Betty Bites Back: Stories to Scare the Patriarchy edited by Mindy McGinnis, Demitria Lunetta andKate Karyus Quinn

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EXCERPT: It started with a hashtag.

Well, it started about five years earlier – the first time Billy Ruperts noticed that I’d hit puberty. We were sitting in the hallway, working with a few of our friends on our final history project of Grade seven. He looked at me, then at my chest.

‘Savvy, you’re growing.’ He leaned forward and flicked my pint-sized breast.

That was the first time I felt it. That subtle stomach-churning twirl of rage. I shoved him into the lockers. He split his forehead open on a rusted hinge.

I got an in-school suspension, even after I told them what he did.

Billy got stitched up and a break from homework for the rest of the week. (excerpt taken from ‘The Guardians 1792 by Jenna Lehne)

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Behind every successful man is a strong woman… but in these stories, she might be about to plant a knife in his spine. The characters in this anthology are fed up – tired of being held back, held down, held accountable – by the misogyny of the system. They’re ready to resist by biting back in their own individual ways, be it through magic, murder, technology, teeth, pitfalls and even… potlucks. Join sixteen writers as they explore feminism in fantasy, science-fiction, fractured fairy-tales, historical settings, and the all-too-familiar chauvinist contemporary world.

(While most of the content is YA appropriate, please note the editors recommend this anthology for 16+.)

Authors:
Liz Coley
Shannon Green
Elaine Griffin
Lindsey Klingele
Kamerhe Lane
Jenna Lehne
Demitria Lunetta
Emilee Martell
Tracie Martin
Cori McCarthy
Kyrie McCauley
Mindy McGinnis
Kate Karyus Quinn
Melody Simpson
Amanda Sun

MY THOUGHTS: As with most short story collections, there were stories I liked, and stories I didn’t like. ‘The Guardians 1792’ was a particular favorite of mine; as were ‘What She Left Behind’ by E R Griffin and ‘We Have But Lingered Here’ by Liz Coley. There were a couple I couldn’t finish, and the remainder were, for my reading palate, decidedly meh. Some were just too extreme.

An interesting collection.

#BettyBitesBackStoriesToScareThe Patriarchy #NetGalley

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR/EDITOR: Mindy McGinnis is an Edgar Award-winning novelist who writes across multiple genres, including post-apocalyptic, historical, thriller, contemporary, mystery, and fantasy.

While her settings may change, you can always count on Mindy’s books to deliver grit, truth, and an unflinching look at humanity and the world around us.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Mindy McGinnis, Dimitria Lunetta and Kate Karyus Quinn via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Betty Bites Back for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on Sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review is also published on Twitter, Amazon and Goodreads.com https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2933646398?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

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My Name is Eva by Suzanne Goldring

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EXCERPT: ‘What I’d like to do this time,’ says Inspector Williams on his second visit, is ask you a bit about your time in the forces. I believe you joined up after you lost your husband, when he was killed in action. In 1943, wasn’t it?’

‘Is that when it was? I can’t remember dates. Hugh wasn’t at all keen for me to join. He wanted me to wait for him, but I so wanted to do something useful.’ She looks across the room at Pat, who is sitting with her arms crossed looking irritated. ‘Can you remember, dear? When my poor Hugh was killed?’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: You can pay a terrible price for keeping a promise…

Evelyn Taylor-Clarke sits in her chair at Forest Lawns Care Home in the heart of the English countryside, surrounded by residents with minds not as sharp as hers. It would be easy to dismiss Evelyn as a muddled old woman, but her lipstick is applied perfectly, and her buttons done up correctly. Because Evelyn is a woman with secrets and Evelyn remembers everything. She can never forget the promise she made to the love of her life, to discover the truth about the mission that led to his death, no matter what it cost her…

When Evelyn’s niece Pat opens an old biscuit tin to find a photo of a small girl with a red ball entitled ‘Liese, 1951’ and a passport in another name, she has some questions for her aunt. And Evelyn is transported back to a place in Germany known as ‘The Forbidden Village,’ where a woman who called herself Eva went where no one else dared, amongst shivering prisoners, to find the man who gambled with her husband’s life…

MY THOUGHTS: Right off, I have to say that I loved the character of Evelyn. She is perceptive, clever and oh so manipulative! She runs rings around everyone else. I hope that if I make it into my nineties, I shall be as sharp as she is.

