Fiction

The Seafront Tearoom

Monday, September 19, 2016
Vanessa Greene
The Seafront Tearoom

The female friendships that develop in this cozy book are so sweet and will warm your heart and soul--just like the scrummy pastries and good cups of tea that the characters so generously eat and imbibe in this contemporary British novel. The characters are thoughtful and sympathetic, particularly the three protagonists Charlie, Kat, and Séraphine. While serious issues arise for each in turn, the conflicts and problems are resolved with satisfaction and heart. I found myself thinking of my close girlfriends as I read and how there’s nothing like a really good cup of tea and delicious cakes to bring people together.

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Brandi T., Reference

Lilac Girls

Thursday, September 8, 2016
Martha Hall Kelly
Lilac Girls

The story centers around the lives of three very different women, from different countries – the United States, Poland, and Germany – whose lives are irrevocably changed by World War II.

Caroline Farriday is a socialite working in New York’s French Consulate when Hitler’s army invades Poland. Kasia Kuzmerick is a Polish teenager drawn into the resistance underground as a courier when her hometown is occupied by the Nazis. Herta Oberhauser, newly graduated from medical school in Germany, longs for a career as a surgeon that will improve her difficult financial situation.

These three lives are set on a collision course when Kasia is sent to Ravensbruck, the notorious concentration camp for women - the camp where Herta has taken a position that will lead her far from the respected doctor she hoped to be.

From New York to Paris, Poland, and Germany, the struggles of Caroline, Kasia, and Herta to survive the chaos of the world around them are in some cases redemptive, but always heartbreaking. Inspired by the real life Caroline Farriday, Marth Hall Kelly has written a touching debut novel.

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Sue A., Reference

Girl on a Train (Audiobook)

Thursday, August 18, 2016
AJ Waines
Girl on a Train (Audiobook)

What a great mistake! I downloaded the audiobook Girl on a Train from Hoopla, thinking I was downloading The Girl on the Train; two different books with very similar titles.

As a fan of audiobooks, this one did not disappoint. The narrator had a lovely English accent, which immediately caught my ear. I found myself wanting to drive the long way home, just so I could listen a few more minutes.

This was a fantastic mystery that had me hooked from the beginning. Anna, a journalist, is on a train and sits next to Elly, who is not only strange and fidgety but also leaves the train to jump onto the tracks. Was she killed or was it suicide? Listen and find out.

Find this audiobook on Hoopla. You will need your library card number and PIN to access it. Only Howell district residents may use Hoopla.

 

Tanya H., Reference

The Knife of Never Letting Go

Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Patrick Ness
The Knife of Never Letting Go

This is the first book in one of my favorite trilogies, Chaos Walking. This futuristic adventure book follows Todd, a teenager that lives in Prentisstown, as he struggles to uncover secrets that have been kept for years. Todd’s search becomes even harder because he has to deal with the Noise. The Noise that allows everyone around him to read his thoughts. The Noise that makes secrets very hard to keep. The Chaos Walking books kept me on the edge of my seat and I'd recommend them to anyone 13 or older!

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Miranda M., Circulation

The Children Act

Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Ian McEwan
The Children Act

The Children Act, as the title suggests, is about a law written in England to help protect the rights of children when the high court must decide on an issue concerning the child.

This rather short novel is about Fiona, a family high court judge, who must make decisions about a child’s welfare. The young Jehovah’s Witness, Adam, is 17 and legally unable to make medical decisions apart from his parents’ wishes. Since Adam has Leukemia and his parents refuse blood transfusion for their son due to religious reasons, Fiona must step in and make the decision for Adam as the case has been brought before the Court for a ruling by the doctors providing care. 

The Children Act is more of a character study than courtroom drama, involving the judge and a difficult and sensitive medical case she is faced with regarding treatment that could save Adam’s life. The consequences of her ruling in the case are at the heart of the story, but, despite the sobering topic, it was not a difficult read.

