Pug Pals: Yay for Vacay! by Flora Ahn (Review)

Pug Pals: Yay for Vacay! By Ahn, Flora Children’s Mystery/Picture Story Book Scholastic Press Hardcover (No Dust Jacket) $9.99 (USD) January 2019 If you’re too shallow to appreciate Pugs, stop reading right now. That said, Flora Ahn has done it again.  Yes, another classic.  Her first Pug-themed children’s book, Pug Pals: Two’s a Crowd (2018), introduced us to Sunny and Rosy, two dogs with human traits who bonded under conditions that didn’t look too promising at first. The second book in the series, Pug Pals: Yay for Vacay! is an equally uplifting continuation of the odd relationship between two dear friends … Continue reading Pug Pals: Yay for Vacay! by Flora Ahn (Review)

Parking the Moose by Dave Hill (Review)

Parking the Moose By Hill, Dave Humorous Essays Hardcover, $29.95 (CAN) $24.00 (USD) Doubleday Canada Published September 2019 Most of us have given some thought to our ancestry, and we think of how differently we’d be living if something hadn’t changed direction before our births.  Personally, I wonder how I would be conducting my life if my maternal grandmother hadn’t left Utah when she was young and stopped practicing the local religion. Actually, I wouldn’t even be here if my maternal grandmother had stayed in Utah.  She married a gentile she met in San Francisco, so with genes being what … Continue reading Parking the Moose by Dave Hill (Review)

Guts by Raina Telgemeier (Review)

Guts By Telgemeier, Raina Graphic Novel, Paperback $12.99 Publisher: Scholastic Graphix © 2019 I wish this book had been around when I was turning thirteen, and suffered with a debilitating “nervous” stomach that knocked about a year and a half from my life. Guts is an autobiographical graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier, whose work can offer comfort to children and teenagers — particularly girls — who mistakenly believe their lives are over when stress becomes overwhelming. Raina is a ten year old child who must always focus on the question, “How will my stomach react to (fill in the blank)?”  She … Continue reading Guts by Raina Telgemeier (Review)

American Prison by Shane Bauer (Book Review)

American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey Into the Business of Punishment By Shane Bauer Penguin Books Paperback $18.00 (Previously in Hardcover) ©2018 Nonfiction 351 Pages Many people in the United States first heard of Shane Bauer in 2009, when he and two other Americans, Sarah Shourd and Joshua Fattal, were arrested on false charges of spying on Iran.  They were held for more than two years before the U.S. State Department secured their release. All three Americans who were subjected to that trauma co-authored a memoir and wrote about their experience in Mother Jones Magazine.  However, Shane Bauer had a continuing … Continue reading American Prison by Shane Bauer (Book Review)

Keep Her Close by Erik Therme (Book Review)

Keep Her Close by Therme, Erik Psychological Suspense ©2018 Bookouture Original Paperback $10.99 (USD) 230 Pages ISBN-13:  978-1-78681-9 In your experience, how many times have you acted on impulse against your better judgment? You probably don’t have an answer to that, and if you did you wouldn’t say. An even more uncomfortable question might be, How many times have you acted on impulse because of an intense emotional void? I want to be careful not to share too much, but Erik Therme has written a modern classic suspense novel that explores the ways we — any of us — react when … Continue reading Keep Her Close by Erik Therme (Book Review)

Maid by Stephanie Land (Review)

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive By Land, Stephanie Foreword by Barbara Ehrenreich Memoir ©2019 $27.00 Hardcover Hachette Books 270 Pages You may have social media friends who rely on each other for emergency childcare or other support when their families suffer hardships.  Even if you’re not in a particular inner circle, you may see posts on Facebook by friends who thank their siblings, parents or others for stepping up to the plate during a crisis. Stephanie Land, author of Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive, rarely had any human safety net … Continue reading Maid by Stephanie Land (Review)

One Man Against the World by Tim Weiner (Book Review)

(Disclosure: This post underwent minor revisions on April 3, 2019.) ONE MAN AGAINST THE WORLD: THE TRAGEDY OF RICHARD NIXON By Tim Weiner ©2015 369 Pages, Including Source Notes and Index $17.99 St. Martins Griffin Paperback (Originally in Hardcover) If you’re old enough to remember Watergate, some names are with you forever.  I can recall a parody album which a friend insisted on playing for me through the telephone.  I don’t remember how many times she did that, but a musical chorus with names of the scandal’s principals still repeats in my head occasionally. Consider what we don’t remember, or … Continue reading One Man Against the World by Tim Weiner (Book Review)

Gaslighting by Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D. (Book Review)

Gaslighting: Recognize Manipulative and Emotionally Abusive People — and Break Free By Stephanie Moulton Sarkis, Ph.D. Da Capo Press (An Imprint of Hachette) ISBN-13: 978-0738284668 $16.99 USD Trade Paperback (Also Available as an E-Book) (Disclaimer:  I am not a mental health professional.) Most of us who have the slightest human vulnerability have been gaslighted.  Maybe it didn’t work on some of us, but don’t be too sure about that. Gaslighting is a form of mental manipulation which causes people to question their own perceptions or judgment.  The effect of it is the emotional equivalent of slipping on ice.  You might … Continue reading Gaslighting by Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D. (Book Review)

Golden State by Ben H. Winters (Book Review)

GOLDEN STATE By Ben H. Winters Mulholland Books, Issued in 2019 336 Pages ISBN-13:  978-0316505413 $28.00 Hardcover Also available as an e-book I first became an admirer of Ben H. Winters when I read his 2011 novel Bedbugs.  He has a gift for finding horror in the human condition, and using the physical setting as metaphor. Golden State does not disappoint.  Mr. Winters’ latest dystopian fiction is set in the future, in a place resembling Los Angeles.  Small lies — even efforts at creativity — are treated as felonies, and the population must live with the consequences of being “honest” at all … Continue reading Golden State by Ben H. Winters (Book Review)

Two’s a Crowd (Book #1 in Pug Pals Series) Review

Two’s a Crowd Written and illustrated by Flora Ahn Scholastic Press $9.99 (USD) Hardcover (No Dust Jacket) © 2018 Pugs are wonderful dogs.  However, most have attitudes.  They’re stubborn, and when they don’t get what they want they sulk. Flora Ahn knows this.  If my dear Puggie acquaintances were able to cross their arms, they would resemble one of the drawings inside the front cover of this book. Two’s a Crowd is the first and so far only book in this new series, and I plan on reading all of them eventually. Care should be used to avoid giving away too … Continue reading Two’s a Crowd (Book #1 in Pug Pals Series) Review