Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Perfect Shot is a 3-pointer!

The Perfect Shot by Elaine Marie Alphin is an exciting murder mystery set in Indiana! Brian's girlfriend, Amanda, her little brother and mother have all been murdered. The police think it was her father. Brian isn't so sure. But everyone he knows is telling him to move on and get over it! Focus on basketball and on being the best forward you can be. Focus on hitting that perfect shot!
Brian hopes that the system will work for Amanda and her father. An innocent man couldn't be wrongly convicted, could he? But then Brian does a school project on Leo Frank, a Jewish man lynched decades ago for the murder of a teenage girl---a murder he didn't commit.
Worse still, Brian's teammate and best friend, Julius gets arrested for nothing more than being a black kid in the wrong place at the wrong time. Brian can't deny that the system is flawed.
As Amanda's father goes on trial, Brian admits to himself that he knows something that could break the case: it is a mysterious jogger he saw on the day of the murder. He is haunted by this jogger who seemed to be hiding in his gray sweat suit hoodie as he ran past Brian the day of the murder. This could break the case against Amanda's father, but then Brian fears that if he should come forward with this information, he will become the target for another kind of perfect shot.
This book will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end! You'll find it in the Teen room. This great sports mystery will score with all those looking for a gripping who-done-it! Check out The Perfect Shot by Elaine Marie Alphin.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Heaven is For Real!

There are many books out there about experiences of heaven and hell; some worth your time and some not I suppose. But Heaven is For Real, by Todd Burpo, is unique in that it is the experience of a small child - the author's 3 year old (nearly 4) son.

Colton is the son of a small town Nebraska pastor who during emergency surgery slips from consciousness and enters heaven. He survives his surgery and one day mentions that he was able to look down and see the doctor operating and his dad praying in a small room off by himself. Colton, over time, begins revealing more of his experiences of heaven.

Of course, as it would be with you and me, the family didn't know what to believe or if to believe at all. But then came the proof - Colton said he met his miscarried sister, whom no one had told him about, and also his great grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born. Now they believed.

This book is sure to do one of several things for you; it may bring you peace about a lost child or loved one; it may bring revelation about what is to come; and it will surely give you a glimpse of the heart of God as it glorifies Christ throughout. I will not reveal anymore, but encourage you to find this book on your library shelf or at a bookstore. Be blessed.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Winter's Bone

Ree has never known anything but the poverty of the Ozarks and wishes to leave it behind her. Unfortunately, that may never happen after her father puts their house and property up as his bail bond and then vanishes into thin air.

Attempting to raise her younger brothers and care for her mentally ill mother, the house is all they have, so young Ree embarks on a desperate and brutal search to find her father. But it's not an easy task. The family clan is tight-lipped yet they hold the key to her father's whereabouts.

A novel which truly paints a sad and very accurate portrait of the underbelly of the Missouri Ozarks, Winter' Bone is a harsh, yet heart-wrenching story of how far one would go to keep family together and provided for.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Living in a World of Laughter

Growing Up Laughing: My Story and the Story of Funny is a book that only Marlo Thomas could write-a smart and gracious, witty and confident autobiographical journey.

For as long as Marlo Thomas can remember, she's lived with laughter. Born to comedy royalty-TV and nightclub star Danny Thomas-she grew up among legendary funny men, carved much of her career in comedy and, to this day, surrounds herself with people who love and live to make others laugh.

Her youth was star-studded-Milton Berle performed magic tricks (badly) at her backyard birthday parties. George Burns, Bob Hope, Sid Caesar, Bob Newhart and other great comics passed countless hours gathered around her family's dinner table. And behind it all was the rich laughter and loving family.

Marlo describes growing up in a loving and funny family. Her father didn't want her to go into show business, but Marlo had to do it her way. Marlo Thomas graduated from the University of Southern California with a teaching degree. She is the author of five bestselling books, "Free to Be....You and Me, Free to Be....a Family, The Right Words at the Right Time, Thanks and Giving: All Year Long," and "The Right Words at the Right Time Volume 2: Your Turn!"

