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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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12 01, 2013

Review: Airbrushed Nation by Jennifer Nelson

By | January 12th, 2013|Categories: Education, Nonfiction, Reference, Social Sciences, Women's Studies|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

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Airbrushed-NationReviewed by Poppy Johnson

Most people have definite ideas about fashion. Men and women can tell you what it takes for a woman to be considered beautiful, how men and women are permitted by the public eye to age at different rates, and what we should, must or want to do to live up to the ideals when it comes to aging. Can we change how we are perceived as women as nature takes its course and wrinkles begin to appear? For example, if a woman makes a personal choice to forego dying her hair and remain truly and beautifully naturally grey, isn’t that her choice and her prerogative to define her own beauty ideal?

Who isn’t airbrushed or Photoshoped these days? The magazines dub it as “art” when a cover ready top model or popular celebrity is brushed to perfection. Airbrushed Nation reviews the media culprits who airbrush their photos

14 12, 2012

Review: The Pocket Small Business Owner’s Guide to Taxes by Brian Germer

By | December 14th, 2012|Categories: Business & Investing, Nonfiction, Reference|Tags: , |2 Comments

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184460980Reviewed by Poppy Johnson

As its title suggests, The Pocket Small Business Owner’s Guide to Taxes by Brian Germer offers tax advice for small business owners, but it also applies to people who are self-employed or who consider themselves employees (such as shareholders in C or S corporations). Simply stated, small businesses pay taxes which are a combination of the employee and employer portion of the Social Security and Medicare Tax (although the employer part is tax deductible).

Anyone looking for quick answers to complex tax questions will have a friend in this book. The chapters are easy to access and are arranged in three sections: the small business owner essentials, information on business structures, and information on how to maximize your deductions. If the reader has a tax question, it is easy to skip to the chapter that is the most appropriate to get

21 11, 2012

Review: The Regal Rules for Girls by Jerramy Fine

By | November 21st, 2012|Categories: Education, Health, Mind, & Body, Nonfiction, Reference, Relationships|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

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Reviewed by Christen Krumm

We all dream of moving to England (or visiting) and having an English lord sweep us off our feet thus keeping us in London forever (oh wait… that was just me? OK, moving on). When I was a little girl, my aunt thought it would be so marvelous if I was pen pals with one of the princes so that I could marry one and thus live in a castle in England (clearly that never happened).

Jerramy Fine’s The Regal Rules for Girls takes us to the land of lords, tea, and queens and teaches us how to act properly when meeting the queen. After reading Fine’s guide, I find myself dreaming of up-rooting my family and moving into a flat in London. Oh, that glorious dream. Even if that dream will likely never happen, Fine’s rules of

27 10, 2012

Review: Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst

By | October 27th, 2012|Categories: Christian Books & Bibles, Education, Nonfiction, Reference, Religion & Spirituality|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

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Reviewed by Darin Godby

Bestselling author Lysa TerKeurst does it again with Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions, a wonderful book that will help the reader realize that the choices they make help to determine what outcomes they will face. Lysa shares how emotions aren’t bad, but emotions that are out of control can cause damage to oneself as well as to others around them. She shares four categories of unglued reactions and how they impact one’s life. Later in the book she discusses those who stuff things inside of themselves and those who explode upon anyone and everyone around them.

This is a much needed book for anyone who finds themselves in a pressure cooker and needs help to deal with life’s circumstances. Offered within this book are time sensitive ways to deal with the pressure

28 09, 2012

Review: Planes, Trains, and Auto-Rickshaws by Laura Pedersen

By | September 28th, 2012|Categories: Education, Nonfiction, Reference, Travel|Tags: , , |5 Comments

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Reviewed by Poppy Johnson

Years ago, travel to India would have been considered difficult or an extreme itinerary to pursue. Today, everyone from students to causal travelers can easily visit India to experience the culture, the food and the warmth of the people indigenous to the region.

