“As always, Penny’s mystery is meticulously constructed and reveals hard truths about the hidden workings of the world―as well as the workings of the Gamache family. But there’s plenty of local color, too, with a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower to escape surveillance and a luxurious suite at the Hotel George V for good measure. If you’re new to Penny’s world, this would be a great place to jump in. Then go back and start the series from the beginning.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“Score another one for the dean of America’s crime writers… Fair Warning sheds light on the murky billion-dollar world of DNA testing… the subject [is] ripe for a good mystery. And Michael Connelly is just the guy to write it.”―Sandra Dallas, Denver Post
“Americanah” by Chimamanda Adichid – “…Americanah, tells the story of Ifemelu, a confident, beautiful Nigerian who immigrates to America. In her new home, Ifemelu struggles to adapt and to survive financially. But she makes it through college, starts an acclaimed blog about race, and wins a fellowship to Princeton. All the while she’s haunted by memories of her former boyfriend, Obinze. Soft-spoken and introverted, Obinze immigrates to London where he ekes out an uncertain existence before being deported. Back home, he becomes wealthy as a property developer. When Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, her old feelings for him are revived, and the pair find themselves in the grip of passion. Both are forced to make difficult decisions about the future. Adichie’s dramatic, sweeping narrative functions as an emotionally riveting love story, as a profound meditation on race and as a revealing exploration of the immigrant experience. It succeeds–beautifully–on every level. ” –Julie Hale. 608pg. BOOKPAGE, c2014.
“Auschwitz Escape” by Joel C. Rosenberg – “The strong religious conviction evident in Rosenberg’s previous novels (Damascus Countdown), which were focused on the Middle East and Muslim-Western relations, is reflected in his latest book–a work of historical fiction, about a heroic escape from the Nazis. Luc, a French pastor, who is sentenced to the Auschwitz death camp for helping Jews, joins forces with Jacob, a Jewish man sent to the camp after his attempt to hijack a train bound for Auschwitz fails. Together they plan to escape to tell an unbelieving world about the Holocaust. During the escape, the two form a strong bond, learning about each other’s faith and doubts. When Jacob questions why Luc has joined the Resistance, the pastor responds, “The real question is ‘Why aren’t all the Christians here?’ ” Rosenberg has done what he does best: create believable characters set in a political milieu and also in religious context, acting on conviction or exploiting religion for selfish or evil ends. This is Rosenberg’s most deeply moving work to date.” — Agent: Scott Miller, Trident Media Group. (Mar.). 484p. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2014.
“Claire of the Sea Light” by Edwidge Danticat – “In interlocking stories moving back and forth in time, Danticat weaves a beautifully rendered portrait of longing in the small fishing town of Ville Rose in Haiti. Seven-year-old Claire Faustin’s mother died giving birth to her. Each year, her father, Nozias, feels the wrenching need to earn more money than poor Ville Rose can provide and to find someone to care for Claire. Gaelle Lavaud, a fabric shop owner, is a possible mother for the orphaned child, but she is haunted by her own tragic losses. Bernard, who longs to be a journalist and create a radio show that reflects the gang violence of his neighborhood, is caught in the violence himself. Max Junior returns from Miami on a surreptitious mission to visit the girl he impregnated and left years ago and to remember an unrequited love. Louise George, the raspy voice behind a gossipy radio program, is having an affair with Max Senior, head of the local school, and teaches the ethereally beautiful Claire. Their stories and their lives flow beautifully one into another, all rendered in the luminous prose for which Danticat is known.” — Bush, Vanessa. 256p. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2013.
“Night Broken” by Patricia Briggs – “In the winning eighth urban fantasy (after Frost Burned) featuring coyote shapeshifter and car mechanic Mercy Thompson, Briggs adds Canary Islands mythology and garden-variety jealousy. Mercy is mated to Adam, the Alpha of the Tri-Cities werewolves. Adam’s human ex-wife, Christy, seeks refuge with the pack to evade a dangerous stalker: volcano god Guayota. She soon begins playing on the sympathy of others to undermine Mercy’s place in the pack. At the same time, a dangerous Gray Lord of the Fae sets a deadline for Mercy to return the walking stick she previously borrowed from the Fae and entrusted into the elusive Coyote’s care. Between visits to imprisoned prophet Gary Laughingdog, whose importance grows along with the story, Mercy must fend off Guayota, who has pyrotechnic abilities and frightening red-eyed attack dogs. Briggs continues to surprise and intrigue readers with Mercy’s inventiveness and intuition under duress.” — Agent: Linn Prentis, Linn Prentiss Literary. (Mar.). 352p. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2014.
“The Way of Kings” by Brandon Sanderson – “Centuries have passed since the Radiant Knights protected the world of Roshar from the evil of the Desolation. Their heroic deeds have long been overshadowed by stories of their betrayal, which in turn have faded into myth. The nation of Alethkar has been mired in a war to avenge the assassination of its king. The system of power used by the Radiant Knights is largely misunderstood and untapped, and yet an ancient evil stirs. Sanderson… creates an interesting world with a novel system of magic, but the best part of this series launch is the compelling, complex story of Dalinar, Kaladin, and Shallan as they struggle through emotional, physical, and moral challenges. Verdict Sanderson is a master of hooking the reader in the first few pages, and once again he doesn’t disappoint. ” — William Baer, Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta. 1008pg. LJ Xpress Online Review. LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2010.
“William Shakespeare’s The Empire Striketh Back” by Ian Doescher – “The saga that began with the interstellar best seller William Shakespeare’s Star Wars continues with this merry reimagining of George Lucas’s enduring classic The Empire Strikes Back.
Many a fortnight have passed since the destruction of the Death Star. Young Luke Skywalker and his friends have taken refuge on the ice planet of Hoth, where the evil Darth Vader has hatched a cold-blooded plan to capture them. Only with the help of a little green Jedi Master—and a swaggering rascal named Lando Calrissian—can our heroes escape the Empire’s wrath. And only then will Lord Vader learn how sharper than a tauntaun’s tooth it is to have a Jedi child.
What light through Yoda’s window breaks? Methinks you’ll find out in the pages of The Empire Striketh Back!” — Amazon.com
“Winter Ready: Poems” by Leland Kinsey – “Winter Ready is a 96-page collection of new poems by a Vermont-based writer who draws from his impressive repertoire of observations and physical landscape of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont to bring to the reader poems with universal meaning and at times a painful acuity. Kinsey opens the collection perched up high on the chimney top, working and observing his surroundings, and throughout the book, he never really gets down-he chronicles a people and a place and a time-and keeps the hard work of writing poetry hidden in the seeming effortless verse that is often funny and poignant, yet always sharp and clear. In this new collection by a renowned Vermont poet, the setting is the same, but the voice rings true to the people and the land they inhabit, always respectful of the native peoples who came before and the awesome power of a glacier that carved a path in its wake. These poems evoke a fully realized view of the world the poet inhabits, an awareness of labor and its changing nature. The book moves through poem after glowing poem, evoking natural history, flora and fauna, with a place-based and focused attention.” — Baker & Taylor
“Words of Radiance” by Brandon Sanderson “The readers of Sanderson’s The Way of Kings (2010) may have been waiting for him to return to the Stormlight Archives… The world of Roshar is still very close to being a character in its own right (one thinks of Dune), as Sanderson has used the room afforded by a book of this size to build it in loving detail, including the fierce storms that make civilized life difficult even in peacetime. But the humans and the humanoid Parshendi are still fighting, although Brightlord Kholin is leading an army deep into enemy territory. His sister, Jasnah, is with him, seeking a legendary lost city that her student, Shallan, believes may hold the key to victory. Far below the level of the high command, the rising young slave warrior, Kaladin, learns that the Parshendi have a counterstrategy in preparation, one that portends the destruction of the world unless he can become the founder of a new order of the legendary Knights Radiant. Many readers will find Shallan and Kaladin the most absorbing of the major characters because they have the most to lose, but the characterization is on the whole as meticulous as the world-building. A very impressive continuation.” — Green, Roland. 1090p. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2014.
“Almost Criminal” by E. R. Brown – “Tate MacLane is too smart for his own good, a sort of misguided prodigy. Prematurely graduated from high school, he was tossed out of university (“socialization issues”). Now 17, he’s working at a coffee shop in Wallace, British Columbia, a “hopeless corner of nowhere,” and dreaming of finding a way to get back to Vancouver and back to school. Along comes Randle Kennedy, a marijuana grower. Until the drug is legalized, he’s growing medical weed, and the Canadian cops tend to be lenient if they know you’re in the medicinal side of the business. But make no mistake: Randle’s a drug dealer. And young Tate is now working for him. When Tate discovers the truth about the life he’s wandered into, he knows it will take more than his keen intellect to get him out safely. Tate is a fresh narrative voice, and Randle, who could have been a fairly stereotypical drug-dealing villain, has surprising depth; he’s even a weird sort of father figure for young Tate. If you took a gritty crime novel and a coming-of-age story and squashed them together, you might get something very close to this fine book.” — Pitt, David. 296p. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2013.
“City of Darkness and Light” by Rhys Bowen – “It’s lucky number 13 for this lively addition to the award-winning Molly Murphy series. After their New York home is bombed, police captain Daniel Sullivan packs wife Molly and young son Liam off to Paris to stay with friends. Newly retired from the detective business, Molly lands in the middle of another mystery when her expat hosts aren’t in their Paris apartment to receive her. Her only clue to their whereabouts is a recent letter that mentions a pending introduction to the artist Reynold Bryce. But, quelle horreur, Bryce has just been murdered! Inquiring of artists in turn-of-the-century Paris, Molly meets Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Mary Cassatt, and Edgar Degas. (All while finding trustworthy child care for her still-nursing son and getting up to speed on the Dreyfus affair.) Molly is a smart, feisty heroine who admirably defends her investigation to a very skeptical Surete. Though placed a decade or so earlier, this breezy historical mystery will appeal to fans of Carola Dunn’s Daisy Dalrymple and Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs.” — Keefe, Karen. 320p. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2014.
“Fallen Women” by Sandra Dallas – “Dallas plumbs the lives of so-called fallen women in 1885 Denver as she ably reveals the ties, sturdy as well as tenuous, that bind two sisters and test the memory of their relationship after one of them is found murdered in a brothel. When Beret Osmundsen, a wealthy New York socialite, arrives in Denver after she receives the news of her sister Lillie’s death, she believes she is prepared to find the truth. Instead, she is led down a path of lies, treachery, and confusion that threatens to undermine everything she has ever believed in. Detective Mick McCauley helps Beret negotiate the serpentine twists encircling the life and death of the sister Beret realizes she didn’t really know at all. As she forges ahead in her determination to see the truth uncovered and justice served, Beret must deal with scandalized relatives who would love to see the situation entirely disappear, the ugliness so readily displayed by a so-called civilized society, and her own conflicting views and emotions. Sure to be snapped up by era fans as well as Dallas’ loyal readership.” — Trevelyan, Julie. 320p. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2013.
“Frog Music” by Emma Donoghue – “During the scorching summer of 1876, Jenny Bonnet, an enigmatic cross-dressing bicyclist who traps frogs for San Francisco’s restaurants, meets her death in a railroad saloon on the city’s outskirts. Exotic dancer Blanche Beunon, a French immigrant living in Chinatown, thinks she knows who shot her friend and why, but has no leverage to prove it and doesn’t know if she herself was the intended target. A compulsive pleasure-seeker estranged from her “fancy man,” Blanche searches desperately for her missing son while pursuing justice for Jenny, but finds her two goals sit in conflict. In language spiced with musical interludes and raunchy French slang, Donoghue brings to teeming life the nasty, naughty side of this ethnically diverse metropolis, with its brothels, gaming halls, smallpox-infested boardinghouses, and rampant child abuse. Most of her seedy, damaged characters really lived, and she not only posits a clever solution to a historical crime that was never adequately solved but also crafts around Blanche and Jenny an engrossing and suspenseful tale about moral growth, unlikely friendship, and breaking free from the past. ” –Johnson, Sarah. 416pg. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2014.
