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Book Review: Imagines: Boy Band Babes

This book is all fanfic – celebrity encounters starring YOU – written in the second person so that you can pretend you are the main character.  I love the idea but I’m not sure why a book that is called ‘Boy Band Babes’ starts out with a story about Justin Bieber.  I tried and tried to pretend it was Justin Timberlake but “I” kept squealing Justin Bieber! at him so that didn’t really work out.

The book contains 6 stories and actually 3 of them are not about boyband members at all – Zac Efron, Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes.  The other 3 I only really know who 2 are – Zayn and Niall from One Direction (and I think the last is from 5 seconds of Summer but I never really got into them.)

The stories were cute (the Justin one was all about how he set up a scavenger hunt with clues for their 2nd wedding anniversary) but I think I would have enjoyed them more as just regular guys and regular girls without the celebrity aspect.  Justin Bieber’s was by far the longest one, the rest were pretty quick and kind of had a choose your own adventure vibe to them 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

Fanfiction at its best, from your favorite Wattpad authors! In this collection drawn from the Imagines anthology headlined by Anna Todd (After, Nothing More) comes six stories putting “YOU” alongside your favorite pop stars, including Justin Bieber, Zayn Malik, Michael Clifford, Niall Horan, Zac Efron, and Shawn Mendes!

A unique and daring series of imagines in which you get to uncover the real boy behind the pop star hottie! Told in the second-person, “you” get to step into these swoonworthy and unpredictable adventures and do things like go on a romantic and exciting scavenger hunt through the city in search of your husband Justin Bieber, attend the prom of your dreams with Michael Clifford, and party with Shawn Mendes. Dive into the fantasy worlds of your favorite pop stars now!

Note: Although this book mentions many real celebrities, they have not participated in, authorized, or endorsed its creation.

Book Review: Antique New England Homes & Barns

I guess since I have lived in New England my whole life, I have developed a fondness for antique New England homes. I love driving through older neighborhoods and looking at all the old houses – there were plenty in the coastal town I grew up in and we even sometimes took walking tours through them as class field trips! So when I saw that there was a book devoted to not only the homes but barns I had to check it out.  It goes through the history and how a lot of people moved to New England from [old] England and brought with them the traditions of building. I looove looking at all the pictures – any house that looks like Snow White might haved lived in it is awesome to me.  It talks about how the style of the homes and how they were built was dictated by the climate.  The book also talks a bit about how to restore an antique home with a lot of great information for anyone who might be tackling this project. It lets you know what to look for to fix, what to salvage and “The Rs” that you need to know to fix up an older home.

In addition to getting to see some really cool photos of antique homes I learned a lot.  I am not sure I am going to run out and buy an old home to remodel and renovate (though I wish I could afford to) but should I win the lottery, I certainly would be on the right track with what to do after reading this book!  (And for a music connection, there’s even a chapter on Daryl Hall of Hall and Oates and how he transplanted and renovated 2 homes into one!)

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

About the Book

There is something about antique homes and their hard-working barns that captures the imagination. Maybe it’s their pleasing proportions, maybe they remind us of a simpler time, or maybe we sense that these venerable old survivors that were built when our country was young have seen it all. But how many of us have bothered to listen to the stories they tell or tried to understand what makes them tick? This book reveals the essence of antique New England homes and barns—their history, the people who built them, why they were built that way, and how to restore them, piece by piece, without losing their character. Learn to identify architectural styles from different periods, how to strategize a restoration, and how to approach it systematically, from the timber frame to the floors, walls, and ceilings, windows and doors, wiring, finishes, and landscaping.

Book Review: Masquerading With the Billionaire

This book is about Remington Steele Wolfe, a jewelry designer who believes that someone is posting malicious code in his accounting department and thinks that it might be an inside job.  A friend recommends that he hire Kat Smith, cyber-security specialist to help track down the code.  Since it is most likely an inside job, his employees can’t know what job Kat is there to do so as a cover up she pretends to be Remy’s girlfriend.

Kat is Russian but pretending to be an American because an ex-boyfriend got into some trouble and she is worried that they may eventually come after her if she is not careful with her identity.  When Remy invites her to Russia because he is up for a large jewelry contract with a Prince, she is hesitant at first but decides to go with him in hopes of finding her sister.

