Stand Upon Stars in the American West

I am reviewing books through the Blogging for Books program in an effort to support my community’s Little Free Library, thus the addition of book reviews outside of the usual sexual health topics to Your Sexy Librarian postings. After being reviewed, the book gets stamped “Always a Gift, Never for Sale” and placed into a Little Free Library for others to enjoy. My latest book selection is We Stood Upon Stars: Finding God in Lost Places by American author Roger W. Thompson, which was released as a trade paperback on May 2, with a selling price of $15.99. According to the back cover copy, Thompson “is a successful entrepreneur, collaborator, adventurer and writer” who “alongside his wife, travels, surfs, snowboards and fly-fishes – and is teaching his two young sons to do the same.” Raised in Ventura, California, Thompson takes readers on a journey throughout the American West as he recounts motorcycle rides with his grandfather and road trips with friends and family. Each chapter lovingly includes hand-drawn maps with animals and geographic details and highlights of where to acquire the best tacos and the best coffee along each route. Thompson notes the location of his favorite bookstores, fishing holes and fly shops on all these maps, which gives local flavor to each area he has traversed. According to the copyright page, all interior art is by Elain Thompson. She is not given any credit on the cover, which is unkind because her drawings add a personal spark to We Stood Upon Stars that would be noticeably missing without her artistic contributions. We Stood Upon Stars is not so much a...

‘Portrait Revolution’ is a Hand-held Art Gallery

I am reviewing books through the Blogging for Books program in an effort to support my community’s Little Free Library, thus the addition of book reviews outside of the usual sexual health topics to Your Sexy Librarian postings. After being reviewed, the book gets stamped “Always a Gift, Never for Sale” and placed into a Little Free Library for others to enjoy. My latest book selection is Portrait Revolution: Inspiration from Around the World for Creating Art in Multiple Mediums and Styles by Julia L. Kay, which was released as a trade paperback on April 11. Kay herself is a gifted and established artist. She brought together hundreds of artists from around the world for a Portrait Party, in which the artists drew and painted one another’s portraits in different media and in different styles. Portrait Revolution features 450 of those very portraits from artists around the world. Portrait Revolution is laid out in sections, much like a museum or gallery, with a section for “Portraits by Media,” “Portraits by Style” and “Portraits by Theme” followed by “Featured Artists” and ending with “On Making Portraits” with a sprinkling of “Featured Subjects” throughout the book. “Featured Subjects” show a single artist captured by multiple artists on a two-page spread. Seeing individual works of the same person side-by-side is an interesting juxtaposition that allows the reader to fully immerse themselves in the featured portraits comprised of different mediums. I found it intriguing to see how individual artists approached the same model and captured his or her likeness. “On Making Portraits” is a gathering of quotes from the artists who participated in...

Foodies Will Drool Over Latest Edition of Roadfood

I am reviewing books through the Blogging for Books program in an effort to support my community’s Little Free Library, thus the addition of book reviews outside of the usual sexual health topics to Your Sexy Librarian postings. After being reviewed, the book gets stamped “Always a Gift, Never for Sale” and placed into a Little Free Library for others to enjoy. My latest book selection is the tenth edition of Roadfood: An Eater’s Guide to More Than 1,000 of the Best Local Hot Spots & Hidden Gems Across America by Jane and Michael Stern, which was released as a trade paperback on March 7. Before Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives debuted on Food Network on April 23, 2007, there was Roadfood to show foodies the way to wonderful eateries across the country. The Sterns coined the term “roadfood” to describe regional cuisine they discovered while driving around America in the early 1970s. They compiled their suggestions into a series of books called Roadfood, the first of which was published in 1977. The Sterns have written more than 40 books including cookbooks, have won three James Beard Awards for their restaurant reviews, and have hosted gastronomic tours of Chicago and Austin as well as New England, New York and New Mexico. Roadfood is a 463-page culinary delight with a beautiful font that is easy to read. Some readers may need a magnifying glass as the font is smaller than most book fonts. The Sterns provide “Notes About Using This Book” to explain their choices of featured restaurants and the price breakdown used for every listing in the book....

