Non Fiction

#BookReview Coal Miner’s Daughter by Loretta Lynn with George Vecsey @GrandCentralPub #CoalMinersDaughter #LorettaLynn #GrandCentralPub

#BookReview Coal Miner’s Daughter by Loretta Lynn with George Vecsey @GrandCentralPub #CoalMinersDaughter #LorettaLynn #GrandCentralPub Title: Coal Miner's Daughter

Author: Loretta Lynn

Published by: Grand Central Publishing on Feb. 16, 2021

Genres: Non Fiction

Pages: 320

Format: Paperback

Source: Grand Central Publishing

Book Rating: 9/10

New York Times bestselling author and Nashville legend Loretta Lynn tells the story of her rise from deep poverty in Butcher Holler, Kentucky, to the top of the male-dominated country music industry.

Reissued for the 40th Anniversary of the Oscar-winning, Sissy Spacek-starring film of the same name, Coal Miner’s Daughter recounts Loretta Lynn’s astonishing journey to become one of the original queens of country music. Loretta grew up dirt poor in the mountains of Kentucky, she was married at thirteen years old, and became a mother soon after. At the age of twenty-four, her husband, Doo, gave her a guitar as an anniversary present.

Soon, she began penning songs and singing in front of honky-tonk audiences, and, through years of hard work, talent, and true grit, eventually made her way to Nashville, the Grand Ole Opry, eventually securing her place in country music history. Loretta’s prolific and influential songwriting made her the first woman to receive a gold record in country music, and got her named the first female Entertainer of the Year by the Country Music Association. This riveting memoir introduces readers to all the highs and lows on her road to success and the tough, smart, funny, and fascinating woman behind the legend.

Review:

Honest, fascinating, and inspiring!

Coal Miner’s Daughter is the candid, informative story of Loretta Lynn’s personal and professional successes, hardships, struggles, and accomplishments as a daughter, wife, mother, and famous country music star.

The writing is sincere and insightful. The characters are funny, focused, and humble. And the novel is an intriguing, introspective, entertaining tale of one woman’s life from her poverty-stricken Kentucky mountain roots to the lights, glamour, and fame of Nashville.

You know how sometimes people will ask what is one book that totally exceeded your expectations. Well in 2021, one of those books for me will be Coal Miner’s Daughter. Honestly, I’m not a huge country music fan, but this novel is such a forthright, absorbing, captivating tale about one woman’s ability to conquer a male-dominated industry through hard work, determination, integrity, loyalty, and grit that it’s hard to not love it.

 

This new expanded and updated edition will be available on Feb. 16, 2021.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                      

 

 

 

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Loretta Lynn

Loretta Lynn is an American country music singer-songwriter whose groundbreaking career spans almost sixty years, with such famous hits as "You Ain't Woman Enough (To Take My Man)" and "Coal Miner's Daughter," as well as a biographic film New York Times bestselling book of the same name. With more than forty-five million albums sold worldwide, multiple gold albums, and numerous awards and accolades, Loretta is the most awarded female country recording artist and the only female ACM Artist of the Decade. She's known not only for her still-incredible voice, but also for her down-to-earth quality, quick wit, and humor.

Photo courtesy of Author's Website.

#BookReview Widowish by Melissa Gould @widowishwidow @LittleABooks @AmazonPub #Widowish #MelissaGould #LittleABooks

#BookReview Widowish by Melissa Gould @widowishwidow @LittleABooks @AmazonPub #Widowish #MelissaGould #LittleABooks Title: Widowish

Author: Melissa Gould

Published by: Little A on Feb. 2, 2021

Genres: Non Fiction

Pages: 220

Format: Hardcover

Source: Amazon Publishing

Book Rating: 9/10

Melissa Gould’s uplifting and deeply moving memoir of grieving outside the box and the surprising nature of love.

When Melissa Gould’s husband, Joel, was unexpectedly hospitalized, she could not imagine how her life was about to change. Overwhelmed as his condition tragically worsened, she had to believe that while Joel’s loss was permanent, so was their love.

Left to raise their young daughter on her own, and to act as if she could resume life without her beloved husband by her side, Melissa found that she didn’t fit the typical idea of widowhood or meet the expectations of mourning. She didn’t look like a widow or act like a widow, but she felt like one. Melissa was widowish.

