We Are Called to Rise

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Title: We Are Called to Rise   

Author: Laura McBride

Publisher: Simon & Schuster, May 2014

Summary/Review: The mother of a returned Iraq War veteran, a young Albanian boy, an injured soldier and a volunteer social service worker have lives and stories that intersect in this debut novel set in Las Vegas. The novel is told through the four voices of these characters. We learn much about their backgrounds and the many issues that make up their stories.  Through the mother Avis we also learn about the husband who is divorcing her, their troubled son and his wife. Their family issues and losses are profound. Through the soldier Luis, recovering in a hospital, we learn about his loving grandmother who has looked after him his whole life. Through the little boy, Bashkim we come to know his whole family, the issues these new immigrants are faced with and a great tragedy that brings all of these characters together.  This book is filled with emotion and will leave you with much to think about.  I really like the title of this book because in spite of the tragedy and sadness, each character rises toward hope with courage and compassion.

Who will like this book?  This book will appeal to a wide-range of contemporary fiction readers. It has well-developed characters that you care about along with an engaging writing style.

If you like this, try this:   Shotgun Lovesongs by Nicholas Butler; The Pieces We Keep by Kristina McMorris

Recommended by:  Jan, Administration

Does this look like a book you’d like to read?  Visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or to place a hold!

One Kick

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Title: One Kick

Author : Chelsea  Cain

Publisher:  Simon & Schuster, 2014

Summary/Review: This book is a first in yet another series! (I know,  it’s hard to commit to a series since there is so many good books out there.)  But believe me –  if you like strong characters and fast-paced action then this is the book for you.

The main character is a strong willed 21 year old named Kick Lannigan. She was kidnapped at age 6 by a man named Mel, who was into child pornography and children trafficking.  She is rescued by the FBI at the age of 11. One FBI agent in particular, Frank, has become her guardian angel of sorts. Kick’s life after the kidnapping did not go well. Her parents divorced and her mother made a lot of money exploiting Kick. At the age of 21 she gets involved in a series of child kidnappings that hit very close to home.

Her abductor, Mel, is in jail and dying of Kidney failure. He knows something about the person who is taking these kids. She decides to confront him to try to get information.  A mysterious man named Bishop shows up and demands Kick’s help. She doesn’t trust him or – anyone for that matter. She agrees because of the boy Adam and the girl Mia whom they are looking for. Without giving too much away, it’s a roller coaster ride  to the very end.

Who will like this book? : Anyone who has read Chelsea Cain before, or someone who doesn’t  mind graphic details and some very disturbing contents. She does write it so well that you really don’t feel offended by it.

If you like this, try this: If you like this book I recommend reading her series with Archie Sheridan and Gretchen Lowe    In order by title: Heatsick, Sweetheart, Evil At Heart, The Night Season, Kill You Twice and Let Me go.

Recommended by: Virginia, Circulation

If you think this is something you’d like to read, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or to place a hold

Soldier Girls

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Title: Soldier Girls

Author: Helen Thorpe

Publisher: Scribner, August 2014

Summary/Review: A thoroughly touching look at the circumstances and lives of three women in Indiana who, for various reasons, have enlisted in the National Guard. A common thread is an attempt to utilize their service to further their secondary educations with the assistance of the GI Bill. The last thing any of them expect is to be sent to a war zone. But that is exactly what happens when the US becomes ensnared in Afghanistan and Iraq. We see the economic, emotional and family hardships exacted upon these women by prolonged absence from family and friends. We learn how difficult it is to be a woman in the almost-entirely male national guard and then in the US armed services overseas.

The three women are at different ages and points in their lives as they struggle (that’s the only word for their trials) to adapt, thrive and survive the day-to-day boredom, danger and stress of providing administrative, repair and support services, since they are banned from “combat” duties. They are, however, certainly in harm’s way every time they venture outside the US compounds where they work and live while on duty.

