Showing posts with label non-fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label non-fiction. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

[Review] - The Woman Beyond the Attic: The V.C. Andrews Story

I've started, deleted, and restarted this review multiple times, and finally, I decided not to sugarcoat my thoughts, unlike many other bloggers who also received an ARC copy. Yes, I read a few other reviews before penning my own. It's pretty obvious that either they didn't read the book. Or they gave it a good rating only because they received an ARC. Seriously, where is your integrity? I expect this from mainstream critics but not from bloggers.

As the title, The Woman Beyond the Attic: The V.C. Andrews Story, suggests, this is the real-life story of gothic author V.C. Andrews (1923 - 1986), who wrote the mega-bestseller Flowers in the Attic. Andrew Neiderman wrote the biography, a.k.a. the ghostwriter who keeps churning out new stories under V.C. Andrews's name. Now here comes my first issue with the book - Andrew Neiderman! 

Andrew Neiderman used to be a decent horror writer, but his writing skills have gone downhill in the last ten to fifteen years. Let me rephrase that, Neiderman's writing sucks. Let me repeat myself - I'm not sugarcoating anything.  

The Woman Beyond the Attic begins with a 28-paged preface. Yes, you read that correctly - 28-pages. The biography is only 150 pages! Let me tell you - it's a pain to read. It's not a biography in any sense. Instead, Neiderman complies together public interviews, letters, and information that you can either 'google' or find on Wikipedia. The timeline and facts are disjointed, creating a chaotic mess to follow. I wonder if Andrew Neiderman has ever read a single biography in his life because he doesn't have the know-how to write one.

Repetition! I lost count at how many times Neiderman repeated quotes, stories, and events, word by word. Was Neiderman trying to fill up the word count? Why? Did Neiderman have enough facts to write a full biography, or is Neiderman just a bad writer? You be the judge.

The rest of the book features the supposedly only unfinished novel by V.C. Andrews, The Obsessed. It's roughly 88 pages, minus a few blank pages between chapters, and if the legend is correct, the first draft was around 800 pages. In a letter written in February 1981, V.C. Andrews told her brother that the novel's release date was September 1981. Now, this is where the facts get confusing. If The Obsessed's planned release date was in six months, wouldn't the first or second draft already be completed and in the hands of the editor?  

Long before Flowers in the Attic, V.C. Andrews published the short story, My Uncle on My Wedding Night, under an unknown pseudonym in a pulp-confession magazine. Nobody has ever found a copy, but there is finally evidence that it did exist. In the very back of The Woman Beyond the Attic, there's part of a submission letter to The Do-It-Yourself Romance for a new version of the story, retitled Love's Savage Desire. The first three chapters and the last two chapters are featured.  

Lastly, the poems "Golden Things" and "Regretting" are included at the very end of the book. 

Final Thoughts

I wanted to give Andrew Neiderman the benefit of the doubt and had hoped this biography would be decent. Sadly, that's not the case. It feels half-heartedly written. The overly long preface feels more like a biography than the actual biography. I wished the V.C. Andrews estate and Gallery Books had hired a professional biographer instead of rehiring Andrew Neiderman. Yeah, I get it. Neiderman is the ghostwriter, so he should be the perfect choice to pen V.C. Andrews's biography. Right? Wrong! The last dozen or so ghostwritten titles have been lazy and sloppy. And, Neiderman's streak of horrible writing continues.  

The Woman Beyond the Attic has zero new information about V.C. Andrews that I didn't already know via the internet. The only two things of any interest in this book are the several never-seen-before photos and The Obsessed, but they're not enough for me to recommend the book to other readers.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

[Review] - Spiritual Wisdom for a Happier Life

Self-help books are a dime a dozen. There are way too many authors giving their opinions on how we should live our lives. Don't get me wrong, some of these books can be very helpful. And, the others are nothing more than a time-waster. Now, this brings me to Spiritual Wisdom for a Happier Life, a book that's been sitting on my desk collecting dust for nearly four years. Revell, a division of Baker publishing group, had sent me a paperback copy in autumn of 2017. Upon receiving it, I read a few chapters, became bored, and put it down. I didn't pick the book back up until September 2021. 

Monday, September 13, 2021

[Review] - Evil Seeds: The Ultimate Movie Guide to Villainous Children

Something's wrong with the children. They're murdering classmates, torturing parents, speaking in tongues, drinking human blood, and practicing black magic. Your offspring is on the rise, their blood no longer innocent. There will be casualties, and you may be among them.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Review - Ripley's Believe It or Not! Mind Blown!

