New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

In this week’s special picks there are new exciting romance, mystery, fantasy, and many more genres for you to choose from! Enjoy!

The Black Swan of Paris by Karen Robards – A celebrated singer in World War II occupied France joins the Resistance to save her estranged family from being killed in a German prison. By the award-winning author of The Fifth Doctrine. A world at war. A beautiful young star. A mission no one expected.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager – Twenty-five years after her father published a wildly popular non-fiction book based on her family’s rushed exit from a haunted Victorian estate, naysayer Maggie inherits the house and begins renovations only to make a number of disturbing discoveries. Is the place really haunted by evil forces, as her father claimed? Or are there more earthbound and dangerous secrets hidden within its walls?

Her Last Flight by Beatriz Williams – The beloved author returns with a remarkable novel of both raw suspense and lyric beauty – Investigating the fate of a forgotten aviation pioneer, a 1947 war correspondent tracks down the pilot’s former student before learning the remarkable story of their complicated and passionate relationship. By the best-selling author of The Golden Hour.

All the Broken People by Leah Konen – Moving to rustic Woodstock to escape an unhappy past, Lucy bonds with an alluring couple, Vera and John, who embroil her in a plot to fake John’s death, before Lucy finds herself framed for the man’s actual murder. She bargained for in this twisty and addictive domestic thriller for fans of The Couple Next Door.

The Dilemma by B. A. Paris – Organizing a lavish birthday party after decades of hardship, a woman hiding a secret about a daughter who cannot attend is forced to confront a devastating truth when her husband arranges a surprise. NYT and USA Today bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors, The Breakdown, and Bring Me Back.

Daring and the Duke by Sarah MacLean – New York Times bestselling author Sarah MacLean returns with the much-anticipated final book in her Bareknuckle Bastards series, featuring a scoundrel duke and the powerful woman who brings him to his knees.

Holding Out for Christmas by Janet Dailey – A demure kindergarten teacher with dreams of Nashville stardom makes a difficult choice when she reunites with a smitten and wildly attractive rancher during an annual western-themed Christmas ball that launches a holiday season of romance and promise.

Word to the Wise by Jenn McKinlay – It’s no-holds-barred murder. Lindsey Norris is finally getting married to the man of her dreams but it’s not all roses for Briar Creek’s beloved library director, as town newcomer Aaron Grady gives the term “book lover” a whole new meaning. Inappropriate looks and unwelcome late-night visits to Lindsey’s house have everyone from the crafternooners to Lindsey’s fiancé, Sully, on edge.

The Empire of Gold by S. A. Chakraborty – In this final installment in the critically acclaimed trilogy, Nahri and Ali are determined to save both their city and their loved ones, but when Ali seeks support in his mother’s homeland, he makes a discovery that threatens not only his relationship with Nahri, but his very faith.

The Chicken Sisters by K. J. Dell’Antonia – Three generations. Two chicken shacks. One recipe for disaster. The last thing Brooklyn-based organizational guru Mae Moore, Amanda’s sister, wants is to go home to Kansas. But when her career implodes, helping the fading Mimi’s look good on Food Wars becomes Mae’s best chance to reclaim the limelight. When family secrets become public knowledge, the sisters must choose: Will they fight with each other, or for their heritage?

One Last Lie by Paul Doiron – When his beloved mentor disappears amid the discovery of an antique badge,Mike Bowditch investigates the presumed death of an undercover warden before the cold case is upended by dangerous secrets and a daughter’s return.

Firestick by William W. Johnstone & J. A. Johnstone – In this exciting new series, bestselling authors pay homage to America’s trail – hardened backwoodsmen who, like a fine grain whisky, only get better with age. Firestick is the town marshal. Beartooth and Moosejaw are his deputies. And when a hired gunman shows up with bullets blazing, these three hard-cases are ready to prove they aren’t getting older.

Nacho Average Murder by Maddie Day – While looking forward to her high school reunion back in California, Robbie’s anticipation is complicated by memories of her mother’s untimely death. But then she gets wind of rumors that her mother, an environmental activist, may not have died of natural causes. With the help of friends, Robbie starts clearing the smoke surrounding the mystery; but what she finds could make it hard to get back to Indiana alive . . .

Selfcare by Leigh Stein – Have you ever scrolled through Instagram and seen countless influencers who seem like experts at caring for themselves from their yoga crop tops to their well-lit clean meals to their serumed skin and erudite-but-color-coded reading stack? Self Care delves into the lives and psyches of people working in the wellness industry and exposes the world behind the filter.

