2019 Book Reviews: Colorado Between the Pages

By Julie Simpson –

We all love stories that highlight the strength of the human spirit, whether truth or fiction. The crash victim who survives and thrives despite injuries, the captive escaping an abductor or the pioneers who survive those first early years on an unforgiving prairie all serve to remind us of the power we might have in ourselves to persevere and overcome the obstacles we face.

This year, in the pages of the Colorado books recommended here are stories, both fiction and true, focused on the power to keep going even when things look impossible. See a book (or books!) that interest you? Enter our monthly contest for your chance to win. Click here to enter.


Freefall
By Jessica Barry

It begins with a plane crash. A beautiful girl, Allison Carpenter, is the lone survivor, and must trek through the Colorado Rockies toward rescue…and away from the dangerous men pursuing her.

When Allison’s mother, Maggie Carpenter, receives the news that her daughter has been in a plane crash and is likely dead, she hasn’t spoken with Allison in over two years. A tragic loss tore them apart, and now it seems she has no chance to reconcile with her only child. Maggie can’t stop thinking about the mysterious details surrounding the crash and the circumstances that made her daughter the only passenger on an expensive private jet. Her attempt to learn who Ally had become leads her to the dangerous world in which her daughter was entangled…and convinces her that Ally must still be alive.

An excellently crafted story featuring two believable and indomitable female characters, Freefall manages to be both an epic thriller and a deeper story about the unbreakable love between mother and daughter. To uncover this awesome read, search it out online or at your local bookstore.

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No Exit
By Taylor Adams

Darby Thorne is just another Colorado college student, trying to drive home to see her dying mother when a mountain blizzard strands her at a highway rest stop. The biggest concern on her mind is making it home before her mom goes into surgery. But then she sees the girl, trapped in a cage in the back of a van in the parking lot.

Only four other people have also been stopped here by the blizzard. Which one of them is the kidnapper? With the highway shut down and plows not predicted to come through until morning, Darby knows she’s on her own. It’s up to her to identify the criminal, rescue the girl, and somehow escape. If only it were that simple. In the course of a single, terrifying night, Darby’s rescue mission becomes a mission just to survive.

Brutal, twisted, and original, No Exit is a gore-filled, realistic thriller that will keep you from sleeping until you’ve read the last page. If you love a good nail-biter, find this riveting novel online or at local retailers.

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The Healer’s Daughter
By Charlotte Hinger

For recently freed slaves in the Reconstruction South, Nicodemus, Kansas, sounds like the Promised Land, a place where blacks no longer have to suffer under the rage of their defeated former masters and now neighbors. Nicodemus is a chance to start anew, to make something all their own. It is this promise of renewal that takes the beautiful healer Bethany Herbert to the plains of Kansas.

But once she arrives, Bethany is dismayed to see that Nicodemus was just another white man’s trick to take advantage of desperate former slaves. The resources they were promised are nowhere to be seen, and Kansas is an unforgiving place to scratch out a living. Still, with their grit and determination, the people of Nicodemus manage to create a stable settlement…only to have their success become a lightning rod for the schemes of the jealous neighboring white communities.

Can the handsome lawyer Jed Talbot help Bethany keep Nicodemus from falling apart? And if the town survives, can the people move from mere survival into true freedom, even from the slavery of their own bitterness, personified most strongly by Bethany’s own mother?

Fort Collins author Charlotte Hinger has written a moving story of perseverance with both historical significance and narrative interest. For a book with romance, mystery, inspiration, and unique historical insight, find The Healer’s Daughter at bookstores or online retailers.

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Spearhead
By Adam Makos

When it comes to World War II history, many people know about D-Day and the great victory it achieved by establishing an Allied foothold in Axis territory. Fewer people know the details of how the war was won after Americans landed, at great cost, on the coast of France. A pivotal component in the march across Europe was Spearhead: the heavily armored tank units that battled their way through enemy-held land at the expense of many of their lives.

Colorado author Adam Makos spent years researching, traveling, and interviewing the remaining veterans who were a part of those armored divisions. His extensive collection of knowledge and firsthand accounts allows him to put readers right in the tank and on the battlefield of those soldiers’ collective memories, complete with the smells, feelings, weather, landscapes, and gory images of their war. The result is an inspiring, fascinating, and utterly human true story of the boys who won the war by fighting for each other and their own survival. Find this great read of victory against the odds at your local bookstore or through an online retailer.

