Tag Archives: non-fiction

My Hilarious, Heroic, Human Dog: 101 Tales of Canine Companionship – Book Review

Published Date: September 7, 2021

Pages: 368

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My aunt purchased this book for me as a birthday present just two short months following the death of my beloved dog, Ozzy. My husband wisely said that I should probably wait a little while before I attempted to read this. So, I waited until around June/July before I took it to work as a lunch book.

It was the perfect lunch book in the fact that, the essays are only a couple of pages long. You could gobble 4-5 essays easily while taking a break.

Some stories are fun and quirky. Others bring a tear to your eye and get you all choked up when you’re supposed to go back out and deal with the public shortly. All of them remind you about why dogs are so awesome.

I would definitely recommend this one to dog lovers.

Paddle Your Own Canoe – Book Review

Published Date: October 1, 2013

Publishing Co.: Dutton

Pages: 340

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I read this book at a time in my life when I very much needed it. While Offerman becomes his own bard, recounting his travels to success, he also offers wisdoms about life. “How to live deliciously,” as it were.

Honestly, those were the parts that spoke the most to me. It was great getting to know his origin story but those nuggets of suggestions on how to live better, buttered the bread. I knew that I wanted to focus the year on good things and Offerman handed me ideas and reminders of how just to do that.

Don’t be an asshole – easier said than done. The public these days are rude as fuck and yet somehow, I should be the nice one. No promises on this one.

Find a hobby – I need to get back to woodworking or anything creative to feed the lack of creativity in my life.

Less screen time/social media – Stop wasting my life away staring at that screen when I could be making real memories or doing something more productive.

Spend more time with friends – After the last two years, I would love to dedicate more time to friends.

This is just a snack-sized sample of his offerings.

Come for his tales and leave fed with inspiration to change up your life.

Christmas 2021 Book Haul

I hope that everyone had the jolliest of holidays and a great New Year’s Eve. May 2022 be WAY better than the last two years.

Between Christmas and New Year, I had the mighty pleasure of meeting Melanie @ Grab the Lapels and her horror movie crafting husband Nick. They came to our neck of the woods and we celebrated over good food and good beer at the local brewery just a few minutes from our house. Unfortunately, they got the displeasure of driving here during a snow storm. Now that’s dedication folks! I’m so glad that they did though because we had a great time out with them. If only it could have been longer! Stupid work, get’s in the way of all the good stuff. D:< Melanie gives fantastic hugs. They make you feel loved and welcome immediately. We’ve semi-planned some future get togethers so that’s exciting. ^_^

You can’t miss the joy on our faces!

Now, onto the Christmas book haul because as both Melanie and I agree, books are important:

The top book, Dead Space, wasn’t a present technically. I won a book from a raffle over at the lovely Books, Bones & Buffy blog. When I couldn’t decide on a book, I asked her to just send me one of her favorite science fiction books and this is what she sent me. It sounds very interesting and I can’t wait to read it.

I’ve already started Paddle Your Own Canoe and it’s inspiring me to do a few things for the new year. Less social media, get back to woodworking when the weather warms up. I crafted zero wood projects last year and that bums me out.

What was your favorite book you received over the holidays?

Prophet’s Prey – Book Review

Published Date: September 13, 2011

Publishing Co.: Bloomsbury USA

Pages: 336

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Any religion that tells you that you should be raping (stop saying ‘having sex with’, that’s just sugar coating rape) little girls, should make you turn tail and run for the hills. However, what a perfect haven for predators. Anyone tries to stop your rape of children, just start hollering about your freedom of religion and how you’re just misunderstood and people will back off. No one wants to offend someone’s religion, especially the United States government. No, they prefer to just pretend it’s not happening. Put it’s collective head in the sand to avoid the screams and suffering of children. Even though this book was published ten years ago, these communities are still very much active.

If you want/need a solid understanding of the FLDS and it’s history, I will always recommend Jon Krauker’s Under the Banner of Heaven. For a short summary, this cult (the most accurate term) is a group that broke away from mainstream Mormonism years ago when the church outlawed polygamy. Not a lot of women are not necessarily down for plural marriage, so the easiest way to deal with little ‘issue’ is to marry little girls who can’t say no. To make that even easier, you start brainwashing them from birth and demonize anyone who doesn’t live the same lifestyle. If the outside world is too scary, they’ll stay right where the predators can get them.

Also, there is a lot of incest.

On top of all the despicable things they do, the patriarchy of the cult functions much like the mob. They will find you, and they will silence you at all costs. They will stop at nothing to keep their steady supply of victims out of the hands of safety.

Now that I’ve set that little background for you, this is the story from the perspective of one of the investigators who helped bring down the leader of the FLDS, Warren Jeffs. The worst of the predators. It took ridiculously long, as you can see by the title. Nothing in government moves fast but building a solid case takes time too. Of course, as you’ll find out throughout this book, there are plenty of people who will stand in the way and try to slow things down even more. That is what is always fascinating about these big, true crime cases, how often things get bungled before justice can finally be served.

Sam Brower dishes out the details in this deep dive into Warren Jeffs and the FLDS. From brainwashing, rape, incest, power struggles, and hideouts, to big money, political clot and swayed journalism. This covers the full scope of a true crime story that continues to this day. It’s not really justice when the leader still leads his puppets from prison and children continue to be abused and families torn apart. Although sometimes redundant, this was a horrifying read that will pull you into a world that should no longer exist in this age and that you will have a hard time coming to terms with.

Men Explain Things to Me – Book Review

Published Date: April 14, 2014

Publishing Co.: Haymarket Books

Pages: 130

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The men who get it also understand that feminism is not a scheme to deprive men but a campaign to liberate us all.”

This collection of essays would be brilliant if the title and blurb portrayed what it was really about. Feminism, how far we’ve come and why there is still work to do. If that had been the entire intention, this would have been 5 out of 5 stars.

Unfortunately, what was billed to me was not what was received. I went into this looking for funny anecdotes of men with no clue, saying dumb things to women in their quest to seem intelligent. Every woman can relate and has her own stories about this exact subject. That happened twice in the beginning, while the rest dived into fighting the patriarchy. Which, do not get me wrong, I am down for, but I was looking for something more humorous.

“Finding ways to appreciate advances without embracing complacency is a delicate task.”

If I ignore what is lacking in humor, it is rich in information and it is a topic that should never leave anyone’s mind until there is equality. Therefore, I think this is an important read. However, I have a feeling that more people will pick this up for the same reason that I did and those people probably already understand that there is still work to be done. Meaning, the people that need to be reading it to get the message, most likely are not.

“Men explain things to me, still. And no man has ever apologized for explaining, wrongly, things that I know and they don’t.”

Best Books of 2020

If nothing else, this year was decent for reading. Even though I took time off of reviewing, I remained a pretty strict rater. Not a lot of books made 5 stars for me this past year. Nonetheless, I enjoyed reading more by not forcing myself to do any challenges, not pushing myself to review anything, and just going with whatever my mood called for. I am a mood reader and I must accept that and stop forcing myself to into any reading boxes.

In no particular order, here are my favorites from 2020:

I’m almost done with Dune Messiah, I plan to finish it tomorrow night, and I am just going to go ahead and name my top two books of 2020 as such:

What were some of your top reads of 2020?

June 2020 in Books

A surprising amount of reading happened in June. Granted, many of them were smaller books, they still count!

4 out of 5 stars – I actually finished this the very last day of May but I had already done my May books post. If there is a strong female lead in an urban fantasy series, you bet your sweet honey ass I’m going to give it a go. I read the first book in this series years ago and enjoyed it, but it wasn’t something I was dying to get the next book. After book two, I feel much the same. I enjoy it, I’ll pick it up when it’s on sale, but I’m not rushing to purchase the next installment.

5 out of 5 stars – I couldn’t decide what I felt like reading so Ignited Moth kindly decided for me. This book has been sitting on my TBR shelf for roughly 6 years. I am so glad that I finally made the time to read it because it was splendid. Have you ever heard me call a book ‘splendid’? Probably means you should read it ASAP.

3 out of 5 stars – During this pandemic, I decided to bring a book for lunch reading that just stays as work to lower any chance of someone putting their filthy virus hands on it. (I’ve decided on all selections being something I’m not in a rush to read.) This is an easy, peasy read that I have described as a “cozy Southern murder mystery.”

4 out of 5 stars – Not my favorite Alpha & Omega installment but I still thoroughly enjoyed myself and the drama of Bran’s disappearance was riveting, since he’s never bailed on the pack before.

Rants From the Hill (Pictured above)

4 out of 5 stars – An educational, fun essay collection from an environmentalist who lives out in the high desert of the United States. It’s a different world out there but the author manages to make it sound magical and just as important as all other ecosystems out there that have better reputations.

4 out of 5 stars – Dina is forced (kind of) to host an intergalactic summit at her inn. The inn requires guests to thrive and so she must accept a deal that no other inn on Earth would. She’s not sure she’s powerful enough to keep the peace between three warring factions from another planet, but her little dog Beast is there to help her try.

4 out of 5 stars – The inn’s latest guests are a race of aliens who have been hunted to near extinction by another close by planet. If there is one thing Dina can’t resist, it’s helping out the underdog. Not to mention, rescuing her sister and niece from a barren planet exiled from the rest of the galaxy. Just another week at the inn.

Books Purchased:

Succubus On Top b y Rachel Mead $1.99

Imprudence by Gail Carriger $1.00

Kill the Farm Boy by Kevin Hearne & Delilah S Dawson $1.99

Total Spent: $5.04 (Only $1.06 came out of my actual pocket. The rest were still on my amazon giftcard that has lasted me forever.)

I’m currently at 25 out of 30 books for my Goodreads 2020 Challenge. I see no reason I won’t get 5 more books in by the end of the year.

How are you doing on your 2020 bookish goals??

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper – Book Review

Published Date: August 9, 2019

Publishing Co.: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Pages: 336

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: unrated

DNF at page 95.

