Weekly Top Picks

***All annotations taken from the PALS Plus Catalog***

Women's History Month - Featured Titles

Week of March 12 , 2018


Madame President

Helene Cooper


The harrowing, but triumphant story of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, leader of the Liberian women's movement, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and the first democratically elected female president in African history.

When Ellen Johnson Sirleaf won the 2005 Liberian presidential election, she demolished a barrier few thought possible, obliterating centuries of patriarchal rule to become the first female elected head of state in Africa's history. Madame President is the inspiring, often heartbreaking story of Sirleaf's evolution from an ordinary Liberian mother of four boys to international banking executive, from a victim of domestic violence to a political icon, from a post-war president to a Nobel Peace Prize winner.


Adult Fiction - Best Picks of the Week

Week of March 12, 2018


The Darkling Bride

Laura Andersen


The Gallagher family has called Deeprath Castle home for seven hundred years. Nestled in the Wicklow Mountains of Ireland, the estate is now slated to become a public trust, and book lover and scholar Carragh Ryan is hired to take inventory of its historic library. But after meeting Aidan, the current Viscount Gallagher, and his enigmatic family, Carragh knows that her task will be more challenging than she'd thought.

Two decades before, Aidan's parents died violently at Deeprath. The case, which was never closed, has recently been taken up by a new detective determined to find the truth. The couple's unusual deaths harken back a century, when twenty-three-year-old Lady Jenny Gallagher also died at Deeprath under mysterious circumstances, leaving behind an infant son and her husband, a renowned writer who never published again. These incidents only fueled fantastical theories about the Darkling Bride, a local legend of a sultry and dangerous woman from long ago whose wrath continues to haunt the castle.

The past catches up to the present, and odd clues in the house soon have Carragh wondering if there are unseen forces stalking the Gallagher family. As secrets emerge from the shadows and Carragh gets closer to answers--and to Aidan--could she be the Darkling Bride's next victim?



Barbed Wire Heart

Tess Sharpe

Call Number: FIC SHARPE

Never cut the drugs--leave them pure.
Guns are meant to be shot--keep them loaded.
Family is everything--betray them and die. 

Harley McKenna is the only child of North County's biggest criminal. Duke McKenna's run more guns, cooked more meth, and killed more men than anyone around. Harley's been working for him since she was sixteen--collecting debts, sweet-talking her way out of trouble, and dreading the day he'd deem her ready to rule the rural drug empire he's built. Her time's run out. The Springfields, her family's biggest rivals, are moving in. Years ago, they were responsible for her mother's death, and now they're coming for Duke's only weak spot: his daughter. With a bloody turf war threatening to consume North County, Harley is forced to confront the truth: that her father's violent world will destroy her. Duke's raised her to be deadly--he never counted on her being disloyal. But if Harley wants to survive and protect the people she loves, she's got to take out Duke's operation and the Springfields. Blowing up meth labs is dangerous business, and getting caught will be the end of her, but Harley has one advantage: She is her father's daughter. And McKennas always win.


***All annotations taken from the PALS Plus Catalog***

Women's History Month - Featured Titles

Week of March 5 , 2018


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Rebecca Skloot

Call Number: B LACKS

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer, yet her cells--taken without her knowledge--became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first "immortal" human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer and viruses; helped lead to in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks is buried in an unmarked grave. Her family did not learn of her "immortality" until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. The story of the Lacks family is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.--From publisher description.


Adult Fiction - Best Picks of the Week

Week of March 5, 2018


Bachelor Girl

Kim Van Alkemade


When the owner of the New York Yankees baseball team, Colonel Jacob Ruppert, takes Helen Winthrope, a young actress, under his wing, she thinks it's because of his guilt over her father's accidental death--and so does Albert Kramer, Ruppert's handsome personal secretary. Helen and Albert develop a deepening bond the closer they become to Ruppert, an eccentric millionaire who demands their loyalty in return for his lavish generosity.

New York in the Jazz Age is filled with possibilities, especially for the young and single. Yet even as Helen embraces being a "bachelor girl"--a working woman living on her own terms--she finds herself falling in love with Albert, even after he confesses his darkest secret. When Ruppert dies, rumors swirl about his connection to Helen after the stunning revelation that he has left her the bulk of his fortune, which includes Yankee Stadium. But it is only when Ruppert's own secrets are finally revealed that Helen and Albert will be forced to confront the truth about their relationship to him--and to each other.



The Ghost Notebooks

Ben Dolnick

Call Number: FIC DOLNICK

A supernatural story of love, ghosts, and madness as a young couple, newly engaged, become caretakers of a historic museum.

When Nick Beron and Hannah Rampe decide to move from New York City to the tiny upstate town of Hibernia, they aren't exactly running away, but they need a change. Their careers have flatlined, the city is exhausting, and they've reached a relationship stalemate. Hannah takes a job as live-in director of the Wright Historic House, a museum dedicated to an obscure nineteenth-century philosopher, and she and Nick swiftly move into their new home. The town's remoteness, the speed with which Hannah is offered the job, and the lack of museum visitors barely a blip in their consideration.

At first, life in this old, creaky house feels cozy--they speak in Masterpiece Theater accents and take bottles of wine to the swimming hole. But as summer turns to fall, Hannah begins to have trouble sleeping and she hears whispers in the night. One morning, Nick wakes up to find Hannah gone. In his frantic search for her, Nick will discover the hidden legacy of Wright House: a man driven wild with grief, and a spirit aching for home.


