Book Club Kit: The Secret Keeper

The Secret KeeperThe-Secret-Keeper
By Kate Morton
First Published: 2012
10 copies & Reading Guide

1961: On a sweltering summer’s day, while her family picnics by the stream on their Suffolk farm, sixteen-year-old Laurel hides out in her childhood tree house dreaming of a boy called Billy, a move to London, and the bright future she can’t wait to seize. But before the idyllic afternoon is over, Laurel will have witnessed a shocking crime that changes everything. 2011: Now a much-loved actress, Laurel finds herself overwhelmed by shades of the past. Haunted by memories, and the mystery of what she saw that day, she returns to her family home and begins to piece together a secret history. A tale of three strangers from vastly different worlds–Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy–who are brought together by chance in wartime London and whose lives become fiercely and fatefully entwined. Shifting between the 1930s, the 1960s, and the present, The Secret Keeper is a spellbinding story of mysteries and secrets, theatre and thievery, murder and enduring love.

Reading Guides (questions for discussion):
Simon & Schuster
Author website reader’s guide

Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
Booklist Online

On the Web:
Author InterviewThe Sydney Morning Herald

Book trailer:

Similar Reads:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Stone’s Fall by Iain Pears
The Water’s Lovely by Ruth Rendell
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
In Falling Snow by Mary Rose MacColl

hoopla digital now available in Pinal County!

hoopla Web Banner

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The Pinal County Library District is excited to announce the public availability of thousands of movies, television shows, and music albums, all available for mobile and online access through a new partnership with hoopla digital – all you need is a valid library card!

All Pinal County Library District card holders can download the free hoopla digital mobile app on their Android or iOS device or visit hoopladigital.com to begin enjoying thousands of titles – from major Hollywood studios, record companies, and publishers – available to borrow for instant streaming or temporary download to their smartphones, tablets and computers.

hoopla digital has a simple sign-up and attractive, easy-to-use interface, so it’s easy to get to your listening and viewing experience. There’s also no waiting to borrow popular movies, TV shows, and albums. And hoopla digital’s automatic return feature eliminates late fees.

To access the system on your mobile device, you will need to first download the FREE hoopla digital app from the App Store on your Android or IOS device. Once you have downloaded the app to your device(s) and/or clicked on the hoopla digital link on our website you will be prompted to enter your email address, a password, your library card number, and your library card PIN number.

The system will validate that you are in good standing with the library, so that you may begin to browse, borrow, and enjoy the content.

Come see what all the hoopla’s about:

  • Once you borrow a title on one device it is automatically available via all devices with the hoopla digital app and via your PC web browsers (IE 8+, Firefox 12+, Safari 5+, Chrome 19+).
  • Within the hoopla app, you can access Pinal County Library District news via our news feed; this will help you stay aware of what’s going on at our branches.
  • When using hoopla you will be able to begin streaming the content immediately. You can also download content to view at a later date (in case you won’t have Wi-Fi on that camping trip).
  • You will be allowed to borrow 5 titles each month
    • Video lends for 3 days
    • Music lends for 7 days
    • You are able to access (view/listen to) borrowed content as often as you want during the checkout period and you can return any borrowed title whenever you want.
    • To learn more about this exciting new offering, please visit our site.

We hope you enjoy this new service and encourage you to share your experience on our Facebook and Twitter pages!

Book Club Kit: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

The Heart is a Lonely Hunterheart-is-a-lonely-hunter
By Carson McCullers
First Published: 1940
10 copies & Reading Guide

When The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers’s literary debut, was first published by Houghton Mifflin, on June 4, 1940, the twenty-three-year-old author became a literary sensation virtually overnight. The novel is considered McCullers’s finest work, an enduring masterpiece that was chosen by the Modern Library as one of the top one hundred works of fiction published in the twentieth century.
Set in a small Southern mill town in the 1930s, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter is a haunting, unforgettable story that gives voice to the rejected, the forgotten, and the mistreated. At the novel’s center is the deaf-mute John Singer, who is left alone after his friend and roommate, Antonapoulos, is sent away to an asylum. Singer moves into a boarding house and begins taking his meals at the local diner, and in this new setting he becomes the confidant of several social outcasts and misfits. Drawn to Singer’s kind eyes and attentive demeanor are Mick Kelly, a spirited young teenager with dreams greater than her economic means; Jake Blount, an itinerant social reformer with a penchant for drink and violence; Biff Brannon, the childless proprietor of the local café; and Dr. Copeland, a proud black intellectual whose unwavering ideals have left him alienated from those who love him.

