Brandi T.

Kushiel's Dart

Saturday, November 11, 2017
Jacqueline Carey
Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey

Kushiel's Dart kicks off Michigan native Jacqueline Carey's epic historical fantasy series which spans three trilogies and has become beloved to fantasy readers.

In the land of Terre d'Ange, a place of unsurpassing beauty and grace (and not wholy unlike France in our world), where angels had walked and beget a race guided by the principle "Love as thou wilt," Phèdre, "a whore's unwanted get," is born with a scarlet mote in her left eye. Thus marked as the Chosen of the angel Kushiel, God's punisher, Phèdre has the dubious honor of experiencing pleasure in pain. Raised in the Court of Night Blooming Flowers, she is trained as a highly-skilled courtesan and spy and uses her myriad talents and skills to save her beloved, Elua-blessed land of Terre d'Ange.

I have both read this book and, several years later, listened to the audiobook--I enjoy it that much.

The wordbuilding of this novel, and its subsequent sequels, is fabulous, intricate though not confusing. Phèdre's tale takes her and her companion protector Joscelin on a journey from her home in Terre d'Ange's capital Elua City to the snow-encrusted mountains of the barbaric Skaldi (think Vikings and Germans), across the seas magically controlled by the mythic Master of the Straits to another barbaric land, that of the England-like Alba, and back to her native Terre d'Ange. This book is epic in scope and page count--but so very much worth it.

Political machinations, treason, love, danger, desire, enslavement, sacrifice, redemption--this book and series has it all, and more.

Ready to start your journey in Phèdre's world? Check out this first book as an ebook using your library card number and PIN on Overdrive to read on your computer or using the Libby app to read on your tablet or smart device.

(Need help downloading and using digital audiobooks and ebooks from the library? Visit the Information Desk or Book a Librarian!)


Brandi T., Reference

The Republic of Thieves

Saturday, October 7, 2017
Scott Lynch
The Republic of Thieves

In my last blog post, I reviewed Scott Lynch's second book in the Gentlemen Bastards sequence, Red Seas Under Red Skies. Just as I said then, once I finished that book, I ran to the shelves and picked up the third book in the series, The Republic of Thieves--and boy, was I NOT disappointed!

The Republic of Thieves is fabulous. While Red Seas Under Red Skies felt long and slow at times, this third book flew by and ended before I was ready for it to--a sign of a great book!

Just like the second book, The Republic of Thieves opens with Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen dealing with the brutal, near-fatal fallout from their grandiose schemes in the previous book. Miraculous workings set them up with their next job: win an election in the famed city of Karthain, home of the world's only magic-wielding people, the Bondsmagi, against an old, terribly familiar, and equally matched, opponent.

Interspersed with the fast-paced scheming and tricks to influence the election is the compelling backstory of Locke and Jean's former gang of conmen savants.

With stunning revelations about Locke's origins and a twist ending with dangerous implications for further stories, The Republic of Thieves both satisfies and leaves one hungering for more. I know it sure as the dickens did for me.

Ready to jump into this great read? Check our catalog for this book.


Brandi T., Reference

Red Seas Under Red Skies

Saturday, September 2, 2017
Scott Lynch
Red Seas Under Red Skies

If you love fantasy, then you should know the name Scott Lynch. His 2006 debut, The Lies of Locke Lamora, is a rollicking great read. Think Ocean's 11 set in a fantasy world with a dash of Robin Hood thrown in and you've nailed it.

Red Seas Under Red Skies, the second in the Gentleman Bastard series, finds con artist extraordinaire Locke Lamora and his trusty bruiser sidekick Jean recovering from the explosive fallout of the first volume by targeting the grandest, most exclusive gambling house in the world. In the midst of playing the long game to get their big score, the cunning, wise-cracking pair finds themselves on the high seas, living the lives of pirates and desperately trying to keep all the myriad lies and games going. Because the consequences of failure could be a fate worse than death.

Though long and a bit slow in the middle, the start of this adventure will get you hooked and the payoff in the end is well worth the time spent to get there. Once you've finished, you'll be racing to the shelves to get the next promisingly-titled book in the series, The Republic of Thieves.

Check our catalog for this book.


Brandi T., Reference

How to Pack: Travel Smart for Any Trip

Monday, June 19, 2017
Hithu Palepu
How to Pack: Travel Smart for Any Trip

I'm about to head out on an oversees trip and packing is always a source of anxiety and worry for me before big trips like this. So I was very happy to see this title among the Library's new books and checked it out straightaway.

This compact little book is full of lots of practical advice for efficient, hassle-free packing and includes blank packing lists at the end to photocopy and have on hand for future trips. I took lots of notes and really needed the sample packing lists.

I still need to carefully consider and plan what clothing I will pack, as my wardrobe is not as well-defined and composed as the author's own wardrobe seems. She's made suggestions for packing accessories which I will use, but I would have loved a resource lists for purchasing recommended travel bags and accessories, including both high-end and more affordable pieces. I also will not create a packing station in my home, as she suggests, but I do like her forward-thinking in having everything I use each time I travel well-supplied and ready at hand.

This was a quick read and will help me plan my packing more efficiently and less stressfully. I'd recommend this book to anyone who travels, whether on a fairly regular basis or only rarely.

