Friday, March 29, 2013

Birthdays for the Dead by Stuart MacBride

"The Birthday Boy" is a serial killer who steals preteen girls away from their parents. Every year after a girl has been taken, he sends her parents a homemade birthday card and a polaroid snapshot of their daughter shown in various poses of being tortured. The cards eventually stop coming.

When bodies are found in a local park, Psychologist Alice Macdonald is brought in to create a profile of the killer. She's soon assigned to work with Detective Constable Ash Henderson, who is keeping a secret.

The secret: His daughter is a victim of "The Birthday Boy."

Henderson keeps mum because he doesn't want to be taken off of the investigation into the other missing girls. Most think that his daughter merely ran away, but the polaroids that he's receiving tell a different story.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Intense! The True Story of 33 Men Trapped in a Chilean Copper Mine

33 Men: Inside the miraculous survival and dramatic rescue of the Chilean miners by Jonathan Franklin

You might remember this in the news a few years back. On August 5, 2010, the San Jose copper mine in Chile collapsed with thirty-three men still inside. For the next seventeen days, Chilean government members, families, and rescue workers hoped and prayed that they'd be able to reach the miners who were buried at a depth of 2300 feet.  Down in the mine, where it was 98 degrees F and almost 100% humidity….the men were struggling to survive on contaminated water and minimal food.  They had to deal with issues of human waste, dampness, heat, food, the mountains crying and was there going to be another eruption and cave in.  When a borehole was finally drilled and reached the trapped miners, everyone was thrilled to find that all the men were alive, but they still had to figure out a way to get them out. It was to be sixty-nine days before the miners were finally rescued through a hole 28” wide!

This is an amazing recount of this true story. Franklin, a journalist who was on site for much of this experience, conducted 110 interviews with the miners, their families, and the rescue team, to write his narrative. The details of this real-life drama are enthralling. Franklin did a great job. A real page turner! 
This book is an electronic book available through the Delphi Public Library catalog.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

ABOVE ALL THINGS by Tanis Rideout

     In 1924, George and Ruth Mallory are happily in love, ensconced with their three children in Cambridge, England.  George is arguably the last great British explorer, having twice tried-and failed-to conquer Mount Everest.  It is a mountain that has haunted him.  George, with his movie-star good looks and incredible charisma, has captivated a war-torn England that hopes he can restore some of its former glory after World War I.  Yet George promises Ruth that he won't mount a third attempt. He belongs to her, not to Everest.

    Then one afternoon Ruth reads a telegram addressed to her husband: "Glad to have you aboard again."  And with this one sentence her world will never be the same again.

     George has assembled a team of the best and the brightest to scale the top, including Oxford student Sandy Irvine.  Through alternating narratives, what emerges is a beautifully rendered story of love torn apart by obsession and the need for redemption.  The author's accomplished depiction of the harsh and beautiful Himalayan heights.  Tanis Rideout's Above All Things takes us to the heights of human experience and endurance, in both physical fortitude and erotic longing.  Rideout brings us to the summit and back down, shaken but somehow saved by grace.

     Above All Things has it all: adventure, tragedy, mystery, and a deeply moving love story.  I could not put it down.  Prepare to be dazzled.

Monday, March 18, 2013

News from Heaven

Jennifer Haigh’s ‘News from Heaven’ is a collection of interwoven short stories that bring to life multi-generations of characters who share a common tether; they have all lived, worked, loved and lost in the coal mining town of Bakerton, Pennsylvania. The residents of the town, mostly of Polish, Irish and Italian descent, still subscribe to the customs and culture of their homelands and, with each generation, attempt to meld the current culture with their past. In this beautiful book, Haigh evokes sentiment without sappiness and creates fully flushed characters in the span of single chapters.
This read is a generous slice of Americana and a tribute to small towns. If you have grown up in one you will recognize Haigh’s characters and identify with the events and decisions that keep many of its residents rooted in place. Haigh understands how the livelihood of an area impacts not only the economy but the culture of the place. For the residents of Bakerton, the coal mine plays the role of savior, and often that of captor.
Jennifer Haigh is a gifted storyteller whose books ‘Mrs Kimble (2003) and ‘Faith (2011) I have read and also recommend. Upon finishing ‘News from Heaven’ I discovered that it is a sequel to Haigh’s novel ‘Baker Towers’ (2005). I just pulled the library copy off the shelf and checked it out. I am looking forward to spending more quality time with quality characters.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Hattie Ever After


