Showing posts with label Book Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Book Reviews. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Book Review of Autopsy by Patricia Cornwell


I have been a fan of author Patricia Cornwell for many years. I am particularly fond of her Kay Scarpetta series. The main character, Kay, is a medical examiner/forensic pathologist primarily based in Virginia where the majority of these crime novels take place. 

I am a mystery/crime novel fan. I became interested in Cornwell's Scarpetta Novels when the series began in 1990 because at the time I was working for a Medical Examiner. I have followed character Kay Scarpetta, medical examiner, through all 25 books in the series. Book #25 grabbed my attention immediately. Not only was it the latest in the Scarpetta Novel Series, but the title AUTOPSY really appealed to me. You see, I used to type my medical examiner boss's Autopsy Reports! This may not appeal to everyone, but I loved my job and was fascinated with both the pathology and the back-story to each case my boss, County Medical Examiner Dr. D., was involved in. Even the scene investigations were interesting. 

*Writer's Note: My M.E. boss even met Author Patricia Cornwell at a medical examiner's convention around the early days of her writing career. 

Synopsis of Autopsy by Patricia Cornwell 



Two widely different and chilling murders occupy forensic pathologist Dr. Kay Scarpetta as she returns to Virginia to become the Chief Medical Examiner for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Kay and her husband, Benton Wesley, former FBI Profiler and now a forensic psychologist with the U.S. Secret Service, have relocated to Old Town, Alexandria which puts them close to both to the headquarters of the Chief Medical Examiner's Office and to the Pentagon in Washington DC. where Benton works. It is a different post-pandemic world filled with much unrest.


Image Source: Pixabay

The first case involves a woman's body found shockingly displayed near railroad tracks in a U.S. Park. Eventual identification of the victim brings the trail unnervingly close to Kay's own historic neighborhood. Helping her with the investigation are Pete Marino, former homicide detective who has assisted her on cases for many years, and Lucy, her niece, who is FBI-trained and a whiz on computers.

As the investigation continues, they discover that another young woman was killed in a near-duplicate fashion and found in a similar location. Kay determines that the cases most-likely are connected, even though the first case was signed out as an accidental drowning. 

Image Source: Pixabay

At the same time, a catastrophe occurs in a top secret laboratory in space, endangering at least two scientists aboard. Kay and her husband Benton are called to the White House for a meeting of the classified Doomsday Commission they work with which specializes in sensitive national security cases. As they work remotely with the first potential crime scene in space, an apparent serial killer strikes again very close to home. 

Summary 


Autopsy will keep you on the edge of your seat with the shocking twists and deep tension as these cases reach a conclusion. The forensic details are fascinating to those of us readers who enjoy this type of crime story. 

Of Additional Interest... Comet Pictures & Blumhouse have secured the rights to The Scarpetta Series. The books will be adapted to an hour-long TV drama series. The main character, Kay Scarpetta, will be played by Jamie Lee Curtis. Being so familiar with all the Kay Scarpetta stories, I cannot think of a better actress to play the part of the main character. It's perfect, and I look forward to the TV series as much as I look forward to each book in the Scarpetta Novel series. 

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*Review of the book Autopsy written by Wednesday Elf 



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Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers Book Review

Written with humor, Mary Roach's Stiff is an interesting look at the uses of human cadavers past, present and future.

Mary Roach's Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers is not for everyone. This book, a non-fiction look into the uses of human cadavers past, present and future, was different than my typical read and will likely be for yours, too. Our book club reviewed it and for some, the subject matter was simply too uncomfortable during a difficult time or even at any time. For others, like myself, it was an interesting endeavor.

The official book description says that the book touches on morality, ethics and spirituality and it does but it is really a look at the science of the uses of the cadaver. With chapter titles like A Head is a Terrible Thing to Waste, Crimes of Anatomy and Life After Death you will learn about surgery performed on the dead, body snatching, human dissection and human decay. You will learn about how the human body has been used to test France's guillotines, how it has been a guest on NASA space shuttles, how it has helped uncover causes of airplane crashes, how it has improved automobile safety and, of course, much more.

Mary Roach's Stiff shares the science of how the human cadaver has been used in the past, present and future. Sometimes gross, sometimes funny, always very interesting.

On the back of the book, Entertainment Weekly calls Stiff  "gross, educational and unexpectedly sidesplitting." I agree. Mostly. This book is at times unnerving, always teaching and told with a great deal of humor though the subject matter keeps it from being exactly what I would call "unexpectedly sidesplitting. I guess it delivers the science in a slightly dark but humorous way.

