Tag Archives: Barbara @ WPL

‘Tis the season to be reading!

Thanks to Mother Nature, it’s finally feeling pretty Christmassy outside. Inside the library, we’ve got you covered for seasonal romance and mystery. I’ve spent the past few months ordering all sorts of Christmas goodies for our readers, including stories with ho-ho-hot rogues, magical mistletoe, paranormal presents, and cozy Christmas sleuths. The current offerings provide something for every taste, so get comfy under a blanket (or mistletoe!), pour yourself a cup of something hot (alcoholic or not!), and check out the books below.

Making Spirits Bright by Fern Michaelsmaking-spirits-bright

This swoon-worthy collection of novellas hits the holiday sweet spot. In the title story, singleton Melanie McLaughlin dreams of adopting far more than she frets about her empty love life, but everything comes together when she’s offered two children orphaned by a terrible car crash and twinkle-eyed Bryce Landry steals her heart along with his offer to give the kids “the best Christmas ever.” Elizabeth Bass cooks up a tear-jerker in “Runaway Christmas” as spunky Texas teen Erica, trying to get back on track after her mother’s death, decides to spend Christmas with a family friend in Brooklyn. Rosalind Noonan’s “Home for Christmas,” a tale of a single mother falling for a wounded soldier returning from Afghanistan, is sure to tug the heartstrings. Nan Rossiter’s “Christmas on Cape Cod” delivers a dog-lover’s dream.

Fields Where They Lay by Timonthy Hallinan fields-where-they-lay
It’s three days until Christmas and Junior Bender, Hollywood’s fast-talking fixer for the felonious, is up to his ears in shopping mall Santas, Russian mobsters, desperate holiday shoppers, and (’tis the season) murder, in this sixth entry in the Junior Bender Holiday Mystery series (after King Maybe). The halls are decked, the deck is stacked, and here comes that jolly old elf. Junior Bender, divorced father of one and burglar extraordinaire, finds himself stuck inside the Edgerton Mall, and not just as a last-minute shopper (though he is that too). Edgerton isn’t exactly the epicenter of holiday cheer, despite its two Santas, canned Christmas music, chintzy bows, and festive lights. The mall is a fossil of an industry in decline; many of its stores are closed, and to make matters worse, there is a rampant shoplifting problem. The murderous Russian mobster who owns the place has decided it takes a thief to catch a thief and hires Junior–under threat–to solve the shoplifting problem for him. But Junior’s surveillance operation doesn’t go well: as Christmas Eve approaches, two people are dead and it’s obvious that shoplifting is the least of the mall’s problems. To prevent further deaths, possibly including his own, Junior must confront his dread of Christmas–both present and past.

 

christmas-brideA Christmas Bride by Hope Ramsay

‘Tis the season in Shenandoah Falls and the first time Willow Peterson has been home in years. But she’s determined to fulfill the wishes of her recently deceased best friend and restore Eagle Hill Manor to its former glory–all in time to host the perfect holiday wedding. She just has to get the owner of the historic inn to hire her. Unfortunately, that means dealing with Scrooge himself.
After the death of his wife, David Lyndon has a bah-humbug approach to Christmas. But as December counts down and the wedding planning is in full swing, it’s harder and harder to stay immune to the charms of Willow, especially when he sees how much joy she brings his eight-year-old daughter. After a simple kiss under the mistletoe turns into something more, David is hoping he can turn the magic of the holiday season into the love of a lifetime.

The Twelve Dogs of Christmas by David Rosenfelttwelve-dogs-of-christmas

Martha “Pups” Boyer, who’s at the center of Edgar-finalist Rosenfelt’s entertaining 15th legal thriller featuring Patterson, N.J., attorney Andy Carpenter (after Outfoxed), earned her nickname for her efforts to take in stray puppies that the local animal shelter can’t handle and find them permanent homes. Near the holidays, Pups’s new neighbor, Randy Hennessey, reports her for keeping more than the legal limit of animals. Andy, a long-time friend of Pups, figures that puppies and Christmas are key words that will ensure that the case is dismissed. He’s right. But when Randy turns up dead, Pups is arrested for his murder. The evidence is stacked against her, but Andy refuses to believe Pups guilty. On the other hand, Andy and his team discover some alarming discrepancies when they dig through the assets of the wealthy Pups and her late husband.

 

holiday-temptationHoliday Temptation by Donna Hill, Farrah Rochon, and K.M. Jackson

Three unlikely couples heat up the pages in this sensual trio of holiday. An aspiring playwright and a barista who is more than he seems learn to trust their hearts in Hill’s passionate “A Gift of Love”; a chance meeting in Istanbul’s spice market turns into something more for a Christmas-phobic photographer and techie craft brewer when the fates and the weather get into the act in Farrah Rochon’s affecting “Holiday Spice”; and a hard-driving real estate mogul hires a health-conscious chef to improve his diet and lifestyle during a business trip aboard his yacht and gets more than he bargained for in K.M. Jackson’s pert “From Here to Serenity.”

 

We Wish You a Murderous Christmas by Vicki Delanywe-wish-you-a-murderous-christmas

In Delany’s second book in the Year-Round Christmas Mystery series (after Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen), Merry Wilkinson is content with life in Rudolph, NY, where she runs a Christmas shop. The town has reinvented itself as a holiday-themed tourist destination full of indie businesses. So when the owner of the Yuletide Inn lands in the hospital following a heart attack, and his son, Gord, swoops in to convert the inn into a franchise of a budget hotel chain and sell land to a big-box store, the community is in an uproar. They’re almost relieved when Gord is murdered, until their resident Santa, Merry’s father, is questioned. Now Merry will have to find the real killer before her dad ends up in jail and the holiday is ruined.

it-must-be-christmasIt Must Be Christmas by Jennifer Crusie, Donna Alward, and Mandy Baxter

Three novellas with a delightful assortment of settings sweep readers off their feet with stories that highlight a variety of holiday experiences. A university librarian and a professor of Chinese lit (with a secret agenda) trade barbs and kisses as they spend Christmas Eve searching for an elusive action figure for a five-year-old in Crusie’s nonstop chuckler “Hot Toy”; a small-town doctor and an ex-Navy SEAL dad are thrown together when they find a newborn in the Christmas crèche in Donna Alward’s insightful “Christmas at Seashell Cottage”; and a wealthy rancher who wants nothing to do with his late father’s money finds romance with the founder of a sports-related charity for at-risk kids in Mandy Baxter’s steamy “Christmas with the Billionaire Rancher.” Library Journal states: “spirited, refreshing, and brimming with holiday joy, this diverse trilogy delivers both sexy and sweet, providing a little something for everyone.”

