Source: from publisher for review

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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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Review: Something Must be Done About Prince Edward County

June 15, 2015 History, Memoir, Narrative Non-Fiction, non-fiction 8

Review: Something Must be Done About Prince Edward CountyTitle: Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County
Author: Kristen Green
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: This was an enjoyable book, but more autobiography than I expected and lighter than I would have liked.

In response to the Brown v. Board of Education ruling that segregated schools were unconstitutional, Virginia’s Prince Edward County closed public schools rather that integrate their school system. They then started a private school exclusively for white children. This left many African American and poor white families with two options: send their children away or pull them out of school. Although author Kristen Green attended the local private school, she knew little about her hometown’s past and her own family’s role in the public school closings. Read more »

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Review: Disclaimer

June 11, 2015 Fiction, Thriller 22

Review: DisclaimerTitle: Disclaimer
Author: Renée Knight
Source: from publisher for review, TLC Book Tours
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: With a fast pace, lots of twists and turns, plus fascinating moral questions, this was a book I couldn’t put down!

“Finding a mysterious novel at her bedside plunges documentary filmmaker Catherine Ravenscroft into a living nightmare. Though ostensibly fiction,The Perfect Stranger recreates in vivid, unmistakable detail the terrible day Catherine became hostage to a dark secret, a secret that only one other person knew–and that person is dead. Now that the past is catching up with her, Catherine’s world is falling apart. Her only hope is to confront what really happened on that awful day even if the shocking truth might destroy her.” (source) Read more »

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Review: Model Woman

June 10, 2015 Biography, non-fiction 10

Review: Model WomanTitle: Model Woman
Author: Robert Lacey
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: This was a very fun, easy read which kept my interest because of both Eileen’s character and the interesting industry she worked in.

Eileen Ford, founder of Ford Modelling Agency, was a woman of many contradictions. Fiercely protective of her models, she could be extremely sharp towards people she thought were taking advantage of them. But she could be equally sharp with models who didn’t follow her rules or meet her standards for beauty. Her drive and eye for talent, combined with her husband’s business sense, helped models become a more respected part of the fashion industry. They also turned Ford into the largest and most successful modelling agency in the 20th century. Read more »

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