Jun 262015
 

This is a little different from what I usually review but Michael Perry is a Wisconsin author that writes about life in Wisconsin in a very fun way. This is his debut into fiction waters and I just had to share it with you.

JESUS COWThe Jesus Cow: A Novel
Fiction – Humor – Satire
Setting – Wisconsin
Harper Collins (May 19, 2015)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ASIN: B00N0W4ZT2
E-Book ASIN: B00N0W4ZT2
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Life is suddenly full of drama for low-key Harley Jackson: A woman in a big red pickup has stolen his bachelor’s heart, a Hummer-driving predatory developer is threatening to pave the last vestiges of his family farm, and inside his barn is a calf bearing the image of Jesus Christ. His best friend, Billy, a giant of a man who shares his trailer house with a herd of cats and tries to pass off country music lyrics as philosophy, urges him to avoid the woman, fight the developer, and get rich off the calf. But Harley takes the opposite tack, hoping to avoid what his devout, dearly departed mother would have called “a scene.”

Then the secret gets out—right through the barn door, and Harley’s “miracle” goes viral. Within hours pilgrims, grifters, and the media have descended on his quiet patch of Swivel, Wisconsin, looking for a glimpse (and a percentage) of the calf. Does Harley hide the famous, possibly holy calf and risk a riot, or give the people what they want—and raise enough money to keep his land—and, just possibly, win the woman and her big red pickup truck?

Harley goes all in, cutting a deal with a major Hollywood agent that transforms his little farm into an international spiritual theme park—think Lourdes, only with cheese curds and t-shirts. Soon, Harley has lots of money . . . and more trouble than he ever dreamed.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This was a wonderful read. I love stories set in my own state. Michael Perry dips his unique writing style into the fiction well and I loved it.

In The Jesus Cow we visit Swivel, Wisconsin on Christmas Eve as Harley Jackson’s cow gives birth to a very special calf. Harley is unsure what to do until Hollywood comes to town and turns his life and the town of Swivel upside down.

Farming, religion, politics, housing recession, ecological concerns, romance, neighborly feuds, and even a bit of scandal come together in the very satirical portrait of small town life.  The people of Swivel are those you could find in any small town. They all have their causes and quirky behaviors. Harley Jackson hasn’t had much luck in the finding true love. He is happy working his job, tending his “beefers” and being part of the volunteer fire department.  I like Harley, he is different. He is introverted and was brought up in a very religious home but has lost his faith. When his calf is born with a clear picture of Jesus Christ on its side he truly wonders if it’s a sign. He remembers the teachings pf his mother. Good Christians do not draw attention. When his secret gets out he is really in a quandary about what to do.

Michael Perry is an incredible storyteller. He has created interesting characters and a town for them to come together and be observed in a way only he can. The story in funny and touching and does have a message.  Those that already loved Perry’s non-fiction works will love this. If he is a new author to you this is a great place to start.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Michael Perry and his work on his webpage here.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Aug 232012
 

“One of the best novelists around, period.”
Washington Post

“Lippman has enriched literature as a whole.”
Chicago Sun-Times

“Lippman is a writing powerhouse. ”
USA Today

“What an amazing writer!!”
~Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book

And When She Was Good: A Novel
William Morrow (August 14, 2012)
An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0061706875
Mystery

In the burbs she is a single soccer mom with a forgettable job. In Washington she is a redheaded lobbyist with a pretty mediocre record. But in fact if you can afford her hourly fee she will be the woman of your dreams.

She has gone from what he father called a girl with a “nothing face” to a woman with a very secret life. She has no real friends, keeps her life highly compartmentalized, trusts very few, all while trying to shelter her son from what really pays for their upper class lifestyle.

Then her accountant starts asking questions. Her longtime protector is hinting at new mysterious dangers. Her employees can’t be trusted. Her son’s father may be getting out of jail. Oh and another suburban madam has been found dead.

Nothing is what it seems and the stakes are higher than ever.

With no formal education, no real family, and no friends, it is time to remake her life yet again. The disappearing is the easy part. The hard part is staying alive long enough to get to the easy part.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
What an amazing writer! And When She Was Good is oh so good!!

