Book Review – “Apollo: Through the Eyes of the Astronauts”

Book Review – “Apollo: Through the Eyes of the Astronauts”

Although I don’t really own a coffee table, this is one of those “coffee table books” that I just couldn’t pass by. While there are a great many books on the Apollo space program, the authors took a unique approach with this one and created something truly special. It tells the story of the many people who contributed to Apollo’s achievements through a collection of stunning photographs. Each image is paired with a short commentary by the astronaut who selected it, explaining the significance of that particular moment captured in time. Through this approach, the book manages to give a very personal account of an historic achievement, and really brings home the point why it was such a defining moment in human history for all who witnessed it.

Being an historical account – and a piece of art all in itself – this book is likely to remain on proud display in your living room for many years. I’ve had it on my bookshelf for just about a month now, and its format is so accessible that visitors of all ages (from toddlers to grandparents) can’t help but reach for it and start flipping the large pages. Did I mention it is gorgeous? Because it really is stunning.

One particularly striking aspect that is directly hinted on by the title, is the book’s ability to put you behind the eyes of the astronauts and make you feel like it is you peering out through the gold-tinted visor of that spacesuit. While I suspect nothing can truly replicate the experience of walking another world in person, viewing the panoramic images paired with their first-hand commentary will get you as close as humanly possible. Forget virtual reality – this book contains the soul of the people who were there! It features moments of steely determination as they confronted the terrifying scope of what they had set out to do, all the way to the exuberance and overwhelming pride of accomplishment upon safely returning to humanity’s home after having sailed the vastness of space. It is this special emotional connection which makes this book special and so hard to put away for anybody who opens it.

If I had the resources to do so, I would put this book into the hands of every student who ever felt bored with the pursuit of knowledge, dragging herself through another class of pre-calculus; it would single-handedly be responsible for making science the most popular field of study of this generation – it really is that good.…

Review of Dark Secrets: A Paranormal Noir Anthology

Review of Dark Secrets: A Paranormal Noir Anthology

As a whole, Dark Secrets: A Paranormal Noir Anthology was truly a joy to read! Full of grit, grime and unexpected heroes, it kept me turning the pages. With the price set at $0.99 it is a STEAL. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for some new paranormal authors or wanting some inside information from the stories you already love…this is one you must pick up!

Marion, Missing by Rachel Caine

I was surprised by the setting. It is not very often we take a step back in time to when segregation was law . The surprise ended up being a pleasant one with even more surprises. Not a traditional ghost story, but one that left me with a sense of content. I loved the sense of good vs true evil and man, was her bad guy nasty! It was brutal, sweet and unexpected! I liked it!!

Femme Fatale by Cynthia Eden

A vampire love story with much to offer, Femme Fatale was a fun read. I was quickly swept up with the characters and was surprised with the amount of backstory we learned about Mick and Savannah in such a short time. Fast paced and full of action, I truly enjoyed this story!

Dance with the Devil by Megan Hart

Hmmm. I honestly liked the concept of this story, but didn’t care of the characters. And not just because Kathleen was a hard character to like. The inability of these characters to stand up to the Devil and to continue to do his bidding and self-destruct themselves in the process left me a tad uncomfortable.

The Consort by Suzanne Johnson

Suzanne Johnson writes characters that always seem to just “fit” with me. Always a little quirky and well defined, these are the types of characters that stay with you long after you flip the last page. The Consort was a great story and a deeper look in fae politics for those that follow her New Orleans Sentinels series. Well done and I want more!

Heart’s Blood by Jeffe Kennedy, a Twelve Kingdoms novella

I have read some previous books by Jeffe Kennedy and they have left me with the same kind of feeling as Heart’s Blood. A little bit confused and equally uncomfortable. Pieces of this tale had me cringing inside and it certainly contains some trigger areas. (rape / animal death) The author did sell me in the end. The ending was quite beautiful and did leave me with a good feeling.

The Djinn in the Mirror by Mina Khan, a Djinn World Novella

Khan created a wonderfully detailed and deep story in this short. A great story with wonderful characters. The Djinn in the Mirror held me captive and still left me wanting more. An interesting story about our individual strengths and how we choose what to do with them. Everyone has the potential to be a positive or negative force in their life. This story also had a great dark side to it with Edgar. Learning a bit of his backstory truly made you wish for his destruction!

