Blogs

Review: Hitched to the Gunslinger by Michelle McLean

Because I avoid reading romance books with cowboys (just not my thing) I kind of put Western in that same category and never read it. Thankfully Entangled Publishing saw to rectify my mistake by sending me a book with a fabulous cover, awesome title, great blurb, and trapped me into reading it. And now that I've read it... I need the next one in the series!

Now that you know my history with Western Romances you will understand when I say I went into this book with zero expectations. In my mind I just had: "it sounds fun. It better have some humor". Boy did it have some humor! Gray "Quick Shot" may be good and quick with a gun, but the guy is the laziest man I've ever read about. I think there is talk of napping every three or so pages. And I don't mention that in a negative way, it's hilarious. Gray wants to believe he is retired from shooting people and all he wants is peace and quiet, preferably with a hot meal- the meal doesn't even have to be good. And considering our main female character is absolutely terrible in the kitchen, that is his only choice if he is to stay in the small town of Desolation.

Mercy was his opposite in almost every way. She doesn't have one lazy bone in her body and is a very intense character. She has opinions, questions, wishes, things to do, place to be... But she is a woman and one of her neighbors wants her land bad. Bad enough that although she is a tough cookie she might not be tough enough alone. Bad enough that having Mr "Quick Shot" around as her fake fiancé and then real husband is the only choice she has.

Their relationship was amusing. There was plenty of banter, sarcasm, and chemistry. All the secondary characters were entertaining as well. I need more, and so will you!

The Arbornaut: A Life Discovering the Eighth Continent in the Trees Above Us

Trees are fascinating subjects. I am obsessed with tree books and try to read all that I can find. But most of these focus on a tree's root systems or how they influence the forest floor to support life. Not many of these books delve into the canopy of these trees, until now. This is the subject of Meg Lowman’s book The Arbornaut: A Life Discovering the Eighth Continent in the Trees Above Us. Meg Lowman or “CanopyMeg” and the “real-life Lorax” as she is more affectionately known is an american biologist, educator and champion of tree conservation.  This book details the author's dual journey as she makes her literal ascent into the treetops and her rise to fame in a male dominated science community. 

The book starts with the author's childhood in rural upstate New York and how a love of wildflowers lead to a career in biology. The book goes on to chronicle how Lowman started her research studying the leaves in the canopies of Australian trees and then investigating the insects that were eating them. It details the moment Lowman made her own harness (out of an old seat belt) and started the first of countless journey’s into the crowns of trees. Loman also describes her experiences being an “aurbonaut” in the amazon jungle, in Indian forests with tigers and studying birches in the Scottish Highlands.The book also talks about Lowman juggling being a wife, mother and scientist at a time when that was not encouraged for women. Conservation is the main theme of the book and Lowman tells about many projects she’s a part of to get anyone and everyone, especially kids, outside. Lowman wants people to experience the canopies for themselves and does this by taking groups up into the tops of trees with harnesses, rope bridges and catwalks constructed in jungles and forests all over the world. These trips are to help people see the beauty and importance of trees in nature and understand the urgency to protect our remaining mature forests.   

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it to be very informative while being tremendously entertaining. A very interesting part of the book is the chapters in between Loman’s chronicles on different trees that are mentioned in the book to give extra background info on the likes of The Giant Stinging Tree and the Dark Red Meranti. Lowman talks a lot about tropical trees, which I found an interesting change from other tree books that focus on temperate forests of Europe and North America. My favorite part of the book is learning how much I didn't know about the canopies of trees. As Lowman describes “In the years ahead, treetop exploration would lead to the discovery that upward of half of all terrestrial creatures live about one hundred feet or more above our heads, not at ground level as scientists had previously assumed.” This book is a wonderful mix of memoir and nature and gives practical advice on being a positive contribution to the conservation of Earth’s forests. I would highly recommend this book for anyone and everyone who loves trees, nature and our incredibly amazing planet.

Review by Rachel Fowler

2022 Pacific Northwest Book Awards

The winners for the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association 2022 Northwest Book Awards have been announced. These books were selected from more than 400 nominated titles published in 2021 by a dedicated volunteer committee of independent booksellers. Have fun reading!

