Tag Archives: Family

Mimi Malloy, At Last

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Title:  Mimi Malloy, At Last

Author:  Julia MacDonnell

Publisher: Picador, April 2014

Summary/Review:  Mimi Malloy, divorced and newly retired is settling into the twilight of her life.  Her sisters and six daughters are ever present in her life and believe that her memory may be starting to fail.  But a chance discovery of a locket in the top of her closet sets her on a path to remembering the dark unresolved secrets of her Irish Catholic childhood.  After their mother passes away during childbirth, their father marries another woman who turns out to be the classic mean stepmother. After many failed attempts at discipline she even sends away the feistiest of the young girls to Ireland from which she never returns.  As the sisters interact and Mimi remembers more and more we learn what really happened. The story has much interaction among the sisters and explores various mother daughter relationships.  There is even a new romantic interest for Mimi, who also has a secret which he reveals to her.  Always comfortable with herself and the life she now leads there is much humor and warmth in this novel. The difficulties of their dark early days have been overcome as they have remained very close. Family life, reconciliation and the power of memory are the major themes of this book.

Who will like this book:  If you enjoy a story about older, independent women or family interactions you will enjoy this novel.  If you like Maeve Binchy, you will probably like this.

If you like this try:  The Good House by Ann Leary.

Recommended by:  Jan, Admin

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

 

Walls Within Walls

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Title: Walls Within Walls

Author: Maureen Sherry

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books, June 2010

Summary/Review: CJ, Brid, and Patrick Smithfork (along with little sister Carron) don’t want to move from their cozy Brooklyn apartment to a sprawling penthouse in Manhattan.  But ever since their dad became a super-successful video game creator, it seems that their opinion matters less and less.  With their dad spending all his time at work and their mom spending all her time picking out décor for their new place, the Smithforks want nothing more than to just go home – their real home, in Brooklyn.  But when they find mysterious writing behind the wall, everything changes.  A mystery years in the making that won’t end until they’ve unraveled the clues hidden all over New York – and might end with a missing treasure…and a new idea of what “home” means.

This book doesn’t just have a typical Wizard of Oz “there’s no place like home” theme.  Instead, this is more of an underlying plot line which instead focuses on the beauty and history of New York City – complete with a study guide in the back which discusses what’s real and what’s fiction.  While the set up takes a while, the book’s pace picks up rapidly toward the second half, as the children focus on clues which incorporate history, literature, poetry, and more.  Although I was a little disappointed in how the librarian was represented, the author did a wonderful job of introducing late-elementary/early middle school readers to historical fiction.  It’s also a Nutmeg nominee for 2015, and is less heavy-hitting in the morality department than others, which could be a real plus.

Who will like this book?  A reader who wants to delve into the world of historical fiction.  Parents and children who are interested in mystery and suspense.

If you like this, try this:  There are tons of great mystery series available to children, some classic (Nancy Drew, Boxcar children) and some new (Mysterious Benedict Society, 39 Clues, All The Wrong Questions…).  If you’re looking for some more historical fiction, try Nathaniel Philbrick (who writes for adults, too!) and Richard Peck.  However, this book is unique in its history of New York architecture, literature, poetry, art, and everything else!

Recommended by: Lauren O, Library Assistant

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

 

Peach Keeper

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Title: The Peach Keeper

Author: Sarah Addison Allen

Publisher: Bantam Books, 2011

Summary/Review: Ever since Willa Jackson moved back to her Southern hometown of Walls of Water she has chosen to lead a quiet life away from society’s rich townspeople and the disgrace of her family name. However, when the 75th anniversary gala of the Women’s Society Club, which was co-founded by her grandmother, was announced strange things began to happen.

The event was being held at the glorious Blue Ridge Madam, a house that Willa’s family once owned and later lost generations ago to financial trouble. After years of neglect, the house was being restored by Paxton Osgood, a former classmate and current president of the club.

