Summer has already arrived with the hot temperatures and the grandkids running through the sprinklers to cool off! It’s the longest day of the year to enjoy the sunny weather, but there’s still time to treasure the stars when the sun finally sets.
This was a time of year when I read more as a child, and I still look forward to it as an adult even though I’m not on vacation all summer. In the heat of the day, sometimes, the best thing to do is pick up a book and find a nice cool spot by the water to enjoy reading it! With summer arriving, it also the time for my “Books That Changed Me: Summer Edition.”
Happy Summer, and Summer Solstice!
The books are listed in no particular order. I’m still offering the book’s blurbs over my reviews because this is about the books, not my reviews—although I do add some of my thoughts!
The Vanished Boy took on not only a mother’s fear of a son gone missing but the realization that she didn’t know her son as she thought. This was a perfectly paced story that held on to my emotions and kept me guessing until the reveal. This is a book—and a mother—I’ll never forget.
THE VANISHED BOY
by Harmony Kent
It’s so remote out here. Anything could happen …
A missed phone call in the night is all it takes.
When Carole’s 18-year-old son goes missing, she breaks into Jayden’s laptop to try to understand his life.
All too soon, Carole discovers just how little she knew her boy.
And when one lead after another dead-ends, the distraught mother has to face the unthinkable.
Sucked into a sticky web of deceit and lies, nothing is as it seems.
When your life turns inside out and upside down, who would you trust?
The Curse of the Dead Horse Canyon was a book that I couldn’t read fast enough, yet I didn’t want it to end either. I loved that the story was co-authored. It made for a perfectly blended mystery, setting, well-rounded characters, history, and learning about the Cheyenne Culture. It’s a journey I’m eager to continue.
THE CURSE OF DEAD HORSE CANYON: CHEYENNE SPIRITS (DEAD HORSE CANYON #1)
by Marcha A. Fox and Pete Risingsun
In 1878 a drunken hoard of silver miners raided a Cheyenne village while the tribe’s warriors hunted buffalo. A small band of young braves, not yet old enough to join the hunt, escaped and rode for help. Their efforts failed when they were discovered by the raiders, who ran them over a cliff along with all the tribe’s horses that had been left behind.
When the warriors returned and found the devastation, the tribe’s medicine man, Black Cloud, placed a curse on the site.
A century and a half later, a scandalous Top Secret project is under construction in the same Colorado wilderness. Bryan Reynolds discovers that its roots lie in the same greed, corruption, and exploitation of the Earth that precipitated the curse.
But before he can expose what he’s found, he’s killed in a suspicious accident that his wife, Sara, miraculously survives. Her memory of where they were or what they’d discovered, however, is gone.
Neither Sara nor Bryan’s life-long Cheyenne friend, Charlie Littlewolf, will rest until they find out what Bryan discovered that resulted in his death.
Charlie is acutely aware that the only way to solve the mystery is through connecting with the grandfather spirits. To do so he must return to his roots and the teachings of his medicine man grandfather. His journey back to the Cheyenne way includes ancient rituals and ceremonies that guide him and Sara to the answers they seek.
As a descendant of Black Cloud, his destiny is deeply embedded in the fulfillment of the original curse, which was triggered by the scandalous government project Bryan discovered. Charlie’s quest has only just begun.
A government conspiracy lies at the core of the story, though this first volume of the trilogy concentrates on Sara and Charlie discovering what Bryan knew that got him killed.
Modern man’s disregard for the environment, which conflicts with Native American philosophies of animism and of honoring the Earth, plays an important part. Past pollution caused by 19th century mining is inherent to the story as well as contemporary activities such as fracking.
Various paranormal and supernatural elements including detailed descriptions of Cheyenne rituals and ceremonies such as the sacred red pipe, ceremonial fasting, and the sweat lodge are included. The Cheyenne’s name for the Great Spirit is Maheo, who is referred to throughout. There are numerous other-worldly situations included, based on the experiences of the story’s Cheyenne co-author. While the story is fictitious, these depictions are authentic.
Modern technology plays a significant role in juxtaposition to traditional Native American elements. Astronomy as well as the ancient art and science of western astrology play roles as well in helping direct Sara and Charlie to the answers they need.
In essence this saga’s theme includes the collision of two disparate cultures and their respective attitudes toward the Earth, one of which is honor, the other exploitation.
These complexities are what expanded this story into a trilogy. Native American history is touched upon, but will be covered in greater detail in subsequent volumes.
Grinders is set in the future in one of my favorite cities, and where I spent a lot of time growing up, San Francisco. There were so many things to like, including amazing characters, the storyline felt possible, and there was the always present and appreciated humor. But what really stood out was the setting. Living in an apartment underwater with an octopus on the porch, a glowing forest that generated power, or having an AI running the house, were all things I could easily picture and want to be a part of it.
by C.S. Boyack
Jimi Cabot made one mistake as a starving college student. When she went to work for the San Francisco Police Department, it nearly cost her the job. The union stepped in and they had to reinstate her. They did so by assigning her to the duty nobody wants, Grinder Squad.
Grinders are people who use back room surgeries to enhance their bodies with computer chips, and various kinds of hardware. Jimi is sure that if she can just bust one grind shop, it will be her ticket back.
Paired with veteran cop, she soon learns that Grinder Squad is a cash-cow for the department. They are nothing more than glorified patrol cops, and generally get the worst assignments.
Matchless is the most wanted grinder of all time. He disappeared years ago, leaving only the evidence of those he enhanced during his career. With these pieces, Jimi picks up the cold trail to try working her way back to more respectable duty.
Grinders is a cyberpunk story set in a world where global warming has eroded coastlines, and society has solved many of our current problems by replacing them with new ones. There are cyber shut-ins, cyber-currency skimming schemes, and more in this futuristic tale.
This book also takes the opportunity to poke a stick at current issues that seem to have lasted into the future. Entitled people, helicopter moms, overzealous homeowner associations, and lack of decent jobs are all present. Never preachy, these issues make up the day to day work of a patrol officer.
I hope you enjoy Grinders as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you.
A charmingly illustrated children’s book that has an important lesson accept yourself and others for who they are, whether your shell is purple or green. This made a magnificent gift for my grandkids, and it’s gotten lots of use — and readings.
Myrtle the Purple Turtle
Myrtle is a lovely Turtle. Not an ordinary Turtle. She is Purple and different from other turtles. After being bullied by another turtle, Myrtle tries to become someone else. In the end, Myrtle and her friends help children learn to not be afraid of being different. Myrtle the Purple Turtle is a thoroughly engaging story that stresses the importance of self-acceptance and friendship.
Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers of human or furry children!
Note: The Tree Fairy Blog finishes up this week. I’ll post where they are visiting!
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I had a wonderful vacation. I will share a bit about it next week.
Embrace your inner child by reading a good book! Happy Summer 🙂 D. L. Finn