2014 Book Reviews

There are many great Colorado-connected books recommended in the 2014 list of best books. With riveting mysteries, heartwarming romances, adventurous stories, kids books and more included, there is at least one book for everyone to love in Colorado Country Life’s 2014 list of best books.


All Are Family

Marissa Bloom, author
Matt Kaufman, illustrator
A sweet picture book that shows how all families are unique but still share love, respect and empathy. A worksheet at the end lets young readers add a picture of their own special family. Find this book at some local and most online bookstores.


The Spirit Tree

Marilee J. Ross
A special tree cut down in a right-of-way being cleared by the electric co-op finds its way back to its special spot in the forest. The Spirit Tree can be purchased in local bookstores and online.





Around Granby

Around Granby
Penny Rafferty Hamilton
A history of this Grand County community, complete with historic photos, this book is available at local stores and at arcadiapublishing.com.




Super Broncos: From Elway to Tebow to Manning

Super Broncos: From Elway to Tebow to Manning
Woody Paige and Mike Klis
Two sportswriters look back at the Denver Broncos’ last season and at one of football’s most beloved franchises. This book can be found at bookstores and online.




Really Important Stuff My Dog Has Taught Me

Cynthia L. Copeland
Life lessons from man’s best friend for dog lovers everywhere. workman.com

Tough Men in Hard Places

Esther Greenfield
Historic photos take readers back to a time when men and machines battled unforgiving terrain and unknown challenges to bring electricity to southwestern Colorado. graphicartsbooks.com

Worthy of Trust and Confidence

By Donald Brewer
(TotalRecall Publications, $19.95)

Cousins Maggie, Stephen, and Lizzie meet a leprechaun in their grandparents’ attic who gives them a key to the magical Mousegate in Walt Disney World. When they step through the door, they’re swept into the exciting history of their family’s past. Secret Service Operative Will Scott and his friend Miguel must root out an advanced counterfeiting operation in the mountains of Colorado. With the help of Eddie Donnally in the Washington field office and Lisa Butler, an attractive local rancher, they begin to track the excellent fake bills back to the source. But the deeper they go, the higher they realize the scam reaches, perhaps all the way to Washington. Can Miguel, Eddie, Lisa and Will expose the conspiracy before the criminals make their break? Or will the crooks manage to kill them all before they can share what they know?

The story would have been better written as a straightforward historical fiction without the Mousegate time travel, but it is full of interesting details from the experience of the author, retired Secret Service agent Donald Brewer. Search out this novel at totalrecallpress.com.


Survival on Green Mesa

By Tim Deal
(CreateSpace Independent, $12.50)

The worst-case scenario has happened: Terrorists have attacked the United States power grid, and the whole nation has collapsed. No electricity means no food, medical care, or infrastructure. And for two families in Colorado, it means a fight for survival.

When they’re separated from their families in the wake of the disaster, teenagers Colin, Gannon, and Tye must find food and water and avoid the bad buys while trekking through the mountains toward their summer cabin. They meet up with Gert and her dog Cheyenne, and despite all odds the crew makes it to their destination. But the cabin is destroyed, and they decide to continue to Mesa Verde. Can the foursome survive the winter in the bare shelter of the ancient Puebloan kivas?

Though this book is written for young adults, disturbing and violent content might not be appropriate for some readers. The overall story of endurance and courage, however, sends the inspiring message that even teenagers are capable of amazing feats. Find this first novel by Colorado author Tim Deal at major online retailers.


Insects in the Infield

By Nancy Oswald
(Burro Books, $8.95)

Buster loves baseball — maybe a little too much, by the look of his math grade. But how can he care about division when his team, the Cougars, needs to concentrate on beating those no-good bullying Pirates?
It doesn’t help that Buster’s little sister Maggie is a complete “brainiac” and keeps bugging him with her…well, bugs. Her insect zoo is a real pain, until Buster lets her help with the team fundraising carnival and the tiny critters make a big impression. Maggie also agrees to help Buster with his math homework, and things start to look up. But Maggie’s bugs can’t help them win against the Pirates. Will the Cougars be able to defeat their long-time rival?