***All annotations taken from the PALS Plus Catalog***

African-American History Month - Featured Titles

Week of February 26, 2018


1954: the Year Willie Mays and the First Generation of Black Superstars Changed Major League Baseball Forever

Bill Madden

Call Number: 796.357

Jackie Robinson heroically broke the color barrier in 1947. But how--and, in practice, when--did the integration of the sport actually occur? Bill Madden shows that baseball's famous "black experiment" did not truly succeed until the coming of age of Willie Mays and the emergence of some star players--Larry Doby, Hank Aaron, and Ernie Banks--in 1954. And as a relevant backdrop off the field, it was in May of that year that the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled, in the case of Brown v. Board of Education, that segregation be outlawed in America's public schools. Featuring original interviews with key players and weaving together the narrative of one of baseball's greatest seasons with the racially charged events of that year, 1954 demonstrates how our national pastime--with the notable exception of the Yankees, who represented white supremacy in the game--was actually ahead of the curve in terms of the acceptance of black Americans, while the nation at large continued to struggle with tolerance.


Adult Fiction - Best Picks of the Week

Week of February 26, 2018


This Love Story Will Self-Destruct

Leslie Cohen

Call Number: FIC COHEN

Meet Eve. She's a dreamer, a feeler, a careening well of sensitivities who can't quite keep her feet on the ground, or steer clear of trouble. She's a laugher, a crier, a quirky and quick-witted bleeding-heart-worrier.

Meet Ben. He's an engineer, an expert at leveling floors who likes order, structure, and straight lines. He doesn't opine, he doesn't ruminate, he doesn't simmer until he boils over.

So naturally, when the two first cross paths, sparks don't exactly fly. But then they meet again. And again. And then, finally, they find themselves with a deep yet fragile connection that will change the course of their relationship--possibly forever.

Follow Eve and Ben as they navigate their twenties on a winding journey through first jobs, first dates, and first breakups; through first reunions, first betrayals and, maybe, first love. This is When Harry Met Sally reimagined; a charming tale told from two unapologetically original points of view. With an acerbic edge and heartwarming humor, debut novelist Leslie Cohen takes us on a tour of what life looks like when it doesn't go according to plan, and explores the complexity, chaos, and comedy in finding a relationship built to last.



Beautiful Days

Joyce Carol Oates

Call Number: FIC OATES

The diverse stories of Beautiful Days, Joyce Carol Oates explore the most secret, intimate, and unacknowledged interior lives of characters not unlike ourselves, who assert their independence in acts of bold and often irrevocable defiance.

"Fleuve Bleu" exemplifies the rich sensuousness of Oates's prose as lovers married to other persons vow to establish, in their intimacy, a ruthlessly honest, truth-telling authenticity missing elsewhere in their complicated lives, with unexpected results.

In "Big Burnt," set on lushly rendered Lake George, in the Adirondacks, a cunningly manipulative university professor exploits a too-trusting woman in a way she could never have anticipated. In a more experimental but no less intimate mode, "Les beaux jours" examines the ambiguities of an intensely erotic, exploitative relationship between a "master" artist and his adoring young female model. And the tragic "Undocumented Alien" depicts a young African student enrolled in an American university who is suddenly stripped of his student visa and forced to undergo a terrifying test of courage.


***All annotations taken from the PALS Plus Catalog***

African-American History Month - Featured Titles

Week of February 19, 2018


The Awkward Thoughs of W. Kamau Bell

W. Kamau Bell

Call Number: B Bell

After all this love and praise, it's time for the next step: a book. The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell is a humorous, well-informed take on the world today, tackling a wide range of issues, such as race relations; fatherhood; the state of law enforcement today; comedians and superheroes; right-wing politics; left-wing politics; failure; his interracial marriage; white men; his up-bringing by very strong-willed, race-conscious, yet ideologically opposite parents; his early days struggling to find his comedic voice, then his later days struggling to find his comedic voice; why he never seemed to fit in with the Black comedy scene . . . or the white comedy scene; how he was a Black nerd way before that became a thing; how it took his wife and an East Bay lesbian to teach him that racism and sexism often walk hand in hand; and much, much more.



We Were Eight Years in Power

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Call Number: 300 COA

"We were eight years in power" was the lament of Reconstruction-era black politicians as the American experiment in multiracial democracy ended with the return of white supremacist rule in the South. In this sweeping collection of new and selected essays, Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the tragic echoes of that history in our own time: the unprecedented election of a black president followed by a vicious backlash that fueled the election of the man Coates argues is America's "first white president."

But the story of these present-day eight years is not just about presidential politics. This book also examines the new voices, ideas, and movements for justice that emerged over this period--and the effects of the persistent, haunting shadow of our nation's old and unreconciled history. Coates powerfully examines the events of the Obama era from his intimate and revealing perspective--the point of view of a young writer who begins the journey in an unemployment office in Harlem and ends it in the Oval Office, interviewing a president.

