Friday, October 29, 2010

Ape House by Sara Gruen

Isabel Duncan is a scientist who works with bonobo apes at the Great Ape Language Lab. Bonzi, Sam, Jelani, Lola, and Mbongo, the bonobos, are no ordinary apes. They have learned American Sign Language, and use it to communicate with humans and with each other. The bonobos are a very intelligent species, and use reasoning, as well as build strong relationships.

John Thigpen is a reporter who comes to visit the apes and interview Isabel, and finds that his life is forever changed. When protesters bomb the facility and "free" the apes, Isabel is injured and unable to protect them. The apes fall into unscrupulous hands and land on a reality TV show. Now, John and Isabel must work together, with a little help from an unusual cast of characters, to save the bonobos.

I really liked this book. The plot was well paced and kept you drawn in, and it was well researched. The bonobos were real characters in this story, each with their own personality, and I found myself getting attached to them. Another thing I liked was that the book was unpredictable. I didn't finish it and say "Well, that was another Sara Gruen book", because it's so different, and I really like that about Ms. Gruen's books - they're all different from each other. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Fiction Released the Week of 10/26/10

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. Please click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

An Amish Christmas
by Cynthia Keller
Cat Coming Home by Shirley Rousseau Murphy
Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas
The Christmas Journey by Donna Vanliere
A Christmas Odyssey by Anne Perry
Coming Back by Marcia Muller
The Confession by John Grisham
Dangerous to Know by Tasha Alexander
Daughter of Darkness by V.C. Andrews
Dead Spy Running by Jon Stock
The Killing Storm by Kathryn Casey
Knot Gneiss by Piers Anthony
The Last Run by Greg Rucka
The Mischief of Mistletoe by Lauren Willig
Side Jobs by Jim Butcher
Surface Detail by Iain Banks

Friday, October 22, 2010

Room by Emma Donaghue

Jack has just turned five years old. He and Ma live in Room, where he's lived for his whole life. To Jack, Room is the whole world, but for Ma, it's a prison where she's been held against her will for seven years.

In this small 11x11 room, she's been able to protect Jack from Old Nick, and create a whole world for him. But as he gets older, his imagination and curiosity grow, and she knows that soon, Room will not be big enough.

Told from five year old Jack's perspective, this story is one that really captures your attention. I read it over two days, and when I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it or talking about it. I just couldn't wait to see what would happen next, and I didn't want it to end.

Ms. Donahue really did a great job in creating a story that shows the human side of a shocking situation.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

New Fiction Released the Week of 10/19/10

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. Please click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

Against All Things Ending by Stephen R. Donaldson
Chasing the Night by Iris Johansen
by Lois McMaster Bujold
Driving on the Rim by Thomas McGuane
In the Company of Others by Jan Karon
The Shattering by Christie Golden
The Templar Salvation by Raymond Khoury
Trespass by Rose Tremain
The Twelfth Imam by Joel C. Rosenberg
Valley Forge by Newt Gingrich
The Wake of Forgiveness by by Bruce Machart
Worth Dying For by Lee Child

Friday, October 15, 2010

Don't Blink by James Patterson

After a few disappointing books recently, Don't Blink is a solid thriller from Patterson and co-author Howard Roughan, who collaborated with Patterson on Honeymoon and Sail.

In Don't Blink, newspaper journalist Nick Daniels has just received news of what might be the biggest story of his career. Legendary Yankees pitcher Dwayne Robinson, who has refused to talk to the media ever since the infamous game where he didn't show up to play, claiming later that we was drugged and did not overdose, has agreed to an interview.

Set for an afternoon meal at Lombardo's, Nick has his recorder set and is ready for the interview of a lifetime; that is until out of nowhere, the guy at the next time, a former attorney for a mafia head, gets his eyes gauged out, literary, but a killer who escapes by shooting down the two cops who happen to be in the restaurant, leaving three deaths in his wake.

Nick later discovers his tape recorded picked up the pertinent information that the killer said to Marcozza shortly before killing him. This evidence puts Nick at the center of a crime involving the mob and the FBI.

There are a lot of over-the-top Hollywood type elements in this story: car explosions, shoot-outs, the protagonist evading death on more than one occasion. So if you like that kind of action intermingled with your suspense, then Don't Blink is the book for you!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Fiction Released the Week of 10/12/2010

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. Please click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

American Assassin
by Vince Flynn
Betrayer of Worlds by Larry Niven
Brave by Nicholas Evans
Busy Body by M.C. Beaton
The Charming Quirks of Others by Alexander McCall Smith
The Demon's Parchment by Jeri Westerson
Djibouti by Elmore Leonard
Fatal Error by F. Paul Wilson
Ghost in Trouble by Carolyn Hart
Great House by Nicole Krauss
In Search of Mercy by Michael Ayoob
Law of Attraction by Allison Leott
Our Kind of Traitor by John Le Carre
Passion Play by Beth Bernobich
Playing the Game by Barbara Taylor Bradford
The Prostitutes' Ball by Stephen J. Cannell
The Shimmering Blond Sister by David Handler
The Sleepwalkers by Paul Grossman
Stranglehold by Ed Gorman
Swift Justice by Laura Disilverio
The Tenth Song by Naomi Ragen
Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury
The Weekend by Bernhard Schlink

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

Oh Nicolas, what happened here? Like A Bend in the Road, Spark's departs from his typical style to offer us something a bit different, but Safe Haven may not satisfy all of his enduring fans.

