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review 2018-06-20 18:31
Orbit of Discovery: The All-Ohio Space Shuttle Mission
Orbit of Discovery: The All-Ohio Space Shuttle Mission - Don Thomas

From the beginning of the 20th-Century the state of Ohio has seemingly been on the forefront of manned flight from the Wright Brothers to Neil Armstrong to the flight of an “All-Ohio” crew of STS-70 aboard the shuttle Discovery.  Don Thomas in Orbit of Discovery relates the entire history of the mission from his assignment to the crew to the post-mission events as well as the event that is it best known for, the woodpecker attack that delayed the launch.

 

Thomas begins his book with the sudden halt in his pre-flight routine when a love sick woodpecker drilled holes in the foam of the external tank forcing weeks of delays that put him and the other four members of the crew spinning their wheels.  This pause allows Thomas to give an account about how he personally got to this point through his childhood dream of becoming an astronaut to his course of study in school to achieve that dream then his three time failures to join the program until finally succeeding on this fourth try.  He then goes into his time in the program before his flight on the shuttle Columbia and quick turn assignment to Discovery soon after his return.  Thomas then related the year long process of training and preparation for the mission until the sudden halt in the process when a woodpecker used the external tank to attract a mate.  After NASA was able to repair the foam, the mission returns to normal save for the humor inclusions of Woody Woodpecker throughout the flight in space and the numerous post-mission events that Thomas relates in detail.

 

The uniqueness of the mission’s delay as well as the fact that the crew was entirely made up of astronauts from one state—well one was given honorable citizenship—made for a good hook for any general reader who might have an interest in the space program.  Thomas with the assistance of Mike Bartell gives a very reader friendly look into what it was like to be an astronaut and the course of shuttle missions from assignment to post-flight events without becoming bogged down in technobabble.  At the end of the book is included an appendix for profiles for all the astronauts that came from Ohio which is in the spirit of the book and adds a nice bit of history for those interested.

 

Overall, Orbit of Discovery is a well-written and easy to read book that gives a first-hand account of everything that went into a space shuttle flight.  Don Thomas’ own story of his journey to finally getting to the program adds to the account in allowing the read to see how much dedication goes into becoming an astronaut.  For those interested in any way in the space program, this is a highly recommended book.

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text 2018-06-06 15:46
The Fatness wins a second award!
The Fatness - Mark A. Rayner

NEW YORK, NY – On June 3rd, New York Times bestselling author CJ Lyons announced The Fatness won in the humor category of the annual IndieReader Discovery Awards (IRDAs). The announcement was made at BookExpo America (BEA), a major publishing trade show.

 

This is the second literary award the satirical novel has garnered! The Fatness won a silver International Book Publishing Association (IBPA) Benjamin Franklin award for humor in April this year.

 

“The books that won the IRDAs this year are not just great indie books; they are great books, period. We hope that our efforts via the IRDAs ensure that they receive attention from the people who matter most. Potential readers,” said Amy Edelman, founder of IndieReader.

IRDA winner

 

Judges for the awards included notable publishers, agents, publicists and bloggers. The Fatness received the following verdict from IndieReader’s reviewers: “The Fatness is a story of socialism gone wrong, set amid a plausible backdrop with witty characters who will steal your heart and snag your cheeseburger, if you’re not careful.”

 

I’d like to thank the professionals who helped me put the book together. The incredible talents of my editor, Cal Chayce of Wording.ca, the fabulous cover design of Taryn Dufault and the exact proofing of Pauline Nolet all contributed to the book’s success. And don’t forget all my beta readers, friends and family who also helped me shape The Fatness into something approaching good shape. You can read about them in the acknowledgements of the novel.

 

And of course, you should get yourself a copy! You can buy it here.

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review 2018-06-02 02:33
Aloha and Guder Daag
The Hawaiian Discovery - Wanda E. Brunstetter

Admittedly, I have not yet read “The Hawaiian Quilt”, although I intend to rectify that soon and delve into the backstory of some of the characters. While “The Hawaiian Discovery” can be read as a standalone, there are spoilers for the first book. The Amish subgenre of Christian fiction is one that I’ve wanted to explore for a while now, and I’m glad that I finally had the opportunity to do so. The Amish community portrayed in this novel surprised me by being more progressive than I expected while still holding firm to their faith in God.

