Friday, 28 June 2013

Call for Recommended Reading

Does anybody have a book, short story, fanzine, or other reading material they'd like to recommend? Let us know, and we'll post your suggestion(s) at the end of the month. 

Review: 'The Encyclopedia of Beading Techniques' by Sara Withers and Stephanie Burnham

The Encyclopedia of Beading Techniques, by Sara Withers and Stephanie Burnham, 2005, Running Press, $27.95, hardbound, 160 pages. Category/Genre: how-to/crafts. Cover: detailed. Where we got it: publisher. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble.

This book is a how-to course in traditional and contemporary beading techniques. Section One covers tools and materials, such as pliers, wire cutters, threads, and findings. Here the authors also discuss the many different kinds of beads available. 

Section Two outlines techniques, most of which are for jewellery making, but the authors say you can also experiment with making decorative or household items. The techniques discussed are: bead embroidery on fabric and paper, beaded fringing, threading, working with memory wire, making ear wires, chains and pendants, wrapping beads, bead loom techniques, and more. The directions are clear and precise, and come with colour photographs detailing the process. 

The last section is a gallery of works from designers to give an idea of what can be created with beads if you apply your imagination. 

If you like this one, try: Suggestions?   

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Blog Tour

Don't forget to check out the other sites on the tour!

Guest post from Krista Russell on PTP blog (

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Review: 'The Life Cycles of Butterflies' by Judy Burris and Wayne Richards

The Life Cycles of Butterflies: From Egg to Maturity, a Visual Guide to 23 Common Garden Butterflies, by Judy Burris and Wayne Richards, Photography by Judy Burris, Wayne Richards, and Christina Richards, 2006, Storey Publishing, $16.95, softbound, 151 pages. Category/Genre: science. Cover: attractive. Where we got it: publisher. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million.

A Teacher's Choice Award-winning book, The Life Cycles of Butterflies was written by a brother and sister team whose love of butterflies started when they were very young and their mother took them out on hiking trails on weekend mornings. 

The book starts off by explaining how butterflies lay eggs, how caterpillars grow, and how chrysalises are formed. In this section, the authors relate that butterflies have chemical receptors (similar to taste buds) on their tongue, antennae, and feet. They also caution to never try to remove an egg from a leaf, as it will likely tear apart. Instead, use a magnifying glass to see it better. 

The parts of a caterpillar are identified, and there are colour photos of eggs and chrysalises as well as full grown butterflies. 

The life cycles of 23 common species of butterflies are then documented and organised according to Family. Included in this chapter are range maps showing where the butterflies live and how many broods occur per year. There are also life cycle timelines that illustrate when these butterflies are active and likely to be seen. In addition, each butterfly's host plants and nectar plants are listed and pictured.

There is also a section on gardening to draw butterflies to your home. This has information on plastic butterfly feeders; the authors caution that one should use a ten percent sugar solution instead of the twenty percent solution used for hummingbirds, and to use fructose instead of cane sugar, as cane may recrystallise inside the butterfly's body and cause him harm. 

There's an easy comparison guide for quick reference of eggs, caterpillars, and chrysalises. The authors also include a glossary and a brief look at the differences between moths and butterflies. 

The authors learnt an incredible amount of information by simply observing the butterflies found in their own yards; it follows that if you plant the right garden and take the time to observe nature and document the findings, you may do the same. 

If you like this one, try: Nature-Friendly Garden by Marlene A. Condon; Butterflies and Moths by Barbara Taylor; and Eastern Butterflies by Paul A. Opler and Vichai Malikul.     

Monday, 24 June 2013

New Blogs

We recently began two new blogs: Gibbous Moon, which is a study of the fey (faeries) and other fantastical creatures; and Nature Hunt, which is our observations of nature. 

You may find these blogs by going to their respective pages on this blog. 

Review: 'Custom Knifemaking' by David Darom and Dennis Greenbaum

The Art of Modern Custom Knifemaking: 100 Custom Knife Related Projects in the Making, by David Darom and Dennis Greenbaum, 2006, Chartwell Books, $60.00, hardbound, 252 pages. Category/Genre: art. Cover: attractive. Where we got it: borrowed it. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble.

