A science book recommendation: Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2ctn6hE.
Perhaps it’s time to rethink the formula. Roach has a proven gift for connecting with readers who are not normally into science, through levity and accessible, cleareyed prose — neither of which precludes her from doing weightier work. Maybe she should double down on a sustained, single-topic narrative next time, and stop playing the goober.
Review from booklistonline.com:
Roach is a rare literary bird, a best-selling science writer, and her irresistible if often unnerving subject is the human body and how it reacts to all that we put it through, from eating (Gulp, 2013) to sex (Bonk, 2008), space travel (Packing for Mars, 2010), and, in her latest, war. Roach avidly and impishly infiltrates the world of military science to discover what measures are taken to protect combatants against perils ranging from bomb blasts to food poisoning to sleep deprivation. Roach’s unerring instinct for astounding stories and her delight in sketching quick and vivid portraits enliven every page as she delves into military history, presents eye-popping facts, conducts interviews under chaotic circumstances, and offers herself up as a participant in medical studies involving the military’s attempts to minimize the threats of noise, heat, germs, and panic. Roach gamely participates in a combat trauma-management course for future medics in a former movie studio, witnesses penile reconstructive surgery, talks to special operators in Camp Lemmonnier in Djibouti about the hazards of diarrhea, learns about maggot therapy and stink bombs, and spends a night in a nuclear submarine. As in her previous adventurous inquiries, Roach is exuberantly and imaginatively informative and irreverently funny, but she is also in awe of the accomplished and committed military people she meets, a feeling readers will share. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Roach’s renown and readership grows with each book, and her newest will be promoted via early outreach, lots of media, and a national author tour. — Donna Seaman
The book is rated 3.97/5 at goodreads.com, from 6537 ratings. See 1083 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2aaP9MD.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2i3ezAl.

A self-help book recommendation: They Left Us Everything: A Memoir by Plum Johnson

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2cLpba9.
It’s the kind of slim, unassuming memoir that hits you deep in the gut, leaving you bruised and thoughtful long after its last page.
Book description from Google Books:
After almost twenty years of caring for elderly parents–first for their senile father,  and then for their cantankerous ninety-three-year-old mother–author Plum Johnson  and her three younger brothers experience conflicted feelings of grief and relief when  their mother, the surviving parent, dies. Now they must empty and sell the beloved  family home, which hasn’t been de-cluttered in more than half a century. Twenty-three  rooms bulge with history, antiques, and oxygen tanks. Plum remembers her loving  but difficult parents who could not have been more different: the British father, a  handsome, disciplined patriarch who nonetheless could not control his opinionated,  extroverted Southern-belle wife who loved tennis and gin gimlets. The task consumes  her, becoming more rewarding than she ever imagined. Items from childhood trigger  memories of her eccentric family growing up in a small town on the shores of Lake  Ontario in the 1950s and 60s. But unearthing new facts about her parents helps her  reconcile those relationships with a more accepting perspective about who they were  and what they valued. They Left Us Everything is a funny, touching memoir about the importance of preserving  family history to make sense of the past and nurturing family bonds to safeguard the  future.
The book is rated 3.82/5 at goodreads.com, from 1328 ratings. See 282 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2cLq6Ye.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2ijXBBh.

A humour book recommendation: The Path of Most Resistance by Russell Wangersky

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2fCvXyE.
By tapping into the frustration that comes with being ignored or misunderstood, Wangersky is writing stories that speak to a very base emotion in all Canadians…
Book description from Google Books:
As entertaining as they are insightful, the stories in The Path of Most Resistance are anchored by the concept of passive aggression in our everyday lives: ordinary people who are quietly, desperately, and indirectly trying to impose their will on the uncaring world around them. From a woman who compulsively shops for luggage in order to sublimate her desire for a divorce to a senior citizen who tries to force his family to visit by refusing to eat, the characters in this collection try to change their lives through oblique resistance. The stories also humorously show readers how passive aggression is perhaps at its most effective when carried out in smaller, more insidious ways. Uncertain about the state of his relationship, a man obsesses, but refuses to clean, a spot of mould in the bathroom. The Path of Most Resistance is an observant and compassionate look at the feelings of powerlessness that we all share, and will have readers silently cringing and nodding in recognition of their own bad behaviour.
The book is rated 3.67/5 at goodreads.com, from 12 ratings. See 2 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2ebJ1WE.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2ebICDt.

An erotic book recommendation: The Lady’s Command (The Adventurers Quartet) by Stephanie Laurens

