What We’re Reading Now…

magic

Magic For Liars by Sarah Gailey

An introspective murder mystery set at a school for magic, where non-magical private investigator Ivy must find the killer while trying to ignore years of built-up resentment for her magical prodigy of a sister. Shannon

 

 

 

strange

 

Strange Frequencies: The Extraordinary Story of the Technological Quest for the Supernatural by Peter Bebergal

I chose this book from a recommendation of a podcast I listen to and it did not disappoint. An exploration of how technology has historically been used to explore and interact with the supernatural, this book covers a wide range of time periods and topics. The author’s addition of a personal narrative of his own efforts to make and use the discussed technology helps to structure the text. The author is thorough in his research and presents the information in a clear and concise tone. Recommended for readers who enjoyed Real Magic by Dean RadinOccult American by Mitch Horowitz, or Netflix’s new show Midnight Gospel.  Greg

rodham

 

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

Curtis Sittenfeld’s Rodham is the Hillary Clinton fan fiction you didn’t know you wanted.  Hillary and Bill meet at Yale law school and share a strong intellectual, emotional, and physical connection.  Well, we know that story of what happened, but Sittenfeld chooses her own adventure in Rodham.  Hillary decides against marrying Bill, instead going on to blaze a different trail. Beth

 

good

 

Good Kids, Bad City: A Story of Race and Wrongful Conviction in America by Kyle Swenson

In Good Kids, Bad City: A Story of Race and Wrongful Conviction in America journalist Kyle Swenson weaves the personal stories of three young men who were sentenced to grow up in prison with detailed accounts of corruption and injustice that plagued the city of Cleveland and the Cleveland police department. Swenson’s narrative is a scathing indictment of systematic discrimination that continues to this day.

On May 19, 1975, Harry Franks, a white salesman, was robbed, assaulted, and murdered in broad daylight in Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood. Three black youth were sentenced and spent a combined 106 years in prison for the crime. The murderer was never caught. The entirety of the prosecution’s case against Wiley Bridgeman, Kwame Ajamu, and Ricky Jackson was based on the eye-witness testimony of 12-year old Ed Vernon. Nearly 40 years later Vernon recanted his story, revealing that the police used fear and coercion to convince him to tell the story they wanted him to tell. Megan

 

american

 

American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson

Marie, a Black woman, languishes in the New York FBI counterintelligence offices during the height of the Cold War.  Grieving her sister’s mysterious death and frustrated that she  continuously overlooked for high profile assignments, Marie lets herself be recruited when a CIA agent approaches her to infiltrate the entourage of Thomas Sankara, the visiting Burkina Faso president.  John le Carré styled spy fiction that combines intrigue and examines issues of family, loyalty, what it is to be a good American. Trent

 

mrs

 

Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner

This is a story of two sisters’ lives, beginning in their childhood in the 1950’s to present day.  The story begins in Detroit, with Jo and Bethie Kaufman, two sisters who could not be more different from each other.  Jo is a tomboy. intelligent and a rebel bent on making the world a more fair place to live in.  Bethie is the feminine good girl, with dreams of a traditional life of marriage and “happily-ever-after”.  From a young age, the girl’s world is shaken with surprise and tragedy, and they learn to lean on each other for support in order to navigate an ever-changing and evolving world around them.  This is historical fiction, and you will experience a trip down memory lane with Weiner’s descriptive writing. I grew close to these sisters as the novel progressed, and by the end, did not want to let them go.  Their life journeys were compelling & bittersweet.  I strongly recommend this book to shelve on your summer reading list, trust me, you will not be disappointed. Mary

 

jake

 

Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon

I have to admit that when I started this book, I thought it was the book with a popular miniseries based on it, but that’s Defending Jacob —oops! This book has a similar theme. Stay-at-home father, Simon, has tried to do a good job raising his two children while his wife works as a successful lawyer.  He has doubts as to whether he’s done everything right even now as his kids are teenagers, and his son Jake is not as friendly and outgoing as his sister.  One warm November day, Simon receives a text that there has been a shooting at the high school.  As he rushes to his children, he discovers that Jake is nowhere to be found.  As the story unfolds and suspicion is cast upon Jake, Simon must face his demons about what kind of father he really was, and whether or not he knew his son at all.  It was a riveting read, and I enjoyed it all the way through.  Sara

