Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Just Jennifer

New titles for December:

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan
James is a Member of Parliament and a crony of the current Prime Minister.  His wife Sophie feels very lucky to have a loving, successful, handsome husband, a lovely home, and two charming children.  One woman threatens to ruin it all with the secret she is about to reveal, but Sophie doesn’t believe the young woman and vows to stand by James no matter what.  Kate is the barrister who is to prosecute the case, her specialty: high-profile sex crimes.  Kate is zealous in her prosecution as always, but this time is different for Kate and she is determined James will be punished for his crimes…all of them.  Sophie and James have been together since their time at Oxford, and there is something from those many years ago that Sophie doesn’t know and could change everything if she finds out.  What starts out as a pretty straight forward case…and story…quickly takes a sinister turn and takes readers into dark places as the tension edges up and secrets are revealed. 

The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen
Ellery Hathaway is a police officer in the quiet suburb of Woodbury, MA where she is sleeping with the chief of police, Sam, and where she waits each July around her birthday for another resident to disappear.   Ellery, once Abigail, is the only person who survived the serial killer Francis Coben who is on death row.  Yet for the past three years, someone has sent Ellery an anonymous birthday card and shortly after someone disappears and is never found.  Sam doesn’t think there is any connection to Ellery’s kidnapping so she turns to the one person she thinks will help her, FBI agent Reed Markham, the man who rescued her, the man who has written the book about her case, and the man who is currently on leave from the FBI after a botched case.  Markham has to investigate unofficially, but when a pair of hands belonging to the first young woman who disappeared, Coben’s signature was to remove the victim’s hands, appear on Ellery’s front porch she knows she isn’t crazy and is more determined than ever to solve the case before there is another victim.  This first novel by the winner of the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition is full of twists and turns, and damaged characters.  Though then ending may feel a little rushed, and in need of a more detailed motive, there is enough interest to keep readers turning the pages as they follow Ellery, Markham, and Ellery’s dog Speed Bump down the dark road into Ellery’s past which has found its way into her present. 

Just Jennifer

The Missing by CL Taylor

Fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson has been missing for six months, disappearing in the middle of one August night.  His mother Claire has come apart, blaming herself, and having dissociative episodes that make her wonder if deep down she doesn’t know more than her conscience being knows.  After another appeal for information about Billy, Claire tries to return to work and a semblance of normal life, but she quickly realizes her husband Mark has been keeping secrets, as has her nineteen-year-old son Jake and his girlfriend Kira, who has been living with the family recently.  But what about Billy? What secrets did he keep from his family and what, if anything, do those secrets have to do with his disappearance?  This twisty turny plot is full of unreliable characters, including and most of all, the one who is missing.  As Billy’s story starts to unfold, it becomes clear that he may hold the key to his own disappearance.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

New for November

Murder in the Manuscript Room by Con Lehane
Raymond Ambler, the curator of crime fiction at the New York Public Library’s grand 42nd Street Library, has solved a crime or two in his day.  He is trying to gain custody of the young grandson he just learned of, as his son is serving time in state prison.  Ambler is approached by former NYPD cop and mystery author Paul Higgins who wants to donate his papers to the library, but wants some of the papers to be kept under wraps.  Shortly after, a young woman who has just started working with Ambler and his colleague, sometimes date, Adele Morgan is found murdered in Ambler’s office.  Ambler assumes that his pal homicide detective Mike Cosgrove will investigate the case, but soon the Intelligence Division takes over and an Islamic scholar who has been studying at the library, and with whom Adele has struck up a friendship, becomes a person of interest.  At the same time, Ambler is contacted by a childhood friend who took the rap for the murder of a trucker’s union boss, he believes his brother to have committed.  Now that the brother has died, Ambler’s friend wants to clear both their names and maybe find the real murderer.  All of these events don’t seem related, but Ambler keeps an open mind and before he knows it, pieces start to fall into place and his life is once again at risk as he chases a killer.  There are so many disparate pieces to this mystery, it is hard to believe they will all fall neatly into place, but neatly they do with plenty of library lore and New York City history along the way; intelligent, thoughtful characters add to this enjoyable mystery.

The Secret, Book, and Scone Society by Ellery Adams
Nora Pennington has come to Miracle Springs, North Carolina to escape her previous life and to heal.  Living in a converted caboose and helping visitors to her bookstore Miracle Books, select books to help them heal, Nora has achieved a sense of satisfaction if not peace. The owner of the Gingerbread House, Hester, can bake comfort into her custom-made scones, while June works at the spa with hot springs, and Estella has her salon to pamper visitors.  Shortly after a visiting businessman has a consultation with Nora, her is found dead on the train tracks, a death the police quickly rule a suicide.  Though Nora knew Neil only a short time, she cannot believe Neil committed suicide and turns to the three other woman, as damaged as she, to band together in order to figure out what really happened to Neil, bring a killer to justice, and in the process, learn to trust each other, and to heal from the past, and forgive themselves.  This first book in a new series will welcome readers to the world of Miracle Springs and the warm, caring women who live there.  There are very few surprises to the murder investigation, though one revelation at the end is startling, adding a little more interest.  It is the setting and the four main characters that add charm and warmth to this mystery.

Sweet Tea and Sympathy by Molly Harper
Chicago event planner Margot Cary has been fired after one of her society galas goes spectacularly wrong control.  Out of work with no hopes of getting an event planning job in the country thanks to a viral You Tube video, Margot is surprised when her great aunt Tootie invites Margot to the family compound in Lake Sackett, Georgia to work in her estranged family’s funeral home/bait shop.  Margot has had no contact with the McCready’s, including her father, since her mother moved from Lake Sackett with Margot when Margot was a toddler.  Overwhelmed by her extended, gregarious family, and their small town Southern ways, such as carbs, pork, and deep-frying everything, or knowing everyone’s business before they know it themselves, Margot vows to lick her wounds and get out of Lake Sackett as quickly as possible.  Slowly and surely, though, Margot realizes things aren’t all bad in Lake Sackett: she likes her family, is getting to know her father, and has caught the eye of the most eligible bachelor, elementary school principal Kyle Archer, who as a widow with two young daughters, comes with his own set of issues.  This first book in a new series welcomes readers to Lake Sackett with eccentric, loving characters, and invites them to sit and stay for a spell with a tall glass of sweet tea.

