Rangeman or Morelli, that is the question. In case you missed it, Smokin’ Seventeen by Janet Evanovich is finally here and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. If you’ve spent a year waiting impatiently for the next installment and know you’ll soon be waiting again, here are a few titles that may help tide you over.
Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie
Agnes is trying to get her food column done and the catering prepared for a Southern mob wedding when her bloodhound becomes the target of a masked intruder. With only a skillet and a mysterious hitman sent by a friend to protect her, Agnes faces florists, mobsters, and flamingoes.
Devil’s Food by Anthony Bruno
Has-been parole officer Loretta Kovacs is sent after a skip in Florida with her new partner, Frank Marvelli. They find their target at a fat farm swarming with bikers and feds. This winner is packed with humor and great dialogue.
Body Movers by Stephanie Bond
Carlotta Wren’s life changes from pampered princess to salesclerk when her parents skip the country to avoid prosecution for a white collar crime. Her trouble-prone brother gets a job as a body mover, someone who removes corpses. When his next assignment turns out to be the body of one of Carlotta’s enemies, Detective Jack Terry is determined to find out if she’s guilty even while he’s annoyed at his growing attraction for her.
The cover art of books can grab my attention and entice me to take a book home or do just the opposite. The robins egg blue cover with the cute chick dressed in his just hatched eggshell called out to me among all the other books on the new non-fiction bookshelves a few days ago. When I saw that the cover belonged to a new book of Lisa Scottoline’s with another funny title, I had to take it home with me.
My Nest Isn’t Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space
is her second collection of personal essays that will ring true for many of us. Lisa and her daughter, Francesca, share humorous tales of life as a single mom and newly on-her-own daughter in the big city of New York. Her first book, Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog
, was a romp through the life of Lisa, a best-selling author, lawyer and writer of the column Chick Wit
for the Philadelphia Inquirer. In both books we are treated to everyday life in the most amusing way. Francesca shares about her eccentric mom that shares the couch with five dogs, sleeps in her clothes for fun and eats the same three meals on rotation. “To know someone is to know his or her quirks. To love someone is to love those quirks.”
Before anything else, readers be warned that if you are at all offended by profanity, this is NOT the book for you!!
Justin Halpern broke up with his girlfriend and without a place to live, moved back home with his mother and his father, a retired doctor of nuclear medicine. Working from home as a writer, Halpern had lots of time to interact with his father and to see him through the eyes of an adult. He realized that his father is one of the few who speaks their mind without a filter or political correctness, but also imparts wisdom and love at the same time. Halpern’s stories about his father and their relationship are often hilarious and laugh-out-loud funny, but underneath the love a father has for his son shines through. Sh*t My Dad Says
may well trigger embarrassing and funny memories of your own family !!
> Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares is so much more than an exercise in witty dialogue and amusing secondary characters. It is a trip around New York City in the bustling period around Christmas and the New Year and a glimpse back in time (for adults) to what it was like to be a teenager embarking on an adventure that leads to self-discovery and romance.
For Dash, the adventure begins in his favorite bookstore when he finds a red moleskin notebook next to Franny and Zooey that contains a set of instructions he must follow in order to get in touch with Lily, the owner of the notebook. Dash is intrigued but decides two can play that game and leaves his own set of instructions for Lily. The pair embark on a dance composed of correspondences and trips around the city to typical tourist destinations (at the height of the pre-Christmas shopping frenzy) as well as to places mostly known only to residents.
The intriguing secondary characters, many plot twists and choice use of words keep this novel moving and make it a quick, fun and timely read as we head into the holidays.
>The holiday season is upon us and what better way to get ready then to read a Christmas novel. One of my favorites is Skipping Christmas by John Grisham. The Krank’s have always been all about Christmas. They have the neighborhood Christmas Eve party every year at their house. They put frosty on top of their roof just like all the other neighbors. But when their daughter is spending Christmas out of the country, what better time to leave the hustle and bustle of Christmas behind and spend the holiday on tropical beaches catering to themselves. The one catch is that they can’t celebrate Christmas in any way. Nora finds it hard not to do the little Christmas things that have meant so much over years. On the other hand, Luther is loving being Mr. Scrooge. Neighbors think they are crazy, but they made a deal—No Christmas in exchange for the beaches. You’ll find other great Christmas novels on display at the Library this month.
