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The Girl Who Smiled Beads is a well-written non-fiction selection that reads like a heartbreaking and, though the author may not like this description, inspiring novel. Alternating between her time as a refugee and her life after moving to America, the author, Clemantine Wamariya expertly compares and contrasts the two time periods. At one point Wamariya writes, "It was all so arbitrary: You should be killed, you should stand in line for food for seven hours, you should be fabulously educated and heaped with praise." How can there be such extremes in one individual’s life?
- Night by Elie Wiesel,
- A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah,
- The Last Girl by Nadia Murad,
- We Crossed a Bridge and it Trembled by Wendy Pearlman
Author Rhodes-Courter is back discussing foster care – this time from the perspective of the foster parent instead of as the child in care. This follow up spans her college years to present day.
Unfortunately, she finds that the foster care system hasn’t changed all that much since she was in care. Kids are still bounced around frequently and some are returned to dangerous situations. While kids are in her care though, she does her best to fight for them. She searches for services, advocates for better care, and loves on the kids as best she can. Some of the children she fosters have favorable endings to their stories, but not all. One is particularly gut-wrenching.
All the while, she is still working on how her past is merging with her present. Stories of Rhodes-Courters’ visits with her biological family are both disappointing and heartening.
The reader will both adore and judge the foster families throughout the book: first the reader will feel respect for those helping the children caught in the system; then judgement because they are obviously stifling the teenagers; then excitement: adoption! Then more heartbreak.
Not all of the stories end in heartbreak, but this also isn’t a fairytale. Many children age out of the system each year, and before that, they are bounced around between many strangers’ houses. The author interviewed the children in care as well as the families who were caring for them, and often kept in touch after the child was no longer with the initial family. In some cases, it appeared as if the author was more concerned about the child’s welfare than either the foster family or the case workers.
To The End of June is an in-depth look at foster care, mainly focused on New York, as the author follows a handful of families over the course of a few years. Interspersed in the family narratives are discussions and thoughts from those who are, or were, employed within the foster care system, as well as the author’s own judgements and ideas about what is wrong and what could be done to help fix the care system.
- Another Place at the Table by Kathy Harrison,
- Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter
Before they were household names, many of the now-famous actors mentioned throughout Homey Don’t Play That!: The Story of In Living Color and the Black Comedy Revolution were trying to get a foot in the door by way of stand-up comedy. The Wayans family, Jamie Foxx, Jim Carrey, and Eddie Murphy are just a handful of the names to be recognized in this book.
The reader is taken on a journey from Keenen Wayans’ early life, through his years producing In Living Color. To better explain the impact of In Living Color, the author includes many stories from early careers of African Americans in film and television, as well as the historical context of nationwide events and Fox’s foray into broadcast television.
Compiled from many interviews into a cohesive and easily-readable narrative, the author creates an intriguing read for anyone interested in African American history, television history, or those who simply enjoyed watching In Living Color.
This contemporary novel is the story of two sisters, Lucia, the younger sister, and Miranda, eight years older. After their mother's death and Lucia’s newly discovered mental illness, they are at odds for what they think is the best course of action to keep Lucia safe and “healthy” as Miranda always says. Lucia is a wanderer and traveler, and Miranda, the worrier, tries to fix everything.
The sisters’ lives take different paths, evermore widening the gap that’s come between them. Will they be able to come to an understanding? Or will their choices keep pushing each other apart?
Told in alternating narrators, the author writes the characters with such depth that the reader feels a certain empathy for all of them, even through their faults.
Told from sixteen-year-old Starr’s point of view, this heart-wrenching story describes her life – how she feels bounced between two different worlds and how she never feels fully herself. Then her worlds slowly begin to collide when her childhood best friend, Khalil, is fatally shot by a police officer and he becomes a national headline. Full of emotions and a wide cast of characters, this story is well told.
The audiobook version of this contemporary fiction work is wonderfully read and highly recommended. It enhances the dialogue and gives life to the characters in a way words on a page cannot. Be prepared with tissues.
This title is also available in print and ebook.
- Dear Martin by Nic Stone,
- The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera
From the Publisher:
“They told you you need to be thin and beautiful. They told you to wear longer skirts, avoid going out late at night and move in groups - never accept drinks from a stranger, and wear shoes you can run in more easily than heels. They told you to wear just enough make-up to look presentable but not enough to be a slut; to dress to flatter your apple, pear, hourglass figure, but not to be too tarty. They warned you that if you try to be strong, or take control, you'll be shrill, bossy, a ballbreaker. Of course it's fine for the boys, but you should know your place. They told you 'that's not for girls' - 'take it as a compliment' - 'don't rock the boat' - 'that'll go straight to your hips'. They told you 'beauty is on the inside', but you knew they didn't really mean it. Well I'm here to tell you something different.”
This book is a survival guide for young women in today’s society. Girl Up addresses a wide variety of social issues such as sexism, feminism, social media and body image. Laura Bates explores these topics in a way that educates these women about the science behind the female body and explores how public image twists how women feel about their own self. This book is transparent, easy to read and the perfect way to learn how to stand up for yourself in a crucial phase of your life. VCPL has this title available for checkout as a print book.
- We're going to need more wine by Gabrielle Union,
- We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,
- The beauty myth By Naomi Wolf,
- How to be a woman by Caitlin Moran,
- Not that kind of girl by Lena Dunham
Host of the popular HGTV show Fixer Upper, Chip Gaines, shares with readers his path to success as well as his stumbles. Chip lays out his adventures in being a landlord, owning a landscaping business and how it led him and Joanna to their real estate and home goods empire known as Magnolia. Fans of the show will enjoy learning more of Chip’s back story and seeing more of their personal lives as the couple makes Waco THE place to live in Texas. VCPL has both print and eBook copies for check out.
- It takes two by Jonathan Scott,
- Better than new by Nicole Curtis,
- The pioneer woman by Ree Drummond
Aiden Shaughnessy runs a busy and successful construction company. Since the death of his mother, he has strived to make his father proud while helping to raise his five siblings. Now his father is worried that Aiden is missing out on living his own life. Along comes interior designer Zoe Dalton who is hired on to help finish his custom built homes. Readers will enjoy finding out how Zoe’s heart and Aiden’s strength lead them to a happy ending. This title and the rest of The Shaughnessy Brothers’ series are available as an eBook on Hoopla Digital. Ask at the Reference Desk for assistance downloading this delightful romance novel.
