Friday, 27 June 2014

Review: 'Conquer the Clutter' by Melissa Bigner

Conquer the Clutter: Reclaim Your Space, Reclaim Your Life by Melissa Bigner, 2005, Meredith Books, $19.95, softbound, 192 pages. Category/Genre: how-to. Cover: attractive. Where we got it: borrowed it. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble. 

Following an overly-long chapter on assessing your situation, this book has some good advice. Purging, the author says, is the first step to conquering your clutter; then you must ask yourself how you want the room to function and plan zones for each function. For example, if you want your family room to have a reading area, an entertainment area, and a work space, you'll want to plan for each area. 

Bigner has tips for sorting, a 'Keeper Quiz,' and tips on selling the stuff you no longer want but that somebody will. 

If you like this one, try: Suggestions? 

Friday, 20 June 2014

Review: 'Where to Retire' by John Howells and Teal Conroy

Where to Retire by John Howells and Teal Conroy, 2011, Globe Pequot, $18.95, softbound, 351 pages. Category/Genre: reference. Cover: fine. Where we got it: borrowed it. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million. 

This book covers what to look for when considering a retirement location in America. Some requirements the authors include are safety, climate, distance from family and friends, and transportation.

There's information on evaluating health care, moving to the country, and college town retirement. Then there are overviews of various places in different states that the authors felt met their requirements. Some of the states included are Florida, California, Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, and Missouri. 

If you like this one, try: Suggestions?

Friday, 13 June 2014

Review: 'Squirrels of North America' by Tamara Eder

Squirrels of North America by Tamara Eder, 2009, Lone Pine Publishing, $16.95, softbound, 160 pages. Category/Genre: reference. Cover: brilliant. Where we got it: publisher. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million. 

Designed to help you learn about and identify the squirrels in your backyard, this book covers 66 species, all of whom are grouped and colour-coded. 

There's a quick reference guide in the beginning of the book, where you will find a small colour drawing of each species and the page number on which you will find more information. 

Eder offers a few tips on observing squirrels, and gives an overview of the science of squirrels. 

Each group begins with information about that group as well as a clear drawing of paw prints and a typical nest or burrow. Individual species have a diagrammed drawing, map, habitat icon, and statistics. To help you clarify your identification, similar species are shown. 

If you like this one, try: Suggestions? 

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Review: 'Birds of the Serengeti' by Adam Scott Kennedy

Birds of the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Area by Adam Scott Kennedy, 2014, Princeton University Press, $16.59, softbound, 224 pages. Category/Genre: reference. Cover: quite nice. Where we got it: publisher. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million. 

Filled with full-colour photographs, this book is a must for bird lovers who want to safari in Africa. 

The book is habitat-based: readers are intended to look up the birds they see based on the habitat they're in at the time of the encounter. There's a section on the habitats you'll find in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Area, including plains, woodland, and Lake Victoria. 

Whenever possible, Kennedy has provided pictures of a male and female of the species, and breeding and non-breeding plumage; plus, there are depictions of birds in flight. 

Information on birds is particularly interesting; for example, rollers (such as the Eurasian roller and the lilac-breasted roller) get their name from the 'loop-the-loop' display flights they perform. 

If you like this one, try: Animals of the Serengeti, by Adam Scott Kennedy and Vicki Kennedy. 

Monday, 9 June 2014

Review: 'Hero Worship' by Christopher E Long

Hero Worship by Christopher E Long, 2014, Flux, $9.99, softbound, 233 pages. Category/Genre: fantasy. Cover: pretty cool. Where we got it: publisher. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million. 

In what seems to be a new trend, this is a comic book in novel format. It's set in a world in which superhero powers are fairly commonplace. The Clean Powers Act established a department with the authority to certify powers as 'clean' or 'dirty.' Those people with volatile powers are called 'dirties,' and are not allowed to make a living off their powers. 

Marvin Maywood is a dirty, but he lives clean. He wants nothing more than to join the Core, a well-loved group of superheroes led by Lieutenant Mercury. 

