Source: from publisher for review

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Review: What She Knew

December 3, 2015 Uncategorized 8

Review: What She KnewTitle: What She Knew
Author: Gilly Macmillan
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: This thriller made me think about human nature and kept me guessing, on the edge of my seat, and up way too late.

When Rachel Jenner lets her son Ben run ahead in the woods, she’s just trying to be the fun parent – previously her ex-husband’s role. When Ben vanishes, Rachel is forced to question everything and everyone she knows. Everyone is a suspect, from complete strangers to the people Rachel knows best. Read more »

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Review: The Evolution of Everything

November 18, 2015 Uncategorized 8

Review: The Evolution of EverythingTitle: The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge
Author: Matt Ridley
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: This book covered a ton of fascinating topics, but was a bit disjointed and biased by the author’s politics.

Although we’re often taught that history is shaped by the actions of a few critical individuals, Matt Ridley argues that even the biggest changes throughout history have been the inevitable result of incremental change. He briefly argues for the evolutionary development of each of the biggest phenomenon in human history, from philosophy and religion to money, technology, and the internet. Read more »

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Review: Between the World and Me

November 15, 2015 Uncategorized 29

Review: Between the World and MeTitle: Between the World and Me
Author: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: This was one of the most eye-opening, intellectually engaging books I’ve ever read.

If I’m honest, I’ve been putting off reading this book for ages. I’ve been nervous to pick it up both because I knew it wouldn’t be a “fun” or a light read and because I feel there’s a lot of room for me to put my foot in my mouth reviewing it. However, I’ve heard great things about it and think it’s an important book to read, so I decided to use the push from Nonfiction November and pick this up. To paraphrase the book summary, this is a book written as a letter to the author’s son attempting to answer questions about what it means to be a black man in America through his experiences and thoughtful commentary. Read more »

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Review: The Witches

October 27, 2015 non-fiction 28

Review: The WitchesTitle: The Witches: Salem, 1692
Author: Stacy Schiff
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: The big picture story was fascinating, but the trial details felt like boring lists and resolution was lacking.

“It began in 1692, over an exceptionally raw Massachusetts winter, when a minister’s daughter began to scream and convulse. It ended less than a year later, but not before 19 men and women had been hanged and an elderly man crushed to death. The panic spread quickly, involving the most educated men and prominent politicians in the colony.” (source) Even today, the reasons behind the accusations and persecutions  of this time remain a mystery. Read more »

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Review: The Secret Chord

October 25, 2015 Fiction 13

Review: The Secret ChordTitle: The Secret Chord
Author: Geraldine Brooks
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: The beautiful writing and perfectly executed foreshadowing made it impossible for me to put this book down.

This is the story of King David. Combining parts of his life that have become myth with gritty historical detail, this story follows his growth from an obscure shepherd boy with nothing to a powerful ruler. When he begins to abuse that power, his seer Natan, is the only person who can speak the truth to him and who knows full truth of what he’s done and what disasters are yet to come. Read more »

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Review: Then Comes Marriage

October 22, 2015 Uncategorized 10

Review: Then Comes MarriageTitle: Then Comes Marriage: United States v. Windsor and the Defeat of DOMA
Author: Roberta Kaplan, Lisa Dickey, Edie Windsor
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: This was an incredible, moving eye-witness account of an important historical event, although there was a bit too much legalese.

As a young woman uncomfortable coming out to her family, Robbie Kaplan found solace in her meetings with therapist Thea Spyer. Years later, Robbie’s position as a successful lawyer enables her to help Thea’s spouse when Thea passes away. Although Thea and Edie had been a couple for decades, had stayed together through Thea’s multiple sclerosis, and had been legally married in Canada, the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act enabled the state of NY to disregard their marriage. This is Robbie’s first hand account of the ground-breaking supreme court case that lead to that act being overturned. Read more »

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Review: Cleopatra’s Shadow

October 3, 2015 Uncategorized 6

Review: Cleopatra’s ShadowTitle: Cleopatra's Shadows
Author: Emily Holleman
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: This was an exciting, fast-paced story of murder and intrigue with a surprising emotional depth and complex situations involving gender and politics.

Everyone has heard of Cleopatra, but her sisters are less well known. Filling in the gaps in the historical record, Cleopatra’s Shadow tells the story of her older sister, Berniece’s coup and her struggle maintain power. As Berniece deals with untrustworthy advisors she must navigate both battles and marriages. In the meantime, Cleopatra’s younger sister, Arsinoe, must survive Berniece’s court after being abandoned by Cleopatra and their father. Read more »

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Review – Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War

August 12, 2015 Biography, History, non-fiction 9

Review – Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear WarTitle: Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War
Author: Susan Southard
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: This was a difficult book to read, but incredibly well written and worthwhile.

I hoped to write a review of this book on August 9th, the 70th anniversary of the day an atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki. Unfortunately, life interfered, but this horrific event still deserves to be remembered today. Drawing on extensive interviews, the author is able to share the stories of five survivors, from the time of the bombing through the present. She also places their personal stories in the greater historical context, both leading up to the decision to use the atomic bomb and following the way the decision was presented afterwards. Read more »

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Review: Xamnesia

July 8, 2015 Memoir, non-fiction, Review 20

Review: XamnesiaTitle: Xamnesia
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

After reading my interview with Lizzie Harwood, my mom jumped at the chance to review her memoir and I’m excited to share her review with you today. Thanks Mom for the great guest post!

Wow! I love reading memoirs and have read quite a few, but none quite like this one!   Xamnesia:  Everything I Forgot in my Search for an Unreal Life   is the story of a young woman who leaves her native New Zealand to work for VIP billionaires in a remote oil-rich oasis.   The perks are extravagant but the cost to the author turned out to be very steep. Read more »

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Beauty and Chaos Review

July 1, 2015 non-fiction 5

Beauty and Chaos ReviewTitle: Beauty and Chaos
Author: Michael Pronko
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: This collection renewed my faith in short stories collections with a series of beautiful, meditative pieces on the little things in life.

After living in and writing about Tokyo for years, Michael Pronko is able to share fascinating details about the city that the casual visitor would probably miss. He highlights the duality of the city, with its islands of serenity and peace in the midst of what is the largest city in the world, and explains many beautiful customs. Read more »

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