2022 Winners:

Cloud Cuckoo Land (also a Inklings favorite)

Anthony Doerr (Boise, ID)

Scribner

 

Funeral for Flaca

Emilly Prado (Portland, OR)

Future Tense Books

 

Iron Widow

Xiran Jay Zhao (Vancouver, BC)

Penguin Teen

 

Time is a Flower

​Julie Morstad (Vancouver, BC)

Tundra Books

 

Unfollow Me

Jill Louise Busby (Olympia, WA)

Bloomsbury Publishing

 

What Strange Paradise

Omar El Akkad​ (Portland, OR)

Knopf Publishing Group

Three Books to Fuel Your New Year's Resolutions from Inklings

It’s 2022 now and with the new year many of us look to the future by trying to better ourselves.  It’s an innately optimistic thing to do and we all need an extra dose of optimism these days!  With that in mind, we here at Inklings would like to share with you a few ideas for books that might help you fulfill your New Year's resolutions.  

Vogue® Knitting the Leart-to-Knit-Book

By Vogue® Knitting Magazine

Taking up hobbies is a popular resolution, and knitting is one of the most accessible ones there is.  Vogue® has been prolific in it’s knitting guides the past few years. The color photographs are chic and professional and the directions concise.  The book gives great instructions for all the basic stitches, cast ons and bind offs with photographs of each step using perfectly color coordinated backdrops so you can easily see the stitching.   

After instructing on the stitches the book offers patterns for some basic clothes ranking them from one to three by difficulty and displays them elegantly and stylishly.  This is a great book by writers that are obviously passionate about empowering their readers to create clothes they love with a personal touch.  

The Body Keeps the Score 

By Bessel Van Der Kolk M.D.

This book has been on our bestseller shelf almost all of 2020 and for good reason!  It is a lifetime of research into psychological trauma written into a poignant and emotionally stirring book.  This is a great read for anyone who feels like they’re not handling something from their past now and wants to change that.  It provides understanding of how trauma affects people differently, and explains how treatments for overcoming trauma have evolved over the past 50 years.  The written accounts of various therapy subjects will bring you to tears and will teach you how resilient the human mind is.  

The Shift - Powerful Mindset Changes for Lasting Weight Loss

By Gary Foster PhD

Written by the Chief Scientific Officer of WW (Formerly Weight Watchers) this book explains the mindset behind the success stories.  These mindset tools are honestly great for just about any task that is daunting or requires commitment.  Each chapter focuses on a separate tool, the first is Self Compassion.  The second is accepting setbacks.  The third is setting small specific goals.  The Fourth is identifying inner strengths and using them.  The fifth is appreciating your body (where you are right now).  The sixth is getting help from people around you.  The seventh (final) is experiencing happiness where you are right now.  

This isn’t a book with exercises and recipes, but it offers something potentially more important because it’s the lasting mindset that turns a new year's resolution into real change for the better.  This book is good enough that it could be used for weight loss but then take the same approach to write a novel or start a business.  

Happy New Year from the booksellers here at Inklings.  2022 promises to be a year of transition and we look forward to helping our readers navigate the changes of the coming year.  Remember, taking time to read more books is also a perfectly valid resolution!

 

Review by By Tony Hoffart

Review: The Expanse Series By S.A. Corey

The Expanse Series began 10 years ago with Leviathan Wakes.  Eight novels later it concludes it’s run with Leviathan Falls just as Prime is releasing the final season of the TV adaptation.  By those measures it’s been a successful franchise.  Should you read it now that it’s finished?

The series is science fiction, but also a political drama dealing with the consequences of humans suddenly finding the technological remnants of a long-dead galaxy-spanning alien race.  This is the core premise of all nine books of the Expanse series.  How would humanity react finding alien technology for the first time?  How would our first interstellar forays go if we were using alien technology we didn’t understand in order to do it?  

The story is told through the eyes of the crew of the space ship Rocinante, a set of humans that through stubbornness, dumb luck, moral conviction and a bit of talent manage to find themselves at the center of nine crises that alter the trajectory of humanity.  The peripheral characters own this series:  among them the tame psychopath mechanic Amos is a favorite in the novels (and the TV adaptation on Amazon Prime);  and Earth bureaucrat Chrisjen Avasarala who cusses like a sailor, her one unbreakable rule being that she won’t put children at risk.  Avasarala paid a political cost for that rule and feels she’s less likely to be seen as weak for it when she swears worse than the men.  

The stakes in the series are always as high as they come.  The fate of humanity always hangs in the balance.  Despite that, it doesn’t feel campy or contrived.  Humans living in little metal bubbles hurling around a vacuum while tinkering with unfathomable alien technology should be riding a knife’s edge from disaster.  

