Archive for the Category » Book Review «

Book Review: Almost Perfect

Almost perfect is about the sacrifice that baseball pitchers and teams make for the perfect game.  Very, very few have ever done it.  Some perfect games turned into no hitters but didn’t end up perfect.  There are write ups on some close calls with the box score and why they didn’t end up perfect.  Unfortunately my Mets have never had a perfect game and have only ever had 1 no hitter!

For those of you are not baseball fans – a “perfect game” is when you have no hits or walks, hit by pitch, etc. as a pitcher.  A no hitter is just that – no hits.  But you could have walked a player or hit him with a pitch.  This book shows some of these no hitters and other “almosts”.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the book

The rich, poignant tales of major league baseball’s most hard-luck fraternity—the pitchers of its Almost-Perfect Games

From 1908 to 2015, there have been thirteen pitchers who have begun Major League Baseball games by retiring the first twenty-six opposing batters, but then, one out from completing a perfect game, somehow faltering (or having perfection stolen from them). Three other pitchers did successfully retire twenty-seven batters in a row, but are still not credited with perfect games. While stories of pitching the perfect game have been told and retold, Almost Perfect looks at how baseball, at its core, is about heartbreak, and these sixteen men are closer to what baseball really is, and why we remain invested in the sport. Author Joe Cox visits this notion through a century of baseball and through these sixteen pitchers—recounting their games in thrilling fashion, telling the personal stories of the fascinating (and very human) baseball figures involved, and exploring the historical American and baseball backdrops of each flawed gem.

From George “Hooks” Wiltse’s nearly perfect game in 1908 to “Hard Luck” Harvey Haddix’s 12-inning, 36-consecutive-outs performance on May 26, 1959 (the most astounding single-game pitching performance in baseball history) to Max Scherzer’s near miss in 2015, Joe Cox’s book captures the action, the humanity, and the history of the national pastime’s greatest “almosts.”
Joe Cox is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and is the co-author of multiple sports books, including Fightin’ Words: Kentucky vs. Louisville and Voice of the Wildcats: Claude Sullivan and the Rise of Modern Sportscasting. He lives in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Book Review: I Love You with All My Butt

I love you with all my butt is a book of doodles created from interesting phrases that were said by toddlers.  It’s hard to really write a review of this book because you have to kind of read it and see if yourself to “get” it, but trust me, it is full of hilarious phrases and imagery inspired by toddlers and I guarantee you will have at least one chuckle while reading it!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

scraps of accidental poetry. And we turn them into books.

Martin Bruckner is an artist and father who not only recorded the sayings of his daughter, Harper, but used each as the inspiration for a work of art. After posting them on social media, Bruckner became the artist that other parents sought out to transform their own children’s funny words into artwork. Collected here are 100 mini-posters of pure delight, a marriage of the children’s surprising wisdom and the artist’s nimble style, plus the occasional backstory that amplifies both.

Every parent will recognize the spirited declarations of personality—“I’m training to be a wolf.” The endearing mangling of language—“Mommy, I don’t need your mouth to talk to me right now.” The creative mixing of metaphors—“I need a tissue to wipe my feelings.” Those precious, heartbreaking outbursts without guile or filters—“I only love you at the toy store.” Illustrated with sweetness and whimsy, each is a window into the irresistible innocence of childhood, even if the sentiment is “Dad, please wipe the bum of this beautiful princess.”

Book Review: Dead Gone

Dead Gone follows rookie detective Tom Lange on his first case. A woman is found floating in the water and the only identifying marks on her is a tattoo.  Tom posts about her on a website that allows the public to post tips and a friend thinks she knows who the woman is.  Tom meets with her and thinks that he has IDed her but can’t seem to figure out who did it or why.  Meanwhile, there are a few other conflicts going on in Tom’s life that are distracting him from giving his all to the case.  His neighbor Alicia shows up on his doorstep wanting help when her boyfriend is abusing her. Tom tries to get her to press charges, but the two seem to work things out instead.  Tom’s brother, Nick, also keeps pulling him away because he is dealing with a major gambling debt and is getting beaten by the guys he owes.  His partner, Blythe, is not happy with how he is handling the case and he as two strikes against him as far as she is concerned, and one more and she is going to ask for him to be reassigned.

A lot of people say this book is one that you can’t put down, but I seemed to have the opposite problem – I kept falling asleep while trying to read it.  The story was good but didn’t grab me like I had hoped and all the distractions in Tom’s life were a distraction to me as well – I just wanted to know more about the crime that Tom was investigating.

