Long-Running Series

New friends to meet, or old friends to greet, here are some characters worth taking the time to get to know!

There’s nothing quite like delving into a novel when you know you can count on several more volumes to hold your attention. The idea of getting to know a character – or characters – over the course of not only multiple novels but multiple years makes for a unique reading experience. Picking up a new novel in a beloved series is like meeting up with some old friends – there’s a kind of well-worn familiarity that can’t be found in any stand-alone novel. Luckily, if you too have the urge to dive into a long-running series, we have a few favorites to get you started.

Prey

by John Sandford

Check-out the extraordinary Lucas Davenport thrillers from bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner John Sandford. These haunting murder investigations have hooked readers over his 31 book collection. Start with Rules of Prey (Prey # 1), you’ll be swimming up to Ocean Prey (Prey # 31) before you know it!

“They were shot with a shotgun and put in garbage bags and thrown under a bridge,” Shrake said. “If it wasn’t murder, it was a really weird accident.”

― Lucas DavenportJohn Sandford book coversWalt Longmire

by Craig Johnson

Walt Longmire is a laconic and tortured cowboy with a stiff moral code and a weathered view of the world around him. Craig Johnson has carved out an interesting niche that combines classic Old West and cowboy tropes with hard-boiled noir. It’s an interesting combination that sets the Longmire Mystery series apart from the multitude of other crime fiction crowding the shelves. Grab The Cold Dish (Walt Longmire #1) and you won’t even notice time riding by before you reach for Daughter of the Morning Star (Walt Longmire # 17), We also have Longmire on DVD.

“I punched him in the fist with my nose, but I think he’ll live.” – Walt Longmire

Harry Dresden

by Jim Butcher

With Harry Dresden, Jim Butcher puts a fantastical spin on the classic hard-boiled detective mystery. Dresden finds himself caught up in all facets of murder and mayhem in his beloved Chicago — supernatural and otherwise — and his wisecracking, fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants style is entertaining across seventeen novels as well as various short stories. This series is one of my personal favorites, Harry has a huge heart, a “spirit of intellect” helper who lives inside a human skull, and a Dog named Mouse. Mouse is a “temple dog,” a celestial scion of the Foo Dog (divine spirit guardian), and a mortal canine. Start with Storm Front (Harry Dresden #1) You will magically find yourself reading Battle Ground (Harry Dresden #17)  and hoping for more to come in this exciting series.

Evil isn’t the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it’s a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference.”― Harry Dresden

 

In Death

by J.D. Robb

In Death is another particular favorite. I wish I had a friend like Eve. In a gritty, futuristic New York City, homicide detective Eve Dallas seeks justice for the victims of crime—and fights to overcome her own dark past. The main character in the In Death series is Eve Dallas, a no-nonsense homicide cop in mid-21st century (2058) New York, where beggars and prostitutes are legal as long as they have the proper licenses. Eve lives and breathes her job. In the very first book, Naked in Death (In Death # 1).  We are introduced to a slew of what become recurring characters: Eve’s former partner and trainer, who becomes a father figure; the esteemed police commander; the maternal staff psychiatrist; Eve’s criminal-turned-singer bestie; and most importantly, Roarke. Roarke is a suspect in a gruesome murder. He’s a reformed criminal (mostly reformed) and she’s a hard nosed cop, the chemistry between them should be illegal.  Murder, friendship, love, more murder, and an office chocolate thief will capture your imagination from book 1 until book 53.

“What’s your status?” she asked him.

“Healthy, wealthy, and wise. What’s yours?”

“Ha. Mean, crafty, and rude.”― Eve Dallas

Here are a few more great series…

 

The Camel Club

By David Baldacci      Series: The Camel Club, Book 1

Always on the hunt for government conspiracies, the political watch-dogs that make up Baldacci’s Camel Club will entertain, surprise, and thrill you.

1st to Die  By James Patterson        Series: Women’s Murder Club, Book 1

When the normal way of doing things isn’t stopping a serial killer, four friends who all work in the justice system decide to band together in Patterson’s best-selling female vigilante series.

Dark of the Moon  By John Sandford     Series: Virgil Flowers, Book 1

Full of surprising twists and plenty of mystery, Dark of the Moon kicks off Sandford’s powerful Flowers series set in rural Minnesota.

Along Came a Spider  By James Patterson        Series: Alex Cross, Book 1

Probably Patterson’s most notable character, Alex Cross is a DC detective who will stop at nothing to get the case solved and justice served.