We Were Eight Years in Power features Coates's iconic essays first published in The Atlantic, including "Fear of a Black President," "The Case for Reparations," and "The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration," along with eight fresh essays that revisit each year of the Obama administration through Coates's own experiences, observations, and intellectual development, capped by a bracingly original assessment of the election that fully illuminated the tragedy of the Obama era. We Were Eight Years in Power is a vital account of modern America, from one of the definitive voices of this historic moment.


Adult Fiction - Best Picks of the Week

Week of February 19, 2018


White Houses

Amy Bloom

Call Number: FIC BLOOM

Lorena Hickok meets Eleanor Roosevelt in 1932 while reporting on Franklin Roosevelt's first presidential campaign. Having grown up worse than poor in South Dakota and reinvented herself as the most prominent woman reporter in America, "Hick," as she's known to her friends and admirers, is not quite instantly charmed by the idealistic, patrician Eleanor. But then, as her connection with the future first lady deepens into intimacy, what begins as a powerful passion matures into a lasting love, and a life that Hick never expected to have. She moves into the White House, where her status as "first friend" is an open secret, as are FDR's own lovers. After she takes a job in the Roosevelt administration, promoting and protecting both Roosevelts, she comes to know Franklin not only as a great president but as a complicated rival and an irresistible friend, capable of changing lives even after his death. Through it all, even as Hick's bond with Eleanor is tested by forces both extraordinary and common, and as she grows as a woman and a writer, she never loses sight of the love of her life. 



Only Child

Rhiannon Navin

Call Number: FIC Navin

Squeezed into a coat closet with his classmates and teacher, first grader Zach Taylor can hear gunshots ringing through the halls of his school. A gunman has entered the building, taking nineteen lives and irrevocably changing the very fabric of this close-knit community. While Zach's mother pursues a quest for justice against the shooter's parents, holding them responsible for their son's actions, Zach retreats into his super-secret hideout and loses himself in a world of books and art. Armed with his newfound understanding, and with the optimism and stubbornness only a child could have, Zach sets out on a captivating journey towards healing and forgiveness, determined to help the adults in his life rediscover the universal truths of love and compassion needed to pull them through their darkest hours.


***All annotations taken from the PALS Plus Catalog***

African-American History Month - Featured Title

Week of February 12, 2018


Obama: An Intimate Portrait

Pete Souza

Call Number: 973.932 SOU

Obama: An Intimate Portrait reproduces more than 300 of Souza's most iconic photographs with fine-art print quality in an oversize collectible format. Together they document the most consequential hours of the Presidency--including the historic image of President Obama and his advisors in the Situation Room during the bin Laden mission--alongside unguarded moments with the President's family, his encounters with children, interactions with world leaders and cultural figures, and more. Souza's photographs, with the behind-the-scenes captions and stories that accompany them, communicate the pace and power of our nation's highest office. They also reveal the spirit of the extraordinary man who became our President. We see President Obama lead our nation through monumental challenges, comfort us in calamity and loss, share in hard-won victories, and set a singular example to "be kind and be useful," as he would instruct his daughters. 

This book puts you in the White House with President Obama, and will be a treasured record of a landmark era in American history. 


Adult Fiction - Best Picks of the Week

Week of February 12, 2018


The House of Impossible Beauties

Joseph Cassara

Call Number: FIC CASSARA

It's 1980 in New York City, and nowhere is the city's glamour and energy better reflected than in the burgeoning Harlem ball scene, where seventeen-year-old Angel first comes into her own. Burned by her traumatic past, Angel is new to the drag world, new to ball culture, and has a yearning inside of her to help create family for those without. When she falls in love with Hector, a beautiful young man who dreams of becoming a professional dancer, the two decide to form the House of Xtravaganza, the first-ever all-Latino house in the Harlem ball circuit. But when Hector dies of AIDS-related complications, Angel must bear the responsibility of tending to their house alone.

As mother of the house, Angel recruits Venus, a whip-fast trans girl who dreams of finding a rich man to take care of her; Juanito, a quiet boy who loves fabrics and design; and Daniel, a butch queen who accidentally saves Venus's life. The Xtravaganzas must learn to navigate sex work, addiction, and persistent abuse, leaning on each other as bulwarks against a world that resists them. All are ambitious, resilient, and determined to control their own fates, even as they hurtle toward devastating consequences. 




Caitlin Macy

Call Number: FIC MACY

In the well-heeled milieu of New York's Upper East Side, coolly elegant Philippa Lye is the woman no one can stop talking about. Despite a shadowy past, Philippa has somehow married the scion of the last family-held investment bank in the city. And although her wealth and connections put her in the center of this world, she refuses to conform to its gossip-fueled culture.

Then, into her precariously balanced life, come two women: Gwen Hogan, a childhood acquaintance who uncovers an explosive secret about Philippa's single days, and Minnie Curtis, a newcomer whose vast fortune and frank revelations about a penurious upbringing in Spanish Harlem put everyone on alert.

When Gwen's husband, a heavy-drinking, obsessive prosecutor in the US Attorney's Office, stumbles over the connection between Philippa's past and the criminal investigation he is pursuing at all costs, this insulated society is forced to confront the rot at its core and the price it has paid to survive into the new millennium.




