2018 Book #24 – Hatshepsut by in60Learning

414PLQBXWqL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Hatshepsut: The Pharaoh-Queen of Egypt
Author: in60Learning
Date finished: 3/30/18
Genre: Non-fiction
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: February 4, 2018
Pages in book: 52
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Author/Publisher
NOTE: I received this book for free from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Smarter in sixty minutes.
Get smarter in just 60 minutes with in60Learning. Concise and elegantly written non-fiction books and audiobooks help you learn the core subject matter in 20% of the time that it takes to read a typical book. Life is short, so explore a multitude of fascinating historical, biographical, scientific, political, and financial topics in only an hour each.
When Pharaoh Thutmose II died, he left an heir far too young to rule Egypt. His widow Hatshepsut stepped up to take his place. For at least the next 20 years, Hatshepsut ruled as Pharaoh King of Egypt in an era of prosperous growth and peace. When she died, her nephew Thutmose III attempted to smear her good name and wipe her memory from history. However, despite his efforts, his aunt Hatshepsut holds the title of most famous native Egyptian woman to ever rule as pharaoh; she also retains a legacy as one of the most successful female leaders in early history.

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

When I was contacted with the opportunity to review this book I was really intrigued. I have always found history somewhat interesting but whenever I really start trying to get through any kind of text on history I can’t stay focused long enough to get through the information. So the concept of a short but sweet historical text sounded like just what I needed to get in a little learning! And this book definitely delivered, it was only about an hour to an hour and a half of reading (I get interrupted a lot) and presented the facts in a format that was really straight forward and easy to understand. The text was really approachable and the chapters were brief, which made it easier to get through the reading. While non-fiction still isn’t necessarily my favorite thing to read, this book was really a great in between for me where I was able to learn a little about historical events. I would really recommend trying these books for a little brief learning adventure.

For anyone interested in signing up with the author’s site to receive updates on promos and new releases; contribute to ideas for their coming work; and be notified of their blogger partners’ work, use the sign up form here.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

Advertisements

2018 Book #20 – Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman

41-vpUXp6sLTitle: Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure
Author: Amy Kaufman
Date finished: 3/9/18
Genre: Non-fiction, popular culture
Publisher: Dutton
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

The first definitive, unauthorized, behind-the-scenes cultural history of the Bachelor franchise, America’s favorite guilty pleasure.

For fifteen years and thirty-five seasons, the Bachelor franchise has been a mainstay in American TV viewers’ lives. Since it premiered in 2002, the show’s popularity and relevance has only grown–more than eight million viewers tuned in to see the conclusion of the most recent season of The Bachelor.

The iconic reality television show’s reach and influence into the cultural zeitgeist is undeniable. Bestselling writers and famous actors live tweet about it. Die-hard fans–dubbed “Bachelor Nation”–come together every week during each season to participate in fantasy leagues and viewing parties.

Bachelor Nation is the first behind-the-scenes, unauthorized look into the reality television phenomenon. Los Angeles Times journalist Amy Kaufman is a proud member of Bachelor Nation and has a long history with the franchise–ABC even banned her from attending show events after her coverage of the program got a little too real for its liking. She has interviewed dozens of producers, contestants, and celebrity fans to give readers never-before-told details of the show’s inner workings: what it’s like to be trapped in the mansion “bubble”; dark, juicy tales of producer manipulation; and revelations about the alcohol-fueled debauchery that occurs long before the fantasy suite.

Kaufman also explores what our fascination means, culturally: what the show says about the way we view so-called ideal suitors, our subconscious yearning for fairy-tale romance, and how this enduring television show has shaped society’s feelings about love, marriage, and feminism by appealing to a marriage plot that’s as old as Jane Austen.

My rating:  3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

So I ended up requesting this book because of the subject matter. I’ve honestly never watched the Bachelor show or any of the other shows in the franchise but I’ve always kind of had an interest in the show. I recently watched a show on Facebook, RelationShipped, that is a similar premise to The Bachelor shows and I loved the RelationShipped show, so when I saw this book available I figured, what the heck I’ll give it a try. I was impressed by the amount of work and research that went into this book, it was a behind the scenes look into how the Bachelor works and gets produced but it also looks at the show from a psychological aspect. This book really sparked an interest for me and made me want to start watching the show (I bought and am watching Season 13 now). Hearing about how fake everything was actually made me want to see the show more, because while the people and their feelings are very real, what the audience is seeing isn’t always exactly what happened and that makes it feel more fictional to me.

