Early September new releases

The holiday weekend means I’m a little behind this month, but here are some new releases we’re looking forward to this month. I hope you found some time to get some reading in on that last great weekend of the summer.

Yesterday really did seem to be our last blast of summer with temperatures in the Wichita area hovering near 100 degrees. Today feels like the beginning of fall with much cooler temperatures and a cloudy sky! But for us readers, that just means that we can move our reading indoors with a cup of our favorite warm beverage (librarians here are split between coffee and tea, although my favorite is hot cocoa).

Take a look at the titles below and see if something here grabs your interest. You can click on the title of the book to find it in our catalog.

Cover of Lie To Me by J. T. Ellison
A tale of a relationship built on lies, and how it can unravel.

Sept. 5: Lie to Me by J.T. Ellison
Where does a life built on lies get Sutton and Ethan Montclair? Not very far it turns out. While it appears that the couple is made for each other, the truth is much darker. They have been consumed by troubles, both personal and financial, and the two both love and hate each other. When Sutton disappears, leaving a note that directs people not to look for her, the lies begin to unravel and Ethan finds himself at the center of the gossip and questions. A thriller full of twists and turns that will have you turning pages.

Sept. 5: All That Makes Life Bright by Josi S. Kilpack
This romance tells the story of Harriet Beecher and her relationship with Calvin Stowe. Harriet has a strong faith in God and believes that God will help her accomplish everything she is meant to be, including a wife, mother, and writer. When Calvin is called away on a European business trip, Harriet begins to wonder about her place in his life as she knows he still misses his first wife. Even when Calvin returns, life is much harder as Harriet tries to fulfill her many roles.

Cover of The Golden House by Salman Rushdie
A new tale from a literary master.

Sept. 5: The Golden House by Salman Rushdie
Another masterful tale from Rushdie, this novel tells the story of the Golden family, from the perspective of their Manhattanite neighbor, confidant and aspiring filmmaker, Rene. Nero Golden is a real-estate tycoon with three adult children. They move into a mansion in downtown Manhattan after immigrating to the United States under mysterious circumstances. Rushdie calls on pop culture, cinema, literature, and current events to tell this story.

Cover of Lines by Suzy Lee
A magical picture book explores the designs a young skater makes on a frozen pond.

Sept. 5: Lines by Suzy Lee (picture book)
From Goodreads: “And magic once again flows from the pencil and imagination of internationally acclaimed artist Suzy Lee. With the lightest of touches, this masterwork blurs the lines between real and imagined, reminding us why Lee’s books have been lauded around the world, recognized on New York Times Best Illustrated Books lists and nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award, the highest international honor given to children’s book creators. This seemingly simple story about a young skater on a frozen pond will charm the youngest of readers while simultaneously astounding book enthusiasts of any age.”

Sept. 12: Warcross by Marie Lu (young adult—not yet on catalog, but is on order)
For those who log in every day, Warcross is more than just a game. Emika Chen is a teenage hacker who also works as a bounty hunter, searching for those who bet on the game illegally. She needs to make some quick cash, so she takes a risk and hacks into a game, but accidentally glitches herself into the action. She’s convinced she’s going to be arrested, but instead ends up on a mission for the young billionaire creator of the game.

Sept. 12: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Cover of Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Celeste Ng creates a simmering suburb in this story of how a secret can upend a community.

Shaker Heights is a carefully planned suburb of Cleveland, from the layout of the roads to the color of the houses. Elena Richardson embodies the ideas behind the suburb perfectly, as she absolutely believes in following the rules. But when Mia Warren moves in — an artist and single mom — and rents a house from the Richardson, life in this carefully ordered community gets upended.

Book Review: On Edge

On Edge by Andrea Petersen

First line: Fear ambushes me. 

Summary: Part personal experience.  Part research study.  This book delves into what it is like to have an anxiety disorder and how to understand them.  Millions of people in this country suffer from anxiety.  There are many new techniques and treatments being developed in order to help the people struggling with this disorder.

