Thursday, December 11, 2008

The icelandic mysteries of Arnaldur Indridason

Indridason has won the Crime Writers Association Golden Dagger award for his mysteries. He is a great storyteller whose main character, Erlendur is hard to forget. Erlendur and his colleagues focus on missing person crimes in Reykjavik, Iceland. This is a particular interest of Erlendur because his brother disappeared when they were children. The pain of his past although submerged has greatly influenced his relationships with both of his children. His daughter Eva Lind is a drug addict who has a love/hate relationship with him and his son is not interested in any relationship with his father. His colleagues know that his personal life is a mess and he deals with it by focusing on the job. So he is not content every angle is checked or the crime is solved.
The library has four of his mysteries. Jar City is about a rapist who may have been murdered for his crimes. In the Silence of the Grave, Erlendur investigates the finding of a skeleton buried for 50 years and in The Draining Lake, the remains may be that of a cold war spy. In Voices, he investigates the murder of a Santa Claus in a luxury hotel.
Iceland is a major component of these novels. Most crimes of murder there are crimes of passion. Everyone knows everyone in the country or are related to them. Incredibly people do go missing and are never seen again. But you will be drawn to these mysteries not only for the story which is always interesting, but because you want to see Erlendur change as he begins to reach out to his colleagues, his children and possibly a love interest.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Genocide and Forgiveness

Left To Tell, by Immaculee Ilibagiza,
is a true and first-hand story of the Rwandan Holocaust. Immaculee Ilibagiza tells her story of fear, terror, murder and loss. Hiding in a tiny bathroom with 7 other women for 91 cramped and terrifying days, Immaculee survived and now tells us of her experience in a shocking and deplorable onslaught of innocent lives. The evil man is capable of will stun you, but Immaculee's story of faith and finding God in the midst of horror will lift you. Left To Tell is the other side of the coin to "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" and will serve as a true inspiration to anyone at odds with a brother, a people or themselves. Left To Tell will stay with you for a long long time.

This selection is the January 2009 pick for the "Faith-Inspired Book Club" meeting January 13th, 2009 at 9 a.m. Please join us on the library mezzanine for rich discussion!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"Dumpster Girl"

GRACE is another amazing story written by the author of THE CHRISTMAS BOX. For those who have never read anything by Richard Paul Evans, GRACE will not disappoint, and will most likely lead you to read the rest of his works.

Eric's life is far from wonderful. After his father hurt his back, the family packed up everything they owned and moved from California to Utah. Money has dried up in the summer of 1962 and, to survive, his family moves into the house left vacant by the death of his maternal grandmother. The house is falling apart, but they are together and have family nearby to help them.

To help with finances, Eric works at McBurger Queen after school. It's there, while cleaning up after closing, that he discovers a girl "dumpster diving" (sorting through the dumpster for food). He recognizes the girl from one of his classes, but doesn't want to embarrass her. Instead, he invites her inside and offers her the food that would otherwise be discarded.

While she is eating, he learns her name is Grace. She admits she is running away. Eric can't fathom what a girl his age will do to survive. Without thinking of the consequences, he offers up the only place he can think of, the clubhouse in the far corner of his backyard that he built with his younger brother, Joel.

He sets Grace up in the clubhouse with a heating pad for warmth, a flashlight, a transistor radio, and a supply of sleeping bags. As time goes by, the two become friends. He sneaks her food when he can. She sneaks out when it seems safe, and passes her time in the clubhouse with a collection of books from the library.

But her family starts a frantic search for Grace. Announcements are made at school. Flyers are put up around town. And eventually it makes the evening news. Eric is terrified he will be found out and that they will find Grace. He vows to keep her secret. His resolve grows more so when she reveals the reason for running away.

Eric is only fourteen, and the pressure from all sides start to mount. He knows Grace can never be turned over to her family, but what can a teenager do to help her in the end?

Mr. Evans has a way of bringing forth buried feelings. GRACE touches you deep in the spirit and makes you want to be a better person. With the upcoming Christmas season, may we all show a bit of grace to those around us.

Friday, November 14, 2008

What Really Happend to Mark Everley?