Melissa’s personal journey through grief and beyond includes unlikely inspiration from an evangelical preacher, the calming presence of some Real Housewives, and the unexpected attention of a charismatic musician.

A modern take on loss, Widowish illuminates the twists of fate that break our world, the determination that keeps us moving forward, and the surprises in life we never see coming.


Review:

Honest, affecting, and thought-provoking!

Widowish is a tender, moving memoir that takes you into the life of Melissa Gould as she struggles to raise her daughter, grieve, move forward, and learn to love again when her world is irrevocably shattered when her husband Joel, stricken with MS, suddenly passes from West Nile Virus.

The prose is heartfelt and sincere. And the novel is a sentimental tale of one woman’s personal experience loving, supporting and caring for the love of her life, and ultimately finding the strength to be a mother, daughter, and independent woman after he is gone.

Overall, Widowish is a candid, impactful, lovely tale by Gould that delves into all the physical, psychological, and emotional effects of widowhood and reminds us of the importance of loving large, sharing special moments, and remembering all the little things.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

        

 

 
 

 

Thank you to Amazon Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Melissa Gould

Melissa Gould's essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, and more. She's an award-winning screenwriter whose credits include Bill Nye, the Science Guy; Party of Five; Beverly Hills, 90210; and Lizzie McGuire. As a "mompreneur" she appeared on the Rachael Ray Show, Access Hollywood and other "info-tainment" programs. Her book, Widowish, a memoir, will be available via LittleA Books on February 2, 2021. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

#BookReview Answers in the Form of Questions @GrandCentralPub #ClaireMcNear #AnswersintheFormofQuestions #GrandCentralPub

#BookReview Answers in the Form of Questions @GrandCentralPub #ClaireMcNear #AnswersintheFormofQuestions #GrandCentralPub Title: Answers in the Form of Questions

Author: Claire McNear

Published by: Grand Central Publishing on Nov. 10, 2020

Genres: Non Fiction

Pages: 272

Format: Hardcover

Source: Grand Central Publishing

Book Rating: 9/10

What is the smartest, most celebrated game show of all time? In this insider’s guide, discover the rich history of Jeopardy! — the beloved game show that has shaped our culture and entertained audiences for years.

Jeopardy! is a lot of things: record-setting game show, beloved family tradition, and proving ground for many of North America’s best and brightest. Nearly four decades into its current edition, Jeopardy! now finds itself facing unprecedented change. This is the chronicle of how the show became a cross-generational touchstone and where it’s going next. ANSWERS IN THE FORM OF QUESTIONS dives deep behind the scenes, with longtime host Alex Trebek talking about his life and legacy and the show’s producers and writers explaining how they put together the nightly game. Readers will travel to bar trivia showdowns with the show’s biggest winners and training sessions with trivia whizzes prepping for their shot onstage. And they’ll discover new tales of the show’s most notable moments-like the time the Clue Crew almost slid off a glacier-and learn how celebrity cameos and Saturday Night Live spoofs built a television mainstay. ANSWERS IN THE FORM OF QUESTIONS looks to the past — and the future — to explain what Jeopardy! really is: a tradition unlike any other.


Review:

Entertaining, insightful, and fun!

Answers in the Form of Questions is an informative, behind-the-scenes look into the game show Jeopardy and all the ins and outs that have made it one of the most popular shows on tv for the past three-and-half decades.

The writing is detailed and descriptive. And the novel is an enlightening tale about all the intricate details, rules, preparations, and skills needed to create, run and win at this nightly, challenging game of knowledge.

Overall, I found Answers in the Form of Questions to be a fascinating, light, well-researched novel by McNear that uses in-depth interviews with the creators, writers, contestants, and its infamous host, Alex Trebek to showcase why this show is one of the most beloved, successful trivia shows of all time. 

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                      

 

 

 

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Claire McNear

Claire McNear writes about sports and culture at The Ringer, where she has covered everything from a Property Brothers cruise to the Washington Nationals’ World Series run to the cult of the famed (and feared) Chicago-born liquor Malört. Like so many others, she was brought up watching Jeopardy! each and every weeknight with her family; she began this book (and the regular Jeopardy! column at The Ringer that led to it) to attempt to realize her lifelong quest of finally shouting out the answers before her parents. Formerly of SB Nation, her work has also appeared in Sports Illustrated and Vice. She lives in Washington, DC.

