Tag Archives: Fiction

Review Roundup: Since We Fell

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Since we Fell by Dennis Lehane

Rachel Childs is a former journalist who, after an on-air mental breakdown, lives as a virtual shut-in. In all other respects, however, she enjoys an ideal life with an ideal husband. Until a chance encounter on a rainy afternoon causes that ideal life to fray. As does Rachel’s marriage. As does Rachel herself. Sucked into a conspiracy thick with deception, violence, and possibly madness, Rachel must find the strength within herself to conquer unimaginable fears and mind-altering truths.

The New York Times says:

Rachel works extremely well as the focus of the book. Lehane has always written wrenching female characters into his stories, and he has no trouble giving center stage to one.

Booklist says:

A lot of thrillers boast twisty plots, but Lehane plies his corkscrew on more than the story line. The mood and pace of the novel change directions, too, jumping from thoughtful character study to full-on suspense thriller, like a car careening down San Francisco’s Lombard Street, cautiously at one moment, hell-bent at another. But this narrative vehicle never veers out of control, and when Lehane hits the afterburners in the last 50 pages, he produces one of crime fiction’s most exciting and well-orchestrated finales—rife with dramatic tension and buttressed by rich psychological interplay between the characters.

The Boston Globe says:

Hollywood will love it — there is much to admire and filmmakers are not bound by the book when it comes to creating atmosphere. Some readers, however, especially fans, may feel different

So, what did you think? Is this book worth reading? Are you excited for the movie? Feel free to leave a comment below.

 

 

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Librarians Recommend: The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

Debbie Recommends: The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

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Arthur Pepper comes from the same kind of world as Harold Fry and the Man from Ove; every day he wears his grey slacks and mustard sweater vest and waters his fern. Everything’s fine until he discovers a gold charm bracelet as he’s going through his wife’s things a year after his death and it leads him on a journey to discover the story behind each charm.

Such a comforting book with a sweet story that’s just so nice and hopeful. I liked that this crotchety old man was finally coming out of his shell after so long mourning, and how the bracelet charms made him view his wife in such a different light because of what he learned from them. I like stories where older characters aren’t just crotchety up until they die, but where they can still grow and change and learn–this book is such a wonderful example of that.

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Genre Feature: Verse Novels

Did you know that there are entire novels written in poetic verse? Like so many poems, they tend read quick but carry quite the emotional punch.

Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton

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“So, I have to know,” he says, “what are you?”
But just because he has to know doesn’t mean I have to tell him anything.

It’s 1969, and the Apollo 11 mission is getting ready to go to the moon. But for half-black, half-Japanese Mimi, moving to a predominantly white Vermont town is enough to make her feel alien. And even though teachers and neighbors balk at her mixed-race family and her refusals to conform, Mimi’s dreams of becoming an astronaut never fade—no matter how many times she’s told no.

Written by a Middlebury College Alumn!

 

 

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

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And I know now that all the time I was trying to get
out of the dust,
the fact is,
what I am,
I am because of the dust.
And what I am is good enough.
Even for me.

Billie Jo is just a fourteen year old farm girl trying to survive unspeakable loss while living in the dust bowl during the Great Depression.

Hesse currently lives in Vermont!

 

 

 

brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

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Even the silence 
has a story to tell you. 
Just listen. Listen.

Growing up both in her Grandparents’ South Carolina and her mother’s New York City, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. This is the true story of how she grew up in limbo between the two places, and how she discovered she wanted to be a writer no matter how hard it was for her to read.

 

 

 

 

Love that Dog / Hate that Cat by Sharon Creech

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Sometimes
when you are trying 
not to think about something
it keeps popping back in your head
you can’t help it
you think about it
and 
think about it
and 
think about it
until your brain
feels like
a squashed pea.

Jack hates poetry. Only girls write it and every time he tries to, his brain feels empty. But his teacher, Ms. Stretchberry, won’t stop giving her class poetry assignments — and Jack can’t avoid them. But then something amazing happens. The more he writes, the more he learns he does have something to say.

Especially about the dog he loves that isn’t with him anymore. And that stupid cat his parents got him afterwards.

Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff

movie.jpgYou ever laughed so hard
nobody in the world could hurt you for a minute,
no matter what they tried to do to you? 

Fourteen-year-old LaVaughn is determined to go to college–she just needs the money to get there.

When she answers a babysitting ad, LaVaughn meets Jolly, a seventeen-year-old single mother with two kids by different fathers. As she helps Jolly make lemonade out of the lemons her life has given her, LaVaughn learns some lessons outside the classroom.

