Fiction

Three Sisters, Three Queens

Friday, December 30, 2016
Philippa Gregory

This story of Margaret Tudor, the quintessential English Princess of her time, and the often tumultuous relationship she shares with her siblings as she fulfills her predestine duty to be the wife of King James the IV of Scotland. 

Margaret Tudor is the narrator of this book, and when we meet her she’s a young girl of ten who worships older brother, Arthur Tudor Prince of Wales and is annoyed by the spoiled, childish antics of younger brother, Henry.  Mary Tudor, the youngest of the bunch, is a beautiful, carefree child still in the nursery and the sister of Margaret’s heart.  However, when Katherine of Aragon arrives at the English court to marry Arthur, Margaret’s entire world gets upended and jealousy begins to consumer her. She regards Katherine of Aragon as Katherine of Arrogant, and immediately envies her beauty, lavish wardrobe and jewels.  This jealousy dogs Margaret throughout the rest of this novel, and informs much of the precarious relationship she has with her sister, Mary, and sister-in-law twice over, Katherine. 

When Margaret arrives in Scotland to marry King James, a man seventeen years her senior and the greatest king Scotland has ever known, Margaret, often childish and self-centered, settles in to her new life and celebrates the fact that she is a true queen before both Katherine and Mary. While Margaret is the narrator of this story, the three sisters continue a correspondence that carries them across all the vagaries of their royal lives and the often brutal politics that shape their thoughts and actions.

I’ve read many of Philippa Gregory’s novels but was particularly interested to see how she’d handle the little known Margaret Tudor and her life as Queen Margaret of Scotland.  Although fictionalized and flavored with a relatable modern voice often reminiscent of a shallow, spoiled teenager, I really did enjoy this novel.  Philippa Gregory has a way of taking complicated history, distilling it and delivering it up for every person to enjoy. This was a very detailed, painstakingly researched account of Margaret’s life in Scotland.  The three sister-queens exchange letters and it is through these that we get a glimpse of Katherine and Mary’s most intimate thoughts.  Their lives are as fascinating as they are tragic, mirroring the time and countries in which they lived.  I believe this book is well worth the time if you’re a historical junky like I am.  My honest opinion?  I’d give this five out of five stars.

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Darci in Reference  

Berry the Hatchet

Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Peg Cochran
Berry the Hatchet

Winter can be a quiet time in the small town of Cranberry Cove near the shores of Lake Michigan. With the tourists long gone and the holidays over, it may be a little too quiet. So the mayor, Preston Crowley comes up with the idea of having a Winter Walk – a festival of sorts that will light up the downtown businesses and boost the local economy. Snow begins to fall just in time for the grand kick-off event which is to be heralded by the arrival of the mayor and the Winter Walk Queen by horse-drawn sleigh.  But the picture postcard scene is disturbed when, several minutes ahead of schedule, the horse and sleigh races down Main Street - minus the queen, but with the mayor slumped over with a knife in his neck.

While the whole town is buzzing over the shocking murder, Monica Albertson who runs the market at her step- brother’s cranberry farm, feels compelled to do some detective work of her own. Her mother, her step-mother, and a friend and owner of the New Age shop in town are all implicated as possible suspects. Monica knows that none of them can possibly be guilty – but can she prove it?

This is the second book in the Cranberry Cove series which delightfully captures the west Michigan setting and Dutch influences. Highly recommended for readers of cozy mysteries and Michigan fiction. Check the catalog.

Sue A., Reference

A Christmas Carol

Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Charles Dickens
A Christmas Carol

Have you read this classic? Or have you just watched one of the many movies made from the story? I must admit I had never read the novel. My husband and I read it to each other and enjoyed it tremendously. If you haven’t read A Christmas Carol or seen the movie it is the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly curmudgeon, visited by three ghosts who show him Christmas past, present and future, in hopes of saving his soul.  Of course it has a happy ending but the journey Scrooge takes and the people he meets are the stuff of dreams! And it is interesting to notice what parts of the original stay true in the movie adaptations and what are added. Each adaptation is a bit different. My husband likes the Albert Finney musical 'Scrooge' the best. I’m partial to The Muppet Christmas Carol.

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Jeanne S., Youth Services

Poison is not polite

Thursday, December 15, 2016
Robin Stevens
Poison is not polite

This is a sequel to Murder is Bad Manners

Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong part of the Wells and Wong Detective Society have another murder to solve. This time it is at Daisy sprawling countryside estate in England.  The cast of characters in this mystery have quite the flair for high drama. It’s a fast paced mystery which keeps you guessing whodunit. Enjoyable for readers young and old. 

