Dannie has every step of her life planned. She is in the career she loves. She is living with the man she wants to spend the rest of her life with. Everything in her life is going as planned, until she has a dream of her life in five years in an apartment she's never seen and with a man she has never met. Dannie's best friend Bella is nothing like her, wild and carefree she lives for the moment and never follows a plan. Bella lives life to the fullest. This is a unique love story, not at all the traditional romance and its twists and turns will keep you reading to the very end to find out what will happen in five years with Dannie and Bella.
- One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid,
- The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver,
- I Almost Forgot About You by Terriy McMillan
Read about everyday life from the unique perspective of "Aliens" on a strange planet. This graphic novel is LOL funny beginning with the dedication, "To Taylor: you remove the air from my lungs." Each section focuses on a different aspect of daily life. A great little book to share with family and friends. Based on a popular Instagram posts.
- Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Anderson,
- Cyanide & Happiness by Kris Wilson
Reader's who enjoy reading exciting Christian Fiction such as the Left Behind series will enjoy this novel on the topic of end times. Uniquely written with the prophetic Bible passages noted at the end of each chapter the author tells the story of several people who experience the disappearance of people close to them as well as millions around the world. The disappearances trigger civil unrest and rioting throughout the world, governmental changes and wars. This intriguing story leaves you wanting more. Print and ebook versions available.
- The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn,
- Black by Ted Dekker,
- The Left Behind (series) by Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins,
- Blood of Heaven by Bill Myers
Erin and Ben Napier, the stars of HGTV's Home Town tell about their experiences growing up and events leading them to their careers and television. Not a typical television personality story this book reads more like the story of the kids who live down the street. It is a surprisingly touching story of two nice people who found each other and have built a life together while discovering their individual talents along the way. Family love and support is presented through good and bad times. You will laugh, cry and cheer for them as you read this book.
- The Magnolia Story by Chip & Joanna Gaines, with Mark Dagostino,
- The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Nick Offerman,
- Friends by Angela Bassett
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live through a disaster? Ranger is a golden retriever with some search and rescue training but more importantly, he can travel back in time! In this juvenile chapter book, Ranger finds himself inside the Twin Towers just as a plane crashes into the building. Will Ranger be able to help fifth-graders Risha and Max reach safety? At the end of her novel author, Kate Messner includes facts about the events that took place on September 11, 2001. Where were you on 9/11/2001? Were you in school? Maybe you were not born yet. If you enjoy this story, there are several others in the Ranger in Time series.
This title is available as a print book. Lexile level: 570L
- I survived the Children's Blizzard, 1888 by Lauren Tarshis ,
- Nuts to you by Lynne Rae Perkins ,
- Hurricane heroes in Texas by Mary Pope Osborne,
- I survived the sinking of the Titanic, 1912 adapted by Georgia Ball with art by Haus Studio ,
- Zane and the hurricane : a story of Katrina by Rodman Philbrick
Layla is a thoughtful seven-year-old girl who shows readers what happiness is to her. Happiness for Layla includes looking into her kaleidoscope with her mom and chasing her friend Juan. What does happiness look like to you and your family? Read this picture book written by Mariahadessa Tallie to find out more about Layla and what brings her happiness.
- Black is a rainbow color by Angela Joy,
- I've got an elephant by Anne Ginkel,
- I got the rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison
Love Bridget Jones Diaries? Meet Laurie Watkinson, 36, a up and coming lawyer in the British law firm, Salter and Rowson. She loves her career and believes her 18 year relationship with fellow lawyer, Dan Price, to be solid and is rocked when he abruptly ends things. Enter Jamie Carter, another lawyer in their firm, who needs Laurie’s help to move up in firm. Can they fake a relationship to save her from office humiliation while advancing Jamie’s career? Author Mhairi McFarlane provides readers with likable characters and contemporary issues in this fast paced read.
This title is available in print, ebook and eaudiobook from VCPL.
- Chose the wrong guy, gave him the wrong finger by Beth Harbison,
- The Hating Game by Sally Thorne,
- The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory,
- The Bachelor by Carly Phillips,
- Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan
Classic mystery fans will recognize Agatha Christie as the whodunit author that crafts mysteries where everyone has a motive and readers have to wait until the last chapter for all the pieces to fall into place. The Mysterious Affair at Styles is the first book where Christie introduces readers to the eccentric detective, Hercule Poirot, and his friend, Arthur Hastings. While visiting a sprawling country house, a family friend is murdered and Hastings and Poirot set out to solve the mystery surrounding the death. Poirot follows clues and interviews guests while Hastings tries to help the readers put the clues together. Readers who enjoy classic English mysteries will love the series and can continue the enjoyment to several film and television adaptions of Christie’ famed Hercule Poirot.