The Last Chance Christmas Ball by Mary Jo Putney and otherslast-chance-christmas-ball

Eight romance authors (collectively known as the Word Wenches) walk into a Regency-era ballroom and wreak fabulous, shimmering holiday mischief all over the place. The Dowager Countess of Holbourne is hosting an extravagant Christmas ball, and the guest list includes some of the loveliest, loneliest people in high society. Publisher’s Weekly states: “The best of the stories woven around this premise are Joanna Bourne’s ‘My True Love Hath My Heart,’ in which a little larceny spices a long-smoldering romance; Susan King’s ‘A Scottish Carol,’ wherein snowbound lovers never quite make it to the ball; and a maiden’s romantic rescue from a young ladies’ seminary in Anne Gracie’s ‘Mistletoe Kisses.’ The characters are smart and attractive-so much so that it can be hard to believe the ball is their only chance to find love-and their stories are delicious and appealing.”

our-first-christmasOur First Christmas by Lisa Jackson, Mary Burton, Mary Carter, and Cathy Lamb

Join four of the most favorite romance authors for tales of Christmas romance to remember forever.   In Lisa Jackson’s “Under the Mistletoe,” Megan Johnson’s marriage is over—or so she thinks. When her husband Chris lands in the hospital, she remembers the unexpected joy of their first Christmas together. The holidays bring painful memories for history professor Marisa Thompson in Mary Burton’s “A Ranger for Christmas.” But agreeing to help Texas Ranger Lucas Cooper solve a case presents her with more than a distraction. In Mary Carter’s “A Southern Christmas,” reporter Danielle Bright is heading home to write about Christmas down south—and possibly win back her ex. But Sawyer, the sexy photographer, is determined to jingle her bells. Family is where you go after quitting your job, but Laurel Kelly isn’t prepared for the changes at home in Montana—or the fact that her high school boyfriend now owns the family land in “A Ranger for Christmas” by Mary Burton.

Deck the Hallways by Kate Carlisledeck-the-hallways

Contractor Shannon Hammer is back in Carlisle’s fourth “Fixer-Upper” mystery, an entertaining Christmas cozy. Shannon’s latest project is overseeing the remodeling of an old Victorian mansion into apartments for families in need. Since the bank donated the foreclosed house to the Holiday Homebuilders, company representative Mr. Potter is sent to keep an eye on the progress. However, he manages to harass and fight with several of the workers, including Shannon’s dad, then ends up murdered, leaving a long list of suspects. Hoping to keep her father off the list of potential killers and get the renovation back on track, Shannon does some amateur sleuthing.

trouble-with-mistletoeThe Trouble with Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis

Fans of Shalvis’s Sweet Little Lies will surely want to pick up her second Heartbreaker Bay contemporary, which is also very accessible to new readers. The series’s cuddliness factor is amped up to 11 with redheaded Willa Davis and her San Francisco pet store, South Bark Mutt Shop. Willa’s single and happy that way; she gets her daily dose of love from half a dozen eight-week-old golden retriever pups and the other lost animal souls she tends. Then handsome Keane Winters, a man from her past, shows up with Petunia, a Siamese cat he’s nicknamed Pita because she’s a pain in the ass. Pita is his great-aunt’s pet, and he needs all the cat counseling he can get, but Willa, Christmas spirit notwithstanding, would just as soon he seek it elsewhere. Willa’s a gem, Keane’s a hunk-tool belt and all-and the two spar as only Shalvis’s characters can, fighting a losing battle against the powers of mutual attraction and the holiday season.

Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morganmiracle-on-5th-avenue

As a surprise, Eva Jordan agrees to decorate for Christmas the apartment of the grandson of one of her events and concierge company’s oldest clients (even preparing frozen meals) and finds crime writer Lucas Blade lurking in the dark instead of in Vermont where he is supposed to be working. Recently widowed Lucas has hit a massive writer’s block and is hiding out at home. He certainly doesn’t want an effervescent, captivating, Christmas-loving woman disturbing his peace-although it’s exactly what he needs. A cynical novelist who doesn’t believe in love and an optimistic chef who thinks it’s more important than all else set the pages alight in a compelling romance that tempers the serious issues of loneliness, grief, and fear of commitment with the salutary joy of the season.

-Barbara

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Isn’t it Snowmantic?

Christmas carols have been jingling through the loud speakers at the malls and stores for some weeks now, but most of us are just starting to get into the Christmas spirit. Whatever you find yourself doing this month, from decorating the tree, shopping for the perfect gifts, planning Christmas meal menus, baking, or just relaxing on the couch watching cheesy Christmas movies on cable TV, why not add reading a romance to your to-do list? So many holiday romance stories can add to your cheer, and make some cold winter night just that much hotter.

Not sure where to start? Try an anthology, where you get snippets from many different writers.

A Christmas kissA Christmas Kiss
Just in time to make the season steamy, an exciting new small-town romance anthology featuring three novellas set during the holiday, including Sealed With A Kiss by Celeste O. Norfleet, Mistletoe Lane by Regina Hart, and His Christmas Present by Deborah Fletcher Mello.

What happens under the mistletoeWhat Happens Under the Mistletoe
In this all-new story collection sparkling with sexy charm and heartwarming wit, four beloved bestselling authors reveal the mix-ups and make-ups, the missed chances and golden opportunities that come but once a year. Includes The Heiress and the Hothead by Sabrina Jeffries, Twelve Kisses by Karen Hawkins, By Any Other Name by Candace Camp, and Sweetest Regret by Meredith Duran.

On the naughty listOn the Naughty List
The most wonderful time of the year is back! Featuring perennial favorite holiday stories from Lori Foster and Carly Phillips, along with two Christmas stories that delighted readers a year ago, this sexy anthology will make you want to give your heart to Christmas again and again. Includes Christmas Bonus by Lori Foster, Naughty Under the Mistletoe by Carly Phillips, Have Yourself a Curvy Little Christmas by Sugar Jamison, and Some Kind Of Wonderful by Beth Ciotta.

Cowboys have been very popular in romance novels this past year. Looking to wrangle one up in your stocking? Look no further…

Cowboy firefighter for ChristmasCowboy Firefighter for Christmas by Kim Redford
Trey Duvall, a rancher and local firefighter, is out of luck. His ranch has suffered from several “accidental” fires and there is no explanation in sight. All he wants for the upcoming holiday is to get to the bottom of this mystery, but what he gets instead is hotter than any ranch fire. When city-girl Misty Reynolds drops into Wildcat Bluff, Texas right around the holidays, the last thing she wants is a Christmas surprise. But when a smokin’-hot cowboy flags her down one December day, she may be in for the sweetest Christmas treat she’s ever had. This is the first book in Redford’s Smokin’ Hot Cowboys series.

