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Adult Book Reviews

Book Review: Butter in the Well: A Scandinavian Woman's Tale of Life on the Prai
Hubalek, Linda K.
3 stars = Pretty Good

It was an interesting look into the life of a woman who moved with her husband to the Kansas prairie to homestead land. The difficulties and hardships put a new perspective on life of a homesteader. When she first came she didn't even speak the language. Her and her husband lived in a dirt cave for the first year or so and eventually built a home. The story was written like a diary. Her great granddaughter wrote the book and included pictures of her great grandmother and other relatives. The writer actually grew up in the homestead.

Book Review: Once Upon Another Time
Sawatzki, Diane
4 stars = Really Good

This book mixes western, historical fiction, fantasy, adventure, and romance in a unique and exciting way. The main character gets transported to a different time and has to figure out a way to make it back, all while trying to stay alive. This author is also from Colorado and has based the story in the local area.

Book Review: Tallgrass
Dallas, Sandra
4 stars = Really Good

I loved this book. It is a Historical Novel covering the period in US History after the start of World War II when the government gathered Japanese citizens living across America and placed them into camps. This is a sad time in our history. Japanese Americans were forced out of their homes and their businesses and had to live like Prisoners of War. Colorado had one of these such camps. This book covers the history of the camp and follows families through their horrible ordeal. The actual families are fictional but the history is true and a learning experience within a great read. This book led me to read other great historical fiction books or biographical fiction such as The Day the Falls Stood Still, and The Paris Wife, The Dressmaker, and Loving Frank. All great books that tell you historical truth with fictional characters or fictional conversation surrounding truth. A genre that I have discovered I love and it is all started with Tallgrass.

Book Review: The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat
Moore, Edward Kelsey
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

I absolutely loved this book. This is one of those novels where you wish you could just jump right in and sit next to this group of women at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat. Also possibly one of the funniest weddings ever written! Definitely one of my favorite books of the year.

Book Review: Micro
Crichton, Michael
4 stars = Really Good

This was the book Crichton was working on at the time of his death. Preston is known for such books as The Hot Zone, a non-fiction thriller. The premise of this book is the ability to shrink humans down to half an inch in size to do research in rain forest conditions to find new medications. A group of graduate students from New England is invited to tour the facility. They fall victim to the owner of the corporation funding the research , who has ulterior motives and uses his technology for other purposes. A long book, but suspenseful and skillfully executed.

Book Review: The Art Forger: A Novel
Shapiro, Barbara A.
4 stars = Really Good

This is a wonderful story that mixes mystery and romance with the world of art and artists. What I found especially interesting were the details about the forgery of paintings and the inner workings of art galleries and museums.

Book Review: Girl with a Pearl Earring
Chevalier, Tracy
4 stars = Really Good

This book captured my attention from the very first page.
Chevalier's first-person style and descriptive writing made for an easy and enjoyable read! The idea that the "girl with a pearl earring" in Vermeer's famous painting was employed in the household as a maid was very intriguing. Chevalier obviously did her research, since her descriptions of Delft in the 17th century coincides with historical accounts/writings. This is a must-read for historical fiction lovers!

Missy H.
Book Review: The End of Your Life Book Club
Schwalbe, Will
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

A poignant telling of the connection between a mother and son facing a terminal illness. Their love of books and their loving discussions validate the power of books in our lives.

Book Review: Life After Death
Echols, Damien
4 stars = Really Good

Do you believe that in America it would be impossible for you to legally be put to death for a crime you did not commit? Read this shocking book.
Damien Echols, the author of "Life After Death" was falsely accused and convicted at the age of 18 (along with 2 of his friends) of murdering three 8 year old boys in Arkansas in 1993.
After watching the 3 documentaries about this crime, "Paradise Lost", which the library does own, I wanted to know more about this murder case and shocking miscarriage of justice.
Damien Echols was imprisoned on death row for 18 years of his life and in his book shares with his readers his life story. From his early years of extreme poverty in the south to the abuse he suffered from prison guards and wardens, he tells of the spirituality and perseverance that kept him alive and sane while incarcerated.
Does it have a happy ending? You'll have to read it to find out.

