#BookReview The Braid Book by Sarah Hiscox & Willa Burton

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The Braid Book by Sarah Hiscox

As someone who has a background in Hairstyling, I have to say this book is an AWESOME idea. Just reading about a braid bar made my day – because there are days I want my hair done up but I don’t want to do it (and my stylist is always mega busy so booking with her the day of is almost IMPOSSIBLE). So, to say that I was excited to finally pick this book up is an understatement!

This book is a fantastic visualization for those who want to learn to do braids. At the beginning, it even includes what supplies you will need (like crocodile clips, hair bands, etc). This do it yourself book is perfect for those who want to learn how to do hair, but don’t necessarily want to watch YouTube glamour videos all day. This book even includes some outside references if you are looking for, say coloured hair strips or flowers!! Epic!

Care for your hair is also included in this book, which is a nice touch! I find a lot of videos about how to do your hair don’t include the before and after care actually needed (which is stressed in hair school, by the way!!! If you don’t take care of your hair, how do you expect it to stay rocking all day?!).

I really enjoyed the pictures in this book – I find it horribly hard to do my own hair!! I can do other peoples hair easy peasey, but my own? Nope. Not being able to see my own hair makes it difficult, so seeing the back of the head of what I should be feeling/doing made it easier to wrap my mind around it! (Haha…wrap….braid…yeah. Cheesey jokes, I know).

Different braids are explained and shown, so you don’t have to worry about being limited to only a few. This book gives you the works!

If anything, I found some of the pictures a little to dark to be able to actually see the hair/style that was going on. I would have liked to see the same style on a few different models with different hair colours (blonde, red, brown?) so you can see the style a lot better.

Overall, this book was a fantastic idea and it really should be a lot bigger/popular than it is!!

Five out of five stars.

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Quick Book Review: Into the Blizzard: Walking the Fields of the Newfoundland Dead by Michael Winter

In honour of Canada Day, here is my review of a book about Canada (well, Newfoundland)!!

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Photo via Goodreads.

Since I am a Canadian, I decided this book would be an interesting read that would enhance my knowledge of Canada. And surprisingly, I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected!

I wanted to read the book to gain more knowledge, but I ended up really enjoying the book and getting into it.

The book follows the journey of the author through Newfoundland and past battlefields and grave sites of soldiers. The chapters in this book were short and sweet, but the nicest little gem was how much information and facts that were within the small chapters. Each chapter involved a small journey or task completed by the author, but little facts either about the author’s childhood or the wars were included. These facts, despite being anywhere from one sentence to only a few paragraphs in length, gave an amazing and gigantic insight to how the War was fought and dealt with by soldiers.

The only downfall I saw to this book was how simple some of the language was. The read was smooth and quick, and I didn’t find myself getting bored with the facts and plot laid out in the story. Overall, this book was incredibly well written and a gem I would definitely read again or suggest to anyone who is interested in history, wars, or specifically Canadian history.

I believe this book would help many high school students studying history understand it a bit more (considering the fact that this book would have helped me a lot when I sat bored in history class).

Amazing book! Four out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Murderous May Book Review: From Birth to Death: Mommies Who Murder by Mindy M. Shelton

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review:
Book Title: From Birth to Death: Mommies Who Murder
Book Author: Mindy M. Shelton

Introduction: I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads for an honest review. I wanted to read some more non-fiction, and this book fit the bill!

Synopsis: This book is non-fiction, and it primarily focuses on mothers who murdered their children. It’s a good book for those looking into researching in this specific field since it gives an general insight into each situation (about 1-3 pages worth) and it gives any and all citations used (websites, books, interviews, etc).

Review: I thought this book was a great introduction to mothers who are murderers. I was under the impression it was a fictional read, but when I saw it was non-fiction I was a lot more interested. It was definitely a quick read (I read it in under 30 minutes), and it was hard to put down. It was also very hard to get a grasp on why these women did what they did.

The small book does not go into the psychological context, it’s mainly just an area that gives you a brief description of what happened and the consequences. If anything, this would be a good book for research. I definitely wouldn’t want to pick this book up again and read it for fun, but anyone who needs something to cite in their professional works could look at this book!

Overall, I did enjoy this book. It looks professional, the research holds up, and it’s very easy to read.

Three out of five stars.

Book Review: From Wedding to Funeral: Spouses who Murder by Mindy M. Shelton

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review
Book Title: From Wedding to Funeral: Spouses who Murder
Book Author: Mindy M. Shelton

Introduction: I received the entire series from Mindy M. Shelton as a trade for some honest reviews. Thank you for this opportunity!

Review:

This series of books is non-fiction. The books describe true crime murders that have been initiated by spouses. Like the previous encyclopedias, each chapter starts with a form about the Murderers and what they have done. The forms give information such as the date of the murder, the murder weapon, the sentence and any other information needed to give a basic insight into their situations. Following that, Mindy gives a thorough description derived from many trusted sources of every murder and the follow-up. Each investigation is explained in an unbiased tone, which makes this an excellent book to use for research or for citations.

