Bookish Posts · politics · What You Missed Wednesdays

What You Missed Wednesdays – Books about Politics Edition

What You Missed Wednesdays is exactly as it sounds!

Book reviews of each week’s genre of choice that you might have missed, and I think you should really hear about.

3 Books a Week with 3 Words/Phrases to Describe Them 

Click on the title of each book to be taken to my full review.

I hope you find new books that you’re excited to add to your TBR!

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Justice in Plain Sight: A Small Town Newspaper and Its Unlikely Lawyer Opened America’s Courtroom by Dan Bernstein

4 stars

Journalistic rights, First Amendment, tenacity

Add to your Goodreads TBR

 

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Yallah Bye by Joseph Safieddine, illustrated by Kyungeun Park

3.5 stars

Political graphic novel, famine, fear

Add to your Goodreads TBR

 

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Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger by Soraya Chemaly 

5 stars

Justifiable rage, systemic inequalities, feminism 

Add to your Goodreads TBR

___________________________

 

Well there you have it!

Another edition of What You Missed Wednesdays.

Keep coming back each Wednesday for more Can’t Miss Books!

Which book(s) are you now adding to your TBR?

___________________________

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5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Bookish Posts · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · mental health · Women's Fiction

The Best Book! | ARC Review | The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves

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The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves

Published: April 2, 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 304

Genres: contemporary romance, contemporary fiction, women’s fiction, mental health

Rating: 5 stars

Recommend to fans of: books with all the feels, good representation of people on the autism spectrum

Foodie Vibes: cherry wine coolers 

 

Synopsis:

Annika (rhymes with Monica) Rose is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people’s behavior confusing, she’d rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.

Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game–and his heart–to the shy and awkward, yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her. Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.

Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She’s living the life she wanted as a librarian. He’s a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start. The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins.

 

Review:

I won this book for free through a Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you to Goodreads, Tracey Garvis Graves and St. Martin’s Press for an ARC copy. As always, an honest review from me. 

The book is absolutely amazing! There are not enough words to accurately describe how wonderful the read was, so I’m not even going to try. I will just say this: I’ve never done this before — not given a full in depth review of a book. That’s how special I found The Girl He Used to Know. But take my word for it, read this book! 

 

Do you ever feel like you don’t have the words to explain how amazing a book, movie, feeling is?

4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · Chick Lit · Chronic Illness/Disabilities · contemporary fiction · Domestic Fiction · drama · Literary Fiction · mental health · Women's Fiction

New Release | The Secrets We Keep by Kate Hewitt

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The Secrets We Keep by Kate Hewitt

Published: September 4, 2018

Publisher: Bookouture

Pages: 356

Genres: women’s fiction, literary fiction, mental health, domestic fiction, chick lit, drama

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: moms with psychological struggles trying to keep it all together, validating books about mental health and self harm

Foodie Vibes: pina coladas, takeout pizza and marshmallows roasted over an open fire pit

 

Synopsis:

‘Is her life as easy and effortless as it seems from the outside? Or is she feeling lonely, all by herself in that big house, an evening stretching out in front of her just as it is for me?’

When Tessa arrives at the little house by the lake with her two children Ben and Katherine, it is an escape. For all of them. Never mind that the rental house is a bit small – it’s theirs for the summer. A place to hide…

Their isolation is disrupted when they meet the family from the big house next door. Three children Charlotte, Zoe and Max and their glamorous mother Rebecca – who seems absolutely determined to invite Tessa in to their lives.

But Rebecca is harbouring a dark secret of her own. One that will put not only her family at risk, but Tessa’s too. And when she discovers she has no option but to leave her children for several weeks, Tessa feels like the only person she can trust.

Suddenly Tessa finds herself living a life she could only have dreamed of. Wealth, a large brood of children, and Rebecca’s handsome husband Josh visiting at weekends.

But even as powerful bonds are forming between them, secrets have a way of catching up with people. And as the summer comes to an end, who will learn to love again and who will risk losing everything?

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture, and Kate Hewitt for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

First of all, Trigger Warning for self harm and child sexual abuse.

Keeping yourself safe is most important, so make sure you’re in a healthy place before reading, my lovelies.

Feel free to send me a message on here, or a DM on Twitter for more privacy, if you want to know more about content that may trigger you.

Now onto the book review.

It seems as if everyone is keeping secrets from those around them. Pretending that they’re okay, when they’re anything but. I think we all can relate to this.

