Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, SpyTitle: Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy
Author: Karen Abbott
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: five-stars
Links: Amazon|Goodreads|Indiebound

Summary: Some of the most exciting narrative nonfiction I’ve read. All four stories are brought vividly to life, with great detail and accuracy.

The four women in this book are very different but they also have a lot in common. Two of them were Confederates and two were loyal to the Union. They each had different motivations, from Belle Boyd’s pursuit of notoriety to Emma Edmonds’ desire to provide medical aid to soldiers on the battlefield. However, they all shared common attributes, including their bravery, their dedication to their work, and their ability to influence the outcome of the war.
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Filed under Biography, History, Narrative Non-Fiction, non-fiction, Review

Beyond the Pale

Beyond the PaleTitle: Beyond the Pale: A Fantasy Anthology
Author: Gillian Philip, Heather Brewer, Jane Yolen, Jim Butcher, Kami Garcia, Nancy Holder, Peter Beagle, Saladin Ahmed
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: four-stars
Links: Amazon|Goodreads|Indiebound

Summary: I liked almost all of the stories included in the collection and loved the diversity of the mythologies on which the stories were based.

This collection of short stories includes those I would categorize as paranormal, urban fantasy, magical realism, and a few bordering on horror. All stick relatively close to reality but step “beyond the pale”, including some mythical element. Several previously published authors contribute short stories related to their published series, but all of the stories can easily be read on their own.
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Filed under Fantasy, Fiction, Gothic, Magical Realism, Urban Fantasy

The Appetites of Girls

The Appetites of GirlsTitle: The Appetites of Girls
Author: Pamela Moses
Source: LibraryThing
Rating: three-stars
Links: Amazon|Goodreads|Indiebound

Summary: I loved the character development in this book, but I was disappointed by how little the characters interacted and by how little time was spent on the positive parts of the story.

“Self-doubting Ruth is coddled by her immigrant mother, who uses food to soothe and control. Defiant Francesca believes her heavy frame shames her Park Avenue society mother and, to provoke her, consumes everything in sight. Lonely Opal longs to be included in her glamorous mother’s dinner dates—until a disturbing encounter forever changes her desires. Finally, Setsu, a promising violinist, staves off conflict with her jealous brother by allowing him to take the choicest morsels from her plate—and from her future. College brings the four young women together as suitemates, where their stories and appetites collide. Here they make a pact to maintain their friendships into adulthood, but each must first find strength and her own way in the world.” (Source)
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Male vs Female Writers: No, It’s Not “Their” Fault

LiteraryRomanceIn this blog post, I’m going to strongly disagree with this post from Brenda at Daily Mayo, so I’d like begin by saying that I think that she wrote a wonderfully provocative post and asked a great question. Although I disagree with her conclusion, I think she makes a lot of good points along the way. However, I think she also accepts some biases which it’s important for readers to challenge. She points out that women authors are taken less seriously than male authors, with everything women write often being lumped in the chick-lit category, and suggests that women authors should respond by writing less romance. I have a number of problems with that statement, so I’m just going to run through them one by one and will include some direct quotes I’m referring too.

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Nonfiction Friday

NonFictionFriday2Non-Fiction Friday is a link-up where you can find all of the awesome non-fiction happenings of the week. Be sure to link-up your non-fiction posts too!

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Cancel the Wedding

Cancel the WeddingTitle: Cancel the Wedding
Author: Carolyn T. Dingman
Source: TLC Book Tours
Rating: four-stars
Links: Amazon|Goodreads|Indiebound

Summary: Despite having a very average plot and sometimes frustrating main character, the quirky characters the authors created made this an enjoyable read.

Olivia has known for a long time that she doesn’t enjoy her “dream job” and she isn’t passionately in love with her fiance. She doesn’t have the courage to admit this to herself until she makes a trip to her deceased mother’s hometown to honor her last wish by scattering her ashes there. Once she starts to get to know people and learns more about her mother, she slowly realizes that she may not want to go home.
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Filed under Fiction, Review, Romance

The Story Hour

The Story HourTitle: The Story Hour
Author: Thrity Umrigar
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: four-stars
Links: Amazon|Goodreads|Indiebound

Summary: The author’s beautiful writing made me experience the character’s emotions very deeply, but the emotional impact of the ending was weak compared to the rest of the book.

Psychologist Maggie has always been willing to try unorthodox methods and has become known for her ability to help in tough cases. When she is asked to help Lakshmi, an isolated Indian immigrant who tried to commit suicide, it is clear that unorthodox methods are called for. Lakshmi understand therapy to mean making friends with Maggie and Maggie relates to Lakshmi too much to maintain her usual distance. As these two very different women learn each other’s biggest mistakes, their differing backgrounds and expectations of their relationship will threaten their friendship, making it hard for them to forgive one another.
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Filed under Contemporary, Fiction, Literary, Review, Women's Fiction