Dooley Takes The Fall by Norah McClintock

Dooley's on a mission. A mission to discover what happened the night of classmate Mark Everley's suicide. A suicide that Dooley witnessed and is now under suspicion for due to a previous police record. What makes matters worse? An unfortunate doping at a party that Dooley attends (and shouldn't be attending), causing him to lose all credibility in the eyes of the police and most importantly, his Uncle, who is currently allowing Dooley to reside at his residence. Toss in some romantic interest involving the victim's sister and you have a fast-paced and enjoyable read.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

Dashti is a mucker girl from the Steppes. Muckers are a nomadic people who live in tents called ghers. Dashti has the gift of healing song, common to muckers and these songs are used to heal and help people with illness, depression and other ailments. She has just been sent to be the maid of Lady Saren, the daughter of the Kahn of Titor's Garden, one of the Eight Realms of this fantasy. On meeting her new mistress, she finds that Lady Saren has refused to marry the man her father has chosen for her. Her father has just told her that she will spend the next seven years locked in a tower for her willful disobediance. Dashti is given the choice, will she go with her new mistress or leave? She chooses to stay and help her new mistress all she can. They are taken to a tower in the wilderness where they are bricked inside with only a slit to let in air and a small trap door to throw out waste. There is a seven year supply of food and firewood. There are guards who keep watch, day and night outside. Dashti starts to keep a journal of their seven year stay in the tower, the Book of a Thousand Days. In this journal she records her life and her attempt to befriend and understand her distant mistress. She keeps a detailed account of their life in the tower.
One dark night when the guards are sleeping, they hear a voice outside the trap door. It is the young Kahn Tegus that Lady Saren has secretly promised to marry. But Lady Seran refused to speak to him. "You speak to him for me, Dashti! Pretend you are me! I cannot talk to him!" So Dashti talks with Kahn Tegus for several evenings through the trap door and discovers that he is gentle, kind and brokenhearted that Lady Seran has been put into this prison tower for seven years. When Dashti tells of their struggle to protect their food supply from the rats that have invaded their cellar, he returns the next night and brings them a cat. When he does not return, Dashti finds that she misses him very much.
One night a very disturbing voice comes through the trap door. It is Kahn Khasar, the one Lady Saren's father had chosen for her. Once again, Lady Saren has Dashti pretend to be her and talk with him. He threatens that if she should ever reveal his dark secret, he will kill her. Lady Saren is so frightened of this man that she falls into a deep depression and refuses to talk. Whatever his dark secret is, Dashti, too, is terrified of this man.
Soon after this, the guards are attacked and killed by a vicious wolf. The wolf tries to get in through the trap door, tearing at the opening with his strong jaws. Their cat pounces at the wolf and disappears.
The girls are left completely alone. Weeks and then a year goes by. The rats return to ravage their food supply and Dashti must make the decision that will change both of their lives forever. She plans to break out of their prison and go to the Realm of Kahn Tegus for refuge. Will they make it? What is the dark secret of Kahn Khasar? This version of an old Mongolian fairy tale will keep you enchanted until the final page. You will find Book of A Thousand Days in Teen Fiction.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Clara Marsh is an undertaker who spends most of her solitary life taking care of the dead. From picking them up in the hearse, washing them, making them look their best. She chooses flowers from her own garden for the casket making her choice significant for the deceased and bereaved family. Her only friends are the owner of the funeral home and his wife. When a little girl begins spending time and hiding out at the funeral home, Clara becomes afraid she is involved in a child abuse ring. And Clara knows all about childhood abuse. This is a haunting story with a flawed heroine who prefers the dead to the living and the grieving cop who would like to change that.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Leper by Sigmund Brouwer

This story is riveting! It is 1853, London, England and three days before Christmas. Returning home from military service in India, Nathaniel discovers his worst fears. His has leprosy. He must abandon his family and everything he loves rather than expose them to this dreaded disease. But after years of isolation, Nathaniel's loneliness and longing for his family is more than he can bear. Distraught, he decides to end his life. But before that can happen, he discovers an abandoned baby girl and experiences his first human touch in years. A delightful and moving story line evolves with characters that will make you laugh as well as cry. This story is sure to touch your heart!

The Leper is the November 2008 selection for the "Faith Inspired Book Club" and can be found in our religious fiction area.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ranger's Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan

It's the time of knights and kings, evil lords, grotesque armies of telepathic monsters, hideous, almost invincible creatures from an ancient race of assassins. Forces of good and evil are massing for a final showdown and Will is a 15-year-old orphan who has dreams of one day becoming a knight. Tomorrow is the choosing day when the 15-year-olds are chosen by the kingdom's craftsmen, scribes, diplomats, military leaders at Baron Arald's castle to be their apprentices. Will is devastated when he passed over by the Battleschool for Knights because he is too small to be a knight. He is ready to give up hope of being selected at all when a mysterious cloaked figure steps out of the shadows and claims Will as his apprentice. Halt, the Ranger, takes Will to his home on the outskirts of the village and begins Will's training. Soon Will realizes that being a Ranger matches his own natural abilities. Will is stealthy, quick on his feet, agile and able to climb and get into places without being detected. He discovers from Halt that the Rangers are an elite, group of undercover spies who scout out the enemies and must use their skills to protect the kingdom from the evil armies of Lord Morgarath. Halt teaches him to use a bow, throw knives and to track. Gradually Will learns how to be a spy in the king's service and realizes how important the job is. and it is none too soon for there have been sightings of the rarely-seen, deadly Kalkara, a race of almost invincible assasins. They are on the hunt. But who are they hunting and why? When Halt begins to track these dangerous assasins, he sends Will to get the knights to meet them in the battle at the Ruins of Gorlan. Will he be in time to save the Ranger?

This is the first book in an exciting fantasy series by John Flanagan that will keep readers on the edge of their seat! Find this highly recommended book in the Teen Fiction section!

The Braid by Helen Frost

The Braid by Helen Frost is about a braid. Two sisters in Scotland in the 1850's are very close. They share the same bed, they always walk together with their arms linked together. One day, the Highland land lords decide all their tanants have to leave their homes forever. Their father sells his tools and buys tickets for his family to go on a boat to Canada. Sarah, the eldest sister, can't bear to leave Grandma Peggy, who refuses to go, and secretly plans to stay behind. The night before the family is to leave, Sarah and Jeannie, braid their hair together in a single braid. In the morning, Sarah is gone and the braid has been cut off. Jeannie finds half of the braid beside her in her bed and Sarah has the other half in her pocket. Jeannie, with her parents and younger siblings get on the boat and leave for Canada. Sarah watches from hiding and then joins her Grandma Peggy who returns to her birthplace on the island of Mingulay where they have relatives.

The story becomes a braid as first we hear Sarah's story, then Jeannie's story, and then a third short poem about something that has happened in each girl's stories. Each story is braided together by dreams, experiences with hunger, loneliness, love and tragedy. The two girls' lives are so closely braided together that even an ocean between them cannot separate them. They remain connected and can sense when the other is going through difficulties. It is a bond that is tighter than a Celtic knot. Helen Frost is a poet and gifted writer who has woven together this moving story of survival and love in a very intricate way! At the end she explains how she has carefully chosen her words, length of lines in syllables to match the girl's age and style to mimic the braid.

Look for this novel in the Teen Fiction collection!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Heartbreaking family story

Cost is Roxana Robinson's new novel. It is the story of a son who is struggling with heroin addiction, and the family that tries to reach out and help him. But it is also the story of a family that continuously struggles with connecting to each other. The descriptions of Jack's descent are grim and heartbreaking, but it's helpful and illuminating to get this point of view, to get in the mind of a person whose sole purpose in life becomes getting money to get the next fix. The other family members are drawn very well also--we get in all their heads, and see how much they love each other but how hard it is for them to communicate with each other. You may recognize some aspects of your own family in this novel, even if no one you know is experiencing an intervention or a serious drug or alcohol problem. All families are complicated, and this one is no exception. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

You know Billy, but do you know RUTH?

This is a warm and revealing portrait of Ruth Bell Graham, wife of evangelist Billy Graham. In Ruth: A Portrait you will come face to face with a fascinating and remarkable woman. You'll delight in her spunk and be encouraged by her courageous spirit. You'll just simply fall in love with her!
Ruth's childhood begins in China of the 1920's and 30's as a daughter of a medical missionary. She goes to Wheaton college and earns average grades. She, wants to be a missionary herself one day, but instead becomes the wife to one of the greatest preachers our country has known. In these pages, you'll get to know a Ruth that only family and close acquaintances knew. You will feel privileged. Find this book in our non-fiction section and read about one extraordinary woman's life journey.

This book is the October 2008 pick for the "Faith-Inspired Book Club" meeting the third Thursday morning of each month.

This one might rock your boat!

I give this book enthusiastic praise because it has the potential, without a doubt, to transform and astound you. You'll like it so well that you'll want others to read it.

So what is this book about? To begin, The Shack is a parable, (i.e. Bunyan's Pilgrims Progress) most of it being a conversation between a beaten-down, middle-aged adult male named Mack and three figures who dubiously represent the Trinity. (This might rock someone's boat!) The conversations take place in a remote shack in eastern Oregon, the exact spot of the greatest tragedy in Mack’s life.

Author, William P. Young, wrote this book at his wife’s prodding to explain his 11-year journey of healing with God to their 6 children. What he created is a story of soul wrestling with the forever asked question: “How can a loving God allow pain and suffering?"

A beautiful representation of how a God brings inner healing to one man, this book is a harbinger to others who might also carry a "great sadness." If you like parables....if you like to get deep.....and if you are willing to get your boat rocked...... read The Shack. You won't regret it!

This book was the September 2008 selection for the "Faith-Inspired Bookclub," meeting the 3rd Thursay morning of each month. Join us!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Cold Murder, hot revenge

The Swedish winter setting and the body in the ice hut make for a cold beginning to what turns out to be a brutal revenge killing. Author Asa Larsson takes us back again to Kiruna, Sweden where a beer-drinking naked ice fisherman finds the body of a woman dressed in jogging outfit and lacy underwear, in an ice hut where he seeks refuge. The victim, Inna Wattrang is the information officer for the Kallis Mining company. Inspector Anne-Marie Mella and her lonely partner, Sven-Erik find few clues and get little help from the woman's friends and colleagues. Our favorite lawyer,Rebecka Martinsson is asked to look at the company's financial and business records and she finds hidden bank accounts and bribes paid to influence the African mining industry. Could this have anything to do with Inna's death? Anne-Marie and Rebecka find a tangled web of deceit and perversion. Sven-Erik finds a cat and perhaps love.

An Unconventional Romance Spanning Centuries

The Gargoyle: A Novel by Andrew Davidson

After surviving a fiery crash induced by bourbon and narcotics, the main character and narrator of this debut novel begins to slowly mend in a burn ward. Horribly disfigured and just as equally cynical, he meets a mental patient who insists that they've met previously, seven centuries ago. A unique relationship begins as they share their stories of unsuitable foster parenting, a 14th-century German monastery and the art of sculpturing gargoyles.

Friday, September 05, 2008

A family's struggles in Iran

The Septembers of Shiraz, by Dalia Sofer, provides a portrait of a Jewish-Iranian family whose lives are torn apart by the Iranian revolution. A gem dealer in Tehran, Isaac is arrested and wrongly accused of being a Zionist spy. It is a terrible time in Iran, when those who have materially benefited during the reign of the Shah are singled out and persecuted. Isaac suffers physically and mentally in prison, but his family suffers also, as they struggle to maintain a degree of normalcy without knowing exactly what Isaac is going through. His son had been sent to New York to school, and his daughter is too young to fully understand what is happening. Although this is a haunting story that is sometimes difficult to read, the strength of the individual family members is encouraging and inspiring.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Cold nights in Leningrad

City of Thieves is the new novel by David Benioff, who did a terrific job as the screenwriter for the movie The Kite Runner. City of Thieves shows that Benioff is a talent in his own right. The story takes place during the siege of Leningrad by the Germans in World War II. The two main characters, Lev and Kolya, are strangers thrown together in prison for minor crimes that could have major consequences (such as execution). Instead, they are spared and sent on an assignment: find a dozen eggs so that the colonel's daughter can have a cake at her wedding. Leningrad is suffering, and people are surviving in cunning and brutal ways--eggs and chickens have long disappeared. The book is the recounting of Lev and Kolya's adventures and attempts to find the precious eggs before the appointed deadline. As they fight for survival, their friendship builds and becomes a thing of beauty in the midst of horror and depravation. It's a great book.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Going down memory lane

Water for Elephants has been a favorite of book groups all around the country, so the Delphi Book Club has selected it for their August book. Sara Gruen's debut novel is about an elderly man living in a nursing home, lonely and sometimes crotchety, who spends a lot of time in the past. Jacob Jankowski has led a very interesting life, and feels frustrated that his fellow residents and nurses don't seem to get that about him. When a circus comes to town, and he begins mentioning his long-ago days with the Benzini Brothers' Most Spectacular Show on Earth, no one believes him. Most of the book takes place during Jacob's circus days during the Depression, and lets readers into a world filled with adventure, misfortune, and romance. You'll meet Uncle Al, the unscrupulous business manager; Kinko, a bitter dwarf; Marlena, the beautiful horse-riding star of the show; and Rosie, an elephant with personality and a secret. If you'd like to join in the book club's discussion of the book, join us in the program room on August 22 at 9 a.m.