At the beginning of the story the reader finds Hattie with many choices to make.  This theme runs throughout the story as Hattie calls on prayer, friends and at times her inner voice to help her find her place in life.  When Hattie left her Montana homestead she also left dreams and a sense of purpose.

 Throughout this novel we find Hattie not taking no for an answer and working hard to meet her goals.  We are introduced to new character, some we will cheer for and others we will jeer.  The characters are well developed, white still giving the reader the opportunity to make them it is great to find old friends from Hattie Big Sky in this novel as well.  There is less of a focus on the war in the sequel, but it does give readers an insight to life after the way as the "boys" returned from fighting over seas.

The readers are lead through an adventure in perseverance and will as Hattie works to become a female reporter in a world where they are few and far between.  We learn about Hattie's unwillingness to accept no for an answer and  that she is not afraid of hard work.

Hattie is a tremendous role model for all girls.  She is strong and determined.  She does not
let being a girl stand in her way of things or use it as an excuse either.  She thinks for herself and does not allow her judgement to be clouded by suitors.  

I loved how this book ended and thought that it brought together all the loose ends and gives a sense of closure more than the previous novel.  I think it shows that hard work pays off and that if something is important to someone they will find a way to make it all work out.

Hattie is a character that will stay with many for years to come.   I will highly recommend this book to middle school students! 

Monday, March 04, 2013


"As Sweet As Honey" is the story of a family on and off the island of Pi in the Bay of Bengal.  The book is a lovely read of humor, folklore of PI, love, and the voices of children.  There is also jealousy, a ghost, and the desire to explore the western world.

Meterling, the aunt, is the center of the book.  She is very tall compared to the shortness of most women on the island of Pi. Meterling is fascinated by the western world but also filled with great love for her family and the gorgeous flowers of the island. Meterling is engaged to a short, plump English man, Archer.  At Meterling and Archer's wedding Archer dies while dancing of an aneurism.  Then Merling finds she is pregnant.

Her family, the children, aunts and uncles worry about her grief and her desire to be different.  Her family tries to tell the children their aunt's story but only Meterling can share her story of her sorrow and her desire to make her own decisions in life.  Pi's island culture emphasizes compatible horoscopes in marriage partners especially to outsiders.  It's interesting to compare and contrast the viewpoint of the children's relationship with Meterling and the adults relationship to her.  Meterling remarries and takes her son to England to live.   Again it's interesting to compare the color, warmth, and friendliness of Pi to the cold greyness of London.  All of this ties in well to Meterling's emotional state at the time she is dealing with sorrow, a new marriage, and a new move to a different culture.  I found this is a gentle, easy read.


Patsy MacLemoore is a young history professor who sometimes doesn't behave very professorially. She has a drinking problem.  She wakes up in jail one day--not for the first time--after another one of her alcoholic blackouts, and has to ask her lawyer what she did. Two people are dead in Patsy's driveway. And Patsy, who was driving with a revoked license, will spend the rest of her life atoning for this act. She goes to prison and comes out a changed woman, getting sober, finding a new community of friends. Blame is about the path of recovery and also the psychological strain of being blamed by yourself and others for a heinous act for most of your life. When, decades later, more information about that terrible night emerges, Patsy has to reassess her life all over again. This is the March selection of the Morning Book Club. Come and discuss it with us on Friday, March 22.