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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Reading Recommendations

All Reviews by Kristy McCaffrey

(Note: I've included an Amazon link for each book, but they may also be available on other platforms such as Nook, iBooks, Kobo, and Google Play, as well as print.)


Wool
by
Hugh Howey

In this epic dystopian novel, we’re introduced to a world in which mankind is now living underground in a silo. Memories of why or how it came to be are lost, and life in Silo 18 is rigorously controlled by the threat of ‘cleaning’, a punishment for those who break the rules. When a member of society commits a crime, they are sent outside, to an earth filled with poisonous air and unlivable conditions. Despite being outfitted in a protective suit, cleaners ultimately die, but not before they’re expected to clean the viewfinders with a strip of wool, to ensure that those inside can still see the world outside. While the novel follows many characters, at the center is Juliette, a woman who works as a mechanic deep in the bowels of the silo. This is her story, of her rise to the upper levels as the new sheriff, and the realization that there is much more than just the confined world in which they all reside. A well-written and complex tale of fear and the suppression of ideas, brainwashing, and, ultimately, the will to live. I was enthralled.


*****

Fire Eyes
by
Cheryl Pierson

Marshal Kaed Turner is left at Jessica’s doorstep near death. As she nurses him back to health, they soon fall hard for one another. But the renegade band of men perpetrating heinous crimes must be stopped, and soon Kaed and a band of marshals must hunt them down, leaving Jessica and a child not her own exposed. Ms. Pierson has crafted a deeply romantic tale with one of the most vile villains I’ve ever come across. Andrew Fallon is crazy, and you’ll keep reading to the end—despite the requisite happy-ending of a romance novel—to know exactly how he gets his just rewards, as well as be assured of Kaed and Jessica’s future. Great historical details and a steamy love story will have you reading into the night. A wonderful read!


*****


Come Back
By
Melissa Maygrove

Rebecca Garvey is on a wagon train bound for California when she is inadvertently left behind in the wilderness of New Mexico Territory. She mistakenly believes that no one searched for her and, as days turn into months, she remains in the wilderness and fends for herself rather than attempting to make her way to a town. When she comes across an injured man, she’s compelled to help him, but in doing so she can no longer hide from the pain of her presumed abandonment.

Seth Emerson is battling demons of his own, but he becomes determined to reunite Rebecca with her family, along with the man to whom she’s betrothed. During the journey, affection turns to love between Seth and Rebecca, and they must both grapple with doing the right thing.

This is a quiet book with a slow-building romance. Both Seth and Rebecca are stubborn in their misguided decisions regarding the course of their lives, and Ms. Maygrove beautifully handles their blossoming maturity. Grab a cup of tea and a blanket and settle in for a romance filled with grit, sweetness, and passion. You won’t be disappointed.


*****


Miles From Nowhere
by
Barbara Savage

In the late 1970’s, Barbara and her husband bicycled around the world. This book is still readable today and offers amazing insights into the cultures of other countries (Egypt was especially dangerous and jaw-dropping in their treatment of the couple) as well as the U.S. This journey was, in some ways, beyond comprehension. They rode a total of 23,000 miles over the course of two years through places such as the U.K., India, and Tibet. Barbara is a wonderful writer. A bittersweet endnote was her death in a cycling accident near her home in California just before the publication of the book. Hers is a voice lost much too soon.


*****


Bliss
An Anthology of Novellas
By
S.K. McClafferty, Marcy Waldenville, Jamie Denton, Kathleen Shoop, and J.D. Wylde

This wonderful collection of stories will keep you captivated from the start. Each centers around Bliss, a sprawling plantation home located in North Carolina.

In S.K. McClafferty’s A Long Road Home, Livie Harrington must confront her husband, a northerner who left her to fight in the Civil War and now wants her back.

Marcy Waldenville’s The Healing Garden brings together newly pregnant Jane Harrington, widowed in the sinking of the Titanic, and Irishman Brennan Brown, on the run from aiding his brothers escape their crimes.

Jamie Denton’s Spellbound tells the steamy, romantic story of Colin Harrington, injured in World War II, and Mary Elizabeth Callahan, also Irish. She becomes housekeeper at Bliss, tending both the house and the reclusive Colin himself.

Kathleen Shoop’s Home Again finds April Harrington on the run from a ditched wedding. At Bliss, her family home, she encounters childhood friend Hale Abercrombie, suffering PTSD from Vietnam and haunted by the death of April’s brother.

And J.D. Wylde’s Beyond the Checkered Flag brings the action to modern day and Nascar-driver Bobby Wayne. This story doesn’t feature a Harrington, but Wayne buys the house for his beloved wife Lauren, whom he’s trying to win back after an estrangement. Their reunion at Bliss sends sparks flying as they hash out their differences and grievances. The rating for this one is definitely hot.