While she has been able to keep her identity a secret for a while, Remington figures out that she is Russian and she ends up confiding in him and their relationship becomes more and more real.

The Prince ends up offering Remington the job to make his jewelry but under one condition – he must break it off with Kat because her ex was security in Russia and fed him some lies about her.  Will he take this dream job and risk losing his dream girl?

This book was a pretty easy read, a lot of different locations were mentioned in it which was fun to be jet setting all over the place.  I’m not sure I found the Remy/Kat relationship all that believable and things worked out a little bit too perfectly at times (I honestly could have done without the last chapter and had it end before that) but I did enjoy the book and looked forward to reading a bit of it each night before bed.

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

About the Book

World-renowned jewelry designer Remington Wolfe is competing for the commission of a lifetime and someone is trying to destroy his company from the inside. He’s in for more than one surprise when his unexpected rescuer turns out to be a sexy computer specialist with a sharp tongue and even sharper mind.

Kat Smith is a cyber-security expert and master of disguise. So being assigned to masquerade as Wolfe’s girlfriend while she uncovers who slipped malicious code into his corporation’s computer systems is no problem. But when Kat’s past catches up to her and their fake relationship starts to feel a little too real, problems are all she seems to have.

Book Review: So You Think You’re a New York Mets Fan?

Reading So You Think You’re a New York Mets fan was bittersweet. I always used to challenge my Dad to whatever Mets trivia I could find, and 9 times out of 10 he would get it right on the first guess. So reading this book now that he passed away, it made me wonder how many of these questions he would have known! (And how bad he would tease me for how little I knew!)

I liked this book because it was a trivia book at its core – but it also was educational.  Rather than just saying “Which Met did this?” and then “The answer is David Wright” it went into details about the history of things and each answer was a few pages of an explanation so if you didn’t know the answer now not only do you know the answer but you know enough back story to be able to impress your friends and hopefully remember the answer the next time it might come up.

I was also pleased that one of the questions about who had hit multiple home runs in a World Series game I knew the answer to – because I was at the game!  Definitely a must read if you are a Mets fan or a great book to get if you are friends with a Mets fan and want to try and stump them 🙂

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

About the Book

So You Think You’re a New York Mets Fan? tests and expands your knowledge of Mets baseball. Rather than merely posing questions and providing answers, this book will give you the details behind each—stories that bring to life players and coaches, games and seasons.

This book is divided into multiple parts, with progressively more difficult questions in each new section. Along the way, you’ll learn more about the great Mets players and managers of the past and present, from Tom Seaver to Gary Carter, Keith Hernandez, Lee Mazzilli, Davey Johnson, Dave Kingman, Gil Hodges, Jerry Koosman, Jon Matlack, John Stearns, Darryl Strawberry, Mike Piazza, Edgardo Alfonzo, Matt Harvey, David Wright, and so many more. The many questions that this book answers include:

• Who was drafted number one overall by the Mets in 1984?
• Who was on deck when Mookie Wilson hit his famous ground ball to Bill Buckner?
• There are two men enshrined in Cooperstown wearing Mets caps on their plaques, but there are 12 other Hall of Famers who played for the Mets at one point in their career. Name them.
• What do the Mets’ World Series MVPs from 1969 and 1986 have in common?
• The two pitchers who were on the mound in 1969 and 1986 when the final out of each World Series was made were actually traded for each other. Name them.

This book makes the perfect gift for any fan of the Amazin’s!

Book Review: Jack White: How He Built an Empire from the Blues

Jack White: How He Built an Empire from the Blues as a title pretty much explains what the book is about.  Jack White – one half of the white stripes (who were an ex-married couple and not siblings) got his start in Detroit.  Although he probably would have fit in more as a black man in the 1980s he has created an empire. The book is a timeline of his journey through music – and Jack is a bit mysterious so it was nice to see a little bit more from behind the curtain so to speak and learn more about him.  The book is based on interviews from band mates and friends and has a lot of interesting information in it.

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

About the Book

Jack White, the “coolest, weirdest, savviest rock star of our time” (The New York Times Magazine) is one of music’s most enigmatic and mysterious figures.

