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review 2018-04-25 23:47
Praise in the Storm
My Heart Belongs in Glenwood Springs, Colorado: Millie's Resolve - Rebecca Jepson

Glenwood Springs, Colorado, 1888. The peaceful surroundings belie the burgeoning turmoil that enters Millie Cooper’s life once again. As a poor fisherman’s daughter from Nantucket, she has ventured west and established herself as a nurse, working under a kindly doctor. The heartbreak of her past seemingly behind her, she has settled into the routine of her new life. However, when she reluctantly agrees to accept a position as personal attendant to a condescending, asthmatic woman, her past returns with a vengeance. Forced to confront what she had hoped was behind her—and the fact of her lingering hurt—she strives to find peace in the midst of life’s storms.

From the start, “My Heart Belongs in Glenwood Springs” captured and held my interest. Millie makes a dynamic character, with an independence that is unique for the time period and that serves as both a blessing and a hindrance given the constraints of nineteenth-century society. There are many twists and turns in the plot as characters emerge and interact with one another, and as a result, the novel’s conclusion is not clear-cut, with the suspense lasting until the end. This is difficult to accomplish in works of this nature, with a strong thread of romance and redemption and what can easily become a cookie-cutter narrative. As Millie’s story illustrates, healing sometimes comes long after the initial hurt, but God’s grace and mercy can always be found in all of life’s circumstances, guiding us toward His good purposes.

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 2018-01-24 19:30
More middle school SF adventures with surprising heart
Edison's Alley - Neal Shusterman,Eric Elfman

Refer to review of book 1. More of the same, with excellent middle-in-a-trilogy structure. Still fun, still sly, still pacy and full of surprisingly insightful and/or emotional commentary on people and our world. Great consistency and easy to read - got it down in one sitting. Highly recommended series for middle schoolers, and I'd say it's pretty appropriate for MG readers in mid to upper elementary as well. Romance is mild - on/off dating and a bit of kissing, and any violence is handled in a humorous way.

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review 2018-01-09 04:44
great book and great characters
Tempting Fate: A Colorado High Country Novel - Pamela Clare

Naomi was a fighter , she had a hard life and no one to turn to. Naomi made jewelry and supported herself. Naomi does have a lot of insecurities. Naomi was vacationing vacationing in Colorado and met up with some bad people. Then Chaska discovered Naomi and he rescued her. Winona took Naomi in while she recovered. Chaska is part of a volunteer research and rescue team. Chaska is a Lakota Indian. Chaska was also an aerospace engineer. Winona  ran a wildlife sanctuary and has a wolf named Shota. Winona and Chaska are not close to their parents but are close to their grandfather and called him” Old Man”. Naomi felt like she didn’t belong anywhere.

I absolutely loved this book. I loved how Naomi grew in this book. I love Chaska and Naomi’s relationship grew instead of just jumping in. This was a sweet and easy read that held my attention all the way through. I loved how the author weaved the Native American heritage namely Lakota’s in this book. I did choke up at times while reading this. I love the I loved there was some mystery and suspense mixed in with romance and history. I really loved how gentle and understanding Chaska was with  Naomi. Winona and Old Man definitely added to this book. I love the characters and the ins and outs of this book and I highly recommend.

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review 2018-01-08 14:20
"The Liars Club" by Mary Karr
The Liars' Club - Mary Karr

The Liars' Club is steeped in a strong blend of Texas scenery [oil rigs and nutria rats], sounds ["He's not worth the bullet it'd take to kill him"] and it's stifling stickiness as much as it is run through with the horrors and trauma Karr experienced as a child. 


What is worth the price of admission though is Karr's writing. She draws on the rhythms and turns of her Texas dialect to craft sentences that are evocative and unexpected. And they always serve the story, from the heat of a Texas summer to the smell of her stepdad's breath the whys of the story and the imagery of it are always linked in ways that make for a really engaging book. Even in framed stories, anecdotes her father is telling at the bar and she is passing down to us, his shape and movement, the intrusions of his friends in the titular "Liars' Club," add to the story in a way that is more than just a painted background on which to picture the story.


Karr's story is full of sweet, heartfelt moments, absurdity, humor and trauma.  It's easy to picture a very different book with the same material, but the way Karr structures her telling moves the trauma away from the center of the story. It makes the book about her family and not what has happened to them, and also makes those moments more impactful. 


"That afternoon, for the first time, I believed that Death itself lived in the neighboring houses. Death cheered for the Dallas Cowboys, and wrapped canned biscuit dough around Vienna sausages for the half-time snack."


If you've heard about the book you may have heard about the more lurid incidents, her mother threatening her with a knife, for instance. These scenes are major parts in the story, but they never feel central in the way they might in a tell-all by the subject of a story that got national media attention, or a book that will get made into a typical Lifetime-style movie. For one, you don't see them coming. The only one she forecasts in detail is the night with the knife, but there are several other deeply disturbing incidents throughout the book. The story about the knife itself arrives suddenly at the end of one of Karr's long chapters. Others kick off chapters. At least one comes suddenly in the middle of the chapter.


It's a shock to read at times, but may be the healthier way to write. We are so used to building to such dramatic moments, but there is no inevitability to an assault, or an emotional breakdown, sometimes things just happen. It's terrible, but it's also a way of keeping your own story. Karr is not a sum only of these abuses, she's also her father's storytelling, her mother's erudition, a take-no -shit-attitude and much else besides. Which makes it more appropriate when Karr ends years later with her family still together. Her mother who held the knife, her father who got too drunk, Karr and her sister, sharing their traumas and the many other experiences that make up their lives. I think a hopeful note is the tendency for the ending of memoirs, but it rings true here because throughout the book Karr has always seen through the worst times as a bug not a feature.


