Discover@rrpl.org

Ghost Ups Her Game

by Carolyn Hart

Bailey Ruth Raeburn, a resident of heaven and a member of the Department of Good Intentions, is given an assignment in her hometown of Adelaide, Oklahoma. When she arrives at Goddard College, the site of the murder, young lawyer Robert Blair and assistant professor Iris Gallagher are standing over the dead body of college fundraiser Matt Lambert. Iris is holding the murder weapon but denies being the murderer. Robert disposes of the incriminating evidence. Working with the knowledge of the local police chief, Bailey Ruth appearing as a police officer, a private detective and a fashionable 27-year-old redhead identifies suspects responsible for the murder.

The 9th entry in the Baily Ruth mystery series is a quick fun read. You might want to give all of them a try.

Bailey Ruth Ghost
   1. Ghost At Work (2008)
   2. Merry, Merry Ghost (2009)
   3. Ghost in Trouble (2010)
   4. Ghost Gone Wild (2013)
   5. Ghost Wanted (2014)
   6. Ghost to the Rescue (2015)
   7. Ghost Times Two (2016)
   8. Ghost on the Case (2017)
   9. Ghost Ups Her Game (2020)
   10. Ghost Blows a Kiss (2021)

~ Emma

Reconnect@RRPL – Some End of Year Recommendations

I can’t let 2020 end without sharing two of my most recent obsessions with you, that you too, ahem, can also realize courtesy of your local library.

First up is a book that would have made my “Top Ten of 2020” post, had I read it earlier. Big Girl, Small Town by Michelle Gallen was my Christmas weekend read and I’m still reeling from this gut-puncher of a debut. This dark and darkly comic novel is told over the course of a single work-week through eyes of Majella, a 27-year-old woman who works at the local chip shop. Majella lives with her alcoholic mom in fictional Aghybogey, Ireland, a depressed border town where tensions between Catholics and Protestants run deep and violent. Majella, who might be autistic, is just trying to figure out the changing world around her. In the week after her grandmother has been murdered, Majella is desperate to carry on with her usual routine, and returns to work. There, her descriptions of a typical night in the chip shop provide a razor-sharp commentary on her small-town and its inhabitants, and on her own life’s painful history. I laughed. I cried. I laughed some more. Place your hold in our catalog.

My second new obsession has been watching A Suitable Boy, a BBC television drama based on a (over 1,300 page!) 1993 novel by Vikram Seth, set in 1951 in a newly-independent India. This six-part miniseries is the coming-of-age story of Lata, a university student who is torn between her family duty, religious loyalty and love, as three very different men try to win her heart. This show has it all: lush settings, a lesson in Indian history, great music, and romance, of course! Acorn released episode five today and I cannot wait to watch it. Did I mention that I stream Acorn (including this show) for free from the library? You can, too! Click here to get started.

And, until next time, Happy New Year! ~Carol

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

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

In Case You Get Hit By a Bus: A Plan to Organize Your Life Now For When You’re Not Around Later by Abby Schneiderman/ Adam Seifer/ Gene Newman – A practical guide based on first-person experience with sudden loss shares advice for how to protect loved ones through proactive legal measures, discussing such topics as personal finances, funeral arrangements and legal safeguards.

Growing Under Cover: Techniques for a More Productive, Weather-Resistant, Pest-free Vegetable Garden by Niki Jabbour – Best-selling author Niki Jabbour provides an essential, in-depth guide to creating controlled growing spaces for productive vegetable gardening, using row covers, shade cloth, low tunnels, cold frames, hoop-houses, and more.

Friendshipping: The Art of Finding Friends, Being Friends, and Keeping Friends by Jenn Bane/ Trin Garritano/ Jean Wei – Humorous and sincere, this book of advice, illustrated throughout, presents the tips and tools readers need to make new friends and improve the quality of existing friendships.