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But My Brain Had Other Ideas: A Memoir of Recovery from Brain Injury
By Deb Brandon

Deb Brandon’s life was just as she wanted it, with a successful career as a math professor, a stable marriage, and two teenage kids. All that changed the day she was diagnosed with cavernous angiomas: malformed blood vessels in her brain that had the tendency to leak and cause strokes and even death.

Even when they weren’t leaking, the list of debilitating symptoms was long: dizziness, loss of balance, vertigo, and the terrifying “shut downs” that happened when Deb’s senses were overwhelmed by too much sensory input. Multiple brain surgeries were conducted to extend her life but left their own medical complications in their wake.

In this movingly honest and bitingly humorous memoir, Deb Brandon articulately captures what it looks like to have your life turned upside down by a permanent disability. Readers with their own medical journeys will be encouraged in knowing they aren’t alone, and everyone else will gain a better perspective on disability and how to support a friend with a permanent medical condition. Look up this inspirational and well-written book online or at local bookstores.

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The Art of Inheriting Secrets
By Barbara O’Neal

Reeling from the death of her beloved mother and struggling to balance a successful career with her personal life, Olivia Shaw is thrown even more off-balance when she becomes the inheritor of a centuries-old English estate. Despite her already-complicated life, Olivia decides to travel to England in order to unravel the mysteries of her mother’s past.

Though she knew her mother was from England, Olivia had no idea she was the heir of an ancient and troubled history stretching back hundreds of years. Rosemere Priory may have once been grand, but it has since fallen under the shadow of rumors and time’s decay. Despite the challenges and the secrets, Olivia finds herself falling in love: with the house, the village, and the person who was her mother. But can she juggle all these complicated parts of her life and decide what she really wants before it’s too late?

A beautifully written tale of family, love, secrets and self-discovery, The Art of Inheriting Secrets by Colorado Springs author Barbara O’Neal is a perfect read for lovers of mystery and romance alike. Uncover this great novel at your local bookstore or online.

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The Glass Forest
By Cynthia Swanson

Mrs. Angie Glass doesn’t know much about her husband Paul when she marries him, only that he is very handsome, that she loves him, and that she is pregnant with his baby. Their life, to her, seems idyllic: just him, her, and their son living in a small Wisconsin cottage on the shores of Lake Michigan. Then they receive the call telling them that Paul’s brother Henry has committed suicide, his wife Silja is missing, and their teenage daughter Ruby is alone.

Angie and Paul travel to New York to sort things out. To Angie, it seems a straightforward task of managing Henry’s funeral and nurturing Ruby as her new mother figure. But within the walls of their curious glass house, Angie starts to uncover the truth of the real Glass brothers. What she learns undermines everything she thought she knew of her husband’s family, and even her own marriage.

With The Glass House, Colorado author Cynthia Swanson has crafted a disturbing novel about the broken lives that sometimes hide behind attractive faces and suburban normalcy. Uncover this thrilling story at your local bookstore or online retailers.

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Church of the Graveyard Saints
By C. Joseph Greaves

Addie Decker once swore never to return to her family ranch outside of Cortez, Colorado. She’s had enough of small towns and small town thinking since she’s been ‘enlightened’ by her California professor and boyfriend, Bradley. But her grandmother died, and she has to attend her funeral. Besides, Bradley has work in the area with his environmental protection group.

What Addie doesn’t know is that she’s walked right into a war between landowners, townspeople desperate for jobs, and oil and gas operations. Her ex-boyfriend is in the middle of it all, and Addie finds herself torn between who she used to be and the person she has tried to become. If she’s not careful, whatever choice she makes may turn out to be deadly.

Colorado author C. Joseph Greaves has written a timely novel in the burgeoning eco-thriller genre, addressing through fiction the real clash between small towns, large business interests and environmental protection organizations. This book can be ordered at torreyhouse.org.

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Girls on the Line
By Aimie K. Runyan

Ruby Wagner has been groomed her whole life to be one thing: a Philadelphia society lady. But when World War I breaks out and her beloved older brother is killed in action, a fire is lit in Ruby to do something more valuable with her life than just look pretty and act polite.

She becomes one of the “Hello Girls,” the invaluable female radio operators deployed to France to manage the all-important communications array of the Allied forces. But even with her sharp wit and extensive skill, Ruby must struggle to earn respect in the male-dominated Army sphere. Not only that, but she must also struggle against her growing feelings for a certain medic named Andrew Carrigan, feelings that contradict her status as an engaged, high-society woman. Can Ruby and her crew survive the darkness of war? And if she does make it out, can she make the choice between remaining independent or going back to the comfortable life she’s always known?

