Thursday, September 29, 2011

Congratulations to...

... our Grand Prize Winner, JamBob
... Library Trivia Challenge Winner, Karen
... Scavenger Hunt Winners, Saraswati and BookWorms 1 & 2
... Party Door Prize Winner, Carol M.
... Email Contest Winner, libraryaimee
... and Feedback Form Winner, jlb.
 
Congratulations again to all our weekly prize winners:  Tucker2011, DebH09, Teddy Bear, Mich D, Saraswati, queenbee, KeeRead, Barbie, babygirlshaina, P Kerr, acorn, Debster, the reader, and Page Turner.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Just Jennifer

If Jack’s in Love by Stephen Wetta (Amy Einhorn, September 2011)


Jack Witcher doesn’t even live on the wrong-side of the tracks; he lives on a pass through piece land to the nicer houses in the Virginia suburbs of 1967. His father is mostly unemployed, his mother is nice and a hard worker, but not much to look at and his brother Stan is a pot-smoking trouble maker. Most of the neighbors see the Witcher’s as trash and hillbillies, but father and son Stan have a particularly cantankerous relationship with father and son, Gaylor, Joyner. This is particularly unfortunate for twelve-year-old Jack who is very much in love with Myra Joyner who is able to see past Jack’s family and realizes how smart and kind he is. When Gaylord disappears, it is Stan who is the police’s main suspect, causing Jack all kinds of pre-teen angst and keeping him from the girl he loves. Jack’s other closest friend is the Jewish jeweler, Moses Gladstein, who helps Jack win Myra’s heart. Jack is a marvelously complex character whose voice is at times grown up and wise, and other times is that of a confused twelve-year old. He knows he should be loyal to his family, but how can he be when they are the main source of his embarrassment and troubles at school. Jack is a character to root for and readers will have a certain amount of empathy for him as he stays positive and tries to make the best out of his situations.

Friday, September 23, 2011

New This Week

Here are some new titles coming out this week. Check them out…



The Affair by Lee Child


A latest release by the Anthony Award-winning author of Worth Dying For traces the story of Jack Reacher's early life in the military before the events that rendered him a vigilante hero on the road.


Feast Day of Fools by James Lee Burke

Sheriff Hackberry Holland patrols a small Southwest Texas border town with a deep and abiding respect for the citizens in his care. Still mourning the loss of his cherished wife and locked in a perilous almost-romance with his deputy, Pam Tibbs, a woman many decades his junior, Hackberry feeds off the deeds of evil men to keep his own demons at bay.


Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever by Bill O’Reilly

In a first work of history by a best-selling conervative author and talk-show host, a riveting narrative describes the events surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.


1225 Christmas Tree Lane by Debbie Macomber

The people of Cedar Cove know how to celebrate Christmas. Like Grace and Olivia and everyone else, Beth Morehouse expects this Christmas to be one of her best. Her small Christmas-tree farm is prospering, her daughters and her dogs are happy and well, and her new relationship with local vet Ted Reynolds is showing plenty of romantic promise.

Nightwoods by Charles Frazier

The extraordinary author of Cold Mountain and Thirteen Moons returns with a dazzling new novel of suspense and love set in small-town North Carolina in the early 1960s. Charles Frazier puts his remarkable gifts in the service of a lean, taut narrative while losing none of the transcendent prose, virtuosic storytelling, and insight into human nature that have made him one of the most beloved and celebrated authors in the world. Now, with his brilliant portrait of Luce, a young woman who inherits her murdered sister’s troubled twins, Frazier has created his most memorable heroine. Before the children, Luce was content with the reimbursements of the rich Appalachian landscape, choosing to live apart from the small community around her. But the coming of the children changes everything, cracking open her solitary life in difficult, hopeful, dangerous ways. Charles Frazier is known for his historical literary odysseys, and for making figures in the past come vividly to life. Set in the twentieth century, Nightwoods resonates with the timelessness of a great work of art.


Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks

Taking up residence with other convicted sex offenders, the Kid, on probation after doing time for an affair with an underage girl, forms a tentative partnership with the Professor, a university sociologist who finds him the perfect subject for his research, until he is faced with a new kind of moral decision.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Stitches: A Memoir

Author: David Small
Stars: 4
Review by: Miss Lucy
Destination: Michigan


This is one of the best graphic novels I have read.  Children's book illustrator and recipient of the Caldecott Medal, David Small tells the story of his childhood in this heartbreaking memoir.

The Playful Brain: The Surprising Science of How Puzzles Improve Your Mind

Author: Richard Restak, M.D., with puzzles by Scott Kim
Stars: 3.5
Review by: Miss Lucy
Destination: 


 If your family thinks you spend too much time lolly-gagging around doing puzzles, this is the book for you!  Any puzzle lover will enjoy it.  Read about how different types of puzzles do different things for your thinking.  Especially interesting to me was Chapter 8 - Time: Clock Time vs. Brain Time - where I got some amazing insight into why I am always late!!!  Challenging puzzles sprinkled throughout the book.  I want to actually buy this book so that I can write in it and solve the puzzles!