Photograph courtesy of grandcentralpublishing.com

#BookReview Let’s Never Talk About This Again by Sara Faith Alterman @GrandCentralPub #LetsNeverTalkAboutThisAgain #SaraFaithAlterman #GrandCentralPub

#BookReview Let’s Never Talk About This Again by Sara Faith Alterman @GrandCentralPub #LetsNeverTalkAboutThisAgain #SaraFaithAlterman #GrandCentralPub Title: Let's Never Talk About This Again

Author: Sara Faith Alterman

Published by: Grand Central Publishing on Jul. 28, 2020

Genres: Non Fiction

Pages: 273

Format: Hardcover

Source: Grand Central Publishing

Book Rating: 8.5/10

Samantha Irby meets Bettyville in this darkly funny and poignant memoir about love, loss, Alzheimer’s, and reviving her father’s pornographic writing career from Mortified writer and producer Sara Faith Alterman.

12-year-old Sara enjoyed a G-rated existence in suburban New England, filled with over-the-top birthday cakes, Revolutionary War reenactments, and nerdy word games invented by her prudish father, Ira. But Sara’s world changed for the icky, when she discovered that Ira had been shielding her from the truth; that he was a campy sex writer who’d sold millions of books in multiple languages, including the wildly popular ‘Games You Can Play with Your Pussy.’ Which was, to the naive Sara’s horror, not a book about cats. For decades the books remained an unspoken family secret, until Ira developed early-onset Alzheimer’s disease…and announced he’d be reviving his writing career. With Sara’s help.

In this cringeworthy, hilarious, and moving memoir, Sara shares the profound experience of discovering new facets of her father; once as a child, and again as an adult. ‘Let’s Never Talk About This Again’ is a must-read confessional from a woman who spent years trying to find humor in the perverse and optimism in the darkness, and succeeded.


Review:

Genuine, affecting, and compassionate!

Let’s Never Talk About This Again is a touching, tender memoir that delves into the special relationship between Sara and her family members, as well as the complex dynamic shift that occurs between her father, Ira, and herself as he ages, reveals secret writings, seeks employment in a technology-fueled world, and eventually suffers the debilitating and devastating effects of early-onset Alzheimer’s. 

The prose is heartfelt and warm. And the novel is an often funny, sincere tale of one woman’s personal experience supporting and caring for her parents in the best way possible while living across the country and planning for a family of her own.

Overall, Let’s Never Talk About This Again is an honest, entertaining, lovely tale by Alterman that reminds us that the most important things in life are loving large, sharing moments, and remembering all the special times.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

           

 

 
 

 

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Sara Faith Alterman

Sara Faith Alterman is a Bostonian at heart and a San Franciscan at present. She’s written for the New York Times, McSweeney’s, and the Boston Globe, as well as the anthologies Modern Loss: Candid Conversations About Grief and Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure. Sara also produces Mortified, the acclaimed stage show, podcast, and Netflix series that features adults reading from their cringe-worthy teenage diaries. Let’s Never Talk About This Again is her third book.

Photograph by Sharon McKellar.

#BookReview The Particulars of Peter by Kelly Conaboy @kellyconaboy @GrandCentralPub #TheParticularsofPeter #KellyConaboy #GrandCentralPub

#BookReview The Particulars of Peter by Kelly Conaboy @kellyconaboy @GrandCentralPub #TheParticularsofPeter #KellyConaboy #GrandCentralPub Title: The Particulars of Peter

Author: Kelly Conaboy

Published by: Grand Central Publishing on Dec. 8, 2020

Genres: Non Fiction

Pages: 256

Format: Hardcover

Source: Grand Central Publishing

Book Rating: 8/10

From one of the Internet’s most original voices, a hilarious journey through the odd corners of obsessive dog ownership and the author’s own infatuation with her perfect dog Peter.

The author met Peter in the spring of 2017. He — calm, puppy-eyed, with the heart of a poet and the soul of, also, a poet — came to her first as a foster. He was unable to stay with his previously assigned foster for reasons that are none of your business, but which we will tell you were related to frequent urination. The rescue needed someone free of the sort of responsibilities that would force her to regularly leave the house for either work or socializing, and a writer was the natural choice. Thus began a love story for the ages.