An enjoyable novel based on the true story of the Allied “Hello Girls,” this historical fiction by Colorado author Aimie K. Runyan is a great weekend read. Find it online or at your local bookstore.

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Arches Enemy
By Scott Graham

In the morning calm of Arches National Park, one of the famed arches collapses, crushing a woman under a huge chunk of stone. Was the woman’s weight atop the arch enough to make it crumble? Or did a nearby oil survey seismic truck cause the arch to break?

Chuck Bender and his family are camping at the park as he works at uncovering a newly-discovered archaeological marvel. Against his will, Chuck finds himself tangled in the investigation of the arch collapse while also trying to complete his contract and navigate the troubled waters of introducing his family to his mother. Then when another death occurs, he knows there is more going on than a string of terrible accidents. Can Chuck avoid becoming the next victim of an unknown killer on the loose?

A well-written whodunit by Durango author Scott Graham, Arches Enemy also includes a wealth of interesting information about the oil industry, native peoples, the national park system and the town of Moab, Utah. For a good page-turning mystery, look up this book online or at your local bookstore.

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Her Kind of Case
By Jeanne Winer

A gay man is beaten to death at a local park, and a group of skinheads is arrested for the murder, including one 16-year-old boy. Criminal defense attorney Lee Isaacs will do her best to defend him whether he’s innocent, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, or truly guilty of a heinous hate crime. It’s her job to fight for her client.

But the more information she manages to uncover about the boy, the more of herself she invests in his case. She needs to win, not just because she believes he is innocent and indeed himself a victim who will die in prison, but also to prove to herself that even though she’s getting older, she still has what it takes to claim victory against the odds.

Former attorney and Colorado author Jeanne Winer writes with equal parts heartfelt compassion and sharp legal understanding without lapsing into either sentimental political rhetoric or obscure lawyer jargon. This well-written novel, which received a Kirkus Starred Review, humanizes and reveals the workings of one part of the justice system in a disillusioning and somehow also encouraging way. For a superb legal read, find this book at local bookstores and online retailers.

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The Last Letter
By Rebecca Yarros

Ella learned how to take care of herself and her twins, Colt and Maisie, after their father left her, her parents passed away, and her brother Ryan left for war. On her own, she built the Telluride guest ranch given to her by her grandmother into a successful business. Still, she finds enormous comfort and encouragement from the letters she exchanges with a member of her brother’s unit, who she only knows as Chaos. Especially after Maisie is diagnosed with cancer, Ella leans more and more into her kind and understanding pen pal. Then she gets the news that Ryan has been killed, and the letters from Chaos abruptly stop. She assumes both of them are dead.

Beckett shows up at the guest ranch, partly because he wants to see the woman who captured his heart through her letters, and partly because Ryan charged him to take care of Ella and not let her be alone. But he knows that if Ella discovers that he’s really Chaos, and how he’s responsible for her brother’s death, she would never forgive him. He cares for her and the twins the best he can, but as he falls more and more in love with Ella, it gets harder and harder to keep the secret that will end his chance to be with her forever.

While a bit emotionally overwrought, this book provides a classic steamy, tear-jerking love story in the same grain as Nicolas Sparks. Find this novel at local bookstores and online retailers.

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The Mad Hatter’s Son
By Helen Starbuck

The last thing Annie Collins expected was a call from her old college friend Libby Crowder. Though they were once close, artist Libby had married a rich husband while nurse Annie had stayed decidedly independent. But when Libby reaches out because of poor health, begging Annie to come work as her personal nurse, Annie finds it hard to refuse.

Libby’s doctors are convinced that she is suffering from simple grief after a miscarriage, but Annie finds her friend’s symptoms odd and more serious than she first supposed. Is Libby crazy or is there really something more going on? Annie’s investigations, instead of turning up nothing, lead her first to a suspicious beating, then one death, then another. But are these events connected, or just coincidences? And can Annie hold herself together long enough to uncover the truth?

Colorado author Helen Starbuck won a National Indie Excellence Award with this debut novel. Mystery lovers will thoroughly enjoy the twists and turns of her classic whodunit story. Find it at local bookstores or online retailers.

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Forgiveness Road
By Mandy Mikulencak

One bright, sunny morning, 16-year-old Cissy Pickering takes a loaded handgun from her parents’ bedroom and shoots her father dead in the driveway. The motives brought to light reveal that Cissy has been sexually abused by her father for years and killed him out of a desire to protect her sisters from the same fate.

