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Cover ArtSixpence House : lost in a town of books
by Collins, Paul, 1969-
Adult Nonfiction Z989.C753 C65 2003
What would life be like in a town famous for its bookstores? Paul Collins, along with his wife and young son, find out when they move from California to Hay-on-Wye, Wales in this charming memoir. As he begins work in one of Hay-on-Wye's 40 used bookstores, and attempts to buy an affordable house that isn't falling down, Collins shares details about the wonderful obscure books he comes across, and muses on the place books have in our livess.
posted by Champlin Library Staff on Aug 27, 2014 at 5:01PM

Cover ArtThe thirteenth tale : a novel
by Setterfield, Diane.
Adult Fiction SETTERF
Diane Setterfield's debut novel is a beautiful tale of the power that stories have to comfort us and define our lives. Young biographer Margaret Lea is summoned to write the life story of legendary writer Vida Winter, but is the strange story she tells of twins raised in an English manor true? This is an engrossing, gothic tale that is almost impossible to put down.
posted by Champlin Library Staff on Aug 27, 2014 at 4:50PM

Cover ArtSpirited
by Holder, Nancy.
Teen Fiction HOLDER
While this was an interesting book concerning information about Native Americans, I found the plot very lacking. Not only was the ending unsatisfactory, but the middle felt like I was being pulled at a snail’s pace over some hot coals…it was that painful. I’m not saying it was a bad book; it was just aggravating for me to read, knowing how much better it could have been and how much more deep the plot could have been. The characters, however, weren’t that bad.
posted by A.E.C.M. on Aug 26, 2014 at 5:10PM

Cover ArtThe Jane Austen book club
by Fowler, Karen Joy.
Adult Fiction FOWLER
Five women and one man find that their lives begin to imitate the art of the Jane Austen novels they are reading in this clever novel. The plot may sound formulaic, but the beautifully drawn characters lift this book above all the other homages to Jane Austen: it is a worthy read in its own right.
posted by Champlin Library Staff on Aug 25, 2014 at 5:00PM

Cover ArtThe Meryl Streep movie club
by March, Mia
Adult Fiction MARCH
*** stars. Two sisters and the cousin they grew up with after a tragedy are summoned home to their family matriarch's inn on the coast of Maine for a shocking announcement. Suddenly, Isabel, June, and Kat are sharing the attic bedroom and barely speaking. But when innkeeper Lolly asks them to join her and the guests in the parlor for weekly Movie Nights for Meryl Streep month they find themselves sharing secrets, talking long into the night . . . and questioning everything they thought they knew about life, love, and one another. Each woman sees her complicated life reflected through the magic of cinema: Isabel's husband is having an affair, and an old pact may keep her from what she wants most . . . June has promised her seven-year-old son that she will somehow find his father, whom he's never known . . . and Kat is ambivalent about accepting her lifelong best friend's marriage proposal. Through everything, Lolly has always been there for them, and now Isabel, June, Kat, and Meryl must be there for her. **** As you know if you have read some of my other reviews about "romance novels", I am not fond of them, to say the least. This book, however, is a bit more than will the boy marry the girl. Each woman has a different tragedy, loss, or betrayal to overcome. I became engaged with the book and liked it in the end. I picked up the book because of the title - I adore Meryl Streep and the movies "Out of Africa" and "Sophie's Choice" are some of my all time favorites. It was interesting to see the films chosen as vehicles for examining the issues of the women in the book. Mild recommendation.
posted by bookwoman_cat on Aug 25, 2014 at 2:59PM

Cover ArtThe cat's table [sound recording] : [a novel]
by Ondaatje, Michael, 1943-
Adult Fiction ONDAATJ
***** stars. In the early 1950s, an eleven-year-old boy boards a huge liner bound for England. At mealtimes, he is placed at the lowly ‘Cat's Table’ with an eccentric group of grown-ups and two other boys, Cassius and Ramadhin. As the ship makes its way across the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canal, into the Mediterranean, the boys become involved in the worlds and stories of the adults around them, tumbling from one adventure and delicious discovery to another. And at night, the boys spy on a shackled prisoner – his crime and fate a galvanizing mystery that will haunt them forever. As the narrative moves from the decks and holds of the ship and the boy’s adult years, it tells a spellbinding story about the difference between the magical openness of childhood and the burdens of earned understanding – about a life-long journey that began unexpectedly with a spectacular sea voyage, when all on board were ‘free of the realities of the earth’. With the ocean liner a brilliant microcosm for the floating dream of childhood, The Cat’s Table is a vivid, poignant and thrilling book, full of Ondaatje’s trademark set-pieces and breathtaking images: a story told with a child’s sense of wonder by a novelist at the very height of his powers. ****** I enjoyed this book tremendously. Mr. Ondaatje has a wonderful, almost magical voice. He is able to project himself into the mind of young Michael and the bravery of youthful innocence. I listened to this book read by the author which I highly recommend!!
posted by bookwoman_cat on Aug 25, 2014 at 2:49PM