Highlights: I really enjoyed reading about her personal stories dealing with anxiety.  When I am feeling anxious, it seems like no one else can seem to understand.  Knowing that there are so many other people out there that are feeling the same way is comforting.  I have considered trying the mindfulness training and yoga as another way to help with my anxiety but have yet to start either. 

Lowlights: I did get a little lost in the technical babble at times and all the acronyms.  I wanted more of her personal success stories as a guide to help myself.

FYI: Slow reading but very informative.

Upcoming DVD Releases

Have you been waiting to see the summer blockbusters?  Well they are almost here!  We have many new titles added to our catalog.  Place your hold on these items today.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Tagline: You only get one chance to save the galaxy twice.

Summary: Join the Guardians as they defend the galaxy against an evil force determined to destroy everything we know.  On the journey, Star Lord learns that family is not always connected by blood.

My Thoughts: Baby Groot steals the show!  This one new adventure is as much fun as the first.  Laugh out loud funny with soft hearted moments make this perfect for a Friday night in with the family.

DVD Release Date: August 22, 2017

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Summary: In the last installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Jack Sparrow is being hunted by the ghostly Captain Salazar.  The only way to save himself is to find the Trident of Poseidon.

My Thoughts: A fun romp through the paranormal Caribbean.  Johnny Depp does not disappoint in his performance of Captain Jack Sparrow.  His wild antics and swagger make him the lovable pirate we cannot get enough of.  I will be sad to see this series end.

DVD Release Date: October 3, 2017

 

*Titles may not always be available on the release date due to item delivery and cataloging time.

Book Series like Downton Abbey for Kids

Secrets of the Manor Book One: Beth’s Story by Adele Whitby

Before Game of Thrones ignited our TVs with swords fights, dragons, and bloody battles, another television show was charming audiences across the globe. In 2010, Downton Abbey made everyone, including me, wish to be British. From sipping tea in the parlor to donning glamorous early 20th century dresses at parties to Maggie Smith’s snappy comebacks, the world of Downton inspired us with stories of lords and earls and the secret world of the servants below the stairs. When the show ended its sixth and final season in 2015, I definitely felt a Britain-sized hole in my daily life until I found the most wonderful book series that any BBC fanatic would enjoy.

We have all eight books available at the library!

The Secrets of the Manor series by Adele Whitby is best described as a Downton Abbey story told by the children of the era.  The series, written for 4th – 7th graders but great for any age, starts with the Chatswood family at Chatswood Manor. The series spans across England, the United States, and France with each book revealing hidden family secrets about love, betrayal, and power.

Beth’s Story, set in 1914,  is the first book in the series.

Beth’s Story, the first in the series, follows the great-granddaughter of the family matriarch as she prepares for her twelfth birthday and the gifting of the coveted family heirloom, the sapphire Elizabeth Necklace. When Beth’s lady’s maid is accused of a terrible crime, Beth embarks on a quest through both the manor and her own family history to clear her name. The series continues on to tell the story of Beth’s cousin, Kate, their great-grandmothers Elizabeth and Katherine, and Beth and Kate’s children.

This series will delight any historical fiction lover or even a reluctant reader in search of some adventure, travel, and friendship. The series would be an excellent read-aloud story for the whole family or a great choice for school projects. Of course, the series is also excellent for adult readers seeking a quick but engaging read.

There are a few downsides to the series that I should point out. While each book could act as a stand-alone, it is best to read them in order. Many of the main characters traditionally have the same name, but use nicknames to distinguish them among each other. Despite the book including a family tree, the names of the characters and how they are related can get confusing. The series also ends abruptly at book 8 and the author Adele Whitby must be a pseudonym with no means of contacting her. I became so obsessed with the series that I actually tried contacting the publishers to ask if they’ll release more books, but I haven’t heard back from anyone. If I do, I’ll definitely let you know!

