Non-Fiction Review: The Rebels and Revolutionaries of Sound

Playlist by James  Rhodes
Playlist: The Rebels and Revolutionaries of Sound
by James RhodesMartin O’Neill (Goodreads Author) (Illustrations)

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


James Rhodes writes about classical music and features seven revolutionary composers who changed the landscape of music forever. With chapters on Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Schubert, Rachmaninoff, and Ravel, this book outlines how music developed over time, and how each of these extraordinary musicians overcame the challenges of their era to create beautiful music that still resonates with musicians today.

I was really intrigued by the wild and colorful artwork depicting each composer, with elements of their time and items representing their music pasted into a chaotic blend. Bach is depicted with grand church buildings behind him, and Mozart has angels, flowers, and sunshine around his head like a halo. Chopin has a flaming heart on his chest, and a piano next to him being destroyed by sledgehammers. Rachmaninoff has butterflies and tigers, along with a diagram of a massive hand. (He had really huge hands; the bane of all pianists who try to play his piano compositions.) Continue reading

Non-Fiction Book Review: Code This!

Code This! by Jennifer Szymanski
Code This!: Puzzles, Games, Challenges, and Computer Coding Concepts for the Problem Solver in You
by  Jennifer SzymanskiCarlos Bueno 

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This fascinating book teaches children the concepts and ideas behind computer programming, and provides simple coding problems to be solved. The challenges include activities, games, and crafts that can be completed to solve the puzzles, as the reader learns computer coding approaches like binary code, directions, algorithms, loops of code, debugging when there is a problem, and optimizing the commands given to the program. Using logic and simple commands, the reader learns to understand the basic structure of a computer program. Continue reading

Non-Fiction Book Review: Adventures on Earth

Adventures on Earth by Simon Tyler
Adventures on Earth
by Simon Tyler 

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This book tells about explorers who discovered the highest, deepest, coldest, hottest, and most dangerous areas of our planet. Featuring sections about the polar regions, mountains, volcanoes, oceans, deserts, rivers, jungles, caves, and forests, this book gives a wonderful overview of the history of exploration, and the men and women who broke the boundaries.

I loved the gorgeous artwork in this book! The illustrations are eye-catching, showing the beauty of the nature and the overwhelming glory of mountain peaks and glaciers. Each page is attractive and lures the reader in to read more about incredible natural phenomena. Continue reading

Book Review: Awesome Achievers in Technology

Awesome Achievers in Technology by Alan Katz
3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


The dad jokes are strong. The puns are cringe-worthy. The history is real.

Do you remember who invented the Sierra video game, King’s Quest, or who dreamed up Space Invaders and Pong? Do you know who pioneered devices like the microwave, windshield wipers, TV remotes, and the first cell phone? Wonder no more, because it’s all in this book!

Featuring 12 incredible inventors, engineers, chemists, and pioneers who made their dreams a reality in technology, this book gives short bios of the inventors, along with a comedic poem or song written by the author in their honor, and sometimes a small comic sketch or personal anecdote.

This book is FULL of “Dad jokes”. There are idiotic puns and wisecracks on every page that made me roll my eyes. Not exactly captivating entertainment, but I think this book would appeal to children with a silly sense of humor.
I enjoyed the actual information about these incredible men and women, and their fascinating inventions and accomplishments that influence our daily lives.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.

Non-Fiction Review: Awesome Achievers in Science

Awesome Achievers in Science by Alan Katz
Awesome Achievers in Science: Super and Strange Facts about 12 Almost Famous History Makers 
by Alan Katz 

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Do you remember who invented the Post It note? Or the Polaroid camera? You may know the name of the Heimlich maneuver, but do you know anything about Dr. Heimlich himself, who invented the famous move?

This book features twelve scientists, chemists, doctors, engineers, and astronauts whose inventions or actions are well-known, but the people themselves are less than famous. Including the inventions of Velcro, Teflon, Kevlar, the Polaroid camera, bionic limbs, laser eye surgery for cataracts, and the CPR method, this book gives short bios of the almost-famous inventors, along with a comedic poem or song written by the author in their honor, and sometimes a small comic sketch or personal anecdote.

