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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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4 04, 2017

Review: At the End of the World by Lawrence Millman

By | April 4th, 2017|Categories: Historical, Nonfiction, Social Sciences|Tags: , , , |3 Comments


at the end of the world book coverReviewed by Kevin O’Brien

Lawrence Millman’s non-fiction book, At the End of the World: A True Story of Murder in the Arctic, is the latest work from the intrepid traveler. Millman, an award-winning adventure writer, markets his book as a trip north to the Belcher Islands in Hudson Bay to investigate a series of murders in the early 1940s.

The book touches upon a religious frenzy that led several Inuit on the Belcher Islands to murder nine others. A meteor shower in 1941 resulted in some of the Inuit in the area to fear that the world was ending. The local shaman and one of the best hunters in the tribe then stylized themselves as deities, killing anyone they denounced as Satanic. The case eventually resulted in a massive investigation and trial.

30 03, 2017

Review: A World Elsewhere by Sigrid MacRae

By | March 30th, 2017|Categories: Historical, Memoirs, Nonfiction|Tags: , , |3 Comments


a world elsewhere book coverReviewed by Sarah McCubbin

Boxes hold a curious fascination. Whether made of cardboard or plastic or inlayed wood, most of the time, they contain the mundane…items left from moving, old clothes or files of papers important at some point in our lives. A box with a key though, that is a mystery waiting to be discovered. We wonder with rapt anticipation what adventure waits upon its unlocking. In her book, A World Elsewhere: An American Woman in Wartime Germany, author Sigrid Macrae takes us on a real life journey that began with such a box and unlocks the questions held in her own life that the contents answer. Upon receiving a locked Moroccan box from her mother, Sigrid finds that when it is finally opened, it reveals the answers to her early years, details about her deceased father whom she never knew and the opportunity to make peace with her past.

15 02, 2017

Review: Born Survivors by Wendy Holden

By | February 15th, 2017|Categories: Biographies, Historical, Nonfiction, Women's Studies|Tags: , , , |6 Comments


born survivors book coverReviewed by Sarah McCubbin

The moment of one’s birth should be a special time remembered with an element of fanfare that celebrates the arrival of a new life with all its possibilities. But not every child arrives with a swell of baby showers, hand knit blankets and birth announcements. Some arrive quite humbly in the starkest of circumstances and begin their lives as overcomers. In her book, Born Survivors, Wendy Holden shares the stories of three young women who gave birth to their babies in the direst of times.

By 1944, World War II was nearing its end by all accounts. But the end was still a year away, plenty of time for more human suffering.

22 01, 2017

Review: The Pen and the Brush by Anka Muhlstein

By | January 22nd, 2017|Categories: Arts & Literature, Biographies, Historical, Nonfiction|Tags: , , |0 Comments


pen and the brush book coverReviewed by Poppy Johnson

The Pen and the Brush by Anka Muhlstein is full of surprises. Apparently, – and unbeknownst to me – nineteenth-century French novelists were best buds with the painters of their era. The novelists turned out to be the front line critics of those famous painters–and those edgy painters were a big influence on the famous novelists of their time as well.

This story is more of an outline of the painters and novelists of the nineteenth century, and offers a snapshot into their lives and influences.

3 10, 2016

Review: Wonder Women by Sam Maggs

By | October 3rd, 2016|Categories: Biographies, Historical, Nonfiction|Tags: , |4 Comments


wonder women book coverReviewed by Christen Krumm

This is a super fun book. Sam Maggs’ Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History covers women from all times and all ages who did something to change history (the catch? You have probably, maybe, only heard about one or two of these fabulous women). Maggs has divided Wonder Women into five main chapters or categories: women of science, women of medicine, women of espionage, women of innovation, and women of adventure. Even though the book highlights only twenty-five women, each chapter ends with cliff notes on seven more rock awesome chicks and an interview with a current day rock awesome woman in that particular field.

23 09, 2016

Review: Moscow Nights by Nigel Cliff

By | September 23rd, 2016|Categories: Arts & Literature, Biographies, Historical, Nonfiction, Politics & Government|Tags: , , , , |2 Comments


moscow nights book coverReviewed by Kelly Ferjutz

Let’s mash-up Once Upon a Time from the fairy tales of yore, and the iconic TV show of the mid-50s You are There hosted by the avuncular Walter Cronkite, and see what happens. One answer, and possibly the best one would be Moscow Nights by the excellent and elegant writer, Nigel Cliff. He tells the story of Van Cliburn, who was for a while, quite easily the most recognized face in the world! But not just the surface view – no, he really digs deep for a terrific and very comprehensive look at one of the wonders of the 20th Century!

