New Fall Mystery

The story takes place in 1925 in Oak Park, an affluent suburb of Chicago. Young, attractive, wealthy Elizabeth Fairchild has been living with her parents Mildred and Kenneth Walker since the death of her soldier husband in WWI and unborn child seven years ago. Elizabeth’s friend, Mr. Anthony (Enrico Antonelli) is the owner of a quaint antiques shop she likes to shop at. Sadly Mr. Anthony is found stabbed to death and the local police quickly arrest a local music teacher as the killer.

Elizabeth announces publicly that she is determined to find the real killer with the help of a few friends including: Mrs. Grace Hemingway, lawyer-friend Fred Wilkins, Fred’s Aunt Lucy, her father, and a sympathetic police officer. With the public announcement Elizabeth and others are in danger from gangsters and the Women of the Ku Klux Klan, an auxiliary group that supported the Ku Klux Klan.

The first installment of the Oak Park Village mystery series is a slow-paced, old fashioned mystery with a little romance. I look forward to the next installment.

~Emma

Fall into New Historical Fiction

Haven by Emma Donaghue takes place in 7th-century Ireland and imagines the discovery of a craggy island off the coast of Ireland that is known today as Skellig Michael.

When Artt, a respected scholar and priest, visits the Cluain Mhic Nóis monastery along the Shannon River, he is disgusted by the lavish lifestyle there. One night he has a vision to leave the sinful world behind and search for an isolated place to build a new church. Artt recruits two monks to go along with him, young and inexperienced Trian and weathered, old Cormac. Art makes the monks pledge obedience to him, becoming their new Prior, and the three set out in a small boat with only a few essential supplies. Drifting into the Atlantic, they eventually come upon an incredibly steep, rocky island that is only inhabited by thousands of birds. Artt claims it for God and insists that is where they will stay.

In the early days of disembarking, the monks are buoyed by faith, and they set about finding a water supply, eager to make the island habitable. Artt, however, does not worry about food and shelter, and redirects them to carve crosses out of the rock, build a church, and transcribe manuscripts, insisting that God will provide. Soon, though, supplies have run out, and Artt refuses to let the monks return to civilization to replenish them. Artt’s fanaticism and the obedience he seeks from the men begin to wear on the health of them and they begin to question their faith and their place on this uninhabitable rock. How will these men survive with only faith to guide them?

Though it is filled with emotional intensity, this quiet and haunting, slow-moving novel won’t be for all readers, but like all of Emma Donoghue’s novels, it is masterfully written and absorbing. This reader cannot stop thinking about this book about blind faith and fanaticism. Pick up Haven, slow down your world, and be transported to a truly unique time and place.

-Carol

Fall into New Fiction

Flying Solo
by Linda Holmes 

When Laurie Sassalyn’s cherished Aunt Dot dies at the age of 93, Laurie returns to her hometown of Calcasset, Maine to settle her estate. Laurie is also licking her wounds after calling off her wedding, having decided that like Dot, she never wants to marry. Dot’s house is filled with mementos from her adventure-filled life, and while Laurie was young, it helped provide Laurie with a retreat from her own home that she shared with four brothers and never-ending chaos. Now that Laurie is almost 40, she’s built a life and home like Dot’s for herself in Seattle, where she lives in peace as a freelance nature writer with a busy social life with friends.

Laurie believes that Dot’s things deserve respect and intends to go through each item before returning to Seattle. She has hired a professional declutterer to help her with the valuables. This man takes a keen interest in a wooden duck that Laurie uncovered hidden in Dot’s cedar chest. Laurie knows that this duck was somehow important to Dot, and isn’t sure she wants to part with it, but the declutterer insists it is worthless. Laurie lets the duck go, but cannot stop thinking about it, and when she enlists the help of her life-long friend June and her high school boyfriend Nick Cooper – now the (divorced) town librarian, the two encourage her to dig into the duck’s history.

The more time Laurie spends in Maine, the more she begins to doubt her life choices. She is drawn to Nick, but knows she will be leaving soon. She misses her hometown and friends there, but isn’t willing to sacrifice her independence. Laurie has some choices to make -but first, she has a duck to recapture.

Flying Solo by Linda Holmes is a warm and funny, cozy romantic read, perfect for these early Autumn days. With likeable, atypical characters who have real-world problems and no easy solutions, this novel is about being comfortable in one’s own skin, celebrating one’s independence and ability to compromise, and the road not taken.