Over summer vacation 2 moms, Tessa and Rebecca, take their kids to summer vacation cottages. They didn’t know each other before the summer, but they end up neighbors, friends, and changing each other’s lives forever. They say it’s because their kids need playmates, but both moms know they need each other’s help more. Tessa has 2 kids, is in dire need of a makeover, constantly doubts herself, and has enough money but still must live by a budget. Rebecca has 3 kids, a glamorous lifestyle, a seemingly perfect life, more money than she can spend, and some serious issues going on. Hence the trigger warning. People are jealous of how well put together she seems, but inside she’s a wreck, just trying to get through the day.

I appreciated that self harm in adults is discussed. And not as a one off conversation. As a legitimate mental health concern that is featured throughout the novel. If you’re looking for good representation of self harm in adults, this is your book. 

The overall story the author tells of moms as people first that also care fiercely for their children is refreshing. And you can’t go wrong with a summer cottage on the lake story.

The only caveat that I have is the weird situation that is thrust upon one of the moms about halfway through the story. I can’t give away any spoilers, but it’s kind of a you need to go with the flow story line and not critique that it probably isn’t realistic. Oh, also the ending completely wrecked me. So I can see how some people might have an issue with it. 

Overall, The Secrets We Keep featured some truly broken adults who are trying to hold it together to care for their children. A wonderful authentic representation of adult self harm. I highly recommend, as long as you won’t be too triggered.  

 

If you want some helpful information or support about these serious topics, click the links below

RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)

Self-Harm Crisis Text Hotline

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

 

Do trigger warnings help you to choose a book?

Everyone has different triggers. Which ones would be helpful to you, that I mention in my future reviews?

3.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · contemporary romance · fiction · Literary Fiction · Women's Fiction

New Release | A Dancer’s Guide to Africa by Terez Mertes Rose

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A Dancer’s Guide to Africa by Terez Mertes Rose

Published: October 2, 2018

Publisher: Classical Girl Press

Pages: 374

Genres: fiction, literary fiction, women’s fiction, contemporary romance

Rating: 3.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: self exploration through travel, the world of dance, experiencing different cultures

Foodie Vibes: the African version of American pumpkin pie created with American spices and African fruits/vegetables

 

Synopsis:

Fiona Garvey, ballet dancer and new college graduate, is desperate to escape her sister’s betrayal and a failed relationship. Vowing to restart as far from home as possible, she accepts a two-year teaching position with the Peace Corps in Africa. It’s a role she’s sure she can perform. But in no time, Fiona realizes she’s traded her problems in Omaha for bigger ones in Gabon, a country as beautiful as it is filled with contradictions.

Emotionally derailed by Christophe, a charismatic and privileged Gabonese man who can teach her to let go of her inhibitions but can’t commit to anything more, threatened by an overly familiar student with a menacing fixation on her, and drawn into the compelling but potentially dangerous local dance ceremonies, Fiona finds herself at increasing risk. And when matters come to a shocking head, she must reach inside herself, find her dancer’s power, and fight back.

Blending humor and pathos, A DANCER’S GUIDE TO AFRICA takes the reader along on a suspense-laden, sensual journey through Africa’s complex beauty, mystery and mysticism.

 

Review:

I won this book through a Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you to Goodreads, Classical Girl Press and Terez Mertes Rose for a free ARC ebook copy. As always, an honest review from me.

A Dancer’s Guide to Africa is the story of a young woman who went to Africa with the Peace Corps to appease her father with a real job, instead of dancing. She learns so much about herself, other cultures, and people in general. I loved reading about the experiences the Peace Corps workers had in different cities, so far away from their homes. It absolutely captivated me. The writing and storytelling is beautiful. Perfectly blending the art of ballet and African dance into a wonderful symphony of words. I felt as if I was right there with the characters. The story is fictional, but it almost reads as a memoir. I actually thought it was for a bit. 

However, some of the characters were very arrogant, judgmental, and/or whiny. Not to say I would be any better in their situation, but at times it became frustrating to read when these segments went on for many chapters. 

Overall the book is a beautiful read that absolutely transports you to another world filled with dance, spirit, and passion. I definitely recommend giving it a read. 

 

How many of you have been to Africa? 