- Someone to love by Jude Deveraux,
- What we find by Robyn Carr,
- Into the fire by Suzanne Brockmann,
- Any dream will do by Debbie Macomber,
- The troublemaker next door by Marie Harte
Elsa’s best friend and superhero is her seventy-seven year old grandmother. The two are inseparable as Elsa thrives on her grandmother’s stories from the Land-of-Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas. When Elsa’s grandmother dies, she leaves behind a quest for the seven year old to give letters to people in her left she has wronged. Following her grandmother’s last request, Elsa’s adventure is full of beasts, monsters and the strange adults in her life.
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry is a story about a little girl learning about the right to be different in a world where everyone is struggling to act normal. Backman’s storytelling remains as entertaining as his debut novel, A Man Called Ove. This title is perfect for readers and book clubs looking for a book that delves into life and death from both an older and younger perspective. VCPL has this novel available in book, ebook, audiobook and eaudiobook formats.
- The secret life of bees by Sue Monk Kidd,
- Be Frank with me by Julia Claiborne Johnson,
- The magic strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom,
- Big fish by Daniel Wallace,
- A Man called Ove by Fredrik Backman
This non-fiction account of a young life spent in and out of homes in foster care is both heart-wrenching and inspiring. Ashley Rhodes-Courter’s memoir details the angst of missing her biological mother, the wrath, love, or indifference of various foster parents, and the internal struggles she faces in regards to her brother’s well-being.
Her story, where one can “see” the internal dialogue of a young child forced into the foster system, provides a voice in a realm where frequently those voices are ignored. Rhodes-Courter makes a way for herself where others often cannot.
The audiobook version, read by the author, is highly recommended.
It takes a little bit to get used to the author’s style of writing, but the subject matter is fascinating. The author, Rothstein, proposes that it was de jure, not de facto, segregation that separated Americans. What follows are details of historical federal, state, and local government actions woven with specific stories of individuals who were directly affected by such matters. For example, the author discusses temporary housing for the war (WWII) effort, zoning laws, and expressway construction, and how those directives altered lives.
A great read for those interested in social justice issues.
When Maddy is found after an apparent suicide at the bottom of the library where she loved to volunteer, her husband and daughter are left to pick up the pieces. How come they didn’t see the signs? Will reading Maddy’s diary provide insight? Both family members blame themselves, wondering how they missed so much about the woman they thought they knew.
This contemporary fiction selection provides just a bit of fantasy as the three main characters, Maddy, her husband, Brady, and daughter, Eve, all rotate as narrators, with Maddy trying to influence her family from the other side.
Before the Declaration of Independence, there was a post office system in what would become the United States of America. This in depth look at the Post Office describes the rise and fall of mail delivery systems, such as stagecoach and railroad, and provides historical lessons on the influence of the postal system on roads and transportation, literacy, the magazine industry, and more.
An excellent read for anyone interested in American history or those who enjoy trivia.
- Neither snow nor rain: a history of the United States Postal Service by Devin Leonard
This book is comprised of a collection of essays by those who serve or love our National Parks. It is an easy book to enjoy because each essay is no more than five pages, and the reader can peruse different chapters without missing a specific plot point. The essays provide a different perspective on the National Parks and the value they have to different people. These stories highlight National Parks that one may not typically think about.
The essay entitled, "I still see her," is a particularly moving piece found in Chapter 3's People to Remember.
- 50 States, 5000 Ideas,
- A Thinking Person's Guide to America's National Parks
Accidentally on Purpose is Book 3 in Jill Shalvis’ latest series Heartbreaker Bay. The series invites readers to get to know the tenants and employees of an active apartment complex in San Francisco. Elle Wheaten is the manager of the building and she enjoys bossing everyone around. Everyone listens exceptArcher Hunt, a security consultant who rents space for his business in the building. Their mutual friends have all witnessed the tension between the two but have no idea that they have a history. Archer claims to want nothing to do with Elle but when Elle starts to date other men, Archer begins to sabatoge her dates. Readers will enjoy the pair’s witty banter as well as the lengths they go to in order to avoid committing to one another.
Readers who enjoy romances with close circle of friends will love this series. This book can be read as a stand alone but VCPL does own the entire series.
- French twist by Roxanne St. Claire,
- Just the way you are by Christina Dodd,
- Lone Calder star by Janet Dailey,
- Alma mater by Rita Mae Brown,
- The aftermath by R.J. Prescott
It’s a true crime novel with a twist. The author, James Renner, has inserted himself near the center of this missing persons mystery. Maura Murray disappeared in 2004 after wrecking her car in the middle of nowhere New Hampshire. Renner, an investigative journalist, can’t get this story off of his mind, and thus, obsessively tracks down every lead he can find. With the help of good connections, some online forums and “arm chair sleuths,” he’s able to piece together Murray’s past and form his own conclusions. Strangely, Murray’s family doesn’t appear to want to assist Renner with his investigation.
Intermixed with the Maura Murray story are bits and pieces about Renner’s family and current life, as well as snippets of his past that may or may not have led to him becoming an investigative journalist.
With short chapters and an interesting storyline, this book is a very quick read.
“Hot pockets!” If you sang that jingle in your head when you saw Jim Gaffigan’s name as the author of this book, then you should read this book.
Gaffigan covers many types of food in this book, from fruits & veggies (no one REALLY likes those) to fast food to fancy food to Hot Pockets, (obviously), all with a great sense of humor and a little self-degradation.
The best part of reading this book is when you find you agree with what Gaffigan describes. You may think to yourself, “Yes! Wendy’s IS the best fast food chain!” or “Exactly! Who waits two minutes for anything out of the microwave to cool?”
Food: A Love Story can be finished in a day or two, and you will probably find yourself reading sections of it aloud to whomever is near.
This book can also be found in print.
Sweetness swears, “But it’s not my fault. It’s not my fault. It’s not my fault.” But is it? What happens in childhood does not always stay in childhood, as Toni Morrison demonstrates in this novel.
Bride. Just Bride. It suits the woman who wears that name. She’s a regional manager at Sylvia, Inc., a cosmetics company that is quickly becoming hip. Bride is the inventor of one of the six new cosmetic lines for Sylvia, Inc., and the proud owner of a Jaguar, which she happens to mention repeatedly. She’s also a show stopper with her blue-black skin, all white clothing, and “wolverine eyes.” Others’ eyes are always drawn to her, and always have been, although the reasons are different now than when she was a child.
All grown up and in search of a small town called Whiskey, a freak accident on a winding country road provides Bride with time to think and reflect, once she moves past the self-pity and boredom. It is here that she learns her beauty is not the key to her confidence or success. A mysterious, young child named Rain helps with Bride’s healing process.
