Because of Louis L’Amour

In the Westerns I devoured as a teenager, the good guys made a point of leaving the trails they traveled in a better condition than they found them: moving a branch off the trail here, settling a rock into place there (provided, of course, that they weren’t grievously wounded and/or being pursued by the bad guys at the time).

The lesson has stuck with me: the portages I recently traveled have been left in better shape than I found them. Thank you, Mr. L’Amour.

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Far Away

Far Away by Victoria Blake
Troubador Publishing Ltd / Matador
(c) 2015
Genre: History, Fiction

Rating: * * *

Two soldiers captured in Africa in WWII meet in an Italian prison camp. Along the homeward journey, they write journals: one a memoir, the other a fairy tale. Interspersed with the soldiers’ story is the story of the soldiers’ grown children years later, unraveling the war experience they didn’t hear firsthand from their parents.

What I like about this story: I knew next to nothing about Italy or the Italians during WWII, and this book filled in some details.

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

I Hear a Red Crayon

RedCrayon

I Hear a Red Crayon: a Child’s Perspective of Her Brother’s Autism
by Bonnie Feuer
(c) October 2015
The Connecticut Press and Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)
Genre:  Children’s Nonfiction

Rating:  * * * *

A combination of the title and the cover image drew me to this book about a girl growing up with an autistic brother.

The illustrations really make this book work:  I felt an instant connection with the confusion and disorder as well as the breakthrough moments of joy and understanding through the black-and-white images.

While the text may appeal mostly to older kids and young adults, the illustrations make the book equally – or perhaps even more – accessible for younger children.

Thank you to NetGalley, The Connecticut Press, and IBPA for the Advance Reader Copy I received in exchange for an honest review.

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The World’s Strongest Librarian

Librarian

The World’s Strongest Librarian
A Memoir of Tourette’s, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family
by Josh Hanagarne
audiobook read by Stephen R. Thorne

Rating: * * * *

Not a wasted moment drawing the listener into this audiobook!

What did he do with all the arms?  Gotta love this kid, I was thinking through helpless laughter as the author relayed his quite logical childhood reaction to the story of a warrior smiting his enemies by lopping off their arms, this kind of pragmatism has got to bode well.

By the time the author bestowed upon his symptoms a name of their own: Misty (after all, they took on a personality all their own) I was totally hooked, and I remained that way through his long journey of learning to cope with Tourette’s.

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.

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.

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