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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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26 05, 2016

Review: Raif Badawi, The Voice of Freedom by Ensaf Haidar

By | May 26th, 2016|Categories: Biographies, Memoirs, Nonfiction, Politics & Government|Tags: , , |2 Comments

Rating:

voice of freedom book coverReviewed by Meredith Kelly

Raif Badawai, The Voice of Freedom is a beautifully written memoir that tells the story of how the author, Ensaf Haidar, and her husband, Raif, met and came to be married, and of their subsequent struggles to preserve their family and their lives. Despite strict opposition from their families, Ensaf and Raif were determined to be together and refused to give up. After eighteen months of harassment, Ensaf’s family allowed her to sign the marriage contract.

The newlywed couple was able to settle into the traditional marriage arrangement quickly. In Saudi Arabia, men felt it was their duty to make all the decisions and to ensure the material well-being of the family. At first, Raif rarely consulted Ensaf with anything. Making new friends and reading more progressive books, Raif soon started an internet forum for Saudi liberals. As a result, he started granting Ensaf more

1 02, 2016

Author Interview & Giveaway: The Las Vegas Madam by Jami Rodman

By | February 1st, 2016|Categories: Biographies, Giveaways, Memoirs, Nonfiction, Women's Studies|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

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jami rodman headshotPlease welcome Jami Rodman, author of the new book, The Las Vegas Madam: The Escorts, The Clients, The Truth!

Enter the giveaway below – open to US residents

An interview with Jami Rodman

How did you get involved in escorting? To my friends and I, escorting was more logical, and often safer, than the dating scene. We were young and living in a city where one night stands were the norm following a long night of clubbing. Online dating, like Match.com, or otherwise nicknamed Snatch.com, didn’t fare any better. Peeping Toms and stalkers came from both routes. Beautiful people selling sex was seemingly everywhere, on billboards, in magazines, ads for nightclubs and restaurants, and the more provocative one was, the better she did financially. So when the tipping point presented itself – I was cocktail waitressing and dancing at

21 01, 2016

Review: Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

By | January 21st, 2016|Categories: Biographies, Entertainment, Health, Mind, & Body, Humor, Memoirs, Nonfiction, Self-Help, Success|Tags: , , , , , |4 Comments

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year of yes book coverReviewed by Meg Massey

Shonda Rhimes is the mastermind behind popular TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. She’s created complex and bold characters like Meredith Grey and Cristina Yang–strong women that have encouraged their audience to live with passion and boldness. But in the Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person, Shonda admits what some would never believe: she’s an introvert!

Shonda’s story begins in Thanksgiving 2013 when her sister spoke these words to her: “You never say yes to anything”. This exchange set events in motion that Shonda could have never predicted. Her sister’s words challenged her to step out of her comfort zone; to make a commitment to saying yes to everything that terrified her for one year.

This memoir is equal parts poignant

2 01, 2016

Review: Shakespeare Basics for Grown-Ups by E. Foley & B. Coates

By | January 2nd, 2016|Categories: Biographies, Gift Ideas, Non Fiction, Nonfiction, Reference|Tags: , , |2 Comments

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shakespeare basics for grown ups book coverReviewed by Nina Longfield

I read an article somewhere recently about some institution that is translating the works of Shakespeare into contemporary English. I say contemporary because Shakespeare’s English is modern. Although, perhaps Shakespeare is a bit dated for the contemporary casual reader (or theatergoer). It could be this idea that led to the writing of Shakespeare Basics for Grown-Ups: Everything You Need to Know About the Bard. After all, Foley and Coates sum up all of The Bard’s plays with a single sentence synopsis each.

Shakespeare Basics for Grown-Ups is so much more than a simple summary of the man’s plays.  Foley and Coates present exactly what they claim: “everything you need to know about The Bard.” Shakespeare Basics For Grown-Ups is not a dry, pedagogical, pedantic tome of heavy explanation into the meanings

4 10, 2015

Review: Romantic Outlaws by Charlotte Gordon

By | October 4th, 2015|Categories: Biographies, Nonfiction|Tags: |3 Comments

Rating:

romantic outlaws book coverReviewed by Nina Longfield

Romantic Outlaws by Charlotte Gordon is a dual biography of Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter Mary Godwin Shelley. Freethinker Mary Wollstonecraft, although somewhat dated in philosophy to this modern world, was an early advocate for women’s right and the education of girls. Mary Godwin Shelley, a novelist of the late Romantic Era, is best known for running away with poet Percy Shelley and later as the author of Frankenstein.