Catching Fire

Author: Suzanne Collins
Stars: 3.5
Review by: Miss Lucy
Destination: 


I like this book better than its predecessor, The Hunger Games.  It has some interesting twists.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Killer Stuff and Tons of Money: Seeking History and Hidden Gems in Flea-Market America

Author: Maureen Stanton
Stars: 3
Review by: Miss Lucy
Destination: Massachusetts


 Caution - if you read this book, you just may consider quitting your job and becoming an antiques dealer!  But read on... with the current state of the economy, the antiques market is suffering too.

Secret of the Andes

Author: Ann Nolan Clark
Stars: 4
Review by: KM
Destination: Peru


Classic juvenile fiction work that is written in a poetic style. A beautiful tale of a young Incan llama herder who finds his heart's desire, and his place in life.

The Winter Thief

Author: Jenny White
Stars: 3
Review by: Barbie
Destination: Turkey


 Wow, a lot happening in this book with many characters.

Plugged

Author: Eoin Colfer
Stars: 2
Review by: BigDa
Destination: USA


A Carl Hiaasen-like attempt that doesn't quite make it.

Digging New Jersey's Past

Author: Richard Veit
Stars: 4
Review by: Marianne S.
Destination: NJ


An overview of selected historical archaeological sites in NJ and why they are relevant.

A Death in Summer

Author: Benjamin Black
Stars: 3
Review by: BigDa
Destination: Ireland


The third in a series about Dr. Quirke, a most unlikely "detective".

Quaker Summer

Author: Lisa Samson
Stars: 3
Review by: Barbie
Destination: Maryland


The protagonist, Heather Curridge (pronounced "courage") is quite funny as she explores spiritually what good she can do with her life. The Curridge family is one that treats each other with a great deal of love and admiration, and that is so nice to see. Lots of things to think about, and cake does solve all problems.

Rules of Civility

Author: Amor Towles
Stars: 5
Review by: libraryaimee
Destination: NYC


Historical fiction about 1939 Manhattan.  I couldn't put it down!

Back of Beyond

Author: C.J. Box
Stars: 4
Review by: BigDa
Destination:Yellowstone National Park


One of my favorite authors scores another home run.

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin

Author: Erik Larson
Stars: 4
Review by: Jelsey
Destination: Germany


 An interesting and frightening non-fiction book about the rise of Hitler in the 1930s.  It follows the career of William Dodd, a college professor who was named Ambassador to Germany in 1933 by President Franklin Roosevelt, and moved to Berlin with his wife and two grown children.  A fascinating story of an era that led Europe, and ultimately the world, into World War II.

Wicked Bugs

Author: Amy Stewart
Stars: 3
Review by: libraryaimee
Destination: all over the world


Every gross bug you can imagine and the destruction the bug can cause.  Not for the squeamish!
By the same woman who wrote Wicked Plants.

Secrets of Windows 7

Author: INtel
Stars: 3.5
Review by: bobjam
Destination: cyberspace


This is a very big book filled with computer information for Windows 7 ...truly a super reference guide.

The Summer of Moonlight Secrets

Author: Danette Haworth
Stars: 5
Review by: KM
Destination: Florida


This is juvenile fiction so I highly recommend for those who like a simplistic break from adult level issue-oriented material. A delightful read. Summary: During the summer of 1987, Allie Jo, whose family runs an antebellum Florida hotel, meets Chase, who is staying there with his father, and they become friends when they discover a mysterious teenager hiding on the grounds of the hotel. 

Certain Prey

Author: John Sandford
Stars: 3
Review by: Carol M.
Destination: 



Good, but a bit too unbelievable.

There's Cake in My Future

Author: Kim Gruenenfelder
Stars: 3
Review by: Mich D
Destination: US


 Cute chick lit book about three women and their love lives.

Notes From a Small Island

Author: Bill Bryson
Stars: 5
Review by: Little Red Hen
Destination: England


 This Bill Bryson is one lucky guy. He re-visits his old haunts beginning at Calais, eats out, stays sometimes at luxury hotels and when he feels like it, he can always go home to wife and family who have hot meal, hugs and games waiting. This man is so funny. I have read many of his books and delight in his sense of humor, his keen observation of fellow travelers and admirable determination to keep going. I am glad I am not to be the subject of his caustic observations. When he met an elderly "over-powdered woman" she appeared "coffin ready." I think he does not have much tolerance for those who have a superior view of themselves and stabs them with his words. Packed with amazing and little-known facts I always learn something when I read his books. His research is deep and in other fingers would be just statistics but in his they are illuminating and humorous.

Murder by Mocha

Author: Cleo Coyle
Stars: 2
Review by: L.Z.
Destination: NYC


I usually really like this series, but this one was just...weird.  Cast of characters was involved in a strange and hard to believe situation, which detracted from my enjoyment of the book.

To Fetch a Thief

Author: Spencer Quinn
Stars: 4.5
Review by: JamBob
Destination: The Southwest


 What's there not to like about a wise cracking dog narrating a detective story? This is the third in a series where Quinn has created a winner combination of Bernie the detective with Chet his side kick dog. This time they are on the trail of a  animal-napped elephant named Peanut. Should be easy to find, but it seems all the "witnesses" saw "nothin'." Each book can be read independently so don't be afraid to jump in to anyone of them.  I am looking forward to my Bernie and Chet T-shirt as soon as someone gets smart enough to make them!

Weight a Minute...Transform Your Health in 60 Seconds a Day!

Author: Deborah Enos, CN
Stars: 4
Review by: JamBob
Destination: your kitchen


This is a short but informative book that can jump start a diet like Weight Watchers, or help you make better meal choices everyday. Simple talk,,,quick 3-page chapters with large print and bullet points make this a quick read and EZ reference. My only  frustration with the book was when the author would praise certain foods such as apples then on the next page criticize them for being high in insecticides....I guess her point is choosing organic foods where possible. She offers great advice and good substituions for high calorie foods/treats. The book includes a CD.

You Belong to Me

Author: Mary Higgins Clark
Stars: 4
Review by: JamBob
Destination: NYC & cruises


Fast paced...quick prose...keeps you guessing....who is stalking lonely women on cruises?

The Eighty-Dollar Champion

Author: Elizabeth Letts
Stars: 3
Review by: BKF
Destination: Long Island


 An inspiring story of a bound-for-the-slaughterhouse plow horse that became a champion of the show-jumping circuit, winning top awards at the National Horse Show in 1958 and 1959. I found the story to be wonderful, but the writing to be merely average.

Talk Talk

Author: T.C. Boyle
Stars: 3
Review by: BigDa
Destination: US


A hearing impaired heroine is visited with all kinds of trauma, including identity theft.  Will it all work out in the end?

I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59

Author: Douglas Edwards
Stars: 3.5
Review by: Miss Lucy
Destination: CA


Written by the 59th employee hired by Google, this memoir of a non-engineer working at Google in its early years was quite interesting!  Turns out that he found his niche being the "voice" of Google.  You'll have to read the book to find out what that means.  If you're a Google fan, you will enjoy the book.  I especially love how Edwards ended it, so if you don't make it all the way through, at least read the last two paragraphs.

Where Shadows Dance

Author: C.S. Harris
Stars: 4.5
Review by: Page Turner
Destination: England


Period detective series.

Bad Blood

Author: John Sandford
Stars: 5
Review by: Fernanda L.
Destination: Minnesota


Story was action packed.  I could not put it down through some parts.

Deadly Nightshade: A Mystery

Author: Cynthia Riggs
Stars: 4
Review by: Saraswati
Destination: Martha's Vineyard, MA


I was looking for a new series to read and saw some of my fellow Summer Readers recommending Riggs' newest book.  I decided to start with her 1st mystery in this series.  A delightful read.  It gave me a feel for being at the Vineyard with the added mystery.  I think I'll continue and see how this series develops.

The Mercy Seller

Author: Brenda Rickman Vantrease
Stars: 5
Review by: smudge
Destination: England, France, Bohemia


A follow up novel to The Illustrator (which you don't have to read to enjoy this story), The Mercy Seller is a story of love, faith, and religion .

Friday, September 16, 2011

Congratulations to...

... Page Turner, our Week #14 Prize Winner!!!

Flash and Bones

Author: Kathy Reichs
Stars: 5
Review by: Saraswati
Destination: NC


Kathy Reichs could have written dribble and between her past writing fame and the current TV show people would buy and read it.  However, she stayed true to form and brought us into the world of forensic anthropology and NASCAR combined.   Interesting, fast read.

Kindred Spirits

Author: Sarah Strohmeyer
Stars: 3
Review by: DebH09
Destination: CT & PA


A nice story about 3 friends honoring their friend's final request.  A quick and easy read.

Life Studies

Author: Susan Vreeland
Stars: 5
Review by: smudge
Destination: England, France, Italy


These are stories about the people that surround artists - their children, servants, lovers.  In one, Modigliani's daughter seeks some sign of her parents.  In another, Manet's wife finds herself and her own power in the paintings of Manet's models. A banker disillusioned with his life, sees his daughter through Renior's eyes. In all, the stories reflect the strength and role of art in our lives.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Laks

Author: Rebecca Skloots
Stars: 5
Review by: Inveterate Reader
Destination: US


This was a magnificent, awesome book that told the story of cancer cell research.   How it was conducted....how the donor didn't even know her cells were being used for research.   And what they did for the cancer research project.  HeLa cells are used today.  Parts of it are difficult to get through, but worth the effort.

The Help

Author: Kathryn Stockett
Stars: 5+
Review by: Inveterate Reader
Destination: Jackson, Mississippi


This was my second reading of this fabulous book.   And as the Chinese proverb at the beginning of this site stated....the second time you read the book, you meet an old friend.   Oh yes. How I loved Minnie, Abilene, Skeeter. Re-reading this fabulous book was just as heartbreakingly wonderful as the first time.  I highly recommend this to everyone.  Please see the movie, too.  It holds true to the book.   Didn't you just want to slap Hilly silly !!!!  When I finished reading it, I said, "Thank you God, I wasn't born in Jackson, Mississippi."

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

Author: Tom Franklin
Stars: 4
Review by: Inveterate Reader
Destination: Mississippi


Friendship, Cowardice, Betrayal.   And back to Friendship.

The Dry Grass of August

Author: Anna Jean Mayhew
Stars: 4
Review by: Inveterate Reader
Destination: The deep south, US


Set in the 50's South, a young girl's introduction to the segregation horrors of the deep South.

Still Alice

Author: Lisa Genova
Stars: 5
Review by: Inveterate Reader
Destination: Boston, MA


 Heartbreaking novel of Early Onset Alzheimer's.   A 50 year old esteemed Harvard Professor finds herself in the horrible position of not knowing what she is doing.  This is definitely a recommend to us all.

Unbroken

Author: Laura Hillenbrand
Stars: 5+
Review by: Inveterate Reader
Destination: Japan, US, Germany


This is a definite Must Read...Powerful.  Heartbreaking.  A magnificent book.  In comments, author Laura Hillenbrand said she never thought she would find a subject as fascinating, as totally engrossing as Seabiscuit, but she did in Louis Zamperelli.   An awesome book.  Please read it.

Racing in the Rain

Author: Garth Stein
Stars: 5
Review by: Inveterate Reader
Destination: US & Italy


A shortened version of The Art of Racing in the Rain, specifically for the young adult readers.  Definitely a recommend.

The Art of Racing in the Rain

Author: Garth Stein
Stars: 5+++
Review by: Inveterate Reader
Destination: Car racing sites in US & Italy


Oh, what a delightful, lovely book.   I totally fell in love with Enzo, and I know you will too.  Please read this wonderful, heartfelt book.

Empire of the Summer Moon

Author: Gwynne, S.C.
Stars: 5
Review by: Inveterate Reader
Destination: The Plains Indians Nation 16th-19th Centuries US


Magnificent.  A history of the Plains Indians from the 16th to 19th centuries that reads like a novel. Focusing on the Comanche Nation, and their "relationship" with the Spaniards, the Apaches, & the settlers. This book provides a detailed, invaluable segment of life in the West of that time.   Definitely a recommend.

The Keeper of Lost Causes

Author: Jussi Adler-Olsen
Stars: 4
Review by: BigDa
Destination: Copenhagen


Add another Scandanavian thriller in the style of Henning Mankell to the list.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Reliable Wife

Author: Robert Goolrick
Stars: 4
Review by: Mich D.
Destination: Wisconsin


About a woman who answers a marriage add but has other aspirations in mind.

Playing Dirty

Author: Susan Andersen
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati
Destination: Seattle, WA


Book #2 in this series is in the typical Andersen style.   Lost love is rekindled with a mystery thrown in.  This is a fun, summer read.

One Touch of Scandal

Author: Liz Carlyle
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati
Destination: England


 This appears to be the 1st book in this series.  There is a little paranormal. It's a mystery with lots of lust and love.  Easy summer read.

To Siberia

Author: Per Petterson
Stars: 4
Review by: Little Red Hen
Destination: Denmark


 The story takes place in a small village, at the tip of Jutand, almost as far north as it is possible to go. It is the story of a young Danish girl entering womanhood. I was moved by the resilience of this young woman who early in her life encounters death in its various forms.

She lives with her strict religious family. In the family house, actually, in the family's cowshed, her grandfather has hung himself. Parental neglect and the imminent coming of the Nazis confront this young woman and her brother, Jesper.

They each take separate paths out of Denmark, Jesper goes south to Morocco, she plans to exit to Siberia via the Trans Siberian Railway. Her relationship with her brother, her devotion to him expands to saving his life from a near drowning and explains why she considers becoming a communist, her brother's solution.

The author is Norwegian, and the book has been translated to English by Anne Born, historian and poet who has translated many Scandinavian books into English.

The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives

Author: Katie Couric
Stars: 4
Review by: Miss Lucy
Destination: mostly US


I checked out this audiobook.  When I saw it was 6 CDs long, I had major doubts - just how much advice can one person give???  But to my pleasant surprise, I found that this was the best advice that a lot of famous and successful people were willing to share.  From Colin Powell to Ellen DeGeneres, many interesting personalities tell stories that combine to make a very inspirational read (or listen).  Katie Couric introduces each section with stories and advice from her own life.

Dinner at Mr. Jefferson's

Author: Charles A. Cerami
Stars: 4.5
Review by: JamBob
Destination: US at the beginning


 It is a wonderful experience to read American history like it was a big exciting story. This compact book explains in readable prose how our country became a nation when we started with little of nothing but had forefathers with big dreams, high ideals and the will to see them become the American experiment.  We think we have problems with debt today (and we do), but when Washington became President the key question was ...how will the new country pay its war debt? Will each state pay its share or will the Federal government take the debt upon itself? Hamilton was a financial wizard who was not only a brilliant Secy of treasury but established the Coast Guard and National Bank. He fought for the Federal Assumption Plan while Jefferson and Madison opposed him vehemently. 


Jefferson decided on a compromise...he and Madison would support the Assumption plan if Hamilton would support their desire for the placement of the new Capital on the Potomac River (DC). An elegant dinner was held at Montecello with just these 3 men and history was made with repercussions that reverberate to this day. You will enjoy reading this book, marvel at the men who formed our Nation and enjoy perhaps some of the recipes that are included.....should you have an apetite for learning how our country was forged!

The Job

Author: Douglas Kennedy
Stars: 4
Review by: Judyangel
Destination: 


 Great author.

House Rules

Author: Jodi Picoult
Stars: 4
Review by: Barbie
Destination: Vermont


 This was a very interesting read, with an introduction into Asperger's, similar to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. Written in the voices of the characters, it moves along quickly for the first half. I thought the second half was a bit long, and saw no need, and was disappointed in the mother and lawyer's behavior late one night. All in all a very good read.

Mockingjay

Author: Suzanne Collins
Stars: 3
Review by: huddysdad
Destination: North America

  
An enjoyable read, but felt like the author has lost interest in her main characters.

What Alice Forgot

Author: Liane Moriarty
Stars: 5
Review by: libraryaimee
Destination: Australia


 Alice falls off her bike at the gym and wakes up thinking she is 29 and pregnant instead 39 with 3 kids.   As she tries to navigate her unexpected life missing the memories of the past 10 years she discovers she doesn't like the person she became.  I loved every moment of this book and recommend it to everyone!

The Silver Swan

Author: Benjamin Black
Stars: 3
Review by: BigDa
Destination: Ireland


Quirke is the name of the protagonist and the story is quirky, but maintains interest.

P.S.

Author: Helen Schulman
Stars: 3
Review by: Jelsey
Destination: NYC


My love of This Beautiful Life sent me to the stacks to find more by Helen Schulman.  I returned with P.S. published in 2001.  Schulman's writing has clearly developed since this light and witty romantic tale that involves the appearance of a double of her high school sweetheart.  Still, it's a humorous romp in a somewhat simpler time.

Ghost Story: A Novel of the Dresden Files

Author: Jim Butcher
Stars: 2
Review by: Saraswati
Destination: Chicago & the Neverever


 Even death can't stop Harry Dresden from doing what he does so well.   A little disappointed at "convenient" things that allowed a dead person to act almost real.  I hope this is a transition book and leads back to some great reads.   This was a good read because of the mystery, but overall it was ok.

This Beautiful Life: A Novel

Author: Helen Schulman
Stars: 5
Review by: Jelsey
Destination: NYC


A novel of today that imagines the effect on an upper-middle-class Manhattan family when an e-mail suddenly goes viral. A compelling story that looks at our society, its values and rewards, and the tenuous nature of it all.

Pride and Prejudice

Author: Jane Austen
Stars: 5
Review by: Jelsey
Destination: England


I can't believe I never read this book before!  I guess I thought having seen several movies based on it over the years, it would be anticlimactic.  Not at all!! In fact I came away with greater understanding of the pivotal Mr. Darcy.  Also of Elizabeth.  The wit and wisdom of Jane Austen may be more than 200 years old, but it holds much truth today.

The Twin Teddies Mystery

Author: Carolyn Keene
Stars: 3
Review by: JamBob
Destination: River Heights


This is the second teddy bear mystery I read...we all know Carolyn Keene does not exist but is a ghost writer for the Nancy Drew series. I am a bear collector and enjoyed reading both the adult and tween teddy mysteries. I also attend the annual Nancy Drew conventions...the next one is in Arizona, March 2012...bring your western gear!

The Treacherous Teddy

Author: John Lamb
Stars: 3
Review by: JamBob
Destination: Shenandoah Country


 I just finished reading 2 teddy bear mysteries...this one was an adult police procedural, part of a series. Nicely written by a ex-homicide detective. In the book as well as real life he and his wife are teddy bear collectors/artists and he references real "stuff".
A furry, cozy mystery just right for a summer read.

The Magicians

Author: Lev Grossman
Stars: 2
Review by: Marianne S.
Destination: NY state


 I wanted to like this book more than I did.  It seemed to waver between affectionate satire and vicious parody of J.K. Rowling and C.S. Lewis.  The author's previous book The Codex was brilliant.  This one -- meh.

The Watchtower

Author: Lee Carroll
Stars: 3
Review by: Marianne S.
Destination: France


Book two of urban fantasy from the team of Carol Goodman and her husband, Lee.  This is the middle book of a projected trilogy.

Black Swan Rising

Author: Lee Carroll
Stars: 5
Review by: Marianne S.
Destination: NYC


A great urban fantasy from the team of Carol Goodman and her husband Lee.

Loving Frank

Author: Nancy Horan
Stars: 3
Review by: queenbee
Destination: Illinois


A historic fiction with a totally shocking ending. Learned a lot about Frank Lloyd Wright and ready to do a driving tour to see some of his homes described in the book.

The Devil She Knows

Author: Bill Loehfelm
Stars: 4
Review by: BigDa
Destination: Staten Island


A 29 yr-old fearful bar girl develops into a Catwoman-like hero to take down a deadly politico.

Spackled and Spooked

Author: Jennie Bentley
Stars: 3
Review by: L.Z.
Destination: Maine


If you've liked the rest of this series, you'll like this one...it's just like the rest!

