Source: from publisher for review

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#TLCBookTours: American Duchess

March 14, 2019 Uncategorized 8

#TLCBookTours: American DuchessTitle: American Duchess: A Novel of Consuelo Vanderbilt
Author: Karen Harper
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: The settings and the main character were wonderful, but the writing was uneven.

Consuelo Vanderbilt’s marriage to the Duke of Marlborough looked like a fairy tale from the outside. In reality, she was in love with someone else and apprehensive about moving to another country. She quickly decides to make the best of things though. Facing down her husband’s disapproval, she uses her wealth and influence to give to charity and improve the lives of others. In the process, she gains many friends and becomes more confident in herself. She’ll have to rely on both of those things when she chooses to take a scandalous step to shape the future she wants. Read more »

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A Cutting Edge Science Book in Review: The Age of Living Machines

March 13, 2019 Uncategorized 4

A Cutting Edge Science Book in Review: The Age of Living MachinesTitle: The Age of Living Machines: How Biology Will Build the Next Technology Revolution
Author: Susan Hockfield
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: This book could be more details but did give an understandable introduction to some fascinating research.

As our understanding of the biological world increases, outstanding scientists working with interdisciplinary groups are turning to the natural world for solutions to critical engineering problems. Whether working to provide enough food, water, and energy for a growing population or to fight disease and create prosthetic limbs, the natural world provides many ideas we can draw on. This book covers some amazing inventions, from batteries assembled by viruses to cancer-detecting, protein-based nano-particles. These are projects that people are still working on, so this is the perfect book for learning about the latest efforts in bioengineering. Read more »

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A Feminist History Review: Devices and Desires

February 27, 2019 Uncategorized 8

A Feminist History Review: Devices and DesiresTitle: Devices and Desires
Author: Kate Hubbard
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: This book was full of fascinating information, but the surprisingly heavy focus on architecture meant it was sometimes dry anyway.

“Aided by a quartet of judicious marriages and a shrewd head for business, Bess of Hardwick rose from humble beginnings to become one of the most respected and feared Countesses in Elizabethan England—an entrepreneur who built a family fortune, created glorious houses—the last and greatest built as a widow in the 70s—and was deeply involved in matters of the court, including the custody of Mary Queen of Scots.” (source) Read more »

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A True Crime Review: Burned

February 23, 2019 Uncategorized 8

A True Crime Review: BurnedTitle: Burned: A Story of a Murder and the Crime that Wasn't
Author: Edward Humes
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: This was a fascinating story with some important take-aways, but it felt light and repetitive.

“On an April night in 1989, three young children perished in a tragic Los Angeles house fire. … It was soon determined that a worn extension cord was the cause of the tragedy. But then doubts arose. As firefighters investigated further, they came to believe that the fire was the result of arson, a heinous crime committed by a wicked young woman who, they argued, had never really wanted to be a mother. Joann Parks was tried and convicted and has languished in prison for the last twenty-five years. But now, as certain investigative methods from that era have been debunked, a pair of young lawyers from the Innocence Project have come to believe that Joann was wrongfully convicted, and that the fire might not have even been caused by arson at all.” (source) Read more »

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A Modern Epistolary Novel: When You Read This

February 21, 2019 Uncategorized 17

A Modern Epistolary Novel: When You Read ThisTitle: When You Read This
Author: Mary Adkins
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: The format of this modern epistolary novel was the best, but parts of it worked out a bit too neatly.

“For four years, Iris Massey worked side by side with PR maven Smith Simonyi, helping clients perfect their brands. But Iris has died, taken by terminal illness at only thirty-three. She also made one final request: for Smith to get her [blog] posts published as a book. Before he can do so, though, he must get the approval of Iris’ big sister Jade, an haute cuisine chef who’s been knocked sideways by her loss. Each carrying their own baggage, Smith and Jade end up on a collision course with their own unresolved pasts and with each other.” (source) Read more »

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#TLCBookTours: The Curiousities

February 19, 2019 Uncategorized 5

#TLCBookTours: The CuriousitiesTitle: The Curiosities
Author: Susan Gloss
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: Wonderful characters and friendships, vivid descriptions, just a little light and neatly wrapped up.

After a miscarriage and several failed IVF treatments, Nell’s marriage has become strained and her job has been on hold for years. To distract herself, she decides to take a job as the head of a new artists residency program, the Mansion Hill Artists’ Colony. The first year’s residents have already been chosen by Betsy Barret, who established the program in her will. Nell quickly discovers that the three artists will be just as hard to cope with as the rest of her life. Paige refuses to connect with others, avoiding commitment to one relationship or one art form. Annie appears to be continuing the gritty photography she’s known for while doing pot in the basement. And metalworker Odin is struggling to recover from a loss of his own. Read more »

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Medical Memoir Review: When Death Becomes Life

February 13, 2019 Uncategorized 10

Medical Memoir Review: When Death Becomes LifeTitle: When Death Becomes Life: Notes from a Transplant Surgeon
Author: Joshua D. Mezrich
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: This book was a mixed bag for me, with some parts that were far more interesting than others and a tone that varied from too formal to too informal to spot on.

This is one of the many recent releases in what is becoming one of my favorite genres,  memoir plus an intro to another topic. In this case, transplant surgeon Joshua Mezrich combines his professional memoir with a history of transplant surgery and some of his patients’ stories. This blend gives the reader a glimpse of both the technical aspects of transplant surgery and the day-to-day human experience of receiving, donating, and transplanting organs. Read more »

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#TLCBookTours: Learning to See

February 5, 2019 Uncategorized 10

#TLCBookTours: Learning to SeeTitle: Learning to See
Author: Elise Hooper
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: This was a unique story about an amazing woman and a fascinating time period, made even more awesome by the associated photographs.

This is a fictionalization of the life of Dorothea Lange, famous photographer of depression-era migrants and the interment of Japanese Americans during WWII. Given that she was a working woman during the 1920s-1940s, she faced many challenges balancing her personal life with her work life and never found a spouse willing to help with parenting. Initially a society photographer, her evolution into a more socially conscious artist was also a fascinating part of this story. Read more »

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#TLCBookTours Review: When Women Ruled the World

November 19, 2018 Uncategorized 12

#TLCBookTours Review: When Women Ruled the WorldTitle: When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt
Author: Kara Cooney
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: one-star

Summary: It’s hard to summarize how bad this was, full of sexism; poorly supported conclusions; and weird references to modern times.

This is a history of six women who ruled ancient Egypt. I expected to really enjoy this, having given the author’s first book (The Woman Who Would Be King) five stars. I also hate to say bad things about a book that a tour company was kind enough to send me. Unfortunately, the honest truth is that this was really bad. It’s almost impressive how the author managed to both beat the reader over the head with a feminist message and be incredibly sexist at the same time. Read more »

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TLCBookTours Review: Visual Atlas of the World

November 8, 2018 Uncategorized 10

TLCBookTours Review: Visual Atlas of the WorldTitle: National Geographic Visual Atlas of the World, 2nd Edition: Fully Revised and Updated
Author: National Geographic Society
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

I’m not quite sure what to make of this book. It wasn’t what I expected. Perhaps people who have used atlases more in their life will be less surprised than I by the amount of interesting natural history information it began with. This part of the book was a lot of fun. There were also some fascinating maps at the beginning of the section for each continent. These showed interesting things like human energy consumption; past tectonic events; and population density. In these ways, it was more and better than I expected. Read more »

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