Categotry Archives: Non-Fiction

Rescued

Rescued Book Cover Rescued
Peter Zheutlin
Pets
Penguin
2017
256

"In the follow-up to his New York Times bestseller Rescue Road, acclaimed journalist Peter Zheutlin offers a heartwarming and often humorous new look into the world of rescue dogs. Sharing lessons from his own experiences adopting dogs with large personalities as well as stories and advice from dozens of families and rescue advocates, Zheutlin reveals the often surprising and inspiring life lessons rescue dogs teach us." -- Back cover.

 

Review:

I’m an animal lover and strong advocate for rescue animals.  “Rescued” is written for anyone like me.  Instead of focusing solely on the dogs it focuses on rescuers and how the dogs have impacted their lives.  Recommended for all lovers of second-hand dogs.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

The Comic Book Story of Video Games

The Comic Book Story of Video Games Book Cover The Comic Book Story of Video Games
Jonathan Hennessey
Comics & Graphic Novels
Ten Speed Press
2017
192

A complete, illustrated history of video games--highlighting the machines, games, and people who have made gaming a worldwide, billion dollar industry/artform--told in a graphic novel format. Author Jonathan Hennessey and illustrator Jack McGowan present the first full-color, chronological origin story for this hugely successful, omnipresent artform and business. Hennessey provides readers with everything they need to know about video games--from their early beginnings during World War II to the emergence of arcade games in the 1970s to the rise of Nintendo to today's app-based games like Angry Birds and Pokemon Go. Hennessey and McGowan also analyze the evolution of gaming as an artform and its impact on society. Each chapter features spotlights on major players in the development of games and gaming that contains everything that gamers and non-gamers alike need to understand and appreciate this incredible phenomenon.

 

Review:

“The Comic Book Story of Video Games” is definitely not light reading, but it is entertaining and full of information.  I believe I learned something new on almost every page.  This is perfect for kids interested in engineering and technology, as well as adults.  It could also fit easily into a STEM curriculum.  Highly recommended for all of us video game nerds out there!

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Maladies and Medicine

Maladies and Medicine Book Cover Maladies and Medicine
Sara Read, Jennifer Evans,
History
Pen & Sword Books
October 19, 2017

Maladies and Medicine offers a lively exploration of health and medical cures in early modern England. The introduction sets out the background in which the body was understood, covering the theory of the four humors and the ways that male and female bodies were conceptualized. It also explains the hierarchy of healers from university trained physicians, to the itinerant women healers who traveled the country offering cures based on inherited knowledge of homemade remedies. It covers the print explosion of medical health guides, which began to appear in the sixteenth century from more academic medical text books to cheap almanacs. The book has twenty chapters covering attitudes towards, and explanations of some of, the most common diseases and medical conditions in the period and the ways people understood them, along with the steps people took to get better. It explores the body from head to toe, from migraines to gout. It was an era when tooth cavities were thought to be caused by tiny worms and smallpox by an inflammation of the blood, and cures ranged from herbal potions, cooling cordials, blistering the skin, and of course letting blood. Case studies and personal anecdotes taken from doctors notes, personal journals, diaries, letters and even court records show the reactions of individuals to their illnesses and treatments, bringing the reader into close proximity with people who lived around 400 years ago. This fascinating and richly illustrated study will appeal to anyone curious about the history of the body and the way our ancestors lived.

 

Review:

I wanted to enjoy “Maladies and Medicine,” but it was a struggle to maintain focus and keep my mind from drifting.  It’s way more technical than I was expecting and seemed aimed more at professionals than the average lay person.  There were some interesting facts in the book, but I can’t recommend it.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

Death Need Not Be Fatal

Death Need Not Be Fatal Book Cover Death Need Not Be Fatal
Malachy McCourt, Brian McDonald
Biography & Autobiography
Center Street
May 16, 2017
272

Before he runs out of time, Irish bon vivant MALACHY MCCOURT shares his views on death - sometimes hilarious and often poignant - and on what will or won't happen after his last breath is drawn. During the course of his life, Malachy McCourt practically invented the single's bar; was a pioneer in talk radio, a soap opera star, a best-selling author; a gold smuggler, a political activist, and a candidate for governor of the state of New York. It seems that the only two things he hasn't done are stick his head into a lion's mouth and die. Since he is allergic to cats, he decided to write about the great hereafter and answer the question on most minds: What's so great about it anyhow? In Death Need Not Be Fatal, McCourt also trains a sober eye on the tragedies that have shaped his life: the deaths of his sister and twin brothers; the real story behind Angela's famous ashes; and a poignant account of the death of the man who left his mother, brothers, and him to nearly die in squalor. McCourt writes with deep emotion of the staggering losses of all three of his brothers, Frank, Mike, and Alphie. In his inimitable way, McCourt takes the grim reaper by the lapels and shakes the truth out of him. As he rides the final blocks on his Rascal scooter, he looks too at the prospect of his own demise with emotional clarity and insight. In this beautifully rendered memoir, McCourt shows us how to live life to its fullest, how to grow old without acting old, and how to die without regret.