Friday, June 20, 2008

If you like books in which the land figures prominently, then you must read this book. The Floor of the Sky is a beautifully written story of a family living in the Sandhills of western Nebraska. Toby Jenkins lives on a ranch that was homesteaded by her grandfather after the Civil War. She's in danger of losing it due to overdue taxes. But the story depicted here is much deeper than that. We meet Toby's granddaughter Lila, 17 and pregnant, and the longtime hired hand, George, who seems like part of the family, and many other family members and residents of Elmyra, Nebraska. We learn about secrets held and sorrows overcome and loves lost. Read it.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Focus on Food

Most of us know that Barbara Kingsolver is an exceptionally gifted, environmentally sensitive, and socially conscious fiction writer. But did you know that she nurtures her own asparagus patch? And makes her own cheese? You can, too, and you may want to after reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. This book chronicles a year in the life of Kingsolver's family, a year in which they opted to eat only food that they could grow themselves or obtain from their neighbors. There are many reasons for making this kind of choice, including eating fresher and healthier foods, and reducing environmentally harmful effects of eating food that has to be processed and shipped many miles to your table. This book is the 2008 selection for Carroll County on the Same Page, the program sponsored by the three county public libraries in which we are all encouraged to read the same book and talk about it with our friends. Several book discussions and programs are planned for the summer. Contact your local Carroll County library for more information. And enjoy reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle as you snack on some healthy veggies from your garden.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Life with Cornelia

Cornelia Brown is back! If you read Marisa de los Santos' first book Love Walked In, you'll be thrilled to learn that you can jump back into life with Cornelia and Teo and Clare in the new novel, Belong to Me. Cornelia and Teo have married and moved to the suburbs of Philadelphia, and Clare is living with her mom back in Cornelia's old neighborhood but visits regularly. Cornelia has a bit of trouble making friends in her new home at first, but Piper and Lake turn out to be very important in her life--for surprising reasons. You'll love these characters--they are people I would love to get to know in "real life." If you haven't read Love Walked In, don't worry, you'll still be able to enjoy Belong to Me. De los Santos has a fresh way of writing that makes you feel like you're right there in the setting with her characters. You won't have any trouble getting to know Cornelia and her family and friends. I'm already waiting for the next installment of "life with Cornelia"... will there be one?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A new author to watch

Rebecca Johnson, contributing editor at Vogue magazine, has written a great first novel, And Sometimes Why. It's about a family, the McMartins, with two teenage daughters, Miranda and Helen. One ordinary morning, the girls argue about whose turn it is to drive the car, and Miranda wins. Helen ends up hitching a ride on the back of her boyfriend's motorcycle (unbeknownst to her parents, who don't even know about the existence of this boyfriend). From that point on, it is no ordinary morning. And there are no more ordinary days left for the McMartins. Helen and her guy are involved in a serious accident involving another car. The guy is killed, and Helen is left in a comatose state. Johnson lets us see the unraveling of this family as they deal with their grief, and the writing is heartfelt and true. In fact, I wondered if the author had been through something similar, because the words seemed so right. The driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident, who was not at fault, is Harry Harlow, a celebrity game show host. Johnson also takes us into his life and how the accident changed his life and really shook things up for him. He comes across as a gentle person who has not always been smart about his choices and in fact has just let life happen to him. He seems bewildered at where he finds himself. Although this novel is based on a tragedy, there is much to enjoy here--good writing, interesting characters, even a little humor.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Dreaming Void

Peter F. Hamilton's new space saga, the first in a trilogy has just arrived at the library. Less action and more political than his previous novels (Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained), it takes place in 3589 more than 1500 years farther into the future. By this time humans have conquered immortality, but continue to look for the perfect religion. A growing number believe it can be found in the Void, a self-contained micro universe that is expanding in all directions consuming everything in its path, stars, planets, and civilization. Inigo, an astrophysicist who is studying the Void, dreams of this universe as a paradise where thoughts become actions and dreams become reality. His dreams are transmitted to hundreds of millions and a new religion, the Living Dream is born. Inigo becomes its prophet and when he disappears, another Dreamer encourages a pilgrimage into the Void which could trigger an apocalypse. A desperate race ensues to find Inigo and the second Dreamer. Some factions want to impede the pilgrimage and others to accelerate it. Could this pilgrimage ignite a catastrophic expansion of the Void? Be prepared for a cliffhanger!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A hidden life

