Adults

To Taste Temptation

Review written by: Laura Brooks
4

An American veteran of the French and Indian Wars is now a successful merchant with a younger sister to launch. However, this is a cover for his true purpose: to question the few other survivors of a massacre which he suspects was caused by a traitor in their midst. He asks a widow who is informally engaged to a fellow survivor to chaperone his sister and they gradually become involved. The book surrealistic descriptions of how PTSD affects the traumatized and how it may affect each person differently. Well written and moving.

By Author/Artist: Hoyt, Elizabeth
Format: ebook

The Serpent Prince

Review written by: Laura Brooks
4

A gently bred spinster finds a naked viscount nearly beaten to death near her country home and nurses him back to health. He is trying to avenge the death of his brother, who was pushed into a duel and killed because he was an obstruction to some fellow investors, and they are pushing back. Her affections shift from her local vicar who has been courting her but never asking for her hand to the nobleman, which puts both in danger. The book is well written but the titular fairy tale composed for the novel falls flat.

By Author/Artist: Hoyt, Elizabeth
Format: ebook

The Leopard Prince

Review written by: Laura Brooks
4

A spinster heiress falls for her land steward, a man far below her on the social scale and falsely accused of murder by a local landowner with a grudge. Interesting to compare the present and historical mores regarding illegitimacy and sexual and social standards. Well written.

By Author/Artist: Hoyt, Elizabeth
Format: ebook

The Raven Prince

Review written by: Laura Brooks
4

In 19th century England, a barren widow finds herself in need of money and takes a job as a secretary to a disagreeable earl in need of a wife and heir. They develop a mutual unrequited attraction. During the course of her work, she discovers the name of a high end brothel he uses and finds a way to substitute herself there masked. Complications occur and love wins out. Though somewhat formulaic, it is well thought out and written.

By Author/Artist: Hoyt, Elizabeth
Format: ebook

I've Got Your Number

Review written by: Laura Brooks
4

An engaged woman loses her engagement ring at a hotel and has her cell phone stolen. She finds a cell phone abandoned in a plant by an executive's PA, which she appropriates so the hotel staff and others can contact her about her ring. The executive calls the phone and the two become entangled in each other's situations and eventually falling for each other. The plot twists and turns and a comedy of errors ensues. Well written and insightful.

By Author/Artist: Kinsella, Sophie
Format: ebook

The Valcourt Heiress

Review written by: Laura Brooks
4

In medieval England, an heiress runs away from a marriage arranged by her witch of a mother and is rescued by a knight who recently inherited his brother's title and properties. The main keep was attacked and devastated by anonymous men seeking silver allegedly stolen by his brother. The girl helps to restore order as well as discover who the culprits are and their involvement in her own situation. Tender feelings develop between the knight and heiress as murder and palace intrigue seek to keep them apart.

By Author/Artist: Coulter, Catherine
Format: ebook

Can You Keep A Secret?

Review written by: Laura Brooks
4

A woman working at the British corporate headquarters for a company founded by an American and his deceased English friend reveals all her secrets to a fellow passenger in a panic while flying on a plane going through turbulence. She later discovers this other business class passenger is the American founder. Embarrassing situations and romantic complications ensue. If you get upset by embarrassing situations and comedy of errors, you may get nervous reading Sophie Kinsella. I have had to set her books aside for a few minutes to calm myself down before proceeding as this type of humor can trigger sympathetic anxiety.

By Author/Artist: kinsella, Sophie
Format: ebook

Trouble at the Wedding

Review written by: Laura Brooks
4

A girl who was raised as "poor white trash" in turn-of-the-century Mississippi inherits a fortune and seeks to move up in New York society with minimal success. She becomes engaged to a down on his luck English earl whom her uncle/trustee doesn't like or trust. He hires a rakish duke to try to talk her into delaying or canceling the Wedding. Of course, the duke and deb end up fighting a losing battle against a fierce attraction. The author did a good job of writing the characters' backgrounds and motivations and making them believable. An enjoyable read.

By Author/Artist: Guhrke, Laura Lee
Format: ebook

The Undomestic Goddess

Review written by: Laura Brooks
4

Sophie Kinsella is excellent at writing humorous romances. This story is about a female corporate attorney on the verge of partnership who discovers a memo on her desk that indicates she made a major error of omission that will seriously jeopardize her career. She panics, runs away, and hides out in a small town, where she gets mistaken for an interviewee for a housekeeper position. She settles into this unfamiliar situation and discovers love and a peace she never knew in her former life as well as a plot at her former law firm. If you get anxious over comedy of errors, you may find this book difficult to tolerate at times, but all comes out right in the end.