Together with Meg White, the The White Stripes’ guitar virtuosity and shrieking vocals ousted all competition and ignited the blues-rock revival of the early millennium. White went on to collaborate with Loretta Lynn, Alicia Keys, Bob Dylan and more, founded The RaconteursThe Dead Weather and a critically acclaimed solo career whilst also rejuvenating Detroit’s arts scene through his innovative record label, Third Man Records.

Based on interviews from people close to White, including former band mates and Third Man artists, such as Neil Young and Seasick Steve, no other book goes as deep into the lore of Jack White and the mythical White Stripes.

Book Review: Odd Birds

Odd Birds is by Ian Harding who you may know as Ezra from Pretty Little Liars.  What you may not know is that he is into bird watching.  Since his character on the show wrote a book, Ian decided that he should be able to write a book as well.  The book talks a lot about his adventures in bird watching and relates some of the lessons he has learned while doing it to his life as well.  He also talks about how he auditioned for Pretty Little Liars, call backs and how he feels now that it is ending after seven seasons.

I have no interest in birds at all, but that didn’t take away from the fact that I really enjoyed this book. Although I would have preferred it talked more about his acting career I think he found a really nice balance of funny anecdotal stories, bird stories and other stories about his life.

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

About the Book

A 7-time Teen Choice Award Winner on Freeform’s most-watched series, Pretty Little Liars … A social media influencer with over 7 million followers … An avid birdwatcher? Yes, you read that correctly. Ian Harding is all of these things, and so much more. In this memoir, explore the unexpected world of a young celebrity through the lens of his favorite pastime — birding.

Odd Birds is more than just a Hollywood memoir or tell-all. At its heart, this book is a coming-of-age story in which Ian wrestles with an ever evolving question— how can he still be himself, while also being a celebrity. Each humorous and heartfelt story features a particular bird—sometimes literal, at other times figurative. Using this framework, Ian explores a variety of topics, including growing up, life as a television actor and nature lover, and whether it is better to shave or wax one’s chest for an on-screen love scene.

A funny and heartwarming window into Ian’s life, Odd Birds is a must-read for fans of nature writing and memoir alike.

Book Review: Attitude

There are very few college basketball coaches that I can name – but Jay Wright is definitely one of them.  I don’t watch too much college basketball, but whenever Villanova was on the TV I’d stop and check out the game.  This book has a foreward written by Charles Barkley and is all about Jay Wright’s path to becoming a coach and building a winning season.  Throughout the book there are “beyond basketball” notes with lessons that can be used in any part of life.  You really don’t need to be a basketball fan to enjoy this book, it’s a great read and a lot of really great information – even though Jay says he’s not an authority on leadership.

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


About the Book

In this behind-the-scenes look at the making of a champion, the coach of the Villanova University men’s basketball team shares his competitive and cooperative philosophy, along with lessons from his coaching career and the story of his personal road to success.

When Kris Jenkins sank a three-pointer at the buzzer to win the 2016 NCAA Tournament, it was a victory not just for a team and its coach but for an entire program. In his twentieth season with the Villanova program, including a five-year stint as an assistant to Coach Rollie Massimino, Coach Jay Wright had achieved his lifelong dream—and witnessed the culmination of a decades-long effort to build a culture of winning around a set of core values.

In Attitude, Coach Wright shares some of the leadership secrets that have enabled Villanova, a private university with an undergraduate enrollment of less than 6,500, to thrive in the hypercompetitive world of college athletics. As he recounts the story of the 2015–16 Wildcats, Coach Wright offers anecdotes from his own journey up the ladder of success, with lessons learned on the Little League playing fields of his youth and wisdom passed down from his coaches and mentors.

Each step of Villanova’s journey to a national championship incorporates a signature term torn from Coach Wright’s own motivational playbook. Here are key principles that aspiring leaders can apply, not only on the basketball court but in the boardroom, the classroom, and the living room. From learning to accept your role to remembering to honor those who came before us, Jay Wright’s core values provide a positive blueprint for transformational team building based on the idea that anyone—from the head coach to the last player on the bench—can be a leader when the moment demands it.

The product of a lifetime’s worth of championship-level preparation, Attitude is perfect for anyone looking to build a team, achieve a goal, or nurture their own winning culture.

