The Better Half : On the Genetic Superiority of Women by Sharon Moalem

Today I’m pleased to share a review for a non fiction book on my blog. Thank you to Penguin UK for a digital proof copy via NetGalley – apologies for the delay in reading and reviewing.

Synopsis (from Goodreads) :

An award-winning medic and scientist makes the game-changing case that genetic females are stronger than males at every stage of life

‘A powerful antidote to the myth of a “weaker sex”‘ Gina Rippon, author of The Gendered Brain

Here are some facts: Women live longer than men. They have stronger immune systems. They’re better at fighting cancer and surviving famine, and even see the world in a wider variety of colours. They are simply stronger than men at every stage of life. Why? And why are we taught the opposite?

Drawing on his wide-ranging experience and cutting-edge research, Dr Sharon Moalem set out to understand why men are consistently less likely than women to thrive. The answer, he reveals, lies in our genetics: the female’s double XX chromosomes offer a powerful survival advantage.

Moalem explains why genetic females triumph over males when it comes to resilience, intellect, stamina, immunity and much more. And he calls for a long-overdue reconsideration of our male-centric, one-size-fits-all view of the body and even of how we prescribe medications – a view that still frames women through the lens of men. 

Revolutionary, captivating and utterly persuasive, The Better Half will make you see women, men and the survival of our species anew.

My thoughts:

This book was published back in April 2020 in the UK, at the start of Lockdown. I had a dip in my ability to concentrate and read mostly ‘light fiction’ full of uplifting stories. However, as a female in the middle of a global pandemic, I really should have read this because I now appreciate that my body may be more able to fight Covid-19 than those of the males in our house.

This was an interesting read. Admittedly I didn’t fact check the science but I did understand the majority of it, with my A level science and medical underwriting knowledge. My major concern was discovering that women are much more at risk of autoimmune conditions (a cousin has MS) and that many medicines haven’t been tested on women, so the dosages are based on men..

Definitely worth a read, to see why the X and Y chromosomes mean that we have different health issues and the risks to be aware of.

Author Bio:

Sharon Moalem, MD, PhD, is an award-winning physician-scientist and geneticist. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Survival of the Sickest and Inheritance, an Amazon Best Science Book of the Year, among other books. His work brings together evolution, genetics, and medicine to revolutionize how we understand and treat disease, and his clinical research led to the discovery of two new rare genetic conditions, and to his discovery of a first-in-class antibiotic which targets ‘superbug’ infections. His books have been translated into more than 35 languages.

One Step Behind by Lauren North

I’m thrilled to share my review for the new book by Lauren North. The Perfect Betrayal was one of my favourite books last year, so I was pleased to have chance to read and review her second novel, after taking part in the social media cover reveal a few months ago. Thank you to Transworld for a digital review copy via NetGalley – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

Jenna is a wife, a mother, a doctor. She’s also the victim of a stalker.

Every time she leaves her house, she sees him. Disturbing gifts are left at her door. Cruel emails are sent to her colleagues. She has no idea who this man is but she feels powerless against him.

Until the day he is brought into her hospital after a serious accident, and Jenna is given the chance to find out once and for all why this man is tormenting her. Now, the power is all hers.

But how many lines is she willing to cross to take back control of her life?

My thoughts:

I devoured this story very quickly, wanting to find out who was stalking Jenna. As a mum of two, the thought of having someone watching my family was at the back of my mind as this story unfolded.

The suspense kept building as the main characters were introduced, until I was suspicious of almost everyone. This is very dark in places, as Jenna struggles to cope with the presents being left for her and the emails accusing her of being a bad mother and an incompetent doctor.

Another tense thriller from Lauren North that I will be recommending to family and friends, this book keeps you guessing until the very end.

Lauren North:

Lauren writes psychological suspense novels that delve into the darker side of relationships and families. She has a lifelong passion for writing, reading, and all things books. Lauren’s love of psychological suspense has grown since childhood and her dark imagination of always wondering what’s the worst thing that could happen in every situation. 

Lauren studied psychology before moving to London where she lived and worked for many years. She now lives with her family in the Suffolk countryside. Readers can follow Lauren on Twitter @Lauren_C_North and Facebook @LaurenNorthAuthor

Come Join the Murder by Holly Rae Garcia

I’m pleased to share my review for this tense thriller by Holly Rae Garcia today on my book blog. Thank you to Blackthorn Book Tours for inviting me to join the tour (my first with Blackthorn) and providing a digital review copy – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

Rebecca Crow’s four-year-old son is dead and her husband is missing.