***All annotations taken from the PALS Plus Catalog***

African-American History Month - Featured Title

Week of February 5, 2018


Never Caught: The Washington's Relentless Pursuit of their Runaway Slave Ona Judge

Erica Armstrong Dunbar

Call Number: B JUDGE

When George Washington was elected president, he reluctantly left his beloved Mount Vernon to serve in Philadelphia, the temporary seat of the nation's capital. In setting up his household he took Tobias Lear, his celebrated secretary and eight slaves, including Ona Judge, about whom little has been written. As he grew accustomed to Northern ways, there was one change he couldn't get his arms around: Pennsylvania law required enslaved people be set free after six months of residency in the state. Rather than comply, Washington decided to circumvent the law. Every six months he sent the slaves back down south just as the clock was about to expire.

Though Ona Judge lived a life of relative comfort, the few pleasantries she was afforded were nothing compared to freedom, a glimpse of which she encountered first-hand in Philadelphia. So, when the opportunity presented itself, Judge left everything she knew to escape to New England. Yet freedom would not come without its costs.

At just twenty-two-years-old, Ona became the subject of an intense manhunt led by George Washington, who used his political and personal contacts to recapture his property.

With impeccable research, historian Erica Armstrong Dunbar weaves a powerful tale and offers fascinating new scholarship on how one young woman risked it all to gain freedom from the famous founding father.


Adult Fiction - Best Picks of the Week

Week of February 5, 2018


The Atomic City Girls

Janet Beard

Call Number: FIC BEARD

In November 1944, eighteen-year-old June Walker boards an unmarked bus, destined for a city that doesn't officially exist. Oak Ridge, Tennessee has sprung up in a matter of months--a town of trailers and segregated houses, 24-hour cafeterias, and constant security checks. There, June joins hundreds of other young girls operating massive machines whose purpose is never explained. They know they are helping to win the war, but must ask no questions and reveal nothing to outsiders.

The girls spend their evenings socializing and flirting with soldiers, scientists, and workmen at dances and movies, bowling alleys and canteens. June longs to know more about their top-secret assignment and begins an affair with Sam Cantor, the young Jewish physicist from New York who oversees the lab where she works and understands the end goal only too well, while her beautiful roommate Cici is on her own mission: to find a wealthy husband and escape her sharecropper roots. Across town, African-American construction worker Joe Brewer knows nothing of the government's plans, only that his new job pays enough to make it worth leaving his family behind, at least for now. But a breach in security will intertwine his fate with June's search for answers.

When the bombing of Hiroshima brings the truth about Oak Ridge into devastating focus, June must confront her ideals about loyalty, patriotism, and war itself.



The Deceivers

Alex Berenson


The Russians don't just want to influence American elections--they want it all. Former CIA agent John Wells confronts a plot of astonishing audacity as New York Times-bestselling author Alex Berenson goes beyond today's headlines to tomorrow's all-too-real threats. It was supposed to be a terrorist sting. The guns were supposed to be disabled. Then why was there so much blood? The target was the American Airlines Center, the home of the Dallas Mavericks. The FBI had told Ahmed Shakir that his drug bustwould go away if he helped them, and they'd supply all the weaponry, carefully removing the firing pins before the main event. It never occurred to Ahmed to doubt them, until it was too late. When John Wells is called to Washington, he's sure it's to investigate the carnage in Dallas, but it isn't. The former CIA director, now president, Vinnie Duto has plenty of people working in Texas. He wants Wells to go to Colombia. An old asset there has information to share--and it will lead Wells to the deadliestmission of his life, an extraordinary confluence of sleeper cells, sniper teams, false flag operations, double agents high in the U.S. government--and a Russian plot to take over the government itself. If it succeeds, what happened in Texas will only be aprelude.


swanson.jpgThe Glass Forest

Cynthia Swanson

Call Number: FIC SWANSON

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Bookseller comes a gripping literary suspense novel set in the 1960s about a deeply troubled family and three women who will reveal its dark truths. In the autumn of 1960, Angie Glass is living an idyllic life in her Wisconsin hometown. At twenty-one, she's married to charming, handsome Paul, and has just given birth to a baby boy. But one phone call changes her life forever. When Paul's niece, Ruby, reports that her father, Henry, has committed suicide, and that her mother, Silja, is missing, Angie and Paul drop everything and fly to the small upstate town of Stonekill, New York to be by Ruby's side. Angie thinks they're coming to the rescue of Paul's grief-stricken young niece, but Ruby is a composedand enigmatic seventeen-year-old who resists Angie's attempts to nurture her. As Angie learns more about the complicated Glass family, staying in Henry and Silja's eerie and ultra-modern house on the edge of the woods, she begins to question the very fabric of her own marriage. Through Silja's flashbacks, Angie's discovery of astonishing truths, and Ruby's strategic dissection of her parents' state of affairs, a story of love, secrets, and ultimate betrayal is revealed.


***All annotations taken from the PALS Plus Catalog***

Adult Fiction - Best Picks of the Week

Week of January 29, 2018


The Pyramid of Mud

Andrea Camilleri


On a gloomy morning in Vigata, a call from Fazio rouses Inspector Montalbano from a nightmare. A man called Giugiu Nicotra has been found dead in the skeletal workings of a construction site, a place now entombed by a sea of mud from recent days of rain and floods. Shot in the back, he had fled into a water supply system tunnel. The investigation gets off to a slow start, but all the evidence points to the world of construction and public contracts, a world just as slimy and impenetrable as mud.

