JUNE PAGE TURNERS: Fiction and nonfiction reviews by Janet Oliver, LOL contributor

I love reading and promoting authors. But sometimes I feel I’m a bit behind the eight ball because I do not receive the books prior to their release dates. While I have my favorite authors, I try to focus on debut authors that are new to the publishing world. Twitter allows me an opportunity to touch base with many authors—established and new. This month I’ve provided some of both for readers’ perusal.
Also, I want to encourage the LOL audience to get involved with my column first-hand. I’m open to ideas and recommendations for review. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter at @LovelyThingsNC or vis the Livin’ Out Loud website at www.livinoutloudmag.com (click on “reach us” in the upper right hand corner).
Happy reading!

FICTION
A Muddied Murder
By Wendy Tyson
It’s almost time to harvest the garden, and sit back and enjoy summer. I therefore recommend the first in the Greenhouse Mystery Series by Wendy Tyson. I really enjoyed the characters: Megan Sawyer,attorney turned gentleman’s farmer; Denver, the Scottish vet; and Bibi, Megan’s grandmother. Together they solve a murder mystery, after one of their own town’s people is killed over a historical find. Perhaps a buried treasure lies beneath Megan’s family farm barn that dates back a few centuries. No matter, Megan is determined to make her farm and café successful, regardless of all the mayhem.
And, really, what’s a murder without pygmy goats, chickens and Gunther, the Polish Tatra Sheepdog? It’s a great read and moves along at a perfect pace. I look forward to reading the second Greenhouse Mystery: Bitter Harvest.

NONFICTION
Not a Perfect Fit
By Jane A Schmidt
A few months ago I wrote on the importance of reading various parts of books, such as the preface. Well,the one in “Not a Perfect Fit” is especially important.
In her first novel, Jane Schmidt talks about her adventures of living in rural Wisconsin with her many fur babies. For many years she was a fitness instructor, who, later in life, learned her second love: the outdoors. Her novel reveals all about how she came to live in her small white house with no privy, running water or heat, and endured the bitter winters off grid. With a big heart and positive mind, Jane treks the Isle Royale trails near her home with her dogs and friend, Dane. She has numerous farm animals to keep her company and enjoys daily what many of us awkwardly struggle to fit into our lives: walking with nature. Here, Jane finds solace from the stresses of life. Laugh and think about the bounty Jane has created in her minimalistic world of tranquility.

eBook Recommendation
I have read several Elinor Lipman books. I selected her latest, “On Turpentine Lane,” which I loved. Lipman is a versatile writer who brings her characters to life with real problems and flaws. Take Faith Frankel, for example. In “On Turpentine Lane,” Faith writes thank you letters for her alma mater and enlists alumni for donations. Her cheap fiancé—who chooses not to provide a ring—is on his life discovery trek across the country, which he documents on his FB page. But when Faith buys a sweet little two bedroom dollhouse and takes in her homeless office mate, her world changes.
This is a cute novel with just enough challenges that keeps the reader cheering for a happy ending. I loved it.
Featured Author of the Month
Watching someone die is devastating. Watching a child die in your arms is a horror that will never leave you. “Outlaw Platoon” by Sean Parnell is his story of the US Army’s 10th Mountain Division sixteen month tour in the mountains of Afghanistan. The story is the personal account of Lieutenant Sean Parnell’s tour in Hindu Kesh. Readers will get a good glimpse of the brutal and hostile war as told in pure raw honesty. Parnell takes you on a mission to limit enemy supplies along the Pakistani border. On the edge of nowhere an interpreter manages the language barrier. But who can you trust in a culture where lying is the norm? This is no place for feelings. No place for the innocent. War is hell. LOL
Janet Oliver is a retired librarian for NHC Public Library. Follow her on Twitter: @LovelyThingsNC