Book Review: Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

First line(s): “Pinch myself and say I AM AWAKE once an hour. Look at my hands. Count my fingers. Look at clock (or watch), look away, look back. Stay calm and focused. Think of a door.”

Summary: Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone. When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar … who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise. And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend, but she also just happens to be married to David. David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife, but then why is David so controlling, and why is Adele so scared of him? As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong, but Louise can’t guess how wrong — and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.

Highlights: I couldn’t put this book down. It grabbed me from the first page, and I found myself thinking about what “the twist” was going to be even when I wasn’t reading it!

Lowlights (or what could have been better): There were a few parts in the book that really asked you to stretch reality, but I didn’t mind because those parts made the story SO good.

FYI: I feel like this is a very overused statement, but this book will appeal to fans of “Gone Girl” and “Girl on a Train.”

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Book Review: The Pho Cookbook by Andrea Nguyen

The Pho Cookbook by Andrea Nguyen

First line:  “Pho is so elemental to Vietnamese culture that people talk about it in terms of romantic relationships.”

Summary: Vietnam’s most beloved culinary export pho is now within the reach of any home cook.
Andrea Nguyen first tasted pho in Saigon as a child, sitting at a street stall with her parents. That experience sparked a lifelong love of the iconic noodle soup, and here she dives deep into pho’s lively past, visiting its birthplace and then teaching how to successfully make it. Options range from quick weeknight cheats to 5-hour weekend feasts with broth and condiments from scratch, as well as other pho rice noodle favorites. Over fifty versatile recipes, including snacks, salads, companion dishes, and vegetarian and gluten-free options, welcome everyone to the pho table. With a thoughtful guide on ingredients and techniques, plus evocative location photography and deep historical knowledge, “The Pho Cookbook “enables anyone to cook this comforting classic.

Highlights: I LOVE PHO, and this beautiful book gave me so many new ideas to try. If you are a Pho lover like I am it will inspire you to get in the kitchen and prepare one of the amazing recipes ASAP!

Lowlights (or what could have been better): I think in an effort to make this book pop out from the others of its kind, the author put more of the same recipes (with little tweaks)  in than were actually needed and they became a bit redundant.

FYI: Since this book features several exotic ingredients it probably isn’t for the shy, first-time cook.

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Shifting Party!

What happens after hours at the library? Shifting parties of course!

Several of our staff worked after hours on two Saturdays to move the entire adult fiction section. There were 124 new shelves added to this area of the library and the books needed to be spread out. The project took 8 hours with 6 staff members, food and LOTS of 80s music! We felt like we were living in the Breakfast Club.

We all had a great time but were exhausted afterwards. Take a look at more photos and a video on our Facebook page from our shifting party!

Late March new book releases

I don’t know about you, but I wish that time would slow down when I was reading so I could get more reading done. And with the number of new books that look like they just must be read, my to-be-read list grows much longer and less likely to ever be finished. I’m sure I am not alone in this dilemma, am I? Here are several more new releases that will be released March 21 and 28 and that could end up on your to-be-read list.

March 21: “The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane” by Lisa See —
As she has done so beautifully in her previous novels, See introduces readers to the customs of another ethnic minority in China, in this case, the Akha. In a remote Yunnan village, a young woman, one of the few educated women on the mountain, has a baby out of wedlock, and abandons her in the nearest city. The infant is adopted and raised in California. Mother and daughter search for answers and find them in the tea that has shaped their family for generations. 4.22 stars on Goodreads

“Girl in Disguise” by Greer Macallister will be released March 21.

March 21: “Girl in Disguise” by Greer Macallister —
Kate Warne is the first female Pinkerton detective on the streets of Chicago during the Civil War. Kate is able to infiltrate the seedy side of the city in ways her fellow male detectives are not. A “desperate widow with a knack for manipulation,” Kate has a hard time earning respect, but danger is always nearby. This novel is inspired by the real story of Kate Warne, who helped sway the fate of the country. 3.93 stars on Goodreads

 

 

“The Hope Chest” by Viola Shipman will be released March 21.

