Civil War Summer Reading Program 2014

Summer Reading Program Reader Reviews

  1. Dred’s Story : A Dog’s Life by C. Fred Bush (slightly edited by Barbara Bush)   5
    If you love animal stories and have even a passing interest in the lives of political celebrities, this book (told by the Bush family’s cocker spaniel) will delight you.
  2. On the Bloodstained Field by Gregory Coco     4
    This was a book of human interest stories about Gettysburg, carefully researched with sources noted by the author.
  3. Hag’s Nook by John Dickson Carr              5
    A mystery classic!
  4. Meet Mr. Lincoln by Richard Hanser and Donald B. Hyatt                                5
  5. Persuader by Lee Child  5
    Another Jack Reacher adventure.
  6. Ricochet by Christy Barritt            5
    This suspense-romance centers around the activities at Camp Hope Springs, a summer camp bequeathed to Nick White by his grandfather.
  7. Abide With Me by Elizabeth Strout           5
    Intelligently and sensitively written, it’s primarily the story of Reverend Tyler Coskey, pastor of the local church, widower, and father of two young girls. It’s a story of profound grief and the struggle of finding God again, as well as of a small-town congregation and the harm gossip can do.
  8. When Parents Text by Lauren Kaelin       4
    Funny commentary about our current culture.
  9. Sixkiller, U.S. Marshall: Eight Hours to Die by William W. Johnstone          5
  10. To Live and Die in Dixie by Kathy Hogan Trocheck               5
    A Southern mystery, this book is largely a story about murder, an antiques dealer, and some stolen Civil War artifacts including a valuable diary.
  11. Apple Turnover Murder by Joanne Fluke               5
    This mystery is fluff reading at its best and the recipes scattered throughout seem wonderful upon reading.
  12. Where the Long Grass Grows by Louis L’Amour  5
  13. Protective Instincts by Shirlee McCoy      5
    This book opens with an explosive chapter detailing how unsafe it can be for Americans in various parts of the world. It is the story of Raina, a Christian missionary and nurse who is rescued from being held hostage in Africa.
  14. The Deuputy’s Duty by Terri Reed             5
    This book is a mixture of suspense and romance so compelling it’s almost impossible to put down. It also carries with it an inspirational message and features characters who face challenges to their faith.
  15. Puffins by Roy Dennis    5
    As a professional ornithologist from Scotland, Dennis wrote this book about one of my favorite birds, the puffin. He presents the entire life cycle of the puffin, and answers questions you never knew you had.
  16. The Little Regiment and Other Civil War Stories by Stephen Crane             5
  17. How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny   4
    Latest in a series of mystery/murder books, set in Quebec. Exceptionally sweet, believe it or not.
  18. Flood Zone by Dana Mentink      5
    Mystery, multiple murders, adventure, courage and romance–all the elements necessary for an exciting tale.
  19. Cream Puff Murder by Joanne Fluke       5
    In this mystery a bunch of Hannah Swenson’s cream puffs are found near the scene of the murder of Ronni Ward, a shameless and now decidedly dead flirt.
  20. A Treasury of Civil War Tales by Webb Garrison 5
  21. Black List by Brad Thor   5
  22. Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child           5
  23. Suddenly, the Cider Didn’t Taste So Good by John Ford   5
    From John’s stories, it’s clear that to be a good warden it’s important to have a firm handle on human behavior and a large dose of common sense.
  24. Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair by Laurie Perry                 4
    Raw and funny life after divorce and finding yourself memoir. Fun knitting patterns too.
  25. Vengeance Valley by Allan Appel              5
  26. Joyland by Stephen King              4
    Tightly written (finally!) by a master storyteller. No wasted words or scenes, it moves right along.
  27. Nation by Terry Pratchett            5
    Best Pratchett book ever–what remains of your culture and your gods when everything is destroyed. Sweet love story, too.
  28. Civil War Stories by Ambrose Bierce        4
    I rather enjoyed these stories for several reasons. First, each story was short enough to be read in a single sitting. Second, Bierce is a wonderful writer, using vocabulary and descriptive techniques that make the stories move. Third, they are stories, perhaps quite realistic, but nevertheless fiction, so the reader is not subjected to the blood guts and death as one would be when reading someone’s journal.
  29. Frame-Up by Jill Elizabeth Nelson             5
    Set in the Rocky Mountains, this is a suspenseful story about Laurel Adams who becomes a major suspect in a murder when a dead body is found in the trunk of her car. The person who ultimately helps her is David Greene. He, too, was once accused of a crime he didn’t commit. There are many twists and turns in this story but it really is a struggle about faith and trust as well. Ultimately, resolution is achieved and a genuine love relationship has grown. This is a perfect read to enjoy on a relaxing summer day.