Bones of a Feather: A Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery

Author: Carolyn Haines
Stars: 3
Review by: Saraswati
Destination: Mississippi


This is the latest book in this series.  I guess when you read a series in a row it can get kind of slow.   After all the excitement in the previous books this was tame and back to Haines' usual style.  Still not a bad read.

An Irish Country Doctor

Author: Patrick Taylor
Stars: 3
Review by: Little Red Hen
Destination: Ireland



I wish our health care system worked like this. Yes, it's idealized, but it's so good to read about these characters and see the healing profession at work in such intimate ways. I'm glad I go to DelVal. It's the closest to Ireland's ways I can think of.

The BoneMan's Daughter

Author: Ted Dekker
Stars: 2
Review by: ddlesmom
Destination: Texas


Serial killer murder mystery.  Just not my thing. 

The Energy Bus

Author: Jon Gordon
Stars: 5
Review by: ddlesmom
Destination: US


The Energy Bus takes readers on an enlightening and inspiring ride that reveals 10 secrets for approaching life and work with the kind of positive, forward thinking that leads to true accomplishment - at work and at home.

The Falls

Author: Ian Rankin
Stars: 4
Review by: Little Red Hen
Destination: Scotland


This is the first book I've read using the Kindle. I couldn't put it down. I read it in the car, I read it in bed, sitting at the table. Very exciting and an introduction for me to gaming and its dangers.

Congratulations to...

... the reader - our Week #13 Prize Winner!!!

New This Week

Here are some new titles coming out this week. Check them out from the library and see where they take you…


Son of Stone by Stuart Woods (Putnam)

After an eventful trip to Bel-Air and a reunion with his sophisticated (and very wealthy) former love, Arrington Calder, Stone Barrington is back in New York, and he's looking to stay closer to home and cash in on his partnership at Woodman & Weld. But Arrington has other plans for Stone...including introducing him to the child he fathered many years ago.

Heat Rises by Richard Castle (Hyperion)

In the third book of the New York Times bestselling Nikki Heat series, following HEAT WAVE and NAKED HEAT, Richard Castle's new thrilling mystery continues the story of NYPD Homicide Detective, Nikki Heat. Tough, sexy, professional, Nikki Heat carries apassion for justice as she leads one of New York City's top homicide squads. In what's sure to be another smash sensation by blockbuster author Richard Castle, readers will once again follow Nikki Heat and hotshot reporter Jameson Rook as they trade barbs and innuendos all while on the trail of a murderer! For the third tie-in with the ABC television show, CASTLE, we will once again be releasing a portion of the chapters electronically, available for digital download in advance of the hardcover publication. The show will integrate the new book in the same way they did for HEAT WAVE and NAKED HEAT, with mentions of the book beginning in episodes that will air in spring and culminating with the publication of the book in Fall 2011


Lethal by Sandra Brown (Grand Central)

After Honor Gillette is visited by Lee Coburn, a suspected murderer seeking a valuable object that Honor's late husband left behind, they find themselves running from the FBI and untangling a web of corruption and depravity.


Reamde by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow)

When his own high-tech start up turns into a Fortune 500 computer gaming group, Richard Forthrast, the black sheep of an Iowa family who has amassed an illegal fortune, finds the line between fantasy and reality becoming blurred when a virtual war for dominance is triggered.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Just Jennifer

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (Random House, August 2011)


Victoria Smith was abandoned as an infant and has lived in over a dozen foster home situations. She is a very troubled, injured child who cannot adapt well and is mostly down-right mean. When she was nine, she lived with, and was almost adopted by a woman named Elizabeth who was looking to create a family for her own reasons. Victoria let her guard down with Elizabeth, learning about flowers, growing them, cultivating them and their special language. When the adoption fell through, she reverts to her old angry, suspicious ways. Turned out of the foster care system at eighteen, Victoria finds she is unable to live in the group home setting and plants a garden in a San Francisco park where she finds solace and a place to sleep. A local florist, Renata, sees something in Victoria and tentatively offers her a job. As Victoria proves herself a capable, talented and intuitive florist, she begins to emerge from herself and slowly finds a place in the world. When her past with Elizabeth collides with her present, she fights with the only mechanisms she knows how, flight and shutting people out. Slowly, she realizes there is someone in her life who needs her attention more than she and she once again struggles to make a place in the world for herself. Victoria is not a likable, nor sympathetic main character, but she will get under your skin and not let go, though she will often make you want to shake some sense in her. Elizabeth is another character hard to understand, but whose story is slowly revealed. Renata offers kindness when necessary and a brisk, no nonsense personality when warranted. Vanessa Diffenbaugh, a foster mother herself, uses flowers and their language as a metaphor for families and how they can be created in many different ways. Book groups will find a lot of discussion material in these pages.

Just Jennifer

Time travel, immortality and lost loves play a role in two, very different titles.