This is not a how-to book, nor is it an introductory course in this exclusive art; rather, it presents a selection of artisans and their work for experienced knife collectors to peruse. 

The first part of the book is made up of articles on knife shows, exotic knife handle materials, investment cast knives, and other topics. It's interesting to note the many different rare, and exotic materials that can be used to make knife handles. Some of these materials are mother-of-pearl, abalone, coral, and rare woods. 

The second part of the book consists of 'Knives-in-the-Making,' and shows both fixed blades and folding knives. Here we see pictures of numerous artists at work, as well as a final result. 

The third part of the book focuses on knife related arts and crafts: scrimshaw, engraving, carving, mokume gane, Damascus, and sheaths. This also shows the different stages of various projects and their final results. 

Some of the blades pictured in this book are incredible. 'Semi-Skinner,' for example, was made by Bob Loveless and engraved by Manrico Torcoli with the image of a half-woman, half-tiger. 'Tail-Lock Interframe' was made by Ron Lake. Francesco Amatori engraved and scrimshawed this blade with amazing images of a snow leopard. There are many more examples, but you'll have to pick up the book to appreciate them; words simply don't do them justice. 

If you like this one, try: Suggestions? 

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Late 'Defiance' Review . . . Again

We expect our 'Defiance' review to be a bit late again this week, as we're going out to-day (our usual day to type that post) & don't know when we'll be back. Also, when we do get back, we plan to devote the rest of the day to working on our next book . . . 

Friday, 21 June 2013

Review: 'Secret Lives of Garden Wildlife' by Dominic Couzens

Secret Lives of Garden Wildlife, by Dominic Couzens, Illustrated by Peter Partington, 2008, Christopher Helm, $16.10, softbound, 160 pages. Category/Genre: reference. Cover: like it! Where we got it: publisher. Where you can get it: Amazon.

This book is an intimate look at wildlife month to month in an English garden. The garden, Couzens says, never sleeps, even in winter. Hedgehogs and bats, both of whom hibernate, habitually wake up for a day or two now and then before resuming hibernation. And mice do not hibernate at all, but occasionally enter a brief torpor, during which they experience a slight decrease in body temperature. 

Hibernating mammals and bumblebees (who also enter torpor during winter) emerge in March. The only bumblebees to have survived the winter are queens, who are already impregnated and must find a suitable hole to support a new colony. 

By June, the survival of many species is down to the latest brood. Animals take their parenting duties seriously, even the garden spider (orb weaver), who carefully guards her egg sac until she dies in autumn. Vixens and sow badgers take their cubs on evening walks around the territory and show them hunting tricks; owls, too, teach their young how to hunt. 

In September, birds begin to migrate; on any given night, thousands of birds may fly over one's garden. Insects also migrate, and Couzens offers a detailed explanation on how they do this. Grasshoppers and crickets are awake and active to November.   

This is a very good book, written in an easy to read style, with mounds of information and tons of colour photographs and artwork. 

If you like this one, try: The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady, by Edith Holden; and Nature Detectives' Handbook, by Barbara Taylor. 

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Review: 'Voices' by Hall and Oates

'Voices,' Hall and Oates, 1980, RCA. Cover: ordinary. Lyrics not included. 

We've kind of liked Hall and Oates since we were in grade school and heard 'Jingle Bell Rock' and 'Rich Girl.' Their songs can be a bit repetitive, but they often have a good beat and melody. This tape, from all the way back in 1980, has 'Kiss On My List,' one of our favourite Hall and Oates tunes.

'How Does It Feel to Be Back' is about a guy longing for his girl; 'Big Kids' is about a guy who believes his relationship with his girl will never end, and about how we're all just big kids on the inside, even if we're supposedly grown up; 'You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling' is about a guy who knows his girl doesn't feel the same way about him any more; the feeling of having the girl of your dreams is explored in 'You Make My Dreams'; and 'Everytime You Go Away' is about a guy who can't get a girl to see how much he loves her. (Those last two are also among our favourites.)

