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Book Reviews

Looking for a new book to read? How do you know if it’s any good?

Well, Gal’s Guide has started a new programs where we are readers like you to review books and we share them. We’re even giving away cool 80’s theme prizes to reviews.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Happiness Becomes You by Tina Turner

I like that Tina Turner talked about how Buddhism and chanting helped her life. I would absolutely recommend this book to people who are wanting to start a study of Buddhism or those who are interested in how Tina Turner is an amazing survivor who is giving her hard-fought knowledge to the world. – Reviewed by Leah Leach

Gal’s Guide Library – Not Yet Available

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Axis Sally by Richard Lucas

Axis Sally (Mildred Gillars) is a complicated lady and I’m so glad there is a book about her. Axis Sally did some shady things during the war and it was nice to be able to see where possibly her intentions were. I didn’t like the author blaming the men in her life. I think they were an influence but I think she had a strong urge to perform and make a difference, she just got the chance with terrible people. I would recommend this book to people who like complicated women of history and don’t mind reading about the Third Reich and the Nazi’s. -Reviewed by Leah Leach

Available at the Gal’s Guide Library

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Always Coming Home by Ursula K Le guin

Love this book! It was a little confusing at first, but after I learned that it was written as different people speaking, it made it much easier to read. I still am not sure who the anthropologist is in the beginning. I would recommend this book but – be patient. – Reviewed by Mona

Available at the Gal’s Guide Library

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Good Morning, Destroyer of Men’s Souls by Nina Renata Aron

It was realistically presented as a woman in love with an addict. Very intense. What I didn’t like about the book was when she sought help, she worked only with alanon, with any other type of group. AA and those groups and religious oriented and are a turn off to me. I would recommend this book especially if one is struggling with co-dependency. – Reviewed by Mona

Available at the Gal’s Guide Library

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Untamed by Glennon Doyle

It was ok. She wrote in vignettes, which I like, but I think that she tries too hard. The second part is better than the first. It’s too exuberant for my taste. I know that she and I don’t have anything in common. It’s just a bit much for me. I just think she tries too hard. I would recommend it to women who were raised in a strict home where they weren’t allowed the freedom to explore their own personality, not to someone like me. – Reviewed by Mona

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Inspiring story of a woman who blew up her life to pursue her true desires.  I definitely recommend this book. I’ve given it to five friends already. My favorite quote is “You are a goddamn cheetah Tabitha.” – Reviewed by Lisa

Available at the Gal’s Guide Library

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Caste by Isabel Wilkerson

This is a brilliant book, describing caste as the predominant way that our system of government and life with a hierarchy of human rankings, like those in India and Nazi Germany. I thought I knew what it would be about, but I was sorely mistaken. I’ll be donating this book to the library. Highly recommend to anyone who seriously thinks about our society for for what it truly is. – Reviewed by Mona

Favorite Quote: Describing a photo of a man in Nazi Germany, not saluting Hitler: “…unless people are willing to transcend their fears, endure discomfort and derision, suffer the scorn of loved ones and neighbors and co-workers and friends, fall into disfavor of perhaps everyone they know, face exclusion and even banishment, it would be numerically impossible, humanly impossible, for everyone to be that man. What would it take to he him in any era? What would it take to be him now?”

Available at the Gal’s Guide Library

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Nobody’s Victim: Fighting Psychos, Stalkers, Pervs, and Trolls by Carrie Goldberg

Victim rights lawyer Carrie Goldberg should get a Nobel Prize for her work helping girls and women (as well as gay men, non-binary individuals, and other LGBTQ+ folks) who have been victimized by, as the title says, psychos, stalkers, pervs, and trolls – known and unknown. From victims of anonymous death threats and gang stalking to revenge porn, blackmail, and extortion by exes — Goldberg has literally seen it all and helped countless people, not least by lobbying for new laws that take new technology and platforms and their misuse into account. This book is an excellent resource for anyone who is being harassed online or offline and needs practical advice. How it could be better It’s impossible to be 100% up-to-date with bills, laws, court cases, legal precedents, and active web links with such a timely topic. I look forward to reading an updated edition. I’d definitely recommend this book.

Favorite quote “These offenders want to dominate, manipulate, and punish their victims. I refuse to let them win. All of us have the power to fight back. We don’t have to be victims. We can be the army to take these motherfuckers down.”- Reviewed by The Other KGB

Available at the Gal’s Guide Library

Rating: 5 out of 5.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

I loved that the author exposed the racism in 1950s medicine, while she developed a friendship with the family of Henrietta, especially her daughter, Deborah. She had more patience than I ever could have had. I also liked that she started by saying she wasn’t even interested in science as a kid. It was only when she learned about Henrietta that she became interested. Rebecca seemed almost super-human patient with the family is the only flaw if there is one. I just don’t see how anyone could be that way, probably because I am not. I would recommend this book. – Reviewed by Mona

Available at the Gal’s Guide Library

Rating: 5 out of 5.
What Stars Are Made of The Life of Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin

This was a very easy to read book. It is about 250 pages with many photos and I was able to read through it in a weekend. I still cannot believe that the work she is known for, figuring out that stars are mostly hydrogen and helium, she completed when she was around 25. I would have loved to learn more about her working relationships with the other Harvard computers. It did mention that Pickering, Willimina, and Leavitt had died before Payne arrived. I believe Cannon was still there though. I would absolutely recommend this book! – Reviewed by Bonnie

