Thursday, October 31, 2013

Foreplay by Sophie Jordan

Dartmouth college student Pepper has been pining for the same man since she was twelve. She finally has her chance now that Hunter is newly single. Unfortunately, Pepper doesn’t have much experience under the sheets, so her roommates have the perfect guy in mind to show her the ropes. Enter hot, bad boy bartender Reece, who has seduced his share of customers and is more than happy to tutor Pepper. 

Under his guidance, she learns not only about pleasures in the bedroom but also that there is much more to this man than Pepper originally thought. She discovers herself opening up to him on an emotional level she has never done with anyone, not even her friends. Hunter is the man who will rescue her from her past, but the rare chemistry she only finds with Reece gives her doubts about the one thing she always new to be true.

Best known for her sensual historical romances, Jordan makes a big splash with this first foray into the emerging new adult territory. Readers are along for a pleasurable ride with Pepper in her sexual education, which comes from a hot guy whose attraction goes much deeper than sex. A gratifying story that is also hard to put down, Jordan series starter sets a high bar for new adult.

Originally published in Xpress Reviews: Fiction | First Look at New Books, November 1, 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

New Fiction 10/29/13

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. If you see something you like, simply click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

Accused by Lisa Scottoline
After Dead by Charlaine Harris
Candlelight Christmas by Susan Wiggs
A Catered Christmas Cookie Exchange by Isis Crawford
Dead Set by Richard Kadrey
Fifteen Minutes by Karen Kingsbury
The Most of Nora Ephron by Nora Ephron
A Nantucket Christmas by Nancy Thayer
Parasite by Mira Grant
S. by J. J. Abrams
Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope
Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone
The Way Home by Cindy Gerard
Winners by Danielle Steel

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Paris Without End by Gioia Diliberto

Paris Without End gives a factual account of the life of Hadley Richardson, Ernest Hemingway’s first wife. It follows them through their courtship in Chicago and St. Louis, and travels with them to Paris, where Hemingway and others like Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott Fitzgerald made up the “Lost Generation.” With Hadley as the focus, the book follows her through her divorce, remarriage, and the remainder of her life with and without Ernest.

I really enjoyed Paris Without End - for a non-fiction book, it read like the best kind of fiction. The details are well researched, and the emotion of Hadley and Ernest is palpable throughout. I think the worst part about it was knowing how it ends - that she was only the first of four wives.

Diliberto does a wonderful job of painting not only a multifaceted view of Hadley, but also of Hemingway himself. It can be easy to villianize him because of the details of the end of their marriage, but the book does a really good job of showing that they were both real people; passionately in love with each other, but also human and susceptible to real situations and emotions. Their obvious affection for one another didn't cure all, and I think that's important to note. I also found it very interesting how their relationship (and later, the disintegration thereof) affected Hemingway's fiction and his career in general.

I found this a really easy but also fully engaging read. Though parts meandered a bit, the pacing was good and the details were both interesting and honest. If you've read The Paris Wife or are just curious about Hadley (and Hemingway for that matter), I highly recommend this book.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov by Andrea Pitzer

The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov was another world-rocker for me. How could it be otherwise? It centers on the life and literature of a Russian who grew up in a wealthy anglophile home (his mother was the daughter of a mining magnate, Russia’s Carnegie). He spoke English first and his native tongue, second. He was the son of the leader of the Kadet Party, the closest Russia ever got to democracy.

Nabokov escaped Fate at the hands of the Bolsheviks in 1919 and poverty in Berlin with his mother and 4 siblings after two angry tsarists thugs assassinated his father. He married a Jewish woman from St. Petersburg named Vera and together, they slipped from the Germans in 1939 from Berlin and again, in 1942 from Paris, and then from McCarthy and the CIA throughout their American years. Many of their siblings and relatives got caught either in the Holocaust (V’s brother, who was gay), or behind the Iron Curtain in Prague after 1961 and 1968.

The entire 19th century gets covered in this magnificent  memoir. Most surprising, but hardest to read, is the author’s revelations about the history of the Holocaust, the Russian Revolution, totalitarianism, and torture (both Nazi concentration camp and Stalinist gulag) lurking beneath the surface of all of Nabokov’s convoluted plots and the despair caused by the resulting loss of the perfect peaceful world that was his childhood. It’s heartbreaking. I see Nabokov and his literature with fresh eyes.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

New Fiction 10/22/13

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. If you see something you like, simply click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

The Abominable by Dan Simmons
Ask Not by Max Allan Collins
Captive by A. D. Robertson
The Creeps by John Connolly
Critical Mass by Sara Paretsky
Cross and Burn by Val McDermid
Drone by Mike Maden
Duck the Halls by Donna Andrews
Esrever Doom by Piers Anthony
Fallen Women by Sandra Dallas
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
The Litter of the Law by Rita Mae Brown
Outlaw by Mark Sullivan
Outlaw by Ted Dekker
Silent Night by Robert B. Parker
The Spanish Queen by Carolly Erickson
Sycamore Row by John Grisham
We are Water by Wally Lamb

