Suggested Reading June 1, 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, June 8, 2021.

Best Laid Plans written by Roan Parrish and read by Greg Boudreaux

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

Best Laid Plains

A man who’s been moving his whole life finally finds a reason to stay put.

Charlie Matheson has spent his life taking care of things. When his parents died two days before his eighteenth birthday, he took care of his younger brother, even though that meant putting his own dreams on hold. He took care of his father’s hardware store, building it into something known several towns over. He took care of the cat he found in the woods…so now he has a cat.

When a stranger with epic tattoos and a glare to match starts coming into Matheson’s Hardware, buying things seemingly at random and lugging them off in a car so beat-up Charlie feels bad for it, his instinct is to help. When the man comes in for the fifth time in a week, Charlie can’t resist intervening.

Rye Janssen has spent his life breaking things. Promises. His parents’ hearts. Leases. He isn’t used to people wanting to put things back together-not the crumbling house he just inherited, not his future and certainly not him. But the longer he stays in Garnet Run, the more he can see himself belonging there. And the more time he spends with Charlie, the more he can see himself falling asleep in Charlie’s arms…and waking up in them.

Is this what it feels like to have a home-and someone to share it with?

Catch The Rabbit by Lana Bastašić

(Available Formats: Hoopla instant checkout eBook)

Catch The Rabbit

Bastašić’s EU Prize–winning debut follows a Yugoslav-born woman’s stunning Alice in Wonderland–style journey through Bosnia after returning home. Sara is living in Dublin when she gets a pleading phone call from Lejla, her childhood best friend, after 12 years of silence between the two 30-something women. Lejla wants Sara to take her to Vienna to help find her older brother, Armin. Unable to resist Lejla, Sara flies to Zagreb and takes the bus to Mostar, her hometown. Along the way, Sara flashes back to memories of school, birthday parties, and adolescent misadventures with boys. As the magnetic Lejla and Sara grow older, Sara’s identity becomes so wrapped up in Lejla’s that their personalities feed on each other. In the present, as they travel into desolate regions of Bosnia still bearing scars from the war, Sara, reliving her past, realizes that Lejla has created a “better version of me,” while Lejla needs their newfound connection to give her the courage to find her brother—and perhaps herself. Like twin Alices, their wonderland is both terrifying and enlightening, from the white rabbit Sara steals to cement her relationship with Lejla to a deep descent into the catacombs. Sara desperately wants to keep the childhood Lejla she once knew all to herself, but that seems less likely with each new adventure and disturbing realization during the search for Armin. The narrative reaches a greatly satisfying climax, built on themes of rediscovering the past, memories, women’s friendships, language, and identity. This unforgettable tour de force surprises at every turn. Starred Publishers Weekly Review.

The House of Long Ago written by Steve Berry & M. J. Rose and read by Natalie Ross

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

House of Long Ago

The time has come for Cassiopeia Vitt to sell her ancestral home. It sits on a Spanish bluff by the Mediterranean Sea, and bears the name Casa de Hace Mucho Tiempo, House of Long Ago. Trapped inside its walls are memories from a time when Cassiopeia was growing from a rebellious adolescent into a thoughtful young woman-regretful times when she often found herself estranged from her parents.

Also inside are fifteen paintings, each one a masterpiece, together representing an investment in the tens of millions of euros-her father’s private art collection-which she intends to donate to museums. But when an art expert declares all fifteen paintings fake, and suggests that her father may have been involved with something illegal, she embarks on a quest to find answers.

From a secret repository in Andorra, to a mysterious yacht in the Mediterranean, then finally onto the streets of Paris and a horrific reminder from World War II, Cassiopeia must battle every step of the way to stay alive-a fight that will finally bring her face to face with the truth about the House of Long Ago.

Readers’ Note: The House of Long Ago is the fourth book in the Cassiopeia Vitt Adventure series; if you’d like to start the series with book 1, check out The Balkan Escape (2011).