Morbid Monday calls it a "one-stop book for everything you ever wanted to know - or never wanted to know - about dead bodies." Touché!  There is a lot to think about here. I did find the book tough going at times but I also found it very interesting. I knew nothing about the actual scientific process that allows doctors to transfer organs from a dead body to that of an organ recipient. Do you? If not, you should read this book. The introduction is quite funny, the first chapter is tough but tough it out and see if you find the overall subject interesting if perhaps also "gross."

I recommend this book if you are looking for something outside of your usual fare, if you want to expand your reading subject matter and if you are willing to push you way through some unpleasantness though of course, you could skip any chapters that really disturb you. Each chapter stands alone.

Will you donate your body to science? Should you? Definitely something to think about and Stiff will definitely leave you thinking. Not everyone in my book club read it or cared for it but some like myself did find it quite interesting. If you think you might be one of them, you can find your copy of Stiff here on Amazon.

See you
at the bookstore! 
Brenda 

More Book Reviews:

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The story of retiree who went looking for something active to do. Eventually she found track and field and went on to became a 90-something year old super star.

Visit St. Petersburg, Russia, via this action-packed Steve Berry book.

How you can sustain wildlife with native plants.

A mother and son's journey from a world gone gray.


Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, A Book Review







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Monday, March 7, 2022

Book Review: Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants

 People who know me, know that I am interested in learning more about maintaining my land in a way that is helpful to wildlife and this includes educating myself about invasive species and how they harm my land. That is why when I received Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants as a goodbye gift when I moved, I was thrilled. This book hits the mark in so many ways.



Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants written by Douglas W. Tallamy

My copy of Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants is a 15th printing and was updated and expanded in 2009. The first edition was published in 2007. Why had I not previously known about this important book?!

"Bringing Nature Home is a book many of us have been waiting for. So much more than a push for native plants, it articulates the broad interdependency of living relationships and literally redefines gardens as the new Nature" - Foreword by Rick Dark. 

It is the attention to detail related to how everything is interdependent and the ability of the author to describe everything in a helpful way for us regular folks that makes this book so beautiful. For example, by now many of us know that the Monarch Butterfly is dependent on the milkweed for survival. So many of us, myself included, either plant milkweed plants or help disperse and plant the seeds from the milkweed pods in areas where the plant is present. However, what I only learned through this book is that butterflies need both a "host" plant and a "nectar" plant. One plant for reproducing and one plant for feeding. Fortunately, the milkweed does both for Monarch Butterflies.  However, people like me mistakenly believe that popular plants, such as the Butterfly Bush, is another must-have plant for sustaining butterflies. Unfortunately, we sometimes choose the wrong type (or combination) of plants and do more harm than good.

"When designing a butterfly garden, you need two types of plants . . . Most people only focus on the plants that produce nectar. Even worse, they often turn to alien plants that are promoted as being good for butterflies, the most popular of which, hands down, is the butterfly bush (Buddleja species). . . .         but not one species of butterfly in North America can use buddleias as larval host plants."  

Well, who knew?  I sure didn't! I am thankful to have this knowledge now. I may still plant Buddleias on my land but cautiously and with a focus on ensuring that I have plenty of other nectar AND host plants in order to provide a complete habitat. According to the author, when we do not provide this complete habitat, we sometimes do more damage than good. And in this example, end up with a lower butterfly population.

While chapter one is "Restoring Natives to Suburbia: A Call to Action" and chapter two is "The Vital New Role of the Suburban Garden" the information contained in this book is relevant to all sizes of lots and land. Even my rugged ridge-top acreage in West Virginia. In fact, this book includes information about 2 trees I am interested in that others sometimes have never heard of: Paw Paw and American Chestnut. This book also mentions many of the alien (non-native) species I am dealing with on my land: Autumn Olive and Mile-a-minute to name just two. Interestingly enough, Autumn Olive was planted as a way to assist birds. In the long run, it became an invasive plant that - like some butterfly plants - provides some food but no other habitat (host) value.

Mr. Tallamy does a most excellent job of teaching the reader about the importance of native plants. And how those native plants support birds, butterflies, and the environment as a whole. He doesn't avoid the tough questions about non-native plants, rather he includes an entire chapter of "Answers to Tough Questions".

If you have any desire to learn about landscaping and providing a yard that better sustains wildlife, this book is absolutely the place to begin.

