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Title: The Doomed QueensAuthor: Kris WaldherrGenre: Non-FictionSub-genre: History, Women’s history, RoyaltyPages: 176Publisher: Three Rivers PressISBN: 0767928997
Summary: Marie Antoinette, Anne Boleyn, and Mary, Queen of Scots. What did they have in common? For a while they were crowned in gold, cosseted in silk, and flattered by courtiers. But in the end, they spent long nights in dark prison towers and were marched to the scaffold where they surrendered their heads to the executioner. And they are hardly alone in their undignified demises. Throughout history, royal women have had a distressing way of meeting bad ends—dying of starvation, being burned at the stake, or expiring in childbirth while trying desperately to produce an heir. They always had to be on their toes and all too often even devious plotting, miraculous pregnancies, and selling out their sisters was not enough to keep them from forcible consignment to religious orders. From Cleopatra (suicide by asp), to Princess Caroline (suspiciously poisoned on her coronation day), there’s a gory downside to being blue-blooded when you lack a Y chromosome.
My Evaluation: I really enjoyed this book. It was fun and fast to read. It of course includes your usual suspects of Princess Diana, Cleopatra, and the Boleyn Wives but it also includes people that aren’t as common and even eastern queens/rulers which is really nice! The reason it didn’t get five stars is because her “treatment” of mental illness. In one part she says about Juana the Mad, that if she lived in today’s society, a doctor would just through a handful of lithium at her and be done with it (I’m paraphrasing here). It was rather disgusting the way that treatment of what being bipolar is and even how mental health is treated today. But overall this book is a good book and fun to read of some of the people that don’t get mentioned as much

Rating: 4.6 out of 5
Related Books
Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie

Title: The Doomed Queens
Author: Kris Waldherr
Genre: Non-Fiction
Sub-genre: History, Women’s history, Royalty
Pages: 176
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
ISBN: 0767928997

Summary: Marie Antoinette, Anne Boleyn, and Mary, Queen of Scots. What did they have in common? For a while they were crowned in gold, cosseted in silk, and flattered by courtiers. But in the end, they spent long nights in dark prison towers and were marched to the scaffold where they surrendered their heads to the executioner. And they are hardly alone in their undignified demises. Throughout history, royal women have had a distressing way of meeting bad ends—dying of starvation, being burned at the stake, or expiring in childbirth while trying desperately to produce an heir. They always had to be on their toes and all too often even devious plotting, miraculous pregnancies, and selling out their sisters was not enough to keep them from forcible consignment to religious orders. From Cleopatra (suicide by asp), to Princess Caroline (suspiciously poisoned on her coronation day), there’s a gory downside to being blue-blooded when you lack a Y chromosome.

My EvaluationI really enjoyed this book. It was fun and fast to read. It of course includes your usual suspects of Princess Diana, Cleopatra, and the Boleyn Wives but it also includes people that aren’t as common and even eastern queens/rulers which is really nice! The reason it didn’t get five stars is because her “treatment” of mental illness. In one part she says about Juana the Mad, that if she lived in today’s society, a doctor would just through a handful of lithium at her and be done with it (I’m paraphrasing here). It was rather disgusting the way that treatment of what being bipolar is and even how mental health is treated today. But overall this book is a good book and fun to read of some of the people that don’t get mentioned as much

Rating: 4.6 out of 5

Related Books

Filed under The Doomed Queens Non-Fiction History Women's History Kris Waldherr Royalty

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Title: The Rebels of IrelandSeries: The Dublin Saga #2Author: Edward RutherfurdGenre: FictionSub-genre: Ireland, History, EpicPages: 863Publisher: Ballantine BooksISBN: 9780345472366
Summary: Edward Rutherfurd brings history to life through the tales of families whose fates rise and fall in each generation: Brothers who must choose between fidelity to their ancient faith or the security of their families; a wife whose passion for a charismatic Irish chieftain threatens her comfortable marriage to a prosperous merchant; a young scholar whose secret rebel sympathies are put to the test; men who risk their lives and their children’s fortunes in the tragic pursuit of freedom, and those determined to root them out forever. Rutherfurd spins the saga of Ireland’s 400-year path to independence in all its drama, tragedy, and glory through the stories of people from all strata of society—Protestant and Catholic, rich and poor, conniving and heroic. 
His richly detailed narrative brings to life watershed moments and events, from the time of plantation settlements to the “Flight of the Earls,” when the native aristocracy fled the island, to Cromwell’s suppression of the population and the imposition of the harsh anti-Catholic penal laws. He describes the hardships of ordinary people and the romantic, doomed attempt to overthrow the Protestant oppressors, which ended in defeat at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, and the departure of the “Wild Geese.” In vivid tones Rutherfurd re-creates Grattan’s Parliament, Wolfe Tone’s attempted French invasion of 1798, the tragic rising of Robert Emmet, the Catholic campaign of Daniel O’Connell, the catastrophic famine, the mass migration to America, and the glorious Irish Renaissance of Yeats and Joyce. And through the eyes of his characters, he captures the rise of Charles Stewart Parnell and the great Irish nationalists and the birth of an Ireland free of all ties to England. 
A tale of fierce battles, hot-blooded romances, and family and political intrigues, The Rebels of Ireland brings the story begun in The Princes of Ireland to a stunning conclusion.
My Evaluation: I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed it definitely more than the first book. Not that the first book was bad but this book was better. Though I do agree with one reviewer who said the ending was rushed. Completely agree with that. Between the events of 1916 and the early 1920s. It was definitely rushed. Not to mention, Rutherfurd really glossed over Josph Plunkett’s role in the Easter Uprising (one of my favorite songs is “Grace" about Joseph Plunkett’s wife, Grace), with only a brief mention. It was rather sad. Rutherfurd definitely could have cut out chunks of both books and gone further in to the 20th century and wrote about the Troubles in the 1970s. However, Rutherfurd did an excellent job of explaining why there have been so much trouble in Ireland. I definitely feel I know Irish history a bit more and understand why things happened. One last criticism I have is that I feel there’s a bit too many characters.
Rating: 4.6 out of 5
Related
The Princes of Ireland by Edward Rutherfurd

