Posted by Book Mavens on 22nd December 2012
Title: Christmas is Here : Words from the King James Bible
Illustrated by: Lauren Castillo
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 2010
Summary/Review: Christmas is Here is a beautifully illustrated story for younger children depicting a live Nativity Event in a small town. The two page spreads show a family with their little dog walking through gently falling snow to the town green event. The little child peeps over the manger to see the sleeping baby portraying the infant Jesus. The story continues with the “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field,” the beautiful story and words from the King James Bible. The illustrations end with families gathered under the softly falling snow singing carols and concluding on the final page with the family of Mom, Dad, baby and child and little doggie. This is a peaceful, beautiful family Christmas story.
Who will like this book?: Someone looking for a beautiful, soothing book to read to their children over the Christmas holiday. It makes a perfect bedtime story for those who are too excited to go to sleep.
Recommended by: Cheryl, Children’s Librarian
Tags: 2010 Releases, Children's, Christmas, Holidays
Posted in Childrens | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 14th December 2012
Title: Light Between Oceans
Author: M.L. Stedman
Publisher: Scribner, July 2012
Summary/Review: After surviving four years of war on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a position as lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock. Although the island is completely isolated, a half-day’s journey from the coast, Tom begins to find peace after years at war. On his first shore leave he meets Isabel, a bold young woman full of life and joy. As the two fall in love and she agrees to marry him they both envision a life of beauty and adventure in the lighthouse. Years later, after the hardship of living in isolation and after repeated miscarriages and a still birth Isabel is no longer the joyful woman Tom married. Then one day a boat washes to shore carrying a dead man and a living baby, and Tom and Isabel make a decision that will carry repercussions for years to come. In their years of isolation and hardship they’ve lost sight of the lives they effect on the mainland.
This was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. The story is rich with emotions and you will feel yourself getting pulled in to their story. Would you make the same decisions? And once made would you stick to them no matter what? Tom is torn between what he knows is right and wanting to make Isabel happy after her years of heartbreak. Most stories have a clear picture of right and wrong and the characters you are pulling for. Although there is heartbreak in this story the resolution is honest and real.
Who will like this book? Anyone who enjoys historical fiction or is just looking for the best book written this year.
If you like this, try this: If you were pulled in by the intense plot, “The Snow Child” by Eowyn Ivey deals with a couple facing a very similar issue. If you were more drawn to the writing, this is M.L. Stedman’s debut but keep an eye out for more from her in the future!
Recommended by: Linda, Circulation Assistant
If this looks like a book you would like to try, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available or place a hold! [Link will open in a new window]
Tags: 2010 Releases, 2012 Releases, Australia, Family, World War II
Posted in Fiction, Historical | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 14th July 2011
Title: Huck: The Remarkable True Story of How One Lost Puppy Taught a Family – and a Whole Town – About Hope and Happy Endings
Author: Janet Elder
Publisher: Broadway Books, September 2010
Summary: Four year old Michael is desperate for a dog of his own. However, his parents stand firm in not bringing a dog into their fast-paced New York City lives. For years, Michael’s yearnings for a dog are relentless. When Michael’s mother, Janet Elder, is diagnosed with Breast Cancer, his parents decide that a puppy will be the antidote to help Michael get through the emotional turmoil which his mother’s illness will cause. Huck, a sweet, mischievous, red-haired toy poodle, joins the family and soon wins over the hearts of the Elder family. Janet’s cancer treatments are over and the family takes a vacation in Florida leaving Huck in Ramsey, New Jersey with Janet’s sister. The suspense begins when Huck slips through the backyard fence and runs away. The family is frantic and brokenhearted so they immediately fly back to New Jersey to begin the search to find their beloved pet. Huck is lost in unfamiliar territory facing the threat of wild animals, swamps, freezing temperatures and fast cars. Soon, the whole town of Ramsey, New Jersey learns about poor lost Huck. Touched by the plight of the Elder family, they join in the search to find Huck. This true story has a happy ending, but first you will read about the seemingly impossible mission of locating a tiny lost dog. This book is truly uplifting and inspiring because it brings total strangers together sharing compassion and love.