My Personal Stance Regarding My Responsibility to the Natural World Around Me

I am a bit sad that I had not heard of this book until it was gifted to me at the end of last year but am thrilled that I have it now. Truthfully, I have not read the entire book cover-to-cover. It is so packed full of information that I have read certain sections, and have returned to read those sections again (i.e. the section about Milkweeds and Monarchs and the section about American Chestnuts). This will be a reference book that I refer to again and again over time. Especially Appendix One, "Native Plants with Wildlife Value and Desirable Landscaping Attributes by Region" and Appendix Two, "Host Plants of Butterflies and Showy Moths". 

I have a strong desire to be a good steward of my land and to provide a helpful habitat to the birds, butterflies, and wildlife in the area - while eventually having a place that is as useful to humans (i.e. homesteading with a garden and chickens).  I also have a strong desire to leave the world - not just my land - a better place than I found it. 

To be completely honest, I feel there is far too much lip-service given to environmental issues and very little real action. The phenomenon of the most vocal environmentalists physically doing little to help the environment (while often making personal decisions that are harmful) astounds me. I could list the things that irk me related to this topic, but I'm not sure I am able to write it in a way that conveys my intent and that is ultimately productive. So I'll just say: if you are concerned about the environment, demonstrate that concern. Begin at home and in your community.

The first big step is education. Mr. Tallamy does an excellent job of educating and explaining. I don't feel that he is lecturing or berating, rather he is encouraging. He turns a world-wide problem into small bite-sized chunks. 

The second step is for more of us to do something. I may only have 4 acres surrounded by hundreds of acres that aren't being cared for. But I can do something real on my little bit of land. Something that is meaningful. 

I am not as articulate as Mr. Tallamy so I will end with an important question and answer from his book (edited for length - please read his entire answer if you are able):

Q: My house sits on an eighth of an acre. Is that enough land to make a difference if I use natives instead of aliens?
"Your small plot is connected to other plots, which are connected to others and others and others. Collectively, they are North America. Changing the plant base of all of suburbia is quite an undertaking, but all you have to worry about is your eighth of an acre." 
"If we humans are capable of [ruining] hundreds of millions of acres . . .we are also capable of returning natives to our gardens"

Thank You

Finally, I am so thankful for the science teacher/co-worker/friend who gifted me this wonderful book. You demonstrate your concern for the earth (and students, and co-workers, and all who cross your path) on a daily basis. You are a wonderful role model in so many ways. And you have enabled me to make more informed decisions on my land that will help sustain the wonderful wildlife of West Virginia.  





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Wednesday, March 2, 2022

The Boy Between: A Mother and Son's Journey from a World Gone Grey ~ A Book Review

 The Boy Between is a title that leaves you wondering what will happen between the pages.  I think that's what got me wanting to read this book.  Being the mom of two "boys" I was curious to see  what this author had to say about all that time "Between"!



As it turns out this book had me right from the start.  One of my favorite "women's lit" authors co-wrote this with her son.  Amanda Prowse is better known for her lovely stories of women who find their strength through the ways they are tested.  She has written many (over 25) books and is probably one of the most prolific writers in the UK.  But I must say, she is loved around the world for her great stories.

The Boy Between, is not FICTION, it is real and downright heartbreaking and thought provoking.  Josiah (Josh) Hartley and Amanda Prowse are mom and son, co-authors of this book.  Chapter by chapter you read about what is happening in Josh's life from the perspective of  Mom (and dad) and then from Josh's perspective.  

THIS IS NOT AN EASY STORY TO READ!  But it is one that I wish every parent or caregiver SHOULD and Would READ!

If you have ever had someone in the family or close friend suffer from Depression, this book is an eye opener for you!  We all think we know what depression is and unless you have suffered from this debilitating mental state, you cannot begin to know! Josh writes honestly and very openly about his life and how this mental condition makes life not just difficult, but almost impossible to deal with.

Through many trials and tribulations during his life, his parents are forever hopeful that the fog of depression will lift and give Josh some peace and solace to face another day.  They are his support network even when they didn't realize that that was what Josh needed.  What Josh was living through, they were living through it as well.  This story has two very different sides to it and seeing both of them helps us to understand better!  It is the life of Josh and the life of his parents as well.  They are not two separate and distinct lives, they are forever intertwined and wrapped around each other.