As he wades through a world in which construction firms and public officials thrive, Montalbano is obsessed by one thought: that by going to die in the tunnel, Nicotra had been trying to communicate something.




Emma Glass

Call Number: FIC GLASS

Something has happened to Peach. Staggering around the town streets in the aftermath of an assault, Peach feels a trickle of blood down her legs, a lingering smell of her anonymous attacker on her skin. It hurts to walk, but she manages to make her way to her home, where she stumbles into another oddly nightmarish reality: Her parents can't seem to comprehend that anything has happened to their daughter.

The next morning, Peach tries to return to the routines of her ordinary life, going to classes, spending time with her boyfriend, Green, trying to find comfort in the thought of her upcoming departure for college. And yet, as Peach struggles through the next few days, she is stalked by the memories of her unacknowledged trauma. Sleeping is hard when she is haunted by the glimpses of that stranger's gaping mouth. Working is hard when her assailant's rancid smell still fills her nostrils. Eating is impossible when her stomach is swollen tight as a drum. Though she tries to close her eyes to what has happened, Peach at last begins to understand the drastic, gruesome action she must take.


macrae.jpgScones and Scoundrels

Molly MacRae

Call Number: MYS MACRAE

Inversgail, on the west coast of the Scottish Highlands, welcomes home native daughter and best-selling environmental writer Daphne Wood. Known as the icon of ecology, Daphne will spend three months as the author in residence for the Inversgail schools. Janet Marsh and her business partners at Yon Bonnie Books are looking forward to hosting a gala book signing for her. Daphne, who hasn't set foot in Scotland in thirty years, is . . . eccentric. She lives in the Canadian wilderness, in a cabin she built herself, with only her dog for a companion, and her people skills have developed a few rough-hewn edges. She and the dog (which she insists on bringing with her) cause problems for the school, the library, and the bookshop even before they get to Inversgail. Then, on the misty night they arrive, a young man--an American who'd spent a night in the B&B above Yon Bonnie Books--is found dead outside a pub.


***All annotations taken from the PALS Plus Catalog***

Adult Fiction - Best Picks of the Week

Week of January 22, 2018


The Mitford Murders

Jessica Fellowes


Set amid the legendary Mitford household, a thrilling Golden Age-style mystery, based on a real unsolved murder, by Jessica Fellowes, author of the New York Times bestselling Downton Abbey books.

It's 1920, and Louisa Cannon dreams of escaping her life of poverty in London.

Louisa's salvation is a position within the Mitford household at Asthall Manor, in the Oxfordshire countryside. There she will become nursemaid, chaperone and confidante to the Mitford sisters, especially sixteen-year-old Nancy, an acerbic, bright young woman in love with stories.

But then a nurse--Florence Nightingale Shore, goddaughter of her famous namesake--is killed on a train in broad daylight, and Louisa and Nancy find themselves entangled in the crimes of a murderer who will do anything to hide their secret...



Eternal Life

Dara Horn

Call Number: FIC HORN

Rachel is a woman with a problem: she can't die. Her recent troubles--widowhood, a failing business, an unemployed middle-aged son--are only the latest in a litany spanning dozens of countries, scores of marriages, and hundreds of children. In the 2,000 years since she made a spiritual bargain to save the life of her first son back in Roman-occupied Jerusalem, she's tried everything to free herself, and only one other person in the world understands: a man she once loved passionately, who has been stalking her through the centuries, convinced they belong together forever.But as the twenty-first century begins and her children and grandchildren--consumed with immortality in their own ways, from the frontiers of digital currency to genetic engineering--develop new technologies that could change her fate and theirs, Rachel knows she must find a way out.


steel.jpgFall from Grace

Danielle Steel

Call Number: FIC STEEL

Sydney Wells's perfect life with her wealthy, devoted husband vanishes when he dies suddenly in an accident. Widowed at forty-nine, she discovers he has failed to include her in his will. With Andrew's vicious daughters in control of his estate, and no home or money, Sydney finds a job in fashion, despite her own designer daughters' warnings. Naive, out of her element, and alone in a world of shady international deals and dishonest people, she is set up by her boss and finds herself faced with criminal prosecution.

What happens when you lose everything? Husband, safety, protection, money, and reputation gone, faced with prison, Sydney must rebuild her life from the bottom to the top again, with honor, resourcefulness, and dignity. Sydney finds herself, as well as courage and resilience. Taking life by the horns, she revives her own career as a talented designer, from New York to Hong Kong, risking all in an exotic, unfamiliar world. She is determined to forge a new life she can be proud of.


***All annotations taken from the PALS Plus Catalog***

Adult Fiction - Best Picks of the Week

Week of January 15, 2018


The Vanishing Princess

Jenny Diski

Call Number: FIC DISKI

The stories in The Vanishing Princess showcase a rarely seen side of this beloved writer, channeling both the piercing social examination of her nonfiction and the vivid, dreamlike landscapes of her novels. In a Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale turned on its head, a miller's daughter rises to power and wealth to rule over her kingdom and outwit the title villain. "Bathtime" tells the story of a woman's life through her attempts to build the perfect bathtub, chasing an elusive moment of peace. In "Short Curcuit," the author mines her own bouts in and out of mental institutions outside London to question whether those we think are mad are really the sanest among us.



