Wednesday, August 26, 2009

100 Heartbeats...and every heartbeat matters...

With 100 Heartbeats: The Race to Save Earth's Most Endangered Species, Biologist and TV Host Jeff Corwin embarks on the journey of a lifetime. We follow him into every ecosystem on Earth to get a glimpse of some of the Earth's most endangered species. Between the behind-the-scenes stories, Corwin gives us real - meaty - discourse. Global warming, destruction of rainforest, pollution...are all covered with intelligence and facts.

100 Heartbeats refers to the subjects of the book (...and upcoming MSNBC Documentary of the same title) species that have fewer than 100 members living in the wild.

The following is from the Acknowledgement:

It is my hope that this book will serve as a catalyst, educating people about the state of our natural world and compelling them to help protect it for future generations. We have the chance to do it and we can succeed. Every heartbeat matters.

The only thing that can make this better is the 16 pages of color photos promised in the published version...although Corwin does an excellent job of drawing the picture. This is a documentary that I look forward to seeing.

Product Description from Amazon:
It’s no secret that our planet—and the delicate web of ecosystems that comprise it—is in crisis. Environmental threats such as climate change, pollution, habitat loss, and land degradation threaten the survival of thousands of plant and animal species each day. In 100 Heartbeats, conservationist and television host Jeff Corwin provides an urgent, palpable portrait of the wildlife that is suffering in silence and teetering on the brink of extinction. From the forests slipping away beneath the stealthy paws of the Florida panther, to the giant panda’s plight to climb ever higher in the mountains of China in search of sustenance, to the brutal poaching tactics that have devastated Africa’s rhinoceros and elephant populations, Corwin takes readers on a global tour to witness firsthand the critical state of our natural world. Along the way, he shares inspiring stories of battles being waged and won in defense of the earth’s most threatened creatures by the conservationists on the front lines. These stories of hope and progress underscore an important message: Our own survival, as well as that of the world’s wildlife, is in our hands. The race to save the planet’s most endangered wildlife is under way. Every heartbeat matters.

Blood Game - vampires for adults....

Iris Johansen has done it again...

I made the mistake of opening this book when I knew I was working under a project sucked me right in!

I was already a Johansen fan and especially an Eve Duncan (forensic sculptor) fan. What really interested me about this book was the more adult treatment of the "vampire" and "paranormal" phenomenon. Between the Twilight series and the new "True Blood" TV series it appears the paranormal is here to stay.

I like the concept of a mortal to vampire resurrection...and I especially like the thought out means to this end that Johansen devises.

Joe Quinn (long time boyfriend) the hard boiled detective is the perfect person to bestow with psychic abilities as he is the first to scoff at them and their use in police work.

The pace is good - the characters well developed (I have to say I loved the old world charm of Seth Caleb) - the paranormal scenes well done and not tied into teen angst and romance.

Overall - it is nice to see the genre aimed at a mature audience.

Product Description from Amazon:
First comes darkness, then comes fear
Eve Duncan is back! Blockbuster
New York Times bestselling author Iris Johansen’s latest thriller brings Eve closer to discovering her daughter’s killer…and into a web of danger from which she may not be able to escape…

Eve Duncan returns in a thriller that pits her against the most evil mind she has ever encountered: a ruthless killer who taunts her with his every move…and who has a special affinity for blood. When a Georgia senator’s daughter is found murdered, and her body drained of blood, Eve Duncan is drawn into the web of Kevin Jelak—a serial murderer who is on Eve’s short list of killers who might know something about her missing daughter Bonnie. When a goblet of blood is found in Eve’s refrigerator, she knows the taunting is over…and the games have begun. As Eve and Jelak engage in a dance of death, Eve must call upon those she loves and trusts the most…even if it means bringing them into the game as well.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Give this to Musicians from 8 to 80!

While children could read this book (especially the kids that loved the Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate... books) it also includes content directed more to adults.

If you have a child or an adult in your life that is involved in music - this is THE gift!

The Composer has been murdered!!!The investigator has been called in. In the course of the investigation the detective runs through the various instruments in the orchestra in a thoroughly charming manner. Extolling the virtues of each and the reasons why they couldn't possibly have been the culprit!

So - the verdict? Charming with some humor directed at the adults...I gave it as a Birthday gift to a 66 year old Diva who LOVED IT!

Not as "Dark"as the title might imply!

How can you resist - The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children? It brings to mind the old WC Fields adage - when asked if he liked children, Fields purportedly answered, Yes - with a little mustard and relish!

All joking aside - this book is being touted as a lot of things...a modern version of the Hansel & Gretel tale, garnering comparisons to Roald Dahl's The Witches, and the tone of a Lemony Snicket narration.

The really great part is that kids will read and love it - it is a quick witty - smart read!

The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children has everything it needs to make it a modern day fairy tale - smart, funny, sleuthing siblings - their father (who is not their father) - a wicked stepmother - scary librarian and bits from a witch's journal!!!

