Doc Martin is a surgeon that develops a fear of blood! So begins this British television drama that has won numerous comedy awards. Martin Clunes stars as Dr. Martin Ellingham, a brilliant vascular surgeon who must give up his successful career in London. He begins a new career as a general practitioner in the sleepy seaside village, Portwenn, where he spent his vacations as a child with his aunt. Martin is a doctor without a warm bedside manner. His impossibly cold, gruff and no nonsense manner is the mainstay for much humor as he deals with eccentric backward villagers and falls for the pretty, local school teacher. If you like to laugh, you will love following this really funny British series. Manhattan Public Library owns all five television series plus the made for tv movies produced in 2011.
In Nora Roberts’ latest suspense novel The Witness, Elizabeth Fitch is a teenager with a very unique upbringing–she is a genius, ready to enter Harvard Medical School at 17, and has been raised by her controlling and distant mother. Resentful that she has never expperienced any kind of teen lifestyle, Elizabeth rebels against her mother’s directives and when left alone at home, she heads to a nightclub with a friend. After dancing, drinking and meeting a handsome Russian nightclub owner, she leaves the club with him and faces a terrifying experience that will change her life forever.
Twelve years later, she is living as Abigail in a small town in the Ozarks, where she keeps to herself and works from her home designing security software. She is an object of speculation by the local residents, and her reserved manner sparks the interest of the local police chief, Brooks. He suspects she has a hidden past and as he comes to know her, hopes she can learn to trust him with her secrets. As Abigail opens up to Brooks, she must face her past and decide whether she wants to just live or to have a life.
Roberts has created a novel with well-drawn, likeable characters that the reader comes to care about. The details of small-town life, the contrasts drawn to show the differences in families and the suspense created as Abigail must contend with her past in order to move forward with her life all combine to make this a gripping and intense story.
It is the quietest time of year in Manhattan. Most of the summer activities have come to an end and we still have some time before the energy of returning students and school starting up. The recent heat has caused us all to be a bit wilted. A good laugh can help you through the end-of-summer doldrums so you can be cheerful when all our new residents come pouring in.
You might have heard of Lisa Scottoline’s suspense novels. What is less well known is that she partners with her daughter to write nonfiction that will crack you up. Her latest, Best Friends, Occasional Enemies: the Lighter Side of Life as a Mother and Daughter talks about the close and challenging relationships in families, while making sure to see the humor in life. Another nonfiction favorite is Bill Bryson, known best for his travel memoirs. Whether he’s on a trip across the pond in Notes from a Small Island or traveling back in time with The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid Bryson’s work is known for causing annoyance to those near readers because of the constant chuckling and the repeated phrase “You’ve got to hear this.”
Romance is a genre ripe with scenarios of people making idiots of themselves for our reading enjoyment. In Summer at Seaside Cove by Jacquie D’Alessandro, Jamie Newman escapes New York for the beach in an attempt to regroup after a failed relationship, only to face a run-down shack, an ever-present family, and a difficult (but of course attractive) neighbor/landlord. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig takes us back to the French Revolution with the story of Amy Balcourt. Amy heads out to France with hopes to become a spy with the league of the Purple Gentian. Secrets, misunderstandings, and clumsy spying attempts don’t bode well for her career, but the Purple Gentian finds that he wants her close by anyway.
If you like your romance heavy on the humor but light on spice, you might like these Christian authors. A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist tells the story of Washington settler Joe Denton who needs a wife to keep his land and Ana Ivey who unknowingly signs off as a bride when she just hopes to escape to the west to find a job cooking. Full of witty dialogue and likeable characters, Gist’s books are a treat. In Fancy Pants by Cathy Marie Hake, Lady Syndey Hathwell escapes to her long lost uncle’s ranch disguised as a man. Ranch manager Tim Creighton is disgusted by his new ranch hand’s hardworking but inept and weak attempts to live up to his expectations.
For humor with a more mysterious turn, you might try The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection, takes up the case when characters suddenly begin to disappear from great works of literature. A mix of fantasy and mystery is delightfully witty. Alan Bradley takes you into the world of the engaging Flavia de Luce, eleven year old chemist in The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. When she discovers a dying man in the garden, she revels in the joy of investigation.
Some of us like our humor to be a little otherworldly. In A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore, neurotic hypochondriac and recent widower, Charlie Asher, is faced with the challenges of a new baby and a new and unwanted job as a merchant of death. Scott Rockwell has adapted Terry Pratchett’s Discworld into Graphic Novel format, maintaining the bizarrely humorous feel from the original novels about a parallel world that rests on the backs of four elephants balanced on a giant turtle hurtling through space.