God Help the Child is a modern-day story, told mainly from Bride’s point of view, but the reader does get to enjoy insights from Sweetness, Rain, and Bride’s best friend, Brooklyn. These and other characters alternate being the narrator, providing brief glimpses into what they tell themselves to rationalize their own behavior. Book sections are separated by the name of the character acting as narrator, so it is important to take note of the section headings.
Perfect for the knitter who feels comfortable with basic stitches, but wants to explore more patterns that can be created. Stitches vary from beginner to expert, so there is something new for everyone in this book. Directions for each stitch are listed in both written and charted formats. Knit Stitch Dictionary does not include item patterns such as scarves or afghans, but by learning new types of stitches, a creative mind will design her own. The final few pages provide information on needle sizes, gauge, starting and ending a garment, and how to read a chart.
Looking for an easy new stitch to try first? This reviewer recommends the Garter Diagonals.
- Crochet stitch dictionary,
- The principles of knitting
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is the debut novel by Ransom Riggs that tells the story of a fifteen-year-old boy named Jacob who had grown up listening to his grandfather’s extraordinary stories of his bizarre life in an orphanage in Wales and how he came to live in America. Soon after the story begins, Jacob’s family is struck with tragedy as Jacob finds his grandfather mysteriously murdered after hysterically telling Jacob over the phone that the monsters from his stories were coming.
After his grandfather’s death, Jacob helps clean out his grandfather’s apartment and finds a letter from Miss Peregrine, the orphanage director, dated 1940. Jacob takes this letter to his new psychiatrist, Dr. Golan and they both convince Jacob’s dad to take Jacob to the small island in Wales to learn more about his grandfather’s past. They leave to spend three weeks in Wales on an island that is only accessible by ferry.
Jacob’s father tells him not to wonder around the island on his own and asks him to find someone to accompany him but no local children will go near that ruins of the house that his grandfather used to occupy. Jacob finds an old house that was destroyed by bombs in wars past and searches it for hidden secrets. In the crumbling house, he finds several very old pictures of peculiar children doing very extraordinary things, such as lifting large boulders. He finds this unbelievable until he sees a girl, one from the pictures, spying on him. She quickly runs away into a bog, where he can find no traces of her except for a few footprints.
Jacob leaves the ruins to find his father, but instead he runs into the girl again and learns that he is had stepped into a time loop and is now in the year 1940. The girl, Emma, introduces him to all the other children who tell Jacob that he must be special like them and his grandfather if he is able to go through the time loops. He also learns that the monsters his grandfather had always told him about are real, and he can see them too.
The monsters that Jacob can now see have been wreaking havoc while Jacob is spending time with Emma and other kids from the 1940s orphanage. Eventually, the monsters murder a man in Jacob’s time and Jacob decides he must face the monsters to save anyone else, including the orphans who he has become very fond of, from being killed. With the help of Emma, they team up to save Miss Peregrine and her home for peculiar children.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (film) will be released in theaters September 30, 2016.
Available in the following formats: print, audiobook, and e-book at the Vigo County Public Library.
Alzheimer’s at 38. It’s not what one would expect to happen, but Anna Forster is living that reality. But just because she’s been diagnosed, does not mean she has forgotten everything. Anna is determined to have, and end, things her way.
Eve, a newly single mother, shows up at Rosalind House, the assisted living facility, a few months after Anna. She intends to be the new cook, but she can’t help but become attached to Anna and the other residents. Told from alternating points of view, this story will capture the reader and perhaps provide a different perspective on person’s living with Alzheimer’s.
This title is available in print or ebook.
- The Story of Forgetting
Henry Hayden is a cold and calculating psychopath. He has always told lies mixed with bits of truth which he believes is the only way to lie. Henry is masquerading as a world famous author and living the lifestyle of one. He's never written a book in his life, but his wife, Martha, has written several. It is their agreed secret that he take credit as the author of her books. She only wants to write. Stir in to the mix a pregnant mistress who wants marriage, a person from Henry's past stalking him and haboring revenge, a sad mistake of murder, and Henry's life and lies begin to unravel. Can he keep spinning lies and half truths or will it all come crumbling down?
" It's not easy to keep a secret. A lifetime keeping silent is agony. Looked at that way, a murder's punishment begins on the day of his crime."
" His punishment had already begun, each day when he awoke, the memory would wake with him and be renewed. To keep a secret, you should never lose concentration; tell nobody and never forget. That was how Martha had begun the first chapter of , Aggravating Circumstances. She must have meant him, who else could she have meant?"
" Martha had written in pencil on the last page…hang on a little while longer. Can you guess how it ends? Kisses, Martha"
This is an excellent first novel by the German screenwriter, Arango. The author takes a look at truth and lies as they relate to our identities, the truth as it relates to the past and our memory of it, fame, and mortality. The book is fast-paced, suspenseful, dark, and witty. It is one psychologically, wicked tale to add to your reading list.
- The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith,
- The Hook by Donald Westlake,
- The Chimney Sweeper's Boy by Barbara Vine
The speaker was Zak Ebrahim. The 1200 audience members jumped to their feet with tears and applause as the poised young man concluded his powerful nine minute talk. It was a TED conference in Vancouver, British Colombia. Also speaking that particular day in September 2013 were Bill and Melinda Gates, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Jehane Noujaim and the musician Sting but it was Zak’s talk that resonated with the listeners. They were transported back to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center where six individuals were killed and over a thousand injured.
One of the masterminds of this heinous act was El-Sayed Nosair, who was serving time in the Attica Correctional Facility, a supermax New York State prison, for crimes related to the assassination of the leader of the Jewish Defense League. Considered a prime instigator of terrorists’ acts in the United States, El-Sayed was specifically mentioned in one of Osama bin Laden’s infamous video messages where bin Laden urged the world to "Remember El-Sayed Nosair."
El-Sayed Nosair was Zak Ebrahim’s father. Zak’s memoir, The Terrorist’s Son: A Story of Choice, was inspired by his heart-rending TED talk. Imagine moving more than twenty times during your childhood, not only being bullied because you are the new kid in school but because of the atrocious crimes committed by your father. This true account recalls in great detail being awoken at age seven, advised to put all his worldly possessions into a sheet by his panicked mother and the flight from their apartment in New Jersey to which he would never return. The trials and tribulations endured by Zak and his family are detailed in his remarkable journey to escape the legacy of his father’s choices.
At barely under one hundred pages, this is a "small book about big ideas", designed to be read in one sitting. Zak’s choice to reject his childhood indoctrination of bigoted ideology espoused by his father and to instead embrace a life of tolerance and empathy provides an ultimately hopeful story.