This is a debut from author Keith McGowan, and the illustrations throughout by Yoko Tanaka lend a graphic element that stops just short of graphic novel.

Product Description from Amazon:

When Sol and Connie Blink move to Grand Creek, one of the first people to welcome them is an odd older woman, Fay Holaderry, and her friendly dog, Swift, who carries a very strange bone in his mouth. Sol knows a lot more than the average eleven-year-old, so when he identifies the bone as human, he and Connie begin to wonder if their new neighbor is up to no good.

In a spine-tingling adventure that makes them think twice about who they can trust, Sol and Connie discover that solving mysteries can be a dangerous game—even for skilled junior sleuths.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Web Find! Twisted Limb Paperworks...


Bookmark Invitation/Announcement
Your invitation or announcement is printed on a 5x7 piece of 100% recycled cardstock. A removable 2 1/4 x 4 1/2 in. bookmark favor (with 2 different colored layers of Twisted Limb's handmade 100% recycled paper and eco-friendly vellum overlay) provides decoration to the left of your text. We suggest a quotation, graphic, and your name(s) and celebration date on the overlay, but what goes on the bookmark is up to you. Choose one of four brads (fasteners) for attaching bookmark to the invitation. Your invitees will be thrilled to have this attractive memento, even if they cannot attend your wedding or other special event.

Twisted Limb Paperworks is a carbon-neutral production art studio nestled in the wooded countryside of South Central Indiana. Here we sustainably create our colorful handmade 100% recycled paper using old colored office paper and grocery bags, recycled water, and inclusions of flowers, wildflower seeds, grass from our field and ferns from our woods. We creatively assemble our handmade papers into recycled wedding invitations, business promotional items, holiday greeting cards, birth announcements, shower invitations, thank-you notes, programs, guest books, place cards, menus and favors. Our natural eco-friendly papers and stationery are perfectly designed for a celebration that is gentle on the earth.


Twisted Limb Paperworks products are handmade and 100% recycled from Post Consumer Waste (PCW). Our papers are crafted here, in our studio, in the heartland of the USA, using some combination of recycled office paper, junk mail, grocery bags, and even cardboard boxes. No dyes are used to tint the paper. Colors are obtained directly from the materials being recycled.

We offer two styles of paper—paper embellished with ferns, flowers, and raffia flecks, or paper embedded with grass cuttings from our field. We are starting to organically grow and to ethically harvest from our woods more and more of the ferns going into our papers as well.

Twisted Limb is carbon neutral! 100% of the carbon dioxide created by running our facility, shipping, employee commuting and business travel is offset with renewable energy investments through Native Energy. Water used in the paper making process is recycled from our studio's dehumidifiers and air conditioner whenever possible to conserve this essential resource. We donate 22% of our profits as cash and in-kind contributions to environmental conservation efforts and community groups each year.

Twisted Limb Paperworks will add a natural, but unique and colorful touch to your wedding celebration, commitment ceremony, anniversary, birth, bat/bar mitzvah, business event, graduation or milestone birthday. We can create any combination of coordinating colors for your wedding invitations, business announcements, corporate holiday cards, thank-you notes, programs, guest books, place cards, menus and favors. Prices vary so that if you want to save time, you can have Twisted Limb Paperworks take care of everything from beginning to end. If you want to save money, you can do some of the work or assembling of products yourselves. We also create paper, stationery and bookmarks for school and non-profit fundraising.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Tweens and Teens alike will love this one...

By Marley Gibson

This is Ghost Huntress Book 2: The Guidance the second book in the series Ghost Huntress Book 1: The Awakening being the first, about Kendall and her friends Celia and Becca.

While kids are definitely going to be sucked into this world (I couldn't put it down) - it will offer them more than just a good read about hunting ghosts and helping them "cross over" (after all doesn't Melinda - The Ghost Whisperer, do that once a week on TV?).

It is Kendall's special gift that exposes her to a multitude of teen woes. In "The Guidance", Kendall conquers her own fears and finds the special gift of being able to look past a person's actions to the cause of those actions.

The ghost hunting business is thriving in this small Southern town that at one time was an encampment for Union soldiers during Sherman's March to the Sea. So we learn some of the history of Georgia and what life was like to be a Southerner when Union troops took over some of the larger properties.

Author Marley Gibson is genius! She must have been channeling a teen ghost to set the scene so well. The book is written in "teenager" - by that I mean that, while you may not "get" some of it, your kids will love it!

The topics covered behind the scenes include, mental health, bullying, shame, blame, young romance and most important responsibility - to yourself, for your actions and to your gift!

One last thing - a couple of other reviews said that they really disliked the "product placement" in this book. Do you really think that the mention of "Timberland" and other brand names is out of money issues (esp. for the film if planned)? Or could it be that brands are a huge part of every teen conversation? Sit on a city bus at 8AM in any medium to large Metro area - that is what kids talk about! They don't say - I want new shoes - it is "I'm scoping out the new Skechers after class - you up for it?"

While this is a definite read for teen girls (the friendship between Kendall, Celia and Becca is great), I think that teen boys will also enjoy this fast moving romp through the spirit world!

Product Description from Amazon
Kendall and her ghost hunting team is the talk of Radisson, Georgia, but one person isn’t so pleased. Courtney Langdon doesn’t appreciate Kendall’s new popularity or her relationship with Jason, Courtney’s ex.

So Courtney begins dabbling in the paranormal world. At first it’s all a game to draw attention away from Kendall. But Courtney doesn’t know what she’s getting into—or what wants in her. This is one game that’s about to turn deadly serious.

And for more about Kendall and the ghost huntresses, check out !

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Murder most foul in Renaissance Florence...

By Carolyn P. Murphy

Intelligent, gifted, cultured and independent - all traits that were not encouraged in a young woman of Renaissance Florence. Isabella de Medici was the beautiful daughter of a doting father who supported her artistic independence...he didn't even allow marriage to hinder this freedom!

But all was to come to an end with the death of Grand Duke Cosimo I- who was succeeded by Francesco. Isabella's older brother didn't approve of his sister's behavior and sent her to the home of her abusive husband. Intrigue, mystery, love affairs...this book has everything you expect and hope for in the telling of a Royal story.

Carolyn Murphy is a master storyteller, drawing from the "vast trove of newly discovered and unpublished documents, ranging from Isabella's own letters, to the loose-tongued dispatches of ambassadors to Florence, to contemporary descriptions of the opulent parties and balls, salons and hunts in which Isabella and her associates participated. Murphy resurrects the exciting atmosphere of Renaissance Florence, weaving Isabella's beloved city into her story, evoking the intellectual and artistic community that thrived during her time."

In a genre that is filled with book after book written about the British and French Royal Houses - it is my hope that these newly discovered manuscripts provide the history necessary for more stories of the Italian Royals.

From Publishers Weekly
The third of eight surviving children, Isabella de' Medici (1542–1576) was unusually close to her father, Cosimo, the powerful grand duke of Tuscany who built the Uffizi, and whose protection allowed her to live an autonomous, glittering Florentine life apart from her debt-ridden, abusive, playboy husband in Rome. After Cosimo's death in 1574, his spiteful eldest son and heir, Francesco, eager to make his mistress, the first lady of Florence, reneged on the inheritance Cosimo left Isabella and her children and effectively banished her lover from Florence by branding him a murderer. When the treasonous behavior and extramarital affairs of Isabella's sister-in-law Leonora became a symbol for the anarchy of Francesco's court, Francesco sanctioned Leonora's murder at her husband's hands and, soon after, Isabella's murder by her husband as well. Like the Kennedys or Windsors, the Medicis are a dynasty brimming with biographical gold, and this supple, smart account of a lesser-known daughter will engage modern readers as it vivifies both Renaissance Florence and an extraordinary woman who paid the ultimate price for flouting her era's traditional gender roles. Murphy (The Pope's Daughter) is an art history professor at UC-Riverside. A Medici family tree, map of Florence and b&w illustrations of Renaissance Florence are welcome embellishments. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the
Hardcover edition.

Great View of Historic New Orleans...

A Separate Country is a story of the post Civil War era. It is based on the life of Confederate General John Bell Hood.

This is a life time full of tragedy and misfortune. It felt a little slow at times but I am not sure if that is the writing or if it is just really hard to read about such sadness! Hood was marked for life by the war, he was a defeated man, mentally and physically...and his story just starts there.

From the book jacket:
A Separate Country is the bittersweet story of a decent and good
man who struggled with his inability to admit his failures...and
the story of those who taught him to love, to be loved, and
transformed him.

That said - the writing style of Robert Hicks, author of
The Widow of the South, is ingenious! The settings in the post war South, especially in Reconstruction era New Orleans are illuminating. The sights, the sounds, the smells - even the stifling summer heat - it takes you there.

I look forward to more from Hicks, his realistic style is one I appreciate in this world where everyone seems to want a happy ending.

Product Description From Amazon
Set in New Orleans in the years after the Civil War,
A Separate Country is based on the incredible life of John Bell Hood, arguably one of the most controversial generals of the Confederate Army--and one of its most tragic figures. Robert E. Lee promoted him to major general after the Battle of Antietam. But the Civil War would mark him forever. At Gettysburg, he lost the use of his left arm. At the Battle of Chickamauga, his right leg was amputated. Starting fresh after the war, he married Anna Marie Hennen and fathered 11 children with her, including three sets of twins. But fate had other plans. Crippled by his war wounds and defeat, ravaged by financial misfortune, Hood had one last foe to battle: Yellow Fever. A Separate Country is the heartrending story of a decent and good man who struggled with his inability to admit his failures-and the story of those who taught him to love, and to be loved, and transformed him.


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