> Faith West is a children’s librarian in Chicago who is jilted on her wedding day for not being exciting enough. She decides to go on her honeymoon to Italy by herself, where she meets and spends her time with the handsome Caine. After finding out he is the employee of a rival private investigation firm to her family’s firm and was sent to keep an eye on her (and that he blames her father for precipitating his own father’s suicide), she ditches him and heads back to Chicago. Taking her ex-fiance’s cricism to heart, she quits her job at the library and goes to work for her father as a researcher and investigator. In her new job, Faith keeps running into Caine, and things just continue to become more complicated wtih each encounter.
I picked up Mad, Bad and Blonde
because the main character is a librarian. I kept reading because the story was funny, and I liked the main character and the love interest. Cathie Linz has great secondary characters and we’ll see Faith and Caine again in her next romantic comedy about Faith’s cousin, Megan, in Luck Be a Lady.
> How does a woman from back East prepare for living in the wild west with all it’s hardness? Why, through Hattie Wyatt’s Herdsman School of course. Women come to find a husband, but first they have to measure up to become a bride of one of Barnett’s ranchers. Aunt Hattie makes sure they do, with hands-on training in skills such as milking a cow, branding a calf, riding a horse and cooking up a mess of grub for hungry ranch hands. Of course it wasn’t Tressa Neill’s idea to go west. With her parents gone and her Aunt and Uncle not wanting her, what other choice did she have? But maybe it will be worth it if Abel Samms will take notice of her. He already has enough trouble with cattle rustlers and wants nothing to do with the group of potential brides his neighbor brought to town. A Hopeful Heart includes humor, mystery and romance you won’t want to miss.
Alexander McCall Smith has begun another fun series with an international setting. This time we are in a neighborhood in Londom called Pimlico, learning about the quirky characters that live in the four-storey building known as Corduroy Mansion
. We meet William, a wine merchant, and his twenty four year old son Eddie who is past the age of dependence yet continues to outlive his welcome at home. Marcia, a caterer, would like to have a relationship with William but Eddie seems to always be in the way. Living below William and Eddie are four single girls sharing a flat. Each of the four have different jobs and dysfunctional relationships that sometimes feel a little too close to home. The bottom floor flat is owned by Basil Wickramsinghe from Sri Lnaka. We learn little of him in this first book other than that he is an accountant and has a mysterious lady friend.
Freddie de la Hay is introduced as the sweet, vegetarian Pimlico terrier that William dog-shares with Manfred James, a newspaper columnist. We have yet to discover what happens when Manfred finds out that Freddie is no longer a vegetarian pooch when staying with William.
Several other characters are introduced that are funny and either delightful or ones we love to hate. The following is McCall-Smith’s last line in his own review on Amazon.com:
“This is light social comedy, I suppose, but while I admit that the whole point of the exercise is for the reader to have fun, I hope in this story, nonetheless, to say something about how we live and about how finding love and meaning in the very small things of life may transform us, may make our ordinary lives more bearable.”
>Feeling like picking up a movie for Friday or Saturday night? Stop by the library and check out our selection!
Sometimes being single is hard and frustrating. Women sometimes threaten to give up on men and simply start dating other women. Well, Jessica Stein actually follows through with the threat in Kissing Jessica Stein. Jessica sees a classified ad in the “women seeking women” section of the newspaper that contains a quote from her favorite author, and on a whim, she answers it. Hilarity ensues as two women who have previously only dated men try to navigate a relationship with each other.
In the early to mid-2000s there were a bunch of movies that came out that were comedies, but the humor was very awkward (think Shopgirl, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, or The Royal Tenenbaums). Broken Flowers falls into that category. Don Johnston receives a letter one day informing him he may have a 19 year old son who is looking for him. He has also just been dumped by his latest girlfriend. This letter induces Don to embark on a journey to find the four old girlfriends who may be able to enlighten him concerning this possible offspring. The music from this film is absolutely amazing, and Bill Murray is absolutely hilarious.
