Suggested Reading November 30, 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 (Libby app) 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.

And the next Suggested Reading posting will be published on Tuesday, December 7, 2021.

And They Lives Happily Ever After by Therese Beharrie

(Available Formats: Hoopla instant checkout eBook)

And They Lives Happily Every After

Bestselling romance author Gaia has a secret. Her dreams shape her novels. At her longtime best friend’s party, she has a hot make-out session with his younger brother, Jacob, whom she hasn’t seen in years. Then she realizes that Jacob has now entered her dreams. Workaholic Jacob is burning himself out trying to keep his dad’s company afloat. His brother doesn’t want any part of it, and Jacob made a promise to his now deceased mother to help. He can’t believe the wild dreams he is having about Gaia. When he seeks her out, they realize they are having shared dreams. He begins to accept her unusual gift, and she helps him make needed changes in his life. Beharrie’s dreams-into-books idea is clever and the best-friend’s brother trope is especially appealing as enacted by Jacob and Gaia. Rom-com fans who like a little magic may enjoy this one, and debut romance author Beharrie is an author to watch. Booklist Review

Christmas Every Day by Beth Moran

(Available Formats: Hoopla instant checkout eBook)

Christmas Every Day

When Jenny inherits her estranged grandmother’s cottage in Sherwood Forest, she has nothing to lose – no money, no job, no friends, no family to speak of, and zero self-respect. Things can only get better…

Her grumpy, but decidedly handsome new neighbour, Mack, has a habit of bestowing unsolicited good deeds on her. And when Jenny is welcomed into a rather unusual book club, life seems to finally be getting more interesting.

Instead of reading, the members pledge to complete individual challenges before Christmas: from finding new love, learning to bake, to completing a daredevil bucket list. Jenny can’t resist joining in, and soon a year of friendship and laughter, tears and regrets unfolds in the most unexpected ways.

Warm, wise, funny and utterly uplifting, what one thing would you change in your life before Christmas comes around?

Daughter of York by Anne Easter Smith

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Daughter of York

Smith, fresh off of her triumphant debut, “A Rose for the Crown”, returns to the drama and intrigue of the York family in this stunning follow-up. Margaret of York, younger sister to Edward IV and elder sister to Richard III, is a powerful member of the York clan in her own right. Beautiful, witty, and intelligent, she quickly becomes a political pawn when Edward seizes the throne and is crowned king. Married off to Charles, Duke of Burgundy, Margaret blossoms in her role as an eloquent ruler of vast estates and immense wealth. In private, however, she struggles to survive the pain of her loveless marriage to a cold, temperamental brute and her vanquished youthful hopes of a fulfilling union with Edward’s already married brother-in-law, Anthony Woodville. Unrequited love simmers throughout this richly detailed historical romance; Smith’s vivid characters and deft handling of the passions and prejudices that so greatly influenced the events of this era in history make for a delicious read. Highly recommended for all popular fiction collections. Starred Library Journal Review

Jim The Boy by Tony Earley

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Jim The Boy

Simple, resonant sentences and a wealth of honest feeling propel this tracing of a 10-year-old boy’s coming of age in Aliceville, N.C., in the 1930s. Earley’s debut novel (after his well-received collection Here We Are in Paradise) carries us, in charmingly ungangly fashion, toward its moving, final epiphanies. Quizzical, innocent Jim Glass lives on a farm with his widowed mother and three uncles, who provide companionship for the boy and offer casual wisdom on life’s travails. Jim’s father’s sudden death at age 23 left a wake of tenderness as his legacy, so much so that Jim’s mother still feels married even after his death. However, she will never speak to her father-in-law, who has spent some time in jail and is a despicable loner with a rumored penchant for illegally distilled whiskey. The stormy background Earley provides makes Jim’s openness and na vet all the more haunting. The narrative develops as a series of loosely related, moving anecdotes: the tragic story behind Aliceville’s name, a trip with an uncle to buy a horse that becomes a lesson in the transience of corporeal life, a race up a greased pole at a carnival that casts a new light on Jim’s bonds with another boy, Jim’s best friend’s struggle with polio, Jim’s mother’s resistance to a suitor, and the introduction of electricity to Aliceville on Christmas Eve. In roundabout fashion, and in simple, often poetic prose, Earley brings his protagonist to knowledge of his identity. The dramatic and entrancing growth of this wisdom may strike some readers as overly sentimental. Nevertheless, the closure the book achieves is solid and well-earned. Starred Publishers Weekly Review