This title is available in print, audiobook and in digital formats on Libby & hoopla!
- Still Life by Louise Penny,
- The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah,
- The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley,
- Murder Has a Motive by Francis Duncan
When a massive solar flare causes a worldwide blackout, an Amish community in rural Pennsylvania is not immediately affected. Their lives, purposefully simple, do not involve a lot of computers or other modern technological conveniences, so the disruption of electronics don’t change their day to day activities. But when the English – their name for those outside the Amish circles – have their lives shattered by this catastrophe, this quiet community can’t stay separate for long.
When the English Fall is told from the perspective of a man named Jacob, in the form of journal entries, written from before this world-shattering event until a few months after. It details the struggles of this peace-loving man, as his desire to keep his family safe contrasts with his deeply-held belief that he needs to help the hurting and act with love to all mankind.
The roving bands of survivalists, so common in other post-apocalyptic stories, are present here too, violently raiding Jacob and his neighbors’ farms for supplies. National Guard forces requisition the food that the community had been saving for the winter, to be used to feed those in nearby cities. English friends arrive, trying to find refuge from the crowded urban sprawl.
At its heart, while this narrative has a post-apocalyptic setting, it is a story about the human condition – about the value of human life, and about the struggle to keep one’s convictions and ideals in the midst of tragic circumstances.
A raucous behind-the-scenes look at the life of the dictionary. Readers who never thought they would read that sentence will be entertainingly enlightened by Kory Stamper’s Word by Word: the Secret Life of Dictionaries. It’s a light-hearted yet sincere look at a job most people give little thought to. To many, the dictionary is a hallowed tome “of truth and wisdom as infallible as God.” To others, it’s something they have because adults should own a dictionary. Most people don’t realize that the dictionary is an organic document, constantly being reviewed, revised, and updated by “actual, living, awkward people.”
We are taught that language is a science, rigidly classifiable, when in fact it is an art, and a messy one at that: “Two lexicographers,” Stamper writes, “with the same training can look at the same sentence, refer to the same grammars, tear out the same amount of hair,” yet place a word in two different parts of speech. Modern English grammar, it turns out, is based on rules for Latin, another (ancient) language altogether. As a result, schoolchildren learn to grudge grammar because teachers insist that English be shoehorned into grammatical rules that don’t apply to it.
Stamper’s language isn’t nearly as bemusingly perplexing as the culture she describes. Her writing flourishes with an easy air, yet it’s candid and down to earth. Her anecdotes about language history and the process of defining words are educational and, perhaps as importantly, quite a bit of fun.
A dangerous book for schoolchildren, and should not be read by those who won’t end sentences with prepositions.
- The Word Detective: Searching for the Meaning of It All at the Oxford English Dictionary: A Memoir,
- The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus,
- Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages
For those who miss sports, live for March Madness, and always root for the underdog: this book is for you.
The author, a Duke University alum, isn't as much of a homer for them as one would expect. He often skewers the one-and-done schools, most predictably, University of Kentucky. His focus for The Back Roads to March is the mid-majors, most of it along the East Coast and New England. The tie that binds is the lead-up to the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Within that framework, the reader will relive some epic moments that remind us why college basketball's mid-majors deserve respect: George Mason's run to the Final Four and UMBC's win for the ages.
With good research and humor, Feinstein showcases the aspects of college basketball we don't often see, unless we've lived it.
- Raise the Roof by Pat Summitt,
- Wooden: A Coach's Life by Seth Davis,
- The Legends Club by John Feinstein
Not just about King’s killer, this thoughtful read revisits important moments in King’s life, beginning with the time he was stabbed in the chest with a letter opener at a book signing, and the choice he made to stay a public figure instead of focusing on his own safety. A little simplistic in its telling, but still emotionally moving.
While it appears a hefty book, approximately one third is notes and supplemental information, and interspersed throughout the story are excellently chosen historical images. Short chapters make this a quick read. A great book for both adults and young adults.
Bryan Stevenson weaves numerous tales of injustice around the thread of his own coming of age as a lawyer and the case of Walter McMillian. Stevenson was a young lawyer when he first founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice that assists those, like McMillian, who find themselves accused of a crime, lacking funds and proper legal counsel.
