Posts Categorized: Review

Review: Xamnesia

July 8, 2015 Memoir, non-fiction, Review 20

Review: XamnesiaTitle: Xamnesia
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

After reading my interview with Lizzie Harwood, my mom jumped at the chance to review her memoir and I’m excited to share her review with you today. Thanks Mom for the great guest post!

Wow! I love reading memoirs and have read quite a few, but none quite like this one!   Xamnesia:  Everything I Forgot in my Search for an Unreal Life   is the story of a young woman who leaves her native New Zealand to work for VIP billionaires in a remote oil-rich oasis.   The perks are extravagant but the cost to the author turned out to be very steep. Read more »

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Soundbite Sunday: Not That Kind of Girl

July 5, 2015 Audiobook, Memoir, non-fiction, Review 20

Soundbite Sunday: Not That Kind of GirlTitle: Not That Kind of Girl
Author: Lena Dunham
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

Summary: I found the author’s voice annoying and the focus of her story was on relationships I didn’t find very interesting.

I’d never heard of Lena Dunham prior to reading Not That Kind of Girl, but I’m always up for a memoir read by the author, so I decided to give it a try. Unfortunately, this particular author’s voice really did not work for me. Although I did enjoy hearing the story with the author’s intended inflection, she sounded whiny and childish to me. Read more »

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Review and Giveaway: Everything I Never Told You

June 27, 2015 Fiction, Review 21

Review and Giveaway: Everything I Never Told YouTitle: Everything I Never Told You: A Novel
Author: Celeste Ng
Source: NetGalley
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: This book was heartbreakingly real, with some of the most relatable characters I’ve ever encountered.

““Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.” (Source) Read more »

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Review: Hotel Moscow

June 25, 2015 Fiction, Historical Fiction, Review, Thriller 10

Review: Hotel MoscowTitle: Hotel Moscow
Author: Talia Carner
Source: TLC Book Tours
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: This book was more thriller than I expected, but both the thriller and historical fiction elements were very well executed.

When Brooke Fielding volunteers her business knowledge to help Russian female entrepreneurs after the fall of communism, she knows her visit will be complicated by the fact that her parents are Russian Jewish holocaust survivors. What she doesn’t know is how dangerous the trip will turn out to be. Despite her parents’ past, Brooke becomes deeply involved with the women she’s trying to help. Mafia members and corrupt officials employ brutal tactics in their attempt to acquire the newly privatized businesses owned by the women Brooke hopes to help. And only Brooke has the financial knowledge and connections needed to discover who is behind the violent takeovers. Read more »

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Review: Capital Dames

June 3, 2015 History, non-fiction, Review 18

Review: Capital DamesTitle: Capital Dames
Author: Cokie Roberts
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: This was such a fascinating look at women in history! I enjoyed it and learned a lot too.

I’ve always thought that history tends to focus on men because the sexism of the past meant that men really were the only ones doing things. Both I and the male-focused histories have been very wrong! Capital Dames tells the story of the women in Washington during the Civil War and the many varied and important roles they played in that conflict. Women involved in Washington society continued to influence politics throughout the war, while other women took on new professions, from journalism to making munitions. Read more »

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The Invention of Wings – Review & Giveaway

May 9, 2015 Fiction, Historical Fiction, Review 10

The Invention of Wings – Review & GiveawayTitle: The Invention of Wings
Author: Sue Monk Kidd
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: The characters and historical setting of this story were brought vividly to life in all their complexity.

From an early age, southern aristocrat Sarah Grimke knows she doesn’t believe in slavery. Her beliefs are challenged when she is given ownership of ten year old Hetty “Handful” Grimke for her eleventh birthday. Although the two become friends of a sort, their relationship is strained by their circumstances. Sarah is simultaneously weighed down by her guilt at her privileged position and by the restraints she faces as a woman, while Hetty will do whatever is necessary to attain freedom. Read more »

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Our Endless Numbered Days

April 15, 2015 Fiction, Review 24

Our Endless Numbered DaysTitle: Our Endless Numbered Days
Author: Claire Fuller
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: The writing and main character in this book were spot on, but the plot was far too predictable.

“Peggy Hillcoat is eight years old when her survivalist father, James, takes her from their home in London to a remote hut in the woods and tells her that the rest of the world has been destroyed. Deep in the wilderness, Peggy and James make a life for themselves. They repair the hut, bathe in water from the river, hunt and gather food in the summers and almost starve in the harsh winters. They mark their days only by the sun and the seasons. When Peggy finds a pair of boots in the forest and begins a search for their owner, she unwittingly unravels the series of events that brought her to the woods and, in doing so, discovers the strength she needs to go back to the home and mother she thought she’d lost. After Peggy’s return to civilization, her mother begins to learn the truth of her escape, of what happened to James on the last night out in the woods, and of the secret that Peggy has carried with her ever since” (source)
Read more »

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Fiercombe Manor

March 26, 2015 Fiction, Gothic, Historical Fiction, Review, Women's Fiction 7

Fiercombe ManorTitle: Fiercombe Manor
Author: Kate Riordan
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: This well-executed dual narrative was beautifully atmospheric and kept my interest all the way through.

Although Lady Elizabeth Stanton of Fiercombe appears well at her first public appearance in years, she and her husband both still have secrets to hide, from the world and from each other. After the tragic events following the birth of her first child and several subsequent miscarriages, Lady Elizabeth is fearful that her current pregnancy will also end in tragedy or at least disappoint her husband, who longs for a boy.  Thirty years later, when Alice is sent to Fiercombe to hide the fact that she is pregnant and unmarried, she becomes obsessed with learning the what tragedy befell Lady Elizabeth. In the gloomy, confined atmosphere at Fiercombe, Alice fears that tragedy will find her as well. Read more »

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Nightbird

March 23, 2015 Fantasy, Fiction, Magical Realism, Review 8

NightbirdTitle: Nightbird
Author: Alice Hoffman
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: Cute, short, light, with a very fairy tale feel. I enjoyed this a lot, but wish the author had take the time to develop the plot further.

“Twelve-year-old Twig’s town in the Berkshires is said to hide a winged beast, the Monster of Sidwell, and the rumors draw as many tourists as the town’s famed pink apple orchards. Twig lives in the orchard with her mysterious brother James and her reclusive mother, a baker of irresistible apple pies. Because of a family secret, an ancient curse,Twig has had to isolate herself from other kids. Then a family with two girls, Julia and Agate, moves into the cottage next door. They are descendants of the witch who put the spell on Twig’s family. But Julia turns out to be Twig’s first true friend, and her ally in trying to undo the curse and smooth the path to true love for Agate and James.” (source) Read more »

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Mistress Firebrand

March 18, 2015 Fiction, Historical Fiction, Review, Romance 6

Mistress FirebrandTitle: Mistress Firebrand
Author: Donna Thorland
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: The romance and other plot elements were both enjoyable and complemented one another in a great way.

Jenny has always wanted to be famous for her plays, but had resigned herself to a background role until she has the opportunity to present her work to the playwright General John Burgoyne. British intelligence officer Severin Devere is concerned that Jenny will simply be a distraction for the womanizing general and during his efforts to control the situation is surprised to find himself falling for Jenny instead. Unfortunately, as Severin maintains his steadfast loyalty to the crown and Jenny begins to achieve fame writing propaganda for the rebels, they find themselves torn between their loyalties in the war and their loyalty to each other.
Read more »

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