Unofficial Guide to Ancestry com
June 3rd, 2018 by diane92345

Comprehensive and well-organized handbook for ancestry.com.

The Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com is a wellspring of knowledge about how find your ancestors more efficiently. Beginning with a simple description of ancestry.com’s menu, this book then drills down past the site’s hint system into the databases themselves. Here is a list of some of the items covered:

  • Family trees
  • Why genealogy software is worth the money
  • When to use other genealogy websites
  • Free forms to use from another website
  • Why, despite what your grandma keeps insisting, you cannot be related to George Washington
  • Census and voter lists
  • Birth, marriage and death records
  • Military
  • Immigration and travel
  • Newspaper and other publications
  • Pictures
  • Stories, memories and histories
  • Maps, atlases and gazetteers
  • Schools, directories and church histories
  • Wills, probate, land, tax and criminal
  • Reference, dictionaries and almanacs
  • DNA matches and circles
  • Associated sites Fold3 and newspapers.com

If you have ever used ancestry.com, you know it is just an intimidating mass of information. Using the Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com makes taming the data beast much easier. After using the book, I have found ancestors who immigrated from England and Ireland. I found a relative who died in a confederate prison and a bunch who came home safely from virtually every war from the Revolutionary to the Korean. I even found a picture of a relative during the depression.

The Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com is highly recommended. 5 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Family Tree Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Non-fiction Tagged with: ,

Probable Claws
June 2nd, 2018 by diane92345

Probable Claws continues the 18th century tale from the previous book along with a modern day mystery.

Harry, her Corgi Tucker, fat cat Pewter and even tempered cat Mrs. Murphy are hunting a killer again in the 27th entry in the long-running series. When a motorcycler shoots Harry’s architect, Gary, dead right next to her, she decides to investigate. In alternating chapters, the story of slave holders in early Virginia is also told.

The animals always have the best lines in this series. This one is no exception. Pewter has an ongoing feud with a “dinosaur spider”. New Irish Wolfhound puppy, Pirate, is perplexed by Pewter’s dislike of anything that doesn’t bow down at her feet.

I liked the modern story best. In the 1780s story, there were a multitude of characters and French history to wade through. If I lived in Virginia, it would have been more interesting. The modern plot had a few surprising twists and the killer wasn’t easy to determine even though the clues were fairly presented. Probable Claws is recommended to both cozy mystery and historical mystery fans. 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Bantam Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: , ,

Blood Standard
May 29th, 2018 by diane92345

Blood Standard is a beautifully written slow-moving hardboiled noir.

Isaiah Coleridge is an enforcer with the Chicago mob. Since he is Maori, he can never be truly part of the Family. When he falls out of favor, he is sent to Nome Alaska, the “Mafia penal colony”. After letting his feelings toward animal cruelty get the best of him, he is abruptly tossed out of the Life. On his own and hiding in a small upstate New York commune, he looks into the disappearance of the granddaughter of the owners.

Definitely a “down these mean streets a man must go” noir. Blood Standard has many great quotes. My favorite is

“whenever you think of gangs, think Romance of the Three Kingdoms. In the gangster universe, it’s all ancient Chinese court drama. Face, protocol, plausible deniability. This is what motivates wise guys and bangers. Pussy and money too.”

Realistically, that thought could have been expressed in substantially fewer words—but it wouldn’t have been half as memorable. The book reads as if each sentence was edited and re-edited until it was the perfect example of the author’s thoughts. Laird Barron has won the Bram Stoker award for horror and was nominated for a World Fantasy award. This is his first mystery/thriller. Thrillers are by their nature propulsive reads. Speed accelerates the feeling of danger. Blood Standard flows along more slowly, savoring its words and thoughts, and so losing the thriller pacing. This may be okay for readers used to reading horror, fantasy, or even literary fiction. It just felt off to me. I kept putting off reading it but finally finished a couple weeks after I started it.

While I can’t recommend it, I don’t want to say it’s bad—it’s just different and is sure to appeal to some readers. 3 stars.

Thanks to the publisher, Dutton, and NetGalley for an advance copy.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: , ,

Fix Freeze Feast
May 29th, 2018 by diane92345

Extremely comprehensive family cookbook that includes both freezable meals and meals to be eaten immediately after preparation.

Fix Freeze Feast has a huge variety of recipes.  It has 84 meat-based main dishes: 37 with chicken, 23 with beef and 24 with pork. There are 24 seafood and vegetable main and side dishes.  25 sauces and 16 breakfast, snacks and sweets finish up the book.  Most of the recipes are family-sized but a few are for only two servings.  It would be easy to scale up or down any of the recipes to fit any size of household.  It was also easy to make most of recipes gluten-free by just using gluten-free flours, thickeners (like arrowroot), and breadcrumbs.

I tried the Chicken-Broccoli Bake, Vegetable Lasagna (small pan), Basic Red Sauce (small batch) and the Mama’s Pizza Sauce.  I used the red sauce for the lasagna as suggested. The results for all of the recipes were outstanding. The best part of this book is the clear directions for how to package for the freezer and how to reheat the food. Packaging varies depending on the item being packaged.  Most use either plastic freezer zipper bags or baking dishes.  The author has a great idea to buy foil baking pans for no clean up after the meal is reheated.  This works especially well when the item will be taken to a potluck or party.

About a tenth of the recipes are labeled with “Feast Tonight” and don’t contain a freezing step.  While I was fine with those being included, I wish they were all located at the end of each section to make them easier to find. In addition, I would have liked nutritional information including calories to be provided.

Overall, this is a good book for people trying to cook weekday meals in advance.  It would definitely be good for the family budget especially if shopping is done at Costco or Sam’s Club. 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Storey Publishing LLC, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Non-fiction Tagged with: , , ,