Review: First Comes Love

June 28, 2016 Fiction 3

Review: First Comes LoveTitle: First Comes Love
Author: Emily Giffin
Source: FirstToRead
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

Summary: Blech. Not great writing and unbelievably dramatic plot.

“Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing; Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes their family, their different responses to the event splinter their delicate bond. Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths.” (source) Neither are happy with their lives and their jealousy of each other is hard for them to overcome. Read more »

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#FuturisticFriday Review: All the Missing Girls

June 25, 2016 Uncategorized 6

#FuturisticFriday Review: All the Missing GirlsTitle: All the Missing Girls
Author: Megan Miranda
Source: NetGalley
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: This felt fresh and surprising and kept my heart pounding the whole way through. Loved it!

“It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case” (source) when another girl disappears and yet again, it seems possible some of the people closest to Nic might be involved. Read more »

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#FuturisticFriday Review: Face Value

June 21, 2016 non-fiction 5

#FuturisticFriday Review: Face ValueTitle: Face Value: The Hidden Ways Beauty Shapes Women's Lives
Author: Autumn Whitefield-Madrano
Source: NetGalley
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: I really enjoyed this thoughtful, balanced look at both the empowering and enjoyable side of beauty and the negative ways it affects women’s lives.

“In Face Value, journalist Autumn Whitefield-Madrano thoughtfully examines the relationship between appearance and science, social media, sex, friendship, language, and advertising to show how beauty actually affects us day to day. Through meticulous research and interviews with dozens of women across all walks of life, she reveals surprising findings, like that wearing makeup can actually relax you, that you can convince people you’re better looking just by tweaking your personality, and the ways beauty can be a powerful tool of connection among women.” (source) Read more »

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Review: The Nordic Theory of Everything

June 18, 2016 non-fiction 5

Review: The Nordic Theory of EverythingTitle: The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life
Author: Anu Partanen
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: A bit repetitive and a mix of uplifting and depressing, but I really enjoyed learning about the government and social structure of other countries.

When Finnish journalist Anu Partanen moved to the United States, she found herself overwhelmed by anxiety. The lack of a social support system, especially public healthcare, and the complexity of everything from taxes to securing a child’s education was shocking compared to the ease and security provided to citizens in Finland. By comparing and contrasting the social services provided in the US and the Nordic countries, she “debunks criticism that Nordic countries are socialist “nanny states,” revealing instead that it is we Americans who are far more enmeshed in unhealthy dependencies than we realize. As Partanen explains step by step, the Nordic approach allows citizens to enjoy more individual freedom and independence than we do.” (source) Read more »

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Review: Brilliance and Fire

June 14, 2016 non-fiction 4

Review: Brilliance and FireTitle: Brilliance and Fire: A Biography of Diamonds
Author: Rachelle Bergstein
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: This engaging story that used a single object to tell great personal stories, as well as talking about larger social issues and historic moments, was everything I want from a microhistory.

Diamonds have long fascinated people far beyond their value and the diamond industry has worked hard to keep it that way. Throughout history, they have been associated with everything from critical wartime manufacturing to genocides but still advertising and an artificially limited supply have fairly consistently maintained their association with luxury and love. Read more »

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TLC Review: The View From the Cheap Seats

June 8, 2016 non-fiction 15

TLC Review: The View From the Cheap SeatsTitle: The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction
Author: Neil Gaiman
Source: TLC Book Tours
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: Brilliant! I loved every piece in this collection.

I keep trying Neil Gaiman’s books in hopes of finding one that I can rave about as much as it seems like everyone else is and this book was it! This probably shouldn’t surprise me though, because the second reason I keep trying Neil Gaiman’s books is because when I got the chance to hear him give a talk, he was fantastic. As the description says, this book covers topics that include: “authors past and present; music; storytelling; comics; bookshops; travel; fairy tales; America; inspiration; libraries; ghosts; and the title piece, at turns touching and self-deprecating, which recounts the author’s experiences at the 2010 Academy Awards in Hollywood” (source). I’m happy to say I had fun reading about every one of these topics and all but two of the dozens of essays were easily enjoyed, whether or not I was familiar with the author, movie, book, comic, musician, etc that the essay was about. Read more »

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#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: Grunt

June 7, 2016 Humor, non-fiction, Science 9

#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: GruntTitle: Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War
Author: Mary Roach
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: This was a slightly more depressing topic than Mary Roach’s previous books, but it delivered all the same great elements – fascinating facts, hilarious commentary, and delightful footnotes.

Grunt tackles the science behind some of a soldier’s most challenging adversaries—panic, exhaustion, heat, noise—and introduces us to the scientists who seek to conquer them” (source). And if you’ve read a book by Mary Roach, that’s probably all you need to know – maybe more than I needed to know. Mary Roach’s amazing ability to find the best fun facts and quirky stories, then present with great candor and humor are enough that I’d read on any topic she wants to write about. Read more »

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Want to Understand GMOs? First Read The Gene

June 1, 2016 non-fiction, Science 13

Want to Understand GMOs? First Read The GeneTitle: The Gene: An Intimate History
Author: Siddhartha Mukherjee
Source: NetGalley
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: Although this lacked The Emperor of All Maladies‘ focus on moving human stories, it was one of the most ambitious yet accessible books I’ve ever read on the history of genome editing.

Throughout history, our understanding of heredity and the gene has become more precise and more nuanced. As a result, our ability to manipulate the genes of other organisms and eventually our own has increased as well. In The Gene, Siddhartha Mukherjee places our current genome editing abilities in the context of this history and insightfully presents both the promise of these abilities and the potential results of their abuse. Read more »

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May Wrap-Up Post

May 31, 2016 Uncategorized 18

January 2016

No one could be more shocked than I that I made it through 11 books this past month! If it weren’t for travelling and lots of plane travel/reading time, I’m sure I’d have read a lot less. I’ve now moved my thesis defense back to July 11th, but the end is still in sight. In the meantime, I really appreciate how supportive you’ve all been and I look forward to getting back into reading both books and your blogs more when I wrap up. Read more »

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#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks in Mini-Reviews

May 19, 2016 Fiction, non-fiction 30

This post is for two events being hosted by Andi at Estella’s Revenge: the year long #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks challenge and this month’s #SmashYourStack event, both of which focus on reading books you own. All four of these are books I’ve owned since before the beginning of the year and which I was finally able to read while travelling this week.

#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks in Mini-ReviewsTitle: The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible
Author: A.J. Jacobs
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

This book was a perfect read for a busy time in my life. It was light and funny, but I still got to enjoy learning new things. I love the way that Jacobs mixes humor, fun facts, and personal stories about his life just as much in this book as in The Know-It-All. I have to say, I can’t believe the things his wife puts up with or the things she lets him share about their lives, but I’m glad she does! I’ll definitely be looking to read all of his other books.
Read more »

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