In this latest gentle read/romance, Katie has finally drummed up the courage to leave her controlling and physically abusive husband, Kevin, without his knowledge. He told her that if she ever tried to leave again, he would kill her and any man that she loved. She has relocated far away to Southport, North Carolina under a new identity. Without much money, she can only afford a fixer-upper cottage in a secluded wooded area, but she has been saving the small money she earns as a waitress at a local eatery, Ivan's.

Not feeling she can trust anyone, Katie mostly keeps to herself, but has been slowly letting Jo, her neighbor, get to know her. Although she is treading slowly, Katie also can't help but be intrigued by Alex, the grocery shop owner who she sees every week. Alex is a widower with two young children who is also afraid of starting a relationship but he knows that he is drawn to Katie. The two fall quickly in love, but how long will their bliss last, as it is only a matter of time before Kevin will find Katie?

I can't say that I disliked Safe Haven, but I felt that the focus on the romance between Katie and Alex took a backseat to Kevin and all his problems. I wish Sparks spent as much time letting his readers explore the thoughts of Katie and Alex as he did Kevin.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Great Typo Hunt by Jeff Deck and Benjamin D. Herson

As the editor of the Library's newsletter,website and signage, I spend quite a bit of time correcting typos and grammatical errors. They have a name for me around here that's not so nice but I'm okay with it because good grammar is important! Especially when it comes to signage, flyers, newsletters, websites, etc.--anything for the public. That, of course, is why this book appealed to me so much. Two grammar warriors out to save America's signage one correction at a time is right up my alley!

This story winds up being so much more than that, as you can imagine. Jeff, a science journal editor decides to embark on a trip across the country stealthily fixing signs and soon realizes he needs a companion, not just to entertain him on those long drives but as a partner in "crime". Little do they realize that they really will end up committing a crime!

More importantly, they discover how alike we are--there is no one place where grammar is the worst, some people will gladly accept correction suggestions while others will deny it just to be defiant towards the yokel telling them what to do.

On this journey, Jeff and Benjamin wrestle with more than just grammar--they unknowingly delve into sociology, culture, race, history, education and communication.

As someone who has corrected public signs in businesses and restaurants myself, I really enjoyed this grammar roadtrip. Highly recommended!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New Fiction Released the Week of 10/5/2010

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. Please click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

1635: The Eastern Front by Eric Flint
Chocolate Pirate Plot by Joanna Carl
The Dead Path by Stephen Irwin
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
The False Friend by Myla Goldberg
Fiber & Brimstone by Laura Childs
Gauntlgrym by R.A. Salvatore
Intrigues by Mercedes Lackey
Kill the Dead by Richard Kadrey
A Lily of the Field by John Lawton
Nemesis by Philip Roth
Painted Ladies by Robert B. Parker
Promise Me by Richard Paul Evans
Real Murders by Charlaine Harris
The Reversal by Michael Connelly
Rose in a Storm by Jon Katz
Starlit by Lisa Rinna
The Valcourt Heiress by Catherine Coulter
Velocity by Alan Jacobson
World and Town by Gish Jen

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Disorderly Knights by Dorothy Dunnett

The Disorderly Knights is the third book in The Lymond Chronicles, and a pivotal point in the series. After his escapades in Queen's Play, Francis Crawford of Lymond embarks on a journey to Malta. While there, he meets an old boyhood friend, Jerott Blyth, and Blyth's leader, Graham Malett, both of whom are Knights of the Order of St. John. Unfortunately, the knights are led by a corrupt and venal Grand Master, who has stolen the Order's money for his own gains. Consequently, he neglected upkeep of the Order's defenses, and left them vulnerable to the Turkish army.

After devastating battles in both Malta, and Tripoli, Lymond returns to Scotland. There, he plans to raise a private army that will enforce peace, and give Scotland a chance to heal from years of war with the English and themselves. Blyth and Malett follow him, along with several other former Knights of the Order, and they are joined by other experts in the field of war who are interested in fighting under Francis Crawford.

However, the clans along the border of Scotland are not particularly interested in peace, and Lymond has to force them to accept his terms. He also has to decide what relationship, if any, he wants with Graham Malett's beautiful sister, Joleta. Additionally, he has to ward off an attempt by an insidious enemy who wants to control Lymond's army for personal gain. Lastly, a secret about his personal life, unknown even to Lymond, but manipulated by his enemies, threatens to be revealed, and change all of Lymond's plans for the future.

In some ways similar to the first book, in The Disorderly Knights the motivations of characters are not revealed until the end. There are several plot twists, and Dunnett loves to lead her readers in one direction, only to pull the rug out from under their feet. However, upon close reading, she does lay out many clues to the mystery in this story, and I loved seeing how the pieces of the puzzle fit together. There are thrilling battles, adventure and escape. Most of all, I loved the characters, and watching Lymond once more battle against all odds, and mature and prevail. However, be warned that there is a major cliffhanger, and you will want the next book, Pawn in Frankincense, by your side when this one is finished.