The audacity in the actions of the officials trusted to ensure safety is both mesmerizing and horrifying. That these occurrences have happened within this reader’s lifetime, and not in some remote time stolen from a history book is even more alarming. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the topics of equality, justice, or the death penalty.
- The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton,
- Beneath a Ruthless Sun by Gilbert King,
- Charged by Emily Bazelon
As one of the lieutenants that rode with Hinton to the county jail explained, “I can give you five reasons why they are going to convict you. Do you want to know what they are… Number one, you’re black. Number two, a white man gonna say you shot him. Number three, you’re gonna have a white district attorney. Number four, you’re gonna have a white judge. And number five, you’re gonna have an all-white jury.”
Making friends with a former KKK member. Watching a woman walk to the death chamber. Smelling the burning flesh of those friends you’ve made by chance on death row. Hinton also shines a light on what a “right to an attorney” actually gets you if you are poor. As his defense attorney so eloquently told him, “‘They’re only paying me $1,000 for this, and hell, I eat $1,000 for breakfast.’ He laughed.” This was Hinton’s life for 30 years. And somehow he survives.
Anthony Ray Hinton tells his story in a thought-provoking and heart-wrenching way. The reader will experience the emotions of Hinton throughout – from despair to exaltation to anxiety. Definitely worth a read.
- The Master Plan by Chris Wilson,
- Writing My Wrongs by Shaka Senghor,
- The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander,
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
Anna has agoraphobia. She hasn’t left her house in ten months. Anything she needs, she has delivered: medications, wine, food, a therapist. She helps others with agoraphobia via an online forum and plays chess via a different forum. Stuck in her house, she spends ample time watching her neighbors. When a few new neighbors start coming by, she finds herself surprised, but also enjoying their company. Then one night, she witnesses something happen to one of those new neighbors – swears she saw it – but what did she really see?
This title is also available in ebook and eaudiobook formats.
- Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney,
- The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins,
- Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson
With her children preparing to leave the nest, and her beloved running pal, Lucy, passed away, Cara Achterberg decides to take on a new challenge: foster dog mom. Fluctuating between humor and heartbreak, the reader may find herself cheering for a “foster fail.” (Meaning that the dog is kept by the author.) There is also quite a bit to learn about fostering animals, and the author occasionally references what makes a good rescue group.
Dog lovers are sure to enjoy this story about puppy antics! A center section includes a variety of color pictures from the many foster dogs that have stayed at the Achterberg home.
- Rescue Road by Peter Zheutlin,
- The Dogs Who Found Me by Ken Foster,
- A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home by Sue Halpern
"He had come so far, but what struck me then and for many years afterward was how little I had done for him. I don’t mean this in the way of false modesty. I mean that it frightens me that so little was required for him to develop intellectually – a quiet room, a pile of books, and some adult guidance. And yet these things were rarely supplied."
Reading with Patrick is one teacher’s journey into the Delta, a poor, rural community, and the impact she hopes to make, the guilt she feels when leaving, and the pull she feels back to her previous students. Focusing on what becomes a friendship between herself and a former student, this non-fiction selection is a commentary on the social injustices and inequality found among US schools.
This title is available as both a print book and an audiobook on Overdrive: https://idm.overdrive.com/media/2830214
- The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore,
- Shakespeare Saved My Life by Laura Bates
Every new mom wants to be perfect. It’s even harder when you surround yourself with other seemingly perfect moms every week. The May Mothers is a group of women whose babies were born in the same month. The new moms think they know each other- but do they really? What is supposed to be a much-needed girls’ night out turns into a media circus that exposes secrets and challenges these new friendships.
The Perfect Mother is a fast-paced thriller that keeps the reader guessing until the very end.
This book is also available in ebook and eaudiobook.
- I Will Never Leave You by S.M. Thayer,
- The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani,
- The Other Mother by Carol Goodman
Wyatt has no idea what’s in store for him when he travels to Washington DC with his class. Typical kid hijinks as well as more unrealistic shenanigans ensue when Wyatt’s best friend immediately makes enemies with some suspicious characters on the airplane. A contemporary fiction selection that may have your younger ones asking, “Did that really happen?”
Dave Barry’s humorous style is one that the whole family will enjoy. This title is a perfect audiobook for a road trip.
Beautifully written, with an easy rhythm, this non-fiction picture book is great for reading aloud. The story takes the reader through the life of Dr. Patricia Bath, the inventor of the Laserphaco Probe, which is used in cataract treatment. As a woman of color, Dr. Bath broke through many barriers to become a doctor and was the first African American to complete a residency in ophthalmology. All of this information is written in fun, kid-friendly, and easy-to-understand language.
