Force of Nature

Title: Force of Nature
Author: Jane Harper
Publisher: Flatiron Books, February 2018

Summary/Review:  Aaron Falk first appeared in Jane Harper’s THE DRY which was a staff and patron favorite. He’s back again in her new novel THE FORCE OF NATURE. We welcome him back with open arms.

Federal Police agent Aaron Falk and his partner Carmen Cooper are called in when one of their informants goes missing in the Australian bushland. Alice Russell, along with four other women from the accountancy firm Bailey Tennants are on a team building retreat. After getting lost in the bush, all come back except Alice. Alice had been, coincidentally, secretly collecting information to aid in the financial investigation of her employer. The four returning women come out of the bush exhausted, bruised and battered. So what happened to Alice? Why did she try to walk out alone? It seems this particular team building exercise turned out to be more like Lord of the Flies than a way to strengthen bonds and promote cooperation. Repressed animosity and jealousy amongst the women bubbles up and is unleashed and lives will be changed forever.

Jane Harper delivers again in this suspenseful novel set in the unforgiving bushland. Alternating between the women’s ordeal and its aftermath, this is an exceptional novel that will keep you guessing until the very end.

Who will like this book: For readers of mysteries, thrillers and suspense.

Recommended by: Sue B., Circulation

If you would like to check our catalog or place a hold on this book, please click here.

What Was the Best Book You Read in 2017?

Thank you to everyone who participated in our “What is the Best Book You’ve Read This Year” raffle, and congratulations to our raffle prize winners! Two lucky people won bags full of great donated books. Happy reading. Be on the lookout for more raffles coming up throughout the year.

Here are a few of the top picks for “best books read in 2017” submitted by your friends and neighbors:

SAINTS FOR ALL OCCASIONS by J. Courtney Sullivan

“Reminiscent of both Colm Toibin’s Brooklyn and Matthew Thomas’s We Are Not Ourselves… All of Sullivan’s characters leap off the page. You don’t read this book; you breathe it.” –Janet Maslin, “Times Critics’ Top Books of 2017,” The New York Times

If you would like more information, or to place a hold, please click here.

THE BREAKDOWN by B.A. Paris

“This psychological thriller is even harder to put down than Paris’ 2016 best-seller debut Behind Closed Doors; schedule reading time accordingly.… With two in a row, Paris moves directly to the thriller A-list.” ―Booklist

If you would like more information, or to place a hold, please click here.

GRANT by Ron Chernow

“A stupendous new biography…Fascinating and immensely readable…. uncommonly compelling and timely…. Chernow’s biography is replete with fascinating details and insight­ful political analysis, a combination that brings Grant and his time to life…. put Grant on your must-read list.” —BookPage

If you would like more information, or to place a hold, please click here.

SOMETHING LIKE HAPPY by Eva Woods

“Something like Happy is inspiration in a bottle. Author Woods uses her novel- inspired by a social-media hashtag-to explore the exhilaration of new friendship, the power of loss, and the evergreen tendrils of hope.” –Booklist

If you would like more information, or to place a hold, please click here.

Everything Old is New Again, Part 2

Did you love reading and/or listening to Fairy Tales and Folk Tales as a child? Adult versions of these same tales have been showing up for years, and have become very popular. Here are some of our favorites:

THE SNOW CHILD by Eowyn Ivey

“Eowyn Ivey’s exquisite debut transports the reader away to a world almost out of time, into a fairytale destined to both chill and delight. Her portrayal of an untamed Alaska is so detailed you can feel the snowflakes on your own eyelashes, even as her characters’ desperate quest for, and ultimate redemption by, love will warm your heart.” ~Melanie Benjamin, author

THE CRANE WIFE by Patrick Ness

“Ness fashions his mosaic of prose, piecing narrative with snips of a myth-like fable to create a bittersweet story of loss and love. The narrative pace will keep the pages turning, while the imagery and metaphors wound throughout will stay with readers long after they close the book.” ~Library Journal

DOWN AMONG THE STICKS AND BONES by Seanan McGuire

“Beautifully crafted and smartly written, this fairy-tale novella is everything that speculative fiction readers look for: fantastical worlds, diverse characters, and prose that hits home with its emotional truths.” ~Library Journal

THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE by Katherine Arden

“Arden’s debut novel has the cadence of a beautiful fairy tale but is darker and more lyrical.” ~The Washington Post

BOY, SNOW, BIRD by Helen Oyeyemi

“With her fifth novel, 29-year-old Helen Oyeyemi has fully transformed from a literary prodigy into a powerful, distinctive storyteller…[Boy, Snow, Bird is] transfixing and surprising.” ~Entertainment Weekly

ALIAS HOOK by Lisa Jensen

“Jensen’s second novel, a twist on the Peter Pan story which reconceives of Captain Hook as a tragic hero, shows how she’s matured as a writer since her excellent debut, The Witch from the Sea. Jensen’s wonderful imagination and devotion to history and myth allow the reader to fly with her through this outstanding adventure–no fairy dust required.” ~ Publishers Weekly

Everything Old is New Again, Part 1

If you like reading the classics, you may be interested in some of the new interpretations that have come out in the past few years. One publisher, Hogarth, has a series of Shakespeare tales retold by some of today’s most popular authors. Here is a sampling:

VINEGAR GIRL by Anne Tyler

Pulitzer Prize winning author Anne Tyler brings us a witty and irresistible modern take on Shakespeare’s THE TAMING OF THE SHREW. “A fizzy cocktail of a romantic comedy, far more sweet than acidic, about finding a mate who appreciates you for your idiosyncratic, principled self — no taming necessary.” —NPR.org 

If you would like more information, or would like to place a hold, click here.

