Thursday, February 28, 2013

Now in Theaters!

Check out the book before you see the movie.  All available at your favorite library!

Parker (2013) Poster
Flashfire by Richard Stark
Recently Released as "Parker"

Parker is a criminal with a unique code of ethics. In Flashfire, he finds himself in West Palm Beach, competing with a crew that has an unhealthy love of explosions. When things go sour, Parker finds himself shot and trapped—and forced to rely on a civilian to survive.
Safe Haven (2013) Poster
Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships.  But even as Katie begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her.

Killing Them Softly (2012) PosterKilling Them Softly by George Higgins

Jackie Cogan is an enforcer, and when the mob's rules get broken, Cogan is called in to take care of business. This time a high-stakes card game has been held up by an unknown gang of thugs. Calculating, ruthless, businesslike, and with a shrewd sense of other people's weaknesses, Cogan plies his trade, moving among a variety of hoods, hangers-on, and big-timers, tracking those responsible, and returning "law and order" to the lawless Boston underworld.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Best Historical Fiction of 2012

Experience past eras with some of 2012's best Historical Fiction reads!

A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson

In 1923, Eva English and her devout sister Lizzie embark on a journey to be missionaries in the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar, while in modern-day London, a young woman's act of kindness to a Yemeni refugee results in an unexpected journey.

The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin

Years after her son's crucifixion, Mary lives alone and in fear, trying to piece together the events that led to her son's brutal death.

A Dangerous Inheritance by Alison Weir

England's Tower of London was the terrifying last stop for generations of English political prisoners. Across the years, four young royals shared the same small rooms in their dark prison, as all four shared the unfortunate role of being perceived as threats to the reigning monarch; Lady Katherine Grey, Lady Jane's younger sister, Kate Plantagenet, an English princess who lived nearly a century before her, and Edward and Richard, the boy princes imprisoned by their ruthless uncle, Richard III, never to be heard from again.

Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Patroclus, an awkward young prince, follows Achilles into war, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they have learned, everything they hold dear. And that, before he is ready, he will be forced to surrender his friend to the hands of Fate. Set during the Trojan War.

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

Depicts the downfall of Anne Boleyn at the hands of Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell as Anne and her powerful family fight back while she is on trial for adultery and treason.

The Chaperon by Laura Moriarty

A novel about the friendship between an adolescent, pre-movie-star Louise Brooks, and the 36-year-old woman who chaperones her to New York City for a summer, in 1922, and how it changes both their lives.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Emerald Isle: Teen Fiction

"To be Irish is to know that in the end the world will break your heart." 
~ Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927-2003), American politician and sociologist 

The Wish List by Eoin Colfer 

Fiction. After her first attempted robbery goes horribly wrong, newly dead 14-year-old Meg Finn poses a problem for the administrators of the afterlife: she's lived a life that's been split straight down the middle between good and evil, so no one knows whether to send her to heaven or hell. Instead, they send Meg back to Earth to give her a chance to either save or condemn herself. Fans of Irish author Eoin Colfer's wicked sense of humor in the Artemis Fowl books should enjoy this quick, entertaining story, which, while mostly hilarious and irreverent, packs a surprising emotional punch in the end.

The Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd

Fiction. Set in Ireland during "the troubles" of the 1980s, this moody and suspenseful novel opens with 18-year-old Fergus finding a small corpse buried in a peat bog (where he was digging up peat for his uncle to sell as fuel). Soon the bog is swarming with archaeologists, and Fergus ponders the mystery of his find while trying to study for the exams to get into medical school -- and avoid becoming embroiled in the IRA. Beautifully written, powerful, and occasionally painful to read, this coming-of-age novel gives readers a strong sense of life in Ireland during the time depicted.

The New Policeman by Kate Thompson

Fantasy. Fifteen-year-old J.J. Liddy lives in Kinvara, a small Irish village where there never seems to be enough time -- in fact, his mother jokingly asks for more "time" as her birthday present. And J.J. is astonished to discover that it might actually be possible! A tip from an eccentric neighbor leads J.J. to Tir na n'Og, the fabled land of the fairies, where the fairies reveal that time has been leaking into their world, leading to a lack of time in J.J.'s world and too much time in theirs. It's up to J.J. to help fix this dangerous problem...before it's too late. Rich in details of Irish music, mythology, and lore, this book is sure to enchant fans of chaotic, intricate stories.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pride and Prejudice Turns 200!

