Falling for Books

For decades, CCL has dedicated its entire November issue to book reviews. This year we’re doing something new. As you may remember from the July issue, we ran Book Nook, for which we received positive feedback. This month we’re featuring a select number of books that have a Colorado connection (author, setting, history, etc.) here in Discoveries. We receive countless books from various publishers and authors each month, and we want to keep getting these amazing books to our readers throughout the year. If you have a book you’d like to submit for potential feature in a future issue, please send it to Editor at Colorado Country Life, 5400 Washington Street, Denver, CO 80216, or email a synopsis to editor@coloradocountrylife.org.

Dad and the Recycling-Bin Roller Coaster by Taylor Calmus

When Mom goes out for a day of shopping, Dad knows it’s “the perfect opportunity for a spectacular, build-tastic superdad plan!” Eager for his three kids to have the best day ever, Dad throws himself into a leaf blower–powered rocket ship and an ice cream truck with sherbet shooters. But one elaborate build after the next, the kids decline to play with Dad’s creations. Feeling dejected, Dad starts to put away his tools, but then his kids are finally able to tell him what they really want. Based on real-life events from “Dude Dad” Taylor Calmus of Fort Collins, this hilarious and heartwarming tale follows this enthusiastic DIY dad who eventually realizes the best gifts he can give his kids are time and attention.

Good Boy Ben By VP Felmlee

A young golden retriever is abandoned on a hot, dusty road in the middle of nowhere. Several miles away, a hitchhiker without a home gets ready to head south for the winter on roads he’s traveled for more than 20 years, alone and, he hopes, unnoticed. How the two of them come together, learn to trust each other, and face a murderous, hate-filled rampage is the story of Good Boy Ben. It is also the story of how a painful past and an uncertain future can turn into a remarkable love. Book Two of the Abandoned Trilogy echoes the wonderful story of Prince Tadpole & Princess Clara, showing how hope and caring create better lives for humans and animals, no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in.

VP Felmlee lives in Grand Junction with her husband, dogs, cats, and chickens. Visit her website at vfelmleeauthor.com.

Molly’s Miracle By w.b. Murph

Beagle Molly has been abandoned by a cruel owner, left alone to fend for herself in the streets. She is hurt, she is hungry, and most of all, she is unloved. She tries to make friends, but everywhere she goes, she is turned away, treated harshly, and told to leave.

When all hope is lost, Molly meets her miracle: a girl whose very special gift is just what Molly needs to see the value in herself. Molly’s Miracle is a story of love, acceptance, kindness, and the light that shines in everyone.

W.b. Murph is a 5-year-old beagle living his best life in Colorado. He whispers story ideas to his ever-faithful, former veterinary nurse human, who writes them down, as beagles are not so very good at holding a pencil. Murph’s stories focus on children from all circumstances, with all abilities, and their less-than-typical dogs.

Nana the Great Goes Camping by Lisa Tawn Bergren

Colorado author Lisa Tawn Bergren’s new book is a rollicking exploration of the great outdoors and the wonders of the heart. As Nana teaches her grandkids on their special camping trip, it’s always a good time to find new discoveries and new friends. Readers will be delighted to learn that Nana loves taking mud baths by the river and making breakfast s’mores over a campfire. Filled with David Hohn’s exuberant and playful illustrations, Nana the Great Goes Camping will help children appreciate their grandparents anew and make them look forward to their next adventure together.

Stanley the Claustrophobic Miner by Donny Abbott

Stanley the Claustrophobic Miner is a delightful tale about a young boy who has a desire to be like his dad. But along the way he faces a couple of challenges that need solutions. Written by Fort Collins resident and Poudre Valley REA member Donny Abbott, this is a wonderful story that reminds us how we can turn our weaknesses into strengths. Find the book at donnyabbott.com.

