Here’s the final round of book-a-days from 2017 – enjoy!
Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
This is a sequel of sorts to Strout’s blockbuster novel, My Name is Lucy Barton. Anything is Possible picks up on the threads of the middle-aged lives of many of the characters introduced in her earlier novel. Strout’s writing displays a wonderful economy of phrase, yet it brilliantly captures the awkwardness, pain, grief, and moments of redemption in everyday lives, however dysfunctional they may seem. More than once I caught glimpses of weird people I knew from my own life, including myself. A complex, satisfying read about family and community dynamics.
A Taste of Latin America by Patricia Cartin
All ages, nonfiction
This unique look at Latin American cooking not only highlights the dishes in vibrant, decadent photos (you can almost smell the cilantro…), but also gives a brief food history on the country from which they hail, and some of the blended cultures that created these fascinating delicacies. Each country page gives facts, color photos and a map, followed by a grouping of 5ish recipes that are derived from that region. This is unusual in a cookbook — but leads to a much deeper appreciation for the culture…who doesn’t love sauces made with chocolate and caramel??? Each recipe is listed with a level of difficulty, straightforward instructions, ‘where to find’ tips and substitutions (Heinen’s has most everything you need). As an added bonus, most of this book is (naturally) gluten free. This is a very enjoyable read – even non-culinarians will be inspired!
One Shot by Brian Gates
A mysterious stranger shows up in a bar one night and forever changes the bartender’s life. The adventure that follows is one of mystery and suspense. The hunt is on to stop terrible events before they happen and solving the mysterious riddles is the key. This novel is full of plot twists and will keep the reader intrigued until the last page.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
This fiction title is set in Shaker Heights, Ohio in the 1990’s and tells the story of two families whose lives become intertwined when Mia Warren moves into a rental unit owned by the Richardson family.
Mia is an artist who moves from place to place with her daughter Pearl, while the Richardson family is an old, wealthy family from this perfectly planned suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. This novel explores the issues of race, class and the notion of motherhood.
The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness by Paula Poundstone
Paula Poundstone is a hoot! This is a wonderful choice for someone who loves wit and wisdom with a healthy dollop of sarcasm. The audiobook version is especially fun because it’s narrated by the author, herself!
An Echo of Things to Come by James Islington
Adult / epic fantasy
This is book #2 in the Licanius trilogy (#1 is The Shadow of What Was Lost, and #3 comes out next year). Definitely the best fantasy series I have read since Harry Potter!
The Lake Effect by Erin McCahan
I loved this charming book. A quick read with a lot of humor, charming characters, a fun summer beach setting, and interesting relationships that round out the story. Briggs begins his new summer job just after high school graduation as a personal assistant and handyman to an elderly widow living alone in a giant house on the beach in South Haven Michigan. Their dialogue alone is worth the read.
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
Teens and up (definitely an Adult book for Teens)
Focusing on the back story of sisters Jack and Jill, whom we meet in the prequel Every Heart a Doorway (2016), Down Among the Sticks and Bones is a quick and enthralling read. As part of an ongoing series, Down Among the Sticks and Bones gives us the backstory of two of the series’ most intriguing characters – serious, scientific Jack and spoiled, violent Jill. We find out how they end up at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children and what brought them to the end we read in Every Heart a Doorway. McGuire’s writing style is masterful and unique – there are no wasted words or overly complicated plot twists. She immerses you in her setting and makes you care about her characters with minimal and efficient description. I loved this book and I read them both again right after finishing them. I have never read anything like it so well done and I can’t wait to read the next one out this year!
On a Magical Do-Nothing Day by Beatrice Alemagna
This charming picture book is perfect for parents that are craving to pry their children away from the ever-present tablets, phones, and video games of today. Take a moment with your family to read this beautifully illustrated story about a child that accidentally drops their electronics in a pond. The adorably relate-able child ends up appreciating nature in a whole new way – maybe your family will, too!