Source: from publisher for review

Divider

Medical Memoir Review: The Lady’s Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness

January 18, 2021 Uncategorized 2 ★★★★

Medical Memoir Review: The Lady’s Handbook for Her Mysterious IllnessTitle: The Lady's Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness
Author: Sarah Ramey
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:four-stars

Summary: This was a mix of beautiful/entertaining prose and clear explanations, as enjoyable as it was informative.

This memoir of author Sarah Ramey’s experience with a ‘mysterious illness’ describes her many infuriating and unhelpful encounters with both doctors and alternative medicine practitioners. The callous response she receives from doctors, who regularly disregard clear physical evidence she’s sick and suggest a psychological explanation, was horrifying. Unfortunately, it isn’t a rare experience. Especially among women, complex diseases of the immune system are on the rise. Many of the women who experience these ‘mysterious illnesses’ encounter the same disbelief from medical practitioners and friends. In this memoir, Ramey’s personal experience therefore provides the reader with insight into a common but rarely discussed experience. She also suggests some helpful approaches to dealing with these illnesses and for contextualizing them that will likely be of use to other people, or those related to other people, experiencing similar health issues. Read more »

Divider

A New Year’s Prep Review: Hello, Habits

December 28, 2020 Uncategorized 6 ★★★★

A New Year’s Prep Review: Hello, HabitsTitle: Hello, Habits: A Minimalist's Guide to a Better Life
Author: Fumio Sasaki
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:four-stars

Summary: This book combined the soothing, humble approach of Sasaki’s previous book with better citations and even more useful advice.

This is the second in a pair of books by minimalist Fumio Sasaki that I stumbled across at the perfect time in my life. I was able to read his Goodbye, Things just as I was moving, which always makes me excited to reduce the number of things I own. Now, as I’m settling into a new place and getting ready for the new year, felt like just the right time to pick up my review copy of his next book on developing new habits. Read more »

Divider

Pop Psychology Nonfiction Review: Biased

December 16, 2020 Uncategorized 11 ★★★★★

Pop Psychology Nonfiction Review: BiasedTitle: Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do
Author: Jennifer L. Eberhardt
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:five-stars

Summary: This was everything I want from pop psychology or books on race –  a great blend of personal experience and expertly presented research that changed how I see the world.

I don’t understand how this book on subconscious bias isn’t on all the recent reading lists on racism or making more of a splash for being a fantastic work of pop psychology. Within the first few chapters, I’d learned enough about how race and age impact face recognition to totally change my understanding of the world. Similar revelations were scattered throughout. This was the perfect blend of the author’s personal experiences, her interviews with others, and her expert summary of related research. That’s enough that I’d wholeheartedly recommend this book to any one interested in reading on psychology or race, but I’ll tell you a little more about what made me love this book. Read more »

Divider

Fantasy Review: Tess of the Road

December 14, 2020 Uncategorized 11 ★★★

Fantasy Review: Tess of the RoadTitle: Tess of the Road (Tess of the Road, #1)
Author: Rachel Hartman
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:three-stars

Summary: Enjoyable characters and character development, but the plot and world building just didn’t grab me.

I enjoyed Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina duology, so I was excited to revisit that world with Tess. Unlike Seraphina, Tess is an ordinary mortal and expected to behave in particular, lady-like ways be her strictly religious mother. Eventually, Tess runs away to escape being sent to a nunnery and starts to come to terms with herself throughout her many adventures. Read more »

Divider

Historical Fiction Review: The Ventriloquists

December 11, 2020 Uncategorized 12 ★★★★★

Historical Fiction Review: The VentriloquistsTitle: The Ventriloquists
Author: E.R. Ramzipoor
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:five-stars

Summary: This was incredible! Great characters, a little poignant, but felt like a fun heist story and surprisingly rooted in fact.

Well, this book was such a pleasant surprise! The story is about a bunch of clever revolutionaries, captured by the Nazis and kept alive to write their propaganda. Instead, they decide to write a fake edition of the Nazi newspaper, making jokes at the Nazis expense to give people hope. They do this knowing that it will almost certainly lead to their death. To me, that seemed like a pretty depressing premise! Instead, it ended up feeling poignant, but hopeful. I really loved it and I’m excited to tell you why. Read more »

Divider

A Hollywood History Review: The Castle on Sunset

November 19, 2020 Uncategorized 6 ★★

A Hollywood History Review: The Castle on SunsetTitle: The Castle on Sunset: Life, Death, Love, Art, and Scandal at Hollywood's Chateau Marmont
Author: Shawn Levy
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:two-stars

Summary: Without a prior interest in early Hollywood, this books quick vignettes didn’t engage me.

