Review: How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky

NetzerFlap Copy: Like a jewel shimmering in a Midwest skyline, the Toledo Institute of Astronomy is the nation’s premier center of astronomical discovery and a beacon of scientific learning for astronomers far and wide. Here, dreamy cosmologist George Dermont mines the stars to prove the existence of God. Here, Irene Sparks, an unsentimental scientist, creates black holes in captivity.

George and Irene are on a collision course with love, destiny and fate. They have everything in common: both are ambitious, both passionate and science, both lonely and yearning for connection. The air seems to hum when they’re together. But George and Irene’s attraction was not written in the stars. In fact, their mothers, friends since childhood, raised them separately to become each other’s soul mates.

When that long-secret plan triggers unintended consequences, the two astronomers must discover the truth about their destinies, and unravel the mystery of what Toledo holds for them – together, or perhaps, apart.

Review: I loved the way this book wove together a little woo – soul mates, fate, kismet – and cold hard science – logic, consequences, black holes. This book nails the separation between the Spocks and the Kirks of the world, all the while talking about two scientists. It’s not a matter of personality conflict, so much, as conflict within Irene between her convictions about how the world works and what is happening right in front of her.

The book also nails the separation that divides mothers and daughters – so frequently an even bigger divide than between science and woo. Irene must come to terms with everything her mother has done and must decide which of her principles she must sacrifice to find satisfaction in her own life.

Source: ARC from St. Martin’s Press

Review: Us

NichollsFlap Copy: Douglas Petersen may be mild mannered, but behind his reserve lies a sense of humor that, against all odds, seduces beautiful Connie into a second date . . . and eventually into marriage. Now, almost three decades after their relationship first blossomed in London, they live more or less happily in the suburbs with their moody seventeen-year-old son Albie. Then Connie tells Douglas she thinks she wants a divorce.

The timing couldn’t be worse. Hoping to encourage her son’s artistic interests, Connie has planned a month-long tour of European capitals, a chance to experience the world’s greatest works of art as a family, and she can’t bring herself to cancel. And maybe going ahead with the original plan is for the best anyway? Douglas is privately convinced that this landmark trip will rekindle the romance in the marriage, and may even help him to bond with Albie.

Review: I have loved myself some scientific men in my time, and Douglas Petersen is one of them. He’s tender, funny, self-conscious and awkward – and, at the time we meet him, devastated because his wife of nearly thirty years has asked for a divorce, for no special reason in particular. Now, she’s not a monster; you’ll get to know her and understand her as well, but I don’t think that will change which friend you’d want to keep in this divorce.

The story details Douglas’s transformations, beginning with his early years as a young scientist who inexplicably catches the heart of a vivacious, talented and beautiful bohemian artist, who differs from him in almost every way. But marriage isn’t the end of the story, and Douglas continues to transform through parenthood, bitter disappointment and the gradual erosion of passion into habit and formality. Finally, we watch Douglas grow for the third time as he flexes his wings, and, for the first time, starts to assert himself by pursuing what he wants instead of gaping gratefully at the things that fall into his lap.

David Nicholls writes tenderly about divorces where there are no good guys and no bad guys, just two people who inadvertently broke each other down, the difference between smashing a stone with a hammer and slowly eroding it with years of slow water drips. I am fully able to identify – interestingly, with both Connie and Douglas – so this book was actually a little cathartic while also remaining an entertaining and endearing read.

Source: ARC from Harper’s Press

Review: Euphoria

Flap Copy: English anthropologist Andrew Bankson has been alone in the field for several years, studying the Kiona river tribe in the Territory of New Guinea. Haunted by the memory of his brothers’ deaths and increasingly frustrated and isolated by his research, Bankson is on the verge of suicide when a chance encounter with colleagues, the controversial Nell Stone and her wry and mercurial Australian husband Fen, pulls him back from the brink. Nell and Fen have just fled the bloodthirsty Mumbanyo and, in spite of Nell’s poor health, are hungry for a new discovery. When Bankson finds them a new tribe nearby, the artistic, female-dominated Tam, he ignites an intellectual and romantic firestorm between the three of them that burns out ofKing anyone’s control.

