Book Lover’s Night – JHL

Looking for just the right book to curl up with on a chilly evening? Well you’re not alone, and you’re in luck, because the Book Lover’s Night at the James H. LaRue library on October 22 featured some wonderful reading suggestions. Whether you are in the mood for a new novel, or if non-fiction is your thing this fall, you can always trust our staff to come through! Here are a few of their favorites from the list.

How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky, by Lydia Netzer

HowtoTellToledoLibrary Journal review: “Netzer’s sophomore effort is a love story like no other. Irene, a brilliant astrophysicist, believes in science, not love. George is convinced everything on the planet, from the stars to the living beings, has a twin soul. He just hasn’t found his yet… As George and Irene balance the fine line of fate, old secrets are exposed, and true love is put to the test.

Netzer’s poetic storytelling results in a surreal yet believable tale of two lives intertwined more than they could have realized. As in the author’s first novel, Shine, Shine, Shine, the imaginative characters are full of eccentricities, adding a touch of humor to a story that’s also tinged with remorse and regret. Recommended for all literary fiction fans, this would also make a great book club selection for anyone who has ever pondered soul mates and the role individuals play in controlling destiny.”  (Suggested by Dodie O.)

 

The View from Penthouse B, by Elinor Lipman

ViewfrompenthousebGwen-Laura Schmidt lost her husband suddenly and is trying, without much success, to cope with his death. When her older sister Margot invites her to move into Margot’s luxurious Village apartment, it’s a setup that could work for both. Margot herself is fighting back from financial ruin and a scandalous divorce from her husband, a fertility doctor who ran afoul of the law. This is a chance to shake Gwen out of her grief that will also help Margot make ends meet. Another boarder rounds out their group, an attractive guy named Anthony, who bakes cupcakes. Dreaming up money-making schemes with Margot and Anthony and venturing back out into the dating world begins to bring Gwen around. Meanwhile the arrival of Margot’s paroled ex in the efficiency apartment downstairs livens things up even more. A sweet and witty sister story, this novel is all about love, grief, loneliness, forgiveness and new life in middle age.                                 (Suggested by Katherine J.)

 

No Silent Night: the Christmas Battle for Bastogne, by Don Cygan and Leo Barron

bookcoverCA0CJ75LOn Christmas morning, 1944, there was little reason to celebrate as the Battle of the Bulge raged. A small force of American solders—including the famed 101st Airborne division, tank destroyer crews, engineers, and artillerymen—was completely surrounded by Hitler’s armies in the Belgian town of Bastogne. The Germans desperately needed to drive back the Allies and thus turn the tide of the war. As the newly reinforced German army of men and tanks attacked just before dawn, the outnumbered, ill-supplied Americans gathered in church for services or shivered in their snow-covered foxholes on the fringes of the front lines. The horrific battle brought the enemies up close and personal, with the cold, exhausted soldiers of both armies fighting for every square foot of frozen earth. In the end, Allied forces prevailed to hold Bastogne, and the pivotal and hard-won victory hoisted up morale and sounded the death-knell for Hitler’s Third Reich. The Nazis never launched another offensive again.        (Suggested by Lisa)

Author Don Cygan will talk about his book at the Roxborough Library on Friday, November 7th at 7pm. Register online or by calling 303-791-7323.

For the complete list of the Book Lover’s titles,  click here.

~djc

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Mystery Monday – Ghostly Tales

Mystery MondayWhat could be better than even more ghost stories this time of year? Actually for some people (myself included) a spine-tingling ghost story is fascinating entertainment at any time of year. Ghostly tales have always appealed to people of all ages, too. Whether it’s the whole “I see dead people” thing, or there’s an unseen entity that helps or menaces us– or both– it happens to be the perfect time to try a well done ghost story! Here are a few new books for your consideration and enjoyment.

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

afterworldsWesterfeld’s unique new book features Darcy Patel, a college-age woman working to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Darcy arrives in New York and quickly doubts her decision to set out with no apartment or friends in the city. Then she meets a group of writers who accept her into their diverse group. Westerfeld tells Darcy’s story in alternating chapters, switching between her real life and the story told in her novel. He cleverly navigates readers between these stories and somehow creates two fully realized worlds– one contemporary romance and one horror fantasy.
Darcy struggles with the ins and out of survival in today’s publishing world. Meanwhile, in Darcy’s novel, her character Lizzie slips into the ‘Afterworld’ to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between, she is pulled into a world of ghosts.

