Category Archives: Book Review

Cajun Country 

I’m down in the bayou as they say. I’m visiting my best friend in Louisiana for a couple of days. I’ll head back to Alabama on Thursday. It’s a long drive down but the traffic was mostly good.

On my way down I listened to Heidi Cullinan’s Short Stay. It’s part of the Love Lessons series and was pretty good. If you’ve read and liked the rest of the series, you’ll like this one too.


Reading 

I spent the evening reading and time got away from me. Before I knew it, it was time for bed and I had not written a blog post. Since I didn’t have time to ponder what to write, and I didn’t have anything specific in mind, I thought I’d just confess to reading and losing track of time. By the way, I am reading Tal Bauer’s book Enemy of My Enemy, which is the second book in her Executive Office Series. It continues the story of Pressient Jack Spiers and his lover Ethan Reichenbach. It’s a great political thriller and I hated to have to put it down and go to bed.


Busy Week

Yesterday, I gave a presentation on Pearl Harbor, which went exceedingly well. I was happy to have a World War II veteran there to view the presentation. Tonight, I have another event; I will be serving as host to a book discussion. The book to be discussed is Doris Kearns Goodwin’s No Ordinary Time. An incredibly detailed book, No Ordinary Time tells the story of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt and the American Homefront during World War II.

A compelling chronicle of a nation and its leaders during the period when modern America was created. With an uncanny feel for detail and a novelist’s grasp of drama and depth, Doris Kearns Goodwin brilliantly narrates the interrelationship between the inner workings of the Roosevelt White House and the destiny of the United States. Goodwin paints a comprehensive, intimate portrait that fills in a historical gap in the story of our nation under the Roosevelts.


Balance

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I wasn’t up last night to writing a lengthy blog post. I was reading a book: LIfe Lessons by Kaje Harper. Sometimes you need balance in your life and last night I felt more like reading than writing. It was a good book, and I am glad I finished it. It’s book one in a series of four, and I think I’ll be beginning book two today if I have some free time at work.


Enemies of the State: The Executive Office


I’m very happy that my good friend Susan brought this book to my attention. It is exactly the type of book I like. I love mysteries, suspense, and political thrillers like those written by Dan Brown, Tom Clancy, or Steve Berry, but they never have any gay characters in them, not even secondary characters as there would be in real life. So it was great to see this kind of book written with gay main characters.

Enemies of the State: The Executive Office by Tal Bauer ranks right up there with anything by Brown, Berry, or Clancy. It’s a masterpiece of political intrigue and plot twists set in the near future, and is terrifyingly possible. It builds slowly although I loved the first half of the book as much as the second half (maybe more). And once you hit the halfway mark, hold onto your seat and make sure you have no other plans, because you will not want to put this book down.

This story will have you laughing and crying, but every word is worth it. You’ll fall in love with Jack and Ethan as they are the rollercoaster that brings this wild ride home. A rollercoaster is a great way to describe this book with all it’s twists and turns that build you up and up to the pinnacle at the midway point and then it’s a fast ride to the finish. The whole ride is thrilling. Enemies of the State: The Executive Office is book one of a three-book series, and I cannot wait for book two to release in the fall.

I haven’t read much in the last six months. My friend who passed away was my main reading partner and we loved to discuss books with one another. He was a particularly big fan of Amy Lane and as much as I love her books, I haven’t been able to pick up one of hers since his death. But I am back to reading now, and loving every minute of it.  Here are a few other books I have recently read:

The Orion Mask by Greg Herren

Dark Tide by Greg Herren

How to Howl at the Moon by Eli Easton

Superhero by Eli Easton

The Skyler Foxe Mysteries (five full-length mysteries, one novella and two collections of short stories) by Haley Walsh

All of the books are worth your time. I just happened to be so blown away by Enemies of the State that I felt it needed a good review and I hope you will check it out.


