Discover@RRPL

Poppy Harmon Investigates

by Lee Hollis

Recently widowed Poppy Harmon discovers that her husband left her penniless. He was a gambler and even gambled away their daughter’s trust fund money. He had taken out a second mortgage without Poppy’s knowledge. Poppy is a retired actress who played a detective’s secretary in a 1970’s television series. She counts her time on tv as experience being a private investigator, applies for and gets her California private investigator license. Together with her best friends Iris and Violet, she opens a detective agency. They hire Violet’s 12-year-old computer whiz grandson to create their website. The three 60+ year old women don’t garner any business until they start using Matt’s face on their website. (Matt is the actor boyfriend of Poppy’s daughter.) With the arrival of Matt, the agency is hired to retrieve stolen jewels for singer Shirley Fox, a fellow resident at the Palm Leaf Retirement Village in Palm Springs, California.

The first entry in the Desert Flowers Mystery series is a cute quick cozy. I look forward to reading the other two in the series.

Desert Flowers Mystery series

1. Poppy Harmon Investigates (2018)
2. Poppy Harmon and the Hung Jury (2019)
3. Poppy Harmon and the Pillow Talk Killer (202

Emoticon Smile Emoji - Free image on Pixabay

~Emma

(In my opinion the book cover is fun but a little deceiving. I don’t think Poppy or Violet or Iris look like the 60+ year old private eye depicted.)

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

Here we have some new exciting releases for you to take a look at this week!

Rabbits by Terry Miles – Conspiracies abound in this surreal and yet all-too-real technothriller in which a deadly underground alternate reality game might just be altering reality itself, set in the same world as the popular Rabbits podcast.

Animal by Lisa Taddeo – Joan returns to Los Angeles to come to terms with a childhood trauma and forge the power to fight back against the people who hurt her in a new novel by the author of Three Women.

One Two Three by Laurie Frankel – The Mitchell sisters – teenage triplets – find everything changing in their town when a handsome new student enrolls at Bourne Memorial High who happens to be their family’s sworn enemy.

Castle Shade by Laurie King – Queen Marie of Romania, granddaughter to both Queen Victoria and Tsar Alexander II calls on Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes to investigate a series of strange accidents in Castle Bran in the latest addition to the series following Riviera Gold.

Love for Beginners by Jill Shalvis – Starting a new life after waking up from a coma, Emma Harris finds her plans of opening up a doggy day care derailed by her childhood nemesis, but she soon learns that life isn’t what you are given, it’s what you make of it.

Pack Up the Moon by Kristan Higgins – When his wife leaves him letters, one for every month in the year after her death, Joshua is led on a journey of pain, anger and denial that eventually makes room for laughter and new relationships.

The Bullet by Iris Johansen – Eve Duncan puts her happily-ever-after with Joe on hold when his ex-wife shows up, on the run with enough secrets to get them all killed.

The Disappearing Act by Catherine Steadman – A British actress new to Hollywood, Mia Eliot is forced to play the role of a lifetime when a girl she only met once disappears and an imposter shows up in her place, forcing her to question her sanity as the truth goes beyond anything she could have ever imagined.

The President’s Daughter by James Patterson – A one-time Navy SEAL and past president, Matthew Keating, after his daughter is kidnapped by a madman, embarks on a one-man special-ops mission that tests his strengths as a leader, a warrior, and a father.

Tom Clancy Target Acquired by Don Bentley – Taking on a cushy assignment in Israel at the request of Ding Chavez, Jack Ryan Jr. finds himself the target of trained killers after helps a woman and her young son, forcing him to use all his skills to protect the life of the child.

The Stepsisters by Susan Mallery – Brought back together when Cassidy, the little sister they have in common, suddenly needs them both, Daisy and Sage must cast aside their hatred for each other to care for Cassidy and are caught off guard when long-buried secrets lead to forgiveness and a powerful friendship.

The Hidden Palace by Helene Wecker – Pretending to be human, magical beings Chava, a golem, and Ahmad, a jinni, find their lives intertwined as they try to make sense of the world around them and the people whose lives they have unwittingly affected.

~Semanur

CIFF 2021 Recap

It’s been a couple of months since the Cleveland International Film Festival held their 2021 event. Again this year, all films were available through streaming; they should be back to live and in person beginning on March 30, 2022!

Beth, Mary and I were lucky enough to be able to attend the Film Festival, watching a total of 11 films all together, from around the world, including the film sponsored by Rocky River Public Library, For Madmen Only, directed by Heather Ross.

We chatted about all the movies we watched – you can check it out on our YouTube channel. We really enjoyed all the movies we picked, which is not always the case :).

Beth watched: A Perfectly Normal Family (Denmark, 2020), Games People Play (Finland, 2020), Spaceboy (Belgium, 2020) and Goodbye Soviet Union (Estonia, 2020).