~Semanur

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

We have some new releases picked out for you to dive in for the following week. There is more adventure, humor, romance and suspense for you to enjoy!

28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand – The best-selling author of Summer of ’69 presents a tale inspired by the film, Same Time Next Year, that follows a man’s discovery of his mother’s long-term relationship with the husband of a Presidential frontrunner.

Stranger Planet by Nathan W. Pyle – The sequel to the #1 New York Times bestselling phenomenon Strange Planet, featuring more hilarious and poignant adventures from the fascinating inhabitants of Nathan W. Pyle’s colorful world. In this eagerly awaited sequel, Nathan takes us back to his charming and instantly recognizable planet colored in bright pinks, blues, greens, and purples, providing more escapades, jokes, and p h r a s e s.

American Demon by Kim Harrison – When the magical acts her friends and she committed to save the world inadvertently unleash a zombie epidemic, witch-demon Rachel Mariana Morgan considers a wrenching sacrifice in the wake of baffling murders and the arrival of a new demon. A thrilling return to the #1 New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series, continuing Rachel Morgan’s story.

Hunted Again by Heather Graham – Feel the thrills and chills of this heart-pounding romantic suspense from New York Times bestselling author Heather Graham. A love rekindle or a deadly reunion? Even after a decade, Sarah Hampton is haunted by the night that nearly ended in a bloody massacre and destroyed her high school romance with handsome Tyler Grant. Now the horror has returned. It’s a reckoning from the events of that terrifying night and a love they never let go. Only this time Tyler must protect Sarah from the killer hiding in the darkness or lose her forever.

The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton – In 1935 three women are forever changed when one of the most powerful hurricanes in history barrels toward the Florida Keys. For the tourists traveling on Henry Flagler’s legendary Overseas Railroad, Labor Day weekend is an opportunity to forget the economic depression gripping the nation. But one person’s paradise can be another’s prison, and Key West-native Helen Berner yearns to escape.

Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks – A modern retelling of the Bigfoot legend is presented as a gripping journal by a woman from a high-tech Pacific Northwest community who becomes cut off from civilization by a volcanic eruption before witnessing the flight of starving humanoid beings. The #1 bestselling author of World War Z returns with a horror tale that blurs the lines between human and beast, and asks, What are we capable of when we’re cut off from society?

The Half Sister by Sandie Jones – Approached by a secret half-sister they never knew, two close sisters turn against the stranger before uncovering difficult truths about their beloved late father. From Sandie Jones, the New York Times bestselling author of the Hello Sunshine Book Club pick The Other Woman, comes The Half Sister; a compelling new domestic suspense novel about a family who is forever changed when a stranger arrives at their door.

Stephen King’s the Dark Tower the Drawing of the Three 4: Bitter Medicine by Stephen King/ Robin Furth/ Peter David/ Jonathan Marks/ Lee Loughridge – Enter once more the world of Roland Deschain and the world of the Dark Tower presented in this stunning fourth graphic novel of The Drawing of the Three story arc that will unlock the doorways to terrifying secrets and bold storytelling as part of the dark fantasy masterwork and magnum opus from #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephen King. 

New world sourdough : artisan techniques for creative homemade fermented breads; with recipes for pan de coco, bagels, beignets and more by Bryan Ford – New World Sourdough is your go-to guide to baking delicious, inventive sourdough breads at home. Learn how to make a sourdough starter, basic breads, as well as other innovative baked goods from start to finish with Instagram star Bryan Ford’s (@artisanbryan) inviting, nontraditional approach to home baking.

Fast. Feast. Repeat.: The Comprehensive Guide to Delay , Don’t Deny Intermittent Fasting: Including the 28-Day Fast Start by Gin Stephens – Diets don’t work. You know you know that, and yet you continue to try them, because what else can you do? You can Fast. Feast. Repeat. After losing over eighty pounds and keeping every one of them off, Gin Stephens started a vibrant, successful online community with hundreds of thousands of members from around the world who have learned the magic of a Delay, Don’t Deny® intermittent fasting lifestyle. Change when you eat and change your body, your health, and your life!

 

~Semanur

 

New Fiction Coming in May 2020

 

Take a look at some of the exciting new fiction coming to our shelves in May. Whether you are looking for a literary fiction read, a historical page-turner, or a woman’s fiction, we have something for you!

