The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki

accidental empressI’d feel hard pressed to find a more fascinating family to follow through history than the Habsburgs. In her new novel, The Accidental Empress, Allison Pataki breathes life into one of that family’s most intriguing monarchs, the Austro-Hungarian Empress, Elisabeth.

At 23, Emperor Franz Joseph is ready for a wife. His domineering mother, the Archduchess Sophie, has a bride in mind for him– his cousin, Helene. Sophie perhaps senses she might easily control such a shy and tractable girl.  Helene arrives at court with her 15-yr-old sister, Elisabeth,  called “Sisi”, in tow. In a rapid turn of events that could have been plucked from any number of romance novels, Sisi effectively steals the heart of Franz Joseph. Sisi returns his affections, and Franz Joseph manages to follow his heart’s desire and marries her. His mother is none too pleased with the substitution. Thus begins a long and heart-rending power struggle between the two women, with the Emperor teetering between a great love for his wife and the mixture of guilt and duty he feels toward the Archduchess.

Fans of Carolly Erickson’s historical portrait novels will want to take note of Allison Pataki. Perhaps you are already familiar with her excellent Revolutionary War novel, The Traitor’s Wife. Like Erickson, she transported me effortlessly to another time and place, to where the beautiful, spirited Sisi came to be so deeply loved and admired by her people. The events of her life make a great story– she reigned for more than 40 years, after all. These days her lovely image is everywhere in Vienna, from palaces to souvenir shops alike. I suggest you celebrate the last weekend in Women’s History Month with this jewel of a novel.

~djc

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Thomas McGuane Brings Montana to JHL Branch

Set in his accustomed Big Sky country, with its mesmeric powers, Thomas McGuane’s new collection of stories is a welcome addition to his body of work. His unique way with words and the comic genius have inspired comparison with Twain and Gogol.

crowfairCrow Fair: Stories shows how the ties of family can make for uncomfortable binds. A devoted son is horrified to discover his mother’s antics before she slipped into dementia. A father’s outdoor skills are no match for an ominous change in the weather. Complications arise equally in the absence of blood ties, as when lifelong friends on a fishing trip finally confront their deep dislike for each other, or when a gifted traveling cattle breeder succumbs to the lure of easy money. McGuane is as witty and large-hearted as ever—a jubilant, thunderous confirmation of his status as a modern master. Crow Fair is recommended by Lisa, and here you can                          sample an excerpt.

Other titles by Thomas McGuane are available at DCL.

Meet Thomas McGuane at the James H. LaRue Library on Monday, March 30th at 7pm. Register here.

 

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JHL Book Lovers Welcome Publisher Reps

HarperCollins and Penguin Random representatives were on hand at the James H. LaRue branch on February 17 for another Book Lovers event. How lucky for everyone who attended and heard about the publishers’ new favorites, along with a few from 2014 for good measure! See the list here.

JHL staff offered some of their recent picks, too. Here’s a sampling.

 Endangered (A Joe Pickett Novel) by C J Box

endangeredJoe Pickett had good reason to dislike Dallas Cates, even if he was a rodeo champion, and now he has even more—Joe’s eighteen-year-old ward, April, has run off with him. And then comes even worse news: The body of a girl has been found in a ditch along the highway—alive, but just barely, the victim of blunt force trauma. It is April, and the doctors aren’t sure if she’ll recover. Cates denies having anything to do with it—says she ran away from him, too—and there’s evidence that points to another man. But Joe knows in his gut who’s responsible. What he doesn’t know is the kind of danger he’s about to encounter. Cates is bad enough, but Cates’s family is like none Joe has ever met before. Recommended by Lisa.

Meet C.J. Box at the James H. LaRue Library on Thurs. March 12th at 7 pm. Books will be on sale at the event. Register online or by calling Lisa at 720-348-9522.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

girlontrainRachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then Continue reading

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Mystery Monday: Three Graves Full

MysteryMondayBannerThree Graves Full

It’s always fun to explore brand new titles being published, but from time to time it’s also nice to explore older books that you may have missed.

Imagine that you’ve committed a murder and buried the body at the edge of your property in the backyard.  You’re on edge of course because you worry that the neighbor’s snoopy dog will discover the remains.  You ask yourself, “Did I bury the body deep enough?”  Then imagine your surprise when a landscaping team that you’ve hired discovers a different body that’s buried in your front yard!  Not only that, but a second buried body is discovered.  That’s the sticky situation Jason Getty finds himself in Three Graves Full by Jamie Mason.

Will Jason be charged with three murders?

This book was named a Library Journal Best Book of 2013. Recommended for fans of the Coen brothers and Gillian Flynn.

Also by this author, Monday’s Lie–a tale where the female protagonist finds out that her husband isn’t quite who she thought he was.

– Carol W.

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An Outlandish Event with Diana Gabaldon

1The engrossing  and beloved Outlander series has won thousands of fans worldwide for author Diana Gabaldon, ever since the first book was published some twenty years ago. Her compelling characters are finely drawn, with a practically perfect highlander named Jamie Fraser and an intrepid and resourceful Claire Randall at the center of a whole cast of fascinating people from two very different time periods. The eight-title series, with it’s unique blend of history, romance, adventure, and yes, time travel, is now enjoying renewed popularity - due in part to an award-winning Starz television series that launched last year.  I would go so far as to say Outlander has reset the bar for cable television productions, with it’s gorgeous Scottish locales and fabulous sets and costumes. But here is the best part of all!