A critic review (source All About Romance) can be read at: http://bit.ly/1QfqR6j.
Set up over four books, we don’t have all the answers yet. And while I enjoyed Edwina and Declan, I missed the romance side of the story. I will definitely be looking for the next in the series…
Book description from Google Books:
How does marriage work? If convention is set aside and is no longer there to guide…what then?Stephanie Laurens, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the beloved Cynster novels, brings you THE ADVENTURERS QUARTET, a riveting blend of Regency-era high seas adventure, a mystery shrouded in the heat of tropical jungles, and the passionate romances of four couples and their unexpected journeys into love. The instant Captain Declan Frobisher laid eyes on Lady Edwina Delbraith, he knew she was the lady he wanted as his wife. The scion of a seafaring dynasty accustomed to success, he discovered that wooing Edwina was surprisingly straightforward—not least because she made it plain that she wanted him as much as he wanted her.Declan’s vision of marriage was of a gently-reared wife to grace his arm, to manage his household, and to bear his children. He assumed that household, children, and wife would remain safely in England while he continued his life as an explorer sailing the high seas.Declan got his wish—up to a point. He and Edwina were wed. As for the rest—his vision of marriage…Aunt of the young Duke of Ridgware and sister of the mysterious man known as Neville Roscoe, London’s gambling king, even before the knot was tied Edwina shattered the illusion that her character is as delicate, ethereal, and fragile as her appearance suggests. Far from adhering to orthodox mores, she and her ducal family are even more unconventional than the Frobishers.Beneath her fairy-princess exterior, Edwina possesses a spine of steel—one that might bend, but will never break. Born to the purple—born to rule—she’s determined to rule her life. With Declan’s ring on her finger, that means forging a marriage that meets her needs as well as his.But bare weeks into their honeymoon, Declan is required to sail to West Africa. Edwina decides she must accompany him.A secret mission with unknown villains flings unexpected dangers into their path as Declan and Edwina discover that meeting the challenge of making an unconventional marriage work requires something they both possess—bold and adventurous hearts.The first voyage is one of exploration, the second one of discovery. The third journey brings maturity, while the fourth is a voyage of second chances.Start the journey here and follow the adventure, the mystery, and the romances to the cataclysmic end.Praise for the works of Stephanie Laurens”Stephanie Laurens’ heroines are marvelous tributes to Georgette Heyer: feisty and strong.” —Cathy Kelly”Stephanie Laurens never fails to entertain and charm her readers with vibrant plots, snappy dialogue, and unforgettable characters.” —Historical Romance Reviews”Stephanie Laurens plays into readers’ fantasies like a master and claims their hearts time and again.” —Romantic Times Magazine
The book is rated 3.46/5 at goodreads.com, from 829 ratings. See 159 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1LGENRe.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2e2dSVu.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A sci-fi book recommendation: The Gradual by Christopher Priest

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2fo4Mre.
The Gradual carefully constructs a much more filigree, intricate structure to embody its temporal slippage, and it is very much to Priest’s credit as a writer that this always feels coherent.
Book description from Google Books:
Alesandro Sussken is a composer living in Glaund, a fascist state constantly at war with another equally faceless opponent. His brother is sent off to fight; his family is destroyed by grief. Occasionally Alesandro catches glimpses of islands in the far distance from the shore, and they feed into the music he composes. But all knowledge of the other islands is forbidden by the military junta, until he is unexpectedly sent on a cultural tour. And what he discovers on his journey will change his perceptions of his home, his music and the ways of the islands themselves. Bringing him answers where he could not have foreseen them. A rich and involving tale playing with the lot of the creative mind, the rigours of living under war and the nature of time itself, this is multi award-winning, master storyteller Christopher Priest at his absolute best.
The book is rated 3.80/5 at goodreads.com, from 105 ratings. See 25 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2dUrMsL.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2emiwxN.

A nature book recommendation: Upstream: Selected Essays by Mary Oliver

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2ffdKqI.
Hold “Upstream” in your hands, and you hold a miracle of ravishing imagery and startling revelation.
Book description from Google Books:
One of O, The Oprah Magazine’s Ten Best Books of the Year!  The New York Times bestselling collection of essays from beloved poet, Mary Oliver.   “In the beginning I was so young and such a stranger to myself I hardly existed. I had to go out into the world and see it and hear it and react to it, before I knew at all who I was, what I was, what I wanted to be.”  So begins Upstream, a collection of essays in which revered poet Mary Oliver reflects on her willingness, as a young child and as an adult, to lose herself within the beauty and mysteries of both the natural world and the world of literature. Emphasizing the significance of her childhood “friend” Walt Whitman, through whose work she first understood that a poem is a temple, “a place to enter, and in which to feel,” and who encouraged her to vanish into the world of her writing, Oliver meditates on the forces that allowed her to create a life for herself out of work and love. As she writes, “I could not be a poet without the natural world. Someone else could. But not me. For me the door to the woods is the door to the temple.”    Upstream follows Oliver as she contemplates the pleasure of artistic labor, her boundless curiosity for the flora and fauna that surround her, and the responsibility she has inherited from Shelley, Wordsworth, Emerson, Poe, and Frost, the great thinkers and writers of the past, to live thoughtfully, intelligently, and to observe with passion. Throughout this collection, Oliver positions not just herself upstream but us as well as she encourages us all to keep moving, to lose ourselves in the awe of the unknown, and to give power and time to the creative and whimsical urges that live within us.
The book is rated 4.31/5 at goodreads.com, from 752 ratings. See 165 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2dJKX8H.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2ffapIf.

A travel book recommendation: On Trails by Robert Moor

A critic review (source Globe and Mail) can be read at: https://tgam.ca/2cKabGu.
On Trails, the first book by American journalist Robert Moor, embodies this. It is a surprising story of trails as Moor takes us on disparate journeys.
Review from booklistonline.com:
“In bewildering times—when all the old ways seem to be dissolving into mire—it serves us well to turn our eyes earthward and study the oft-overlooked wisdom beneath our feet,” writes Moor, who makes good on his advice in this deeply informed study of the nature and history of trailmaking. While he’s certainly conversant in current field research, from studies of the world’s oldest trails (an exposed fossilized section of seabed dating back 565 million years) to the mapping of all major footpaths of the ancient Cherokee homeland, the author literally walks the walk, joining Oxford researcher Alexander Liu on the Newfoundland coast to limn the faint fossil trails left by the ancient Ediacaran biota, then hiking with the pistol-packing historian Lamar Marshall to ascertain an old Cherokee trail along a North Carolina ridgeline. There are revelations at every turn here, from the nature of shepherding, to the vast network of ancient animal and Native American trails that underlie modern North America, to the very qualities of the best trails—durability, efficiency, and flexibility—and how we learn from them even as we move beyond them. — Alan Moores
The book is rated 4.02/5 at goodreads.com, from 360 ratings. See 69 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2cKYOky.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2gQ471i.
Google Books preview available in full post.