Author Archives: Book Mavens

Staff Favorites (2013)

As the year 2013 comes to a close, we’d like to reflect on the books that we loved that were released this year.  See something you like?  Find a similar book by clicking on the tag!

Our big winner, with the most recommendations, was “Light Between Oceans“.  We can’t wait until the 2014 books come out!

Isa Does It

[Cover]

Title:  Isa Does It:  Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week

Author:  Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Publisher:  Little, Brown and Company, 2013

Summary/Review:  This may be the vegan cookbook you’ve been waiting for!  I know that it is for me.  Isa Chandra Moskowitz, already well-known in the vegan cookbook world, has just put together a collection of vegan recipes that truly are “amazingly easy and wildly delicious.”  The majority of recipes can be made without ingredients that involve a trip to a specialty store.  I also like the fact that they are not loaded with “substitute” ingredients (vegan sour cream, vegan cheese, etc.).  She’s covered all the courses – from soup, salads and delicious-sounding desserts.  There are Mexican, Indian and Italian inspired dishes, as well as good old Macaroni and Cheese, so it does seem like there’ll be something for everyone.  It’s beautifully illustrated, which is also a great help in a cookbook.  So if you’ve been thinking about becoming a vegetarian/vegan, or if you’d just like to add more meat/dairy free meals to your diet, give this wonderful cookbook a try!

 Who will like this book: Anyone interested in great tasting, healthy meals!

 If you like this, try: Anything else by Isa Chandra Moskowitz!  She is the author of several vegan cookbooks.  In fact, she’s been named favorite cookbook author in VegNews for the past seven years.

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

 

 

 

NOS4A2

[Cover]

Title: NOS4A2

Author: Joe Hill

Publisher: Harper Collins, 2013

Summary/Review: This story begins with a very young Victoria McQueen, a bike, and her encounter with a magic bridge. We are then introduced to a man named Bing Partridge who befriends a monstrous, evil, and hideous child abductor named Charles Talent Manx, who drives a magical 1938 Rolls Royce Wraith.

Their paths first collide when Victoria, at 17, avoids being kidnapped by Manx and taken to a make believe location called Christmasland, a place where all children never have any pain and where it is Christmas every day. Unfortunately, the children change while they are there; becoming creatures with razor sharp teeth and kill adults by playing the game “SCISSORS-FOR-THE-DRIFTERS”. Manx claims the children’s souls allowing him to live eternally.

Then, as an adult, Vic loses her own child, Bruce Wayne Carmody, to Manx. Her dangerous journey continues, trying to rescue her son with the help of Wayne’s dad Lou, and a stuttering librarian named Maggie, who seems to possess powers of her own.

This life and death tale of a mother’s love will keep you the edge of your seat for all 686 pages. This is one of my favorite novels of the year.

Who will like this book: If you are in the mood for horror, suspense, and adventure, then you will enjoy this story.

If you like this, try this: The Shining, Salem’s Lot, or It all by Stephen King, who happens to be Joe Hill’s father.

Recommended by: K.C. Davis, Circulation Assistant

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 place a hold!

Help for the Haunted

[Cover]

Title: Help for the Haunted

Author: John Searles

Publisher: William Morrow, Sep. 2013

Summary/Review: Since I am not a fan of ghost stories, I was reluctant to read a book titled “Help for the Haunted” for worry that I would not sleep afterward, but I wanted to conquer my fear of the unknown. Although this book focuses on the paranormal, it becomes clear that you see what you want to see and believe what you chose to believe.

The Masons are quite successful in taming the unusual behavior of those possessed by spirits but are incapable of handling and helping their disobedient older daughter, Rose. When they agree to drive during a snowstorm to meet her in a church to talk, they do not know this encounter will end their lives. As their younger daughter, Sylvie, awaits their return to their car, she ends up being the only witness to the murderer. As Sylvie struggles with the past and present she starts putting together the pieces of her parents’ work and the events preceding their murder, which eventually lead her to the person who pulled the trigger.

“Help for the Haunted” is a good choice for book groups as it features interesting characters, including an evil doll named Penny, and provides several topics for discussion.

Who will like this book: Anyone who enjoys reading about mysteries with dark family secrets.