Rooms by Lauren Oliver

roomsYA sensation Lauren Oliver offers readers a mesmerizing adult mystery, complete with ghosts and family secrets. When Richard Walker dies, his estranged family shows up at his sprawling country house looking to collect their inheritance. But when his embittered ex-wife and two troubled children arrive, they find they are not alone. Alice and Sandra, the ghosts of long dead former residents now bound to the house, linger within the crowded rooms. As the ghosts observe the family arguing and trading barbs, Alice and Sandra use the house itself to speak to the unhappy living—through hissing radiators, a creaky staircase, and the like. The characters are all haunted by painful truths that soon surface with explosive force as the lives of the living and the dead intersect.
Oliver is the New York Times bestselling Young Adult author of Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy. Rooms, her imaginative adult debut, has drawn comparisons to The Lovely Bones, Her Fearful Symmetry, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

Jackaby by William Ritter

JackabyFans of “quirky” are in for a treat with Jackaby, in which we meet the endearingly naïve but adventurous narrator, Abigail Rook. It’s 1892 when Abigail sets out for the US, seeking adventure and a job. She arrives in New Fiddleham, penniless and with few employable skills, but when she meets R.F. Jackaby, he takes her on as his assistant. Her new boss is peculiar to say the least– an investigator who can see supernatural beings. Abigail has a keen eye for detail but no knowledge of the paranormal, yet Jackaby is drawn to Abigail when he sees immediately that she has managed to pick up a spirit somewhere in her travels.  Abigail’s first case proves a thrilling one, involving a serial killer. Jackaby believes that a nonhuman creature is responsible but the police deny the existence of the creature. That is, all except a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane.
Described as “Doctor Who meets Sherlock “, Ritter’s debut novel is first in a series that’s “brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.”

The Little Book of True Ghost Stories by Echo Bodine

littlebookofTrueGhostStoriesIf you are looking for stories where the ghosts are real, check out this publisher’s description: “Echo Bodine sees dead people. And, in the course of her thirty year ghostbusting career, she has escorted countless souls of the dearly departed from bordellos, bars, and boardinghouses in which they have overstayed their welcome. ‘Ghosts,’ Echo Bodine once said, ‘are like everyone else, except they are dead.’ This always entertaining, and often scary, collection of true stories bears out this point. The dead are a lot like you or me – or the psychopath down the street. Based on her ghost-busting experiences, Bodine introduces the reader to over 40 different ghosts…These tales of ghosts and things that go bump in the night are often funny, sometimes unnerving, and always perceptive.”

~djc

 

 

 

 

 

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Mystery Monday: Paranormal Mysteries

Mystery MondayIn anticipation of Halloween, it seems fitting to discuss mysteries that have paranormal or ghostly elements to them.  These mysteries may have vampires, werewolves, witches or people with psychic powers.   As so aptly stated by MysteryAuthors.com, these are ”…mysteries solved by involving the things that go bump in the night, are solved by people with powers or at times by people who aren’t really people at all.”

Storm FrontMy husband’s favorite series is the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.  This series follows Harry Dresden, a wizard and private investigator who works hard to protect the general public in modern day Chicago from the mythical creatures (ghouls, vampires, werewolves, zombies, fairies, etc.) and other dark forces out to destroy them.  There are currently fifteen books in this series.  I would strongly recommend reading this series in order beginning with the first book, Storm Front.

On the lighter side, check out the Ghost Hunter Mysteries by Victoria Laurie.  In this series, M. J. Holliday runs a ghost busting business with her best friend, Gilley Gillespie.  There are currently eight books in this series: What’s a Ghoul to Do? (#1), Demons are a Ghouls Best Friend (#2), Ghouls Just Haunt to Have Fun (#3), Ghouls Gone Wild (#4), Ghouls, Ghouls, Ghouls (#5) and Ghoul Interrupted (#6), What a Ghoul Wants (#7)  and The Ghoul Next Door (#8). No Ghouls Allowed (#9) will be coming out in January of 2015.  An interesting tidbit:  Victoria Laurie is a real life professional psychic and also writes another mystery series: Psychic Eye Mysteries.

And for those of you who have loved the True Blood Series on HBO, check out the Southern Vampire Mystery series by Charlaine Harris, featuring Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress who deals with vampires and werewolves.  Here’s a list of this series in order: Dead Until Dark (#1), Living Dead in Dallas (#2), Club Dead (#3), Dead to the World (#4), Dead as a Doornail (#5), Definitely Dead (#6), All Together Dead (#7), From Dead to Worse (#8), Dead and Gone (#9), Dead in the Family (#10), Dead Reckoning (#11), Deadlocked (#12) and the final book in the series Dead Ever After (#13).

Happy Haunting!

– Carol W.

 

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Celebrating Season’s Eatings at the Library

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Cooler weather and shorter days always inspire us to warm up our kitchens with foods that satisfy our urge for something just right, foods that smell and taste delicious. We dream about snuggling in by a toasty fire, with a good book or movie and a delicious meal or snack. It’s comfort food time, and whether you are cooking and enjoying it yourself, giving it as a holiday gift, or reading and watching more about it, comfort is where it’s at.

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Do you believe that food makes everything better? A lot of people do– just ask any “foody” why they love it so much. Be sure to consider some of one of the wonderful, current memoirs and other non-fiction books that center around food and cooking when you need gift ideas for the food enthusiast in your life. You can look them over first for yourself at the library!

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Want something on DVD? Watching movies about food is almost as fun as eating it!

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For people with special dietary needs, finding healthy food to enjoy is a challenge to be met every day. The good news is, there are more books than ever to help maintain a special diet that’s tasty and balanced, and that still provides a festive celebration for the holidays.

So don’t forget to warm up the coming months with all things food related, and enjoy your Season’s Eatings!

 

 

For a list of Season’s Eatings materials, click here!

~djc

 

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The Queen of Tearling by Erika Johansen

DelightfulDebutsBannerThe Queen of Tearling is a fantasy adventure trilogy poised to make a splash, especially considering the buzz about a movie adaptation,  starring Harry Potter’s Emma Watson!

Queen of TearlingThree hundred years ago, Kelsea’s forefathers fled a collapsing modern civilization to establish a technology-free society on a newly-discovered continent. This land has since divided into four nations, but the power resides within the one called Mortmense, in the form of a cunning sorceress known as the Red Queen.

Kelsea is born of royal blood and in possession of the Tear sapphire, a magical jewel of immense power. Hiding in the forests of the Tearling since her mother’s death, Princess Kelsea has been training for the role of Queen. Now, on her nineteenth birthday, the loyal soldiers of the Queen’s guard, or what is left of them, appear to escort Kelsea to the capital to take her rightful place as the Queen of the Tearling. Kelsea’s journey is fraught with intrigue and danger, and reveals to her the shocking evil within her kingdom. As Kelsea grows in strength and resolve into her new role, she gathers her true allies, including the Queen’s guard, and a notorious outlaw named “Fetch”. When she breaks a treaty with neighboring Mortmense she angers the Red Queen to a murderous degree. Kelsea’s journey is a trial by fire. Will it forge a legend . . . or destroy her? Oh, to be Queen!

This story reminded me so much of Rae Carson’s excellent trilogy for young adults– with strong appeal for adult readers –Girl of Fire and Thorns. I suggest that readers who can’t wait for the next installment consider checking out Carson’s read-alike books, beginning with The Girl of Fire and Thorns.

~djc

 

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Mystery Monday: Should Some Secrets Stay Buried?

Mystery MondayMystery tales often involve a secret that has been buried for many years and then someone starts digging for information with the end result that new victims start popping up.  Should some secrets stay buried?

The Burning RoomThat’s the question that arises in The Burning Room, the latest Harry Bosch tale (#19 in the series) by Michael Connelly that will be published on November 3rd.  Harry Bosch was first introduced in 1992 in the book The Black Echo, which won the Edgar Award for best first novel. Harry is a veteran homicide detective with the Los Angeles Police Department.  Michael Connelly worked as a crime reporter for several years, first in Florida and then in LA so he knows what he writes.

In The Burning Room, Harry has a new partner, Detective Lucia Soto who is brand new to the homicide department and has no homicide experience.  They’ve been asked to investigate the death of a victim who had recently died from a gunshot wound that was inflicted 10 years previously.  As they dig into this case other evidence leads to an incident 20 years earlier where several children were killed in a fire.  As their investigation begins to threaten careers and lives, Harry and Detective Soto have to decide whether it’s best to leave some secrets uncovered.