Each story is vivid in historical and modern details and will have you wanting to visit Bliss yourself. The characters come to life, making you fall in love with each and every couple, rooting for them to make it. A wonderful collection by five talented authors.



Yellowstone Heart Song
by
Peggy L. Henderson

Aimee Donovan is a modern-day nurse transported to 1810 Yellowstone. Once there, she meets trapper Daniel Osborne. Aimee’s curiosity and delight in experiencing the past is soon overshadowed by the harsh realities of the land and the people in it. The growing relationship between her and Daniel fills the first half of the story, while the second half deals with the dilemma of Aimee returning to her own time after developing strong feelings for the rugged mountain man. This is a romance novel in the truest sense, so a happily-ever-after is guaranteed, but I was nevertheless spellbound until the end. These characters will grab a hold of you. This is a fresh take on time-travel romance, and Ms. Henderson’s descriptions of a historical Yellowstone will make you yearn to see it for yourself. A heartfelt and engrossing journey of a romance for the ages.


*****

The Atlantis Gene
by
A.G. Riddle

In this fast-paced thriller, Dr. Kate Warner is seeking a cure for autism when she is attacked and two of her young patients—just children—are abducted. She soon finds herself immersed in circumstances both dangerous and unbelievable. David Vale is a covert operative who has uncovered clues to the evolution of mankind and a current threat that could wipe out the human race. Kate’s research holds the key. This story is a blend of action-adventure and science fiction wrapped around historical facts from World War I and II. There’s an alien race, hidden artifacts, evil henchmen, and romance. It won't disappoint.


*****


Round The Bend
By
Rain Trueax

In 1851, childhood friends Amy Stevens and Matthew Kane travel with their families in a large wagon train bound for Oregon. Matt has long known he loves Amy, but she’s only ever harbored brotherly feelings for him. As the massive trek begins, Matt makes his intentions known, but Amy rebuffs him. However, once the seeds of awareness are planted, Amy discovers that her attachment to Matt gradually begins to change. When Matt’s vengeful brother starts trouble, Amy is forced to hide the budding relationship because Matt insists on protecting her reputation. With compelling and likeable main characters, colorful and well-drawn secondary characters, and immersive descriptions of the Oregon Trail, Ms.Trueax has crafted an epic novel that will pull you in, slowly but surely. You won’t soon forget Matt and Amy, or their bumpy path to a happily-ever-after.

Round The Bend (Oregon Historical Romance Book 1)

*****


Higher Love: Skiing the Seven Summits
By
Kit DesLauriers

Ms. DesLauriers is the first person to ski the highest summit on each continent, also known as the Seven Summits. In this revealing and compelling memoir, she shares her journey from inception to completion. The summits include Denali, Elbrus, Vinson Massif, Kosciuszko, Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro and Everest. Each presented unique challenges and skill sets, and yet she managed to finish within a two-year period. This is a wonderful read, offering insights into the mind of a woman who engages in dangerous pursuits while also detailing the risk minimization that she practices diligently. Still, the Everest portion will leave you dangling on the edge of your seat. I especially enjoyed the side-stories about her wolf dog. Well-written and fascinating, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.


*****

Deep
by
James Nestor

This nonfiction book explores how humans interact with the ocean and the creatures within, and Nestor reveals some amazing insights. For instance, the human body is uniquely equipped to function underwater, with adaptations that can be triggered with proper training. He explores the world of freediving, both competitive (and the high rate of fatalities and mishaps) as well as people who use it to relate to the ocean and the creatures within in a more intimate way. The deeper he goes, the more we learn about renegade scientists who are trying to decipher cetacean language and the multitude of life at depths that never see any light. He also touches on deep sea heating vents and a very promising theory that life on earth began in these high-pressure, super-heated locations. Well-researched and highly personal, Deep will open your eyes to a world more vast than the one we currently know.

6 comments:

  1. Kristy, thanks so much for recommending FIRE EYES! That was my first published book, and in so many ways, "the book of my heart"--that first one always holds a very special place! I had to take out an entire secondary story line with the first company that published it, but when I got my rights back the first thing I did was add it back in, and I think it should have been there all along! LOL

    You have some awesome recommendations here--many more reads to look forward to (I keep a running list!) LOL Thanks again so much for including FIRE EYES among these other wonderful stories, and for your very kind words.

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    1. Cheryl,
      Well, all I have to say is thank goodness you added that storyline back in. It all flows seamlessly together and makes for a great read.

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  2. Thank you so much for mentioning my book. I appreciate your kind words, and I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    These all look good. You apparently share my love of science. LOL

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    Replies
    1. Melissa,
      Yes, we're a pair of science geeks, haha. Really enjoyed your book!!

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  3. Thank you, Kristy, for recommending Bliss. Your support is much appreciated!

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    1. Miss Joyce,
      It's my pleasure. I know it's been out for awhile but books last forever, right? It's a great collection!

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