Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Biblio.com - A Site Review for Booklovers and Booksellers

Biblio.com - A Site Review for Booklovers and Booksellers
Logo created on PicMonkey


Do You Buy or Sell Used Books?



Just last week I started listing some of my new, used, and slightly shop-worn Preschool - Grade 12 textbooks, workbooks, and teaching materials at Biblio.com. I created a logo on PicMonkey using this image from Pixabay for my storefront at Biblio. That's what you see above.

I have added a few books manually while updating my 6000+ book database for a bulk upload. I'm getting back into the bookselling game again. I chose Biblio as my new bookselling home for many reasons, but I haven't been there long enough yet to review the site from a seller's point of view. I will say Biblio has a very responsive support team that answers my questions. You can watch my store shelves at Biblio fill as I begin to offer bargain books on cooking, gardening, crafting, and other interests as I have time. Please check out Barb's People Builders' new home at Bibio.com 

As I've been spending more time on the site, I've discovered a lot of new features that weren't there a few years ago. It's a very user-friendly place for book buyers. I like to support the independent booksellers who have opted not to rely completely on Amazon as a selling site. Many of those sellers you see at Amazon also list on Biblio. But on Biblio they are able to offer you more than they can on Amazon.

I Love the Newest Biblio Search Feature

Biblio.com has unique search features.
Image by kropekk_pl from Pixabay 


As you may expect, you can search Biblio for books by author, title, ISBN, and keyword. There are also several filters you can apply to narrow your search, including price, attributes such as type of cover, condition, whether a dust jacket is present, publish date, whether the seller has included a photo,  and more. There are also many ways you can sort your results.

The new feature I especially love is the ability to always show or exclude certain dealers from your searches. You can easily change your mind later about your favorite stores to search or include excluded stores again. I hate having a couple of bargain sites with multiple copies of the same book monopolizing my search results, and I can easily exclude them so I can see what other dealers are offering.

Biblio Sellers Are Independent and Can Communicate with You


If you have a question about a book you can probably call or email a Biblio seller directly without a middleman getting in the way. Although many of us work from home and don't list our phone numbers, you can email us and arrange for  phone call if you prefer that.

Independent booksellers, especially those with open stores, know their books. I don't know of any of us who have had time to list them all yet. I still have hundreds unlisted I'd like to sell. Let's say, for example, a homeschool wants to teach a unit study on frogs or pond life. So far I haven't listed the books I have on those subjects, but I do have lots of them I could suggest if someone contacts me.

Nonfiction books for children are one of my specialties. I could probably meet most of your needs from unlisted books sitting on my shelves and give you a consolidated shipping price for them if you contact me directly. In contrast, Amazon often charges a standard $3.99 shipping fee per book, even if five books are shipped together. Not everything you buy from third party sellers qualifies for free or prime shipping. Some Biblio sellers also offer free shipping. We are also required to ship internationally.

Are you a book collector? There probably are Biblio sellers who specialize in the books that interest you. When you contact them directly they can watch for books you might want as they acquire them and let you know about them. On Amazon  you need to put specific titles on their wish list. They use artificial intelligence. A human bookseller uses human intelligence and may know about books in your specialty you don't know about yet.

Amazon sells books, but it's not a bookseller in the same sense as an independent bookseller is. Amazon is primarily a book marketer. There's a difference. Independent booksellers know what's on their shelves at home or in their storefronts. They've often read a lot of them related to the topics they specialize in. They can advise you on content or style. Most of them love to talk to customers about what they are both interested in. You may find that this direct communication is worth the extra bit you might have to pay for postage.

Other Reasons I Like Biblio.com


Biblio provides services to independent sellers with reasonable fees and lets them communicate with buyers directly. Their individual stores post a way to contact them.

Biblio.com - A Site Review for a Socially Responsible Independent Used Book Site
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 


Biblio is socially responsible. It cares about the environment. It uses its profits to provide jobs and benefits to its employees as well as to give back to the community. Think of it as your local bookstore in the worldwide community. It is independent instead of being owned by a large corporation. Biblio also founded a nonprofit organization that seeks to bring literacy and education to impoverished communities. See the details here.

I hope next time you're searching for an out-of-print or used book you will give Biblio a try. And please check out my storefront while you're there, especially if you have children or grandchildren who like to read or need academic practice at home.

More Places You Can Find Great Books for Children and Education


If you are homeschooling, you also may want to check out this post: Should Homeschoolers Sell Used Curriculum at Homeschool Used Book? I think it's not only a good place for homeschoolers to find materials they need, but they can also find new homes for teaching resources and textbooks they no longer need. They can use credit from from their sales to buy different books they see listed on the site. Or they can get cash for their sales instead.