Now you can be part of the adventure! See Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series, on Thursday, April 30, at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center.

Books will be available for sale courtesy of The Tattered Cover Book Store; Ms. Gabaldon will sign one book per person. Get your tickets here.

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Big Buzz About Harper Lee

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Publisher HarperCollins announced Tuesday that Go Set a Watchman, a novel that Harper Lee, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author completed in the 1950s and put aside, will be released July 14. Rediscovered last fall,  Go Set a Watchman is essentially a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, although it was finished earlier. The 304-page book will be Lee’s second, and the first new work in more than 50 years.

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More here if you are interested:

http://bookriot.com/2015/02/04/uncollected-thoughts-new-harper-lee-novel/

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/02/the-tragedy-of-harper-lee/385132/

Request a copy today. This is a huge deal.  I hope that it is a great book.  Tough to follow a book like TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD…

~ Deb M.                                                                              Collection Development Librarian

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Mystery Monday: Edgar Award Nominees Announced

Mystery MondayThe nominees for the Edgar Award were published recently and the winners will be announced on April 29, 2015.  The Edgar Award is equivalent to the “Oscars” for mystery books.  Here are the six titles nominated for Best Mystery.  Which book do you think will win?

This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash — Two sisters are snatched from the foster care system by their errant father, Wade, who has been linked to a multimillion-dollar robbery.  Now everyone is looking for them including Robert Pruitt who has an old vendetta against Wade.  Told through alternating narrators, this tale has been referred to as “if Cormac McCarthy decided to rewrite…To Kill a Mockingbird”(Richmond Times- Dispatch).

Wolf by Mo Hayder — In this Jack Caffery thriller, a wealthy family are held hostage in their remote country home.  When a dog is found with a scrap of paper with the words “Help Us” attached to its collar, the police are at first reluctant to get involved. But Detective Inspector Caffery is drawn into the case with the promise from a vagrant that he’ll get more information regarding the childhood disappearance of his brother if he investigates the note.

Edgar Nominees 2015

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King — Another thriller where three unlikely heroes try to stop a lone killer from killing and injuring thousands in this race against time.  A chilling and unforgettable look into the mind of a killer from the master of suspense writing. Continue reading

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Delightful Debuts: Descent by Tim Johnston

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There are so many new authors to try out these days, it can be difficult to choose where to descentstart. So here’s a tip- few others have excited readers and critics alike the way Tim Johnston has, with his literary thriller and adult debut, Descent. I just got this on my eReader and I am starting it tonight!

The story has won accolades and starred reviews galore. A “lyrical and hypnotic…pulse-pounding thriller of the first order” that is ”also a gorgeously written, thought-provoking, and haunting novel about family, survival, and the power of a single choice.”

Set amidst the stunning Rocky Mountains, the story centers around the Courtland family, who are trying to re-connect for one last time before Caitlin, their eldest, goes off to college. But instead they are thrust abruptly into a nightmare straight from today’s headlines when Caitlin and her younger brother, Sean, go out for an early morning run and only Sean returns.

Johnston is no stranger to high praise. He snagged an O. Henry Prize, the New Letters Award for Writers, and the Gival Press Short Story Award, as well as the 2009 Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction for his collection, Irish Girl.

~djc

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ALA Names Top Adult Audiobooks for 2014

Love to listen to your books on audio? So do a lot of other people these days, especially when they can find the “good ones” at the library. Now, thanks to the American Library Association (ALA) committee that creates an annual “Best of” list for adult audiobook narration, it just got a little easier to find great titles that feature wonderfully talented readers.

Since 2010, The Listen List: Outstanding Audiobook Narration, “seeks to highlight outstanding audiobook titles with readers that merit special attention by general adult listeners and the librarians who work with them.” Not only do these list creators name some great titles, they offer some read-alikes for each of their picks. Here are a few that were named to the 2014 list. If you have a favorite audio book reader, discover more of their work by searching the catalog for their name.

The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert.

signature of all things Narrated by Juliet Stevenson, whose sublimely melodious, richly inflected voice brings myriad characters, places, and even plants and animals to life in this story of a fictional 19th century botanist. Alma Whittaker’s goal of finding a connection between all living things takes her on a solo quest to exotic places on this journey of serendipitous self-discovery.

 

Listen-Alikes:

Bellwether, by Connie Willis; narrated by Kate Reading for Blackstone Audio.

The Lieutenant, by Kate Grenville; narrated by Nicholas Bell for Bolinda Audio/Brilliance Audio.

Prodigal Summer, by Barbara Kingsolver; narrated by Barbara Kingsolver for Recorded Books. Continue reading

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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

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life changingIt’s the new year, and so that means people are again on the lookout for workable ways to organize themselves, and make their lives more relaxing and pleasurable in the process. It’s no wonder this book, written by a Japanese organizational consultant, is a best seller that continues to generate international buzz. Just take a look at what the publisher has to say about Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing.

Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles? Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever.

The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list). With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home–and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.   

~djc

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