- Book reviews of books the reviewer really liked

A collection of excellent reviews by a selected group of reviewers, of books they really liked.

Books I Loved Reviewers:

Rachel C. Lee - makes her home in the "Crossroads of Downeast Maine."
Lisa McCoy - a freelance writer and editor in Washington State
April Chase - a freelance writer who lives in Western Colorado
Joan Prefontaine - lives with her husband on a small lake in central Minnesota
Kit Thomas - studying for an MA in Local and Regional History, and specialises in the Medieval Period
Catherine McNair - a graduate student living in Littleton, Colorado
Lynne Quido - a Minnesota girl living in the south who makes gift baskets, writes and tutors beginning readers
Linda A. Smith - a confessed bibliophile and writer living in Minnesota
A.F. Morrow - a business writer in New York's beautiful Hudson River Valley
Sandi Kenny - a native Atlantan who began her writing career just a few months ago
Alan McClymont - an English teacher in Taiwan
April Dawn Duncan - a native New Mexican, a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism for many years
Allison Saunooke - teaches Mass Media and Debate in Florida
Nancy Chapple - an American citizen living in what has come to look like permanent European exile
Frances O. Thomas - a freelance writer and a National Certified Counselor
Heather Ray - a fulltime Literature teacher and wannabe freelance author
Ashley E. Underell - resides in Denver, CO
William K. Wolfrum - a freelance writer based in Southern California
Jennifer Andrew - lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, works in customer service in the publishing field.
Helen Harvey - a voracious reader transplanted from Britain to Southern California
Guy Brandon - a twenty-something PhD student of Theology in Cambridge, England
Paul A. Paterson - a freelance writer, editor and author living in Southern Ontario
Beth Williams - a freelance writer living in Connecticut
A.J. Kohn - a marketing wonk, lives and works east of San Francisco
Jennifer Santiago - a marketing & events manager in New York City
Twelve - enjoys the freedom of writing in Basel, Switzerland
Michael J. Griffin - born and raised in New York City
Liz Smith - a thoroughly self-employed writer, editor, researcher, and web enthusiast freelancing from NY
Susan Buckner - lives in a very small apartment with two cats, two chameleons, and countless books
Michelle Detwiler - a graduate student pursuing her master's degree in Secondary Education-Language Arts
G-Lock - a New York-based entertainment attorney who currently works at a talent agency.
Lisa-Anne Sanderson - a freelance writer for almost three years
Sarita Mehra -

Some recently added reviews:

Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited, by Vladimir Nabokov
Reviewed by Nancy Chapple

Vladimir Nabokov was no doubt a linguistic genius with a unique sensibility – and probably also a royal pain in the ass. Born in 1899, he goes way back in Speak, Memory (written in the 1940’s and 1950’s) to the early years of his happy childhood, winters spent in St. Petersburg, summers at the country estate. He was the coddled – or perhaps just well-loved – oldest son of an immeasurably wealthy family (50 manservants, two chauffeured cars drive him to school, weeks each year spent in Biarritz and on the Adriatic Sea). Though we learn that his father was politically active in the "liberal" party before the Revolution, we come to understand much more about the inner workings of Nabokov’s mind than the political details of what for him was a terrible time of upheaval after unmitigated bliss. It was no doubt an unusually abrupt change after a comfortable time which drew to a close: "The old and the new, the liberal touch and the patriarchal one, fatal poverty and fatalistic wealth got fantastically interwoven in that strange first decade of our century." Read more
The Beautiful and Damned, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Reviewed by Beth Williams

A combination of death, war and love lead Anthony to his ultimate destination in life. Get ready because you probably won’t have guessed it either—and when you do find out what happens to him, you’re either going to think he’s an unequaled genius or a madman. Me? He just infuriates me in such a way that makes me absolutely love this book like no other. ... Read more
Jarhead, by Anthony Swofford
Reviewed by Nancy Chapple

