Suggested Reading December 15, 2020

Hi everyone, here are our recommended reads for the week.

After each title is a list of all the different formats that title available in; including: Print Books, Large Print Books, Audiobooks on CD, eBooks & Downloadable Audiobooks from the Digital Catalog (OverDrive & Libby apps) and Hoopla eBooks & Downloadable Audiobooks (Hoopla App).

*More information on the three catalogs is found at the end of the list of recommended reads*

Weekly Suggested Reading postings are published on Tuesdays.

The next Suggested Reading posting will be published on December 22, 2020.

If you’d like to browse digital collections of holiday eBooks, audiobooks, streaming videos and more visit:

The Digital Catalog (or the OverDrive or Libby app) and you’ll find a collection of holiday romances and general fiction on the homepage found at:

https://stls.overdrive.com/

The Hoopla Catalog (Hoopla app) which features great holiday collections of eBooks, Audiobooks, TV Shows & Movies and can be found at:

https://www.hoopladigital.com

And onto the reading recommendations of the week!

Dark Tides: A Novel by Philippa Gregory

(Available Formats: Print Book & CD Audiobook)

Named a Best Book of the Month by CNN and MSNBC

Named a Most Exciting New Book of Fall by PopSugar

#1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory’s new historical novel tracks the rise of the Tidelands family in London, Venice, and New England.

Midsummer Eve 1670. Two unexpected visitors arrive at a shabby warehouse on the south side of the River Thames. The first is a wealthy man hoping to find the lover he deserted twenty-one years before. James Avery has everything to offer, including the favour of the newly restored King Charles II, and he believes that the warehouse’s poor owner Alinor has the one thing his money cannot buy—his son and heir.

The second visitor is a beautiful widow from Venice in deepest mourning. She claims Alinor as her mother-in-law and has come to tell Alinor that her son Rob has drowned in the dark tides of the Venice lagoon.

Alinor writes to her brother Ned, newly arrived in faraway New England and trying to make a life between the worlds of the English newcomers and the American Indians as they move toward inevitable war. Alinor tells him that she knows—without doubt—that her son is alive and the widow is an imposter.

Set in the poverty and glamour of Restoration London, in the golden streets of Venice, and on the tensely contested frontier of early America, this is a novel of greed and desire: for love, for wealth, for a child, and for home

Eddie’s Boy: A Novel by Thomas Perry

(Available Format: Print Book, Hoopla eBook & Hoopla Audiobook)

Michael Shaeffer is a retired American businessman, living peacefully in England with his aristocratic wife. But her annual summer party brings strangers to their house, and with them, an attempt on Michael’s life. He is immediately thrust into action, luring his lethal pursuers to Australia before venturing into the lion’s den—the States—to figure out why the mafia is after him again, and how to stop them.

Eddie’s Boy jumps between Michael’s current predicament and the past, between the skillset he now ruthlessly and successfully employs and the training that made him what he is. We glimpse the days before he became the Butcher’s Boy, the highly skilled mob hit man who pulled a slaughter job on some double-crossing clients and started a mob war, to his childhood spent apprenticed to Eddie, a seasoned hired assassin. And we watch him pit two prominent mafia families against each other to eliminate his enemies one by one.

He’s meticulous in his approach, using his senior contact in the Organized Crime Division of the Justice Department for information, without ever allowing her to get too close to his trail. But will he be able to escape this new wave of young contract killers, or will the years finally catch up to him

As the San Francisco Chronicle said about this Edgar Award-winning series, “The best thing about Thomas Perry’s thrillers are the devilishly ingenious schemes his protagonists devise to outwit their pursuers . . . Perry can really write.”

Jolene by Mercedes Lackey

(Available Formats: Print Book)

The beloved Elemental Masters series moves to America for the first time in a rich retelling of The Queen of the Copper Mountain, set against the backdrop of Tennessee coal country.

Anna May Jones is the daughter of a coal miner, but a sickly constitution has kept her confined to the house for most of her life. Hoping to improve her daughter’s health—and lessen the burden on their family—Anna’s mother sends her to live with her Aunt Jinny, a witchy-woman and an Elemental Master, in a holler outside of Ducktown.

As she settles into her new life, Anna learns new skills at Aunt Jinny’s side and discovers that she, too, has a gift for Elemental magic that Jinny calls “the Glory”. She also receives lessons from a mysterious and bewitching woman named Jolene, who assures her that, with time, Anna could become even more powerful than her aunt.

But with Anna’s increasing power comes increasing notice. Billie McDaran, the foreman of the Ducktown mine, begins to take an interest in Anna and her abilities—even though Anna has already fallen in love with a young man with a talent for stonecarving.

If she wants to preserve the life she has come to love, Anna must use her newfound powers to oppose the foreman and protect those around her.

Lazarus: A Killer Instinct Novel by Lars Kepler

(Available Formats: Print Book)

One of the best thrillers of the year! Kepler treats us readers to a nonstop roller coaster of suspense, taking us deep into the hearts and minds of perfectly realized characters. And, oh, what a villain! Lazarus is the definition of a one-sitting read!” —Jeffery Deaver, New York Times best-selling author of The Goodbye Man

Sometimes the past won’t stay buried.

