Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

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Patron recommendation:
This book features strong women, each voice is pitch perfect.

Book review:
What perfect timing for this optimistic, uplifting debut novel (and maiden publication of Amy Einhorn's new imprint) set during the nascent civil rights movement in Jackson, Miss., where black women were trusted to raise white children but not to polish the household silver. Eugenia Skeeter Phelan is just home from college in 1962, and, anxious to become a writer, is advised to hone her chops by writing about what disturbs you. The budding social activist begins to collect the stories of the black women on whom the country club sets relies and mistrusts enlisting the help of Aibileen, a maid who's raised 17 children, and Aibileen's best friend Minny, who's found herself unemployed more than a few times after mouthing off to her white employers. The book Skeeter puts together based on their stories is scathing and shocking, bringing pride and hope to the black community, while giving Skeeter the courage to break down her personal boundaries and pursue her dreams. Assured and layered, full of heart and history, this one has bestseller written all over it.
~Starred Review from Publishers Weekly

Note from Jan:
I'm sorry to say that I haven't read this book yet but it's on my list.  This recommendation was given to me by a patron who took the time to write out a note and place it in my box at the library.  For me, that's pretty special, and it tells me that this is a wonderful book.  If you've read it, I would love to hear your comments and reviews, either via email (my email link is in the right column of this blog) or with a comment at the end of this post.

Hope to see you in the library someday soon,

Request The Help from the Bangor Public Library

Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy Holidays from the Bangor Public Library Bloggers!

I would like to thank you for all your wonderful emails, book suggestions, and comments!  I love every single one.  Also, I'm very pleased to announce a new staff blogger, Maggie, who is one of our fabulous reference librarians.  Where I tend to read popular fiction on the graphic side, Maggie prefers literary fiction and non-fiction, so we will have a good balance of books to discuss.

Hope to see you in our library someday soon,

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

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A patron recommendation:
This is the first of a series of an unlikely hero with an unlikely life.  The book jacket gives a good intro.

Book description:
“The dead don't talk. I don't know why.”  But they do try to communicate, with a short-order cook in a small desert town serving as their reluctant confidant.  Odd Thomas thinks of himself as an ordinary guy, if possessed of a certain measure of talent at the Pico Mundo Grill and rapturously in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, Stormy Llewellyn.  Maybe he has a gift, maybe it’s a curse, Odd has never been sure, but he tries to do his best by the silent souls who seek him out. Sometimes they want justice, and Odd’s otherworldly tips to Pico Mundo's sympathetic police chief, Wyatt Porter, can solve a crime. Occasionally they can prevent one. But this time it's different.

A mysterious man comes to town with a voracious appetite, a filing cabinet stuffed with information on the world's worst killers, and a pack of hyena-like shades following him wherever he goes. Who the man is and what he wants, not even Odd’s deceased informants can tell him. His most ominous clue is a page ripped from a day-by-day calendar for August 15.

Today is August 14.

In less than twenty-four hours, Pico Mundo will awaken to a day of catastrophe. As evil coils under the searing desert sun, Odd travels through the shifting prisms of his world, struggling to avert a looming cataclysm with the aid of his soul mate and an unlikely community of allies that includes the King of Rock 'n' Roll. His account of two shattering days when past and present, fate and destiny converge is the stuff of our worst nightmares—and a testament by which to live: sanely if not safely, with courage, humor, and a full heart that even in the darkness must persevere.

Request Odd Thomas from the Bangor Public Library

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Bad Day For Sorry by Sophie Littlefield

book jacketSuggested by a Not Your Ordinary Book Group member:
First mystery book in a new award winning series.  Strong female protagonist unlike any other I've seen.  She is endearing but with her own brand of justice.  She goes after male abusers with a vengeance all her own.  Great characters, funny and tough."

Book description: 
Littlefield's amusing, sassy debut introduces Stella Hardesty, a widow and survivor of domestic violence, who owns a sewing shop in a sleepy Missouri town. On the side, Stella solves problems and metes out justice on behalf of battered women, like Chrissy Shaw, whose abusive bully of an ex-husband, Roy Dean Shaw, Stella keeps tabs on. After Roy Dean absconds with Chrissy's baby, Stella learns he's involved with local mobsters in a stolen auto parts ring. Chrissy sheds her victim hood to team up with Stella and do battle. After girding up their weaponry, the unlikely crime-fighting duo trick their way into the home of Roy Dean's mob boss, who they suspect has Chrissy's son. Stella discovers that no amount of preparation and righteous anger can prevail over pure evil, at least not without loads of trouble. Spunky, unapologetic middle-aged and a tad cantankerous, Stella barges bravely and often unwisely into danger.
--Review from Amazon

Request A Bad Day For Sorry from the Bangor Public Library

Monday, November 22, 2010

Body Copy by Michael Craven

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A patron recommendation:
"I recently read "Body Copy" by Michael Craven and was very pleased.  It's a nice shorter read but the story is engaging from start to finish.  As a fan of film noir, tortured loner detective novels I instantly could picture the main character as well as bond with him.  The story doesn't really lag at all and there's no overabundance of focus on any one topic.  It moves along nicely but I personally didn't see the ending until I was reading it.  I have a busy schedule and try to fit in reading while I'm at the gym doing cardio and this one fit the bill.  Not to lengthy, very imaginable and enjoyable."