This YA fiction title is a twisted tale of a small child who murdered a baby. Allegedly. When the reader meets this child, she’s now a teen, stuck in a group home. Her mom visits, just like clockwork, every other Sunday at the exact same time after church. Life is fairly predictable; the chaos and violence of the group home is expected. And then an unexpected surprise causes Mary to finally search for her voice and fight for a different future.
A little dark, Allegedly is a fast-paced read. The reader slowly learns what happened the night Alyssa died: through Mary’s memories, interview transcripts, and newspaper clippings. Both teens and adults are sure to be enthralled by this suspenseful murder mystery.
This title is available in print and electronic formats.
- Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds,
- Things We Have in Common by Tasha Kavanagh
“I will live to leave this place. I will walk out a free man. If there is a hell, I will see these murderers burn in it.” Such are the thoughts of Lale, the titular character.
Lale leaves his family behind, with the hopes that by proactively volunteering to work for the German government as requested, that the rest of his family would be left alone. Unfortunately, the reader knows that is not how history unfolded in the 1940s.
The bulk of the story takes place during Lale’s time in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camps. His care-taking, risk-taking, potentially deadly choices rushes the reader through the story. The reader sees through Lale’s account the heartbreaking sights that are burned into his memory. And yet, a romance begins.
A fictional tale based on the true life of Lale Sokolov, this story was originally written as a screenplay. The author, Heather Morris, wonderfully handles the incongruences between the atrocities committed and the love that bloomed between Lale and Gita.
- We were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter,
- Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
Rahi, an only child, reveals to his parents the truth of his sexual orientation and is met with silence and is subsequently cut off from his family. After an unexpected phone call, Pival is informed by her husband that Rahi is dead, a sudden death. She never quite believes him, but has no evidence to the contrary.
Pival’s appeal draws in the reader from the very beginning. She is at once independent and helpless; isolated in a place crowded with her husband’s relatives. The story arc follows the widow’s travels, from India to America, as she enlists the help of a tour guide company to travel the country that took her son.
While not narrated directly by the individuals themselves, each chapter is viewed from the perspective of a specific person. The text is well written and the characters are likable, but realistic. The story has a colorful cast of secondary characters, some of whom are charming, even as they are trying too hard. “[B]ut when you are being in Rome, as it were, you pay Roman fees” warned the tour company owner about the custom of tipping in America.
This title is also available as an eaudiobook on hoopla here: https://www.hoopladigital.com/title/12126524
Inspired by a letter to Professor P.V. Glob author of the book "The Bog People" from a group of school girls. "Meet Me at the Museum" is the story of the correspondence of one of the girls, written to Professor Glob many years later and the reply from the current museum curator. The story, written in letter form is the "meeting" and growing friendship between English farm wife, Tina and the Danish museum curator, Anders. Both Tina and Anders are fascinated by the Tollund Man, the subject of the book, "The Bog People" by professor Glob. Both are dealing with grief and loss and find that they have more in common than expected. By sharing their thoughts and feelings, joys and heartbreak they become close friends although they have never met. This meditative and inspiring book looks at choices people make and hope renewed through friendship.
- Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Schafer,
- The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
The “Marsh Girl,” as she is commonly known, is the subject of rumor and gossip in the small town of Barkley Cove in North Carolina. Other times they call her marsh trash. Abandoned since age 10, Kya’s ingenuity helps her survive. However, the rumors and gossip become even worse as she occasionally dreams of what it would be like to join "polite" society. Will she ever escape her isolation?
Set in the 1950s and 60s, this first novel by Delia Owens will draw the reader in from the very beginning. It is an intriguing mix of romance and murder mystery, although a little "fluffy," but otherwise enjoyable.
- Clock Dance by Anne Tyler,
- Whiskey When We’re Dry by John Larison
Not too much in the way of romance for this book stamped with a romance label. I’ll Be Your Blue Sky by Marisa de los Santos is a contemporary fiction novel that is part mystery with a hint of romance.
The alternating narrators, Clare and Edith, are revealing their stories piece by piece, each from their own lifetime. Edith is based mostly in the 1950s, while Clare, who mentions texting and Facebooking, is clearly present day.
As with many fiction selections, oftentimes the reader knows exactly where the story leads, hence why the term “foreshadow” exists. However, in I’ll Be Your Blue Sky, there are a few surprises in store that the reader won’t see until right in the moment that it happens.
