Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine by Alex Brunkhorst

Thomas Cleary, a disgraced NY journalist, struggles to reinvent himself in L.A. as an entertainment reporter on the Hollywood beat. When assigned to write an obituary for a Tinseltown "mover and shaker", he is thrust into a group of Hollywood elite and desperate to get close to the very people that can further his career.

In the group, but not of it, Thomas knows his future depends upon remaining in the good graces of his new benefactors. That would include steering clear of the eccentric daughter of mogul David Duplaine. But there is something amiss about Matilda, and the smitten young journalist cannot stay away.

Reminiscent of The Great Gatsby, this is a story about love, power, and ambition, and the price you pay for wanting it all.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New Fiction 12/29/2015

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 Forgotten Soldier by Brad Taylor
After She's Gone by Lisa Jackson
The First Hostage by Joel C. Rosenberg
The Hunting Trip by William E. Butterworth, III
The Lady's Command by  Stephanie Laurens

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Hidden Heat by Carla Swafford

Born to a family with ties to the Brothers of Mayhem MC, Cassidy wants to save her younger brother from a life of violence. So she marches into the club’s bar with a bat in tow searching for Storm, but is saved from a beat down from the Skull, the club’s president, by bartender Thorn.

There is something different about Thorn; he doesn’t quite fit the persona of your typical biker gang member and she soon learns that he is a cop working undercover to take down the club. In order to insert himself more closely in their world and legitimize himself to the MC, he convinces Cassidy to become his old lady. But the physical attraction they feel goes deeper than for show.

When the club’s president, Stonewell, and his thugs learn that there might be a snitch among them, Thorn will do what it takes to protect the feisty woman that fulfills him in every way, even though her safety comes at the expense of their love affair.

Although the action in Swafford’s (Circle of Deception) plot takes a bit to rise, there is plenty in the way of fast bikes, leather, and inside details into the culture of this MC to keep readers invested in the romance. This is Bk.1 in the Brothers of Mayhem series.

Originally published in Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | January 15, 2016

Thursday, December 24, 2015

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Violet and Finch, two damaged teenagers, meet for the first time on the top of a high school bell tower, both inclined to jump. Finch talks Violet off the ledge, and gallantly forces her to be the hero, as his reputation as a "freak" is already beyond repair. As their relationship grows, we see the physical and emotional scars from trying to navigate in a world where accidents happen and good people suffer. 

The story of Violet and Finch is wonderful and heartbreaking. The characters are compelling, and the tone very similar to Eleanor and Park. It's a vivid window into the teenage heart, and one you won't soon forget. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Hurricane by R.J. Prescott

Emily McCarthy is just trying to survive. She has escaped her abusive home and is starting a new life with a new name. She is still terrified but determined to make something of herself. Her first step is completing college.  While waitressing at a local diner, Emily becomes friends with Danny. He is the owner of the local gym and offers her a job to keep the books. Emily isn't sure at first but gives it a try.

Cormac "The Hurricane" O'Connell has just be floating through life. Never serious about anything. Until he sees Emily. As he gets to know her and fall for her, he decides to change his life. He is know focusing on making a career for himself in boxing.

Emily is weary at first of O'Connell but also attracted. He slowly wins her over and Emily starts to realize that maybe she can be happy. But a threat from her past is back and Emily might not get her happy ending.

I loved this book. The story was great. The characters were great. It is only available as an ebook in our catalog. Go to eRead Illinois to check it out! I am eagerly awaiting the next book, Aftermath!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

As the narrator of her own audiobook, Jenny Lawson is fantastic at expressing the tsunami of words flooding out of her brain. Like her first memoir, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, this book is a window into what goes on in her head, which seems like an awfully frantic place to be as we follow her again and again down the rabbit hole.

This book is more dark and introspective than her first, but still with a light-ish touch. It's not quite as ha-ha funny, as Jenny reveals much more about her panic/anxiety disorder, and how incredibly debilitating her depression, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and other autoimmune issues can be. (But with a light-ish touch.)

What I love about Jenny is her refusal to allow all of the "crazy" (her term, not mine) to deny her moments of furious happiness. She is a triumph of tenacity, and a beacon of hope to all who suffer with mental illness.

