Daily Zen Doodles, features 365 doodling prompts and quotes to help you be more present in the moment.
I liked this book. The cover is just gorgeous!!Daily Zen Doodles, features 365 doodling prompts and quotes to help you be more present in the moment.
I liked this book. The cover is just gorgeous!! It's not a book that you'd read cover to cover, so I haven't done that, but I have flipped through it a number of times and found some interesting quotes. The book directs the doodler to find a quiet place and expect to spend 20 minutes doodling on each page to complete the drawing. They are to "focus on the patterns", but not fixate on making it perfect. The main goal is to be in the present and not thinking about past or future worries. I've completed a few of the pages and I must say that I found it quite relaxing.
The doodling prompts are varied. They range from simple squiggly lines to recognizable shapes, like a leaf, snail, wolf, bell, tree, bird, etc. Some of the pages have a few patterns or doodles drawn in already to get the reader/doodler started, but most are essentially blank (except for the basic shape) to allow the doodler absolute freedom.
I like that the book is small enough to be carried in my purse or book bag. Doodling on the go!! I was worried at first that the middle pages of the book would be hard to doodle because of the binding. However, after trying a few it's really not that bad. Those who are used to doodling or drawing on scrap paper or single sheets of paper might need to make some adjustments while getting used to this format. Perhaps a coil binding would have been a better choice. It would also facilitate removing pages for hanging, framing and/or giving away.
There are lots of interesting quotes, mostly new-to-me. I didn't get a sense that the quotes and doodling prompts were necessarily connected, though. Certainly one could exist without the other. Having said that, I found one quote that I really liked:
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. - Kent M. Keith (page 99)
While I really liked this book, I do have one complaint. The use of the words "tangle" and "zentangle" in the introduction could be confusing. The author doesn't explain these terms and if I didn't already know these words with respect to drawing, I'd be wondering about what they meant. In my opinion, the word "doodle" is more appropriate for this type of art.
Recommended. For those who like to doodle and are interested in finding some "inspiration, relaxation, and mindfulness" in their daily lives.
For more information about this book, please visit the Ulysses Press website.
I'd like to thank Kourtney at Ulysses Press for this review copy.
In Staged to Death, Caprice De Luca stages homes to look their best. This is especially helpful for those wishing to sell their homes. Her old friendIn Staged to Death, Caprice De Luca stages homes to look their best. This is especially helpful for those wishing to sell their homes. Her old friend Roz Winslow has recently asked her to revitalize her mansion in hopes of bringing in prospective buyers. When Roz's husband is found dead, stabbed with his own antique dagger, Caprice is determined to support her friend and find the killer.
I enjoyed this cozy mystery. All in all, it was quite a good book with an interesting easy-to-follow mystery. Some fascinating family dynamics rounded out the story. There were a couple of awkward spots in the writing, though. In a few cases, it was hard to tell which "she" was being talked about and I had to reread those sections. Also, there was one character introduction that was unusual. I don`t want to nitpick, so I won't go into details. [Note: I read an uncorrected proof of this book. Hopefully, those things were fixed before final printing.]
I found Caprice's home staging business interesting and I liked learning more about it. I didn't quite understand staging a home with a theme, especially one that's being sold, but to each his own, I guess. I also liked all of the side stories: retro clothing, animal rescue, cooking, antiques, party planning, etc. However, I think the mystery suffered a little and got lost in the side stories and Caprice's profession. Perhaps Caprice's interests should have been pared down a little so more focus could have been put on the mystery itself.
The author included a few recipes for the food that was mentioned in the book. All of them sound delicious. Since this book was about staging a house, though, I'm not sure why they were included. I would have been just as happy to see something related to the main part of the story. Some examples: staging tips; furniture arranging tips; real world statistics about home sales for homes that have been staged versus those that haven't been. That sort of thing.
This is my first book that I`ve read from this author. I was a little worried when I found out that she also wrote romance books. I was afraid that this book was going to contain more romance and less mystery. However, that wasn`t the case. There was a bit of romance, but nothing over the top.