Who might like this: Anyone who loves animals, especially dogs
If you like this, try this: Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love
Recommended by: Beverly, Branch Circulation Coordinator
Want to check this book out? Visit our catalog here to check availability and place a hold!
Tags: 2010 Releases, Adventure, Cancer, Dogs, New Jersey, Survival
Posted in Biography & Memoir, Non-Fiction | No Comments »
Posted by Merry Mao on 28th June 2011
Title: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
Author: Helen Simonson
Publisher: Random House, March 2010
Summary: The dignified and charming Major Pettigrew lives in the small English village of Edgecombe St. Mary. He is a widower with impeccable manners, a true gentleman who seems to have stepped out of a Jane Austen novel. Major Pettigrew develops a friendship with Mrs. Ali, an educated, cultured, and thoughtful Pakistani village shopkeeper. They bond over the loss of their spouses and as their friendship develops they commiserate over their difficult relatives.
Pettigrew’s son Roger thinks his father is stuffy and does not approve of his friendship with Mrs. Ali. The Major feels Roger has no time for him and that “children were no sooner gone from the nest and established in their own homes….than they began to infantilize their own parents and wish them dead, or at least in assisted living.” Mrs. Ali is being pressured by relatives to give up her store to her nephew, who when told Major Pettigrew was taking her to a dance “looked at the Major as if he were a strange bug discovered in the bathtub.”
Written with wit and humor, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand is a charming, touching, endearing love story which will especially appeal to the reader who may enjoy an updated and light version of Jane Austen.
Recommended by: Paula, Reference Assistant
Summary: I fell in love with widower Major Ernest Pettigrew about six pages in! The story takes place in a quaint English village, where the Major’s brother’s sudden death and the propriety of a family heirloom spark an unexpected friendship with a local shopkeeper, Mrs. Jasmina Ali. His quiet world changes as he deals with his growing affection for Mrs. Ali (after all they share a love of literature), his yuppie, shallow son, and the various unattached ladies in the village vying for him. It is a charming and endearing love story. The Major’s wry, witty humor combined with his chivalrous old fashioned courtesy, yet sarcastic jabs about modern situations had me laughing out loud. There is a gentle humor and a quiet lovely rhythm with a romantic twist that will appeal to both sexes. I kept picturing Sir John Gielgud delivering the Major’s lines! Such a wonderful debut novel!
Recommended by: Cindy B., Children’s Department
Does this look like a book you’d enjoy reading? Click here to visit our catalog and place a hold or see availability!!
Tags: 2010 Releases, Debut Novel, England, Racism, Relationships, Widow
Posted in Fiction, Popular | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 23rd June 2011
Title: Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln’s Corpse
Author: James Swanson
Publisher: William Morrow, September 2010
Summary: Beginning with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Bloody Crimes tells the parallel stories of Lincoln’s final journey home and Davis’s flight and ultimate capture. Swanson details the events immediately following the shooting of Lincoln, including the chaos at the Peterson house where Lincoln’s body was taken immediately following the attack. From the hysterical and inconsolable Mary Lincoln to the doctors and government officials who came and went throughout the evening, the Peterson house became the first place of mourning. When Mary Lincoln finally decided on Springfield as the President’s final resting place, the death pageant began. The journey by train took thirteen days, covered 1,645 miles and never deviated from the master timetable. Lincoln’s coffin was displayed in 10 cities along the way. Each city hastily constructed viewing chambers for their honored guest, and each city tried to make their display more elaborate than the last. Cleveland constructed a “temporary outdoor pavilion” made to look like a Chinese pagoda. Government officials, embalmers, and the coffin containing Willie Lincoln traveled on the train with Lincoln. More than one million Americans passed by the President’s coffin while it was on display and more than 7 million people lined the train tracks as the train passed by. To the many onlookers “Lincoln’s coffin became a kind of ark of the American covenant, possessing hidden meanings and mysterious powers.” Meanwhile, with the surrender of Robert E. Lee and the Union army closing in on Richmond, Jefferson Davis began his flight south. A $100,000 bounty (more than $2 million today) was placed on Davis’s head. This was twice the amount offered for the capture of Booth. Lincoln, who was always forgiving, probably would have wanted Davis to escape and live in exile, but after Lincoln’s murder northerners wanted revenge. Davis was one of the last to accept that the cause was lost and that the South was defeated, and he moved slowly-never wanting to appear that he was fleeing. Thirty eight days after leaving Richmond, Davis was captured near Irwinsville, GA and gave up without a fight. His flight took him “through four states by railroad, ferry boat, horse, cart, and wagon”. After his capture he began his 12 day journey to imprisonment and 2 year captivity in Fort Monroe, VA. This is a highly readable account of an important event in our history and Swanson does a great job of showing us just how beloved Abraham Lincoln really was.