- The Violets of March by Sarah Jio,
- As You Wish by Jude Deveraux,
- Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis,
- Island Girls by Nancy Thayer
If you like camping, vintage camping trailers, restoration or all things vintage this beautiful book is one you will want to pick up. This book is just short of 200 pages of photographs and stories of vintage camper enthusiasts and their experiences with finding, restoring and camping in vintage trailers. Learn about a whole community of people from diverse backgrounds who form groups across the country. These groups host rallys and attend events together forming families of friends who share memories. For some this is a creative outlet, others it is a way to bond as a family or re-visit happy childhood memories and for many it has become a business and a way of life. The stories are short and interesting, the pictures are wonderful. This is a nice book to pick up and enjoy as you are relaxing.
- Tin Can Homestead: The Art of Airstream Living by Natasha Lawyer and Brett Bashaw,
- Glamping with MaryJane: Glamour and Camping by MaryJane Butters
The third book in the Sullivan's Crossing series introduces Dakota Jones who after spending years in the military is deciding what he will do with the rest of his life. He comes to Sullivan's Crossing to reconnect with his brother and sister who have found a home and happiness in the small town in the Colorado mountains. After arriving in town he is pursued by two beautiful women but is only interested the one woman he meets who isn't chasing after him. The Jones family has an uncoventional family history and learning to accept the past and move on is a part of their story. If you like romance and family drama with likeable characters and set in wonderful small towns you won't be dissapointed.
- Fools Gold Series by Susan Mallery,
- Creed's Cowboys Series by Linda Lael Miller,
- Cedar Ridge Novels by Jill Shalvis
This clever little book has 150 (most) commonly mispronounced words and descriptions of misuse. Although this book may not include every word you have questioned it does include a wide variety. Part of the fun in reading the book is that it will give several ways to correctly pronounce the word plus tell how it is normally mispronounced. The authors have also included history of the word's use. Some words you may have always hesitated to use and questioned how to pronounce and use it, while others never you might not realize "everyone" is pronouncing it incorrectly. The only downfall to the book was that it is limited to 150 words and some I always question where not included. This was a quick, fun read and an good resource.
- Savoir faire : 1000+ foreign words & phrases you should know to sound smart by Laura Lee ,
- The Horologico a day's jaunt through the lost words of the English language / Mark Forsyth ,
- You've got ketchup on your muumuu : an A-to-Z guide to English words from around the world / Eugene Ehrlich
Sometimes considered a taboo topic, race discussions are often swept under the rug. But not with this book. The author, Ijeoma Oluo, does not shy away from sensitive topics, with chapter titles such as "What is racism?," "How can I talk about affirmative action?" and "I just got called racist, what do I do now?"
Oluo provides excellent talking points and examples in each of her chapters often drawing on her own experiences and biases. The story of the basketball men visiting her group’s picnic shows she does not exclude or excuse herself for bias and insists we should all be so introspective.
This is an excellent read for any individual who wants explore the topic of race or to have open discussions with other willing community members.
- We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nahisi Coates,
- The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Life coach Jen Sincero uses inspiring life stories and funny advice to help readers find their inner greatness. Sincero wants readers to “understand why you are how you are, how to love what you can't change, how to change what you don't love, and how to start living the kind of life you used to be jealous of”. Whether you are looking for relationship, career or money advice, this book offers advice on a vast array of topics.
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson,
- Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis,
- You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero
Bestselling author Nora Roberts takes on a plot that is all too realistic in our current lives-a mass shooting incident. Shelter in Place begins with a typical Friday night in the 90s with teenagers and families at a shopping mall. Simone and her friends are at the movies when a man steps into the theater and begins shooting. Meanwhile, Reed is a waiter at a restaurant in the mall, and while on break he witnesses another man enters the mall in a well-planned attack. Not everyone survives that night and the survivors have to learn to live with the events that happened. Years later, the survivors and rescuers are targeted by an unknown assailant. Can Simone and Reed stay alive while trying to catch the murder?
As an avid reader of the Romance genre, this book might be my favorite Nora Roberts book in her vast catalog of stories. Roberts does not hold back and her story is horrifyingly realistic. It is a spectacular physiological thriller that readers will not want to put down.
Shelter in Place is available at VCPL in Regular Print, Large Print, Audiobook, eBook and eAudiobook.
