book review nonfiction

Book Review: Every Tool’s a Hammer

I went into this one thinking it was an autobiography. Adam shares some stories, but it is more of a makers manifesto. I’m sort of a creative book junkie. I choose books about creative pursuits and the artist’s methods because I am always looking for guidance in those areas in my own writing.

My biggest takeaway from this book is how many people are “makers” even though they would never self identify that way. Maybe you work in software development- you are a maker- you make software. Adam tells us how he plans his projects, the sketches and checklists. He has the option of calling up famous dudes and asking advice, but we regular folks can use the internet in that same way.

If you’ve watched Adam on Mythbusters you can hear his voice through his words and his optimism that you the reader can make things shines through the pages. He really gives you that kick in the pants (permission?) to tackle that creative thing that you keep putting off because you aren’t sure how or if you should try.

Originally, I borrowed this from the library but am buying a copy for our home so that I can pass it around and model our own maker space after reading how Adam sets his up.

book review fiction

Book Review: William Shakespeare’s Get Thee Back to the Future!

“The pow’r of love, O ’tis a curious thing:
It changeth hawks into a gentle dove,
It maketh one man weep, another sing,
More than a feeling: ’tis the pow’r of love.

‘Tis tougher e’en than diamonds, rich like cream,
It makes a bad one good, a wrong one right,
‘Tis stronger, harder than a wench’s dream,
The pow’r of love shall keep the home at night.

When first thou feelest it, may make thee sad,
When next thou feelest it, may be profound,
Yet when thou learnest this, thou shalt be glad:
It is this power makes the world go ’round.

‘Tis strong and sudden, sent by heav’n above,
It may just save thy life, this pow’r of love.”

– Ian Doescher paraphrasing Huey Lewis

Do you want to laugh through an entire book? If so, get your hands on this gem. So, so funny. I don’t know how I missed the other books in this series, (notably all of The Star Wars films!) but they are all on TBR list now.

I’m actually going to listen to this with my teen son and then watch the movie as he’ll begin reading Shakespeare in school this year and I think these books are the perfect most fun way to get comfortable with the language of Shakespeare.

Even if you aren’t a student anymore, most of the lines translated into Shakesperian dialect will delight you and could easily become your new go- to phrases.

I especially enjoyed the inner thought process of Einstein the dog which we weren’t privy to in the movies. All in all, it’s a book you might not run into on your own. My thanks to Quirk Books for sending me this book to read.

book review Chicago nonfiction

Book Review- H.H. Holmes: The True History Of The White City Devil

Whew. At 10% in my Kindle said I had 7 and a half hours left of reading- and I’m a fast reader. It was just about correct. This is a long book. I liked it, but it took me forever to get through.

That said, here’s the thing, you won’t find better or more accurate research about H.H. Holmes anywhere else. That guy you read about in The Devil in the White City? He is the sensationilized completely “extra” version of the real H. H. Holmes. Now, he is still terrible, and terrifyingly evil for sure, but he was also a showman who loved to take credit for any crimes that he could plausibly take credit for commiting.

He for sure killed more than seven people (by my count), mostly because they got in his way. I think I would be exhausted all the time if I were trying to keep track of so many different personas and scam scenarios, and then if other people got in the way… You’d have to resolve that. At least that is how Holmes lived his life. He was the embodiment of evil.

I enjoyed reading about Chicago, and all the places that are still there. Obviously, the entire subject matter is grim, there is no way around it. The research is just astoundingly good, there are so many original sources quoted and real letters that people wrote either to or from the victims.

Overall, if you like either true crime books or just like reading about Chicago history, you’ll love this.

book review Graphic Novel nonfiction

ARC REVIEW: The Escape Manual For Introverts

The idea that introverts may need this guide was inspired. I can say I’m an introvert all day long, but extroverts reading this may finally get an idea of what that actually means for me in real life.

The strategies are divided into five situational categories: Friends, relatives, coworkers, acquaintances, and strangers.

The book even includes a handy dandy Plausibility of Excuse Absurdity graph for reference.

Side note from me even extroverted spoonies will benefit from some of the strategies presented inside. Sometimes you just need to get away from a crowd of people even if you actually like them. Read more about The Spoon Theory here.

I’ve got no criticisms at all related to this book and you should check it out August 6 when it drops onto Kindles everywhere.

book review nonfiction

Smart but Scattered–and Stalled: 10 Steps to Help Young Adults Use Their Executive Skills to Set Goals, Make a Plan, and Successfully Leave the Nest

This review is going to be especially applicable to parents of a certain age. Remember when reading What to Expect While You’re Expecting was your go-to book? Fast forward to today, and this is the replacement. Maybe you have kids that went away to school, graduated and landed back in your home. Or you have kids who graduated and never really left or some other version of the story that emerges after you get together with old friends for a drink or two. It’s happening all around us, and we all seem flummoxed over the right course of action.

Dads seem to lean into the hardcore and Moms are usually the softer touch, and these twenty-something kids have learned to get what they want from all of us. Not that it’s all their fault, it’s sort of a perfect storm that this generation is navigating. Do they need a degree? Should they follow their bliss? You can’t blame them for being confused by the whole new paradigm.

This book though- it’s gold.

You’ve got checklists, quizzes, and resources for both you and your kid. The best part? The co-author is the real-life stuck kid of the author. This isn’t some tough love book, but it does point out ways that you may have made it easy for your kid to feel so safe at home that leaving isn’t appealing.

This is a book that you can use together to make a plan that fits your situation and helps you to implement that plan as well.

I read it on my kindle.

Please note that I received a free advance E ARC of this book from Edelweiss without a review requirement or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that, I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.

Smart but Scattered–and Stalled: 10 Steps to Help Young Adults Use Their Executive Skills to Set Goals, Make a Plan, and Successfully Leave the Nest by Richard Guare, Colin Guare and Peg Dawson

book review fiction

Book Review: The Warehouse

Happy Book Birthday!!

I stayed up until after midnight to finish it, then woke up, reached for my Kindle and reread the last chapter. I feel like I could really reread the whole book at some point just to look for hidden clues that I probably missed the first read through. So, if you are a library user get yourself on that hold list pronto.

Caveat: I love a good Dystopian World. I loved this story because it is so close to what our future could become if we aren’t careful.

The story begins with a blog post by a man named Gibson Wells. He owns Cloud and at first, seems like a good guy. After you meet Zinnia and Paxton and hear things from their POV, you may change your mind about him.

Zinnia is a corporate spy hired by an anonymous rich guy to take down Cloud from the inside. Paxton is a former prison guard/inventor who used to market his invention as a vendor on Cloud but eventually got put out of business by them. Since he didn’t want to go back to the prison work, he decided to work at Cloud until his patent came through and he could sell it to Cloud.

As we learn more and more about the state of the world it becomes clear that this is basically a “company town” like in the old west or steel mill days. You don’t get paid money, you get credits. You live at Cloud, buy all your food from them, wear a trackable wristband, and even purchase the water you shower with from them. In exchange you get a star rating, five is great, and one equals immediate dismissal.

Cloud is for sure code for Amazon, which gives me mixed feelings as I affiliate link over there every day. 🤷 When I figure out a way to link to independent bookstores easily, I will.

If you like The Black Mirror, The Circle, or have read The Wool Series of books (which is free on Kindle Unlimited now!) this is that same vibe. Also, it is going to be a movie.

book review MG fiction

Book Review: Nightbooks

This Middle Grade title makes an excellent Summer Read Aloud for the entire family. It is just scary enough.

Alex is being kept prisoner by a witch in an apartment full of books. At first glance, I thought that wouldn’t be too bad. Unfortunately, it is more of a Hansel and Gretel scenario and each night he is required to tell her a story in order to stay alive. If you like Coraline and A Tale Dark and Grimm this will be right up your alley.

I would place this in a 12 and up category because of its scary factors. It isn’t all scare- Nightbooks is a book about friendship and staying true to yourself, even when it isn’t easy. Bonus points from me for having an adorable cat in it.

It’s a dark tale with plenty of humor built in, I sped through it in an afternoon and loved it all.

Please note that I received a free advance E ARC of this book from Edelweiss+ without a review requirement or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review.

Verdict- buy

The hardback is out now, the paperback will be available soon and there is a Netflix series in the works!

Nightbooks by J.A. White

book review fiction

Book Review: I’ll Never Tell

I’ve got another free on Kindle Unlimited book for you this week.

Overall, I liked this story even though the ending seemed a bit unresolved for my taste. Five siblings come home due to the untimely deaths of their parents and the reading of their will. In an unorthodox move the four sisters can disinherit their brother if they decide that he killed a girl back in 1998.

Basically they all become detectives as they try to solve this cold case. At one point one sister thinks maybe she did it. The plot is pretty twisty although at times it was also pretty predictable. Kind of a mixed bag. It is free though.

I give it bonus points for the gorgeous Canadian setting descriptions and the fact that by the end I felt sorry for the brother. I hated him at first and didn’t expect to change my mind. It was a good quick read, perfect for a rainy afternoon.

book review fiction

Book Review: The Lesson

Happy Book Birthday!

At the 2% mark, when Derrick shared his hidden mythology collection, I was hooked.

The first part of the book centers around one family in St Thomas. You get a good sense of their lives both before and after they discover that not only are aliens real, the Ynaa lives among humans right here on Earth. One alien in particular, (Mera) came to Earth a couple hundred years ago and lived life as a human as a sort of experiment. She was a slave, and I think that’s what helped her understand humans more than the aliens who just arrived.

The second part (5 years later) centers on the aliens and their mission. Sometimes they are helpful and nice, other times they overreact to pretty normal human behavior. This family has issues before, during, and after the invasion and reading about people of color encountering a different race of people of color was a cool twist. You can easily draw comparisons to the British as they colonized the world.

I read it pretty slowly (which for me was a couple of days) and am still thinking about it a few days later. I can see this becoming a movie. Be warned the first section moves a little slow, and I wasn’t sure if I’d end up enjoying the story, but eventually, as the climax grew closer I really got that sense of dread and couldn’t decide if I wanted to read faster or slower!

The copy I read was an ARC so the details may have changed in the finished copy.

book review fiction

Book Review: Recursion

Ok, I guess this is a SciFi Mystery? It’s like watching The Matrix; you get lots of those kinds of understanding breakthroughs. It was a good read that I read in like 3 hours.

False Memory Syndrome is spreading like wildfire. The condition gives people real-seeming memories of a life they haven’t lived.
The two central characters are Detective Barry Sutton and Dr. Helena Smith. Smith is a neuroscientist seeking a cure for Alzheimer’s in the hope of curing her’s mother terminal descent into dementia. She plans to construct a machine that can record a person’s most valued memories for posterity.
It seems like a great idea until it has unintended consequences.
False Memory reports are on the rise, and Barry’s interactions with a woman who killed herself drive him to investigate further. People can’t handle the mental rewiring of their memories and desire their fake life more than their real ones. 

It left me wondering about every single moment of deja vu I’ve ever felt. It also made me ponder the butterfly effect all while invested in what would happen next.

I won’t go into any more of the plot, so that you can read it yourself. I’m going to move on and read everything else that Blake Crouch has in print starting with Dark Matter. His world building is fantastic.