Fiction

The Red Thread

Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Ann Hood

Maya Lange works with 6 couples who wish to adopt from China.  Having lost a baby of her own in a freak accident, her agency work brings her some comfort.  The book shows the emotions of the families as well as the complications of foreign adoption.



Sue N., Youth Services

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Trailback

Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Robert Vaughan

Todd Williams returns to Texas to take over the family ranch "Trailback" after his father's death.  He does so under an anonymous name because he plans on changing the longhorns out for herford cows.  However, he doesn't realize that the other ranchers won't " take to kindly" to the idea. This is a true western with action, a gunfighter and of course a pretty woman.  George Guidall does a great job narrating this story.  You'll laugh at some of the expressions and feel like you are watching an old John Wayne movie!  Check it out for yourself and enjoy.



Jan H., Technical Services

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State Fair

Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Earlene Fowler

The setting of the latest Benni Harper mystery is the Mid-State Fair in San Celina County, California. Benni's Grandma Dove and visiting Great Aunt Garnet are bickering as only sisters can do, so Benni is elected to entertain her aunt at the fair and keep her out of Dove's hair. When Benni and Garnet discover a body placed in one of the fair exhibits, they are drawn into the investigation since it appears that the crime may have been racially motivated to disgrace their friend and first African-American fair director, Levi. Amazingly, elderly Aunt Garnet is only too ready to solve the crime, inadvertently endangering herself and others. Earlene Fowler's depiction of the state fair atmosphere and California ranch life are vivid and her characters are real and heartwarming. Those who have been waiting (and it's been awhile) for another Benni Harper book will not be disappointed.



Sue A., Reference

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Water for Elephants

Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Sara Gruen

Water for Elephants is not a happy book, but it is filled with irony and packed with action.  It takes place in the 1930's and depicts a young Polish man, Jacob, and his life traveling with the circus.  Although his intention is to practice veterinary medicine, Jacob finds himself caught up with The Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth and his life will never be the same.

This novel is written as a flashback, so some chapters reveal what is happening to Jacob decades later.  He cannot remember his age, the year, or which of his children will come visit him at the nursing home, but his memories of the circus are still crystal clear.  I loved the fact that toward the end of the novel, Jacob's present life is explained by his past.

The cruelty of the circus is exemplified poetically in this book.  Jacob has to fight the ring master's brutality and still manage to protect the people he loves.  He is forced to watch as circus freaks endure poverty, hunger, and the chance they may be thrown off the moving train in the dead of night.  He knows the circus is controlled by fear, and he alone is willing to sacrifice everything to protect his friends.

I absolutely loved Water for Elephants.  It is rare to read a book both incredibly brutal and positively inspiring, but Sara Gruen's novel is both.

Gabrielle M., Circulation

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Secret Daughter

Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Two women, a poor Indian woman forced to give up her baby girl in order to save her life, and an American woman, who adopts the baby, tell this story from two very different viewpoints.  The book takes place in San Francisco and the slums of India.  The reader sees the wonderful family life of the wealthy when the now 20 year old student visits her Indian father's family for a year.  And she also experiences the extreme poverty of Bombay.  Such an eye opening book for Westerners.

Sue N., Youth Services

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Storm Prey

Thursday, July 1, 2010
John Sandford

There are numerous crime/police procedural series out there, and I've read parts of many.  But the series that I'm always waiting for the next one to be published is Sandford's Prey series starring Lucas Davenport.  Lucas, who sometimes has trouble following the rules, has had an interesting career path from police officer in the The Twin Cities to his current role at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.  Along the way there have been numerous relationships, friendships and plenty of "bad guys" needing to be caught.  One warning to readers - the crimes in the Prey series tend to be violent and the language can be rough.  Storm Prey (the 20th in the series) didn't disappoint.

The crime, a robbery of the Minnesota Medical Research Center's pharmacy, should have been a piece of cake as it was an inside job.  It was just meant to be a robbery, but ends up being much more.  Factor in that Weather (Lucas' wife) sees the robbers as they exit the parking garage, the surgery that Weather is team member on, and the attempt that is made on Weather's life and it's off and running in typical Sandford fashion.  Being obsessive-compulsive about reading series, I'd recommend starting with the first (Rules of Prey) originally published in 1989) and reading up to Storm Prey.  If you end up hooked like me, you'll be happy to know that there are a couple of other characters that Sandford chronicles as well.  FYI - John Sandford is the pseudonym of Pulitzer Prize winning journalest John Camp.


Holly, Youth Services

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The Aloha Quilt

Thursday, July 1, 2010
Jennifer Chiaverini

In this installment of the Elm Creek Quilts series, as Bonnie Markham attempts to deal with a bitter divorce, she decides to spend the winter in Hawaii helping an old friend set up a quilt camp at her inn on Maui.  A departure from the usual Pennsylvania setting of the series, I enjoyed the descriptions of the lush, tropical scenery, and the insight into the design and meaning of Hawaiian style quilts.  Quite a bit of Hawaiian history and culture is also relayed through the stories of the new friends Bonnie makes on the island.  Chiaverini's strength is in making you feel as though you're wrapped in a quilt among friends, and she rarely disappoints.

Sue A., Reference

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Cutting for Stone

Thursday, July 1, 2010
Abraham Verghese

All the praise this book has received is richly deserved.  It is many things - a big sweeping family saga, a medical romance, and a coming of age story.  Cutting for Stone is about twin brothers born in Ethiopia to an Indian nun and a British surgeon.  Prepare to be transported to another place, time and culture as you inhale the scents and sounds of Ethiopia.  This is a great book that I will read again.

Margaret, Reference

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Winter Garden

Thursday, June 24, 2010
Kristen Hannah

Although Winter Garden gets off to a slow start, it soon captivates and draws the reader into a story that will not soon be forgotten.  As Anya tells her "fairytale," it becomes evident that this is not an enchanted story.  Instead of a legend filled with love and romance, it is a terrifying account laced with loss, heartache and tears.  Set in Russia during World War II, this tale speaks too close to the nightmare that many endured during this oppressive time.  I had to read this book in spurts because the author so brilliantly taps into the heart of her readers.  Being a mother, I felt that this story speaks of the truth of the undying love we hold for our children, and no matter how difficult the circumstance, you pick yourself up and forge ahead to protect those we love most dearly.

What an excellent book!

Emily D., Circulation

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The Help

Thursday, June 24, 2010
Kathryn Stockett

This book is like putting on slippers after you've danced the night away in heels that pinched just a little.  First time novelist, Kathryn Stockett, hit a home run when she wrote The Help.  The story revolves around the relationships among different women and their domestic help during the early years of the 1960's in Mississippi, arguably the poster child for poor race relations in the United States.  It is not always easy to read, and I sometimes found myself embarrassed that these events (or something like them) happened during my lifetime in this country.  Ms. Stockett called upon her own experiences growing up in the deep South and writes with amazing realism, humor and heart.

I loved, loved, loved this book!  Put it on hold and wait as long as you have to to get it (hopefully it won't be too long!)  It is so very worth reading.

Kathleen M., Administration

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