Thursday, December 18, 2014

Reaching Out To Your Past

Relationships are complicated. Meet Georgie, a sitcom writer who has a chance to create her own show with her writing partner, Seth.  Georgie chooses to spend the holiday season writing a pitch for the show of her dreams instead of traveling to Omaha with her husband Neal and their two young girls.  Neal is not thrilled with the idea of going on his own for the holidays.

Georgie, wracked with guilt over not leaving LA,  tries everything possible to reach her husband during their separation, including calling him in Omaha on her old yellow land line phone from her old childhood bedroom. Miraculously, the land line phone always seems to reach Neal, though it is the Neal during their courtship in college.

Georgie experiences talking with her husband during the week prior to their engagement. She becomes wrapped up these conversations and becomes increasingly disinterested in writing the new show despite the deadline. Her writing partner and best friend Seth tries to keep her focused on their dream of creating their own scripts.

Landline is the creation author Rainbow Rowell, who is known for Eleanor and Park and Fangirl. Pick up Landline and connect to a relationship that is realistic and touching.

Review by Cara

Monday, December 8, 2014

Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth is a totally engrossing tale of consisting of three story lines with the fairy tale Rapunzel at its apex.    Charlotte Rose de la Force is banished from Versailles by Louis the IV, the Sun King.  Her scandalous affairs go beyond even what is fashionable in that time period.   Charlotte is also a French Novelist which was a unique calling during this time period. She bonds with a mysterious older nun Soeur Seraphina who calms and engages her with the glories of her herbal garden.   She also spins a tale about a beautiful young girl with red gold hair locked in a tower.  The story moves to the fate of Margherita whose father steals bitter greens from the garden of Selena who demands the first born child or the father will have his hands chopped off.  In desperation the father promises this since it is seven years away and likely anything can change in that time period.  Of course it does not and Margherita is spirited away soon after her seventh birthday and banished to the tower by Selena.  The novel then moves to the life and times of Charlotte which resulted in her banishment and next to the life of Selena and her mystical gifts and dark talents.  If the reader gets this far into the story it becomes a page turner wherein the outcome of all three powerful women is eager sought.  -The reader is pulled into another world of where magical happenings were regular occurrences and ingenuity the part of Charlotte Rose, Margherita and Selena have the reader cheering each of them onward.   A tale for any who want to be swept away by a tantalizing fairy tale for adults!

Reviewed by Karen   

Monday, November 17, 2014

Now an American citizen living in Rochester, New York, Salva was a young fugitive of the war in Sudan who lived in a refugee camp for ten years. He finally traveled to America, where he is still studying for his bachelor's degree in International Business. Salva Dut was only 11 when he had to take the long and treacherous journey to Ethiopia, where he spent about six years living there. Then Salva led the "Lost Boys of Sudan" to a refugee camp in Kenya. From there only about 3000 people were chosen to go to America, but Salva was one of them. He was relocated to Rochester where he was adopted by a man named Chris and his wife. There he lived, but later decided to go back home to Southern Sudan and started his non-profitable organization that changed his old home, called "Water for Southern Sudan".

I read this in two evenings!  It was so affecting, horrifying and filled with moments no child should have to experience.  A true life story about a resilient young Lost Boy who grew into a visionary and honorable man!  This one was recommended by one of my young customers at Gwinnett County Public Library Lilburn Branch.

Please pick this one up!

Reviewed by Karen J. Harris

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tales of Terror

Below are a selection of tales to get you in the mood for Halloween.

Ever since he nearly drowned in the ocean three years earlier, 10 year old Jack Peter Keenan has been deathly afraid to venture outdoors. Refusing to leave his home in a small coastal town in Maine, Jack Peter spends his time drawing monsters. When the drawings take a life of their own, no one is safe from the terror they inspire.

Review provided by the publisher.

