Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman

Title: Unorthodox: The scandalous rejection of my Hasidic roots

Author: Deborah Feldman

Published: 2012

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

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The instant New York Times bestselling memoir of a young Jewish woman’s escape from a religious sect, in the tradition of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel and Carolyn Jessop’s Escape, featuring a new epilogue by the author.

As a member of the strictly religious Satmar sect of Hasidic Judaism, Deborah Feldman grew up under a code of relentlessly enforced customs governing everything from what she could wear and to whom she could speak to what she was allowed to read. It was stolen moments spent with the empowered literary characters of Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott that helped her to imagine an alternative way of life. Trapped as a teenager in a sexually and emotionally dysfunctional marriage to a man she barely knew, the tension between Deborah’s desires and her responsibilities as a good Satmar girl grew more explosive until she gave birth at nineteen and realized that, for the sake of herself and her son, she had to escape.

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The Codes of Love by Hannah Persaud

Title: The Codes of Love

Author: Hannah Persaud

Pub date: March 5th, 2020

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Ryan and Emily appear to have it all, successful jobs, a beautiful house and the secret to a happy marriage. A secret that involves certain ‘rules’. But beneath the surface trouble is brewing in the shape of Ada. Whimsical, high-spirited and beholden to no-one, she represents the freedom that Emily’s been striving for and the escape that Ryan didn’t know he wanted.

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The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Title: The Familiy Upstairs

Author: Lisa Jewell

Pub Date: August 2019

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

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From the New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone and Watching You comes another page-turning look inside one family’s past as buried secrets threaten to come to light.

Be careful who you let in.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.

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Almost Adults by Ali Pantony

Title: Almost Adults

Author: Ali Pantony

Pub Date: June 2019

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

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The struggle is real…

Ever managed to kill a succulent after just a few days?
Got seven reminder letters on the kitchen table because you forgot to pay your council tax?
Become a hot mess who’s falling apart because they’ve been broken up with?

Nobody told Mackie, Edele, Alex and Nat (aka the MEAN Girls) that life was going to be this way. They’re busy navigating the joys of adulthood – getting their shit together, breaking up and making up, moving out and moving on. This grown up stuff is hard but at least they’ve got each other.

Welcome to the world of adulting.

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Gross Anatomy by Mara Altman

Title: Gross Anatomy

Author: Mara Altman

Pub Date: 2018

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

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The timely, funny and deeply relatable essay collection that celebrates the wonder of the human body and introduces Mara Altman as the love child of Mindy Kaling and Mary Roach.

Mara Altman’s volatile and apprehensive relationship with her body has led her to wonder about a lot of stuff over the years. Like, who decided that women shouldn’t have body hair? And how sweaty is too sweaty? Also, why is breast cleavage sexy but camel toe revolting? Isn’t it all just cleavage? These questions and others like them have led to the comforting and sometimes smelly revelations that constitute Gross Anatomy, an essay collection about what it’s like to operate the bags of meat we call our bodies.

Divided into two sections, “The Top Half” and “The Bottom Half,” with cartoons scattered throughout, Altman’s book takes the reader on a wild and relatable journey from head to toe—as she attempts to strike up a peace accord with our grody bits.

With a combination of personal anecdotes and fascinating research, Gross Anatomy holds up a magnifying glass to our beliefs, practices, biases, and body parts and shows us the naked truth: that there is greatness in our grossness.

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Permission by Saskia Vogel

Title: Permission

Author: Saskia Vogel

Pub Date: 7th March, 2019

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

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A raw, fresh, haunting, emotionally and sexually honest literary debut.

When Echo’s father gets swept away by a freak current off the Los Angeles coast, she finds herself sinking into a complete state of paralysis. With no true friends and a troubled relationship with her mother, the failed young actress attempts to seek solace in the best way she knows: by losing herself in the lives of strangers. When by chance Echo meets a dominatrix called Orly, it finally feels like she might have found someone who will be nurturing and treasure her for who she is. But Orly’s fifty-something houseboy, Piggy, isn’t quite ready to let someone else share the intimate relationship he’s worked so hard to form with his mistress.

Permission is a love story about people who are sick with dreams and expectations and turn to the erotic for comfort and cure. As they stumble through the landscape of desire, they are in a desperate search for the answer to that sacred question: how do I want to be loved?

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Schmuck the Buck: Santa’s Jewish Reindeer by EXO Books

41-3px-jljl-_sx379_bo1204203200_Title: Schnuck the Buck: Santas Jewish Reindeer

Author: EXO Books

Pub Date: 1st Sep, 2018

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Larry was just your regular caribou, who was cruelly excluded from his crew. He and his kin happened to be the sole Jewish reindeer in the North Pole. Larry was bullied and treated the worst way, until his plan saved one Christmas Day.

A contemporary satirical take on Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Schmuck the Buck introduces Larry, a young Jewish reindeer. He overcomes his awkward and sometimes painful youth to save Christmas. His tale of acceptance and inclusion is sure to warm the hearts of anyone who loves Christmas, Hanukkah, or both. Sixty pages of vibrant illustrations bring his story to life. A unique modern addition to any holiday library.

I received this book from author for a review. All opinions are my own.

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