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Librarians Recommend: A Man Called Ove

Dawn Recommends: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

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Written by Fredrik Backman and translated by Henning Koch

A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

I absolutely loved this book and how we got to follow this old, curmudgeon of a man who just made you wonder why anyone would put up with him, from completely unlikeable to someone you could understand and even sympathize with. It was such a lovely read.

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New Books!

Rise & Shine Benedict Stone by Phaedra Patrick

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Moonstone for empathy. Azurite for memories. Lapis lazuli for truth… In the quiet village of Noon Sun, Benedict Stone has settled into a complacent and predictable routine. Business at his jewelry shop has dried up; his marriage is on the rocks. His life is in desperate need of a jump start…

And then a surprise arrives at his door.

Novels about love and second chances abound right now, but Patrick’s follow-up to her debut, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, rises to the top with its clever plot, utterly charming characters, and warmly believable conclusion. 

 

A House Among the Tress by Julia Glass

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Is it possible for an author to be too generous to her characters?

When the revered children’s author Mort Lear dies accidentally at the Connecticut home he shares with Tomasina Daulair, his trusted assistant, she is stunned to be left the house and all its contents, as well as being named his literary executor. Overwhelmed by the responsibility for Lear’s bequest, she must face the demands of all those affected by the sudden loss of this man they all loved.

 

 

 

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The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

The engine of Roy’s story is a hijra (India’s third gender) named Anjum, and the story begins with her unrolling a threadbare Persian carpet in a city graveyard she calls home. Anjum’s charisma draws a vibrant assemblage of outcasts to join her–other hijras, Kashmiri freedom fighters, activists, orphans, low-caste Hindus and Muslims, and a host of animals. Anjum’s home is a place where the formerly unwanted embrace each other’s true selves.

As this ravishing, deeply humane novel braids these lives together, it reinvents what a novel can do and can be. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness demonstrates on every page Arundhati Roy’s storytelling gifts.

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is a novel of maddeningly frayed edges, wonky pacing and occasional longueurs. But its patchwork of narratives, painful, funny, sexy, violent, earthy, otherworldly, its recurring images of lost and recovered children, individual sacrifice and self-denial, and its depiction of the constant battle toward self-assertion in a society still held in thrall to the taxonomy of caste and class, make for a disturbing and memorable return to the land of make-believe.

 

 

 

 

 

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New Books In!

Ladies and gents, new books have arrived!

c5d19c013a5014e5cdac3d127b4d9c29.jpgDesperation Road by Michael Farris Smith

For eleven years the clock has been ticking for Russell Gaines as he sits in Parchman penitentiary. His sentence now up, Russell believes his debt has been paid. But when he returns home, he discovers that revenge lives and breathes all around him.

This is what the internet has to say about it:

Smith writes shapely prose and sharp dialogue and everywhere displays an acute sense of the moments and pain that can define lives in a small town.

 

 

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The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan

As England enters World War II’s dark early days, spirited music professor Primrose Trent, recently arrived to the village of Chilbury, emboldens the women of the town to defy the Vicar’s stuffy edict to shutter the church’s choir in the absence of men and instead ‘carry on singing’. Resurrecting themselves as “The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir”, the women of this small village soon use their joint song to lift up themselves, and the community, as the war tears through their lives. 

Despite its pastoral title, Jennifer Ryan’s compelling and exquisitely wrought World War II-era novel is far removed from the stereotypical cozy British village story. 

If you like the story, there’s even a ready-made book club kit full of fun facts, discussion questions, and even a recipe inspired by the story.

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The Force by Don Winslow

All Denny Malone wants is to be a good cop.

He is “the King of Manhattan North,” a highly decorated NYPD detective sergeant and the real leader of “Da Force.” Malone and his crew are the smartest, the toughest, the quickest, the bravest, and the baddest elite special unit there is.

What only a few know is that Denny Malone is dirty. Now Malone is caught in a trap and being squeezed by the Feds, and he must walk the thin line between betraying his brothers and partners, the Job, his family, and the woman he loves, all while trying to survive, as his city teeters on the brink of a racial conflagration that could destroy them all.

Don Winslow’s summer blockbuster, ‘The Force,’ is ready-made for Hollywood

 

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YA Spotlight: LGBT Gems

Contrary to popular belief, LGBT characters do more than come out to their families and forge forbidden relationships. Don’t believe me? Try one of these books from our YA collection.

George by Alex Gino

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Be who you are.

When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She’s a girl.

George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part…because she’s a boy.

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan.

 

 

every day by david levithan

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Every day a different body. Every day a different life.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

 

Six of Crows / Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugoc5d19c013a5014e5cdac3d127b4d9c29.jpg

No mourners. No funerals. Among them, it passed for ‘good luck.’

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist. Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

(Two book duology – both in our collection.)

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