Some know her as the star of the 1960s TV show That Girl, or perhaps major fund-raiser for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, or wife of talk-show king Phil Donahue. However, you know Marlo Thomas, her book is well worth reading.

Labor Day

Summer is winding down and those carefree, mindless days are soon to be over for thirteen-year-old Henry; friendless, awkward, and living with his long-divorced mother who, as her summer project, has taught Henry the fox trot. After the Labor Day holiday, Henry must return to school and be subjected to eating lunch alone and taking 'hits' in the locker room. There is not much to look forward to. Things would be better if he could make his emotionally-frail , reclusive mother happy .... for longer than a moment. Things would be better if he could somehow feel a part of the 'family' that his estranged father has created with a new wife, baby and step-son.

Life changes dramatically for Henry when he and his mother, while on their yearly shopping trip, encounter a mysterious bleeding man at the local Wal-Mart. Over the course of the next week the man, Frank, tranforms life for Henry and his mother. Henry finally learns to throw a baseball, discover the secret for a perfect pie crust, and sees that real love is well-worth the wait.

In this novel, Joyce Maynard paints a perfect picture of an endearing but awkward adolescent through the character of Henry. You will marvel at how this boy's life was altered through the events of one single long, hot weekend.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

On The Blue Comet: by Rosemary Wells

Oscar Ogilvie is living with his dad in a house at the end of Lucifer Street, in Cairo, Illinois, when world events change his life forever. The great stock market crash has rippled across the country, and the bank takes over their home- along with all their cherished model trains. Oscar's dad is forced to head west in search of work, and Oscar must move in with his no-nonsense Aunt Carmen. Only a mysterious drifter who stops by each day for food after school helps alleviate Oscar's loveliness- until Oscar witnesses a crime so stunning that it catapults him into a miraculous, time-hopping train journey.
Filled with suspense and peppered with witty encounters with Hollywood stars and other bigwigs of history, this captivating novel by Rosemary Wells resonate with imagination, humor, and the magic of a timeless adventure story.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Hypothermia: A Thriller

Reykjavik's police detective Erlendur works alone because he prizes solitude above all else. He also has ghosts from his past which haunt him daily particularly the probable death of his brother who went missing when he was a child. Then there is his failed marriage and his tentative relationships with his two children.
This case begins with the apparent suicide of a woman ravaged by guilt and depression over the recent death of her mother and the long ago death of her father when she was a child. Erlendur investigates the case to try to determine why she would want to kill herself. At the same time, he begins an investigation into the disappearance of two young people thirty years ago. Erlendur feels survivor's guilt, because it was his brother who was never rescued when both of them were lost in a blizzard. No trace of his brother's body was ever found. Therefore when an Icelander goes missing, he feels compelled to delve into the case.
This crime novel has no car chases, guns blazing or quick action. Instead it focuses on the psychology of the people involved, their fears and pain and the guilt they wrestle with daily. It is a very satisfying read and when you are finished, you will wish you could pick up the next book and keep reading.

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Almost Unbearable Sadness of Being...Jewish

Julie Orringer has followed up her notable short story collection with a heartrending but beautifully written novel that spans several years and lives in Europe during the years leading up to and encompassing WWII. I picked up The Invisible Bridge with hesitation, unsure of whether I wanted to face another book full of sorrow and the plight of Jewish families in the war. And yet, I knew very little about the Jews of Hungary, and so was curious, and the reviews were captivating, and the photograph on the front cover finally drew me in. The Invisible Bridge requires a considerable investment of time--at 600 pages, it is not a quick read. It also requires an emotional investment, because I quickly became attached to Andras Levi and his brother Tibor and their friends and family. I found myself smiling as I read, laughing out loud, gasping in disbelief and shock, and yes, the inevitable, crying in deep sadness. This is not an easy book to read. It shows the incredible cruelty that human beings are capable of. But it also shows the other side, the love and loyalty that people can demonstrate under the most horrible circumstances imaginable. When I finished this book, I truly loved the Levi family and wept for their losses and celebrated their survivals. I wish they were real so that I could clasp their hands to my heart. The thing is, they are real. Orringer has made them so. And numerous families just like the Levis are the great-great grandparents of our friends and neighbors today. Orringer has told a wonderful story. Read it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman

It is 1563 in Elizabethan London and Meggy Swann has just ridden a day's journey from the small village where she was raised to be dropped off in London at the dark, narrow, "Sign of the Sun" house. She has been sent to live with the Alchemist father that she has never met. He left before she was born to work on his dream of turning common metals into gold. Now he is in need of a healthy lab assistant and has remembered that he has a child. But when he sees Meggy he tells her he expected an able-bodied boy to help him and not a crippled girl. But she is stuck in London and must try to find a way to survive. Meggy, ever prickly, and sharp-tongued, has flashing dark eyes and an inquisitive mind. True, she must use two walking sticks to get around but she will find a way to make herself useful to the father who doesn't want her. Her only friend is her pet, Louise, a goose with broken wings.
The former lab assistant, Roger Oldham, has been ordered by her father to show Meggy where she is to sleep and to get her food to eat. He tells her of his plans to join a troupe of players and begin a new life. Roger also tells Meggy how to find him if she should need anything and how to find the market place where she can get food for herself. But Meggy can barely walk with her sticks, how will she ever be able to get around London by herself?
Meggy learns to make herself useful to her father and he finds it helpful to have her assistance in his lab. She is slow but she does learn to get around London to run the errands that he requires. Roger becomes a steadfast friend and the player troupe become an extended family to Meggy who finds friends and foes alike in the neighborhood as she goes out each day.
But there are strange men coming at all hours of the night to her father's laboratory. Meggy overhears of a plot to poison the Baron and she fears that her father may be caught as an accomplice. There is more afoot than turning common metals into gold. Meggy is turning into a stronger, braver and wiser young woman but will she be able to protect her ungrateful father, her friends and herself? To find out, read Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Honestly, I can't imagine a better tale.

A detective story that's at once mythically large and painfully intimate.

Just the simple facts are hard to believe: that in 1951, a poor black woman named Henrietta Lacks dies of cervical cancer, but pieces of the tumor that killed her---taken without her knowledge or consent---live on, first in one lab, then in hundreds, then thousands, then in giant factories churning out polio vaccines, then aboard rocket ships launched into space. The cells from this one tumor would spawn a multi-billion dollar industry and become a foundation of modern science--leading to breakthroughs in gene mapping, cloning and fertility and helping to discover how viruses work and how cancer develops (among a million other things.) all of which is to say: the science end of this story is enough to blow one's mind right out of one's face.

But what's truly remarkable about Rebecca Skloot's book is that we also get the rest of the story, the part that could have easily remained hidden had she not spent ten years unearthing it.: Who was Henrietta Lacks? How did she live? How did she die? Did her family know that she'd become, in some sense, immortal, and how did that affect them?

The book ultimately channels it's journey of discovery through Henrietta's youngest daughter, Deborah, who never knew her mother, and who dreamt of one day being a scientist.

Rebecca Skloot tells the story with great sensitivity, urgency and, in the end, damn fine writing. I highly recommend this book. ---Jad Abumrad

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Year 2088

I was long needing a book that was so good I couldn't put it down and I found it in The Last Christian by David Gregory. With this futuristic and sci-fi thriller - year 2088 -Gregory gives us a future that we may not like - but have to admit is possibile.

Abagail Caldwell, the main character, is the daughter of missionaries to an isolated (by government decree) tribe in New Guinea, where a strange disease has killed everyone but her. As a result she is thrust from the jungle into a very different America where advanced technology has changed the world! Here, people no longer care about nurturing their souls but only want to stimulate their bodies and virtual reality is where they live by choice. And now, physical death may soon be eliminated altogether but at what cost. Abagail finds herself in the heart of this biggest change of all, her life threatened, and other deaths unexplained. She also finds that Christianity has died, and she, Abagail Caldwell, is that last Christian.

This book, with it's incredible message, is a highly thought-provoking novel. I recommend it without hesitation!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Southern-Fried Fantasy For Vampire Fans

A mixture of both fantasy and mystery, Dead Until Dark is the first title in the Sookie Stackhouse series.

