Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

Non-fiction means not fake. I’m still aware it’s a second grade definition, but it still holds true.

February 7

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Review: Totally Tangled by Sandy Steen Bartholomew

by Ann-Katrina

Totally Tangled cover

Title: Totally Tangled
Author: Sandy Steen Bartholomew
ISBN: 157421671-6
Story Length: 50 pages
Genre: Arts & Crafts

Back Cover of Totally Tangled

Can’t draw? Stressed out? Even if you are an artist and feel perfectly calm…Zentangle is for you! Learn to focus, relax your mind and boost your creative confidence. No kidding!

Three Quick Points About Totally Tangled

  • Point 1: Not for n00bs. The book doesn’t go into details about the Zentangle steps and the book assumes prior knowledge of tangle (i.e. pattern) creation.
  • Point 2: Disorganized. The format doesn’t have a logical flow and had me skipping around from page to page.
  • Point 3: Strays into the realm of “zendoodles”. After researching Zentangles I learned that a number of the book’s examples are Zendoodles or Zentangle-inspired art rather than actual Zentangles. Continue reading »

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December 15

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Review: Dewey’s Nine Lives by Vicki Myron with Brett Witter

by Ann-Katrina

deweys-nine-lives

Title: Dewey’s Nine Lives
Author: Vicky Myron with Brett Witter
ISBN: 978-0525-95186-5
Story Length: 320 pages
Genre: Pet Stories

Description of Dewey’s Nine Lives

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World was a blockbuster bestseller and a publishing phenomenon. It has sold nearly a million copies, spawned three children’s books, and will be the basis for an upcoming movie. No doubt about it, Dewey has created a community. Dewey touched readers everywhere, who realized that no matter how difficult their lives might seem, or how ordinary their talents, they can-and should-make a positive difference to those around them. Now, Dewey is back, with even more heartwarming moments and life lessons to share.

Dewey’s Nine Lives offers nine funny, inspiring, and heartwarming stories about cats–all told from the perspective of “Dewey’s Mom,” librarian Vicki Myron. The amazing felines in this book include Dewey, of course, whose further never-before-told adventures are shared, and several others who Vicki found out about when their owners reached out to her. Vicki learned, through extensive interviews and story sharing, what made these cats special, and how they fit into Dewey’s community of perseverance and love. From a divorced mother in Alaska who saved a drowning kitten on Christmas Eve to a troubled Vietnam veteran whose heart was opened by his long relationship with a rescued cat, these Dewey-style stories will inspire readers to laugh, cry, care, and, most importantly, believe in the magic of animals to touch individual lives.

–From Amazon.com

Three Quick Points About Dewey’s Nine Lives

  • Point 1: Some overlap. I purchased the first book so did expect some overlap in the recounting of Dewey’s related stories, but it’s hardly noticeable. It just gives the book an air of familiarity.
  • Point 2: Immensely readable The prose style is casual, much like a friend telling you a story.
  • Point 3: Surprisingly heart-rending. I expected to smile, perhaps giggle, while reading, but I never expected to cry (at least, not as much as I did).

Continue reading »

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November 30

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Review: Health Scare by Rene Moret

by Ann-Katrina

Health Scare Health Scare by Rene Moret focused on the main reasons why the U.S health care system is in the trouble it’s in today. The first thing I have to say about this book is that it’s very easy to read and understand.  It’s not filled with complicated analogies, the points are broken down into simple terms that even a layperson can understand.

The problem is that physicians are scared to practice medicine because a lawyer waits around every corner ready and available to sue.  So as Mr. Moret mentioned, physicians practice defensive medicine in case they have to defend themselves in a lawsuit.  The basis of the U.S. healthcare system as it stands today is the promotion of “sick care” vs promoting “wellcare”. Continue reading »

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November 1

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Review: No Plot? No Problem! A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days by Chris Baty

by Ann-Katrina

Since today is the first day of and No Plot? No Problem! is the official handbook, I figured today would be a good day to review it.

no-plot-no-problem-cover

Back Cover of No Plot? No Problem!

You’ve always wanted to write, but…just haven’t gotten around to it. No Plot? No Problem! is the kick in the pants you’ve been waiting for.

Let Chris Baty, founder of the rockin’ literary marathon National Novel Writing Month (a.k.a. NaNoWriMo), guide you through four exciting weeks of hard-core noveling. Baty’s pep talks and essential survival strategies cover the initial momentum and energy of Week One, the critical “plot flashes” of Week Two, the “Can I quit now?” impulses of Week Three, and the champagne and roar of the crowd during Week Four. Whether you’re a first-time novelist who just can’t seem to get pen to paper or a results-oriented writer seeking a creative on-ramp into the world of publishing, this is the adventure for you.

So what are you waiting for? The No Plot? approach worked for the thousands of people who’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo, and it can work for you! Let No Plot? No Problem! help you get fired up and on the right track.

Three Quick Points About No Plot? No Problem!

  • Point 1: This book is hilarious. The advice is laced with fantastic, sometimes sarcastic wit which makes the reading a lot easier, smoother, and more fun.
  • Point 2: It’s an excellent distillation of what you need to know to get a novel written in a limited amount of time. Not being a step by step, this is how you do it manual, it makes it very easy to be a quick reference when you need a nudge in the right direction or bit of quick advice.
  • Point 3: I suspect that Chris is addicted to coffee and sugar-laden foodstuffs. An entire section of the book is dedicated to treating yourself with wonderful yummy treats and I’m thinking the word coffee has come up in every chapter.

Continue reading »

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October 27

Comments: 7

Review: Sky Burial: An Epic Love Story of Tibet by Xinran Xue

by Ann-Katrina

Sky Burial Cover

Back Cover of Sky Burial

As a young girl in China Xinran heard a rumour about a soldier in Tibet who had been brutally fed to the vultures in a ritural known as a sky burial: the tale frightened and fascinated her. Several decades later Xinran met Shu Wen, a Chinese woman who had spent years searching for her missing husband Kejun, after he disappeared in Tibet; her extraordinary life story would unravel the legend of the sky burial. For thirty years she was lost in the wild and alien landscape of Tibet, in the vast and silent plateaux and the magisterial mountain ranges, living with communities of nomads, moving with the seasons and struggling to survive.

In this haunting book, Xinran recreates Shu Wen’s remarkable journey in a grand story of love, loss, loyalty and survival. Moving, shocking and finally enriching, Sky Burial paints a unique portrait of a woman and a land, both at the mercy of fate and politics.

Three Quick Points About Sky Burial

  • Point 1: There is a 99% chance that you will need a box of tissues nearby.
  • Point 2: You will almost certainly be left wondering whether or not such profound and enduring love can even exist in our generation.
  • Point 3: The story of Shu Wen will likely haunt you long after you’ve read the final sentence.

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