The Long Way Home

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Friendships between children growing up together can be complicated as they reach teen years, especially when they are of the opposite sex. Claire and Jonas were inseparable friends as they spent their teen years together living as neighbors. Years have now past and they still have not reconciled from that last night together that changed them forever.

Claire Barclay is married to the entrepeneur and stable Art Barrington, owner of the very popular Barrington’s in New York. When her loving, step father breaks a hip and needs help as dementia sets in, Claire returns to Scotland and the home of her youth. There she is faced with the bitter memories of her last days with Jonas, as the two of them are forced to deal with Leo and his estate, Croich.

Robin Pilcher has followed in the footsteps of his very popular author/mother Rosamunde Pilcher, Grande Dame of the Romantic Novel. The Long Way Home is the latest of his best selling novels.

Revealed by Kate Noble

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Wealthy and beautiful Lady Phillipa Benning is clearly the ruler of the ton in Kate Noble’s historical romance “Revealed.” After overhearing a conversation between Marcus Worth and the Director of the War Department, she is convinced that Worth is the notorious spy the Blue Raven. Phillipa decides that it would be the coup of the London season to reveal his identity at her annual ball. In exchange for his cooperation, Phillipa helps Worth gain admission to many ton events, as he is convinced that a French agent is poised to take deadly action at an event. Phillipa, initially haughty and snobbish, proves herself to be a capable assistant to Marcus, and a witty and caring person. I enjoyed the mystery and humor in this story as well as, of course, the romance between Marcus and Phillipa. Another of Noble’s books “Compromised” is another enjoyable romance and is available at our library.

The Food of Love

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A new twist on the old Cyrano de Bergerac tale, The Food of Love by Anthony Capella is about Laura, an American in Rome, studying art. Tomasso, an Italian waiter with a penchant for blonde American girls, overhears Laura tell a friend that she is no longer interested in Italian men, unless she could find a chef. He convinces her to let him cook her a meal then quickly convinces his friend and chef Bruno to prepare the meal for him. Bruno is quiet, not as charming or good looking as Tomasso, but composes masterpieces of food. He’s shy around women but has been admiring a particularly beautiful blonde he’s seen at the food market. When he discovers that the girl Tomasso is asking him to cook for is the one he has been longing for, he pours all of his disappointment into creating exquisite meals for her. Laura falls in love with the food and supposedly with Tomasso, but wonders why he often doesn’t seem as passionate as his cooking would indicate. This delightfully funny and sensual romance will capture your heart and make you long for Italian food.

Hood by Stephen Lawhead

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Robin Hood has been a popular character lately in film and television (BBC TV-series Robin Hood). Stephen Lawhead’s novel Hood, first book in the King Raven Trilogy, adds a new dimension to the Robin Hood legend. Set in the dense forests of Wales in 1093, during the Norman conquest of Britain, the story is filled with earthy atmosphere and adventure. After his father the king is killed by the Normans, Bran ap Byrchan is wounded and forced to flee for his life. He is healed by an ancient storyteller and reluctantly and gradually comes to realize that he must accept his role as leader and fight to save his displaced people and his land. Familiar characters make an appearance and are believable and interesting, and the many historical details and languages used bring this exciting and original story to life. The second and third titles in the trilogy are Scarlet and Tuck–the series is off to an thrilling start with Hood!!

X-Men Magneto Testament by Greg Pak

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I picked up this graphic novel because of the flashback scene in one of the X-Men movies about Magneto’s experience as a Jew during the Holocaust when he was a child. This graphic novel was absolutely amazing. It portrayed the Holocaust and the atrocities committed by the Nazis in a sensitive and powerful way with beautiful illustrations. It was also an interesting addition to the X-Men story and provided insight into the character of Magneto and his vehement and sometimes violent defense of mutant rights in the X-Men comics and movies. I don’t normally read the X-Men comics and graphic novels, and this graphic novel worked well as a stand-alone story. I wasn’t confused and didn’t feel like I needed background that I didn’t have. This book definitely read more like a story about a young Jewish boy growing up in Nazi Germany simply trying to survive Hitler’s Final Solution than like a superhero comic.