Long tall christmasLong, Tall Christmas by Janet Dailey
Facing foreclosure on her California home, widowed Kylie Wayne is grateful to accept her aging aunt Muriel’s offer to come back to small-town Branding Iron, Texas, and help out on the ranch. But when an early storm rolls in, Kylie’s dream of a perfect Christmas for her kids is blown away with the unexpected snow. Comfort and joy seem unlikely, unless a certain long tall Texan with a bad boy’s charm can rope some holiday cheer.

Mistletoe RomanceMistletoe Rodeo by Amanda Renee
His entire town was counting on Chase Langtry to win the championship title. Instead, the injured bull rider is slinking back to the family ranch. But how can he stay out of the spotlight with relentless reporter Nola West following him home from Vegas? His humiliating loss just can’t be her next story! Nola’s attraction to the youngest son of Ramblewood’s First Family is shaking her hard-won confidence. And it looks like the only scoop she’ll get is covering the Mistletoe Rodeo charity event. She’s never been a big fan of the holiday. Until Chase vows to show her a Christmas she’ll never forget.

If you’re hoping for a ho-ho-hot holiday season, you might be interested in these picks:

A Bad Boy for Christmas by Jessica Lemmon
‘Tis the season to be naughty! Connor McClain knows what he wants. And after four harrowing years in Afghanistan, that’s a quiet life in the lakeside town of Evergreen Cove. But coming home has land mines of its own-the most dangerous of them being long-legged bombshell Faith Garrett. Now getting her into his arms this holiday is going to require more than mistletoe . . . With a cheating ex behind her, all Faith wants is a relaxing holiday free from man drama. And even though every moment with gorgeous Connor is a sweet temptation, Faith is determined not to give in. But Jack Frost has other plans, and soon Faith and Connor are snowbound in a winter wonderland with only the sparks flying between them to keep them warm. As one hot kiss leads to another, they’ll have to decide if they’re ready to give each other the best gift of all–love.

UnwrappedUnwrapped by Katie Lane
Jacqueline Maguire has a problem tying the knot. After fleeing the altar (again), the runaway bride drives off with no particular destination in mind. Which is how Jac finds herself stranded in a snowstorm with a hot, hard-bodied stranger who treats her to the naughtiest night of her life… but come morning, he’s long gone. Patrick McPherson is deeply committed to his bachelor lifestyle. No strings, no rings. As the Christmas season approaches, however, Patrick still can’t quite forget his curvalicious one-night stand. This is the third book in Lane’s A Hunk for the Holidays series.

Silver Wolf ChristmasSilver Wolf Christmas by Terry Spear
CJ Silver and his brothers have returned to Silver Town eager to reconnect with the pack. And with the she-wolf newcomers renovating the old Victorian Silver Town Hotel, it looks like the holidays are going to be very merry indeed. Laurel MacTire and her sisters are excited to be living in a wolf-run town, but they have another motive-to solve the fifty-year-old mystery of their aunt’s disappearance. When CJ gets a whiff of trouble brewing, his protective instincts kick in. Now Laurel has a hotel opening to prepare for, a mystery to solve, and a brawny wolf shifter underfoot. Perhaps she should have resisted the temptation to kiss him so wickedly in the snow. This is the fifth book in Spear’s Silver Town Wolf series.

Finally, for those of you looking for a gentler romance, give these titles a look:

All is calm all is brightAll Is Calm, All Is Bright by Colleen Coble
Return to two of Colleen Coble’s most beloved settings Bluebird Ranch and Hope Beachfor holiday romance and mystery!

Christmas bride in pinecraftChristmas Bride in Pinecraft by Shelley Shepard Gray
When Beverly Overholt’s Orange Blossom Inn is broken into, she’s shaken to her core. After all, the inn has been her whole life since her fiance left her for her best friend. In the face of repairing what’s been lost, Beverly calls Eric Wagler, the inn’s handsome owner. To her surprise, he promises to be on the next flight out to Sarasota. Beverly’s been closed off to love for years, but with Eric, she can’t help seeing a glimmer of hope, even if they’re from different worlds. Will Christmas bring a second chance at love for Beverly? And if it does, will she be brave enough to take it? This is the fourth book in Gray’s Pinecraft Brides series.

Falling like snowflakesFalling Like Snowflakes by Denise Hunter
Beau Callahan is a habitual problem-solver. He’s recently left his job with the sheriff’s department to take over the family Christmas tree farm to save it from insolvency. But he’s flummoxed. During the busiest season of the year, he’s shorthanded. Then Eden shows up looking for work, and Beau believes he’s been rescued. Competent, smart, and beautiful, Eden’s also guarded and quiet. He soon figures out she comes with a boatload of secrets. But Beau can’t seem to help himself from falling for her. This is the first book in Hunter’s Summer Harbor series.

Dashing through the snowDashing through the Snow by Debbie Macomber
Ashley Davison is desperate to spend the holidays with her mother in Seattle. Kevin Tyler just got assigned a job in Seattle and must arrive by December 23. Both frantic to book a last-minute flight out of California, Ashley and Kevin collide at the airline to learn there are no flights and only one rental car available. Squaring off before meeting halfway, the two reluctantly agree to drive to Washington together. But their journey isn’t without obstacles, and a misunderstanding with the law threatens to upend their holiday plans altogether.

– Barbara

What’s New This March?

New library materials arrive every day, and it can sometimes seem overwhelming when you’re looking for something new to read. I thought I would help by putting together a list of the books I’m most looking forward to this month. Hopefully you will too.

Dark rooms Secret History meets Sharp Objects in Dark Rooms by Lili Anolik, a stunning debut about murder and glamour set in the ambiguous and claustrophobic world of an exclusive New England prep school. Death sets the plot in motion: the murder of Nica Baker, beautiful, wild, enigmatic, and only 16. The crime is solved, and quickly – a lonely classmate, unrequited love, a suicide note confession – but memory and instinct won’t allow Nica’s older sister, Grace, to accept the case as closed. Working at the private high school from which she recently graduated, Grace becomes increasingly obsessed with identifying and punishing the real killer.

