Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Celebrity Sudoku

I picked up a couple of books for light reading on the plane.  Even though these two books traveled to Italy with me, I wound up not reading very much, and finished another book instead.  I did manage to read them since then.  They were a lot of fun to read.  Liza Kelly creates sudoku puzzles and writes a newspaper column.  She somehow winds up being around murders, which are somehow related to the puzzles, and of course investigates the murders. The books include sudoku puzzles (with answers in the back), and tips on how to solve them.  There are a series of books written by Kaye Morgan which include:
Sinister Sudoku (A Sudoku Mystery)
Murder By Numbers (A Sudoku Mystery)
Death by Sudoku (A Sudoku Mystery)
Ghost Sudoku (A Sudoku Mystery)

In Celebrity Sudoku (A Sudoku Mystery), Liza is hired to create puzzles for celebrity week on the hit show D-Kodas.  An earthquake and a missing celeb, who turns out to have been murdered sets off the mystery.

In Killer Sudoku (A Sudoku Mystery), Liza is one of the competitors in the West Coat Sudoku Summit. One of the contestants drops dead in the middle of the competition and soon other competitors are also falling dead. Liza has to solve the mystery, before she becomes a victim.

These books are part of a series of books from Berkley Prime Crime which includes Earlene Fowler with quilting mysteries featuring Benni Harper, Needlecraft mysteries, scrapbooking mysteries, knitting mysteries, decoupage mysteries and sewing circle mysteries.

I found the sudoku books entertaining and fun. The mysteries are interesting, with lots of characters, some humor, and the story of Liza's life is moving ahead in the story. The puzzles are placed in the book to fit at the top or bottom of a page, so they don't fit in exactly in place with the story, but once you know that, it isn't a big deal.

The tips are also educational, but I think reading the series in order might help with some of the explanations. Some of these explanations are cumbersome to read through - which is understandable when you have to explain where the number is and how it is related to other numbers in the set, but they do make sense if you pay attention and think it through one step at a time.

One problem with borrowing these books from the library is that another patron already filled out the solutions in one of the books. I did get some satisfaction when I noticed that a puzzle had been solved incorrectly. It is a rather difficult one, and I am still working on finding a way to solve it. In the book, someone gives a lecture on how to solve the difficult one, but the explanation is not given in the book, probably to keep the focus on the crime.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Saturday, August 20, 2011


When my family cleaned my house while I was on vacation, I was a little worried. I had just finished reading a book Boomer Burden about planning to or having to handle your parent's stuff after they are deceased. What if my family got a glimpse of what it would be like after I was gone? My sister did say that I didn't have as many things as she thought I would.  But that's not all, I was also reading this book about compulsive hoarding.

Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Randy Frost and Professor Gail Steketee, PhD is a very insightful book about the accumulation of things and the thinking processes of the people who collect things. It helped to see what the people were thinking, what their reasons for collecting and keeping things are, etc.  The authors really seem like they want to help people, not make fun of them or sensationalize their condition for profit.

I have often thought that having a quilting stash is hoarding in a way.  If I buy fabric for a quilt I am going to be making soon, then it is fine. But buying just for the purpose of adding it to the stash seems like hoarding to me.  By the time I go looking for fabric in the stash, it might be too out of date and ugly for me to use. It is unlikely that a good fabric will not be available at the store when I am ready for it. I have to keep telling myself that, since I also have a counter-argument: I know I like scrap quilts, and having a collection does help when I make them.

I am not a hoarder. You can see my floors and my walls, except the part that is covered by furniture and decorations. But a lot of the excuses do make sense to me, and I think all of us have a little bit of hoarder in ourselves. And to that extent I am a hoarder.  Even before these books, I have been trying to reduce the amount of stuff I have. I think that besides the fact that it will help my family when I am gone, I think having less stuff makes it easier to clean the house, and have fewer places dust can hide, and I will have less to worry about moving if and when I move.  But in the meantime, the stuff is taking a great deal of my time, as I sort through it to decide what to give away and throw away and what to keep.  And to find better places in my home for the things I am keeping.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Alarmists

Alarmists, The is the third novel written by Don Hoesel, but it is the first one I've read. There is action, suspense, a love story, exotic locales, and religious debate.

Sociologist Brent Michaels is a sociologist who has been asked to join a special Pentagon unit to uncover why there seems to be an upsurge of activity - both man-made and natural disasters. He and the unit find activities from all around the world in December 2012, and as we all know, the Mayan calendar says the world will end on 12/21/12. They have to try to make sense of data from all around the world and try to determine the connections. They decide that these are not caused by normal causes - that someone is manipulating events.

The book alternates telling the story of several characters, especially Brent Michaels and Mr. Canfield, who uses the alias Miles Standish. Canfield is hired by a wealthy businessman, Jeremy Maxwell, whose aim is to become the richest man in the world, like King Solomon.

I really enjoyed reading this book.

I received this book for free from Bethany House in exchange for this review.

Monday, August 8, 2011

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