Best Sellers

Saturday, October 14, 2017

My Last Entry - LibraryReads

I argued with myself about this but decided my last blog entry would be the November LibraryReads list. There is something for everyone on here I think and some pretty well known authors. I've enjoyed writing this. It seemed to put some order to my selections. But here we go.

First on the list is Artemis by Andy Weir. His debut novel was The Martian - a runaway hit and movie. This is his second book and according to reviewers, people either loved it and highly praised it or hated it. In this story the main character is a young woman, Jazz. Jazz lives a struggling, not always legal life in Artemis, a city on the moon. She takes on a major job which will have gigantic rewards but it involves her in a plot to overturn the current civilization. Jazz is a sarcastic, jokey personality. Some people found that annoying. If you liked his first book, I would definitely give this a try.

And the rest in no particular order:

The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty. This is Chakraborty's first novel and it is also the first in the Daevabad Trilogy. It is about Nahri, a trickster living in Cairo making money by preying on gullible wealthy people. She can detect illness just by looking at people. However, she herself does not believe in magic. That is until she summons a djinn warrior who leads her to the magical city of Daevabad, the city of brass. Here she becomes involved in court politics while trying to find out who she actually is. Reviewers universally praise the world building and prose and although a large book, could not put it down. If you like fantasy, give it a try.

Next, by one of my favorite authors, The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg. This is definitely 'women's fiction' but I don't care, she writes great characters. Arthur is a widower who takes his lunch everyday to the cemetery to eat by his wife's grave and discuss his thoughts.There he meets Maddy, a high school senior avoiding school. The two of them along with Arthur's nosy next door neighbor are three lonely people who become a family. Sappy - maybe - but if the characters are real enough, it sounds like real life.

Felicity Hayes-McCoy has The Library At the Edge of the World on the list. Hanna Casey is around 50 when she leaves her cheating husband and moves in with her cranky mother in a town in Ireland where she grew up. She takes a job as a librarian driving the mobile library (bookmobile) through the town's farms and villages. When the local library is threatened with closure, Hanna is forced into leading the force to keep it open. It forces her into a personal interaction with the community and changes her life.

Mary Balogh, a popular roman author, has Someone to Wed, on the list. This is the third in her Regency era Wescott series. Wren Heyden has a birthmark on her face which she has hidden under a veil all of her 30 years. In that time though, she has become an accomplished business woman and is quite wealthy. Alexander Wescott becomes the new Earl of Riverdale and with that came heavy debt.
He needs a wealthy wife and Wren is willing to buy a husband to provide her with children. Can they become more than a convenience?

Moving to a different genre, Lee Child's new Jack Reacher title made the list. The Midnight Line has Reacher hunting for the owner of a small West Point class ring. He noticed it in a  pawn shop window and could not imagine why a woman would have given it up, as a West Point graduate himself, he knew what she had gone through to get it. His search for it's owner takes him into the wilds of Wyoming. He tells himself he will walk away if she is alright. Chances are in a Reacher novel, she isn't.

Louise Erdrich has Future Home of the Living God on the list. Erdrich is a wonderful literary novelist and this title is wonderful dystopian fiction. Erdrich, part Native American herself, makes her main character, 32 year old Cedar Hawk Songmaker, a Native American who had been adopted by white upper class liberals. At this time, she becomes pregnant and after a sonogram, her doctor tells her to run away. Society is breaking down and evolution is reversing with women giving birth to  less than human fetuses. Cedar, tries to reconnect with her Ojibwe mother and writes diary entries or letters to her unborn cild. Very effecting fiction.

Next comes Matthew Weiner's Heather, The Totality. Weiner was the creator and producer of Mad Men on television. This is his debut novel. I am kind of surprised that it made it to the list. The reviewers I read were not impressed. Perhaps it made the list because they thought people would want to see what the creator of Mad Men came up with. Anyhow, it is about a upper class couple with an apartment on Park Ave. and the perfect daughter (beautiful, compassionate and intelligent) and a boy who has none of those benefits.

Caroline Fraser's Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder. This nonfiction work is a biography of both Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter Rose.For those who loved the Little House on the Prairie books and show.