“For nearly ninety years, Hollywood’s brightest stars have favored the Chateau Marmont as a home away from home. An apartment house-turned-hotel, it has hosted generations of gossip and folklore…Perched above the Sunset Strip like a fairytale castle, the Chateau seems to come from another world entirely. Its singular appearance houses an equally singular history. While a city, an industry, and a culture have changed around it, Chateau Marmont has welcomed the most iconic and iconoclastic personalities in film, music, and media. It appeals to the rich and famous not just for its European ambiance but for its seclusion: Much of what’s happened inside the Chateau’s walls has eluded the public eye. Until now.” (source) Read more »

Divider

Historical Fiction Review: Next Year in Havana

November 4, 2020 Uncategorized 10 ★★★

Historical Fiction Review: Next Year in HavanaTitle: Next Year in Havana
Author: Chanel Cleeton
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:three-stars

Summary: The writing in this book was beautiful, but an unbelievable central romance made it an only average read for me.

Late in the 24-hour read-a-thon, I was ready for some light, dual-narrative, historical fiction and this fit the bill perfectly. After the death of her grandmother, Marisol visits Cuba to scatter her grandmother’s ashes. While there, she learns more about her grandmother Elisa’s experience as the daughter of a sugar baron during the revolution against Batista. Elisa’s family, having benefited from their connection to Batista, fears the revolutionaries, but Elisa herself has a personal connection to one young revolutionary in particular. In the present day, Marisol finds herself similarly involved with a man whose activities may put him in danger from the new regime. Read more »

Divider

Disappointing Narrative Nonfiction: Summoned At Midnight

September 7, 2020 Uncategorized 0 ★★

Disappointing Narrative Nonfiction: Summoned At MidnightTitle: Summoned at Midnight: A Story of Race and the Last Military Executions at Fort Leavenworth
Author: Richard A. Serrano
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:two-stars

Summary: I enjoyed the detailed writing in this book, but the author included a lot of filler to pad this out into a book length story.

“Between 1955 and 1961, seventeen condemned soldiers–eight white, nine black–lived together on death row at Fort Leavenworth military prison. All eight of the white soldiers were eventually paroled and returned to their families… During the same six-year period, almost every black soldier was hung, lacking the benefits of political connections, expert lawyers, and public support of their white counterparts. By 1960, only the youngest black inmate, John Bennett remained on death row. His battle for clemency was fought over the backdrop of a strengthening civil rights movement, and between two vastly different presidential administrations.” (source) Read more »

Divider

New Release True Crime Review: Six Days in August

August 27, 2020 Uncategorized 8 ★★★★

New Release True Crime Review: Six Days in AugustTitle: Six Days in August: The Story of Stockholm Syndrome
Author: David King
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:four-stars

Summary: A fascinating story told well, but it felt fairly generic as far as narrative nonfiction goes.

Although you’ve probably heard the term Stockholm syndrome, you may not know the story of the bank robbery turned hostage situation that gave this idea its name. The crisis began when a man “walked into…Sveriges Kreditbank, … ripped out a submachine gun, fired it into the ceiling, and shouted, “The party starts!” (source). From that point forward, Swedish society and the press were captivated by the unfolding drama. Even the upcoming election for prime minister was almost forgotten, except as it depended on the outcome of the standoff. Read more »

Divider

Another Essay Collection Review: You Don’t Know Me

August 24, 2020 Uncategorized 4 ★★★★

Another Essay Collection Review: You Don’t Know MeTitle: You Don’t Know Me: The Incarcerated Women of York Prison Voice Their Truths
Author: Wally Lamb, The Women of York Prison
Source: from publisher for review
|Goodreads
Rating:four-stars

Summary: A tough, but well written and worthwhile read.

This is an essay collection by women imprisoned at the York Correctional Institute, all of whom took writing classes with previously published author Wally Lamb. They write about their experiences in prison and their formative life experiences. Few talk about their crimes in detail, but many talk about abuse they experienced as children, so this is a difficult read. I’m surprised to see the collection only has 29 reviews on goodreads, because it is well worth reading. As with (Don’t) Call Me Crazy, this essay collection presents an impressively varied set of perspectives on an experience most of us should probably learn more about. Read more »

Divider