Sookie, a mid-twenties barmaid from Bon Temps, Louisiana, resides with her grandmother and rarely dates because her telepathic abilities simply complicate any opportunity to have a reasonably normal relationship with a member of the opposite sex.

A lone vampire named Bill (internationally and nationally, vampires have just been allowed to "come out of the closet") wafts into Merlotte's bar one evening (Sookie's place of employment) and to Sookie's amazement, she's unable to read Bill's thoughts and he is unable to glamour her as well. A romance begins.

When the bodies of young women who are labeled as "fang bangers" begin piling up, Sookie's brother Jason is suspected of murder and Sookie's ability to read minds both hinders and aids in solving the crimes.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Worst Place on Earth to be a Woman

Lisa Shannon had what some would call a good life-her own business, a successful finance, a secure home. Then one day in 2005, shortly after her father's death, an episode of Oprah changed everything. The show was about women in the Congo depicted atrocities too horrible to comprehend: millions dead, women gang-raped and tortured, children starving and dying in shocking numbers. That day Lisa woke up to her dissatisfaction with the "good" life and to her role as an activist and a sister.

She created a foundation call Run for Congo Women, with the goal to raise money to sponsor 30 Congolese women. What started as a solo 30-mile run has now grown into a national organization in connection with Women for Women International. Run for Congo Women holds fundraising runs in four countries and ten states, and continues to raise money and awareness. In A Thousand Sisters, Lisa shares firsthand accounts of her experiences visiting the Congo, the women she's helped, and the relationships she's formed. With compelling stories of why she remains committed to this cause, Lisa inspires her audience to reach out and help as well, forming a sisterhood that transcends geographic boundaries.

Shannon is exposed to a world remote from her own affluent life. Her painful firsthand accounts of the violence inflicted upon Congolese women by Hutu militants will shock and make you realize that the Congo is the worst place on earth to be a woman.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fever of the bone.

This is the sixth Tony Hill mystery written by Val McDermid. Tony is a psychologist and criminal profiler who is often used by the Bradfield CID and Detective Inspector Carol Jordan and her hotshot major crimes team. The case this time concerns the murder of several young male teens by seemingly the same perp and the team cannot find the connection between them. Tony is persona non grata at the station because the new chief constable thinks he is a waste of money. So he takes a job in the neighboring community of Worcester profiling the murderer of a young teen girl who was a member of a social networking site.
McDermid is very adept at twists and turns in her mysteries and added to the mix is the deep friendship between Carol and Tony-one which has never turned romantic in spite of the chemistry. They each have their own life turmoils to deal with. Carol drinks too much and due to Tony's horrific upbringing, he is afraid that emotionally he is closer to those he profiles than to normal. Unexpectedly and with Carol's help, Tony learns some information about the father who never acknowledged him leading us all to hope that it helps Tony towards emotional healing. The next book should contain some major changes for all the characters.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The Writing Circle

Over the course of her career, author Corinne Demas has belonged to numerous writing circles. In her most recent novel, The Writing Circle, Demas unravels the complicated histories and entangled lives of members of Leopardi Circle, a writing group whose members include a poet, biographer, adventure writer, historian, and two aspiring novelist. Every Sunday afternoon, without fail, the group of established writers meet to read their work outloud and to give feedback. Through this process of revealing their work, they ultimately begin to share their lives , their personal stories, families, affections and most buried secrets. Each chapter is written in the voice of a Leopardi member, family member or acquaintance. As the story builds, Demas takes us on a roller coaster ride full of eccentric passengers and intricate relationships. This is an engaging novel that delivers a rich and surprising story. Demas introduces characters who have enough heft and sincerity to them that I wish that I could meet them for coffee and a good talk.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Wrapped in Rain

Wrapped in Rain is one of the most beautiful written books I have ever read. It's one of those books that so good you don't want it to end. It is compelling, authentic story of humanity's good & evil. The characters are so strong, that I will carry this story & people with me for a long time.