And don't forget to visit the site I've been resurrecting since going back to bookselling -- Books to Remember. I'll be listing and reviewing many of my education resources there with links to where you can get them. The site also hosts one of my book blogs for parents and educators.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Seven Sisters Book Review

Historical Fiction of the Roman Empire

roman legion
Could this Roman legion be marching to the Seven Sisters?
image courtesy of pixabay.com
I would like to share a review of the book Seven Sisters by David Bowman with you today. Most of the time when I pick a book to share with you, it is one that is typically written with the female reader in mind. Oh, a few would be appealing to both genders but generally my reading tastes lean toward my own gender. Today's review will be about a book that I think will appeal to most men.

Mr. Bowman has written a fine piece of historical fiction that takes place in the Roman Empire during the Ninth Century. The story falls into what is often termed as alternative history where actual history takes on a speculative nature allowing for people, places, and events to be in the plot that either didn't exist or didn't happen.



Short Synopsis of Seven Sisters

Crastus is the Commander of the Fifth Legion for the Emperor of Rome. He is a veteran of the Roman military and has earned a great deal of respect from the men he leads and fellow commanders of other legions in the vast military of the empire. He is affectionately referred to as "The Silver Fox" and is known for his superb strategies in battle and for his element of surprise when fighting the enemy. As the story begins, Crastus has been commanded by the Emperor to oversee a campaign involving his own legion along with the Seventh and the Seventeenth. Their mission? To take back the fortified city called Seven Sisters from The Pretender who has kept the empire in a civil war for the last 5 years. This city is the best fortified area in the entire empire, even better than Rome. It has seven fortresses and an ingenuous water defense system. It will be up to Crastus to direct all three legions as they besiege the fortified city and defeat what is left of the rebel army. The task before him will not be easy and if he fails, the Emperor will surely have his head. Will he be able to use the new weapons and his cunning to win the city back? At what cost?

My recommendation:


As I mentioned above this is a book that will appeal to many male readers. I'm not saying woman can't enjoy it; I actually did find it fascinating. There is no romance involved in the plot. It is strictly preparing for battles, strategy planning  and the battles themselves. Political schemes and corruption in the government are also revealed. The battle scenes aren't too horribly graphic but it doesn't take much to see in your mind's eye what is going on during the attacks. I thought the use of their "new weapons" was a fun piece to the story. A kind of using the latest technology of war only it is taking place in the Ninth Century. 

I can see where this wouldn't necessarily be a book that female readers would enjoy but I do think that it would be a very nice gift for your spouse or son to have to read. They are going to enjoy the regimen of the soldiers, the preparing for attacks and the way the men interact with each other. Actually, I enjoyed it quite a lot. It was refreshing to read something that I normally wouldn't choose to read. 

So, why did I pick this book in the first place you might ask? Well, you know me; I am always looking for authors who haven't received much recognition from the reading public. David Bowman actually came to my attention in an unexpected way. I was looking for a designer to do book covers for me and found his website, Brightling Spur. David worked with me to come up with new covers for my Roni Rainer Mysteries and he has also helped me with the covers for my newest (soon to be released) series Cabin 9 Mysteries. When I discovered that he was not only a clever designer of book covers but also an author, I wanted to read his work. I wasn't disappointed in his covers or his writing.

In fact, Seven Sisters is the first book in a trilogy. He has also written Two Brothers which continues the story of Crastus and Rome and the final book is Imperator that concludes the story. I have read the first two completely and am about to finish the third book. If you are looking for a good gift to a male reader on your list, these books will not disappoint.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, July 29, 2019

Reviewing the Origami Rack: Folding Storage Racks

Reviewing my Origami Rack.
A friend told me that he had a shelf for me. He said he'd bring it over if I wanted it. I said yes with some hesitance. Maybe I am a shelf snob. Because I did NOT want a flimsy plastic rack or one of those ugly metal racks that are often used in workshop spaces. Fortunately, the shelf unit he brought to me is an Origami Rack and it is AMAZING! I couldn't be more thrilled with this storage solution.


Origami Folding Racks



My friend carried the folded shelf up to my third floor apartment. In the living room, he pulled the shelf open with one move and fastened it open with two small latches. My shelf is on wheels, so I easily wheeled it to the corner of my teeny dining room.

These racks are great for indoor use, laundry rooms, garages, and anywhere that extra storage space is needed. 

The folks at Origami Racks state:



If I don't need to use this shelf, it folds flat to approximately 3 inches thick. (Unfortunately, I did not measure it while it was still folded).


My Storage Needs



I need storage in this teeny, tiny apartment. There is barely space to turn around, let alone store things. Even though I'm not looking for "pretty" storage, it helps that this shelf isn't ugly.

My rack measures 63" tall x 2' wide x 2' deep. It is on wheels and has four shelves.

When in use, this shelf is incredibly strong. On one shelf I have two partial 20 lb bags of dog food, the plastic dog food bin (I mix two brands and put the ready-to-use food in the bin) and a 5 gallon bucket that is full of cans of food and bags of rice (we were expecting a hurricane and I stocked up on food). One shelf easily holds these large items. I will need to do some re-arranging and decide exactly what I want to store on these shelves. I just excitedly threw these items on the shelves: glad to get some of these things out from under my table and up off the floor. Also, the cat litter took up a large bit of the space in my bathroom linen closet. I'm glad to have extra space in that closet and thrilled that the Origami shelf holds such heavy items. 

Some of the photos online make the shelves appear flimsy, as though the joint in the shelf would be a weak point. But be assured that these shelves are strong!

Related Links:

Origami Rack has a shop on Amazon - if you are like me and are a prime member and love the free shipping and the delivery (I hate carrying things up my three flights of stairs). On that Amazon page, you can see a variety of items as well as photos of the shelves when folded. 

Visit the Origami Rack website for more information and to see what shelves are currently offered. 




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Sunday, July 28, 2019

Simple DIY Hack to Help Organize Your Kitchen Drawers

DIY Hack for Organizing Kitchen Drawers
Yesterday was the day I tackled the massive kitchen drawer disaster.

It was Instagram's fault. An amazing organized drawer systems stole my attention and that was all it took. However, the Instagram post featured a stunning brand new kitchen with professional pre-installed drawer sorters.

So that got me thinking …. How can I DIY this with things I already own?

DIY organizational hacks are one of my fave things to do. For me, sorting and organizing is relaxing. Yah, I know, to some of you, that's crazy talk. It's the end result that drives me. I'll work my tail off to get to that finished look!

A Flower Vase to Hold the Important Cooking Utensils

First I had to lessen the amount of utensils in the drawers. So I put all the most useful cooking items in a vase, and placed it beside the stove. Very handy indeed. If you hate counter clutter, put it inside a cupboard or pantry.

Use a Flower Vase to Hold Cooking Utensils

Line the Drawers with a Piece of Carpet

No, not shag or thick carpeting. We used a piece of industrial hard twist with shallow grooves. They're actually extra rugs we have on hand. The most important part of this DIY hack is to ensure the carpet has a rubber non-slip backing.

Just measure the drawer and cut the carpet to fit. With a non-slip backing, even if it's not a tight fit, it won't slide around.

Carpet with Rubber Backing Keeps Utensils in Place

We open and close the above drawer multiple times a day and not one utensil slips or slides. Each item has a spot and stays put. When we need an item, it's clearly visible. No more digging!

The Carpet Prevents Slipping and Sliding

We already had an inexpensive silverware divider in the top drawer, however it kept sliding around. The constant opening and closing of the drawer would cause the items placed in front to get caught or slide completely under the sorter.

Take a look at the silverware drawer now. With the rug as a base, the plastic sorter doesn't slide and the few items we keep in the front no longer move.

With the Carpet as the Base
the Sorter and Loose Items Stay in Place

The same thing applies for the third drawer. The plastic sorter no longer slides and the items along the side and edges stay in place.

The nice thing about using a piece of carpet (with rubber backing), is that even if your plastic sorters don't exactly fit, they won't move around on the carpet. So you can put utensils in front, behind or on the sides, and they too will stay in place.

Line the Kitchen Drawer with Carpet

Since renovating our kitchen is on the agenda, I've been avoiding tackling any projects, because, well, I want the reno more! But this DIY hack was fun. Glad we did it. 

If you're planning a kitchen reno, check out these professionally design pantries! There's nothing DIY here, they're all 10s!






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Saturday, July 27, 2019

The President is Missing Book Review


I am not an American nor am I particularly political. However, I do love some James Patterson novels and this book, The President is Missing, which is co-authored by Patterson and former President Bill Clinton, came to the top of my reading list for my book club recently. It is a fictional work, billed as a thriller and, as the tagline says, is one that only a president could write. Here's a short, engaging trailer for the book:


According to a USA Today interview on the video that follows, Patterson and Clinton sat down to create the best book about the presidency that has ever been written. I do not think they achieved that goal. They did write a sometimes entertaining fictional story in which the President of the United States struggles to deal with a potential cyber attack and the possible destruction of the American way of life when a terrorist sets out to destroy the internet, its servers and all the computers in the United States. The President attempts to do so with the help of a small handful of trusted staff members.

I found the book a bit hard to get into and at times drawn out. In particular, I found the last section, where the President’s address goes on for far too long, unnecessary.  However, the book does give us a look into the inner workings, though obviously no secrets, of the U.S. government and it includes some humorous moments and a very likable though not perfect President.