Title: The Rebels of Ireland
Series: The Dublin Saga #2
Author: Edward Rutherfurd
Genre: Fiction
Sub-genre: Ireland, History, Epic
Pages: 863
Publisher: Ballantine Books
ISBN: 9780345472366

Summary: Edward Rutherfurd brings history to life through the tales of families whose fates rise and fall in each generation: Brothers who must choose between fidelity to their ancient faith or the security of their families; a wife whose passion for a charismatic Irish chieftain threatens her comfortable marriage to a prosperous merchant; a young scholar whose secret rebel sympathies are put to the test; men who risk their lives and their children’s fortunes in the tragic pursuit of freedom, and those determined to root them out forever. Rutherfurd spins the saga of Ireland’s 400-year path to independence in all its drama, tragedy, and glory through the stories of people from all strata of society—Protestant and Catholic, rich and poor, conniving and heroic. 

His richly detailed narrative brings to life watershed moments and events, from the time of plantation settlements to the “Flight of the Earls,” when the native aristocracy fled the island, to Cromwell’s suppression of the population and the imposition of the harsh anti-Catholic penal laws. He describes the hardships of ordinary people and the romantic, doomed attempt to overthrow the Protestant oppressors, which ended in defeat at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, and the departure of the “Wild Geese.” In vivid tones Rutherfurd re-creates Grattan’s Parliament, Wolfe Tone’s attempted French invasion of 1798, the tragic rising of Robert Emmet, the Catholic campaign of Daniel O’Connell, the catastrophic famine, the mass migration to America, and the glorious Irish Renaissance of Yeats and Joyce. And through the eyes of his characters, he captures the rise of Charles Stewart Parnell and the great Irish nationalists and the birth of an Ireland free of all ties to England. 

A tale of fierce battles, hot-blooded romances, and family and political intrigues, The Rebels of Ireland brings the story begun in The Princes of Ireland to a stunning conclusion.

My Evaluation: I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed it definitely more than the first book. Not that the first book was bad but this book was better. Though I do agree with one reviewer who said the ending was rushed. Completely agree with that. Between the events of 1916 and the early 1920s. It was definitely rushed. Not to mention, Rutherfurd really glossed over Josph Plunkett’s role in the Easter Uprising (one of my favorite songs is “Grace" about Joseph Plunkett’s wife, Grace), with only a brief mention. It was rather sad. Rutherfurd definitely could have cut out chunks of both books and gone further in to the 20th century and wrote about the Troubles in the 1970s. However, Rutherfurd did an excellent job of explaining why there have been so much trouble in Ireland. I definitely feel I know Irish history a bit more and understand why things happened. One last criticism I have is that I feel there’s a bit too many characters.

Rating: 4.6 out of 5

Related

Filed under The Rebels of Ireland edward rutherfurd Fiction History Ireland Irish History Epic Good Books

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Title: The Lullaby of Polish GirlsAuthor: Dagmara DominczykGenre: FictionSub-genre: Literary Fiction, Poland, Coming of AgePages: 256Publisher: Spiegel & GrauISBN: 0812983823
Summary: Because of her father’s role in the Solidarity movement, Anna and her parents immigrate to the United States in the 1980s as political refugees from Poland. They settle in Brooklyn among immigrants of every stripe, yet Anna never quite feels that she belongs. But then, the summer she turns twelve, she is sent back to Poland to visit her grandmother, and suddenly she experiences the shock of recognition. In her family’s hometown of Kielce, Anna develops intense friendships with two local girls—brash and beautiful Justyna and desperately awkward Kamila—and their bond is renewed every summer when Anna returns. The Lullaby of Polish Girls follows these three best friends from their early teenage years on the lookout for boys in Kielce—a town so rough its citizens are called “the switchblades”—to the loss of innocence that wrecks them, and the stunning murder that reaches across oceans to bring them back together after they’ve grown and long since left home.
My Evaluation: I’m really dissapointed in this book. I had really high hopes for this book and while there were parts that I really enjoyed but I just had so many problems with it. The first was while most of the time I can handle switching between time points, but in this book, it just kind of drove me nuts, especially with keeping track of three character view points. I also felt there were details left out that left the girls’ stories incomplete, especially in Anna’s story and it just left me hanging a bit. Also, in my copy of the book, Dagmara has an interview and she writes about the language (this was the thing I had the most problem with the book). While, an occasional swear word or vulgar description is okay, this book has WAY to much of that. Dagmara writes that “If I were a male writer, this wouldn’t be such an issue…” (pg 226). And I wholly disagree with this, at least in my opinion. Had this book had less vulgar descriptions/swear words, I would have liked it much better, no matter the gender of the writer. I think that having this many swear words in a book makes a book worse and frankly doesn’t add the characters personalities. It was a huge turn-off. 

I also really didn’t like that it just felt like things were… lacking. On the back of the book, it reads like there was this big event that brings the girls back together again. And once I finished the book, I wasn’t really sure what that event was. It was really frustrating.

Rating: 1.9 out of 5

Title: The Lullaby of Polish Girls
Author: Dagmara Dominczyk
Genre: Fiction
Sub-genre: Literary Fiction, Poland, Coming of Age
Pages: 256
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
ISBN: 0812983823

Summary: Because of her father’s role in the Solidarity movement, Anna and her parents immigrate to the United States in the 1980s as political refugees from Poland. They settle in Brooklyn among immigrants of every stripe, yet Anna never quite feels that she belongs. But then, the summer she turns twelve, she is sent back to Poland to visit her grandmother, and suddenly she experiences the shock of recognition. In her family’s hometown of Kielce, Anna develops intense friendships with two local girls—brash and beautiful Justyna and desperately awkward Kamila—and their bond is renewed every summer when Anna returns. The Lullaby of Polish Girls follows these three best friends from their early teenage years on the lookout for boys in Kielce—a town so rough its citizens are called “the switchblades”—to the loss of innocence that wrecks them, and the stunning murder that reaches across oceans to bring them back together after they’ve grown and long since left home.