5 Star Books · Book Reviews · memoir · mental health · Uncategorized

Surviving Myself: How an Eating Disorder, A Car Crash and a Stroke Taught Me to Love My Life and Finally Live It by Dina Pestonji

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Surviving Myself: How an Eating Disorder, A Car Crash and a Stroke Taught Me to Love My Life and Finally Live It by Dina Pestonji

Published: July 19, 2018

Publisher: Tellwell Talent

Pages: 350

Genres: memoir, mental health, autobiography

Rating: 5 stars

Recommend to fans of: memoirs about strong women, life lessons, authentic eating disorder representation

Foodie Vibes: homemade Indian food surrounded by family

 

Synopsis:

GROWING UP, DINA PESTONJI was afforded all the comfort, love and affection anyone could ask for. She should have been a happy, carefree girl. But from the age of 10, she felt uncomfortably “different,” like an ugly brown duckling in a sea of perfect girls with white skin and blue eyes.

In this powerful, brutally honest memoir, Dina vividly describes the losing battle that engulfed her mind and body—one with a hateful, self-loathing and cruel inner critic.

Consumed by a misguided obsession with fitting in, being exceptional and “perfect,” she unknowingly allowed a deep self-hatred to set in over the years—a hatred that not even her acceptance at the swankiest schools nor a dream job in California could change. Only after surviving a horrific car crash and a paralyzing stroke while still in her 20s, did she begin to see herself for who she really was: strong, independent, a fighter…blessed.

Surviving Myself, is the captivating, emotionally charged story of the author’s journey to self-acceptance and inner peace, narrated with the refreshing candour of a close friend. Alternately humourous, shocking and heartbreaking, it is also the story of a family’s overflowing love.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Tellwell Talent and Dina Pestonji for an ebook copy for review. As always, an honest review from me. 

The title pretty much sums up the book. Dina struggles with an eating disorder in her teen years, constantly feels different from her peers, gets into a car crash, moves abroad several times, and has a stroke. All before the age of 30. That’s a lot of information for a person to get in 30 seconds, not to mention experience in 30 years. 

Her story is remarkable, inspiring and so relatable. Even if you haven’t dealt with all of the challenges that she has, you will still be able to relate to a lot of her feelings. Feelings of isolation, loneliness, loving your family but wanting to prove your independence, frustration, finding your place in the world, hopelessness and courage. The writing is so relatable. It’s like listening to a really smart mentor give you all the life lessons you need to know. I would read another 350 pages of her experiences and insight. 

The only aspect that slightly annoyed me was reading the younger years. Maybe age 10 and 11. Since it’s in 1st person, the writing is from a pre teen’s perspective. Makes sense for the story, but not my favorite age range to read about. These are only minor details though.

Overall a fantastic memoir that really resonated with me. Do yourself a favor and give Surviving Myself by Dina Pestonji a read!

 

Which of Dina’s experiences can you relate to?

5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · Essays · feminism · mental health · non fiction · politics · Self Help · sociology

New Release | Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger by Soraya Chemaly

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Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger by Soraya Chemaly 

Published: September 11, 2018

Publisher: Atria Books

Pages: 416

Genres: non fiction, feminism, sociology, self help, politics, mental health, essays

Recommend to fans of: books that explain so many experiences as a women, educating yourself, feminism

Foodie Vibes: whatever food that you want, because you don’t need to justify your food choices

 

Synopsis:

Women are angry, and it isn’t hard to figure out why.

We are underpaid and overworked. Too sensitive, or not sensitive enough. Too dowdy or too made-up. Too big or too thin. Sluts or prudes. We are harassed, told we are asking for it, and asked if it would kill us to smile. Yes, yes it would.

Contrary to the rhetoric of popular “self-help” and an entire lifetime of being told otherwise, our rage is one of the most important resources we have, our sharpest tool against both personal and political oppression. We’ve been told for so long to bottle up our anger, letting it corrode our bodies and minds in ways we don’t even realize. Yet our anger is a vital instrument, our radar for injustice and a catalyst for change. On the flip side, the societal and cultural belittlement of our anger is a cunning way of limiting and controlling our power.

We are so often told to resist our rage or punished for justifiably expressing it, yet how many remarkable achievements in this world would never have gotten off the ground without the kernel of anger that fueled them? Rage Becomes Her makes the case that anger is not what gets in our way, it is our way, sparking a new understanding of one of our core emotions that will give women a liberating sense of why their anger matters and connect them to an entire universe of women no longer interested in making nice at all costs.

