The Jesus Cow, by Michael Perry (@sneezingcow) #review @TLCBookTours #Giveaway

About the book The Jesus Cow The Jesus Cow

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (May 19, 2015)

The New York Times bestselling humorist Michael Perry makes his fiction debut with this hilarious and bighearted tale—a comic yet sincere exploration of faith in the face of the modern world.

Life is suddenly full of drama for low-key Harley Jackson: A woman in a big red pickup has stolen his bachelor’s heart; a Hummer- driving developer hooked on self-improvement audiobooks is threatening to pave the last vestiges of his family farm; and inside his barn lies a calf bearing the image of Jesus Christ. Harley’s best friend, Billy, a giant of a man who shares his trailer house with a herd of cats and tries to pass off country music lyrics as philosophy, urges him to sidestep the woman, fight the developer, and get rich off the calf. But Harley takes the opposite tack, hoping to avoid what his devout, dearly departed mother would have called “a scene.”

Then the secret gets out—right through the barn door—and Harley’s “miracle” goes viral. Within hours, pilgrims, grifters, and the media have descended on his quiet patch of Swivel, Wisconsin, looking for a glimpse (and a per- centage) of the calf. Does Harley hide the famous, possibly holy, calf and risk a riot, or give the people what they want—and in the process raise enough money to keep his land and, just maybe, win the woman in the big red pickup?

Harley goes all in, cutting a deal with a major Hollywood agent that transforms his little farm into an international spiritual theme park—think Lourdes, only with cheese curds and souvenir snow globes. Soon, Harley has lots of money . . . and more trouble than he ever dreamed.

Buy, read, and discuss The Jesus Cow

Amazon | Barnes & NobleIndieBound | Goodreads

About the author, Michael Perry Michael Perry

Michael Perry is a humorist, radio host, songwriter, and the New York Times bestselling author of several nonfiction books, including Visiting Tom and Population: 485. He lives in rural Wisconsin with his family.

Connect with Michael

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter 

My Thoughts

I’ve been reading Michael Perry‘s memoirs for years now, having first “met” him when I picked up a copy of Population: 485 on the discount rack at Barnes and Noble. In fact, my first review for TLC Book Tours was Perry’s Visiting Tom. He writes with this tone that combines intelligence (he listens to NPR) and cozy Americana (like Garrison Keillor without the collection of tag lines, or Stephen King without the killer clowns and sadistic vampires), and it’s that unassuming style that sucks you into his writing.

The Jesus Cow is Michael’s first novel. (Can I call him Michael? After reading so much of his writing, I feel like we’re on a first name basis, or should be). I have to admit I was a bit concerned that what works so well in personal stories might not translate to fiction, and I have to say, I’ve never been more glad to be wrong. First, this is absolutely, unmistakeably a Michael Perry book. Second, it’s also absolutely, unmistakeably fiction.

Oh, sure, The Jesus Cow pays the same attention to the details of rural small-town life that Perry’s other work does, and addresses (if somewhat obliquely) what is happening in our agricultural communities – something he’s never shied away from discussing, but it’s also just a story: a story of a man, a calf, and the preposterous situation surrounding the two.

I feel safe saying that only Michael Perry could tell a story like this, and make it feel so real that you want to leap out of your chair and drive to Wisconsin. He has given us a collection of memorable characters: Harley, Billy, Klute, Carolyn, Maggie, and Mindy all have distinct voices, and feel like people you’ve run into at the mini-mart. (I’m quite certain we’ve driven behind Carolyn’s Subaru, actually). He’s got a knack for setting a scene that I actually envy. And he does it all with an economy of phrase that Hemingway would hate because he’d feel threatened by it.

Reading The Jesus Cow won’t change your life, but it will give you a glimpse into rural America that is filtered through the lens of fiction, and if nothing else, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll want to invite a friend over for a “staff meeting” that involves gathering around the kitchen table with a couple of beers.

Goes well with a farmhouse breakfast of eggs, bacon and hashbrowns, OR, a couple of doughnuts from the mini-mart, washed down with a giant cup of coffee.

