Fayette County Public Library

2013 Staff Picks

 

Michelle

 

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

The Circle by Dave Eggers

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

 

The Fault in Our Stars is a young adult novel that everyone should read. Seriously! Right now!

 

Hazel, our main protagonist, is a teenager with terminal cancer - as she says, her lungs suck at being lungs. All she wants to do is die without hurting too many people. She figures her parents are already too far in, but everyone else she keeps at arm's length. Her life's trajectory changes suddenly when gorgeous, cancer-in-remission, Augustus Waters appears at the Cancer Kids Support Group (being held, as the leader states, in the literal heart of Jesus: actually the basement of a local church). He wants desperately for his life, however short, to mean something. And so begins a love story that could rival any of the star-crossed lovers of Shakespeare; with a little teenage angst and some videogames thrown in.

 

There isn't a single hint of paranormal/magic/supernatural anywhere in this book. I love a good YA paranormal romance as much as the next 35 year old, but after so many they all sound repetitive. This novel captures the imagination just as easily as a fantasy, but everything is oh, so real. The characters are richly complex and authentic. The teenagers may have wisdom beyond their years, brought about by staring mortality in the face, they but still manage to egg a house and play an unhealthy amount of video games. Green's writing is superb. Simple and direct, but rich in detail. There aren't many writers who could pull off the tragedy of childhood cancer with both immeasurable grace and laugh-out-loud humor. Don't misunderstand this though; this isn't a cancer book. While cancer does play a significant role, it is not the focus of the book. Very few books have touched me as strongly as this one has.

 

 

Paula

 

My favorite five books of the year!

The House that Santa Built by Dianne de Las Casas (Max loved this book. It is very interactive for toddlers and preschoolers)

Pioneer Woman: a year of holidays by Ree Drummond (her cookbooks are both informative and entertaining!)

Rose Harbor in bloom by Debbie Macomber (Probably my favorite contemporary author at this time)

Ladies Night by Mary Kay Andrews (another one of my favorites. Love her books not only under this name but also under Kathy Hogan Trochek)

Hearse and buggy by Laura Bradford

 

I am doing my review about the book Hearse and Buggy. It is written by Laura Bradford who also writes the series, Southern Sewing Circle under the name Elizabeth Casey. I have always been interested in the Amish culture but have never actually picked up a book and read it. This one was a good introduction to this genre because it does both the Amish culture and the English. Claire is newly divorced and has moved from the city to start a new life in Heavenly. Her aunt owns an inn in this town and she opens a store selling Amish made handicrafts. The previous owner has taken off with the money that was earned by the Amish craftsmen. He is found dead behind her store and one of the young Amish men is suspected of murdering him. The twist in this story is the lead detective is actually from Heavenly. He left there to become a police officer and now is shunned by the community. Claire seems to be a go-between with him and his Amish family who are still living there. It is a typical cozy whodunit which was pretty easy to solve and very easy to read. I will read the others in the series.

 

Sharon

Second Honeymoon by James Patterson

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Unseen by Heather Graham

12th of Never by James Patterson

Private Berlin by James Patterson

 

Since James Patterson is one of my favorite authors, it makes sense that one of his books is my current favorite. Private Berlin.

Private is the world's most influential investigation firm, managed by Jack Morgan with offices seemingly in every corner of the globe, it is the go-to-firm for individuals, countries and corporations. In this story, Private has to use all its resources when a brutal brilliant killer focuses on one of their own, Chris Schneider.

The story takes off when Chris Schneider's ex-girlfriend Mattie starts investigating the three cases that Chris was handling before disappearing. Each is fascinating in its own right. One concerns an influential billionaire who is suspected of infidelity by his wife; a second involves a talented soccer star who is thought to have been fixing games; and the third deals with a successful nightclub operator who may be in bed with the Russian mob, among others.

Patterson takes you on a bunch of twists and turns, he is the best at keeping a story going at break neck speed. As far as I'm concerned, it's a must read.

 

Kim

Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts

Inn at Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber

First Sight by Danielle Steel

Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

Until the end of time by Danielle Steel

 

Ok, first of all I adore Danielle Steel so I love all her books so it is hard to pick my favorite. I love happily ever afters and she is always good for that. In this book, Until the End of Time, Robert is a hardworking independent book publisher in Manhattan who has given up all personal life to build his struggling business. He is looking for one big hit novel to publish. Lillibet is a young Amish woman caring for her widowed father and three young brothers on their family farm. At night, by candlelight, she has written the novel and gets it into Robert's hands, wrapped in her hand-stitched apron. He falls in love first with the book, and then with the woman he has never met. Although Lillibet faces banishment from her family and community, she embraces the opportunity to publish her novel, and is irresistibly drawn to the man who has heard her voice. Destiny is at work here. Fate draws her from her horse-and-buggy life toward his, and the publication of her novel.