If there is one thing that everyone should take away from reading this book, it's the notion that DEPRESSION is the elephant in many people's lives and that ignoring it will not make it disappear.  It needs to be talked about and understood  in each and every circumstance.  The biggest problem being that every circumstance will be different and one solution will not necessarily fit all!   

The world today is a very hard place for our young people to grow up in.  They are bombarded with ideals of perfection from social media and opinions from the world at large.  The pressure for these young minds to deal with is sometimes more than they can bear.  That is when their spirit and/or their minds can become broken.  Awareness must be the key!

As parents and caregivers, we need to understand that each child is different with many varied strengths and weaknesses.  That it is alright for them not to follow the majority and that forging their own path in life is not a sign that they are "less", rather they are different.  If there was ever a time when we should be celebrating everyone's individuality it is NOW!  Before there are more statistics of young people not being able to cope with today's world and it's expectations of our young people.



This book in my opinion is one that should be read by everyone and right now it is available for free with a KindleUnlimited membership or with an Audible trial.  

Put this book on your MUST READ list, you won't be sorry!





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Saturday, February 26, 2022

By Hook or By Crook – Book Review

 

 

*Created with Pixabay & Fotojet

 

I love books and am a big fan of mysteries. I also love to crochet. So finding a mystery book that is a crochet mystery was a delight. And discovering that the author, Betty Hechtman, has written a whole series of these cozy mysteries starring a crochet group was even more fun.


Today's review is on By Hook or By Crook by Betty Hechtman.


Story Characters


The characters in this story are known as the Tarzana Hookers ~ that's hookers as in crochet!


They are a group of ladies (and even one man) who crochet and meet regularly in a small book store in Tarzana, California (thus the name). The crochet group's main focus is to crochet for charities. The group is headed by Molly Pink (main character), a widow with two grown sons who works as the event planner at this book store. Somehow, Molly keeps finding herself involved in mysteries she becomes determined to solve. And, of course, various members of the crochet group get involved.


Synopsis of By Hook or By Crook


Book Review of 'By Hook or By Crook'
Available on Amazon

“Nobody noticed the bag at first”


The story begins as the group is packing up their table at a charity fund-raiser they had been involved in for a local state park. After the leftover crochet blankets, scarves and teddy bears from the sale had been put away, they noticed a plain brown grocery bag sitting on the end of the table. With nobody claiming the bag, naturally they had to look inside. 


The bag contained some curious items ~ an unfinished note that spoke of remorse, ending in Please....., a single-page diary entry written 20 years ago, and a piece of filet crochet with a group of complicated pictures that don't, at first, make any sense. The pictures on the panel of filet crochet include a building, a house, a couple of cats, what looks like a guy with a bow and arrow, and a vase of flowers.  What could it mean and who crocheted this piece?


As time goes on, Molly discovers that the aqua thread used in part of the filet crochet piece is a specialty thread and she tracks it down to the local yarn store which carries it. The shop owner keeps good records, so Molly is able to learn who bought this particular thread. When she goes to return the bag, she discovers that the crocheter it belonged to has been murdered.


Since the note in the bag began - "I did something a long time ago that I now regret and would like to make right.....” Molly decides she has to discover what that is and help make it right. She thinks the pictures in the crochet piece could be clues to solve this mystery and, with the help of fellow crocheters in her group, she sets out to learn what it is all about. Her discoveries take her to Catalina Island where things get very strange. Her life is also complicated by her parents suddenly deciding to visit and taking over her house, her two dogs, only one of which is hers, the bookstore demanding her attention, especially because a TV program is being scheduled to film an episode there, distractions caused by the lives of her crochet group members, and just life in general. 


Defining a Cozy Mystery


Loosely defined, a Cozy Mystery is a gentle subset of the genre of crime writing.  It's a comfort read that leaves you satisfied, rather than scared to sleep alone with the lights out....


These mysteries are enjoyable, most often starring a female amateur detective, and with the crime and detection taking place in a small community. They are a comfortable and quick read.


Author Betty Hechtman


Betty Hechtman

Betty Hechtman has (to date) written 14 books in her 'crochet mystery' series. Betty loves mysteries, which began with reading Nancy Drew. She has also been doing handicrafts since she was a child. She states it was like a dream come true to be able to mix mystery and yarn craft in her books. 




Summary


By Hook or By Crook meets the requirements of a cozy mystery and the series of 'crochet mysteries' this book belongs to is particularly interesting to not only lovers of mysteries, but also anyone who enjoys crochet.