- Cold cold heart by Tami Hoag,
- Some kind of hero by Suzanne Brockmann,
- Killjoy by Julie Garwood,
- Blue smoke and murder by Elizabeth Lowell,
- Murder List by Julie Garwood
Creator of a very popular lifestyle blog and business, Rachel Hollis, releases her first non-fiction book that is part memoir, part motivator and a complete joy to read. Hollis designed each chapter to tackle a lie that every woman tells themselves. Each lie that Hollis told herself left her feeling undeserving, astounded and exhausted. Readers will enjoy Hollis’ writing style which makes you feel like your best friend is sitting next to you giving advice. Her goal is to remove the blindfold of the lies and help you lift yourself up to overcome. Once finished, you will be recommending this book to every woman you know.
Available at VCPL in Regular Print, eBook and eAudiobook. The author reads the eAudiobook and I HIGHLY recommend it.
Rachel Hollis also has two cookbooks available for check out in print at VCPL:
Upscale Downhome: Family Recipes, All Gussied Up
Real Life Dinners: Fun, Fresh, Fast Dinners from the Creator of The Chic Site
- Small victories: spotting improbable moments of grace by Anne Lamott,
- I regret nothing by Jen Lancaster,
- Let's pretend this never happened by Jenny Lawson,
- Furiously happy: a funny book about horrible things by Jenny Lawson,
- The tao of Martha: my year of LIVING; or, why I'm never, ever getting all that glitter off of the dog by Jen Lancaster
Sometimes you come across a book written so poetically that you get wrapped up in the language not matter what the story is. Sometimes the story is what compels you to keep reading. This book, “Mink River” by Brian Doyle is a combination of both. It is like reading very descriptive poetry combined with both amazing storytelling and everyday minutia. Author describes the details of everyday life where emotion and nature are combined in this fascinating story of life in a small town. You read about love, tragedy, adventure, and hope as seen through the eyes of various members of the town.
This book would be a good choice for book clubs.
- Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout,
- Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee,
- Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf,
- Everybody's Fool by Richard Russo
Stella Lane is a brilliant and successful Econometricist.She had even developed an algorithim to successfully help predict customer purchases.Although Stella is successful professionally she is not successful in her person life. Stella has Asperger's and finds relationships difficult and mostly unappealing. Her parents would like for her to marry and have children and have even suggested she try online dating.She decides that she will hire a professional male escort to help her learn how to have a relationship.Stella chooses Vietnamese-Swedish Michael Phan,who is as handsome as a K-drama star and even has the martial arts moves to match.Because of multiple family problems Michael has secretly been working as a male escort to help his family out of financial difficulty. The two are instantly attracted to each other and begin a "relationship".After several weeks of meeting Stella makes a proposition that Michael can't turn down. In this cute, sexy (warning: the book is very explicit although I found it easy to skip parts and still enjoy the story)and entertaining book two unlikely people find attraction,acceptanc,and love.You may find yourself cheering for them to work out their problems and find their happy ending . This book is a light,entertaining introduction to the subject of women with Asperger's.This is the first book by the author, looking forward to many more.
- The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion,
- The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory,
- Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
"On the day I turn seventeen, there is a meeting to decide whether I should have the baby." Essie is not included in the meeting where her three options are discussed: a PR-nightmare abortion, an "adoption," or a ratings inducing wedding. She is the youngest child of the ultra-conservative Hicks family; originally famous for the father's televised church services, now a long-running family-oriented show called Six for Hicks.
While the matriarch of the family is usually the one calling the shots, Essie has been learning to play the game. As Essie gets closer to her goal, she finds she has even more questions: Who can she trust? Why hasn't she heard from her older sister? What is she willing to lose to gain her freedom? As the reader climbs further into the story, she will have her own questions: Why is Essie pregnant? What is it about this infamous journalist named Liberty Bell?
Covering a topic that may not sit well with some, this novel by Meghan MacLean Weir is hard to put down. This contemporary fiction selection is part drama, part suspense, and part unconventional romance, with quite a bit of subtly witty barbs thrown between characters. Often the reader can predict the direction of the story, but occasionally there are surprises.
- Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld,
- Wallflower in Bloom by Claire Cook,
- Pretty Ugly by Kirker Butler
This book is a fascinating look at the inability of the Justice Department to prosecute individuals and corporations for white-collar crimes. The first section focuses on Enron and the subsequent fallout, followed by a lot of detail regarding cases, or lack thereof, against Arthur Andersen, KPMG and others.
Some of this book is a little dense with lawyer jargon and lists of law firms. However, those readers who wanted justice after the financial crisis and housing market crash will find themselves intrigued and probably outraged.