 The Chase  By Clive Cussler         Series: Isaac Bell, Book 1

Cussler introduces an electrifying and no-nonsense hero in his Isaac Bell thrillers. Driven by his sense of justice, Bell travels early 20th-century America pursuing thieves and killers—and sometimes criminals much worse.

 The Black Echo:   By Michael Connelly             Series: Harry Bosch, Book 1

Detective Hieronymus ‘Harry’ Bosch, former tunnel rat in Vietnam and star of Michael Connelly’s best-loved series, is as tough as they come.

 

Hannah Swensen Mystery #1: Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder

Hi there! Welcome to my blog series where I will be reading and reviewing Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen series, as well as trying out some of the recipes included in the books!

You do not necessarily have to read these books in the order that they were published; however, for the purpose of this blog, I did start from the beginning. Since there are so many books in the series (26, with number 27 expected in late February), I will not be writing a blog over each book, but every five or so. Today I will be discussing the first book in the series, Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder.

Review

The book begins by introducing Hannah Swensen, a twenty-something year old woman who owns a cookie and coffee shop called the Cookie Jar in her hometown of Lake Eden, Minnesota. We learn that Hannah once had aspirations to become a professor, and was well on her way to a Doctorate Degree when her sister, Andrea begged her to come home when their father died to help their mother get his affairs in order. Hannah dutifully returned to Lake Eden to assist her family, and subsequently ended up staying and opening the Cookie Jar instead of going back to school.

One morning, Hannah happens upon a crime scene in the alley behind her shop involving the Cozy Cow delivery driver, Ron LaSalle. The scene leads into a criminal investigation led by Andrea’s husband Bill, a Winnetka County Deputy Sheriff. Hannah uses her wits, some skills she’s picked up from mysteries she’s seen on TV, and possibly illegal tactics to help Bill track down the criminal and solve the town’s mystery. Through her investigation, we meet some Lake Eden locals, and learn some shocking town secrets.

I would consider the Hannah Swensen books to be cozy mysteries. They are gentle, easy reads, and though they include murder, they are not overly graphic. I read this particular book in two days, and it kept my interest the entire time. The plot lines aren’t overly complicated, but they aren’t obvious either. In Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, I thought I knew who the murderer was about halfway through, but I ended up being wrong.

For the most part, I really do enjoy these books. I love Hannah Swensen’s sarcastic character, and the fact that she is an independent woman. However, I feel these books are a bit problematic. For the sake of space, I will go deeper into these issues in future blogs, but here are some things I’ve noticed. Joanne Fluke uses the r word to describe Freddy Sawyer, a character with a developmental disability. The character Betty Johnson is never mentioned without also mentioning how fat she is and how unflattering her outfit is. There’s also a sort of unhealthy dynamic between Hannah and Mike, one of her love interests. All that being said, this book was published in 2000 and I realize times were different then. I’m interested to see if these things continue into the later books.

If you want to get started on the series, APLD has a large print, regular print, ebook, and eAudiobook copy of Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder! You can go online or call the library to place a hold on our print copies, or access the digital copies on Libby or OverDrive.

Recipe

I decided to try to make the Regency Ginger Crisps that Hannah made for the Lake Eden Regency Romance Club. The recipe makes 6 to 7 dozen. Since I had so many extras I brought them to the library with me the next day, and they were a hit with the staff!

Regency Ginger Crisps

Do not preheat oven yet, dough must chill before baking.

3/4 cup melted butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 large beaten egg (or two medium, just whip them up with a fork)

4 tablespoons molasses (that’s 1/4 cup)***

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 1/4 cups flour (not sifted)

1/2 cup white sugar in a small bowl (for later)

Melt butter and mix in sugar. Let mixture cool and then add egg(s). Add soda, molasses, salt, and ginger. Stir it thoroughly. Add flour and mix in. Chill the dough for at least 1 hour. (Overnight is even better.)

When the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F., rack in the middle position.

Roll the dough into walnut sized balls in white sugar. (Just dump them in the bowl with the sugar and shake the bowl gently to coat them.) Place them on greased cookie sheets, 12 to a standard sheet. Flatten them with a spatula.

Bake at 375 degrees F. for 10 to 12 minutes or until nicely browned. Cool on cookie sheets for no more than 1 minute, and then remove to wire rack to finish cooling. (If you leave these on the cookie sheets for too long, they’ll stick.)

***To measure molasses, first spray the inside of the measuring cup with Pam so that the molasses won’t stick to the sides of the cup.

Yield: 6 to 7 dozen, depending on cookie size.

 


 

Tessa Dare: Girl Meets Duke

Who is Tessa Dare?

