Tag Archives: 2009 Releases

Lady Jane Grey

Title: Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery

Author: Eric Ives

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell, October 2009

Summary: Lady Jane Grey, granddaughter of Henry VIII’s younger sister Mary Tudor, is probably the most tragic victim of the Tudor dynasty, ending her life on the scaffold at the age of seventeen. Dr. Eric Ives, in this scholarly and page-turning account of the coup that brought Lady Jane Grey to the throne for a brief reign of nine days, provides the who, what, where, and why of a coup that on paper should have had every chance of succeeding but which ultimately failed. Refusing to rely on long accepted accounts of Lady Jane’s story, Dr. Ives offers a reassessment of this episode in Tudor history to the extent that the reader realizes “Jane, we hardly knew ye.”

Who will like this book?: Those who want to know the true story behind Alison Weir’s Innocent Traitor. For if any traitor was innocent, that traitor was surely Lady Jane Grey.

 If you like this, try this: The Children of Henry VIII by Alison Weir; Lady Jane Grey and the House of Suffolk by Alison Plowden; and look out for The Sisters Who Would be Queen by Leanda De Lisle.

Recommended by: Mona, Reference Associate and Library Lecturer

Evil at Heart

Title: Evil at Heart

Author:  Chelsea Cain

Publisher: Minotaur, September 2009

Summary:  This is the third book featuring detective Archie Sheridan and serial killer Gretchen Lowell. Gretchen, also known as the Beauty Killer, is on the loose. Archie is in a mental health facility attempting to recover from the physical and psychological wounds she has inflicted on him. The media has glamorized the vicious murderer and now Beauty Killer fan clubs are springing up left and right. When body parts start turning up at previous murder sites, Archie is called upon to help capture Gretchen once and for all. Is it really Gretchen leaving these gruesome calling cards? After all, she did promise Archie she wouldn’t kill again, right? If you can’t trust a serial killing psychopath to keep their word, who can you trust?

Evil at Heart is a thrilling cat and mouse chase, although you’re never really sure who the cat is and who is the mouse. From eyeballs to spleens, no part of the anatomy is safe from this scalpel wielding lunatic so you might want to read this on an empty stomach, unless you’re a seasoned veteran of grisly thrillers like me. Fast-paced with page turning suspense, this is a great book.

Who will like this book? Fans of  thrillers and suspense novels.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

Stitches

Title: Stitches

Author: David Small

Summary: David Small grew up in a cold house, with distant, nearly silent parents. He was born sickly – and as was par for the course at that time, his radiologist father gave him plenty of x-ray treatments to strengthen his lungs. When a growth developed on his neck, his parents thought little of it. Four years later, he finally had surgery to remove an aggressive malignant tumor. But no one told young David what was wrong with him, or why he was now voiceless.

That Small grew up to be a renowned artist and picture book illustrator (Imogene’s Antlers, So You Want to Be President?) seems miraculous, given the circumstances of his childhood. In this boldly designed, unforgettable graphic memoir, he pulls no punches. But what elevates this book above and beyond the popular ‘terrible childhood’ subgenre is his refusal to reduce his family to caricatures. A story of family horrors shown through the eyes of a young, creative child, Stitches will make an impact on all who read it.

Who will like this book?: Readers who like redemptive stories about painful childhoods. If you or your children have enjoyed Small’s award-winning picture book illustrations, you will be fascinated by his life story.

If you like this, try this: Fun Home by Alison Bechdel.  Why I Killed Peter by Olivier Ka. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

The Weight of Silence

Title: The Weight of Silence

Author:  Heather Gudenkauf

Publisher: Mira, July 2009

Summary:  Martin Gregory wakes one morning to find his seven year-old daughter, Petra, is missing. Although it appears that Petra left the house on her own accord, her parents are starting to panic. When Deputy Sheriff Louis and Martin question Antonia, the mother of Petra’s best friend Calli, they discover that Calli is missing also. Antonia is convinced that the two girls have just ventured off into the woods that border their property and will be home soon. We know better.