My Evaluation: I’m really dissapointed in this book. I had really high hopes for this book and while there were parts that I really enjoyed but I just had so many problems with it. The first was while most of the time I can handle switching between time points, but in this book, it just kind of drove me nuts, especially with keeping track of three character view points. I also felt there were details left out that left the girls’ stories incomplete, especially in Anna’s story and it just left me hanging a bit. Also, in my copy of the book, Dagmara has an interview and she writes about the language (this was the thing I had the most problem with the book). While, an occasional swear word or vulgar description is okay, this book has WAY to much of that. Dagmara writes that “If I were a male writer, this wouldn’t be such an issue…” (pg 226). And I wholly disagree with this, at least in my opinion. Had this book had less vulgar descriptions/swear words, I would have liked it much better, no matter the gender of the writer. I think that having this many swear words in a book makes a book worse and frankly doesn’t add the characters personalities. It was a huge turn-off. 

I also really didn’t like that it just felt like things were… lacking. On the back of the book, it reads like there was this big event that brings the girls back together again. And once I finished the book, I wasn’t really sure what that event was. It was really frustrating.

Rating: 1.9 out of 5

Filed under The Lullaby of Polish Girls Dagmara Dominczyk Literary Fiction Fiction Poland Coming of Age bad books

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Title: The Tainted RelicSeries: The Medieval Murderers #1Author: The Medieval Murderers: Michael Jecks (Goodreads Author), Susanna Gregory, Ian Morson, Philip Gooden, Simon Beaufort, Bernard KnightGenre: FictionSub-genre: England History, Mystery, Historical FictionPages: 502Publisher: Simon & Schuster UKISBN: 0743267958
Summary: It was July, 1100. Jerusalem lies ransacked. Amidst the chaos, an English knight is entrusted with a valuable religious relic: a fragment of the True Cross, allegedly stained with the blood of Christ. The relic is said to be cursed: anyone who touches it will meet an untimely and gruesome end. Several decades later, the Cross turns up in the possession of a dealer, robbed and murdered en route to Glastonbury. Investigating the death, Bernard Knight’s protagonist, Crowner John learns of its dark history. In Oxford in 1269, the discovery of a decapitated monk leads Ian Morson’s academic sleuth William Falconer to uncover a link to the relic. In 1323, in Exeter, Michael Jecks’ Sir Baldwin has reason to suspect its involvement in at least five violent deaths. Thirty years later, several suspicious deaths occur in Cambridge - and, once again, the tainted relic has a crucial part to play. Finally, it’s despatched to London, where Philip Gooden’s Nick Revill will determine its ultimate fate.
My Evaluation: So dissapointed by this book. It sounded so good when I read about the series but as I read it, it was just… a mess. Having this many authors does not do the historical fiction genre any favors. They may be greats with their own books, but combining them together created just a mess. There were five acts in this book and I could tell where each author had written. The story did not flow, and was extremely loosely connected by a relic. In addition to the mess of writing, I cannot stand it when authors (and it seems to happen more with British authors) use words that are frankly, just pretentious. If you’re using a word that has a more common meaning, use that common meaning! Don’t try to sound uppity and snooty just because you can. Not to mention the “mystery” part of this book was extremely sad and lacking. In fact, it wasn’t really there through most of the story. I will not be reading the rest of this series, which is unfortunate because I think the ideas had such promise.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Read-a-likes:
The Princes of Ireland by Edward Rutherfurd
Morning Glory by Sarah Jio
The Bungalow by Sarah Jio
The Last Camellia by Sarah Jio
Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio
Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris
Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Clair de Lune by Jetta Carleton
The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian
The Templar Salvation by Raymound Khoury

Title: The Tainted Relic
Series: The Medieval Murderers #1
Author: The Medieval Murderers: Michael Jecks (Goodreads Author), Susanna Gregory, Ian Morson, Philip Gooden, Simon Beaufort, Bernard Knight
Genre: Fiction
Sub-genre: England History, Mystery, Historical Fiction
Pages: 502
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
ISBN: 0743267958

Summary: It was July, 1100. Jerusalem lies ransacked. Amidst the chaos, an English knight is entrusted with a valuable religious relic: a fragment of the True Cross, allegedly stained with the blood of Christ. The relic is said to be cursed: anyone who touches it will meet an untimely and gruesome end. Several decades later, the Cross turns up in the possession of a dealer, robbed and murdered en route to Glastonbury. Investigating the death, Bernard Knight’s protagonist, Crowner John learns of its dark history. In Oxford in 1269, the discovery of a decapitated monk leads Ian Morson’s academic sleuth William Falconer to uncover a link to the relic. In 1323, in Exeter, Michael Jecks’ Sir Baldwin has reason to suspect its involvement in at least five violent deaths. Thirty years later, several suspicious deaths occur in Cambridge - and, once again, the tainted relic has a crucial part to play. Finally, it’s despatched to London, where Philip Gooden’s Nick Revill will determine its ultimate fate.