Divers find her husband’s car at the bottom of a canal with their son’s small, lifeless body, inside. The police have no suspects and nothing to go on but a passing mention of a man driving a van. Guilt and grief cloud Rebecca’s thoughts as she stumbles toward her only mission: Revenge.

James Porter knows exactly what happened to them, but he’ll do anything to keep it a secret.

James didn’t plan to kill Rebecca’s son, but he’s not too broken up about it, either. There are more important things for him to worry about. He needs money, and his increasing appetite for murder is catching the attention of a nosy detective.

My thoughts:

This was an unusual book for me because we met the murderer at the beginning of the book, no trying to work out ‘who did it’ in this story. Instead this is a story about how the grief of the murder of her only child drives Rebecca to seek the ultimate revenge.

This is well written and all too believable. A mother racked with guilt and grief looking for the thief / killer who enjoys the thrill of the kill, especially when he keeps getting away with it. It was difficult not to feel sympathy for Rebecca, even as the story unfolded, as her desire for revenge lead her to become the hunter. It is difficult to say any more without giving any spoilers.

I raced through the story, and didn’t want to put it down – the sign of an excellent story. I’m looking forward to reading future novels by Holly Rae Garcia and will be recommending this book.

Holly Rae Garcia:

Holly Rae Garcia’s debut novel, Come Join the Murder, was released on March 27th, 2020 by Close to the Bone Publishing (UK). Her short fiction has been published by Siren’s Call, The Bookends Review, Rue Scribe, Pen to Print, The Australian Writers’ Centre, and Trembling With Fear along with a few anthologies. Holly lives on the Texas Coast with her family and five dogs.

Links 

     My Website: https://www.hollyraegarcia.com/

     Book’s Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B084FHXZZL

     Book’s Goodreads Page: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50978801-come-join-the-murder

     Twitter: @HollyRaeGarcia

     Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HollyRaeGarciaAuthor/?modal=admin_todo_tour

     Instagram: @HollyRaeGarcia

Summer at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry by Caroline Roberts

The Pudding Pantry opens its doors for summer.

And there are wedding bells on the horizon . . .

The sun is shining as Rachel and her gorgeous beau, Tom, prepare to tie the knot at Primrose Farm.

It takes a village to pull off the perfect country wedding and Rachel couldn’t be more grateful for her friends and family as they roll out the haybales and string up the bunting – all she needs to do is focus on her Happy Ever After.

But no wedding is without drama. A face from the past is looking to stir up trouble in the village and there’s a secret following Rachel all the way up the aisle . . .

With old friends, new promises and a little borrowed time, will Rachel get the wedding of her dreams?


My thoughts:

First of all, I need to say what a gorgeous cover this book has – I know I only have a digital proof copy at the moment but I’m looking forward to getting a paperback copy of this book when it is published in July 2020.

Thank you to One More Chapter at Harper Collins for approving my NetGalley request to read and review. I enjoyed the first two Pudding Pantry books and was eager to find out what happened next for Rachel, Maisy, Jill, Ruth and the friends of Primrose Farm in the Cheviot Hills.

At the start of the book, wedding plans are in preparation for Rachel and Tom’s big day. As the current pandemic has forced the postponement of many weddings in 2020, it felt even more special to be able to read this.

Alongside romance, puddings, farm life, desserts, community spirit, children, cake, the story also covers issues with ex partners, missing loved ones and recognising that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. I loved being back at Primrose Farm and would like to thank Caroline Roberts for giving me a wonderful escape on a wet and windy lockdown bank holiday Saturday.

A delicious, delightful story and a much need uplifting read, plus a recipe book (recipes are included in all three Pudding Pantry books). A five star read too.

Caroline Roberts information from Goodreads:

Family, friends, food, a glass of bubbly and, of course, a good book make me smile. I love writing emotional stories about love, loss, betrayal, and family, that explore how complex and yet beautiful love can be. I also like to write romantic comedy, letting the characters have a bit of flirty fun too! I believe in following your dreams and working hard towards them, which led me to Harper Impulse (Harper Collins) and a publishing deal (woop!) after many years of writing. Stunning Northumberland is my home – sandy beaches, castles and gorgeous countryside that have inspired my writing.

Website http://carolinerobertswriter.blogspot.co.uk/



View all my reviews from http://www.karenkisreading.com

In Case You Missed It by Lindsey Kelk

I’m pleased to share my review for the latest book by bestselling author Lindsey Kelk today. Thank you to Harper Collins for allowing me to read the book early via NetGalley – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the free copy.

