Holiday Reading

Happy Holidays!  If you are looking something to cozy up with to put you in a Holiday mood, here are a few suggestions for you.

We have several Christmas-themed books by Mary Higgins Clark and her daughter, Carol, as well as Nancy Thayer, Fern Michaels, and Debbie Macomber.  Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is a great Holiday read – it starts on Christmas Day, and there are a few other parts sets in Christmas throughout the story.  It will set the stage for the new Little Women movie, coming to theaters on December 25th.  Jeff Guinn, a former journalist for The Fort Worth Telegram, has written three novels that tell the history of Christmas with either Santa Claus or Mrs. Claus “telling the story.”  The first title, The Autobiography of Santa Claus, takes us from the earliest beginnings of a Christmas celebration more than 17 centuries ago up to the 20th century, with actual characters from history appearing. The next two titles cover Christmas during specific periods in history.  How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas is set during the 1600s when the Puritans attempted to ban the celebration of Christmas in England.  The Great Santa Search tells the story of Christmas in America and its commercialization.  All three novels are heavily researched, so the history is accurate; and all three are highly readable.  We have several editions of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, along with two versions of the movie on DVD.  If you’ve already read this classic, then try The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits by Les Standiford.  It’s the back story of how and why Dickens wrote and self-published the book.  We also have the movie based on this book on DVD.

New fiction titles that we’ve recently acquired include The Andromeda Evolution by Michael Crichton, Final Option by Clive Cussler and Boyd Morrison, Code of Honor by Tom Clancy, 19th Christmas and Criss Cross, both by James Patterson, Robert B. Parker’s Angel Eyes by Ace Atkins, and Twisted Twenty-Six, the latest Stephanie Plum novel, by Janet Evanovich.

A few new non-fiction titles that have recently come in include Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family by Mitch Albom; The Queens of Animation: The Untold Story of the Women Who Transformed the World of Disney and Made Cinematic History by Nathalia Holt; and Tim McGraw’s fitness book, Grit & Grace.  We have a couple of new history titles as well:  Vicksburg by Donald L. Miller and Edison by Edmund Morris.  And lastly, we have the delightful little book Running with Sherman: The Donkey with the Heart of a Hero by Christopher McDougall.

Check out (literally and figuratively) these books at the library!

New Book-Club-In-A-Bag Sets

The new Book-Club-In-A-Bag sets are here and will be ready for check out next week.  They’re listed below, with a bit of description and commentary:

I wrote about Whisper Network by Chandler Baker in an earlier post.  Once I finished the book, in retrospect, I liked it better than at first.  The reason I chose it as a Book Club set is that it lends itself to so many avenues of discussion:  women in the workplace, work-life balance, friendship and loyalty, and the #MeToo movement.  For discussion purposes, have someone in the group research examples of harassment in the workplace to compare to the story.

Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh is a spell-binding thriller that will keep a group discussing it for hours. There’s so much going on in this story! Just the subtitle gives you so much to discuss:  The Serial Killer Isn’t On Trial, He’s on the Jury.  This book kept me guessing about different parts of the story right up to the end.  The story is about a serial killer on a vendetta mission.  He goes through elaborate processes to have someone framed for murder and then to get on the jury to ensure that he’s convicted.

The Parisian by Isabella Hammad has been very popular (especially with book clubs).  The characters are rich in this story, and there’s such fascinating history and culture that it would be a joy to discuss.  The story shows the history of Palestine through the life experiences of one man, Midhat Kamal.  He leaves Palestine to study medicine in Paris and returns to his home country at the beginning of its fight for independence.  The history of Palestine and their culture are so relevant right now as well; it would be a very easy tie-in to current events.

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes is about the relationship between young widow and a major league pitcher who have both suffered losses and have secrets to keep.  Linda Holmes is a pop culture guru who produces a podcast and gives commentary on NPR, and this is her debut novel.  It would make for interesting discussion to listen to some of her podcasts; you can find them in the iTunes store.

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane is full of emotion: dealing with tragedy, family and friendship, marriage, and forgiveness.  It’s the story of two next-door neighbor families in New York and a set of explosive events and their lingering effects.