My Evaluation: So dissapointed by this book. It sounded so good when I read about the series but as I read it, it was just… a mess. Having this many authors does not do the historical fiction genre any favors. They may be greats with their own books, but combining them together created just a mess. There were five acts in this book and I could tell where each author had written. The story did not flow, and was extremely loosely connected by a relic. In addition to the mess of writing, I cannot stand it when authors (and it seems to happen more with British authors) use words that are frankly, just pretentious. If you’re using a word that has a more common meaning, use that common meaning! Don’t try to sound uppity and snooty just because you can. Not to mention the “mystery” part of this book was extremely sad and lacking. In fact, it wasn’t really there through most of the story. I will not be reading the rest of this series, which is unfortunate because I think the ideas had such promise.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Read-a-likes:

Filed under The Tainted Relic The Medieval Murderers Fiction Historical Fiction England History Mystery

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Title: The Princes of IrelandSeries: The Dublin Saga #1Author: Edward RutherfurdGenre: FictionSub-genre: Ireland, History, EpicPages: 776Publisher: Ballantine BooksISBN: 0345472357
Summary: The saga begins in pre-Christian Ireland with a clever refashioning of the legend of Cuchulainn, and culminates in the dramatic founding of the Free Irish State in 1922. Through the interlocking stories of a wonderfully imagined cast of characters — monks and noblemen, soldiers and rebels, craftswomen and writers — Rutherfurd vividly conveys the personal passions and shared dreams that shaped the character of the country. He takes readers inside all the major events in Irish history: the reign of the fierce and mighty kings of Tara; the mission of Saint Patrick; the Viking invasion and the founding of Dublin; the trickery of Henry II, which gave England its foothold on the island in 1167; the plantations of the Tudors and the savagery of Cromwell; the flight of the “Wild Geese”; the failed rebellion of 1798; the Great Famine and the Easter Rebellion. With Rutherfurd’s well-crafted storytelling, readers witness the rise of the Fenians in the late nineteenth century, the splendours of the Irish cultural renaissance, and the bloody battles for Irish independence, as though experiencing their momentous impact firsthand. 
My Evaluation: I really enjoyed this book! Not knowing much Irish history, this book has been a great help to start learning. I can’t wait to start the sequel. I really enjoyed the author’s description of ancient Ireland and weaving family tales into the history was well done. The only things I didn’t particularly like were having to flip back and forth to the maps and family trees. It would have been nice to have those maps in the bad and then fold out so I could refer back to them more easily. Also the pronunciation guide was okay but I also would have prefer a meanings guide. However, overall it was a well written book.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Title: The Princes of Ireland
Series: The Dublin Saga #1
Author: Edward Rutherfurd
Genre: Fiction
Sub-genre: Ireland, History, Epic
Pages: 776
Publisher: Ballantine Books
ISBN: 0345472357

Summary: The saga begins in pre-Christian Ireland with a clever refashioning of the legend of Cuchulainn, and culminates in the dramatic founding of the Free Irish State in 1922. Through the interlocking stories of a wonderfully imagined cast of characters — monks and noblemen, soldiers and rebels, craftswomen and writers — Rutherfurd vividly conveys the personal passions and shared dreams that shaped the character of the country. He takes readers inside all the major events in Irish history: the reign of the fierce and mighty kings of Tara; the mission of Saint Patrick; the Viking invasion and the founding of Dublin; the trickery of Henry II, which gave England its foothold on the island in 1167; the plantations of the Tudors and the savagery of Cromwell; the flight of the “Wild Geese”; the failed rebellion of 1798; the Great Famine and the Easter Rebellion. With Rutherfurd’s well-crafted storytelling, readers witness the rise of the Fenians in the late nineteenth century, the splendours of the Irish cultural renaissance, and the bloody battles for Irish independence, as though experiencing their momentous impact firsthand. 

My EvaluationI really enjoyed this book! Not knowing much Irish history, this book has been a great help to start learning. I can’t wait to start the sequel. I really enjoyed the author’s description of ancient Ireland and weaving family tales into the history was well done. The only things I didn’t particularly like were having to flip back and forth to the maps and family trees. It would have been nice to have those maps in the bad and then fold out so I could refer back to them more easily. Also the pronunciation guide was okay but I also would have prefer a meanings guide. However, overall it was a well written book.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Filed under The Princes of Ireland Edward Rutherfurd Ireland Historical Fiction History Epic Fiction Good Books

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secondbananabooks:

This summer, tealeavesandbookbindings and secondbananabooks are hosting a 24-hour read-a-thon! Inspired by Dewey’s read-a-thon, the Read Your Day Away read-a-thon will take place on Saturday, June 28th.
Want to join?
Help spread the word by reblogging this post, and by following  @ReadYourDayAway on twitter
Set a personal goal of how much you would like to read during the read-a-thon, and make a tumblr post or tweet tagged #readyourdayaway. You can also participate on youtube or on a book blog!
The read-a-thon starts at noon CDT - check here to find out what time that is in your time zone
When the time comes, read, read, read!
Be sure to update everyone on your progress by using the tag #readyourdayaway
If you have any questions, message secondbananabooks or tealeavesandbookbindings, or tweet @ReadYourDayAway. All questions answered on tumblr will be tagged as #readyourdayawayasks, so check there for FAQ!

secondbananabooks:

This summer, tealeavesandbookbindings and secondbananabooks are hosting a 24-hour read-a-thon! Inspired by Dewey’s read-a-thon, the Read Your Day Away read-a-thon will take place on Saturday, June 28th.

Want to join?

  • Help spread the word by reblogging this post, and by following  @ReadYourDayAway on twitter
  • Set a personal goal of how much you would like to read during the read-a-thon, and make a tumblr post or tweet tagged #readyourdayaway. You can also participate on youtube or on a book blog!
  • The read-a-thon starts at noon CDT - check here to find out what time that is in your time zone
  • When the time comes, read, read, read!
  • Be sure to update everyone on your progress by using the tag #readyourdayaway
  • If you have any questions, message secondbananabooks or tealeavesandbookbindings, or tweet @ReadYourDayAway.
    All questions answered on tumblr will be tagged as #readyourdayawayasks, so check there for FAQ!