HAG-SEED by Margaret Atwood

The author of THE HANDMAID’S TALE, Margaret Atwood, has written an enchanting reimagining of Shakespeare’s THE TEMPEST. “A marvel of gorgeous yet economical prose, in the service of a story that’s utterly heartbreaking yet pierced by humor, with a plot that retains considerable subtlety even as the original’s back story falls neatly into place.” New York Times Book Review

If you would like more information, or would like to place a hold, click here.

THE GAP OF TIME by Jeanette Winterson

A retelling of Shakespeare’s THE WINTER’S TALE, “The Gap of Time takes the play’s themes of love, jealousy and estrangement and spins them into a taut contemporary tale.”—New York Times 

If you would like more information, or would like to place a hold, click here.

SHYLOCK IS MY NAME by Howard Jacobson

Jacobson’s retelling of THE MERCHANT OF VENICE is “Sharply written, profoundly provocative.” The Huffington Post

If you would like more information, or would like to place a hold, click here.

DUNBAR by Edward St. Aubyn

St. Aubyn’s  DUNBAR is “A brilliant reworking of William Shakespeare’s King Lear for our day.”—Kirkus 

If you would like more information, or would like to place a hold, click here.

NEW BOY by Tracy Chevalier

A retelling of OTHELLO that “…is an engrossing and ultimately convincing story of its own, with characters you’ll believe in and a tragic ending worthy of the Bard.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

If you would like more information, or would like to place a hold, click here.

Look for future additions to this series including Jo Nesbo’s take on MACBETH (April 2018), and Gillian Flynn’s take on HAMLET (2021) .

 

Every Heart a Doorway

Title: Every Heart a Doorway
Author: Seanan McGuire
Publisher: Tor, April 2016

Summary/Review: If you have always wanted to try a Fantasy novel but did not know where to start, you might like to try EVERY HEART A DOORWAY, the first installment in the Wayward Children series.

Nancy is the newest student to arrive at Eleanor West’s Home For Wayward Children, a school filled with children and teens who have suffered the same fate as she. All have returned, somehow, from the fantasy worlds they accidentally discovered and all of them want to find their way back. Their friends and families cannot understand their unhappiness and do not know what to think about the strange stories the children tell about these other worlds. Surely, these stories cannot be true. So the children are sent to Eleanor West who promises to help them heal. Unbeknownst to them, Eleanor knows all too well that the stories are true. She, too, has a desire to return to her secret world when the time is right. Though not everyone will be able to return (some doors are closed forever), Eleanor and her staff can help the children make the most of their lives in the real world.

Shortly after Nancy’s arrival, tragedy strikes one of the students at the school. And then another. Fear grips the students and staff and soon accusations start to fly. Who is responsible for the terrible crimes and how can they be stopped?

A short but engaging novel, it is part mystery, fantasy, and just good story telling. Perfect for adults and older teens, EVERY HEART A DOORWAY has won several awards including the 2017 Hugo Award, 2017 Alex Award, 2017 Locus Award, and the 2016 Nebula Award. DOWN AMONG THE STICKS AND BONES is the next title in the Wayward Children series, and BENEATH THE SUGAR SKY, the third book, is due out in January 2018.

Who will like this book: For readers of C.S. Lewis and those who read and liked MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN by Ransom Riggs.

Recommended by: Sue B., Circulation

If you would like to check our catalog or place a hold on this book, please click here.

Beautiful Animals

Title: Beautiful Animals
Author: Lawrence Osborne
Publisher: Hogarth, July 2017

Summary/Review: The novel, Beautiful Animals, takes place on the Greek island of Hydra, where two young women strike up a friendship while vacationing with their families for the summer. Naomi Codrington is the daughter of a wealthy British art dealer. Sam Haldane is a few years younger, and also rich, but to a lesser degree.  Both girls are bored.

Both girls are bored. Then they discover a Syrian refugee, Faoud, washed up on a deserted beach and  Naomi is determined to make the young man their summer project and help him find a new life in Italy.  To raise money for Faoud, Naomi proposes to facilitate his burglary of her own family’s villa.

For the reader, the scheme is suspect and we wonder instead if this is Naomi’s attempt to strike back at her father and step mother. (Several observations throughout the book suggest that Naomi is a cold calculator-pulling strings for her own amusement.) The plan goes horribly wrong. And the dread of what will happen next begins to build.

As one reviewer said, “the novel exerts a sickening pull.”  Its’ climax and resolution may not surprise you, but it may have you wishing for more justice.

Who will like this book: For those who enjoy their fiction a little on the dark and sinister side.