While I loved the story of Eva/Evie/Evelyn/Hildebrand, and applauded her and rooted for her throughout, I did have a few issues with the writing. I felt that the author repeated herself a little to often, and that the moving backwards and forwards between the war days and afterwards, and the present (2016) could have been handled a little better. It didn’t flow in parts and a few times I wondered when and where I was…. I felt that Evie’s letters to her husband added little to the plot, and were often a cause of the repetition.

But overall I enjoyed the story (enjoyed it enough to read it in one sitting) and plan to read more by this author.

****

THE AUTHOR: This is the debut novel for Suzanne Goldring, who has previously published Powerless – The Year the Lights Went Out.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture vis NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of My Name is Eva by Suzanne Goldring for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2891283725?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Watching What I’m Reading…

I finished
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before I got out of bed this morning after starting it last night. My review will be posted tomorrow.

I am listening to 17187220
So if you saw someone walking to work Friday morning laughing…that was me. I love McKinty’s sense of humour.

This week I am planning on reading

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Behind every successful man is a strong woman… but in these stories, she might be about to plant a knife in his spine. The characters in this anthology are fed up – tired of being held back, held down, held accountable – by the misogyny of the system. They’re ready to resist by biting back in their own individual ways, be it through magic, murder, technology, teeth, pitfalls and even… potlucks. Join sixteen writers as they explore feminism in fantasy, science-fiction, fractured fairy-tales, historical settings, and the all-too-familiar chauvinist contemporary world.

(While most of the content is YA appropriate, please note the editors recommend this anthology for 16+.)

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In small towns, no one lets the facts get in the way of juicy gossip…

Terri Rayburn is a girl with a reputation. She doesn’t deserve it, but having grown up on the outskirts of Summer Hill, Virginia, she knows how small towns work. The only way to deal with vicious gossip is to ignore it. So she keeps to herself as she runs the summer resort on Lake Kissel.

When she returns home from a short trip to find a handsome stranger living in her house, she smells a rat. Someone is trying to fix her up, and she has to admit that Nate Taggert is just her type. However, Nate is engaged to the daughter of the mayor and strictly off-limits.

Nate and Terri form an unlikely friendship while he throws himself into life at the lake. As Nate starts to hear rumors about Terri he’s confused. Knowing how smart, beautiful and strong she is, he’s determined to discover the source of the gossip. Terri doesn’t want to revisit the past, but Nate won’t stop until he discovers the truth—even if the truth might be more than either of them can handle.

I had no new ARCs from Netgalley this week, but I have received two directly from authors.

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And Owen Mullen (I love this author) has sent me an ARC for Deadly Harm….sorry I don’t yet have any cover art, but as soon as I do, you will see it.

A short post today as I have been at work all day and I really need some dinner. So excuse me while I roast some potatoes and throw together a salad to have with our pork chops.

Happy reading my friends. ❤😍📚

The Hidden by Mary Chamberlain

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EXCERPT: She was propelled down the stairs, tumbling, dragged. Shoved into a car. She could sense the two Feldgendarmen following, sitting either side of her. She was aware of their arms, the hard metal badge on their chests, aware of them making gestures.

The car was driving fast, tyres squealing as they rounded the corners, hitting the kerb stones as they went, throwing (her) against the Feldgendarmen. The car came to a halt, the door opened.

‘Raus.’

They pulled her out. She could smell the sea, hear the breath of waves as they lapped against the stone. Gulls screeched above. She was still in town. Perhaps by the harbour, in the square in front of the Pomme d’Or. A Feldgendarmen grabbed her arm, marched her up the steps. The Pomme d’Or had no stairs. She caught the scent of jasmine through the mouldy hessian of her hood. Jasmine.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Dora, Joe, and Geoffrey are living out their retirement comfortably when their worlds are shattered by the arrival of Barbara Hummel, a young German anxious to track down the identity of a mysterious woman whose photograph she finds amongst her mother’s possessions.

As the truth of what happened under the
occupation begins to be revealed, the lives of Dora, a Jewish refugee, and Joe, a Catholic priest, begin to unravel in shocking and surprising ways. The consequences of the lives they lived under the Germans and the lies that followed
are as unexpected as they are devastating.

MY THOUGHTS: I was lulled into a false sense of security at the beginning of The Hidden. It was such a comfortable read that I wanted to move in with these people. Now? No thank you!

Mary Chamberlain has perfected the art of contrasting the everyday, the mundane, with the horrors of the war. She details great beauty and great cruelty with equal passion. She makes us fall in love with her main characters, both the 1940s versions, and the people that they become.

She has introduced me to aspects of the war of which I was previously unaware. The Hidden had me falling in love with Jersey, and crying at the atrocities that took place. I stayed up late last night, reading, and was late to work this morning because I lingered over this book. I read it at morning tea, taking myself off to a quiet corner, and finished it over lunch with tears trickling down my cheeks.

