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Shana R. (LynniePennie) - Reviews

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ABC of Poultry Raising
ABC of Poultry Raising
Author: J. H. Florea
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 4/30/2008
Helpful Score: 1


Yes, some of the information in this book is dated. Tho, this is one of the most through chicken books I own (and I own them all!!). It was first written in 1944, my version is the 2nd revised book which was printed in 1977.

In the 'How to get Started' chapter 2, this book covers for the novice: where to get supplies, it also covers started chicks and ready-to-lay pullets and the other ABC's for the total novice. Also included were several black and white photos of equipment, homemade brooders and battery pens.

This book is one of the most through books when it comes to plans for chicken coops & feeders. It includes plans for a 6x8, 10x12 & 20x40ft coop and the author includes a bill of materials needed for each plan listed. There are also plans for nesting boxes, homemade mash feeder, range shelter, feed bin and a range feeder. Definitely, it is one of the most through chicken books I own on the included building plans.

Also the book covers butchering, preserving eggs and surplus chicken meat. It also has a decent health section with a few black & white photos. The health section covers probably the few most common chicken ailments at that time (ie bumblefoot, cholera, etc.). The common chicken breeds of the era are covered a bit, but not much.

Keep in mind when reading that this book wasn't really written when chickens were kept as well-loved pets. If you keep chickens for pure pleasure and profit as I do... you may be a bit offended when the author discusses comb-dubbing and states that chickens don't feel much pain. I totally disagree. Chickens are just good at hiding their symptoms or pain, but they DO feel pain.

Overall, a good, but obviously a bit dated book that anyone would learn from. Tho, I would pair this with an updated chicken health book such as Gail Damerow's 'Chicken Health Handbook' and perhaps a book on the various chicken breeds.


The American Dominique: A Treatise for the Fancier
The American Dominique: A Treatise for the Fancier
Author: Mark A. Fields
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/3/2007


This book wasn't exactly what I expected. I had imagined more of a personal essay on the personality of Dominique's or memoirs of Dominique owners. That being said this is a very exacting history on the possible origins of the American Dominique breed of chicken and about the original standards of the Dominique. The real Dominique breed standards are not just a rose combed version of the Barred Plymouth Rock (which is the conclusion you might draw from the many too heavy & not bred to standard Dominique's seen at many poultry shows). Mark Fields really exhaustively researched the true Dominique type. In the book he quotes 100s if not more old poultry publications, experts, old-timers, advertisements and show results as to the original breed standard.

If you are thinking about breeding or showing Dominique's you should read this book. There are some really good photo's in the book as well. I'm happy this book was written, as it will help keep the Dominique chicken standard true. I'm proud that Mark Fields has thought enough of my favorite breed of chicken to write this kind of biography.


An Amish Wedding: A Perfect Secret / A Perfect Match / A Perfect Plan
Review Date: 1/28/2012


Usually, I am a big fan of Amish fiction and especially, of author Kathleen Fuller's Amish stories. I was eager to read "Amish Wedding" when I received it.

Amish Wedding is a collection of 3 stories, basically comprised of 3 different view points of a single event, the approaching wedding of Priscilla and Chester.

Story one "The Perfect Secret" was my least favorite of the three. The plot was a bit farfetched to me. The characters didn't behave in what many would think of as Amish manner on several occasions. Usually, I hate typically stereotypical Amish characters, but, this story had too many subplots. The story itself was written like the characters were a little bit here, a little bit there and then the author rushed to close the ending without tying up many of the very loose ends. Honestly, it was a bit tedious for me to get through.

Story two "A Perfect Match" was much better, the author stayed on track and the story didn't have lots of subplots within the plot. This story was about Naomi the "matchmaker" who seems only to find love for others and not herself. This story was written by Kathleen Fuller in my opinion one of the best Amish fiction writers on the market. I usually love all her stories.