Bryant & May: Wild Chamber

Christopher Fowler

Call Number: FIC FOWLER

Helen Forester's day starts like any other: Around seven in the morning, she takes her West Highland terrier for a walk in her street's private garden. But by 7:20 she is dead, strangled yet peacefully laid out on the path, her dog nowhere to be found. The only other person in the locked space is the gardener, who finds the body and calls the police. He expects proper cops to arrive, but what he gets are Bryant, May, and the wily members of the Peculiar Crimes Unit.

Before the detectives can make any headway on the case, a second woman is discovered in a public park, murdered in nearly identical fashion. Bryant, recovering from a health scare, delves into the arcane history of London's cherished green spaces, rife with class drama, violence, and illicit passions. But as a devious killer continues to strike, Bryant and May struggle to connect the clues, not quite seeing the forest for the trees. Now they have to think and act fast to save innocent lives, the fate of the city's parks, and the very existence of the PCU. 



hyde_0.jpgBloodstains with Bronte

Katherine Bolger Hyde

Call Number: MYS HYDE

Windy Corner is being remodeled into a writers' retreat. Two of the young workers, Jake and Roman, are showing too much of the wrong kind of interest in Katie, Emily's young single-mother housekeeper.

It's a stormy autumn and Emily is reading Wuthering Heights . Roman, a dark and brooding type, reminds her of Heathcliff. At a Halloween murder mystery fundraiser at Windy Corner, someone is found stabbed to death. Windy Corner's very own detective, Luke, is reluctantly forced to investigate Katie.

Luke digs into the background of the contractor, Jeremiah Edwards, and Emily, now reading Jane Eyre , realizes Jeremiah resembles St. John Rivers in his obsessive, tormented piety. Will Luke figure out who the murderer is before Katie ends up in jail or someone else is killed?


***All annotations taken from the PALS Plus Catalog***

Adult Fiction - Best Picks of the Week

Week of January 8, 2018


The Immortalists

Chloe Benjamin


If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life? 

It's 1969 in New York City's Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children--four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness--sneak out to hear their fortunes.

The prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in '80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.



The Woman in the Window

A.J. Finn

Call Number: FIC FINN

For readers of Gillian Flynn and Tana French comes one of the decade's most anticipated debuts, to be published in thirty-six languages around the world and already in development as a major film from Fox: a twisty, powerful Hitchcockian thriller about an agoraphobic woman who believes she witnessed a crime in a neighboring house.

It isn't paranoia if it's really happening . . .

Anna Fox lives alone--a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn't, her world begins to crumble--and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one--and nothing--is what it seems.




Ali Smith

Call Number: FIC SMITH

Winter. Bleak. Frosty wind, earth as iron, water as stone, so the old song goes. And now Art's mother is seeing things. Come to think of it, Art's seeing things himself.

When four people, strangers and family, converge on a fifteen-bedroom house in Cornwall for Christmas, will there be enough room for everyone?


***All annotations taken from the PALS Plus Catalog***

Adult Fiction - Best Picks of the Week

Week of January 1, 2018


Secrets of Cavendon

Barbara Taylor Bradford


It's the summer of 1949, and things have run smoothly at Cavendon Hall for years, with very few quarrels, dramas, or upsets between the two families. But since the end of World War II, changes have arrived at Cavendon. A new generation is at the helm, and also at the forefront of new scandal and intrigue. With romance, betrayal, heartbreak, and possible murder threatening to tear them apart, the Inghams and Swanns will have to find a way to come together and protect each other in the face of threats they never could have predicted.



Birdcage Walk

Helen Dunmore

Call Number: FIC DUNMORE

It is 1792 and Europe is seized by political turmoil and violence. Lizzie Fawkes has grown up in Radical circles where each step of the French Revolution is followed with eager idealism. But she has recently married John Diner Tredevant, a property developer who is heavily invested in Bristol's housing boom, and he has everything to lose from social upheaval and the prospect of war. Soon his plans for a magnificent terrace built above the two-hundred-foot drop of the Gorge come under threat. Tormented and striving Diner believes that Lizzie's independent, questioning spirit must be coerced and subdued. She belongs to him: law and custom confirm it, and she must live as he wants--his passion for Lizzie darkening until she finds herself dangerously alone.




Gregory Maguire

Call Number: FIC MAGUIRE

Hiddensee: An island of white sandy beaches, salt marshes, steep cliffs, and pine forests north of Berlin in the Baltic Sea, an island that is an enchanting bohemian retreat and home to a large artists' colony-- a wellspring of inspiration for the Romantic imagination . . .

Having brought his legions of devoted readers to Oz in Wicked and to Wonderland in After Alice, Maguire now takes us to the realms of the Brothers Grimm and E. T. A. Hoffmann-- the enchanted Black Forest of Bavaria and the salons of Munich. Hiddensee imagines the backstory of the Nutcracker, revealing how this entrancing creature came to be carved and how he guided an ailing girl named Klara through a dreamy paradise on a Christmas Eve. At the heart of Hoffmann's mysterious tale hovers Godfather Drosselmeier-- the ominous, canny, one-eyed toy maker made immortal by Petipa and Tchaikovsky's fairy tale ballet-- who presents the once and future Nutcracker to Klara, his goddaughter.


