Book Review-Downstream-A Witherston Murder Mystery-Betty Jean Craige

Monday, December 22, 2014

I had absolutely no idea how much I would enjoy this novel-nor did I have a clue what it would be about. I should have actually since I do have an environmental science degree and Downstream is where all pollutants seem to go. Just a word of warning here--never move into a home or area that is downstream from a chemical plant of ANY kind!!

Yes, this book has a strong environmental message which we all should listen intently to-but it is also a very good mystery novel. The "murderer" keeps speaking to himself throughout but I really couldn't figure out who he was until nearly the end.
I found the snippets from the online news entertaining. I felt like I truly knew all the character's by the end of this novel.

This is one book I think I will keep on my shelf and re read again and again--yes-I enjoyed it that much!

About the Book: (from Amazon)

At the celebration of his hundredth birthday, local billionaire Francis Hearty Withers announces to the people gathered on the front lawn of Witherston Baptist Church that he has finalized his will. In it he bequeaths $1 billion to his north Georgia hometown of Witherston and another $1 billion to be divided up equally among the town’s 4,000 residents—in recognition of their support of a Senextra pharmaceutical factory. Senextra is a drug that enables individuals to lead healthy lives well into their second century, but it has some unanticipated consequences.

The group assembled to hear Withers’s announcement do not all applaud. One person carries a sign that says SENEXTRA VIOLATES MOTHER NATURE. Another, KEEP SENEXTRA OUT OF OUR SYSTEM. A third, WE DON'T NEED MORE OLD MEN.

Withers flies into a rage. He vows to change his will and disinherit the community. Two days later he is found dead.

In Betty Jean Craige’s first murder mystery a few humans die in unusual circumstances. A few others live in unusual circumstances. Who dunnit?

Read a chapter or two here

Purchase the Book Here

About the Author: (from the author's website)

I grew up in El Paso, went to Pomona College for a B.A. in Spanish Literature and to the University of Washington for an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, spent a formative year in Madrid, and then came Athens, Georgia, to join the faculty of Comparative Literature at the University of Georgia. All that was a long time ago.

After thirty-eight happy years at the University of Georgia, I retired in 2011 as University Professor of Comparative Literature and Director of the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts.

Along the way I published seventeen academic books in the fields of literature, literary translation, art, and history of ideas, including the biography Eugene Odum: Ecosystem Ecologist and Environmentalist.

The theme of almost everything I've written and taught since the early 1980s is the shift from dualism to holism in our culture's understanding of reality. I believe that in our social structure, in our concept of nature, and in our environmental practices we are developing a view of the world as an ecosystem, or like an ecosystem, whose parts are interconnected and interdependent. When we humans comprehend our dependence on the stability of the whole system, whether organic or political, we will acknowledge the necessity for healthy interaction with the system's other components, human and non-human.

A century and a half after Darwin showed humans' evolutionary kinship with the planet's other animals, we have continued to assume, dualistically, that we humans alone have consciousness. Living with multiple dogs and a parrot, I became convinced that their thoughts and feelings were not absolutely distinct from mine. So I started investigating cognition and communication in non-human animals.

In July of 2012 I was thrilled to read that top neuroscientists had signed a Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness proclaiming that "the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Non-human animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates." Everybody thinks. It's official.

When I turned my attention from the mental life of human animals to the mental life of non-human animals, including that of my own bird, I wrote the non-academic book Conversations with Cosmo: At Home with an African Grey Parrot. Later I wrote the weekly newspaper column "Cosmo Talks."

Finally I realized that I could have fun expressing these ideas in fiction. So I wrote the novel Downstream, to be published by Black Opal Books. It is a murder mystery with an environmentalist message.

Author's Website

I received a paperback edition of this book for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own honest opinions. For more information please check my Disclosure Statement. Our giveaways are in no way sponsored or promoted by Facebook.

Review/Giveaway-CarPET Scratch Stopper-US only-Ends 1/23/15

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Cats are NOT owned--WE are their servants-just ask any one of them! We all LOVE our cats--but there are some things that cats do that can drive us slowly out of our minds. Take mine for instance. Baby is usually a sweet and loving kitty until I forget all the training I have received at her paws. For instance--do NOT come home late or I will hear a loud and indignant meow and my ankles are gently nipped if I dare to go near the outside door again. More then 2 clumps in the litter box? Suddenly I hear her scratching--cleaning it out by herself--not the clumps mind you--but suddenly there is lots of litter surrounding her litter box which obviously I then have to clean up while she sits watching me--smiling--. See the chair that Baby is lying down upon looking so innocent? She uses that as a scratching post. And before you say anything-YES she has a real scratching post which she does use occasionally. This was all accomplished before I realized what she was up to and it was too late to get plastic covers of some sort. Oh well----

Talking about cats and scratching--how is your carpet doing--you know the places--those spots in front of the doors which you close occasionally? I don't have this problem since I have been well trained to leave all doors open at all times-(not the front door)-thankfully I am single and live alone! For whatever reason, cats DO NOT LIKE nor do they approve of closed doors. Heavens only knows what their human is up to--and they are bound and determined to find out. So as they attempt to open that pesky obstruction that we call a door they virtually shred the carpeting!! For those of you who really need to close doors there is a solution! And it a whole lot more affordable then replacing carpet!