The Hidden is a book that I unreservedly recommend. It is written with a great depth of feeling and the subject has been well researched.

❤💜🧡💛

THE AUTHOR: Mary Chamberlain is a novelist and historian. Her book Fenwomen was the first book to be published by Virago Press in 1975. Since then, she has published six other works of history, and edited a further five. Her first novel, The Mighty Jester was published by Dr. Cicero Books in the US. Her British debut novel, The Dressmaker of Dachau was published by HarperCollins in the UK and, under the title The Dressmaker’s War, by Random House in the USA. In all, it sold to 19 countries and was an international best-seller. Her last novel, The Hidden, was published by OneWorld Publications in February 2019. The Sunday Times listed it as their MUST READ choice of the best recent books in February 2019.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to One World Publications via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Hidden by Mary Chamberlain for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2913837063

Watching What I’m Reading…

It’s been a week of long days at work this week, and it all caught up with me today. After I came home from work, I settled down in front of the fire – the weather is abysmal, cold with thunderstorms – and promptly dozed off…for three hours! I guess I must have needed it.

I am currently reading
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I am almost finished listening to
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This week I am planning on reading

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It all begins on a Monday, when four people board an elevator in a Manhattan office tower. Each presses a button for their floor, but the elevator proceeds, non-stop, to the top. Once there, it stops for a few seconds, and then plummets.

Right to the bottom of the shaft.

It appears to be a horrific, random tragedy. But then, on Tuesday, it happens again, in a different Manhattan skyscraper. And when Wednesday brings yet another high-rise catastrophe, one of the most vertical cities in the world—and the nation’s capital of media, finance, and entertainment—is plunged into chaos.

Clearly, this is anything but random. This is a cold, calculated bid to terrorize the city. And it’s working. Fearing for their lives, thousands of men in women working in offices across the city refuse leave their homes. Commerce has slowed to a trickle. Emergency calls to the top floors of apartment buildings go unanswered.

Who is behind this? Why are they doing it? What do these deadly acts of sabotage have to do with the fingerless body found on the High Line? Two seasoned New York detectives and a straight-shooting journalist must race against time to find the answers before the city’s newest, and tallest, residential tower has its Friday night ribbon-cutting.

With each diabolical twist, Linwood Barclay ratchets up the suspense, building to a shattering finale.

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You can pay a terrible price for keeping a promise…

Evelyn Taylor-Clarke sits in her chair at Forest Lawns Care Home in the heart of the English countryside, surrounded by residents with minds not as sharp as hers. It would be easy to dismiss Evelyn as a muddled old woman, but her lipstick is applied perfectly, and her buttons done up correctly. Because Evelyn is a woman with secrets and Evelyn remembers everything. She can never forget the promise she made to the love of her life, to discover the truth about the mission that led to his death, no matter what it cost her…

When Evelyn’s niece Pat opens an old biscuit tin to find a photo of a small girl with a red ball entitled ‘Liese, 1951’ and a passport in another name, she has some questions for her aunt. And Evelyn is transported back to a place in Germany known as ‘The Forbidden Village,’ where a woman who called herself Eva went where no one else dared, amongst shivering prisoners, to find the man who gambled with her husband’s life…

Six 😱 approvals this week…(I must stop requesting! Or even slow down)

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Several of these requests were due to Susan Dyer of susanlovesbooks….she really is a bad influence on me! 😂🤣😂🤣

Happy reading my friends. ❤😍📚

The Heart of the Ritz by Luke Devenish

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EXCERPT: ….his nerve failed him. It had never failed him once in the trenches.

To his horror he found that he simply could not go inside the Ritz. Disgraced by this cowardice, he made to move on – until to he took hold of himself. He stood so that he might be thought to be viewing Napoleon’s column, but of course, he was not. He was viewing the famous Hotel Ritz and dreaming of the elegant life that was lived at the heart of it; a life as secure and serene and as comfortable as a life lived curled in the womb; a life that didn’t belong to him, Hans Metzingen, the handsome nobody from defeated, humiliated Germany. But it could be his, if only he would go inside.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: France, April 1940. Orphan Polly Hartford has been sent across oceans to her Aunt Marjorie, known only from letters. When Marjorie dies in suspicious circumstances, Polly is left with her aunt’s loaded pistol in a beautiful Hermès handbag . . . and to the care of Marjorie’s three closest friends: an elegant Comtesse, a gutter-born film star and a big-hearted American heiress.