17 carnations17 Carnations: The royals, the Nazis and the biggest cover-up in history, by Andrew Morton, is the story of the feckless Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor, and his wife Wallis Simpson, whose affair with Joachim von Ribbentrop embroiled the duke in a German plot to use him as a puppet king during their takeover of the British Empire. The Duke’s collaboration with Hitler had resulted in piles of correspondence between them; this damning correspondence could forever tarnish the reputation of the royal family. For the first time in history, the story of the cover-up of those letters, starting with a daring heist–by order of Churchill and the King–to bring the letters back safely to England, out of American hands is revealed.

pocket wifeSusan Crawford makes her debut with The Pocket Wife, a stylish psychological thriller. Dana Catrell is shocked when her neighbor Celia is brutally murdered. To Dana’s horror, she was the last person to see Celia alive. Dana’s mind is rapidly deteriorating. Suffering from a debilitating mania, the by-product of her bipolar disorder, she has holes in her memory, including what happened when she saw Celia the day of the murder. As evidence starts to point in her direction, Dana struggles to clear her name before she descends into madness. Dana couldn’t be the killer. Or could she?

life from scratchLife from Scratch: A memoir of food, family, and forgiveness is a culinary journey like no other. Over the course of 195 weeks, food writer and blogger Sasha Martin set out to cook – and eat–a meal from every country in the world. As cooking unlocked the memories of her rough-and-tumble childhood and the loss and heartbreak that came with it, Martin became more determined than ever to find peace and elevate her life through the prism of food and world cultures. Martin’s heartfelt, brutally honest memoir reveals the power of cooking to bond, to empower, and to heal – and celebrates the simple truth that happiness is created from within.

clash of eaglesClash of Eagles by Alan Smale is perfect for fans of military and historical fiction–including novels by such authors as Bernard Cornwell, Naomi Novik, and Harry Turtledove. This stunning work of alternate history imagines a world in which the Roman Empire has not fallen and the North American continent has just been discovered. A legion under the command of general Gaius Marcellinus invades the newly-discovered North American continent. But Marcellinus and his troops have woefully underestimated the fighting prowess of the Native American inhabitants. When Gaius is caught behind enemy lines and spared, he must re-evaluate his allegiances and find a new place in this strange land.

better on toastBetter On Toast: Full meals on a slice of bread—with a little room for dessert, by Jill A. Donenfeld, features delicious, quick, easy-to-follow recipes for toasts with every possible topping – from hot to cold and savoury to sweet. Anyone can make delicious toasts, no matter his or her level of experience or kitchen size. Whether you use thick-cut French bread, slices of whole wheat, or her gluten-free bread recipe, Jill puts emphasis on flavour, using quality, wholesome ingredients to make each recipe stand out. You can enjoy these elegant yet simple meals anytime and for any occasion, using classic ingredients in new ways and playing with interesting ingredients you’ve always wondered about.

girl underwaterGirl Underwater, by Claire Kells, sees college student Avery is on her way home to Boston for the holidays with some fellow members of her swim team. When their plane goes down in a Colorado mountain lake, she and the other four survivors fight to stay alive in an icy wilderness. Following their rescue, Avery must come to terms with the crash, the secret she is keeping, and some specific new phobias, such as airports and water. She is also torn between two men: boyfriend Lee, who wasn’t aboard the plane and doesn’t know how to help her; and teammate and fellow survivor Colin, who understands the trauma she endured. Skillfully interspersing flashbacks with current events, debut novelist Kells has written an absorbing tale that will grip anyone who enjoys survival stories or psychological dramas. It is also a great choice for readers looking for new adult fiction with a bit more adventure.

strangler vineThe Strangler Vine by M.J. Carter was longlisted for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction. This dazzling historical thriller is set in the untamed wilds of 19th-century colonial India. William Avery is a young soldier with few prospects; Jeremiah Blake is a secret political agent gone native, a genius at languages and disguises, disenchanted with the whole ethos of British rule, but who cannot resist the challenge of an unresolved mystery. What starts as a wild goose chase for this unlikely pair – trying to track down a missing writer who lifts the lid on Calcutta society – becomes very much more sinister.

reluctant midwifeThe Reluctant Midwife by Patricia Harman is the heartfelt sequel to Midwife of Hope River. The Great Depression has hit West Virginia hard. Men are out of work; women struggle to feed hungry children. Luckily, Nurse Becky Myers has returned to care for them. While she can handle most situations, Becky is still uneasy helping women deliver their babies. For these mothers-to-be, she relies on an experienced midwife, her dear friend Patience Murphy. But becoming a midwife and ushering precious new life into the world is not Becky’s only challenge. Her skills and courage will be tested when a calamitous forest fire blazes through a Civilian Conservation Corps camp.

mademoiselle chanelFor readers of Paris Wife and Z comes Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner,  a vivid novel full of drama, passion, tragedy, and beauty that stunningly imagines the life of iconic fashion designer Coco Chanel. Born into rural poverty, Gabrielle Chanel and her siblings are sent to orphanage after their mother’s death. The sisters nurture Gabrielle’s exceptional sewing skills, a talent that will propel the willful young woman into a life far removed from the drudgery of her childhood. Transforming herself into Coco, the petite brunette burns with ambition, and an incandescence that draws a wealthy gentleman who will become the love of her life.

Barbara

Top Ten magazines to go: tablet, phone and more…

It’s now been a year since we launched our Zinio eMagazine service, and what a year it’s been! Winnipeggers sure do love their magazines. So far in 2014, you’ve checked out 99,529 eMagazines!

For those of you unfamiliar with Zinio, it’s an electronic magazine platform that offers full color and interactive digital magazines for your enjoyment. You can browse hundreds of magazines from our collection of popular titles with no holds, no checkout periods, and no limit to the number of magazines you can download.

If you’re curious about the most popular titles, as I was, here’s our annual* top-ten countdown:

10 – Cosmopolitan (1949 checkouts)
9 – The Economist (2026 checkouts)
8 – Martha Stewart Living (2063 checkouts)
7 – Food Network Magazine (2073 checkouts)
6 – Canadian Living (2107 checkouts)
5 – National Geographic Interactive (2447 checkouts)
4 – O, The Oprah Magazine (2482 checkouts)
3 – Us Weekly (4807 checkouts)
2 – OK! Magazine (6012 checkouts)
1 – Star Magazine (6555 checkouts)

In 2015, we’re adding even more titles to our eMagazine collection. Starting January 1, 2015, you’ll have 213 titles to choose from! It would take too long to list all the new titles, so I thought I would give you a smattering selection of the coolest** titles.

BBC Good Food MagazineBBC Good Food Magazine is the UK’s biggest selling food magazine, packed with triple-tested recipes and practical ideas for every meal occasion. From weekday suppers to relaxed weekend lunches, recipes are seasonal and work first time. In every issue you’ll find 100+ triple-tested recipes, everyday cooking, weekend ideas, seasonal ingredients, TV chefs, inspirational photographs, and practical advice.

Candy PhilippinesCandy is the no. 1 teen magazine in the Philippines. Every Filipina teen trusts that Candy, her BFF, will inspire her to make the most out of her teen years! The magazine features everything a Candy girl is passionate about-fashion, beauty, school, celebs, friends and boys.
CosmopolitanCosmopolitan is one of the largest-selling young women’s magazines in the world, famous for its upbeat style, focus on the young career woman and candid discussion of contemporary male/female relationships. In 2015, we’ll also be offering international editions from France, Hong Kong, India, Italia, Middle East, Philippines, and the United Kingdom.