“Murder in Murray Hill” by Victoria Thompson – “Thompson convincingly portrays late-19th-century New York City in her 16th Gaslight mystery, but she has put her male lead, NYPD Det. Sgt. Frank Malloy, into an awkward spot. Toward the end of the previous entry, 2013’s Murder in Chelsea, Malloy learned that he was going to inherit a fortune. Once word reaches Malloy’s police colleagues of his imminent windfall, he realizes his job is on the line. At police headquarters, Chief O’Brien fires him, saying, “You’re a good man, but millionaires aren’t cops.” Malloy, who was in the midst of a missing-persons case involving women who answered a personal ad in the newspaper, manages to keep his hand in as a private investigator. While Malloy may be on track to follow this new career path in future installments, Thompson will have some work to do to make this scenario plausible.” — Agent: Nancy Yost, Nancy Yost Literary Agency. (May). 304p. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2014.
“Natchez Burning” by Greg Iles – “Much more than a thriller, Iles’s deftly plotted fourth Penn Cage novel (after 2008’s The Devil’s Punchbowl) doesn’t flag for a moment, despite its length. In 2005, the ghosts of the past come back to haunt Cage–now the mayor of Natchez, Miss.–with a vengeance. His father, Dr. Tom Cage, who has been an institution in the city for decades, faces the prospect of being arrested for murder. An African-American nurse, Viola Turner, who worked closely with Tom in the 1960s and was in the end stages of cancer, has died, and her son, Lincoln, believes that she was eased into death by a lethal injection. Tom refuses to speak about what happened (he admits only that he was treating Viola), which prevents Cage from using his leverage as mayor to head off charges. The mystery is inextricably interwoven with the violence Natchez suffered in the 1960s, including the stabbing of Viola’s brother by Ku Klux Klansmen in a fight. The case may also be connected to the traumatic political assassinations of the decade. This superlative novel’s main strength comes from the lead’s struggle to balance family and honor.”– Agents: Dan Conaway and Simon Lipskar, Writers House. (May). 800p. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2014.
“NYPD Red 2” by James Patterson – “After being called to a horrible crime scene in Central Park involving a brutally murdered woman on a carousel, Zach and Kylie, detectives with the elite NYPD Red, must uncover the killer while public pressure builds and personal and professional secrets hang in the balance.” — Baker and Taylor
“Ripper: A Novel” by Isabel Allende – “Bestseller Allende (The House of the Spirits) successfully tries her hand at a mystery, which features an unlikely team of sleuths united by an online mystery game named after the infamous Whitechapel murderer. High school senior Amanda Martin is the games master for a group that includes her grandfather, Blake Jackson; a wheelchair-bound New Zealand boy with the online persona of a Gypsy girl named Esmeralda; and a 13-year-old boy with a high IQ who calls himself Sherlock Holmes. Amanda persuades her cohorts to investigate real-life crimes in 2012 San Francisco, starting with the murder of Ed Staton, a school security guard. A month earlier, Amanda’s astrologer godmother predicted that San Francisco would suffer a bloodbath. The prophecy seems more credible when other murders follow Staton’s. While this genre outing isn’t as memorable as the author’s more groundbreaking fiction, her facility with plotting and pacing will keep readers turning the pages.” — Agent: Carmen Balcells, Carmen Balcells Agency. (Feb.). 400p. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2013.
“Wilson” by A. Scott Berg – “This won’t replace John Milton Cooper Jr.’s superb 2009 biography of the United States’ 28th president (Woodrow Wilson), and one could argue that Berg’s isn’t needed so soon after Cooper’s; other than two caches of papers belonging to Wilson’s daughter Jesse and his physician, nothing significantly new about him has been learned in the past four years. Notwithstanding, Berg … has written a lively, solid book. It’s more digestible than Cooper’s scholarly tome, and Berg does a better job of capturing Wilson’s personality. Before he occupied the Oval Office, Wilson served as president of Princeton; Berg–like Cooper–is an alumnus of the university, and is generally sympathetic to the man (he puts much emphasis on Wilson’s love for his two wives and characterizes him as a passionate lover as well as a determined leader), while taking a more critical stand against his racial views and policies, his handling of the League of Nations, and of the secrecy that surrounded his late-presidency illness. Most importantly, Berg presents Wilson’s failure to win the world over to his post-WWI vision as a personal and national tragedy. He’s right, but Berg’s likening of Wilson’s life to biblical stages is overkill (chapter titles include “Ascension,” “Gethsemane,” etc.). Fortunately, the theme of tragedy–while nothing new–binds the book and lifts it above more conventional biographies.” — Agent: Lynn Nesbit, Janklow & Nesbit Associates. (Sept.). 832p. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2013
“How Many Ways Can You Make Five?: A Parent’s Guide to Exploring Math with Children’s Books” by Sally Anderson – “Explore connections between math and everyday life with your child! The activities in How Many Ways Can You Make Five? link popular children’s books—which you are probably already reading with your child—with easy, fun-filled activities you can use to explore important math concepts like mapping, following directions, noticing patterns, and finding shapes.” — Amazon.com
“Jesus: A Pilgrimage” by James Martin – “Inviting readers of “deep faith or no faith” to meet the Jesus he loves, Martin weaves stories of his Holy Land pilgrimage, undertaken to explore the Gospels, with scholarship, analysis, and personal reflections. The noted Jesuit,… balances faith and reason in the classic Catholic tradition as he ponders the meaning of significant events in Jesus’s life. Martin’s broad knowledge of current academic work informs his imaginative exploration of possible answers. Dismissing the common “rationalizing tendency” toward the Gospels, he emphasizes that Jesus, at once both human and divine, is “not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived.” His commitment to a traditional Christian understanding provides a bracing counterpoint to recent studies of the historical Jesus and non-canonical gospels. Martin communicates a joyful faith in God’s healing and the ultimate hope offered by the Resurrection. Throughout, vivid details of his search in blistering heat for holy sites both authentic and dubious anchor this complex, compelling spiritual testimony. “You’ve met my Jesus,” he concludes. “Now meet your own.” (– Web-Exclusive Review. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2014.
“On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History” by Nicholas Basbanes – “Like silk and gunpowder, paper was invented by the ancient Chinese. In this peripatetic account of all things paper, from the ancients to the present, journalist Basbanes (Every Book Its Reader) follows paper’s trail as it slowly reached the West by way of the Silk Road, arriving in Europe almost 1,000 years after its invention (it didn’t get to England until 1494). But Basbanes isn’t just interested in paper’s conventional and specialized history. His aim is to show how the material has penetrated all aspects of our lives (books, stamps, money, blueprints, packaging, and so on). Each episodic chapter takes the author on visits to the people who paper our lives, from industrial titans to craftspeople rediscovering ancient modes of making paper to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at ground zero tasked with preserving a record of that single day. VERDICT An unhurried book that will be enjoyed not only by bibliophiles, librarians, and archivists but by many readers engaged by the study of the past and present. Stewart Desmond, New York. 448p. LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2013.
“The Race Underground: Boston, New York, and the Incredible Rivalry That Built America’s First Subway” by Doug Most – “Most … depicts the highly charged competition between Boston and New York in trying to construct the first underground “subway” railroad in late 19th-century America. It is a remarkably well-told story filled with villains, heroes, and events of the Gilded Age. Adding more heat to this intercity rivalry were brothers Henry Melville Whitney of Boston and William Collins Whitney of New York, who managed to push their own cities into successfully modernizing their transportation systems. Boston emerged the victor on September 1, 1897, with a system admittedly on a much smaller scale than initially envisioned. New York’s planned subway was, of course, much larger, taking longer to build, while plagued with misfortune (54 workers and civilians died during its construction) before it finally opened on October 27, 1904. While many books have been written about New York City’s subway, few have documented Boston’s herculean accomplishment in beating New York. Most deserves credit for setting the historical record straight. VERDICT This felicitous tale of American ingenuity and perseverance serves as a useful reminder today of our past commitment to improving our infrastructures as we now face the challenge of stopping their deterioration. Recommended for readers in American urban history and specialists in urban transportation. ” — Richard Drezen, Jersey City. 352p. LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2013.
ADULT AUDIO BOOK
“Target” by David Baldacci – “…Earl Fontaine, a terminally ill Alabama death row prisoner, plans one last killing that will personally affect CIA hit man Will Robie and his fellow agent, Jessica Reel. Meanwhile in Washington, D.C., the U.S. president authorizes an operation to assassinate a foreign leader. Evan Tucker, the head of the CIA, recommends Robie and Reel, whose recent exploits have earned them the CIA’s highest medal, for the job. When that mission is scrubbed, Robie and Reel end up attempting a dangerous incursion into North Korea to rescue a couple of prisoners from the notorious Bukchang labor camp, a move that results in North Korea deciding to retaliate against the U.S. on its own territory. In unsparing detail, Baldacci depicts the brutal conditions in the North Korean camp, in particular their impact on 25-year-old Yie Chung-Cha, a prisoner groomed as a deadly assassin.” — Agent: Aaron Priest, Aaron M. Priest Literary Agency. (Apr.). 400p. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2014.
“Dexter Season 6”
“Dexter Season 7”
“Fast and Furious 1-5 Bundle”
“Fast and Furious 6”
“Saving Mr. Banks”
“Sherlock Season 2”
“Twelve Years a Slave”
“State of Wonder:Goldberg Variations”
“Dork Diaries 7: Tales from a Not-So-Glam TV Star” by Rachel Renee Russell – “Nikki’s juggling a lot this month. A reality TV crew is following Nikki and her friends as they record their hit song together, plus there are voice lessons, dance practice, and little sister Brianna’s latest wacky hijinks. Nikki’s sure she can handle everything, but will all the excitement cause new problems for Nikki and Brandon, now that cameras are everywhere Nikki goes?” — Amazon.com
“From Head to Toe” by Eric Carle
“I Love to Eat: Deluxe Touch and Feel (Spanish & French Edition)” by Amelie Graux
“A Lion in Paris” by Beatrice Alemagna
“Bad Bye Good Bye” by Deborah Underwood
“Breathe” by Scott Magoon
“Clara’s Crazy Curls” by Helen Poole
“Deep in the Sahara” by Kelly Cunnane
“Duck & Goose Go to the Beach” by Tad Hills
“A Giraffe and a Half: 50th Anniversary Edition” by Shel Silverstein
“Have You Seen My Dragon?” by Steve Light
“Jacob’s New Dress” by Sarah Hoffman
“Knock, Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me” by Daniel Beaty
“Lafcadio: The Lion Who Shot Back” by Shel Silverstein
“Miss You Like Crazy” by Pamela Hall
“Moo” by David LaRochelle
“The Most Magnificent Thing” by Ashley Spires
“My Bus” by Byron Barton
“The Numberlys” by William Joyce
“Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes” by Eric Litwin
“Pigeon Needs a Bath” by Mo Willems
“Quick as a Cricket” by Audrey Wood
“Tap the Magic Tree” by Christie Matheson
“Time Together: Me and Dad” by Maria Catherine
“Trouper” by Meg Kearney
“Velveteen Rabbit, or How Toys Become Real” by Margery Williams
“What’s Your Favorite Animal?” by Eric Carle
“Better Nate than Ever” by Nat Federle – “Grades 5-8. In this funny and insightful story, the dreams of many a small-town, theater-loving boy are reflected in the starry eyes of eighth-grader Nate. When Nate hops a Greyhound bus to travel across Pennsylvania to try out for the Broadway-bound musical based on the movie E.T., no one but his best friend, Libby, knows about it; not his athletic brother, religious father, or unhappy mother. Self-reliant, almost to an inauthentic fault, he arrives in Manhattan for the first time and finds his way into the audition with dramatic results, and when his estranged actress/waitress aunt suddenly appears, a troubled family history and a useful subplot surface. Nate’s emerging sexuality is tactfully addressed in an age-appropriate manner throughout, particularly in his wonderment at the differences between his hometown and N.Y.C., “a world where guys . . . can dance next to other guys who probably liked Phantom of the Opera and not get threatened or assaulted.” This talented first-time author has made the classic Chorus Line theme modern and bright for the Glee generation.” — Medlar, Andrew. 288p. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2013.
