Sois sage Reine-May [Colline Hoarau],204,203,200_.jpgÀ dix ans, Reine-May quitte son île, la Réunion, pour être adoptée par un couple de Bretons dans le Centre Bretagne, à Sainte-Tréphine. Quelques années plus tard, elle reçoit une lettre. Elle doit venir régler des affaires dans l’Océan Indien. C’est un voyage dans le temps dans deux univers différents : la Bretagne et la Réunion. Le lecteur plonge dans les charmes de ces régions éloignées. Reine-May a un secret que nous serons amenés à deviner et à découvrir. Ce troisième roman de l’auteure est entraînant, oscillant entre la découverte et l’émotion. Bon voyage à ceux qui auront la chance de le commencer !

Ce que j’en ai pensé : Sois sage Reine-May est une lecture touchante qui aborde des thèmes profonds comme le déracinement, la tolérance et le vivre ensemble. À travers le regard étonnamment mature de la jeune Reine-May, on découvre les difficultés liées au choc des cultures, le tout sous-tendu par un secret familial et personnel profondément enfoui que ce personnage principal devra affronter lors de son retour sur son île natale.

Fort d’une belle écriture, ce livre offre un voyage émouvant entre deux terres réputées pour leur caractère et leur culture — la Bretagne et la Réunion. Au départ (et au vu des premiers indices), je m’attendais à une histoire portant sur le drame des enfants de la Creuse. Toutefois, mes doutes se sont vite estompés en découvrant les conditions de vie offertes par ce couple breton à la jeune Réunionnaise. Le secret de Reine-May porte sur un autre thème tout aussi dramatique que je vous invite à découvrir en lisant cet ouvrage.

Je recommande chaleureusement ce livre qui offre un regard très intéressant sur ces deux destinations, leurs coutumes et leur langue respective. Un très joli hymne à la diversité.

Ma note : ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Coins in the Fountain [Judith Works]

With middle age looming, Judith Works decided it was time for a change. But after graduating from law school at the age of forty-seven, she still faced the question “What now?” Casual conversations about far-off travels with husband Glenn became a reality with the offer of a dream job at the United Nations in Rome, Italy.

Coins in the Fountain brings to life the challenges of acclimating to the beautiful and chaotic ancient city of Rome. Works shares her struggles of learning the arcane rules and folkways of the UN while Glenn begins his valiant effort to cook Italian-style, as they both endeavor to embrace la dolce vita. With an extraordinary count and countess for friends, dogs in the doctor’s office, snakes and unexploded bombs on the golf course, along with a sinking sailboat, the unexpected was always just around the corner.

Through wit, wry humor, and enticing descriptions of food and travel adventures, Works takes you on a journey into the heart of what it is truly like to live in the Eternal City. According to Roman lore, if you toss a coin over your shoulder into the famous Trevi Fountain, the gods will grant you a return trip. When it was time for them to leave, Works made that hopeful toss of a coin and her wish was granted.

My thoughts on the novel: Coins in the Fountain is a captivating memoir written by Judith Works who has clearly led quite a hectic, exciting life. Moving from the US to Italy to occupy an incredible job at the United Nations in Rome, she and her husband have to adjust to a new language, a new culture, a new way of life, a new “everything” basically. On top of that, you should know that at the time they started this adventure, it was near the end of the eighties, so forget all the practical technology, online banking and high speed Internet we now rely on and could not live without!

When she shares her many awkward or funny anecdotes that took place at the beginning of her journey, you won’t resist laughing a little. Experiencing the cultural shock helps you grow and learn about yourself. I know what I am talking about (let’s not even mention the impact of the reverse cultural shock). Coins in the Fountain made me reflect of my own experiences, so I liked this book a lot.

It is filled with interesting, informative and entertaining stories on a vast array of topics, from local traditions and cuisine to politics and history, religion and culture. It is meticulously researched and detailed. It makes for a vivid tale. The author really managed to encapsulate what expatriate life can be like (trips, friends, job, discoveries, bad moments and happy moments). I particularly enjoyed reading the bittersweet ending. You can really tell how hard it can be to leave behind your new heart home.

If you are unsure you’ll enjoy this kind of once-in-a-lifetime adventure, do read this book, it’ll help change your mind to give it a go.

My Score: ♥ ♥ ♥

The Alpha Female’s Guide to Men and Marriage [Suzanne Venker]

The Alpha Female’s Guide to Men and Marriage shows women who have a dominating personality how to love a man.

America is in love with the alpha female. She’s the quintessential modern woman—assertive, razor sharp, and fully in control. Her success in the marketplace is undeniable, a downright boon to society. But what happens when the alpha female gets married?

