Off The Shelves

The Grey Bastards (The Lot Lands #1)

This debut novel by Johnathan French is truly a book no fantasy  lover should miss, if Lord of the Rings and Son’s of Anarchy could have a baby it would be The Grey Bastards.

LIVE IN THE SADDLE. DIE ON THE HOG. 

Such is the creed of the half-orcs dwelling in the Lot Lands. Sworn to hardened brotherhoods known as hoofs, these former slaves patrol their unforgiving country astride massive swine bred for war. They are all that stand between the decadent heart of noble Hispartha and marauding bands of full-blood orcs.

Jackal rides with the Grey Bastards, one of eight hoofs that have survived the harsh embrace of the Lots. Young, cunning and ambitious, he schemes to unseat the increasingly tyrannical founder of the Bastards, a plague-ridden warlord called the Claymaster. Supporting Jackal’s dangerous bid for leadership are Oats, a hulking mongrel with more orc than human blood, and Fetching, the only female rider in all the hoofs.

When the troubling appearance of a foreign sorcerer comes upon the heels of a faceless betrayal, Jackal’s plans are thrown into turmoil. He finds himself saddled with a captive elf girl whose very presence begins to unravel his alliances. With the anarchic blood rite of the Betrayer Moon close at hand, Jackal must decide where his loyalties truly lie, and carve out his place in a world that rewards only the vicious.

”The first Grey Bastards were potters, named not for our skin, but from the dry clay which covered it. We knew fire and heat and mud, until the day we rode into battle on the backs of hogs that knew only the yoke of a supply wagon. That day we became warriors. We were carving a path to freedom, though we didn’t know it then. Carving it with swords fallen from the hands of our fleeing masters, carving it through the flesh of our orc fathers.”

 

 

Kill the Farm Boy: The Tales of Pell

In an irreverent new series in the tradition of Monty Python, the bestselling authors of the Iron Druid Chronicles and Star Wars: Phasma reinvent fantasy, fairy tales, and floridly written feast scenes.

In this pun-laden quest, first in a trilogy, Hearne (A Plague of Giants) and Dawson (Star Wars: Phasma) skewer the traditional tropes of epic fantasy sagas. Though the field is already rife with parodies and satires, the authors execute their own unique twist by killing off the titular farm boy on page 31 before his hero’s journey can ever truly begin. Now it’s up to a ragtag band of unlikely heroes—including a seven-foot-tall horticulturalist in a chainmail bikini, a cursed half-rabbit bard, a bread-conjuring would-be dark lord, a clumsy rogue, and a boot-eating talking goat—to save the kingdom from magical misdeeds. As they face their greatest childhood fears, contend with gourmand giants, and negotiate with arrogant elves, these improbable heroes display surprising depths and complexities. There’s a Pratchettian humor at play here, manifesting in frequent pun wars, silly songs, and an underlying level of societal absurdity—everyone takes cheese rather seriously, for instance. The authors claim they wanted to make fun of the typical “white male power fantasies,” and in that, they succeed, with their heroes all characters of color and/or falling somewhere under the LGBTQ umbrella. Even so, there’s the feeling that they’re marching through familiar, previously conquered territory, putting this solidly in the middle of the field of humorous fantasy. If you are a fan of The Princess Bride by William Goldman or the Last Unicorn you will undoubtedly laugh out loud as you read this epic adventure.

About Kill the Farm Boy

“Ranks among the best of Christopher Moore and Terry Pratchett.”—Chuck Wendig

“When you put two authors of this high caliber together, expect fireworks. Or at least laughs. What a hoot!”—New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks

This masterpiece of fun, farcical, fantasy fiction can be found on both the IDDC and the library shelves.

Look Alive Twenty Five

Stephanie Plum is a bounty hunter with attitude. In Stephanie’s opinion, toxic waste, rabid drivers, armed schizophrenics, and August heat, humidity, and hydrocarbons are all part of the great adventure of living in Jersey. She’s a product of blue-collar Trenton, where “houses and minds are proud to be narrow”, cars are American, windows are clean, and dinner is served at six.

Out of work and out of money, with her Miata repossessed and her refrigerator empty, Stephanie blackmails her bail bondsman cousin, Vinnie, into giving her a try as an apprehension agent. And that’s only the beginning of a series that will set her on the trail of fugitives. Stephanie will have to sharpen her sleuthing skills, because she’s got many a mystery to solve.

Just to complicate things, poor Stephanie has a bad case of the hots for handsome vice cop Joe Morelli, also from the “burg.” As Stephanie puts it, “There are some men who enter a woman’s life and screw it up forever. Joseph Morelli did this to me — not forever, but periodically.”And somehow, Morelli always seems to be involved in Stephanie’s cases. He may be all wrong for her, but what’s a girl to do?

Aiding and abetting Stephanie in her quest to track down and bring back those who have jumped the bond so generously put up by her cousin Vinnie is Ranger, the know-it-all, done-it-all hardcore, hardcase Cuban-American bounty hunter, dangerous dude and love interest #2.

