Review: Quackery


Quackery by Lydia King and Nate Pedersen

Equal parts mortifying, morbid and fascinating, Quackery is a guided tour through the horrifying world of medicine and health care in days gone by. I eat these kinds of books up like candy, who doesn’t like lurid trivia of the not-so-good ol’ days? I know I do!

I really liked the layout, it’s akin to my favorite magazine, Mental Floss with little factoids on every page to highlight the subject. Very well organized, full of stomach turning stories of medical mistakes and maladies, it kept me turning pages and very thankful I live in the modern day.


New Release: Classical Feng Shui for Health, Beauty &Longevity

feng, shui, book, review, mystereity,Classical Feng Shui for Health, Beauty & Longevity: Transform Your Space to Enhance Well-Being in Body & Home by Denise Liotta Dennis

I’ve been interested in Feng Shui for a long time but never found a good, basic guide for understanding Feng Shui and applying it to my home and life. When I saw this book available on Netgalley, I hoped that this would be my gateway to understanding more about Feng Shui and I wasn’t disappointed.

The information on this book is very well organized and in-depth, with information not only on how natural formations can impact your life, but also the objects in your home. While I was aware that the direction your front door faces can have an impact on your life, I had no idea that where my stove or toilets were placed could have an impact as well.

Using the two types of Feng Shui (Eight Mansions and Flying Stars) and how to determine y I can apply the guidance to my house and hopefully make it more harmonious. Although I live in an apartment and I’m limited in any physical changes I can make, the book has many tips and suggestions to weaken or diminish any negative energies found in my home.

Of the two Feng Shui systems, the Eight Mansions was far easier to understand.  All the information is well laid out in terms a a true beginner like me can understand, but  it’s going to take some time to get a better understanding of Flying Stars and I look forward to studying it further.

Overall, an exceptional book for learning the basics of Feng Shui and I recommend it whether you’re a beginner looking for an introduction, or a practitioner looking for a strong reference book and would make a great gift.

Thank you to Llewellyn Publications and Netgalley for an advanced copy in return for an honest review

Classical Feng Shui for Health, Beauty & Longevity is available at book retailers or online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Llewellyn
Release Date: December 8, 2016
Formats: Kindle, ePub, Paperback
Language: English
Genre: Non-Fiction, New Age
ISBN-13: 9780738749006
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

New Release! The Origins of Everything in 100 Pages

29771608The Origins of Everything in 100 Pages by David Bercovici

David Bercoivci’s The Origins of Everything in 100 Pages (More or Less) is actually closer to 150 pages, which still makes it a short, concise book considering there are 14 billion years of history packed into it.

I’ve always had an interest in the origins of the universe and life on Earth, but my knowledge is rudimentary. Before starting the book, I’d say my knowledge of the subject was pretty basic, limited to a few college courses years ago, some science documentaries on tv and an article here and there.

The author admits that “the goal of this book is not meant to be deep and comprehensive, but instead to be boldly (or badly) shallow and superficial in the best sense of these words.” Which is a good thing, because although the book is written to be understood by anyone, part of it were still over my head. I had to read this bit by bit because it was easy to overload on the information and at that point, it was hard for me to absorb the information. So I’d take a break for a bit, then go back to it.

Starting with The Big Bang and the formation of Earth, continuing through plate tectonics and finally the evolution of life on Earth, The section that interested me the most was the formation of our planet, including how and why Earth is the only temperate and habitable planet. I was fascinated by the explanations that answered many of the questions I had, such as why Venus didn’t evolve like our planet did and even raised new questions that I can explore.

I did think it was too wordy in some parts, that there was more information presented than was needed to understand a particular point.

Overall, The Origins of Everything in 100 Pages (More or Less) is an excellent book that covers the basics of Planetary physics and Geophysics and is a great overview for those starting out in learning, or who want to expand their knowledge.

Thank you to Yale University Press and Netgalley for providing an advanced copy in return for my honest review.

