|I still remember the poem by Shel Silverstein, “Ickle Me, Tickle Me, Pickle Me, Too, which I had to memorize in fourth grade and now, recite to my children. I did move up in the literary world and love classics, such as Steinbeck, Woolf and Shakespeare. I love non-fiction. Especially one’s dealing with history and our dead presidents. Trying to get over my obsession with dead presidents and dead authors, I am now jumping back into the fiction world. I’ll let you know how it goes…|
This is a thought provoking look at life after war, when America suffers an Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP), a weapon that may actually already exist. In this post-apocalyptic novel, John Matherson hopes to save his family and his small North Carolina town from the chaos left behind. Forced back into the Dark Ages, Matherson is desperate to restore order and civility, while fighting obstacles on all levels. Imagine no technology, little transportation and a limited amount of resources. How long until the medicine is gone? Or, the food supply? What happens to all the medicated people when their drug no longer exists? This book made me take a close look at my friends and family and wonder…how long would they survive? I was terrified by this novel.
Erika Johansen has created an incredibly intense, intriguing and completely captivating conclusion for her Tearling trilogy, sure to please all awaiting Queen Kelsea’s fate. Rash, reckless and filled with rage, Kelsea has surrendered to the Red Queen while unwittingly unleashing the Orphan, a threat so evil, both soon find themselves fighting together for their own survival. Will Kelsea unravel the mystery of her magical sapphires and save the Tear kingdom from ultimate destruction? Or, is she destined for an early demise thereby sealing The Fate of the Tearling? So worth the wait!
Think The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson meets 1930’s Depression-era Detroit in Tom Stanton’s latest tale of the Tigers. In the midst of celebrating the success of winning the pennant, Detroiter’s are slowly realizing the terror lurking behind the city scenes. A secretive, destructive Klan-like group known as the Black Legion. Vicious and vengeful, the Legion is terrorizing the victorious city with murder, floggings and fire bombs, led by baseball-loving Dayton Dean, a man determined to clean out the unwanted and unworthy.
Stanton recreates a true-tale full of Lions, Tigers and Red Wings, the state of Detroit’s citizens during the depression and political scandal, too. Get a first peek at the future voice of the Tigers, Ernie Harwell as well as historical figures, including Joe Louis, Ty Cobb, Ronald Reagan and J. Edgar Hoover. Stanton has hit a home run with his eighth book! I highly recommend to all non-fiction…and, fiction fans.
Fredrik Backman, author of “A Man Called Ove" and "My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry," has done it again. List loving Britt-Marie has an overwhelming fear of dying undetected by all. Enter the soccer-loving town of Borg, home of the dirty, downtrodden and defeated. Throughout this woman’s quirky, captivating quest to become somebody, Backman creates an eclectic cast of characters guaranteed to let everyone know “Britt-Marie Was Here.” Laugh out loud funny, I adored this book!
Take an over-medicated, moody, middle-aged mother of four, add a month of experimental microdosing with LSD and it makes for A Really Good Day by Ayelet Waldman. This mesmerizing memoir of mental exploration tackles the taboo topic of drug use in our society, the frightening rise of prescription pills and the devastating addictions developing during the War on Drugs. A rollicking ride through the realm of self-realization, Waldman’s creative quest for sanity is painfully honest, hysterically funny and deeply human. I loved it!
Imagine something so terrifying, one glimpse and a person is impulsively driven to commit deadly violence, to oneself and others? Suddenly forced into a world of darkness, covered windows and blindfolds, Malorie must survive for the sake of her unborn child. Finding herself amongst a group of survivors, led by the knowledgeable Tom, Malorie soon learns the threat may not only be outside, but, living inside their house. While switching between the past and present, Josh Malerman's debut novel is a thriller from start to finish. Flash forward to five years later, with the hopes of finding survivors, Malorie is desperate to make a twenty-mile journey downriver, blindfolded with the four-year old's, boy and girl. Will their wits and trained ears guide them to salvation or will they encounter the horrific threat that has annihilated most of mankind? Super creepy!
Set during the Dust Bowl, amidst the Great Depression, a dedicated group of basketball beauties, the Cardinals of Oklahoma Presbyterian College, are determined to challenge societal strictures and Babe Didrickson on their quest for the National Championship title. Faced with much criticism, judged less feminine for participating in a competitive sport rather than lady-like acceptable activities, the Cardinals overcome poverty, performing to their potential recognized by Coach Babb, and capture the heart of a Nation. This is the true tale of trailblazing women overcoming the overwhelming odds against them sure to inspire the athlete in all of us. A great, informative read like The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
While listening to the tale of Bernadette Fox, an overwhelmed, under medicated mother of Bee and wife to overworked, uninvolved husband, Elgin, the reader breaks into song…so fun! A quirky, yet compelling story of family life and the unexpected twists and turns involved with everyday occurrences. Bernadette is frustrated with the misunderstandings, misinterpretations and mixed-up messages being delivered by local Seattleites to her concerned husband. After an intervention gone awry, Bernadette has gone missing, without a trace. Full of witty feuds with school board mommies, neighbors and fellow freakishly intelligentsia, Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a great summer listen. And, read!
A curmudgeon, a curious cat and a quirky cast of supporting characters make for a delightful summer read in "A Man Called Ove" by Fredrik Backman. Meet Ove, a dark, disinterested in life leftover, desperate to find the peace he lacks. Lucky for Ove, his new neighbors don't know how to back up a U-haul trailer. Or, how to control their chatty, chaotic children. Give it a few chapters to unravel the storyline and you'll fall hook, line and sinker into this tale. I laughed, I cried...and, once finished, I cried some more. Definitely a must-read for all of us wishing we could say EXACTLY what we mean, at least once in a lifetime!
This fast paced narrative tells the story of Eric Galt, prisoner #416J, otherwise known as James Earl Ray, the assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr. A non-descript, forgettable man obsessed with becoming someone, Ray weasels in and out of society with ease, taking down the most memorable man of the civil rights movement in his path. As the most intense manhunt ever carried out by the FBI is underway, Ray continues to blend and scurry for cover, leaving a trail throughout the United States, Canada and England. Fascinating, full of descriptive detail, this is a sad portrayal of the mighty taken down by the meek.
With a chance to see “Shangri-La,” in Dutch New Guinea, 24 American servicemen and women climb aboard the Gremlin Special, a transport plane, in hopes of forgetting the tragedies of WWII. While enroute to this fabled paradise, the plane crashes into a mountainous jungle, leaving only three survivors. WAC Corporal Margaret Hastings, Lieutenant John McCollum and Corporal Kenneth Decker soon find themselves in a desperate battle for survival. And, a difficult choice. Do they stay with the wreckage or venture into the territory where man-eating headhunters are rumored to live? This true life adventure story is full of incredible heroism, personal sacrifice and determination. I loved every page!
Upon their sixteenth birthday, triplets Arsinoe, Katharine and Mirabella are destined to be queen. Each trained in deadly talents, each determined to win the throne, its sister against sister, in Kendare Blake's dark fantasy, leaving two destroyed while one will capture the crown. Will Arsinoe, Katharine and Mirabella fight for their destiny and sister's untimely death or will they recall their early upbringing together and turn their destructive talents elsewhere?
Kidnapped and closeted, eventually carousing across the countryside, Patty Hearst caused a media sensation throughout the 1970's with her radical rebirth as a criminal in the Symbionese Liberation Army. In an era of insanity, Hearst captures the heart of a nation with her plight, pleading for a pardon from prosecution--and, two presidents. Author Jeffrey Toobin recreates the events and actions of Hearst during her 19 months as "Tania", a gun-toting urban guerrilla. Was she a victim of circumstance, a brain-washed, betrayed heiress or did she embrace the excitement away from her everyday existence? Take an eye-opening ride through history to see how clearly the Hearst family re-wrote the only acceptable ending of Tania's tale. A happily-ever-after one.
Determined to beat the odds, nine working-class boys from the University of Washington’s rowing team overcome a depressive beginning to defeat the world at Hitler’s 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. Underdogs from day one, fighting poverty and privilege along the way, this crew shocks all with their unbelievable come-from-behind effort to become gold medalists. Filled with details of a post-Depression and a pre-WWII era, this is the inspiring tale of a team winning the hearts of a nation while achieving their lifelong dream. Read by Edward Herrmann, The Boys in the Boat is a must-listen for all non-fiction fans.
Investigator Harry Hole is on the hunt for a serial killer. Women are turning up dead around Oslo, leaving Harry obsessively searching for clues. With each murder, a mysterious snowman is left behind, taunting the frustrated investigator. Is Harry on the right track in finding this maniacal killer or does he need to start looking in his own backyard? This is an intense thriller that is guaranteed to keep you up at night, especially during the dark winter months. I couldn’t sleep until I finished it! And, my kids are no longer allowed to build snowmen. Super scary!
Born with a cleft palate, a certain death sentence in 1851, John Henry defied the odds, thanks to his determined and consumptive mother, Alice Jane Holliday. Upon his diagnosis of tuberculosis at the age of 21, John Henry abandons plans to join the family dental practice. He heads out for the dry Western air in hopes of prolonging his fate. However, there is much more lurking in the air out West; gambling, liquor, cheap women and gun fighting. Better known as Doc Holliday, the famous gun slinging gambler, John Henry will continue to tempt fate and cheat death for another fifteen years. After all, when dealt a death sentence, why not risk it all?
Arrogance is often thought of as a good quality to have when going into battle. If George Armstrong Custer could offer advice posthumously, I think he would disagree. The battle at the Little Bighorn proves you need to take a step back and digest all of the information coming your way, no matter how famous you think you are. Like the great Sitting Bull. Excellent read, very informative and a great narrative on a piece of American history. I highly recommend The Last Stand by Nathaniel Philbrick for all those history lovers and adventure seekers wishing to make their mark on America's history.
Teddy Roosevelt brought conservationism to the minds of the American public. The Bitterroot Mountain Range fire of 1910 almost destroyed this movement and the National Forest Service in two horrific days. Teddy's boy scouts, a scathing reference to the forest rangers, were challenged across three states with over 300 millions acres consumed by The Big Burn. Timothy Egan's account of the greatest force assembled to fight a wildfire in our history is fast paced and informative. Teddy Roosevelt triumphs and conservationism continues to gain momentum. Imagine what our country would be like today without our national parks? Thanks, Teddy.
Peter Geye describes an incredible tale of life on the Great Lakes and lives regretted with his debut novel, Safe from the Sea. Lake Superior describes itself. Imagine a father-son estrangement, a major tragedy on the water and terminal illness. Patriarch Olaf Torr has a secret he’s been holding since the terrible night the Ragnarol caught fire. With a quick call, his son, Noah, is headed to a father he has had little contact with since the ship went down. Although son, Noah, doesn’t realize it, he is soon returned to his roots, learns past experiences he chose to forget and begins anew. A dark novel with an incredibly happy, though disturbing, ending that captured me from the prologue.
Whether you were the leader of the clique, the token messenger for the queen or left out completely, high school ends eventually and, most likely, you continue to outgrow those labels placed upon you during those difficult years. Then, you become a parent, a job of delivering all of your knowledge to your little one with the hopes of avoiding the same pitfalls you experienced growing up. However, the years dull the memories and we tend to forget how difficult adolescence was or block it out of our heads completely. It is a big deal to our girls and we need to learn how to listen without making light of the situations which are devastating to them. At that age, they were devastating to us, too.This book gives you the tools to help your daughter cope, survive and eventually thrive through these emotional years. I wish it was around when I was growing up!
This compelling story of sisters, Idella and Avis, two hardscrabble girls from New Brunswick, begins with a tragedy that sets the tone throughout this dark and hard edged novel. Spanning the lives of these two hard, rough women over a period of 70 years, Jensen takes you on a journey full of bumps, twists and turns, until eventually, she brings tears to your eyes. I highly recommend this dark, yet, unexpectedly funny novel.
Christine wakes every morning in a state of panic. Due to a horrible accident, she has no memory and relies on daily notes from her husband, Ben, to understand her life. Until Dr. Nash, a neuropsychologist, begins to call. Little by little, Christine pieces together her lost memories until she is dangerously close to discovering her past. This is a psychological thrill ride that, at times, leaves you uneasy, queasy and afraid of the next twisted turn. I couldn’t put it down!
Yes, this is a story about growing up bi-racial and the challenges faced by not fitting into one of the predetermined categories on most check lists. However, that is just a part of this complicated novel. Interwoven between the seams is the unanswered question, "What if?" It is the running theme behind all the characters actions, due to a horrific tragedy. Unfortunately, one that is very real and happens often. The tragedy not only affects the one who witnesses it,the sole survivor and the one who might have prevented it...it rules all who are left behind to pick up the pieces. Surprisingly, this dark novel ties together in a hopeful way. Heartwrenching isn't strong enough for this debut novel. I highly recommend!