 

Judy

Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani

Ocean At the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye

Bossy Pants by Tina Fey

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

In this very moving narrative, set in present day Maine, tells the story of 91 year old Vivian and a 17 year old foster child, Molly, who, because of circumstances and commonalities, forge a much needed friendship. Through seamlessly woven chapters of past and present, we learn that Vivian was on one of the trains that carried orphans circa 1929 from NYC to the Midwest, to find new families and new lives. At the age of 9 she, and others like her, went from one awful foster situation to the next, really just indentured servants, learning to do without love, material things, comfort, food, safety, all that we take for granted. Feeling broken inside and ashamed, she learns to pretend that all is fine. An important theme in the book is that everything happens in our lives for a reason. This plays out in various ways as both Vivian and Molly recount their tales of woeful childhoods. Vivian wouldn't have ended up with her adoptive parents if she first hadn't struck out at the others. She later would not have found the love of her life if she hadn't gone on a trip that she really had no interest in. Molly wouldn't have met Vivian if she hadn't stolen a library book (not that we recommend this activity) and was forced to do community service. 

This book will make you appreciate all you have and insight into the foster care system through the years.

 

Jenn

 

Silver Star by Jeanette Walls

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George

Relic by Heather Terrell

 

My Notorious Life by Kate Manning

 

Axie's story begins on the streets of 1860's New York. The poor child of Irish immigrants, she grows up to become one of the wealthiest and most controversial women of her day. Axie recounts how she is separated from her mother and siblings, apprenticed to a doctor, and how she and her husband together form a thriving midwifery business, although against the law, in the name of women's reproductive rights.

 

When her services attract outraged headlines, Axie has to fight for her freedom against people who didn't believe women had these rights. However, women poured in by the dozens to her clinic and she becomes an infamous name and one of the wealthiest women of the city.

 

I love reading historical fiction and books about midwives and I would definitely recommend this one.

 

Laura

 

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Tidal by Amanda Hocking

Graveminder by Melissa Marr

Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

 

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman is a contemporary fairytale that begins as the unnamed narrator returns to his dilapidated childhood home and begins to remember a strange and disturbing summer from his youth. His story reveals a shy and insecure seven year old boy targeted by a supernatural threat and traumatized by the actions of his own loving, but clueless family. As the character delves deeper into forgotten events, he uncovers the memory of a little girl and her family of strange, but magical women who befriended him and may still inhabit the fairytale world which he has left behind.

As a long-time fan of Neil Gaiman, I waited excitedly for this book to arrive. Frequently, I find this author's books to be both stranger and sadder than I am prepared for, but I have never found that to be a deterrent. The juxtaposition of the horrors that occur within the ordinary, mundane family environment with those that threaten from the supernatural realm is to me the most compelling element of this work as well as the most disturbing. The Ocean at the End of the Lane uses fantasy and horror elements to explore the often traumatic nature of childhood experiences and in doing so creates a haunting and dreamlike tale that is often ambiguous and ends far sooner than the reader would like.

 

Randall

 

The Last Stand of the Tin Can Soldiers by James D. Hornfischer

Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp by Carol Diggory Shields

Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-el

The Snatchabook by Helen Docherty

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

 

Daniel James Brown's book is about the 8 oar crew team from the University of Washington and their pursuit of the gold medal in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. They defeated the dominating eastern rivals, British Universities, and finally the German crew at the Olympics. This is an adventurous, well written factual account that reads like a novel. It's a good life story about overcoming huge obstacles, with the ethics of hard work, determination, hope & goal setting.  It's what real American heroes are made of.

 

Kindall

 

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Jennifer by Dee Henderson

The Walnut Tree by Charles Todd

 

The Walnut Tree begins in 1914 around the start of World War I. Lady Elspeth Douglas, a young woman who has lead a very privileged life, finds herself in the middle of death and destruction while trying to make her way home from France to Europe.

In the process of trying to find her place in the world, she meets two remarkable men and embarks on a very fulfilling journey to help the soldiers who are sacrificing their lives to stop the Germans. This is a very worthwhile book to read. 

 

Penny

 

The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman

The road to Woodbury by Robert Kirkman

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

The Walking Dead (Volumes 1-18) by Robert Kirkman

Joyland by Stephen King

 

Devin Jones, 21 year old college student, is dumped by his first love about the same time he obtains summer employment with a small beach town amusement park in North Carolina. You follow Devin as he makes friends and earns the respect of his of his fellow employees and his employer. He saves a young girl's life, learns of the unsolved murder in Joyland's haunted house ride, and befriends a woman and her young dying son. Eventually, he falls in love, solves the murder and lives to tell about it.

Joyland is a simple, sweet story of one human's experience in one phase of his life and how his choices refined his character and defined his destiny. If you are a fan or horror, mystery, romance, paranormal, and the human life experience then you will find this book has it all.