The Guardian calls Clinton’s involvement one of the great things about this book and says that it is almost a “guarantee of political authenticity.” They go on to say that it feels like the “outcome of a conversation between one writer with an unusual skill at thriller plotting and another with an exceptional grasp of global politics.” I agree and I believe that there is value to the reader who is interested in that authenticity.

On a more serious note, The President is Missing deals with our dependence on the internet. Take a moment and think about what we could or could not do without the internet and computers. You will come up with a long, long list that includes banking, healthcare, transportation and so much more. After reading this book, you may decide to keep some cash under your mattress.

Despite having a hard time starting the book and the sometimes drawn out parts, I did enjoy it. It was not a favorite though and I cannot give it my ‘Highly Recommended’ rating but I would recommend it if you are interested in a peek into the government, you enjoy reading thrillers and are willing to tolerate the slow parts.

What Did Others Think?


For starters, the book was a Number 1 New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and Amazon bestseller though that is I am sure in great part due to the two names on the cover.

You will find that Amazon customer reviews are all over the place with 77 percent of them being 5 or 4 star. I do not think that is great but nor is it really that bad.

The Washington Post calls the book an awkward duet and writer Ron Charles calls it our for the being the obvious marketing ploy that it is. Two big names, one book. True, I suppose.

To the detriment of the book, The Guardian says, "This novel is indeed missing several things, including a believable plot and even the remotest sense of narrative tension." I would counter with it is a fictional thriller.

The Independent calls it “absurdly boring.”  I think that is an extreme position though the book had its moments.

Despite the comments and reviews from those parties, I believe that the following interview from Today with both of the authors may help you decide you want to read the book despite the shortcomings.


Once again, I can and do recommend this book if you are interested in the inner workings of the government, you enjoy a thriller and James Patterson and you can tolerate the slow parts. You can find your copy of The President is Missing on Amazon by clicking right here. Of note, The President is Missing may soon become a movie or television mini-series.

If you do read this book, be sure to come back and let us know what you thought. Was it a good read? Was it interesting despite the issues mentioned above? Would you recommend it to a friend?

See you
at the book store!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

Quick Link:

Buy your copy of The President is Missing on Amazon.









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Friday, July 26, 2019

Slim Wallet with RFID Reviewed

Slim Wallet with RFID Reviewed

Many years ago, I discovered the convenience of carrying a wallet in my pocket instead of a purse.  I've always hated the "bulge" created by a wallet, but fashion can't always be the priority in life for most of us.

In my teen and young adult years, I always carried a purse.  During those years, it never really occurred to me that there was an alternative.  Handbags were not only a normal accessory for females, they were often a fashion statement.  I enjoyed selecting and changing my purse to match my shoes.  Without really meaning to, I had quite a collection of purses in my closet.  However, motherhood changed all of that for me and the "practical" replaced my business pumps and purses.

I quickly found out that trying to balance a baby on my hip, a diaper bag and a purse, was simply overwhelming for me.  I had to reduce my daily "luggage" and I certainly was not going to leave my child behind.  Therefore, the purse had to go!  

Because I had to have my drivers license, I opted for a small wallet that I could carry in my pants pocket.  I hated leaving behind my wallet of photos, but that sacrifice had to be made.  I remember it really was an adjustment for me at the time.

My children are adults now, but I have never returned to carrying a purse.  In fact, my wallets have been streamlined and the hated wallet bulge has disappeared.   



My Slim Wallet


 Slim Wallet RFID Front Pocket Wallet Minimalist Secure Thin Credit Card Holder (Waterproof Grey)Check PriceAfter a few decades of carrying a thin wallet that resembles a pocket with a flap, I recently changed to a slim wallet.  You wouldn't even notice that I was carrying this flat wallet in my back pocket unless you were intentionally looking.  When we went hiking recently, I actually carried it in the upper pocket of my vest and could barely see the outline of the wallet.  Again, I doubt most people would even have noticed it.  

I admit, I have had to get used to having an "open" wallet, but I definitely prefer the flat construction.  

This slim wallet has built-in RFID blocking material which allowed me to eliminate one card I was carrying in my wallet.  There are 6 card slots and a front clear ID window for my driver's license.  The top loading pocket is perfect for folded dollar bills.

These slim wallets come in a variety of colors.  While I don't think it is necessary to match my wallet to my shoes, it would be possible if I wanted to just for fun!







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Thursday, July 25, 2019

Photographic Review of Buffalo New York Lighthouse





I enjoy photographing lighthouses and on a recent July day we made a stop on our trip east to visit the beautiful lighthouse in Buffalo NY.  This lighthouse is located at the mouth of the Buffalo river at the north entrance to Buffalo harbor.