 

 

5/04: All Adults Here by Emma Straub – A matriarch confronts the legacy of her parenting mistakes while her adult children navigate respective challenges in high standards and immaturity, before a teen granddaughter makes a courageous decision to tell the truth. By the best-selling author of Modern Lovers.

In All Adults Here, Emma Straub’s unique alchemy of wisdom, humor, and insight come together in a deeply satisfying story about adult siblings, aging parents, high school boyfriends, middle school mean girls, the lifelong effects of birth order, and all the other things that follow us into adulthood, whether we like them to or not.

5/05: Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner – A woman confronts the dynamics of friendship and forgiveness while visiting Cape Cod to attend an old friend’s increasingly disastrous wedding. By the best-selling author of Good in Bed and Mrs. Everything.

A sparkling novel about the complexities of female relationships, the pitfalls of living out loud and online, and the resilience of the human heart, Big Summer is a witty, moving story about family, friendship, and figuring out what matters most.

5/05: Close Up, -No. 4 (Burning Cove, California)- by Amanda Quick – Welcome to Burning Cove, California where 1930s Hollywood glamour conceals a ruthless killer.
Protecting a crime-scene photographer who has identified elusive details connecting a string of murders, reclusive investigator Nick Sundridge uses his own uncanny talents to tie the killer to 1930s Hollywood society. By the best-selling author of the Arcane Society series.

 

 

5/05: Robert B. Parker’s Grudge Match, -No. 8 (Sunny Randall)- by Mike Lupica – Reluctantly taking the case of a long-time gangster associate who will forgive a betrayal in return, private investigator Sunny Randall tracks down the man’s missing girlfriend and business partner before the murder of a witness reveals unanticipated dangers. Robert B. Parker’s beloved PI Sunny Randall returns on a case that blurs the line between friend and foe…and if Sunny can’t tell the difference, the consequences may be deadly.

5/19: Furmidable Foes, –No. 29 (Mrs. Murphy)- by Rita Mae Brown – Mary Minor “Harry” Harristeen and her pet sleuths investigate hidden enemies in their effort to expose a scam involving an upmarket organic grocery store that is selling substandard produce. By the author of the “Sister” Jane series. 

Mary Minor “Harry” Harristeen is on the hunt for a killer with a deadly green thumb when a day in the garden turns fatal in this exciting new mystery from Rita Mae Brown and her feline co-author Sneaky Pie Brown.

5/26: Girls of Summer by Nancy Thayer – Skeptical about their single mother’s Nantucket romance with a younger man, siblings Juliet and Theo navigate their own tangled relationships involving an idealistic environmentalist and a girl fighting the trauma of a school tragedy. By the best-selling author of Island Girls

 

~Semanur

 

What we’re reading now…..

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

Cover image for The Nickel boys :

Whitehead’s harrowing story about a reform school in Florida during the Jim Crow-era is fictional, though based on real life accounts.  The story does not dramatize the violence and horrors of the reality, rather lets the circumstances speak for themselves.  It is a powerful story regarding the very real racial inequality of our country in the not so distant past.  Beth

Orange World and Other Stories by Karen Russell

Cover image for

This is the second short story collection I have read by author Karen Russell. Just like her other anthology Vampires in the Lemon Grove : Stories, Orange World offers the reader a variety of stories where everything seems similar and yet uncanny. In a USA Today interview Russell has said that her work isn’t so much magical realism as it is “magical thinking” writing. Highly recommend for fans of Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman, and Victor Lavelle. Greg

Russell’s third collection gives readers eight amazing stories that span a variety of subjects and experiences, all beautifully written, insightful, and often wonderfully weird. Each work is wildly creative, whether you are transported to a future Florida ravaged by rising ocean water and climate change, joining two young women as they attempt to survive an evening trapped in a haunted ski-lodge, or following a widowed farmer as he recklessly returns to a life of raising tornadoes on the Nebraska prairie. Russell skillfully weaves tales that combine both the supernatural and mundane, crafting subtly creepy and emotionally resonant stories. A highly recommended volume for fans of her prior collections, as well as those who enjoy darkly humorous literary fiction. Nicole

The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee

Cover image for

I recently read the stage play The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail by writing partners Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee. It was first published in 1970 during the Vietnam War era, a time when many young people were protesting the American involvement in that conflict. In the play Henry David Thoreau, as a young man, engages in Civil Disobedience by not paying his taxes to show his disapproval of the Mexican-American War. The parallel is clear. The play also shows Thoreau’s relationship with Ralph Waldo Emerson and allows the character to express several themes that he would write about in his middle age before he died at the age of 44. The script is often dream-like with multiple flashbacks from the jail cell used to highlight moments from Thoreau’s development as a thinker who would not just “go along” with the status quo. Byron

The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal

Cover image for

This is the story of Edith and her sister Helen who have been estranged for decades when Helen convinces their father to leave the family farm to her. Helen uses the money to rebuild the Blotz beer brand with her husband Orval Blotz. When granddaughter Diana’s parents are killed, Edith raises her. Together they barely scrape by. Diana has a talent for making beer and eventually buys a small brewery. With Diana’s talent, perseverance, and the help of her grandmother and Edith’s elderly friends, the brewery is successful. This is a hopeful and heartwarming story of take-charge women when the going gets tough. Emma

 

The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin

Cover image for The last romantics :

In the Spring of 1981, the four young Skinner siblings lose their father to a heart attack and soon to follow will lose their mother to severe depression, a time period that the siblings will refer to as The Pause.  Caught between the easy & comfortable life they once had and an uncertain future, the children navigate The Pause with fear and resentment, only to become fiercely loyal to each other.  Two decades later The Skinners find themselves again confronted with a family crisis that will test the strength of these bonds and force them to question the life choices they’ve made and what exactly they will do for love.  This book was much like Commonwealth by Ann Patchett.  If you like family drama, like I do, I recommend this book. Mary

The Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson 

Cover image for

is convinced that her best friend’s death is not part of a suicide pact that has already claimed the lives of the school’s two most popular mean girls. When she finds a mysterious grimoire with a too good to be true solution to her problem, she sets out to resurrect Riley. Of course things don’t go as expected–instead of bringing back Riley to get answers to her murder, she resurrects her bestie AND their bullies, the newly dead mean girls June and Dayton. To make matters worse, none of them have any memory of their deaths. Mila has one week to figure it all out while keeping her zombies out of sight. Surprisingly deep and insightful, this body-positive witch tale is a fun exploration of bullying, friendships, and redemption. Megan

Follow Her Home by Steph Cha

Cover image for


Juniper Song has no experience as a detective.  The closest qualification she has when asked by her best friend to investigate whether his father is having an affair is that she is a Raymond Chandler super fan.  However, this lack of practical training does not deter Juniper from taking the role of Phillip Marlowe and agreeing to do some light snooping.  Following the tradition Marlowe long ago set, Juniper is quickly knocked out soon after she begins looking into the matter.  Only, when Juniper wakes up, the stakes have risen when she also finds a dead body in the trunk of her car.  Great noir that, while paying homage to Chandler, looks to update and add to the genre. Trent

Watching You by Lisa Jewel

Cover image for

I read this quick moving thriller in a few sessions. Told from the points of view of a few “watchers”: a young, restless newlywed living with her brother and his wife has her eye on the handsome older neighbor who is the new school principal; the awkward teenage principal’s son has his eye on most of the neighborhood; the crazy lady next door is sure EVERYONE is watching her, and her daughter has heard terrible rumors about her new principal and is befriending his son to find out if they are true. This voyeuristic neighborhood is thrown into turmoil when someone is brutally murdered. Everyone saw something, but can anyone put it all together? Sara

The Religion of Tomorrow: A Vision for the Future of the Great Traditions by Ken Wilber

Cover image for

Wilber is a philosopher and transpersonal psychologist, and this is one of a few tomes he has written, all wonderful, about helpful ways of thinking about more out-there topics like mysticism, consciousness, and spirituality.  Wilber is also a Buddhist, but his critiques of religion are applicable to Western and Eastern approaches.  I have been reading him for some time now, and have always found him very insightful.  For anyone interested, a great place to start to understand his framework, which is called “AQAL” – standing for “all quadrant, all level” – is his Integral Psychology from 1994.  Andrew

Time to Talk Turkey About Thanksgiving Movies and Books

When you work in a library, you usually have at least one display up that corresponds to a current holiday. Thanksgiving is always the difficult holiday; there are just not many books or movies that revolve around Thanksgiving which is surprising, considering that it’s ripe with potential to explore family issues.

