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Search tags: Cassandra-Campbell
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review 2018-03-04 01:15
On Wings of Cheer (Living Forest #5)
On Wings of Cheer - Cassandra Campbell

The sudden reappearance of a friend you thought you would not see for some time or ever again is always a wonderful feeling and is what Sam Campbell begins and ends this book with.  On Wings of Cheer is the fifth book of Campbell’s Living Forest series, the author details a year’s worth of animal adventures and personal interactions around the Sanctuary of Wegimind during all seasons of the year.

 

Beginning in the fall of 1946, Campbell begins the book by detail the surprise return of a red-winged blackbird named Cheer as announced by his young friend Hi-Bub after everyone believed the bird had flown south.  The Campbells and Hi-Bub enjoy the company of their winged friend for a few more weeks before Sam and Giny head out for their lecture tour believing they wouldn’t return until the next year.  However, Hi-Bub is full of schemes to spend more time with the Campbell as he instigates a private lecture for his sick friend and then surprises them with plans for Christmas, which they find out have already been arranged for them.  During their surprise Christmas trip back home, they have a run in with Indian John who fascinates young Hi-Bub, and visit their Sanctuary cabin.  After returning to the lecture tour, the Campbells return to the Sanctuary and once again enjoying the company of their animal friends both old and new.  One of these friends is a transplanted bear named Old Charley, who enjoyed having fun with every human he can even if he scares some of them to death.  Another is Hi-Bub’s dog, Hobo, who has a run in with a porcupine and later befriends a fawn named Speckles.  Yet the book almost ends on a sour note when Hi-Bub and Sam witness a fawn they believe to be Speckles get shot by an arrow as the youngster is slowly approaching to take a photograph; only on the Campbells’ last night do they discover a very alive Speckles who plays with his friend Hobo.

 

With a 236 pages, this book is slightly shorter than the previous book that Campbell wrote though packed with as much animal tales and misadventures as any other book of the Living Forest series.  Hi-Bub is an integral part of the narrative throughout the book, especially when it comes to his little schemes that Sam as no problem admiring and writes about them accordingly.  The interactions with Indian John and the reign of terror of Old Charley are both interesting and hilarious respectfully.  There are fewer philosophical teachings of Sam Campbell than in previous books and they appear earlier in the book, though they are still excellent.

 

On Wings of Cheer is both similar too and different from the other books of Sam Campbell’s Living Forest series, as the same with animal and human tales plus misadventures but different in that all seasons were covered in the book.  If you enjoyed other books of the series, then this one will be just as enjoyable.

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review 2018-02-18 01:56
A Tippy Canoe and Canada Too (Living Forest #4)
A Tippy Canoe and Canada Too - Sam Campbell

Sometime over the years an inanimate object becomes something more than it is, whether it is a car or in the case of Sam Campbell a canoe. A Tippy Canoe and Canada Too is the fourth book of Campbell’s Living Forest ranges from the Sanctuary of Wegimind to the wilds of Canada’s canoe country featuring not only animal adventures but also the last year of the Campbell’s durable canoe, Buddie. Sam and Giny Campbell return to their animal sanctuary in early spring 1945 and find their durable canoe, Buddie, in bad shape and because a concern throughout the book even though they’re able to repair it well enough. Recovering from the bad news of their canoe, they are happily surprised to find Still-Mo with a family only because they thought she was a male. Soon they learn their island home’s resident woodchuck has also become a mother. As they enjoy the new residents of the island, Sam and Giny have another new young neighbor boy, Hi-Bud, who met Sam in St. Louis years before and has moved close by. Throughout the spring and summer, Hi-Bud becomes a welcome guest and nature-enthusiast-in-training that the couple enjoys having over. Late in the summer they welcome their friend Sandy on leave from V-E Day injury before his deployment to the Pacific only for the war to end, suddenly allowing the three of them to take their long awaited journey to Canadian canoe country to find an isolated lake to observe and research animals without hardly any human interference. Unfortunately this is Buddie’s last trip as it’s damaged so much that after their return they decide to burn the canoe in a pyre at the end of the book. Although the book is the a little longer than the previous two books, Campbell packs a lot of stuff in this book though in his usual engaging and easy reading prose. Like the last book, a war-experience soldier brings some of philosophical thought to the front especially as he now is looking towards his future post-combat. With young Hi-Bud, youthful exuberance brings out another kind of philosophical thought from Campbell that is very enlightening especially in connection with the imaginative youngster. There is religious faith is written about, though not as prominent as the previous book. A Tippy Canoe and Canada Too while very much like the previous three books of Sam Campbell’s series, it is also different as it gives the reader an impression about how things changed for people after World War II ended as compared to when it was going on. If you enjoyed the previous books that Campbell has written you’d enjoy this as well.