If you are fascinated by being in someone else’s brain for a while, this audiobook is for you. In addition to this memoir, you might also like her first book Let’s Pretend This Never Happened or Fiction Ruined My Family by Jeanne Darst.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Persuasion by Violetta Rand

High school counselor Lily moved to Corpus Texas to escape family troubles back home. Hoping to let loose, she hits a club with her best friend where she is harassed by a nasty biker. Fortunately Lang Anderson has come to her rescue, and Lily finds herself intrigued by her savior, who’s outlaw status is equal parts exciting and troubling.

Even though a girl like her could never understand his world, he learns fate has other ideas when they meet again at his kid sister’s school where Lily will be counseling Maya. As newly appointed president of the Sons of Odin MC, he will take what is rightfully his, and that includes the blond counselor who drives him wild.

 But when someone from his world threatens the women in his life, he’ll be driven to bring down justice, no matter the cost.

A decision by Lang at the novel’s close discredits some of the potency Rand (Devil’s Den series) generates in this MC’s culture, especially since loyalty to the brotherhood is a cardinal rule, and readers won’t respect Lily, who so quickly gives up feminist values, even for love. Sexy and mildly diverting, this MC has potential but doesn’t deliver at full throttle this reviewer had hoped. This is book 1 of the Sons of Odin MC series.

Originally published in Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | December 18, 2015

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Do-Right by Lisa Sandlin

It's 1973 and Delpha Wade is fresh out of a Louisiana prison after a 14-year stint for murdering her attacker. She arrives at the doorstep of PI Tim Phelan, looking for a job.

Phelan has no intention of hiring her as his assistant, but Delpha simply sits down and starts working, quickly making herself indispensable. The unlikely pair make a great team as they successfully resolve issues for their clients, until loose threads from one case point to Big Oil involvement. And did I mention the serial killer?

The main characters in this book are well drawn, and I found myself rooting for Delpha from the very first page.  She is strong, and smart, and unwilling to give up, which makes for a compelling character in this moderately-paced, historical mystery.

If you enjoy books with a strong female lead set in the south in the 1970's, I would also recommend the Edgar-nominated Cop Town by Karin Slaughter.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

New Fiction 12/8/2015

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 Relic Master by Christopher Buckley
Ashley Bell by Dean R. Koontz
Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz
Desperate Measures by Jo Bannister

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

A box arrives by messenger at the London office of Private Investigator and amputee Cormoran Strike addressed to his assistant, Robin.  In it lies a woman’s leg.  Was is sent by someone from Strike’s past to mess with him, someone with a grudge, or is it from one of the “nutters” sending amputee fan mail?  The bigger question, of course, is whose leg is it?

During the investigation, Robin drops a bombshell about her past, and struggles with her decision to marry, as her fiance is not supportive about her career choice.  Or her boss.

In this much-awaited 3rd novel in the series, Cormoran and Robin come to personal and professional crossroads as they try to navigate their complicated relationship.  Are they simply colleagues?  Friends?  More?

J.K. Rowling continues to delight with her well-drawn characters, and intense plotting. If you have not already, I recommend reading the first two, The Cuckoo’s Calling, and The Silkworm. This book strongly builds on story lines started in the first two, and deliciously teases you with the relationship between Cormoran and Robin.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Truth and Other Lies by Sascha Arango

Henry Hayden is quite confused.  Would things be easier if his wife disappeared, or his mistress?  Henry’s musings on the subject begin a long, dark journey into the mind of a popular author bent on simplifying his life by “losing” one or the other. The ante is upped when his mistress reveals a pregnancy, forcing Henry to choose, and choose quickly.

Then one of the two woman dies, wreaking havoc on Henry’s well-ordered life.  He claims he didn’t do it.  Should we believe him?

Fast-paced and full of hairpin turns, this book will keep you guessing until the very end.  If you like psychological thrillers with unreliable narrators, you might also want to try The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson, or In the Blood by Lisa Unger.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

New Fiction 12/1/2015

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.

Out Comes the Evil by Stella Cameron
Blood, Salt, Water by Denise Mina
House of the Rising Sun by James Lee Burke
Tom Clancy Commander In Chief by Mark Greaney
Dead to the Last Drop by Cleo Coyle
Precious Gifts by Danielle Steel
Splinter the Silence by Val McDermid
Harbour Street by Ann Cleeves