Jude’s Law by Lori Foster

Find in catalogLoved this book! It was a little too short or needs a sequel to tie up a few loose ends. Loved the characters. This book was a closer look back at a character I had been introduced to in a different but connected “series” of stories. I think this book actually came first…I don’t know. Jude Jamison a successful MMA fighter turned Hollywood actor needs a little down time after a personal tragedy when he meets May Price, who is nothing like the women he usually meets. He is drawn to her immediately and into an adventure that heals what ails both of them. I would like to see a sequel because there is so much more to explore with these two characters and the tribe of people around them.

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

Find in catalogWhen my inner author begins to write, I hope I can write at least half as good as Louise Erdrich. The Round House is my third book that I’ve read of Erdrich and won’t be the last. Erdrich packs a punch. She’s able to get so much into a book and makes every word, every image, every event count.

The book starts out: “Small trees had attacked my parents’ house at the foundation. They were just seedlings with one or two rigid, healthy leaves. Nevertheless, the stalky shoots had managed to squeeze through knife cracks in the decorative wall and it was difficult to pry them loose.” Joe, a thirteen-year-old Native American boy, and his father attack the problem; meanwhile, Joe’s mom, is violently attacked and would have been burned to death, if she hadn’t escaped. The foundation of the family is cracked over this real-life crime where it looks like the perpetrator will be walking free, spreading the havoc and preventing the family from returning to the way it used to be. Joe gets the taste of being a grownup and knows that life will never be the same, giving him the motivation and the courage to take matters in his own hands.

Erdrich helps readers handle such a traumatic crime, which is followed by ludicrous and soul-wrenching entanglement of laws, with humor. I’d never heard of a Native American steak sandwich, but I won’t think of bologna in the same way again. And when Joe’s dad attempts to cook potatoes, Erdrich’s clear-cut description makes me want to vomit my own portion like the way Joe’s mom did. “My father beckoned the two of us to sit down. There were potatoes, nearly cooked, way overcooked, disintegrating in an undrained pot. He ceremoniously heaped our shallow bowls. Then we sat looking at the food. We didn’t pray. For the first time, I felt the lack of some ritual. I couldn’t just start eating. My father sensed this and spoke with great emotion, looking at us both. Very little is needed to make a happy life, he said.”

Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned by Walter Mosley

Find in catalogSocrates Fortlow was 23 years old when he committed a rape and double homicide. He spent 27 years in prison for his crime. The story begins 8 years after his release. He lives in a shack in a poverty-stricken neighborhood of Watts. One day he meets a 10 year old delinquent boy who has just killed a neighbor’s chicken in order to sell it to an old woman down the street for her meal. He begins to mentor the boy and ultimately saves him from the streets. Socrates has a very strong moral code which he lives by and teaches the boy. Of course it’s not the code of the privileged. It’s the necessary code of the streets, but it is fair. All of his friends look up to him and he helps them in many ways. He saves the marriage of one and gives another dying from cancer a death with dignity. There is so much more I can’t do it justice here. It’s a very moving story and well worth reading. It’s a quick read, but not so much because it’s a short book as because you won’t want to put it down.

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

Find in catalogBeautiful writing and a coming of age story that really resonated with me. Her descriptions of her Brooklyn neighborhood and female friendships and growing up in the 60’s and 70’s in America were wonderful and heartbreaking.

A Meal in Winter by Hubert Mingarelli

Find in textThis was an interesting read. Three soldiers cannot take one more day of shooting Jewish prisoners at the camp. So they opt for the only other task – going out into the frigid winter to find more Jews. They discover one, and end up taking their lunch in an abandoned Polish home. As they are cooking their cornmeal, emotions run amok. To add to the tension, a Polish man also joins them. I found it hard to read, as it is such a painful subject. However, I thought this a good perspective into the lives of the men who followed orders, or had to, and what it cost them.

Salvaged (Saints of Denver, #4) by Jay Crownover

I’m starting this review off by letting readers know that this is my first book I’ve read in the Saints of Denver series. Salvaged is book 4 and even though these characters had backstories in the previous books I had no problem following along with their current love story.

Wheeler has been dealt a crap hand. His fiancee has dumped him and she’s carrying his child. To find out he’ll be a dad and not be together with the mom isn’t how he saw his future. He was ready to be the family guy into a bombshell was dropped on him. Poppy comes from an equally crappy situation. Her now dead husband had kidnapped her and tortured her before taking his own life. She’s now trying to piece her life together after so much trauma. Both, Wheeler & Poppy, are hurting and lonely. Slowly and cautiously they begin to form a friendship over caring for a puppy. This homeless puppy has found his forever between these two who decide to share custody and take turns raising it. ”I was supposed to have my eyes locked on my future and doing whatever I could to salvage it.”

Watching these two salvage their lives which had been put through both an emotional and physical ringer was a beautiful process to witness. You couldn’t help but cheer these two on as they took the necessary steps to becoming a healthy functioning couple. Salvaged is the fourth book in the Saints of Denver series. While it’s part of an overall series it can be read as a standalone.

Something Missing by Matthew Dicks

Find in catalogI enjoyed this book. It’s a fun, light read with a character who is both vulnerable and likeable, despite his unusual career choice. I like my literature squeaky clean, so I could have done without the occasional swear words in this novel, as well as one quite explicit scene that really didn’t contribute anything to the story. Other than that, I liked getting to know Martin, figuring out the method and logic behind his extremely detailed system. The story was a little slow getting started, but it’s very entertaining once Martin decides he’s destined to be the guardian angel of his “clients,” and determines to live up to his calling–no matter what the risks.

The Winter in Anna by Reed Karaim

Find in catalog“The question is how the gentle, sustaining light leaks out of life.” The Winter in Anna is a quiet novel about how the pain one bears can color all aspects of life. It has been my favorite novel of the summer so far. A young man, without direction, finds his place in a small North Dakota town. He befriends an older woman, who has so much to teach him about life and its meaning. Like so many things in life, we don’t always see what is in front of us until we’ve gone far enough away to look back and not know how to return. Anna’s quiet pain and beauty captivate him, as well as the reader; you want to protect her from her past even as you want to race toward the future. I would love to read more from this author, even though I was brought to tears at the end.

The Winter Vault by Anne Michaels

Find in catalogThis is a melancholy love story about finding yourself through someone else. The language was eloquent, but at times lengthy. The author wove the characters together with the landscapes, portraying each one through the ebb and flow of the earth. It was an interesting novel, but one that lost interest for me about halfway through. I was not surprised by the ending, but not sure that I agreed with it. How we respond to loss says many things about the person we are.

Euphoria by Lily King

Find in catalogI picked this book last minute from a library display because of its colorful cover and how it had something to do with anthropology. As it turned out, it’s about three young anthropologists in a love triangle in the 30’s in the native tribes of New Guinea. It’s well written for a passionate love triangle that is all looped in with the adventure of a new and different place. So if that’s what you’re looking for that’s this book. It’s not exactly my type of book (I’d have preferred them stick to anthropology).