Tag Archive: netgalley



CatalinaCatalina by Liska Jacobs
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Oh, the boring problems of privilege. I tried. I just couldn’t finish this book. It was a NetGalley. There are plenty of people who love this book. But trainwrecks aren’t my favorite thing to watch. I got 21% into it. But my reading time is best spent with books, of which I have thousands, most free, that I like to read. So moving on.

***
Okay. From now on, when I hate a book and can’t get more than a quarter of the way into it and give up, I won’t go back and try again.

I thought maybe with time I’d be more into it. But as of today, having actually finished this book, that is time I will never get back. The character had no redeeming qualities, nor was there any growth.

I must listen to my intuition!

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Carefree Black Girls: A Celebration of Black Women in Popular CultureCarefree Black Girls: A Celebration of Black Women in Popular Culture by Carefree Black Girls Zeba Blay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In Carefree Black Girls, Zeba Blay addresses many of the issues in our world today through her life’s story. Far from being ‘carefree,’ this is a social statement of what some females must live through. I am not necessarily privileged, being a 71-year-old white woman on social security (which isn’t enough to live on.) But granted, I am not black, nor of the current generation with social media that is out to crush anyone they can.
As with every autobiography I read, I must leave the statement of lack of judgment. I can’t in any way decide if this book is good or bad. It is Ms. Blay’s story. It is interesting and awakening and empowering and angering. I wish I could hug her through her hard times. I wish I could beat up those who hurt her. I wish there were no such thing as bigotry or hatred of those whose bodies are not perfect or whose sexual lives don’t reflect the norms.

As with other autobiographies, I did appreciate a chance to walk in someone else’s shoes. As uncomfortable as those shoes might be for her or me. It made a hard read for bedtimes. It wasn’t easy to find a calm or happy moment to stop reading on a positive note. But I suppose that had me finishing the read faster.

I hope others will take the time to read about a life that isn’t your own. This one is not only well-written but highly researched to make sure her facts are traceable.

I want to thank Netgalley for the chance to read this book.

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The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross (The Curious Affair Of, #2)The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross by Lisa Tuttle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was different! And fun!

After so many problems with the text-to-speech and a miraculous fixing, I got to hear the whole book. Here let me share the blurb that brought me to diving in.

“The paranormal answer to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Jesperson, and Lane are turning the Victorian era upside down in this bewitching series from John W. Campbell Award winner Lisa Tuttle.”

As much fun as this adventure was, I did get angry with how the women were treated. And how they accepted the treatment. But it was that era, so I guess it wouldn’t be right to have a down-right rebel, though Bridgerton is doing a good job of bending the historical rules.

I was lucky to find this on NetGalley.

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CatalinaCatalina by Liska Jacobs
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Oh, the boring problems of privilege. I tried. I just couldn’t finish this book. It was a NetGalley. There are plenty of people who love this book. But trainwrecks aren’t my favorite thing to watch. I got 21% into it. But my reading time is best spent with books, of which I have thousands, most free, that I like to read. So moving on.

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If All the Seas Were Ink: A MemoirIf All the Seas Were Ink: A Memoir by Ilana Kurshan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I was young, and even to this day, I loved to spend time, overnight to weeks, if I could, in other people’s homes. It was interesting to see how other people lived. I learned how different and yet the same my life was to my friends. What rules applied? What was okay? How huggy or talky were the people?

As an adult that is less likely to happen. Slumber parties seem to stay in the child’s world. Really close friends can share their lives. But it isn’t the same as personal observation.

Autobiographies give that kind of insight. You live inside the person’s world, hear their thoughts, see how they try to live up to their own standards. See how they feel when they don’t.

Ilana Kurshan provides that kind of insight. I admire her determination and curiosity. She decided to study the Talmud in a seven-year quest to understand it and her relationship to it better. She lived it as best she could, all the easier for living in Jerusalem, all the harder as a single person, then newlywed, then young mother. But she did her best to apply what she learned along the way.

I was raised protestant. I have many friends of various religious leanings and love to learn their belief systems and how they work in real life. I have a friend who has moved to Israel and thought of her as I read. I don’t know if she read this yet, but I bet she will glean from this person’s challenge.

Rating autobiographies is harder than a piece of fiction. It is personal. I can’t judge another person’s life or their own memories. It was where they are/were and how they choose to live it. Ms. Kurshan’s writing was compelling. I couldn’t stop reading. Since this was an ARC or Uncorrected Copy, there were formatting issues that made my text-to-speech the best way to read it all. But I’m sure those issues were corrected in the retail versions. Other than that it was a delightful read and I highly recommend it to others. I doubt I will ever try the seven-year Talmud, though who knows? I’ve taken on lessor challenges. I was glad that Ilana included scripture so I could feel a part of the quest. And I’m proud of her for taking a feminist view on her religion. It makes it all more real and possible.

I can’t wait to read other reviews about this book.

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The Art of HidingThe Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Poor girl becomes rich wife, becomes poor mom. Except for the rich part, that’s the story of my life! Almost sounds boring. But for some reason, I truly enjoyed this read. It is well-written. The characters felt real to me. Even though they were British and rich. The troubles were scary. I could relate. I’ve never owed that much money, though I don’t have a conversion table handy after midnight. But I have owed more than I had. It had forced changes in my behavior and where I was to live. As the main character learns in a very hard way.