King Of The Blues by Daniel De Visé

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

King of the Blues

The Rise and Reign of B.B. King

Riley “Blues Boy” King (1925-2015) was born into deep poverty in Jim Crow Mississippi. Wrenched away from his sharecropper father, B.B. lost his mother at age ten, leaving him more or less alone. Music became his emancipation from exhausting toil in the fields. Inspired by a local minister’s guitar and by the records of Blind Lemon Jefferson and T-Bone Walker and encouraged by his cousin, the established blues man Bukka White, B.B. taught his guitar to sing in the unique solo style that, along with his relentless work ethic and humanity, became his trademark. In turn, generations of artists claimed him as inspiration, from Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton to Carlos Santana and the Edge. King of the Blues presents the vibrant life and times of a trailblazing giant. Witness to dark prejudice and lynching in his youth, B.B. performed incessantly (some 15,000 concerts in 90 countries over nearly 60 years). Several of his concerts, including his landmark gig at Chicago’s Cook County Jail, endure in legend to this day. His career roller-coastered between adulation and relegation, but he always rose back up. At the same time, his story reveals the many ways record companies took advantage of artists, especially those of color. Daniel de Visé has interviewed almost every surviving member of B.B. King’s inner circle, and their voices and memories enrich and enliven the life of this Mississippi blues titan, whom his contemporary Bobby “Blue” Bland simply called “the man.

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

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

Lost Apothecary

In the late eighteenth century, Nella owns an apothecary specializing in remedies for women, with a brisk side business in poisons. Her latest customer is Eliza, a servant girl charged with procuring poison for her mistress. Nella’s dreams of motherhood were destroyed by a callous young man, and Eliza is curious about the intricacies of Nella’s business. The two form a tenuous bond that quickly strengthens when Nella’s livelihood is threatened. In the present day, Caroline’s romantic anniversary trip to London becomes a solo sojourn because of her husband’s infidelity. Determined to make the best of the situation, Caroline joins a mudlarking expedition and finds a mysterious bottle in the river. Her investigation into the bottle’s provenance unravels the long-hidden mystery of Nella’s apothecary, while also reminding Caroline of her pre-marriage dreams. Penner finds clever parallels between Nella and Caroline, and avoids the pitfall of one storyline outshining the other–all three women have compelling tales, and while Nella’s business may not be on the up-and-up, her motives are understandable. Readers who enjoy Katherine Howe and Susanna Kearsley will be drawn to this promising, fast-paced debut. Booklist Review

A Room Full Of Bones by Elly Griffiths

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

A Room Full of Bones

Forensic anthropologist Dr. Galloway’s fourth exploit, set in 2009 in Norfolk, England after The House at Sea’s End, is another solid puzzle, matching crafty plotting with living and breathing characters readers will invest in. With her boss away, Galloway is representing the University of North Norfolk at the opening of a coffin believed to belong to 14th-century bishop Augustine Smith. What should be a routine duty turns out to be anything but. Griffiths’s wry understatement is perfect for Galloway’s grim discovery at the “Local History Room seems to be empty apart from a coffin on a trestle table, and a body lying beside it.” The corpse belongs to museum curator Neil Topham. There’s no obvious cause of death, but the police soon find evidence of foul play in the form of a threatening letter discovered in the dead man’s desk. The deductions and story developments are first-rate, and will certainly lead many first-timers to seek out other Galloway books.