"I’ve spent my life trying to understand what drew my father to terrorism, and struggled with the knowledge that I have his blood in my veins. By telling my story, my intention is to do something hopeful and instructive: to offer a portrait of a young man who was raised in the fires of fanaticism and embraced nonviolence instead.”
Zak Ebrahim’s The Terrorist’s Son won the American Library Association’s Alex Award in 2015 for being one of the 10 best adult books of the year that also appeal to young-adult readers. A portion of the earnings the author received to write the book have been donated to Tuesday’s Children, a nonprofit organization helping communities affected by terrorism around the world.
- Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam after Iraq by Michael Scheuer,
- American Hysteria: the untold story of mass political extremism in the United States by Andrew Burt,
- The Better Angels of Our Nature: why violence has declined by Steven Pinker,
- I am Malala: how one girl stood up for education and changed the world by Malala Yousafzai with Patricia McCormick
Peyton, Sydney's charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention and -- lately -- concern. When Peyton's increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident? Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.
On June 10, 1940, even the French Government officials fled in anticipation of the Nazi takeover of Paris, but Sumner Jackson stayed. He had a duty as doctor and “resident physician in charge,” and he intended to help all he could. Avenue of Spies, an historical account of an American living in Nazi-occupied France, gives the reader a glimpse into what it was like for one family in World Word II Paris.
Sumner Jackson was an American doctor who had fallen in love with a Swiss-born nurse, Toquette, when they were both working in a hospital during the First World War. By the time World War II began, Sumner and Toquette had a 12-year-old son together and were living in one of Paris’ finest neighborhoods, on Avenue Foch. At the onset of the war, Sumner sent his wife and son elsewhere for safety, and he spent most nights in the American Hospital where he worked. Eventually, wife and son returned, and both Sumner and Toquette battled the Nazis in their own ways.
Sumner’s personal rebellion against the Nazis began early on, when he hid Allied troops and other members of the resistance in the basement of the American Hospital. After hiding those who needed to escape, he often kept no record of their names, or officially recorded them as “deceased.”
The reader watches the Nazis advance through the eyes, ears and minds of the Jacksons. The Nazis are 150 miles from Paris, now closer. Hospitals and ambulances are being targeted by the German troops, and Sumner’s hospital paints over any red cross symbols that would announce their presence and intentions. “From the terrace of Sumner’s office… [he] could see flashes of light from bursting artillery shells splashing across the horizon. Hitler’s storm troopers were less than twenty miles away.”
Avenue of Spies: A True Story of Terror, Espionage, and one American Family’s Heroic Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Paris by Alex Kershaw reads more like a thrilling spy novel than a history lesson and draws on extensive interviews with Phillip Jackson, Sumner and Toquette’s son. This non-fiction selection includes a selection of photographs of the Jackson family, as well as images of many other high-profile names discussed in this book.
- Fighters in the Shadows,
- A Spy Among Friends
It's a hot, lazy day, perfect for a cookout, until you see those strange dark clouds. Suddenly a violent storm sweeps across the lake and ends as abruptly and unexpectedly as it had begun. Then comes the mist...creeping slowly, inexorably into town, where it settles and waits, trapping you in the supermarket with dozens of others, cut off from your families and the world. The mist is alive, seething with unearthly sounds and movements. What unleashed this terror? Was it the Arrowhead Project---the top secret government operation that everyone has noticed but no one quite understands? And what happens when the provisions have run out and you're forced to make your escape, edging blindly through the dim light?
- Horns by Joe Hill,
- Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill,
- 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill,
- Finders Keepers by Stephen King,
- Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
Travel back to the Great World War and globe trot the world with a colorful band of characters affectionately known as the Explorers Guild. Published in October, The Explorers Guild is penned by Jonathan Baird and Kevin Costner, the famous actor and filmmaker, assisted by Stephen Meyer. Rick Ross is responsible for the fabulous illustrations.
This great adventure tome harkens back to the golden age of adventure writing in the similar vein of authors Jack London, Rudyard Kipling, Joseph Conrad and Robert Louis Stevenson. The action revolves around the Ogden siblings: brothers John and Arthur, and their sister, Frances. Each has a vastly different reason for searching for the lost city of Shambhala but all are of the upmost importance to the seeker, ranging from saving a life to saving the world. Broken down into five distinct sections, this high octane tale journeys from the “Ice Fields Wide and Wicked” to the desert sands of Southeast Mesopotamia to “secret waterways beneath Asia” to the bustling neighborhoods of New York City.
The 770 page novel is almost split evenly between text and graphic storytelling. Kevin Costner shares the reason for the length of the book. “It is packed with illustrated comic panels by Rick Ross. His phenomenal illustrations fire my imagination.” The images impart some conversation or historical fact necessary to move along the plot. As the book is full of comic book images, an assumption could be made that it is a book aimed at children. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Many times the action is not suitable for younger readers. For example, the evil Sharif Al-Shar’s end is described as “The Sharif is last seen as a dark feather of blood over the village square” after a maid, in retribution for grievances out of counting, most of them unprintable, ignites a cannon to which the sultan is strapped to by Major John Ogden of the Fifth Dragoon Guards.
According to the authors, it took almost ten years to fully develop the storylines. The word choices, while lengthy, are reminiscent of the time period. When Arthur Ogden claims responsibility for the book’s events, he writes, “I can tell you straight out that we are the victims of an ill-judged boast on my part made in a spasm of jealousy and wrath and of all thing patriotism; which boast has flung us far from the pleasure of Society and put us on term of intimacy with Death, as I say without exaggeration.” Arthur then promises to end his chronicle on a bright note of revenge. With such delicious writing, it forces the reader to journey to the end.
The extended title of the book is “The Explorers Guild Volume One: A Passage to Shambhala - Being an Introduction to that Secret Society And an Account of Certain Travelers in their Far-Faring Search for the Sacred City Yrs. 1912-1918.” It is available from the VCPL in hardback.
- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore,
- The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle,
- The Adventures of Tintin by Herge,
- Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
Four patients being cared for during a 12 hour shift in the hospital may not sound challenging to the layperson, but to a nurse who may hold their lives in her hands, it can stretch the limits of her/his endurance. Theresa Brown, a nurse on a hospital oncology floor, the Bone Marrow Transplant floor, explains just how much care as well as paperwork goes into a patient's stay. The four patients she chiefly describes have a variety of medical issues and positive and negative outcomes. The reader becomes caught up in their stories, wondering who will live and who will die, and those questions are answered. Theresa says that many nurses rarely even get their lunch half-hour, at least on her floor, so they are working at times almost to physical impairment due to low blood sugar. The reader comes to have an even greater respect for these individuals who usually know more about the patient's condition than their doctor, and may help the doctor avoid a mistake in the patient's care. An interesting read for the layperson, and nurses who read it will be nodding their heads that she has captured the essence of a nurse's day-to-day worklife. The author was previously an English teacher at Tufts University before becoming a nurse, and has written for the New York Times, as well as for professional nursing journals.
