Friday, September 30, 2011

Promissory Payback: A Jane Perry Novelette, by Laurel Dewey

The Story Plant, ISBN 9781611880076, August 2011

Jane Perry is a Denver homicide detective, a recovering alcoholic with a painful marriage in her past. When she's called to the scene of a murder early on a Monday morning, it's just part of the job, and in keeping with her low expectations of the human race.

The victim is an attractive woman in her sixties. She was drugged and hogtied, and "Karma is a bitch" is written on her naked back in lipstick. The lipstick tube has been left near the body, and a chair is pulled up by the bed, as if the killer sat there and watched her die in pain and terror. The victim was found by her friend, a woman her own age who looks a decade older who is, she says, responding a little late to an urgent call from her friend the night before.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Iwishacana/Acanawishi, by Larissa Hinton

Amazon Digital Services, August 2011

I really wanted to like this book.

There's a city which is not quite of this world, called Iwishacana. In this city, wishes come true--if you want something you wish for it, and it appears. There are apparently some rules and restrictions, but it's not at all clear what they are. Eventually we learn that babies born in Iwishacana have a chip implanted in their brains, and this is key to how the wish system works. Anissa was not born in Iwishacana, but her mother was, and she has the ability to visit the city, to make wishes, etc.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Creating Personal Presence: Look, Talk, Act, and Think Like a Leader, by Dianna Booher

Berrett-Koehler Publishers, ISBN 9781609940119, October 2011

Creating Personal Presence covers much the same territory as Michelle Lederman's The 11 Laws of Likability, but not, I fear, in as engaging a manner, or with the same thoughtfulness and attention to detail. There's still very good advice and excellent pointers here, and a different emphasis and viewpoint that may be helpful for some readers.

Divided into four categories, Look, Act, Talk, and Think, Booher offers practical advice and illustrative anecdotes from her experience both personally and with clients, on how to present yourself more effectively, communicate more clearly, and be more successful. Dress, gestures, vocal mannerisms, courtesy, and integrity are all covered, with specifics and examples. Booher begins by saying, and emphasizes throughout, that no matter where you are in terms of personal presence right now, you can take steps to make improvements and become more effective. A link to Booher's self-assessment test is provided, to help readers get started.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Banned Books Week Hop

During the last week of September every year, libraries, bookstores, and blogs around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of banned books and hosting a variety of events. This blog is participating by taking part in the Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop, Sept. 24-Oct. 1.

Kindle Library Lending Goes Live

Kindle Library Lending Goes Live:

Attribution Some rights reserved by jimmiehomeschoolmom
In April, Amazon announced that they would change their long-standing policy and e-nable library borrowing on the Kindle. This feature has now gone live. Using your Kindle to borrow library ebooks will apparently be even easier than with other e-book readers. Your checked-out book will be downloaded to your Kindle via Whispernet, just as with the books you buy from Amazon.

This will enable many more people to borrow library e-books, and should greatly increase the demand for e-books in libraries. This is all good news.

Monday, September 19, 2011

In Seconds, by Brenda Novak: A Review

Harlequin/Mira Books, ISBN 9780778312444, August 2011

Vivian Stewart is living a quiet life in small-town Montana, raising her two children and running her purse design business. But Vivian Stewart has a past, under her real name of Laurel Hodges, her friends and acquaintances don't suspect. Her uncle murdered her stepfather, at her mother's instigation, her brother Virgil spent fourteen years in prison for the crime before being cleared, and joined a prison gang, The Crew, in order to survive. When he quit the gang after getting out, the gang decided to punish him and those he cared about. He has to die, but his sister and her kids, as well as his wife and son, have to die first, so that he'll know about it and suffer.

They've been in hiding under false names ever since. But now one of the craziest, most dangerous members of The Crew, who goes by the nickname Ink, has tracked Vivian/Laurel to Montana.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Goodbye Milky Way, by Dan Makaon--Review

eFfusion Publishing Group LLC, ISBN 9780983378594, October 2011

I wanted so much to like this book.

Unfortunately, we are asked to accept the following inanities: There are multiple secret organizations capable of carrying out government-level projects. Humans, and all life, are the product of Intelligent Design by a space-faring species called the Guardians, who were created by the Elders, who were created by God. And just as intelligent design claims, evolution happens only within phyla; new phyla cannot arise by evolution. For the last sixty or so years, the President has been in regular communication with Earth's own Guardian, via holographic projection chamber at Roswell. Faced with a threat to the existence of the planet, the sensible thing to do is to hand the project off to a consortium of those aforementioned private groups, and not even inquire exactly what it is they're going to do. When a new president is elected, it's evidence that he's power-hungry and untrustworthy, when he wants to know exactly what all these black ops taxpayer billions are being spent on.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Troubles With Time, by Benson Grayson--A Review

Kindle Edition, Amazon Digital Services, 2011

When Maynard Snodgrass's mother drops him off, at age seven, at an orphanage, the other kids quickly nickname him "Nerdly." It's not kind, but it is true. With looks plain enough to be boring and not ugly enough to be interesting, an excellent brain, and a self-effacing personality, Maynard evokes either complete disinterest, or a certain amount of resentment because it's just human nature to resent those you take advantage of. And Maynard gets taken advantage of a lot, because he doesn't have the confidence to say no. It's still happening when he's an assistant professor of physics at Miles Standish University, writing the department chair's papers and getting no publication credit, and not even getting tenure. So he pursues a dream, and invents a time machine.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Chaos: Making a New Science, by James Gleick--A Review

 Open Road, ISBN 9781453210475, March 2011 (Original publication, Viking Penguin, 1987)

This book, over two decades old now, is one of the great classics of science popularization. It was a blockbuster bestseller at the time, and it's still well worth reading, a fascinating, enjoyable introduction to one of the most important scientific developments of our time--the birth of chaos theory.