***All annotations taken from the PALS Plus Catalog***

Adult Fiction - In Remembrance of Sue Grafton

Week of December 25, 2017


B is For Burglar

Sue Grafton

Call Number: PB GRAFTON

Although business has been slow lately for P.I. Kinsey Millhone, she's reluctant to take on the case of locating Beverly Danziger's sister Elaine Boldt. It's a small matter that Beverly should be able to handle herself. So why is she enlisting Kinsey's services? Beverly claims she needs Elaine's signature on some documents so that she can collect a small inheritance. But the whole affair doesn't sit well with Kinsey. And if there's something she's learned in her line of work, it's to always follow your instincts...

Kinsey's hunch proves true when she begins her inquiries into Elaine's whereabouts and discovers that the attractive widow was last seen in a flashy lynx coat boarding a plane for Boca Raton. But the more Kinsey searches for Elaine the more questions she encounters. Is Elaine's disappearance tied in to the brutal murder several months ago of one of her bridge partners? And what happened to Elaine's Persian cat who seems to have also vanished?

Things take a turn for the worse when a stranger vandalizes the home of one of Elaine's neighbors and another neighbor turns up murdered. With her reputation and career on the line, Kinsey risks all to find a missing woman and a killer who's waiting in the shadows to strike again...



Kinsey and Me: Stories

Sue Grafton

Call Number: MYS GRAFTON

In 1982, Sue Grafton introduced us to Kinsey Millhone. Thirty years later, Kinsey is an established international icon and Sue, a number-one bestselling author. To mark this anniversary year, Sue has given us stories that reveal Kinsey's origins and Sue's past. 

Kinsey and Me has two parts: The nine Kinsey stories (1986-93), each a gem of detection; and the And Me stories, written in the decade after Grafton's mother died. Together, they show just how much of Kinsey is a distillation of her creator's past even as they reveal a child who, free of parental interventions, read everything and roamed everywhere. But the dark side of such freedom was that very parental distance.

The same unique voice and witty insights readers fell in love with in A Is for Alibi permeate the Kinsey stories. Those in the And Me section trace a remarkable voyage, from anger to understanding, from pain to forgiveness. They take us into a troubled family, dysfunctional as most families are, each in their own way, but Grafton's telling is sensitive, delicate, and ultimately, loving. Enriching the way we see Kinsey and know Sue, these stories are deeply affecting.



grafton-y.jpgY is for Yesterday

Sue Grafton

Call Number: MYS GRAFTON

The darkest and most disturbing case report from the files of Kinsey Millhone, Y is for Yesterday begins in 1979, when four teenage boys from an elite private school sexually assault a fourteen-year-old classmate--and film the attack. Not long after, the tape goes missing and the suspected thief, a fellow classmate, is murdered. In the investigation that follows, one boy turns state's evidence and two of his peers are convicted. But the ringleader escapes without a trace.

Now, it's 1989 and one of the perpetrators, Fritz McCabe, has been released from prison. Moody, unrepentant, and angry, he is a virtual prisoner of his ever-watchful parents--until a copy of the missing tape arrives with a ransom demand. That's when the McCabes call Kinsey Millhone for help. As she is drawn into their family drama, she keeps a watchful eye on Fritz. But he's not the only one being haunted by the past. A vicious sociopath with a grudge against Millhone may be leaving traces of himself for her to find...


***All annotations taken from the PALS Plus Catalog***

Adult Fiction - Best Picks of the Week

Week of December 18, 2017


Mississippi Roll

George R.R. Martin

Call Number: FIC MARTIN

Now on its final voyage, the historical steamboat Natchez is known for her super-powered guest entertainers. But after the suspicious death of a crewmember, retired NY police detective Leo Storgman decides to make this incident his personal case. His findings only lead to a growing number of questions. Is there some truth behind the ghostly sightings of the steamboat's first captain Wilbur Leathers? What secret does the current captain seem to be hiding? And could the Natchez be ferrying mysterious - and possibly dangerous - cargo onboard?



Death of Anton

Alan Melville


Seven Bengal tigers are the star attraction of Carey's Circus. Their trainer is the fearless Anton, whose work demands absolute fitness and the steadiest of nerves. When Anton is found lying dead in the tigers' cage, it seems that he has lost control and been mauled by the tigers - but Detective-Inspector Minto of Scotland Yard is not convinced.

Minto's investigations lead him deep into the circus world of tents and caravans, clowns and acrobats, human and animal performers. No one is above suspicion. Carey, the circus-owner with a secret to hide; Dodo, the clown whose costume is scratched as if by a claw; and Lorimer, the trapeze artist jealous of his flirtatious wife - all come under Minto's scrutiny as the mystery deepens.



page.jpgThe Body in the Casket

Katherine Hall Page

Call Number: MYS PAGE

For most of her adult life, resourceful caterer Faith Fairchild has called the sleepy Massachusetts village of Aleford home. While the native New Yorker has come to know the region well, she isn't familiar with Havencrest, a privileged enclave, until the owner of Rowan House, a secluded sprawling Arts and Crafts mansion, calls her about catering a weekend house party.

Producer/director of a string of hit musicals, Max Dane--a Broadway legend--is throwing a lavish party to celebrate his seventieth birthday. At the house as they discuss the event, Faith's client makes a startling confession. "I didn't hire you for your cooking skills, fine as they may be, but for your sleuthing ability. You see, one of the guests wants to kill me."