Mary watched: Masha (Russia, 2020), Felicita (France, 2020 – available on Amazon Prime), The Tailor (Greece, 2020), and Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir (U.S., 2020 – available on PBS)

I watched: The Columnist (2019) and The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet (Argentina, 2020).

Don’t forget that you can find a lot of independent, CIFF-type movies on Kanopy and Hoopla. In fact, I’m sure you can find some past CIFF films there, too!

This summer, explore some some indie films – you’ll be glad you did!

~ Dori

RRPL Summer Reads

Here’s a sampling of books I’m looking forward to reading this summer. Often drawn to historical fiction, I have included a cozy mystery by Carolyn Hart. I hope you enjoy my suggestions.

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict

“The remarkable story of J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian, Belle da Costa Greene, the Black American woman who was forced to hide her true identity and pass as white to leave a lasting legacy that enriched our nation, from New York Times author Marie Benedict, and acclaimed author Victoria Christopher Murray.”

Women’s March by Jennifer Chiaverini

New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini returns with The Women’s March, an enthralling historical novel of the woman’s suffrage movement inspired by three courageous women who bravely risked their lives and liberty in the fight to win the vote.”

Ghost Blows a Kiss by Carolyn Hart

“In the tenth Bailey Ruth ghost novel from New York Times bestselling Grand Master of Mystery, Carolyn Hart, the “charmer of a detective” (Kirkus Reviews) takes on a puzzler of a mystery when she’s sent to Adelaide, Oklahoma to rescue a woman in trouble.”

The brief descriptions above are taken directly from fantasticficion.com.

~Emma

RRPL Summer Reads- The Chosen and The Beautiful

It’s finally June which means that summer is officially right around the corner! We will be counting down the days until the first day of summer, Sunday, June 20th, by sharing the books we are most excited to read in the months ahead. Each week you’ll get a look at titles that Rocky River Public Library staff can’t wait to dive into!

My first summer read pick is The Chosen and The Beautiful by Nghi Vo.

This book, just published yesterday (!) is a Best of Summer Pick for Time Magazine and a Most Anticipated Book of 2021 Pick for Oprah Magazine, so I’m definitely not the only person who has been looking forward to this title to hit bookshelves.

Nghi Vo’s debut novel The Chosen and the Beautiful reinvents the American classic story of The Great Gatsby through a queer, magical, immigrant lens. Reimagining Fitzgerald’s character Jordan Baker as a young, queer woman who was born in Vietnam and raised in white, American high society, Vo invites readers along for a fresh, imaginative look at this Gatsby woman. Jordan has money, education, invitations to the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age, but is treated like an exotic attraction by her peers.

Vo, a Milwaukee-based author, whose previous works include the novellas Then the Tiger Came Down the Mountain and The Empress of Salt and Fortune, said in a recent interview that her early influences include Neil Gaiman, British fantasy writer Angela Carter, “The Talented Mr. Ripley” author Patricia Highsmith, and the popular podcast series “Welcome to Night Vale.”

As many students have had to throughout the years, I first read The Great Gatsby in my high school freshman English class, and wasn’t particularly impressed. I’ve re-read it since then and am a fan of Fitzgerald’s works now, but am very excited to read a modern, diverse voice such as Vo’s take on this well-known narrative. I also love magical realism and this new novel sounds like an amazing mash-up of some of my favorite literary elements!

What are some titles you are excited to read this summer? We’d love for you to share your titles with us this month in the comments! Happy reading!

Discover@RRPL

Katharine Parr: the Sixth Wife

by Alison Weir

Katharine was just 16 when she married nobleman Edward Burgh. After his untimely death, she married Catholic baron John Latimer, a widower twice her age. While John is on his deathbed, Katherine falls in love with Thomas Seymour, and they plan to marry. At 30 years old, Katharine attracts the attention of Henry VIII who pursues and finally persuades her to marry him. Katharine is now queen and stepmother to Henry’s three children – Mary, Elizabeth and Edward. Katharine is a highly educated secret Protestant who wants to sway Henry in religious reforms she supports. After Henry is dead, Katharine finally marries Thomas Seymour, who at this point is more interested in Katherine’s stepdaughter Elizabeth as a way to obtain more power. Sadly, when Katharine gives birth to her longed-for baby, she does not survive.

The final entry in the Six Tudor Queens series by Alison Weir is a treat for fans of historical fiction and this era. I have learned so much about these women, not just information about their downfalls and deaths. I have included a list of the series in order of publication.

Six Tudor Queens series

   1. Katherine of Aragon (2016)
   2. Anne Boleyn (2017)
   3. Jane Seymour (2018)
   4. Anna of Kleve (2019)
   5. Katheryn Howard (2020)
   6. Katharine Parr (2021)

~Emma

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

Here some of the new exciting releases for you to take a look at this week!

The Guncle by Steven Rowley – When Patrick, or Gay Uncle Patrick (GUP) for short, takes on the role of primary guardian for his young niece and nephew, he sets “Guncle Rules,” but soon learn that parenting isn’t solved with treats or jokes as his eyes are opened to a new sense of responsibility.

