Sue A.


Thursday, June 23, 2011
Karl Marlentes

Set on the frontlines of the Vietnam War, this is a gripping story told from the perspective of the Marines in the trenches and slogging through the jungle as they struggle to follow orders and stay alive under horrific conditions. They are forced to deal with not only the physical realities that the jungle brings to bear, but also the poor decisions of military leaders back on base that result in insufficient rations and ammunition to keep them going. The author is a Yale grad and Vietnam Vet who spent thirty years writing this book and it shows in the detail of place, the depth of story, and the heart-wrenching interactions of the men of Bravo Company. This is hands-down the best book I have read in some time. While nearly 600 pages, I couldn’t put it down.

Sue A, Reference

The Map of True Places

Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Brunonia Barry

Zee Finch has come a long way from her troubled youth to become a psychotherapist in a well-respected Boston practice. Things start to unravel for her when one of her patients, a bipolar mother of two young children commits suicide by jumping off a bridge. For Zee, the similarities between Lilie Braedon and her own bipolar mother's suicide when Zee was young is almost too much to bear. After the funeral, a quick visit to her father makes it obvious that his Parkinson's disease has progressed more rapidly than she had been aware of. Since he has suddenly kicked his long-time partner and care-giver out of the house Zee decides that she must take a leave from her job and stay in Salem not only to care for her father, but to sort through the emotional turmoil of both Lilie's death and the turbulent past of her own mysterious mother. Another emotionally compelling novel by the author of The Lace Reader.

Sue A., Reference

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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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Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show

Thursday, June 24, 2010
Frank Delaney

I have read some of Frank Delaney's previous novels and enjoyed them quite a bit, but I have to say it really took me awhile to get into this one.  The story centers around Irish vaudeville and politics in 1932.  When eighteen year-old Ben McCarthy's father uncharacteristically runs off with a traveling theater troupe, his mother sends Ben off to bring him home.  In the process, Ben falls in love with the same stunning young actress that his father has become involved with.  It soon becomes apparent that there is much more happening here than mere matters of the heart.  As political intrique shapes the course of events, Ben must grow up quickly if he hopes to rescue his family and avoid tragedy.  If you enjoy tales of Ireland, its people, and politics, you will probably enjoy this - but be prepared for a slow start.

Sue A., Reference

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This Time Together

Thursday, June 24, 2010
Carol Burnett

Reading this book is like sitting down for a chat with an old friend.  It's filled with lovely and humorous stories about Carol's rise in show business and those she's worked with along the way, from Gary Moore to Harvey Korman.  An easy, enjoyable read for a summer afternoon.

Sue A., Reference

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Starvation Lake

Friday, May 29, 2009
Bryan Gruley

This mystery is set in the fictional town of Starvation Lake in Michigan’s northern lower peninsula. Gus Carpenter has returned to his hometown to edit the local newspaper after a stint as a reporter at the Detroit Times goes bad. He’s not sure which is harder – returning home without the Pulitzer Prize he had in his sights, or continually trying to live down that one goal that got by him and cost his boyhood hockey team the state championship. But when the snowmobile on which his former coach had been riding when it went through the ice ten years earlier washes up on the shore of an entirely different lake, the investigation into the coach’s drowning is reopened. As Gus tries to put the pieces together he discovers that everything he thought he knew about his coach, his friends, and even his family is shaken to the very core. Let’s hope this first-time novelist has many more to come.

Sue A., Reference

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Winter Study

Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Nevada Barr
Park Ranger Anna Pigeon is sent to Isle Royale National Park to assist and observe the resident wolf packs’ habits and behaviors since wolves may soon be reintroduced to Rocky Mountain National Park where Anna is stationed. The winter study of Isle Royale’s wolves has been ongoing for fifty years but may now be in jeopardy due to the interference of Homeland Security who feels the park should be opened to the public in the winter so they can use it as a base to monitor potential terrorist threats along the Canadian border. Soon after Anna’s arrival, the odd assortment of study team members, biologists, and Homeland Security folks begin to notice unusual behavior in the wolves. As Anna tries to sort things out, the very survival of everyone on the island, including Anna herself, is terrifyingly called into question.
I love Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon series as much for her excellent depictions of the National Parks where they are set as for the characters and stories. I was especially interested in Winter Study because of its focus on the renowned wolf project conducted by Rolf Peterson and Michigan Technological University in Houghton. The book’s forward is written by Rolf Peterson.

Sue A., Reference


The Spellman Files

Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Lisa Lutz
If you’re a fan of Stephanie Plum (Janet Evanovich) , you’re going to love Isabel Spellman! Izzy (did I mention that Izzy is addicted to the tv series Get Smart ?!) has been working in the family’s San Francisco PI biz since the age of 12. When she tries to break away from her wacky, dysfunctional family and establish a life of her own all hell breaks loose. You’ll laugh out loud as you follow the antics of Izzy, Uncle Ray, and little sister Rae.
Sue A., Reference


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