Category Archives: Fiction

Pretty Girls

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Title: Pretty Girls

Author: Karin Slaughter

Publisher: William Morrow, September 2015

*This book contains graphic descriptions of violence, particularly sexual violence against women, so be warned.*

Summary/Review: I found this novel a somewhat interesting read because it describes good, bad, and even horrible relationships, from a woman’s perspective.

Two decades ago the older sister of the two women involved in this mystery was abducted. Her body was never found. This destroys her parents’ marriage and emotionally cripples, to some extent, the remaining two girls’ development. One sister self-medicates with alcohol, drugs and sex. The other buries her misery and eventually marries a successful architect. Together they create a fairy-tale perfect, suburban marriage.

The story takes a terrible twist when the “good daughter” discovers (or does she?) horrible secrets about her architect husband after he is murdered in a mugging gone terribly wrong.

But what are we to believe? Are all his awful secrets actually true? Can he really be involved in a series of abductions and tortures of young women over the years? Is their perfect lifestyle financed by online snuff porn videos? If so, how did this behavior start and how could he have kept this twisted side of his life a secret for so long?

The sisters become almost action heroes as they uncover more and more, and worse and worse facts about their family, the dead husband and the fate of many young women over the years.

There are several dramatic plot twists which will probably blind-side the reader. You don’t want to know what they are in advance. This is a somewhat trashy page-turner so it won’t take long to read if you want to know all the details.

Who will like this book? Someone who’s a fan of criminal procedurals who won’t shy away from graphic violence.

If you like this, try this: Karin Slaughter has a huge repertoire of works, so if you like her writing you’ll have plenty to choose from.  If you’re looking for other crime procedurals written by women, try Lisa Gardner or Kathy Reichs.
Recommended by: Mark Z, Guest Reviewer

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

Lucy Barton

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Title: My Name is Lucy Barton

 Author: Strout, Elizabeth

 Publisher: Random House, January 2016

Summary/Review: Elizabeth Strout is one of the best out there when it comes to writing about flawed, complicated women.  As Lucy Barton recovers from a mysterious illness in the hospital, she has a visitor she’s not spoken with in several years – her mother. The visit spans several days, and as their conversation ebbs and flows in intensity, from gossip to family secrets, Lucy’s memories of her painful childhood are revealed in such a way that, even at the end of the story, she remains somewhat of a mystery.   One thing is for certain – the fragile Lucy Barton has a tremendous capacity for love and forgiveness.

Who will like this book?: Someone looking for a female-centric book that focuses on relationships.

 If you like this, try this: Elizabeth Strout is a well-known name, particularly for “Olive Kitteridge” and “Burgess Boys”, so if you enjoy the writing these two may suit you.

 Recommended by: Mary C, Reference Librarian

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

The Martian

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Title: The Martian

Author: Andy Weir

Publisher: Crown Publishing Group, 2011

Summary/Review: To understand why you will enjoy this novel let’s start with the author. Andy Weir was hired as a computer programmer for a national laboratory at age 15. He is a self-described science geek who actually created and programmed a Mars mission in order to make this story as realistic as possible. His grasp of all things outer space, scientific and NASA is truly breathtaking. He actually received a book and a movie deal within weeks of each other.

We meet the hero of the story, who I could not help but thinking of as Matt Damon, who stars in the movie, as he wakes up from a dust storm catastrophe as a member of a manned mission to Mars. He is all alone and wonders why he isn’t dead. The rest of the crew has lost touch with him an assumes that he is dead. He is incredibly resourceful as he creates, seemingly out of thin air, methods to produce water, oxygen and to grow potatoes to provide sufficient calories to sustain him for the years he figures he will have to wait for even a remote chance of rescue.

Time and again the poor guy has to react to the unforgiving climate and the unexpected consequences of his solutions to an unending list of problems of everyday life, any one of which could kill him. Along the way he hatches plans to modify the Mars surface rover vehicle to allow him to reclaim a probe from a previous mission and hot-wire it to make radio contact with Earth, and other McGiver-like scientific sleight-of-hand just to make it to the next day.