A teenage boy for a son. Been there three times. I can relate. And this mother was far more patient and sweet about it all than I could be. Wish I could have been that sweet. But my kids would have, oops, did laugh at me when I approached their rebellions that way. And it wasn’t a good laugh. At least we were in her head as she thought through her responses.

This review isn’t doing the book justice. It was good, I loved it. I stayed awake a long time finishing it. It wasn’t fantasy or adventure or murder-mystery. It was a peek into someone else’s life and how she manages to get through and thrive. And I think this is the kind of book teens should read, especially girls. Though women (and men) will relate and learn throughout the story.

I wish I had less pain and more brain. This review sounds horrible. Believe me. It was worth the read. I loved it!

Netgalley gave me the ARC of this book. Thank you!

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Seeking SarahSeeking Sarah by ReShonda Tate Billingsley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jerry Springer eat your heart out! Oh, the drama!

Okay, I didn’t mean to start with that. There were things about this book I liked. I love that we have a diverse character, though the cover picture doesn’t give that impression. On the other hand, the blurb grabbed me about a young woman that wants to find her mother who she previously thought had died.

What seems to be set up to be an exciting adventure learning why mom left, and possibly reconnecting, the main character, Brooke, is hooking/breaking up with a guy that shouldn’t even get a female. Even in the process of getting to know her mom, she takes every opportunity to jump to conclusions to be angry. I guess my way would have solved Brookes problems within minutes and there wouldn’t be a book but a short story.

I was lucky to get to read this book from Netgalley. I’d love to see what others think of this novel. It is different.

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Enigma (FBI Thriller #21)Enigma by Catherine Coulter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m not a fan of murder mysteries or suspense thrillers. Somehow there was enough in the blurb that I was drawn into this book twice. I’ve read about half the book and realized I knew what was happening next because I had read it before. So I looked for my review of it and somehow it isn’t anywhere. There is already too much stress in my life to read this all the way again. I read the ending and know I got there the last time.

So rather than read it again, here is the review based on one and a half reads.

It is a page-turner that keeps you reading (even the second time!). Many characters points of view add to the plot so that you care what happens. If you like thrillers with a sci-fi twist this is for you. If you like cop stories or FBI stories, this is for you. It was for me at a different time of my life.

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The Best of UsThe Best of Us by Joyce Maynard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t usually include the book blurb but I felt it said more about the book that I could.

“In 2011, when she was in her late fifties, beloved author and journalist Joyce Maynard met the first true partner she had ever known. Jim wore a rakish hat over a good head of hair; he asked real questions and gave real answers; he loved to see Joyce shine, both in and out of the spotlight; and he didn’t mind the mess she made in the kitchen. He was not the husband Joyce imagined, but he quickly became the partner she had always dreamed of.

Before they met, both had believed they were done with marriage, and even after they married, Joyce resolved that no one could alter her course of determined independence. Then, just after their one-year wedding anniversary, her new husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. During the nineteen months that followed, as they battled his illness together, she discovered for the first time what it really meant to be a couple–to be a true partner and to have one.

This is their story. Charting the course through their whirlwind romance, a marriage cut short by tragedy, and Joyce’s return to singleness on new terms, The Best of Us is a heart-wrenching, ultimately life-affirming reflection on coming to understand true love through the experience of great loss. ”

Knowing this may help you decide if you want to read this book. It is autobiographical and full of the journey that the author took through a gorgeous romance and then finding that her husband has pancreatic cancer and all that they went through during this journey. Though it is a depressing topic, after the romance, the author is able to keep the reader from falling into despair. In fact, it was only toward the end of the book that I nearly lost it in a loud sob that would have awaken the neighborhood had I let it escape. But I felt okay most of the read.

I guess I should tell you that for me it was a bit personal in that my mother passed of Pancreatic Cancer. She certainly didn’t last as long as Joyce’s husband. The doctors did exploratory surgery, found the cancer and closed her up. They said she would live for about three months, she barely lasted three weeks. So it is good to know that many are getting longer life-spans after diagnosis.

Mostly the book is a story of love and learning life as you go. I loved it and hated that I had to put it away and go to sleep.

I did have an issue with the formatting in that every now and then there was a title or author’s name and page number interrupting the flow. But it didn’t take me out of the book for more than a second.

I want to thank NetGalley for letting me read the book for an honest review. I hope others get the chance to read this book. There is a lot to learn here.

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The Girls in the PictureThe Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was so lucky to receive this book from NetGalley to read for an honest review. I loved it.

Stories about women friends are the best, especially those who stood strong and were able to fight the male machine. The early days of motion pictures either sex could do the job. Both were needed to reflect the real world while inventing a new one. Sadly after the two World Wars women were sent back to the kitchen. Such an unfair state of affairs.

I loved how these two, actress and screenwriter supported each other while they could. I was sorry that, as they predicted, once they had a male counterpart that friendship had to take a backseat. And as the reality seems to hold, the male world still stifles that of the female. It is sad that only now many decades later we are just now seeing that the fight for equality may be within sight, again.

Everyone needs to read books like this. History/HERstory is possibly more palatable in fiction. There is enough truth that a person can Google (as I did) and see these early movie marvels. Meanwhile, there are gems of wisdom for us all to carry into the rest of our lives.

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