I abhor war. I understand there must be some justifiable situations for resorting to weapons, so I’m not a strict pacifist, but I do wish that the world’s governments would find other ways to resolve their differences. I deplore how wars are conducted as a policymaking tool. And one of the institutions I have trouble believing in is the US military. What I never realized so clearly before reading Jarhead: you can only deploy the US military to carry out policy if you build up a military culture capable of executing such wars. So I was horrified at the contents of Anthony Swofford’s story of Marine indoctrination. ... Read more
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J.K. Rowling
Reviewed by Jennifer Santiago

As with the previous Harry Potter books, I purchased this one under the guise of giving it to my 12-year-old stepdaughter. Luckily, however, my pre-ordered copy arrived from Amazon on Saturday and my stepdaughter's next visit wouldn't be until the following Friday, so I had time to surreptitiously devour it cover-to-cover before being obligated to hand it over to its rightful owner.

I promise in advance not to reveal any plot twists that might spoil it for those readers who haven't yet been able to lay hands on a copy. Not since Cabbage Patch Kids have parents fought so valiantly for so coveted an item in such short supply! ... Read more
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood, by Alexandra Fuller
Reviewed by Nancy Chapple

Born of English parents who moved permanently to Rhodesia when she was two, Alexandra Fuller spent her childhood in Africa, moving on to Malawi and later Zambia after life became impossible in what was later Zimbabwe. In a unique memoir, she recounts what her childhood was like: the family dynamics, the politically tense situation as various countries made an uneasy transition to independence, the immediate presence of animals and fauna. ... Read more
Anastasia: The Lost Princess, by James Blair Lovell
Reviewed by Beth Williams

Lovell does such a thorough job of detailing the case that Anna Anderson is Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov that you, like I was, may be left wondering how others could have doubt to her identity? Lovell points out incidents in which Anna had knowledge that only someone with access to the inner circles of the royal family would know. Perhaps that, above all other evidence, is enough to get one thinking and pondering. ... Read more
Literary Journalism: A New Collection of the Best American Nonfiction, by Norman Sims and Mark Kramer
Reviewed by Nancy Chapple

What is this genre? Who are the greats in the field and why? What if I choose to write about people and events in the real world from a personal perspective – who has gone before me and hewed an interesting path?

This book is not handsome: it’s printed on newsprint, which means the full-page photos of the highlighted authors look a bit dingy. And I’m not fond of the term literary journalism: the first word sounds awfully high-falutin’, taking itself ever so seriously; the second tells me it needs to be topical, up-to-the-moment, somehow interesting to newspaper editors. ... Read more
The Nazi Officer’s Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived The Holocaust , by Edith Hahn Beer
Reviewed by Beth Williams

The title alone was intriguing enough to compel me to buy Edith Hahn Beer’s autobiography—and the book was every bit as fascinating as its title promised. You’ll undoubtedly be compelled to read “The Nazi Officer’s Wife” in one sitting. It is a beautifully told story that will leave you breathless and in awe of how one woman faced adversity, hard labor and fear head on, never giving up and always believing that she would survive. ... Read more
Narcissus in Chains, by Laurell K. Hamilton
Reviewed by April Dawn Duncan

It was about time for one of those near and dear to Anita to be kidnapped, brutalized, and held for ransom. It had been almost too quiet for the last little while, and that only ever meant trouble. She knew it was coming eventually because she had made numerous enemies over the past few years. It was only a matter of time. It just didn't pay to be one of her loved ones. So how come she had so many of them? ...Read more
Low-Carb Meals in Minutes, by Linda Gassenheimer
Reviewed by Jennifer Andrew

The great thing about this cookbook is that it is meant for people on the go that are concerned about how many carbohydrates they take into their bodies. Meals take 10 to 30 minutes to make and each recipe gives a list of calories, protein, fat, cholesterol, fiber, sodium and carbohydrates that you will find from the meal. Besides the information listed above, on each page you will find a shopping list of what to buy for the recipe, as well as helpful hints and approximately how long it will take to make your meal. ... Read more

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