Bolt is an extremely funny and poignant family film. Bolt is a dog in an action/sci-fi television show, but he doesn’t realize the things happening in the show aren’t real and that he doesn’t have superpowers. When he believes his owner, Penny, is in danger, he sets off across the country to find and save her. Along the way, he meets an alley cat who just wants to be loved and a hamster who worships him. The two join him on his quest to save Penny.
Audiobooks are not usually my favorite medium. It takes longer to get through the book, and I don’t always like the voice of the person performing the reading. By happy accident, I picked up Skulduggery Pleasant on audiobook for a long car ride, and I’m very happy I did. The book is performed by Rupert Degas (and he does all the voices). I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t have liked the book as well as I did if I hadn’t listened to it.
Twelve-year-old Stephanie Edgley’s uncle dies suddenly and leaves her most of his possessions in his will. His death also means she meets one of his old friends, Skulduggery Pleasant, at the funeral and the reading of the will. Skulduggery is rather an odd character. He wears a tailored suit, a long trench coat, a hat, wig, scarf and sunglasses. Turns out he’s a skeleton. He also doesn’t think Stephanie’s Uncle Gordon died of natural causes. Thus begins the investigation into Gordon Edgley’s murder and the introduction of Stephanie into a different side of reality she never knew existed. A world filled with things from living skeletons to vampires to old gods some are trying to bring back.
Derek Landy’s story is filled with humor. This novel would probably fit well under the heading “screwball fantasy.” It also won the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book of the Decade Award and is part of a series. Three of the series have already been released and the fourth is set to be released on April 1.
I was recently making up a reading list for a teen when I came across Son of the Mob
by Gordon Korman. If you haven’t ever explored the Young Adult section at the library, you’re missing out. It’s loaded with well-written books ranging from fun and frothy to so serious you need a box of tissues at hand when you read them.
Vince is seventeen and, as if that doesn’t make life difficult enough, the son of a powerful Mafia boss. He does everything he can to stay out of the “family business.” But that becomes increasingly difficult, like when he finds someone in the trunk of his car when out on a date. To complicate matters, he starts falling for the daughter of an FBI agent.
This story has hints of Romeo and Juliet, but without all of the angst. Vince’s plights are full of hilarity and the side characters are delightful. Vince’s mom tries to maintain a happy, healthy home while cleaning up bullet wounds and ignoring the constant wire tapping of their lives. The men that “work” with Vince’s dad are full of fascinating and unexpected traits. Vince himself is funny, but also realistic. He struggles to form his own identity while facing decisions about both the challenges and priveleges that come from being the son of a Mafia boss. This is a great story about a young man trying to do the right thing when he’s not quite sure what that may be.
Whenever a work is translated into a new medium, some things are gained and others are lost. This is definitely the case for The Discworld Graphic Novels: The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic, graphic novel adaptions of the first two books in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. I really enjoyed this graphic novel because I felt the illustrations added quite a bit to the story. Pratchett’s humor was conveyed quite well through this new medium and I enjoyed the stories just as much as when I read the novels.
The Colour of Magic tells the story of Twoflower, the first tourist to visit Ankh-Morpork, and his guide Rincewind, a failed wizard given the task of watching over Twoflower. The stories follow their travels around the Discworld (a world that rides on the back of the giant turtle Great A’Tuin) as they travel to see all the sights Twoflower has read about in his guidebook (everything from pub fights to dragons).
In The Light Fantastic, only Rincewind has the knowledge to save the world (the spell in his head that scares off all the other ones he tried to learn). The problem is, the last time Rincewind was seen, he was falling off the edge of the Disc.
Not only does the library own The Color of Magic and The Light Fantastic in their full length novel forms, it also owns The Color of Magic movie adaptation with Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgees in The Lord of the Rings) playing Twoflower.