Posts Tagged ‘Oklahoma’

Best ‘New to Us’ Books in 2014: Melissa O’s Picks

December 26, 2014

I read a wide variety of books of all different genres. Ask me for a suggestion and I most likely have read something that would appeal to you. Here are five books I stumbled upon this year. Some have been out there a long time, others are more recent arrivals, but they are all worth checking out and passing along for more to enjoy!

The Devil's BonesThe Devil’s Bones by Jefferson Bass
Bill Brockton is a forensic anthropologist who founded the Body Farm at the University of Tennessee. There he and his team study of the science of decomposition. He also finds himself drawn into the danger and drama of the murders they are trying to solve. It starts out simply enough, a woman’s charred body in a burned out car. How did she die? Then he receives a package of strange cremated remains. Suddenly he is fighting for his life and trying to solve a crime so hideous you won’t want to believe it. Another reason to love this book is that the author, Jefferson Bass, is actually a pseudonym for Bill Bass, the real-life famous forensic anthropologist and founder of the Body Farm, and cowriter Jon Jefferson. How cool is that!

Pioneer WomanPioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels – a love story by Ree Drummond
I had never read her blog, watched her cooking show, or picked up one of her cookbooks when I stumbled on this autobiography by Ree Drummond. As someone who spent some time feeling lost and unsure about the future, I could relate to her feelings as she struggled with where her next steps should take her. She never thought that future would mean staying in rural Oklahoma. And she certainly didn’t think it would involve a cowboy! I became lost in the words, flowery and syrupy as they sometimes are, as she “accidently” found herself on a cattle ranch and having adventures she never could have pictured in her future. A great read about taking a chance on love and setting out on the path less traveled.

Dangerous PassageDangerous Passage by Lisa Harris
This is a new inspirational series introducing widowed police detective Avery North and medical examiner Jackson Bryant. Harris nicely intertwines a love story into a thrilling murder mystery. Young Asian women are being murdered and the only link between them seems to be a small tattoo of a magnolia blossom. The investigation seems to simply uncover more mysteries and cover ups. Can they solve the case before more women go missing, and will Avery be ready to open her heart to love again?


Stand Up That MountainStand Up That Mountain by Jay Erskine Leutze
If you love the outdoors, this book is for you. If you love gut wrenching legal battles, this book is for you. If you love to root for the little guy, well you get the picture. Jay has escaped his life as an attorney and retreated to the North Carolina Mountains. Living quietly as a naturalist and fisherman, he loves the Appalachian Trail. He learns from a family of “mountain people” that a mining company plans to dynamite Belview Mountain, which sits right beside the Trail. They have evidence of their less than ethical behavior and the fight is on. As an avid mountain hiker and lover of nature, this book captured me, especially since it is in our own backyard! It is hard to believe that we almost lost one of the great treasures of our state. Jay Erskine Leutze recounts his story of the ground breaking legal fight to save this tiny Appalachian community in a book that is as engaging as any fiction tale.

SubmergedSubmerged by Dani Pettrey
The old saying “you can never go home again” seemed to hold true for Bailey Craig. Yet home is exactly where she found herself, for better or worse. She left Yancey, Alaska in disgrace, now can she find forgiveness? Bailey returned to bury her beloved aunt her died in a plane crash. Was it an accident or was it murder? Cole McKenna has put his past with Bailey behind him, until she shows up in town again. Soon she is fighting for her own life. Can Cole accept that Bailey has changed and help her solve the murder before she becomes another victim? Dani Pettrey is a new author and anyone who loves Dee Henderson’s novels should check her out. This new inspirational suspense series is fantastic and I can’t wait to continue the journey with her characters.

Amity and Sorrow by Peggy Riley

March 29, 2013

“She didn’t know that preparing for the end of the world would make it that much more likely to come.”

Amaranth is the first of the fifty wives of the prophet, and mother of two daughters, Amity and Sorrow.  Sorrow is the eldest and holds a special place at their temple.  She is the oracle, the one who transmits the word of God to the congregation.  Amity is the younger sister, less zealous and sweeter tempered, with a gift for healing.

The children don’t go to school, don’t know their address, don’t know how to read, don’t know anything not decreed by the prophet.  This ignorance is encouraged as a way of keeping the group off the radar of outside society, who might object and attempt to intervene, especially when it comes to the children.