Review: Well, when a historical novel is inspired by Margaret Mead, I’m going to be interested. Lily King dissects the psyches of the three Western anthropologists as thoroughly as they seek to document the customs of New Guinea natives that they find so strange. Of course, when you throw in a love triangle, the natives gape back just as much at the elaborate and illogical mating behavior displayed by the anthropologists. But it’s so much more than a love story – there is feminism, post-colonialism, history and heartache.

Written in the universal languages of love and loss; I really enjoyed this book more than I can express. It would be ideal for lovers of well-researched historical fiction, anthropology and, of course, tragedy.

Source: ARC from Atlantic Monthly Press

Review: A Man Called Ove

BackmanFlap Copy: Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon – the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundation.

Review: We all know an Ove. We’ve seen him before, frowning at strangers, grimacing at children or shaking his fist at a dog in his flower bed.

But we’ve never seen him tenderly carry his frail wife to her bed. We’ve never seen his tears evaporate in the heat of a fire he can’t fight. And we certainly have never seen him loop a noose around his own neck and calmly kick the stool away.

It’s easy to see why this Swedish best-seller is going international and into multiple languages – because our shared experiences in the 1940s produced a generation of stoic, stalwart, silent men who we know and love know as our grandfathers, which we discuss at length now in therapy while we work through our own comparatively easy lives. Our grandfathers, of course, did not have the self-indulgent luxury of therapy – instead, they fixed the heater, tuned the car, ripped out the kitchen or fought with bureaucratic government drones. Having redirected his heart into these things for so long, Ove has oiled up his life to a perfectly functioning machine that is now ready to roll along without him.

Instead, he learns about all the different kinds of love that can save a person – the love of a friend, the love of a child or even the love of a cat who rescues you from the cold.

Source: ARC from Atria

Review: Bittersweet

Flap Copy: On scholarship at a prestigious East Coast college, ordinary Mabel Dagmar is surprised to befriend her roommate, the beautiful blue-blooded Genevra Winslow. Ev invites Mabel to spend the summer at Bittersweet, a cottage on the Vermont estate where her family has been holding court for more than a century; it’s the kind of place where children twirl sparklers across the lawn during cocktail hour. Mabel falls in love with the midnight skinny-dips, the wet-dog smell lingering in the air, the moneyed laughter carrying across the still lake, and before she knows it, she has everything she’s ever wanted: wealth, friendship, a boyfriend, and, most of all, the sense, for the first time in her life, that she belongs.

But as Mabel becomes Beverly-Whittemorean insider, she makes a terrible discovery that leads to shocking violence and the revelation of the true source of the Winslows’ fortune. Mabel must choose: either expose the ugliness surrounding her and face expulsion from paradise, or keep the family’s dark secrets and redefine what is good and what is evil, in the interest of what can be hers.

Review: Mabel, a dowdy, studious girl, is pulled into the chaotically charmed life of her aloof and beautiful roommate, Genevra. Inexplicable to Mabel, Ev takes a liking to her – in turns out that Ev has the same desperate need for true acceptance that Mabel does.

Mabel’s smarts, integrity and her ability to keep her wits about her when the inevitable treachery arises shows that she has more in common with Ev than the wealthy Winslows might have anticipated. She finds out the history of what the Winslows did to get and keep their wealth, and her own decisions show that she’s more than a good fit to take a place in their cabal – even if it means stepping on the back of the one who brought her in.

(This book is almost a revenge fantasy for us Mabels. Loved it – good for your literary book clubs!)

Source: ARC from Crown Publishing

Review: We Were Liars

LockhartFlap Copy: A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island. A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. A group of four friends – the Liars – whose friendship turns destructive. A revolution. An accident. A secret. Lies upon lies. True love. The truth. Read it. And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

Review: Cadence Sinclair Eastman is the privileged daughter of a New England family wealthy enough to own a private island and all the personal residences on it. Her grandfather, the patriarch, brings his children and their children to the island every summer, giving Cadence a regular group of cousins and friends to gossip and swim with.

But one of these regulars, an aunt’s boyfriend’s nephew, Gat Patil, appears on the island as a young man one summer. Cadence tests the limits of her family’s tolerance as her feelings for Gat morph from childhood friendship to something more.

I won’t tell you their secrets, but I can’t lie – this is an excellent book, right down to the horrifying twist!

Source: ARC from Delacore Press.

Review: Zac and Mia

BettsFlap Copy: The last person Zac expects to meet in the hospital room next door is a girl like Mia – beautiful, angry and feisty, with questionable taste in music. In the real world, he could never be friends with a girl like her. But when a knock on the wall leads to a note, a friendship surprises them both. Does Mia need Zac? Does Zac need Mia? Maybe they both need each other, always.