As an overall rating for the Anthology I am rating it a solid 4/5 Bullets!

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I received this book directly from the author(s) for the purpose of providing an honest review. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.
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Book Review ~ Everybody Wants to Rune the World by Mandy M. Roth

Book Review ~ Everybody Wants to Rune the World by Mandy M. Roth

LOVED! I have been waiting for Sigmund’s book and was not disappointed! I was ummmm… hooked. He has known Virginia is his mate since he first met her. The problem? Oh, he doesn’t think he is good enough for her and he has issues controlling his shifter side. He is a monster… blah… blah… blah. Why are all Alpha males like that? LOL! He still fears his kraken side but events happen that force him to step up to the plate and do what is meant to happen. Oh, don’t forget the curse that is still in play. Yup, the gold coins are back, but can Sigmund and Virginia complete their mating before something kills Virginia? Well, yeah cause there IS an HEA but the journey there is filled with heat and humor.…

Book Review ~ Alphas of Seduction

Book Review ~ Alphas of Seduction

Overall, I give this set 4 stars. Some stories were AWESOME, some were ok. It is a great anthology however, for a great cause and for that alone I would purchase

Thread Bare ~ Victoria Blue: My first thought when reading this story was meh not really feeling it. This story did not hold my attention at all. It did have a good start and I would have loved more.
Always and Forever ~ M. Clarke: Hmmm a female Alpha. Crystal must have Max and goes full force after him. Hooked from the beginning of this steamy story.
Little Tease ~ Avery Flynn: Short but oh so hot. Love the best friend’s little sis turn lover. So far, my favorite.
Lost Seduction~ Anissa Garcia: Holy hell hot. Woman expects escort but that is sooooo not what she gets. I think my kindle caught on fire.
Seducing Sophia ~ Jenna Jacob: Oh I love when a rocker falls and Burk fell HARD. A manwhore only because he is trying to get the one he really wants out of his system. Short, secy & very heated. I want MORE.
Just a Little Mischief ~ Isabella LaPearl: Yowzers! Tease! I want more! Short and hot as h***. Georgia is looking to loose her virginity and hot, mysterious Brian in a bar is the one to do it. One night of amazing sex, then she disappears. WHAT???? More… please give me more.
Picked Up ~ Mickey Miller: Short and ummmm sweet? NOT. Hot but with a twist that was kind of expected. One night stand… maybe?? Maybe not.
The Secret Note ~ Lauren Rowe: Ok, this is now my favorite. I loved Ben and his Aussie hotness. Shy and what? How is he still a virgin? Kayler, who is a wildfire decides to go after Ben. Fast forward 7 years and they pick up right where they left off, only now Ben is more experienced and is determined to have Kayler in his life forever.
Hard as Stone ~ K.M. Scott: An interesting short. I see this one developing into more. It was just to short and left me hanging. Playboy Ethan meets nice girl Summer, results in an explosion.
Red & White ~ Sierra Simone: Yowzers hot! MFF and oh what a very very naughty combo it ended up being.

This book was provided from the author for the purpose of providing a review. Regardless of how any book is obtained, all views given are my personal and honest opinions. Please assume all links in this post are affiliates and Booked & Loaded has the potential to receive monetary gain from any purchases used via the links. These purchases help support the blog and help pay for the cost of running this site. Thank you for your support.…

Book Review: Reef Fish Identification: Florida Caribbean Bahamas by Paul Humann

Book Review: Reef Fish Identification: Florida Caribbean Bahamas by Paul Humann

Oh look at all the pretty little fishies! They are colorful like the rainbow!!! I want to see all the pretty fishies!!! Or at least some of them…

In approximately 16 days I will be in the Bahamas, however I booked my trip about 3 months ago and ever since I have been gathering as much knowledge about my stay as I possibly can. From local hot spots, to daily calendar events that will be occurring, besides that though, I have also been trying to learn about what to expect when it comes to the sea.

Mainly the Caribbean waters is why I’m going. I plan on diving and snorkeling during my stay, and before hopping into these unknown waters I wanted to know about what I’d be up against, from coral that may be poisonous, from fish I should avoid if I come in contact with them. Most of all though I wanted to know what types of fish I could expect to see while diving/snorkeling.