Compared to the previous books in this series, I felt like this textbook in the series had a lot more description an writing in regard to the murders. This added ‘umph’ of explanations gives a better insight into what actually happened to these murders.

Overall, I really enjoyed this series as a whole. There weren’t any hiccups or negative aspects that I could find. I do hope Mindy continues researching and creating more non-fiction textbooks (whether it’s about murders, crime or any other subject) as I would love to continue reading them!

As always, I should include a disclaimer for individuals wanting to read  this book: This is NON-FICTION and is written as if it is a TEXTBOOK. This is not a fictional story or tale. Going into this book expecting a crime novel format will leave you disappointed because that is not how this book was written. If you are looking for a set of facts, or an encyclopedia to assist in research than this book is for you!!

Five out of five stars – what a wonderful “end” (for now? Maybe?) to this great set of textbooks!

Quick Book Review: The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor by Howard Marks

Let’s do a Throwback Book Review from a few years ago! #ThrowbackThursday

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Photo via Goodreads.

I never read books that are non-fiction and explain things to you (unless it is for school), but I found this book charmed me in a way that is hard to express.

This book explains to you thoughtful ways to invest, and how not to make mistakes when investing. While I found most of them to be quite obvious, when you put them all together it makes a lot of sense. It is very useful to use when you need help with money, and has made me think over my investments and where I spend my money during my schooling years.

A friend of mine who is studying Business also gave me lots of insight by telling me how true this book is, and coming from Columbia Business School (the “best” school for business, her words) that this book will be a good reference for future investments.

Overall, it was very helpful and thoughtful! Although it will not get me hooked on reading books related to business and how to make money or spend your money, I did enjoy the information I gained from it!

Four stars out of five.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Book Review: Mind = Blown: Amazing Facts About This Weird, Hilarious, Insane World by Matthew Santoro

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review
Book Title: Mind = Blown: Amazing Facts About This Weird, Hilarious, Insane World
Book Author: Matthew Santoro

Introduction: I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Review:

Matthew Santoro is a YouTube creator who I’ve watched many videos of. When I received this book I was interested in reading what he had to say – and if you are a fan of his YouTube work, this book is essentially the written version of his online work. If you aren’t interested in a large pile of facts with a splash of sarcasm and humor, this book is not for you.

I enjoyed reading this book, although it didn’t stand out compared to other fact books. The only difference between the many other fact books I’ve come about in my years is the sense of humor. This might make it stand out to the younger audience, but it didn’t make me yearn to read more fact books.

Although, Matthew Santoro does a great job of making this book interesting. While the book itself might not stand out, it wasn’t a book I felt the need to put down. The sense of humor and descriptions Matthew gives makes the book tolerable. It’s not like an encyclopedia – it’s just like his YouTube videos. It’ll keep you interested throughout.

I do recommend this book to readers who want to learn more random facts without an encyclopedia of knowledge thrown at them.

Three out of five stars.

Author Interview: Mindy M. Shelton. Author of FROM FIRST VICTIM TO LAST: SERIAL MURDERERS

Today, I am featuring a debut author on my blog – Mindy M. Shelton! This interview will give a different perspective into the life of a non-fiction true crime author that has recently been featured on my blog!

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Mindy M. Shelton has written both non-fiction and fiction in her career including the Ready Research Series and All  Tucked Inn: An Elizabeth Burke Thriller. It is such an honor to be able to interview her and be able to feature her books on my blog! Thank you Mindy for such an incredible opportunity and thank you for all of your hard work!

Now onto the hard-hitting questions…

1. For an introduction, can you try to describe yourself in one sentence?

Just a hardworking mother and wife, who loves to spend her time putting ideas to paper (or computer screen!).

2. What got you interested in true crime?

My first short-stint in college was as a Criminal Justice student. My mother was a paralegal and my father a policeman in the Army, so it truly is in my blood. I would have become a CSI, which was known as an ID Tech back then, but my husband and I had twins at the very young age of 19, so I had to delay my college dreams for a few years. By the time I went back, business was a better fit for my lifestyle. But, now I do everything I can to read and write within my first love, criminal justice.

3. How did you choose which murderers to feature in your books?

That’s a great question as I didn’t think at the time to really describe that in the books, but I chose them based on a couple of metrics. The first was that they had to be convicted, or had already pled guilty. I didn’t include anyone who was acquitted. For instance, Casey Anthony was not included in Mommies who Murder, no matter what my personal opinion of her case happens to be. The second metric I used was if there were any accomplices. I tried not to include a Bonnie and Clyde type situation, only because I didn’t want to include Bonnie if Clyde were the true murderer. And thinking on it now, I also tried to balance the well-known cases with the lesser-known, if that makes sense. In Serial Murderers, I made it a point to use a couple we all had heard of, like John Wayne Gacy and Gary Ridgway, but then I also included some I’d never heard of, like Wayne Williams and Robert Hansen. I learned a lot researching all of these books, so it was beneficial for me to include murderers I didn’t remember.