Well, she’s a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty historical romances. She is “a librarian by training and a book lover at heart”. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two children, and many kitties.

What does she write?

Tessa Dare writes amazing historical romances that are just to die for. She mixes emotion, love, sensuality, romance, and drama together and creates amazing stories and characters that will stay on your mind for years to come! Her stories are generally set in the regency time period (1811-1820), so no outrageously poofy dresses or white wigs.

Why is she different than other historical romance authors?

She creates unique heroines who engages in ‘unladylike’ pursuits from paleontology to beer-making. She also dreams up strong-willed heroic men who find their hearts captured by these heroines.

What’s Girl Meets Duke?

Girl Meets Duke is a new series Tessa Dare is writing that can also be read as stand-alone. Each book features a new couple and a new story line. Each male character is a Duke while the ladies each venture into a new world of sin….romance…and love. So far there are three published works with another title in the works!

Can I check them out?

Luckily for you, the Aurora Public Library has purchased them in both hardback and eBook! The Duchess Deal and The Governess Game can be found in our adult fiction in the D’s. The Wallflower Wager can be found on our New Releases shelf.

 

Gena Showalter

 

In today’s literary world, so many authors are venturing out and doing different genres and doing both young adult and adult books. Authors from Nick Hornby (About a Boy and Slam) to Meg Cabot (Princess Diaries and Overbite) to Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy and Georgina Kincaid). More and more authors are venturing out of their comfort zones and tackling a new category, whether they originally wrote young adult and are now writing adult or vice versa.

Gena Showalter first came known to the literary world with a contemporary romance duology called Imperia. She eventually went on to write a widely known and loved series called Lords of the Underworld. This popular series has 15 books, 3 novellas, one spin off series, and two upcoming publications!

She is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with over thirty books in paranormal and contemporary romances. She also has 4 finished YA series and just released the first in a new YA series called The Forest of Good and Evil

Her first foray into the YA world was with her series, IntertwinedThis series follows sixteen year old, Aden Stone, who has four human souls within him. All four souls have a unique power such as time travel, raising the dead, possessing another human, or telling the future. Her second YA series, The White Rabbit Chronicles, a unique retelling of Alice in Wonderland, has taken her readers to a whole new world and created a loyal fan-base from the YA community. My personal favorite of her books is her YA series, Everlife, is a unique story like one you’ve never read before about what happens after your First Death!

 

Women’s Murder Club Series

James Patterson, bestselling author of the Alex Cross novels Along Came a Spider, Kiss the Girls, and Pop Goes the Weasel, offers the first of a new series dubbed The Women’s Murder Club, featuring a four-woman team that occasionally works outside the system. None of the gritty darkness or frenzied action is lost in 1st to Die, although the female protagonists offer an even deeper emotional context to this suspense thriller.

Inspector Lindsay Boxer of the San Francisco Police Department suddenly finds herself in the middle of two horrifying situations: The first is that she’s just learned she has an often-fatal blood disease. The second is a double homicide case she is now heading up that involves the murder of newlyweds on their wedding night. Burdened with Chris Raleigh, a new partner reassigned from the mayor’s office, Lindsay finds that she has too much to deal with and turns to her best friend, Claire, the head ME on the case. Claire offers helpful advice and human, friendly contact amid a job filled with violence, cruelty, and fear.

Soon a fledgling newspaper reporter, Cindy, makes contact with Lindsay looking for a career-making story. Although Lindsay can’t officially comment on the case, the two women form a rapport, and Cindy joins Lindsay and Claire for their weekly meeting. When a second pair of newlyweds is murdered, and later a third, the investigation leads to a prominent crime writer, Nicholas Jenks, who has a history of spousal abuse and a predilection for kinky, dangerous sex games. With the help of an understanding assistant D.A., Jill Bernhardt, Lindsay tries to make a case against Jenks, who even had an affair with one of the slain women. Eventually Jill joins the Murder Club, and the four ladies share private interdepartmental information in an effort to track and stop the killer before he strikes again.

The major subplot — Lindsay’s facing up to her illness even while she learns to fall in love again — carefully compensates for the novel’s coarse scenes of brutality. Lindsay Boxer is’t merely an obsessed cop trailing a maniac; she’s also a terrified woman confronting the onslaught of disease. The story lines balance out to show us the true mettle of someone who puts the safety of others before her own.

