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What We’re Reading Now… September 12, 2017

Posted by SaraC in Biographies, Book Discussion, Book List, Book Review, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Non-Fiction, poetry, Science Fiction, Thrillers.
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Here’s a look at some of the books the Adult Services department is reading now:

A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes

 

A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes

Hapless Jackson begins his foray into crime by investing every penny he has in a sure-fire scheme to turn legitimate ten-dollar bills into counterfeit one-hundred dollar bills. It is only after Jackson loses all his money, and some of his bosses, that he turns to his streetwise brother Goldie for help. Goldie, who dresses as a Sister of Mercy and collects alms for ‘charity,’ works the seedier side of Harlem in aid of not only Jackson but Goldie’s own pocketbook. Written and set in 1950s Harlem this is a grippy and taut classic crime caper.  Trent

Cover image for John Ashbery :

 

John Ashbery: Collected Poems

I’ve been re-reading John Ashbery’s Collected Poems, 1956-1987, published by the Library of America.  Ashbery passed away last week, and there have been some wonderful tributes written about him online.  His poems are so wonderful, mysterious, and enigmatic – they feel like adventures of the mind, where you don’t know where you’ll end up, but the process can be exhilarating.  For readers who enjoy experimentation with language, Ashbery is one of the greatest.  Andrew

Cover image for Magpie murders

 

 Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz is a mystery within a mystery. Susan Ryeland is the editor of popular, but difficult, author Alan Conway’s books. When he suddenly dies of a suspicious suicide after turning in his most recent manuscript, Susan begins some detective work of her own, beginning with investigating the contents of the manuscript. Will it reveal Conway’s killer? Dori

Cover image for In the Great Green Room

 

In the Great Green Room by Amy Gary

In the Great Green Room is a fascinating window into the life of Margaret Wise Brown, the children’s author who famously penned Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny, and over 100 others. The book begins in Margaret’s childhood: a whirlwind of boarding schools in Switzerland and Massachusetts, shoulder-rubbing with members of elite United States families, and family vacations in island homes off the coast of New York–all the while, Margaret’s mind was constantly turning out whimsy. Later in her adult life, she had a playfulness that drew a stream of friends, associates, editors, and lovers to her house. She spent her first royalty check on a cartful of flowers; she lead a group called the Bird Brain Society where any member could declare a day Christmas and the other members would come over and celebrate it; the line between play and life was never entirely clear to her. Just when, at 42, she was engaged to be married and began settling into a more stable life, she died suddenly. This biography is a wonderful read for those interested in bold, brilliant women who made a mark on the world in unconventional ways. Lyndsey

Cover image for Girls made of snow and glass

 

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

Girls Made of Snow and Glass  is a new YA retelling of Snow White. Mina, the daughter of a magician, has a heart of glass. When she and her father move to Whitespring Castle Mina devises a plan to win the king’s favor so that she can be the queen and finally know love. When she finally succeeds at her plan, she becomes a stepmother to the princess Lynet. Lynet is the spitting image of her dead mother, who by all accounts was beautiful and delicate. Lynet is headstrong and fierce and hates living the the shadow of a mother she never knew. When King Nicholas declares his intention make Lynet the Queen of the South instead of Mina, he creates a rivalry between the two women. Is Mina capable of destroying the one person who loves her? Can Lynet save the only mother she has even known? Megan

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American Gods by Neil Gaiman

I recently revisited this personal favorite of mine after watching the TV adaptation produced this past summer. Gaiman is a master story teller that produces accessible, yet still challenging, novels. To enter the world of American Gods is to enter a place where every deity ever worshiped on American soil is given a corporeal presence. Recently released from prison Shadow Moon is greeted with devastating news that sets him on a fantastical journey which reveals the gods living among us. These deities who live on attention and worship are far from their heyday and are showing the signs of the neglect. It doesn’t help that their worshipers have shifted their attention to new gods created through our culture’s adoration of technology, media, and the world economy. A book that seamless combines the world and troubles of the everyday with the fantastical. I would recommend this to readers who are new to Gaiman and get a full picture of his style and world building. Greg

Cover image for The undoing project :

 