4. Out of all the murders you listed in the books, which were your favourite? Did any leave you speechless?

Many left me speechless! I seriously had nightmares when I was writing Serial Murderers. I think the ones that stick out in my memory though, were the children murderers. There was a case where the child (around 15-years-old, I believe) was being punished. Nothing severe, just a typical “go to your room and think about what you did” situation. Well, he got a gun and snuck up behind his parents, who were just innocently sitting on their couch watching TV, and he whispered, “Close your eyes, I have a surprise for you” and then shot them both in the head! I couldn’t believe it. And the only reason we know he said this was because the poor father lived to tell the tale. What makes a person think through this type of retribution and actually commit the act? It’s fascinating.

5. How long do you spend researching before you begin writing?

I spent a good couple of weeks researching before the writing began and then continued to research throughout the process. I tried to make a list of the people to include before beginning the book, but several times something caught my eye during research and the list changed.

6. What is one fact about yourself that you think might shock your readers?

Both times I’ve been pregnant has been with multiples! My doctor said I could have had a litter, but when it was all said and done, we were blessed with three healthy, wonderful children. I couldn’t ask for anything more. Oh, and thanks to being an odd child myself, I can say the alphabet backwards really fast. Not sure if any of this is shocking, but my husband uses it as my party trick.

7. Is there a genre of book you would like to write in the future?

I’m working on a fiction book right now that I’m extremely excited about. I’ll be sure to request your thoughts when it’s ready to be beta-tested, but all I can say right now is that it’s a YA thriller. Think FBI-meets-a-nonmagical-Harry Potter. LOL, actually it’s about ten teenagers, but I’ll leave it all that…

8. How do you get yourself inspired when going through writer’s block?

That’s such a depressing situation, but it happens to us all. Since I have a full time “non-writer” career, I travel a lot. Through those travels, I have found I do my best thinking while driving on a long trip. So, when things get stagnant, I hit the road and play an audiobook. It gets the brain going and the ideas flowing!

9. If you could collaborate with any professional (writer, actor, director, etc), who would you like to collaborate with?

The expected answer would be Ann Rule, and yes, I’d love to sit down with her, but if I could only pick one person it would be Nora Roberts. I’ve read, and loved, her novels since I was a teenager. I want to work with her and figure out how she can put out so many books in a year and if it really is ghost writers, how did she find so many that can duplicate her format. It’s impressive. No matter the book, or information in the book, I always love it. Not sure if I’ve ever read a Nora Roberts (or J.D. Robb) book I didn’t enjoy.

10. Finally, what question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?

I guess I always expect to be ask why I write. It sounds so simple, but it’s not. I write because I have to. I write because I love it. No, sometimes I hate writing, but the outcome is what I crave. But, here’s a funny story. When I was a waitress, and said twins were about three-years-old, there was a Psychic Convention in the city. Not something I ever believed in, but I waited on a psychic who wanted to read my fortune to me. She used cards and as she flipped one over, I saw a single letter in the corner of the card. By the time she flipped five cards, those letters spelled out the word NOTES. She turned to me and said, “Oh, you’re going to be a writer.” I was shocked. Never even thought about writing. Then over the years, no matter my profession, I was always tagged with writing the documents everyone needed. I thought about that psychic and sat down to write a book. All Tucked Inn can be found on Amazon and is a fiction murder mystery. Isn’t it strange how one person can affect your life? I find it so very interesting. Was I destined to be a writer? Or did I become a writer because I was nudged? Fascinating, to say the least.

Oh, and I’ve always wanted to be asked about my least favorite part of the process. It’s definitely the editing, creating a book cover, and marketing. Every single part except writing. I’m not sure the average reader knows what is in involved in self-publishing. When I see a review on a new writer that gives him or her one star and mentions a couple typos, I cringe. It’s so easy to make an error and that poor writer probably didn’t know they’d have to be line editor, copy editor, cover designer, agent, publicist, etc. Just to get a book out there is an accomplishment, so I ask people to be nice if they are taking the time to review a book. Especially if it’s free or very inexpensive. Yes, it should be up to “James Patterson” standards, but he has teams of people telling him where the typos are J And that is why those ebooks are $13.99!

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website: Website
Blog:  Expert of None Blog
Facebook:  Mindy M. Shelton Facebook
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mindy_shelton
Amazon Author Page:  Amazon: An Elizabeth Burke Thriller by Mindy M. Shelton
Goodreads: Mindy M. Shelton on Goodreads

Thank you so much to Mindy M. Shelton for such an in-depth and fantastic interview! It was a pleasure to be able to interview her and get an insight into her life (on and off the page!).

Interested in Mindy M. Shelton’s books? Here are the Goodreads Links and Photos:

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Form Birth to Death: Mommies Who Murder (Ready Research #1)

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From Cradle to Grave: Children Who Murder (Ready Research #2)

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From First Victim to Last: Serial Murderers (Ready Research #3)

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From Playground to Prison: Siblings Who Murder (Ready Research #4)

30969534From Wedding to Funeral: Spouses Who Murder (Ready Research #5)

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All Tucked Inn: An Elizabeth Burke Thriller