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox is an incredible book. Maggie O'Farrell has written a tender, wrenching story of a woman whose life has been a complete disaster. This woman, Esme Lennox, was bright, defiant, original, and ornery as a child, and that became her downfall. She enters the life of Iris Lockheart, who is her great-niece, very suddenly and unexpectedly. Iris leads a solitary but somewhat complicated life in Edinburgh, and she discovers quite out of the blue that (1) she has a great-aunt, and (2) this aunt is being released into her care after serving more than 60 years in a mental institution. We learn Esme's backstory gradually as we witness Iris and Esme's meeting and tentative relationship. We also learn about Iris's entanglements with a married man and with her beloved stepbrother. The fullness and richness of lives reduced dramatically by circumstances beyond their control made me have to catch my breath numerous times while reading this book. No one really gets what they want or need in this book, but it's still a satisfying journey for the reader because of its thought-provoking power. You will love and empathize with Esme after reading this book.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Gone but Not Forgotten

Gone, Baby, Gone is one of those books that stays with you long after you've turned the last page. Dennis Lehane has a knack for putting you right there in the midst of the action. In this case, the reading experience is not for the faint of heart. The story is about the abduction of a child, but it becomes much more than that, carrying you into the underworld of crime and crime-fighting in Boston. It's very dark but totally compelling. At one point, Patrick Kenzie has encountered a horrific scene of violence and depravity. He has trouble sleeping and continues to be assaulted by memory flashes of what he has seen. I could relate to that! I was as physically removed from that scene as I could be, sitting in my comfortable chair in front of the fireplace. But I felt a bit of that despair, and had to keep telling my mind to stop trying to recreate those images. Now that I've painted such a dreary picture, I should tell you that I do not regret reading this book. Despite the sad encounters, and the feelings of hopelessness the characters often felt and expressed, the author has skillfully shown me a section of the world that I probably would never encounter otherwise. And I have learned from it. Isn't that a good reason to read a book? Not to mention the fact that he kept me on the edge of that comfortable chair I mentioned--there are quite a few twists and turns in this story. Read it and weep.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Novelist

The Kerrigans live a comfortable life in the suburbs of Reno. The only major dilemma in their lives is the instability of their youngest child, twenty-one-year old Zachary. After bringing Zack home from college in Utah after what seemed to be major bingeing episodes and a beating by thugs, Jordan and Carl pray that they can keep an eye on their son. They also pray that somehow Zack will grow out of his destructive behavior and become more interested in the life in Christ that they found not long ago. Meanwhile, Jordan takes on teaching an evening fiction writing class at the local community college. When a badgering student challenges her to open a vein and write something more personal than her usual machismo loaded novels, an idea flourishes that Jordan believes may get a message through to her wayward son. Jordan writes a brilliant allegorical novella (captured within the main story) as a teaching aid for her class, hoping as well, that this story will be read by her son and it will capture his heart. However, the outcome is something the novelist never anticipated! Check out The Novelist, by Angela Hunt.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A modern mystery

One reviewer from Publishers Weekly described this book as "Agatha Christie meets Desperate Housewives." That is the perfect summary of They Did It With Love by Kate Morgenroth. Sofie and her husband Dean leave the hustle bustle of Manhattan for a luxurious home in Connecticut after she inherits a large sum of money from her father. She is unsure of whether she approves of the move, but Dean encourages it, and she tries to make a go of it. She falls in with a group of her neighbors who meet for a mystery book club. Sofie loves reading mysteries, and soon there is one in the community to solve. Julia, well-coifed and well-heeled but not well-loved, is found dangling from a tree limb in her front yard. Was it suicide? Or murder? All the book club members have secrets and their own stories to tell. None of the characters are entirely likeable, but they sure are interesting. And the mystery Morgenroth develops is fun and twisty. She has a special touch at describing the elite members of Sofie's neighborhood. Have fun with this one!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I thought I was finished with Scandinavian mysteries, but then Redbreast by Jo Nesbo crossed my desk. Detective Harry Hole is a recovering alcoholic who receives a promotion after shooting a Secret Service agent during a presidential motorcade. Basically he is given a corner office with nothing to do. On his own, he begins to investigate a story of an illegal arms sale associated with Neo-Nazi skinheads. He feels certain this sale will lead to an assassination. But who and why? He relies on his former partner, Ellen who is a whiz at puzzles to help him navigate not only the investigation but also his life.
This book brings to light Norway's World War II involvement with the Nazi's (many Norwegians fought for Hitler in the war) and the problems with Neo-Nazi's in Oslo today. In spite of his alcohol issues, Harry Hole is an endearing man with a penchant for irony especially with his superiors. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys history and wants a mystery/thriller they cannot put down until the end.