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Book Review: Notes from the Upside Down

Notes from the Upside Down is an unofficial  guide to the hit Netflix Show, Stranger Things. (Season 1).  The book talks about how the show came about and there is a chapter per episode where it talks about things that happened in each episode. There is also a quiz for champions of the show – which I totally sucked at, I guess I should watch the series a few more times and try again!  There is also a lot of talk about the connections to Stephen King, Spielberg, John Carpenter and a lot of the 80s throwbacks.  There are bios on the characters as well as a list of 80s movies that you should watch.  I thought this was a great companion piece for the show, definitely read it as or after you have finished the first season!

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

About the Book

Jump inside the world of Stranger Things and discover everything you need to know about the hit TV show.

Grab your Eggo waffles and get ready for a visit to Hawkins, Indiana—just don’t forget the fairy lights!

If you devoured Stranger Things on Netflix and you’re looking to fill the demogorgon-sized hole in your life, then look no further than Notes from the Upside Down. This fan-tastic guide has every fact you could ever wish for—from insights into the origins of the show, including the mysterious Montauk Project conspiracy theory; a useful eighties playlist (because, of course); and much more.

If you’ve ever wondered why Spielberg is such a huge influence, which Stephen King books you need to read (hint: pretty much all of them), or how State Trooper David O’Bannon earned his name, then this book is for you.

Entertaining, informative, and perfect for fans of eighties pop culture, Notes from the Upside Down is the Big Mac of unofficial guides to Stranger Things—super-sized and special sauce included.

Book Review: Talking As Fast As I Can

When your friend lets you borrow a book, it’s probably best you read it right away and then return it to them? Right?  Well my friend Maribeth let me borrow this book in January during our trip to Jamaica and I read it in an evening in July knowing she was coming to visit a couple of days later to return it.  I’m the worst.

The plus side is, this was a very quick read and very enjoyable as well. It is written by Lauren Graham, of Gilmore Girls fame and talks a bit about the behind the scenes of “A Day In The Life” that was released via Netflix last year as well as about herself and her career and how everything came in to place so that she could end up playing Lorelai Gilmore – who is known for talking fast. Actually everyone on that show seems to talk really fast – I’m sure if you’ve watched you’ve noticed.

I loved reading this book because I could read everything but hear Lauren saying it in my head.  She seems like a lot of fun and tells great stories! Definitely work checking out if you are a fan of her and/or Gilmore Girls!

About the Book
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In this collection of personal essays, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood reveals stories about life, love, and working as a woman in Hollywood—along with behind-the-scenes dispatches from the set of the new Gilmore Girls, where she plays the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore once again.

In Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and, years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, “Did you, um, make it?” She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood (“Strangers were worried about me; that’s how long I was single!”), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge on Project Runway (“It’s like I had a fashion-induced blackout”).

In “What It Was Like, Part One,” Graham sits down for an epic Gilmore Girls marathon and reflects on being cast as the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore. The essay “What It Was Like, Part Two” reveals how it felt to pick up the role again nine years later, and what doing so has meant to her.

Some more things you will learn about Lauren: She once tried to go vegan just to bond with Ellen DeGeneres, she’s aware that meeting guys at awards shows has its pitfalls (“If you’re meeting someone for the first time after three hours of hair, makeup, and styling, you’ve already set the bar too high”), and she’s a card-carrying REI shopper (“My bungee cords now earn points!”).

Including photos and excerpts from the diary Graham kept during the filming of the recent Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, this book is like a cozy night in, catching up with your best friend, laughing and swapping stories, and—of course—talking as fast as you can.

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Book Review: For The Love of Katie

For the Love of Katie is the 2nd book in the Katie Chronicles series. The first book, To Katie with Love, I had read previously but if you really wanted to, this second book could be read as a standalone.

Katie is an amateur detective, or so she thinks, and her sleuthing ways land her in jail in Paris. She speaks no French and is trying to talk her way out of jail. This time she was caught stalking… her husband?!  And that’s what lands her in jail. Oh, and she’s pregnant.   When the police ask her to “start from the beginning” she goes almost all the way back and we find out all of the events that happened leading up to her wedding.

In addition to having an awesome name, Katie is a fun character that gets in all sorts of strange and hilarious predicaments and I am looking forward to reading more about her and Cooper in the future!

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

About the Book

Newlywed Katie Maxwell is ready to settle down and leave her amateur detective days behind. But when the veil of secrecy surrounding her husband’s latest project takes them to Europe, her penchant for sleuthing lands her in some serious hot foreign water.

Katie will need to think quickly to talk her way out of handcuffs and a Parisian jail cell. Too bad she doesn’t speak French.

For the Love of Katie is the second madcap adventure in The Katie Chronicles. This book can be read as a standalone, but why would you want to skip the first?