There is quite a twist at the end and I can’t say too much else about my thoughts on the story without giving some things away and I don’t want to do that.  If you like mysteries and thrillers this is a great story, though a bit on the long side if you want to read something in one afternoon or day.

I received a free e-copy of the book in order to write the review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

A GRIPPING THRILLER WITH AN EXPLOSIVE ENDING BY BEST-SELLING AUTHOR T.J. BREARTON.

A woman’s body is found floating in a sultry Florida mangrove. She has no ID and there is no indication of cause of death.

Who is she? Why was she murdered?

Rookie detective Tom Lange couldn’t have got a more difficult first case. The only thing he’s got to go on is the woman’s butterfly tattoo. His boss, Lauren Blythe, piles the pressure on and the medical examiner won’t tell him what he needs to know.

Meanwhile Tom’s neighbour Alicia has an abusive boyfriend who Tom clashes with in a way that will have far-reaching consequences.

The body leads Tom on a trail of seedy clubs, narcotics, and danger which is close to home.

In a tumultuous ending with a massive twist, Tom’s world is turned upside down.

You’ll be gripped from start to heart-stopping finish in this untputdownable detective mystery from T.J. Brearton.

If you like Jeffery Deaver, Linwood Barclay, Lisa Unger, Gillian Flynn, Rachel Abbott, or Mel Sherratt, you will enjoy this compelling book.

THE DETECTIVE

Tom Lange is a brand new agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. That agency is a state bureau investigating violent crimes, police corruption, with a governor protection unit and top-notch forensic laboratories. The only family Tom has left is his brother Nick.

THE SETTING

Southwest Florida in April. The dry season ending, the heat and humidity building. In Naples, many people are leaving the region for cooler climes. The landscapers are out daily, cutting back the surging vegetation and a steady breeze comes from the gulf coast. Rookery Bay, a nature reserve of a hundred thousand acres teems with wildlife, threaded with brackish creeks. The Everglades stretch all the way across the state to Miami, choked with alligators. Tampa Bay pulses with the nightlife. Naples is one of the wealthiest cities in the U.S., but despite its concentration of millionaires, the region knows poverty, homelessness, drugs, and crime.

Book Review: Will Big League Baseball Survive?

Will Big League Baseball Survive looks at the evolution of the game of baseball over the past few years.  Baseball stadiums used to be more like “churches” and are now being turned into malls with all sorts of other things you can do while at the game than watch the game.   There is a lot of talk about the drug use in baseball and how much of it happened on Selig’s watch and how much of the game changed while he was commissioner as well. It talked about John Rocker and his comments about New York (which ended up with him getting pelted with D sized batteries at a Mets game!)  There is even some talk about the World Baseball Classic and MLB’s involvement with it.

I thought this book was interesting and enjoyed reading the possibilities of the changes that may come to baseball in the future.  Only time will tell what will happen!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Major League Baseball is a beloved American institution that has been a product of the economic, social, and media structures that have evolved in the United States over the last century. In his shrewd analysis, Will Big League Baseball Survive?, Lincoln Mitchell asks whether the sport will continue in its current form as a huge, lucrative global business that offers a monopoly in North America—and whether those structures are sustainable.

Mitchell places baseball in the context of the larger, evolving American and global entertainment sector. He examines how both changes directly related to baseball—including youth sports and the increased globalization of the game—as well as broader societal trends such as developments in media consumption and celebrity culture will impact big league baseball over the next few decades.

His book ultimately proposes several possible scenarios for what big league baseball might look like. Will it become more global, smaller, or remain the same, or will it transform into some kind of hybrid of the three?

Book Review: A Shot With You

A Shot With You is the 2nd book in the Bourbon Brothers series.  I had not read the first before reading this one but I had no problems being able to follow along.  This book did get off to a bit of a slow start for me, especially for a romance novel.  The first several chapters were setting the characters up so you got to “know” them, but I would have liked to see more going on before about half way (or more) through the book.

Brandon Morgan works for his family’s bourbon brand in Kentucky and is currently on vacation in Mexico.  Not too keen on going on the fun cruise excursions, he instead books a tour to a tequila distillery.  He is going for work – he thinks that if he sells his bourbon barrels to the distillery they can use them to make their tequila and it is a win win situation.  When he arrives, his tour is led by the owner’s daughter, Lesa, and it seems like both are interested in each other at first sight.