“Counting by 7’s” by Holly Goldberg Sloan – “Grades 7-10. In a voice that is frank, charming, and delightfully odd, Willow Chance narrates the strange and heartbreaking circumstances that lead her to find an offbeat, patchwork quilt of a family. As an adopted, self-identified “person of color,” precocious genius Willow unabashedly knows that she is different, but her parents love and support her idiosyncrasies, such as wearing her gardening outfit to school, her preoccupation with disease, her anthropological curiosity about her peers, and her obsession with the number seven. That self-assuredness shines through Willow’s narrative and becomes crucial to her survival after the unexpected death of her parents, which makes Willow a prime candidate for life in a group home–an environment that could be disastrous for an unusual child like her. Luckily, she finds new friends who are compelled to protect her: Mai and her family, who live in the garage behind the nail salon they own, and Willow’s slouch of a guidance counselor, Dell. Sloan (I’ll Be There, 2011) has masterfully created a graceful, meaningful tale featuring a cast of charming, well-rounded characters who learn sweet–but never cloying–lessons about resourcefulness, community, and true resilience in the face of loss.” — Hunter, Sarah. 384p. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2013.
“Fortunately the Milk” by Neil Gaiman – “…Gaiman has tried to write the only book anyone will need, ever, packing into it every adventure story written in the past 300 years. The book seems to include every plot on TVTropes.org. There’s a time machine. There are “wumpires” and pirates. The story is simple: A father goes to the store to buy milk. The only trouble is, he’s kidnapped by aliens, and by the end of the book, he’s being threatened by dancing dwarfs. Sometimes the book feels like a personal bet between the writer and the illustrator: “But can you draw this?” Young is always up to the challenge, no matter what gets thrown at him. He makes pirates look both dangerous and adorable. But once in a while, readers may wish that the author would stop throwing things. The best scene in the book is brief and quiet. The father asks a time-traveling stegosaurus where all the dinosaurs went. “The stars,” professor Steg says. “That is where we will have gone.” Frenetic as the story is, it’s hard not to love a novel that borrows equally from Calvin and Hobbes and The Usual Suspects. If you read only one book this year, a story with dancing dwarfs is always a wise choice. ” — (Adventure. 8-12). 128pg. KIRKUS MEDIA LLC, c2013.
“Golden Boy” by Tara Sullivan – “Grades 8-12. Born albino in a Tanzanian village, Habo suffers virulent prejudice for his pale skin, blue eyes, and yellow hair, even from his own family. At 13, he runs away to the city of Dar-es-Salaam, where he thinks he will find more acceptance: there are even two albino members of the government there. He finds a home as an apprentice to a blind sculptor who knows Habo is a smart boy with a good heart, and he teaches Habo to carve wood. But Habo is being pursued by a poacher who wants to kill him and sell his body parts on the black market to superstitious buyers in search of luck. Readers will be caught by the contemporary story of prejudice, both unspoken and violent, as tension builds to the climax. Just as moving is the bond the boy forges with his mentor, and the gripping daily events: Habo gets glasses for his weak eyes, discovers the library, and goes to school at last. The appended matter includes a Swahili glossary and suggestions for documentary videos.” — Rochman, Hazel. 368p. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2013.
“Half a Chance” by Cynthia Lord – “Grades 4-6. Lucy and her parents have no sooner moved to their new home, idyllically located on a New England lake, than her professional-photographer father is off on a work trip for the summer. As he leaves, Lucy learns from him about a photo contest for kids and decides to spend the summer working on winning it. As the days and weeks pass, Lucy makes friends with the boy next door, learns to kayak, joins in the community’s watch of nesting loons, and stays focused on taking photos that fulfill her father’s advice to make sure the picture implies a story. Lucy seems like a blandly average preteen character, but she comes into focus when she makes a concerted effort to help her elderly neighbor, whose awareness of the world around her is beginning to slip away with the onset of some kind of dementia, to see and enjoy what she loved in the past. Like in the author’s award-winning Rules (2006), the theme of self-discovery is offered here through a quietly disclosed character.” — Goldsmith, Francisca. 224p. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2014.
“Last But Not Least Lola Going Green” by Christine Pakklala – “Lola Zuckerman is always last—ding-dong, Z-for-Zuckerman last. What this means, of course, is that Lola has to win first place in her class’s “Going Green” contest. And she’ll need to beat Amanda Anderson—always first, and more importantly, her ex-best-friend! In this laugh-out-loud story with unforgettable characters—the first in an ongoing series about Lola’s travails—Lola’s out to prove that while she may be last, she is certainly not least!” — Amazon.com
“Menagerie” by Tui T. Sutherland – “Logan and his dad have moved to sleepy Xanadu, Wyoming, in hopes of discovering the whereabouts of Logan’s missing mother. The name of the town is no coincidence, for within its boundaries lies a secret zoo of mythical creatures operated by a direct descendant of Kubla Kahn. Logan’s classmate Zoe Kahn is in a pickle because six baby griffins have escaped under her watch, and she is going to be in big trouble if they don’t all end up back in their enclosure. Logan and Zoe, along with their friend Blue, cleverly (and secretly) set out to track down the griffins and figure out who let them escape in the first place. Full to bursting with animated fantasy creatures, such as a histrionic phoenix who erupts into flame whenever no one pays him enough attention and a pair of haughty, passive-aggressive unicorns, this silly, delightful story begs to be read aloud. Thanks to a cliff-hanger ending and a brand new mystery on the horizon, animal lovers will eagerly anticipate more Logan and Zoe adventures.” — Hunter, Sarah. 288p. Booklist Online. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2013.
“Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin” by Liesl Shurtliff – “In The Kingdom, one’s name is full of meaning and power, and young Rump is sure that his is incomplete. Just before his mother died in childbirth, she only managed to utter, “His name is Rump….” And so Rump grows up with his grandmother, mining the mountain for specks of gold for their greedy king and suffering ridicule for his name. Shurtliff’s world-building is inventive and immediately believable: gnomes rush about delivering messages they have somewhat memorized, gold-craving pixies are flying and biting nuisances, and wise witches live in the woods, as does a band of huge smelly trolls. All the elements of the original story are here-the greedy miller, the somewhat dimwitted daughter, and Rump’s magical ability to spin straw into gold-but Shurtliff fleshes out the boy’s backstory, developing an appealing hero who is coping with the curse of his magical skills while searching for his true name and destiny. This captivating fantasy has action, emotional depth, and lots of humor.” — Caroline Ward, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT. 264p. SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2013.
“Saturday Boy” by David Fleming – “Ages 10-up. Eleven-year-old Derek has been having a rough time, both at school and at home, since his helicopter pilot father returned to Afghanistan with the Army “eight months, one week, and four days” ago. Derek’s mother is struggling with worried exhaustion, and his former best friend Budgie is antagonizing Derek at every opportunity. Derek relies on the comforts of his father’s letters, his wild imagination, his favorite superhero show, and his rehearsals for the school play (along with his crush Violet), but when his deepest fears are realized, Derek is forced to navigate a tumult of complex emotions and reevaluate what he values most dearly. Fleming’s debut skillfully depicts how the stresses of loss and other forces beyond one’s control test the bonds of family and friends; Derek’s relationship with his mother is especially honest and tender. The weight of the tragic, topical events is tempered by moments of laugh-out-loud humor and Derek’s energy and resilience as he muddles through the uncertainty of grief.” — Agent: George Nicholson, Sterling Lord Literistic. (June). 240p. Web-Exclusive Review. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2013
“Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible … on Schindler’s List” by Leon Leyson – “Grades 4-7. This powerful memoir of one of the youngest boys on Schindler’s list deserves to be shared. Leon Leyson grew up in Poland as the youngest of five children. As WWII breaks out, Leyson’s ingenuity and bravery, combined with the kindness of strangers and a bit of serendipity, save his life, time and again. The storytelling can at times meander, and the various reflections of his life in Poland during the war can result in a certain patchiness, but Leyson’s experiences and memories still make for compelling reading about what it was like to suffer through the Holocaust.” — Thompson, Sarah Bean. 240p. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2013.
“Mad Potter: George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius” by Jan Greensberg – “Greenberg and Jordan bring to life George E. Ohr, a 19th-century American potter largely unknown today and not especially successful in his own day. George Ohr proclaimed himself the “Greatest Art Potter on Earth.” From the wild-eyed and mustachioed portrait on the cover to the artist’s own words sprinkled throughout the text in boldfaced, oversized typefaces, Ohr’s eccentricities and his penchant for self-promotion are clearly presented. What is not made clear is why Ohr’s work is considered great. What makes a George E. Ohr vase sell at auction nowadays for $84,000, and is he really America’s greatest art potter? Certainly his work is whimsical, as demonstrated by the many full-color photographs of Ohr’s work–vases tilting like leaning towers, a teapot with a spout like an open-mouthed serpent, and all manner of wrinkled, twisted and squashed vessels. … The backmatter …. is interesting, including information about the Frank Gehry-designed museum that houses the Ohr collection and lessons in “How to Look at a Pot” and how to use a potter’s wheel. A fascinating introduction to an innovative artist…”– KIRKUS MEDIA LLC, c2013.
“The President Has Been Shot: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy” by James Swanson – “Gr 6 Up. S…The event is not depicted as dry, textbook history, but rather as a horrifying and shocking crime. Full- and double-page photographs of President Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald, and stills from the famous Zapruder film-which captured the assassination in real time-breathe emotion into the work. Kennedy’s and Oswald’s backgrounds are illuminated as the narrative descends toward their tragic connection. A well-illustrated map of Dealey Plaza detailing the President’s route clarifies the position of relevant buildings and features at the time of the assassination. This book is graphic with respect to both images and verbage. Swanson provides a compelling case for Oswald as a lone gunman, arguing against the various and popular conspiracy theories. A diagram of the infamous “magic bullet” illustrates how a single bullet could cause multiple wounds for both JFK and Governor Connally. Despite the great number of books on Kennedy’s assassination, this volume stands out for its gripping storytelling style and photographic documentation.” — Jeffrey Meyer, Mount Pleasant Public Library, IA. 288p. SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2013.
“To Dare Mighty Things: The Life of Theodore Roosevelt” by Doreen Rappaport – “Gr 2-5–…Roosevelt stands tall in American history, but his childhood was one of serious illness that kept him bedridden for long periods of time. He became an avid reader and yearned for the life of the adventurers he read about. “Teedie,” as he was called, longed to explore the wilderness and yearned to be a “fearless” man like his heroes. From his early political career through the challenges of his presidency, this book chronicles how he became that fearless leader. He confronted injustice head-on and promised a “Square Deal” to all citizens, opposed many special business interests, including the use of child labor, and sought to protect the nation’s wildlife and preserve its beauty. The highs and lows of both his personal and public life are presented here, including the death of his beloved wife, his experience as a soldier with the “Rough Riders,” and being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906. Rappaport breathes life into her subject in a way that is sure to spark the interest of the most reluctant reader. Her choice of quotations defines the man’s lively personality and charisma, and Payne’s softly shaded artwork highlights his facial expressions and dramatically captures the robust emotion, good humor, and unstinting courage that are the hallmarks of the 26th president. Concisely written and yet poetic, this is a first purchase for every library. ” — Carole Phillips, Greenacres Elementary School, Scarsdale, NY. 48p. SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2013.
