Source: NetGalley

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Hausfrau

April 2, 2015 Fiction 15

HausfrauTitle: Hausfrau
Author: Jill Alexander Essbaum
Source: NetGalley
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: Originally I found the main character intriguing, but eventually her apathy got to me.

Anna has lived in Switzerland to be with her Swiss husband for years, but she’s never learned the language and feels very alone. At her psychiatrist’s advice, she begins taking a German class to help her become more involved. Instead, this class simply leads her into the first of many affairs, starting Anna down a path that will tear her family apart. Read more »

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The Monopolists

March 10, 2015 Narrative Non-Fiction, non-fiction, Review 22

The MonopolistsTitle: The Monopolists
Author: Mary Pilon
Source: NetGalley
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: This was really fun narrative nonfiction, with lots of great facts to share and interesting people stories that brought the book to life.

Although Parker Brothers has always billed Monopoly as an American dream success story, invented by a family man trying to get by during the Great Depression, the truth is much less wholesome. As Ralph Anspach discovers when he tries to market a game similar to Monopoly, Parker Brothers has gone to great lengths to protect their rights to the game even though many unrecognized individuals contributed to the game’s creation. This book tells the true story of the games origins and of Ralph’s court battle with Parker Brothers. Read more »

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Best European Fiction 2015

January 29, 2015 Fiction, Literary, Review 14

Best European Fiction 2015Title: Best European Fiction 2015
Author: Enrique Vila-Matas
Source: NetGalley
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

 

I love unique translated fiction and wanted to add more diversity to my reading in 2015, so this collection of European fiction was the perfect first read of the year. This collection includes stories by authors from many different European countries, most of it translated and most stand-alone short stories. The few excerpts from longer works were also enjoyable and easily stood on their own. Read more »

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Review: First Frost

January 22, 2015 Fiction, Magical Realism, Review, Women's Fiction 14

Review: First FrostTitle: First Frost
Author: Sarah Addison Allen
Source: NetGalley
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

 

In First Frost, we revisit the Waverly family from Garden Spells. Claire has started a candy business she’s proud of, but can’t see that it’s also keeping her too busy to enjoy life. Her sister Sydney is also having trouble enjoying the happiness she has, instead desperately wanting a baby boy. And Sydney’s daugher Bay has lost her heart to a boy who doesn’t seem to know she exists. All three women hope that their troubles are simply part of the restlessness that afflicts Waverly women before the first frost of the year, but they’ll have to take matters into their own hands if they want to regain their happiness. Read more »

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The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2014

December 21, 2014 non-fiction, Review 6

The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2014Title: The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2014
Author: Deborah Blum, Tim Folger
Source: NetGalley
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: A fantastic collection of essays! All were well written, the science ones were very accessible, and a surprisingly large number were relevant to daily life.

The Best American Science and Nature Writing collection is published every year to showcase exemplary popular science and nature essays. This year’s guest editor was Deborah Blum, who you might know as the author of The Poisoner’s Handbook. Contributors you might recognize include Barbara Kingsolver (author of The Poisonwood Bible) and E. O. Wilson (author of The Social Conquest of Earth). Read more »

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Hello From the Gillespies

November 13, 2014 Fiction, Review, Women's Fiction 12

Hello From the GillespiesTitle: Hello From The Gillespies
Author: Monica McInerney
Source: NetGalley
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: I loved the characters and the setup of this book, but the ending felt like simplistic wish-fulfillment.

Angela Gillespie has been sending out her annual Christmas letter for the last 33 years. Every year, she writes a cheery letter which highlights the best part of their lives until one year, she’s had enough. She writes the unvarnished truth, including her worries for each of her children and concerns about her marriage. Just when it seems Angela’s family might forgive her for the letter, an accident leaves her with amnesia and leaves her family to figure out how to fend for themselves without Angela worrying over them. Read more »

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The Hilltop

November 11, 2014 Contemporary, Fiction, Review 12

The HilltopTitle: The Hilltop
Author: Assaf Gavron
Source: NetGalley
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

Summary: Although I enjoyed the understated humor in this story, the plot and characters were unengaging and I found much of the story too dark and gritty.

“On a rocky, beautiful hilltop stands Ma’aleh Hermesh C, a fledgling community flying under the radar. According to the government it doesn’t exist; according to the military it must be defended.[…]One of the settlement’s steadfast residents is Gabi Kupper, a one-time free spirit and kibbutz-dweller, who undergoes a religious awakening. The delicate routines of Gabi’s new life are thrown into turmoil with the sudden arrival of Roni, his prodigal brother, who, years after venturing to America in search of fortune, arrives at Gabi’s door, penniless. To the settlement’s dismay, Roni soon hatches a plan to sell the “artisanal” olive oil from the Palestinian village to Tel Aviv yuppies. When a curious Washington Post correspondent stumbles into their midst, Ma’aleh Hermesh C becomes the focus of an international diplomatic scandal and faces its greatest test yet.” (source) Read more »

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The Missing Place

October 27, 2014 Fiction, Review, Thriller, Women's Fiction 10

The Missing PlaceTitle: The Missing Place
Author: Sophie Littlefield
Source: NetGalley
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: The plot and characters in this book felt fresh and new. I loved the raw emotions and difficult moral questions the author brought vividly to life.

“Twenty-year-old Taylor Jarvis and Paul Carroll go missing in Weir, North Dakota, where they have been working on rigs owned by Oasis Energy. The mothers of the two boys come to Weir to find out what happened to their sons and form an uneasy alliance. Shay Jarvis, a 41-year-old single [mother], has more grit than resources; for wealthy suburban housewife Colleen Carroll, the opposite is true. Overtaxed by worry, exhaustion, and fear, they question each other’s methods and motivations – but there is no one else to help, and they must learn to work together if they are to have any chance of breaking through the barriers put up by their sons’ employer, the indifference of an overtaxed police department, and a town of strangers with their own secrets against [the] backdrop of a modern day gold rush.” (slightly modified from here)
Read more »

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The Silent Sister

October 18, 2014 Fiction, Review, Thriller, Women's Fiction 9

The Silent SisterTitle: The Silent Sister
Author: Diane Chamberlain
Source: NetGalley
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: This was a fun, fast-paced read, but the mystery was a bit predictable and the I didn’t find the characters emotionally engaging.

Riley and her older brother grew up in a family shocked by their sister Lisa’s death. Riley has always been told Lisa committed suicide, but when her father dies twenty years later, she finds hints in his belongings suggesting that Lisa might still be alive. As she digs deeper, the secrets she discover will challenge everything she thought she knew about her family. Read more »

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The Underground Girls of Kabul

September 21, 2014 Biography, History, Narrative Non-Fiction, non-fiction, Review 19

The Underground Girls of KabulTitle: The Underground Girls of Kabul
Author: Jenny Nordberg
Source: NetGalley
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: This was a very enjoyable story, but a very sad reality.

In Afghanistan, where a son is viewed as an honor and daughters are viewed as a burden, it is not uncommon for a family to temporarily raise a daughter as a son. This can happen because the family needs the financial help of having a working son; because the family wants to increase their standing in the community; or because of the superstitious belief that raising a pretend son will help a woman give birth to a boy. Girls raised in this way are typically treated as women once they reach puberty. Some find this experience helps them survive a world dominated by men while others struggle with their return to womanhood because of the oppression they then face.
Read more »

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