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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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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

22 03, 2015

Review: The Wilderness of Ruin by Roseanne Montillo

By | March 22nd, 2015|Categories: Historical, Nonfiction, Psychology, True Accounts|Tags: , , , |2 Comments


wilderness of ruin book coverReviewed by Jax Kep

The Wilderness of Ruin: A Tale of Madness, Fire, and the Hunt for America’s Youngest Serial Killer by Roseanne Montillo has an interesting premise on the surface: fourteen-year-old Jesse Pomeroy is abusing children in Boston right after the Civil War. While the search is on for him, Boston burns in a horrible fire. It seemed as though this book would be similar to The Devil in White City, but unfortunately this disjointed story simply cannot live up to that classic nonfiction.

Part of the problem is the odd title: there is a lot going on! Jesse’s story is interesting because he was so young and disturbed, but he had absolutely nothing to do with the Great Fire, nor was he in the vicinity while it raged on. The police detective who was looking for him was not the person

24 11, 2014

Review: 50 Children by Steven Pressman

By | November 24th, 2014|Categories: Historical, Nonfiction, True Accounts|Tags: , , |2 Comments


50 children book coverReviewed by Colleen Turner

50 Children: One Ordinary American Couple’s Extraordinary Rescue Mission into the Heart of Nazi Germany is an unflinching and heart-stopping look into an unbelievable mission undertaken to make the seemingly impossible possible. Gil and Eleanor Kraus, a normal upper-class Jewish couple living in Philadelphia in 1939, ventured out of their comfortable existence into the terror of Nazi occupied Vienna and Berlin, pushing through every possible obstacle and danger put before them, to legally bring the largest group of children without their parents into an America who didn’t seem overly concerned with their dire plight. Because of their bravery and unselfishness these 50 children – and many of their family members who were able to obtain American visas after the children arrived in America – lived a full life while many others like them unable to escape

24 11, 2014

Review: Tinseltown by William Mann

By | November 24th, 2014|Categories: Entertainment, Historical, Nonfiction, True Accounts|Tags: , , , |2 Comments


tinseltown book coverReviewed by A.D. Cole

I requested this book when I saw it being compared to The Devil In the White City by Erik Larson. It’s been a personal resolve of mine to broaden my reading horizons by picking up non-fiction once in a while. Erik Larson showed me that a well-written history can be every bit the entertaining page-turner that a novel can. I’d hoped Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood would be the same. And I was not disappointed.

Don’t know much about the age of silent movies? William J. Mann brings the setting to life before your very eyes. History, to me, is a bit of a black-and-white, flat image that reads like a textbook, until I open a book like Tinseltown. And now I see 1920’s New York with it’s ambitious men racing to build

11 04, 2014

Review: Kitty Genovese by Kevin Cook

By | April 11th, 2014|Categories: Audiobooks, Nonfiction, True Accounts|Tags: , |13 Comments


9780393239287_custom-113f9b45a7b76ac664f82c62c6604fd07d7ad5f9-s6-c30Reviewed by Meghan Hyden

The story of Catherine “Kitty” Genovese has always been an interesting story to me. All murders are shocking, but something about THIS one really hit home with everyone who heard about it. We all know the story – Kitty was stabbed to death outside of her apartment building in Kew Gardens (a neighborhood in Queens, New York) back on March 13, 1964. It happened around 3am and, according to the papers, 38 people (neighbors who also lived in this building) heard her screams and did nothing.

Author Kevin Cook, after researching this event to great lengths (including talking to these neighbors, people who knew her, and her girlfriend) has written Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime That Changed America, a very thorough account of her murder and subsequent events (not just surrounding the murder, but how

10 04, 2013

Review: Dancing with the Vodka Terrorists by Rob Ferguson

By | April 10th, 2013|Categories: Memoirs, Nonfiction, Travel, True Accounts|Tags: , , |4 Comments


DWTVT_website-cover_600x900Reviewed by Caleb Shadis

The title alone, Dancing with the Vodka Terrorists: Misadventures in the ‘Stans, made me want to learn more about this book. Rob Ferguson was a communications specialist and he was contracted to go to central Asia to try and help raise awareness of the catastrophic water shortage that was threatening the entire region. This was the first I remember hearing about the ‘Aral Sea Disaster’.

The seeds for this disaster were planted almost 100 years ago. The Aral sea was considered an aberration and ‘unnatural’ so exploiting it was not considered a problem. Then the Soviets came along, conquered the entire region and wanted to turn the area into a cotton belt. Turning a near desert region into a cotton producing gold mine requires a LOT of water. Two large rivers in the region fed the Aral Sea crossing borders

29 01, 2012

Review: Death in the City of Light by David King

By | January 29th, 2012|Categories: Biographies, Historical, Nonfiction, True Accounts|Tags: , |7 Comments


Reviewed by Lauren Cannavino

The amount of research and time needed to construct high-quality historical non-fiction must be staggering and author David King did an excellent job of producing an intriguing, in-depth book.

The story of the shadowy and twisted life and crimes of Dr. Marcel Petiot in Nazi-occupied Paris is detailed, thorough and dark. King mixes police information, conversations, recollections and actual case-related documents to tell the tale. Dr. Petiot used the ruse of a French Resistance escape route to lure victims to his home and dispose of them, while hoarding their clothing and keeping their riches. Once discovered, his victim count continued to rise and his twisted mental state and behavior would become exposed over a long period of time.

Police were called to a home at 21 rue Le Sueur after reports of a heavy and pungent smoke coming from

13 11, 2011

Review: In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

By | November 13th, 2011|Categories: Historical, Nonfiction, True Accounts|Tags: , , , , , , |9 Comments


Reviewed by Wendy Fitos

From the time I saw the initial reviews of In the Garden of Beasts, I knew it would be a book that I couldn’t put down. Erik Larson wrote a book that doesn’t disappoint. The time and research that he put into the book makes it worth reading as the story he tells is fascinating and horrifying at the same time.

In the Garden of Beasts opens in 1933 as Hitler is rising in the German political ranks and the undercurrents of “The Jewish Problem” are starting to be exposed. William Dodd is selected as the first American ambassador in the Franklin Roosevelt administration to reside in Germany and provide answers to the American government on his findings of the Hitler uprising.

When Dodd arrives with his family, he discovers that although his government does have an interest