Hour Glass by Michelle Rene

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Have you ever read a book that makes the words in your mind sound out with a twang accent as you read?  This one will do that for you, it’s quite strange how authors can do that to us!

‘Hour Glass’ is set in the wild wild west of Deadwood, South Dakota.  This story revolves around Miss Calamity Jane, two young children and a handful of townspeople; weaving a tale that is sure to grab at your heart strings and it may also make you fall out of your chair!

Jimmy Glass and his sister Hour are in a race against time to get their sick father to Deadwood, a town not far from their home, to get him the help he needs.  Thankfully they happen upon the iconic Calamity Jane and her friend, Dora who find them a safe place to stay and work while their father tries to fight off his sickness in quarantine.  I will warn you, Miss Jane has a mouth on her, but you’ll soon find out where Hour will come into place to help with those curse words!

Jimmy and Hour face several tragedies but the sense of family you will feel from the characters welcoming these two into their lives will make you smile.  Among all the chaos that surrounds Deadwood, the fragile life or death line their father lays upon and the unknown future; brings an unexpected story leading to unbreakable bonds for Jimmy, Hour and the folks they meet on their journey; including the infamous Calamity Jane!

*Expected publication: February 20th 2018 by Amberjack Publishing

 

 

The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Forget the old days. Forget summer. Forget warmth. Forget anything that doesn’t help you survive.

This was a fantastic story!  Although post apocalyptic, current events in the world make this story a little more believable and close to reality.  In Tyrell Johnson’s debut book, “The Wolves of Winter”, you will not want to put this down until you reach the end!

After a war that became nuclear, a flu pandemic started to sweep across the world taking many lives including Lynn McBride’s father.  Lynn, her mother and brother flee to Alaska to live with an uncle learning skills of survival before relocating to a remote region of the Yukon.  It is believed that living in the colder regions, the flu cannot survive.  Although life for Lynn has become colder, she learns to hunt very well.  They even manage a garden and milk from their goats.

Lynn’s family has not seen many people since they made a homestead in the Yukon until one day Lynn stumbles upon a man and his wolf dog in the forest, who goes by the name of Jax.  Not long after, a group of more men show up looking for him.  Soon everyone is using all the survival strategies they know to fight for freedom from a group called ‘Immunity’, intent on capturing Jax at all cost.

Lynn soon discovers a secret that her family has been hiding from her ever since her father died.  He was a biologist who took to his basement after the flu pandemic, but Lynn never really knew what he was working on, until now.  Now….’Immunity’ is after her, but why?

I loved all the Walt Whitman quotes at the beginning of each chapter as well.  The ending of the novel leaves enough of an opening for possibly another book, which I really hope there is.  There is so much more I want to tell you that I enjoyed about this story, but it will give too much away for readers to find out on their own!  Followers, give this book a shot I can guarantee you will not be disappointed!

The Worm and the Bird by Coralie Bickford-Smith

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

A new, beautifully illustrated picture book from the bestselling author of The Fox and the Star, winner of Waterstones Book of the Year 2015.

Via Goodreads

Deep below the earth, Worm dreams of having more space. There’s not much room down there.

Above, Bird waits, through sun and rain and wind.

As the day goes on, will they both find what they are looking for?

From the author of The Fox and the Star, this is a book about searching and hoping, and how the smallest moment can be beautiful.

Absolutely beautiful cover, and gorgeous illustrations. A somewhat dark tale about the importance of devoting time to the things that really matter.  It’s a bit about mindfulness and the desire for solitude too I think.  I may even be seeing the story though adult eyes and it will mean something completely different to a child!  Poignant and layered and a little bittersweet (at least if you are an adult), it’s added to by the use of metallic ink both on the cover and inside.  It is  just so beautiful!

The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

A beautiful children’s book about the friendship of a Fox and the Star that guides him through a dark forest.  Fox looks for food, runs with rabbits and dances in the rain until the sky goes dark and suddenly everything starts to change around Fox.  So he sets out to find the light again which carries Fox a journey lit by courage, newfound friends.

Via Goodreads

Inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement and the art of William Blake, The Fox and the Star is a heartwarming, hopeful tale which comes alive through Bickford-Smith’s beloved illustrations, guiding readers both young and grown to “look up beyond your ears.

The art work is amazing in this book, anyone from young to old will find the beauty in this story.   When you handle the cloth bound hardback, it feels like a beautiful old edition of a children’s classic that has been handed down for generations.

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

How can you not be pulled into the cover of this book?  I’m telling you, the cover art is just a glimpse of what you will find in the pages of this dark compilation of tales!