There's a song about a guy who's paranoid his girl will find someone new on her trip to Africa ('Africa'), and a song about the singers in the subway, a tribute to 'doo wop' songs ('Diddy Doo Wop').   

Note: mild language.

Favourite lyrics include: '(Because your kiss) your kiss is on my list/(Because your kiss) your kiss is on my list/Because your kiss is on my list of the best things in life/(Because your kiss) your kiss is on my list/(Because your kiss) your kiss I can't resist' ('Kiss On My List'). 

Monday, 17 June 2013

Review: 'Nature-Friendly Garden' by Marlene A. Condon

Nature-Friendly Garden: Creating a Backyard Haven for Plants, Wildlife, and People, by Marlene A. Condon, 2006, Stackpole Books, $19.95, softbound, 152 pages. Category/Genre: gardening. Cover: friendly. Where we got it: borrowed it. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble. 

Filled with colour photos taken from the author's personal collection, this book gives you all the information you need to create a wildlife haven. 

The author states that a garden which is nature-friendly should have limited lawn space. Instead, trees, vines, shrubs, and flowers should border the yard and become focal points within the yard. 

Although you will always attract wildlife you didn't intend to attract, you may utilise certain plants to focus on attracting the wildlife you would like to see. To this end, Condon has a list of plants that attract wildlife; here she gives the Latin name as well as the common name of the plant, briefly describes the plant, and mentions what wildlife that plant is likely to draw. She also warns that some of these plants may be considered invasive. She addresses this issue in Chapter Three. 

Condon is a big believer in keeping away from pesticides and other chemicals that may harm wildlife. She has a chapter devoted to ways of dealing with problematic wildlife without the use of such methods. For example, you may allow skunks and moles to deal with problematic Japanese beetles, and black rat snakes will help reduce the number of your voles. 

Another very handy chapter is the one titled 'Accessible Gardening.' In this chapter, Condon relates her difficulties with gardening once her rheumatoid arthritis kicked in. She gives practical advice for gardening more easily and more safely, thereby helping those in a similar condition. 

There's also a chapter on feeding and sheltering wildlife (yes, that's a screech owl nesting in a bird box on the cover). Condon advises making or buying bird boxes in the winter so you won't be contending with bees and wasps. You must never use a bird or bat house out of pressure-treated wood; this type of wood has been treated with powerful pesticides that are dangerous if ingested or absorbed through the skin. 

If you like this one, try: 'Birds and Blooms' magazine; 'Birds and Blooms Extra' magazine; 'Mammals' by William H. Burt and Richard P. Grossenheider; 'Eastern Birds' by Roger Tory Peterson; and 'Eastern Butterflies' by Paul A. Opler and Vichai Malikul. 

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Review: 'Defiance: I Just Wasn't Made for These Times'

'Defiance: I Just Wasn't Made for These Times,' 2013, SyFy Channel. Written by Clark Perry. Directed by Allan Kroeker. Starring Grant Bowler, Julie Benz, and Stephanie Leonidas. Rated TV-14 for language, sexual situations, and violence. Airs 9.00 p.m. Mondays on SyFy Channel, or catch up on full episodes at

In this episode, Nolan (Grant Bowler) and Tommy (Dewshane Williams) go to the Arkfall and discover a man (Brian J. Smith) in cold sleep still alive in the Ark. The man turns out to be famed NASA astronaut Commander Gordon McClintock, who was presumed dead in 2013. No-one seems to know what a human was doing aboard a Voltan ship, and McClintock doesn't remember anything about it, either. 

Meanwhile, Datak Tarr (Tony Curran) is gently rebuffed by Kenya (Mia Kirshner) -- something which doesn't go over well at all. And while everyone is busy fawning over McClintock, Mayor Rosewater (Julie Benz) gets a business proposition from her ex (Gale Harold).

