The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor

thingswekissgoodbyeYou know those books that make you stay up too late reading them? For me, The Things You Kiss Goodbye was one of those books. Award winning author Leslie Connor tells a story of a young girl who is navigating through some tough issues. Bettina strives to meet the high expectations of her traditional Greek parents, who are strict– certainly by today’s standards. She is a good, smart, mature girl who still gets caught up in a painfully flawed relationship with her high school boyfriend. She recognizes the dysfunction even as she plays along. Then, by chance, Bettina meets a 20-something guy who is as nice and handsome as he is mysterious to her. Bettina and the guy she calls Cowboy strike up a cautious friendship that ultimately grows into something more.

One of the reasons teens love YA books is for the cache of coming of age issues that teens can identify with. But sometimes a YA book comes along that is extraordinary enough to offer great appeal for adults. This poignant story is one that might appeal more to adults than it does to teens, in fact. Connor does a wonderful job of conveying the depth of all of these characters, from parents to awkward friends to the smallest brother.  I loved Bettina and her family, her friends, and her Cowboy.

Fans of Sarah Dessen and Megan McCafferty will find The Things You Kiss Goodbye a good bet.


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Mystery Monday: More “Tasty” Mysteries to Chew On

Last week we showcased local mystery author Diane Mott Davidson. Her series is a great example of mysteries surrounding food that also include actual recipes.  If you love cozy mysteries and are looking for additional fun ways to get new recipes, check out these other authors who love to “dish out” a mystery with tasty options as well.

Final SentenceSusan Wittig Albert: Darling Dahlias & China Bayles Mysteries                                                                                 Jessica Beck: Donut Shop Mystery Series                          Bailey Cates: Magical Bakery Mystery Series                      Chris Cavender: Pizza Lovers Mystery Series                       Laura Childs: Tea Shop Mysteries                                       Sheila Connolly: Orchard Mystery Series                               Isis Crawford: A Catered Murder Series                             Krista Davis: Domestic Diva Series                                   Joanne Fluke: Hannah Swensen Mysteries                             Daryl Wood Gerber: Cookbook Nook Mystery Series ( A New Mystery Series)                                                                               Victoria Hamilton: Vintage Kitchen Mystery Series            Julie Hyzy: White House Chef Mysteries                               Josi S. Kilpack: Culinary Mystery Series                                                                                        Liz Lipperman: Clueless Cook Mystery Series                                                                           Jenn McKinlay: Cupcake Bakery Mystery Series                                                                    Nancy J. Parra: Baker’s Treat Mystery Series

One of the really fun things about these mystery series are the creative book titles that their authors come up with.  Can you tell which of the following titles is NOT an actual title of a book?

Liver Let Die                                                                                                                                           Murder for the Halibut                                                                                                           Eggsecutive Orders                                                                                                                           Rest in Pizza                                                                                                                                        The Missing Dough                                                                                                                               Going, Going, Ganache                                                                                                                           Gluten for Punishment

(All of the above are actual book titles)


–Carol W.




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Summer Top Ten for Reading Groups

Twice a year the American Booksellers Association produces the Indie Next List for Reading Groups. The list is the most requested of any printed list that the ABA produces. Here’s a sampling:

2bookcover.phpOrdinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

A brilliant coming of age story and New York Times Bestseller, Ordinary Grace received the 2014 Edgar Award for Best Novel, and topped School Library Journal’s list as best book of 2013.





bookcover.phpThe Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

A true story of American courage and determination, Brown’s book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their journey to an Olympic gold medal. These young sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers defeated elite European rivals, and Hitler, in their rousing quest to win the gold.


3bookcover.phpThe Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

So tickled to see this book on the list! The Rosie Project is the book I have been telling everybody to read. Simsion’s debut novel concerns a 39-year-old genetics professor with Asperger’s, who doesn’t know he has it. Don is trying to solve his “Wife Problem.”


To see all the booksellers’ top 10 favorites, click here.








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Mystery Monday: More Than a Mystery

Mystery MondayLooking for a fun read and more?  Check out local author, Diane Mott Davidson’s cozy mysteries series set in Aspen Meadows, Colorado.  (If you think this fictional town resembles Evergreen, CO, you’re spot on.  The author has a home there.)

Catering to NobodyIn these tales, local caterer, Goldy Schulz, is required again and again to figure out “who did it” when a variety of characters meet their demise.   Each book is based on a “food” theme.  What’s even better is that with these tales you’ll also have the opportunity to try your own hand with the delicious recipes that are included in the books.  I personally recommend that you read the series in order.

