Staff Choices

Posted by Pam I am on 08/13/10
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This book reminds me of a modern day When Harry Met Sally.  We meet the main characters Emma and Dexter when they "hook up" on graduation night from the university.   Subsequent chapters follow Emma and Dex over the course of the next 20 years always peeking in on their lives on July 15.  Emma and Dex begin as newly graduated students and stumble into adulthood never quite letting go of each other and never quite pulling it together.
This book allows us to think about what happens to the ideals we each have at age 20? What happens to those who didn't have any plans at all? Where will we be in 10 years, or 20? Will your best friend always be your best friend? This book follows Emma and Dexter tackling these questions both individually and through their friendship.  
Sometimes I loved the characters of Em and Dex and sometimes I disliked these characters.  Some of the situations throughout the book seemed plausible and sometimes the situations seemed too far fetched.  The ending was a dissapointment but no spoilers here.  This book was still well worth the read and a lot of fun.
Posted by emcinerney on 08/11/10
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In a world in the not to distant future, a U.S. government funded project researching a “vampire” virus creates chaos when one of its “virals,” or human infected with the vampire virus, manages to escape.  The virals quickly begin to attack humans, destroying everything in their path.   One major cities after another falls, as victims either are killed or made into vampire-like creatures, eventually taking over the entire North American continent.  “The Passage,” the newest novel by Justin Cronin, offers a glimpse at a world overrun with blood sucking creatures, the small community of humans trying to resurrect their way of life, and one viral that can possibly hold the key to their survival.  Cronin offers an incredibly detailed novel, filled with several characters with interweaving stories, several plot twists, and detailed, graphic descriptions. 
While it clocks in at a hefty 784 pages, do not let its size deter you.  Cronin paints a vivid picture of a struggling post-apocalyptic world and the young viral that offers hope.  It is incredibly engrossing, but at times can be confusing; with several different plots going on at once, along with highly detailed descriptions of several characters.  Sometimes, Cronin’s descriptions can be quite graphic and violent, but anything involving vampires and the apocalypse usually is. Cronin provides an engaging read that is the perfect book for any science fiction or horror fan.
Posted by mingh on 08/10/10
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Wyatt Hillyer has been estranged from his daughter, Marlais,  since she was two. The novel is one long letter to explain what happened between her mother and he. But also to give her background about her family and growing up in Nova Scotia during World War II.
Marlais' Grandfather becomes obsessed with U-Boats being off the coast of Nova Scotia. When one of the U-Boats torpedoes a ferry with his wife on board, he decides to bring the war to his home and his daughter's German husband.
This is a story of love and loss and the choices we make to endure.
Posted by Ultra Violet on 08/09/10
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From the city of Luthadel, the Dark Lord has ruled with an iron fist for over a thousand years. The Final Empire is such a disaster, that the legends of the days when trees were green and the sky was blue seem like a ridiculous fairy tale. The skaa are so oppressed that they aren't even considered to be people by the nobles. Kelsier is their champion, whether they like it or not. He was born a skaa but has the power of allomancy (the ability to manipulate metals to have incredible powers). Kelsier is a Mistborn, a rare type of allomancer who can use more than one type of metal. Kel knows that he can't put his plan in motion alone so he assembles a team of the most powerful allomancers for each type of metal. Through his search he comes across Vin, a teenage girl with remarkable abilities. Together they may accomplish great things but not without tremendous loss.

Brandon Sanderson does a fantastic job of creating an unique and believable world with characters that are very likable. Final Empire is the first of the Mistborn trilogy.

