Mini Reviews: Nonfiction – From the Corner of the Oval, by Beck Dorey-Stein & Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, by Marc Weissbluth, M.D.

Mini reviews - nonfiction

For this set of mini reviews, I want to talk about some nonfiction books I’ve read fairly recently. Although both nonfiction, these are very different in their subgenres, one being a memoir and the other a self-help/parenting book. I had mixed feelings on both of these, but each are worth a read for their own reasons.

Ready to see the reviews?

Continue reading “Mini Reviews: Nonfiction – From the Corner of the Oval, by Beck Dorey-Stein & Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, by Marc Weissbluth, M.D.”

Book Review: The Wives, by Tarryn Fisher

The Wives, by Tarryn Fisher

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

Published by Graydon House on December 30, 2019

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, suspense, thriller

Format & Length: hardcover, 320

Source: purchased

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Imagine that your husband has two other wives.

You’ve never met the other wives. None of you know each other, and because of this unconventional arrangement, you can see your husband only one day a week. But you love him so much you don’t care. Or at least that’s what you’ve told yourself.

But one day, while you’re doing laundry, you find a scrap of paper in his pocket—an appointment reminder for a woman named Hannah, and you just know it’s another of the wives.

You thought you were fine with your arrangement, but you can’t help yourself: you track her down, and, under false pretenses, you strike up a friendship. Hannah has no idea who you really are. Then, Hannah starts showing up to your coffee dates with telltale bruises, and you realize she’s being abused by her husband. Who, of course, is also your husband. But you’ve never known him to be violent, ever.

Who exactly is your husband, and how far would you go to find the truth? Would you risk your own life?

And who is his mysterious third wife?

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Book Review: Things in Jars, by Jess Kidd

Things in Jars, by Jess Kidd

Things in Jars by Jess Kidd

Published by Atria Books on February 4, 2020 (expected)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, historical fiction, magical realism, mystery

Format & Length: e-book, 384

Source: Netgalley

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In the dark underbelly of Victorian London, a formidable female sleuth is pulled into the macabre world of fanatical anatomists and crooked surgeons while investigating the kidnapping of an extraordinary child in this gothic mystery—perfect for fans of The Essex Serpent and The Book of Speculation.

Bridie Devine—female detective extraordinaire—is confronted with the most baffling puzzle yet: the kidnapping of Christabel Berwick, secret daughter of Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick, and a peculiar child whose reputed supernatural powers have captured the unwanted attention of collectors trading curiosities in this age of discovery.

Winding her way through the labyrinthine, sooty streets of Victorian London, Bridie won’t rest until she finds the young girl, even if it means unearthing a past that she’d rather keep buried. Luckily, her search is aided by an enchanting cast of characters, including a seven-foot tall housemaid; a melancholic, tattoo-covered ghost; and an avuncular apothecary. But secrets abound in this foggy underworld where spectacle is king and nothing is quite what it seems.

Blending darkness and light, history and folklore, Things in Jars is a spellbinding Gothic mystery that collapses the boundary between fact and fairy tale to stunning effect and explores what it means to be human in inhumane times.

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Book Review: Ninth House, by Leigh Bardugo

Ninth House, by Leigh Bardugo

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Published by Flatiron Books on October 8, 2019

Series: Alex Stern, #1

Genre(s): fiction, fantasy

Format & Length: hardcover, 458

Source: Netgalley

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Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

The mesmerizing adult debut from #1 New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo.

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Book Review: Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft, by Various

Future Visions, by Various

Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft by Various

Published by Microsoft & Melcher Media on November 17, 2015

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, science fiction

Format & Length: e-book, 224

Source: purchased

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Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft is an anthology of new short work from some of the greatest science fiction writers in the field. These visionary stories explore prediction science, quantum computing, real-time translation, machine learning, and much more. The authors used inside access to leading-edge work from Microsoft Research as inspiration, crafting pieces that predict the near-future of technology – and examine its complex relationship to our core humanity.

Future Visions features contributions from:

Elizabeth Bear
Greg Bear
David Brin
Nancy Kress
Ann Leckie
Jack McDevitt
Seanan McGuire
Robert J. Sawyer
…along with a short graphic novel by Blue Delliquanti and Michele Rosenthal, plus original illustrations by Joey Camacho.

These are some of today’s most visionary creators—and they’ve joined together to give us a preview of tomorrow.