(via booktastic-nerdiness)

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Title: The Fault in our StarsAuthor: John GreenGenre: Young AdultSub-genre: Death, cancer, TeenPages: 313Publisher: Dutton BooksISBN: 0525478817
Summary: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
My Evaluation: So I will be honest here and say: I don’t get what the big deal is over this book…. Yes, it’s pretty good writing and I liked the characters well (or didn’t as Green intended) enough but did I cry? Nope. Yes it was sad that [spoiler here that is a major plot point] but did I cry over it like I cried over character deaths in other books, absolutely not. It wasn’t that sad. Not sure why I didn’t but I think it’s because a)in part I inherently knew it was going to happen and b)I didn’t really identify with the characters. They’re teens, they have cancer, two things I’ve never really experience (I mean of course I was a teen once) but I didn’t connect with them the way I have when other characters I was attached to died. So overall, it was a good book but I don’t feel it’s this masterpiece that everyone was making it out to be. Also, there were large chunks of text that weren’t necessary and just added rambling esoteric thoughts that didn’t have anything do with the plot and that was really annoying.

Rating: 2.6 out of 5

Title: The Fault in our Stars
Author: John Green
Genre: Young Adult
Sub-genre: Death, cancer, Teen
Pages: 313
Publisher: Dutton Books
ISBN: 0525478817

Summary: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

My Evaluation: So I will be honest here and say: I don’t get what the big deal is over this book…. Yes, it’s pretty good writing and I liked the characters well (or didn’t as Green intended) enough but did I cry? Nope. Yes it was sad that [spoiler here that is a major plot point] but did I cry over it like I cried over character deaths in other books, absolutely not. It wasn’t that sad. Not sure why I didn’t but I think it’s because a)in part I inherently knew it was going to happen and b)I didn’t really identify with the characters. They’re teens, they have cancer, two things I’ve never really experience (I mean of course I was a teen once) but I didn’t connect with them the way I have when other characters I was attached to died. So overall, it was a good book but I don’t feel it’s this masterpiece that everyone was making it out to be. Also, there were large chunks of text that weren’t necessary and just added rambling esoteric thoughts that didn’t have anything do with the plot and that was really annoying.

Rating: 2.6 out of 5

Filed under the fault in our stars John Green Young Adult Teen Cancer meh books

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Title: Love LifeAuthor: Rob LoweGenre: Non-FictionSub-genre: autobiography, memoirPages: 272Publisher: Simon & SchusterISBN: 1451685718 
Summary: When Rob Lowe’s first book was published in 2011, he received the kind of rapturous reviews that writers dream of and rocketed to the top of the bestseller list. Now, in Love Life, he expands his scope, using stories and observations from his life in a poignant and humorous series of true tales about men and women, art and commerce, fathers and sons, addiction and recovery, and sex and love.
My Evaluation: Once again, Rob Lowe wrote an excellent book. I found this book much more touching, personal, and heartfelt than the first book (which was all of those things. This one even more). Especially the last two chapters on his marriage were extremely well written and frankly every couple should read it and see that the things he writes are about what a marriage should be. My only issue with the book is the following:
[Lowe is talking about Bigfoot and his wanting know more]: “Side note: have there ever been a more horrific barrier to reading than the Dewey Decimal System? No wonder libraries are becoming irrelevant.” This state a)is horrible horribly false and b) as a trained librarian horrible rude and makes me think a little less of Rob Lowe. If he’s all about learning he should know that Librarians AREN’T becoming irrelevant. /ran

Rating: 4.3 out of 5
Read Alikes 
Stories I only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe
I’m hosting as Fast As I Can by Tom Bergeron
Rockettes, Rockstars, and Rockbottom by Keltie Colleen
Most Talkative: stories from the front lines of pop culture by Andy Cohen

Title: Love Life
Author: Rob Lowe
Genre: Non-Fiction
Sub-genre: autobiography, memoir
Pages: 272
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 1451685718 

Summary: When Rob Lowe’s first book was published in 2011, he received the kind of rapturous reviews that writers dream of and rocketed to the top of the bestseller list. Now, in Love Life, he expands his scope, using stories and observations from his life in a poignant and humorous series of true tales about men and women, art and commerce, fathers and sons, addiction and recovery, and sex and love.

My EvaluationOnce again, Rob Lowe wrote an excellent book. I found this book much more touching, personal, and heartfelt than the first book (which was all of those things. This one even more). Especially the last two chapters on his marriage were extremely well written and frankly every couple should read it and see that the things he writes are about what a marriage should be. My only issue with the book is the following:

[Lowe is talking about Bigfoot and his wanting know more]: “Side note: have there ever been a more horrific barrier to reading than the Dewey Decimal System? No wonder libraries are becoming irrelevant.” This state a)is horrible horribly false and b) as a trained librarian horrible rude and makes me think a little less of Rob Lowe. If he’s all about learning he should know that Librarians AREN’T becoming irrelevant. /ran

Rating: 4.3 out of 5

Read Alikes 

Filed under Non Fiction Rob Lowe autobiography memoir Love Live

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Sorry for the lack of posts! I’m slogging my way through The Princes of Ireland right now and while it’s great, it’s just long!! :D
Title: Does This Mean You’ll See Me Naked?Author: Robert D.WebsterGenre: Non-FictionSub-genre: Death, Mortuary, FuneralsPages: 141Publisher: Rooftop PublishingISBN: 1600080715
Summary: A funeral director reflects on 30 years of serving the living and the deceased while providing us with a behind-the-scenes story told with both empathy and humor. He attempts to assuage our curiosity and answer those questions that are uppermost in our minds when faced with death, including: - How do you handle the loss of a loved one? - What really happens during a death call? - Why do people send flowers? - What occurs during the restoration process? - What do people leave in loved ones’ caskets? - How has the undertaker’s role evolved? 
My Evaluation: Really disappointed in this book. The stories were great but it was very preachy in parts and the writer came off in his writing as pretentious and that he’s the best guy in the world and never does anything wrong. It really turned me off the book.
Rating: 2 out of 5
Read-a-likes: 
Down Among The Dead by Michelle Williams
Coroner’s Journal: Stalking Death in Louisiana by Louis Cataldie
A Question of Murder by Cyril Wecht
Blood on the Table by Colin Evans
Beyond the Body Farm by William Bass
Forensic Detective by Robert Mann
Stiff by Mary Roach
Death’s Acre by William Bass
Dead Men Do Tell Tales by William R. Maples