Here are a few titles that either take place during Thanksgiving or have a special or funny scene devoted to the holiday:

Movies:

MV5BMTYwMTc2NjA3OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDk1NTc0MQ@@._V1_UY268_CR2,0,182,268_AL_MV5BZTM3ZjA3NTctZThkYy00ODYyLTk2ZjItZmE0MmZlMTk3YjQwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTA4NzY1MzY@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_MV5BNWU0ZDllZWEtNWI4ZC00YjIzLTk3YjMtZmE0MmFiNzg4MmRlL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTQxNzMzNDI@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_MV5BNTQ1NzI1MzgtYWM3ZC00YjdhLWE1ODAtMmU0YzQzYjY3MjNiXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjk1Njg5NTA@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_MV5BNDQyMDM3MzIyMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzUwMDU2NA@@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_MV5BMzNiYzQyNGEtYjFiOS00OTcyLTg5YzItMDQ2ZGRmZjE1N2Y4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTQxNzMzNDI@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_MV5BMTU3NDgzNTI1M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzcwMjgyMQ@@._V1_UY268_CR4,0,182,268_AL_MV5BMjIwMTk0Njc4Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODc5MjkzNA@@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_MV5BMjg0YzYzYzktNTY3NC00MDE0LThjMzYtMmY0MWZlNDdiYWY2XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDk3NzU2MTQ@._V1_UY268_CR1,0,182,268_AL_

Books:

db5274e4e22d1a459316e565577434f414f4141d3ffbfe5116d3265932674b5141434f414f4141c9f2bf90078553c59792b785141434f414f41411581950039.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_0345452003.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_0316706000.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_082942430X.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_0060885610.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_21825be9dfde9975938566b5541434f414f41411a37a267fa8e16959744f316751434f414f4141

Wishing you and yours a very peaceful and Happy Thanksgiving –

~ Dori

 

 

2016 Favorites – Top 12 Edition

2016 was a book lover’s dream – I was like a kid in a candy store. Between reading and listening, I managed to finish a lot of literary fiction, and a few science fiction and suspense titles, but I have some catching up to do into 2017. Here are the books that I relished in 2016, in no particular order:

laroseLaRose by Louise Erdrich
Erdrich is a writer that I never miss and this book sums up what I love so much about her writing: devotion to characters, insightful commentary on American culture, family love and exploration of the mystical.

 

undergroundThe Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Deserved winner of the National Book Award, this book is a wildly creative and harrowing look at slavery and its legacy. A must read.

 

 

beforeBefore the Fall by Noah Hawley
Hawley, a screenwriter, deftly takes us through a horrific plane crash, exploring the survivor’s guilt and the investigation into the cause.

 

 

mynameMy Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
This small book packs a punch – mother/daughter relationships, poverty, marriage – are all addressed powerfully and in Lucy’s voice – lovely and sad.

 

 

vegetarianThe Vegetarian by Han Kang
There’s no doubt that this is a weird book – it’s about a young woman whose choice to become a vegetarian impacts her whole family in tragic ways – but it’s also both mesmerizing and beautiful.

 

 

queenQueen of the Night by Alexander Chee
Chee’s historical epic about a 19th century American who becomes a famous Parisian courtesan and opera singer envelops and transports you.

 

 

commonCommonwealth by Ann Patchett
This is my first Patchett novel and I may have to read her earlier books based on this one – who doesn’t love a book about a dysfunctional family that sucks you in and doesn’t let go?

 

 

multipleMultiple Choice by Alejandro Zambra
Zambra is a Chilean author and his books often deal with memory and choice within the framework of Chile’s recent authoritarian history. This one’s in the form of a multiple choice test

 

 

goldenThe Golden Age by Joan London
Maybe my favorite of all, London’s look at how people deal with displacement in their lives takes place during the polio epidemic in Australia after World War II. It’s surprisingly sweet and tender and you’ll fall in love with the characters.

 

 

moonglowMoonglow by Michael Chabon
History, relationships, life, love, rockets! – all in Chabon’s signature style.

 

 

 

swingSwing Time by Zadie Smith
I haven’t quite finished Smith’s latest about two young brown girls growing up in London and the different paths they take based on family, race, class and culture, but I’m entranced so far.

 

 

darker

 

gathering

A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
I always like to dip into some great science fiction and I really enjoyed these first two in a series that take us to fantastic parallel worlds.  No. 3 is up next year!