FamilyFunWhat does family fun mean to you? Crafts? Recipes? Party ideas? Travel tips? FamilyFun magazine dishes up these and more boredom-defying activities in over 180 splashy, colorful pages. Geared toward parents with young children, this energetic magazine promises to enrich the lives of families. Offering a “we’ve been there, we know” sort of comfort to parents, folksy first-person articles let parents know they’re not alone.

GQGQ is the authority on men and is the premier men’s magazine. With its unique and powerful design, the best photographers, and a well of award-winning writers, GQ reaches millions each month. Get the best in men’s fashion and style, beautiful women and culture, news and politics. Check out the US edition, or one of our various international editions from Germany, India, Italy, Latin America, and Hong Kong.

Inside Soap UKSoap Opera DigestCalling all Coronation Street, East Enders, and Emmerdale fans! Inside Soap UK is your essential weekly guide to all the big soap dramas. This magazine gives you every story, every secret, every week! More of a fan of the American soaps? Not to worry, we’ve got you covered with Soap Opera Digest, which provides exclusive sneak peeks of upcoming episodes and details of previous shows that you can’t find anywhere else.

SciFi nowWritten by fans for fans, SciFi Now is the first new science fiction, horror, cult TV and fantasy magazine in the last 12 years – a high quality title that celebrates the explosion of new scifi TV shows, films and culture, past present and future. From Doctor Who to Buck Rogers, Star Wars to American Horror Story, D81 Buffy to Battlestar Galactica, SciFi Now loves them all, and there’s no better magazine if you want in-depth interviews, lavish features, trustworthy reviews and detailed sci-fi TV listings. The future is Now.

Shambhala SunShambhala Sun celebrates the spirit of wakefulness wherever it appears – in the arts, relationships, politics, livelihood, popular culture, and all the challenges of modern life. It offers a Buddhist view for people of all spiritual traditions who are open, inquisitive, passionate and committed.

The New YorkerThe New Yorker is a national weekly magazine that offers a signature mix of reporting and commentary on politics, foreign affairs, business, technology, popular culture, and the arts, along with humor, fiction, poetry, and cartoons.

Vanity Fair

 

From entertainment to world affairs, business to style, design to society, Vanity Fair is a cultural catalyst, inspiring and driving the national conversation. Now the magazine has redefined storytelling for the digital age, bringing its high-profile interviews, stunning photography, and thought-provoking features to your device in a whole new way.

WIREDThe WIRED mission is to tell the world something they’ve never heard before in a way they’ve never seen before. It’s about turning new ideas into everyday reality. It’s about seeding our community of influencers with the ideas that will shape and transform our collective future. WIRED readers want to know how technology is changing the world, and they’re interested in big, relevant ideas, even if those ideas challenge their assumptions—or blow their minds.

YummyYummy is the modern food magazine from the Philippines that inspires readers to be creative with their home menus, given time and budget constraints. Every issue features more than 50 recipes that are quick-to-do and easy-to-prepare, using ingredients readily available in supermarkets. Yummy also delivers product and supermarket news, expert advice, and other interesting features on dining and travel, food shopping, and chefs and food lovers.

— Barbara

* If it’s the first time I do this, does it still count as an ‘annual’ countdown? I think it does, especially if I promise to do it again next year.

** I think they’re cool. Contrary to what my 15 year-old says, I KNOW what’s cool. Really.

Your 3rd Helping of Brains

Shaun of the Dead

[Shaun leads the zombies away from the pub to create a diversion]
Shaun: Come and get it! It’s a running buffet!
[shouts]
Shaun: All you can eat!
Shaun of the Dead, 2004

Hallowe’en is fast approaching. Whether you’ll be out with your kids trick-or-treating, or enjoying yourself at a party or social, ask yourself this: “Am I prepared for the zombie apocalypse?” If not, no need to worry. We’ve got you covered. Study these books and movies, and you’ll be fine. Probably.

PlaugePlague World, by Dana Fredsti, is the 3rd and final book of the Ashley Parker series that began with Plague Town and continued in Plague Nation. The zombie plague has gone airborne, and the conspiracy that began it all reaches the boiling point. Having been ambushed in San Francisco, which is now fully engulfed in the zombie plague, Ashley and the wild cards must pursue the enemy to San Diego. There they will discover a splinter of their own organization, the Dolofónoi tou Zontanoús Nekroús, which seeks to weaponize the plague. But that isn’t the worst news. The plague has gone airborne, making it transferable without physical contract. It cannot be controlled by anyone, so reports of the zombie swarm are coming in from across the United States – and across the world.

GraveIn book one of Joan Frances Turner’s The Resurgam Trilogy, Dust, the world is tenuously shared by man and zombie until an artificial plague rids the world of zombies but kills most of the human population as well. Survivors riddled with mutations caused by the plague (called ‘exes’) terrorize the world in book two, Frail, where we meet one of the last surviving humans as she discovers the secrets of the laboratory where the plague originated. Grave is the culmination of this epic tale—the characters must set their differences aside for the survival of their world; Grave promises to end with a bang.

Fall of NIghtFall of Night, by Jonathan Maberry, is the sequel to Dead of Night, bringing back beloved characters Desdamona Fox and Billy Trout as they race against time to quarantine a zombie epidemic while caught in a military strike. Continuing right where the first novel left off, Officers Fox and Hammond, along with journalist Billy Trout, are calling it the beginning of the end. This is the zombie apocalypse. An insane escaped serial killer is infecting Stebbins County with a deadly virus, and now the whole world is watching while Fox, Trout, and the remaining inhabitants of Stebbins fight for their life against…what? The undead?

Girl with all the giftsMelanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her “our little genius.” Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad. You’ll learn in M.R. Carey’s The Girl With All the Gifts that not every gift is a blessing.

Death Warmed OverIf mysteries and bad puns are more you style, check out Kevin J. Anderson’s Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. series. It all starts with Death Warmed Over, where we meet zombie P.I. Dan Chambeau, who works with a human lawyer as his partner. Ever since the Big Uneasy unleashed vampires, werewolves and other undead denizens on the world, it’s been hell for him. His cases now include a resurrected mummy that is suing the museum that put him on display, two witches that were victims of a curse gone terribly wrong seek restitution from a publisher for not using “spell check” on its magical tomes. And Dan must also find out who caused his own death. The 4th book in the series, Slimy Underbelly, was released earlier this year.

FatimaFrom Love and Rockets co-creator Gilbert Hernandez comes Fatima: The blood spinners. A drug called “spin” offers the wildest trip imaginable, followed by its users’ inevitable, rapid deterioration into undead flesh eaters. Despite the side effect, the drug is so popular that the human population is dying out. With no cure to be found, the beautiful, lovesick Fatima may be the only thing standing between the survivors and the apocalypse. Get ready for zombies, mutants, drug lords, and gorgeous women!

Toe tagsCult movie writer/director George Romero, best known for his work on the horror classic Night of the Living Dead,  writes an original horror tale in Toe Tags. Overnight, the world has been turned upside down, and zombies rule the day! It’s up to a college professor named Hoffman, his assistant Damien Cross and his girlfriend to find out  how and why the undead have taken over. But even if they do get to the bottom of the plague, is it too late to save the world?

Looking for a good zombie movie when you’re on the go (from the shambling horde)? Stream something from our hoopla digital service. Choose from many titles, including Cowboys vs. zombies, A zombie invasion, Battle of the undead, Zombies: When the dead walk, and Zombie girl.

— Barbara

World Cup Fever!

World Cup fever has hit Winnipeg, or at least my home! There’s nothing like spending a whole month immersed in the beautiful game. For Euro 2012, I wrote a blog post for people interested in armchair travelling, highlighting authors from all competing countries. This time around, I thought I would explore the music of the games. Football is often called the beautiful game, so why not enjoy it with some beautiful music?

I’ve pulled together list of CDs from almost all 32 countries participating in the finals. For those of you who prefer to stream/download your music, visit Winnipeg Public Library’s hoopla page. We’ve gathered a long list of music from around the world, again focusing on competing countries. After you’ve logged in, scroll down to the end of the music page. I know you won’t be disappointed!

Brazil
Os Mutantes – Fool metal Jack
Dom La Nena – Ela
CéU – Caranava sereia bloom
Sérgio Mendes – Bom tempo

Ela - Brazil

Mexico
Río Roma – Otra vida
Tommy Tores – 12 historias en vivo
Buitres de Culiacán Sinaloa – Simplemente buitres
Los Ángeles Azules – Cómo te voy a olvidar

Otra vida Mexico

Cameroon
Sally Nyolo and the original bands of Yaoundé – Studio Cameroon

cameroon

Netherlands
Armin van Buuren – Intense

buuren

Australia
Boy & Bear – Harlequin dream
Tame Impala – Lonerism
Xavier Rudd – Spirit bird
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu – Gurrumul

harlequin dream

Spain
Alejandro Sanz – La música no se toca
Buika – En mi piel
DePedro – DePedro
Andy & Lucas – Desde mi barrio

En mi piel Spain

Colombia
Choc Quib Town – Oro
Aterciopelados – Lo esencial Atericiopelados
Cumbia

oro

Ivory Coast
Magic System – Toutè kalé
Dobet Gnahoré – Na Afriki

na afriki

Japan
Hiromi – Voice
The Rough Guide to the music of Japan
Kodō – Heartbeat
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu – Nanda Collection

Voice Japan

Greece
The Rough Guide to Greek Café
Rebetoven – Rebetoven
Greece: A musical odyssey
Potergeist – Muddy Mermaids

muddy mermaid

Italy
Gigi D’Alessio – Ora
Il Volo – Il Volo
Zucchero Sugar Fornaciari – Chocabeck
Marco Calliari – Al faro est

ora

England
Ellie Goulding – Halcyon
Emeli Sandé – Our Version of Events
Coldplay – Ghost Stories
Little Mix – Salute

ghost stories

Uruguay
Jorge Drexler – Amar la trama
Vayo – Tango universal

jorge drexler

France
The Rough Guide to Paris lounge
Air – Le voyage dans la lune
Carla Bruni – Little French songs
Féfé – Le charme des premiers jours

Voyage dans la lune France

Switzerland
Alain Morisod & Sweet People – Si c’était à refaire

alain morisod

Ecuador
Ecuador Manta – Alborada

alborada

Argentina
Bajofondo – Presente
Astor Piazzola – Astor Piazzola Remixed
Frederico Aubele – Panamericana
Pablo Aslan’s Tango Grill

Tango Grill Argentina

Iran
Niyaz – Sumud
The Rough Guide to the music of Iran
Acoustic World: Iran

sumud

Nigeria
Sean Kuti – Seun Kuti & Fela’s Egypt80 
King Sunny Adé – King of Juju

king of juju

United States
Danny Schmidt – Man of many moons
James Cotton – Cotton mouth man
Hurray for the Riff Raff – Small town heroes
Ben Harper with Charlie Musselwhite – Get up

Man of many moons US

Ghana
C.K. Mann & his Carousel 7 – Funky highlife

Funky Highlife Ghana

Portugal
Amália Rodrigues – The queen of fado
Pedro Moutinho – Encontro
Ana Moura – Desfado
Mariza – Terra

Desfado Portugal

Belgium
Stromae – Racine Carrée
Adamo – De toi à moi
Kate Ryan – French Connection

racine carree

Algeria
Speed Caravan – Kalashnik Love
Cheb Mami – Layali
Indir – Neveo
Houria Aïchi – Renayate

neveo

Russia
Chirgilchin – Collectible
Lube – Svoi
Larisa Segida – Jeans River
Traditional music from East Siberia

chilgrichin

South Korea
Kayo: Collection of the best known popular songs of Korea
Girls’ Generation – The boys

boys

— Barbara

The JUNOs Are Here!

JunoDisplayUnless you’ve been living under a rock, you should know that it’s JUNO Week here in Winnipeg! Are you excited yet? Metro News has a list of 5 reasons you should be excited.

Still not convinced? Do you know, there are so many great events going on in the city that’s it’s hard to NOT find something to do! You could compete in the JUNO Cup, check out the JUNO Fan Fare (I will definitely bring my daughter), spend two nights hitting multiple venues and hearing great Canadian music at JUNOfest, or check out Jian Ghomeshi when he brings Q to Winnipeg. Visit the JUNO website for more information on all of the events leading up to the awards on March 30th. Looking for some great Canadian music to get you in the mood? We’ve got you covered. Here’s a small sampling of what we have to offer from the nominees. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t put up whole list – I would run out of space and time!