“The Hawaiian Quilt” packs quite a bit into its approximately 250 pages. The main character is Ellen Lambright, but there is also a diverse cast of supporting characters who take the story in different directions that eventually converge. Some of the time lapses in the story were a bit disconcerting, although this did not really interrupt the flow of the narrative. Partly due to the number of characters, there was a constant sense of action, which made the story seem to unfold quickly. Ellen’s life changes dramatically more than once, and the challenges that she and her friends face are relevant to contemporary readers, from illness to friendship to romance. How they approach these tests of faith is inspirational, as is the mingling of both the English and the Amish world, which also extends to the reading experience with interspersed Pennsylvania Dutch vocabulary, making this an interesting and thought-provoking read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.  

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review 2018-06-01 19:00
A character you won't soon forget
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman

There is a reason that this debut novel has been on hold for many, many months and why it continues to be difficult to get in a hurry. Gail Honeyman has managed to create a character so unique and delightful that I found myself instantly enamored of her. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is the story of a woman who the reader learns from the outset is completely aloof to the social mores of society and is pretty content to remain so...until she sees the man of her dreams. It seems fairly obvious to the reader that this 'relationship' is doomed to fail. (Like my romance with Brian Littrell when I was in middle school.) However, having this foreknowledge does not detract from the story because the love story is between the reader and Eleanor and Eleanor with herself. She is a fragile woman who has built up a rather thick wall between herself and the entire world...and she's had plenty of time to reinforce that wall. Her past is nothing if not murky and it doesn't get cleared up until almost the very end of the novel. (And it's a doozy, ya'll.) It's exceedingly difficult for me not to spill some essential facts while writing up this review because they're the things that make this a truly gripping piece of realistic fiction. Eleanor is a character that seems to live and breathe beyond the page. Her bucking of social 'norms' coupled with her frankly hilarious inner dialogue about what is and isn't 'polite' had me laughing out loud on several occasions and made me feel so connected to her. I truly rooted for her and became emotionally invested as if I was reading an autobiography or memoir instead of a work of fiction. (Gail, you've made it into my list of top 20 authors of all time. I'm excited to see what you come up with next!) 10/10 highly recommend

 

A/N: The author discusses child abuse, disfigurement, bullying (from all ages), and mental illness. If these are triggering to you in any way, shape, or form then you should steer clear. Everyone else, I think Gail handled these topics very well (having dealt with 2 of the 4 personally) and I see no reason why you should give this book a pass. Eleanor will grab you by the heartstrings and refuse to let go.

 

What's Up Next: Grace & Style: The Art of Pretending You Have It by Grace Helbig

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The Outsider by Stephen King

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-04-17 18:29
How to awaken the heart: an instruction manual
How to Love the Empty Air - Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz

My pals over at Wunderkind PR sent me a copy of today's book and asked that I give an honest review. Spoiler alert: I said yes. :-)

 

How to Love the Empty Air by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz is a collection of poetry which primarily focuses on her relationship with her mother (also a writer) and the grief she experienced after her death. Please don't think it's all doom and gloom and buckets of tears (although there is that too) because she also delves into the pockets of happiness that can be found amidst the overwhelming sadness of losing someone so dear. Cristin speaks to that part of the heart that is attuned to the people in our lives who get us so completely that even the idea that they might not be there pulls the air from one's lungs. From her poem "O Laughter" comes this gem: Sometimes the pain bursts out of me like a flock of starlings. Perfection! If I had to express this book in graph form it would be a steep incline immediately followed by a steep decline and finished off with a steady incline that disappears off the side of the page. Simply put, this is an absolutely lovely little book with beautiful prose and if it doesn't stir your heart I wonder if you even have one. 10/10

 

PS I'd also like to note that 1. I loved the finish on this book. It's like that velvety feeling that some books have and it was an absolute treat to hold it. 2. I enjoyed Cristin's book so much that I'm actively looking to read her other works (including a nonfiction book).

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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