Staff Choices

Posted by SherriT on 02/12/18
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Keep Her Safe by K. A. Tucker is a steamy, thrill ride that takes us into the lives of Noah and Gracie as they investigate and unravel all the lies, secrets, deception, and corruption that has tainted their past and present and try to vindicate their loved ones.
Noah Marshall is the son of the chief of the Austin police department. Gracie Richards is the daughter of a drug addicted mother, and a father who was a corrupt police officer, killed in a drug deal gone wrong. Noah and Gracie have not seen each other for fourteen years, but reunite to try to uncover some truths from the past.

The writing is taut and edgy. The characters are secretive, scarred, and genuine. In addition, the plot told from multiple perspectives is an intense, suspenseful love story filled with police politics, familial drama, coercion, manipulation, violence, and murder.
Keep Her Safe was a riveting read, with characters who each have their own burden to bear tied up in others’ in an intricate web of deceit and uncomfortable truths. Just who is telling the truth and what lengths will they go to in order to seek justice or hide what happened all those years ago? How far is the shadow cast from the sins of your loved ones?

Overall, Keep Her Safe is another absorbing, touching page-turner by Tucker that has just the right amount of romance and mystery to keep you invested, engaged, and guessing until the very last page.
Posted by jonf on 02/03/18
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Walter Mosley's newest Easy Rawlins mystery set in 1968 Los Angeles is another fun, well-written tale with the charm and skills of the mellow private eye. Easy is asked by his best friend the dangerous killer Ray "mouse" Alexander to do a favor for his mysterious friend Charcoal Joe. A friend of Joe's son is accused of murdering two men, but he know's it's a frame and Easy is on the case.

Easy with the help of his pal Fearless Jones set off to find the true killer, the job takes Easy and Fearless from Watts to Beverly Hills to fix the set up and gain Charcoal Joe's trust. This is another great ride with Easy, great characters, colorful locales and good story,

Posted by jlasky on 02/01/18
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Shanti Sekaran isn’t afraid to wade into such private, painful and politicized topics as infertility, immigration, family, childbirth, and adoption. In Lucky Boy, we navigate the lives of Kavya and her husband Rishi, living in Berkeley Ca. They are desperately trying to have a child, both to fulfill their own desires as well as their family’s expectations back in India. In contrast, there is Soli, an undocumented Mexican immigrant who struggles to keep her head above water as a single mother in a foreign land. A simple mistake wreaks havoc in her already fragile life.

Their parallel paths heartbreakingly intertwine, as they struggle to navigate US social systems, as well as  keeping their families together.

Lucky Boy is a thoughtfully written story that takes you deep into the layers of these hopeful young lives. Sekaran carefully crafts her characters who have similar dreams and wishes, but like all of us, never know what pain they may have to endure to achieve them. Both sides of these hot button issues have convincing arguments but no clear answers.
Lucky Boy will appeal to readers who lean toward books with empathetic, multiple perspectives. This book will have you wanting both sides of this struggle to emerge victorious, and may have you looking through a new lens at some of these issues.
Posted by NealP on 01/23/18
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The Grip of It, a horror novel by Chicago author Jac Jemc, is a fast-paced, unsettling story of a young couple who move into a house in a small town away from the city in which they met.  
The book alternates perspectives between the couple, Julie and James, as they attempt to reconnect following James’ gambling addiction and the trust issues that follow. 
As they settle in, the house, which has an unusual layout with secret passageways and rooms, becomes increasingly malevolent – rooms change, becoming unrecognizable, stains on the wall expand and contract.  This affects Julie and James mentally and physically, laying bare their unresolved problems.  They attempt to solve the mysteries surrounding the house involving past residents, and a strange neighbor who may or may not have lived there before.
Jemc’s prose is chilling, poetic, and economical.  The Grip of It is psychological horror that questions the meaning of home and its constructive and destructive effects on relationships with those we love.
The Grip of It will appeal to fans of horror, suspense, and relationship-based fiction.  Check out her other novels here in eBook form.
Posted by Lucy S on 01/22/18
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The day after a woman has been mugged outside of her apartment building, Laurent is on his way to work when he finds an expensive handbag lying on top of a trash bin, minus its wallet. When he tries to turn it in at the police station, it is too busy for him to wait so he decides to take it home.

Determined to reunite the purse to its rightful owner Laurent sifts through the contents and finds a red notebook that only divulges her first name, Laure. Once Laurent realizes that he has crossed a line of privacy and propriety after he discovers where she lives, he retreats. Nevertheless, this is not the end of the story.

