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

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Katherine Faulkner's Greenwich Park Book Review

Katherine Faulkner's Greenwich Park is a domestic psychological thriller. Learn more here.

The cover of Katherine Faulkner’s Greenwich Park reads, “gripping and haunting and gorgeously suspenseful” and I agree. I was drawn to the book by the title, a romanticized area of London, England, and by the artwork. 

Greenwich Park the book is a murder mystery of the best sort. It draws you in. Pick it up and you might not want to put it down. Pick it up and you will find yourself guessing whodunit. I failed at the guessing of who did it, which I expect is good because it means the book has twists and turns.  I thoroughly enjoyed the journey. 

Greenwich Park is a domestic psychological thriller that is set in the current day in the south east of London. It tells the story of a pregnant woman’s privileged life in a stately Victorian home and of her family and friends. Off work because of her history with difficult pregnancies and because of current health concerns, the main character, Helen, finds herself bored and lonely. That is, until she befriends a woman named Rachel. Rachel is also pregnant but embraces none of the care that many women exercise when they are pregnant. She smokes and she drinks and she is not very interested in her body or her unborn baby. She’s loud and she's obnoxious but, however, she is fun and she quickly manages to infiltrate Helen’s tidy little world. But is it really tidy?

Helen has been described as someone who has everything including “a perfect husband, a perfect brother and a perfect sister-in-law. When she meets Rachel, she also has the perfect nightmare.” 

I like Crime by the Book’s three-point list of reasons to read the book. She says that it pulls back the curtain on the lives of people who appear to have picture-perfect lives, that it is a story of obsession and cat-and-mouse tension and that it is intricate and effortlessly told. 

If it helps, Crime by the Book says that this book is similar to books to those written by Lisa Jewell, who I have yet to read.

FAST FACTS:


Author – Katherine Faulkner
Format – Hardcover, paperback, Kindle, audiobook, audio CD
Genre – Domestic Psychological Thriller
Pages - 375
Publication Date – September 13, 2021
Publisher – Simon & Shuster
ISBN Number – 978-1-9821-5031-0

If you love a good thriller, you will enjoy Greenwich Park. The book is definitely dark, looking into the world of pregnancy and early motherhood, of friendships, of privileged lives lived and, of course, of the secrets that people keep. I think that it is an excellent first novel, which the author wrote while she herself was on maternity leave.  The rights to the book have been sold and I will be watching for a movie or television series as well as for a second book by Faulkner. Meanwhile, you can order your copy of Greenwich Park from Amazon by clicking right here.

See you 
at the book store!
Brenda



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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Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Dieting is Hard Work, But Health and Wellness is So Important! A Product Review

 Dieting is never easy.  Putting on the pounds happens when we aren't looking and unless you are blessed with an amazing  metabolism that burns everything (all the calories) you will probably gain some weight over the years.

                                                             Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay


It seems that women in particular have a much harder time to loose the extra pounds than our counterparts.  Why?  Well let's just say that hormones have a lot to do with that excess and why we can't seem to drop those pounds as easily.

Now I know that if you have been reading Review This Reviews, you will have come across some really good articles about a diet that seems to work for just about everyone.  Margaret Schindel and Barbara Cipak Tremblay have written about their journey with weight loss using the Keto Diet!  These two ladies are good friends of mine and while I was sceptical, I did trust that their journeys using this new way of eating were in fact the truth!

Well two years ago, I made the decision that it was high time that I took on a weight loss program again.  I had done many stints with Weight Watchers and Crash Dieting (of all kinds) and had limited success!  The problem was that none of that weight loss was sustainable for me.

I was at a point in my life where my knees hurt so badly and the excess weight that I had on my frame was not at all helping me feel better.  So after looking at this "new" weight loss system, I decided to jump on board and give it my best effort.

I am happy to say that in the last 2 years I have lost over 80 pounds and the amazing part of this is that I have kept that weight off and not regressed!  Has it been easy?  NO!  Dieting is never easy but I must say that this has been the best way for me to lose these pounds and not feel like I was missing out on life.  In my opinion, this is where many diets fail.  You feel so deprived that you break down and over indulge.  The slope is slippery once you start down that road, as I'm sure many of you are already aware.

Barbara and Margaret have done a great job in making me aware of ways to cook, bake, and all the great ways to enjoy food even in company.  No feeling like you have to watch others enjoy their meals while you nibble on a plate of greens that even Mr. Bunny might turn his nose up at.

