Friday, July 31, 2015

Posted May 20, 2015in Book Review

‘Second Watch’

This is a J. P. Beaumont mystery with a twist. J.P. — or Beau to his friends — is having double knee replacement surgery. The surgery goes well, but in recovery he is visited by ghosts. It begins with the ghost of the first homicide he worked on as a

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Posted May 13, 2015in Book Review

‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing’

I am a confirmed pack rat. Despite my propensity to move every few years, I still seem to justify hauling around the same stuff, over and over again. Boxes of pictures that could easily be scanned, art projects from third grade and oh, so many books! I claim sentimental attachment,

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Posted May 06, 2015in Book Review

‘Making Nice’

Matt Sumell’s new novel is a collection of linked stories narrated by 30-year-old Alby. Alby was the only person in the room with his mother as she died suffering from cancer, and his grief is profound. He is not good at “making nice,” and he is horrible at grieving. He

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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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