Before Forever After by Samantha Sotto (Crown, August 2011)

Shelley fell head over heels in love with Max on a very unusual tour she took in Europe. Now Max has been killed in a bombing and there is a young man, Paolo, standing on her front steps announcing that Max was his grandfather and is very much alive, making baked eggs and cheese on a remote island in the Philippines. Shelley is very shaken, but agrees to make the trip with Paolo where she is shocked to find that Paolo is telling the truth and that Max has been many men throughout history before he became the man who played strip Scrabble with her. An inventive story that shifts scenes between Shelly’s present, the time she was with Max and stories that Max told Shelly that she comes to realize are very relevant to their story.


Q: a [Timeless] Love Story by Evan Mandery (Harper, September 2011)

An unnamed protagonist falls head over heals in love with a young woman who is called Q. The two are very much in sympathy, he trying to write novels, she an organic gardener trying to save gardening space in Manhattan. A few months before their wedding, Q’s fiancĂ© is approached by his older self who tells him he cannot marry Q, that it will ruin both of them. After he is convinced, he breaks off his relationship with Q, certain she is the only love of his life, but also convinced this is the best thing for both of them. During the course of several more years, he is visited by different versions of his older self, at different ages (time travel has become possible in the future, even accessible to the common person). Each time, his older self begs him to do something or beseeches him to stop what he is currently doing, altering the course of his life until he realizes he must go back to the moment where it all changed. Filled with “what-if’s”, this is a sweet love story, even if it is a bit unbelievable, and even if the future selves become annoying as they try and direct the life of a now lonely young man. An enjoyable read for anyone who ever wondered “what would happen if I…” for anyone who wished they could do part of their life over again and anyone who likes sweet love stories.

Three Cups of Deceit

Author: Jon Krakauer
Stars: 5
Review by: libraryaimee
Destination: Pakistan & Afghanistan


Jon Krakauer debunks Greg Mortenson's "non-fiction" books.   Greg has mismanaged the funds of his non-profit school building organization, CAI, and Mr. Krakauer is not happy that he himself has donated money to Greg in the past.   Interesting and eye opening!

The Gentlemen's Hour

Author: Don Winslow
Stars: 4
Review by: BigDa
Destination: San Diego, CA


Surfing, drugs, real estate scandals all thrown into the mix.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Just Jennifer

 
Devil Sent the Rain: Music & Writing in Desperate America by Tom Piazza (Harper Perennial, August 2011)

In a collection of articles and essays, Tom Piazza, an award winning author of ten books, fiction and non-fiction, does three things: first, he takes his best work on the roots of American music and its musicians, secondly he explores his home town, New Orleans, and its pre- and post-Katrina culture and politics.  Lastly, in a seemingly unrelated piece that surprisingly ties everything together, Piazza discuses fiction and the place it has held in our sentiment throughout the years.  One common theme ties all of Piazza’s work together, his subjects are all categorically and uniquely American.  From the blues to rock and roll, from Charlie Chan to Norman Mailer to the BP oil spill, Piazza makes all his essays accessible and relevant, making us look at familiar things in a new light.  One of the most enjoyable essays may well be the “interview” with Tom Piazza on the future of books included toward the end of the collection.  This is a book to pick up, put down, pick up again later, read and reread and cogitate over, and most of all, smile at and enjoy.

Never the Hope Itself: Love and Ghosts in Latin America and Haiti by Gerry Hadden(Harper Perennial, September 2011)

In 2000, Gerry Hadden was just about to don the saffron color robes of a Buddhist monk on the west coast when his dream job was offered to him: be NPR’s correspondent for Latin America.  Hadden arrives in Mexico in time to interview Vincente Fox who is about to become Mexico’s new president.  Even though the Mexican government is in what appears to be a positive transition, all around him Hadden sees abject poverty and people longing for a better life.  Not long after his arrival in Mexico, the events of September 11 occur, creating more turmoil in an already tumultuous landscape.  Hadden investigates and reports on Latinos running for the American border, the loved-ones left behind, relatives of those who didn’t make it.  In Haiti, he witnesses a rebellion that is far beyond anything he has ever seen or imagined.  As he immerses himself in these events, he learns a new way to live, among these people who, though haunted by years of ghosts, are nonetheless hopeful for the future.  Hadden is a keen observer of the human condition and offers no apologies for doing what he must to survive, physically, mentally and emotionally.  Hadden offers interesting insights to events we often only hear the end result of.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Just Jennifer

The Sisters by Nancy Jensen (St. Martin’s Press, November 8)


Growing up in Depression-era Kentucky, sisters Bertie and Mabel only had each other; their mother died giving birth to their half-brother and now they are living with their step-father who drinks and is abusing Mabel. To save Bertie, Mabel and Bertie’s beau make a plan to get Bertie out of Kentucky. Fearful, they do not tell Bertie and on the day of her eighth grade graduation, things go wrong and Bertie doesn’t make the escape and worse, thinks that Mabel has betrayed her. The story that follows is Bertie’s story, and Mabel’s, and their daughter’s and granddaughter’s stories as the women live with what each considers a betrayal and the consequences of Bertie’s unwillingness to forgive. Told in vignettes, each from a different point of view, each during a different time period, each woman struggles with her own life, shaped by the lives of those who came before her. Deceptively simplistic, sometimes a bit melodramatic, these characters and their stories will linger nonetheless.