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I spotted the book Truck: a love story by Michael Perry several months ago in the section with the other books about pickup trucks. I eyed it with trepidation. It seemed too good to be true, a book about trucks and romance. It was bound to be disappointing. I finally couldn’t resist any longer and I am ever so glad. I flew through the book and enjoyed it so much that I have since recommended it to everyone I know. This is just a great story.
Michael Perry covers a year of his life in a small town in Wisconsin. During this year he volunteers at the fire department, does some gardening, fixes up his truck, goes on some book tours, and meets a woman. He discusses the basic day-to-day events with poignancy and humor, sprinkling the stories of his struggles, joys, and insecurities with laugh-out-loud tidbits like, “Seed catalogs are responsible for more unfilfilled fantasies than Enron and Playboy combined.” I enjoyed getting to know Perry and am looking forward to reading Coop: a year of poultry, pigs, and parenting to find out what happens next.

A Secret Affair by Mary Balogh

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A Secret Affair is Mary Balogh’s satisfying conclusion to her Huxtable family series and tells the story of Constantine Huxtable, a man with a reputation as heartless and careless. Widowed Hannah Reid, Duchess of Dunbarton, has chosen Con as the object of an affair for her season in London. They agree to be lovers, but falling in love is not in the plan for either. Both Hannah and Con present a persona to society but are not what society believes them to be–both are likable, strong, many-layered characters whose love story is compelling and believable. Characters from the previous books in the series add to the story line. This is a book that details love in it’s many facets–love for family, friends and lovers. Balogh has again created another charming romance!

Green Barbarians: how to live bravely on your home planet by Ellen Sandbeck

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Sandbeck addresses a topic many have addressed before in Green Barbarians. She brings an emminently readable style, wit and humor to living green, as well as clearly having researched the lifestyle and the arguments for it in depth. Such topics as how to safely and effectively clean your kitchen and bathroom without using environmentally damaging chemicals and where to find out whether or not the makep-up you use contains lead are discussed. Some of her suggestions are less practical than others (using bread as a napkin and then eating the bread), but the stories of her experiments of both new and old ways to live sustainably are entertaining. Sandbeck definitely focuses on how people should change their habits but doesn’t always provide information about alternatives. This book is for people who want to make a few changes in their lifestyle or for those who want to make a more complete transformation into green barbarians.

The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson

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When Wyoming sheriff Walt Longmire starts investigating the death of Cody Pritchard, he finds his search cluttered by the wealth of enemies that would have a motive to kill this horrible young man. Along with a much busier schedule for the police department, the death brings to surface the tensions in the area between the white population and the Native American community. The serious nature of the story is balanced by the affable nature of Longmire and the good-natured ribbing between him and his best friend, Henry Standing Bear. Full of interesting characters and a strong sense of the land of Wyoming, The Cold Dish is an enjoyable and suspenseful read.

A Captain’s Duty by Richard Phillips

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In April 2009, the attention of the world turned to the coast off of Africa, where an American Merchant Marine Captain was being held for ransom by Somali pirates. Telling his story in “A Captain’s Duty”, Richard Phillips details his life in the Merchant Marine and the events that led up to the pirates boarding of his ship and holding him hostage. Phillips was able to protect his crew, allowing them to escape to safety and to control the situation so that he was the only hostage taken. His gripping account of the harrowing details of his confinement and subsequent rescue by Navy Seals is difficult to put down. Phillips also gives an account of the stress and uncertainty that his family at home had to endure. Phillips exemplifies the best characteristics of a leader–concern for and trust in his crew, excellent training, selflessness, a willingness to accept differences in people, a calm demeanor and confidence in his abilities. His crew was lucky to be serving under Phillips during this incident, as his decisions allowed them all to return home safely. As Captain Phillips said of his rescue by the Navy, “It never ends like this”.

Peeps by Scott Westerfeld

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Parasite positives, or “peeps,” are those infected with a parasite that turns them into light-avoiding cannibals with drastically increased life spans (they prefer to avoid the v-word). Cal is infected by his girlfriend, but it turns out he’s a natural carrier of the parasite and simply acquires excellent night vision, superhuman strength and a craving for rare meat. He joins a secret branch of the New York City government dedicated to tracking the infected but learns when he finds the woman who infected him that there’s more to the story. This novel is well thought out with scientifically based explanations for all the symptoms of vampirism. Not your average vampire novel, but it will appeal to a wide range of ages, from high school students up to adults.