Suggested Reading May 18, 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, May 25, 2021.

Call It Horses by Jessie Van Eerden

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

Desperate to leave “”the bog”” of West Virginia before cancer overtakes her, Mave resolves to see Georgia O’Keefe’s West. She enlists her niece, Frankie, to drive her westward, but unreliable vehicles threaten to stall Mave’s last trip. Nan, who is fleeing her abusive husband, Dillon, provides a car. This is the same Dillon whom Frankie still loves, even though she is married to Clay. At the last moment, Clay’s hound dog, Ellis, comes along for the ride. Though the setup may sound like a soap opera, this picaresque novel is anything but. Van Eerden’s sentences spill over with lush imagery and stunning language; she knows and loves these women, and readers will come to feel tenderly toward hard-edged Mave, who returned to Appalachia after her one great love, Ruth, died. Frankie has lived a small life, but she sees regions within people. Her thoughts drive the story in the form of unsent letters to the long-dead Ruth, who, through Mave, saw Frankie’s facility with words, and again, through Mave, encouraged her. For her part, Mave, even through gasping breaths, tells Frankie to “”write it all.”” Even Nan, who seems vain and empty, reveals surprising depths. A thoughtful, sometimes humorous, novel. Starred Booklist Review

Get Good with Money: Ten Simple Steps to Becoming Financially Whole by Tiffany the Budgetnista Aliche

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Fixing one’s finances is a lot of work, but it’s worth it every time, cheerleads financial educator Aliche (The One Week Budget) in this encouraging guide to “financial wholeness.” Being financially whole, Aliche writes, means having a “plan for each area of your finances so that they are constantly working on your behalf, regardless of where you currently are in life.” Aliche divides her advice into 10 topics—budgeting, saving, digging out of debt, etc.—and for each shares steps for planning and executing: one chapter shows how to create and maintain a budget, and breaks down the steps to accomplish it. While topics such as investing and planning one’s estate are familiar, Aliche’s guidance shines in the practical, spirited advice: “My plan shifts your mindset to one of savings being a tool to help you weather a financial storm,” she writes. Aliche addresses the emotional side of money, as well, and urges readers to “focus on the solution” and make the fixes they need to achieve financial freedom. Aliche’s can-do attitude makes this an excellent primer for anyone looking to improve their financial picture. Publishers Weekly Review

Lemon Drop Dead by Amanda Fowler

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

A small Ohio town where both Amish and “English” people live attracts tourists, babies, and killers. Bailey King is not Amish, but the grandmother with whom she runs Swissmen Sweets is, so she has a foot in both camps in Harvest. She also has a cable television show filmed in New York and a busy boyfriend in Deputy Aiden Brody, whom she’s helped solve several murder cases. Long ago, when her assistant, Emily Keim, was a teenager, the girl’s family forced her to give up a baby she bore out of wedlock. Now that Emily’s pregnant again, her friends decide to have a baby shower, something Esther Esh, Emily’s grumpy sister, would never have thought of on her own. Soon after a stranger approaches Emily and says she’s looking forward to Emily’s baby meeting her older sibling, the stranger’s found dead in the family pretzel shop Esther runs. Bailey knows that she must investigate to protect Emily. A threatening letter from Esther that Aiden finds on the body identifies the stranger as Rosemary Weiss, from nearby Wooster. Although Bailey’s shaken by a job offer Aiden’s received from Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which would take him away from Harvest, she soldiers on. Tracking down Emily’s daughter, Hannah, is the easy part of her quest for the truth. The hard part is choosing the most likely suspect from among the many Rosemary’s past provides before the guilty party strikes again. Quirky characters add depth to a romantic mystery that explores cultural divides. Kirkus Review

Leonora in the Morning Light by Michaela Carter

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Carter (Further Out than You Thought) brilliantly fictionalizes surrealist painter Leonora Carrington’s coming-of-age amid the Nazi occupation of France and her consuming affair with fellow artist Max Ernst. When the two meet in 1937 London, Leonora is a 20-year-old art student already enamored of 46-year-old Max. She chooses love and art over her family’s money, and dives into the surrealist movement. Her life in Paris and beyond is studded with famous contemporaries, including André Breton, Paul and Nusch Éluard, Leonor Fini, and Lee Miller. But as Leonora and Max establish a haven in southern France, the country falls to the Germans. The Gestapo send Max to an internment camp, leading the unmoored Leonora to flee to Madrid, where she has a breakdown. The story jumps to Lisbon and then America as European artists flee with the help of art collector Peggy Guggenheim. Through Leonora, Carter contemplates the magic of young love, the trauma of war, and the vagaries of artistic vision: “To become the master, she has killed the muse. It is that simple.” There isn’t one misstep in here. Starred Publishers Weekly Review

Life’s A Beach by Portia MacIntosh

(Available Formats: Hoopla instant checkout eBook & audiobook)

Sun, sea and inescapable exes…

Peach is excited to hear that her sister, Di, is getting married. Of course, she would have preferred her little sister to be engaged to someone she’s known longer than a week – and the fact that his name is Charles doesn’t bode well – but who is she to judge?! After all, her own love life is non-existent, and who doesn’t love a destination wedding…?

Whisked away to the gorgeous Italian coast, Peach assumes her role as chief bridesmaid and, despite her reservations about the groom, she tries to ensure everything goes to plan.

But weddings are never straightforward affairs… throw in some unexpected guests in the form of ex-boyfriends and one night stands, and soon enough there is more drama than a reality tv show.
Can Peach keep the show on the road, or might she end up in a whirlwind romance of her own…?