Although the series appears to be a continuing one with the same characters, I don't believe they need to be read in any particular order. I began with this book, which is #3 in the series, and had no trouble figuring out who everyone was and what roles they played in the story. I now look forward to reading the rest of the series and learning more about Molly and the other members of the Tarzana Hookers. They sound like a group I'd love to belong to. 

 

*By Hook or By Crook Book Review Written by Wednesday Elf





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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Friday, February 18, 2022

The Enemy and Miss Innes (Tales from the Highlands Book 2) Book Review

Almost a year ago, I reviewed the first book in the Tales from the Highlands series by Martha Keyes.  I truly loved The Widow and the Highlander book and I hated it when it ended.  I was saddened even more when I realized that the second book in the series had yet to be released.  Even though I did not want to, I was forced to move on, at least for a little while.  

As soon as The Enemy and Miss Innes, the second book in the Tales from the Highlands series, was released, I added it to my Kindle Paperwhite.  Unfortunately, the release wasn't the best timing for me, but the book waited there patiently.  I started reading it a week ago and was, once again, pulled back into the drama of the Highlands of Scotland in the 1700's.  Back to the days of kingdoms, lairds (lords), and a ruling hierarchy with limitless power. 

I was not disappointed!  This was a book well worth the wait.  The Enemy and Miss Innes is another fabulous book by Martha Keyes.  While it continues the series started with The Widow and the Highlander, it could be an easy stand alone book for historical fiction fans. Just because I have enjoyed this series so much, I would recommend starting with the first book in the series.

 

The Enemy and Miss Innes Synopsis
Tales from the Highlands Series - Scotland 1762  

 The Enemy and Miss Innes
(Tales from the Highlands Book 2)
Check Price
Malcolm MacKinnon is once again ordered to do something he does not want to do by Angus MacKinnon, the laird of Benleith. Since his mother and younger siblings are also dependent on Angus, he has no choice.  It is a well known fact that Angus is ruthless, even murderous, when he wants something. He does not hesitate to threaten Malcolms' family when faced with the least resistance. Now, Angus seeks revenge on the Innes sisters.  Since the eldest has a protector in her husband, he sets his sights on the younger sister, Elizabeth.  Her willingness to speak her mind and publicly degrade Angus has made her his latest target. 

Angus wants Malcolm to get Elizabeth to fall in love with him (Malcolm) so he has a way to get at her to exact his revenge. This "idea" doesn't appeal to Malcolm but he knows he has to at least give the appearance of trying to carry out Angus's plan.

Elizabeth Innes has been by her sister's side throughout her recent widowhood and subsequent difficulties. She is her outspoken defender and doesn't hesitant to take on anyone face to face, including Angus MacKinnon and his "second in command", Malcolm MacKinnon.  

In an effort to keep Elizabeth focused on work and out of trouble, her sister, Christina, asks her to remodel Glengour Inn, which was recently damaged by fire.  This is a task Christina readily accepts.  When she arrives at the inn to discover the innkeeper has hired Malcolm MacKinnon, she is determined to keep an eye on him. She believes he has a different agenda separate from working on repairs to the inn. 

Neither Christina nor Malcolm are happy with the current situation, but they are both determined to carry out their projects at the inn and tolerate each other.  They do not expect to end up on the same side and caring for what happens to one another.


I am thrilled to see more books have been added to this series and I am so excited to read the remaining books!




You may also be interested in reading my previous review of The Widow and the Highlander.

The Widow and the HighlanderThe Widow and the Highlander Book Review
The Widow and the Highlander - excellent book. When Christina's husband dies, she is sole heir. His family is not willing to let her have the estate and are determined to regain control of the estate one way or another.



Read More Book Reviews at
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Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Sunflowers Beneath the Snow - A Book Review

Sunflowers Beneath the Snow, by Teri M. Brown, is a wonderful novel that will keep the reader interested and involved with the characters.  All the characters in this novel have strong opinions and follow their dreams and yearnings, often causing some danger, grief and sadness in their lives.  But great joy when all is revealed.



Does this pique your interest?  It should.  Teri M. Brown has written a book that truly is a page turner.  As with many novels some of the places and happenings sound like they could have happened in real life.  The author makes it clear that this is a work of fiction.

This story surrounds some very strong willed, strong bodied, and strong minded women.  Ivanna and the love of her life, Lyaksandro!  Their daughter, Yevtsye and her daughter Ionna are all part of the focus of this novel.