She becomes an alpha wife, of course.

An alpha wife is in charge of everything and everyone. She is, quite simply, the Boss. The problem is, no man wants a boss for a wife. That type of relationship may work for a spell, but it will eventually come crashing down. Since 1970, just as women became more and more powerful outside the home—more alpha—the divorce rate has quadrupled. And it is women who lead the charge. Today, 70% of divorce is initiated by wives.

Do men just make lousy husbands? Not at that rate, says Suzanne Venker, bestselling author of The War on Men. The truth is that women don’t know how to be wives. Why would they? That’s not what they were raised to become.

But women can learn. There’s an art to loving a man, says Venker, and any woman can master it. An alpha female herself, Venker learned how to be a wife the hard way—through trial and error. Lots of error. And here’s what she knows today—the set of skills a woman needs to pursue a career, or even to raise children, is the exact set of skills that will mess up her marriage but good. No man likes to be told what to do. And no woman respects the man who does.

The Alpha Female’s Guide to Men and Marriage gives women who are used to being in charge the tools they need to make their marriages less competitive and more complementary. Part memoir, part advice, this brave manifesto argues that while marriage is more challenging for the alpha female, it is possible to find peace in your marriage. In fact, it may be easier than you think.

My thoughts on the book: I don’t usually read many self-help books, but at times it’s quite interesting. You can always get some things out of them. I believe the important thing is to always exercise your critical thinking and not take every single thing at face value. Take what you feel applies to you and leave the rest. They offer one truth, not a universal truth, just “a” viewpoint.

When I discovered this book in the NetGalley catalogue, I felt intrigued and as I’ve always considered myself relatively “alpha” (because of my entrepreneurial spirit and need for independence), I thought I might learn a thing or two about improving relationships dynamics. However, granted that the book is filled with valid points and interesting tips, there were some things that didn’t quite sit well with me. I believed it lacked a bit of perspective when it comes to “temperaments” (I’m referring to extrovert people vs. introvert ones). The Alpha women described in the book often come across as loud, somewhat bossy personalities, which is what led me to try the Alpha/beta test the author mentioned was available online. And apparently I’m a “purple” (low Alpha/mid-beta), basically an emotional person (a spot-on result). It made sense that I didn’t necessarily recognize myself in this self-help book. So, now that this matter was clearly established, I can say that I might not have been the main target audience.

But, again, it is always enlightening to learn about others’ experiences and this guide fulfills its mission. I recommend it because it’s important to form your own opinions based on a wide range of facts. Read it, pick what you deem necessary and leave what felt at odds with your own life. I think that, in the end, it is the purpose of a “self-help” book.

My score: ♥ ♥ ♥

Le livre qui rendait fou d’amour [Catherine Choupin]

Le Livre qui rendait fou d'amour par [Choupin, Catherine]Résumé — Lénore constate que l’un de ses romans ensorcelle inéluctablement les lecteurs. Edgar, qui fait partie des nombreuses victimes, prend plusieurs identités successives sur Facebook pour tenter de se faire aimer en retour. La fatalité qui pèse sur l’ouvrage maudit prend alors un tour inattendu.

Ce que j’en ai pensé — Merci à Librinova de m’avoir proposé de lire ce roman qui traite du pouvoir magique des mots et de la relation spéciale qui se noue entre les auteurs et leurs lecteurs. Au fil de leurs échanges sur Internet, Lénore et Edgar tombent éperdument amoureux l’un de l’autre. Ce n’est pas un coup de foudre physique, mais la rencontre de deux âmes sœurs — deux esprits partageant la même passion pour la littérature, la poésie et la culture. Rédigé avec finesse et élégance, ce récit égraine de nombreuses références que l’auteure explique à la fin (une excellente idée !), ce qui a l’avantage de donner de bonnes idées de lectures complémentaires.

J’ai particulièrement aimé le contraste fond/forme : Lénore et Edgar apprennent à se connaître grâce aux technologies modernes comme la jeune génération, mais le contenu de leurs discussions est atypique en raison des connaissances culturelles et littéraires très pointues des deux personnages. Férus de poésie, ils s’appréhendent à distance, se jaugent et distillent des indices subtils quant à leurs sentiments. C’est fin, habile et romantique… à mille lieues des conversations parfois superficielles et primitives sur la toile.

Ce roman saura séduire les lecteurs et lectrices désireux de se plonger dans une véritable romance. Page après page, le lecteur peut vivre par procuration une belle histoire d’amour contée avec délicatesse.

Un livre qui porte bien son nom.

Ma note : ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