A Few Staff Favorites

Morning Star by Pierce Brown

Morning StarMorning Star is a fitting conclusion to the Red Rising trilogy. Darrow, raised as a Red who mined under the surface on Mars and transformed to the ruling Gold caste by the rebellious Sons of Ares, has fallen spectacularly after being at the height of success. He must make his way back to his friends in order to salvage his dead wife’s dream of freedom for people of all castes. Morning Star explores questions of loyalty and friendship in the midst of the brutality of war. As Darrow’s identity as a Red launches an all-out uprising of the lower castes in the Solar System, he must balance the needs of the many with the lives of his friends of all castes and histories. The end was satisfying and surprising; it was thoroughly enjoyable.

~Melissa          PST @ PSM

The Secret by Beverly Lewis 

TheSecretI was surprised by this read!  I wasn’t sure if I would really engage in a story about the Amish, but this story was really fascinating!  It was a very quick and easy read, and the character development was really well done.  I never knew anything about the Amish or their way of life before reading this story, but this book inspired me to learn more about the Amish beliefs and lifestyle.  It was truly a charming story, with plenty of intrigue and mystery.  I would highly recommend The Secret!

 ~Susan             PST @ PSM

 The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

way of KingsAs the first book in The Stormlight Archive series, The Way of Kings demonstrates – once again – that Brandon Sanderson is a masterful world-builder. Surreal landscapes, unforgettable characters, and an unstoppable plot make this epic tale a must-read for any fantasy lovers out there! Check out Sanderson’s website for updates about his upcoming books: http://brandonsanderson.com.

 ~Brittany        PST @ LT


My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry: A Novel by Fredrik Backman

my grandmotherFredrik Backman is a master storyteller.  This very cleaver story filled with charm, wit and authentic characters, will touch your heart and make you laugh out loud. For Elsa’s entire life her grandmother has told Elsa fairytales about the Land-of-Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miasma. When Elsa’s grandma dies, she leaves a series of letters that Elsa must deliver on her grandmother’s behalf. While delivering these letters, Elsa discovers that her grandmother’s fairytales are based on real people Elsa has known her whole life. Loveable characters, a loyal dog, and fun Harry Potter references, make this a book that I highly recommend.

~Nikki              PST @ PA

Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary

DearMrHenshawThis is about Leigh, a boy who starts writing to his favorite author in 2nd grade. Through these letters and then through a personal diary that the author encourages him to write, he begins to cope with his feelings about divorce, being the new kid, and dealing with an absent, unreliable dad. Through humor, learning empathy, and with a little help from the warm and caring cast of characters around him, his self-confidence and sense of empowerment grows and he begins to take control of these issue for himself. This was a great read for 4th grade and up. An excellent book that centers around often difficult, real life circumstances and challenges that happen to children.

 ~Robin             PST @ PSM

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Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

meeearldyinggirlI finally got around to reading Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews, and it was absolutely incredible. Greg Gaines is a high school senior who believes he has his world figured out. He knows how to get by without being noticed, and therefore has been able to avoid all of the complications that come with building personal relationships. All of this changes when Rachel, a girl who he has been able to dodge until now, is diagnosed with cancer. Rachel’s diagnosis helps to challenge Greg in new ways, and helps him to realize that there is more to life than what he believed to be possible.

Andrews writes a hysterical yet tragic commentary on thoughts, feelings, and actions that we all have encountered at some point in our lives, and aims to challenge his readers to reevaluate who we are and who we want to be. He discusses how friendships shape us, and how becoming emotionally invested in something important is worth the risk of loss in the end.

~Aimee Drury                                 PST @ Parker

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The Difficult Topic: Grief

We rarely get requests for books on grief. It’s a difficult topic, and not one we are likely to seek out until we have to.

If you are grieving, or if you are looking for ways to support a friend or family member through their grief, we have books in the collection that may help. Just as there is no right way to grieve, there is no one book that is “right” for everyone. I’ve created a short list below of some titles that have been suggested to me, or that I have read and found helpful. I have also included two websites that probothsidesnowvide helpful (and more immediate) information.

Whatever it is you are looking for, never feel shy to ask any of us at the library for help. If we don’t have a title in mind to suggest, we will work hard to find one that is a fit for you.

Both Sides Now: a true story of love, loss and bold living is Nancy Sharp’s memoir about losing her husband to cancer and picking up the pieces. Nancy now lives in Denver and promotes “Bold Living” through her writing and work as a keynote speaker.living with loss

Living with Loss – One Day at a Time by Rachel Blythe Kodanaz, includes some practical advice and tools for dealing with grief in small, manageable steps.


grief observedA Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis, chronicles his devastation over the death of his wife, which led him to keep a journal about loss and faith.

when breath becomes air

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, is a memoir about a neurosurgeon who lost his life to lung cancer. He discusses his work, cancer diagnosis and the process of finding acceptance.