The classic boyhood baseball story takes a unique and educational turn with the addition of a little sister and her insect zoo. Find our more about this great book about sibling support at nancyoswald.com. Buy it at online and local bookstores.


The Secret of Ferrell Savage

By J. Duddy Gill

(Atheneum Books, $15.99)
Ferrell Savage has a secret: He really wants to eat meat. For his strictly vegan family, though, this would be a crime next to murder. He’s never questioned this dietary rule much…that is, until he finds out why his family might be so afraid of a nice rare steak.

It turns out that Ferrell is the descendant of the infamous Alferd Packer, a Colorado man who ate his fellow travelers when their group was trapped in the mountains. Not only that, but it turns out his best friend and secret crush, Mary Vittles, is descended from one of guys Packer ate.

To top off Ferrell’s horrible secret-uncovering week, Bruce Littledood is angry that Ferrell got more attention at the Big Sled Race and threatens to tell everyone about his cannibalistic family unless Ferrell agrees to race him again. Can Ferrell race Bruce down the treacherous hill without running into a tree? And can Ferrell have a taste of meat and remain himself, or will he turn into a people-eating monster?

A meaningful story about how our identities are not predetermined by the past, The Secret of Ferrell Savage is a hilarious book sure to be enjoyed by all ages. Find this book at online and local retailers.



The Miner’s Cap

By Ann N. Black
(Pinehaven Press, $13.99)

The coal mining town of Tabasco, Colorado, is home to Joe Mantonio and his Italian immigrant family. Like most other boys, he loves baseball, hangs out with his best friend Eddie, and has a crush on the pretty Welsh girl in his class. But unlike most other boys, he has a front row seat to the hardships faced by the coal miners of Colorado.

Things are bad in the mines, but they have to get worse before they get better. When the miners strike, Joe, his family and all the other strikers’ families are sent to live at Ludlow, little more than a freezing, muddy tent colony. As the strike stretches on, tension only keeps growing, and soon shots are fired. Will Joe and his family be able to escape the fire fight and enjoy the benefits their suffering has won? Or will the fight for workers’ rights tear their lives apart?

The Miner’s Cap is an educational, yet entertaining, retelling of the true story of the Ludlow Massacre just over 100 years ago. Realistic without being too grisly, this book is appropriate for a wide range of ages. Look it up at major online retailers.



Playing Nice

By Rebekah Crane
(In This Together Media, $11.99)

Martina Hart has a perfect life. Good grades, nice clothes and involvement in all the right clubs, she’s on a life track of success that has been set for her by her parents from the day she was born. And she has never questioned that life…until Lily Hatfield comes to school.
Lil likes wearing black, smoking cigarettes and swearing, but despite their differences, Marty can’t seem to write the new girl off as a troublemaker. Lil always says what she means, so different from Marty’s suffocating training to always put a smile on, no matter how she actually feels.

The more time Marty spends with Lil, the more alive she feels. But the more Marty finds herself, the more complicated her life becomes. Can she negotiate between what everyone else wants her to be and what she knows to be true in her heart?

An edgy and uplifting story of friendship and growing up, Playing Nice wonderfully captures the timeless story of a teenager trying to shape her identity in a world determined to tell her who she should be. Great for older teenagers and adults, this book by a Colorado author is available at online and local bookstores.



Walking Durango: History, Sights, and Stories

By Peggy Winkworth

(Durango Herald Press, $11.99)If you’ve ever wished you had a personal tour guide of Durango, then this little book is for you. Conveniently sized to fit in a purse or pocket, Walking Durango takes readers through the history, sights, and main attractions of one of Colorado’s most interesting towns. Along with a walking map and true stories from history, the book includes colorful photos and a visual scavenger hunt that encourages visitors to notice the small but beautiful details of this historic town.
Perfect for families or individuals, Walking Durango has something educational and entertaining for all ages. To embark on your Durango adventure, look up this book at durangoheraldsmallpress.com



Ignited Hearts Inspiring Hope

By Stories of Women
(CreateSpace Independent, $15.95)

Every life is a story. Some are of hope, others of loss, most a mixture of both. But every story deserves to be heard, and every story offers the potential for healing and understanding not just for those who hear it, but also the teller.