I ordered a copy of Reef Fish Identification: Florida Caribbean Bahamas,by Paul Humann from my local library and truly it’s like the holy grail to everything that has to do with fish that I may come across while diving in the Bahamas.

The book itself consists of 512 sleek high gloss pages, with 187 beautifully colored photographs of different types of fish.

What I love, love, loved about Reef Fish Identification: Florida Caribbean Bahamas was the fact that more than 80% of the photos included also labeled where they fish had it’s photo taken. I came across around 40 different species of fish that were photographed off of the shores of the island we are staying on. This was pretty exciting itself.

Besides identifying different fish that I may or may not come across the book also gave me an idea about where the fish may be found, how deep it may be spotted, and its natural habits.

Not all of the fish you see in the book will be spotted at one particular location. Reef Fish Identification: Florida Caribbean Bahamas by Paul Humann covers quite a few locations, such as Nassau Bahamas, Grand Bahama Island, Florida, and other islands found in the Caribbean. I personally though was very impressed at the through detail, the tips were most helpful, and the photographs really added to the enjoyment of reading through this book.

I have learned that some smaller fish you wouldn’t expect to find in deep waters, can only be found in deep waters, while some larger reef fish that you would expect to find in only deeper areas can actually be found in very low areas. This concept was a little strange and new to me, but hey… it was a learning process, and the book definitely gave me some pointers.


If you are planning a trip to the Bahama’s or anywhere in the Caribbean or Florida, definitely pick up a copy of Reef Fish Identification: Florida Caribbean Bahamas by Paul Humann. It’s a great colorful book, and gives excellent tips on how to spot certain reef fish on your own.

I also recommend this one to those with children. The wonderful photos and information would be a great way to teach kids about what types of fish are in the sea. The colorful photos and section with sharks is sure to hold their attention!

5 out of 5 stars!

Besides the wonderful photos, and the tips on how to find certain fish, the book also had sections for more dangerous fish such as sharks, and honestly this was the scariest section in the book for me. I have a deep fear of sharks, and learning that some sharks such as the dangerous Bull Shark sometimes will roam the shallow waters on the island I will be staying on, is sort of frightening. No wait… it’s very frightening!!!


The Host by Stephenie Meyer Book Review: Prepare to Be Addicted

The Host by Stephenie Meyer Book Review: Prepare to Be Addicted

Stephenie Meyer is best known for her popular teen vampire series Twilight and by now we have all heard her name, the majority of us have rushed out to buy her any of her 5 books. The Host is her first novel aimed for adults and it does not disappoint as she crosses over into another realm.

A sci-fi thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat, just waiting to find out what happens next. Part thriller and part romance you will ultimately find yourself intrigued as you turn the pages of this mind capturing book. This is just one of those books you can not seem to get your hands to let go of and spend hours reading until you hit the last page.

The Host’s storyline is about the aliens, who years ago, have slowly taken over Earth in an effort to make it paradise. Cleaning it up and making it “perfect” but some of the humans want Earth as is and left alone. The aliens, considered Souls, make their home in a human host. taking over their mind and body.

Follow Melanie Stryder, who just will not submit her mind over to an alien called Wanderer. Melanie is desperately trying to fight off Wanderer from taking control, in the effort to find her brother and the man she so deeply loves. The story is narrated by both of them and highlights their fight for Melanie’s mind.

Now Wanderer controls Melanie’s body but within no time Wanderer starts to feel those very same feelings that is driving Melanie to fight so hard. Soon enough they set off to find the people that mean the world to Melanie, being careful not to receive any unwanted attention from the other Souls. In this case the Souls would find the other humans, too.

When Melanie and Wanda, Wanderer’s new name, finely find who they have been looking for there is an effort on the humans behalf to get along with the Soul they have learned to hate. Wanda is torn between her new feelings and her duty as a Soul, her struggle is an ongoing and difficult one. You will also have fun reading about the little love triangle but I will leave that one up to you to discover.

The one thing I am waiting for is the second one, I am hoping for another gripping, non-stop page turner like The Host, which leave an opening for another book, so I can only hope that is what Stephenie Meyer is going for.