-Carol

New mystery

   

The Desert Flowers Detective Agency is at it again. This time Tanya Cook, pretending to be a home health care aide, is fleecing her clients. Detective Poppy Harmon poses as a weakened elderly widow needing assistance and hires Tanya as her aide. It is a trap. Tanya and her two partners are arrested. Someone does not want Poppy to testify in court and attempts to kill her. Sadly, her neighbor is killed when the woman borrows Poppy’s car, and it goes over a cliff. Poppy’s new air conditioner unit explodes after a phony technician supposedly repairs it. Most people assume Poppy died in that explosion

Poppy masquerades as Matt Flowers’ advisor, his elderly Aunt Bea, when he appears on a reality show titled “My Dream Man”. Matt and Poppy fear that Jesse, the bachelorette on the show, is the stalker’s next target.

These quick cozy mysteries are fun to read.

Desert Flowers Mystery series

Poppy Harmon Investigates – 2018

Poppy Harmon and the Hung Jury – 2019

Poppy Harmon and the Pillow Talk Killer – 2021

Poppy Harmon and the Backstabbing Bachelor – 2022

~Emma



  
   

Fall into New Fiction

Mika in Real Life
by Emiko Jean

Mika Suzuki is 35, single, and broke, living in her best friend’s house and has just lost her most recent job. She is floored when she receives a phone call from Penny, the daughter she gave up for adoption 16 years previously when Mika was a college freshman. The two begin to talk regularly and truly start to bond. Mika is overjoyed to get this chance to connect with her birth daughter, but when Penny decides she wants to visit Mika in Portland, Oregon, Mika panics.

Mika, ashamed of her life, has lead Penny to believe that she owns her own home, is a successful art gallery owner, and has a long-term boyfriend. To prevent a catastrophe, Mika’s friends decide to help her construct her fabricated dream-life for Penny’s visit —one that quickly falls apart when Penny discovers Mika hasn’t been honest.

As Mika wrestles with how to repair their new relationship, she must confront issues from her past, including her family’s immigration from Japan when she was young, her relationship with her impossible-to-please mother, and the circumstances of Penny’s birth. Mika also needs to decide what to do about her budding feelings for Thomas, Penny’s adopted, widowed father. As Mika spends more time with Penny and Thomas and begins to work on herself, she wonders if she will ever feel she deserves good things.

Mika in Real Life by Emiko Jean is a smart, endearing, and sometimes funny novel about relationships between mothers and daughters, the power of good friendships, and learning to love oneself. Mika is a flawed and realistic character that you’ll root for from the first page. Pick up Mika in Real Life and prepare to be surprised by this tender and sincere story.

-Carol

New Fiction

In November 2016 three momentous things happened. Donald Trump was elected president; the Chicago Cubs won the World Series; and Bud Sullivan died. Bud and Rose Sullivan were owners of JP Sullivan’s, a restaurant and bar in Oak Park, Illinois for decades. Three generations lived and breathed the restaurant. After Bud dies, the extended family is particularly concerned for Rose as she enters assisted living. Without Bud, the restaurant is floundering. Teddy would love to take control, but no one seems to listen to him. After Rose’s death it is suggested that the grandchildren invest their inheritance to update Sullivan’s. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be interest in that. Gretchen, Jane, and Teddy have other plans for their money and not everyone agrees.

I was curious about the title of the book and was unfamiliar with the phrase. A bittersweet story full of family drama.

marrying the ketchup

~Emma

A Book You’ll Love-Love

Were you among the 6.9 million people who watched Serena Williams play her probable-last tennis match at the U.S. Open last week? If so, you helped break a record. It was the largest audience of any tennis match in ESPN’s 43-year history! And, while this year’s action wrapped up at Arthur Ashe Stadium yesterday, fear not, you can still get your tennis on. Just pick up this winner of book, Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

Carrie Soto is a tennis legend who rises to fame in the 1980s under the coaching of her father Javier. She is fierce and unrelenting, and her determination to win and unapologetic style of play have earned her the nickname, “the Battle Axe” and made her unlikable to most of her competitors and plenty of fans. But by the time she retires from tennis, she is the best player the world, having shattered every record and claimed twenty Grand Slam titles. Now, it is 1994 and at age 37, Carrie has been retired from tennis for six years. When she learns that seasoned-player Nicki Chan is attempting to break her record, Carrie decides to come out from retirement to defend her status. Will she be able to reclaim her place in tennis history against the odds?

Carrie Soto Is Back is more than just a book about a fictional tennis player. This novel explores the ups and downs that accompany celebrity and the double standard that exists between how men and women are treated in the world of sports. It is also a story of personal growth that features a beautiful father/daughter relationship, a slow-building romance, and a complex protagonist who struggles with how she presents herself and is seen. Readers of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Daisy Jones and the Six and Malibu Rising will recognize some cross-over characters in Carrie’s story, finishing the author’s “quartet” on women and fame. Carrie Soto is Back, like those others, can be read independently, but why not deep dive into all of these smart and compelling novels that put women front and center?