Humans of New York: Stories is a photographic, storytelling blog that began on Facebook. When Brandon, the author, began this journey five years ago, he was simply taking pictures. Now he interviews the subjects of his photographs and has somehow created a safe place on Facebook for people to share their secrets. This book is a compilation of those stories. In this book, the reader meets people of all ages, with all kinds of stories to tell. The reader will laugh out loud, turn the page, and tear up.
While this book looks large, (426 pages of stories!), it can be read in one evening if the reader so chooses.
- Little Humans,
- The World of PostSecret
On the surface Alexis has a great life: she is engaged to a wonderful man who not only loves her but is also a committed Christian. Chase is everything she has looked for in a man and he is also handsome, wealthy and a successful businessman. Alexis has a home she loves and a successful business as a motivational speaker. Everything seems perfect but she still struggles to be happy and to find the peace she seeks and to get over her grief.
Alexis attends church at the Deliverance Outreach Church pastored by Pastor Curtis Black. During a Sunday service the pastor invites those in the congregation to write a Christmas prayer. Alexis decides that she will write a prayer as a way to get past her sadness and experience again joy and happiness. She prays for herself but also prays for others who have experienced hardship and loss. Just praying the prayer helps her to feel hopeful about the future.
As Alexis struggles with grief and depression she also has to deal with a future mother-in-law who does not like her or want her to marry her son. She also has problems with her sister who has made choices for her life that Alexis thinks are wrong and although she tries to help her sister they have don't have a good relationship.
Dealing with personal difficulties and finding a way past them is the main theme of the book. There are ups and downs along the way and a few crises that the characters experience but in the end things are worked out and come to a good conclusion.
This book is part of The Reverand Curtis Black Series.
- Victoria Christopher Murray,
- ReShonda Tate Billingsley ,
- Terry McMillan
At its core, American Meteor is a story of America’s Manifest Destiny as it spread, like a “meteor,” west from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. This “meteor” metaphor is also often used for characters who burst upon history’s scene, tear, often violently, through life as meteors do the sky, and finally burn into oblivion. The narration is often poetic and well written, and while morals and lessons can be learned from it, it refrains from being preachy.
American Meteor, the latest work by award-winning author Norman Lock, is a finely crafted story of one man’s journey through the United States’ westward expansion. The story opens as Stephan Moran returns to consciousness in a hospital after being wounded during a Civil War battle, and briefly relates his experiences as a bugle boy for the Union, as well as flashing back to childhood memories in a New York slum and of fleeting sights of a man soon revealed to be Walt Whitman. Told in the first person as a series of rembrances to a friend, Jay, the episodes jump around in time, though they are all clearly dated, giving the impression that the reader is privy to a diary or memoir. Over the course of the story, the narrator encounters other famous men: General Ulysses S. Grant, General George Armstrong Custer, and Crazy Horse among them. Throughout, Stephan Moran is a witness to history, and never an actor until near the very end, allowing the reader to be witness alongside him.
True to a first-person narrative of rembrances, he embarks on tangents to elaborate on a point as fancy takes him. Where this may be a literary sin for many authors, it works for this type of story. As back stories, they add detail and color where necessary, and do not at all make the story disjointed. The details are gritty, but not so gory that they disgust, and given with a familiarity that implies the character’s experience. The tone, grammar, and vocabulary are archaic enough to grant a sufficient sense of authenticity, yet not so authentic that it becomes difficult or tedious for twenty-first-century readers to grasp.
The storytelling voice shifts about midway into the novel. It is a gradual shift, so the reader may not notice the drop in nineteenth century tone. Whereas meteors flare and vanish, Lock’s characters will remain.
Overall, American Meteor is a well-wrought witness to legend.
Inspirational fiction is evolving and developing new subgenres such as romantic suspense. Irene Hannon is a master of this type of inspirational fiction. “Buried Secrets” is the first book in a new series, Men of Valor. The story begins with an accidental death involving four college students that is hidden or covered up then jumps to the present where once the skeleton is uncovered the consequences of this act begin to unfold. The central characters are Lisa Grant, a small town Police chief originally from Chicago and Mac McGregor, a former Navy Seal who is now a county police detective. The author creates likeable main characters and provides supporting characters, Mac McGregor’s two brothers that will probably appear in future books in the series. There is a strong family element in her work, including a Lisa’s loyal dog named Tally. Lisa and Mac start to work together to discover the truth about the death. The plot begins slowly but picks up as events unfold. Danger and threats arise as one individual attempts to keep secrets hidden. Readers will quickly identify with the main characters and how their romance unfolds. There is real suspense and danger even a few twists and turns. This novel is a solid and familiar story with charming characters and a safe predictable outcome. Readers will eagerly be waiting for the next MacGregor mystery and romance.
- DiAnn Mills,
- Nancy Mehl,
- Lis Wiehl,
- Lynette Easton,
- Dani Pettrey
The Martian is a story about a lone human battling against overwhelming odds. The Ares 3 manned mission to Mars has arrived on the Red Planet. On the sixth day, a vicious dust storm exponentially stronger than NASA anticipated hits the landing site, forcing the six man crew to abort their mission. Time is of an essence because if the MDV (Mars Descent Vehicle) is blown over on its side, all would be stranded. During the evacuation process, Astronaut Mark Watney is struck with an antenna and knocked unconscious. Watney pinwheels away from his team and ends up buried in the blowing sand. Since his spacesuit’s communication computer is destroyed in the accident, the crew believes Mark to be dead and reluctantly begins the voyage back to Earth. The future is bleak for Mark when he awakes and realizes he has been abandoned. He has no immediately viable way to contact NASA and he certainly does not have enough supplies to last until the next Ares mission is planned to visit Mars in four years.
Weir tells Watney’s story primarily through a mission journal which Watney writes as he documents his efforts to stay alive and figure out a way to get back to Earth. Comprising the first several chapters of the book, the logs spotlight Mark Watney’s irrelevant but often hopeful humor and makes it easy to root for the only survivor left on Mars. Author Andy Weir very capably intersperses Mark’s log entries with conversations going on in NASA and others involved in planning rescue attempts, along with the dilemma of whether or not to tell the Ares 3 crewmates on their way back to Earth that they left Mark alive.