March 21: “The Hope Chest” by Viola Shipman —Mattie, who is fiercely independent, is diagnosed with ALS, and Don, her husband of nearly 50 years is having a hard time imagining life without Mattie. When Rose, Mattie’s new caretaker, and Rose’s daughter, Jeri, enter Mattie and Don’s life, some happiness returns. Mattie is able to share the memories she has stored in the hope chest from her mother. This story reminds us that love and hope may be found where we least expect. 4.43 stars on Goodreads

March 28: “The Women in the Castle” by Jessica Shattuck —
Marianne von Lingenfels is the widow of a resistor who is murdered in the 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler. Marianne creates a makeshift family of the widows and family members of two of her husband’s co-conspirators. As the group assembles at the once-grand castle of Marianne’s husband’s ancestors, the women each have to come to terms with the choices they’ve made and face their own sets of unique challenges. For readers of “The Nightingale” and “The Light Between Oceans.” 4.23 on Goodreads

March 28: “It Happens All the Time” by Amy Hatvany —

“It Happens All the Time” by Amy Hatvany addresses timely topics such as sexual consent.

What happens when best friends Amber and Tyler share a drunken kiss? Find out in this provocative new novel. Amber and Tyler have been best friends since they were in high school. To Amber their relationship has always been platonic, while Tyler has held out hop that it might become something more. Amber is home for the summer after college graduation and is engaged to her college sweetheart. After a flirtation develops between Amber and Tyler, on a night fueled by alcohol, Amber kisses Tyler and what happens next changes everything. 4.12 stars on Goodreads

March 28: “The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley” by Hannah Tinti —
Samuel Hawley moves with his daughter Loo to his late wife’s hometown, after spending years on the run. He bears twelve bullet scars from a criminal past that comes back to haunt them both in this thrilling story that travels through time and place until they two of them are forced to face a reckoning. 4.13 stars on Goodreads

Book Review: Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage and Manners

Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage and Manners by Therese Oneill

First Line: Thank you for coming.

Summary: Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a woman in Victorian England? Therese Oneill brings the clothes, lifestyle and manners of the 1800s to us in an easy and funny guide of the day to day lives of women in one of the most romanticized times in history. Pictures of the time are combined with tidbits of information about fashion, married life and medical knowledge. This is a laugh out loud book that will make you want to reread your favorite Jane Austen with a new understanding.

Highlights: The cover! It is beautiful and draws the eye. The humor is undeniable. I laughed very hard throughout the book. The little captions of the photos would leave tears in my eyes. Very serious subjects were made much more enjoyable by the added humor comparing the 1800s to now. But it was still informative and gave a look into a time that has continued to be popular among authors and movie makers alike.

Lowlights: The only complaint I would have is that some sections were a little longer than were needed.

FYI: There is a little language and crude humor.

For the love of Victoria!

I don’t know about you, but I’m obsessed with the PBS series “Victoria”!
I’m experiencing some SERIOUS withdrawal after the season finale! So, I’m really looking forward to the presentation, “Dressing for Success, Victorian Style” on March, 18 at 11:00 a.m. with Kansas Humanities Speaker, Sara Jane Richter. Hopefully this will help get me through what is sure to be a rough time until another one of my other favorite PBS shows comes along.

Here is a little bit about the presentation:

“Dressing for Success, Victorian Style”

Victorian women in the United States and Britain took upward of
4 hours to dress themselves per day, and they usually had a maid to help them dress. Layer upon layer of prim and proper clothing was worn, from bare necessities to gloves, hair pins, umbrellas, shoes, and brooches. There were outfits to be worn in the morning after rising, at mid-morning, at early afternoon, and in the evening. This presentation explores why these women endured such restrictive and sometimes deadly clothing, as well as the elements, purpose, and the proper way to put it all on.

Presented by Sara Jane Richter.
Sara teaches English and is Dean of the School of Liberal Arts at Oklahoma Panhandle State University in Goodwell.

Interview with Local Teen Author

 

Kristen Bradshaw wears a lot of superhero shirts. Though in the two years I’ve known her, I’ve seen her don the occasional skirt with leggings or laced blouse, Ms. Bradshaw’s uniform of choice is usually a Deadpool or Captain America shirt to pair with her streaks of electric blue hair. The attire is fitting for a superhero such as herself who wields a power so strong that it has built monuments and changed history. Kristen Bradshaw is a writer.

Kristen has been writing consistently for four years, but was born a reader. The nineteen year old devours stories, soaking up their richness and seeking out new works to consume. Upon a suggestion from her older brother, Kristen tried telling a story of her own. It was a decision that led to a life-changing addiction. She now presents the self-publication of her first novel, The Guardians of the Cross, bound by The Book Patch. I took some time to talk with this young author about her writing process, the themes of the book, and her upcoming meet and greet at the library.