It is this power of stories that led Allison James, Carla Marie Toth, Eva Montane, Felicia Hubbell, and Sally Zabriske to form Stories of Women LLC and publish their book, Ignited Hearts Inspiring Hope. A collection of inspiring true stories from women of all ages and walks of life, this book stands as testament to the strength and beauty in the story of even the most ordinary woman. The authors hope that in sharing their stories and reading those of others, women will be encouraged to see the beautiful masterpiece that is their personal experience. To share in the mission of this project, find more about this book at storiesofwomen.com and order it from online bookstores.



Despite This We Stay, Volume 1: Critters, People and the Land

By Carol Dunn
(Morris Publishing, $12.50)

Only locals can know how difficult it is to live in a place. And only locals can complain about these difficulties, yet still love that place with all their hearts.

That place for Carol Dunn is Huerfano County, Colorado. Despite This We Stay, an aptly-named collection of some of Dunn’s columns in the Huerfano World Journal, certainly documents that the area has its share of difficulties. From ferocious biting bugs to stubborn, spiny weeds, blighted soils to unrelenting winds, there is so much that makes this section of the state is anything but hospitable. And yet, the people who live here not only put up with it, but downright love their slice of Colorado.

A delightful, humorous record of how those who most love a place often complain about it every day, Despite This We Stay is a must-read for anyone who loves (and occasionally hates) their own piece of our beautiful state. Find this book at major online retailers.



And Life Comes Back

By Tricia Lott Williford(WaterBrook Press, $14.99)

When Tricia Williford imagined her life in the future, she pictured happy years with her husband and two sons and decades of peaceful, ordinary living in Colorado. But when her husband dies suddenly from an undetected infection, she has to find a way to adapt to her drastically different horizons.

Painfully honest and open, Tricia records her poignant story of tragic loss, grief, anger and recovery of purpose and hope after dreams have been shattered. For readers who are suffering through their own tragedy, this book offers hope without requiring those mourning to move past their grief as if nothing was ever lost. Rather, Tricia provides an example of moving on without forgetting, of healing without ignoring the scars.

This book is also a wonderfully insightful read for those close to someone hurting, teaching them what to do and what not to do and say to someone in beset by tragedy. Since few of us escape loss or at least knowing someone who has lost, this book is a must-read for everyone. For a story of faith in the midst of grief, find this book at waterbrookmultnomah.com and major retailers.



Wings For My Flight

By Marcy Cottrell Houle
(University of New Mexico Press, $24.95)

When Marcy Cottrell Houle became a wildlife biologist, she never imagined that her work would make her one of the most hated people near Chimney Rock, Colorado. Her first project as a graduate student tasked her with watching the peregrine falcon pair that nested on the rock, what at first seemed to be a boring and lonely job. But protecting the severely endangered species meant closing off tourist, archeological, and mining interests, and the local community was extremely antagonistic toward Marcy’s work.

In a candid, funny, and poignant memoir, Houle writes about her first year with the Chimney Rock falcons. She provides an intelligent and balanced perspective on species conservation and the value each creature holds for the human race beyond economic interests. Beautifully written, this true story not only entertains but also teaches readers about the history and amazing comeback of the American peregrine falcon. Learn more about Wings For My Flight at unmpress.com.


Rope Burn

By Bruce W. Most
(Custom Book Publications, $21.95)

Nick DeNunzio is running away from his past without a destination in mind. He only stops in Wyoming because his car breaks down. But then the locals find out that he is a former cop, and he’s recruited by a group of ranchers who want to stop the latest rash of cattle thefts.