I should tell you that this is considered a graphic novel and has won many awards including: Bram Stoker Award Nominee for Best Graphic Novel (2014)Milwaukee County Teen Book Award (2015)Lincoln Award Nominee (2017)Green Carnation Prize Nominee for Longlist (2014)Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards for Best Graphic Album-Reprint (2015)  Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Graphic Novels & Comics (2014)IGN Award for Best Original Graphic Novel (2014)

There are five tales told though the most bizarre and chilling graphics that I couldn’t stop reading until I reached the end!  The artwork is magnificent.  If I had words to describe these tales to you….fairy-tales gone all wrong….would be it. Delightfully creepy reading guaranteed that is for sure!

Photo of my copy:

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The Book of Polly by Kathy Hepinstall

 

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This book was the best book I read in 2017 by far!  It is going to be my pick for book club in June!

Willow Havens, a 10 year old girl is a little obsessive over the fear that her mother will die.  Given the fact that her mother does happen to be the same age as most of our grandparents…Polly is anything but old and boring.

Polly, is a cantankerous, take-no-prisoners Southern woman who lives to shoot varmints, drink margaritas, and antagonize the neighbors and she sticks out like a sore thumb among the young modern mothers of their small conventional Texas town. She was in her late fifties when Willow was born, so Willow knows she’s here by accident, a late-life afterthought. Willow’s father died before she was born, her much older brother and sister are long grown and gone and failing elsewhere. It’s just her and bigger-than-life Polly.

Willow has no inkling to Polly’s past life before she came into the world.  It’s her goal to find out the clues before…you know…her mother dies! Willow wants to know – why did Polly leave her hometown of Bethel, Louisiana, fifty years ago and vow never to return? Who is Garland Jones, her long-ago suitor who possibly killed a man? And will Polly be able to outrun the Bear, the illness that finally puts her on a collision course with her past?

This is a very highly recommend read! I loved every second of it!

Available on Amazon – The Book of Polly by Kathy Hepinstall

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Book Club Discussion Questions from Luggage and Literature

The Book of Polly Book Club Questions

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

My book club wanted to read a classic and this was what was chosen.  To many of us it was a struggle…

I had never read the actual version of this book, I had a ‘downed’ version for younger readers.  To my surprise, it was pretty challenging to read.  There was just SO MUCH DETAIL!  I do recommend readers to at least try to read any version of this classic tale, or even watch a film adaption!

Available on Amazon – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

VIA Goodreads –>

One of the most beloved books of all time, Pride and Prejudice-Jane Austen’s most popular book- has been resonating with readers since it was first published in 1813 and has been adapated many times for television, movies, and books.

When headstrong and independent Elizabeth Bennet, one of five sisters, is required to find a wealthy husband, her encounter with the arrogant Mr. Darcy leads to one of the most entertaining and satisfying courtships ever imagined. Beyond the romance, Pride and Prejudice is a book full of humor and wit that is also a commentary on upper-class social manners at the turn of the nineteenth century.

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Book Club Discussion Questions from Luggage and Literature

Pride and Prejudice Book Club Questions

The Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I am a fan of Charles Dicken’s amazing writing.  We read this for our Christmas theme for book club and it didn’t disappoint!  I read this as as e-book and highlighted many lines through out.  Dicken’s just has a way with words that is so poetic!

We discussed the essence of the actual cricket and the many meanings we thought it had through out the story for each character.  It was a great discussion!

Available on Amazon – The Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens

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Book Club Discussion Questions from Luggage and Literature

The Cricket on the Hearth Book Club Questions

The Watcher by Ross Armstrong

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Rating: ♥ ♥

It started so well. Several pages in and the legend on the cover that said “The Girl On The Train meets Rear Window” had a ring of authenticity. Our prime protagonist Lily is supposed to be a keen birdwatcher although she does little of that with her binoculars, preferring to spy on the residents of adjoining apartment blocks. She regales her husband Aiden with her take on their daily lives. Or does she? Careful here. Spoilers to be avoided. But then she sees something suspicious in a neighboring tower block and keeps it to herself. I just could not connect with Lily as the story progressed. Is she being watched without realizing. By whom? Why? Nobody, it appears, wants to listen to Lily’s developing paranoia. She keeps a journal, it seems to be addressed to someone. But who? Will we ever find out?

There are some heart-stopping moments, particularly toward the end, which is just as well, as I was struggling to complete the book. Overall, it’s good although I found much of the plot irritating.

Summer of the Wolves by Polly Carlson-Voiles

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This is a middle grade story for fans of  Julie of the Wolves or Hatchet.

The story is about a 12 year old orphaned girl Nika and her 7 year old brother Randall as they leave a California foster home to visit a long-lost uncle in the wilderness of Northern Minnesota.  This takes them on a journey in a small floatplane over the thick green forest canopy, to spend the summer on a wilderness island. Nika, of all people, knows not to get her heart set on anything, but as she follows her uncle in his job studying wolves, Nika stumbles upon a relationship with an orphaned wolf pup that makes her feel — for the first time since her mother died — whole again. Here in these woods, with this wolf, none of the hard things in her past can reach her.

I really like to read books about wolves and this one touches great details about wolf behavior and a deep sense of interconnection with nature.  I really enjoyed it.