Suggested Reading December 22, 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 29, 2020.

Big Girl, Small Town: A Novel by Michelle Gallen

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

Majella is happiest out of the spotlight, away from her neighbors’ stares and the gossips of the small town in Northern Ireland where she grew up just after the Troubles. She lives a quiet life caring for her alcoholic mother, working in the local chip shop, watching the regular customers come and go. She wears the same clothes each day (overalls, too small), has the same dinner each night (fish and chips, microwaved at home after her shift ends), and binge-watches old DVDs of the same show (Dallas, best show on TV) from the comfort of her bed.

But underneath Majella’s seemingly ordinary life are the facts that she doesn’t know where her father is and that every person in her town has been changed by the lingering divide between Protestants and Catholics. When Majella’s predictable existence is upended by the death of her granny, she comes to realize there may be more to life than the gossips of Aghybogey, the pub, and the chip shop. In fact, there just may be a whole big world outside her small town.

Told in a highly original voice, with a captivating heroine readers will love and root for, Big Girl, Small Town will appeal to fans of Sally Rooney, Ottessa Moshfegh, and accessible literary fiction with an edge.

Bright And Breaking Sea: A Captain Kit Brightling Novel by Chloe Neill

(Available Formats: Print Book & Hoopla Audiobook)

Taking a break from her Heirs of Chicagoland series (which began with Wild Hunger, 2018), Neill launches a new, magical reimagining of the Napoleonic Wars. Some believe twenty-four year-old Captain Kit Brightling is too young and too female for naval command, but the Queen has faith in her abilities and has assigned Kit and her crew a dangerous covert mission. They are to rescue an agent with intelligence regarding the identity of a traitor working with the exiled Gallic Emperor. Kit can sense the ocean’s currents and, by gently tapping into that power, speed her ship to any destination. She has been ordered to share authority with Rian Grant, Viscount Queenscliff, a former soldier who served with the operative but feels he may be more hindrance than help. Kit soon discovers that Grant is much more than a privileged Aristocratic fop. The diverse crew, sea battles, intrigue, treason, class and gender infighting, and the attraction between Kit and Grant will appeal to fans of historical military fantasies like Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series. Readers will eagerly anticipate the next exciting adventure. Booklist Review

Darling Dahlias And The Voodoo Lily by Susan Wittig Albert

(Available Format: Print Book)

Spring, 1935 finds the little Alabama town of Darling excited about their new local radio station, WDAR. But there are problems brewing at the newspaper, where a trio of new hires causes headaches for editor Charlie Dickens.

That’s not the worst of it, though, as the Dahlias discover when the newest resident at Bessie Bloodworth’s Magnolia Manor is found dead. She had overindulged in a large and very rich chocolate cake—but was something else baked into that cake? If so, one of the Dahlias is likely to find herself at the top of Sheriff Buddy Norris’ suspect list. That would give Darling something to gossip about!

And there’s plenty more to keep the tongues wagging. Will the ladies at the new bakery ever learn to bake bread? What’s happening in Liz Lacy’s love life? Will her new book be a success? And can Voodoo Lil’s special brand of magic keep Violet Sims from taking Cupcake off to Hollywood to become a Shirley
Temple look-alike?

But amid all these mysteries, one thing’s for certain: The Darling Dahlias just keep growing.

The Orchard: A Novel by David Hopen

(Available Formats: Print Book)

A Recommended Book From:

The New York Times * Good Morning America * Entertainment Weekly * Electric Literature * The New York Post * Alma * The Millions * Book Riot

A commanding debut and a poignant coming-of-age story about a devout Jewish high school student whose plunge into the secularized world threatens everything he knows of himself

Ari Eden’s life has always been governed by strict rules. In ultra-Orthodox Brooklyn, his days are dedicated to intense study and religious rituals, and adolescence feels profoundly lonely. So when his family announces that they are moving to a glitzy Miami suburb, Ari seizes his unexpected chance for reinvention.

Enrolling in an opulent Jewish academy, Ari is stunned by his peers’ dizzying wealth, ambition, and shameless pursuit of life’s pleasures. When the academy’s golden boy, Noah, takes Ari under his wing, Ari finds himself entangled in the school’s most exclusive and wayward group. These friends are magnetic and defiant—especially Evan, the brooding genius of the bunch, still living in the shadow of his mother’s death.

Influenced by their charismatic rabbi, the group begins testing their religion in unconventional ways. Soon Ari and his friends are pushing moral boundaries and careening toward a perilous future—one in which the traditions of their faith are repurposed to mysterious, tragic ends.

Mesmerizing and playful, heartrending and darkly romantic, The Orchard probes the conflicting forces that determine who we become: the heady relationships of youth, the allure of greatness, the doctrines we inherit, and our concealed desires.

Persuasion by Iris Johansen

(Available Formats: eBook)

When Eve Duncan’s daughter, Jane MacGuire, becomes a madman’s target, Jane must team up with longtime love interest Seth Caleb in this suspense novel from the #1 bestselling author of Smokescreen.

Forensic sculptor Eve Duncan and ex-Navy Seal Joe Quinn are about to give Seth Caleb their trust for the most important duty of his life: keeping their daughter, Jane MacGuire, safe at any cost. Because Jane’s talent as an artist has brought her to the attention of a madman.

Seth, Jane’s longtime ally and fierce protector, is determined to keep her out of danger, but that becomes nearly impossible when Jane is forced to take matters into her own hands and confronts the man who wants her for himself…and wants Seth Caleb dead.

As Jane and Seth chase down their blood-thirsty adversary, they finally commit to one another — in the culmination of the love story that fans have been waiting for. As the two come face-to-face with danger, one thing is made clear: it will take both of them working together to confront and defeat this evil.

