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Worth Reading

The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride

by Daniel James Brown

April, 2009

$25.99 in Hardcover

This is truly the most gripping account of the Donner Party that I have ever read. Unlike the many historical accounts available, Brown tells the story from the perspective of recently married, 21-year-old Sarah Graves Fosdick, who, along with her young husband, travels west with her family toward California. At the leadership of George Donner, they begin their journey much too late in the season, and find themselves in the Sierra Nevada mountains just as winter arrives. Brown takes us on each harrowing step of Sarah’s journey through her eyes: the unfathomable hardships and horrors of hypothermia, death and cannibalism. Everyone knows the story of the Donner Party, but Brown takes it further, actually traveling himself the same route as Sarah did, weaving in historical, scientific, psychological, physiological and forensic information as he goes. For example, the 32 day trip that Sarah and others made on foot to seek help could now be accomplished in less than two hours by modern vehicles.

I loved this book and literally couldn’t put it down until it was finished. I found the scientific perspectives that Brown supplies to be riveting, and instead of just finishing the book with the statistics of how many were lost and how many survived, Brown tells about Sarah and each of the other survivors and gives as much information as is available about how each lived their life and eventually died. Another interesting tidbit: Brown is a descendant of Sarah Graves, and this familial relationship is what spurred his research and this exceptional book into being.

Cemetery Dance

by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

May, 2009

$26.99 in Hardcover

This is another installment in the FBI Special Agent Pendergast and Lieutenant D’Agosta series. With the usual supernatural plot that Preston and Child are famous for, this book is another winner! In this novel, news reporter William Smithback, Jr. and his wife, Nora Kelly, an archeologist (both characters that we met in previous books), are brutally attacked in their Manhattan apartment. Eyewitnesses and the apartment building’s security cameras confirm that the assailant is a neighbor. The twist is that said neighbor has been dead and buried for weeks before the attack! Pendergast and D’Agosta must investigate a cult of Obeah and Voodoo worshippers, from which no one has ever emerged alive. With Preston and Child’s trademark twists and turns, this is “The Zombie Meets Sherlock Holmes,” and a great book to keep you up at night! If you’re a Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child fan, you won’t be disappointed.

Flip! For Decorating: A Page-by-Page, Piece-by-Piece, Room-by-Room Guide to Transforming Your Home

by Elizabeth Mayhew

April, 2009

$24.00 in paperback

This is a fun and unique decorating book by "Today Show" lifestyle expert Elizabeth Mayhew. Like other decorating books, it offers such tips as the fundamentals of color, using window treatments and decorating with what you already have. What makes this book so fun and different is that as you flip through the upper right-hand pages you actually see the progress as four rooms receive an instant makeover. Also to the book’s credit, Mayhew gives “reality checks” for your rooms, handy shopping tips to save time and money, and informative sidebars for a quick and easy jolt of new personality for those areas that are giving you trouble in your quest to make your home your castle. A great housewarming gift!

Loving Marley

by Donald Hassler, Sara Hassler and illustrated by Carol Newsome

October, 2007

Children’s ages 4 to 8

$14.98 in hardcover

This great book was the winner of the Mom’s Choice Award as a Gold Recipient. For the Barker family, it is love at first sight with the adorable pug puppy they name Marley. But in this book they find out through that adopting a new pet is a lifelong commitment and a big responsibility. The Barkers learn that even when Marley has stinky puppy accidents in the house or chews up a favorite belonging, that they still love him and that his welfare and the way that they treat him is important. This is a wonderful book for parents and children alike who are thinking about adopting a pet into their family. A great instructional book promoting pet care and responsible pet ownership, this book shows that caring for and loving a pet is for that pet’s lifetime and that pets are not expendable. Newsome’s beautiful and realistic watercolor illustrations make the book even more endearing. Being an avid pet lover and involved in animal rescue, I LOVE this book! Great for any child who is going to get a pet or who already has one.

* Lisa Craft is owner of the Blue Heron Book store in Casper.

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