The Particulars of Peter is a funny exploration of the joy found in loving a dog so much it makes you feel like you’re going to combust, and the author’s potentially codependent relationship with her own sweet dog, Peter. Readers will follow Peter and his owner to Woofstock, “the largest outdoor festival for dogs in North America,” and accompany them to lessons in Canine Freestyle, a sport where dogs perform a routine set to music, creating the illusion that they’re dancing with their owners. From learning about Peter’s DNA, to seeing if dogs can sense the presence of ghosts, The Particulars of Peter will give readers a smart, entertaining respite from the harsh world of humans into the funny little world of dogs.

Readers will accompany this lovable duo through exciting trips, lessons, quiet moments of connection, and probably a failure or two. By fusing memoir and infotainment, The Particulars of Peter promises to refresh the perennially popular dog lit category in a scrumptiously bighearted barnstormer of a book.


Review:

Cute, funny, and light!

The Particulars of Peter is the informative, amusing, self-deprecating story of Kelly Conaboy’s adoration, experiences, and worries for her treasured dog, Peter.

The writing is witty and sharp. And the novel is a charming, entertaining tale of one woman’s journey as a new pet owner with the dog who stole her heart from the very first moment she met him.

Overall, The Particulars of Peter is, ultimately, part memoir, part love story that is full of tender moments and humourous mishaps that reminds us of the unconditional, outrageous fascination we often have with our pets.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                

 

 

 

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Kelly Conaboy

Kelly Conaboy is a writer whose career includes stints at the Cut, the Hairpin, Gawker, and Videogum. Most of those websites no longer exist. (This is not because of Kelly.) She’s been published by The Atlantic, the New Yorker, and the New York Times. She and her dog, Peter, live in Brooklyn, NY.

Photograph courtesy of grandcentralpublishing.com.

#BookReview A Field Guide to Internet Boyfriends by Esther Zuckerman @Running_Press @readforeverpub #EstherZuckerman #RunningPressAdult

#BookReview A Field Guide to Internet Boyfriends by Esther Zuckerman @Running_Press @readforeverpub #EstherZuckerman #RunningPressAdult Title: A Field Guide to Internet Boyfriends

Author: Esther Zuckerman

Published by: Running Press Adult on Nov. 10, 2020

Genres: Non Fiction

Pages: 200

Format: Hardcover

Source: Forever

Book Rating: 8/10

From Keanu Reeves and Idris Elba to Timothee Chalamet, A Field Guide to Internet Boyfriends is the ultimate celebration of the suave, sexy, sensitive, and silly celebrities who have captured our hearts and memes! 

Handsome and heartfelt, with winning smiles and pinnable Tweets — this is what Internet Boyfriends are made of. But who are these meme-able men, and what makes them catch fire online? Discover the answers to these questions and more in A Field Guide to Internet Boyfriends, an interactive exploration of our collective crushes. 

Entertainment journalist Esther Zuckerman breaks down the world of Internet Boyfriends — and even a few Internet Girlfriends — from documentary-style “spotting guides” to discussions on the key categories of boyfriend, like Sensitive Souls, Beautiful Boys and Daddys. A playful, teen magazine-style quiz — to help readers find their ideal crush — and in-depth profiles of some of the most beloved Internet Boyfriends and Girlfriends, from Ryan Gosling (the original) to Harry Styles (the Gen Z icon) to Janelle Monae (the space queen), round out this fully-illustrated romp through the celebs behind the memes.


Review:

Charming, funny, and informative!

A Field Guide to Internet Boyfriends is a witty, quick, lighthearted read featuring all those male, and some female, celebrities who seem to grace the top of all the crush-worthy lists at the moment.

The writing is sharp and humorous. And the novel is a well thought out collection of facts and trivia of all those we love to love, and sometimes even hate.

Overall, I found A Field Guide to Internet Boyfriends to be an easy, comical, interesting compilation by Zuckerman that’s the perfect holiday treat for anyone on your list who loves pop culture.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                

 

 

 

Thank you to Running Press and Forever for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Esther Zuckerman

Esther Zuckerman is an entertainment journalist whose work has been published by Thrillist, Entertainment Weekly, Vanity Fair, Refinery29, and The A.V. Club, among others. Esther lives and writes in Los Angeles.