Cliburn was born in July, 1934, and was inspired as a youngster by a photograph of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow – as who wouldn’t be, especially if said child had already been exposed to the music of Russian’s many famous Romantic-era composers? An only child, Van – real name: Harvey Lavan –  was always simply known as Van, thanks to his mother Rildia Bee O’Bryan Cliburn. As a piano teacher in Shreveport, Louisiana, she had once been part of the welcoming committee for an appearance there of the Russian master – Sergei Rachmaninoff.

27 08, 2016

Review: God’s Bankers by Gerald Posner

By | August 27th, 2016|Categories: Christian Books & Bibles, Economics, Historical, Nonfiction, Religion & Spirituality|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments


god's bankers book coverReviewed by Sarah McCubbin

Around the world, having some kind of religious faith is an experience common among the majority. In particular, those that affiliate with Catholicism are spread far and wide around the world, but all come under the leadership of the Pope. While the Pope is commonly known to be the head and leading authority in the Catholic Church, that is an image associated with leading the flock to follow God. But who knew he was head of the Vatican Bank as well. Surprisingly, the Catholic Church is an institution with vast financial holdings that extend far beyond Vatican city and local Catholic churches. While the image of the church is one replete with icons, statutes, colorful paintings and robed priests, the underbelly of this institution is far less holy and its finances are littered with crime and amoral behavior.

28 07, 2016

Blog Tour: Lift by Daniel Kunitz

By | July 28th, 2016|Categories: Exercise & Fitness, Health, Mind, & Body, Historical, Nonfiction, Sports & Outdoors|Tags: , , , |2 Comments


lift book coverPlease join Daniel Kunitz, author of Lift: Fitness Culture, from Naked Greeks and Acrobats to Jazzercise and Ninja Warriors, as he tours the blogosphere with TLC Book Tours!

Reviewed by Poppy Johnson

Seldom does a book come along that explains so well why we are and should be doing something. In Lift, Daniel Kunitz does an excellent job of going over the reasons we lift and why we need to lift, as well as breaking open some myths about lifting along the way.

Let’s begin with what this book isn’t. Although there are elements of workouts related to lifting in the text, this is not a workout book nor is it a weight loss book. That said, if you do follow some of the guidelines reviewed in the book, you are practically guaranteed to lose weight.

17 05, 2016

Review: The Hundred-Year Walk by Dawn Anahid MacKeen

By | May 17th, 2016|Categories: Historical, Nonfiction, Politics & Government, Travel|Tags: , , , , , |2 Comments


hundred-year walk book coverReviewed by Vera Pereskokova

Every year, on April 24th, Armenians around the world commemorate the victims of the Armenian Genocide. Between 1915 and 1917, the government of the Ottoman Empire (present day Turkey) ordered the systematic deportation and extermination of hundreds of thousands of its Armenian residents, as well as other Christian ethnic groups. Although Turkey still denies that the events of those years constitute genocide, estimates suggest that as many as 1.5 million people perished as a result of death marches or outright massacres.

I am half-Armenian from my mother’s side and while I’ve always been aware of the Armenian Genocide, I knew little of the facts. So when an email describing The Hundred-Year Walk by Dawn Anahid MacKeen popped up in my inbox, I jumped at the chance to read it.

The Hundred-Year Walk is a true account

11 05, 2016

Review: The Billion Dollar Spy by David E. Hoffman

By | May 11th, 2016|Categories: Historical, Nonfiction, Politics & Government, True Accounts|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments


billion dollar spy book coverReviewed by Sarah McCubbin

The Billion Dollar Spy takes readers deep undercover to tell the true story of Soviet spy activity on behalf of the United States in the late 1970s and early 80s. Relying on eyewitness accounts and valuable declassified  documents, author David E. Hoffman unravels a true story of one Russian engineer who worked with Soviet military intelligence and the layers of deception he perpetrated to obtain revenge on the Soviet government for the wrongs they had exacted.

On a cold winter night in February 1978, a man approached the car belonging to the CIA director of the Moscow outpost. Through a crack in the window, he passed an envelope filled with classified Soviet military information. This began a relationship that lasted for years. To most people who knew Adolf Tolkachev, he was a quiet, unassuming