Told in alternating perspectives over nine months, Zac and Mia follows the relationship of two ordinary teenagers enduring extraordinary circumstances, in this tough and tender young adult novel that’s a lot about love . . . and a little about cancer.

Review: As an old curmudgeon, I thoroughly enjoyed Zac and Mia. It’s a sweet but spiky story about young love and loss – happy endings are relative when you’re talking about teenagers with cancer. Particularly for a young adult novel, the character developments shown through the switching narrative might help give the young reader perspective on their peers acting out or irrationally – there is frequently an excellent reason for mood swings, subterfuge, abrupt breaks in friendship. As Mia in particular matured, I moved from annoyance and skepticism to compassion and, like Zac, to compassion and admiration for her bravery and courage.

Source: ARC from HMH Books

The Betrayers

BezmozgisFlap Copy: These incandescent pages gives us one fraught, momentous day in the life of Baruch Kotler, a Soviet Jewish dissident who now finds himself a disgraced Israeli politician. When he refuses to back down from a contrary but principled stand regarding the West Bank settlements, his political opponents expose his affair with a mistress decades his junior, and the besieged couple escapes to Yalta, the faded Crimean resort of Kotler’s youth. There, shockingly, Kotler encounters the former friend whose denunciation condemned him to the Gulag almost forty years earlier.

In a whirling twenty-four hours, Kotler must face the ultimate reckoning, both with those who have betrayed him and those whom he has betrayed, including a teenage daughter, a son facing his own moral dilemma in the Israeli army, and the wife who once campaigned to secure his freedom and stood by his side through so much.

Review: You know what I love about history? Taking a close look shows just how much of our collective experience is shaped by the singular personal decisions of people in power. One decision – to steal a kiss, shred a document, shake a hand – by a powerful man can bring down an empire, push the red button down or de-escalate a worldwide disaster. Baruch Kotler made a series of decisions – decisions that were both foolish and principled – and watches in horror as the consequences unfold. The consequences of course comprise the political scale, when he is denounced and the world watches with increasing tensions as Israeli troops are ordered to escort Israeli settlers from the West Bank, as well as the personal, which perhaps distract him more. Of course his wife is devastated and his daughter and son are furious and ashamed. The book explores the interplay between political loyalty and familial devotion, which is fascinating when you consider the real motivations that may lurk behind the watershed moments in history.

Baruch meets his former friend, who betrayed him decades before and sent him to the Gulag and finds less of a foe than a mirror in which he can ponder his own betrayal and practice the speeches he must make to start amends.

Source: ARC from Little, Brown and Company

Review: The Nostalgist

HansburyFlap Copy:Stoop-shouldered and balding beneath a porkpie hat, Jonah Soloway is an old man before his time. Effectively orphaned when an SUV took his mother’s life, he has retreated into a solitary world of vintage artifacts and comic books. But he longs to make a human connection–even if it means twisting the truth to get it. When he dials the number on Rose Oliveri’s 9/11 missing poster and reaches her mother, Vivian, one innocent lie leads to another, and before Jonah knows it, reality becomes uncertain even to him.

Stalked by Rose’s ghost, Jonah finds himself falling deeper into his own fabrications as he wanders a city turned surreal in terrorism’s settling dust. But when he meets Jane, an irreverent student of psychoanalysis, he’ll be forced to choose between illusion and the possibility of a true relationship.

Both a poetic journey into the heart of post-9/11 New York and a darkly comic commentary on how we cope with loss, The Nostalgist is a striking debut novel from a masterful new author.

Review: The Nostalgist is a parable of the worst that can happen when we give voice to our fantasies, when they leave our heads through our words and draw innocent believers into a web of false hope. Jonah is both a villain – a manipulative sociopath – and the hero we can’t help but identify with on his search for companionship and redemption. His “lost love” Rosie is no less complicated for being dead throughout the novel – she is an uncomfortable pill to swallow with what she has to say about how we mourn for our lost loved ones. Griffin Hansbury reminds us that the unbearable pain of loss and unrealized dreams can be lifted, ever so slightly, but looking around for the joys right in front of us.