After chatting (and almost kissing), Brandon ends up missing his bus back to the cruise ship.  Lesa and her cousin offer to drive him back but first he talks to her father about his business plan.  As luck would have it, Papa decides to send Lesa to Kentucky to check out the Bourbon company and see if making the deal is a good idea.  What’s also a good idea – Brandon and Lesa get some more time together to see where their relationship goes, if anywhere.

Brandon had been burned in the past by a former girlfriend, so he is hesitant to rush into anything – especially with someone who may be involved with his business.  But Lesa is just too irresistible.  Lesa isn’t sure she wants anything to happen with Brandon either, even though there is a mutual attraction.  She only wants to help the tequila business get back on its feet so she can travel the world. Alone.

But the two can’t resist each other forever! (Although it did kind of seem like they would for a while there!)  I did really enjoy this book, even though it did get off to a rocky start for me and I wasn’t sure if I was going to push through or give up on it.  I am glad that I didn’t give up on it because I did like the story and the characters.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Bourbon is in Brandon Morgan’s blood. His family owns the best bourbon brand in the country—or it will be with his marketing genius. And after meeting the fiery daughter of a tequila distillery owner, he’s never been more sure.

His barrels, her tequila. It’s a match made in heaven. But only if he can keep his hands off the owner’s daughter…and his secrets to himself.

Lesa Ruiz will do anything to keep Little Possum afloat, but one look at Brandon’s gorgeous dimples and Lesa knows two things for sure: forever is not in the cards with this man and he’s way too sexy to resist for long.

Well, three things… Brandon is hiding something, and she’ll need to get a lot closer to figure it out and save her family’s legacy. Shots, anyone?

Book Review: Party of One

Party of One is a memoir by former MTV VJ Dave Holmes.  I totally remember watching him on Wannabe a VJ but rooting for Jesse and then being mildly annoyed that Jesse won but Dave somehow ended up on MTV more than him. (And then Jesse showed up at a Hanson concert I was at and I fangirled.)  I also somehow also missed the fact that Dave is gay.  (I guess I also didn’t really read the description of the book – I was just like, music related? Someone I know? Ok gotta read this one! Since it is definitely mentioned in there. Woops.)

The beginning of the book is about him growing up and how when he was younger he said he wanted to hang out with one of the guys at school because he thought he was “cute” to his Mom. He backtracked and went through high school closeted and came out when he was going to college, but it was at a time when it still wasn’t accepted.  He moved to New York after graduation and had some jobs that he wasn’t that into and then ended up auditioning for Wannabe a VJ (where there was a Hanson poster on the wall – unfortunately their only mention in the book – although all my other boybands are obviously represented more)

There aren’t a lot of behind the scenes dirt, but I found all the talk about his time at MTV interesting because it was back when MTV was my life and I could remember almost everything he was talking about.

The book goes on to talk about 9/11 and living in New York (and somehow being the last person to find out about it despite being in New York at the time) and then how he moved out to LA and tried his hand at acting but everyone thought he was ugly.

I found out a lot about Dave that I didn’t know about before and the book is really funny and well written and I enjoyed reading it. I like how he made it kind of like a mixtape – each of the 21 chapters is named after a different song with a few interludes thrown in for good measure!

I received a free copy of this book from blogging for books in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

 

About the book

From former MTV VJ Dave Holmes, the hilarious memoir of a perpetual outsider fumbling towards self-acceptance, with the music of the ’80s, ’90s, and today as his soundtrack

Dave Holmes has spent his life on the periphery, nose pressed hopefully against the glass, wanting just one thing: to get inside. Growing up, he was the artsy son in the sporty family. At his all-boys high school and Catholic college, he was the closeted gay kid surrounded by crush-worthy straight guys. And in his twenties, in the middle of a disastrous career in advertising, he accidentally became an MTV VJ overnight when he finished second, naturally, in the Wanna Be a VJ contest, opening the door to fame, fortune, and celebrity—you know, almost.

