Thursday, November 16, 2017

Chasing Phil {a review}

Chasing Phil: The Adventures of Two Undercover Agents with the World's Most Charming Con Man by David Howard is quite the story. I really enjoyed reading about one of the first undercover FBI operations, the agents who were pretty much winging it and the star of the show, Phil Kitzer.  It was interesting to think about how far along we have come since 1977 too with our technology and ways to track people. The investigation would have certainly been a lot easier in 2017! This was definitely an interesting and entertaining read. If you have any interest in true crime or law enforcement, I think you'd enjoy this book.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

To learn more about David Howard, click here.
To learn more about this book, click here.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Comic Book Story of Video Games {a review}

I picked this book out because I thought it would be fun for my son and I to check out. We both enjoy video games (I love anything in the Mario franchise) but he is definitely the bigger fan (plays on Steam and various consoles). The book is a graphic novel, which my son didn't particularly like. He flipped through it, commented on a few things and was pretty much done. I read the entire book and while it was interesting, I felt like it would've been better in a different format.

If you want to read more about the author, click here.
For more information on the book, click here.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Queso! {a review}

Can we talk about the cover of this new cookbook from The Homesick Texan, Lisa Fain? It is mouthwatering!!! Every time I look at it, I just want all the chips and queso. The rest of the cookbook is equally appetizing. I thought the book was easy to read, the directions were clear and concise and the ingredients were ones easily found locally or online. I also really enjoyed the history of queso and appreciate the research done by Fain on the subject. I often visit Texas and now have several restaurants I want to try that are mentioned in the book. Highly recommend for anyone who loves queso!

For more info on the book, click here.
For more info on the author, click here.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Life-changing Manga of Tidying Up {a review}

Confession: I've never read a graphic novel/manga before. As I was browsing through books to choose from this one immediately caught my eye because of the cute illustration of author Marie Kondo. I had actually heard of her bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up but had never read it.

I am definitely one of those people who struggles with tidying up, especially when it comes to paperwork. Between the mail and the kids bringing stuff home from school, there is just always so much. I put stuff to be shredded in a "To Be Shredded" bag but then it takes me forever to get around to doing it. This made me curious to see what tips Kondo had when it came to "tidying up".

First of all, I really enjoyed the illustrations by Yuko Uramoto. I thought they were so adorable. I would definitely be interested in reading more graphic novels in the future. The book itself was super easy to read and only took me about two hours total sitting in the school pick-up line. It was full of lots of useful information. I'm especially interested in trying out the folding methods described in the book for my son's clothes (and maybe mine eventually). 

I would definitely recommend The Life-changing Manga of Tidying Up to anyone looking to tidy up their lives a little. It would be good for adults and teenagers.

To learn more about the author, click here.
To learn more about the book, click here.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Thank You for Arguing {a review}

I love a good debate. The kind where both parties are rational, thoughtful and not resorting to hate or personal digs that are irrelevant to the subject. I chose Thank You for Arguing by Jay Heinrichs because of the clever title. In some ways the title is a little misleading. Are we arguing or persuading? If you're just trying to convince people to vote for you for class president, it's not really arguing. The book is teaching people how to be persuasive and use things in conversation to your advantage. I thought the book was interesting but it was also a book I had no problem putting down easily. I found the little text boxes on each page incredibly annoying and distracting from the main body of text. It is mentioned that the book is used for AP English classes in high school. The revised edition seems to have included pop culture references and recent political issues just for that purpose. I think if you are interested in the art of rhetoric, work in a field where it would be useful or just enjoy debating and/or getting what you want, then you would enjoy this book.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Jefferson's America {a review}

I've mentioned this before but I'm a huge history buff. I majored in it and have always found it to be interesting. I was really excited to read Julie M. Fenster's book Jefferson's America, especially after reading that it was "riveting" and "entertaining".

While it was interesting to read about Lewis & Clark, Zebulon Pike and others who explored rivers and America's West, it was not an exhilarating page turner. I thought the maps included were interesting and the pictures, though taken years later, of the areas explored were neat too.  Unless you have a specific interest in these explorers, I wouldn't recommend reading the book.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

For more information about the book, click here.
For more information about the author, click here.

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Apache Wars {a review}

The Apache Wars by Paul Andrew Hutton is quite possibly the most meticulously researched book I think I've ever read...and it's not the least bit boring! This historical non-fiction is mostly told in chronological order with only a few exceptions (though dates are always noted).

The author gives us an amazing look at the dangerous life on the frontier, the Apache raids in the US and Mexico, the unfair treatment of the Apaches, and so much more. The Chicago Tribune, in a review, said that this book was "[A] major work of history on a much-neglected subject...". I could not agree more. It motivates me to learn more about other tribes and sub-tribes/clans, especially that of the Cherokee since my great-grandmother was full-blooded Cherokee.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in history!

