Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Heart of a Samurai

Heart of a Samurai is an action-packed historical novel set on the high seas! In 1841, fourteen-year-old Manjiro and his four friends find themselves on a deserted island after a storm at sea. Beyond the island is the unknown, filled with monsters, demons and barbarians. Or so they've been told. They know they cannot return to their homes in Japan--the country's borders are closed to foreigners and to citizens who have strayed. No one may enter under penalty of imprisonment or even death!
One day an American whaling ship passes near the island and take the castaways aboard. Manjiro's curiosity overcomes his fear of the "barbarians". He joins in the work of the whaling vessel, eager to learn everything he can about this new culture. Over the next ten years, Manjiro is adopted by the Captain of the ship, travels the high seas, visiting places he never dreamed existed, including America. It is a time filled with new experiences and adventure as well as friendship and treachery. Manjiro sustains himself on a dream of returning home and somehow--though he knows it is impossible for a simple fisherman--becoming a samurai.
Will he ever be able to go back to his native land? And if he does, will he be welcomed or condemned?
This Newbery Honor book written by Margi Preus, tells the story of the first Japanese boy to ever set foot in America, Manjiro Nakahama. Her careful research paints a poignant picture of this young man's experience and the effect he had when he returned to Japan and eventually helped to open the communication between America and the isolated nation of Japan. This book has photographs of Manjiro and drawings by Manjiro, whose American name was John Mung.

Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus is found in the Teen Room! Check it out!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Robe - Better than the Movie

Lloyd C. Douglas' classic, The Robe, is an excellent novel providing an insightful perspective of the early Christians and the rise of a new religion. The story begins near the time of Jesus' crucifixion when a Roman soldier, Marcellus, wins Christ's robe as a gambling prize. Because the robe has an unexpected affect upon him, a year later he sets out on a quest to find the truth about the Nazarene who wore the robe-a quest that takes him to the very heart of Christianity. An extraordinary story with strong characters, this book is the May 2011 selection for the Faith-Inspired Book Club at Delphi Public Library!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

R, a young zombie who shuffles endlessly around an empty airport, resides in a deserted airliner and listens to Frank Sinatra on an old record player, has dreams. He may not have memories, an identity or a pulse, but his dreams fill him with hope and longing. A longing that there might be something out there worth changing in the ruins of what once was America.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Tantalizing tale of family relationships and food

Jael McHenry has created a tempting and very satisfying read in her first novel 'The Kitchen Daughter'. The story opens just hours after the funeral for the parents of 26-year-old Ginny Selvaggio. Ginny, who is unable to maintain eye contact, tolerate physical contact, make friends, or finish college, still lives in her parents' home. She has spent the majority of her adult life within the confines of that home, reading, attending to her cat Midnight, following her favorite kitchen blog on the Internet and perfecting her recipes in the family kitchen - the place where she finds solace from all that she finds painful in life.

After the sudden death of Ginny's parents, her younger sister Amanda (married with 2 young children) attempts to take control of Ginny's situation and sets things in motion to sell the family home. Unable to deal with these dramatic and sudden changes, Ginny turns to the kitchen where she calms herself cooking familiar recipes and, as a result, uncovers family secrets and ghosts who offers up cryptic advice.

The story is compelling in itself but what adds to the spark in this debut novel is what author Jael McHenry stirs in from her 'other' life. McHenry is an enthusiatic amateur cook who blogs about her kitchen experiences at the Simmer blog, http://simmerblog.com. She is a monthly pop culture columnist and Editor-in-Chief of Intrepid Media, online at intrepidmedia.com.

I'll Walk Alone

Who has not read about - or experienced - with a sinking feeling the fear that someone else out there may be using your credit cards, accessing your bank account, even stealing your identity.

In I'll Walk Alone, Alexandra "Zan" Moreland, a gifted, beautiful interior designer on the the threshold of a successful Manhattan career, is terrified to discover that somebody is not only using her credit cards and manipulating her financial accounts to bankrupt her and destroy her reputation, but may also be impersonating her in a scheme that may involve the much more brutal crimes of kidnapping and murder. Zan is already haunted by the disappearance of her own son, Matthew, kidnapped in broad daylight two years ago in Central Park - a tragedy that has left her torn between hope and despair.

Now, on what would be Matthew's fifth birthday, photos surface that seem to show Zan kidnapping her own child, followed by a chain of events that suggests somebody has stolen her identity.

Hounded by the press, under investigation by the police, attacked by both her ex-husband and a vindictive business rival, Zan, wracked by fear and pain and sustained only by her belief, which nobody else shares, that Matthew is still alive, sets out to discover who is behind this cruel hoax.

Even Zan's supporters, who include Alvirah Meehan, the lottery winner and amateur detective, and Father Aiden O'Brien, who thinks that Zan may have confessed to him a secret he cannot reveal, believes she may have kidnapped little Matthew. Zan herself begins to doubt her own sanity, until, in the kind of fast-paced explosive ending that is Mary Higgins Clark's trademark, the pieces of the puzzle fall into place with an unexpected and shocking revelation.

Deeply satisfying, I'll Walk Alone is Mary Higgins Clark at the top of her form.