Book Review: Blondie Parallel Lives

Blondie was like a reality show before there was reality TV.  In New York, in the punk era – they knew they had made it when they landed the cover of Rolling Stone in 1979.  Debbie’s entire life she had been trained to become a house wife and for marriage – but that’s not what she  wanted.  In a time when NYC was collapsing and life in New York resulted in seeing a lot of dead bums, Debbie and Chris had a spark and made Blondie a household name by 1980-1981.  This book was a really cool look back at a band that I wasn’t all that familar with – and as always – I loved all the pictures! There was lots of pictures.  I also loved reading about New York in the early 80s, even though it was nothing like it is today, it’s cool to see how far it has come.

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

About the Book

One of the most iconic groups of their generation, Blondie experienced an unparalleled rise to global superstardom during the late 1970s. As they topped charts throughout the world, vocalist Deborah Harry adorned magazine covers and bedroom walls everywhere.

Drawing upon extensive first-hand interview material from Debbie Harry, Chris Stein and many other significant players in the band’s long history, Blondie: Parallel Lives is the definitive eye-witness account of the group’s long and often tumultuous existence.

Beginning with their childhoods, backgrounds and influences, the book charts the development of Blondie to their massive popular success and eventual break up; the 1997 reformation, subsequent renaissance with their No Exit album; the controversies surrounding the 2006 induction to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, ending in the present with the release of Panic of Girls.

Co-author Kris Needs established a friendship with Harry, Stein and the rest of the band that endures to this day. As a trusted confidante, he now recounts the full story.


Book Review: Joey’s Journal

Joey’s Journal is subtitled “Staying Strong when Far From Mom” and is the journal of a 12 year old boy whose Mom took a job offer on the other side of the country and decided to not move the family there.  They visited back and forth and Joey and his sister continued to go to their regular school – and watch lots of American Idol.  I guess that I was not the ideal audience for this book because to me it was just a journal of a young boy. “Today we…” every day… I didn’t see him having too much struggle with his Mom being away – he was happy to visit her and happy when she visited him and other than that seemed to go on his merry way to school each day.  This was a quick read and might be better for a family who is going through a similar situation. (I guess I need to stop picking books because I think they have cool covers)

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

About the book

Eight years in the making, Joey’s Journal tells the tale of a charismatic twelve year old boy growing up in a home that goes through some very sudden changes when his mom has to move across the country for a new job. Follow Joey for a year of his life and get to know him, his family and friends, and all the good that can come out of a very intimidating situation. Joseph (Joey) Kaigler, Jr. was born in Boston, Massachusetts on August 23, 1995. Raised in the quaint Boston suburb of Sharon, Joey graduated from Sharon high school in 2013 and currently attends DePaul University in Chicago. Joey is a trained classical pianist and has performed in various venues, including New York’s Carnegie Hall. He is also a trained martial artist who holds a second degree black belt. Joey’s Journal represents Joey’s debut as a published author.

Book Review: Whoa, Baby!

Whoa, Baby! is a book by Destiny’s Child’s Kelly Rowland. I wanted to check it out because of the music connection but I really am not the audience that Kelly was looking for.  The book is a guide for new moms and talks about trouble and questions that new moms may have after giving birth and is written with her doctor. Each chapter is a question that Kelly had or that new moms might have that they discuss.  Some of it was a little bit TMI for me – but I think that as a resource for new moms it will be really great because it may be things that you are too embarrassed to ask your doctor or friends about and there is information that you need to know! If you are a new mom, are going to be a new mom or know a new mom, definitely pick up this book.

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

About the Book

When vocalist and actress Kelly Rowland, whose albums have sold millions of copies worldwide, gave birth to her son, it was love at first sight. But she was also a little freaked out about what had happened to her body and the overwhelming new thoughts and emotions. In Whoa Baby!, Rowland and her ob-gyn Dr. Tristan Emily Bickman team up to cover everything a first-time mom needs to know: the gross physical stuff, the hormonal and emotional stuff, and the just plain weird stuff. Whoa, Baby! is often hilarious and always honest and down-to-earth. Readers will empathize with the candid unglamorous experiences of parenting. From falling asleep with the pump on to swollen legs and lack of sleep, Rowland and Dr. Bickman cover every surprising challenge that new moms face.