Source: ARC from MP Publishing

Review: The Visitors

Flap Copy: James Dwyer was born in rural county Limerick before moving to Dublin as a teenager and ultimately settling in Ann Arbor, Michigan. One night in July 2000, James’s past appears in the form of a down-and-out old man named Walter who O'Keefeissues an invitation for James to come to New York’s Hudson Valley to visit his old childhood neighbor, Kevin Lyons. Although neither James nor Kevin particularly cares for each other, there’s no denying their complicated past. Kevin and James’s sister, Tess, were lovers when they were teenagers, which caused anguish for both families, and James was once in love with Kevin’s sister, Una.

Illuminating the precarious balance of family intimacies and how stories can carry over from one generation to the next, O’Keeffe’s The Visitors further delivers on the elegant prose and plotting that earned him critical acclaim and The Story Prize for The Hill Road.

Review: The Visitors has the old-world cadence of the McCourt brothers and carries the wistful, introspective regret of an ex-pat wandering through the States. James ruminates on what is lost, poring over details of his past that seem to have set his future in stone. The stories weave back and forth like a memoir until, suddenly, there is a crime novel in your hands — and you realize you weren’t paying attention to the clues and motives that were there all along. The twists and turns of James’s memory and the brief glimpse into his future remind us that, no matter where we go or who we become, if we aren’t where our heart truly lies, we’re only ever just visiting.

Source: ARC from Viking.

Review: How to Be a Good Wife

Flap Copy: Marta and Hector have been married for a long time. Through the good and bad; through raising a son and sending him off to life after college. So long, in fact, that Marta finds it difficult to remember her life before Hector. He has always taken care of her, and she has always done everything she can to be a good wife – as advised by a dog-eared manual given to her by Hector’s aloof mother on their wedding day.

But now, something is changing. Small things seem off. A flash of movement in the corner of her eye, elapsed moments that she can’t recall. Visions of a blonde girl in the darkness that only Marta can see. Perhaps she is starting to remember – or perhaps her mind is playing tricks on her. As Marta’s visions persist and her reality grows more disjointed, it’s unclear if the danger lies in the world around her, or in Marta herself. The girl is becoming more real every day, and she wants something . . .

Chilling and page-turning, How to Be a Good Wife unravels with the unnerving precision and compelling uncertainty, introducing a tremendous new talent in psychological fiction.

ChapmanReview: Like Marta’s gift from her mother-in-law, I also received a worn copy of a retro marriage advice book, from my grandmother on my wedding day. It had tips on how to make my husband happy – reapply my lipstick and straighten the bow in my hair as I timed dinner perfectly to when he walked through the door after a long day of work. Of course, he was unemployed for much of the short marriage, and that made dinner tricky to time. Or perhaps, as in Marta’s marraige, things would have turned dark even if I’d read the book and applied its precepts. In How to Be a Good Wife, The Feminine Mystique is put into action, set in Scandinavia and seeped in the nagging doubts so many women have about who they are after years of identifying in reference to another – a husband, a child, or even a clean house. Marta’s psychological break reveals the terror of truly not being able to escape a captor because the captor is either in your house – or in your head. If you’re going to hand out books to brides on their big days, don’t make it How to Be a Good Wife – either the advice book, or the novel! It’s the kind of book to make you lower your dinner fork and eye your spouse suspiciously until you remember it’s just a book – just a very good one.

Source: ARC from St. Martin’s Press

Review: Bringing Up Bebe

bringing up bebeFlap Copy: When American journalist Pamela Druckerman has a baby in Paris, she doesn’t aspire to become a “French parent.” French parenting isn’t a known thing, like French fashion or French cheese. Even French parents themselves insist they aren’t doing anything special.

Yet, the French children Druckerman knows sleep through the night at two or three months old while those of her American friends take a year or more. French kids eat well-rounded meals that are more likely to include braised leeks than chicken nuggets. And while her American friends spend their visits resolving spats between their kids, her French friends sip coffee while the kids play.

Motherhood itself is a whole different experience in France. There’s no role model, as there is in America, for the harried new mom with no life of her own. French mothers assume that even good parents aren’t at the constant service of their children and that there’s no need to feel guilty about this. They have an easy, calm authority with their kids that Druckerman can only envy.

Of course, French parenting wouldn’t be worth talking about if it produced robotic, joyless children. In fact, French kids are just as boisterous, curious, and creative as Americans. They’re just far better behaved and more in command of themselves. While some American toddlers are getting Mandarin tutors and preliteracy training, French kids are- by design-toddling around and discovering the world at their own pace.

