June 23, 2016 by Reader's Connection
Happy 4th of July to everyone! My thanks go to Ikluft for his picture of the fireworks in San Jose, California (July 4, 2007) which he posted on Wikimedia Commons; and to the ten librarians around the country for reviewing these new books; and of course to the authors.
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Once on the fast-track to academic stardom, Jason Dessen finds his quiet family life and career upended when a stranger kidnaps him. Suddenly Jason’s idle “what-ifs” become panicked “what-nows,” as the humble quantum physics professor from a small Chicago college gets to explore the roads not taken with a mind-bending invention that opens doors to other worlds. This fun science fiction thriller is also a thoughtful page-turner with heart that should appeal to fans of Harlan Coben. — Elizabeth Eastin, Rogers Memorial Library, Southampton, NY
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
An intruder in the middle of the night leaves Lo Blacklock feeling vulnerable. Trying to shake off her fears, she hopes her big break of covering the maiden voyage of the luxury cruise ship, the Aurora, will help. The first night of the voyage changes everything. What did she really see in the water and who was the woman in the cabin next door? The claustrophobic feeling of being on a ship and the twists and turns of who, and what, to believe keep you on the edge of your seat. Count on this being one of the hot reads this summer! — Joseph Jones, Cuyahoga County Public Library, OH
The Last One by Alexandra Oliva
The Last One tells the story of twelve contestants who are sent to the wilderness in a Survivor-like reality show. But while they’re away, the world changes completely and what is real and what is not begins to blur. It’s post-apocalyptic literary fiction at it’s best. With a fast pace and a wry sense of humor, this is the kind of book that will appeal to readers of literary fiction and genre fiction alike. It points out the absurdity of reality television without feeling condescending. As the readers wake up to the realities of a new world, it becomes difficult to put down. — Leah White, Ela Area Public Library, Lake Zurich, IL
Among the Wicked: A Kate Burkholder Novel by Linda Castillo
In the small Amish locale of Painters Mill, police chief Kate Burkholder decides to take an undercover assignment in a community where the death of a young girl was reported. Her long time love, Agent John Tomasetti, is reluctant with her decision because of the lack of communication he will have with her. Burkholder begins to unfold the true horrors on the local farm and unearths the dangers the town officials suspected. She finds herself trapped in a life threatening cat and mouse game. This ongoing series is a true gem and a personal favorite. — KC Davis, Fairfield Woods Branch Library, Fairfield, CT
The Unseen World by Liz Moore
The Unseen World is a compelling read with vibrant, finely constructed characters. Moore intertwines a complex coming of age story with the science of cryptology and the history of artificial intelligence, while simultaneously exploring the meaning of love, loss and belonging. The core of the novel explores the relationship between Ada and her scientist father David. When a tragedy upends their routine lives, Ada embarks on a journey of self-discovery that will eventually lead her to new truths. Elements of mystery and suspense keep you turning the pages in this multi-layered gem of a book. — Janie Hermann, Princeton Public Library, Princeton, NJ
Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
A typical afternoon barbecue among friends becomes something much bigger when one pivotal moment of inattention leads to repercussions for all in attendance. In trademark Moriarty style, the story flashes back and forth between the day of the barbecue and two months later, slowly revealing the events of the day and its consequences, creating a delicious momentum for the reader as the tension builds and the pieces fall into place. Moriarty has another sure-fire winner with this look at the complexities of friendship, marriage, and familial relationships. — Halle Eisenman, Beaufort County Library, Hilton Head, SC
All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker
A dark, twisty, intricately-plotted psychological thriller about a teen girl, assaulted after a party, as she tries to regain her memories of the event after taking a controversial drug that erases traumatic memories. Walker’s many plot and character threads are carefully placed, and she weaves them all together into a satisfying, shattering conclusion. I’m betting we’ll be seeing this title in a LOT of beach bags over the summer. — Gregg Winsor, Johnson County Library, Roeland Park, KS
The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close
When Beth and Matt, an aspiring politician, move from NYC to DC, Beth initially hates it. But things start to turn around for her when they befriend another “transplant” couple, Ashleigh and Jimmy. Beth’s loyalty is tested when she is forced to admit to herself that Matt is just not quite as attractive, magnetic or charismatic as his rival-friend, Jimmy…..who harbors similar political aspirations. The Hopefuls is on point in its descriptions of young marriage, career ambition, and complicated friendships. The characters are completely compelling. I was overdue for a great read and this was it! — Amy Lapointe, Amherst Town Library, Amherst, NH
Siracusa by Delia Ephron
Michael and Lizzie are vacationing with another couple and their daughter, named Snow. As the story unfolds, the reader is introduced to infidelities. Ephron does a tremendous job in exposing the frailties of relationships and it feels like being intimate with other people’s problems but without the guilt. Engaging and tough to put down. Great summer read! — Andrienne Cruz, Azusa City Library, Azusa, CA
Nine Women, One Dress by Jane L. Rosen
Nine Women, One Dress sends the reader on a journey with many characters and the little black dress of the season. From the soon-retiring dress designer and the first-time runway model, to the retail salespeople and an actor, this book relates how the dress touches and, often profoundly, changes the lives of all. Even though there were many characters in this book, the author immersed the reader into their lives. Romance, humor, and irony spark the plot as the dress travels from one life to another. A charming read! — Kristin Fields, Farnhamville Public Library, Farnhamville, IA
Follow Reader’s Connection on Twitter.
June 20, 2016 by Reader's Connection
Christine Montross won the Indiana Authors Award as an emerging author in 2009, and her book Body of Work: Meditations on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab makes me glad that she won.
Montross writes about working with a cadaver in medical school–and I might be scaring you away right there. But she does a splendid job of chronicling the emotions and the growing knowledge of a group of students whose female cadaver has no navel and is thus nicknamed Eve. The absence of navel is eventually explained, though at the moment I can’t recall the explanation. Months have passed since I read the book. I’ve been trying to dream up a jazzy pitch, for fear that no one would want to read about cadavers.
Let’s make do with an overlong excerpt.
And voyage is the right word for this book. Chapter by chapter, we read about different sections of the body. The descriptions of Eve’s anatomy are detailed enough to keep us involved, not so detailed that we’re overcome. She and a fellow student are looking at Eve’s heart and discussing its valves.
|If you think it’s odd for body parts to be called “astonishing,” you should give Body of Work a try.|
I’ve also read and am recommending Montross’s second book Falling into the Fire: A Psychiatrist’s Encounters With the Mind in Crisis. I went neurotically back and forth between the two books, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to go to med school with Montross, first, before accompanying her into her psychiatric practice.
Body of Work is also available as an eBook.
Follow Reader’s Connection on Twitter.
June 16, 2016 by Reader's Connection
From Selector Emily Chandler: Spring is in the air and the flowers are in bloom! Much like reading, flowers have a language all to their own that can inspire and highlight your creative efforts. Take a look at this list of novels featuring flowers and their many benefits. Whether you prefer to garden them or arrange them, this list will surely make you want to dig in and read!
Albert, Susan Wittig The Darling Dahlias and the Eleven O’clock Lady
The eleven o’clock lady has always been one of garden club president Liz Lacy’s favorite spring wildflowers. The plant is so named because the white blossoms don’t open until the sun shines directly on them and wakes them up. But another Eleven O’Clock Lady is never going to wake up again. Rona Jean Hancock–a telephone switchboard operator who earned her nickname because her shift ended at eleven, when her nightlife was just beginning–has been found strangled with her own silk stocking in a very unladylike position. — Publisher’s note
Allen, Beverly Bloom and Doom
As the co-owner of the Rose in Bloom, Audrey Bloom creates magnificent flower arrangements for brides to be. Though helping to plan a wedding can be stressful, it’s nothing compared to the groom turning up dead — Book cover.
Branard, Lynne The Art of Arranging Flowers
A moving and eloquent novel about love, grief, renewal-and the powerful language of flowers. Ruby Jewell knows flowers. In her twenty years as a florist she has stood behind the counter at the Flower Shoppe with her faithful dog, Clementine, resting at her feet. A customer can walk in, and with just a glance or a few words, Ruby can throw together the perfect arrangement for any occasion. Whether intended to rekindle a romance, mark a celebration, offer sympathy, or heal a broken heart, her expressive floral designs mark the moments and milestones in the lives of her neighbors. It’s as though she knows just what they want to say, just what they need. Yet Ruby’s own heart’s desires have gone ignored since the death of her beloved sister. It will take an invitation from a man who’s flown to the moon, the arrival of a unique little boy, and concern from a charming veterinarian to reawaken her wounded spirit. Any life can be derailed, but the healing power of community can put it right again. READERS GUIDE INSIDE — Publisher’s note
Cattrell, Bailey Daisies for Innocence
Ellie’s life has blossomed in Poppyville, California, since she opened Scents & Nonsense, a custom-made-perfume store. Her skills with aromas and botanical essences–some from her very own garden–seem almost…supernatural. Her perfumes can evoke emotions, bring about change, or simply make people happy. Customers are flocking to the store to buy her wares or just to sit in her beautiful garden, sip tea and enjoy homemade cookies. But she smells trouble when she learns that her part-time assistant Josie is dating her ex. And before she can tell the young woman to beware of his charms, she finds Josie dead in the Enchanted Garden. Now the prime suspect in Josie’s murder, Ellie must search for the real culprit in Josie’s past–because it’ll take a miracle to nip this problem in the bud… — Amazon.com.