Nick takes the job, needing the money to fix his car, though he knows nothing about ranching. What he does know, however, is that the cattle-rustling story of this community runs deeper than anyone is willing to talk about, particularly when it comes to the disappearance of the last suspected thief, Jack Hooker. The more he digs, the less this case seems to be about simple cow theft. But will he be able to get to the bottom of the mystery before the community shuts him out…or before the ghosts of the past track him down?
Rope Burn is an entertaining neo-Western complete with riding and romance mixed up with a classic police mystery. This book is available at major online retailers.


From a Dead Sleep

By John A. Daly
(BQB Publishing, $19.95)

The residents of Winston, Colorado, have never liked Sean Coleman. A drunk and a troublemaker, Sean is the town laughingstock for his overblown imagination and hero complex. So when he tells the sheriff’s office that he saw a man kill himself on Meyer’s Bridge and then drop into the river, he’s front page news again for all the wrong reasons.

Sean knows what he saw, though, and he’s not letting it drop, even if no one is taking him seriously. The suicide of the blond man in the black trench coat is too odd not to be connected to something bigger going on in the sleepy town. But Sean doesn’t realize just how dangerous that larger conspiracy might be until it is too late and his search for answers turns into a fight for his life.
An epic thriller with a memorable, unorthodox main character, From a Dead Sleep is the first novel of Colorado author John A. Daly. For a riveting read, find this book at bqbpublishing.com and major retailers.


Lost Contact

By Joan Carson
(Crown Peak Publishing, $17.95)

Lauren Reese hasn’t seen Jack Kelly since their dating days in college. He is as handsome as ever when she catches sight of him in the Aspen airport, but he seems agitated and preoccupied, unlike the carefree young man she once knew. She starts to understand why when his small plane reportedly crashed and he is presumed dead, only to then show up on her doorstep, very much alive, and asking for her help.

Jack believes someone from his military contract company is trying to kill him, and Lauren readily agrees to travel to Texas in order to get the information he needs. But does she really know this man she dated so long ago? Is she helping an old flame find justice, or is she assisting a murderer on the run?

Dramatic and steamy, this action-adventure romance by Colorado author Joan Carson keeps readers frantically turning pages to the end. Look up Lost Contact at crownpeakpublishing.com.


Broken Trust

By Shannon Baker
(Midnight Ink, $14.99)

The kachina has followed her to Colorado. Nora Abbott has no idea why a Hopi spirit would come to her when she’s in Boulder and no longer in Arizona, when the whole terrible business with tainted ski resort snow and the deaths of her husband and an innocent girl are finished, but there it is in front of her as she climbs in the mountains above Boulder.

Nora only begins to understand when things start to get fishy at her new seemingly wonderful job at Loving Earth Trust. The old accountant turns up dead, money is missing from the accounts, and a board member has connections with an oil company that wants to destroy a rainforest in South America. Could the slithery Sylvia, the trust’s pampered scientist, actually be working on a way to damage, not help, the environment? And more importantly, can Nora get to the bottom of all these mysteries before another innocent person, or the planet, gets hurt?

A classic who-dunit with a modern eco-terrorism twist, Broken Trust has enough plot surprises to keep readers guessing until the end. Colorado readers will also enjoy the apt and hilarious descriptions of the Boulder setting. Find this mystery at midnightinkbooks.com.


The Dig: In Search of Coronado’s Treasure

By Sheldon Russell
(University of Oklahoma Press, $16.95)

With dogged footsteps now lost under the shifting sands of time, Coronado once traipsed across the American plains in search of gold. Though he lost countless men to thirst, hunger, disease and Indian arrows, he never succeeded in redeeming his honor with a single shining nugget.

Jim Hunt also knows the sting of disgrace. After relationship problems make his archeology graduate school grades drop and he loses his scholarship, he’s sent to the tiny town of Lyons, Kansas, to assist their laughing stock of a museum with a dig. Everyone assumes the site is a Wichita Indian campsite, but perspectives start to shift when an ancient piece of Spanish chain mail is uncovered…and when the museum director is murdered. What does town’s wealthiest landowner have to do with the site? And what secrets are really buried under the sands of Lyons?