Brief History of Buffalo Lighthouse


In 1805 Congress designated the Village of Buffalo to be a port of entry into the United States.  It was determined that the port needed a lighthouse but because of the War of 1812 construction was put off.  In 1818 the first lighthouse was built in Buffalo.  As the city of Buffalo grew into a major port a new lighthouse was needed.  The current lighthouse was built in 1833 at a height of 68 feet. You can read more about the history of the lighthouse at the following link Main Buffalo Lighthouse .


Photographs from my Visit


I was hoping to get up close to the lighthouse and had read the instructions online with directions how to get there by walking alongside the coast guard station.  What they didn't say was that this path was only open on Friday, Saturday and Sundays and since it was Wednesday I had to find another way to view the lighthouse.  I got back in the car and drove down the road to the nearest park on the harbor.  I found a charming park with a beautiful rain garden, some delightful wind catchers and paths all along the harbor.  The wind catchers were on a hill and when I climbed the hill, I got a great view of the lighthouse.  I had a 210 mm lens with me and it worked great to zoom in on the lighthouse.  The following photos are of the lighthouse and the park.





                                                               




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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Summer's Bounty How to Make the Best of It!


Reviewing the Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator 


Summertime is here and the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables is upon us!  Let's review how to enjoy all of this goodness now and later too!   Food Dehydrators are not new, but they may be new to you!

If you are a gardener, I'm sure that your little (or big) plot is starting to show signs that there will be a good crop of some fruits and vegetables coming soon.  If you are anything like me, you can hardly wait for that first ripe tomato.  Everyday you go to the garden to see its growth.  Then it starts to turn red and the excitement is almost palpable.  Okay, I'm a little crazy for my fresh fruits and veggies.

Right now we are in the height of strawberry season, so you know where I will be.  Off to my closest "pick your own" patch to indulge in early summer sweetness.  After I have eaten my fill, made some jam and eaten some more, there will still be strawberries that I need to process somehow.

Now this is where my product review starts!  


Have you ever thought about buying a Food Dehydrator and drying the rest?  There are several ways that you can make the freshness of this seasons fruits and vegetables last through the year.  Making jams, jellies and chutneys are one way.  Preserving and canning is another. But wait, there is still the other option and that is to dry the goodness for use later!  Easy and quick too!  No more wasting your food dollars.



We purchased a  Food Dehydrator a couple of years ago, when my other half decided to make his own beef jerky.  Yes, you can make your own beef jerky, but that is not what I do.

I use this dehydrator to keep all my herbs, tomatoes, carrots, peppers and all other manner of fruits and vegetables for my winter time cooking.  I get the same flavor as I would if I had just harvested my garden.  I can also take advantage of the farmer's markets and buy more fresh produce, both for use now and for dehydration and use for later.


These pictures show you how I just finished drying a whole bunch of parley and basil.  It took less than an hour and my parsley flakes are beautiful in color and smell.  The basil dried to a light brown, but the smell is incredible. I will use these throughout the fall and winter in my recipes.


No more buying fruit roll ups with their questionable ingredients.  Make your own and you will know exactly what is in that delicious dried fruit.  To make fruit roll ups you will need to purchase some non-stick sheets that fit into the dehydrator.  This will keep the fruit from falling through the grids in the different layers.  You can make different fruit bars all at the same time.  Fresh and flavorful with no additives and preservatives.  Just plain really good fruit!



Save money by letting less of your food dollars go to waste!

We in the West are known for our mishandling of our food dollars.  So much of what we buy ends up in the garbage, wasted and useless.  Don't let this be your story!

Preparing foods for dehydration is not a difficult task.  Just wash your veggies and fruits well, cut them up, place them into the trays and set it on!

Your fruits and veggies will be ready in a few hours depending on what you are drying. Beef jerky takes a little longer, but oh my is the taste ever delicious.  It has store bought beat hands down.


Food Dehydrator and Recipe Book included!


Don't be afraid to try new things.  This food dehydrator will have you saving all those fruits, vegetables and spices without thinking twice.  No more buying fresh herbs for a recipe and then throwing away the rest.  Dry it instead, so that next time you need it, it is there for you!  Once you get the hang of it, you will find that you will waste less and really enjoy the fresh taste of homemade!


The only Accessory you might need:


If you are making fruit roll ups, you will need the non-stick mats that fit right into the trays.  Because of the sugar content in fresh fruit, you will have a sticky mess without these sheets.  They are inexpensive and will help you make better use use of the dehydrator!


I hope I have given you something that you can work with and enjoy for many years to come.  Fresh food and flavors that are just out of this world, can be yours, with a little work!  Your family will enjoy the benefits and the healthy snacks that will be made right at home in your kitchen.  