Cover ArtThe goldfinch
by Donna Tartt
Adult Fiction TARTT
One of the best novels I’ve ever read. Stunning writing. I’m so happy it won the Pulitzer Prize. If it takes Tartt another decade to write her next novel, so be it. It’s worth the wait.
posted by Kim B on Aug 25, 2014 at 11:41AM

Cover ArtChina dolls [sound recording]
by See, Lisa.
Adult Fiction SEE
*** stars. In 1938, Ruby, Helen and Grace, three girls from very different backgrounds, find themselves competing at the same audition for showgirl roles at San Francisco's exclusive "Oriental" nightclub, the Forbidden City. Grace, an American-born Chinese girl has fled the Midwest and an abusive father. Helen is from a Chinese family who have deep roots in San Francisco's Chinatown. And, as both her friends know, Ruby is Japanese passing as Chinese. At times their differences are pronounced, but the girls grow to depend on one another in order to fulfill their individual dreams. Then, everything changes in a heartbeat with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Suddenly the government is sending innocent Japanese to internment camps under suspicion, and Ruby is one of them. But which of her friends betrayed her? **** I usually really like Lisa See's novels, but this book fell a little short with me. I thought the "great denoument" was telegraphed with a partial revelation. I have enjoyed her mysteries and her novels set in historical China much more. I did not bond as successfully with these characters.
posted by bookwoman_cat on Aug 25, 2014 at 12:47AM

Cover ArtA question of honor
by Todd, Charles
Adult Fiction TODD
**** stars. Bess Crawford enjoyed a wondrous childhood in India, where her father, a colonel in the British Army, was stationed on the Northwest Frontier. But an unforgettable incident darkened that happy time. In 1908, Colonel Crawford's regiment discovered that it had a murderer in its ranks, an officer who killed five people in India and England yet was never brought to trial. In the eyes of many of these soldiers, men defined by honor and duty, the crime was a stain on the regiment's reputation and on the good name of Bess's father, the Colonel Sahib, who had trained the killer. A decade later, tending to the wounded on the battlefields of France during World War I, Bess learns from a dying Indian sergeant that the supposed murderer, Lieutenant Wade, is alive—and serving at the Front. Bess cannot believe the shocking news. According to reliable reports, Wade's body had been seen deep in the Khyber Pass, where he had died trying to reach Afghanistan. Soon, though, her mind is racing. How had he escaped from India? What had driven a good man to murder in cold blood? Wanting answers, she uses her leave to investigate. In the village where the first three killings took place, she discovers that the locals are certain that the British soldier was innocent. Yet the present owner of the house where the crime was committed believes otherwise, and is convinced that Bess's father helped Wade flee. To settle the matter once and for all, Bess sets out to find Wade and let the courts decide. But when she stumbles on the horrific truth, something that even the famous writer Rudyard Kipling had kept secret all his life, she is shaken to her very core. The facts will damn Wade even as they reveal a brutal reality, a reality that could have been her own fate **** I am a huge fan of Charles Todd and his two series with Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford. Both series involve World War I - Bess as a nurse and Ian as a Scotland Yard detective attempting to recover from shell shock. I have bonded with both these well developed characters. I pick up each successive novel in the series as much to find out how the protagonists are faring as to enjoy the very well written mysteries. This is #5 in the Bess Crawford series. As always I recommend starting with the first book to appreciate the pain, growth, and accomplishments in each character.
posted by bookwoman_cat on Aug 25, 2014 at 12:39AM

Cover ArtThe Splendour Falls
by Kearsley, Susanna
Adult Fiction KEARSLE
Emily arrives in Chinon, France, enthusiastic about a holiday with her offbeat cousin Harry, and checks in to the Hotel de France. Within the first few days she becomes acquainted with a number of the establishment’s eclectic collection of lodgers -- the Whitakers, a wealthy American couple from the South; youthful brothers Paul and Simon, pausing in Chinon on an adventure around the world; Thierry, the bartender and nephew of the hotel proprietors; and Neil, a professional English violinist. Harry, however, is nowhere to be found, and his absence is starting to become worrisome.