The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis

The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis is about the research that two men did 40 years ago about the way we make decisions. This is a very biographical, anecdotal depiction of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. If you go into this book wanting to know about the men who created the field of behavioral economics, you’ll enjoy this one. Beth

 

 

Cover image for Nutshell :

 

Nutshell by Ian McEwan

A tale told by a baby-to-be or not-to-be? This story unfolds by a talking fetus who bears witness to an affair between his mother, Trudy, and his uncle, Claude. The adulterous pair are scheming to kill the baby’s father, John. Will the narrator be able to prevent such a crime, and possibly pursue revenge?Many twists and turns as to what will become of our villains, victims and beloved narrator.  McEwan has stuffed this tale with Shakespearean throwbacks and extensive dialogue filled with weighty vocabulary – have your dictionary handy! Mary

Cover image for MY SISTER'S GRAVE:

 

My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni

This is the first book in the Tracy Crosswhite series, a story of a woman who has spent the last 20 years questioning the circumstances around the death of her sister, Sarah and the murder trial that followed. When  Sarah’s body is finally found, her sister Tracy, now a homicide detective is determined to find out what happened all those years ago, and why people she loved and trusted lied to her.  An exciting, well-written thriller with twists and turns that surprise, but don’t push the bounds of belief.  I’m a little late to the Crosswhite series with the author soon to publish Book #5, but I’m looking forward to getting to know Tracy better as I keep reading! Sara

 

Cover image for On her majesty's frightfully secret service

 

On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service by Rhys Bowen

Lady Georgiana (Georgie) Rannoch wants to marry her Catholic fiancée Darcy but first needs permission from Queen Mary and parliament. By marrying Darcy she would give up her place in line as 35th in line to the British throne. The Queen asks a favor of Georgie first. There is a party that the Prince of Wales and Mrs. Simpson will be attending. The queen wants Georgie to go to the party and make sure the Prince and Mrs. Simpson don’t marry. Two guests are murdered at the house party and Georgie gets involved in solving the mysteries almost becoming a victim herself. Emma

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2016 Favorites – Top 12 Edition December 16, 2016

Posted by Dori in Book Awards, Book List, Book Review, Historical Fiction, Holiday Books, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction, Suspense, Thrillers, Top Ten, Top Ten of 2016, Uncategorized.
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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.

It’s a Suspenseful and Thrilling Summer! July 11, 2016

Posted by stacey in Book Discussion, Book List, Genre Book Discussion, Suspense, Thrillers.
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We each selected a book that could be described as suspense (lots of action in a short period of time and appeals to reader’s sense of unease) or as a thriller (a specific, often exotic, world that emphasize defeating the villain.) And then we discussed those books we picked! Ready? ‘Cause here we go:

Beth: Flynn Berry’s debut novel Under the Harrow is a fast paced thriller packed with unpredictable turns. The protagonist, Nora, takes a routine trip to the country to visit her sister, but upon arrival discovers her sister has been brutally murdered. The rest of the book uncovers secrets from the past as a grief stricken Nora tries to solve her sister’s murder.

Carol: In She’s Not There by Joy Fielding, Caroline Shipley’s life crumbles when her two-year-old daughter, Samantha is kidnapped on their family vacation in Mexico. Caroline’s marriage ends, her relationship with her older daughter suffers, and Caroline is vilified by the press for the perceived parental negligence that led to the kidnapping. Now, fifteen years later, Caroline gets a call from a young woman who says she thinks she is Samantha—and things tailspin once again. Though at times an emotional read, this novel psychological suspense is relatively free of the graphic violence often associated with suspense/thrillers.

Emma: In Darkness by Karen Robards, ornithologist Dr. Gina Sullivan is on a research expedition with other scientists on the island of Attu, Alaska. Gina is out on a lake in severe winter weather when she witnesses a plane crash. There is one survivor, James MacArthur Callahan (Cal). Gina rescues him, but danger sets in immediately. Together they battle the environment and countless enemies who are after Cal. I feel the cover of the book is a little misleading. This is not a light romance but an interesting serious thriller.