Reader’s Note: The Ruth Galway mystery series currently features 14 titles; all of which may be requested through StarCat. And on the eBook front, the first 11 titles are available for instant checkout through Hoopla.

Tarry This Night by Kristyn Dunnion

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

Tarry This Night

This dark and painfully possible novel follows Ruth, a young woman who is coming of age in a post-climate-disaster, underground cult. The collective, led by the disturbingly delusional Father Ernst, bears all the trimmings of a racist/misogynist/wife-sharing nightmare. Ernst holds many wives and breeds many children, none of whom belong to any one mother. When Ruth is slated to become the latest Mrs. Father Ernst, she must decide not only whether she is willing to rebel and become a radical outlaw but also whether she has the strength to abandon the faith that has been restored in her ever since the cult rescued her from the violence of the above-ground streets many years ago. The book is a modern take on the Lilith story, the Jewish folktale made famous for its themes of female demonology and the rejection of male subservience. Immediate and terrifying, Dunnion’s fresh new narrative adds to the growing conversation about misogyny and freedom. A surefire hit for fans of Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale. – Booklist Review

Yesterday’s Echo by Matt Coyle

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

Yesterday's Echo

“The first time I saw her, she made me remember and she made me forget.” This delectable opening line sets the tone for Coyle’s hard-boiled crime series debut, which introduces Rick Cahill, a former cop whose wife was brutally murdered eight years ago. Rick was accused of the crime but never convicted. Unable to fight the media maelstrom, he retreats to La Jolla, CA, to help run a restaurant with his best (and only) friend. It isn’t much of an existence but Rick is slowly regaining control of his life. Fate arrives in the figure of Melody, a gorgeous Filipina who embroils Rick in a lethal entanglement. Before too long, the protagonist finds himself back in the crosshairs of the media and the police, who remember all too well the cop that got away with murder. VERDICT Coyle does a superb job of drawing the reader in and keeps a steady pace of action along with solid character development. This celebration of the crime noir novels of old with a modern sensibility in Rick Cahill as hero will strongly appeal to fans of classic hard-boiled PI novels.—Starred Library Journal Review

Reader’s Note: The Rick Cahill mystery series currently features eight books; and all of them are available for instant checkout through Hoopla!

Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult

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

Wish You Were Here

Picoult, a best-selling novelist always attuned to the zeitgeist, takes on the COVID-19 pandemic in this powerful novel. In March 2020, art specialist Diana O’Toole is on the cusp of selling a major painting for Sotheby’s and getting engaged to her caring, handsome surgeon boyfriend, Finn. They have plane tickets to the Galapagos Islands, but when Finn’s work at the hospital prevents him from leaving, he urges Diana to take the trip on her own. Diana arrives on Isabela Island just as it and the rest of the world closes down. Stranded, she is taken in by a kindly older woman and befriends a troubled 15-year-old, Beatriz, who is grappling with abandonment issues that Diana can relate to: both women’s mothers walked away when they were children. Cut off from Finn save for emails he sends detailing the horrors he’s enduring in the hospital as COVID-19 ravages New York, Diana grows ever closer to Beatriz and the teenager’s handsome father, Gabriel. She also begins to question whether the goalposts she’s set for herself still represent the direction she wants her life to take. Stealthily surprising and very moving, Picoult’s latest, written while she was confined at home during the pandemic, taps into the trauma and uncertainty of 2020’s global crisis. Absolutely a must-read. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Picoult’s novels are always sure-bets for popular fiction readers, but she attains new heights in this keen and vivid pandemic drama. Booklist Review

Have a great week!

Linda Reimer

*Information on the Three Catalogs*

Digital Catalog:

The Digital Catalog, is an online catalog containing eBooks, downloadable audiobooks, digital magazines and a handful of streaming videos. The catalog, which allows one to download content to a PC, also has a companion app, Libby, which you can download to your mobile device; so you can enjoy eBooks and downloadable audiobooks on the go!

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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