The Origins of Everything in 100 Pages by David Bercovici will be released November 22, 2016.  Pre order your copy today!  AmazonBarnes&Noble

Rating: ★★★★✰ 4 stars
Publisher: Yale University Press
Release Date: November 22, 2016
Formats: Kindle, ePub, Hardcover, Audio CD
Genre: Science, Non-Fiction
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0300215137
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places

29933974Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey

Colin Dickey is on the trail of America’s ghosts. Crammed into old houses and hotels, abandoned prisons and empty hospitals, the spirits that linger continue to capture our collective imagination, but why? His own fascination piqued by a house hunt in Los Angeles that revealed derelict foreclosures and “zombie homes,” Dickey embarks on a journey across the continental United States to decode and unpack the American history repressed in our most famous haunted places.

I was interested in this book because if there’s one thing I love, it’s true ghost stories/haunted places. I was a little disappointed to find that’s not what Ghostland is about. It’s about the history of haunted places,  and the real facts surrounding the alleged hauntings.

I enjoyed the writing, it was obviously well-researched and there were a lot of interesting stories and I particularly liked that the author spent a lot of time presenting the real facts of the case. The chapter about the Winchester House was my favorite, not because it’s allegedly haunted (I never thought it was) but because the idea of someone continually adding on to their house was just bizarre. Doorways and staircases that lead nowhere, all designed by one woman with no training in architecture. The true facts about Sarah and the Winchester family were presented, debunking a lot of the myth around the house. I was fascinated!

Overall, it was an interesting book, but a little dry in parts. History fans would enjoy it, but if you’re looking for a scare-your-pants-off true ghost story book, you’ll be disappointed.

Ghostland is available at book retailers or online at Amazon  | Barnes & Noble

Rating:★★★✰✰ 3 stars
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: Oct. 4, 2016
Language: English
Format: Kindle/Hardcover/ePub
ISBN: 9781101980194
Genre: Non-Fiction/History
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Runes for Beginners

28700190Runes for Beginners: Simple Divination and Interpretation by Alexandra Chauran

This is a great resource for anyone who would like to learn more about the use of Runes in divination, whether you’re just getting started or an experienced user. The detailed and easy to understand information covers everything from the history and meanings of the runes to how to cast and create your own set of runes.

When I began this book, I already had a set of runes and some basic understanding. While some of the rune names are different then what I learned (the book calls one rune Neid, I know it as Nauthiz) it was easy to understand and I liked the suggestions for how to remember the meaning of each rune. I also learned a great many new casts to try out, and I look forward to exploring them. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on creating bind runes, something I always wanted to try but never found any instruction on how to do it.

Overall, Runes for Beginners is an enjoyable and informative book, great for anyone interested in Runes or divination.

Runes for Beginners is available at book retailers or online  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating:★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher:Llewellyn Worldwide
Publication Date: November 8, 2016
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/ePub/Paperback
ISBN: 9780738748283
Genre: Divination, New Age
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: The Healing Art of Essential Oils

30268360The Healing Art of Essential Oils: A Guide to 50 Oils for Remedy, Ritual, and Everyday Use by Kac Young

An excellent reference as an introduction to essential oils and aromatherapy, a must have for healthy living.

A few months ago, I got a neck massage and the therapist used juniper and eucalyptus oil and I was curious to find out why those particular oils? So when I saw this book for offer on NetGalley, I was interested in expanding my knowledge and this book accomplished that and so much more.

Kac Young obviously knows her oils and she explains them well, breaking down each essential oil’s properties and usage. The explanation of the various ways to use essential oils (diffuser, inhaler, on the skin, etc) Very well researched and easy to understand, the book guides you through how to purchase quality oils, how to blend them and the best uses for each oil. There are so many useful tips in here, from how to blend the fragrances, to how to use essential oils to cure common ailments and even recipes for everyday products. Since it’s cold/flu season, I plan on utilizing the recipes to clean and sanitize the air in my home, plus household cleaners and hand sanitizers that are all natural. I really want to try the anti-aging serum (have you seen how much they cost at the store? Much cheaper to make it myself, and with all natural ingredients!) I have never had so many bookmarks in one book before, I can’t wait until the book is released to buy a hardcover to keep as a handy reference.  I really enjoyed the history of the use of essential oils,  it just proves that for common ailments, the best medicine are the tried and true remedies that have been around for hundreds, if not  thousands, of years.