Sara: I read the book The Good Goodbye by Carla Buckley. This is a story of two cousins, Arden and Rory, who have been like sisters their whole lives. They end up as roommates at a college neither girl wanted to attend because of the financial mistakes of their parents who own a restaurant together. There is a terrible fire in their dorm, both girls are critically injured and comatose, and one boy is dead. As police investigate the blaze, they begin to suspect that Arden started the fire. Her mother Natalie is sure of her innocence, and digs for details of her daughter’s life to find the truth. In doing this she finds she did not really know her daughter or niece at all, and that the girls knew more about the family secrets than they had ever let on. Told in the voices of Arden, Rory and Natalie this book is hard to put down and full of surprises til the very end.

Dori: In Noah Hawley’s Before the Fall, a private plane unexpectedly crashes off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard shortly into the flight and there are only two survivors: a down on his luck painter, invited at the last minute, and the small son of the wealthy family who had hired the plane. What happened? As the National Transportation Safety Board and the FBI investigate the crash, we learn about the passengers and their backgrounds, trying to discover who caused the crash. There’s the head of a FOX TV-like media conglomerate, a man about to get arrested for selling arms to terrorists, an Israeli bodyguard and the painter, whose last paintings depict a series of disasters, including a plane crash. Hawley, a television writer and producer, keeps us turning the pages and delivers a completely unexpected outcome.

Steve: Velocity by Dean Koontz is a horrific thriller that finds small town bartender Billy Wiles drawn into a nightmare after finding a note under his windshield wiper offering an unwinnable 6 hour ultimatum. If he doesn’t go to the police, a blond schoolteacher will be killed, and if he does go to the police an elderly charity worker will die. Billy and his friend, who happens to be the sheriff, play it off as a sick joke, but he next day a blond school teacher is found dead. Things get exceedingly worse for Billy.

Megan: The Trespasser by Tana French is the sixth installment in the Dublin Murder Squad series. Detectives Antoinette Conway and Stephen Moran are the newest members of the squad and therefore are usually assigned the cut and dry cases. This seems to be the situation when they are handed a murder case that appears to be a simple lover’s quarrel turned deadly. However, as the pair digs into the details they become increasingly convinced that this case is just a little too simple. Conway begins to doubt her instincts as well as her partner’s intentions as the evidence piles up to indicate someone on her own squad is out to get her. Is she being paranoid or is there more to this case than meets the eye? This is another brilliant addition to the series. The psychological tension and suspense kept me up late into the wee hours. This book doesn’t release until October, so if you aren’t familiar with the Dublin Murder Squad now is the time to get started!

Lauren: Lydia Millet’s Sweet Lamb of Heaven finds Anna hiding out in a motel in Maine with her young daughter, Lena. They have left their home in Alaska and fled from Anna’s husband, an uncaring and increasingly dangerous man who has never shown the slightest interest in his daughter until he aims for a political career and begins his first campaign for office. Then he needs a trophy family and Anna and Lena find themselves on the run. Holed up in the motel with a small group of other guests and keeping constantly vigilant, Anna slowly realizes that she and the other guests may not have come together by chance at all.

Stacey: The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood is what they like to call a “literary thriller” (in the library biz.) As the story begins, a small group of women have been abducted and taken to a remote location in the Australian Outback, had their heads shaved, and dressed in rough cloth to begin their punishment for promiscuity. As the women fight to survive harsh conditions, the tension builds around who’s responsible and when will they reveal their ultimate goal in holding these ladies hostage.

Next time? We’ll all be reading a Beach Reads book (ie something we’d be happy to take to the beach -or the porch!) Find something you’d like to read in the sun, or shade, just because it’s summertime!

enjoy!
Stacey

I’m Thrilled by the Suspense of it all…. in the Thriller and Suspense Genre! November 10, 2015

Posted by stacey in Book List, Genre Book Discussion, Suspense, Thrillers.
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We kept the excitement going by moving from horror to horribly exciting – aka a suspense or thriller book! Se all our books were either: 1. a suspenseful book emphasizing danger faced by a protagonist or 2. a thrilling book set in a specific world such as the courtroom, medical laboratory, or government agency, with an emphasis on the defeat of the villain and his conspirators. As usual, the list of what people read should have something for just about every reader -Are you ready to see which book appeals to you?