Photograph courtesy of Hatchette Book Group Website.

#BookReview Unapologetically Ambitious by Shellye Archambeau @GrandCentralPub #UnapologeticallyAmbitious #ShellyeArchambeau #GrandCentralPub

#BookReview Unapologetically Ambitious by Shellye Archambeau @GrandCentralPub #UnapologeticallyAmbitious #ShellyeArchambeau #GrandCentralPub Title: Unapologetically Ambitious

Author: Shellye Archambeau

Published by: Grand Central Publishing on Oct. 6, 2020

Genres: Non Fiction

Pages: 288

Format: Hardcover

Source: Grand Central Publishing

Book Rating: 10/10

Full of empowering wisdom from one of Silicon Valley’s first female African American CEOs, this inspiring leadership book for readers of Dare to Lead and Start with Why offers a blueprint for how to achieve your personal and professional goals, drawn from the author’s own compelling story of how she weathered life’s difficulties to build massive success.

Shellye Archambeau recounts how she overcame the challenges she faced as a young black woman, wife, and mother, managing her personal and professional responsibilities while climbing the ranks at IBM and subsequently in her roles as CEO. Through the busts and booms of Silicon Valley in the early 2000s, this bold and inspiring book details the risks she took and the strategies she engaged to steer her family, her career, and her company MetricStream toward success.

Through her journey, Shellye discovered that ambition alone is not enough to achieve success. Here, she shares the practical strategies, tools, and approaches readers can employ right now, including concrete steps to most effectively:

  • Dismantle impostor syndrome
  • Capitalize on the power of planning
  • Take risks
  • Developing financial literacy
  • Build your network
  • Establish your reputation
  • Take charge of your career
  • Integrate work, marriage, parenthood, and self-care

Each chapter lays out key takeaways and actions to increase the odds of achieving your personal and professional goals. With relatable personal stories that ground her advice in the real world and a foreword by leading venture capitalist and New York Times bestselling author Ben Horowitz, Unapologetically Ambitious invites readers to move beyond the solely supportive roles others expect them to fill, to learn how to carefully tread the thin line between assertive and aggressive, and to give themselves permission to strive for the top. Make no apologies for the height of your ambitions. Shellye Archambeau will show you how.


Review:

Fascinating, timely, and inspiring!

Unapologetically Ambitious is the informative, intriguing story of Shellye Archambeau’s life, including her professional experiences, struggles, successes, and accomplishments as a university student, employee, wife, mother, and CEO.

The writing is clear and precise. The characters are intelligent, driven, and relatable. And the novel is a compelling, introspective tale of one woman’s life and the planning, strategies, and goals she implemented and continues to execute to achieve success and happiness.

Overall, Unapologetically Ambitious is undoubtedly an impressive novel full of valuable, insightful information about making conscious choices, having confidence, and finding success.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                   

 

 

 

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Shellye Archambeau

Shellye Archambeau is one of high tech’s first female African American CEOs and has been featured frequently in Forbes, the New York Times, Business Insider, and more. Formerly an executive at IBM and CEO of Blockbuster.com, Archambeau was recruited to be the CEO of a then-struggling Silicon Valley startup, which is now MetricStream, a recognized global leader in governance, risk, and compliance software solutions. She currently serves as a Fortune 500 board member and holds board seats at Verizon, Nordstrom, Roper Technologies, and Okta.

Photograph by Odiwams.

#BookReview We Keep the Dead Close by Becky Cooper @GrandCentralPub #WeKeeptheDeadClose #BeckyCooper #GrandCentralPub

#BookReview We Keep the Dead Close by Becky Cooper @GrandCentralPub #WeKeeptheDeadClose #BeckyCooper #GrandCentralPub Title: We Keep the Dead Close

Author: Becky Cooper

Published by: Grand Central Publishing on Nov. 10, 2020

Genres: Non Fiction

Pages: 501

Format: Hardcover

Source: Grand Central Publishing

Book Rating: 8.5/10

You have to remember, he reminded me, that Harvard is older than the U.S. government. You have to remember because Harvard doesn’t let you forget.