An unexpected pleasure of this book is how funny it is as he talks to himself and then to NASA about the problems of surviving and maintaining a minimum level of sanity as he survives alone for years. He watches lots of 70’s era television shows, listens to Disco music and reads detective novels, all left behind after the first of the many catastrophes he endures.

This is an exceptionally interesting and funny read. You will only be disappointed when it ends.

Who will like this book?:  This book was recently made into a movie, so if you’ve seen it and enjoyed it of course you should read the book!  Someone looking for a funny book that’s written about a serious topic.

If you like this, try this:  This is Andy Weir’s first novel, but you can expect more from him after the success of The Martian. It’s rated 4.38 of over 250,000 reviews on Goodreads –  if that doesn’t convince him to write again nothing will! There are a slew of space novels available, but none hit the funny mark quite like Andy Weir.  If you’re looking for funny science fiction, try Ernest Cline or the classic Douglas Adams.

Recommended by:  Mark Z, guest reviewer

If this looks 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!

 

Railwayman’s Wife

Title: The Railwayman’s Wife

Author: Ashley Hay

Publisher: Atria Books, April 2016

Summary/Review: A poignant, post WWII novel set in New South Wales, The Railwayman’s Wife is the type of book you wish you could step into, if just for a moment, to make everything right. Some novels make it difficult to just sit back and watch…

Ani Lachlan, her husband Mac, and their daughter Isabel live in what Ani considers “the most beautiful place in the world”, a lovely cottage in a village nestled between the mountains and the sea. But not even this idyllic village can shelter its people from heartbreak and tragedy. Not the local doctor, returned from war but still haunted by the lives he couldn’t save.  Not the young poet whose writing once flourished on the battlefield but is now uninspired and hollow. And not Ani, who turns to her love of books to find solace and healing after her own personal tragedy. Three people whose lives are connected in ways even they do not realize. One person whose life might be saved with just one word.

Beautifully written, atmospheric and haunting, my heart broke for these characters during their darkest hours, and cheered for them as they tried to find their way in this new world.

Who will like this book?: Someone looking for a melancholy but beautiful book that will make you want to jump into its pages.

If you like this, try this: The Soldier’s Wife by Margaret Leroy, The Golden Hour, by Margaret Wurtele

Recommended by: Sue B, Circulation Coordinator

It’s too soon to put a hold on this book, but keep checking to see when the library orders it!

Reunion of Ghosts

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Title: A Reunion of Ghosts

Author:  Judith Claire Mitchell

Publisher:  Harper, March 2015

Summary/Review:  This book is an absolute perfect balance of humor and sadness, hope and despair, blessing and curse, past and present, reason and insanity.  The story of the Alter sisters and their relatives, living and dead, will not soon leave me.  It’s a family history filled with tragedy (loosely based on the story of the German chemist who invented the poisonous gas used in both world wars).   Lady, Vee and Delph Alter decide they can no longer live with this legacy of guilt, and decide to end it all on the same day in December of 1999. In an interview, the author Judith Claire Mitchell says that when writing “A Reunion of Ghosts” she felt like she was “alone in a bunker with this family.”  It’s that engrossing.  This expertly-written and unique family saga is not to be missed!

Who will like this?   Someone looking for a historical family saga that will cover a huge range of emotion for the reader

If you like this, try this:  Mitchell has written another book, “Last Day of the War” which covers Paris and World War I.  If you’re looking for female-centric family sagas, try Kate Morton or Isabel Allende.

Recommended by:  Mary, Reference

If this looks 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!

Murder House

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Title:   THE MURDER HOUSE

Author: James Patterson

Publisher: Little Brown and Company, 2015

Summary/Review: I know what you’re thinking: not another James Patterson book, he writes one every other month! I felt the same way until I read Murder House – it draws you in from the first page. Usually you find out right in the beginning who the killer is… boring, right? Not this time. There are several different characters. Even the Murder House – 7 Ocean Drive – is a character

There is a beautiful beachfront estate in the Hamptons which was the scene for some gruesome killings that have never been solved. Detective Jenna Murphy, who is from the Hamptons but hasn’t been back since she was a girl, returns after being forced to quit the NYPD. She is given a job by her uncle, the Chief of the South Hampton Police Department.