Harry was called “one of the most popular and enduring figures in American crime fiction” by the Chicago Tribune.  He seems to be always in conflict with authority yet is able to solve the many mysteries that come his way.  There is usually a romantic interest in each of his books but they don’t last long.  Two fascinating aspects of this character that Michael Connelly created is that Harry Bosch has made cameo appearances in books by other authors: Strange Bedfellows (2006) by Paula Woods, Cons, Scams & Grifts (2009)by Joe Gores and The Last Detective (2004) by Robert Crais.  Harry is also the fictional half-brother of Mickey Haller (The Lincoln Lawyer), another series by Michael Connelly and has appeared in additional Mickey Haller tales: The Brass Verdict and The Reversal.

Check out Harry Bosch!

– Carol W.

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Author Brings Legacy to Library

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spiderwomandaughterJoin us at the Philip S. Miller Library in Castle Rock on Saturday, October 4, 6:30pm as we welcome NYT bestselling author Anne Hillerman. The writer will talk about her first novel, Spider Woman’s Daughter.  The book continues the late Tony Hillerman’s Leaphorn and Chee mystery series. Anne is no stranger to writing, before this novel she published eight award-winning non-fiction books.

Anne grew up with imaginary uncles Leaphorn and Chee at the dinner table. She said that they were and are a part of the Hillerman family. Anne and her father talked about her continuing their story after his death. Spider Woman’s Daughter debuted at number ten on the New York Times bestseller list. Rave reviews from all corners followed:

“Chip off the literary block-there are a lot of things Tony taught his daughter, Anne, and one of them was how to tell a good story. Spider Woman’s Daughter is a proud addition to the legacy, capturing the beauty and breath of the Southwest as only a Hillerman can.” - Craig Johnson, author of the Walt Longmire Mysteries.

“You will love this novel!  Not only are old friends Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee back, we get to know the delightful, intrepid and thoroughly modern Navajo police officer, Bernadette Manuelito. Anne Hillerman comes naturally to writing mysteries, and Spider Woman’s Daughter is nothing less than a smashing debut.” - Margaret Coel ( Killing Custer)

tonyhillermanslandscapeMore accolades for the book followed, and Anne was presented with the much coveted  Spur Award, for Best First Novel of 2014, by the Western Writers of America. According to Ms. Hillerman, the Golden Spur Award was one that her father also received and one he treasured. I can tell you from hosting Anne Hillerman’s events at the library (Tony Hillerman’s Landscape in 2010) and Tattered Cover, that she is an excellent speaker. She and her husband Don have many irons in the fire, including the prestigious annual Tony Hillerman Writer’s Conference, which is detailed below.

This will be a wonderful evening and a perfect date night at the library. Books will be sold at the event – register here!

Wordharvest offers Tony Hillerman Conference

Anne Hillerman and business partner Jean Schaumberg have a great line-up of professional writer/teachers for the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference which opens November 6, 2014. Through their business, Wordharvest, Anne and Jean have been presenting the conference since 2002. Highlights this year include pre-conference workshops which focus on hands-on writing exercises and challenges. It also includes a day devoted to the craft of writing, an evening of flash critiques with award-winning novelist David Morrell, and a look at the business of writing– including e-books.

The winner of the 2014 Tony Hillerman Prize for best first mystery novel will be announced at the conference.

~ Lisa C.                                                      Program Liaison- JHL branch

 

 

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Mystery Monday: Missing Children

Mystery MondayFiction often reflects what is happening in the headlines.

According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, from 1984 through March 2012, there were more than 187,800 missing-child cases.  175,200 children were recovered.  Over 12,000 were not.  The U.S. Department of Justice reported that 797,500 children younger than 18 were noted missing in a one-year period of time studied–that’s an average of 2,185 children being reported missing each day.  The majority were victims of family abductions but that is not always the case.

A new mystery series by Chelsea Cain that has also received a lot of positive buzz in the mystery world, examines the world of child abductions and child pornography.  Though this sounds like a subject that could be disturbingly graphic, Ms. Cain handles the topic well–she gives enough information for the reader to understand the plot without going overboard.