Knit Happy With Self-Striping Yarn: Bright, Fun and Colorful Sweaters and Accessories Made Easy by Stephanie Lotven – The knitwear designer and the founder of Tellybean Knits shows knitters and crafters of any level how to incorporate playful whimsy into sweaters, hats, gloves and more through multi-color stripes and shapes.

Plant Partners: Science-Based Companion Planting Strategies for the Vegetable Garden by Jessica Walliser – Reflecting the latest research on how plants influence and communicate with each other, the author offers a research-based guide to companion planting&;a gardening method that uses strategic plant partnerships to improve crop yields and outsmart pests.

1000 Japanese Knitting & Crochet Stitches by Nihon Vogue & Gayle RoehmThis book is a treasure trove of needlecraft patterns and motifs for experienced knitters and crocheters seeking to create and better understand the infinite variety of their craft. This Japanese reference work is beloved by knitters the world over, and the English version will allow even more crafters to enjoy these techniques.

Rick Steves Istanbul: With Ephesus & Cappadocia by Lale Surmen Aran & Tankut Aran – A comprehensive guide to exploring Istanbul, from domed churches and mosques to Turkish baths and whirling dervishes, including top sights and hidden gems, the best places to eat and sleep, detailed neighborhood maps, packing lists and a phrase book.

The Great British Baking Show: Love to Bake by Paul Hollywood / Prue Leith – The Great British Baking Show: Love to Bake Throughout the book, judges’ recipes from Paul and Prue will hone your skills, while lifelong favorites from the 2020 bakers offer insight into the journeys that brought the contestants to the Bake Off tent and the reasons why they – like you – love to bake.

~Semanur~

Sara’s Top 10 of 2020

Time for another Top 10 already! Looking back, it seems like I mostly read mystery and thrillers this year. Hope you enjoy some of the ones on my list!

Ghosts of Harvard by Francesca Serritella

I haven’t quite finished this one yet, but I can tell it will be a favorite. A young girl attends Harvard, hoping to get closure about the death of her brother who committed suicide there last year.

Redemption Point by Candace Fox

The second book in the Crimson Lake series which follows the paths of two outcasts and alleged criminals who pursue redemption by helping others solve crimes.

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

Another second book in a series which rivals the first one. Magic returns to the land of Orisha after being brutally banned for decades, but is it really a victory when you take your country to the edge of civil war?

Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon

Deep down, how well can any father really know how his teenage son feels, what he’s up to, and how far he will go if pushed?

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

Ghosts, mystery, romance, missing persons- what more could you want in a book?

A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight

I really enjoyed this story about a young lawyer in a lonely marriage who agrees to help a friend get out of prison, only to find his case affects her more than she could ever imagine.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

A deadly wedding ceremony on an isolated island in the middle of a terrible storm. What could possibly happen?

All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny

One of my favorite Gamache books so far with lovely twist- the whole thing is set in Paris.

The Searcher by Tana French

Another great mystery that makes you want to go to Ireland immediately and see the lush countryside and the meet all the quirky people who live in the village.

Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

I just finished this one- it was a page turner full of twists and turns, marriages, families, good-and of course, evil.

RRPL Gift Guide – Gifts for the Science Fiction Nerd in Your Life

Being something of a gigantic nerd myself, I know that it can be difficult to buy holiday presents for that science fiction aficionado in your life. They have all the action figures – excuse me, figurines – they could ever need, and there’s no more space for posters on their walls. Let me, a self-professed nerd, guide you on a journey to the perfect present for your loved one. 

All of these items are available through the library if you’d like to try before you buy, but please make sure to support your local independent bookstore; you can buy online and support indie bookstores with Bookshop.org.

If they love to read:

Gideon the Ninth & Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

I cannot stop raving about this series – in my opinion, these books are the best sci fi I’ve read in years. If the phrase “lesbian necromancers in space” sounds like something your nerd would like, pick up these books! Not a reader? Try gifting them the audiobook versions, which are also excellent.

