Monthly Archives: August 2019

NetGalley Reviewathon

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NetGalley Reviewathon

Summmer is winding down and though I didn’t get to do all the things I planned for me and the kids, I did get alot of reading done. I participated in a readathon jn July and that jumpstarted my bump in finished books. I already spoke on the the details of the NetGalley Reviewathon here so Im just going to jump right into the books I completed. I have actually struggled for a few months trying to finish these books so a few are a rollover from the other Readathon. I’m happy to report I finally finished and reviewedthem.

1) Mother of Pearl by Angela Savage

I really enjoyed this book! It discusses an Australian woman,Meg’s deciding to use a surrogate from Thailand when IVF fails multiple times. What I found interesting was that surrogacy is somewhat looked down upon in some parts of the world. The surrogate, Mod,already has a son, but needs the surrogacy money to support herself,her mom,and her son. Mod struggles with carrying a baby that she will be giving away. Meg’s sister,Anna, plays an important part because she becomes the go between her sister who is unable to travel to where Mod is and forms a bond with Mod which stirs jealousy in Meg. Anna is a kittle over bearing but it’s only because she feels like she failed Meg in some ways as a sister. Anna goes so far as to terminate a pregnancy because she knows it would hurt Meg that she can’t conceive but Anna unintentionally became pregnant. It was an honest look into how surrogacy affects families and makes women question their womanhood when they can’t conceive (Meg) or choose not to (Anna) 3/5 stars

2) The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman-

Wow! Hoffman has managed to take my breath away once again. As is common with Hoffman’s work, there is a supernatural spin on this tale of survival. Hanni is a woman hiding from Nazis in 1944 Berlin. She kills a German soldier to save her 12 year old daughter,Lea, from rape and murder. Hanni then decides to send her daughter away without her. There is a Jewish legend that a creature called a golem can be made from clay and water to do its creator’s bidding. Hanni first appeals to a fellow Jews known to have successfully create the golem. They refuse her so she desperately makes Ava herself. She sends Ava and Lea away to safety but not before telling Ava her only goal is to protect and love Lea the way Hanni no longer can. The journey that follows for Ava, Hanni,and Lea is a discovery of humanity even in an entity that is not supposed to be human. I think the fact that rights as actual humans have been taken a way,the cast of characters are forced to find humanity among each other in unusual ways. I loved how Ava goes from an unfeeling, strictly by the book guardian to a parent. Lea rejects Ava at first because she is scared,I think, and doesn’t want to accept what’s happening. She definitely rebels as teenagers do but as she becomes a witness to death and love and war,she matures and makes a sacrifice for Ava that reflects that. I love animals and Ava forms a bond with a heron who plays an important role as a messenger for both Ava and Lea. The story of the Holocaust and Auschwitz,although told by many authors over the years, has a fresh heartwrenching spin that is relatable to us all in some way. 4/5 stars

3)Maternal Instinct by Rebecca Bowyer-

This book was not bad. It definitely pit me in the mind of The Handmaid’s Tale. The government is policing women’s bodies and controlling how many babies they can have. Alice works for the Genetics and Reproduction Department of government. This Department requires women to have 2 children, give them to assigned Maters and Paters, who are trained parents, and move on their lives. Alice’s son died but she has a living daughter, Monica. Monica annoys me because she is petulant at times. She has a son and at first she’s eager to go back to her life and give Oscar up but then changes her mind and decides to keep him. I felt for her because I could not imagine giving up my children because the government says I wont be able to parent them as efficiently as Maters and Paters. Monica makes the decision to jeep Oscar and run away with him. Alice doesnt care for the idea until she forms an attachment to her own soon to arrive baby. The pregnancy comes a s a shock to her husband, a Pater, and her job. Her job wants her to terminate the pregnancy and when she doesn’t they seem to get a little nasty with her. Alice starts to rethink the purpose of the GRD. Is it really helpful to society? She starts to dig into her own background and digs into the death of her son as well as her mother’s mental health issues.There’s a couple of conspiracy theories but I find that they weren’t thoroughly flushed out and things wrapped up too quickly. I did like the relationship between Monica and her husband, Ollie. He was supportive of Alice keeping her pregnancy. I loved Alice’s brother,Pete. He was like a 007 type who also had his sister’s back while keeping her grounded in her thinking about dismantling this government program that may be doing more harm than good. Overall, not a bad read,but not as fleshed out as I would have liked. I think maybe there should be a part two to see how the GRD is destroyed, as it should be.3/5 stars

4) A Death in Harlem by Karla Holloway-

I really enjoyed this book! I’m not too much of a who done it girl but this drew me in because it take place in Harlem. I grew up near Spanish Harlem in the 90s and Harlem was a mecca for Black people in NYC. This story is during the Harlem Renaissance era. Harlem’s first Blsck police officer is roped into Black high society when a seemingly white woman falls to her death during a party. The police officer uses Sherlock Holmes methods to try to figure iut what happened to this woman. At first it seems like she was killed over an alleged affair but when the officer digs deepers,he uncovers a couple skeletons in the the closet of the victim and her social circle. I enjoyed seeing how Officer Weldon Thomas asked carefully thought out questions of potential suspects. I enjoyed the explanation of how the Black elite became the Black elite. I would never have guessed who the killer was and to me that was the best part! Would definitely read this author again. 4/5 stars

5)The Watanabe Name by Sakura Nobeyama-

This was a real treat. I thought it was a typical “rich- patriarch-is- murdered- by-bitter-child”plot but there are many layers to the Watanabe family and their story is heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. It definitely satisfied my love of family drama. The Watanabe Family is steeped in military and high society which means there are certain expectations of them. They wear the facade of perfect for everyone but there are secrets in their closet that both tear them apart as a family and hold them together. World War 2 is the historical background for this story but was very essential to the character development of everyone. I think you’ll walk away feeling pity for everyone. I loved it! 4/5 stars