Many weeks ago, I received the newest Ripley's Believe It or Not! annual, "Mind Blown!" And to be completely honest, I was surprised the 17th annual was released. If you aren't living under a rock, then you would know 2020 has been downright horrible with the pandemic, riots, lockdowns, and elections. So, it's impressive that Ripley Publishing was able to put together another edition full of new astonishing and weird facts from around the world.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Review - From Dill to Dracula by A.M. Ruggirello


Add to Goodreads


Romania—a hidden gem of Eastern Europe—is better known for its brush with communism than its cuisine. But, just because it’s hidden, doesn’t mean it’s forgotten. Filled with lush ingredients, many picked fresh from the field, you’ll find a traditional Romanian plate loaded to the brim with vegetables and lean proteins, never lacking in flavor.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Review - Under a Full Moon: The Last Lynching in Kansas

Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and WildBlue Press.

About the Book

UNDER A FULL MOON: The Last Lynching in Kansas tells of the tragic abduction and death of an eight-year-old girl at the hands of a repeat offender in 1932. This crime stands apart as the last mob lynching in Kansas. Based on true events, this account takes a deep dive into the psycho-social complexities of pioneer times and their impact on this particular crime and the justice meted out to the perpetrator.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Finding a New Book To Read

*This is a sponsored post.

Reading is a relaxing activity that allows you to live in a different place and time for a while. There are many genres on the market that can hold your attention and keep you entertained. Here are some popular themes to consider.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Review - Walking the 10 Paths of Self Healing

*This is a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% mine.
Available on AMAZON

I don't read very many self-help titles. However, I'm attempting to make a few healthy changes in my life so I thought I would give Walking the 10 Paths of Self Healing (382 pages) by Nadav Ben Yehuda a chance.

After being diagnosed with fibromyalgia and cancer, Nadav decided to make many life changes which resulted in being cured from his illnesses.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Holiday Gift Guide 2019: Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: A Visual History

*This is a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% mine.

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: A Visual History
by Melissa Wagner, Tim Lybarger, and Jenna McGuiggan

Go behind the scenes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood with this unprecedented dive into its storied history. More than fifty years ago, Fred Rogers, a modest television host, revolutionized children’s entertainment with a simple set design, quiet dialogue, and a few hand puppets playing out everyday situations. The effect was extraordinary: Mister Rogers created a relationship with millions of young viewers, each of whom felt as if they were visiting with a trusted friend. His radical kindness, acceptance, and empathy created a sacred place where everyone felt safe and valued.

Featuring exclusive photographs; a guide to the characters, puppets, and episodes; original interviews; and rare ephemera, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: A Visual History reveals how the show came together to have a deep impact on American culture. Discover wonderful anecdotes from Yo-Yo Ma and Wynton Marsalis as well as the actors, directors, art designers, producers, studio musicians, and more who devoted their careers to working with Fred. Chronicling the show's complete timeline—from its humble beginnings on WQED in Pittsburgh to its commemoration on the big screen in the feature film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, starring Tom Hanks, based on a screenplay written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster and directed by Marielle Heller—this incredibly comprehensive book celebrates both Fred Rogers and the wonderful legacy of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Where To Purchase?

Monday, January 15, 2018

Review - Self Love Yoga: 369 Days of Evolving with Radical Self Love

Now available on Amazon Kindle is Self Love Yoga: 369 Days of Evolving with Radical Self Love by Phoebe Del Mar!

Typically, I wouldn't even be interested in reading a book like this, but I'm trying to involve this year, so I thought I would give the book a chance.

Let me start out by saying this isn't a "Yoga" book. If you're looking to read a book about practicing Yoga or looking for new Yoga exercises, this isn't the book for you. Instead the book is about "radical self love"  or learning to love yourself.

In the book there are 369 affirmations, which you'll read one to yourself everyday, multiple times per day. These affirmations are all nice sayings that'll teach you to love yourself. Additionally, there are some days where there will be questions for you to answer about yourself.

For example, day one asks: "Am I being mindful of my thoughts? Am I being mindful of my actions? Am I being mindful of my emotions?"

Final Thoughts

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Review - Quilts, Barns & Buggies: Amish Quilts and Proverbs Coloring Book


Zondervan; $12.99; 96 pages; Amazon

Now available from Zondervan is Quilts, Barns & Buggies: Amish Quilts and Proverbs Coloring Book illustrated by Julianne St. Clair.

At 96 pages, the coloring book features 90 beautiful coloring designs of Amish quilts and scenery. Along with the coloring designs, there are 40 Amish sayings and biblical proverbs throughout the title.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Review - God Bless America: A Patriotic Coloring Book

Multnomah; 80 pages; $14.99; Amazon

I wasn't originally going to write a 4th of July themed post. However, I received a copy of God Bless America: A Patriotic Coloring Book on Thursday, so I thought it would make a great post to celebrate Independence Day.

