Saturday, April 18, 2015

Great Reads!

Someone asked me what kind of books I read. When I gave them a description of my favorite books, the person interrupted and said, "No. No. What genre do you read the most?" Well, the truth is I do not have one specific genre I read the most. I have characteristics that I look for in a book. When I find them in a book, no matter the genre, I end up reading the book and more times than not I enjoy it.   

To me the book's characteristics are more important than the book's genre or even whether the book is shelved in adult fiction or young adult fiction. I like a story with great characters that are believable. They don't have to be set in modern, futuristic or historical times, but if the character is a tough woman or man--then they need to stay tough throughout the book. Unless the author builds in a fear and it shows up (the same fear) throughout the series.  Think Indiana Jones and snakes.  You know that if you pick up a book about Indiana Jones and there's a snake in it, he is going to be a little freaked out. It is part of his character.

I also like a great plot and I love mystery and suspense novels.  If there's a love interest in the book I'll take that too. I guess what I truly look for is a fast paced book with interesting characters and a touch of suspense or a bit of a thriller.  

Here are a few of my recent reads and a few of my favorites! These are fantastic novels!  Here is my reader beware note....some of these titles are adult fiction and some are young adult. Remember I enjoy both! If you like suspense, mystery or thrillers which may have a hint of romance these are books you are going to enjoy. Give them a try. I dare you.

Recent Reads:
The Alphabet House by Jussie Adler-Olsen 
This is the harrowing odyssey of two British airmen who are shot down behind enemy lines during WWII and subsequently held captive and tortured under assumed German identities.
First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen
When a strange, elderly man comes to town and threatens to disrupt the peaceful Waverley existence, the family pulls together to make things right.
Pawn by Aimee Carter
Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, Kitty must decide which path to choose and learn how to be more than a pawn in a twisted game.
Altar of Bones by Phillip Carter
This novel is packed with plenty of action and suspense. It includes the Russian mob, KGB spies, a Presidential assassination, a doomed Hollywood legend, deathbed confessions, corrosive power and shattered families. It will leave you stunned and breathless. 
The Burning Room by Michael Connelly
Detective Harry Bosch and his rookie partner investigate a cold case that gets very hot, very fast.
Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly
When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens she is haunted by strange dreams that foretell the return of an ancient evil. Her dark premonitions are confirmed when an assassin's arrow poisons Sera's mother. Now, Serafina must embark on a quest to find the assassin's master and prevent a war between the Mer nations.
The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost
In a world of shadows, anything is possible, except escaping your fate. Fast paced, exhilarating with lots of action and a hint of romance.  Don't let the romance hold you back, there is a lot of action, mystery and suspense.
The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
Kathleen Grissom brings to life a thriving plantation in Virginia in the decades before the Civil War, where a dark secret threatens to expose the best and worst in everyone tied to the estate. 
Haunted by Kay Hooper 
There have been several unusual murders. The news of the murders has left the town-on edge, especially when there is nothing remotely ordinary about how the men died.
The Fire Wish by Amber Lough 
A jinni, a princess and a wish that changes everything.
The Son by Jo Nesbo 
This excellent standalone novel takes the reader on a chilling ride with many unexpected twists.
Doing Harm by Kelly Parsons
A killer is set on playing a deadly game with a Dr. Steve Mitchell. The killer holds information that could ruin his career and marriage. Now, alone and under a cloud of suspicion, Steve must discover a way to outsmart his opponent and save the killer's next victim before the cycle repeats itself again and again...
The First Wife by Erica Spindler
Has to be one of my favorites. It is a suspenseful thrilling novel, filled with twists you won't see coming.

Old Favorites:
Maze Runner by James Dashner
A dark and gripping tale where teens must fight to survive.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Fast paced, suspenseful novel full of twists and turns.
You Don't Want To Know by Lisa Jackson
A chilling suspenseful thriller
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Gripping debut thriller filled with suspense and intrigue.
Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer
A gripping, fast paced novel filled with hidden secrets and historic detail. Excellent 
Imager Portfolio series by L.E. Modesitt Jr.
1st in the new series filled with action, adventure and growth. 
1st to Die Women's Murder Club Series by James Patterson
This is a fast paced crime thriller.
In Death Series by J.D. Robb
In a world of danger and murder she fights for justice.
Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
A saga of surprises and martial arts action.
Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson
A chilling and suspenseful thriller. 
I Am The Messenger by Mark Zusak 
Ed is on a mission, but who's behind it?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Did you know?

A question I get asked a lot by patrons at the circulation desk is whether or not I can tell them if the book they're currently checking out is one they've checked out in the past. In other words, "Have I read this before?" If you're someone who reads a lot, keeping track of what you've already read can pose a real problem! I assure you, I'm not a psychic so I can't tell you what you've read in the past, nor does the library automatically keep a record of the books you've checked out, but there's a very easy way for you to do this yourself that doesn't involve pen and paper. Hop over to the library's web site and log into your account (here). Once you're logged into your account, you'll see a link on the left-hand side labeled Reading History:

Click it and you'll be greeted with this screen:

See that Opt In button circled in red? Click it. That's it, you're done! From this point on, everything you check out (excluding ebooks) will be saved in your online account, and you can access a list of those items anytime you're logged by clicking on the Reading History link. Not only is this great for big readers, it's also handy for movie hounds, too! This is what a typical reading history list looks like: 

This list can be sorted by title, author, or date checked out, and can even be exported and printed.

So there you have it. The next time you wonder if the book you're holding is the same one you checked out last year, you now have an easy way to find out.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Calling Me Home: A Novel

Calling Me Home is an amazing novel that is as beautiful to read as it is to hear. If you enjoy listening to stories, try this one in audio format. You will not be sorry.

Dorrie Curtis is a single mother with a son on the verge of disaster. She owns her own hair salon and has worked on Miss Isabelle McAllister's hair for years. Miss Isabelle is  89 years-old and unable to drive her car anymore. When Miss Isabelle asks Dorrie to drive her to Cincinnati for a funeral, a big favor since they live in Texas, she's surprised to find herself saying yes.  Dorrie knows Miss Isabelle can no longer drive and has no one else to take her. Dorrie has a soft spot for Miss Isabelle and decides taking this journey may give her the time she needs to make decisions about her own life. 

The drive is a journey through time for both women. They review their life stories and the decisions they made which led them to where they are today. What's left to decide: What if they made different choices, would their lives be the same? 

This enchanting story will capture your interest from page 1. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll fall in love with these women. Other characters may leave you feeling completely different. This is a compellingly beautiful story that handles decades of race relations with sensitivity. It's a story of friendship, family, loss, and most of all love. 

Julie Kibler's debut novel was published in 2013. I regret that it took me so long to read it. It is fantastic! 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Great Books About The Great War: World War I Novels and Films

On April 6, 1917, the U. S. officially entered World War I. President Wilson tried to keep the U.S. out of the war, even after the sinking of the Lusitania, until the British intercepted a secret message. Apparently, Germany had promised the U.S. to Mexico if Mexico would support the German cause.

Also known as the Great War, this conflict lasted from 1914-1918 and was the fifth deadliest war in the world’s history.

The war involved most of the world’s countries that eventually formed into two separate alliances: the Allies and the Central Powers. 

The underlying cause of the war was the 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. The murder set off a diplomatic crisis and within weeks the war began.

On the following international list are some of the best World War I novels of all time:

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque--told from a German soldier's point of view--considered one of the best war novels of all time.

August 1914 by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn--the outbreak of war told from a Russian point of view.

Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres--about the changes of a small town when Turkey enters the modern world.

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks--a realistic and romantic novel about love and war.

The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally--about 2 Australian sisters who volunteer as nurses during the war.

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett--epic story of 5 families through war, revolution, and women's suffrage.

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway--based on the author's experiences in the Italian ambulance service during the war.

Flanders by Patricia Anthony--the powerful memories of one young soldier.

Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo--an anti-war novel about a soldier who loses all his limbs.

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear--first book in a mystery series about a nurse/investigator in post-war London.

