When Josh Hanagrane was six years old and onstage in a Thanksgiving play he first began experiencing symptoms of the Tourette’s Syndrome that wouldn’t be diagnosed until he was in high school. By the time he was twenty and reached his full height of 6 foot 7 inches, Tourette’s dominated Josh’s life. He tried everything from quick remedies to drugs to Botox that paralyzed his vocal cords and left him speechless for three years. But Josh persevered and with help learned to “throttle’ his tics through strength training. He also became a librarian and works at the Salt Lake City Public Library. From touching, to moving, to laugh out loud hilarious, Josh Hanagrane’s story is one you won’t forget.
It is fiction but Melanie researched it so well that when she weaves in historical details into the fiction – it is seamless. It is helpful there is an author’s note at the back which explains what is fact and what is fiction, but don’t read it until the end. She also offers a great reading list for additional information on the Lindberghs.
For me, it was the first time, other than reading Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea, that I felt like I sort of understood her. She and Charles had a complicated relationship, formed by cultural mores of the time. In spite of what seemed to be dictates for women of her era, she was fearless, attacked every opportunity to fly, to explore, to travel the world, survived the horrific family tragedy, and she raised her children mostly on her own. Anne grew into a woman who understood what she wanted from life. Benjamin’s fictional telling of her story highlights the beauty, the tragedy and makes it a story how one fascinating woman lived with grace. She, like her husband, had faults, but I would like to believe she came to a realization on her own that people can change….well, some people.
I love how Melanie highlights historical women in her stories. Alice I have Been about Alice Liddell (Louis Carrol’s Alice), The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb – now this one. I loved them all.
I loved all the elements of this thriller. While foundering off the rocky coast of an isolated island in the Bering Straits, the crew on an Alaskan fishing boat hauls up a coffin in its nets. The boat captain, Harley Vane, of Port Orlov, Alaska, breaks open the coffin and discovers the corpse wearing a stunning silver cross encrusted with emeralds. Thinking of the riches that must still be on St. Peter’s Island, Vane and his buddies plan a grave robbing expedition to the island, which has always been cloaked in mystery and legends of a lost colony of Russians.
At the same time, the federal government sends in a top secret team led by epidemiologist, Dr. Frank Slater, because it is believed all the colonists died during the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic. If the permafrost has thawed enough to crumble the cliff-side graveyard, is the virus still frozen in its victims or has it thawed and come to life to kill again? Slater’s mission goes terribly awry and Vane and his friends stumble right into the middle of it. This is an action packed thriller, but the author also provides the reader with a tantalizing backstory of the colony and its ties to the doomed Romanov dynasty of the Russian Empire. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy Clive Cussler and Michael Crichton.
Kristen Iversen’s book reads like fiction, but unfortunately for her and others who grew up in Arvada, Colorado, it is a true account and one that is very scary. Full Body Burden: growing up in the nuclear shadow of Rocky Flats intertwines Iversen’s personal history of growing up in Arvada with the history of nearby Rocky Flats, one of the most secret and one of the most radioactively contaminated sites in the nation. As Iversen recounts in her book during the 1950s, 60s and 70s, the people who lived near Rocky Flats didn’t want to know what was going on there. The plant which produced plutonium triggers for nuclear weapons, brought jobs, boosted the economy and caused the population and housing to grow in close proximity to the plant. Now, after years of protests and lawsuits, the facility has closed, been dismantled and turned into a wildlife refuge. Iversen says the government wants people to forget what took place there, even though the radioactive footprint of the plant and its buried waste will exist there for generations to come. Iversen doesn’t want anyone to forget what happened there or to be complacent about the future of the nuclear industry.
Iverson, who is now an associate professor at the University of Memphis, has spent years researching Rocky Flats and for a brief time even worked there. Like many other people who worked at or lived near Rocky Flats, she suffers from health problems that can be attributed to over exposure to radioactive materials.
Georgia “Sweet” Brown’s life is spiraling out of control. Her daddy, a preacher, is in jail for harboring illegal Mexicans because her no-good husband, Tee, turned him in to the pompous, celebrity wanna be sheriff. Her niece’s husband, also an illegal alien, is deported and the niece need’s Sweet’s help. Her son is beating up her nephew, Dustin, who had been living with her daddy, but comes to stay with her and Tee. Dustin runs away and Sweet suddenly feels the weight of the world upon her. Can she find her nephew? Can she get her daddy out of jail? Will Jesus help her if she prays to him?
Kind of Kin is a story of loss and despair, what is right and wrong, but it is also about finding love and faith with plenty of humor thrown in for good measure.
Sweet is strong, but also vulnerable and Askew has filled the town of Cedar, Oklahoma, where the story is set, with quirky, yet believable characters. She has also written a wonderfully descriptive story with current social and political issues that are taking place in communities all along the U.S. border with Mexico.
I found Kind of Kin to be a fast read and I think it would be a great book for discussion groups. I think it would appeal to readers who enjoy the works of Barbara Kingsolver and Adriana Trigiani.
In this prequel to the BBC series “Luther,” Detective Chief Inspector John Luther is a brilliant detective but troubled in his personal life. He is investigating a bizarre, horrific crime and he will stop at nothing to catch the killer.
Dark, moody, violent and compelling, Luther will appeal to readers who enjoyed the Prime Suspect series.
Set in the shadows of the Appalachian Mountains, this debut mystery by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Julia Keller is both atmospheric and fast-paced. The story centers around Belfa, “Bell” Elkins, the prosecuting attorney for Raythune County, West Virginia, who is strong, independent and doggedly determined to rid her community of the drug dealers who are dragging the people of Acker’s Gap, further into the depths of despair and poverty. Little does Bell know that her anti-drug crusade will bring death to her town and danger to her teenaged daughter, Carla.
The plot has several twists and the author provides the reader with a haunting sense of place and great characters. I hope this book is just the first in a new series. I look forward to reading more about Bell, Carla and the people in and around Acker’s Gap.
In his first novel, Pulitzer Prize winner J. R. Moehringer tells the story of notorious bank robber Willie Sutton. During his criminal career that began in 1929, Willie Sutton stole over $2 million dollars. Known as “the Actor” for his disguises, Sutton did all this without ever firing a gun. And because this was a time when people hated banks, he became a sort of folk hero to the millions of people who followed his crimes.
In Moehringer’s fast paced, poignant and sometimes comic version of Willie Sutton’s life he shows us a tragic, but intelligent man who did it all for the love of a beautiful woman.
Nate Overbay feels he has nothing to live for. Suffering from PTSD, estranged from his family, and recently diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, he is standing on the ledge of the 11th floor window of a California bank ready to end it all, when armed gunmen burst into the bank and viciously begin to shoot employees and customers. With nothing to lose, using his military training, Nate takes out all but one of the gunman. But the escaping gunman gives Nate a cryptic warning that he will soon deeply regret his actions. But how do you threaten a guy who’s ready to end his life? The answer: threaten his family. Nate has five days to complete an impossible task and protect his wife and daughter.
Thrilling, fast paced and exciting (but very violent), The Survivor is the story of a very brave man trying to overcome incredible odds. If Hollywood doesn’t buy the rights to this story, they are missing a great action movie!