Book Review: Non-Fiction

Review: Treasures of Westminster Abbey

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Treasures of Westminster Abbey
Treasures of Westminster Abbey by Tony Trowles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’d just visited Westminster Abbey and picked this up as a remembrance. It was a great account full of beautiful pictures. Worth a read for anyone interested in British history.

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Review: Crown of Thistles: The Fatal Inheritance of Mary Queen of Scots

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Crown of Thistles: The Fatal Inheritance of Mary Queen of Scots
Crown of Thistles: The Fatal Inheritance of Mary Queen of Scots by Linda Porter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve always been fascinated by British royalty, especially the Queens. So much intensity and drama. This was a great book. At times a little too narrative and expository, but that’s called for in this type of re-telling. Little details stand out. A trove of info for those with keen interest.

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Review: Here We Go Again: My Life In Television

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Here We Go Again: My Life In Television
Here We Go Again: My Life In Television by Betty White

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A friend recommended this book to me, noting it would be a light read and likely a good break from all the mystery, suspense, murder and thrillers I generally choose. He was right, a definitely a light one, but I’m on the fence on how much I enjoyed it. I rated it a 3 because the sections I loved, I loved. But the sections I did not love, I did not love!

I’m a huge Betty White fan and find myself on the lookout for anything new she stars in. I knew a lot about her career for the last 35+ years when I was alive to watch it but little about anything before about 1980. I had hoped I’d learn a lot but also enjoy what I was reading. Unfortunately, it’s very fact-based and felt more like a list of things that she did rather than taking me on the journey of her life. I wanted to see more about her childhood (connections to TV), a chapter on each major TV show or series she did, a section on her business and personal relationships thru the TV experience, et al. Instead, it felt a bit disorganized and jumped around a lot. It wasn’t bad, just not what I was expecting and not my favorite style.

With that said, once she got to the shows I watched, it was much more enjoyable. I learned a few things and felt even more connected. I skimmed the parts I didn’t know much about or care much for but read with clear focus on the ones that spoke to me. And it worked out… as I write this, I feel like my review is a little disorganized like the book felt. Totally intended that way… Ha!

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Review: Teatime with Mrs. Grammar Person

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Teatime with Mrs. Grammar Person
Teatime with Mrs. Grammar Person by Barbara Venkataraman

Barbara Venkataraman‘s “Teatime with Mrs. Grammar Person” is an adorable piece of work that provides a humorous approach to learning all the key grammar rules in about thirty pages of sheer brilliance. It may sound funny to call it a “piece of work” but it truly fits in this case. It’s a work of fiction because there are characters with certain actions who are not real; however, it’s also a figurative “piece of work” because the approach the author took is quite amusing and unique.

Mrs. Grammar Person (Mrs. G. P.) introduces readers to all the rules and guidelines for how and why words change tense, plural / singular, possession, contractions, repetition, similar / different spellings, et al. She has a few friends that handle other areas of the English lexicon (syntax, other language translations) but is consistent in her need for tea and biscuits each morning. What a hoot!

Think of her as a cross between Miss Marple and Mary Poppins. But I guarantee you’ll save it as a quick look-up when in a pinch and you just can’t remember the formal rule before you submit that text to your professor, editor or blog.

Yikes! Even though I should be critical in the words, punctuation and grammar I select in this review, I’m hoping Mrs. G. P. will forgive me if I am not 100% on point with all the rules. It’s not her fault if I still get one or two wrong; it’s my conscious decision to blatantly break the rule. Yeah, that works. 🙂

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Review: Princess Diana

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Princess Diana
Princess Diana by Nesnick

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Written by one of my school-teachers, and because my mom had an interest in Princess Diana, I read this book. It’s a good summary and keeps you wanting to learn more about the British monarchs. Kudos to a hometown author!

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Review: The Cat Who… Cookbook: Delicious Meals and Menus Inspired By Lilian Jackson Braun

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The Cat Who... Cookbook: Delicious Meals and Menus Inspired By Lilian Jackson Braun
The Cat Who… Cookbook: Delicious Meals and Menus Inspired By Lilian Jackson Braun by Julie Murphy

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What’s not to love about recipes from the author or character you love. And to top it off, it’s from a cozy serial mystery. Cute idea. Must buy/read for a fan. Fun times.

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Review: Ian McKellen: A Biography

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Ian McKellen: A Biography
Ian McKellen: A Biography by Mark Barratt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve respected and admired Ian McKellan since he played Richard III in 1995. His performance was so enigmatic that I followed his career for years. When this book came out, I quickly read it and wasn’t disappointed. It’s good to feel connected to actors you enjoy watching and having a book complement those feelings is top notch! A good, quick read with excellent background, commentary and fun!

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