Tucker Mason never received affection from his wealthy & abusive father. He has few happy memories of his childhood. Time spent with his half-brother, Mutt & his childhood girlfriend, Katie. Of course, Miss Ella, the housekeeper who was like a mother to him & the only secure source of love Tucker ever knew.

Tucker is now a world famous photographer & has done his best to leave his difficult, painful childhood behind him. But when Katie comes back into his life with her little boy, Jase & Mutt escapes from the mental hospital where he has lived for the past 8 years, Tucker realized that maybe there are some memories that can't nor shouldn't be, left behind. through the ever-present voice of Miss Ella, Tucker realizes he has a choice. He can continue to let his hatred, the sins of his father, control his life & the decisions he makes, or he can lay it down & choose the harder path of love & forgiveness.

Every day that you get up, you got to lay that anger down. Lay it down & walk away. Then one day, you'll wake up & forget it's there. Only the remnant remains. An empty shell. If you don't, it'll eat you up & you'll rot, from the inside out

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Not So Pretty View of Ireland

Many people think of Ireland as a magical place full of green pastures packed with woolly sheep and lovely stone cottages and winding country roads. And I'm sure there are plenty of such things in Ireland. But there are also plenty of places like Faithful Place, the dreary, poverty-stricken neighborhood depicted in Tana French's new novel called, well, Faithful Place. French has taken a somewhat minor character from her last novel, Frank Mackey, and made this new book his story. It's a dreary place, yes. And it's a dreary story, yes. But French is a remarkable writer. Her agility and sense of place makes Faithful Place seem like it's one of the characters itself. Frank goes back to his childhood neighborhood when an old suitcase is found hidden in the chimney of an abandoned apartment house. The suitcase happened to belong to his childhood sweetheart--the sweetheart that he and everyone else assumed had run off to merry old England without him. His entire life, as it turns out, has been built on a falsehood. The dialogue among all these people is priceless. I found myself thinking in this Irish brogue and wanting to say words like "yous" and "eejit" and other choice terms I can't repeat in polite company. The Mackeys and their neighbors lead harsh lives, and their unhappiness shows up in hard ways. We discover why it is that Frank Mackey left home and never looked back. But we feel bad about it. And we mourn for his lost sweetheart Rosie right along with him.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


A Mystery
By Anne Emery
Beau Delaney is sort of a showboat, a promising lawyer whose exploits have become the subject of much discussion and even a Hollywood film of one of his cases. He's the father of ten children, some of them foster children, some of them adopted children, and some of them his own blood.
Then he is charged with the murder of his wife, Peggy. Monty Collins, a blues man and lawyer, tries to prove is client is not guilty but knows his client, Beau, is keeping secrets. All Beau will say is that he wasn't at home when the death happened but his neighbors say they saw Beau outside the home before eleven o'clock which tips the scales against Beau. The last words uttered by Peggy is "Hells Angels".
Besides his lawyer trying to save Beau from jail so is his pal, Father Brennan, a fried of Monty and Maura's, his ex-wife. Watching this all through the eyes of a child is Monty's and Maura's little girl, Normie. When Normie starts having nightmares and visions like her great grandmother about Beau, the plot thickens and becomes more and more mysterious. We hear the story from two points of view, experience and innocence, Monty and Normie; therefore, asking ourselves which of them will be first to uncover the truth about Beau Delaney.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky

When Susan Tate's seventeen-year-old daughter, Lily, announces she is pregnant, Susan is stunned. A single mother, she has struggled to do everything right. She sees the pregnancy as an unimaginable tragedy for both Lily and herself.

Then comes word of two more pregnancies among high school juniors who happen to be Lily's best friends-and the town turns to talk of a pact. But Lily, Mary Kate and Jess are the top girls, academically, athletically and socially, in the Maine coastal village of Zaganack. Most of the scandal comes from the fact that Lily's mother Susan is the high-school principal. Susan too was pregnant and unmarried at 17. When Lily was a baby, Susan bonded with fellow mothers Kate (Mary Kate's mom) and Sunny (tightly wound parent of Jess); the women have been best friends ever since, and all three are devastated by their daughter's incomprehensible decision.