Each book in this series is a whole story with a beginning and an ending, however there may be minor references to events that occurred earlier in the series. Therefore, with respect to the mystery alone, the books can be read out of order, if desired. However, like any long series that focuses on a core group of characters, there are various relationship changes that develop more naturally when the full length novels are read in the order in which they were published.

 

  • Stephanie Plum series in order by Janet Evanovich
  • One for the Money
  • Two for the Dough
  • Three to Get Deadly
  • Four to Score
  • High Five
  • Hot Six
  • Seven Up
  • Hard Eight
  • Visions of Sugar Plums (between-the-numbers holiday novella)
  • To the Nines
  • Ten Big Ones
  • Eleven on Top
  • Twelve Sharp
  • Plum Lovin’ (between-the-numbers holiday novella)
  • Lean Mean Thirteen
  • Plum Lucky (between-the-numbers holiday novella)
  • Fearless Fourteen
  • Plum Spooky (between-the-numbers novel)
  • Finger Lickin’ Fifteen
  • Sizzling Sixteen
  • Smokin’ Seventeen
  • Explosive Eighteen
  • Notorious Nineteen
  • Takedown Twenty
  • Top Secret Twenty-One
  • Tricky Twenty-Two
  • Turbo Twenty-Three
  • Hardcore Twenty-Four (November 14, 2017)

Classic Series Starters: The Chronicles of Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis recently came back into the spotlight after the release of the movies a few years ago. Many adults have grown up reading the series, and younger adults might have even grown up watching the movies, but this is the series that made me fall in love with reading when I was a kid. I don’t know how many times I’ve reread this series; the spines of my old boxed set of books are all cracked and some pages are dog-eared. The Chronicles of Narnia might not be the first books kids pull off the shelves (I feel so old), but the series is a classic that somehow manages to be relevant almost seventy years after they were first published.

I recommend reading in publication order rather than chronological order, so start with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Even if you haven’t read the book, you most likely know the story anyway. Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie are sent away to the country from London to live in safety during the Blitz and World War II. The children arrive at the Professor’s house and begin exploring the expansive grounds and rooms, filled with antiques and treasures. During one of these explorations, the youngest, Lucy Pevensie, finds a wardrobe. Instead of finding the back of the wardrobe, however, she stumbles into Narnia, a magical land filled with ice and snow, where the White Witch has ruled for a hundred years in cruelty. Now it’s up to Lucy to convince the rest of her siblings that Narnia is real and that they must save it.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was first published in 1950 but were not immediately popular due to the fact that other children’s novels were written in a way to be more realistic so as not to frighten children or give them a false sense of reality. However, it has been widely accepted that C.S. Lewis was one of the pioneers in the genre of fantasy. The series also has strong parallels with stories and images in Christianity.

The original reading order of the series is:

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Prince Caspian

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The Silver Chair

The Horse and His Boy

The Magician’s Nephew

The Last Battle

The chronological order of the series is:

The Magician’s Nephew

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The Horse and His Boy

Prince Caspian

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The Silver Chair

The Last Battle

When I was younger, I always read the series in chronological order because that’s how my boxed set came. I think that it would be interesting to reread the series how it was supposed to be read, which is the original publication order. The Aurora Public Library District has the series both available as physical copies or digital downloads (audio books or digital books) from the Indiana Digital Download Center. We also have copies of all three movies available for check out. Either way you read it, the series will take you right back to being a child again. I can’t wait to read it again!

Happy Reading!

Nonfiction: True Crime

Halloween is not the only time to put you in the mood to be scared with terrifying stories and creepy movies. If chilling stories are for you, then an overlooked section of nonfiction would be the true crime section, beginning with the call number 364. Section 364 is the true crime section, where you can read real stories and accounts of actual crimes and people, like unsolved murder mysteries, information on different serial killers, and more. Not only will you be scared witless, you’ll learn a little something along the way as well.

I believe true crime stories like the ones housed throughout the Aurora Public Library District continue to fascinate us because we want to understand the psychology of those who are different, especially those who are accused or convicted of horrendous crimes. We want to see what makes them so different from us “normal” people when we all look “normal” on the outside– at least, that’s why I find them so fascinating. What makes these accounts all the more terrifying is the fact that they actually did happen and could very well happen to anyone today.

A few of the titles you’ll find on the shelves are:

The 10 Worst Serial Killers by Victor McQueen

Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi

Cellar of Horror by Ken Englade

Cruel Sacrifice by Aphrodite Jones

The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy by Elizabeth Kendall

Dead by Sunset: Perfect Husband, Perfect Killer? by Ann Rule

Along with the physical copies of true crime stories housed at the Aurora and Dillsboro branches, we also have several digital copies of various true crime stories available from the Indiana Digital Download Center. Stop by one of the branches to browse the shelves or you can always browse our virtual shelves online.

Happy Reading!

The Secret Life of Bees

Recently I read The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd for the Library’s teen book discussion group, Stuck Between the Pages. It was one of those books that are sort-of/kind-of on your To Be Read list but never quite make it to the top of the pile. But after reading it, I wondered why I had waited so long to do so; it was amazing.

