pennyshima

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The Conjuring Glass: The Phoenix Girls, Book II

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When I learned the main character was a girl named Penny, I knew I'd be interested in this book. As I started to get to know her and find out that we shared several similarities (we're preemies, we think bedrooms in the attic are fun..) well, that's magic and I couldn't turn the (virtual) pages fast enough. For me, that's where the direct resemblance to Penny diverged but this is an enjoyable YA read of friendship and magic. I look forward to learning more about the phoenix girls and their next adventures.I also wish I could send a copy to my younger self because I really would have loved this book when I was the age of the target audience! I received this ebook as part of LT's Early Reviewer Program.
Tongues of Serpents

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This is a "first thoughts review", I will re-read and re-review this book after I reread the first five books in the series. I let it sit for weeks while I hoped to a) find and b) carve out time to read the prior books. Overall I enjoyed Tongues of Serpents, but I felt it was a little flat when compared to the prior books; I don't think this was because of Laurence and Temeraire's distance from England. Several new characters and their new home were introduced, but I felt not fully given their due. I feel a need to reread the books before I write more. I felt something was missing from this book and haven't quite figured out what that was yet. Despite what I feel are some minor inadequacies, I enjoyed Tongues of Serpents and look forward to rereading it in series. Novik has developed a deep and fascinating alternate history which is a joy to read.
Fraser's Penguins: A Journey to the Future in Antarctica

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Fraser’s Penguins is the story of the Adélie penguins, in theory. It’s really both much more and much less. I confess, I picked up this volume up based on the word “penguins” in the title. For years, I’ve been embarrassed at how little I knew about penguins, even though I’m, well, Penguin Girl. Did I learn more than I know before I started the book, yes. Is it the best book to learn about penguins? No. Through a meandering narrative, Montaigne explores the history of the Antarctic through historic expeditions and their interactions with penguins, Fraser’s modern research, and the rapid climate shift that is threatening this species and many others today. Because he worked with Fraser’s research group, we are given some insight into this scientist’s research and the conclusions he draws, but it isn’t what I expected at all before I started to read. That’s ok. I learned quite a bit about a region and a species of which I was ignorant. I cautiously recommend this title to college students wanting to understand the process of field research, though be warned I only had a two-week Latin America field-assistant gig (for psycholinguistics) and Montaigne is a journalist. I’m sure there are other titles out there that provide better introduction to what field scientists (and assistants) do both on the job and off… But I enjoyed these insights into that life. When all the disparate parts of the book are brought together, I found Montaigne does paint a picture of the rapid climate change affecting Antarctica and what that means for the Adélies, several other species, and us.
Marie Curie and Her Daughters: The Private Lives of Science's First Family

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My school years were apparently those when the remarkable achievements of Marie Curie and _both_ her daughters were not in the lexicon as they are today. That is the only reason I can conceive as to why no one ever handed me a biography or suggested I gain more than a cursory knowledge of Mme Curie. Or, they just assumed this bookworm had already read everything there was on her. During my final term in college I took a course on Science, State Power, and Ethics. While that course was well over a decade ago, I do not recall anything on the Curies in the syllabus, though I did gain much familiarity with the scientists of the Manhattan Project.Emling's slim book is approachable and has given me a framework and desire to search out and learn more about these women. While she focuses on the people, she does not shy from the science, describing it in an understandable way. Overall the book is organized in a mostly logical manner, though I felt the final few chapters describing Irene and Eve's later years was not as polished as the beginning of the book. There is quite a lot of information in these pages and the story of the three Curie women should not be overlooked.
Farm to Fork: Cooking Local, Cooking Fresh

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Be warned: this is not a vegetarian book. It's definitely a locovore book, if you are lucky to have fresh seafood and meats at your Market or at least to help you bridge the gap. I've mostly skipped over the meat and seafood recipes at this time, but I'm pretty sure there will be some that simple legume substitutions will work for. The book is structures through the type of fruit, vegetable, or dairy product. Yes, there are standards such as roasted brussel sprouts/potatoes/choose-your-root-vege, but I found inspiration that may be due to my exploring new ways to cook (such as my pasta roller) winter vegetables such as a sweet potato ravioli.I find this book most inspiring for the flavour/ingredient combinations Emeril uses. While I own The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, I often get overwhelmed by all the possibilities. Emeril has provided a very good starting place from which to expand and better enjoy all the fresh local items I might pick up.
The White Dragon