“Beyond the Stones of Machu Picchu: Folk Tales and Stories of Inca Life” by Elizabeth Conrad VanBuskirk – ““Beautifully illustrated and sensitively told, these delightful tales and stories introduce us to the natural and supernatural worlds of the high Andes, where animal and human families dwell under the protective gaze of the Apus (mountain spirits). Traditional tales of Fox, Condor, and Bear are subtly interwoven with the author’s stories of daily life. As young people learn to weave, herd sheep, and meet the challenges of a rugged mile-high landscape, they experience the same frustrations and joys as any child . . . An intimate portrait of ancient Quechua customs and beliefs that have survived the forces of change for at least a thousand years.” —Carol Karasik, author, The Turquoise Trail: Native American Jewelry and Culture of the Southwest
“Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles: America’s First Black Paratroopers” by Tanya Lee Stone – “Grades 5-9. Starting with a riveting opening that puts readers into the shoes of a paratrooper on a training flight, this large-format book offers an informative introduction to the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion. Known as the Triple Nickles, they were America’s first black paratrooper unit. Though WWII brought increased racial integration to the military, the pace was painfully slow. This book traces the paratroopers’ story through their training and their long wait for orders to join the fighting overseas-orders that never came. Instead, the Triple Nickles were sent to fight fires in remote areas of western states. Decades passed before the men were officially honored for service to their country. Written with great immediacy, clarity, and authority, Stone’s vivid narrative draws readers into the Triple Nickles’ wartime experiences. Many well-chosen quotes enhance the text, while excellent black-and-white illustrations, mainly photos, document both the men of the 555th and the racial prejudice on the home front. Adding another personal perspective, artist and writer Ashley Bryan, an African American veteran of WWII, contributes the book’s foreword, a drawing, and a painting from the period. This handsome volume documents the sometimes harrowing, often frustrating, and ultimately rewarding experiences of the Triple Nickles.” — Phelan, Carolyn. 160p. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2013.
“Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems” by Lita Judge – “Ages 6-9. Never more than six or seven lines long–and some are just a few words–each poem in Janeczko’s (A Foot in the Mouth) spirited anthology celebrates an aspect of the seasons. Evocative and accessible, they make excellent prompts for classroom poetry exercises. “What is it the wind has lost,” ask poets Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser, “that she keeps looking for/ under each leaf?” Sweet’s (Little Red Writing) artwork is marvelously varied. In some spreads, the animals and people are drafted in thoughtful detail, while in others her line is loopy and spontaneous. Dragonflies and crickets blink with flirtatious cartoon-character eyes in one scene, while fireflies and their haunting light are painted with meditative calm in another. Beach towels are striped in hot colors; fog in a city is rice paper glued over a collage of tall buildings. William Carlos Williams’s red wheelbarrow and Carl Sandburg’s little cat feet appear along with lesser-known works. Even Langston Hughes’s poem about a crowded subway sounds a note of hope: “Mingled/ breath and smell/ so close/ mingled/ black and white/ so near/ no room for fear.” (Mar.). 48p. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2014.
“How Big Were Dinosaurs?” by Lita Judge – “Grades K-2. … Judge (Bird Talk, 2012) … applies her masterful technique to her favorite extinct animals. Creatures like Velociraptor and Argentinosaurus are drawn side-by-side with living species, contextualizing their scale. Meanwhile, delightfully silly interactions among the creatures enliven the fun. Judge’s always noteworthy artwork is spectacular: the delicately mottled watercolors admirably depict musculature and texture, while the posture and expressions of the animals could not be more full of life and personality if they had been drawn from living specimens. …How Big Were Dinosaurs? pulls back to show the entire animal in context. Super stuff about super creatures, large and small.” — Willey, Paula. 40p. Booklist Online. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2013.
“My Mother Goose: A Collection of Favorite Rhymes, Songs and Concepts” by David McPhail – “Ages 2-5. McPhail’s familiar shaggy-haired toddlers and friendly animals lend themselves to this grouping of more than 60 Mother Goose rhymes. The verses flow naturally into one another. For “Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake,” a bear baker prepares to put a cake (marked with a “B”) in the oven. On the following page, for “Simple Simon,” a ginger-haired boy requests a pie from an alligator baker. Elsewhere, “Little Bo-Peep” leads into the similarly ovine “Baa, baa, black sheep,” and two bouncing children, “Jack be nimble” and “Little Jumping Joan,” share a spread. Short sections also introduce basic concepts that include shapes, colors, getting dressed, and methods of transportation. McPhail’s welcoming world of anthropomorphic animals and adventurous children is as distinctive and cozy as ever.” — Agent: Faith Hamlin, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Oct.). 96p. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2013.
“A Walk in Paris” by Salvatore Rubbino – “Preschool-Grade 3. …this large-format picture book follows a girl and her grandfather as they tour Paris together. From the market at Place Maubert, they stroll the boulevards to Place Saint-Michel and cross the River Seine to Notre-Dame Cathedral. After a bistro lunch, they pass by the Pompidou Center, the Louvre, and into the Tuileries Gardens. As darkness falls, they watch a light show at the Eiffel Tower, a fitting end to their day. Each double-page spread offers at least one new view of Paris, from a broad cityscape to a close-up of pastries in a shop window. Supplementing the journey story, notes in tiny type carry additional information. A stylized, highly simplified map of Paris appears on the front endpapers, while on the back, the same map is strewn with tickets, coins, souvenirs, and a brief index. Mixed-media illustrations capture the feel of the city while retaining Rubbino’s breezy and highly appealing style. Pure pleasure for armchair travelers.” — Phelan, Carolyn. 40p. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2014.
“You Are My Little Bird “
“Eleanor & Park” by Rainbow Rowell – “Grades 9-12. Right from the start of this tender debut, readers can almost hear the clock winding down on Eleanor and Park. After a less than auspicious start, the pair quietly builds a relationship while riding the bus to school every day, wordlessly sharing comics and eventually music on the commute. Their worlds couldn’t be more different. Park’s family is idyllic: his Vietnam vet father and Korean immigrant mother are genuinely loving. Meanwhile, Eleanor and her younger siblings live in poverty under the constant threat of Richie, their abusive and controlling stepfather, while their mother inexplicably caters to his whims. The couple’s personal battles are also dark mirror images. Park struggles with the realities of falling for the school outcast; in one of the more subtle explorations of race and the other in recent YA fiction, he clashes with his father over the definition of manhood. Eleanor’s fight is much more external, learning to trust her feelings about Park and navigating the sexual threat in Richie’s watchful gaze. In rapidly alternating narrative voices, Eleanor and Park try to express their all-consuming love. You make me feel like a cannibal, Eleanor says. The pure, fear-laced, yet steadily maturing relationship they develop is urgent, moving, and, of course, heartbreaking, too.” — Jones, Courtney. 320p. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2013.
“Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline — “Young Wade Watts takes refuge in the OASIS, the ‘globally networked virtual reality’ that nearly all of humanity relies on. It’s 2044, the year before the Singularity futurist Ray Kurzweil predicts will inextricably unite humans and computers. Life on earth is bleak and sinister, thanks to failure to avert global warming and the oil crisis. An orphan, Wade lives in the Stacks, a vast slum comprising trailers piled in precarious towers, but keeps to his hideout, where he attends school online, plays video games, and sends his avatar, Parzival, to visit with Aech, his only friend. Fanboys (2009) screenwriter Cline brings his geeky ardor for 1980s pop culture to his first novel, an exuberantly realized, exciting, and sweet-natured cyberquest. Wade/Parzival, Aech, a droll blogger calling herself Art3mis, and two Japanese brothers embark on a grandly esoteric and potentially life- changing virtual Easter egg hunt and end up doing battle with a soulless corporation. Mind-twisting settings, nail-biting action, amusing banter, and unabashed sentiment make for a smart and charming Arthurian tale that will score high with gamers, fantasy and sf fans, and everyone else who loves stories of bumbling romance and unexpected valor.” — Donna Seaman. 384pg. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2011.
“Reality Boy” by A. S. King – “Grades 9-12. Seventeen-year-old Gerald became infamous at age five, when he took a dump on his family’s kitchen table for the whole reality-TV viewing public to see. A network TV nanny came in to help Gerald be less of a problem child, but the cameras didn’t catch what Tasha, his older sister and tormentor, was doing to him and his other sister, Lisi, or his mother’s constant defense of her eldest daughter at the expense of her youngest children. And so Gerald continued to rage on. Though years of anger-management training and a boxing-gym regimen have helped him gain better control, his future still feels limited to jail or death. The narrative, though striking and often heartbreaking, is disjointed in places, namely with Gerald’s grand plan to run away to the circus. However, this is still a King novel, and the hallmarks of her strong work are there: magical realism, heightened emotion, and the steady, torturous, beautiful transition into self-assured inner peace. Like Gerald, it’s wonderfully broken.” — Jones, Courtney. 368p. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2013.
“Dance with Dragons (A Song of Fire and Ice, Book 5) by George R. R. Martin – “… the much- anticipated companion to the 2005 A Feast for Crows, covering different characters and locations within the same time frame. Tyrion Lannister, the fugitive kinslayer, travels from Pentos to Meereen on the fringes of others’ quests to rule Westeros, his astonishing adaptability evident as he goes from captive to conspirator to slave to mercenary without losing his tactical influence. Jon Snow, commander of the Night’s Watch, courts betrayal in his attempts to balance his duties to the Wall, to Stannis Baratheon, and to the wildlings. Daenerys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons, is faced with a difficult quandary: return to Westeros to pursue her claim to the throne or stabilize conquered Meereen before it buckles under insurrection. Integral appearances by Bran Stark, Theon Greyjoy, Quentyn Martell, and numerous others show Martin gathering and tightening the myriad threads connecting his characters. This volume doesn’t tie up many loose ends, but it delivers the tension, political intrigue, emotional impact, and moral ambiguousness that fans expect, and the sinister conclusion foretells a bloody return.” — Krista Hutley. 1,040pg. Booklist Online. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2011.
“The Forgotten” by David Baldacci – ” Army Special Agent John Puller is the best there is. A combat veteran, Puller is the man the U.S. Army relies on to investigate the toughest crimes facing the nation. Now he has a new case-but this time, the crime is personal: His aunt has been found dead in Paradise, Florida.
A picture-perfect town on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Paradise thrives on the wealthy tourists and retirees drawn to its gorgeous weather and beaches. The local police have ruled his aunt’s death an unfortunate, tragic accident. But just before she died, she mailed a letter to Puller’s father, telling him that beneath its beautiful veneer, Paradise is not all it seems to be.
What Puller finds convinces him that his aunt’s death was no accident . . . and that the palm trees and sandy beaches of Paradise may hide a conspiracy so shocking that some will go to unthinkable lengths to make sure the truth is never revealed.” — Amazon.com
“The Invisible Bridge” by Julie Orringer – “In September 1937, Andras Levi leaves Budapest for Paris, where he will study at the Ecole Speciale on a scholarship. Before he leaves, he encounters Elza Hasz, who asks him to carry a letter to Paris addressed to C. Morgenstern. Andras posts the letter and begins his studies, getting help from a Hungarian professor, a desperately needed job from a theater director he met on the train, and an introduction to some friends from an actress at the theater. The daughter is sullen and disinterested, but the mother turns out to be Claire Morgenstern, recipient of the mysterious letter, and it is with Claire that Andras launches a tumultuous affair. Soon, a painful secret about Claire’s past emerges–and then war comes to sweep everything aside. VERDICT With historic detail, a complex cast of characters, and much coincidental crossing, this book has a big, sagalike feel. Unfortunately, it also has a paint-by-the-numbers feel, as if the author were working too hard to get through every point of the story she’s envisioned. The result is some plain writing, not the luminous moments we remember from her story collection, How To Breathe Underwater. Nevertheless, this should appeal to those who like big reads with historic significance.” –Barbara Hoffert, LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2010.
