Suggested Reading April 20, 2021

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

Format Note: Under each book title you’ll find a list of all the different formats that specific title is available in; including: Print Books, Large Print Books, CD Audiobooks, eBooks & Downloadable Audiobooks from the Digital Catalog (OverDrive & Libby apps) and Hoopla eBooks & Hoopla 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 Tuesday, April 27, 2021.

Beneath The Keep by Erika Johansen

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

Beneath The Keep

Johansen takes readers back to the world of the Tearling with a stand-alone novel set 20 years before the events in The Queen of the Tearling (2014). It is a time of drought, famine, and civil unrest. The aristocracy have no sense of noblesse oblige, the church is run by hypocrites, and the queen rules through fear and intimidation. Princess Elyssa is nothing like her mother and hopes she can become her people’s prophesied True Queen. Her dream of saving her kingdom and providing justice for all will be immutably impacted–for good or ill–by a brutal young slave with aspirations of escaping to freedom and a deviously callous procurer with designs on the throne. The story considers the nature of forgiveness, the use and abuse of power, and the morality of right and wrong as characters develop in unexpected ways. The dramatic climax will have readers questioning who the real hero is at the end of this compelling tale of epic fantasy. Series fans will be intrigued to discover the background details of individuals who are pivotal to events in the trilogy, and those new to the series will want to find out what comes next. – Booklist Reivew

Guilt at the Garage by Simon Brett

(Available Formats: Print Book & Hoopla instant checkout eBook)

Guilt at the Garaage

Brett takes a shrewd look at the nasty side of village life in his slyly witty 20th Fethering mystery (after 2019’s The Killer in the Choir). When garage owner Bill Shefford, a longtime widower, returns home to Fethering, “a village of unimpeachable middle-class propriety, minding its own business in West Sussex on the South Coast of England,” from a vacation in Thailand with Malee, his beautiful new bride, the locals are quick to brand Malee a gold digger who’s out to cheat Billy, Bill’s son, out of his rightful inheritance. The noxious flow of village gossip escalates when a gearbox falls on Bill’s head while he’s working on a car, killing him. The tone darkens as the series leads—Carole Seddon, a straight-laced retired civil servant, and her zaftig neighbor, Jude Nichols, an alternative healer—investigate the circumstances surrounding Bill’s death. The disparate duo uncover a crime even more sinister than outright murder. Well-developed subplots support the intricate narrative. Brett proves once again to be a master of the amateur sleuth genre.

Killer Content by Olivia Blacke

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Killer Content

It’s murder most viral in this debut mystery by Olivia Blacke.

Bayou transplant Odessa Dean has a lot to learn about life in Brooklyn. So far she’s scored a rent free apartment in one of the nicest neighborhoods around by cat-sitting, and has a new job working at Untapped Books & Café. Hand-selling books and craft beers is easy for Odessa, but making new friends and learning how to ride the subway? Well, that might take her a little extra time.

But things turn more sour than an IPA when the death of a fellow waitress goes viral, caught on camera in the background of a couple’s flash-mob proposal video. Nothing about Bethany’s death feels right to Odessa—neither her sudden departure mid-shift nor the clues that only Odessa seems to catch. As an up-and-coming YouTube star, Bethany had more than one viewer waiting for her to fall from grace.

Determined to prove there’s a killer on the loose, Odessa takes matters into her own hands. But can she pin down Bethany’s killer before they take Odessa offline for good?

Mrs. Jeffries Demands Justice by Emily Brightwell

(Available Formats: Print Book & Hoopla instant checkout audiobook)

Mrs Jeffries Demands Justice

In Brightwell’s energetic 39th Victorian mystery (after 2019’s Mrs. Jeffries and the Alms of the Angel), Mrs. Jeffries, the smart housekeeper of Insp. Gerald Witherspoon, is on the case when her employer’s well-born colleague, Insp. Nigel Nivens, is implicated in the fatal shooting of iceman Bert Santorini in Whitechapel, and Witherspoon’s superior, who’s eager to end press accusations that the Metropolitan Police will cover up a crime committed by one of their own, assigns the inspector to the investigation. Though the weaselly Nivens has double-crossed Witherspoon in the past to get ahead, Mrs. Jeffries believes that everyone deserves justice, and deploys her fellow servants and other associates to pump residents for information. They soon learn that Santorini had numerous enemies, was romancing his landlady as well as a barmaid, seemed quite friendly with a notorious pickpocket, had an unexplained cache of cash, and may have sent innocent men to prison through false testimony. But why is Nivens acting so suspiciously? Memorable characters resonate amid the unusual scenario of an unsympathetic prime suspect. Both longtime fans and readers new to the series will have a grand time. Publisher Weekly Review