Saturday, October 19, 2013

All the Summer Girls by Meg Donohue

Three childhood friends, struggling with the realities of their three very different adulthoods and secrets of a shared past, decide to get together for a weekend in Avalon, New Jersey: Kate, an intense Philadelphia lawyer, finds out she's pregnant just after her fiancĂ© breaks their engagement. Vanessa, a newly minted stay-at-home mom with a seemingly idyllic NYC life, struggles to deal with her husband's recent infidelity and a strong desire to get in touch with an old flame. Dani, a nomadic aspiring writer with a weakness for partying, loses her job and apartment in San Francisco and faces the reality of moving back home and starting over.

The group comes together in Avalon, the place of so many childhood and adolescent memories, all afraid of the same one: the summer that Kate's twin brother, Colin, drowned in the bay. Each unknowingly keeps secrets about his death from the others, afraid of how their friendships will change, unaware how the truths about that night have shaped their lives (and their relationships to one another) ever since.

This is a fun read – perfect for the beach (or if you just wish you were there). I may be slightly biased because of my undying affection for the Jersey Shore (not the TV show!), but I found myself drawn to the idea of the ocean as both a balm and a catalyst to the simmering tensions underlying these women’s’ lifelong friendships. I related to the main characters' struggle to define themselves as they turn 30, and I appreciated that the ending did not tie up all loose ends - it was more a book about characters coming to terms with themselves rather than resolving their issues completely during a holiday weekend at the beach. All in all, a good read to get you thinking of humid summer days with the sound of the waves and the wind in the background.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Flirting With Danger by Claire Baxter

In this short number from Baxter (More Than Just Pretend), firefighter Jasmine Mackinnon has always been one of the guys. When forced to shed her tomboy image for a friend’s wedding, she catches the attention of fellow crew member and notorious playboy Aaron Parkes, who sees a side of Jasmine that he finds undeniably beautiful.

There is no question that Aaron is hot stuff, but the fact that romantic relationships are dangerous for firefighters coupled with baggage from her past has Jasmine guarding her heart very closely. She refuses to behave like the type of women Aaron attracts and is concerned she would just be another one of his flings.

Although taking risks is common in their line of work, Jasmine isn't quite ready to take a risk with her heart. But getting to know Jasmine brings Aaron to the realization that she is the only one he wants. Now he just has to convince her that he is willing to walk through fire to capture her heart.

Baxter deserves credit for creating a strong and independent protagonist in Jasmine who is easy to favor. Unfortunately, though, corny lines such as “others were drawn to him the way paper clips clung to the end of a magnet” and an all too predictable ending sour any potential this story had going.

Originally published in Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, October 18, 2013

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New Fiction 10/15/13

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. If you see something you like, simply click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.


Actors Anonymous by James Franco
Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding
Christmas Bliss by Mary Kay Andrews
Dark City by F. Paul Wilson
Fingal O'Reilly: Irish Doctor by Patrick Taylor
Guests on Earth by Lee Smith
The Heavens Rise by Christoper Rice
How to Be a Good Wife by Emma J. Chapman
Identical by Scott Turow
Just One Evil Act by Elizabeth George
The Last Dark by Stephen R. Donaldson
The Lion Seeker by Kenneth Bonert
Quiet Dell by Jayne Ann Phillips
The Sisters Weiss by Naomi Ragen 
Two Hotel Francforts by David Leavitt
The Wolves of Midwinter by Anne Rice

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Terrible Love by Marata Eros

Jess Mackey is starting life over. She has run away from a horrific past and is hiding out at college in Washington. She has made friends and is cautiously excited about life. Then her friend tricks her into auditioning for the Seattle Ballet Company. Jess is trying not to be that girl from the past but she cannot resist the ballet. Life is going well and it doesn't hurt that two men are interested in her.

Devin "Cas" Castile is a bad boy and Mitchell is Mr. Safe. Jess knows she should date Mitchell but Cas offers her sex with no strings attached. Jess accepts but in the process loses her heart. He seems to have feelings for Jess too but Cas is keeping secrets. But he isn't the only one. Someone is out there that knows Jess's secret. Someone that has deadly intentions.

I really liked this book. I enjoyed the characters and the twist at the end. Her next book is A Brutal Tenderness and is told from Devin's point of view.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Second Honeymoon by James Patterson

Fortunately we keep this blog because I couldn't recall if I read Honeymoon and was able to dig up my review. After reading a several dozen Patterson's, they all sort of meld together, but I do recall that I liked Honeymoon. I guess this is technically a sequel, but being I barely remember the first one, it is safe to say you can definitely skip it and start with Second Honeymoon without missing much.

FBI agent John O'Hara is on leave and required to see a therapist since the release of his wife's killer has everyone fearing that O'Hara will seek revenge. When the son and wife of a wealthy business magnate are murdered on their Turks and Caicos honeymoon, O'Hara is hired privately by the business magnate himself to track down the killer, which provides a temporary distraction.

