Good books to read this summer

July 15, 2014 

Stretching out on a tropical beach, at a shady park, or in the comfort of your own backyard, can be a lot more enjoyable with a good book.

Here’s a list of possibilities from fiction to nonfiction. These recommendations include a book of wisdom from the Dalai Lama, some very cool children’s books, collections of poetry, mystery novels, and a couple coffee table pictorials.

The themes are everything from silly to spiritual, thought-provoking to suspenseful.


* Questions for the Dalai Lama: Answers on Love, Success, Happiness & the Meaning of Live, published by Hatherleight, hardcover $12.50. This is an inspirational read, but only if you’re able to get in touch with your spiritual side.

* Western Cowboy Poetry: An African American Perspective, by Sharon Carpenter, published by iUniverse, paperback $11.95. Carpenter’s style is such you can’t help but smile as you read.

* A Little Book of Love: Inspiration From the Heart, published by Hatherleight, paperback $12.50. If you’re looking for daily mantras to draw from, this is the book.

* Holy Molé: Life is What Your Make It, by Rick Hotton, is an unconventional comic strip guide to wisdom. Published by Willow Creek Press, paperback $10.95. The wisdom is nothing new in this book but the cartoons are adorable.

* Good Pictures, Bad Pictures, by Kristen A. Jenson and Gail Payner, gives parents a five-step plan to inoculate children against pornography. Self-published, paperback $12.24 at The book makes the bold statement that pornography has the power to re-program a child’s brain, warp their view of sexuality and destroy future marriages and families. The authors provide an avenue to give parents insight in porn-proofing their kids in a stress-free way.

* Watch Where You Step: Going to the Dogs, by Jenepher Field, published by Outskirts Press, paperback $19.95. Field runs the Sagemoor Kennels in Pasco.

* The Dog Lover’s Guide to Travel, by Kelly E. Carter and published by National Geographic. Gives tips on the best destinations, hotels, events and advice on how to please your pet while traveling. Paperback $22.95.

* Happy Hormones, by naturopathic doctor Kristy Vermeulen, published by Hatherleigh, $16.95. A wonderful guide for women struggling with the weight gain, moodiness and other hormonal troubles that come with aging.

* Mother to the Motherless, by Mama Zipporah, published by Hatherleigh, paperback $15. The book follows the life of a woman raised in poverty and abuse in Kenya who went on to establish the Hurauma Children’s Home, with the help of her husband, to protect other children from suffering the same abusive childhood she did.

* Earthquake Prediction: Answers in Plain Sight, by David Nabhan, published by Eloquentia Sagitta Publications, paperback $14.21. A book for anyone who wants to know in advance when the next earthquake is likely to strike.

* George Clooney: From Bachelor to Betrothed, a self-published ebook by D.H. Barkley. The book is only available in an ebook format for $9.99 on For anyone curious about the infamous actor’s love life, this is the book to read. Barkley shares an interesting outlook on why this celebrity is such an enigma to the world.

* Rollin’ on the Wild River, self-published by John Rekart Jr., paperback $19.95. Interesting historic look into the tug and barge operations on the Columbia River when it was a wild, free-flowing river.

Coffee table pictorial books:

* Harvest Heritage: Agricultural Origins & Heirloom Crops of the Pacific Northwest, by Richard D. Scheuerman and Alexander C. McGregor, published by Washington State University Press, oversized paperback $29.66 on Amazon. The farming history is fascinating, but the best part of the book are the magical photos of Eastern Washington taken by Tri-City photographer John Clement.

* Tainted Revelations: the Art of Bill Ohrmann, by Joe Ashbrook Nickell, published by Missoula Art Museum, hardcover $45. A fun look-see book about Ohrmann’s artistic Van Gogh style of painting that present an engaging cartoonish look at the world.


* Beneath the Shadow of Crows, by Madelon Phillips, published by Lucky Star Books, paperback $11.99. A compelling story of a young woman growing up during the 1950s in a house packed with sorrow and cruelty.

* Ragnarok: Book I The Hammer, by Brian James and published by Publish America Books, paperback $10.95. For anyone who loves fantasy and mythology, this should be on your reading list. It’s all about the Viking gods who’ve been tossed out of Asgard and now make a living as mortals on Earth. Thor is a professional athlete, Freya a prostitute and Loke sells cheap products on QVC television. Then the prophecy rears its ugly head and all hell breaks loose — again. A thrilling read.

* The Lost Enforcer, by Bob Brown and Irene Radford, published by Sky Warrior Books, paperback $14.74. The fantasy novel takes readers from a galaxy torn by civil war to a sleepy planet on the edge of the known universe. If you’re a Star Wars fan, you’ll love it.

* Murder at the Frankfurt Opera, by Pamela Cramer, published by Authorhouse Books, paperback $15.50. An American woman singing in the chorus of the Frankfurt Opera finds herself investigating the murder of a friend who was mysteriously killed in an alleged stage accident, which she fervently believes was a murder.

* Murdering Lawyers, by Larry Fine, published by Grey Swan Press, paperback $13.39. An idealistic young attorney who can’t find a job decides to compromise his principals and start bending the law to his favor, which ends up with him becoming a globe-trotting litigator for an international law firm. Think of this book as The Firm meets The Devil’s Advocate. A suspenseful read.

* My Story: Power to Rule, by B.J. Joke, published by Tate Publishing, paperback $25.99. While a woman fights for her freedom, she comes to terms with a dark power that demands that she can either rule or be ruled. The fantasy takes a while to get into but as the story progresses so does the intrigue.

* God’s Constant, a self-published novel by Bruce Blizard, paperback $8.99. The author describes his story as a contemporary Western with a Christian heart. Set in Eastern Washington, it follows a young couple who are both fighting demons and are brought together by an elderly couple who teach them the value of practical faith.

* The Actor, by Douglas Gardham, published by iUniverse, paperback $22.95. A young man is saved from suicide by a woman who introduces him to the acting world. When she suddenly disappears, he is determined to continue to hone his acting and eventually lands the role of his dreams only to have his life shattered. It’s a story any wannabe actor can identify with.

Children’s books:

* The Adventures of Bella & Harry: Let’s Visit Maui, self-published by Lisa Manzione, oversize hardcover $16.95. Two Chihuahuas take readers on a Hawaiian adventure. Illustrations by Kristine Lucco make the dogs adorable and the scenery a watercolor paradise.

* The Runaway Beignet, by Connie Collins Morgan, published by Pelican Publishing, oversize hardcover $16.99. Story brings a yummy beignet pastry to life through a baker named Marcel whose heart is filled with kindness but his life is cold and lonely until one of his pastries comes to life. Prosser artist Herb Leonhard illustrated the book.

* Wild Ocean, edited by Matt Dembicki, published by Fulcrum Publishing, paperback $19.95. A wonderful cartoon book that introduces children to the ocean’s endangered sea creatures. Unless otherwise stated here, the cost of the books are standard bookstore prices. In many cases the books also can be purchased on for less money.

w Dori O’Neal: 582-1514;; Twitter: @dorioneal

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