I liked this book a lot, the only reason it didn’t get a higher score for me was just because I really prefer fiction (personally). The book overall was really interesting and fairly well paced, but the lack of a “plot” always leaves me feeling a little disappointed. Overall though this was a good book and was super informative, I would definitely recommend it, especially if you like The Bachelor TV series.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2017 Book #33 – Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

51Glh2DZSAL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Running With Scissors
Author: Augusten Burroughs
Date finished: 4/15/17
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: July 10, 2002
Pages in book: 304
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

Running with Scissors is the true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of Anne Sexton) gave him away to be raised by her psychiatrist, a dead-ringer for Santa and a lunatic in the bargain. Suddenly, at age twelve, Augusten Burroughs found himself living in a dilapidated Victorian in perfect squalor. The doctor’s bizarre family, a few patients, and a pedophile living in the backyard shed completed the tableau. Here, there were no rules, there was no school. The Christmas tree stayed up until summer, and Valium was eaten like Pez. And when things got dull, there was always the vintage electroshock therapy machine under the stairs….
Running with Scissors is at turns foul and harrowing, compelling and maniacally funny. But above all, it chronicles an ordinary boy’s survival under the most extraordinary circumstances.

My rating:  1.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I read this book for the Terryville Library’s Fiction Lover’s Book Discussion group discussion for this month (April). I think this book was an exception to the rule because we usually read fiction but it seems that this month we’re reading non-fiction. This book tells the story of a boy named Augusten, who lives with his alcoholic father and mentally ill mother. After his parents divorce though, Augusten lives for a period of time with his mother’s psychiatrist, who to be honest didn’t seem all that sane himself. The only thing I can say about the plot of this book is that Augusten goes through what can only be described as disturbing, and sometimes horrific, experiences throughout his childhood. And while he seems to always survive “unscathed,” the damage that results from these experiences is evident to the reader.
Overall I really just didn’t like this book, mainly I think because its almost the exact opposite of my “usual” type of book. I like fiction books with happy endings and this book was a traumatizing description of a poor young man’s childhood that didn’t seem to have any other purpose in the tale other than shocking the reader. The sex scenes (of a thirteen year old boy) are extremely graphic, some of which were detailed rape descriptions. I felt dirty after reading the book. For me this was an unnecessary look into the mind of a deeply traumatized and disturbed youth. If that’s the kind of book you like then I would recommend trying this one but overall I can’t see how there was enough actual plot/content to make this a good read for even the most open-minded of readers.

The bottom line: This book was not one that I personally would recommend. I think its absolutely awful that this is a true story and that someone actually experienced this.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

Wine and Cocktails – New Releases!

So I have some wine and cocktail books that I was approved to review through NetGalley recently. I don’t really count these as “books read” since when I read a collections of information like this, I don’t necessarily read every single page. But I thought I would still share these books with you guys in case something snags your interest!

The Periodic Table of Cocktails by Emma Stokes – 4.75 stars

41VZ4n1CyBL._SY346_I really enjoyed this book a lot, I actually added it to my Amazon wishlist to purchase in the near future! This was a really creative way to present groups of cocktails with similar characteristics. There was a great chapter on martinis that I learned a lot from. There’s too much information in this book to really retain everything long-term but this would make a great reference book for cocktails, both classic and modern recipes. I loved too that there was so much information included on the background/history of the cocktail and how it originated. This book gave me some great ideas on new cocktails to make and I can’t wait to try them!

The Periodic Table of Wine by Sarah Rowlands – 4.0 stars

41Cpv3xCVALThis was a good book about a lot of different kinds of wine, and it includes a great general description of flavor characteristics and different wine-making styles of grapes and regions. Again, this isn’t something that you can retain all the information but it is a great reference text for types of wines. I also really liked that the grapes were grouped into similar categories and each wine gave recommendations for other wines to try if you liked that wine, making it easy to find a new wine that you might like!

Rose All Day by Katherine Cole – 3.5 stars

414mPAa8SRL._SY346_This book had a great amount of history included as to how Rose as a wine came about and also how it became popular, there was much more history there than I ever realized. I also didn’t realize there was quite so many variations of Rose from the different regions of the world. This is, again, not something that you can retain all the information from but is a great reference text for a Rose lover.

2016 Book #80 – The 24 Hour Wine Expert by Jancis Robinson

511+iHZXRDL._SX359_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The 24 Hour Wine Expert
Author: Jancis Robinson
Date finished: 8/25/16
Genre: Non-fiction, informational
Publisher: Abrams Image
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Pages in book: 112
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Many wine drinkers wish they knew more without having to understand every nuance or go to expensive wine tastings. In her new book, Jancis Robinson, the leading international authority on wine, grants the wishes of would-be wine experts the world over. With The 24-Hour Wine Expert, anyone can learn all that is really important about wine in a single day. In her pithy, approachable, comprehensive guide, Robinson shares her expertise with authority, wit, and approachability, tackling questions such as how to select the right bottle at retail, what wine labels signify, how to understand the properties of color and aroma, and how to match food and wine. Robinson’s proposition is irresistible: In just 24 hours, anyone can become a wine expert. So pour a glass and get reading!