Follow the parallel journeys of Coronado and Jim Hunt in Sheldon Russell’s exciting novel, The Dig, by digging up this book at oupress.com.


Killing Custer

By Margaret Coel
(Berkeley Prime Crime, $26.95)

A busy town parade. A George Custer impersonator, unwelcome so close to the reservation. A group of traditionally festooned Arapahoe warriors that surround the Seventh Calvary historical reenactors. And when the confusion clears, a body in the street.

White police and spectators are quick to conclude that the Arapahoe warriors are repeating history, once again killing Custer, or in this case, the man who wanted to be Custer. But Father John O’Malley and lawyer Vicky Holden aren’t so sure; and they certainly want to avoid the panic and additional lives lost that will certainly occur if the residents of the reservation feel backed into a corner, accused before proven guilty. This Custer might have only been an impersonator, but the war between whites and Indians that his murder could bring about will be all too real.

John and Vicky know that something else besides the old wounds of the past is at the bottom of this murder. But will they be able to figure it out before the murderer gets to them?

Yet another intriguing Wind River Mystery from Boulder’s Margaret Coel, Killing Custer is a nail-biting read for any murder mystery or Western history fan. Join Father O’Malley and Vicky Holden in the quest for the killer by finding this book online and at major retailers.


Marblestone Mansion 6

By Marti Talbott
(CreateSpace Independent, $11.95)

Now back at Marblestone Mansion in Colorado, Hannish and Leesil MacGreagor get to work setting things in order after their long absence in Scotland. Their clansmen’s daughters are running amuck, the servants are squabbling, and a friend in town has recently married a man of dubious character.

Their friend’s new husband, Douglas Swinton, comes under even more suspicion when Patella Green accuses him of being the father of her child, and then is murdered in her bed. Is this Swinton really a shady character, or do the MacGreagors only distrust him because he is their main construction business competition? And how is he connected to a member of their household? Is it a secret that will disrupt a budding romance?

Find this sixth installment of the Scandalous Duchess Series by Colorado author Marti Talbott at major online retailers.


Marblestone Mansion 5

By Marti Talbott
(CreateSpace Independent, $10.95)

Hannish MacGreagor and his family are excited to travel back to Scotland to see their family. Living in Colorado is wonderful, but it can be lonely to live so far away from their native land. Leesil MacGreagor must help her newly married sister Cathleen adjust to life as a noblewoman, and Hannish must help his brother Cameron negotiate the minefield that is British society life.

As complicated as these tasks seem, things are about to get even more complicated when the local gossip takes an unwelcome interest in Hannish’s first wife, the infamous duchess. Will the inquest accuse Hannish as a bigamist, or will the MacGreagor clan be able to prove that the fault lies in the horrible duchess and her endless string of rich husbands?

Find this fifth installment of the Scandalous Duchess Series at major online retailers.


JFK: The Umbrella Conspiracy

By William Penn
(Pegasus Imprimis Press, $19.95)

Conspiracy theories concerning the assassination of President John F. Kennedy abound. Who killed the president? Che Guevara, the communist revolutionary? American mobsters tricked by Kennedy’s father? Or maybe military forces wishing to end the President’s leanings toward pacifism?

Super-spy retirees Buck and Dolly Madison are handed a lead on yet another theory: The Umbrella Conspiracy. A British millionaire on his deathbed tells them that he and his wealthy friends set the assassination in motion to make the Kennedy family pay for their Hilter-supporting, anti-Semitic role in World War II. He tasks Buck and Dolly with uncovering the truth: did the funds of the Umbrella Society really cause the murder of a president, or did some other force get the job done first? But with al-Qaeda on their tail, will the Madisons find their answers before their enemy finds them?

Though this story often bogs down in complicated theories and an abundance of detail, William Penn’s latest installment in the Buck and Dolly action novel series is certainly creative. Get to the bottom of this book by a Grand County husband and wife writing team at buckanddolly.com. Order the book at online bookstores.


