What Grieving People Wish You Knew by Nancy Guthrie

What Grieving People Wish You Knew about what really helps (and what really hurts) by Nancy Guthrie; 2016; $15.99; 180 pages; Crossway, Wheaton, IL; 978-1-4335-5235-9; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Central; 2/9/17-2/18/17

Why did I read this? I often don’t know what to say to someone who is grieving and am often silent, because I don’t want to say something that might hurt someone.

Nancy and her husband, David lost two children very young and have helping grieving people ever since.  She has compiled the things that have been hurtful and the things that have been helpful in their lives and the lives of others.  It was very insightful and I learned a lot.

Grade-A

The Wonderous Science, Book 1 of Mysteries of the Laurel Society by Brian & Josie Parker

The Wonderous Science, Book 1 of Mysteries of the Laurel Society by Brian & Josie Parker; 2016; $15.99; 332 pages; CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 978-1542680530; kickstarter backed project; 2/7/17-2/9/17

Why did I read this?  I met Brian & Josie at Wordstock several years ago and read Crow in the Hollow and really enjoyed it and struck a friendship with Brian.  I backed this book on Kickstarter because I really wanted to support Brian & Josie in their efforts to write a young adult novel with a diverse cast of characters.

Daisy Kidd is a warden in the Laurel Society in Portland, Oregon.  She is assigned to protect and monitor Zora Sparks and her brother Nate.  There is a faction within the Laurel Society that seeks to undermine the aims of the society by any means necessary.  They have targeted Zora because of an artifact that was bequeathed to her.  Daisy, Zora and Nate must work together to combat the forces of evil and work together with members that are still loyal to the aims of the society.

Brian and Josie have created a wonderful fantasy world of science and magic in Portland, peopled by a wonderfully diverse cast of people.  The main characters are seventeen, twelve and nine and two out of three are people of color.  The supporting cast is also very diverse.

Grade-A

House of Secrets by Brad Meltzer and Tod Goldberg

House of Secrets by Brad Meltzer and Tod Goldberg; 2016; $28.00; 352 pages; Grand Central Publishing, New York, NY; 978-1-4555-5949-7; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Troutdale; 2/2/17-2/7/17 

Why did I read this?  I have read much by Brad Meltzer across multiple genres and liked them.

Hazel and Skip are in the desert with their father, Jack Nash, host of the House of Secrets.  Think Robert Stack on unsolved mysteries or John Walsh on America’s most wanted.  There is a terrible accident and Hazel has little remembrance of who or what she was prior to the accident.  Much like Steve Berrys’ books this mixes history and modern day espionage.  I found it enjoyable but much less compelling than previous books by Mr. Meltzer.

Grade B

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead; 2016; $26.95; 306 pages; Doubleday, New York, NY; 978-0-385-54236-4; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Hillsdale; 1/22/17-2/2/17

Why did I read this?  A co-worker recommended it (although she doesn’t remember doing so) and the Corner Reading Society decided to read it during the coming year.

Cora and Caesar decide to escape the brutality of the Georgia plantation on which they are slaves.  Caesar has found a contact that will put them on the underground railroad.  Even as they escape and make new lives for themselves they live in constant fear of slave hunters and other whites, who would do them harm in a myriad of ways.  Each chapter is from the point of view of the characters, encompassing some we don’t hear about or from until their chapter arrives.  It is a complex story that incorporates some fantistical elements such as how the train runs.  I think it is a story that would take several readings to really understand the story.

Grade B, I had difficulty following the story at a couple of points due to the structure of the novel.

Night School by Lee Child

Night School by Lee Child; 2016; $28.99; 369 pages; Delacorte Press, New York, NY; 978-0-8041-7880-8; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Gresham; 1/18/17-1/22/17

Why did I read this?  Because I have read every other book in the Reacher and find Lee Child’s work to be an enjoyable escape from real life every once in awhile.

Jack Reacher is bigger and uglier than he appears on the movie screen and a bigger badass also.  Now that my opinion is out of the way, let me tell you about the book.  It’s a prequel to all the other Reacher books.  This one takes place while Reacher is still in the Army, he is given a temporary assignment to attend a school for the Army.  It’s cover for a mission that pairs him with someone from the CIA and the NSA.  It involves travel to the European continent, relics of the Cold War, both human and otherwise.  It shows that Reacher can work as part of a team, but that he still prefers human interaction and wants to do what is right.

Grade-A

 

 

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