This is a look at women in vastly different economic and educational situations than most of us in southern Connecticut experience and certainly enlightens us about the real people behind the headlines and media coverage which barely touches on the human cost of repetitive and prolonged deployments experienced by the citizen-soldiers in the US National Guard services. You will enjoy the time you spend learning about the lives of these three women.

Who will like this book?: Someone looking for a new perspective on war and deployment.

If you like this, try this: Helen Thorpe has written only one other book, “Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America”, but be on the lookout for more from this author. If you are looking for books about war and deployment, try “Undaunted: The Real Story of America’s Servicewomen in Today’s Military” which offers another take on women in the military, or “Fives and Twenty-Fives” by Michael Pitre.

Recommended by: Mark Z, Guest Reviewer

If you think this is a book you’d like to read, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or to place a hold

Boy, Snow, Bird

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Title: Boy, Snow, Bird

Author: Helen Oyeyemi

Publisher: Riverhead Books, March 2014

Summary/Review: A loose retelling of the story of Snow White, Boy, Snow, Bird deals with the issues of jealousy, race, family, and identity.  Set in Massachusetts during the pre-civil rights era, Boy Novak Whitman is surprised when her newborn daughter, Bird, is born with dark skin. Unbeknownst to Boy, her husband Arturo and stepdaughter Snow, as well as most of his family, are African Americans passing for white.  Aware of society’s, and her in laws’, idea of beauty leads to Boy’s jealousy and resentment of light skinned Snow and an evil stepmother is born.

Told through the voices of more than one of the complex characters in this novel, Boy, Snow, Bird is a great choice for book groups and anyone who likes multilayered fiction. You won’t be bombarded with parallels to Snow White’s story, but you will catch a glimpse of her from time to time.

Who will like this book? Someone who enjoys loose retellings of fairy tales.  Someone who is looking for a book that will leave them thinking about it.

If you like this, try this: If you enjoyed the fairy tale retelling, try The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.  These stories are more popular in young adult and children’s, including the Grimm trilogy by Adam Gidwitz, multiple series by Shannon Hale, and more.

Recommended by:  Sue B, Circulation Coordinator

If you think you’d like to read this book, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or to place a hold!

Miniaturist

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Title: The Miniaturist

Author: Jessie Burton

Publisher: Harper Collins, August 2014

Summary/Review: When 18 year old Nella Oortman travels to Amsterdam to meet her new husband, she finds her life will be very different than she could ever have imagined.

Nella’s new husband, Johannes Brandt, is a 39 year old merchant trader in the city of Amsterdam. His successful business has allowed Johannes to have a nice home, servants, and some of the finer things in life. Nella arrives to find Johannes’ sister, Marin, at home but not Johannes. In fact, Johannes deftly dodges his new bride for as long as he can, claiming his business keeps him away from home.

To make up for his absence, Johannes gives Nella a gift-a miniature replica of her new home. She is also given the means to furnish it as she wishes. As Nella orders pieces to complete the cabinet sized house, she receives more than she bargained, or paid, for. Somehow, the miniaturist she hires creates exact replicas of their real life counterparts as if he or she has been in the home before. Nella also receives pieces that she did not order, but still perfectly match items in her home. As her life in repressive Amsterdam starts to take dangerous twists and turns, Nella has to wonder whether the mysterious miniaturist is foretelling her future with each new reproduction or orchestrating her destruction.

Jessie Burton’s debut novel may be set in 1686, but the prejudices and discrimination that take place are still, shamefully, taking place in 2014. Burton’s writing will transport you to Amsterdam complete with the sights and sounds of the bustling city. A great choice for book clubs and historical fiction readers, The Miniaturist will give you plenty to think about and talk about.

Who will like this book? Someone looking for a book that will lend itself to conversation.  Someone looking to be transported to another time and place.

If you like this, try this: If you are looking for more good historical fiction, try Geraldine Brooks, Phillipa Gregory, or Ken Follett.  “Girl With the Pearl Earring”  may be another choice for you.  This is Burton’s first novel, but the buzz with this book is huge – so be on the lookout for more!

Recommended by:  Sue B, Circulation Coordinator

If you think this is a book you’d like to read, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or to place a hold!

