Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Changeling by Victor Lavalle

When he was four years old, Apollo West’s father vanished without a trace. Shortly after, Apollo began having a terrifying and recurrent nightmare. The dream never varied until, on an evening in his junior year of high school, a cardboard box labeled Improbabilia turned up on his doorstep. Inside were keepsakes, obviously collected by his father, Brian. Among these treasures was Maurice Sendak’s children’s book, Outside Over There, a tenuous link to a father he barely remembers. From that moment onward, Apollo devours every word he can lay hands on; magazines, books, the backs of cereal boxes, etc.   Starting in high school, reselling the waiting room cast-offs brought home from his mom’s office, he is able to parlay his new passion into a career as a “book man.” Nearly a decade later, on the heels of a fortuitous find, he meets Emma, an adventurous librarian.  The two marry and are soon happily expecting their first child.  Despite a headline-making delivery, the little family seems to be settling in well. Apollo, determined to be the father he always wished for, is over the moon with little infant Brian. However, things may not be as they appear.  Emma seems to change shortly after returning to work. Drawn and haggard she begins acting strangely.  She never seems to call Brian by name, incensing Apollo by referring to baby Brian as “it.” Over the next few months she enlists the help of an online community of “wise ones,” whose advice will dramatically alter their family’s life forever. What follows is an Odyssean journey that spans centuries and oceans without ever leaving New York.  

Jennifer Wilson

Monday, December 25, 2017

I, Eliza Hamilton by Susan Holloway Scott

  I, Eliza Hamilton is a spell binding historical read.  Nia Vardaloss famous quote: The man may be the head of the household. But the woman is the neck, and she can turn the head whichever way she pleases, describes the theme of this book very well. 
 Elizabeth Schuyler is the daughter of a well-known and respected general.  She is full of grace, devotion, and intelligence.  She was twenty when she first met Alexander during a party at her familys home, and knew then that Alexander had the ambition of a thousand men, and to top it off, he is fiercely handsome.
                Alexander and Eliza Betsy fall in love and marry.  She becomes his loyal supporter and soul mate, but  heart-breaks, scandal, and tragedy follow poor Eliza.  With her head held high she continues to move forward, and always, even in the darkest moments, stands by her husband.  If you are obsessed with American History, pick up this book and step into the time of the Hamiltons who had a hand in helping to shape our country.  

Love is not easy with a man chosen by Fate for greatness.
-Daniela Green

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Insidious Intent by Val Mc Dermid

This is a new Tony Hill/Carol Jordan mystery following Splinter the Silence.  Carol has been appointed the head of ReMIT (Regional Murder Investigation Team), a new division dedicated to cracking the toughest cases.  Carol has handpicked her team, which leaves detectives from other squads angry as it insinuates they are not worthy and hinders their advancement.  They engage in mudslinging and the team is again being hounded by the press, who are interested in finding out the details behind Carol's release from her DUI charge.
They are handed a case of a woman found fatally burned in a car parked in a lay-by.  At first thought to be an accident, the forensics team finds the cause of death is strangulation. The efforts of the fire department to put out the flames, removes any fingerprints or other forensics.  It isn't until the second murder that they begin to piece together the movements of both victims and realize that the single unescorted women are being picked up at weddings by a man who has crashed it.
The team finds themselves pushed to find this monster before he strikes again.  Tony Hill is busy with trying to piece together the motive behind the crime, as neither victim knew her assailant before being "dated" after the pickup.  Paula and her partner are dealing with internet blackmail involving their foster son.  Carol is dealing with enormous guilt over the dropped DUI charge, and feels responsible for the deaths of her brother and his wife. Tony has convinced her to completely abstain from alcohol, which she uses to deal with stress, which this case provides a lot of.  The tension ramps up as they race to uncover the perpetrator before he kills again.  Carol has a complete breakdown and Tony tries to save her, which leads to an unexpected and surprising ending.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore

Generally, the point of reincarnation is to achieve enlightenment, being reborn over and over to gain enlightenment. Milo, the oldest soul on the planet, has given up on pursuing perfection and instead spends his time between lives with Death, who prefers to be called Suzie. After Milo’s 9,995th life, he learns he only has 5 more tries to live a perfect life and join the Oversoul or he will be cast into the nothingness. Poore expertly weaves Milo’s last five lives with flashbacks of past lives (including the time he was a cricket) and the complicated tale of his (after)life with Suzie. With all of his imperfections on display, Milo is a relatable everyman who shows us younger souls how hard it is to be truly perfect. Readers will laugh heartily and also be touched by the love Milo and Suzie fight so hard to hold onto.

Poore wins the reader over quickly with his witty yet poignant writing, and takes them on a ride they won't soon forget! This absolutely wonderful and inventive tale about love and death (aka Suzie) is reminiscent of the work of fellow oddballs Terry Pratchett and Tom Robbins but Poore tells it with a voice all his own.

- Portia

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Immortalists

I was fortunate to receive from the publisher a pre-pub galley of The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin, which doesn't come out until January 2018. It's a remarkable book about life, love, family, religion, science--all the big things. And flawlessly executed. Here's the premise: Four siblings, Varya, Daniel, Klara, and Simon, visit a fortune teller who tells each child, separately, the exact date of his or her death. The four sections of the book give us each of the sibling's stories and explore how the woman's predictions deeply affect the way they live their lives. How would you behave if you thought you knew the date of your death? Live recklessly, fearlessly, timidly? Would your life become a giant self-fulfilling prophecy, or would you try your darnedest to prove it wrong? Benjamin explores all the possible ways these thoughts could play out in the Gold children's lives, spanning from that critical day in 1969. This is a book worth waiting for!

--Kelly Currie

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Warden's Daughter by Jerry Spinelli

Reading books together as a family is a great way to bond with each other and have fun. Instead of having a family movie night, have a night together where you share a new story and read together. The Wardens Daughter is a book that your entire family can enjoy together but is more age-appropriate for upper elementary.

Growing up at a prison would make for a strange childhood, but Cammie OReilly spends her time around the prison, and has even gotten to know some of the female inmates personally. When she was just a baby, there was an accident that resulted in the death of Cammie's mother. This story shows Cammie transform into a preteen with only having a father for guidance. Cammie does have some adult female influences in her life through the inmates and, one in particular looks after her on a daily basis. She tries to get attached and form a motherly bond with her nanny, but it does not turn out the way she desires. A girl needs a mother figure in her life and Cammie has tried desperately to fill that void, sometimes ending in disastrous outcomes.

This story has humor, heartbreak, and mystery. I grew to love Cammie early in the book and was intrigued by her story of growing up in a prison. You get to meet some of the inmates and they are all lively, likable characters that you want to learn more about. This coming-of-age novel was well-written and a story that I could not put down until the last word. Cammie provides narration that will keep the reader wanting to learn more about the Hancock County Prison and meet every inmate.  I recommend this book to fans of Jerry Spinelli’s other works, and for families who enjoy reading chapter books together. This book, and the audiobook, are available in the children’s department.


Monday, December 11, 2017

The Delphi Public Library 2017 Top Ten

2017 is almost over, and, as can be expected, we read a lot of books around here! Looking back at our year in reading, we each took a moment to pick out our personal favorite of the year to highlight here.

Bang by Barry Lyga – I have enjoyed all of Barry Lyga's previous works and was excited when he released Bang this year. This story was full of emotion and unlike anything I have read previously, making it my favorite of 2017. – Lauren Brannon

The Broken Road by Richard Paul Evans – This is is the 1st in the new Broken Road trilogy. Evans is a favorite author for me and the story is on giving second chances, which I believe in. – Pat Lohrman

Dark so Deadly by Stuart MacBride – This Scottish mystery features DC Callum MacGregor who has been assigned to the Misfit Mob, a squad of unwanted police officers who can't be fired. The antics of the squad bring levity and humor to this dark mystery. – Jane Cruz

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay – This collection of short stories is perfectly personal, relatable, and emotional, while also being distant, shocking, and sometimes repulsive. – Sondra Price

The Half-Drowned King by Linnea Hartsuyker – Legend and myth brought to life in this Viking-era novel is a real page turner.  Marriages for political gain, wars, battles, betrayal, assassinations, family disputes--and, of course, scandalous relationships are all a part of this historical masterpiece.  – Dani Green

Hunger: a memoir of (my) body by Roxane Gay – A writer who is not afraid to broach taboo or personal topics, Gay describes this memoir as the most difficult thing she has written. Throughout the book, she opens herself up to the reader’s scrutiny, honestly approaching her weight, her struggle with self-esteem, and the difficulty she faces in daily life living in a society that judges her for being a “woman of size.” Months after reading it, I’m still processing all of the feelings it evoked. – Portia Kapraun

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste NgNg deftly weaves in the complex topics of art and photography, cross-cultural adoption, teenage pregnancy, poverty, wealth, parenting...and big life choices. A stellar book with fascinating characters and a potent storyline. – Kelly Currie

Odd Child Out by Gilly MacmillanOdd Child Out introduces detective Jim Clemo as he searches for answers after a young boy falls into a canal. This fast-paced thriller will definitely keep you up at night! – Bert Blue

The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg – Berg offers us a quick read with engaging and lovable characters. – Cathy Kesterson

Strange Weather by Joe HillHill’s four short novels expose the individual and societal pressures that motivate our sometimes fateful decisions. It features well-drawn characters and excellent pacing for a fat book novellas. And it's Joe, my best pal. – Jennifer Wilson

Did you have a favorite of the year? Share it in the comments below!

Odd Child Out by Gilly MacMillan

Noah Sadler and Abdi Mahad are best friends. Noah has terminal cancer and comes from a privileged white family.  Abdi is a black Muslim Somalian refugee. Both are fifteen years of age, smart as they come, and at the same time they are very different. But that didn't matter to them.

One night, an unexpected incident brought the police in. Noah is in the hospital, unconscious, and Abdi is shocked to silence. So how will they ever find out what really happened that night  when neither of them are talking? It is difficult to imagine these boys doing anything out of the ordinary.

This is my first book by Gilly MacMillan, and I was impressed.  This novel speaks to us of social and political issues. The descriptions and the characters are very good; you can easily visualize the scenes and detect the emotions of each character, which were mostly fear, loss, and questioning. I must admit that I did shed a few tears at the end of the book.