How to Get Rid of a President
November 18th, 2018 by diane92345

“The Executive will be always increasing here, as elsewhere, till it ends in a monarchy.” –Benjamin Franklin.

How to Get Rid of a President describes the true stories of how former Presidents were removed from office.

Ben didn’t need to worry as there are many ways to remove an unpopular President from office. Here are the eight explored in the book:

  1. Rejected by the party in the next election
  2. Undermined by others
  3. Dismissed preemptively
  4. Displaced by death
  5. Taken out by force
  6. Declared unable to serve
  7. Impeached and removed
  8. Shoved aside at the polls

How to Get Rid of a President Is a dense read chock full of examples of bad Presidents and their comeuppance. If you believe Trump is bad, you should read the story of Andrew Johnson, who is in most of the chapters as both parties tried desperately to get him out of the oval office. Nixon’s own staffers set a precedent of ignoring his often crazy or drunken executive orders. Despite democrats’ frequent calling for it to be used, impeaching a President is difficult to do and has never led to a sitting President’s removal.

This book is an important look into presidential politics. It is recommended for history buffs but also anyone unhappy with our current President. The stories here make him and even Hillary, if she had won, look good by comparison. 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, PublicAffairs, and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: ,

Limetown
November 17th, 2018 by diane92345

Fans of the Limetown podcast rejoice! Many of your lingering questions are answered within these pages. Plus there are no spoilers for future podcasts.

Lia wants to be a reporter. Her first investigation is of the missing residents of nearby Limetown. She discovers that her Uncle Emile is somehow involved, which makes it personal. Her father and uncle’s origin stories are told in flashbacks. What type of experiments were done at Limetown? Who were the people behind the experiments? What were their motivations? Why was Lia’s family so intimately involved?

I had heard of the Limetown podcast but hadn’t listened to any episodes before acquiring this book. I had only read about 20% when I decided I couldn’t wait any longer and binge listened to season 1. The podcast is formatted as interviews with survivors of the Limetown disaster. This book starts before Lia is a reporter or Emile has joined the Limetown project. By looking back, the podcast is inherently more mysterious and shocking than the book that is more linear. However, they complement each other well regardless of the order they are imbibed.

If you like mysteries with a creepy scientific setting, both the Limetown book and podcast are highly recommended. 4 stars! If you are already a podcast fan, you have to read this book!

Thanks to the publisher, Simon & Schuster, and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books, Science Fiction Tagged with: ,

How to Facilitate Productive Project Planning Meetings
November 16th, 2018 by diane92345

The title, How to Facilitate Productive Project Planning Meetings, sounds intimidating. However, everyone has project planning meetings in their everyday life. Are you planning a Christmas party? Or a vacation? Or how to clean your house?

Your stakeholders are your family members. Your project scope for house cleaning may include only the public areas—not individual bedrooms—and not the garage. You have to create a schedule so procrastination doesn’t force your team to clean the entire house in an hour. You may incur some costs by purchasing extra cleaning supplies or renting a rug cleaner. Finally, as Project Manager, you must verify that tasks are completed on time. If not, a reallocation of resources (your children) may be necessary.

How to Facilitate Productive Project Planning Meetings is a comprehensive look at how to run project meetings. The meeting goblins section is invaluable to silence grumblers, side-talkers and truly hostile attendees. The appendix contains a brief rundown of the entire project management process. It also describes the different certifications that are available, has brainstorming instructions and includes meeting war stories. Overall, it is an excellent book for those tasked with leading project meetings at work or elsewhere. 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Maven House, and Edelweiss+ for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: ,

Insomnia
November 16th, 2018 by diane92345

Stream-of-consciousness on the topic of Insomnia.

Most people, like me, occasionally have trouble sleeping. When lying awake in bed, strange and varied thoughts run willy-nilly through your brain. If those thoughts were put on paper, it would be this book. It contains science, art, philosophy and even mythology related to the sleeping process. Plus it’s meta fun to read about insomnia while suffering from it. However, there is no true conclusion. It’s as if the author finally fell asleep herself. 3 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Catapult, and Edelweiss+ for an advanced copy.

Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: ,

November 15th, 2018 by diane92345

It will be the best of times. It will be the worst of times. How will your life change when there is No One at the Wheel?

