Source: from publisher for review

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WWII Fiction Review: The Ways We Hide

October 10, 2022 Uncategorized 2 ★★

WWII Fiction Review: The Ways We HideTitle: The Ways We Hide
Author: Kristina McMorris
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:two-stars

Summary: Annoying choices by the protagonist and melodramatic outcomes meant I didn’t enjoy this much, despite a great premise.

I don’t pick up WWII fiction all of that often because I find the sheer amount of it somewhat off-putting. However, this is the story a of a female illusionist recruited by British military intelligence. That’s a unique enough premise that it convinced me to take a chance on this one. Read more »

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Activist Memoir in Review: They Called Me a Lioness

September 26, 2022 Uncategorized 4 ★★★★

Activist Memoir in Review: They Called Me a LionessTitle: They Called Me a Lioness: A Palestinian Girl's Fight for Freedom
Author: Ahed Tamimi, Dena Takruri
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:four-stars

Summary: This was a good book to begin learning about Palestine with its simply written blend of memoir and history.

This is the second memoir I’ve read recently that is by a political activist and named after a big cat (the other being Year of the Tiger). I enjoyed both of these books and think activist memoirs may be a good subgenre for me. I found this pair both inspiring and informative. This memoir is about Ahed Tamimi, a young Palestinian woman who was jailed for activism at only 16 years old. Read more »

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Memoir Review: Year of the Tiger

September 15, 2022 Uncategorized 5 ★★★★★

Memoir Review: Year of the TigerTitle: Year of the Tiger: An Activist's Life
Author: Alice Wong
Source: from publisher for review
|Goodreads
Rating:five-stars

Summary: This was a fun read that spanned a wide variety of topics and formats, constantly surprising me and teaching me new things.

I really loved this “genre-bending” memoir, full of essays, interviews, photos, and drawings. Essay collections in general have appealed to me lately. The short sections make them feel easy to pick up. Every element in this essay collection was enjoyable, informative and fun. Even the essays that described anger-inducing discrimination the author has faced were leavened by her delightful sense of humor. Although information was occasionally repeated across sections, the context was different enough that this never felt repetitive. I didn’t pay enough attention to be sure it was completely chronological, but there was a good sense of forward momentum and a logical grouping of essays by theme. Read more »

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Magical Realism Review: Other Birds

September 2, 2022 Uncategorized 3 ★★½

Magical Realism Review: Other BirdsTitle: Other Birds
Author: Sarah Addison Allen
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:two-half-stars

Summary: Charming but without much emotional depth.

Before she starts school in the fall, Zoey moves to Mallow Island to learn more about her deceased mother. Living in her mother’s old apartment, she begins to connect with the other residents, all of whom are dealing with their own past traumas and their own ghosts. Read more »

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Favorite Fiction in Review: Carrie Soto is Back

August 31, 2022 Uncategorized 6 ★★★★★

Favorite Fiction in Review: Carrie Soto is BackTitle: Carrie Soto Is Back
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:five-stars

Summary: This is my favorite book I’ve read in a long time! Great characters I loved getting to know and a perfectly-paced plot.

I’ve been reading a bunch of review copies this month and not completely connecting with any of them, so this was a lovely and surprising change. I know everyone’s been raving about Taylor Jenkins Reid, but didn’t expect that I’d love this story of an athletic comeback so much. Carrie Soto is a retired tennis player with a record number of Grand Slam wins, but her ambition has not made her popular. After her record is matched by a younger player, she risks her reputation by coming out of retirement to regain her record and become the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam. Read more »

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Narrative Nonfiction Review: The Scandalous Hamiltons

August 29, 2022 Uncategorized 3 ★★½

Narrative Nonfiction Review: The Scandalous HamiltonsTitle: The Scandalous Hamiltons: A Gilded Age Grifter, a Founding Father's Disgraced Descendant, and a Trial at the Dawn of Tabloid Journalism
Author: Bill Shaffer
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:two-half-stars

Summary: This was a dramatic story well told, but there wasn’t enough material to sustain a book.

This story of a woman who tricked Alexander Hamilton’s great-grandson into marrying her by purchasing a baby from a baby farm is almost too incredible to be true. The first 100 pages or so were full of drama straight out of a soap opera. It was fun to share the unbelievable details with my husband as I was reading. The story slowed down quite a bit after that though. The stories about the main character became less interesting. We also followed more and more tangential characters as the story progressed. It began to feel like the author was simply including any scrap of news he found that mentioned the Hamiltons. Read more »

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Historical Fiction Review: A Map for the Missing

August 27, 2022 Uncategorized 0 ★★½

Historical Fiction Review: A Map for the MissingTitle: A Map for the Missing
Author: Belinda Huijuan Tang
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:two-half-stars

Summary: An interesting story, but the characters’ own emotional detachment made it hard for me to get into it.

When Tang Yitian’s mother tells him that his father had disappeared from their village in rural China, he feels compelled to fly home from the US. Once there, he renews his relationship with a childhood sweetheart, leading them both to miss the potential of their youth.

Read more »

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Memoir Review: Fly Girl

August 22, 2022 Uncategorized 5 ★★★½

Memoir Review: Fly GirlTitle: Fly Girl: A Memoir
Author: Ann Hood
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:three-half-stars

Summary: A fun, light memoir perfect for summer reading.

This memoir about the author’s time as a flight attendant was a fun, easy read. I always enjoy learning about interesting careers and there was so much here that I didn’t know. I particularly enjoyed seeing how the role evolved over time from the start of the author’s career in 1978. The author generally did a good job of integrating general history into her personal story. The book was also well organized, with stories sometimes grouped thematically, but sensibly placed within a mostly chronological narrative. Read more »

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Women in Journalism: Fiction

August 8, 2022 Uncategorized 0 ★★

Women in Journalism: FictionTitle: Savage News
Author: Jessica Yellin
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:two-stars

Summary: Kind of fun, but not good, with cartoonish villains and a simplistic plot.

This fictional account of a female journalist and wannabe news anchor was a fun read, but not a good one. It held up particularly poorly next to a bunch of memoirs by real journalists. The main character simply lacked the seriousness and drive of the real women she was modeled after. She doesn’t have a clear perspective or career goal except ‘be on TV’ plus a vague admiration for Woodward and Bernstein. When she does investigative reporting, it looks like a bit of googling plus following some leads that fall into her lap. Although some of her bad decisions made sense in a workplace pursuing entertainment over news, the main character was one of my main problems with this book. Read more »

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Women in Cinema Nonfiction Reviews

June 7, 2022 Uncategorized 5 ★★★

Women in Cinema Nonfiction ReviewsTitle: The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick
Author: Mallory O'Meara
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:three-stars

This is the story of Milicent Patrick, the designer of the monster in The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Few people have heard of her, because of credit-stealing efforts of her jealous boss. Author Mallory O’Meara unearths Milicent’s story and shares some of her own experiences with sexism in her work in the horror film industry. While memoir plus a topic is a type of nonfiction that often works for me, the blending here was a little rough. In a few places, Mallory’s personal experiences gave me a deeper understanding of what Milicent experienced. In others, the story of doing research lined up well with what was being shared about Milicent. However, in most cases, the jumps weren’t between points of obvious connection in the two stories, which was jarring.

The footnotes were also hit-or-miss for me. Some were quite successful – really funny or adding extra information I was excited to have. At other times, they were a little too into present-day politics, which pulled me out of the story (despite my general agreement with the author) and unnecessarily dated the book. I enjoyed Milicent’s story. The author did some incredible detective work to be able to share with us Milicent’s vivid personality. The mesh between that story and her own was simply a bit rough around the edges. Read more »

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