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Book Review: The Revenant, by Sonia Gensler

The Revenant, by Sonia Gensler

The Revenant by Sonia Gensler

Published by Ember on May 14, 2013 (originally published June 14, 2011)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, historical fiction, mystery, paranormal, young adult

Format & Length: paperback, 352

Source: purchased

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When Willie arrives in Indian Territory, she knows only one thing: no one can find out who she really is. To escape a home she doesn’t belong in, she assumes the name of a former classmate and accepts a teaching position at the Cherokee Female Seminary.

Nothing prepares her for what she finds. Her pupils are the daughters of the Cherokee elite–educated and more wealthy than she–and the school is cloaked in mystery. A student drowned in the river last year, and the girls whisper that she was killed by a jealous lover. Willie’s room is the very room the dead girl slept in. The students say her spirit haunts it.

Willie doesn’t believe in ghosts, but when strange things start happening at the school, she isn’t sure anymore. She’s also not sure what to make of a boy from the nearby boys’ school who has taken an interest in her–and whose past is cloaked in secrets. Soon, even Willie has to admit that the revenant may be trying to tell her something. . . .

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Book Review: Good Girls Lie, by J.T. Ellison

Good Girls Lie, by J.T. Ellison

Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison

Published by MIRA on December 31, 2019 (expected)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, mystery, thriller

Format & Length: e-book, 384

Source: Netgalley

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Goode girls don’t lie…

Perched atop a hill in the tiny town of Marchburg, Virginia, The Goode School is a prestigious prep school known as a Silent Ivy. The boarding school of choice for daughters of the rich and influential, it accepts only the best and the brightest. Its elite status, long-held traditions and honor code are ideal for preparing exceptional young women for brilliant futures at Ivy League universities and beyond. But a stranger has come to Goode, and this ivy has turned poisonous.

In a world where appearances are everything, as long as students pretend to follow the rules, no one questions the cruelties of the secret societies or the dubious behavior of the privileged young women who expect to get away with murder. But when a popular student is found dead, the truth cannot be ignored. Rumors suggest she was struggling with a secret that drove her to suicide.

But look closely…because there are truths and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened.

J.T. Ellison’s pulse-pounding new novel examines the tenuous bonds of friendship, the power of lies and the desperate lengths people will go to to protect their secrets.

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Book Review: The Family Upstairs, by Lisa Jewell

The Family Upstairs, by Lisa Jewell

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Published by Atria Books on November 5, 2019 (expected)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, mystery, suspense

Format & Length: e-book, 352

Source: Netgalley

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From the New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone and Watching You comes another page-turning look inside one family’s past as buried secrets threaten to come to light.

Be careful who you let in.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.

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Book Review: Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live), by Eve Rodsky

Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live), by Eve Rodsky

Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live) by Eve Rodsky

Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons on October 1, 2019

Series: n/a

Genre(s): nonfiction

Format & Length: hardcover, 352

Source: library

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A revolutionary, real-world solution to the problem of unpaid, invisible work that women have shouldered for too long–from a woman tapped by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine as the expert on this topic for a new generation of women.

It started with the Sh*t I Do List. Tired of being the “shefault” parent responsible for all aspects of her busy household, Eve Rodsky counted up all the unpaid, invisible work she was doing for her family — and then sent that list to her husband, asking for things to change. His response was… underwhelming. Rodsky realized that simply identifying the issue of unequal labor on the home front wasn’t enough: She needed a solution to this universal problem. Her sanity, identity, career (and her marriage) depended on it.

The result is Fair Play: a time- and anxiety-saving system that offers couples a completely new way to divvy up domestic responsibilities. Rodsky interviewed more than five hundred men and women from all walks of life to figure out what the invisible work in a family actually entails and how to get it all done efficiently. With four easy-to-follow rules, 100 household tasks, and a figurative card game you play with your partner, Fair Play helps you prioritize what’s important to your family and who should take the lead on every chore from laundry to homework to dinner.

“Winning” this game means rebalancing your home life, reigniting your relationship with your significant other, and reclaiming your Unicorn Space — as in, the time to develop the skills and passions that keep you interested and interesting. Are you ready to try Fair Play? Let’s deal you in.

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Book Review: The Game, by Terry Schott

The Game, by Terry Schott

The Game by Terry Schott

Published by Smashwords Edition on August 22, 2013

Series: The Game is Life, #1

Genre(s): fiction, dystopia, science fiction, young adult

Format & Length: e-book, 273

Source: purchased

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The Game…
A virtual reality simulation played by over a billion children around the world. The best players are celebrities, adored and worshiped by countless fans. Zack is a superstar among players.
His final play may change the world, forever…

Continue reading “Book Review: The Game, by Terry Schott”