All across Europe, the most ruthless criminals are suffering gruesome deaths. At first, it seems coincidental that their underworld affiliations are finally catching up to them. But when two of the victims are found to have disturbing connections to Detective Joona Linna, it becomes clear that there’s a single killer at work. Still, police are reluctant to launch an investigation. If a mysterious vigilante is making their jobs easier, why stand in his way? Joona, however, is convinced this is no would-be hero. These deaths serve a much darker purpose.

Desperate for help, Joona turns to Saga Bauer. If his hunch is correct, she’s one of the few people who stands a chance at bringing this criminal mastermind down. But Saga is fighting her own demons—and the killer knows just how to use them to his advantage. He continues to strike with impunity, and no one, it seems, is safe. When the killer begins targeting those closest to Saga and Joona, it appears more and more likely that Joona has been right all along, and that tracking down the person responsible will force him to confront a ghost from his past . . . the most terrifying villain he’s ever had to face.

Light Ages: The Surprising Story Of Medieval Science by Seb Falk

(Available Formats: Print Book & Hoopla eBook)

Falk, historian at Cambridge University, makes an auspicious if occasionally hard-going debut with this look at the “scientific life of an unknown monk” in 14th-century England. The cleric, John Westwyk, is known only through a handful of obscure manuscripts dealing with the creation of astronomical tables and instruments. Nonetheless, Falk skillfully uses Westwyk as a vehicle to explore the nature of medieval science, arriving at a number of somewhat surprising conclusions. He argues that medieval Christianity, rather than blocking intellectual progress, “took support from science–and, in turn, spurred its progress”; that the denizens of English monasteries, far from being isolated, were “profoundly influenced” by an “international scientific fraternity of Jews and Muslims, Italians and Germans”; and that the period’s healthy scientific debates contradict the “stereotype of the Middle Ages as an era of scholastic conformity.” He also explains that the “study of the natural world was a fundamental part of medieval life,” and that despite settling on many incorrect answers, medieval scholars made significant advances. Falk spends a great deal of time demonstrating the complex mathematics used to understand astronomical patterns and may lose some of his audience in the process. Nonetheless, his enthusiastically delivered study will entrance those fascinated by the history of science or the Middle Ages. Publishers Weekly Review

The Opium Prince by Jasmine Aimaq

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Is the opium prince Daniel Sajadi, the weary protagonist of this searing debut, who tries to fill his father’s very big shoes by helping eradicate Afghanistan’s poppy fields? Or is he the ambitiously named Taj Maleki (crown king), who works his way up from starving orphan to a poppy-field khan? Or is opium itself the prince, controlling as it does the lives of destitute Afghans and the rich foreigners who imbibe the deadly crop? These and many more questions will remain with readers who follow Daniel and Taj through the lead-up to the 1978 communist takeover of Afghanistan, when Daniel kills a little girl, Telaya, with his car, and Taj is involved in getting restitution for her family of Kochi nomads. Offering a piercing look at the Afghan view of foreign aid and patriarchal foreigners, Aimaq, who is half-Afghan and spent part of her life in the country, is a writer to watch. Every carefully described detail here will stay with readers as they examine what they thought they knew about America’s exporting of democracy and its war on drugs. For its worlds-within-worlds quality, give this to David Mitchell fans; it’s also a great choice for book clubs. Starred Booklist Review.

Perestroika In Paris by Jane Smiley

(Available Formats: Print Book)

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Thousand Acres and the New York Times best-selling Last Hundred Years Trilogy, a captivating, brilliantly imaginative story of three extraordinary animals—and a young boy—whose lives intersect in Paris

Paras, short for “Perestroika,” is a spirited racehorse at a racetrack west of Paris. One afternoon at dusk, she finds the door of her stall open and—she’s a curious filly—wanders all the way to the City of Light. She’s dazzled and often mystified by the sights, sounds, and smells around her, but she isn’t afraid. Soon she meets an elegant dog, a German shorthair pointer named Frida, who knows how to get by without attracting the attention of suspicious Parisians. Paras and Frida coexist for a time in the city’s lush green spaces, nourished by Frida’s strategic trips to the vegetable market. They keep company with two irrepressible ducks and an opinionated raven. But then Paras meets a human boy, Etienne, and discovers a new, otherworldly part of Paris: the ivy-walled house where the boy and his nearly-one-hundred-year-old great-grandmother live in seclusion. As the cold weather and Christmas near, the unlikeliest of friendships bloom. But how long can a runaway horse stay undiscovered in Paris? How long can a boy keep her hidden and all to himself? Jane Smiley’s beguiling new novel is itself an adventure that celebrates curiosity, ingenuity, and the desire of all creatures for true love and freedom.