Story three "A Perfect Plan" was also a good story. The characters behave just the way you'd expect the Amish to behave, though not too goodie two-shoes like. The varying elements of the story go well with each other and actually make sense, unlike the first story.

Despite not particularly liking the first story of the book, the rest was pretty good. Overall a good read, if you are a fan of Amish fiction. Though, probably not the best Amish fiction book I've read.


And She Was (Brenna Spector, Bk 1)
And She Was (Brenna Spector, Bk 1)
Author: Alison Gaylin
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 72
Review Date: 1/28/2012
Helpful Score: 3


Where are all these missing people? Carol Wentz, Iris Neff, Iris's mother, Lydia, and Brenna's sister, Clea? They all are missing from the same town within years of each other. Iris was last seen getting into a possibly blue car, just like the car that Breena's sister Clea had gotten into years before she disappeared.

In this story Breena has been hired to investigate the disappearance of Carol Wentz who was one of the last one's to speak to Iris before she disappeared.

Breena, the main character is a private detective and she has a strange condition: its name is hyperthymestic syndrome. She forgets nothing at all; some would say "a memory like an elephant". Name a date, and she can tell you where she was, what she was doing, and she'll be seeing and hearing everything as it happened then. This is a real condition where the person has autobiographical memory and remembers everything detected by their senses for every moment of their past. Obviously, it makes Brenna having a normal life nearly impossible with the past memories always interfering with her daily life. If she happens to see a face or a number or an address once it's in her mind forever. Such a memory condition has several pluses for someone who is a detective, but the remembered images don't automatically add up to solving the crime.

What I love about this book is the times that Brenna experiences a peculiar memory that reminds her about her own past, usually at the worst possible times. I could really identify with Breena's character through her thoughts and feelings about her own past. Don't we all at times think about things we would've done differently? Only Brenna cannot possibly forget things she'd like to!

This novel also has a few other interesting characters. Including, Brenna's assistant Trent who is a big techno-geek who has so many piercings that some people think he's auditioning to be a fishing lure. Another character is Brenna's daughter, Maya, who constantly manipulates Brenna and her father (Brenna's ex-hubbie).

And then there is Detective Nick Morasco. He's a cop, but he and Brenna are, she thinks, on the same wavelength. Detective Morasco is also working through his own guilt that he has from not listening to Breena when she called in a tip about Iris' disappearance.

This is a good suspense story in which the pages rarely read slowly. I found myself drawn in from the first chapter. All the characters could very well be someone you know or work with, they are very realistic. There is a surprising, yet a logical conclusion awaiting you at the end.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and I would definitely read another novel from this author.


Annie's Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret
Annie's Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret
Author: Steve Luxenberg
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 21
Review Date: 6/4/2009
Helpful Score: 2


It usually seems almost all families have their secrets, things that they'd prefer outsiders not know for one reason or another. What about secrets within the family, kept by your own mother, from the family itself? Imagine finding out you had a very close relative that you never knew even existed. That's exactly what happened to the author Steve Luxenburg. I found myself sympathizing with him throughout the book.

This memoir is about the author's mission to find out how and why his mother has kept this startling secret has been. The author, having grown up being told by his mother Beth that she was an only child, something she took every opportunity to make more than perfectly clear to Steve Luxenberg & his four siblings. Hence, they were stunned to find out Beth had a sister. Due to Beth's frail mental & physical health (and figuring she had her own reasons)the Luxenbergs did not confront their mother about the secret that they uncovered.

After Beth's passing, the author, who'd been taking charge in trying to uncover the family secret, stepped up his investigation. What he discovered was an amazing story that will leave the reader disheartened and deeply moved emotionally. It may even make you a bit furious that a mother would do this to her children. I couldn't imagine why a mother would put her children through the mental torture that Beth put her son (the author) through.

You'll find yourself wondering why Luxenberg's mother decided to hide her sister's existence from even her own children. That very decision & question is at the heart of Annie's Ghosts and Luxenberg does a wonderful job of maintaining the balance between reporter and son as he trys to come to grips with this secret and the pain it has caused him and his family.

It's a very interesting book but, not my usual reading genre. Regardless, it kept me interested until the last page. You can't help but, to admire the author's persistance to find the truth no matter how it hurt him. I'd recommend this book to anyone.


Bad Dog: A Love Story
Bad Dog: A Love Story
Author: Martin Kihn
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 12
Review Date: 6/11/2011
Helpful Score: 2


This book, Bad Dog by Martin Kihn shows how developing a routine of training his stubborn dog Hola and learning unconditional love have helped pull him away from years of alcoholism and saved his marriage at the same time.

It is not so much a story about Hola, a Bernese Mountain dog as it is a man's struggle with alcoholism. It's also about the destruction of his marriage and the difficult road back to happiness. Unlike the warm-fuzzy happy note of other pet books, Bad Dog is the kind of book that gets written when a skeptical & pessimistic recovering alcoholic decides to train his dog to pass the Canine Good Citizen Test.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Usually, I look for books about dogs & cats and their owner's relationships, but this definitely had a nice twist to it. There is a lot of humor and the author lets it all out in this book as he goes on his journey away from alcoholism and towards bettering his human relationships and a more healthy relationship with Hola.


The Baker's Wife
The Baker's Wife
Author: Erin Healy
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 15
Review Date: 1/28/2012
Helpful Score: 1


When I first started reading The Baker's Wife, I wasn't sure if I'd like it due to all the horrible reviews. I have to admit that it was a bit hard to get into through the first few chapters. About 4 chapters into the story it really picked up.

The main character, Audrey Bofinger, has a gift of compassion that borders on the supernatural. I usually have a hard time with supernatural in Christian fiction. Ultimately I was able to accept it as an interesting part of Audrey's character because it didn't rule the story, it was more described as a gift of the spirit than something supernatural. Also, it was symbolic because as Christians, we may not be able to physically feel the emotional pain of others like the main character, Audrey does, but at times many of us are afraid to get close to others because we are scared of feeling others pain.

There are a number of issues that are approached in this novel, including abortion, broken relationships, forgiveness, hypocrisy, self-righteousness, revenge and religious legalism. Audrey and her family seem like they are being unfairly treated at times, but even though they are Christian characters they are not perfect and have their flaws as well. The antagonist of the story was (or claimed to be) a Christian. A Christian whom has become very legalistic and who quotes Bible versus at random to excuse his own behavior . Then the other supporting characters were all written like people we all would know or could relate to.

The overall story is well done and full of suspense and the mystery is fairly good. It's a good read and I enjoyed it though, I'm not sure if I'd read another unless, I stumble upon one. 3.5 stars enjoyable and interesting.


The Big Book of Garden Hens
The Big Book of Garden Hens
Author: Francine Raymond
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 4/8/2009
Helpful Score: 1


This British authored book is a beautiful book with gorgeous photos. I would recommend this book to any one who has chickens for pets and personal enjoyment. This isn't for someone who wants chickens only for utilitarian reasons. The author covers a few of the more popular breeds in England, getting started, keeping up your coop, monthly caretaker duties, chicken pens and she even put in some great recipes. Wonderful, charming and totally delightful book that I'd recommend to any devoted chicken keeper.


The Birdhouse Chronicles: Making a New Life in the Country
The Birdhouse Chronicles: Making a New Life in the Country
Author: Cathleen Miller
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 2.8/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 3/28/2008
Helpful Score: 1


Basically, this is the story of two jaded city slickers who move from sunny San Francisco, California to the unpredictable eastern weather of Zion, Pennsylvania. This book is more than just dealing with cold weather, old coal furnaces, remodeling, animal attacks, country neighbors and money crunching. This book is also about Ms. Miller finding herself and coming to terms with her Missouri upbringing after her mother killed herself, contemplating her relationships (spiritual & other). I found it very heartwarming. Ms. Miller writes in a very charming, honest, humorous and descriptive way. Tho, to me it drug out a bit in mid-story when she's helping restore a historical landmark.