Maureen: When Nora decides to accept an invitation to attend her former best friend Clare’s hen (bachelorette) party after not seeing her in years, the ball is set in motion for what is sure to be a very strange weekend indeed in the chilling debut psychological thriller In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware. A tiny select group of Clare’s friends gather for the November party at the remote, wooded summer house of party organizer, Flo, who herself seems oddly obsessed with Clare and overly concerned with everyone making sure this is the best weekend ever. As the partygoers drink, play games, and swap stories, long-buried memories are dredged up, secrets that people want to stay hidden are revealed, and emotions run high. Then the unthinkable happens – a horrific accident – that will bring all of the events of the past back to haunt those involved. A smart and top rate thriller that will keep you guessing!

Chris: See How Small by Scott Blackwood begins with three teenage girls finishing up their night shift at the ice cream shop when two men walk in, murder them and set the store on fire. All in two and one-half pages. That’s all the violence in this book which is more than fine with me. The rest of the book tells how family members, friends and the town mourn and grieve their deaths over the years. Wonderfully written and very unique: the first chapter is from the point of view of the deceased girls—Elizabeth, Meredith and Zadie. Alternate points of view join them throughout the story including one of the mothers, a witness, a possible suspect and family members. Just discovered Blackwood and plan on reading his other two novels: In the Shadow of Our House and We Agreed to Meet Just Here.

Lauren:In Mary Higgins Clark’s, The Melody Lingers On, New York City interior designer Lane Harmon is called to assist her boss in redecorating a condominium for a high profile client. The client turns out to be the wife of scam-artist financier, Parker Bennett, who disappeared two years prior after making off with billions of investor dollars. Did Bennett commit suicide or fake his own death in making his escape? Is he innocent of any wrongdoing as his wife believes? And could his son, Eric, who quickly charms Lane, be involved somehow? This latest book from the “Queen of Suspense” was not as enjoyable as some of her classics I remember reading and loving years ago, but loyal fans of her work may find it fun.

Carol: In In Wilderness by Diane Thomas, it is 1966 and advertising executive Katherine Reid has received a terminal diagnosis. She relocates to an isolated cabin deep in the Appalachian Mountains with few provisions, including the loaded gun she plans to use on herself. Once alone and surrounded by only nature, however, Katherine begins to feel better—until she realizes that someone else is watching her every move. Unstable twenty-year-old Vietnam veteran Danny is squatting nearby in a burned out mansion and he’s become fixated on Katherine. When the two eventually meet, both lonely and damaged and ill, they begin a passionate love affair–but it is one that won’t have a happy ending. Despite its creepy premise, this novel is a poignant and compelling read about PTSD, depression, grief, loneliness and mortality. I couldn’t put it down.

Emma: In Black-Eyed Susan: A Novel of Suspense by Julia Heaberline it’s 1995 and 16-year-old Tessa Cartwright is left for dead partially buried with another victim of a serial killer. The convicted killer, Terrell Darcy Goodwin, faces execution after 20 years in prison. Tessa is convinced that the wrong man is in jail and works with Terrell’s defense attorney and a DNA expert to determine the identity of the victims and the true killer. The novel includes lots of twists and turns and an unexpected ending.

Steve: Hot Pursuit by Stuart Woods finds the wealthy and well-connected Stone Barrington back for another adventure. Stone is jet-setting in his new plane to Europe with the beautiful Pat Frank, the pilot that has been assigned to him by his insurance company, and they soon run into trouble. Pat’s stalker ex-boyfriend keeps showing up in all the same locations. Meanwhile, back in Washington Stone’s friends in the government are hunting three Al Qaeda terrorists who have infiltrated the country. There’s not much depth in these characters, but the action is non-stop.