Here’s a list of the 17 books in this series:

Catering to Nobody (1990)

Dying for Chocolate (1993)

Cereal MurdersThe Cereal Murders (1994)

The Last Suppers (1995)

Killer Pancake (1996)

The Main Corpse (1997)

The Grilling Season (1998)

Prime Cut (2000)

Tough Cookie (2001)

Fatally FlakySticks and Scones (2002)

Chopping Spree (2003)

Double Shot (2005)

Dark Tort (2007)

Sweet Revenge (2008)

Fatally Flaky (2009)

Crunch Time (2011)

                                                         The Whole Enchilada (2013)

You can even access these books for your eReader.   One way or another, these books will leave you “hungry” for more!

– Carol W.

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Book vs. Movie










When our favorite books take to the big screen, we MUST decide whether the movie does the book justice. Or maybe you are someone who decides to read the book after you see the film version? (See Game of Thrones).

Today we are wondering about The Fault in Our Stars, since the movie has been out for a month now. What did you think? Was the book better, the movie spot on, or the actors  too different from how you pictured the characters?

We would love to get your comments below! Meanwhile, keep reading and then watching—or, uhhh, watching then reading. Oh, and if you want the music, too, click here.


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Mystery Monday: Favorite Literary Mysteries from a Mystery Writer

Mystery MondayThomas H. Cook, who has written over 20 mysteries and received an Edgar Award for his book, The Chatham School Affair, shared a list of the mystery books that are his personal favorites with Publishers Weekly.  His picks tend to be a bit literary but it’s always fun to see what books authors recommend.  Here’s a peak at some of his favorite mysteries that you can find at Douglas County Libraries:

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

A Crime in the Neighborhood by Suzanne Berne

A Coffin for Dimitrios by Eric Ambler

The Quiet American by Graham Greene

Sandrines CaseYou might also want to check out Mr. Cook’s latest mystery, Sandrine’s Case.   Sam Madison, a college professor at Georgia’s Coburn College, is on trial for killing his wife, Sandrine.  Sam is not necessarily a likeable character so it’s easy to imagine that he killed his wife and tried to make it look like suicide.  This looks like a pretty simple plot on the surface but this is a psychological courtroom thriller at its best that exams human nature and marriage.    There is a fabulous quote in the book stated by Sam’s daughter Alexandria: “Maybe that’s why married people try so hard to make things work.  It’s not that they love each other every day, right? It’s that they love each other enough to stay through the days they don’t.”

– Carol W.

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Mystery Monday: Don’t Do the Crime if You Can’t Do the Time

Mystery MondayWriter’s often write about what they know.  Did you know that several mystery writers have actually spent time behind bars?  Two of the most successful mystery writers who have been convicted of crimes are Jeffrey Archer and Anne Perry.  Anne has had over 25 million books published worldwide and her novels have been translated into 15 different languages.

Death on BlackheathIn March of this year, Anne Perry published her latest Thomas Pitt novel, Death on Blackheath.  Born Juliet Marion Hulme in Blackheath, London, the author had tuberculosis as a child and was sent to warmer climates to aid in her recovery.  Then when she was 13, her father was given a position as Rector of Canterbury University College in New Zealand and at that time, she rejoined her family.   Two years later, she helped her best friend, Pauline Parker, kill Pauline’s mother.  She served five years in a harsh New Zealand prison before eventually settling in rural Scotland and changing her name to Anne Perry.   There she lived a life of seclusion and began to write murder mysteries.  In 1994 her true identity came out when Peter Jackson (of Lord of the Rings fame) directed a film about the murder entitled Heavenly Creatures.

Several biographies about Anne, her background and her writing have been written.  A new biography just published is The Search for Anne Perry: The Hidden Life of a Bestselling Crime Writer by Joanne Drayton.  This biography draws parallels between Perry’s personal life experiences and those of her fictional characters and storylines.  It’s not often you get this kind of insight into a popular author–check it out!

–Carol W.

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Mystery Monday: Mystery Thrillers

Mystery MondayKnown for lots of action, plenty of close calls and narrow misses, Mystery Thrillers strive to keep you tense and on the edge of your seat.  Sometimes with these books, the villain is known from the beginning and the challenge is to stop him/her before another murder happens.

Fear NothingCop TownTwo benchmark authors for this style of mystery are Lisa Gardner and Karin Slaughter.    Lisa’s main mystery series involves Boston police detective D. D. Warren.   The latest in this series, Fear Nothing was published in January of this year where detective Warren is seriously injured and targeted by a serial killer who is terrorizing Boston.

Karin Slaughter has two mystery series: the Will Trent Mysteries set in Atlanta and the Grant County Mysteries (Georgia) whose main characters are Sara Linton, the town pediatrician and coroner, her ex-husband that she remarried, Jeffrey Tolliver (who is also the police chief) and detective Lena Adams who works under Tolliver.   Note that both of these authors have strong female protagonists.

Both authors have also written stand-alone novels.  A new stand alone thriller by Karin Slaughter hitting the stands tomorrow is Cop Town where a female rookie cop is trying to survive the “boy’s club” that is the Atlanta Police Department in the 1970s.  A small word of caution: these books are not cozies but meaty stories with gritty realism and may contain graphic violence.  Did your heart rate just go up?

