Sunday, May 3, 2015

Posted April 29, 2015in Book Review


Iowa City native Tim Johnston has received very well-deserved rave reviews for his first adult novel, “Descent.”   This page-turning thriller with its deeply developed characters and intense situations is one of the smartest, most engrossing reads I’ve come across in months. Grant and Angela Courtland, from Wisconsin, have treated their

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Posted April 22, 2015in Book Review

‘Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania’

Erik Larson, one of the most popular history authors writing today, has picked the sinking of the Lusitania as his next study. The centennial of the Great War began last year, so the examination of the events that drew America into the war is very timely. As is his style,

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Posted April 15, 2015in Book Review

‘The Children’s Crusade’

“The Children’s Crusade” by Ann Packer is the compelling story of a family growing up in the 1970s in what will become Silicon Valley. In 1954, Bill Blair stumbled on an unimproved property and immediately began to imagine the home and family he would build there. A physician who had

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Posted April 08, 2015in Book Review

‘Where All Light Tends To Go’

Deep in the Appalachian Mountains near rural Cashiers, North Carolina, the McNeely family persists in its legacy of drugs and violence. Eighteen-year-old Jacob wants out but is resigned to his fate: “There was no escaping who I was or where I’d come from.” In his beautiful yet brutal novel, author

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Posted March 31, 2015in Book Review

‘The Cat Bacon Cookbook’

The Internet may be composed of bits of code and bytes of data, but it is built on bacon. Bacon cake, bacon beer, bacon laced with extra bacon, bacon shirts that proclaim an undying love for the crispy goodness, bacon candy, even Kevin Bacon. No corner of pop culture remains

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Posted March 25, 2015in Book Review

“My Name is Mary Sutter”

“My Name is Mary Sutter” is the story of a strong-willed young midwife from Albany, New York, who is determined to become a surgeon at a time when women were largely barred from that career path. When the Civil War breaks out, Mary defies her mother by traveling to Washington,

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Posted March 18, 2015in Book Review

‘Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League’

In writing “Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League,” Jonathan Odell drew on his childhood experiences in Mississippi in the 1950s. Now living in Minnesota, his novel has been chosen as a March pick by the Midwestern Independent Booksellers, a well-deserved honor. The story brings together two young women —

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Posted March 11, 2015in Book Review

‘The Innovators’

This is an account of the history of the digital age, from Ada Lovelace’s mathematical writings in the 19th century to the emergence of the Internet that we have today. In between, there are many fascinating stories of the people who worked together to make it happen. Isaacson’s theme of

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Posted March 04, 2015in Book Review

“The Country of Ice Cream Star”

I love post-apocalyptic fiction. A shattered land, the sputtering hope and the triumph of heroes in the most desperate circumstances draws me in like a moth to the flame. In “The Country of Ice Cream Star,” award-winning author Sandra Newman delivers a stunning piece of post-apocalyptic literature, epic in scale

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Posted February 25, 2015in Book Review

‘My Sunshine Away’

M. O. Walsh’s astonishing debut novel takes place in the ’80s and 90s along Piney Creek Road in the suburbs of Baton Rouge. Good meals and cold drinks are consumed to stave off the oppressive heat, lawns are well manicured, and the neighborhood children attend private school. Amid the charming

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