When the hot, slow days start to get you down, just remember the words of MarkTwain, “Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”
We’re often told by parents (and librarians) not to judge a book by its cover. I’m apparently a terrible librarian because I choose what to read by its cover on a regular basis. God Save the Queen is one example of a book I chose for the cover. That smirking, red haired, steampunk-wearing woman on the cover couldn’t fail to catch my eye at the very least. When I realized it was set in an alternate 2012 in England where Queen Victoria still ruled as a near-immortal vampire, I simply couldn’t resist.
Xandra Vardan is a member of the Royal Guard, the organization charged with protecting the vampires and werewolves who make up the Aristocracy in this alternate Britain. When her younger sister, Drusilla, goes missing, Xandra uses all the resources at her disposal, including going to the goblin prince for information, in order to find her. What she finds shakes her belief in the structure of British society and the right of the Aristocracy to rule and everything she thinks she knows about the people in her world.
God Save the Queen is an exciting blend of horror, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, mystery, steampunk and alternate history. With a flawed main character and conspiracies that run deep, this is a fun read for people who like urban fantasy.
Lucy Jorik, daughter of the President of the United States and a daughter who wants to always please her adoptive parents, decides at the last minute that marrying the perfect man–Ted Beaudine–isn’t for her. She runs from the church and hops on the back of a motorcycle driven by Patrick “Panda” Shade–making her Great Escape from her well-planned life. In her search to discover the person she would like to be, Lucy follows Panda to his home on an island in Lake Michigan, much to his dismay. There, they both search for trust and love, surrounded by secondary characters that all have emotional obstacles that they are trying to overcome. Like Call Me Irresistible, Phillips fills this story with witty dialog, touching characters and lots of love–a wonderful romance!.
A country that is “no place for a woman”. A woman that loves the country: the cavern with it’s mystery and fossils, and the freedom it gives her to explore. Because her father usually provided a small home in secluded spots for the family of four, Julia took to wandering while her step-mother & baby sister rested in the afternoons. Here in the mountains of Colorado Julia’s dream comes true, for the mountain is full of caverns that house tons of fossils for her to study and write about. Even when she finds herself trapped in the cavern, with no light, and a missing rope, she has such fascination with her study that once she is rescued, she must return.
Rafe, a cattle ranch owner, never wants to enter the caverns again because of a childhood accident that severely damaged his youngest brother. Yet, when he hears a woman yelling for help from the depths of the cavern, his fear is set aside to rescue her. Finding Julia, returning her to her home, finding the home an unfit place to live, and the father dying from a cut on his arm that is infected beyond healing, he feels the need to “take care” of this family.
The question is, who moved Julia’s rope that trapped her in the cave and why would anyone stoop to such low-down maneuvers? One thing is for sure, someone is hiding in the mountains and caves. Someone that is either crazy or just plain mean. Out of Control, set in the mid 1800′s, is a fun read that was too good to put down. I was glad that I had picked up the second book of the Kincaid Brides Series, In Too Deep, so that I could continue the story. I’m happy to say that the third book of the series, Over the Edge, is coming August, 2012.
Sometimes nothing will do but a classic. Listed as one of the top 100 romances of all time on the All About Romance web site, The Bride by Julie Garwood is the sweet, passionate, and witty story of Alec Kincaid, Scottish laird and Jaime, the youngest daughter of an English baron. Both of them forced into marriage, they struggle to find common ground between her healing strength and his domineering warrior ways. A delightful journey back to historic Scotland is classic romance.
Ellen, the hypnotist, is in love with a widower that is being stalked by his last love. Saskia, the stalker, cannot let Patrick and his son Jack go. She spent three years of her life raising Patrick’s son from a toddler. How could he just say it’s over. Saskia won’t let Patrick get by with pushing her out of his life. Ellen, is intrigued with Saskia’s behavior, but when she shows up at the foot of her bed in the middle of the night, that is just a little bit too bizarre. Patrick’s love for his first wife, Colleen, seems to still be fresh. Ellen isn’t sure she can compete with his sentiment for her. Will Ellen be able to live with a stalker pursuing their every move and the fact that Patrick hasn’t left his first love behind? The Hypnotist’s Love Story, set in Australia, is an intriguing read, with several interesting characters in the sidelines.
Nora Roberts has another winning romance with the second title in her Inn Boonsboro trilogy. (The first in the series is The Next Always.) The Last Boyfriend continues the previous story, with the Montgomery clan renovating the old Inn. The entire community has a stake in the outcome of the success of the Inn. Owen Montgomery is the organizer of the family–running the construction company and keeping the renovation on schedule and under budget. Avery is the owner of the local pizza shop and has been friends with the Montgomery family since childhood. Her first boyfriend was Owen, and they have remained friends ever since. Owen patronizes the restaurant often during the inn construction and finds himself more and more drawn to Avery. Avery is cautious and hesitant to build a romantic relationship with Owen, for fear or ruining their friendship. Past losses make Avery afraid to commit her whole heart, and when a person from her past reappears, she wonders if she can ever fully devote herself to Owen. Filled with likeable and engaging characters, humor and love and with a friendly ghost added to the plot, The Last Boyfriend is a delightful addition to this series–Book three in the series (The Perfect Hope) will tell the story of Hope and Ryder and is due to be published in November 2012.