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

A sci-fi love letter to NYC mixed with Lovecraftian horror, the newest book by the author of mega-popular The Fifth Season

Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots

Has your nerd ever thought about the collateral damage that their favorite superhero creates by smashing two skyscrapers together? Choose Hench for a different take on superheroes.

Redshirts by John Skalzi 

If your nerd loves Star Trek, they’ll love Redshirts, which follows the little guys rather than the starship captains in a ‘legally distinct’ universe from Star Trek.

Star Trek: Picard: The Last Best Hope by Una McCormack

Another entry for Star Trek fans, this book is the prequel to the new series Star Trek: Picard.

Star Wars: The Mandalorian: The Art & Imagery

If your nerd can’t get enough of Baby Yoda, they’ll love this collection of art from the ultra-popular Mandalorian.

If they’re more of a movie person:

Tenet

The biggest film release of the year by one of the most acclaimed directors out there, Christopher Nolan. Your nerd is almost guaranteed to want this movie.

Star Trek: Picard Season One

Another exciting release in 2020, this new Star Trek series brings back the most beloved of starship captains, Jean Luc Picard, played by Patrick Stewart.

Underwater

This one is more of a horror entry, but still has science fiction elements. A crew of deep-sea researchers must get to safety after their underwater drilling station is hit by an earthquake.

Ex Machina

What happens when a tech genius creates a robotic AI? A sleeper science fiction hit from 2014 starring Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson.

Color Out of Space

Treat your nerd to this flick starring scenery-chewer Nicholas Cage as a farmer whose property is hit by a meteorite, based on an H. P. Lovecraft story.

Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker

If your nerd is a Star Wars fan, they’ll want to complete their collection with the final installment in the new trilogy that started with The Force Awakens.

Good luck in your hunt for the perfect present, and keep an eye on this blog for many more gift guides from other staff members in the coming week!

Books to give for Christmas (of course, we also recommend checking them out from the library ;-)

This year, Christmas feels a little strange and isolated. But it also feel a little cozy. The first snowfall was absolutely beautiful and really got me into the Christmas spirit. As I try to avoid malls and busy stores, I have of course turned to online shopping like many of us. But somehow that just seems impersonal this year. After weeks of quarantining, ordering carry out, groceries from Instacart, and pretty much everything else in the world from Amazon, I’m ready to get back to basics for this year’s holiday. My daughter and I tried our hand at making candles (we definitely need to read up on this a little bit, as I watch one of ours smoke itself out), we have plans for many more cookie varieties than ever, and are drawn towards handmade gifts from Etsy and local stores.

In keeping with this, I am buying books as gifts for the first time in years! My teen/young adult kids don’t read as vociferously as they used to, and most of my family reads on a Kindle. But this year, it just feels right to go back to basics, hold a real book in my hands while I sip coffee by my Christmas tree and lights. My kids have watched pretty much everything Netflix, Hulu and Amazon have to offer, so I think I’m going to try and entice them to take an electronic break, relax on the couch with me to read a good book by the tree.

Here are a few titles coming out in December. Some of them haven’t been published yet, but what is more fun then preordering a book and knowing you will be one of the first to read it? Remember that our local retailers need you this year more than ever. So head to bookshop.org to get some of these new titles that promise to be keepers! They also offer gift cards if you just can’t choose ;-).

Simply thrilling

There’s no such thing as a perfect family. And it’s usually not wise to point that out.

Thriller, romance and fantasy, all rolled into one.

A debut thriller that asks one simple question, shouldn’t a dead husband stay dead?

On the lighter side

Quinn and Minnie share their day of birth, but their lives couldn’t be more different.

A dare and a crash course in flirting turn a frumpy college professor’s life upside down.

An anxiety-ridden introvert finds herself in the spotlight and decides to fake it til she makes it.

Different times and places

Stunning debut explores Afghanistan on the eve of a violent revolution.

A story of survival, loss and love, and the sisters who changed fashion forever.

A poor girl with dreams grows up in the shadow of Biltmore House, the palatial Vanderbilt mansion.

Reconnect@RRPL

By Amy Poeppel

Best friends cellist Bridget and pianist Will founded the successful Forsythe Trio while attending Julliard 30+ years ago. They are searching for a new violinist again to complete the trio beginning in the fall. For the summer Bridget moves back to her rundown Connecticut country home. She is expecting her author boyfriend to join her for a relaxing summer, but her 20-something twins move home instead. In addition Bridget’s 90-year-old world renowned conductor father announces he is getting married. Due to a fire at her father’s home, Bridget’s dilapidated barn becomes the venue for the wedding, and major repairs commence.

This a heartwarming story filled with secrets revealed, music, friendship, romance, family and chaos. Some issues are resolved, but some aren’t. Here’s hoping for a sequel!

~Emma

Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer Review

Departing from her usual science fiction and fantasy offerings, Marissa Meyer has released her first YA contemporary romance with a hint of magical realism and it is delightful.

Prudence Barnett is the stereotypical overachiever. She’s judgmental and difficult to like at times, especially when she’s lashing out at her horrible lab partner, Quint Erickson, the well-liked slacker who is dragging her and her final grade down. After an accidental head injury, Pru discovers she has the ability to bestow instant karma on those around her. The only problem is that Quint seems immune to her new power, much to her dismay. She and Quint have been given a second chance to improve their grade, but he continues to frustrate her.

Things aren’t all fluff, teen angst, and typical romance tropes. The story has real meat to it as both teens deal with family issues. Pru is also forced to confront her own assumptions about her friends and classmates and make some tough decisions regarding how to use her unusual gift. Throw in some environmentalism, an aquatic animal rescue, and some karaoke, and you have fun, refreshing, and thoughtful cautionary tale. The queen of retellings has struck gold with this one.

As the weather grows colder and the days get shorter, treat yourself to this sunny beach read. You won’t regret it.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy of this book.

~Megan

Reconnect@RRPL

In need of a pick-me-up? Pick up What You Wish for by Katherine Center!

In this novel, Samantha Casey is a school librarian in Galveston, Texas who loves her job and brings joy to all she does. But she wasn’t always that way. At her last school in California, Samantha was quiet, less confident and secretly in love with a enigmatic teacher who didn’t know she existed. Because she couldn’t be with this man, Samantha felt as though she needed to leave in order to change– she did, and she didn’t look back.

When the beloved principal at her Texas school dies, Samantha learns that his replacement will be Duncan Carpenter, the very same man she worked with (and loved from afar at her last school)! Samantha knows this former teacher-turned-principal will be perfect for the job. After all, this was “the guy,” her old crush, whose own wacky outlook, positive energy and love of life and teaching inspired her transformation into a more outgoing person.

But when Duncan arrives on the scene, he is nothing like the man Samantha remembers. He is no longer carefree, fun, or full of laughter. Instead, he is now a suit-and-tie wearing, rule-enforcing, scowling stick-in-the-mud who seems eager to change everything good about the school and destroy its legacy. Is it Samantha’s turn now to help Duncan rediscover who he really is, and teach him to take chances in life and love?

Pick up What You Wish For if you are in the mood for a light romance, but know that it also has some real substance to it. The engaging characters in this novel experience difficult situations and show personal growth, even as the book’s witty dialogue speeds the story along to its ultimately happy ending. Sounds like the perfect read to me. –Carol

What we’re reading now-

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

The Guest List is a psychological mystery/thriller.  The main characters are the bride, the groom, the bridesmaid, the best man, the plus-one and the wedding planner.  The novel takes place on an island off the coast of Ireland.  The story begins on the eve of the wedding, and someone ends up dead.  Many twists and turns throughout the story, and for me, a surprise ending.  The mystery/thriller genre is not my wheelhouse, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  Foley did a great job of describing a breath-taking setting, peppered with a full Irish cast of characters.   The story moved at a quick pace, and I simply could not put the book down. Mary

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

I just started reading this book on the enthusiastic recommendation of a friend and am very much enjoying this weird and riveting story thus far. Written by one of Japan’s most highly regarded novelists, this book follows Toru Okada as he searches for his wife’s missing cat in a Tokyo suburb. He soon finds himself looking for his wife as well in a strange underworld that lies beneath the surface of Tokyo, full of odd and sometimes menacing people. I have no idea how this will end but look forward to getting there! Nicole

When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole

Sydney has lived in the same historically Black neighborhood since she was a little girl, knowing the same neighbors all her life, but gentrification is coming. Over the course of a week, neighbors mysteriously ‘move out,’ the greasy-spoon bodega changes hands to become a place that sells kombucha and wraps, and real estate agents knock on her door more and more aggressively to try to force her to sell her mother’s house. Sydney will discover that garden-variety gentrification isn’t the only thing in play, and that there are darker motives under the changes. This gentrification twist on the traditional thriller is a page-turning, suspenseful read as well as a biting social commentary. Shannon

 The Last Great Road Bum by Hector Tobar

This novel is a fascinating amalgam of fiction and non-fiction featuring a real person, Joe Sanderson. Sanderson, raised in the traditional Midwest of the 1950s and expected to go to college and marry, instead became a globe-trotter, searching out locations where wars raged, so that he could experience a life of adventure and the makings of a great novel. Author Tobar acquired Sanderson’s writings and added fictionalized touches to Sanderson’s life, envisioning his childhood and why he made the choices that he did. Though his novel was never published, maybe Sanderson would see in Tobar’s work the novel that he envisioned.  Dori

The Oracle Code by Marieke Nijkamp

I heard about this graphic novel when watching Comic-Con@Home 2020. A bunch of authors had a panel discussion about writing heroine characters in the Batman universe in the YouTube video Batgirls! Nijkamp is a writer who has lived in a wheelchair most of her life, so she brings real experience to the story of Barbara Gordon, Commissioner Gordon’s daughter. It is about teenage Barbara going to a rehabilitation center after being shot and adjusting to her new life in a wheelchair. In comics after The Killing Joke, Barbara, in her wheelchair, is often portrayed as becoming a librarian while secretly working as Oracle, providing intel to Batman. But here she is younger and trying to solve a mystery in her new temporary home where she feels so uncomfortable and has lost her sense of self. I’m enjoying artist Manuel Preitano’s style, including the childlike creepy ghost stories, and metaphors of jumbled puzzle pieces. Byron

Jane in Love by Robin Givney 

You don’t need to be a Janeite to enjoy the story of Jane Austen traveling through time based on making an accidental wish to find her one true love. When Jane finds herself still in Bath, England but modern day, she’s stuck in a world she doesn’t understand without money or people to rely on. How did she get here and will she be stuck forever? If you want to consider the challenges of being a woman in 1803 vs. right now, or make some new fictional friends, this might be the book for you! Stacey

Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman

I just couldn’t wait to get my hands on the latest by Alice Hoffman and was not disappointed. This novel is a prequel to Hoffman’s popular 1995 novel Practical Magic and is set in 17th-century in England, Salem, Massachusetts, and New York City. It follows the life of Maria Owens, a foundling child who is rescued by Hannah Owens, a kind witch who raises Maria to practice “green magic” and teaches her to only use these powers to help and heal those in need. Unfortunately, the hardships Maria faces in her life allow her lose sight of these rules of magic, and she brings a curse upon her future generations with one impulsive move. This is a book about magic, love, family, injustice, history and best of all, witches, and it makes for a riveting read. Hoffman’s writing has only improved in the last 25 years and for this reader, Magic Lessons was even better than its sequel. Prepare to be spellbound.   Carol

The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop by Fannie Flagg

I just checked out a copy of the new Fannie Flagg book, The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop. It’s the sequel to Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. The reviews are great and I’ve enjoyed reading other books by this author, and I look forward to reading this one. Emma