But all is not well with McClintock, happy as everyone is to see him. Not only does he miss his wife (who must be in her 60's by now), but he's having flashbacks which turn him violent. When he attacks the mayor, Nolan has him brought in; but McClintock gets violent again and begins hurting himself. It's then that a secret is discovered, one which involves Doc Yewell (Trenna Keating). 

This is a good episode, not only for the twist with McClintock, but for the bits with Yewell, who's quickly becoming one of our favourite characters. The scene with Kenya and Datak just adds spicy flavour to the mix -- and we're sure that's building to something bigger.     

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Author Interview: Karen E. Olson

Karen E. Olson is the author of, among other things, the Tattoo Shop Mystery series by Signet. She was kind enough to answer a few of our questions. If you haven't read any of her work before, we highly recommend 'The Missing Ink' and its sequels. 

How long does it take for you to write a book?

It depends. It took me two years to write my first published book, 
Sacred Cows. It took me two months to write the first tattoo shop 
mystery, The Missing Ink. It just took me about three months to write a 
young adult novel. 

What kinds of writing quirks do you have?

I don't think I have any writing quirks. I don't listen to music, 
because I tend not to hear it. I just sit with my laptop in my living 
room or on my back porch or at my pool club in the summer and write. There's no ritual involved. I just sit and write. I think that's from my years as a journalist, when I had to write my stories and meet deadline.
How did you get the idea for the Tattoo Shop Mysteries? For Brett?

My editor asked me if I'd be interested in writing a tattoo shop 
mystery. At first I said no, because I don't have any tattoos and 
didn't know anything about it. But she talked me into it, and I'm glad she did! I learned a lot as I read a lot of books, visited tattoo 
shops, and talked to friends who had tattoos. And because I have a 
little bit of an art background, I decided to make Brett a frustrated 
classical painter who turns to tattooing to make a living. I really 
loved developing her, since she is a strong, independent woman who runs her own business and can solve crimes on the side!
Who is your favourite author and why?

I have many favorite authors, but the most recent "favorite" is John 
Green, a wonderful young adult author who wrote the amazing The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska. He really understands the 
complexities of teenagers, and his characters leap off the page. I've 
just finished writing a young adult novel, so I've been reading a lot 
of those. 
What is the writing process like for you?

My writing process varies from day to day, depending on what I've got going on. I write an hour or two, whenever I can find the time. 
Sometimes I write 500 words, sometimes 2,000, depending on the day. I try to keep to a rule of writing five pages a day, but I don't beat myself up if I can't meet that. 
Do you belong to a writing group, and do you recommend joining one?

Before I was published, I belonged to a small writers' group, but once I was published and was getting notes from my agent and editor and my time was a lot less flexible, I left the group. I still have a few first readers who are invaluable. 
Who is your favourite character to write about? Why?

I love all my characters. Brett was really fun to write, since I didn't 
know anything about being a tattoo artist. She really grew the more I learned. But I think my favorite character from the tattoo shop series is Jeff Coleman, the rough around the edges street shop tattooist who isn't at all the way he seems at first. Developing Brett and Jeff's relationship was one of my favorite things about writing that series. 
How do you make a living as a writer?

I don't. I have a part time job, because I have to pay the bills and my writing hasn't produced enough income yet. 

How long did it take you to break into the writing business?

It took about fifteen years of writing and querying agents and getting a publisher. Nowadays, you don't have to be that patient, since you can just upload something online, but I'm not ready to take that leap yet. 

Is writing a lonely job for you? If so, how do you combat it?

Writing is not lonely at all! I spend so much time with my characters, crafting my stories and having a ton of fun with it. I really get caught up when I'm writing a book, and I find myself thinking about the characters and the plots all the time and what I'm going to do the next time I sit down to write. 

Friday, 14 June 2013

Review: 'Making and Keeping Creative Journals'

Making and Keeping Creative Journals, by Suzanne Tourtillott, 2001, Lark Books, $24.95, hardbound, 128 pages. Category/Genre: how-to/crafts. Cover: quite good. Where we got it: borrowed it. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble. 