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land brings the term “working poor” to life.  Land was a single mother with very little skills or opportunity who cleaned houses, took online classes to work toward a writing degree, and relied on various government programs to support her and her daughter.  What I like best about this book is that Land is not complaining or making a political statement; she’s just exposing how a person can work hard and still live below the poverty line.  To add depth to your discussion, look at her website and blog:

Probably my favorite book this year will be The Secrets That We Kept by Lara Prescott.  This is Prescott’s first novel; and it is the story behind the writing, printing, and distribution of Dr. Zhivago.  The story is told from several women’s point of view: Boris Pasternak’s mistress Olga Ivinskaya and the female U.S. spies who worked to get the novel distributed in the Soviet Union.  I loved this book – I even watched the movie version of Dr. Zhivago with Julie Christie and Omar Sharif after reading it!  You could include a movie-watching party as part of the discussion, but you may have to do it in two parts, as it is a long film.

Quichotte is Salman Rushdie’s modern re-telling of Don Quixote.  It’s bizarre, multi-faceted, imaginative, and compelling, all rolled into a great story.  Rushdie is a consummate story-teller, and he does this story justice.  There’s so much to discuss with this book:  obsessive behavior, moral and spiritual collapse, the influence of television and social media, and the construction of the story itself.  To add a different dimension to the discussion, have half of your group read Don Quixote and the other half read Quichotte.

I mention Hellhound on his Trail: The Electrifying Account of the Largest Manhunt in History by Hampton Sides and Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail by Ben Montgomery last, as they are a special edition to the Book-Club-In-A-Bag set.  Sides is the keynote speaker at the 2020 Highland Park Literary Festival, and Montgomery is presenting as well.  The Festival committee asked if we could include at least one of the author’s books as a set, and we were happy to oblige.  Hellhound is an in-depth study of what happened in the months after Martin Luther King’s assassination by James Earl Ray.  It offers information about Ray’s early life and several unpublished documents, written in a thriller style.  Grandma Gatewood’s Walk is about the first woman to walk the entire trail alone; she was also the first person of any gender to walk it three times.  Montgomery interviewed family members and hikers who met her along the trail.  He also researched her diaries and trail journals to give readers a comprehensive study of this amazing woman.

As a reminder, our Book-Club-In-A-Bag sets contain eight copies of each title, along with discussion questions, author bios, and a list of suggested readings.  They check out for five weeks.  For more information, please email me at

New titles for kids and teens

Diary of a Wimpy Kid #14: Wrecking Ball (Coming in November)In the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Greg’s family receives a surprise inheritance and starts to make changes to their house. Unfortunately, a lot of problems pop up. Is it worth all of the trouble? Even more importantly, is there something more sinister going on that will cause them to move away completely?

Keeper of the Lost Cities #8: Legacy (Coming in November)After honing her strengths and learning to fight in the seventh book in the series, Flashback, we find telepath Sophie Foster seeking answers and struggling to recover lost memories as she and her friends learn new things about each other. They must take on the responsibilities this knowledge brings, and discern their friends from their enemies.

Dog Man #8: Fetch-22 by Dav Pilkey (Coming in December)Dog Man is one of the most popular series in the library’s Chapter Book collection, appealing to readers with its themes of kindness and courage. Recently released from jail, Petey the Cat has a new lease on life while Li’l Petey struggles to see the good in the world. Can Petey and Dog Man over their differences long enough to work as a team and help Li’l Petey and the entire world?

Children of Virtue and Vengeance (#2 in the Legacy of Orïsha trilogy) by Tomi Adeyemi (Coming in December) Fans of J.K. Rowling and Nnedi Okorafor will enjoy this sequel to Children of Blood and Bone, Adeyemi’s fantasy book set in West Africa. In an Orïsha where the powers of the supernaturally-gifted maji as well as the nobles with magic ancestry have been reignited, Zélie must secure Amari’s right to the throne and protect the new maji from the monarchy’s wrath, bringing their kingdom together before a civil war tears it apart.

Lots of new books in!

Sorry it’s been awhile since my last post; we weren’t getting a lot of new books for a short period of time.  The good news is that we now have a lot of new ones to tell you about!

