Review: Betty and Veronica: The Leading Ladies of Riverdale

Title: Betty and Veronica: The Leading Ladies of Riverdale
Author: Tim Hanley
Genre: Comics, Nonfiction
Publisher: Rowman and Littlefield
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 15, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

An action-packed comedy about a fake family that includes a spy, an assassin and a telepath!

Master spy Twilight is the best at what he does when it comes to going undercover on dangerous missions in the name of a better world. But when he receives the ultimate impossible assignment—get married and have a kid—he may finally be in over his head! Not one to depend on others, Twilight has his work cut out for him procuring both a wife and a child for his mission to infiltrate an elite private school. What he doesn’t know is that the wife he’s chosen is an assassin and the child he’s adopted is a telepath!

Review:

Betty and Veronica were created as feuding girlfriends of Archie, in Archie Comics. They have gone through many changes during the decades they have been around. This book tells the evolution of Betty and Veronica, from when they were created in the 1940s to their television adaptation in 2020.

I’ve read Archie Comics for as long as I can remember. I always loved reading about Betty and Veronica. I hadn’t really thought about how sexist the characters were, but after reading about their history, I realize how problematic they were.

One of the major problems with Betty and Veronica was that their stories were written by men. They were sexualized by old men, though they were meant to appeal to young female readers. They were even originally drawn with the same face and body, but different hairstyles, unlike the boys who each had distant facial features. Now, with the tv show Riverdale, there are female writers and creators on the show, so they are finally written by women.

There were so many interesting stories in this book. There was a period during the 1970s when Archie and the gang were written by a religious writer, who made the characters preach the Bible to readers. There were also many tv and movie adaptations that didn’t end up happening. Despite a sometimes controversial history, Archie and his friends have survived for almost 80 years.

This book is a must-read for fans of Betty and Veronica!

Thank you Rowman and Littlefield for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine by Tim Hanley

The Many Lives of Catwoman: The Felonious History of a Feline Fatale by Tim Hanley

Have you read Betty and Veronica: The Leading Ladies of Riverdale? What did you think of it?

Review: Elizabeth I: The Making of a Queen

Title: Elizabeth I: The Making of a Queen
Author: Laura Brennan
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 30, 2020
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Elizabeth I is arguably one of the greatest monarchs and women of English history. Against an uncertain political and religious backdrop of post-reformation Europe she ruled at the conception of social modernization, living in the shadow of the infamy of her parents reputations and striving to prove herself an equal to the monarchs who had gone before her.

This book seeks to explore some of the key events of her life both before and after she ascended to the English throne in late 1558. By looking at the history of these selected events, as well as investigating the influence of various people in her life, this book sets out to explain Elizabeth’s decisions, both as a queen and as a woman.

Amongst the events examined are the death of her mother, the role and fates of her subsequent stepmothers, the fate of Lady Jane Grey and the subsequent behavior and reign of her half sister Mary Tudor, along with the death of Amy Dudley, the return of Mary Queen of Scots to Scotland, the Papal Bull and the Spanish Amanda.

Review:

This book talks about important events that shaped Queen Elizabeth I’s life. These include the marriages of her father, Henry VIII, her feud with Mary Queen of Scots, and her battle with King Philip I of Spain.

I was disappointed that this book showed things that happened around Elizabeth, rather than her actual life. The book is supposed to be about events that shaped her life, but there was not much reference to Elizabeth’s actual life. The explanations of how these events affected Elizabeth’s life were quite short compared to the long descriptions of what happened. Almost the entire first half of the book was about Henry VIII and his wives. He was Elizabeth’s father so he greatly shaped her life, but she didn’t live with him at that time, so she wasn’t actually present for most of the book.

There was also a lot of the author’s opinion in the book, rather than just stating the facts. There were many parts where she talked down to the reader. For example, she said that people used paintings to see what other people looked like because they didn’t have cameras. If you’re reading this book about Tudor England, it’s presumed that you know they didn’t have cameras hundreds of years ago. She didn’t need to talk down to the reader to explain things like that.