Fiona herself has an issue; the fidelity of her marriage is at stake, and the conditions her husband wants to put on the marriage (to make it open) makes for an engaging side story. Their problems are realistic issues acknowledged by married couples, but the decisions made by the high court and Fiona are much more pivotal than domestic issues. In the court cases, the effects of the law and religion can change how a life is lived; in the domestic arena, the problems are painful but not necessarily life-threatening. Gradually, through time, Fiona and her husband come to the realization that their marriage might be saved; the outlook for Adam is not as encouraging.

This author takes an already engaging story and adds an interesting element that makes it extraordinary. I'm glad I read this book as the writer has the ability to use words in a descriptive manner to make it beautiful prose.

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Sue H., Reference

Vinegar Girl

Monday, July 25, 2016
Anne Tyler
Vinegar Girl

Anne Tyler fans will be happy to know that she has written a new book! She had announced that her last book would be her actual last book ever. But this one is different. It is a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, and it is just great. In this contemporary setting, Kate is living with her father and younger sister and at nearly 30, seemingly stuck in a rut of caregiving. She works at a preschool where she is not diplomatic in her dealings with parents and co-workers; in fact she is known for her sharp tongue. Her father Louis is a sort of absent-minded professor, a medical researcher working on what he considers an important project. Her 15-year-old sister Bunny is in need of supervision, which is left to Kate. Kate doesn’t feel lonely, just unsettled as to how her life has turned out. Then Kate’s father has a proposal for her--literally. Will she marry his lab assistant Pyotr in order for him to stay in this country? His visa is about to expire and he will have to leave if he doesn’t get married. Her father desperately wants Pyotr to stay and work with him. This is someone Kate has never even met. The story unfolds from there, and it is so much fun. Anne Tyler writes so well about family and couple relationships that you almost feel like you know these people. It was a wonderful surprise to discover that she had written another book!

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Pat P., Tech Services

Three Wishes

Monday, July 18, 2016
Liane Moriarty
Three Wishes

I love everything this author has written; many readers may be familiar with more recent books. The stories take place in Australia, but that makes no difference, for each one of the characters in her books will remind you of someone you know. They are often funny, sometimes sad, but true-to-life tales of ordinary families in the real world. We may not all experience everything that happens, but we all can certainly relate to it!

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Sue A2, Reference

Hanging Mary

Friday, July 8, 2016
Susan Higginbotham
Hanging Mary

Fans of historical fiction will love this book which shows another side to the case surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The author draws upon extensive research to immerse you in the time period, facts, and characters in the plot. Mary Surratt was the first woman executed by the federal government, and the questions regarding this decision are still being asked today. Was she guilty? Did she deserve prison or the death sentence?

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Margaret B., Reference

Apple and Rain

Friday, July 1, 2016
Sarah Crossan
Apple and Rain

A beautifully written portrayal of the struggles, heartache, and disappointments a young teen faces in her family and school life. Keep the tissues handy! This is a powerful coming-of-age story.

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Kate D., Youth Services

The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge

Thursday, June 23, 2016
Michael Punke
The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge

I was intrigued when people started talking about the movie The Revenant. Their opinions were that the movie was very gruesome. The movie is based on the book The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge by Michael Punke. It is a pioneer story of sorts that takes place during fur trading and struggles with Native Americans. The “gruesome” incident was a man getting attacked by a bear. The fur trader’s back, head, and throat were raked by the bear’s claws. To me, the movie didn’t really show this graphic scene. When reading the book, I felt the injuries that he suffered and how a member of his company tried stitching up his raw skin to cover at least his throat so that he could breathe easier. Two men were assigned to wait until he was dead and bury him so that the rest of the company could complete their mission. The bear-injured man survived after the men deserted him, so thus he wanted revenge for them not helping him. They even took all his weapons. His will to survive compelled him to drag his body until it was healed enough to find sustenance and a way to travel to find the men who deserted him. He was even helped by Native Americans. I loved the survival skills that were mentioned in the book about finding ways to get food without weapons. I preferred the encounter of revenge that took place in the book rather than the movie version.

Check our catalog for this book, the audiobook, the Blu-ray and DVD movie version of it.

 

Geralyn B., Technical Services

 

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