The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco
Okiku is a lonely soul. She has wandered the world for centuries, freeing the spirits of the murdered-dead. Once a victim herself, she now takes the lives of killers with the vengeance they are due. But releasing innocent ghosts from their ethereal tethers does not bring Okiku peace. Still she drifts on. Such is her existence, until she meets Tark. Evil writes beneath the moody teen's skin, trapped by a series of intricate tattoos. While his neighbors fear him, Okiku knows the boy is not a monster. Tark needs to be freed from the malevolence that clings to him. There's just one problem: if the demon dies, so does it's host.

Review from the dust jacket flap.

Property of a Lady by Sarah Rayne
A house with a sinister past and a grisly power. When Michael Flint is asked by American friends to look over an old Shropshire house they have unexpectedly inherited, he is relucatnt to leave the quiet of his Oxford study. But when he sees Charect Hourse, its uncanny echoes from the past fascinate him, even though it has a sinister reputation that no one has lived there for almost a century. But it's not until Michael meets a young widow, Nell West, that the menace within the house wakes...

Review provided by the publisher.

To request these books, please click on the title or the book cover.

Posted by Cara

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Delightful Compendium of Short Stories by a Master Storyteller

Chestnut Street by Maeve Binchy 

Chestnut Street is a collection of short stories compiled after Maeve Binchy’s death in 2012. It is vintage Maeve Binchy as the characters represent the full range of humanity grappling with sorrows, joys and the complications of living.

Represented are teachers, office workers, nurses, window cleaners, shopkeepers and others with wholesome characters. There are also the bad eggs, salt of the earth, grifters, never do wells, in this case, deadbeat and unfaithful men, worriers, the brokenhearted and even some from across the ocean who find love on Chestnut Street. Each character’s story is presented in a matter of fact, down to earth tone that says this is the way life is for each character. The misfortune experienced in the lives of some is minimized by an undertone of humor that seems to say what really matters is how one deals with life not what happens in life. One cannot help but root for the strong, dislike but not hate the bad, and root for all in this collection.

For those who enjoy short stories tinged with joy, pathos and humor, this collection is a delightful compendium to the many walks Maeve Binchy presented in her stories. These varied streets in Ireland are replete with friends easily found.

 Reviewed by Karen

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Can You See Me Now?

Invisible Ellen by Shari Shattuck 

Ellen is invisible. 

She gets up every day. She goes to work. She comes home. She observes others and records her observations in her notebook. She goes to sleep. She wakes up and does it all over again.

That all changes the day she meets Temerity, a young blind woman Ellen observes on the bus. Ellen is intrigued by Temerity, curiously follows her home and intervenes after two muggers run off with Temerity's backpack. Temerity invites Ellen to her home as a thank you and they start an unlikely friendship. Ellen is used to spending her life alone and friendless. Temerity breaks through her reserve with her unfailing charm and positive attitude.

Invisible Ellen is a story of isolation, redemption and friendship. It is a quick read. Join Ellen on her journey of self discovery.

Click the title or book cover to view the catalog or make a request.

Review by Cara 

Monday, August 25, 2014

An Epic Journey through Courtesan Houses of the Turn of the Century

The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan 

This book takes the reader on an epic journey to the Courtesan houses of turn of the Century Shanghai to a hidden away Chinese mountain village, to nineteenth century San Francisco covering 50 years in the lives of a mother and daughter torn apart by a series of unusual events. Half Chinese Violet Minturn is separated from her mother by a twist of fate and sold as a virgin courtesan to the Hall of Tranquilly, a famed courtesan house. Violet finds love with an American in Shanghai, has a child, and then is widowed during a break out of the Blue Disease. Because she was not legally married her child was taken by the family of the American leaving her bereft. Violet's attempt to improve her life leads her to a meager existence in a Chinese mountain village as wife number 3 to abusive and crazed husband posing as a Poet. Ever resourceful, Violet joins forces with the other wives and manages to narrowly escape this situation through wit, strength, and a refusal to be overcome. At this point we go back in time to explore the story of Lucia Minturn, Violet's mother whose actions begin the thread of events that span the 50 year time period the story covers. The Valley of Amazement could be a page turner, but the prose and story lines are so intricate and involving that the reader must slow down a savor each page. Not to be missed for long time Amy Tan fans and those new to her storytelling skills.

 Reviewed by Karen