Category Archives: Non-Fiction

On World Autism Awareness Day: Temple Grandin by Sy Montgomery

Temple Grandin has always been different. From her infancy her parents knew she was a child unlike any other, her father believed her to be mentally deficient but her mother knew that somewhere under Temple’s erratic and odd behaviors, was a child filled with curiosity, talent and love.  Temple developed behind other children and did not speak until the age of five but once she did she showed a personality and wit that stood out among the crowd of typical children. Still she often found comfort in twirling for hours on end and her senses were often extremely sensitive to touch, sound and light. However Temple’s mother knew Temple was different but not less. The name eventually given to Temple’s condition was autism.

Autism caused Temple to struggle through elementary and middle school and she was at times subject to bullying but as she got older she learned to make her way in the world. While navigating through society Temple found that not only did she have amazing talents but she also could do things no one else was capable of. She found that at times autism was a gift that allowed her to think in ways others could not. You see Temple thought in pictures instead of words and this allowed her to visualize things in a very special way.

For instance Temple had the ability to think the way an animal could since she was so attuned to their senses and behavior. She especially loved and felt a kinship with cows. This ability led to her career in animal husbandry and her deep love of cattle turned into a talent unlike any other. Today Temple Grandin is one of the most prominent figures in the meat packing industry where she designs humane treatment systems for all types of livestock. At this time in history Temple has done more for creating humane conditions for “food animals” than any other living human being.

Today through her role as an ambassador for the humane treatment of livestock and her role as an advocate for those with autism, Temple provides a dual voice to those who might not otherwise have one. She is also renown for her ability to explain how autism feels and the differences in her brain and those of most other people.

Within this new biography children are given a very personal account of Temple and her life. Pictures, drawings and other media only bring readers further into Temple’s world.

Additionally the book chooses to address both children with and without autism making it inclusive and educational at the same time. While showing the challenges that Temple faced readers can actually see the aspects of autism that can have a negative affect on an individual on the autism spectrum. However at the same time the reader is also shown those special abilities that can make an autistic individual exceptional.

Sy Montgomery also does a spectacular job of writing for the middle grade age group. At one point even making a Harry Potter reference by which to explain an individual like Temple living with autism. While Harry’s abilities might have been a bit scary among muggles but once he was accepted into Hogwart’s and given a chance to be a part of things; he blossomed. As would children with autism if they were accepted and treated as equals by other children.

In the end the message is one of acceptance and inclusion for all using autism awareness and education as the vehicle by which to make it happen. Bravo!

Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World will be released on April 3, 2012. You can also visit Temple at her website.

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Filed under Autism, Children's Non-Fiction, Middle Grade, Non-Fiction, Parenthood Picks

Review: Carly’s Voice: Breaking Through Autism by Arthur Fleischmann with Carly Fleischmann

   Carly and Taryn Fleischmann’s parents had the same hopes and dreams of every loving parent when their twin daughters were born. However shortly after their birth those dreams came crashing down as the days passed and they noticed the differences between their two beautiful girls.  Taryn reached and surpassed each typical developmental milestone such as crawling and interacting with the environment and individuals around her but Carly seemed to be lost in a world of her own unable to complete even simplest of tasks and without the means to communicate even the most basic of needs.

Finally after what seemed like an eternity of consulting countless numbers of doctors and specialists, the Fleischmanns were devastated to be informed that Carly was severely autistic. The family was told their daughter would probably never talk or advance much past the intellectual abilities of a small child. Despite the odds against them the Flesichmanns sacrificed to pursue a course of aggressive therapy and intervention to help their daughter to achieve all she could in life. While hopeful Carly’s parents prayed for the best but they also had to accept that life would never be easy and every day would be a battle against an unseen enemy that held their daughter in it’s clutches.

Miraculously at the age of ten after a decade of almost no communication with those closest to her, Carly astounded everyone by typing onto a laptop.  It was a defining moment in her life in which she came out of a world of silence and truly engaged with the people around her. Through hard work and perseverance what was once one word became two and then sentences emerged.  Carly had a voice.

