Carole P. Roman’s If You Were Me and Lived In…The American West

I received this book courtesy of Mrs. Roman for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Let’s go time-traveling! This time, we’re heading out along the Oregon Trail. What will we see this trip?

Story Telling: Once again we have a historical culture book.

Artwork: We get some realistic illustrations in this trip.

Likes: This one was pretty fun. And Mrs. Roman nailed the cowboy code.

Dislikes: You’ll have to take this part with a grain of salt. And I only mention it because I have read conflicting accounts. But, Mrs. Roman implied that most of the Natives along the Oregon Trail were mostly peaceful. Other accounts do not bear this one out. Do your own research though. Don’t take my word for it.

Conclusion: This was an interesting book. Oh, and be very jealous of those who left school so early in those days. Their tests were brutal. Enjoy it with your cowpokes.

Joe Chianakas’s Nightmares Under the Moonlight

I received this book for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: We’re coming close to Hallowe’en. It’s time for the spooks and creepy-crawlies to come out to play. Let’s see what this collection of stories and poems has to offer.

Story Telling: We get an anthology from a single author with the only link being horror.

Likes: These stories aren’t too gory. Nor are most of them too demonic. Mr. Chianakas handled the scares well. Also, some of the stories have good endings associated with them.

Dislikes: There were a few stories and a poem that were too dark for me. I don’t like the bad guys having that much power.

Oh, I have a question for Jaime’s sister in “Whispers and Flames.” How can you hate scary stories, and yet, somehow, be okay with the idea of children killing each other as a form of entertainment?

Favorite Story: I guess it would be “The Destroyer.”

Conclusion: This is one to read on Hallowe’en. The only thing is this author really seems to like Steven King. And that is one author whose style I prefer to avoid.

Laura Smith’s Saving Hascal’s Horrors

I received this book for a fair and honest review.

Overview: Mike Hascal has one big dream. He wants to run Hascal’s Horrors. But, there are a few problems. One: he is still in the fifth grade. Two: the shop isn’t doing as well as his sister would like. And three: some people in town wouldn’t mind the shop closing its doors permanently. Mike has a plan. If he and his friends can find out what happened to a young teen, Sean Mackey, then maybe Hascal’s Horrors can open it’s doors to the public again. What does he have to lose.

Story Telling: This is what we would call a middle-grade book. There are some fantastical elements in the story as well.

Likes: Tim has a pretty good attitude. He was fun to be around.

Carole tried to get Mike to see others from a different point-of-view.

Mr. Mackey tried to do right by the children in the town.

Dislikes: Now, I’m not sure how to go about this part. I received an early copy of this novel, so what bothered me might have been fixed in later editions. But, there were two things that stood out for me.

One: Mr. Mackey, I think, was supposed to be a bully-teacher. Or, maybe he was supposed to be semi-sympathetic. Unfortunately, the was he was written ended up with Mr. Mackey looking like a strange combination of the two style.

And two: horror is subjective. Yes, there are some children who can handle scary shows and stories at a rather young age. And then there are those who can’t handle a monster movie until they are heading into their teens. There really isn’t a clear line to follow here, except for taking each child as he or she deals with a scary story. So, no Tim, not all kids handle horror better than adults think,

Favorite Character: It would be Julie.

Favorite Quote: ““This is the 21st century Mike,” Julie teased, “And we’re in America, and what Dad says goes.””

Favorite Scene: It would be hearing how Tim became manager of Hascal’s Horrors.

Conclusion: This was a good story. Enjoy it with your middle-grader, especially at Hallowe’en. After all, you’re never too old for story time.

Bill Swann’s Five Proofs of Christianity-A Circuit Judge Looks at His Life

I received this book for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: Judge Swann has spent the better part of his life in Tennessee. During that time, he has been a judge (still is at times), an aspiring poet, and an avid article-writer. Here’s a look into his life, maybe it can give you some insight to some of your situations.

Story Telling: This is another composite book. It’s one part memoir, one part poetry, and one part article collection.

Likes: Judge Swann has one heck of an attitude. He tells you like he sees it. Oh, for those who need a trigger warning, Judge Swann takes on many of today’s issues, from same-sex marriage, to affirmative action. He even takes on Christianity. Be forewarned, you may not agree with the man, but you will get his opinion.