The Porn Phenomenon

Josh McDowell, a well-known evangelist and apologist, commissioned a new study to expose what he calls the “pervasiveness of pornography in the church and among Christians” and to his disbelief, the statistics proved what he had already feared – “pornography has infiltrated the church, especially among young adults.”
“Of young adults 18-24 years old, 76 percent actively – and these are Christians – actively seek out porn,” McDowell lamented to OneNewsNow.
Here are some additional key findings from the church commissioned study titled: “THE PORN PHENOMENON: A COMPREHENSIVE, GROUNDBREAKING NEW SURVEY ON AMERICANS, THE CHURCH, AND PORNOGRAPHY: Impact of Internet Pornography on American Population and the Church.”
  • 21% of youth pastors and 14% of pastors admit they currently struggle with using porn.
  • About 12% of Youth Pastors and 5% of Pastors say there are addicted to porn
  • 87% of pastors who use porn feel a great sense of shame about it
  • 55% of pastors who use porn say they live in constant fear of being discovered
OneNewsNow reports on McDowell’s one man crusade to turn the tide on all those young Christian’s addicted to playing with themselves.
McDowell tells OneNewsNow young people have a cavalier attitude towards porn.
 
“Of 13- to 24-year-olds, 96 percent would say that when they talk to someone about porn – their friends, which most of them are Christians now – they do it in either a neutral, positive or encouraging way,” he says.
 
McDowell is putting together what he calls the most comprehensive conference for Christian leaders about Internet pornography. Called “Set Free Summit,” it will take place in April in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Source: The Daily Grind, February 5, 2016

 

Read more: http://2anothercountry.blogspot.com/2016/02/church-funded-study-finds-76-of-young.html#ixzz3zOufwhQs


Carry the Ocean


I wrote briefly on Saturday about the book By That Sin Fell the Angels by Jamie Fessenden. My friend who suggested it then suggested another, this one was Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan. I’ve written about Heidi before because I’ve read her books Love Lessons and Fever Ptich. I’d seen Carry the Ocean before but after reading the blurb, I had decided that it didn’t sound like a book I wanted to read. Here’s the blurb:

Normal is just a setting on the dryer.

High school graduate Jeremey Samson is looking forward to burying his head under the covers and sleeping until it’s time to leave for college. Then a tornado named Emmet Washington enters his life. The double major in math and computer science is handsome, forward, wicked smart, interested in dating Jeremey—and he’s autistic.

But Jeremey doesn’t judge him for that. He’s too busy judging himself, as are his parents, who don’t believe in things like clinical depression. When his untreated illness reaches a critical breaking point, Emmet is the white knight who rescues him and brings him along as a roommate to The Roosevelt, a quirky new assisted living facility nearby.

As Jeremey finds his feet at The Roosevelt, Emmet slowly begins to believe he can be loved for the man he is behind the autism. But before he can trust enough to fall head over heels, he must trust his own conviction that friendship is a healing force, and love can overcome any obstacle.

Warning: Contains characters obsessed with trains and counting, positive representations of autism and mental illness, a very dark moment, and Elwood Blues.

I’m glad my friend convinced me that I should read this book. She said, “I consider it one of the best books I have read this year and hope, if you decide to give it a try, you will enjoy it too.” I value her opinion greatly, so I knew I had to give it a try. I downloaded the Kindle sample and began to read. The first thing you do is fall in love with Emmet. You can’t help it.  The sample wasn’t enough, I needed to read the whole book.

I also have to admit that I cried, a lot with his book. When I read Amy Lane, I always cry some, but I don’t think I got through a single page of this book without a tear in my eye. I know that doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement, but I will be honest, since I lost my job, I cry very easily. My depression is harder to fight right now.  Not everyone will cry as much as I did, but it was worth it. You see, I don’t have autism, major depressive disorder, or clinical anxiety, but I identified with them.  Let me break this down so that I can explain it better.

I’ve always felt very intelligent. Like Emmet, I learned you can’t say that to other people, but you can thank them if they tell you that. I am not a genius, but I do possess above average intelligence. For example, I went to the dentist once in high school, the dental hygienist asked me how school was going, and I told her all the things that were going great and about some of my accomplishments. I was set to be valedictorian at the time (I did graduate as valedictorian). She told my mother later, “He thinks a lot of himself, doesn’t he?” I was mortified when I found this out. I’d only told her what she’d asked. I honestly wasn’t bragging, but she thought I was. So, since then I’ve learned not to tell people I’m intelligent but to let them figure it out for themselves. This makes it very hard in applying for jobs and in job interviews because even though you need to sell yourself to the interviewer, I’m always afraid that they are going to think , “He thinks a lot of himself, doesn’t he?” So while not autistic, some of Ememt’s issues hit home pretty hard.

