Suggested Reading September 14, 2022

Hi everyone, here are our recommended reads for the week!

*More information on the three catalogs and available formats is found at the end of the list of recommended reads*

Weekly Suggested Reading postings are published on Tuesdays; unless it is super busy in Library Land as it has been this week thus far – and then they are published on Wednesdays!

The next Suggested Reading posting will be published on Tuesday, September 20, 2022.

Dreamland by Nicholas Sparks

(Available Formats: Print Book, CD audiobook – coming September 20)


Colby is taking the first vacation from his family farm that he has had in years. It’s not entirely a vacation, since he is playing in a band at a bar in Florida. There, he meets Morgan, a young woman of means from Chicago who just graduated college and is getting ready to launch her own music career. They fall in love within days, and he wonders if he will be able to change his life and follow this new, unexpected direction. Colby and Morgan’s story alternates with that of Beverly, who is running from her abusive husband and trying to hide her young son to keep him safe. Beverly’s tale is fraught with tension, and readers will realize that there is more to her situation than it appears. When Colby is called home to deal with a family emergency, forces converge to link Beverly with the lovers. Sparks’ (The Wish, 2021) latest appealing novel is filled with plenty of serious situations among the dreams and romance and rewards with a satisfyingly hopeful ending. – Booklist Review

The Girl from Guernica by Karen Robards

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

The Girl From Guernica

In Guernica in 1937, Sibi is living with her sisters and mother, apart from her father in Germany. Civil war is waging and their time in Guernica is becoming precarious. An absorbing scene of a terrible bombing brings tragedy to Sibi’s family and she forms a kinship with an American OSS officer, Griff, who has taken to making sure Sibi and her sisters are safe. Leaving Guernica for Germany, Sibi walks into an entirely different sort of danger when Nazi officers become interested in her story of the Guernica bombing. Having to lie to the press and the world, Sibi despises the Nazis for what they are making her deny. Becoming a spy to assist Griff with gathering German intelligence is her way of fighting back. Tension builds as the danger increases, and Sibi’s relationship with Griff evolves over the years, notwithstanding their separation due to wartime activities. With gripping descriptions of bombings, fearful interrogations, and a blooming love story, Robards (The Black Swan of Paris, 2020) delivers a fantastic, captivating historical romance. – Booklist

The Housekeeper by Joy Fielding

(Available Formats: Print Book)

The Housekeeper

Fielding follows up the excellent Cul-de-Sac (2021) with this story of a woman who does the wrong thing for the right reasons. Jodi’s mother is in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s, and her father, while still fairly mobile, is in his late seventies. So Jodi convinces her parents to hire a housekeeper, a woman in her sixties who seems like she’ll be a perfect fit. Appearances can be deceiving. Distracted by a difficult home life–Jody and her novelist husband keep clashing, and he might be having an affair–Jodi misses the early signs of trouble. By the time she figures out that the housekeeper isn’t the person she appeared to be, it could be too late. This is exactly the sort of story Fielding tells superbly. It’s a character-driven thriller, and she excels at creating people who exude the breath of real life. It’s a subtle story, too, relying heavily on subtext and the reader’s ability to put the clues together–again, very much in the author’s wheelhouse. Fielding’s many followers will definitely want to add The Housekeeprer to their TBR lists, and any psychological-thriller readers who aren’t already familiar with Fielding’s work will start backtracking after reading this one. – Booklist Review

The Librarian of Crooked Lane by C. J. Archer

(Available Formats: eBook & downloadable audiobook)

The Librarian of Crooked Lane

A librarian with a mysterious past, a war hero with a secret, and the heist of a magic painting. THE LIBRARIAN OF CROOKED LANE is an intriguing new fantasy from C.J. Archer, the USA Today bestselling author of the Glass and Steele series.

Librarian Sylvia Ashe knows nothing about her past, having grown up without a father and a mother who refused to discuss him. When she stumbles upon a diary that suggests she’s descended from magicians, she’s skeptical. After all, magicians are special, and she’s just an ordinary girl who loves books. She seeks the truth from a member of the most prominent family of magicians, but she quickly learns that finding the truth won’t be easy, especially when he turns out to be as artless as her, and more compelling and dangerous than books.

War hero Gabe is gifted with wealth, a loving family, and an incredible amount of luck that saw him survive four harrowing years of a brutal war without injury. But not all injuries are visible. Burying himself in his work as a consultant for Scotland Yard, Gabe is going through the motions as he investigates the theft of a magician-made painting. But his life changes when he unwittingly gets Sylvia dismissed from her job and places her in danger.
After securing her new employment in a library housing the world’s greatest collection of books about magic, Gabe and Sylvia’s lives become intwined as they work together to find both the painting and the truth about Sylvia’s past before powerful people can stop them.