With consideration for the circumstances, the judge sends Cissy to a mental hospital instead of prison, but to Cissy’s grandmother Janelle Clayton, the situation remains horrendously unthinkable. Her daughter, Cissy’s mother, refuses to forgive Cissy for killing her husband, so it falls on the terminally ill Janelle to try to help Cissy as best she can. It is this love for her granddaughter that drives her to kidnap Cissy from the hospital and attempt to take her somewhere safe. But will a road trip be enough to heal them, or only send them closer to the darkness?

Though the plot promises more emotional weight than it delivers, this novel by Colorado author Mandy Mikulencak is still a compelling read about healing and family ties. Find it online or in local bookstores.

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Slay in Character
By Lynn Cahoon

Cat Latimer is hosting yet another writers’ retreat at her bed and breakfast, and this group of ladies seems intent on sniffing out a real-life drama to spice up their writing. Mystery finds them when, after visiting the ghost town of Outlaw, Colorado, one of their own is accused of murdering a fellow college student who worked at Outlaw as a play-acting saloon girl.

Despite the protestations of Cat’s uncle, the sheriff, Cat and the group can’t help but try to find evidence that might exonerate their fellow writer. But with rich investors, jealous boyfriends and the mob involved, the ladies might have bitten off more than they can chew. Can they uncover the truth before one of them becomes the next victim? Find this latest installment of the Cat Latimer mystery series at bookstores or online retailers.

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Flights of Fancy
By Jen Turano

Isadora Delafield’s life as an American heiress is fun and carefree. Until, that is, an elderly and terrifying duke with a mysterious past threatens to blackmail her into what will surely be a terrible marriage. To avoid his henchmen, Isadora must leave her life of wealth behind and become Izzie, a young woman with no credentials looking for work as a housekeeper.

Ian MacKenzie can tell right away that Izzie is completely unqualified to be the housekeeper of his estate, but with aging parents and new foster children under his roof, he needs all the help available. Despite her obviously spoiled past, Izzie begins to find herself through difficulty, and Ian is drawn to her stubborn, caring personality. But will the evil duke, and mysterious threats to Ian’s estate, threaten to destroy them and everything they love?

Colorado author Jen Turano has produced another lighthearted historical romance with Flights of Fancy. Find this and her other books online and in local bookstores.

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Raining Love in Hermosa Valley
By Sharon McAnear

When Addie Gist receives her first teaching posting in rural Hermosa Valley, Colorado, she is determined to start off her career on the right foot. Unfortunately, that means strictly following the antiquated requirements of the school board: no wearing colors, no riding in a wagon with a man not your relative, and certainly, absolutely, no courting.

Addie has no interest in derailing the job she worked so hard to get because of a man. That is, until she meets the very kind and very handsome Emory Hall on the train to Hermosa Valley. Can Addie keep her feelings from jeopardizing her work? And if she has to decide between true love and her calling to teach, how can she ever choose?

For a light and fun romantic read, find this third installment of the Waiting for You series online or at your local bookstore.

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Mann in the Crossfire
By R. Weir

Private Investigator Jarvis Mann has faced down some pretty bad guys in the past and managed to make it through in one piece. Mostly. But when he gets word that an old friend was murdered in San Diego, a man he thought close-to-impossible to kill, Jarvis wonders if this case might be the one to take him down.

Still, Jarvis flies to sunny California to find out what happened and who is responsible. Along the way, he comes up against a violent gang, a wealthy arms dealer, international assassins, and a rival detective agency (or is it?). Will Jarvis be able to survive long enough to unravel the mystery?

A sort of less-cultured James Bond, Jarvis Mann’s devil-may-care attitude makes another appearance in this, Colorado author R. Weir’s eighth novel. Look up this whodunit through online retailers.

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The Last Night Out
By Catherine O’Connell

Six girlfriends and a bride-to-be have a doozy of a bachelorette party in Chicago. The bride-to-be wakes up with a stranger in her bed and no memory of the last hours of the night before. Then she finds out that one of her girlfriends was murdered sometime after she remembers parting ways with her the night before.

That begins the countdown to the wedding. There’s a murder to solve and the bride’s guilt to deal as this story by an Aspen-based author unrolls to an unexpected twist. It is all a fun romp through big city life with young professionals who care about each other and worry for their futures. Find the book online or at local bookstores.

