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review 2017-02-22 02:10
Book 4/100: Expecting Better - Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong by Emily Oster
Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong-and What YouReally Need to Know - Emily Oster

Around the Year Reading Challenge #TBD: A book you are embarrassed to read in public

I wasn't actually embarrassed to read this book in public, but I was reading it before I had announced that I was pregnant, so I was keeping the book secret.

Now that I'm no longer keeping a secret (and couldn't if I wanted to if you saw me IRL), I'm happy to talk about this book.

I am not an economist like Oster, but I very much related to her obsession with knowing exact numbers and exact reasons behind different pregnancy outcomes and advice. I've spent countless hours Googling (often in vain) for specific statistics and studies to back up general pregnancy/conception advice. Oster looks at a lot of these studies so you don't have to. I loved the tone of this book, which is empowering in that Oster believes women are capable of weighing the risks themselves and making their own decision rather than blindly following conventional wisdom.

Oster's overall takeaway is that women can be much more permissive during pregnancy than one might believe -- moderate drinking is OK, moderate caffeine is OK, invasive genetic testing is not really that dangerous. While she can back all this up and a lot of women will probably feel freed by her information, I still ended up following pretty much all of the "conventional" wisdom because I am so risk averse that even a small increase in the chances of something going wrong is more than I'm willing to take. But it is nice to know I don't need to stay up all night worrying if I give in to the craving for an occasional coffee or sip of beer.

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review 2017-02-08 17:12
The Nearness of You/Amanda Eyre Ward
The Nearness of You: A Novel - Amanda Eyre Ward

Brilliant heart surgeon Suzette Kendall is stunned when Hyland, her husband of fifteen years, admits his yearning for a child. From the beginning they’d decided that having children was not an option, as Suzette feared passing along the genes that landed her mother in a mental institution. But Hyland proposes a different idea: a baby via surrogate.

Suzette agrees, and what follows is a whirlwind of candidate selections, hospital visits, and Suzette’s doubts over whether she’s made the right decision. A young woman named Dorothy Muscarello is chosen as the one who will help make this family complete. For Dorrie, surrogacy (and the money that comes with it) are her opportunity to leave behind a troubled past and create a future for herself—one full of possibility. But this situation also forces all three of them—Dorrie, Suzette, and Hyland—to face a devastating uncertainty that will reverberate in the years to come.

Beautifully shifting between perspectives, The Nearness of You deftly explores the connections we form, the families we create, and the love we hold most dear.

 

Ahh, this one had so much potential and so many moments where I almost fell in love with it, but it simply covered too much ground in too little space.

 

Suzette was an absolutely fantastic character. She's an accomplished surgeon and there are many scenes that show her in surgery, and to me, that was just so darn cool. I had so much respect for her and as this is a piece of life I don't usually get through literature, I was excited to experience it. I also really respected her not wanting to pass on her genes due to her history of mental illness, yet her openness to having a child despite. She had so much strength, but she wasn't perfect and didn't always act as I thought she would. Seriously, I love Suzette.

 

The other characters I wasn't so into. Dorrie felt too simplistic and I was saddened by how she evolved during the book. Hyland gets a little characterization but I never really grow to care about them. While I normally adore having books told from many character's perspectives, I felt like there were too many perspectives in this one and it made it hard for me to really engage.

 

But ultimately my biggest issue with this book was how fast it moved. I normally have the opposite problem, yet in this case, I felt like there were many sections of life that needed to be expanded. The gap between the first and second parts was where the book really lost me; a significant period of time passes and I want to know how the relationships between the characters evolve in that section.

 

The prologue sets up the ending like a ciffhanger, but I felt like it was kind of obvious how the scene would be resolved. A plot twist came late that was cool and explained a little bit of Dorrie's motivations, but felt like it was there for shock value. I did love the entire concept of having a surrogate mother and the idea of motherhood, but this book simply attempted to cover too many points. Though it was an easy read, I think that if it had been twice its length, I'd have liked it twice as much.

 

Though I recommend this book for people interested in the topic, this book failed to capture me.

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2016-06-28 16:56
Shock value
The Argonauts - Maggie Nelson

The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson was the May book from the feminist book club on Goodreads called Our Shared Shelf started by Emma Watson. This book was written in a style that I was completely unfamiliar with and which at first really threw me off. It's written almost as a stream of consciousness where there are broken paragraphs that at first seem as if they have no connection to one another. In fact, the first paragraph is a detailed description of the author engaging in anal sex. I guess she likes to shock the reader and/or pull them immediately into her narrative. (Hint: It worked.) This is the story of the author as she begins a relationship with her gender fluid partner (now spouse) and the navigating of that relationship while deciding to have a child together. She also becomes a stepparent to Harry's son from a prior relationship which is completely new territory in and of itself. Since reading The Argonauts, I have embarked on a campaign of knowledge about Nelson because this book is simply a snapshot of a few years of hers and Harry's lives. At the time that she was experiencing the struggles of trying to get pregnant Harry was undergoing changes as well (I don't want to give this away because it's such a powerful part of the book). Her description of her internalized experience as well as the observations of those around her are unique and frankly thrilling to read. Her writing is brash, dynamic, and surprising. She hits back against stereotypes of what it means to be gendered, queer, and in touch with oneself. In short, it's a powerful book that seeks to wake the slumbering activist in all of us. I highly recommend this one.

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2016-03-18 22:00
Save the drama for your mama
This One Summer - Mariko Tamaki,Jillian Tamaki

I enjoyed SuperMutant Magic Academy so naturally I picked up another one of Jillian Tamaki's books called This One Summer which was written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian. Well, I didn't love it. I didn't hate it either. This is one of those times where I'm genuinely ambivalent. I appreciated the artwork but the story didn't really do anything for me. The entire book is drawn in shades of purple and black which lends an almost dreamlike quality to it. The main character is Rose who is spending the summer with her family in a cottage where they visit every summer. Her friend Windy is there with her mother and it seems that the majority of their interactions with one another over the years have been here in this little village community. Windy is younger than Rose and that age difference (1 1/2 years) is evident in the way they interact with one another and those around them. (This is important to the narrative.) Rose is on the cusp of puberty and therefore the maelstrom of emotions that accompany that are present on nearly every page. I think one of the reasons why I didn't necessarily love this is that the angst was never really resolved and overshadowed everything else. (I'm over angsty book for a while.) Rose's parents are struggling in their marriage, there is talk of a baby that never materialized, and a relationship between two young adults plays a significant role in the day-to-day activities of the girls. If you want to look at something that is visually appealing you can't go wrong as This One Summer is a Caldecott Medal winner. However, if you're not really into teenage angst then this is probably not the right fit.

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2016-02-02 03:05
I will wait
Paternity Ward (Gay Paranormal Romance) - Abraham Steele

Eli and Magnus meet when Magnus and his pack bring a stranger to the clinic where Eli works for help.  Eli is not impressed with him, nor his pack of poorly behaved animals.  Magnus wants to change his mind.

 

Magnus is Eli's fated mate, so it seems.  Neither one would have chosen the other.  Now fate has stepped in and refuses to budge.  Can Eli and Magnus learn to care for one another?  Can you really get a second chance to make a first impression?

 

This book is very powerful in the way that it shows us there is always a better way to make an impression on another person.  I found the characters interesting, compelling and actually endearing.  What a great perspective on behaviors.  I give this story a 3/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This ARC was given in exchange for an honest review.

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