For the first time ever, I’m not rating a book that I didn’t finish. Usually, if I don’t finish a book it’s because I hated it or it bored me to death. Those two things mean they deserve some type of rating either for the feedback of the author (if they bother reading reviews) and for other people who are considering picking up the book or both.

In this case, the book did keep my attention, however, in the end, I just can’t bring myself to care much about the lives of people who died 130 years ago. I respect the concept that these women don’t deserve to be remembered as prostitutes because there is not enough evidence that they were. But in the end, they are dead and they don’t care. (Does that sound super insensitive? Probably, but I’m too tired to care.)

This is thoroughly researched when it comes to Victorian London and that I really enjoyed. I learned things I didn’t know and that always earns my respect.

So this is a toss up kids! It’s research is fantastic. If you want to learn lots of information on that time period, this is great. If you don’t really care if someone who was murdered that long ago was a prostitute or not, this might not be for you either.

Reading Stats for the Year Thus Far…

Does that title look familiar?? Well it should since I 100% stole this idea from Ignited Moth. I told her I didn’t think I had the patience to do a post like this but where there is a will, there is a way to cheat the game. Print screen for the win!

June officially marks this as half way through the year and I’m just shy of meeting my yearly reading goal. I have got to say, not having the pressure to complete an enormous reading goal at the end of the year has been great. I feel like I’m enjoying reading much more again. Plus, it’s left me with more time to get out and try new things/hobbies.

I know you’re probably having to squint at this but I didn’t want to take 10 million screenshots.

Ahaha! If you look closely at my tabs, you can see my search for how to find my print screens. I’ve never tried since getting Windows 10.

Anywho, onto the subcategories she listed!

My favorite books I’ve read so far this year goes as follows:

Favorite (Fiction) novel so far: Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell.

5 out of 5 stars on this one. It’s my favorite epic fantasy of the year so far as well. It’s much like the 3 Musketeers but with fantasy and plot twists thrown in liberally.

Favorite (Nonfiction) novel so far: The Indifferent Stars Above by Daniel James Brown.

This was such a thoroughly researched novel on the Donner Party. It really took you back in time and showed you how life was in the frontier days. Peppered with scientific facts about what the body goes through when you’re starving and freezing to death.

Favorite graphic novel so far: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Vol 1. by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.

Honestly, this one kind of just wins by default as it’s the only graphic novel I’ve read so far this year. Does not make it any less fun of a read though if you like dark, spooky things.

Books that were re-read: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

I was SO nervous to read this. I’ve never re-read it since I was a kid and I was really afraid that it wouldn’t hold up. But, it totally does! I was still too intimidated to write a review for it though. :3

Book suggestions from blogging buddies:

Recommended to me by The Shameful Narcissist. It was one of those ‘meh’ books for me, but I can see how people would really enjoy this post apocalyptic novel and if you’re interested in it at all, give it a try!

Suggestions from Ignited Moth:

I’ve called her it a million times now, she’s my Comic Book Fairy. ❤ She’s also always full of random non-fiction novels to recommend as well. I know there’s a novel about plagues on my TBR list thanks to her. 😛

Well that’s my 2019 reading so far! How is everyone else’s year going?

The Knife Man: Blood, Body Snatching, and the Birth of Modern Surgery – Book Review

Published Date: September 12, 2006

Publishing Co.: Broadway Books

Pages: 324

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

You know you’ve worked in the medical field for awhile when you can read about gonorrhea and syphilis on your lunch without losing your appetite. Some people may count that as a negative, I count it as a positive. It takes a hell of a lot to ruin my lunch.

For myself, this was very much a one chapter at a time read. There is nothing wrong with it, it’s not even too text book like in any matter. The stories are fairly fascinating and John Hunter was a character, there just wasn’t the pull to dig in deep and not let up until I was finished. Perhaps in true Hunterian fashion, I had to contemplate the works and dissect the knowledge at my own pace.

John Hunter had a thirst for knowledge that could hardly be quenched. From his early days, until his last, he needed to know more about how the world worked. About anatomy, about evolution (though it wasn’t dared called that back then), and disease states. His approach to science greatly influenced the scientific method that we know today. He began to change how wounds were treated, depending less on blood letting and more on experimentation to find a better way. He improved surgical methods.

While he had many admirers, he had just as many enemies who did not like him challenging the accepted way to practice medicine. This almost never slowed him down though. He pushed boundaries that led to many advancements. He also had a few theories that ended up slowing down progress on other things, for example, he conducted an experiment to prove that gonorrhea and syphilis were essentially the same disease. There was a flaw in his method that he never did find out about, as we know today that they are not the same disease.

There are so many things that this one man is responsible for influencing in both science and medicine, that I could go on for pages. Instead, if you’re interested, go pick up this book. It will educate you far more than I would ever be able to. He was a revolutionary and a rebel, and you know how much I like rebels.

Warning: lots of animal torture.

“Hunter had died, as he had lived, in rebellion, speaking his mind.”