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Book Review: Be A Star, Wonder Woman!

This is an adorable book that tells you that no matter how big or how small you are, you should always be a star. There is even a check book at the end of the book with what you need to be in order to be a star: Prepared, Kind, Brave, Honest, Strong and Heroic. Stars are not born, they are made.

The illustrations in this book are awesome – showing wonder woman as well as the super cute little girl wonder woman who is a star at school. So cute.

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

About the book

As a new day dawns, a young girl faces the ultimate challenge: school! Follow along asshe demonstrates her greatest superpower (sharing), overcomes her worst fear (the playground),and conquers her archenemy (the spelling test).With courage, kindness,and other heroic traits of DC Comics’ Wonder Woman, she’ll turn a difficult school day into an AMAZING ADVENTURE! Along with Omar Lozano’s bright, bold illustrations, bestselling author Michael Dahl (Bedtime for Batman and Good Morning, Superman) delivers an imaginative read-aloud for your littlest super heroes.
Author Michael Dahl — Minneapolis, Minnesota

Michael Dahl is the prolific author of the bestselling Goodnight Baseball picture book and more than 200 other books for children and young adults. He has won the AEP Distinguished Achievement Award three times for his nonfiction, a Teacher’s Choice award from Learning magazine, and a Seal of Excellence from the Creative Child Awards. Dahl currently lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.Illustrator

Illustrator Omar Lozano — Monterrey, Mexico

Omar lives in Monterrey, Mexico. He has always been crazy for illustration, constantly on the lookout for awesome things to draw. In his free time, he watches lots of movies, reads fantasy and sci-fi books, and draws! Omar has worked for Marvel, DC, IDW, Capstone and several other publishing companies.

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Book Review: Yarn Whirled: The Royal Family Pat Olski

I absolutely love all the characters featured in Yarn Whirled: The Royal Family and one of these days I a really going to have to sit down and try to make one. The book has instructions on all of the characters and even has a family tree of the royal family.  There are various different outfits featured – Kate and Wills wedding, the Queen at 90, etc. There are step by step tips and techniques to help you make a royal family all of your own!

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

About the book

Discover one of the coolest new crafts around with this fun and collectible guide. No plastic, wood, or metal base is involved; the cuddly dolls are easily made by wrapping yarn around itself. Each project features simple instructions accompanied by color photographs that illustrate every step. The only hard part is choosing a character, so you might just have to make them all! The 31 projects include yarn dolls of Queen Elizabeth at her coronation and on her 90th birthday, Charles and Di, Will and Kate, and many others. Bonus crochet patterns for royal accessories are included.

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Book Review: The Book of Massively Epic Engineering Disasters

As an engineer, I always like reading about disasters. I guess it helps to know you’re not alone when you mess up and also as a way to realize what has happened in the past and try not to repeat those mistakes.

Each chapter in this book has one or two experiments to help drive home the scientific principles that had the starring role in the disaster which I think is really awesome and a great way to teach future engineers!

Each chapter talks a bit about the disaster, then tries to get to the root of what it was that went wrong in the disaster. There’s also a Turn Back The Clock section as well.  Illustrations throughout the book and experiments help add an extra element of fun as well.

Some of the disasters mentioned in the book are the leaning tower of pisa and the “unsinkable” titanic. There are many, many others featured as well.

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

About the Book

DANGER: This Book Contains Detailed Information About the Most Legendary Engineering Disasters of All Time!

Sean Connolly, author of the bestselling The Book of Totally Irresponsible Science, The Book of Potentially CatastrophicScience, The Book of Perfectly Perilous Math, and The Book of Wildly Spectacular Sports Science, rolls up his sleeves for another exciting collection of experiments, this time exploring the science behind historical feats of engineering failure.

Ever wonder why Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa has been slowly toppling over for centuries? Stack books on a foundation of paper balls to learn about rickety building foundations and center of mass. How about the 15-foot-high tidal wave of molasses that tore through the streets of Boston in the Great Molasses Flood of 1919? Karate chop a full tube of toothpaste (outside!) to demonstrate the messy behavior of non-Newtonian fluids.

With The Book of Massively Epic Engineering Disasters, kids get active with a fun, illustrated tour through the physics and technology of crumbling buildings, sinking ships, wobbly bridges, mud-stuck tanks, and much more. Covering a wide range of snafus, mishaps, and outright disasters throughout history—some infamous, like the Titanic sinking and Chilean miners trapped underground, and others lesser known, like the Fidnae Stadium collapse in ancient Rome—these 33 hands-on experiments put readers’ newfound knowledge into action. Each demonstration uses familiar household ingredients and helps break down the barrier between learning and doing—or even better, between learning and having fun.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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