Category Archives: reviews

Prose and Cons by Amanda Flower

cover art

I chose to read Prose and Cons by Amanda Flower based entirely on the name of the title. Although it wasn’t labeled as such, it is actually the second book in the “A Magical Bookshop Mystery” series; it was a fine entry point of the series and I thought the backstory was adequately explained. The murder occurs during a Poe-try reading (reading of the works of Edgar Allan Poe during an October good and wine festival). I don’t think it is possible to really deduce the murderer.

It was a very light read and is recommended for anyone who likes that type of mystery books. I will probably not read any more in the series.

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Andy Ashenfelter
Rating: Recommended

Keeper of the Grail by Michael P Spradlin

cover art

 

The Youngest Templar: Keeper of the Grail by Michael P Spradlin in COSMOS is a recommended read. Young orphan Tristan, raised by monks and later squire to Sir Thomas, becomes entrusted with the Holy Grail and must return it to the monks with the aid of friends he meets along the way, while avoiding enemies out to seize the Grail for their own selfish means.

Availability:  COSMOS
Review Submitted by: M Denise Brace nee Lerch (’82)
Rating: Recommended

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

cover art

 

This book was based on the blog of the same name, and includes exclusive content as well as some of what was already on the blog (which sadly hasn’t been updated in like five years). There’s not a lot to say about it. It’s really funny, and if you like lengthy, hilarious stories accompanied by badly drawn MS Paint-style portraits (no, really), this is the book for you.

Availability: SMCM, USMAI, COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Hannah Yeager
Rating: Highly Recommended
Challenge: Book written by someone under 30

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

cover artI’m pretty sure Anne of Green Gables and its sequels are written for children, but I never got around to reading them as a kid, so I figured now would be a good time. I can understand why it’s a beloved, classic book- the story and characters are sweet and relatable, but there’s enough action and intrigue to make the book interesting and fun. Even though the story takes place in the early 1900s, I think there’s a lot for kids to learn, and for adults to enjoy, from this book. I also read the immediate sequel, Anne of Avonlea, which continues right from the end of the first book and is about Anne’s life as an older teenager dealing with more adult things. I plan on reading more of the series, as it’s an easy and enjoyable read.

Availability:  COSMOS, SMCM, USMAI
Review Submitted by: Hannah Yeager
Rating: Highly Recommended
Challenge: Book to film, book with a color in the title

Low Chicago ed. by George R. R. Martin

low chicago cover

Low Chicago edited by George R.R. Martin is a collection of short stories tied together in an overall plot – I don’t think they can really be enjoyed individually. This is not the first wild card book In the series, but it is the first that I have read; I’m not sure if someone more familiar with the series would have been less overwhelmed in the beginning. Low Chicago is a type of poker, and the book starts out with a poker game and turns into a time travel adventure (much more interesting than poker).

I did enjoy the book, and I plan to try the first book in the series. I liked “Meathooks on Ice” the best … and I now know how the great Chicago fire started (the cow was innocent). There was a surprising amount of politics in the stories.

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Andy Ashenfelter
Rating:  Recommended
Challenge: Published in 2018

Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott

Eight Cousins cover

Eight Cousins, a lesser known Louisa May Alcott gem in COSMOS, is a recommended read. Little cousin Rose is orphaned and is trundled off to live with her doctor uncle and great aunts. Her seven rowdy boy cousins and aunts and uncles live nearby up the ‘ant’ hill.This quaint story depicts the changes to meek, sickly, timid Rose under the careful tutelage of her uncle as she learns be a kind, inquisitive, active young lady loved by all. Perhaps a tad too saccharine, but I enjoyed it.

Availability: COSMOS,
Review Submitted by: M Denise Brace nee Lerch (’82)
Rating: Recommended

The Chocolate Frog Frame-Up by JoAnna Carl

cover art

Yay! My last review of the summer reading challenge! This one comes with a call to action for any other murder mystery readers (or potential writers) out there: Let’s set up a support group and stop ourselves if we ever suffer such stupidity, with such slow-witted characters, using painful thought processes simply to fill pages, and with such a ridiculous story line. Agreed? OK! Yeah, so run out and get this book at a used book sale, take it on vacation, and leave it out in the rain after you’ve finished it.

Availability:  COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Jane Kostenko
Rating:  Recommended with reservations (because higher expectations will not be met)