My thoughts:

One missed chance in life…one second chance in love

When Ros steps off a plane after three years away, she’s in need of a new job, a new flat and a new start. But her friends have moved on, her parents only have eyes for each other, and her bedroom has been moved into the garden shed. Suddenly, Ros has a bad case of nostalgia for the way things were.

Then her phone begins to ping with messages from her old life. Including one number she thought she’d erased forever: the man who broke her heart.

Sometimes we’d all like the chance to see what we’ve been missing…

My thoughts:

I’ve read and enjoyed many of the books by Lindsey Kelk over the years, and personally I think this is the best.

It is a ‘fun’ book, full of larger than life characters, perfect for enjoying on a summer day. Ros has returned home from the job of a lifetime in the USA (but was it?) and ends up reconnecting with her ex boyfriend by accident when her new phone connects to the cloud after 3 years abroad. Will Patrick make her happy? Will her parents make her live in the shed for the rest of her life? Will her podcast be successful? Will life with the her friends continue just as they did before she left, and who is their new friend?

This book should be enjoyed sat in a sunny garden or park, with a cocktail or a mocktail. Lots of humour, romance, and life changes wrapped up and delivered in this story.

Lindsey Kelk:

Bestselling British author based in Los Angeles. Lover of books, watcher of wrestling, wearer of lipstick. Karaoke enthusiast and cat wrangler. Lindsey is the author of twelve novels, including the bestselling I Heart series, About a Girl, The Single Girl’s To-Do List and Always the Bridesmaid.

OLIVE by Emma Gannon

I’m pleased to share my review for Olive by Emily Gannon on my blog today. Thank you to Harper Collins for a digital review copy via NetGalley – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

Independent.
Adrift.
Anxious.
Loyal.
Kind.
Knows her own mind.

OLIVE is many things, and it’s ok that she’s still figuring it all out, navigating her world without a compass. But life comes with expectations, there are choices to be made, boxes to tick and – sometimes – stereotypes to fulfil. And when her best friends’ lives start to branch away towards marriage and motherhood, leaving the path they’ve always followed together, Olive starts to question her choices – because life according to Olive looks a little bit different.

Moving, memorable and a mirror for every woman at a crossroads, OLIVE has a little bit of all of us. Told with great warmth and nostalgia, this is a modern tale about the obstacle course of adulthood, milestone decisions and the ‘taboo’ about choosing not to have children.

My thoughts:

As a mum of two in her forties, I found this debut novel to be well written and thought provoking. This was the first time I had read a book where the difference between being childless and childfree was discussed in such an honest way.

Olive and her three friends are all on different pathways at the start of the book, can their longtime friendship survive motherhood, IVF and choosing to be childfree? Emma Gannon shows how each friend is facing challenges that their other friends haven’t noticed, and actually need their friends more than ever before.

An impressive debut novel about friendship needing to evolve and making choices. I look forward to reading more by Emma Gannon in the future.

Emma Gannon:

Emma Gannon is an award-winning writer, speaker, Sunday Times columnist and podcaster. Her writing has been published everywhere from The Guardian to Glamour. She is the bestselling author of memoir Ctrl Alt Delete and The Multi-Hyphen Method, which became a Sunday Times bestseller. She is also the host of hit podcast series ‘Ctrl Alt Delete’, the No.1 careers podcast in the UK which has reached almost 6 million downloads, featuring guests such as Ellen Page, Greta Gerwig and Elizabeth Gilbert, plus the first podcast episode recorded inside Buckingham Palace.

Emma is currently working with the Princes Trust and Media Trust charities which helps young people develop their voices in the media. She’s recently been involved with other charities including Women For Women International and Plan International’s ‘Girls Get Equal’.

Emma lives in East London with her partner. Olive is her debut novel

The Shore House by Heidi Hostetter

Today I’m sharing my review for The Shore House which will be published in the UK on July 20th. Thank you to Bookouture for the digital review copy of this book. This is the first book I’ve read by Heidi Hostetter.

Synopsis:

When the Bennett family arrive at the shore house to spend the summer together, they bring more baggage than just suitcases…

When Kaye Bennett, matriarch of the Bennett family, summons her adult children to the shore house, she anticipates a vacation full of nostalgia. It’s a chance to relive the carefree joy of summers past: basking in the hot sun, cooling off in the surf and enjoying long, relaxing evenings watching fireflies on the deck. But when Kaye’s son and daughter arrive, late and uncooperative, it becomes clear the family desperately need to reconnect.

Kaye and her daughter Stacy have been quietly at odds for years and resentment has grown around words unsaid. Faced with spending the summer months in such close quarters, Kaye is determined to remind Stacy of happier times and why she once loved their beautiful beachside home.

