Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott is a fascinating read. Abbott fully immerses the reader in the almost unbelievable but completely true stories of four women who played important roles in their respective sides of the Civil War, and explores the impact of everyday women in the midst of a nation’s crisis. Meticulous research pairs with skillful storytelling to make for an entirely readable and riveting look at American history and ways women played a part in it. —Raela Schoenherr
Find the book at Excelsior Bay Books
Raela Schoenherr is a fiction acquisitions editor at a Minnesota publishing company and enjoys reading whenever and however possible. She also loves to chat books and writing on Twitter at @raelaschoenherr.
September: It opens with warm weather, but chillier temps are just around the bend, so I recommend some summer reds that will transition into the greatness of fall, my favorite season here in Minnesota. Cotes du Rhone Villages Domaine d’Aigueville ($10) has a great flavor and works with just about anything on the grill. Casa Farrelli Rosso ($9) is a fun wine with a full flavor that will go with spicy veggies, simple pastas or on its own. Don’t let the low price fool you. La Forge Cabernet Sauvignon ($15) is a wine that keeps getting better and better, as each new vintage that comes in is better than the last. —John Farrell III
Find this wine at Haskell’s.
John Farrell III is the vice president of sales and merchandising for Haskell’s. His family business has been locally owned and operated since 1934.
Muse has officially landed back on Earth with Drones. After two albums rife with electronic experimentation, the group has scrapped spacey stretches of synth, allowing an attack of guitar, bass and drums drenched in a deluge of thick distortion and pitch-shifted shenanigans to once again rule the spotlight. Sure, there’s a storyline that runs throughout the album, but it’s more companion material. The songs mostly march to a tidy and straightforward beat, one that’s unconcerned with grandiose vision yet still manages to inspire the dance and groove Muse has become synonymous with. —Alex Skjong
Find the album at Barnes & Noble.
Alex Skjong has written for a number of publications in the Twin Cities, Chicago and Atlanta. He is a music lover first and an unreasonably tall human being second.