In Deadly Errors, a series of deaths are linked to the new computerized record system at Maynard Medical Center. Dr. Tyler Matthews is the first to suIn Deadly Errors, a series of deaths are linked to the new computerized record system at Maynard Medical Center. Dr. Tyler Matthews is the first to suspect that something is wrong, but he can't convince others that the system, currently in a beta test at the hospital, is responsible. His job, his marriage, his reputation, and his life all come under fire when he challenges the hospital and the corporation who see him as a threat to their multimillion dollar profits.
I enjoyed this book. It contained a good medical mystery about how the chart values were being changed resulting in patient deaths. It also gave a small glimpse into corporate greed and conspiracies. The first half of the book was okay. I loved that Wyler, the author, has the expertise to explain the medical procedures as well as he did. However, he used a few too many medical terms that were unfamiliar to me. For me, the second half was much better. Really suspenseful and action packed. I felt like I was on a rollercoaster.
While I enjoyed it, the book just didn't draw me in. I'm not sure why, though. Sometimes, it felt like a chore to just keep reading and finish it. I got into it much more halfway through, but it still didn't grab me like I hoped it would.
There were a couple of awkward and repetitive spots in the writing that bothered me. However, I won't cite an examples here because I read a copy of the uncorrected proof, not a final copy. Hopefully these spots will be caught before the final printing.
I found the medical information extremely interesting, but because I have a background in computer science, I was much more comfortable with the computer terms and computer programming issues that were going on. I won't go into any details, but if this truly was a beta test of the system, patients wouldn't have died.
My doctor's office switched to electronic medical charts within the last year. I don't know exactly how the system works, but I really liked the idea. After reading this story though, I'm not as enthusiastic about it. It left me wondering if errors like this could really happen.
I also read Dead Ringer by this author. I enjoyed it more than I did this one.
Recommended. I have another book on my to-be-read pile by this author called Dead End Deal.
For more information about this book or to purchase it directly from the publisher, please visit Astor + Blue's website. For Amazon orders, click here.
For more information about the author and his other books, please visit Allen Wyler's website.
In Extraordinary Rendition, Byron Carlos Johnson volunteers to defend a man, Ali Hussein, who's suspected to be the banker for Al Qaeda. Almost immediIn Extraordinary Rendition, Byron Carlos Johnson volunteers to defend a man, Ali Hussein, who's suspected to be the banker for Al Qaeda. Almost immediately, Johnson's life is under scrutiny and in danger from both the government and terrorist operatives. To get through this case, Johnson must use his all of his skills to outwit those who have surrounded him, in a world where no one is who they say they are.
When this book first arrived, I found the description intriguing. I don't think I've read a book before that focused on the American legal system at a federal level. Having said that, I wasn't at all sure I was going to enjoy it. I thought it might be beyond my understanding because I don't follow American politics or the war on terror that much and figured that most of it was going to be inaccessible to someone like me. However, that wasn't the case at all! I really enjoyed it. It was immediately engaging and interesting enough that I really didn't want to put it down. It really is a great book!
I think the author could have explained the title a bit better. According to Dictionary.com, the term extraordinary rendition is defined as "the process by which a country seizes a person assumed to be involved in terrorist activity and then transports him or her for interrogation to a country where due process of law is unlikely to be respected". Essentially, detaining then sending a prisoner suspected of terrorism to a country where he can be treated inhumanely in exchange for information. Since I was unfamiliar with the term, I was left wondering what it really meant. If the term was spelled out in the book, I don't think it was done as clearly as this.
While the author included some details of Ali Hussein's treatment, he didn't go overboard with the gory or horrific bits. I think that would have made it too hard to read. That isn't to say he minimized them or trivialized them. What happened to this man at the hands of a supposedly respectable first world country is inconceivable. Generally, the book left me appalled by what a government can do all in the name of fighting terrorism. It's sad, really. But this fiction, right?