One of the compelling features of the chaos story is that this scientific breakthrough wasn't a physics, mathematics, chemistry, astronomy, or biology breakthrough; it was all of them. A mathematician turned meteorologist, Edward Lorenz, builds a "toy weather" on what's still a fairly early computer in the early 1960s, and in working with the parameters, concludes that long-term weather forecasting is doomed--a simple deterministic system is producing unpredictable results. Mitchell Feigenbaum, a theoretical physicist at Los Alamos in the early seventies, and two other scientists working together independently of him, are working on the problem of turbulence that it doesn't, as anticipated, build up gradually in an orderly manner. Reach the tipping point, and there it is.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 Memories

Ten years ago on this day,*  I was sitting in my office at work in Concord, NH when my phone rang. It was my sister, who was working from home that day, and had the tv on for background. Background, until the news came on that a plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers. She called and told me about it, and I almost voiced the question in my mind--a small plane or an airliner. But that was too crazy an idea, and I didn't ask. We hung up, and I thought briefly about the tragedy, and got back to work.

Then Lynda called back, with the news about the second plane.

It was a beautiful, sunny, pleasantly warm September day, and we were at war. We just didn't know with who, yet.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Back to the Books--We Have a Winner!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Back to the Books Giveaway Hop, and to I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Buried in Books for hosting it.

And now for the exciting news--time to announce the winner! Lisa M., of A Casual Reader's Blog, is the lucky winner, and will be sharing it with her son, to help him understand where his daddy is when he travels on business. Congratulations, Lisa!

UPDATED! Found dog in Weare, NH--do you know her?

UPDATE 9/14/11 Missy is back with her family! Missy's family had called 411 when she went missing, and were given the number for Weare Animal Guardians, a non-profit rescue group that, like most such groups, does not have a full-time staff. It took a couple of days to make contact; when they did, WAG directed them to Weare Animal Control, where Missy was safe and well. Missy is seventeen years old! Isn't that amazing?

Do you know this cocker spaniel girl? She's older, and a bit thin. Her only ID is a Derry, NH license tag from 2008, #1782. This tag unfortunately is from her previous owners, who gave her away, and we have no information about her subsequent owners. Her name at that time was Missy, and that's what we're calling her. She's friendly, calm, well-behaved, and house-broken.

Missy was found in Weare, NH, on Barnard Hill Road at the Rte. 114 end, this morning. She was very wet, due to the rain, of course. She's rather matted, which can happen very quickly. She is also quite thin.

Right now, Missy is with my friend who found her. At the end of the work day, she will be meeting up with the Weare Animal Control Officer and turning Missy over to her. Weare ACO is already involved, and if this is your dog or you have any information, please call Jess Nelson at 603-493-7834.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tennessee Mom Threatened With Arrest For Letting Daughter Bike to School

This photo taken by Flickr user buzzbo, and used under Creative Commons license.  Thisi is not the child mentioned in the story. Click photo to view original & buzzbo's photostream.
 Streetsblog Capitol Hill » Tennessee Mom Threatened With Arrest For Letting Daughter Bike to School:

A ten-year-old girl in Tennessee had some bad experiences on the bus to school, and as an alternative, her mother let her ride her bike to school. The school, by the way, has bike racks, indicating they do expect at least some of their students to arrive that way. A cop brought the daughter back, and told the mom she would be charged with child neglect and reported to Child Protective Services if she did this again.

The police say their street is the busiest street in town; the mother says it's a quiet, residential street, and she passed a total of eight cars the four times she was drove that street that day. After a conversation with the chief of police, the mother has been informed that she will be arrested if she allows her daughter to walk or bike to school before they hear back from CPS.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Escape from the Ivory Tower: A Guide to Making Your Science Matter, by Nancy Baron--A Review

Island Press, ISBN 9781597266635, August 2010

The research scientists do often needs to be communicated to policy makers, the media, and the general public in order to be useful. Unfortunately, the way that scientists learn to communicate with their peers is generally diametrically opposed to how they need to communicate with those outside the scientific world. This book is aimed at helping them speak more effectively to the non-scientists among us.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Along Wooded Paths:A Big Sky Novel, by Tricia Goyer

B&H Publishing Group, ISBN 9781433668692, October 2011

Marianna Sommer has moved with her Amish family from Indiana to Montana, where they have found a much closer cooperation between their fellow Amish and the Englisch whom, in Indiana, they would have mostly avoided. The man Marianna has long planned to marry, Aaron Zook, has stayed in Indiana, building a house for the two of them and waiting for her return when her family can spare her. But in Montana, Marianna has met the Englisch man Ben Stone. Ben has led her to find a deeper relationship with Christ than ever before--and has stolen a piece of her heart, as well.