My own personal downfall is the need for sweets.  Any diet will definitely cut most of the sweets right out of the picture.  Sugar is after all one of the biggest reasons we have a weight problem to begin with.  Enter what I have found to be a life saver in my diet lifestyle!  They are called "Love Good Fats".  




These bars are full of nuts and good things that are on the Keto Diet.  They are Keto Certified, Gluten Free, Kosher, and non-GMO!  Made in Canada, these bars are delicious to say the least!  When I am feeling like I'm deprived of those sweet wonders that my friends are all indulging in, I make sure I have one of my Love Good Fats Bars with me!  (I actually take two or three because my friends all want to try them too).  Now I have a special treat just for me and my feelings of deprivation are not weighing me down (pardon the pun).

I would highly recommend these bars if you are on a Keto type diet, they are tasty, full of good fats, low in sugars and other hidden calorie boosters too.  

Right now in the US, you can get some of these Love Good Fats bars on Amazon, but in Canada, you can order them directly from the company! 


 

 I am checking into the ability for our American friends to order directly from the company as well and will update this when I have an answer for you.  I have looked into the bars available in the States and it seems that you only have the Mint Chocolate bars available.  In Canada, we have many more options.  I will update and hopefully you too can enjoy the nutty ones we are able to purchase.   

UPDATE!!!!! You can go to the Store Locator page and see where Love Good Fats are available closer to your own State!  Just follow this link:Store Locator

Just one caveat, with Keto dieting and these Love Good Fats bars, it's very hard to stop at one!  But, if you are having success with the Keto Lifestyle, then you know how to tell yourself that one is enough or to plan your meals so that your Carb counts can be within the range you need for your own personal dieting style.

I hope this Review helps you on your journey to a healthier and more sustainable way of life and that you do take the time to read some of Barbara's or Margaret\s Keto Reviews.  They are both full of excellent information that will help you on this journey through life. 





These are just a few of the many articles that I'm sure you will find interesting and very easy to follow and make yourself.   ReviewThisReviews.com and look for articles by Barbara (Brite-Ideas) or Margaret Schindel  you will come up with more information to help you become a successful Weight Loss Warrior!







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, 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:

A list of award winning movie-themed books for your Kindle.

Visit 1970s Walt Disney World via this book of information, pictures and illustrations from the park.

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







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, September 6, 2021

Ghostbusters Movie - Reviewed

 

Ghostbusters Movie Reviewed

We are huge fans of Saturday Night Live with the original cast. So, when the movie Ghostbusters hit the big screen in 1984 staring, Dan Aykroyd, and Bill Murray we just couldn’t wait to see it.

 

Now it’s 37 years later and we still love to watch it, (really 37 years, what happened?). Over the years Ghostbusters 1 and 2 have become classic movies and are still popular today. The Ghostbuster movies created such a huge market of products. Such as action figures, video games, Legos, T-Shirts, and so much more.

 

Ghostbusters Movie Plot:

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The movie centers on parapsychologists Peter Venkman played by Bill Murray, Raymond Stantz played by Dan Aykroyd and Egon Spengler played by Harold Ramis.

 

After they lose their research funding from the University, they open a paranormal exterminator service called (you guessed it) “Ghostbusters”.

 

The movie starts with their first paranormal experience in the public library. Just prior to that is one of my favorite scenes is where Bill Murray is testing two young subjects for their ESP abilities, using mild shock treatment.

As Murray holds up cards with shapes on them, they must visualize and tell him what they see. The young man gets them all right but Murray zaps him anyway, while the young girl gets them all wrong, he smiles and tells her right, you are good at this.

 

They are then hired by a New York City Hotel to investigate a haunting. After causing a lot of damage to the hotel they capture their first ghost. This is where they become well known as they continue to rid the city of paranormal activity. 


After being thrown in jail by the EPA the Mayor calls upon the Ghostbusters to save the city. This is a perfect family movie, and so much fun to watch. It keeps you laughing throughout the entire movie.

 

Our grandson Bobby has become a huge fan of the Ghostbuster phenomenon. Bobby has watched the Ghostbusters movies over and over. Bobby also has mastered the Ghostbuster video game, and still plays it today.

 

We live in Jamestown New York, home to the National Comedy Center. Dan Aykroyd donated his Harley motorcycle to the Comedy Center for their grand opening on August 6, 2018. It was quite an event for all of us.