Of course, historically, Americans exposed to Indian culture have been limited to misrepresentative accounts of the culture and of that country. The book Planes, Trains and Auto-Rickshaws works to dispel any myths a person may still hold regarding India. The book is a journal of the author’s trip to India and her impressions of the people and culture she experienced on that journey. It reads at first like a comprehensive travel diary, which I found quote enjoyable. Unfortunately, it quickly turned into an historical account of India’s independence, past political struggles of its people and

6 09, 2012

Review: The Snark Handbooks by Lawrence Dorfman

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

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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

9 08, 2012

Review: Microstyle by Christopher Johnson

By | August 9th, 2012|Categories: Computers & Technology, Education, Nonfiction, Reference|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

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Reviewed by Marcus Hammond

Christopher Johnson’s knowledge as a linguist and expert verbal branding consultant is put to use in Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little. The guide sets out to help ordinary people understand how to write effectively in a world of Facebook status updates, Twitter feeds, and blogs.

Microstyle is organized into four main categories of language convention: Meaning, Sound, Structure, and Social Context. Each section contains a brief introduction into the category to familiarize the reader and then breaks into smaller chapters that describe finer details within the category like “Tap into Metaphor” and “Use Grammar Expressively.” Johnson’s writing style throughout these sections and chapters is conversational, well supported, and realistic. These characteristics help make this guide transcend the inherent problem with most style guides—they are boring and hard to follow.

With most style guides I’ve used as an

1 07, 2012

Review: Visit Sunny Chernobyl by Andrew Blackwell

By | July 1st, 2012|Categories: Education, Nonfiction, Reference, Travel|Tags: , , |7 Comments

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Reviewed by Jill Franclemont

I love weird, random, quirky destination-stories. Actually, I pretty much love weird, random, quirky stories of any kind. But when they’re to unusual places (real or imaginary), I’m doubly-curious. It takes a certain kind of skill to make places that are so far out of the ordinary, so beyond the experience of everyday life, into something the reader can really feel a part of and experience. To keep this journey from feeling flat or second-hand is, to me, what the craft of writing really entails. If you can transport your readers into your world – be it the world of oil sands fields in Alberta, Canada, or of the polluted Ganges, or of the Pacific Ocean’s Garbage Patch – and make him/her see, smell, and feel your experience, well, I think you’ve mastered your craft.

Andrew Blackwell paints

10 05, 2012

Review: Survival Mom by Lisa Bedford

By | May 10th, 2012|Categories: Health, Mind, & Body, Nonfiction, Reference, Self-Help|Tags: , |7 Comments

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Reviewed by Jennifer Rasmussen

Survival Mom is a disaster preparedness book written by a mom with the intent to teach readers how to prepare for disasters ranging from mild (weekend snowstorm) to large (financial collapse).

I wanted to like this book. I really did. I like Lisa Bedford’s blog, I follow her on Facebook, watched her episode of Doomsday Preppers, and think she really knows her stuff. Unfortunately, I think the editing staff over at Harper may have gotten in the way of her putting out a tremendously successful book. Sadly, this survival book went the way of every other one on the market, and turned into an encyclopedia of knowledge. Granted, it’s really helpful knowledge, but there’s not a single photo, the margins are crammed to overflowing with tips and bullets and lists, and it’s just hard to sit down and

4 05, 2012

Review: How to Listen to Great Music by Robert Greenberg

By | May 4th, 2012|Categories: Arts & Literature, Nonfiction, Reference|Tags: , , |2 Comments

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Reviewed by Caitlin Busch

Before beginning this book, the reader should know it is part of a continuing education series, perfect for the avid and/or adult student or hobbyist musician. But no one should assume it’s a dry old textbook! I found it to be quite the opposite: How to Listen to Great Music reminded me of my university days. While reading, I re-experienced, with sweet nostalgia, “listening” to an engaging lecture by beloved professor on a favorite subject. Now, I didn’t actually study music at university, but I have a background in piano, violin and orchestra which may make me more prone to enjoying this text than those with non-musical backgrounds – or at least those who aren’t interested in composed (a.k.a. “classical”) music.

Even with my musical background, How to Listen to Great Music is a bit of a beast,