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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Selective Spells Book Review

Witches, Spells, Dogs & A Mystery

french-bulldog
Is this Beezley the man turned into a dog?
image courtesy of pixabay.com
I'll be reviewing another Cozy Mystery for you today: Selective Spells by Willow Mason. It is Book 1 in the series Beezley and the Witch. It is also the debut novel of this fellow Indie Author.

The story is told in the first person by the main character. She is a witch living in a small town who has been excommunicated from her coven. Up until she got into trouble with the white witches in the area she was a librarian of sorts guarding boxes of spells that shouldn't be tampered with. Now, she has lost her job and her powers are diminished to a certain degree but not completely gone.

Losing her job and the support of the coven is bad enough but then the leader informs her that she is being evicted from her home, too. A witch has to eat and work in order to pay rent no matter where she lives. Searching for employment, she finds a notice for a job that requires the employee be a witch. She decides to look into the opportunity because she is still a witch she just isn't a part of the coven.

This is when she meets Beezley for the first time. He is in the form of a French Bulldog and will be her boss if he gives her the job. Humans wouldn't be able to understand Beezley's canine ramblings; it would just sound like barking, yipping and yapping. But since our narrator is a witch she understands everything he says. It turns out that he was once a Detective on the police force but has been turned into a dog. He is working on the same case that he had when he was in his human form but has trouble with little things like communicating with non-witches, texting on his phone, and using the computer. 

The two don't exactly hit it off in the first interview and our Witch is not interested in the job until she finds out about her eviction. She goes back to take the job and ask to live with the dog detective. They begin to work on the mystery of deaths that are marked as accidents but Beezley's instincts think there is something more to the whole sorted mess. We travel through the pages of spells, deception, betrayal and surprises as the readers.


Recommendation of Selective Spells

I highly recommend this cozy mystery to anyone who loves the genre. It was unique in the concept of the plot. The characters were both humorous and believable. Well, as believable as one can be if they are a witch and a man turned into a dog. That is the wonderful thing about fiction! The characters can be anything and anywhere. 

I enjoyed the story being told in the first person instead of the more standard third person. Being an author, myself, I know that is a little more difficult to write. Our little witch is allowed to have her snarky thoughts and we see her vulnerability better from her perspective. 

This book was extremely fun to read and to work through the clues of the mystery. Well, done Ms. Mason! I look forward to your future books. I think many of you will enjoy Selective Spells, also. The plot flows nicely, the premise is original and the reading is light and cozy just like it is supposed to be.



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Monday, July 22, 2019

Defiant Wireless Motion Sensor Solar Light Review

Need an outdoor light but no electrical outlet? The wireless motion sensor solar light by Defiant can assist. I recently needed to light an outdoor walkway which was marooned between electrical outlets and hard wiring the area was not an option.


I purchased the Defiant Wireless Solar Light to solve the no electrical outlet, need light problem and have been very impressed with its' performance. 


Brightness

Brightness
Motion Sensor

x
This is a bright light! It is not for subtle soft lighting along the deck, patio or home. The solar light has the equivalency of 20 LED lights.

The unit actually has two lights. The main light facing out and an interior back light behind the main light. The two lights are synchronized to provide the full brightness. The motion sensor feature then regulates how the lights are dimmed after activation.




Motion Sensor


I found the motion sensor to be very accurate. The small unit is deceiving as to how quickly it will pick up motion. Activity to trigger the motion sensor is up to 26 feet with a 120 degree radius according the the specifications.

There are two settings for the motion sensor:

1. When motion is detected the front and back light turns on to full brightness. After 10 seconds of no motion both lights turn to low brightness.

2. Standby mode. When motion is detected the front and back light turns to full brightness. After 10 seconds of no motion the front light turns off and the back light turns to low brightness.

The light does not have an option for both lights to be turned off after activation. 


Solar Light & Wireless

The solar light takes eight hours of charging to provide 12 hours of continuous light during the night. 

The wireless feature is perfect for areas of the home, deck, landscape or yard which are not located near an electrical outlet. The unit is easy to install as it is lightweight and requires two wall screws (included.) However I liked the portability of the unit due to its' lightweight and shape so I positioned the unit on the deck stairs to face the sun.

 

 

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Sunday, July 21, 2019

Three Over the Top Home Decor Additions that Few People Can or Will Do

Will Over the Top Additions Add Value to Your Home?

Let's review how the other side lives. Or rather how those who aren't afraid to take their home above and beyond what's considered standard decorating protocol.

I have to admire people with a free decorating spirit. It takes a lot of faith, trust, pixie dust, and yep, cold hard cash to add the extreme décor ideas featured below.

1. How about A Slide Inside the Home? Huh?

Yes, that's right, it's an actual professionally designed slide. They tend to be added beside staircases. Certainly a practical solution when your knees hurt, or for the kids. Those ankle biters will leap out of bed in the morning just to slide down for breakfast. If you're curious what these look like, check out several spectacular designs here.