Colorado Noir: Stories from the Dark Side

By John Dwaine McKenna
(Rhyolite Press, $16.95)

Two homeless men die in an icy river under a bridge. A man’s life is destroyed by the irresistible temptation of a beautiful emerald green car. A cat seems to predict who will die next in a lonely nursing home. All these stories and more fill the pages of Colorado Noir.

In this collection of short stories, Colorado author John Dwaine McKenna sets his fictional characters in the real places of downtown Colorado Springs. Some tales are gritty enough to be horribly true, depicting the difficult lives of those scratching out an existence on the frozen streets. Others are too fantastical to believe, but still succeed in capturing the evil in the hearts of all men.

For a glimpse into the dark side of Colorado, find this book at johndwainemckenna.com and major retailers.


Patriarch Run

By Benjamin Dancer
(Old Man Press, $11.99)

Billy barely remembers his father, who left suddenly when he was only a small boy. So when the man shows up outside of his high school one afternoon, Billy hardly knows how to react.

Things only get stranger when the father he thought he knew kills the men in suits and black cars who seem to be chasing them everywhere. Then Billy’s mother is kidnapped, the sheriff is murdered, and their small Colorado town is invaded by more men in suits.

Who is Billy’s father, really? And why do so many different black-ops organizations seem to want him dead? Can Billy answer his questions and stay alive long enough to save those he loves from a violent death?

This novel has a unique style that can be difficult to read at times, but the plot manages to grip the reader all the way until the heart-pounding ending. Learn more about the author’s other books at benjamindancer.com or buy this book at online retailers.


The All You Can Dream Buffet

By Barbara O’Neal
(Bantam Books, $15.00)

The Foodie Four, a group of food bloggers and close friends, have each been through a lot. Val, the wine expert, lost her husband and two of her daughters in a plane crash and is now trying to bring her remaining daughter out of a shell of grief. Vegan recipe master Ruby has had her boyfriend leave her for another woman, only to find out she’s miraculously pregnant after the breakup. And Ginny, the cake lady, has never left Kansas, where she has been stuck in an unsatisfying marriage. The fourth member, Lavender, decides they all could use a vacation at her beautiful Lavender Honey Farms in Oregon.

But Lavender has an ulterior motive: She’s getting old and she doesn’t want her farm to go to her nephews or a mega-corporation farm when she passes. She wants one of the Foodie Four to take over her legacy of organic farming. But are any of the women, in their different stages of change and chaos, ready to take on the challenge?

A lovely story of love, friendship and finding happiness, The All You Can Dream Buffet is an uplifting read about womanhood and the healing power of nature by a Colorado Springs author. Find this easy-to-read book at online and local retailers.


Law of the Desert Born: A Graphic Novel

Based on the short story by Louis L’Amour
Adapted by Charles Santino
Script by Beau L’Amour and Katherine Nolan
Illustrated by Thomas Yeates
(Bantam Books, $25.00)

A cowboy rides into a small dusty town. He finds the house he’s looking for, knocks on the door and shoots the man who answers the door dead on the spot. Thus begins the epic pursuit story of Law of the Desert Born, originally written by famous Western writer Louis L’Amour and now adapted into an entertaining graphic novel.

After Shad Marone murders Jud Bowman over a water and cattle dispute, the sheriff must assemble an unlikely band of heroes to track the fugitive down. But the desert is deadly, and the men less than trustworthy.

Will they be able to find their man before the elements take them down? Or will the entire chase be derailed by the secrets posse members are keeping?

This book is a work of art as well as literature, with large, beautifully crafted illustrations that make the story an engaging reading experience. For more information, track it down at lawofthedesertborn.com or buy it from an online or local bookstore.


Monument Road

By Charlie Quimby
(Torrey House Press, $16.95)

Leonard Self has come to the end of everything. His beloved wife of many decades has been taken by cancer. His horses have all been sold. His land is parceled, ready to go to developers. No children, no business, no life except for memories of what once was.

It’s time for him to fade out completely. A year from the day of his wife’s death, Leonard fulfills his promise to take her ashes to Artist’s Point on Monument Road and scatter them to the wind, intending to scatter himself along with them. But Monument Road is treacherous for more than just its sharp turns and steep drop-offs; it’s a trail of memories, covered with landmarks of the past, connections Leonard has made with others despite his efforts to remain taciturn and therefore immune to suffering. The journey to Artist’s Point becomes the journey of Leonard’s soul through the past and into the possibility of a future.

The complex nature of Monument Road comprises both the positive and negative aspects of this novel. Though the many characters and storylines can occasionally be difficult for a reader to follow, the end result is a story that accurately represents the beautifully tangled, complicated thing that is a human life. This well-written, award-winning book astutely addresses the changing face of western living, particularly on Colorado’s Western Slope. Find this book online and at local retailers.

Canyon Sacrifice

By Scott Graham
(Torrey House Press, $14.95)

A trip to the Grand Canyon is just what Chuck Bender’s newly blended family needs to solidify their bond. Chuck gets to show his wife and stepdaughters his work as an archeologist, and the girls get to enjoy their first experience of the park’s
natural wonders. But when stepdaughter Carmelita is kidnapped, Chuck must think about his past as well as his future.

He thought that no one took him seriously when he foolishly bragged so many years ago about finding a secret stash of precious relics in the canyon. But now a man has been murdered and Carmelita is missing. Chuck is led on a demented scavenger hunt that puts his life in danger.
Will he be able to deliver the treasure to the kidnapper in time? And will he be able to find the strength to defend the family he’s not even completely sure he wants?

An exciting page turner, Canyon Sacrifice is an exciting debut novel by Colorado author Scott Graham. Dig up this book online and at local bookstores.


Railway Avenue

By Bob Puglisi
(CreateSpace Independent, $12.99)

Young Tommy DiNardo falls in love with Nickie Fiore the instant he catches sight of her brilliant blond hair the day his family moves to Railway Avenue. From riding bikes and holding secret club meetings as kids, to tumultuous adolescents getting into fights and loving the wrong people, Tommy and Nickie are always there for each other. Then Nickie gets pregnant and marries the father, and Tommy tries to forget his love for Nickie by going off to war in Vietnam.

But even war can’t get her out of his mind. He returns to Railway Avenue and rescues her from her abusive husband. Their love finally has a future…until tragedy strikes.

A heartbreaking tale of tragic star-crossed romance, Railway Avenue is a story about love, loyalty and growing up. Find this book by Colorado author Bob Puglisi at major online retailers.


The Sacrifice

By Peg Brantley
(Bark Publishing, $12.99)

The horrific murder of his family at the hands of a vicious drug cartel haunts Mex Anderson during every minute of every day, despite his attempt to escape the darkness by moving from Mexico to the quiet Colorado town of Aspen Falls. When Vincente Vega, the leader of that same cartel, comes to ask for Mex’s help, the ghosts of the past begin to turn Mex’s life into a living nightmare once again.

Vega’s daughter has disappeared, most likely taken by members of a dangerous cult called Santeria. In exchange for Mex’s help, Vega offers the most valuable of rewards: the name of the man who ordered the killings of Mex’s entire family, including his pregnant wife and young children. Mex knows revenge would be sweet, but is it worth the cost? His choices endanger not only his own life, but those of his one remaining sister and his friends who have agreed to help him find the kidnapped girl.

Will Mex’s desire for justice once again lead to the suffering of those he loves? And, more importantly, will he be able to find the girl in time to save anyone?
For yet another thrilling read from Colorado author Peg Brantley, order The Sacrifice at pegbrantley.com or through major online retailers.



By James D. Best
(Center Point, $30.95)

Steve Dancy doesn’t consider himself a gunslinger, but that seems to be the reputation he’s earned for himself since giving up the New York shopkeeper life and moving to the Wild West. Somehow his skills with a weapon mean he’s in high demand when it comes to defending the helpless…and defending himself against newfound enemies.