Meanwhile, special agent Sarah Brubaker is on the case of a serial murderer who has been offing a men who all have one thing in common: the name John O'Hara. This becomes of great concern in Washington, as the president's brother-in-law goes by the same name, and naturally he is worried that he will be the killer's next target.

Sarah is eventually ordered to the home of FBI agent John O'Hara to bring him in and make sure he stays hidden until the killer is caught. Neither Sarah nor John are the type to sit around while a killer is on the loose, so the two join forces to solve both cases. Let's just say that someone from O'Hara's past is dead set on revenge.

There was at least one paragraph I had to go back and reread since Patterson and Roughan fooled me the first time around, which speaks to cleverly written plot. I have stopped reading Patterson with the exception of his Michael Bennett series, but even those have been disappointing as of late. However, I am glad to have picked up this one since this page turner was much better than some of his more recent offerings.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

New Fiction 10/8/13

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. If you see something you like, simply click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

The Case of the Love Commandos by Tarquin Hall
Doing Hard Time by Stuart Woods
Doomed by Chuck Palahniuk
The Double by George P. Pelecanos
Jacob's Oath by Martin Fletcher
Lighthouse Island by Paulette Jiles
Longbourn by Jo Baker
Mr. Lynch's Holiday by Catherine O'Flynn
Old Mars by George R.R. Martin
The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure
Rasputin's Shadow by Raymond Khoury
Storm Front by John Sandford
Starry Night by Debbie Macomber
The Survivor by Vince Flynn
Top Down by Jim Lehrer
Vicious Circle by Wilbur A. Smith

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Lexicon by Max Barry

Emily is a runaway, living on the streets and running a three card Monte scam when she comes to the attention of the recruiters of an exclusive school outside of Washington DC. When she gets to the school, she finds that she won't be learning the usual things, like geometry or history. Instead, the school trains its students in the power of words, and how to use them to manipulate people. Once fully trained, a student becomes a "Poet", although not in the traditional sense, but instead more like a secret agent, with the power to manipulate people.

When we meet Wil, he's being ambushed in an airport washroom. His attackers seem to want some information from him, and after unsuccessfully trying to convince them that they've got the wrong guy, he makes a break for it. Not sure why he's on the run, and unsure who to trust, Wil finds himself in the middle of a war between factions of Poets. He learns that everything he remembers about his life is a lie, and the truth is deadly.

Loved this book! There's action, adventure, intrigue, just a little bit of romance. It's kind of Matrix-like, in the sense that half the time you may not know what's going on, but it's an awesome ride. I think Max Barry just might be my new favorite author!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Tempted in the Tropics by Tracy March

Paige Ellerbee has a good thing going with the elderly who dominate her small Maryland town. After her mother’s death, Paige moved back home to take care of the only family she has left. Besides looking after Dad, she manages Sweet Bee’s, the bakery where she makes “magical” treats that seem to help the ailments of her customers.

Leaving behind scandal and a cheating fiance in Texas, Lane Anderson is the new doctor of Maple Creek who is unwilling to provide Paige with the medical information of his patients. Without this crucial information to make the right recipes, her business will fail. Lane might be the hottest guy in Maple Creek, but Paige can’t see any redeeming qualities in the uptight doctor, beyond his swoon-worthy looks.

If ruining her business wasn't bad enough, Paige learns that Lane is attending their mutual friend’s destination wedding in St. Lucia. Fortunately, a truce and a tropical fling might be just what the doctor ordered.

March’s (The Practice Proposal) uninspired contemporary doesn't really break any new ground here to make it particularly memorable. Still, the tropical locale is a good backdrop for romance and the love scenes are tame enough for those who like their sex on the light side.

Originally published in Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | First Look at New Books, September 27, 2013

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

New Fiction 10/1/13

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. If you see something you like, simply click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

1636: The Devil's Opera by Eric Flint
Bastion by Mercedes Lackey
Blowback by Valerie Plame 
Cartwheel by Jennifer Dubois
The Chocolate Book Bandit by Joanna Carl
The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson
Ghost Gone Wild by Carolyn Hart
Gilt Trip by Laura Childs
The Hired Man by Aminatta Forna
Johannes Cabel: The Fear Institute by Jonathan L. Howard
Let the Old Dreams Die by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Loss of Innocence by Richard North Patterson
Mortal Bonds by Michael Sears
The Night Guest by Fiona Mcfarlane
Nostalgia by Dennis McFarland
The October List by Jeffery Deaver
Possession by J.R. Ward
The Pure Gold Baby by Margaret Drabble
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
Silencing Eve by Iris Johansen
The Sleep Room by F.R. Tallis
Spider Woman's Daughter by Anne Hillerman
The Spymistress by Jennifer Chiaverini
The Tilted World by Tom Franklin