This book is FULL of “Dad jokes”. There are cringey puns and wisecracks on every page that will make anyone remember their own dad and his terrible jokes. The humor might appeal to a 7-year-old boy, but I spent most of the book rolling my eyes at the ridiculous one-liners. Continue reading

Non-Fiction Review: 1,000 Facts About Ancient Egypt

1,000 Facts about Ancient Egypt by Nancy Honovich
1,000 Facts about Ancient Egypt 
by Nancy Honovich

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Everything you ever wanted to know about Ancient Egypt is in this book! There are facts, figures, and wild details about mummies, pyramids, the sphinx, the pharaohs, and the everyday lives of regular Egyptians.

I loved how the information is presented in small sections that would keep a child’s attention, and make it easy to read. Each two-page spread focuses on a category of Egyptian life: inventions, government, religion and temples, women rulers, games and art, food and trade, royal life, beauty and fashion, weapons and soldiers, the Nile river, and of course mummies and pyramids, along with a dozen other fascinating subjects. Continue reading

Non-Fiction Review: Never Go Back

Never Go Back by Henry Cloud
Never Go Back 
by

Henry Cloud (Goodreads Author)
4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This book demonstrates ten life lessons that will teach you never to go back to your old patterns or make the same mistake twice. They include things like…
Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not.
Don’t trust the wrong people.
Don’t forget why you’re here.
Don’t take your eyes off the big picture.
Don’t try to please everyone.

I enjoyed reading this because it has a lot of commons sense approaches to problems that are universal, and gives real solutions to difficult situations. One of the good things about this book is that it focuses on the only thing we can control… ourselves. It gives real hope that our life can change, because we can change ourselves, our habits and patterns, our thinking, and our reactions and choices. Continue reading

Non-Fiction Review: Jane Austen

Jane Austen by Claire Tomalin
Jane Austen: A Life 
by Claire Tomalin

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This biography of Jane Austen does a very thorough job of seizing on every letter, every mention, every tiny detail that can be gleaned about the famous author; unfortunately, that isn’t much. Jane’s sister, Cassandra, destroyed many of her letters after Jane’s death. Jane’s brothers and nephews and nieces didn’t preserve her letters as faithfully as they should have. The result is that there are few original writings left from one of the best-loved authors of all time, and little is known of her day to day life.

However, the author does a wonderful job of piecing together letters from cousins, diary entries of nieces and neighbors, along with the few portraits and tin-type photographs of her family and friends.
Continue reading

Non-Fiction Review: Journal Me Organized

Journal Me Organized by Rebecca Spooner
Journal Me Organized: The Complete Guide to Practical and Creative Planning 
by Rebecca Spooner

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


I got so many wonderful and creative ideas for my planner from this book! I love how the information is organized, with chapters about different planning methods, notebooks, styles, and supplies, along with ideas for doodling, creating lists, using watercolors and acrylics, brush lettering, and even making your own notebooks from scratch.

The beauty of it is that you don’t need fancy paints, pens, or notebooks to use the ideas in this book. You could just as easily set up a planner or bullet journal in a simple lined composition notebook from the dollar store. And the author gives tips about how to set up in a plain composition notebook versus a dot grid notebook.

I love all the different styles of daily, monthly, and yearly spreads! Whether you want a minimalist style or an artistic style, there is something for everyone. Continue reading

Book Review: Ten Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe

Ten Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe by Larry Osborne
Ten Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe: Are Urban Legends & Sunday School Myths Ruining Your Faith? 
by Larry Osborne

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


I loved how this book was organized. The writing style is clear and concise with a dry humor that kept each chapter interesting. I appreciated how the author carefully explained each concept with Biblical precepts and spiritual laws that are direct from Scripture.

I really enjoyed reading it, and now I want to read more from this author!