Reading Guide: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – Includes Questions for Discussion

Reviews:
The Big Read
The Washington Post

Similar reads:
Plainsong by Kent Haruf
Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor

Enjoy The Heart is a Lonely Hunter? Share your thoughts and comments below or over at Goodreads.

Book Club Kit: Orphan Train

Orphan TrainOrphan Train
By Christina Baker Kline
First Published: 2013
10 copies & Reading Guide

Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse…

As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life – answers that will ultimately free them both.

Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

Reading Guide:
HarperCollins Publishers – Includes Questions for Discussion

Reviews:
Kirkus
Publishers Weekly

On the Web:
NPR
Official Author Website

Route Map of the Orphan Trains: 

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Similar Reads:
Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala
Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

Enjoy Orphan Train? Share your thoughts and comments below or over at Goodreads.

Book Club Kit: Unbroken

 

Unbroken Laura Hillenbrand

Unbroken:  a World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
By Laura Hillenbrand
First Published: 2010
10 copies & Reading Guide

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood.  Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.  It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard.  So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini.  In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails.  As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile.  But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater.  Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion.  His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

Reading Guide:
LitLovers – Includes Brief Synopsis, Author Information, Reviews, and Discussion Questions

Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews
New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Wall Street Journal
Washington Post

On the web:
NPR
Official Author Website
Unbroken (Film) – Release date December 25, 2014
Interview with Louis Zamperini on CBS Sunday Morning:

 

If you enjoyed Unbroken, you also might like:
Devil at My Heels: A Heroic Olympian’s Astonishing Story of Survival as a Japanese POW in World War II By Louis Zamperini
My Private War: Liberated Body, Captive Mind: A World War II POW’s Journey by Norman Bussel
Flyboys: A True Story of Courage by James Bradley

Did you enjoy Unbroken? Shall your thoughts in the comments below.

Picture Book Month – November 2013

November is Picture Book Month! Founded by Dianne de Las Casas and recently supported by the American Association of School Librarians, the campaign hopes to promote the continued existence of picture books in a digital age. Throughout the month different authors and illustrators discuss the importance of picture books on the Picture Book Month website.

Additionally, organizers have created a calendar featuring different themes for each day of November. These themes can be helpful in setting up book displays, planning story times, or simply in choosing something new to read!  Below you’ll find some books available within Pinal County Libraries that fit each theme.

Looking for more? Try Tumblebook Library, an eBook site for kids!
Spanish language options can be found at Biblioteca Tumblebook, or by searching the library catalog.

Picture-Book-Month-2013-Color-Calendar-by-Dulemba1

November 1 – Food – From Seed to Pumpkin by Wendy Pfeffer
November 2 – Alphabet/Counting - Count Your Blessings by Patti Reeder Eubank
November 3 – History – Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson (2013 NYT Top 10 Best Illustrated Books Award)
November 4 – Friendship – One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo/Illustrated by David Small (2013 Caldecott Honor Book)
November 5 – Nature – Blue Sky by Audrey Wood
November 6 – Mice – The Lion & The Mouse by Jerry Pinkney (2010 Caldecott Medal Winner)
November 7 – Royalty – King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood
November 8 – Bunnies – Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds/Illustrated by Peter Brown (2013 Caldecott Honor Book)
November 9 – World – Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (2013 Caldebott Honor Book)
November 10 – Writing – Once Upon a Baby Brother by Sarah Sullivan
November 11 – Seasons – Coyote Concert on a Full Moon Night by Carol Whelihan-Scherer
November 12 – Bears – Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson
November 13 – Books – We’re Going on a Book Hunt by Pat Miller/Illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westscott
November 14 – Zoo – Pssst! by Adam Rex (Local Arizona author!)
November 15 – Cats & Dogs – Please Take Me for a Walk by Susan Gal
November 16 – Sea – Shimmer & Splash by Jim Arnosky (School Library Journal Pick of the Day)
November 17 – Robots – Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover by Cece Bell
November 18 – Monkeys – Happy Thanksgiving, Curious George by Cynthia Platt
November 19 – Dinosaurs – Tea Rex by Molly Schaar Idle
November 20 – Libraries/Librarians – The Fox in the Library by Lorenz Pauli
November 21 – School – The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School by Laurie Halse Anderson/Illustrated by Ard Hoyt
November 22 – Bugs – Bugs in My Hair! By David Shannon
November 23 – Elephants – Elephants Cannot Dance by Mo Willems
November 24 – Birds – Ten Birds by Cybele Young (2011 Govenor General’s Award)
November 25 – Frogs – I’m a Frog by Mo Willems
November 26 – Clothing – This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen (2013 Caldecott Medal Winner)
November 27 – Reptiles – Franklin’s Thanksgiving by Paulette Bourgeois/Illustrated by Brenda Clark
November 28 – Holidays – Squanto’s Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving by Joseph Bruchac/Illustrated by Greg Shed (Grades 3 – 5)
November 29 – Monsters – I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll/Illustrated by Howard McWilliam
November 30 – Jungle – What to do if an Elephant Stands on Your Foot by Michelle Robinson