1969: the height of counterculture and the year universities would seek to curb the unruly spectacle of student protest; the winter that Harvard University would begin the tumultuous process of merging with Radcliffe, its all-female sister school; and the year that Jane Britton, an ambitious 23-year-old graduate student in Harvard’s Anthropology Department and daughter of Radcliffe Vice President J. Boyd Britton, would be found bludgeoned to death in her Cambridge, Massachusetts apartment.

Forty years later, Becky Cooper, a curious undergrad, will hear the first whispers of the story. In the first telling the body was nameless. The story was this: a Harvard student had had an affair with her professor, and the professor had murdered her in the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology because she’d threatened to talk about the affair. Though the rumor proves false, the story that unfolds, one that Cooper will follow for ten years, is even more complex: a tale of gender inequality in academia, a “cowboy culture” among empowered male elites, the silencing effect of institutions, and our compulsion to rewrite the stories of female victims.

We Keep the Dead Close is a memoir of mirrors, misogyny, and murder. It is at once a rumination on the violence and oppression that rules our revered institutions, a ghost story reflecting one young woman’s past onto another’s present, and a love story for a girl who was lost to history.


Review:

Candid, descriptive, and informative!

We Keep the Dead Close is the honest, compelling tale of a senseless murder of a young graduate student in Harvard’s Anthropology department, Jane Britton, in early January 1969 and the author’s own thoughts, experiences, revelations, and obsession to unravel what truly happened.

The writing is rich and atmospheric.  And the novel is an extremely well researched, sincere tale of a crime with no quick, straightforward conclusion and one woman’s subsequent, complex, frustrating, neverending battle to find closure for those who loved her.

Overall, We Keep the Dead Close is, ultimately, a sensitive, exhaustive analysis and investigation of a 50-year-old cold case that includes valuable, insightful data into an iconic institution plagued by inequality, prejudice, and violence and a murder investigation riddled for years with gossip, innuendos, rumours, multiple suspects, suspicious actions, and little to no concrete evidence.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                   

 

 

 

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Becky Cooper

Becky Cooper is a former New Yorker editorial staff member and Senior Fellow at Brandeis’s Schuster Institute for Investigative Reporting. Her undergraduate thesis, a literary biography of David Foster Wallace, won Harvard’s Hoopes Prize, the highest undergraduate award for research and writing. Research for this book was supported by the Fund for Investigative Journalism and the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists. She is also the author of Mapping Manhattan: A Love (and Sometimes Hate) Story in Maps by 75 New Yorkers (Abrams, 2013).

#BookReview Mad & Bad: Real Heroines of the Regency by Bea Koch @GrandCentralPub #BeaKoch #GrandCentralPub

#BookReview Mad & Bad: Real Heroines of the Regency by Bea Koch @GrandCentralPub #BeaKoch #GrandCentralPub Title: Mad & Bad: Real Heroines of the Regency

Author: Bea Koch

Published by: Grand Central Publishing on Sep. 1, 2020

Genres: Non Fiction

Pages: 262

Format: Paperback

Source: Grand Central Publishing

Book Rating: 8/10

Discover a feminist pop history that looks beyond the Ton and Jane Austen to highlight the Regency women who succeeded on their own terms and were largely lost to history — until now.


Regency England is a world immortalized by Jane Austen and Lord Byron in their beloved novels and poems. The popular image of the Regency continues to be mythologized by the hundreds of romance novels set in the period, which focus almost exclusively on wealthy, white, Christian members of the upper classes.
 
But there are hundreds of fascinating women who don’t fit history books limited perception of what was historically accurate for early 19th century England. Women like Dido Elizabeth Belle, whose mother was a slave but was raised by her white father’s family in England, Caroline Herschel, who acted as her brother’s assistant as he hunted the heavens for comets, and ended up discovering eight on her own, Anne Lister, who lived on her own terms with her common-law wife at Shibden Hall, and Judith Montefiore, a Jewish woman who wrote the first English language Kosher cookbook.

As one of the owners of the successful romance-only bookstore The Ripped Bodice, Bea Koch has had a front row seat to controversies surrounding what is accepted as “historically accurate” for the wildly popular Regency period. Following in the popular footsteps of books like Ann Shen’s Bad Girls Throughout History, Koch takes the Regency, one of the most loved and idealized historical time periods and a huge inspiration for American pop culture, and reveals the independent-minded, standard-breaking real historical women who lived life on their terms. She also examines broader questions of culture in chapters that focus on the LGBTQ and Jewish communities, the lives of women of color in the Regency, and women who broke barriers in fields like astronomy and paleontology. In Mad and Bad, we look beyond popular perception of the Regency into the even more vibrant, diverse, and fascinating historical truth.