While Susan fights for her job, she revisits her painful past (her own parents shamed and disowned her) and begins to connect more deeply with Lily's father Rick, a globetrotting journalist who may be ready to stay home. Problems arise with the health of Lily's baby, the involvement of the babies' fathers and the stability of PC Wools, a division of the posh retailer that the three mothers' created and run together, they spend Saturdays dyeing yarn and trying to figure out why their girls traded in bright futures for teenage motherhood.

Not my daughter is a book about a mothers' love being put to the ultimate test.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

Author, Laurie Halse Anderson, has returned to the Revolutionary War for her new YA novel, Chains. As the Revolutionary War begins, 13 year old Isabel and her sister, Ruth have been promised their freedom upon the death of their owner, Miss Mary Finch. But as a cruel twist of fate they are refused their freedom and end up in New York City as slaves to the Lockton's, a cruel family with strong British ties. Isabel meets another slave, Curzon, who encourages her to spy on her owners who have information on the upcoming planned British invasion of New York City. Isabel hesitates to become a Patriot informant until her sister is sold and now she must seek her freedom to go search for her sister. She takes information that she hears as she is serving Mr. Lockton and hopes for her freedom when her owners are discovered, but instead she is caught, branded with an I for 'insolence' on her cheek. This novel will sear you, as well. You will be moved, shocked and amazed at the spirit and Isabel's ability to overcome extreme hardships and to break the chains that have bound her all her life.

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Be wary of the dark.

Before you think, "Ugh, not ANOTHER vampire novel?!" be warned. If a book that is over 700 pages long can keep my interest, especially one dealing with vampiric overtones, then it surely must be one that deserves a second glance.

The passage by Justin Cronin

A secret government experiment to create super soldiers for the military goes awry and our country's population is infected with the virus. (Oh, did I mention that they concocted the virus from Bolivian bats and used death row inmates as test rats?) Soon there's an epidemic of "virals" which disrobe, fly and leap on their victims and generally wreak havoc on those remaining in this post apocalyptic mayhem of a world which is left

Jumping ahead several decades, the second half of the book centers around a small community of survivors who live in what appears to be a compound which is surrounded by a wall. Daylight hours are safe, night time is a different story and using lights and shifts of guards, they manage to keep the "virals" or "jumpers" from invading their home.

Add a young girl to the heady mix, a girl who travels alone, a girl who can communicate with the virals through mind reading yet is not one of them and you'll find that this is indeed a book worth reading.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Listen Here!

It is true! Our God is a communicating God. John Eldredge, in his book, Walking With God, gives a series of stories from one year of his life, showing us what it looks like to walk and listen to an amazing God! Believe me, you will learn many things from this book. You will be equiped, as well, for a deeper walk. And an incredible journey is awaiting you as you learn to listen ---because He IS speaking. Eldredge shows us it is in fact true and you can "walk with God" in like manner.
This book is the July 2010 selection for the Faith-Inspired Book Club at the Delphi Public Library, July 22nd. Pick up a copy of the book and join us if you can, 9:00 a.m. Or just pick up the book and be blessed!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Making Toast

This book is a touching and beautifully honest account that begins with the moment author Roger Rosenblatt and his wife Ginny learn of the death of their daughter. At the age of thirty-eight, Amy a devoted wife, mother of three young children, and a successful medical doctor, dies suddenly at home while her young children are present. After hearing the devastating news, the Rosenblatts rush to the home of their son-in-law and grandchildren --- fulfilling an overwhelming need to be together, to help sort out the pain, and to begin to realize the loss that they have all sustained. The days pass and this need to be together somehow becomes a permanent living arrangement. Through the following year we see this shattered family gather the pieces of their former life in an attempt to assemble something that is somewhat whole. Ginny, the grandmother, almost seamlessly moves into the role of mother; cooking, shuttling children to school activities, and singing nursery rhymes as she tucks them into bed. "Now, in her sorrow, she is in her element," writes Rosenblatt. And of this Ginny says," I think my whole life has led up to this moment". Roger offers his own substantial contribution; making toast and pouring cereal for the children's breakfast. "This is the one household duty I have mastered", he claims. This book presents a family's personal pain in a way that is tender without being sentimental and it shows us that even through heartbreak there is humor and beautiful life lessons to be learned.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Blackout by Connie Willis