Polly is taken to live at the Hôtel Ritz, where guests and staff believe wealth and prestige protect them from war. But when the Nazis invade, the illusion is shattered. As Paris deteriorates, Polly and her guardians face the horrors of the Occupation with daring, humour, style – even romance – and despite their dangerous secrets, they discover just what they are capable of.

As the Liberation approaches, those who survive at the Ritz must face a day of reckoning, but one truth stands tall: at the heart of the Ritz is the soul of resistance.

MY THOUGHTS: I have abandoned this read at 63%. I wanted to like it. I tried to like it, but it was rather like being stuck in the mud; the wheels were spinning but we were going nowhere.

I like historical fiction, particularly tales of the Resistance. I like France, and stories set there. I love old buildings and the stories they have to tell. You can see why I requested The Heart of the Ritz.

But when I woke at 2.30 am, made a cup of tea, and settled down to read, one paragraph in and I got up to wipe down the kitchen bench, tidied my pile of magazines and my cross stitch materials, played with the cat and planned my day ahead rather than read, I knew it was time to admit defeat.

I just didn’t care. Nothing was happening to hold my interest. It would seem that I am in the minority here, and for that I am glad. I hate to dnf a book. This is someone’s child. They have sweated blood and tears over this. But I am sorry, it’s just not for me.

Reading is a personal and subjective experience, and what appeals to one may not please another. So if you enjoyed the excerpt from The Heart of the Ritz, and the plot outline appeals, please do go ahead and read it.

😞

THE AUTHOR: Luke Devenish lives with his partner and pets in the historic town of Castlemaine, in the heart of the beautiful Goldfields region of Victoria, Australia. Originally from Western Australia, where he often returns, Luke grew up in the Perth Hills where he attended Eastern Hills Senior High School and Curtin University in the 1980s. He moved to Melbourne to pursue writing opportunities in 1988 and has lived in Victoria since.

Before writing novels, Luke wrote for television, and is also a playwright.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Simon and Schuster (Australia) via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Heart of the Ritz by Luke Devenish for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2891278306

Watching What I’m Reading …

I have been working double shifts for the latter part of this week so my reading and reviewing has had to take the back seat. I am only 25% into

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And am listening to

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Jessie Sloane is on the path to rebuilding her life after years of caring for her ailing mother. She rents a new apartment and applies for college. But when the college informs her that her social security number has raised a red flag, Jessie discovers a shocking detail that causes her to doubt everything she’s ever known.

Finding herself suddenly at the center of a bizarre mystery, Jessie tumbles down a rabbit hole, which is only exacerbated by grief and a relentless lack of sleep. As days pass and the insomnia worsens, it plays with Jessie’s mind. Her judgment is blurred, her thoughts are hampered by fatigue. Jessie begins to see things until she can no longer tell the difference between what’s real and what she’s only imagined.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier and two hundred and fifty miles away, another woman’s split-second decision may hold the key to Jessie’s secret past. Has Jessie’s whole life been a lie or have her delusions gotten the best of her?

This week, although I still don’t know what it’s going to bring, I am planning on reading the book I never got to last week

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I have to admit that the cover was the initial attraction for me, but the synopsis drew me in…Something has gone terribly wrong at the Banks wedding. A man is dead. Four different women rush to offer confessions, each insisting that they committed the crime — alone.

Ginger is holding her family together by a thread, and this wedding weekend is not the fabulous getaway she anticipated.

Kate has enough money to buy her way out of anything. Well, almost anything.

Emily can’t shake her reputation or her memories, and she’s planning to drown this whole vacation in a bottle.

Lulu’s got ex-husbands to spare, and another on the way — as soon as she figures out what the devil the current husband is up to behind her back.

Why would they confess to the same murder? Only they know — and they’re not telling. This page-turning novel explores the depths of friendship and the truths we love to ignore.

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Dora, Joe, and Geoffrey are living out their retirement comfortably when their worlds are shattered by the arrival of Barbara Hummel, a young German anxious to track down the identity of a mysterious woman whose photograph she finds amongst her mother’s possessions.

As the truth of what happened under the
occupation begins to be revealed, the lives of Dora, a Jewish refugee, and Joe, a Catholic priest, begin to unravel in shocking and surprising ways. The consequences of the lives they lived under the Germans and the lies that followed
are as unexpected as they are devastating.

I only have one new title this week, and that is one I was invited to read by the publisher

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Well, I am off to relax with a glass of wine and my book. Happy father’s day to all the Dads out there. I hope you all got the books on your wishlist. Have a happy week. ❤😍📚