Again, Patterson’s skill for producing furiously paced fiction are evident as the novel breezes by rapidly. The short chapters keep the narrative leaping with increasingly taut plot elements, but there’s an emotional commitment that makes our protagonist even more amiable and involving. 1st to Die is a novel that works as an intense series of character portraits that will leave the reader touched and delighted. –Goodreads

This is one of James Patterson’s most popular series and one of the most checked out series we have in our library! If you like Eve Duncan or Rizzoli and Isles, then look no further than James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club Series!

 

 

The #1 bestselling female detective of the past 50 years is back. 

Detective Lindsay Boxer and her husband Joe Molinari team up to protect San Francisco from an international war criminal in the newest Women’s Murder Club thriller.

Three female schoolteachers go missing in San Francisco, and Detective Lindsay Boxer is on the case-which quickly escalates from missing person to murder.

Under pressure at work, Lindsay needs support at home. But her husband Joe is drawn into an encounter with a woman who’s seen a ghost–a notorious war criminal from her Eastern European home country, walking the streets of San Francisco.

As Lindsay digs deeper, with help from intrepid journalist Cindy Thomas, there are revelations about the victims. The implications are shocking. And when Joe’s mystery informant disappears, joining the ranks of missing women in grave danger, all evidence points to a sordid international crime operation.

It will take the combined skills of Lindsay, Joe, and the entire Women’s Murder Club to protect their city, and themselves, from a monster. –Goodreads

The 18th Abduction will be published April 29, 2019. Put your name in for a collection request today!

 

Carpe Librum!

Michael Vey

I’ve personally read most of the books in this series and really enjoyed each book I read. The characters are all unique and the story itself is written well. If you are a fan of Percy Jackson, then look no further than Michael Vey!

To everyone at Meridian High School, fourteen-year-old Michael Vey is nothing special, just the kid who has Tourette’s syndrome. But in truth, Michael is extremely special; he has electric powers. And he’s not the only one, either,

Join Michael, Taylor, Ostin, and the rest of the Electroclan as they use their powers and wits to prevent a dangerous organization from achieving its sinister goal of global domination.-Goodreads

Stephanie Plum Series

 

You’ve lost your job as a department store lingerie buyer, your car’s been repossessed, and most of your furniture and small appliances have been sold off to pay last month’s rent. Now the rent is due again. And you live in New Jersey. What do you do?

If you’re Stephanie Plum, you become a bounty hunter. But not just a nickel-and-dime bounty hunter; you go after the big money. That means a cop gone bad. And not just any cop. She goes after Joe Morelli, a disgraced former vice cop who is also the man who took Stephanie’s virginity at age 16 and then wrote details on a bathroom wall. With pride and rent money on the line, Plum plunges headlong into her first case, one that pits her against ruthless adversaries – people who’d rather kill than lose.

The New York Times Book Review calls Stephanie Plum “a Jersey girl with Bette Midler’s mouth and Cher’s fashion sense.” In Stephanie Plum, Evanovich has created a resourceful and humorous character who stands apart from the pack of gritty female detectives. –Goodreads

Stephanie Plum is a 26 book ongoing series that is filled with just enough romance and laughter to keep you reading on! If you’re a fan of Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson series and are sad that it’s ended, this is a series for you! If you’re looking for a series to start, look no further!

 

Carpe Librum!

 

Charley Davidson: A Series

Finally, I’d found a series that I could enjoy and stay entertained with! Darynda Jones‘ Charley Davidson series is the perfect series for romance lovers, mystery lovers, paranormal lovers, and even action lovers! Charley Davidson is the heroine of this beloved series (Of course! It’s named after her!), and she is amazing and kicks butt! Reyes Farrow is her love interest and is drop dead amazing and swoon-worthy! Cookie is her beloved best friend who keeps Charley on her feet! Every character within this series is so amazing and likable that you can’t help but love each and everyone of them, despite their faults!

Private investigator Charlotte Davidson was born with three things: looks; a healthy respect for the male anatomy; and the rather odd job title of grim reaper. Since the age of five, she has been helping the departed solve the mysteries of their deaths so they can cross. Charley’s dealing with a being more powerful – and definitely sexier – than any spectre she’s ever come across before. With the help of a nuisance skip tracer, a dead pubescent gang member named Angel, and a lifetime supply of sarcasm, Charley sets out to solve the highest profile case of the year and discovers that dodging bullets isn’t nearly as dangerous as falling in love. –Goodreads

Darynda Jones makes it her mission in writing to portray Charley as human, even though she’s supernatural, Charley makes mistakes and suffers with the same things that anyone would–all while the dead pass through her! She struggles with her life and everything she goes through in the series, that it’s sometimes hard to read her describe how she feels. Though, Darynda Jones will make anyone laugh! Charley is a hilarious and unique character that stays the same beloved person through the whole series!