Posted by Auntie Anne. on 08/02/10
The Angel's Game is a prequel to Zafon's first award-winning novel, The Shadow of the Wind. The same hauntingly mysterious qualities that made The Shadow of the Wind such a great read are present in this book as well, with a bit of a paranormal twist to make things more interesting. The setting once again is a dark, gothic Barcelona, this time in the 1920s. The author approaches his central themes of literature, books and reading from a different direction - from the point of view of another author, instead of a reader. David Martin has come from a childhood of poverty and abuse to become a respected young crime reporter and very popular pulp novelist. But tortured by his own demons and the seemingly haunted old house he lives in, he writes at a frenetic pace as if possessed, and believing that he is dying. Tormented by the fact that the great love of his life has married his best friend, David accepts a commission to write a story that involves him in several murders and threatens his own life. The end of the book leaves you wondering if David was in fact possessed by demons, or did he himself become the demon he so feared.
Posted by cclapper on 07/27/10
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Ninja zombies... who want to check out a book without a Library Card.
Alien warlords... who won't return overdue items.
Yup. That's everyday stuff for us Library staff.  At last, someone is telling the truth about what it takes to defend truth, justice, and your right to check materials out.
And it's a graphic novel! We get to see the men and women of Middleton Public Library in dynamic action, blasting evil-doers.  Re-shelving. Negotiating with Library Administrators. Thrilling!
One minus - all those graphic images are surrounded with words.  Sometimes lots of words.  But sparkling among those words are glittering references to philosophy, warcraft, history and mythology.  In a whole new slant!
If ya' like this, there's more.  This is just the first in a series... And maybe this will become a movie!  Then everyone will know the real excitement us Library workers face every day!
Check this out!  (As we say in the trade.)
Posted by Uncle Will on 07/22/10
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Every time a new James Lee Burke novel gets released; it seems I end up playing hooky for a couple of days.  This time was no exception.    Burke’s words melt off the page like the Louisiana landscape he so aptly describes.
In this 18th book in the series, Dave is back with his best-friend Cletus, who are investigating the deaths of several teenage girls.   Alafair, Dave's adopted daughter, has hooked-up with a rich and powerful heir who is helping her publish her first novel while she is attending law school. 
Alafair is unaware that her new boyfriend has also hooked-up with a slimy ex-con author, who might or might not be responsible for the all the girls' deaths.
The back-stories for Burke's main characters are all colorful and important; however, one of the enduring things about this book series is that every story is independent and a reader does not have to follow them in any chronological order.  
It took a while for this book to be published.  It appears that Burke is slowing down as a writer, but there is no indications that he will ever suffer from any James-Patterson-type-disease where he is compelled to co-author and publish several books per month.
Posted by mingh on 07/13/10
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What would make a teacher enter a school assembly and start shooting? This is the question Detective Lucia May must answer in this novel by Simon Lelic. Were the dead targeted? Or just random victims?
Many of the chapters are the recorded conversations of the witnesses to the shooting. Detective May tries to find out if a brutal attack a week earlier was related to what happened. That attack was to be the subject of the school assembly. Bullying seemed to be what caused that attack. But by whom?
Other chapters show what life is like in this police precinct for new Detective May. The only woman in the office, May has to deal with the misogynistic tendencies and fears of the other detectives. Her superiors would really like her to wrap up the report and chalk it up to the actions of a madman. But May feels that there is more at stake.
A psychological study of a man who cannot take anymore and a woman who is understanding how he feels.
Posted by Ultra Violet on 07/09/10
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Most 19th century circus freaks were unfortunate people born with various physical deformities, however, there were individuals who chose to separate themselves from society; sword-swallowers, fire-eaters, snake-charmers and most of all, the tattooed ladies. The inate fascination with the forbidden along with the reputation of sexual deviance and primitive savagery that went along with tattooing until relatively recently made people willing to pay money to view a scandalously clad young lady covered with tattoos. What I found most intriguing in this book was the accounts of how common tattoos actually were for women throughout history. They were just hidden. Even Winston Churchill's mother had a tattoo which she concealed with jewelery. The Tattooed Lady is a gorgeous book filled with fascinating photos, well-designed graphics and vintage-style fonts that add to the mystique of the subject. An engaging book to read cover to cover or to just peruse for the pictures and captions.
Posted by jfreier on 07/07/10
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[This is the author's third novel and the first I've read and will be reading his first two soon.
The city of Chicago is the target of seemingly random murders by a sniper at various C.T.A  locations. Michael Kelly an ex Chicago cop and now P.I is on the seen of the first murder and as the killings continue the serial killer makes it clear that Kelly is personally connected to the killer.
The plot includes and F.B.I agent who seeks Kelly's help and the main event is based on an actual C.T.A crash from 1977. The story is fast, good characters and great descriptions of Chicago
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