- Black Edge by Sheelah Kolhatkar ,
- No One Would Listen by Harry Markopolos
The Girl Who Smiled Beads is a well-written non-fiction selection that reads like a heartbreaking and, though the author may not like this description, inspiring novel. Alternating between her time as a refugee and her life after moving to America, the author, Clemantine Wamariya expertly compares and contrasts the two time periods. At one point Wamariya writes, "It was all so arbitrary: You should be killed, you should stand in line for food for seven hours, you should be fabulously educated and heaped with praise." How can there be such extremes in one individual’s life?
- Night by Elie Wiesel,
- A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah,
- The Last Girl by Nadia Murad,
- We Crossed a Bridge and it Trembled by Wendy Pearlman
Author Rhodes-Courter is back discussing foster care – this time from the perspective of the foster parent instead of as the child in care. This follow up spans her college years to present day.
Unfortunately, she finds that the foster care system hasn’t changed all that much since she was in care. Kids are still bounced around frequently and some are returned to dangerous situations. While kids are in her care though, she does her best to fight for them. She searches for services, advocates for better care, and loves on the kids as best she can. Some of the children she fosters have favorable endings to their stories, but not all. One is particularly gut-wrenching.
All the while, she is still working on how her past is merging with her present. Stories of Rhodes-Courters’ visits with her biological family are both disappointing and heartening.
The reader will both adore and judge the foster families throughout the book: first the reader will feel respect for those helping the children caught in the system; then judgement because they are obviously stifling the teenagers; then excitement: adoption! Then more heartbreak.
Not all of the stories end in heartbreak, but this also isn’t a fairytale. Many children age out of the system each year, and before that, they are bounced around between many strangers’ houses. The author interviewed the children in care as well as the families who were caring for them, and often kept in touch after the child was no longer with the initial family. In some cases, it appeared as if the author was more concerned about the child’s welfare than either the foster family or the case workers.
To The End of June is an in-depth look at foster care, mainly focused on New York, as the author follows a handful of families over the course of a few years. Interspersed in the family narratives are discussions and thoughts from those who are, or were, employed within the foster care system, as well as the author’s own judgements and ideas about what is wrong and what could be done to help fix the care system.
- Another Place at the Table by Kathy Harrison,
- Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter
Before they were household names, many of the now-famous actors mentioned throughout Homey Don’t Play That!: The Story of In Living Color and the Black Comedy Revolution were trying to get a foot in the door by way of stand-up comedy. The Wayans family, Jamie Foxx, Jim Carrey, and Eddie Murphy are just a handful of the names to be recognized in this book.
The reader is taken on a journey from Keenen Wayans’ early life, through his years producing In Living Color. To better explain the impact of In Living Color, the author includes many stories from early careers of African Americans in film and television, as well as the historical context of nationwide events and Fox’s foray into broadcast television.
Compiled from many interviews into a cohesive and easily-readable narrative, the author creates an intriguing read for anyone interested in African American history, television history, or those who simply enjoyed watching In Living Color.
This contemporary novel is the story of two sisters, Lucia, the younger sister, and Miranda, eight years older. After their mother's death and Lucia’s newly discovered mental illness, they are at odds for what they think is the best course of action to keep Lucia safe and “healthy” as Miranda always says. Lucia is a wanderer and traveler, and Miranda, the worrier, tries to fix everything.
The sisters’ lives take different paths, evermore widening the gap that’s come between them. Will they be able to come to an understanding? Or will their choices keep pushing each other apart?
Told in alternating narrators, the author writes the characters with such depth that the reader feels a certain empathy for all of them, even through their faults.
Told from sixteen-year-old Starr’s point of view, this heart-wrenching story describes her life – how she feels bounced between two different worlds and how she never feels fully herself. Then her worlds slowly begin to collide when her childhood best friend, Khalil, is fatally shot by a police officer and he becomes a national headline. Full of emotions and a wide cast of characters, this story is well told.
The audiobook version of this contemporary fiction work is wonderfully read and highly recommended. It enhances the dialogue and gives life to the characters in a way words on a page cannot. Be prepared with tissues.
This title is also available in print and ebook.
- Dear Martin by Nic Stone,
- The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera
From the Publisher:
“They told you you need to be thin and beautiful. They told you to wear longer skirts, avoid going out late at night and move in groups - never accept drinks from a stranger, and wear shoes you can run in more easily than heels. They told you to wear just enough make-up to look presentable but not enough to be a slut; to dress to flatter your apple, pear, hourglass figure, but not to be too tarty. They warned you that if you try to be strong, or take control, you'll be shrill, bossy, a ballbreaker. Of course it's fine for the boys, but you should know your place. They told you 'that's not for girls' - 'take it as a compliment' - 'don't rock the boat' - 'that'll go straight to your hips'. They told you 'beauty is on the inside', but you knew they didn't really mean it. Well I'm here to tell you something different.”