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review 2018-02-04 00:45
Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo--and Still-Mo (Living Forest #3)
Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo... and Still - Mo Lessons in Living From Five Frisky Red Squirrels - Sam Campbell

What happens when you decide to adopt five baby red squirrels?  Based on the events in Sam Campbell’s Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo—and Still-Mo your life will definitely not be dull.  This third installment of the Living Forest series like its predecessors follows the misadventures of titular squirrels and other animals in the Sanctuary of Wegimind that entertain and provide life lessons, but is different in that main story revolves around a friend of the Campbells.

 

The events chronicled take place over two years at the animal sanctuary run by Sam and Giny Campbell during World War II, most likely 1942-43.  While the titular squirrels and their actions—especially early in the book—form a narrative thread throughout the book, the main person in Campbell’s narrative is his friend Duke.  Visiting the sanctuary just before his deployment of the South Pacific and during a convalesce stay, Duke cares for the young squirrels when they first arrive at the sanctuary and is latter pivotal in finding most of them after they had left the island during the intervening winter.  Yet his correspondence with the Campbells between his visits allows Sam not only relay the squirrels misadventures with one another but with other animals but Duke’s reaction to them, giving the reader a feeling of being a part of the experience ourselves.

 

Though being as long as the previous installment, this book’s focus on Duke and his experiences doesn’t take anything away from series focus on nature instead it provides greater depth to it.  Campbell’s contrasting descriptions of Duke before and after his first deployment shows the affect that war has on an individual and how he relates to things especially those he loves.  However Campbell also shows how nature can help those affect by war by providing a calming place to compose oneself, even if that individual knows he’s soon go back to “finish the job”.  Religious faith, Christianity in particular, is talked about more in this book than the previous two books but not prominently and not until very late in the book close to end of Duke’s visit.

 

Although Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo—and Still-Mo is a little different from the previous two Living Forest books, Sam Campbell’s engaging writing of animals and nature is given a different focus during a very different era in U.S. history, though it’s still relevant today.

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review 2017-11-29 23:32
Everything I Never Told You
Everything I Never Told You - Celeste Ng,Cassandra Campbell

This book was amazing. I was absolutely captivated the whole time.
Not often have I listened to a book that has prompted me turn up the speed as high as I can possibly stand it because I need to have it all absorbed NOW. This was one of those rare exceptions (seriously, it's maybe happened twice before and last time it was the finale to the Lunar Chronicles).

With a title like this, I knew the story was going to be a sad book about someone leaving some kind of way but I just couldn't help myself. I didn't even bother reading the synopsis, I had  to know. I do have trigger type issues with stories about kids dying, but my ability to persist tends to depend on either the direct actions of the parents that contributed or ill or misrepresentative treatment of the mourning process. I didn't have to worry about that here.

The book did an amazing job of walking the reader through some of the different ways that people mourn, it is not about some easy recovery and people getting on with their lives after a family tragedy. The story itself is about the mourning and recovery process for each family member, wallowing in all the sticky and depressing parts, wallowing in the guilt. It walks us through their inner lives as they go through it all.