And there is even a video you can watch Click here

And they tell you how to measure your doorways to get the perfect fit as well as answer other questions you may have Click Here They come in sizes 28", 30" or 32".

And here is where you can purchase your very own CarPET Scratch Stopper or two or three--at $24.95 a piece you at least will be happy (not so much your cat!)

You can also learn more on FaceBook and Pinterest

Carpet Scratch Stopper has agreed to give 1 Carpet Scratch Stopper to one lucky US winner at Miki's Hope!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This was brought to you by and CarPET Scratch Stopper.

All opinions expressed are my own honest opinions. For more information please check my Disclosure Statement. Our giveaways are in no way sponsored or promoted by Facebook.

Sunday Stroll Giveaway Linky 12/21-12/28

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Mommie..Again has agreed to co-host Sunday Strolls with me!! AND so has Christy's Cozy Corners. So now you can enter on here or on Mommie..Again or on Christy's Cozy Corners and the links will appear on all three! Please feel free to link up all your wonderful giveaways here!! Link directly to the giveaway. Those linked to websites or main blog pages will be removed. Please use blog name, giveaway title and end date when posting. Post some, Enter Some, Win Some!

AND Why don't you follow me on Bloglovin' so you will be the first to know what's up at Miki's Hope!

I now have a new Email and RSS with FeedPress!!! You all will have to re sign up since I think all was lost!! The buttons are at the very tippy top of my home page and all other pages as well I think!

Here is a list of all the book reviews to date (some with on-going giveaways) for "Free Average Joe" @FreeAverageJoe

All opinions expressed are my own honest opinions. For more information please check my Disclosure Statement. Our giveaways are in no way sponsored or promoted by Facebook.

Book Review-The Ice Cream War-Paul Janson

Friday, December 19, 2014

This was truly a "fun" murder mystery!! Strange I know-but the characters were just that-characters-each and every one of them.
And this book definitely proves that old adage that looks can be deceiving. Mary owns an Ice Cream Shop where people come and pay for Ice Cream--normal right? Well, along comes Jerry (as it turns out at his Aunts insistance) who opens an Ice Cream shop but he just gives it away for free!! Jerry is not exactly a business person---This of course starts the Ice Cream War!! But then someone is murdered in Jerry's store. Mary kind of knows he didn't do it and since she is about the only one in town with an ounce of brains-she is out to prove Jerry innocent. Between Mary and Jerry they have everyone confused so everyone just agrees with them!!
That's all I'm going to tell you--just know that this is one of those books I really enjoyed reading -even while shaking my head in disbelief!! OH--I did not guess who the murderer was and I bet you won't either!!

About the Book: (from Amazon)

A mystery of rival ice cream shops in a small town in middle America. Jerry, a California surfer, returns to his home town and opens an ice cream shop where he is giving away his ice cream. This threatens Mary owner of the only other ice cream shop in town with disaster until there is a murder in Jerry's shop. Mary find herself reluctantly trying to prove that Jerry didn't kill anyone, although she thought of killing him to save her shop, and Jerry ends up working beside her in her ice cream shop. The plot continues to become more and more complicated as Jerry's friends from California show up carrying drugs and threats. Between the "war" and the murder things are getting as sticky as fudge in a hot July day with four year old murders adding to the mystery. Soon it looks like Jerry and Mary will be the next victims if they are not arrested by the DEA first.

Read a chapter or two here

Purchase the book here

About the Author
: (from Amazon)

Paul is the middle child of three boys, born and raised in New England. Though he is now a practicing Emergency Department physician, his formal education began at the Boston University College of Engineering. He worked briefly for NASA during the Apollo project where one of the engineers convinced him to apply to medical school. Paul went on to attend Boston University School of Medicine intending to pursue bio-medical research, but grew to like the practice of medicine too much to give it up.

While working at Boston City Hospital (now Boston Medical Center), Paul met his wife, Mary. She was his supervisor, but he somehow managed to get up the courage to ask her out and eventually, to marry him. That was 39 years ago. The couple spent their honeymoon year in Eastern Kentucky, Appalachia, because they wanted to go somewhere that really needed physicians. With breaks to return to their training, the year extended to six years. Paul and Mary understood that if they were not there, it was likely that no one else would have been. Exhausting work, but fulfilling.

Paul did end up doing research, publishing a dozen articles including three pieces in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. One of the articles outlined the response of patients with renal failure and bleeding, and became the basis for the current treatment of these patients, still in use almost forty years later.

Paul's favorite journal publication was co-authored by Deepak Chopra, who was an endocrinology fellow at the time. It was Deepak's first time being published, but certainly not his last!

Since that time Paul has certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiology, and Emergency Medicine. He practices now in Lawrence, MA, in one of the busiest ED's in the state, and in one of the most medically underserved areas in the state.

Paul is actively involved in teaching Family Practice residents, and was the director of the Massachusetts chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians' course on board exam review and preparation until five years ago when the course was closed.

