Category Archives: Book Reviews

Dear Mister Essay Writer Guy

Dear Mister Essay Writer Guy
Advice and Confessions on Writing, Love, and Cannibals

by Dinty W. Moore
Ten Speed Press (c) 2015
Nonfiction (Adult)

Rating: * * * *

What a riot! The questions sent to Mister Essay Writer Guy are giggle-worthy, the responses are snort-worthy, and the essays that follow leave me laughing long after I’ve finished (re-)reading them.

In the vein of Ben Franklin’s infamous letter to his (former) friend Mr. Strahan which was signed,
You are now my enemy, –
And I am, –
Yours.
B. Franklin
.

This is the kind of book to pick up in a durable format, the better to stand up to frequent use.

Thank you to Ten Speed Press and NetGalley for the Advance Reader Copy I received in exchange for an honest review.

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Going Commando

Going Commando by Mark Time

Going Commando

Going Commando

February 2014, Troubador Publishing

Rating: * * * *

Hilarious, absurd, and impossible to put down!

Thank you, author Mark Time, for recommending this selection.

At Home in Last Chance

At Home in Last Chance (A Place to Call Home #3) by Cathleen Armstrong

Rating: * * * *

I love this book!

Kaitlyn has made her mistakes, but if you think you get to rub her nose in ’em, you got another think comin’. And then there’s feckless Steven, with a definite penchant for putting his foot in his mouth. I tut-tutted right along with Steven’s grandmother, watching Kaitlyn and Steven bump their way past the misunderstandings and ruffled feathers to a very satisfying ending.

I will definitely be adding this book to my collection.  If you like this book, you may also enjoy The First Boy I Loved by Cheryl Reavis.

Thank you to Revell Publishing and NetGalley for the Advance Reader Copy I received in exchange for an honest review.

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The Godforsaken Daughter

The Godforsaken Daughter by Christina McKenna
March 2015, Lake Union Publishing

Rating: * *

Nicely stitched together. Quite an unusual set of circumstances leads to the intersection between Ruby, Jamie, and Henry in a little town in Northern Ireland.

The incidental characters like the attorney who reads the will are so neatly drawn I can see them clearly in my minds eye.

The main characters have victim written all over them, which is the reason I rate the book 2 stars. The sundry side characters, however, are enormously entertaining and prevent the story from sliding into melancholy. Were they the main characters, I’d rate this 4 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the copy I received in exchange for an honest review.

Meet author Gregory Randle

Gregory Randle, author of The Last Ferryman, is the featured author at Book Lovers’ Night.

As the Crow Flies

As the Crow Flies (DI Nick Dixon Book One) by Damien Boyd

Pub. 1/20/2015
Thomas & Mercer
Rating: * * *

Detective Inspector Nick Dixon suspects his former climbing partner’s death is not the accident it initially appears to be. Drawn into the investigation, he learns his friend had become involved in illegal activities with dangerous and unscrupulous associates. The body count rises as Dixon unravels the web of lies and cover-ups.

As the Crow Flies holds the interest and moves along quickly. The other investigations in the story – Dixon’s day job – are every bit as interesting as the climbing death investigation (perhaps more so). The ending plays out differently than I anticipated.

Thank you to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for the copy I received in exchange for a review.

Norwegian by Night

Norwegian

Norwegian by Night By Derek B. Miller
(c) 2012. First US edition 2013

Rating: * * * * *

Norwegian by Night is full of unexpected little gems like a magic dust bunny carefully transported in a hobo pack.

A grumpy old man living in an unfamiliar world rescues a traumatized little boy from his mother’s abuser. Meanwhile, we ponder. What is dementia, and who decides if someone has it? What and who are family? If we talk to someone who isn’t standing beside us, does that mean he isn’t there?

Is this an adventure story? An account of an existence heavily defined by being Jewish?  A tale about relationships and our expectations of others? A commentary on the after-effects of war? A treatise on aging? A sweet story of caring for a child one has just met? Yes.

I can’t say what drew me to this book. Not the cover picture, although that has a charm all its own. Suffice it to say that the books I find hardest to explain are the ones I most enjoy.

If you like this book, you may also enjoy The Last Ferryman by Gregory Randle.

Superior Justice

Superior Justice, a Lake Superior Mystery
by Tom Hilpert
(c) 2008 Tom Hilpert

Rating: * * * *

Daniel Spooner died on a Tuesday in early May, just as the lunch hour was ending in Grand Lake.

The lunch hour part made me chuckle and ensured I would continue reading. And what a fun read this is!

Meet Rev. Jonah Borden, Lutheran pastor in a small town on Minnesota’s North Shore, who fuels his day with copious amounts of coffee and gourmet food and listens to rock music and goes fishing as often as time permits.

Jonah cracks wise as he tries to help clear a man he knows to be innocent of a vigilante murder, only to find himself charged with murder. And other unscrupulous dealings.

Superior Justice is thoroughly entertaining and a quick read.

Hello from the Gillespies

Hello from the Gillespies by Monica McInerney

Release date: 11/04/14 by Penguin Group/Signet

Rating: * * * *

The truth shall set you free. 

The Gillespies are not having a good year.  Angela Gillespie avoids the usual sugarcoating in her annual Christmas missive, opting instead for flat truth.  The resulting unintended consequences create a humorous, touching story.

We could all benefit from a friend as loyal and practical as Joan.  Ig is a great kid, my favorite person throughout the story. Between the two of them, they fiercely shield Angela from the backlash of telling it like it is.  Joan makes clear the expectation that each person (including Angela) will take responsibility for their own choices.

I was taken aback at the length of the book: it shouldn’t take 600+ pages to tell a story.  However, I found the book easy to read, not necessarily a quick read but the story moves right along in a satisfying progression.  I will look for more by this author.

Thank you to Penguin/Signet and NetGalley for the Advance Reader Copy I received in exchange for a review.

Quiet Magic

Quiet Magic by Sam Cook, with illustrations by Bob Cary

University of Minnesota Press

This book is exactly what it promises: quiet and magical.  It’s a collection of stories and essays the author wrote for the Duluth News-Tribune, grouped by season.  Each piece is 2-4 pages in the book: a nice little morsel.

Each piece is 2-4 pages of observations and experiences related to the north country, the people to be found there, hunting and fishing, canoeing, etc.  Cook’s gentle humor and perception make for a delightful few minutes of reading per story.

I find myself continually returning to Loomis Lips for the chuckle factor.  Without spoiling it, I’ll just note that it’s about human nature.  Oh, and fish.

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