Margreete’s Harbor: A Novel by Eleanor Morse

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Morse’s engrossing new novel charts the transitions of a family set against the shifting social landscapes of 1960s America. When Liddie’s mother, Margreete, is no longer able to care for herself, Liddie has no choice but to uproot her family–husband Harry and young children Bernie and Eva–to live with Margreete in her small hometown on the coast of Maine. Liddie, a cellist, finds herself caught between her professional desires and caring for her family, a struggle further compounded by the arrival of their third child. Harry, a teacher, must reconcile his drive for social activism with more private passions. Twined with their journey is that of their children. Bernie, an outcast at school, comes into his own through his relationships and reckonings. Spirited yet cautious Eva focuses on her ambitions as she navigates a harrowing adolescence. Impenetrable Margreete, the family compass, recounts her past in fruitful moments of understanding. Morse weaves an entrancing tale that explores the intricacies of familial, social, and personal transformation and the lingering mystery of what may come. Booklist Review

Permission To Dream by Chris Gardener

(Available Formats: Print Book)

On a bitterly cold day in Chicago, businessman Gardner takes his granddaughter to a music shop to buy her the harmonica of her dreams. What might have been a simple errand becomes a transformative exploration of the power of dreams, which Gardner retells in this work of narrative nonfiction. In the tradition of oral storytelling, Gardner, along with co-author Rivas, easily weaves history, spirituality, and philosophy into biographical stories shared in conversation with his granddaughter. Believing in and pursuing his dreams helped the author survive a troubled childhood and inspired him to join the navy, which in turn led to a career in finance. Gardner’s dreams also helped him get through a difficult period of single fatherhood while experiencing homelessness, as detailed in his previous best-selling work, The Pursuit of Happyness. By sharing his experiences with his granddaughter, he realizes what his own next step in life should be—to become a motivational speaker for young people—and is able to start to heal from the experience of his longtime partner’s recent death.

VERDICT This fable-like tale, which blends biography and self-help, is an inspirational reminder to dream big and dream often. Gardner’s latest memoir will especially resonate with readers of Mitch Albom and Paulo Coelho.—Anitra Gates, Erie Cty. P.L., PA – Library Journal

A Sprinkling of Murder by Daryl Wood Gerber

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

At the start of this enchanting series launch from Agatha Award winner Gerber (the French Bistro mysteries), Courtney Kelly, the owner of Open Your Imagination, a fairy garden and tea shop in Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif., directs a five-year-old customer’s attention to a planter on the shop’s patio where she hopes the girl will see a fairy named Fiona. The girl does see Fiona. Courtney considers it part of her mission to encourage young and old to see and enjoy fairies, though only believers can do so. When Mick Watkins, the owner of the neighboring dog grooming salon, is found murdered inside Courtney’s shop, feisty Fiona joins Courtney and friends in giving Det. Dylan Summers of the Carmel PD some unwanted help in solving the crime. Issues with Courtney and Mick’s landlord, the victim’s open affair with a prominent councilwoman, his wife’s understandable jealousy, and his mysterious manuscript based on a decades-old local tragedy provide the sleuths plenty to investigate. Gerber makes what could have been unbearably cute convincing. Cozy fans will wish upon a star for more. Publishers Weekly Review

Saving Grace by Debbie Babitt

(Available Formats: Print Book)

A Southern gothic thriller replete with sins real and imagined. Mary Grace Dobbs’ life has changed dramatically since murder stalked her hometown, but the sins of the past still color her present. Following the deaths of her parents in a car accident, she was raised by her aunt and uncle in the Bible Belt hamlet of Repentance, Arkansas. Her childhood was clouded by feelings of insecurity and bullying by mean girls, but her skill as a softball player brought her some comfort. So did the arrival of troublemaker Nadia Doshenko, who befriended her. But then Nadia vanished, soon followed by another girl. At the time, mechanic Darryl Stokes was suspected of killing both girls. Even though someone else eventually confessed, Darryl’s reappearance 24 years later causes general unease. In the interval, Mary Grace had left town, borne an illegitimate daughter, and finally returned to become the Repentance sheriff over the disapproval of conservative townsfolk. When another girl disappears, the past comes back with a vengeance to haunt Mary Grace, whose daughter, Felicity, is also a softball star and part of a group of popular girls. Mary Grace is still in love with Parnell Vaughan III, her high school crush who’s barely spoken to her since those days long ago, and she feels guilty about what she imagines to be her part in the ancient mystery. But now it’s up to her to solve the fresh murder and protect her own daughter. Nothing is what it seems in Babitt’s disturbing debut, a creepy tale of hate, evil, and redemption

‘Til I Want No More by Robin W. Pearson

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Pearson (A Long Time Comin’) delivers a satisfying tale of one woman’s secrets returning to haunt her. Maxine Owens is preparing for her wedding to Theodore Charles when she decides it’s time for her to come clean about a secret she’s been keeping from Theodore and his family: Maxine’s 13-year-old adopted sister, Celeste, is actually her daughter. Maxine, who was 17 and unprepared for motherhood, gave up rights to Celeste, and even Celeste still believes Maxine is her sister. As Maxine debates how and when to tell Theodore, her ex-husband, JD, comes back to town to help with his mother’s illness and to connect with the daughter he never met.

When Maxine and Theodore meet with Maxine’s pastor and his wife for their premarital counseling sessions, Maxine is reminded that she is not condemned for her past and her faith plays a vital role in her healing. As Maxine comes to feel her “sins are… only a hair’s breadth” away, her desire to confront her past intensifies and tension rises between Maxine and the people who know her secrets and those who don’t. Pearson’s excellent characters and plotting capture the complexity and beauty of family, the difficulty of rectifying mistakes, and the healing that comes from honesty. Pearson rises to another level with this excellent story. Publishers Weekly Review

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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