A devoted history buff of manned spaceflight and self-declared space nerd, Weir studied orbital mechanics and astronomy to give his novel authenticity. This attention to technical detail makes it all the more compelling for those who know enough about spaceflight to appreciate those details. Weir made Mark Watney a Mechanical Engineer and a Botanist which aptly supports Watney’s choices made in the new situations he faces. Simple but critical challenges abound. How does Mark breathe, eat, and drink when the mission supplies are exhausted? How does he pinpoint an air leak in the shelter? Is it even possible to get to an ascent vehicle destined for another mission which is thousands of kilometers away on Mars?
This is Andy Weir’s first novel and he originally self-published it in 2011. After skyrocketing to the top of Amazon’s science fiction list, it was published by Crown Publishing in 2014. The film rights were then bought and it is now a major motion picture starring Matt Damon and directed by Ridley Scott. The Martian is available from the VCPL in hardback, audiobook, and as an ebook.
- Moving Mars by Greg Bear,
- I Am Legend by Richard Matheson,
- Packing for Mars by Mary Roach,
- Rescue Mode by Ben Bova and Les Johnson,
- Red Rising by Pierce Brown
‘Tis the season for baseball! What better way to celebrate this time of year than by reading about 100 objects that are sometimes old, but always interesting and that helped make baseball what it is today? Short but detailed stories accompany each object, stirring up emotions and creating a sense of nostalgia. The introduction tells the reader, “it is an exploration of the game of baseball as told through the equipment, documents, and other artifacts that illustrate its key eras and events.” From before baseball went “pro” to modern day, even the casual fan will enjoy perusing this collection.
Baseball goes pro at the beginning of part two, with a game ball from the Cincinnati Red Stockings, who were the first all-professional team. An early fielder’s glove from the 1880s is also on display in this section, and with it comes a slew of information on the evolution of the glove, including how “unmanly” it once was to wear any sort of protection on the hands to catch a ball.
Things get lively after the Dead Ball Era, and Babe Ruth headlines the next section. Babe Ruth and the four sections beyond are full of pieces from a quickly changing game. From War and Integration, to Expansion to Free Agency, to Strikes and Steroids, this book covers many important memories of the game through 2013.
- Cooperstown Confidential: heroes, rogues, and the inside story of the Baseball Hall of Fame,
- Sports Illustrated Baseball's Greatest
Some books grab you as soon as you start reading. This was one of those. I was crying at the end of the first chapter, although I don't usually like books that make you cry I was hooked. The story was upbeat and enjoyable (I know it is a surprise after the crying). Lynn has been a widow for about 2 years and is still struggling with grief. She and her husband had built their home, the family plumbing business and their children's homes all on the same property and although she loves her home, she is lonely and struggles with grief. The book begins with Lynn's son suggesting she sell her big house and build a smaller one beside his. Lynn's house is on a lake and they are close enough for the grandchildren to walk to her house but not so close that they can see into each other's yards. Lynn loves her home and has no desire to leave it. She realizes she needs to make some changes but isn't really sure how. Because of some physical symptoms she visits her doctor who mentions to her the idea of shared housing. Lynn begins to investigate and decides this is something that will work for her. She prepares her home and prays that God will send her the boarders she needs. In unusual ways she meets Angela who is going through a divorce and Judith who's family home has become a historical museum after the death of her father. Both women are looking for a new start and a new home. They transition into this way of living fairly easily but there are some bumps along the road they have to work out as they each adjust and find what is best for all of them. Each woman experiences healing and restoration as their friendship grows and new opportunities open up for them.
This book was enjoyable and inspiring. If you like books about families or small communities this is one to add to your reading list. I'm hoping it will become a series.
- The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate,
- The Blue Bottle Club by Penelope Stokes
If you want an exciting read or audiobook that involves the military, sabotage, espionage, medical emergencies, and a tiny bit of romance all wrapped into one, this book is for you. I listened to the audiobook version which is outstandingly delivered by Ray Porter. "In the remote, frozen waters of the Arctic Ocean, the high-powered and technically advanced submarine U.S.S. Montana is in peril. Adrift and in flames, the boat and entire crew could be lost. The only team close enough to get to them in time is led by Marine doctor and bio-terror expert Joe Rush." But this story has many twists and turns to keep the reader interested. One of the biggest problems is a deadly virus that is killing crew members in addition to burns suffered by many in an on-ship accident. A Chinese submarine arrives, but is it there as a humanitarian mission or to take control of the damaged American submarine? Only an ice-breaker can save those on the ship, but there is a traitor onboard the American ice-breaker, and the finger points to several individuals, including a member of Congress. Will the survivors and rescuers become casualties of a world that will not permit a deadly virus to be brought back to the mainland? A nail-biting climax near the end answers that question, but there are still more plot twists to finally wrap up the book.
This tv series chooses to show the story of the affair in two distinct perspectives each episode. Viewers can catch differences in dialogue, clothing and actions when we see the story told from Alison’s point of view as opposed to Noah’s. I loved how the two sections varied each episode because it made both characters unreliable. Everyone remembers life differently and this show lets readers experience it during a curcial point in their lives. Mixed in with their forbidden love story is a murder mystery and for several episodes you dont even know who died or how. This tv show was captivating and I recommend this show to everyone who loves a good who-done-it mystery. I am anxiously awaiting Season Two. In January 2015, Ruth Wilson won Best Actress-Television Series Drama and Season 1 won Best Television Series-Drama at the 72nd Golden Globes.
I loved this book. It was a great way to start Jill Shalvis’ newest series. I am a fan of series involving families that balance the romance with humor. Second Chance Summer certainly fits that description. Lily had a traumatic event disrupt her life and she ran away from Cedar Ridge to recover. Aidan waited for her return and made it clear that he was not going to let her run a second time. If you are a fan of contemporary romances, I highly recommend Jill Shalvis’ books. Stop by VCPL and check out this title!
- Three Little Words by Susan Mallery,
- Blue Bayou by JoAnn Ross,
- A kiss to build a dream on by Kim Amos,
- A place called home by Jo Goodman,
- Heroes are my weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
They were known simply as "The Lost Boys." Orphaned by the brutal civil war in Sudan that began in 1983, these young victims traveled as many as a thousand miles on foot in search of safety. Fifteen years later, a humanitarian effort would bring 3,600 lost boys and girls to America.
Carrie Davis is tasked with helping “The Lost Boys” find jobs once they reach America. This film shows Carrie struggle with keeping her distance as the boys acclimate with American society and struggle with the demons in their past. This film is honest and heart-wrenching. Stop by and place a hold on this DVD today!
MPAA rating: PG-13; for thematic elements, some violence, brief strong language and drug use.
