Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Across the Desert, by Dusti Bowling

Okay, it's official:  I'm a Dusti Bowling fan.  The first book I read by her was "The Canyon's Edge."  It's a beautiful, heartbreaking novel in verse, and I loved it—even though I'm not a huge poetry fan.

"Across the Desert" is a prose novel, and Dusti Bowling has shown that she can do both and do them well. 

And yeah, maybe the premise is a little hard to swallow, but just swallow it.  You'll thank me later.

I loved the characters.  The writing was engaging. 

I loved the setting.  I'm an Arizonan who loves the outdoors, and it's nice to see our deserts represented in a kid's book.  I'm not familiar with the Alamo Lake area, so I can't speak to Bowling's accuracy there, but she accurately portrayed the central Arizona summer heat (and didn't add to the myth of the summer desert suddenly plunging to freezing temperatures overnight).  My main criticism of "The Canyon's Edge" was that some of the Arizona-ness of it seemed exaggerated to the point of inaccuracy, which made for a good story but kind of bothered me.  In this book, I felt she painted a much more realistic picture of our desert and the real obstacles and dangers the main character would face. 

The plot and pacing were good.  The situation just kept going from bad to worse.  I cared greatly (and worried about) what would happen to the characters.

All in all, a great read.   Now I'm going to have to read everything else she's written.

More accurate rating—more like 4.5 (But a high 4.5)

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Another squirrel friend

This squirrel entertained us each morning outside our room at Kohl's Ranch, near Payson, Arizona.  So cute.  And so very intent on eating as much as possible.  

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Willow Springs Lake, Arizona

This is beautiful Willow Springs Lake, on the Mogollon Rim near Payson, Arizona.  

And here's our little friend:

We went on August 13, straight from Phoenix where we'd had record heat for a record length of time (30 straight days of 110 or more, record number of days above 115, nights with lows of 97)  

 So when we got to the lake, we got caught in a monsoon.  The wind was blowing something fierce, and we got wet and...COLD!!!  It was amazing, being cold. 

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Other Birds, by Sarah Addison Allen

I really enjoyed this:  interesting setting, engaging writing, a slight supernatural element.  I happily rooted for the characters. 

I did find it somewhat unrealistic how fast the found family formed and how tight their bond was, but I was enjoying it so much that I just suspended my belief.  The part with the bad guy at the end also felt like a bit of a stretch.  But it wasn't hard to just go with it.

Overall, a warm and gentle read.

I will certainly read other books by Sarah Addison Allen 

More accurate rating:  4.5 stars