Book description:
Introducing Donald Tremaine, P.I.
Once the world's number one surfer, Donald Tremaine quit at the top of his game, moved into a trailer in Malibu, and became a detective. Beautiful women don't ask for his autograph anymore. Now they ask for his help—like the stunning Nina Aldeen, who wants Tremaine to solve the murder of her uncle, advertising mogul Roger Gale, brutally slayed in his L.A. office a year earlier. The police investigation went nowhere. The suspects are many, and the victim had more secrets than anyone ever knew. But the closer Tremaine gets to the truth, the closer he comes to a killer who just might make his most complicated case his last.
A novel that both honors and invigorates the classic private eye novel, Body Copy loudly heralds the arrival—with a bullet—of a major contender on the noir scene.
~Description from Amazon

Request Body Copy from The Bangor Public Library

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Smoke Thief by Shana Abe

book jacketThis recommendation goes out to all readers who have never read a romance and wanted to try one.  I loved this book so much that I personally donated several copies to the library for our Not Your Ordinary Book Group.

I absolutely adore this author's writing style.  Her love story in this book is more emotionally driven than spicy, but it draws you in and I couldn't put it down.  It is a perfect meld of fantasy and historical fiction, with compelling characters.  This book has received numerous awards and is well deserving of every one.  Enjoy!  ~Jan

Just some recognition from publishers:  Named by Romantic Times Winner of The Winter Rose for Best Paranormal and Best Overall, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the Laurel Wreath Award, and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence, A Romantic Times BOOK CLUB Top Pick, A Featured Alternate Selection for the Rhapsody Book Club, the Doubleday Book Club and the Science Fiction Book Club.

Request The Smoke Thief from Bangor Public Library

Description from Shana Abe's website:

Romantic Times Award for best historical romance!
You are cordially invited to taste the clouds and hunt the moon. You are invited to learn how to fly....

Imagine a world where clouds could be dragons, and dragons could be people...where diamonds beckon with silent songs and a beautiful runaway turns out to be an infamous jewel thief who dissolves into smoke with just a whisper of a thought.

Now imagine the drákon lord sent to capture her.

For centuries they've lived in secret amid the green and misted hills of northern England, shapeshifters who have the ability to Turn from human to smoke to dragon, and back again. They skim the sky and haunt the stars, powerful beyond thought, beautiful, sensual. They are the drákon.

Like any hunted beast, they've survived the centuries by learning silence, by keeping the secret of the tribe absolutely sacrosanct. But one of them has broken the rules, has run to eighteenth-century London and is using his powers to steal fabulous gemstones. Dubbed the "Smoke Thief," he's the most serious threat to the drákon in memory. Christoff Langford, Marquess of Langford and Alpha of the tribe, has sworn to bring the runner home at any cost.

But even Kit doesn't realize that the Smoke Thief is a woman.

Rue Hawthorne is a halfling: half drákon, half mortal, and an outcast in both worlds. As a little girl she loved Kit from afar. As a woman she knows better to trust her heart to anyone, especially the charismatic, ruthless leader of the drákon. She fled her home to escape a forced marriage to him; as the first female in four generations to complete the Turn, she knows she'll be considered Kit's property. Rue, however, has much bigger dreams than that.

A spectacular diamond is missing, Kit's hot on her heels, and Rue's about to find out that even thieves can have their hearts stolen….

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

book jacketStarred Review. Cases rarely come much colder than the decades-old disappearance of teen heiress Harriet Vanger from her family's remote island retreat north of Stockholm, nor do fiction debuts hotter than this European bestseller by muckraking Swedish journalist Larsson. At once a strikingly original thriller and a vivisection of Sweden's dirty not-so-little secrets (as suggested by its original title, Men Who Hate Women), this first of a trilogy introduces a provocatively odd couple: disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist, freshly sentenced to jail for libeling a shady businessman, and the multipierced and tattooed Lisbeth Salander, a feral but vulnerable superhacker. Hired by octogenarian industrialist Henrik Vanger, who wants to find out what happened to his beloved great-niece before he dies, the duo gradually uncover a festering morass of familial corruption—at the same time, Larsson skillfully bares some of the similar horrors that have left Salander such a marked woman. Larsson died in 2004, shortly after handing in the manuscripts for what will be his legacy.  Review from Publishers Weekly

Library staff recommendation:  The characters are so compelling you just want to keep reading to learn more about them.

Not Your Ordinary Book Group member recommendation:  This trilogy is great.  Don't let the waiting list keep you from requesting this book.  It's worth the wait.