But both Kaye and Stacy are holding something back… and only when a heart-stopping moment on the beach puts what Stacy most loves at risk are the two women finally able to set free the secrets in their shared past.

My thoughts:

I enjoyed visiting The Shore House at Dewberry Beach in New Jersey. Heidi Hostetter set the scene beautifully with her descriptions of the area and the food, which left me wishing I could travel there.

This book is about a family who need to take time to deal with events from the past and make plans for the future. All 5 adults have issues to deal with, ranging from recovering from a near death experience to finding a job that makes them happy. This is a family that need to start to communicate with each other again.

I enjoyed reading the book and will look out for the next book in the series (about a different family).

Heidi Hostetter:

Heidi Hostetter grew up in New Jersey and spent summers at her grandparents’ house on the shore. Every magical thing was there, from sparklers and fireflies at night to whole days spent swimming in the ocean and exploring tide pools. She moved to South Carolina for college where Southern culture inspired the Lowcountry novels. Her first job brought her to the Pacific Northwest, where she lived long enough to appreciate the rain and the mountains and to write the Inlet Beach novels. She and her family have recently moved back across the country to the DC-area and live in a one hundred-year-old house that’s definitely haunted.

When she’s not writing – or reading, you can probably find her digging in her garden, ripping back a knitting project, or burning dinner. She’s recently learned to kayak on the Potomac and is always up for a trip to a bookstore, no matter how far away.

Heidi is currently at work on the second book in the New Jersey Shore series. Her writing partner, a labradoodle named Emmett shares her office, keeping a careful watch for errant squirrels and neighborhood shenanigans.

She loves to hear from readers and answers all her own mail. You can find her here:

Facebook Author Page: facebook.com/AuthorHeidiHostetter/
Facebook Reading Group: facebook.com/groups/636728933179573
Goodreads: Goodreads.com/HeidiHostetter
Website: http://www.HeidiHostetter.com
Twitter: @HeidiHostetter

A Ration Book Wedding by Jean Fullerton

I’m pleased to share my review for this historical fiction novel by Jean Fullerton published in May 2020 in the UK by Corvus Books. I enjoyed book three of the series, A Ration Book Childhood, earlier this year (see my review at https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2020/02/19/a-ration-book-childhood-by-jean-fullerton/) and I was keen to continue reading about the Brogan family.

Synopsis:

It’s February 1942 and the Americans have finally joined Britain and its allies. Meanwhile, twenty-three-year-old Francesca Fabrino, like thousands of other women, is doing her bit for the war effort in a factory in East London. But her thoughts are constantly occupied by her unrequited love for Charlie Brogan, who has recently married a woman of questionable reputation, before being shipped out to North Africa with the Eighth Army.

When Francesca starts a new job as an Italian translator for the BBC Overseas Department, she meets handsome Count Leonardo D’Angelo. Just as Francesca has begun to put her hopeless love for Charlie to one side and embrace the affections of this charming and impressive man, Charlie returns from the front, his marriage in ruins and his heart burning for Francesca at last. Could she, a good Catholic girl, countenance an illicit affair with the man she has always longed for? Or should she choose a different, less dangerous path?

My thoughts:

Having read and enjoyed A Ration Book Childhood back in February 2020, it was great to catch up with the Brogan family as they prepared for the wedding of Jo and Tommy. I was able to read book three without having read the previous books, and I’m sure the same could be said about book four if you haven’t read the previous books. However I do recommend reading the earlier books if you can.

Although the book has wedding in the title, a great deal of the story looks at how Charlie’s marriage is falling apart and how the Brogan family are coping with the repeated bombings in London and the lack of food. I love the small details in the story used to bring wartime London to life – the food, the clothes, the sounds during the bombing etc.

I’m assuming that this is the last in the series, but personally I would love to know more about the Brogan family. If you enjoy historical fiction set during World War 2, then I recommend treating yourself to a copy – hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Jean Fullerton:

I was born into a large, East End family and grew up in the overcrowded streets clustered around the Tower of London. I still live in East London, just five miles from where I was born. I feel that it is that my background that gives my historical East London stories their distinctive authenticity.

I first fell in love with history at school when I read Anya Seton’s book Katherine. Since then I have read everything I can about English history but I am particularly fascinated by the 18th and 19th century and my books are set in this period. I just love my native city and the East End in particular which is why I write stories to bring that vibrant area of London alive.

I am also passionate about historical accuracy and I enjoy researching the details almost as much as weaving the story. If one of my characters walks down a street you can be assured that that street actually existed. Take a look at Jean’s East End and see the actual location where my characters played out their stories.