Dori: Vanishing Games by Roger Hobbs, is the second in a trilogy about a fixer, a criminal that lives off the grid and leaves no footprint. Introduced in Ghostman, “Jack” returns in this outing to help Angela, the woman who trained him, whose plan to steal sapphires from a ship in the South China Sea has gone awry. Only one pirate has returned from the operation and he’s hiding something that is far more valuable than sapphires. After she gets a threatening phone call from a mysterious man, she contacts Jack who hasn’t seen Angela since their last crime. After landing in Macau, together they evade gangs, governments and guns. It’s an adrenalin filled ride and takes us behind the scenes and through the ins and outs of criminal life. It’s bloody and graphic; identities are changed, self-surgery is performed and oh yeah, so many guns!

Megan: The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne is a page-turner of a psychological thriller. A year after one of Sarah and Angus’s twin daughters dies, the couple and their surviving daughter move to an isolated island to begin rebuilding their lives as they rebuild the abandoned house on the island. Instead of finding refuge, Sarah finds herself living a nightmare when her daughter Kirstie begins claiming that she is in fact Lydia, the daughter they thought they buried. All their lives unravel as the family struggles to cope with what really happened the day their daughter died. Family dynamics and a slow building tension will keep readers desperate to know which twin survived. Bonus points for the creepy, isolated island setting!

Stacey: The Enemy Inside is Steve Martini’s newest novel featuring Paul Madriani a Southern California lawyer who’s taken on the case of Alex Ives, a young reporter being held responsible for a fatal car accident. The victim was high-powered D.C. attorney Olinda Serna, a woman with shady connections on both coasts. When more ‘accidents’ happen to people connected to her cases, the original car wreck takes on new dimensions. I haven’t read any of the previous books in this series but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the fast-paced action, entertaining characters, and surprising twists the author provided.

Next time? We’ll be reading and sharing Holiday stories! If you want to read along, you’ll want to find a book that features any Winter Holiday…. it’s almost too easy, isn’t it?

enjoy!
Stacey

ALERT- NEW JAMES PATTERSON! July 31, 2015

Posted by Ann in Fiction, New Books, Thrillers.
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alert

If August 3rd is a Monday, there must be a new James Patterson book being released.

Alert by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge is an explosive, action-packed thriller set in New York City  featuring Detective Michael Bennett. We’ll have copies in regular print and large print waiting for you on Monday; just add your name to the holds list TODAY!

~Ann

Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay -Book Review! July 17, 2015

Posted by stacey in Book Review, Thrillers.
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Bookworm's World: You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #55

After losing his job, reporter David Harwood is back home living with his parents and 9 year-old son in the small college town of Promise Falls, NY–a town that has seen better days. The daily paper has folded, there’s been women attacked on campus, strange animal mutilations, and the local amusement park isn’t reopening.

When David goes to visit his cousin Marla, he is shocked to see her with a baby she claims was given to her by an angel. Her own child died at birth, so where did this one come from?

Linwood Barclay is a master at making everyday actions seem sinister and threatening. And, since “Broken Promise” is the first of a planned trilogy, he leaves lots of loose ends.

-by Evelyn Janoch

Suspect November 12, 2013

Posted by Ann in Fiction, Mystery, Thrillers.
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suspect crais

Recently I discovered an author I had never read before, Robert Crais, when I read Suspect. Maggie is a wounded war dog. Scott is a wounded police officer. When the two team up it’s unclear whether either one can survive in the real world.

This is an excellent mystery-thriller that you won’t want to put down! If you like Michael Connelly’s books or Dawn Patrol by Don Winslow try Suspect.

~Ann

I Read YA, Do You? May 23, 2013

Posted by Megan in Historical Fiction, Movies, Science Fiction, Thrillers, Young Adult.
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YA (young adult) literature isn’t just for teens anymore. It appears that the movie industry has finally wised up to something that fans of YA have known for years: YA books are AWESOME (and apparently make great movies). So, you’ve read Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and maybe even The Perks of Being a Wallflower. What’s next?