Update from Jan:  The waiting list on this book has finally subsided to a normal level, so please request the book if you're interested.  You may just find it on the shelf.  Also, I truly appreciate all your great comments.  In response to an audiobook reminder, (thank you Anonymous, whoever you are) I've added a link to our audio record below.

Request The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo from Bangor Public Library
Request The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Sound Recording) from the Bangor Public Library

Friday, November 5, 2010

Great book series on HBO, part 2

book jacketA Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

The first volume in Martin's first fantasy saga, A Song of Ice and Fire, combines intrigue, action, romance, and mystery in a family saga. The family is the Starks of Winterfell, a society in crisis due to climatic change that has created decades-long seasons, and a society almost without magic but with human perversity abundant and active. Martin reaches a new plateau in terms of narrative technique, action scenes, and integrating (or not injecting) his political views into the story. He does not avoid a dauntingly large cast and a daunting number of viewpoint shifts, but these are problems seemingly inseparable from the multivolume fantasy genre. Accordingly, one doubts there will be any other comfortable entry point into this example of the genre except at the beginning. Judging by this beginning, however, it promises to repay reading and rereading, from first volume to last, on account of its literacy, imagination, emotional impact, and superb world-building.
~Review from Booklist

~Recommended by Jan (library staff):
HBO has started advertising the trailers for their new original series based on George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series - to start in 2011.  I am anxious to see how they portray this medieval fantasy on the screen.  At 694 pages, A Game of Thrones is not a light read, nor is it for anyone who might be squeamish about violence.  This author drops children from towers and abandons wolf puppies in the woods.  That said, his character development is absolutely amazing.  Tyrion is my favorite character from any fantasy series I've read.

Request A Game of Thrones from Bangor Public Library     

Great book series on HBO, part 1

book jacketDead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

A perfect blend of mystery and horror.  Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life-and one of her coworkers checks out....  Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn't such a bright idea.  Now the HBO original series True Blood.  --Review from Amazon

~Recommended by Jan (library staff):
"My only regret is that I hadn't read this book before watching HBO's True Blood series.  Harris has a very witty writing style.  This book was thoroughly entertaining, although much less graphic than the HBO series."

Request Dead Until Dark from Bangor Public Library

Monday, November 1, 2010

Not Your Ordinary Book Group ~ November's Books

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Storm Front by Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he's the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the "everyday" world is actually full of strange and magical things--and most of them don't play too well with humans. That's where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a--well, whatever.  There's just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks. So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry's seeing dollar signs. But where there's magic, there's a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry's name. And that's when things start to get... interesting.  Magic. It can get a guy killed. --Description from Amazon

Recommended by a book group member:
"The first of the Dresden Files series.  Entertaining topic, situations, and characters."

Request Storm Front at the Bangor Public Library

book jacketShadow Game by Christine Feehan
(Paranormal Romance)

In Feehan's latest paranormal, sizzling sex scenes both physical and telepathic pave the road to true love for brilliant billionaire scientist Lily Whitney and Captain Ryland Miller, the leader of a squad of psionically gifted soldiers who have been imprisoned and separated from each other after receiving life-threatening enhancements. When Lily's father called her in to consult on a top-secret project he was working on for the government, he had no idea that he was signing his own death warrant or that his beloved daughter with her psychic talents would witness his murder and become a target for the traitors who were bending his project to their own evil purposes. Ryland lends his psychic strength to Lily and ignites a passion that brings him and his men into her high-security estate. Action, suspense, and smart characters make this erotically charged romance an entertaining read.  --Review from Amazon

Recommended by a book group member.

Request Shadow Game at the Bangor Public Library

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Selections from our November Book Banter at the Bangor Public Library - If you have read any of these books, let us know what you thought!

book jacketDream Man by Linda Howard
Linda Howard is one of my favorite authors, and this book, in my opinion, is her best.  Beware... it's spicy!  This book has graphic elements in all areas.  Perhaps that's why I couldn't put it down! * Dream Man has made many online romance lists as one of the top ten romances of all times - mine included!

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The Dead Zone by Stephen King
This is one of King's great novels. The characters are realistic (no monsters) and the story is compelling. The beginning is awesome and the end is crazy good!
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Bitten by Kelly Armstrong
Page turner.

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Ape House by Sara Gruen
I enjoyed the concept of this book and the interaction with apes using sign language.

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The Late, Lamented Molly Marx by Sally Koslow
Not one of my usual fun light chick lit/romance choices. But a great read none the less. I like the fact that we know right off the bat Molly has just died and that we will be able to follow her on her journey into finding out how she died. Through Molly we are able to live out that fantasy where we wish we knew how people would react to our deaths.

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The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen
I love Gerritsen's writing style.  Her characters are compelling, her mysteries well executed, and her medical scenes tightly written.  This is the first novel in her Rizzoli and Isles series, also a series on TNT.

For direct links to our catalog to request any of these books go to our Book Banter webpage.

Welcome to Book Banter

We are starting a new blog for staff and patron's to discuss our favorite books. We invite you to share with us any good books you have read lately.