Book Review: Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker: A Novel
Chiaverini, Jennifer
4 stars = Really Good

Elizabeth Keckley is a former slave who becomes a dressmaker to the elite women in Washingon D.C. She becomes not only Mrs. Lincoln's dressmaker but also a friend. She is a first hand witness to the historical lives of Mary and Abraham Lincoln and supports Mary throught the death of her son and husband. Elizabeth writes her memories in a book "Behind the Scenes: Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House".

Book Review: A Young Wife: A Novel
Lewis, Pam
3 stars = Pretty Good

This is a quick semi-historical fiction read set at the turn of the century. The main character has a series of significant ups and downs as she travels from her home in Denmark to Argentina and then New York. Although very loosely based on actual events the author appears to have done some research about the areas and times protrayed making it an interesting read for history buffs.

Book Review: Short Nights Of The Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Phot
Egan, Timothy
4 stars = Really Good

I recently read Timothy Egan's latest book, "Short Nights of the Shadowcathcher," a biography of Edward S. Curtis, famous for his photos of Native Americans at the turn of the century. Although I was familiar with his photos, I didn't realize he also recorded languages on wax cylinders and filmed disappearing Native American ceremonies, which tribes later used to recreate their languages and cultures. With partial funding from JP Morgan, and the moral support of Teddy Roosevelt, he published 20 volumes on the North American Indian, a task that consumed his life. I also did not realize that in 1914, he produced a motion picture using members of the Kwakiutls tribe on Vancouver Island. After positive reviews, the film was tied up in litigation with the distributor and disappeared into storage. The last remaining copy was found in 1972 and carefully restored. On a whim, I looked for the film in the library and, to my amazement, learned that Pikes Peak Library District has a copy on DVD. Amazing what you can find at our libraries!!!!

Book Review: The Hole in our Holiness
DeYoung, Kevin
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Kevin DeYoung encourages, convicts, and motivates Christians to, by grace, conform themselves to be more like Christ. He urges Christians to become more holy without ignoring the Gospel grace nor embracing grace by works. DeYoung carefully balances legalism with total freedom to form a modest Christian liberty. This was an absolutely great read, and I recommend it everyone to read it.

Book Review: Ready Player One
Cline, Ernest
2 stars = Meh

I read most of it. I was listening to it on eAudio, but it was so long I just couldn't make it to the end. I think this book is aimed at an audience to which I do not belong. Mainly, gamers. I liked the 80s references, but I just couldn't get into the book. Meh. Others may like it, it just wasn't my taste.

Book Review: The Shadow of the Wind
Ruiz Zafón, Carlos
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This book was amazing! Shadow of the Wind has something for everyone. It is a book within a book and has many parallel stories. It is shadowy, but not vulgar and emotionally disturbing. You will be transported to Barcelona and will be kept on your toes wondering at how the details will work out.
It is great for a book discussion group. Part thriller, mystery, historical fiction with much character development. Not too wordy or detailed.

Book Review: The Shack: A Novel
Young, William
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

The imagination of the author is awesome. After Mack gets an invitation to go to the shack, he encounters a turn-of-events that changed his outlook on life. He was raised with an abusive and left home at an early age. He joined the military got married and life began to happen for him in his senior years. This book has a touch of theology and a connection with God that speaks to anyone's heart. At times I had to keep looking at the fact that this is a fiction book. It made you want to get in touch with God yourself. It kept my attention and anticipation for what was going to happen. I recommend this book for people who need to heal from bad experiences and for those who just want to talk with someone about a good book they have just read.

Book Review: One Tuesday Morning
Kingsbury, Karen
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

One Tuesday Morning was recommended to me from my hair dresser and I am thankful to her that she did. Although my husband is not a firefighter, he was an active military man (as a matter of fact reenlisted a month before this attack to the ARMY again) and I knew it would change our personal live very much.
This is the first book I've ever read by Karen Kingsbury, and it was a good one to start with. The story is EXCELLENT and absolutely captivating. It was probably the most heart-wrenching thing I have read in a VERY long time. I can't remember the last book that literally had me choking back tears through a good portion of it!