 

Where did you get the idea for The Guardians of the Cross?

My high school graduation was superhero themed, and I was interested in telling a story about a group of kids who discovered these special powers. I wanted to tell a story with a lot of characters and a lot of action.

 What was it like writing this novel? You are a self-taught writer, correct?

Yeah, I’ve never had any training or anything. I just started. It was rocky at first, but after working at it for a while, it got a lot easier. It still took about two and half years to finish the book.

What is your writing process like? Do you write every day or only when inspiration strikes? Do you have a certain ritual when writing?

I try to write every day, usually in afternoon. I like to work on a computer and have music playing. It’s usually Disney songs or some other random music that I’m into at the time. My sister, Carolynn, sometimes hovers over my shoulder trying to read what I’m working on.

Is that okay with you or do you prefer to keep your work private until it’s finished?  

It’s a bit of both. If I’m stuck on something, I’ll have her [sister, Carolynn] read it and help me out, but most of the time I like to get it all done first. I usually have my Dad read through it after I’m done to give me feedback, and my sisters have helped me with how the characters sound and talk.

 Were there any books or stories that inspired The Guardians of the Cross?

I love the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan and borrowed a few names from his books. I love the action sequences and the relationships between the characters. One of my author role models is Christopher Paolini. He wrote the Inheritance Trilogy when he was young, and I relate a lot to his reasons for writing and his style.

Which characters do you relate to the most? Are any of your characters inspired by people in your life?

I relate a lot to Jinx because he’s so crazy and fun.  I also relate to Brad and Phoebe. It was really fun to write Brad and Echo’s characters because they kind of took on a life of their own. They blossomed into the characters that they are and I was just kind of pulled along. Ella Grace is based off of my sister, Carolynn, and Jason is a bit of my brother, Jamey.

The Guardians of the Cross tends to blend between the Young Adult, Christian Fiction, and Science Fiction genres. Was that intentional?

I relate to young adult fiction since I’m still in that age group, and I love stories with a supernatural or magical twist. I want to write stories that show that being a Christian isn’t boring and reading the Bible isn’t boring. I wanted to write a story with Christian ideas that was interesting and exciting.

What are you working on now?

I’m finishing up the sequel to The Guardians of the Cross. It will be a trilogy so I’ll start the third book next. I also have eight other ideas that I’ve been playing around with so who knows what I’ll write after that!

Your meet and greet at the library is coming up. Is there anything you would like your readers to know?

Thank you so much for reading my book, and I hope you like it!

To find out more about The Guardians of the Cross, take a look at its Goodreads profile and add it to your to-read list!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34372562-guardians-of-the-cross

Community members can meet Kristen Bradshaw at her Author Meet-Up on Saturday, March 18 at 10AM in the library. Her novel, The Guardians of the Cross, is available for check out in our library collection.

 

Early March new book releases

As I was looking through the 200 most popular titles scheduled to be released in March, I realized that March 7 is a huge day for new releases! I could probably have included 30 or more titles in this post. As it was, after much searching, I was able to find two books that will be released on Marcy 14, and one book that is already out. It was released on March 1, a Wednesday, so it’s a little bit of an odd book out. So, with so many great new books that could fill your shelves, here are some titles we think deserve the buzz they are getting.

“In Farleigh Field” is a new story from Rhys Bowen.

Released March 1: “In Farleigh Field” by Rhys Bowen —
From the author of the Molly Murphy and Royal Spyness series comes a sweeping new novel of World War II. A pilot’s parachute fails and he falls to his death on the estate of Farleigh Field, the ancestral home of Lord Westerfield and his five daughters. An MI5 operative conducts an investigation into the pilot, while one of Lord Westerfield’s daughters secretly works at Bletchley Park, the British code-breaking facility.
3.99 stars on Goodreads

March 7: “Silence Fallen” by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson #10) —
The latest installment in the Mercy Thompson series finds the coyote shapeshifter alone in the middle of Europe trying to determine who is her enemy and who is her ally. She is unable to contact the werewolf pack at home, including the pack’s alpha werewolf, Adam.
4.45 stars on Goodreads

“Etched in Bone” by Anne Bishop is No. 5 in the Others series.