With a notebook stashed in her diaper bag, Druckerman—a former reporter for The Wall Street Journal—sets out to learn the secrets to raising a society of good little sleepers, gourmet eaters, and reasonably relaxed parents. She discovers that French parents are extremely strict about some things and strikingly permissive about others. And she realizes that to be a different kind of parent, you don’t just need a different parenting philosophy. You need a very different view of what a child actually is.

While finding her own firm non, Druckerman discovers that children-including her own-are capable of feats she’d never imagined.

Review: I wonder what I would have thought of this book if I’d read it (or had kids) when it was first published in 2012. I think some of Druckerman’s revelations have become so talked about in parenting circles that they just didn’t seem as surprising to me as they would have had I not had almost three years to hear the secrets in the book.

That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy the book – I did, immensely. Just that some of the things, like letting children learn to play on their own, weren’t as revolutionary to me as they might have been (and maybe they weren’t at the time the book came out, I don’t know).

At any rate, Druckerman’s take on French parenting certainly leaves a lot to be desired from American parenting. French kids are better behaved, better eaters, better sleepers, have more autonomy and are respectful towards adults. Their parents are more relaxed and have active, fulfilling lives outside of their families and make time for romance. What’s not to like?

Well, probably not all French parenting is the way Druckerman experienced it, but it does sound good. I really liked the interviews with both French and American parents, and her own experiments with learning how to incorporate a little French parenting into her own style. While I still believe the American way is better in some respects, this is one parenting book that was full of actual useful parenting information that I will try to make use of.

Source: Public library

Review: The Language of Food

language of foodFlap Copy: Why do we eat toast for breakfast, and then toast to good health at dinner? What does the turkey we eat on Thanksgiving have to do with the country on the eastern Mediterranean? Can you figure out how much your dinner will cost by counting the words on the menu?

In The Language of Food, Stanford University professor and MacArthur Fellow Dan Jurafsky peels away the mysteries from the foods we think we know. Thirteen chapters evoke the joy and discovery of reading a menu dotted with the sharp-eyed annotations of a linguist.

Jurafsky points out the subtle meanings hidden in filler words like “rich” and “crispy,” zeroes in on the metaphors and storytelling tropes we rely on in restaurant reviews, and charts a microuniverse of marketing language on the back of a bag of potato chips.

The fascinating journey through The Language of Food uncovers a global atlas of culinary influences. With Jurafsky’s insight, words like ketchup, macaron, and even salad become living fossils that contain the patterns of early global exploration that predate our modern fusion-filled world.

From ancient recipes preserved in Sumerian song lyrics to colonial shipping routes that first connected East and West, Jurafsky paints a vibrant portrait of how our foods developed. A surprising history of culinary exchange—a sharing of ideas and culture as much as ingredients and flavors—lies just beneath the surface of our daily snacks, soups, and suppers.

Engaging and informed, Jurafsky’s unique study illuminates an extraordinary network of language, history, and food. The menu is yours to enjoy.

Review: I heard about this book on a radio show, and was completely intrigued. I think I’ve mentioned before that I love books about food and writing, and this combines both! Full of surprising stories about the origins of the foods we know and love, as well as the words we use to describe them, this is an interesting way to get a dose of history and linguistics. It’s a little drier than Words to Eat By (How is it possible that I didn’t review that book?!) but still entertaining and informative. I could have done with less information about San Francisco and more history of where ice cream or ketchup came from, but on the whole it was a great read.