  30. The Carousel by Rosamund Pilcher 5
    Rosamund Pilcher writes beautifully and thoughtfully, her novels particularly attractive to women, but touching some universal themes about life being a journey. In this one, Prue, the main character, a 23 year old young woman, realizes she is not ready to settle down and wants more than her current relationship with Nigel has to offer. She takes a leave from work and goes to visit her aunt Phoebe who needs some assistance since breaking her arm. Holly Cottage and her aunt are special to her and as the days pass, surprises await. Prue meets Daniel Cassens, a now famous artist once mentored by Phoebe and her companion Chips…The setting of the book, a small village on the coast, certainly adds to its charm and makes it even more enjoyable for those of us who love the water and the hills.
  31. the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime by Mark Haddon               4
    Fascinating narration. Unique storytelling. Thought provoking about POV from autism and interaction with the world.
  32. Safe by the Marshal’s Side by Shirlee McCoy       5
    This is a riveting suspense story about a young mom and her toddler daughter who have to be relocated numerous times to keep them safe until she can testify against the man who murdered her husband. Because of a leak, her hiding place always seems to be found but Marshal Hunter Davis manages to keep her safe.
  33. The Closers by David Baldacci      4
  34. A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France by Caroline Moorehead                4
    The story of 230 women, sent to concentration camps in Poland and Germany in WWII. 49 made it home again. Illuminates the war, the Resistance, the treatment of the Jews, and the methodical atrocities of the Nazis. The German and the French were on their best behavior–for a while.
  35. Civil War Poetry and Prose by Walt Whitman       4
    The only reason I was ready for this book to end was that I feel so burdened whenever I read about war and the agonies of wounds and dying. That’s why, this summer, I intersperse my “war” reading with lighter fare.   That being said, this was an excellent volume of Whitman’s poetry, many of the poems detailing the sounds and sights of his Civil War experiences, especially as he walked among and ministered to the dead and wounded. The prose included what we would now call diary entries plus his correspondence during the war years. One letter, in particular, informs his mother than another son fighting in the war is safe. Other letters are to friends and some to the parents of wounded or dying soldiers…This book is thought provoking and heart wrenching, certainly a worthwhile read.
  36. Blood and Fire at Gettysburg by General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain                4
    Having just recently visited Joshua Chamberlain’s house and grave near Bowdoin College and listening to an excellent museum docent, I was more than ready to delve into Chamberlain’s writings. His writing is detailed and expressive as he tells of experiences on the Round Top slopes. He too writes of the dead and wounded, and we see a side of him not just the great general, but an emotional and caring man.. This is a must read for anyone interested in knowing more about Chamberlain, especially the caring and emotional side of him.
  37. The All of It by Jeannett Haien    4
    Set in Ireland, this is the story of Father Declan de Loughry and two of his parishioners, Kevin Dennehy and his wife, Edna. Kevin died and Edna was insistent as to how the obituary should read. It takes her a while but Edna finally confesses to Father Declan how she and Kevin, living together as married for fifty years, are really brother and sister. The two suffered abuse as children and to survive, learned to depend on one another. It was sinful and scandalous but the priest realizes just how messy life can get. He resolves this problem for himself and along the way with strength and empathy, realizes the kinship we all share.
  38. Vanished by Margaret Daly         5
    This suspenseful story is about a young girl’s kidnapping. Her father teams up with the FBI to find her. He uses his job as a small-town sheriff to help in this endeavor, striving very hard to be professional even though it’s his daughter who’s missing. Madison Spencer, the FBI agent, worked with Sheriff Logan previously but this case is even more difficult. All turns out well and romance blooms.
  39. A Dog Named Christmas by Greg Kincaid              5
    Ever hear of Christmas in July? Well, that’s my excuse for reading this relatively short and totally delightful novel that obviously would be best marketed and read at Christmastime. The cover with its winter scene and the soulful eyes of a black lab drew me in immediately and I wanted to know why this dog had a name like Christmas. The story line is relatively simple yet plays on the complexities of human nature and the inherent kindness of people. It’s a story of healing, love, and the unique relationship that develops when a human and animal find each other.