“The Last Man: A Novel” by Vince Flynn – “An invaluable CIA asset has gone missing, and with him, secrets that in the wrong hands could prove disastrous. The only question is: Can Mitch Rapp find him first?
Joe Rickman, head of CIA clandestine operations in Afghanistan, has been kidnapped and his four bodyguards executed in cold blood. But Mitch Rapp’s experience and nose for the truth make him wonder if something even more sinister isn’t afoot. Irene Kennedy, director of the CIA, has dispatched him to Afghanistan to find Rickman at all costs.
Rapp, however, isn’t the only one looking for Rickman. The FBI is too, and it quickly becomes apparent that they’re less concerned with finding Rickman than placing the blame on Rapp.
With CIA operations in crisis, Rapp must be as ruthless and deceitful as his enemies if he has any hope of finding Rickman and completing his mission. But with elements within his own government working against both him and American interests, will Rapp be stopped dead before he can succeed?” — Amazon.com
“NYPD Red” by James Patterson – “It’s the start of Hollywood on Hudson, and New York City is swept up in the glamour. Every night, the red carpet rolls out for movie stars arriving at premieres in limos; the most exclusive restaurants close for private parties for wealthy producers and preeminent directors; and thousands of fans gather with the paparazzi, hoping to catch a glimpse of the most famous and beautiful faces in the world. With this many celebrities in town, special task force NYPD Red is on high alert-and they can’t afford to make a single mistake.
Then a world-renowned producer fatally collapses at his power breakfast, and top NYPD Red Detective Zach Jordan is the first one on the scene. Zach works with his beautiful new partner, Detective Kylie MacDonald-who also happens to be his ex-girlfriend-to discover who the murderer might be. But this is only the beginning: the most brutal, public, and horrifyingly spectacular crimes they’ve ever encountered are about to send all of New York into chaos, putting NYPD Red on the ropes.
Zach and Kylie know there’s no way of telling what a killer this deranged will do next. With the whole world watching, they have to find a way to stop a psychopath who has scripted his finale down to the last explosive detail. With larger-than-life action, relentless speed, and white-knuckle twists, NYPD Red is the next mega-blockbuster from “The Man Who Can’t Miss.” (TIME)” — Amazon.com
“Panther” by Nelson DeMille – “Former NYPD detective John Corey brought down Libyan terrorist Asad Khalil, aka The Lion, in 2010’s The Lion, and now he’s hunting another big cat: Yemeni-American Bulus ibn al-Darwish al Numair, aka The Panther, one of the Al Qaeda masterminds behind the attack on the USS Cole that killed 17 American sailors in 2000. After being baited by their boss, Special Agent in Charge Tom Walsh, Corey and his FBI agent wife, Kate Mayfield, volunteer for the dangerous mission in Yemen, and they soon find themselves at the top of Al Qaeda’s assassination list. A corrupt and ineffective government barely controls the cities, tribal chiefs rule the hinterlands, and U.S. operatives fear that Al Qaeda is growing stronger. Plus, Corey doesn’t even trust other members of the U.S. team. Essentially chosen to serve as panther bait, Corey and Mayfield are equally dangerous predators and DeMille puts them through the wringer as attacks come from all sides when they head into the Badlands with a daring plot to trap their target. Tricks and twists abound in this fast moving thriller where everyone has their own agenda and survival is the ultimate goal.” — PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2012.
“Poseidon’s Arrow” by Clive Cussler – “The fifth Dirk Pitt novel from bestseller Cussler and son Dirk (after 2010’s Crescent Dawn) features expanded roles for Pitt’s two grown kids. Both Summer and Dirk Jr. help their dad try to corral ruthless Austrian entrepreneur Edward Bolcke, who runs a slavery compound in Central America where kidnapped sailors are forced into servitude to assist in his many criminal enterprises. In particular, Bolcke has managed to steal a crucial component of the U.S. Navy’s latest submarine technology–and he has found a way to hijack the world’s supply of rare earth minerals. The three Pitts, along with longstanding sidekick Al Giordino, use their usual mix of brains and brawn to see that justice is served. While some readers may have a problem with sluggish action sequences and a surfeit of story lines, ardent followers of the Pitt clan and their nautical escapades will appreciate the family dynamics and camaraderie.” Agent: Peter Lampack, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2012.
“The Sins of the Mother” by Danielle Steel – ” As a way of making up to them for time lost, Olivia spends months every year planning a lavish holiday that everyone in her family will enjoy. This summer she has arranged a dream trip in the Mediterranean on a luxurious yacht, which she hopes will be the most memorable vacation of all. Her lavish gesture every year expresses her love for them, and regret at all the important times she missed during her children’s younger years. Her younger daughter, Cassie, a hip London music producer, refuses the invitation altogether, as she does every year. Her older daughter, Liz, lives in her mother’s shadow, with a terror of failure as she tries to recapture her dream of being a writer. And her sons, John and Phillip, work for Olivia, for better or worse, with wives who wish they didn’t. In the splendor of the Riviera, this should be a summer to remember, with Olivia’s children, grandchildren, and daughters-in-law on board. But as with any family gathering, there are always surprises, and no matter how glamorous the setting things don’t always turn out as ones hopes.
Family dynamics are complicated, old disappointments die hard, and as forgiveness and surprising revelations enter into it, new bonds are formed, and the future takes on a brighter hue. And one by one, with life’s irony, Olivia’s children find themselves committing the same “sins” for which they blamed their mother for so many years. It is a summer of compassion, important lessons, and truth.
The Sins of the Mother captures the many sides of family love: complex, challenging, funny, passionate, and hopefully enduring. Along the way, we are enthralled by an unforgettable heroine, a mother strong enough to take more than her fair share of the blame, wise enough to respect her children for who they really are, and forgiving enough to love them unconditionally.” — Amazon.com
“Sweet Tooth” by Ian McEwan – “How easily we are fooled, and how easily we fool ourselves. That’s the sense we get when reading this latest from Booker Prize winner McEwan (Solar), set in the Cold War 1970s. Rather gorgeous Serena Frome (“rhymes with plume”) attends Cambridge to study mathematics, though she’d rather be reading, because she’s persuaded that women must prove themselves adept with numbers. She scrapes by with a third, meanwhile having an affair with a married history professor who secretly grooms her for the intelligence service and then dumps her. Drafted by MI5, she’s on the lowest rung when she’s asked to participate in a mission, codenamed Sweet Tooth, aimed at secretly funding writers whose views align with the government. Serena’s target is Tom Haley, with whom she foolishly falls in love. Then he writes the grimmest, darkest postapocalyptic novel imaginable. VERDICT The writing is creamy smooth, the ultimate trap-within-a-trap pure gold, and the whole absolutely engrossing, but poor Serena. She’s such a doof, and she’s a bit condensed too (by both characters and author), which leaves a bitter taste no matter how good the novel. [See Prepub Alert, 5/4/12.]”–Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal. 304p. LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2012.
“Bent Road” by Lori Roy – ” After a self-imposed exile, Arthur Scott moves his wife and children from the tumult of 1960s Detroit to the wind-swept plains of his hometown in Kansas. A secret is lurking in this small village, and it has something to do with the Scott family. Years ago, Arthur’s beautiful older sister died mysteriously. Now, another young girl disappears without a trace. There are also rumors of an escaped convict on the loose. Meanwhile, Arthur’s only living sister is beaten by her abusive husband and must seek refuge. Celia, Arthur’s wife, watches as events unfold around her, all the time questioning whether they are somehow related. In her debut mystery, Roy excels at creating the kind of ominous mood that is unique to the novel’s small-town setting, in which the church holds sway, and family secrets are locked-up tight. Terrifying and touching, the novel is captivating from beginning to end.”– Heather Paulson. 368pg. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2011.
“Black Box: A Novel” by Michael Connelly – “At his core, Harry Bosch is a cop with a mission–to tip the scales of justice toward the side of murder victims and their survivors….As usual, Bosch faces not only the seeming impossibility of reconstructing a crime that has been cold for two decades but also the roadblocks imposed by the bureaucrats at the top of the LAPD. But Bosch has never met a roadblock he wasn’t compelled to either barge through or cannily avoid. Harry is such a compelling character largely due to his fundamentally antiestablishment personality, which leads to chaos as often as to triumph, but also because his unswerving work ethic reflects not simply duty but also respect for the task before him. Harry does it right, even–or especially–when his bosses want something else entirely. That’s the case this time–How would it look if a white cop made headlines by solving the riot-related murder of a white woman? Better to let it slide. In real life, we all let things slide, but in life according to Bosch, nothing slides. We like Harry, as we like many other fictional crime solvers, because he never stops, but we love him because he has the scars to prove that never sliding is no easy thing.” — Ott, Bill. 416p. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2012.
“Delusion in Death” by J.D. Robb – “Happy hour in a Manhattan bar becomes a scene of carnage when a potent hallucinogenic-drug mixture, released into the air, causes everyone inside to attack everyone else. While members of the NYPD unit headed by Lieutenant Eve Dallas soon identify the drugs, they can’t stop another incident days later at a nearby cafe. With a total of 127 dead and the looming threat of another incident, Dallas and her colleagues (with Dallas’ billionaire husband, Roarke, who owns the bar, serving as a consultant) race to check out victims, including the few who survived the attack, as they search for connections and motives, with an unexpected assist from the historical knowledge of Roarke’s live-in butler. Although sleepless for days, Dallas remains at the top of her game in this thirty-fifth entry in this suspense series by the prolific Robb (aka Nora Roberts); and even with the help of modern technology, it’s still dogged police work and keen intuition that solve crimes. With its final twist, this is a compelling addition to a best-selling series.” — Leber, Michele. 400p. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2012.
“The Marseille Caper” by Peter Mayle – “Mayle …sends readers on a breezy excursion to southern France’s least appreciated city in this entertaining crime novel filled with amiable digressions into the history, cuisine, and local culture of Marseille. Los Angelino sleuth Sam Levitt returns for his second foray into the dark side of finance and real estate development in Provence’s scruffy metropolis, offering breezy opinions on bouillabaisse, the countryside, and the region’s centuries-old distrust of Parisians, amid talk of fine wines and underhanded deals. Sam and his girlfriend, Elena, insinuate themselves into a scheme to give their billionaire client, Francois Reboul, familiar to fans of Mayle’s The Vintage Caper, a leg up in the proposed waterfront development, sidestepping the decades-long enmity of Jerome Patrimonio, head of the selection committee and Reboul’s bitter rival. It’s a genial, lighthearted piece of skullduggery that wends its way forward with appealing, authentic local color, until the main competitor for the development, the brutish, one-dimensional British tycoon, Lord Wapping, ups the stakes with a bit of heavy-handed kidnapping. Mayle’s cast of fondly crafted characters mobilize the capering elements of the title as the adventure comes to a satisfactory conclusion. 100,000 announced first printing.”– Agent: Ernest Chapman. 224p. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2012.