Imagine your story–Sunny days of summer

 

Quarantine or no, summer is here.  The sound of lawnmowers, and the smell of barbecue fills the air.  Some people associate reading a good book with the winter months- cozied up in front of the fire.  But my best memories of reading are being outside, in the shady grass or on a blanket by the pool.  After our months of being quarantined indoors, it’s finally time to spread our wings (safely and distantly) to the outdoors.  No need to feel guilty about not cleaning the house and reading a book instead–you are spending time outside!  How many times did your mom tell you to do just that?!  Here’s a list of June titles to enjoy while you appreciate the space and freedom of a summer day.

What We’re Reading Now…..

Pandemic or no, it’s time to see what your library staff is reading now!

The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen, illustrated by James McKelvie

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust…

Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead.” This is the hook for Gillen’s and McKelvie’s graphic novel series The Wicked + The Divine. Set in a world where the deities manifest every 90 years and change the course of the world. In the current manifestation these gods are treated like pop and rock celebrities. They give “concerts” to their adoring fans, radiating divinity. There are believers but there are also skeptics who believe this all to be a long running hoax. A great series to get into, and all 4 collected volumes are currently available through RRPL’s Hoopla account. Greg

Long Bright River by Liz Moore

Long Bright River: A Novel by Liz Moore

This is the story of two sisters on very different paths. Mickey is a Philadelphia cop whose beat is a neighborhood devastated by the opioid crisis. Kacey, her younger sister, is the victim of addiction and haunts the same streets, until she goes missing. Mickey is terrified that her estranged sister is the victim of a serial killer who is preying on the city’s most vulnerable women. For most of the book I forgot it was about a serial killer. Because really, it’s about sisters and family and motherhood and addiction. It’s about complicated relationships. It’s about the opioid epidemic. And yes, there is a killer preying on women living on the fringe of society. Loved it! Megan

Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha

Your House Will Pay: A Novel by Steph Cha

Since discovering Steph Cha last July, I have torn through her three wonderful Juniper Song PI novels, and she has quickly become a favorite new author of mine. Your House Will Pay is Cha’s first standalone novel and a departure from her previous traditional detective novels. Here a police shooting of a young black teenager causes two families, one Korean-American the other African-American, to grapple with the lasting effects of a decades-old shooting that occurred during the 1992 LA race riots. L.A. Times announced Your House Will Pay as the winner of their annual Best Mystery/Thriller on April 17, 2020. Trent

The Turret House by Jenny Breeden

Peggy Mitchell thinks she has purchased her dream house to raise her growing family in Jenny Breeden’s Turret House. It’s when she goes to sleep that she learns the history of the house and its former occupants as history plays out in her dreams. Her experience further strains her already rocky young marriage. The cozy mystery is perhaps a bit too conversational but approachable for someone like, a scaredy-cat. Beth

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons…

I read and thoroughly enjoyed Doughty’s intriguing and humorous nonfiction title Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? last year, I opted to pick up her 2014 memoir, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes. In this book she shares how her morbid curiosity and a job at a crematory eventually led her to a passionate career as a mortician and funeral director. Readers also learn about the often gruesome history of caring for corpses and many behind the scenes facts from working in funeral homes. Doughty’s refreshing honesty and amazing sense of humor luckily endows this dark topic with hilarious and uplifting moments, making for a surprisingly fun read. Nicole

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim…

I’ve been reading a lot on my Kindle, going between bestsellers I need to catch up on (Big Little Lies, Crazy Rich Asians), YA fantasy (A Court of Thorns and Roses, Anne McCaffrey’s Pern novels), new stuff (Book Woman of Troublesome Creek) and comfort reads (anything by Terry Pratchett). And obviously I’ve had a lot of time for reading! Shannon

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

I’m a big fan of Lisa Jewell’s “ordinary family with creepy secrets” style, and she does not disappoint with this one! Twenty-five-year-old Libby Jones receives a mysterious letter on her birthday, finally learning the identity of her birth parents, and that she has inherited their old mansion in Chelsea. She discovers that she was the abandoned baby found in that mansion with 3 dead bodies, and that four other young residents had gone missing. She does not know what to expect when she makes the journey to investigate her new inheritance and has no idea that four other people have been waiting for this day too–and that their paths will soon collide. A great quick and suspenseful read. Sara