The character of Helen/Heloise just jumps off the page. We see the why and the how her life made this journey. Terrible circumstances and poor choices made to escape those circumstances put her on this path. A believable path, easy to understand, leads her to this dangerous situation.

I was afraid at first that this was going to be a pretty stereotypical story, abused child grows up to become a prostitute, etc. But Lippman took the story in another direction. She brought out the mother’s love for her son. A son with a life so very different from her own. She had two parents in a harmful environment with a mother who put her husband’s needs and her safety ahead of the needs and safety of her daughter. Heloise is doing everything for her son to protect him and give him the life she never had. She is making her decisions putting him first. Most of the people around her don’t even know she has a son. She lives to keep him safe. Aside from the danger she now faces she knew there would come a time that her life would need to take a new direction. As her son matured it would be much more difficult to hide or explain the truth about how she makes a living. The present situation just moved up her timetable and she needs to make the right choices this time.

The story travels back and forth through time and that kept the pages turning at a very rapid pace. It is a story of survival. A small reminder of nature versus nurture. With different parents Helen would have traveled down a very different path. There would have been no Heloise. This is one of those books that will make you want to hug your kids tight after reading it.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author
Laura Lippman was a reporter for twenty years, including twelve years at The (Baltimore) Sun. She began writing novels while working fulltime and published seven books about “accidental PI” Tess Monaghan before leaving daily journalism in 2001. Her work has been awarded the Edgar ®, the Anthony, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Nero Wolfe, Gumshoe and Barry awards. She also has been nominated for other prizes in the crime fiction field, including the Hammett and the Macavity. She was the first-ever recipient of the Mayor’s Prize for Literary Excellence and the first genre writer recognized as Author of the Year by the Maryland Library Association.

Ms. Lippman grew up in Baltimore and attended city schools through ninth grade. After graduating from Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, Md., Ms. Lippman attended Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Her other newspaper jobs included the Waco Tribune-Herald and the San Antonio Light.

Ms. Lippman returned to Baltimore in 1989 and has lived there since. She is the daughter of Theo Lippman Jr., a Sun editorial writer who retired in 1995 but continues to freelance for several newspapers, and Madeline Mabry Lippman, a former Baltimore City school librarian.

Check out her website at http://lauralippman.net/
Like her Fan Page on Facebook.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Jun 062012
 

Following Atticus:
Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship

William Morrow
An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Available Now

Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship


 

Tom Ryan describes himself as middle-aged, overweight and an acrophobic newspaperman. He and his canine companion, miniature schnauzer, Atticus M. Finch, are an unlikely pair of mountaineers. Tom was drawn to the New Hampshire peaks by some childhood memories. When a close friend dies of cancer he decides to climb all 48 four thousand foot peaks twice in one winter as a tribute to her and to raise money for charity. It is an adventure of a lifetime and will test both the man and the dog’s endurance. They trek miles on the dangerous trails covered in snow and ice. The weather becomes an enemy as snow and cold can keep them off the trails as they try to complete this difficult challenge.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
What an inspiring story!!! An incredible journey, just a man and his dog. Perseverance, determination, strength of mind and body. This 5 pound little puppy worked its way into Tom Ryan’s heart and they will both work their way into yours.

I found several interesting things in the book. The first was the breeder’s advice to Tom to carry the pup wherever he went for the first month to bond with the pup. I had never heard that before but Tom and Atticus’s relationship proves how well it works.

 

The second was the education of The White Mountains. Living in Wisconsin I didn’t know much about them at all except that they were there 🙂 After reading the book I checked out some sources online and there is a lot of information about hiking and the The Appalachian Mountain Club. After reading this book I wish I was able to hike the mountains myself.

Tom Ryan changed his life and his story could change yours. Whether it be climbing actual mountains or the mountains we all face in every day life. Attitcus was like “The Little Engine That Could”, he didn’t know he was so small and he led Tom up those mountains like an animal 100 times his size.

This is not a story you will soon forget. You will want to share the wonder of it with your friends and family. It receives my highest recommendation!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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