I won't  try to defend all of their actions, people are reliably irrational during such times and do things that are out of character. Whether or not we can expect people to think or act rationally while dealing with death is questionable at best. In some stories it works, but those are usually stories where the remaining characters are still under whatever strain or stress that killed the first. This is not that kind of story. Everything was fine, or so the rest of the family thought.

Then they find out that Lydia had died. Due to the circumstances of her death, each family member, in their own way and time, has to take a look at the events leading up to her death and question their amount of fault or responsibility. The problem is that they only have questions. There can be no concrete answers for them. They have to come up with some answer that works for them and try their best to carry on. Part of the problem is that it isn't just about Lydia and her death. When something like this happens so unexpectedly, the remaining family members have no choice but to look at the family and the way that it works and realize that it doesn't work. It hadn't been working. But what could or should they do about it? But figuring that out would require the kind of rationality that isn't immediately available to a grieving family.

During the whole book, I had to wonder if this was going to be a story about a splintering or a family coming together. These things go both ways in life and in stories and Ng's treatment of her characters was realistic enough to make me wonder. I won't spoil it either. I'll just say that each of her characters are incredibly well rounded, even Lydia. We get to know plenty of options for each family member and I was satisfied with the way it did end.

The audiobook was read by Cassandra Campbell, who does an amazing job with it. I listened to the streaming version available through Amazon Channels on Audible. For me, the book satisfies Letter E for my Litsy A to Z Challenge.

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review 2017-08-25 19:55
Souljacker by Yasmine Galenorn
Souljacker: A Lily Bound Novel - Yasmine Galenorn,Cassandra Campbell

Lily is a succubus who staves off the hunger and makes her living by running a sex salon. The book opens when she discovers one her best werewolf clients dead in a bed, drained of blood and missing a hunk of flesh. 

The vamps in this book are not of this ilk.



They are mean, they are hungry and some of them are batshit crazy. These vampires are monsters, just as it should be. Sadly, they do not make much of an appearance. There are a few dead bodies here and there but we don’t get to spend any time in their heads. Such a missed opportunity. I love being in a madman’s head, if only for a short time.

Because of the dead guy in her bed, Lily’s life is turned upside down and inside out. She loses her livelihood, is targeted by a madman and an angry widow bent on revenge and she’s getting dangerously hungry for some chi and sexy time. When she realizes her best friends are also in danger, they enlist the help of a chaos demon who is a most excellent PI and handily enough, very good at the sexy times.



This started out as a whole lot of murderous and sexy fun but somewhere along the way it lost me. It became dull. Nothing much happened for chapters on end. There was much talk about sigils and security and blah, blah, blah. At this point, I even began to start longing for one of these guys to pop in and woo somebody to death just so something would happen.



Really the only thing keeping me reading was the sexy chaos demon. I kept waiting for him to create some major, you know, chaos but I may have to wait until the next book for that happen. It wasn’t even what I’d call a paranormal romance because there was no romance development here either.

There was an engaging story of Lily’s enchanted cat. If the rest of the book had been as interesting as the cat’s backstory I would’ve gobbled this book up. But as written, most of the characters were a little flat and not fleshed out nearly enough for me. There was no emotion, very little action and there wasn’t even any humor. It was all just a bit too tepid for my liking. I tried another of this author’s books years ago, Witchling I believe it was, and I didn’t like that one very much either so maybe it’s me and my atrocious taste again. 

Ah well, I may pick up book two because I do realize this book was the first in a series and much setup needed doing. Hopefully it has more sizzle and less fizzle than this one.

Narration Notes: This audiobook was read competently by Cassandra Campbell who she gives each character their own distinctive voice, none of them cringy, and I always appreciate that because I’m sure it’s not easy. 

I received a copy of this audiobook from Tantor Media. Thanks Tantor!

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