In summary, I loved the series.  It was great and I highly endorse it.  I wanted to take a moment though to discuss the merits of the TV adaptation alongside the books. The TV series gets the themes of the novels and that I feel is the most important part of any adaptation. The show makes changes to a few peripheral characters and storylines in the name of pacing but never messes with the primary plot points.  The final season is airing right now, and it’s looking like they won’t be able to cover the material from the final two books.  I can understand why they wouldn’t, the last books take place several decades in the future with the core crew as veterans on the edge of retirement.  I don’t mind this change because it makes the two IP’s fundamentally different.  You can finish the TV series and want to see where the author meant to take it from there and for that you can look to the books.  Enjoy both of them.  I certainly did.

Our Personal Favorite Reads in 2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunnflower Sisters: Print - Audio

This Tender Land: Print - Audio

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: Print - Audio

The Witch doesn't Burn in this One: Print - Audio

I Hate you More: Print - Audio

The Rogue of Fifth Avenue: Print - Audio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Darkness Outside Us: Print - Audio

Any Way the Wind Blows: Print - Audio

Outlawed: Print 

The Grapes of Wrath: Print - Audio

Captive Prince: Print 

I Wish You all the Best: Print - Audio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Paradise Built in Hell: Print 

Stranger than we can Imagine: Print 

Why Fish Don't Exist: Print - Audio

The Book of Longings: Print - Audio

Diary of a Young Naturalist: Print - Audio

Legends of the North Cascades: Print - Audio

The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin - Reviewed by Lisette Pietsch

When your power depends on the sun and the seasons that come with it, what will happen
when unpredictable weather threatens not just the shaders (non magical beings) but the witches
as well? Clara Densmore is an Everwitch, the first one in a hundred years. She is the only witch
alive who can control magic in each season. The fate of nature rests on her shoulders. But
being the most powerful witch comes with a price. Her magic seeks out the people she loves the
most and after the death of someone she loved, she refuses to get close to anyone again. Can
she learn to control her magic or will it continue to take everything she holds dear as the planet
she loves continues to die.
In a conversation with Clara, one of the characters says,“Never let anyone make you feel bad
about the things you’re capable of. Some will insist you step into the shadows to make them
more comfortable. But I’ll tell you a secret: there’s enough light for us all.”
This quote from the book illustrates the beautiful message of accepting who you are to the
fullest and not apologizing for what makes you spark. In dark times never forget, there is
enough light to shine on you.
Rachel Griffin does a breathtaking job of taking you through a journey of self-discovery and self-
acceptance. I love the idea of magic and being something extraordinary. The idea of being more
than can be intoxicating. This book does a beautiful job of showing the things we dream about
can come with burdens yet you should never give up on love and you should never give up on
yourself.
Whether you are a witch, a human, or anything in between, who you are greatly matters and
there is strength in accepting that truth.

Inklings Fall Bestsellers

It has become a little tradition of ours to share with the Yakima Herald Scene readers our Bestsellers at the end of every season. Our fall 2021 list has some great titles in it and many of them have also been read by one or more members of staff. In no particular order, here are the Bestselling books this fall at Inklings:

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman (Washington Square Press, $17.00)

"Looking at real estate isn't usually a life-or-death situation, but an apartment open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes a group of strangers hostage" (pub. marketing). Sue Domis here at Inklings says Anxious People was 'humorous and definitely entertaining'. It is interesting to see and explore how each individual involved deals with the same situation. None of the hostages are quite what they appear to be but all of them need to be rescued in some way. 

The Book of Hope: a Survival Guide for Trying Times by Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams (Celadon Books, $28.00)

Jane Godall and Douglas Abram explore the meaning of being human and of having hope.The book is a discussion between Jane and Douglas where Jane makes an argument for hope during difficult times. The book is somewhat a follow up to Abram's book released in 2016, The Book of Joy, which chronicled a conversation between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu- Hope and Joy, two things we all could have a little more of. 

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr (Scribner, $30)

In Cloud Cuckoo Land Anthony Doerr masterfully connects the life of five characters over hundreds of years through their relationship to a book. The book, Cloud of Cuckoo Land, tells the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to a utopian paradise in the sky. As these five characters get introduced to the reader, we learn how Aethon's story impacted their lives.

Fresh Brewed Murder by Emmeline Duncan (Kensington Publishing, $15.95)

In this novel we get to know barista Sage Caplin. Sage has high hopes for her new coffee cart, Ground Rules, until she finds the body of one of her very first customers in front of her cart. There are plenty of suspects, but who committed murder? To makes things worse, one of Sage's own box cutter is discovered as the murder weapon. Mystery lovers and coffee fanatics alike are bound to be enthralled with this story.