In Party of One, Holmes tells the hilariously painful and painfully hilarious tales—in the vein of Rob Sheffield, Andy Cohen, and Paul Feig—of an outsider desperate to get in, of a misfit constantly changing shape, of a music geek who finally learns to accept himself. Structured around a mix of hits and deep cuts from the last four decades—from Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” and En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind” to LCD Soundsystem’s “Losing My Edge” and Bleachers’ “I Wanna Get Better”—and punctuated with interludes like “So You’ve Had Your Heart Broken in the 1990s: A Playlist” and “Notes on (Jesse) Camp,” this book is for anyone who’s ever felt like a square peg, especially those who have found their place in the world around a band, an album, or a song. It’s a laugh-out-loud funny, deeply nostalgic story about never fitting in, never giving up, and letting good music guide the way.

Book Review: That’s So 90s Pop

I have to say, I was super pumped when I saw this book. 90s pop is basically my life.  And a coloring/activity book is the perfect thing to de-stress after a busy work week! I was a little bit nervous waiting for the book to come in the mail because I was worried that Hanson wasn’t going to be included and I was going to have to give this book a horrible review, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that they were included with their very own coloring and activity page.  This book is a lot longer than I was expecting it to be – there are 2 pages (or 1 front and back) for each of the stars included.  The front is the coloring page and the back is the activity page.  Activities are all sorts of different things like connect the dots, spot the difference and two truths and a lie.  Hanson’s activity is two truths and a lie which I am sure it will be no surprise that I aced it.  Also included in the book is BSB, NSYNC, and Nick Lachey (though the rest of 98 degrees is surprisingly missing).  In addition to 90s pop stars there are some early 00s as well… and of course, no 90s Pop book would be complete without a Carson Daly mask for you to color.

I haven’t really started coloring too much of this book yet, but I can’t wait to dive right in and give Hanson their long blonde locks, color in Nick Lachey’s tattoos and help Britney Spears find the necklace that she thought the old lady threw in the ocean in the end.  If you are anywhere near as into 90s pop as I am, this book is a must have, even if the drawings in it are a bit silly. (I mean, you’re telling me that is Joey Fatone, really?)

I received a free copy of this book from blogging for books in order to write this review.

That’s So ’90s Pop! is available for purchase at the following retailers:

About the Book

Join Britney Spears in a maze searching for the necklace she once thought the old lady dropped into the ocean. Join Mandy Moore for a Candy-fuelled adventure in her green VW bug. Color in the scorching tattoos on Nick Lachey’s rippling biceps. All this and so much more to be discovered within the pages of That’s so ’90s Pop, a fill-in activity book featuring a bevy of beloved musical pop stars from the late ’90s/ early ’00s.

Pop Stars Include:
·         The Spice Girls
·         Backstreet Boys
·         Britney Spears
·         N Sync
·         Christina Aguilera
·         98 Degrees
·         Mariah Carey
·         TLC
·         Mandy Moore
·         Enrique Iglesias
·         Destiny’s Child
·         Jessica Simpson
·         Macy Gray
·         Alanis Morisette
·         Aaron Carter
·         Usher
·         Lil’ Kim
·         Pink
·         Blink 182
·         Los Del Rio
·         and more!

Book Review: I Was Saved By The Bell

savedI Was Saved By The Bell is the autobiography of Peter Engel, the executive producer of Saved By The Bell, among other shows.  The first half of the book is all about his life before Saved By The Bell and how he went to 30 Rock and asked to be a page in person and even though they told him that he had to apply on paper he somehow convinced them to give him the job. He was in film school and wanting to get into TV and that got his foot in the door.  He also worked on the campaign for JFK, (So don’t believe Wikipedia when it says he was born in 1960! That threw me for a loop when I was reading a bit about him before diving into the book!) as well as a producer on many shows and had lots of fun stories to share.  Then he ended up getting involved with drugs and God even visited him at his apartment.  Halfway through we get to the photos and then it’s time for the real reason I was reading, all the info on Saved By The Bell.  At first, Peter wasn’t interested in creating the show but eventually gave in.  He talks a bit about the casting process and how his daughter fell in love with Zack on paper and he knew that he had to cast the right person and how Mark-Paul helped cast Screech and that Peter didn’t realize how young he was at first.  Peter went on to work on several other teen sitcoms that aired on Saturday morning (many of which I remember, but none I watched as often as Saved By The Bell) and then ended up going on to create Last Comic Standing and how he was nominated for an Emmy for it against Donald Trump and The Apprentice and all the other people with the other shows would say – “Anyone but Trump!” – sounds familiar… Amazing Race, one of my fave reality shows, ended up winning.