This was a disappointing book that talked about events that happened during the life of Elizabeth I, but not her actual life.

Thank you Pen and Sword for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Virgin’s Lover by Philippa Gregory

Mary Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart by John Guy

Have you read Elizabeth I: The Making of a Queen? What did you think of it?

Review: See Me: Becoming Your Authentic Self

Title: See Me: Becoming Your Authentic Self
Author: Hailey Rodgers
Genre: Nonfiction, Self-Help
Publisher: New Degree Press
Source: Author
Format: Ebook
Release Date: December 2, 2019
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A study by Collage Group found that the number one trait that young adults value in living an ideal life is happiness. So why is it that so many young adults identify themselves as unsatisfied or unhappy with their lives? There is a misconception that in order to be happy you must first be successful. In fact, the opposite is true: you must be happy first in order to be successful. This raises the question: How do I become happy? The answer: Discover your authentic self. 

See Me is about the importance of living authentically as a young adult. While young adults tend to talk about authenticity, it can actually be the hardest time in your life to feel confident in yourself. This book is a tool to help you stay true to who you are amidst the pressure to conform to societal norms. It aims to inspire young adults through guiding principles and the incredible stories of others who comprehend the value non-conformity and consistently work to live an authentic life. 

Review:

In See Me, Hailey Rodgers gives tips on how to live a happy life and be successful. The book is divided into thirty different principles. Each principle includes an example from someone’s actual life experience, either Hailey’s or someone else. Each chapter also ends with a recap of what important points to take away from the principle and how to apply it to your life.

This book is targeted towards young adult readers. Many of the examples are about people graduating high school or in university or college. This book is about figuring out your place in life, so it makes sense that it is aimed toward readers who are starting their adult lives.

There were some sensitive subjects addressed in this book, such as abuse. I don’t think these examples always pertained to the subject. There were also some generalizations that I don’t think everyone could relate to. For example, one chapter talks about doing what you want that will make you happy, rather than following what your guardians and elders tell you. She says they will be happy for you even if you don’t do what they want you to do. I think this is an idealistic way to view things. Many people don’t have the luxury of choosing to do what they love by going against the wishes of their guardians.

This is a really good book about learning to find your happiness for young adults.

Thank you Hailey Rodgers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

You Are Awesome: How to Navigate Change, Wrestle with Failure, and Live an Intentional Life by Neil Pasricha

Have you read See Me: Becoming Your Authentic Self? What did you think of it?

Review: Work it, Girl: Become a Leader Like Michelle Obama

Title: Work it, Girl: Become a Leader Like Michelle Obama
Author: Caroline Moss, Sinem Erkas (illustrator)
Genre: Children’s, Nonfiction, Biography
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 3, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In this imaginatively illustrated book from the Work It, Girl series, discover how Michelle became an inspirational leader, FLOTUS, lawyer, author, and role model in this true story of her life. Then, learn 10 key lessons from her work you can apply to your own life.

Michelle Obama grew up on the South Side of Chicago in a little bungalow with a close-knit family. She loved going to school, and she knew that, one day, she would use her voice to empower other young girls, just like her. Young Michelle was a brilliant student and wonderful daughter. With hard work and talent, she propelled herself into the universities of Princeton and Harvard. She qualified as a lawyer and life was going smoothly…Then she met a guy named Barack.

Work It, Girl is an empowering series of biographies featuring modern women in the world of work, from designers and musicians to CEOs and scientists. Each of these vibrantly illustrated books tells the story of a remarkable woman in 10 chapters that highlight transformative moments in her life, following the ups and downs that she faced on her road to success. At the end, 10 key lessons show what you can learn from these moments, and self-reflection questions help you apply these lessons to your own life. Brightly colored photo illustrations of 3-D cut paper artwork featuring inspiring quotes from these amazing women bring their stories to vivid life. Learn how to work it as you lay the foundations for your own successful career. 