Collins, Kate Florist Gump
Stopping to smell the roses should be a must for flower shop owner Abby Knight, but stress has turned her into a major grump. But things get even thornier after a flashy former banker pushes up daisies. With a beloved window washer the prime suspect in the murder, other New Chapel shop owners rally around Abby and her husband Marco to prove his innocence. — Publisher’s note
Diffenbaugh, Vanessa The Language of Flowers
The story of a woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own past– Publisher’s note
Draper, Norman Backyard
When a local supplier announces its sponsorship of a garden contest, determined couple George and Nan Fremont resolve to turn their backyard into a suburban paradise to win first prize against the formidable forces of their community’s gardening elite. — Publisher’s note
Gaynor, Hazel A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London’s Flower Sellers
Step into the world of Victorian London, where the wealth and poverty exist side by side. This is the story of two long-lost sisters, whose lives take different paths, and the young woman who will be transformed by their experiences. In 1912, twenty-year-old Tilly Harper leaves the peace and beauty of her native Lake District for London, to become assistant housemother at Mr. Shaw’s Home for Watercress and Flower Girls. For years, the home has cared for London’s flower girls–orphaned and crippled children living on the grimy streets and selling posies of violets and watercress to survive. Soon after she arrives, Tilly discovers a diary written by an orphan named Florrie–a young Irish flower girl who died of a broken heart after she and her sister, Rosie, were separated. Moved by Florrie’s pain and all she endured in her brief life, Tilly sets out to discover what happened to Rosie. But the search will not be easy. Full of twists and surprises, it leads the caring and determined young woman into unexpected places, including the depths of her own heart. — Publisher’s website.
Roberts, Nora Blue Dahlia
Trying to escape the ghosts of the past, young widow Stella Rothchild, along with her two energetic little boys, has moved back to her roots in southern Tennessee and into her new life at Harper House and the In the Garden nursery. She isn’t intimidated by the house nor by its mistress, local legend Roz Harper. Despite a reputation for being difficult, Roz has been nothing but kind to Stella, offering her a comfortable new place to live and a challenging new job as manager of the flourishing nursery. As Stella settles comfortably into her new life, she finds a nurturing friendship with Roz and with expectant mother Hayley. And she discovers a fierce attraction to ruggedly handsome landscaper Logan Kitridge. He’s difficult but honest, brash but considerate and undeniably sexy. And for a sensible woman like Stella, he may be just what she needs… —
June 13, 2016 by Reader's Connection
I’m not talking about the library. Those proud words about being prejudiced appear on a sign at a restaurant in one of the four “hard states,” where slavery in the 21st century is still legal, in the new novel Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters.
The Civil War never happened. Slavery is illegal in most states, but if an slave escapes from one of the Hard Four, everyone in the other states is supposed to help get that slave back down south.
It doesn’t always work, and that’s why our narrator Victor (or whatever his real name is) has a job. He’s an African American who has bought his freedom by working as a slave-catcher.
He’s in Indianapolis as the novel begins, but there are some differences between this Indy and the one you know. Monument Circle, for example, is devoted mostly to Abraham Lincoln, who was assassinated in our town before he ever made it east to serve as president.
And of course Indy has a Freedman Town. Every northern city has at least one bleak area where freed slaves tend to land. “The manumitted have got to go somewhere, and the world doesn’t give them a lot of options.”
Winters has been quite ingenious in rounding out his alternate history.
Georgia abolished slavery by statute in the year 1944, same as Kentucky. It was President Truman’s great victory, achieved by dangling the prize of wartime contracts, a huge economic incentive for states to go free. But the Georgia legislature, in its wisdom, and under huge pressure from Alabama and the newly united state of Carolina, had kept its airport quasi-southern, half-slave and half-free.
Undercover slave-chaser Victor is a wonderful guide to this frightening USA. He feels terrible about what he’s doing, but can’t abide the idea of being returned to slavery. His predicament has helped to give him an acid sense of humor.
Ben H. Winters also wrote The Last Policeman Trilogy–The Last Policeman, Countdown City and World of Trouble–and I loved the way the people in those novels behave when they think the world is about to end. The end-time isn’t predicted in Underground Airlines, but the new novel’s vision–of slavery living on–manages to be just as chilling.
Follow Reader’s Connection on Twitter.
June 9, 2016 by Reader's Connection
Indiana is 200 years old and we are so haunted!
As indicated in my last post, our Adult Summer Reading Program includes a discussion of James Willis’s Haunted Indiana: Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Hoosier State, by James Willis, at the Metazoa Brewing Company (140 S. College Avenue) on Mon, July 25th at 6:00 p.m. (You must be 21 years of age to attend.)
But there’s a lot more haunting going on this summer.
Tuesday, Jun 21, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Hauntings of Indiana Talk: The Best of Indiana Hauntings
Michael and Nicole Kobrowski of Unseenpress.com Inc. will discuss some of their most perplexing paranormal investigations at some of Indiana’s most haunted locations.
Thursday, Aug 11, 8:30 pm – 10:00 pm
The Athenaeum, 407 E. Michigan Street
Hauntings of Indiana Walking Tour: Chilling Chatham Arch-Lockerbie
Here’s a spine-tingling look at one of the most interesting neighborhoods of Indianapolis. The tour will begin at the Athenaeum and will be led by Unseenpress.com, which I think must mean the Kobrowskis.
Wed, Aug 31, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Hauntings of Indiana Talk: Researching the History of Haunted Locations
The Kobrowskis will present a spirited discussion about paranormal investigations.