This is Connie's first book since Passages in 2001 and the third time travel book she has written. Blackout takes place in Britain during World War II. Three researchers from Oxford University in the year 2060 have traveled back in time to observe three different historic events as they happened. Eileen is to work as a maid at a country house where she can observe children evacuated from London. Of course the children catch the measles and this may keep Eileen from returning to Oxford on schedule. Mike is sent to observe the evacuation of Dunkirk, but instead lands many miles away. Even though historian time travelers are not supposed to be able to affect the course of history, Mike's trek may do just that. A third historian Polly has the most dangerous placement. She must find a job as a shopgirl in London where she can observe those who work and live in the damaged city and who take refuge in the bomb shelters at night during the blitz.
This book is a genuine page turner. From the horrifying bombs in London to the bratty children in the manor house to Mike's race to save the soldiers at Dunkirk, the three must face the fact that they may not make it back to the future. However, we won't know until the second book All Clear, comes out in the fall of 2010.
Connie has done her research as always and the book is full of interesting tidbits about the ways the British people set out to defy and fool Hitler. Connie Willis has been inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and has won six Nebula awards and ten Hugo awards. Her first time travel book is Doomsday which takes place in the 14th century during the time of the Black Death.

The Misadventures of Maude March or Trouble Rides a Fast Horse

Wanted: "Mad" Maude March.....notorious Maude March, a girl reported to be just fifteen years of age, held up the Des Moines Savings & Trust on Friday morning. Eyewitnesses told authorities that she passed for a man & shot like an outlaw....

Eleven year old Sallie March is a whip-smart tomboy & voracious reader of Western adventure novels, also called "dime novels". When she & her ladylike older sister Maude are orphaned for the second time, they decide to take matters into their own hands & escape their self-serving guardians for the wilds of the frontier & an adventure the likes of which Sallie has only read about.

This time, however, the "wanted women" isn't a dime-novel villain, it's Sallie's very own sister! And while life on the run has it's perks - not having to wear a dress, for starters - pretty soon the horse thieving & bank robbing & bandits are more than ever Sallie bargained for.

Narrated by the irrepressible Sallie, What follows is the rollicking, edge-of-your-seat story of what really happened out there on the range. Not the lies the papers printed, but the honest-to-goodness truth of how things went from bad to worse & how two very different sisters went from being orphans to being outlaws & lived to tell the tale!

The Misadventures of Maude March is Newbery Honor winner Audrey Couloumbis's most unforgettable work yet.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Bloodroot is the name of a flower whose blood-red sap possesses the power both to heal and poison. It is also the perfect title of this novel, which is as much about a place as it is about people. The setting is Appalachia, with its stunning natural beauty amidst a hardscrabble life of poverty. Myra grows up in this lovely place, and she is a beauty herself, but she seems destined to a life of trouble and hardship. She is a wild child and has been given a special gift, the "touch," but sometimes life's greatest gifts turn out to be the source of greatest sorrows. Amy Greene gives us the interwined and hopelessly linked stories of the families that live on Bloodroot Mountain, and you will feel that you're a part of it, too.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Have you seen this child?

Single mother Ellen finds one of those "Have you seen this child?" fliers in her mailbox, and the picture looks shockingly like her three-year-old adopted son Timothy. Her journalist instincts compel her to investigate, and she finds more than she bargains for--a trail that leads to more than one suspicious death and the potential loss of the son she has grown to love so much. Scottoline is at the top of her game with this one, and you will be holding your breath until the last page.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Every Last One

After four long years, Anna Quindlen's patient and faithful fans have been rewarded with her newest novel, Every Last One. This is not an easy read. Mary Beth Latham, wife, mother, and business owner, has a full and happy life. Her husband Glenn is lovable and companionable; her daughter Ruby a charming, intelligent, young woman, and her twin boys Alex and Max are like two sides of a coin--one the easy, popular athlete and the other the quiet, struggling outsider whom Mary Beth worries about the most. We know from the beginning of the story that something terrible will happen to fracture this family. When it comes, even though we have been warned, it is a shock. It is incredibly sad, but I do encourage you to read this book. Quindlen knows how to write. She knows how to connect the reader to the character, almost as if you are walking hand in hand with Mary Beth and her family. As the reader, you can see from the comfort of your reading chair that casual comments and small actions can sometimes unintentionally lead to large and calamitous results. This is a beautiful and tender drama of a family forever altered but a family nonetheless.

