Isaac Vainio is a librarian and a libriomancer, a special kind of magic-user who has the ability to make objects from books manifest in reality. Removed from field work due to an inability to control his magic under stress, Isaac is working a more mundane job as a librarian in a small-town Michigan public library and doing database duty on the side for his other employers, Die Zwelf Portenaere—the Porters. However, the Porters—a magical organization founded by Johannes Gutenberg to manage libriomancy—are under attack, and Isaac, off-duty or no, is no exception. Narrowly saved from vampires by the intercession of a dryad friend, Isaac soon discovers that all the different species of vampires—all of whom were originally created out of books, in a unique genre twist—have banded together to fight against what they perceive as attacks by the Porters. The few Porters Isaac can reach, however, have no idea what’s going on and Isaac, along with dryad Lena Greenwood and Smudge the fire spider, fling themselves into the investigation, trying to first convince the vampires that the Porters are no threat and second to discover just who the villain actually is and what he’s done with the Porters’ founder, Gutenberg himself.
Fast-paced, funny, unique, intelligent, and entirely engaging, this series opener is an absolute hit. Librarians and booklovers of all stripes will be trying to master libriomancy themselves after a visit to Hines’ world.
Edugyan’s Booker Prize shortlisted novel evokes Berlin and Paris during World War II through the eyes of a rag-tag bunch of jazz musicians looking for their big break. Having achieved some limited notoriety in Berlin during the Weimar era, the Hot-Time Swingers—two black ex-pat Americans, a Jewish pianist, and a couple of Germans, one of whom is black himself—are now struggling to stay alive in a Berlin that has turned against jazz and turned against half-breeds, or mischlings, Jews, and black people of all nationalities. When a jazz singer from America shows up to find them with word that she represents Louis Armstrong, the band thinks their fortunes are made. But first, they have to get from Berlin to Paris—and not all of them are going to make it. Eventually hitting Paris just in time for the Occupation to catch up with them, the group has to keep their heads down even further while at the same time trying to cut a record—the Half-Blood Blues, an anthem rejecting everything Nazis stand for. But it’s only a matter of time before the Boots—the Gestapo—catch up with them.
Cutting between 1940 and 1992, Half-Blood Blues is a story of race, friendship, secrets, and betrayal. Showing a side of World War II not often written about—that is, the story of the other, non-Jewish ethnic groups persecuted by the Reich—it is fascinating and textured.
Nesbo’s flawed but brilliant detective, Harry Hole, faces down Norway’s first known serial killer in this fifth entry in the series. Dubbed “the Snowman,” the serial killer abducts and, presumably, kills women, one per year, taking his victims on the first snowy day of the winter. He’s been operating for years but because there were no bodies found, it took the police far too long to pick up on the pattern. But now, suddenly, the killer has escalated his efforts, leaving one victim’s head perched on top of a snowman and taking several others out of sequence. Now Harry, Oslo’s only detective to have caught a serial killer previously, must escalate his own efforts to not only determine how the killer is picking his victims, but who the killer is…before more women fall prey to the Snowman.
Fast-paced and littered with twists, red-herrings, and thrills, The Snowman is sure to appeal to mystery fans. Despite being book five in the series, a reader with no previous experience of Harry Hole’s misadventures can enjoy this title from the get-go.
Becca is on her way to college in just a few short months, finally escaping the claustrophobia of her small town life in conneticut. But only hours after she graduates and her heart is broken by the boy she loves, a body of an young women is found on a dusty road, disrupting the carefully constructed plans she had. With very little evidence and the body yet to be identified, gossip runs wild and Becca becomes strangely obsessed with finding out why this stranger was killed so brutally.
The story is coupled with glimpses of the the victim, Amelia Anne, and her life before her death: her new-found passion of acting, her boredom with her loyal boyfriend and the hopes she has for a new future. As her story comes closer and closer to the climax, Becca believes she is connecting the pieces of who may have killed Amelia, but sometimes your instincts are not always right. This lyrical mystery has a jaw-dropping ending and should not be missed.
Before reading The Millstone, I spent years wanting to read a Margaret Drabble novel but never got around to it. She is what you would call a serious writer. To quote the LA Times, she is “as meticulous as Jane Austen, and as deadly as Evelyn Waugh.” So I knew The Millstone would be literary and well-written, and it was. But what came as a surprise to me was how easily readable the novel was and how much I was completely drawn into the main character’s life. The novel, one of Drabble’s early works, is set in 1960s London. The narrator is a young woman who has an unplanned pregnancy as a result of a casual love affair. This isn’t your typical unplanned pregnancy story; the narrator is highly educated, independent, and strong. She does not weep for her circumstances nor expects anyone to weep for her. The Millstone was a wonderful read, and I greatly enjoyed the 1960s London setting. I will most definitely be reading more of Drabble’s novels. I hope that you give her a go as well…if you have not done so already. Also--as an aside-- Margaret Drabble is A.S. Byatt’s sister.