2.  You Have the Slide, Now Add the Swings? What?

The choices for adding a swing range from actual swings to swing benches. Swing benches can be open on both sides, or completely closed. And yep, they're not just for porches and patios. The uniqueness comes from adding them to the kitchen, bedroom or living room. They're quite spectacular and you can bet, popular with guests. Curl up with a book and swing inside your home. If you'd like to check out how professional designers tied swings into a décor theme, you can find more information here.

3. Homes with a Secret Passageway, Really?

Really. When the budget isn't an issue, you're only limited by your imagination or better yet, your decorator's imagination. Secret passageways can be staircases that lift and open to a secret room, crawl space cubbies that connect rooms together, or rooms hidden behind walls and bookcases. If you'd like more information on this over-the-top home décor idea, you can read more here.

Does Any of this Add Value to Your Home?

Of course, yes, adding anyone of the above outstanding unique items to your home will add value. But let's examine the word "value".

Value can meaning selling for more, selling quickly or just plain selling. The market dictates which category your sale will fall into.

The value of a home ranges from area to area. A house in the country is generally less expensive on a per square foot basis than a home in the city. City to city prices range substantially as well.

To determine whether it's worth adding an expensive perk to your home (slides, swings, secret rooms), you have to first know the upper limit price range for your area.

If your home is already close to or at that upper price range, making expensive additions may not generate a return. However, if you're making this addition and plan on staying in your home for many years (5, 10 or more), you have a good chance at recouping that investment.

On the bright side, if your home isn't at the higher price range for your neighborhood, making additions like this can help you reach that plateau and/or help you sell your home faster.

Always bear in mind that recessions come in cycles, and selling your home during a recession isn't easy. With anyone of these perks, you'll have an edge, but that doesn't mean during a downturn you'll recoup your decorating investment.

Not to worry if you're selling in an up-market; if your home is staged and filled with perks, you could do well on that selling price! If your home is situated among large estates where each home is unique, making any of the above outlined additions will generally add value.

If you're a real estate stats junkie (like I am), have a ton of fun reading value assessments and projections for the USA here and Canada here at GlobalPropertyGuide.

Although you're reading general stats, you should never apply these generalizations to your area. Even in a declining economy some areas can continue to do well. General stats merely help you secure a global picture. Combine that global information with your local area to help you assess saleability, timing and price.

Here's something I like to do to help assess the long term hold of a piece of property: Look up the population projections for your city or area. What is the ten/twenty year growth analysis by your local state/provincial municipal governments? You can find this information online. If the numbers are through the roof, then there's a high probability your property will increase substantially over time.

So, if your wallet permits any of these wild and funky additions and your home's price is destined to go onwards and upwards for years to come, go for it!

Other unique perks for your home here









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Saturday, July 20, 2019

Ace Hardware Color of the Year Review


Ace Hardware is known for it's multiple paint products and their paint mixers which are able to give the customers the exact paint colors they desire. In mid-2018, in conjunction with Clark and Kensington Paint, Ace decided to run a consumer-led color contest to select a new batch of colors for 2019. 

Ace held a Neighborhood Paint Party in March, 2018 where consumers were encouraged to hand mix, create and name their own paint color for a chance to be entered into Ace's Color of the Year Contest.





The Winning Color of the Year


Twenty-five finalists were selected from the entries by a panel of Ace color experts and over 35,000 fans voted for their favorite color via social media channels. 



The winning Clark+Kensington color was created by a New Jersey woman who states she was daydreaming about enjoying a delicious dessert while on a relaxing vacation.


“The color is soothing and yet bright; sweet with just a bit of tartness.” 

She named her mellow yellow winning color “Pineapple Cream Granita”. As the winner, she also received a $1,000 Ace Gift Card. 


Runner-Up Winners



Six runners-up were also selected and these colors are now all available at your local Ace Hardware store.  The six other colors are:


  • Jack Come Back! (a burgundy red) 
  • Shake Your Flipper (a sea blue) 
  • Leroy the Rooster (an orange shade) 
  • Warm Llama (a gray tone) 
  • Tina's Patina (an aqua blue shade)
  • Miracles in D'skies (a deep blue with a turquoise tint). 


The six runner-up winners each received a $250 Ace Gift Card. 

Ace is the Place


For more than 90 years, Ace Hardware has been known as the place with the helpful hardware folks. The paint contest has now made their paint department even more helpful. 


If you need paint, especially a unique color, for any of your household projects, visit the Paint Studio at an Ace Hardware near you and enjoy choosing the one that suits you best. All seven of these new customer-created colors are exclusive to Ace Hardware. 