Published by Multnomah, God Bless America is an 80 page adult coloring books featuring 37 illustrations that celebrates the United States of America by talented artists (Holly Camp, Christina J. Culver, Debroah Gregg, Bridget Hurley, Joseph Marsh, Melinda B. Shiflet, Lisa Shirk, and Jennifer Tucker).

Accompanying each illustration is either a short biography on a historical figure or a small article on explaining whatever historical event goes with the picture (illustration).

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Review - Wonderland: A Coloring Book Inspired By Alice's Adventures

Watson-Guptill; 80 pages; $14.99; Amazon
While "Alice Through The Looking Glass" underperformed at the box-office last weekend, the famous story by Lewis Carroll is still very popular with readers of all ages.

Now available to purchase in bookstores is Wonderland: A Coloring Book Inspired By Alice's Adventures by Amil Shen.

Yes, coloring books are normally for kids, but publishing companies have been releasing a slew of coloring books for adults for the past few years, which are becoming more and more popular.

There is a small amount of text in this coloring book that goes a similar route as the original story. Here you are Alice, where you follow the white rabbit through small door that transports you to Wonderland. There you encounter the Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat, the King & Queen and many other creatures.

Monday, February 1, 2016

[Review] - Bonner by Sherri Burgess

I love reading all books, but I'm not the biggest fan of non-fiction titles. Typically, when I receive a press release about a non-fiction book, I just automatically delete it. However, that wasn't the case when I heard about Bronner: A Journey To Understand by Sherri Burgess as I noticed that I had the same last name as the author. After reading the synopsis, I thought I would give the book a try.

Usually, I write a few paragraphs describing the plot of a book, but I'm finding it hard to do this for this title. Bronner: A Journey To Understand is a spiritual journey of healing and the power of faith. The author uses her own personal pain and suffering when she lost her two-and-half-year-old son, Bonner, in 2008 to teach others that faith in the Lord can help you get through the toughest ordeal, even the death of a child.

Final Thoughts

I was instantly hooked by the author's narration from the get-go. While I don't have any children, I felt the author's pain. Losing a child must be the most painful thing in the world to experience; Sherri, her husband, and their children were able to survive by the grace of God. Sherri shares her memories of her youngest son, the day of his death, and how she has slowly moved on with her life. Now with this book, she can help others that have suffered from the death of a loved one. Overall, Bronner: A Journey To Understand is a well-written, emotional read.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Review - The Official Red Book: A Guide Of United States Coins 69th Edition

One of the most popular (and oldest) hobby is coin collecting. People of all ages, including kids, love collecting coins from around the world. It's also a great investment, as some older coins are worth a lot money.

The best places to find older coins is at antique stores, coin collecting shops and the internet, but please be advised on what the correct price of a coin is as you don't want to over pay.

The only way to find the current correct prices for coins is to look in The Official Red Book: A Guide Of United States Coins, which is published by Whitman. The 2016 (69th edition) is now available to buy in book stores, coin shops, hobby shops or online at

A few months back, I was sent The Official Red Book: A Guide Of United States Coins 69th Edition hardcover ($16.95 retail). This year's book is edited by Kenneth Bressett (Senior Editor), Q. David Bowers (Research Editor) and Jeff Garrett (Valuations Editor).

The book gives you a quick introduction the world of coins in "Welcome To Numismatics." Then it jumps right into the coin values, which are divided into the following sections:

Pre-Federal Issues - Colonial and Post-Colonial Issues.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Fall Reads: Ripley's Believe It or Not! Eye-Popping Oddities

Ripley's Believe It or Not! Eye-Popping Oddities
Publisher: Ripley Publishing; Annual Edition - Book 12
Pub. Date: September 8, 2015
Retail: $28.95
ISBN: 978-1609911362
Pages: 256
Buy Link: Amazon


Ripley's Believe It or Not! was founded by the late Robert Ripley. The Believe It Or Not! first appeared as a cartoon feature in the New York Globe in 1919. It was later featured in the New York Evening Post and the New York American. The first book, Believe it or not! by Ripley The Big Little Book, was published in 1931.

The Eye-Popping Oddities begins with a two-page biography of Robert Ripley along with a never-before-seen photo of him. The book has 10 different chapters/sections:

Believe It! - This chapter features some of the weirdest things, such as a cat with thumbs and ceramic inflatables.

World - Showcases oddities found around the world, such as cups made from skulls, a hotel in a cave, an upside-down house and a tornado fire.

Animals - Here you get a cath with long whiskers, a frog with extra legs, a mother cat feeding a baby hedgehog, a snake massage, 40-inch long dinosaur poop, a monster earthworm and much more.

Body - From weird tattoos, to the Twins form Yucatan, to a cheek hole, etc., you won't believe it until you see these amazing photos.

