Sunday, October 16, 2016

Weekend Book Reviews: Dogs and Cats

The Secret Language of Dogs by Victoria Stilwell is an in-depth look at how our canine friends think and communicate.  My dog, Leo, is an important member of my family so any insight I can get into having a better relationship is good.  I enjoyed the different suggestions for training dogs.  The book also provided a wealth of information for reading a dogs signs (tail wagging, facial expressions, etc).  This book would be wonderful for a first time dog parent or someone who already has a canine companion.  It is not a long book, but it provides good material and is easy to read.

Abigail Tucker's book, The Lion in the Living Room, is described as being about how cats took over the world.  I just knew I was going to love since I love house cats.  The problem is that I am not certain Mrs. Tucker loves cats.  The book started off well with an anthropological lesson on cats.  Then it quickly morphed into everything that is negative about cats.  Yes, I agree that cats kill too many birds.  Connecting cats in a home during childhood and mental illness was a stretch for me.  I finished the book.  The only reason for that was I expected it to get better.  If you want some basic anthropology on cats and plenty of information on why they are detrimental to the entire world, this is a great book.  However cat lovers might want to steer clear.

disclosure:  I received these e-books from NetGalley but was not otherwise compensated for these reviews.  All opinions are my own!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Weekend Book Review: Danielle Walker's Against All Grain Celebrations

Danielle Walker's Against All Grain Celebrations is the latest book by the best-selling author.  I have friends/family who are gluten- or dairy-free, and I hate for them to be left out of any special meal.  Mrs. Walker's book is packed with recipes for every occasion from New Year's Eve to Christmas and all in between.  While not all of the ingredients she uses are available in my small town, I had no my trouble locating them through Amazon.  My husband put the Sunbutter Buckeyes on my to try list.  The Pumpkin Spice Latte would be wonderful for a fall gathering of friends.  I plan to make the Smoky Candied Bacon Sweet Potatoes for Thanksgiving this year.  With make ahead directions many of these recipes are great for holiday dinners and other special occasions.

disclosure:  I received this book from Blogging for Books but was not otherwise compensated for this review.  All opinions are my own!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Weekend Book Reviews

Death by Pumpkin Spice by Alex Erickson is book three in the Bookstore Cafe Mystery series.  Krissy and her best friend, Vickie, are co-owners of Death by Coffee, a coffee shop and bookstore.  This particular book takes place primarily over the course of one night at a Halloween party.  With Krissy, Vickie, along with Officer Dalton and a pile of other guests stuck at the party with a dead body, the race is on to find the killer.  I enjoyed the Halloween setting and the characters.  I would like to see Krissy be more self-assured in future books, but that was the only downfall.

Mary McHugh's latest book in the Happy Hoofers Mystery series is High Kicks, Hot Chocolate, Homicides.  The Happy Hoofers are a five member dance troupe, and they have been invited to join the Rockettes in their Christmas show.  It sounds like the chance of lifetime until the bodies start piling up.  Mary Louise gets drawn a little too deep into the mystery while helping one of the Rockettes.  This is a fun book but definitely on the lighter side even as far as cozy mysteries go.

Unlucky Charms by Linda O. Johnson is book three in the Superstition Mystery series.  I had not read the first two books but was not at all lost.  The book is set in the town of Destiny which is completely focused on superstitions of all kinds.  I am not a superstitious person and after a few chapters, I found it to be annoying.  I understand that is the point of the book so the dislike is purely a personal one.  The characters were interesting, and I enjoyed the mystery aspect.  If you love superstitions, this is an excellent book to read.  If they irk you, steer clear.

Paula Paul's book, A Killer Closet, started off good.  Irene moves back home to help care for her mother and opens a high end consignment shop to support the two of them  On the day her new store is to open, a body is found in the store.  She soon finds herself in the middle of a growing murder mystery that includes quite a few skeletons in the closet.  The first half was good, but the second half dissolved into foul language.  I generally consider curse words as a waste of space.  They add nothing to the story and are often a sign of lack of wit or skill.  Without that the book would have been great.

disclosure:  I received these e-books from NetGalley but was not otherwise compensated for these reviews.  All opinions are my own!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Feathered Friday - Pheasants

I have neglected to mention that we have four pheasants.  As with many of our pets, they were homeless.  Also as with most of our pets they are a bit unusual.

I have been told that if a pheasant escapes it's pen, it will never be seen again.  Ours have gotten out a couple of times.  They always hang out right at the pen waiting for us to let them in again.

One of them thinks she is a duck as she often stand in the water dish.

They are not super friendly animals and prefer to keep their distance for the most part.  We currently only have four, but I think W would love to add to the flock.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Pumpkin Flower Container

I saw the idea for making inexpensive pumpkin flower containers here.  I purchased two plastic pumpkins for $1 each.

I already had the paint.  It originally cost $6 and is Krylon in oil rubbed bronze.  Each plastic pumpkin got a quick coat of paint.

I added in a small potted mum ($1.50 each).  I got some that are not yet blooming, but they will have dark red blooms.  They look lovely sitting on the steps of the new house.

Not counting the paint which was left from another project, I have $5 (plus a bit of tax) in the two decorations.  They will be lovely decorations to keep out for the month of October.  The plastic pumpkins can go into storage at the end of the month to be used again next year.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Weekend Book Review: 101 One-Dish Dinners

Andrea Chesman's book, 101 One-Dish Dinners, is packed full of easy, family friendly meals.  While the ingredient lists are a bit on the longer side, the recipes do not include any overly processed foods.  This is a huge plus for me especially when combined with the fact that the dinners can be made in one dish.  Not all of the meals will appeal to every family, but the variety offers something for everyone.  A few of my favorites are the Southwestern Rice & Bean Salad and the Stovetop Mac 'N' Cheese with Ham & Peas. Several of the soups have me longing just a bit for cooler weather.

Readers may want to preview the book to see if there are enough recipes your families will enjoy.  Do not be surprised to find yourself adding it to your cookbook library though!

disclosure:  I received this e-book from NetGalley but was not otherwise compensated for this review.  All opinions are my own!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Weekend Book Review

I am a big fan of holiday themed books especially those that show Christmas decorations.  I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review Christmas at Designers' Homes Across America by Katharine Kaye McMillan & Patricia Hart McMillan.  Various designers are featured and each has a signature holiday decorating style.  It will be easy for everyone to find something of interest.  From over the top to simple and elegant, holiday designs are shown for every taste.

I found the decorating hints of these top designers to be very helpful.  I will admit that most of the homes are far and above anything I could ever afford to do.  The good thing was that the design elements are great inspiration.  I saw several things that I could recreate in my own home.  I will admit that I was inspired by some of the non-holiday design elements too.  I found perfect lamps for my nightstands.

A variety of rooms are displayed as well as mantles and side tables.  The color schemes range from traditional to modern.  I was surprised to find a home featured not too far from where I live.  If you cannot tell by now, I loved this book.  I highly recommend it for anyone who loves browsing for holiday inspiration!

disclosure:  I received this e-book from NetGalley but was not otherwise compensated for this review.  All opinions are my own!