Source: NetGalley

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Review: The Last One

April 13, 2017 Uncategorized 4

Review: The Last OneTitle: The Last One
Author: Alexandra Oliva
Source: NetGalley
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: This was a lot of fun and somewhat insightful about reality TV, but overall it was also light and predictable.

I always enjoy a fresh take on disaster/dystopian novels and I’ve been enjoying reality TV lately, so I couldn’t resist this story of a reality show contestant who begins to be uncertain whether a disaster is real or part of the show. While Zoo participates in an endurance  and survival skills challenge, the lines between reality and the show begin to blur. Determining which is which may make the difference to whether or not she survives. Read more »

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New Release Review: Lotus

January 2, 2017 Fiction, Literary 13

New Release Review: LotusTitle: Lotus
Author: Lijia Zhang
Source: NetGalley
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: This was a slow paced book, but the character and relationship development were touching and believable.

“Surviving by her wits alone, Lotus charges headlong into the neon lights of Shenzhen, determined to pull herself out of the gutter and decide her own path.” However, she quickly finds herself working as a “massage girl” or prostitute while lying to her family about the source of the money she sends home. The men who notice her provide her many opportunities for a chance at security, but each also presents their own dangers. As Lotus struggles to make a decision, she finds it difficult to envision a life of her own due to the guilt and insecurity she feels. Read more »

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#FuturisticFriday Review: All the Missing Girls

June 25, 2016 Uncategorized 12

#FuturisticFriday Review: All the Missing GirlsTitle: All the Missing Girls
Author: Megan Miranda
Source: NetGalley
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: This felt fresh and surprising and kept my heart pounding the whole way through. Loved it!

“It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case” (source) when another girl disappears and yet again, it seems possible some of the people closest to Nic might be involved. Read more »

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#FuturisticFriday Review: Face Value

June 21, 2016 non-fiction 10

#FuturisticFriday Review: Face ValueTitle: Face Value: The Hidden Ways Beauty Shapes Women's Lives
Author: Autumn Whitefield-Madrano
Source: NetGalley
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: I really enjoyed this thoughtful, balanced look at both the empowering and enjoyable side of beauty and the negative ways it affects women’s lives.

“In Face Value, journalist Autumn Whitefield-Madrano thoughtfully examines the relationship between appearance and science, social media, sex, friendship, language, and advertising to show how beauty actually affects us day to day. Through meticulous research and interviews with dozens of women across all walks of life, she reveals surprising findings, like that wearing makeup can actually relax you, that you can convince people you’re better looking just by tweaking your personality, and the ways beauty can be a powerful tool of connection among women.” (source) Read more »

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Want to Understand GMOs? First Read The Gene

June 1, 2016 non-fiction, Science 13

Want to Understand GMOs? First Read The GeneTitle: The Gene: An Intimate History
Author: Siddhartha Mukherjee
Source: NetGalley
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: Although this lacked The Emperor of All Maladies‘ focus on moving human stories, it was one of the most ambitious yet accessible books I’ve ever read on the history of genome editing.

Throughout history, our understanding of heredity and the gene has become more precise and more nuanced. As a result, our ability to manipulate the genes of other organisms and eventually our own has increased as well. In The Gene, Siddhartha Mukherjee places our current genome editing abilities in the context of this history and insightfully presents both the promise of these abilities and the potential results of their abuse. Read more »

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Does The Beautiful Bureaucrat Live Up To the Hype?

August 13, 2015 Uncategorized 20

Does The Beautiful Bureaucrat Live Up To the Hype?Title: The Beautiful Bureaucrat
Author: Helen Phillips
Source: NetGalley
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: The world building was beautiful, but the plot would have held up better as a short story.

‘In a windowless building in a remote part of town, the newly employed Josephine inputs an endless string of numbers into something known only as “The Database.” After a long period of joblessness, she’s not inclined to question her fortune, but as the days inch by and the files stack up, Josephine feels increasingly anxious in her surroundings. The office’s scarred pinkish walls take on a living quality. The drone of keyboards echoes eerily down the long halls. When one evening her husband Joseph disappears and then returns, offering no explanation as to his whereabouts, her creeping unease shifts decidedly to dread.’ (Source) Read more »

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Review: The Woman Who Stole My Life

July 28, 2015 Uncategorized 12

Review: The Woman Who Stole My LifeTitle: The Woman Who Stole My Life
Author: Marian Keyes
Source: NetGalley
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: This was a mix of good and bad that just can’t compete with many, better books in this genre.

“Stella Sweeney is back in Dublin. After living the dream in New York for a year – touring her self-help book, appearing on talk shows all over the USA and living it up in her 10-room duplex on the Upper West Side – she’s back to normality with a bang. And she’s got writer’s block. Stella wants a clean break as she didn’t exactly leave New York on a high. Why is she back in Ireland so soon? Who is it who keeps calling? Stella wants to get back to being the woman she used to be. But can she? And should she?” (source) 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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Shadow Scale

April 13, 2015 Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult 12

Shadow ScaleTitle: Shadow Scale
Author: Rachel Hartman
Source: NetGalley
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: Although I still loved the politics and world-building in this sequel, I found the pacing too slow and the action unengaging.

As a half-dragon, Seraphina has a unique connection to others of her kind. However, her country of Gored has only recently made peace with the dragons and now this fragile peace may be shattered by a dragon civil war. The fragile peace means that many humans still hate dragons and that most half-dragons such as Saraphina must hide who they are. Each half-dragon has unique gifts and together they might be able to protect Gored if Seraphina is able to use her own unique powers to find them. To do so, she will have to avoid humans and dragons who want to stop her. But the biggest threat is one very bitter and very dangerous half-dragon who uses her powers to control others and manipulate the war for her own purposes.
Read more »

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The News Sorority

April 11, 2015 Biography, History, non-fiction 12

The News SororityTitle: The News Sorority
Author: Sheila Weller
Source: NetGalley
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: Thoughtful, even-handed, with lots of great quotes, this book brought to life three fascinating women and highlighted the state of women in journalism today.

Like really great historical fiction, this biography did a wonderful job bringing to life not only individuals but also a larger setting. I found Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, and Christiane Amanpour’s histories and inspirations fascinating. They’re all incredibly interesting women with many unique life experiences. Although I probably would have described this as narrative nonfiction, the author explicitly states that she thinks of this not as narrative nonfiction, but as journalistic nonfiction, told largely through quotes from primary sources. I’m not sure those two genres are mutually exclusive, but I did notice and appreciate all of the direct quotes the author used. Most flowed smoothly with the narrative bits she’d written. Together, they presented what seemed to be an unbiased and well-rounded view of each woman. Despite obvious similarities, particularly their success in a male-dominated profession, the author also clearly highlighted their individual personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. Read more »

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