Monday Mash-Up #047 December!!

It’s December!!

Along with all the holiday cheer, this month also rings in another birthday for me…..no, I won’t share how old I’ll be turning, so no need to ask!¬† ūüėÄ

I’ve been working on some new blog ideas for 2020, including monthly themes and more in-depth reviews.¬† I am also narrowing down my “finalists” for this year’s edition of The Good, The Bad, and The Bizarre, which I will unveil after Christmas.

Even with the Thanksgiving holiday last week, I was still able to sneak in some reading time…….

The Week in Books

Lost in Hardyland by Shannon Heuston — 3.5/4 out of 5 stars

Although I found this listed under adult fiction, it read more like a middle grade or early YA so I based my rating on that.  The narrator, a super-smart 12/13 year old, loses her mother and goes to live with the father she never knew.  Of course, dad is the total opposite of the solid, intellectual deceased mom so there is a giant learning curve with the characters.  Overall I liked it, but by the end the characters were starting to get on my nerves.

Near Death in the Mountains:¬† True Stories of Disaster and Survival¬† edited by Cecil Kuhne — 3 out of 5 stars

All the stories are excerpts from longer works, and because of that there are times when the narrative starts in the middle of a scene and the reader is left wondering how things got to this point.  I recommend skipping this one and reading the original versions, especially Touching the Void by Joe Simpson and Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home by Nando Parrado.

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley — 3 out of 5 stars

Precocious Flavia de Luce is back, this time for a Christmas-themed murder mystery.  Not a bad, quick little read, but really, how does Flavia get away with so much crime scene tampering?!?

The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman — 2.5 out of 5 stars

Because I am stubborn and I hate giving up on books, I finally made it to the end after nearly four months.¬† Am I glad I did?¬† No.¬† While I give Newman credit for creating a new dialect for this post-apocalyptic story, I felt this dragged down my reading experience.¬† Instead of getting caught up in the action, I felt bogged down by the translation.¬† And the ending was one of the most unsatisfying ones I’ve read in a long time.¬† Don’t feel bad if you skip this one, I kind of wish I had.


Enjoy your week, and Happy Reading!!

Nonfiction—Gold Rush Dogs

Gold Rush Dogs by Claire Rudolf Murphy and Jane G. Haigh

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Dog lovers and history buffs will delight in this collection celebrating the beloved canines that offered companionship, protection, and hard work to their masters in the Far North.

I came across this little coffee table-style book at the library book sale and the dog-lover in me knew I just had to have it.  And it did not disappoint!

These are the stories of some of Alaska’s more well-known dogs from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.¬† There’s Stickeen, the small but brave Tahltan bear dog who accompanied naturalist John Muir on many of his Alaskan adventures;¬† Patsy Ann, the homeless bull terrier who greeted the incoming ships at the Juneau seaports until her death in 1942; Togo and Balto, both having their parts in the famous serum run of 1925; Nero, the loyal Saint Bernard devoted to his mistress; and several others.¬† The stories are short but well-focused on the faithfulness and tenacity of these amazing canines.

There are side stories about some of the historical figures like John Muir, Soapy Smith, and Scotty Allan, as well as  historical notes and breed information.

And the photographs!!  These by far are the best thing about the book!!

At only 119 pages, this is a quick glimpse into some of Alaska’s lesser-known history, a great little read for a cold winter afternoon.¬† Highly recommend.

“Any man can make friends with any dog…but it takes a long time and mutual trust and mutual forbearance and mutual appreciation to make a partnership.”¬† ¬†From¬†Gold Rush Dogs,¬†page 46

5 out of 5 stars!