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The Predator Paradox: Ending the War with Wolves, Bears, Cougars, and Coyotes
The Predator Paradox: Ending the War with Wolves, Bears, Cougars, and Coyotes
by John A. Shivik
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.75
67 used & new from $6.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Urban sprawl vs. Natural Predators: Who Will Win?, July 7, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The romantic idea of the West when the nation was built was one of free roaming animals such as wolves and bears, cougars (mountain lions) and coyotes. Nobody disputed their rightful existence on the land. Such often created myths and tall tales and kept their existence at a healthy distance.

However, since urban sprawl and expansion from cities into suburbia has increased dramatically, so does the controversy over these same animals. Coyotes killing chickens or cattle on small farms is common and undoubtedly is costly to the owners. Economically it can be disastrous. But who is to blame? The wild animals living within their lifelong territories or humans moving in to create their own new societies?

The answers are not simple, but the author, John Shivik, gives us much food for thought. For example, wolves kill a small, minuscule fraction of farm animals, yet their are loathed and feared and openly hunted as if they were guilty. At the same time, other than small farming operations, animals for food are often using LESS land by concentrating their operations into small and inhumane CAFO's (basically animal factories where animals are penned and kept for life without roaming or grazing). See Dan Imhoff's excellent expose "CAFO". This creates a strange dichotomy: feed animals using less land but that empty land being policed to keep any natural predators from existing.

The question is thus, "Is there anywhere else for predators to go if they can't live on humanity's doorstep? Are there options that would allow us to have carnivores in our kingdom while we protect our livestock, property, and people? Finally, who is going to jump in the fray between people and predators and end the feud?"

One example given illustrates the paradox well: while "the numbers of domestic animals that wolves kill, however, is minuscule when compared with the sheer volume of hamburger on the hoof", in one case they killed two out of a herd. A herd owned by a small farm. "It didn't sound like much...[but] she had a small herd and no margin for loss. She was a widow getting her cash from the sale of a few animals per year...It's not the magnitude of the killing. It's the depth of the loss. It's how personal it feels."

As the example shows, Shivik is well balanced in his arguments: he sees both the viewpoint of those who eek out a living with farm animals while at the same time empathizing with the vast waste of life when predators are routinely executed in a attempt at prevention. Throughout the book this reasonableness prevails. I appreciated this when reading it as since there is no simple answer, he doesn't offer platitudes or simple but ignorant solutions.

However, he does explain what happens when natural predators are displaced or killed and the results to the food chain. The imbalance allows for some even more dangerous pests and problems to develop. In fact, one of the most fascinating reports is in one of the Appendices: it explains just how many (and the names) animals are intentionally killed each year. It is staggering.

You can't go into this book simply with one belief: kill or let live. You have to weigh the evidence as Shivak does and it makes for some enlightening reading. I intend to share this book with some friends who live where I do, in a semi-rural area visited by coyotes and mountain lions regularly. Some routinely shoot a coyote on sight.

The Magic Trap (The Lemonade War Series)
The Magic Trap (The Lemonade War Series)
by Jacqueline Davies
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.28
52 used & new from $8.78

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The last of the Lemonade War series with a bit of heartache poured in...., July 6, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Jessie and Evan, two feisty siblings, manage to get into all all sorts of trouble (and excitement) in the Lemonade War series, a total of five books aimed at 4-7 graders. This title is the last of that series, and while they can stand alone, I think they should be read in order so you can get an idea of how they mature and how their plans (or evil plots!) are created.

In this one, they want to present a Magic Show that is free of animal cruelty (Jessie's idea) but also with a unique trapdoor escape (Evan's idea). Now, suspending belief is required to fall into the fantasy land of any kid's book, but the idea that the parents let them cut a hole in their front porch made me as a parent cringe. Yep, their long last Dad who returns allows that. Perhaps that's why Mom got rid of him in the first place?

In any case, the underlying theme is that Dad is back and the kid's can't understand the complications that are involved with his sudden reappearance. Kudos to the author for not lecturing but just showing how a kid may misunderstand or imagine things that aren't there, especially when the parent they love presents themselves. It's complicated, and she doesn't shy away from giving a kid's eye perspective on that heartache.