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) 2013

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November is National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo.
Librarians are great advocates and participants of this challenge because it supports our goals of literacy, a love of creative fiction & reading, and it’s just plain fun!

Below you’ll find a compilation of NaNoWriMo resources, as well as a number of other helpful links to get you started on the path toward writing your novel.
Pinal County residents will find noteworthy the links to locally-oriented web forums, events, and meet-ups.

Need a place to write? Stop in at your local library. Additionally, every Saturday this month Apache Junction Public Library has dedicated space for NaNoWriMo participants.

NaNoWriMo Resources

 Writing Resources

OneClickdigital now offers eBooks!

One Click ebook selectionPinal County Library District’s downloadable audiobook provider OneClickdigital is now offering a featured selection of eBooks! By creating an account with OneClickdigital you will be able to able to access FREE eBooks for immediate checkout. This special collection consists of classic titles with unlimited access, so you can begin experiencing OneClickdigital eBooks without any holds or waiting lists!

 

OCD headphoneAudiobook titles will be distinguished by a headphones icon.

 

OCD book

eBook titles will be distinguished by a book icon.

 

In order to download these new eBook selections you will need to install the OneClickdigital eReader app from your device’s app store. Click here for more information.

Book Club Kits Survey September 2013 [CLOSED]

It’s that time again – we want to know what your book clubs want to read! Below you will find the descriptions of the books on our Fall Book Club Survey.

To participate in the survey, please CLICK HERE. [SURVEY IS NOW CLOSED]

Lean InLean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
Reviews: Kirkus | Publisher’s Weekly

Thirty years after women became 50 percent of the college graduates in the United States, men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in government and industry. This means that women’s voices are still not heard equally in the decisions that most affect our lives. In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers compelling, commonsense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential.
In Lean In, Sandberg digs deeper into these issues, combining personal anecdotes, hard data, and compelling research to cut through the layers of ambiguity and bias surrounding the lives and choices of working women. She recounts her own decisions, mistakes, and daily struggles to make the right choices for herself, her career, and her family. She provides practical advice on negotiation techniques, mentorship, and building a satisfying career, urging women to set boundaries and to abandon the myth of “having it all.”  She describes specific steps women can take to combine professional achievement with personal fulfillment and demonstrates how men can benefit by supporting women in the workplace and at home.
Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook and is ranked on Fortune’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. In 2010, she gave an electrifying TEDTalk in which she described how women unintentionally hold themselves back in their careers. Her talk, which became a phenomenon and has been viewed more than two million times, encouraged women to “sit at the table,” seek challenges, take risks, and pursue their goals with gusto.

Just KidsJust Kids by Patti Smith
Reviews: Kirkus | Publisher’s Weekly

In Just Kids, Patti Smith’s first book of prose, the legendary American artist offers a never-before-seen glimpse of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies.  An honest and moving story of youth and friendship, Smith brings the same unique, lyrical quality to Just Kids as she has to the rest of her formidable body of work—from her influential 1975 album Horses to her visual art and poetry.

UnbrokenUnbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Reviews: Kirkus | Publisher’s Weekly

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood.  Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.  It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard.  So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.
The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini.  In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails.  As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile.  But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.
Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater.  Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion.  His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

the idiotThe Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Review: The Guardian

After his great portrayal of a guilty man in Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky set out in The Idiot to portray a man of pure innocence. The twenty-six-year-old Prince Myshkin, following a stay of several years in a Swiss sanatorium, returns to Russia to collect an inheritance and “be among people.” Even before he reaches home he meets the dark Rogozhin, a rich merchant’s son whose obsession with the beautiful Nastasya Filippovna eventually draws all three of them into a tragic denouement. In Petersburg the prince finds himself a stranger in a society obsessed with money, power, and manipulation. Scandal escalates to murder as Dostoevsky traces the surprising effect of this “positively beautiful man” on the people around him, leading to a final scene that is one of the most powerful in all of world literature.

Shatter MeShatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Reviews: Kirkus | Publisher’s Weekly

No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon. But Juliette has plans of her own. After a lifetime without freedom, she’s finally discovering a strength to fight back for the very first time—and to find a future with the one boy she thought she’d lost forever.
In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a riveting dystopian world, a thrilling superhero story, and an unforgettable heroine.

Clara and Mr. TiffanyClara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland
Reviews: Kirkus | Publisher’s Weekly

It’s 1893, and at the Chicago World’s Fair, Louis Comfort Tiffany makes his debut with a luminous exhibition of innovative stained-glass windows that he hopes will earn him a place on the international artistic stage. But behind the scenes in his New York studio is the freethinking Clara Driscoll, head of his women’s division, who conceives of and designs nearly all of the iconic leaded-glass lamps for which Tiffany will long be remembered. Never publicly acknowledged, Clara struggles with her desire for artistic recognition and the seemingly insurmountable challenges that she faces as a professional woman. She also yearns for love and companionship, and is devoted in different ways to five men, including Tiffany, who enforces a strict policy: He does not employ married women. Ultimately, Clara must decide what makes her happiest—the professional world of her hands or the personal world of her heart.

Defening JacobDefending Jacob by William Landay
Reviews: Kirkus | Publisher’s Weekly

Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in suburban Massachusetts for over twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home. Then a shocking crime shatters their town, and Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student. Jacob insists that he’s innocent, and Andy believes him. But soon Andy will face a trial of his own.

ubikUbik by Philip K. Dick
Review: SF Site

Glen Runciter runs a lucrative business—deploying his teams of anti-psychics to corporate clients who want privacy and security from psychic spies. But when he and his top team are ambushed by a rival, he is gravely injured and placed in “half-life,” a dreamlike state of suspended animation. Soon, though, the surviving members of the team begin experiencing some strange phenomena, such as Runciter’s face appearing on coins and the world seeming to move backward in time. As consumables deteriorate and technology gets ever more primitive, the group needs to find out what is causing the shifts and what a mysterious product called Ubik has to do with it all.

What Alice ForgotWhat Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
Reviews: Kirkus | Publisher’s Weekly

Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child.
So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! She HATES the gym) and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, , she has three kids, and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes. Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over…

The Bartender's TaleThe Bartender’s Tale by Ivan Doig
Reviews: Kirkus | Publisher’s Weekly

Tom Harry has a streak of frost in his black pompadour and a venerable bar called The Medicine Lodge, the chief watering hole and last refuge in the town of Gros Ventre, in northern Montana. Tom also has a son named Rusty, an “accident between the sheets” whose mother deserted them both years ago. The pair make an odd kind of family, with the bar their true home, but they manage just fine.
Until the summer of 1960, that is, when Rusty turns twelve. Change arrives with gale force, in the person of Proxy, a taxi dancer Tom knew back when, and her beatnik daughter, Francine. Is Francine, as Proxy claims, the unsuspected legacy of her and Tom’s past? Without a doubt she is an unsettling gust of the future, upending every certainty in Rusty’s life and generating a mist of passion and pretense that seems to obscure everyone’s vision but his own. The Bartender’s Tale wonderfully captures how the world becomes bigger and the past becomes more complex in the last moments of childhood.