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Kill Zone
By Kevin J. Anderson and Doug Beason

This high-tech thriller by two prolific Colorado Springs authors takes the plausible, but dangerous scenario that the government is secretly holding high-level nuclear material deep inside a mountain in New Mexico. When a small plane crashes at a nearby military base causing a lockdown throughout the facility, an inspection team gets trapped in the midst of their work. Their only way out is deeper in the mountain, through a perilous, secretive area no one was every supposed to discover.

This novel is especially scary because it is so believable. These two award-wining writers have crafted another not to be missed read.

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Tracking Game
By Margaret Mizushima

When a local landowner is found thrown from a burning van, the questions start with why did he have two gunshots to the heart before the van exploded. Local deputy Mattie Cobb and her faithful canine partner Robo are quick to search for answers.

The investigation leads them to a local ranch, where everything is not as it seems. There are connections and affections that are being hidden. But, before an arrest can be made, another shooting is reported and this time Mattie and Robo are confronted by an ominous growl. But what is it? Did it play a role in the murders? What danger really does lurk in the mountains around Timber Creek, Colorado?

Tracking Game is part of the Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries written by award-winning Colorado author Margaret Mizushima.

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Unforsaken
By John Dwaine McKenna

The year is 1901 and the Old West is only a memory as the new century starts full of promise…for some. Others are still hooked to the past, including Ella Stringfellow, who is searching for her missing brother. She’s not the only one looking. Boyd Pirtle, a Texas Ranger with a score to settle from an old unsolved case, is trying to solve a 20-year-old murder. The two paths cross as it becomes obvious that they are looking for the same man. The trail to him twists through a conspiracy that could affect the entire nation.

For those who love westerns filled with gritty characters and don’t mind graphic violence, this tightly-written book by a southern Colorado award-winning author makes a good read.

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Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grandparents
Edited by Amy Newmark

The latest installment of the popular series, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grandparents has collected 101 heartwarming and hilarious stories about grandparents, grandkids, and the wonderful journey that is grandparenting, including one by Coloradan Gwen Cooper. Find this book, online or at your local bookstore.

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Chicken Soup for the Soul: Life Lessons from the Dog
Edited by Amy Newmark

Do you or someone you know love a precious pooch? Then this collection of 101 short stories about dogs from the popular Chicken Soup for the Soul series is perfect for you. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll cuddle with your dog. And as a bonus, all royalties from this book’s sales are being donated to the American Human Society. Three Colorado authors, Suzanne Kurth, Gwen Cooper and Linda Kinnamon, all share dog stories that will make you smile. Find this and other books in the series online or in bookstores.

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Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country
By Pam Houston

A restless wanderer with a broken past, Pam Houston stumbled on the ranch for sale near Creede, Colorado. At that time, she was a budding writer with all her belongings in the back of her lemon yellow Toyota Corolla. The ranch has had a hold on her heart for the last 26 years, despite her struggle to make the payments, the extensive travel requirements of her job, the challenge of ranch-sitters, and the threat of violent wildfires.

In Deep Creek, Houston’s summation of her relationship with the land touches on many themes, among them the idea of home, stewardship of our natural resources, and how communion with a particular landscape can change the landscape of a soul. Both memoir and essay, environmentalist exposition and personal examination, this book serves as a well-written monument to the immense importance and influence of nature on a life.

Though some readers might not appreciate some of Houston’s political asides, most would agree this book is very timely in an age where natural spaces are disappearing and we are spending less and less time outside. Find this great read online or at your local bookstore.

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Nighthawk Rising: A Biography of Accused Cattle Rustler Queen Ann Bassett
By Diana Allen Kouris

Few people characterize the sheer grit of early Colorado settlers more than Ann Bassett, the lady rancher nicknamed “Queen” for her elegance and imperious demeanor. The first white baby born in the area close to Utah known as Brown’s Park, Ann was raised wild and fearless on the back of a horse as she helped her family with the cattle. Though her life included tragedy and heartbreak, her determination and presence made her a force to be reckoned with by the big cattle barons, and a story not to be forgotten by those who came after her.

Diana Allen Kouris is a distant relative of Ann Bassett and has compiled the most detailed, accurate, and well-written history of the Bassett family to date. For a fascinating true story of the early days of Colorado, find this book online or at local retailers.

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Poker Alice Tubbs: The Straight Story
By Liz Morton Duckworth

When it comes to tales of the Wild West, it can sometimes be difficult to separate legend from fact. This is especially true in the story of Poker Alice. Did she really have seven kids? How old was she, really? Duckworth does her best to track down the truth about the life of this fascinating woman.

