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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-09-04 00:37
The Haunted Mesa by Louis L'Amour
The Haunted Mesa - Louis L'Amour

A good idea with total mediocre execution. The prime example of a 'it's okay' book. A perfect fit for the two star rank.

 

Mike Raglan is a myth debunk-er - a profession he stumbled up on in his youth when outing a sham magician. Called on all over the world, he travels and investigates the magical, supernatural, and otherworldly - and while he's not a cynic and seeks these things in part because he too wants to believe, he's skeptical and therefore able to dig out the facts.

 

For this reason, when his scientist friend stumbles upon something really weird on the site that he's building, a middle-of-nowhere-mesa, and finds himself in some really weird trouble...Erik knows just who to call (or in this case, write. It's set in the 70's.)

 

There was some question about whether or not this would fit in my 'Supernatural' square. After all, L'Amour writes westerns, right? The book flap indicated that it was a possibility that L'Amour would go there, so I gave it a shot. As he was a life long student of Indian history and Indian mysticism, even if it didn't fit, I knew I'd learn something along the way. I did enjoy a little tidbit here and there AND it definitely went supernatural.

 

The premise of the book revolves around the disappearance of the cave dwellers that were in this part of the world prior to the Hopi, Ute and Navajo Indian. This area, the four-corners of Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico, is home to many ruins and mystery - and at the time of L'Amour's writing - undiscovered history.

 

Mike's friend Erik stumbles upon what might of happened to these people, and while Mike is looking for Erik who has disappeared, he is reminded of all the lore and myth that surrounds this area...eventually locating doorways to the "Third World" or another dimension from which the cave dwellers came and went. The story concludes with Mike crossing the veil, rescuing Erik who was being held prisoner there, along with a couple of other people who'd found themselves stuck on the other side.

 

The Haunted Mesa had all the promise of a great read, but L'Amour's writing kept it from being anything special. His constant use of questions in the Mike's inner dialogue to move the narrative along was beyond frustrating and felt very amateurish..."Where had Erik gone? Was he okay? Is there really something to these old tales? Was he going to go after him? Was he stuck there? Where was Erik?"...over and over and over again.

 

Additionally, Mike lacked any conviction in his decisions, which made him a weak hero. I'm sure that this is actually L'Amour's schtick - Mike was no hero, he was just an everyday man who was trying to make the right, brave choice. I'd be okay with that but Mike had apparently been all over the world to include dangerous places, knew things like jujitsu and how to handle a gun, and was somewhat of a survivalist. You can't have it both ways - he was either someone who spent a great deal of time being brave and high-spirited, or he was an indecisive wet-rag. He needed to pick one for conviction of character.

 

I can't say I'd recommend this, but I'm glad I read it because it knocked one more book off the ole' Mount TBR, and another off L'Amour's catalogue.

 

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review 2017-04-12 17:40
How the West Was Won by Louis L'Amour
How the West Was Won - Louis L'Amour



I was inspired a couple weeks ago to pick up a western – I remember stacks of Louis L’Amour books around as a kid and thought he’d be a natural choice for such a compulsion. I had picked up a used copy of this book in great condition at Half Price Books and decided to crack it open – I didn’t notice until that particular moment that this book is actually a novelization of a screenplay for the epic movie by the same name. If it didn’t say that right on my cover, I probably would have assumed that book came before movie. Nevertheless, I wasn’t discouraged and figured that at least I’d get what I was hankerin’ for and I’d get a sense of L’Amour’s style.



Mission accomplished on both counts. A multi-generational tale spanning 50 years of history, there was plenty ‘Western’ to appreciate. Indian battles, outlaw battles, saloons and gambling – tough, rugged and honorable men and the strong woman that supported them. Each family member had their own vignette that showed a different aspect of expansion west - from the rivers to the prairies to the Civil War and the Gold Rush. I think my favorite, by far, was Cleve and Lilith’s story – that of a reformed gambler and a highly independent singing beauty. It was easy to love that one because Lilith had so much character and vim – she partners up with another single lady in a wagon train to head west, proving that she didn’t need a man or a traditional life, she could find her own way.

A real highlight of the book for me was this running gag from the patriarch of the book – Linus Rawlings. And this isn’t L’Amour because I’m pretty sure it’s in the movie, but Linus going to ‘see the varmint’ as a euphemism for sex is probably the funniest thing I’ve read in a while. Straight from a mountain man’s mouth, sure, but the way that this runs through the generations of the book was very amusing. Towards the very end, the outlaw in this family recognizes distant kin because he mentions someone had ‘see’d the varmint’. I’ve actually said varmint so many times this last week (because I'm just *that* immature) or two that it’s become almost a non-word, but do you know what I see when I think of varmint?



