Posted by Book Mavens on 21st April 2011
Title: The Diviner’s Tale
Author: Bradford Morrow
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, January 2011
Summary: Cassandra Brooks wants an interesting but ordinary life, but her gifts of divining and fore-vision are getting in the way. As a child, Cassandra was taught the art of divining by her father Nep, who was taught by his father, who was taught by his father and so on. She was soon able to divine the future as well, being able to predict future events even as a small child. The power of these visions was tragically demonstrated when her older brother, Christopher, failed to heed her warning and was killed in an accident.
As an adult, Cassandra is a part time teacher and lives a simple life with her twin boys, Morgan and Jonah. While dowsing for water for a new development, Cass discovers a young girl hanged from a tree. She must leave the area in order to call the police, who then scour the area but cannot find any trace of the girl. Cassandra’s integrity is questioned until the police find a young girl, Laura Bryant, very much alive but dazed and disheveled and living in a makeshift hovel. Credited with leading authorities to Laura, Cass regains her reputation, shaky as it was, but continues to be plagued by visions of the young girl she saw hanging in the woods. When Cassandra begins to receive threatening letters and confusing visions, she is forced to revisit an event from her childhood that she has kept hidden for years.
A different kind of ghost story, “The Diviner’s Tale” begins at a leisurely pace, allowing you to really get to know Cassandra and her family. The story gradually picks up speed until you find yourself flying through the pages to find out exactly who is haunting Cassandra. Fun read, not scary but definitely creepy.
Who Might Like This?: Readers who like a few ghosts with their mystery.
Recommended by: Sue B, Circulation Coordinator
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Tags: 2011 Releases, Crime, Family, Ghosts, Magic
Posted in Fiction, Mysteries & Thrillers | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 7th April 2011
Title: These Things Hidden
Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Publisher: Mira, January 2011
Summary: Though Allison Glenn’s parents considered her their golden child, they soon learned that no one is perfect. Allison deviated from the plan-she fell in love, had a secret affair, and started to enjoy life-until her grades slipped and her parents stepped up the pressure. That was six years ago. Nine months after ending that affair and hiding her pregnancy, Allison was accused and convicted of drowning her newborn daughter. Allison has spent the last five years paying for that crime in Cravenville prison. Released early for good behavior, Allison is now 21 years old, living in a halfway house, and working part time at Bookends, a local bookstore owned by Claire and Jonathan Kelby. It is clear to Allison that her parents want nothing to do with her; her younger sister Brynn isn’t taking her calls either. Brynn just wants to forget that awful night when she helped her sister give birth on the bedroom floor. She thinks of that baby all the time-being taken away by the swift current of the Druid River.
Twenty one year old Charm Tullia is a nursing student who frequents the Kelby’s bookstore. She has been taking care of her beloved stepfather, Gus, who is dying of cancer. Claire sees how difficult it is for Charm and the two have become friends over the past few years. Charm always asks about the Kelby’s five year old adopted son Joshua when she visits the store. As an infant, Joshua had been abandoned at a local fire station under the “Safe Haven” law and Claire and Jonathan adopted him soon after. Charm has a special interest in Joshua that the Kelby’s don’t know about.
This is a cautionary tale of the danger that comes with expecting perfection, from yourself or others, and leaving no room for failure. It is a riveting and fast paced story in which the greatest parental love has nothing to do with biology (the biological parents here leave much to be desired), but with the character and heart of the people who step in to take over where others have failed.
Who Might Like This?: If you like characters that stay with you after you’ve finished the book, and if you liked Heather’s last novel “The Weight of Silence”, I think you’ll like this one as well.
Recommended by: Sue B, Circulation Coordinator
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Tags: 2011 Releases, Adoption, Crime, Family, Friendship
Posted in Fiction | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 24th March 2011
Title: Night Road
Author: Kristin Hannah
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, March 2011
Summary:As a self-described helicopter mom, Jude is involved in every aspect of her children’s lives. Her husband Miles, and twins Mia and Zach would say she is too involved. Jude is especially concerned with Mia and her inability to make friends and fit in with her classmates. Popularity comes easily for Zach, however, which makes Mia feel even worse about herself. On the first day of school at Pine Island High, Mia finally makes a friend. Lexi is a new student and struggling with problems of her own when the two girls meet. Although Mia warns it will be “social suicide” for Lexi if she were to be seen with Mia, Lexi disregards the warning and the two become best friends. Lexi is welcomed into the Farraday family by Jude who sees the wonderful changes in Mia since she and Lexi became friends. As Mia, Zach, and Lexi go through high school, Jude wonders what she’ll do with herself once the twins go off to college. She has been so wrapped up in the lives of her children that she has forgotten who she is. When an unthinkable tragedy occurs, Jude’s love for her children and her ability to separate herself from their lives is put to the test.