If you like this, try this: “The Returned” by Jason Mott

Recommended by: Sharyn, Circulation

Summary/Review: “Help for the Haunted” is the story of two girls – Rose and Sylvie Mason – whose parents were helpers of the haunted (I kept thinking of the Warrens throughout).  Sylvie is the “good one”, always responsible.  She plays counterpart to her older sister Rose, whose bad temper, negative attitude, and overall rebellious behavior put a deep strain on the family.  When Sylvie’s parents drag her out of bed to drive to a church to meet Rose, who has left the house angry, she is awakened by gunshots only to find her parents dead in the church.  But what happened?  Who would have killed them?  Why did Sylvie tell the police she knew exactly who it was? And who is keeping the light on in the basement, waiting for her parents’ return?

I started this book, unfortunately, late one night while I was home alone.  What was I thinking?  The first half is extra creepy, laying the foundation for why the Masons became involved with people like Lynch (who Sylvie points to as her parents’ killer) and their pasts.  The book focuses on 14-year old Sylvie throughout, and the second half deals more with her sister, their relationship and past, and her desperation to find the real killer.  I found the book compelling and wanted to know, exactly, what happened to her parents and why.  While the ending didn’t come together as well as it could have (it’s clear Searles is an extremely talented writer, who I will definitely read again), I was pleased to find I was surprised at the unexpected finale.

Who will like this book? : Someone who’s not afraid of a little creepiness.  The book comes out in September and would make an awesome Halloween read.

Recommended by: LB, Library Assistant

If this looks like the type of book you’d like to read when it’s released, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to check availability and place a hold!

Just what kind of mother are you?

[Cover]

Title: Just What Kind of Mother Are You? 

Author: By Paula Daly 

Publisher: Grove Press, 2013 

Summary/Review: The words that no woman ever wants to hear. “Just what kind of mother are you?” Lisa Kallisto is sure people are asking that question of her. She has been asking that same question of herself ever since her 13 year old daughter’s friend, Lucinda, went missing. You see, Sally’s friend was supposed to be sleeping over Lisa’s house to work on a school project with Sally. When Sally got sick, the sleepover was cancelled but someone forgot to tell Lucinda or her mother Kate. No one even knows she’s gone until the next morning when Sally doesn’t see Lucinda at the bus stop and calls her to ask about the project.

Lisa knows she doesn’t have it all together-not like Lucinda’s mother, Kate Riverton, anyway. Kate has always been more of a hands-on parent than Lisa could ever hope to be. Now their differences couldn’t be more glaring. One little misstep and a young girl is gone. Overwhelmed with guilt, Lisa promises Kate that she will find Lucinda. As family secrets are exposed and another girl is abducted, it becomes obvious how little everyone knows about their neighbors, friends, and even their own families.

This was a fantastic story. If I didn’t have to break for sleep, I would have read it cover to cover. This debut novel has it all-great writing, setting, and story, and engaging characters, some of whom I would love to see again.

Who will like this book?: Someone looking for a gripping, non-stop mystery thriller.

 If you like this, try this: This is a debut novel, but be on the lookout for more Paula Daly coming soon after this success (it was named as one of Publisher Weekly’s top 10 Fall Thrillers!). If you’re looking for a gripping thriller featuring women, try Gillian Flynn’s super-popular “Gone Girl” or the author Heather Gudenkauf.

Recommended by: Sue B, Circulation Coordinator

Does this look like your type of read?  Visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or place a hold.

Walking with Jack

[Cover]

Title: Walking With Jack

Author: Don J. Snyder

Publisher: Doubleday, 2013

Summary/Review: It will help you understand this tale if you are a golf nut, or at the very least, golf-term-savvy. This memoir about a father’s desire to help his son realize their shared dream of the son playing professional golf with his father alongside as his caddy takes the reader through the joys and sorrows of seeing one’s children grow up and become independent young adults. The father takes his role in this very, very seriously, as he leaves the family home to caddy at St. Andrews, Scotland for two seasons, preparing him to be the best caddy he can possibly be. The son, a very talented high school golfer can’t quite match his Dad’s zeal and only attempts to play on a minor professional golf tour some years later.

We are shown the ups and downs of a father’s love for his son and the various ways the two deal with successes and the seemingly inevitable failures. Along the way the author reveals many long-term feelings of inadequacy and some triumphs, brought on by his strained relationship with his own father.

One thing I do not understand is that the author is presented as a writer and teacher with several “acclaimed” books and screenplays to his credit, yet he spends quite a bit of time describing the financial hardships he and his family endure. Perhaps acclaimed doesn’t necessarily equate with financial success in his case.

This is a very well-written book with many humorous scenes. The author does a terrific job of describing his feelings as a father to three girls and one boy, and the joy of being a good enough husband to provide at least some degree of financial stability and a full measure of emotional support.

Who will like this book?: I recommend this book to any golfers and fathers out there.