This book begins by discussing some of the reasons people keep journals, including for health (Tourtillott says journaling with the purpose of making sense of difficult events and emotions helps lower blood pressure), to record a journey (internal or external), for insight, to chronicle events for future generations, and for creative expression.

The author also discusses how to write a visual journal; here one may use photos, memorabilia, magazine reproductions, and personal artwork to express oneself. No-one but you needs to see it, so it doesn't have to be of professional quality.

With the idea that making one's own journal will enrich the journal keeping process, Tourtillott teaches the reader how to make his own journal with various materials.

Several projects follow. Most of the projects for this book were a collaboration between a journaler with a hobby or interest, and a book artist. There's a travel journal, which is durable and portable, with unlined pages; a dream journal with a Coptic binding to make the pages lie flat; poet's journals, the smaller of which is pocket-sized; a gardener's journal with a weather-resistant cover; and many more. 

There's a handy glossary and a small index at the back of the book.

If you like this one, try: Suggestions?  

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Review: 'High Civilization' by Bee Gees

'High Civilization' by Bee Gees, 1991, Warner Bros. Records. Cover: has Big Ben on it (a plus), but it's awfully busy. Inside has another odd picture and a photo of the gents who make up Bee Gees. Lyrics included.

This album is a bit of a divergence from what we remember of the Bee Gees, though they still use that signature falsetto, in 'Happy Ever After,' for example. Some of the lyrics are confusing, such as those in 'Party with No Name,' which could be about a group of Cupids, and 'Ghost Train' (we don't really get the connexion between a ghost train and romantic love). 

Then there's 'Evolution,' about deviant love; 'When He's Gone,' about a guy who thinks he's better for a woman than her other lover is; 'Secret Love,' about forbidden love; 'Dimensions,' about a guy in love with a girl who's too much for him; and 'The Only Love,' about a guy who can't get over a break-up. 

There's a call for a better world in 'High Civilization,' and a guy refuses to let his girl go in 'Human Sacrifice,' which has some pretty dark lyrics.  

All in all, not our favourite Bee Gees album, but it is different. 

Favourite lyrics include: 'And there's no price on what/You hold/Till it's gone/And it keeps moving on . . . How can you say to me/That I should go on living/I left the only life I had with you' ('The Only Love'). 

Monday, 10 June 2013

Review: 'I Am Maru' by mugumogu

I Am Maru by mugumogu, 2009, William Morrow, $15.99, hardbound, 95 pages. Category/Genre: mainstream. Cover: adorable. Where we got it: publisher. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million. 

This book grew out of the blog and videos about a Japanese cat named Maru. Maru is a prick-eared Scottish fold with brown tabby markings and white socks and gloves. Typical of his breed, Maru is very round. His name comes from the word marui,meaning 'rounded shape,' though he is actually called Maru because the name is easy to call. 

Maru was five pound, six ounces of kitten when he first came to live with mugumogu at four months of age. He was a curious little cat, and has never lost his instinct to play. Most of all, he loves boxes. He hides in the rubbish bin as soon as the rubbish is taken out, and will provoke mugumogu into chasing him by putting his head into the rubbish bin -- which he knows very well he is not allowed to do. 

Maru doesn't like anything warm; he has thick fur, and prefers lying on a cold wooden floor to lying in a cosy bed. He dislikes being held except when he first awakens in the morning. His favourite game is chasing. He likes sliding in cardboard boxes, and particularly favours beer boxes. He even likes patrolling the house with a paper bag on his face. 

This book is filled with really attractive colour photos. It also comes with a poster printed on the inside jacket flap. Everyone who reads this book will fall in love with Maru. 

If you like this one, try: Suggestions? 

