at a good point to start up for the next book! It wasn’t a crazy cliff hanger just like the Star Wars movie. However, the reader can feel that there is more to be had in the next book. I say read the book! For those who are big fans of the movies but also for people who are not the biggest fan of Star Wars. It’s a fun action read that makes the reader attached to the characters and wants to see them get out alive in this adventure.