Just Jennifer

Falling Together by Marisa de los Santos (William Morrow, October 4, 2011)


Pen, Will and Cat were the best of friends in college, but the three disbanded their friendship when Cat got married and Pen and Will didn’t know how to be friends without the third part of the trio. Cat was the most flamboyant, though perhaps the most damaged, of the three and has now contacted Pen and Will begging them to come to their college reunion, saying she must see them. Pen and Will, who have not communicated with each other or Cat in over six years, go to the reunion and get a big surprise, one that sends them on a search halfway around the world to find a friend they may not really have known. Along the way, Pen and Will meet up with past demons, individual and demons from their shared past, and must confront them so they can make decisions about their future. For the most part, this is an easy flowing novel of friendships and what we lose as we grow up. Some parts are predictable, some surprising; one incident with Pen and Will seems out of character for Pen but sets up for a dramatic conclusion that doesn’t necessarily fit with the rest of the novel. Exotic settings and Pen’s precocious and adorable four-year old daughter add additional layers to this enjoyable story.

New this Week

Here are some new titles coming out this week. Check them out from the library and see where they take you…



The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (Doubleday)

Waging a fierce competition for which they have trained since childhood, circus magicians Celia and Marco unexpectedly fall in love with each other and share a fantastical romance that manifests in fateful ways.




Robert Parker’s Killing the Blues by Michael Brandman (Putnam)

Massachusetts police chief Jesse Stone's investigation of a violent series of car thefts is complicated by political pressures, the summer tourist season, and the questionable goals of an ambitious PR executive.


New York to Dallas by J.D. Robb (Putnam)

When a formidable killer she brought down years earlier escapes, New York homicide cop Eve Dallas races to prevent him from resuming his attacks on child victims and exacting revenge on Eve herself.




Grand Pursuit: a Story of an Economic Genius by Sylvia Nasar (Simon & Schuster)

Traces how the works of Charles Dickens and Henry Mayhew reflected the poor majority in mid-nineteenth-century London, citing the achievements of such influential figures as John Maynard Keyes, Paul Samuelson, and Amartya Sen. By the author of A Beautiful Mind.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Just Jennifer

Coming Up for Air by Patti Callahan Henry (St. Martin’s)


Ellie Calvin’s world is tilted off its axis when her mother Lillian dies and Ellie learns her ex-boyfriend Hutch was preparing an exhibition with her mother at the center of it. Hutch hopes to focus the exhibit on Lillian’s work with the Civil Rights Movement, but Ellie never knew her mother had any involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. When Ellie finds Lillian’s diary, she realizes there is a whole other side to her mother, things she kept hidden from everyone, even herself. Wanting to know more about the woman she called mother, and feeling out of place and time in her own life and especially marriage, Ellie takes a trip to the Georgia coast to the Summer House where Lillian spent her early adult years as she hopes to piece together her mother’s life and learn more about her mother, and perhaps more about herself. While Ellie is not a very sympathetic character, her search into her mother’s past to find the true woman is appealing and will speak to many people who wish they could have known their mother (aunt, grandmother, etc) as a person outside their role in the family.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

New This Week

Here are some new titles coming out this week. Check them out from the library and see where they take you…



Birds of Paradise by Diana Abu-Jaber (Norton)

After a five year absence, an eighteen-year-old runaway returns to her family in Miami to deal with the guilty secret that caused her to flee.


Dark Predator by Christine Feehan (Berkley)

Hunter of the undead and master executioner Zacarias De La Cruz returns to Peru where he finds betrayal, vengeance, and the consequences of his family's bloody legacy.


Robert B. Parker’s Killing The Blues by Michael Brandman (Putnam)

Massachusetts police chief Jesse Stone's investigation of a violent series of car thefts is complicated by political pressures, the summer tourist season, and the questionable goals of an ambitious PR executive. Parker died earlier this year.


Second Nature by Jacquelyn Mitchard (Random House)

Losing her father in a school fire that disfigures her face, Sicily is raised by a dynamic aunt who urges her to pursue a normal life, an effort that is influenced by her fiancé, a terrible drunken revelation, and an opportunity for a risky full-face transplant.

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Touch of Dead

Author: Charlaine Harris
Stars: 4
Review by: Mary NK
Destination: Bon Temps, Louisiana


A fun collection for fans of good old southern gal Sookie Stackhouse and her accidental family of vampires, were-beings, faeries, etc. These short stories are not part of the regular series, but reveal "the rest of the story" about several characters & incidents with secret pasts.

The Darkest Evening of the Year

Author: Dean Koontz
Stars: 3
Review by: Mary NK
Destination: California


 Less complex than Koontz's longer novels, but still very pro-dog.

Iceberg

Author: Clive Cussler
Stars: 3
Review by: KM
Destination: Iceland


 My first Cussler book...there are plenty to choose from. Adventure and intrigue, involves military themes. Some intense violence.

If You Believe

Author: Kristin Hannah
Stars: 3
Review by: deckreader
Destination: Washington State


Romance happens when a drifting man meets a set in her ways woman.