Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Dumplin Julie MurphyDumplin’ is the new young adult novel by Julie Murphy. The book tells the story of 16 year old Willowdean Dickson, a self-proclaimed “fat girl.”  Willowdean is the daughter of a former beauty queen living in sunny Texas. She loves Dolly Parton, her recently deceased aunt Lucy, and her best friend Ellen, but this summer and school year are going to change everything. She and El are drifting apart in ways that Willowdean doesn’t understand. Meanwhile, she meets Private School Bo, who works with her at a local fast food joint. She is instantly attracted to Bo, but she’s surprised when he seems to like her back.

This is a great story about accepting yourself as you are, and how hard that is – even when the people you care about already do accept you.

If you like John Green, Rainbow Rowell, or have ever been a teenager who felt out of place in their skin, this is a book you will relate to.

Submitted by staff: LMB

Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben

Fool Me Once Harlan CobenThe newest novel by New Jersey author Harlen Coben is a fast-paced thriller you won’t be able to put down. This stand-alone book tells the story of Maya, a former special ops pilot, who comes home one day to see a video of her husband Joe on her newly-acquired nanny cam, playing with their young daughter. This wouldn’t be strange, except her husband was recently murdered in Central Park, and Maya barely got away with her life.

Maya has PTSD from her time in combat and suffers from nightmares, so … can she trust her own eyes? Is Joe really dead? Add in to the plot that Maya’s sister was murdered while Maya was overseas, and the mysteries keep piling up. Is there a relationship between the two murders? What about the mysterious drowning of Joe’s brother in high school? Maya doesn’t know who to trust, and neither will you, right up until the surprising ending.

If you like Coben’s previous works, you won’t be disappointed in his newest addition.

Submitted by staff: LMB


Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs 1st bookHaving read the first four books in the Maisie Dobbs mystery series by Jacqueline Winspear, this series is heartily recommended if one likes historical mysteries. The first book, Maisie Dobbs, introduces the reader to the main character just before and after WWI in England. She becomes an investigator with a hint of psychologist. WWI and its aftereffects are never far away. Mystery plots include WWI veterans being taken advantage of monetarily; searching for a wealthy businessman’s missing daughter; investigating the death of a WWI pilot and an aviator; verifying whether an artist’s death was an accident or something more. Maisie is a veritable bloodhound and the secondary characters round out these delightful mysteries which deal with some serious issues of war’s aftermath. While the plots are intriguing, it is the characters who contribute to the feel of post-WWI England. Book 1: Maisie Dobbs (2003), Book 2: Birds of a Feather (2004), Book 3: Pardonable Lies (2005), Book 4: Messenger of Truth (2006),  Book 11: A Dangerous Place (2015), Book 12: Journey to Munich (2016).

Submitted by staff: JVW

All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage

all things cease to appearAll Things Cease to Appear is the new psychological thriller by acclaimed novelist Elizabeth Brundage. At its core, it’s the story of George Clare, who comes home after a long day at work to find his wife bludgeoned to death. In the next room, their three year old daughter Franny has been alone all day. But the story is much broader than that. For instance, the new house they’ve moved into has its own tragic history.  Before her death, the wife, Catherine, feels a chill in certain areas and the presence of a former owner who died there. And who are the three orphaned teenage boys who are always there, offering to paint and help out with the house? Additionally, George has his own mysterious past, which tumbles out piece by agonizing piece.

The story spans years, moving back and forth in time, until its final conclusion. Will the killer ever be brought to justice? Hearkening back to such classic psychopaths as The Talented Mr. Ripley, this complex novel is sure to entertain (and possibly scare).

Submitted by staff: LMB

The Short Drop by Matthew FitzSimmons

Short Drop FitzsimmonsThe Short Drop is the first novel by new author Matthew FitzSimmons, and is the first book in the Gibson Vaughn series. Vaughn is a famous hacker and ex-Marine who is pulled into the still-unsolved mysterious disappearance of Suzanne Lombard. Suzanne was the daughter of a senator, now running for President, and a childhood friend of Vaughn. He has been haunted by her disappearance for the past ten years.

