War Dances, by Sherman Alexie

I should preface that I am both a Sherman Alexie fan, and I also don’t read a lot of short stories. With that being said, this was both entertaining and thought-provoking. Alexie did a wonderful job with the stories and by offering life lessons in the process. If you like short stories, you’ll enjoy this collection. If you enjoy Sherman Alexie, you will find this to fit his normal style of writing as well, and I give it 5 stars.

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The Girl On The Train, by Paula Hawkins

After reading “Into The Water,” this was a breath of fresh air. I’m always nervous when a book is hyped so much, but Hawkins delivered just the right amount of suspense and character development. I won’t nitpick the aspects I didn’t enjoy, but I rounded up from 4.5 stars. See kept my attention the entire time, and she kept me guessing as to who the true “bad guy” was. I wish the ending had played out differently, but here I am complaining again.

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Meet The Author, Cris Pasqueralle

Enjoy getting to know, Cris Pasqueralle:

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Thank you for joining me today. Tell us in three words, or less, how you would best describe your writing.

Family oriented.

Your book, The Destiny Trilogy, is the first of three in the bestselling series. Share a passage that you’d like for us to enjoy.  

The golden light encircled Jack and Maddie, and when the bird moved in to swallow them in its great beak, a blinding flash split the darkness and the eagle vaporized.

You’ve been presented with the opportunity to be a best-selling author, but can never write again, or write forever, but never have a bestseller. Which scenario sounds more tempting?

Write forever. I always have a story to tell and would never be able to hold them in.

If you could live on a college campus and never leave, or live in a small town but be able to travel, which one would you choose?

A small town would suit me just fine.

Okay, how about in an amusement park or in an airport?

Amusement park, nothing like a roller coaster to get the creativity flowing.

And how about Australia or Scotland?

Australia.

Who is your favorite 90’s band (I’m thinking Counting Crows, Blink 182, Hootie & the Blowfish)?

None that I can think of. I’m a classic rock and oldies man. Give me The Who and Elvis, and I’m good.

Are there any good bands out there today that we’ll talk about in 50 years?

No.

And what about your favorite comedy on TV (My favorite is still The Office)?

I like The Big Bang Theory, but my favorite has to be The Odd Couple.

Is there anything you’re currently working on?

A young adult paranormal detective story, untitled as of yet.

Who is your favorite author and if you could ask him/her one question, what would it be?

Don’t really have one favorite author, but would like to find out how H.G. Wells was able to look into the future so accurately.

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Lightning round:

Ocean or mountains?  Ocean

Yogurt or ice cream?  Ice Cream

M&M’s or Skittles?  M&M’s

Jimmy Fallon or Stephen Colbert? Neither

Happy or sad ending to a novel? Happy

Beer or wine?  Wine

Flying or driving?  Flying

Hemingway or Twain?  Hemingway

You’re stranded on a desert island and you can take two things with you, as well as two people. What and who are you bringing?

A pen and paper and my children.

You’re able to sit down with any leader in world history. Who would you choose, what would you talk about, and would you rather have him/her over to your house or meet at their place of royalty?

Gandhi, I would meet him at his place, and the subject would be world religions.

You can wish for one thing and one thing only, not world peace and no more wishes. What’s it gonna be?

That I always have enough of whatever it is I need.

Pick up one of Pasqueralle’s books today:

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Defending Jacob, by William Landay

This book left me with mixed emotions. Had it not been for the surprise and intriguing ending, I would have been more disappointed. The dialogue was the biggest problem for me in this book, with much of it feeling forced, particularly the teenage portions. I feel like there was so much more potential with the story, yet I was constantly annoyed by the way the main characters spoke. I give it 3.5 stars, but I feel like I’m being generous.

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Meet The Author, Jan Maher

Enjoy getting to know, Jan Maher:

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Thank you for joining me today. Tell us in three words how you would best describe your writing.  

The extraordinary ordinary.

Your book, Earth As It Is, was released in January of 2017. Share a passage that you’d like for us to enjoy.

While Anne was asking Mrs. Hesher the secret to making a hearty, lump-free sauce so she could surprise Charlie with biscuits and gravy for supper that night, Charlie was sitting at Anne’s dressing table, reminiscing about his mother’s dress and fox fur. He couldn’t know that Mrs. Hesher was dabbing a big of cologne behind Anne’s ears, counseling her with a wink and a twinkle in her eye to woo her husband with the scent. He couldn’t know she was sending Anne on her way home at that very moment.

You’ve been presented with the opportunity to be a best-selling author, but can never write again, or write forever, but never have a bestseller. Which scenario sounds more tempting?

Write forever, definitely.

If you could live on a college campus and never leave, or live in a small town but be able to travel, which one would you choose?

Small town. I’ve already chosen!

Okay, how about in an amusement park or in an airport?

I would go bonkers in either one. I’m an introvert and I need quiet and fresh air.

And how about Australia or Scotland?

Scotland.

Who is your favorite 90’s band (I’m thinking Counting Crows, Blink 182, Hootie & the Blowfish)?

You realize I’m 71, right? That said, Pearl Jam came out of Seattle, where I lived for decades, and their members did a lot of good in the community with their money, so I’ve always appreciated them for that. In our house, Weird Al was probably the one we most agreed on across the generations. I remember liking some of Rage Against the Machine.

Are there any good bands out there today that we’ll talk about in 50 years?

I don’t know enough of the contemporary music scene to answer that, but I bet we’ll still be talking about the Beatles in another 50 years.

And what about your favorite comedy on TV (My favorite is still The Office)?

Colbert.

Is there anything you’re currently working on?

A sequel to my first two novels, and a collection of short stories.

Who is your favorite author and if you could ask him/her one question, what would it be?

Toni Morrison. I would ask her what question she would most like to be asked.

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Lightning round:

Ocean or mountains?  Ocean

Yogurt or ice cream?  Ice cream

M&M’s or Skittles?  No

Jimmy Fallon or Stephen Colbert? Colbert

Happy or sad ending to a novel? Happyish

Beer or wine?  Wine

Flying or driving?  Train

Hemingway or Twain?  Twain

You’re stranded on a desert island and you can take two things with you, as well as two people. What and who are you bringing?

My spouse and my nephew (who is studying wilderness survival); a blank journal and a good knife.

You’re able to sit down with any leader in world history. Who would you choose, what would you talk about, and would you rather have him/her over to your house or meet at their place of royalty?

Vaclav Havel, my house, to talk about courage and creativity in times of repression and how he managed to become the world’s first playwright president.

You can wish for one thing and one thing only, not world peace and no more wishes. What’s it gonna be?

Planetary health.

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Jan Maher’s novel Earth As It Is is published by Indiana University Break Away Books. Other writing credits include a novel, Heaven, Indiana; plays Ismene & Intruders,  and Most Dangerous Women: Bringing History to Life through Readers’ Theater. She holds a PhD from The Union Institute and University in Interdisciplinary Studies and is a senior scholar at the Institute for Ethics in Public Life, State University of New York at Plattsburgh. Her website address is http://www.janmaher.com. She is on Twitter and Facebook as well.