Suggested Reading December 14, 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 21, 2021

The Best Thing You Can Steal by Simon R. Green

(Available Formats: Print BookHoopla instant checkout eBook & audiobook)

The Best Thing You Can Steal

Master thief and con man Gideon Sable has a plan. He intends to breach the private vault of Fredric Hammer, noted bad guy, and rob him blind. To do that, he needs to assemble a crack team of professionals. But this is no ordinary team, because this is no ordinary London. This is an alternate London, wherein ghosts and demons and people with special gifts coexist with regular human folk. And Gideon’s team consists of former girlfriend Annie Anybody, whose gift is luck; a fellow known as the Damned (because he’s, you know, damned); the Ghost, who retains the memory of what it is to be a man; and the Wild Card, who sees all the truths in the world. Each of them has a score to settle with Hammer, and each of them is willing to risk plenty to get revenge. This novel by the author of the terrific Ishmael Jones series is a treat for anyone who relishes the blending of alternate-world fantasy, urban fantasy, and the caper novel. Exciting, witty, and stuffed full of fun. – Booklist Review

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

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

The False Prince

This highly enjoyable medieval fantasy from Nielsen (the Underworld Chronicles), set in the medieval kingdom of Carthya, centers on 15-year-old Sage, an angry and pugnacious orphan, who is unexpectedly purchased by Conner, one of the king’s regents. The entire royal family—king, queen, and heir—has recently died under mysterious circumstances, and to prevent civil war, Conner is collecting orphans who might believably be substituted for the dead king’s younger son, who was reported lost at sea years earlier. Sage is soon engaged in a deadly, winner-take-all contest with two other boys to earn the right to impersonate Prince Jaron. Sage is deftly characterized through humorous first-person narration, quickly establishing himself as a beguiling antihero: “I’d never attempted roast thievery before, and I was already regretting it,” he says when readers first meet him. “It happens to be very difficult to hold a chunk of raw meat while running.” Secondary characters are equally fleshed-out. First in the Ascendancy Trilogy, this is an impressive, promising story with some expertly executed twists. – Starred Publishers Weekly Review
Listeners’ Note: All five of the audios in this series are available for instant checkout through Hoopla!

The Hating Game: A Novel by Sally Thorpe

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

The Hating Game

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman sit across from each other working as executive assistants for their co-CEO bosses of the merged publishing house Bexley and Gamin. From the first, it seems they’re not destined to be friends: Joshua is tall, intimidating, and wears the same colored shirts in the same sequence every week, whereas five-foot-tall Lucy is approachable, yet feisty with her flamethrower-red lipstick and varying ensembles. Their differences manifest themselves in nonverbal games including the Staring Game, the Mirror Game, and the HR Game. When a promotion possibility comes up, both Josh and Lucy would do anything to get it. Thorne pens a novel that is more than a game of one-upmanship between two coworkers. She slowly begins to unfurl their insecurities both inside and between themselves, fearlessly aiming at the heart of what makes Lucy and Joshua tick. As a result, a new game begins–one of sexual chemistry and frustration. VERDICT Thorne is a strong writer and one to watch. Her debut will have readers rooting for both Lucy and Joshua in whatever games they play. –Library Journal Review

Letters From Father Christmas by J. R. R. Tolkien

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

Letters From Father Christmas

Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J.R.R. Tolkien’s children. Inside would be a letter in a strange, spidery handwriting and a beautiful colored drawing or painting. The letters were from Father Christmas.

They told wonderful tales of life at the North Pole: how the reindeer got loose and scattered presents all over the place; how the accident-prone North Polar Bear climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of Father Christmas’s house into the dining room; how he broke the Moon into four pieces and made the Man in it fall into the back garden; how there were wars with the troublesome horde of goblins who lived in the caves beneath the house, and many more.
No reader, young or old, can fail to be charmed by Tolkien’s inventiveness in this classic holiday treat.

Meet Me In London by Georgia Toffolo

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

Meet Me In London

This debut romance by British TV personality Toffolo (the first in a series whose second installment, Meet Me in Hawaii, was published in the U.K. in Mar. 2021) stars Victoria Scott, who dreams of being a fashion designer. She’s felt stalled since her ex-boyfriend takes that dream (and their work partnership) with him after cheating on her. Nowadays, Victoria spends her time managing a bar and teaching kids about fashion while working on her designs when she can. Oliver Russell is acting as the head of his family’s department store franchise, and the company is building a new location in Victoria’s London neighborhood. His dad is in poor health, and he will do anything to make his parents happy, even faking a fiancé. After a few chance encounters, Victoria and Oliver strike up a mutually beneficial partnership: Victoria will act as his fake fiancé until the new store opens and Oliver will host a fashion show at the grand opening for Victoria and her students. Victoria opens up Oliver’s eyes to what life can be, but she is harboring a secret that she thinks threatens Oliver’s life plans. The good news is they get along great, but things get a little too real as they spend more time together. VERDICT A fun story for fans of the fake dating trope. – Library Journal Review

Miss Eliza’s English Kitchen: A Novel of Victorian Cookery and Friendship by Annabel Abbs

(Available Formats: eBook)

Miss Eliza's English Kitchen

Poet Eliza Acton is initially insulted by the suggestion that she write a cookery book. She refuses to entertain such a notion, until her father faces bankruptcy. Suddenly, organizing recipes and creating culinary delights are her only options. To aid her in this endeavor, she hires Ann Kirby, a woman living in desperate poverty. The two women, though from vastly different backgrounds, forge an unlikely friendship as they work tirelessly on Eliza’s recipe book. Told from the dual perspectives of Eliza and Ann, this novel, based on actual events, chronicles the challenges they face due to gender and class; family pressures and obligations; and their hopes and dreams. Eliza’s recipe format, the first of its kind, is still used today. With Eliza’s writing skills and Ann’s organic talent for cooking, the women made a formidable team. Eliza broke barriers and has been a model for many future English authors and cooks alike.