This book is a survival guide for young women in today’s society. Girl Up addresses a wide variety of social issues such as sexism, feminism, social media and body image. Laura Bates explores these topics in a way that educates these women about the science behind the female body and explores how public image twists how women feel about their own self. This book is transparent, easy to read and the perfect way to learn how to stand up for yourself in a crucial phase of your life. VCPL has this title available for checkout as a print book.
- We're going to need more wine by Gabrielle Union,
- We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,
- The beauty myth By Naomi Wolf,
- How to be a woman by Caitlin Moran,
- Not that kind of girl by Lena Dunham
Host of the popular HGTV show Fixer Upper, Chip Gaines, shares with readers his path to success as well as his stumbles. Chip lays out his adventures in being a landlord, owning a landscaping business and how it led him and Joanna to their real estate and home goods empire known as Magnolia. Fans of the show will enjoy learning more of Chip’s back story and seeing more of their personal lives as the couple makes Waco THE place to live in Texas. VCPL has both print and eBook copies for check out.
- It takes two by Jonathan Scott,
- Better than new by Nicole Curtis,
- The pioneer woman by Ree Drummond
Aiden Shaughnessy runs a busy and successful construction company. Since the death of his mother, he has strived to make his father proud while helping to raise his five siblings. Now his father is worried that Aiden is missing out on living his own life. Along comes interior designer Zoe Dalton who is hired on to help finish his custom built homes. Readers will enjoy finding out how Zoe’s heart and Aiden’s strength lead them to a happy ending. This title and the rest of The Shaughnessy Brothers’ series are available as an eBook on Hoopla Digital. Ask at the Reference Desk for assistance downloading this delightful romance novel.
- Someone to love by Jude Deveraux,
- What we find by Robyn Carr,
- Into the fire by Suzanne Brockmann,
- Any dream will do by Debbie Macomber,
- The troublemaker next door by Marie Harte
Elsa’s best friend and superhero is her seventy-seven year old grandmother. The two are inseparable as Elsa thrives on her grandmother’s stories from the Land-of-Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas. When Elsa’s grandmother dies, she leaves behind a quest for the seven year old to give letters to people in her left she has wronged. Following her grandmother’s last request, Elsa’s adventure is full of beasts, monsters and the strange adults in her life.
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry is a story about a little girl learning about the right to be different in a world where everyone is struggling to act normal. Backman’s storytelling remains as entertaining as his debut novel, A Man Called Ove. This title is perfect for readers and book clubs looking for a book that delves into life and death from both an older and younger perspective. VCPL has this novel available in book, ebook, audiobook and eaudiobook formats.
- The secret life of bees by Sue Monk Kidd,
- Be Frank with me by Julia Claiborne Johnson,
- The magic strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom,
- Big fish by Daniel Wallace,
- A Man called Ove by Fredrik Backman
This non-fiction account of a young life spent in and out of homes in foster care is both heart-wrenching and inspiring. Ashley Rhodes-Courter’s memoir details the angst of missing her biological mother, the wrath, love, or indifference of various foster parents, and the internal struggles she faces in regards to her brother’s well-being.
Her story, where one can “see” the internal dialogue of a young child forced into the foster system, provides a voice in a realm where frequently those voices are ignored. Rhodes-Courter makes a way for herself where others often cannot.
The audiobook version, read by the author, is highly recommended.
It takes a little bit to get used to the author’s style of writing, but the subject matter is fascinating. The author, Rothstein, proposes that it was de jure, not de facto, segregation that separated Americans. What follows are details of historical federal, state, and local government actions woven with specific stories of individuals who were directly affected by such matters. For example, the author discusses temporary housing for the war (WWII) effort, zoning laws, and expressway construction, and how those directives altered lives.
A great read for those interested in social justice issues.
When Maddy is found after an apparent suicide at the bottom of the library where she loved to volunteer, her husband and daughter are left to pick up the pieces. How come they didn’t see the signs? Will reading Maddy’s diary provide insight? Both family members blame themselves, wondering how they missed so much about the woman they thought they knew.
This contemporary fiction selection provides just a bit of fantasy as the three main characters, Maddy, her husband, Brady, and daughter, Eve, all rotate as narrators, with Maddy trying to influence her family from the other side.