Awesome Books About Butterflies for Pre-Kindergarteners

Awesome Books About Butterflies for Pre-Kindergarteners

Need a butterfly book for your Pre-Kindergarten story time session? Well then, you may want to check out my list. It contains a brief summary of various tomes that are ideal for reinforcing lessons about butterflies. Here it is:

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar”

When I worked in a preschool setting, Eric Carle’s book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” was a “must read” for several reasons. First, the kids adored it. Second, it explains the basics of a caterpillar’s life cycle in rudimentary terms. You may want to consider pairing it with Lois Ehlert’s book “Waiting for Wings.” It covers the same topic, only with the use of rhyme. Like Carle’s book, the illustrations are bold and well done too.

“Where the Butterflies Grow”

Joanne Ryder’s book “Where the Butterflies Grow” is another one to consider. Based on my experience, it is useful for expanding upon discussions about how butterflies are formed. I also love the book for its detailed illustrations and text. You could feasibly pair it with the “How a Butterfly Grows” wooden puzzle available for purchase through School Specialty Publishing or with life cycle handouts.

“A Butterfly is Patient”

If you want to teach your children about the world’s wide array of butterflies, Dianna Hutts Aston’s book “A Butterfly is Patient” is an excellent way to start. It also touches on issues of butterfly behavior such as how they use their wings. I appreciated the illustrations too. I like to utilize her book in conjunction with Brian Cassie’s “The Butterfly Alphabet Book.” It has a similar focus.

“How to Hide a Butterfly and Other Insects”

Although it is not totally butterfly focused, Ruth Hellers’ book “How to Hide a Butterfly and Other Insects” would make an excellent choice as well. What I liked about the book is that it talks about how butterflies and other creatures use camouflage to their advantage. Thus, it would pair well with a science related discussion or activity based on the same topic.

“Adios Oscar!: A Butterfly Fable”

If you want an adorable way to introduce the subject of butterfly migration, I’d recommend grabbing a copy of “Adios Oscar!: A Butterfly Fable.” Its storyline focuses on a soon-to-be butterfly and his plans to migrate to Mexico with his comrades. It would pair perfectly with several other books about the same topic. Some of my favorites are Monica Brown’s “Butterflies on Carmen Street” and Crystal Ball O’Connor’s “Jake and the Migration of the Monarch.”

“Caterpillar Dreams”

Last on my list is Jeanne Willis’ book “Caterpillar Dreams.” In my opinion, it is a great book to utilize when explaining the differences between butterflies and moths. You could also technically use it as a jumping off point for discussions about cultural diversity and individuality.

Source: Personal Experience


Book Review ~ Reviving Olivia by Becca Jameson

Book Review ~ Reviving Olivia by Becca Jameson

HOLY S***! That sums this book up in two words. I just thought the other six in this series got their claw into me, nope. Reviving Olivia was like a drug. I had to finish, I could not put it down, I could not sleep until it was over. Everything comes together and I was speechless. Olivia is the key, the question is what does she unlock. She was a nurse who was frozen but wasn’t sick. Why? What does she have to do with everything? No spoilers I promise. Damon is responsible for keeping her safe. He was responsible for bringing everyone else back to life, but can he keep her alive. Almost from the time Olivia woke from her coma Damon was drawn to her. Next is Spencer, he is the hacker of the group and use to work for the enemy. Shy in a way, and he craves both Damon and Olivia. He is there because there are questions about Olivia’s past. Particularly who is she really. The heat between these three is off the charts! Is that because of adrenaline or is there something between them. The goal is to stay alive then maybe just maybe they can explore more.

This series is best read in order as each has info that leads into the next. If you want to start this series, Reviving Emily is the first and is currently free on Amazon.

This book was provided from the Author for the purpose of providing a review. Regardless of how any book is obtained, all views given are my personal and honest opinions. Please assume all links in this post are affiliates and Booked & Loaded has the potential to receive monetary gain from any purchases used via the links. These purchases help support the blog and help pay for the cost of running this site…

The Way of All Fish by Martha Grimes: Book Review

The Way of All Fish by Martha Grimes: Book Review

There’s a lot going on between the covers of The Way of All Fish, Martha Grimes follow up to Foul Matter, her excellent satire on the publishing business and the New York writer’s scene. The hit men with high ethics, Candy and Karl, make a return appearance from Foul Matter along with some of the ego driven writers and publishers we first met in that book.