 

BONUS CHRISTMAS BOOK:

fieldsThe Fields Where They Lay by Timonthy Hallinan
I chose this book for my Holiday read and I think I’ve found a new mystery series! It’s funny and clever and the mystery unfolded perfectly.

 

 

 

If` I could keep going, I’d throw these in as well: Debuts The Mothers by Brit Bennett and Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, The Yid by Paul Goldberg, To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey, A Hundred Thousand Worlds by Bob Proehl, A Great Reckoning by  master of mystery Louise Penney, The Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood and The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney.

Don’t be a Grinch… read a HOliday Story!

Ho ho ho! We read Holiday Stories! That means the books below could have prominently featured any holiday happening from Halloween to Valentine’s Day -a pretty big window of possibilities, no? Ready to see what everyone selected? Here we go:

Megan: What Light by Jay Asher is sweet holiday story about Sierra, who’s family operates a Christmas tree farm in Oregon. Every year they pack up and head to California to set up their tree lot for the season. Sierra loves this time of year and the chance to see her California best friend even though it means leaving her Oregon life and friends behind. It’s Christmas business as usual on what could be the last year for the lot. That is, until Caleb shows up. Caleb has a bad boy reputation in the small town, but Sierra, despite insisting she isn’t interested in dating, begins to see past that and gest to know the real Caleb. Fans of holiday romances full of hot chocolate, candy canes, and true love won’t want to miss this one.

Dori: Burglar Junior Bender returns in Timothy Hallinan’s holiday offering, Fields Where They Lay. Junior has never been fond of Christmas and this year, things are not looking up. He’s been hired by a threatening member of the Russian mafia to investigate the high burglary rate at the failing, old, Edgerton Mall. Also, his girlfriend has mysteriously up and left him and he needs to figure out what to give his teenager daughter for Christmas. Funny and touching, with a satisfying ending perfect for delivering a dose of Christmas cheer.

Gina: Elin Hilderbrand’s Winter Stroll picks up a year after the first book in the series, Winter Street. The Quinn family and Winter Street Inn are all prepared for Nantucket’s traditional Christmas Stroll. This quick story transitions from each character, following each of their weekend experiences. Patriarch Kelley feels confused with his relationships to his first wife, Margaret Quinn, and second wife, Mitzi. Patrick is in jail and his wife Jennifer is trying to raise their three boys to be respectful and responsible despite the current situation. Kevin and girlfriend Isabelle have a beautiful baby girl named Genevieve. In addition to the Winter Stroll the family will be celebrating Genevieve’s baptism during the weekend. Ava has found the love of her life but an accident causes her to question the relationship, not to mention an ex-boyfriend popping into town. Bart, who was deployed to Afghanistan last year, is still MIA, but at the end of the weekend there may be hope. Each chapter kept me excited for the next and would recommend this for a winter read.

Lauren: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson—originally published in 1972—is a delightful book about the horrible Herdman children who take over and wreak havoc on the church’s annual Christmas story play…to hilarious and somewhat miraculous results.  You’ll find it in the children’s section, but it’s a gem that anyone can enjoy.

Beth: In Melissa Ciccocioppo, Peter Skullkid, Asia Erickson, and Eric G. Salisbury’s Contemporary Krampus, we are shown different artistic interpretations of Krampus.  As one of the many companions of Saint Nicholas, Krampus takes his responsibility of punishing the misbehaved children seriously and this book will scare the pants off of them.

Steve: The Christmas Thief, by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark, is a simple read for anyone looking for a fluffy Christmas work .  Packy Noonan, who has just been released from prison for scamming millions of dollars from people, is reuniting with his old bumbling buddies to reclaim the flask of diamonds that he hid in a giant spruce tree 12 years ago.  Things go awry as the tree is set to be used this year for the Rockefeller Center tree. Private detective Regen Reilly and her friends have stumbled into this mess. There are a few laughs but not much suspense here, although it’s perfectly suitable for a mindless Christmas read.    

Carol: In The Christmas Town by Donna VanLiere, 21-year-old Lauren Gamble longs for a place to call home and people to call family—she’s even gone so far as posting a Craiglist ad for both. Social media is letting her down when she stumbles upon and is drawn to the nearby small town of Grandon. There she meets a special boy named Ben and begins to volunteer at Glory’s Place, a center for families in need. Could it be true? Might Lauren get the Christmas wish she dreams of?