Furthermore, I don’t have a major depressive disorder, but I do have depression. I take an antidepressant for it, and I know that it doesn’t work 100 percent of the time. You’ve seen from this blog that I have dark days. For Jeremey, it makes it hard for him to get out of bed; for me, it usually manifests itself as cluster headaches, which can be just as debilitating. I’ve battled depression for many years, and I also understand the influence parents can have on our mental state. Jeremey also feels what others are feeling. If someone is sad, he becomes sadder. If someone is scared, he becomes more scared. He’s a very empathetic character, but he sees that as a weakness. I think one of my strongest traits is that I am empathetic. I can take on the feelings and understand someone else’s emotions, but I use this to try to help people.

Also, I don’t have clinical anxiety, but I do have anxiety attacks. Usually they happen when I have an approaching deadline, and I feel that I’m running out of time. I have them really bad when I have to fly in an airplane, and sometimes have them in crowds. The airplane situation is dealt with easily with Xanax, which I take to ward off the panic attacks, but the other ones I can’t predict until it’s too late. I have coping strategies, what Emmet would call modifications, to handle my anxiety attacks. What works for me is to sing to myself, “You Are My Sunshine.” Mama used to sing this to me as a child and I find it comforting. But also concentrating on the meter of the song, I can slow things down. When I have a panic attack, my heart races and everything moves so fast and I feel completely out of control. “You Are My Sunshine” calms me down and slows down my mind.

When I’d first read the blurb for Carry the Ocean I didn’t think I’d be interested in reading it. Usually, when I find a book that I love, it’s because I can identify in some way with the main character. I didn’t think I could do this with Emmet or Jeremey. However, here’s why I think this book is so extraordinary: Heidi Cullinan has written two characters that seem so different from us, but I challenge any of you to read this book and not identify in some way with these characters. I honestly don’t think you can.

I cried a lot in this book because it was powerful and emotional. I cried because I was happy or empathetic. It’s hard to describe the emotions that this book evoked in me. It made me happy, it broke my heart, and it touched my soul. I think there are three lessons to learn from this book. First, don’t judge a book by it’s cover (literally and metaphorically). There is so much more to this book than that blurb, just as there was so much more to Emmet and Jeremey than most people could see. Second, there is no such thing as normal.  Third, while some of us merely carry buckets of water, some of us Carry the Ocean.

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A Return to Maycomb

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For thus hath the LORD said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.
Isaiah 21:6

The above passage from the Book of Isaiah is where the title for Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman comes from. The title itself tells us much about the book. The twenty-first chapter of Isaiah for tells the fall of Babylon because of its wickedness. Babylon had once been a shining city admired by all, but it was filled with wickedness: decadence, liars, manipulators, and all sorts of other evils. For Lee, Babylon symbolizes the South. While the watchman would tell of the fall of Babylon in the Book of Isaiah, the Supreme Court has ruled that the South must change in its decision Brown v. Board of Education. The old South can no longer stand and its old principles of “separate but equal” must end. Thus the South follows the fate of the fall of Babylon. Nothing will ever be the same.