The Relic by Douglas Preston

(Available Formats: Print Book, CD Audiobook & eBook)

A monster on the loose in New York City’s American Museum of Natural History provides the hook for this high-concept, high-energy thriller. A statue of the mad god Mbwun, a monstrous mix of man and reptile, was discovered by a Museum expedition to South America in 1987. Now, it is about to become part of the new Superstition Exhibition at the museum (here renamed the “New York Museum of Natural History”). But as the exhibition’s opening night approaches, the museum may have to be shut down due to a series of savage murders that seem to be the work of a maniac-or a living version of Mbwun. When the museum’s director pulls strings to ensure that the gala affair takes place, it’s up to a small band of believers, led by graduate student Margo Green, her controversial adviser and an FBI agent who investigated similar killings in New Orleans, to stop the monster-if the culprit is indeed a monster-from going on a rampage. Less horror then action-adventure, the narrative builds to a superbly exciting climax, and then offers a final twist to boot. With its close-up view of museum life and politics, plausible scientific background, sharply drawn characters and a plot line that’s blissfully free of gratuitous romance, this well-crafted novel offers first-rate thrills and chills.

The Silver Shooter by Erin Lindsey

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Erin Lindsey’s third historical mystery The Silver Shooter follows Rose Gallagher as she tracks a monster and searches for treasure in the wilds of the Dakota Territory.

It’s the spring of 1887, and Rose Gallagher is finally coming into her own. She’s the proud owner of a lovely little home near Washington Square, where she lives with her mother and friend Pietro, and she’s making a name for herself as a Pinkerton agent with a specialty in things . . . otherworldly. She and her partner Thomas are working together better than ever, and mostly managing to push aside romantic feelings for one another. Mostly.

Things are almost too good to be true—so Rose is hardly surprised when Theodore Roosevelt descends on them like a storm cloud, hiring them for a mysterious job out west. A series of strange occurrences in the Badlands surrounding his ranch has Roosevelt convinced something supernatural is afoot.

It began with livestock disappearing from the range, their bodies later discovered torn apart by something monstrously powerful. Now people are dying, too. Meanwhile, a successful prospector has gone missing, and rumors about his lost stash of gold have attracted treasure hunters from far and wide – but they keep disappearing, too. To top it all off, this past winter, a mysterious weather phenomenon devastated the land, leaving the locals hungry, broke, and looking for someone to blame.

With tensions mounting and the body count rising, Roosevelt fears a single spark will be all it takes to set the Badlands aflame. It’s up to Rose and Thomas to get to the bottom of it, but they’re against the clock and an unknown enemy, and the west will prove wilder than they could possibly imagine…

That Time Of Year: A Minnesota Life by Garrison Keillor

(Available Formats: Print Book & Hoopla Audiobook)

With the warmth and humor we’ve come to know, the creator and host of A Prairie Home Companion shares his own remarkable story.

In That Time of Year, Garrison Keillor looks back on his life and recounts how a Brethren boy with writerly ambitions grew up in a small town on the Mississippi in the 1950s and, seeing three good friends die young, turned to comedy and radio. Through a series of unreasonable lucky breaks, he founded A Prairie Home Companion and put himself in line for a good life, including mistakes, regrets, and a few medical adventures. PHC lasted forty years, 750 shows, and enjoyed the freedom to do as it pleased for three or four million listeners every Saturday at 5 p.m. Central. He got to sing with Emmylou Harris and Renee Fleming and once sang two songs to the U.S. Supreme Court. He played a private eye and a cowboy, gave the news from his hometown, Lake Wobegon, and met Somali cabdrivers who’d learned English from listening to the show. He wrote bestselling novels, won a Grammy and a National Humanities Medal, and made a movie with Robert Altman with an alarming amount of improvisation.

He says, “I was unemployable and managed to invent work for myself that I loved all my life, and on top of that I married well. That’s the secret, work and love. And I chose the right ancestors, impoverished Scots and Yorkshire farmers, good workers. I’m heading for eighty, and I still get up to write before dawn every day.”

Written In The Stars: A Novel by Alexandria Bellefleur

(Available Formats: Print Book)

“I was hooked from the very first page!” – Christina Lauren, New York Times bestselling author of In a Holidaze
Featured on Shondaland, Oprah Mag, Bustle, Buzzfeed, POPSUGAR, Washington Post, NPR, Culturess, and more. One of Washington Post’s Best Romances of 2020!

With nods to Bridget Jones and Pride & Prejudice, this debut is a delightful #ownvoices queer rom-com about a free-spirited social media astrologer who agrees to fake a relationship with an uptight actuary until New Year’s Eve—with results not even the stars could predict!

After a disastrous blind date, Darcy Lowell is desperate to stop her well-meaning brother from playing matchmaker ever again. Love—and the inevitable heartbreak—is the last thing she wants. So she fibs and says her latest set up was a success. Darcy doesn’t expect her lie to bite her in the ass.

Elle Jones, one of the astrologers behind the popular Twitter account Oh My Stars, dreams of finding her soul mate. But she knows it is most assuredly not Darcy… a no-nonsense stick-in-the-mud, who is way too analytical, punctual, and skeptical for someone as free-spirited as Elle. When Darcy’s brother—and Elle’s new business partner—expresses how happy he is that they hit it off, Elle is baffled. Was Darcy on the same date? Because… awkward.

Darcy begs Elle to play along and she agrees to pretend they’re dating. But with a few conditions: Darcy must help Elle navigate her own overbearing family during the holidays and their arrangement expires on New Year’s Eve. The last thing they expect is to develop real feelings during a faux relationship. But maybe opposites can attract when true love is written in the stars?

“Everything I want from a rom-com: fun, whimsical, sexy.” – Talia Hibbert, USA Today bestselling author of Get a Life, Chloe Brown

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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