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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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23 12, 2014

Review: Isabella by Kirsten Downey

By | December 23rd, 2014|Categories: Biographies, Historical, Nonfiction|Tags: , |3 Comments

Rating:

isabella by downey book coverReviewed by Sarah McCubbin

History from around the globe is replete with the actions of male monarchs. What is less known and thereby perhaps more fascinating are the lives of the female rulers. In her book, Isabella: The Warrior Queen, Kirsten Downey explores the life of one such woman. While most of us know Isabella for her role in financing Christopher Columbus’ journey to the New World, that detail alone is an incomplete picture of who she is and how she came to power. This book seeks to give a full account of her life but often reads more like an adventure novel than a biography. The characters of history are colorfully described complete with flaws and foibles common among mankind.

In the last century, women’s rights have advanced significantly in many parts of the world. But in Isabella’s

19 12, 2014

Review: Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

By | December 19th, 2014|Categories: Audiobooks, Biographies, Entertainment, Humor, Nonfiction|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

Rating:

not that kind of girl book coverReviewed by Jessa Larsen

Not That Kind of Girl is a collection of stories and essays, biographical in nature, by actress/artist Lena Dunham. The book gives us a peek into Lena’s life and how she coped with everything from finding love and being in relationships, to being lonely and obsessed with weight, as well as various other experiences that are so bizarre, they couldn’t be made up.

Lena takes us on a journey through “taboo” experiences that just about every female has gone thru, such as losing your virginity and exploring your own sexuality. She teaches us that these things are just a part of life and there’s nothing wrong with experimenting until you find what does or doesn’t work for you as an individual. She also about being accepting of people who choose a way that doesn’t

10 12, 2014

Review: Mother Teresa by Wyatt North

By | December 10th, 2014|Categories: Audiobooks, Biographies, Nonfiction, Religion & Spirituality|Tags: , , |2 Comments

Rating:

a life inspired book coverReviewed by Sarah McCubbin

Like many people, I grew up seeing Mother Teresa, the famous nun of the Missionaries of Charity, on the evening news, on magazine covers or in the paper. Mother Teresa: A Life Inspired by Wyatt North is a compelling account of her life and her larger-than-life compassion. It begins with the strong influence of her parents and weaves through its narrative their values of loving your neighbor and political action.

In 1910, she was born as Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu in Skopkie (located in modern day Macedonia). Her early years were shaped by the death of her father followed by her own family’s near poverty during the times of religious feuding and fighting. Her mother’s example of sharing with and loving those in need despite their differences was long seen in the way Mother Teresa loved her

3 12, 2014

Review: Bluebeard by Valerie Ogden

By | December 3rd, 2014|Categories: Biographies, Nonfiction|Tags: |2 Comments

Rating:

bluebeard book coverReviewed by Caleb Shadis

I have only heard of Bluebeard – a famous 15th Century psychopath – from a fairy tale. The man actually existed and he was much worse than Brothers Grimm made him out to be. He was a hero but after losing his muse Bluebeard went mad and developed a bloodlust that cost hundreds of children their lives.

Bluebeard, a.k.a Baron Gilles de Rais, lost his parents when he was only 11. His grandfather, a rather unscrupulous man, made himself custodian of Gilles and his younger brother and all the property that they owned, which was quite considerable. Gilles was raised as the epitome of the rich, spoiled and entitled brat. He was a bit of a bully and the only person who could tell him no was his grandfather, and that was fairly rare. Gilles excelled at arms

18 11, 2014

Review: Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by Karen Abbott

By | November 18th, 2014|Categories: Biographies, Historical, Nonfiction, Women's Studies|Tags: , , , , , , |6 Comments

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liar temptress soldier spy book cover 201410-omag-read-7-949x1356Reviewed by Sarah McCubbin

Unlike a traditional war novel, Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott seeks to uncover the important although unusual role of women during the Civil War. It tells the four unique stories of women who chose to serve their respective sides of the war as spies.

On the Union front, we meet Emma Edmondson and Elizabeth Van Lew. For the Confederacy, Belle Boyd and Rose O’ Neal work to advance their efforts and undermine the Union. The methods each of these women employed to advance her cause took advantage of each ones unique feminine abilities. Whether posing as a man and fighting in the ranks, using feminine “charms”, simple social connections or the help of a child, each

12 10, 2014

Review: The Art of Neil Gaiman by Hayley Campbell

By | October 12th, 2014|Categories: Biographies, Nonfiction|Tags: |7 Comments

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9781781571392Reviewed by Jenna Arthur

When you think of Neil Gaiman, do you think of The Sandman comic books? Mirrormask? Although Neil Gaiman is famous for these works, as well as his hit BBC series and comic books Neverwhere, Gaiman’s body of work and personality far exceed what most people know him for.