Dan Aykroyd

Dan Aykroyd donates the Harley motorcycle that he drove to Saturday Night Live in New York.


Ghostbusters signed

 Knowing Bobby is such a huge fan, I told him to bring his Ghostbuster DVD and we will try to get Dan Aykroyd to sign it. And, we did just that, here is one happy kid.


Find more movie reviews here: ReviewThisMovies.com






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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Where the Crawdads Sing Book Review


For those who love to travel, the current global atmosphere fraught as it is with many concerns, may be keeping you at home and make a strong case for sitting back and enjoying some armchair travel. If you are interested in a trip to North Carolina’s remote marshlands, you might want to pick up the bestselling novel Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

Before I read this book, North Carolina was not on my list of places that I would like to see. Now it is. I thoroughly enjoyed the book though it started off a bit oddly, at least for me. I had just finished reading Michelle Obama’s Becoming, which was an excellent book crafted with simple, straightforward language. When I picked Where the Crawdads Sing up, the language seemed overly flowery with text like, “water flows into the sky”, “clammy forests” and “the marsh’s moist breath.” It was not long, however, before I was whisked away to fictional Barkley Cove in North Carolina and wrapped up in the lives of the main characters.

THE STORY


The story? Well, simply put it is that of a girl’s marsh life from the ages of 6 to 25 both with her family and then abandoned by her family, of how she grows up barefoot and wild and, despite sparse interactions with other people, of how she manages to educate herself in her remote environment. It is rich with details about marsh life in North Carolina. It is a coming-of-age tale and it is also one of romance and murder, alternating between the years of 1952 and 1969. The author herself says that the book is about loneliness.

IS IT A TRUE STORY?


Is Where the Crawdads Sing a true story? Not really though Elle magazine says that the story has "striking echoes" to the author’s life in Africa with conservationist former husband, Mark Owens, both of who were linked to the unsolved 1995 murder of an African poacher though the couple has denied anything to do with the murder and no charges have ever been filed.

IS IT RECOMMENDED?


Perhaps somewhat unexpectedly the book, which is Owen's first work of fiction, quickly became a hugely successful book.

The Guardian says that “Surprise bestsellers are often works that relate to the times. Though set in the 1950s and 1960s, this book is, in its treatment of racial and social division and the fragile complexities of nature, obviously relevant to contemporary politics and ecology. But these themes reach a huge audience though the writer’s old-fashioned talents for compelling character, plotting and landscape description.”

Actor Reese Witherspoon, who picked Where the Crawdads Sing  as a book for her book club, helped it build momentum and is quoted in Town and Country magazine as having said, "I can’t even express how much I love this book…There is so much to her story…and it takes place in the breathtaking backdrop of the South. I didn’t want this story to end!"

A whopping eighty-six percent of Amazon readers gave it a 5 star review. It is a New York Times number one bestseller, it has been on that best seller list for 78 weeks and it has sold over 1.5 million copies.

Those are, in my opinion, a whole lot of reasons to check out for yourself the book Where the Crawdads Sing. The majority of readers have loved this book and it comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me. You can find your copy on Amazon by clicking right here and if you enjoy it, be sure to watch for Witherspoon's movie version of the story.

See you
At the bookstore!

Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

QUICK LINKS:


Buy your copy of Where the Crawdads Sing here on Amazon.
Read Dawn Rae's review of Where the Crawdads Sing.









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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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Can I Give Him My Eyes Book Review

Can I Give Him My Eyes Book Review
Can I Give Him My Eyes is a biographical book that was written by Richard Moore with the assistance of his long-time friend and supporter, Don Mullan. It tells the story of a ten-year old boy who loses his eyesight on May 4, 1972, on the way home from school when he is shot by a soldier during The Troubles in Ireland.

According to Moore’s book, he was just passing by when he was shot. The rubber bullets were supposed to be used to control crowds and riots but to this day Moore does not know why he was shot.

In any case, those rubber bullets, which were thought to be a relatively safe way of controlling riots, turned out to be more dangerous than anticipated. Moore survived being; other children did not.

If you would like a look at The Troubles in Ireland, this book will be a good education. I learned of it while on a trip to Ireland in 2018 during which I visited both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Of course, 2018 was a safe year to visit, unlike the years of the Northern Ireland Conflict, which spanned approximately 1968 to 1998. During those years there were riots, shootings and bombings almost every day. In the end, the conflict killed almost four thousand people and of course it also left many victims behind. The antagonism between the Irish Catholic population and the British army and especially the events of Bloody Sunday caused fear and hatred of the army from the people and no doubt fear and hatred in return. The tense atmosphere was likely the reason that Moore was shot despite the fact that he was a child passing by and not participating in a riot or public gathering.

