Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Darkest Time of Night by Jeremy Finley

The Darkest Time of Night

Title: The Darkest Time of Night
By: Jeremy Finley
Published: 2018
Call #: Fic Finley

When a senator's grandson goes missing from the woods behind the family home, a full-on investigation begins with thoughts of a politically motivated kidnapping.  The senator's wife, Lynn Roseworth, fears that this has nothing to do with her husband's career and everything to do with the woods themselves.

As a child, Lynn grew up being told never to go into the woods and on the one time she disobeyed that order, she saw things she couldn't quite explain.  Decades later, when her grandson goes missing, the only clue they're given is the eerie message: "the lights took him."  Investigators seem to think that this refers to headlights, but Lynn recalls hearing that phrase in connection to alien abduction cases.  Fearing what others would say if Lynn suggested it was aliens, she begins her own investigation and uncovers a conspiracy far more serious than she ever could have imagined.

This novel is a seamless blend of modern day mystery, family drama, and science fiction.  While readers might scoff at the suggestion of alien abductions, this novel makes it work in a way that it could be entirely plausible.  There are just enough hints at the end that make it look as if a sequel is in the works, but there is enough closure in terms of plot/character development that the book could stay as a standalone work.  The thought of aliens should not deter readers from picking up this novel--the story reads more like a captivating mystery with just a hint of the X-Files thrown in for good measure.

Mary -Megan K.
Popular Materials Asst.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell Allen

Kiss of the Spindle (Steampunk Proper Romance #2)

Title: Kiss of the Spindle
By: Nancy Campbell Allen
Published: 2018
Call #: Fic Allen

A steampunk Sleeping Beauty might not sound like everyone's cup of tea, but out of the ordinary elements should not deter readers from picking up this enjoyable romance.  

Dr. Isla Cooper is an extraordinary woman who fights on the behalf of the misunderstood shapeshifter population, while at the same time dealing with a sleeping curse that's about to become perman  It's impossible for her to do her job if she's asleep, so she tracks down the witch who cursed her and blackmails her way onto Daniel Pickett's airship in order to get to Port Lucy, where the witch has been spotted.  What should be an easy trip goes horribly awry when it's uncovered that Daniel is transporting illegal shapeshifters and that one of the passengers is known shapeshifter hater Nigel Crowe.  With everyone's fate hanging in the balance, Daniel and Isla must work together to find a cure before Isla's curse becomes permanent.  Along the way, Isla learns that maybe her enemy is simply misunderstood.  

This novel is definitely one that readers should take a chance on.  If you're not familiar with steampunk or are unsure about the supernatural elements of the book, keep an open mind and enjoy the ride. 

Mary-Megan K.
Popular Materials Asst. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Little Big Love by Katy Regan

Little Big Love
Title: Little Big Love
Author: Katy Regan
Published: 2018
Call #: FIC Regan

Little Big Love is a story about family, secrets, love and forgiveness. More importantly, it's about how grief can either bring them together or tear them apart.  10 year old Zac has never met his dad, Liam, and all his family will tell him is that his dad "did a runner" before he was born. Zac's grandmother only speaks of Liam with anger, and his grandfather Mick won't speak of him at all.  One night, after a particularly horrid date, Zac's mum Juliet reveals that the only man she's ever loved was Liam.  Zac decides that he's going to find his dad and bring him back into the family fold. While Zac is planning his super-secret mission, he's being bullied by classmates for his weightc faces losing his best friend to illness, and fights his own family in order to get information about his dad.  Regan expertly weaves the story back and forth between the three narrators: Zac, Juliet, and Mick. Equal parts heartwarming and heartbreaking, this novel is highly recommended.  Great for fans of About a Boy. 