Let’s start with new titles by your favorite suspense and thriller authors: Lee Child (Blue Moon), Stephen Chbosky (Imaginary Friend), Michael Connelly (Night Fire),  John Connolly (A Book of Bones), Stephen Coonts (The Russia Account), Patricia Cornwell (Quantum), Deborah Crombie (A Bitter Feast ), Nelson DeMille (The Deserter), Vince Flynn (Lethal Agent), Lisa Gardner (Never Tell), Tess Gerritson (The Shape of Night), Heather Graham (The Stalking), John Grisham (The Guardians),  Susan Isaacs (Takes One to Know One),  J. A. Jance (Sins of the Fathers), John Le Carre (Agent Running in the Field), John Sandford (Bloody Genius), Wilbur Smith (Ghost Fire), and Stuart Woods (Stealth).  In the pure mystery genre, Alexander McCall Smith has published the latest installment of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, To the Land of Long Lost Friends.

There are some pretty exciting titles in the romance genre: No Judgments by Meg Cabot, Hart’s Hollow Farm by Janet Dailey, Met Her Match by Jude Deveraux, What Happens in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand, Meant to be Yours by Susan Mallery, and Child’s Play by Danielle Steel.

Memoirs and biographies are hot this Fall, with several Hollywood stars, musicians, and various interesting people being featured.  Musical biographies/memoirs include The Beautiful Ones by Prince (based on the writings he left behind), My Name Is Prince by Randee St. Nicholas, Face It: A Memoir by Debbie Harry (I’m excited about this one!), and Wham! George Michael and Me by the other half of Wham, Andrew Ridgeley.  Really exciting is Me: Elton John, penned by Elton John himself. This will be an interesting read!  Janis: Her Life and Music, written by Holly George-Warren, should be good.  Holly George-Warren has written numerous books about music, serves as a consultant at several music-themed museums, and teaches musical journalism.  This book will appeal to anyone, whether or not they are Janis Joplin fans, as George-Warren will talk about the social aspects and the history behind the music.  On the Hollywood side, Julie Andrews has written a follow up to her previous book called Home.  This one is titled Home Work: A Memoir of my Hollywood Years, and it picks up after Andrews moved into films from stage work.  Demi Moore’s memoir is getting a lot of media attention.  It is titled Inside Out: A Memoir, and it is a tear-jerker.  Hollywood historian William J. Mann has turned his attention to Marlon Brando with The Contender: The Story of Marlon Brando.

Dogs are getting a fair amount of attention in the book world.  Dog is Love: Why and How Your Dog Loves You, by dog behaviorist and researcher Clive D. L. Wynne, PhD, offers scientific insight into just how much capacity dogs have for affection.  Our Dogs, Ourselves: The Story of a Singular Bond by Alexandra Horowitz, explores the human-dog relationship from a social and historical point of view.  My favorite dog book this season is Rescue Dogs: Where They Come From, Why They Act the Way They Do, and How to Love Them Well by Pete Paxton.  Pete Paxton is an alias for an undercover investigator into puppy mills.  This book offers in-depth insight into rescue dogs, and the conditions from which they are often rescued.

All of these books are either on the shelf or coming in soon, so you can place requests for all of them now.  Next week’s post will be about our new book club sets, so stay tuned!

New series additions for kids

Zoe, our Youth Services Librarian, is still out for maternity leave, but she has provided us with information about some new installments in popular series and an illustrated version of a Harry Potter title!

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: The Illustrated Edition by J. K. Rowling (Coming in October).  Harry Potter fans have loved the beautifully illustrated versions of the first three books in this ever-popular series. The library is adding the fourth installment to our collection this fall.

Wings of Fire Graphic Novel #3: Hidden Kingdom by Tui T. Sutherland (Coming in October).  The graphic novel version of the popular Wings of Fire series, which follows young dragons in their quests to fulfill prophecies, has been a hit with fans of the original books. In this third book, dragon Glory will do whatever it takes to find the RainWings that have gone missing from their forest, even if it means that she and the dragonets end up involved in a war.

Dork Diaries #14: Tales from a Not-So-Best Friend Forever by Rachel Renee Russell (Coming in October).  In the next book in the Dork Diaries series, Nikki and the band look forward to their summer on tour as openers for famous band Bad Boyz. What will Nikki do when she discovers that her frenemy MacKenzie Hollister is the new social media intern, and even worse, Nikki’s new roommate? Will she be able to turn the summer from something awful to awesome?

If you like Downton Abbey…

Who has seen the Downton Abbey movie?  Whether you watched every episode of the series or saw the movie and still need more, we have something for you all. I haven’t seen the movie yet, so don’t tell me too much if you have!