The only thing I didn't like in this book was that Ms. Miller went way overboard with the cursing and foul language. All the taking of God's name in vain and foul language wasn't called for and in my opinion it didn't add anything to Ms. Miller's otherwise wonderful story.


The Birdhouse Chronicles : Surviving the Joys of Country Life
The Birdhouse Chronicles : Surviving the Joys of Country Life
Author: Cathleen Miller
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 3/28/2008


Basically, this is the story of two jaded city slickers who move from sunny San Francisco, California to the unpredictable eastern weather of Zion, Pennsylvania. This book is more than just dealing with cold weather, old coal furnaces, remodeling, animal attacks, country neighbors and money crunching. This book is also about Ms. Miller finding herself and coming to terms with her Missouri upbringing after her mother killed herself, contemplating her relationships (spiritual & other). I found it very heartwarming. Ms. Miller writes in a very charming, honest, humorous and descriptive way. Tho, to me it drug out a bit in mid-story when she's helping restore a historical landmark.

The only thing I didn't like in this book was that Ms. Miller went way overboard with the cursing and foul language. All the taking of God's name in vain and foul language wasn't called for and in my opinion it didn't add anything to Ms. Miller's otherwise wonderful story.


Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef
Review Date: 6/11/2011
Helpful Score: 6


More than about the author's career as a chef, this book is about her flawed relationship with her parents (especially with her mother) after a sudden divorce, her relationship with her long time girlfriend who she leaves one day out of no where to marry a man with green card problems and basically her troubled relationships with all people.

While there were really enjoyable and interesting parts of this book which I enjoyed, the story was much different than I expected. I had expected more about her career as a chef. It was ironic that the author learned and got her appreciation of food and cooking from her mother. It was sad to read of her and her mother's horrible relationship, I only hope for both of them that they can forgive and move on. The author had to grow-up quickly after her parents divorce and I could admire her determination at that young age just jumping into a job at a kitchen without any prior experience.

Overall, if you're a foodie or someone who equates food with good and bad times of your life you will probably appreciate this book. Though, I believe that that the author doesn't seem to have much success bringing all these topics to a satisfactory conclusion.


The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds
The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds
Author: Julie Zickefoose
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 1/28/2012


What I absolutely love about this book is that it is written like a personal and heartfelt journal about the author's experiences with birds that she has rehabilitated and/or had other personal experiences with. This book has interesting facts about the birds along with details on their individual personalities. This isn't the standard and straightlaced ornithology book.

The author had long dreamed of being an Ornithologist, but couldn't get into the college she had dreamed of because of her math scores on the SAT. She turns this failure into a success as she gets to take an even more hands on approach working with birds, getting to the real and the personal side of birds. She describes her emotional bonds with the birds and documents how each of her birds is different in their personalities. I found it very touching and something most anyone would relate to.

This is really a beautiful book from the cover art throughout. It contains gorgeous drawings that the author drew of her inspirations, the birds in her care. It also includes interesting side notes that she kept on most of her willing subjects.

If you love birds or love reading about them. I'd highly suggest getting this book. This book is one I will treasure in my library for a long, long time.


The Body in the Gazebo (Faith Fairchild, Bk 19)
The Body in the Gazebo (Faith Fairchild, Bk 19)
Author: Katherine Hall Page
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 13
Review Date: 6/7/2011


This is this first book that I've ever read in the Faith Fairchild Mystery series. You should have no trouble getting to know the characters even if you haven't read another of this series. It wasn't difficult to get to know Faith, Tom, Pix, Ursula, Niki and the other various characters in Aleford. I couldn't wait to start reading this because, the cover intrigued me, the mystery described was in the 1920's & it sounded really interesting.