Northern Spy by Flynn Berry

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Northern Spy
Berry juxtaposes the pleasures, wonder, and frustrations of life with a baby against a journalist’s life in contemporary Northern Ireland. Terrorism first encroaches on Tessa Daly’s life as a single mother when she sees her sister, Marian, on TV donning a ski mask to rob a bank with IRA members. Baby care and work fade to insignificance as Tessa scrambles to determine where her sister is, whether she was kidnapped by the terrorists and forced to do take part in the robbery, and how to get her home. That’s just the start of this twisting thriller, though, as Tessa becomes far more involved with the terrorists’ cause than she ever planned, risking her life to save all she loves. Edgar-winning Berry (Under the Harrow, 2016) unobtrusively uses Tessa’s agonizing journey to portray life in the IRA and the nonchalance of the British forces toward Northern Ireland’s locals, in the process dropping readers headfirst into the emotions of living in conflict. Berry’s portrayal of Irish life is uncannily accurate; give this to all who love an emotional thriller, but also to Irish and Irish American patrons seeking a no-shamrocks look at Ireland in the not-so-distant past. Booklist Review

The Officer’s Daughter: A Memoir of Family and Forgiveness by Elle Johnson

(Available Formats: Print Book)

The Officer's Daughter

Screen writer Johnson debuts with a beautiful and emotional memoir of a family tragedy. In 1981, her cousin and best friend, 16-year-old Karen Marsh, was killed in a botched Burger King robbery in the Bronx. In 2014, Karen’s brother asked her to write a letter to the parole board asking to keep the convicted killer in prison, which prompted Johnson to revisit the incident and the devastating effects it had on her family. At the time of the crime, Johnson’s father was an NYPD parole officer and her uncle was an NYPD homicide detective, and before the suspects were caught she overheard them talking about finding and killing them. Her relationship with her father, a controlling man who beat her mother, was already strained, and overhearing this made it more so. Eventually, two teenage boys involved in the robbery turned themselves in, and the shooter was tracked to California and returned for trial. All received lengthy prison sentences and were denied parole multiple times, but they were eventually released. Johnson never did write the letter, because she waited until it was too late. By researching the case and revisiting her past, though, she finally found forgiveness, for the robbers and her own father. Assured prose bolsters the personal insights. This searing story deserves a wide readership. Agent: Eric Simonoff, WME. Starred PW Review

Paper Bullets: Two Artists Who Risked Their Lives to Defy the Nazis by Jeffrey H. Jackson

(Available Formats: Hoopla instant checkout eBook & downloadable audiobook)

Paper Bullets

Lucy Schwob and Suzanne Malherbe were two singular, if long unsung, figures of WWII French artists, lesbians, subversive and unapologetically empathetic to humanity. As gender-bending creatives in Paris, Schwob and Malherbe were known as Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, respectively. As residents of the English Channel island of Jersey, they were a two-woman resistance movement against the Nazi occupation. The paper bullets of the title refer to insults against Hitler and the Nazis that they wrote on scraps of paper and ingeniously and secretly distributed around the island to lower the morale of German soldiers. It is a remarkable story of creative courage. Historian Jackson (Paris under Water, 2010) describes life on the island under German occupation and the women’s elaborate resistance campaigns until the rueful day both were placed under arrest. Schwob and Malherbe’s fierce intelligence is on full display during their court martial, which was a tour de force of cunning and truth telling, including moments of levity, as they parried every question, leaving their German interrogators angry and baffled, since they showed no regret for their actions nor pled for their lives. Most political propaganda is designed to prevent people from thinking. Ours was designed to make them [the German soldiers] think, said Schwob. Exceptional and inspiring. Women in Focus: The 19th in 2020(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.) Starred Booklist Review