Maya Farlow learned the hard way to depend only on herself, so when she fell too deeply for the bad-boy charms of Del Mitchell, she did the only thing she could—she ran. Stunned, Del left Fool's Gold to make his name and fortune in extreme sports. Now ten years later, Maya's been hired to promote her hometown's new slogan, The Destination for Romance. The celebrity spokesman is none other than Del, the man she dumped but never forgot. Awkward! Although Del's not the type to hold a grudge, he's determined to avoid falling a second time for the woman who broke his heart. He's a daredevil, not an idiot. Trouble is, in all his adventures, he never found a rush as exhilarating as Maya's kiss. Maybe risking his heart will prove to be the biggest thrill of all…
I am admitting up front that I am OBESSESED with Susan Mallery’s town of Fool’s Gold. The characters are relatable and fun. You would think 18 books in that it might be a bit stale but I am just as mesmerized by this story as I was the original. In Kiss Me (Fool’s Gold, #17), I was wondering how I would react to Maya as the main character since readers are told that she dumper the love of her life and never looked back. Thrill Me completely changed my mind about Maya and I loved her relationship with Del’s mother. I was surprised how fast Del seemed to forgive her and move on. I love Mayor Marsha and all of her schemes. I cannot wait for Marry Me at Christmas (Fool's Gold, #19). Place a hold on our copy today or better yet start with the first in the series, Chasing Perfect (Fool's Gold, #1).
- Second Chance Summer by Jill Shalvis,
- Into the Night by Suzanne Brockmann,
- Maybe this time by Jennifer Cruise,
- The Look of Love by Bella Andre,
- True Love by Jude Deveraux
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng is an account of a fictional family in a small town in Ohio. The first glimpse of the family is in 1977 at their breakfast table. To view the scene, one would assume everything is as it should be. Cereal bowls, physics homework awaiting rewrites, lazy yawns, all of these one would expect to find on an early morning before school. But this May morning, someone is late for breakfast. The last thing a family would imagine is that the latecomer will never arrive. Life will never be the same for the Lee family.
James, the father, is of Chinese heritage, born in California. Marilyn, the mother, is a blue-eyed, blonde-haired woman from Virginia. These details are important in the 1950s to Marilyn’s mother who declares, “Think about your children… You won’t fit in anywhere. You’ll be sorry the rest of your life,” and in the 1970s to nosey onlookers with similar beliefs. The three children, Nath, Lydia, and Hannah, all have their own distinct personalities and secrets. Everyone in this family has secrets from each other, more than likely due to a pact the parents made to each other just after they married, “to let the past drift away, to stop asking questions, to look forward from then on, never back.” It is hard for family members to understand one another when no one asks the important questions.
This title is available in print and e-audiobook formats.
Listening to the Devil’s Radio
The famous Beatle, George Harrison, is quoted as saying, “Gossip is the Devil’s radio.” Elin Hilderbrand’s 15th novel, “The Rumor,” focuses its plot-driven storyline on the power of gossip to turn the beach island of Nantucket upside down. The island’s residents devoutly listen as the Devil’s radio broadcasts rampant rumors. The isolated island acts as a pressure cooker that ratchets up talk of fellow residents’ social lives; the gossip spreads like wildfire. The crushing amount of innuendo overwhelms two seemingly perfect families, sometimes resulting in hilarity, but mainly forcing the people involved to re-evaluate their life choices.
The main subjects of gossip are the King and Pancik families. Madeline King is a newly successful writer and is experiencing writer’s block for the first time. She and husband, Trevor, a pilot, are proud parents of Brick. Madeline’s best friend is Grace Pancik. Her husband, “Fast Eddie,” is a real estate developer hit hard by the recession. Brick’s all-consuming love interest is one of their twin daughters, Allegra. The other twin yearns for Brick and is plotting how to let him know that Allegra is cheating on him.
Against this backdrop of teenage angst, Madeline takes a house in town to allow her to focus on writing, which whips up the rumor mill when “Fast Eddie” visits to check out how much she is paying for the rental. Meanwhile, Grace is chasing her ultimate dream: getting her garden featured in the Sunday edition of the Boston Globe. Grace’s closeness with her attentive landscape designer, Benton Coe, is directly contrasted with her distance from her husband, who is forced to engage in illicit activities to cover up their impending financial ruin.
Written in easy-to-digest chapters and in multiple points of view, “The Rumor” flies along as the characters deal with the rumors in the course of one long, hot summer. The reader jumps on an out-of-control roller coaster ride to a satisfying conclusion, learning how Madeline breaks her writer’s block, the teens deal with social media attacks, and family and friends betray Fast Eddie.
A longtime resident, Elin Hilderbrand uses her personal knowledge of Nantucket to flavor the book. Specific restaurants, beaches and ball fields come to life in her novel, thanks to Elin’s frequent visits with her family. For example, when Madeline rents a house to serve as a writing studio, the location is simply referred to as town because Nantucket is an island, a county and a town. This is the only place in America with the same name for all three.
- The Guest Cottage by Nancy Thayer,
- Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews,
- Colony by Anne Rivers Siddons,
- The Girls of Mischief Bay by Susan Mallery,
- The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is the expansionist dream of Sonny (Dev Patel), and it's making more claims on his time than he has available, considering his imminent marriage to the love of his life, Sunaina (Tina Desai). Sonny has his eye on a promising property now that his first venture, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful, has only a single remaining vacancy - posing a rooming predicament for fresh arrivals Guy (Richard Gere) and Lavinia (Tamsin Greig).
Evelyn and Douglas (Judi Dench and Bill Nighy) have now joined the Jaipur workforce, and are wondering where their regular dates for Chilla pancakes will lead, while Norman and Carol (Ronald Pickup and Diana Hardcastle) are negotiating the tricky waters of an exclusive relationship, as Madge (Celia Imrie) juggles two eligible and very wealthy suitors. Perhaps the only one who may know the answers is newly installed co-manager of the hotel, Muriel (Maggie Smith), the keeper of everyone's secrets. As the demands of a traditional Indian wedding threaten to engulf them all, an unexpected way forward presents itself. - Written by Fox Searchlight
As a fan of the first film, I enjoyed the sequel just as much as the original. The characters are still charming and fun. I think their advanced age gives them the freedom to get away with a few raunchy jokes without it being awkward or ruining the moment. Maggie Smith is an absolute treat to watch. For a moment, I almost cried but luckily I held it together until the end. VCPL has copies of this on DVD and BLU-Ray. Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
The Kern Secretarial Agency provides reliable professional services to its wealthy clientele, and Anne Clifton was one of the finest women in Ursula Kern’s employ. But Miss Clifton has met an untimely end—and Ursula is convinced it was not due to natural causes. Archaeologist and adventurer Slater Roxton thinks Mrs. Kern is off her head to meddle in such dangerous business. Nevertheless, he seems sensible enough to Ursula, though she does find herself unnerved by his self-possession and unreadable green-gold eyes…
If this mysterious widowed beauty insists on stirring the pot, Slater intends to remain close by as they venture into the dark side of polite society. Together they must reveal the identity of a killer—and to achieve their goal they may need to reveal their deepest secrets to each other as well…
This may be one of the few books where I like the male lead character more than the female lead, Slater was so interesting and I prefered his narration to Ursula. Not to say that I didnt like Ursula because I did! I have to admit that this plot kept me guessing. You think you have it all figured out and then the story keeps going. I am big fan of the Amanda Quick books and this one did not disappoint! I wonder if she will make into a detective series.