The ending surprised me at first. However, upon further reflection it couldn't have ended any other way. Overall, it's top notch story telling!
Highly recommended. I'd definitely read another book by this author.
In The Night Before, Caitlyn Bandeaux wakes up one morning, covered in blood. The night before she was supposed to meet her sister, Kelly, for drinks,In The Night Before, Caitlyn Bandeaux wakes up one morning, covered in blood. The night before she was supposed to meet her sister, Kelly, for drinks, but Kelly was a no-show. That's all she can remember. Soon, she learns that her ex-husband was murdered last night and she doesn't have an solid alibi. Did she kill him? Could all of this blood be his? Or was he killed by a serial killer that has taken others over the years. Others who've been known to Caitlyn. Fearing that she's losing her mind, Caitlyn turns to a Adam Hunt, a new psychologist, who contacts her after her regular therapist disappears.
I enjoyed this book first book in the Savannah series. I really liked the way the story unfolded and the way Jackson revealed certain parts of the story. It was really suspenseful, but perhaps a little long. I wasn't bored at any point and I can't think of specific anything that could have been cut out, but my overall impression was that it was longer than needed to be.
As the story progressed, I feared that it was headed for a dreaded clichéd ending. I won't say what I thought was going to happen because that would give too much of the story away. I will say that I'm so glad I was wrong. It was much more complicated than I had imagined.
I liked a number of characters in the book. What I enjoyed the most about the characters was the way Jackson held back some details of the relationship connections and character traits until later in the book. It left me wondering about some of their motivations at times, but it really added a lot of suspense to the story. As for specific characters, Caitlyn was a little flighty, but considering everything that had happened to her, that's understandable. I liked her regardless. I also liked the police officers, Detectives Pierce Reed and his partner Sylvie Morrisette, who were assigned to the case. Their back and forth banter and Sylvie's filthy mouth made reading about them more fun.
Some serial killer novels come across as believable; other ones, not so much. I'm afraid that this one falls in the latter category. It was just too fantastical and "out there" to be plausible. Despite that, the book was entertaining and fun to read.
I've read one other book by Jackson and really enjoyed it. Tell Me is the third book in the Savannah series featuring Pierce Reed, Sylvie Morrisette, and Nikki Gillette.
Highly recommended. I have the next book in the series, The Morning After, in my to-be-read pile. I hope to get to it soon.
The Girl Who Came Home tells the story of Maggie Murphy, a young Irish girl who set out from Ireland with 13 other members of her town to sail on theThe Girl Who Came Home tells the story of Maggie Murphy, a young Irish girl who set out from Ireland with 13 other members of her town to sail on the Titanic to a better life in America. Much later in life, Maggie finally opens up to her great-granddaughter about that ill-fated trip.
I loved this book. Told from two different time frames: 1912 and 1982, the book is based on true events using fictional characters. I especially love how the story unfolded, but I admit that it was really hard for me to read at times because it was so incredibly sad. I had to put the book down a number of times in order to compose myself before continuing.
Gaynor, the author, used entries from Maggie's journal as well as a few letters from Seamus, the boy Maggie left behind in Ireland, to tell parts of the story. I loved how restrained she was in doing so. It definitely wasn't overdone. She also included some real Marconigrams from the time period, some from the Titanic itself, at the beginning of different story parts.
I also loved the lovely little twist at the end about Maggie. I didn't see that coming, but it definitely made the ending a bit more uplifting. I don't want to say more than that for fear of giving too much away.
Although I hadn't seen any of the Titanic movies/TV specials/etc., I did see an exhibit of Titanic memorabilia. I loved the exhibit, but I don't think I truly appreciated the magnitude of the event or the suffering of everyone on board. Hearing/reading the personal account a survivor, albeit fictional, really accentuated all of that.
This edition of the book contains a P.S. section, which features information about the author, the story behind the book, a glossary of Irish terms, and some reading group discussion questions. The whole thing was worth the read, but I especially loved the story behind the story. It explained which parts of the book were based on real life events.
