Maybe it is the centennial anniversary of the start of World War I or the TV series Downton Abbey, but whatever it is, World War I themed books are popular now. World War I is the setting of the new book Stella Bain by Anita Shreve. The story starts in France during March of 1916. An unconscious woman was brought to a battlefield hospital. She does not know who she is but thinks her name is Stella Bain and that she knows how to drive an ambulance.
No other author writes about Las Vegas glitz and glamour, or chronicles the lives of the rich and famous, as well as Jackie Collins. Her latest, Confessions of a Wild Child, is the prequel to the long running Lucky Santangelo series and gives us a glimpse into the teenage years of Lucky Santangelo. They may have been wild and wicked, but those teenage years are what helped make Lucky into the powerful 50-something woman she is portrayed as in the last book in the series, Goddess of Vengeance (2011).
I like to read books with a Wisconsin connection, or that feature dogs or are humorous, intriguing, or historical. I also like to read literary “book club” type books that sometimes take me outside of my usual reading habits. Right now I am reading a book that falls outside of what I would normally pick--On Such a Full Sea by Chang-Rae Lee.
Lake of Tears is Mary Logue’s latest mystery set in Pepin County and featuring the character Claire Watkins. This is a good choice for people who like to read books with a Wisconsin connection, and people who like police procedural mysteries. The story is set in autumn as the local people are doing an annual ritual of constructing a Viking boat and setting it on fire. Claire is a deputy sheriff, and her daughter Meg will be going to college soon.
Nicholas Sparks is an author whose writing appeals to all ages. His latest, The Longest Ride, is an amazing book that tells what life and love are supposed to be about, and has a lesson for everyone no matter what stage of life they are in. It is the tale of two love stories, one at the end of its life and one just beginning, and the journey each couple took to find what they wanted and needed in the person they loved. Reality, fate, destiny and love are all present in this novel, and I think both men and women will enjoy the story.
After the holiday hustle and bustle was over the only books I felt like reading were something light and easy. I checked my "to be read" book list and headed to the paperback shelves, grabbed a copy of Just One Kiss by Susan Mallery, and found just what I was looking for. Susan Mallery, author of the long running Fool's Gold Series, is one of my favorite authors. Just One Kiss takes you back to the town of Fool's Gold, California with all its warm and quirky characters, and is the first in a trilogy within the long running series.
The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg is another one of her trademark heartwarming and humorous stories. The story starts in 2005 with main character Sookie, a 60-year-old woman, living in Alabama with her dentist husband. Except for having to deal with her demanding and flamboyant mother Lenore, she expects to be living a quiet life now that her four children are grown. Then Sookie finds out that she was adopted, and her birth mother was a young woman from the Jurdabralinski family of Pulaski, Wisconsin.
In the Greek myth Pandora's Box, Pandora was given a beautiful jar and told not to open it under any circumstance. But, curiosity got the best of her and Pandora opened it and all the evils of the world escaped and spread over the earth. An action so small, yet with severe and far-reaching consequences. In The Husbands Secret by Liane Moriarty, Cecelia Fitzpatrick's "jar" is in the form of a letter she finds in her attic, addressed "For my wife - to be opened only in the event of my death". This one small letter changes the course of many lives.
Food Network TV host Sandra Lee has written a novel set in New London, Wisconsin. The book includes recipes and is a good choice for fans of Sandra Lee or those who like to read Debbie Macomber. Lee lived in Onalaska, Wisconsin in her teens and graduated from high school there. Her grandmother Lorraine was a stabilizing influence on her life, and the grandmother in Lee’s novel TheRecipe Box is also called Lorraine. The main character in the story is Grace, a divorced woman with a fourteen-year-old daughter named Emma.
Shopping for readers this holiday season? The BookCellar at the Fond du Lac Public Library – the city’s only used book store – sells used books, movies, music and magazines for all ages at deep discounts. Most hardcover books are $1, paperbacks and kids’ books are 50 cents.
In December, two special sales offer even-better deals: