Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Private Eye by Brian K Vaughn

As the name might imply, Private Eye by Brian K Vaughn is at its heart and detective story. In fact, it is a fairly classic one. A mysterious lady steps into the P.I’s office with a job. After some reluctance, he agrees to start on it in the morning. Once the client returns home, she is murdered by a familiar face. The client’s sister assumes the P.I. did the deed and confronts him only to end up employing his services to hunt down the murderer. The investigation leads to stealing information, car chases, blackmail, bribery, gun battles, and a large conspiracy. A fairly straightforward and oft used tale, where it gets interesting
is the setting. Vaughn places the whole story in a future where the cloud burst and everyone’s online secrets were spilled. Now, there is no internet and everyone has a secret identity. When people go outside, go shopping, interact, even when they answer their own door, they don masks and fake names.

Vaughn does an excellent idea meshing together the old detective trope with the sci-fi future. In doing so, he keeps the story fresh and speculates on a future obsessed with real world privacy. Martin and Vicente do excellent work with the art and colors, creating compelling and dynamic visuals, richly portraying this weird future but without seeming too busy as Ellis’ Transmetropolitan does at times.

If you like Vaughn’s other work (Saga, Paper Girls, Ex Machina), enjoy a good pulp mystery with a dose of sci-fi like Caves of Steel, or just want to pick up a good Graphic novel, then I would recommend Private Eye.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Great New Debut Novels!

If you enjoy reading books by first time authors, you are sure to enjoy one of these outstanding debut novels!

Invincible Summer by Alice Adams
A dazzling depiction of adulthood complete with the highs and lows. A story about finding the courage to carry on in the wake of disappointment, and a powerful testament to love and friendship in an ever-changing world.  

All In by Simona Ahnstedt 
David Hammar is ruthless and has taken the financial market by storm. He has his eye on the ultimate prize, Investum, and will take it by any means necessary. But when he meets the daughter of the owning family and has a torrid affair. He realizes love, may be worth more than revenge. 

Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley
Two sisters decide to write letters in order to reconnect. However this funny and poignant debut novel gets a twist when their letters end up being made public on the internet and go viral.  If you enjoy Meg Cabot or Sophie Kinsella you'll love this book.  

The Defense by Steve Cavanagh
Eddie Flynn quit his law practice and vowed to never look back. But when his daughter is kidnapped in return for his services in the courtroom, he has no choice but to defend the head of the Russian mob in New York City. He must use every trick in the book or risk losing the case and his daughter. 

The Girls: A Novel by Emma Cline 
A spellbinding debut novel filled with razor-sharp precision and startling psychological insight. Evie Boyd becomes entranced by the carefree abandon of girls in the park. When Evie befriends the girls, she is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and its mesmerizing leader. 

Sweetbitter: A Novel by Stephanie Danler
A lush debut novel of the senses--of taste and hunger--seeing and understanding--love and desire.  Sweetbitter is ultimately about the power of what remains after disillusionment and the transformation created from our experiences. 

The Last Time She Saw Him by Jane Haseldine
In Jane Haseldine's gripping and brilliantly crafted debut novel, a reporter searching for her son must untangle the connection to her brother's disappearance in order to save the ones she loves.  

Decent Proposal by Kemper Donovan
An addictively readable debut that is a romantic comedy, drama and mystery rolled into one. Two strangers lives become intertwined when they receive an unusual proposition. If they meet and talk with one another for 1 hour a week for a year they will each win $250,000. 

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
Mackintosh weaves a complex tale that will break every mother's heart. Jenna Gray leaves town in hopes of leaving her despair behind after her 5 year old son is killed by a hit and run driver and every lead leads to a dead end. This is a heart pounding thriller that will keep readers turning pages. 

Lily and The Octopus by Steven Rowley
Everyone has a special someone. It just happens that Ted Flask's special someone is his dog Lily. A beautifully written and poignant debut novel that animal lovers will adore. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

May's In the Queue

It's time to relax and enjoy this beautiful weather (Ok, I know it is probably raining now, but beautiful weather is just around the corner). In either case there is no better time than to enjoy a fantastic new novel. Listed below are some titles you won't want to miss! 


Boar Island  by Nevada Barr
Boar Island is a brilliant intertwining of past and present, of victims and killers, in a compelling novel that only Nevada Barr can write.

Larose by Louise Erdrich
LaRose is a powerful exploration of loss, justice, and the reparation of the human heart, and an unforgettable, dazzling new novel from one of America's literary masters.

The Fireman: A Novel by Joe Hill
In Hill's supernatural thriller the world is infected with a virus which causes people to combust. The Fireman strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman who has learned to control the fire within himself and uses it as a shield to protect the hunted and as weapon to avenge the wronged. 

All Summer Long by Dorothea Benton Frank
This sensational novel follows the travels of one couple through their tumultuous summer.

Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica
Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted thrill ride that builds to a stunning conclusion and shows that no matter how fast and far we run, the past always catches up with us in the end.

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
This debut novel is a nonstop thriller. Jenna Gray moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays repeatedly in her mind. Desperate to heal from the loss of her child and her painful past, while the police search for clues but keep hitting dead ends.

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Patrick Phaedra
A lovable widower embarks on a curiously charming and poignant life changing adventure when he finds his deceased wife's charm bracelet. He never knew his wife owned a charm bracelet and the charms are from across the globe.  He decides to visit each destination and as he does he learns things he never knew about his beloved wife.

New Books by Best Selling Authors

Tom Clancy Duty and Honor by Grant Blackwood
The Cavendon Luck by Barbara Taylor Bradford
The Pursuit by Janet Evanovich
First Comes Love by Emily Giffin
Here's to Us by Elin Hilderbrand
End of Watch: A Novel by Stephen King
The House of Secrets by Brad Meltzer
The Games by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan
Beyond the Ice Limit by Douglas J. Preston
The Apartment: A Novel by Danielle Steel
The Island House by Nancy Thayer


The View From the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction by Neil Gaiman
An enthralling collection of nonfiction essays on a myriad of topics--from art and artists to dreams, myths, and memories.

Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger
Sebastian Junger takes a critical look at post-traumatic stress disorder and the many challenges today's returning veterans face in modern society.

Paul McCartney: The Life by Phillip Norman
This is the first definitive account of Paul's often troubles partnership with John Lennon, his personal trauma after the Beatles' breakup, and his subsequent struggle to get back to the top with wings--which nearly got him murdered in Africa and brought him nine days in a Tokyo jail.

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Comic Book Story of Beer

The Comic Book Story of Beer: The World's Favorite Beverage from 7000 BC to Today's Craft Brewing Revolution

It is nice when a title so accurately portrays the contents of a book and the Comic Book Story of Beer does exactly that. Similar to history books on salt, pepper, money, houses, and even cod fish the team of  Hennessey, Smith, McConnell, and Orzechowski explore the history of the world through the lens of beer. From how beer and the development of agriculture are interlinked to the types of beers that were developed as major historical events occurred. As history progresses the reader also picks up the origin and meaning of terms like gravity and laagering in addition to learning the basics of many different styles of beer. The history is told with a unique and engaging voice with excellent supporting and dynamic artwork.

The proliferation of craft beers, especially in Dayton Ohio, is so chock full of terms and varieties that can be off-putting to the casually curious and hard-core examiners alike. Even if you do not want to read the full history of beer, it is interesting to just flip to your preferred style and read about its details and history. Now, this information could be put in a very dry chart, but each style is delivered in a unique chart (with food pairing recommendations) and an accompanying origin story.

In all, this is an excellent non-fiction graphic novel, both for its content and for the artwork. Definitely for fans of comics or those who like a good pint, or both! 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Great "New Adult" Fiction Novels

If you enjoy reading new adult (NA) fiction you have to try these novels. New Adult fiction features protagonists who are between the ages of 18 and 30. The novels explore young adults firsts which may include moving out, going to college, their first romance or joining the military. No matter which situation is being explored there is usually a romance tied in.

Note some NA fiction novels are very explicit. Not all NA novels are filled with sexually explicit scenes but several are. I encourage readers to think of New Adult Fiction as adult novels with strong crossover appeal for older young adults. 

NA Fantasy

Cursed by Jennifer Armentrout
This is a paranormal mystery, romance and suspense filled New Adult fiction novel. Ember Williams has the touch of death. After her father is killed in a car accident her sister, Olivia brings Ember back to life. When life begins to spin out of control Olivia and Ember are coerced into moving to a new town, new school and new home. 

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Mare Barrow is a commoner until she finds latent magic within her. It leads her into the dangerous territory--the King's Palace. Here she must learn to trust a prince, but which one will she choose.

Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Magic, adventure mystery, and romance combine in this epic debut in which a young princess must reclaim her dead mother's throne, learn to be a ruler and defeat the Red Queen, a powerful and malevolent sorceress who is determined to destroy her.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sara Maas
When Huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature demands retribution. He takes Feyre to Faery where she learns her abductor is one of the ancient fae. As her hostility transforms to caring Feyre finds an ancient evil shadow, and if she cannot stop it Tamlin, her abductor and his world are doomed forever. 

NA Romance

Confess by Colleen Hoover
Auburn Reed fell in love at 15. Her boyfriend died after a long illness and his family sent her away not believing she truly loved him. However she has living proof of their love and she'll do anything to hold onto it.

The Deal by Elle Kennedy
This is a refreshing, romantic hilarious story of unexpected love. Hannah needs to make her crush jealous. Garrett needs to raise his GPA. He gets a tutor and she gets a date, until an unexpected kiss makes Garrett think of forever. Now he has to convince Hannah. 

Deep by Kylie Scott
Readers who enjoy whirlwind romances with plenty of sex and laugh out loud humor will love this contemporary romance.

Capture by Rachel Van Dyken
Losing your ability to speak at seventeen is not fair.  Dani's new normal is being a mute, who lives on the inside and is unable to actually communicate verbally with others.  After the accident she also lost all her high school friends. Life is good just lonely, until Lincoln Green hires her. He's gorgeous, completely unavailable and unobtainable. But that doesn't stop her from wondering...if things were different..would he want her?