Today Carly is an inspiring young woman who offers a glimpse into a life lived with autism as she shares her experiences and thoughts with the entire world through the Internet and social media. Through her remarkable journey she has become a national figure as she explores every aspect of what it means to be autistic within her writing. Witty, sarcastic and yet heartfelt Carly’s words show personality and intellect while shining with her strength and determination.  Coming from a person who once held all her thoughts inside with no outlet, every word from Carly is precious and full of meaning. She is truly a figure of hope to those within the autism community as she shows that the impossible can happen and to never give up on our children no matter their diagnosis or the challenges they face.

Carly’s Voice offers readers an inside look at the isolating condition known as autism from both a family and personal perspective as father and daughter collaborate to share their experiences. Readers are given a truthful and raw look at the every day lives of families and individuals living with autism. It is especially poignant as a story of endurance and hope for those who battle autism on a daily basis.

Today Carly attends a mainstream high school where she in enrolled in gifted classes. Her writing and outreach to the world have made her a unique and powerful advocate for autism.  Carly’s Voice is yet another outlet for both Carly and the Fleischmann’s to share their story while empowering parents and individuals living with autism to never give up. Informative and educational it is also a spectacular resource for those wanting to learn more about autism from those who live it firsthand.

You can visit Carly at here own website here.

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Filed under Autism, New Books, Non-Fiction, Parenthood Picks

Blog Tour: Paranormal by Raymond Moody M.D. & Paul Perry

    Who hasn’t wondered about what happens right after death or about the possibility of an after-life? Most may occasionally think upon the subject but for Raymond Moody it has been somewhat of a life-long obsession and a true quest for answers to one of life’s most mysterious events- he has tried to solve it by searching through everything from modern day personal accounts to the literature left behind by ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato and Socrates. Moody is known somewhat as the expert on what he termed “Near Death Experiences” or (NDE). At one point in his research he was even nicknamed “Dr. Death”. He is now considered a world recognized expert on NDE. His first interest in death and what happens afterwards began at a young age which then lead him into a fascination with philosophy and psychiatry which he links closely with the idea of an after-life.

As to what to expect from this book at first I found the title somewhat misleading. I expected more of the paranormal or testimony there of. Turns out that happened much earlier on in Moody’s famous book Life After Life. This book is more about Raymond Moody’s life as the second part of the title suggests. In the end it winds up being somewhat of a memoir, autobiography and record of his work and life all tied together which may disappoint some readers who were looking for more of that paranormal experience.

However for what the book is, it is well written and not too technical in it’s scientific aspects. I found it to be a good read for those interested in the topic however I think I may go back to read his first book to get more of the informational type look at the after-life that I was more interested in. If you are interested in Raymond Moody however and his life and studies of NDE and the after-life, I think this is the perfect book for you. Just expect it to be more about him than the actual topic at hand. As with most books we usually find them more enjoyable when they are what we expected them to be. So that would be my only warning on going into this book for readers and their expectations. Make sure to continue this TLC Book Tour with other great bloggers here and see what they had to say about this book as well.


Filed under Adult Books, Blog Tour, New Books, Non-Fiction, Paranormal

Review & Giveaway: Scandalous Women by Elizabeth Kerri Mahon

From the spectacular Queen of the Nile Cleopatra to the infamously wild leading lady of the roaring twenties Zelda Fitzgerald and beyond to more obscure figures such as the fiesty pirate Grace O’Malley and the saucy pin-up Emma Hamilton, Scandalous Women: The Lives and Loves of History’s Most Notorious Women chronicles those females who flouted convention and largely ignored what was expected of the fairer gender within their respective time periods in history. As it does so the author also manages to present these ladies with a great amount of  style, wit and panache that will leave readers both enlightened and entertained.

  Easy to read straight through or flip about casually, each individual portrait gives an interesting mini-biography of these often notorious women including relevant facts about their claim to fame plus not to be missed juicy tidbits of each aspect of their unforgettable lives. Chapter by chapter we are introduced to these daring women organized into uniquely created themes such as “Amorous Artists” or “Crusading Ladies”. From the naughty doings of Anne Boleyn to the courageous journeys of women such as Joan of Arc, Scandalous Women has a little something for everyone leading to an enjoyable and yet educational reading experience which seems to breeze by far too fast. Best of all is Mahon’s witty and characteristically humorous writing style which only enhances each woman’s portrait further by bringing each leading lady to life in their own individual and creative way. Not to be missed-readers are guaranteed to learn at least one thing they didn’t know about these most daring women of history. In the end trivia abounds and satisfies in this great collection. For extra fun make sure to also check out the author’s blog: Scandalous Women.