 

By Author/Artist: Kinsella, Sophie
Format: ebook

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cath - a shy, introverted college freshman - does not like change. So, when she moves from her home in Omaha, Nebraska, to start college in nearby Lincoln, and her identical twin sister decides to cut ties with her, Cath focuses her attention on the one thing within her control: writing fan fiction for the infamous Simon Snow series (think Harry Potter for magicians). Cath has spent years immersing herself in the World of Mages, creating and re-creating added plot twists, and building a fan base of epic proportions. WIth the final book in the series due out at the end of the year, Cath is determined to reveal her ending to the story before the book's release date. But then, things start to get in the way. Her fiction writing professor keeps trying to convince Cath to create her own world rather than write in someone else's, her new roommate, whom she distanced herself from at the beginning of term, unexpectedly becomes a close friend, and Levi, the boy that keeps showing up outside her dorm room, with his overly-friendly personality, flannel shirts, and hair that seems to take on a life of its own, makes Cath realize that there are times when it's worth it to let down your guard. 

From the bestselling author of Eleanor & Parkthis coming of age story is highly recommended for introverts of all ages, especially those looking to relive or imagine their freshman experience. Rainbow Rowell has captured the uncertain, often frightening first year of college to a tee, and her characters are so complex, so real, you'll swear you must have known them once. 

Top 5 Adult Books (and a series) I’ve Read In My Life that I Love

DISCLAIMER: Let me preface these brief reviews with the fact that this is not an all encompassing list of books. I don’t read a wide variety of genres, so this isn’t a wide-variety list. Take it as it is: simply a list of books, written for adults, that I have enjoyed over the years. Hopefully you’ll enjoy them too.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
The world has gone down the tube and society as a whole spends its time in a virtual-reality video game. The creator of the game has hidden a series of keys and Easter-eggs that, when found, will lead to a vast fortune. Players have been searching for the first key for years, and no one has found it, until now. By far the best book I’ve read in a long, long time. I read it in a day because I just couldn’t put it down. It is chock full of 80’s and early 90’s TV, music, game, and movie references that people from that era will get a kick out of. However, anyone who loves video games and/or has a slightly nerdy side will absolutely love this book. Great story, great characters, and fantastic world building; a must-read.

A Lifetime of Secrets: A PostSecret Book by Frank Warren
PostSecret is a website (that can be found here) where people’s anonymous secrets get posted, after they have been mailed to the creator of the site. Due to its popularity (and I’m assuming volume of submissions) the author has published a few books that contain those secrets. The secrets range from the hilarious to the life-changing; from the heart-breaking to the beautiful. As I read this particular volume I experienced the full gamut of emotions, and couldn’t help but imagine what those people are going through, and the things they are keeping from everyone. It really makes you appreciate and rethink your own life and get a better understanding of the hidden things people experience that no one else knows about. A great, quick roller coaster of a read.


The Rook (The Checquy Files #1) by Daniel O’Malley
I am a sucker for paranormal-military/secret government organizations that exist to keep evil creatures in check. The Rook is just such a book and it is brilliant. The story follows Myfanwy (pronounced “Miffany”) Thomas and others who are a part of a secret group called the Checquy. They are tasked with keeping Britain safe from the supernatural. What I especially love about this book is that each higher-up person within the Checquy has a unique ability (read: superpower) that helps them do their job. For example, there is a character that has four bodies. What I also ended up enjoying (that may throw people at first) is that the world-building is done through a journal Myfanwy kept for herself before she lost her memory. Every other chapter or so is an entry from said journal that gives a little back story to characters/events/etc. to help explain what’s going on for the reader. The book is really well done and I cannot wait for the second one to come out.

 

Ant Farm and Other Desperate Situations by Simon Rich
Ant Farm is simply a collection of super-short stories (jokes? Essays? Anecdotes? I don’t know what to call them) that have no connection to each other and can stand completely alone. What makes this book great is that each story is absolutely hilarious. I’ve actually read this book five times because it’s so short and so entertaining. I actually can’t give examples of the stories because, since they are so short, I would give the punch-line away, and I don’t want to ruin anything. Just take my word for it and read it. You’ll love it and find your own favorite stories to share. Sadly we don’t own this book so you’ll have to get it through MeLCat (click the title above) or request that we purchase it (which you can do here). You’ll thank me when you do.

Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson
The book actually starts after the robotic apocalypse and a massive war when a soldier finds the robots’ ultimate black box (like on a plane). The book then takes us back to the beginning of how the uprising started and to key points throughout the world with key players through a series of security footage from the black box. It was a unique way to tell the story and I think it worked beautifully. You start off reading about these people who have no connection, and then as the story progresses you find out how they fit within the overarching puzzle. Obviously the book is a way for us to think about our reliance on technology, but it never once felt preachy (or if that was even the point of the book). This is a great sci-fi action/thriller that fans of the genre will definitely enjoy.


