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Home In Good Hands: A Homeowner’s Guide to Construction and Renovation by Simon Dauphinee (Book Review)

Planning a renovation or home construction project? Want to find the right contractor but don’t know where to start? Avoid costly errors and delays. Being prepared is of the utmost importance!

Books in this space are often long-winded and full of fluff. No homeowner needs to, nor has time to, read a 300-page book on renovating or construction, so don’t waste your time! Home In Good Hands is concise and free of fluff, so the reader can fit it into their undoubtedly busy life.

Read Home In Good Hands to learn all you need to know to successfully plan and execute your project. Make sure your home is in good hands!

Includes bonus tools and tips to help keep you organized and on track. Tricks of the trade inside!

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

Simon Dauphinee, a contractor with nearly two decades in the industry, wants your renovation to be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Home In Good Hands: A Homeowner’s Guide to Construction and Renovation will show you what approaches work and what does not work. He’ll walk you through all you need to know, from project start to finish. 

First, let’s find a contractor! The writer points out referrals are best, but if you don’t have one, there’s always plan B. As a person who loves spreadsheets, I will keep his template in mind for future projects. Oh, and the script was excellent! 

As someone who selected a contractor based on price and not likability, I agree wholeheartedly with the writer’s following statement. “Compatibility with a contractor on a personal level is very important, as you will be hosting this person and their crew and working with them daily until project completion (9).”

The writer gives sound advice in every section, but the visual of the quote is quite valuable. It explained what to expect and look for in a sample job. Your future project might not resemble the picture, but it’s an excellent reference point. Oh, another sound tip…ask for references! 

Home In Good Hands: A Homeowner’s Guide to Construction and Renovation discusses “reviewing contracts,” “orders of operations,” and “the construction process,” but chapter 8 interested me greatly. “Advice from Homeowners” contained real-life testimonials from the author’s past clients. They’ve been there and done that, so their input intrigued me. After each testimonial, Simon Dauphinee gave a “key take-away.” It was a nice personal touch I hadn’t seen on other renovation guides before. While the entire book was beneficial, I could’ve read more client advice. 

Simon Dauphinee gives excellent advice to those seeking to renovate and should ease the stress out of a potentially stressful endeavor. I highly recommend you read it if you require outside assistance. 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤

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Meet the Author

Simon Dauphinee is an author, entrepreneur, and business owner with nearly 20 years of experience in the residential renovation/ construction industry. Simon has worked with hundreds of clients, led teams of employees, and was even featured in HGTV’s ‘Marriage Under Construction,’ Season 4.
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Three Milongas: One Metamorphosis by Tanguera Writer (Book Review)

Tanguera, an experienced tango dancer, thought she knew what tango was until three milongas, tango dance events, permanently changed her pale and egocentric life to what she had deeply longed for but never imagined to be possible.

An emotional, sensual, and spiritual recollection of real events and of the transformative power of tango.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

Three Milongas – One Metamorphosis by Tanguera Writer is a short story (under 30 pages) centered around Tanguera, an experienced tango dancer who, through flashbacks, attempts to articulate why she chose to dance. 

“Why do you dance?” It was a simple question that left the main star wondering how she could explain why they danced the tango. To answer this question, they reflected on the three pivotal evenings of dancing that impacted their life.

Going into the reading, I was familiar with the tango; a well-known dance capitalized on a famous dancing show. Milonga was foreign to me (no pun intended). The writer does give you background information on the dance. During this time, musical and dance terms are mentioned, which the author defines seamlessly. 

People dance for a reason: exercise, socialize, love competing, or they can resist the lure of the dance—like Tanguera. But, like any other dance, the tango needs to be practiced— a lot. The right partner and teacher can make all the difference too. Two bodies are moving as one. With the right partner, you can enter a state of pure bliss. The rest of the world fades away as you get lost in the dance. Dance can also be an emotional experience, unleashing your emotions on the dance floor. I’ve seen many dancers on tv shed tears, so I wasn’t surprised the experience (music and the dance) filled Tanguera’s eyes with tears. 

Each dancing memory was tender, sweet, or sensual, and I could see why they impacted Tanguera. While I thoroughly enjoyed the walk down memory lane, the file I received had many editing and formatting errors. I would advise correcting them, so it doesn’t affect their score from other reviewers. 

