Don't forget to check out our staff picks for kids!
August 22, 2016
by Allen, Angela C., editor
Dark Thirst contains six short stories (by The Urban Griot (aka Omar Tyree), Donna Hill, Monica Jackson, Linda Addison, Kevin S. Brockenbrough, and Angela C. Allen) featuring urban vampires in colorful settings such as Brooklyn and New Orleans. Not your typical vampire fare, these creatures of the night are susceptible to the same seven deadly sins that have plagued humankind for centuries: lust, gluttony, wrath, envy, avarice, pride and sloth are manifested within the pages of Dark Thirst.
My favorite story by far is “The Ultimate Diet”. Keeshia, an obese computer programmer, envies her svelte, sensual new neighbor who has many lovers and the ability to eat anything she wants without gaining a pound. What’s her secret, and will Keeshia risk everything to find out?
— Recommended by Vanessa Jamerson, East 38th Street Branch
August 8, 2016
Navel Gazing: True Tales of Bodies, Mostly Mine (but Also My Mom's, Which I Know Sounds Weird)
by Black, Michael Ian
792.7 Black BLA
Fans of comedian Michael Ian Black (of Wet Hot American Summer and the short-lived sketch comedy series Stella) should check out his newest endeavor. Once you finish reading the title, you just might enjoy this collection of autobiographical vignettes. While humor is subjective, the subject matter here is pretty universal: everybody has a body and we all have things we don’t like about it. I had to be sure to read this one in the privacy of my own home because I was laughing out loud. But laughter often swiftly shifts to sorrow when Black ventures into stories of his mother, who has been battling cancer and illness for years. Though you could read this book quickly--most essays are no longer than 10 pages and the book has a distinct narrative flow-–I didn’t want it to end.
--Recommended by Mikayla Kinley, College Avenue Branch
August 1, 2016
'Til Death Do Us Part
by Quick, Amanda
If you have read previous books by Amanda Quick you might expect this Victorian novel to have a touch of the supernatural, but in this story the supernatural is absent and not missed. Calista and her brother Andrew inherit a large house in a respectable neighborhood but no money. To survive Calista opens an introduction agency for highly respectable ladies and gentlemen with similar interests. The clients attend weekly salons with the idea being that the ladies and gentleman might become friends. If clients marry, it’s a pleasant surprise but not expected. Trent Hastings, a reclusive popular crime novelist, is convinced Calista is a fraud; and he shows up demanding that Calista drop his sister as a client.
A stalker is sneaking into Calista’s bedroom leaving disturbing gifts with her initials on them. The gifts are only suitable for those in deepest mourning. In order to avoid a scandal Calista is unable to go to the police, so she turns to Trent. Together they pursue the stalker and gradually fall in love.
During Victorian times, novels were frequently serialized before they were printed in book form, and a running joke during this investigation is that everyone from villains to members of “the ton” has an opinion about how the current story should continue.
Amanda Quick (a pseudonym for Jayne Anne Krentz) leads her characters on a merry chase, providing enough red herrings so that the reader is pleasantly surprised at the end. The writing is intelligent and fast paced, and I read this book in a day.
--Recommended by Debbie Overshiner, Eagle Branch
July 25, 2016
by Frank, Scott
There’s a cliché about writing that it’s the first few pages that get people to read the book; it’s the last pages that get them to read the author’s next book. So I debated—a lot—about whether to recommend this book. It’s 335 pages long, 333 of which were incredibly good. The writing seemed almost effortless, the story compelling, the characters came with flesh and bone and character and flaws. The LA earthquake that made Roy Cooper’s best laid plans go awry. Kelly Maguire, a good cop with a lot of baggage, trying to find her way. Science, determined to make his mark in a city filled with gang violence. On and on the characters go. That’s usually a deterrent for me, I can never keep them all straight. But Frank made each one an individual, pulled their stories along, wove them together with a deft hand that gradually let the big story unfold. Frank is a screenwriter: Get Shorty, Marley & Me, Minority Report, to name a few. So he’s no newcomer to the writing world even though this is his debut novel. Still, those last couple of pages left me wondering what I’d missed earlier that had presaged that ending. Ultimately, I decided that the book was so good overall, that it deserved a mention. But if you read it and can explain those last couple of pages, let me know, okay? Shaker is also available as an eBook
--Recommended by Cheryl Holtsclaw, West Indianapolis Branch
July 18, 2016
Change Me Prayers: The Hidden Power of Spiritual Surrender
by Silver, Tosha
There is a reason true storytellers are so mesmerizing. They can paint picture with words and place a mirror to the soul in a reader’s hands. Consummate teller of tales Tosha Silver offers a liberating view of life that models an openness to what may be.
In Change Me Prayers: The Hidden Power of Spiritual Surrender, Ms. Silver uses the skills of a master storyteller to open the mind and heart and lift the soul. Opening a window into her experiences gives the reader a delightful opportunity to realize integral truths in buried in daily life. The quirky humor of her perspective is a definite plus and adds color and texture to the narrative.
Her openness to ‘the Divine One’ leads the reader gently to a place where the storms of life become opportunities rather than liabilities. She ends each tale a poetic prayer to the Divine in clear, understandable terms that fit the situation.
The second half of the book offers prayers arranged by subject in alphabetical order – just in case the reader finds that need. However, she stresses that anyone can compose their own odes to the Divine at any time. Indeed, Divine Wisdom is open to all.
— Recommended by Mary Kay Greenawalt, Central Library