"I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! -- When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” 

This month marks the 200th anniversary of the year Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice was first published.    We've seen an abundance of re-imaginings  of this classic, from film adaptations, including the Bridget Jone's adored Collin Firth edition and Keria Knightly's Academy Award nominated version, to updates with horror-filled twists, and renditions with mysteries.  What's your favorite spin on Pride & Prejudice?  Or do you prefer the original?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

If You Love the Warriors Series

Try a read-alike for the Warriors series for stories of animals and mythological creatures fighting for survival, often during a quest and occasionally in partnership with people.

Redwall by Brian Jacques

When the peaceful life of ancient Redwall Abbey is shattered by the arrival of the evil rat Cluny and his villainous hordes, Matthias, a young mouse, determines to find the legendary sword of Martin the Warrior which, he is convinced, will help Redwall's inhabitants destroy the enemy.

The Guardians of Ga'Hoole: The Capture by Kathryn Lasky

When Soren is pushed from his family's nest by his older brother, he is rescued from certain death on the forest floor by agents from a mysterious school for orphaned owls, St. Aggie's. When Soren arrives at St. Aggie's, he suspects there is more to the school than meets the eye. He and his new friend, the clever and scrappy Gylfie, find out that St. Aggie's is actually a training camp where the school's leader can groom young owls to help achieve her goal.

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

When eleven-year-old Gregor and his two-year-old sister are pulled into a strange underground world, they trigger an epic battle involving men, bats, rats, cockroaches, and spiders while on a quest foretold by ancient prophecy.

Nightshade City by Hilary Wagner

Eleven years after the cruel Killdeer took over the Catacombs far beneath the human's Trillium City, Juniper Belancourt, assisted by Vincent and Victor Nightshade, leads a maverick band of rats to escape and establish their own city.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy Birthday, Judy Blume!

Judy Blume spent her childhood in Elizabeth, New Jersey, making up stories inside her head. She has spent her adult years in many places doing the same thing, only now she writes her stories down on paper. Adults as well as children will recognize such Blume titles as: Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret; Blubber; Just as Long as We're Together; and the five book series about the irrepressible Fudge. She has also written three novels for adults, Summer Sisters; Smart Women; and Wifey, all of them New York Times bestsellers. More than 80 million copies of her books have been sold, and her work has been translated into thirty-one languages. She receives thousands of letters a year from readers of all ages who share their feelings and concerns with her. 

Judy received a B.S. in education from New York University in 1961, which named her a Distinguished Alumna in 1996, the same year the American Library Association honored her with the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement. Other recognitions include the Library of Congress Living Legends Award and the 2004 National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

She is the founder and trustee of The Kids Fund, a charitable and educational foundation. She serves on the boards of the Author's Guild; the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators; the Key West Literary Seminar; and the National Coalition Against Censorship.

Judy is a longtime advocate of intellectual freedom. Finding herself at the center of an organized book banning campaign in the 1980's she began to reach out to other writers, as well as teachers and librarians, who were under fire. Since then, she has worked tirelessly with the National Coalition Against Censorship to protect the freedom to read. She is the editor of Places I Never Meant To Be, Original Stories by Censored Writers.

Judy has completed a series of four chapter books -- The Pain & the Great One -- illustrated by New Yorker cartoonist James Stevenson. She has co-written and produced a film adaptation of her book Tiger Eyes, and is currently writing a new novel.

Judy and her husband George Cooper live on islands up and down the east coast. They have three grown children and one grandchild.

From the author's official Web site at

Monday, February 11, 2013

Everything Old is New Again!

Enjoy these fresh adaptations from beloved classics!