 

White Cat by Holly Black. This is the first book in The Curse Workers series. It’s like The Sopranos with magic. Set in an alternate reality America, some people have the supernatural ability to manipulate the minds, memories, emotions, and luck of others with the touch of a hand. Other curse workers have the power to kill, transform, or physically injure others. Curse work is illegal, workers are feared, and most are criminals, mobsters, and con artists. Cassel Sharpe comes from a family of workers but he has no curse skill. He is an outcast, a con artist, and a murderer….dun dun dun!

white cat2

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. Thanks to the success of The Walking Dead, zombies are all the rage and YA has TONS of awesome zombie fare. One of my favorites is this trilogy by Carrie Ryan. Mary has grown up in relative safety, while the Unconsecrated roam the forest and unrelentingly attempt to get beyond the fences. When the wall it breached Mary has to choose between the life she has always known and the dangers of the great unknown. Dark, intense, and never once is the word zombie mentioned!

forest of hands and teeth original

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. Are you a history buff? You won’t want to miss this awesome steampunk take on WWI! Here’s the scoop: the year is 1914, and Europe is on the verge of a war. Prince Alek, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne is on the run from the Clanker Army. Deryn Sharp, a girl disguised as a boy, is an airman for the British Air Force learning to fly the genetically engineered air beast, the Leviathan. The two form an uneasy alliance as they struggle to protect their secrets and stay alive. Clankers vs Darwinist! Giant walking machines vs. Giant flying beasts. This is the first in a trilogy as well.

leviathan

The Diviners by Libba Bray. Flappers are once again hip, thanks to the remake of The Great Gatsby! How would you like your Flappers with a side of supernatural demonic serial killer? So. Freaking. Creepy.

diviners

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga. Speaking of creepy! Love Dexter? Check out this series starring Jasper Dent, the son of the countries most notorious serial killer.

i hunt killers

Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Sure, Iron Man is a really hot cyborg, but Cinder is a cyborg version of Cinderella. This first book in the series is a futuristic retelling of the Cinderella story, complete with a handsome prince and a wicked stepmother.

cinder

I am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak. Not into all the dark, supernatural stuff? No problem! From the author of The Book Thief (have you read that one? No? You should!) comes the story of Ed Kennedy, my favorite nobody. Ed Kennedy is a nineteen-year-old Australian cab driving who lives with a smelly old dog, pines away for his best friend, Audrey, and loves to play cards. He’s an ordinary guy, going nowhere fast, until the day he foils a bank robbery. His glory is short-lived, but shortly after the would-be robber is sentenced, Ed receives an ace of clubs with three addresses written on it. And so begins Ed’s new adventure.

i am the messenger

Okay For Now by Gary Schmidt. This book was recently chosen as NPR’s Back Seat Book Club selection and a personal favorite of mine. Doug has a time life at home and now that he has moved to a new, small town things don’t look much better. Both his dad and his brother are bullies and his other brother is away in Vietnam. With nothing to do and no friends, Doug finds himself at the library. There he discovers Audubon’s birds and a talent he never knew he had. I did not expect to become so completely emotionally tangled up with Doug and his problems. And the birds! Audubon’s birds! Really? Yes! I have read this one twice now and I am sure I will read it again.

okay for now

Are you read for this summer big YA movie? I don’t know about you, but I am so excited to see City of Bones by Cassandra Clare on the Big Screen!

city of bones

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

 

What a Thrill(er)! March 1, 2013

Posted by stacey in Book List, Genre Book Discussion, Thrillers.
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Are you ready for a list of books that are fast paced, have twisty plots, and make your heart beat a little faster? Then you’ll love what’s coming! Our latest discussion featured books that fit into the suspense/thriller category and are meant to appeal to a reader’s feeling of uneasiness and build tension until the villain is defeated by the hero(ine). Sounds pretty exciting, right? Well, you’re about to find out if everyone was thrilled with their selection:

Ann: Learning to Swim by Sara J. Henry is a first novel filled with heart-stopping suspense and a touch of gothic intrigue. When Troy Chance jumps into the water from the ferry she’s riding, she is not 100% sure that she saw someone fall from the ferry boat traveling in the opposite direction. But in the cold waters of Lake Champlain she finds a little boy and drags him to safety. It’s when they finally reach the shoreline and sit together sopping wet, and the boy utters his first word, “Merci,” that the reader is hooked. Sara J. Henry is a great new voice in the mystery-suspense genre, and this book is the Winner of the 2012 Anthony Award for best first novel, 2012 Agatha Award for best first novel, and the 2012 Mary Higgins Clark Award. It was also nominated for the Barry Award and Macavity Award. I loved this book!