The Library at the Edge of the World by Felicity Hayes-McCoy
Hanna Casey returns from London to her hometown on Ireland’s West Coast peninsula of Finfarran after more than twenty-years of marriage, which she has just learned has been a farce, with her teenage daughter Jazz in tow.  Working as a librarian in Lissbeg, Hanna remains embittered five years later, still in her childhood home under the scrutiny of her nagging mother, Jazz now living in France, a flight attendant who visits from time to time.  Determined to take her life back, Hanna decides it is time to restore the rundown cottage left to her by her great aunt Maggie.  Upon hearing that the town may close Hanna’s beloved library, she finds herself fighting a battle on a second front to keep what she considers the center of the town and to convince the naysayers that a town without a library is a town without a heart.  Driving around the coast in her mobile library gives Hanna plenty of time to think and plenty of encounters with people who often irk and irritate her, but whom she comes to realize depend on Hanna and her mobile library not just for reading materials but for companionship and community. This heart-warming novel is perfect for book groups or anyone who adores libraries and recognizes that they are more than a collection of books…they are a collection of community.

Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser
Using land records, letters, and diaries, this book provides a detailed historical account of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the time during which Laura Ingalls grew up and wrote about in her famed autobiographical novels.  This fascinating book provides context for many of the events described in the Little House books and Wilder's writings as well as dispels any myths that her daughter Rose was a ghostwriter for the beloved series.  Told in great detail is the story, so often left untold, of Laura as a young bride, then young mother, and a woman who moved her family around to survive, and who suffered many great losses during her lifetime, but somehow managed to turn these near defeats into something cherished by generations to come.  This is a masterful tribute to the legendary author as well as the gripping historical account of America is sure to have wide appeal. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Just Jennifer

Sweet Potatoes: Roasted, Loaded, Fried, and Made into Pie by Mary-Frances Heck

Sweet potatoes often get a bum rap, prepared as the ubiquitous and gratuitous mashed, marshmallow covered dish on many Thanksgiving tables.  This cloyingly sweet dish, however does a disservice to the complex tasting, nutrient packed tuber.  Sweet potatoes are available year round, come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, from the most widely known orange fleshed to a white fleshed and a purple fleshed.  While these root vegetables are a perfect vehicle for almost any flavor, they lend themselves particularly well to citrus, more aromatic herbs and spices such as cayenne, cinnamon, garlic, and ginger, and also blend well with many proteins, dairy, meat and poultry, and nuts and seeds.  Heck takes cooks through a variety of ways to prepare sweet potatoes beginning with the basics: steaming, roasting, puree, and French fries, and then moves on to appetizers with big (and sometimes surprising flavors): Veggie Temaki, and buffalo seasonings. Soups and stews include sweet potatoes were traditional white potatoes are found, Chicken and dumplings, chowders, and with braised sausage and beans.  Side dishes, salads, and main dishes each offer new ideas for uses and will have home cooks thinking “where else can I use sweet potatoes?” The Brad and Baked Goods section uses sweet potato puree for the basis of a very tender, structured dough (yeast and quick) that can be turned into a variety of baked goods.  Sweet potatoes will add extra nutrition to chocolate babka and cinnamon rolls, and make the basis of a galette that will be a vehicle for a variety of toppings, sweet, and savory.  Where will sweet potatoes turn up in your cooking next?

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Coming in October

The Summer Reading Club may have ended, but there's no reason to stop reading!  As the nights grow cooler, cozy up with one of these new books...


The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash
Six days a week, in rural North Carolina in 1929, Ella May Wiggins, mother of four, makes a two-mile trip to American Mill No. 2 where she works a night shift earning nine dollars for a 72-hour week.  The mill is a prime target for burgeoning union activities with the promise of better working conditions and better pay; Ella May is all for unionizing, but at what cost to her family, friends, and community?  Seventy-five years later, Ella May’s daughter Lilly writes her nephew telling the story of his courageous grandmother, revealing the events that led up to one fateful night in 1929 that changed everything.  Other voices weave in and out, telling Ella May’s story, a story based on actual people and events, and the origins of the American Labor Movement in this soulful novel with gorgeous prose and carefully drawn characters, belying the sorrow and tragedy it relates.  A www.libraryreads.org/ pick for October.

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
This prequel to Practical Magic takes readers back a generation to the 1950’s and 1960’s when the three Owens children are born and raised in New York City, warned by their mother Susanna to charges her children to stay away from her hometown in Massachusetts, avoid moonlight, Ouija Boards, red shoes, Downtown Manhattan, and never fall in love.  Franny, Jet, and Vincent know they are different from other children, but don’t realize there family, especially women, have been cursed since 1620 when their ancestor was accused of being a witch because she loved the wrong man.  Franny, the eldest, is the most brooding with her pale skin and shocking red hair; Jet is the beauty and can intuit what others are thinking; Vincent, more of a free spirit, has been doing his own thing since he was born.  When Franny turns seventeen she is summoned by her aunt Isabelle to come to the Owens’s home town.  She brings her brother and sister, setting each on a dangerous course, courses that will change their lives and the lives of those they love.  There is something magical about the way Alice Hoffman writes, as she guides these three siblings from childhood to adulthood, as they learn to live, and to love and above all, be true to themselves.  www.libraryreads.org/ pick for October.

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
Daphne Parrish is leading the perfect life: or so Amber thinks.  Daphne is pretty enough, has a lovely house on the Connecticut shore, is married to billionaire Jackson Parrish who seems to adore her, and has two bright young daughters.  And Amber wants her life, or at least her husband.  Amber finds a way to insinuate herself into Daphne’s life by claiming she, like Daphne, had a sister who died of Cystic Fibrosis, first being part of a fund raiser for the CF foundation Daphne started and runs, and then by becoming the best friend Daphne so desperately needs, all the while plotting to become the next Mrs. Parrish, leaving Daphne and her two daughters out in the cold.  Little by little, Amber works her way into Jackson Parrish’s life, first as his assistant at work and then in his bed, all the while not knowing the terrible secret Daphne harbors, and not knowing that Daphne in turn knows the dirty secret Amber has been hiding, two secrets that will ruin everything for both women if they let them. Written by sisters, this intricately plotted book has characters as despicable as they come and characters who will be sympathized with even though they seem to have it all.  Fast-paced, the narrative propels this book forward toward one final “gotcha”.  www.libraryreads.org/ pick for October.

The Dirty Book Club by Lisi Harrison

M.J. Stark thinks she has it all: she’s about to be appointed editor-in-chief at her dream job at a New York City magazine and a gorgeous doctor for a boyfriend, though he does live on the West Coast. When her promotion doesn’t happen exactly as planned, M.J. takes off for Pearl Beach, California, convincing herself and others that she has given up her career to live with her true love Dan.  M.J. finds herself at loose ends in California and becomes friendly with Dan’s next-door neighbor Gloria, who readers know was part of a Dirty Book Club fifty years before.  When Gloria’s husband dies unexpectedly, she jets off to Paris to fulfill the promise the club members made to each other to live in Paris together when they were all single.  Each of the original (and only) four members of the Dirty Book Club have chosen a young woman to take her place in the club and M.J. finds herself invited to be a member along with Addie, the wild one of the group, Jules, the romantic, and Britt, the hard-working mother and wife who doesn’t realize what is going on under her own roof.  The four women are as different as oil and water and have no real interest in getting to know each other or in keeping the club together, but little by little, each grudgingly realizes they need a change in their life and begin to confide in one another and learn to be honest with each other and themselves.  Readers see M.J. as the main protagonist work through why she left New York and came to California, and what she must do in order to be true to herself and her dreams.  Harrison’s first adult novel sometimes has a high school mean girl feel to it,  and the only insight readers get into the original women of the DBC is through letters each left in specific books, but overall is a breezy, fast-paced read with a certain amount of appeal.

The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey
Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock is a born police officer and working in her hometown of Smithson in Australia gives her an edge, as she knows a lot of the history and secrets of the residents.  She is not as disciplined in her personal life, however, living with the father of her young son, resisting his requests to get married, and carrying on an affair with her married partner Felix.  Rosalind Ryan, an English teacher at the school where she taught English and drama, and that she attended with Gemma, is found floating in the lake, her body surrounded with red roses, on the night after her triumphant production of her retelling of Romeo and Juliet.  The town is stunned, and no one can believe Rose was murdered, but her death opens up long repressed memories for Gemma and she is forced to revisit her high school years to try and learn what she is missing, the events and actions that might have lead up to this ten years later.  Gemma’s past and present are about to collide in unexpected ways as she must struggle to finally come to terms with her ex-boyfriend’s suicide, the mess she and Felix are making of their personal lives, and uncover Rose’s secrets, past and present, to solve her murder, in this taut debut novel with a complex, yet sympathetic protagonist.  

If You Knew My Sister by Michelle Adams
Irini Harringford’s parents gave her away to live with her aunt and uncle when she was three-years-old though she has never been told why.  Irini has tried to live a normal life, is now a doctor, and has tried not to worry about why she was given away instead of her older sister Elle.  Irini and Elle were never close, either as sisters or cousins, though Elle has appeared at different times throughout Irini’s life, mostly causing trouble for Irini, though it seems at the time Elle has come to her rescue.  After six years, Irini thinks she has exercised Elle from her life when she gets a phone call from Elle that their mother has died and Irini should come to Scotland for the funeral.  Hoping to put her past to bed once and for all, Irini makes the journey but realizes that her sister still has a hold over Irini and she finds herself drawn back into her family’s history of secrets and lies, and becomes determined to find the truth about why she was given away, even though it is much more complicated and twisted than she ever imagined.  The tension builds as Irini’s past is slowly revealed, culminating in a secret few will have seen coming.

Odd Child Out by Gilly Macmillan
Noah Sadler has lived with childhood cancer for most of his life.  In and out of treatments, when he is finally able to return to school he feels like an outsider except for Abdi Mahad, a Somali immigrant, who immediately befriends him and the two become best friends.  Now, the night of Noah’s father’s controversial photography exhibit, Noah is found floating unconscious in Bristol’s Feeder Canal, Abdi the only witness and Abdi appears to be in shock and isn’t, or can’, tell anyone what happened.  Detective Inspector Jim Clemo, just back from leave after his last tragic case, is assigned to investigate what looks like a terrible accident.  As Clemo investigates, he sees the incident is not as cut and dried as it looks, and learns there may be a deeper connection to Edward Sadler’s latest photo exhibit of refugee camps than anyone suspected.  Two families are in pain, over the potential loss of Noah and over the tragedy of Abdi being with him at the time of the accident and the loss of his best friend.  Accusations begin tearing apart the community, making each family face truths they were not ready to reveal to anyone, including themselves, but must do in order to heal.  This heartbreaking novel is satisfying on many levels: a well-paced mystery, psychological suspense, and empathetic characters in impossible situations facing impossible dilemmas.


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Congratulations to...


...the Grand Prize Winners of the 2017 Adult Summer Reading Club:
  • Headquarters Library: Ann Mc
  • North County Branch Library: ExLibris
  • South County Branch Library: Cindy
  • Member Libraries & Bookmobile: Dorman
Thank you to the Friends of the Library for generously supporting the club, and thank you to all of you club members for your enthusiastic participation!  See you next summer!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Midnight at the Bright IDEAS bookstore

Author: Matthew Sullivan
Stars: 5
Review by: Judy E

A first novel for Matt Sullivan...a real hit for me. I read this book in 2 days over Labor Day...the vibrant characters, descriptions of the bookstore and its Bookfrogs, and the happenings really caught my attention. Lydia and the Hammerman will draw you into this mystery big time.

The Prince of Tides

Author: Pat Conroy
Stars: 4
Review by: BeachBarb

So, I haven't quite finished this book, but it was a goal of mine to read it this summer after visiting Beaufort in the spring and buying the only Pat Conroy book in the book store, A Lowcountry Heart, Reflections on a Writing Life. I enjoyed reading that, and it whet my appetite to re-read some of his more well known books. Even though I am only 42% finished with this book, I am determined to finish before I declare summer over. I am enjoying it better than I did when I read it years ago. We have also watched the movie early this summer.

The Burry Man's Day

Author: Catriona McPherson
Stars: 2
Review by: Lizzytish 

Set in the 1920's in a small town in Scotland. The Burryman is a tradition that's carried out every year. I don't know why, but it was not a smooth read. The writing seemed choppy and the plot was confusing at time. I could not relate with any of the characters or feel for them. Just an odd read for me. Near the end it became more enjoyable.

Clutter Free

Author: Kathi Lipp
Stars: 3
Review by: LZ99

Common sense, but good reminders. Have read it before, but a refresher wasn't a bad idea!

The Husband's Secret

Author: Liane Moriarty
Stars: 5
Review by: Miss Lucy

Liane Moriarty's books are amazing. She surprises me every time.

I'd Rather Be Reading: A Library of Art for Book Lovers

Author: Guinevere De La Mare
Stars: 3
Review by: Miss Lucy

Good essays, cool art, and kindred spirits.

Cocoa Beach

Author: Beatriz Williams
Stars: 2
Review by: Just Ada

Very confusing plot and a really strange ending.

Between the World and Me

Author: Te-Nahisi Coates
Stars: 5
Review by: Brooke S

 Wow - did not expect this short (~150 pages) book to grip me so hard and fast. Written from the perspective of a one-sided conversation with his son, Mr. Coates discussed and explores life as a black man in America. Poignant and gut-wrenching realities, but written with such moving and clear language and history, Toni Morrison is correct, this should be 'required reading.'

The Best of Roald Dahl

Author: Roald Dahl
Stars: 5
Review by: Brooke S

Collection of (adult) short stories [some of which were mentioned in Gabrielle Zevin's The Storied Life of AJ Fikry]. I had not read his short before and they were dark and funny.

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry

Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Stars: 5
Review by: Brooke S

Read in under 24 hours - a quick, delightful read. We are reading for our book club, and this prompted me to read up on some of the many literature references in the book - another welcome digression.

Danny the Champion of the World

Author: Roald Dahl
Stars: 5
Review by: Brooke S

I re-read this book with my 9 year old (read one book together each summer) - and this is my favorite Dahl book. The close and dear relationship between father and son is heart warming, and the adventures of the big secret methods of poaching tickled my daughter. Fun read!

A Dragons Heart

Author: Terry Bolryder
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

This is a story with vague references to other stories of Bolryder. This is about a couple of dragons looking to find their mates and refuse to look at what's right in front of them.

Heatsridge Shifters Series

Author: Olivia Arran
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

This series is about a town of registered shifters and focuses on the bears that patrol South 1 side of town and a group of purists that want to destroy them. The bears are Nate, Jake, Brent, Cade and Austin. There is a lot going on in this series and has a few spin off series to read.

Hierax

Author: Ruby Lionsdrake
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

This a continuation of the previous stories and picks up where our main characters are stranded in another universe when the gate they travel through does not allow them to go back. The series makes jokes about the links with the Star Gate TV/Movie series.

Farewell Dorothy Parker

Author: Ellen Meister
Stars: 3
Review by: argee17

"To hear her relatives tell it, you would think she was the love child of Oscar Wilde and Fran Lebowitz..." Since I'm a fan of both, this was a fun read.

Ghosts

Author: Raina Telgemeier
Stars: 4
Review by: Miss Lucy

What would the Summer Reading Club be without a graphic novel?!! Ghosts is a beautifully illustrated book about Dia de Los Muertos. It explains this annual Mexican tradition in a tender, non-threatening way, via a loving story about sisters, friends, and family... and dearly departed ancestors, of course!

Jack: Straight from the Gut

Author: Jack Welch
Stars: 3
Review by: Summer Breeze

He could have dug a lot deeper, instead it was filled with a lot of corporate clich├ęs. Although he is venerated in the business community, his company has not recovered in the 16 years since he left, so it was difficult to believe anything I read.

The Art of Discarding: How to Get Rid of Clutter and Find Joy

Author: Nagisa Tatsumi
Stars: 3
Review by: 
Miss Lucy
When this book was first published in 2000 in Japan, it became an instant bestseller, and it inspired Marie Kondo, who would go on to write her own bestseller on life-changing magic.

I had hoped for more, though. Although Ms. Tatsumi did have some words of advice that will help me de-clutter, they were too few and far between. One of the best for me was: "The difference between disposing as trash and disposing for reuse is little more than emotion."

Pride and Prejudice (audio)

Author: Jane Austen
Stars: 5
Review by: BookDancer

It was so delightful to listen to this great classic!

The Family Gene

Author: Joselin Linder
Stars: 4
Review by:
bandit
VERY INFORMATIVE--EVEN WITHOUT A SCIENCE BACKGROUND

Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

Author: Arthur Conan Doyle
Stars: 3
Review by:
Lizzytish
A series of short stories that make a perfect bedtime snack. Some are absurd, some good. I enjoy learning more about Sherlock himself as I do reading the mysteries. This is where Sherlock fights to the death with Moriarty at Reichnbach Falls. Now I can't wait to read how Sherlock revives.

Appointment With Death

Author: Agatha Christie
Stars: 4
Review by: 
Lizzytish
Not only do I get to visit with the delightful Poirot, but I get to visit Petra also!
I actually half figured this one out! Come see the ruins and stony wall of Petra as well as seeing the stony heart of man and what ruin they can bring upon themselves.

A Fall of Marigolds

Author: Susan Meissner
Stars: 5
Review by: bandit

BEST BOOK I READ ALL SUMMER! A UNIQUE STORY WEAVING 2 LIVES 100 HUNDRED YEARS APART.

Fishbowl

Author: Bradley Somer
Stars: 4
Review by: 
BeachBarb
Quirky, but once I got past the first chapter I enjoyed the book.

Dressed for Death

Author: Donna Leon
Stars: 4
Review by: 
jambob
This Author writes a series of mysteries with her version of an Italian Sherlock Holmes. Born in NJ, but lived in Venice she picks up the flavor and culture of Venetians with clever murder mysteries. Guido Brunetti is understated, thought provoking but always seeking justice after a nice dinner of pasta!

The Forgotten Garden

Author: Kate Morton
Stars: 4
Review by: 
Karyn G
A look at Victorian England as a modern day Australian searches for her roots.

I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere But in the Pool

Author: Lisa Scottoline
Stars: 5
Review by: 
Patti K
This mother-daughter duo is always fun.

Gorge

Author: Kara Richardson Whitely
Stars: 5
Review by: Patti K

I've long been a fan of Kara and, after hearing her speak at the Library recently, couldn't wait to read Gorge. It's a brilliant and incredibly honest memoir.

This Was A Man

Author: Jeffrey Archer
Stars: 5
Review by: Pam D

Great conclusion to the 7 book series.

Notwithstanding

Author: Louis De Bernieres
Stars: 4
Review by: 
BKF
Crazy nostalgic stories about English village life. A very entertaining read!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Congratulations to...

... our Week #14 Prize Winners:

  • a 'Retired Cat' - who likes to read!
  • fran housten

Progress So Far

Click on image to enlarge.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Promise Me

Author: Harlan Coben
Stars: 4
Review by: Nancy w

This book captured my interest from the beginning and I read it in 1 day. Mystery without too much violence, although there was some. Good interesting characters with lots of action. It was written in 2006 and reminded me how much things change in 11 years. It takes place in NJ and mentions Donald Trump in passing and acknowledged Chris Christie for his help when he was a US attorney.



The Union Quilters

Author: Jennifer Chiaverini
Stars: 1
Review by: 
Nancy w
Could not get into this book. I usually like Chiaverini's books but this one had too much quilt talk and not enough character story.

The Great American Crazies

Author: James Haskins
Stars: 3
Review by: argee17

 Interesting & entertaining, especially regarding celebrities' eccentricities. Arranged by topics; chronological format would have been better.

Everyman

Author: Phillip Roth
Stars: 2
Review by: 
argee17
A selfish man in his old age facing the inevitable.

Paul McCartney: A Life

Author: Peter Ames Carlin
Stars: 4
Review by: 
Shapoppa
Very interesting read about Paul McCartney's contributions to the Fab Four.

Sputnick's Guide To Life On Earth

Author: Frank Cottrell Boyce
Stars: 5
Review by: KM

I've read this writer of juvenile fiction several times before...every book is extremely well written, with highly creative storylines and excellent character development. This one in particular is insightful and inspiring, with plenty of substance for adult readers.

The Couple Next Door

Author: Shari Lapena
Stars: 4
Review by: BeachBarb

This suspenseful page turner kept me reading and finishing the book in two days. Lots of evil deceptive characters creating many twists and turns. A good read.

One Perfect Lie

Author: Lisa Scottoline
Stars: 3
Review by: 
mysterylover
Different than I'm used to.

The Book That Matters Most

Author: Ann Hood
Stars: 4
Review by: Just Ada

A little confusing in spots, but really kept my interest.

Speaking American*: *How Y'all, Youse, and You Guys Talk: A Visual Guide

Author: Josh Katz
Stars: 5
Review by: 
Miss Lucy
I want to show this book to everyone I meet! It is so amazing. I always knew that some people call soda 'pop' and that people have different words for those delicious sandwiches that I call 'subs.' But there is a whole wealth of these kinds of words and speech patterns through the U.S. How do you say 'data'? 'coupon'? 'often'? And what do you call things, like, say, sneakers? I was shocked to learn that in at least 80% of the U.S. they're called 'tennis shoes'! Did you know that cougars, mountain lions, and panthers are all different names for the SAME animal? If this review intrigues you, you MUST read this book!



I Am the Messenger

Author: Markus Zusak
Stars: 3
Review by: Miss Lucy

This was a re-read for me (on audio the 2nd time around). Parts of the book seemed familiar when I heard them again, but for the most part, I had totally forgotten this book. I enjoyed it a lot, until the end - that's when it fell apart for me, and I didn't understand it. And when I had this thought, that's when I recalled that I felt the same way the first time around. No wonder I could hardly remember it! So, it lost a couple of stars, in my opinion.

Sail

Author: James Patterson
Stars: 4
Review by: 
BeachBarb
This was a good summertime listen to book. I enjoyed it.

Lilac Girls

Author: Martha Hall Kelly
Stars: 4
Review by: 
BeachBarb
This is a good story of three women living in different countries during World War II and how their lives eventually coincide. The three woman are very different and each one's story is interesting and compelling. It is a bit hard to read the atrocities that occurred during this time period in Europe. But, we should not forget them in the hope of never repeating such things again.

A Perfect Gentleman

Author: Candace Camp
Stars: 2
Review by: 
Saraswati
I usually like Camp's work but this story was OK. It just felt like it took forever to get to where I would like to be.

Two Beasts- a Dark Fairytale

Author: Dark Angel
Stars: 2
Review by:
Saraswati
This story is co-written by 2 authors. It is about a princess that is made to marry two princes to secure peace. It turns out that it's not that simple. The book had other stories provided with it but I could not get into them so I moved on.

Unauthorized Series-the complete collection #1-4

Author: Lisa Ladew
Stars: 3
Review by:
Saraswati
This is a spin off series of the Fireman's series and focuses on the sister of the male paramedic, Jerry. It brings some old and new characters together but ties up nicely. Once again - a little intrigue, some love and a few surprises. This is an easy series summer read.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Congratulations to...

... our Week # 13 Prize Winners:
  • libraryaimee
  • Pixie Tirade

Progress So Far

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Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Loss of a Pet

Author: Wallace Sife, Ph.D.
Stars: 4
Review by: PattiK

Extremely helpful for anyone who has loved and lost a pet

Death by Tiara

Author: Laura Levine
Stars: 4
Review by: Regina

I found it very entertaining and light and actually giggled out loud sometimes.

The Big Question

Author: Alister McGrath
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar

Yet another book that thinks that, if people seriously just read the Bible and other works, they'll magically realize that there shouldn't be such a division between faith and science and we can all magically get along in a land filled with cupcakes and unicorns. The real question should be why some authors keep writing this things - and why there are people so stubborn as to think that others will so suddenly surrender their beliefs when another simply tells them they're wrong.

Lenin on the Train

Author: Catherine Merridale
Stars: 1
Review by: MApgar

Once again, I have no idea what I just read. This took me about 20 odd minutes - granted I'm fast, but still - large print is usually an indication that the author really has little to say folks. Generally, it was about the trip Lenin took from Zurich to Russia to lead the revolution, but she loaded it with too much of what didn't work. Things that she probably thought would be funny, conjecture, and over the top characterization - it just took away from what was going on.

4th Rock from the Sun

Author: Nicky Jenner
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar

The story of Mars' as the subtitle goes. An examination of the red planet in history and folklore with a look into how it is proposed that we explore it - but I did pick up a few mistakes here and there so I wonder how many there actually are sum total.

Roman London

Author: Peter Marsden
Stars: 3
Review by: MApgar

A time based examination of London from its Roman origins to the early recovery of them, what little we know of it. So much was gone over willy nilly and early boards meant to protect and preserve artifacts hated their job so very little was actually done - but a remarkable amount is known granted all of that.

Combat Ready Kitchen

Author: Anastacia Marx de Salcedo
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar

Showing how military technology impacted the food industry - from packaging, preservation, and even legislation. A lot of modern laws came out of WWII and as such we're only just 'tweaking' a few bits, but of course there are other principles much more recent. She is a big proponent on processed foods however - so if one is not too keen on how they impact a person's health or the like be aware of that as they're pushed here quite a lot.

The Book that Changed America

Author: Randall Fuller
Stars: 1
Review by: MApgar

Note to the author - when you want to write something about how Darwin impacted American culture and history by showing how he influenced 5 other writers do not make the whole bloody thing about Thoreau. It is really irritating. That one was clearly preference and he was mentioned above basically everyone else.

Finding Gobi

Author: Dion Leonard
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar

The story of a marathon runner that encounters a dog while in the Gobi desert and brings her home to Scotland, encountering all sorts of issues along the way. It was alright - problems were slight things like his near immediate negotiation for a book deal (which came off as really arrogant), the trusting of certain persons who seemed really inept with caring for the dog, and his going on about his supposedly tough life. Yes, he had it rough, but a lot had it worse, and the author rather over hyped himself I think.

Waters Edge

Author: Sara Gruen
Stars: 4
Review by: Karyn G

Nice period piece with likable characters.

The Bookshop on the Corner

Author: Jennie Colgan
Stars: 1
Review by: Lizzytish

How did a book about books and Scotland turn into a simpering Harlequin , just about a bodice ripper, Romance!?! I enjoyed the first half about books and the culture and places in Scotland, but somewhere it became a train wreck. ( ha, ha, inside joke for those who have read it)

Nina starts out as a shy, self conscious girl who leaves everything she knows, to drive a van around Scotland. The van is her bookstore on wheels. Great idea. Then she becomes an annoying, whiny brat who can't find love. From there on it goes downhill.

The Child

Author: Fiona Barton
Stars: 3
Review by: Just Ada

Interesting concept. Kept you guessing till the end.

A Confederacy of Dunces

Author: John Kennedy Toole
Stars: 4
Review by: bandit

SURPRISINGLY FUNNY BOOK!

House It Up

Author: Vicki Width
Stars: 5
Review by: August Mom

Local Psychologist tells a well researched and anecdotal story about black youth in the Juvenile justice system as youth. She shares her counseling work with the "criminalized traumatized," youth in the system.

Full-Court Pressure

Author: Rick Pitino
Stars: 3
Review by: Summer Breeze

Easy breezy summertime read, but published in 1992 and a lot has happened in the history of U of Kentucky basketball and Rick Pitino since then so somewhat dated. Refreshed my memory of several people I knew personally including Jim Valvano and ML Carr. Opinionated, passionate, somewhat irrational...the real Rick Pitino.

Until You Loved Me

Author: Brenda Novak
Stars: 5
Review by:a 'Retired Cat'-who likes to read!

I have not read one of hers that I did not give it 5 stars.

The Beekeeper's Son

Author: Kelly Irvin
Stars: 5
Review by:a 'Retired Cat'-who likes to read!

Great Amish series.

Congratulations to...

... our Week #12 Prize Winners:
  • DeckReader
  • BeachBarb

Everything All At Once: how to unleash your inner nerd, tap into radical curiosity, and solve any problem

Author: Bill Nye
Stars: 4
Review by: BookWorm2

Good book with the audio read by the author. A bit long (10+ hrs), but still very good.

Progress So Far

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The Bedlam Stacks

Author: Natasha Pulley
Stars: 4
Review by: Lizzytish

An enchanting read that takes one to the deep heart of Peru in the 1800's. People are dying of malaria and there is a shortage of quinine. The only hope is to retrieve some cuttings from quinine trees hidden in a forbidden forest.
The pollen was the highlight! I wasn't as much in awe of this book as I was with the previous novel: The Watchmaker of Filigree Strret. There is a cameo of Mori, but this book can stand alone.
I did get a little bogged down in the middle and I must admit I was not sure where this was going.

The magic of the pollen and moving statues, the salt border, glass beaches and all was mesmerizing. I was not crazy about the protagonist, but I did enjoy Raphael.

It's a dreamlike read and I did not want to wake from it.

Iliad

Author: Homer
Stars: 3
Review by: Shapoppa

No, I didn't read the entire book, but I did read a few books from it just because I read it in high school and wanted to see if reading it now would make it much more understandable to me than it did back then. It turned out it was an easier read to me now, but only because I read a summary of it first. Would I read it again? Nope, too little time, too many books to get to first! I'm putting Iliad to rest for good.

Olive Kitteridge

Author: Elizabeth Strout
Stars: 3
Review by: Shapoppa

It started out great, but about mid-way, there were way too many characters to keep track of (I didn't understand why there had to be so many in the first place). Also, the ending fell flat. Even though I don't understand how this author was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for this book I'm happy for her success.

Life in a Goldfish Bowl

Author: Len Vlahos
Stars: 3
Review by: BeachBarb

I downloaded this in error and didn't realize until I had read the first chapter. By then, I was caught up in the somewhat bizarre story and finished it. A family deals with a Father's brain tumor (which has narrative in the story) and the television producer who puts the family on a reality tv show. Some poignant parts in the lives of the grieving family, as well as some funny parts, but mostly sad.