Book JacketThe Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey 

An updated twist on Jane Eyre.  Taken from her native Iceland to Scotland in the early 1950s when her widower father drowns at sea, young Gemma Hardy comes to live with her kindly uncle and his family. But his death leaves Gemma under the care of her resentful aunt, and she suddenly finds herself an unwelcome guest. Surviving oppressive years at a strict private school, Gemma ultimately finds a job as an au pair to the eight-year-old niece of Mr. Sinclair on the Orkney Islands—and here, at the mysterious and remote Blackbird Hall, Gemma's greatest trial begins.

Book Jacket The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski 

 A modern take on Hamlet. Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin, until the unexpected return of Claude, his uncle. Forced to flee into the vast wilderness lying beyond the farm, Edgar comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who follow him. But his need to face his father's murderer and his devotion to the Sawtelle dogs turn Edgar ever homeward.

The Three Weismanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine
Book Jacket
A re-imagining of Senss & Sensibility.  Sisters Miranda, an impulsive but successful literary agent, and Annie, a pragmatic library director, quite unexpectedly find themselves the middle-aged products of a broken home when their mother, Betty, is dumped by her husband of nearly fifty years. Exiled from her elegant New York apartment by her husband's new mistress, Betty is forced to move to a small, run-down beach cottage in Westport, Connecticut, owned by her wealthy and generous Cousin Lou. Joining her are Miranda, who is escaping unexpected literary scandals, and Annie, who dutifully comes along to keep on eye on her capricious mother and sister. As the sisters mingle with the suburban aristocracy, love starts to blossom for both of them, and they find themselves struggling with the dueling demands of reason and romance.

Monday, February 04, 2013

If You Like Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak

Dana Stabenow's intricately plotted, witty, and sometimes gritty Kate Shugak mysteries paint evocative depictions of Alaskan life, from the rugged landscapes of its national parks to the idiosyncratic quirks of its citizens. Kate, a tough, intelligent Aleut working as a private investigator, meets colorful characters, wades through tricky Alaskan politics, and struggles with personal problems and relationships as she solves a wide range of intriguing crimes. Newcomers who haven't met strong-willed Kate (and her awesome dog, Mutt) should definitely start with the 1st book, A Cold Day for Murder; fans waiting to read the recently released 20th book, Bad Blood, may want to try some of the books below.

Winter Study: An Anna Pigeon Novel - by Nevada Barr
Intrepid park ranger Anna Pigeon returns to Michigan's Isle Royale National Park, situated in Lake Superior, where she once worked for a summer a decade or so ago (and she has the scar to prove it -- check out her 2nd book,A Superior Death, for details). Unlike before, it's bitterly cold as Anna joins a scientific group that's been studying wolves each winter for 50 years when the park's closed. Also on hand is a Homeland Security officer who's there to see if the study should be shut down and the isolated park opened in the winter. But before too much can happen, a dead woman is found, and Anna knows the wolves aren't the only dangerous creatures on the island. Kate Shugak fans should appreciate Anna's toughness and seriousness as well as the strong sense of place and the outdoor settings. 

Tough California PI Kinsey Millhone's 1st outing finds her working a cold case for Nikki Fife, the wife of a murdered (and philandering) divorce lawyer. Having served years in prison for the killing, Nikki's learned of some new evidence and wants Kinsey to find out who really murdered her husband. Like Kate Shugak, Kinsey is a loner (no pets, no plants, no kids, and no current husband) who can take care of herself, but who also has an inner vulnerability. Kate fans who don't mind leaving the cold climate of Alaska for sunny California should check out Sue Grafton's fast-paced, well-plotted tales.

In the sleepy rural town of Painters Mill, Ohio, the Amish and "English" residents have lived side by side for two centuries. But sixteen years ago, a series of brutal murders shattered the peaceful farming community. Kate Burkholder, a young Amish girl, survived the terror of the Slaughterhouse Killer but came away from its brutality with the realization that she no longer belonged with the Amish. Now, a wealth of experience later, Kate has been asked to return to Painters Mill as Chief of Police. Her Amish roots and big city law enforcement background make her the perfect candidate. She's certain she's come to terms with her past - until the first body is discovered in a snowy field. To stop the killer before he strikes again, she must betray both her family and her Amish past - and expose a dark secret that could destroy her.