Fiction and nonfiction reviews by Janet Oliver, LOL contributor

This is the time of year when families come together, no matter the challenges. Airports will spill over with unhappy children (and adults), as flights are delayed, and waiting is frustrating. Travelers using mass transit or driving on overcrowded highways can find the Thanksgiving holiday demanding yet rewarding. So this month take an intermission just for yourself and try reading something from the selections below. Traveling or not, be safe, and enjoy your mouthwatering meal.
Happy reading!

FICTION
“The Woman in the Camphor Trunk”
By Jennifer Kincheloe
Living in a single-ladies apartment building in Los Angeles, Anna Blanc is financially broke and her “well to do” socialite father has removed her from his home and payroll. Anna works as assistant matron for the Los Angeles Police Department and has solved a few murders successfully—something with which her male coworkers are uncomfortable. Anna has become a thorn in the side of Central Station. Whether it is a severed head or a missionary left to decay in an apartment; will Anna solve the murders?
“The Woman in the Camphor Trunk” is due out this month. The second of the Anna Blanc series, it’s written by a relatively new author, Jennifer Kincheloe. I hope you will enjoy.

NONFICTION
“She Sheds: A Room of Your Own”
By Erika Kotite
I told my husband I wanted a “she shed” (a place just for the woman of the house to call her own). He very nicely suggested I use our “unused” living room. I heard the term “she shed” earlier in the year. I wanted to know what all the hype was about, so I was very excited to discover Kotite’s fantastic book, with more ideas than any lady can imagine.
Imagine an outdoor haven just for you to read, sew, exercise, meditate, use as a planting shed, or … well, the possibilities are endless. It your new oyster—go with it. While the pictures tell a thousand stories, the content is spot-on. You will learn so much and be able to challenge your inner design skills, not to mention discover some hidden woodworking abilities along the way. If you have some tools you have never attempted to use, or want to bone up on learning a new device, this book is the book for you.
So if you have a dilapidated or unused shed in your backyard (or even an old playhouse), go with “She Sheds: A Room of Your Own” for inspiration on how to trasnform your own space.
Enjoy your new zone! Meanwhile, I will be in my living room debating on how to redecorate.

eBook Recommendation
The more I read “Farm City” by Novella Carpenter, the more I loved the book. I admit: I subscribe to Mother Earth News where I imagine a small farm with loads of animals and acres of produce—minus the work, of course. However, to read about her city farm in the ghetto of Oakland, CA, was an education. The references Ms. Carpenter uses in her book are a librarian’s dream: books on raising rabbits, pigs, and how to grow produce in abundance. Ms. Carpenter writes about her experiences as a city farmer over the course of a few years. Taking on the task of raising animals and food on a deserted lot, located a half a block away from home is gutsy; she refers to it as “squat-farming.”
Can you imagine dealing with stray animals, predators, and neighbors who do not understand the joy and time invested in taking on this chore?
In building her city farm, Ms. Carpenter dumpster-dives for discarded bread, cheese, meats, and vegetables to feed her animals, while putting in endless hours properly fertilizing her garden. I learned in the pages of “Farm City” the greatest reward for all the hard work is the richest and most flavorful foods. I hope you enjoy reading about her struggles and blissful bounty; it is a great read.

Featured Author of the Month
Recently, an author’s relative contacted me from Brunswick County and alerted my attention to a fascinating book. Living on the coast, we endure hurricanes. They can be devastating and leave us questioning why we live so close to the ocean where Mother Nature can wreak havoc. But what about the destruction by the hand of humans? The carnage caused by human hands wrecks our lives daily. On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza massacred 20 children and six adults in Newtown, CT, at Sandy Hook Elementary School. To honor those lost souls, one man who was questioning his own moral quest decided to create a project to honor the victims and begin a healing of communities.
William J. Lavin and a group of volunteers known as the “Angels’ Army” founded the Where Angels Play Foundation to build playgrounds dedicated to those 26 victims. In his book “Where Angels Live Work and Play,” Lavin has documented the builds, and people who are responsible for promoting and funding the projects. Though the initial project of building 26 playgrounds has long been completed, Lavin continues to build in the US, Canada, and currently is expanding to Rwanda in East Africa.
Mr. Lavin will be relocating to the Brunswick area in the future where I am sure you will read more about the efforts of the Angels’ Army and foundation. For more information visit whereangelsplayfoundation.org. LOL