100 Years and 4 Days

In our final installment of World War I fiction and non-fiction recommendations, we would like to suggest the following titles.

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Cavendon Hall                                                                                                                                                By Barbara Taylor Bradford

“The popular and prolific Bradford knocks another fast-paced family saga out of the park with charming characters and manor-house mayhem.” ~Booklist

If you would like to check our catalog or place a hold on Cavendon Hall please click here.

The Wild Rose                                                                                                                                                 By Jennifer Donnelly

“A lush story of epic proportions . . . Donnelly peoples her book with larger-than-life characters whose tragedies and triumphs lift your heart and soul.” ~Romantic Times Book Review

If you would like to check our catalog or place a hold on The Wild Rose  please click here.

No Graves as Yet                                                                                                                                          By Anne Perry

“This absorbing mystery/spy thriller, set in tranquil Cambridge just before the onset of the Great War, marks a powerful start to bestseller Perry’s much anticipated new series.” ~Publisher’s Weekly

If you would like to check our catalog or place a hold on No Graves as Yet please click here.

The Last of the Doughboys : the Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War  By Richard Rubin

“…the last known American veteran of the Great War died in 2011. Determined to obtain and document the remembrances of the surviving “doughboys,” journalist Rubin began an effort to locate and interview many of them a decade ago. The result is this fascinating and deeply moving collection of individual stories.” ~Booklist

If you would like to check our catalog or place a hold on The Last of the Doughboys : the Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War  please click here.

100 Years and 3 Days

This week we are commemorating the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of WWI. Florence Green, the last known WWI veteran, died in 2012 at age 110. Frank Buckles, the last living U.S. WWI veteran died in 2011, also at age 110. Here are today’s reading suggestions if you would like to learn more about this global conflict, or if you want a novel set during that time period.

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Waiting for Sunrise: a novel                                                                                                                       By William Boyd

“Sex, psychiatry and Vienna on the eve of World War I – those are promising ingredients for a novel. And William Boyd makes the most of them. . . . Boyd’s narrative moves briskly, and his local color is deftly done.” ~The Seattle Times

If you would like to check our catalog or place a hold on Waiting for Sunrise: a novel please click here.

The Lie                                                                                                                                                            By Helen Dunmore

“[A] tender tale… subtle and enduring…A quiet tragedy… a poet’s feeling for language shines through the descriptions of the landscape…in this novel Dunmore has wreaked tenderness out of tragedy, so that the reader is left with the sense that something beautiful, however fleeting, has been salvaged from the darkness.” ~The Observer (UK)

If you would like to check our catalog or place a hold on The Lie please click here.

Somewhere in France                                                                                                                                  By Jennifer Robson

“Utterly engaging and richly satisfying, Somewhere in France depicts the very best in love and war. Fans of Downton Abbey will devour this novel!”  ~author Erika Robuck

If you would like to check our catalog or place a hold on Somewhere in France please click here.

Women Heroes of World War I : 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics                 By Kathryn J. Atwood

“In time for the 2014 centennial of the start of the Great War, this book brings to life the brave and often surprising exploits of 16 fascinating women from around the world who served their countries at a time when most of them didn’t even have the right to vote.” ~Amazon.com

If you would like to check our catalog or place a hold on Women Heroes of World War I : 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics please click here.

 

100 Years and 2 Days

World War I, which began 100 years ago Monday, involved a total of 76 current nations and more than 65,000,000 troops. Here are today’s suggested fiction and non-fiction titles that are set during or around The Great War.

secret lifestella bain canal bridge great war

The Secret Life of Violet Grant                                                                                                                  By Beatriz Williams

“Rumor has it that Violet murdered her husband and mentor, Dr. Walter Grant, before mysteriously disappearing with her lover on the eve of WWI. As Vivian closes in on the past, she has a heart-wrenching problem of her own to resolve in the present. Readers will love wallowing in the twists and turns of this irresistibly luxurious tale.” ~Booklist

To check our catalog or place a hold on The Secret Life of Violet Grant, please click here.