Links to try:

Helpguide.org – offers support for grieving people

The Center for Loss

~ Cheryl B.                         PST @ JHL


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Lila by Marilynne Robinson

lilahomegileadI picked up Lila by Marilynne Robinson for its critical acclaim (National Book Award Finalist, written by a Pulitzer Prize Winning Author), and the novel proved worthy of the accolades. The story returns to the setting of previous work of Robinson’s, but the novel can be read with or without having read her other books.  The character of Lila is captivating, a lonely homeless wanderer who has lost the only family she has known until she stumbles upon Gilead and John Ames, a minister in the small Iowa town. A unique romance ensues while Lila tries to reconcile two disparate eras of her life, her drifter childhood and makeshift family and the Christian world of John Ames.  The characters’ quiet vigor encouraged me to pick up Robinson’s previous novels, Gilead and Home.

~Sarah Grace            Youth Librarian @ JHL

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The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson


Once again Bill Bryson takes us along on his travels to England, sharing more of his entertainingly astute observations and funny anecdotes. Twenty years after his Notes From a Small Island, his perspective has changed somewhat. The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain. features an older, more crotchety Bryson. He can grouse about the state of England and her changing culture but still manage to have his readers laughing anyway.

roadtolittledribblingAn expert at making history come alive, Bryson manages to make any subject he writes about —Victorian railways, the construction of Stonehenge, 1960s economic development and city planning— interesting and even funny. He can also share some personal perspective, since he has lived many years in England himself and has obtained dual citizenship there and in the USA. The Road to Little Dribbling will not disappoint Bryson’s fans, and this hilarious account may have you planning your own trip to England in the near future. If that’s not in the cards, don’t worry, Bryson treats the armchair traveler to the next best thing!


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Mystery Monday: Sherlock Holmes

MysteryMondayBannerThere are very few fictional characters that have enjoyed being written about by multiple authors.  Sherlock Holmes is the exception.  There’s something so intriguing with Sherlock that he has been portrayed by over 7o actors on stage, film and television.  He also continues to inspire new novels on a yearly basis.  Here’s a look at some upcoming and recently published books featuring this famous detective by other authors:

Sherlock Holmes TimbuktuSherlock Holmes, The Missing Years: Timbuktu by Vasudev Murthy: Still wondering what Sherlock Holmes was doing between his reported death in 1891 and his reappearance in 1894? All the world knew that Sherlock Holmes died at the Reichenbach Falls, tumbling over the jagged cliff in a deadly embrace with his nemesis Moriarty. But for history’s greatest detective, death was only the beginning. Rumors abounded that Holmes had been sighted advising the Japanese emperor, studying with the Dalai Lama, and protecting the president of the United States, but only Dr. Watson knew the truth. From 1891 to 1894, Sherlock Holmes was dead to the world―and having the grandest adventures of his career. Also by this author: Sherlock Holmes, The Missing Years: Japan

Art in the Blood by Bonnie MacBird:  It is December, 1888. Sherlock Holmes, 34, is languishing and back on cocaine after a disastrous Ripper investigation. Watson can neither comfort nor rouse his friend – until a strangely encoded letter arrives from Paris.   A beautiful French cabaret star, Mlle La Victoire,  writes that her illegitimate son by an English lord has disappeared, and she has been attacked in the streets of Montmartre.  Racing to Paris with Watson at his side, Holmes discovers the missing child is only the tip of the iceberg of a much larger problem. The most valuable statue since the Winged Victory has been violently stolen in Marseilles, and several children from a silk mill in Lancashire have been found murdered. The clues in all three cases point to a single, untouchable man. Will Holmes recover in time to find the missing boy and stop a rising tide of murders?

The Plague of Thieves Affair by Marcia Muller: Sabina Carpenter and John Quinncannon are no stranger to mysteries. In the five years since they opened Carpenter and Quinncannon, Professional Detective Services, they have solved dozens, but one has eluded even them: Sherlock Holmes or, rather, the madman claiming his identity, who keeps showing up with a frustrating (though admittedly useful) knack for solving difficult cases. Roland W. Fairchild, recently arrived from Chicago, claims Holmes is his first cousin, Charles P. Fairchild III. Now, with his father dead, Charles stands to inherit an estate of over three million dollars-if Sabina can find him, and if he can be proved sane. Sabina is uncertain of Roland’s motives, but agrees to take the case.  Who is Charles?

The Fifth Heart by Dan Simmons: In 1893, Sherlock Holmes and Henry James come to America together to solve the mystery of the 1885 death of Clover Adams, wife of the esteemed historian Henry Adams–member of the Adams family that has given the United States two Presidents. Clover’s suicide appears to be more than it at first seemed; the suspected foul play may involve matters of national importance. Holmes is currently on his Great Hiatus–his three-year absence after Reichenbach Falls during which time the people of London believe him to be deceased.  Holmes has faked his own death because, the great detective has come to the conclusion that he is a fictional character!