The country of their birth, the Ukraine has been under Soviet occupation for many years.  Always the government is promising that things will get better.  Lyaksandro Hadeon Rosomakha is a university employee and husband of Ivanna.  He, by wanting better for his family, has started a downward turn in the family's fortunes.  By becoming an informant (after witnessing the stranglehold the government had on free thinkers) he unwittingly puts his family in danger.  Early in the story he is whisked out of the country under cover of night, after having done the work of passing information to interested parties.  It was one of two choices he had.  Leave or die,  lest the  government of the day would get him and "dispose" of this troublemaker in one way or another.  

His wife of the last dozen years, whom he loved with all that he was, is informed that her husband has been killed when he tried to undermine the current government of the day.  

His daughter and wife were left behind even though he tried to get them out while he was being hurriedly removed from the country.  Had he known that they would not be coming with him, I'm not sure what would have happened.

Life is hard and takes many twists and turns.  Suffice it to say that not a day goes by that Ivanna doesn't miss her husband and his daughter, Yevtsye, misses her father too.  There is no time to waste energy on what could have been, too much energy was needed just to survive!



Yevtsye becomes a university worker and meets and marries a like minded man named Danya.  Together they worked hard and were able to give their daughter (Ionna) enough that she was thriving.  But both Danya and Yevtsye were very unhappy with the political climate in their country and wished for a better life.

Life is never straight forward and there are many twists and turns in this  novel.  I don't want to give away too much more of  the story, it really is a book that you should pick up yourself and read.  You will be taken on a rollercoaster ride that is quite amazing.  Emotionally you will be able to connect with the characters, which for me made the story that much more captivating.

What is the most interesting thing about this book is the fact that it has it's basis in a true story.  So while fictional, it has elements that are true.  You will be amazed and taken on a journey through three families lives!

Teri M. Brown has done an amazing job writing this book as her debut novel and I'm sure looking forward to more of her writing.  It is truly an wonderful, harrowing, uplifting, and fulfilling story.



**I was given a copy of this book by the author in return for a review on ReviewThisReviews.com.








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Thursday, February 10, 2022

How to Speak Dog Book Review

Dixie 

 Last April we adopted a wonderful 2-year-old Jack Russell Terrier named Dixie.  We are really enjoying Dixie and when our grandkids came to visit, they fell in love with her.  She is very sweet, but sometimes I wonder what she is trying to tell me.  For Christmas this year my daughter gave me a book called How to Speak Dog.  This little book is full of ways to give you ideas of what your dog is trying to relate to you by their actions and body language.  

In the book you meet, Dr. Gary, a veterinarian and dog expert.  Dr. Gary gives you all kinds of training tips and vet and care advice.  The book is also full of fun facts, quizzes, hands-on-activities, resources to get more information and dog photos.



I love the way the dog on the front cover looks just like our dog, Dixie.  The book is listed for children ages 8-12 and in fact has won the Children's Book Award from the Animal Behavior Society.  I feel that the book is actually great for dog lovers of all ages.  I know I have learned a lot from the book.

On the rest of this post, I will have my dog Dixie show you through her pictures some of the different areas of the book.  This is only a sampling of the wonderful material in the book.

Body Talk


Dixie- Belly Up


Dixie loves to roll over and lay belly up when I talk to her.  She loves to get her belly rubbed.  In the book, Dr. Gary says the real meaning of this dog position is submission and trust.  She is saying that you are in charge and she's okay with that.  In this section Dr.  Gary gives a tip that massage feels as good to animals as it does to humans and if they are nervous a good way to calm them down is a back rub.

The chapter on "Body Talk" also contains several other topics such as paw on your knee, full body shake, wiggles away from you and one paw raised.  Each section tells what that usually means and gives you some tips.  Each topic is two page long.

Read my Face


Expressive Ears


The section on " Read my Face" has topics like the begging stare, ears erect, and teeth barred, pricked ears, licking your face and yawning. 

In the photo above you see Dixie's expressive ears.  Whenever she is interested in something her ears go up.  In the photo above she had been laying on the bed when something outside the window caught her attention.  Dr. Gary said that dogs will prick up their ears to hear better.  One of the tips on the page says, " Dogs can hear noises that are up to four times farther away than those humans can hear".  No wonder Dixie jumps to attention or barks when we don't hear anything.