Then one day Marvin meets Eliza, the youngest member of the Core, and everything changes. 

Some good action, and good powers. 

Note: strong language; rape scene. 

If you like this one, try: Karma Girl, by Jennifer Estep. 

Friday, 6 June 2014

Review: 'Little Shop of Homicide' by Denise Swanson

Little Shop of Homicide by Denise Swanson, 2012, Obsidian, $7.99, softbound, 259 pages. Category/Genre: mystery. Cover: stylised but good. Where we got it: publisher. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million. 

Shadow Bend, MO: Devereaux Sinclair, who owns Devereaux's Dime Store and Gift Baskets, gets embroiled in a mystery when the fiance of her ex-boyfriend turns up dead. 

Devereaux is a suspect, partly because of her past, which involves working for a man who stole his investors' life savings; unfortunately for Devereaux, the copper on her case, Det Woods, was personally affected by that scandal.

But Dev isn't alone; she has gal pal Poppy Kincaid on her side, as well as friend and conspiracy nut Boone St Onge. Poppy has secret listening devices installed in her bar, and Boone is an attorney. 

Navigating the sleuthing world can be pretty tough, though; not only must Dev face her ex, but she's trying to ignore the lusty thoughts going through her head every time deputy US Marshal Jake comes into view. 

An interesting mystery with interesting characters. 

Note: strong language; sexual language. 

If you like this one, try: Mortar and Murder, by Jennie Bentley. 

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Review: 'Murder for Choir' by Joelle Charbonneau

Murder for Choir by Joelle Charbonneau, 2012, Berkley Prime Crime, $7.99, softbound, 294 pages. Category/Genre: mystery. Cover: good. Where we got it: publisher. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million.

Struggling opera singer Paige Marshall is the new coach of Prospect Glen High School's show choir. When Paige finds Greg Lucas, director of the rival school's show choir, dead at the piano with a wound on his head and a mike cord round his neck, she's shocked. Oddly, fellow choir coach Larry is calm when he sees the body. Even more suspicious is the fact that Larry had a confrontation with Greg before his death. 

However, Larry isn't the only suspect. A cell phone belonging to student Eric Metz is found on the scene, and Greg made a pass at Eric's girlfriend. Dana, Greg's ex-wife, was angry with Greg because of an affair and the fact that he was getting joint custody of their son. And Curtis Bennett, North Shore High School's football coach, was angry with Greg because the choir director got Curtis's star wide receiver to give up football for choir. 

With plenty of intrigue and interesting characters, this is a book you won't want to miss. 

If you like this one, try: Little Shop of Homicide, by Denise Swanson. 

Monday, 2 June 2014

Review: 'The Cat, the Wife and the Weapon' by Leann Sweeney

The Cat, the Wife and the Weapon by Leann Sweeney, 2012, Obsidian, $7.99, softbound, 288 pages. Category/Genre: mystery. Cover: clever. Where we got it: publisher. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million. 

Part of the 'Cats in Trouble' mysteries, this book finds cat lover and quilter Jillian Hart worried about boyfriend Tom Stewart, who hasn't called, even though she's left ten messages.

Deepening the mystery is the fact that Bob Cochran, Tom's brother (who Jillian didn't know about), has been staying in Tom's house for two days, waiting for Tom to come home. 

When at last Tom resurfaces, he opens up to Jillian about his past -- his ex-wife and his son, Finn, who is missing. When Finn and his dog Yoshi show up, Finn is injured and in possession of a gun he can't remember obtaining. A man is dead, and Finn is a suspect; in order to clear the teenager's name, Jillian and Tom will have to do some serious sleuthing. 

Filled with the characters you'll have grown to love from the other books in the series, this installment doesn't fail to entertain. Newcomers to the series will be able to follow the plot, as well. 

If you like this one, try: The Cat, the Mill and the Murder, by Leann Sweeney; Red Velvet Revenge, by Jenn McKinlay.