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Title: ONE CAME HOME
Author: Amy Timberlake
Call Number: T FIC TIM  (Currently in the Tween Fiction's New Book Section)
Newbery Honor Book
Reviewer: Mary Beth Reasoner, Children's Librarian

 
     "In the town of Placid, Wisconsin, in 1871, thirteen-year-old Georgie Burkhardt is known for two things: her uncanny aim with a rifle and her habit of speaking her mind plainly.  But when Georgie blurts out something she shouldn't, her older sister Agatha flees, running off with a pack of "pigeoners" trailing the passenger pigeon migration. And when the sheriff returns to town with an unidentifiable body--wearing Agatha's blue-green ball gown--everyone assumes the worst; except Georgie. Refusing to believe the facts that are laid down before her, Georgie sets out on a journey to find her sister. She will track every last clue and shred of evidence to bring Agatha home. Yet even with resolute determination and her trusty Springfield single-shot, Georgie is not prepared for what she faces on the western frontier."

This is an exciting book!  It has a little bit of everything in it: drama, family conflict, sorrow, young and old romance, regret, mystery, action, and suspense.  It's one of those novels that you just can't put down!  The well-written narrative just pulls you right into the story!


Image result for now is everything by amy giles
Title: Now is Everything
Author: Amy Giles
Call #: Y FIC GIL
Reviewer: Anne Keller

 
Hadley McCauley is the sole survivor of a small private plane crash.  After immediately being rushed to the hospital, she tries to end her life.  Her mother was killed and readers wonder if her father or younger sister Lila survived.  Hadley lives a privileged life but does she?  Life isn’t always what it seems because her father is controlling and physically abusive to Hadley and her mother.  Hadley begins dating Charlie and her life takes a dramatic turn as she falls in love.  Since she isn’t allowed to date, she has to keep him a secret.  When Hadley’s father finds out and starts losing his grip on her, he turns his wrath towards Lila.  Hadley can’t leave in a year when she’s 18 because Lila needs protecting.  When her father’s abuse escalates and puts Lila in danger, Hadley takes drastic action. 
            Chapters in this debut novel alternate between before and after the plane crash. In each timeframe, readers gather insight into the level of abuse as well as the tragedy aftermath.  The question on everyone’s mind is what really happened on the plane before the crash? The novel develops with an intensity that will hauntingly shock readers as Hadley’s life unfolds.  While the novel is extremely tragic, it offers hope and recovery.  An author’s note at the end provides information and resources on suicide and abuse. After reading, this reader felt like sending Giles a thank-you card for providing such an unforgettable reading experience. 


Image result for 13 minutes by sarah pinborough
Title: 13 Minutes
Author: Sarah Pinborough
Call #: Y FIC PIN
Reviewer: Anne Keller

 
Natasha was dead for 13 minutes as she lay in the freezing water until a bystander saved her.  Tasha has no memory of how she ended up there and her two best friends, Hayley and Jenny (aka the Barbies), are acting guilty and strange around her.  Tasha enlists her once best friend Becca to help her uncover the truth. Tasha dropped Becca as a best friend when she became popular and the Barbies’ leader.  Becca obsesses over the fact that her boyfriend once asked out Tasha and Becca’s violent streak of jealousy is always at the surface.  The police investigation into Tasha’s ordeal takes many twists and turns as suspects are eliminated and new ones are uncovered.  Tasha is portrayed as the victim, but evidence may suggest otherwise.  Once the truth becomes clear, a sudden and unexpected death half way thru shifts the momentum of the novel. 
            The novel is told through text messages, excerpts from police investigation files, newspaper articles, Tasha’s journal and points-of-view from both Becca and Tasha. The shocking conclusion will leave readers stunned.  Netflix has picked up the movie rights.  You may be familiar with the author who wrote the bestseller Behind Her Eyes.


Book Title Image - The reader on the 6.27

Title: The Reader on the 6.27
Author: Jean-Paul Didierlaurent
Call #: FIC DID
Reviewer: Sonja Downey
Guylain Vignolles works in a book pulping factory. Because he hates destroying books so much, he tries to save as many pages from the pulping machine as he can. He then reads these snippets of literature aloud on the 6:27 train every morning much to the delight of the other commuters. When he finds a flash drive with the manuscript to a diary on it, his life - until then lived at the edge of existence - takes a dramatic turn...

I loved this short little book. It is funny, warm-hearted and very touching. The characters in it are quirky, larger than life and every one is just so very lovable and relatable. This book is about the power of books and how they can change lives forever.


Book Title Image - I'll push you : a journey of 500 miles, two best friends, and one wheelchair

Title: I'll Push You
Authors: Patrick Gray and Justin Skeersuck
Call #: 241.6762 GRA (currently on the New Shelf)
Reviewer: Sonja Downey

 
Featured on the TODAY Show, this is the account of the authors' pilgrimage from St. Pied de Port across the Pyranees to Santiago de Compostela. Patrick readily agreed to push his friend, Justin, in a wheelchair over the 800 mile trek on the Camino de Santiago. This is the story of their journey, the mountains - figurativ and real - they conquered, the help they received and the people and many kindnesses they met along the way.

This book is very uplifting. It is at the same time a travelogue and a testimny to friendship as the authors allow us a glimplse into their physical as well as spiritual journey.
 




Title: More of Me
Author: Kathryn Evans
Call #:  Y FIC EVA
Reviewer: Anne Keller

 
Teva, sixteen, has a genetic abnormality which causes her to unwillingly clone herself each year when a new replica violently emerges from her body. The new Teva takes over the life of the previous version until the process repeats itself in one year. The younger sister versions, named by their age, live confined to their house where they never grow older. Teva’s current boyfriend, Ollie, has no idea that his girlfriend last year was actually Fifteen. Her best friend, Mandy, does not know she has been friends with a different version of Teva every year since childhood. Teva struggles to keep her home life a secret while feeling guilty as she lies to everyone. When the newest clone shows signs of breaking free, Teva decides to finally seek help for her condition, even if it means exposing the truth. Recommended for readers looking for something out of the ordinary.  

 




Title: Brave New Girl
Author: Rachel Vincent
Call #: Y FIC VIN
Reviewer: Anne Keller
 
Dahlia "16” lives in a community where 4,999 other girls share her name and face because they were all created from a single genome. Everyone in the community is identified by a name and a number representing their age (or “promotion year”). People are created in laboratories and everyone works at Lakeview for the greater good of the city. Dahlia is an exceptionally skilled hydroponic gardener. On her way to the Management Bureau, an elevator malfunctions and she is stuck with Trigger 17, a soldier from the Defense Bureau. While stranded, she experiences emotions—something that could be considered genetic flaws. Dahlia is physically attracted to Trigger 17 and she thinks of him constantly. During a second encounter, they are caught kissing in a shed. She is captured and if it is determined that she has a genetic flaw, all 5,000 Dahlias will be eliminated. Dahlia escapes, finds Trigger, and, while evading authorities, they accidentally stumble upon a party at the administrator’s mansion. Secrets are discovered as they realize their existence actually serves a far different purpose than they believed.

The beginning of the novel captivates the reader with the intriguing concept of the Lakeview community. The initial attraction between Dahlia and Trigger leaves the reader wondering how their relationship will develop, given the rules against fraternization. New characters introduced at the end show promise for exciting revelations and a sequel.




Title: The Great Pursuit
Author: Wendy Higgins
Call #: Y FIC HIG
Reviewer: Anne Keller

 
In the realm of Eurona, there are magical Lashed people and non-magical humans. Princess Aerity will do everything in her power to protect the kingdom of Lochlanach from the evil Lashed Rozaria Rocato and her dangerous army. Aerity’s father, the king, has banished the practice of magic in the kingdom. Rozaria demands that the laws be overturned or deadly force will occur. Aerity disagrees with her father and believes compromising with the Lashed people in a peaceful manner will avoid war. In addition to that turmoil, Aerity is dealing with her conflicting emotions about being betrothed to Lord Alvi while her feelings for the Lashed hunter, Paxton Seabolt, continue to grow. When unforeseen circumstances occur, she becomes the acting queen and does everything in her power to prevent war. Further complications ensue and restoring peace to the kingdom will not be easy.

The second novel of the 
Eurona duology picks up where the first ended. New readers will easily understand the storyline. Aspects of war are creatively written so that readers are exposed to a classic good-versus-evil tale with elements of leadership, courage, sacrifice, and acceptance. Strategic planning on both sides leads to deception and intrigue. Secondary characters are skillfully portrayed and will not easily be forgotten. Aerity is a strong, admirable character who is passionate, loyal, and willing to sacrifice her heart for her kingdom. A strong leading cast, the ongoing suspense of battle, and the pursuit of love combine to create an enchanting fantasy read which will have widespread appeal.




Title: Haunt Me
Author: Liz Kessler
Call #: Y FIC KES
Reviewer: Anne Keller

 
Erin has moved with her family for a fresh start.  She loves her new bedroom, even when she sees Joe, the former occupant who is now a ghost.  Once she begins talking to Joe, they discover they both share a love of poetry and feel a strong connection.  Joe's older brother, Olly, attends the same school as Erin.  Olly used to be popular and ruled the school until Joe died.  After his brother's death, his grief and guilt consumed him.  After a chance meeting with Erin, the two strike up a friendship.  Erin is torn between the two brothers, one living, one dead.  Erin is in love with Joe but he is a ghost.  She is attracted to Olly, but he is Joe's brother.  Erin wrestles with her decision as she tries to overcome her past.

Each chapter is told from a different point of view, allowing the reader to experience the depth of each characters' feelings.  Kessler develops the plot at a pace which holds the reader's attention until Erin makes her final choice.  Throughout the story, Joe does not remember how he died but he knows he blames Olly.  Once the story of Joe's death is revealed, it is both emotional and cathartic, while bringing closure to both brothers.  Erin's past and the reason the family moved is slowly revealed throughout the story.  Bullying and suicide are addressed in this novel that is about choices, and whether Erin will choose life or death.  Fans of ghostly romance will appreciate this novel.  




Title: A Map for Wrecked Girls
Author: Jessica Taylor
Call #: Y FIC TAY
Reviewer: Anne Keller

 
Emma seems content sitting on the sidelines of her year older sister Henri (short for Henrietta) who is the popular diva that rules the senior class.  The sisters have always been best friends until an act of betrayal destroys their relationship.  Henri begins acting out by partying and sleeping around.  They accompany their mother on a business trip to Puerto Rico and the sisters land themselves marooned on a deserted island after a boating accident with two boys. One of the boys die and the other boy named Alex has a questionable reputation and secrets of his own.  The trio struggle to survive and be rescued as Emma grows apart from Henri and closer to Alex.  As days turn into weeks, it becomes clear that Henri does not want to leave the island and even sabotages some of their efforts.  Emma is determined to discover Henri’s unwillingness to be rescued.                                                                                                                                      
Taylor skillfully depicts a tale of survival as the trio battle starvation, the weather and the desperate need for drinkable weather. Chapters alternate between the present and the weeks leading up to Puerto Rico so readers are immediately immersed in the drama as it slowly unfolds.  Emma and Alex’s relationship heats up despite his secretive nature leaving Emma suspicious as her feelings grow.  Topics addressed involve family dynamics, divorce, betrayal, friendship and survival.  The novel concludes with a satisfying ending that answers all of the readers questions.             

 






Title: A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares
Author: Krystal Sutherland
Call #: Y FIC SUT
Reviewer: Anne Keller

 
Esther Solar believes her family is cursed ever since her Grandfather met Death.  Solar family members are cursed to die by their greatest fear.  Esther’s twin brother Eugene is scared of the dark and her father lives in the basement because he is agoraphobic. Since Esther hasn’t discovered her one great fear, she keeps a list of all her potential phobias and avoids everything and everyone.  A chance encounter with an old classmate Jonah leads down a path of self-discovery.  Every Sunday during senior year, Jonah helps Esther confront one fear at a time while videotaping her experiences as she overcomes each obstacle.  As Esther and Jonah spend more time together, it’s obvious that their friendship deepens but an act of betrayal could damage their chance at happiness.
      
The novel immediately hooks readers and they’ll be fascinated with the eccentricities of the Solar household and family. The side story of Esther’s grandfather is an added bonus. Esther and Jonah are likable characters and readers will admire Esther as she confronts one fear after another.  Readers shouldn’t be fooled into thinking this is a light hearted read because there are deeper and darker issues lurking in the background. Jonah has problems at home with his father involving domestic violence and alcoholism.  Esther has issues at home as her mother gambles their money away, an absentee father and a brother with suicidal thoughts.  It’s obvious that Esther’s greatest fear is holding her back from true happiness. 


Book Title Image - The good thief's guide to Venice
 
 
Title: The Good Thief's Guide To Venice
Author: Chris Ewan
Call #: FIC EWA
Reviewer: Sonja Downey

Charlie Howard is a thief; a gentleman thief, mind you, more in the fashion of Cary Grant (and he does look stunning in a tuxedo - Charlie, that is!) In addition to his slightly dubious night job, Charlie writes crime novels during the day. After a spot of trouble in Las Vegas he moves to Venice, Italy, to get inspiration for his next book. Together with his literary agent, Victoria, he gets so much more inspiration than he ever bargained for with corpses being thrown in his way (and into the canals), bombs blowing up way too near for comfort and then there is the mysterious Graziella who tends to appear at his bedside at the most inopportune moments.

This is a delightfully light-hearted mystery novel. Charlie Howard is such a likeable character who does not take himself too seriously. In addition to the story being fast paced and very engaging, each installment in the Good Thief's Series plays in a different city (Amsterdam, Paris, Las Vegas and Berlin) and is therefore like a little get-away without ever having to leave the comfort of one's couch. 
 


Book Title Image - The sleepwalker : a novel

Title: The Sleepwalker
Author: Chris Bohjalian
Call #: FIC BOH (currently on the New Shelf)

Reviewer: Sonja Downey
 
Annalee Ahlberg is a sleepwalker. She does not return home one night after getting up from her bed leaving her family bereft and with a lot of questions. What happened when Annalee's husband left town for a conference and Annelee disappeared? And what interest does Detective Rikert have sticking around the Ahlberg's long after Annalee's body has been found.
 
Chris Bohjalian delivered another breathtaking mystery in the fashion of "The Guestroom" and "Secrets of Eden". Meticulously researched and thrillingly narrated the author feeds his reader just enough information in each chapter that the urge to read faster and faster almost becomes unbearable. And of course the bombshell explodes on the very last page. So my only warning for this book is: Don't start it unless you have a few hours to spare. You won't be able to put it down.


Book Title Image - The execution of Noa P. Singleton : a novel

Title: The Execution of Noa P. Singleton
Author: Elizabeth Silver
Call #: FIC SIL
Reviewer: Sonja Downey

 
Noa P. Singleton has been an inmate on Death Row for the past 10 years awaiting her execution for murder. She is visited by Marlene Dixon,mother of her victim, who has had a change of heart and is advocating now for clemency. The young and inexperienced lawyer Oliver Stansted is frantically trying to fight for a retrial, but meets with increasing resistance on the part of Noa. What is Noa hiding and are Marlene Dixon's motives as honest as she claims them to be?
 
This book left me emotionally drained trying to figure out if Noa was truly guilty or not. In the course of the narration the author unravels Noa's story so masterfully that it leaves the reader breathless. The lyrical use of language and words made me feel as if I watched the book instead of reading it. This is one of those books that will stay with you for a long time after you finished reading it.




Title: Inferno
Author: Dan Brown
Call Number: FIC BRO
Reviewer: Megan Rapp-Frye
 
Once again Harvard professor of symbology, Robert Langdon finds himself on a harrowing adventure to save the world. This time his journey takes him into the heart of Italy and deep into Dante’s tale The Inferno. Time is running out and Langdon must decide whom to trust as the fate of the humanity itself hangs in the balance.
 
This book starts out in the middle of the night with Robert Langdon in the hospital having suffered a head wound and having absolutely no recollection of the past 36 hours, including how he got there! If you’ve read the other books in the Robert Langdon series, then you know how much he relies on his memory of events to put together the complex puzzles surrounding him. To have him wake up without his memory and have no idea or of what is going on is quite the change. This book, and Langdon, hit the ground running from the very first pages. He makes allies and enemies as he races across the globe to decipher clues tied in with the master literary work The Inferno. Friends aren’t always friends, enemies aren’t want they seem, and the twists just keep coming. I absolutely loved this book. I saw that the movie was coming out so I knew it was time to finally read it. I only had one question: Why on earth did I wait so long to pick up this book? What a thrill ride! Obviously, I highly recommend this novel. You don’t have to read the other books in the series to understand it, but they do provide back information on the character and his previous exploits.



Title: QB: My Life Behind the Sprial
Author: Steve Young
Call #:  CD 921 YOU
Reviewer: Anne Keller

Forty-niner or forty-whiner?

Steve Young was one of the great quarterbacks during the era of Brett Farve, Troy Aikman, Dan Marino and John Elway.  Young is best known for his days with the San Francisco 49ers.  He was a backup for many years playing in the shadows of the great Joe Montana, a four time Superbowl champion.

This memoir explores Steve Young's days at Brigham Young University, his time with the USFL, his year at Tampa Bay and finally his days in San Francisco.  He recounts his strong faith as a mormon and people's perceptions of him, his severe anxiety disorder and his struggles to attend law school in the off season.  The majority of his time is dedicated to his frustrations playing back up quarterback to Joe Montana.  Joe was constantly getting hurt and Steve would step in when needed.  His ultimate goal was to be the starting quarterback despite Joe's greatness.  

I have mixed emotions about this book.  Steve does a great job reliving all the great games and I forgot about a lot of the players who were on the team back then.  It was fun to relive those memories and remember players from years past.  My biggest disappointment was finding out Steve wasn't really the man who was portrayed in the media.  Many college players enter the draft grateful for the opportunity to play in the NFL.  They don't care what team they play for, they just want the opportunity to play.  Steve was a gifted athlete, but he spends a lot of time in the book complaining to his agent to get him on another team, to get him traded out of Tampa, to find him a position as a starting quarterback.  He appears arrogant, a whiner, and disrespectful to Joe Montana, a living legend.  

I highly recommend this book to football fans wanting to relive games from the past with the understanding that perception is often quite different from reality.  



Title: Female of the Species
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Call #: Y FIC McG
Reviewer: Anne Keller

 
One of the worst covers of a book belongs to one of the most disturbing, thought provoking and chilling teen books I've read in quite a while.  

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone.  When she killed her sister's rapist and murderer, she carefully planned the attack.  When she killed him, she didn't even feel bad.  Alex has always been identified in her small town as the sister of the girl who was murdered.  She is a loner.  She knows she can't be trusted around others because she has inherited her father's dark side.  She blends in, the forgotten girl.  

Alex begins an internship at an animal shelter and befriends Peekay, or P.K. meaning Preacher's Kid.  An unlikely friendship forms and then she starts dating Jack, the popular jock who has eyes only for her.  As their senior year unfolds, Alex begins to emerge from the shadows and believes that life can be different.  Then she hears about another child molestor and she can't stop herself.  
A night of partying brings Alex's dark side to the surface when trouble erupts and her violent nature emerges once again.  

Will Alex be able to live a normal life or will circumstances force her to seek vengenance?  This deeply disturbing novel addresses many issues and readers will be rooting for Alex. The book is told in alternating chapters from the points of view of Alex, Jack and Peekay.  Alex is a strong female character who is fiercely protective of those she loves and not ashamed for punishing those who hurt others.  

Alex is a character you won't soon forget.  You have a feeling the novel will end either happy or sad and nobody will be prepared for the actual outcome.  






The Second Life of Nick Mason
by Steve Hamilton
Call #: Fic Ham
Reviewed by Gayle Hazelbaker
 
The Second Life of Nick Mason, Hamilton’s first entry in a new series, is a high-octane novel about Nick Mason, an ex-con, trying to break away from his criminal past. Because of an arrangement with a Chicago crime lord, he’s been released early from prison. But because of that favor, Nick finds himself forced to commit increasingly more dangerous crimes while being pursued by the detective responsible for putting him behind bars.  Fans of Hamilton's Alex McNight series will not be disappointed with this exciting novel.

The rights to this book have been sold to Lionsgate Productions.  Look forward to seeing the movie sometime in the near future; but read the book first!





Title: America's most haunted hotels
Author: Jamie Davis Whitmer
Call #: 133.1 WHI (Currently on the NEW Non-Fiction Shelf)
Reviewer: Gina Walmsley


It's that time of year for me to read about things that go "bump in the night!" The author visits 10 haunted hotels in the United States and shares her visit of each one with the reader. In each chapter, the author will give a pretty in depth history of the establishment before giving the reader her insight into her visit. She also shares the names and details of the equipments she uses to communicate with the dead.

What I found interesting is that Jamie's husband, Bob, was raised not to discuss or believe in "Spirits" He accompanies his wife to each sight and he gives his point of view and feelings after the author is done sharing hers. It's nice to have a much different viewpoint to see how he feels about something that was quite foreign to him when he and Jamie first met.

It was an enjoyable book with an easy-to-read style. It was not scary at all, but more like a history lesson on each of the 10 hotels. All of the hotels are still open and accept reservations, so maybe one day I will book a room at one of these hotels to see if anything happens.





Title: The lost girls
Author: Heather Young
Call # FIC YOU (Currently on the New Fiction Shelf)
Reviewer: Gina Walmsley
 
     This novel is a debut novel by the author and tells the story of a little girl who disappeared in 1935 without a trace. Six-year-old Emily Evans disappears from her family's summer vacation home on a lake. Her disappearance destroys her mother, who spends the rest of her life at the lake house hoping her daughter will appear from the woods. Emily's two older sisters stay too, each keeping her own private, decades-long vigil for the lost child. Sixty years later, Lucy, the quiet, middle sister, lives in the lake house alone. Before she dies, she writes the story of that devastating summer in a notebook that she leaves, along with the house, to the only person to whom it might matter: her grandniece, Justine.

The chapters alternate between Lucy and Justine. At times it becomes a bit confusing because parts of Lucy's and Justine's stories are not told completely and not until chapters later are these pieces added. I would have to go back and reread chapters to get their stories in the proper order. I thought I had figured out the ending, but I was in for a bit of a shock.

Overall this was a nice effort for a first book. I really felt empathy for Lucy, but as for Justine, I really didn't care for the character for most of the book. The story ebbs and flows, but really picks up in the last 1/4 of the book. I had been on a streak of books I truly did not enjoy, but finally I have found a book that was a good read.

 


Book Title Image - The accidental empress

Title: The Accidental Empress
Author: Allison Pataki
Call #: LP FIC PAT
Reviewer: Sonja Downey

 
This is the story of Elisabeth, Princess in Bavaria, who accompanies her older sister Helene to Austria for her betrothal to the young emperor Franz Josef. Franz Josef, however, falls desperately in love with Elisabeth, affectionately known around Europe and the world as Sisi, and the rest - in the truest sense of the word - is history.

I am so thrilled about this book. The love story between Sisi and Franz Josef has sparked movies, musicals and an endless amount of biographies. This is historical fiction, but the author mostly kept close to the actual events and time line. Sisi was known as the most beautiful woman in the world, only rivaled by Empress Eugenie of France. Her marriage to the emperor of Austria changed the history of the Austrian Empire. Unfortunately her life was marred by a lot of tragedy which tends to overshadow how it all began, with the most remarkable love affair of the nineteenth century...
The sequel to this book is called "Sisi" and will soon be available at the library.


Book Title Image - Glory over everything : beyond the Kitchen house
Title: Glory Over Everything
Author: Kathleen Grissom
Call #: FIC GRI (currently on New Shelf)
Reviewer: Debbie Gilbey

If you have read Kathleen Grissom’s best-selling novel, The Kitchen House, you will want to read this book. And even if you haven’t, you will want to---

Glory Over Everything follows James Pyke Burton, son of both a slave and the master of Tall Oaks, who fled from the Virginian plantation he once called home. Jamie has built a life for himself in Philadelphia, passing as a wealthy white silversmith. He discovers that his married, aristocratic lover is pregnant and before he can reveal his past to her, he learns that his servant boy, Pan, has been kidnapped and sold into slavery. Pan’s father, to whom Jamie owes a great debt, pleads for him to find Pan and bring him back. Jamie agrees and embarks on a journey that will take him dangerously close to Tall Oaks and the slave hunter who may still be searching for him.

This book is beautifully written, with characters so real that you at once love and loathe them. It is romantic, suspenseful, horrifying, and at times humorous. It is apparent that Grissom has done her homework, presenting a historically accurate picture of life in the years leading up to the Civil War.
 


Title: THE LEMONADE WAR SERIES (Children's Chapter Books)
Author: Jacqueline Davies
Call Number: J FIC DAV
Reviewer: Mary Beth Reasoner, Children's Librarian

You can tell I love this series because I am giving you summaries of all five books!  The author is a modern day Beverly Cleary who remembers what it is like to be a second grader and a fourth grader!  She also remembers the love/hate relationships between siblings as well as the ups and downs of friendships with classmates and neighborhood friends.

    
The Lemonade War Series
The Lemonade War tells the story of an exciting summer spent by a loving but competitive pair of siblings, Evan and Jessie Treski. At the end of the summer, Jessie, the younger and more academically inclined of the two, is delighted to learn that because she is skipping third grade, she will be in Evan's fourth-grade class when school starts in a few days. To say the least, Evan is less than thrilled. The children's personal conflict becomes a professional one as well, as they set out to
outsell each other at their respective lemonade stands.
 
The Lemonade War
Fourth-grader Evan Treski is people-smart. He’s good at to talking with people, even grownups. His younger sister, Jessie, on the other hand, is math-smart, but not especially good with people. So when the siblings’ lemonade stand war begins, there really is no telling who will win --- or even if their fight will ever end. Brimming with savvy marketing tips for making money at any business, definitions of business terms, charts, diagrams and even math problems, this fresh, funny, emotionally charged novel subtly explores how arguments can escalate beyond anyone’s intent.

The Lemonade Crime
Following the laws of our legal system, Evan and Jessie’s fourth grade class concocts a courtroom on the playground, putting Scott Spencer, alleged thief, on trial. They create a legitimate courtroom --- with a judge, witnesses, a jury of their peers --- and surprising consequences.

The Bell Bandit
Someone had climbed the long, slow slope of Lovell Hill to the top and had stolen the old iron bell hanging on its heavy wooden crossbeam. Who on earth would steal the New Year’s Bell? And how could Grandma, Mrs. Treski, Evan, Jessie, and their neighbors ring in the New Year without it?

The Candy Smash
Jessie and Evan Treski have waged a lemonade war, sought justice in a class trial, and even unmasked a bell thief. Now they are at opposite ends over the right to keep secrets. Evan believes some things (such as his poetry) are private. Jessie believes scandal makes good news. When anonymously sent candy hearts appear in Class 4-0, self-appointed ace reporter Jessie determines to get the scoop on class crushes.

The Magic Trap
Jessie and Evan Treski have waged a lemonade war, sought justice in a class trial,unmasked a bell thief, and stood at opposite ends over the right to keep secrets.  Now they are creating a magic show—a professional magic show, in their own backyard! They practice, they study, and they practice some more. And who shows up? Their father, who has done such a good job of disappearing over the past few years.



Title: Unhooked
Author: Lisa Maxwell
Call Number: Y FIC MAX
Reviewer: Megan Rapp-Frye

 
“This is not the Neverland you know.”
 
For as long as she can remember, Gwen has never had a place to call home. Her mother is convinced they’re being chased by monsters and forces them to move every few years. The latest move has taken them to London, only this time Gwen has brought her friend Olivia with her. One night the girls are kidnapped by shadowy figures and taken to a world called Neverland; a world full of fey and monsters. In this world good and evil are relative concepts and memories slip through your fingers like smoke. Gwen’s life depends on who to trust: The fairy-tale hero Peter who says all the right things, or the dark and dangerous pirate Captain who promises to keep her safe. With her memories fading and Neverland in chaos Gwen must fight to save the island, herself, and Oliva all while coming to terms with who she is and where she really comes from.
 
Not the Neverland you know indeed. Reboots of Peter Pan have been done again and again, but the author still manages to provide a refreshing take on an old story. I like the mythology and legends woven into the classic tale. Gwen is a strong character who can take care of herself and quickly learns from her mistakes. There are three stories going on at once that weave seamlessly together to form this darkly magical world. You have Gwen’s story with her family history, Peter’s story and the Captain’s story. All three characters claim their place in the Neverland mythos. For instance, when Peter hears of the J.M. Barrie story “Peter Pan”, he casts himself as the hero. Our Captain, who was once a lost boy, decides to play the villain. Nothing however, is that black and white. I would recommend this book to readers. It’s a great take on an old story while being completely new. This book is a standalone novel.
 




Title: Woodlawn

Call #: DVD WOO
Reviewer: Chuck Harpst
 
Summary: In 1973, a spiritual awakening captured the heart of nearly every player of the Woodlawn High School football team, including its coach Tandy Gerelds. Their dedication to love and unity in a school filled with racism and hate leads to the largest high school football game ever played in the torn city of Birmingham, Alabama, and the rise of its first African-American superstar, Tony Nathan.
 
As a football fan who enjoys a story with an inspirational message, I would recommend this action-packed movie filled with historical references and suspense to any sports enthusiast. 


   Sweet Girl: A Novel
by Travis Mulhauser
Call#: CD-FIC MUL
Reviewed by Anne Keller


The setting is northern Michigan in the middle of a harsh winter storm.  Percy Jackson, 16, is on a mission to locate her drug addicted mother out on another bender.  Her mother, Carletta, has been addicted to meth for as long as Percy can remember.  Her older sister married and moved out west leaving Percy to take care of her mother all alone.  During her search, she finds a cabin with a neglected baby whose parents are strung out on meth.  Percy takes the baby, to save the baby.  She heads to Portis Dale’s house, Carletta’s ex and her surrogate father.  Portis and Percy are determined to get the baby to safety, despite the violence of the storm and trackers out to return the baby to the neglectful parents.  Percy’s immediate bond with the baby fuels her determination to save the baby no matter the tragic outcome. The rural landscape and wide open land adds to the harsh elements as they try to rescue the baby.

The setting of the novel is bleak and isolating which adds a bit of ambiance to the novel making the reader root for Percy despite all the odds. If you’re looking for a novel with a determined and admirable main character, a harsh landscape of isolation and cold, an adventure to right a wrong despite tragic circumstances, then I highly recommend this novel.  Fans of Winter’s Bone will enjoy this novel.
 


Raising Ryland by Hillary Whittington
Call # 362.785 WHI
Reviewed by Anne Keller
The Whittington family seems like your typical all American family.  The dad is a well respected fireman.  The stay at home mom is raising two children trying to make ends meet like a lot of other young families.  They learned the news that their youngest daughter Ryland was deaf at age one.  For four years, they navigate the waters of the deaf community in order to best treat their daughter.  They teach her sign language and finally she is able to get cochlear implants.  After four years, their daughter can speak.  They were shocked when Ryland told them "I am a boy."

Hillary Whittington shares her emotional story about parenting a transgender child and the reactions from friends and family.  When Hillary and her husband Jeff learned that 41% of children who identify as transgender attempt suicide, they decided to support Ryland.  They helped her transition from a girl to the boy he always knew he was.  

The first part of the story explains their journey dealing with Ryland's deafness.  The rest of the book details their path to helping Ryland transition.  They carefully researched and gathered as much information as they could to help and support Ryland.  She details their relationship with Ryland's school, their friends and family.  She explains how some people were supportive and others had to cut out of their lives due to their refusal to accept Ryland as a boy.

This topic has been highly addressed in the news lately due to Bruce Jenner's transition to Catelynn.  Everyone seems to have an opinion and hopefully this book will help educate and give everyone a better understanding of the word transgender and erase the stigma associated with it.  

I highly recommend this book and the Whittington family is a story I'll always remember.

 



 
Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2, Special Rehearsal Edition Script
Authors: J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany
Call Number: J FIC ROW
Reviewer: Megan Rapp-Frye
 
 
Oh my gosh! Oh my GOSH! J.K. Rowling wrote another Harry Potter book!
 
Well, not exactly. “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” is a Broadway stage play based on a short story written by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany, and it was written into play format by Jack Thorne. So right off the bat you have a three author collaboration. The book’s play format i.e. scene, act, character speaking, etc. may throw off some readers.  
 
The play begins 19 years after the end of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows” and we pick up again with our beloved characters and their children. The story focuses mostly on Harry’s middle child, a boy named Albus Severus and his attempts to live up to (or hide from) his famous father’s name.
 
I found the play to be a very fast read and it never lacked for action. I think some readers may be distraught by some of their favorite characters acting a bit like short tempered grown-ups versus the adolescents we grew to love. Albus goes out of his way to find trouble and often leads his best (and only) friend Scorpius Mallfoy into the line of fire. Scorpius was the character you went in judging but he quite immediately stole your heart. Overall, I would recommend this book to everyone. Exceptions must be made for the format so you don’t get as much detail as you desperately want, but the story is solid and keeps you entertained to the end.
 
Multiple copies are available in the Juvenile section under J FIC ROW. Look for it on the shelf with the other Harry Potter books.
 

Book Title Image - The life we bury a novel

Title: The Life We Bury
Author: Allen Eskens
Call #: FIC ESK
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker

 
This is the debut novel by a criminal defense attorney. It is a suspenseful pageturner, to be sure! A college student, Joe, assigned to write a biography stumbles upon Carl Iverson, a convicted child molester/murderer.  But is he really?! The more Joe listens to Carl's story, the more he doubts Carl committed the crime.  There are many twists and turns in this story to keep the reader off track. If you enjoy David Baldacci or John Grisham, I encourage you to give this book a try. I think you'll like it!


 

Series Title: MARIELLA MYSTERY INVESTIGATES
Author: Kate Pankhurst
Call #:  J FIC PAN

Reviewer: Mary Beth Reasoner, Children's Librarian
 

This series is about a girl whose name is "Mariella Mystery"
and she is a detective along with her friends "the Mystery Girls"!

 

Mariella is smart as a whip, super sleuth-y, and able to solve most mysterious mysteries and perplexing problems in no time flat. She is age nine and a bit, and knows that all good detectives write down important information about their investigations. She keeps a  top-secret journal filled with important clues and observations, helpful drawings, and handy tips for new detectives.  There are illustrations on every page and the book is full of a lot of humor.  I can't wait to read Mariella Mystery investigates the Huge Hair Scare in which the mysterious Bad Hair Day Fog starts giving people of all ages ugly hair!
#1 = The Ghostly Guinea Pig
#2 = A Cupcake Conundrum
#3 = The Huge Hair Scare
#4 = The Mystery of the Cursed Poodle
#5 = The Spaghetti Yeti
#6 = A Kitty Calamity
#7 = The Disappearance of Diana Dumpling

 




 

Series Title: GALAXY ZACK
Author: RAY O'RYAN
Call #:  J FIC ORA 

Reviewer: Mary Beth Reasoner, Children's Librarian

Zack Nelson is just a normal eight-year-old boy living in Texas in the year 2120. Zack spends his free time planet-hopping and communicating via z-mail with his best friend Bert. But when Zack's father is offered a job at a company called Nebulonics, the Nelsons must move to a new planet! Zack does not want to move to newly-discovered Nebulon and leave his Earth life behind. But when Zack discovers that Nebulon has tons of cool gadgets and has made many more technological advances than Earth, Zack starts to think that Nebulon might not be so bad! Join Zack as he meets new friends, discovers new inventions, and explores the galaxy!

Children transitioning from picture books and readers to early chapter books
would enjoy this series!  The illustrations are great!

 

#1 = Hello Nebulon!
#2 = Journey to Juno
#3 = The Prehistoric Planet
#4 = Monsters in Space!
#5 = Three's a Crowd!
#6 = A Green Christmas!
#7 = A Galactic Easter!
#8 = Drake Makes a Splash!
#9 = The Annoying Crush
#10 = Return to Earth!
#11 = A Haunted Halloween
#12 = Operation Twin Trouble



Book Title Image - The road to Little Dribbling adventures of an American in Britain
Title: The Road To Little Dribbling
Author: Bill Bryson
Call #: CD 914.104 BRY (currently on the NEW AV shelf)
Reviewer: Sonja Downey

 
This book is like a vacation without ever having to leave your home or exchange money to a foreign currency. In typical Bryson wit, the author explores the peculiar numbering system of British roads, finds hamlets with the funniest names and ends up in places one has to look hard to find.

The audio book is brilliantly read by Nathan Osgood. Listening to this book took me through the whole range of merriment from a quiet chortle to a giggle to a tear-inducing belly laugh. Another wonderful Bryson book.


Book Title Image - The marriage of opposites : a novel
Title: The Marriage of Opposites
Author: Alice Hoffman
Call #: FIC HOF
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker

The Marriage of Opposites is a woeful tale of the conflict between personal desire and social constraints that echoes through three generations on the island of St. Thomas in the first half of the 19th century.Like her most recent novels, this story is grounded in historical events and assiduous research, but Hoffman goes even further by taking real-life figures as her protagonists. Staying close to the known facts about the artist Camille Pissarro and his parents, she  imagines their interior lives and surrounds them with  fully developed supporting cast of characters. I thoroughly enjoyed this book!  Alice Hoffman's latest book is recommended for fans of Circling the Sun by McClain and Under the Wide and Starry Sky  by Horan. 

Title: After The Wind
Author: Lou Kasischke
Call #: 796.522 KAS (currently on the New Shelf)
Reviewer: Sonja Downey

 
Lou Kasischke tells the story of the ill-fated expedition to summit Mount Everest in May 1996. This book is written with such riveting descriptions that I found myself feeling cold and light-headed just reading about the incredible circumstances leading up to the tragedy. The author is very honest in his personal telling of the story. I could not put this book down and read breathlessly from chapter to chapter. The book also has great drawings and maps of Everest which helps to picture this extraordinary mountain in all its power.

On the same subject, please read "Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakauer who was also part of the expedition. The library also owns the 2015 movie "Everest" depicting the tragedy from Hollywood's point of view, starring Josh Brolin and Jake Gyllenhaal.
 


Book Title Image - The African Equation
Title: The African Equation
Author: Yasmina Khadra
Call #: FIC KHA
Reviewer: Sonja Downey

Reeling back from his wife’s suicide, Kurt Krausmann agrees to join his friend Hans Makkenroth on a prolonged sailing trip. What was supposed to be a journey of healing turns into an unimaginable nightmare, when their boat is attacked by pirates in the Gulf of Aden and both men are kidnapped and held as hostages in the desert. During his horrific ordeal Dr. Krausmann is trying hard never to lose his humanity. Fighting for his life with all odds against him, he is trying not to blame a whole country for something a few people have done to him.

This book was very riveting. Even though the author describes Dr. Krausmann’s ordeal, the story is never overly gory, it remains a quiet story dealing with Africa’s dilemma of abject poverty and horrific crimes at the hand of the warlords; but also the hope that is within the people and their fight not to let go of this hope.
 


Book Title Image - The sound of music story : how a beguiling young novice, a handsome Austrian captain, and ten singing Von Trapp children inspired the most beloved film of all time
Title: The Sound Of Music Story
Author: Tom Santopietro
Call #: 971.43 SAN
Reviewer: Sonja Downey
 
This book is simply a delight. It is full of wonderful stories about the movie, the actors and all the adventures that happened during filming, such as an unseasonably cold summer in Austria or accessive weight gain on the part of the actors due to the delicious Austrian pastries. After reading this book, watching the movie is so much more fun.


Title: Our Souls at Night

Author: Kent Haruf

Call No.: Fic/Har

Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker

The June 2015 issue of the BookPage described the plot of this poignant book like this, ..."Addie and Louis are old neighbors, both widowed, children grown and gone, both lonely but used to it. Addie asks Louis if he’d like to sleep with her. Just sleep, that’s all, to keep her company, and maybe talk about things, too. Louis agrees. It becomes an amazing tie, full of unexpected grace, a chance to go back with each other over their ordinary and extraordinary lives. Their pact binds others to them as well—an ancient neighbor, the troubled grandson of a broken home and a sweet dog from the county pound. 

Townsfolk and family members don’t much like the idea of Addie and Louis sleeping together. This happiness, arrived so late, is a scandal to those others."

What happens to these two people is sweet and heartbreaking.  This is the last book written by Haruf before he died. What a beautiful insightful legacy he has left his readers. Don't miss this!



Title: The Persian Pickle Club

Author: Sandra Dallas

Call No.: Fic/Dal

Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker

It is the 1930s, and hard times have hit Harveyville, Kansas, where the crops are burning up and there’s not a job to be found. For Queenie Bean, a young farm wife, a highlight of each week is the gathering of the Persian Pickle Club, a group of local ladies dedicated to improving their minds, exchanging gossip, and putting their quilting skills to good use. When a new member of the club stirs up a dark secret, the women must band together to support and protect one another. This book was funny, sweet and suspenseful.  I enjoyed it very much.  Highly recommended.

 



 

Title: Half Wild   
Author: Sally Green   
Call Number: Y FIC GRE
Reviewer: Megan Rapp-Frye

Nathan has finally escaped his captors who trained him to kill his father Marcus; the most powerful and feared Black witch to ever live. He dreams of living a quiet life with Annalise, the White witch he loves, but that is not meant to be. She’s wasting away under a death-sleep induced by a dark curse, and his best friend Gabriel is missing. Nathan has finally come into his Gift, but he finds himself unable to control it. The council of White witches and their hunters are continuously on his trail, so he’s always on the run. His only hope for survival is to reunite with old friends, new friends and old enemies to form an Alliance and take down the now corrupt council of White witches. The Alliance needs Nathan to fight with them. The council needs to see him dead. Both sides want him to kill. What’s a Half Code to do?

 

The power balance of the entire world is about to shift and Nathan is right at the center of it. Once again White isn’t always good, Black isn’t always evil and the line between the two often blurs. Allegiances shift, truths come to light and things aren’t always as they seem. This was an amazing book full of twists, turns and action. Besides the fight for survival is the fight for Nathan’s heart with two very different contenders. This book is highly recommended. Half Wild is book two in a planned trilogy.



Book Title Image - The extraordinary journey of the fakir who got trapped in an IKEA wardrobe

 

Title: The extraordinary journey of the fakir who got trapped in an IKEA wardrobe
Author: Romain Puertolas
Call No: FIC PUE (Currently on the New Shelf)
Reviewer: Sonja Downey

This is the story of Ajatashatru (pronounced: just about every way you like), an Indian fakir and con artist who flies to Paris to buy a brand new bed of nails which happens to be on sale at the local IKEA store. Unfortunately by the time he gets there the sale is over, he is 20 Euros short and things are going straight downhill from there. As the title suggests he gets trapped in an IKEA wardrobe (apart from other means of transport, such as Louis Vuitton suitcases, etc.) and his journey leads him to England, Spain and Italy and even further than that. He meets famous French actresses, real-life knife wielding gypsies and the love of his life.

This book is hilarious, thought-provoking and just plain fun to read. I can highly recommend it to anyone who wants to get away for an afternoon on a farcical journey through Europe.




Title: Blood and Beauty

Author: Sarah Dunant

Call number: FIC DUN

Reviewer: Megan Rapp-Frye

 

It was the turn of the 15th century in Renaissance Italy, a place and time whose beauty and creativity were only matched by its brutality and corruption. Nothing was more corrupt than the Roman Catholic Church. This was the stage where Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia entered and bought his way into the papacy, becoming Pope Alexander the VI. Borgia was defined by his wealth, power, ambition and charisma. As a Spanish Pope in a city of Italians, Rodrigo had to use the power of his papacy and his family—most notably his children, Cesare and Lucrezia—to succeed.

Cesare was cold, brilliant and ruthless; he was also Rodrigo’s greatest weapon. Later immortalized in Machiavelli’s The Prince, he was a force all of Europe had to reckon with. Lucrezia was beautiful, young and much beloved by both her father and her brother. She began her journey as a mere pawn but, like a true Borgia, she evolved into a major political player in her own right.

Our story begins with Rodrigo Borgia bursting onto the scene in his newly purchased position as Pope Alexander VI and it honestly doesn’t slow down for an instant. This is a great book about one of the world’s most infamous families. Power, ambition, wealth-- there was nothing they couldn’t attain. They wielded their cunning like a sword and bent the entirety of Italy, if not Europe, to their will. It’s a fast paced novel and you can’t help but find yourself in awe of everything they accomplished by fair means or foul. All of the characters are complex and the story is an intricate web you quickly get tangled in. Though the author does address some of the more sensationalist aspects of the family, none of the story is over the top or unbelievable. She has done extensive research and it shows. I highly recommend this book to people who love historical fiction, organized crime, or even political thrillers. You have to admire a family who, after all this time, is still spoken about in such tones of admiration, fascination, hostility, and disdain.




Title: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Call No.: Y Fic Loc
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker
Cadence Sinclair Eastman, heiress to a fortune her grandfather amassed "doing business I never bothered to understand,” is the highly unreliable narrator of this searing story from National Book Award finalist Lockhart (The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks), which begins during her 15th summer when she suffers a head injury on the private island Granddad owns off Cape Cod. Cady vacations on Beechwood every year with her mother, two aunts, and—most importantly—the other liars of the title: cousins Mirren and Johnny, and Gat Patil, the nephew of Aunt Carrie’s longtime boyfriend. The book unfolds two summers later, with Cadence trying to piece together the memories she lost after the accident while up against crippling headaches, a brain that feels "broken in countless medically diagnosed ways,” and family members who refuse to speak on the subject (or have been cautioned not to).   This is a haunting mystery with a wicked twist. Although this is written for teens, don't pass it up.  The writing is excellent and the ending is unexpected.  Days later I'm still thinking about what happened.  Please read it and then let's talk! 





Title: It Was Me All Along
Author: Andie Mitchell
Call # FIC MIT
Reviewer: Anne Keller

This memoir opens with the line, "If you were not able to attend my twentieth birthday party, you missed a fabulous cake...And if, by chance, you were able to attend my twentieth birthday party, you too, missed a fabulous cake."  Party attendees would have missed the cake because the author ate the whole cake.  MItchell's memoir explores her weight loss journey and her struggles to lose weight.  She chronicles her weight from early childhood through college.  At her highest, she weighed 268 lbs.  She goes on to lose 135 pounds through diet and exercise.  Her memoir is open and honest as she describes her reasons for overeating, her binges, the bullying and even the ongoing struggle to maintain her weight.  If you like her book, check out her blog "Can You Stay for Dinner?"





Title: Leaving Time
Author: Jodi Picoult
Call # FIC PIC
Reviewer: Anne Keller

Jenna Metcalf, 13, has never stopped wondering what happened to her mother who mysteriously disappeared during a tragic accident more than ten years ago.  Jenna refuses to believe that her mother abandoned her and begins her search for the truth.  She enlists the help of a retired police detective familiar with the case and a once famous psychic known for her ability to locate missing people.  Jenna's mother studied elephants and worked at an elephant sanctuary during her disappearance.  Picoult weaves factual information regarding elephants and their grief process into the novel.  The novel is told from different viewpoints and even that didn't prepare me for the shocking story line surprise near the end.  While some people may be able to guess the plot twist, this reader didn't even see it coming.  


Title: The Magician's Lie
Author: Greer Macallister
Call No: Fic/Mac
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker

The Amazing Arden is the most famous female illusionist of her day, renowned for her incredible trick of sawing a man in half onstage.  One night in Waterloo, Iowa, with young policeman, Virgil Holt watching for the audience, she swaps her trademark saw for a fire ax.  Is it a new version of the illusion, or an all-too-real murder?  When Arden's husband is found dead beneath the stage later that night, the answer seems clear.  But when she is taken into custody, she has a very different story to tell.  Over the course of one eerie night, the magician tells her story. This debut novel was a suspenseful pageturner.  I highly recommend this compelling story.


Book Title Image - A man called Ove : a novel
Title: A Man Called Ove
Author: Fredrik Backman
Call #: FIC BAC (currently in the New Section)
Reviewer: Sonja Downey

Ove is a grumpy old curmudgeon who’s live is governed by rules and principles. (There is no driving in his subdivision, because the sign says so!)
His wife, the only person who really understood him has died and Ove decides that he has lived long enough and that it is time to join his wife. He draws out a minute plan for ending his life. But the best laid plan is bound to fail if you don’t take into account the newly moved-in family next door to whom principles don’t mean a lot – if not nothing at all – and who together with a cat, a wayward trailer, and a colorful array of quirky characters set out to drive Ove to the brink of….well, wanting to live.

A book like this only comes along once in a long while. I wish I had adequate words to describe what I felt while reading this book. I guess all I can say is: Read it, read it, read it!




 Title: Elvis & Ginger
Author: Ginger Alden
Call #: 921 ALD
Reviewer: Sonja Downey

This is the account of Ginger Alden’s nine month relationship with Elvis. Ms. Alden grants us a very personal glimpse into Graceland and Elvis’ private life. As a life-long admirer of Elvis and his music I was excited to read about the author’s life with Elvis, but at times her accounts were so detailed, that the writing became very repetitive and somewhat tedious to read. Overall, the book was a nice quick read and a good excuse to log onto youtube and watch a few Elvis concerts.



Title: The Art of Hearing Hearbeats
Author: Jan-Phillip Sendker
Call #: FIC SEN
Reviewer: Sonja Downey

Four years ago Julia Win’s father left his family and vanished without a trace. Devastated by the loss of her beloved father Julia aimlessly stumbles through life until her mother gives her a box with some of her father’s belongings. Amazed by its contents she sets out to find out more about her father and his life in Burma before he came to America and married her mother. Julia travels to Burma and encounters a love story like no other ever written.

I loved this book. I was intrigued by the location and during the descriptions of landscapes and villages I wish I could have smelled all the wonderful aromas of herbs and fruits and flowers. This is a very quiet story, just beautiful in its simplicity. Book 2 is called "A well-tempered heart” and can be obtained through Interlibrary loan.





Title: The Tourist
Author: Olen Steinhauer
Call No.: Fic/Ste
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker

Milo Weaver has tried to leave his old life of secrets and lies behind by giving up his job as a "tourist” for the CIA—an undercover agent with no home, no identity. 

Now he’s working a desk at the agency’s New York headquarters. But when the arrest of a long-sought-after assassin sets off an investigation into a colleague, exposing new layers of intrigue in his old cases, he has no choice but to go back undercover and find out who’s been behind it all from the very beginning.  This is seriously fun reading!




Title: The Good Girl

Author: Mary Kubica

Call Number: FIC KUB

Reviewed by: Megan Rapp-Frye

 

 

Mia Dennett is the daughter of a prominent judge and his socialite wife. She teaches art at an inner-city school against the wishes of her family. One night she goes out to a bar to meet her on- again off -again boyfriend, who stands her up, and ends up going home with a mysterious stranger instead. Colin Thatcher seems like the perfect, harmless one night stand. He turns out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life. Colin was hired to abduct Mia and turn her over to his employers as part of an extortion plot. On the way to the drop, Colin has a change of heart and instead drives Mia to a remote cabin in Minnesota. Mia’s mother, Eve, and the detective in charge, Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find her. But no one could have predicted what really happened in the time she was missing.

 

The story is told in three perspectives: Eve, Detective Hoffman, and Colin Thatcher. It jumps back and forth from present to past and back again to allow the story to unfold in brief windows. The transitions are smooth and you find yourself caring about all of the characters involved, not just Mia. As the story continues you see the puzzle pieces fall into place one by one to form a picture you wouldn’t expect. The book starts out differently because you know the beginning and you know the end; it’s the journey in the middle that makes it well worth it. Mia being abducted is really only part of this story. The family has secrets; dangerous ones people would go to extreme lengths to keep hidden. I really liked the writing style of this novel and the way she kept you guessing , hoping for, or dreading what was to come. It moved along at a nice pace and left no loose ends. Although, I gotta say, I never saw the ending coming. The last line of the story will haunt you long after you’re finished. I highly recommend this book to people who enjoy mystery, thriller, and drama.







Title: Delicious
Author:  Ruth Reichl
Call No.: Fic/Rei
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker
   
At the fictional magazine, Delicious,  Billie Breslin, 21, a transplant from California, who is gifted with a prodigious palate, gets a job as editor’s assistant. There she  encounters a kindly cast of foodies, including travel editor Sammy and cheese shop owner Sal. And the story takes off from there.  This is famed food writer, Reichl's debut in the world of fiction.  She is most famous for being the editor of Gourmet magazine for 10 years and writing wonderful memoirs, like  Tender at the Bone.  I enjoyed this book, although the plot was a little contrived. The characters Reichl created were so delightful,  it was easy to over look the missteps in plot.  I recommend it. 



Title: Life Is a Wheel
Author: Bruce Weber
Call#: 796.609 (currently on the New Non-Fiction self)
Reviewer: Sonja Downey

This is the story about the author's second bike trip across the United States. It is a very honest account of his trials and tribulations of undertaking such an endeavor but also about the people he meets and how exhilarating it is to succeed.

I love to read about long distance hiking or biking, about all the different places and people. The author did a lovely job describing all the places along his route. It almost felt like the reader was part of the trip.

If you like books about long distance trails, here are some more suggestions:





Watermark image

Title: The Heir Apparent
Author: Jane Ridley
Call #: 921 EDW
Reviewer: Sonja Downey

Albert Edward was the second child born to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Victoria intensely disliked having children and the fact that "Bertie” was the heir to the throne did not change her sentiments in the least. The child was named after his father, but referred to as "The Boy”, as Victoria did not consider him worthy to carry his father’s name. From the beginning he was deemed "slow” and due to his high forehead, he was assumed to have had a rather small brain. 
And so, the heir to the throne starts out having all odds against him…

This was the best biography I have read in a long time. The author quotes mostly from letters written by Victoria, Albert and her entire family which gave me the impression I was a fly on the wall and right there in the middle of the Royal Family. I was captivated instantly by the easy writing style and the wealth of information in this book. This book is a riveting page turner. A definite must for all history buffs and all of us who can’t get enough of British Royalty.





Title: The Secret Life of Violet Grant
Author: Beatriz Williams
Call#: FIC WIL (currently located in the New Fiction Section)
Reviewer: Sonja Downey

On a crisp Saturday morning, Violet Grant, a 1960 socialite fresh from Fifth Avenue, finds herself at the New York City Post office to pick up a parcel – and a handsome young doctor. The parcel turns out to be the suitcase of her great-aunt Violet presumably lost during her flight from Berlin to Zurich on the eve of World War I. Hitherto unaware of the existence of this relative of hers Vivian is thoroughly intrigued by the contents of the suitcase - and the handsome young doctor – and sets out on a journey to find out more about Violet, her family and ultimately herself.

And thus begins a story of love, heartache, courage and …. more love!

This book can only be compared to Godiva chocolate. It is delicious and a naughty pleasure!
It is a love story, a spy story and a quick (and fun) history lesson all rolled into one wonderfully written book. The characters are hysterically quirky and the author manages to find the right tone to switch between her heroines Vivian and Violet.

It was amazing to me how the author managed to end every (and I mean EVERY) chapter on such a cliffhanger, that there was never a break in the book. That means that you pretty much have to read it in one sitting, so grab a cup of tea (or coffee), settle into your favorite chair and give yourself over to the unabashed pleasure of this book. And the ending… as I said, simply delicious!





Title: The Expats
Author: Chris Pavone
Call No. : Fic/Pav
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker

Kate Moore is a working mother, struggling to make ends meet, to raise children, to keep a spark in her marriage . . . and to maintain an increasingly unbearable life-defining secret. So when her husband is offered a lucrative job in Luxembourg, she jumps at the chance to leave behind her double-life, to start anew.

She begins to reinvent herself as an expat, finding her way in a language she doesn’t speak, doing the housewifely things she’s never before done—play-dates and coffee mornings, daily cooking and unending laundry. Meanwhile, her husband works incessantly, doing a job Kate has never understood, for a banking client she’s not allowed to know. He’s becoming distant and evasive; she’s getting lonely and bored.

Then another American couple arrives. Kate soon becomes suspicious that these people are not who they claim to be, and terrified that her own past is catching up to her. So Kate begins to dig, to peel back the layers of deception that surround her. She discovers fake offices and shell corporations and a hidden gun; a mysterious farmhouse and numbered accounts with bewildering sums of money; a complex web of intrigue where no one is who they claim to be, and the most profound deceptions lurk beneath the most normal-looking of relationships; and a mind-boggling long-play con threatens her family, her marriage, and her life. Highly recommend this book to lovers of page turners.  It keeps you guessing until the very end!



Title: Garden Spells
Author: Sarah Addison Allen
Call No. Fic/All
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker

Two gifted sisters draw on their talents to belatedly forge a bond and find their ways in life in Allen's debut novel. Thirty-four-year-old Claire Waverley manifests her talent in cooking; using edible flowers, Claire creates dishes that "affect the eater in curious ways." But not all Waverley women embrace their gifts; some, including Claire's mother, escape the family's eccentric reputation by running away. She abandoned Claire and her sister when they were young. Consequently, Claire has remained close to home, unwilling to open up to new people or experiences. Claire's younger sister, Sydney, however, followed in their mother's footsteps 10 years ago and left for New York, and after a string of abusive, roustabout boyfriends, returns to Bascom, N.C., with her five-year-old daughter, Bay. As Sydney reacquaints herself with old friends and rivals, she discovers her own Waverley magic. Claire, in turn, begins to open up to her sister and in the process learns how to welcome other possibilities.  

I enjoyed the blending of horticultural folklore, the supernatural and the sweet Southern flavor in this novel.  Allen has written several novels since this one.  Each possess a bit of magic and unforgettable heroines.  This a great summer read. 




Title: The Lincoln myth: a novel

Author: Steve Berry

Call #: FIC BER (Currently on the New Fiction Shelf)

Reviewer: Gina Walmsley

September 1861: All is not as it seems. With these cryptic words, a shocking secret passed down from president to president comes to rest in the hands of Abraham Lincoln. And as the first bloody clashes of the Civil War unfold, Lincoln alone must decide how best to use this volatile knowledge.

Present Day: In Utah, the fabled remains of Mormon pioneers have been uncovered. In Washington, D.C., an investigation of an international entrepreneur, an elder in the Mormon church, has sparked a political battle between the White House and a powerful United States senator. In Denmark, a Justice Department agent has disappeared. With one phone call from his former boss, Cotton Malone is on hunt for the agent.

From the streets of Copenhagen to the catacombs of Salzburg to the rugged mountains of Utah, Malone risks life, liberty, and his greatest love in a race for the truth about Abraham Lincoln--while the fate of the United States of America hangs in the balance.

I was not disappointed with another wonderful tale starring Cotton Malone. Berry throws just enough historical facts to enhance the story without overwhelming the reader. The story is faced paced with beautiful descriptions of places around the world. Even though this is a fiction book, the author does make this reader think....events could have happened this way.



Title: Tease

Author: Amanda Maciel

Call #: Y FIC MAC

Reviewer: Anne Keller

Who is responsible when a bullied teen commits suicide?  Sara and her friends find themselves embroiled in a legal nightmare after new classmate Emma hangs herself following months of their ruthless harassment.  In Sara's mind, Emma was at fault, she stole Sara's boyfriend, so retaliation was fair game, and suicide was an unwarranted overreaction. 

Sara narrates the novel in chapters that alternate between the present and the two months leading up to Emma's death.  Readers are bound to hate Sara from the very beginning as she shows no remorse for tormenting Emma.  After the suicide, the bully becomes the bullied, and Sara finds herself being made fun of and ignored 

The novel is unique in that the narrator is the bully.  This ripped from the headlines novel is similar to the 2010 bullying and suicide of Massachusetts teen Phoebe Prince.  The novel is bound to open a debate on who is to blame. 

 



Title: Secret Side of Empty

Author: Maria Andreu

Cal #: Y FIC AND

Reviewer: Anne Keller

M.T. is not what her wealthy, suburbanite friends think of as an immigrant.  She has pale skin and blondish hair, she's an overachieving student in the NHS.  But M.T. is hiding a secret.  M.T. is undocumented, brought to the US from Argentina by her parents when she was a child.  The family lives in constant fear that they will be discovered and deported, sent back to a country M.T. barely remembers.  As senior year progresses, and her friends make plans beyond high school, M.T. feels she has no future.  She can't get a driver's license, or a legal job, and college seems an impossible dream.  The things that bring her joy, academics, friendships and first love, turn to reminders of a life just out of reach. 

The author draws from personal experiences and readers will root for M.T. to succeed.  Immigration is a hot topic in the United States.  One side argues that illegal immigrants should be deported while the other side says that they have settled here with family and friends and lead productive lives that contribute to society.  M.T. offers a different point of view as a child who had no say in being brought to the U.S.  She is illegal, but is it fair to punish her for the actions of others?



Title: The weight of blood: a novel

Author: Laura McHugh

Call #: FIC MCH (Currently on the New Book Shelf)

Reviewed by: Gina Walmsley

     This book takes place deep in the Ozark Mountain town of Henbane and focuses on 16-year-old Lucy Dane. Lucy's mother vanished one day when Lucy was small and inspired a local legend around town. Lucy befriends her next door neighbor Cheri and when Cheri goes missing and is later found murdered, Lucy questions what really happened to her mother. As Lucy investigates her mother's disappearance, she uncovers things about her own family. In a town where the bonds of blood weigh heavy, Lucy must decide where her allegiances lie.

I really enjoyed this novel. There were enough twists and turns throughout the story to keep me guessing. There are some dark themes in this novel and the discovery of Cheri's murder is quite graphic, so it might not be for everyone. The author's description of the Ozarks and town made me at time able to envision myself in the location. This was the author's first novel and I think she did a great job in the telling of Lucy's story.



Title:  I'm Off Then
Author: Hape Kerkeling
Call #: 914.6 KER
Reviewer: Sonja Downey
 

Hape Kerkeling is one of Germany’s most famous comedians. A few years ago he decided to take a break from entertainment  and to start on the 1800 mile walk from France over the Pyranees to Santiago de Compostela, the famous pilgrimage town in Spain. In this book Mr. Kerkeling writes about his experiences on the trail, the people he met and how his outlook on life changed with each mile he walked.

This famous trail is also prominently featured in the movie "The Way" starring Michael Sheen. You can find this movie in our DVD section with the call number DVD WAY.




Title: At least in the city someone would hear me scream
Author: Wade Rouse
Call #: 921 ROU
Reviewer: Sonja Downey
 
Tired of his job and the huzzle of the city, Wade Rouse decides to follow in the foot steps of Henry Thoreau's book "On Walden Pond". This meant leaving his lovely bungalow in St. Louis and moving with his partner Gary to a tiny cottage in the woods of Saugatuck. This is the hilarious account of how two men who are more at home in fashion stores and fancy coffee shops are trying to deal with nature's little surprises, such as meddling racoons or tons of snow.

I thought this book was fabulous. Coming from a bigger city myself, I could relate so well to those guys and their "rural issues" and just had to burst out laughing. This is a quick and very funny summer read! Short disclaimer: The humor is at times somewhat crude!


Title: This Side of Salvation

Author: Jeri Smith-Ready

Call # Y FIC SMI

Reviewer: Anne Keller

The Rapture will occur on May 11th at 3 a.m. David 16, and his older sister Mara, mourned over the military death of their brother who died.  People cope with death in different ways and David and Mara's parents turned to their faith. Their parents shifted their religious beliefs in high gear as they cope with their son's death. Their father begins speaking entirely in biblical quotes and try to persuade their children to join them in their faith.

Their parents are convinced the Rapture will occur on May 11th at 3 a.m. which happens to be the same date as David and Mara's prom.  On that night, they stay out way past curfew and arrive home at 4 a.m.  They expect their parents to be up waiting for them.  They expect to be grounded.  For the rest of their lives.  What they hadn't expected was to find their house empty.  They call their father's cell phone and it rings inside the house. Upon closer inspection, they discover their parent's pajamas laid out on their bed as if they simply disappeared.  Did the Rapture actually happen?  Were they kidnapped?  Or worse, a murder suicide?  David and Mara rush to find out what actually happened to their parents and wonder if they'll ever see them again. 

Each chapter portrays a different time period.  Alternating chapters portray the time period leading up to May 11th and the other chapters are present day.  A suspenseful read that gives an eye opening look at the limits, uses and misuses of faith. 

 




Title: Uninvited

Author: Sophie Jordan

Call Number: Y FIC JOR

Reviewer: Megan Rapp-Frye


 Davy has it all. The perfect boyfriend, the best friends, popularity, and a full ride to the school of her dreams: Julliard. A musical prodigy since the age of three, her life is a dream. Until she test positive for HTS: Homicidal Tendency Syndrome. Suddenly Davy finds herself "Uninvited." She can no longer attend her prestigious private school, her friends disappear, the perfect boyfriend decides to walk away, and Julliard says 'no thanks!' Davy is transferred to a public school and placed in a special class with other "carriers" where she is treated like the killer she will one day supposedly become. Carriers are feared and hated and Davy finds out the world isn't nearly the sparkling place she's always believed. The only person who seems to understand her is another carrier named Sean, a boy who's from the wrong side of town and has been, literally, branded as 'extremely dangerous' since he was a child. He tells her that only she can control her actions--not her DNA. But soon the carriers are rounded up and put in camps and Davy is forced to make the ultimate choice: Become the killer they expect her to be or lose the one boy who has come to mean everything to her. 

 

The author paints a vivid picture of a dystopian society where violence is eliminated and controlled by a simple test. HTS carriers are, after all, vicious people who are going to be criminals and killers, so why not treat them as such? The problem is Davy, a pampered princess who is living the dream until it's all ripped away. Davy isn't like the others, but what are the others really like? In a society where you are judged by your genes, not your merits, the system isn't perfect like they lead you to believe. She learns that true friends come from all walks of life and true love doesn't always come from where you expect. This book is somewhat scary because you can see this coming to pass if we sit back and let it. This book is highly recommended. First book of a possible trilogy. The sequel is already in the works. 


 



 
Title: Half Bad

Author:  Sally Green

Call number: Y FIC GRE

Reviewer: Megan Rapp-Frye


The place is modern day England and witches live alongside humans. White witches are good. Black witches are evil. Sixteen year old Nathan happens to be half and half. His mother was a powerful white witch and his father is the world’s most infamous black witch. Nathan has been persecuted his whole life; caged, chained, and beaten. Before he turns seventeen he needs to escape and receive three gifts from a member of his bloodline to turn him into a full witch and awaken his abilities. His only hope lies with his father, but how can he get to him when he’s being tracked and can trust no one? Not even the girl he loves; who just happens to be a white witch from the purest, oldest bloodline. The same family/bloodline who wants Nathan to kill his father; willingly or not.


Nothing is black or white, not even for Nathan. Those who are supposed to help him often don’t and those who are supposed to be evil tend to lend him a hand. This story is, above all, about a boy who has an indomitable will to survive and overcome any obstacle by sheer force of will. Nathan keeps going long after you expect him to give up and he maintains the hope that someday things will get better. He has half siblings who love him, a half sibling who hates him, and he finds friends in the strangest of places.  In a world where being a White witch is good, and being a Black witch is evil, you learn that nothing is ever so clear. A nice new idea for young adult fiction. This book is highly recommended. This is the first book in a planned trilogy.






Title: Glitter and Glue
Author: Kelly Corrigan
Call No.: 921/Cor
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker

When Kelly Corrigan was in high school, her mother neatly summarized the family dynamic as "Your father’s the glitter but I’m the glue.” This meant nothing to Kelly, who left childhood sure that her mom—with her inviolable commandments and proud stoicism—would be nothing more than background chatter for the rest of Kelly’s life, which she was carefully orienting toward adventure. After college, armed with a backpack, her personal mission statement, and a wad of traveler’s checks, she took off for Australia to see things and do things and Become Interesting.
 
But it didn’t turn out the way she pictured it. In a matter of months, her savings shot, she had a choice: get a job or go home. That’s how Kelly met John Tanner, a newly widowed father of two looking for a live-in nanny. They chatted for an hour, discussed timing and pay, and a week later, Kelly moved in. And there, in that house in a suburb north of Sydney, 10,000 miles from the house where she was raised, her mother’s voice was suddenly everywhere, nudging and advising, cautioning and directing, escorting her through a terrain as foreign as any she had ever trekked. Every day she spent with the Tanner kids was a day spent reconsidering her relationship with her mother, turning it over in her hands like a shell, straining to hear whatever messages might be trapped in its spiral.
 
This is a great memoir.  Reading it, you can't help but reflect on the role your parents have played in your life.  Highly recommended! 






Title: Looking for Me
Author: Beth Hoffman
Call No.: Fic/Hof
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker

Beth Hoffman’s bestselling debut, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, won admirers and acclaim with its heartwarming story and cast of unforgettably quirky characters. Now her flair for evocative settings and richly drawn Southern personalities shines again in her compelling second novel, Looking for Me.

Teddi Overman found her life’s passion in turning other people’s castoffs into beautifully restored antiques. Leaving her hardscrabble Kentucky childhood behind, Teddi opens her own store in Charleston. She builds a life as unexpected and quirky as her many customers, but nothing alleviates the haunting uncertainty she’s felt since her brother Josh mysteriously disappeared. When signs emerge that Josh might still be alive, Teddi returns to Kentucky, embarking on a journey that could help her come to terms with her shattered family—and find herself.  This is a beautiful book about the meaning of family.  Highly recommended.




Title: Red Sparrow
Author: Jason Matthews
Call Number: Fic/Mat
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker

In this debut novel, Dominika Egorova is drafted against her will to serve in the Russian Intelligence service.  Although, she is smart and strong, the higher ups hold true to the old stereotypes of women spies and send her to 'Sparrow' school to learn to be a seductress. Under the rule of Vladimir Putin she engages in a charged effort of deception and tradecraft with first-tour CIA officer Nathaniel Nash before a forbidden attraction threatens their careers.  Author Matthews is a retired member of the US intelligence service and fills this suspenseful tale with details only an insider would know.  I devoured this exciting page-turner in record time.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that a sequel is in the works.


Click this cover for a(n) eBook sample of The End of Normal.
Title: The End of Normal
Author: Stephanie Madoff Mack
e-book/audio book powered by Overdrive
Reviewer: Sonja Downey

After her father-in-law's Ponzi scheme was discovered, Stephanie Madoff Mack has to learn to live with a new kind of reality. Her husband Mark can't cope with the increasing pressure of investigations and media coverage and commits suicide. With immense courage Stephanie sets out to find a way to raise her two small children in a world that will never let them forget their grandfather's crime.

The audio book is read by the author and thus makes the whole story even more personal to listen to. At times overcome by the events, the author tells her story with great honesty. This book is available as ebook and e-audio book on Overdrive. The ebook catalog can be accessed via our website www.tecumsehlibrary.org




Title: Vienna Twilight
Author: Frank Tallis
Call #: X FIC TAL
Reviewer: Sonja Downey




 
Title: Gorgeous
Author: Paul Rudnick
Call #  YA RUD
Reviewed by Anne Keller
 
When Becky Randle's mother dies, she's whisked from her trailer park home to New York. There she meets Tom Kelly, the world's top designer, who presents Becky with an impossible offer: He'll design three dresses to transform the very average Becky into the most beautiful woman who ever lived.

Soon Becky is remade as Rebecca - pure five-alarm hotness to the outside world, but when alone, she's just plain old Becky.   With Rebecca's remarkable beauty as her passport, soon Becky's life resembles a fairy tale. She stars in a movie, VOGUE calls, and she starts to date Prince Gregory, heir to the English throne. That's when everything falls apart. Because Rebecca aside, Becky loves him. But the idea of a prince looking past Rebecca's blinding beauty to see the real girl inside? There's not enough magic in the world.

There's so many things in this book to love.  Becky, her romance with the Prince and her best friend Rochere may even steal the show.  Be forewarned, the girls have mouths like sailors so there is a lot of swearing.  That aside, it somehow makes the story more believable given their background.  If you read one teen book this year, make it this one!

 


 


 
 
Title: THE HAYMEADOW
Author: Gary Paulsen
Book Call #: T FIC PAU
 
Reviewer: Mary Beth Reasoner, Children's Services Librarian
 
I loved this Tween novel!
Gary Paulsen has written yet another great story!
It is a survival tale full of adventure as well as quiet moments.  You do learn a lot about sheep herding and dogs and the unpredictability of Mother Nature!
 
Here's a summary:
Fourteen-year-old John Barron is asked, like his father and grandfather before him, to spend the summer taking care of their sheep in the haymeadow. Six thousand sheep. John will be alone, except for two horses, four dogs, and all those sheep. John doesn't feel up to the task, but he hopes that if he can accomplish it, he will finally please his father. But John finds that the adage "things just happen to sheep" is true when the river floods, coyotes attack, and one dog's feet get cut. Through it all, he must rely on his own resourcefulness, ingenuity, and talents to survive this summer in the haymeadow.



Title: From Notting Hill with Love... Actually
Author: Ali McNamara
Call #: FIC MCN
Reviewer: Sonja Downey

Scarlet has one love in her life and that's movies - well and maybe her fiance David, although that needs some major reflecting. To do so Scarlet agrees to go house sitting for a rich couple in Notting Hill. After a few mishaps she finally arrives at the beautiful mansion and stumbles head on into her very own movie, starring herself, her lovely neighbor Sean and an array of colorful characters who turn every page into a delight.

This was a light-hearted, fun summer read. The author managed to name just about every romantic movie ever made and tied in a few  famous actors too. If you are looking for a quick, fun book for those wonderful late summer weekends, that's the one!



Title: The Last Original Wife
Author: Dorothea Benton Frank
Call No. : Fic/Fra
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker

Leslie Anne Greene Carter is "The Last Original Wife" among her husband Wesley's wildly successful, Atlanta social set. His cronies have all traded in the mothers of their children they promised to love and cherish—'til death did them part—for tanned and toned young Barbie brides. If losing the social life and close friends she adored wasn't painful enough, a series of setbacks shake Les's world and push her to the edge. She's had enough of playing the good wife to a husband who thinks he's doing her a favor keeping her around. Now, she's going to take some time for herself—in the familiar comforts and stunning beauty of Charleston, her beloved hometown. In her brother's stately historic home, she's going to reclaim the carefree girl who spent lazy summers sharing steamy kisses with her first love on Sullivans Island. Daring to listen to her inner voice, she will realize what she wants . . . and find the life of which she's always dreamed. I really enjoyed this book--I laughed and I sighed.  Being new to the writings of Ms Frank, I wasn't sure what to expect. I recommend this great tale of family, friendship and the need to listen to your heart.



 
Title: Tumbleweeds
Author: Leila Meacham
Call # FIC MEA
Reviewer: Anne Keller
 
     If you pay attention to the reviews on Amazon, you'll miss out on one great reading opportunity.  Cathy Benson is 11 years old when she is orphaned and forced to live with her grandmother in Kersey, TX which is a far cry from her privileged upbringing.  Here she meets John Caldwell and Trey Don Hall where they form a lifetime friendship and love triangle.  John and Trey are the hero football players that the town worships.  Everyone knows the trio because they are all best friends.  They have their futures mapped out, but of course, things don't go according to plan.  The novel follows them through their adult years as tragedy and misunderstandings have dire consequences. 
    The reader will fall in love with the characters and will be desperate to see how it turns out.  Don't let the thickness of the book scare you off.  You'll wish it were even longer.  If you loved this novel, check out her other book entitled Roses.  We own both on audio CD which is perfect for a very long drive in your car.
 
 
 


Savannah Blues
by Mary Kay Andrews
Fic/And
reviewed by Gayle Hazelbaker

This is the story of Eloise "Weezie” Foley.  She is the perfect 'everyman'.  When she divorces a cheating husband, she loses a jewel of a town house in Savannahs historic district. She ends up living in  the backyard carriage house, where she has launched a spite-fest with her ex's new fiancée.
An antiques picker, Weezie combs Savannah’s steamy back alleys and garage sales for treasures when she’s not dealing with her loopy relatives.  An unauthorized sneak preview at a sale lands Weezie smack in the middle of murder, mayhem . . . and more.   Weezie is an adorable character.  I wish she lived next door!  Her adventures are funny and sweet.  But she isn't the only great thing about this book.  I enjoyed learning about 'pickers' and reading about Savannah's historic buildings.  I've read all of Mary Kay Andrew's books.  Every book is great!  But this one is my all-time favorite.  Don't miss it.


Title: The Family Man
Author: Elinor Lipman
Call No.: FIC/LIP
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker






A divorced gay man he reconnects with his long-lost stepdaughter in this hilarious and moving  novel. Set in New York, the book opens with Henry Archer phoning his ex-wife, Denise, to offer condolences over the death of her husband, the man Denise divorced then-closeted Henry for. Upon visiting Denise, Henry notices photos of now grown stepdaughter Thalia, a charming wannabe actress he recognizes from the hair salon in his neighborhood, and determines to reenter her life. What ensues is a heartwarming reconnection as Henry and Thalia relearn what it means to be a father and daughter, respectively. When Thalia is hired by a PR firm to play the role of real-life girlfriend to a struggling actor, Henry's fatherly instinct and legal background compel him to ask Thalia to move in with him and to serve as her attorney. During the process of managing Thalia's career, Henry also grows closer to Denise, meets a handsome man and rediscovers the joy of family. The plot alone will suck in readers, but Lipman's knack for creating lovable and multifaceted characters is the real draw. This title is also available in large print.


 
Title: Golden Boy
Author: Abigail Tarttelin
Call #: FIC TAR
Reviewer: Anne Keller
 
Max Walker is an attractive, smart and athletic 16 year old who is popular and the "golden boy."  Appearances are deceiving because Max has a secret.  He is intersex.  His family has been protecting his secret his entire life.  An earth shattering betrayal and horrific act of violence against Max threatens his secret and his family's desire to protect him.  The aftermath of his stituation only adds complications in which tough choices and hard decisions are made. 
 
This novel is one of the most provocative, jaw-dropping, shocking, and educational books I've had the pleasure of reading over the course of one day. I'll be anxiously awaiting this author's next novel.   
 
 


 
Title: A Spear of Summer Grass
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Call #: FIC RAY
Reviewer: Sonja Downey
 
Delilah Drummond, socialite and femme fatale, has caused one too many scandals and is "exiled" by her family to Kenya to sit out the aftermath of her latest escapade. When she steps off the train in Nairobi, she stumbles straight into the arms of J. Ryder White. But Delilah is too busy to continue her promiscuous life style to notice the beauty of the country or the helping hand Ryder continuously and patiently extends to her. When a murder happens and everything around her goes up in flames, Delilah realizes that it is not the world around her that has to adapt to her, but quite the other way around....
 
I loved this book the minute I started to read it. Set in the 1920s, Ms. Raybourn captures the eccentricities of a High Society socialite just perfectly. Once Delilah sets food on African soil, I was truly captured. Reading this book is like watching "Out of Africa". The author describes scenery, plants, scents so clearly, I thought I could hear the lions roar and the hyenas cackle. I clearly saw the pictures in my head. I just loved the ending, especially the very last page. Nicely done!
This book is the perfect summer read. Reading it will take you on vacation right from the comfort of your home (without the hazzle of packing and driving to the airport).
I love Deanna Raybourn's writing. Don't miss her "Lady Julia"-Mystery series!


 
Title: The Year 1000
Author: Rober Lacey
Call #: 942.01 LAC
Reviewer: Sonja Downey
 
This book is a gem for all history buffs. The author uses the "Julius Work Calendar", a document of the period describing chores, festivities and daily life on a month to month basis, to portray life in England in the year 1000.
 
I loved reading this book and infrequently chuckled when all-important questions were discussed, such as: Did they swear in the year 1000? (Mildly and in Latin, the harsher words came much later...). This book was very informative and at the same time very entertaining.




Title: Margaret From Maine

Author: Joseph Monniger

Call Number: Fic/Mon

Reviewer:  Gayle Hazelbaker

Brought together by war, separated by duty—a love story for the ages by an author hailed as "Henry David Thoreau meets Nicholas Sparks" (Publishers Weekly)

Margaret Kennedy lives on a dairy farm in rural Maine. Her husband, Thomas, was injured in a war overseas, and he will never again be the man he was. When the president signs a bill in support of wounded veterans, Margaret is invited to the nation's capital. Charlie King, a handsome Foreign Service officer, volunteers to escort her.

As the rhododendrons blossom along the Blue Ridge Highway, the unlikely pair falls in love—but Margaret cannot ignore the tug of her marriage vows.

 Joseph Monninger's Margaret from Maine is a page-turning romance that poignantly explores the dilemmas faced by those who serve our country—and the men and women who love them.

This is a sweet, gentle old-fashioned story that I enjoyed as much for the plot as for the lack of 'soap opera' drama.  If you are looking for a quiet story that will really hold your attention, don't miss this one.






Title: Zero Day
Author: David Baldacci
Call Number: Fic/Bal
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker


In this novel, Baldacci has created a lone-wolf military man. John Puller is a combat veteran and the best military investigator in the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigative Division. His father was an Army fighting legend, and his brother is serving a life sentence for treason in a federal military prison. Puller has an indomitable spirit and an unstoppable drive to find the truth.

Now, Puller is called out on a case in a remote, rural area in West Virginia coal country far from any military outpost. Someone has stumbled onto a brutal crime scene, a family slaughtered. The local homicide detective, a headstrong woman with personal demons of her own, joins forces with Puller in the investigation. As Puller digs through deception after deception, he realizes that absolutely nothing he’s seen in this small town, and no one in it, are what they seem. Facing a potential conspiracy that reaches far beyond the hills of West Virginia, he is one man on the hunt for justice against an overwhelming force.

Puller seems like a machine which is part of his charm, but through out the novel he cracks a bit revealing his humanity.  This fast-paced story kept me on my toes with many twists and turns. The ending was very satisfying.  This is the first in a series of books featuring Agent John Puller. I'd advise you to read them in order because each one builds on the one before.








Title: The Kitchen House
Author: Kathleen Grissom
Call No.: Fic/Gri
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker


Orphaned while onboard ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house as an indentured servant. Under the care of Belle, the master's illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, though she is set apart from them by her white skin.

Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction. Lavinia finds herself perilously straddling two very different worlds. When she is forced to make a choice, loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare, and lives are put at risk.

The Kitchen House is a tragic story of page-turning suspense, exploring the meaning of family, where love and loyalty prevail.  Some have called it "Gone With The Wind" turned upside down.  I call it a great read!






Titel: Until I Say Good-bye: My year of living with joy
Author: Susan Spencer-Wendel
Call #: 921 SPE
Reviewer: Sonja Downey

In 2010 Susan Spencer-Wendel was diagnosed with ALS (better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). A mother of three she decided not to succumb to despair but to live her "last year of health” to the fullest and to create wonderful memories for her family. This is the story of "my year living with joy” even though she is battling the horrific effects of her illness. These memoirs are at times brutally honest, but at the same time uplifting and optimistic.




 
Title: Call The Midwife
Author: Jennifer Worth
Call #: 921 WOR
Reviewer: Sonja Downey
 

These are the memoirs of Jennifer Worth who was a nurse and midwife in the 1950's in the harsh and unforgiving tenements of London's East End. This book reads like a novel. It is gripping and the stories are so very poignant, the characters will stay with you forever, such as the Spanish mother who delivers her 25th baby and does not speak a word of English, or the clumsy but loveable nurse "Chummy” who is trying so hard to fit in. The author paints a fascinating picture of an important time in history.

"Call the midwife” was made into a television series by the BBC and recently aired on PBS. It can be watched online and just like "Downton Abbey” it had me hooked to the screen after only a few minutes. The tv show keeps close to the book and is a delight to watch.
 
TDL also owns the compendium book to the television series, "The Life and Times of Call the Midwife" by Heidi Thomas (Call # 791.4572 THO)


Title: Forgotten Bookmarks
Author: Michael Popek
Call #: 790.132 POP
Reviewer: Sonja Downey
 

This book is a treasure. I opened it up and got instantly caught in all the different items that people leave in books. Left-behind letters were especially interesting to read as they made me wonder about the person who wrote them way back when and the recipient who used it as a book mark. A wonderful book!



Title: Me Before You
Author: JoJo Moyes
Call #: FIC MOY
Reviewer: Anne Keller
 
 
 Set in modern day England, Lousia Clark has lived a simple life in her small town.  When the cafe where she works abrubtly closes, she must find a new job in order to help support her family.  She takes a job as a caregiver to Will, a parapalegic who used to live larger than life by experiencing life to its fullest.  Will does not want to live in a wheelchair and has already tried to kill himself once before.  He plans to end his life through euthanasia and Louisa has only six months to change his mind.  Two people, who have nothing in common, are drawn together by a set of circumstances that makes his novel part love story, suspense, and heartbreak. 


Title: Mr. Penumbra's 24 hour Bookstore
Author: Robin Sloan
Call No. Fic/Slo
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker

What a wild wonderful read this is! Our troubled economy has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco web designer.  After much looking he has found a job working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore.  But after a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests.  There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead "checking out" impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long standing arrangement with Mr. Penumbra.  Clay concludes that the store must be a front for something larger and soon he's embarked on a complex analysis of the customer's behavior and roped his friends into helping to figure  out what is going on.  Don't miss this rollicking adventure that begins in the tall skinny bookstore.



TITLE: The Art Forger
Author: B.A.Shapiro
Call #: Fic/Sha
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker
This is a tale of art and forgery interwoven with the real-life 1990 theft of 13 pieces of art worth more than $500 million from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.   Almost 25 years after this infamous heist, one of the stolen paintings is delivered to the Boston studio of a young artist named Claire Roth.  Claire, whose reputation has been tarnished by scandal, has entered into a Faustian bargain with Aiden Markel, a powerful gallery owner.  She agrees to forge the painting in exchange for a one woman show in his renowned gallery.  But as she begins her work, she starts to suspect that this long missing masterpiece by Degas may itself be a forgery. 
Critics have called this novel a clever, twisty tale and I couldn't agree more! You don't want to miss it!





                                                                             
             Title: The Round House 
     Author: Louise Erdrich
Call No.: Fic/Erd
 Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker
 
Erdrich has written another winner.  In fact, it won the National Book Award this year.  This is a tale of a Native American Family on a reservation.  A hate crime is committed.  Because the victim does not remember exactly where the crime was committed, law enforcement officials do not know under whose jurisdiction, (tribal, county or state) the crime should be investigated.  A thirteen year old boy and his buddies take on the task of bringing the perpetrator to justice.  The mystery here is not so much 'who did it', but how that person will be brought to justice. Told through the voice of the 13 yr. old, this book illuminates the harsh realities of life in a community where Ojibwe and whites live uneasily together. It is by turns comic and tragic. The characters and their story stay with you long after the last word is read.



Title: Killing Lincoln
Author: Bill O'Reilly
Call No: 973.7098 ORE
Reviewer: Lorrie Parker

I really enjoyed this book.  I am a big Civil War buff and there was a lot of information in this book that I wasn't aware of.  Featuring some of history's most remarkable figures, vivid detail, and page-turning action, Killing Lincoln is history that reads like a thriller.


Title: Grace Grows
Author: Shelle Sumners
Call #: Fic SUM
Reviewer: Anne Keller
 
 
   I was totally not expecting to like this book based on two reasons.  First, the title is very unappealing and generic.  Secondly, I thought the cover was boring despite having two dogs on the cover.  And I'm a huge dog lover.  I was pleasantly surprised to find I loved this book.  Grace lives in New York City as a book editor of school textbooks.  She is engaged to an attorney who is steady and reliable.  Her entire life has been made up of sensible choices.  Until she meets Tyler Wilkie, a struggling musician and dog walker.  He is fresh in town with warm eyes and a country drawl that throws Grace for a loop.  This romance has just the right amount of humor, romance and suspense. 


Title: The End of Your Life Book Club
Author: Will Schwalbe
Call #: CD 028.9 SCH
Reviewer: Sonja Downey
 
This book is truly a gem. In a very tender and sensitive way, the author follows his mother's illness from the day of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, through numerous chemo therapies until the day she lost her brave fight with the hideous disease. Throughout their journey they read books together and create their own two-member book club.
 
It was very interesting to read about all the different titles Will and Mary Ann read together and to find out about their different interpretations depending on what stage they were in during their fight with the disease. I enjoyed revisiting titles I have read already and I am looking forward to pick up books I have not read yet, but that sounded so very interesting when the author and his mother discussed them.
 
This audio book is wonderfully read by Jeff Harding, a personal friend of the family.


 
Title: Let's Pretend This Never Happened
Author: Jenny Lawson
Call# 921 LAW
Reviewer: Anne Keller
 
  If you thought your childhood was crazy, think again.  Jenny Lawson had a redneck upbringing in a crazy but loving family with her dad being at the center of it all.  He was a taxidermist who often brought his work home with him.  In the first chapter, Jenny has a sample list of ten things she bets never happened to you growing up.  Here are some of them:  1) Most people have never stood inside a dead animal.  2) Most people don't have poisonous tap water in their house. 3) Most people don't have live raccoons in the house. 4) Most people don't go out in the woods to catch armadillos so that their father can professionally race them. 5) Most people don't have their childhood pets eaten by homeless people. 6) Most people don't file wild animals. 7) Most people have not spent an entire year in therapy based on a 10 minute episode in their life.  For a full explanation of this list, please read the book.  You will be laughing so hard you may even cry.  And that's only the first few chapters!


Title: These is My Words
Author: Nancy E. Turner
Call No.: FIC TUR
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker

This novel is moving, exciting, and endearing! It is an American saga inspired by the author's own family memoirs. This diary belongs to Sarah Prine, a woman of spirit and fire who forges an incredible life in a harsh, unfamiliar frontier—the Arizona Territories in 1881. Alive with truly unforgettable characters, this novel left me with a book hangover! I can hardly think of anything but Sarah and her family! The author, Nancy E. Turner, is the winner of the Arizona Author Award and a finalist for the Willa Cather Literary Award. If you like historical fiction filled with rich authentic details and characters don't miss this book!



Title: Say Nice Things About Detroit
Author: Scott Lasser
Call #: Fic/Las
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker
 
Twenty-five years after his high school graduation, David Halpert returns to a place most people flee---Detroit. But David is making his own escape from a divorce and the death of his only child. In Detroit, David learns about the double shooting of his high school girlfriend, Natalie, and her black half-brother, Dirk. As he becomes involved with Natalie's sister, David discovers that both he and his hometown have reason to hope. Highly recommended.



Title: Fairy Tale Interrupted
Author: RoseMarie Terenzio
Call #: 973.922 TER
Reviewer: Anne Keller
 
 
  This story chronicles the five years that Rose Marie Terenzio worked as an executive assistant to John F. Kennedy Jr. during the George Magazine years.  Rose is from a blue collar family from the Bronx and forms an unlikely friendship with Kennedy.  Their working relationship has highs and lows and Kennedy is portrayed in a different light than the public once percieved him.  The man behind the icon is presented as patient, loyal, protective, sometimes thoughtless and self involved, yet also extremely generous at times.  She chronicles the struggles to keep George magazine afloat, her friendship with Caroline Bessette, the paparazzi and the public's infatuation with John to the ultimate tragedy that left a nation grief stricken. 


 
 
Title:  THE CHRISTMAS MIRACLE OF JONATHAN TOOMEY
Author:  Susan Wojciechowski
Book Call #:  J FIC WOJ
DVD Call #:  J DVD 394.2663 CHR
Reviewer:  Mary Beth Reasoner,  Children's Services Librarian
 
 
This story is one of my favorite Christmas children's books of all time!  I just added a DVD version of the story to the Children's DVD Collection and it is as wonderful as the book! 

When seven-year-old Thomas loses the wooden nativity set that links him to his beloved deceased father, his mother persuades a reclusive gruff woodcarver, Jonathan Toomey, to carve replacement figures for a Christmas creche.  As Christmas approaches and the boy demands more, will the gift be finished in time?
 
The story, in both words and on film, reveals itself slowly and quietly as it travels to a poignant ending.  Truly, a lovely story of love, redemption, and hope,



Title: In Stitches
Author: Anthony Youn, M.D.
Call #  921 You
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker

One of this year's Michigan Notable Books is InStitches, the memoir of Doctor Anthony Youn. He's a graduate of Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine with a plastic surgery practice in Troy.

Youn grew up in Greenville, Michigan, the son of Korean parents in an otherwise all-white town.

In Stitches takes readers from his childhood through medical school and into his medical practice. Along with his book, he's gotten attention for making numerous appearances on national TV shows.

The author recently described his book to Scott Pohl on WKAR like this….”The book really is my story, about four years at the Michigan State medical school, and how it transformed me from being a glorified college kid, to becoming that guy that walks into a patient's room and they say "oh, thank God he's here.” So, how does that process happen?

A lot of people watch shows like Grey's Anatomy and House, and they think they have an idea of what it's like, but most of those are not written by doctors. They're written by writers and people who have not been through it. With the book In Stitches, I really wanted to expose the underbelly, the truth of what it's like to go through medical school and to transform, once again, from that college kid to a doctor, and my medical school is at Michigan State. So, there's a lot of professors and people that students may actually recognize.

I really enjoyed this book. I found this memoir by turns touching , hilarious and provocative. Don't miss this great little gem!



Title: Extremely Loud and Incredible Close
Author: Jonathan Safran Foer
Call #: FIC FOE
Reviewer: Sonja Downey


Eight-year-old Oscar Schell lost his father in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. Two years after the traumatic event  - or "the worst day" as Oscar refers to it - he finds a key with the word "black" on it. Oscar sets out on a journey to find the lock to the key (only about 6 Million or so in Manhattan).

This was definitely a very different read and that does not only refer to the story itself. The book had many pictures in it, of locks, doors and a disturbing series of the Twin Towers. The story however, was so compelling, that I was drawn into it right from the beginning. The ending is simply wondrous. I can't wait to see the movie and find out, if they did justice to this great story.



Title: Away
Author: Amy Bloom
Call #: FIC BLO
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker

I'd never read anything by Amy Bloom, but always meant to. When a friend of mine recommended Away, I thought I'd give her a try. The timing was right because I'd just finished a book and had no promising prospects on the horizon. And I'm glad I did. Wow! What a literary ride! This novel is the stuff that book clubs dream of. When her family is destroyed in a Russian pogrom, Lillian comes to America alone, determined to make her way in a new land. When word comes that her daughter, Sophie, might still be alive, Lillian embarks on an odyssey that takes her from the world of the Yiddish theater on New York's Lower East Side, to Seattle's Jazz District, and up to Alaska, along the fabled Telegraph Trail toward Siberia. By turns the story is comic and tragic. The author dazzles the reader with her brilliant use of language. My favorite technique that Bloom employs is the way she works the future of each character into the story as that person leaves the plot. It is very interesting and quite satisfying because as you read, you never need wonder what happened to someone after our heroine leaves them. I don't know if she uses this in all of her books, but it is interesting enough to make me pick up another title, just to find out.

I highly recommend this book to all adventurous readers.



Title: The Snowman
Author: Jo Nesbo
Call #: Fic Nes
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker

Oslo in November. The first snow of the season has fallen. A boy named Jonas wakes in the night to find his mother gone. Out his window, in the cold moonlight, he sees the snowman that appeared in the yard earlier that day. Around its neck is his mother's pink scarf. So begins, The Snowman by Jo Nesbo.This is a suspenseful, dare I say, terrifying crime novel that has succeeded in making me suspicious of snowmen.It's a good thing that we didn't get much snow this season. This book and Nordic author will appeal to fans of Stieg Larsson and Henning Mankell.



Title: State of Wonder
Author: Ann Patchett
Call #: FIC PAT
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker
 

I spent some time dancing around this novel. I was drawn to it because I know Patchett to be a magical writer. But I was reluctant to read it because it would take me to the Amazon jungle and I don't like hot sweltering weather, big spiders or snakes. However, after several months of watching other people take the book home and bring it back without complaint, I gave in. And I'm so glad I did. Yes, it was hotter than last July and filled with giant hard shelled bugs, but it didn't matter. I was hooked! A reviewer for NPR summed up the plot very nicely.

"The gist of the storyline of State of Wonder is this: Dr. Marina Singh, a 42-year-old research scientist working for a pharmaceutical company in Minnesota, is sent to Brazil to locate the remains of her deceased lab mate — a nice family guy who was himself sent into the rain forest months earlier to find another employee, the reclusive Dr. Annick Swenson. Dr. Swenson has been in the wild 10 years, working to unlock the secret to the prolonged fertility of an isolated Amazonian tribe. The women of that tribe give birth well into their 70s, and if the fertility chemical found in a rare tree bark can be distilled and made available back in the States, it will be, as Marina's deceased co-worker once said, "menstruation everlasting ... the equivalent of Lost Horizon for American ovaries." Marina is an ideal candidate for what turns out to be a female explorer tale because she's so alone: Apart from a secret tepid affair with her boss, the most profound human connection she has had for years has been the daily small talk she shared with her dead colleague. With so little to lose, Marina sets off for the Amazon...”

This wild, adventurous tale of friendship and responsibility was surprising and deeply satisfying.



Title: Delirium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Call #: Y Fic OLI
Reviewer: Anne Keller
 
 
Ninety five days and Lena will be safe.  She's content in knowing that after the procedure, her future will be settled.  The government will choose her husband and career.  Ninety five days until she receives the cure for deleria, the disease of love.  Everyone receives the cure at the age of 18 which renders them incapable of falling in love.  The government believes the cure is the answer to lasting peace and order.  They have curfews, the uncured are not allowed to associate with the opposite sex and they have nightly raids and will kill anyone breaking the laws.  In ninety five days, Lean will be safe.  But Lena meets a boy, and that changes everything.
 


Title: MARGARET MITCHELL'S GONE WITH THE WIND:
A Bestseller's Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood
Authors: Ellen F. Brown and John Wiley, Jr.
813 BRO
Reviewer: Mary Beth Reasoner, Children's Services Librarian
 
 
After reading this exhaustively detailed book, you will come to understand the back story of Margaret Mitchelll's Gone With the Wind, and the aftermath of the marketing of the book and the creation and success of the movie. Throw in traits of stubbornness, assertiveness, shyness, obsessive attention to legal and financial details, loyalty to a fault, and a complete disregard for the trappings of fame and you end up with a humdinger of a book.

Co-author John Wiley, Jr. owns one of the largest private collections of GWTW memorabilia in the world, including every American edition of the novel and more than 700 foreign editions.

Here's an excerpt from the front cover blurb: The authors examine how a disorganized and incomplete manuscript by an unknown Southern writer was discovered by a major New York publisher and became one of the most popular, profitable, and controversial novels in literary history. At the core of the story is Mitchell's struggle to capture on paper the sights, sounds, and smells of antebellum Georgia and how she dealt with her book's stunning success."


Title: HERE LIES THE LIBRARIAN
Author: Richard Peck
T CD-FIC PEC (A Talking Book)
Read By Lara Everly

Reviewer: Mary Beth Reasoner, Children's Services Librarian
 
 
I have always enjoyed Richard Peck's books for teens and tweens and this older title is no exception!
It is hilarious!
 
Here is School Library Journal's summary of the plot:
 
Set in rural Indiana, circa 1914, tomboy PeeWee works with her adored older brother Jake. The automobile is replacing the horse and buggy and the young brother and sister run a fledgling gas station. When a tornado rips through town and tears up the defunct library, the town elders are shamed into re-opening it. Irene Ridpath and three of her sorority sisters fresh out of library school arrive and set the small town on its ear. Motherless PeeWee has never encountered women with such sophistication, and she begins to re-examine her own femininity. Jake is determined to win a rough and tumble automobile race, but when he is injured, PeeWee jumps in and finishes the event. Peck is a master at creating enchanting characters—even his dead librarian has personality. The setting is vivid—listeners can almost hear the sound of those first automobiles chugging up the road. Narrator Lara Everly brings the story to life with great charm. Listeners will enjoy this well-done audiobook that weaves in facts about rural life in the early 20th century, feminism, and automobile history


 
 
Title: Prophet's prey
Author: Brower, Sam
Call #: 306.84 BRO
Reviewer: Gina Walmsley
 
 
 
 
    This is a true story about how one man (Sam Brower) spent seven years investigating the FDLS church and how he along with many others finally brought down Warren Jeffs who was the head of the church.
 
     You receive a indepth history to the FDLS church and many of its controversial beliefs. This title will not be for everyone due to its many graphic descriptions of abuse, but it does show the remarkable spirit of how one man, who did not back down from threats or danger to bring justice for numerous children and adults alike.
 
 
 


 
 
 
Title: American Pickers: guide to picking
Author: Callaway, Libby
Call #: 745.1075 CAL
Reviewer: Gina Walmsley
 
 
 
 
         Welcome to the world of the American Pickers! This is the #1 show on the History Channel currently and it is amazing what Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz find traveling on the back roads of America. The definition of a picker is someone who looks for a piece of the past. It doesn't matter to them if the item is stained, rusted and looks like it should be in a junkyard. To them the "pick" is priceless and they just have to have it. Sometimes they will fix up their "pick" and sell it to someone, but other times the "pick" will remain for their own private collections.
 
     I was pretty excited to start reading this book, but at the end I was a little disappointed. The book is really a guide on how to start picking on your own. Mike and Frank really do give out good, solid advice on how to start, but I just wish there were more stories on the places they have gone and the people they met while on the road. Oh well, I guess that's what the TV show is for. Still this was a pleasant read and as the title indicates, it is a guide, not a travelogue.


Title: When She Woke
Author: Hilary Jordan
Call # FIC JOR
Reviewer: Anne Keller
 
 
  Hannah Payne's life has been devoted to church and family.  While working at her church, she has an affair with her minister and becomes pregnant.  She decides to have an abortion even though abortion is now illegal.  She's caught and convicted of murder.  After conviction, she awakens to her new skin color- red.  Hannah is now a chrome- a criminal whose skin color has been genetically altered to match the class of their crime.  This tale closely resembles the Scarlet Letter even though it is told in a future United States.  The chromes are free from prison to live life normally but society treats them as outcasts and many don't survive.  Hannah is taken to a halfway house to live but the sameness and strictness are too much to bare and Hannah leaves.  On the outside, she's turned away by her family and eventually escapes to an uncertain future. 


Title: Rules of Civility
Author: Amor Towles
Call #: FIC TOW
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker
 

Set in New York City in 1938, Rules of Civility tells the story of a watershed year in the life of an uncompromising twenty-five-year- old named Katey Kontent. Armed with little more than a formidable intellect, a bracing wit, and her own brand of cool nerve, Katey embarks on a journey from a Wall Street secretarial pool through the upper echelons of New York society in search of a brighter future.

The story opens on New Year's Eve in a Greenwich Village jazz bar, where Katey and her boardinghouse roommate Eve happen to meet Tinker Grey, a handsome banker with royal blue eyes and a ready smile. This chance encounter and its startling consequences cast Katey off her current course, but end up providing her unexpected access to the rarified offices of Conde Nast and a glittering new social circle. Befriended in turn by a shy, principled multimillionaire, an Upper East Side ne'er-do-well, and a single-minded widow who is ahead of her times, Katey has the chance to experience first hand the poise secured by wealth and station, but also the aspirations, envy, disloyalty, and desires that reside just below the surface. Even as she waits for circumstances to bring Tinker back into her orbit, she will learn how individual choices become the means by which life crystallizes loss.

This enjoyable erudite debut novel has the feel of a Fitzgerald story. In fact, as I was reading it, I half expected him or Zelda to show up in the pages. Highly recommended.



Title: This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection
Author: Carol Burnett
CD 921 BUR (A Talking Book)
Read By The Author

Reviewer: Mary Beth Reasoner, Children's Services Librarian

 

Talking Book case


When my husband and I traveled to Tennessee for vacation recently, we listened to Carol Burnett's memoir, This Time Together, and enjoyed it very much. I grew up watching her variety show every Saturday night, and it was fascinating to hear how the show was created and her cast members were selected. She also tells stories about her childhood and upbringing as well as her rise in show business. She shares remembrances, both hilarious and heartbreaking, about Garry Moore, Harvey Korman, Tim Conway, Vicki Lawrence, Jim Nabors, Jimmy Stewart, television executives, her infamous Tarzan yell, her washerwoman character who closed each show, and the death of her daughter. She includes fond memories of her Q&A interactions with her audiences, which opened every show. The best thing about this Talking Book on five compact discs is that the listeners feel as if Carol is talking directly to them, friend to friend.



Title: My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business

Author: Dick Van Dyke
LP FIC 921 VAN (A Large Print Book)

Reviewer: Mary Beth Reasoner, Children's Services Librarian



On this same vacation, I read Dick Van Dyke's biography, My Lucky Life In And Out of Show Business. His TV show was another favorite in my family's home, and I loved him in the movies Bye Bye Birdie and in Mary Poppins, as Bert the chimney sweep. His memoir covers his childhood and family life, and his careers as a radio announcer, a song-and-dance man, a Broadway star, a movie star, and a major star of his own television show during the early 1960's, as well as his performances later in life. He reminisces about Carl Reiner, Mary Tyler Moore, Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, and Richard Deacon, as well as Julie Andrews. It is always fun to hear the stories about how TV shows and movies are made and the backstage experiences. Dick Van Dyke's life has been filled with both joys and sorrows, just like everyone's. He considers himself a lucky man, having had a wonderful career doing what he loves as well as a beloved extended family. He continues his lifelong passion to entertain and still performs for delighted audiences.



Title: Buried Secrets
Author: Joseph Finder
Call #: FIC FIN
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker
 
 

"Private spy” Nick Heller is back, in his second adventure, finding himself in the middle of a life-or-death situation that's both high-profile and intensely personal. Nick has returned to his old home town of Boston to set up his own shop. There he's urgently summoned by an old family friend. Hedge fund titan Marshall Marcus desperately needs Nick's help. His teenaged daughter, Alexandra, has just been kidnapped. Her abduction was clearly a sophisticated, professional job, done with extraordinary precision, leaving no trace evidence. Alexandra, whom Nick has known since she was an infant, is now buried alive, held prisoner in an underground crypt, a camera trained on her, her suffering streaming live over the internet for all to see. What the kidnappers want, Marcus either can't or won't give them. So it is up to Nick to save her.

This was a thrilling novel. So full of suspense and impossible twists that I could barely put it down. When I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it. I was consumed! Highly recommended.



Title: A Week at the Airport
Author: Alain de Botton
Call #: 387.7360 DEB
Reviewer: Sonja Downey
 
 

The author's assignment for this book was to spend one week at Terminal 5 of London's Heathrow Airport and note down his observations and musings. For most people an airport is a necessary nuisance, a place one is forced to be while waiting for a flight. But Alain de Botton looks much further than this. He takes the reader to places, where passengers normally cannot go, such as the factory where the food is manufactured. In the course of the book the author talks with baggage handlers and discovers the dreams of a cleaning lady in the first class lounge.

Not only was this book highly entertaining and almost like a mini vacation, it also put a different spin on being at the airport. I am pretty sure, that next time I am at the airport, I will look at people and things much differently after having read this delightful and thought-provoking book.



Title: Bath Tangle
Author: Georgette Heyer
Call #: FIC HEY
Reviewer: Sonja Downey
 
 

Lady Serena, spirited and willful daughter of the Earl of Spenborough, is shocked beyond measure, when she finds out that upon his death - which occurred rather sudden in the form of a chill - her beloved father decreed in his will, that Sir Ivo, Marquis of Rotherham and scoundrel beyond measure, will henceforth be the trustee of Serena's fortune. She can only gain control of her inheritance through marriage which has to be approved by the Marquis, the only problem with that being, that Serena and Ivo were once betrothed and Serena knows that Ivo will do his utmost to boycott every marriage proposal coming her way.
Serena's stepmother, Fanny – five years her junior and quite unable to live without the Earl's guiding hand – is more of a hindrance than help to her and soon Serena finds herself hopelessly entangled in a knot of fake proposals, true feelings and questionable decisions. Things come to a head when Sir Ivo, his patience sorely tried, decides to put in an appearance in Bath to straighten out the mess.

This is one of my favorite books by Georgette Heyer. I have just reread it for the eighth time and – once again – enjoyed it immensely. The plot is so funny and the characters so witty that one can't help but laugh out loud at times and feel truly sorry for poor Sir Ivo who seems to be the only level-headed person in all of Bath. This is one of the best historical romances ever written.



Title: The Private World of Georgette Heyer
Author: Jane Aiken Hodge
Call #: 921 HEY
Reviewer: Sonja Downey
 

Georgette Heyer is often honored as founder of the genre "Historical Romance Novel”. She was originally better known for her mystery novels for which her husband, a barrister, provided the plots. Even at the height of her fame, Ms. Heyer kept her life intensely private. She never gave any interviews and there only exist a few photographs of her. During her entire writing career she was her own harshest critic. But the fact that she has been beloved and cherished by her readers for 90 years now shows, what a wonderful writer she was.

I am truly thrilled and excited, that our library now owns this book. It was out of print for a long time and has only recently been republished. It is a must for every Heyer-Fan. To me her books are like a good movie, I have to reread them over and over again. This fascinating biography grants the reader a short glimpse into this cherished author's life, mostly through the memories of her son and of course through lots of references in her books.



Title: Book of Spies
Author: Gayle Lynds
Call #: FIC LYN
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker
 
 

For centuries, emperors, historians, and even the Vatican have tried to locate Ivan the Terrible's magnificent Library of Gold — a long-missing archive containing gold-covered, bejeweled books dating all the way back to the ancient Greeks. Now one of the volumes, The Book of Spies, has surfaced, and along with it the highly secret book club that owns the Library of Gold.
 
They form a cabal of the globe's most powerful men – men who will do anything to achieve their aims and protect their interests. When the CIA discovers a connection between the legendary library and a bank account linked to terrorists, they turn to rare books curator Eva Blake for help.
 
Soon an attempt is made on Eva's life. Determined not only to survive but to uncover the truth, Eva turns to the only person she can trust—Judd Ryder, a former intelligence agent with his own agenda and a troubled past. Together, Judd and Eva embark on an international adventure from London to Rome, Istanbul, and Athens. Somehow they must do what no one else has been able to do – find the library and stay alive.
 
James Patterson called this page turner "Da Vinci Code meets Bourne Identity”. That is an accurate assessment. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was sorry to see it end.


 
Title: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Call # Y FIC RIG
Reviewer: Anne Keller
 
 
     Jacob has an eccentric grandfather.  His grandpa is always telling him tales about an orphanage he stayed at during WWII.  Jacob listens to his grandfather's accounts of the peculiar children that lived at the orphanage.  There are tall tales of girls that levitate, invisible children and even a bee boy.  As Jacob grows older, he begins to doubt his grandpa's tales despite discovering some vintage photographs that seem to support his grandfather's stories.  When his grandpa dies under mysterious circumstances, Jacob ventures to discover the truth once and for all by actually visiting the orphanage.  What he discovers is more than he ever expected.
     The bonus feature of this book is the vintage photographs that add a whole new dimension to the book.  The author collects old and mysterious photos and many are published in this book.  If you're looking for a radically different read that is receiving all types of praise, then I highly recommend this story that this reader couldn't stop reading.


Title: South of Superior
Author: Ellen Airgood
Call #: FIC AIR
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker
 

The setting for this novel is a small isolated town, McAllaster, on the southern edge of Lake Superior. The town seems a lot like Grand Marais, where the author resides. Our heroine, Madeline Stone, comes to Michigan because she has nothing to lose. She's looking for a chance to start over, and get away from the mess her life has become. Abandoned by her blood relatives at age 2, she is raised by a kindly woman. Shortly after her adoptive mother dies, Madeline receives a letter from her absent grandfather's girlfriend, Gladys, asking if she won't consider moving to McAllaster to help take care of her ailing sister.

Life in the U.P. is simple and hard–there isn't a lot of money to be made, but Madeline manages to find a job as a waitress at the local pizza spot. In doing so, she begins to meet some of the town's people. She watches and marvels at the tension between the new business owners and the locals. Despite the animosity, to her amazement, they all come together in times of tragedy. Madeline discovers her roots and the mysteries of her childhood, as Gladys and others begin to trust her with the secrets from their pasts. In the end, Madeline learns more about the idea of "family” than she had ever hoped.

This heartwarming, yet unsentimental debut novel was a lovely read. When I turned the last page, I was sorry to leave the characters and warmth of McAllaster. Highly recommended.



Title: Love Walked In
Author: Marisa de los Santos
Call #: FIC/DEL
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker

Cornelia Brown is managing a hip Philadelphia coffee shop, feeling that she isn't reaching her potential, when Martin Grace walks through the door. He's a dead ringer for Cary Grant. A fan of old movies, our heroine moved to the city of brotherly love because of the movie ‘The Philadelphia Story', so seeing a modern day Cary causes her life to change, but not how she expects. Yes, a love story ensues, but it isn't of the cookie cutter, formulaic ilk.

Clare, Martin's 11-year-old daughter, is living with her mother Vivianna, and her world is falling apart. Her mother isn't acting like herself, and Clare doesn't know what to do about it. She must learn to fend for herself after her increasingly unstable mother has a breakdown and disappears. Taking inspiration from famous orphans (Anne Shirley, Sara Crewe, Mary Lennox, and even Harry Potter) Clare musters the courage to seek out her estranged father. Martin left his family when Clare was 2. Happy to leave his daughter to be raised by her mother, he doesn't really know the child at all. When Cornelia and Claire meet, the stars align and they are instantly drawn to each other. Even though Cornelia knows that Martin is not the love of her life, she agrees to help with Clare until Vivianna is found, because though she hasn't fallen in love with Martin, she has fallen in love with the brave, smart, and unique Clare.

This engaging, stylishly written first novel is told from two perspectives – first person in Cornelia's voice, and third person from Clare's perspective. At first this threw me a bit, but then I grew to really like it. This writing style makes both of the characters become real so that by the story's conclusion, they feel like people from the neighborhood. Another thing that I truly enjoyed about this novel is how skillfully the author weaves in a little about those wonderful old movies like the black and whites starring Katharine Hepburn. I watched lots of those when I was a kid and still get pleasure from them. Also, the author talks of Philadelphia in such detail you can practically smell those genuine Philly cheese steaks wafting up from the pages.



