Inferior, How Science Got Women Wrong by Angela Saini – Book Review

Inferior, How Science

I usually don’t review non-fiction, since I don’t read much of it.  However, I think that this is an important book for many reasons, but most particularly for our health and medical care.  How can it be that until very recently, only men were studied for the medical effects of the various pharmaceuticals that many people, women included take?  This is only the start, as Saini takes on the established view of women by science, how this view originated, and whether or not it is valid.

Saini gives us a thorough history of scientific research, but don’t assume that this is a dry, boring book.  It is not.  I found it interesting and engaging.  Saini’s writing is both informative, amusing and full of facts.  I really enjoyed this book, and felt that I learned a lot.  This is an important book if you have any questions about how science comes to the conclusions it does about the difference between men and woman; but also, why scientists come to these conclusions.  I highly recommend this book.  Well done, Saini!

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Angela Saini

 

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The Velveteen Daughter by Laurel Davis Huber – Book Review

The Velveteen Daughter

I originally picked this novel up mostly because the children’s book The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams has always been one of my absolute favorite books of all time.  However, this novel was much more than a fictionalized biography of Margery Williams.  This is a novel that burrows its way into your mind, and you just have to keep reading.

The novel follows the life of Margery Williams, who unknown to me, was the author of many books, and the troubled life of her daughter, Pamela Bianco.  Pamela was one of those unfortunate children who is touted as a genius at a young age, and seems almost destined to fail later in life.  She obviously suffered mental problems, much like her father, and had a hard time trying to simply live.

I love the way that the novel is told, jumping between Margery’s story in 1944 and Pamela’s life in her later years.  The problems that both women faced, made the art they made all the more wonderful.  As a mother, Margery’s regrets and worries made her accomplishments in the literary world all that more extraordinary.  Pamela’s life was spent dealing with her mental issues, and her art was both aided by her problems, and prohibited by them.

I highly recommend this novel.  Well done, Huber!

Laurel Davis Huber

Laurel Davis Huber

Are You Sleeping? by Kathleen Barber – Book Review

Are You Sleeping

This novel is a mystery/thriller where you don’t really know what is fact and what is fiction.  Twins Josie and Lanie have a typical “twin ship” until their father is murdered one night.  From there, their lives unravel in two distinctly different ways with Lanie becoming the “bad” twin and Josie the “good” one.

Thirteen years later, former “investigative” reporter, Poppy Parnell begins a podcast, which seeks to re-examine the guilty verdict concerning their next-door neighbor.  This novel examines how Josie chose to live her life by running away and concealing her identity from everyone in her life, including her boyfriend.  It also concerns the relationship between Josie and Lanie.  I actually felt that the real story was Josie’s mental health and her lack of any relationship with her twin.

I really enjoyed this novel.  It made me examine the ways in which our society intrudes on victims of criminal acts and how too many of us use other’s misfortune to our own advantage.  I highly recommend this novel.  Well done, Barber!

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Kathleen Barber

The Silent Wife by Kerry Fisher – Book Review

The Silent Wife

This was one of those disturbing novels where most of the characters miss the clues, make assumptions and therefore act accordingly.  When Maggie marries Nico, her sister-in-law Lara unfortunately comes across as a cold, buttoned-up woman, not interested in becoming friends with Maggie.  Outgoing Maggie feels rebuffed; however, she really warms up to charismatic brother-in-law, the handsome Massimo.

This novel really underscores the truth that the only people who know what really goes on in a marriage are those inside it.  Secrets abound, and I really don’t want to give anything away here, so I’ll simply say that I really liked this novel.  The characters were well-developed and likeable, the story was interesting and I kept turning those pages.  I highly recommend this book.  Well done Fisher!

Kerry Fisher

Kerry Fisher

The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon – Book Review

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This is the story of Cass Hugo, a dissatisfied army wife stuck in Jordan for two years while her husband Dan is working at the U.S. Embassy.  While their marriage is in hell of not-conceiving; Cass is extremely bitter and lonely.  She feels that she doesn’t fit in with the younger childless wives, and has nothing in common with the older wives with children.  Into this mix, Dan decides that they will “sponsor” a new couple Crick and Margaret Brickshaw, along with their baby, Mather.

The novel is rife with each spouse assuming things about the other; Margaret not understanding the importance of following mores in Jordan; and Cass feeling that Margaret is refusing to follow the rules that have been established by the Embassy.

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This novel is exciting, frustrating and all-together too real.  The problems created by each person leads to the inevitable ending.  I really liked this book.  The characters were full of believable flaws, along with their natural hope in face of their problems.  Life is hard, and being a spouse of a deployed soldier in a foreign country simply adds to the usual stresses.  I highly recommend this novel.  Well done, Fallon!

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Siobhan Fallon

Sycamore by Bryn Chancellor – Book Review

Sycamore

In 1991, seventeen-year-old Jess Winters went out for a run and never came home.  The townspeople of Sycamore had varied reactions to this, and life went on for most of the town.  However, as we soon learn, many people in town were affected by this mystery in various ways.

In 2009, Laura Drennan, a new transplant to Sycamore, comes across human bones while hiking around the outskirts of Sycamore.  What follows the story of Jess, as well as a smattering of Laura’s new life in Sycamore.

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I really liked the way this novel was set up.  Both Jess and Laura have dealt with loss and the bewildering after effects of it.  Jess Winters is a well-developed, easily loved character.  Her story kept me reading this novel.  Laura’s story was definitely secondary to the novel, however, she also showed courage in the face of despair.  I really liked how the other inhabitants of the town were also made a part of the plot.

I highly recommend this book.  Well done, Chancellor!

Bryn Chancellor

Bryn Chancellor

The Witches of New York by Ami McKay – Book Review

The Witches of New York

Do you love a good novel, set in Victorian New York?  If so, you will love this novel.  This is a novel of magic, evil overtones, and female empowerment.  Tea and Sympathy is a small tea shop run by Adelaide Thom and Eleanor St. Clair.  While it is indeed a tea shop, they also provide other services which would be frowned upon if made widely known.

Into this clandestine shop comes newcomer Beatrice Dunn, who is looking to fulfill her destiny in New York.  Beatrice is a witch-in-training with a power unknown to herself. Into this mix we also have a fanatical “preacher” looking to “keep all woman in their place”, and a fear that is running rampant against all things to do with women gaining any rights whatsoever.

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I loved this novel.  The character development was very good, the plot was exciting and the characters were believable.  I highly recommend this novel.  Well done, McKay!

Ami McKay

Ami McKay