Lucy and her friends have decided to spend graduation night searching for Shadow, the elusive but talented graffiti artist. Ed and his friends just want to kill time until they can carry out their real plans for the evening. In the meantime, Ed joins Lucy in her quest, racing to all of Shadow’s artwork while thawing their prickly relationship through their stories and hopes. Lucy shares her obsession with Shadow and his art, unaware of how close he really is. Graffiti Moon is a fun young adult novel with great characters and an artistic twist.
Ciro and Enza, two Italian immigrants, find each other and a future in Adriana Trigiani’s epic historical novel, The Shoemaker’s Wife. in 1905, seven year old Ciro and his brother, Eduardo, are left at a convent in Italy by their distraught mother who can nolonger care for her sons. Her husband had died in America while trying to make a new life for his family. The nuns become their substitute mothers and Eduardo takes to the religious life, while Ciro wants more from life. He meets 15 year old Enza when hired to dig the grave of her little sister in a nearby mountain village. Their attraction for each other during this difficult time begins a love relationship that spans many miles and many years.
Adriana Trigiani spent twenty years writing this story that tells the enchanting love story of her grandparents, who came to America. The hardships they endure as they search for a way in this country are overcome through their determination to succeed and strength of character. The historical details of the Metropolitan Opera House in the early twentieth century, and Enza’s relationship with Enrico Caruso for whom she sews costumes and cooks traditional Italian delights add to the delight of this story.
Gwendoline, Lady Muir has long been known for her cheerful disposition in spite of her widowed status. Lord Trentham, Hugo, is a former soldier and grumpy recluse who only emerges once a year to gather with fellow war survivors. When Gwendoline experiences a moment of vexation, causing her to undertake a more ambitious walk than usual, she trips and badly twists her ankle. The imposing Hugo is nearby and ignores her protests to scoop her up to carry her back to the manor where he’s visiting. Their forced companionship leads him to question his original impression of her as a silly, vain woman and leads her to question whether she is really as content with being a widow as she originally thought. In The Proposal, Balogh creates another sweeping Regency romance that you won’t be able to put down till the very end.
Kristan Higgins has added another delightful romance to her collection of novels such as Catch of the Day and The Next Best Thing. Her latest, Somebody to Love, tells the story of Parker Welles–a single mother and children’s author whose father, a financial advisor, has provided a life of wealth and luxury. When he is involved in an insider trading deal, he goes to jail, after having bankrupted the family. Parker and her son Nicky are forced to move to a small town in Maine, where a distant relative has left her a dilapidated cottage. James Cahill, her father’s personal attorney, comes to Maine to help fix up the cottage, despite Parker’s hostility towards him. Can they each overcome past disappointments to fine love? This is a heartwarming story filled with quirky (and some familiar) local characters, witty dialog, humor and likeable characters. Another winner for author Kristan Higgins!
Tyler Steele, Texas Ranger first, husband and father second. His wife, Andie, couldn’t handle the stress and finally after wiping out his funds ended up in a drug detox center. After Tyler, also known as Cowboy, left the center he literally ran into a young mother, Sam and her daughter, Hope. They needed help and that was his life, helping those in trouble. A horrible crime had been committed, and the man who committed it would hunt them down no matter how long it took. Tyler took them to his home town where they could get a fresh start and he could look after them. Thunder and Rain by Charles Martin is written in a backward story telling way with Tyler doing most of the telling. But we also get Hopes point of view with her letters to God. Some of the information is giving out right, with details and circumstances coming later in natural dialogue. This is a fast moving read making it hard to put down.
Librarian Julia Wright has separated herself from her eccentric family in an attempt to have a quiet, responsible, and normal life. But once Luke Maguire rides up, dressed in black and riding a Harley, Julia’s serenity starts swirling down the drain. Luke is forced to come back to Serenity Falls due to a clause in his father’s will and resents every minute there, but is starting to wonder if the cute librarian might make his stay a bit more tolerable. Julia is further troubled by the sudden appearance of the very family she was trying to avoid; a hippie mother and a free-spirited sister who’s most recent business venture leave them stuck asking the responsible Julia to let them move in.
All set in a quirky small town with great secondary characters, Good Girls Do is a delightful story that will keep you laughing and racing to the very end.