Category Archives: Book Reviews

Review of Boss Lessons by Mickey Hadick

“Boss Lessons” begins with an introduction that discusses why you should even care about eBook Review Gal Book Review of Boss Lessons by Mickey Hadickimproving your leadership skills and the ways it will help you do just that. The author states this book will:

  • Identify your natural leadership style
  • Help you assess the skills you have
  • Teach other leadership styles
  • Inspire you to develop the habits necessary to live a mindful, intentional life

The author includes a number of personal experiences that are sure to strike a chord with many readers. His conversational style drew me in from the start. I especially liked the idea of journaling and how it can be quite useful when trying to learn a new skill, since writing things down allows us put things in better perspective. It’s a simple idea that will take very little time each day and one I have every intention of putting to use soon.

Mr. Hadick doesn’t just present dry facts. Instead, he gently guides readers. For instance, he addresses the importance of practicing mindfulness and ways in which to do it. He explains mindfulness as “being present in the moment” and how it allows us to concentrate on “the task at hand”. This makes perfect sense, since it’s difficult to improve anything about ourselves if our minds are filled with a thousand other things at once. The author talks about how meditation can be beneficial. His section on leadership styles goes into great detail and I found it particularly interesting.

If you happen to be a boss, “Boss Lessons” might just help to improve your leadership skills. This book will also motivate anyone who wishes to move up to a leadership role. If you’re wondering why you’re still waiting for that managerial promotion and how you can improve your chances then this book is for you too. Finally, if you’d like to teach people to achieve their own leadership goals I’d recommend getting a copy of this book.

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

eBook Review Gal received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  

Review of Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

eBook Review Gal Book Review of Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon NorthupWhat can I possibly say about this book that hasn’t already been said? I have not yet seen the movie, preferring to read a book first whenever it’s available. I received an email alert about a freebie promo and decided to grab it. Although at the regular cost of just .49 it’s a steal. Either way, I’m happy I downloaded it.

As most people know, this is the story of Solomon Northup, a free man of color, living in the North during slavery. Solomon is tricked, drugged and sold into slavery.  His pleas of being wrongfully enslaved are met with a beating so severe that he keeps his true identity a secret from that point on. For the next twelve years, he’s sold to several ruthless, vicious and despicable slave owners. He’s beaten and mistreated mercilessly, yet he never gives up hope of finally proving who he really is.

This story is absolutely heartbreaking and difficult to read, yet it’s a story that must be told and should be read by everyone. Few could deny that slavery is among the most shameful acts perpetrated by one culture of people upon another. Reading a first-hand account of the atrocities of slavery details a much more compelling depiction than could ever be found in any history book.

Sadly, Solomon’s story isn’t unique, as there were many free people of color who had been sold into slavery by opportunists looking to make money at that time. Yet, his account of his twelve long and torturous years as a slave is a gripping and dramatic journey, as engaging as any novel.  I highly recommended reading this book.

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

Review of Angels in the Bible Storybook by Allia Zobel Nolan

Many people are fascinated with the divine messengers, we more commonly know aseBook Review Gal Book Review of Angels in the Bible Storybook by Allia Zobel Nolan angels.  Angels are represented throughout the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. They functioned as mediators, delivering a variety of messages from God to humans. Angels in the Bible Storybook discusses the many reasons God sent his angels to Earth and the many forms and even voices they used to do it.

This book is absolutely beautiful. The illustrations are colorful and detailed. The stories are separated by Testament and are compelling, thorough and should appeal to children of varying ages. Angels in the Bible Storybook would make an excellent Vacation Bible School book or Sunday school lesson planner. I could see this book being used for entire course or Vacation Bible theme.

This is a sturdy and well-made book that should last for a long time, even with everyday use. Reading a story every night at bedtime would be a delightful way to end the day. Older children should have no problem reading the stories themselves. This book would also make an excellent gift. I highly recommend Angels in the Bible Storybook!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

eBook Review Gal received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review of The Measure of Darkness by Liam Durcam

eBook Review Gal Book Review of The Measure of Darkness by Liam DurcanMartin Fallon wakes from a coma after an automobile accident only to find that he now
suffers from a debilitating brain condition known as “spatial neglect syndrome”. Martin must accept that he can no longer continue life as the celebrated architect he was before his brain injury. He has no recollection of the accident and what led up to it. He grows increasingly agitated and paranoid as he attempts to piece his former life together.

Martin is twice divorced and has little to do with his grown daughters, Susan and Norah. There is no one to care for Martin, so his brother Brendan decides to do it. Reconnecting with Brendan, the brother Martin has been estranged from for decades, forces them both to revisit some long ago wounds. Brendan is fighting some demons of his own. A long ago tour in Vietnam and the loss of his wife have contributed to some very embarrassing and self-destructive behaviors.