Stiff: the Curious Life of Human Cadavers

Author: Mary Roach
Stars: 3
Review by: Spring J

Not your 'normal' reading, but interesting. I donate blood as often as I can, I am a donor on my drivers license. What happens to the donations.

City Mouse

Author: Stacey Lender
Stars: 2
Review by: LZ99

Ehh...sometimes seems interesting and thought provoking, sometimes just cheesy or crass. A super and easy read, but not highly recommended.

The Good Byline

Author: Jill Orr
Stars: 4
Review by: Lizzytish

A delightful debut! Full of fun, quirky characters, and hair raising adventures! I don't know how I can wait for the next book. Riley is a library assistant who is into obituaries. She has broken up with her boyfriend and decided to try an online dating service. The communication with click.com is hysterical. She was asked to write the obituary of a long time friend of whom she hasn't seen in awhile. And all this somehow segues into a crazy romp. Oh, and I love Holman. .

The New Paradigm for Financial Markets : The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What it Means

Author: George Soros
Stars: 3
Review by: Summer Breeze

Anyone as successful as him is worth reading about, but his economic theory was not sufficiently fleshed out and was difficult to understand. Still in all, it was worth reading. He used this information which he developed through 40 years of investing to accumulate over 25B in assets, primarily by not following the precepts of traditional economics, realizing the principal of reflexivity, that similar to quantum mechanics, the presence of investors impacts economic equilibrium. The book was published in mid 2008 and made very accurate predictions of what was about to occur in September 2008.

Jacky Ha Ha

Author: James Patterson
Stars: 5
Review by: LZ99

Great one to read with your kids (upper elementary/middle school)...funny, and plenty of talking points...

One True Mate Series (#1-6)

Author: Lisa Ladew
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

This series is about a group of wolf shifters that protect humans and other shifters. A plague wiped out all the female shifters and all hope was lost....until????This was a fun summer read even with some of the sad - it made the good even better.

The Billionaire's Secret Kink Box Set (#1-4)

Author: Lisa Ladew
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

This is a minor spin off from the fire fighters series but focuses on one couple. This series has "Shades of Grey" vibes with a more mature group of characters. They still have issues but.... Getting a box set makes binge reading fun!

Edge of the Heat Firefighters Romance Box Set (#1-7)

Author: Lisa Ladew
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

This is a 7 book box set that is mainly about a set of triplets that find each other and discover who they really are. There is a lot of romance & suspense to make all the books read smoothly. There are enough twists with the triplets that makes the stories interesting.

Date-a-Dragon Series 1-4, (Gold,Silver,Platinum & Citrine)

Author: Terry Bolryder
Stars: 3
Review by:Saraswati

This is the second part of the dragon series with a new set of dragons and a very strange twist in the last book.

Date-a-Dragon Series books 1-3

Author: Terry Bolryder
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati

This box set had three stories related to the metal dragons. The premise is that dragon shifters were frozen in time and have been awaken in our time. They need to find their mates and then help defend humanity from the more evil shifters.

Merely a Marriage

Author: Jo Beverley
Stars: 2
Review by: Saraswati

Very slow read. I was bogged down by so much back story that it took a few days to get through. When the story was finally done it was OK.

The Address

Author: Fiona Davis
Stars: 5
Review by: Maryellen

Another great book by the author of The Dollhouse.

The Given Day

Author: Dennis Lehane
Stars: 4
Review by: Summer Breeze

Longer than what I typically read. A good story. I enjoyed getting a personalized experience of what it was like living in Boston in the early 20th century and weaving in places that I am familiar with 100 years later such as .Fanueil Hall and Parker House. Lehane is a great writer.

The Identicals

Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Stars: 5
Review by: BeachBarb

Just a fun summer read. Finished it on the beach.

Death Descends on Saturn Villa

Author: M. R. C. Kasasian
Stars: 5
Review by: Lizzytish

I cannot get enough of this series! Poor March ends up in prison due to the fact she seems to be murdering people. There are secrets and back stories, murder and mayhem. Oh, and there is Molly. How will Marsh be found innocent after being committed to an insane asylum? Grice becomes ill, as does Pound. Will the true murderer even be found, or has Grice actually failed for the first time? Told through the voice of March, and her diaries, and also Grice picks up the story later on which makes for an interesting and humorous read.

Magpie Murders

Author: Anthony Horowitz
Stars: 5
Review by:Lizzytish

What a luscious read! A mystery within a mystery. Real life editor is editing the latest mystery in the Atticus Pund series when she discovers the last chapter is missing! The hunt is on. Meanwhile her search seems to be mimicking the novel!
Reminiscent of Christie and other mystery writers of that period. A lot of fun!

“You must know that feeling when it's raining outside and the heating's on and you lose yourself, utterly, in a book. You read and you read and you feel the pages slipping through your fingers until suddenly there are fewer in your right hand than there are in your left and you want to slow down but you still hurtle on towards a conclusion you can hardly bear to discover.”

Perfect quote for this novel.

A Sister's Wish

Author: Shelley Shepard Gray
Stars: 5
Review by: Eileensummerreads

One of Gray's best amish books!

How The Light Gets In

Author: Louise Penny
Stars: 4
Review by:BKF

Another Chief Inspector Gamache novel. I love the relationships between the characters in these novels and the outstanding personality of the Chief Inspector. A complicated plot... a very good read!

Blood Washes Blood

Author: Frank Viviani
Stars: 4
Review by: argee17

A journalist's search for the murderer of an ancestor in Sicily. Painstaking research among often crumbling relics. A pleasant & informative journey.

Deployment

Author: Phil Klay
Stars: 3
Review by: mysterylover

Short stories about serving in the Marines.

Undaunted

Author: Diana Palmer
Stars: 2
Review by: Saraswati

Not as "daddy issues" as usual but it's still there. This is more focused on missing what you had after you almost lose it.

Woman of God

Author: James Patterson
Stars: 4
Review by: Just Ada

Very interesting take on women in the Catholic church---fiction of course.

Amazon Web Services for Dummies

Author: Bernard Gold
Stars: 4
Review by: Pixie Tirade

Great reference book that I bought for work.

Little Earthquakes

Author: Jennifer Weiner
Stars: 2
Review by: Pixie Tirade

The characters were good, but the book didn't keep my interest.

Home Before Dark

Author: Susan Wiggs
Stars: 2
Review by: Pixie Tirade

Hard to get into and remember the characters.

The Murder House

Author: James Patterson
Stars: 5
Review by: BeachBarb

I really enjoyed listening to this intriguing and suspenseful book. James Patterson is good. A bit long, but worth the time.

Everything I Never Told You

Author: Celeste Ng
Stars: 4
Review by: BeachBarb

A good book on family dynamics and how we hurt one another without even realizing.

Thirteen Ghosts

Author: Freya Littledale, editor
Stars: 4
Review by:MApgar

A brief tome of thirteen short stories on semi paranormal themes.  None are 'real' stories, all are works of fiction by various authors with one being a solid archetype in the field and the 13th the best work - where a young man inherits his home estate, haunted to the rafters by residents of a local churchyard.

Ready Player One

Author: Ernest Cline
Stars: 5
Review by: dorcaf

This was the writer's first book and it certainly was a good one. Anyone who grew up in the 80s will love all the flashbacks in this book. It's a story about an apocalyptic future and the boy (with a little help from his friends!) who saves it. A good fast fun summer read...plus, it's being made into a movie!

Origins

Author: Richard E Leakey and Roger Lewin
Stars: 2
Review by: MApgar

A fairly wide reaching analysis of human origins. For its time - some of the conclusions and such reached now are either out of date or passe, which is kind of a shame, as granted it is done by Leakey it should 'age' better. But in terms of its composition it is put together and written rather well and is neither too simplistic nor too complicated.

The Sunshine Sisters

Author: Jane Green
Stars: 4
Review by: PKB

I have never read a Jane Green novel. Now I know she has written many and is very successful. I picked this book because the cover made me think "beach read" in a big way, and the title was the perfect complement. I loved it. As an only child, I never felt the need to have a sister because my mother used to play with me. The mother in this book never had time for her three daughters and they never really had time for each other-very sad. But as their mother was dying each girl went through a lot of soul searching. Left me thinking about a lot of things.

Fake Food

Author: Larry Olmstead
Stars: 5
Review by: MApgar

This was both intriguing and disgusting, an examination of various foods - how several cheeses, olive oil, various wines, fish, even the beef in '100% beef hotdogs' is often altered (in the case of the latter, foods labeled as 'organic' do not have to really be organic, and only the beef in the hotdog needs to be beef, 99% can be sawdust). Many, if not most, restaurants exhibit fraud with Kobe beef and high end seafood, products are often cut with ingredients such as various fillers, sawdust, and even peanut dust, and to extend the shelf life of produce they are picked way before ripe and then hit with a gas that merely opens the color - you still get an unripe, flavorless tomato, but it looks ripe so people buy it.

Galileo, Science, and the Church

Author: Jerome J Langford
Stars: 1
Review by: MApgar

A rather plodding examination of not only the whole mess surrounding Galileo but also the background to his research and those it impacted such as Copernicus. For those that know the subject the dryness does not help, and if you're a student it would probably make your reading a lot worse, and much better and more concise works are out there. For being such a short book I expected it to get to the point quicker instead of meandering so much, but sadly no.

Einstein's Dreams

Author: Alan Lightman
Stars: 1
Review by: MApgar

There was no bloody point to this at all. Meant to be various dreams of Einstein as he is conjuring the theory of relativity, they make completely no sense at all to the man (whom is not even mentioned until page 39 in a teeny tiny book) or his personality. Not making any sense at all as to Einstein himself or how he actually did his work, it was pretty useless outside of being pure vague guesswork - random imaginings of things not having anything to do with each other at all.

The War on Drugs is a War on Freedom

Author: Laurence Vance
Stars: 4
Review by: Summer Breeze

Well written and grounded collection of 19 essays written from a conservative Christian libertarian point of view, arguing that drug restrictions are unconstitutional and that criminalization leads to the highest rate of incarceration of any country. Whatever your position going in, this book will make you think.

Any Dream Will Do

Author: Debbie Macomber
Stars: 5
Review by: Goetz

Her new book is very good.

What Was Mine

Author: Helen Klein Ross
Stars: 5
Review by: PMW

This book is a quick read and a real "page turner".

Small Great Things

Author: Jodi Picoult
Stars: 5
Review by: PMW

The topic of racism is very current.

The Lying Game

Author: Ruth Ware
Stars: 4
Review by: Just Ada

Suspenseful. Kept you going to the end.

Laughter Salad

Author: Kimberly Borin
Stars: 5
Review by: Pageturner

Need a lift? Read this collection of memoirs.

Deadly Fate

Author: Heather Graham
Stars: 3
Review by: jambob

Paranormal division of FBI. The stories are always formulaic. This one is based in Alaska, but I find myself reading every one. With some help from a ghost, they get a serial killer ,,,shivers.....

Silent Child

Author: Sarah A. Denzel
Stars: 5
Review by: Saraswati

This should be my 21st book.

The life of Mickey: A Memoir

Author: Michael K Willis
Stars: 3
Review by: Nancy w

This book came to me recommended for continuing Ed credit for my volunteer program. It was simple and easy to read, intertwining stories of the author's childhoods with current events at the time. He is 4 years older than I am so I could relate to and remember some of the things he wrote about. Good book for us baby boomers.

Everybody's Best Friend

Author: Ken Englade
Stars:
Review by: argee17

Not great true crime, but it occurred nearby in Philadelphia.

American Housewife: Stories

Author: Helen Ellis
Stars:
Review by:argee17

I only liked the story about the shared hallway in NYC.

Prevent, Halt, & Reverse Heart Disease

Author: Joseph C. Piscatella & Barry A. Franklin.
Stars: 3
Review by: PMW

Useful, interesting information re: heart disease.

The Things We Keep

Author: Sally Hepworth
Stars: 5
Review by: Goetz

Love her books.