The Never-Open Desert Diner

By: James Anderson


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Ben is a lonely truck driver who makes deliveries to the folks who live on Route 117. He is the only one who will deliver to these people who are often hiding from something out in the desert, so he has contracts with both UPS and FedEx. But as he is often unwilling to take payment from these people who don’t have a lot of money, he is about to lose his truck and his business.

The characters in this book are so beautifully written. There is Ben, the truck drive who connects them all to the world- Ginny the pregnant teenage daughter of a former girlfriend who he runs into at Walmart-Claire- a mysterious woman living in an abandoned housing development and Walt who owns the diner that is never open. There are even more and the ways that they are all linked makes for a fascinating story.

Everyone in the desert has a mystery and it can be brutal living with the heat and flash floods, so the outsiders don’t are very well. You will finish this book and then want to know more about what happens to the characters afterward!

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this honest review.

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Harriett Wolff’s Seventh Book of Wonders

By: Julianna Baggott (click here for author’s website)


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While a little strange and at times hard to follow, Harriett Wolff’s Seventh Book of Wonders was a fun, weird story of three generations of women and the struggle they have against and with each other. Harriett Wolff is an author that wrote six novels that followed the lives of one couple. Each novel had a different style which reflected life at that stage. Scholars and fans have searched for years and bugged the reclusive author for the seventh book.

Eleanor is Harriett’s daughter who has two daughters herself, one of whom, Tilton seems to have some mental disability but it is never quite clear. The other, Ruth, ran away at 16 and is still somewhat estranged and on her second husband who is a Harriett Wolff scholar and kind of married her to get close to her grandmother.

The chapters rotate narrators between the four women. Harriett’s chapters are actually the seventh book and tell the secret history she has never told any of them. This book is odd and captivating along the lines of Big Fish. Eleanor, Tilton and Ruth are all the way they are because of this story they have never known.

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Murder on Edisto

By: C. Hope Clark


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Edisto being one of my favorite places, I was super excited to read this book. I actually even picked this book up at the Edisto Book Store while on a trip there recently.

*****Side Note*****

Soon after we left the island, it was hit hard by Hurricane Matthew. A few houses were lost and sand covers half of the island. The island police and the national guard have put many man hours into making the island safe for residents and visitors to return. Click on the link to donate to the GoFundMe campaign to support their efforts. GoFundMe Campaign.

*****Back to regularly scheduled programming*****

Murder on Edisto is the first book in a trilogy about Callie Morgan. Callie is a former detective for the Boston PD who has returned to the island home of her childhood after the violent death of her husband. As soon as she arrives, strange things start to happen on the island. Her neighbor is killed on her first day and it is all down hill from there. She tries to protect her son the best she can while helping the local law enforcement try to figure out who is stalking Callie and the rest of the island.

I love the setting, of course. And so many of the locations are real places that I have visited. But it is almost too strange to read about so much dark violence happening in a place I consider my peaceful place. I am not sure if that is why I didn’t enjoy it as much as I was hoping. The story is pretty thin and most of the neighbors are only half tolerable. The ending is a little predictable, there is not a lot of mystery involved. Callie tries to create more suspects than there really are.

It was a fun book to get while on location and a fairly quick read, but unless you have a connection like that, I would leave it on the shelf.

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The Secret Language of Dogs

By: Victoria Stilwell (star of Animal Planet’s Its Me or The Dog)

This was the perfect book for me to read right now. I have two Boykin Spaniels and they are very different. One we’ve spoiled since she was a baby and she is now a senior dog (although we don’t talk about that). The other was rescued from a puppy mill a little over a year ago. She shows very few signs of abuse now, and has always been friendly if a little timid. But, I also volunteer at the Atlanta Humane Society, where I come in contact with all kinds of dogs, all temperaments, colors, shapes and sizes.

This book had great information in it on why dogs behave the way they do and ways to help them become better canine citizens. I love the way they have all of their findings backed up with the research (especially the ones that prove that our dogs really do love us back. There was a section on senior dogs that helped me understand some of he behavior changes we are experiencing with our older dog.

A lot of the training and behavior conditioning were for getting a puppy trained up, but I do wish there had been a little more practical information for dealing with some of the things I see at the shelter like timidness and fear. It would be great to know how to make a dog more confident, to make them more adoptable.

I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this honest review.

Click here to donate to the Atlanta Humane Society.

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The Other Story

By: Tatiana de Rosnay (click here to go to author’s website)


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While this book had great intertwining stories, there were no characters in it that just weren’t flat out awful. Ncholas Duhamel / Nicholas Kolt is a writer whose first book made him such a success that his busy life of being adored is making it hard to write a second. The central story of the book is basically that success has made Nicholas a jerk to everyone around him and all the people from his old life hate him. His current girlfriend is a stereotype groupie that is trying to trap him with a baby and all while he is missing his first love. The secondary story is the one that led Nic to write his book. When Nic had to prove he was French he discovered that his father, who disappeared at 33, was not who he said he was and was, in fact, Russian.

The story of Nic’s father and the corresponding book are actually quite interesting. Maybe if the book was about that, it would have been better. The whininess of the rest of the book was pretty unbearable and shallow. Overall, not a great read.

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A Hole In Texas

By: Herman Wouk


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The long search for the Higgs Boson is over! Doesn’t sound like the beginning of an entertaining book, but it is. Guy Carpenter is a long suffering physicist who since the super collider in Texas has been shut down has settled into life as a NASA researcher with a wife and two kids, one a new baby. He is sent to Washington to meet with a Senator about some funding needs.

From the second he meets Myra, a movie star turned congresswoman, his life is changed dramatically. Suddenly the Chineses scientist who was his first love has discovered the Higgs Boson and is on her way to Washington. Guy gets caught up with a Hollywood movie production and a romantic scandal that threatens his marriage.

The story is a fun page turner and who can resist Hollywood, Congress and Science all coming together with a love story. A very clever combination and a good read.

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Saffire


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By: Sigmund Brouwer

If you have read any of my reviews, you know that I do love to read historical fiction. This was doubly interesting too me as it was historical fiction about a time and a place that I have not read much about. Saffire is set in Panama early in the construction of the Panama Canal. Before you even get in to the story, the politics and the society and the way that the newly independent Panamanians relate to the Americans that have come and built cities to support the construction of the canal are fascinating. One of my favorite parts is the secret that lies behind the mayorial campaign of Odalis (SPOILER ALERT……….

Odalis is actually Odelia and her campaign is a fight for women’s rights)

Now to the story, James Holt is a bona fide cowboy straight out of Buffalo Bill’s wild west show and the Dakotas. At the request of Teddy Roosevelt, James has come to Panama for an unknown reason and a large amount of cash, enough to pay off the debts on the ranch. Upon his arrival he meets and is intrigued by an orphan named Saffire. Saffire is a wily connected street girl, who is in search of her mother, who she does not believe has left her behind.

James journey to fulfill both his mission given by the president and to help Saffire often get him in to trouble and entangle him with the powerful people on both sides of the Zone (where the US workers live and are protected.

Just the right balance of history, romance and mystery, Saffire is a great read and will take you to a place and time you probably haven’t thought much about.

I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this honest review.

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