Visit ACE online or 
your local neighborhood store and choose your favorite paint color


*Ace Hardware paint color contest article written by (c) Wednesday Elf on 7/20/2019

**Images scanned from a free paint chip flyer obtained at my local Ace Hardware ~ Jerry's Ace in Eldridge, Iowa. 


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Friday, July 19, 2019

The Cowboy's Redeeming Love Historical Fiction Book Reviewed

The Cowboy's Redeeming Love Christian Historical Fiction Book Reviewed

The Cowboy's Redeeming Love by Chloe Carley


My favorite book genre is historical fiction romance.  I've read a few books in that genre written by Chloe Carley and love them all. I previously reviewed one of her other books here on Review This, "The Stubborn Sweet Bride". Therefore, I was recently thrilled to discover  "The Cowboy's Redeeming Love" while searching for a new book.  

I expected The Cowboy's Redeeming Love to be a good book with a somewhat typical "all's well that ends well" story-line.  However, it turned out to be a unique and excellent historical romance.  

Chloe Carley has once again written a fiction book that tells the story of a young woman who meets evil face to face here on earth and goes to extremes to get away from it.


The Cowboy's Redeeming Love Synopsis 


Brianna Tompkins' previously wealthy father decided to move his family to California so he could quickly restore his families worth via a gold mine.  Apparently, he believes the gold is just lying around waiting to be claimed and would be an easy way to get rich again quick.  Without fully knowing, or considering, the environment he would be taking his privileged wife and daughter into, he loaded a wagon and headed west to stake his claim.

 The Cowboy's Redeeming Love:
An Inspirational Historical Romance Novel
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Having been raised in affluence, with servants attending to her every whelm and need, Brianna is scarcely prepared for the changes she would be required to endure.  Her lifestyle had previously protected her from the harsher elements, work, and vices of the world.  She had only known abundance, silks, refinement, ladies and gentlemen.  


Neither Brianna nor her mother wanted to go, but Brianna's father assured them all would be well.  They would make their fortune quickly and return home, back to the lap of luxury. 

Since readers have the benefit of historical knowledge, we already know, the Tompkins family is in for a rude awakening.  However, even we wouldn't expect both parents to die, leaving Brianna in the hands of a mercilessly evil man who stakes his claim on her.  With her refusal to readily accept Percy Smythe, he has her brutally beaten and held captive, allowing her time to embrace her new reality as his wife. 


The Cowboy


The Sutter family is leaving their home in Kentucky and moving to California to help Mr. Sutter's aging brother, Otis, on his ranch.  Along with his wife, Cora, Mason Sutter and their 3 grown sons, Morgan, Spenser & Riley, packed up their wagons and headed west.  The family stopped along the way to visit Cora's sister and found her sister recently widowed.  Cora and Mason decide to stay on in Missouri to help Cora's sister, but send the boys on ahead.  After all, Otis Sutter is expecting them to help him through the upcoming winter.

The Cowboy's Redeeming Love Historical Fiction Book Reviewed
Since it was just the 3 young men now, they were able to move much faster, stopping in small towns along the way for rest and supplies.  However, they found some small towns were not "friendly" or "inviting" to outsiders.  That was the case in Percy's Crossing.  Even though it was only 20 miles from their uncles ranch, they needed to stop for the night, but Percy's Crossing was not an option for them.  They rode another mile before they settled in for the night with a warm fire, to sleep under the stars.

When a small figure entered their camp and set down in front of their fire, only one of the sleeping brothers was awakened by this nearly silent intruder.  Morgan expected a child when he slipped up on the little intruder.  Instead, he discovered a badly beaten woman and she had either fallen asleep or passed out when he reached her.  He decided to let her rest and covered her with a blanket.  The following morning, as the sun started to rise, the little intruder was terrified when she awoke and found herself surrounded by 3 big men.  She had no way of knowing the three brothers would not harm her.  All she knew was that she had to get away, and stay away, from Percy Smythe.

Morgan offered to let her travel with them to their uncle's ranch, where she would be offered a safe haven.  She reluctantly accepted.  After all, Brianna didn't have anyone else to help her and she had no where else to go.


Are You Ready to Read the Book Yet?


I have only given you the set-up for the story.  I'm sure you already suspect that Percy Smythe is not going to just let Brianna disappear into the night.   The title and book genre will likely also tell you that one of the brothers will fall in love with Brianna.  What is not obvious is that they are not allowed to just live happily ever after.  Evil continues to dog them in the hopes of possessing it's prey.

 


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Other Chloe Carley Books Reviewed on Review This!


The Stubborn Sweet Bride Book ReviewThe Stubborn Sweet Bride: A Christian Historical Romance Novel Reviewed

An excellent Christian historical romance that transfixes readers with Molly's story of loss, betrayal, survival & desperate decisions. Highly Recommended!





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