For more info on the book click here
For more info on Paul Andrew Hutton click here

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

tuesdays with Morrie {a review}

Many years ago, I worked in a bookstore and I always had customers ask for Mitch Albom's book tuesdays with Morrie.  I was, at that time, reading mostly things in the military section as I was dating my now-husband who was in the Army. When I saw that tuesdays with Morrie was available through Blogging for Books, I immediately requested a copy to review because I wanted to finally see what the fuss was all about.

The book is celebrating its 20th anniversary so this edition comes with a new afterword by the author. A brief synopsis: The author finds out his favorite old professor, Morrie, is terminally ill and makes trips to the Boston area to visit him. Morrie suggests they write one last thesis paper together- Morrie's lessons on life,death and more. 

After reading it, I completely understand why so many of my customers were eager to get their hands on the book. It is a wonderful reminder to all of us about what is really important. It is so easy to get caught up in our lives, in material things, in drama, etc. Sometimes you just need a little nudge to wake up from all of that and this book definitely does that.

The writing was great. I loved that stories from their college days were mixed in with the time they spent together when Morrie was ill. I also enjoyed the snippets of poetry throughout from some of Morrie's favorite poems. Great book, easy read, highly recommend!

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Inkblots {a review}

What an interesting book! The first half of the book is about Hermann Rorschach, his life, family and how he developed the inkblot experiment. The second half is mostly about the inkblots and what happened to them after Rorschach's untimely death (nearly a hundred years ago!!!) and the way they influenced everything from film noir to Jay Z.

I thought the book was very well written and meticulously researched. I would have loved to been with the author, Damion Searls, when he gained access to hundreds of Rorschach family photos from the family of a man who had been researching Rorschach for his own book before dying.

I thought it was also interesting to read about all the drama within the Rorschach community. Since Hermann died at such a young age and was unable to keep tweaking the test or develop more guidelines, others took it upon themselves to do so. Of course, not everyone agreed and there were those who stopped talking to colleagues over such disagreements. 

I found the inkblots influence on Hollywood especially interesting because I love film noir movies from the 1940s and 1950s. I never really knew how it had been influenced by Rorschach and the world's thirst, at that time, for psychoanalysis.

It is also interesting to note that this book is really the first comprehensive biography and study of Hermann Rorschach and the inkblots. I would think that it will end up as required reading for those studying psychology in high school and college. 

If you would like to read more about The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, his Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing, check out this site here

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Chamberlain Key {a review}

The Chamberlain Key, which comes out April 4, 2017, is Timothy P. Smith's amazing personal journey and discovery of an encrypted code in the Hebrew Bible. 

Throughout the first few chapters I, like the author, wondered if he was crazy as he recounted his dreams and how he moved his family to the middle of nowhere in Canada because of one. As the book progressed though, I really enjoyed the different conversations he had with some very credible Bible scholars. I like how he explained the code he found within Genesis and other parts of the Bible. 

My only complaint about this book is that we aren't getting the full story. The author is still actively looking for other hidden codes and even states that there are many more he has already found that he is not sharing within the book. I know he's sharing his story and wanted to warn people of some of the coding as it applies to the current state of the world but I want all the! I suppose I'll just have to keep an eye out on the website for the book to see if anything new comes about on there. 

If you want more information about Timothy P. Smith, you can check out his author page here or on the site I linked for the book above. If you want to get in on a book discussion, there is one currently on Facebook that you can ask to join!

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions, as well as the photo above, are my own.


Monday, January 23, 2017

A Bewitching Story {review}

When choosing this book, I didn't really know what to expect. I don't want to give much away but I will say this: like most people, I have heard of Harry Houdini and his amazing escapes from handcuffs, straight-jackets and more but I had no idea how he was involved in psychical research. I also had no idea how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, of Sherlock Holmes fame, was one of the biggest advocates of psychics.

Within a day of starting this book, I had already learned so much that I ran an entire paranormal category on Jeopardy! I thought it had a ton of information, was well-written and incredibly interesting. 

My only complaints about the book is that it references pictures that were taken during the research but we don't get to see any of them within the book. Also, the author keeps referring to the woman on the cover as a blonde but she looks like a brunette to me in the few photos they included of her. So really, no major complaints. I suppose wanting to know more about the subject is a good thing. I realize that not everything makes the cut when a book is edited and/or there are pictures that can't be used due to quality. Some of the ones they did use were a bit blurry but they were also taken in the 1920s.

I would definitely recommend this book. It gave me a glimpse into the psychic craze of the 1920s and how scientists (and Houdini) went about trying to prove or disprove mediums.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions, and the picture above, are my own.