Suggested Reading April 19, 2023

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 now published on Wednesdays.

And the next Suggested Reading posting will be published on Wednesday, April 26, 2023; which means it will be last Suggested Reading post of the month! Where has April gone?!

Becoming Crone by Lydia M. Hawke

(Available Formats: eBook & Hoopla instant check out eBook)

Becoming Crone

Divorced grandmother Claire Emerson is the refreshing chosen one at the helm of the fun Crone Wars series debut from Hawke (the Grigori Legacy series). After receiving a mystical magnifying pendant as a present for her 60th birthday, Claire discovers that she is vitally important to a hidden magical world. She’s pleased with the house set aside for her training; admires Keven, the living gargoyle meant to guide her in the ways of magick; and is even mutually attracted to Lucan, the shape-shifting wolfman who serves as her protector—but she rejects her destiny as Crone, part of a powerful group of witches whose lineage stretches back to Arthurian legend and who use elemental magick to contain centuries-old dark forces. Habitually nonconfrontational, Claire doesn’t want the power or the responsibility. However, as the threats against her and her loved ones escalate, she reluctantly takes up the fight. Claire’s character arc is immensely satisfying, but one gets the sense that the larger series plot is barely underway by the end of the book, making this volume feel frustratingly incomplete. Still, anyone looking for character-driven fantasy or a clever subversion of the “chosen one” trope will find much to love. – Publishers Weekly Review

The Best Strangers in the World: Stories from a Life Spent Listening by Ari Shapiro

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

The Best Strangers In The World

In this engaging memoir, Shapiro (host, NPR’s All Things Considered) gives insight into both his personal and professional life. As the only Jewish child in his elementary school and the first openly gay student in high school, Shapiro learned to make connections and communicate among disparate groups of people. His innate curiosity and natural storytelling ability led to an internship and eventual career with NPR. He reveals the personal side of various assignments, including his time in the White House press corps and as an international correspondent based in London. He also discusses his personal life, including his side job as a singer with the band Pink Martini and his musical show with Alan Cumming. Shapiro never shies away from telling of his missteps and embarrassing moments. Throughout, Shapiro elegantly and compassionately shares the stories of people he’s encountered and how their individual experiences connect with humanity as a whole.

VERDICT Shapiro’s confident, clear voice and self-deprecating humor, familiar to his many fans, translates well to the written word. His writing will resonate with many and is a treasure for biography readers. Highly recommended. – Starred Library Journal Review

Empress of the Nile: The Daredevil Archaeologist Who Saved Egypt’s Ancient Temples from Destruction by Lynne Olson

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

Empress of the Nile

Bestseller Olson follows up Madame Fourcade’s Secret War with another scintillating biography of a woman who worked in the French Resistance against the Nazis. But Christiane Desroches-Noblecourt (1913–2011) had an even more impressive second act, according to Olson: as an Egyptologist, she spearheaded “the greatest single example of international cultural cooperation the world has ever known,” a campaign in the 1950s and ’60s to save Nubian temples and other antiquities from flooding caused by the construction of the Aswan High Dam in Egypt. Throughout, Olson details the misogyny Desroches-Noblecourt dealt with from her male colleagues at the Louvre and the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology in Cairo, even as she reached the top of her field. Beginning in 1958, she helped raised money from dozens of nations to dismantle the temples block-by-block, transport them up the Nile, and rebuild them on higher ground. Olson also credits first lady Jackie Kennedy with helping persuade her husband’s administration to support the campaign, and documents Desroches-Noblecourt’s involvement in a 1967 Paris exhibition of King Tutankhamun’s treasures. Enriched by fascinating digressions into Egyptian history, museum rivalries, the plundering of archaeological sites, the 1956 Suez Crisis, and more, this is a captivating portrait of a pathbreaking woman. Readers will be enthralled. – Publishers Weekly Review

The Great Reclamation: A Novel by Rachel Heng

(Available Formats: eBook & Downloadable Audiobook)