If you are looking for a page-turning literary novel that you can read in one day, All Yours, a slim crime novel about a woman’s revenge on her cheating husband, is the book for you. The author, a native Argentinean, tells a gripping tale of domestic conflict and, at the same time, sheds light on Argentina’s class structure and the selfish behaviors of the entitled class. This author’s crime novels are all bestsellers in Latin America...and for good reason! All Yours is a great read.
Ruiz Zafon returns to the Barcelona of his The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game in this short novel which connects the characters and time periods of the previous two installments. Daniel Sempere, the young hero of The Shadow of the Wind, is now a married man, assisting his father in running their small bookstore. Business isn’t good, which is why it initially seems a blessing when a disfigured stranger buys a rare and expensive copy of The Count of Monte Cristo. However, the man leaves the book behind with a note addressed to Daniel’s friend Fermín Romero de Torres—“ For Fermín Romero de Torres, who came back from among the dead and holds the key to the future.” This single sentence inspires Daniel to investigate the stranger and, by extension, Fermín. What he discovers has wider-reaching consequences than he could ever have anticipated, touching on not only Fermin’s mysterious past and prior incarceration as a political prisoner but upon the death of Daniel’s mother Isabella and the writing of a strange book by the nearly forgotten author (and fellow prisoner to Fermín) David Martin—The Angel’s Game.
The storylines begun in Ruiz Zafon’s first two books of the Cemetary of Forgotten Books series begin to interweave here in exciting ways. While shorter and perhaps a shade less complex and rich than the previous two installments, Ruiz Zafon’s fans will not want to miss The Prisoner of Heaven. An open ending promises more to the story.
Spanning the years between 1787 and 1797, this fictionalized account of a real-life scandal follows three figures in London’s beau monde society: common-born actress Eliza Farren, who has spent her life striving to reach the pinnacle of high society; famously ugly Lord Derby, who has spent years pursuing Eliza’s affections but must wait until his ill and estranged wife passes away before Eliza can be his; and Derby’s friend, the widowed sculptress Anne Damer, who strikes up a close friendship with young Eliza. Politics are complicated in this time—the American Revolution has only recently ended, the French Revolution is about to begin, and liberal and conservative factions are going head-to-head for control of British government—but no more so than romantic and social relationships. Casual (and often shocking to chase Eliza) multiple-partner relationships seem to be the norm among the indolent gentry, and Anne Damer has been fighting rumors of lesbianism which now threaten the reputations of all those close to her as well.
Deliberately paced, with much tension simmering beneath the surface, Life Mask is a compelling portrait of a fascinating time and three appealingly flawed characters. The fast-paced thrills of Donoghue’s bestselling Room are not on offer here, but for a reader of novels of manners, there is much to enjoy.
On the waiting list for Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn? You’re not alone! Every once in a while, a book takes us by surprise with its sudden popularity and the waiting lists skyrocket! We are buying multiple extra copies to make the wait time shorter, but if you’re looking for something fun to read in the meantime, we have some suggestions for you! Gone Girl is a twisty, complex thriller with unreliable narrators, slowly unraveling layers of deceit, and an unrelentingly suspenseful tone. If that sounds good to you, you might like one of the following titles, all of which share some of these characteristics!
Barr, Nevada. 13 ½
LaPlante, Alice. Turn of Mind
Lehane, Denis. Shutter Island
Lippmann, Laura. What the Dead Know
Lupton, Rosamund. Sister
Unger, Lisa. Black Out
Walters, Minette. The Breaker
Watson, S.J. Before I Go to Sleep
Our Book Club Collection is a very popular offering, not only with book clubs but with all readers looking for a good book into which they can really sink their teeth. In order to keep it fresh and as useful to our readers as possible, we update frequently, adding new and exciting titles! Since we have a renovation to the Adult Services Department on the horizon (see this page for more information) we thought it would be the perfect time to step up the pace and add more fresh fiction and nonfiction than usual. We've already added three titles, with three more on the way; and we will be adding another six this fall. So keep your eyes peeled and watch this space; we'll let you know as soon as the new books come in! But in the meantime, here are the three we've already added:
Bryson, Bill. At Home (non-fiction, 643.1 B916)
Green, John. The Fault in Our Stars
Lupton, Rosamund. Sister