The Secret Life of Bees is set in tumultuous North Carolina in 1964, where fourteen-year-old Lily Owens lives on her cruel father’s peach orchard, eaten alive by the hazy memory she has of the afternoon her mother was killed when Lily was four. When Rosaleen, her father’s black housemaid and Lily’s stand-in mother, decides to register to vote, she takes Lily along with her. Before they get there, Rosaleen is confronted by three of the most racist men in town, insulting them and getting herself (and Lily) arrested. Lily decides to spring them both free and the two of them are on the run, guided only by an old photograph of Lily’s mother with the words, “Tiburon, South Carolina” on the back and an old label featuring the Black Madonna. Lily and Rosaleen do wind up in Tiburon and take refuge with a trio of beekeeping sisters who might just have the key to Lily’s mother’s past.

This was by far one of the most powerful books I have ever read, one that will most likely stay with me. For anyone interested in historical fiction or the classic bildungsroman tale, this is definitely one I would recommend. And even if it’s not a book you would typically pick up to read, I have no doubt you’ll enjoy it as well.

Happy Reading!

On this day in history…and some books, pt 2

In 1613 Shakespear’s Globe Theatre in London burns down during a performance of “Henry VIII”… if you have yet to check out this particular play by Shakespear you can do so with us we have this in our collection.

 

Fast forward about 200 years and in 1854 Charlotte Brontë marries Arthur Bell Nicholls. Check out her books and several books about her in our collection.

And in 2003 Katharine Hepburn passed away… this one isn’t exactly a book but we have several of her movies in our collection and if you haven’t watched them I highly recommend that you do…she is amazing!

Outsider by Stephen King

 

An unspeakable crime. A confounding investigation. At a time when the King brand has never been stronger, he has delivered one of his most unsettling and compulsively readable stories.

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge, King’s propulsive story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.

Outsider – Coming May 22, 2018.

Stephen King is a ‘New York Times’-bestselling novelist who made his name in the horror and fantasy genres with books like ‘Carrie,’ ‘The Shining’ and ‘IT.’ Much of his work has been adapted for film and TV.

Stephen King was born on September 21, 1947, in Portland, Maine. He graduated from the University of Maine and later worked as a teacher while establishing himself as a writer. Having also published work under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, King’s first horror novel, Carrie, was a huge success. Over the years, King has become known for titles that are both commercially successful and sometimes critically acclaimed. His books have sold more than 350 million copies worldwide and been adapted into numerous successful films.

excerpts are taken from stephenking.com and biography.com

 

 

 

On this day in history…and some books

Do you ever stop and wonder about history in the context of the current date?

I know I often think about history in the context of big historic arches but very seldom do I slow down and think about what happened on a specific date and in fact the date that it currently is.

So I thought it would be fun to peek into history and see what kinds of things were going on on May 7th.

According to the History channel…

1994

Edvard Munch’s famous painting, “The Scream” was recovered after being stolen from its museum home in Oslo.

Want to know more about thefts in the art world? Check out this book, The Gardner heist: the true story of the world’s largest unsolved art theft, by Ulrich Boser.

1915

The Lusitania is torpedoed and sunk by a German Submarine. The Lusitania was the world’s largest passenger ship of its time, that is until its sister ship was completed.

Want to learn more about this epic tragedy? Read up on it in Diana Preston’s book Lusitania.

1896

Dr. H.H. Holmes, one of America’s notorious serial killers, was hanged to death in Philidelphia, Pennsylvania. Holmes operated during the World’s Fair in Chicago.

Check out the book The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson and read an account of two men who shaped the history of the event including H.H. Holmes and architect Daniel Burnham.

 

National Great Poetry Reading Day

Saturday, April 28 is National Great Poetry Reading Day!

How can you celebrate?

For starters, you can visit one of the branches of the Aurora Public Library District and check out volumes of poetry by great poets, like John Keats, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Rupi Kaur, William Wordsworth, Sylvia Plath, Alfred Tennyson, Langston Hughes, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Frost, Shel Silverstein, and Maya Angelou, among many others. If you just want to browse the poetry section to see what you can find, start in section 808.1. You’ll be able to browse titles at your leisure and take ones that speak to you. Or, if you’d rather, you can visit the Indiana Digital Download Center and browse our digital poetry selections, too.

One major way that poetry differs from novels or nonfiction is that poetry begs to be read out loud. The only way to appreciate the cadence of the words on the page is to read them out loud and listen. On National Great Poetry Reading Day, gather some friends and family around and read your favorite poems aloud. Or record yourself reading your favorite poem and upload it to social media with #NationalGreatPoetryReadingDay. By following the hashtag, you’ll be able to see other poetry connoisseurs celebrating the day in their own way as well.

You could try your hand at writing your own poetry, too! If you want to follow the exact rules to write specific types of poetry, like haiku, sonnet, or limerick, we have titles with examples and instructions. But one of the best things about poetry is that, as you’re writing, you can decide how you want your idea to appear on the paper. Free verse is exactly that; free! You can choose to write your poem however you want.

Tell us how you’re going to celebrate National Great Poetry Reading Day! I’m going to see if I can find my old stuff from college from that poetry class I took.

Happy Reading!