Despite these minor issues, the Secrets of the Manor series is a remarkable collection of stories set in an enchanting place and time. Laced with history, family drama, and warmth, the series is sure to delight you and make you crave a cup of tea.

 

 

 

 

Time To Work on the TBR List

I have an endless reading list.  It continues to get bigger no matter how many books I read per year.  I will never be able to read everything I want to read but I will try my hardest!

One way that I have found to be very helpful in reducing my to be read pile is audiobooks.  There are many ways that audiobooks can be useful including digital downloads and books on CD or Playaway.  Some books are great in audio form while others are not.  It all depends on the reader and story.  Moreover, when you find that one perfect story you will be hooked.

My favorite audiobooks are the Harry Potter series.  Jim Dale, the reader, does a great job of creating new voices for the characters.  He brings the stories of J.K. Rowling to life.

When I go on road trips, especially by myself, I like to have something to listen to in order to stay awake.  I feel like I am traveling with someone rather than alone.  When I bought my most recent car, the only thing I really cared about having was a CD player so that I can listen to audiobooks.  It really surprised the car dealer that I did not want blue tooth or back up cameras.  Very simple tastes for this librarian!

Another time I have learned is wasted and could be filled with reading is during my morning routine.  Apps like RB Digital and Sunflower eLibrary (Overdrive) are perfect for this.  I always have an audiobook downloaded on my iPhone that I can have playing while doing my hair and eating breakfast.

With the wide variety of audiobooks available it is never difficult to find something interesting.  The last several years I have been able to read over 100 books due to audiobooks.  It gives me much more freedom to work my way through my list of books.

Book Review: The Valiant

The Valiant by Lesley Livingston

First line: The steam rising off the backs of the cantering horses faded into the morning fog.

Summary: Fallon is the daughter of a king.  She has trained her whole life in order to join her father’s war band and avenge the death of

her sister, who died at the hands of Julius Caesar.  Instead, she is captured by slavers and taken from her home in Britannia to Rome to be sold as a gladiatrix, a female gladiator.  Knowing that the only way to escape her life as a slave is to buy her freedom or death, she decides to become the greatest gladiator that Rome has ever seen.

Highlights: An exciting historical action book filled with fighting and bravery.  I liked Fallon from the beginning.  She is a strong female lead character that fights for herself rather than relying on men to help her.  I am ready for the second book to be released already.

I have visited Rome and seen the Colosseum.  It is breathtaking in how large the arena is and that it is still standing two millennia later.  Gladiators and animals fought and died in the arena for  the entertainment of thousands of Romans.  It could be filled with water for sea battles.  Many underground tunnels and rooms can be seen below the floor of the building.  Even though this story takes place before the Colosseum was built, I can imagine that the spectacle was quite impressive.  

Lowlights: I felt that a few plot points were a little predictable but the author did not seem to rely too much on these reveals.  The relationship with Cai seemed to evolve a little quickly but in YA this seems to be a normal process especially when the story is not focused on this and the plot has to move along.

 FYI: If you loved the movie Gladiator this is a great read.

Parental Tools

There are many tools at the library that are helpful to parents. Working in circulation, we get many parents who ask for book suggestions for their children based on an AR (Accelerated Reader) or Lexile level.  These numbers can be confusing if you do not know what you are looking for. Our youth services librarians have worked hard to fix this problem.

These levels are determined using special testing by the school districts. These numbers and levels are an easy way for young readers to find books that they are able to read but also help advance their comprehension. Student’s scores take into account the difficulty of the material and the ability to understand the text.

Chelsea recently updated our Lexile level book lists along with our reader’s advisory books in the children’s department.  All the books on the lists are items that we have in our collection.  Each of the levels are broken down into 100 point increments. She has even placed the AR level conversions on the lists to help find books for that category as well. Lexile levels can be searched on our catalog as well.  Many books have them as part of their record.