Monday, May 03, 2010


This collection of short stories by the brilliant Alice Munro is called Runaway because it is about women of all ages and temperaments who are running away from something, be it their youth, their husbands, their lives, or quite possibly the truth. Munro has a talent for revealing the secrets and betrayals, large and small, that populate all our lives. I usually do not like short stories. They often seem so perfunctory and leave me wanting for more. Not so with Alice Munro. These are satisfying stories, spare of language but full of meaning and depth. This is the Morning Book Club selection, which will be discussed on Friday, May 28, at 9 a.m. All are welcome to join us!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Your Questions Will Be Answered Here!

This is an extremely good read! If you've ever asked, "where was the church during the Holocaust?" or "how could any human being become Hitler's pawn and do such notrocious things?" then this book will more than enlighten you.

Hitler's Cross by Erwin W. Lutzer (he is on Christian radio alot these days) does an extremely thorough job of studying the times before, during and after the Holocaust and gives us an understanding of how good people fell for Hitler's lies, how the church got sucked in, and what present signs in our world today should we be alerted to.

Lutzer will lead you to introspect your own heart, and the heart of America as well. This is deffinitely one of the greats of our time. Everyone in our book club enjoyed this book and we couldn't talk enough on it.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Powerful and Inspiring

Finding Grace by Donna VanLiere
This book deals with so many things! Yes, it IS about 'grace,' but within that, it is about all those hard places where grace is needed so badly. Afterall, a life never escapes its valleys and painful scathings. We've all experienced "ungrace" as well and it hurts.

Finding Grace is one woman's story of some very personal valleys: broken dreams, child abuse, infertility, to name a few. She also gives much wisdom and guidance about hearing what your life is saying to you. I found it more than valuable.

A good suggestion when reading this inspiring book, is to make note, either on pad or your heart, of the many precious life-nuggets VanLiere shares with us becaue you will want to recall, apply, and pass them on. This book is that good!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Tale of the Heart

Kate Morgenroth's new novel, Through the Heart, is a very different kind of love story. Or perhaps a very different kind of mystery. We witness the burgeoning romance between Timothy and Nora and their interactions with family and friends, knowing from the beginning that this story does not have a truly happy ending. We know that a murder will take place; we know when and where; but we don't have a clue whodunnit or who the unlucky victim is. The author does a great job of building interest in the relationship (you'll be rooting for Nora I think) and building suspense toward the awful climax (you'll be thinking, oh I hope the victim isn't this person or that person, or I hope so-and-so gets their due). Have fun with it, try to guess the ending, or just enjoy the ride. Morgenroth is one to watch.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Envisioning a Different World

It is obvious that novelist Laura Kasischke is also a poet. The writing in her new novel, In a Perfect World, is simply luminous. Here's the story: Jiselle, a beautiful, 30something flight attendant who has never married, is courted by handsome pilot Mark Dorn. After a brief and magical romance, with travel to numerous exotic locales, they wed. Jiselle leaves her career to stay home with Mark's three children. This is a sticky situation to be in under normal circumstances--teenage girls and a young boy still mourning their mother and resentful of the newcomer in their lives. But to make matters even more difficult, a flu pandemic spreads across the world, isolating Jiselle and the children in their community, while Mark is held in quarantine across the ocean. This story is a wonderful blending of an apocalyptic sort of plot, and a good character novel that really looks at how these people deal with each other and with the multiple crises affecting them. In the end, Jiselle and her stepchildren rise to the occasion and become a new and much stronger family, with a few surprises along the way.