If you like this, try this: If you’d like to read more books dealing with golf, check out John Dunn’s “Loopers: A Caddy’s Twenty-year Golf Odyssey” or Joseph Parent’s “Zen Golf”, which deals more with becoming a better golfer.  As mentioned, Don J. Snyder also has a number of other books, including “Of Time and Memory” and “The Cliff Walk”.

Recommended by: Mark Z, guest reviewer

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

Fin and Lady

[Cover]

Title: Fin and Lady

Author: Cathleen Schine

Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books, 2013

Summary/Review: When Fin is orphaned at the age of 11, his half-sister Lady becomes his guardian.  He had last seen Lady six years earlier when his enraged father tracked her down in Europe after she left her groom at the altar.  Lady is a glamorous, worldly, free spirit who Fin adores.  But, being a country boy from rural Connecticut, he finds life perplexing among Lady and her friends in the Greenwich Village of 1964.  The question becomes “who exactly is raising whom,” when Fin begins to take responsibility for finding a husband for his impulsive sister who is determined to marry before turning 25.

Cathleen Schine, author of “The Three Weissmanns of Westport”, has a great gift for character development.  This charming story of an unconventional family will make you laugh and cry, and you will remember the characters long after you’ve finished the book.

Who will like this book?:  Those who enjoy stories of human relationships with good character development.

If you like this, try this:   “Weird Sisters” by Eleanor Brown or “Seating Arrangements” by Maggie Shipstead

Recommended by:  Paula, Reference Dept.

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

Mistress

[Cover]

 

Title: Mistress

Author: James Patterson

Publisher: Little Brown, 2013

Summary/Review: I know what you’re thinking: “another book by Patterson”.  It seems like he writes one a month!!!  The way I look at it is he is helping out other authors who are co-writing with him.  In this case, the co-author is David Ellis.

I really enjoyed “Mistress” because it was very intriguing. The main character, Ben, has some obsessions, a little OCD,  AND he is in love with Diana Hotchkiss (who works in the White  House).

When Ben witnesses her falling from her balcony in an apparent suicide, Ben is not convinced that it wasn’t a cold-blooded murder. He becomes obsessed with finding out the truth at any cost…including outsmarting federal agents, assassins, and even himself!  It is a roller coaster ride with a lot of twists and turns, like only Patterson can do. It also has an explosive ending.

Who will like this book: If you like quick reads, politics, and murder mysteries you will surely enjoy this book.  Anyone interested in trivia – a quirk the main character has is to spout off trivia in order to relate to the case.

If you like this, try this: Patterson has a huge repertoire of books to choose from, as does his co-author, David Ellis. If you’re looking for some authors that will kick-start your love of thrillers, try Dan Brown, Robert Ludlum, or Tom Clancy.

Recommended by: Virginia, Circulation

If you’d like to give this book a try, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or place a hold with your library card!

Hey! Did you know you could search for books by “tag”?   For example, you could look for books that are tagged with “crime” or search for some of the newest books by clicking “2013 releases” .  Tags are located on the right-hand side of the screen – check it out!

The Last Original Wife

[Cover]

Title: The Last Original Wife

Author:  Dorothea Benton Frank

Publisher: William Morrow, 2013

Summary/Review: If you are looking for a book that has a little romance, a lot of humor and takes you to Charleston, South Carolina then this book is for you. Leslie Carter is the last “original” wife among a group of couples that had gotten married and raised their children together. Now, whether by divorce or death, the husbands in the group have replaced their original wives with newer models.

Leslie’s husband Wes expects her to be grateful that he has kept her around. Leslie’s daughter is a single mother expecting her mother to be on call 24/7 to babysit. Her son is a hippy living in Asia trying to find himself while smoking a lot of pot. During a disastrous trip to Scotland with the “new” wives Leslie falls into an open manhole and no one misses her for 45 minutes. When she is stuck in the hospital in Scotland her husband leaves her there so he doesn’t miss his tee time. When she returns to the states, Leslie escapes to Charleston to spend time with her gay brother and reevaluate her entire existence. Once there, Leslie rediscovers herself and her passions –  including an old flame!

Dorothea Benton Frank has a wonderful writing style and opening one of her books you can feel the warm Charleston breezes, you can taste the cocktails and you can smell the sea air. Open the pages of this book and escape for a while!!

Who will like this book? Anyone who likes a good southern saga and a great beach read.

If you like this, try this: Dorothea Benton Frank has written over 14 books so if you like this one you will love all her other books too.

Recommended by: Claudia, Technical Services

If you think this could be your next read, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or place a hold!