2015 Summer Reading Book Reviews; Non Fiction

Riverside Park by: David Cecchi (Rating 5/5)

“From its earliest days as a picnic grove to its subsequent evolution into a major amusement park, Riverside Park was synonymous with summer for generations of New Englanders. Situated on the banks of the Connecticut River at Agawam, Massachusetts, Riverside was enjoyed by area residents for more than a century. Thousands swam in Lake Takadip, danced to the most popular musical groups of the day in Cook’s Dancing Pavilion, spent Saturday nights at the Riverside Park Speedway, roller skated at the Rollaway, and thrilled to the Cyclone roller coaster and countless other attractions. Riverside’s status as the epicenter of summer recreation in the Northeast continues to this day with the park’s current identity as Six Flags New England.”

The Four Doors by: Richard Paul Evans (Rating 5/5)

“The Four Doors is Evans’s message to those who seek inspiration in their lives. It began as a talk he gave on the spur of the moment, and over the course of ten years, it has evolved into a message he has shared with successful business people, students, and even addicts and prisoners. It includes stories his readers have told him, stories about great achievers who overcame hardships, and stories about his own struggle growing up in a large family with financial difficulties and a suicidal mother, and about his diagnosis of Tourette’s Syndrome later in life. These inspiring stories are woven through his identification and careful explanation of the four doors to a more fulfilling life.”

A Fine Romance by: Candice Bergen

“A Fine Romance begins with Bergen’s charming first husband, French director Louis Malle, whose huge appetite for life broadened her horizons and whose occasional darkness never diminished their love for each other. But her real romance begins when she discovers overpowering love for her daughter after years of ambivalence about motherhood. As Chloe grows up, Bergen finds her comic genius in the biggest TV role of the 80s, Murphy Brown, and makes unwanted headlines when Dan Quayle pulls her into the 1992 presidential campaign. Fifteen years into their marriage, Malle is diagnosed with cancer, and Candice is unflinching in describing her and Chloe’s despair over his death. But after years of widowhood, she feels the sweet shock of finding a different kind of soulmate. Candice takes us through the first years of her new marriage and shares the bittersweetness of watching Chloe leave home and flourish—and the comedy of a losing battle against those damn wrinkles and extra pounds.”

The Animal Sanctuary by: Shun Bishop (Rating 5/5)

23 Minutes in Hell by: Bill Wiese (Rating 5/5)

“Wiese’s visit to the devil’s lair lasted just twenty-three minutes, but he returned with vivid details etched in his memory. Since this life-changing ordeal, he has spent the last seven years studying the Scriptures to find answers and has listed more than 150 Bible verses referencing hell.”

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels Among Us by: Jack Canfield

“In this book of 101 inspirational stories, contributors share their personal angel experiences of faith, miracles, and answered prayers, which will amaze and inspire you. Celestial, otherworldly, heavenly. Whatever the term, sometimes there is no earthly explanation for what we experience, and a higher power is clearly at work. You will be awed and inspired by these true personal stories from people, religious and non-religious, about hope, healing, and help from angels”

Enrique’s Journey by: Sonia Nazario (Rating 3/5)

It is the true story of Enrique, a teenager from Honduras, who sets out on a journey, braving hardship and peril, to find his mother, who had no choice but to leave him when he was a child and go to the United States in search of work. Enrique’s story will bring to light the daily struggles of migrants, legal and otherwise, and the complicated choices they face simply trying to survive and provide for the basic needs of their families.

The Tao Of Martha by: Jen Lancaster (Rating 4/5)

“After all, she’s no Martha Stewart. And that’s why Jen is going to Martha up and live her life according to the advice of America’s overachieving older sister—the woman who turns lemons into lavender-infused lemonade. By immersing herself in Martha’s media empire, Jen embarks on a yearlong quest to take herself, her house, her husband (and maybe even her pets) to the next level—from closet organization to party planning. Maybe Jen can avoid food poisoning if she follows Martha’s dictates on proper storage. Maybe she can rid her workout clothes of meatball stains by using Martha’s laundry tips. Maybe she can create a more meaningful anniversary celebration than getting drunk in the pool with her husband. Again. And maybe she’ll discover that the key to happiness does, in fact, lie in Martha’s perfectly arranged cupboards and charcuterie platters.”