A Piece of the Moon by Chris Fabry

(Available Formats: Print Book, Hoopla instant checkout eBook & downloadable audiobook)

A Piece of the Moon

Waite Evers oversees an eccentric cast of misfits at a dilapidated 1980s country music radio station in West Virginia’s Hill Country. The main news of the day is a local legend about Gideon Quidley’s treasure, supposedly worth enough to lift the whole town of Emmaus out of poverty. The unconventional Quidley hid the windfall in a replica of the Ark of the Covenant, which he then concealed somewhere in the mountains. In an effort to spark religious revival, Quidley left a series of Bible verse clues for the community, but when a local pastor is gravely injured searching for the gold, the radio crew feels responsible for feeding the treasure madness. Waite and his friends decide to solve the mystery to heal the division in their small town. VERDICT Every title by Fabry (Borders of the Heart) draws readers into the story with clear, honest writing in a similar style to Charles Martin and Lynn Austin. The rural South comes to life, with themes of forgiveness and second chances as highlights. The characters are both deeply flawed and immensely relatable, making this another hit for Fabry.–Christine Barth, Scott Cty. Lib. Syst., IA – Library Journal

Three Missing Days by Colleen Coble

Three Missing Days

(Available Formats: Print Book, Hoopla instant checkout eBook & downloadable audiobook)

Book Three in the gripping romantic suspense series from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble.

A chilling murder.
Chief of Police Jane Hardy plunges into the investigation of a house fire that claimed the life of a local woman as well as one of the firefighters. It’s clear the woman was murdered. But why? The unraveling of Jane’s personal life only makes the answers in the case more difficult to find.

Her son’s arrest.
Then Jane’s fifteen-year-old son is accused of a horrific crime, and she has to decide whether or not she can trust her ex, Reid, in the attempt to prove Will’s innocence—and whether she can trust Reid with her heart.

Her stolen memories.
Three days of Jane’s past are missing from her memory, and that’s not all that has been stolen from her. As she works to find the woman’s murdered and clear her son’s name, finding out what happened in those three days could change everything.

It all started with one little lie. But the gripping truth is finally coming out.

When the Apricots Bloom by Gina Wilkinson

(Available Formats: Hoopla instant checkout eBook & downloadable audiobook)

When The Apricots Bloom

In this moving, suspenseful debut novel, three courageous women confront the complexities of trust, friendship, motherhood, and betrayal under the rule of a ruthless dictator and his brutal secret police. Former foreign correspondent Gina Wilkinson draws on her own experiences to take readers inside a haunting story of Iraq at the turn of the millennium and the impossible choices faced by families under a deadly regime.

At night, in Huda’s fragrant garden, a breeze sweeps in from the desert encircling Baghdad, rustling the leaves of her apricot trees and carrying warning of visitors at her gate. Huda, a secretary at the Australian embassy, lives in fear of the mukhabarat-the secret police who watch and listen for any scrap of information that can be used against America and its allies. They have ordered her to befriend Ally Wilson, the deputy ambassador’s wife. Huda has no wish to be an informant, but fears for her teenaged son, who may be forced to join a deadly militia. Nor does she know that Ally has dangerous secrets of her own.

Huda’s former friend, Rania, enjoyed a privileged upbringing as the daughter of a sheikh. Now her family’s wealth is gone, and Rania too is battling to keep her child safe and a roof over their heads. As the women’s lives intersect, their hidden pasts spill into the present. Facing possible betrayal at every turn, all three must trust in a fragile, newfound loyalty, even as they discover how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect their families.

“Vivid…secrets and lies mingle as easily as the scent of apricot blossoms and nargilah smoke. Wilkinson weaves in the miasma of fear and distrust that characterized Hussein’s regime with convincing detail. Richly drawn characters and high-stakes plot.”-Publishers Weekly

Have a great week!

Linda Reimer

*Information on the Three Catalogs*

Digital Catalog:

The Digital Catalog, a catalog containing eBooks, downloadable audiobooks, Digital Magazines and a handful of streaming videos, 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:

The Hoopla Catalog features instant checkouts of eBooks, downloadable audiobooks, comic books, albums, movies and TV series. Patron check out limit is 6 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:

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.

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

Have questions or want to request a book?

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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