He has written several articles for traditional print publications and online sites, along with a biweekly humor column in the local Newburyport, MA newspaper, titled: The Port Planet.

In addition to being a writer, Paul is a musician who performed locally, with recorded music available online.

Paul says "Mary and I live in Georgetown, MA, on a small farm of sorts with chickens and dogs and cats... and love. My family is one of my greatest joys, especially the adoption of my two daughters from Ecuador, now twenty years ago. They have added meaning to our lives and expanded our cultural adventures."


I received a paperback edition of this book for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own honest opinions. For more information please check my Disclosure Statement. Our giveaways are in no way sponsored or promoted by Facebook.

Book Review-The Latin Version-A JakeTurner Novel-Steve Daily

Thursday, December 18, 2014

This book, which can be read as a stand alone, would make a great movie! Jake Turner is a P.I. who is trying to help a sitting judge find out who is blackmailing him--actually he knows who-just wants Jake to somehow make it all go away! Then a mysterious woman appears who admits she was in on it but points the finger at an accomplice. She implicates a Latin Mafia type person--then the woman's accomplice is found dead in a way that points to a certain person who wasn't even supposed to be in the country. By now Jake as been hired by the Big Mafia guy to find one of his "girls" who has managed to escape. Murder and Mayhem abound and Jake is smack dab in the middle of it! But who dreamed up this big scam? Who was being used by who? You will have to read it and make up your ow mind!!

About the Book:
(from Amazon)

Meet Phoenix P.I. Jake Turner

When a criminal court judge’s illicit affair lands him in the crosshairs of a blackmailer, he enlists the aid of Phoenix private investigator Jake Turner. But what begins as routine suddenly explodes and Turner and his associate Tim Nolan find themselves at odds with a Latino kingpin, a fugitive drug lord, an alluring but mysterious woman and a revenge plot that is both cunning and lethal. All is not as it seems as Jake Turner hits the streets of Phoenix, Arizona to unravel the puzzle that is The Latin Version .

Read a chapter or 2 here

Purchase the Book here

About the Author: (from the back of the book)

Steve Daley is the author of the apocalyptic thriller Sabbeth Rest and the modern revolutionary drama The Lincoln Grant Exigent. He lives in Chandler, Arizona.


I received a paperback edition of this book for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own honest opinions. For more information please check my Disclosure Statement. Our giveaways are in no way sponsored or promoted by Facebook.

Safety 1st Advanced SE 65 Air + Car Set Giveaway-Ends 1/1/2015

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Advance Se 65 Air + Safety 1st Car Seat

With the Holiday fast approaching that means many of us will take to the roads to travel to see loved ones. Safety 1st would like to pass along travel safety tips on "How to Survive the Holidays with Kids".

I've been blessed, my immediate family are all with in an hours drive, which helps reduce this grandma's anxiety level.

According to the AAA last year 94.5 million people were on the roads, train tracks or in the skies during the holiday season. Wow, that a lot of people! Then add your own kids into the mix of congestion and for some it can mean holiday headaches. However Safety 1st has some tips to help fight some of those headaches this holiday season (no these suggestions won't help you deal with Uncle Bob who has a tendency to be a bit to loud). :)

Safety 1st granddaughter leahsays views

Let me tell you, I snapped at least a dozen photos of the princess in the new Advanced SE 65 Air+ Convertible Car Seat. They were each and everyone a bit fuzzy because she's officially a mover and a shaker!

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1. Avoid peak travel days: Try not to fly or drive the days immediately before and after the actual holiday. Those are the busiest travel days. However, if you fly or take a train you might save money by traveling on the actual holiday, the roads are less congested too.

2. Prepare your child for the trip: Holiday parties can be overwhelming with sensory overload. Especially for young children its good to talk about the upcoming trip days even weeks in advance. This will help him or her get excited about the journey. Show photos of family members or friends your child has not met yet, this way the new faces might be a little familiar upon arrival.

3. "Are we there yet?" To help avoid that dreaded phrase and amour into your six hour trip reserve a bag just for the kids, include books, toys, diapers a change of clothes and snacks. Pre-load a tablet or smartphone with kid friendly apps or games. If you are driving keep all necessary items such as wipes, hand sanitizer or tissues easy to reach in a moment, there are times you may not want to be digging through the bottom of a bag for such items. The Safety 1st Car Door Sanitation Station is a great solution.

4. Car Seats: if you are flying check to make sure your car seat is FAA certified. If it's not clearly labeled contact the manufacture. For parents with older children the Safety 1st BoostAPak can double as a kid survival kit, it's FAA certified , and will fit in the plane overhead bin area.

If you are driving make sure your car seat is installed correctly. If it's been awhile side you visited a car seat check, it's recommended to check your seat with a Certified Child Safety Technician in prior to your trip. is a great resource.

5. Prepare the guest room: If your child will be sleeping in a Play Yard during the trip, use that for a bed or nap the entire week prior to your trip, thus allowing your child to adjust and feel more comfortable in a new environment. Also if your infant or child sleeps better in a dark room or tends to wake up early with the morning light, bring a dark sheet to place over the window, with the same effect as room darkening curtains.

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