Book Giveaway

Like a little scandal with your history? Then this is the book for you! And one lucky reader will win their own copy of Scandalous Women from the generous author Elizabeth Kerri Mahon herself. Giveaway ends midnight EST January 26, 2012. This giveaway is open US/Canada only. Winners will be chosen by and notified by e-mail address and/or Twitter.. Good Luck to all and Happy Reading!

To enter simply comment below and share your favorite scandalous leading lady of the past and why she appeals to you personally. Who intrigues you? Is it a daring actress, a brave Queen or a generous benefactor who went above and beyond to help others? Who knows your favorite femme fatale may even be chronicled within the book.

Want extra entries? You can get an extra entry by doing any of the following:

Be/Become a Follower/Subscriber of Stiletto Storytime

Be/Become a Follower Stiletto Storytime on Twitter (Please leave name in comments.)

Be/Become a Follower of Scandalous Women on Twitter (Please leave name in comments.)

Tweet or Blog about this Giveaway (Please leave link in comments.)


Filed under Adult Books, Non-Fiction

Femininity on Friday: Tout Sweet by Karen Wheeler

     Have you ever dreamed of just picking up one day and escaping? A long holiday or even possibly relocating to somewhere you’ve always dreamed of? Perhaps for you the stress of day-to-day life is just too much all of the sudden and you feel the need to get away or maybe an event in your life is just too much to handle and you need a drastic change…for good. Some girls may depend on retail therapy on those days…they may go buy a new dress or that perfect pair of oh so expensive red bottomed shoes. That unexpected break-up may even send them off to the hairdresser to chop their hair into that liberating bob or daring pixie cut but not Karen Wheeler. Karen moved to France. Lucky for us she chronicles her adventures in the new book Tout Sweet.

After her break-up with the man she considered to be “the one”, Karen found nothing in her life truly made her happy. She had the job dreams are made of in fashion, a closet full of only the best name brands and a cushy London flat and yet she still felt…nothing. What could be missing? While on holiday with friends in a small village in France, she found what she thought she might be looking for in a crumbling house that just happened to be for sale. She bought it then and there. Tout Sweet is her story of settling in, settling down and finding just what life is made of outside the hustle and bustle she once lived.

Funny, fashionable and honest Wheeler will keep you reading page by page as she relates her relocating experiences including the renovation of her home, making new (if somewhat older) friends and the never-ending search for Mr. Right. It’s the perfect book to escape into even if you can’t pick up and move to France. And best of all…Wheeler never forgets to tell us what fabulous ensemble she is wearing. Don’t worry she packed plenty of stilettos! So grab a glass of wine and head to France on a whim with Karen in Tout Sweet.

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Filed under Adult Books, Chick Lit, Girly Books, New Books, Non-Fiction

Review: Joe DiMaggio-The Long Vigil by Jerome Charyn

“As the New York Yankees’ star centerfielder from 1936 to 1951, Joe DiMaggio is enshrined in America’s memory as the epitome in sports of grace, dignity, and that ineffable quality called “class.” But his career after retirement, starting with his nine-month marriage to Marilyn Monroe, was far less auspicious. Writers like Gay Talese and Richard Ben Cramer have painted the private DiMaggio as cruel or self-centered. Now, Jerome Charyn restores the image of this American icon, looking at DiMaggio’s life in a more sympathetic light.

DiMaggio was a man of extremes, superbly talented on the field but privately insecure, passive, and dysfunctional. He never understood that for Monroe, on her own complex and tragic journey, marriage was a career move; he remained passionately committed to her throughout his life. He allowed himself to be turned into a sports memorabilia money machine. In the end, unable to define any role for himself other than “Greatest Living Ballplayer,” he became trapped in “a horrible kind of minutia.” But where others have seen little that was human behind that minutia, Charyn in Joe DiMaggio presents the tragedy of one of American sports’ greatest figures.”