Highly recommended. I probably could go on and on about this book, but I'll leave it there. I'd definitely read another book by this author.
For more information about this book, please visit the HarperCollins website.
In Desire Lines, Jennifer walks away from a post-graduation bonfire and is never seen again. Years later, her friend Kathryn, now a recently-divorcedIn Desire Lines, Jennifer walks away from a post-graduation bonfire and is never seen again. Years later, her friend Kathryn, now a recently-divorced journalist finds herself back in her hometown where memories of Jennifer's disappearance come back to haunt her.
I adored this book. I've been reading lots of gritty mysteries and this one, while it did contain a mystery, stood in stark contrast because it was tamer (for want of a better word). It was a welcome respite and a wonderful read.
Over the years, there have been only a few characters with whom I really identified with from all of the books that I've read. That's probably not that unusual, but it sure is nice to run into a kindred spirit every now and then, even if they are fictional. Imagine my surprise when I saw myself (well, at least partially) in two of the characters in this book! Both Kathryn and Jennifer had traits that I possess or had thoughts that I've had.
By coming home and dealing with Jennifer's disappearance, Kathryn learned more about herself and dealt with some issues that were causing her pain. Because I had seen parts of me in Kathryn (as I explained above), I too learned more about myself and gained some insight into my behaviours and thoughts that I hadn't had before. I think that's probably why I loved the book so much.
There were two other things about the book that I loved. The overall sad tone of the book really appealed to me. I don't know why, but I really like books where the characters are miserable. I don't think of myself as a morose person, but I guess in some ways I am. The book is also about memories, especially those haunting ones. How memories work and how people remember things is another one of my favourite subjects.
One of my favourite passages in the book explains the title of the book.
...this is what I call a desire line. Strictly speaking, it's a landscape-architecture term for the paths people create when they cut across the grass instead of taking a prescribed route--people who follow their desires, if you want to be literal. But I just use it to describe any foot trails that's relatively new and hasn't been formalized by markers or maps. (page 323)
This edition of the book contains a P.S. section, which features more about the author, a reading group guide and excerpts of her other books. It was definitely worth the read, but I didn't find it as interesting or informative as other P.S. sections in other books. I would have loved more insight into this story and/or an interview with the author.
Highly recommended. I'd love to read another book by this author.
For more information about this book, please visit the HarperCollins website.
In An Evil Mind, the serial killer, Lucien Folter, is already in custody and it's up to Detective Robert Hunter to get him to give up the details abouIn An Evil Mind, the serial killer, Lucien Folter, is already in custody and it's up to Detective Robert Hunter to get him to give up the details about the killings and the location of the bodies scattered around the country. In the past, Hunter has had stellar success in catching other criminals and getting information from them. However, this time Hunter has met his match and must deal with a truly evil mind.
I really enjoyed this book, but I don't think I liked it as much as Carter's other thrillers. Because the killer had already been caught, Hunter spent a lot of time talking to him. Lots and lots of talking. Perhaps a little too much. However, I did enjoy the way the author brought in past events and the forays into the past. Like Carter's other books, this one was immediately engaging. The short chapters allowed Carter to build in lots of suspense. Also like Carter's other books, this one is quite graphic and not for the squeamish.
I don't think I've read too many books where the killer is in custody when the story begins. Knowing who the killer is, having him in custody and then getting the details of the killings and locations of the bodies is sort of like working backwards. It's such a fascinating concept. I loved it!!
After reading a few of the previous books featuring Hunter, I was thinking he was perfect and definitely smarter than everyone else he has to deal with. However, for the first time, we are seeing some small cracks appearing in his solid armor. Did this case get under his skin so much that he's lost his advantage? Were the cracks there all along? Maybe he's not so perfect after all.
Carter mentions at the beginning of the book that it's based on real facts and people he met while he was working as a criminal behaviour psychologist. I would have loved it if he expanded upon this more. I can't imagine it was all one case, right? I would also have loved him to say which parts are fiction.