In The Art of Neil Gaiman, Hayley Campbell tells a tale of a man most people do not know. I, for one, was expecting a completely different book when I first opened this gorgeously bound hardback. Expecting an array of beautiful images and beautifully penned quotes by the master himself, I was instead given access into a world of Gaiman’s inner workings. Throughout the book, Campbell shows Gaiman’s reasoning behind his characters, his collaborations and gives a glimpse into his life both past and present.

Gaiman is unlike any other artist or

30 09, 2014

Review: Wanted Women by Deborah Scroggins

By | September 30th, 2014|Categories: Biographies, Historical, Nonfiction, Religion & Spirituality|Tags: , , , |5 Comments

Rating:

WceGgDUNlCA8RPHOz66AbHHs4RI12Vqg+OoBRGBrKx0gjMb1TSGn63!P3!BaM61Ycim7TPw2yzIaTKEqk4wNnDHjr1b6gOv!JK2gG4iMspVQ5iDKyCBWtzAWMsmQ+7PKReviewed by Shannon Trenton

September 11, 2001 marked the beginning of the United States’ War on Terror – or, more accurately, brought into focus our nation’s ongoing efforts to combat the religious and ideological other of radical Islam. It thrust mainstream Islam into a spotlight that many have used to educate and illuminate while others use it to underscore the flaws inherent in the faith (while conveniently ignoring those inherent in other faiths, but this is not an op-ed).

One particularly interesting study in these times is the role of women in the war on terror. War has traditionally been understood as man’s territory despite the historic participation of women, but in the last several years women have readily stepped up on both sides of the ideological divide to fight for what they believe is right. Female soldiers, female suicide bombers…the list goes on.

In

26 09, 2014

Review: The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport

By | September 26th, 2014|Categories: Biographies, Historical, Nonfiction|Tags: , , |3 Comments

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the romanov sistersReviewed by Jax Kepple

Everyone knows what happened to Tsar Nicholas and his family in a basement in 1918. Author Helen Rappaport sets out in The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra to shed light on the lives of the four spunky and vivacious daughters: Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia. The result of Rappaport’s historical research and story is an engrossing, easy-to-read record of the entire Romanov family just up until they are called to the basement.

Rappaport uses the personal correspondence of the four sisters to establish their personalities, as they often were lumped in together as one unit. Olga, the shy quiet eldest; Tatiana, the proficient go-getter who was looked upon to take care of the family while their mother was often ill; Maria, the middle child who was sweet and kind; and

24 09, 2014

Review: My Salinger Year by Joanna Smith Rakoff

By | September 24th, 2014|Categories: Biographies, Memoirs, Nonfiction|Tags: , |2 Comments

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516BbR4cvEL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Reviewed by Alysia George

The very title of Joanna Rakoff’s memoir, My Salinger Year, is enough to pique the interest of anyone who has read – and loved – anything written by J.D. Salinger. Since the title suggests an actual personal connection with the famed recluse, it is also enough to stir up a little envy. I listened to this book, using, for the first time, Audible. The audio version is actually narrated by the author, which creates a rather intimate illusion that Rakoff is speaking directly to her readers, perhaps over a cup of coffee, or sitting across the table at dinner.

In My Salinger Year, Rakoff recounts her experience working for the agency which represented Salinger. As part of her duties, she often fielded phone calls of those desperate to be put in touch with the author, and answered his fan

24 08, 2014

Review: Hippie Boy by Ingrid Ricks

By | August 24th, 2014|Categories: Biographies, Memoirs, Nonfiction|Tags: , , |1 Comment

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HippieBoy-683x1024Reviewed by Melanie Kline

Ingrid Ricks lives with her mother and “[yearns] to escape the poverty and the suffocating brand of Mormon religion that oppressed her at home.” This is a huge understatement of Ingrid’s life and I was emotionally distressed to find that Hippie Boy was a memoir.

Ingrid’s mother is so desperate to find a husband that she refuses to listen to or believe things that her children tell her. She is one of the many women who fall for the “but I’ve changed” line from con-men and abusers. Ingrid finds herself with a new step-father who is cruel and tyrannical and her mother does exactly as he tells her she should do. Ingrid’s only saving grace is the time she gets to spend with her father, whom she worships and believes to represent freedom and a better life.

Hippie Boy demonstrates just