One KickIn One Kick, the first book in this series,   Kick Lannigan, was abducted at age six and then discovered alive when the FBI raided a house suspected of producing child porn six years later.  This book is a fascinating look at Kick’s life after her abduction with flashbacks to give you an insight into what she’s lived through.  Though her parents provided Kick with a litany of therapy, it was only through learning survival skills including marksmanship, martial arts, knife throwing, boxing and archery that Kick is able to deal with life.  At age twenty-one, she is still struggling but is on a mission to help find missing children.  When she is approached by a man named Bishop to help find two missing children in Portland, she’s on the case even though it isn’t clear why an ex-weapons dealer like Bishop is using his resources to locate these children.  You’ll also discover along the way why it’s so important for Kick to be involved with this case.

Edgy and with several tense moments, don’t start this book if you have a busy schedule–you won’t want to do anything else but read this book to its conclusion once you start.    The second book in the series is due out August, 2015.

–Carol W.

 

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The Genius of Dogs: how dogs are smarter than you think, by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods

geniusofdogsDo you have the smartest dog around? Or are you often reminded that, while you love your pet, your Fido is perhaps not the brightest bulb in the box? Readers on either side of this question will find this book a revelation. The Genius of Dogs is a fascinating account of the canine species, those amazingly adaptable creatures who are so integral to the lives of their human companions.

How well do you think you know your dog? In recent years, studies at the Duke Canine Cognition Lab and other research facilities around the world have tackled questions that we humans have only pondered and probably disagreed about until now. Consider this– do dogs feel guilt? Do they pretend they can’t hear us? How powerful is their need for reward of some kind from humans? Pioneered by Brian Hare, the research shows how all dogs are capable of a kind of “genius” for getting along with people that is indisputably unique in the animal kingdom, with all due respect to you cat lovers out there.

Aside from being a fact-filled, fun-to-read foray into animal research, the book reveals how the notion of dog genius can meaningfully impact how we live with, work with, and train our dogs. So, get ready to take another look at the dogs in your life.  I even found myself talking to my own dog about this book. While he declined to discuss, his seemingly impassive gaze has now taken on new meaning for me.

~djc

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Mystery Monday: Hercule Poirot is Back!

Mystery MondayWith the blessing of the Christie estate, Sophie Hannah has written a new Hercule Poirot mystery, The Monogram Murders, and the reviews are impressive.

mongramAs Hercule is dining alone in a London coffee shop in 1929, a terrified young woman arrives and asks Poirot NOT to investigate her death when she is murdered.  She insists that no one can help her and no one should search for her killer.  Soon Hercule and Inspector Edward Catchpool of Scotland Yard are dealing with 3 bodies–2 women and 1 man who are found poisoned in a hotel near Piccadilly Circus and each victim has a monogrammed gold cuff link in their mouth.  With such an amazing beginning, one might wonder if Hannah can keep the pace going (which she does brilliantly).  She inserts dazzling deductions from Poirot, subtle clues and “Christie-style” red herrings with expertise.

When it was announced last year that Hannah would be writing a new Poirot novel there was a lot of speculation thrown around that she would be resurrecting Poirot (no, he really was killed in Curtain by Agatha Christie) or that she would update him.  Hannah’s response to these concerns was “So, am I, perhaps going to update him?  Heavens, no.  Poirot is a classic character from fiction, not a MacBook Air; he would not benefit from updates.  What about ‘recreate’, then? No again.  His inventor created him so well that there is nothing to add.  We all love (and are intermittently infuriated by) Poirot just the way he is.”

So enjoy a wonderful new mystery with Hercule Poirot brilliantly solving every last puzzle and making perfect sense of all of the clues.  You won’t be disappointed!  Also, if you can’t get your hands on this book immediately, take a look at Sophie Hannah’s Zailer and Waterhouse Mystery Series: Little Face (#1)The Truth Tellers Lie (#2),The Wrong Mother (#3), The Dead Lie Down(#4),  Cradle in the Grave (#5), The Other Woman’s House (#6) and Kind of Cruel (#7).

– Carol W.

P.S.  One fun fact that I discovered about several of the character names in this mystery (including Catchpool), is that the author got her inspiration from names in a cemetery near her house (Mill Road Cemetery in Cambridge, England)!  Hannah doesn’t use exact Christian & surnames from the gravestones (she felt that would have been too much of a boundary violation) but used the headstones as her inspiration for names.

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