VERDICT Abbs (The Joyce Girl) has written a fascinating, long overdue tribute to the unconventional Eliza Acton, the woman who revolutionized the English cookbook. Ann’s and Eliza’s drives for independence is inspiring, and their passion for cooking will awaken readers’ inner chef.-Starred Library Journal Review

Reclamation: Sally Hemings, Thomas Jefferson, and a Descendant’s Search for Her Family’s Lasting Legacy by Gayle Jessup White

(Available Formats: Print Book)


In this family history, White describes being a 13-year-old Black girl growing up in Washington, DC, when she learned the legend handed down by her great aunt–that the family was descended from Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings–which White would spend much of her later life trying to prove. The Hemings lineage became clearer in later years, and as an adult White began to research her roots while also pursuing a career in journalism and enduring a rocky first marriage. White writes that the first time she toured Monticello and announced, “I’m a descendant,” she was met with uncomfortable stares. But she kept mapping the family tree with the help of a Monticello genealogist, met many other Jefferson and Hemings descendants (both Black-presenting and white-presenting; some helpful, some not), and eventually struck gold with DNA evidence and historic documents that proved that she was indeed a direct descendant of Jefferson and of Peter Hemings (Sally’s brother). White is now the community engagement officer at Monticello, fulfilling a lifelong goal to help tell the stories of all of her ancestors there. VERDICT A brisk read that uncovers another side of the Jefferson-Hemings family tree; for readers of genealogy and the history of American slavery. – Library Journal Review

Tied Up in Tinsel by Ngaio Marsh

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

Tied up In Tinsel

It’s the Christmas season in 1972, and Agatha Troy is at a house party, enjoying the local holiday pageant and also painting the host’s portrait. The painting’s coming along fine, but the pageant goes a little pear-shaped when one of the players disappears. Could one of the eccentric guests have been involved? Or could the finger of blame come to rest on one of the manor-house servants, each of whom happens to be a recent prison parolee? Inspector Alleyn is on hand to wrap up the case…

Readers’ Note: This is the 27th book in the Roderick Alleyn series. If you’d like to start with book one, check out A Man Lay Dead.

Stupid Things I Won’t Do When I Get Old: A Highly Judgmental, Unapologetically Honest Accounting of All the Things Our Elders Are Doing Wrong by Steven Petrow

(Available Formats: Hoopla instant checkout eBook & audiobook)

Stupid Things I Won't Do

When he turned 50, award-winning journalist, columnist, and Ted Talk favorite Petrow began to keep a list of “the stupid things I won’t do when I get old,” a litany of all the annoying things his parents and other old people around him were doing. Included are such offenses as being afraid to fall, lying to their doctors, and refusing to change their ways. As he grew older, Petrow began to ruminate on things like continuing to drive when one has become a threat to others, waiting to be deaf before getting a hearing aid, and turning his home into a “sweat lodge.” Finally, looking at life’s end, Petrow vows to refuse to die without planning his own funeral, or writing letters to loved ones. With coauthor Henry, Petrow supports his plans up with quotes from favorite authors and facts from various studies, ultimately presenting a solid case for paying attention as you age. Along the way, he began to understand his parent’s actions. Readers dealing with aging parents or beginning to feel twinges of age’s tolls themselves will be especially interested. Petrow can’t prevent you from becoming your parents, but he can remind you how a positive attitude, gratitude, patience, and compassion can make a big difference. – Booklist Review

The Wicked Widow by Beatriz Williams

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Wicked Widow

Williams continues her Wicked City series (after the Wicked Redhead) with an engrossing New York City mystery spanning several decades. In 1998, Ella Dommerich moves into her boyfriend Hector’s Greenwich Village walk-up, following her separation from Patrick, the father of her unborn child. Ella’s aunt Julie asks her to use her investigative skills as a financial analyst to dig up dirt on Senator Frank Hardcastle, a presidential candidate who was once married to another relative of Ella and Julie’s, and to whom Julie bears a grudge. In a parallel narrative set in 1924, Geneva Kelley marries Oliver Anson Marshall and they move into the townhouse later occupied by Hector and Ella. After Louis Hardcastle, the head of an East Coast bootlegging organization, is murdered, Louis’s son blames Anson, a former Prohibition enforcement special agent, and Anson decides to fake his death and go into hiding to protect Geneva. As Ella continues to delve into the background of the Hardcastle family while enduring prenatal nausea, she discovers connections to Patrick’s employer and some financial anomalies, and ropes Patrick in to an increasingly dangerous situation. Williams’s fast-paced story line features engaging dialogue and thematic connections between Ella and Geneva. Series fans will eat this up. Publishers Weekly Review

Readers’ Note: The Wicked Widow is the third book in the Wicked City series. If you’d like to start reading the series from the beginning, check out book one: The Wicked City.

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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