Reviews of what you should be reading next.

Month: December 2014 (page 2 of 2)

Handbook of Canine and Feline Emergency Protocols by Maureen McMichael

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I received this textbook from publisher Wiley-Blackwell in exchange for this honest review,

When an emergency presents to your small animal clinic, there isn’t time to find a textbook and search through the index for help. This 2nd edition is designed to assist veterinary personnel find answers, fast.


  • 19 chapters spotlighting different emergencies by type
  • Chapters are in alphabetical order with thumb tabs
  • Spiral bound for easy handling
  • Over 165 cases detailed
  • Cases are outlined by history, clinical signs, diagnostics, treatment and prognosis
  • At the end of each chapter there are references for further reading
  • Images accompany some cases for clearer understanding (update to Second Edition)
  • Companion website at that gives you access to calculations, review questions, video clips and more


This text is easy to understand, and will help you triage and support animals in an emergency situation.  There is even a chapter on Procedures and Protocols that walks you through uncommon (for single doctor small animal practice) tasks such as blood crossmatching, thoracotomy tube placement, CSF collection and lipid infusion.  Each procedure is laid out with sections for indications, equipment, procedure steps, technique, complications, and contraindications. Some textbooks have an overabundance of information, causing overload at a critical time. For those who need a quick refresher to jog the memory that has been buried since vet school, this book is perfectly created.

I especially enjoyed the review questions on the website. You can test your knowledge in quick bites and get your answers right away, with an explanation. This book will be a great addition to any clinic library, and will be referred to again and again in times of emergency.



Working Stiff by Judy Melinek, MD (plus GIVEAWAY!)

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At the end of this post there will be a link you can click to enter a giveaway for a SIGNED hard copy of this book.

Some people have a firm idea of what being a medical examiner must be like: they swoop to the scene of a crime, wearing their best clothing, spend a few hours examining the body, then they hold a glamorous press conference to tell the world how  stray hairs and  stomach contents helped solve the crime.

Not so much. Becoming a medical examiner takes hard work, a strong stomach, the desire to see justice done, and the ability to listen to the dead speak. Dr Judy Melinek is one of those people, and Working Stiff is the story of her first two years as a rookie forensic pathologist. As luck would have it, she spent that time in the best classroom in the world: New York City, July, 2001. Not only did she experience the September 11th attacks firsthand, she also worked on the American Airlines flight 587 crash, and performed hundreds of other autopsies (both criminal deaths and natural causes).

Each chapter is about a different person, how they died, why they died, and how the cause of death was determined. Beware: there are extensive, gory, detailed descriptions of each body that would cause a normal person to gag, drop the book, and flee. However, if you are like me and enjoy reading about floaters, maggots, lividity, and a phenomenon known as “respirator brain”, then this is the book for you.  There are a great deal of fun facts that you will love learning, such as:

“I could tell right away Fanelli had died of hypothermia because his stomach lining, which is supposed to be smooth and pink, was instead deep crimson and pitted with dark brown ulcers. When  your core body temperature drops below 95 degrees, your body goes into a crisis management mode, cutting off the blood supply to nonessential organs in order to keep critical functions running. The interrupted blood to the stomach comes flooding back in the late stages of hypothermia and causes a reperfusion injury called leopard skin gastric cardia. To this day I have never seen a more clear case of it. Each body tells a story, and this one told the miserable story of a man freezing to death.” 

The author’s way of telling a story is honest and filled with wry humor.  Her emotions for the dead shine through, and her dedication to the job is evident, as she tells the story about a cold case that she solves with the help of a forensic anthropologist.  Every case has its own moral, and the resolution is often poignantly brought forth in a gentle way, thanks to the wonderful writing style of Dr Melinek. This book is unique in that you can learn something about how the body works, how humans handle death, and marvel at how the smallest of details can make a world of difference.

I truly enjoyed reading this, as it fits perfectly into my preferred genre. In fact, my only complaint is that it was too short–I hope Dr Melinek has another book on the horizon soon!

I have one SIGNED copy for giveaway; use the box below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want to buy your own copy now? [easyazon_link asin=”1476727252″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″ add_to_cart=”yes” cloaking=”default” localization=”yes” popups=”yes”]Click here.[/easyazon_link]

As Chimney Sweepers Come To Dust by Alan Bradley

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Many thanks to NetGalley for providing this review copy in exchange for this review.

This 7th outing of Flavia De Luce’s adventures is so much better than the last few have been. I was growing so weary of the same old thing that I skipped #6, [easyazon_link asin=”0385344066″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″ add_to_cart=”no” cloaking=”default” localization=”yes” popups=”yes”]The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches[/easyazon_link]. To me, the plots were becoming rote: body, murder, adventure, droll humor, ending.

Now I regret not reading book #6 only because I feel like I missed a turning point. Chemistry loving Flavia is growing up, and the series is fresh again. The setting is new, the characters are new, and we are seeing a new side of Ms De Luce as well.

Flavia has been sent to a girls’ boarding school in Canada, which was noted in the ending of book #6. She is to become a member of an organization called the Nide, following in the footsteps of her mother, who is revered as a goddess at Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy. On Flavia’s first night there, a body falls out of a chimney, and wham! shes off working on another murder. She is very homesick, and references are made to the Buckshaw clan only via our heroine’s thoughts.

There is a lot of interaction between Flavia and the other students, and I found the conversations to be razor sharp and fun to read. The condescending tones which the adults use to interact with Flavia are gone, and it seems that everyone is treated more or less, as an equal. Of course, there is the caste system found in all schools, but since this is a classroom that is supposedly turning women into spies or the like, everyone is assumed to be intelligent and well-spoken.

I loved the whole tone of this book! The only problem I had is that it seemed that the plot was going in circles, with tiny plotlets added to round out her experience at school. Even though the conversations with her peers were scintillating, it seems that much of the content had to be read between the lines, and that got to be exhausting.  By the time the murder was solved I wasn’t sure exactly what was going on. Is Flavia IN the Nide? Was the ending happy or sad? It seemed to me that the secret society was like Fight Club–don’t talk about it. This vagueness was the only thing that bothered me. Otherwise, you will see Flavia maturing and coming to terms with new emotions, with flashes of the egotistical mad chemist here and there.

Bradley has given me new faith in this series, and I will go back to read #6. For those who have been following our girl all along–you will like this, as long as you don’t expect to be reading about Daffy, Feely, Dogger, and Bishop’s Lacey. This was a refreshing break; a cleansing of the palate. As Flavia would say, it was a “jolly good” read.

Want your own copy? Click [easyazon_link asin=”0345539931″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″ add_to_cart=”yes” cloaking=”default” localization=”yes” popups=”yes”]here.[/easyazon_link]

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