Sara: I read A Christmas Grace by Anne Perry.  In this short mystery which is set in 1895, a wealthy young wife and mother, Emily Radley, travels from London to a small, dwindling town on the western coast of Ireland.  Her estranged Aunt Susannah is dying and has asked for family to come be with her.  Susannah married a Catholic man and moved to Ireland many years before, disgracing her English family.  Emily is fearful of this rugged, desolate part of Ireland by the sea and resentful that she must leave her home two weeks before Christmas. Once there, she realizes the town has many secrets, and the residents are consumed by guilt because of the death of young shipwrecked sailor seven years before.  Now the winter storms have caused another tragic wreck, and another young sailor is taken in by the town.  Can Emily solve the mystery of the prior sailor’s murder before history repeats itself?  And by doing so, can she save the town of Connemara and allow Aunt Susannah’s last Christmas to be a peaceful one?  This is a quick and engaging read, laced with interesting insight into 19th century relationships between the English and the Irish peoples.

Emma: Oliver the Cat who Saved Christmas by Sheila Norton is the story of pub cat Oliver who loses his home in a fire. Unfortunately owner George moves to London during reconstruction and cannot take Oliver along. Two families become his foster families. Oliver has a way to discover exactly what each human needs. In doing so, he saves Christmas and makes lots of people happy. This is a treat for all pet lovers.

Stacey: Just when I thought  there can’t possibly be any more ways to explain the man, the myth, the legend of Santa Claus, I stumbled upon The Christmas Chronicles by Tim Slovenia and found I was wrong!  There are clever explanations to cover all your burning questions, from how Klaus came to create toys for children to why the red suit to those flying reindeer -and they completely make sense. But what makes this book really special is the mix of myth, magic, religion, contemporary pop culture, and faith (in yourself and others.) A charming and thoughtful choice for the holiday season.

Next time? We’ll be reading Teen Fiction! (I realize this is pretty self-explanatory but heck, I’ve got a job to do here!) If you want to read along with us, you’ll want to find a novel aimed at the 18 and younger crowd. Get excited -there are some pretty awesome teen books out there!

Happy Holidays!
Stacey

Happy Holiday Reads!

As you may remember from just a few weeks ago, we consider anything featuring a Winter holiday as fair game. So yes, it was absurdly easy to select a book for our recent gathering! And now we’ll make it absurdly easy for you to select one as well…

Dori: In Alexandra Brown’s The Great Christmas Knit-Off, Sybil bolts to the small picturesque English village of Tindledale after she’s jilted at the altar of her Star Wars themed wedding. Her friends run a pub there and soon she’s taken in by the quirky residents, forming fast friendships and even finding an admiring, handsome doctor. When the local craft store, Hettie’s House of Haberdashery, is threatened with closure, her knitting skills come in handy as she rallies the villagers to create holiday themed knitted goods for Hettie to sell so she can keep her business. First in a series, this is a fun and quaint holiday read with a great cast of eccentric characters, a frisson of romance and knitting galore! Includes a pattern for a Christmas pudding holiday decoration.

Chris: Christmas with Rita and Whatsit by Jean-Philippe Arrou-Vignod with the sweetest illustrations by Olivier Tallec tells a charming story about a little girl and her dog getting ready for the big day. Lots of typical activities like writing Santa a letter, baking goodies etc. ensue, but most are done with darling twists. Like Whatsit asking Santa for a police dog uniform and decorating his own little tree with a garland of sausages, salami and bologna to smell just right. On Christmas morning, they find all kinds of wonderful presents left by Santa, but one: A big hug from your best friend. Hugs all arounds. CUTE!

Carol: A Christmas Tragedy is a short story by Agatha Christie. Miss Jane Marple is spending an evening of fun with some friends who are taking turns sharing mysterious stories. The story Miss Marple tells revolves around the suspicions she feels upon meeting Mr. & Mrs. Sanders while at a spa during Christmastime. Miss Marple is immediately convinced that the man means to murder his wife. When Mrs. Sanders is later found dead, it is up to Miss Marple to prove that the husband committed the crime. While this title doesn’t necessarily spread Holiday cheer, it’s like a little gift to read anything by Agatha Christie, the queen of crime!

Megan: Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris is a collection of humorous short stories that a shine light on the dark underbelly of Christmas. These dark, irreverent, and sardonic stories show readers how the Christmas spirit can go awry. Readers looking for a sweet, happily-ever-after story should steer clear, but fans of dark humor will appreciate this slim volume. An 2008 reprint included six new stories.

Emma: Two stories in one comprise The Christmas Bells. One story revolves around Sophia, school music teacher and volunteer children’s choir director at St. Margaret’s Church, who is about to lose her teaching position. Lucas, the choir accompanist, is very interested in Sophia but reluctant to make his feelings known. The father of Alex and Charlotte, two talented choir members, is MIA in Afghanistan. The second story takes place during the 1860’s. This story revolves around Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who is mourning the death of his wife and trying to convince his son not to join the Union army. It showcases Longfellow’s poem “Christmas Bells” written in 1863. The poem is the basis for “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”, one of the songs Sophia’s choir is practicing. The Christmas Bells is a heartfelt story of Christmases past and present.

Steve: Glenn Beck’s The Immortal Nicholas attempts to return Christmas, Santa and St. Nicholas to the origins of Christ, with limited success. The story begins with the main character Agios, forager of frankincense, who has just lost his son and all hope and has turned to wine. He is captured in a drunken stupor by a caravan and brought back to one of the three wise men, who is looking for frankincense to present to the new King who is to be born. From there the story follows the story of Jesus, and not until the end do we see the connection to Nicholas. A good effort that starts out strong but something didn’t quite mesh.

Lauren: Christopher Moore’s The Stupidest Angel brings together a number of quirky (to say the least) characters from other of his books set in the coastal California town of Pine Cove. The townspeople are busy making preparations for the Christmas holiday when young Joshua is devastated to witness the murder of Santa. What has actually played out is a deadly altercation between “evil developer” Dale Pearson dressed and Santa and his ex-wife Lena. Joshua sends up a prayer to the heavens for Santa to be brought back to life in time to save Christmas. Enter archangel Raziel, who has visited Earth to grant a Christmas miracle. Given that Raziel truly is the stupidest angel, he misunderstands Joshua’s request and casts a blanket resurrection over the body of Dale Pearson/Santa as well as all the deceased residents of Pine Cove in the nearby cemetery. The dead rise, and typical of zombies, instantly seek to feast on human flesh. As Moore states, this is “a heartwarming tale of Christmas terror.” Brace yourselves.

Stacey: I didn’t know I needed a sequel to the classic A Christmas Carol -until I read one! Charlie Lovett wrote the ‘spirited’ (pun intended!) novel, The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge, based on the transformed character of Scrooge. When the ghost of his old partner Jacob Marley appears to ask for help shedding the chain he’s been forced to carry, Scrooge is more than happy to do what he can to help. This is a charming story with the positive message giving is better than receiving -one you’ll be sure to enjoy!

Next up is Literary Fiction! If you want to read along -you’ll want to find something characterized by a distinctive writing style. Literary fiction focuses more on character than plot, deals in nuances, and prompt a high degree of interaction between reader and book.

Enjoy!
Stacey

Latest Additions

Hate me all you want, but since this has never happened and likely will never happen again, I would just like to take a small piece of this public forum to announce: My Christmas Shopping Is Already Done. I can’t explain how this has been accomplished (aliens swapped out my brain with that of someone way more proactive about this stuff???), but there are presents–wrapped–under my Christmas tree.  If you’re like me, take some time to relax in these usually  crazy weeks leading up to the holidays and curl up with a book.  Go for it even if you’re not! That’s what typical-me would certainly do.

labob

A Gift from Bob by James Bowen

laknittoff

The Great Christmas Knit-Off by Alexandra Brown

laborden

The Borden Murders: LIzzie Borden and the Trial of the Century by Sarah Miller

laforget

The Great Forgetting by James Renner

lamount

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

-Lauren

Latest Additions

As we creep ever closer to the holidays and time begins to feel like it is passing at warp speed, I hope you are able to take the time to remember all we have in this life to be thankful for. Maybe it’s family, good friends, a roof over your head, a special pet, enough food in your tummy. If you are truly fortunate, maybe it’s all of those things! Take the time to remember everyone and everything this special time of year and have a wonderful holiday full of peace and love! And maybe, just maybe, sneak in a little reading time between eating and Black Friday shopping? Here’s some ideas…

christmasbells

Christmas Bells by Jennifer Chiaverini

goldfamecitrus

Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins

inbitterchill

In Bitter Chill by Sarah Ward

stnicholas

Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue by Victoria Thompson

neclies

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain

Have a wonderful holiday season!

—Maureen