Set against the backdrop of 9/11, the story is fiction, but could very possibly have happened. In the wake of the 9/11 tragedy and a case of mistaken identity, two families’ lives are completely turned upside down and changed forever. Changed in a way for the worse, but so many ways for the better. Both families learn how to cope. One family must learn how to be a family, while the other family (a close knit family) must learn how to live with sudden and permanent loss. This book will have you giggling one minute and sniffling the next, and then send chills down your spine. I HIGHLY recommend you pick this one up and take the journey I did in a matter of just two weeks (which for me is a very fast read).

That said, I ran out right after the 1st sequel and crapped Beyond Tuesday Morning, and started it right ahead.

Book Review: The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition
Alexander, Caroline
4 stars = Really Good

Ernest Shackleton and a crew of twenty-seven set sail for the South Atlantic in August of 1914. Their goal was to complete the first crossing on foot of the Antarctic continent. This expedition was one of history's greatest epics of survival. Original glass plate negatives of the expedition survived and provide unforgettable images of the adventure.

J Beck
Book Review: The Hangman's Daughter: A Historical Novel
Pötzsch, Oliver
4 stars = Really Good

Set in the mid-1600, this story revolves around young children who go missing from a small Bavarian village, turn up dead, and a local woman accused of being a witch. The hangman, his daughter, and a local physician become involved in solving this intriguing and suspenseful tale. I love mysteries, suspense, thrillers and historical novels, so this was a fast read that included all elements to my satisfaction. Very much recommend this book!

Book Review: Explosive Eighteen
Evanovich, Janet
4 stars = Really Good

I really enjoy this series by Janet Evanovich. This book is easy to read and fun. Great humor and wit! Very fast paced and the characters are interesting. I'd recommend starting with the first book, One for the Money, and if you like it continue on to Two for the Dough, Three to Get Deadly, etc. etc. I tend to laugh out loud when reading the books. They make me smile! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Book Review: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
Roach, Mary
4 stars = Really Good

Although some may consider the subject matter a bit macabre, this book is absolutely fascinating. It lets you in on a secret world few of us dare to think about. Grave robbing? Check. Scientists searching for evidence of the soul? Check. Cannibalism? You bet.

If you're brave enough to pull the curtain back on the dead, you really should check this book out. You won't be disappointed.

Book Review: You Don't Want to Know
Jackson, Lisa
4 stars = Really Good

This is a fantastic novel. It will keep you guessing and keep you reading.
Ava is crazy. She started losing her mind after the loss of her son, Noah, two years before the start of the novel. After a stay in a mental hospital, she is back at the family home and trying to put back together her memory. Is Noah still alive?

Book Review: A Season of Angels
Kinkade, Thomas & Spencer, Katherine
4 stars = Really Good

In this final book from Thomas Kinkade's "Angel Island" series, Adele Morgans heart is heavy because of a family dispute that has torn her family apart.
She returns to Cape Light at Christmas with hopes of mending the broken relationship between her sons and bringing their families together for the holidays.

Grad student Jonathan Butler also arrive , determined to reveal the fraud surrounding Angel Island’s legend. He meets Tess Wyler, a local undergrad who helps him gather information but it’s only a matter of time before he too falls under the island’s spell and realizes that the proof of Angel Island and Cape Light’s magic lies within.

The Angel Island series is not as spell binding as the Cape Light series but nevertheless, it is an uplifting story that reminds us that God is in control and faith will carry us thru.

Book Review: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Strayed, Cheryl
4 stars = Really Good

I recently read the book "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed. The book lended itself to a glimpse into a young womans' adventure as she hiked the Pacific Crest Trail by herself. The beginning chapters showed how inexperienced and innocent she was and as I continued reading other chapters, she had become quite the seasoned hiker with physical scars to prove it. Her marriage had ended and her mom had died, so as we hiked along with her, she came to grips with her life journey. Very entertaining and a page turner to boot!

Book Review: The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined
Khan, Salman
4 stars = Really Good

I heard Salman Khan speak about The Khan Academy ( on a TED Talk a while back, and ever since I did I've been intrigued by his idea of flipping the traditional teaching model. Using inexpensive technology, let's have the students "learn" the lesson at home via online course materials and moving at their own pace. Then use the classroom time for practice and asking questions. The book, obviously, explains this much more eloquently. And while the book may be a bit short on possible cons of such a plan, it's convinced me to be very proactive with my daughter's education.