“Notorious Nineteen” by Janet Evanovich – “After a slow summer of chasing low-level skips for her cousin Vinnie’s bail bonds agency, Stephanie Plum finally lands an assignment that could put her checkbook back in the black. Geoffrey Cubbin, facing trial for embezzling millions from Trenton’s premier assisted-living facility, has mysteriously vanished from the hospital after an emergency appendectomy. Now it’s on Stephanie to track down the con man. The problem is, Cubbin has disappeared without a trace, a witness, or his money-hungry wife. Rumorsare stirring that he must have had help with the daring escape, or that maybe he never made it out of his room alive. Since the hospital staff’s lips seem to be tighter than the security, and it is hard for Stephanie to blend in to assisted living, Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur goes in undercover. But when a second felon goes missing from the same hospital, Plum is forced into working side by side with Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, in order to crack the case. Solving the case is harder than she imagined and to make sure the rent is paid she takes on a second job, protecting her mentor Ranger from a deadly special forces adversary.” — Baker & Taylor
“A Simple Murder” by Eleanor Kuhns – “Set in 1795, Kuhns’s quiet, well-crafted debut, the winner of the MWA/Minotaur Books First Crime Novel competition, poignantly captures the Shaker ethos of the period. When widowed weaver Will Rees returns home to Maine from a long trip, he learns that his 13-year-old son, David, whom he left in the care of relatives, has run away. Hearing that a local Shaker community has taken David in, Rees goes there in search of his son. In order to stay near David and work on their strained relationship, Rees, who gained a reputation for crime solving while serving in the Continental Army, agrees to look into the murder of an attractive young woman, Sister Chastity, and later the disappearance of two male Shakers years before. Rees forms an appealing bond with sleuthing sidekick Lydia Jane Farrell, a former Shaker living near the settlement. Their unresolved relationship will fuel reader hopes for a sequel. Only some anachronistic language jars.” — (May). 336p. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2012.
“The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom” by Marcus Redicker – “Historian Rediker (The Slave Ship) focuses on the individual captives in this ambitious retelling of the famous 1839 Amistad uprising. He relies on numerous articles about and interviews with rebellion leader Cinque and his fellow captives to detail their abduction, voyage, and stateside imprisonment. Their trial brings out prominent legislators, including Roger S. Baldwin and former president John Quincy Adams, as well as political activists like Lewis Tappan, turning the already sensational upheaval aboard the slave ship Amistad into a national spectacle of antebellum America. Rediker renders the struggle of progressive newspapers to portray, in both word and image, the refugees as romantic heroes, while proslavery outlets labeled them “beastly” pirates. He also describes the Africans’ and Americans’ mutual attempts to understand one another’s language and customs, in order to better communicate throughout the hearings. As the Supreme Court solidified its position on the captives’ fate, the reader feels America further split in its own attitudes on slavery. Following the verdict, Rediker trails the freed captives as they tour the country and return to their native homelands, while the effects of the court’s landmark ruling reverberate throughout the nation. Spectacularly researched and fluidly composed, this latest study offers some much needed perspective on a critical yet oft-overlooked event in America’s history.”– Agent: Sandra Dijkstra. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2012.
“The Price of Politics” by Bob Woodward – “A reconstruction of how Republican brinkmanship threatened to bring down the global economy by forcing a U.S. debt default. …Woodward chronicles how Republicans used a previously routine vote on increasing the debt ceiling to blackmail President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. Emboldened by their midterm victory in 2010, the Republicans aimed to force the president to accept major cuts to the budget and entitlements while holding the line on taxes. In explaining this display of brinkmanship, Woodward explains that for the U.S. president, default was not an option and could in fact bring down the entire global economy. The action takes place in the summer of 2011, beginning with a failed attempt by the White House to craft a workable deal in negotiations with House Speaker John Boehner. When these negotiations collapsed, the entire political leadership of both parties was brought in, leading to recriminations on all sides. The debt ceiling was raised but at the cost of a January fiscal cliffhanger. Although the author faults both Boehner and the president for their “fixed partisan convictions and dogmas,” his main purpose appears to be to discredit Obama. He compares him unfavorably to former Presidents Reagan and Clinton, both of whom handled similar crises. Although admitting that “Obama was handed a miserable, faltering economy and faced a recalcitrant Republican opposition,” Woodward faults him for being both arrogant and inept at building political consensus. An occasionally intriguing look into political grappling at the highest level but mostly an exercise in excruciating detail, most of which boils down to trivial political gossip.”– KIRKUS MEDIA LLC, c2012.
“The Last Lion: Winston Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965” by William Manchester & Paul Reid – “.. Opening with a character sketch of Churchill in his multifaceted guises of sentimentality, egotistical insensitivity, and brilliance, Reid dives into Churchill’s war leadership in 1940 that is the cynosure of his place in history. Reid’s got the research right, down to the day, down to the minute. He shows Churchill defying Hitler and appeasers–the French leadership and figures in the British government–who even in 1940 thought peace could be arranged with the triumphant Nazis. As Reid chronicles Churchill’s public speeches, communications, and strategy sessions, he affords regular glimpses at Churchill’s private aspects–his wittiness, sybaritic consumption of scotch and cigars, and moods bordering on depression. If reading Churchill’s life after 1945 entails an unavoidably anticlimactic quality, Reid nevertheless ably chronicles its main events of writing his WWII memoirs and assuming his second premiership of 1951-55. Manchester was one of the best Churchill biographers, and this capstone to his magnum opus ought not be missed.” Taylor, Gilbert. 1,232p. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2012.
“Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power” by Jon Meacham – “Pulitzer Prize-winner Meacham claims that previous Jefferson scholars have not grasped the authentic Jefferson. Meacham unmasks a power-hungry, masterful, pragmatic leader who was not above being manipulative to achieve his goal: an enduring, democratic republic defined by him. A brilliant philosopher whose lofty principles were sometimes sidelined for more realistic goals, Meacham’s Jefferson, neither idol nor rogue, is a complex mortal with serious flaws and contradictions. Despite his dedication to human liberty, he would not impose practical measures to end slavery. Here, Jefferson’s political instincts trumped his moral and philosophical beliefs, and he lived uncomfortably with that contradiction, believing that slavery would eventually end but unable to create a balance between human freedom and political unity. Meacham believes that what some recent writers have viewed as hypocrisy was actually genius. Failing to solve the conundrum of slavery, Jefferson creatively and successfully applied power, flexibility, and compromise in an imperfect world. VERDICT General and academic readers will find a balanced, engaging, and realistic treatment of the forces motivating the third President, the subject of unending fascination and debate.” –Margaret Kappanadze, Elmira Coll. Lib., NY. 800pg. LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2012.
“Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail” by Cheryl Strayed – “In the mid-1990s as her world collapsed, both from within and without, Strayed (Torch) decided that walking the Pacific Crest Trail would be a way forward. Devastated by the death of her mother and the subsequent undoing of her family and marriage, Strayed saw the 2,663-mile route through desert, mountains, and raw wilderness as something of an ideal-offering promise, salvation, a path toward the way (though she had no idea what any of those things would look like, if they could be found). The decision to walk an 1100-mile segment of the trail was as impulsive and self-isolating a choice as any she had made during her free fall following her mother’s death. Detailing everything from the landscape, to the toll hiking took on her body, to the exquisite joy to be found in Snapple after a long day, to the bevy of people washing in and out of her life on the trail, she tells her story in an intimate voice, as if to a wise and accepting friend-one smart enough to stay silent and just nod encouragingly as her story spills out. Strayed’s tale of self-destruction and self-reconciliation is an addictive one-an insightful, literary, and powerful combination of the inwardness of memoir and the fast pace of adventure quest.” — LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2012.
“Arthur’s Perfect Christmas”
“The Dark Knight Rises”
“Homeland: The Complete First Season”
“Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season”
“Close to Famous” by Joan Bauer – “Gr. 5-8. Twelve-year-old Foster McFee and her mother leave Memphis in the middle of the night, fleeing the mother’s abusive boyfriend. Foster has a severe learning disability, a pillowcase full of mementos of her dead father, and a real gift for baking. When she and her singer mother relocate to a tiny, rural West Virginia town, they discover a friendly and welcoming population of delightfully quirky characters. Foster finally learns to read from a reclusive, retired movie star; markets her baked goods at Angry Wayne’s Bar and Grill; helps tiny but determined Macon with his documentary; and encourages her mother to become a headliner rather than a backup singer, all the while perfecting her baking technique for the time when she gets her own cooking show like her TV idol, Sonny Kroll. Bauer gently and effortlessly incorporates race (Foster’s mother is black; her father was white), religion, social justice, and class issues into a guaranteed feel-good story that dodges sentimentality with humor. Readers who want contemporary fiction with a happy ending will find it here.” — Debbie Carton. 240pg. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2011.
“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever” by Jeff Kinney – “The timing of the release of the sixth book in Kinney’s bestselling Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is pretty much perfect, given that it’s set in the weeks leading up to Christmas. (Diehard fans, though, will have burned through it long before Thanksgiving dinner is served.) Kinney keeps to the formula that has worked so well for him, as Greg Heffley recounts, in diary entries and cartoons, his episodic misadventures at home and at school, mixing the timely (bullying, energy drink addiction, a creepy Elf on the Shelf-style doll called ‘Santa’s Scout’) with the timeless (school fundraisers, get-rich moneymaking schemes, sibling rivalry). Readers expecting an overarching focus on a snowed-in Heffley clan, based on the book’s concept, will have to wait a bit: the big storm doesn’t hit until pretty late in the game. But it’s unlikely that anyone will mind–Greg is as entertainingly self-serving as ever, and Kinney continues to excel at finding the innate humor in broadly relatable situations, from the futility of junk-food crackdowns to a toddler’s ability to exert control over an entire family.”– (Nov.). 224pg. Web-Exclusive Review. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2011.
“The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman” by Meg Wolitzer – “Gr. 5-8. Duncan Dorfman is adjusting to life in a new Michigan town with his struggling single mom, who lands a job at a local big-box store run by a rarely-seen millionaire. After moving, Duncan finds that he can discern letters with the fingertips of his left hand, which helps him choose needed tiles after he joins the school Scrabble club. Eventually, Duncan’s skills bring him to the national Scrabble tournament in Florida, where he meets two other young Scrabble players: a boy from New York City, who has a fraught relationship with his father, and a girl who tries to prove her worth in a family of athletes. As the kids get to know each other, they take a side trip to a crumbling, sinister amusement park, which launches them into an unexpected adventure. At the novel’s end, the focus returns back to Duncan, who discovers a surprise about a family secret. The overpacked plot drags a bit, but readers who stick with it will be rewarded with portraits of winning, well-drawn kids struggling to succeed in a complicated world.” — Todd Morning. 256pg. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2011.
“Revenge of the Witch” by Joseph Delaney – “Gr 5-8. When 12-year-old Thomas, seventh son of a seventh son, is apprenticed to the local Spook, whose job is to fight evil spirits and witches, he expects a life of danger. However, the boy doesn’t realize just how soon he’ll face a powerful enemy alone, as Mother Malkin escapes her confinement while the Spook is away. Thomas is forced to use his wits, and the help of his enigmatic new friend, Alice, to fight the evil witch. And defeating her is only the start of the boy’s problems. Delaney’s characters are clearly presented and have realistic depth, and Thomas’s mother and Alice stand out for their strong words and actions. The protagonist’s voice is clear, and his conflicts over his actions ring true. This first entry in a proposed series is an excellent choice for readers who are looking for a more sophisticated alternative to R. L. Stine’s ‘Goosebumps’ books (Scholastic), and the pacing and edgy illustrations at the start of each chapter will appeal to reluctant readers. Delaney’s rural, quasi-medieval world is populated by a variety of magic creatures, and readers will look forward to discovering more of them, along with Thomas, as the series continues. A solid choice, particularly for middle school boys.” –Beth L. Meister, Pleasant View Elementary School, Franklin, WI. 343pg. CAHNERS PUBLISHING, c2005.
“The Man Who Lived Alone” by Donald Hall & Mary Azarian – “This is a story about a man who lives alone because he chooses to. In his cabin in the New England woods, he lives with his collection of old newspapers and carefully saved nails, his mule and his owl. His much loved cousin, Nan, is just close enough to him to visit now and then. The man who lives alone leads a solitary life: quiet and content.