The Great Reclamation

The twentieth century saw Singapore transform from a British colony into an independent nation. This dizzying historical period forms the backdrop of Ah Boon’s life. The youngest son of a fisherman, Ah Boon is uncertain of his place in the world. He alone can find a set of islands that disappear at random. With this ability comes prosperity for his family and the respect of his village. As his confidence grows, so does his love for Siok Mei, a militant girl who serves as the co-protagonist. Fans of Heng’s sf-tinged debut, Suicide Club (2018), might expect the speculative element to play a bigger role, but the islands are an important plot point for the first hundred pages or so, then lose relevance for long stretches of time. Much more developed is Ah Boon’s evolving relationship to authority. As Ah Boon grows into adulthood, Heng paints a striking portrait of a man struggling to find his place in history. The novel is ultimately a well-rendered piece of historical fiction that questions who gets left behind in the march toward progress. – Booklist Review

The Last Sun by K.D. Edwards

(Available Formats: Print Book & eBook)

The Last Sun

When Atlantis fell years ago, survivors replaced their ruined home by building New Atlantis on Nantucket Island, where powers are held by the courts of Arcana. Rune Saint John is the last of the fallen Sun Court, who works as a sometime investigator for his former protector Lord Tower. When Rune and companion/bodyguard Brand are asked to find Addam, the middle son of Lady Judgment, they are cast into a mystery that goes much deeper than a missing-persons case. There’s also a mythical creature walking the streets that is somehow connected to the decimation of Rune’s family and court and his torture at the hands of a masked group. Uncovering the truth will open the door to a painful past, but Rune’s future may depend on taking such a risk. Edwards’s gorgeous debut presents an alternate modern world that is at once unusual and familiar, with a grand interplay of powers formed by family and the supernatural. VERDICT Intriguing characters, a fast-paced mystery, and an original magical hierarchy will immediately hook readers, who will eagerly await the next volume in this urban fantasy series. –Library Journal Review

The Last Remains by Elly Griffiths

(Publication Date: April 25, 2023 – you can place it on hold now!)

(Available Formats on April 25: Print Book, CD Audiobook, eBook & Downloadable Audiobook)

The Last Remains

A skeleton is found behind a wall during a renovation and Detective Harry Nelson is called in, along with famed archaeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway. The skeleton is determined to be Emily Pickering, a young archaeology student who went missing following a field trip nearly 20 years ago. Also on that field trip was Ruth’s good friend Cathbad, who becomes a suspect just as he goes missing himself. Meanwhile, Ruth’s archaeology department is set to be closed down by the university, and Nelson has separated from his wife, finally giving space for Nelson and Ruth to consider their feelings for each other and for the future. Many familiar faces make appearances in this 15th satisfying installment of the series (following The Locked Room). Each person plays a necessary role in solving the case as tension rises and dangers increase.

VERDICT As Griffiths teases on her Twitter feed, this is the last Ruth Galloway book “for now.” The novel has a nostalgic feel, and readers will feel satisfied with how things are wrapped up. – Library Journal Review

Reader’s Note: The Last Remains is the fifteenth book in the series; if you’d like to start reading the series from the beginning, check out book one: The Crossing Places (2009).

The Secret of the Lost Pearls by Darcie Wilde

(Available Formats: Print Book, eBook, Downloadable Audiobook, Hoopla instant check out eBook & Audiobook)

Secret of the Lost Pearls

In Wilde’s well-crafted sixth Rosalind Thorne mystery (after 2021’s A Counterfeit Suitor), Rosalind again gracefully navigates the snares of the haut ton of Regency London to resolve a problem rooted in family secrets. When Rosalind’s old friend Bethany Hodgeson requests her help in locating a missing pearl necklace, Rosalind takes up residence in her home. There, under the guise of assisting Bethany’s two sisters and her sister-in-law in making their debut into London society, Rosalind discovers an array of scandals and secrets, including a botched elopement, bigamy, and various machinations by overbearing parents and sly servants. The chapter headings include quotes from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice; and like Elizabeth Bennet, Rosalind seeks to know the truth of characters’ motivations and feelings through acute observation of small actions that border on the private—a sudden flush, a hesitation, an overheard conversation, a brief disappearance. A sweet romance involving the handsome Adam Harkness of the Bow Street Runners enhances the complex puzzle surrounding the pearls. Fans of Dianne Freeman and Anna Lee Huber will find much to enjoy. – Publishers Weekly

Reader’s Note: If you’d like to start reading the series from the beginning, and it really is two related series Rosalind Thorne and The Useful Woman series – both featuring the character Rosalind Thorne; check out book one: A Useful Woman (2016).