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Review: 'Defiance: Good-bye, Blue Sky'

'Defiance: Good-bye, Blue Sky,' 2013, SyFy Channel. Written by Anupan Nigam and Amanda Alpert Muscat. Directed by Andy Wolk. Starring Grant Bowler and Stephanie Leonidas. Rated TV-14 for language and violence. Airs 9.00 p.m. Mondays on SyFy Channel, or catch up on full episodes at

Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas) is the focus of a good portion of this episode, along with Stahna Tarr (Jaime Murray) and Quentin McCawley (Justin Rain). For Irisa's part, she has a vision that Sukar (Noah Danby, pictured) is in trouble and goes into the badlands to help him, only to find that he was killed in a razor rainfall. 

What happens next is startling, not just for the viewers, and Irisa is quickly drawn into a scheme she doesn't understand, for reasons she -- at least at first -- doesn't entirely believe in. 

The McCawleys get a visit from former mayor Nicky Reardon (Fionnula Flanagan), who is suspicious about her missing aide, Mr Birch (Steven McCarthy). She comes under the pretense of needing a place to wait out the storm, but in reality she's doing some digging. 

Stahna, meanwhile, visits Kenya (Mia Kirshner) with a concern of her own: she wants her son, Alak (Jesse Rath), to get to know the human female body before he marries Christie (Nicole Munoz). What follows allows the viewer a glimpse into Stahna's life and personal problems. There's also a (somewhat unexpected) sexual scene for which the episode is for some reason not rated. 

Alak and Christie are also having difficulties, theirs brought about by Christie's discomfort with the idea of a group bath, a ceremony Stahna wants her to participate in once Christie and Alak wed.  

Friday, 7 June 2013

Review: 'Beautiful Animal Dolls' by Miriam Gourley

Beautiful Animal Dolls: Handcrafts to Treasure, by Miriam Gourley, 2001, Sterling Publishing, $24.95, hardbound, 128 pages. Category/Genre: how-to/crafts. Cover: neat. Where we got it: borrowed it. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble. 

This book has lots of information in it, starting with general instructions, which include tools, patterns, and stitching techniques. The tools involved are straight pins, tape measure, fabric scissors, craft scissors, tracing paper or photocopy machine, sewing machine, sewing needle, and coordinating thread. 

(Fabric might also be a good idea . . . )

There are a few stitching techniques to learn: buttonhole stitch, French knot, ladder stitch, feather stitch, blind stitch, backstitch, and satin stitch. 

Painting techniques are also given. 

There are dolls in three different categories: 'Genteel Jungle,' which includes a lion, a frog, and a giraffe; 'Charming Coutryside,' which includes a robin, a hen, and a rooster; and 'Enchanted Forest,' which includes rabbits and a Renaissance teddy bear. 

There's also a gallery in which one may view the creations of several artisans, as well as learn about the artisans themselves. For example, Angelia McLean creates teddy bears that are two and a half inches and under. Melinda Small Paterson has miniatures in the Rosalie Whyel Doll Museum. And Muriel Spencer designed Jaquard's muslin cat, snake, and frog craft kits. 

There are some very nice animals to make in this book, and the gallery is inspiring. 

If you like this one, try: Suggestions?  

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Review: 'The Earth Is . . . ' by Air Supply

'The Earth Is . . . ' by Air Supply, 1991, Giant Records. Cover: interesting. Lyrics are included.

Air Supply excels at the ballad, and this album proves it. Enduring love is explored in 'Stronger Than the Night'; 'The Earth Is' talks about how we're all connected and need each other; 'Speaking of Love' is about deep love and looking for confirmation of it. 

Unexpectedly, there's a song in Spanish on this tape, 'Dame Amor,' which is about a man wanting his love to give him her heart. The loss of love is the subject of 'Without You,' and the lyrics are nature-inspired in 'Dancing with the Mountain,' about being alone with the one you love. 

Then there's 'Bread and Blood,' the lyrics of which we have a serious problem with, as it's concerned with faith not getting in the way of love. 

All in all, this isn't our favourite album. But it does have 'Without You,' which we've always liked. 

Favourite lyrics include: 'No I can't forget this evening/Or your face as you were leaving/But I guess that's just the way the story goes . . . I can't live, if living is without you/I can't give, I can't give anymore' ('Without You'). 

Monday, 3 June 2013

Review: 'Naked Heat' by Richard Castle

Naked Heat by Richard Castle, 2012, Hyperion Books, $24.99, hardbound, 290 pages. Category/Genre: police procedural. Cover: good except Heat's neck is way too thick. Where we got it: bought it. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million. 

Written by Richard Castle, the fictional author on ABC's Castle, this book even includes a blurb on Castle (Nathan Fillion), as if he were a real person.

NYPD detective Nikki Heat is reeling from the notoriety she's gained since the publication of Jameson Rook's article about her. Rook and Heat used to be lovers, but that ended three months ago. Now Heat gets a shock when she comes across Rook at a crime scene.

The body is that of Cassidy Towne, gossip columnist for the New York Ledger. Towne was stabbed in the back. Rook, who's been shadowing Towne for another article, arrived on scene before police did. To Heat's dismay, Rook is going to ride along with her on the case in exchange for his release of sources and insight into Cassidy Towne.

But Heat has more problems than her love life. Towne's body is stolen before the ME can take a look at it, and Heat discovers Towne had a long list of enemies. Chester Ludlow, an ex-congressman, looked into taking a hit out on Towne; Towne had an estranged daughter, Holly Flanders, who has threatening letters to Towne, and who may be Ludlow's daughter, as well; and ball player Toby Mills broke into Towne's apartment because Towne printed a picture and the address of Mills' new house, which led a stalker to Mills' family.

At last, Heat and Rook locate Towne's body, but the questions keep piling up.

There's a heart-pounding scene in which Heat is knocked out, restrained, and then interrogated by an unknown assailant, and Castle keeps the pace moving throughout the book. He excels at fight scenes, sex scenes, and emotional turmoil.

Note: strong language and sexual situations. 

If you like this one, try: Heat Wave by Richard Castle. 

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Review: 'Defiance: Brothers in Arms'

'Defiance: Brothers in Arms,' 2013, SyFy Channel. Written by Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer. Directed by Andy Wolk. Starring Grant Bowler,  Julie Benz, and Stephanie Leonidas. Rated TV-14 for language and violence. Airs 9.00 p.m. Mondays on SyFy Channel, or catch up on full episodes at

In this episode, a man from Nolan's (Grant Bowler, pictured, third from right) past comes to Defiance. The man, Eddie Braddock (Rob Stewart) is a bounty hunter come to claim one Paul Maddis (Daniel Kash), a Castithan war criminal. But there's a hitch: Mayor Rosewater (Julie Benz, pictured, third from left) wants to deliver Maddis to the Earth Republic in exchange for rights to a railway system. 

Then Maddis escapes (with help; the episode doesn't tell from whom), and all bets are off. He goes to Datak Tarr (Tony Curran, pictured, far left) for help, but Tarr wants nothing to do with him, so Maddis forces the issue. 

Trouble is also brewing on the romantic front: Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas, pictured, second from right) refuses Tommy's (Dewshane Williams) advances, and Kenya (Mia Kirshner, pictured, center) is getting antsy about her relationship with Nolan. 

Then there's the artifact and the ex-mayor's interest in it . . . 

A good episode with a little more insight into Nolan's past as well as a teaser about Doctor Yewll's (Trenna Keating) past. We do have one major complaint about the series so far (and our brother has mentioned this, as well): the writers are taking too long to explain things, like exactly how rollers get around when Earth has been practically destroyed. We don't think it's right for them to expect us to play the Defiance game or look it up online; the show should stand on its own. 

But we're still looking forward to the next episode, scheduled to air in two weeks.    

Saturday, 1 June 2013

On the Bookshelf: Books to Be Read June 2013

Well, we didn't much care for 'Chicory Up' by Irene Radford, so we quit reading that and went on to 'The Anatomist's Wife' by Anna Lee Huber. So far it's good; we hope it will continue to be as the book progresses, and that we'll have discovered a new author (this is Huber's debut novel).