Mini-Reviews: Blackhouse, Ghost Boy, A Tale of Two Mommies

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Time for some mini-reviews! What are mini-reviews, you ask? As the title suggests, these are short reviews, consisting of one paragraph tops, about a book. It’s a way to catch up on the books I’ve read a while ago, but never got around to reviewing.

The Blackhouse

Tite: The Blackhouse

Author: Peter May

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

When a brutal murder on the Isle of Lewis bears the hallmarks of a similar slaying in Edinburgh, police detective Fin Macleod is dispatched north to investigate. But since he himself was raised on Lewis, the investigation also represents a journey home and into his past.

Review: Claustrophic, small town setting, a brooding detective haunted by the past, a brutal ritualistic murder, and excellent writing. All that mixes into a chilling, tense novel with a haunting climax. One of my favorites I read this year.

A Tale of Two Mommies

Title: A Tale of Two Mommies

Author: Vanita Oelschlager

Genre: Children’s Book, Picture Book

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

A Tale of Two Mommies is a beach conversation among three children. One boy asks another boy about having two mommies. A young girl listening in asks some questions too.

True to a child’s curiosity, practical questions follow. “Which mom is there when you want to go fishing? / Which mom helps out when Kitty goes missing?” To which he answers: “Mommy helps when I want to go fishing. / Both Mommies help when Kitty goes missing.”

A Tale of Two Mommies is intended for 4-8 year olds.

This book lets us look inside one non-traditional family, a same sex couple and their son. As the children talk, it’s clear this boy lives in a nurturing environment where the biggest issues are the everyday challenges of growing up.

Review: A cute book about a kid with two mommies. We don’t always think about the consequences for kids, and how tough it can be for them to explain to other kids that they have two mommies, or even two daddies, and this book explains in a fun, cute way. The illustrations look lovely too.

Ghost Boy

Title: Ghost Boy

Author: Martin Pistorius

Genre: Non-Fiction, Biography

Rating: 5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

They all thought he was gone. But he was alive and trapped inside his own body for ten years.

In January 1988 Martin Pistorius, aged twelve, fell inexplicably sick. First he lost his voice and stopped eating. Then he slept constantly and shunned human contact. Doctors were mystified. Within eighteen months he was mute and wheelchair-bound. Martin’s parents were told an unknown degenerative disease left him with the mind of a baby and less than two years to live.

Martin was moved to care centers for severely disabled children. The stress and heartache shook his parents’ marriage and their family to the core. Their boy was gone. Or so they thought.

Ghost Boy is the heart-wrenching story of one boy’s return to life through the power of love and faith. In these pages, readers see a parent’s resilience, the consequences of misdiagnosis, abuse at the hands of cruel caretakers, and the unthinkable duration of Martin’s mental alertness betrayed by his lifeless body.

We also see a life reclaimed—a business created, a new love kindled—all from a wheelchair. Martin’s emergence from his own darkness invites us to celebrate our own lives and fight for a better life for others.

Review: A young boy falls prey to a mysterious illness, and is put into a home for people with disabilities. He’s trapped inside his own body, and it takes years before a friendly nurse figures out he can communicate, and is a lot more intelligent than they gave him credit for. The book is harsh too, and not just a hopeful story. There’s rape and horrible abuse, all in one boy – and then man’s – fight against darkness. A heart-wrenching story that I’ll never forget.

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