Tag Archives: Lu Ann Brobst Staheli

Spellbinder Saturday: My reading list has gotten too big!

As easy as A, B, C . . . from HA

Let me be upfront with you: I am swamped by books to be read. Sad to say, there is no specific review today, but let me tell you why.

Three books were delivered this past week: Any Other Name by Craig Johnson (the latest Longmire novel), Field of Prey by John Sanford (Lucas Davenport), and The Skin Collector by Jeffery Deaver (Lincoln Rhyme). Are we sensing a pattern here?

Stir into the mix the first novel in James Dashner’s 13th Reality series, The Journal of Curious Letters, (already begun when the other books arrived), and it had just been put aside to read Men of Destiny: Abraham Lincoln and the Prophet Joseph Smith by Lu Ann Brobst Staheli (this is will be reviewed next week).

This is what you and I have to look forward to over the next few weeks: (NOTE: The description of each book is from the publisher’s blurb.)

Men of DestinyMen of Destiny: Abraham Lincoln and the Prophet Joseph Smith—Contemporaries by birth, Abraham Lincoln and the Prophet Joseph Smith shared extraordinary connections beyond the hardships they endured. Being raised in a poor farming family, suffering the loss of an older sibling, receiving little formal education, and experiencing a spiritual reawakening as a youth helped shape Lincoln’s life and Joseph’s. The service given to fellow men and country, each marrying the woman he loved despite opposition from her family, and a rise to leadership kept Joseph and Abraham on the same path. And in the end, they shared a common destiny each died a martyr for the principles he believed in. This book unveils the parallels between the lives of these remarkable men, from their humble beginnings to their rise from obscurity, one to head the restored Church, the other to lead the greatest nation on earth.

Any Other NameAny Other Name — Walt is sinking into high-plains winter discontent when his former boss, Lucian Conally, asks him to take on a mercy case in an adjacent county. Detective Gerald Holman is dead and Lucian wants to know what drove his old friend to take his own life. With the clock ticking on the birth of his first grandchild, Walt learns that the by-the-book detective might have suppressed evidence concerning three missing women. Digging deeper, Walt uncovers an incriminating secret so dark that it threatens to claim other lives even before the sheriff can serve justice — Wyoming style.

Field of PreyField of Prey — The night after the fourth of July, Layton Carlson Jr., of Red Wing, Minnesota, finally got lucky. And unlucky. He’d picked the perfect spot to lose his virginity to his girlfriend, an abandoned farmyard in the middle of cornfields: nice, private, and quiet. The only problem was . . . something smelled bad—like, really bad. He mentioned it to a county deputy he knew, and when the cop took a look, he found a body stuffed down a cistern. And then another, and another. By the time Lucas Davenport was called in, the police were up to fifteen bodies and counting. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, when Lucas began to investigate, he made some disturbing discoveries of his own. The victims had been killed over a great many years, one every summer, regular as clockwork. How could this have happened without anybody noticing? Because one thing was for sure: the killer had to live close by. He was probably even someone they saw every day. . . .

Skin Collector The Skin CollectorIn his classic thriller The Bone Collector, Jeffery Deaver introduced readers to Lincoln Rhyme-the nation’s most renowned investigator and forensic detective. Now, a new killer is on the loose: a criminal inspired by the Bone Collector. And Rhyme must untangle the twisted web of clues before the killer targets more victims-or Rhyme himself. The killer’s methods are terrifying. He stalks the basements and underground passageways of New York City. He tattoos his victims’ flesh with cryptic messages, using a tattoo gun loaded with poison, resulting in an agonizing, painful death. When a connection is made to the Bone Collector-the serial killer who terrorized New York more than a decade ago-Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are immediately drawn into the case. Rhyme, Sachs, and the NYPD must race against time to answer the many questions the investigation uncovers: Whom will the killer attack next? What is the message behind the victims’ tattoos? Does the killer’s own inking–a fanged centipede sporting a woman’s face–hold any significance? And what is his ultimate mission? As time runs out, Rhyme discovers that the past has returned to haunt him in the most troubling way imaginable…

13th Reality-1The Journal of Curious LettersWhat if every time you made a choice that had a significant consequence, a new, alternate reality was created — the life that would’ve been had you made the other choice? What if those new realities were in danger? What if it fell to you to save all the realities?

Atticus Higginbottom, a.k.a. Tick, is an average thirteen-year-old boy until the day a strange letter arrives in his mailbox. Postmarked from Alaska and cryptically signed with the initials “M.G.,” the letter informs Tick that dangerous — perhaps even deadly — events have been set in motion that could result in the destruction of reality itself. M.G. promises to send Tick twelve riddles that will reveal on a certain day, at a certain time, at a certain place, something extraordinary will happen. Will Tick have the courage to follow the twelve clues M.G. sends to him? Will he be able to solve the riddles in time? Will Tick discover the life he was meant to live?

Will you join Tick and his friends on an amazing journey through the Realities? What will your choice be?

So tell me, dear readers, which one would you read first?

See you next time for Tips on Tuesday

 

 

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Saturday’s Softcover: My Mother was an “Elizabeth” Too!

Easy as A, B, C . . . from BB

My mother was named Margaret Elizabeth, but I never knew her to go by Margaret, or any of its wonderful permutations: Maggie, Meg, etc. In fact, she didn’t go by any of the changes to Elizabeth either—it was always full throttle: Elizabeth. And she loved movies. She felt very connected to two famous Elizabeths: Queen Elizabeth, who named her son Charles—my brother, almost exactly the same age, is named Charles. And she loved Elizabeth Taylor. So, when I saw Lu Ann Brobst Staheli’s book entitled Just Like Elizabeth Taylor, I knew I “just” had to read it.

The book is tender, frightening, angst-filled in part, funny, and ultimately— mostly—very happy,81N-fns-EuL__SL1500_ though I was in tears at the end.

Liz, named Elizabeth for the movie star, becomes Beth when she runs away from home. How will this young girl, not yet a teen, make her way on her own?  Actually, a lot better than she can do at home where her mother is too weak to give up the boyfriend who beats her, and Liz cannot fend off the boyfriend’s loathsome son.

Plucky girl that she is, she steals some money from the “boyfriend,” and runs away—but only as far as a fairly nearby town. She finds an abandoned shack at a winter-deserted K.O.A. place, where she manages to have bathroom/water/ electric amenities, ekes out her meager “savings” with school lunch and occasional lunch leavings from other students.

As the school year draws closer to an end, “Beth” must find a way to make a friend, save a lunch lady, let her mother know she is still alive, find a more permanent home, and bring justice to her “real” family, while maintaining a decent GPA so she won’t be “found out.”

At every moment, I was aware that the author had taught junior high school for years: she knew the angst, the failures, the desperation of some, the heartlessness of others, and the pluck of the brave. Just before the ending I was in tears: not because it was sad, but because I was so angry at what happened to “Beth” next: pulling all the threads together, the horrific scene had me crying for the unfairness, the drive, the caring this young girl exhibited. It was a fitting triumph, finally.

I know Liz, the lost girl. I know Beth, the loner. I know Elizabeth, the winner. I’ve taught those high school, junior high school and middle school kids too. Read it, and you’ll know them as well!

 See you day after tomorrow for Monday Moans!

A1YSS+kQ4cL__SL1500_BTW, the prolific Staheli also has a book, A Note Worth Taking, about “best” friends, surviving lost friendships, making new friends—you know, all those things we suffered in junior high or middle school. I’m reading it next—you should too: it’s on sale at Amazon for $0.99 through the end of July.

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