Lastly, The Shadow District by Arnaldur Indridason is on the list. Indridason writes Nordic Noire but this is the beginning of a new series for him. One of the reviews I read made a really good point. This is a mystery - not a thriller meaning that the pace might seem slow to those use to holding their breath. The new lead in this series is a retired detective, Konrad. It connects two crimes in two different eras. First, a woman is found strangled in 'the Shadow District' (the petty crime ridden part of town). The crime is investigated by Konrad in wartime Reykjavik. In present day, a 90 year old man is found dead and it wasn't from natural causes. In his apartment they found newspaper copies about the original crime. Could there be a connection? Had they imprisoned the wrong man?

OK - that is it for me. I hope you have many happy reading days in your future. May you always find just the right book.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

November Big Names

Time to share some news. I am retiring on October 20th and I do not know if the blog will be continuing. I am sure the new person will find other ways to share information after I leave. I do, however, want to do at least this entry and one more to ensure you have some information through November. This one will be really short - kind of the way my time at work is. Just really the big name authors, the titles of the books and the date they are coming out. I think you know what kind of thing they write.

Danielle Steel has Past Perfect coming out on November 28, 2017.

David Baldacci has End Game. the fifth in the Will Robie series, coming out on November 14, 2017/

Lee Child has The Midnight Line, the twenty second in the Jack Reacher series, coming out on November 7, 2017.

Mary Higgins Clark has Every Breath You Take, which was originally called Snow White, Deadly Night, coming out on November 7, 2017

Clive Cussler has Typhoon Fury, the twelfth in the Oregon Files series, coming out on November 7, 2017

Janet Evanovich has Hardcore Twenty Four, the (take a guess) ahhh twenty fourth in the Stephanie Plum series, coming out on November 14, 2017

James Patterson has The People vs Alex Cross, the twenty fifth in the Alex Cross series, coming out on November 20, 2017.

Next week I hope I have time to get into more of the plot of the less well known authors. One more than done.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Last of October is October's LibraryReads

The list came out and I haven't shared it with you yet. Three of the ten titles, I have already talked about so I am not going to do more than mention that they were on the list. The others are a mixture of things including 2 nonfiction and 2 short stories.

First on the list is Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak. It focuses on the family of  the Birches. Andrew is a journalist turned restaurant critic who hides in his study; Emma, his wife, quit her career to raise the family; and two grown children, Phoebe and Olivia. Olivia has been missing the few last Christmases but this year, she is forced to come home because she returned home from Liberia where she was doing relief work among disease bearing natives and required to be in quarantine for 7 days to make sure she would not spread the disease. Phoebe recently became engaged and she is occupied with planning the perfect wedding. A family who never communicated normally forced to be together for 7 days straight. All were holding back secrets also. Would anything good come out of the week?

The next three I will just list as I have talked about each of them in a previous week:
The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
The Last Ballad  by Wiley Cash
The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain

On to new ones, Caitlin Doughty has the first of two nonfiction works, From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death. Doughty's first book was Smoke Gets In Your Eyes. As a mortician, she has experience. It this title she discusses death cultures around the world. One reviewer says "Doughty makes the morbid very readable".

Next Alice Hoffman's The Rules of Magic. This title is a prequel to Hoffman's best seller, Practical Magic. The story focuses on Sisters, Franny and Jet and their brother, Vincent. Their mother tried hard to keep them unaware of their natural abilities but once they are sent to visit their aunt, nothing can prevent it. One reviewer said "I loved everything about it - the writing, the characters, the places/" And another said "...utterly compelling, exquisitely told, and really just so fantastic."

OK, Tom Hanks, YES that Tom Hanks, has written a book of short stories. Uncommon Type are short stories about, as reviewers have said, characters that he would like to play on film. Most reviewers loved it but a few were not impressed although they agreed that Tom Hanks can write.It doesn't seem fair, does it. Too much talent in one person.

Gabrielle Union has her collection of essays, We're Going To Need More Wine, on the list. It is important to note that this is NOT a memoir but a collection of essays. They cover all sorts of topics that a modern woman today in Hollywood would want to cover. Reviewers have said "she writes with grace, heart and energy.