Laura Lamont's Life In PicturesLaura Lamont’s Life in Pictures by Emma Straub
Reviews: Kirkus | Publisher’s Weekly

In 1920, Elsa Emerson, the youngest and blondest of three sisters, is born in idyllic Door County, Wisconsin. Her family owns the Cherry County Playhouse, and more than anything, Elsa relishes appearing onstage, where she soaks up the approval of her father and the embrace of the audience. But when tragedy strikes her family, her acting becomes more than a child¹s game of pretend.
While still in her teens, Elsa marries and flees to Los Angeles. There she is discovered by Irving Green, one of the most powerful executives in Hollywood, who refashions her as a serious, exotic brunette and renames her Laura Lamont. Irving becomes Laura’s great love; she becomes an Academy Award­-winning actress—and a genuine movie star. Laura experiences all the glamour and extravagance of the heady pinnacle of stardom in the studio-system era, but ultimately her story is a timeless one of a woman trying to balance career, family, and personal happiness, all while remaining true to herself.
Ambitious and richly imagined, Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures is as intimate—and as bigger-than-life—as the great films of the golden age of Hollywood. Written with warmth and verve, it confirms Emma Straub’s reputation as one of the most exciting new talents in fiction.

The Heart is A Lonely HunterThe Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
Review: The Big Read

With the publication of her first novel, The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers, all of twenty-three, became a literary sensation. With its profound sense of moral isolation and its compassionate glimpses into its characters’ inner lives, the novel is considered McCullers’ finest work, an enduring masterpiece first published by Houghton Mifflin in 1940. At its center is the deaf-mute John Singer, who becomes the confidant for various types of misfits in a Georgia mill town during the 1930s. Each one yearns for escape from small town life. When Singer’s mute companion goes insane, Singer moves into the Kelly house, where Mick Kelly, the book’s heroine (and loosely based on McCullers), finds solace in her music. Wonderfully attuned to the spiritual isolation that underlies the human condition, and with a deft sense for racial tensions in the South, McCullers spins a haunting, unforgettable story that gives voice to the rejected, the forgotten, and the mistreated — and, through Mick Kelly, gives voice to the quiet, intensely personal search for beauty.
Richard Wright praised Carson McCullers for her ability “to rise above the pressures of her environment and embrace white and black humanity in one sweep of apprehension and tenderness.” She writes “with a sweep and certainty that are overwhelming,” said the New York Times. McCullers became an overnight literary sensation, but her novel has endured, just as timely and powerful today as when it was first published. The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter is Carson McCullers at her most compassionate, endearing best.

DillowayThe Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway
Reviews: Kirkus | Publisher’s Weekly

Roses are Galilee Garner’s passion. An amateur breeder, she painstakingly cross-pollinates her plants to coax out new, better traits, striving to create a perfect strain of her favorite flower, the Hulthemia. Her dream is to win a major rose competition and one day have her version of the bloom sold in the commercial market.
Gal carefully calibrates the rest of her time to manage the kidney failure she’s had since childhood, going to dialysis every other night, and teaching high school biology, where she is known for her exacting standards. The routine leaves little room for relationships, and Gal prefers it that way. Her roses never disappoint her the way people have.
Then one afternoon, Riley, the teenaged daughter of Gal’s estranged sister, arrives unannounced to live with her, turning Gal’s orderly existence upside down. Suddenly forced to adjust to each other’s worlds, both will discover a resilience.

Beautiful RuinsBeautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
Reviews:  Kirkus | Publisher’s Weekly

The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying.
And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio’s back lot—searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.
What unfolds is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning fifty years and nearly as many lives. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: the starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved producer who once brought them together and his idealistic young assistant; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist and the rakish Richard Burton himself, whose appetites set the whole story in motion—along with the husbands and wives, lovers and dreamers, superstars and losers, who populate their world in the decades that follow. Gloriously inventive, constantly surprising, Beautiful Ruins is a story of flawed yet fascinating people, navigating the rocky shores of their lives while clinging to their improbable dreams.

Me-Before-YouMe Before You by Jojo Moyes
Reviews: Kirkus | Publisher’s Weekly

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.
Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.
A Love Story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

OrphanTrainOrphan Train: A Novel by Christina Baker Kline
Reviews:  Kirkus | Publisher’s Weekly

Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse…
As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.
Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life – answers that will ultimately free them both.
Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

The Secret KeeperThe Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
Reviews:  Kirkus | Publisher’s Weekly

During a summer party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is happily dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and watches as her mother speaks to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime. A crime that challenges  everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy—her vivacious, loving, nearly perfect mother.
Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress living in London. The family is gathering at Greenacres farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday. Realizing that this may be her last chance, Laurel searches for answers to the questions that still haunt her from that long-ago day, answers that can only be found in Dorothy’s past.
Dorothy’s story takes the reader from pre–WWII England through the blitz, to the ’60s and beyond. It is the secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds—Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy—who meet by chance in wartime London and whose lives are forever entwined. The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams and the unexpected consequences they sometimes bring. It is an unforgettable story of lovers and friends, deception and passion that is told—in Morton’s signature style—against a backdrop of events that changed the world.

GreatHouseSmallGreat House by Nicole Krauss
Reviews:  Kirkus | Publisher’s Weekly

For twenty-five years, a reclusive American novelist has been writing at the desk she inherited from a young Chilean poet who disappeared at the hands of Pinochet’s secret police; one day a girl claiming to be the poet’s daughter arrives to take it away, sending the writer’s life reeling. Across the ocean, in the leafy suburbs of London, a man caring for his dying wife discovers, among her papers, a lock of hair that unravels a terrible secret. In Jerusalem, an antiques dealer slowly reassembles his father’s study, plundered by the Nazis in Budapest in 1944.
Connecting these stories is a desk of many drawers that exerts a power over those who possess it or have given it away. As the narrators of Great House make their confessions, the desk takes on more and more meaning, and comes finally to stand for all that has been taken from them, and all that binds them to what has disappeared. Great House is a story haunted by questions: What do we pass on to our children and how do they absorb our dreams and losses? How do we respond to disappearance, destruction, and change?

Joyland Joyland by Stephen King
Reviews:  Booklist | Publisher’s Weekly

College student Devin Jones took the summer job at Joyland hoping to forget the girl who broke his heart. But he wound up facing something far more terrible: the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and dark truths about life—and what comes after—that would change his world forever.
A riveting story about love and loss, about growing up and growing old—and about those who don’t get to do either because death comes for them before their time—JOYLAND is Stephen King at the peak of his storytelling powers. With all the emotional impact of King masterpieces such as The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption, JOYLAND is at once a mystery, a horror story, and a bittersweet coming-of-age novel, one that will leave even the most hard-boiled reader profoundly moved.

The Light Between OceansThe Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
Reviews:  Kirkus | Publisher’s Weekly

After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.
Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

Undaunted CourageUndaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose
Reviews:  Kirkus | Publisher’s Weekly

A biography of Meriwether Lewis that relies heavily on the journals of both Lewis and Clark, this book is also backed up by the author’s personal travels along Lewis and Clark’s route to the Pacific. Ambrose is not content to simply chronicle the events of the “Corps of Discovery” as the explorers called their ventures. He often pauses to assess the military leadership of Lewis and Clark, how they negotiated with various native peoples and what they reported to Jefferson. Though the expedition failed to find Jefferson’s hoped for water route to the Pacific, it fired interest among fur traders and other Americans, changing the face of the West forever.

vanishedhusbandsThe Gallery of Vanished Husbands by Natasha Solomons
Reviews:  Historical Novel Society | Library Journal

London, 1958. It’s the eve of the sexual revolution, but in Juliet Montague’s conservative Jewish community where only men can divorce women, she finds herself a living widow, invisible. Ever since her husband disappeared seven years ago, Juliet has been a hardworking single mother of two and unnaturally practical. But on her thirtieth birthday, that’s all about to change. A wealthy young artist asks to paint her portrait, and Juliet, moved by the powerful desire to be seen, enters into the burgeoning art world of 1960s London, which will bring her fame, fortune, and a life-long love affair.

 

We Recommend… Death Canyon by David Riley Bertsch

Death CanyonDeath Canyon
By David Riley Bertsch

Death Canyon by David Riley Bertsch is the first of a new series featuring a former attorney turned fishing guide living in Jackson, Wyoming.  His name is Jake Trent, and he is living a contented life until he becomes a suspect in the murder of a man he finds in the Snake River.  He teams up with Park Ranger Noelle Klimpton and they spend an exciting few days saving the world from volcanic upheavals while Jake is being framed and almost murdered by a couple of deadly killers from his New York past.  This is a debut novel from a new thriller writer, and if you enjoy Western mysteries, it is a must.

Review by Eileen Jaffe, Pinal County Library District Cataloger