Although the concept of a dual biography about this pair of writers, mother and daughter, of the Romantic Era is not singular, Charlotte Gordon does take a unique non-linear approach in relating the two women’s lives. Gordon skips about her subjects’ timelines bringing more warmth into the retelling of known stories as she parallels the mother’s life to that of her daughter’s upbringing. In other biographies, as far

23 06, 2015

Review: Young Jane Austen by Lisa Pliscou

By | June 23rd, 2015|Categories: Biographies, Nonfiction|Tags: |3 Comments

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young jane austen book coverReviewed by Christen Krumm

There are quite a few volumes available on Jane Austen’s life, but rarely are her younger years covered. I have always been fascinated by writer’s lives—especially favorites like Jane Austen. How did she become a writer? When did she fall in love with the written word? Lisa Pliscou’s Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer gives a quick glimpse into the very young years of the beloved Jane Austen.

There are three different sections to this book. First there is the story. It follows Jane, or Jenny as she is called, from birth until her first writings. Next there are the annotations and finally Piscou wraps everything up with notes, further readings, bibliography, and an index. As with many annotated classics, the annotations were my favorite. I also found Piscou’s notes delightful.

I think it would be a shame

12 05, 2015

Review: American Ghost by Hannah Nordhaus

By | May 12th, 2015|Categories: Biographies, Historical, Nonfiction|Tags: , , |4 Comments

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american ghost book coverReviewed by Alyssa Katanic

Despite having grown up on Stephen King movies, Friday the 13th, and books like Haunted Ohio, I am not one for ghost stories these days. Nor would I be tempted to pick up a book with “ghost” in the title. It’s just not me. Yet, I took a chance (read as: I really needed something to read and wasn’t sure what I “felt” like reading) and picked up Hannah Nordhaus’ American Ghost: A Family’s Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest, and I am so glad I didn’t miss out!

American Ghost is not simply a ghost story to make you feel creeped out or spooked. In fact, it is so much more than anything that I would call “simple”, or even term as a “ghost story”. Instead, it is an amazing feat of family history and genealogical

10 05, 2015

Blog Tour: The Residence by Kate Andersen Brower

By | May 10th, 2015|Categories: Biographies, Historical, Nonfiction|Tags: , , |3 Comments

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the residence book coverPlease join Kate Andersen Brower, author of The Residence, as she tours the blogosphere with TLC Book Tours!

Reviewed by Sarah McCubbin

Behind the doors of America’s most famous home lives a world mostly unseen and unknown to the public. Part manor, part government hub and part icon, the White House operates smoothly every day due to the dedicated service of men and women who devote their lives to ensure the comforts and image of the First Family are given detailed attention. Most of what the staff does is never known. They operate with secrecy and discretion to protect the family name and security. Yet, their private work has a huge impact on the ability of the President and his family to function.

In order to unveil some of the mystery of this prestigious home, Kate Andersen Brower seeks to peek behind

7 05, 2015

Review: Van Gogh: A Power Seething by Julian Bell

By | May 7th, 2015|Categories: Arts & Literature, Biographies, Historical, Nonfiction|Tags: |2 Comments

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power seething book coverReviewed by Nina Longfield

Van Gogh: A Power Seething by Julian Bell is a fresh look at the life of Vincent van Gogh and the man as the artist. Bell creates a picture of Van Gogh as a child and a wayward young man stumbling through life before he gave in to his artistic passion. Bell draws upon historical accounts, medical reports, and Vincent van Gogh’s artworks and numerous letters to fill in the details of Van Gogh’s life and thoughts. Yet, at no point is Bell trying to explain Van Gogh’s actions or ideas. As Bell wrote, “to ask “why the ear” is to seek logic for what’s grimly illogical” (p113).

As an artist himself, Julian Bell has a knack for capturing the artistic moment. At these times, Bell’s prose comes alive describing both Van Gogh the man and Van

25 12, 2014

Review: Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin

By | December 25th, 2014|Categories: Biographies, Historical, Nonfiction|Tags: , , |2 Comments

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bully pulpit book coverReviewed by Alyssa Katanic

I love a great story and I love history, therefore, I am often drawn to historical fiction works. Better yet, however, is history so well written that it tells the true stories of real people without the feel of a textbook. Doris Kearns Goodwin does the story telling of history very well in her latest, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism. I had not read any work of Goodwin until this, but it is easy to see, as noted on the cover of the Bully Pulpit, how she became a Pulitzer Prize winning author. Her work showcases her great skill as a researcher, storyteller, and writer.

One of the best parts in a novel, which is often missing in the telling of history, is to meet the