Hidden by Fern Michaels – In the first in a brand-new series from a #1 New York Times best-selling author, brother and sister Cullan and Luna Bodman are drawn into a dangerous mystery through an antique with a complicated past.

Legacy by Nora Roberts – After launching her own line of yoga and workout videos, Adrian Rizzo begins receiving death threats, which lead her back home to Maryland, where she, with the help of her childhood crush, must find the truth when the threats escalate to murder.

Arctic Storm Rising by Dale Brown – Exiled to guard a remote radar post along Alaska’s Arctic Frontier, U.S. Air Force intelligence officer Nicholas Flynn, after an American F-22 collides with a Russian interloper, is ordered to find a missing stealth bomber before the enemy and prevent a potential nuclear holocaust.

The Photographer by Mary Dixie Carter – When Delta Dawn, the photographer she hired for her daughter’s 11th birthday, starts slowly integrating herself into their lives, Amelia Staub soon discovers that she will do anything to permanently become of the picture.

My Remarkable Journey by Katherine Johnson – In this extraordinary memoir, the woman at the heart of the smash New York Times best-seller and Oscar-winning film Hidden Figures shares her personal journey from child prodigy in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia to NASA human computer.

Version Zero by David Yoon – From a New York Times best-selling author comes a thriller about how we can save ourselves from the very real perils of a virtual world.

The Living Sea of Waking Dreams by Richard Flanagan – In a wrenching novel of family, climate change and the resilience of the human spirit, Anna, whose aged mother is dying in a world of perennial fire and growing extinctions, escapes into visions of horror and delight through the ever-widening hospital window.

Honeycomb by Joanne Harris – A illustrated set of dark, captivating fairy tales from the best-selling author of The Gospel of Loki.

Checking in: How Getting Real About Depression Saved My Life and Can Save Yours by Michelle Williams – In her first book, an acclaimed musical artist courageously shares the hidden secrets that nearly ended her life; the importance of her faith, family, and friends; and the lessons she learned about prioritizing her mental health.

~Semanur

Discover@RRPL

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q Sutanto

Meddie Chan is a young Indonesian/Chinese American who always puts her mother and Aunties first. She resents her role as the wedding photographer in her family’s wedding company, but dares not admit it. In her meddlesome and overbearing family, everyone has their role: Big Aunt is the pastry chef, Second Aunt is the make-up artist, and Meddie’s mother designs wedding gowns, while Fourth Aunt is the entertainment. Meddie wonders if she’s given up everything for her family, and is silently bitter for not moving away with her ex, Nathan, when she had the chance.

In an effort to be “helpful,” Meddie’s mother sets Meddie up on a blind date on the eve of an important and profitable wedding that the Chan family is planning. It’s bad timing when Meddie’s obnoxious blind date makes such an outrageous pass that Meddie ends up wrecking his car and, accidentally killing him. Rather than go to the police, she turns to her mother and Aunties for help. Obligingly, the Aunties rally to help hide the corpse, in a freezer! When the freezer, with corpse in tow, inadvertently follows them to the wedding, hilarity ensues.

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q Sutanto is a sometimes-irreverent, blend of mystery and dark family comedy that has a hint of romance, too. It delivers the kind of over-the-top, madcap fun and mayhem you expect from authors like Janet Evanovich and Lisa Lutz, and it the gives readers a peek into Indo-Chinese culture along the way. Why not take a wild ride with the Aunties? Place your hold here.

Discover@RRPL

The Woman with the Blue Star

by Pam Jenoff

During the early 1940’s, 19-year-old Sadie Gault, her father and pregnant mother, are living in the Jewish ghetto in Krakow, Poland. To avoid roundups of Jews being sent to concentration camps, the family eventually escapes into the sewer. Pawel, a Polish sewer worker, helps them find a semi-safe place underground with the Rosenberg family. He brings the group food when possible. Tragically Sadie’s father drowns during their escape.

19-year-old Ella Stepanek lives with her cruel Nazi collaborator stepmother also in Krakow. One day Ella sees Sadie peeking through a grate in the street. The young women have much in common despite Sadie’s horrific living circumstances. The two become friends/confidants despite their only contact being through a sewer grate. The whole situation between the young women is extremely dangerous for them and for the others living in the sewer.

After Sadie’s mother gives birth, the group soon realizes that the baby’s cries will put everyone in danger. Sadly, Sadie’s mother leaves the sewer hoping to return after leaving the little girl at a catholic charity hospital. Eventually the sewer is not a safe hiding place for anyone

The story is told in alternating chapters between Sadie and Ella. It is a story based on historical fact and is not easy to read. It is a story of bravery, friendship, and family with an unexpected twist at the end.

~Emma

(The “Blue Star of David” on a white armband was worn by Jewish people from Poland, East Silesia and Upper Silesia.)