Gal’s Guide Library – Not Yet Available

Rating: 5 out of 5.
The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

This was a compelling book that told the stories of two women in different times who both have challenges – external and internal. I liked the two stories of women in different time periods discovering themselves and becoming stronger. In the past, Alina overcomes her family’s and society’s expectations that she is too young, too feminine, too girly, and saves another’s life and escape the horrors of the war. In the present, Alice finds her voice. I would definitely recommend this book. Favorite quote “Life has a way of reminding you that you are at the mercy of chance, and that even well-thought-out plans can turn to chaos in an instant.” Reviewed by Carol

Available at the Gal’s Guide Library

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Irena’s Children: The Extraordinary Story of the Women Who Saved 2,500 Children from the Warsaw Ghetto by Tilar J. Mazzeo

While this book detailed the horrors of the war, it also showed the strength and resilience of those who refused to stand by and watch the horrors of World War II, Irena and those who helped her were inspiring from her fellow social workers. These stories are important to be told so that we don’t forget. I would recommend this book. – Reviewed by Carol

Available at the Gal’s Guide Library

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
The Sleeping Dictionary by Sujata Massey

 This is historical fiction at its best. Massey creates the story of Kamala, a young girl orphaned in a hurricane, and late Raj India in their quest for independence. The book is well-researched, entertaining, and uplifting.


I listened to the audiobook. The narrator is Sneha Mathan who does a lovely job of bringing characters to life. I highly recommend this book. It’s a fascinating look at a resilient young woman and her life in Raj India. Favorite Quotes: “Any person could build a room of her own in her mind.” “To say goodbye to my collection of books hurt, for they had been my steadfast companions through everything.” “Words are what will win our struggle.” – Reviewed by cblake50

Gal’s Guide Library – Not Yet Available

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Buffalo Gals & Other Animal Presences by Ursula K Le Guin

I have fallen in love with this author! This book is a collection of short stories, 1 novella, and poetry. I especially loved a story called, The Direction of the Road, but everything in the book is magical. Funny that I’d never read anything written by her until last year. Now I want to gobble up everything she ever wrote! The last story in the book relates to the first book I reviewed, Always Coming Home. How it could be better? It was too short! More! More! I would highly recommend! My opinion, but I believe she had to have been high on peyote to write the way she does, in any of her books! I love the introductions that she gives before each story and poem. – Reviewed by Mona

Available at the Gal’s Guide Library

Rating: 5 out of 5.
They Married Confederate Officers by Kathy Neill Herran

I loved the well made, well planned, family tree that is inside the front of the book. I checked it out because I have ancestors that were in NC, so I wanted to see if I recognized any names. I found none of my ancestors on those pages. It is written partly as a biography and partly as a well researched history. I think if she would have concentrated more on the biography aspect and less on the history part, it would have been an easier read. I would recommend this book, yes. If you have ancestors from that area or are researching that time period. Or are just fascinated with it. It’s well researched. – Reviewed by Mona

Available at the Gal’s Guide Library

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Unbought and Unbossed by Shirley Chisolm

This book was an honest look at politics, racism, and genderism in the 1970’s – and the story of a woman who fought it all to become the first African American woman in Congress. She told her story – her strengths, her illness, her regrets – and pulled no punches about who and what she had to work around (or work with) to do what she needed to do. What I disliked about the book was how relevant that book is 50 years later. I kept having to remind myself that this was published in 1970 – and yet so much of the prejudice and behind-the-scenes political machinations seem to be pulled straight out of last week’s newspaper. “I know they think, as many people do, that I don’t understand politics. I understand it too damned well, after all my years in it, and that’s why I want to change it.”
“I hope if I am remembered it will finally be for what I have done, not for what I happen to be. And I hope that my having made it, the hard way, can be some kind of inspiration, particularly to women.” (Yes, you are, Shirley, yes you are.) – Reviewed by Debbi

Available at the Gal’s Guide Library

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Visconti’s Forgotten Heir by Elizabeth Power

Good descriptions. I checked this book out because I am writing a book and I wanted to read it for research. I had never read a Harlequin romance before. I was pleasantly surprised. It had a pretty good plot. I did not like the aspect of people, especially women, being slaves to their emotions or sexual urges. Not sure. I read or skimmed it in one night. – Reviewed by Mona

Available at the Gal’s Guide Library

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
The Land of Painted Caves by Jean M. Auel

I don’t want to give anything away because this is the 6th in the Cave Bear series so if anyone wants to read them all they wouldn’t want spoilers. Ayla and Jondular are fine. I am writing a book and researching how to write sex scenes. For 30 years, there has been an annual Bad Sex in Fiction award, given to otherwise good fiction. This book was a runner-up in 2011. In 2020, that award was cancelled because the Literary Review said there was too much bad in the world, they didn’t want to add anything else. I’d already read all 6 of these books, but I went through 2 of them again, looking for good or bad sex scenes. True to it’s title, this gigantic book is about caves. When I read it the first time, I remember how I kept thinking, come on, come on, let’s get through these caves and get to the good stuff. I know the caves are important, and important things happen in the caves to Ayla, but still, I was really impatient to get out of the caves. I’d said before that the ending was disappointing but I re-read it and I was wrong. I think it’s pretty good. I would recommend the entire series of Clan of the Cave Bear. Jean Auel took 19 years to research and write all 6 books. They were published in 1980, 1982, 1985, 1990, 2002, and 2011. There were many years waiting between books. Many die-hard fans (such as myself) were hoping for a 7th book, but it never came. She always planned on only 6. Jean Auel is 86 now. All the other books are better, but I loved the series. – Reviewed by Mona

Available at the Gal’s Guide Library

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Awaiting the Next Review

Your cool words here.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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