Your library staff at home-Relaxing books for stressful times

Times may be stressful, but the books you’re reading don’t have to be! Dystopian societies, plague and cholera might be ok topics for brighter days, but for now, stick to things that are good for the soul. I gathered these from a variety of sources, so I have a disclaimer that not everyone finds the same books relaxing! I also have not read all of these, so if you know one doesn’t fit the bill, comment and let me know! Also, please add any of your favorites that may soothe jangled nerves. I know that Life of Pi was on some reading lists for uplifting books, and I cannot say I found it relaxing when I read it! At the time of this writing, these were all available in our library’s digital collection. Each cover is linked to the Digital catalog, so relax and enjoy (you’ve probably figured out by now that no matter how much time you have, you’re not going to clean your house 😉) Stay safe at home–Sara

What we’re reading in March…

The Floating Feldmans by Elyssa Friedland

The Floating Feldmans: A Novel by Elyssa…

What happens when a waspy mother, her shopping addict daughter, marijuana growing son, and their families are all stuck on a luxury cruise ship together? The dysfunctional family trip of a lifetime, of course! The Floating Feldmans by Elyssa Friedland is the perfect lighthearted companion to bring the comic relief you need on your next family vacation. Beth

Run Me to Earth by Paul Yoon

Run Me to Earth by Paul Yoon

Run Me to Earth by Paul Yoon is set in Laos during the Vietnam War, when the country was continuously bombed in a covert attempt by the CIA to wrest power from the communist Pathet Lao, a group allied with North Vietnam and the Soviet Union. Three teens, Alasik and siblings Prany and Noi have lost their parents to opium and violence, and are surviving by working at a makeshift hospital, driving motorbikes to make deliveries, tending to patients and staking out paths between the unexploded bombs. Yoon’s spare, exacting prose expresses their hopes, their friendship, their humanity in the midst of heartbreaking events. Beautiful, just beautiful – I couldn’t stop reading it. Dori

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

This spooky supernatural thriller follows 20-year-old Carly Kirk as she ventures to upstate New York, having recently lost her mother to cancer, determined to solve the mysterious disappearance of her aunt Viv at the Sun Down Motel 35 years ago. Viv worked the overnight shift at the motel and completely vanished one night in November of 1982- her body was never found by authorities and her family basically wiped her from their collective memory. Carly herself signs on for the same graveyard shift at the motel, and soon discovers that the town of Fells, NY seems to have had a number of never-solved murders of local young women immediately preceding Viv’s disappearance. Readers experience the story in alternating narratives, from Viv’s point of view in 1982 and Carly in the present, with both characters experiencing terrifying moments at the motel as they dig deeper into the motel’s secrets. I haven’t made it to the end yet, but I can’t wait to see how this wraps up! Mystery and horror fans will definitely want to pick this up. Nicole

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli

This is the political rom-com I did not know I needed. Jamie Goldberg is happy to volunteer for his local senate candidate. His cousin is the campaign manager and Jamie himself has political aspirations, which will never happen because he just can’t talk to people. Maya’s life is falling apart–her parents are separating and her best friend is too busy working and getting ready for college. When her mom runs into Jamie’s mom the two mothers hatch a plan for the teens to canvass together. What’s in it for Maya? A car at the end of the summer. The reluctant duo start knocking on doors and before they know it a new friendship has developed. Jamie and Maya expertly handle their roles as activists, but the issue of cross-cultural romance is not so easy a topic to navigate. A rare YA book with present and supportive parents as well as normal and realistic friendships. While the relationship between Maya and Jamie is cute, the book doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to addressing racism, Islamophobia, and white supremacy. Megan

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Marianne and Connell are high school seniors and clandestine lovers. Both are star students, however, Marianne is an outcast, raised by her widowed mother in a wealthy home ridden with dysfunction. Connell is a popular star athlete, raised by his unwed mother, in a working class home, yet is nurtured by a caring, wonderful mom. The twist… Connell’s mother works as a maid at Marianne’s home. For the next four years, the reader follows Marianne’s and Connell’s intense yet complicated relationship that’s repeatedly muddled by secrets, miscommunication, and anxiety about their their place in the social hierarchy. As a reader, you will get mad at those two, you will root for those two, in the end, you will understand those two. If this review doesn’t draw your interest, at least treat yourself to a book taking place in Ireland to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! Mary

The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams

The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams

Journalist Lulu Randolph heads to Nassau in 1941 to investigate the governor, actually the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, for a popular New York magazine. Soon Lulu falls in love with Benedict Thorpe, a British scientist who is captured by the Nazis. Told in alternating chapters, It’s also the story of Benedict’s parents, Elfriede and Wilfred decades earlier. This is an exceptional historical novel full of romance, spies, intrigue, racial tension and murder. Emma

What we’re reading so far….

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

The Dutch House is a story of siblings, Danny and Maeve Conroy, their obsessive connection with the iconic family house they lived in as young children and how their lives unfolded over the years.  The story is told through the eyes of Danny, younger of the two siblings.  We, as readers, watch Danny realize his life is peculiar, his childhood home is extraordinary, and the rooms and people of his childhood are more complex than he thought.  At times, the story resembles a fairy tale, with stepchildren and evil step mother, however, author, Ann Patchett, with such great compassion and wit, brings the story so alive that one can’t help but get hooked.  Get yourself on the holds list for this right now.  It was my favorite book of 2019.  In the meantime, treat yourself with any other book by Ann Patchett. Mary

Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

VanderMeer quickly became one of my favorite authors after I read his amazing Southern Reach Trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, Acceptance) so I began reading Borne with high expectations. I’m happy to report that Borne does not disappoint and delivers more of the weird, literary, dark, dystopian science fiction that I had hoped for. In a destroyed city that is never named, readers meet the smart and resourceful scavenger Rachel. She tries her best to survive in the city with her partner Wick, gathering relics from abandoned buildings, rebuilding biotech, and trying to evade the gigantic, monstrous bear, named Mord. Mord enjoys flying above the city, eating whatever and whomever he pleases, and generally destroying all in his path. Mord is the creation of the evil and ominous Company, who appear to be responsible for not only Mord’s terrible presence but also the general collapse of the city and all of the terrifying and strange creatures who live there. Rachel finds a curious blob-like creature entangled in Mord’s fur one day while scavenging, and quickly discovers the blob is intelligent, talks, and is also growing at a rapid rate. She names the now tentacled discovery Borne, and things only get weirder from there. Nicole

That Darkness by Lisa Black

That Darkness by Lisa Black

That Darkness is the first in the Gardiner and Renner series. Maggie Gardiner is a forensic investigator for the Cleveland Police Department. Jack Renner is a homicide detective working a series of murders with the same cause of death but no other obvious connection. The more Maggie pores over the evidence, the more she suspects a vigilante killer who possibly has ties to the police department. When the evidence finally points to Jack, Maggie is confronted with a moral dilemma. Will she reveal Jack’s secret? Lisa Black is a former trace evidence specialist for the Cuyahoga County coroner and current CSI in Florida, and the crime scene details of the book are meticulously written and described. Jack’s vigilante serial killer story is introduced but not completely explained. Readers will have to continue the series for more details! I did, in fact, binge the series in it’s current entirety and it definitely gets better as they go along. Maggie and Jack tackle cases involving the murders of journalists, corrupt politicians, and teens living in a county facility. As they cover different cases they have to navigate the huge secret that defines their relationship. I look forward to more stories of fictional Cleveland crimes from Lisa Black.  Megan

Loom by Sarah Gridley

Loom by Sarah Gridley

I’m reading a book of poetry, Loom, by Sarah Gridley, which came out in 2013.  I had Sarah as a poetry teacher when I was briefly a student at Case, and she was wonderful for many reasons, so I could be biased.  But sometimes I think Sarah’s poetry is a kind of well-kept secret, not only in CLE but elsewhere as well, and that she deserves a wider audience.  Like other poets I love, including John Ashbery and Anne Carson, Sarah’s poetry gets pegged as “difficult,” but in a pejorative way – it’s too weird, people say, too interior, too lacking in narrative maybe, customary guideposts, something like that. But that’s exactly why I love Sarah’s poetry.  It is a kind of startling confrontation, because it forces you to trust your intuition, your heart, your own senses and your own mind, and encounter the poem without any preconceptions about what a poem should do, think, imagine or be.  Sarah’s poems are profoundly intelligent, open, spacious, deeply feeling-full, generous, fun, imaginative, and creative.  And the music of her poetry is her own – funny, wondering, modestly immodest, intimate. Check out Loom from RRPL, if you’re interested, and stay alert – her latest book of poems, Insofar, which won the Green Rose Prize from New Issues Press, chosen by Forest Gander, who won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry last year, is coming out later this year in April.  Andrew

Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Earthsea Quartet by Ursula K. Le Guin

Recently I decided to take advantage of our large collection of digital audiobooks through ClevNet Overdrive to listen to audio versions of fantasy novels I haven’t yet read. I began with the iconic Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin. I am 4 books in and have enjoyed listening to each one immensely. Already being a fan of audio books, I have found this digital format very convenient as I am able to switch from device to device and pickup where I left off. Audio books have allowed me the chance to catch-up on books that I have been meaning to read. Would high recommend this series and this format. Greg

The Furies by Katie Lowe

The Furies by Katie Lowe

Violet begins the fall term as the new girl at Elm Hollow Academy, the site of witch hangings in the 17th century and the mysterious death of a student years later. Her home life has been unhappy since her father and sister died in a car crash, and her mother never mentally recovered from the tragedy. She expects to be a loner, like she has been since the accident, but is immediately taken under the wing of a wild and charming girl and her group of friends. They are part of an advanced study group with a teacher who studies ancient history and mythology as well as the rites and spells of the witches from long ago. Taught as history not practice, the girls nevertheless are drawn towards the idea of powerful women and powerful magic. They become increasingly wild and reckless as they learn the secrets of the women who came before them and begin to feel the power these women held. When one of the girls is violated, they swear revenge, and Violet is no longer sure of what is real, what is make believe, and what is magic. Sara

The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams

The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams

Journalist Lulu Randolph heads to Nassau in 1941 to investigate the governor, actually the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, for a popular New York magazine. Soon Lulu falls in love with Benedict Thorpe, a British scientist who is captured by the Nazis. Told in alternating chapters, It’s also the story of Benedict’s parents, Elfriede and Wilfred decades earlier. This is an exceptional historical novel full of romance, spies, intrigue, racial tension and murder. Emma

Sara’s Top Ten of 2019

It was fun to look back and see what I was reading all year long–some of them feel like I finished them so long ago, and some I remember every detail like I read them yesterday. It was another year of suspense and mystery for me, with a little fantasy thrown in. Not usually my favorite genre, but I may be changing my mind a little. In no particular order, please enjoy ten of my favorites that I read this year!

Pieces of Her

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter This is about to be a Netflix original, and you will be riveted by it.

The Hiding Place: A Novel

The Hiding Place by C.J. Tudor Another book about a homecoming gone wrong by the author of The Chalk Man.

Lost Man

The Lost Man by Jane Harper An amazing tale of love, death and survival in the Australian outback. One of my favorite authors who also wrote The Dry.

Watching You: A Novel

Watching You by Lisa Jewell No one’s secrets are really secret. Someone is always watching.

The Witch Elm

The Witch Elm by Tana French A stand alone from the wonderful author of the Dublin Murder Squad series.

I Know You Know

I Know You Know by Gilly Macmillan A twenty-year-old murder and a podcast questioning whether the man convicted actually did it–what could go wrong?

I Let You Go

I Let You Go by Claire Mackintosh As usual, this author has you suspecting everyone until the bitter end.

A Better Man (B&N Exclusive Edition) (Chief Inspector Gamache Series #15)

A Better Man by Louise Penny You probably won’t find a list of mine without Inspector Gamache on it, and I hope it remains that way for years to come.

Crimson Lake by Candace Fox A suspense-filled novel set in Australia which is the beginning of a series– some of the most interesting characters I’ve ever met.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi The first of a fantasy trilogy that is a must read for adults and teens. I’m on the holds list for the second book which just came out!