–Carol W.

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Book Lover’s Summer

It is time for summer and summer reading. Recently I presented some fun summer titles for people to consider for their vacations, staycations, and other incidental reading experiences. For the full list of titles go here. What follow are some of the evening’s highlights. Oh! And don’t forget to sign up for our summer reading program. You could win prizes, and you will definitely be encouraged to read in a tree and find a ladybug. When was the last time someone encouraged you to do that?

What Nora KnewWhat Nora Knew, by Linda Yellin

This is a lovely homage to Nora Ephron, that great romantic comic of 80’s and 90’s cinema. Holly is a journalist for an online magazine whose job is to put herself into ridiculous situations then write about them. With her newest assignment, her boss wants her to write about love in the style of Nora Ephron, but Holly doesn’t trust love. All she wants from a relationship is safety. To add to Holly’s troubles is Cameron Duncan, a charming mystery author that she can’t NOT run into. Yellin’s romantic comedy has fun recreating scenes from When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail. She also fills the book with fun dialog and loads of charm, making this a perfect light summer read. Available as a book.

i am pilgrimI am Pilgrim, by Terry Hayes.

The titular Pilgrim is a former top secret agent who has written a widely read tomb on DNA evidence. Pilgrim’s nemesis is Saracen, a man bent on Jihad who is developing a terrible small pox virus to release against the US. Hayes does a good job developing both characters and uses the political angle to great effect. This looks like a door-stopper, but don’t be fooled. It reads quickly and is pretty tough to put down. Available as a book or CD.


The Martian, by Andy Weir

A routine mission to Mars is interrupted by a terrible sandstorm that sweeps away one of the crew. His vitals are dead. The astronaut, Mark Watney, wakes up a few hours later, theMartiancertain of three things. First, his team has left him for dead and aborted the mission (which is just standard operating procedure). Second, he has no way of communicating with Earth. Third, there isn’t enough food left in his “hab” to survive until the next mission arrives. How Mark Watney fights against those three facts is an amazing story – and an incredible one as Weir uses problem solving to propel the plot of this completely engrossing novel. This is hardcore science fiction starring a loveable and funny protagonist facing the worst odds ever. If you are a fan of books on CD, the reader here is particularly good. Available as a book or CD.

Little Demon in the City of Light, by Steven Levingston

A bit of historical true crime a la Devil in the White City. In 1889 Gabrielle Bompard is LittleDemonintheCityofLightarrested for murder. She insists that she didn’t know what she was doing, and that she was, in fact, mesmerized into committing this vile crime. The trial that followed was a complete sensation as journalists re-hashed the gruesome crime and experts on both sides of the question argued whether it would even be possible to hypnotize a person to kill someone else. Levingston lovingly re-creates Paris of La Belle Époque. His research is spot on and he tells a page-turner of a story. Available as a book.

NorthangerAbbeyNorthanger Abbey, by Val McDermid

Loving Jane Austen may be a sign of good taste, but often admitting that you love her first novel, Northanger Abbey, will open you up to a certain amount of ribbing. So now I will confess that this is one of my favorites by Austen. I love Catherine Morland’s naivety and how her pre-occupation with Gothic romances leads her to worry about all the wrong things. McDermid seems to love Catherine, too, and makes the most of her chance to modernize Cat’s story. A film festival replaces Bath as THE place to be for fun, and The Twilight phenomenon gives McDermid the perfect modern hook for a young girl who longs for romance and gets reality. Available as a book

~Amy H.                                                                        Adult Services Librarian - PA branch

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Mystery Monday: Private Investigators

Mystery MondayWhat is the attraction of reading mysteries where the main protagonist is a private investigator?   According to Neil Albert, these mysteries are enticing because the solution to the crime isn’t dependent upon a police department and court systems.  Does this mean that readers have reached a point where they’re a little bit cynical about the justice system?  Not necessarily.  But it can be refreshing to read a mystery where the person who solves the crime has a strong code of honor or a dedication to seeing justice done while often being a very flawed individual with personal issues of their own.

Robert Parkers SpenserBenchmark authors of this popular mystery subgenre include John Sandford (Lucas Davenport Series), John Connolly (Charlie Parker Series), Lawrence Block (Matthew Scudder Series), Robert Crais (Elvis Cole & Joe Pike Mysteries) and Robert Parker (Spenser Series).   Robert Parker died of a heart attack in 2010 but his much loved series has been continued with family approval by writer Ace Atkins.  The latest Spenser book is Cheap Shot, published May 6, 2014 where Spenser is hired to help out a hard-nosed linebacker.

If you think that there are only male P.I.s don’t forget Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone mysteries or check out the quirky P.I. family in the Spellman Series created by Lisa Lutz.

 How many of these benchmark authors have you read?  Who is your favorite P.I. that I didn’t mention?

–Carol W.

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