Telling Tails


There is another chapter in the book just on tails.  It contains things like a showy tail, stiff high tail, crooked tail, scared wag, straight tail, tucked tail, and happy wag.  Dixie's tail is constantly going.  If we say her name, her tail wags even if she had been sleeping.  I can really see the "Happy Wag" on her.  Dr. Gary says " A wagging tail is a truth-ometer.  Dogs can't control when or how wagging happens.  The tail is like an electric line connected directly to the brain that transmits how a dog is feeling."

Wagging tail at squirrels.

This is just a sampling of the delightful material in this book.  If you love dogs, I know you will enjoy the book.   In closing I'll leave you with a few more photos of Dixie.








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Sunday, February 6, 2022

Funny Word Search Book For Adults With a Twist


Fresh off the press is my latest word search book, "Funny Word Search For Adults."

This book is not your typical word search book. It features the usual single words to find but also includes multiple words strung together.

There are Three Ways to Challenge Yourself with This Word Search Book


1. The Usual Way - Find the Word

Of course, this book includes the typical approach to word search in that it features single words to find. So go ahead and enjoy the standard word search challenge.

2. Multiple Words Strung Together (Like a Hashtag)

In this word search book, you'll find multiple words put together in a brief phrase, without spaces in between. You get a dual challenge in that you have to guess the phrase and then find the phrase in the puzzle.

3. Time Yourself - See How Fast You Can Complete a Word Search Puzzle

The bottom of each word search puzzle provides a place to enter the start and finish times. Use this area to compete with family. One family member can tackle a puzzle and mark their time, then another family member can try to beat that time by solving another puzzle.

What is Included with Funny Word Search for Adults
  • You get 60 unique word search puzzles
  • 1440 words to find
  • Multiple words strung together for an added challenge
  • One puzzle per page
  • Puzzles are easy to read
  • A place to track the time it takes to complete the puzzle
  • Each puzzle features a humorous approach to a different topic
Examples of the Funny Word Search Puzzle Topics
  • Worst Marriage Advice
  • If I Ruled the World
  • Funny Tooth Fairy Traits
  • If Dogs Could Talk
  • Newbie Pirate Mistakes
and more.....

The Types of Humor You'll Find in this Word Search Book
  • Sarcastic
  • Silly
  • Obvious
  • Stupid
  • Bathroom
  • Eye Rolling
If you're in the market for a fun activity, I hope you enjoy this book. I sure enjoyed writing it!

Funny Word Search Book


You can find my activity books on Amazon, here, or at StumpedRiddles.com.

Recent Word Search Books:





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Friday, February 4, 2022

Her Unsuitable Match (Supposed Scandal Series) Reviewed

When determining if someone is an unsuitable match, we must first consider the criteria. Society may look at financial status or social status of an individual, while the person desiring a match may be seeking something totally different.

I suspect we have all known couples we felt were ill-matched but seem completely happy with one another.  There are a variety of reasons why we wouldn't think they would be a good fit.  The heart rarely looks at social status, education level, finances, or even physical looks based on the current day opinions or popularity. 

In the book, "Her Unsuitable Match", I questioned whether the title referred to the individual her family had selected for Pippa, or if it was based on the individual Pippa selected.  Either way, both sides thought someone was an unsuitable match for the Earl's daughter.

However, what was most interesting about this book was that Pippa didn't seek someone based on any of the previously mentioned criteria.  She wanted someone who would allow her to be free, which meant she needed a husband who didn't make any demands on her, her time, or her money.  Interesting dilemma for a Regency era (1795-1820) setting. 


"Her Unsuitable Match" Book Synopsis

Lady Philippa Gillensford is 23 years old, past the expected age for marriage.  Wishing for his daughter to have some choices in life, Pippa's father had stipulated in his will that she would be given her own dowry if she was unmarried at 23, as an inheritance so she could live independently.  That is exactly what she wanted, but her mother and her oldest brother who was now the Earl, had a totally different opinion and they were determined to have their way regardless of the cost.

 Her Unsuitable Match
(Supposed Scandal)
Check Price
Pippa's mother wanted her to marry someone equal or of greater social station.  Her brother had someone specific selected and had already granted Lord Walter permission to marry his sister.  Pippa was repealed by the very presence of Walter who sought to marry her even if he had to ruin her reputation to do so.

Lord Walter Ruthersby (the suitor), the dowager Countess of Montecliff (her mother), and Richard, the Earl of Montecliff (her brother), colluded to force Pippa into this alliance and marriage.  All of society seemed determined to see Lord W & Lady P wed, especially once there was gossip and a touch of scandal associated with the couple.  But Pippa knew she was innocent and she had no desire to marry anyone, especially Ruthersby.