I only did three stars because while the writing is great and age appropriate, it felt very repetitive having read the other books. Also, it felt at times like a younger age group would be more appropriate (maybe 2nd to 5th). My 2nd grader read it will little difficulty, only having trouble with some of the vocabulary.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 10, 2014 12:27 PM PDT

The Infatuations
The Infatuations
by Javier Marias
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.53
94 used & new from $4.46

5.0 out of 5 stars Maria and the Imaginary Couple, July 6, 2014
This review is from: The Infatuations (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Maria is a Prudent Young Woman, at least that's what a pair of random strangers call her as they eat, dining at the same restaurant each morning. She has dubbed them the Perfect Couple, and a large part of her day is observing them, right down to their cufflinks or heels, and obsessing about them the rest of the day. This goes on for months and months, and yet, although they are often the only diners, they never exchange pleasantries.

Maria then is horrified when the male half of the Perfect Couple is murdered (not a spoiler, it's clearly in the item description). Her imagination goes into overdrive, to the point she seeks out his widow Lucia and begins a friendship. They unite over the common tragedy, with Lucia never seeming to realize how much Maria knows about them.

This, in itself, makes an intriguing beginning, because it implies so much about Maria...what is it about her life that makes her barnacle on to this couple? Is she just bored? Lonely? Full of imagination? Can imagination be dangerous? This would be enough to create plot and friction to propel a story.

And yet, it goes further. Suddenly Maria meets a family friend of Lucia, a handsome male, wherein much is made of his eminently kissable lips. He's close to Lucia, but how close? Why his interest in Maria? Is he courting her or controlling her?

That's all I'm going to say: the rest is just delicious reading and delicate writing. Much is discussed on the commonality of death that still has its own mystery and terror. The behavior of grief is complicated, especially when Lucia wishes her children would just go to sleep so she can grieve in peace.

Marias knows people, and although this is the second work of his that I've read, it's my favorite. I especially like how he describes the city life: I love the idea of breakfasting out every morning on the way to work, and the amount of time spent in cafes and museums just absorbing art.

Please read this lovely story, and tell me what you think!

Wilson Jones 362 Basic Round Ring View Binder, 1 1/2 Inches, White (W362-34WV)
Wilson Jones 362 Basic Round Ring View Binder, 1 1/2 Inches, White (W362-34WV)
Price: $8.82
25 used & new from $2.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sturdy for the size, easy turn pages, July 4, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This binder also attaches with only two metal brads to the plastic spine: I keep wondering why a third isn't added for stability. But, since this isn't the biggest binder (at 1.5 inches), it should be secure. Paper turns easy with the round rings (some are U-shaped that make it very awkward and liable to tear).

The view portion is useful: I put my son's summer homework in this with his schedule on the front view pocket and some of his writing ideas on the back. Overall, other than the spine attachment, this feels sturdy.

Wilson Jones Ultra Duty Round Ring View Binder with Extra Durable Hinge, 2-Inch, White (W87908PP3)
Wilson Jones Ultra Duty Round Ring View Binder with Extra Durable Hinge, 2-Inch, White (W87908PP3)
Price: $10.79
3 used & new from $10.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could be better: feels weak when full, July 4, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a big binder and the description plays up the "extra durable hinge", but I think that is misleading. The hinge may be durable but it attaches at only two places on the spine, which feels weak when I put papers in it. I only put about 1" of documents inside from a training manual, and it felt like the inside hinge was going to detach from the spine. A third attachment in the center would be much more solid and feel more secure.

I can't see this lasting well if I haul my training manual all over. The view binder part of it is great: I love being able to print out charts and logos and place it on the front to distinguish between binders. I even stick business cards in the front, but overall, I don't feel this is a strong binder.

STAINMASTER TruSoft Luxurious Bath Rug, 21 by 36-Inch, Linen
STAINMASTER TruSoft Luxurious Bath Rug, 21 by 36-Inch, Linen
Price: $29.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Resists stains and feels super soft., July 4, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Really impressed by this bath rug. I usually have to change these out every other month because they get so nasty and don't usually wash well. I've washed this once and it came out fluffier and softer than before.

My last rug was from New Bloom, it scoots around on the floor and doesn't stay in one place. This has the rubber backing that keeps it from sliding and the rubber backing did NOT fall apart in the washing machine.