There are several online tools that can be used to help parents find books that are appropriate for the their child as well.  www.Lexile.com/findabook has book lists with their scores, descriptions, similar books and even vocabulary words. Plus you can narrow down options to specific topics of interest.

Or does your child need to take AR tests?  Try visiting www.ARBookFind.com. This site has many books that have AR tests available. The site has the levels, points that can be earned, ratings, grade levels and quiz numbers. AR bookbags are locations where the child or parent can make a list of the books that they are interested and print it to take with them to the library. How neat is that?!

But everything does not have to be related to school scores or reading levels. What about if the book or movie is appropriate for your child? A resource that I have come to use often when parents ask about what age range certain items are targeted at is www.CommonSense.org. It has reviews on movies, books, TV shows and much more. There are ratings from parents and kids available as well as age ranges and scores based on things like violence, language and positive messages.

With school starting, things start to get a little hectic but one way to beat the stress of it is finding useful tools that make it easier. Check out these resources to help your kids achieve more in school and have fun doing it.

 

Book Review: The Perfect Stranger

The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

First line: The cat under the front porch was at it again.

Summary: Leah Stevens was once a reporter in Boston but when a story she wrote ruined her reputation she decided to pack up and move to a small town in the middle of the Pennsylvania wilderness with an old roommate.  However, the sleepy town is anything but.  First, a woman, who looks strikingly like Leah, is attacked and then her roommate, Emmy, disappears.  Very little is known about either woman.  Leah uses her skills as a journalist to help her find her friend and get the answers to who attacked the woman in the woods.

Highlights: Creepy.  Stalkers and mysterious voices on the phone.  Roommates with secrets.  A lookalike attacked nearby.  I was filled with many theories but each seemed to fall through as each new detail was revealed.  Megan Miranda has once again delivered a great psychological thriller that is hard to put down.

Lowlights (or what could have been better): The last chapter was a little anti-climactic.  It wrapped everything up which was good but at the same time disappointing.  I wanted to be left with a “didn’t see that coming” feeling.

FYI: It is number two in the All the Missing Girls series but it does not have to be read in any order.  The stories are completely unconnected.

Solar Eclipse Glasses

If you have not heard, there is a solar eclipse happening on August 21, 2017!

This is the first full solar eclipse that will be visible here in the United States since the 1970s.  People are being warned that you are not supposed to look directly into the sun while the eclipse is happening because of the possibility of loss of eyesight.

One way to experience the eclipse is with solar eclipse glasses!  Many stores and businesses have completely sold out.  Lines have formed outside stores when they open.  Derby eye doctors have purchased some for students at all the Derby schools.  However, there is still a shortage.  People are scrambling to get their hands on the glasses before Monday’s big event.

Good news!  On Monday, at 9:00 a.m., we will have a LIMITED amount of solar glasses available.  They will be given out on a first come first serve basis and be limited to ONE per person (they must be present).  We will also have donuts available for library patrons and eclipse viewers alike.

This is a very monumental event and we are happy to help our community.  Remember to be safe when viewing the eclipse on Monday.

Book Review: A Stranger in the House

A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

First line: She doesn’t belong here.

Summary: When Tom comes home late from work he finds the house empty.  His wife, Karen, is missing but her phone and purse are still there.  Where did she go?  Shortly after he receives a visit from a police officer telling him that Karen has been in a car accident in a rough neighborhood.  What was she doing there?  When he visits her at the hospital, she cannot remember what happened in the previous hours.  However, when a body is found murdered near the area of the car accident Karen becomes a suspect in the investigation.

Highlights: Lapena’s second novel is gripping and a fast read.  I liked the ways that little facts and tidbits are revealed slowly throughout the story line.  The end was not what I was expecting.  I should have known to expect a surprise after the author’s previous book.

Lowlights: Several of the details and twists were easily predictable but it was still enjoyable to read and know that I was correct.

FYI: Perfect for fans of Girl on the Train and All the Missing Girls.