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There's just something about young Lord Jaxom and Ruth that make me smile and want to reread this story whenever I feel bad. It's not a soppy feel-good novel, but I like how they look at no and find out how to find a yes without disobeying every rule in the book. I think this is one of my more favourite Pern novels, perhaps because of where it falls in the time line and my love of exploring the impact of science and technology on society.
Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life Without Losing Its Soul

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It took a while for me to get into this; I received it as an audio book through LibraryThing Early Reviewers program and it is no longer easy for me to play audiobook CDs in a convenient manner. In my work with small businesses (many of them solo operations) I try to find ways to relate what they are hearing in the media about larger enterprises to their own situations. While much of what Schultz discusses is to the concerns of a large global organization, there were some sparks of interest to all organizations and leaders, no matter what size. It is not an easy road to travel but with passion, an open mind, and a group you can rely on to delegate responsibly and some to help bounce ideas off of, leading an organization can be quite the experience. I thank Schultz for sharing the journey. Overall, Onward was interesting to listen to and I'd like to reread it as paper one day because it does not quite flow in a coherent manner when listened to as an audio book, or at least it was impossible for me to easily flip back and reread something mentioned earlier. Additionally if I was educated in Starbucks history some of the bouncing would have made more sense to me and the name dropping became repetitive and annoying at times, but I understand Schultz's need to do so.
Vintage Baby Knits: More Than 40 Heirloom Patterns from the 1920s to the 1950s

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I've fallen hard for almost every pattern in the book. Please look past that almost every baby model is blond haired and blue eyed. These are classic vintage patterns updated for the modern yarn and knitter. I just can't decide what to knit first!
Things I Learned From Knitting: ...whether I wanted to or not

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I was planning on waiting to purchase this book until I showed up at whatever venue Stephanie was speaking at (to say thank you to the book store or yarn shop). I was sad about this because if there is anything I’m impatient about waiting for, it’s a book that’s been published that I want to read. So imagine my delight when a good friend I’ve lost touch with sent it to me as a surprise!What to say and how to say it? I see Steph as the older sister I don’t have. She’s smart, she’s witty, she’s vegetarian, we have similar hair and wear glasses; she’s normal! As a bonus she knits (and spins) too! I know that passions about Stephanie’s (and anyone’s) writing are strong. I’m in the pro-Harlot camp. Why? I see myself in much of what she writes and it brings me comfort that I’m not the only one knitting fast and hoping that baby J stays small so I can finish her dragon wrap, who has called mum saying “dinner didn’t come out right, I substituted X, Y, and Z but why didn’t it work?!” (I’ve learned on this one, the new kitchen helps), and well, like Steph I’m lucky. I’m lucky that I can purchase yarn and needles (sometimes insanely expensive needles) and still put dinner on the table (sometimes it is ramen). We have a roof over our heads and health insurance (at the moment). If you enjoy Stephanie’s writing and check your RSS reader constantly to see if she’s posted yet then I know you will enjoy this newest finished object. So yes Stephanie, I do like it.
Sew What! Bags: 18 Pattern-Free Projects You Can Customize to Fit Your Needs

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I admire Lexie Barnes bags and now I can take the lessons and skills she teaches in this great book and create a bag which suits my needs perfectly. Do not skip the introduction, here Barnes lays out her philosphy and I now know I've met a kindred spirit. While 18 projects are included, you are encouraged to use them as inspiration ... and jump. Which patterns are my favourites? I'm not sure. It all depends on what I'm looking for. There's something for pretty much anything I can currently dream up. From the well designed layout of the page to the thoughtful hardback with spiral binding and of course the delight inside, this is a volume at home on every shelf -- to give strong guidance to the beginner and offer inspiration to the advanced.
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