One of Ours by Willa Cather--Pulitzer Prize winning novel about the making of an American soldier.

Parade's End by Ford Maddox Ford--follows the English ruling class as the country descends into the chaos of war.

Regeneration by Pat Barker--first in a trilogy about the gritty realism and horror of war.

Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden--follows the journey of two Cree men who become snipers.

Three Soldiers by John Dos Passos--a searing novel exposing the fate of the common soldier.

Here are some of the best WWI films (*=based on a book):

*African Queen

*All Quiet on the Western Front

*Blue Max

*A Farewell To Arms

Gallipoli--about two Australian soldiers during the deadly Gallipoli Campaign.

*Grand Illusion

*In Love and War

*Lawrence of Arabia

*Legends of the Fall

Passchendaele--about the experiences of a Canadian soldier.

Sergeant York--from the diary of Sgt. Alvin York who was one of the most decorated American soldiers of WWI.

*War Horse


Saturday, March 28, 2015

April's In the Queue

When April showers force you inside, don't be sad! Pick up one of these great new books and read your worries away! 


Sisters of Heart and Snow by Margaret Dilloway
Two estranged sisters reconnect when they return home to care for their mother recently diagnosed with dementia. The sisters soon realize that sisterhood has no limits.

One Mile Under by Andrew Gross
A Colorado town makes a deal with the devil (a big energy company) to save their town. In no time at all the company and the townsfolk face off over one of the world’s most precious resources, water. Both sides are prepared to kill for it.

When an infant's body is found in the New Jersey woods near a university campus, freelance journalist Molly Anderson is told to write the story. She faces the demons from her past to cover the story that reminds her of the baby she lost.  

You Can Trust Me: A Novel by Sophie McKenzie
Livy investigates her friend’s suspicious suicide and uncovers horrifying clues that her friend, Julia, may have been killed by the same man who murdered Livy’s sister 18 years ago. Livy also discovers the killer must be someone who knows her and her family very well.

Church of Marvels by Leslie Parry
Readers will journey back to turn-of-the-century New York-a city of hardship and dreams, love and loneliness, hope and danger. This is a marvelous debut novel whose beautifully written prose will leave readers breathless.

Visiting the home of a snobby newcomer who criticizes her beloved hometown, Miss Julia decides to confront the lady only to discover that she has been murdered and that Julia herself is the prime suspect.

Early Warning: A Novel by Jane Smiley
The Langdon family finds itself at a crossroad after the patriarch, Walter dies. This is an engrossing story of the challenges and rewards of being a family.

 New Books by Best Selling Authors

The Forgotten Room by Lincoln Child
Piranha by Clive Cussler
Solitude Creek by Jeffrey Deaver
A Quiet End by Nelson DeMille
Chasing Sunsets: A Novel by Karen Kingsbury
The Fall: A Novel by John T. Lescroart
Perfect Match by Fern Michaels
Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbo
14th Deadly Sin by James Patterson
Garden of Lies by Amanda Quick
Beauty’s Kingdom by Anne Rice writing as N. Q. Rouqueline


A Fine Romance by Candace Bergen
Candice is hilarious, brutally honest, down-to-earth, and wise. She talks frankly about the important milestones in her life. 

Lemmon transports readers into a community of fierce women bound together by valor, danger, and the desire to serve. Ashley's War is a gripping combat narrative and a testament to the unbreakable bond of friendship born of war.

These words of wisdom are for anyone at a turning point in their life. J. K. Rowling addresses how we can embrace failure and teaches readers how to use their imagination to better both themselves and others. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Women of Mystery Part 2: Culinary Mysteries and Humorous Mysteries

This week we will cover a couple of other mystery sub-genres featuring women detectives.  These two categories mostly fall under the designation of a cozy mystery.  What is a cozy mystery you say?  The following are some characteristics of a cozy:

--the crime solver is usually a female, amateur detective.
--the mystery is usually set in a small town or village.
--the sleuth usually has a friend or family member that is in law enforcement.
--most cozies are part of a series.
--the series characters are almost always likable.
--these are considered gentle books with no graphic sex, violence, or language.
--these tend to be fast-paced, with several twists and turns throughout.
--the cozy mystery puts an emphasis on plots and character development.

