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

March 22, 2014

13 Years in America by Melanie Steele

13 Years in America is a very real memoir about chasing happiness and stability in life. I also got out of it how love can conquer hardships.

After moving from Canada to America and getting married, Melanie and her husband chase after the American Dream.

But it isn’t always as great as it sounds.

Never happy settling in one place, they move from town-to-town and state-to-state trying to find a place that suits their lives and opportunities for financial stability.

Along the way, Melanie decides to go back to school to finish her degree. It takes up most of her time because she is dedicated to being the best. She loves doing the research and writing out her thoughts into fantastic academic papers, and even gets one published.

This doesn’t help to solve the financial situation, though.

When she decides to go to grad school, she and her husband decide it is a great time for them to start their new life as a young family. That way, he can stay home with their child while she is in school since she will be making a little bit of money. He will not have to worry about finding a job and being unhappy, and their child will never have to be taken care of by anyone except a parent. It seems like a fool-proof plan.

As time passes, the finances never become ideal, but they get along. They are happy as a family, and sometimes that is what needs to be focused on in order to get by. There are tough times along the way, but they endure it with love and positive thinking.

This book is very well written. It all flows nicely together, which makes it very easy and entertaining to read. The dialogue fit well with the rest of the story. It didn’t seem forced or out of place.

The story is very enjoyable as well. Not everything in life can be easy, but you can get through it if you have hope and are surrounded by people that love you.

I really liked reading Melanie’s story. Anyone who enjoys memoirs will enjoy it too I believe.

4/5 stars.

Memorable quotes: “I look out at the two different countries that make up this beautiful, serene landscape, and I’m struck for some reason that the two sides look exactly the same. Two different countries, but water just flows into water, and one island looks exactly the same as the other.”

“I try to push the memories from my mind. I need to look forward instead of back, I remind myself. I take two deep breaths, and that helps. I feel better with each passing moment.”

February 2, 2014

The Day Before 9/11 by Tucker Elliot

There are just some people’s stories that need to be put into print . . . this is one of them.

There are just some books that need to be read . . . this is one of them.

9/11 is a day that none of us will never forget. It impacted each of us in different ways, and it will always be an emotional topic that is hard to read and write about.

The Day Before 9/11 is a memoir about an American teacher overseas teaching military children. He documents his experience with 9/11 and stories of military families he came to spend a lot of time with.

Tucker Elliot tells his own personal story as well as the story of two young girls Sami and Angel.

They both come from military families who are stationed overseas. He first comes into contact with Sami while he is teaching in Korea. After he moves to Germany, he becomes Angel’s teacher and Sami’s family ends up getting stationed there as well.

He expresses the pain that comes to families after tragedies occur. The same tragedy can affect different families in many different ways. War can affect different families in many different ways. It can bring pain and depression in ways that some individuals could never experience or even imagine.

Tucker Elliot’s book is a beautiful documentation about how one tragedy affected three different families in completely different ways.

It is emotional. It is thought provoking.

I thought reading through the main portion of the book was rough and hard on the heart, but the epilogue is truly just heartbreaking. There are no other words.

But, the end can really teach you that through heartbreak, you should always still have hope.

The writing in this book is really great. It never gets boring. There are no unnecessary parts to it. It was well thought out and looked over before being published.

5/5 stars. 

January 29, 2014

Letters To Young Chong by Melanie Jo Moore

Letters to Young Chong is a memoir written by Melanie Jo Moore that is built on her friendship (well… sometimes friends, sometimes cousins…. Sometimes sisters) with Melissa Moore (no actual relation).

It has a very good flow to it by working in chronological order. Some memoirs can try to get too much information into one book and jump all over the place while losing the reader in the process. I did not find this to be the case here, although maybe the incredibly crazy stories had some hand in that haha.

This book takes you through the beginning of Melanie and Melissa’s friendship that began during their early school years when they would constantly be confused for one another due to their similar names. Melanie held quite a grudge over Melissa for this, and wasn’t very fond of her for a long time.

I guess that could be how all great friendships began.. or maybe they are just a very unique pairing. I will go with a mixture of both.

