Liquid Smoke by Jeff Shelby

liquid-smoke-cover-web-small-imageLiquid Smoke by Jeff Shelby; 2011; $15.95; 278 pages; Tyrus Books, Madison, WI; 978-1-935562-54-2; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Central; 10/3/16-10/7/16

Why did I read this?  I have read the first two books in the series.  I was introduced to Jeff’s work through another San Diego Padres fan, as the Noah Braddock books are set in San Diego and he frequently mentions the Padres.

Noah finds out that his father, whom he has never met, in set to die at San Quentin in two days.  His life is changed by this knowledge which affects everyone that orbits around Noah.  Jeff Shelby shakes up the series in a big way.  I was shocked and intrigued to see where the series goes.



Champion of the World by Chad Dundas

Champion of the World by Chad Dundas; 2016; $27.00; 474 pages; G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, NY; 978-0-399-17608-1; checked out from the Multnomah County Library, Central; 9/28/16-10/3/16

Why did I read this? I am a fan of sports entertainment (pro wrestling) and I have never seen a book that used that as a vehicle for a story and this one does.

Back in the day wrestling was legitimately corrupt and had many ties with mobsters.  However the wrestlers were, as they still are, great athletes and had some great matches.  This is the story of a African American challenger to the current champion and his trainer and handlers.  There is intrigue, romance, smuggling of alcohol from Canada, racism, and more which all combine to make a good story.


The Soul of A Butterfly by Muhammad Ali

The Soul of A Butterfly, Reflections on Life’s Journey by Muhammad Ali with Hana Ali; 2004; $16.99; 221 pages; Simon & Schuster, New York, NY;978-1-4767-4737-8; checked out from Multnomah County Library, St. Johns; 9/27/16-9/28/16

Why did I read this?  Because Muhammad Ali was a hero of mine, I remember watching him box was one of the few things my Dad and I did together.

This is a collection of thoughts, recollections and poetry by Muhammad and his daughter Hana.  As he reflects on his life she reflects on him and her life with him.  Many of the chapters are very short, as if it was all he could was talk for a very short time on a subject.  Much of what he has to say is touching and much of it made me smile.  He talks on race, religion, spirituality, his opponents, his fight with the draft board and other incidents large and small in his life.

Grade A, because it would have to be a really terrible book to make me grade a book by The Greatest anything lower.

The Wax Bullet War, Chronicles of a Soldier & Artist by Sean Davis

The Wax Bullet War, Chronicles of a Soldier & Artist by Sean Davis; 2014; $16.95; 287 pages; Ooligan Press, Portland, OR; 978-1-932010-70-1; checked out from Multnomah County Libary, Woodstock; 9/17/16-9/27/16

Why did I read this?  I saw that Marilyn Weisenburg had picked it up and that the author was in the same company as her son David in Iraq.

Sean Davis had been in the Army but had gotten out and then on September 12, 2001 he reenlisted in the National Guard. 3 years later he along with his company of National Guardsmen from Oregon he found himself in combat in Iraq.  This is his  memories of that time up until he was seriously injured by an IED while on patrol.  The rest of the book is his story of recovery, physically, which seems to have been the easiest part.  The difficult part was dealing with the death of his friend in the same incident.  Sean tried to  bury his feelings in alcohol and drugs, until he reached a point where he couldn’t go any lower.  He is an artist and finally returning to his art helped pull him out of his downward spiral.  This is the story of a man who fought for his buddies and friends and was not prepared to deal with the aftermath.  His Army and his country didn’t seem to do much for him after his experience in combat.

Grade A, a clear and gripping view inside the mind of a combat veteran.


My Sister’s Prayer by Mindy Starns Clark & Leslie Gould

Cousins of the Dove, My Sister’s Prayer by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould; 2016; 364 pages; $14.99;  Harvest House, Eugene, Oregon; 978-0-7369-6290-2; provided by the Publisher for the purpose of review; 9/6/16-9/9/16

Why did I read this? Because one of the authors is a good friend of ours and she writes good stories.  This combines two of my favorite genres, historical fiction and mystery.  It is also the second book in the Cousins of the Dove series, the first book My Brother’s Crown is reviewed here.

This is a timesplit novel, story of two sets of sisters one in the beginning days of the United States and one contemporary.  The two sets of sisters mirror each other in their behavior and attitudes.  Both stories really drew me as I got upset at a couple of the choices they made when they couldn’t seemingly see what was right in front of them.  It took a couple of chapters to really grab me but when it did it became a real page turner.  The early American sisters are tricked into indentured servitude in the colonies by a dapper soldier who then colludes with several other men to keep the sisters in indenture.  They are rescued by a couple of men of simple means but great character.  The current sisters are involved in a murder mystery from their childhood, one of the sister is a professional perfectionist and the other is a recovering drug addict who is incapacitated in a severe auto accident.  The addict moves in with the perfectionist to recover from her injuries.   The connecting thread between the two stories is a series of letters written by the early American sisters, whom are the ancestors of the contemporary sisters.

Grade A

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