If you've not gotten onto The Liars' Club yet, I highly recommend it. It's a straight shame I hadn't moved sooner to read Mary Karr after hearing her interviewed and reading and excerpt from The Art of Memoir. 


Side note: I picked up my copy of Mary Karr's memoir in the last indie book shop in San Antonio [Twig Book Shop at the Pearl Brewery if you're ever in town]. I try to find local bookshops any time I travel and buy something of local interest. I have trouble explaining my intentions sometimes — I'm more interested in fiction or memoirs that happen to be here than the local "Images of America" installment — but it starts a conversation and leads to some unexpected treasures.

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review 2017-12-10 14:10
Für die Fortsetzung wünsche ich mir mehr Augenmerk auf Rory
Bitterfrost: Mythos Academy Colorado 1 - Jennifer Estep,Michaela Link


Die neue Serie aus der Welt der »Mythos Academy«!

Mit ihrer »Frost«-Reihe begeisterte Jennifer Estep unzählige Fans in Deutschland. Doch ist der Kampf gegen Lokis Schnitter wirklich vorüber? Auf der Mythos Academy in Colorado geschehen besorgniserregende Ereignisse, aber nur wenige erkennen die Zeichen. Rory Forseti ist eine von ihnen. Trotz ihres jungen Alters hat sich die Spartanerin bereits im Kampf gegen Loki bewiesen. Dennoch ist sie eine Außenseiterin an ihrer Schule, denn ihre Eltern waren Schnitter – Verbrecher im Dienste Lokis. Rorys Vorsätze, endlich Freunde zu finden, werden über den Haufen geworfen, als sie Zeugin eines Mordes wird. Und wie sich herausstellt, stecken auch noch Lokis Schergen dahinter! Rory kann nicht zulassen, dass erneut Menschen durch die Schnitter leiden. Als eine Spezialeinheit sie für den Kampf gegen den Feind rekrutiert, gibt es für Rory kein Zurück mehr.


Meine Meinung

Nie hätte ich damit gerechnet, dass Jennifer Estep mit dieser Grundidee nochmal in die Vollen greifen würde. Nun geht es von der Mythos Academy in North Carolina zu der bereits bekannten Academy in Colorado. Bereits im Buch „Frostfluch“ mochte ich dieses kühle Setting, mit seinen Holzelementen und nordischen Gottheiten sehr gerne.

Absolut gern war ich mit Rory und den Greifen an den Eir-Ruinen.


Auch die neue Prota, Rory Forseti kenne ich bereits als Gwens Cousine, der sie bei dem entscheidenden Kampf gegen Loki zur Seite stand.

Anfänglich glich mir dieser Reihenauftakt zu sehr dem Reihenauftakt um Gwen. Rory alias Gwen, Rory’s Tante Rachel nahm die Rolle von Gwen’s Großmutter ein und dann begegnet auch Rory an ihrem ersten Tag nach den Ferien einen mysteriösen und gutaussehenden Jungen.


Aber die Autorin ließ diese Gemeinsamkeiten Gott sei Dank im Sand verlaufen. Sobald der Mord passierte und Rory der neuen Gefahr gegenüberstand, konnte man merken, dass Estep einen anderen Weg nimmt.

Toll finde ich die Idee der Spezialeinheit namens Midgard.

Dieses Wort hat in der Mythologie eine tolle Bedeutung und passt perfekt.


Natürlich lernen wir durch diese Gruppe neue Schüler und Lehrer kennen.

Team Midgard besteht aus dem Samurai Takeda, dem Wikinger Ian, dem Römer Mateo und der Walküre Zoe. Wie mir bereits der Kreis um Gwen Frost sehr gut gefiel, so konnte ich auch hier gleich jeden Charakter ins Herz schließen. Vor allem Ian, der anfänglich stark gegen Rory ist, hat in diesem Band seine ganz eigene Geschichte zu erzählen.


Die neue Gefahr im Leben der Mythos Academy Schüler ist eine neue Art von Wesen und ein Mann namens Sisyphus. Wer ist er? Wer sind seine Helfer? Schüler dieser Schule? Was will er?

Natürlich sind die überlebenden Schnitter wieder auf der Jagd nach einem Artefakt. Sehr schnell fasst das Team Midgard jemanden ins Auge, der die Verbindung zu Sisyphus darstellen könnte.


Und dann kommt Schwung in die Geschichte. Die Bösewichte zeigen sich. Erste Kämpfe werden ausgetragen und es gibt Verletzte und Tote.


Am Ende des Buches gibt es sogar ein kleines Wiedersehen mit Gwen.

Allerdings wünsche ich mir für die Fortsetzung der Reihe, dass Rory als Charakter vorherrschend auftritt. Der Auftritt der Heldin Gwen stellte ihre Cousine Rory wieder ein wenig in den Schatten, das fand ich schade.


Mein Fazit

Es war mir eine Ehre, wieder an einer Mythos Academy zu sein.

Mir gefällt der Standort in Colorado noch besser und auch Rory und ihr Team Midgard gefallen mir sehr. Für die Folgebände erhoffe ich mir, dass sie sich weiterhin hinsichtlich der Story von der bekannten Reihe entfernt und weiterhin spannende Geschichte, viel Mythologie und Action vorkommen werden.

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