Mini Review: Love and Hate in the Heartland by Mark Phillips

Love and Hate in the Heartland: Dispatches from Forgotten American cover

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I started reading this book. Maybe I somehow misunderstood what it was about, to some degree… I don’t know. I’m finding it difficult to articulate what I was expecting to read in this book, but it wasn’t quite this.

Love and Hate in the Heartland reads like a memoir of sorts, composed of brief essays that shares some of the author’s family history along with lyrical observations about the area he lives in, along with conversations he has with friends and family about everyday life, and the day to day struggles that go along with it.

I think the purpose of this book is to give readers a glimpse of what life is like for the so-called “forgotten Americans” who supported Trump in the last Presidential election, to perhaps give a little insight into how they formed their political opinions, and why.

The book is well-written and engaging, often poetic in a way, when the author describes the area he calls home. While I didn’t always agree with the political stance taken by the people he has conversations with, it held my interest and made me curious to see what would be said next.

Overall, this was just an okay book for me. I’m glad I read it, but it’s probably not something I would recommend to many people.

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Skyhorse Publishing via Edelweiss.

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Author: Mark Phillips

Title: Love and Hate in the Heartland: Dispatches from Forgotten America

To-be-published: April 3rd, 2018 by Skyhorse Publishing

Rating: ⭐⭐

About the Book

Meet the “deplorables.” Meet the majority that was silent until the election of President Donald Trump. Meet the Middle Americans whom globalism and the modern economy have left behind.

In a collection of vignettes telling of family history and bar stool interviews and stubborn beliefs and resignation, Mark Phillips gathers a collage of the forgotten Americans–the Americans that urbanites didn’t know existed, pollsters couldn’t define, and politicians sought to target. The Alleghenians featured, the author among them, feel left adrift. They are not politically active; they are more concerned with eking out a living at failing factories than with the intricacies of the Affordable Care Act.

Love and Hate in the Heartland goes beyond talking heads and superficial media portrayals to tell stories of humanity, strength, resilience, generosity, and self-reliance. Faced with a bleak outlook, these noble ideals mingle with resignation and misguided bitterness. Written in evocative and graceful prose, it gives faces to the voices we heard in November 2016.

About the Author



Mark Phillips is the author of My Father’s Cabin, and his work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Salon, Saturday Review, and Country Life. He has also worked as a beekeeper and occasional maple syrup producer in upstate New York.


Nest by Terry Goodkind #Review @terrygoodkind @skyhorsepub

Nest cover

I’ve never read Goodkind before, but I sure picked a helluva book for my first. Just… WOW.

Imagine what your life would be like if you were able to know someone is a cold-blooded killer simply by looking into their eyes. What would such an ability do to your life as you know it? How would you manage to stay alive while being hunted by killers for the rest of your life? Would you let your life be taken from you, or would you fight to stay alive and save the lives of others by killing the killer you can so easily see? This is the life Kate Bishop suddenly finds herself living, and she knows she has to fight for survival, lest she meet the fate of others who had the same ability. With the help of Jack Raines, Kate begins to learn the skills she needs in order to survive. Soon, Kate will have to fight for her life, or face a horrific death, because the killers are coming.

Nest is like Criminal Minds, in a way. Gritty and disturbing at times, but far too engrossing to stay away from for long.

What I liked best about this book was the unique ability of the protagonist. Being able to know someone is a killer, simply by looking into their eyes? How brilliant is that?! Kate’s ability extends a bit further than that, actually, but I won’t go into that in this review. Suffice to say that, even among people able to do what she can do, Kate is special in a way that even Jack Raines—who knows a great deal about such abilities—can’t explain.

I hated to reach the end of the book, because there was so much more I wanted… no, NEEDED… to know. And there was a certain loose end left dangling that is just begging for a sequel, in my opinion. You know… for people like me, who want NEED to know what happened next!

As I said in the beginning, this is the first book by Terry Goodkind I’ve read… but it certainly won’t be the last.

I received a digital review copy of this book courtesy of Skyhorse Publishing.


Author: Terry Goodkind

Title: Nest

Genre: Thriller

Published: November 15th 2016 by Skyhorse Publishing

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

About the Book

#1 New York Times bestselling author Terry Goodkind reinvents the thriller with a provocative, page-turning walk among evil.

Kate Bishop thought she was an ordinary woman living and working in Chicago. But when she unexpectedly finds herself in the middle of a police investigation into a brutal murder, Kate makes a shocking discovery: she has the ability to identify killers just by looking into their eyes.

Trying to grasp the implications of this revelation, Kate is drawn deep into a world of terror. She is tracked down by Jack Raines, a mysterious author with shadowy connections to those who share her ability. He tells Kate that her unique vision also makes her a target, and only he can help her.

Now, hot on Jack and Kate’s heels are a force of super-predators, vicious and bloodthirsty killers who will stop at nothing until Kate is dead. But even as she fights for her life, Kate still isn’t sure if Jack is really her salvation, or another killer coming to slaughter her.

An explosive mix of action and suspense, Nest is a landmark new novel from worldwide bestselling author Terry Goodkind, and a complete reinvention of the contemporary thriller. Travel with Goodkind on a dangerous journey to the back alleys of the darknet, to the darkest corners of our minds, and to the very origins of what it is to be human.

About the Author

Author Terry Goodkind
Terry Goodkind is a contemporary American writer and author of the best-selling epic fantasy series, The Sword of Truth, creator of the television show The Legend of the Seeker, and writer of the self-published epic, The First Confessor: The Legend of Magda Searus (a prequel and origin story of the first Mother Confessor). He has over 20 million copies in print and has been translated into more than 20 different languages, world-wide.
Author photo and bio via Goodreads.