But the prophet’s behavior is increasingly erratic, and a police officer does come knocking at the door.  The ensuing confrontation spins out of control and Amaranth, fearing for their lives, takes a car and flees with her children.

It takes all Amaranth’s courage to leave, and she is haunted by the feeling that the prophet is in pursuit.  She is unused to the outside world, not to mention driving, and soon crashes in the area of Oklahoma known as no man’s land.  There they are offered refuge by Bradley, a struggling farmer, and Dust, his ward.

Amaranth struggles to rebuild a life for her family.  This is a hard task, complicated even more by Sorrow’s fury at being forced to leave the only home she’s ever known.  She is determined to return to what she knows is her rightful place as a religious leader and is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve this, no matter the consequences.

The resulting struggle between Amaranth and Sorrow is primal and riveting.  Amity is caught in the middle, which turns out to be a dangerous place.

This is not an easy story, but I found its depiction of life within a cult gripping and memorable.  Peggy Riley’s writing is lean and evocative.  The narrative switches back and forth between the present day and flashbacks of how Amaranth came to join the prophet and what finally made her leave.  The wonder of Amity at the outside world is beautifully conveyed.  The portrait of the world of Amaranth and the prophet gives the reader a taste of a world with few familiar moorings.  A memorable story of faith and redemption.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

What the Cat Saw by Carolyn Hart

February 1, 2013

Carolyn Hart is at the top of my list of all time favorite authors. I know when I pick up one of her books I will not be disappointed. What the Cat Saw is quite different from Hart’s Death on Demand series, but possesses the elements that make her books so readable.

What the Cat Saw is set in Carolyn Hart’s beloved Oklahoma. This affection is reflected with “Sooner” trivia sprinkled throughout the book and is a fun aspect for those readers familiar with the great state of Oklahoma.

The story begins when Nela Farley answers her flaky sister Chloe’s call, asking her to substitute as a receptionist for her at the prestigious family Haklo Foundation. Nela hopes leaving Los Angeles will help her heal from the grief caused by the death of her fiancé. Adding to her unhappiness is the loss of her job as a reporter at a small daily California newspaper.

Chloe has arranged for Nela to stay at the apartment of the late Marion Grant, to care for Marion’s cat Jugs. Shortly after her arrival in Oklahoma, Nela has a feeling all is not as it appears in the sudden death of Marion Grant , head of the Haklo foundation.

Is Nela’s reporter intuition kicking in or does she have a sixth sense regarding this death? Is there a psychic connection between Nela and the cats?

If you like Lillian Jackson Braun, Carole Nelson DouglasMidnight Louie series or Carolyn Hart’s Bailey Ruth series (the latest is Ghost in Trouble) you will enjoy What the Cat Saw by Carolyn Hart.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

The Legacy by Katherine Webb

April 17, 2012

The description of this book sounds somewhat familiar: two sisters return to the family estate and confront the past. However, the book is unique and well written.

There are two storylines to the novel. In one, two sisters return to the stately home in the English countryside that was left to them by their Grandmother. The sisters had spent happy summers there until a tragic accident twenty three years ago, after which their cousin Henry disappeared without a trace. Erica hopes to find some resolution for the family while sorting through her grandmother’s things. Everything changed after the accident, yet Erica was too young to know what had really happened. And her sister has been troubled ever since, including recently attempting suicide.

The other part of the novel tells the story of their Great- Grandmother’s life at the turn of the century. Caroline was the only heiress of a wealthy New York family. Caroline decided on the spur of the moment to marry a man and leave her New York home to live on his cattle farm in Oklahoma. Nothing in her privileged upbringing prepared her for this kind of life. She was not prepared for the work, or worse, the isolation of living so far from any other families. Her only company was the local Native Americans who helped on the farm. Still, she is happy with her new husband until the tragedy that affects her and her descendants. How she ended up in England is only part of the mystery.

The novel alternates between the two stories and I found both to be compelling. Whenever I switched storylines I felt I was torn away from one, but then I became just as engrossed with the other. Fans of Rebecca or The House at Riverton will enjoy this first book by a talented new author.

Find and reserve this debut novel in our catalog.

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