Staff Picks

A book for book lovers

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin is a touching story about people who love books and about the people they love. A.J. is a middle-aged widower who owns Island Books on Alice Island, MA. He is quirky and prickly and still grieving for his wife Nic who died in a car accident. Things are not going well for A.J. His meeting with Amelia Loman, the new representative for Knightly Press, ends badly with A.J. ranting about the current state of publishing.

Power Play by Danielle Steel

The life of business and power is not all it seems and Danielle Steel's latest novel gives an excellent example of the good and bad. Power Play runs two stories at the same time about powerful CEO's and the way they conduct their lives - one involving a hardworking devoted mother who sacrifices any type of personal life for her success, and the other a philandering, scheming man with no conscience who always seems to land on top. The way the two stories come together is excellently written.

It’s not e-books versus print books; it’s e-books AND print books

I generally read print books, but sometimes I read an e-book. In this case the book that I wanted to read was not available in print here at the Fond du Lac Public Library, but it was available to me as an e-book through the Library from the Wisconsin Digital Library (Overdrive). I did a virtual check-out of Wicked Watertown: History You Weren’t Supposed to Know by W. F. Jannke published as a print book in 2010 and as an e-book in 2012.

All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner

Bestselling chick-lit author Jennifer Weiner goes a bit darker with her newest book All Fall Down, a compelling story about the price some people pay in the pursuit of having it all. Weiner tackles the growing epidemic in our society of middle and upper-class suburban parents who abuse prescription medication to cope with their overworked and overstressed lifestyles, yet writes this story beautifully and in a way that doesn't make you hate the addict or necessarily feel sorry for her either.

Western Romantic Suspense

If you like reading romantic suspense with a western setting try the Beartooth Mountain series by B. J. Daniels. Having just finished Forsaken, third in the series, I have to say I am hooked on this genre. Not your typical western story, it has elements of murder, mystery, horses and handsome cowboys - what more could you ask for? Written with intertwining story lines and the beautiful details of the Montana landscape, you can almost smell the pine trees, the frost on the air, the smell of the horses, and the smoke from the campfires.

New Mystery Series Set in Wisconsin

If you like mysteries set in Wisconsin, try Death Stalks Door County by Patricia Skalka, the first in the Dave Cubiak series. Cubiak was a Chicago cop who became a park ranger at Peninsula State Park after his wife and daughter were killed in an accident. He is still grieving, feeling guilty, and drinking too much. This is a not a cozy mystery even though the author does a good job of describing the beauty and ambience of Door County.

Unleashing Mr. Darcy by Teri Wilson

What a fun book! Unleashing Mr. Darcy by Teri Wilson is a humorous contemporary retelling of the classic Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice set (of all places) in the world of dog shows. Fans of Austen won't be disappointed; Wilson has very cleverly weaved in references to the original tale and does an excellent job bringing back to life Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth while adding a fun modern twist.

Reality and Illusion in the Confabulist by Steven Galloway

The title Confabulist means that a person makes up stories because the person does not know or cannot remember the truth, and narrator Martin Strauss is a confabulist. In the beginning Martin tells the reader that he has a condition where his brain cannot store and process memories and that he killed Harry Houdini. Part of the story is about Martin’s life as he believes it happened and part is factual information about Houdini.

Big Sky Wedding by Linda Lael Miller

It has been said that author Linda Lael Miller considers the cowboy to be the great North American myth, the ideal of honor, courage and persistence we need to live up to. After reading Big Sky Wedding, the fifth installment in her Parable, Montana series, I think I agree. The story is the perfect mix of hot cowboy and strong woman intent on ignoring their instant attraction to each other. The author's love for children, animals and nature shine through in this small town, family-oriented, western romance.

Casebook by Mona Simpson

There are many ways of choosing a book to read. It could be because of the subject matter, the cover, the series, the author, or because everyone is talking about it. I chose Casebook by Mona Simpson because I was intrigued by the author and the excellent reviews. Simpson was born in Green Bay (a Wisconsin connection!). Before her parents married, they had a son whom they gave up for adoption. Simpson did not know about her brother until she was an adult. Her brother was Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple.

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