 

 

Diana

 Motorcycle Man-Kristen Ashley

This book was one of the best discoveries I made this year. This isn't your average contemporary romance however. With the leader of a motorcycle gang for a hero and a delicate yet fierce woman as his heroine, this story has passion, depth, and an original voice that makes this romance stand out in a sea of 50 same-ness.

This book blew my mind the first time I read it and continues to do so with every re-read. (I think I've read it three times to date, although having written this I may go back and make it four. Four times it is. ;P) The recent rise of books featuring motorcycles and MCs is not due to Charlie Hunnam and Sons of Anarchy, but to Kristen Ashley and Motorcycle Man. 

Other must read titles this year you should try:

The Chocolate Thief-Laura Florand

Lord of Wicked Intentions-Lorraine Heath

Twice Tempted-Jeaniene Frost

Highlander Most Wanted-Maya Banks

 

Rene

 

Ever After: Book 11 in the Rachael Morgan/Hollows Series by Kim Harrison

Bitter Kingdom: Book 3 in the Fire and Storms Trilogy by Rae Carson

Poison: by Bridget Zinn

Rise of the Gryphon: Book 4 of the Balador Code by Sherrilyn Kenyon with Dianna Love

 

 

Boundless by Cynthia Hand

Boundless is the third and last book in the Young Adult Unearthly Trilogy by Cynthia Hand. The last few years have been a time of many changes in Clara's world and her view of the world and people around her. Half-angel Clara has learnt that people are not always what they seem, even those closest to her. She has discovered the joy of first love and the agony of losing someone close to her.

In the final installment, determined to protect Tucker the boy she loves from the evil fallen angel stalking her, Clara decides to go back to California. Also going to California is Christian, the half-angel boy her visions drew her to. Their lives in mortal danger, Clara and her angel-blood friends will have to battle the Black Wings to fulfill her special role in their destiny. 

 

Sylvia

Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris

Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

The Walking Dead: Road to Woodbury by Robert Kirkman

Joyland by Stephen King

 

Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin

Ashen Winter is book two in the Ashfall trilogy. In book one, Ashfall, fifteen year old Alex Halprin stays at home while his parents and sister go to visit family in another town. While Alex is home alone the super volcano in Yellow Stone Park erupts. The effects of this eruption are detrimental. Book two, Ashen Winter, continues with Alex's story of how he learns to survive in the post-eruption world that is very brutal and extremely dangerous.

I enjoyed Ashen Winter because it describes a world that is vastly different. Imagine a world where there's no electricity, no water, and no electronics, a world where the sun no longer shines and everything is covered with ash. This book shows just how quickly life can change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pamela

 

Gone Missing by Linda Castillo

Her Last Breath by Linda Castillo

Whiskey River by Nora Roberts

Walking Dead; the Road to Woodbury by Robert Kirkwood 

 

 

Walking Dead; the Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkwood

 

I loved, loved, loved this book. Like the other 16 million viewers nationwide, I am an avid Walking Dead fan. I originally was only interested in the television phenomenon but once we purchased the graphic novels in the county and the first two of a three part series of novels I decided I had to give them a chance. I could not put this book down once I started it.

Even though the novels are not based on what we have seen on the television program, they do give some wonderful additional information that you do not get from only viewing the show. For example, the book starts shortly after the zombie apocalypse and tells you about the state of events at the beginning of the apocalypse. If you watch the television program it opens primarily after the apocalypse begins but does no show you the original chaos and mayhem that ensues immediately after such an ordeal. The book backs up and starts at the beginning when a lot of public services are still operational, i.e. cellular phones, some electricity, etc. Of course, these luxuries do not last long.

 

The book tells the story of a man and his young daughter who set out to find safety with the help of his brother and two friends. The friends are described as good ol' boys from back home. The main character of the book is a man named Philip and it is he who is the dynamic alpha-male of the group. His principle goal is to protect his young daughter Penny, which turns out to be a difficult task in such an unforgiving and brutal time. There are many obstacles that they face while searching for a safe place to live and they come into contact with a large variety of friends and foes.

The most wonderful part of this book is of course the ending. As with all great books, the author keeps you guessing until practically the last page when you will say to yourself (or out loud in my case) Oh, You're Kidding!! No Way!! This book only made me crave more in the stories of these people who are left with no alternatives in this new world but to do whatever you have to do to survive.

The men face incredible obstacle on their journey and they endure great loss and heartache on their way. If you are avoiding this book series because of the zombie theme I definitely advise you not to. It is not so much about the zombies that they face as the reactions and strife they encounter. It really is more about how humanity breaks down in the face of adversity and how quickly our civilized society crumbles in the midst of a catastrophe.

Everyone, run out and check this book out today. It is a wonderful, easy read and it is sure to catch your imagination as well as your interests. Who knows, maybe you will learn something to use if we are ever thrown into a zombie apocalypse.