Archive for June, 2009

Brewed, Crude and Tattooed by Sandra Balzo

Another entry in the Maggy Thorsen series, quite a quick read, barely 200 pages. Basically it was a locked room mystery with all the tenants of Benson’s Strip Mall trapped together due to a freak spring snow shower.

Maggie stumbles over a dead body, that of the Strip Mall owner, and proceeds to make out her suspects list and bumble around asking questions. She figures it out (of course) in the end.

There was a weird side plot with her son, and no Jake Pavlik this time, which was unfortunate because I like him. Also, it will be interesting to see what happens next as things kind of end up in the air.

Also, I didn’t get the title.

June 28, 2009 at 7:13 pm Leave a comment

Cut, Crop and Die by Joanna Campbell Slan

This is the second of the Kiki Lowenstein mysteries and at first, I thought, hmm not sure if I’ll be reading these again since some of my earlier concerns about sequencing where not addressed, and Kiki didn’t really seem to be in amateur sleuth mode. But then came a twist, which surprised me, and after that point I had to admit I like Kiki and am more interested in her as a character than the secondary mystery plot line. The supporting cast of characters are equally fun as well.

When a woman dies at a scrapbooking retreat hosted by the store Kiki works for, she starts to do a little snooping. Her mother in law is also dealing with moles, which make for some funny scenes, and her daughter is rushing to be a grown-up. How will Kiki cope?

I’ll be looking forward to the third book in the series.

June 26, 2009 at 6:35 am Leave a comment

The Finishing Touches by Hester Browne

Another delightful Hester Browne novel, reminded me a bit of the first Little Lady Agency, but had a more 21st century feel.
Besty was left on the Phillimore Academy doorsteps, 27 years ago, and the charming Lady Frances and her husband took her in and raised her. Upon Frances death, Lord Phillimore asks Betsy (a shoe store clerk who through misunderstandings they think is a posh mangement consultant) to see if she take the school, now in disrepair with dwindling enrollment, and polish it up with lessons for modern girls.
I loved Betsy and I adored the way everything wrapped up in the end… just a delightful tale about coming of age, and making peace with your past. And being a capable successful woman.

June 22, 2009 at 8:32 pm 1 comment

The Power of Less by Leo Babauta

subtitled: the fine art of limiting yourself to the essential in business and in life.

I love this little book. It’s simple, much like Leo’s posts at zenhabits.net, but it’s thought provoking. Totally came at the right time for me.

I also like the set up of the book, first the author describes the principles in detail and then the second part provides tips for implementing them in your life.

June 21, 2009 at 9:44 am Leave a comment

Willow by Julia Hoban

Willow has a whole lot of pain, and to keep her emotions in check she cuts. This has been going on for about 7 months, ever since her parents died in a car crash. Willow was driving. When Willow meets Guy, something about him causes her to finally open up emotionally. I felt the relationship between Guy and Willow rang true. The ending came a bit too fast, and things were resolved a little too easily, but this was a poignant novel about grief, first love and cutting.

June 14, 2009 at 1:06 pm Leave a comment

Wildwater Walking Club by Claire Cook

This was a cute tale, but I feel like each book Claire Cook writes get shorter.

Basically, Noreen is laid off and starts walking to have something to do each day. Her two neighbors join her and they become friends. Along the way Noreen discovers a new passion for life and a new job.

My favorite part was the Lavender Festival in Sequim, Washington, where we have a distant relative, so I had actually heard of it before (and knew how to pronounce it).

June 11, 2009 at 9:26 am Leave a comment

The Myth of Multitasking by Dave Crenshaw

subtitled: how doing it all gets nothing done

This is written in the business fable style popularized by Who Moved My Cheese.

In 100 pages and one quick exercise Crenshaw manages to convey why multitasking (which is actually switchtasking) is not as effective as people believe. My only complaint is the author didn’t really explain how background tasking (watching TV while folding laundry) can be effective. However, I think the point is that really 90% of what people consider multitasking is actually something called switchtasking, which is where you’re switching rapidly between two tasks, which is neither efficient or effective. The key is to schedule the interruptions you can control (such as regular meetings with key staff, only answering/responding to email or the phone at certain times) and to minimize your passive interruptions (the times you need to get up, think to look something up) and just focus on the task at hand.

This is a small book with a big impact. And I highly recommend it to everyone who juggles multiple things.

June 11, 2009 at 8:11 am Leave a comment

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