Stella Bain: a novel                                                                                                                                       By Anita Shreve

“An intriguing character study that delivers compelling mystery without melodrama. Shreve offers a fresh, feminine twist on a topic that’s much in vogue lately-World War I…. Shreve cleverly and movingly shifts between Stella’s two lives, as we learn who she really is. A custody battle, a horrible case of wartime disfigurement, and even questions of women’s rights emerge in this spare but involving novel….” ~USA Today

To check our catalog or place a hold on Stella Bain: a novel, please click here.

The Canal Bridge                                                                                                                                              By Tom Phelan

“From Phelan’s effectively constructed and emotionally honest novel about Irish participation in WWI, the reader gains a new perspective on how the Great War decimated lives throughout Europe.” ~Booklist

To check our catalog or place a hold on The Canal Bridge, please click here.

The Great War : a Combat History of the First World War                                                                   By Peter Hart

“Hart demonstrates an admirable command of the subject matter and offers a compelling case for the lasting impact of the ‘unwaking nightmare that was WWI.’”
~Publishers Weekly

To check our catalog or place a hold on The Great War : a Combat History of the First World War, please click here.

100 Years and a Day

This week we are highlighting some novels set during or around World War I. We’ll also share a few non-fiction titles to commemorate this historic event. 100 years and a day ago, World War I, “The Great War”, began and would last more than 4 years.

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The Shoemaker’s Wife
By Adriana Trigiani
“Trigiani’s page-turning newest… is a sweeping saga… More than an epic romance, Trigiani’s work pays homage to the tribulations of the immigrant experience, and the love that makes the journey and hardships worthwhile.” ~Publishers Weekly

To check our catalog or place a hold on The Shoemaker’s Wife, please click here.

The First of July
By Elizabeth Speller
“Utterly gripping and completely immersing, Speller’s historical novel of WWI captures the experience of four very different young men during the war’s early years, leading up to one of the grimmest campaigns, the Battle of the Somme, which began on July 1, 1916.” ~ Booklist

To check our catalog or place a hold on The First of July, please click here.

Ashton Park
By Murray Pura
“For fans of the hugely popular Downton Abbey series, comes this equally enthralling story of the Danforth family of Ashton Park… The year is 1916. The First World War has engulfed Europe and Sir William’s and Lady Elizabeth’s three sons are all in uniform—and their four daughters are involved in various pursuits of the heart and soul.” ~Amazon.com

To check our catalog or place a hold on Ashton Park, please click here.

Sergeant Stubby : How a Stray Dog and His Best Friend Helped Win World War I and Stole the Heart of a Nation
By Ann Bausum
“For those who loved New York Times bestseller Rin Tin Tin comes the memorable story of Sergeant Stubby–World War I dog veteran, decorated war hero, American icon, and above all, man’s best friend.” ~Amazon.com

To check our catalog or place a hold on Sergeant Stubby : How a Stray Dog and His Best Friend Helped Win World War I and Stole the Heart of a Nation, please click here.

100 Years Ago

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. On July 28, 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Many novels have been set in that time period and this week we will be highlighting a few of them.

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The Star of Istanbul
By Robert Butler
“An exciting thriller with plenty of action, romance, and danger. . . . Fans of historical spy fiction will enjoy this fast-paced journey through a world at war.” ~Library Journal

To check our catalog or place a hold on The Star of Istanbul, please click here.

The Steady Running of the Hour: a novel
By Justin Go
“In this mesmerizing debut, a young American discovers he may be heir to the unclaimed estate of an English World War I officer, which launches him on a quest across Europe to uncover the elusive truth.” ~Amazon.com

To check our catalog or to place a hold on The Steady Running of the Hour, please click here.

The Girl You Left Behind
By Jojo Moyes
“In her latest heart tugger, Jojo Moyes deftly weaves the story of newlyweds in WWI France with that of a young widow in today’s London.” ~Parade

To check our catalog or to place a hold on The Girl You Left Behind, please click here.