 

Review:

Words cannot even begin to describe how much I adore Malachy McCourt.  First introduced to him through my all-time favorite book, “Angela’s Ashes,” it’s been a wonderful journey learning more about him through his own works.  This is a bittersweet novel about death that evokes both tears and a lot of laughter.  It’s a memory of a life well-lived.  He is the last of the McCourt boys and I hope he is with us all for many years to come.  No matter what, it is good to know that he is at peace with death and not afraid.  I only wish I could be so brave.  Highly recommended.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

You Had One Job!

You Had One Job! Book Cover You Had One Job!
Beverly Jenkins
Humor
Andrews McMeel Publishing
July 12, 2016
Paperback
144

You Had One Job! is a collection of hilarious pictures features job-related disasters and general ineptitudes. If someone hangs a stop sign upside down or paints crooked lines on a highway, count on someone else to snap a photo and post it online. You Had One Job! is a collection of hilarious pictures features job-related disasters and general ineptitudes. All of these new, never-before-seen images will be accompanied by witty captions.

 

Review:

“You Had One Job” has many pictures in it that had me literally laughing out loud and scaring the animals.  It also seemed a bit on the short side and had too many photos that have been over-exposed online.  A bit longer and with more original content and it would have been a five-star book.

This review is based on a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Presidential Pets

Presidential Pets Book Cover Presidential Pets
Julia Moberg
Juvenile Nonfiction
Imagine Publishing
January 1, 2012
95

The Wierd, wacky, little, big, scary, strange animals that have lived in the White House.

 

Review:

“Presidential Pets” is an excellent introduction to the history of the American presidents for children.  The hook is obviously the pet facts, but each president also has brief and easy-to-digest facts about their presidency on their pages.  The illustrations are wonderful, as well.  Highly recommended to animal and history lovers of all ages.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Shelter Dogs In A Photo Booth

Shelter Dogs in a Photo Booth Book Cover Shelter Dogs in a Photo Booth
Guinnevere Shuster
Pets
April 19, 2016
128

Man's best friend! What better way to showcase adoptable dogs than by letting their true personalities shine in a photo booth! Often seen as sad, rejected, and behind cold metal bars, it's no wonder people would avoid images of shelter dogs awaiting forever homes. From talented photographer (and now public figure and adoption champion) Guinnivere Shuster comes Shelter Dogs in a Photo Booth, a guaranteed-to-make-you-smile photo book featuring shelter dogs in a brand-new light. Get ready to see the cutest canine portraits you've ever seen! Guinnevere's fantastic photos went viral and have been featured on websites, in magazines, and on television programs all over the world: Good Morning America, NBC, ABC, MSNBC, The Huffington Post, Time, The Daily Mail . . . even celebrities have gotten in on the action: Amy Poehler, Cesar Milan, and Zooey Deschanel have made statements and posts declaring their love of Guinnevere's work. After the adorable and up-for-adoption photos of these furry friends were seen and enjoyed by millions, adoption rates at Utah's Humane Society skyrocketed. The book features 100 dog photo booth style photographs, each accompanied by a short story about the dog's personality, how the dog ended up in the shelter, and the adoption date. A follow-up will conclude the book, with photos of some of them with their new families. A portion of the proceeds of this book will benefit the Humane Society of Utah and Best Friends Animal Society.

 

Review:

By now, most animal lovers have seen or heard of the photos of shelter dogs taken in photo booths.  “Shelter Dogs In A Photo Booth” is a collection of these photos, along with the stories of how they came to be in the shelter and their adoptions.

It’s wonderful to get to see the dogs’ personalities show through.  All too often they cannot show their true nature in shelters, and it causes many wonderful animals to be passed by.  The photos are a true delight and the book will make a great addition to any animal lover’s collection.  It is also a wonderful gift idea for those in your life who have dogs.

An added bonus is that a portion of the proceeds go to the Humane Society of Utah and Best Friends Animal Society.  If you’ve never heard of the latter, it is the home of the Vicktory Dogs who were unable to be adopted for various reasons.  The ones who were adopted went through rehab there and much was learned about how to rehabilitate fighting dogs, which will save many lives in the future.  The work they do is extraordinary.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

Content Warning:

Excessive Cuteness and Feels

It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History

It Ended Badly Book Cover It Ended Badly
Jennifer Wright
History
Henry Holt and Company
November 3, 2015
256