I also loved that this story had a personal connection for Hunter. That connection is revealed quite early in the book, but I don't want to give anything away so I'll leave it at that.
Carter's resume never ceases to amaze me. He was a member of the Michigan State District Attorney's Criminal Psychology team, then became a rock musician and is now an author.
Highly recommended. Not my favourite book of his, but still a really great book. I'm really looking forward to reading more books by this author.
In The Silkworm, Cormoran Strike, a private detective, is hired by the wife of novelist Owen Quine. Quine has gone missing and at first his wife thinkIn The Silkworm, Cormoran Strike, a private detective, is hired by the wife of novelist Owen Quine. Quine has gone missing and at first his wife thinks his just gone away for some alone time. However, it's quickly discovered that it's much more serious than that, especially after Quine has been found brutally murdered. As for suspects, there are plenty. His newest manuscript portrays almost everyone he knows in a very bad light. If it's published, many lives would be ruined. Strike and his young assistant, Robin Ellacott, have their work cut out for them in dealing with this most callous killer.
I loved this book! The story grabbed me right away and I couldn't wait to see what happened to Quine. The storyline about publishing was revealing and exciting to read about.
Both Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott are terrific characters and complement each other perfectly. I loved that we got to read more about them and the others in their lives. In Strike's case, we learn about his brother or rather half-brother. They share the same famous father. With Robin, we got to read more about her relationship with her husband-to-be. I really like Strike, but it's Robin who's the highlight for me in this series. She's just awesome.
The book does start out with a bit of cussing, but it doesn't last long. It just lasts a few pages and isn't really that bad or disgusting. Hopefully, it won't turn off too many people.
I liked the first book in the series better than this one. While I loved this book as a whole, I didn't love (or even like) the story or excerpts of the manuscript that Quine wrote before his disappearance. It wasn't my type of book and frankly reading those sections made me uncomfortable. It was just too weird. I'm definitely not into shock art and/or satire. I think parts of this could have been cut without jeopardizing the storyline. It may have even made it a better book and condensed the story a little.
I found one passage in the book that particularly liked. For me, it perfectly describes the murder of Owen Quine:
This murder was elaborate, strange, sadistic and grotesque, literary in inspiration and ruthless in execution. (page 147)
This book is the second in the series, but it can really stand on its own. I think I think there are some references to the first book, but there are no spoilers. So far, the books can be read in any order.
Besides the Harry Potter series, I've read two other books by this author: The Cuckoos Calling also featuring Cormoran Strike and a standalone book, The Casual Vacancy. I still count this book as one of my all-time favourites.
Robert Galbraith is the pseudonym of J.K. Rowling.
For more information about this book, please visit Hachette's website.
For more information about Robert Galbraith and the other book in the series, please visit Robert-Galbraith.com. For more information about J. K. Rowling, please visit J. K. Rowling's website.
In Peter Pan Must Die, a woman has been convicted of murdering her husband while he attended the funeral of his mother. Dave Gurney, a former NYPD homIn Peter Pan Must Die, a woman has been convicted of murdering her husband while he attended the funeral of his mother. Dave Gurney, a former NYPD homicide detective, has been called in to take a look at this unusual case because some questions remain. As Gurney investigates, he comes across some shady goings on and has to dig deep to get to the truth and ferret out the assassin, who's appearance has earned him the nickname, Peter Pan.
I loved this book. Every time I read a book by Verdon, I can't wait to sit down and write the review. I want to tell everyone just how awesome his books are. However, when I actually get to the writing part, I can't seem to express just how wonderful the book is. It's like there are no right words. I hope my thoughts that follow make sense.
This book is intelligent and so well written. I can't say that enough. Verdon's insight into human actions and interactions are top-notch. The story takes the reader inside the mind of Gurney as he works the case. It's all from his perspective. Even though he has a knack for these types of cases, he's still not perfect. He exhibits many flaws. Some of my favourite parts of the book were when Gurney was working by himself. I got to see how his brain worked and see his thought processes as he sifted through the evidence.