Like Isaiah, who is an outsider in Babylon, Jean Louise “Scout” Finch is an outsider to her home in Maycomb, Alabama. The twenty-six year old Scout has been away for eight years, first to college then to New York. When she returns to Maycomb in the summer of 1954 or 1955, at first she thinks Maycomb has changed, but not as drastically as it really has. She merely sees the cosmetic changes of an ice cream parlor where the house she grew up in once stood. Her Aunt Alexandra is the woman of he house, not Calpurnia, the black maid who helped raise her and is now too old to work. As all people who go away and come home again, she thinks she knows more than everyone and is more enlightened, though she feels that her father is as enlightened as she is. Atticus is her idol, as he is for all who ever read To Kill a Mockingbird.
Then her world crashes around her when she discovers that her father is part of Maycomb’s Citizens Council. For those of you unfamiliar with the White Citizen’s Councils of the South, they were social organizations similar to the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs, but with the sole purpose of maintaining segregation. They formed throughout the South in the aftermath of the Brown decision. When she sees Atticus and her fiancé Henry sitting idly by listening to a speaker deliver a hate filled speech, she becomes physically ill. She feels betrayed by her father and all she thought she held dear. The first half of the book is introducing us to Maycomb after a decade or so has passed since To Kill a Mockingbird; the second half deals with the fallout of Scout’s discovery.
First let me address the provenance of the book, the official story is that Go Set a Watchman was the original draft of To Kill a Mockingbird submitted to the publisher. According to the story, Lee was told that the editor liked the flashbacks to childhood, and she should rewrite the book and focus only on the childhood. Lee did this and it became To Kill a Mockingbird, while Go Set a Watchman was placed in a safety deposit box and basically forgotten until Lee’s lawyer came across it a year or so ago. Others have speculated that this was a failed sequel, which I do not believe and let me tell you why. First of all, while it may read like a sequel, there are parts of this book in which the passages are nearly identical to those in To Kill a Mockingbird. I can see Lee using passages from a first draft in a rewritten final draft, but I cannot see Lee using passages from a first book in the sequel. That would be far too lazy and completely out of character for Lee. I don’t think the question should be “Is this books first draft or a failed sequel?” but should be, “Did Lee’s lawyer manipulate the then 88 year old Lee into publishing a book that she had not wanted to be published?” Alice Lee, Harper Lee’s longtime lawyer, protector, and and sister, is dead, and her young partner is now Lee’s lawyer. Alice, who died in November 2014, wrote in 2011, that Lee “can’t see and can’t hear and will sign anything put before her by anyone in whom she has confidence.” In February 2015, the State of Alabama, through its Human Resources Department, launched an investigation into whether Lee was competent enough to consent to the publishing of Go Set a Watchman. The investigation found that the claims of coercion and elder abuse were unfounded, and, according to Lee’s lawyer, Lee is “happy as hell” with the publication. I not so sure that Lee wasn’t coerced or tricked into publishing the book, but we have to hope it wasn’t against her wishes. There will always be questions surrounding the publication of Go Set a Watchman, and I doubt we will ever know the truth.image
Second, let me address the nuances and changes of racial attitudes in the book. This has been one of the major criticisms of Go Set a Watchman, that Atticus is a racist in the book but was a champion of black people in To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus was a champion of fairness and the law, but there is no doubt he had prejudices. He was a rural white southerner and a product of his times. Remember that Atticus was a legislator during To Kill a Mockingbird. In Alabama in the 1920s, few politicians were elected who were not members of the Klan. I’m not saying it was right, but most of the people in the Klan of the 1920s thought of it as being members of a social club or civic organization, much like the Masons, the Kiwanis, and Civitans. Hugo Black, a Supreme Court justice and champion of civil rights on the bench had been a member of the Klan. Furthermore, most white southerners felt a paternalistic relationship with blacks during the early 20th century, but southerners have always been conservative which means they don’t like change to come quickly. Southern men like Atticus Finch would have felt that southern blacks were not ready for full equality or for desegregation. He would have felt they needed more time. One of my pet peeves is for people to place modern beliefs and ideas on their interpretation of the past. We can look back and say something is wrong and backwards by our way of thinking, but we also must put ourselves in their mindset. To Kill a Mockingbird is very frank about racial attitudes of the South, and the good guys are champions for southern blacks, but Go Set a Watchman is a far more complex and insightful book on the realities of race in the 1950s. Not everything is cut and dry like in To Kill a Mockingbird.


Go Set a Watchman
may never be seen as the masterpiece that To Kill a Mockingbird was, but it has a historical significance far greater than its literary significance. Go Set a Watchman allows us to see the nuances of racial attitudes in Alabama in the 1950s. Whether that is how Calpurnia is portrayed, how Atticus is portrayed, or how Jean Louise is portrayed, the realities and subtleties are portrayed quite vividly. In Go Set a Watchman we get an almost firsthand account of what it was like for Harper Lee to return to Alabama after living in New York City. Jean Louise thinks she has become enlightened through her education and her time in New York City, but the big question is: has she? We get to see her real attitude, and we are fortunate to have Uncle Jack Finch guide us through the subtleties of southern racial attitudes. We like things to be in black and white, but in reality they never are. And that’s what makes Go Set a Watchman a true masterpiece.

I had planned on discussing the parallels of race in the 1950s to gay rights in the 2010s but I’m not up for writing that right now. Hopefully, that will be a post for next week. In the meantime, go out and buy Go Set a Watchman if you haven’t, and give it a chance. I think if you read it objectively and with an open mind, you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. I look forward to a day when someone collects the writings of Harper Lee from the newspapers and journals she contributed to as a student at Huntingdon College and the University of Alabama. I’m not sure that will be anything soon because of copyright and legal issues, but maybe some day. And there has always been the rumor that there really was a second book, Harper Lee’s great race novel, that Lee has refused to allow anyone to see because she was afraid she could never live up to To Kill a Mockingbird again.