“Most transportation experts say that by 2075 driven cars will be completely replaced…By 2035, we may find that the majority of driving miles are completed by machines, not humans.”

In 2018, 1.3 million people are projected to die in road crashes with 50 million more injured. The need for a solution is clear. Autonomous vehicles are coming. Every major automobile company has one in development.

Will the resulting society be a utopia of staring at your phone continuously while your car drives you to work with no risk of accidents? Or will it cause massive disruption in the economy and overcrowded roadways? What will the one out of seven US residents who work in transportation do for a living? How will they be retrained and who will fund it? The decisions made now will determine our later fate.

No One at the Wheel shares the pros and cons of this new technological development. By making analogies to the development of the original cars, the author paints a dim view of the future of driven cars—as bleak as that of a horse and carriage in 1940.

I found both the history of cars and the potential of autonomous vehicles fascinating. But I’m still unsure what I can do personally to ensure a rosy outcome. No One at the Wheel is recommended for futurists and historians in equal measure. 3 stars.

Thanks to the publisher, PublicAffairs, and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: , ,

Scandal in Scarlet
November 15th, 2018 by diane92345

Another fun-filled romp from Vicki Delany! A Scandal in Scarlet is the fourth cozy in the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery series.

Gemma is walking her dog late one night when she sees flames behind the window of the historic Scarlet Museum. A candle left burning is ruled the cause of the fire. Due to interior damage, Kathy and the rest of the museum’s Board decide to have an auction to raise money for repairs. Jayne, co-owner with Gemma of Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Shop next door to Gemma’s bookshop, volunteers to hold the auction.

Only one business refuses to donate an item for the auction, the uniformly disliked Maureen. When Maureen brings a truly hideous painting to donate the day of the auction, refuses to pay the entrance fee, and starts a loud fight with Kathy, Kathy’s day couldn’t get worse. But then she sees her recently ex-husband with his new older wife sitting in the back of the room. She goes into a backroom to recuperate after the two shocks. When she doesn’t come out to begin the auction, Gemna and Jayne find her in the back room strangled. The decorative cord used to kill her is missing from the front of the tea shop implying that one of the attendees did the crime. However, a back door to the alley was also unlocked so there was access from outside.

Kathy was not well liked by half of the museum’s Board and volunteers leading to plenty of disgruntled suspects. When Gemma is asked to help the hated Maureen to clear her name, she agrees and the game is afoot.

I adore this series! Gemma and Jayne are genuine, relatable, and seem like old friends. The mystery is rather difficult to solve, which makes this a great choice for armchair detectives. Gemma’s romance with handsome Detective Ryan is moved forward a bit as is her friendship with Grant. A Scandal in Scarlet has something for all cozy readers. 4 stars!

Thanks to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: , ,

Murder at Harbor Village
November 14th, 2018 by diane92345

When there is a Murder at Harbor Village, everyone is a suspect in this new cozy mystery series.

Cleo Mack is offered a golden parachute to retire early from her Social Work professorship at an Atlanta university. She decides to move to Fairhope Alabama, recognized as one of the best retirement towns. Cleo quickly gets a job and apartment in Harbor Village, a retirement community.

The weekend before starting her new job the little seen corporate bigwig, Lee, is found dead of apparent drowning in the resident’s indoor pool. Cleo is surprised to learn that her long ago ex-husband, Travis, married Lee a month earlier. When Lee’s sister, Jamie, leaves her Director job the day after the murder, Cleo is made acting Director.

Police Chief Boozer soon discovers that Lee was bludgened to death. As the one to benefit the most by inheriting his wife’s considerably wealth, Travis is suspect number one. Cleo decides to investigate to clear Travis’ name.

The characters in Murder at Harbor Village were genuine. Cleo would make a good friend—helpful and intelligent. However, I found it difficult to get over the many unbelievably coincidences in the novel. Cleo kept meeting random strangers in Fairhope that all had a connection to Harbor Village. Her new boss married her ex only a month earlier? Still I liked the characters enough to read the next in the series, Murder at Royale Court, coming out in June 2019. 3 stars.

Thanks to the publisher, Lyrical Underground, and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: , ,

Outpost Zero Vol 1
November 13th, 2018 by diane92345

If you are a young adult and are not adopted, you may enjoy Outpost Zero Vol 1, a space opera set in the far future.