Overall, a great book to get budding aromatherapists started, and would make an excellent gift for anyone interested in all-natural products for healing and in the home.

The Healing Art of Essential Oils is available at book retailers or online at Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Thank you to Llewellyn Publications and NetGalley who provided an advance copy in return for my honest review.

Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications
Publication Date: January 8, 2017
Language: English
Genre: Non-fiction, Health
Paperback, Kindle, ePub
ISBN: 9780738750477
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Quirky Essays for Quirky People: The Complete Collection

24904879Quirky Essays for Quirky People by Barbara Venkataraman

Humorous, entertaining and witty, Quirky Essays for Quirky People has 24 essays/short stories about life, family, and the perfection of life as an imperfect person.

I’m a big fan of the author’s cozy mystery series, so I expected this to be just as laugh out loud funny and it was! The story about her cooking disaster made me laugh until I cried.  I related to so many of the stories! As a lazy bones procrastinator who can sniff out candy a mile away, I saw myself on quite a few of those pages. The author’s stories about her family were heartwarming and sweet, they sound like wonderful people to be around. I loved the story about losing power after a hurricane.  I have lived in Florida and the trauma of losing power after a storm.  If there is a God, he has a seriously mean sense of humor to make hurricane season during the already hot and sweaty summer months.  I have to say, though, that I now live in Amish country and I can tell you they’re not as disconnected from the modern world as people believe. For example, I was in Walmart recently and watched an Amish woman wheeling a cart through the store.  There was only one item in the cart: a big, electric box fan.  Hmmm…….

Guaranteed to bring a smile to your face, Quirky Essays for Quirky People is a hilarious look into life and the perfect book to curl up with when trying to avoid doing something else.

Quirky Essays for Quirky People is available on Amazon


Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Genre: Non-Fiction, Humor
Formats: Kindle
Language: English
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: In the Company of Dolphins

30365079In the Company of Dolphins: A Memoir by Irwin Shaw

Print Length: 107 pages
Publisher: Open Road Media (August 16, 2016)
Publication Date: August 16, 2016
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
Reviewer: Mystereity Reviews

When I read the description of In The Company Of Dolphins, I thought it was going to be a kind of travel guide. I was completely mistaken, and I was not disappointed. In The Company Of Dolphins is so much more than a travel guide; it is a fascinating look back, not only to the exotic ports of call but also on the life and times of a brilliant author.

The book, originally published in the mid 1960s, is a memoir of author Irwin Shaw’s cruise around the Mediterranean on a chartered boat. As a boy growing up in Brooklyn in the early part of the 20th century, he would look out at the boats moored in the harbor and dream of cruising the world. Decades later, his dream came true; he chartered a boat and sailed along the coast of Italy from St. Tropez (“…there is a whiff of Sodom and Gomorrah to it, and a little of a superb detention home for delinquent girls”) to Monte Carlo, (“It is all very much like a camp for condemned millionaires.”) around  Italy’s boot over to Yugoslavia and then up to Venice. Along the way, the reader is treated to the author’s beautiful observations of each port of call, as well as life at sea.

“Sleeping at sea, with the cradling motion of the ship and the hypnotic rush of water past the portholes”

Shaw, In The Company of Dolphins

Shaw’s style of writing is engaging; you almost feel as though you’re sitting in a little cafe with him, listening to his stories of sailing around Italy and Yugoslavia. I was taken in from the beginning, and I enjoyed experiencing the beautiful locations not only through his eyes, but also through the romantic rose-colored glasses that comes only by looking back fondly on by-gone times.

A short biography is included at the end of the book, and what an interesting life he led. Besides his many successful novels (including the WWII epic The Young Lions,) he was also a WWII veteran, having served in North Africa and Europe, and was a photographer who documented many important moments in the war, beginning with D-Day.

In The Company of Dolphins is a captivating and light-hearted memoir, and a perfect read during an afternoon at the pool.

In The Company of Dolphins is available for Kindle on Amazon

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for my honest opinion.