I delayed for several weeks writing a review of this book, so the memory of some detail may be fading, but my own dawdling also tells me a little something about my enjoyment -- i.e., if it took me this long to get around to composing my thoughts, it’s probably safe to conclude that it wasn’t one of my favorites. As a thriller it was passable, and I admit I did enjoy the sense of place evoked by Kearsley’s prose. However, the romantic angle seemed forced and awkwardly tacked on as an afterthought. Worth reading for fans of Kearsley’s writing, but nothing to shout about.
posted by Ryner on Aug 24, 2014 at 11:03AM

Cover ArtThe signature of all things
by Elizabeth Gilbert
Adult Fiction GILBERT
Alma Whitaker, born in 1800, lives a life of money and ease. She spends most of her life in study and learning. She is a botanist and briologist who leads a sheltered life but later travels to Tahiti and Holland. Though she longs for love it never really comes her way. For her, finding the answers and contributing to the wealth of human knowledge is fulfillment. It’s hard to explain why this book is so good but it’s one of my favorites of the year.
posted by Laura P. on Aug 22, 2014 at 10:31AM

Cover ArtVera. Set 1 [videorecording]
Adult Fiction Drama VERA
One of my very favorites. The fact that Vera is my ages is probably a factor lol. You'll love this one, pet.
posted by Laura P. on Aug 22, 2014 at 10:24AM

Cover ArtThe astonishing secret of Awesome Man
by Chabon, Michael.
Easy Picture Book CHABON
my 5-yr old son loves this book. very well done. cool artwork too! and the author sneaks in a message about appropriate behavior when you’re angry or upset.
posted by capo matt on Aug 19, 2014 at 8:29AM

Cover ArtSplendor
by Anna Godbersen
Teen Fiction GODBERS
This is the fourth and last book of the Luxe Series. Let me just start off by saying: I was hoping beyond hope that this series would get better. It had such potential, which is the main reason I stuck with it until the end. After finishing each book, I would tell myself, “But the next book has to get better.” Well, this book is the final measure that dashed my hopes. The entire story shows characters attempting to overcome obstacles, but, in the end, they just failed miserably, falling into a life of immorality. Yes, maybe I just really like happy ending, but isn’t a great book supposed to show that bad decisions lead to bad consequences. This book simply ended in an unrealistic sphere of fantasy. It is such a pity too, as the author really seems like she has a talent for writing. However, my final conclusion is that I would not recommend this series.
posted by A.E.C.M. on Aug 17, 2014 at 5:33PM

Cover ArtThin air
by Parker, Robert B., 1932-2010
Adult Fiction PARKER
It's always nice to find a Spencer that I haven't read yet. This is an oldie but a goodie from the late, great Robert B. Parker.
posted by Minnetonka Library Staff on Aug 16, 2014 at 4:28PM

Cover ArtThe monsters of Templeton
by Groff, Lauren.
Adult Fiction GROFF
I loved this book ! Without question , it reminded me of " Sacre Bleu " the same mix of historical fiction , weirdness , and charm ....
posted by LDP on Aug 16, 2014 at 2:24PM

Cover ArtSomething to blog about
by Shana Norris
Teen Fiction NORRIS
While I liked the idea and some of the secondary characters, I simply could not get over the annoying protagonist. And without a relatable main character, it is, in my humble opinion, impossible to enjoy any book. So, while I liked the plot and some of the action, the main character made it impossible for me to enjoy this novel.
posted by A.E.C.M. on Aug 13, 2014 at 10:45PM

Cover ArtFairest
by Levine, Gail Carson.
Children's Fiction LEVINE
Gail Levine is a master mistress at being able to twist and reinvent fairy tales to make a supremely entertaining read appropriate for children. Aza exists in the same universe as "Ella Enchanted". She is an excellent singer, but far out of step with the culture's beauty standards. When she is asked/ blackmailed by the new princess (who cannot sing) to sing for her, Aza does her best. But when she is found out, keeping her head attached to her neck is going to take some doing. Somewhat based on the story of Snow White, audiences will enjoy this story of prejudice, choice and redemption.
posted by Plymouth Library on Aug 13, 2014 at 5:29PM

Cover ArtBroadchurch. The complete first season
Adult Fiction Drama BROADCH
Great atmospheric drama. Love David Tennant. I heard they're going to remake this in the US. Such a shameless grab at $$. This one can stand on it's own.
posted by Laura P. on Aug 13, 2014 at 9:25AM

Cover ArtTop of the lake [videorecording]
Adult Fiction Drama TOP OF
Ok, technically this one might be New Zealand made. Lots of secrets in this small town. Very well done drama.
posted by Laura P. on Aug 13, 2014 at 9:21AM

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