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"One Good Mama Bone" by Bren McClain was the book our book club read this month.

It was a well-written book, with some very well developed characters. You loved some and despised others. It was Southern Gothic at it's best with the tale of a woman with no motherly skills derived from her own mother (who was the evil character in the book) to lessons learned from a mother cow--Mama Red and her love and care for her baby cow Lucky. It was the journey of trying to find food for the table and love for the soul set in rural South Carolina in the early 1950's.

It covered some young men and their 4-H cattle project from beginning to end, and the family dynamics of a few. For those of us not raised on a farm, it can seem a bit harsh to raise an animal you know will go to slaughter. Realistically, I love meat, but if I had to kill it in order to eat it, I would probably be a vegetarian. It was interesting to see characters that became twisted because they had bad parents, while others who had even worse parents, were stellar parents who gave everything they had to help others. It always makes me wonder how environment and your upbringing molds who you are. How do some people with loving parents turn out evil, while some with evil parents turn out to be loving individuals? Food for thought for sure.

We had some great discussion.

I think it was a book that everyone thought was well written and a good story, but it was harder to read for some than others.

I know I laughed a little, and cried while reading it, but in the end it was redemptive for some. Interestingly enough, you also got to hear the story from the perspective of the mother cow. If you don't mind some dark twists, it was a very good read.

I also read several other books this month by some of my favorite authors. I don't know about you, but when I find someone I like, I now try to start at the beginning and read my way through in order. I just finished the latest Ian Rankin book "In a House of Lies".

These crime/suspense novels are based in Scotland with Inspector Rebus (now retired) and Siobhan Clarke picking up where he left off. They are an excellent read, but to grasp all that is said, it helps to start at the beginning. There are 24 in the Rebus series.

I also just finished Greg Iles newest book "Cemetery Road".

It started off a bit slow for me, but kicked into high gear 1/3 of the way in. This one is a stand alone novel (so far) but not my all time Iles favorite. He has written 16 or 17 books, but if you are new to Greg Iles, I would suggest starting with the Penn Cage novels. There are six in this series starting with "The Quiet Game" (1999), then "Turning Angel" (2005), "The Devil's Punchbowl" (2009)

"The Death Factory" (2014); "Natchez Burning" (2014) "The Bone Tree" (2015) and finally "Mississippi Blood". They are page turners, and if you are like me, once you start you can't stop until they are done. Most of Greg Iles books are set in Natchez, or areas not far away. They are well written and engaging.

When I find an author I like and get invested in the characters, it is sort of like going home again, once you pick up the latest book. Some authors have more stand alone books. I have finished one and am halfway through another Prey series by John Sanford, and I am not reading them in order. Each one doesn't necessarily build on the other, but I still like them.

I love reading, and having the opportunity to read and discuss a book with others makes it even more enjoyable. What have you read lately?

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