How To Kidnap The Rich by Rahul Raina

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

How To Kidnap The Rich

Raina’s debut novel lives up to its billing as a fun caper and social satire thanks to strong characterization, a fast-paced plot, and an eye for the ridiculous. His delicious skewering of the social mores of Delhi’s uber-rich and clear-eyed rendering of India’s social hierarchy propel sheer entertainment into striking elucidation in the mode of Aravind Adiga. Ramesh grew up poor and found a way to support himself and subvert the system that has done little for him by turning himself into an educational consultant who takes exams for his rich clients’ kids. He ends up elevating 18-year-old Rudi to fame when he earns a first in India’s university entrance exams. When Rudi lands a spot on a televised quiz show, Ramesh serves as his manager, and then things spin wildly out of control when the two young men are kidnapped. Ever the entrepreneur, Ramesh manages to switch from being a hostage to being a kidnapper. There is drama in the dizzying turns of events, which Raina makes good use of with his unerring ability to neatly capture whole segments of Indian society and their corresponding absurdities, while his keen depictions of rich, ambitious, and unscrupulous parents, the frenzied media, and systemic inequities are universally recognizable. Booklist Review

Light Perpetual: A Novel by Francis Spufford

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

Light Perpetual
Spufford (Golden Hill) spins alternate narratives for five Londoners who died during the London Blitz in this magical yarn. The story opens in 1944 as the characters are killed in a rocket attack during Hitler’s “Vengeance Campaign” against Great Britain. After conjuring this tragedy, the narrator draws on Zeno’s paradox to theorize that for every historical event that’s occurred, there is an event that might have occurred. Thus, the reader comes to know sisters Jo and Val—the former, a brilliant and soulful rock star living in California; the latter, a woman trapped in a relationship with a violent, racist skinhead in England. As a London businessman, Vern sees peaks and valleys, as does Alec, a once-typesetter at the Times who in the ’70s finds his calling as a teacher. Ben is a schizophrenic whose heart-wrenching breakdown in 1979 London comprises the novel’s most stunning chapter. These narrative threads sometimes overlap, as when an adult Vern, bullied by Alec as a child, inadvertently knocks on Alec’s door while pursuing a property scheme. Watching the roles of bully and victim get reversed as the two of them catch up over tea is both tense and satisfying. Thanks to Spufford’s narrative wizardry, all five protagonists come to vivid life in this spectacularly moving story. Publishers Weekly

Lizzie & Dante: A Novel by Mary Bly

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

Lizzie & Dante

Falling in love is not part of Lizzie Delford’s new life plan. She intends to vacation on the Italian island of Elba with her best friend, Grey Thurston, and his boyfriend, movie star Rohan Das. Shakespearean scholar Lizzie’s job is to help Rohan, who is working on a new approach to Romeo and Juliet, with the creative rewriting process while at the same time coming to terms with her own future. However, one day while sunning herself on the beach, Lizzie encounters an adorably scruffy dog named Lily, then her equally adorably scruffy owner, Dante, and finally, Dante’s exuberant, mother-starved teenage daughter, Etta. Suddenly, the choices Lizzie must make have become infinitely more difficult. Bly, known best for the best-selling historical romances she writes as Eloisa James, deftly pivots to contemporary fiction with an emotional roller coaster of a novel that candidly explores such complicated subjects as sex and desire, love and loss, and family and friendship. Whether toothsomely describing Italian dishes, celebrating the natural beauty of Elba, or performing some literary dissection of Romeo and Juliet, Bly writes with a Prosecco-fizzy wit that is simply irresistible, but what will equally resonate with readers is her richly nuanced characters and their embrace of life in all its glorious messiness. Booklist Review

The Portrait of a Mirror: A Novel by A. Natasha Joukovsky

(Available Formats: eBook & Hoopla instant checkout eBook)