Jill B.
Popular Materials Manager

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks

The Wedding (The Notebook, #2)

Title: The Wedding
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Published: 2003

The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks is the much anticipated sequel to his famous tear-jerker book (and movie) The Notebook.  While there certainly are threads that tie the two books together, The Wedding feels like a separate and distinct story in its own right.  The story revolves around Jane and Wilson, a mature couple who have been married nearly 30 years and have several adult children.  Their marriage has long ago lost its romantic "spark," which leads to difficulties and tension between the two.  As the storyline develops, one of their children becomes engaged, prompting Jane and Wilson to reflect on their own journey of love and romance.  Fans of The Notebook, will be pleased with the reappearance of Noah, who brings some sweet, albeit melancholy, memories with him.  What is refreshing about this book is that it avoids the glitz and glamour that is sometimes typical of this genre and instead brings a warm, heartfelt, believable story that will resonate with many.

Blanca S.
Popular Materials Assistant

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot, #10)

Title: Murder on the Orient Express
Author: Agatha Christie
Published:  1934
Call #: FIC Christie

Have you wanted to try a mystery, but don't know where to start?  Try a classic!  In Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express follow detective Hercule Poirot as he tries to solve a murder which occurs while 13 passengers are stranded in the Siberian Mountains on the most famous sleeper train of them all--the Orient Express.  Poirot creatively clears certain people from being suspects in ways that only Poirot can. Have fun trying to discern who the real murder is right along with Poirot.   Even though this novel was written as the tenth in a 38 part series, you do not need to read the series in a row and the story holds up well today.   As recently as just last year, a new adaptation of the book was made into a movie starring Johnny Depp, Michaelle Pfeiffer and Penelope Cruz.  Read the book and then watch the film! 

Erin I.
Popular Materials Librarian

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Lilac Girls

Title: Lilac Girls
Author: Martha Hall Kelly
Published: 2016
Call #: FIC Kelly

 Lilac Girls is inspired by the true story of three very different women during World War II, each of whom serve as a narrator in the story. Kaisa is a Polish teacher working for the resistance, Herta is a German doctor who takes a job with the Nazis as a way out of her desolate life, Caroline is an American debutante who works at the French Embassy in New York.  The story unfolds with each chapter narrated by either Kaisa, Herta or Caroline.  Kaisa is arrested and sent to the Ravensbruck Concentration Camp in Germany.  There she is subjected to horrific medical experiments that leave her and others like her hobbled.  Herta is one of the doctors involved in the experiments on Kaisa.  Caroline learns of their plight and campaigns to have them brought to the United States for medical treatment.  This book is not an easy read due to the subject matter, but the ending is worth the read.  The story needed to be told and deserves to be read. 

Michaelle S.
Popular Materials Assistant

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

I was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon

I Was AnastasiaI

Title: I was Anastasia
By: Ariel Lawhon
Published: 2018
Call #: Fic Lawhon

In 1918, the former Emperor of Russia, Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra and his 5 children: Olga, Tatiana, Marie, Anastasia and Alexis were brutally murdered by the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution.  Their bodies were hidden after the murder, which led to speculation that one or more of them may have escaped the massacre.  From 1922 until the 1970s, one woman, Anna Anderson, made the world believe that she was the Grand Duchess Anastasia. 

Told through alternating points of view, I was Anastasia tells both Anastasia’s story and that of Anna Anderson. Anastasia’s story details her time under house arrest before being moved to exile in Siberia and then to brought to Ekaterinburg where they were executed. Her story is not just the imprisonment and terror but about family, hope, and even a little romance. Anna’s story is told from 1970 to 1918 – in reverse to the point that Anastasia’s story ends. Her side is a mix of people who believe her and those who try to prove she couldn’t possibly be Anastasia. It is a sad tale of someone just trying to belong in a world with more enemies than friends.

In 2007 the bodies of the former Tsar and his family were discovered and through DNA testing, it was proven that all members of the family had perished in 1918.  Even though readers know that Anna Anderson is not Anastasia, the way the story is told still leaves you questioning if just maybe it isn’t so. While backwards storytelling creates a bit of confusion as events not yet revealed are mentioned, it also builds the mystery and intrigue into how everything fits together. The style really works for the novel and Lawhon has written a wonderful book that brings these two stories to life.