Sometime in the future, Denis and his wife, Jann, are on the Discovery Team, who look for life on their alien planet. Their 14-year-old daughter, Alea, wants desperately to join them so she secures a spot as an intern for the Team. Alea’s boyfriend, Steven, believes the Discovery Team is too dangerous but Alea isn’t swayed.

The family lives in the Outpost, an artificially created biome that allows humans to live in a large domed city on an alien planet. When Denis and Jann are outside the biome, they see a fast approaching weather cell that may spell doom for the biome and the humans that live inside.

Outpost Zero Vol 1 has a good plot for young adult readers. There is a mystery but I don’t want to give any spoilers. The artwork is fine. The color palette of dusty blues and greens fits the mood inside a biome. However, I disliked this quote by Alea regarding the head of the biome who took in her son after his parents were killed, “What I mean is, do you think the Chief would do anything for Sam? Even though he isn’t really hers?” Jann’s response is even more insensitive to adoptive families, “Well, I think—she cares about Sam, wants him to succeed. Loves him like her own son. But when a child’s yours from the start—when they come from you…there’s a bond you can’t get any other way. It’s just the way it is.” This discussion wasn’t necessary to the plot and will hurt people’s feelings. I can’t recommend this book. 2 stars.

Thanks to Image Comics and Edelweiss+ for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Graphic Novel, New Books, Science Fiction, Teen & Young Adult Tagged with:

Death and Daisies
November 13th, 2018 by diane92345

Death and Daisies is the perfect blend of mystery, romance and paranormal with believable characters you wish you could befriend in real life.

Fiona has lived in Scotland for two months after inheriting her godfather’s house and magic garden. Why didn’t her godfather explain how to help people using the century old menhir and climbing rose in her garden that is the source of the magic? The rules are vague:

  1. Visit the garden as much as possible to cement your connection to it.
  2. Care for the garden like any other garden.
  3. Touch the stone menhir to learn what the garden wants you to know. However, you may see things you don’t want to know.

Fiona’s sister, Isla, visits to help open Fiona’s flower shop. The day before the grand opening, the local minister threatens Fiona in person. The next morning Fiona finds a hostile note from the minister stuck in her door. During the grand opening, the handsome Chief Inspector Neil finds the note. When the minister is found murdered, suspicion falls on Fiona so she decides to find the killer to clear her name. Good thing her best friend in town, Cally, is also a lawyer.

It is hard to explain why I like the characters so much in this book. Perhaps it is the fact that one has a red squirrel as a pet who sits on his shoulder. Or the old seaman who Fiona calls Popeye in her mind because she has forgotten his name. Everyone in the village has strange quirks that make them memorable. Realistically, it may be the difficult but enviable choice that Fiona has between two burly Scotsmen as potential beaus. As Isla tells Fiona, “You will have your own Scottish love story a la Outlander without the hassle of time travel.”

Though Death and Daisies is the second entry in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone. It is highly recommended for cozy readers looking for authentic characters, an unusual setting and a good mystery. 4 stars!

Thanks to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: ,

Think Yourself Lucky
November 11th, 2018 by diane92345

Think Yourself Lucky is not this famed author’s best work.

Co-workers, Emily, Helen, Bill, Andrea and David work in a travel agency. David is a grouch who complains about everything—his job, his girlfriend and his life. Meanwhile, an unnamed narrator is committing horrendous murders. When David discovers a blog using his fantasy blog name talking about the murders, he is concerned. The victims are people at which he was recently angry. Is someone stalking him or is he committing the murders in some sort of fugue state?

The plot of Think Yourself Lucky sounds great but the execution is flawed. I had to force myself to read it because it was so mean-spirited. I loved reading Ramsey Campbell in the 1980s.  He was in a close race for perfect horror writer with Stephen King and Dean Koontz. However, please don’t judge his abilities by Think Yourself Lucky. This reads like one of the “drawer books”—books that didn’t quite make the cut for publication in the writer’s heyday but are worth a few bucks on the author’s name alone at the end of his career.  Please read Cold Print or Dark Companions or any of the author’s 80s book rather than this one. 1 star.

Thanks to Flame Tree Press and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Horror, Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: ,