If you would like to find more NA fiction novels visit Washington-Centerville Public Library and check out our New Adult Fiction Booklist.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Poets of World War I--Volume I

Last month the library highlighted our Graphic Novel collection and staff was encouraged to try a new or interesting comic to broaden our reading skills. I came across some historical titles about World War One and read several.  These really opened my eyes to a world-wide conflict that I wasn't very familiar with and also introduced me to a new kind of graphic novel (new to me at least).  One book takes poems from WWI poets and has different comic authors and artists interpret these poems in their own way.  I was hooked!  So, I started reading everything I could get my hands on about World War One poets and this is what I came up with.  The following are graphic novels about WWI and WWI poetry so check them out.  If you are interested further, then read the biographies of some well known poets that follow.  

Charley's War: 2 June 1916-1 August 1916--Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun

The Harlem Hellfighters--Max Brooks and Caanan White

Snoopy vs the Red Baron--Charles M. Schulz

Next month we will highlight books about the poets and their poetry.

Vera Brittain, 1893-1970--born in Newcastle under Lyme, England she served as a nurse in England, France, and Malta.  Her Testament of Youth is one of the outstanding biographies of the War.  She was a pacifist and feminist and lectured prolifically in Britain, Canada, and the United States.

Rupert C. Brooke, 1887-1915--was a Georgian poet born at Rugby, England.  He joined the Navy and died of blood poisoning after a mosquito bite, on his way to Gallipoli.  He is buried on the Greek Island of Skyros.

Eleanor Farjeon, 1881-1965--she was born in London and was a well known author of children's stories.  She was close friends with Helen and Edward Thomas.  Her poem Now That You, Too is about saying goodbye to Edward for the last time.

Wilfrid Wilson Gibson, 1878-1962--a Georgian poet, he is associated with the War but never served abroad.  His poems are told from the viewpoint of ordinary soldiers and their experiences.  He was also a playwright.

Robert Von Ranke Graves, 1895-1985--born in London, his mother was German.  He was friends with Sassoon, Nichols, and Owen and enlisted at age 19.  He was invalided out of the front with major lung injuries and shell shock.  He was an Oxford Professor of Poetry from 1961-1966.

Julian Grenfell, 1888-1915--born in London, he joined the Army in 1910.  His poem Into Battle is said to be the most anthologized of WWI.  He died of shrapnel wounds and his poem and death notice were published one day apart.

Ivor Gurney, 1890-1937--born in Gloucester, England, he was a poet and composer before the War.  He volunteered and was gassed, wounded and returned to Britain.  He suffered from mental illness but continued to write poetry even after he was committed.  He died of tuberculosis at age 47.

Thomas Hardy, 1840-1928--born at Higher-Bockhampton, England, he is best known as a classical novelist.  His war poems had a profound influence on other war poets such as Sassoon.  He was a staunch supporter of the War until it was over.

Rudyard and Jack Kipling
Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1936--born in Bombay, this Nobel Prize winner is best known for his children's literature.  He favored re-armament before the War but was devastated when his only son Jack, was killed in the Battle of the Loos, in September 1915.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind

The first time I read Supernatural:Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind by Graham Hancock, my mind was sufficiently blown by the theories he put forth. That was several years ago. I decided to dust off my copy and read it again, and yep, you guessed it: mind blown all over again. This is an amazing book, and even if you don’t believe a word of it, I guarantee it'll make your head spin. Heck, you might even find yourself questioning the very nature of reality. 
Hancock begins by stating that even though humans had achieved “full anatomical modernity” by 196,000 years ago, they displayed no evidence of symbolic thought until 100,000 years ago. What caused this symbolic revolution? What caused “humans with identical brains, looks, and genes to ours” to exist in a symbolic and artistic vacuum for roughly 100,000 years before rather quickly becoming “innovative and artistic, symbolic and cultured, religious and self-aware?” Hancock’s theory? In a nutshell: hallucinations. Specifically, “the first notions of the existence of supernatural realms and beings, the first ‘religious’ ideas about them, the first art representing them, and the first mythologies concerning them, were all derived from the experiences of hallucinating shamans.” Interesting theory, and one with which growing numbers of scholars around the world concur, but Hancock takes the theory further. What if the hallucinations our ancestors experienced weren’t just “silly illusions” of nonexistent places and beings, but were in fact visions of other dimensions that were, and are, every bit as real as the material world around them? Hancock’s investigations take him into the mysterious world of shamanism and put him on the path to meet these ancient teachers of mankind face-to-face.  
Supernatural is a trip (pun definitely intended) in and of itself! The information Hancock reveals through his extensive research is simply fascinating as biology, anthropology, folklore, and more converge to create a provocative page-turner unlike anything you’ve probably ever read before. Hancock’s ideas are certainly persuasive, but are they believable? I’ve been reading him for a while, so I’m a fan, but I’ll allow you to draw your own conclusions.