Giveaway The Jesus Cow

Want to read this book? If you have a USA mailing address (sorry, this one’s US only), enter to win a copy. ONE winner will be selected next Tuesday and notified by email, as well as on this blog.

How to enter? Leave a comment on this post before 11:59 PM US Central Daylight Time on Monday, June 8th telling me about your favorite roadside attraction. OR follow @Melysse on Twitter and retweet my post about this review.

Michael’s Tour Stops TLC Book Tours

Tuesday, May 19th: Read. Write. Repeat.

Thursday, May 21st: Buried Under Books

Friday, May 22nd: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Monday, May 25th: Jen’s Book Thoughts

Tuesday, May 26th: The Book Binder’s Daughter

Wednesday, May 27th: Gspotsylvania: Musings from a Spotsylvania Dog and Bird Mom

Thursday, May 28th: girlichef

Tuesday, June 2nd: Bibliotica

Wednesday, June 3rd: BookNAround

Thursday, June 4th: I’d Rather Be At The Beach

Monday, June 8th: Booksie’s Blog

Tuesday, June 9th: Living in the Kitchen with Puppies

Wednesday, June 10th: Apples and Arteries

Thursday, June 11th: A Dream Within a Dream

Friday, June 12th: Imaginary Reads

Review: A Christmas Carol 2 by Robert J. Elisberg

About A Christmas Carol 2: The Return of Scrooge


It’s five years to the day after dear old Ebenezer Scrooge has passed away and left his thriving firm to his former clerk, Bob Cratchit. However, Bob’s overly-generous benevolence with lending and charity-giving has driven the company into the ground, on the verge of bankruptcy. And so the ghost of Scrooge returns one Christmas Eve to teach Cratchit the true meaning of money, with the help of visitations of three spirits – not all of whom are happy t be there. (It is Christmas Eve, after all, and they have other plans.) Making the swirling journey through Christmases past, present, and yet-to-be all the more of a chaotic ride for Cratchit are the dozens of characters from other Dickens novels woven throughout the story, together for the first time. God bless them, most everyone.

And it’s all augmented with footnotes of letters between Mr. Dickens and his publisher, along with notes from Dickens’s own hand and scholarly research. At least that’s what the editor tells us, though we’re a little skeptical of his honesty.

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About the author, Robjert J. Elisberg


Robert J. Elisberg has been a commentator and contributor to such publications as the Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Magazine, C/NET and E! Online, and he served on the editorial board for the Writers Guild of America. He has contributed political writing to the anthology, Clued in on Politics, 3rd edition (CQ Press).

Among his other writing, Elisberg wrote the comic novella, A Christmas Carol 2: The Return of Scrooge, which reached #2 on Amazon’s Hot List for Humor/Parody. His most recent novel is the swashbuckling adventure, The Wild Roses. He co-wrote a book on world travel. Currently, he writes a tech column for the Writers Guild of America, west. He also co-wrote the song, “Just One of the Girls” for the Showtime movie Wharf Rat, and wrote the book for the stage musical Rapunzel!.

Born in Chicago, he attended Northwestern University and received his MFA from UCLA, where he was twice awarded the Lucille Ball Award for comedy screenwriting. Not long afterwards, Elisberg sold his screenplay, Harry Warren of the Mounties. He was on staff of the international animated series, Flute Master, and co-wrote three of the Skateboy films based on it. He also co-wrote the independent film, Yard Sale. Most recently, he wrote an adventure screenplay for Callahan Filmworks.

Connect with Robert J. Elisberg:
Web:Elisberg Industries
Twitter: @RobertElisberg
Facebook: Robert Elisberg

Add this book to Goodreads:

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My Thoughts:

I’m a fan of Dickens, and I’m also open to pastiches, which means A Christmas Carol 2: The Return of Scrooge was very likely going to be something I enjoyed. Nevertheless, I approached it a little nervously. I don’t like to give reviews. Obviously not everyone likes everything they’re given to read, but…What would I do if it wasn’t FUNNY?

