BookClique

Here we will post our musings on a wide variety of titles. You can comment on our posts and find the titles in our catalog.

Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

halfakingIn Joe Abercrombie’s latest fantasy, Half a King, we meet Prince Yarvi, born with a crippled hand. When his father and brother are killed, Yarvi unexpectedly finds himself king. Yarvi never wanted to be king and feels he is woefully unprepared to take on the role. A king should be able to swing a sword and carry a shield, and he can do neither. How can a crippled king truly lead his people? Quickly, his fears are realized as betrayal takes the throne from him. Now Yarvi must fight for his life while withstanding brutal hardships. Yet, Yarvi endures, and through his trials, his true strengths begin to be revealed. Now on a quest to reclaim his throne, Yarvi may find that half-a-king is the strongest king of all. Joe Abercrombie has written a number of brilliant fantasy titles, but many of them are too grim and dark for me. With Yarvi’s coming-of-age tale, Joe gives us a compelling character and a marvelous fantasy world, but one where hope and possibilities are allowed to live and flourish. Highly recommended.

Annette G.


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The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

queenofthetearlingPrincess Kelsea is the heir to the Tearling throne, but she is raised in isolation and taught by a couple who were loyal to her mother, Queen Elyssa. When she turns nineteen, the Queen’s Guard arrive to take her to the capital; it is time for Kelsea to take the throne. She is unprepared for the difficulties that await her; she is not familiar with the political maneuverings of the royal court, nor is she aware of how her uncle, the regent, has been ruling the kingdom. And most notably, she is not familiar with her enemy, the Red Queen of Mortmesne, who possesses control over a fearsome, dark magic. Kelsea learns that the blue stone necklace she wears around her neck is one of the Tearling sapphires, a jewel of great power. Kelsea must learn a great many things very quickly if she is to save her kingdom. With the support of the Queen’s Guard, led by the stoic, yet resourceful Lazarus, she at least stands a chance of surviving.

I have mixed feelings about The Queen of the Tearling. I liked it because Kelsea is a strong female character and is not looking for her lost love to save the day. Her relationship with Lazarus, the captain of her guard, is based upon the growing respect they have for each other and seems likely to turn into a real friendship. However, as a reader of fantasy, I thought the world building needed some work. This debut is the first of a trilogy, and I can hope for improvement in the second book. The movie rights for this book have already been sold, and Emma Watson is already rumored to be signed on for the role of Kelsea. For that reason alone, this book will be a best seller.

Annette G.


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Muzzled by Eileen Brady

muzzledVeterinarian Kate Turner said she’d fill in for Doc Anderson for a year because she thought working in the small town of Oak Falls, New York would be relaxing. Battle-scarred from a relationship gone wrong, Kate needs a change of pace to regroup and heal. But on one of her house calls, she discovers an elderly couple dead and their dogs running loose. The police decide that the deaths are a result of a murder-suicide, but Kate isn’t so sure. The Langthornes would never leave their beloved show dogs without proper care, no matter what other problems they faced. The issue bothers Kate, and she can’t help but snoop. Her questions stir up trouble, and Kate quickly learns that small towns and dog shows are much more complicated than she first thought.

This is a delightful debut cozy mystery. Kate is no-nonsense and likeable as she deals with the lively residents of Oak Falls, both the humans and the animals. I enjoyed the veterinary aspects of the story. Muzzled is a compelling start to what I hope will be an ongoing series.

Annette G.


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Mind of Winter by Laura Kasischke

