Staff Picks

Don't forget to check out our staff picks for kids!

November 30, 2015


by Henderson, Dee

As the private investigator/former cop nears his hotel room, he sees a woman sitting on the floor by his door. She hands him a photo. “Is this you?” “Yes,” he replies. She hands him another photo. “That’s me. I’d like to go home.” And thus begins Taken, the newest Dee Henderson book.

Sixteen year old Shannon Bliss had not arrived home from an overnight with a friend. Eleven years later, her case was still open, ransom paid, and an uncle had committed suicide. Now 27, Shannon leads Matthew Dane, PI, the FBI, and the Chicago PD on a cross country chase, locating both stolen items and buried children, as they race to bring down the Jacoby crime family before they scatter. Dane’s experience in abducted young women (his daughter was abducted at a young age) and ability to listen patiently allows Bliss to tell her story in well-articulated dribbles.

Henderson’s books have amazing detail due to her careful researching. An engineer by trade, the Chicago, IL native crafts delightful romantic suspense tales, with many of them taking place in the Chicago/Midwest area. This award winning author has written nineteen novels, including the O’Malley series, the Uncommon Heroes series, and the New York Times best-selling Full Disclosure.

Taken is also available as a downloadable e-book.

        — Recommended by Deb Ehret, Pike Library


November 23, 2015

Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan
by Isayama, Hajime

On its surface, the premise for Attack on Titan has actually been done many times before. The series of graphic novels’ main plot is not all that dissimilar from Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, Brian K. Vaughn’s Y, the Last Man or even Naughty Dog’s seminal video game The Last of Us. Humanity is facing mass extinction from an unthinking (and never ending) hoard of beings whose only instinct is to carry out our wholesale slaughter. But Attack on Titan separates itself from the rank and file of zombie parables that have become popular over the last decade on two fronts. The first is that the threat that Isayama has presented to his readers aren’t zombies at all. Instead they are “titans”, 50 foot tall humanoid goliaths whose only goal is to consume and whom have unceasingly pursued the last vestiges of civilization to retreat behind colossal walls built for their protection. And while images of bipedal monstrosities devouring dozens of soldiers in one sitting might be enough to pique the interest of some, Attack on Titan ultimately demonstrates its brilliance with how impressively it displays humanity’s desperation to survive. In a genre renowned for its portrayal of desperate struggles to survive, Attack on Titan proves its mettle with both its depth into the matter and the grand scale upon which it plays out. It isn’t very often that a work of fiction has succeeded at humbling its readers, but the level of loss, destruction and despair Isayama’s characters experience, along with the entirety of humanity’s near powerlessness to stop it, accomplishes just that.

We're linking up above to the first volume in the series, but click here to see more of what the library owns. 

               --Recommended by Josh Crain, East Washington Library


November 16, 2015

A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove
by Backman, Fredrik, Read by George Newbern

Written by Swedish blogger Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove (pronounced Oovah), compels the reader to reconsider the superficial impressions and rigid beliefs that keep neighbors and families apart. Ove is a traditional man who adheres to strict principles and routines. He doesn't think highly of those who don't follow the neighborhood rules, fend for themselves, or drive any other vehicle besides a Saab. Greatly influenced by the frugal and prudent ways of his honorable father, Ove was orphaned and left school to work at the age of 16. Now 59, he comes across as an older, overreactive scold. Yet Ove is grief-stricken over recent major losses in his life and seeks to be left alone. The story of his difficult past and great love unfolds between episodes of unrelenting intrusions (often hilarious) into his current life, particularly by his hapless new neighbors and a stray, straggly cat. Narrator George Newbern effectively portrays Ove's outrage and grief, as well as his wry observations and episodes of reluctant heroism and neighborly assistance. Also notable is Newbern's characterization of Parvaneh, the Iranian-born pregnant wife next door who sees past Ove's prickly demeanor.

A Man Called Ove is also available as a downloadable e-book, a downloadable audiobook, and in regular print.

           --Recommended by Renee Pobuda, Irvington Library


November 9, 2015

In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette
by Sides, Hampton
910.452 SID

As the subtitle suggests, this book is about an Arctic sea voyage gone awry. In the Kingdom of Ice narrates the true tale of the USS Jeannette and her doomed expedition to the North Pole. During the latter half of the 19th century there was worldwide interest in reaching the 83rd parallel and beyond…to explore and map out the so-called Open Polar Sea. Enter New York Herald editor James Gordon Bennett, Jr., who footed an enormous bill that allowed the Jeannette to set sail for the North Pole . . . as a newly-registered US Navy ship, no longer a mere civilian yacht. Captain George Washington De Long assumed command of the reappointed vessel, and the explorers set sail from San Francisco amid great fanfare on July 8, 1879. But De Long and his 32 men (and 40 sled dogs) were beset by harsh weather conditions almost from the outset. Upon freezing to an enormous ice slab, the ship floated for almost two years, adrift at the mercy of the floe’s caprice. At last the Jeannette broke free of her frozen shackle . . . only to sink in the brutal Arctic waters. And this was only the beginning of the crew’s desperate fight for survival, nearly a thousand misery-filled miles from even the northernmost fringes of Siberia.

In the Kingdom of Ice is also available as a downloadable e-book, an audiobook on CD, and in large print.

            --Recommended by Angie Lewis, Wayne Library


November 2, 2015

The Mysterious Mr. Quin: Twelve Complete Mysteries

The Mysterious Mr. Quin: Twelve Complete Mysteries
by Christie, Agatha

When I was much younger, Agatha Christie was my favorite British mystery author, and Miss Marple was my favorite of her two best-known sleuths. But one of her books which I have read multiple times over the years features neither Miss Marple nor Hercule Poirot.

Recently, I listened to this one, The Mysterious Mr. Quin, on Cd. That the narrator was Hugh Fraser, the actor who played Captain Hastings to David Suchet’s Hercule Poirot, added greatly to my pleasure in the “reading.” Fraser’s voice and accent are perfect for Christie’s prose.

This book is not a novel but a collection of twelve stories, many published in the 1920s and 1930s in British and American magazines. The main character is fussy little Mr. Satterthwaite, who at the age of 62, is described as bent and elfish. He says of himself that he has always been an observer of life’s dramas rather than a participant, but after he meets Mr. Harley Quin one dark and stormy night, some life-changing things begin to happen to those around him. Long-held misunderstandings are clarified, those falsely accused of crimes are exonerated, and relationships and even lives are saved.

Under the influence of his shadowy “friend”, a man who “comes and goes” and can be found in places like the Bells and Motley pub, Mr. Satterthwaite becomes an actor in these dramas, but he knows that it is Mr. Quin who is the catalyst. He describes him as someone who knows everything and as a puppet master who stages the dramas.

This intriguing collection of stories, which raise the question of who and what Mr. Quin really is, is also available from the library in regular print and as an Overdrive e-book.

            --Recommended by Georgia Silvers, Warren Library