INVISIBLE CITY by Julia Dahl

Courtesy of Minotaur Books

Courtesy of Minotaur Books

Invisible City is about a journalist who discovers her family history by delving into the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community where her mother grew up. But Rebekah Roberts doesn’t start out looking for her past.  She is covering the news of a Hasidic woman’s murder, a tragedy that the private Brooklyn community would rather keep to themselves. Julia Dahl’s novel is supported by her knowledge of working in newspapers as well as her research of the Hasidim living in Brooklyn. Rebekah is straddling both worlds–on the one hand she wants to investigate this murder that is seemingly being swept under the rug, but in the process she is reminded of why her Jewish mother left her and her father, to return to the Orthodox way of life.

 

5 Reason to Read:

  1. Invisible City gives a small but compelling glimpse into the lives of the Hasidic women who care for their children, are devoutly religious, and have few opportunities.
  2. The details of working as a stringer as Rebekah Roberts does ring true–the waiting, the uncertainty, seeing your byline on a story you investigated but didn’t write–Dahl captures this well.
  3. Rebekah struggles with anxiety and depression while working on a  story that could make or break her career–she is a character who is real and flawed.
  4. You’ll learn a lot from reading this book, whether about journalism or Judaism. It is clear this is a well-researched novel.
  5. This is one of those mysteries that barrels along with such a force you’ll have to hold on, but at the same time it is perfectly paced and carefully written with great precision.

Keep reading…

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Kettlebells: A Love Story

photo 1When I first moved to New York City, I was feeling slow and sluggish.  Although the city itself was energizing and living in Greenwich Village provided me with new things to explore daily, I was exhausted from the previous months of commuting. While commuting I would trudge through the hell that is Port Authority, board a crowded, smelly bus, and then drive home to my parents’ house where I would scarf down dinner and plant myself on the couch or in bed only to wake up and do it all over again. When I moved, I had the freedom of a shorter commute and more time after work.  My friend introduced to me the NYC-studio of Dasha Libin Anderson and her class Kettlebell Kickboxing. The first class I was so scared I would pass out or puke.  But I didn’t. Anderson’s class combines martial arts and kettlebells with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  I was hooked after the first class for two reasons: 1. Kettlebells are so versatile. 2. I felt energized and empowered.  The way that Anderson’s body looks–sculpted and strong–was something I was looking for and wasn’t finding on the treadmill or elliptical.  I started seeing a lot of progress not only in the tone of my muscles but also in my pant size and on the scale. But more importantly, I wanted to train harder to improve myself physically and mentally. I had fallen in love with kettlebells and the way training with them made me feel.  Moving to Jersey City, I wasn’t able to attend classes every week at Anderson’s studio, but I purchased her DVD set (Kettlebell Kickboxing The Body Series 11 DVD Set & Nutrition Guide) to work out with kettlebells at home.  The DVDs are just as engaging because Anderson mixes up every move to engage multiple muscle groups and challenge your flexibility, mobility, strength, and endurance. The moment I heard that Anderson was writing a book, I had to get my hands on it.  The 325-page book is your definitive guide to kettlebells, but more than that Anderson encourages you “to be confident to take action and opportunities because our strong, agile, healthy, and fit bodies can move and bend and lift and push and pull and live.” If you’re looking for a fitness program that shows you the moves to sculpt your body, gives you exercises to do and a plan to follow, and provides empowering advice to maximize your results–this is it.

I also recently received a book by Lauren Brooks called Kettlebells for Women. Although I don’t know Brooks, have never trained with her, or viewed her DVDs, I wanted to give this book a chance too.  Kettlebells really are the perfect tool for women to use because the kettlebell swing engages the posterior chain (your booty) rather than your arms.  You won’t bulk up from using kettlebells, but you will tone a variety of muscle groups depending on the moves you do.  And even as you become more advanced there are a myriad of moves to conquer.  And you’ll always have the kettlebell swing as a foundational move that produces results.  I guarantee you, with proper training you’ll master moves you never thought possible like the Turkish get-up and a deck squat. Both books acknowledge the history behind kettlebell training especially their use in Russia and Europe.  Both books provide a program for weight-loss, strength, and conditioning. The moves are shown through step-by-step photographs with descriptions, tips, and important information about proper form and safety.  Below I’m going to list 5 Reasons to Read for each book, because I think they are both great resources for your kettlebell training. Keep Reading…

THE POCKET WIFE by Susan Crawford

pocket wife

Courtesy of William Morrow

I have reviewed a few suspenseful books here on Skyline Book Reviews, but they have all ended up being very different.  There was Crooked River about two young girls whose father is accused of murder.  Also, Big Little Lies about a death at a elementary school fundraiser in Australia.  And Tina Seskis’ One Step Too Far told the story of Emily who leaves her old life behind only to be propelled back into it after a tragic death.  Susan Crawford’s cerebral debut, The Pocket Wife, involves a murder in a suburb of Paterson, NJ and is no exception.

 

 

 

The siren is inside her ears, inside the car.  It screams and pries inside her brain.  She opens the car door and steps outside. She’s forgotten her shoes, but she can’t feel the pavement.  She’s so light her feet are barely touching down.  She looks out at the cars toward the Hudson, and it shimmers, it hums, it sings, eclipsing the sound of the siren with its lovely, lilting song.

 

5 Reasons to Read:

  1. Crawford’s main character, Dana Catrall, is captivating during her descent into a mental breakdown in the wake of the violent death of her neighbor.
  2. The detective investigating the murder, Jack Moss, is not typical law enforcement–his dedication to his job, his desire to help Dana, and the guilt motivating him to protect his son is very real and multi-faceted.
  3. Crawford’s lyrical and phenic writing delves into Dana’s psyche as she discovers clues that push her closer to the edge.
  4. Clues are pieced together while Detective Moss investigates and Dana racks her memory until ultimately the truth settles to the surface amidst a storm of lies.
  5. This murder mystery won’t disappoint when it comes to suspense and unexpected outcomes.

Keep Reading…

Dreaming of Warm Weather

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Fort Myers Beach, FL

Today in NY/NJ the weather was a tab bit warmer, but I’m still dreaming of palm trees, bikinis, and beaches! I’m also really excited for some of the books I have coming up on the blog, especially Kettlebell Kickboxing: Every Woman’s Guide to Getting Healthy, Sexy, and Strong. Dasha Libin Anderson is the creator and martial artist behind NYC-based Kettlebell Kickboxing.  I have to admit, as soon as I found out Dasha was writing a book I couldn’t wait to read it.  When I tried Kettlebell Kickboxing in 2012, I was seriously out of shape. Dasha’s classes are a full-body workout and teach you how to use kettlebells properly, no matter your fitness level.  Her classes are empowering and energizing too.  I can’t wait to share more about this transformational exercise program and about Dasha’s book, due out in May.

In the meantime…Follow my blog with Bloglovin and stay warm!

Happy Thanksgiving from Jersey City!

JcitySince we’re always posting pictures from Jersey City overlooking the view of the Freedom Tower, we wanted to instead feature a picture of our favorite side of the Hudson.  We’re very thankful to live in this great city and overlook another great city.  Hope everyone’s Thanksgiving is cozy and filled with family, food, fun, and reading!

 

5 Recs About Marriage, the ‘Burbs, and Women

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Since the next book up on the blog will be Big LIttle Lies by Liane Moriarty, we thought some recommendations relating to women, marriage, motherhood, and suburban life were in order.  Here are our top 5 picks to keep you reading.  And a beautiful pic of NYC to make your Friday a little more serene.

1. Little ChildrenTom Perrotta
2. Heart of the MatterEmily Giffin
3. Revolutionary Road Richard Yates
4. This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage Ann Patchett
5. Committed: A Love Story Elizabeth Gilbert