Who Might Like This?: Civil War buffs and Abraham Lincoln admirers, and anyone who is interested in American history.
If you like this, try this: Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer By James Swanson.
Recommended by: Sue B, Circulation Coordinator
Look like something you’d enjoy? Click here to visit our catalog and check availability and place a hold!
Tags: 2010 Releases, Abraham Lincoln, America, Assassination, Crime, Jefferson Davis
Posted in History, Non-Fiction | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 31st March 2011
Title: The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey
Author: Walter Mosley
Publisher: Riverhead Books/Penguin Audio, 2010
Summary: Ninety-one-year-old Ptolemy Grey is struggling putting his thoughts into words, functioning in daily life, and remembering his past. He knows that he has something to offer his family, if only he can recall what needs to be done. After his great-nephew Reggie, the only one who looked after him dies from a drive-by shooting, Ptolemy spirals further downward. He meets Robyn, a seventeen-year-old family friend (more mature than her years) who not only cleans up his cluttered house and takes care of Ptolemy, but provides light in his tunnel of darkness. Unsure of her agenda at first, she proves more trustworthy than his family. Their bond is that of two lost souls that have found each other. After Ptolemy makes a deal with the Devil (a doctor who supplies him with experimental medicine that helps him regain his memory in exchange for his life), he starts to resemble the man he used to be. Ptolemy has always lived his life through the words and advice of his deceased childhood friend and mentor Coydog; their times together now become more vivid. We see how friendship, love, family, race, and aging affected his life. By stirring up many painful memories, Ptolemy starts reconnecting pieces of his past to the tasks he needs to fulfill. There were moments in Ptolemy’s life when he regretted that he did not do something else, but in the end, he was able to take matters into his own hands. For those who enjoy audiobooks, Dominic Hoffman lends a strong voice to this story.
Recommended by: Sharyn, Circulation
Look like something you’d like? Visit here to put a hold on the book, or here for the audiobook. The link will bring you to our catalog.
Tags: 2010 Releases, Family, Friendship, Love
Posted in Fiction | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 3rd March 2011
Title: Pretty Little Things
Author: Jilliane Hoffman
Publisher: Vanguard Press, September 2010
Summary: Author Jilliane Hoffman does it again with her newest thriller “Pretty Little Things”.
When 13 year old Lainey Emerson fails to return home from a sleepover, the police are called in. Detectives wonder why Lainey’s mother waited 2 days to call, and why she doesn’t remember the name of the friend Lainey was supposed to be with. FDLE special agent Bobby Dees, however, has seen this kind of neglect too many times before. Parents too busy or self-absorbed to give their children the attention and supervision they need. Many times these children run away; some are “thrown away”. As head of the Crimes Against Children Squad for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Bobby has developed a talent for finding these missing children and bringing them home. This talent has earned him the nickname The Shepherd among his colleagues. It is a nickname that has made him bristle since his own daughter went missing several months ago.
Bobby’s investigation into Lainey’s disappearance leads him to believe that she is the victim of an online predator. When a local television reporter claims that he has proof of several similar disappearances that the police have written off as runaways, Bobby fears that a serial killer could be at work, preying on these vulnerable children.
This is a thriller from first page to last. Making it even more chilling is the realization that the events portrayed in this novel could very well happen for real.
Who will like this book: Readers of thrillers and suspense, and anyone who has enjoyed Jilliane Hoffman’s previous novels.
Recommended by: Sue B, circulation coordinator
Think this book looks great? Click here to visit our catalog and place a hold!
