Staff Choices

Posted by Auntie Anne. on 02/23/11
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Major Ernest Pettigrew is the embodiment of the British phrase "stiff upper lip."  A widower living in the small village of Edgecomb St. Mary in the bucolic British countryside, the Major is a staunch traditionalist, trying valiantly to instill his honorable values of duty and honor in his son, Roger.  Without much success, however.  But his idyllic world is about to be turned upside down.  His brother has just died, and his son and sister-in-law are pressuring him to sell a pair of very valuable Churchill shotguns given to his father by the Maharajah for his courageous military service.  Lord Dagenham is broke and is about to sell off his ancestral estate of Edgecomb St. Mary to greedy American developers.  And the Major has fallen in love with an Indian widow who is a local shopkeeper.  That should make a few ripples in the tranquil waters of Edgecomb St. Mary society!
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand is not just a delightful, charming and poignant novel (which it is).  The author deftly deals with serious social issues with empathy and humor.  Helen Simonson talks about her heart-warming first novel.
Posted by cclapper on 02/18/11
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1952 - South Africa:  Hitler has been defeated... but the ideas that fired his Reich still burn in other regions of the world.  Particularly in South Africa, where the Afrikaner Broederbond, the 'brotherhood of the blood", exert an unspoken but devastatingly powerful influence everywhere.  Apartheid has just become law and the cultural abyss between blacks, whites and "colored" is titanic.  ("Colored" was their term for people of mixed racial heritage.) 
And then- a man is murdered.  A powerful white Afrikaner police official.  Political and social  tensions coil like mambas waiting for the first misstep. 
And Detective Emmanuel Cooper walks into the middle of it.
Wow.  This is Malla Nunn's first book.  I knew nothing of South Africa in this period; this is an eye-opener.  Check out the cover blurbs.  Give it a try.  I think this author has some good stuff coming. 
Let me know what you think.
Posted by jkadus on 02/18/11
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At 14, Finny “Delphine” Short feels like a misfit around her family.  One day as she wanders the countryside behind her home, she encounters an odd boy named Earl. From that chance meeting, an unlikely friendship and an even more unlikely romance blossom between the two.  When her parents discover the true nature of her relationship with Earl, Finny is sent away to boarding school.  Upon arrival, she is greeted by the formidable hall matron Poplan, a diminutive and practical woman who takes Finny under her care.  Finny’s roommate, Judith, is wealthy, worldly though not too wise.  Despite their disparate personalities, they immediately form a bond which will last the rest of their lives. Throughout the course of Finny’s life, these three characters serve as catalysts to encourage her as well as providing a sense of stability.  This is a well written story of love, loss and living.