Madeline, Dave's wife, was worried about his inability to let police work go, to move on with his life, and to find a new passion in his retirement. She suggested that he visit a therapist, Malcolm Claret. Their conversations produced some amazing insights into Dave's character and into his past. Suddenly some of Dave's thoughts and actions (in this book and previous ones) started to make sense.
Speaking of Madeline, in the other books, I had a hard time connecting with her. However, I'm happy to say that I finally get her!!! I really loved her this time around. Her conversations with Dave about the chicken coop reminded me so much of my conversations with my husband about things around our house. There's me passionately going on about how much I'd love to do this or that and him answering in a noncommittal way. It made me laugh-out-loud a number of times. I loved that Madeline was into nature, played the cello, and cared for her chickens. She's a perfect complement to Dave. It might seem mundane to some, but to me she, and her life, is perfect.
While this story was much like the Verdon's ones, a true thinking man's mystery, parts of this book, especially the ending, left me breathless. I was flipping pages faster than I thought possible while hoping that things were going to turn out okay. I won't give away the ending, but I'll just say you'll need to hang on tight when you get closer to the end of this book.
The book contains several passages that I loved. I hope they make sense out-of-context:
Crucial action is always based on partial evidence. The hunter who demands a zoologist's affidavit that the deer in his sights is truly a deer will soon starve. The jungle dweller who counts all the tiger's stripes before deciding to retreat will be killed and eaten. (page 172)
Action being the best antidote for anxiety, and information the only remedy for uncertainty...(page 228)
Guilt is a painful hunger for harmony--a need to compensate for one's violation, to restore balance, consistency. (page 254)
We don't think what we think because we see what we see. We see what we see because we think what we think. Preconceptions can easily override optical data--even make us see things that aren't there. (page 271)
I remember an oily politician once explaining that he never engaged in deception; he merely managed the flow of information in an orderly manner to avoid confusing the public. (page 299)
Our brains are so fond of coherence that they confuse "making sense" with the truth. (page 368)
I've read all of Verdon's books featuring Dave Gurney. For the reviews, please see the Reviews by Author page on my blog. Scroll down to "Verdon". I'd recommend them all. I don't think there's a need to read them in order.
Highly recommended. I can't wait for his next book!!!
For more information about this book, please visit the RandomHouse website.
For more information about the author and his other books, please visit John Verdon'swebsite.
I'd like to thank those nice people at RandomHouse for this review copy.
In Board Stiff, the body of Bernie Chase, CEO and owner of the Twilight Nursing Home, is discovered in the bathroom of the facility. Back at work as tIn Board Stiff, the body of Bernie Chase, CEO and owner of the Twilight Nursing Home, is discovered in the bathroom of the facility. Back at work as the deputy coroner, Mattie Winston soon discovers that the suspects are plentiful, including the elderly residents, who have their own reason for wanting Chase dead. Working with Hurley again isn't going to be easy for Mattie, but she must use her skills to uncover the clues and figure out who killed Chase.
I really enjoyed this book. I love learning about Mattie's job as a deputy coroner. It's so fascinating. Ryan, the author, provides just enough detail to make it interesting, but not so much so that it's over my head, dry, dull or gory. I loved how the book picks up the story a few months after the last one ended. Luckily, Ryan summaries the events of the last book in a way that it immediately jogged my memory.
Mattie Winston is an excellent main character. She's a funny, woman-of-size, who has a knack for solving puzzles. I just wish she'd have a little self control when it came to her love interest, Hurley. She keeps saying that she shouldn't be with him, yet that resolve doesn't last long when he's around. I wish that she'd make up her mind with regards to him and stick to it. She's too smart and self-confident to lose control so easily. I believe I had similar thoughts with regards to her gambling addiction in the last book.