I can’t help it.

Without seeing the movie, I’m fairly sure that L’Amour inserted some of his own knowledge and history therein this book – a man who’d been there, done that, he adds some interesting commentary regarding the Indians and other things, relating them to other parts of history. My book jacket says that L’Amour’s great grandfather (or was it grandfather?) was scalped by a Sioux Indian - there’s just a certain amount of weight given to someone who was related to someone who was scalped. That’s probably as close as I’d like to come to any bloody event, anyway. I’m a right pansy about things like that.
It can’t go unsaid that the West was really won by us running roughshod over the peoples here first, but the book doesn’t really excuse that bad history, it just tells the story. I’ll be looking for another L’Amour down the road, one of his originals this time.

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review 2017-01-28 23:47
Jubal Sackett (Sacketts #4)
Jubal Sackett - Louis L'Amour

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.
Title: Jubal Sackett
Series: Sacketts #4
Author: Louis L'amour
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Western
Pages: 368
Format: Kindle Digital edition




 

 

Synopsis:


Jubal Sackett, youngest son of Barnabas Sackett, is a loner and a wanderer. Tasked by his father to find land further west for his brothers, Jubal gladly obeys. Along the way he is somehow swept into finding an indian princess, starting a small community and saving said settlement from rogue indians AND spanish slavers.

Ends with him and the indian princess finding the perfect valley and settling down for the long haul.

 

My Thoughts: 


This felt like a very long book and after comparing it to previous Sackett novels, it is. Almost 30% longer in fact.  Most of that 30% could have been cut if Jubal's introspective monologues had been cut to the first chapter or 2 instead of being repeated every third chapter. Seriously, how many times do I need to read about him wondering why he wants to wander, how his brothers are doing and how his mother and sister are doing in England?

 

Other than that, this was a great "Man Against Nature" and "Man Against Man" story. Fighting a wilderness that wants to kill him, fighting indians, fighting spanish, there was a lot of action here.  This was the type of story that I think of when I think Sacketts.

 

The decision to limit these to one every 2 months was a good one. Any more and I'd be clawing these up. I'm actually wondering if there is a way that I could push it to one book every 3 months, but every scheme I've come up with is just too complicated. Right now I regulate it by having X number of series/books on my kindle and just reading through them by series. To push it out to 3 months I'd have to add a bunch more series and that would push all the other books out to 3 months and I don't want to do that. Keeping track manually isn't going to happen as I'll forget.

 

 

 

 

 

Review of Book 1

Review of Book 2

Review of Book 3

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review 2017-01-08 23:19
Cafe de l'Amour by J.M. Snyder
Cafe de l'Amour - J.M. Snyder

Present tense. Of which I noticed the very first sentence and the very last. Everything in between? Cute and adorable and funny and charming and definitely steamy, or at least as steamy as it can get without actual sex being involved :)


Loved it! Too bad it's short, but at the same time I think it's perfect the way it ends (and where it ends) :)

5 stars.

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review 2016-11-29 22:00
The Warrior's Path (Sacketts #3)
The Warrior's Path - Louis L'Amour

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes. blogspot.wordpress.com by  Bookstooge's Exalted Permission.

Title: The Warrior's Path

Series: Sacketts #3

Author: Louis L'amour

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Genre: Western

Pages: 240

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

 

Kin Sacket and his brother rescue a girl and young woman who were taken by indians. However, it turns out they were taken by white slave traders and that the head of said traders is a prominent man in the local community.

It is up to Kin, and Diana, to track down another kidnapped woman and get her sworn statement to bring the slaver to justice legally. But he isn't going down without a fight and it may be God's justice that he faces and not man's.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

I gave this the "western" tag, as the Sackett boys are considering moving West by the end of the book, but it is more of a bridge between the historical fiction chronicled in Barnabas's story [their father] and the truly Cowboy Westerns later on.

 

This was fun. Kin ends up going to the Jamaican Islands and having adventures with pirates and then fighting off rogue slavers back at the Sackett settlement.  A good adventure story.

 

There is the trademark L'amour monologuing which I think I have accustomed myself to, but I still feel like rolling my eyes at it. I can only take so much of it. Zoom through it and everything is ok though.

 

 

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