If you enjoy Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum Series, then Charley Davidson should be your next series to read! There’s twelve books out and the thirteenth and final book comes out this January! Be on the look out!!!

Twilight: 10 Years Later

We thought we were in the Twilight clear since the release of the last movie was released six years ago, didn’t we? However, this year is the tenth anniversary of the release of the movie Twilight, which came about three years after the first book in the series was published. And while I will never recommend reading Twilight for literary purposes, the series still makes me a bit nostalgic. Ten years ago, I was a freshman in high school; I was the perfect age and in the perfect place for all of the hype that suddenly surrounded the books and movies, and, boy, did I fangirl hard.

The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer is nothing short of problematic in all kinds of areas, but when you’re fourteen, it seems like the greatest love story ever told. I wasn’t thinking about how accurate the representation of certain cultures were in the novel, or that Bella Swan might have been suffering from Stockholm Syndrome a little bit; I was too busy trying to decide if I was Team Edward or Team Jacob, like 75% of my high school (For the record, I was Team Edward). For me, the series is definitely something to cringe about now, but it will always have a special place on the bottom of my bookshelf because I still can’t bring myself to get rid of them.

I’ve heard the Twilight series compared to the Harry Potter series in that the books got kids (and adults) reading. My philosophy has always been that it doesn’t matter what you’re reading as long as you’re reading something, because if you’re reading, you’re learning. My little sister recently discovered Twilight and is currently devouring the series as fast as she can. While I want to recommend other books to her, with more powerful female characters, diverse characters, and accurate representation of various cultures, I’m stopping myself because I’m just glad she’s reading. And I’m glad that she’s enjoying what she’s reading, too. Who am I to dictate what people should be reading? Who am I to judge them based on their reading preferences?

I will gladly congratulate the Twilight movie franchise on its tenth anniversary, as well as the book series for getting people to read. It can even be argued that Twilight helped popularize the paranormal subgenre in teen, young adult, and adult fiction, which is still one of the most checked out subgenres from our shelves to this day.

So enjoy reading or rereading Twilight and watching the movies in honor of the anniversary! And don’t let anyone tell you anything different!

Happy Reading!

Kingdom of Ash

Sarah J. Maas’s final book in the Throne of Glass series is set to be released on October 23, 2018. If you’ve read any of my other blogs, you know that I am just a little obsessed with this series, and now it will be all coming to an end! While I am excited to see what happens to my favorite characters, I am also sad to see them go. Luckily, I can jump back into their stories any time I want when I reread the series.

Sarah J. Maas has been developing this series since she was sixteen years old. She had originally posted a version of the first novel — originally titled Queen of Glass — on the website FictionPress.com before the publishing company, Bloomsbury, picked it up. Maas had a gigantic online following which brought her writing to Bloomsbury’s attention. Throne of Glass was published on August 7, 2012 and was inspired in part by Disney’s Cinderella. Anticipating the release of the first novel, Bloomsbury also released eBook editions of the four prequel novels, which you can download from the Indiana Digital Download Center.

Throne of Glass follows Celaena Sardothien, Adarlan’s deadliest assassin, as she is plucked from her enslavement by the Crown Prince of Adarlan himself, Dorian Havilliard. Dorian summons her to the castle to fight as his champion in his father’s competition to become the King’s Champion, or the king’s own personal assassin. She must compete with twenty-three other champions from all kinds of backgrounds to win. Meanwhile, something dark and evil is stalking the palace and champions are turning up dead. It’s up to Celaena to discover what’s killing the competitors before she winds up dead herself.

The first book in this series is just the beginning; it becomes clear throughout the rest of the series that something even more sinister is taking place, and Celaena’s journey to win her freedom is simply the catalyst. You’ll find witches, giant spiders, wyverns, magic, royalty, secret identities, and love peppering this action-packed series that will keep you guessing until the very last page of each installment. I honestly don’t know how the series is going to end, which stresses me out a little.

You still have a little bit of time to read or reread the six books already in the series before the seventh, Kingdom of Ash, is released on October 23, 2018. The Aurora Public Library District does own several physical copies of some of the books, but the entire seriesincluding the prequels — is available to download from the Indiana Digital Download Center. You can also request the books through Interlibrary Loan by filling in the form online, calling, or stopping by one of the desks. You might want to put your name on the list for the seventh book, too, to reserve your spot as quickly as you can! Call the library or stop by one of the desks today!

Happy Reading!