Honestly, I had to really make myself keep reading this book through the first 100 pages. Throughout these first 100 pages the main mystery (Ursula's story) was barely touched on. Those first pages were mainly about Pix and her son's upcoming marriage and meeting her soon to be son's in-laws. It felt like the author was trying to provide too much information on a few of the characters for people who hadn't read this series before. After reading so many details about Pix's soon to be son's in-laws and the upcoming wedding plans I felt like it was a bit of an information overload. I kept wondering "where's more of Ursula's story?". After the first 100 pages Ursula's story picks up the pace and it kept me interested and wanting to read on.

In this book there's basically 3 other subplots going on at the same time of Ursula's story (the main mystery). There's an embezzlement found at the church where Faith's hubbie Tom is pastor, Pix's son's marriage and her knowing her son's soon to be father-in-law and Faith's assistant Niki's pregnancy that she has been hiding from her husband. The story kept going from present-to-past and story-to-story, sometimes all in one chapter. In my opinion, I think this book would've been better with just one subplot or just sticking to Ursula's story.


Also, at times the main character Faith seems to be a bit of a snob. At times she talks as though that anyone who is less financially blessed than her or anyone less educated is a tasteless clod. Of which, she at times prides herself on. Of course many of the suspects are poor, uneducated, have filthy homes and have "bad taste". I found it odd since she was a pastor's wife.'

Overall, it's still a good cozy type mystery which, after the first 100 pages was pretty interesting. Ursula's story was great and the descriptions of the old homes and the traditions of that era were really well done. Also, there's some tasty recipes included in the book. I really enjoyed this book when Ursula's story was being told. I'd probably read another of this series but, only if I stumble upon one.


The Boiling Season
The Boiling Season
Author: Christopher Hebert
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 3/12/2012
Helpful Score: 2


The Boiling Season is set in the Caribbean, on an unnamed island that has a lot in common with Haiti. The main character Alexandre is very determined from an early age to escape from the run-down slums of his childhood and his shop-keeper father. Somehow he feels more important than his fellow slum-dwellers. He finally gets his chance by way of employment with an important Senator. He then spends most of his life as a caretaker at a lush, secluded resort. He is determined to ignore his lowly roots and the growing political climate in his country to enjoy a lavish life at the resort and the sheltered protection it provides from his mundane origins. His determination to ignore the realities of his country's politics continue even as the world he has been hiding from eventually comes knocking at his door. He will eventually have to choose where his loyalties lie.

I enjoyed this book even though it`s not in my usual genre. Alexandre is also the narrator of the story and he is well developed as well as a flawed character. He is sympathetic at times and at times you cannot understand his reasoning.

I do think that the novel could benefit from some better editing, it did drag in points. At times what could be said in 5 pages was told in 10 pages. Overall, it would be a good read for people who like political complexity in the plotline. It's probably not one I'd read again as it's not my usual genre, but it's good, just a bit too political for me to give 4 stars.


Building a Home with My Husband: A Journey Through the Renovation of Love
Review Date: 6/13/2009
Helpful Score: 1


Basically, this book is about the author's life with her husband and her life before she married him. The author does some soul-searching while the couple totally renovates their house. While this book has some soul-touching moments by the author, it just didn't hold my interest. It seemed that nearly every other chapter the author was trying to sell the reader into Buddhism. If that works for the author & her hubbie, that's their decision, but, perhaps the book should've been advertised as a semi-Buddist or a religious text. If it wasn't for that I might have found this book a bit more enjoyable.


The Butterfly Handbook: The Definitive Reference for Every Enthusiast (Quarto Book)
Review Date: 3/16/2009


Chock full of Butterfly photos! Gorgeous book. Very close-up & detailed photo's of each butterfly pictured. Has the size, zone, ranges and protection status listed for each butterfly pictured. Also tells briefly of each breeds habitat & ecology, subspecies and other characteristics.