P.S. I personally think she already did live up to it with Truman Capote’s
In Cold Blood, which I believe she wrote as she had the talent for it and Capote did not. It was well known that Capote, a childhood friend (Dill in TKM and GSW) was jealous of the success of TKM, and I’ve always suspected that Lee actually wrote most if not all of the book but let Capote put his name on it because she had already decided she wanted out of the limelight.


Brad Boney Hit It Out of the Park

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It’s the summer of 1983, and Trent Days is Major League Baseball’s rookie sensation. Born in Alaska to an Inupiat mother, the press have dubbed him the Eskimo Slugger, but a midseason collision at home plate temporarily halts his meteoric rise to the top.

Sent back to Austin to recuperate, Trent visits his favorite record store, Inner Sanctum, where he meets amiable law student Brendan Baxter. A skip in the vinyl of New Order’s “Blue Monday” drives Trent back to Brendan, and their romance takes them into uncharted territory.

As Trent’s feelings move from casual to serious, he’s faced with an impossible dilemma. Does he abandon any hope of a future with Brendan and return to the shadows and secrets of professional sports? Or does he embrace the possibility of real love and leave baseball behind him forever? As he struggles with his decision, Trent embarks on a journey of self-discovery—to figure out who he really is and what matters most.

If you have read Brad Boney’s The Return, then you know how The Eskimo Slugger ends, but don’t let that deter you from reading this book. Boney like Trent Days, the Eskimo Slugger, hits this one out of the park. The way Boney is able to interweave these stories together is truly awe-inspiring. If you have read The Nothingness of Ben and The Return, you know that the end of this book is really the beginning of The Nothingness of Ben. Boney has managed to create this beautiful circular set of books that literally bleeds one into the other so that you want to just keep going round and round the merry-go-round. (If it weren’t for the fact that Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchmen was released yesterday, I would have done just that, but I’ve waited all my life for another book by Harper Lee.)

The backstory is very complex, but not so complex that the average reader is unable to keep up with the nuances of the story. This is Brad Boney at his finest. He had a tremendous talent for weaving several stories together at once, but the reader doesn’t necessarily know that. Then at the end, it all comes together. However, if you love a good puzzle (I won’t call it a mystery), you will love finding all of the pieces within the story and putting them together. I found myself referencing both of the earlier books time and again with the “treasures” that were revealed throughout this book. Without completely giving away all the secrets just know that all three books are inter-related in various ways and little bits of their stories, past and present are slipped in throughout the story.

This being 1983 and thirty years before today’s openness about sex, there are some pretty funny forays into discussions of gay sex. The two main characters explore each other and relatively unexplored aspect to their personalities. Today’s youth doesn’t have the same issues with coming out and being open as young men in the early 1980s, even in a progressive southern city like Austin, Texas. It was a different time period when AIDS was unheard of in the public, and being in the closet was a way of life for many Americans outside of places like New York City and San Francisco. Even though New Orleans had a gay community at the time, it was not as open as today. Boney realizes this as he discusses homosexuality in the early 1980s.

I wish I had a portion of the talent Brad Boney has for story telling. He really is a master, and I highly recommend this book. Boney has a tremendous talent, and he doesn’t disappoint in this third installment of this series that began with The Nothingness of Ben. I highly encourage anyone to read The Nothingness of Ben and The Return before reading this book, or else the ending will not make sense and you’ll be left greatly unsatisfied.

I listened to The Eskimo Slugger as an audiobook, because I just don’t have the time to stop and read, so when I am driving, this is when I get in my “reading.” The Nothingness of Ben and The Return were narrated by Canadian actor Charlie David who did a wonderful job. He gave all of the characters a distinct voice and emotions, and he was an absolute joy to listen to. I was disappointed to see that he did not narrate The Eskimo Slugger. That job went to Michael Ferraluolo who did an excellent job with the book.  I think the continuity would have been great if Charlie David had been the narrator, but Michael Ferraluolo didn’t disappoint with his performance. He has a great voice that is easy to listen to and did a nice job differentiating the characters, though there were a few instances when his character’s accents slipped away. I really got into the emotion of the story and even managed to do a nice job with the female voices.