Posted by Pam I am on 02/17/11
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Maybe This Time is a modern day twist on a familiar ghost story -- Turn of the Screw.  Andie is persuaded by her ex-husband, North Archer, to serve as a nanny for his niece and nephew for one month as they were recently  orphaned when their aunt died. They have been left alone with just a housekeeper in an enormous old mansion.  Andie arrives to find the old house inhabited by haunted spirits and an extremely creepy and inept housekeeper.
Also arriving at the mansion are a journalist reporting on the hauntings, Andie's ex-brother-in law, a ghost investigator, a woman leading a seance, and North Acher, her ex-husband.  That is when Andie begins to question her feelings for North and thinks maybe they could work this time!  This book was a fun, lively (pun intended) read.  Especially around Valentines Day!
Chick Lit
Posted by Uncle Will on 02/14/11
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Imagine looking past cottonwood trees out at the Gulf of Mexico through flimsy gauze.  The air is salty, the waves are commanding, and the entire atmosphere is sweaty and thick with insects. 
This is the feeling you get reading Koryta's new novel that takes place on the coast of Florida in the mid 1930's.  Depression has taken its toll on the post-WW I veterans who are forced to seek labor in work camps throughout the country.  Arlen Wagner is one of those ex-Marines who is struggling to survive. 
Arlen's struggles are compounded because he has a special gift or curse.  He can look a person in the eyes and see their death.  While  train traveling with his naive co-worker, young Paul Brickhill, arlen sees death in all of his fellow passengers and quickly convinces Paul to exit the train with him. 
Their sudden exit leaves them alive to survive the horrific train crash down the rail, but stranded in a remote region with little resources.  They hitchhike with a shady stranger who takes them to the Cypress House and introduces them to the lovely and mysterious Rebecca Cady, owner of the hotel/bar. 
A hurricane is brewing and the two travelers must take shelter with Rebecca.  Their transporter, Walt Sorenson, is suddenly killed and both innocent men are arrested by the corrupt local Sheriff.  They are tortured in their holding cells by order of an evil, powerful politician, Wade Solomon.  
Solomon has far-reaching control over all the citizens in his territory and is the county's sole contender for Crime-Boss-of-the-Year.  The Cypress House is the center of Solomon's smuggling operation and he has Rebecca's world held ransom.    The new travelers are not welcomed and viewed an interruption to his smooth running operation.  It doesn't help matters that Paul falls madly in love with Rebecca and Arlen sees death in his ward's eyes every time Solomon is nearby. 
What follows is a slow-paced, Southern story that meticulously builds towards a powerful ending. 
Posted by mingh on 02/14/11
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On her ninth birthday, Rose discovers that she has a terrible affliction. She can taste the feelings of whomever made the meal. She first learns of this when tasting her lemon birthday cake as made by her mother. The frustration and disillusionment of her mother overwhelms young Rose, who doesn't know what to do about it. She is too young to articulate what she feels in the cake and her mother misunderstands her.
Rose's odd brother is five years older than Rose and avoids her and most of the world. Her father spends too much time at work and not enough time with the family. Rose begins to crave snacks made in factories because they lack any human interference. She doesn't know how to talk to anyone in her family and feels very alone. Her brother's friend George is the only nice person she meets. He finds her talent fascinating and always has time for her.
As Rose grows up, changes occur in the family, her mother becomes happy and Rose can taste why in her meals. Her brother becomes more and more removed from the world and soon Rose finds out that he too has a special talent. As readers we watch Rose grow from a child with a terrible torment to a young woman with a gift.
A dark, despairing but ever hopeful story.
Posted by jfreier on 02/09/11
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When Joe Pickett's oldest daughter Sheridan gets a message saying "tell Sheridan April called" Joe is shaken to his core. April was his adopted daughter who was killed in a massacre six years earlier in the book "Winterkill", or was she? Joe with the help of his daughter, F.B.I agent Coons and an old friend and fugitive Nate Romanowski set out to find out if April still lives. The case is fueled by cryptic texts from April who is heading west from Chicago in the company of mobster "Stenko" and his loony son Robert. This is a fun ride featuring great characters and western settings, looking forward to reading more by C.J.Box.
Posted by Uncle Will on 02/07/11
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This is the 5th installment of Patterson's Michael Barrett series.  The densely populated NY detective
takes a much needed Long Island vacation with his 10 adopted children and their nanny, Mary Catherine,
in tow.  The springtime romance of Michael and Mary Catherine has blossomed into a summer fling.  Just as
the 4th of July of all relationships is about to set off fireworks, a different set of fireworks explodein the city.

A copycat killer is reproducing some of NYC's most sinister past crimes.  Bombs are booming.  Bodies are
bouncing and it isn't even safe to sit and smooch in a parked car anymore, since Son of Sam Part II is playing at a parking lot near you!  

While Michael juggles his vacation and his assignment as chief investigator of the mounting multiple homicides, a couple of local Long Island bullies are beating-up some of the Barrett boys on the beach. 

If that isn't enough, FBI beauty, Emily Parker, is asked to team with Michael again.  The sparks were flying high the last time the two lawmen occupied the same zip code and Michael's new feelings for Mary Catherine are tested.  

Which lovely lady will Michael choose?  Will the Barrett boys survive the beatings?  Will the killer be captured
before completing his mission of death?  Will Michael survive his daily round-trip drives on the Long Island
Expressway before both he and his vehicle come to a crashing halt?  

Patterson once again has written the perfect murder mystery.  As the title suggests, every thing comes down to the last stimulating second.  Tick tock. Tick tock.

Posted by Ultra Violet on 02/07/11
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This is Toby Ball's debut novel, and I can't wait for his second. The Vaults is a suspenseful tale of three men who get in over their heads while they try to unravel the secrets of a crooked mayor. It's an alternate history set in the 1930's in a nameless city that feels very real. Ball starts his story with Arthur Puskis who is the city's police archivist. For nearly 20 years Puskis has only left the vaults to go home and occasionally stop at the corner store. One day, he discovers a duplicate file. To his exacting mind, this is unthinkable. When he discovers a second forged file, he is compelled to leave his safety zone and investigate. Meanwhile, reporter, Frank Frings, is investigating the suspect mayor and his cronies. A bomb destroys the home of one of the mayor's underlings, and the local union is blamed. More bombings are on the way. One of the union's supporters happens to be a private investigator and he gets involved too. All three men spiral around each other as they piece together the complex mystery and reveal the truth behind the bombings.
Posted by mingh on 02/01/11
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Anton Waker grew up in a family of cheats and frauds. When he leaves the business of making false passports and other IDs which his cousin runs, the family begins to wonder. After all, he will need to become another person to escape his past and the past of his family.  Leaving his wife on their honeymoon in Italy to do one last deal with his cousin, Anton reviews his life, his loves and what binds a person to another.
When a corporate investigator blackmails a former client and girlfriend to dig into his and his family's background, Anton wonders whom he can trust. Can he trust his friend, his former girlfriend, his wife, his cousin, even his parents? This suspenseful swirl of a novel keeps you guessing along with Anton. Is someone setting him up to die?
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