Source: Public library

Review: Breastfeeding Books

nmgtbfAAP New Mother’s Guide to Breastfeeding
Flap Copy: Offering the most up-to-date information and statistics about the benefits of nursing, sage advice on how to establish a breastfeeding routine, and troubleshooting tips, the second edition of New Mother’s Guide to Breastfeeding will provide new and expectant moms with everything they need to know about breastfeeding. It takes time (and practice!) for mom and baby to adjust to the new routine. Helping to smooth the process, this book provides easy- to-understand guidance and the latest medical findings to ensure that the breastfeeding experience is a healthy and positive one. Complete with more than 50 illustrations and drawings, numerous Q&A sidebars addressing common questions and concerns, and a handy list of other breastfeeding resources, New Mother’s Guide to Breastfeeding is an indispensable tool. This updated version covers more than a decade’s worth of the latest research, including:
• New research on ways breastfeeding can stave off childhood allergies and obesity
• Expanded coverage of proper nutrition for nursing mothers, including vitamin, mineral, and supplementation recommendations
• Information for mothers preparing for the first feeding and adjusting to home, family, and work as a nursing mother
• Proven ways to establish a nursing routine and what to do when mom returns to work
• Information on handling special situations like premature birth and C-sections
• Mom-tested solutions to common breastfeeding challenges Under the direction of one of the country’s preeminent lactation experts, editor-in-chief Joan Younger Meek, MD, MS, RD, FAAP, IBCLC, this outstanding guide was developed with the assistance of numerous contributors from the AAP and is the essential resource for getting new moms and their babies off to the healthiest start possible.

Review: As expected from a medical organization, this is somewhat dry and factual – not quite a textbook, but not something designed to tweak your interest in the bookstore. I found it to be a bit judgmental also (particularly regarding c-sections, as it assumed that any woman who had one obviously did not want it but had no choice in the matter), which was too bad. It is very detailed and easy to read, though, and covers all the information I hoped to learn.

Source: Free copy from my OB

so that's whatSo That’s What They’re For: The Definitive Breastfeeding Guide
Flap Copy
: The Critics Love “So That’s What They’re For!””A practical, light-hearted, and humorous look at breastfeeding…that’s full of factual information and down-to-earth answers to the universal questions all breastfeeding mothers have.” –La Leche League

“This light-hearted approach to a truly serious subject offers a healthy mix of medical fact and hearty humor, and is a must for all moms.” –Dr. Dean Edell, nationally syndicated radio/television talk show host

“BEST PICKS: Best breastfeeding book out there for new moms.” –“Parent Soup”

“Janet Tamaro has produced a humorous, informative, concise, affordable, fun-to-read book on the joys and trials of breastfeeding.” –“The Journal of Perinatal Education”

“”So That’s What They’re For!” lends support and encouragement to those wondering whether they should try breastfeeding, for pregnant women who are sure they will breastfeed, and for new moms who are having trouble an are considering stopping.” –“Natural Health and Alternative Medicine Newsletter”

Review: Most likely to win “Girlfriend’s Guide to…” award. While this is a good foundation book, written by an experienced lactation consultant who admits to breastfeeding problems she had even after writing a book on breastfeeding (the first edition of this title), there are some things that rubbed me the wrong way. It’s really pro-breastfeeding. As in, basically discounting any reason that women are unable to breastfeed – including problems with the infant. I don’t recall seeing any information regarding tongue/lip ties or swallowing problems mentioned, which are somewhat rare but definite problems that interfere with breastfeeding. There was also no mention of (and therefore no advice for solving) problems with overactive letdown or lipase issues. While these aren’t huge issues, they are oversights that frequently come up among breastfeeding women I know, so I was surprised that they weren’t covered.

Source: Public library

great expectationsGreat Expectations: The Essential Breastfeeding Guide
Flap Copy:
In Great Expectations: The Essential Guide to Breastfeeding, Marianne Neifert, MD, one of America’s leading pediatricians and a nationally recognized lactation consultant, gives nursing mothers all the advice they need to breastfeed their babies successfully. Distilled from Dr. Mom’s Guide to Breastfeeding, this is the most up-to-date, comprehensive, and effective book on the subject. Neifert has spent the last 25 years addressing the situations that nursing mothers routinely encounter; her sound, reassuring, and practical advice makes this a must-have for all new moms and mothers-to-be.

Review: My favorite of the three. No-nonsense, filled with information in an easy-to-access format, and with a more nuanced approach to the problems that some women face when trying to breastfeed, I think this is the breastfeeding bible for me.

Source: Public library

Review: Gone Girl

gone girlFlap Copy: On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media–as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents–the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter–but is he really a killer?
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

Review: Hmmm, well, how do you review this kind of book without giving everything away?

I’ll just say that it’s intense, absorbing, fun to figure out the “whodunnit” aspect, and somewhat surprisingly well done. I say that only because the POV alternates between the two main characters (or at least their writing), and generally that is really hard to pull off well. Flynn absolutely manages it though – I read this book in two sittings and hardly blinked through the second half of it because I was so entranced.

Source: Personal library

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