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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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25 09, 2012

Review: I’m Just Sayin’! by Kim Zimmer

By | September 25th, 2012|Categories: Entertainment, Humor, Memoirs, Nonfiction|Tags: , , |3 Comments

Rating:

Reviewed by M.L. McFall

The cover of I’m Just Sayin’! says a great deal about Kim Zimmer who played Reva Lewis Shayne on The Guiding Light, a CBS soap opera. Since I was a fan of this soap, reading Kim’s breezy memoir was a hoot. The tone of this book is just what you’d expect, especially if you are familiar with the character she played. Blonde (most of the time), brassy (nearly all of the time), and blunt (absolutely). If you’re looking for a quick, fun read, this is it.

Kim Zimmer is above all an actress, and she talks about how she got started in the business as a young child. She takes us through her high school drama training, her college drama lessons, then to a California acting school. She gains experience mainly in stage drama, and doesn’t have any

19 09, 2012

Review: Sinner’s Creed by Scott Stapp

By | September 19th, 2012|Categories: Entertainment, Memoirs, Nonfiction, Religion & Spirituality|Tags: , , |5 Comments

Rating:

Reviewed by Darin Godby

Sinner’s Creed is the best book I have personally read in 2012. Scott Stapp, lead singer of Creed, takes the reader into the very depths of his life from early childhood up to the present. From the very beginning of the book until the end the reader will feel engaged in Scott’s life and what is taking place. It is a book that was difficult to put down causing me to be stretched by seeing that the heart of an individual is so much more important than the cover by which – so often – one is judged.

Scott talks about his step-father and the abuse he suffered as a result of his harsh discipline. His step-father always claimed that he did what he did to honor God, and Scott had a difficult time understanding how God could

16 09, 2012

Review: Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know by Jeff Johnson & Hy Conrad

By | September 16th, 2012|Categories: Animals, Entertainment, For the Pet Lover, Gift Ideas, Hobbies & Home, Humor, Nonfiction|Tags: , , , |7 Comments

Rating:

Reviewed by Caitlin Busch

The photograph on the front caught me immediately: two adorable Boston terriers, one seeming to whisper in the other’s ear, while the other stares at you in surprise, as though he’s been caught! Irresistible, right? The cast of characters next interested me – a mix of breeds common in America, breeds which most of us know well through direct or indirect contact. Some of their stories are weaker than others – not as funny, not as connection-forming, and not as well-rounded – but there are some downright stirring moments too. I enjoyed reading more than half of the book, but also felt some of the material was just fluff.

Yes, as you might expect, Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know is a cutesy book in many ways. The art direction is bright and adorable; each character

6 09, 2012

Review: The Snark Handbooks by Lawrence Dorfman

By | September 6th, 2012|Categories: Education, Entertainment, Humor, Nonfiction, Reference|Tags: , |2 Comments

Rating:

Reviewed by Shannon Trenton

The Snark Handbook: A Reference Guide to Verbal Sparring

If you ever find yourself in need of the perfect comeback in any situation, you need The Snark Handbook. The Handbook is a compendium of fun facts and sly witticisms that, when used properly, will make you the snarky envy of all whom you encounter.

Like any good handbook, Lawrence Dorfman’s collection is arranged into chapters that address issues such as love and marriage, children, money, drinking, and death, among many others. Each chapter starts with a cheeky illustrations and brief description, and features lists like “Money Can’t Buy You Happiness But It Can Buy…” and “Snarky Movie Descriptions” to make you see the things you take for granted in a whole new light. There

15 08, 2012

Review: Kitty Cornered by Bob Tarte

By | August 15th, 2012|Categories: Animals, Entertainment, Humor, Memoirs, Nonfiction|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

Rating:

Reviewed by Joanne Reynolds

Kitty Cornered starts with a ground-floor plan of Bob and Linda Tarte’s home. There are indications of where things occur in this home, all related to the pets that this couple cohabitates with.

Bob and Linda are very much into animals, with cats, birds, rabbits in the house and ducks and chickens in the barn. Bob litters this book with the personalities of all the animals that encompass his life. There are cats already in the home, but more are acquired during the reading, including the one stray that Bob seems to be the most taken with, Frannie.

Kitty Cornered is enjoyable look into the mechanics and the ups and downs involved in owning so many different pets. Bob is great at making you understand, as much as he or we can, the different emotions, phobias and quirks of

24 05, 2012

Review: Adventures of a Substitute Teacher by Tim Kreiter

By | May 24th, 2012|Categories: Entertainment, Humor, Memoirs, Nonfiction|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

Rating:

Reviewed by Kathie Smith

Adventures of a Substitute Teacher is Tim Kreiter’s account of his years spent as a substitute teacher after a successful career as an aerospace engineer. Assignments ranged from pre-Kindergarten to high school classes and from Science, his specialty, to Special Education.