If you look past the missteps in construction, Three Milongas – One Metamorphosis is a lovely book that anyone, dancers or bystanders, can enjoy. 

Review submitted to Reedsy on 12/6/22.

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤

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Tanguera Writer

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The Tickling Tale of Smoo by Louiza Kallona (Book Review)

Some strange things arrive suddenly, like frogs that rain down instead of cats and dogs. Other strange things creep up slowly until one day no one can ignore them any longer. This is the story of the McClaffertys, and the mysterious disappearance of laughter.

Lucy McClafferty and her brother Ben are fed up. The weather has been dreich for months, and no one is laughing anymore.

It’s up to Lucy and Ben to uncover the mystery of why the world has stopped laughing so laughter can return to the world again.

Join them on their weird and wonderful adventure as they travel to the top of Scotland, meet fantastical characters, face unexpected challenges, and discover that there is more to some people and places than meets the eye!

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

The Tickling Tale of Smoo by Louiza Kallona was a wonderfully weird story filled with excitement and humor. It all began when people seemed to lose their will to smile. Grandma said it must have to do with Smoo, a tickler of the world. 

As Grandma, Lucy, Ben, and Patrick arrived at Gabel Lylhu’s cottage in Durness, the weirdest factor increased tenfold. First, Grandma whistled, and fireflies answered her call. Then, there’s the cottage itself. Its unique decor was definitely on the strange side: bronze fox nailed to the front door, crocodile-tooth light switches, blowfish skeletons, and a clock that bleats. The most unusual discovery was a gargantuan nose on the turquoise, conch-shaped couch. The nose sent snot soaring out of its nostrils. Gross! 

After the visitors woke Gabel Lylhu (aka Belly Laugh), we learned about his connection to Grandma. The revelation surprised me as much as it surprised Lucy and Ben. With a quick rundown on the world’s happenings, Gabel and the kids set to find the Smoo and tickle her. The adventure has readers meeting extraordinary people, witnessing unusual events, and hopping on a spectacularly odd bus (Grand Express) that children will be utterly fascinated by and probably say they’d like to ride. 

The Tickling Tale of Smoo had humor, suspense, unforgettable characters, and a unique plot that required an out-of-the-box-thinking resolution. Oh, it also had puzzles that would delight and thrill those who like solving riddles and anagrams. I want to note that the anagrams are not very easy and might prove difficult for young readers. However, the answers are provided as the author tells the story, and thank goodness for that because they stumped even me. 

Kids will love The Tickling Tale of Smoo. Adults will love it too. It’s a story that the entire family can read and enjoy together! 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤

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Meet the Author

Louiza Kallona grew up in London but moved to Scotland aged eighteen, attracted by the history, the whopping volcanic rock, and the hope of meeting people as funny as Billy Connolly. She wrote The Tickling Tale of Smoo while living with five other bikers in a farmhouse in the Scottish Borders.

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Pebbles and the Biggest Number by Joey Benun (Book Review)

What’s the BIGGEST number?

Pebbles the butterfly wants to know! He travels the world in search of the answer, asking every animal he meets.

Along the way, he must escape an earthquake, outrun an avalanche, and fly over a tsunami. Luckily, his new friends are there to lend him a hand . . . or a paw.

Will Pebbles ever find the biggest number?

Flutter in and find out!

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

In this adorable tale, Pebbles wants to know what is the best number, so the butterfly takes flight in search of the answer. Every page weaves educational and fun facts during Pebbles’s visit to various locations: desert, tropical rainforest, the beach, snowy mountains, and even space. 

Children will walk away from this book with a greater knowledge of many science, math, and animal facts. Maybe even adults will learn a thing or two as well! For example: “The hottest recorded temperature on Earth was 134 degrees Fahrenheit (57 degrees Celsius). It was measured in a California desert on July 10, 1913.” I didn’t know the following fun fact: “A standard American light bulb uses 120 volts of electricity. That means an electric eel could power 5 light bulbs.” And this math fact will blow children’s minds: “1 octillion has 27 zeros. It looks like this: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.”