mindofwinterWhen I was reading Mind of Winter, I thought I had figured out what was happening every couple pages.  Author Laura Kasischke tells the story of mother Holly and daughter Tatiana stuck at home on Christmas day during an unexpected blizzard.  Holly and husband Eric had been planning a big holiday party, but of course everyone has had to cancel at the last minute because of the weather.  Eric had already left in the morning before the weather got bad to pick up his parents at the airport, and although he’s just a cell phone call away, he hates talking on a cell.  He says he longs for the days of landlines when a phone actually worked all the time, and your calls weren’t constantly breaking up or being dropped.  He has no interest in carrying around a tiny computer like a smart phone.  Holly doesn’t want to hear his complaints so she tries never to call him.  Daughter Tatiana was adopted from a Russian orphanage when she was a baby, and she is now a surly teenager.  Holly seems obsessed with her daughter and clearly wants to be best friends with her instead of being her mom.  At times, Holly is so annoying you’re actually rooting for Tatiana to be verbally nasty to her mom because she’s so irritating.  At other times, you do feel sorry for Holly, especially because she keeps remembering waking up that morning to the thought  that “something had followed them home from Russia.”  This entire book is just one day, and it’s hard to figure out whether Holly is crazy, hallucinating, or Tatiana is truly evil.  The ending will shock you.

Stacy W.


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Deep Winter by Samuel W. Gailey

deepwinterThe bad guy in Deep Winter is Deputy Mike Sokowski, but although some people in town think of him as a bully, no one realizes just how bad he is until one winter night.  Except for his best friend Carl, he hides from everyone his drug and excessive alcohol use, and certainly, most people are unaware that he is growing and selling marijuana.  The victim of a lot of Mike’s bullying is Danny Bedford, a man who is mentally challenged.  The only person in town who is actually nice to Danny is a waitress named Mindy who also happens to be Mike’s on and off girlfriend.  When Danny walks over to Mindy’s house on her birthday to give her a present and discovers her dead, he almost falls apart.  Mike and Carl are there too and say they just found her body, and they tell Danny to stand guard over it while they go and get help.  Of course, innocent Danny is blamed for Mindy’s murder, and that killing is actually just the beginning of one long violent night in this small town.  Couldn’t put it down.

Stacy W.


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Double Whammy by Gretchen Archer

doublewhammyDavis Way (her real name), from Pine Apple, Alabama (not “Pineapple,” for the uninformed) has bad luck with jobs. So when Mr. Sanders, CEO of the Bellissimo Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi offers her a job, she is beyond thrilled. But when parts of her job involve wearing disguises, playing video poker, working as a hotel maid, and dealing with slightly sinister security guards (nicknames: No Hair and Teeth), Davis becomes wary of her role in the bigger scheme of things. Yes, they are giving her oodles of cash, but what about the warnings of impending doom from a mysterious, and possibly homeless, cab driver? What about her instructions to stay away, at all costs, from her boss’ wife, Mrs. Sanders? And what about the reappearance of her scheming and vile ex-husband, Eddie? Davis is unsettled, to be sure, but resolute to keep her job at all costs. She takes solace in her new obsession with her absent landlord, Bradley Cole. (He left pictures behind, and Davis may or may not have rooted through all his belongings to find more.) When dead bodies start to show up, Davis’ new career is launched into high gear. Now, in addition to figuring out who is doing all the scamming at the casino, she needs to figure out who is doing all the killing. Twist and turns, laugh-out-loud situations, and a cast of quirky characters make Double Whammy a winner. First in the Davis Way mystery series, the second book is titled Double Dip.

Annette G.


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Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

elizabethismissing_coverMaud can’t find her friend, Elizabeth, and no one seems to be able to help her find her. Maud is challenged in her task, for Maud has dementia. Pieces and parts of her life have already gone missing, and she survives by clinging to those bits and snatches she still has left. Elizabeth is a critical part, and Maud is fiercely determined to find her, regardless of the lack of help from her family, neighbors, and friends. And so Maud sets off, and we set off with her. We learn, as we journey with Maud, that Elizabeth isn’t the only person missing from her life; her sister is missing as well, lost  long ago. In Maud’s increasingly muddled mind, the veil between the past and the present has become thin. As Maud follows clues to find Elizabeth, we, the reader, also learn of her sister’s story, and see the depth of pain that Maud has carried with her for a great many years. Elizabeth is Missing is a haunting tale that reminds us, even if the rest of our lives are stripped away, the love of our family and friends is what’s most important. Maud is holding on as tight as she can to those things she holds most dear. Perhaps, before the last of her memories fade away, Maud can find all that she’s  lost, at least one last time. This book will remain with me for a very long time. Dementia and Alzheimer’s rob us of more than just our memories…they threaten to rob us of dignity as they progress. Maud and her family face her difficulties with great dignity and love. I would hope that the rest of us, when faced with such trials, could do as well.