  40. Deadly Texas Rose by Lenora Worth        5
    Having just finished a rather lengthy and very heavy Civil War book, it was time for a little fluff and so there’s this book, a romantic suspense tale set in the great state of Texas. The story revolves around Eric Butler, a sheriff’s deputy, and Julia Daniels and her young daughter, Moira. Julia’s husband had been murdered and she moved to the small town of Wildflower, Texas, but before long trouble found her. Julia needed to trust Eric so that he could help protect her and her daughter. This story with its twists and turns, themes of family and faith with romance thrown in makes for a good read and an enjoyable one as well!
  41. A Tale of Two Cats by Allen and Ivy Dodd              5
    Written by a couple who transplanted themselves from New York to Thomaston, Maine, this delightful book not only chronicles their early years in Maine, but primarily tells their story as first time cat adopters.
  42. Haley’s Cleaning Hints by Graham Haley                4
    This is an interesting book, especially if your goal is to go “green” a bit more. There are scores of recipes to clean almost anything you can think of and many of them use simple items like baking soda or vinegar. Have a cleaning or organizational problem? Just look it up in the back and most likely you’ll be directed to the page carrying its solution.
  43. Vendetta by Roxanne Rustand  5
    Set in the Wyoming Rockies, this story is about Leigh Mcallister and Cole Daniels. Both returned to Wyoming as adults, she to open a vet clinic and he to run a ranch and raise his daughter following a divorce. Leigh’s clinic keeps getting vandalized and threats are made against her as well. Ultimately they solve the mystery behind Cole’s late father’s imprisonment for murder and Leigh gets the threats and vandalism resolved. It’s a fluff story so the main characters do fall in love.
  44. King Colt by Luke Short 5
  45. Tombstone Lode by Doyle Trent                5
  46. Indian Points     4
    This book would be of interest only to those people who are particularly interested in arrowheads made by Native Americans. Since we have a varied collection, I enjoyed this book and was amazed at the variety that have been found. My only disappointment was that not many were pictured found in the northeast U.S. and many were the older ones, not the more modern ones from the 1600’s and 1700s. I would think the later ones would be the ones most found nowadays. A worthwhile read for those interested in this topic.
  47. Now You See Her by James Patterson     5
  48. Final Resort by Dana Mentink     5
    This was purely fluff reading–a fun book with a mixture of suspense, love, faith, and a valuable treasure to boot.
  49. The Civil War As They Knew It edited by Pierce G. Fredericks.      5
    Excellent Mathew Brady photos and Lincoln notes.
  50. Civil War Poetry: An Anthology ed. by Paul Negri                              5
    It was fascinating to read through a body of poetry specifically on the topic of the Civil War. Some of the poets and their work was familiar, much of it was not. Some poems were poignant, emotional, and colorful while others seemed rather rhetorical and abstract.   This volume was not an easy one to read but it was certainly worthwhile.
  51. A Darkness More than Night by Michael Connelly             4
    Harry Bosch beats a murder set-up.
  52. 61 Hours by Lee Child     5
    Jack Reacher saves the day in a small town in South Dakota, during a 20 below snowstorm.
  53. Die Trying by Lee Child   5
    It is a Jack Reacher novel and very good.
  54. Running Blind by Lee Child           5
  55. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane     4
    Because of its realism, it’s hard to believe that Stephen Crane wrote this Civil War novel at a very young age and totally from his imagination since he had not fought in a war. So vivid is his description, the reader is there smelling the smoke and with blurred eyes trying to see the enemy. The deafening sounds of battle, the stench of death, contorted bodies–it’s all very real.
  56. A Treasury of Civil War Tales by Webb Garrison 4
    This book of historical Civil War tales is arranged in seven sections, each section devoted to one part of the war and its aftermath. In all there are 52 chapters, most of them very interesting, especially with the documentation provided.
  57. A Killer Collection by J.B. Stanley 5
    Published eight years ago, this mystery is billed a “collectible mystery” and focuses on Southern Pottery collectibles.
  58. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath            5
    Very poetic, tragic, and engrossing. Was better than expected. Good to read without any preconceived notions.
  59. Revelations of a Single Woman by Connally Gilliam          5
    No, I’m not single, but this is a book I highly recommend to both male and female, married or single, for a number of reasons….Written from a decidedly Christian point of view, morality and right, faith and trust, are emphasized.
  60. Days of Darkness: The Gettysburg Civilians by William G. Williams             5
    Presents an insight to how the civilians of Gettysburg had to deal with the battle around their homes.
  61. Bitter Trumpet by Fred Grove     4
    Story of Confederate captain wounded at Franklin and after healing in hospital was sent to a Union prisoner of war prison.

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