Monday, March 18, 2019

The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen

The Victory Garden is a new release by bestselling author Rhys Bowen.  The setting is England during World War I, and the story revolves around 21-year-old Emily Bryce, who is determined to contribute to the war effort despite her parents’ disapproval.  Emily falls in love with an Australian pilot, leaves her family to sign on with the Women’s Land Army, and finds that she has what it takes to stand on her own two feet.  This is a good book for World War I fiction fans.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Sacred Spaces: The Awe-Inspiring Architecture of Churches and Cathedrals. Photos by Guillaume De Laubier. Text by Jaques Bosser

Travel guides are famous among what are known as “armchair” travelers: people who love to visit other places through the magic of books. Sacred Spaces isn’t a travel guide, but through unbelievably well-done photography and well-balanced text, travelers of all types can now get a glimpse inside some of the most beautiful, ancient and unique cathedrals and churches throughout the world.  Be astonished at the enormity and scope of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Absorb the Spanish flavor of the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Sit with the spirits of thousands of students in King’s College Chapel at Cambridge. And recoil and marvel at sculptures made of human bone in the massive Sedlec Ossuary in Kutna Hora, Czech Republic.  You have to see these spaces to believe them.   Bottom line:  A richly photographed book that’s impossible to put down.  A must-read.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow: Quick-fix recipes for hangry athletes By Shalane Flanagan

     Olympian and marathon runner Shalane Flanagan teams up with chef Elyse Kopecky for the second time to offer new recipes and variations of popular ones from their first book.  Although it is aimed at performance athletes, anyone could benefit from the healthy but tasty offerings.  A variety of wholesome meals as well as pre-race and post-workout offerings are shared for readers looking for food that will sustain.  Color pictures and notes from the authors alongside the recipes make this cookbook engaging for the reader.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

When I first started reading Hank Green's An Absolutely Remarkable Thing I wasn't quite sure what I was getting into. It seemed a little slow, and it was hard to tell what direction this book was going to go. As the pages turned, and the story evolved, the book ended up with a commentary on fame and social media, an alien (maybe) invasion, and a mystery combining the two, which leaves the reader with all questions unanswered and a cliffhanger putting them on hold until a book two arrives.
The book follows the exploits of main character April May and her friend Andy, along with a handful of additional protagonists. One New York City morning at 3 a.m. April and Andy come across a large robot-like figure standing on the street. While Andy films, April investigates the robot, which they end up naming Carl. After going home, Andy posts the video on YouTube and April wakes the up the next morning a social media star.
As the story progresses, April's rise to fame skyrockets, and you find that the New York Carl is not the only one, as they are found in major cities around the world, not moving, not making a sound. One thing the Carls do initiate is a series of dreams being had by people who have been exposed to them. These dreams offers clues, but to what?
Along with trying to decode the dreams, April becomes a spokesperson for the whole Carl movement and what it might mean. An anti-Carl movement arises and puts the dreams, and April in its crosshairs. A violent conclusion to the story offers up more questions than answers. Some of Remarkable Thing's original mysteries are solved, but you will have to wait for a book two to find just what really happened.

Monday, March 11, 2019

The Book of M by Peng Shepherd

One afternoon, a man’s shadow disappears.  It is an inexplicable occurrence, and generates world wide media coverage.  Then it begins to happen around the globe, and people discover that the loss of their shadow also means loss of their memories, be it sudden or gradual.  The scariest part of this phenomenon is that in certain cases, something that a person forgets may also disappear or change form.  Thus some people can talk to animals, some locations vanish from existence, the power grids no longer function — anything can happen, really. 

Ory and his wife Max hide out at a hotel in the hills of Virginia, until Max’s shadow disappears.  Max leaves when Ory is away hunting, and then Ory sets out to find Max.  Many people hear rumors of “The One Who Gathers” in New Orleans, and many groups are heading that way.  The final showdown between shadowed and shadowless factions happens there, and you finally find out if Ory finds Max.

Overall, I liked this book and the questions it poses about what makes a person who they are.  Parts of the book annoyed me, as I felt the author wasn’t consistent enough with her “magical” rules (ie, just because one particular person forgets a place, why does that make it disappear when plenty of other people remember it?)   She never explains.  If you can get past that type of thing, you may like this dystopian debut novel.

Who I am with You by Robin Lee Hatcher

A pregnant widow, Jessica, who lost her husband and daughter in a car crash is reeling in grief and is also harboring secrets about her dead husband's infidelities.  Her marriage was not what others believed it to be and she is isolating herself. When Ridley moves in next door to escape accusations in his work in a political campaign, a friendship develops. Both of them have been betrayed and need to overcome bitterness and find a way to forgive. Jessica's family Bible gives her insight into her great-grandfather's life which brings healing and the story of he and his wife's struggles are included in this novel. I enjoyed this book by one of my favorite authors of Christian fiction.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Spectacle by National Geographic

The subtitle for this book is "Rare and Astonishing Photographs".  I had a lovely evening thumbing through it.  I'm partial to the landscape photos, with curving mountain roads, wildflowers, caves, and the northern lights.  But the wildlife and people photos were great too, and several made me smile.  It was sometimes hard to guess what I was really seeing.