My fears were assuaged almost instantly, and forgotten by the time I reached the first footnote. What? Didn’t anyone warn you that this book is annotated? Well it is, with a lovely footnote for every new/old character, talking about their appearance in the main body of Dickens’ work, and why he included them in this ‘lost’ novella.

The voice of the book isn’t quite Dickens as we know him, but could easily be unedited Dickens after a few shots of tequila – er, um – Smoking Bishop. The self-referential humor works every time, and the other bits of humor (sending a Jewish character to be a ghost on Christmas Eve, and having him complain about it) are dead-on.

In A Christmas Carol 2 Elisberg has not only given us an entertaining read, he’s helped the story live in contemporary times, showing us that the best path is neither abject poverty nor total profit, but a balance of the two.

Those who are familiar with the original Dickens work, or any of his novels, will gain the most enjoyment from Elisberg’s so-called revision, but even readers new to his work will get a laugh or two.

Writing pastiche is hard. Writing effective parody is even harder. Elisberg has managed to do both, successfully, and I enjoyed reading it very much.

Goes well with a slice of mince pie, and coffee laced with brandy.


Review: Oh Myyy (There Goes the Internet) by George Takei

Oh Myyy (There Goes the Internet)
by George Takei

Product Description (from
How did a 75-year old actor from Star Trek become a social media juggernaut? Why does everything he posts spread like wildfire across the ether, with tens or even hundreds of thousands of likes and shares? And what can other sites, celebrities and companies do to attain his stratospheric engagement levels, which hover or top 100 percent while theirs languish in the single digits?

Read about George Takei’s meteoric rise and dominance of the Internet in Oh Myyy (There Goes the Internet), published of course in electronic format.
In this groundbreaking, hilarious and informative book, Takei recounts his experiences on platforms such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, where fans and pundits alike have crowned him King. He muses about everything from the nature of viral sharing, to the taming of Internet trolls, to why Yoda, bacon and cats are such popular memes. Takei isn’t afraid to tell it likes he sees it, and to engage the reader just as he does his legions of fans.

Both provokingly thoughtful and wickedly funny, Oh Myyy! captures and comments upon the quirky nature of our plugged-in culture. With Takei’s conversational yet authoritative style, peppered with some of his favorite images from the web, readers should be prepared to LOL, even as they can’t help but hear his words in their heads in that unmistakable, deep bass.

My Thoughts:
I’m not a great user of social media. Oh, I have accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, but I’m really NOT a power user. I’m also not a fan-girl. Sure, there are celebrities I follow, but only if I’m genuinely interested in their work, or in what they have to say. George Takei falls into both categories. As a lifelong Star Trek fan who grew up with the Original Series (in reruns, but still…) I like to see that these actors I grew up watching are doing new and interesting things. As someone who grew up in an activist family, and spent a fair amount of time holding protest signs and such, I’m really amazed and impressed by Mr. Takei’s ability to speak his mind and remain dignified, then post hilarious memes on Facebook.

Having read his first book, a memoir, years ago when it was first published, buying his second was a no-brainer, except that it came out right before Christmas, and then I had this huge queue of books to read for review, and then I wanted to read only fiction. I finally downloaded it a few days ago (on my new iPad, even though I’ve linked to the Kindle version), and actually managed to make it last two days, mainly because I was trying to meet deadlines on some writing projects.

I knew, of course, that the gist of the book was Takei’s experience as a social media icon. I expected that he would come across as smart, well-spoken, and funny, and I was not disappointed. I love that he’s able to be serious when it’s called for and then immediately flip the mood into something completely silly.

I was expecting hilarity, and got it.

I was NOT expecting it to be so insightful, and in that I was pleasantly surprised.

Very often, I find myself looking at something technological and thinking my grandfather would have really enjoyed playing with/using/tinkering with whatever it is, had he lived to this decade (though that would have made him 102). Takei’s take on the Internet found me thinking that a lot, especially when he commented on his own age.

In short, Oh Myyy is funny, smart, insightful and incredibly readable. And, yes, I’m guilty of hearing the author’s voice in my head as I read it. Who isn’t?

Goes well with…a tuna fish sandwich and limeade.