Source: from publisher for review

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Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy

September 2, 2014 Biography, History, Narrative Non-Fiction, non-fiction, Review 21

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

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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Beyond the Pale

September 1, 2014 Fantasy, Fiction, Gothic, Magical Realism, Urban Fantasy 4

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
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

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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The Story Hour

August 19, 2014 Contemporary, Fiction, Literary, Review, Women's Fiction 8

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

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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Henna House

August 12, 2014 Fiction, Historical Fiction, Review, Women's Fiction 13

Henna HouseTitle: Henna House
Author: Nomi Eve
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: This was a beautiful, poetic, inspiring story. I loved both the rich historical setting and the exciting foreshadowing.

Adela’s father’s health is failing and he’s desperate to find her a husband. As a Jewish child, if she is  isn’t betrothed when her father dies, she will be take from her family to be raised by a Muslim family instead. Just when Adela is giving up hope, her uncle arrives with a handsome son and an aunt who teacher her about henna and the woman’s world her harsh mother has never let her be a part of. However, when Adela’s family is forced to flee to Aden, she will begin to discover herself only to be betrayed by those she loves.
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In the Kingdom of Ice

August 10, 2014 History, Narrative Non-Fiction, non-fiction, Review 12

In the Kingdom of IceTitle: In the Kingdom of Ice
Author: Hampton Sides
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: My favorite narrative nonfiction this year! Well-researched and packed with details that bring this more fantastic than fiction adventure story to life.

The north pole was the late nineteenth century’s final frontier. Popular belief suggested that an undiscovered group of people might live at the pole in a region kept habitable by warm ocean water flowing under a surrounding ring of ice. After a rescue mission in which he acquitted himself heroically, navy man George Washington De Long was the obvious choice to lead the next expedition. With funding from eccentric newspaper owner Gordon Bennett, he led a team of 32 men (including a reporter) on a voyage aiming for the pole. However, as their ship was first trapped in ice and then smashed to pieces, it quickly became clear that the men of the expedition would be lucky to make it home alive.
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