The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music by Dave Grohl (Dey Street Books, $29.99)

The Storyteller is Dave Grohl's self-written memoir. In it he let his love of music show from his childhood and his days in the business, primarily with Scream, Nirvana, and the Foo Fighters to today. The memoir is full of love, humor, and it has a good number of behind the scenes stories to keep the reader engaged and entertained. 

I Hate you More by Lucy Gilmore (Sourcebooks Casablanca, $14.99)

This one is for the lovers of dogs, dog shows, and romantic comedy. The book is packed with hilarious scenes involving the main characters and a very untrainable dog. Ruby grew up in the beauty pageant world and left it all behind a long time ago. But when one of the older ladies she cares for asks her to show her Golden Retriever at the upcoming Canine Classic show, she cannot refuse. The dog is hopeless, but when Ruby puts her mind to something nothing can stop her, not even the very handsome and also very infuriating Canine Classic judge, Spencer Wilson. 

Dune by Frank Herbert (Ace Books, $10.99)

It is not surprising at all that Dune, a 1965 sci-fi classic, is once again a bestseller. The new movie based on the book released this past October and as we all book lovers know, the book is better! So it has to be read. Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who moves with his family to the planet Dune and is forced into exile when his father's government is overthrown. "A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics" (pub.marketing)

Cooking Healthy by Elaina Moon (Healthy Eats Nutrition, $23.50)

Cooking Healthy was reviewed by a member of staff at Inklings a few weeks ago and we have been selling them faster than we can get them!

"Moon must be commended for putting together such a simple yet elegant cookbook. The “Cooking Healthy Cookbook” is perfect for individuals or families looking for a cost-conscious way to eat healthy, delicious food. Yakima is fortunate to have her expertise." JT Menard

Lastly we have Luke McCain Mysteries #1, #2, and #3 by Rob Phillips (Latah Books, $16.75 and $17.75) and The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse by Charlie McKesy (HaperOne, $22.99)

These titles have been in our bestseller list since they were released, Rob Phillips first book in 2020, and Charlie McKesy's book in 2019.

If you haven't gotten to it yet, the Luke McCain Mystery series is set in the Cascade Mountains and you will recognize many of its settings. The first book, Cascade Killer, has sold over 1000 copies just here at Inklings. This mystery series is entertaining, fast paced, and therefore a delight to read.

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse is one of those titles suitable for all ages and that makes a perfect little gift to just about everyone. This little work of wonder offers inspiration and hope in a time much needed. 

This Christmas give the gift of Books... Signed Books!

"Books invite us to explore distant galaxies, face our fears, find meaning in our lives, unlock our imaginations, and slip inside someone else's skin.

When you give someone a book, you're offering them an entire world." - Author Eliot Peper

To get your gift giving started this year we have Tamara Berry, Lucy Gilmore, and Kristin Vayden signing their books for us this December 11th. 

Tamara Berry is a cozy mystery writer with a humorous flair. Come for the murder, stay for the laughs. The first book in her Eleanor Wilde Mystery series, Séances are for Suckers, focuses on Ellie, a ghost hunter that does not believe in ghosts. Nicholas Hatford III knows very well Ellie is fake, but to appease his mother and get rid of the “ghost” causing havoc in his life, he flies Ellie to deal with his supposedly haunted family’s estate in England. Before all of that though, Ellie stumbles across a dead body. Now she has 2 mysteries to solve, can she?  

Lucy Gilmore writes fun and super funny romance books full of puppies and heartfelt stories. I Hate You More will have you laughing, that is just a fact. And if you love dogs? Even better. Ruby grew up in the beauty pageant world and left it all behind a long time ago. But when one of the older ladies she cares for asks her to show her Golden Retriever at the upcoming Canine Classic show, she cannot refuse. The dog is hopeless, but when Ruby puts her mind to something nothing can stop her, not even the very handsome and also very infuriating Canine Classic judge, Spencer Wilson. 

Kristin Vayden has 5 children to chaice but somehow finds time to write historical romance masterpieces. Fortune favors the Duke is as beautiful as it is sad. Quinn Errington becomes the Duke of Wesley solely because of a tragic accident that took his brother's life, and now he has to leave the life he loves in Cambridge behind and move to London to manage things. Catherine lost her fiancé (Quin's brother) and we find her grieving at the beginning of the book. She slowly comes out of her shell and it turns out she has a very strong and present personality. Through grief and healing (and some other challenges along the way) they find happiness again. 

See you on the 11th! And if you can't come, just order online. All orders placed before the event will be signed. 

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