Review:

This children’s book is about Michelle Obama’s life. The first half of the book covers her childhood and young adult life. She was very focused on school and continued to follow her dream of going to Princeton, even when her school councilors said she wouldn’t get in. In the second half of the book, Michelle meets Barack Obama and they raise their family.

I didn’t know anything about Michelle Obama’s childhood, so it was interesting to learn about her. She is even more inspiring after hearing that she was discouraged from following her dreams, but succeeded anyway. This book has made me want to read her memoir, Becoming.

The books in this series are beautifully illustrated. The graphics look like cut out pieces of paper, layered to make pictures. That technique makes the pages look textured. The illustrations are brightly covered, which is uplifting.

I really enjoyed this book!

Thank you Frances Lincoln Children’s Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Work it, Girl: Blast Off Into Space Like Mae Jemison

Work it, Girl: Run the Show Like CEO Oprah Winfrey

Other Books in the Series:

Have you read Become a Leader Like Michelle Obama? What did you think of it?

Review: Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown

Title: Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown
Author: Anne Glenconner
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
Publisher: Hachette Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 24, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

An extraordinary memoir of drama, tragedy, and royal secrets by Anne Glenconner–a close member of the royal circle and lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret. As seen on Netflix’s The Crown. Anne Glenconner has been at the center of the royal circle from childhood, when she met and befriended the future Queen Elizabeth II and her sister, the Princess Margaret. Though the firstborn child of the 5th Earl of Leicester, who controlled one of the largest estates in England, as a daughter she was deemed “the greatest disappointment” and unable to inherit. Since then she has needed all her resilience to survive the vipers of court life with her sense of humor intact. 

A unique witness to landmark moments in royal history, Maid of Honor at Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, and a lady in waiting to Princess Margaret until her death in 2002, Anne’s life has encompassed extraordinary drama and tragedy. In Lady in Waiting, she will share many intimate royal stories from her time as Princess Margaret’s closest confidante as well as her own battle for survival: her broken-off first engagement on the basis of her “mad blood”; her 54-year marriage to the volatile, unfaithful Colin Tennant, Lord Glenconner, who left his fortune to a former servant; the death in adulthood of two of her sons; a third son she nursed back from a six-month coma following a horrific motorcycle accident. Through it all, Anne has carried on, traveling the world with the royal family, including visiting the White House, and developing the Caribbean island of Mustique as a safe harbor for the rich and famous-hosting Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Raquel Welch, and many other politicians, aristocrats, and celebrities. 

Review:

This is a memoir written by one of Princess Margaret’s ladies in waiting.

Anne Glenconner has had a fascinating life. She talked a little about her relationship with Princess Margaret and the royal family, but I found her own biography so interesting. Some of the stories were funny, such as how when they were children, Anne and her sister planned how they would kill Hitler themselves if he invaded England. There were also tragedies, like the deaths of two of her children.

Anne was also connected with many famous people. Her husband developed the Caribbean island Mustique, which is still a popular destination for celebrities and royals.

The stories about Princess Margaret were great. Anne gave an inside look at who she was in private. There was a lot more to the book than just Princess Margaret’s life, but there were some interesting anecdotes about her.

This is a great book for readers who are interested in the royal family.

Thank you Hachette Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Other Windsor Girl: A Novel of Princess Margaret, Royal Rebel by Georgie Black

The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe by Angela Kelly

Have you read Lady in Waiting? What did you think of it?

Review: Queer Heroes: Meet 53 LGBTQ Heroes From Past and Present!

Title: Queer Heroes: Meet 53 LGBTQ Heroes From Past and Present!
Author: Arabelle Sicardi, Sarah Tanat-Jones (illustrator)
Genre: Nonfiction, LGBTQ
Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions
Source: Publisher
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 17, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

This beautiful, bold book celebrates the achievements of LGBT people through history and from around the world. It features full-color portraits of a diverse selection of 52 inspirational role models accompanied by short biographies that focus on their incredible successes, from Freddie Mercury’s contribution to music to Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Published to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, this title will show children that anything is possible. 

Review:

This book is a great collection of inspiring queer people.

All of the people featured in this book are queer. Some are gay or lesbians, while others are bisexual or transgender. I knew that a few of the people were queer, such as Alan Turing. There were some people that I didn’t know identified as queer, such as Virginia Woolf. Most of the people in this book I had never heard of, so I learned a lot about queer activists.

Many of the people featured in this book are from countries where being gay is illegal. These people had to defy their governments, and sometimes even family, to fight for the right to express their own identity. They had to be incredibly strong to stay true to their beliefs, despite what their family and country said.

I loved the art in this book. All of the images are done in vibrant colours which give a positive feeling to these stories, which did not always have a happy endings.

I really enjoyed this book!

Thanks Wide Eyed Editions for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

A Quick and Easy Guide to Queer and Trans Identities by Mady G., J.R. Zuckerberg

Grease Bats by Archie Bongiovanni

Have you read Queer Heroes? What did you think of it?

Review: Stephen Hawking (Little People, Big Dreams)

Title: Stephen Hawking (Little People, Big Dreams)
Author: Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara, Matt Hunt (illustrator)
Genre: Children’s, Nonfiction
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: February 4, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

New in the Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Stephen Hawking, the genius physicist and author.

When Stephen Hawking was a little boy, he used to stare up at the stars and wonder about the universe. Although he was never top of the class, his curiosity took him to the best universities in England: Oxford and Cambridge. It also led him to make one of the biggest scientific discoveries of the 20th century: Hawking radiation. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the brilliant physicist’s life.

Review:

Stephen Hawking was a physicist. He loved studying science when he was a kid. However, when he was a young adult, he developed a motor neuron disease, which caused his muscles to degenerate. He lost the ability to move and speak. He was able to overcome these challenges and become a success in the world of science.

Stephen Hawking died a few years ago, which generated more interest in his life. There was a popular movie made about his life before he died. He was an extraordinary man who defied expectations. He is an inspiration.

I think kids will love reading this book about Stephen Hawking.

Thank you Frances Lincoln Children’s Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

David Attenborough (Little People, Big Dreams) by Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara, Mikyo Noh (illustrator)

Martin Luther King Jr. (Little People, Big Dreams) by Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara, Mai Ly Degnan

Have you read Stephen Hawking? What did you think of it?

Review: Martin Luther King Jr. (Little People, Big Dreams)

Title: Martin Luther King Jr. (Little People, Big Dreams)
Author: Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara, Mai Ly Degnan
Genre: Children’s, Nonfiction
Publisher: Quarto Publishing Group
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Little Martin grew up in a family of preachers: his dad was a preacher, his uncle was a preacher, his grandfather was a preacher… so maybe he’d become a great preacher too. One day, a friend invited him to play at his house. Martin was shocked when his mother wouldn’t let him in because he was black. That day he realized there was something terribly unfair going on. Martin believed that no one should remain silent and accept something if it’s wrong. And he promised himself that – when he grew up – he’d fight injustice with the most powerful weapon of all: words. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the inspiring activist’s life.

Review:

This is a great book to teach children about Martin Luther King Jr.

At the beginning of the story, young Martin plays with his friends and doesn’t notice that they look different from him. It isn’t until his friend’s mother won’t allow him into their house that he realizes they are different. This shows how children aren’t naturally racist, but have it taught to them. Martin goes on to fight against prejudice by teaching others.

I always remember learning about Martin Luther King Jr. in school, so I really liked this book. This is a great children’s book.

Thank you Quarto Publishing Group for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Stephen Hawking (Little People, Big Dreams) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara, Matt Hunt

Mahatma Gandhi (Little People, Big Dreams) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara, Albert Arrayas

Have you read Martin Luther King Jr.? What did you think of it?