Review:

Light, insightful, and fun!

Mad & Bad: Real Heroines of the Regency is an informative, intriguing look into the importance and influence of a bold, noteworthy set of women from the regency period on the literature we indulge in and enjoy every day.

The writing is educative and descriptive. The characters are intelligent, independent, and driven. And the novel is a fascinating, enlightening tale about the intricacies of the higher echelons of Regency society and the women who were plucky enough to pave the way for the feminist ideals of today.

Overall, I found Mad & Bad: Real Heroines of the Regency to be a quick, easy, fascinating treat full of facts and illustrations of a group of women who were certainly ahead of their time and without a doubt an inspiration for us all.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                      

 

 

 

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Bea Koch

Bea Koch is one of the owners of The Ripped Bodice, the only independent bookstore in the US dedicated to romance. In addition to being a groundbreaking bookseller, Bea graduated from Yale with distinction as the last Renaissance Studies major and received an MA in Costume History from NYU: Steinhardt. She is the proud mother of dog Fitzwilliam Waffles. He has more followers on Instagram than she does.

Photograph courtesy of Grand Central Publishing Website.

#BookReview The Unexpected Spy by Tracy Walder with Jessica Anya Blau @tracy_walder @JessicaAnyaBlau @StMartinsPress #TheUnexpectedSpy

#BookReview The Unexpected Spy by Tracy Walder with Jessica Anya Blau @tracy_walder @JessicaAnyaBlau @StMartinsPress #TheUnexpectedSpy Title: The Unexpected Spy

Author: Tracy Walder

Published by: St. Martin's Press on Feb. 25, 2020

Genres: Non Fiction

Pages: 272

Format: Hardcover

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 8.5/10

A highly entertaining account of a young woman who went straight from her college sorority to the CIA, where she hunted terrorists and WMDs

When Tracy Walder enrolled at the University of Southern California, she never thought that one day she would offer her pink beanbag chair in the Delta Gamma house to a CIA recruiter, or that she’d fly to the Middle East under an alias identity.

The Unexpected Spy is the riveting story of Walder’s tenure in the CIA and, later, the FBI. In high-security, steel-walled rooms in Virginia, Walder watched al-Qaeda members with drones as President Bush looked over her shoulder and CIA Director George Tenet brought her donuts. She tracked chemical terrorists and searched the world for Weapons of Mass Destruction. She created a chemical terror chart that someone in the White House altered to convey information she did not have or believe, leading to the Iraq invasion. Driven to stop terrorism, Walder debriefed terrorists—men who swore they’d never speak to a woman—until they gave her leads. She followed trails through North Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, shutting down multiple chemical attacks.

Then Walder moved to the FBI, where she worked in counterintelligence. In a single year, she helped take down one of the most notorious foreign spies ever caught on American soil. Catching the bad guys wasn’t a problem in the FBI, but rampant sexism was. Walder left the FBI to teach young women, encouraging them to find a place in the FBI, CIA, State Department or the Senate—and thus change the world.


Review:

Candid, eye-opening, and inspiring!

The Unexpected Spy is the informative, intriguing story of Tracy Walder’s personal and professional experiences, successes, struggles, and accomplishments as a CIA SOO, FBI Special Agent, and beloved history teacher at an all girl’s school.

The writing is clear and precise. The characters are intelligent, focused, and driven. And the novel is a compelling, fascinating, introspective tale of one woman’s life as a covert operative in the wake of 9/11. 

The Unexpected Spy is, ultimately, part memoir, part spy novel that is full of valuable, insightful information into counterterrorism and the roles and efforts of counterintelligence agencies worldwide.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                      

 

 

 

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Tracy Walder

Tracy Walder is a former Staff Operations Officer (SOO) at the CIA's Counterterrorism Center and a Special Agent at the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office specializing in Chinese counterintelligence operations and has taught high-school history and government courses at Hockaday School in Dallas, Texas. Now Walder is the Board of Directors for Girl Security, a non profit, non partisan group that brings national security curriculum to girls in high school throughout the US.

Photography by Kent Barker Photography.

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