Faith's only clue is an ominous birthday gift the man received the week before--an empty casket sent anonymously containing a twenty-year-old Playbill from Max's last, and only failed, production--Heaven or Hell. Consequently, Max has drawn his guest list for the party from the cast and crew. As the guests begin to arrive one by one, and an ice storm brews overhead, Faith must keep one eye on the menu and the other on her host to prevent his birthday bash from becoming his final curtain call.


***All annotations taken from the PALS Plus Catalog***

Adult Fiction - Best Picks of the Week

Week of December 11, 2017

casarett, david.jpg

The Missing Guests of the Magic Grove Hotel

David Casarett


A fascinating mystery featuring Ladarat Patalung, the first and only nurse detective in Thailand. 
As a nurse ethicist, Ladarat Patalung works to save the lives of her patients, and to make sure the ones she can't save have at least the dignity of a "good death." 
But when wealthy foreign travelers start to go missing all across Thailand, Detective Wiriya Mookjai fears that a killer is at large, and turns to Ladarat for help. 
The travelers have nothing in common, except for brief stays at a mysterious resort, known as the Magic Grove Hotel... 



The Wake Up

Catherine Ryan Hyde

Call Number: FIC HYDE

Something has been asleep in forty-year-old cattle rancher Aiden Delacorte for a long time. It all comes back in a rush during a hunting trip, when he's suddenly attuned to the animals around him, feeling their pain and fear as if it were his own. But the newfound sensitivity of Aiden's "wake up" has its price. He can no longer sleepwalk through life, holding everyone at arm's length. As he struggles to cope with a trait he's buried since childhood, Aiden falls in love with Gwen, a single mother whose young son bears a burden of his own.

Sullen and broken from his experiences with an abusive father, Milo has turned to acting out in violent and rebellious ways. Aiden can feel the boy's pain, as well as that of his victims. Now he and Milo must sift through their pasts to find empathy with the innocent as well as the guilty, to come to terms with their deepest fears, and to finally discover the compassionate heart of a family.



krall.jpgChasing the King of Hearts

Hanna Krall

Call Number: FIC KRALL

This canonical work of Polish reportage is a terse, unexpected human lesson born of an occupation-era love story. Based on a true story, the raw interplay of history and fictionalization spans the Warsaw Ghetto, the war-torn countryside, and the nightmare of Auschwitz.


***All annotations taken from the PALS Plus Catalog***

Adult Fiction - Best Picks of the Week

Week of December 4, 2017


A Hope Divided

Alyssa Cole

Call Number: FIC COLE

For all of the War Between the States, Marlie Lynch has helped the cause in peace: with coded letters about anti-Rebel uprisings in her Carolina woods, tisanes and poultices for Union prisoners, and silent aid to fleeing slave and Freeman alike. Her formerly enslaved mother's traditions and the name of a white father she never knew have protected her--until the vicious Confederate Home Guard claims Marlie's home for their new base of operations in the guerilla war against Southern resistors of the Rebel cause.

Unbeknowst to those under her roof, escaped prisoner Ewan McCall is sheltering in her laboratory. Seemingly a quiet philosopher, Ewan has his own history with the cruel captain of the Home Guard, and a thoughtful but unbending strength Marlie finds irresistible.

When the revelation of a stunning family secret places Marlie's freedom on the line, she and Ewan have to run for their lives into the hostile Carolina night. Following the path of the Underground Railroad, they find themselves caught up in a vicious battle that could dash their hopes of love--and freedom--before they ever cross state lines.



Unnatural Causes

Dawn Eastman

Call Number: MYS EASTMAN

Katie LeClair has finally settled down as the new doctor in Baxter, MI. After years of moving, schooling, and training, she wants nothing more than to find a place she can call home, and a small town outside of Ann Arbor seemed perfect.

Katie quickly gets to work in building a life for herself in Baxter, and beyond reviving her love life, she also finds a pair of business partners in a team of father and son family practitioners. But that idyllic dream is immediately shattered when one of her patients is found dead. That wouldn't be the worst thing, except the death is ruled a suicide, and as evidence has it, the suicide was a result of the medication Katie had prescribed. But she doesn't remember writing it.

When a closer investigation reveals it was murder, Katie is catapulted into an off-the-books investigation that leads her down a dark path of past secrets. But someone is willing to kill to keep part of the town's history in the shadows, and Katie must race to find out who before it's too late.



HAY.jpgA Hundred Small Lessons

Ashley Hay

Call Number: FIC HAY

When Elsie Gormley leaves the Brisbane house in which she has lived for more than sixty years, Lucy Kiss and her family move in, eager to establish their new life. As they settle in, Lucy and her husband Ben struggle to navigate their transformation from adventurous lovers to new parents, taking comfort in memories of their vibrant past as they begin to unearth who their future selves might be. But the house has secrets of its own, and the rooms seem to share recollections of Elsie's life with Lucy.

In her nearby nursing home, Elsie traces the span of her life--the moments she can't bear to let go and the places to which she dreams of returning. Her beloved former house is at the heart of her memories of marriage, motherhood, love, and death, and the boundary between present and past becomes increasingly porous for both her and Lucy.

Over the course of one hot Brisbane summer, two families' stories intersect in sudden and unexpected ways.


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