Suggested Reading August 2, 2022

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, August 9, 2022.

Blood of the Four by Christopher Golden

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

Blood of the Four

This hefty sword-and-sorcery adventure from frequent collaborators Golden and Lebbon (The Shadow Men) leaves room to bring its large, entangled cast of characters to a wider stage. At the beginning, the kingdom of Quandis is at peace. The study of magic has been left to the priesthood and largely ignored. Cunning and ruthless Princess Phela sees the awful effects of her mother’s addiction to magical lore, but once Phela becomes queen, she can’t resist the temptation of supernatural power. Meanwhile, Demos, the studly betrothed of Phela’s younger sister, is sold into slavery after his father is executed for blasphemy; Blane, a young member of the Bajuman caste (hereditarily lower than any slave) who doesn’t believe in the gods, stealthily trains as a priest but unwillingly begins to suspect that the gods and their magic are real; and Blane’s supposedly dead sister, Daria, becomes a swashbuckling admiral in the Quandian fleet. There’s something for everyone here, including some subtly feminist themes and several spectacular displays of magical conflict. This novel is an expert crowd-pleaser. Publishers Weekly Review

Dark Earth: A Novel by Rebecca Stott

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

Dark Earth

Nonfiction and fiction writer Stott (Ghostwalk) recreates the past in a novel of two sisters in post-Roman Britain. Next to the great river that will one day be known as the Thames, Isla and Blue live with their father, a famous metalsmith. After their father dies, Isla and Blue turn for protection to their kin in the closest village, ruled by the superstitious Osric and his violent son, Vort. When it is discovered that Isla’s father taught her to forge swords, work forbidden to women, the sisters flee violence and imprisonment. They seek refuge in the ruins of Londinium, the stone city long abandoned by the Romans. In the ghost city, which locals say is cursed, Isla and Blue find a community of castoffs. Eager to support their new friends and evade capture, Blue learns more about healing, and Isla returns to the forge. When Vort seeks vengeance, the sisters rely on their newfound skills and friends to defend what has become their home. VERDICT Stott’s engaging story, conjured from a real-life archaeological find, casts light on a little-known time in the early European Dark Ages. – Library Journal Review

Eternal Life: A Novel by Dara Horn

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

Eternal Life

At the heart of Horn’s funny and compassionate novel is a 2,000-year-old Jewish mother seeking reasons for living, some way of dying, and help for her 56-year-old son who lives in her basement. Rachel’s story begins in Roman-occupied Jerusalem, where at 16 she marries her father’s apprentice although she loves the high priest’s son, Elazar, and is pregnant with Elazar’s baby. Two years later, when the child falls ill, Rachel makes a bargain with God: she must give up not her life but her death in exchange for the child’s survival. The child survives, and Rachel endures successive lifetimes over the next 20 centuries, each lifetime immediately following the previous. Elazar, having made a similar bargain, pursues Rachel through time, occasionally finding her, though never for long. Now in 21st-century New York, Rachel’s current form (or “version,” as she calls it) is an 84-year-old widow. She thinks she has found a way to finally die, but first she wants to see her current problem child, the one in the basement, get a life. She also wishes to protect her granddaughter, a medical researcher dangerously close to discovering the truth behind Rachel’s unusual DNA. Horn (A Guide for the Perplexed) weaves historical detail and down-to-earth humor into this charming Jewish Groundhog Day spanning two millennia. Publishers Weekly Review

Juliet Naked: A Novel by Nick Hornsby

(Available Formats: Print Book, Large Print, CD audiobook & DVD)

Juliet, Naked

Hornbys characters may be marinated in melancholy, but there’s always a ray or two of hope. He brings together a compelling, original cast in this sweet and sorrowful tale of rock n roll and love on the rocks. Tucker Crowe is a has-been American musician, destined to fade into obscurity save for a handful of devoted listeners. Scholar Duncan Thomson is one of the loyal (a Croweologist, as it were). Duncan’s dedication to his musical hero far exceeds his interest in his significant other, Annie, who wonders whether the 15 years she’s spent with Duncan in a bleak English seaside town have been the biggest mistake of her life. The release of an acoustic version of Crowes best-known album, Juliet, sparks an e-mail correspondence between Tucker and Annie, and the two strangers revel in a candor each is able to exercise for the first time in their lives. Annie starts to see her relationship with Duncan for the dead-end that it is; Tucker begins to acknowledge his failures both as a musician and father (he has children from several different women, mostly models, wouldn’t you know?). Englishman Hornby, whose many best-selling and award-winning books include A Long Way Down (2005), is a master at rendering romantic relationships, particularly those that seem broken beyond repair. Fans of High Fidelity (1995), perhaps Hornby’s most popular book, will enjoy this related take on the lives of the musically obsessed. A wise, witty, and bittersweet novel. Starred Booklist Review

Nobody Walks by Mick Herron

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Nobody Walks

In this superb thriller, CWA Gold Dagger Award–winner Herron returns to the secretive world of British intelligence featured in his two Slough House novels, Slow Horses and Dead Lions. Thomas Bettany, a former undercover specialist who came apart after his wife’s death, is doing menial labor in a European slaughterhouse, estranged from everyone—including his grown son, Liam. When Liam falls to his death from the balcony of his London flat, apparently under the influence of a new drug called muskrat, Bettany returns to England to find out what really happened. His quest leads him to the shadowy Vincent Driscoll, head of the software-design firm Liam worked for, and to the bizarre Dame Ingrid Tearney, head of the Intelligence Service, who is either worried that Bettany will discover something better kept under wraps or else wants Bettany to do some dirty work on her behalf. Well-drawn characters complement plotting that’s convoluted but never opaque or formulaic. Herron may be the most literate, and slyest, thriller writer in English today. Starred Publishers Weekly Review