Carol: In A Killing in the Hills by Julia Keller, Bell Elkins grew up in the shadow of the mountain in Acker’s Gap, West Virginia, where one violent night ended her childhood and destroyed her family, leaving Bell to bounce from one bad foster home to the next. She escaped as a married young woman, and went to law school, but couldn’t handle life in busy Washington D.C. with her charming by straying husband, Sam, a lobbyist’s attorney. Drawn to return to home to make a difference after her marriage falls apart, Bell and her daughter Carla moved back to Acker’s Gap and now, Bell is Raythune county’s no-nonsense prosecuting attorney–determined to drive out the rampant prescription drug peddlers in town. When Carla becomes a witness to a violent triple murder, however, will their sleepy town ever feel safe again? Why were these men killed? Was it random? Drug related? An already sullen teen, Carla is shocked and horrified by what she saw, but, too tough to admit it, she puts herself in jeopardy to help her mother do her job. With its wonderfully flawed characters, a atmospherically painted West Virginia, and plenty of white knuckled moments, this first novel will keep your eyes glued to the pages. By the time they reach the book’s impossible to guess ending, readers will look forward to returning to Acker’s Gap.

Chris: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn opens on Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary, unfortunately the Mrs. is missing. What happened? You could turn to the back of the book for the jaw-dropping ending, but then you’d miss out on a scary tale written in a unique way: the first half of the book is told in the first person, alternately by both Nick and Amy. Amy’s perspective is told in the past through journal entries; Nick’s is told in the present tense. Of course–there are two sides to every story. Can’t talk about the rest of the book without giving away the ending. Let’s just say that another possible title for this book could be Love Is Strange, Very Strange.

Emma: The portrait of Mrs. Charbuque by Jeffrey Ford takes place in New York City in 1893. The city is under attack by a parasite that eats “the soft tissue of the eye”. Victims weep blood and eventually die. The majority of the novel however involves Piambo. Artist Piambo is offered the chance to paint a portrait of the mysterious Mrs. Charbuque. Her generous commission will be tripled if she is pleased with the painting. Piambo has a month to complete the project but must paint without ever seeing her. Mrs. Charbuque will sit behind a screen while Piambo spends one hour a day talking with her. Mrs. Charbuque is very different with multiple personalities and psychic abilities. The painting is finished but nothing bodes well for Mrs. Charbuque. According to reviews, the novel is smart, spellbinding, and a literary thriller standout.

Maureen: In the latest novel by Dutch writer Herman Koch, The Dinner, Paul and wife Claire meet Paul’s brother Serge and his wife Babette in a trendy Amsterdam restaurant with the intent of discussing a serious family matter involving both couples’ children. As the dinner slowly progresses from course to course, family histories are revealed through flashbacks, bringing to light each character’s true colors. The plotting is slow and deliberate but is absolutely perfect for building the almost impossible-to-endure suspense that builds as the reader finally discovers just what the teenage boys have been involved in and what the parents are going to do to resolve the situation. Told by narrator Paul, the subject matter is dark, the characters are flawed, and the resulting book is riveting psychological suspense. Not to be missed!

Megan: And She Was by Alison Gaylin introduces readers to Brenna Spector, a private investigator with a rare neurological condition that is both a blessing and a curse in her line of work. Triggered by the trauma of her sister’s disappearance, Brenna developed Hyperthymestic Syndrome, which allows her to have perfect recall. Now she puts her skills to use searching for missing people. Her current case appears to be tied to a cold case involving a missing child. Could the disappearance of Carol Wentz may finally lead police to the missing Iris Neff? This quietly suspenseful mystery will slowly draw readers in and then hit them with a shocking end.

Rosemary: The Third Bullet by Stephen Hunter is the newest in the Bob Lee Swagger series. It is a fascinating recreation of the events leading up to and following the assassination of JFK. Hunter focuses on the question of just what part Lee Harvey Oswald played in the tragedy and how Oswald might have been used by other, even more dangerous men. Vietnam veteran Bob Lee Swagger is a very appealing hero and when he sets his mind to figuring out the JFK question, no one should even think about getting in his way.