It’s always interesting when I review a book that is a bit out of my comfort zone or which appeals to me in a different way than it might its “intended” audience. Let me preface by saying this…I really enjoy baseball. I love watching and following college baseball but I really don’t know much about the true baseball greats other than the fact that they are considered “great”. Enter Joe DiMaggio. I know he is considered one of the greatest baseball legends of all time. I also know that he was a husband of Marilyn Monroe. Of course I gravitate towards this fact…I am a twenty something year old girl who loves old Hollywood glamour and an ardent Marilyn admirer. That being said this book held a bit of a different appeal for me and yet still managed to both educate and entertain.

Joe DiMaggio was a very private man. A man who kept to himself. However there was one individual in his life for which he would do anything: Marilyn Monroe. Throughout the fights, the battling of egos as two of the most beloved figures of all time- this is a man who deeply loved a woman with all his heart and took care of her until the moment when he no longer could. And yet he still loved her even beyond the grave.

This memoir really taught me a lot about Joe DiMaggio as a ball player and his amazing talent but more so than that it revealed who he was as an individual something perhaps he even himself could not do because of his very private nature. It was honest and candid. There was no glossing over the “good, the bad or the dirty”. We learn of DiMaggio’s ego, his jealousy and temper and even alleged domestic abuse. However we also learn of a man who tried to stand by the woman he loved no matter what.

Joe DiMaggio: The Long Vigil by Jerome Charyn is a engrossing tale of a man larger than life and a romance that few knew the extent of. Fans of DiMaggio and Marilyn alike will find its pages informative and filled with facts probably not known by any but the most well researched fans and experts. The book is a great contribution to an era that is often glamorized but while it celebrates that world of glitz and fame, it also remains truthful and reflective- something only the best memoirs do.

You can find more information on this book and its author Jerome Charyn on Twitter. A special thanks to Tribute Books for the chance to review Joe DiMaggio: The Long Vigil. You can enter to win your own copy from them and read their review here. Also make sure to check out the additional stops of the Blog Tour for this book.


Filed under Adult Books, Blog Tour, New Books, Non-Fiction

Blog Tour: Unstoppable in Stilettos by Lauren Ruotolo I don’t really read “self-help” books. It’s a personal reading choice. Some readers love them and some can’t stand them. I tend to fall in the latter category. Most of the time the information between their pages seems to be largely common sense and simply packaged in different ways again and again. We all logically know we need to be positive, believe in ourselves, work hard and chase our dreams….this is nothing new. No matter how it’s stated it remains the same. It’s not going to get any easier. There is not a magic answer everyone knows but you. What can make a difference is the story behind someone’s advice. Is it inspiring? Did you enjoy reading about their life? Did it give you hope?

Lauren Ruotolo’s Unstoppable in Stilettos: A Girl’s Guide to Living Tall in a Small World grabbed me at the title obviously. When I received it….well I had my doubts. (Again I hate self-help books.) However what really made me enjoy this book is Lauren’s story. She’s an incredibly successful woman who was forced at a very young age to choose just how strong she would be: both physically and mentally. Her personal story is both interesting and inspiring. I wish there was more of it. However I can say that she is definitely qualified to give the advice that she does. She demonstrates in each instance how she took the advice she gives and applied it to her own life and the results she got from doing so. This is a woman who has faced true challenges that make most of our worries look like “walks in the park”. And she does it all in stilettos…how can you not love that?

This book would especially be good for younger teen girls. The messages inside are highly relevant to many of the changes they are encountering in their lives and it’s written in an easy and fun manner that would keep them both interested and entertained.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and Health Communications Inc. one lucky reader will win a copy of Unstoppable in Stilettos. To win simply leave a comment below with your e-mail address. You must leave an e-mail address to be eligible. US/Canada addresses only. No P.O. Boxes please. The giveaway will end  November 1, 2010 at midnight.  Winner will be chosen by and contacted by e-mail.


Filed under Adult Books, Books for Girls, New Books, Non-Fiction, Young Adult Books