Following in the footsteps of classic feminist manifestos like The Feminine Mystique and Our Bodies, Ourselves, Rage Becomes Her is an eye-opening book for the twenty-first century woman: an engaging, accessible credo offering us the tools to re-understand our anger and harness its power to create lasting positive change.

 

Review:

I won this book for free from Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, Atria Books, and Soraya Chemaly. As always, an honest review from me.

Rage Becomes Her might be my book of the year. It’s incredibly powerful, poignant and validating for women. I want to share the book with every single woman I know. Actually I need every single person on the planet to read it. No arguments, just reading and learning.

With that being said, here are all the reasons why Rage Becomes Her is a must read book:

– The author made me realize that I actually am very angry. Not annoyed, frustrated, sad, but angry. So many women have to put up with so much hatred, injustice and ridicule. And it’s ridiculous.
– I can relate to almost everything that she’s writing.
– I learned so much and so will you.
– Highlights the value of women as caregivers and the lack of value society places on us.
– Gives words to feelings and experiences that I’ve had before. Incredibly validating!
-Books this powerful set my soul on fire
-Teaches women how to make positive change using all that justifiable anger

There is nothing negative that I can say about the book.

Here are a few quotes that help to demonstrate the power of this novel:

“Angry women burn brighter than the sun.”

“How much is a little girl worth?” -Rachael Denhollander

“Little girls don’t stay little forever. They grow into strong women that return to destroy your world.” -Kyle Stephens

“The unfairness that we intuit and experience but cannot “prove” as we are asked to do so often, are more likely to become internalized anger rather than externalized action.”

I literally had chills and tears while reading, from the power of the author’s words.

Please, if you only read one book that I recommend this year, make it this one.
4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · LGBTQIA+ Books · Medical

ARC Book Review | Passionate Rivals by Radclyffe

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Passionate Rivals by Radclyffe

Published: September 11, 2018

Publisher: Bold Strokes Books

Pages: 240 

Genres: contemporary romance, medical, contemporary fiction, LGBTQIA+

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: hospital centric romances, women in medicine, the TV show Grey’s Anatomy

Foodie Vibes: hospital coffee and leftover pizza

 

Synopsis:

Onetime lovers, unexpected rivals…
Emmett McCabe never expected to see Sydney Stevens—a woman with whom she’d shared a brief, incendiary connection before it all went up in flames—again. Luckily, ascending the cutthroat ladder of a high-pressure surgery residency to reach the top spot makes it easy to ignore what’s missing in her life. Then Sydney reappears after nearly five years. Emmett is barely over her shock when she discovers Sydney is her new competition for the coveted chief’s position everyone, including Emmett, expects will be hers.
Professional rivalry and long-simmering passions create a combustible combination when the two are forced to work together, especially when past attractions won’t stay buried.

 

Review: 

Thank you to NetGalley, Radclyffee and Bold Strokes Books for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

If you’re looking for the book version of the medical drama, Grey’s Anatomy but with mainly lesbian relationships, Passionate Rivals is for you.

Emmett and Sydney knew each other form years ago. They had a few passionate nights but went their separate ways. Now, as resident doctors are forced to switch hospitals due to budget cuts, the two are working side by side each day. 

I absolutely enjoyed the authentic feel of the book. The friendship and competitive nature of the residents seems real and lends an ease to the story. The writing is not overly dramatic, because the day to day life of medicine is dramatic enough. It feels like a behind the scenes look at a day in the life of a resident doctor working at a hospital. Incredibly captivating! 

However this doesn’t feel like that much of a romance novel to me. Yes, there are relationships and sexy times, but the majority of it is navigating the world of being a doctor. That will naturally include romance and relationships at times, but I wouldn’t classify it as a typical romance book.

Also, it’s the fourth in the series, but I think it can absolutely be read a stand alone. I hadn’t read any other the other books before and had no trouble. I’m definitely putting the other three books on my TBR list now!

All in all, a super enjoyable read that I highly recommend. 

 

Which TV show do you wish existed as a book series?

4 Star Books · Adventure · feminism · historical fiction · LGBTQIA+ Books

The Pirate’s Booty by Alex Westmore

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Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the review for a fun Bookish Question. I’d love to hear your answers!