Sorry for the lack of posts! I’m slogging my way through The Princes of Ireland right now and while it’s great, it’s just long!! :D

Title: Does This Mean You’ll See Me Naked?
Author: Robert D.Webster
Genre: Non-Fiction
Sub-genre: Death, Mortuary, Funerals
Pages: 141
Publisher: Rooftop Publishing
ISBN: 1600080715

Summary: A funeral director reflects on 30 years of serving the living and the deceased while providing us with a behind-the-scenes story told with both empathy and humor. He attempts to assuage our curiosity and answer those questions that are uppermost in our minds when faced with death, including: - How do you handle the loss of a loved one? - What really happens during a death call? - Why do people send flowers? - What occurs during the restoration process? - What do people leave in loved ones’ caskets? - How has the undertaker’s role evolved? 

My EvaluationReally disappointed in this book. The stories were great but it was very preachy in parts and the writer came off in his writing as pretentious and that he’s the best guy in the world and never does anything wrong. It really turned me off the book.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Read-a-likes: 

  • Down Among The Dead by Michelle Williams
  • Coroner’s Journal: Stalking Death in Louisiana by Louis Cataldie
  • A Question of Murder by Cyril Wecht
  • Blood on the Table by Colin Evans
  • Beyond the Body Farm by William Bass
  • Forensic Detective by Robert Mann
  • Stiff by Mary Roach
  • Death’s Acre by William Bass
  • Dead Men Do Tell Tales by William R. Maples

Filed under Does This mean You'll See Me Naked Robert D. Webster Non-Fiction Death Mortuary Funerals Eh books

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Title: Life in MotionAuthor: Misty CopelandGenre: Non-FictionSub-genre: Sports, Ballet, biographyPages: 288Publisher: TouchstoneISBN: 1476737983
Summary: As the only African American soloist dancing with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, Misty Copeland has made history. But when she first placed her hands on the barre at an after-school community center, no one expected the undersized, anxious thirteen-year-old to become a ground-breaking ballerina. 
My Evaluation: 

Really enjoyed this book. I heard about Misty’s story a couple of years ago and glad she finally got a book out (I didn’t know everything, just that she started at a Boys and Girls club). There were a couple of things I didn’t like about her style though… It was very jumbled and jumped around in time a lot of the time so that was kind of hard to follow. I also would have preferred a lot more writing about ABT then how it’s kind of abstractly written about in the book. But overall, it’s a good book and Misty’s story is definitely inspiring
Rating: 3.8 out of 5

Title: Life in Motion
Author: Misty Copeland
Genre: Non-Fiction
Sub-genre: Sports, Ballet, biography
Pages: 288
Publisher: Touchstone
ISBN: 1476737983

Summary: As the only African American soloist dancing with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, Misty Copeland has made history. But when she first placed her hands on the barre at an after-school community center, no one expected the undersized, anxious thirteen-year-old to become a ground-breaking ballerina. 

My Evaluation

Really enjoyed this book. I heard about Misty’s story a couple of years ago and glad she finally got a book out (I didn’t know everything, just that she started at a Boys and Girls club). There were a couple of things I didn’t like about her style though… It was very jumbled and jumped around in time a lot of the time so that was kind of hard to follow. I also would have preferred a lot more writing about ABT then how it’s kind of abstractly written about in the book. But overall, it’s a good book and Misty’s story is definitely inspiring

Rating: 3.8 out of 5

Filed under Misty Copeland Ballet Life in Motion Sports

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Title: Morning GloryAuthor: Sarah JioGenre: FictionSub-genre: Mystery, Women’s Fiction, chick litPages: 304Publisher: PlumeISBN: 0142196991
Summary: Fleeing an East Coast life marred by tragedy, Ada Santorini takes up residence on houseboat number seven on Boat Street. She discovers a trunk left behind by Penny Wentworth, a young newlywed who lived on the boat half a century earlier. Ada longs to know her predecessor’s fate, but little suspects that Penny’s mysterious past and her own clouded future are destined to converge.
My Evaluation: SPOILERS AHEAD
WOW… Just when I though Ms. Jio couldn’t do any better! I have loved every single book Jio has written but this one takes the cake so far! I loved her characters and how she slowly revealed Ada’s past and why she ran to Seattle. I did figure out halfway through the book that Alex was Penny’s son but couldn’t know exactly how it worked, especially after the night of the Bach on the Dock and after Dexter said that Collin died of a heart attack in the Florida Keys. So great writing Ms. Jio!

Rating:  5  out of 5
Similar Books:The BungalowThe CamelliaBlackberry Winter Bridge of Scarlet Leaves Sarah’s Key

Title: Morning Glory
Author: Sarah Jio
Genre: Fiction
Sub-genre: Mystery, Women’s Fiction, chick lit
Pages: 304
Publisher: Plume
ISBN: 0142196991

Summary: Fleeing an East Coast life marred by tragedy, Ada Santorini takes up residence on houseboat number seven on Boat Street. She discovers a trunk left behind by Penny Wentworth, a young newlywed who lived on the boat half a century earlier. Ada longs to know her predecessor’s fate, but little suspects that Penny’s mysterious past and her own clouded future are destined to converge.