I don’t want to disclose every fun fact, but the following science fact was fascinating, with droughts reported worldwide. “Most thunderstorm clouds hold more than 4 billion cups (1 billion liters) of water. Two of these clouds could provide every person on Earth with one cup of water!” 

Children, parents, and educators will adore Pebbles and the Biggest by Joey Benun for many reasons. It has stunning illustrations, a storyline that draws in the reader, and it educates as it entertains young minds (5 and older). While the text is too difficult for babies and toddlers, I bet they’ll still love looking at the beautifully drawn images by Laura Watson. There are so many to admire, each more stunning than the last. 

Pebbles and the Biggest Number has components that reach a wide variety of age groups, but I would recommend this lovely book to school-age children for overall comprehension. Finally, I would suggest reading “Dig Deeper,” which addresses the terminology and numbers in the story. 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤

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Meet the Author

Joey Benun has always thought BIG. His fascination with numbers began when he was five years old—the bigger, the better. Years later, a fortuitous conversation with his niece and nephews inspired him to write a book about BIG numbers for little kids. Thus, Pebbles and the Biggest Number was born

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The Mayor of Mardi Gras: A Memoir by Gregory L Fischer (Book Review)

New Orleans Mardi Gras parades date back to 1857. Many people attend Mardi Gras. Fewer people participate as members of a krewe, and still fewer work year-round as artists and float builders. My cousin McKinley “Mackie” J. Cantrell, III was one of the artists and builders who worked full-time to bring Mardi Gras to life. A third-generation float builder, Mackie’s grandfather began building floats during the Great Depression. By the mid-70s, “Big Mac” Cantrell had his own company, called McKinley J. Cantrell and Son and was captain of his own parade, the Krewe of Mardi Gras. Cantrell Floats lives on today, but Mackie died suddenly two days after Christmas in 2021. He was forty-seven. He was more of a brother to me, a mentor, who took me on to work with him for an entire year of Carnival preparation in 2011-12. This book is a telling of all my great memories of Mackie. It is a rare glimpse into New Orleans life from an artist’s perspective. As Mackie would say, “It’s a true story, stab-ah.”

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy DiscoveryI voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

The Cantrell family has a long history with Madris Gras, dating back to the Great Depression. Their legacy is quite impressive. In The Mayor of Mardi Gras: A Memoir, Gregory Fischer shares fond memories and photos of Mackie Cantrell, his cousin – best friend – and honorary brother.

Every page is a tribute to the man Gregory lost just two short days after Christmas 2021. If you ever have lost someone, you know the pain Mackie’s friends and family have experienced and probably are still experiencing. I didn’t know Mackie, but I felt like I did through Gregory’s storytelling. 

Mackie was a Renaissance man, a person with many talents or areas of knowledge. He was an athlete in high school (football and wrestling), an artist, a musician, a singer, a songwriter, and loved books. His favorite was The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. He could snowboard, rode a wakeboard like a pro, and welds. His artistic ability amazed me. I was blown away by the Flintstone vehicle. I could not fathom how in the world he created it. Just WOW! 

I’ve been to New Orleans, but I have not enjoyed the thrill of the Carnival Ball. I have seen photographs and news reports on the celebration but never really thought about the time it takes to bring a design to life or the toll it takes on a person’s body to create these elaborate floats and props. At Mackie’s passing, he made hundreds of floats and props. From the photos, he loved every moment he spent sweating over constructing and final touch-ups. 

Unfortunately, all parades were canceled in 2021 due to covid. Gregory stated Mackie worried about what 2022 would look like. Would they come back? Mackie’s work will be cherished and admired for years to come. His presence will be felt every year during Mardi Gras. And Mackie will be close to those in spirit—never far from Gregory’s thoughts. 

Besides learning much about Mackie, I learned a few things about Mardi Gras floats. One, the first float rolled out in 1857. And two, the floats have a port-a-potty on them. Fascinating! 

This book is a joy for anyone to read!

I want to end my review with parting words…

“I’m here for you. Come around anytime. You know where to find me.”

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 

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Meet the Author

Author Gregory L Fischer is a former Editor-In-Chief of the Weekly Citizen, The Chief, and the Post-South newspapers in Louisiana. He is currently the owner of Make It Write, a publishing services company in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he lives with his wife and stepchildren.

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