Don’t forget to enjoy the original tales by Arthur Conan Doyle as well.

— Carol W.



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The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian

guest roomIf you’ve ever read any of Chris Bohjalian’s novels from Midwives to Sand Castle Girls to Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands, you know that he is a masterful storyteller. His newest novel is The Guest Room. During a signing at the Tattered Cover last week, Chris said it might be thought of as a departure from his other work. The Guest Room is a jaw-dropping thriller, a cautionary tale about how one seemingly benign event can change and demolish lives instantly.

Richard decides to through his idiot brother a bachelor party at his home in Westchester, NY. His wife agrees and realizes they will probably have one or two strippers. Once the party is underway, Richard finds out that these strippers are really sex slaves who came with big, armed Russian bodyguards and things go downhill from there fast. Within the first few pages, one lapse in moral judgement leaves Richard with two murdered bodyguards, a wrecked house full of police, and two strippers on the run.

It’s a gritty, page-turning read. As Richard’s world falls apart, the girls are now finally free, but to what end? The book alternates points of view between the third person telling of Richard’s story and first person narration by 19-year-old Alexandra.  Chris Bohjalian weaves stories within stories and captivates readers from the start. He makes readers think, wonder and worry and keep thinking about the characters long after the novel ends. From meticulous research to heart pounding novel, The Guest Room has already debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list and tops my “best of 2016” reading list.

~Lisa C.


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The Longest Night by Andria Williams


longest nightAndria Williams’s skillful debut novel  is set in 1959 in a remote military town in Idaho. Paul Collier moves his wife, Nat, and two daughters to Idaho Falls for his new assignment to oversee a nuclear reactor. Nat has a hard time adjusting to this new place and as events unfold and dynamics between the characters play out, the story takes some interesting turns. The writing style is excellent and the characterization is believable. It’s a wonderful story – especially for people who like the TV series, Manhattan, which portrays life in a secret military town in New Mexico where scientists are developing the atomic bomb.  I received a copy of The Longest Night via NetGalley, but it’s due to hit bookstores today.


~Katherine J.                   Librarian @ JHL

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Colorado’s Winter Wonderland

Not into skiing, but love the outdoors? Luckily there’s a lot more to do around Colorado during the snowy months than strapping yourself to death sticks to shoot down a mountainside.                                                                                                                                      I’m just kidding. Not death sticks… injury planks.                                                                     Still kidding.

Boards of Terror. Ok, ok, I’ll stop.

Skiing is fun…at least, what I remember of it from 20 years ago. But perhaps it’s just not your cup of hot cocoa.  Maybe a nice hike would be more enjoyable? Get yourself a pair of YakTrax, get your trail mix, pile some layers on, and hit the trails!

best front range hikes Coloracolorados quiet winter trailsdo’s Quiet Winter Trails by Dave Muller


The Best Front Range Hikes from the Colorado Mountain Club Foundation


Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you could rent some snowshoes from R.E.I. and take a more rugged hike, or try some cross country skiing:

Snowshoe routeswinter trails colorado Snowshoe Routes: Colorado’s Front Range by Alan Apt

Winter Trails Colorado: The Best Cross-Country Ski and Snowshoe Trails by Andy Lightbody


All this effort needs a reward. Refueling, if you will…maybe some dinner out!

food lovers guide denver boulderfood lovers guide to colorado Food Lovers’ Guide to Denver & Boulder: The Best Restaurants, Markets & Local Culinary Offerings by Ruth Tobias

Or, if you’ve ventured further afield:

Food Lovers’ Guide to Colorado: Best Local Specialties, Markets, Recipes, Restaurants, Events, and More by Eliza Cross Castaneda

And then, if you’ve made a weekend of it, perhaps a relaxing soak in some hot springs!

colorados hot springsColorado’s Hot Springs by Deborah Frazier George

touring colorado hot springsTouring Colorado Hot Springs by Carl Wambach




I don’t know about you, but to me, that sounds like a great way to get a good night’s sleep without snowplowing into a tree!

~Cheryl B.      Patron Service Technician @ JHL

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Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase



black rabbit hallLightness turns to darkness at a beloved family home on the Cornish seaside. Young Amber Alton and her family adore Black Rabbit Hall, and the joy and peace it brings to them all.  That is until a tragic accident changes everything. Three decades later, Lorna decides her wedding must be celebrated at the crumbling Pencraw Hall, still known as Black Rabbit Hall by the locals. As the book moves between two time periods, the secrets of Black Rabbit Hall slowly unfold. Perfectly twisty with interesting characters and a compelling story that kept me turning pages and staying up too late.  Black Rabbit Hall is a very enjoyable debut gothic novel!

~Deb M.   Collection Development

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