This is the fifth book in the series. While I did read and enjoy #4, Lucky Stiff, I haven't read the first three. Because Ryan does an excellent job of introducing characters and relating earlier events, I believe the book can be read as a standalone book. It's so good, though, that you'll want to read the others as well. So, if you can you might as well start at the beginning.
Highly recommended. This is such a fun series, I'm definitely looking forward to the next one. At some point in the future, I hope to read the first three books in the series.
Annelise Ryan is the pseudonym of Beth Amos.
For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit the Kensington Books website.
In Green Living Can Be Deadly, Dana Lewis organizes the Green Living Festival for the town of Blossom Valley. She's also has set up a booth for her emIn Green Living Can Be Deadly, Dana Lewis organizes the Green Living Festival for the town of Blossom Valley. She's also has set up a booth for her employer, the O'Connell Organic Farm and Spa. When green energy guru, Wendy Stevens, is found dead in the booth next door, Dana has to use all of her detecting skills to find out the truth before the whole festival is deemed a failure.
This is such a fun book. I really enjoyed reading it. It contained a pretty good mystery with lots of red herrings and plenty of suspects. I especially liked the cast of characters. There were those involved in the festival, those at the farm, those in her personal life, and those directly linked to the murder. All of them were varied, interesting and so much fun to read about, even the ones that were hard to like.
I really liked Dana. She was determined to get the job done no matter what it was. Like with the previous book, Dana has her hands full with working at the farm/spa, family commitments, and a journalist boyfriend, yet she still manages to find the time to ferret out the murderer. Her investigative methods were orderly, making following along very easy.
I was amazed at some of the food that Zennia, the cook from the spa, came up with. It sort of gives healthy food a bad reputation. In the last book, I was chiding Dana because she didn't like "healthy" food, but even I wouldn't have eaten some of her food this time around, even though in general I enjoy lots of healthy/vegetarian options with some pretty weird ingredients.
McLaughlin including some tips from the organic farm at the end of the book. These include controlling garden pest naturally, making a banana smoothie, and learning to meditate. All good advice.
I've also read the second book in the series, All Natural Murder. I enjoyed it, too. This really is a fun series.
Highly recommended for cozy mystery fans.
For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit the Kensington Books website.
For more information about the author and her other books, please visit Staci McLaughlin's website.
In Silver: Return to Treasure Island, the offspring of Jim Hawkins and Long John Silver take to the seas to return to Treasure Island. It's been fortyIn Silver: Return to Treasure Island, the offspring of Jim Hawkins and Long John Silver take to the seas to return to Treasure Island. It's been forty years since the events of Treasure Island and Jim and Natty want to retrieve the treasure that was left behind on the island. The whole trip is more than they bargained for and getting to the island and finding the treasure is only part of the battle. They still have to return home.
This was such an interesting concept that I was really looking forward to the book. It started off wonderfully (hence the 3 stars), but about halfway through, I got bored. It just seemed to go on and on and nothing very interesting was happening. I had imagined lots of swashbuckling action with pirates and sword fights. I guess there was some of that, but it wasn't enough to hold my attention. Perhaps if I had read Treasure Island or if I was more familiar with the story I would have enjoyed this book more or at least knew what to expect.
Motion is quite an accomplished writer. He's written fiction, poetry, criticisms, biographies and memoirs. He was the poet laureate of the UK, has been knighted for his contributions to literature, and is a professor of creative writing. I'm only sorry I didn't enjoy this book more.
There are plenty of positive reviews out there. This book just wasn't for me.
For more information about this book, please visit the Random House website.
I'd like to thank those nice people at RandomHouse for this review copy.
Between the Assassinations is a series of short stories all of which take place in the fictional town of Kittur, India. The vignettes take the readerBetween the Assassinations is a series of short stories all of which take place in the fictional town of Kittur, India. The vignettes take the reader into the daily lives of the citizens.
I adored this book. It's not quite like other short stories I've read in that these ones are vaguely connected to each other, some more than others. There are a few location and character overlaps, which enhance these connections. There isn't a continuing story, but there are enough familiar references to make them seem like a cohesive unit.