This new adventure in Colorado promises to be no different. Though Steve and his friend Jeff Sharp travel there for new business opportunities, the kidnapping of Captain Joseph McAllen’s daughter by Utes sends them on a dangerous mountain chase to save her life. The longer the quest continues, the more they realize this kidnapping is more than the stereotypical capture by Indians. There is a darker conspiracy at work, a web of deceit and revenge that will take all their combined knowledge, skill, and endurance to escape alive.

A classic, gritty tale of heroism in the Wild West days of Colorado mining towns, Leadville is a must-read for lovers of history, Westerns, and mystery alike. Look for this novel at online and local retailers.


Stars Go Blue

By Laura Pritchett
(Counterpoint Press, $25.00)

Ben Cross knows he is losing himself. His mind is washing away, fading into the nothingness that he knows will come with his advancing Alzheimer’s disease. A rancher all his life, Ben also knows that the greatest kindness one offer a suffering creature, and those who have to watch its suffering, is to put it out of its misery. He can’t stand the burden his illness has placed on his wife, on his daughters, on his grandchildren. Ben determines to end it all, before his mind leaves him completely, with a clean syringe and the bottle of pink medicine stolen from the vet.

But then his daughter’s killer, the man who shot her in the middle of Ben’s own kitchen, is released early from prison. Ben sees the pain this brings back to those he loves and decides that before he gives himself the mercy due a sick animal, he needs to perform one last duty as a man. But can he find the strength, and hold his mind together long enough to do what needs to be done to bring his family peace?

Stars Go Blue is a poignant, emotional, elegantly written novel by Colorado author Laura Pritchett. Pritchett brings together the stunningly beautiful and yet terrifyingly violent paradoxes of the end of a life, examining what makes a person complete by entering into what it must be like to feel oneself slipping into the confusion of dementia. For a wonderfully heart-wrenching new novel, find out more about this book at counterpointpress.com.


The Dragon Business

By Kevin J. Anderson
(47North, $14.95)

King Cullin didn’t grow up in a castle, not like his son, Maurice. Where Cullin spent his early youth begging for food and trying to find a warm place to sleep, Maurice insists on staying inside all day reading silly books sold to him for exorbitant prices by clever con men. So Cullin decides it’s time for Maurice to learn about the dragon business.

In his youth, Cullin had gone from orphan boy to dragon hunter when he met Reeger and Sir Dalbry after they kindly dispatched a pesky dragon from his village. Of course, the dragon wasn’t real, the nobles they duped being easily impressed by the stuffed crocodile head the “dragon hunters” presented as their trophy, but at least it meant that Cullin had a good meal in his stomach. It was a great scheme, that is until they encounter a real, fire-breathing, knight-eating dragon. Then Cullin needs to find the courage to become a dragon hunter for real.

Funny and entertaining, The Dragon Business is a classic and engaging tale from best-selling Colorado author Kevin J. Anderson. Though some adult humor and language make it inappropriate for younger children, this book makes a fun read for a wide age range of teens and adults. Find this laugh-out-loud fairy-tale twist online and at major retailers.


Love by George

By Robert Taylor
(Black Rose Writing, $15.95)

Every single person wants to find that special someone with whom to spend the rest of his or her life. But if everyone is looking, why is romance so hard to find? Hope is a young woman who certainly knows the frustration and disappointment of a long, unbroken string of bad relationships. So when the online dating company, Love by George, hires her to teach the site’s “unmatchables” how to find true love, she thinks they’ve surely made a mistake.

George, the wealthy founder of Love by George, doesn’t have any better ideas for teaching the “unmatchables” how to attract a mate. Embarrassingly, he himself has yet to find a woman who can look beyond his net worth to the man he really is. When the beautiful Hope is hired, he sees a glimmer of possibility for the love that he longs for. But can both Hope and George overcome the pain and insecurities of the past and allow themselves to have the love they’ve always wanted?

Hilarious and heartbreaking, Love by George is a novel primed and ready for a movie adaptation. A classic romantic comedy in the line of You’ve Got Mail, this story by Colorado author and Mountain Parks Electric employee Robert Taylor is sure to have you laughing and crying by the end. For a fun and touching read, find this book at blackrosewriting.com.