Joe Hill, Stephen King's son, has Strange Weather on the list. This is subtitled Four Short Novels but I count is in the short stories genre. However, this work reinforces that fact that his mind is not all that different from his fathers. One of the stories is about it raining nails!!!! Another about a man who goes on a parachute jump and lands on a solid cloud with no way to get off. If you want to be frightened, this seems like a good place to start.

Lastly, Jennifer Egan has Manhattan Beach on the list. This is Egan's first historical fiction according to sources. Reviews have been some good, some OK. This is the story of Anna, whose father disappears after dealing with the local gangster, Dexter Styles. Anna takes care of her family by becoming a diver, repairing naval ships during  WWII. However, she is fixated on finding out what happened to her father. If you are interested in the culture of the time in New York - this is for you.

There you go. Perhaps you understand why I said it was a mixture of things - and a strange mixture at that. Hope there is something here that interests you.

Friday, September 15, 2017

October Goodies

Tomorrow is the Children's Book Festival. If you have young children, it will be the place to be. The library will still be open for other activities though so if you want to come and pick up a book, or dvd, or whatever - we will be here for you. Now on with more title.

Donna Andrews has How the Finch Stole Christmas! coming out on October 24. This is the 22nd in the Meg Langslow series. This time, her husband is putting on a big production of The Christmas Carol. The person who is going to play Scrooge, brings lots of people with him - including perhaps a murderer. For cozy readers who love a touch of humor, this is for them.

Carolyn Hart offers her eighth Bailey Ruth title, Ghosts on the Case, on October 31. Bailey by the way is a ghost Another humorous cozy. Here Bailey is sent to help Susan Gilbert whose sister has been kidnapped. The kidnappers are insisting that she get the ransom from her bosses safe. More murders ensue. Can a ghost really solve murders?

Wiley Cash has The Last Ballad coming out on October 3. This is based on the life of Ella May Wiggins who was murdered in 1929 around Gastonia, NC for urging people to join a union. Here her story is told by one of her daughters. Reviewers have all commented on the beautifully written story and highly recommend it.

Roddy Doyle's Smile will be published on October 17 in the USA. Doyle is a Booker Prize winner who routinely writes about everyday life in Dublin with an edge of bitter humor. Here, a man Victor Forde, on his own for the first time in years, is drinking his daily draft at the local tavern when a man comes up and starts a conversation. He say they went to school together and starts to remind Victor of all the things he would rather forget.

Diane Chamberlain has The Stolen Marriage coming out on October 3. This is historical fiction, taking place in the early 1940's in Hickory, NC. Tess DeMello was from 'Little Italy' in Baltimore, MD. She had been engaged to the boy next door when she abruptly calls off the engagement and marries Henry Kraft, an important man in Hickory. When they arrive in Hickory, Tess can feel the distrust of the community. When children catch polio, the community get together and build a polio hospital. Tess, trained as a nurse, works at the hospital. But what is up with her new husband who is distant and often missing at night. Reviewers have uniformly praised the work.

On October 10, for Fantasy lovers, Gardner Dozois has edited The Book of Swords. These are short stories from some of the greatest fantasy authors of today. George R. R. Martin, Robin Hobb, Elizabeth Bear, Garth Nix, C.J Cherryh and others have all submitted one. All fantasy lovers will want to see what this offers.

OK, there you go. Six pretty diverse offerings for you to think about. Next week will be time for a more thoughtful entry I hope. Enjoy.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

More September Thrillers and Mysteries

Liv Constantine has The Last Mrs. Parrish coming out on Oct 17.  This is a debut psychological suspense novel that was actually written by two sisters using skype to communicate! It is the tale of a 'golden' couple - handsome, wealthy, etc - and the woman who is obsessed and envious of the wife. She insinuates herself into their life and the result is....well - you have to read it to find out. Very well reviewed. Here are some of the things said "From the very first page, I was totally engrossed in this story....and it didn't let up one bit until the very end." and "This book gripped in a way that revitalized my love for reading." Pretty good, huh?

