Mason Jar Science: 40 Slimy, Squishy, Super-Cool Experiments, by Jonathan Adolph (2018)

Nonfiction
8-13
Mason Jar Science, by Jonathan AdolphWith two visiting grandsons in the house when this arrived, it’s been put to the test! Plus the cover is quite appealing – I liked it right away, and both boys leafed through it without prompting. It’s nicely organized into six sections. The introductory pages cover What’s So Great About Science?, Why Mason Jars?, and Using the Scientific Method to Solve Mysteries. Then the 40+ experiments are divided into five sciences: The Magic of Chemistry, Earth Science for Earthlings, The Root of All Fun – Botany, It’s Alive! Biology, and Understanding Matter in Motion – Physics. Read More »

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Bathroom Ideas You Can Use, 2nd ed., by Chris Peterson (2018)

Nonfiction
Adult
Bathroom Ideas You Can Use, 2nd edition, by Chris PetersonAs in the Kitchen Ideas You Can Use book, this update from the first edition (2013) is photo-packed, offering suggestions of what to consider in your bathroom design, whether it’s a new-build or a renovation. It’s not a do-it-yourself guide in the least, but rather it provides inspiration for designing your bathroom, giving information on the latest styles, surfaces and fixtures, and drawing your attention to matters of comfort, beauty, luxury and accessibility as you design the space. The book is just under 200 pages, and most facing page spreads feature four to six photos along with helpful explanations and tips to guide you in making the best choice for your family life, style preference, and budget. Read More »

The Death of Mrs. Westaway, by Ruth Ware (2018)

Mystery
Adult
The Death of Mrs. Westaway, by Ruth WareThis new mystery from British writer Ruth Ware (The Woman in Cabin 10 and In a Dark, Dark Wood) is a lot of fun from start to finish. I keep thinking it’s like a grown-up Nancy Drew mystery (in a good way!), with a more realistic and nicely flawed heroine caught in a web of deceit and murder. Hal Westaway is 21, living alone in Brighton three years after her mother was brutally killed by a hit and run driver. With no income and few options, she picks up her mum’s tarot cards and continues her business on the pier. Read More »

Hurricane Season, by Lauren K. Denton (2018)

Contemporary Fiction
Adult
Hurricane Season, by Lauren K. DentonSisters Jenna and Betsy were close growing up, but have grown distant as adults. Betsy and Ty operate Franklin Dairy Farm in Mobile, Alabama, struggling with their relationship as they have been unable to conceive. Meanwhile, Jenna is a single mum in Nashville, raising two sweet girls on a barista’s salary. When a mentor offers Jenna the chance to reconnect with her photography passion, she decides to take it. But the girls will need looking after for a couple of weeks, and Jenna pressures her older sister to help out. Betsy gives in, without telling Ty, who is distracted by the pending hurricane season as well as the usual farmer troubles with tractors and calving. Read More »

Full Disclosure, by Beverley McLachlin (2018)

Mystery
Adult
Full Disclosure, by Beverley McLachlinLast week I reviewed a book by a librarian and teacher turned author; this week it’s a lawyer/judge turned author! Another Canadian novel, this one is a mystery by Beverley McLachlin, who recently stepped down as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, featuring young defence lawyer Jilly Truitt. Once a foster kid who teetered on a life on the streets, Jilly graduated law school and now heads a small but aggressive firm in Vancouver where she owns a condo,  drives a Mercedes, and regularly spends weekends with her longtime boyfriend Mike St John. She fights hard for underdog clients, knowing she could easily be in their shoes, had she not gotten a couple of breaks. Read More »

Krista Kim-bap, by Angela Ahn (2018)

Contemporary Fiction
9-13
Krista Kim-bap, by Angela AhnLibrarians and writers often share the same circles, but it might surprise you to learn how many writers ARE librarians. Lewis Carroll, Sarah Ellis, Kit Pearson, Bill Richardson, Beverly Cleary, to name just a few. And now Angela Ahn joins this fine group. As she and I went to library school together at UBC, I was both delighted and secretly a bit apprehensive when her publisher, Second Story Press, agreed to provide me with a digital copy for review. What if I don’t like it? But I’m happy to report this is a truly enjoyable story that celebrates culture, friendship, and family. Krista Kim is almost 12 years old and lives with her Korean-Canadian mum, dad, and sister Tori in Vancouver. Read More »

Rocket Billionaires: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the New Space Race, by Tim Fernholz (2018)

Nonfiction
Adult
Rocket Billionaires: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the New Space Race, by Tim FernholzFor most of my life, NASA has been the leader in space exploration – sending my beloved Voyager craft into the solar system in 1977, then developing the space shuttle program, with its high-profile disasters in 1986 and 2003, and of course the amazing Mars exploration program that continues today. (Sorry boomers, I don’t remember the moon landings.) Early in this millennium, however, I started to hear interesting news about privately funded space travel, starting with the X Prize and the Antari Prize competitions. Not long afterward, NASA retired its shuttle program but had nothing to put in its place, relying instead on Russia’s Soyuz capsules to deliver astronauts and cargo to and from the International Space Station. Read More »