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Kate D., Youth Services

Only Time Will Tell

Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Jeffrey Archer
Only Time Will Tell

I love when I stumble upon a book (or in my case an audio book) that delivers not only an epic tale, but provides a great escape.  Only Time Will Tell is the first novel in a series (The Clifton Chronicles) and tells the story of a family across generations.  What appears at the beginning to be a straightforward coming-of-age tale becomes a saga of power, betrayal, and bitter hatred.  There are many cliff-hangers and delightful twist, not to mention surprise endings.  The author weaves a very intricate plot that does not disappoint.   

In addition to the storyline, the two narrators have marvelous voices that make this audio book equally captivating. 

I have just finished the third book in the series; I think it’s fair to say I’m addicted.   Although the author will provide some background in the subsequent books, it is best to start at the beginning of this series in order to fully immerse yourself in the characters and their back story.

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Tanya H., Reference

Breaking Wild

Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Diane Les Becquets
Breaking Wild

Set in the backcountry of Colorado, this thriller slowly reveals the influence of single incidents in the lives of the two protagonists. Amy Raye Latour is a hunter. One night she breaks the rule her grandfather taught her: never leave an injured animal unfound. Vulnerable and distraught because she couldn’t find the animal she shot, she joins in a life-changing game with her cousins. Pru Hathaway is a search and rescue responder, who has used distance to dull the pain of her life-changing incident. Yet both women have astounding perseverance. Les Becquets alternates their backstories as Hathaway and her dog search for Latour who goes missing while hunting. The author writes a believable tale, with details about hunting and search and rescue procedures, about survival.

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Doris M., Reference

 

Lost Lake

Monday, November 7, 2016
Sarah Addison Allen
Lost Lake

Kate spent one memorable summer at Lost Lake Cottages with Aunt Eby. Newly widowed, on impulse she moves to Lost Lake with her eccentric eight-year-old daughter. This is a story about heartbroken people finding hope at a magical place.

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Sue A2, Reference

 

Manitou Canyon

Thursday, October 27, 2016
William Kent Krueger
Manitou Canyon

This is the 15th book in a series that is a "can’t miss" for me. When a man goes missing without a trace while on a fishing trip in the vast wilderness of  Minnesota’s Boundary Waters,  his grandchildren ask Cork O’Connor to continue the search after local law enforcement agencies give up. Despite the fact that his daughter Jenny is to be married in a few short days Cork feels compelled to help. Putting aside the sense of foreboding that November always brings he packs up his canoe and his gear and heads out to the lake where the man was last seen. When days go by without a word, Cork’s worried family heads out on a search of their own. What they find, is an empty campsite – and a lot of blood.  With an early winter storm approaching, Cork’s loved ones struggle to piece together the only clues they have to the mysterious disappearances, uncover the plot that could endanger an entire community, and save both men before it's too late.

Lee Child calls this series “One of today's automatic buy-today-read-tonight series...thoughtful but suspenseful, fast but lasting, contemporary but strangely timeless.”  Krueger delivers with the Northwoods  setting  and the interplay of the Ojibwe culture, and then wraps it all up in great stories filled with suspense and rooted in humanity.
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Sue A., Reference

Breaking Sky

Friday, October 7, 2016
Cori McCarthy
Breaking Sky

This is a great book for any action-seeking reader. This book follows Chase Harcourt as she flies a new fighter jet, the “Streaker.” On top of learning to save the world, Chase deals with the same problems of any other teenage girl. Tristan, another teen learning to fly the “Streaker,” creates plenty of boy drama in Chase’s life. Some past family issues also come back to haunt Chase but she learns to put everything behind her in order to save her country.

I loved this book because the plot was completely unique to any other dystopian novels I’ve read and kept me interested the whole way through! I’d recommend this book to anybody who's at least 14 years old. This book would be great for someone who wants something new and exciting to read!

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Miranda M., Circulation

The Rest of Her Life

Friday, September 30, 2016
Laura Moriarty
The Rest of Her Life

High School senior Kara runs a stop sign and hits another student, killing her. The book focuses mostly on the mother and how she deals with this accident. It is interesting how the community deals with this as does the court system. I read the whole book waiting to see if she had been texting or talking on the phone, but the book never dealt with that issue. Overall I did enjoy the book but felt it really did not wrap up by the end, which was disappointing.

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Sue N., Youth Services

 

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