A Spark of Death by Bernadette Pajer

>

The University of Washington is thesetting for a murder at the beginning of the 20th century in A Spark of Death: a Professor Bradshaw Mystery.  The recent discovery ofelectricity has some worried by this new fangled power source.  Now it appears that electricity hascontributed to the death of a pompous, much disliked teacher. Professor Oglethorpehas been found dead in a university research ‘Electric machine’ and his fellowengineering professor is under suspicion.

Professor Bradshaw is liked by his students and lovedby his small son.  The horrific death bysuicide of his wife has left a permanent scar on this sensitive, likeableprofessor.  Now he must figure out whomurdered Oglethorpe to clear his name. The history of Seattleis woven into this story with interesting tidbits about the fire of 1889 and aplanned trip by President McKinley to see the famous “Electric Machine’. Also,political anarchists are suspected of the murder and we learn of the dissidentsand their causes who were front page news a century ago.  This is the first of a planned series with Fatal Induction to be released in May2012

Teens choose their top YA books By Janene Hill, Young Adult Librarian, Manhattan Public Library

>
Teens across thecountry have spoken.

On October 17 the2011 Teens’ Top Ten list was revealed by the Young Adult Library ServicesAssociation.
With more than9,000 votes cast, teens across the U.S. expressed their opinions forthe best books from the past year. Online voting took place in August andSeptember.
Cassandra Clareand Suzanne Collins exchanged spots from 2010 to take the first and second placeson this year’s list. This is Clare’s fourth straight year on the list, butfirst in the #1 position.
Collins is on thelist for the third straight year while James Patterson returns for a third appearanceafter a two-year absence. Becca Fitzpatrick is back for the second straight year,with six first-timers rounding out the Teens’ Top Ten.
The novels cover awide range of subject matter including aliens, fairies, dystopian societies, secondchances, and the supernatural. These stories take place in settings from afuture United Statesto Victorian England.
2011 Teens’ TopTen
1. The Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Tessa Gray’s search for hermissing brother leads her into Victorian London’s supernatural underworld,where she must learn to trust the demon-killing Shadowhunters in order tocontrol her powers and find her brother. Prequel to the Mortal Instruments series.
2. Mockingjay by SuzanneCollins
After surviving her second time in the arena, Katniss has been propelled intoleading a revolution. Residents of District 13 have been preparing for war foryears, and are at the front of the fight. It seems the world is on Katniss’sshoulders as she struggles with being the face of the rebellion and target ofthe Capitol’s vengeance. Final book in the HungerGames trilogy.
3. Crescendo byBecca Fitzpatrick
Nora’s life has never been ordinary, but now that she has learnedabout her true Nephilim bloodline and her guardian angel, she wants to knowmore. What really happened to her father? Does Patch really love her? Is hehiding something? Sequel to the best-selling Hush, Hush.
4. I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
Nineescaped from the planet Lorien just before it was destroyed by the Mogadorians.Hidden amongst the Earth-beings, the nine wait for the time they can regroup tofight their would-be destoyers. But Number One was caught in Malaysia, Number Two in England, and Number Three in Kenya. Theykilled them all. Number Four is next.
5. TheIron King by Julie Kagawa
As Meghan approaches her 16th birthday she discovers she is thedaughter of a faery king, a princess. A changeling has taken the place of herkidnapped brother. Meghan will leave behind everything she knows and travel tothe fae world to find the truth, face unknown enemies, save those she caresabout, and maybe even fall in love.
6. Matched by Ally Condie
Cassia is happily surprised when at the Matching Ceremony, her lifelong bestfriend Xander’s face appears on the screen. Then something startling happens –Ky’s face appears on the screen briefly before fading to black. Cassia beginsquestioning everything. What if all the choices that have been made her wholelife aren’t the only choice and she could make her own? Should she follow the lifeset forth for her by the Society, or travel down an unknown and defiant path.
7. Angel: A Maximum Ride Novel byJames Patterson
Max is starting to believe the scientists saying she needs to save theworld. Fang has left, and the flock’s new member, Dylan, may be her perfectmate. Meanwhile, Max needs to help lead her flock to defeat a doomsday cult outto kill all the humans. Seventh book in the bestselling Maximum Ride series.
8. Paranormalcy by KierstenWhite
E
mployed by theInternational Paranormal Containment Agency, a fairy ex-boyfriend, a mermaidbest friend, and current boyfriend who is a shape-shifter. No, Evie’s lifeisn’t exactly as a “normal” teenager. Seeing paranormals for what they areisn’t exactly something all teenagers can do. Actually, pretty much no one elsecan.
9. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Friday, February 12 started just like any other day for Sam Kingston –atleast the first time. The car crash that night should have taken her life.Somehow though, she is not dead, but reliving the day – seven times. With eachreincarnation, Sam learns more about how her actions effect others and the truevalue of the people, things, and events in her life.
10.  Nightshade by AndreaCremer
When Calla saves a humanboy on her mountain from a bear attack, the consequences are farther reachingthan could be imagined, especially when that boy shows up at her school andappears to be a favored companion of her masters.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

>

I almost didn’t read this one because I didn’t like the cover (and yes, I know, I shouldn’t be judging books by their covers). I’m glad I picked it up, though, since I’m a sucker for the crop of young adult fantasy books with strong, interesting heroines that have been published in the past few years. If you liked The Hunger Games, Matched, Graceling, or Sabriel for the strong female main character, you’ll want to pick up Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

Karou is a young woman living in Prague who is leading a double life. In one life she is an art student with a boyfriend who cheated on her, in the other, she runs errands picking up teeth for the wishmonger, Brimstone, the chimaera who raised her. She collects languages, has blue hair that grows in that way, three bullet scars on her abdomen and eye tattoos on the palms of her hands that have been there for as long as she can remember.

Karou is drawn into a centuries old conflict between angels and the chimaera when she runs into Akiva, an angel soldier trying to cut Brimstone off from the world. Karou and Akiva are drawn to one another, but there are secrets kept and hidden between them, and a startling revelation will drive them apart.

A Home Transformed By Janet Ulrey Adult Services Librarian

>
 

Our homes are our resting places,as well as our places of family connection. We may think of them as entertainment centers or perhaps ourstop-and-drop places between outside adventures.  No matter how we view them, our homes arevital to us and we want them to be comfortable and well-maintained.  Whether they need to be redecorated,repaired, reorganized, or remodeled, Manhattan Public Library has scores ofsources for ideas to make our homes the best.
Redecorating may involve a changein color scheme, furniture rearrangement, new accessories and wallarrangements, or tossing everything and starting over.  No matter what your decorating desires are, youcan find help to improve your space. There is a wide selection of popular home décor magazines, like Better Homes and Gardens. You can locate color combinations galore in Vinny Lee’s terrificbook, The Colorful Home: Confident andCreative Colour Schemes for Every Room.  Books,such as, Home from the Hardware Store:Transform Everyday Materials into Fabulous Home Furnishings by StephenAntonson, Undecorate, the No-RulesApproach to Interior Design by Christiane Lemieux, or501 Decorating Ideas Under $100 fromBetter Homes and Gardens, are full of ideas to transform your home.  A “home transformed” can become a “homeconformed” to make your daily life a more pleasant experience.   
When it’s time for repairs, youcould spend a fortune by hiring contractors to execute your projects, butthrifty homeowners rely on DIY methods to keep their homes in pristinecondition.  You may need to fix drippyfaucets, window casements, or add insulation, but guidance is readily availableif you’ve the spirit of adventure.  TerryKennedy’s Fix It Before It Breaks andRick Peters’ simply explained Home How-toHandbook can help make your tasks easier. The library also has an excellent set of DVDs, the Positive Home Solutions series, which will guide you through basichome repairs and visual demonstrations. Magazines like Family Handyman andThis Old House are readily availablefor checkout.
Time is of the utmost importance tomost people, and you’re probably no exception. In that case, you no doubt see the need for getting organized.  Using the library’s excellent collection ofbooks on de-cluttering plans to organize your home can save you time to doother things you love—like reading a good book! Consider titles like Joe Provey’s EasyClosets: Affordable Storage Solutions for Everyone or Andrew J. Mellen’s Unstuff Your Life!: Kick the Clutter Habitand Completely Organize Your Life for Good.  The Reader’s Digest Association, longknown for detailed books about home improvement, has an all-in-one title thatmight be perfect for your list of needed improvements.  The FamilyHandyman Best Organizing Solutions is a hefty volume loaded with all kindsof suggestions and diagrams perfect for most households.
What if you’ve an inclination formajor changes?  Resources can make thoseintimidating projects more manageable. John Wagner’s book Drywall givesguidance when adding or removing walls. Books like Candice Olson’s Kitchensand Baths can put a stop to lots of guesswork.  If you are looking to add more living space,Black and Decker’s handy Complete Guide toFinishing Basements: Step-by-Step Projects For Adding Living Space WithoutAdding On can help you expand. Michael Litchfield’s In-Laws, Outlaws,and Granny Flats offers suggestions for transforming one-family dwellingsinto multiple-family housing.
When you want to make changes,don’t wing it!  You can give your home afacelift that is both attractive and more desirable for you with a littleplanning.  And you don’t need to be a traineddecorator to finish tasteful projects. Come to the library and our staff will show you ways to collectappealing ideas!

Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extrordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan

>

A miniature schnauzer named Atticus M. Finch has climbed all48 of the four-thousand-foot mountains in New Hampshire several times.  Following Atticus most of the way has beenTom Ryan, a middle aged formerly overweight newspaper owner from Newburyport, Massachusetts.
  I was delighted toopen this book after seeing the cute cover of a winsome dog, Atticus, and begin reading a storythat warmed my soul.  Having recentlybeen on a fall foliage tour of New England anddiscovering the White Mountains of New Hampshire I was amazed to also havestayed in the quaint town that adopted Atticus. We stumbled onto it one rainy evening looking for a place to stay.  Our next day’s destination was Boston, but we were too tired to drive thatfar and fight city traffic.  The ClarkCurrier Bed and Breakfast will always be a highlight of our trip, as will Newburyport’s beautifulsea captain’s homes.  Tom shares storiesof the special people of this place but also the low-down nasty politics of asmall town.  He spends his days rubbingshoulders with everyone possible to find gossip for his underground newspaper,the Undertoad.
 When Tom finds alittle puppy to purchase and accompany him on his business excursions, Atticusopens doors all over town.  Who can resista well mannered little dog?  As Tom andAtticus begin spending time in the mountains, first with friends and family andthen more regularly on their own, he begins to find peace and contentmentmissing from his rough upbringing.  Thosewho enjoy the solitude of the outdoors and hiking will appreciate the way Tomwrites of his love for nature.  Those wholove animals will be amazed at the devotion and fortitude of this 20-pound spirited dog. Those who love books will be constantly touched by the lovelyreferences to great writers through quotes and poetry sprinkled throughout thestory.  Following Atticus: Forty-EightHigh Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship is truly abeautiful book you will want to share.

The Legend of Lady Ilena by Patricia Malone

>

In sixth century Great Britain, fifteen-year-oldIlena feels set adrift after the death of her mother and father.  Since they had no family nearby and herfather trained her to be a warrior, she has always known that she was destinedfor something different than the other girls of their small village, but neverknew what.  Her father’s dying wordsdirect her east to Dun Alyn.  Her journeytakes her across the mountains and through many trials, making friends and enemiesalong the way.  Upon her arrival, she isgreeted as an evil spirit and thrown into a cage, but with the help of ahealing woman, a dwarf, and one of King Arthur’s knights she is able to findthe truth and save the day.  The Legend of Lady Ilena by Patricia Malone is an exciting story about a girl finding her strength and herdestiny in a world of upheaval.

Nightjohn by Gary Paulsen

>

Do you know a teen that is a reluctant reader?  Nightjohn is a powerful novel for anyone toabsorb, but it is a dramatic motivator for our older teens that undervaluereading.  Set in the south duringslavery, Sammy, a pre-adolescent slave, chooses to risk herself and the livesof others to experience learning.  Theplantation where she was born is owned by a harsh, brutal man that buys and sellsslaves with no regard for human value. He punishes anyone that exhibits anyeducation or desire for such.
 This very graphicportrayal of just how horrible some slaves were treated tells the importantstory of the value of education to combat such ignorance.  Nightjohn, a former escaped slave hasreturned to the south to teach others to read. His willingness to risk his life for the betterment of others will speakvolumes to those of us who take for granted our freedom to learn.  Warning: this is a very brutal and graphic presentation of slavery.

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

>Victoria Jones is 18 years old and being emancipated from the foster care system. Her life having been  filled with different foster homes, group homes, schools and teachers, Victoria leaves the system with no job or social skills–her only interest is in flowers and their meanings, taught to her by one of her foster parents. Sleeping in a public park and tending a garden she has created by stealing flowers from other parks and home gardens, Victoria realizes that she needs a job to survive and demonstrates her abilities to choose and arrange flowers to  a florist, who offers her work. She begins to develop a relationship with the florist as well as with a young man, Grant, who works at the flower market, and has a loyal following of customers who appreciate her ability to choose flowers that have just the right meaning. Victoria’s story is told in alternating chapters, describing her life as a 9 year old and as an 18 year old. The reader understands that Victoria’s adult attitudes of fear,  isolation and mistrust of others are based on her childhood experiences. Can she overcome her past flaws and hurts and move forward to find happiness in relationships with others and peace within herself? This is a touching and thoughtful novel, with vivid characters and a unique  insight into expressing emotions through The Language of Flowers rather than words.

Horatio Hornblower

>


Take to the high seas with the British Navy and our brave hero Horatio Hornblower.  Based on the books by C.S. Forester, this film series created by A&E will keep you on the edge of your seat.  Join Horatio as he navigates the alliances and feuds among his fellow officers, faces the enemy, and rises through the ranks, all while being incredibly dashing and clever.  Full of adventure, this series is a rousing good time.

Lethal by Sandra Brown

>Looking for a fast-paced thriller? Look no further than Lethal by Sandra Brown. Honor Gillette and her 4 year old daughter Emily are busy making preparations for a birthday party when their home is invaded by a strange man–Lee Coburn–who insists there is something in the house left there by her deceased husband. Coburn is the object of a manhunt as a suspect in a mass killing at a trucking warehouse where he was the only person left alive. He convinces Honor that whatever is hidden is a danger to all of their lives–a key to information that will identify the leader of a drug, weapons and human trafficking operation. The three of them are on the run in the swamps and bayous of Louisiana, unsure of who to trust in both the local police and FBI. The story races to it’s conclusion, all the while keeping the reader wondering–who are the good guys and who is behind all of the killings? With taut suspense and fascinating characters, Lethal will keep you guessing until the end! Brown has many other titles available at Manhattan Public Library, including Tough Customer and Smash Cut.

How to Seduce a Scoundrel by Vicky Dreiling

>Lady Julianne is surprised when her brother asks Marc, Earl of Hawkfield, to act as her guardian for her season in London. Julianne has been in love with Hawk for years and has turned down proposals her previous three seasons, trying to win Hawk’s heart. Hawk’s eccentric Aunt Hester offers to sponsor Julianne, providing a home in London for the season. Julianne looks forward to the season but Hawk is appalled at having to reform his rakish ways in order to act as a guardian. Their interactions are filled with wit and humorous interplay as Julianne falls more deeply in love and Hawk denies his feelings for Julianne. A past incident affects how Hawk views his future and Julianne must fight to convince him that he is worthy of her love– How to Seduce a Scoundrel is definitely a fun and touching romance!

Feed by Mira Grant

>

The people of the world are scared. Zombies are everywhere, and once you’ve been bitten, there’s no way to avoid becoming a flesh eating, brainless monster yourself. George and Shaun Mason are two of the few people in the world who actually seek out contact with zombies. It’s their source of income since they film and blog about the state of the world in 2039, 25 years after the Kellis-Amberlee virus made the dead stand up and walk. They’re good at their jobs and people trust them to bring them the news and an adrenaline rush, this is why they are asked to join the presidential campaign of Senator Peter Ryman to accompany and blog about his campaign.

Feed is set in a world where using zombies as a weapon is considered an act of terrorism and still carries the death penalty. This makes the acts of sabotage that plague the campaign and infect members of Senator Ryman’s camp even more unthinkable than they would otherwise be. George and Shaun are determined to get to the bottom of the attacks, even if they don’t survive to see the end of the campaign season.

Some other science-based horror novels worth reading: Peeps by Scott Westerfeld and The Passage by Justin Cronin.

Highland Master by Amanda Scott

>

Amanda Scott demonstrates her mastery over Scottish romance once again with Highland Master, the first volume in her new Scottish Knight series. Independent and headstrong, Catriona is wandering in the woods near her family stronghold when she stumbles upon an injured man. Fin Cameron is on his way to discuss a tense political situation with her grandfather, but he can’t keep his mind from the vengeance he has sworn against her family. In the midst of his quandary, her confidence and family loyalty draws him in, while his respectful and caring nature appeals to her. In a time of political upheaval and clashing family alliances, Fin and Catriona find strength in each other. Strong and well-developed characters along with details of Scottish history make Highland Master a captivating read.

Fashion Design the Vicky Tiel Way By Marcia Allen Technical Services & Collections Manager

>

If you’re looking for a book with lots of racy gossip about famous personalities, glimpses of trendy fashions, and risqué humor in large doses, Vicky Tiel’s new book is just for you. It’s all about the Dress: What I Learned in Forty Years about Men, Women, Sex and Fashion is escapist reading at its best. You won’t regret reading about this spunky designer’s very colorful past.
After a lackluster performance at Parsons School of Design, Tiel and her closest classmate, Mia Fonssagrives, headed off to Paris to make their names as dress designers in 1964. They knew little about the industry or the intense competition, but they were adventurous and enthusiastic and young, and so disappointments had little effect on their ambitions or their social lives.
Luck was with them. They focused their talents on mini-dresses, jumpsuits and evening wear, and began establishing a reputation when Woody Allen commissioned their costuming talents for his film, What’s New, Pussycat? Along the way, they began designing clothing for stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Goldie Hawn and Raquel Welsh. And they were routinely included in social circles that boasted names like Martha Stewart, Miles Davis, and Faye Dunaway.
Tiel has a great memory for the wild times of her past, and she recounts almost unbelievable stories with a sassy humor. She tells us, for example, how Brigitte Bardot chose her evening’s sexual partners from winning sprinters in random foot races. She tells of Marlon Brando’s teasing comments as she measured him for a film costume. She recalls lavish feasts accompanied by vintage wines, like a particular evening spent in Michael Goldman’s cellar guzzling Chateau d’Yquem 1959 and Mouton Rothschild 1945. She openly discusses the foolish adventures that she attempted, like her ill-planned drive into the territory of Jordan, days after the 1967 Six-Day War. She also speaks freely of her own liaisons and lists details of her seduction techniques.
If you wish to read this romp of a book, but want to justify it with a worthwhile consideration, there are the recipes Tiel includes. Sophia Loren’s pasta or Elizabeth Taylor’s caviar ‘sandwiches’ are highlights of the chapters, as is Dorian Leigh’s plain & simple vinaigrette. And there are the rules of eating that Tiel insists supermodels of Paris follow, rules like never drink anything carbonated and always eat vegetable and fruits skins.
Even more interesting are the little “life lessons” that Tiel has picked up from celebrities over the years. From Coco Chanel, for instance, we read that designers must create something classic that can be worn forever, and they must network in life without shame. Martha Stewart told Tiel that one can turn a failed marriage into a good thing. Miles Davis urged Tiel to surround herself with young people to stay forever young. Kim Novak told Tiel to go barefoot and feel the earth between her toes. And you won’t want to miss Tiel’s advice in which she urges readers to go into business without a backer because backers may want to dictate or fire those they back.
Perhaps the best lesson to be learned from the book is Tiel’s wonderful ability to avoid taking herself too seriously. In the opening of the book she recalls observing two young ladies examining one of the Vicky Tiel designer gowns in Bergdorf Goodman’s. One of two exclaims, “Vicky Tiel? Isn’t she dead yet?” Tiel was delighted with the exchange, and reminded herself that there is much to be learned from watching others. Her enthusiasm and wicked sense of humor make for terrific light reading.

Only Mine by Susan Mallery

>

Representing the interests of her town, Fool’s Gold, was not something psychologist Dakota Hendrix had really planned on doing with her time. But when a reality show comes to town for filming and the mayor asks her to do it and her boss agreed to pay her salary while she does, she really can’t say no. To add to the growing number of complications in her life, a tantalizing stranger, Finn Anderssen, arrives along with the influx of the competitors and film crew.

Finn is in town to try to convince his two younger twin brothers to return to Alaska for their final semester of college rather than become involved with the show. Coming from a large, close-knit family herself, Dakota understands Finn’s worry for his brothers and finds herself drawn to him. She knows he’s going back to Alaska after he convinces his brothers to return, but she just can’t resist this handsome, caring man.

Only Mine is the fourth book in Mallery’s Fool’s Gold Romance series.