Most importantly, we have all six seasons of Downton Abbey on DVD to check out.  A few other movies that we have that you might enjoy include Howards End, starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson; the 2012 version of Upstairs, Downstairs; Brideshead Revisited with Emma Thompson and Michael Gambon; and The Crimson Field, a BBC-produced saga about field-side doctors, nurses, and volunteers in France during World War I.

If you’re interested in fiction that covers the same time period or story line as Downton, consider Rutherford Park by Elizabeth Cooke, a story about an aristocratic family in England and their secrets on the eve of World War I.  Daisy Goodwin has written two novels that are about heiresses and English aristocracy, The Fortune Hunter and The American HeiressThe Fortune Hunter is about the real-life  love triangle between Empress Elisabeth of Austria, her lover Captain Bay Middleton, and the heiress Charlotte Baird.

Like the Duchess of Grantham (Cora Crawley), many American heiresses took their inheritances to Europe in search of a title.  Consuelo Vanderbilt was one of the most famous of those, and you can read her autobiography, The Glitter and the Gold: The American Duchess – In Her Own Words.  For a lighter, fiction version of her story, try American Duchess: A Novel of Consuelo Vanderbilt by Karen Harper.  Harper is a prolific author of historical fiction, and her books always deliver interesting views of women in history.   One of my favorite books about these American heiresses is To Marry An English Lord by Gail MacColl.  It’s a fun nonfiction book with tidbits of information about the more than 100 heiresses who “swapped dollars for titles.”

Another famous American heiress who married into English nobility was Jenny Jerome, the mother of Winston Churchill.  She was fiercely independent at a time when it wasn’t socially acceptable for a women to be, and her life makes for an interesting read.  We have a great novel about her, That Churchill Woman by Stephanie Barron.  For those interested in the more scandalous parts of Jenny Churchill’s life, the try Edward VII: The Prince of Wales and the Women He Loved, which included Jenny Churchill.

On a lighter note, Danielle Steel’s Beauchamp Hall is about an American woman who goes to England to work on a Downton Abbey-like show and finds love.  The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson is set in the English countryside right before and during World War I.

Downton Abbey was filmed at Highclere Castle in England where the current Earl and Countess of Carnarvon live.  The Countess has written two books about previous Countesses of Carnarvon:  Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle and Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey.   Lady Almina delves into changes that took place in English society during and immediately after World War I, while Lady Catherine covers the family during the years of World War II.To learn more about the staff that made life possible for the aristocracy, Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid’s Memoir That Inspired “Upstairs, Downstairs” and “Downton Abbey” by Margaret Powell offers an inside view of working in the kitchens of some of England’s grand houses.  Think about Daisy crossed with Mrs. Patmore!  Servants: A Downstairs History of Britain from the Nineteenth Century to Modern Times by Lucy Lethbridge is a comprehensive study of those in service.  Rose: My Life in Service to Lady Astor by Rosina Harrison is a story of the woman who served as personal maid to Lady Nancy Astor.  It was fascinating to hear about Lady Astor’s travels, clothes, and jewelry.  This book also offers an in-depth view of the differences between the lifestyles of those who lived in wealth “upstairs” and those who worked tirelessly “downstairs.”

We have many more — just email me ( if you want more titles or ideas.

Happy reading!

New Fall Titles for Kids

If you have an elementary student, you know that kids love book series (and tend to be very loyal followers of their favorite authors!) Several books coming this fall that continue popular series:

Last Kids on Earth #5: The Last Kids on Earth and the Midnight Blade by Max Brallier (Out in September, coming to the library in October)

Jack is back to battling evil monsters with his superpower blade in the next installment of this popular series set in a post-zombie apocalypse world. When an unexpected villain challenges them, will Jack and his friends be able to save the world and themselves from defeat?

Magic Misfits: Minor Third by Neil Patrick Harris (Out in September, coming to the library in October)

Kids will recognize the first Magic Misfits book as part of the 2019-2020 Bluebonnet Master list. In the third book of the series, violin player Theo Stein-Meyer completes the team with his levitation skills and calm, friendly demeanor. When a girl named Emily joins the group, Theo finds a friend with a mutual love of music and magic. A creepy ventriloquist comes to town and the Magic Misfits must come together to stop the villainous Emerald Ring. This series introduces kids to the fun of stage magic, adventure, friendship, and teamwork with plenty of twists along the way.