My EvaluationSPOILERS AHEAD

WOW… Just when I though Ms. Jio couldn’t do any better! I have loved every single book Jio has written but this one takes the cake so far! I loved her characters and how she slowly revealed Ada’s past and why she ran to Seattle. I did figure out halfway through the book that Alex was Penny’s son but couldn’t know exactly how it worked, especially after the night of the Bach on the Dock and after Dexter said that Collin died of a heart attack in the Florida Keys. So great writing Ms. Jio!

Rating:  5  out of 5

Similar Books:
The Bungalow
The Camellia
Blackberry Winter 
Bridge of Scarlet Leaves 
Sarah’s Key

Filed under Morning Glory Sarah Jio Good Books Mystery Women's Fiction Chick Lit

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TITLE: Bones of the LostSeries and number: Temperance Brennan #16AUTHOR: Kathy ReichsGENRE: FictionSUB-GENRE:  Mystery, Anthropology, Forensics, Suspense, ThrillerPAGES:  320PUBLISHED: 2013PUBLISHER: ScribnerISBN: 1439102457
SUMMARY: When Charlotte police discover the body of a teenage girl along a desolate stretch of two-lane highway, Temperance Brennan fears the worst. The girl’s body shows signs of foul play. Inside her purse police find the ID card of a prominent local businessman, John-Henry Story, who died in a horrific flea market fire months earlier. Was the girl an illegal immigrant turning tricks? Was she murdered?
The medical examiner has also asked Tempe to examine a bundle of Peruvian dog mummies confiscated by U.S. Customs. A Desert Storm veteran named Dominick Rockett stands accused of smuggling the objects into the country. Could there be some connection between the trafficking of antiquities and the trafficking of humans?As the case deepens, Tempe must also grapple with personal turmoil. Her daughter Katy, grieving the death of her boyfriend in Afghanistan, impulsively enlists in the Army. Meanwhile, Katy’s father Pete is frustrated by Tempe’s reluctance to finalize their divorce. As pressure mounts from all corners, Tempe soon finds herself at the center of a conspiracy that extends all the way from South America, to Afghanistan, and right to the center of Charlotte.
MY EVALUATION: As I said in a previous review, Reichs’ books have gone way downhill. Pretty much ever since the third seasons of Bones started. It’s more about the crime rather than Forensic Anthropology. If I wanted crime novels I’d read them (and I do!)… The mystery wasn’t that hard to figure out and I kept thinking in my mind… you have a PhD… this isn’t that hard to figure out! It was rather frustrating.
RATING:  2.9 out of 5

Similar Books:Bones are Forever by Kathy Reichs (#15) Seizure (Virals #2) by Kathy ReichsVirals (Virals #1) by Kathy ReichsCut to the Bone (Body Farm #1) by Jefferson Bass

TITLE: Bones of the Lost
Series and number: Temperance Brennan #16
AUTHOR: Kathy Reichs
GENRE: Fiction
SUB-GENRE:  Mystery, Anthropology, Forensics, Suspense, Thriller
PAGES:  320
PUBLISHED: 2013
PUBLISHER: Scribner
ISBN: 1439102457

SUMMARY: When Charlotte police discover the body of a teenage girl along a desolate stretch of two-lane highway, Temperance Brennan fears the worst. The girl’s body shows signs of foul play. Inside her purse police find the ID card of a prominent local businessman, John-Henry Story, who died in a horrific flea market fire months earlier. Was the girl an illegal immigrant turning tricks? Was she murdered?

The medical examiner has also asked Tempe to examine a bundle of Peruvian dog mummies confiscated by U.S. Customs. A Desert Storm veteran named Dominick Rockett stands accused of smuggling the objects into the country. Could there be some connection between the trafficking of antiquities and the trafficking of humans?

As the case deepens, Tempe must also grapple with personal turmoil. Her daughter Katy, grieving the death of her boyfriend in Afghanistan, impulsively enlists in the Army. Meanwhile, Katy’s father Pete is frustrated by Tempe’s reluctance to finalize their divorce. As pressure mounts from all corners, Tempe soon finds herself at the center of a conspiracy that extends all the way from South America, to Afghanistan, and right to the center of Charlotte.

MY EVALUATIONAs I said in a previous review, Reichs’ books have gone way downhill. Pretty much ever since the third seasons of Bones started. It’s more about the crime rather than Forensic Anthropology. If I wanted crime novels I’d read them (and I do!)… The mystery wasn’t that hard to figure out and I kept thinking in my mind… you have a PhD… this isn’t that hard to figure out! It was rather frustrating.

RATING:  2.9 out of 5

Similar Books:
Bones are Forever by Kathy Reichs (#15) 
Seizure (Virals #2) by Kathy Reichs
Virals (Virals #1) by Kathy Reichs
Cut to the Bone (Body Farm #1) by Jefferson Bass

Filed under Kathy Reichs temperance brennan Bones of the Lost Fiction Mystery Anthropology Forensic Suspense Thriller disappointment

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TITLE: Read it and WeepSeries and number: Library Lover’s Mystery #4AUTHOR: Jenn McKinlayGENRE: FictionSUB-GENRE:  Bibliomystery, mystery, romance, thriller, suspensePAGES:  304PUBLISHED: 2012PUBLISHER: BerkleyISBN: 0425260720
SUMMARY: Answering Shakespeare trivia comes with the job description for library director Lindsey Norris. But when the Briar Creek Community Theater mounts their newest production of the Bard, she has no intention of leaving the stacks for the stage. Unfortunately a villain is waiting in the wings…
Former Broadway actress Violet La Rue is holding auditions for A Midsummer Night’s Dream—and everyone from the sour spinster librarian Ms. Cole to Lindsey’s youthful library pages are trying out for parts. Brought in to play the mischievous Puck is the flirtatious professional actor Robbie Vine, who seems to have eyes for Lindsey. Before her blush has faded, the Bard’s dream turns into a nightmare—when one of the cast is poisoned. Now Lindsey and her crafternooners must take center stage to unmask the culprit before the final curtain call…
MY EVALUATION: Again, I’m really in love with this series! Though, this wasn’t nearly as suspenseful as the last two… I figured out who the “killer” would be the first time they were mentioned… So Ms. McKinley, please write the mystery parts better… they’re becoming to easy to figure out who did it.
RATING:  4.7 out of 5