The Rhythm Of War by Brandon Sanderson

(Available Formats: Print Book)

While Dalinar manages the coalition and the battlefront, Shallan and Adolin seek allies among the honorspren. Kaladin, finally forced to acknowledge the consequences of unbroken fighting, seeks new purpose away from the frontlines. Navani continues her work with new fabrial technology. The cost to both sides in a war everyone perceives as determining their very survival is tremendous. While there is plenty of strategy and politics, leading to suitably epic battles, Sanderson plays to his strengths, and the meat of the book is in the discovery of new information, both in history and in the magic system–or natural sciences, depending on how you look at it. There’s also plenty of subterfuge, from a traitorous king to a desperate bid to escape subjugation. The buildup is long and complex, with plenty of digging into how things work and the consequences of war (including the toll on mental health), culminating in an action-packed, falling-dominoes denouement. This may not be the best place to start with Sanderson’s work, but it certainly delivers the dense fantasy epic long-time readers will expect. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Fans have been waiting for the next Stormlight Archive novel since 2017 (after Oathbringer), so get ready. Booklist Review.

Reader’s Note: If you’d to start the series from the beginning, the first book is The Way of Kings.

Without A Brew by Ellie Alexander

(Available Format: Print Book)

Amateur sleuth Sloan Krause delves into a murderous winter wonderland in another delightful mystery from cozy writer Ellie Alexander, Without a Brew.

It’s winter in the Bavarian village of Leavenworth, Washington, which for local brewmaster Sloan Krause means lots of layers, pine and citrus-flavored craft beers, and getting the new guest rooms at Nitro into pristine condition before visitors flood in for IceFest—a local tradition filled with fireworks, ice carving, and winter games of all varieties. But Sloan and her boss Garrett quickly learn that being brewkeepers turned innkeepers may not be as idyllic as it sounded.

While one couple staying with them seems completely smitten, a flashy group arrives in the evening demanding rooms. Sloan and Garrett are less than impressed, but agree to rent to them anyway. The night takes a turn when brewery patron Liv Paxton finishes her frothy pint and, with no previous plan for an overnight stay in Leavenworth, eagerly takes Sloan up on the offer of sanctuary from the snow—until she has a strange run in with some locals and the other guests. Sloan could be imagining things, but when Liv’s room is found trashed the next morning, a hateful message painted on her car, and Liv herself is nowhere to be found, Sloan is convinced another mystery is brewing. With many of the potential suspects hunkering down under Nitro’s roof, she knows her co-workers and friends won’t be safe until she serves up the killer a hoppy pint of justice.

Where The Wild Ladies Are by Aoko Matsuda

(Available Formats: Print Books & Hoopla eBook)

In this witty and exuberant collection of feminist retellings of traditional Japanese folktales, humans live side by side with spirits who provide a variety of useful services—from truth-telling to babysitting, from protecting castles to fighting crime.

A busybody aunt who disapproves of hair removal; a pair of door-to-door saleswomen hawking portable lanterns; a cheerful lover who visits every night to take a luxurious bath; a silent house-caller who babysits and cleans while a single mother is out working. Where the Wild Ladies Are is populated by these and many other spirited women—who also happen to be ghosts. This is a realm in which jealousy, stubbornness, and other excessive “feminine” passions are not to be feared or suppressed, but rather cultivated; and, chances are, a man named Mr. Tei will notice your talents and recruit you, dead or alive (preferably dead), to join his mysterious company.

In this witty and exuberant collection of linked stories, Aoko Matsuda takes the rich, millenia-old tradition of Japanese folktales—shapeshifting wives and foxes, magical trees and wells—and wholly reinvents them, presenting a world in which humans are consoled, guided, challenged, and transformed by the only sometimes visible forces that surround them.

Have a great week!

Linda Reimer

*Information on the Three Catalogs*

Digital Catalog: https://stls.overdrive.com/

The Digital Catalog has two companion apps, Libby & OverDrive. Libby is the app for newer devices and the OverDrive app should be used for older devices and Amazon tablets.

All card holders of all Southern Tier Library System member libraries can check out items from the Digital Catalog.

Hoopla Catalog: https://www.hoopladigital.com/

The Hoopla Catalog features instant check outs of eBooks, downloadable audiobook, comic books, albums and streaming videos. Patron check out limit is 4 items per month.

Hoopla is a Southeast Steuben County Library service available to all Southeast Steuben County Library card holders.

The Hoopla App is available for Android or Apple devices and most smart TVs & media streaming players.

StarCat: The catalog of physical/traditional library materials: https://starcat.stls.org

Card holders of all Southern Tier Library System member libraries can access StarCat to search for and request materials available at libraries through out the Southern Tier Library System.

The StarCat app is called Bookmyne and is available for Apple and Android devices.

Also feel free to call the Southeast Steuben County Library and request titles via tel 607-936-3713.

Have a great week!

Linda Reimer, SSCL

Note: Book summaries are from the respective publishers unless otherwise specified.

Have questions?

Feel free to call the library! Our telephone number is 607-936-3713.

Tech Talk is a Southeast Steuben County Library blog.

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