Alternative Album of the Year

Arcade Fire – Reflektor
Rah Rah – The Poet’s Dead
Royal Canoe – Today We’re Believers
The Darcys – Warring
Yamantaka //Sonic Titan – Uzu

Country Album of the Year
Brett Kissel – Started With a Song
Dean Brody – Crop Circles
Gord Bamford – Country Junkie
Small Town Pistols – Small Town Pistols
Tim Hicks – Throw Down

Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year
Brandi Disterheft – Gratitude
Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra – Habitat
Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society – Brooklyn Babylon
Earl MacDonald – Mirror of the Mind
Marianne Trudel-Trifolia – Le refuge

Classical Album of the Year: Solo or Chamber Ensembles
James Ehnes – Prokofiev Complete Works for Violin
Jan Lisiecki – Chopin: Études Op. 10 & 25
Janina Fialkowska/The Chamber Players of Canada – Concertos Nos. 13 & 14
Louis Lortie – Liszt at the Opera
Stewart Goodyear – Beethoven: The Complete Piano Sonatas

Roots & Traditional Album of the Year: Solo
Daniel Romano – Come Cry With Me
David Francey – So Say We All
Donovan Woods – Don’t Get Too Grand
Justin Rutledge – Valleyheart
Lindi Ortega – Tin Star


Blues Album of the Year
David Gogo – Come on Down
Downchild – Can You Hear the Music
Harrison Kennedy – Soulscape
James ‘Buddy’ Rogers – My Guitar’s My Only Friend
MonkeyJunk – All Frequencies


World Music Album of the Year
Adonis Puentes – Sabor A Café
Azam Ali and Loga R. Torkian – Lamentation of Swans-A Journey Towards Silence
David Buchbinder & Odessa/Havana – Walk to the Sea
Kobo Town – Jumbie in the Jukebox
Lemon Bucket Orkestra – Lume, Lume

Metal/Hard Music Album of the Year
Anciients – Heart of Oak
Gorguts – Colored Sands
KEN Mode – Entrench
Protest the Hero – Volition
The Flatliners – Dead Language

Finally, what blog post would be complete without my favourite KITH, Kevin McDonald, and the Random Acts of Juno? My favourite, naturally, takes place at Millennium Library.

— Barbara

 

The 25 most popular fiction titles for December 2013

Happy 2014 everyone! A new year allows us the opportunity to look back and reflect on the past year, while looking ahead to the new. In this spirit of reflection*, I present the 25 most popular fiction titles for December 2013.
*Not because I’m late with my post and this is fun, easy to do and takes less time.

storyteller25 – The Storyteller, by Jodi Picoult
24 – Police, by Jo Nesbø
23 – A Tap On the Window, by Lindwood Barclay
22 – Best Kept Secret, by Jeffrey Archer
21 – The Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
bones of the lost20 – Bones Of the Lost, by Kathy Reichs
19 – The Silver Star, by Jeannette Walls
18 – Takedown Twenty, by Janet Evanovich
17 – The 9th Girl, by Tami Hoag
16 – Dust, by Patricia Cornwell
deadline15 – Deadline, by Sandra Brown
14 – The Silent Wife, by A.S.A. Harrison
13 – Doctor Sleep, by Stephen King
12 – Inferno, by Dan Brown
11 – The Longest Ride, by Nicholas Sparks
how the light gets in10 – How the Light Gets In, by Louise Penny
9 – King and Maxwell, by David Baldacci
8 – Winners, by Danielle Steel
7 – And the Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini
6 – Mistress, by James Patterson and David Ellis
w is for wasted5 – W Is For Wasted, by Sue Grafton
4 – Sycamore Row, by John Grisham
3 – Gone, by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
2 – Never Go Back, by Lee Child
1 – Saints Of the Shadow Bible, by Ian Rankin

– Barbara

What Marvel Studios does right

I’m not sure if I still have a good buzz going from last weekend’s C4 (that’s Central Canada Comic Con for you non-geeks), but I can’t be the only one who is excited that Thor: The Dark World opens tonight! The latest live-action movie from Marvel Studios sees Thor “fight to restore order across the cosmos… but an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.” Also, puny god Loki is in the movie. Yay!

The past few years have certainly been good to Marvel Studios. As comic writer and all-around genius Gail Simone (@GailSimone) tweeted this morning, “Marvel has made almost zero missteps in their live action stuff, they’ve been nothing short of brilliant.” I have to agree – Marvel Studios has definitely accomplished something rarely seen; they’ve built a shared cinematic universe with a series of interconnected films beginning with 2008′s Iron Man and big screen team-ups like 2012’s The Avengers.

Spider-man 3When the comic book movie craze was starting out in the 1990’s, Marvel had licensed its characters out to various studios. Blind vigilante Daredevil fought crime in Hell’s Kitchen but was stationed at Fox; The Hulk was detained at Universal; and Spider-Man swung through New York City but always came back to Sony. After the success of the three Spider-Man movies, Marvel started to develop the characters that it still retained the rights to (second-stringers like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor), in house. This is when things really started to take off.

AvengersThere are a large number of good decisions behind Marvel Studios’ success. IMHO, their best decision was to bring the right directors and actors to the project. These people weren’t picked for their A-status, but because they turned out to be real fans who really understand the characters. Best decision number 2? Marvel Studios made sure that they had a plan. That’s how Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger were all able to connect into The Avengers, which then connects to Iron Man 3, and will continue to connect to Thor: The  Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as well as Guardians of the  Galaxy, Ant-Man, and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series!

Speaking of television, their new Joss Whedon co-created drama, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., got a full-season order at ABC. Yesterday my fellow comic book nerds rejoiced with the landmark announcement that Marvel will develop at least four original series exclusively for Netflix, followed by a miniseries for the streaming service. The series will be focused on Marvel heroes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage, in that order. Will they glut the television market? Only time will tell, but I don’t think so. We’ll continue seeing the flipping images of Marvel’s title sequence for a number of years now.

— Barbara

Best. Reading List. Ever.

This fall publishing season promises excitement and bestsellers by some of our most popular authors. If you haven’t already, get your library card out and start placing some holds! We’ll be receiving new works from Janet Evanovich (Takedown Twenty), James Patterson (Gone, Cross My Heart), David Baldacci (King and Maxwell), Patricia Cornwell (Dust), Lisa Scottoline (Accused), Jeffrey Deaver (The October List), Iris Johansen (Silencing Eve), and Anita Shreve (Stella Bain), to name a few. Other books that will be creating big splashes include Joseph Boyden’s The Orenda (which is receiving quite favourable reviews), C.C. Benison’s Ten Lords A-Leaping, Alexander McCall Smith’s The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon and Bertie Plays the Blues, and the much-anticipated new Rebus book by Ian Rankin, Saints of the Shadow Bible.

If you still have room on your library card to place a few more holds, I’d like to share with you some of the titles I’m most looking forward to in the coming months.