Homeward Bound by Richard Smith

I’m pleased to share my review for Homeward Bound as part of the blog tour organised by Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources. Thank you to Matador Books for a copy of this book – my thoughts about the book are my own. This is a debut novel and one I’m happy to recommend.

Synopsis:

Homeward Bound features 79-year-old grandfather George, who didn’t quite make it as a rock star in the ‘60s. He’s expected to be in retirement but in truth he’s not ready to close the lid on his dreams and will do anything for a last chance. When he finds himself on a tour of retirement homes instead of a cream tea at the seaside his family has promised, it seems his story might prematurely be over. 

He finds the answer by inviting Tara, his 18-year-old granddaughter, to share his house, along with his memories and vast collection of records. She is an aspiring musician as well, although her idea of music is not George’s. What unfolds are clashes and unlikely parallels between the generations – neither knows nor cares how to use a dishwasher – as they both chase their ambitions. 

My thoughts:

Having read the blurb on the back of the book, I was keen to find out more. This is the third book I’ve read this year with an elderly protagonist – the other books being Saving Missy and Away with the Penguins.

The story looks at George and his family after the recent loss of his wife. His son-in-law, the obnoxious Toby, is desperate to put his father-in-law into a retirement home. George finds a compromise by inviting his granddaughter Tara to share his house near her new University so she can keep an eye on him and report back to her mum, Bridget.

During the story, we find out more about how George’s dreams and ambitions in the music world were derailed, how Tara needs to find her own path in life (and not be railroaded by her boyfriend) and how Bridget needs to find some happiness. Tara and George develop a new relationship, based on their enjoyment of music.

There are lots of funny moments to make you laugh out loud but also heartbreaking moments too. As readers of my reviews know, I always appreciate a dog being included in the story and George has Hunter, his ageing Labrador. I also thoroughly enjoyed the music references and found myself watching Homeward Bound by Paul Simon on You Tube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHI2nWdRdXw

This is a book I’m happy to recommend as a feel good but thought provoking read. Ideal for all ages.

Purchase Links 

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/homeward-bound-richard-smith/1136313433?ean=2940163088645

https://www.waterstones.com/book/homeward-bound/richard-smith/9781838591595

https://www.ink84bookshop.co.uk/product-page/homeward-bound-by-richard-smith

The author – Richard Smith:

Richard Smith is a writer and storyteller for sponsored films and commercials, with subjects as varied as caring for the elderly, teenage pregnancies, communities in the Niger delta, anti- drug campaigns and fighting organised crime. Their aim has been to make a positive difference, but, worryingly, two commercials he worked on featured in a British Library exhibition, ‘Propaganda’.

@RichardWrites2    

richardsmithwrites.com





View all my reviews

The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts by Alison Sherlock #blogtour

I’m thrilled to share my review for this uplifting new book by Alison Sherlock on my book review blog today. Thank you to Boldwood Books and Rachel’s Random Resources for the digital proof copy – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

After losing her job in New York, Amber Green isn’t looking forward to visiting her godmother in the sleepy village of Cranbridge. With its empty lanes and rundown shops, it’s hardly a place to mend her lonely heart.

But when Amber discovers that Cranbridge Stores, owned by her godmother Cathy and son Josh, is under threat of financial ruin, she realises that her skills as a window dresser might just be able to help save the struggling shop.

When disaster strikes, Amber and Josh must unite to save both the shop and the village from flooding.

Can Cranbridge Stores become the heart of the village once more?

And as the village begins to come back to life, perhaps Amber will discover a reason to stay…

My thoughts:

This is the first book I’ve read by Alison Sherlock and it won’t be the last. This is a book about finding the right place to be, which may not be the one you originally planned.

I live near to the Cotswolds, where the book is set and this book was a lovely escape from the current anxious world that we live in. Amber and Josh are both looking at their lives to see why their intended career paths have changed so much. As they work together to modernise the shop and to help out the local community during a flood, they start to discover that they may have more in common than they expected.

This was an uplifting read during the global pandemic – a book to curl up with for a ‘virtual hug’. I enjoyed the community spirit of the book and the gentle humour of the characters. I hope we will be able to visit Cranbridge again in future books.

Alison Sherlock:

Alison Sherlock is the author of the bestselling Willow Tree Hall books. Alison enjoyed reading and writing stories from an early age and gave up office life to follow her dream. Her new series for Boldwood is set in a fictional Cotswold Village and the first title will be published in July 2020.

Social Media Links – 

Twitter https://twitter.com/AlisonSherlock

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/alison.sherlock.73

Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/alison-sherlock

Purchase Links – https://amzn.to/2VPGfzh