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

Posted in Award Winners, Book Clubs, Coming of Age, Historical, Staff Picks | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson

BigBuzzBanner

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!

~djc

Posted in Nonfiction | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

 

 

Posted in Mystery Monday | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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.

 

Posted in Book Clubs, Mystery, Thriller | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Longest Night by Andria Williams

BigBuzzBanner

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 Tseries, 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

Posted in Big Buzz, Delightful Debuts | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Nonfiction, Staff Picks | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase

DelightfulDebutsBanner

 

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

Posted in Delightful Debuts, Mystery | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Ready to Read in 2016?

What book do you look forward to reading in 2016?” 

Read on to see what a number of our DCL staffers picked!

Fallen Land by Taylor Brown.

fallen landFallen Land is set in the final year of the Civil War, as a young couple on horseback flees a dangerous band of marauders who seek a bounty reward. Callum, a seasoned horse thief at fifteen years old, came to America from his native Ireland as an orphan. Ava, her father and brother lost to the war, hides in her crumbling home until Callum determines to rescue her from the bands of hungry soldiers pillaging the land, leaving destruction in their wake. Ava and Callum have only each other in the world and their remarkable horse, Reiver, who carries them through the destruction that is the South. Taylor Brown’s debut intrigues me because the novel’s style has been compared to Cormac McCarthy and Charles Frazier. It’s set for publication January 12.

~Nicole R. @ JHL

The Widow by Fiona Barton

widowI’m fascinated by the question: how much do the wives of men who commit terrible crimes really know? In The Widow, the wife of a serial killer is brought to task when she is asked how much she knew and when, and what made her monster of a husband tick. This book is set in the UK and I like to read books that give me an international view of crime – and in particular, murder. Are people’s motivations and methods different depending on their country of origin? Fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train will likely enjoy this electrifying thriller.

~Carol W.  Staff Trainer

Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey

leviathan wakesThe Expanse is an intriguing new show on the Syfy channel, based on the books by co-authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, writing as James S.A. Corey. Leviathan Wakes is the first book in the New York Times bestselling series, set 200 years after mankind has migrated to space. When a reluctant ship’s captain and washed-up detective find themselves involved in the case of a missing girl, what they discover brings our solar system to the brink of civil war, and exposes the greatest conspiracy in human history. The Expanse series features several titles—next up, Caliban’s War.  I look forward to strong female characters and exploring a new kind of frontier.

~Amy C.   Staff Trainer

 The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton

secret wisdom of the earthHere is a perfect book for your next book group meeting in 2016. I can’t say enough good things about The Secret Wisdom of the Earth. The characters are wonderful. Scotton should be on everyone’s reading list – great for men or women. It came out in paperback January 5th.  I also listened to it and the reader is wonderful. You will miss the characters after you are done. It keeps moving and it was hard for me to stop reading or listening to it.

~Lisa C. @ JHL

How to Be a Grown-Up: a Novel by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

howtobeagrownupI’ve been eagerly waiting for the audiobook version of this title, from the authors of The Nanny Diaries, to come out and now it is here! Read by Audie award-winning Tara Sands, How to Be a Grown Up tells the story of Rory McGovern, a forty-something wife and mother. Rory is unexpectedly thrust back into the workforce when her husband, Blake, loses his dream job and announces he feels like “taking a break” from being a husband and father. Her only hope is to accept a full-time position working for two twenty-somethings on a high end kiddie “life style” website. Hijinks ensue! The struggle to survive in a millennial world will remind you of last season’s totally enjoyable fluff listen, The Knock-off, by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza, narrated by Katherine Kellgren.

~Dodie O. @ JHL

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

lady midnightI have a new YA title that I’m excited about, Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices- Book 1) by Cassandra Clare.Taking place five years after the events of the Mortal Instruments series, this series follows orphaned shadowhunter Emma Carstairs, of the Los Angeles Institute, who finds herself–along with her best friend and parabatai Julian–in a race against time to track down a killer and prevent open war between the faeries and the Shadowhunters.  Fans of Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Boys series or Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series may enjoy this title. Available for request in book format now, the street date for Lady Midnight is 3/8/16.

~Jill S. @ PSM

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

life changing magic of tidyingMy number one choice for 2016 is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. She has developed her own method for living a clutter-free life, and she addresses the issues of why we feel like we’re constantly tidying, but still living with clutter: mainly because we don’t do a thorough job of it. Her step-by-step method is geared towards making a permanent change; she claims none of her clients has relapsed to a cluttered life after her advice. I think this is a great way to start a new year!

~Wendy J-R @ JHL

 The Geography of Genius by Eric Weiner

Geography geniusI am super excited to read the new book by the author of The Geography of Bliss. It’s due out in 2016 and is titled, The Geography of Genius. I look forward to more from an author whose first book is so fun and funny that I have re-read parts of it several times.  Eric Weiner is able to take a topic and explore the human and humorous side like few other writers.  Can’t wait to read it!