At the heart of the story is the antagonism between narcissistic publisher L. Bass Hess and writer Cindy Sella. Hess sued his former client for a commission from a book she wrote when he wasn’t representing her. What’s a girl to do but call up Candy and Karl to get things straightened out. As is always the case with these two particular hit men, they have to get to know the target before deciding if he or she deserves to be killed and therein lies all kinds of possibilities for plot lines and scenery changes. I’d venture to say, the story would make a pretty good movie in the right director’s hands. You’ve got your clown fish subplot, you’ve got your spooky Florida Everglades, you’ve got all kinds of writers with all kinds of problems and there’s even an aspiring young writer who works at a junkyard somewhere in or around New York. Just imagine the possibilities when transferred to the silver screen.

Through it all theirs is the subdued snark from Grimes that must be slightly embellished versions of things she’s gone through as she made her way through the bizarre cast of characters that make up the publishing gauntlet.

The Way of All Fishes is a good, entertaining read but, I found myself wanting to reread Foul Matter once again when I came across a phrase in the new book that reminded me of the old one. It just so happens that Foul Matter happens to be one of my favorite books and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve reread it. It’s a slightly calmer version of the new book that has a slightly more believable plot that moves between the more comfortable backdrops of New York and Pittsburgh and gives a more nuanced view into the world of the writer and their publishers. Having said all that, both books are well worth reading but, you might want to read Foul Matter first.

If you enjoy British mystery novels you should check out Grimes’s Richard Jury novels.


Book Review: “Cracks in the Pavement” by Elizabeth McDougall

Book Review: “Cracks in the Pavement” by Elizabeth McDougall

Historical novels often lend themselves to dreary descriptions of things from the past interrupted by brief character action; Elizabeth McDougall’s novel, The Cracks in the Pavement, is something else entirely. Although it encompasses a time period covering both World War II and the Mau Mau Rebellion in Kenya, this beautifully written novel is a study in characters so lifelike, readers will come to feel attached to the Kingston family of the novel as to their own friends, leaving the book wondering what happened to them.

Although the novel centers on Mardy, the headstrong youngest daughter of a colonial family as she grows up in pre-independence Kenya, each member of the Kingston family draws the reader in with his or her own story. Set amidst the turbulence of World War II, the family’s adventures cannot help but be affected by the political milieu in which they occur. And yet it is the family dramas that draw us into this fascinating novel. Never once are we conscious of the “historical importance” of the story; instead, it provides a backdrop for the family conflicts, settler crises, and way of life integral to the story. Where other novelists insert dogs and cats, McDougall instead has bush babies, lions, and dikdiks.

Mardy’s relationship with her mother forms a central theme of the novel. Like many young girls, not just those growing up in Kenya, she finds herself in constant conflict with Edwina, her mother. Edwina has her own demons to confront, and in the end, a dramatic turn of events will impact the lives of both mother and daughter. Along the way, we see Mardy as she grows up, from impertinent toddler peaking through the neighboring hedge to convent school (where the nuns have their own challenges with Mardy) on to life as a young woman falling in love. Every step in Mardy’s journey is an unfolding of her character and an expansion of family life for the reader.

This is not only a story of colonial settlers, however. McDougall gives full development to the Kikuyus with whom the family interacts. Nursemaid and companion Brigid is as vividly drawn as other Kingston family members. Indeed one of the author’s greatest writing gifts is the full development and personality given to even minor characters in her novel, whether they be schoolyard friends or gardeners. McDougall also handles with Mau Mau rebellion with a deft hand, helping readers understand how it arose and its impact on Kenyan society generally.

The Cracks in the Pavement is a wonderful book about family conflict and the enduring love that exists within a family. It is about weathering hard times together, and growing as individuals. It’s about mothers and daughters, personality clashes and longstanding friendship. In short, Elizabeth McDougall has crafted a wonderful story of a young girl growing up and into herself. That it all happens to be set in colonial Kenya is just icing on the cake. It’s easy to believe, with McDougall’s writing skills, that this story could have been set in any time period in any country and still be as beloved by readers. For readers of The Cracks in the Pavement, there’s nothing dreary in this historical novel’s setting. Instead, life seems to jump off every page.

The Cracks in the Pavement
Elizabeth McDougall

ISBN: 978-1419634796

This content was based upon a free review copy the Contributor received.