Tags: 2010 Releases, Crime, Family, Survival
Posted in Fiction, Mysteries & Thrillers | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 24th February 2011
Title: Baked/Baked Explorations
Author: Matt Lewis
Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc. October 2008/October 2010
Summary: This winter has really been no fun. I’m not a real fan of winter sports so having fun out in the snow is not something I look forward to. Lurching spastically down a ski slope or falling on my butt on a frozen pond doesn’t leave me feeling invigorated and full of the joy of life. I prefer to pull the shades, draw the curtains, put on some music and bake, so two of my favorite books have been getting a real work out lately.
Baked (2008) and Baked Explorations (2010) by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
I knew I was going to love the Baked cookbook when I read Lewis and Poliafito’s philosophy of breakfast:
“As the first meal of the day, we think it should not be squandered on tasteless bran thingamajigs, dreary wheatgrass shakes and not-so-healthful nutrition bars…A glorious baked good is a wonderful thing to wake up to…Our breakfast philosophy comes down to this: We want you to go to bed with visions of lemon loaves and marble bundts dancing in your head.”
While you can feel virtuous and glowing with health digging into the oatmeal or bran flakes in the morning, give me a slice of lemon, lemon loaf, some double chocolate loaf with peanut butter cream cheese spread or some monkey bubble bread before I have to leave the house and spend a happy twenty minutes chipping ice off my car.
But it’s not just about breakfast. The Baked brownie recipe has been praised by the The Today Show, America’s Test Kitchen, AND Oprah. Lewis suggests serving them with ice cream – a most excellent suggestion. The maple cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting are another winner, and they contain nuts – an excellent source of protein.
The books are beautifully illustrated by Tina Rupp, a New York based photographer who specializes in photographing “everything that has to do with food.” Though it can be slightly depressing to compare your finished product to the photos.
My most recent experience with one of the baked recipes was the lemon, lemon loaf and it is a wonderful way to forget that the outside world is grey and cold and covered in really gross looking snow. After juicing the lemons your whole kitchen smells like citrus. Put on some Gloria Estefan, close the curtains and you’re in Florida.
Recommended by: Sue D’Num
Look yummy? To put a hold on Baked visit our catalog here or Baked Explorations by visiting here
Tags: 2008 Releases, 2010 Releases, Baking, Food
Posted in Food and Cooking, Non-Fiction | 2 Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 17th February 2011
Title: The Playful Brain: The Surprising Science of How Puzzles Improve Your Mind
Author: Richard Restak, M.D., with puzzles by Scott Kim
Publisher: Riverhead Books, December 2010
Summary: Did you ever look at a word puzzle and think, “I could never solve that in a million years!” Are you a whiz with crossword puzzles? Do expert Sudoku puzzles bore you, or do they frustrate you? Maybe Tetris is more your style? This book explains puzzles, how your mind works to solve them, and the lasting effects on the brain they can have by working on them – even possibly staving off mental deterioration as we age. Details include why and how our minds work, and puzzles that can help strengthen the different parts of your memory follow many of the discussions. The authors also provide explanations, tips, tricks and clues on how to solve all the puzzles, so if you’re curious to know how to be better at word games, or number games, or any other game, definitely pick this one up. The technical details are broken down into basic terms, so you can save your brain energy for the puzzles and tests throughout the book instead.
Who will like this book? People who enjoy puzzles, or maybe need some extra tips. People who are interested in psychology and how our brains work.
Recommended by: Merry, Webmaster
Look like a book you’d like to read? Click here to enter our catalog and place a hold!
Tags: 2010 Releases, Brain, Games, Psychology, Puzzles
Posted in Non-Fiction, Science & Math | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 16th December 2010
Title: Bill Warrington’s Last Chance
Author: James King
Publisher: Viking, August 2010
Summary: This well written and entertaining debut novel is from a local writer (Wilton). Bill, an elderly curmudgeon is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s and wants to force a reunion of his fractured family. April is his headstrong, rebellious teenage granddaughter and together they set off on a cross country trip. The bond between them grows as April becomes his caretaker as Bill slips further into mental fogginess. Their family rises above their dysfunction and band together to find them. Funny, warm and touching with flawed, but likeable characters.
If you like this, try this: I’d Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman and How to be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway
Recommended by: Cindy B., Children’s Department
Tags: 2010 Releases, Adventure, Coming of Age, Family, Travel
Posted in Fiction, Popular | 1 Comment »