Brazos Reads: Books to Stuff in Stockings

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By Shelbi LeMeilleur

notd_coverNews of the Day by S. G. Armstrong
The doctor looked at John Eisenhower and told him his appendix had ruptured and there was nothing he could do; John was going to die. This is where “News of the Day” begins the Eisenhower family story. Luckily for John, he miraculously survives, and the novel follows his life and the lives of his family through the Great War, Prohibition, the Great Depression, and finally, World War II.

Most of the novel focuses on John, his wife Mabel, and their two children, Fern and Lowell. Another notable character is Jack Armstrong, who rents a room from the Eisenhowers. Everything in the novel is based on stories the author (who writes under the pen name S. G. Armstrong) heard from her family growing up. Armstrong writes with great detail, with a special emphasis on the historical elements. The novel was well researched, and not only tells a great story, but also provides a mini history lesson. Each character has a unique story, but it’s the overall picture of the family’s life in the context of the state of the world at the time that makes “News of the Day” such a compelling story.

“News of the Day” is available exclusively as an e-book. This is Armstrong’s first novel.

willbuck_fronthiThe River of Cattle by Alice V. Brock
Eleven-year-old Will Whitaker does not want to move to New Mexico. What he does want, though, is to help out his dad and the rest of the drovers on their cattle drive across the Texas-New Mexico frontier. What Will doesn’t know is that he and his horse, Buck, are in for the adventure of a lifetime. The other protagonist is Two Feathers, a half-white, half-Comanche boy who is set on capturing Buck to prove he is worthy of leadership in his tribe.

Written for middle schoolers, the novel “The River of Cattle” has no shortage of thrills. It switches perspectives between two young boys who could not seem any more different but are actually quite similar. As Two Feathers chases Will and Buck, the boys must decide who is the real enemy.

Alice V. Brock’s debut novel is the first in a series of books about Will and Buck. “The River of Cattle” was released on Nov. 1 and is the perfect stocking stuffer for those middle grade readers.

Are you a local author? Would you like your book to be featured in Insite Magazine? Email shelbi@insitebrazosvalley.com for more information.