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Posts made in November, 2017

Book Review: Mystery

Posted by on Nov 26, 2017 |

Under the Shadows by Gwen Florio

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Mystery

Once again, Florio delivers an outstanding mystery with a heart-pounding ending.

The character Lola Wicks has been felled by the death of a loved one. A white woman who married into a Native American Indian family, Lola has the support of the “aunties”—the women on the reservation who come together, especially in times of crisis. But they, and Lola’s coworker Jan, have decided it’s time that she moves on with her life and takes better care of her eight-year-old daughter, Margarette. It’s a social worker threatening to remove Margarette from Lola’s custody that compels her to take a fluff piece about overseas adoption. Lola leaves her small-town Montana life to go to the comparatively big-town of Salt Lake City in the heart of Mormon country.

Initially, Lola wants to get out of writing the article, but when the teenager at the center of the story is accused of murder, things start to get interesting. Lola can’t help herself, the reporter in her has to follow every lead. The clues even lead her to Vietnam. As with all Florio’s books, the characters are well-drawn and compelling, including the setting as character. Here, Lola tries to adjust to Mormon culture, meaning her beloved caffeine is not on the menu. Alcohol? I don’t think so. Also, Vietnam and its differences, particularly since she doesn’t speak the language.

Lola Wicks is a phenomenally likeable heroine. She eschews dresses and dress shoes. Rather, her closet is filled with gym shoes is various states of disrepair and hiking boots. I love Lola and I love this book.

Thanks so much to NetGalley and Midnight Ink for the opportunity to read this book, which RELEASES MARCH 8, 2018.

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Book Review: Fiction

Posted by on Nov 24, 2017 |

The Copenhagen Affair by Amulya Malladi

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Fiction

“Anxiety is depression’s best friend, and sometimes they party together.”

You wouldn’t think a novel about a woman having a breakdown and going through a depression would be fun, but The Copenhagen Affair pulls off being an eminently readable novel.

After Sanya has a breakdown at her office—crying unstoppably in front of her coworkers—her husband of twenty years, Harry, suggests moving to Copenhagen for a year. He has business opportunities he can work on there and she can take what is evidently a much-needed break.

I always like novels set in foreign countries, whether I’ve been there, would like to go there, or will never get there. This one was unsentimental about the good and the bad things of living in this city.

Sanya’s parents have always been upset that she didn’t follow in their footsteps and become a doctor. Also, she married an American. Both her parents and her sister put Sanya down a lot, but Sanya is too nice to say anything.

I enjoyed the growth and change of both Sanya and Harry. The complex cast of characters make this a novel to explore.

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Book Review: Thriller

Posted by on Nov 9, 2017 |

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

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Thriller > Mystery > Suspense

I didn’t love this novel as much as everyone else seems to. I thought parts of it dragged, and some of the twists at the end seemed forced like, “Ah ha! We can do yet another switcheroo! You might have thought X, but really, it’s Y!”

I will say that at the 40 percent mark of the novel, a story that seems to be about a jealous ex-wife (Vanessa) stalking her ex’s fiancé (Emma) got decidedly creepy and more interesting. However, for me, certain mysteries weren’t solved to my satisfaction while there were twists about things that seemed inauthentic.

I don’t want to say too much about what we discover about Vanessa’s marriage, which she tells us about through flashbacks. The relationship started out as ridiculously happy, though Richard is controlling, a trait that only gets worse, to the point that she believes herself to be crazy. Her mother battled mental illness, so it’s not totally unreasonable that she might have some issues to contend with herself. Certainly her behavior to us, the readers, doesn’t exactly scream that she’s perfectly stable.

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.

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Book Review: Women in Television

Posted by on Nov 4, 2017 |

Stealing the Show: How Women are Revolutionizing Television in America by Joy Press

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Nonfiction > Feminism > Women in Media > Women in Television

If you’re a fan of Orange is the New Black or Scandal or Grey’s Anatomy or Broad City or Transparent or 30 Rock (among others discussed in these pages), this nonfiction book about the struggles and strides of the women behind the camera should be interesting to you.

With the exception of Murphy Brown that came out in 1987, it was rare to have women head writers or showrunners (if you saw 30 Rock, Tina Fey’s character played a showrunner—basically in charge the writers and making sure everything came together). The major broadcast networks ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox have not made great strides in this area. (CW is an exception). Variety found that of the new scripted shows being made for the 2017/2018 season, just 29 percent of the broadcast showrunners were female and thirty-five percent of the actors were.

Thanks to streaming channels and cable, there are many more opportunities for women to get experience—and hire other women so they, too, can get experience. Directing TV is a Catch-22—you won’t get hired if you don’t have experience, but you can’t get experience because no one will hire you.

I like history and examining the role women have played in it, including the history of the entertainment industry. I found this to be readable, fun look at women in TV.

RELEASES 3/6/18. Thanks so much to NetGalley and Atria Books for the opportunity to review this book.

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