Portrait of a Mirror

Privilege can be difficult to perceive in oneself. For a group of charming, intelligent, cultured, beautiful characters jetting between Manhattan, Paris, and other refined destinations, privilege has become so entrenched in their worldview it rarely deserves a second thought. But Joukovsky’s debut reminds readers that privilege doesn’t keep you safe from malaise, from boredom, from realizing that you might actually hate your spouse. Highlighting the rarefied air of tech startups, management consulting, visiting curatorships, and Connecticut private schools, Joukovsky follows four individuals through a modern retelling of the Narcissus myth. Diana and Wes have been married for some time, and Dale and Vivien are planning their wedding. When a series of chance meetings, work assignments, and an old boarding-school crush come to light, the four have to decide whether to break their partners’ hearts or to let theirs be broken. Joukovsky’s prose, like the best parts of Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom or Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, demands the reader’s fullest attention. Clever and witty and intricate, Joukovsky’s voice emphasizes her characters’ best features, like candlelight in a luxurious hotel bar. Fans of Cristina Alger’s The Darlings or the show Succession will devour this richly-layered portrait of two couples caught at a crossroads. Booklist Review

A Spy In The Struggle by Aya de León

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

A Spy in the Struggle

Author of the celebrated Justice Hustlers series, de Leon offers her first stand-alone about a young Black woman, Yolanda Vance, whose single-track pursuit of success was derailed when her Wall Street law firm was indicted for fraud, and she refused to shred documents. Ostracized from corporate law, she takes a job as an FBI attorney in Manhattan but is suddenly transferred to the Bay Area and asked to infiltrate a group of Black eco-activists protesting wrongdoing by a biotech firm with headquarters in a low-income area near Oakland. Initially convinced that the activists pose a legitimate threat to government research, Yolanda dutifully does what she’s told, even planting bugs in the activists’ offices. Gradually, though, her commitment wavers as she comes to see how far the agency will go to protect the company’s malfeasance; meanwhile, she’s drawn into a steamy romance with one of the activists, forcing her to make dangerous choices. Although the plot unspools a bit predictably, de Leon delivers a suspenseful finale while skillfully building Vance into a rich, many-sided character. An electric blend of romantic suspense, feminism, and socially conscious thriller. Booklist Review

The Stepsisters by Susan Mallery and read by Tanya Eby

(Available Formats: Hoopla instant checkout audiobook)


Bestselling author Susan Mallery pens a love story of a different sort…a heartfelt tale of friendship between two women who used to be sisters.

Once upon a time, when her dad married Sage’s mom, Daisy was thrilled to get a bright and shiny new sister. But Sage was beautiful and popular, everything Daisy was not, and she made sure Daisy knew it.

Sage didn’t have Daisy’s smarts-she had to go back a grade to enroll in the fancy rich-kid school. So she used her popularity as a weapon, putting Daisy down to elevate herself. After the divorce, the stepsisters’ rivalry continued until the final, improbable straw: Daisy married Sage’s first love, and Sage fled California.

Eighteen years, two kids and one troubled marriage later, Daisy never expects-or wants-to see Sage again. But when the little sister they have in common needs them both, they put aside their differences to care for Cassidy. As long-buried truths are revealed, no one is more surprised than they when friendship blossoms.

Their fragile truce is threatened by one careless act that could have devastating consequences. They could turn their backs on each other again…or they could learn to forgive once and for all and finally become true sisters of the heart.

The Summer Seekers: A Novel by Sarah Morgan

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

Summer Seekers

“The ultimate road-trippin’ beach read and just what we all need after the long lockdown.” —Booklist, STARRED REVIEW for THE SUMMER SEEKERS

“The Summer Seekers is the ultimate road trip book.”—Susan Wiggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author

Get swept into a summer of sunshine, soul-searching and shameless matchmaking with this delightfully bighearted road-trip adventure by USA TODAY bestselling author Sarah Morgan!

Kathleen is eighty years old. After she has a run-in with an intruder, her daughter wants her to move into a residential home. But she’s not having any of it. What she craves—what she needs—is adventure.

Liza is drowning in the daily stress of family life. The last thing she needs is her mother jetting off on a wild holiday, making Liza long for a solo summer of her own.

Martha is having a quarter-life crisis. Unemployed, unloved and uninspired, she just can’t get her life together. But she knows something has to change.

When Martha sees Kathleen’s advertisement for a driver and companion to share an epic road trip across America with, she decides this job might be the answer to her prayers. She’s not the world’s best driver, but anything has to be better than living with her parents. And traveling with a stranger? No problem. Anyway, how much trouble can one eighty-year-old woman be?
As these women embark on the journey of a lifetime, they all discover it’s never too late to start over…

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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