Even without tall tales, Poker Alice led an interesting and unconventional life as a female gambler. Following gold rush fever from boomtown to boomtown, she made her own independent living off the losses of the men at her table. For an almost-unbelievable glimpse into the past, find this book from Colorado’s Filter Press online or at area retailers.

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The Younger Next Year Back Book
By Chris Crowley and Jeremy James, DC, CSCS

Millions of Americans suffer from back pain, but the causes are usually pretty simple. Poor posture, lack of core strength, and improper ways of moving the body can all contribute to back pain. This book, under the guidance of Aspen chiropractor Jeremy James, offers solutions to 80% of back pain through illustrated exercises, stretches, and tips. If you or someone you know has suffered from back pain, pick up this book today at your local bookstore or order online.

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Mountain States Medicinal Plants
By Briana Wiles

If you’ve ever been curious about the medicinal uses of Rocky Mountain plants, then this comprehensive guide is a great place to start learning. Organized alphabetically by plant with beautiful, full-color pictures, this book makes it easy to identify medicinal species. The author also includes helpful tips for avoiding poisonous plants, which plants to collect in which season, and how to prepare the plants into salves, teas, and tinctures. Find this helpful and beautiful resource at bookstores or online retailers.

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Wellness Toolbox
By Don Roberts

Don Roberts is a fitness and nutrition specialist living in Durango. In this helpful book, he offers readers what he offers his in-office clients: a clear and concise guide to reaching their fitness and weight goals. Including sections debunking fitness and nutrition myths, exercise tips, and a look inside Don’s fridge and pantry, this book is a wonderful resource for anyone looking to improve their health. Find it online or in your local bookstore.

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FEATURED ON OUR RECIPES PAGE:

The Mediterranean Diabetes Cookbook
By Amy Riolo

November is a time when folks say farewell to mild weather and welcome the colder temperatures with comfy sweaters, woolen socks and visions of turkey dancing in their heads. It’s also National Diabetes Month, a month that brings additional awareness, fundraising and research information to the forefront. One way to help manage diabetes is through a heart-healthy diet, and several American Diabetes Association-approved cookbooks are available to guide us, including The Mediterranean Diabetes Cookbook by Amy Riolo. It features a wide range of healthy recipes you’ll be eager to eat. In honor of Diabetes Month and Thanksgiving, we gathered a group of delicious dishes you can dole out for a heart-friendly turkey day smorgasbord. Visit our Recipes page to find our picks.
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CHILDREN’S BOOKS FEATURED IN OUR DISCOVERIES SECTION:

The Little i Who Lost His Dot
By Kimberlee Gard, Illustrated by Sandie Sonke

Little i is excited to join his alphabet friends at school, but when they stare and gasp, he realizes he lost his dot! They try to help him replace it with an acorn, a balloon, a clock and so on, but nothing seems right. Then Little i’s dad comes to school and shows him that he can still be an i, even without his dot.

This cute and brightly illustrated book perfect for kids ages 3 to 6 can be found online or in bookstores.

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An Inconvenient Alphabet: Ben Franklin & Noah Webster’s Spelling Revolution
By Beth Anderson, Illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley

After the United States became a nation, Benjamin Franklin and Noah Webster worked together to try to make sense of English, the most nonsense language ever. Silent letters, double letters, two letters together that make a new sound? It was all too complicated to make sense of, much less teach to American citizens coming from all over the world. Their endeavors eventually resulted in many spelling changes and an important book: Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language. Find it online or in bookstores.

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Can Princesses Become Astronauts?
By Carmela LaVigna Coyle, Illustrated by Mike Gordon

This cute read features short, rhyming sentences and adorably hilarious illustrations, all encouraging both princesses and princes to dream big when it comes to what they might want to do with their lives. Most of all, it teaches that no matter who you are, the most important thing is just being yourself.

Perfect for kids of all ages, this book by Colorado author Carmela LaVigna Coyle can be purchased online or at your local bookstore.

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Nadya Skylung and the Cloudship Rescue
By Jeff Seymour, Illustrated by Brett Helquist

Ships traveling from port to port carrying precious goods, avoiding pirates and battling through storms may sound like a familiar story, but this adventure isn’t set on the open sea. Instead, it takes place in the sky with the plucky Nadya Skylung, one of several orphans rescued by Captain Nic of the cloudship. An engaging and creative story for kids and adults alike, this book is most appropriate for readers ages 8 and up. Find it online or in bookstores.

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