Mary-Megan K
Popular Materials Assistant

Monday, July 16, 2018

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam, #1)

Title: Oryx and Crake
Author: Margaret Atwood
Published: 2004
Call #: Fic Atwood

What happens when a man named Snowman is seemingly left alone on a scorched Earth after an experiment goes horribly wrong?  In Oryx and Crake, the first in Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam series, the reader moves from the Snowman's present to his past as Jimmy.  Along the way, the reader learns about a creature called a pigoon, created alongside other genetically modified animals in order to save the world.  Piece by piece, Atwood reveals how Crake, the maddest scientist of them all, created a world disguised by reservations of purity while in reality, the real world got worse and worse. Find out how Jimmy becomes the "Abominable Snowman" and how seemingly separate events and people are really no accident.

Erin S.
Popular Materials Librarian

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Unmasked by Andrew Lloyd Webber

Unmasked: A Memoir

Title: Unmasked
Author: Andrew Lloyd Webber
Published: 2018
Call #: 782.14092 LLO

 Andrew Lloyd Webber is a talented composer, of that there is no doubt, but he is also conversational, funny and engaging in this story of his life and career.   This is a no-holds-barred memoir and can get quite cheeky at times. He focuses almost entirely on his theatrical career and only briefly mentions his other passions for art collecting and architecture.  The early chapters deal with his rather idyllic childhood, but the bulk of the memoir is focused on his career and rightly so.  He takes the reader on a journey through each show, beginning with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat through the opening night of Phantom of the Opera. The stories behind each musical are fascinating and the reader will never look at them the same way again.  Lloyd Webber also delves into his relationships with Tim Rice, Sarah Brightman, Don Black and others, although the anecdotes involving them are often cut short for various reasons.  This is a definite recommendation for fans of Lloyd Webber, musical theater or even just theater in general.  

Michaelle S.
Popular Materials Assistant

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Outsider by Stephen King

The Outsider

Title: The Outsider
By: Stephen King
Published: 2018
Call #: FIC KING

Master of horror Stephen King is back with his newest thriller, The Outsider.  The book doesn't begin like your typical King novel--it reads more like a straight up murder mystery.  A tale of a horrific crime ripping through a community like a tornado, causing a lot of collateral damage in its wake, but no evidence of the supernatural or evil as in most King novels.  The crime is so heinous and the evidence so seemingly convincing, the police decide to arrest the suspect in a very public manner designed to turn the town's opinion against him.  As the investigation proceeds, however, additional and contradictory evidence is unearthed and the story takes a decidedly supernatural turn.  In another break from tradition, this story does not take place in Maine, or even in New England, but in Oklahoma and Texas!  In spite of the new setting, a familiar, popular character makes an appearance and good triumphs over evil......or does it?

Annette B.  Popular Materials Assistant

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Kill Creek by Scott Thomas

Kill Creek
Title: Kill Creek
By: Scott Thomas
Published: 2017
Call #: Fic Thomas

 Kill Creek is the story of a haunted house in the vein of The Shining and The Haunting of Hill House, where it isn't ghosts that go bump in the night, but the house itself.  Four horror writers have all been invited to spend the night at the notoriously haunted Finch House as a publicity stunt for a pop culture website.  It seems easy enough, especially when the interview for the website seems to be the only terrifying thing they've faced so far.  In fact, by the time the night is over, nothing has happened at all and the authors leave Finch House unscathed....or so they think.  The true horrors begin as whatever lives in the house follows them home.  The group soon realizes that the only way to return to their normal lives is to return to Finch House and figure out what's going on.  The house, however, has no intention of letting go without a fight. 

While the book did not leave me sleeping with the lights on and has a slow buildup to the horror elements, it was an enjoyable read.  The second half of the book is worth the time it takes to get there.  This book is equal parts psychological horror and slasher with a delightful surprise on the last page.  Kill Creek felt like a classic haunted house book that fans of the genre will appreciate.

Mary-Megan K.
Popular Materials Assistant