The linen color is lighter than I imagined, more a cream or off-white. It matches the grout in my tile and is super super soft. What I like too is that it resists stains. The bathroom this is in is by the backdoor so it usually gets stuff tracked in on it from the yard. It doesn't show on this rug, in fact, I'm tempted to get one for in front of my sink in the kitchen because it is soft and stays clean yet washes easy.

I will update the review if something changes, but for now, I'm very very pleased.

Snow in May: Stories
Snow in May: Stories
by Kseniya Melnik
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.63
65 used & new from $10.02

3.0 out of 5 stars Russia "light", July 2, 2014
This review is from: Snow in May: Stories (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I love short stories, and ones that are linked through geographical location are especially neat: you feel like you are learning more about the inhabitants and landscape than just random stories. And Russia is my favorite area to read about: I collect all things Russian. I can say the cover itself is adorable.

And yet. Something about this feels too "Russia-light". Sure, there's some heavy duty heartbreaking works about the Gulag by Martin Amis and Vasily Grossman and Solshenstyn (I spelled that wrong for sure). So the idea of something that doesn't make you weep in despair over the human race could be a great thing. BUT, some of these felt like generic stereotypes of Russian situations: the shopping queues, the crowded apartments, the affairs, the (often) spoiled children, and the frequently brilliant scientific minds (was anyone ever just plain stupid? No, it seems everyone was exceptional).

I felt like each story had a tale of somebody expressing a reaction to a given situation: the reaction was the story. For one, a woman is propositioned by a handsome stranger, and she could have had an affair with him without any repercussions. So that story is how she responds to the situation. Interesting, surprising in some ways, but riddled with cliche. In another, two lifelong friends fall out over how to address the situation of one's disabled child: the protagonist of that one is dealing with his reactions and looking at his own life.

As a style, the reactionary vision is interesting, but again, nothing was surprising. I would have liked someone reacting in a less predictable fashion.

The writing itself is very pleasant: fans of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian may like this.

Iams ProActive Health Adult Mini Chunks Premium Dog Nutrition Food, 15-Pound
Iams ProActive Health Adult Mini Chunks Premium Dog Nutrition Food, 15-Pound
Price: $23.99
13 used & new from $17.97

2.0 out of 5 stars Prevents dog breath but creates dog farts!, July 2, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Has the ingredients changed? IAMS used to be THE brand for dogs, even my vet sold it. Now it's become mainstream and I sincerely think they've downgraded the contents.

First, they recommend it for preventing bad breath. Okay, no one likes doggy breath. BUT, if it causes them super bad gas and doggy farts that make your eyes water, doggy halitosis doesn't seem to be so bad. Our dogs eat this and clear the room as we run for our lives.

Not made in China, which is good, and the ingredients seem legit. Antioxidants and vitamins for heart health are promised. But something in this doesn't agree with my two dogs, and I've adjusted both the time they eat and the quantity.

Pro Plan Dog Savor Adult Shredded Blend Chicken and Rice Formula; 18lb Bag
Pro Plan Dog Savor Adult Shredded Blend Chicken and Rice Formula; 18lb Bag
Price: $26.99
11 used & new from $25.29

4.0 out of 5 stars Ingredients the vet recommended but cheaper than what he wanted to sell me., July 2, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
RIley and Halle are back on their reviewing job, and they both really liked this dog food. As a Doberman, Halle gets more than small Riley, but they both eat eagerly.

The scent isn't gross like some brands so you can keep it stored in the house. Cats don't seem to like so they won't get into it (they usually try). I like the composition as my vet had actually recommended I make chicken and rice fresh for my dogs (but I don't have the time). Without corn, this keeps them from itching.

The only reason it didn't get five stars was that Halle became a bit gassy after her dinners. Not sure if it's the food or something else, but Dobie gas can be tough to deal with (she sleeps in the house at night). Will update review if this changes.

Sonic The Hedgehog, Shadow and Tails Plush Doll Set of 3 Pieces
Sonic The Hedgehog, Shadow and Tails Plush Doll Set of 3 Pieces
Offered by bookbrothers17
Price: $14.57
10 used & new from $5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars My kid gives this five stars!, July 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Perfect set of Tails, Shadow, and Sonic: my kid loves these. About 7" high each, they are the perfect size for play and don't take up tons of space. Sonic is back in style!

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