When a double murder occurs at 7 Ocean Drive and local resident Noah Walker is charged, Jenna takes an interest in the case. She starts to snoop around and that’s when it gets really interesting. There are a lot of questions and more suspects – even her partner Isaac Marks. Then her uncle is killed and another body is found, and there seems to be a pattern with this killer. He likes to cause pain with a sharp object into vital organs.

Jenna requests the help of a rookie, Ricketts, to find out about the owners of 7 Ocean Drive. Without giving too much away this opens up a whole new investigation that will keep you guessing right till the end. The twists and turns are perhaps the best made by James Patterson in a long time. Enjoy the ride. The ending was terrific too.

Who would like this book: A James Patterson lover like me, or anyone who enjoys a thrill ride right to the end!

If you like this, try this: Obviously James Patterson has a number of books out – you’re sure to like at least some of them!

Recommended by: Virginia, Circulation

Is this something you think you’d like?  Visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or to place a hold!

Queen of the Tearling

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Title: The Queen of the Tearling

Author: Erika Johansen

Publisher: HarperCollins, 2014

Summary / Review:    On Kelsea’s 19th birthday, nine of the Queen’s Guard  arrive at the remote cottage that has been her home to escort her to New London and her new life as Queen of the Tearling.  Kelsea’s life with her adoptive parents Barty and Carlin has been secluded.  She is a great reader and has been tutored by Carlin in the history of her kingdom and by Barty in basic forest survival skills but she is woefully unprepared in the skills necessary to survive in the political snake-pit she is about to enter. It’s uncertain whether she will even survive the journey. Her uncle has been living large as Regent of the kingdom and is loathe to give up the comfortable life style he’s been enjoying. Fueled by the support of the Red Queen of Mortmesne, his determination to make sure Kelsea is not crowned makes for a difficult journey.  The travelers are stalked by the Caden, crimson cloaked assassins that are feared through-out the kingdom and they are attacked by Mort hawks “black as midnight and big as dogs.”  Assistance comes in the unlikely form of a masked rogue known as the Fetch who will appear more than once in Kelsea’s life.
The group is splintered and against all odds Kelsea does make it to New London accompanied by the formidable Lazarus (a.k.a. Mace, for the deadly weapon he wields so effectively).  Her introduction to the capital is grim.  They ride in on the day the tributes are being loaded onto carts to be delivered to the evil Red Queen of Mortmesne.  Queen Elyssa, Kelsea’s vain and weak mother, signed the Treaty of Mort obligating the Tearling to provide 3,000 slaves per year, including children, divided into 12 shipments and delivered to Mortmesne . In return, the Red Queen would not invade and destroy the Tearling. Kelsea is enraged and orders the prisoners released and the carts burned.  When those that enforce the treaty hesitate to obey the Queen’s commands, we get a glimpse of the power she will learn to use. She has worn the Heir’s Jewel, a sapphire, for as long as she can remember and now she begins to understand what it can do.

Magic jewels will go a long way in helping to make up for political naivete but Kelsea has broken the Treaty and there will be a price to pay.

Queen of the Tearling is the first in a proposed trilogy.  The second, Invasion of the Tearling, was released in June.  It would be wise to read the book soon before the hold list starts to build. Warner Bros. has acquired film rights to the entire series. Emma Watson has signed on as executive producer and star. The search is on for a cast to bring Johansen’s wonderful characters to life.

Who Will Like This Book:  Anyone who enjoys an action packed fantasy with a strong female protagonist.

If You Like This Try This: The Tearling series has been described as a “lighter” version of Game of Thrones. There have also been comparisons to Hunger Games and Divergent because of the strong female characters.