6) Bethlehem by Karen Kelly-

Karen Kelly really sucked me into this read. It’s a family saga filled with secrets. The real message for me was all about forgiveness and healing. It was about understanding how keeping a secret helped a relationship heal. Fave line: “Just because skin doesn’t show scars does not mean there haven’t been wounds”. It did drag a little in the beginning but the story is definitely worth reading the little details. 3/5 stars

I would love to know if you participated in this Reviewathon. Do drop your links to your posts in the comments. School is starting up in a week here which means Fall is back! Stay tuned for my Autumn TBR post. Happy reading!

What Is A Single Mom?

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What Is A Single Mom?

I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Spawned, and the topic was Who Can Be Called A Single Mom? The hosts described how they define a single mom. I believe one of the hosts’ husband has passed away so she considers herself single. After hearing their perspective, I started thinking what “single mom” means to me. So let me back up a bit.

My grandmother became a widow in 1970 after 10 years of marriage and 5 children with my grandfather. She did not date much, deciding instesd to work and raise the children. It wasnt so hard for her to do this because she had plenty of family to look after the kids while she worked. She didnt start dating until all the children were grown. According to my mom she dated a couple losers before finding a good guy and giving birth to a 6th child. She didn’t marry my uncle’s dad but they were a couple until his sudden death. He did provide financially for my uncle through his retirement benefits and there were also death benefits my uncle received as well.

To me,the fact that my grandma had a romantic partner that loved with her means she was not single. Here’s another example. My biological mother was married when she was 17 to a much older man she hsd known since childhood. They had a son a few years into marriage and then my mom left her husband. She started an affair with another married man which resulted in a baby. The married man stayed with his wife but his wife got even with him by giving my mother his social security number to claim child support for the baby. My mom went on to have 2 more children while still legally married. My youngest brother’s father was her domestic partner for around 20 years,outlasting her actual marriage. However, I considered her single because she was married through her last 3 pregnancies and her husband and her were estranged.

I consider myself single for the same reason,kind of. I’ve never been married and I’m not in a commited relationship with someone who helps take care of my kids.

Here’s a last example for you before you decide what you think single is. My adopted mom was married to a man 20 years ago. She split up with him a month or two into their marriage and they have not seen or spoken to each other since 2000. In 2006,Mom got baptized into out faith, Pentecostal Christian. In our beliefs,divorce although recognized legally is not recognized by the church. You can not date anyone until your spouse has passed. If you do legally divorce, you still can not date or remarry until your spouse has died. So according to the church, my mom was not single until her husband died a few months ago.

So,whenever a mom tells you she’s single,think about what that means for you (if you’re pursuing a mom) and ask her what that means to and for her. Tell me,moms, how do you define being a single mom?

Let’s Talk About Sex(Briefly)

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Let’s Talk About Sex(Briefly)

It has come to my attention that although we mom bloggers are expected to be honest about our lives, we are still viewed as non sexual in some respects. I was talking to a friend and she alerted me that she could see a tweet of mine discussing a sex act in detail. To myself I’m like “So what? I’m grown and so aremy followers. She then explained to me how readers view mom bloggers and moms in general.I’m like ” I have two kids, it should be obvious that I have sex”. But, in case it isn’t…I HAVE SEX. Here’s an even bigger news break: I ENJOY SEX.

Now, I know that statement is contradictory to my Christian beliefs but I’m not a hypocrite. I believe that we were created to be sexual for procreation but not solely for procreation. If that were the case, why do we get satisfaction from having sex? Why not just have sex be a thing we do to make babies with no emotional stuff attached? Sure, Im having sex without the benefit of marriage and sure it’s a sin. But I feel like Christians take it to the extreme when criticizing what is in our nature to do. If children are a blessing, then why try to shame the way in which the blessing was delivered.

This is not a discussion about religion, by the way. This is just me talking about myself as a sexual being. For you out there who just see a book nerd single pious mom, I’m far from that. Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

ARC Book Challenge

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ARC Book Challenge

Hey, bookworms!!! Even though the 24in48 Readathon is over, my zest for reading has returned. So lucky for me, Net Galley has another book challenge! From July 22nd through August 30th, every week on Instagram, readers are being called to get through that very large ARC pile they have. I am new to Net Galley and I went over board asking for ARC. In the 24in48 Readathon I finished one book and so far for this challenge I have finished another. It’s been hard getting reading done with Avery around. But now that he is more settled into a nap routine, I know when I can get some reading done. It’s awkward holding a sleeping baby and a physical book, so using my Kindle app has been a game changer.

So the books I started with are

1) Maternal Instinct by Rebecca Bowyer

2) My Wild and Precious Life by Susie Rheault

3) The Watanabe Name by Sakura Nobeyama

4) A Death in Harlem by Karla Holloway

A Death in Harlem is a roll over read that I started from 24in48 and I’m half way through it and I really like it. I have reviewed Before We Were Wicked by Eric Jerome Dickey and Mother of Pearl by Angela Savage. Although, I did post it my reviews on Net Galley, it is linked to me on Goodreads. If you are not joining Net Galley Reviewathon, what book challenges are you involved in? Drop your links to book challenges in the comments.

By the way, I have 200 followers!! I never thought I would get to this point and I’m honored that you guys care what I have to say. Thanks for the advice, the laughs and the thought provoking conversation. Here’s to 200 more new friends!!!