Trials of Apollo #4: Tyrant’s Tomb by Rick Riordan (Out in September, coming to the library in October)

On his way to restoring ancient oracles and reclaiming his powers, Apollo (Lester Papadopoulos) journeys to Camp Jupiter near San Francisco, where Roman demigods are making a last stand against the evil Roman emperors. Can Apollo find the answer to overcoming them in the tomb of a forgotten Roman ruler, or will he and his friends face someone even more sinister?

We’re Back!

We’re back after having some technical difficulties with this blog; I’m so sorry for the inconvenience.  No one claimed the early copy of The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him and the Murder That Shocked Jazz-Age America by Karen Abbott that I offered in the last post.  It is still available to the first person who emails me at

We have so many new and exciting titles in – it’s like Christmas or a special birthday around here!  Let’s start with historical fiction:   A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier, The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott, Tidelands by Philippa Gregory, The World that We Knew by Alice Hoffman, Where the Light Enters by Sarah Donati, and The Women of the Copper Country by Mary Doria Russell.  Tidelands will be the start of a new series for Philippa Gregory, and she says it’s the book she’s been wanting to write for some time.  It’s set in the south coast of England during the English Civil War, and in Gregory’s own words, “It’s not about any kings or queens!”  I heard Alice Hoffman talk about The World That We Knew, and she feels the same way about this book – it’s the one she’s been wanting to write, but had to wait until the timing was right.  It’s about loss and resistance and includes a mythical creature much like a golem.  I cannot say enough good things about The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott!  A debut novel, it is the story behind the writing, printing, and distribution of Dr. Zhivago.  It is told from several women’s point of view: Boris Pasternak’s mistress Olga Ivinskaya and the female U.S. spies who worked to get the novel distributed in the Soviet Union.  I loved this book – I even watched the movie version of Dr. Zhivago with Julie Christie and Omar Sharif after reading it!

In the thriller/suspense/mystery genre, we have The Girl Who Lived Twice, the newest Lisbeth Salander novel; Old Bones by Preston and Child; The Girl Behind the Red Rope by Ted Dekker; The Bitterroots by C.J. Box; the new Eve Dallas novel by J.D. Robb, Vendetta in Death; The Bitterest Pill by Robert B. Parker; The Third Mrs. Durst by Ann Aguiree; The Shameless by Ace Atkins; and The Eighth Sister by Robert Dugoni, a heart-racing CIA espionage story.  We have two dystopian thrillers:  The Warehouse by Rob Hart and After the Flood by Kassandra Montag.  The Warehouse is a corporate espionage story about a large chain store that’s invading all aspects of its customers’ and employees’ lives.  It has a bit of a cautionary theme to it, and the film rights have been purchased by director Ron Howard.

There are several new titles out about life-changing journeys and self-discovery that are definitely worth reading.  Quichotte, by Salman Rushdie, is a modern-day Don Quixote story.  It is a wild ride with a traveling salesman and the child he wished into being going across the United States to find his true love.  It’s a crazy, fun story.  The Man With No Borders by Richard C. Morais is a story of an emotional and memory journey taken by Jose Maria Alvarez, a dying man with family secrets to reconcile.  Set in a Swiss village, with memories of Spain floating to the surface, the imagery and emotion in this book are strong.  This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger is an epic story about an equally epic emotional and geographical journey that four orphans in the 1930s take across America looking for their own place in life.  Reviewers have called it “big-hearted,” and they’re not wrong.

Many, many of you read and enjoyed The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris.  Morris’ new book, about Cilka, one of the characters on The Tattooist, should prove to be just as powerful.  Cilka’s Journey will be out on October 1st.   We have a few copies on order, but if you want to read it early, email me.  I have an Advance Readers’ Edition for the first person who emails me at

As always, happy reading!

End of Summer Reads

It’s getting close to the end of the summer – catch up on some great reads now that the kids have gone back to school!  We have a few fiction titles coming in over the next two week by best-selling authors: Danielle Steel (Dark Side), Nora Roberts (The Pagan Stone), Janet Dailey (Texas Forever), Fern Michaels (Cut and Run), Louise Penney (Better Man), and Sarah Jio (All the Flowers in Paris).

Two more fiction books worth noting are The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri and The Ventriloquists by E. R. Ramzipoor.   Each of the stories takes place during different war periods, Beekeeper during the current fighting in Syria and The Ventriloquists during World War II.  Both are stories of triumph over extreme adversity.  Based on a true event, The Ventriloquists has great characters, Belgian resistance fighters and journalists who outwit the Nazis with fake news.  What’s really fascinating is how the author came across the story: while researching for her thesis on underground political literature, she discovered a single document written by the Office of War referencing the fake edition of the Brussels newspaper Le Soir.  She followed that research trail and then wrote the novel at the suggestion of her thesis advisor.

We have some exciting nonfiction coming on order.  Karen Abbott is back with The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz-Age America. This book follows much the same theme as her previous ones – major events in America, researched and told from a woman’s point of view.  This is the story of the excesses of the Jazz Age, murder, and corrupt government officials. I have an early copy of The Ghosts of Eden Park for the first person who emails me that they’d like to read it ( Haben: The Deafblind Women Who Conquered Harvard Law is Haben Girma’s memoir of her family’s refugee experiences after leaving Eritrea and moving all over the world before coming to the United States, looking for a connection to a community.  Haben embarks on adventures that most people who can see and hear never even attempt, and developed a text-to-braille communication system.  It’s an amazing story.

At the suggestion by one of our residents who is an avid reader, I’m reading Whisper Network by Chandler Baker.  This is Baker’s first adult novel, and a Reese’s Book Club pick.  I wish I liked it better.  The author is a corporate attorney who worked in Dallas, and she draws on that experience to craft a timely, ripped-from-the-headlines story with elements of the #MeToo movement.  The story is a murder mystery surrounding the death of a high-powered corporate attorney who is not known for treating women well.  The real story is about the main female characters who are also corporate attorneys who shop at Neiman’s, struggle with work-life-family balance, and have secrets to keep.  The author spends too much page space describing the “Dallas lifestyle,” and the dialog seems contrived.  The best part of the book are the deposition transcripts at the beginning most chapters.  I’d be interested to hear what some of you think of the book.  We have it in print and ebook.

So many books and so little time!

There are quite a few new titles by bestselling authors coming in soon:  Contraband by Stuart Woods, A Dangerous Man by Robert Crais, The Inn and The Warning, both by James Patterson, and True Believer by Jack Carr.   JP Delaney’s newest psychological thriller, The Perfect Wife, is just as suspenseful as her two previous titles (The Girl Before and Believe Me).  Another new title, which will keep you awake at night (at least it did me), is Alex North’s The Whisper Man, about a serial killer who whispers at his victims’ windows at nightDuring the three or four days that I was reading this book, I had to triple check my windows at bedtime!

Sandra Brown has a new title out, Outfox, as does Nora Roberts – The Welcoming.  Other new books coming in soon include Careful What You Wish For, a suspense novel by Hallie Ephron and Inland by Tea Obreht.  Inland is centered around the often-forgotten United States Camel Corps, the experiment in the mid-1800s with using camels in the Southwest.

Also out this week is The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware.  If you’ve read Ruth Ware’s previous books, then you’ll be familiar with her formula:  a young woman with a troubled past gets a too-good-to-be-true opportunity that turns out wrong.  This story involves a smart home, and it’s interesting to see how too much technology adds to the suspense of the story.  There are enough subplots throughout the story to keep the book interesting through to the end, although not all of them are resolved by the end.  This was not my favorite of her books.

On the nonfiction side, there is a new biography about Steve Ray Vaughan, which should be interesting reading for any Texas music fan.  Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan by Alan Paul and Andy Aledort, gathers insight from Stevie Ray’s family, friends, girlfriends, and bandmates to tell the story of his life and music.

The two of the most interesting books out this week are Ellie and the Harpmaker by Hazel Prior and Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton.  Hollow Kingdom is a post-apocalyptic novel told by S.T., a Cheeto-eating, television-educated crow who sets out to save humanity from extinction, along with a dog named Dennis.  The dialog is hilarious (especially with the wild crows), the writing is very good, and you’ll find yourself rooting for S.T. and Dennis as they become unlikely heroes.  Please give this book a chance, even if it does seem to be a very far-fetched, crazy story.  Ellie and the Harpmaker is a charming story of unexpected love and hope.  It is also the story of how viewing the world through different eyes can be healing.  If you want to read the first five chapters, it is this week’s First Look Book Club.  Sign up at

Please let me know if you have questions, book suggestions, or want to let me know what you think about any of the books I’ve mentioned:  Happy Reading!