If you've come looking for a happy story with a happy ending, you've going to be disappointed. Sorry for the spoiler. Like many other stories situated in India, this isn't a happy book. Many of the characters are desperate, poverty-stricken, and without hope. There are a couple of exceptions and some very funny bits, but they are few and far between. While you won't find much happiness, what you will find are some incredible stories that are wonderfully and imaginatively written.
The short stories takes the reader into the daily lives of the citizens, from the well-to-do to the destitute. They encompass many societal issues and entities: politics, corruptions, addiction, poverty, castes, and more. All in all, the book contains some really wonderful insights into Indian society as a whole. Each of the stories is unique. Some were funny, some were sad. All were equally wonderful. I loved them all.
I loved how Adiga, the author, treated the reader like a tourist and presented the stories in itinerary form as though the reader would be spending a week in the town. Very clever!
I also loved the map at the beginning of the book. It's an artist's rendition of Kittur that features the various areas that figured prominently in the stories. It allowed me to get my bearings, as if I was actually there.
I appreciated the chronology list at the back of the book, which lays out the major events in India "between the assassinations", that of Mrs. Indira Gandhi (1984) and Rajiv Gandhi (1991). As I was reading the book, I only had a very vague idea of what the title referred to. Not much (if anything) was mentioned within the stories themselves. As someone who doesn't closely follow world politics, I was thankful the author included this very informative section.
Highly recommended. I'd definitely read another book by this author.
Smithsonian: Timelines of Science is a visual guide to "history of science and inventions". It starts with fire and progresses through time to the intSmithsonian: Timelines of Science is a visual guide to "history of science and inventions". It starts with fire and progresses through time to the internet. It's packed with information and covers all branches of science from astronomy to technology.
I really liked this book, but I admit the massive amounts of information it contained was a little intimidating at first. It's not really the kind of book that I could or world read cover to cover. That would be overwhelming. Instead, it's the kind that I could leave on the coffee table so that I (or my guests) can dip into it from time to time. The gorgeous cover featuring the Vitruvian Man is terrific. It definitely draws me in, but it's the extensive content within the book that keeps me coming back for more.
I love that the book presented information in a variety of ways. There are interesting articles, quotes, side bars that highlight some of the information, as well as small annotated photographs and diagrams scattered throughout.
The main part of the book are the timelines. For each of the timelines, an accompanying article explains what happened during that time frame using text and photographs/diagrams/illustrations. While the articles are informative, I think the information is a little squished. There's too much packed into a small space with very little white space. I would have preferred some headings for the separate ideas, instead of just some highlighted words or phrases.
In addition to the timelines, the book also features many key events or discoveries. There are at least three types of 2-page spreads on a particular topic: The Story of...; Understanding...; other. Each of them is well presented and nicely laid out. I especially love the ones that teach basic concepts (like evolution, stars, and DNA), and the ones with tons of labelled photographs.
I have mixed feelings about all of the sciences being presented on one timeline. In one way it's good because I can see what else was happening in the world when a particular discovery was made. However, there's just too much information to wade through. If I want to learn about astronomy for example, I have to sift through lots of other stuff to get to it.
There's a reference section near the back of the book that will delight true science nerds. The 6 parts feature: measurements and units, physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy and space, as well as earth science. The sections are filled with laws, equations, symbols and the like. To me, it looked like stuff I was supposed to memorize or learn in my high school science classes. To be honest, I found it interesting, but my eyes sort of glazed over after awhile.
That section is followed by who's who in science featuring brief biographies. It's sort of like a glossary of people. It's really cool.
The book also contains a table of contents, which is presented chronologically, a glossary, and index, both of which are massive. In the index, two of the pages are printed out of order, so it might be a bit confusing for readers at first. Hopefully, this will be corrected in the next printing.
For more information about this book, please visit DK's website.
I'd like to thank Chris at DK Canada for this review copy.