Kreiter obviously took his position as a substitute teacher seriously. He was there to educate students during his short-term assignments rather than simply stand in as a warm body. Equipped with a briefcase full of activities, a healthy supply of “bang-clank” equipment, a talent for cartooning and a relentless optimism, Kreiter was clearly one of those substitutes students come to know and respect. He handled situations with humor, creativity and adaptability.

Each chapter is devoted to one assignment. The average chapter length of three pages is an immediate indication that most assignments are not going to be discussed

26 04, 2012

Review: Rossetti: Painter and Poet by J.B. Bullen

By | April 26th, 2012|Categories: Arts & Literature, Entertainment, Nonfiction, Photography|Tags: , |3 Comments

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Reviewed by F. Scott

Rossetti: Painter and Poet by J. B. Bullen is an overview of the life and works of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, a nineteenth-century English painter, poet, and translator. The large-book format lends itself well to all three of its main elements: Bullen’s readable prose, prints of artwork by Rossetti and others, and excerpts of poetry, mostly by Rossetti himself.

Bullen takes us through the whole of the artist’s life in the exciting time of artistic and intellectual change that was mid-Victorian England. Rossetti was the son of the ex-patriot Italian Gabriele Rossetti and Frances Polidori, half-Italian herself, of a now London-based family. Born the first son in 1828, he is also brother to Christina, a poet in her own right.

Rossetti was one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB), which true to its name sought inspiration from the

16 04, 2012

Review: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

By | April 16th, 2012|Categories: Entertainment, Humor, Memoirs, Nonfiction|Tags: , |3 Comments

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Reviewed by Marcus Hammond

Jenny Lawson is anxious, slightly dysfunctional, and, at times, tactless. She, however, is well aware of these characteristics. Her memoir, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, begins with a discussion of how stories are often exaggerated upon retelling, and that resounds in the reader’s mind as Lawson’s life is laid out in all its hilarity.

Lawson’s memoir moves from her childhood in rural Texas and continues to delve into her life as a wife, mother, and Internet blogger. Her stories include how she dealt with the chaos of everything from having a father with a wild animal obsession to events that showcase her own personal eccentricities.

One focus of the memoir deals with the relationship Lawson forms with her husband, Victor, and accentuates the concept that marriage is indelibly difficult but worth the trouble. A good example of Lawson’s

30 03, 2012

Review: Ali in Wonderland by Ali Wentworth

By | March 30th, 2012|Categories: Entertainment, Humor, Memoirs, Nonfiction|Tags: , , |4 Comments

Rating:

Reviewed by Jill Franclemont

Ali Wentworth has lived quite a life. I confess I didn’t know who she was at first. From the blurb I learned that she was married to George Stephanopoulos and is the daughter of Ronald Reagan’s White House Press Secretary. As a former resident of Washington, DC, how could I resist? I enjoy memoirs, love DC, and couldn’t imagine turning down a book with blurbs by Kathy Griffin, Jerry Seinfeld, Alec Baldwin AND the author’s mom… Plus the synopsis for Ali in Wonderland called it “addictively funny” and included a slew of adjectives I am quite fond of, like “off-the-wall”, “hilarious”, and “borderline insane”.

Will I never learn?

No book that is self-described as “hilarious” ever really is. I think it’s akin to real smart people talking about their own intelligence or real rich people about their own money

28 03, 2012

Review: Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher

By | March 28th, 2012|Categories: Arts & Literature, Entertainment, Memoirs, Nonfiction|Tags: , , |3 Comments

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Reviewed by Nina Longfield

Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher begins with a rambling, seemingly unrelated series of thoughts. With the progression of her story, though, Fisher delves into her personal battles with self-medication, depression, being bi-polar, weight problems, personal loss, and the challenge of once being Princess Leia (thirty years after the role ended). Fisher’s stories are at once vivid, engaging, sometimes charming and a few times shocking. Fisher reflects upon her past and present with dry humor, at times laugh out loud funny, and other times pensive.

Fisher’s writing style is straightforward. Her digressions, though, are too numerous to count, which makes me wonder whether this entire book was produced during a blitz of mania. However, Fisher speaks candidly about her continuing fight to remain sober, her battle with depression and her choice to battle the debilitating mental condition through ECT (electroconvulsive