Check our catalog for this book.


Brandi T., Reference

First Grave on the Right

Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Darynda Jones
First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones cover

This is the first installament in a fun, fast paranormal romantic suspense series. The wise-cracking, smart, capable, and kick-butt protagonist, private investigator, and Grim Reaper Charley Davidson uses her unique supernatural abilities to help solve murders in Albuquerque, NM. She's surrounded by a wonderful cast of secondary characters who add flavor and fun to Charley's exploits.

One warning to you: once you start this series, you will not be able to stop! Luckily for us all, author Darynda Jones recently published the 10th book in the series and shows no signs of stopping soon!

So, grab this first book, sit back, and hang on for a wild ride in Charley's world, which just keeps getting better and better!

Check our catalog for this book.


Brandi T., Reference

A Curious Beginning

Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Deanna Raybourn
A Curious Beginning

I simply loved this historical mystery set in Victorian England right at the time of the Queen's golden jubilee. It is a well-paced, engaging story with snappy dialogue and great main characters: the intrepid, intelligent adventuress Veronica Speedwell and the intriguing, ill-tempered recluse Stoker. Murder, intrigue, and mystery abound in this tale of mysterious origins, thwarted abductions, and secrets which could bring the British Empire to its knees and the world to war. A quick, fun read and great start to a series!

Check our catalog for this book.


Brandi T., Reference

Leaving the OCD Circus

Monday, January 9, 2017
Kirsten Pagacz
Leaving the OCD Circus: Your Big Ticket Out of Having to Control Every Little Th

Your Big Ticket Out of Having to Control Every Little Thing


Kirsten Pagacz, local business owner of Retro-A-Go-Go here in Howell, gives an unflinching account of living with undiagnosed obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) for over 20 years.

Never having heard of OCD until her early 30s, Kirsten was a slave to the demanding Sergeant-turned-merciless, wild Monkey that was her OCD starting at the young age of nine years old.

Suffering in silence, hiding the anxiety and fear that was her constant companion, Kirsten fell into the increasingly desperate cycle of obsessions and compulsions, seeking escape in the dangerous world of drugs and alcohol.

She eventually found her way out of substance abuse into a healthy, loving relationship and a successful career. Only she led a double life: one of a young, happy professional woman and the hidden, debilitating other of doubt, rules, and fear.

Shortly after a crippling public breakdown, Kirsten learned of OCD, discovering her frightening taskmaster had a name. With this discovery and validation that she had a real medical disorder from which many others also suffer, she began treatment, taking the first step on a long, difficult, even painful road to recovery and management.

Part memoir, part self-help guide, Leaving the OCD Circus is Kirsten’s offering of hope and help to fellow sufferers, as well as insight and understanding for their loved ones, from someone with intimate knowledge and experience—an insider, a sufferer, a survivor.

If you or anyone you know has or may have OCD, this book is essential reading. Check for it in our catalog.

Kirsten will giving a book talk and signing here at the Howell Library on Saturday, January 28, 2017 at 2pm. Sign up here to attend this free event.


Brandi T., Reference

J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World Movie Magic

Monday, November 14, 2016
Jody Revenson
J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World Movie Magic

Volume 1: Extraordinary People and Fascinating Places


Are you a Potterhead of the first order? Did you come to our library’s Harry Potter Day this past Saturday, November 12, 2016? Are you ready to see more of J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World in the upcoming new film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, opening this Friday? Then this book is for you!

In it, you'll get brief, fun look at the production of the movies Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and the Harry Potter films full of tidbits about set design, costume design, art design, and other behind-the-scenes info with lots of full-color photos and illustrations. A quick read recommended for fans of the Harry Potter films and his magical world.

Check our catalog for this book.


Brandi T., Reference

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.

Check our catalog for this book.


Brandi T., Reference

Mrs. Jeffries Series

Friday, June 3, 2016
Emily Brightwell
The Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries

In this Victorian cozy mystery series, the kind-hearted, well-meaning, and oblivious Scotland Yard Inspector Gerald Witherspoon owes his success at solving murders to his housekeeper, Mrs. Jeffries, a whip-smart lady who could give Miss Marple a run for her money. Along with the rest of the household's servants, the policeman’s widow with superior sleuthing skills of her own helps her unwitting employer in his homicide investigations. In the first book of the series, The Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries, the sudden death of an unlikable doctor sets Inspector Witherspoon and his servants on the path of the culprit.

I listen to the books on audio. The audiobooks are well read by Lindy Nettleton. The first eight of the series are available as downloadable audiobooks through the library.

I love cozy mysteries and these books hit the spot. With 34 books in this series (the most recent of which was published this year, in 2016), this series-junkie shall be kept quite happy for a good while!


Interested in reading books in this series? Check our catalog.

Want to listen to the downloadable digital audiobooks on your mobile device using the Overdrive app, or simply stream them through your computer? Sign in to the MCLS Overdrive website using your library card number and PIN. Then simply search for the author Emily Brightwell to see all the available Mrs. Jeffries audiobooks.

(Need help downloading and using digital audiobooks and ebooks from the library? Visit the Reference Desk or Book a Librarian!)


Brandi T., Reference


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