And yes, Eskimo Slugger is the name of an alcoholic beverage:

1 1/2 oz Bailey’s® Irish cream
1 oz Absolut® vodka
1/2 oz Rumple Minze® peppermint liqueur

Pour all three ingredients into a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain into a small old-fashioned or rocks glass, and serve.

I agree with Trent Days in the book, it sounds terribly vile to me too.


Riding in the “Sidecar”

The year is 1987. The boys wear pink Izod shirts, the girls wear big hair, everyone has a stash box, and AIDS is just an ugly rumor rumbling like a thunderstorm from the cities. A teenage runaway wanders the side of the road, a heartbeat away from despair, and is rescued by a long-haired angel on a Harley.

But that’s just the beginning of their story.

Josiah Daniels wanted peace and quiet and a simple life, and he had it until he rescued Casey from hunger, cold, and exhaustion. Then Joe’s life is anything but simple as he and his new charge navigate a world that is changing more rapidly than the people in it. Joe wants to raise Casey to a happy and productive adulthood, and he does. But even as an adult, Casey can’t conceive of a happy life without Joe. The trouble is getting Joe to accept that the boy he nurtured is suddenly the man who wants him.

Their relationship can either die or change with the world around them. As they make a home, negotiate the new rules of growing up, and swerve around the pitfalls of modern life, Casey learns that adulthood is more than sex, Joe learns that there is no compromise in happy ever after, and they’re both forced to realize that the one thing a man shouldn’t be is alone.

I was looking for a good image of the book, Sidecar, to use today, and of course, I should have known to look at Amy Lane’s blog, Yarning to Write. The hi-def version of the picture was posted on the day the book was released in 2012. I’m always at least a year or two behind in reviewing Amy’s books but I always love them. The reason I mention finding the book image on her blog is because it was interesting to see what Amy said about the book on the day it was release. She was worried about how the book would be received and wrote:

I’m still going to be… well, fidgety, until I see how this one [Sidecar] is received. I just am…. I worry, I guess. I always will. It ALWAYS feels like a profound act of hubris to share that weirdness that goes on in my oversized noggin with the whole rest of the world. I can’t explain it, I only
know it to be true. I’m just really excited when other people seem to think that what I’ve got in my head is worthwhile.

I don’t think Amy should ever worry about how her books will be perceived because she is a great writer. I know she does a lot of research for her books, and I personally love that. Also, she creates characters that you really wish you knew in life. Amy is a master at creating a level of intimacy among friends, which occurs long before any romantic interest pops up. By the time things get heated in Amy’s work you’re so invested in the characters you can’t stop reading because of the need to know what might happen next.

I know Amy Lane isn’t for everyone because she puts a lot a angst and hardships as obstacles for the characters in her novels. Occasionally though, she writes a book that is not as angsty and occasionally one that has no angst at all. Sidecar falls into the latter category, while there is some angst, it’s not nearly what some of her books have.

What I loved about Sidecar was the attention to detail Amy spent on her main characters, Josiah and Casey and how she weaves their story through a 25 year span. The story begins and ends with the he present day, but after the first chapter, it takes you back to 1987 and then progresses with snippets of different significant moments through the years. Each title is a song from the top 100 songs of 1987 (the first and last chapter are from 2011). Amy did a wonderful job of capturing the spirit of the different times. Each time she went forward in time, it was very clear where we were and the differentiation between the two periods showed how much effort she put into perfecting the feel of each of them.

In Sidecar deals with the very real issues of homelessness, friendship, loyalty and love set against a harsh backdrop of a remote California town where it’s hard to buy a decent meal, let alone wind up homeless. In Casey, Amy creates an energetic and loving young man with many redeeming qualities and dreams for his future regardless of the fact he’s found himself in what most would consider a very negative situation. In Josiah (Joe) we meet a man on a mission.  Joe is one of the, if not the, most caring and giving of the men Amy has created for us.  Joe may look like a regular biker dude, but he has a heart that more people in this world need (Joe says that it’s because he was raised as a Quaker).  While his life didn’t quite turn out like he thought it would, he’s found a way to add value and help his fellow man in a way he finds noble nonetheless. When you put the two together, the magic, along with some tears, a few fights and a few sleepless nights, can’t help but happen.


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