Lately, authors of what are considered cozy mysteries are adding more graphic language and adult situations so beware.

To read more about cozy mysteries, go to this fabulous resource:

Snoops Du Jour

Female sleuths in culinary mysteries.

Jessica Beck--Glazed Murder
--Suzanne Hart is a coffee shop owner in April Springs, N. C.  She is a nosy sleuth with a quirky cast of supporting characters.  Recipes included.

Cleo Coyle--On What Grounds?
--Clare Cosi is the owner of a coffee shop in Greenwich Village, N.Y.  This series is about coffee as much as it is about crime.

Diane Mott Davidson--Catering to Nobody
--Goldy Bear Schulz is a caterer in Aspen Meadows, CO.  These are lively and fun mysteries with delicious recipes.

Joanne Fluke--Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder
--Hannah Swensen runs the Cookie Jar bakery in small-town Minnesota.  These are funny and quirky mysteries.

Sharon Kahn--Fax Me a Bagel
--Ruby Rothman is a Rabbi's widow in Texas in this fast-paced and funny series.  It is full of quirky characters and Jewish humor.

G. A. McKevett--Just Desserts
--Savannah Reid is a Southern, food-loving, plus-sized police officer.  She loves solving crime as much as she loves food.

Tamar Myers--Too Many Crooks, Spoil the Broth
--Magdalena Yoder is a Mennonite inn keeper in Hernia, Pennsylvania.  These are lighthearted and witty mysteries.

Katherine Hall Page--The Body in the Belfry
--Faith Fairchild is a caterer and minister's wife in a quaint Massachusetts town.  These are great, leisurely mysteries.

Wry Detectives

Female sleuths in humorous mysteries.

Margaret Chittenden--Dying to Sing
Charlie is a 30-something Country/Western club owner in California.  She is divorcee with attitude and bright, orange hair.  These are fun and sassy reads.

Jill Churchill--Grime and Punishment
--Jane Jeffry is a widowed, single mom in suburban Chicago.  This series has believable characters and is funny from start to finish.

Janet Evanovich--One for the Money
--Stephanie Plum is a big-haired, smart-mouthed, bumbling bounty hunter in Trenton, NJ.  She lives in the "Berg" with a nutty family and goofy friends.

Joan Hess--Malice in Maggody
--Arly Hanks is police chief in the Ozark town of Maggody, Arkansas.  These are bawdy and cheerful mysteries.

Marne Davis Kellogg--Bad Manners
--Lily Bennett is a U. S. Marshall in Roundup, Wyoming.  This is a witty, sexy, and action-packed series.

Sarah Strohmeyer--Bubbles Unbound
--Bubbles Yablonski is hair dresser studying journalism in North Carolina.  She is a sexy, irrepressible heroine who loves her high heels.

--Callahan Garrity is an ex-cop who owns a cleaning business in Atlanta, Georgia.  She is surrounded by wacky friends and family.

Lois Winston--Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun
--Anastasia Pollack is an editor for a craft magazine in New Jersey.  These are dead-pan droll and hilarious cozy mysteries.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Did you know?

Whether you're on the hunt for your next read or you're just interested in browsing what's new and notable, we have the resources you need to get started. You may not know it, but the library offers a variety of newsletters in all sorts of genres that you can peruse online or have delivered right to your inbox. Are mysteries your thing? Take a look at these. How about thrillers? Try these on for size. There's more: fantasy, horror, romance, and lots of others. On the other hand, if you'd rather see which books are topping the bestsellers lists, we've got those too, fiction and nonfiction. And speaking of nonfiction, you can find everything from cookbooks to home and garden to travel, all at your fingertips. Sounds good, doesn't it? Now if you'd like to check out all the newsletters the library has to offer, you can find them right here. If you'd rather subscribe to your favorites and receive them monthly or bimonthly in your inbox, you'll want to go here.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up today!