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Search tags: netgalley-books
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review 2019-12-03 05:37
Immoral Code
Immoral Code - Lillian Clark

This book wins points for its diverse, inclusive cast of characters, with each of five friends telling a part of the story. Since it’s a heist story involving hackers, a digital reader would seem appropriate, right? Not exactly. While the characters have distinct stories, the switching points of view were difficult for me to track, and I spent a lot of time going back to the chapter heads to figure out who was talking. I did, however, appreciate the smart and funny dialogue; reminded me of a modern version of Friends, only they were all just a wee bit smarter. Despite the title, I was disappointed that only one of the characters seemed to have a moral conscience. Yes, I feel old now, having just used the term “modern version of Friends” and worrying about the moral conscious of fictional characters, but still.

 

As a parent of a child the age of the characters in this book, I am clearly not the intended audience, but I still consider myself an open and caring reader. I kept wondering why, if Bellamy was as brilliant as I’m supposed to believe she is, she could not confront her father (or mother) more directly about the money before it got to the point of a heist. Yes, I know there wouldn’t have been much of a story, but this plotline seemed incredible to me—and the neatly wrapped up ending kind of proved my point. I admit, the idea of robbing my parents (or attempting any kind of heist) would definitely have been more appealing to teenage-me than it was to mommy-me, so there is a decidedly large audience for this story regardless of my take on it. In any case, I finished the book because the writing was sharp and often funny, and I will be interested to see what Clark comes up with next.

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review 2019-11-21 05:07
I'm Not Really a Waitress: How One Woman Took Over the Beauty Industry One Color at a Time
I'm Not Really a Waitress: How One Woman Took Over the Beauty Industry One Color at a Time - Suzi Weiss-Fischmann

As a partner in a women-owned business, I am always interested in reading stories about successful women. Fischmann’s rags-to-riches story does not disappoint. Her ability to envision the future of OPI, a blockbuster cosmetics company, from the remnants of a pretty uninspiring dental supply company, will be heartening to anyone considering a grassroots startup. Besides this, her stories about the creation of her iconic polish names are fun and engaging, and her determination to empower women and support her community makes for a compelling and thoughtful read.

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review 2019-11-21 04:35
Twenty-One Truths About Love
Twenty-one Truths About Love - Matthew Dicks

I think there might be mixed feelings about the format of this book—told mostly in lists—but I thought it was engaging and made for a fast-paced read.

 

(yes, you know I’m totally going there with the lists)

 

This book has so much going for it:

  1. a smart, charming, funny protagonist…
  2. who quits his job to open a bookstore.
  3. Ok, yeah, so that was really enough to get me to read it.

 

But, as we all know, owning a bookstore is not a get-rich quick scheme. So, when the business starts to fail (or actually, never really gets off the ground),

does Daniel Mayrock decide to:

  1. Host author events
  2. Promote the store in social media and in town
  3. Talk to his wife?

 

No, he does not. Instead, he comes up with an idea to get out of debt that is:

  1. Spectacularly far-fetched
  2. Kind of insulting, at least to this reader.

 

What happened to smart Daniel?

  1. He became a wimp
  2. The story went off the rails
  3. I kept waiting for him to say, “yeah, I was kidding. It was a joke.”
  4. He did not.

 

But wait, you gave it 4 stars!

  1. The writing was so engaging that I finished it despite being annoyed.
  2. I am hoping that next time Dicks stays true to his character, because Daniel deserved better.
  3. But I can’t wait for the next one, because this was a story with heart.
  4. I am a sucker for heart.
  5. Who isn’t?
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review 2019-11-21 03:24
The Editor
The Editor - Steven Rowley

I had Lily and the Octopus on my to-read list, but then I saw Steven Rowley’s new book on NetGalley, and of course I bumped my ridiculously long line to read that one first (thanks, NetGalley!). I couldn’t help myself—this book has a terrific hook of a premise. As an author, getting your first book deal seems achievement enough, but Rowley ups the ante when the debut author in his novel meets his editor—Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Of course this must have happened to many people over her two decades in publishing, but I had never thought of the day-to-day reality of it before. I checked online to see if there were other stories about Jackie’s career in books, and ironically, two came out within months of each other in 2010 and 2011, but it doesn’t look like either of them gained any real traction.

 

Rowley comes at this from a different angle, in novel form rather than a straight biography or collection of anecdotes. I think this book draws its success from the fact that, while we are inspired by Onassis and the glamour of Camelot that she represented, we probably appreciate the working-woman ordinariness of her even more. Onassis is truly just a hook, because this story is not about the public figure we think we know. Instead, Rowley tells the moving story of a writer’s journey to find his truth, at the urging of his caring and sometimes enigmatic editor. The fact that this editor is Onassis is merely incidental; because at the end of the day, all that truly matters to each of them is bringing the very best story to the page.

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review 2019-11-10 04:44
American Princess
American Princess: A Novel of First Daughter Alice Roosevelt - Stephanie Marie Thornton

This is not my first Alice Roosevelt book. I have to admit, I am drawn to books about this quirky White house daughter, the rebel badass, and, despite the fact that I once considered Eleanor the best of the Roosevelts, I have to think that Alice was the most true to herself. In previous books I’ve read about her though, she was depicted as a spirited girl bent on hijinks—with no particular care for the lives of those around her. This book added a depth to her character that I didn’t feel before, and considered the compromises she made in love and life, going beyond the typical scandals that are recalled when Alice is the topic. I was moved by the story of the years following her mother’s death, her relationship with her father, and the idea that America’s Sweetheart seemed so unlucky in her choices for love. Regardless of that, Alice lived the life she wanted to live, her unequivocal independence and life of the mind so contrary to the prevailing norms, and an example still, of how to get the very most out of life.

 

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