I really enjoyed this book and it was a fairly quick read.  Some others said that parts of the story moved slowly – and I can see what they mean.  Based on the title I was expecting more of it to be about Saved By The Bell.  Granted, essentially half of the book is, but it is a bit slow to get to it, but we really needed all the back story to see how Peter moved up the ranks and all the stories and lessons he learned along the way.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Peter Engel, one of the most prolific producers in television with more than 1,000 episodes produced under his banner, single handedly created the teen sitcom with Saved By The Bell, which he executive produced through all of its many incarnations, and which led to his many other teen series, including California Dreams, Hang Time, City Guys, and USA High. As if defining and conquering the teen arena wasn’t enough, Peter produced the iconic Last Comic Standing, enabling the discovery of an entirely new, fresh generation of comedians.

All of this would be more of a career than any producer could ever dream of having, and with more than 50 years in the television industry, Peter has forgotten more than most will ever know. But Peter’s story isn’t just his professional success; his life and work touched and inspired an entire “Bell” generation, whose values and views of a diverse world were shaped by the stories and plain old fun of Peter’s shows.

There is also another side of Peter that most don’t know—his personal journey that began in New York City’s Upper West Side; his discovery of television the night his family’s brand new TV lit up the living room; his first taste of creative success; the injustices of the 1950s; working for JFK’s election in 1960, with the catastrophic letdown that followed; his dream in the 1970s of making “important” television; his loves, marriages, family, and faith; and, in the 1990s and 2000s, finding his greatest success where he least expected it. Along the way, Peter encountered some of the most iconic personalities of his times—John Lennon, Orson Welles, Bette Davis, Jacques Cousteau, John DeLorean, and, of course, John F. Kennedy, among them—and great stories always followed.

I Was Saved by the Bell is the chronicle of Peter’s amazing journey. His stories will make you laugh, cry, and want them never to end. Together, they are a master class on life from the perspective of a man who grew up during a time of great uncertainty and came of age in an era of hope and promise. With the ups and downs of the decades as a backdrop, Peter opens his heart and shares the experiences of his own good times, bad times, reflection, redemption, and, ultimately, joy and satisfaction of a life lived the only way he could—with passion.

Book Review: I Love Science

lovescienceI Love Science is a journal for you to use to share you questions and dreams.  The book contains all the conversion tables you’ll ever need, the periodic table, and other useful science charts.  And as someone who has taken a LOT of Science in school and who does love science, I wish something like this was around when I was in school.  Instead I had to memorize the periodic table. (A skill/memory I no longer have)  There are also prompts throughout the book to further learning! A really cute book to make learning fun!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

A guided journal for young women and girls based on Rachel Ignotofsky’s
inspiring illustrated book Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who
Changed the World.

Colorful and charmingly illustrated, the Women in Science Journal encourages
young women and girls to ponder the world and the daily ins and outs of their
lives. Opening with a short reference section that contains basic equations, the
periodic table, basic HTML codes, and a measurement converter, the journal then
invites the user to write and dream through writing prompts like, “What is a
challenge you’ve overcome recently?” and inspirational quotes from notable
women who’ve achieved greatness in the science, technology, mathematics, and
engineering (STEM) fields, such as famous primatologist Jane Goodall’s, “Only when
our clever brain and our human heart work together can we reach our full
potential.”

Book Review: The Complete X-Files

xfilesI never really watched The X-Files myself, but the rest of my family did so this was a show I did catch episodes of here and there.  It talks a bit about how the show went off the air in 2002 because in a world after 9/11 people didn’t want to believe that the government was hiding secrets from them anymore.  The book goes into the behind the scenes of the show and episodes and there are lots and lots of photos! Each season seems to be represented in the book and as someone who is not a diehard I thought that it was a nice compilation about the series and the material on the new season as well.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Celebrate the return of one of the greatest sci-fi shows of all time with this detailed guide featuring exclusive material from the brand-new season.

Returning after more than a decade off the air, the 10th season of The X-Files promises to be one of the most anticipated television events of 2016. The Complete X-Files, Revised and Updated Edition is the only authorized debriefing on all ten seasons of the cult television series and the X-Files films created by Chris Carter. The book takes readers into Carter’s never-before-seen archives with explanations of unsolved plots, breakdowns of popular episodes, a discussion of the FBI’s paranormal investigations bureau, and other insider information. In addition to exclusive interviews with the cast and crew, The Complete X-Files, Revised and Updated Edition features exclusive material and unpublished photographs from season 10, giving fans a backstage view of the making of this sci-fi phenomenon.