So ignore the "lovely" February weather, check this book out, and transport yourself around the world for a few hours!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce

Set in WW II London, Emmeline Lake lamented “War was foul and appalling and unfair.”  She aspires to be a journalist but ends up as a junior typist at Woman’s Friends magazine going over incoming letters for the Problem Page for the stern Henrietta Bird.  Mrs. Bird rejects any letters with “unpleasantness”- questions about relationship are ignored.  Emmy wants to help the troubled readers and does the unthinkable.  As the German planes are making their nightly raids, tragedy strikes Emmy’s best friend Bunty and her fiancĂ© Bill, and their friendship is tested.  The novel is full of heart and gentle humor.  It is a good read.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund

     Young Emma has wanted a home and family for some time now. When the steam ship that she and her brother are on, sinks in Lake Huron, they are left with nothing, on the shores of Burnham's Landing. Having come to the United States to escape the potato famine, they had been traveling from place to place finding work where they could. 
     Now Emma is offered an opportunity that in her dire situation she feels she must consider. A local lighthouse keeper with a two year old son has lost his wife. He desperately needs someone to watch his spirited son while he has lighthouse duties. A night job that is quite isolated, he's been struggling being up night and day. It seems the solution, according to their friend, Holy Bill, is right in front of them. So they get married that very day.
     Emma enjoys keeping her new home and taking care of the little boy, even though it is exhausting. Her relationship with Patrick, the lighthouse keeper is complicated. He is a changed man, but has a troubled past that he is reluctant to share with her. Where does he go on certain days when he doesn't say where he is going? What past crimes has he committed? Will Emma stay in her new home?

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Moo by Sharon Creech

Reena and her brother, Luke, have only known city life.  However, when their parents decide to move one day and they ask “Where to?”, and Reena says Maine (she is glad she didn’t say Antarctica), they pack up everything and move to a small town in Maine!  While trying to figure out this new town, her parents “volunteer” Reena and Luke to help an elderly woman, Mrs. Falala.  She wants them to work with Zora, a cow, to show at the local fair.  The kids soon realize farm animals are smarter than they seem!  This quick moving novel is written in poetry and prose.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Man He Never Was by James L. Rubart

I was captured by the story line. A man wakes up in a motel and find out it's eight months later. Where has he been? He has no recollection. So begins the story of a football player who wrestles with an anger problem. He has a wife and two children. He is fit, but his career is in jeopardy. This was enough to keep me interested. A story of transformation and failure, of re-evaluation and starting again. Will he change his behavior and turn his life around? Read and see.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein

This book is the first in a three part series that you won't be able to put down! The first installment introduces us to Mr. Lemoncello, an eccentric man who has made his fortune in the gaming business.  Lemoncello finances a brand new spectacular library in his hometown and allows 12 students to earn a chance to  partake in a "lock-in" and explore this new magical place.  Kyle Keeley, a huge gamer, puzzle master and not a big fan of reading writes one of the winning essays and joins the others for an adventure of a lifetime.  There was one problem...the doors of the library remained locked when the lock-in was over.  The students discover there are codes and puzzles to solve if they want to escape the library.  Alliances are made and broken along the way, while Kyle and his partners try to match wits and solve the riddles.  This story has it all!  If your child likes gaming, solving puzzles and riddles, breaking codes and face paced adventures, this series is a winner.  It has an escape room feel with shades of Willy Wonka.  It would be a great story to read aloud with your child or stand alone.  It would also appeal to 3rd-7th grade readers.  Also in the series are Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics and Mr. Lemoncello's Great Library Race

Thursday, January 10, 2019

The Fighters by C.J. Chivers

C.J. Chivers is a former soldier and a war correspondent with many hours on the front lines in both Afghanistan and Iraq. The experiences he had with the men and women on the ground and in the air are chronicled here in The Fighters. The book is filled with amazing first-hand accounts of fighting the insurgency from 2001 through 2013.
Chivers follows both soldiers and airmen through their varying experiences. Some come home physically uninjured. Several return scarred and missing limbs. Some pay the ultimate sacrifice and return home to grieving friends and family. Chivers follows the soldiers lives from enlistment through their final days on the line and beyond.
The Fighters can be joyous, frustrating, gory, depressing and uplifting from page to page; just how the lives of these soldiers were lived on the front lines and after their return home. The opinions expressed and the encounters detailed all come those who lived their days fighting and patrolling in a hostile environment.
Chivers has written a book that pulls no punches. It is a very gritty, very real look at modern combat and the modern military mission. At the same time it leaves you heartbroken for those who faced some terrible situations, and very proud of these same soldiers.
Whether you have friends or family serving overseas or not, The Fighters is the type of book every American should read. Dare I say it should even be required reading? Though it may not seem like it at home here in the United States, we are fighting wars across the globe and our soldiers are dying. Here is a chance to gain a better understanding of what our soldiers are going through by reading Chivers' work.

Monday, January 7, 2019

The Essence of Malice by Ashley Weaver

Set in Europe during the 1930s, The Essence of Malice by Ashley Weaver is the 4th book in the Amory Ames Mystery series. Husband-wife amateur sleuthing duo, Milo and Amory Ames, receive an urgent request from Milo’s childhood nanny to investigate the suspicious death of famous Paris perfumier Helios Belanger. Everyone in this story seems to have a motive, including each of Belanger’s three children and his pretty young wife, but was he murdered? This is the question that Milo and Amory must work quickly to answer without drawing too much attention to themselves. The Essence of Malice is an easy read with an entertaining plot that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a cozy mystery.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Becoming by Michelle Obama

I thoroughly enjoyed "Becoming".  Michelle Obama tells her story, from her childhood on Chicago's southside to her college and working years, to her family's time in the White House.  I especially enjoyed her stories about Barack's proposal, the White House petting zoo, and riding with Queen Elizabeth in a car.  I appreciated learning more about the pitfalls and successes of the initiatives she undertook as First Lady.  Overall, the book is a portrait of a resilient, strong , intelligent, compassionate woman who cares deeply about her family as well as doing good for society.

Verdict:  Add your name to the hold list -- we have 3 copies so you won't have to wait forever!