Can I Give Him My Eyes is not just about the loss of Moore’s eyes. The catastrophe happens early on in the book, which is also about his journey in life, about how he learned to cope as a blind person, about the upheaval it caused his family and about how it changed and set the direction of his life.

Moore manages to accept the fact of his blindness almost right away. He carried forward no bitterness or anger, which he attributes to his parents who were peaceful and never spoke bitter or angry words. The Dalai Lama, who Moore eventually met and who Moore considers to be both a hero and a friend, once said and Moore agrees that, “Forgiveness is a gift to yourself.” Moore could have been bogged down by the event and the reality of being blinded but instead he moved on and let his situation propel him forward to experiences that he might not otherwise have ever had.

He has a university degree, has had two businesses, is a musician and, as a peace and reconciliation worker, started an organization called Children in Crossfire to help children in troubled situations around the world have opportunities that they might not otherwise have. He had lots of support and kindness as a child and as an adult and he wants to make sure that others in difficulty do, too.

Interestingly, Moore eventually goes on to meet the soldier who shot the rifle that injured him. They have become friends and they have even worked together. On the cover of Can I Give Him My Eyes, His Holiness the Dalia Lama, says, “I encourage people across the world to read what Richard has to say. Despite his own loss, he has found freedom through forgiveness.”

This book is RECOMMENDED by me. Not as a page turner but rather as a look at the troubled times in Ireland and at one man’s lifetime journey because of his injury. You can find your copy on Amazon by clicking right here.

See you
at the bookstore!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

Quick Links:


In the Name of the Father, Irish movie review.
My Left Foot, Irish movie review.






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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Robert Galbraith's Lethal White Book Review

It is a bit awkward to start with the fourth book in a series but, since that is the one I have just read, that is where I am starting.

It is telling that I waited anxiously for Robert Galbraith’s fourth novel, Lethal White. It finally arrived in in September of 2018 and unsurprisingly, it was a giant book worthy of the wait.

Lethal White follows three excellent detective novels crafted by J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame and published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.  Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm and Career of Evil were all page turners and Lethal White is more of the same. A lengthy read, complex and interesting.

Set during the 2012 London Olympics, Lethal Weapon covers much ground including political corruption, blackmail, murder, deception, betrayal and suicide.

The series continues with the latest mysteries to be solved by the now two-person detective team at Cormoran Strike’s detective agency. It follows the one-legged detective Strike and his new partner Robin as they solve crimes. Both characters continue to live on the edge financially, personally and professionally and wind up in precarious situations in all three areas of their lives.

Strike continues to live in near poverty in a room behind his office. He’s a disabled war veteran who barely looks after himself in general and, as we are given to understand in the book, his leg in particular. He is an amputee, which makes the physical requirements of his job sometimes difficult and perhaps even more so because he fails to look after his leg properly. If I had one complaint about this novel, it would be Strike’s continued difficulties with his leg. Come on Strike, look after your leg! Yeesh. I don’t look after myself perfectly all of the time but if I had a chronic problem, I hope I would do so better than Strike does his leg.

Robin struggles with her personal life as well as with her new career as a private detective. Her family believes she should not be doing the job she is doing because of the danger element but Robin knows that she has landed where she needs to be. This is the work she has always dreamed of doing but never made an effort to pursue.


Rowling says that she wrote this book while writing a play and two screenplays for Harry Potter’s world. At 650 pages long, Lethal Weapon goes on as Rowling’s books tend to. Some readers wish they could cut out a bit but if you enjoy a well crafted story, you will appreciate the plot, characters and insights given in this novel. As The New York Times says in their review, sometimes more is better than less.

The Guardian’s review says that this book contains much "highly inventive storytelling” and there is no surprise there. J.K. Rowling is a master at doing exactly that.  The Guardian goes on to say that “there is much here for mystery fans to enjoy” and I agree completely on both counts. Lethal White is HIGHLY RECOMMEND by me for you if you love a good, long detective story. You will, of course, have to read the first three books first. You can find all of Robert Galbraith’s books on Amazon by clicking right here.

See you
At the book store!
Brenda

Quick Links:

Robert Galbraith’s Lethal White on Amazon.
More J.K. Rowling reading on Movie Treasures By Brenda.
Follow the Review This blog on Pinterest.