Similar Books:Books can Be Deceiving by Jenn McKinlay (Book #1)Due Or Die by Jenn McKinlay (Book #2) Book, Line, and Sinker by Jenn McKinlay (Book #3)

TITLE: Read it and Weep
Series and number: Library Lover’s Mystery #4
AUTHOR: Jenn McKinlay
GENRE: Fiction
SUB-GENRE:  Bibliomystery, mystery, romance, thriller, suspense
PAGES:  304
PUBLISHED: 2012
PUBLISHER: Berkley
ISBN: 0425260720

SUMMARY: Answering Shakespeare trivia comes with the job description for library director Lindsey Norris. But when the Briar Creek Community Theater mounts their newest production of the Bard, she has no intention of leaving the stacks for the stage. Unfortunately a villain is waiting in the wings…

Former Broadway actress Violet La Rue is holding auditions for A Midsummer Night’s Dream—and everyone from the sour spinster librarian Ms. Cole to Lindsey’s youthful library pages are trying out for parts. Brought in to play the mischievous Puck is the flirtatious professional actor Robbie Vine, who seems to have eyes for Lindsey. Before her blush has faded, the Bard’s dream turns into a nightmare—when one of the cast is poisoned. Now Lindsey and her crafternooners must take center stage to unmask the culprit before the final curtain call…

MY EVALUATIONAgain, I’m really in love with this series! Though, this wasn’t nearly as suspenseful as the last two… I figured out who the “killer” would be the first time they were mentioned… So Ms. McKinley, please write the mystery parts better… they’re becoming to easy to figure out who did it.

RATING:  4.7 out of 5

Similar Books:
Books can Be Deceiving by Jenn McKinlay (Book #1)
Due Or Die by Jenn McKinlay (Book #2) 
Book, Line, and Sinker by Jenn McKinlay (Book #3)

Filed under Read it and Weep Jenn McKinlay Bibliomystery Mystery Fiction Suspense Thriller Good Books Romance

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The good thing about going on vacation: you got a lot read!
TITLE: Book, Line, and Sinker Series and number: Library Lover’s Mystery #3AUTHOR: Jenn McKinlayGENRE: FictionSUB-GENRE:  Bibliomystery, mystery, romance, thriller, suspensePAGES:  304PUBLISHED: 2012PUBLISHER: BerkleyISBN: 0425251764
SUMMARY: Answering tricky reference questions like this one provides plenty of excitement for library director Lindsey Norris. But when a shocking murder is committed in her cozy coastal town of Briar Creek, Connecticut, the question of who did it must be answered before an innocent man gets the book thrown at him…
Lindsey is enjoying her second year in Briar Creek as the library director, meeting with the crafternoon club, and happily dating tour boat captain Mike Sullivan. But when a salvage company arrives in town to dig up treasure buried on Pirate Island over three hundred years ago, the locals are torn between protecting the island and welcoming the publicity.    In spite of the squabbling, Charlie Peyton, Lindsey’s downstairs neighbor, takes a job with the salvage company. But when Trudi Hargrave, the local tourism director who hired the company, is found murdered at the excavation site, Charlie becomes the chief suspect. To help him, Lindsey must do some digging of her own before the real killer buries the truth for good…
MY EVALUATION: WARNING SPOILER IN THE FOLLOWING REVIEW
I really enjoyed this book a lot! I really liked how Lindsay described public librarianship, how connected I feel to her about that. Though, the one thing that I didn’t like was Sully’s behavior after catching the killer…. good grief. no need to make him stupid like that.
RATING:  4.8 out of 5
Similar Books:Books can Be Deceiving by Jenn McKinlay (Book #1)Due Or Die by Jenn McKinlay (Book #2)

The good thing about going on vacation: you got a lot read!

TITLE: Book, Line, and Sinker 
Series and number: Library Lover’s Mystery #3
AUTHOR: Jenn McKinlay
GENRE: Fiction
SUB-GENRE:  Bibliomystery, mystery, romance, thriller, suspense
PAGES:  304
PUBLISHED: 2012
PUBLISHER: Berkley
ISBN: 0425251764

SUMMARY: Answering tricky reference questions like this one provides plenty of excitement for library director Lindsey Norris. But when a shocking murder is committed in her cozy coastal town of Briar Creek, Connecticut, the question of who did it must be answered before an innocent man gets the book thrown at him…

Lindsey is enjoying her second year in Briar Creek as the library director, meeting with the crafternoon club, and happily dating tour boat captain Mike Sullivan. But when a salvage company arrives in town to dig up treasure buried on Pirate Island over three hundred years ago, the locals are torn between protecting the island and welcoming the publicity.    

In spite of the squabbling, Charlie Peyton, Lindsey’s downstairs neighbor, takes a job with the salvage company. But when Trudi Hargrave, the local tourism director who hired the company, is found murdered at the excavation site, Charlie becomes the chief suspect. To help him, Lindsey must do some digging of her own before the real killer buries the truth for good…

MY EVALUATION: WARNING SPOILER IN THE FOLLOWING REVIEW

I really enjoyed this book a lot! I really liked how Lindsay described public librarianship, how connected I feel to her about that. Though, the one thing that I didn’t like was Sully’s behavior after catching the killer…. good grief. no need to make him stupid like that.

RATING:  4.8 out of 5

Similar Books:
Books can Be Deceiving by Jenn McKinlay (Book #1)
Due Or Die by Jenn McKinlay (Book #2)

Filed under Book Line & Sinker Jenn McKinlay Good Books Bibliomystery Mystery Suspense Thriller Romance