Pippa did have one very strong alliance of her own.  Her younger brother, Adam and his wife, Elaine wanted her to be happy. They were blessed with a marriage based on love and they would have preferred that for her, but Pippa didn't have any love interest. She did, however, desire independence and they supported her choice. 

When the earl refused to give Pippa her inheritance, she sought legal counsel.  Even though she was willing to pursue her rightful inheritance in court, she knew that might not be successful.  However, marrying someone else would end that ridiculous torment. Recalling a man who had stepped in to defend her, she decided to make an offer to a soldier.  A gentleman she hoped would join in a contract that would be mutually beneficial without the normal marital confines.  

Myles Cobbett had returned from war with severe battle scars, both physically and mentally.  He found a reclusive lifestyle with a daily routine, along with his small pension, provided a tolerable life. He didn't really have hope for more. When he was presented with an unusual marriage contract, he felt needed again and compelled to assist the damsel in distress. He believed he could provide the shelter from social norms that she needed and she offered to provide dowries for his younger sisters to hopefully ensure better marriages for them.  

The marriage arrangement seemed like the perfect solution for both Pippa and Myles, but the aforementioned alliances against Pippa were not sated and they were relentless.  After all, marriages could be set aside by annulments and jealous gossips still wagged their tongues with reckless abandon. 


Conclusion

It is impossible to not like Myles Cobbett and to feel sympathy for Pippa.  In spite of her social standing, they are the underdogs we all want to see succeed.  

While not your typical romantic novel, this book does pull at the emotions of the reader.  We would all love to see these two people happy.  

I read the book in two evenings.  It was rather hard to put down.  I wanted to see what was going to happen, who would succeed in their pursuits and what inevitable changes would have to be made. 

I do highly recommend this book for the hopeless romantic and those who enjoy rooting for the underdog.

 



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Wednesday, February 2, 2022

The Orphans of Mersea House- A Book Review

I have a confession to make!  I love reading and have spent a lot of time looking for books that will thrill me, make me think, take me to places I have never seen before and more!  This confession comes with no regrets!  

For the past two years I have been totally taken up with reading novels about the Second World War.  Some were based on true stories and others are works of fiction based on historical accounts of what happened during that dark and distressing time in our history!  

War can make victims of everyone who lived during the distress of the times, but it can also make victims of those who did not make it to the front or fight in the battles personally.  It can take years to heal the scars.




So, now I have to tell you about The Orphans of Mersea House! Written by Marty Wingate.  When all the battles are over and peace has found it's place again, there are still the ravages of war to deal with.   Yes even years later, people are still healing from the trauma of the past!

People who fought and those who stayed behind to do other "war" work,  have scars that need healing.

It's 1957 in England  Southwold to be precise.  The two main characters Margery and Olive had been childhood friends forever.  During the war, Margery left Southwold for London to help with the war effort there, while Olive stayed behind and did her part as well.  

After her uncle's death, Margery comes back to Southwold to claim her inheritance and reclaim her life.  Olive who has looked after relatives is destitute when the last of her relations dies.  But as luck would have it, Margery comes to her aid by asking her to act as manager of the home she has inherited after alterations are made to turn it into a boarding house.

Everything is working out well until the first two boarders arrive.  Then a few more arrive and life takes a few twists and turns.  

I don't want to spoil this book for anyone, so I'm going to leave the story here and tell you that you really should get the book to find out what happens.  Trust me, there is LOTS that will happen and the characters in the book are so well described that I know everyone will be able to pick out friends and relatives of their own that will fit into this story.  

What you will learn is that family and secrets go hand in hand everywhere, but that a loving heart can bring all the good things and the bad things together to make a beautiful patchwork that is family!  

I finished this book and wished that there were more pages to read so I know you will enjoy it as well.


I was given this book by #NetGalley to read for an honest review when I was done.  This book will only be published on August 9th, 2022, so I do suggest that you mark your calendars for the release date.  This is one book that I'm sure you will enjoy.

If you are looking for books in this genre, I can personally recommend several that had me turning pages as quickly as I could:

The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel  (5 stars)
The Rose Code by Kate Quinn (4.5 stars)
Love at War by Viola Russell (5 stars)
The Three Sisters by Heather Morris (4.5 stars)

There are many more on my Goodreads pages if you are interested let me know and I'll send you a link to my page.







  





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