But sometimes the past is better left buried…

A Little Devil in America: In Praise of Black Performance by Hanif Abdurraqib

(Available Formats: Print Book, eBook & downloadable audiobook)

A Little Devil In America

Poet, essayist, and cultural critic Abdurraqib (Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest) studies the impact of Black performers throughout U.S. history, sharing his own poignant stories along the way. Inspired by Josephine Baker’s extraordinary life and her self-proclaimed title of “little devil in America,” Abdurraqib pens respectful, heartwarming essays that reflect on other giants in music, television, cinema, and even magic. From intense dance marathons to afternoon sock hops, from the funerals of Michael Jackson and Aretha Franklin to games of spades to barroom brawls, he examines the feeling of invisibility that haunts so many Black Americans. He scrutinizes ways in which Black artists subverted racial stereotypes, such as Josephine Baker’s banana skirt performance, which tackled the assumption of Black people as primitive and made it “so absurd that it circled around to desire.” The author also calls out the use of blackface and the sanitization of race relations in today’s films and laments the exploitation of violence against and by African Americans. VERDICT Told with humor and grace, Abdurraqib’s stories will inspire and provoke thoughtful meditations on how Black lives matter in all areas of life and art. – Library Journal Review

Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook – coming September 20)

Lucy By The Sea

Strout follows up Oh William! with a captivating entry in the Lucy Barton series. This time, Lucy decamps to rural Maine during the first year of the Covid lockdown. At the pandemic’s onset in 2020, Lucy’s philandering ex-husband and longtime friend, William, whisks her away from New York City to a rental house in coastal Maine. He may have self-centered ulterior motives beyond his assertion that he’s trying to save her life, but they are not readily transparent for most of the narrative. Personal and public events intrude during the lockdown as the pair develop a “strange compatibility” while attempting to comprehend the new normal. Their two daughters each face a crisis in their marriage; William contacts his once unknown half sister, Lois Bubar, and reveals a life-threatening medical condition; and the country roils from George Floyd’s murder and the insurrection on January 6. Bleak memories of Lucy’s impoverished childhood and of her recently deceased husband surface in shattering flashbacks. Loneliness, grief, longing, and loss pervade intertwined family stories as Lucy and William attempt to create new friendships in an initially hostile town. What emerges is a prime testament to the characters’ resilience. With Lucy Barton, Strout continues to draw from a deep well. – Starred Publishers Weekliy Review

Rules of Engagement by Stacey Abrams & Selena Montgomery

(Available Formats: eBook)

Rules of Engagement

Georgia gubernatorial candidate and voting rights leader Stacey Abrams wrote this second-chance romantic suspense novel as Selena Montgomery. Adam Grayson and Raleigh Foster are both brilliant thinkers recruited from graduate school by a shadowy extragovernmental intelligence agency. Their last assignment together brought them to the (fictitious) Mediterranean island of Jafir, which has an African and Middle Eastern culture and a powerful terrorist organization called Scimitar. Raleigh and Adam were tasked with infiltrating it, but their conflicting temperaments drove them apart. Rules are sacrosanct to her, whereas he is a maverick. Now, three years later, they are back in Jafir to save Adam’s project, Praxis, from falling into Scimitar’s hands to be used in chemical weapons. He blames her for the death of his best friend. She feels guilty about having to betray him again. He doesn’t dare to risk his heart again. She doesn’t believe she’s capable of love. Trust is the fulcrum on which their professional and romantic relationships pivot and stumble. Abrams masterfully pairs the cracking pace of a thriller with the tenderness of a romance. – Booklist Review

A Superior Death by Nevada Barr

(Anna Pigeon Series, Book 2)

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

A Superior Death

In her second appearance, after Track of the Cat, National Park Service ranger Anna Pigeon is posted to an island in Lake Superior, where her interest in wildlife is fully engaged by the local population of humans. Two scuba-diving tourists exploring an old, submerged wreck discover a recent addition: the body of Denny Castle, who ran a commercial diving concession in the park. This makes Anna uneasy about the mysterious disappearance of Donna Butkus, wife of fellow ranger Scotty Butkus. Hawk Bradshaw, who worked with Denny, suggests that there was a link between Denny and Donna, but Hawk is less revealing about the nature of the relationship he and his twin sister had with the dead man and the impact Denny’s recent marriage (to yet another woman) had on it. The Bradshaws aren’t the only reticent ones here; indeed, Barr’s characters hide enough unsavory secrets to keep a soap opera humming for months. Despite the wealth of personal intrigue, FBI agent Frederic Stanton looks for a drug connection to the murder: “I’m all for drugs . . . Takes the guesswork out of law enforcement.” The levelheaded Anna is again a treat as she and a couple of minor characters whose lives don’t verge on melodrama keep the story from floundering on the rocks. Mystery Guild alternate; paperback rights to Avon. – Publishers Weekly Review

Sweetwater And The Witch by Jayne Castle

(Coming September 20)

(Available Formats: Print Book)

Sweetwater And The Witch

It isn’t a real date. At least, that is what Ravenna Chastain tells herself. If Ravenna accompanies Ethan Sweetwater to a business reception, he will consider it payment in full for Ravenna’s so far failed attempts to play professional matchmaker for him. Plus, Ethan will accompany Ravenna to an upcoming Chastain family event, for which Ravenna has yet to secure a date. However, what starts out as a fake date soon turns into something much more real when the two become the target of a dangerous cadre of criminals who are determined that neither Ravenna nor Ethan will have any kind of a future either together or apart. In the latest stellar addition to her Harmony series, Castle (aka Jayne Ann Krentz) once again brilliantly draws on her own bewitching brand of literary magic to concoct a beguiling novel of futuristic romantic suspense that expertly fuses propulsive plotting, deftly incised secondary characters (including a dust bunny with a penchant for pens), and a pair of protagonists whose sexual chemistry goes from simmer to sizzle in sixty seconds flat. – 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.

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).

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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