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Welcome! The ultimate luxury for me is curling up with a good book and a warm blanket. The next best thing is reviewing books and sharing them with others.

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24 12, 2015

Review: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

By | December 24th, 2015|Categories: Children's Books, Depression & Mental Illness, Emotions & Feelings, For Teens, Friendships, Gift Ideas, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult|Tags: , , , , , , |3 Comments

Rating:

every last word book coverReviewed by Nina Longfield

What does it mean to be normal? At what point can we stop hiding our true selves to allow others to know our idiosyncrasies? Can we keep our friends once they know we are not perfect? Tamara Ireland Stone addresses these and many more teen angst (or ‘life angst’) questions in her lovely novel Every Last Word.

Samantha (Sam) McCallister is your standard sixteen year old, on the surface. To the casual observer in the school hallway or cafeteria, Samantha is popular, pulled together, appropriately funny, a member of the elite Crazy-8s, and is someone to envy. Sam knows different. The Samantha she presents to the world is like a costume worn throughout the school year. In the summertime, away from the Crazy-8s, Sam is relaxed, in control, and self-assured. Amongst her

24 12, 2015

Review: The Coal Thief by Alane Adams

By | December 24th, 2015|Categories: Ages 12 and Under, Children's Books, For Kids, Gift Ideas|Tags: , |3 Comments

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the coal thief book coverReviewed by Alyssa Katanic

The morning is cold. There is no coal left to warm the stove. The 20’s were a hard time for many people, but Georgie’s friend has an idea of how to get what they need to stay warm. Georgie had his misgivings, yet he followed his friend’s lead and climbed up into the coal car of a train to throw down the coal.

Alane Adams does a beautiful job of expressing Georgie’s story with beautiful language and an excellent illustrator. Some of my favorite aspects of Adams telling of The Coal Thief is her gentle way of fleshing out peer pressure, being “caught” by Dad and how Georgie’s father handled his son’s misdeed, the father’s generosity, the Father’s love and good example set for his son, and Georgie’s admiration of his hard working

22 12, 2015

Review: Tell the Story to Its End by Simon P. Clark

By | December 22nd, 2015|Categories: Ages 12 and Under, Children's Books, For Kids, Gift Ideas|Tags: , , , |5 Comments

Rating:

tell the story to its end book coverReviewed by Sarah Lelonek

I haven’t read a middle grade book since I was in elementary school, and I’m starting to second-guess this decision. Tell the Story to Its End by Simon P. Clark surprised me with its dark story-telling approach. I was often wondering if this was geared more towards young adults while reading the novel, which says a lot about Clark’s writing abilities.

The story is about Oli, a twelve-year-old boy whose mother decided they should move from London to the countryside. Oli is not happy with this change in scenery, to say the least. That is, until he discovers Eren and his dark asphyxiation with telling stories and fables. Oli’s summer countryside retreat takes a dramatic turn as he learns about the difference between the truth and lies and what makes

16 12, 2015

Review: Black Earth by Timothy Snyder

By | December 16th, 2015|Categories: Gift Ideas, Historical, Military, Non Fiction, Nonfiction|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment

Rating:

black earth book coverReviewed by Lauren Cannavino

Timothy Snyder takes a fresh historical look at the Holocaust and not only ties together the events and logistics of the time, but also approaches the information with a view on modern day events and ethics. Snyder is an intelligent and careful writer, detailed and fills the book with maps, personal narratives pulled from survivors, participants, documentation and beyond. Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning highlights the Holocaust, obviously a much studied and often discussed event and churns up new information along with a message of caution and raised awareness for citizens of today and the future. The terrible actions as well as the humanitarian acts that were also transpiring during this time in history each carry important lessons on humanity, civility, good and evil. While circumstances and groups have changed, Snyder

14 12, 2015

Review: The Age of Reinvention by Karine Tuil

By | December 14th, 2015|Categories: Gift Ideas, Great Fiction, Literary, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense|Tags: , , |4 Comments

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the age of reinvention book coverReviewed by Neriza Billi

From France to the United States, before and after 9/11. A tragic story of three people; their rise and fall from grace; the lies and secrets that have haunted them and finally, caught up with them.

Samir, Nina, and Samuel were good friends back in France. Samuel is Jewish, and he’s been with Nina for some time when they met Samir, an attractive, charming Arab originally from Tunisia. When Samuel caught Nina and Samir in bed together, he made her choose. Nina chose to stay with Samuel.  Samir, devastated, left Paris for Canada and eventually, United States.