In simple, lyrical prose, Donald Hall creates a moving and believable portrait of this affectionate, eccentric man, from childhood to old age. We understand why he is the way he is, the names and pictures of his days, and, finally, how those days will end. It’s a story about self-sufficiency and about solitude, about the difference between loneliness and being alone, about living and about dying.” — Amazon.com
“Third Wheel” by Jeff Kinney – “Ages 8-12. Seven books into the bestselling Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Kinney isn’t messing with a good thing, and he continues to mine middle-school life for comedic gold. He doesn’t appear to be in danger of running out of material, either, covering everything from school elections and chocolate bar fundraisers (” lot of families like mine had to write a check to the school just to cover the cost of the candy bars their children ate,” Greg says. “It’s possible that nobody sold a single candy bar”) to the traumas of “family-style” restaurants and Bring Your Child to Work Day. Greg even gives readers a glimpse of his (much) younger years, including his memories of life in the womb (“fter being hit by the cold air the blinding lights of the delivery room, I wish I’d just stayed put”). Fans will continue to enjoy Greg’s ongoing efforts to come out on top, whether trying to secure a private bathroom stall at school or a date for the Valentine’s Day dance.” Agent: Sylvie Rabineau, RWSG Agency. (Nov.). 224p. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2012.
“True Colors” by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock – “Grades 4-6. Left as a tiny baby outside 63-year-old Hannah’s farmhouse door for her to name, love, and raise as her own, Blue has never known the identity of her parents, but it never seemed to matter until her tenth summer. Her best friend, having family troubles, seems like a stranger. Her familiar, loosely knit community is suddenly full of surprises. And her new project with the local newspaper leads her in unexpected directions. Meanwhile, Blue learns that every family has secrets, and hers is no exception. Set in 1952, this well-constructed novel features a number of distinctive, believable characters moving in their own circles, which occasionally and sometimes unexpectedly intersect those of others. Meanwhile, the words and deeds of even minor players resonate through the story, as Blue sets out to solve the mystery of her parentage and, in the end, discovers where her heart lies.” — Phelan, Carolyn. 256p. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2012.
“Boston Tea Party” by Russell Freedman – “Freedman tackles the Boston Tea Party with his characteristic energy and rigor and provides a gripping account of the nation-defining episode. He starts with a lucid, two-page introduction offering historical context–not stopping to get bogged down in the details of the Stamp Tax and its ilk–before he vaults into his story with a promising opening that mixes fact and suspense. From that page forward, he weaves together meticulously sourced quotations and information with engaging personal details to effectively enliven the tense, silent act of rebellion. Along with the usual heroes of the Revolution–Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, etc.–Freedman presents the actions of young men such as a rope-maker’s apprentice who snuck out a window to join the mob and the mason-in-training who detoured to the protest on his way to a date. These charming and enlightening particulars, including many direct quotes, lend immediacy and emotional weight to the account, told in an effective but surprisingly casual tone. Freedman’s absorbing and informative story is somewhat underserved by Malone’s illustrations. A rich, earthy palette and period details, even with an occasional spark of humor, can’t quite overcome the static feeling of the pictures, which resemble watercolor renditions of an American history diorama with their stiff-armed figures and blank faces. Fortunately, Freedman’s text proves lively enough for both. Back matter includes a note on the importance of tea in colonial American life.” –Robbin E. Friedman, Chappaqua Library, NY. 40p. SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2012.
“Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brothers Baseball Team” by Audrey Vernick – “In a 1930s New Jersey town, one family liked baseball so much that they made their own team. It wasn’t that difficult. The Acerras had 16 children—12 of them boys. For 22 years straight, an Acerra played baseball in the local high school. In 1938, the oldest nine formed their own semipro team. With an age range of more than 20 years among the boys, there was always another Acerra coming up. Vernick, who interviewed the surviving members of the family, incorporates their remembrances into this very special exhibition of family loyalty and love of sports. The narrative takes them through their time on the field, the dissolution of the team when six of the guys went off to WWII (and all came home safely), and a team resurgence after the war. With plenty of highs (winning seasons) and a couple of lows (one brother lost an eye when a bunt went bad), the story rolls along easily. Best of all, though, is Salerno’s fantastic art. Using a retro style that combines the look of 1950s TV advertising (think Speedy Alka Seltzer) and the exuberance of comic-book art, Salerno’s pictures brim with vitality. The author’s and illustrator’s endnotes provide interesting context for this story of brotherly—and baseball—love.” — Cooper, Ilene. 40pg. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2012.
“Forget-Me-Not: Poems to Learn By Heart” by Mary Ann Hoberman – “For those who lament that young people are no longer taught to memorize poetry, here’s a handsome compendium of verse well suited to that purpose and chosen with children in mind. The Children’s Poet Laureate from 2008 to 2010, Hoberman chose 123 poems that are memorable in both senses of the word. They’re “easy to remember” (though she concedes that the longer ones will take more time) and “worth remembering.” In an appended section, she discusses an approach to learning poems by heart, making the process a game with a specific prize: owning the chosen poem and keeping it for a lifetime. The selection of verse is broad, representing 57 poets, including Alarcon, Belloc, de la Mare, Esbensen, Frost, Greenfield, Grimes, Hoberman, Lear, McCord, Milne, Sandburg, Silverstein, Stevenson, Tolkien, and Worth. Created using pencil, watercolors, and pastels, Emberley’s appealing illustrations brighten every page of this large-format book. A handsome anthology of poems that children can learn by heart.” Phelan, Carolyn. 144pg. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2012.
“Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World” by Laurie Lawlor – “This book’s bold title is hard to dispute: Carson’s Silent Spring (1962) did, in fact, change the world, awakening people globally to the environmental threats posed by industrial chemicals. Lawlor attributes Carson’s interest in nature to a childhood spent largely alone, during which her mother introduced her to “the haunting melody of a wood thrush.” A rare chance at college followed, where Carson made up with academic curiosity what she lacked in social popularity. After WWII, her writing broke through, and much of Silent Spring was written while she battled breast cancer. Lawlor’s prose is nonrhyming but possessed with a noble rhythm (“she lost her heart to a world of restless water and sky”). Beingessner’s soft tempera paintings are pleasingly two-dimensional and alternate pastels and earth tones to bring home the highs and lows of Carson’s too-short life. Though Carson never got to see the changes brought on by her work, readers can use this fine book, as well as the informative back matter, to learn all that happened next.” Kraus, Daniel. 32pg. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2012.
“Feelings Book” by Todd Parr
“Llama, Llama Zippety Zoom” by Anna Dewdney
“Apples A to Z” by Margaret McNamara
“The Bear in the Book” by Kate Banks
“Big Bad Bunny” by Franny Billingsley
“Black Dog” by Levi Pinfold
“The Case of the Incapacitated Capitals” by Roben Pulver
“Charley’s First Night” by Amy Hest
“Curious George Takes a Job” by H.A. Rey
“The Day Louis Got Eaten” by John Fardell
“Fly Guy Meets Fly Girl” by Ted Arnold
“Good Night Owl” by Pat Hutchins
“Horsefly and Honeybee” by Randy Cecil
“I’m Bored” by Michael Ian Black
“King Arthur’s Very Great Grandson” by Kenneth Kraegel
“Moo Who?” by Margie Palatini
“Mousetronaut” by Mark Kelly
“Poodle and Hound” by Kathryn Lasky
“Shadow” by Suzy Lee
“Wicked Big Toddlah” by Kevin Hawkes
YOUNG ADULT FICTION
“Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour” by Morgan Matson – “After Amy’s father dies in a car crash, everything that this California girl took for granted changes overnight. Her twin brother Charlie is shipped off to rehab in North Carolina. Her mother accepts a teaching position in Connecticut, leaving Amy home alone to finish her junior year of high school. Then her mom arranges to get Amy to Connecticut via a cross-country drive with a family friend, 19-year-old Roger. The pair quickly ditches the pre-planned itinerary in favor of more spontaneous detours to Yosemite, Colorado, and Graceland. Amy’s mother is predictably furious and cuts off her credit card, leaving the teens on a shoestring budget. Along the way Amy gradually opens up to Roger about her father’s accident and her repressed feelings about it. During a stop in Louisville, Roger finds closure with the girl who recently dumped him, leaving him available for a relationship with Amy. The theme of her emotional journey meshes well with the realistically rendered physical journey across the U.S. Playlists, pages from a travel scrapbook, well-drawn supporting characters, and unique regional details enhance the narrative. Flashback chapters shed light on Amy’s life before her father’s death, without breaking the steady pacing. One sexual situation is discreetly described. Overall, this is an emotionally rewarding road novel with a satisfying, if not totally surprising, conclusion. It’s similar in theme and tone to Sarah Dessen’s The Truth About Forever (Viking, 2004).” –Amy Pickett, Ridley High School, Folsom, PA. 343pg. SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2010
“Divergent” by Veronica Roth – “In the future, you are born into one of five factions, each of which has its strength and focus: Abnegation (service), Candor (truth), Erudite (intellect), Amity (friendship), or Dauntless (fearlessness). But on your sixteenth birthday, you can choose a new faction if you are so compelled, and that’s what happens to Tris, who shocks everyone by exchanging the drab gray robes of Abnegation for the piercing and tattoo stylings of Dauntless. What follows is a contest, where only the top 10 initiates are accepted into the final group. This framework of elimination provides the book with a built-in tension, as Tris and her new friends–and new enemies–go through a series of emotional and physical challenges akin to joining the marines. Roth is wisely merciless with her characters, though her larger world building is left fuzzy. (Is there a world beyond this dystopian version of Chicago?) The simplistic, color-coded world stretches credibility on occasion, but there is no doubt readers will respond to the gutsy action and romance of this umpteenth spin on Brave New World.” — Daniel Kraus. 496pg. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2011.
“Flight Behavior” by Barbara Kingsolver – “Flight Behavior takes on one of the most contentious subjects of our time: climate change. With a deft and versatile empathy Kingsolver dissects the motives that drive denial and belief in a precarious world.” — inside front cover
“Italian Shoes” by Henning Mankell – “From the bestselling author of the Kurt Wallander series comes a touching and intimate story about an embattled man’s unexpected chance at redemption.
Many years ago a devastating mistake drove Fredrik Welkin into a life as far as possible from his former position as a surgeon, where he mistakenly amputated the wrong arm of one of his patients. Now he lives in a frozen landscape. Each morning he dips his body into the freezing lake surrounding his home to remind himself he’s alive. However, Welkins’s icy existence begins to thaw when he receives a visit from a guest who helps him embark on a journey to acceptance and understanding. Full of the graceful prose and deft characterization that have been the hallmarks of Mankell’s prose, Italian Shoes shows a modern master at the height of his powers, effortlessly delivering a remarkable novel about the most rewarding theme of all: hope.” – back cover
“The Renegades” by Tom Young – “The Renegades is a novel of constant surprise and suspense, a book, in the words of The Dallas Morning News about The Mullah’s Storm, “that’s got authenticity stamped on every scene and a narrative drive that won’t let you go. A terrific addition to contemporary war fiction.” — inside front cover
“This is How You Lose Her” by Junot Diaz – “An extraordinarily vibrant book that’s fueled by adrenaline-powered prose…Decisively establishes [Diaz] as one of contemporary fiction’s most distinctive and irresistible new voices.” — The New York Times
“Panhead” by Bill Schubart – “Panhead, like Bill Schubart’s previous books — The Lamoille Stories and Fat People — is suffused with humor, humanity, and most of all insight. Schubart has taken his native Vermont and transformed it into a meditation on the human condition.” — Ernest Hebert, author of I Love u, and Never Back Down
“The Round House” by Louise Erdrich – “Written with undeniable urgency, and illuminating the harsh realities of contemporary life in a community where Ojibwe and white live uneasily together, The Round House is a brilliant and entertaining novel, a masterpiece of literary fiction. Louise Erdrich embraces tragedy, the comic, a spirit world very much present in the lives of her all-too-human characters, and a tale of injustice that is, unfortunately, an authentic reflection of what happens in our own world today.”–inside front cover
“The Twelve” by Justin Cronin – “A heart-stopping thriller rendered with masterful literary skill, The Twelve is a grand and gripping tale of sacrifice and survival.” — inside front cover
“The Yellow Birds” by Kevin Powers – “Kevin Powers has delivered an exceptional novel from the war in Iraq, written in clean, evocative prose, lyric and graphic, in assured rhythms, a story for today and tomorrow and the next.” — Daniel Woodrell
“Winter of the World” by Ken Follett – “picks up right where the first book (Fall of Giants) left off, as its five interrelated families–American, German, Russian, English, Welch–enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs.