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book will count towards my ARC August 2016 Reading Challenge. This book has a lot of information about wine jam-packed into just over 100 pages. The author discusses several topics, including how to pick a bottle of wine, how to taste wine, and discusses several popular varietals and growing regions. I’ve spent some time learning about wine already so I had a foundation of knowledge going into reading this. I still learned a lot of tid-bits, plus I love that there is so much knowledge summarized in such a compact manner. This is the kind of book that would be great to keep on hand for referencing whenever I run into questions. A good read with a lot of good information, I would definitely check this one out!

The bottom line: I thought this was a very good resource for information about wine. It has a lot of great information jam packed into one book and would be a great resource for someone looking to learn more about wine.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #75 – I’ve Got Sand in All the Wrong Places by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella

51F48s-ByKLTitle: I’ve Got Sand in All the Wrong Places
Author: Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella
Date finished: 8/15/16
Genre: Non-fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: July 12, 2016
Pages in book: 324
Stand alone or series: It’s similar to 6 other books they’ve published I think but its not like a connected series
Where I got the book from: The Reading Room NOTE:I received this book for free from The Reading Room in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Lisa and Francesca are back with another collection of warm and witty stories that will strike a chord with every woman. This six book series is among the best reviewed humor books published today and has been compared to the late greats, Erma Bombeck and Nora Ephron. Delia Ephron said of the fifth book in the series, Have a Nice Guilt Trip, “Lisa and Francesca, mother and daughter, bring you the laughter of their lives once again and better than ever. You will identify with these tales of guilt and fall in love with them and fierce (grand) Mother Mary.” This seventh volume will not disappoint as it hits the humorous and poignant note that fans have come to expect from the beloved mother-daughter duo.

My rating:  2.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book will count towards my ARC August 2016 Reading Challenge. Also, this book will count towards my Book Riot 2016 Read Harder reading challenge, marking off the “read a collection of essays” square since this book is made up of a number of non-fiction essays. The essays were written alternating between Lisa and Francesca. The essays were about their lives and their experiences. This is not the first book they’ve written in this style, I think that they mentioned this is around the 6th book in this similar style. While some of the stories were interesting, this isn’t something I would have normally chosen to read for myself. I’ve always had trouble with collections of poems or essays, I grow frustrated with the lack of plot/focus. There were some good points made in the book and a few topics I became engaged with, but each story was only about 2-6 pages. It was interesting to see in some cases how their stories interacted with each other but the compilation of so many short essays made it more difficult for me to stay engaged, There wasn’t really an overall “story line” which made it more difficult for me to read. And in many cases whoever was writing at the time would go off on a preamble completely unrelated to the story they were trying to present, which made it even harder to concentrate.

The bottom line: This just wasn’t really a style of book that I enjoy. I think that it would make a good beach read since it is a collection of shorter stories/essays and is therefore easy to put down and pick up again.

Link to author website: Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #71 – The Patient’s Resource and Almanac of Primary Care Medicine by Agnes Oblas

514FU4nlkcL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Patient’s Resource and Almanac of Primary Care Medicine
Author: Agnes Oblas
Date finished: 7/31/16
Genre: Non-fiction
Publisher: New Paths to Healthcare, LLC
Publication Date: October 24, 2014
Pages in book: 156
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Author/publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

The Patient’s Resource and Almanac of Primary Care Medicine includes essays on medical topics of interest to the lay reader; common diseases or conditions are presented with illustrations, and easy to understand graphs or charts. Resources are also identified for more in depth information.The Patient’s Resource and Almanac of Primary Care Medicine serves as a basic reference and guide to 30 common medical- and health-related topics. Readers will find these topics to be pertinent, helpful, and reader-friendly. The essays are presented with resources, fun facts, and timelines, etc., to make the reading even more enjoyable. Some of the essays also include a section called “The Savvy Healthcare Consumer,” which highlights points about that essay’s topic which the reader should be aware of as it relates to a visit to a healthcare provider. You will find these essays free of medical jargon (or with definitions included) yet scientifically and medically sound. My purpose is to educate and clarify some complex medical issues while at the same time allowing the reader to enjoy the experience!

My rating: 3.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. Also, this book will count towards my Book Riot 2016 Read Harder reading challenge, marking off the “read a nonfiction book about science” since this book contained a lot of medical and other scientific information. This was a nonfiction book and is a short resource that discusses a number of common medical issues like heart disease, headaches, and fever as well as more complicated issues like the functions of different organs of the body and the functions of certain medications. There was also a lot of historical information included in each section on the background of the ailment or medicine and how over the years the medical information on the subject progressed. While this wasn’t something I normally would have chosen on my own for recreational reading, it had some useful information and I think it would make a good household resource.

The bottom line: This wasn’t something I would normally pick out for myself but I must say it was full of useful information. This is a great resource to keep on hand for referencing concerning ailments like headaches and fever and even thyroid-ism and cancer.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page