Whether writing about the subjugation of Tibetan culture by the Chinese or the encroachment on the Native America culture by European powers, Eliot PaWhether writing about the subjugation of Tibetan culture by the Chinese or the encroachment on the Native America culture by European powers, Eliot Pattison has a unique ability to enable the reader to submerge themselves in the struggles of a people powerless to stop the relentless progress of a dominant foe. I recommend, Bone Rattler, the first book of Pattison’s Colonial American mysteries, as a summer reading for my high school history students. The rich historical detail and the engaging narrative provides memorable background when we study the French and Indian War.
In Original Death, Pattison’s third Colonial America mystery, he weaves vividly written, little known history with a tightly written mystery. Duncan McCallum, the Scottish rebel forced into indentured servitude in the colonies, is the last of his clan. His Native American mentor, Conawago, fears he is the last of his tribe. The two companions receive word that Conawago’s grandson is living at a Christian mission, they travel further northwest wilderness only to find a terrible massacre has taken place. The complex mystery involves missing payrolls, disgruntled Highlanders, and a Native American prophet holding sway over tribes in the region.
Pattison gives life to the Native Americans and Europeans who live together and fight against each other in much more complex interrelationships than most modern Americans realize existed. Another excellent addition to the series. ...more
I had gotten sucked into Carol O’Connell’s series on Kathy Mallory with her incredibly engrossing Chalk Girl. I had to go back and read the series froI had gotten sucked into Carol O’Connell’s series on Kathy Mallory with her incredibly engrossing Chalk Girl. I had to go back and read the series from the beginning to find Mallory’s story—how did she get to be such a bizarre, isolated person? What was the connection between her and all the other interesting characters in the series? I was excited to receive a preview copy of It Happens in the Dark to find out more about who she and all the other characters were to each other. However, I found It Happens in the Dark to be a disappointment. While it was not one of those awful books that I can’t finish, I really had to make an effort to keep reading it. The plot line was tough to get into and difficult to follow. The characters of the plot never really took shape. I found it difficult to follow the progression of the plot or even engaging in the story line. I really didn’t care who committed the murder or why. If I didn’t already know the characters in the series, I would have found little intriguing about them. Nothing much was added to the Mallory/Riker/ Charles relationship.
This wasn’t bad enough to make me stop reading the series, but I hope O’Connell’s next foray in to Mallory land will demonstrate more depth. ...more
Anyone who teaches history, loves history, or finds history to be dry as dust needs to read Joy Hakim’s Freedom: A History of US.
I first encounteredAnyone who teaches history, loves history, or finds history to be dry as dust needs to read Joy Hakim’s Freedom: A History of US.
I first encountered Hakim’s books in the middle level series of the same name. She combined the most engaging historical writing I had ever read for young adults with outstanding historical scholarship. Freedom: A History of US condensed the series into a coffee table book and became the basis of a PBS series by the same name. As the title indicates, Hakim focuses on the social evolution of all of us who have come together to form the United States.
This recent re-release includes a chapter that explores how the terrorism of the past two decades has both united and divided us as a nation. Whether you read about an event, an era, or immerse yourself in the entire book, you will be amazed at all that you didn’t know about American History and how Joy Hakim can pull you into the History of Us. ...more
What would happen if Texas A&M scientists (whoop!) unknowingly cloned one of the most incredible racehorses that has ever taken the track? As theWhat would happen if Texas A&M scientists (whoop!) unknowingly cloned one of the most incredible racehorses that has ever taken the track? As the title indicates, that is the premise Susan Klaus explores in her novel Secretariat Reborn. Beach bum Christian Roberts reconnects with his dying father, a horse trainer, who leaves him a colt who not only carries Secretariat’s blood line, but his exact DNA. Christian wrestles with learning the racing world, finding financing to pay for the clone, and honoring his father’s last wish with the a living ethical dilemma.
I was able to read a preview copy of Secretariat Reborn as a netgalley download and found some aspects of the plot, such as Christian’s psycho girlfriend and his involvement with local mobsters, carried the action over the top at times, but the story was engaging and kept me reading. Kraus was most authentic in her writing about horses and racing, and in her natural descriptions of rural Florida life that most of us don’t know is hidden behind the beaches and Disney of the Sunshine State. However, the relationships and situations are a bit forced and it was hard to fall into a rhythm of the story. Kraus worked enough action into the end of the novel to make a good ending and overall it was a good debut novel. ...more
John Lescroart’s 10th novel featuring Dismas Hardy begins with a crooked cop sliding into the witness protection program and fleeing from New York toJohn Lescroart’s 10th novel featuring Dismas Hardy begins with a crooked cop sliding into the witness protection program and fleeing from New York to San Francisco. Once in San Francisco, he merges into the local bartending scene and crosses paths cross the familiar characters of the Dismas series. Lescroart keeps the action moving with a mix of past mystery and a current murder. The plot centers around a crooked city selectman and his ambitious chief of staff who are protecting a wealthy Koran businessman tying immigrant girls to the sex trade through a façade of massage parlors. When Dismis’s niece is raped, and the rapist is murdered, the police novel becomes an intriguing courtroom thriller.
The Ophelia Cut’s ending feels like a bit of a plot cheat, but overall the book is worth the read. ...more
This was my introduction the pulp fiction genre, and it was a great ride. Fun and predictable, it was like mixing classic comics with classics from liThis was my introduction the pulp fiction genre, and it was a great ride. Fun and predictable, it was like mixing classic comics with classics from likes of Alexander Dumas, Robert Louis Stephenson or Edgar Rice Burroughs. The story was fast, with con men hiding out from Nazis, mistaken identities, and conflicts between royalty and communists in a small, unnamed central European country. I loved reading what would have been popular in the 1930s and 1940s, and I was also fascinated by the endnotes detailing L. Ron Hubbard’s life. I’m eager to read more!...more