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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Ruff Relief Organic Pet Paw, Nose, and Skin Balm - Review


My adventure dog, Finn, is finding winter conditions to be hard on his sensitive paws.  When I rescued him, the pads on Finn's feet were as silky smooth as baby skin.  That is because Finn had never been outdoors.  Recently, during a walk at the park, Finn stopped moving and started whimpering a bit.  After quickly checking his feet, I realized he was communicating discomfort related to an ice ball that had formed between the toes on a front foot.  Not long after that incident, Finn let me know that he could not tolerate any small amount of the chemical de-icer that was present on city sidewalks and roads.  What to do?

As I considered possible solutions, such as dog booties and paw wax, or hibernating until June, I came across a highly rated organic paw balm called Ruff Relief.  The key factor that sold me on this particular pet product had a lot to do with the fact that it is rated at a human grade food level (the first time I have seen that).  Given that dogs frequently lick their feet, it was really important to me that anything Finn put in his mouth was natural, non-toxic, and hypoallergenic (along with made in the USA).  The fact that Ruff Relief has earned a USDA certification sealed the deal for me.

You may be wondering about the ingredients.  That was the first thing I wanted to know.  Here they are:
  • Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Organic Coconut Oil
  • Organic Beeswax
  • Organic Carnauba Wax
  • Jojoba Wax
  • Non-GMO Vitamin E
These natural ingredients are safe to use on paws, noses, and other skin hot spots.  Though I think of winter as the toughest time to keep my animals' skin protected, summer presents its own challenges (think burning hot pavement and concrete).  Ruff Relief provides year-round protection from ice, snow, and heated surfaces.  If your pet ever suffers from cracking, chapped, or dry skin, you may wish to give Ruff Relief a try.  There's really no risk given that the company provides a 100% satisfaction guarantee.  You have 30 days to test drive this product.  If you aren't happy with the results, simply request a full refund.

Since I have just started using this balm on Finn's paws, I'll have to keep you posted about our longer term results.  I am fully expecting good outcomes given all of the positive online reviews.  Stay tuned for updates.

Before closing, I thought I would share some fun facts I discovered while searching for information about dog feet.

Fritos Feet
What is that corn chip smell??  Why do dogs have feet that smell like Fritos, Cheetos, or popcorn?  Actually, that is totally normal.  The smell comes from natural bacteria that grow on canine paws (mixed with a dog's unique paw sweat gland odor).

Did You Know?
Some dog breeds, think Greyhounds, Dobermans, and Akitas, have "cat feet" (smaller feet with high arches).  These features, along with the lightness of their feet, enhance their endurance.

Pop Quiz
Does your dog have webbed feet?  If so, you should ace this quiz.  In the comment section, please name a breed of dog with webbing between the toes/pads.

Finally, have you had to treat your pet's feet at certain times of year?  If so, what worked well for your four-legged friend?








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Thursday, January 3, 2019

Swagman XC2 Hitch Mount Bike Rack Review


Bike riding has always been one of my greatest outdoor pleasures.  Cycling provides me with an exhilaration that I don't find with other forms of exercise.  It's like it gives me wings.  As I was thinking about my new year's resolutions, I realized that I want to ride more in 2019.  The only thing keeping me from doing so was the need to transport my bikes.  This is where the Swagman XC2 hitch mounted two-bike rack entered the picture.


I had already done all of my homework.  I knew the features I wanted and I'd read all the reviews.  A few years back, when I purchased a recumbent bicycle with a long wheel base, there were few bike carriers that could accommodate my Easy Racer.  That is when I was introduced to the Swagman line of racks.  They are popular for several good reasons: quality, features, affordability, and ease of use.

Most households have bicycles of different sizes and styles.  You need the type of bike rack that can adjust to fit that wide range.  My new Swagman XC2 is the rack that best fits not only my bikes, but also my lifestyle and budget.


Assembling my new bike rack took just a few minutes.


Here I have attached the Swagman rack to my hitch receiver.  


The tire trays keep wheels from spinning and help stabilize the bike during transport.


A well-cushioned ratchet arm tightly secures the bike frame to the rack.


It is very easy to load and unload bicycles from the rack.  Though I opted for the two-bike carrier, you can also purchase a Swagman rack that will carry more bicycles.  As you can see, there is still plenty of room for me to access my vehicle when the rack is in use.  The center post of the rack folds down to allow for the tailgate to be opened and closed.  Though I drive a cross-over SUV, this really is an ideal bicycle carrier for most vehicles.

Having transported my bikes a few times since gifting myself with the Swagman XC2, I can honestly say that I am very happy with this product and only wish I had bought it sooner.  This is a great investment that will help me achieve several of my health and travel goals for the new year.

Depending on where you live, you may not be able to do much outdoor biking this time of year, but it really is the best time to get a bargain on a new Swagman bike rack.  When I checked on Amazon this morning, I couldn't believe the price on the Swagman XC2.  It was $80 less than retail (44% off)—the best price I have ever seen for this item by far.  You will want to take advantage of this sale if you are in the market for a top-of-the-line bicycle carrier.  I also recommend that you purchase the Swagman cable hitch lock for this bike rack.  This is something I bought for protection against theft and I have very much appreciated the extra peace of mind it has provided.

I hope to see you out there along the bike trails.  May the road rise up gently and the wind be always at your back.  

Happy New Year!







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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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Vintage Lamp Bird Bath - DIY Tutorial and Review


I was visiting my muse the other day, Pinterest, when I came upon the most delightful inspiration.  Have you seen the creative bird baths that are being made from vintage lamps?  I'm pretty sure I would never have thought of this fun, and ingenious, idea on my own.  As one who loves to give cast off items new life, this was the perfect project for me.  In case you also enjoy whimsical garden features, I am sharing my DIY process to prime your pump.


First, I needed an old lamp and bird bath basin, so I took a little field trip to a couple of thrift stores.  Goodwill had exactly what I needed.  On my first shopping expedition, I found a glass serving dish that reminded me of a sunflower.  Amazingly, that is the exact vision I had for the theme of my creation.  Who knew an egg platter could be so lovely?


Next, I went on the hunt for the right lamp to complement my new bird bath dish, and to serve as its base.  Because thrift stores are always receiving new donations, I found the perfect lamp on my very next trip to the store.  The crystal, marble, and brass features, along with the size of the lamp, were just right in every way.  I couldn't wait to get home and put the finishing touches on my vintage bird bath.


Step One: Unscrew the light socket and remove it from the top of the lamp.


Step Two:  Clip the electrical cord and pull it out through the lamp base.  


Step Three:  I removed each individual section of the lamp and reassembled the pieces to better support the basin section of my bird bath.  I moved the brass leaf section to the top of the column and reversed it (turned it upside down) to serve as the support arms for my glass dish.  


Step Four:  Though I had intended to glue the platter directly to the brass arms, I found that they weren't totally level, so I riveted a circular metal candle holder to the brass piece.  I spray painted the metal silver since it would show through the bottom of the water basin.  I wanted a natural looking reflection.




Step Five:  I used E6000 glue to affix the glass dish to the candle holder.  I ran a bead of glue all along the circular rim on the bottom of the egg platter and carefully applied pressure for a minute or two after centering the dish on the metal plate.  Then, I let the glue cure for a couple of days.


Step Six:  Since I don't want my glass bird bath to tip over and shatter, I ran a metal post up into the center column where the cord used to be housed.  I purchased an inexpensive plant hanger at the dollar store.  It has stakes to anchor the base of the lamp into the ground.  I measured the height of the lamp and then cut off the hook top of the planter stake.  For extra insurance, since the winds are often incredibly strong where I live, I drilled a hole through the center of a cement patio paver and inserted the metal rod through it before installing the rod inside the lamp.  Now my bird bath is very stable and far less likely to get knocked over by the wind or wild critters.  As a bonus, it now has a level platform on which to stand.  I'll be planting flowers around the paver to make it more attractive.









Your steps may not be identical to mine, because every lamp is slightly different, but there are enough similarities to give you a sense of how to go about assembling your bird bath.  You may be able to find a lamp that already has a glass shade.  In that case, you won't need a separate glass dish.  I preferred knowing that my glass dish would not be toxic to birds and I didn't have to seal any holes that had been drilled through a lamp shade.  

I am very pleased with my unique bird bath.  It is so satisfying to take an unwanted item or two and turn them into a conversation piece.  More than that, I feel like I am showing a little love to the beautiful creatures who share my garden habitat.  It has been an especially dry season.  With the mountain creek dried up at the moment, it feels wonderful to provide a source of sustenance for the precious birds that fill my life with their sweet presence and songs.

Let me know if you decide to make your own bird bath or garden art with a vintage lamp.  I would love to see how you use your creative gifts.









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Thursday, January 19, 2017

John Sandford Extreme Prey Book Review

First off, a confession. I have not read a SINGLE solitary John Sandford book. There are, however, many of them in my household.

Over the course of the last couple of years, my husband Chris discovered John Sandford and worked to collect and read his way through every single one of Sandford's books. I have a feeling there will be a Sandford book in my future.

Chris' most recent read was Extreme Prey and what follows is his review, which I thought I would share with you here.

John Sandford’s Extreme Prey is an exceptional read.

In the previous novel, the protagonist Lucas Davenport was leaving the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) with his daughter Letty asking, “What are you going to do next?” Extreme Prey flawlessly transitions Davenport from a badge carrying cop to a private citizen doing a favour for the state governor Elmer Henderson; a favour that finds Davenport investigating a potential threat against a presidential candidate. The fact that Davenport is not carrying a badge and has no authority kicks the story up a notch. Davenport uses old contacts and his reputation to gain support from local police while trying to convince others that there is a real and credible threat. Of course the threat is real and time is short, so the action is non-stop.

As the story unfolds, Davenport chases loose threads of evidence as he puts pieces of the puzzle together until the climactic scene arrives that is so engulfing that it will make you miss your bus stop; at least that happened to me.

For long-time fans of John Sandford, Extreme Prey effectively interweaves characters from previous books into the action as well as providing cameo roles for characters from the Virgil Flowers and Kidd series, also by John Sandford. If this is your first time reading a John Sandford book and don’t insist on starting at the beginning of a series, you will find a great read that can stand alone. Sandford gives you enough information to introduce every character without slowing down the action or distracting from this story.

Extreme Prey is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for anyone who likes police mysteries. For current fans of the “Prey” books you will find it an exciting surprise as Lucas Davenport adapts to not having a badge and the official support of the BCA. Personally I am already looking forward to Golden Prey scheduled for release in April 2017 to see what’s next for Lucas Davenport.

Extreme Prey definitely sounds like an excellent read to me and I have to thank my husband for the introduction to another author and for writing this post. I am especially thankful that he shared the fact that this book caused him to miss his bus stop. What a hoot!

Will there be a John Sandford book in your future?

Happy Reading!
Brenda & Chris

Quick Links:

Order Extreme Prey on Amazon.
Steve Berry's Amber Room reviewed.









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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Garlic and Sapphires Book Review

Garlic and Sapphires Book Review

Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise Book Review


I am not sure now what inspired me to pick up this book originally for it has been in my reading pile for awhile. I expect that I was looking for something entertaining. I would like to say that I was not drawn in by the cover artwork of spaghetti and wine but that might not be true.

The back of the book says that it is Ruth Reichl's "delicious and compulsively readable account of her exploits as a New York Times food critic" and I can tell you that the book lives up to that promise.

It tells the story of food critic Reichl's move from being food critic at Los Angeles Times to being food critic at the New York Times in New York City and it is funny.  You can imagine that a food critic needs a certain amount of anonymity. However, Reichl was known in Los Angeles and that visibility carried over to her work in NYC, which necessitated her visiting restaurants incognito.  As the Washington Post says, "at times laugh-out-loud funny."

Garlic and Sapphires was my kind of book. It was a great break from normal life and one that kept calling my name when I tried to stop reading. Hopefully, it will not keep you up past your bedtime the way it did me but, if it does, at least you will be having fun.

I can HIGHLY RECOMMEND Garlic and Sapphires. I believe that anyone who loves food will enjoy it. I also think that someone who has NYC on their bucket list, who lives in that city or who once lived there would enjoy it whether or not they can afford to eat at the restaurants that Reichl visits.  Finally, anyone who has followed Reichl's career will likely enjoy this record of her time at the New York times.

I am sharing my copy with my book-loving friends and I have added more of Reichl's books to my book list.  If you read it, I am sure that you will feel the same when you put it down.

Happy Reading!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

Quick Links:

Buy Garlic and Sapphires from Amazon.
Clara's Kitchen, a Great Depression Era Cookbook Review.







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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Steve Berry's The Amber Room Book Review

Steve Berry's The Amber Room Book Review If you love thrillers like Ian Fletcher's James Bond stories, you will likely enjoy Steve Berry's books. If you have been to St. Petersburg, Russia, or you are going there, you will definitely want to check out his first book as shown here, The Amber Room. If you are going to Russia and you have the chance, I would definitely recommend reading the book before your trip.

Steve Berry's fictional work The Amber Room is especially fascinating because it is based on the existence of a man made marvel and World War II mystery the site of which you can actually visit in Russia. The book is a mystery thriller, set in the world of art and based loosely on the true story of the Amber Room, which legend says the Nazis took when they invaded the Soviet Union.

I was particularly interested in The Amber Room because I had the opportunity to visit the port of St. Petersburg, Russia, for two days on a cruise. St. Petersburg was my favorite port and it was while on a cruise ship excursion to the truly resplendent Catherine's Palace in Tsarkskoe Selo that I learned of the existence and saw first hand The Amber Room.

The Amber Room that we visited that day in Catherine's Palace is actually a replica of the original Amber Room, recreated by Russia and Germany after the war because the original room is still missing. However, even this replica of the original room was beautiful as I suppose it should be since it cost $6 million dollars to create.

This book was interesting and entertaining but be warned that it also contained violence, sex and profanity. With regard to  profanity, Berry has since said that this is his only book that has excessive profanity. He said, "It was an experiment, as there's a character in that story who says just about anything. He was fun to write but I learned that excessive profanity is not all that necessary." In any case, I am sure that this book would be rated R, if they rated books in the same way that they rate movies. If it had been a movie, it would have probably been too violent for me although the idea of this book as a movie is actually intriguing.

If you can tolerate the issues, I do recommend this book. I have since enjoyed many more Steve Berry novels. If you are a reader and looking for a new author to 'consume,' do check him out.  The Amber Room and his other novels are available in all formats from hardcover through to Kindle. You can click here to order your copy of The Amber Room from Amazon.

Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

More Action & Adventure Reading:

Which Is the Best True Grit Movie?
What do you think? Which of the True Grit movies is better?

Clint Eastwood Gran Torino Blu-ray Movie Review
I enjoyed Clint Eastwood in the movie Gran Torino and yes, the car was great, too.






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Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Review of Spring Cleaning Tips

 

Especially Useful Tips for People with Kids

 

Funny Spring Cleaning Saying

Whether you need a way to help de-clutter or clean kids toys, or tips for getting your kids involved in Spring Cleaning, the Review This blog has a few suggestions.

One of the best ways to be successful with big cleaning chores such as Spring Cleaning is to get the whole family involved.  Kids can clean, whether they believe it or not!  One good hint, for major cleaning or just daily cleaning, is to get a small kitchen timer and have the kids 'clean their room' until the buzzer goes off.  They (and you) will be amazed at how much they can accomplish working against the clock. It becomes a game for them.


Toy Clutter Control



Source: Pixabay


On the Tips From a Typical Mom blog, Annette has a wonderful article of 10 Tips to Make Cleaning Fun for Kids.


Toy Hammocks Save Space

Toy hammocks are wonderful space-saving ways to store toys off the floor, and a quick way to 'pick-up' and 'put-away' those toys.


Handmade Crochet Hammock for Stuffed Animals



Stuffed Animal Storage Hammock on Etsy

Nichole Fuller, a crochet crafter, crochets toy hammocks for all those cute stuffed animals your children collect and keep forever.  Hang it next to their bed, so their special stuffed animals are still close but don't take up the space in their bed any more.  

The hammock is approximately 31 inches long and 35 inches from front to back.  They do stretch a bit and hold more than you think. Currently, they are available in a variety of color choices and can be found in her Etsy Shop called FullerDesigns8.



Green Cleaning Ideas



Source: Pixabay

For those of you who prefer cleaning with environmentally-safe products, HubPages author Chen has an article on Green Spring Cleaning Tips using handy products such as baking soda and white vinegar. Products such as these are safe for even children to use while helping mom clean.











More Simple Cleaning Tips from the Contributors here on Review This!






  • And Bev has also found a telescoping corner broom which is terrific for cleaning those hard to reach those high ceilings and corners. 

 

House Cleaning Tips all in one Place


Available on Amazon

For all of us who live a busy life, house cleaning at any time is a chore.  This book of House Cleaning Tips and Tricks from Amazon has helpful hints and time-saving tips all in one place.  

Getting organized has never been easier.











Spring has arrived!



Putting off Spring Cleaning

Hopefully, this collection of tips and hints will give you a head start with your Spring Cleaning.  Or... you can enjoy putting it off until next year!


(c) Wednesday Elf (4/18/2015)




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