Recommended by: Sue D’Num

If this looks 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

My Sunshine Away

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Title: My Sunshine Away

Author: M.O Walsh

Publisher: Penguin, 2015

Summary/Review: I really enjoyed this book for a lot of reasons, I have to say the first is because it starts off with the act which is the foundation for the book. There is a rape of a young beautiful girl named Lindy in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. There are 4 suspects, all who live in the same neighborhood just a few houses apart. Bo Kern – a troubled boy, Jason – the adopted son of  psychiatrist, Jacques Landry – who is also a suspect, and the narrator of the book – who is my favorite character, and you never find out his name.

The story spans over 20 years, from the late 80’s until 2007. The author does a great job of sharing with us how each of the characters evolved over those years – the choices they made, some good and some bad. For some who read this it will feel like a walk down memory lane, from middle school all the way through college, and settling down and starting a family of their own.

There is a lot of sadness in this book, but the twist at the end really ties it all together. If you like coming of age stories, with good times and bad you will enjoy this book. There are some chapters that are hard to get through, but you must endure them to get the real feel for these kids and what they went through in their very young lives, and how it changed them forever.

Who will like this book?:  Someone who is interested in a mystery which focuses more on character development than clues and who-dunnit. Someone who won’t shy away from a disturbing topic which has a sweeping effect on an entire community.

If you like this, try this: If you’re looking for mysteries heavy on character development, try Paula Hawkin’s “Girl on the Train” or Garth Stein’s “A Sudden Light”.  If the location of Baton Rouge draws you in, try the mystery series by James Lee Burke.  This is M.O. Walsh’s debut novel, but keep an eye out for more in the works!

Recommended by: Virginia, Circulation

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

Night Sister

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Title: The Night Sister

Author: Jennifer McMahon

Publisher: Doubleday, August 2015

Summary/Review: “Do you believe in monsters?” You might after reading the creepy new novel by Jennifer McMahon. And by creepy I mean awesome.

Growing up in and around the decrepit Tower Motel in London, Vermont wasn’t all bad for friends Amy, Piper and Margot, at least not until they found the suitcase hidden in the tower. Why was the suitcase, hidden for two decades, not taken by Amy’s aunt Sylvie when she left town in 1955? The discovery only leads to more questions and eventually the dissolution of the friendship between Amy, Piper and Margot.

Fast forward to present day and the discovery of an unspeakable crime, allegedly committed by Amy at the Tower Motel. Sisters Piper and Margot struggle to find answers but everything leads back to the discovery of the suitcase so many years ago. Don’t bother asking Piper and Margot if they believe in monsters. I can tell you, the answer will be “yes”.

Who will like this book?: Someone looking for a VERY creepy read.  Someone who’s interested in a thriller/mystery that will leave you feeling haunted.

If you like this, try this: Jennifer McMahon has written other novels, including the well-received “Winter People” and “Promise Not to Tell”.  This book is reminiscent of “Help for the Haunted” by John Searles, although darker.  Tana French is also brought to mind.

Recommended by:  Sue B, Circulation Coordinator

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

Man Called Ove

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Title:  A Man Called Ove

Author:  Fredrik Backman

Publisher:  Atria Books, 2014/Dreamscape Media, LLC. (audiobook), 2014

Summary/Review:  Ove is not someone you want to cross paths with.  He is an older man, set in his ways, and not afraid to tell people what he thinks whether they want to hear it or not.  Ove is a man on a mission.  He has only one goal left to accomplish, but it is not going to be easy to achieve it.

As the story switches back and forth from present to past, you get a better understanding of how certain experiences in Ove’s life, especially those involving his youth and wife, shaped his personality and outlook.  The supporting characters provide a unique link to Ove’s daily routine.  There is a great importance of how timing affects everything.

This book will make you laugh, cry, and appreciate the people (and animals) in your life.  The story will stay with you long after the book ends.  It is a strong read from start to finish and an excellent choice for book clubs.  It will easily top your favorites’ list.

Added note:  The reader (and known actor) on the audiobook is exceptional, painting a clear image of Ove and the rest of the cast.

Who will like this book: Anyone looking for the next best book.

 If you like this, try this:  The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Recommended by: Sharyn, Circulation

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!