Gripping and realistic, this novel was hard to put down. It is fast paced and well written and will resonate with adults and teen alike. Kristin Hannah is a fantastic story teller.
Who would like this book: Fans of Kristin Hannah; anyone who likes fiction with great characters. Teen and adults will enjoy this.
Recommended by: Sue B, circulation coordinator
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Tags: 2011 Releases, Coming of Age, Family, Friendship, Motherhood, Survival
Posted in Fiction, Teen Books for Adults | No Comments »
Posted by Merry Mao on 22nd December 2010
Title: The Paris Wife
Author: Paula McLain
Publisher: Random House, February 2011
Summary: This is the heartbreaking story of Ernest Hemingway’s doomed marriage to Elizabeth Hadley Richardson, as told from Hadley’s perspective. Though Hadley is apprehensive about marrying the younger Hemingway, she is in love and caught up in the exciting life she is sure she will have with him. Hemingway is still unknown as an author and is struggling to write the great novel that will finally get him recognized. Hadley gives the emotional support that Hemingway needs when facing criticism and rejection. This was “the lost generation” however, and Hemingway’s morals and values left much to be desired. While Hadley was the supportive, loving wife and mother, Hemingway was a cad. Apparently he realized his mistake several years later. In Hemingway’s memoir “A Moveable Feast”, regarding Hadley he wrote “I wished I had died before I loved anyone but her.”
This is a moving, wonderfully written novel that sweeps you up and doesn’t let go until the very end. Though many readers will already know how the story turns out (considering Hadley is the first of Ernest’s four wives), Hadley’s story is one of love and resilience. With so many literary figures thrown in, this story has a perfect balance of history and romance.
Recommended by : Sue B., Circulation Coordinator
Tags: 2011 Releases, France, Paris, Romance
Posted in Fiction, Historical | No Comments »
Posted by Merry Mao on 14th December 2010
Title: West of Here
Author: Jonathan Evison
Publisher: Algonquin, February 2011
Summary: In his newest novel, West of Here, Jonathan Evison blends past and present to create a mythical story filled with love, adventure and family dysfunction. Set in the fictional town of Port Bonita, Washington, the novel alternates between the late 1880’s when the town is striving to become a destination in the west to rival Seattle, and 2006, as Port Bonita readies itself to shed its past and move on to an uncertain future.
Evison has populated both eras with wonderfully developed characters. In the 1880’s, James Mather is an adventurer seeking to conquer the rest of the Washington Territory on the eve of its statehood. Ethan Thornburgh is a businessman determined to harness the power of the Elwha River by building a dam to bring electricity, people, and prestige to Port Bonita. The Klallam Indians have seen their traditions vanish and are struggling to co-exist with the settlers. In 2006 the descendants of these settlers are still contending with the consequences of decisions made by their forefathers. As Port Bonita makes plans to tear down the dam, the town must begin to reinvent itself. It is the perfect time for some of its residents to do the same.
I have to admit that it took a few chapters to draw me into this story. Looking back, I have no idea why because once I was in, I loved it. There is a great sense of place in this novel; I was transported back more than 100 years by Evison’s rich detail of the culture and geography of the Northern Pacific. The characters are larger than life while remaining true to life. My personal favorite is Dave Krigstadt who, in 2006, is employed by the High Tide salmon processing plant. Struggling with garnering respect or even consideration from those around him, Krig may be the one to finally break free of his family’s legacy of indifference from others.
Who will like this book? Anyone who enjoys historical fiction and adventure stories.
Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator
Tags: 2011 Releases, Adventure, Family, Washington
Posted in Fiction, Historical | No Comments »