March 7: “Etched in Bone” by Anne Bishop (The Others #5) —
The fifth book in The Others series by Anne Bishop continues the story of the shapeshifters, vampires and humans that inhabit the Lakeside Courtyard. After the Elders brutally put down a human uprising, the courtyard has emerged relatively unscathed, but now faces tensions and difficulties of its own when Lieutenant Montgomery’s shady brother shows up. Simon Wolfguard and blood prophet Meg Corbyn have their hands full trying to maintain peace. 4.49 stars on Goodreads

March 7: “Exit West” by Mohsin Hamid —
Two young people, Nadia and Saeed, meet in a country that is on the brink of civil war. They begin a furtive love affair and when the city explodes in violence, they decide they no longer have a choice and have to leave. They’ve heard whispers about doors that can whisk people far away, but for a price. Nadia and Saeed find a door and step through into an alien and uncertain future. 4.17 stars on Goodreads

“Never Let You Go” is a new suspense novel from Chevy Stevens.

March 14: “Never Let You Go” by Chevy Stevens —
Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash and her daughter escaped the abusive relationship with Lindsey’s ex-husband and he was sent to jail. Lindsey and her daughter, now a teenager, have built a new life. When Lindsey learns that her ex has been released from jail, she believes all ties have been cut, but now she feels like someone is watching her. Her new boyfriend is threatened; her daughter is followed and her home is invaded. 4.26 stars on Goodreads

A new Maisie Dobbs mystery is scheduled to be released March 14.

March 14: “In This Grave Hour” by Jacqueline Winspear (Maisie Dobbs #13) — It’s September 1939, and Great Britain is bracing for war with Germany. Maisie receives an assignment from Dr. Francesca Thomas to find a killer from the Great War. While Maisie is delving into that, she also has an evacuee from the current war billeted at her home in Kent.
4.32 stars on Goodreads

Patient Zero

As with the rest of the Wichita area our staff has been hit with the sickness bug. Several staff are home with colds so we decided to quarantine Patient Zero.

Our local staff penguin has been a valued member for many years. He is a way for our staff to have a few laughs as well as let our creative sides come alive. Check out our past Penguin War album on Facebook.

Let the Penguin Wars commence!

 

New book releases late February

Where has February gone? It can’t possibly be the last day of February already. But it is a Tuesday, and that means there are new book releases today. Here are some books released in the second half of February that are getting quite a bit of buzz in the reading community.

Let’s start with titles that were released last Tuesday, Feb. 21:

“The Orphan’s Tale” by Pam Jenoff

“The Orphan’s Tale” by Pam Jenoff — World War II, a 16-year-old girl forced to give her baby up after getting pregnant by a Nazi soldier, a circus, and secrets. This novel explores how two women, Noa and Astrid, form a powerful bond, but is it strong enough to protect them or will it destroy everything? With a rating of 4.2 stars on Goodreads, this book will especially appeal to historical fiction readers.

“Dreamland Burning” by Jennifer Latham — Do I need to add more than this tagline from the book’s description on Goodreads? “Some bodies won’t stay buried. Some stories need to be told.” The investigation of a century-old murder begins when 17-year-old Rowan unearths a skeleton on her family’s property. Goodreads readers have rated this book for young adults 4.4 stars.

“A Piece of the World” by Christina Baker Kline — In this novel from the author of the No. 1 novel “Orphan Train,” Kline skillfully weaves fact and fiction as she illuminates a little-known part of America’s history. Christina Olson was host and inspiration for American artist Andrew Wyeth and this novel brings to life the relationship of the two. It is rated 4.2 stars on Goodreads.

“Daughter of the Pirate King” by Tricia Levenseller

Here are the titles we’ve been waiting for that are out today (Feb. 28):

“Daughter of the Pirate King” by Tricia Levenseller — a 17-year-old pirate captain, searching for an ancient hidden map, allows herself to be captured by her enemies so she can search their ship. This book is rated 4.3 stars on Goodreads.

“Banana Cream Pie Murder” by Joanne Fluke — Read the latest installment in Fluke’s Hannah Swenson series. This mystery finds Hannah investigating the death of her mother’s neighbor, meaning Hannah’s return to Lake Eden won’t be as peaceful as she’d hoped. Rated 3.8 on Goodreads.

“Waking Lions” by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen

“Waking Lions” by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen —A translation from the original Hebrew, “Waking Lions” is the story of how a decision made at the scene of a tragic event can change a whole life. This gripping novel follows Dr. Eitan Green after he hits a man while speeding along a moonlit road. It has a 3.8 rating on Goodreads.

All of the above titles are available on our catalog, so come in and check one out today.