About Me:

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.

Want to join our review team? Email me!

Blog Button

Blog Button

Subscribe

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

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

Rating:

Reviewed 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: , |3 Comments

Rating:

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

Rating:

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

Rating:

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

Rating:

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

Rating:

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

Rating:

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

5 05, 2016

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

By | May 5th, 2016|Categories: Family Saga, Genre Fiction, Giveaways, Historical, Literature & Fiction, Romance|Tags: , , , |15 Comments

Rating:

belgravia blog tour bannerPlease join Julian Fellowes, creator, sole writer, and executive producer of the hit television series Downton Abbey and the author of the new novel Belgravia, who is touring the blogosphere with a progressive blog tour from April 14 to June 16, 2016!

Similar to a progressive dinner party, where a group of friends each make one course of a meal that moves from house to house with each course, this progressive blog tour features eleven bloggers and authors, each offering a recap and review of one episode from the book. 

Visit The Calico Critic to learn more about Episode 4: At Home in Belgrave Square, and read on for our review of Episode 5: The Assignation. 

Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win 1 of 3 hardcover copies of Belgravia–details below! 

Reviewed by Alisha Churbe

At

26 04, 2016

Review: The Making of Home by Judith Flanders

By | April 26th, 2016|Categories: Historical, Nonfiction, Social Sciences|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Rating:

the making of home book coverReviewed by Meg Massey

In The Making of Home: The 500-Year Story of How Our Houses Became Our Homes, author Judith Flanders traces the evolution of houses from the 16th century to the present, in Europe and America. From great houses that were open to the public to homes that became more intimate spaces, the change in these spaces is quite fascinating.

As I read through this book, I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to historical series like Downton Abbey. That particular series centered around the lives of a family and their servants, in the early 1900s, when change was on the horizon for great houses and the people in them. Over the course of the series, we saw that war, technology, a continually changing political and economic climate, and many other external forces influenced the lives

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