Old School Book Favorites!

I was a voracious reader growing up; I would read a book in a day, easily, and quickly collected quite the collection of books in my preteen and teen years by going to the grocery store with my Mom. They had a section of paperbacks, and I got one on every trip. The fact that I had the book read before I went to bed that night did not please her any, but I always reread my books. I lost so many of those paperbacks when they were stored in my parent’s basement and they had a water issue. To replace them now is near impossible as these older books are very expensive.

If you have followed me for a while you know that William W. Johnstone was my favorite author as a teen, and I could not read his horror stories fast enough. I honestly cannot believe my Mom bought them for me, considering what the covers looked like. Go Mom! “Rockinghorse” sent me down a path that literally had me typing a letter to him on my sister’s typewriter, telling him how much his story inspired me, and that I wanted to become a writer. It led to several back-and-forth correspondences, and I am so blessed that he sent me a couple autographed books which are among my prized possessions. As well as the letters I received from him. He went on to write many Western series, which have always been on the best-sellers lists.

Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators were another set of books I always checked out of the school library. I read the series several times, but unfortunately now, they have become collector’s prizes and to even get a hard cover book is very expensive.

Encyclopedia Brown anyone? How I loved those stories. And who could ever not read Beverly Cleary? She got me through some tough teenage angst! And my favorite elementary school book was “The Adventures of the Black Hand Gang”. A picture after every 2-3 page story for you to figure out the clues. That one will set you back over $30.00 if you try to buy it now. I have my beat-up-worn-out-copy in my library.

Adventures of the Black Hand Gang Cover Image

What are your favorite books that you cannot let go of?

Wicked Weaves – Joyce and Jim Lavene

This is the first book in the Renaissance Faire Mystery cozy series. I picked up the first 3 books at my library last weekend. It took me longer than it should have to read this first story, and I will get through the next two much quicker!

Wicked Weaves cover image

I really liked the story-line here, as well as the characters. Jessie works at the Renaissance Faire (their spelling, not mine) every summer in her town, and is apprenticing with local craft artists for her dissertation for her PhD. This summer she is working with Mary Shift, a basket weaver who has quite the storied past.

After Mary’s husband, who she has not seen in 10 years, is found dead outside her shop, Jessie and her new boyfriend Chase work to help Mary and untangle the mess that she seems to have gotten herself into.

This story was a lot of fun, and typical of the cozy mystery genre. There wasn’t anything here I didn’t like, and I am excited to get started on the next book, where Jessie apprentices with the local glassblower.

Do you read cozy mysteries? I would love to hear what some of your favorites are!

Judas: The Relic – Roy Bright

Another brilliant installment in the Judas Trilogy, and author Roy Bright delivers again! It was completely random that I stumbled upon the first book, and I am so glad I did. Not only did I get a fantastic story that I could not put down, but I met a wonderful author as well!

Judas The Relic cover image

You can find the book here: Judas: The Relic – Roy Bright

This second installment in the series has Charlotte growing up in an alternate realm, going from a child to an 18 year old adult. Judas wanted her to have as much of a normal childhood as possible, before she has to save the world. Although none of this was real, and took only days to pass, Charlotte is grateful for the experiences and childhood she was given.

Judas is still protecting Charlotte, although it is now time for her to step into her role as “The Light”, the one who will save the world. This story is full of action, suspense, and raw emotions as you journey along with Charlotte to face her greatest challenge so far.

There is more insight into Judas, his past, and how he deals with being the betrayer of Christ. Without dripping in religion, the author draws a brilliant picture of Heaven, Hell, and the beings who occupy both.

As I always try to avoid spoilers, I will have to leave it at that. But I cannot recommend enough that you read Judas (book 1) and Judas: the Relic. You will not be disappointed!

You can find my review of book one here: Judas: The Iscariot Warrior Series Book 1

You can find the first book here: Judas: The Iscariot Warrior series book 1

It is free on Kindle Unlimited, or a mere $0.99 for the eBook version. Do not let this series pass you by!

If You Are In (or near) High Point, NC

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I’ll be greeting readers and signing copies of NO SAD SONGS tomorrow (Sat. June 9) at Barnes & Noble High Point (NC) starting at 2pm.

via Book Signing Tomorrow! — Frank Morelli

Lincoln in the Bardo – George Saunders

There has been a lot of discussion about this story, with people either loving it, or hating it. I myself seem to be stuck somewhere in the middle. I loved the story, and the whole idea of it, but the way it was written made it a difficult read for me. There are spoilers below, which I normally try to avoid, but they are necessary in this instance.

 

 

Lincoln in the Bardo Cover image
cover image property of https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com 

The premise of the story takes place on the night of young Willie Lincoln’s death, and the subsequent days that followed. Unable to bear the loss of his son, President Lincoln visits the crypt where Willie has been placed; several times.

The President is unaware that in this cemetery are many souls who have chosen to not move on, including his son. Only one of these souls is aware that they are all truly dead, while the others are all waiting for their loved ones to come back to get them, believing they are only sick. This place where the souls are lingering is what is known as the bardo.

The initial visit of the President has the others all hopeful that their loved ones will indeed come back for them.

The reason I had a hard time reading this story is the way the chapters are written. I literally was over two chapters in before I had any idea what was going on. The first chapter was of conversations between souls stuck in the bardo. I had no idea this is what I was reading. An example is below. Hans and Roger are lost souls, and I thought I was reading a normal conversation between two persons, such as you would read in any other story. I had no idea they were dead.

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The other chapters in between were all cited excerpts from many, many sources of stories that had been written concerning the Lincolns, the night Willie died, and the party that was taking place down stairs. The Lincoln’s had been assured Willie was indeed on the mend, so President Lincoln opted to not withdraw the hundreds of invitations to the dinner that had been sent out. Below is what these chapters look like. (I apologize for the blurriness of this page, I could not get a sharp photo for some reason, although I took it right after the photo above 😦 )

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As you can see (I hope!) after each excerpt is the source of what book, newspaper, conversation, or diary the information came from. I hate to admit, but I am the type of reader who cannot skip over reading something, so I found myself reading Every. Single. Citation. After a few chapters of this, I just let it go and ignored all the rest of the citations. If I hadn’t, I never would have gotten through it.

I loved the story, the true emotions expressed by not only what the President was going through as he continued to visit and hold his deceased son, but the emotions of those souls stuck in the bardo. The felt hope that their loved ones would also finally come for them, fear in moving on as happened to very few throughout the story, and the final realization that they were indeed dead.

I am curious as to what anyone else who has read this story thought! Did you realize right from the beginning what you were reading, or were you confused like I was?

What I’m Reading…

Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders.

It took me two short chapters to get what was going on, and although I love the storyline; I am still trying to get my bearings.

Much of this book is written using excerpts from other books, and the rest is the various persons stuck in the “bardo”, including Willie Lincoln who died at 11 years old.

I will post a full review when I finish; and those of you who have followed me know I love everything Abraham Lincoln. I read a great review of this book: now I just need to get my feet under it.

And honestly; I am questioning why I haven’t written my own Lincoln book yet.

Have you read this, and what did you think?