A humorous, well-researched pop history of the disastrous love lives of prominent historical figures, from Lord Byron to Elizabeth Taylor If you are lying in bed right now, a pint of ice cream in one hand, a bottle of scotch in the other, and this book clenched between your teeth (one tooth is missing from last night's bar fight), with tears streaming down your face over how much you loved, loved, loved your ex, let me commend you on how well you are coping. You could be doing so much worse. So much worse. You could be beheading your ex, or castrating strangers, or starting an exciting new life with a sex doll. YOU ARE A HERO. In It Ended Badly, New York Observer columnist Jennifer Wright guides you through thirteen of the worst breakups of notable figures in history--from Emperor Nero (sadist, murderer several times over), to Viennese artist Oskar Kokoschka (he of the aforementioned sex doll), to Norman Mailer (public stabbing). With her conversational tone and considerable wit, Wright digs deep into the archives to bring these terrible breakups to life. It's fun, pop history that educates, entertains, and really puts your own bad breakup behavior into perspective. It Ended Badly is for anyone who's loved and lost and maybe sent one too many ill-considered, late-night emails to their ex--reminding us that no matter how badly we've behaved, no one is as bad as Henry VIII.

 

Review:

“It Ended Badly” is one of the perfect kinds of books.  Not only do you get to learn something, but you also get to laugh.  Educational Entertainment:  What’s not to love about that?

There are thirteen true tales of love gone wrong that will have you grateful for the relationship you have, as well as the ones you no longer have.  At least they didn’t end THAT way.  “It Ended Badly” is also a perfect gift for a friend or a loved one who is suffering a recent heartbreak.  By the end of the book they will be laughing so hard they’ll forget what was wrong in the first place.

I recommend “It Ended Badly” for pretty much any adult who loves history or a unique book of humor.  Five enthusiastic stars!

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat

Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat Book Cover Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat
Jen Mann
Ballantine Books
October 13, 2015
Hardcover
224

For fans of Laurie Notaro and Jenny Lawson comes an uproarious and oddly endearing essay collection for anyone trying to survive the holidays in one piece.

When it comes to time-honored holiday traditions, Jen Mann pulls no punches

In this hilariously irreverent collection of essays, Jen Mann, nationally bestselling author of People I Want to Punch in the Throat, turns her mordant wit on the holidays. On Mann’s naughty list: mothers who go way overboard with their Elf on the Shelf, overzealous carolers who can’t take a hint, and people who write their Christmas cards in the third person (“Joyce is enjoying Bunko. Yeah, Joyce, we know you wrote this letter.”). And on her nice list . . . well, she’s working on that one. Here, no celebration is off-limits. The essays include:

• You Can Keep Your Cookies, I’m Just Here for the Booze
• Nice Halloween Costume. Was Skank Sold Out?
• Why You Won’t Be Invited to Our Chinese New Year Party

From hosting an ill-fated Chinese New Year party, to receiving horrible gifts from her husband on Mother’s Day, to reluctantly telling her son the truth about the Easter Bunny, Mann knows the challenge of navigating the holidays while keeping her sanity intact. And even if she can’t get out of attending another Christmas cookie exchange, at least she can try again next year.

 

Review:

“Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat” is a memoir in essays about Christmas and other holidays.  It will make you laugh, cry, cringe, feel sorry for the author, and ultimately, make you feel nostalgia.

Most of the stories had me actually laughing out loud.  Some of them made me snort.  Quite a few of them left me wondering if we may be related.  The point is: We have all been in her shoes, and we have also all been in the shoes of one of the other poor souls.  No holiday is perfect, but it’s the funny stories of things gone that leave us longing for more.  It’s this very fact that makes the book much more than a collection of funny stories.  It has heart, and it is bound to touch the hearts of everyone with a fondness for holidays and families, in spite of all of the hassle they bring.

“Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat” is well-written and a quick read.  Sitting down with it will be a perfect break from the upcoming holiday rush.  Also, it will make a great not-so-subtle gift for all of the “holiday overachievers” in your life.  (Watch me get three copies.)

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

When It Was Just A Game: Remembering the First Super Bowl

When It Was Just a Game Book Cover When It Was Just a Game
Harvey Frommer
HISTORY
Taylor Trade Pub
September 9, 2015
252

The first Super Bowl in 1967 was actually called The World Championship Game, and pitted the upstart American Football League, represented by the Kansas City Chiefs, against the National Football League, represented by the Green Bay Packers. This book consists of oral interviews with many of the surviving players and/or their children, as well as the recently discovered unpublished memoirs of Chiefs coach Hank Stram.

 

Review:

As a diehard Packers fan (I bleed green and gold), I’m not entirely sure I can be completely unbiased in reviewing “When It Was Just A Game”.  What can ever be better than a comprehensive history of the first Super Bowl?

The book is an excellent resource that covers almost every facet of what went into the epic 1967 game between the Packers and the Chiefs.  It’s packed with facts and direct quotes from people ranging from the players to the fans and everyone in between.  Not the least of it is from the recently deceased legend Frank Gifford.  Reading how it was at the beginning of what has become such a large event is a good reminder of what the game is meant to be at the start of this new NFL season.

“When It Was Just A Game” is the perfect gift for any football fan you may have on your holiday list.  It’s a must-have for any Packers fans out there. GO PACK GO!

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.