Dori: In Ghostman, by John Hobbs, ‘Jack’ is called in to clean up the mess after an Atlantic City casino robbery has gone all wrong. Jack is a ‘Ghostman’, a criminal’s criminal; he lives off the grid, moving constantly, changing names and identities. Owing a debt to Marcus, the organizer of the casino heist, because he botched a Malaysian bank robbery five years ago, he flies into Atlantic City with 48 hours to find the stolen money before it blows up. Action-packed, technically detailed, unpredictable, and gritty, Ghostman is one gripping thriller.

Steve: Timeline by Michael Crichton, is a mix of sci-fi, history and all thriller, that divides its time between contemporary New Mexico, and 1300’s France. The secretive company, ITC, headquartered in New Mexico, has pioneered a way to transport humans back in time. ITC also sponsors an archaeological dig in France. The leader of the dig, Professor Edward Johnston, is sent back in time and goes missing. Four researchers from his team are then called upon to go back to 1357 France to bring back their professor. Fast-paced and with lots of plot twists, this is well worth reading.

Stacey: Defensive Wounds by Lisa Black has plenty of suspenseful elements and lots of police procedural details, but it’s the Cleveland setting that made this book really special. Theresa MacLean is a forensic investigator for the city’s police department and is called into investigate the murder of local leading defense lawyer, Marie Corrigan. No one seems very sorry that Marie’s been killed, especially anyone on the force, but there’s a strange lack of suspects or motives for murder.

Next time? We’ll be selecting books we call gentle reads. These books tend to focus on the everyday joys, frustrations, and sorrows of ordinary people living in tight-knit, recognizable communities. Usually centered on a particular group of friends with a common interest, their story are told without the extreme highs and lows found in other genres making them…. ta-dah!… a gentle read. (See how neatly these things can come together sometimes?) Enjoy!

— Stacey

I Love to Listen-Awesome Audio October 26, 2011

Posted by Megan in Audio, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Non-Fiction, Thrillers, Women's Fiction, Young Adult.
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I know I have talked about this before, but it bears repeating: audiobooks are awesome. I mean really, what else are you doing during your morning commute? I suggest switching off the “downer” news, pop in a book on cd and see how much better you feel when you find yourself stuck in a traffic jam. Switching to books in the car has done wonders for my blood pressure since I am no longer in a furious rush to get anywhere. Why would I rush when I have someone telling me a story? Same deal with walking the dog. As soon as I pull out the Playaway my dog is jumping around and drooling with excitement because she knows that I could walk forever once I get into my “book.”  Between my 20 minute daily commute to and from work, driving around town running errands, and walking the dog on a semi-regular basis, I have managed to “read” 36 books for far this year just by listening. Not too shabby. So, you are ready to give listening a try? Where to start? Here are some of my favorites:

One of my favorite series to listen to is Alan Bradley’s Flavia De Luce mysteries. Narrator Jayne Entwistle does a marvelous job of giving the precocious youth sleuth and amateur chemist a voice. Meet Flavia in The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Her adventures continue in The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag and A Red Herring Without Mustard. I am anxiously awaiting the next book, I am Half-Sick of Shadows. These charming and hilarious mysteries are a real crowd-pleaser.

 

 

 

 Looking for something more suspenseful and fast-paced? Richard Doestch’s The 13th Hour is just that! This book has it all-edge of your seat action, murder, mystery, and time travel.

 

 

 

 

 

 Is nonfiction your thing? I loved the audio version of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. This is the thought-provoking story of how one woman, without her knowledge or permission changed the world of medicine.

 

 

 

 

 How about historical fiction? The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is currently shelved in the Teen collection, but I know plenty of adult book clubs that selected this one to discuss. It is a heartbreaking and moving look at WWII, told from the point of view of Death. On many occasions I found myself sitting in the driveway after work listening instead of going inside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also really loved Water for Elephants, everything Sarah Addison Allen writes (Garden Spells, Sugar Queen, The Girl Who Chased the Moon, and The Peach Keeper), Blood Oath, and Going Bovine.

Did you find something to listen to? I hope so!

˜Megan