Anne-Cécile W.

Anne-Cécile W.

French girl, love to travel and to discover something new everyday! :-)

The House Girl, a captivating historical novel about slavery by Tara Conklin

jeudi 12 décembre 2013      The House Girl

Virginia, 1852. Seventeen-year-old Josephine Bell decides to run from the failing tobacco farm where she is a slave and nurse to her ailing mistress, the aspiring artist Lu Anne Bell. New York City, 2004. Lina Sparrow, an ambitious first-year associate in an elite law firm, is given a difficult, highly sensitive assignment that could make her career: she must find the “perfect plaintiff” to lead a historic class-action lawsuit worth trillions of dollars in reparations for descendants of American slaves.
It is through her father, the renowned artist Oscar Sparrow, that Lina discovers Josephine Bell and a controversy roiling the art world: are the iconic paintings long ascribed to Lu Anne Bell really the work of her house slave, Josephine? A descendant of Josephine’s would be the perfect face for the reparations lawsuit—if Lina can find one. While following the runaway girl’s faint trail through old letters and plantation records, Lina finds herself questioning her own family history and the secrets that her father has never revealed: How did Lina’s mother die? And why will he never speak about her?
Moving between antebellum Virginia and modern-day New York, this searing, suspenseful and heartbreaking tale of art and history, love and secrets, explores what it means to repair a wrong and asks whether truth is sometimes more important than justice.

I was first attracted by the beautiful cover of this book. Then I discovered that many people seemed to appreciate it very much, finding it both thrilling and touching. 
I am not particularly fond of historical fiction, but the subject was very captivating, and Tara Conklin described everything so perfectly (she even describes things too much sometimes) that I had the impression to be there, at Josephine's side. 

The book tells the stories of the slave-girl Josephine in 1850's Virginia and of the lawyer Lina in 2004 in New York City, separating both well. 
The House Girl made me laugh, cry, shake: I felt everything that Josephine did, joy or pain, and this novel made me aware of the cruelty of American slavery. 

It is Conklin's first novel, so it may contain some mistakes but it is generally very touching and litteraly heartbreaking.A must-read for all those who had loved The Help

About Time, Richard Curtis is the master of the romantic comedy!

samedi 16 novembre 2013      About Time [DVD + UV Copy] [2013]

Richard Curtis is almost 60 years old, but his movies have never been better. He is the one hiding behind some of the greatest British romantic scenarios of these past ten years: Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones' Diary, Love Actually and others. He knows how to show love on the big screen and also has this English sense of humour we don't find that often.
About Time may be the last movie he realizes, Curtis announced he wasn't sure yet to work on antoher one after that.

In his movies, the cast is always perfect, actors are very talented and the characters they play are often touching, funny and sometimes annoying - just because they remind us of ourselves...

The story is centered on Tim (Domhnall Geelson) and Mary (Rachel McAdams), two young beautiful people who meet, fall in love and get married. This could be the end of the story, but there's something unusual about this perfect couple: Tim has a supernatural power and can travel back in time. Despite this super-power, he doesn't always manage to help his loved ones and has to make choices, to face death, family issues and other things he would have loved being able to erase.

The story is really smart and nice, it is clearly not one of these so-called "romantic comedies" which all seem to have the same jokes and same scripts.
About Time is really original and emotional, I could not help but crying - and I bet you'd do the same. MUST-SEEN!

Panic! At The Disco loses some identity with this -still very good- new album.

lundi 21 octobre 2013      Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die!

Back to my high school years, while Panic! At The Disco was one of my favorite bands. I have to admit I kind of snubbed them since their split up (Ryan Ross, the former guitarist, was my favorite band member and I couldn't imagine the band existing without him), but I wanted to listen to this brand new album, just to see what it would be like.

The CD's title, Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die! already pleased me: it perfectly fitted P!ATD, addicted to XXL track titles quite as long as their whole songs. After reading the tracklist, I noticed that this point didn't appear anywhere else than on the album's title, all the tracks' names were quite short. 

First listen, first impressions :

Let's make things clear: I like the album, and I find that it fitted well to the band's music tag, evolving without losing its original identity. But I don't find that the evolution is at their advantage for once. One song after another, I realized that I didn't really listen to Panic! At The Disco, but rather a band trying to sound like Fall Out Boy (P!ATD's mentors, who invited the band to play the opening of their last tour). It disturbed me a bit more, even if I also like Fall Out Boy.

Among my favorite tracks, I would quote Miss Jackson (undeniably the most "commercial" track of the album, which could be confused with a Fall Out Boy song, but I love it) and Casual Affair.
The End of All Things, the album's last song, is the traditional "closure" we can find on almost each band's album, a kind of melancholic old school ballad, which never really pleased me, true, BUT it's the band's hallmark, so that's a point for them (even if we could well debate the fact that all habits are not good to keep but that's not our point).

Brendon Urie's voice didn't change and is still nice to listen to. The instrumental parts tend to sound more pop than folk, while remaining very good. Regarding the lyrics, they stay quite faithful to the spirit of Panic! At The Disco: between tragedies, sarcasm and open letters to some kind of individuals.

I would recommend to all the former fans of the band to take a listen to this new opus. I think that if they do it right, P!ATD could soon intend to target a larger audience than the one of the previous albums... Even if they had to sacrifice part of their atypical personality and stop being outsiders for this purpose.

The Raven Boys, the new best-seller series by Maggie Stiefvater

mercredi 16 octobre 2013      The Raven Boys (Raven Boys Quartet)

After reading some of her previous books (the Wolves of Mercy Fall for example), I couldn't help buying this one to discover Maggie's new world. And hopefully I did!

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

[this is a summary I found on the website Goodreads]

I absolutely loved the characters, the plot, the book's cover, the writing style... Everything was great and well thoughtful. This book makes you feel weird, this book IS weird and perfect for people who like it.
The main character, Blue, was very likeable and everything, but the Raven Boys are just... breath-taking. I am becoming used falling in love with book characters, but THESE boys are well-developed, perfectly described, very attaching.

And the last line of the book was the best last line ever, even if it frustrated me a lot not being able to buy the next book right after. For people who enjoy fantasy and weirdness, this book is your next must-read!