-Carol

New Historical Fiction

The Manhattan Girls: A Novel of Dorothy Parker and her Friends

It is the Jazz Age in New York City when Dorothy Parker and three other prominent professionals form a bridge club. Jane Grant is the first woman reporter at the New York Times. She is determined to launch a new magazine she calls The New Yorker. Winifred Lenihan is a beautiful and talented Broadway star. Peggy Leach is a magazine assistant at Conde Nast by day and a brilliant novelist by night. These four women form a firm friendship and part of their friendship includes keeping Dottie safe from herself. She attempts suicide twice.

Name-dropping and drama are important parts of this novel. Wild drinking parties despite Prohibition and infidelity also play a main role in this fast-paced book.

~Emma

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

Take a look at some of the exciting new releases coming to our shelves in this week…

Clive Cussler’s Hellburner : When Juan Cabrillo fails to capture the leader of Mexico’s most dangerous drug cartel and loses an Oregon crew member in the process, he’s determined to get revenge. Little does he know that the explosion he just narrowly escaped was merely the latest flash of violence from a machine of war that has existed for decades, dating from the bloodiest episode in Armenia’s history.

All the Women in My Brain: And Other Concerns : Like Jenny Lawson and Caitlin Moran, Emmy-nominated actress and writer Betty Gilpin delivers a lightning-strike dispatch of hilarious, intimate, and luminous essays on how to navigate this weird and wondrous life.

The Wuhan Cover-Up: How US Health Officials Conspired with the Chinese Military to Hide the Origins of COVID-19

The Wuhan Cover-up : From the New York TimesWall Street JournalUSA TodayPublishers Weekly bestselling author of The Real Anthony Fauci comes an explosive exposé of the cover-up behind the true origins of COVID-19.The Wuhan Cover-up unveils a US/Chinese conspiracy of epic proportion and lethal consequence.

The Ways We Hide : A sweeping World War II tale of an illusionist whose recruitment by British intelligence sets her on a perilous, heartrending path. Inspired by stunning true accounts, The Ways We Hide is a gripping story of love and loss, the wars we fight—on the battlefields and within ourselves—and the courage found in unexpected places.

The American Roommate Experiment : From the author of the Goodreads Choice Award winner The Spanish Love Deception, the eagerly anticipated follow-up featuring Rosie Graham and Lucas Martín, who are forced to share a New York apartment. Rosie Graham has a problem. A few, actually. She just quit her well paid job to focus on her secret career as a romance writer. She hasn’t told her family and now has terrible writer’s block. Then, the ceiling of her New York apartment literally crumbles on her.

On the Rooftop : A stunning novel about a mother whose dream of musical stardom for her three daughters collides with the daughters’ ambitions for their own lives—set against the backdrop of gentrifying 1950s San Francisco.

The Rising Tide : For fifty years a group of friends have been meeting regularly for reunions on Holy Island, celebrating the school trip where they met, and the friend that they lost to the rising causeway tide five years later.

It’s Not Me, It’s You : Two therapists analyze their own relationship to help untangle the common and frustrating barriers many individuals face on the road to a happy, loving, rewarding partnership.

Court of the Vampire Queen : All Mina ever wanted was to escape her father’s control. Half human, half vampire, she lived eternally torn between two worlds, never fully experiencing the pleasures of either—until her father chose her as the pawn in his latest political move, gifting her to the darkly powerful and dangerously seductive Malachi Zion.

~Semanur

New Historical Fiction

Pilot Ward Millar makes a last-minute decision to bail out over North Korea. Unfortunately, even with a parachute, Ward breaks both of his ankles and is easily captured by the North Koreans and Chinese. Ward needs medical attention which his captors provide haphazardly if he shares information, mostly false information, with them.

At home when Ward’s wife, Barbara, receives notification that her husband is missing in action, she believes he still alive. Barbara is a woman of deep and sustaining faith and refuses to believe that Ward is dead despite what family and friends have to say.

North Korean soldier Kim Jae Pil is a Christian. He and his family have kept their faith secret to survive. Kim is forced to serve as a solder but wants to and plans to escape from the army and reunite with his family. Ward and Kim eventually meet and together plan their escape.

This novel is based on the true story of an American POW during the Korean War and a North Korean soldier who became unlikely allies. They were united in their shared faith in God during a daring escape to freedom. The novel is a story of courage, determination, unlikely friendship, and enduring faith.

~Emma