Title: The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels
Author: Ree Drummond
Call #: 921 DRU
Reviewed by Anne Keller
 
 
     If you love cowboys and a good old fashioned love story, then The Pioneer Woman is the perfect choice.  Don't be fooled by the awful book cover because it's quite deceiving.  The cover alludes to a little house on the prairie type setting but it is actually modern day.  Ree is city girl who lived in Los Angeles and was home in Oklahoma before moving to Chicago.  A chance encounter at a bar would alter her life forever.  Her cowboy, who she calls Marlboro Man, would sweep her off her feet in an unforgettable romance that storybooks are made of.  Ree's romance with Marlboro Man is chronicled with humor, sadness, and funny moments along the way leaving the reader yearning for their own Marlboro Man. 
     For more information on country life, Marlboro Man, and her cooking, visit her wildly popular blog www.thepioneerwoman.com.


Title: Night Road
Author: Kristin Hannah
Call # FIC HAN
Reviewer: Anne Keller
 
 
     Jude Farraday is an overprotective mother who constantly worries about her twins Mia and Zach.  Zach is the outgoing, popular boy while Mia is the shy girl.  Lexi is a foster child with a hard upbringing who recently moved in with her great aunt.  Lexi befriends Mia and soon the three become inseperable.  Zach and Lexie fall in love and sadness fills the air as Mia and Zach will be leaving for college.  A tragic event shatters everyone's world where nothing will ever be the same again.  Kristin Hannah tells this emotional story with enough twists and turns to keep the reader wondering how this family will ever recover.  This was the first Hannah novel I have ever read and it is sure not to be my last.


Title: Save Me
Author: Lisa Scottoline
Call #:  FIC SCO
Reviewer: Anne Keller
 
 
Suburban mom Rose is forced to make a split-second decision after an explosion goes off in the school cafeteria in which she volunteers. Should she rescue her own daughter, Melly, trapped in the bathroom, or lead the girls standing in front of her, who constantly bully her daughter, to safety? At first cast as a hero, the town eventually turns on her when her actions are revealed.  Her choice reverberates throughout the little town as she is cast as the villain by the local news anchor, parents, and the school. While her attorney and husband construct a defense plan that includes filing a lawsuit against the school, Rose investigates what actually started the fire.  Although the novel is slightly farfetched, the suspense and pace will keep most readers reading until the satisfying conclusion.


Title: The Company We Keep
Author: Robert and Dayna Baer
Call #: 327.127 BEA
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker
 

A huge fan of spy novels, movies and TV shows, I was psyched for this book.  However, I quickly learned the reality of being a spy is not as glamorous as the film makers would have you believe.   Told in diary style entries, Bob and Dayna discuss the murky world of the CIA in this candid memoir.  They emotionally connect the dots of fast-moving and sometimes frightening intelligence operations.  Stories I’ve read about in newspapers are given a human element that I never thought of before.  In between the tedium of surveillance, the reader learns how these two found each other.  A fascinating look at a world that exists almost completely off the radar.



Title: Anyone but you
Author: Jennifer Crusie
Call-#: CD-FIC CRU
Reviewer: Sonja Downey
 
 

Nina Askew, recently divorced and on the brink of turning 40, needs a companion. She is thinking of a playful, perky and happy little puppy. Instead she ends up with.... Fred! Fred is a sad, smelly and slightly suicidal hound, whose gratitude to Nina for adopting him knows no slobbery bounds. And then Fred makes the acquaintance of a handsome ER doctor and sets in motion a series of events, that shake Nina's world.
 
This is a very cute romance. If you liked Marley - from John Grogan's novel "Marley and Me" - you will love Fred. His antics are laugh-out-loud funny and make this novels a delight to listen to.


 
 
Title: The Wilder life: my adventures in the lost world of Little House on the Prarie
Author:  Wendy McClure
Call #:  813.52 MCC
Reviewed by: Gina Walmsley
 
 
 
 
 
     The author is on a quest to find the world of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the beloved author of the Little House on the Prairie. She traces the the pioneer journey of the Ingalls family-looking for the Big Woods among the medium trees in Wisconsin, wading in Plum Creek, and enduring a hailstorm in South Dakota. She immerses herself in all things Little House-exploring the story from fact to fiction, and from TV shows to the annual summer pageants in Laura's hometowns. Whether she's churning butter in her apartment or sitting in a replica log cabin, McClure is always in pursuit of "the Laura experience." Along the way she comes to understand how Wilder's life and work have shaped our ideas about girlhood and the American West.
 
     This was just an outstanding book from start to finish. I adore all the Little House Books and was quite surprised to find out things I never knew about Laura Ingalls Wilder. The author writes in an easy-to-read style and she gets herself in an especially funny situation when she attends a homesteading weekend with an interesting church group. Her many attempts to try and replicate pioneer cooking is also just a hoot. Who knew you could churn butter in an apartment in Chicago! This was a delightful read and I would recommend it to anyone who has fond memories of the Little House books.


Title: If you ask me (and of course you don't)
Author: Betty White
Call #: CD 921 WHI
Reviewer: Sonja Downey
 
 
In short and concise little chapters acclaimed actress Betty White tells scenes from her prolific life, tinged with wisdoms, humor and nostalgia.
 
This Audio Book was very enjoyable. It is very short (only 2 CD's) and since it is read by Betty White herself, it felt to me more like having coffee with Betty right there at the table chatting away.


 Title: Secrets of Eden
Author: Chris Bohjalian
Call #: CD-FIC BOH
Reviewer: Sonja Downey
 

The murder of Alice Hayward throws the Reverend Stephen Drew into a deep crisis of faith. Only hours before her husband strangles her and then shoots himself, Stephen agreed to baptize her. Now he thinks that Alice knew that her husband would kill her and wanted to prepare herself. Stephen flees the pulpit and finds solace in the arms of acclaimed spiritual author Heather Laurent.
But to the state attorney the case does not look like just a murder-suicide and an investigation is started during the course of which it turns out that Alice harbored quite a few secrets of her own...
 
This was a stunning story. Brilliantly performed by a cast of 4, this book will leave you breathless to the very last page, infact to the very last sentence. It is in parts quite graphic, but I found that I wanted to know these details to dive deeper into the characters' depths. This is one of those stories that will stay with you long after you finished listening.


Title: Why? Because We Still Like You: An Oral History of the Mickey Mouse Club
Author: Jennifer Armstrong
MelCat Interloan

Reviewer: Mary Beth Reasoner, Children's Services Librarian

 

Book jacket


The Mickey Mouse Club television show is a vivid part of my childhood memories; my mom still has the 45 rpm record with the theme song on it at her home! So I took advantage of our fantastic interlibrary loan system and requested the newest history of the program through MelCat, the Michigan Electronic Library Catalog, via the library's web page. The show made such an impact on Baby Boomers that it hard to believe that the original show was on the air for only three years, from 1955 to 1957.

The book discusses how the show was created and developed and revamped as the "Mice" grew from preteens into adolescents. Did you know that Walt Disney pitched the show idea to ABC solely to raise money and awareness for his new theme park, Disneyland? Stories about Walt Disney, the various directors, crew members, on-set teacher, and parents are included, as well as lively descriptions of the on-air adult stars, Jimmy Dodd and Roy Williams. The reader gets to know most of the Mouseketeers, both the lesser known kids as well as Annette, Bobby, Lonnie, Cubby, Karen, Doreen, Cheryl, and Sharon. There are "behind the scenes" descriptions of what it was really like to be a child star, unexplained firings, off-camera mischief, endless rehearsals and publicity appearances, personality conflicts and professional jealousy. The updates concerning the adult lives of the Mouseketeers are tinged with sadness as illnesses, divorces, professional career failures, and prison records are revealed. Even so, I did enjoy getting a backstage glance of one of my favorite childhood television shows. For more information, visit the Original Mickey Mouse Club Show website at http://www.originalmmc.com/.




Title: Juliet
Author: Anne Fortier
Call #: FIC FOR
Reviewer: Sonja Downey
 
 

Upon her aunt's death, Julie Jones is thrilled to find out that she is a direct descendant of Giulietta Tolomei, the original Juliet of 1340 A.D. Eager to explore her family tree and find her true identity and a promised treasure hidden for her by her mother, Julie travels to Siena, Italy, and from the minute she steps foot on Italian soil is enveloped in intrigues, family feuds and murder. Not enough with that, an ancient curse on her family can only be broken, if Guilietta is reunited with Romeo. In this web of hidden identities, will she find her true Romeo and lift the curse? Will she be rewarded with "Giulietta's tears", the most wonderful treasure of all?

I enjoyed this book immensely. It is two stories in one, telling the mystery about Julie finding her true identity and the most tragic love story of all, that of Romeo and Juliet putting a slightly different spin on the story as we know it from Master Shakespeare. I loved this book, because it had a little bit of everything, mystery, ancient curses, a love story and most importantly of all the most amazing setting in the world: Italy.


 
 
 
Title: Assault with a deadly glue gun
Author: Lois Winston
Call #: X FIC WIN
Reviewer: Gina Walmsley
 
 
Image from Jacket Art
 
 
     When Anastacia Pollack's gambling-addicted husband permanently cashes in his chips in Vegas, she is left with two teenage sons, a mountain of debt, a Communist, cane-wielding mother-in-law, and a loan shark demanding fifty thousand dollars. If her life could get worse, it does when she discovers the ambitious Maryls Vanderburg hot glued to her office chair. When evidence surfaces of an illict affair between Maryls and Anastacia's husband, Anastacia becomes the prime suspect. Can she sew up the case and keep herself ot of jail before the real killer puts a permanent end to her investigation?
 
     This was an incredibly, funny story with the author putting Anastacia in one hilarious incident after another. At first it seemed a bit over the top, but the more I read, the more I laughed. From Anastacia's parrot Ralph who quotes William Shakespeare to her mother-in-law's dog named Manifesto, the laughs continue on to the end.  This is just a funny read that will provide a smile from beginning to end. The only sad thing is that we will have to wait until 2012 for the next installment of Anastacia.


Author: Alison Weir
Title: The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn
Call #: 921 BOL (currently on the New Shelf)
Reviewer: Sonja Downey
 

 
Another book on Anne Boleyn, one might think, considering that we all know the tragic end of the infamous second wife of Henry VIII. I debated a while with myself, but ultimately picked up the book, because it is written by Alison Weir. And, as expected,  the author of numerous other books - fiction and non-fiction - on famous people in history does not disappoint. The book reads like fiction and it left me breathless. The author essentially highlights the last four weeks before Anne Boleyn's arrest and entry into the tower. Ms. Weir's meticulous research paints such a vivid image of the time that the reader can't help but being pulled into the story. I felt like an onlooker to the events leading up to the Queen's execution. This book is a must for anybody interested in European and especially British history.



 
 
Author: James L. Rubart
Title: Book of days: a novel
Call #: G FIC RUB
Reviewer: Gina Walmsley
 
 
Image from Jacket Art
 
 
     When Cameron's dying father deliver this startling message to him "You will lose your mind. When it starts happening....you must find the Book of Days", he brushes it off. Eight years after his father's death, it's happening. Could it be? is his father's eerie prediction coming true? Cameron's search for the Book of Days leads him to the small town of Three Peaks, Oregon where he realizes dark secrets are at work. There are others who are seeking the Book. Others who will stop at nothing to get it and they are closer than Cameron ever imagined.
 
      This was amazing story full of twists and turns and some pretty fabulous descriptions of the mountains of Oregon. The story starts out a tad slow, but it picks up speed in a hurry. The tag on the front cover stating"I devoured this in one sitting" rang true with me. I needed to finish this book because I wanted to see how Cameron faired in his quest.
 


Title: It is well with my soul: the extraordinary life of a 106- year old woman

Author: Ella Mae Cheeks Johnson with Patricia Mulcahy

Call #: 921 Joh (New Adult Nonfiction)

Reviewer: Chuck Harpst

 
                           
 
 
Summary: Ella Mae Cheeks Johnson, an African-American centenarian, shares wisdom from her many life experiences.  Her ordinary life became extraordinary during the course of her 105 years.  She has witnessed several revolutionary changes, such as going from horse and buggy to automobiles and the world revolving around computers.  Mrs. Johnson, a daughter of former slaves, had the privilege of attending the presidential inauguration of the Barack Obama in 2009.  She believes that compassion is the secret to living a long, good life.     
 
Review: I enjoyed becoming acquainted with Ella Mae Cheeks Johnson.  Her upbeat stories encourage me to conquer my own adversities.  Despite her financial challenges, she always helped the less fortunate, which inspired me to assist those in need.  Her wonderful, compassionate attitude is something that I wish to strive for in my life.  Even though the narrative could have been more exciting at times, I recommend this book to those who interested in history, the Civil Rights Movement or Cleveland, Ohio, where she lived for several years.


 
 
Title: Chile death
Author: Susan wittig Albert
Call #: X FIC ALB
Reviewer: Gina Walmsley
 
 
 
 
     China Bayles is looking forward to the annual chili cook-off in Pecan Springs, Texas. And when the event arrives, she takes along her fiance, giving both of them a nice break from China's visiting (i.e. meddling) mother. But then cook-off judge Jerry Jeff Cody dies of an allergic reaction to a peanut. Everyone knows peanuts do not belong in a bowl of Texas chili and China knows something suspicious is afoot.
 
     I am still surprised by this author who after writing many books in this series (this one is the seventh), she can still keep things fresh. The characters are well developed, and the town of Pecan Springs seems so enchanting. Sprinkled throughout the book are interesting tidbits about chile peppers and the spices used in chili.  But remember, real Texas chili does not have beans. This is truly a nice easy read and a fascinating series.


Title: THE HAMMERSTEINS: A MUSICAL THEATRE FAMILY
Author: Oscar Andrew Hammerstein
Call #: 782.1 HAM (Adult Non-fiction Collection)

Reviewer: Mary Beth Reasoner, Children's Services Librarian

 

The Hammersteins

 

As a lifelong fan of Broadway musicals, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this new history of musical theatre.The first part of the book sets the foundation as it covers the life and career of the first Oscar Hammerstein, a successful cigar merchant, an architect of a wide variety of theatre buildings which turned Times Square into the theatre capital of the world, and an opera lover.Overflowing with the backstage politics of producing theatre and dealing with talented and not-so-talented stars, it also details the personal and professional foibles of Oscar I and his competitors.

The stories of his grandson, Oscar Hammerstein II, a brilliant lyricist, and his collaborations with Jerome Kern, Florenz Ziegfield, and Richard Rodgers are filled with the back stories of SHOWBOAT, OKLAHOMA!, SOUTH PACIFIC, CAROUSEL, THE KING AND I, and THE SOUND OF MUSIC as well as sagas of their unsuccessful productions, and personal tragedies and family scandals.

The book itself is beautifully presented, truly overflowing with family photos, publicity shots, illustrations, theatre blueprints, broadsides, programs, playbills, covers of sheet music and lyrics on almost every page.I found myself singing so many of the now classic songs just at the mention of their titles.This is a fascinating book for anyone interested in the history of musical theatre in America!



Title: Zero Regrets
Author: Apolo Ohno
Call #: CD 796.914 OHN
Reviewer: Anne Keller
 
 
     Apolo Ohno is the most decorated winter Olympic athlete in U.S. history.  Over three consecutive winter Olympics, Ohno defines the true athletic spirit in victory and defeat.  His memoir takes the reader (or listener as Ohno narrates) inside the competive world of short track ice racing.  Short track is fiercely competitive and utterly unpredictable.  Apolo details all three Olympic journeys and the training and nutrition involved in preparation.  He recounts his experience on the Dancing With the Stars in which he ultimatley won with partner Julianne Hough.  He also shares the love for his father, whose support and love guided Apolo on his journey forward.  The last chapters of the book detail his insane training regime in preparation for the Vancouver Olympics.  Truly, Apolo Anton Ohno is living a life with zero regrets. 


Title: High Plains Tango
Author: Robert James Waller
Call #: FIC WAL
Reviewer: Sonja Downey 

This book is part of the "Bridges of Madison County"-Trilogie. It features the story of Carlisle McMillan, a drifter and divine carpenter searching for a place of quiet and solitude. The little town of Salamander seems to offer what he is looking for. He settles down and takes his time restoring an old barn into the home of his dreams. But the peace and quiet is treacherous and when everything that he built with his own hands' labor is threatened to be destroyed, Carlisle must decide if he should fight or quietly stand aside.
 
Robert Waller's stories are gentle, quiet and full of beauty. He evolves his characters so masterfully, that they become dear friends. His style of writing and choice of words is hauntingly beautiful and his stories will stay with you long after you finished his books.


Title: The Mischief of the Mistletoe
Author: Lauren Willig
Call #: FIC WIL (currently on the new shelf)
Reviewer: Sonja Downey 
It all started with a wonderful, brown, round, aromatic Christmas Pudding which was carelessly left in Miss Climpson's Select Seminary for Young Ladies.  The message "Meet me at Farley Castle" - written in French - sets in motion a chain of events that will drastically change the lives of school mistress Arabella Dempsey and clutzy  Reginald "Turnip" Fitzhugh. Upon their shoulders lies the fate of all England. Will they see beyond the pudding and stop Napoleon from invading?
 
This book features the characters from the author's "Pink Carnation"-series. The humor and wit in this story is beyond funny. At times I just had to laugh out loud. The author's play with words is absolutely ingenious. I was so enthralled with this book, that I started the "Pink Carnation"-series and it is every bit as funny and beautiful as I expected it to be after reading this delightful book.


Title: Savannah Blues
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Call #  FIC AND
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker
 
 
 
 
Landing a catch like Talmadge Evans III got Eloise "Weezie" Foley a jewel of a town house in Savannahs historic district. Divorcing Tat got her exited to the backyard carriage house.
 An antiques picker, Weezie combs Savannah's steamy back alleys and garage sales for treasures when she's not dealing with her loopy relatives or her hunky ex-boyfriend. But an unauthorized sneak preview at a sale lands Weezie smack in the middle of magnolia-scented murder, mayhem . . . and more. This is a fun, quick read with interesting facts about collectibles.
 
Title: The Last Chinese Chef
Author: Nicole Mones
Call # Fic Mon
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker
 
 
When widowed American food writer Maggie McElroy is hit by a paternity claim against her husband's estate, she has to go to China immediately. She asks her magazine for time off. They counter with an assignment: to profile rising culinary star Sam Liang.  This is the first work of fiction ever excerpted by Gourmet Magazine.  Mones effortlessly weaves together a fast-paced romantic plot with precepts from ancient Chinese food culture.  Both entertaining and learned, this book might be the perfect read!  It will leave you hungry for good chinese food--at least it did me!
 
