Great Reads

Stevens, Taylor. The Informationist

Vanessa Monroe, or Michael as she is known by her clients,  is a young woman who has had a tough life.  Leaving her missionary parents at the age of fourteen and living by her wits among gun runners in Africa, Michael developed the skills she needed to find out useful information, to defend herself, and to use her abilities to sell this information and make a comfortable, if sometimes dangerous living for herself.  When she takes on an unusual but lucrative assignment, to find out what happened to an oil executive’s daughter who disappeared in Africa four years earlier, she nearly finds herself in over her head.  As her past catches up with her, Michael works frantically to find the missing girl while keeping herself safe from enemies, both old and new.

This thriller has been a long time coming.  It features a brilliant and fearless protagonist who also happens to be a young woman.  The pacing is excellent, the story compelling, the setting is exotic, and the character is fully developed.  Highly recommended for suspense fiction fans looking for something a little different. 

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Teen/Adult Summer Reading Week Seven: Thriller

There's nothing like a good thriller for beach reading.   This week is pure adrenaline rush and your challenge is to read a fast-paced thriller from our list or of your choice. Looking over your shoulder occasionally or staying up all night to finish it is entirely permissable.   As Michael Jackson put it:

You try to scream but terror takes the sound before you make it!

 

Baldacci, David. Winner (MYS)

Child, Lee. 61 Hours (MYS)

Child, Lincoln. Terminal Freeze (F)

Grisham, John. The Confession (F)

Kellerman, Jesse. Trouble (MYS)

Koontz, Dean. Velocity (F)

Palmer, Michael. The Second Opinion (MYS)

Robards, Karen. Pursuit (F)

 

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Beagle, Peter S. We Never Talk About My Brother

Perhaps best known for his classic novel “The Last Unicorn,” Peter S. Beagle explores a diverse selection of fantastical, mythological, and otherwise magical elements in this collection of short stories.  Despite the magical ingredients peppered throughout, Beagle’s stories remain firmly rooted in the real world and real emotions. While many of the stories initially feel familiar in contruction to a widely-read fan of fairy tales and fantasy, they frequently take unexpected and delightful turns, ending up being about something very different than they initially seemed.  The lovely fable “ The Tale of Junko and Sayuri” is a particularly effective example of this.  Beagle’s characters are multilayered, rich, and eminiently believable, from the grouchy brilliance of the artist in “Uncle Chaim and Aunt Rifke and the Angel;” to the tortured naivity of the title character in “King Pelles the Sure;” to the nervous-yet-bold youth of the children in “The Stickball Witch.” Highly recommended. 

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Logue, Mark and Peter Conradi. The Kings Speech: how one man saved the British monarchy

Logue, the grandson of Lionel Logue, speech therapist to King George VI, wrote this biography of his grandfather after having discovered some letters and journals that had been kept by a different branch of the family. Mark Logue always knew part of the story, but with this new material was able to put together a much more comprehensive look at his grandfather and his extraordinary relationship with the King.

Lionel Logue was of a mind to practice speech to perfection.  As a champion orator and elocution teacher in Australia, he began to study the problems some had with speech.  Because there was no real speech therapy practice at the time, he used his own experiences and intuition to help his clients overcome their difficulties.  When Logue and his wife moved to England, he had hardly set up practice when a call came from the palace asking him to assist the Duke of York, who was about to embark on a tour and needed assistance with his speech.  The Duke had tried no fewer than nine other speech coaches and none were able to help him overcome his stutter.  Logue agreed to work with the Duke and what started out as a successful professional relationship became a friendship as Logue saw him through his coronation and the dark years of World War II.

I have not yet seen the film version, so I’m unable to make a comparison, but the audio edition of this book is well-narrated and does contain a recording of the King’s actual speech on the eve of war.  Highly recommended. 

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Teen/Adult Summer Reading Week Six: Monster Mash

There has been a publishing trend toward combining classic characters with zombies or other supernatural characters.  If you enjoy the original character and don't mind some monster interaction, you may have fun with this week's theme.  This week's challenge is to read one of these, or other books that combine classic literature with a little creepy fun.

Classic Literature--Now with 100% More Monster!

 

Brown, Eric and H.G. Wells. War of the Worlds, Plus Blood, Guts, and Zombies (SF)

Erwin, Sherri and Charlotte Brontë. Jane Slayre (F)

Grahame-Smith, Seth and Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (F)

Grand, Porter and Louisa May Alcott. Little Women and Werewolves (F)

Gray, Sarah and Emily Bronte. Wuthering Bites (F)

Nazarian, Vera and Jane Austen. Mansfield Park and Mummies (F)

Winters, Ben and Jane Austen. Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters (F)

Winters, Ben and Leo Tolstoy. Android Karenina (F)

 

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