They grew up in a rural area and did not have much to do. So, obviously, this translates to them causing havoc everywhere they went.

Then the book jumps a little to when they are older.

You thought there was a lot of alcohol, boys, and trouble when they were in high school.. just wait until you continue reading.

This book is pretty long, but the length is also a bit deceiving. It has a very quick pace to it, so the length is actually pretty irrelevant. I read over half of it in one sitting.

Although this memoir is packed with crazy and hilarious stories, it also follows some rough topics as well including bad relationships and losing people close to you.

The writing is very good. It flows nicely, and the way Melanie writes interactions and descriptions of the people in the book, you can really visualize them and feel as if you know them a little bit.

Overall, it is actually pretty addicting once you pick it up. It is hard to stop reading while you are in the middle of it.

I am excited for the sequel!

4.5/5 stars

October 5, 2012

A Child Lost in Flight: Moving On After Tragedy on Flight 229 by Mohan K.

From tragedy to moving on, this story takes you through it all.

It was one of the saddest books I have read in a while. It is a non-fiction memoir about the loss of a child. It is very heartfelt and touching, and I am sure it will hit home to all young parents who worry about their newborns. While, hopefully, the occurrences in the story will not happen to them, having a newborn child always leaves parents with a small sense of paranoia with everything they do.

This book was very well written. It was short – only 60 pages but took you basically through hell and back. Overall, it is a story about recovering from a terrible tragedy, and while time may heal some wounds, you need support from friends, family, and sometimes religion to be able to heal enough to move on with your life. This story is very inspirational, and reminds you not to take the simple things in life for granted. 

Overall, this book receives a 5/5 for me. It was very well written, and I was hooked from the first page. I needed to know what was going to happen.  I encourage everyone to pick up this book. It is very short and inexpensive, and the struggle that Mohan and his wife went through needs to be brought to light. You will not regret this purchase.

Once I finished this book, I contacted Mohan and asked him to express his motivation for writing this book:  “I found it cathartic to write about my experience, grief and attempt to move on. The book is intended to demonstrate how my wife and I moved forward after the tragedy, perhaps an inspiration for others undergoing life crisis. Although I delve into my grief and loss, the goal was also to demonstrate human triumph over tragedy.”

To hear more from Mohan visit his blog and Twitter:

This book is available through Amazon as an ebook. You can check it out here:

October 1, 2012

I.M. Revolution by Matt Lloyd

Have you ever wanted to make money online but didn’t know how or didn’t have the patience to learn? This handbook was written just for you. It is short and inexpensive. No reason to pass it up.

This handbook is an extremely easy read. It isn’t filled with ten dollar words when a one dollar word will do. Because, honestly, no one would read it from cover to cover. The purpose of this handbook is to help you. Matt uses extremely real numbers and situations. He isn’t trying to pull a blindfold over your eyes and make you think that you are going to get rich in a week. He even admits to not being a wealth guru. I think starting off his handbook by acknowledging this upfront will encourage someone to keep reading. There is no reason to feel deceived by what he is trying to tell you.

Matt is very real with his story. He opens himself up to the reader in his handbook. That is something that many businessmen are not willing to do because they want to come across as having no flaws. Matt is willing to tell his hardships that got him to where he is. That, in my opinion, is very respectable. You have to be honest if you want people to take you seriously.  He makes sure you know his personal story so that you can relate with him. He didn’t start making big money overnight, and he wants to push that point. There are dozens of books and web ads that state differently, but with this one, you get the truth.

One of the most important lines I found in this handbook is: “But here’s the thing: Most of these guys don’t make money doing the things they teach. They make money online by selling ‘how to make money online’ stuff. That’s it.”

Now, he is exposing the truth to how these so called business masters get their riches: from selling their ideas, not actually putting their ideas to work. Their ideas might not even work at all, but they don’t care because they are making huge profits off of their so called “success stories.” Before you starting becoming skeptical and asking “well, isn’t that what this guy is doing?” No. That is why he laid down the basis of his personal story before he goes into the details of how to make your profit. Plus, his handbook sells pretty cheap.