 


 
 
Title: Grace
Author: Richard Paul Evans
Call #: FIC EVA
Reviewer: Anne Keller
 
 
     Eric is a grown man as he reflects back to the year he met Grace.  His family has just moved from California to Utah and Eric and his little brother adjust in the midst of the Cuban Missle Crisis, their overworked mother and their father's illness.  Grace is a classmate of Eric's and he discovers her going thru the dumpster after his shift at the burger joint.  Grace ran away from home and Eric lets Grace stay in his clubhouse on their property.  Their friendship blossoms which leads to love. 
     Grace becomes Eric's first love who teaches him more about life than anyone else.  Will they end up together?  Why did Grace runaway and what secret is she hiding?  Will there be a fairy tale ending or will tragedy strike?  This is another story told in true Evans fashion that this reader won't soon forget.


Winter and Night by S. J. Rozan

Reviewed by Gayle Hazelbaker

Call # X FIC ROZ

 
 

    Set in New York City, this atmospheric novel is one in a series featuring private investigators Lydia Chin and Bill Smith.  Although part of a series, you don’t need to read them in order.  While all of the books are excellent, this one is a particular favorite of mine.  When his nephew Gary is arrested in the city and then escapes, Bill Smith along with his partner, Lydia Chin, sets out to find him.  They end up in a small New Jersey town full of dark secrets, some belonging to Bill.  This character driven mystery was very suspenseful.  I couldn’t put it down until I reached the satisfying conclusion.  I highly recommend the entire series.

 



Title: The Long Run
Author: Matt Long
Call # CD 921 LON
Reviewer: Anne Keller
 
 
     Matt Long is a firefighter for the FDNY, a runner and ironman.  He's an athlete, at the top of his game and in the best physical shape of his life.  He's completed ironman competitions and ran the NYC Marathon with a respectable time which qualified his for the Boston Marathon.  While out biking, he's hit by a 20 ton bus that almost ends his life.  At the ER, doctors give him a 5% chance of living.  Miraculously, 40 operations and months later, Matt is able to begin his long journey to recovery.  Matt's rehabilitation is  honest, raw, and emotional.  He sets a goal of running the NYC marathon again.  Will Matt achieve his goal? 


Title: The Weekend
Author: Bernhard Schlink
Call #: FIC SCH
(currently on the New Fiction Shelf)
Reviewer: Sonja Downey
 
Image from Jacket Art
After 24 years in a high-security prison, Joerg, a former member of the notorious Baader-Meinhof terrorist group, is pardoned and released. His devoted sister is afraid for his safety and rents a secluded house deep in the woods. To celebrate Joerg's return to freedom, she invites all his former friends to the house to spent the weekend. Among this illustrous crowd of people is the man who betrayed Joerg to the police and there is Marko, a young man who is intend on convincing Joerg to keep fighting for the cause.
 
This book reads like a movie script. Bernhard Schlink, author of "The Reader" is capturing the atmosphere in this house so perfectly and so vividly, that I was drawn into the story as if I was part of the group gathering at that house.  This is a book you won't be able to put down.


Title: Room
Author: Emma Donoghue
Call # FIC DON
Reviewer: Anne Keller
 
 
     The narrator is Jack, a five year old boy who lives in a 11 ft. x 11ft. room with his mother.  Jack has never left the room.  His mother was nineteen years old when she was kidnapped and forced to live in a garden shed type room.  They are held captive and cannot leave the room.  They have a television, bathtub, sink and stove and depend on "Old Nick" for their food, heat, clothes etc.  When he visits, Jack hides.  Jack is five years old when his mother plans a daring attempt to escape.  Will they succeed?  Will Jack get to experience life in the real world? Will he get to meet his grandparents? 
     Donoghue does an excellent job of capturing the voice of a five year old boy as he tells his story of survival. 


Title: Showdown
Author: Tilly Bagshawe
Call #: CD-FIC BAG
Reviewed by Anne Keller
 
Milly, 17, lives in England on her father's horse ranch and her love is riding horses.  Enter hearthrob Bobby Cameron, 23 years old and skilled horse trainer from California to temporarily work on the farm.  Bobby immediately notices Milly's talent and invites her to California to train professionally at his ranch, Highwood.  Although the pair are attraced to each other, Bobby keeps his distance because he thinks Milly is still a child.  When Milly's father dies, the farm is sold to Milly's nemesis, Rachel.  Milly vows to buy the ranch back and enters the world of horseracing as a jockey.  Milly and Bobby have a falling out and part ways even though they still love each other.  Will Milly get the ranch back?  Will she end up with Bobby?  This novel explores the culture of horseracing and this reader was completely fascinated by the whole racing experience. 


 
 

Title: Vanished

Author: Joseph Finder

Call # Fic Fin

Reviewed by Gayle Hazelbaker
 
 

Lauren Heller and her husband, Roger, are out to dinner one night when they’re brutally attacked. Twenty-four hours later, Lauren awakes in the hospital to find that her husband has vanished without a trace. The only one who has any chance of finding him is his brother, Nick, a high-powered investigator with a private intelligence firm.  Nick Heller is tough, stubborn and relentless.  He is up against some pretty bad guys to find his brother.  This is a thriller with a capital ‘T’.  Don’t miss it!!



 
 

Title: Sh*t My Dad Says

Author: Justin Halpern

Call # 818 Hal

Reviewed by Gayle Hazelbaker
 

What started as a twitter feed by a comedy writer has become a sitcom on CBS starring William Shatner!  This book is a compilation of quotes made by Halpern's father, Sam, regarding random subjects. Halpern started the twitter account on August 3, 2009, soon after moving from Los Angeles back to his parents' house in San Diego. He intended it only as a storage site for his father's salty comments, but a friend posted a link to it. As of 1 August 2010, the feed is reported to have nearly 1,600,000 followers.  Reading this book I laughed out loud many times.  I highly recommend it, but only for those readers not offended by salty language.

 
 


Title: Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood
Author: Eileen Cook
Call # YFIC COO
Reviewed by Anne Keller
 
 
 
     Helen and Lauren have been best friends forever.  They were born in the same hospital, one day apart.  They've been together forever until 8th grade.  Lauren decides she needs a fresh start in high school and frames Helen as the snitch for naming the seniors involved in the senior prank.  Helen is publicly humiliated and everyone hates her.  The bullying is so bad she wants to switch schools which miraculously happens when her dad is transferred.  Three years pass and she looks completely different.  An opportunity arises and she moves back home to complete her senior year.  Her ex-best friend Lauren is at the top of the popularity chain and Helen vows revenge.  Helen's carefully executed plan begins to work.  This easy breezy read is full of humor and drama. 


Title: Caught
Author: Harlan Coben
Call # FIC COB (New Adult Fiction)
Reviewer: Anne Keller
 
     Haley McWaid is a good girl.  She's a good student, captain of the lacrosse team, and has plans to attend college after graduation.  Her mother is shocked to discover that she never came home one night.  Three months pass without a break in the case and the community fears the worst.
     Wendy Tynes is an investigative reporter who takes down sexual predators through the TV show "Caught in the Act."  She catches Dan Mercer, a social worker who denies the charges despite the overwhelming evidence.  When a break in Haley's case links her disappearance to Dan Mercer, the book really takes off.  The novel is suspenseful with twists and turns this reader never saw coming.  Coben lives up to his reputation by delivering another powerful story.


 
Title: By the Time You Read This I'll Be Dead
Author: Julie Ann Peters
Call # Y FIC PET
Reviewed by: Anne Keller
 
 
     Disclaimer: If you are feeling depressed or are depressed, please don't read this book.
     Daelyn has several failed suicide attempts because of the constant bullying she's endured since kindergarten.  She finds a website and begins blogging about the horrific events that have led to her decision to end her life.  She currently is unable to speak because she recently swallowed ammonia and bleach. 
    One day while waiting for her parents to pick her up, she meets Santana, a mysterious boy who has cancer and they strike up a friendship.
     Daelyn's ultimate decision of whether to end her life will leave readers cheering for her recovery!
     This book deals with serious subject matter. There is an excellent discussion guide at the end of the book.  I commend Julie Ann Peters for tackling such a topic in a thought provoking manner.


 
 
 
Title: The 13th hour
Author: Richard Doetsch
Call #: FIC DOE
Reviewed by: Gina Walmsley
 
 
 
 
     Never before have I opened a book with an author's note stating "You are not mistaken as you turn to the next page and find Chapter 12."  At first I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me, but really the book starts at Chapter 12. This is a bizarre thriller told in reverse of a man given the chance to go back in time in one-hour increments to prevent a vicious crime from destroying his life.  In a race against time, Nick Quinn will find that friends become enemies, old loyalties are tested and his wife Julia's murder is part of a larger scheme that has its roots in greed and vengeance.
 
     This book was one of the cleverest books that I have read in awhile. I didn't think the author could keep me engaged because I really do not like any kind of time travel stories, but this was different. This story was full of double crosses, cliffhangers and suspense that just blew me away.  The ending really suprised me (and no I am not going to tell you the ending).  If you are looking for a new book full of suspense, this is for you.


Author: Elizabeth Strout

Title: Abide with me

Call Number: FIC STR (Adult Fiction Shelf)

Reviewer: Chuck Harpst, Reference/Local History Librarian

 

                                                
 
Reverend Tyler Caskey grew to love West Annett, Marine, up the road from his childhood birthplace.  His congregation seeks his guidance and listens attentively as he preaches.  But after the devastating and untimely death of his wife, Reverend Caskey finds impossible it to return to life as it once was. He no longer senses God’s presence.  His sermons no longer come from the heart, and he cannot show compassion to those who are hurting.  He cannot help his five-year-old daughter, Katherine, deal with her mother’s death.

 

A congregation that had once been patient and sympathetic during the reverend’s grief now questions his leadership and propriety.  Anger, bitterness and gossip have started to swirl across West Annett.  In Revered Caskey’s darkest hour, an earth shattering discovery will test his congregation's humanity — and his own will to endure the trials that sooner or later test us all.

 

I found the plot to be melancholy and depressing.  The characters shed a negative light on small-town living and Christianity.  All the despair and negativity made me appreciative of the good things that are in my life. 



Author: Tony Dungy with Nathan Whitaker

Title: Quiet strength: a novel

Call Number: 921 DUN (Adult Non-Fiction Shelf)

Reviewer: Chuck Harpst, Reference/Local History Librarian

 

                                                  
 
Tony Dungy's memoir describes his life, including personal triumphs and tragedies, football highlights, and faith.   Leading the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl victory during the 2006-07 season was simply a monumental event along life’s pathway for him.  He continuously emphasizes throughout his biography that while he enjoys football that it is ultimately just a game, which is over at the end of 60 minutes.

 

His passion as youth was playing football and basketball with friends in the Ann Arbor, Jackson and Lansing, Michigan areas.  His parents, Wilbur and CleoMae Dungy, were both educators.  During his college years, he played football at the University of Minnesota.   After college graduation, he played several seasons in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers.

After retiring from professional football as a player, he started his coaching career first with the University of Minnesota then went back to the NFL as a coach with the Steelers.  He eventually became the Defensive Coordinator with the Steelers before moving on to the Kansas City Chiefs as a Defensive Backs Coach.  Following his tenure with Kansas City, he moved on to a Defensive Coordinator position with the Minnesota Vikings before his first Head Coach job in 1996 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  After his time with the Bucs, he went on to the Indianapolis Colts where he won his first Super Bowl.

Outside of football, Dungy is involved with community organizations including Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Athletes in Action and Family First.  He has five children and encourages his players and coaches to spend time with their families. 

During the 2005 season, his son, Jamie, committed suicide.  Dungy's decision to continue coaching football following his devastating loss was arrived through prayer. 

From a historical perspective, I discovered what life was like for African Americans in Jackson during the 1960s; more importantly, Wilbur Dungy, who was an instructor at Jackson Community College, was one of the first African-American college professors in the United States.

Some of his football memories were priceless gems in the history of football, especially his remembrances about the Detroit Lions pulverizing the Buccaneers in the 1990s.

Dungy also provides excellent examples of leadership, character, wisdom, and overall outlook on life.  I would recommend Quiet Strength to football fans as well as anyone interested in an outstanding book about inner peace and personal strength.



 
 
Title: The Gates
Author: John Connelly
Call # : FIC CON
Reviewer: Sonja Downey
 
 
 
 
     Due to a scientific experiment gone ever so slightly wrong, a portal to another dimension has opened and The Great Malevolence (a.k.a. The Devil) sees his chance to send his army of demons to pave the way for his taking over the world. His first mistake: choosing the tiny village of Biddlecombe for his comeback. Always polite and willing to negotiate, the villagers' patience stops abruptly when beloved rosebushes are being trampled down by foul-smelling demons. His second mistake: Not reckoning with the resilience of an 11-year-old, precocious but truly lovable boy and his dachshund. Samuel (the boy) and Boswell (the dachshund) fight the demons with politeness, endless discussions and the occasional blow on the head with a cricket bat.
 
     This is one of the funniest books I have read in a long time. If you like British comedy and a touch of dark humor, then you can't miss this book. A true gem that will make you grin, chuckle and laugh out loud.


 
 
Title: Mennonite in a little black dress
Author: Rhoda Janzen
Call # 811.6 JAN
Reviewed by: Gayle Hazelbaker
 
 
 
     The week her husband leaves her, the author is hit head on by an inebriated teenage driver leaving her broken and bruised physically and emotionally. Janzen takes a sabbatical from her position at Hope College and goes home to her parents to recuperate. And so begins this wonderful, entertaining memoir. Janzen revisits her childhood and the religion of her youth with the reader right beside her. Her family is just like my family, just like your family. There is love and nuturing of body and soul, while everyone proudly flies their freak flag. I don't ever recall reading a book during which I spontaneously burst into laughter, but I did with this one. And more than once. This little book is a rare treat. Don't miss it!


 
 
Title: Altar of Eden: a novel
Author: James Rollins
Call #: FIC ROL
Reviewer: Gina Walmsley
 
 
 
     Get ready to ride the Rollins Rollercoaster of thrills and adventures. This is a shocking story of cruel genetic experiments done in the name of national security...and most disturbing of all, tied to a secret history of the book of Genesis.
 
     Following the fall of Baghdad, two Iraqi boys stumble upon armed men looting the city zoo. The floodgates have been opened for the smuggling of hundreds of exotic birds, mammals, and reptiles to western nations, but this crime hides a deeper secret. Amid a hail of bullets, a concealed underground weapons lab is ransacked-and something even more horrific is set free. Seven years later it will be up to Louisiana state veterinarian Lorna Polk and U.S. border Patrol Agent Jack Menard to stop a murderous plot that threatens humankind.
 
    Rollins,who holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine, shows the dark side of genetic engineering. The book does have some violent passages, but the story is still a heart stopping mix of suspense and action.  One thing I really like about a Rollins book is the author's notes to the reader entitled "Truth or Fiction". The author selects some of the main ideas in the novel and then tells if it is true or fiction. You'll be surprised on how many of his ideas really do exist.  Once again, James Rollins has not disappointed this avid reader.
 
 


Author: Robin Brande
Title: Fat Cat
Call Number: Y FIC BRA
Reviewer: Anne Keller
 
  Cat is in eleventh grade and nervous to begin her science experiment.  She decides to adopt a lifestyle equal to the prehistoric people.  She will give up modern technologies such as the computer, cars, and the telephone, except in emergency situations.  She will also adopt their diet and eat nuts, berries, and items occurring naturally in nature.  Her best friend Amanda plays a hysterical supporting role and secondary characters round off a great cast.  The love of her life, Matt, used to be her best friend but something happened in the seventh grade to end their friendship.  The problem is that Matt doesn't even know what he did.  This novel is about self discovery and how changing your lifestyle can have dramatic effects.  I read this book in one sitting.  I couldn't even put it down during the NFL playoffs!


 
 
Author: Adriana Trigiani
Title: Very Valentine
Call #:  FIC TRI
Reviewed by: Gayle Hazelbaker
 
 
 
    This story will appeal to fans of "Sex in the City"--here given an Italian twist with much less sex.  What the fun TV series and this novel have in common is fashion, fun and Greenwich Village.  Our thirty-something heroine, Valentine Roncalli, works in the family business....designing handcrafted wedding shoes. Valentine has been invited to design a shoe for possible inclusion in a storefront window at Bergdorf Goodman's in New York City. In this competition she is up against the big shoe designers like Prada and Ferragamo. Along the way she finds love, but can't decide what is more important, her work or her man. I'm recommending this book because while I thoroughly enjoyed all of it, the ruminations about design and designing are fascinating. This title is the first in a trilogy.
 
 


 
 
 Author: Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger with Jeffrey Zaslow   
Title: Highest duty: my search for what really matters  

Call Number: 921 SUL (New Adult Non-Fiction Shelf)  

Reviewer: Chuck Harpst, Reference/Local History Librarian  

 
 
 
 It was an ordinary journey for Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the crew and passengers aboard U.S. Airways Flight 1549.  All of sudden, the plane runs into a flock of birds, the engines fails, and an emergency landing in the Hudson River becomes inevitable.  Miraculously, all 155 passengers and crew members survived.  There were only a handful of injuries.  The amazing story of January 15, 2009, grips the nation, and Captain Sullenberger becomes an American hero.   

 

Overall, I enjoyed learning about the extraordinary life of Captain Sullenberger, but the book is very detailed and slow moving.  I even discovered that he likes onions on his enchiladas.  I would have liked the book to focus more on the events of Flight 1549 and his life after the heroic landing.     

 

If you have a passion for the military or commercial aviation, you would be captivated by the life of Captain Sullenberger.   



 
 
 
Author: Sandra Dallas
Title: Prayers for sale
Call #:  LP FIC DAL
The library also owns a copy which is in the Adult Fiction section
Reviewer: Gina Walmsley
 
 
 
     Hennie Comfort is eighty-six and has lived in the mountains of Middle Swan, Colorado, since before it was Colorado. Nit Spindle is seventeen and newly married. She and her husband have moved to the high country in search of work. It's 1936 and Nit and her husband suffered greatly in the depression that ravaged the country. Hennie notices the young woman loitering near the old sign outside of her house that promises "Prayers for Sale." Hennie doesn't sell prayers, never has, but there's something about Nit that she's drawn to. Over the course of the story as Hennie and Nit become friends, Hennie shares her stories of hardships and secrets that have taken place in Middle Swan.
     I really enjoyed this book and the descriptions of the town, dredging for gold,and how Hennie brought Nit into the fold of Middle Swan. A couple of the stories that Hennie told Nit did surprise me with their endings. This was a book with a full range of emotion from sorrow to happiness, but in the end, Hennie's prayers were answered.


 
 
Author:  James Patterson
Title: The Jester
Call #:  FIC PAT
Reviewer: Gayle Hazelbaker
 
 
 
     This novel is an adventurous escapade through the Middle-Ages with a French innkeeper by the name of Hugh De Luc.  Hugh leaves hearth and home to seek adventure by joining the Crusades to free the Holy Land. He doesn't quite reach the Holy Land when his taste for war is soured. Upon his return, two years later, to his village in France, he finds his wife missing, his baby murdered and his inn burnt to the ground.  The bulk of the story centers on the mystery of why this happened, Hugh's search for his wife and revenge for his infant son. This entertaining novel is made up of equal parts comedy, romance, adventure and mystery. I enjoyed this book immensely. If it were made into a movie, a swashbuckling Russell Crowe would be the perfect actor to play our hero, Hugh De Luc!

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