~Patty W. @ PSM

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

man called oveI am looking forward to reading A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman.  It is a debut novel that is humorous and reflects on love and loss.  Publishers Weekly states that “the author writes with winning charm.” I looked up author read-alikes for Backman in Novelist and one of the nine authors they suggest is Matthew Quick, whose works are “funny and engaging”. These authors share the genre ‘Mainstream fiction’ and the subject ‘Neighbors.’

~Laurie G. @ PA

The Nest by Kenneth Oppel.

nestSteve just wants to save his baby brother–but what will he lose in the bargain? Kenneth Oppel’s haunting gothic tale is one of the most acclaimed juvenile fiction books of the year, receiving six starred reviews. The author of the jf standouts, Silverwing and The Boundless, here Kenneth Oppel creates an eerie masterpiece in this compelling story that explores disability and diversity, fears and dreams, and what ultimately makes a family. The Nest features illustrations from Caldecott Medalist, Jon Klassen, and will work for fans of Gaiman’s Coraline. Other readalikes include: The Seer of Shadows, by Avi; Serafina and the Black Cloak, by Robert Beatty.

~Laura B-H. @ JHL

Posted in Audiobooks, Big Buzz, Book Clubs, If You Like..., Staff Picks | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Mystery Monday: 2016 Edgar Grand Master Award Winner

MysteryMondayBannerWalter Mosley-20140921Every year, the Mystery Writers of America select a writer to win the Edgar Grand Master Award–the most prestigious “Oscar” or “Grammy” for a mystery writer to receive.  This annual award recognizes the important contributions an author has given to the mystery genre over time and for his/her significant output of novels of consistently high quality.  In 2016, the Edgar Grand Master award winner is Walter Mosley, who is best known for his Easy Rawlins Mysteries set in LA and the Leonid McGill Mysteries set in Manhattan.

Devil in a Blue DressEasy Rawlins is a black private investigator and World War II veteran living in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles and is probably the most popular series written by Mosley.  Here’s the list of books in this series:

Devil in a Blue Dress (1990): In a Los Angeles bar, “Easy” Rawlins, a black war veteran just fired from his job, wonders how he’ll pay his mortgage. DeWitt Albright, a quietly vicious white man, walks in and offers Easy good money if he’ll find Daphne Monet, a white woman who may be hiding out in the black jazz clubs of LA.  Along the way, Easy is charged with murder and Daphne is not who she pretends to be–in other words, Easy is soon over his head in trouble.

Additional books featuring Easy Rawlins are: A Red Death (1991), White Butterfly (1992), Black Betty (1994), A Little Yellow Dog (1996), Gone Fishin’ (1997), Bad Boy Brawly Brown (2002), Six Easy Pieces (2003), Little Scarlet (2004), Cinnamon Kiss (2005), Blonde Faith (2007), Little Green (2013) and Rose Gold (2014).

The Long FallLeonid McGill is a trouble-plagued, hard drinking, private eye who is trying to go from “crooked to slightly bent” while solving mysteries in Manhattan. The first book in this series is The Long Fall (2009) followed by Known to Evil (2010), When the Thrill is Gone (2011) and  All I Did Was Shoot My Man (2012). The latest book in the series is And Sometimes I Wonder About You (2015).

If you’re not familiar with Walter Mosley’s writing, check these series out!

— Carol W.

 

Posted in Mystery Monday | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Mystery Monday: A Science Fiction/Pulp Noir Series

MysteryMondayBannerWith all of the hoopla around the latest Star Wars movie, I thought it would be fun to share information about Mindspace Investigations,  a science fiction mystery series set in  futuristic Atlanta written by Alex Hughes.

Clean by Alex HughesThe main protagonist is Adam Ward, a level eight telepath and also a struggling addict.  In the first book in the series, Clean, Adam teams up with homicide detective Isabella Cherabino to track down a serial killer who kills with the mind.  Though he really wants a fix, Adam needs to figure out who the killer is before he ends up being the next victim.

Additional books in the series:

Sharp — Though he is the best, Adam may not be an interrogator for much longer.  Unless he can figure out who is selling parts for illegal tech and help capture his partner’s longtime nemesis, he will be out of a job and his job is the only thing keeping him sane and from falling back into the drug habit.

Marked — Adam’s ex shows up and asks him for help investigating the death of her uncle.  Unfortunately, the investigation sends him back to Guild headquarters which is dangerous. But the Guild may need Adam more than they’re willing to admit as more and more telepaths are beginning to lose their minds.

Readers who have enjoyed the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher have also liked this one.  Check it out!

— Carol W.

 

Posted in Mystery Monday, Science Fiction | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment