Lethal Lineage by Charlotte Hinger

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Western Kansas is the setting for this page turner, written by a western Kansas historian. Charlotte Hinger’s entrance into the literary world began with the first Lottie Albright mystery, Deadly Descent. In this second book, Lethal Lineage, a deputy sheriff and local historian, Lottie is horrified to find Reverend Mary Farnsworth dead in a windowless, locked room just after assisting with a confirmation in the new St. Helena Episcopal Church. When the pathology report comes back that shows Mary was poisoned, the search begins for the ruthless killer.

Third and fourth generation ranchers are involved in raw land dealings that become part of the story of intrigue. A corrupt sheriff in a neighboring county locks-up Lottie and her psychoplogist sister, Josie, a Manhattan resident, overnight as they research Mary’s death. This sets the stage for the ousting of Sheriff Deal who has the backing of relatives from all over the county. Mysteries galore are unresolved in this local whodunit until the very end.

The Secret Mistress

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Mary Balogh brings her trademark humor and engaging characters to her new romance The Secret Mistress. Lady Angeline Dudley is waiting for her brother’s arrival at an inn when she encounters Edward Ailsury, earl of Hayward, and decides on the spot that he is the man she will someday marry. However, Edward and Angeline are complete opposites–Angeline lives life with passion and excitement and Edward lives under the burden of his responsibilities to his family and his position. Both are finely drawn, believable characters with depth and warmth. The supporting cast of characters–Lord Windrow and Miss Eunice Goddard among others–are ones that appear in other books in Balogh’s Mistress series–No Man’s Mistress and More than a Mistress. As their families and friends recognize that Angeline and Edward are meant to be together, the two must overcome their insecurities and misunderstandings before they can allow themselves to acknowledge their love for each other. Follow Edward and Angeline on their journey towards happiness–it is one you will enjoy sharing with them!!

A Man Named Pearl

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A Man Named Pearl is a documentary film that tells the story of a sharecropper’s son who dug through the trash at a local plant nursery and used what he found to create a work of art. Pearl Fryar started working with cast-off plants in the early 1980s to make his yard more attractive. He discovered a love and a talent for sculpting topiaries. Over the years his project turned into a magical garden that attracted visitors from all over the world. The garden is beautiful, but the true delight of this story is Pearl. His humility and hope to share his lessons with future generations can be an inspiration to us all. This film is more than a story about gardening. It is the story of how good life can be.

Cocaine Blues

>It’s fun sharing good reads with patrons and especially fun to have them recommend what they love to us. Such was the case with the series, A Phryne Fisher Mystery, by Kerry Greenwood, a fun historical mystery series written by an Australian. Phryne Fisher lives in the flapper era of the 1920′s. In this first book, Cocaine Blues, she travels to Melbourne at the request of a family friend to investigate a daughter’s mysterious illness. Phryne seems capable of solving almost any problem with her determined and unflappable take-charge attitude. Did she develop this from her very poor, scrappy upbringing or just since she inherited a fortune and the where-with-all to do as she pleases.

The characters that she embraces in her search for the answer to this mystery are poor, working class men and women who are happy to be part of this exciting woman’s entourage. Phryne’s life style is extravagant and her wardrobe only couture.
Try Cocaine Blues and experience the 1920′s in Australia. Don’t forget to share your favorite books with others, especially us at MPL!

Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand

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Meredith Delinn’s rich and fabulous lifestyle comes to a quick end when her husband is arrested for stealing billions of dollars from his investors. Assets are seized and Meredith faces her own legal battle concerning what she knew about her husband’s business. Homeless, alone and without money, Meredith turns to her childhood friend Connie, even though they have not spoken in years. They head to Connie’s family home in Nantucket, where both women have issues to deal with–Connie’s husband passed away and she is learning to live without him, and Meredith is examining her former life and how to move forward, despite being the focus of hatred because of her husband’s actions. Both women reflect upon the past and their childhoods as a way to cope with the present and welcome the future. Silver Girl is a touching story of relationships, friendship and love. If you enjoy Silver Girl, you might also enjoy The Pull of the Moon by Elizabeth Berg and Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah.

The Daughter’s Walk by Jane Kirkpatrick

>Two women walking from Spokane, Washington to New York City, in 1896, seems a ridiculous task. Yet, that is exactly what Helga demanded of herself and her daughter, Clara. After all, the $10,000 payment would be worth anything they might have to go through, right? There were stipulations of course; they must walk within a certain amount of time, they couldn’t beg or take charity of any kind, they must wear the new shorter dresses, and they had to get important people to sign their document. Peace of cake, oh yeah! The trials along the way are daunting in and of themselves, but the life Clara leads after their return home is a whole different story. Read for yourself how Clara pulls through the journey, in The Daughter’s Walk, and how she deals with a life of separation from her family upon her return to Washington.

Summer at Seaside Cove by Jacquie D’Alessandro

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A fun, sexy romance, Summer at Seaside Cove tells the story of Jamie Newman–a New Yorker trying to reeveluate her life after a failed relationship–one in which her sister stole her boyfriend! She wants to be alone and looks forward to spending the summer at the beach in the cute cottage she rented online. Upon arrival, the cute cottage is more like a run-down shack, but the gorgeous owner Nick, who lives next-door, more than makes up for the condition of the cottage. As the summer goes on, Jamies becomes involved with both Nick and the community of Seaside Cove. Then her troubled teen-aged niece arrives, followed by her mother, her mother’s boyfriend, and her sister, quickly ending Jamie’s plans for a quiet, introspective time alone. As Nick and Jamie become closer, Jamie also works on healing the relationships in her family and on discovering what she really wants out of life. With lots of humor, quirky and likeable characters and lots of steamy romance, D”Alessandro has created a wonderful story about love and family!

If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t)

>My first encounter with Betty White was on the Password Game Show with Allen Ludden, back in the early 1960’s. Just recently I came across a DVD of Betty White in Life With Elizabeth, which was done in the mid 1950’s. I missed Betty’s special Saturday Night Live performance back in May 2010, but I’m sure that was delightful, too. Betty’s sense of humor that I saw in Password and Life with Elizabeth, still shines through in her book, If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t). If you are or have been a fan of Betty White, at anytime in her career, you are going to want to read her latest book. It is a delightful quick read. But be forewarned; when you pick up this book, be prepared to finish it before setting it back down.

The Human Planet

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The BBC has again produced a stunning, informative and fascinating series, this time about human interactions with nature, titled The Human Planet. The series takes us to many diverse ecosystems in the world and illustrates how humans have adapted to life under the most extreme climates. Episodes describe life in mountains, grasslands, jungles, the arctic, deserts, rivers and cities. Using courage and ingenuity, humans manage to survive under the harshest circumstances. The series is beautifully filmed and the individuals highlighted in each episode have adapted to their environment in astounding ways–the fisherman who crosses the ravaging Mekong River on a self-made rope bridge in order to catch fish for his family, the New Guinea tribe who builds their homes high in the trees, the 3 tribesmen who hunt facing a pride of lions armed only with spears, the Mongols who train eagles to hunt for food . The people profiled in each episode are filmed with the utmost care and respect, and a 10-minute segment at the end of each series shows the difficulties the filmmakers encountered in filming that took place over a 3 year period. This is an amazing look at human life on our planet and how various cultures have adapted to living with nature.

Any Man of Mine by Rachel Gibson

>Autumn Haven is an accomplished woman, a single mother who has established her own business as a wedding planner. She’s set up a system with Sam LeClaire, her son’s hockey-playing jerk of a father, where he gets to see his son, but they never have to see each other. After bumping into him at a wedding she’s planned for a friend of his, Sam seems determined to become a better father, and would like to recreate the great night they shared five years ago. But Autumn is not quick to forget the morning and years after. In Any Man of Mine Rachel Gibson delivers another fun and sexy contemporary romance. If you like this one, you might try other funs sports romances like Sizzling by Susan Mallery or It Had to be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

Heartwood by Belva Plain

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Iris and Theo are in their golden years. We were introduced to their parents in Evergreen and follow up with them in this conclusion to the family saga, Heartwood. This is Belva Plain’s last novel as she died in October 2010.
Iris Stearn and her daughter Laura are the central characters with Laura capturing most of the story. Laura was the perfect daughter. Marrying and having a baby at a very young age to keep her love, Robbie, out of the Vietnam war, didn’t seem to tarnish Iris and Theo’s image of her. A decade later Robbie is struggling with obtaining his Ph.D. and his self-image, while Laura is proving to be a successful baker and mother.

After Robbie loses his academic job and the possibility of a Ph.D. disintegrates, Laura’s career blossoms as she begins a highly successful catering business and authors bestselling home and garden books. Her values are brought under scrutiny by her mother as she falls for an attractive and creative photographer. Laura is torn by the decision to stay with her husband whom she no longer respects and preserve her marriage for the sake of her daughter and her parent’s opinion, or follow her heart and leave her past behind for her new love.

Belva Plain has always written novels that capture the pain and joy of relationships and this concluding one is no exception.

Graveminder by Melissa Marr

>Graveminder is the first adult novel published by Melissa Marr (author of the popular young adult Wicked Lovely series). Claysville is a world unto itself. Its residents are born there, and they must die there, though they are ignorant of what is truly going on around them and why they feel an irresistible pull to the place where they were born. In Claysville, if a body isn’t minded after death, the dead don’t stay where they’re put.

Rebekkah must unexpectedly return to Claysville upon the death of her grandmother, Maylene. When she arrives, she finds out Maylene was murdered in her home and that attacks continue to occur. Her old flame, Byron, a man who still loves her, must convince her she has to take up her grandmother’s place and as Graveminder to mind the dead and lay the Hungry Dead who have already woken to rest. He must also convince her she belongs to him and to the dead. Together they act as enforcers of a three hundred year old contract between the enigmatic ruler of the world of the dead and the town of Claysville.

This atmospheric gothic mystery pulls you in and doesn’t let you go until the end.

The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue

>This story was taken from the legends of old, when it was believed that children were stolen and replaced with a changeling. The poem, “The Stolen Child” by William Butler Yeats, was Keith Donahue’s inspiration for this book. The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue is told in alternating voices by the child who was stolen (Aniday) and the changeling (Henry Day) who took his place. Aniday, now a changeling, will always live in a 7 year old body. Henry Day, now a human, will have to remember to change his body as he “grows”. They both strive to live the best life they can, but both of them live with the memories that haunt them. Aniday misses his mother, father, and twin sisters. He wonders about the life he would have had in the human world. Henry Day is concerned about being convincing enough in his new life to fool his new family & friends into believing that he is indeed the real Henry Day. He has dreams in this new world about a past life somewhere far away. It is a hauntingly moving story that just may have you looking over your shoulder and keeping a closer eye on your children, especially as you near the woods.

Making Waves by Lorna Seilstad

>Making Waves is the first book in the Lake Manawa Summers series, set in 1895. When the Westing family decides to spend the summer at the lake, Marguerite is thrilled. She is a very independent lady, so when she falls into the lake requiring a very handsome gentleman to rescue her, she is chagrined. Her mother is determined that she marry Roger Gordon, a man of means and social stature. Marguerite is bored with Roger; she wants to have fun with lots of adventure. Roger is anything but fun. She talks her father into letting her little brother take sailing lessons, with her as a chaperone of course. What she really wants is to learn to sail herself. Her brother’s sailing instructor, Trip Andrews, allows Marguerite to tag along in the sailboat with them. She falls in love with sailing and Trip, but because of her father’s business troubles, she feels compelled to accept Roger’s proposal to save embarrassment to her family.