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review 2021-04-26 02:26
Living With Twelve Men: A Mother in Training
Living with Twelve Men: a mother in training - Betty Auchard
Reading Betty’s stories are like sitting beside her and having a conversation. Betty doesn’t leave out anything as she writes about events in her life and I enjoyed the assortment of stories and her honesty. I found myself laughing many times as I read and I even thought, “no, she really didn’t do that, did she?”

Her story about the prayer chain hit home with me. When it came time for Betty’s turn to pray, I cracked up as she spoke to the group. I would have loved to be in that room and see everyone’s response as I think I would’ve started laughing. Her story about the guinea hens reminded me of the time I had turkeys. I don’t know how she kept her composure during that whole ordeal but I feel she’s a strong woman as I know I wouldn’t have been able to.

This is my second book of Betty’s that I’ve read and they’ve both been very enjoyable. Betty writes about her personal experiences which are honest and open. I read this book for book club and we had the honor this month (April 2021) of having Betty at our book club meeting via Zoom. Seeing her in person was wonderful, as she’s just like the individual, I pictured her to be. A very sweet, entertaining woman spoke with us. She answered all of our questions, talking about the stories in the book, asking us questions, and telling us about her life. We all enjoyed having her join us. 4.5 stars
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review 2020-08-08 23:24
Let's go shopping!
Blue and Green Should Never Be Seen! (Or So Mother Says) - Colette Kebell I enjoyed the Prequel to this novel, The Retail Therapist, meeting Gigi and her friend Ritchie for the first time. Now we get to spend more time with them as Gigi tries, often against the odds, to build her fashion consultancy business. The only thing that I guess didn't really sit well with me, was how judgmental Gigi is of others' dress sense; I'm sure she'd have shot me down in flames. Justine Ellis makes an excellent job of narrating this novel, based on Gigi's efforts to build her business and expand into male shopping consultancy. There are plenty of ups and downs along the way, as there would be in any growing business. There are competitors who would sabotage her efforts and friends who stand behind her. There are less successful projects and others who become recurring happy customers. And then there's the love interest, which also has its ups and downs. I think what I liked most about this book is that Gigi doesn't rush to buy the latest items as they come out, she shops selectively, in clearance warehouses and end-of-line stores, which really spoke to the anti-waste person in me. This was an enjoyable frivolous read, just what we all need during this strange year.
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review 2020-05-28 00:07
‘Everything My Mother Taught Me’ by Alice Hoffman -highly recommended short story.
Everything My Mother Taught Me - Alice Hoffman,Brittany Pressley

I rather like Amazon's idea of having collections of short stories, written by well-known writers and available as Kindle and audiobook versions.


One of these collections is called 'Inheritance' and focuses on family secrets and their consequences.


When I saw that one of these stories was by Alice Hoffman, I was excited. When I heard the opening sentences, I knew I had to have a copy:

'There are those who insist that mothers are born with love for their children and place them before all other things, including their own needs and desires. This was not the case with us.'

The dispassionate tone of the second sentence was the hook for me, a move into a minor key that says, 'something is very wrong here and has been wrong for some time.


So I spent an hour listening to Alice Hoffman's precise prose describing a girl's deep understanding of her mother's loveless nature, her choice to stop speaking after her father's death and her decision, as she comes of age, on how to put a stop to her mother's behaviour and achieve her own freedom by learning one of the lessons her mother taught her: put your own needs first.


Brittany Pressley's narration sets exactly the right tone for the story. Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear a sample.



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review 2020-05-01 19:40
How not to be a parent: a guide
Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me - Adrienne Brodeur

I hated Malabar the whole book. And for a while I hated her daughter too. But then I had to remind myself she was just a child and was pretty much brainwashed into all this drama. My own mother was like this. She would rope me into schemes to torment my stepdad's ex and think it was perfectly fine to include a 12-year-old in adult problems. That is why I hate Malabar so so much. She never learns anything. She keeps being selfish. And all she fucking cares about his her boyfriend and her stupid necklace. It was of some comfort that her daughter finally broke the cycle, but for a while I felt like she was just continuing the cycle. Some people just shouldn't be parents. What an exhausting read.

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review 2020-04-14 19:16
The Mother Code
The Mother Code - Carole Stivers

[I received a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

A bit of a sore spot for personal reasons as well as in the current situation (long story short, and not spoiler since it’s revealed in the first chapters: man-made bio-weapon targeting lung cells to make them immortal and proliferating, aka welcome lung cancer). But that’s just me, of course, and the story itself was a good read all along, even though I didn’t absolutely love it.

The premise of this novel hinges on the “illness” I mentioned, on the need to conceive human babies with modified genes who’ll be able to survive in this not-so-brave new world, and on that other need: the babies will need mothers, and those won’t be human women, since they’ll be pretty much, well, all dead soon. Quite a ghastly future, this. The story thus follows two timelines: one where Kai, one of these new children, travels with his mother Rho-Z; and one, a few years before that, where scientists desperately fight against time to engineer suitable embryos and robotic mothers.

I must say, I liked that second timeline: as frightening as it was, I enjoyed the technological and genetic basis on which it was built. Another aspect of the book I liked was that, all in all, it still deals with hope, with thoughts about what being human is and about parent/child relationships, and with a deep-seated desire to help the children survive. The world they’re in is not hostile the way it is in traditional post-apocalyptic stories—no bands of looting survivors is threatening them; but it is empty, desperately empty, and that means scavenging for dwindling resources while also being restricted in some ways by the “Mother Code” . For 10-year-old kids, that’s not so grand.

Where I didn’t love the novel was in terms of characters. They’re good in general—they have motivations and background stories of their own—yet for some reason, I didn’t feel a connection with them, or not enough to make me really love them. The children didn’t feel like they were “children” enough, and the world of the adults was a little too… distant?

Conclusion: Interesting story and an overall interesting read, even though I didn’t connect much with the characters.

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