Thirteen years ago, Antonia made the decision to marry Griff Clark instead of “Lou” Louis, the current Deputy Sheriff. That decision resulted in two children- 12 year old Ben and 7 year old Calli. It also resulted in a life of verbal, emotional, and physical abuse for Antonia and her children.

In the early chapters of the book, Calli has been dragged into the woods by her inebriated father in search of her “real” father, Deputy Louis. Of course that’s the liquor talking paired with Griff’s intense jealousy of Antonia and Lou’s past relationship. Calli has been mute since the age of four when she suffered from an as yet unknown trauma and now cannot call out for help. This is not hard to believe with a father like hers. So, we know what is happening to Calli, but what happened to Petra? Is Griff even more of a monster than we thought?

This story is told in the alternating voices of Calli, Martin, Antonia, Ben, and Lou. The story grabs you from the beginning and never lets go. I could NOT put this book down! Crimes against children are never pleasant to read about, but the details are handled very well. I cared so much for these characters, and especially those little girls that I had to find out what happened to them. If you want a story that stays on your mind and characters that make a place in your heart, you should read The Weight of Silence.

Who will like this book? Anyone who likes fast paced action and a great story.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

Bad Mother

Title: Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace

Author: Ayelet Waldman

Publisher: Doubleday, May 2009

Summary: When her essay Motherlove was published, Ayelet Waldman revealed to the world that she loved her husband more than she loves her children. She was promptly vilified by ‘good’ mothers everywhere – even receiving letters stating that her children should be taken from her. After all, how could a woman who would make such a statement be a fit parent?

Are there anything but bad mothers out there nowadays, when the expectations placed on women to succeed both in and out of the home are so extreme…and when there always seems to be a member of the Good Mommy Police out there to bust you when you slip up? Waldman’s passionate responses to this question, as well as her thoughts on the many facets of motherhood, daughterhood and modern wifedom, are included in this bold and passionate collection of essays.

Who will like this book?: Harried moms who feel like they drop the ball more often than they catch it, and anybody who knows and loves them.

If you like this, try this: The collection The Bitch in the House. The forthcoming Manhood for Amateurs by Waldman’s husband, Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Chabon.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

The Day the Falls Stood Still

Title: The Day the Falls Stood Still

Author:  Cathy Marie Buchanan

Publisher: Voice, August 2009

Summary:  This is a sweeping historical romance set in the Niagara Falls area of Canada during the early 20th century. Bess Heath has just finished her junior year at an exclusive private school when she discovers that life at home has changed dramatically. Her father has lost his job and has been drinking the days away, her mother is working as a seamstress to keep food on the table, and Bess’ older sister, Isabel, is suffering from depression as a result of her broken engagement. As Bess tries to keep Isabel from wasting away and her family from falling apart, she falls in love with Tom Cole.  Tom is the grandson of the famous river man and local legend Fergus Cole. Bess’ parents, however, do not approve of Tom and force the pair into a clandestine relationship.

The Day the Falls Stood Still gives the reader a glimpse of the beauty and history of Niagara Falls during a period when, for a few opportunistic men, respect for the falls was lost and the race to harness its energy begun. This is a captivating story with wonderful characters in a beautiful setting. You may even find yourself wanting to take a trip up north to experience the majesty of the falls in person.

Who will like this book? Fans of  historical fiction, romance, or if you want a light, quick read.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

Sworn to Silence

Title: Sworn to Silence

Author:  Linda Castillo

Publisher: Minotaur, June 2009

Summary:   Painters Mill, Ohio - Amish Country. Not your typical setting for a serial murder thriller, but it works in this exciting new novel. The backdrop of a quaint, rural town makes the viciousness of the murders seem even more heinous. Kate Burkholder, the new chief of police, is painfully aware that violent crimes can happen anywhere. Sixteen years ago, Kate was a young Amish girl in this very town when it was being terrorized by the “Slaughterhouse Killer”. I think his name says it all, except for his habit of keeping a running tally of his victims by numbering them with Roman numerals carved into their flesh. Now it seems that the Slaughterhouse killer has returned after 16 years, but according to the numbers on his newest victims, he has been busy elsewhere. To find the killer, Kate must look into her past and revisit the terrible event that changed her life forever.