The Measure of Darkness is a darkly depressing, sophisticated book. It’s a fairly short book, but it’s a complex and multi-layered one. I found it somewhat slow-moving at times. The author is careful to reveal bits and pieces of each character’s backstory as the book progresses, and he does it in no easy, breezy manner. You’ll have to work at staying with this book. While chapters written in Brendan’s POV are clear and straightforward, Martin’s meandering mind, particularly when comparing his life to that of famous Russian architect Konstantin Melnikov, was at times difficult for me to follow.

This is a multifaceted story to be sure. One that certainly doesn’t just focus on the estranged brothers and a neurological condition. The author weaves a clever tapestry of controversy and political commentary, mainly geared toward American society. The effects of war and the (deliberate) decay and neglect of inner-city communities are front and center and it’s quite clear where the author most likely stands on these issues.

This book is different from the books I usually choose, but I did enjoy it. If you’re looking for an upbeat and happy book you won’t find it here. If you’re looking for an intelligent book constructed of many layers that will make you think then I’d suggest getting a copy.


5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

eBook Review Gal received a complimentary ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Review of A Women’s Guide to Self-Nurturing by Joanna Romer

eBook Review Gal Book Review of A Woman's Guide to Self-Nurturing by Joanna RomerFor most women, the role of caretaker is an important and ongoing one. We often put our needs below those of everyone else in our lives. While we’re busy tending to everyone else’s needs, it’s easy to forget that we too need nurturing. Yet the process is essential to our well-being. “A Woman’s Guide to Self-Nurturing” discusses why and how to take the time to care for ourselves.

With Biblical references and an engaging, conversational “workshop-style”, Ms. Romer details practical advice for building self-esteem through a variety of self-comforting activities.  From defining what self-nurturing is to the importance of taking time to simply relax, readers will find value in this book’s pages. Each section ends with a “guidelines” list to further assist readers in their pursuit of living a happier, more fulfilling life.

“A Woman’s Guide to Self-Nurturing” is a concise and compact paperback book, which can easily be carried in a purse or backpack, accessible whenever you’re in need of a little encouragement. Each chapter is self-contained so it’s simple to choose just the right subject at just the right time. Highly recommended!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

eBook Review Gal received a complimentary copy of this book from the author via LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.

Review of The Bee-Friendly Garden by Kate Frey and Gretchen LeBuhn

eBook Review Gal Book Review of The Bee-Friendly Garden by Kate Frey and Gretchen LebuhnWhat do you get when you pair a garden designer and a bee expert together to collaborate on a book? You get a spectacular book that contains a wealth of enlightening information!

As stated on the back of the book, “Most people don’t understand the need to plant for pollinators to achieve productive vegetable gardens, or that pollination and beauty go together.” This is so true. Many people don’t give a thought to where the food we eat comes from before it arrives in our local grocery stores. However, much of what we eat requires insect pollination in order to grow. Therefore, bees and other pollinators are absolutely critical to our survival.

Over recent decades, bees have been steadily dying out. The overuse of insecticides, rapid climate change and a severe decrease in appropriate habitat have all contributed to the steady decline in pollinators, and bees in particular. Looking at these causes can help us rectify the problems and books like “The Bee-Friendly Garden” are invaluable resources for doing just that.

This book shows readers ways to counteract the threat to bee survival. The first way is to become aware that the issue even exists. One of the very first pages, “How Bee Gardens Help Bees” (page 10) discusses the how’s and why’s for the steady decline of bees. Chapter One, “Our Friends, the Bees”, contains an enormous amount of information regarding how beneficial these busy little workers are to our own survival. From there, the book lays out a comprehensive plan for designing a flower-filled garden that will attract bees on a regular basis.

The photos contained in this book are gorgeous. Bee-friendly flowers are captured in all their glorious color. The close-ups of bees shown during the process of pollination are fascinating, stunning and educational. This book should appeal to a wide variety of readers. Gardeners, educators, children and anyone who eats will find value in “The Bee-Friendly Garden”. I highly recommend it!


5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

eBook Review Gal received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Review of Cool Kids Wear Glasses by Teddy O’Malley

Mandy has crowned herself the coolest kid at school and queen of the third grade. In eBook Review Gal Book Review of Cool Kids Wear Glasses by Teddy O'Malleyreality, Mandy is a tyrant who rejects anyone who is different. When she finds out she needs glasses to see better, she wonders how she’ll keep her cool kid title.

Cool Kids Wear Glasses is a wonderful book for youngsters who may be just getting into chapter books. The chapters are short, yet packed with just the right amount of engaging elements to keep kids reading.

This book is certainly based on a timely subject. How many children know at least one school bully? I appreciated the way the author had Mandy gradually decide whether or not what she’s doing is bullying, since she wasn’t looking at it from the perspective of the uncool kids until she herself was in the same position. I think most children can relate to this. It definitely made Mandy a more likable character.

This would make a great book to use as a way to introduce bullying to grade-schoolers. It’s an excellent jumping off point to begin an open dialogue with kids. I highly recommend it!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton