Monday, September 24, 2012

Fireproof by Alex Kava

Fireproof by Alex Kava is another in the Maggie O’Dell series.  It is a quick read with a similar format as I found in one of her previous books in this series, Damaged, with several story lines growing parallel and not intersecting.  One will be the preparation for the next book.  In this story we have the police force finding similarities in a string of fires.  Jeffery Cole is a local reporter trying to get that one story that will make him famous.

Maggie is struggling with a head injury and instead of getting medical care, she is trying to “tough it out”.  Her character is the tough and self sufficient law enforcement officer who prefers to go it alone.  We do find her opening up her life and her home to her recently discovered half-brother. Patrick.  He is a welcome addition to this series as a private firefighter. The interaction with Maggie, Patrick and Maggie’s mother was the personal touch this book needed. 

Her personal life still suffers. Her maybe, almost, but not really love interest, Benjamin Platt, is a romance that seems to be going nowhere and was a waste of time in this book. Detective Julia Racine played a larger part in this book,  becoming more of a main and the politically correct character,  taking too much focus off of  Maggie.

The story of the serial arsonist kept me guessing with twists and then end left me prepared for her next book.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Succulent Container Gardens by Debra Lee Baldwin

When I received Succulent Container Gardens by Debra Lee Baldwin I liked succulents, but now that I have read it, I absolutely love them.  This is the best container gardening book I’ve found.  I always pick out a plant and put it in the right size pot with no consideration to color and shape.  This book helps the reader make their container gardens into works of art.

Succulent Container Gardens is divided into four parts. In part one Pairing Plants with Pots, the book shows how the shape and color of the plant and pot can compliment each other.  Different pot styles are discussed, including ideas for using items around the house or thrift store finds.  For a quick crash-course there is a section, Ten Quick and Easy Plant-Pot Combos.

Part 2 is Plant Palette with a description of the different kinds of succulents and their growing needs.  Also included is information on the use of some nonsucculent plants as companion plants.

Part 3 is Creative Designs and Displays which shows plant groupings, hanging baskets, wreaths, stacked displays and even working with miniatures.  These are some of the most beautiful succulent displays I have ever seen.

Part 4 is Planting, Care, and Propagation to make sure your plants stay healthy and prolific.

The photographs throughout the book are outstanding and numerous. They inspired me to begin planning for both indoor and outdoor displays. My favorite quote of the book is in the preface: “These are the plants that allow you to be lazy.”  I highly recommend this book.

Timber Press provided a review copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review.  I provide a link to to purchase the book, but it is only as a courtesy and I receive no compensation if purchased.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Things your Dog Doesn’t Want you to Know by Hy Conrad and Jeff Johnson

Dear Human! What would happen if your dog could write you a letter? Things your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know lets you in on all of those secrets your dog is thinking.  Eleven dogs, Axelrod, Bandana, Dimples, Tinkerbell, Orson, Sophie, Sarge, Charlie, Moonbeam, Gabby and Rufus T. share their dog-thoughts in the form of letters to their owner/parents. 

Some of the essays are funny, some strange, and a couple brought tears to my eyes. You can pretty much guess most of the topics such as food, toys, digging, bad habits, peeing,   - well, you know, dog stuff.  Just as a warning, I would rate this book PG because of some of the topics discussed. 

The book is visually pleasant and fun to read. The pages have different backgrounds with some looking like stationery, paper on a clipboard and some are scrapbook style.  The pages are colorful and on heavy glossy paper.  So, if you are ready for 11 courageous canines to tell all, you will love this book.

I received a review copy of this book with the understanding that I would give my honest opinion of the book.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Reason by William Sirls

The Reason by William Sirls is a very good first Christian novel by this author.  It is well written, interesting, and the characters are believable in their imperfection and complexities. This is a story of sin, faith, redemption and reconciliation. 

When a major lightening storm hits a small church strange things start happening and people take notice.  A mysterious carpenter seems to know more than he should about the residents of town.  A sick child brings a story of hardship and suffering.

The relationships and friendships described in the book were realistic, and displayed real life emotions and actions, both the good and bad.  The major characters were likeable and each of their search for redemption was interesting.

I had a small problem remembering some of the minor characters when they were only mentioned briefly here and there.  I really enjoyed the book until I reached the ending of the book.  Then I found it disappointing and unrealistic.  For me it turned the genre of the book from a drama to a fantasy. Of course I don’t want to give any spoilers here, but I can tell you from experience that no matter how much we believe, how we pray with absolute faith, it is still God’s will how the end will be.  To insinuate that any other result would be the fault of lack of faith is the wrong message.

Still, The Reason is an interesting book that will make you think.  

I received this book for review with the understanding that I would give my honest opinion.  
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