All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque


Paul Baumer is unprepared for the horrors he endures fighting for Germany in WWI. How does war change him? Can he survive when strategy and bad luck kill so many?

Paul and his friends are likable youth thrown into horrors. The costs of war are unflinchingly and vividly portrayed. Paul’s group hauntingly shows why the Lost Generation came to be: “we are not youth any longer. We don’t want to take the world by storm. We are fleeing. We fly from ourselves” (87). All Quiet on the Western Front offers a look at WWI and the horror of war.

Want more books like All Quiet on the Western Front?

Jean Dartemont is horrified by what he experiences during WWI and makes a stand in Fear: A Novel of WWI by Gabriel Chevallier.

Members of the French Sixth Battalion struggle to survive the horrors of WWI in Under Fire by Henri Barbusse.

Check out memoirs of soldiers who served during WWI such as Memoirs of an Infantry Officer by Siegfried Sassoon.


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Something Different: the Spur Award

Curious about Westerns, but not sure about finding a good one? One way to find some of the best is to check out winners and finalists of the Spur Award. The Spur Award was created by the Western Writers of America to recognize the best literature focusing on the American West. The Spur Award recognizes different types of fiction and nonfiction focusing on the American West (“About” section of the Western Writers of America website).

The Spur Award offers a variety of Westerns. When I felt like a quick and action packed read I found The Secret of Lodestar by Tim Champlin. When I wanted a longer and thought provoking read I found Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. To find a great Western, click here to check out the Spur Award winners and finalists on the Western Writers of America website.

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The Empress Game by Rhonda Mason


Princess Kayla turned pit fighter to hide from the empire that wants her dead. Winning the tournament to pick the empire’s next empress, the Empress Game, could gain freedom for her and her people. Can Kayla defeat the skill and treachery of the Game’s other contestants?

The game is a deadly mixture of pit battles and complex politics. Kayla’s people potentially having a nanotech plague cure creates political suspense and moral complexities. Kayla’s loyalties are challenged by the bond she develops with the honorable and handsome Empire agent Malkor. The Empress Game offers science fiction, suspense, and some romance.

Want more books like The Empress Game?

An attempt to prove her lover innocent of murder places an engineer in the midst of a conspiracy in The Cold Between by Elizabeth Bonesteel.

Edie’s skills with nanotech could free the Fringe if secrets and forced alliances don’t get her killed in Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy.

Lt. Promise Paen must face dangerous secrets when invasion threatens the world she left long ago in Unbreakable by W.C. Bauers.


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The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher


Captain Grimm serves Spire Albion as a peerless privateer until one costly battle. Albion’s ruler offers a deal: repairs for one dangerous mission. Can Grimm and a motley group defeat a threat bent on destroying Albion?

Pragmatic but compassionate Grimm must protect a brave and entertaining group. There’s a mad wizard, an imperious warrior cat, and novices whose bravery could get them killed. The enemy, psychotic Lady Cavendish, causes shivers as she dispenses horrors and enjoys tea. The Spire world has steampunk, hidden horrors, and intricate politics. The Aeronaut’s Windlass offers fun steampunk, danger, and an interesting fantasy world.

Want more books like The Aeronaut’s Windlass?

A pair of British agents seeks love, creates mayhem, and faces off against a villianous Thomas Edison in Dawn’s Early Light by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris. (Click here to read my blog post on Dawn’s Early Light.

A plan to steal an airship puts two conmen in the midst of a chilling commodore’s coup in Steal the Sky by Megan E. O’Keefe.

Want another tale featuring soaring Spires, danger, and battles in the sky? Young Kirit must take on the secretive and powerful Singers or lose everything in Updraft by Fran Wilde. (Click here to read my blog post on Updraft.)


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Once a Ranger by Dusty Richards

New sheriff Phil Guthrey has plenty of lawbreakers to tangle with. There are horse rustlers, a greedy rancher grabbing land, and a grisly murderer. Can the Texas Ranger turned sheriff handle them all?

Guthrey doesn’t let low odds of success stop him from seeking justice. Other characters include an Apache raised Mexican who joins Guthrey’s force as a deputy. The story takes place in Arizona in the 1870s giving Guthrie the chance to visit rough Tuscon and Virgil Earp’s Tombstone. Lucky clues, stealth, and determination help Guthrey and his deputies bust lawbreakers. Once a Ranger offers a quick paced story of a sheriff battling lawlessness in the West.

Want other books like Once a Ranger?

A new sheriff is determined to end the range war in Doubtful or die trying in Blood Valley by William W. Johnstone.

A Pinkerton turned sheriff battles to bring a killer to justice before his town erupts into chaos in Once a Lawman by Peter Brandvold.

Want to learn about real sheriffs and the lawbreakers they fought? Check out books like With Badges and Bullets: Lawmen and Outlaws in the Old West edited by Richard W. Etulain.


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Something different: travel from an armchair


Interested in traveling the world through the written word? Want books about a particular place? Book Lust to Go has you covered.

Librarian Nancy Pearl specializes in knowing books and matching them with readers. (The first entry I wrote for this blog was about a book Nancy Pearl recommended.) Book Lust to Go is from 2010, but filled with good books. Countries, cities, and travelling itself are covered in over 120 quick and interesting entries. Recommendations include travel memoirs, different types of fiction, and more. Book Lust to Go offers fascinating books about places around the world.

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The Magicians’ Guild by Trudi Canavan


Sorea throws a rock to spite the Magicians’ Guild- and learns she has magic! The powerful Magicians’ Guild claims they want to train her, but can they be trusted? Will this girl from the outcasts take a place among the rich and powerful?

Sorea is a reluctant protagonist whose loyalty to her fellow ‘dwells’ could change her society. Ambitious Ceryni, cruelly cunning Fergun, and others also have their parts to play. The dwells are filled with poverty and the Magicians’ Guild with power, but both are intriguing and dangerous. The Magicians’ Guild offers a female outsider with strong talents cast into danger in an interesting world.

Want more books like The Magicians’ Guild?

Dar battles magic and treachery in hopes of gaining freedom in Queen of the Orcs: King’s Property by Morgan Howell.

Kirit must dare the treachery of the Singer’s Spire or die a Lawsbreaker in Updraft by Fran Wilde. (Click here to see my blog post on Updraft.)

Agnieszka is the only one who can save her beloved valley from malicious magic in Uprooted by Naomi Novik.

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