A New Book Explains the Power of Women at Work

I am reviewing books through the Blogging for Books program in an effort to support my community’s Little Free Library, thus the addition of book reviews outside of the usual sexual health topics to Your Sexy Librarian postings. After being reviewed, the book gets stamped “Always a Gift, Never for Sale” and placed into a Little Free Library for others to enjoy. My latest book selection is Own It by Sallie Krawcheck, which was released on January 17. Krawcheck is the CEO and co-founder of Ellevest, a digital financial advisor for women that launched in May 2016, chair of Ellevate Network, a global professional women’s networking group founded in 1997, and chair Of Pax Ellevate Management, which launched the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund in 2014. Krawcheck has worked for big Wall Street companies, sometimes being the only female in the room, in the past and has used her experiences as the basis for Own It. She truly does want to change the way women are viewed in the corporate business model of today and to change how women see themselves as compared to men. Krawcheck states in Own It that her approach is different because she wants women to stop trying to be like men and to just be women. Krawcheck’s writing style is upbeat and at times humorous. Her honesty about how she was treated at those big Wall Street firms shines through in her writing. I appreciated her candor. There were many times in the book though where I felt Krawcheck’s audience are women like her, those who are attempting to climb the corporate success...

An Unconventional Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

This year, Americans are estimated to spend $136.57 on Valentine’s Day gifts, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey. I am hoping that this amount is spent on something besides candy, cut roses, Pandora charms and giant stuffed bears because I think people can do way better than those clichéd gifts. It’s time to think outside the gift box! For introverted book lovers, give a year’s subscription to Amazon Kindle Unlimited. The book lover can check out ten books at a time from a collection of over one and a half million e-books. Remember to ask the new Kindle Unlimited fan what he or she is reading and pay full attention to the answer. A certain author or genre of particular interest can spark ideas for future gift-giving moments. For book lovers who enjoy talking about books with others, give the gift of a Little Free Library. It is truly a gift that will keep on giving. Give the new LFL steward a supply of books from thrift stores and secondhand bookstores, a collection of totes or a beautiful bookshelf to contain the library stash or accessories for the little library, such as twinkling fairy lights, on future gift-giving occasions. For techie geeks, give the latest techno gizmo he or she has been talking about or posting about on Facebook. Alternately, search crowdfunding sites to discover a cool start-up that mimics his or her interests and buy into the start-up in his or her name. The start-up will usually send supporters new product once production begins. Read up on tech items or search Google for future tech gift ideas....

B. Smith Book Examines the Challenges of Alzheimer’s

I am reviewing books through the Blogging for Books program in an effort to support my community’s Little Free Library, thus the addition of book reviews outside of the usual sexual health topics to Your Sexy Librarian postings. After being reviewed, the book gets stamped “Always a Gift, Never for Sale” and placed into a Little Free Library for others to enjoy. My latest book selection is Before I Forget: Love, Hope, Help and Acceptance in Our Fight Against Alzheimer’s written by B. Smith and Dan Gasby with Michael Shnayerson, which was released on January 19, 2016. Smith is the B. Smith who, in her youth, became America’s first African-American supermodel who went on to experience stunning restaurant and home goods fame before being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2013. Gasby, Smith’s husband since 1992, is Smith’s business partner at B. Smith Enterprises. He became and remains Smith’s primary caregiver after her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. Shnayerson is a long-time contributing editor at Vanity Fair and the author or co-author of seven books. It is unclear exactly how Shnayerson contributed to this specific written work. Before I Forget is beautifully written from the heart. The format of the book is in chapters that start with Smith’s perspective on her disease in italics before moving on to Gasby’s experiences, thoughts and feelings as Smith’s primary caregiver and ending in lessons learned that include knowledge about Alzheimer’s itself and tips for caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients. The book’s tips of how to be a better caregiver are insightful and can even translate to any disease state in which someone is a caregiver in the...

Exploring the Placebo Effect on the Mind

I am reviewing books through the Blogging for Books program in an effort to support my community’s Little Free Library, thus the addition of book reviews outside of the usual sexual health topics to Your Sexy Librarian postings. After being reviewed, the book gets stamped “Always a Gift, Never for Sale” and placed into a Little Free Library for others to enjoy. My latest book selection is Cure: A Journey Into the Science of Mind Over Body written by award-winning science writer Jo Marchant, which was released on January 19. Cure is Marchant’s third book. Marchant’s Decoding the Heavens solves the mystery of the world’s first computer and The Shadow King explores the life of King Tut’s mummy. Based in London, Marchant has a PhD in genetics and medical microbiology. Her formal education in science shines through in Cure in the way she presents material in this book. Marchant zipped around the world compiling research for Cure. She discusses the placebo effect, in which there is a beneficial effect of a medical treatment that is attributed to the mind itself because the treatment is inert, for various disease states, such as autism, chronic pain and Parkinson’s. She spoke to many doctors, researchers and patients for different perspectives on the placebo effect itself and looked at research about the placebo effect. Marchant explores the nocebo effect, which is the opposite of the placebo effect, in which a negative expectation of a phenomenon causes it to have a greater negative effect than it otherwise would. She uses the present-day example of suspected mass poisoning of female students at Bibi Hajerah High School...