While renovating the property the only peach tree was removed unleashing a dark secret that was buried deep within its roots, leaving skeletal remains and a spiritual presence. As Willa and Paxton try to piece together the mysteries surrounding the tree, they learn more about their families than they ever knew and discover what true friendship really means.

Who will like this book: Anyone who enjoys a good story that deals with family secrets, friendship, love, and a bit of mystic.

If you like this, try this: The Girl Who Chased the Moon or Garden Spells, also by Sarah Addison Allen.

Recommended by: Sharyn, Circulation

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

 

 

Twisted Sisters

 

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Title: Twisted Sisters

Author: Jen Lancaster

Publisher: Penguin Group, 2014

Summary/Review:  If you are looking for a light, whimsical read that pokes fun at today’s celebrities, while tapping into some New Age methods for getting into someone’s head, look no further than this ultimate book on sibling rivalry.

Dr. Reagan Bishop has it all—she is pretty, in great shape, and intellectually superior to anyone else. She’s also a recognized psychologist on a hit television show, yet her parents never seem to acknowledge any of her achievements. However, they always boast about every little thing her sisters do. As different from Reagan as they can be, Geri is a hairdresser that still lives in her parent’s basement and Mary Mack is married with a bunch of kids.

Although she appears to be in-control, Reagan spends most of her time trying to figure out what her sisters have that make everyone fall all over them. Some of the comments and observations made by Reagan about her sisters and others will make you laugh out loud. With a lack of friends, invitations, and a boyfriend who constantly wants to “take a break”, she can’t understand why it’s so hard for her. It’s only when she has a chance to walk a mile in her Geri’s shoes that she gets a true understanding of her sister. Not only does she view her sister in a different light, but she is able to really see herself as others see her.

Who will like this book: Anyone looking for a quick, fun read and who can relate to the exchanges between sisters.

 If you like this, try this: The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes.

Recommended by: Sharyn, Circulation

If you think 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!

Breed, Chase Novak

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Title: Breed

Author: Chase Novak

Publisher: Mulholland Books, 2012

Summary/Review: Desperate to have a child of their own, a New York couple travels to Slovenia for a radical procedure which has horrifying results.

Alex and Leslie Twisden have tried just about everything to conceive a child but nothing has worked and they are running out of options. When former members of their infertility support group end up pregnant, Alex insists on knowing the secret to their success. This information and the Twisden’s desire to conceive lead them to Slovenia and the mysterious Dr. Kis. After undergoing a barbaric procedure, Leslie winds up pregnant and eventually gives birth to two healthy children, Adam and Alice.

When hormones can no longer be blamed for the new, strange and depraved thoughts and desires of Alex and Leslie, the true horror of Dr. Kis’ fertility treatment is discovered. Will it be in time to save their children?

Truly creepy and not for the squeamish, this novel is a wild ride. Fast paced and well written, you’ll be talking about this one for a while. 

Who will like this book? If you like horror and are looking for something a little different, this book is for you.

 If you like this, try this: “The Devil in Silver” by Victor LaValle has similar themes and creepiness, though his takes place in a mental institution.  If you’re interested in branching out into horror, Stephen King is always a safe (and popular) bet, as well as Dean Koontz – and for the classics lovers out there, “Frankenstein”, “Dracula”, and Edgar Allen Poe are also worth a try!

Recommended by: Sue B, Circulation Coordinator

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

Just What Kind of Mother Are You?

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Title: Just What Kind of Mother Are You?

Author:  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? Someone looking for a strong story that will keep you reading.  Someone looking for a mystery/thriller that also delves deep in to the lives of each of the characters.

If you like this, try this: “And Then There was One” by Patricia Gussin, in which three sisters go to the movies and only one sister emerges.  “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn, about a woman who disappears on her fifth wedding anniversary (and is being made into a movie starring Ben Affleck).  This is a debut by Daly, so be on the lookout for something else from her soon!

Recommended by: Sue B, Circulation Coordinator

If you think this would be a good book to try out, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or place a hold!

Help for the Haunted

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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?

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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

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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

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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!