Two Reviews from the Hubs

Where Men Win Glory (2008)

The Odyssey of Pat Tillman

By Jon Krakauer

Krakauer tells us the “real story” of Pat Tillman, the former NFL safety who gave up his NFL career to enlist in the Army after 9-11. Tillman defies the stereotype of “dumb jock” and is a fascinating character study. The book explores his motives for taking the road less travelled (duty, idealism, doing what no one else in his position would be willing to do). Tillman is both alpha male and sensitive, original thinker. Tillman’s own journal entries and in-depth quotes from his wife add authenticity to the tale. The latter part of the book details the Army and government’s brazen effort to cover-up the true cause of his death – fratricide  (“friendly fire”).  Alas, Tillman’s mother and brother do not let the government get away with its bogus propaganda. According to the author, Tillman ultimately died because of his “tragic virtue” – from trying to do the right thing for the right reasons (in a world where so many people do the wrong things for selfish, career-enhancing reasons).

  – Review by Bill Rice, Jr.

The Whistler (2016)

By John Grisham

In Grisham’s 31st novel the sultan of legal thrillers doesn’t jack a home run, but doesn’t strike out either. Worth a read only because of its interesting premise. However, few if any of the main characters are particularly compelling and plenty of scenes seem like “add ons” to fill pages. But the story “hook” is a solid line drive: A tiny Florida Indian tribe builds a casino, with the help of a master criminal, who somehow remains anonymous while masterminding many rackets. An ace in the hole for this head of a the “Coastal Mafia” is a circuit court judge who always rules in his favor. The story involves a whistle blower (“the Whistler”) who – with two accomplices – aims to expose all of the corruption. To bring down the kingdom, the whistleblowers contact an obscure Florida agency that is charged with investigating corrupt judges. So our heroine is a lawyer who investigates crooked judges. But she’s never dealt with one this crooked or a case where the bad guys are this bad. I finished it, but the story had far more potential that what Grisham delivered. Call it a bloop single for a writer who has proven he can produce tape-measure home runs.

 – Review by Bill Rice, Jr.

Meet Spencer

I got Spencer from a pet store in 2006. It was a very dark period for me for many reasons. I didn’t know where I fit, and I was very lonely.

I walked into Wet Pets in the mall and there he was: a little wiggly boy pug. I held him, got a whiff of his frito paws and puppy breath, and knew he was going home with me.

I had walked in to just browse and left with what would become my very best friend.

Spencer has not cured my dark periods, but he has significantly brightened them.

He is getting older, losing his hearing and his sight, but he is still my best buddy and coziest reading partner. He literally jumps up and down when I get home and pull out a book because he knows I’ll be still with him for a while.

Do you have a special buddy like Spencer in your life? I hope so. 🐶🐱

Book of the Month Club

Hey there, book buddies!

I am a proud member of the Book of the Month Club, which is basically a book subscription service. This means that every month I get to pick a book from various genres, but the beauty of it is that sooo many picks are debut authors, many are diverse, and available for us FIRST before even the general public.

For example, I got this beauty in my hot little hands before it was even out yet.

Now Book of the Month Club is starting a YA (young adult) version, and I couldn’t be more excited! Once I devour these YA picks, every single book will find its home in my classroom library. More picks for young adults = more students reading and EXCITED to read something NEW!!! As much as I hate it, I would bet that many of my students have never held a brand new book in their hands before, except at school.

Please join me in this adventure, as I have the unique opportunity to be a BOTM YA Partner!!

Click the picture below to join!

Summer of ‘69

It’s just not summer until you read Elin Hilderbrand! 🥳🌞🌸🌺

I just love her writing. She always introduces us to several characters — not too many that it becomes confusing — and I love books that switch points of view.

Each section is labeled with 60’s song titles, like “Help!” and “I Heard it Through the Grapevine.”

The beach 🏖 imagery is delicious.. I also really love the way she describes food. 😂 The bacon is extra thin and crispy, the lettuce buttery, the Portuguese bread soft.

This novel follows the Levin family and the summer that changes everything.

The youngest sibling, Jessie, is growing up and learning what it means to trust your family and strangers, Blair finds herself pregnant with twins and married to a man who is acting really strange. Kirby is rebelling and trying to make herself happy for the first time after a tough relationship, and Tiger is sent to Vietnam, which threatens to completely undo mother Kate.


I give it one million stars, and will honestly give every Elin book one million stars. If you haven’t yet, read Blue Bistro. I borrowed it from my friend Jess, and it’s been my favorite of hers ever since.

Literary Matchmaking— take 3

Seriously.. how cute are these two???

Meghan is a book loving, membership director for a state association in Montgomery, Alabama. When she isn’t travelling for work, she plays in the tri-county area with her husband Jonathan, and her full of personality, two-year-old, Luke. 

I asked my girl Meghan to

a) tell me the first book you remember loving

b) tell me the best book you read this year

c ) tell me your favorite book of all time

D ) tell me the last book you remember not loving

Her responses:

1. A Wrinkle in Time

2. Harry Potter or Pride and Prejudice

3. Hard to choose : The Night Tiger, Outlander, The Bear and the Nightingale

4. Ok – so I liked Where the Crawdads Sing, but it dragged at times to me.

I’m noticing that Meghan isn’t afraid of some loooong books. Outlander is 640 pages! Sheesh!

She also appreciates historical fiction and touches of magic, which I love, too! Therefore, my first choice would have to be …

Oh, how I thoroughly adored this book by Alice Hoffman!! It’s a prequel to Practical Magic, but you do not have to have read it to enjoy Rules of Magic. In fact, I loved this book so very much that I immediately read Practical Magic, and it was a little yawn. Like a toddler yawn. Not a big yawn, but definitely not even close to RoM.

I also have to throw out this little gem:

This was my first Lisa See and it won’t be my last. I think you’ll enjoy the Chinese history and the beautiful story, Meghan!

Let us know how I do! Thanks, Meghan!!!

The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins

When I was a little girl, our Dillard’s (formerly Gayfers) had a little bakery in it. It was always cold in there and it smelled unbelievable. Like ice crystals made of sugar, like jelly and chocolate and strawberries and soft brioche. That smell is this book: The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins.

I simply could not read this one fast enough. With such a thoughtful, hilarious, touching story, I will miss Dove Pond and all of my new friends terribly.

This book has all of my favorite things: magic, books, a small town, romance, friendship, family drama, sisters, women in leadership positions, cats, and books —- wait, did I say that twice? The blurb on this book mentions Sarah Addison Allen and Practical Magic, and that’s spot on. This book is out late July and you HAVE to get a copy. It’s magically DELICIOUS. ⭐️🌟💕⭐️🌟💕

There better be a sequel!