Matt sets you up with detailed steps to help you through the difficult process of starting up an online business and actually making money. His steps are very easy to comprehend and follow.

At the end, he goes on to explain his own business more in depth and invites you to become a partner. While he cannot possibly accept everyone, everyone has a fair shot. And if you are dedicated to working, why not give it a shot, right?

Overall – 5/5 stars. It was not boring at all like some handbooks could be. I found it actually very interesting. If you want to learn how to make money online, this is a must read for you. Trust me. 

Arn? Narn. by Bruce Meisterman

“'Arn? Narn.” It is said to be
the shortest conversation
in Newfoundland.'”

While reading this book and looking through the photos, I had to wonder whether the author lived in Newfoundland, or had extreme interest and visited in order to document his story.

Arn? Narn is a photography novel filled with black and white photographs taken in Newfoundland. The supporting text tells the story of the struggling culture. They thrived off of fishing for cod. Without an abundance of cod, now, they are trying to make end meet however they can. It also expresses the culture of the people. Through the photos of citizens you get a hint as to what the people are like that live there.

While there is text surrounding the pictures telling the story of the suffering culture in Newfoundland, I feel like the photos are telling the real story. You can feel great emotion just looking at the photos. More than you would feel with just text alone. That is the beauty of these types of book. They incorporate two different ways of telling a story to make you truly understand their meaning. Without the text, the pictures would have no place. You wouldn’t know what you were looking at. Without the pictures, the story would be emotionless.

This book is a beautiful representation of how these types of book are supposed to be laid out -- Beautifully written text to accompany the truly emotion-filled photos of the struggles in Newfoundland.

Not knowing much about Newfoundland, I found this book informational and well as a pleasing to the eyes. I feel like a have knowledge of a new culture that I never knew about before.

Arn? Narn is a beautiful story told through words and breathtaking photography.
5/5 stars for me

Please take a moment to click through to learn more! 

Read ahead for spoilers

July 8, 2012

Confessions of a Community Journalist by Michael Shawn Smith

Most of us have heard the phrase “Never judge a book by its cover.” But I do. I also judge by the book title and genre. I have never been one to read non-fiction books. The remind me of school, and I don’t want to be reminded of school when I am out for the summer. So, when Michael contacted me requesting a review for his book, I agreed but was also thinking, “What did I just get myself into?” I thought I was going to be bored, and it would take me forever to get through, but I was hoping he would prove me wrong.

When I opened the file on my Nook and began reading, my reaction was – WOW. I was completely hooked. From the very first page. It took me a little less than two days to complete.

Michael writes to inform. He infuses his personal experience from over a decade in the journalism business, and also uses examples from others as well. He doesn’t claim to know everything about the profession, and includes the fact that he is still learning himself, because things change every day. His aim with this book wasn't to give an all-inclusive guide to the art of community journalism, but rather (as it seemed to me) his purpose was to create a handbook that was short and sweet. He doesn’t drag on about a subject until it runs dry, leaving the reader begging for the section to be over. He includes a very organized mix of information and examples to help the reader understand what he is trying to say.

The sections are not very long, which make them easy to reference from day to day, and there is also a very useful table of contents at the beginning. You will be able to find what you are looking for without hassle.
Michael’s writing style in this book seemed informal, which is what this type of book needs. Having too formal of a tone will turn readers away right from the beginning. Instead, he takes a more laid-back approach and doesn’t make his opinions appear as facts. He states that some writers, photographers, designers, etc. have different styles than he does, and he doesn’t put down their techniques.

This book is very informative and encompasses a large range of different things a community writer will have to go through. He doesn’t go into long, hard to read details as I mentioned before. So, I believe this is a must-read for anyone going into the journalism field, or even that is already in the journalism field. It is always nice to have a reference book, and since this book isn’t very long, I would suggest just keeping it in a desk drawer and note the pages that you use often.

I give this book a 5/5 and I hope to see it used in Journalism classes in the future.

Personal note: I prefer the use of the pen tool rather than the lasso to cut out images, but what works for one designer doesn’t always work for another!

To hear more from Michael, visit his website!