Sworn to Silence is an engrossing, hard hitting, and fast-paced thriller. The characters are realistic, with faults and flaws like everyone else.

Who will like this book? Fans of thrillers and suspense novels.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

Zeitoun

Title: Zeitoun

Author: Dave Eggers

Publisher: McSweeney’s, August 2009

Summary: In his National Book Critic’s Circle-nominated book What is the What, Dave Eggers deftly told the true story of a Sudanese boy-soldier and refugee as a ‘fictional’ narrative. In his latest, Eggers does the same for the city of New Orleans in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The Zeitouns, Abdulrahman, an immigrant of Syrian descent and his wife Kathy, a native Louisianan, are practicing Muslims who own a successful contracting business. When the storm draws near, Kathy takes their children to higher ground while Zeitoun remains to protect their properties.

Steering his secondhand canoe through the city streets, Zeitoun finds great comfort in assisting where needed while Kathy pleads with him to abandon the city, up until the day he stops calling. The truth behind his disappearance is shocking and life-altering.

Zeitoun manages to feel epic in scope while remaining compulsively readable. In its honest and clear-eyed depiction of the hurricane and its aftermath, it tells a deeply American story about faith, family, the cultural melting pot, devotion to duty, and what it takes to survive when the unthinkable occurs.

When you finish a book as good as this one, you are exhilarated but somehow sad because you can never read it for the first time again. Zeitoun cannot be recommended highly enough.

Who will like this book?: This is a book that deserves a wide readership, but it will particulary appeal to those who like reading stories about ordinary people dealing with extraordinary circumstances.

If you like this, try this: What is the What by Dave Eggers. 1 Dead in Attic: After Katrina by Chris Rose. The Great Deluge by Douglas Brinkley.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

American On Purpose

Title: American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot

Author: Craig Ferguson

Publisher: HarperCollins, September 2009

Summary: Craig Ferguson is the hilarious host of TV’s Late Late Show. Craig was born in Glasgow Scotland which he describes as “Detroit on acid” when he was growing up. He certainly managed to party his way through his youth until age 29 when he sobered up. His telling of his misadventures as a bouncer, a modern dancer, a drummer in a few bands all while totally inebriated (and more) is self deprecating, funny and sad. He travels to the United States with his father as a youth and his life is changed forever. He returns years later trying to land an acting job in Hollywood and does so by the skin of his teeth.

Now over 2,000,000 people laugh with him most nights as he entertains and shares his lust for the American way of life. His story is another great tale of the American dream coming true for a person who takes risks, perseveres, and appreciates his good fortune in the end.

Recommended by: Karen, Deputy Town Librarian

Sweeping Up Glass

Title: Sweeping Up Glass

Author:  Carolyn Wall

Publisher: Delta, August 2009

Summary: Olivia Harker was a happy child living with her father in rural Kentucky. Her father, Tate, was her whole world and she loved helping him take care of wounded and sick animals. Olivia’s happiness came to an abrupt end after her mother Ida’s release from the state hospital. Ida’s madness was still evident, and with her father’s attentions focused on her mother, Olivia’s hatred toward Ida grew. An accident leaves Olivia alone with her mother and she turns to alcohol and men for comfort.

Now Olivia is a young grandmother raising her grandson Will’m and taking care of Ida whose madness has been building through the years. After hunters start killing her beloved wolves on her land, Olivia sets out to find the people responsible. Instead of answers, Olivia finds more questions about her childhood, her neighbors, and the mystery surrounding the accident that stole her father from her. The closer she gets to the truth, the closer to danger she places herself and Will’m.

Sweeping Up Glass explores the complexity of family relationships, the damage done by hate and deception, and the strength of the human spirit. This is a wonderful story and would make a great book group selection.

Who will like this book? Fans of To Kill a Mockingbird or Fried Green Tomatoes.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator