Off The Shelves

Lisa Kleypas

Lisa Kleypas

After graduating from Wellesley College with a political science degree, Lisa published her first novel at age twenty-one. Her books are published in more than 20 languages and are bestsellers all over the world. Lisa (born 1964) was also named Miss Massachusetts in 1995 and competed in the Miss America Pageant the next year.

Her novel “Stranger In My Arms” was given the Waldenbooks Award for greatest sales growth.  The following year, Lisa’s “Someone To Watch Over Me” was a Rita finalist at the Romance Writers of America convention.

In 2002 her novel “Suddenly You” was a Rita finalist and Lisa won the Rita award for her Christmas anthology novella featured in the “Wish List.”  It was a banner year, and her novel “Lady Sophia’s Lover” was awarded Best Sensuous Historical Romance from Romantic Times magazine, and “Lady Sophia’s Lover” was given a starred review in Publishers Weekly, as was “When Strangers Marry.”

The historical series the Ravenels, debuted on the New York Times Bestsellers list and, much to her fans’ delight, characters from previous books made cameos.  Each of the five Ravenels books has been a NY Times Bestseller.  The newest book Chasing Cassandra has been given a starred review by Publisher’s Weekly and by me 😉

Lisa is one of those authors that I never miss and I am always excited when the next title is announced, if you are a fan of romance with lots of twists and turns but always a happy ending you can’t go wrong with one of her many titles.

The Ravenels series in reverse order includes:

Chasing Cassandra 

Devil’s Daughter

Hello Stranger

Devil in Spring

Marrying Winterborne

Cold-Hearted Rake

 

Espionage Thrillers

There’s just nothing like a great spy novel to get your heart racing and the pages turning! Of course, the espionage genre is filled with unforgettable classics by authors like John Le Carre, Graham Greene, Frederick Forsyth and Robert Ludlum.  However, the authors writing spy novels today can hold their own with even the best of these well-known novelists. Check out these titles, all written in the last ten years. There’s a lot of variety in the settings, including World War I, World War II, the Cold War, and post 9/11. I hope you will find at least one new author to love.

The Cairo Affair by Olen Steinhauer  Mission to Paris by Alan Furst  The Moroccan Girl by Charles Cummings

Moscow Sting by Ales Dryden  The Night Agent by Matthew Quirk  An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris

Palace of Treason by Jason Matthews  Red Star Falling by Brian Freemantle  Dragonfly by Leila Meacham

The Shanghai Factor by Charles McCarry  Too Bad to Die by Francine Mathews  The Ways of the World by Robert Goddard

Young Philby by Robert Littell  Leaving Berlin by Joseph Kanon  The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Let us know which spy is your favorite!

“Most spies were amateurs: frustrated revolutionaries of the left or right, people who wanted the imaginary glamour of espionage, greedy men or lovesick women or blackmail victims. The few professionals were very dangerous indeed; they were not merciful men.”
Ken Follett, Eye of the Needle

The City of Light

Are you ready for some adventure? Just sit back and get comfortable, because these books will whisk you away to the City of Light! Of course, the library has many books set in Paris. This is just a small selection to get you started; you can choose the one that seems the most interesting to you.

A Garden in Paris by Stephanie Grace Whitson  The House I Loved by Tatiana De Rosnay  The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

The Good Thief's Guide to Paris by Chris Ewan  The Bones of Paris by Laurie R. King The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

Paris was the Place by Susan Conley  The Paris Key by Juliet Blackwell  The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan

While you’re in the library, pick up one of our Paris-themed DVDs to set the stage.

Gigi DVD An American in Paris DVD Hugo DVD Midnight in Paris DVD

To learn more about the sights and neighborhoods of Paris, check out our newest Fodor’s guide or the non-fiction book Five Nights in Paris by John Baxter.

Fodor's Paris 2020  Five Nights in Paris by John Baxter

“He who contemplates the depths of Paris is seized with vertigo.
Nothing is more fantastic. Nothing is more tragic.
Nothing is more sublime.”
Victor Hugo

When the Weather Outside is Frightful …

When the days are short and gloomy, there’s nothing like digging into an epic story. Here are some sagas that will keep you engrossed for days and totally immerse you in another time or place.

Mary Stewart’s Merlin Trilogy was written in the 1970s, but is one of the most highly-acclaimed versions of King Arthur and Camelot. Another series set in England is the Last Kingdom series by Bernard Cornwell, also known as the Saxon Tales

The Merlin Trilogy by Mary Stewart  Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell

He was a best-selling author of spy stories first, but Ken Follett is better known now for his sweeping Pillars of the Earth and Century trilogies.

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett   Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

Edward Rutherfurd’s books are similar to those of James Michener, centered on a geographical location and the people that inhabit it through multiple generations. He has written books on places like London, Paris, New York, and a two-part series on Ireland.

New York by Edward Rutherfurd   The Princes of Ireland by Edward Rutherfurd

If you’re already missing Poldark on Masterpiece Theatre, this may be the time to dive into the Poldark series by Winston Graham.

Poldark by Winston Graham  Demelza by Winston Graham

For a setting in America, try the Wilderness series by Sara Donati. The six-book series follows the fortunes of a family of English immigrants on the New York frontier. The Last Hundred Years trilogy by Jane Smiley would be another great choice, taking you on a literary adventure through cycles of birth and death, passion and betrayal that span a century in America.

Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati  

For more multiple-generation sagas, check out this Book Riot blog post:

https://bookriot.com/2017/06/15/100-must-read-generational-family-novels/

 

Digital Spotlight: The Lady Sherlock Holmes

USA Today Bestselling Author, Sherry Thomas turns the classic, Sherlock Holmes, upside down and creates a story that’s never been told before! Charlotte Holmes investigates crimes in Victorian London with the help of Mrs. Watson, a female benefactor and a handsome gentleman.

Book 1 of The Lady Sherlock Series

With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society. But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.

When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her.

But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind.

 

Praise for The Lady Sherlock Series:

“These books, which recast Sherlock Holmes as Charlotte Holmes, are perfect for those who adore layered stories. Unignorable questions of gender, expectation and privilege lurk beneath complex mysteries and a slowly scorching romance.” – The Washington Post

“Fast-paced storytelling and witty prose add further appeal for those who like their historical mysteries playful.” – Publishers Weekly

“Thoughtful yet brief remarks critique patriarchy, heteronormativity, and colonialism, fitting organically into an absorbing whodunwhat arc. An exciting addition to the mystery series; Holmes meets Oceans 11 meets A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.” – Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

The first three in The Lady Sherlock Series can be found in the Digital Library.

 

Biographical Fiction

Biographical fiction, a novel based on the life of a real person, is nothing new. After all, some of us can remember reading great biographical fiction in the 1960s or 1970s (The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone, for example,  and Burr and Lincoln by Gore Vidal). You are probably familiar with all the novels about British royalty written by Philippa Gregory. However, this genre has been growing by leaps and bounds in the last few years. Here’s a short survey of some of the authors and titles you can find in our collection at the Aurora Public Library District.

Robert Louis Stevenson and Frank Lloyd Wright are the subjects of novels by Nancy Horan, who grew up surrounded by Frank Lloyd Wright houses in Oak Park, Illinois.

Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan      Loving Frank by Nancy Horan

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain became a book group favorite and allowed readers to experience the Jazz Age in Paris while getting to know Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley. Circling the Sun, McLain’s next book took us to Kenya with Beryl Markham, a friend of Denys Finch Hatton and Baroness Karen Blixen. You’ll want to rewatch Out of Africa after reading this book!

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain     Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

Melanie Benjamin has written novels about Anne Morrow Lindbergh and Truman Capote.

The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin     The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin

We have biographical fiction about Madame Tussaud, Henry David Thoreau, Zelda Fitzgerald, and the wife of C.S. Lewis. But, don’t stop with people you’ve already heard of; part of the fun of this type of book is discovering someone you know nothing about.

Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran      Woods Burner by John Pipkin

Z: a novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler      Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

Tracy Chevalier introduced readers to the life of Mary Anning (of “She sells sea-shells” fame) in Remarkable Creatures. What do you know about the first Native-American to graduate from Harvard or about Einstein’s wife who was also a physicist, or about Annie Clemenc?

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier     Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks

The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict     The women of the Copper Country by Mary Doria Russell

Let these novels take you into a different time and place and into the footsteps of a historical person. If you’ve read other great biographical fiction, share it here with other readers!

New in Non-Fiction

Maybe you’ve noticed that we’ve been adding a lot of new non-fiction books to our collection lately. The role of non-fiction books in public libraries has evolved in the past thirty years, with fewer people using print reference books, but with many people still reading popular non-fiction for pleasure or in support of a hobby. We try to purchase books from a variety of viewpoints (politics, anyone?) and buy many of the books on current best-seller lists. We are always open to suggestions, so don’t be shy about making recommendations! If there is a particular area of the collection that you think we need to update, feel free to let us know.

Here’s a sampling of the non-fiction titles currently on the New Shelf at one of our branches. We don’t always buy a copy for each branch, so once you scroll past the images, I’ll explain a way to see the new non-fiction at “the other branch”.

The Weather Machine by Andrew Blum Unfreedom of the Press by Mark R. Levin The Stressed Years of Their Lives by Hibbs and Rostain The Last Pirate of New York by Rich Cohen

The Idle Beekeeper by Bill Anderson The Family Next Door by John Glatt Spying on the South by Tony Horwitz A Tree in the House by Annabelle Hickson

Rough Magic by Lara Prior Palmer Reading Behind Bars by Jill Grunenwald One-Stitch Baby Knits by Val Pierce On the Clock by Emily Guendelsberger

Grow Your Own Herbs by Selsinger and Tucker Gather at the River by various authors Furious Hours by Casey Cep Chaos by Tom O'Neill

Down From the Mountain by Bryce Andrews  Blended Embroidery by Brian Haggard Beneath the Tamarind Sky by Isha Sesay Ballpark by Paul Goldberger

Basic Welding by William Galvery    Songs of America by Meacham and McGraw   Macrame for Home Decor by Samantha Grenier

There are actual two simple ways to search for new items that may not be at your regular branch. First, starting from the home page (https://eapld.org/), in the Search frame on the right-side of the page, select On-Line Catalog and hit “Go!” without entering a search term. This gets you into the catalog. You should see a tab labeled “New at the Library”. Click on that, and you can scroll through all the items added in the last couple of weeks.

Another method is to use the “Classic Catalog”. Again, starting from the home page (https://eapld.org/), in the Search frame, click on “Looking for the Classic Catalog.” Under the heading Classic Catalog, click on “Submit” without entering a search term. Follow the rest of these steps to locate new non-fiction:

  • Click “Search”.
  • Click on the “New” tab and select a time period in the box called “Received Since”.
  • Click “Set Limits” and scroll through the collection box to find “Non-Fiction.”
  • Select “All Branches”, “Aurora”, or “Dillsboro”, and hit “OK”
  • When it takes you back to the orange “New” screen, just click on “Search”
  • You should have a list of the newest Non-Fiction items at your chosen branch.

Happy Reading!

Rainy Day Reads

April showers brought the May flowers, but it’s been pretty rainy still. With the weather as fickle as it’s been, I don’t want to leave my driveway. With OverDrive, it’s possible to lounge around my house all day without ever running out of things to read, watch, or listen to.

Here are some just-added items from the Indiana Digital Download Center:

Compulsion by Martina Boone

The Dysasters by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Captive Heart by Glynnis Campbell

Rage Becomes Her by Soraya Chemaly

Boy Erased by Garrard Conley

The Spy and the Traitor by Ben Macintyre

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

Come Find Me by Megan Miranda

A Sucky Love Story by Brittani Louise Taylor

The Year We Left Home by Jean Thompson

Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan

The Silent Invader by Thomas Wood

Place these upcoming releases on hold to read in your blanket fort!

Dead Man’s Mistress by David Housewright

Two Weeks by Karen Kingsbury

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire

Murder in the City of Liberty by Rachel McMillan

The Peacock Emporium by Jojo Moyes

Tightrope by Amanda Quick

The Five by Hallie Rubenhold

Neon Prey by John Sandford

Emily Eternal by M.G. Wheaton

So many books, so little time! Do you have a go-to rainy day read? My favorite might have to be Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë if only for the opening paragraphs:

“There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. We had been wandering, indeed, in the leafless shrubbery an hour in the morning; but since dinner (Mrs. Reed, when there was no company, dined early) the cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so sombre, and a rain so penetrating, that further out-door exercise was now out of the question.

I was glad of it: I never liked long walks, especially on chilly afternoons: dreadful to me was the coming home in the raw twilight, with nipped fingers and toes, and a heart saddened by the chidings of Bessie, the nurse, and humbled by the consciousness of my physical inferiority to Eliza, John, and Georgiana Reed.”

Happy Reading!

Poets that Changed Me

As a young woman on the cusp of learning who she really is, Rupi and Amanda have both guided me on that journey. Some people say words have the power to change you, and I agree. Rupi and Amanda both write beautiful poetry meant to inspire and strengthen women to become better versions of ourselves. Their poetry is unique and beautiful and they both touch my heart.

Written By: Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur self-published her debut, Milk and Honey. The book has sold more than 2.5 million copies worldwide since its re-release. From poems of love and heartbreak, to poems of womanhood and self care, Rupi Kaur sheds light on vital topics for women today. Kaur’s poetry is straightforward without the hassle of agonizing over every complicated word and line. In an article with Rolling Stone magazine, she stated: “I’ve realized, it’s not the exact content that people connect with…People will understand and they’ll feel it because it all just goes back to the human emotion. Sadness looks the same across all cultures, races, and communities. So does happiness and joy.”

 

 

 

 

Written By: Amanda Lovelace

Amanda Lovelace‘s poetry is brutally honest. Her debut novel, The Princess Saves Herself in This One, is a collection of poetry filled with the truth of her pain, her subtle strength, and her quiet resilience. The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One is filled with fire and anger. Both books incorporate women power within them as well as the # MeToo movement. All the books in her series, Women are Some Kind of Magic, take the most recognized female characters-princesses, witches, and mermaids-and retell the narratives to make them empowered.

 

 

 

 

Both Rupi and Amanda capture hearts by weaving beautiful tales with their words. While both women are all about the women empowerment movement, they are both still quite unique and different. Their differences are what makes them great. They both evoke such powerful feelings inside their readers, that my heart either feels heavy reading their poems or light from reading their poems. Overall, the poems all interconnect and weave an incredible tale of the power within women.

 

Picture Credits: Emily the Book Addict

 

 

 

Netflix and Read: You

If you’ve been paying attention to the Netflix world these past few months, you might have heard of a little show called You starring Penn Badgley, Elizabeth Lail, and Shay Mitchell. What you might not have realized (because I didn’t until after the fact) is that it is based off of the novel You by Caroline Kepnes. The novel is available to check out as a digital copy or as a physical copy; follow the link to reserve your spot!

What appears to be a chance meeting for Guinevere Beck in Brooklyn has actually been carefully orchestrated by East Village bookstore owner Joe Goldberg, who had Googled the name on her credit card when she visited his shop. Beck’s social media profiles are all public and tells Joe everything he needs to know without doing much besides scrolling through her posts. Joe begins obsessively taking over Beck’s life by choreographing event after event to make Beck fall into his waiting arms over and over again, and wedging himself so deeply into her life that he becomes her boyfriend. There is no limit to what Joe will do to remove any obstacle standing in his and Beck’s way, even if it means murder.

Reminiscent of Humbert Humbert of Lolita, You will have you darkly rooting for Joe while also being kind of terrified by how easy it is to stalk people (or be stalked!) in today’s world, where lots of your information is readily available with a simple Google search. The Netflix show is equally creepy, if not more so because Joe’s actions are placed directly in front of your eyeballs.

Psychological thriller fans (and anyone who uses social media) will love being creeped out by this duology by Caroline Kepnes. Be sure to look for the second book, Hidden Bodies, which continues Joe’s story.

Happy Reading (and Watching)!