Last Word to the Wise By Ann Claire

Sisters Ellie and Meg Christie share a love of books, reading, and their new roles as co-caretakers of the Book Chalet, their family’s historic bookshop tucked midway up a scenic Colorado mountain. But romance? That’s another story. When their cousin signs them up for her newest business endeavor — matchmaking based on bookish tastes — the sisters approach their blind double dates with dread.

While Ellie’s date meets her low expectations, Meg’s match, a book-loving romantic straight out of classic literature, charms her over a lovely dinner. The next morning, Meg is giddy with anticipation of a second date — until she’s stood up without a word. However, her date had a good reason for ghosting her: He’s dead. Murdered, the police later confirm. As the last known person to see the victim alive, Meg becomes a prime suspect in his death. To sleuth out the truth, the sisters must sift through secrets. In Last Word to the Wise, clues accumulate, but so do suspects, crimes, and betrayals.

Go as a River By Shelley Read

Bestselling novel Go as a River tells the story of Victoria Nash, a resilient young woman whose life is changed forever by one chance encounter. Inspired by true events surrounding the destruction of the town of Iola and the creation of Blue Mesa Reservoir in the 1960s, Go as a River is a story of deeply held love in the face of hardship but also of finding courage, friendship, and, finally, home, where least expected. Set amid Colorado’s wild beauty, this stunning debut from fifth-generation Coloradan Shelley Read explores what it means to lead your life as if it were a river — gathering and flowing, finding a way forward even when a river is dammed. Translated into 30 languages and praised by the Denver Post as “a literary triumph,” Go as a River is widely celebrated as a tragic, uplifting tale of love and loss, place and displacement, prejudice and family, wilderness and survival — and hope.

The Chronicles of Custer By Matt Vincent

The Chronicles of Custer: First Stand of a Failed Campaign is the true story of the ill-fated Hancock Expedition of 1867 and follows the movements of the newly formed 7th Cavalry under the command of a young and inexperienced Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer. Written by award-winning Colorado author Matt Vincent, The Chronicles takes the reader on a whirlwind ride across the High Plains on the heels of fleeing Cheyenne and Oglala Sioux. Beginning with the destruction of a Native American village in central Kansas, the book culminates with a series of mass desertions in northeastern Colorado Territory and the subsequent court-martial of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer at Fort Leavenworth.

“Presented in a compelling narrative reminiscent of Shelby Foote’s Civil War Trilogy, The Chronicles is stuffed with detail and historical context,” writes Jeff Rice of the Sterling Journal Advocate.

Vincent’s first book, Wild Times & True Tales from the High Plains, was published in 2021 to wide acclaim and was recently named Colorado’s best general nonfiction book by the Colorado Authors League.

The Chronicles is available through Plainview Publishing, P.O. Box 14, Yuma, CO 80759. The book sells for $24.95, and orders should include an additional $5 for shipping and handling.

A Light in the Forest By Melissa Payne

Vega Jones escapes an abusive relationship with nothing but her 2-month-old baby and the van she grew up in. Her destination is a small Ohio town her late vagabond mother left years ago. It’s one full of nobodies, her mother warned. That makes it the ideal refuge for Vega to lie low, feel safe, and maybe learn more about a past her mother never spoke of.

Vega warms to the town and to new acquaintances like Heff, the young deputy and artist who prefers his yard art to actual policing, and empathetic Eve, a local farmer whose near-death experience gave her more than just her life back. But even in this welcoming community, there’s an undercurrent of something unsettled — talk of a tragedy that unfolded in the woods years ago — and a mystery connected to Vega in ways she couldn’t have anticipated.

As a mother on the run following a path of mounting risks and illuminating secrets, Vega discovers that even during the darkest of times, there’s light in unexpected places.

Enter to win one of these three books featured this month.

Author Melissa Payne lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Her upcoming novel, The Wild Road Home, will be released in March 2024. For more information, visit her online at melissapayneauthor.com or find her on Instagram @melissapayne_writes.