If you would like more information, or would like to place a hold, please click here.

Recommended by: Susan Z., Reference

What is the Best Book You Read Over the Summer?

Thank you to everyone who participated in our end-of-the-summer raffle “What is the Best Book You’ve Read This Summer”. We received several entries and great book suggestions from our patrons. Congratulations to our raffle prize winners and be on the lookout for another chance to win very soon! Here are a few of the “best books” that your neighbors have been reading:

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

“See’s kaleidoscopic saga transits from the barbaric horrors of Japanese occupation to the sobering indignities suffered by foreigners in 1930s Hollywood while offering a buoyant and lustrous paean to the bonds of sisterhood.” ~Booklist

If you want to learn more about this book, or to place a hold click here.

 

The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa

“Correa bases his debut novel on the real-life account of the ill-fated 1939 voyage of the St. Louis, delivering an engrossing and heartbreaking Holocaust story; his listing of the passengers’ names at the end of the book adds to its power.” ~Library Journal

If you want to learn more about this book, or to place a hold click here.

 

You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me: a Memoir by Sherman Alexie

“Alexie’s portrayals of family relationships, identity, and grief have the universality of great literature.” ~Library Journal

If you want to learn more about this book, or to place a hold click here.

 

Theft By Finding by David Sedaris

“Sedaris’ diaries are the wellspring for his cuttingly funny autobiographical essays, and he now presents a mesmerizing volume of deftly edited passages documenting 35 years of weird, disturbing, and hilarious experiences.” ~Booklist

If you want to learn more about this book, or to place a hold click here.

 

 

The Force

Title: The Force
Author: Don Winslow
Publisher: William Morrow, June 2017

Summary/Review:   Wow! Now I know that all the great reviews for this book are correct . Don Winslow spent years researching the New York City police department, particularly the elite drug crimes units of detectives, to write this searing novel loaded with intrigue, corruption, illicit deal making, violence, racism, drug dealing, testosterone-fueled action and some soul-searching.

Denny Malone is the latest in his family to become either a policeman or fireman and he carries on all those traditions. He really means well and wants to do the right thing, but he is subject to the same weaknesses and temptations as anyone faced with the horrible conditions he encounters every day. When he comes to grips with the fact that he has spent years crossing the line from straight, protect-the-citizenry police work to thief, murderer and drug dealer, it is too late. He is embroiled in so many plots and intrigues that even as a virtually untouchable NYC Detective sergeant, it is too late. In order to save himself and his family he becomes the worst possible person: an informant.

Along the way we are given a look at what happens behind the scenes when patrolling the mean streets of Harlem, trying to keep drug dealers and violence from further destroying the citizens’ neighborhoods. Much of the action and events certainly sound like things we read about and see on the news just about every day. It’s no surprise that the police are seduced by the money and “favors” offered to them every day to look the other way.

Don Winslow does a marvelous job of portraying a way of life that most of us will never encounter. Whether you love or hate the characters, you will not want to turn out the lights until you read just one more chapter.

Who will like this book: For those who like fast-paced thrillers and suspense.

If you would like more information, or would like to place a hold, please click here.

Recommended by: Mark Z., Guest Reviewer

See What I Have Done

Title: See What I Have Done
Author: Sarah Schmidt
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press, August 2017

Summary/Review:  On August 4, 1892, Andrew and Abby Borden were murdered in their Fall River, Massachusetts home. Andrew had been killed while sleeping on the sofa, Abby in an upstairs bedroom. Daughter Lizzie and the maid, Bridget, were the only ones known to be in the home at the time of the murders. Lizzie was later tried and acquitted, but was never fully exonerated by her neighbors or the public at large.

This is a great reimagining of the infamous Lizzie Borden case, with so many motives and icky suspects to choose from. Even for those who think they know what happened, this will still be a suspenseful, engrossing novel. Alternating between the perspectives of several characters, the reader begins to realize there were some very disturbed people milling around the Borden household that fateful day. The writing is very descriptive, from the intense heat to the sticky pears to the gory wounds. Be prepared for a spine tingling read.

Who will like this book: For readers of historic fiction who are not squeamish.

Recommended by: Sue B., Circulation

If you would like to check our catalog or place a hold on this book, please click here.

 

The Salt House

Title: The Salt House
Author: Lisa Duffy
Publisher: Touchstone, June 2017

Summary/Review: This debut novel, set during a Maine summer, follows one family in the aftermath of a horrible tragedy.

A year after the tragedy, each member of the Kelly family navigates the world in their own private grief as they all try to deal and move on with their lives.

Told in alternating voices, The Salt House is a layered, emotional portrait of marriage, family, friendship, and the complex intersections of love, grief, and hope.

I absolutely loved The Salt House; if I could have gotten away with reading it all in one sitting and to hell with chores, I would have. It’s a beautiful rendering of the strength and resiliency of family, of the importance of honesty and the necessity of being able to forgive.

Who will like this book: For readers of Jodi Picoult, Lisa Genova and Anita Shreve.

Recommended by: Linda, Reference

If you would like to check our catalog or place a hold on this book, please click here.