AutumnBonesAutumn Bones, the second book in author Jacqueline Carey‘s Agent of Hel series, is due out October 1st.  Not only is Ms Carey one of my favourite authors (I interviewed her for a podcast back in 2007 – one of the most exciting days of my life), but I have completely fallen in love with this urban fantasy series. I remember hugging the first book, Dark Currents, when I first finished reading it. Even if urban fantasy isn’t your thing, I urge you to give this book a try! You can thank me later.
From the publisher: “Fathered by an incubus, raised by a mortal mother, and liaison to the Pemkowet Police Department, Daisy Johanssen pulled the community together after a summer tragedy befell the resort town she calls home. Things are back to normal—as normal as it gets for a town famous for its supernatural tourism, and presided over by the reclusive Norse goddess Hel. Not only has Daisy now gained respect as Hel’s enforcer, she’s dating Sinclair Palmer, a nice, seemingly normal human guy. Not too shabby for the daughter of a demon. Unfortunately, Sinclair has a secret. And it’s a big one. He’s descended from Obeah sorcerers and they want him back. If he doesn’t return to Jamaica to take up his rightful role in the family, they’ll unleash spirit magic that could have dire consequences for the town. It’s Daisy’s job to stop it, and she’s going to need a lot of help. But time is running out, the dead are growing restless, and one mistake could cost Daisy everything.”

DinosaurFeatherThankfully, Scandinavian authors are still popular in the publishing world. The Dinosaur Feather by Sissel-Jo Gazan will be released on November 5th, and has been generating quite a bit of interest. Winner of the Danish Crime Novel of the Decade, this debut novel is a classic of Scandinavian noir, from its richly imagined and deeply flawed characters to its scintillating exploration of one of the most fascinating aspects of contemporary dinosaur and avian research.
From the publisher: “Professor Lars Helland is found at his desk with his tongue lying in his lap. A violent fit has caused him to bite through it in his death throes. A sad but simple end. Until the autopsy results come through. The true cause of his death – the slow, systematic and terrible destruction of a man – leaves the police at a loss. And when a second member of Helland’s department disappears, their attention turns to a postgraduate student named Anna. She’s a single mother, angry with the world, desperate to finish her degree. Would she really jeopardise everything by killing her supervisor? As the police investigate the most brutal and calculated case they’ve ever known, Anna must fight her own demons, prove her innocence and avoid becoming the killer’s next victim.”

HildDescribed as both glorious and extraordinary, Hild by Nicola Griffith will be released November 12th. Hild is born into a world in transition. As a big fan of Hilary Mantel, I’m quite looking forward to this historical work.
From the publisher: “In seventh-century Britain, small kingdoms are merging, usually violently. A new religion is coming ashore; the old gods’ priests are worrying. Edwin of Northumbria plots to become overking of the Angles, ruthlessly using every tool at his disposal: blood, bribery, belief. Hild is the king’s youngest niece. She has the powerful curiosity of a bright child, a will of adamant, and a way of seeing the world—of studying nature, of matching cause with effect, of observing human nature and predicting what will happen next—that can seem uncanny, even supernatural, to those around her. She establishes herself as the king’s seer. And she is indispensable—until she should ever lead the king astray. The stakes are life and death: for Hild, her family, her loved ones, and the increasing numbers who seek the protection of the strange girl who can read the world and see the future.”

ReturnedReleased this past August, Jason Mott’s The Returned offers quite an interesting premise, which is what attracted me to the book (I’m #13 on the holds list). Reading this book is bound to bring up some strong feelings and hopefully challenge my way of thinking!
From the publisher: “Harold and Lucille Hargrave’s lives have been both joyful and sorrowful in the decades since their only son, Jacob, died tragically at his eighth birthday party in 1966. In their old age they’ve settled comfortably into life without him, their wounds tempered through the grace of time. Until one day Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep — flesh and blood, their sweet, precocious child, still eight years old. All over the world people’s loved ones are returning from beyond. No one knows how or why this is happening, whether it’s a miracle or a sign of the end. Not even Harold and Lucille can agree on whether the boy is real or a wondrous imitation, but one thing they know for sure: he’s their son. As chaos erupts around the globe, the newly reunited Hargrave family finds itself at the center of a community on the brink of collapse, forced to navigate a mysterious new reality and a conflict that threatens to unravel the very meaning of what it is to be human.”

WhereMoonIsntOriginally released in the United Kingdom under the title The Shock of the Fall, Nathan Filer‘s Where the Moon Isn’t has been described as “an extraordinary portrait of one man’s journey through the spinning vortex that is mental illness. It is a brave and groundbreaking novel from one of the most exciting new voices in fiction.” Another book that is guaranteed to delightfully put me through the wringer. I can’t wait until November 5th!
From the publisher: “While on vacation with their parents, Matthew Homes and his older brother snuck out in the middle of the night. Only Matthew came home safely. Ten years later, Matthew tells us, he has found a way to bring his brother back. What begins as the story of a lost boy turns into a story of a brave man yearning to understand what happened that night, in the years since, and to his very person.”

WorstPersonEverYay, another Douglas Coupland book! Worst. Person. Ever. will be released October 3rd, and I can’t wait. I think this book will be a challenge, however, because the main character sounds so awful. Luckily, Coupland never disappoints me!
From the publisher: “Meet Raymond Gunt. A decent chap who tries to do the right thing. Or, to put it another way, the worst person ever: a foul-mouthed, misanthropic cameraman, trailing creditors, ex-wives and unhappy homeless people in his wake. Men dislike him, women flee from him. Worst. Person. Ever. is a deeply unworthy book about a dreadful human being with absolutely no redeeming social value. Gunt, in the words of the author, “is a living, walking, talking, hot steaming pile of pure id.” He’s a B-unit cameraman who enters an amusing downward failure spiral that takes him from London to Los Angeles and then on to an obscure island in the Pacific where a major American TV network is shooting a Survivor-style reality show. Along the way, Gunt suffers multiple comas and unjust imprisonment, is forced to re-enact the ‘Angry Dance’ from the movie Billy Elliot and finds himself at the centre of a nuclear war. We also meet Raymond’s upwardly failing sidekick, Neal, as well as Raymond’s ex-wife, Fiona, herself ‘an atomic bomb of pain’. Even though he really puts the ‘anti’ in anti-hero, you may find Raymond Gunt an oddly likeable character.”

ChilledBoneAnd finally, another Scandinavian title, this one coming to us via British author Quentin Bates. Chilled to the Bone is the third mystery featuring Sergeant Gunnhildur Gisladottir of the Reykjavik police force. You have time to read up on her first two adventures before this book is released on December 3rd.
From the publisher: “When a shipowner is found dead, tied to a bed in one of Reykjavik’s smartest hotels, sergeant Gunnhildur Gisladottir of the city police force sees no evidence of foul play but still suspects things are not as cut and dried as they seem. And as she investigates the shipowner’s untimely – and embarrassing – demise, she stumbles across a discreet bondage society whose members are being systematically exploited and blackmailed. But how does all this connect to a local gangster recently returned to Iceland after many years abroad, and the unfortunate loss of a government laptop containing sensitive data about various members of the ruling party? What begins as a straightforward case for Gunnhildur soon explodes into a dangerous investigation, uncovering secrets that ruthless men are ready to go to violent extremes to keep.”

Barbara