Monday, June 21, 2021

Review: Growing Big Dreams

Growing Big Dreams

Robert Moss

If you are interested in using your dreams and imagination to become more creative and in tune with your inner self, then Growing Big Dreams is a book for you. The author reveals twelve ways for readers to have more lucid dreams, connect with those dreams, heal the past through dreams, and create a future by finding a story within.

Every chapter is devoted in some way to helping you develop and understand your dreams. Even if you are in what he terms a dream drought, you will see that you can dream more vividly and recall more about your dreams by following his tips and exercises. He also seeks to help you understand recurring dreams and what they may be telling you about your life. I especially enjoyed chapter nine, where the author covers how we can use our dreams to manifest our desires and wishes for the present and future.

Before trying some of the exercises he suggests, I was a little skeptical that I would be able to have more lucid dreams or that I could recall them. But, I was pleasantly surprised by the results. Throughout the book, the author combines stories from his travels, seminars, and course participants, as well as enough exercises to encourage anyone to dream big.

This review was written by me originally for City Book Review.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Review: Dead On The Delta


Dead On The Delta

Sherry Knowlton

Alexa Williams has accompanied her boyfriend Reese, to Botswana, where he's filling in for an Africa Trust colleague, a group dedicated to wildlife research. Alexa is thrilled to be helping out in the bush with the lion study and, she's also participating in a commission dedicated to creating better anti-poaching legislation. Her law background and work on sex trafficking enforcement have given her access to some interesting Botswana personalities as a result. Everything is going well until poachers begin targeting Botswana's elephant population. At Noka Camp, where Alexa and Reese are working, they get a first-hand look at the devastation the poachers are causing, making Alexa more determined to help the commission pass appropriate laws to curb such violence. But Botswana politics may not be a straightforward as they appear, leaving Alexa vulnerable to unseen forces.

Dead on the Delta presents an accomplished female character who is professional, curious, and passionate about her work, and at the same time vulnerable in a way that made me want to get to know her. I found myself rooting for her the whole way through this story. I also loved the fact that the author examined lots of social and environmental issues and the challenges African nations, especially Botswana, face trying to balance the needs of its people and its wildlife treasures. And to make it all the more exciting, she was able to incorporate adventure and a bit of romance to make this a fascinating and well-layered story. The landscape descriptions were marvelous and so well written that I felt I was almost there. In fact, that was one of the things I appreciated most about this book. I was right there in the thick of things, not just with Alexa and Reese but with the other characters as well.

I think chapters twenty-two and twenty-three made this book really work for me. By the time I had read this far, I was starting to wonder if Alexa and Reese would discover anything about the real poachers, although I was having my own suspicious by this point. But, the unexpected events that happened in these chapters propelled the story forward and made my heart beat a little faster. The further unexpected twists and turns that came with two of the main characters were simply icing on the cake for me. I have to say that one of the main reasons I was drawn to the book was for the African setting. The fact that it had a great cast of characters and a fantastic female lead meant that I not only loved it but, now I want to read the other books in the Alexa Williams series as well, even if they aren't set in Africa.

This review was written by me originally for City Book Review.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Review: Cries From The Cold

Cries From the Cold

Bernadette Calonego

Detective Calista Gates of the Vancouver RCMP is recovering from a violent assault when she learns she's being transferred to a small coastal town in Labrador. The thought of cold, ice, and snow is not encouraging, but she doesn't have a choice if she wants to keep her career afloat. Upon arrival, she is quickly caught up in a cold case. The remains of a local girl Lorna Taylor who went missing three years ago, have appeared in a wooden box with strange markings. Now Calista has to prove to her new team of colleagues that she can hold her own in the investigation. But, before she can do that, another body is found; this time, it's a prominent chef planning to help with a charity dinner for the local medical clinic. In a small town like Port Brendan, secrets are rife, and gossip is sustenance for the isolated locals which means Calista will have to dig deep to uncover the killer. But will she be quick enough to keep the town and herself safe?

Cries From The Cold is a riveting story that kept me glued to the pages. It's full of mystery, adventure, and engaging characters. I loved Calista Gates. Despite her difficulties and the setbacks she's experienced, she's still a fighter. I felt like I was able to look over her shoulder throughout the investigation. And, getting to see the points of view of some of the other main characters gave this story a lot of depth which helped me feel like I was a part of all the scenes. I'm hoping there will be more in this series to come because I can't wait to find out more about Calista's somewhat mysterious past and that of her ex-husband back in Vancouver as well. All in all, this was a fun and satisfying read.

Thanks to the author for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.


Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Review: The Fabric of Civilization

The Fabric of Civilization

Virginia Postrel

In The Fabric of Civilization, Postrel traces the history of textile development back to its earliest roots. As readers will discover, fabric and cloth have not only changed the world but when they have been altered or improved, the world has also changed with them. Fabric touches our lives in so many ways. It might be via the garments we wear or the trade links and technological inventions they helped to develop. Even though we often take it for granted, there is no way to imagine our society without it.

In this fascinating, well-written, and researched work, Postrel examines how fibers were first used with the development of thread, and how that lead to the development of different types of cloth and the dyes that make them attractive. She also traces the role of traders who opened up routes for the exchange and dissemination of ideas that resulted in new technologies worldwide. I found her section on current and future textile development especially interesting. With work going on to improve textiles and their performance, we will undoubtedly see more innovations in the future that could change how we use fabric. Anyone interested in the untold story of cloth will no doubt find this book both interesting and educational.

This review was written by me originally for City Book Review.


Friday, May 28, 2021

Review: All The Lonely People

All The Lonely People

Mike Gayle

Hubert Bird is alone. After his wife died and his daughter moved to Australia for a job, he lost touch with most of his friends, and he hardly ever goes out. Instead, he spends his time alone with his cat while he invents stories about imaginary friends to tell his daughter Rose over the telephone. He doesn't want her to think he's lonely. One day his new neighbor, Ashleigh, needs help and Hubert reluctantly agrees to babysit while Ashleigh goes to a job interview. This one act changes the course of his life, and he soon learns that not only does he have new friends but a new purpose in life as well.

I loved All The Lonely People, and especially its main character Hubert. I couldn't help but hope all the good things he deserved would come his way. I enjoyed this novel's back and forth structure, which gave me the chance to learn about Hubert's experience as an immigrant and his life with his wife Joyce as they set out to start a family and the hardships and hurdles they had to overcome. Mr. Gayle has a lovely writing style that makes this a story that is sad, funny, charming, and utterly absorbing. It gives one hope that all will be well if we open the door and let someone in once in a while. I'm so glad I got to read this one.

Thanks to Grand Central Publishing for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.


Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Review: The Sicilian Method


The Sicilian Method

Andrea Camilleri

One night while Mimi Augello is visiting a lady friend, her husband arrives, and Mimi has to escape through the window. As he makes his way down to a lower balcony, he decides to exit through another apartment. That's when he discovers a corpse lying on a bed. He goes straight to Inspector Montalbano to report what he's found. They decide to wait until the death is reported.

When they get a call the next day about a body, both are surprised to find another body, a local play director who moonlights as a money lender. After investigating, they can't decide if his death is related to the unorthodox methods he uses to audition actors or money lending activities. Montalbano is happy to have the help of a new and beautiful forensic employee, Antonia. He's fallen head of heels for her but, will they be able to find the time to catch a killer? And what about the other body? Will they investigate?

The late Camilleri was a master at creating sympathetic and exciting characters as well as showcasing his beloved Sicily. Just when you think you know Montalbano, he falls in love with someone other than his long term partner Livia. This was a Montalbano like I hadn't seen before, vulnerable to the charms of an unpredictable younger woman. But thankfully, still, a kind, caring, and loyal servant to the people of Vigata.

This review was written by me for City Book Review.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Review: Wolf Kill

Wolf Kill

Cary J. Griffith

When Williston Winthrop dies, there are numerous people on the scene able to identify the body. But, his son Clayton who now goes by the name Sam Rivers isn't one of them. Sam, a wildlife specialist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, hasn't been back to his boyhood home in Northern Minnesota in twenty years. He left after an altercation with his father and didn't return even when his mother passed away. Now the time has come for him to face up to his past and the ghosts he left behind. And, he wants to retrieve a few things his mother left hidden for him.

As soon as he arrives in town, he senses things aren't all they seem. The friends from his father's hunting club have inherited everything, and they aren't keen to have the son return to the area. Then Sam is asked by the local sheriff to look at his father's farm, where some calves have been killed in the barn by wolves. Sam isn't convinced it's the work of wolves. But he will have to work quickly if he wants to gather any evidence before members of the hunting club intervene. Will this incident lead him to discover more mysteries? He sure hopes so because he is convinced that his father is taunting him even from the grave.

Wolf Kill is a riveting, atmospheric tale full of double-dealing and deception. Once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. The characters and the rugged landscape were so well developed that I felt like I'd been on an outdoor adventure. I hope there will be more Sam Rivers' mysteries to come.

Thanks to Adventure Publications for allowing me to read this Advanced Readers' Edition in exchange for an honest review. Wolf Kill will be published in June 2021.