The 50 Most Extreme Places in Our Solar System

By: David Baker and Todd Ratcliff
Published: 2010

About a decade ago I was listening to NPR during a long drive when they had an interview with the author of this book. Immediately hooked, I sat mesmerized as I learned about all the fascinating things in our solar system. Yes, I knew some of them, but definitely not all. From diamond hail on Uranus and Neptune to Eiffel tower-sized lightning strikes on Saturn this book offers a lot of interesting facts when looking for science and solar system information in an easy-to-read format.

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A Year at Brandywine Cottage

By: David L. Culp
Published on: March 31, 2020

I love this time of year where everything starts to come to back to life after what always seems to me to be a winter that went on way too long. As I start getting restless for the weather to turn warmer, I love turning to books that inspire the inner gardener in me to start dreaming and that is exact what A Year at Brandywine Cottage did.

Filled with numerous pictures of the gardens at Brandywine Cottage, I very much enjoyed the time I spent in the book, growing more and more envious with each page of the beauty and tranquility created. The book is broken out into 6 seasons of his garden (The six seasons include early spring, late spring, early fall, and late fall) and then chapters by month. In each chapter are descriptions about what grows and blooms that month and what is done in the garden or what is focused on. Then, at the end of the chapter is a recipe that fits the month. Two of my favorites were February’s chapter that includes a very tantalizing heart-shaped dessert and August’s Summer Squash pizza – both of which I am fairly certain I am going to have to try.

I now have several new plants I want to try and find for my own garden as well as reminded me of a wonder flower I had at a previous house and absolutely loved, but haven’t yet planted at my current house: Snowdrops. This dainty white flower is so beautiful and I always loved looking at it every time it bloomed. Plus, it’s one of the first blooms of spring, which is always a welcome sight. I immediately had to look up where I can purchase it when it is time to order bulbs.

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Thanks to Netgalley and Timber Press for the advanced reader copy and opportunity to provide an honest review.


How to Live Your Best Gardening Life

David Culp has spent more than 30 years creating Brandywine Cottage—a sensational year-round garden that provides an abundance of joy, both indoors and out. In his new book, he urges home gardeners everywhere to do the same in their own space. Organized by the garden’s six natural seasons, A Year at Brandywine Cottage is packed with fresh ideas and trusted advice, whether it’s choosing plants for twelve months of interest, weaving edibles into the mix, or bringing the bounty indoors with simple arrangements and homegrown recipes. Packed with glorious images and practical tips, A Year at Brandywine Cottage will inspire you to live a life enriched by nature every day of the year.

Shrubs and Hedges – Book Review

By: Eva Monheim
Published on: March 3, 2020

If I have a forte in gardening, it is in growing vegetables. Anything other than that is a learning experience that I often fail at. This year my plan was to put in a few bushes and shrubs, especially in the shadier areas where I can’t grow vegetables. With that in mind, I picked up the book hoping to solve this particular mystery of gardening that eludes me.

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The Complete Book of Ferns – Book Review

Indoors – Outdoors – Growing – Crafting – History& Lore By Mobee Weinstein
Published on: January 14, 2020

For whatever reason and for the life of me I cannot keep an indoor plant alive. I really like ferns. They are so green and lush and yet they struggle to survive for me. So, when I saw this book I immediately scooped it up in hopes that it can shed light for me on how to keep my last two ferns alive.

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Is it Ok to Change Your Rating on Review Sites?

Recently, I have been thinking about all the books I’ve read, reviewed, and rated on Amazon, GoodReads, Audible, etc. Generally, I try to review a book very soon after I read it so that the impressions are fresh in my mind. But in doing this I may miss important points that my mind later fleshes out over time – things that it didn’t have time to process immediately after reading. Parts of the story that might have been small nags at the time of the review/rating, but grew in size as my subconscious finds time to process it all. A missing plot moment, a character trait I find more and more incredulous leading me to want to downgrade a rating. Of course, there have also been times when I’ve wanted to upgrade – where I was thinking…”Forget these flaws, I really enjoyed that one!” This is where my struggle is today – can I go back and change the rating on the review sites? Or, is it rude and in poor taste?

Generally, I see 4 and 5 stars as those more desirable by authors. They both mean that the book is decent, readable, and enjoyable. It’s in the 3-star category where things change a bit. I once saw a very long Twitter discussion on whether or not reviewers should even given 3 stars or less and if this is considered rude. Some truly only believed that 4 and 5 stars were appropriate. But, let’s be honest. Not all books are created equal. Some are good in quality, but are not necessarily one’s cup of tea. Then, there are others that are just poorly written or executed. It’s these in the latter category that my main concern is over. Books I’ve given 4 stars that I now find reason to see them as 3 stars.

So, my question is: Is it ever OK to go back and change one’s rating on one of the review sites? Is it rude? Is it acceptable, but only in certain circumstances? What if the author has seen the review and retweeted it? Or, is a book you’ve reviewed from Netgalley and so potentially the publisher may notice too? What if the author only has less than a handful of reviews, then it really is quite noticeable.

I’m in a quandary and am looking for any thoughts or comments anyone may have on the subject. There aren’t hundreds of ratings I want to change, instead it is only a few that I’ve rethought over time, but they still nag at me and won’t let me go – especially the books that I want to change the rating from 4 stars to 3 stars.

What do you think? Have you ever gone back and changed a rating on Amazon or GoodReads? Is this something you would do?

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