Felix Francis has Pulse coming out also on October 17. Felix wrote several with his father before his death and now is taking his own slant while still dealing with racing.mysteries. Dick Francis was, of course, an ex-jockey so his mysteries tended to deal with horse racing. Felix however spent 17 years as a physics teacher. Quite a difference. Pulse deals with a well dressed man found unconscious at a race track. He is rushed to the hospital where the examining physician can find a reason for his state. He dies and she becomes obsessed with finding out who he was. Unfortunately, this leads to trouble and danger.

John Lawton has Friends and Traitors coming out on October 3. This is the eighth in the Inspector Troy series. This one takes place in 1958 and Troy is touring the Continent when he meets an old friend, (an a real life figure) Guy Burgess, who was one of the people accused of spying on Britain for Russia along with Kim Philby. Burgess expresses his wish to return to Britain. Not everyone is happy with that idea and chaos is the result. If you like historical suspense, this one is for you.

Anna Snoekstra has Little Secrets coming out on October 17. This is Snoekstra second book after Only Daughter. It focuses on a small dying country town in Australia. Someone is leaving porcelain dolls at houses where little girls who look exactly like the dolls live. Rumors start flying and a young woman trying desperately to become a journalist and leave town decides to take advantage of the situation. She interviews town people who supply her with stories and accusations. Reviewers say this has a great sense of place and is more than a little 'noir'.

Tasha Alexander has Death in St. Petersburg coming out on October 10. This is the 12th in the Lady Emily series. Lady Emily is in St. Petersburg with her husband when the bloody body of a ballerina is found in the snow. When the ballerina's lover comes begging Lady Emily for help, how can she refuse. What lies behind this death? What could the motive have been? Leave it to Lady Emily to find out.

Lastly, M.C. Beaton has The Witches' Tree coming out on October 5. It is the 29th in the Agatha Raisin series. Agatha takes on the mystery when an elderly spinster from a neighboring town is found hanging from a tree. Agatha is up against something larger than she first thinks when additional murders take place and even her life is in danger.

OK - there you go. Some titles to think about. Hope there is something that interests you.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

October Big Names

OOOOOHHHHH. There are lots of goodies this month. There must be something for everyone I bet. Take a look at the big names with an entry in October.

Dan Brown has Origins coming out on Oct 3. It is the fifth in the Robert Langdon series. Some complain that his work has become repetitive. Maybe it has but it can still be exciting. Here Langdon again runs around Europe with a beautiful companion trying to discover a secret. Sound familiar?

Michael Connelly has Two Kinds of Truth coming out on Oct 31. Harry Bosch lovers get ready - this is the 22nd in the series. Here Bosch is still a volunteer working cold cases for the San Fernando Police Department. He is pulled into a murder case where a druggist has been found dead. While this is happening, an old case from him LAPD years has reared it's ugly head. He did not leave the LAPD on the best terms so administration up there is not anxious to defend him when a killer in prison says Harry framed him and he has proof. How do these two things combine? Read and find out.

John Grisham has The Rooster Bar coming out on October 24. Three friends in their last year of law school realize they have been duped. They took out gigantic student loans to get a law degree from a mediocre school. Then they find out their school is one of a chain owned by a hedge-fund operator who also owns the bank specializing in their student loans. Do they have any way to recover some of their money? We will find out.

Iris Johansen has Mind Game  coming out on October 24. This is the 22nd in the Eve Duncan series although it is mostly about her adopted daughter Jane MacGuire. Jane returns to Scotland to continue hunting for treasure and starts having reoccurring dreams of a girl in trouble. In addition, Seth Caleb is back in her life and he is in trouble. This could be a new focus for this series. Johansen never seems to write a bad one.

John Sandford has Deep Freeze coming out on October 17. This is the tenth in the Virgil Flowers series. Flowers returns to Trippton, Minnesota at the request of a teacher. Within the last year, three women from the same high school class have been killed. That class is having a mid-winter reunion and the teacher is afraid there will be more murders. Flowers comes to investigate things that happened of the past 20 years. There is a lot.