 

The Pirate’s Booty by Alex Westmore 

Published: November 22, 2016

Publisher: Broad Winged Books

Pages: 344

Genres: historical fiction, LGBTQIA+, historical romance, adventure

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: pirate adventures, badass women, historical fiction with lesbians, feminism

Read with food: a nice juicy orange which is such a treat for a pirate 

 

Synopsis:

When Quinn Gallagher’s childhood friend is abducted from a dock in Ireland, she’ll do whatever it takes to come to the rescue—even if that means dressing as a man and joining the crew of one of the most notorious pirate captains the world has ever seen.

Quinn soon finds there is much to enjoy living as a man, in particular the company of other women. When she finds herself falling hard for Lady Fiona, a woman far above her own station, she is torn between revealing her true identity and continuing the façade of being a male pirate. Love is never easy, especially in the sixteenth century and especially under false pretenses.

Can Quinn live with one foot in two different worlds, or must she consign herself to either the lusty life of a pirate or the loveless life of a noble woman? Come sail the high seas in this exciting and erotic adventure with the fierce pirate Gallagher as your guide. You’re in for a wild ride and may even score some booty along the way.

 

Review:

I was contacted by the publicist of the author and offered a free ebook in exchange for a review. I read the synopsis and of course said yes! As always, an honest review.

I don’t usually read pirate adventure stories, but when I read that The Pirate’s Booty featured a female pirate queen I was very intrigued. Initially there was a bit of an adjustment regarding the language. It’s written in a 16th century pirate dialect, so I didn’t read it as quickly as modern American English. But as time went on, I became quite used to the writing style. It definitely adds to the atmosphere of the story.

The Pirate’s Booty isn’t what I think of when I imagine a typical pirate adventure novel, but it’s so much better. Female pirate queens, lesbians, women disguised as men, and of course the action packed adventure aboard the high seas!

I found myself captivated by the adventures and heartfelt stories. I loved the focus on woman power. Women proving that they are just as capable as men. The underlying themes of women’s freedom, literally and figuratively, provides interesting parallels to current day women’s issues.

Occasionally there were parts of the story that didn’t captivate me as much as others. However, there was so much going on, that it wasn’t long before another storyline came along to grab my focus.

The Pirate’s Booty is the first in a series of books featuring badass lesbian pirates. A wonderful unique story of heart, bravery and determination.

 

The Pirate’s Booty is the first in the Plundered Chronicles series.

Book 6: X Marks the Spot will be released soon, so keep a look out for it!

 

If you liked my review and are interested in learning more about the author and her books, check out:

Her website (subscribe to her newsletter for updates): http://alexwestmore.net

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alex.westmore/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009227907721

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4lrQpHa8ZX3qdkVDYEi0ng

 

 

Bookish Question of the Review:

Do you stick to a few favorite genres or read almost anything or somewhere in the middle? 

4 Star Books · contemporary fiction · Literary Fiction

Book Review: The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso

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The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso

Published by Picador on February 7, 2017

Pages: 288

Genres: contemporary fiction, literary fiction

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: novels that give older people a true voice

Read with food: Early Grey tea with milk 

 

Synopsis:

Hortensia James and Marion Agostino are neighbours. One is black, one white. Both are successful women with impressive careers. Both have recently been widowed. And both are sworn enemies, sharing hedge and hostility which they prune with a zeal that belies the fact that they are both over eighty.

But one day an unforeseen event forces the women together. And gradually the bickering and sniping softens into lively debate, and from there into memories shared. But could these sparks of connection ever transform into friendship? Or is it too late to expect these two to change?

Review:

Rarely do I finish a book and not have something to say about it. However, I’m struggling to find the words to properly sum up this book. I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing. 

The Woman Next Door tells the tale of two older women who are neighbors, but have been enemies for a long time. Set in South Africa, the story has a long history of tension and struggle behind it. 

One woman loses her husband, falls, and requires in home care. Another’s house need renovations, and so the two end of temporarily living together. It is the perfect set up for drama and lots of it. However, the writing and the characters are subtle and much more mature than that. Through their current situations, we learn about their lives. The good, bad, difficult, and celebratory. 

The author does the characters justice and gives them a wonderful voice to share their perceptions and experiences. 

The one major downside is that in the paperback version the pages are thick and weirdly textured, which I found annoying. If I left my bookmark fully inside the book, it made it really hard to find. Not that big of a deal, but annoying after it kept happening. 

I definitely recommend this subtle but wonderful novel. 

 

How often do you not have too much to say about a book?

What do you do about it?