- And only to deceive by Tasha Alexander,
- Wobble to death by Peter Lovesey,
- The Sherlockian by Graham Moore,
- The masque of a murderer by Susanna Calkins,
- A flaw in the blood by Stephanie Barron
New novellas in the Green Mountain, Harmony, Southern Belle Book Club, and Dare Island series!
From four contemporary romance stars, stories filled with first kisses, first dances, and happily-ever-afters…
Midnight Bet by Jodi Thomas: When cousins Rick and Lizzy Matheson of Harmony, Texas, wind up on the wrong side of an attempted shooting, they know they’re in deep. Still, the biggest danger is losing their hearts—Rick to an old flame and Lizzy to an old friend she’d never noticed before…
You’ll Be Mine by Marie Force: Will Abbott and Cameron Murphy are finally ready to tie the knot—as long as family, friends and a love-struck moose don’t get in the way.
Wrapped Around Your Finger by Shirley Jump: Maggie McBride is just one of the guys in the hard-knocks world of construction. Until she’s dared to ask Nick Patterson to a wedding, enticing her to knock down some walls—and risk falling in love.
Carolina Heart by Virginia Kantra: Determined to leave her wild past behind, Cynthie Lodge is forging a new life for herself and her daughters—one that’s man-free and drama-free. But when her high school crush shows up on Dare Island, he’s determined to make her break her rules…
I checked this book out because I am hooked on Marie Force’s Green Mountain series. The Abbott family is a large small town group that knows how to have fun! I loved reading about Will and Cam’s wedding! I had not read any of the other authors in this group before but I quickly fell in love with Shirley Jump’s characters so now I need to find the Southern Belle Book Club series. Maggie’s tomboy ways are no match for her best friend when he finally gets the courage to make a move. If you are in the mood for a few quick novella, I personally recommend check this book out!
- Summer at Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs,
- 16 Lighthouse Road by Debbie Macomber,
- The next always by Nora Roberts,
- A country affair by Rebecca Shaw,
- The sparkling one by Susan Mallery
Jasmyn loves her Illinois farm home, her job and her town but, sometimes things happen that change everything. Because of the changes in her life she decides to take a vacation. She travels to San Diego and finds that although it is different from everything she has ever known she feels at home there. Then her rental car is stolen with all of her belongings inside. Although this seems like the worst thing that could happen to her it turns out to be a blessing because she is rescued by Olivia "Liv" McAlister the owner of the Casa De Vida (the House of Life) and it's wonderful residents. Casa de Vida is a wonderful collection of seaside cottages with wonderful and interesting people. They form more of a family than a community, loved and guided by "Mama Liv" and just what Jasmyn is missing. This book is the first in the Family of the Heart series. So good I also read the second book, "Heaven Help Heidi". If you are a fan of books with community, love, and life challenges as themes you will enjoy these books. I can't wait to get book three.
- Mitford Series,
- Blossom Street Series
Little People Dr. Jennifer Arnold and husband businessman Bill Klein tell the story of how they grew up, the many challenges they faced, including many surgeries, as well as bullying by others because of their small stature in a full-sized world. We learn how they each grew to adulthood and created successful lives. Each of them hoped to find someone to share their life with and create a family, and eventually they connected with each other, a couple that was meant to be, although it took a long time to happen. It is a love story as well as a story of great personal courage and ambition for each of them. Even if you have not watched the TLC show "The Little Couple" you will find this fascinating book well worth the read. We learn of the heartbreak of fertility failures and the joy of adopting two children (also Little People), one a Chinese boy, Will, the other a girl from India. During Zoey's adoption, Jennifer comes near to death from medical issues. They are just really likeable people who deserve great admiration for their accomplishments and endurance in the face of adversity. Despite watching the show, I learned many things about them and their families that I was not aware of. A good read to make you feel that if they can overcome obstacles, so can you! (791.45 A)
Once upon a time, the forest was a dark and dangerous place full of monsters and magic. There, in the shadows of the trees, the stuff of nightmares was born. As the woods have receded before the growth of civilization, though, more and more light has been shed on those dark places. For many, the forest has lost much of its mystery, and with it, the ability to incite fear. There are no more monsters, only woodland creatures. What people seem to have forgotten, though, is that some of those creatures are wolves.
In her evocative graphic novel, Through the Woods, Emily Carroll spins five chilling tales that remind readers of just how dangerous the forest can be. Drawing inspiration from such fairy tales as “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Bluebeard,” Carroll masterfully renders her stories in vivid color, using macabre imagery to create an atmosphere of terror. It is this atmosphere that threads these stand-alone stories together, resulting in a cohesive collection that is as beautiful as it is haunting.
If you enjoy a good ghost story, urban legend, or dark fairy tale, then Through the Woods is for you. Readers of Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe, and other horror authors will also find Carroll’s graphic novel appealing. Through the Woods is an immensely satisfying collection that will leave readers thirsting for more.
- Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoët ,
- Uzumaki by Junji Ito,
- Beauty by Hubert and Kerascoët ,
- Locke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez,
- The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang
Christian’s side of the story shares insight into his relationship with his birth mother, Elena Lincoln and the Grey family. Readers are exposed to his nightmares, thoughts and emails with other characters. I have to admit there was a lot more harsh language in this book but it is worth the effort to look past all of the curse words. I especially like the the ending which shows the emotional rollercoaster Christian goes through before the events of Fifty Shades Darker. Personally, I hope that E.L. James decides to continue the series from Christian’s perspective so we can experience even more of the twists and turns from his point of view. As of this review, no further books are expected. VCPL has several copies but I recommend getting your name on the hold list ASAP. Laters!
- Gabriel's inferno by Sylvain Reynard,
- Bared to you by Sylvia Day,
- Surrender to fire by Lora Leigh