After twenty years, Samir, now known as Sam, has become a famous lawyer in the United States.  Married to a woman from a well-known Jewish family. But, he harbors a secret. They do not know that he

11 12, 2015

Review: The Insider Threat by Brad Taylor

By | December 11th, 2015|Categories: Action & Adventure, For Men, Genre Fiction, Gift Ideas, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense|Tags: , , , , , |2 Comments

Rating:

the insider threat book coverReviewed by Caleb Shadis

The Insider Threat is the eighth book in the Pike Logan series. Fortunately, this is one of those thriller series that you don’t need to read in order. Pike is co-owner of Grolier Recovery Services, ostensibly a company that tries to protect historical sites. But it is also a clandestine service with the purpose of neutralizing terrorists while providing the U.S. government with full deniability.

This time Pike and the crew are working against ISIS supporters and are trying to prevent some professional oil people from getting imported from Nigeria to help run the oil fields to increase revenue.  Some Saudi prince is helping facilitate the deal but since he is a member of the royal family, all Pike’s group can do is gather proof against him to hand over to the Saudi government who

5 12, 2015

Review: Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

By | December 5th, 2015|Categories: Children's Books, Coming of Age, Emotions & Feelings, Family, For Teens, Gift Ideas, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult|Tags: , , , , , , |6 Comments

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emmy & oliver book coverReviewed by Benish Khan

Emmy & Oliver is a coming of age novel about first love, family, and true friendships. The simple cover draws the reader in and shows that a fancy and artistic cover is not required–sometimes a simple font is enough.

Emmy’s best friend Oliver reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to renew her friendship with Oliver, however, things aren’t as easy as they seem. Emmy is a bit of a rebellious heroine except on the sly. She has a love for surfing but her parents seem unwilling to let her grow up after Oliver’s kidnapping. Naturally, kidnapping incidents create a sense of chaos in the community and they live in fear that something might happen to Emmy as well. Readers get clear glimpses into Emmy’s sheltered life and those with smothering parents are

4 12, 2015

Review: In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park

By | December 4th, 2015|Categories: Gift Ideas, Memoirs, Memoirs, Nonfiction, Women's Studies|Tags: , |3 Comments

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in order to live book coverReviewed by Neriza Billi

Yeonmi was born in Hyesan, a city in North Korea, next to the border with China. Together with her parents and older sister, they tried every possible way to survive in the ‘Hermit Kingdom’. When she reached 13, their situation went from bad to desperate. Her sister decided to escape to China to have a better life. After some time, Yeonmi and her mother did the same, not knowing that women were being sold as brides on the other side of the border. Once in China, Yeonmi and her mother had to again fight for survival; this time, they were fighting against groups who drugged women and passed them around to other men. Both realizing they were still in hell, they chose to cross the freezing Gobi desert to reach Mongolia, towards freedom in South Korea.

Yeonmi

3 12, 2015

Blog Tour: The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson

By | December 3rd, 2015|Categories: Children's Books, Christian Literature & Fiction, For Teens, Gift Ideas, Historical, Love & Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Young Adult|Tags: , , , , , |5 Comments

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the golden braid book coverPlease join Melanie Dickerson, author of The Golden Braid, as she tours the blogosphere with Litfuse Publicity!

Reviewed by Holly Madison

This was the first book I have read by Melanie Dickerson and for the most part, I found it to be a delightful and charming read.

As the title would hint, this is a book about Rapunzel, but unlike any other Rapunzel story I have come across. Rather than being set in a fantasy world full of magic and evil witches, this feels much more like something that could have happened in the real world (with a distinct German feel to the setting).

It centers around the 19+ year old Rapunzel with ankle-length hair, and she is more independent thinking than I imagine her fairy tale counterpart to be. While she does have a mind of her own, she is

25 11, 2015

Review: Brokenomics by Dina Gachman

By | November 25th, 2015|Categories: Business & Investing, Gift Ideas, Health, Mind, & Body, Nonfiction, Personal Finance, Self Help, Self-Help, Success|Tags: , , , , |2 Comments

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brokenomics book coverReviewed by Nina Longfield

Brokenomics: 50 Ways to Live the Dream on a Dime by Dina Gachman is a funny, funny book. And it’s practical too. Who would have thought a book on personal finances could be so entertaining and humorous?

At its core, Brokenomics is a look at personal finance and how one might live better even on a minuscule paycheck. What separates Brokenomics from other (possibly all) personal economy books is a combination of Dina Gachman’s plausible stories, humor, and practical advice. Gachman peppers her personal finance self-help book with witty stories and real-world advice on how to really live rather than merely getting by. Gachman is straightforward in her narration. Some of Gachman’s rhetoric can be taken as tongue-in-cheek; at other times, her advice is like a smack on the forehead followed by a possible verbal “why didn’t