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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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6 03, 2017

Review: Gizelle’s Bucket List by Lauren Fern Watt

By | March 6th, 2017|Categories: Animals, Memoirs, Nonfiction, Travel|Tags: , , |4 Comments

Rating:

gizelle's bucket list book coverReviewed by Sarah Dalton

Gizelle’s Bucket List was a fun, fast read. I laughed, a lot. OK, right up until I needed tissues and a couple days away from the book for my mental health. The story centers on Lauren (Fernie) and Gizelle, her 160 pound Mastiff. Woven around this central pillar are ribbons of side story about family dynamics, friendships, adventure, boyfriends, love (or at least like), loss, self-discovery, and slobber. Lots and lots of slobber. Actually, there is really only one story about slobber. It’s not bad.

We get to be with Fernie when, at the behest of her Mother, she finds, falls in love with, and brings home Gizelle. Leave to get doughnuts, come home with a giant breed puppy.

25 02, 2017

Review: The F*ck It List by Kevin Pryslak

By | February 25th, 2017|Categories: Entertainment, Health, Mind, & Body, Humor, Nonfiction, Self-Help|Tags: , , |6 Comments

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fuck it list book coverReviewed by Poppy Johnson

Let’s start with the facts–The F*ck It List: All The Things You Can Skip Before You Die is hilarious. We all despise other people’s glorious tales about the exciting to them but boring to us travels, their “this or that” some friend just purchased, or the Lifetime Achievement goals someone else just achieved. Who needs it, the having to be happy for other people for their trumped up triumphs? Who needs a bucket list anyway and why do we need to list all of the crap that we will likely never achieve or be able to afford in our average lives?

Kevin Pryslak flows the idea of a formalized, notarized “Bucket List” that can be promptly thrown out the window, or alternatively, in the toilet. And man, it definitely felt good to do this and take my life back–to get rid of the expectations and the “scores” to exceed.

23 02, 2017

Review: The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan

By | February 23rd, 2017|Categories: Happiness, Health, Mind, & Body, Memoirs, Nonfiction, Self-Help|Tags: , , |5 Comments

Rating:

the gratitude diaries book coverReviewed by Richard Wisniewski

I came across The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan one day as I was doing personal research for my book on the topic. Upon reading the introduction to the New York Times bestselling book, I was captivated, intrigued and sold. Now, I do not say this quite often at all. I firmly believe that every single human being walking on planet Earth should read this book. It is not only life-transformative, it’s life-enlightening.

The concept of The Gratitude Diaries was an idea that came to Kaplan on New Year’s Eve. With the hustle and bustle of society, especially in New York City, Kaplan made it her personal resolution to dedicate 365 days to gratitude and appreciation. Rather than finding fault in things the way so many people do, Kaplan’s intention was to see the silver lining and the bright side of everything.

22 02, 2017

Review: Groovin’ by Rich Israel

By | February 22nd, 2017|Categories: Memoirs, Nonfiction, Travel|Tags: , |2 Comments

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groovin' book coverReviewed by Lauren Cannavino

Rich Israel’s playful, bright and fantastical memoir of the 1960’s experience is a fun, well-written read for fans of counterculture and coming-of-age tales. Groovin’: Horses, Hopes, and Slippery Slopes is raucous, trippy and expressive, full of adventure, hijinks and personal discoveries. From hitchhiking, to a month long horseback riding adventure out west, Rich takes the reader through a time that many can only read about and others will remember fondly.

The book reminded me of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, full of crazy characters, road trips, adventures and drugs, but peppered with self- reflection, excellent insight and the running political commentary in the background.

19 02, 2017

Review: Economics Rules by Dani Rodrik

By | February 19th, 2017|Categories: Business & Investing, Economics, Nonfiction|Tags: , , |3 Comments

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economics rules book coverReviewed by Alexander Morrison

A lot of energy is spent every election season arguing about the economy. Sure, there are plenty of political issues, but most of them are pretty simple. They’re beliefs. But economics is a science, even if, as it is subtitled in Dani Rodrik’s new book, it is sometimes called ‘the dismal science’. We all want everyone to have a good job, to make a living they can raise a family with, to be able to afford a home and other basic necessities, but knowing how to make that happen? That’s considerably more difficult. Oftentimes, we resort to ‘common sense’ solutions, only to find them blowing up in our faces time and time again. That’s because, as Rodrik’s Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science makes abundantly clear, economies are vast, complex things that often resist the obvious solutions. Thankfully, Rodrik’s book is meant to give a basic primer on how economists operate, what kinds of mistakes economists make, and what it all means for you.

15 02, 2017

Review: Born Survivors by Wendy Holden

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

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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

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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.

19 01, 2017

Review: Four Seasons of Loneliness by J.W. Freiberg

By | January 19th, 2017|Categories: Law, Memoirs, Nonfiction|Tags: , , |7 Comments

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four seasons of loneliness book coverReviewed by Holly Madison

Four Seasons of Loneliness is comprised of four different stories which, to my understanding, are all actual true case studies that the author chronicled over his many years as a lawyer. Each of the stories is quite different, but they all have one central theme–loneliness, and the different forms it can take.

I found this book to be quite remarkable. I was drawn in to each of the different stories completely, and found myself fascinated by some stories and enraged by others.

The first story centers around two children from an incestuous family. Their grandparents and mom had been having sexual orgy-type interactions with the children since they were babies, and they were placed with an adoptive family after their birth family relinquished their rights to the children after being caught.

17 01, 2017

Review: It’s Not Fair by Melanie Dale

By | January 17th, 2017|Categories: Christian Living, Nonfiction, Religion & Spirituality|Tags: , |5 Comments

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it's not fair book coverReviewed by Sarah Dalton

Reading It’s Not Fair is like sitting down with a friend over a cup of coffee for a solid chat and lots of laughing. Serious belly laughs. I had to stop reading this in bed at night after the third or fourth time I snort laughed loud enough to wake my husband up. Melanie Dale has a sense of humor that I can identify with. She is self-deprecating and speaks in movie quotes. I have told several friends about this book and plan to lay in a stock of them to give out as gifts to loved ones.

Before I read this book I was not at all familiar with Dale or her blog, Unexpected.org. I may have to familiarize myself with her after reading some of the blog and Twitter excerpts.

11 01, 2017

Review: Cast of Characters by Thomas Vinciguerra

By | January 11th, 2017|Categories: Biographies, Entertainment, Humor, Nonfiction|Tags: , , , , |10 Comments

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cast of characters book coverReviewed by Kate Schefer

I am familiar with The New Yorker, and I am familiar with E.B. White and James Thurber and a few of the other writers who were the publication’s founding voices. But I am not familiar with how the two created and influenced each other. Or at least I wasn’t until I read Cast of Characters by Thomas Vinciguerra. Originally intended as a biography of Wolcott Gibbs, the book developed into a retelling of the formative years of The New Yorker, highlighting its founders, their lives, and their iconic work. I could tell that the main focus was to be Gibbs, as the book began and ended with anecdotes about him, and his son Tony was Vinciguerra’s primary source. But I believe the book struck a good balance between Gibbs and his counterparts.