At only 189 pages, author Antoine Laurain's The Red Notebook is an enjoyable, charming, quick read; an account about how a brief moment of time can shift ordinary lives, leaving a door open to the future when these two main characters’ lives converge.

The book is set in France and translated from French into English.
Posted by Katie M on 01/16/18
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Bon Appétempt: A Coming-Of-Age Story (with Recipes!) by Amelia Morris, a 30-something “food” blogger, who writes a popular blog by the same title, is full of funny and charming stories in Morris’ distinctive voice. On her popular blog, PBS has produced her videos, she has won a Saveur food blog award, and her blog has been previously recognized as one of TIMES’s 25 Best Blogs of the Year.

Sharing personal observations about her life and family, she reveals relatable family dramas and growing into who you want to be. Full of thoughtful anecdotes, and a variety of recipes, from her mom’s comfort snack of Toasted Cheerios, to a delicious recipe for lemon pasta from her husband, this is a self-aware coming-of-age memoir. I recommend this book to anyone familiar with her Bon Appétempt blog or who likes modern memoirs.
cooking, memoir
Posted by eakdeniz on 01/12/18
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Jean Kwok is the New York Times and international bestselling author of the award-winning novels Girl in Translation and Mambo in Chinatown. Her work has been published in 17 countries.
Girl in Translation is a very fast- moving and inspiring story about a young immigrant, Kim Chang, who immigrated to America from Hong Kong with her mom. When Kim’s mother decides to move to Brooklyn in order to provide a better life for both herself and her daughter, she probably did not anticipate any struggles. Their struggles included difficulty with language, culture, and education. Kim devotes herself to her schoolwork in order to make a better life while she is growing up between two cultures.
This book gives you a different perspective. Enjoy!
Posted by jlasky on 01/11/18
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Migrants trudging through water carrying babies is an image of migration that we are used to seeing in the media. One may forget that those fleeing civil unrest can be young professionals willing to seek a future even if it means leaving loved ones behind. Mohsin Hamid tells such a saga in his critically acclaimed book ”Exit West”.

Hamid tells a lyrical tale of young Saeed and Nadia who meet and fall in love just in time to gain the courage to flee their homeland. The country they leave is never named, it could be anywhere that civil war, power and corruption are threatening citizens. With the blessing of their families, and promises to stay together until they reach safety, they embark on an unknown journey. They follow their instincts through ‘mystical doors’ of escape and opportunity , that they hear whispered about in the immigration camps they land in around the world. The prose is beautiful as it lays in contrast to the horrors and upheaval of escape.

It is a slim, quick read that moves along through harsh realities, opportunities, hopes &  dreams . Short –listed for The Man Booker Prize in 2017, “Exit West” is impactful and sheds a unique perspective on the story of migration and immigration.
Posted by Katie M on 12/19/17
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Paula Wolfert is “the most influential cookbook author you’ve probably never heard of,” according to Emily Kaiser Thelin, the author of the biography and cookbook, Unforgettable: The Bold Flavors of Paula Wolfert’s Renegade Life. She never had a TV show or a restaurant, but over four decades published eight ground-breaking cookbooks, with multiple reissues and numerous articles. Her work helped popularize foods we now take for granted, including couscous and cassoulet, and her influence has long been felt in the elite circles of well-known chefs, and their books and restaurants.
Known for her acute memory, Wolfert was diagnosed with dementia in 2013, but she suspected something was wrong long before. Family and friends dismissed her symptoms early on, citing her aging and “senior moments.” Since her diagnosis, she is determined to do as much as she can for the prevention, treatment and cure of Alzheimer’s disease, advocating for early intervention.

I enjoyed this book that provides a detailed biography about someone whose influence is felt, but whose name we may not know; for the well-tested recipes that celebrate her life and ideas; and for the direct way she is addressing her Alzheimer’s diagnosis, sharing her diagnosis and advocacy openly.

Posted by SherriT on 12/18/17
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Richard Paul Evans writes a Christmas themed book every year. He writes about life experiences that anyone could have, from the very deepest tragedies to life changing events. This year, his novel The Noel Diary is a sweet, touching read that can be savored in one sitting.
The Noel Diary has three well-developed characters. Jacob, a young man who is a very successful writer, despite childhood trauma and neglect. Sarah, a young woman, who is searching for her birthmother. Noel, a married woman who lives in the suburbs and is in need of healing. This is a story of hurt, overcoming obstacles, healing, resolution and growth. Set in Salt Lake City during the month of December it was not necessary a holiday book, but the story line took place around Christmas.
I really enjoyed this quick and easy read. I highly recommend this book for all the Hallmark movie lovers out there. This book is right up your alley. This was a great feel-good book to read at Christmas time.
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