These characters and many others find their lives inextricably entangled as their experiences illuminate the cataclysms that marked the century. From the drawing rooms of the rich to the blood and smoke of battle, their lives intertwine, propelling the reader into dramas of ever-increasing complexity.” — inside front cover
“The Beautiful Mystery” by Louise Penny – “Louise Penny has crafted an almost perfect crime – haunting, puzzling, brilliant, and indeed a most beautiful mystery. Chief Inspector Gamache is one of my favorite characters in fiction…This is a tour de force for Penny, and a thrilling, intelligent read.” — Linda Fairstein
“Big Breasts & Wide Hips” by Mo Yan – “This stunning novel, peopled with dozens of unforgettable characters, is a searing uncompromising vision of twentieth-century China, as seen through the eyes of China’s preeminent–and exceptionally courageous–novelist.” — back cover
“Gone” by Mo Hayder – “A brilliantly plotted mystery that keeps you guessing not only who that villain is, but what exactly he’s after … First-rate mystery that takes full advantage of the wintry, moonlit West Country and the unusual skills of its lady diver.”–Kirkus Reviews
“Live by Night” -by Dennis Lehane – “At once a sweeping love story and a compelling saga of revenge, it is a spellbinding tour de force of betrayal and redemption, music and murder, that brings fully to life a bygone era (‘the 20’s) when sin was cause for celebration and vice was a national virtue.” — inside front cover
“Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn – “Gone Girl is one of the best and most frightening portraits of psychopathy I’ve ever read. Nick and Amy manipulate each other with savage, merciless, and often darkly witty dexterity. This is a wonderful and terrifying book about how the happy surface normality and the underlying darkness can become too closely interwoven to separate.” — Tana French
“Paradise City” by Archer Mayor – “Mayor’s solid 23rd Joe Gunther novel … focuses on a tri-cornered interstate case involving multiple thefts. One night on Boston’s exclusive Beacon Hill, three burglars break into the house of 89-year-old Wilhelmina “Billie” Hawthorn, who makes the fatal mistake of catching them in the act. Det. Jimmy McAuliffe gets the case and the unwelcome help of Billie’s 26-year-old granddaughter, Mina Carson. In Tucker Peak, Vt., a wealthy ski resort, burglary and arson get the attention of Vermont Bureau of Investigation chief Gunther and his crew. Clues in both investigations point to a buyer of stolen goods in Northampton, Mass., completing the jurisdictional triangle. Another thread follows illegal immigrant Li Anming, a skilled jewel smith who becomes a virtual slave in an unusual sweatshop. Stings, surveillance, and interrogations all play a part in the effort to uncover a sophisticated, ruthless criminal operation. Fans of this first-rate procedural series will be satisfied.” — PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2012.
“The Racketeer” by John Grisham – “The masterful opening introduces disgraced Virginia lawyer Malcolm Bannister, who has served half of a 10-year prison sentence for money laundering after getting caught up in a federal net aimed at a sleazy influence peddler. Bannisteras conviction has, naturally, destroyed his life, but he thinks he can use the murder of federal judge Raymond Fawcett to his advantage. Fawcett, who presided over a landmark mining rights case, and his attractive secretary, with whom he was having an affair, were both found shot in the head in his cabin in southwest Virginia. Near the bodies was an empty open safe. When the high-profile investigation stalls, Bannister tells the feds that he can identify the killer for them in exchange for a release from jail and the means to start a new life. The surprises all work, and the action builds to a satisfying resolution.” — Agent: David Gernert, the Gernert Company. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2012.
“Kingdom’s Bounty: A Sustainable, Eclectic, Edible Guide to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom” by Bethany M. Dunbar – These remarkable images tell an even more remarkable story – the way that the most rural region of the most rural state in the union is leading a revolution in American agriculture.” — Bill McKibben
“The New Moosewood Cookbook” by Mollie Katzen – “Since the original publication of the MOOSEWOOD COOKBOOK in 1977, author Mollie Katzen has been leading the revolution in American eating habits… With her sophisticated, easy-to-prepare vegetarian recipes, charming drawings, and hand lettering, Mollie introduced millions to a more healthful, natural way of cooking.” — back cover
“Park Songs” by David Budbill – “Park Songs is set during a single day in a down-and-out Midwestern city park where people from all walks of life gather. In this small green space amidst a great gray city, the park provides a refuge for its caretaker (and resident poet), street preachers, retirees, moms, hustlers, and teenagers. Interspersed with blues songs, the community speaks through poetic monologues and conversations, while the homeless provide the introductory chorus—and all of their voices become one great epic tale of comedy and tragedy.
Full of unexpected humor, hard-won wisdom, righteous (but sometimes misplaced) anger, and sly tenderness, their stories show us how people learn to live with mistakes and make connections in an antisocial world. As the poem/play engages us in their pain and joy—and the goofy delight of being human—it makes a quietly soulful statement about acceptance and community in our lives.” — Amazon.com
“Plutocrats: the Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else” by Chrystia Freeland – “Chrystia Freeland has written a fascinating account of perhaps the most important economic and political development of our era: the rise of a new plutocracy. She explains that today’s wealthy are different from their predecessors: more skilled and more global; and more often employees than owners, notably so in finance and high technology. By putting together stories of individuals with reading of the scholarly evidence, she gives us a clear view of what many will view as a not so brave new world.” — Martin Wolf, chief economic commentator for the Financial Times
“The Great Northern Express: A Writer’s Journey Home” by Howard Frank Mosher –
From bestselling, nationally celebrated author Howard Frank Mosher, a wildly funny and deeply personal account of his three-month, 20,000-mile sojourn to discover what he loved enough to live for.
“Joseph Anton” by Salman Rushdie – “A harrowing, deeply felt and revealing document: an autobiographical mirror of the big, philosophical preoccupations that have animated Mr. Rushdie’s work throughout his career.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama Bin Laden” by Mark Owen -“Owen was already a SEAL at the time of the 9/11 attacks; the book begins shortly thereafter, as he is qualifying for the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Development Group (otherwise known as the famed SEAL Team Six), and follows him through various missions, culminating with a detailed account of the planning and execution of the assault on bin Laden’s compound. His version of events has already sparked some controversy…but it doesn’t feel as though Owen intended to add fuel to the fire. …No Easy Day doesn’t merely tell war stories–it also explores the culture of war and what it means to be a soldier. ” — Booklist Online. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2012
“Downton Abbey Season 2”
“A Film Unfinished”
“Kung Fu Panda 2”
“The Lucky One”
“Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted”
“Mad Men Season Two”
“Mugabe and the White African”
“Duet II” by Tony Bennett
“Kindred Souls” by Patricia MacLachlan – “From beloved author Patricia MacLachlan comes a poignant story about what we do for the ones we love, and how the bonds that hold us together also allow us to let each other go.” — inside front cover
“The Magic Escapes” by Tony Abbott – “When Eric chased Lord Sparr up the Dark Stair and out of Droon, he knew they were heading for the real world. But he didn’t realize just how much was about to change. With them, Eric and Sparr carry the secrets and the magic of Droon. And with magic on the loose. nothing in our world will ever be the same….” — back cover
“Nate the Great and the Sticky Case” by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat – “A stegosaurus stamp belonging to Nate’s friend Claude disappears, and the indomitable Nate the Great is called in on the case. At first, even Nate is stumped — the stamp has just vanished without a trace! But with clues from the weather and his ever-faithful dog, Sludge, Nate is soon on his way to wrapping up his stickiest case yet.” — Amazon.com
“The Penderwicks on Gardam Street” by Jeanne Birdsall – “The Penderwick sisters…return in another warm family story. An opening chapter, …tells how the girls’ mother died right after Batty’s birth. Now, some four years later, Aunt Claire presents the girls’ father with a letter from his late wife, telling him it’s time to start dating. Rosalind, Skye, Jane, and Batty beg to differ and come up with a harebrained scheme to thwart Mr. Penderwick. But the girls aren’t just focused on their father. Rosalind has her own romantic entangelments; and Skye and Jane write compositions for each other, which leads to myriad problems. Meanwhile, little Batty has become enamored of the widow and her baby son who live next door. There’s never much suspense about where all this is going, but things happen in such touching ways that the story is hard to resist.” — Ilene Cooper AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2008.
“Wonder” by R. J. Palacio – “Wonder is essentially…a wonder. It’s well written, engaging, and so much fun to read that the pages almost turn themselves. More than that, Wonder touches the heart in the most life-affirming, unexpected ways, delivering in August Pullman a character whom readers will remember forever. ” — Nicholas Sparks, author of The Notebook, A Walk to Remember and Message in a Bottle
“Wonderstruck: A Novel in Words and Pictures” by Brian Selznick – “Rich, complex, affecting and beautiful–with over 460 pages of original artwork–Wonderstruck is a stunning achievement from a uniquely gifted artist and visionary.” — inside front cover
“I, Galileo” by Bonnie Christensen – “In this biography, Bonnie Christensen lets Galileo himself tell the tale–and his genial narration makes this giant of science feel more real and accessible than ever before. Lavishly illustrated in rich jewel tones, this is a perfect introduction to a most remarkable man.” — inside front cover
“Monsieur Marceau: Actor Without Words” by Leda Schubert -“Marcel Marceau, the world’s most famous mime, enthralled audiences around the world for more than fifty years. When he waved his hand or lifted his eyebrow he was able to speak volumes without ever saying a word. But few know the story of the man behind those gestures . . .
“When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death” by Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown – “A comprehensive, sensitive guide for families dealing with loss of loved ones, When Dinosaurs Die helps readers understand what death means, and how to best cope with their feelings.” — back cover
“And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” by Dr. Seuss
“Froggy Gets Dressed” by Jonathan London
“Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs” by Mo Willems
“I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie” by Alison Jackson
“Llama, llama Time to Share” by Anna Dewdney
“Mossy” by Jan Brett
“Nate the Great and the Sticky Case” by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
“Nightime Ninja” by Barbara DaCosta
“Oh, No!” by Candace Fleming & Eric Rohmann
“Olivia and the Fairy Princesses” by Ian Falconer
“Pecan Pie Baby” by Jacqueline Woodson
“Z is for Moose” by Kelly Bingham & Paul O. Zelinsky
“The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To” by D. C. Pierson – “Charmingly honest and honestly funny. Nails what it’s like to be a geeky teenage mail, right down to the Agrtranian Berserkers.” — Max Barry, author of Company
“Chomp” by Carl Hiaasen – “Hiaasen extends his brand of Florida eco-adventures with this loopy foray into reality TV. Derek Badger, star of Expedition Survival!, arrives to film an Everglades episode, enlisting the services of animal wrangler Mickey Cray, a sort of Dr. Doolittle who specializes in snakes and keeps a 12-foot-long gator named Alice as a pet. Mickey holds his nose but takes the job, assisted by his son, Wahoo, a goodhearted teenager who’s able to handle his father as well as his father handles pythons. Badger, naturally, is a complete fraud, who choppers off to a hotel each evening while mosquitoes dine on his crew. After filming starts, Badger gets lost in the swamp with only his (dim) wits to help him survive. There are no cute owls or endangered panthers to save—tension derives from wondering whether Badger will get himself killed before Mickey does it for him, and a subplot about Wahoo’s friend Tuna, who’s on the run from her abusive father.” — Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM., PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2012.
“Graceling” by Kristi Cashore – “With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, …author Kristen Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting more.” — back cover