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 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. 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”. 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.


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.


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:

Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

Author: Arthur Conan Doyle
Stars: 3
Review by:
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: 
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



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

Dressed for Death

Author: Donna Leon
Stars: 4
Review by: 
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.


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.


Author: Louis De Bernieres
Stars: 4
Review by: 
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.