The Nathaniel Cade Series by Christopher Farnsworth
Nathaniel Cade is a vampire that is employed by the U.S Government and is tasked to protect the President and the country from the supernatural. He is paired with a human (Zach) who is able to organize and take care of things during the day, while Nathaniel sleeps. There are currently three books in print: Blood Oath, The President’s Vampire, and Red, White, and Blood. All three books are fantastic, although I felt that the first was the weakest of the three (4/5 stars as opposed to 5/5). Each book focuses on a different paranormal threat, but includes a few key characters that appear from book to book. They are fast-paced and action-packed mixed with some very wry, dark humor, and exactly what you want from a paranormal-military thriller. What I like best about the books is how Nathaniel is portrayed. He is treated and acts like how you imagine a powerful vampire would be. He doesn’t attempt to blend in as a human, but instead gives off this feeling that causes a deep, primal fear in everyone around him. No one knows why, but they know they should keep away from Nathaniel. In a word: awesome. Definitely a recommended series that hopefully has many more on the way; Nathaniel is a character to root for.

Pillars of the Earth: A Love Story?

At first glance, one could be forgiven for not seeing how a tale of the construction of a 13th cathedral fits with the theme of “love”.  In reality, however, the book is full of love stories.

In the first place we have the actual writing of the book itself. The author uses the preface of the book to describe how and why a successful spy novelist would take such a risk as to write something so completely different from what he made is name at. The answer is, he fell in love with the architecture of medieval cathedrals. He shares this love with the reader through painstakingly detailed descriptions of not just the cathedral at the center of the novel, but of other churches visited by the characters. While Follet does use some technical language, he always accompanies it with an explanation, so the reader (or listener, in this case) is never at a loss about what, exactly, is being talked about.

The biggest in-universe love story is that between several characters and the fictional Kingsbridge Cathedral. On the one hand is Prior Philip, a devout man who wants to build a great monument to God. He takes the command “love thy neighbor” very much to his heart, going out of his way at times to help those less fortunate. While other churchmen in the book are in their positions out of worldly ambition, or just because they had no where else to go, Philip is truly in love with God, and acts so. On the other hand are a pair of builders, first Tom, then his step-son Jack, who want to build the most beautiful cathedral in the world. While their motivation is completely opposite of Philips, their love for the building is just as strong.

March: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell

I am new to the graphic novel genre.  Actually, I never really fancied reading one.  However this year, I have read three graphic novels in short succession.  These graphic novels have been about civil rights and race in the United States.  While I enjoyed all the books, the one that left me thinking that every American should read this book is, March: Book One by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and featuring the wonderful artwork of Nate Powell (who lived briefly in East Lansing). Congressman Lewis, is one of the key figures in the civil rights movement in the United States.  March tells Lewis’ story from his childhood on a sharecropper’s farm in Alabama to meeting Martin Luther King, Jr., to the rise of the Nashville Student movement to the sit ins at lunch counters to the nonviolent protest on the steps of City Hall to the inauguration of the first African American President.  In Book One, Congressman Lewis recounts his struggle and nonstop fight for civil rights to two children and their mother who happen upon his office on the morning of President Obama’s first presidential inauguration.  March: Book One takes us up to the battle for desegregation on the steps of the Nashville City Hall.  It leaves the reader wanting to know the rest of Lewis’ personal account of the very important fight for civil rights.  Nate Powell’s artwork deftly illustrates the horrific struggle and significant accounts in United States history.

Hot Reads for Cold Nights 2014 extended through March!

Since the cold weather isn't going anywhere we've decided to extend the Hot Reads for Cold Nights reading program through the end of March.  You now have until April 1, 12:01 am to accumulate and submit your points.

 

 

Leap Year

The movie Leap Year is a wonderfully entertaining romantic comedy which was released in 2010.  Based on an old Irish tradition, Anna, played by Amy Adams follows her long time boyfriend to Ireland to propose to him on February 29, leap day.  The tradition says that a man proposed to on leap day must accept the proposal.

Due to a storm, Anna's plane from Boston is unable to land in Dublin.  Anna meets Declan, played by Matthew Goode, who is desperate for money so he can save his pub from foreclosure.  Reluctantly, Declan agrees to accept Anna's monetary offer to escort her to Dublin so she can propose to her boyfriend on February 29.  Thus begins Anna and Declan's hilarious mad cap, yet sometimes bittersweet race to Dublin.

Filmed in Ireland, the scenery in the movie is breathtaking.  The music is beautiful and flows with the scenery and the action perfectly.

There is great chemistry, dialog, comedy and romantic tension between Anna and Declan.  The Irish scenery and beautiful music alone make this movie worth seeing.

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