The book is broke into 6 sections: Introduction, Papilionidae, Pieridae, Nymphalidae, Lycaenidae and Riodinidae. It also has a short glossary, index and symbol key.

A must have for a butterfly watcher or if you just admire their beauty.


The Case of the Ill-Gotten Goat (Casebook of Dr. McKenzie, Bk 3)
Review Date: 2/28/2009
Helpful Score: 2


This mystery is about a DVM and his wife (and a menagerie of assistants and friends) who run a PI business as well as treat their animal clientle. I loved the goat dairy setting of this mystery. Though, in my opinion there were too many characters and too many subplots going on at one time. Overall, a good book, but, the story was a bit scattered at times. Perhaps, if I had liked the main character better I would've liked this one more. At times the Dr. was very patronizing & pretentious- in other words an arrogant old fart! So, I doubt I'd read this one again.


Cherished: 21 Writers on Animals They Have Loved and Lost
Cherished: 21 Writers on Animals They Have Loved and Lost
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 6/2/2011


First off, I'd actually give this book 3 stars, I rounded up to 3.5 because they are donating the royalties from this book to a great organization The Best Friends Animal Society which runs the largest sanctuary for abused and abandoned animals.

I loved the premise of this book- 21 short stories about losing much loved pets. Most of the stories consist of dogs, horses and cats. I'm an avid animal person (grew up on a farm, 3 dogs & 5 cats!)and on a personal note my 20 year old cat Tony passed away of a stroke last summer. He was my best buddy for years and I still miss him! So, I couldn't wait to start reading this book.

As a whole this book didn't touch me as much as I thought it would. As other reviewers have mentioned this book is quite the mixed bag of stories. Some of the stories will have you touched and in tears(in my case the story of "Hope". Other stories in this book will have you bordering on anger towards an irresponsible pet owner. I also agree with previous reviewers that some of the stories lacked (or seemed to lack) any real emotion on the part of the author.

Besides the few stories that just seemed to be void of emotion, I did enjoy the stories where the author really put their emotions about their pet on display. A book like this needs emotion and when that emotion about their pets really showed, this book was great.

Minus a few stories, this book is still worth a read if you're an animal lover or if you have recently lost a pet. Plus, the royalties go for a great organization.


The Chicken Health Handbook
The Chicken Health Handbook
Author: Gail Damerow
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.7/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 4/30/2008


Very informative book. This book is very helpful. It would be good for a novice or to add to an experienced poultryman's library. I would recommend.

This is one that I've referred to over and over since I've gotten my chickens. Especially, since my sweet and gentle rooster suddenly died. I liked that it gave instructions on how to save the body for postmortem exam by a state/college agency. Covers a TON of chicken health issues with really good syptom charts, etc.

One thing I would've liked to seen added to this book is perhaps a more complete homeopathic remedy section like what to feed chicks on an emergency basis if the chicken won't eat.

Overall, this is one book that I would suggest EVERY chicken owner should get. If you don't refer to it right away, you will!


Chickens : Tending a Small-Scale Flock for Pleasure and Profit (Hobby Farms)
Review Date: 6/17/2007
Helpful Score: 3


This book is my absolute favorite book on chickens. It is beautifully illustrated on wonderful paper stock. Also it has a wealth of information on chicken history, choosing the right breed, raising chicks, chick/chicken health & common diseases, coop design, broody breeds/non-broody breeds, feeding requirements and much more. I especially liked the listing of the different breeds traits and the photo of the chicken 1st Aid Kit the author kept and how she really went into depth about what breeds layed the brown, deep brown eggs, white eggs and about the broody breeds.

One of the most handy things in this book is the index of hatcheries, poultry supply companies and college and extension service listing of handy websites. It's a nice thing when you are looking for a specific service for your chickens.

The colorful pages, photo's and easy to read charts make this book easily readable. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in chickens.

LOVE IT!


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