None Without Sin by Michael Bradley

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

None Without Sin

Set in Newark, Del., this well-paced series launch from Bradley (Dead Air) opens at the home of Robbie Reynolds, the self-proclaimed king of Newark real estate, whose corpse lies stretched out on a black leather sofa, a blood-soaked loaf of bread resting on his chest, while the police finish up their inspection of the crime scene. Episcopal priest Candice Miller is there to provide comfort to the dead man’s grieving family. But the strangeness of the bloodied loaf niggles “at the dark recesses of her mind.” Meanwhile, Brian Wilder, the owner, editor, and only full-time reporter for a struggling local newspaper, also investigates. In the following days, a teenage girl and a young mother are found dead in similar circumstances. Are these deaths related to some sort of religious ritual, or is there another motivation for the crimes? The tension rises as both Candice and Brian realize they each have secrets that could make them targets for a serial killer. With so few suspects, veteran mystery readers will have little trouble figuring out whodunit, and some will wonder how Candace and Brian, both deeply damaged people, will be able to continue to function in the future. Not everyone will look forward to their return. – Publishers Weekly Review

Red Flags by Lisa Black

(Available Format: Print Book & Hoople instant checkout eBook)

Red Flags

Ellie Carr was orphaned at a young age and raised by various relatives, including her Aunt Katey and cousin Becca. But Ellie and Becca grew apart, and it’s been years since they’ve seen each other. Now, Ellie is a member of the FBI Evidence Response Team while Becca is an advisor to a Senate committee and married to wealthy entrepreneur Hunter, who’s about to launch an IPO for a kids’ online-gaming platform. Imagine Ellie’s shock when she’s called out to collect evidence for a baby’s kidnapping, and the child turns out to be Becca and Hunter’s son. The FBI agrees to keep Ellie on the case, despite her being related to Becca. A diabolical plot linked to Hunter’s gaming platform, the kidnapping of kids whose parents are part of his company, and a zealous lobbying group all play roles in Black’s twist-filled narrative. Although the extensive detail concerning Congressional hearings and the dangers of online gaming sometimes slows the story, there is more than enough suspense to keep readers fully engaged until the sad and shocking ending. — Booklist Review

The Retreat by Sarah Pearse

(Available Formats: Print Book)

The Retreat

The retreat -At an eco-wellness center off the coast of England, the body of a young woman is found sprawled on the rocks below the yoga pavilion–which is certainly surprising, as she wasn’t a guest at the center or even supposed to have been on the island at all. A guest’s subsequent drowning ratchets up everyone’s anxiety, and Det. Elin Warner arrives for her second outing after the New York Times best-selling The Sanatorium, a Reese’s Book Club pick., – Library Journal Review

Should I Tell You? by Jill Mansell

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

Should I Tell You

Mansell (And Now You’re Back) offers a pleasant, offbeat tale of love and family. When adult foster siblings reunite to meet—and investigate—their father figure’s much younger Russian girlfriend, Olga, they’re forced to confront their own relationship woes. Good girl Amber Nicholls and playboy Lachlan McCarthy have been secretly pining for each other since meeting as troubled teens, but fear of rejection (Amber) and of ruining the family dynamic (Lachlan) keeps them from acting on their feelings. Though some readers will be turned off by the taboo of former foster siblings dating, Mansell does a good job making them a couple to root for. Meanwhile their foster brother, Raffaele Wright, learns the unexpected truth behind his ex-girlfriend’s angry outbursts, the reason for their breakup. And, instead of the nefarious gold digger the trio were expecting, laid-back Olga charms and her astuteness proves beneficial to all as they navigate complex interpersonal dynamics. Even family friend Benji gets a chance at romance as he works on overcoming his shyness. These inventive, intertwining love stories will have readers hooked. – Publishers Weekly Review

The Sweet Remnants of Summer by Alexander McCall Smith

(Available Formats: Print Book, Large Print & eBook)

The Sweet Remnants of Summer

The latest Isabel Dalhousie novel finds our favorite moral philosopher is caught up in a delicate dispute between members of a prominent family as her husband, Jamie, is dragged into his own internecine rivalry.
When Isabel is invited to serve on the advisory committee of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, her husband, Jamie, expresses concern about the demands on her time. Never one to duck an obligation, however, Isabel says she’d be happy to join. There she meets a woman named Laura, whose husband—a prominent wine merchant from an illustrious family—and son are at odds. Laura asks whether Isabel might arbitrate between them. Isabel is reluctant to intervene in a familial drama but, always one for practical and courteous solutions to theoretical problems, she feels obligated to help. Will the demands on her moral attention never cease?

Meanwhile, having criticized Isabel for getting involved in the affairs of others, Jamie does precisely that himself. He’s helping to select a new cellist for his ensemble but suspects that the conductor’s attention may be focused on something other than his favored candidate’s cello skills. Jamie feels it’s important that the most qualified applicant gets the job—but how to determine whether the conductor has the right qualifications in mind?

With so many complicated and fraught issues demanding their attention, Isabel and Jamie will have to tap deep into their reserves of tact and goodwill as they navigate the tricky and turbulent waters of these emotional matters.

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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