Vaughn is approached by George Abe, who is attempting to solve the mystery of Suzanne’s disappearance. Abe used to work for Lombard, but now has his own consulting company, along with an ex-CIA agent and ex-police detective.

As Vaughn delves more into the mystery, he finds it unraveling in dangerous and unexpected ways. You won’t have any idea how it’s going to turn out.

For people who enjoy thrillers like Chris Pavone’s The Expats.

Submitted by staff: LMB

How to Be a Tudor: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Everyday Life by Ruth Goodman

How to be TudorWe take it all for granted in the modern world. We have hot water in the bathroom, every type of food in the supermarket and free education for all. For a common person living in England during the Tudor period (1485-1603) every task needed a set of skills now lost to our technology driven world. In How to be a Tudor, Ruth Goodman takes the reader through a Tudor day from early morning to final bedtime. There was not much variety in food, dressing might have included starching your ruff and education consisted of learning etiquette as well as reading and writing. Men’s work and women’s work had very specific roles. The author has not only researched every aspect of Tudor living, she has also lived it in a type of historical reality show in England. If you are fascinated by life centuries ago this book opens the door to a past world. For a more recent trip to the past see the author’s other book: How to Be a Victorian: a Dawn to Dusk Guide to Victorian Life.

Submitted by staff: DB

The Tupelo Landing series by Sheila Turnage

Odds of Getting Even SheilaIf you haven’t yet met gutsy Mo LoBeau, rising 6th grader, and her friends and neighbors in tiny Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, it’s never too late to become totally absorbed in their stories and adventures.  Book 3 is out – The Odds of Getting Even, by Sheila Turnage, but start with Three Times Lucky and then The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing so you get to know these downhome folks with real-life issues with a southern spin from the beginning.  The book are shelved in the Children’s Department but don’t be put off – this is excellent writing with wide appeal.

Submitted by staff: MK

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

H is forH is for Hawk is the devastating memoir by Helen Macdonald of the time after her father’s sudden death. To deal with her overpowering grief, she decides to buy and train a goshawk, the most vicious of hawks. Though she is an experienced falconer, she has never before been interested in the goshawk, but soon she finds herself with Mabel, a young goshawk. This is the story of how Macdonald trains Mabel, and simultaneously emerges from the despair over the loss of her father.

Interspersed through the chapters are chapters on The Goshawk by T.H. White, which she read as a child, and also tells the story of White attempting (and failing) to train a goshawk. If you read The Once and Future King when you were younger, you will probably find this section incredibly interesting.

All in all, this is a unique story told beautifully.

Submitted by staff: LMB

After She’s Gone by Lisa Jackson

AftershesgoneIn After She’s Gone, the third novel of Jackson’s West Coast Series, we meet up with Jenna Hughes and her daughters again. This time the story is primarily Cassie’s (Jenna’s oldest daughter) to tell. Younger daughter Allie has become a big Hollywood star while Cassie has struggled to find her place. On the last day of shooting Allie’s new blockbuster movie, she doesn’t show up. Instead, her body double is chased through the Portland streets. only to be shot in the final scene. But this time, the shooting is all too real.

Now Cassie is trying to find out why her sister has disappeared, who was the real target on set that day, and who has reason to start killing others involved with the movie? This thriller will keep you guessing till the last pages.

The first book in the West Coast series is Deep Freeze, so if you’re not familiar with the series, it’s a good idea to start there.

Submitted by staff: LMB

Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz

Secret sisters Krentz
In Secret Sisters, hotel owner Madeline Chase reluctantly returns to Cooper Island after receiving word from the resident caretaker that something is not right.  About 18 years ago, Madeline had been attacked by a child molester, but her best friend Daphne (her secret sister) had seen and reported it while it was happening.  Since then, she hasn’t been in touch with Daphne.  Helped by Jack Rayner, her security expert, she starts digging around to see what is going on at this ignored hotel site, turning up old memories and acts that someone wants to keep quiet at any cost.  This is a page-turner full of romantic suspense and mystery.

Contributed by staff: JVW