A Share in Death by Deborah Crombie

(Available Formats: Print Book, Large Print, eBook, Downloadable Audiobook & Hoopla instant check out Audiobook)

A Share in Death

This polished mystery seems more the work of a seasoned genre master than the first novel it is. Det. Supt. Duncan Kincaid, spending his vacation from Scotland Yard at a Yorkshire time-share along with several other guests, finds his holiday anything but relaxing. Immediately after he arrives at the elegant estate, he overhears a heated argument between the snobbish caretaker and her sarcastic assistant manager. Late that evening, the assistant is electrocuted in the Jacuzzi. To the consternation of Yorkshire police, Kincaid assumes an active role in the investigation, which becomes more urgent after two more deaths. Meanwhile, Sgt. Gemma James, a pragmatic single mother charmed by Kincaid’s unpretentious demeanor and bachelor status, digs for additional clues in London. Crombie, a Texan, has written a convincingly British whodunit, limning Kincaid and James with the ease and authority of one who has already completed several installments in a series. Readers will surely welcome follow-up appearances. – Library Journal Review (1993)

Reader’s Note: A Share in Death is the first book in the long-running Kincaid & James Mystery Series. If you’ve read the most recent title, A Killing of Innocents, which came out in February and is the nineteenth book in the series, then you’re caught up!

Standing in the Shadows by Peter Robinson

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

Standing in the Shadows

An archaeological dig at an ancient Roman site in Britain unearths parts of a skeleton, but the remains are disturbingly contemporary. In this, the twenty-eighth in the Detective Chief Inspector Banks series, the dig quickly becomes a crime scene, and Banks’ team from the Yorkshire Constabulary joins forces with archaeology specialists to solve a baffling cold case. Readers will love getting a fascinating primer in both modern forensics and archaeological techniques. The narrative is also a clever two-for-one, jumping back and forth between the story of a jilted university student in 1980, whose girlfriend was found murdered, making him a prime suspect, and the work of DCI Banks and his team to identify the Roman ruins interloper and the killer who buried the body. As usual, Banks’ steadfast, multifaceted character holds his team and the story itself together, though the myriad domestic details (such as Banks’ music collection) are sometimes overdone. The ending, in which the two narratives join, is a stunner. – Booklist Review

Reader’s Note: This is the twenty-eighth book in the series. If you’d like to start reading this series from the beginning check out book one: Gallows View (1987).

The Trackers by Charles Frazier

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

Trackers

Following Varina (2018), Frazier is in top form for his fifth novel, which traverses America in its portrait of contrasting Depression-era lives. “The Trackers” is the name that New Deal artist Valentine “Val” Welch gives the mural he’s commissioned to paint in the post office of Dawes, Wyoming. He aims to inspire small-town pride by showcasing regional highlights. While lodging at the expansive ranch of aspiring politician John Long and his younger wife, Eve, Val gets pulled into their drama. Not long after a stressful dinner party, Eve takes off with a small Renoir from Long’s collection in hand and doesn’t return. Long asks Val to find her. Events turn more dangerous and puzzling than expected. From an exhausting trip to wild rural Florida to the newly constructed, cinnabar-hued Golden Gate Bridge, the locales feel period-authentic, and the writing hums with spectacular word-images. While Val narrates, using a light folksy style that Frazier’s fans will recognize, the novel’s primary hero is Eve. An inscrutably captivating woman from impoverished origins who became a teenage hobo and sang in cowboy bands, she has reasons for fleeing wealthy married life, and the mystery ignites the plot. The Old West still lingers in this propulsive tale of individualistic characters striving to beat the odds. – Booklist Review

Have a great week!

Linda Reimer

*Information on the three catalogs*

Digital Catalog: https://stls.overdrive.com/

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: https://www.hoopladigital.com/

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: https://starcat.stls.org

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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