Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Reading Ahead: November 2016, part 5

November is a month full of gifts for readers. No matter what your reading pleasure, there's something for you. Don't believe me? Read on!

Faithful, by Alice Hoffman. Hoffman is a favorite of mine--her writing style is so beautifully evocative, I can't get enough. Here, she comes back to the present after her recent forays into the past (The Dovekeepers, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, The Marriage of Opposites, etc.) with a story about a young woman struggling to define herself in the wake of crisis. Shelby is an ordinary woman, until a tragic accident steals her friend's future, leaving Shelby to walk away with the burden of guilt. Her journey takes her into New York City, where she finds a circle of souls both lost and found, and where she grapples with love, joy, loss, and guilt among them.

I’ll Take You There, by Wally Lamb. Lamb is another favorite (truly, November feels like an embarrassment of riches to this reader) whose work I cannot resist. The novel centers on Felix (previously met in Wishin' and Hopin'), a film scholar who runs a Monday night movie club in what was once a vaudeville theater. One evening, while setting up a film in the projectionist booth, he’s confronted by the ghost of Lois Weber, a trailblazing motion picture director from Hollywood’s silent film era. Lois invites Felix to revisit—and in some cases relive—scenes from his past as they are projected onto the cinema’s big screen.In these magical movies, the medium of film becomes the lens for Felix to reflect on the women who profoundly impacted his life: his daughter, his sister, and former beauty-queen who has haunted Felix for decades. Also available in Large Print

Moonglow, by Michael Chabon. Inspired by the stories told by Chabon's own grandfather in the weeks before his passing, this novel is the deathbed confession of a man the narrator refers to only as “my grandfather.” It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and marriage and desire, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at midcentury, and, above all, of the destructive impact—and the creative power—of keeping secrets and telling lies.

The Whole Town’s Talking, by Fannie Flagg. Elmwood Springs, Missouri, is a small town like any other, but something strange is happening at the cemetery. Still Meadows, as it’s called, is anything but still. This is the story of Lordor Nordstrom, his Swedish mail-order bride, Katrina, and their neighbors and descendants as they live, love, die, and carry on in mysterious and surprising ways.  Lordor Nordstrom created, in his wisdom, not only a lively town and a prosperous legacy for himself but also a beautiful final resting place for his family, friends, and neighbors yet to come. “Resting place” turns out to be a bit of a misnomer, however. Odd things begin to happen, and it starts the whole town talking.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Reading Ahead: November 2016, part 4

Perhaps a little easy reading or a mystery  (or something that qualifies as both!) is just what you're craving as we (I'm sorry!) start heading into the holiday season. Sure, it's been 80 degrees out the last few days, but that doesn't mean that November isn't just around the corner! In any case, if you're looking to steal away for a little reading to decompress next month, here are a few titles to choose from.

The Award, by Danielle Steel. Gaëlle de Barbet is sixteen years old in 1940 when the German army occupies France and frightening changes begin to occur. She is shocked and powerless when French gendarmes take away her closest friend, Rebekah Feldmann, and her family for deportation to an unknown, ominous fate. The local German military commandant makes Gaëlle’s family estate outside Lyon into his headquarters. Her father and brother are killed by the Germans; her mother fades away into madness. Trusted friends and employees become traitors. And Gaëlle begins a perilous journey with the French Resistance, hoping to save lives to make up for the beloved friend she could do nothing to help. This is a little outside Steel's ordinary comfort zone, but my guess is fans will lap it right up. Also available in Large Print

The Mistletoe Secret, by Richard Paul Evans. I've had readers clamoring for holiday reads for a couple of months already (I'll admit, I'm nowhere near ready), so if you're among them, please add this to your list!
Thinking no one is reading, a blogger who calls herself LBH writes about her most personal feelings, especially her overwhelming loneliness. Alex Bartlett feels her pain. He’s reading her posts in Daytona Beach, Florida, where he nurses his own broken heart and slowly falls in love with this mystery woman. He follows a trail of clues she has unwittingly shared and makes his way to the town where she lives. But a discovery he makes upon arrival may change everything for him.

A Christmas Message, by Anne Perry. The year is 1900, and Victor Narraway is giving his wife, Vespasia, an unforgettable Christmas present—a trip to Jerusalem. Vespasia is enchanted by the exotic landscape of Palestine, and charmed by a fellow traveler the Narraways meet at their hotel in Jaffa. But when the man is murdered over a torn piece of ancient parchment he was taking to Jerusalem, Victor and Vespasia risk their lives to finish his mission and deliver the puzzling document to its home. Pursued by a shadowy figure with evil intent, they embark on a dangerous yet ultimately enlightening pilgrimage to the holy city, where the mysterious message on the parchment may finally be revealed.

Turbo Twenty-Three, by Janet Evanovich. Larry Virgil skipped out on his latest court date after he was arrested for hijacking an eighteen-wheeler full of premium bourbon. Fortunately for bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, Larry is just stupid enough to attempt almost the exact same crime again. Only this time he flees the scene, leaving behind a freezer truck loaded with Bogart ice cream and a dead body—frozen solid and covered in chocolate and chopped pecans. As fate would have it, Stephanie’s mentor and occasional employer, Ranger, needs her to go undercover at the Bogart factory to find out who’s putting their employees on ice and sabotaging the business. It’s going to be hard for Stephanie to keep her hands off all that ice cream, and even harder for her to keep her hands off Ranger... Also available in Large Print.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Reading Ahead: November 2016, part 3

If the coming nip in the air has you craving thrills and adventure, read on!

Cross the Line, by James Patterson. Patterson may be running the risk of publishing faster than his readers can read, but if you're anxiously anticipating the new Alex Cross novel, your wait is nearly over. Shots ring out in the early morning hours in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. When the smoke clears, a prominent police official lies dead, leaving the city's police force scrambling for answers. Under pressure from the mayor, Alex Cross steps into the leadership vacuum to crack the case. But before Cross can make any headway, a brutal crime wave sweeps across the region. The deadly scenes share only one common thread--the victims are all criminals. And the only thing more dangerous than a murderer without a conscience, is a killer who thinks he has justice on his side. As Cross pursues an adversary who has appointed himself judge, jury, and executioner, he must take the law back into his own hands before the city he's sworn to protect descends into utter chaos. Also available in Large Print.

Odessa Sea, by Clive Cussler. Cussler's long-running Dirk Pitt adventure series returns here with an elaborate mystery that just gets deeper as you go. Pitt is in the Black Sea helping to locate a lost Ottoman shipwreck, when he responds to an urgent Mayday from a nearby freighter. When he arrives, however, there are no survivors, just the smell of sulfur on the silent ship. A blast at the stern quickly sinks the ship, nearly taking Pitt with it. The more he searches for the secret of the death ship, the deeper the rabbit hole goes. The Romanov Empire, the Cold War, Ukrainian rebels all collide in what may be the most dangerous challenge in Pitt's career. Also available in Large Print