Stuart Woods has Quick and Dirty coming out on October 24. Gosh, Stone Barrington has been around forever. This is the 43rd in his series. Sloan takes on as a client a beautiful woman. This pulls him into the exclusive world of art. It seems high class in NYC and the Hamptons but just underneath are the people who are always looking to make a buck. People are willing to kills for some things.

OK - these are the really big names for this month. Next week, we look at some of the others.

Friday, August 25, 2017

September Big Names - Or At Least In My Opinion

Since I missed 2 weeks, I am going to try to do all the big names this week. Next week will start October. Some of these have been big names in the past and perhaps are not quite as popular today but....they are worth mentioning in my opinion. I have very fond memories of reading them. See if you can identify which ones I am talking about.

I am starting with my favorite author, Harlan Coben. Don't Let Go is coming out on September 26. Napoleon 'Nap' Dumas is a New Jersey police detective. 15 years ago, his twin brother and the brother's girlfriend were found dead on the railroad tracks and Nap's girlfriend had disappeared. 15 years later, her fingerprints were found at a murder scene.Can Nap find her and finally get some answers about his brother's death? What do you think.

Clive Cussler and Robin Burcell have The Romanov Ransom coming out on September 12. This is the ninth in the Fargo series. Here, Sam and Remi Fargo search for a Romanov fortune that was supposed to secure the safety of the Czar and his family. The search brings them into contact with a dangerous Neo-Nazi organization that is trying to bring the Fourth Reich into power.

Kyle Mills continues Vince Flynn's work with the sixteenth in the Mitch Rapp series. Enemy of the State comes out on September 5. Rapp is taking some rest time trying to heal after his last mission when the President calls on him to go very deep undercover. It has been discovered that a Saudi Prince is funneling money into ISIS while maneuvering himself to take over when the current king dies. In order to undertake this mission, Rapp quits the CIA and when it goes awry and his picture is taken, he becomes a high value target for both the Saudi's and the USA.

James Patterson and James O. Born have Haunted: A Detective Michael Bennett Thriller coming out on September 18. This is the tenth in the Bennett series. Detective Bennett takes his family and goes on vacation to a small town in the Maine woods. Unfortunately, crimes happen everywhere and he gets pulled into a case where town children are disappearing and then bodies are found. Things that look idyllic aren't always what they appear.

J.D. Robb has Secrets In Death, the 45th in the series, coming out on September 5.  When Larinda Mars, a professional gossip and blackmailer is killed right under Eve Dallas' nose, she must investigate. There are many suspects and Dallas has to dive into their secrets. She finds out more than she wanted to know.

Ken Follett has the third in the Kingsbridge series, A Column of Fire, coming out on September 12. I love Follett and The Pillars of the Earth (the first in the series) may be my favorite book in the genre ever. You do not have to read this as a series as each title takes place hundreds of years after the preceding one. Here, the main character, Ned Willard, becomes a spy for Princess Elizabeth as she becomes queen and has to fight Mary Queen of Scots. Reviewers have loved it. Two quotes from different reviewers are: "What Ken Follett does effortlessly is weave a wonderful story in and around with fact and fiction." and "Capturing the thrill and drama of religious and politically changing times in England and it's neighbors, Ken Follett writes a masterful telling of how it all could of been."

Jan Karon has To Be Where You Are, the twelfth in the Mitford series, coming out on September 12. We get reacquainted with Father Tim and Cynthia and also Dooley and Lace. The community may be idealized but they face real life problems. Come hang out in Mitford.

Lastly, Sharyn McCrumb has The Unquiet Grave coming out on September 12. I've always like McCrumb's books. Maybe it is because I went to school in the mountains in Virginia and it has that kind of flavor. Here, she has thoroughly researched the story of the Greenbrier Ghost. The story is told from two points of view. One is more than 30 years after the event by the first black attorney in West Virginia while an inpatient at an asylum after trying to committee suicide. The second is the mother of the daughter who was murdered. The daughter had been married to a man the mother did not approve of and several months later she was informed that her daughter had died in a fall. The mother said that her daughter's ghost has appeared to her and told her that she had been murdered. When the officials did an autopsy, they discovered the mother was right! In many ways, a true crime story of the late 1800's.

OK - that covers most of the ones that I consider 'big' names. Hope there is something there for you.