Review: Leading the Blind

30293136Leading the Blind: A Century of Guide Book Travel by Alan Sillitoe

“If the traveler will have a third golden maxim for his guidance it may be, “When fatigue begins, enjoyment ceases.”
– Alan Sillitoe, Leading the Blind

I requested this book from Netgalley because I was intrigued about tourism in the nineteenth and early 20th century. And I wasn’t disappointed, this well researched book details several of the popular travel guides of that period and highlights how little the vagaries of travel have changed, and yet how much it changed the world.

After the industrial revolution created an affluent middle and upper class with spending money, tourism to Europe steadily increased in the nineteenth century. Despite filthy lodgings, poor roads, and culture clashes, the popularity of traveling abroad grew, fed largely by the many travel guides published during the 1800s. I thought it was very interesting to see how the influx of tourists and travelers improved many aspects of life in Europe. Early in the 1800s there were few inns, particularly outside of the major cities. Those rest stops that were in business were usually squalid rooming houses with poor sanitation. By the end of the 1800s, the hospitality industry improved by leaps and bounds, no doubt spurred by the bad write-ups in travel guides and the lucrative competition for tourist money.

I enjoyed all the travel tips related from the original guides that instructed Victorian travelers how to avoid sea sickness, navigate customs, understanding passports and visas, exchanging money, the best places to stay and how to avoid being cheated by innkeepers. In Austria, for example, you could not bring playing cards or tobacco into the country, and in Switzerland, money wasn’t standardized across the country early in the nineteenth century.

Among the many fascinating aspects outlined in the guidebooks, it was amusing to see some aspects of travel are just the same now as it was then. Vandalism, such as taking pieces of monuments as souvenirs and tourists marking their names on landmarks was as much a problem in 1892 as it is today. It was outrageous how many artifacts and manuscripts were plundered by travelers to Egypt and Greece, I’m always dismayed and annoyed by how little regard the Victorians had for a site’s history, using it instead for their own gain.

Leading The Blind is a fascinating look into the history of travel and its social impact all over the world. Great for lovers of history, geography or sociology, it will enlighten readers today as much as the original guidebooks did for the Victorians.

Thank you to the publisher, Open Road Integrated Media and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Leading the Blind is available at book retailers or on Amazon


Review: The Secret Poisoner

26196584The Secret Poisoner: The Victorian Age of Poisoning by Linda Stratmann

What a great book! Very well organized and thoroughly researched, the book neatly lays out the progression of forensic toxicology in the 1800s, encompassing some truly outrageous poisonings in England, France and even in the United States. I don’t know what surprised me more, how many people got away with it, or how many people were found guilty of their crimes. Forensic toxicology was in its infancy during the nineteenth century and some of the techniques used to find poisons in the body after death were ingenious. Equally amazing was that many scientists would take samples from the stomach, intestines and vomit of the poison victim and taste a small amount. Good grief, that takes a lot of guts (pun intended.)

Warning: there are numerous references to animals being experimented on, so if you’re an animal lover, you may find it hard to read at times (I know I did.)

I think the hardest stories to read were the ones where women poisoned young children.  The story of Sarah Chesham, who poisoned two of her sons (among others)  with arsenic and got away with it, was particularly disturbing and will probably stay with me for awhile.

The upper room in which the boys slept projected several feet over a room occupied by Deards and, that night, he heard the two children groaning in pain. Next morning, as he sat at breakfast, the boys’ vomit poured between the cracks in the floorboards and on to his table and the floor. He knocked on the Cheshams’ door, but there was no answer. Later that day, he was astonished to see Sarah Chesham in the street. ‘Mrs Chesham, are you aware how bad your children are?’ he exclaimed, adding, ‘We can scarcely live in the house!’ Her reply was, ‘I will go home and alter it.’

Stratmann, The Secret Poisoner p 156

It’s also disturbing how easily people could purchase a variety of poisons, from arsenic, strychnine and cyanide from a grocer or a druggist, right up until the 20th century.  While these poisons are still available today,  they are regulated and very few consumer products still contain them.

Overall, The Secret Poisoner was a fascinating read, one that will appeal to fans of history, true crime and/or forensic science.

The Secret Poisoner is available at book retailers or on Amazon