Dislikes: Um, honestly, I didn’t get the poetry. It’s not something that I usually enjoy.

Favorite Article: It would be the namesake article “Five Proofs of Christianity.”

Favorite Quote: “Opinions are the product of intelligence guided by reality.” Of course, you might be wondering about some of the realities that your colleagues are living in.

Conclusion: This is a pretty good book. Sometimes you need to hear form the prior generation.

Nancy Coco’s All Fudged Up-A Candy Coated Mystery 1

Overview: Allie McMurphy has a few problems. One: her Papa Liam died before her internship at the McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop even began. And two: one of her Papa Liam’s rivals was found dead in her second floor utility closet. Can the McMurphy open for the season? Or, will the town succeed in running her out of business?

Story Telling: This is a cozy mystery. While most cozies do take place in small towns, the towns aren’t usually this small.

Likes: Jennifer was fun. And she kept her head during stressful situations.

Allie has a good sense of family pride. After all, she was looking forward to running the McMurphy.

Francis Wentworth and Douglas Devaney were fun. And while Mr. Devaney groused at Allie, both were trying to help her to succeed.

Dislikes: While Mackinac Island sounds pretty, it’s people don’t seem to be very welcoming of guests. Or new businesses. The rumor mill was running rampant.

The first few chapters can get a bit old with the ‘dead man in my closet’ routine.

Now, Allie’s parents did a good thing by helping her with the McMruphy. My problem comes with the strings that they attached. Visiting your parents is not something you should be forced into. That’s not saying that I don’t think you should visit them, it’s that I don’t believe you can force affectionate actions. Their timing wasn’t very good either.

And Pete Thompson needs to learn that no means no, and no amount of pressure will force just anyone to sell.

Um…do you really need a degree for candy-making? It seems weird to me.

Favorite Character: It’s Mr. Devaney.

Favorite Quote: Here’s a taste of Mr. Devaney’s attitude. When asked if he knew of a handyman, he responds this way: “What’d you do, by one of those fixer-upper cabins? Fool. Sell it back while you still can.”

Favorite Scene: Well, the best part was finding out Joe Jessup’s real purpose for being in the McMurphy.

Conclusion: This was a fun book. I just hope that it doesn’t develop into a love triangle later on. After all this isn’t a Young Adult novel, it’s a cozy mystery.

Maggie Barbeiri’s Murder 101-A Murder 101 Mystery 1

Overview: Alison Bergeron is facing a bigger dilemma than remembering to grade her students’ papers, and staying civil to her serial-cheating ex-husband, Ray. Now, the police are coming to talk to her about her stolen Volvo. It turns out that it’s been found. The only problem with it, is the fact that one of Alison’s students was found in the trunk. Can Alison clear her name before she ends up in the clink? Or does she have more to fear from Kathy’s immediate family?

Story Telling: We’ve got a new cozy mystery. This one has some humorous situations dotted through the story.

Likes: Believe it or not, I liked how Wyatt handled the case, even if it was pretty evident that Alison didn’t do it.

Max struck me as someone whose mind worries more than is evident in her body. And it seems like Alison was the source of her worries.

Dislikes: I’ll be honest, I enjoyed this book right up until the conclusion of it. There were too many unanswered questions, and one of the better characters was shown to be a slime-ball.

And don’t get me started on Ray. He worries me. Not only is he completely unrepentant, he seems to thrive on pulling his ex into a maelstrom of stress and self-hatred.

Favorite Character: It’s a tie between Father Kevin and Sister Mary.

Favorite Quote: Here’s a good one from Sister Mary. “I know you had nothing to do with this. So does everyone else. Etheridge just likes to make decisions that he thinks will make him look strong to the outside world.”

Favorite Scene: You have to wonder how bad the look is when a priest gives you the evil eye. Does it imply that the recipient is on the fast-track to hell?

Conclusion: What can I say? The ending really makes the book. If the ending is good, so is the rest of the book, even if it’s a stressful read. But, no matter how fun a book is, a bad ending can and will ruin it. Enjoy this one if you can.