Pop Culture - People take their love for movies and television a little too far with cardboard movie scenes, A Simpsons tattoo, a Game of Thrones wedding, pop plates, etc..

Transport - Yep, there are a lot of odd automobiles in the world, including a car made from human hair, a bone truck, a sheepdog car and a beetle robot.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Spring Reads: Tox-Sick: From Toxic to Not Sick

Tox-Sick: From Toxic to Not Sick
by Suzanne Summers
Publisher: Harmony
Pub. Date: April 14, 2015
ISBN: 978-0385347723
Pages: 384
Buy Link: Amazon


While many people know Suzanne Summers as Chrissy Snow from the 70s' television series Three's Company and as Carol Foster-Lambert from the 90s' television series Step-by-Step, a few might not be aware that she is also a bestselling author of many nonfiction books. Her newest novel Tox-Sick: From Toxic to Not Sick just hit bookstores last month and has been featured on many programs, including The O'Reilly Factor.

Sadly, many people don't pay attention to what ingredients that are in the food that they digest as this can be a big factor to many healthy problems, such as allergies, sinuses, weight gain, headaches, depression, fatigue, heartburn, etc.. Most of the aliments are caused by the harmful toxins that we put into our bodies.

Suzanne Summers interviews six doctors (Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez, Dr. Sherry Rogers, Dr. Richie Shoemaker, Dr. Walter Crinnion, Dr. Stephen Sinatra and Dr. Garry Gordon), asking them all tough questions of why we're all having health issues and how we can prevent them.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Spring Reads: A.D. The Bible Continues: The Revolution That Changed The World

A.D. The Bible Continues: The Revolution That Changed The World
by Dr. David Jeremiah
Pubisher: Tyndale Publishing
Pub. Date: April 14, 2015
ISBN: 978-1496407177
Pages: $16.99
Buy Link: Amazon


To tie-in with the NBC's limited series A.D. The Bible Continues, the sequel to History Channel's 2013 miniseries, The Bible), Tyndale Publishing released two book this month: A.D. The Bible Continues: The Book Of Acts and A.D. The Bible Continues: The Revolution that Changed The World. Both books are written Dr. David Jeremiah, author of Agents of the Apocalypse.

While the A.D. The Bible Continues: The Book Of Acts told the stories of Christ's apostles & followers, The Revolution That Changed The World also follows the Book Of Acts, but it's retold here to give a more detailed look on what Christ's disciples went through following Jesus' death and resurrection three day later. Dr. David Jeremiah gives a history lesson on what life was like back then, by exploring the political and religious upheal that eventually lead to the rise of the early church.

There are selective Bible verses throughout the book along with quotes from theologians and scholars. Similar to A.D. The Bible Continues: The Book Of Acts, there are small biographical segments.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Spring Reads: Strong Is The New Skinny

Strong Is The New Skinny
by Jennifer Cohen & Stacey Colino
Publisher: Harmony Books
Pub. Date: September 16, 2014
ISBN: 978-0804140515
Pages: 240
Buy Link: Amazon


Wow! I can hardly believe that it is already April 1st today! I guess time flew by while I've been busy with life. I recall receiving the book Strong Is The New Skinny by Jennifer Cohen & Stacey Colino back in December, but it got shoved aside and I'm just now writing the review for it.

Yes, I'm well aware that there are a slew of fitness books on the market that all claim to help you lose weight. I tend to avoid these types of books, but since I'm in a fitness kick this year, I decided to give this book a try.

While this books is intended for woman, there is plenty of great fitness information and exercises that men (like me) can also benefit from. There is a great diet plan that focuses on the best food that will give you the correct amount of nutrients and protein. The book features over 100-pages of exercise routines with pictures and descriptions, which mixes in light-weight lifting, aerobics, yoga and Pilates.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Review - 50 Things to Know About Getting Free Stuff to Review

50 Things To Know About Getting Free Stuff To Review
by Susan Kinchen
Publisher: 50 Things To Know
Pub. Date: August 24, 2014
Pages: 31
Buy Link: Amazon


If you have seen the UPS, FedEx and the USPS deliver several packages every week to your neighbor's doorstep, there is a good chance that your neighbor might be a blog reviewer.

What exactly is a blog reviewer?

A blog reviewer is a person who gets free products from companies in exchange for their honest opinions. Being a blogger myself, I was intrigued to read 50 Things To Know About Getting Free Stuff To Review by Susan Kinchen.

The ebook is very short at 31 pages, but only 20 or 21 pages is actually related to the theme of the ebook. It is basically a list of 50 tips to help you become a blog reviewer, such as setting up your blog, writing posts that fit your specific niche, posting regularly and creating a media kit.