A New Book Explores Breaking Up in a Whole New Way

I am reviewing books through the Blogging for Books program in an effort to support my community’s Little Free Library, thus the addition of book reviews outside of the usual sexual health topics to Your Sexy Librarian postings. After being reviewed, the book gets stamped “Always a Gift, Never for Sale” and placed into a Little Free Library for others to enjoy. My latest book selection is Conscious Uncoupling: 5 Steps to Living Happily Even After written by Katherine Woodward Thomas, which was released on October 18, 2016. This is Woodward Thomas’ second book. I chose Conscious Uncoupling because I was curious about what Woodward Thomas’ thoughts on ending relationships “in a whole new way.” When the book arrived, I had to explain to my partner Dutch that this was for a book review project. It was this book or a book on 52 ways to meditate. Dutch laughed at my dilemma because I cannot sit still long enough to relax, little on meditate. Since I blog about sexual health and relationships, Conscious Uncoupling seemed to be the best book review option at the time. Woodward Thomas wrote her latest book because her own marriage was ending in divorce and she did not want to create bitterness or unpleasantness for her daughter as her divorce progressed and eventually finalized. Woodward Thomas, a licensed marriage and family therapist, backs up her suggestions on keeping a break-up civil with solid grounding in sociology and psychology. She uses splashes of positive quotations throughout her book, which I enjoyed. An example I particularly loved is, “Divorce becomes a holy moment when you choose to use...

New Book Tells the Jaw-Dropping and Inspirational Story of an Amputee

I am reviewing books through the Blogging for Books program in an effort to support my community’s Little Free Library, thus the addition of book reviews outside of the usual sexual health topics to Your Sexy Librarian postings. After being reviewed, the book gets stamped “Always a Gift, Never for Sale” and placed into a Little Free Library for others to enjoy. My latest book selection is Tough as They Come by retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills of the 82nd Airborne, and coauthored with Marcus Brotherton, which was released on October 27, 2016. The foreword is written by American actor and veteran advocate Gary Sinise. The cover of Tough as They Come states, “Thousands have been wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Five have survived quadruple amputee injuries. This is one soldier’s story.” This description is essentially why I choose this book to review. I work in the medical field and was hoping SSG Mills’ personal story would help me find new motivation for helping my patients through their disease diagnosis and subsequent progression. This book certainly delivered motivation, by the truckload. Tough as They Come has been the best book I have reviewed thus far through the Blogging for Books program. “Best” in the sense of wanting to read the entire book without putting it down. I read every word on every page and did not want to be distracted in the process, which I cannot say about my previous book review choices. SSG Mills’ story is written from the heart and is humorous and gritty, even when recounting his darkest days after having...

Author Sheds Light on Clandestine Escapes from East Berlin

I am reviewing books through the Blogging for Books program in an effort to support my community’s Little Free Library, thus the addition of book reviews outside of the usual sexual health topics to Your Sexy Librarian postings. After being reviewed, the book gets stamped “Always a Gift, Never for Sale” and placed into a Little Free Library for others to enjoy. My latest book selection is The Tunnels: Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill by American author Greg Mitchell, which was released on October 18. Mitchell has written a dozen non-fiction books on United States politics and history of the 2oth and 21st centuries. Miller blogs actively about media and politics. His writing is on point and will hold the interest of the reader until the very end of the story. I chose this particular book because I wanted to learn more about the Berlin Wall, which existed when I was born and was removed when I was a little girl. I knew the clinical aspects of the Berlin Wall without knowing much about the personal perspective of those who experienced life behind the Berlin Wall. The Tunnels is a collection of accounts of real people who were desperately trying to flee East Berlin. They risked their lives, prison and Stasi torture to liberate themselves, their friends, family and even strangers from East Berlin. As the Berlin Wall became a more permanent structure that was increasingly difficult to cross, the liberators went underground and began tunneling under the Wall. Tunnels were physically dangerous and put the liberators at great...