Review: The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe

Title: The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe
Author: Angela Kelly
Genre: Nonfiction
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: October 29, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

THE OFFICIAL BOOK, FULLY ENDORSED BY QUEEN ELIZABETH II

From Her Majesty’s trusted confidant and Dresser Angela Kelly LVO comes a lavishly designed book of never-before-seen photos of The Queen, Her wardrobe and Her jewels and features intimate anecdotes from Angela’s 25-year career working closely with Her Majesty. A truly unique keepsake and collectors’ item to be treasured.  

‘For the nearly seven decades of her reign, Her Majesty The Queen has used clothing to create a powerful visual identity that transcends fashion and has made her perhaps the most readily identifiable person on the planet. Angela Kelly, building on the work of the great designers and milliners who have worked with Her Majesty through the years – including couturiers Sir Norman Hartnell, Sir Hardy Amies, and Ian Thomas, and milliners such as Simone Mirman and Freddy Fox – brings her own imagination to bear on an iconic ‘uniform’ that suggests continuity and tradition, and ensures that the wearer is always the most visible person in a room or a crowd.’–Anna Wintour, Vogue

When Angela Kelly and The Queen are together, laughter echoes through the corridors of Buckingham Palace. Angela has worked with The Queen and walked the corridors of the Royal Household for twenty-five years, initially as Her Majesty’s Senior Dresser and then latterly as Her Majesty’s Personal Advisor, Curator, Wardrobe and In-house Designer. As the first person in history to hold this title, she shares a uniquely close working relationship with The Queen.

In The Other Side of the Coin, The Queen has personally given Angela her blessing to share their extraordinary bond with the world. Whether it’s preparing for a formal occasion or brightening Her Majesty’s day with a playful joke, Angela’s priority is to serve and support. Sharing never-before-seen photographs – many from Angela’s own private collection – and charming anecdotes of their time spent together, this revealing book provides memorable insights into what it’s like to work closely with The Queen, to curate her wardrobe and to discover a true and lasting connection along the way.

Review:

Angela Kelly has a unique job: she is the Queen’s dresser. She designs, creates, and picks out all of the Queen’s clothes. This has created a special relationship between them.

This book had so many interesting details about the Queen’s life, which I had never heard before. This includes how they choose outfits for special events and how her luggage is packed for a trip. Angela’s job as dresser is so important, yet I hadn’t given much thought to this job before reading this book.

There were also lots of candid moments between the Queen and Angela. There were moments where they learned from each other, and other times where they played tricks on each other.

This book is a collection of special stories that I’m so glad that I read. I will be looking back at this book for years to come!

What to read next:

Dressing the Queen: The Jubilee Wardrobe by Angela Kelly

Have you read The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe? What did you think of it?

Review: Mary Shelley (Little People, Big Dreams)

Title: Mary Shelley (Little People, Big Dreams)
Author: Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
Genre: Children’s, Nonfiction
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

New in the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the incredible life of Mary Shelley, the English novelist and creator of Frankenstein.

When Mary Shelley was a little girl, she used to write stories beneath the trees in her garden. As an adult, Mary was inspired by this same imagination to create a ghost story, which became the famous novel: Frankenstein. This gripping book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the novelist’s life.

Review:

I love the books in the Little People, Big Dreams series! The books teach kids about important historical figures.

Last year was the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. There were many retellings and biographies of her that were published last year to celebrate.

Shelley was an intelligent and innovative woman. She used the knowledge of new inventions of the 1800s to write one of the most famous horror stories of all time. It is amazing that she wrote it when she was a young woman. She wrote it for a competition between friends to write a scary story. She was very successful with that project.

This is a great book to teach kids about Mary Shelley.

Thank you Frances Lincoln Children’s Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Agatha Christie (Little People, Big Dreams) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara

Jane Austen (Little People, Big Dreams) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara

Have you read Mary Shelley? What did you think of it?