God of the Hive by Laurie R. King:
For those of you who haven’t read Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell series, King spins off from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series. In the series, Holmes has a young protégée (series spoiler alert) Mary Russell, who he eventually weds. Russell is no flimsy maiden; she is a match for Holmes’ razor sharp mind and unique character. In this novel, we join Russell and Holmes who are separated as they each protect a valued family member from a known and an unknown factor. Espionage and deception are involved and Holmes’ brother, Mycroft Holmes plays a significant role in the plot. I find King’s characters to be quite likable and I always enjoy her stories for a light and gripping mystery read.
Sherlock Holmes and the Giant Rat of Sumatra by Paul D. Gilbert:
For fans of the Sherlock Holmes television series starring the late Jeremy Brett, Gilbert’s characterization of Holmes will be a familiar encounter with a beloved character. The novel intertwines two separate cases faced by Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick John Watson and takes an unexpected and shocking twist at the end. A ship arrives at the docks missing its crew, with the exception of one dead cabin boy. A renowned archaeologist vanishes; the letters to his son the only obvious available clue. How do these stories connect? For Holmes fans seeking more, read and find out!
Serena by Ron Rash:
I checked this novel out as I will be involved in the Appalachian Writer in Residence program at Shepherd University featuring Ron Rash. I wanted to read some of his work prior to meeting him at the program events. Rash’s Serena describes the life of a ruthless and captivating woman who seeks to dominate the lumber empire in the late 1920’s. Rash creates a very real setting and characters that get under your skin. I don’t want to spoil the book by going into too much detail, but Rash’s dynamic story lingered with me for days. That is the mark of a well written novel!
Seeking Peace by Mary Pipher:
The author of bestselling Reviving Ophelia writes a memoir describing her experience with a mental breakdown following her breakthrough success as a writer. I found Pipher to be a very gentle and genuine soul who uncovers and shares many kernels of wisdom through her chronicles of self-exploration. The middle part of the book where she describes her childhood and life in great detail gets a teeny bit tedious but as you get to the next “ah-ha” moment, you feel it is worth every minute of the read. Pipher’s journey reminds us of what is truly important in life, fame not being one of those important things. I recommend this read for anyone who likes to go deeper; Pipher challenges us to do so in an ever so kind and compassionate way. I plan to go back through to make some notes for my own reference….there are some good take-aways here!
I Brake for Meltdowns by Michelle Nicholasen and Barbara O’Neal:
Yep, this is a book to help parents learn more about how to prevent and handle the challenging behavior that comes along with 2-5 year old kiddos. As a mother of a nearly 2 year old who has intense and powerful emotions that sometimes unravel beyond her control, I’m hoping to help identify some of the triggers that might send my little gal into a tailspin so I can help her get a grip. Also, this book helps parents identify what “normal” reactions children have in particular situations. This is a helpful read for those who are struggling, although no technique or developmental knowledge will completely prevent some emotional flailing in children whose brains have not yet developed at this age to permit emotional control. So read and glean some tips, but do not expect perfection to come from this single source,
Waiting on My Nightstand:
Pirate King by Laurie R. King (yes, I’m on a Sherlock Holmes kick and it’s a NEW one!)
Chemistry and Other Short Stories by Ron Rash
The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman (at my husband’s recommend)
The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O’Connor McNees
Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig, Ph.D. (lent by a friend; I’ve skimmed and found some really interesting information that breaks down many “healthy” nutrition myths. Worth a read.)