Annette G.


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The Best of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency edited by Chris Monks and John Warner

bestoftendency_coverI have followed Dave Eggers, founder of McSweeney’s Publishing, since reading his great memoir “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” years ago.  When I came across the short essay book The Best of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, I had to read it.  My favorite essay is “Passive-Aggressive Vegan Grocery Cashier: A Day in the Life” by Meredith Gray.  New mothers will enjoy “Hello Stranger on the Street, Could You Please Tell Me How to Take Care of My Baby?” by Wendy Molyneux.  Last but not least, Transformers fans will love “A Letter to Optimus Prime from his Geico Auto Insurance Agent” by Frank Weaver.  You won’t want to miss this book, and McSweeney’s is certainly going to gain some new fans with it.

Stacy W.


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Bad Things Happen by Harry Dolan

imagesDavid Loogan needs a shovel, and as he considers the selection at the local garden center, we become aware that the shovel must meet certain requirements. David Loogan has to bury a body, and for that purpose, some types of shovels just won’t do.  At this point of the story, you might think David Loogan is a very bad guy who has done a very bad thing.  And of course, you would be wrong. David Loogan is a man with a mysterious past. Currently living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, avid works as an editor for a mystery magazine titled Grey Streets. Tom Kristoll is his boss, and Laura Kristoll, Tom’s wife, is David’s lover. What we know about David Loogan could fit in a thimble. We know he dislikes parking garages. He is wary about being outside at night. And when Tom Kristoll says he need help to bury a body, David Loogan barely bats an eye. Yet, when a second body turns up, and a third, we see that it is David Loogan, man of mystery, who might actually be able to identify the killer. With the help of the local police, particularly detective Elizabeth Waishkey, David starts to piece together the motives behind the murders. His detective skills earn him Elizabeth Waishkey’s respect, even while they put both of their lives in danger.Bad Things Happen is the first book in the David Loogan mystery series. The second book is titled Very Bad Men, and the third is The Last Dead Girl. I very much enjoyed the fast-paced, witty dialogue of this book, and I appreciated the fact that, by the end of the book, we still have a lot to learn about David Loogan. He is a man who is loyal to his friends, protective of those weaker than himself, and clearly has a strong sense of justice. Yet, he is a man who seems at ease burying a body, and he also seems capable of excessive violence. The disparity in his character makes me eager to learn more about him, to find out how he came to be this way. Style-wise, Bad Things Happen most reminded me of books from the Spenser series from Robert Parker. I will certainly read the next two books in this series.

Annette G.


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Trapped Under the Sea by Neil Swidey

imagesNeil Swidey has written a book that will just infuriate you.  Fast paced and shocking, Trapped Under the Sea: One Engineering Marvel, Five Men and a Disaster Ten Miles Into the Darkness is also a reminder to us that a lot of things that we take for granted like big buildings and bridges, tunnels and dams are rarely built without someone dying on the job.  The author points out that we don’t really pay any attention when we hear about a worker or two dying on a construction site-blue collar deaths don’t generally grab national headlines unless more than a couple die at once.  Well, if you didn’t know, there are actually workers who dive down under the sea and do construction work down there like welding, bolting things together, etc.  Whenever I’ve thought of diving, I’ve always thought of scuba or free diving-believe me, this is not leisure, these guys are working hard and in danger every minute.  In this book, a group of divers is hired to finally finish a huge way over budget and years behind schedule sewer tunnel being built under Boston Harbor.  This tunnel has no breathable air, no lights, and the job is 10 miles inside the tunnel.  After spending hundreds of millions of dollars and years constructing the tunnel, now the tunnel project managers are in a big hurry to finish and want to save money on the last bits of the project.  Add to this an egotistical engineer who concocts a never seen before breathing apparatus that all the big wigs sign off on and you have a disaster in the making.  When the construction divers question whether or not it will work, they’re treated with contempt and told to just do as they’re told.   Day one in the tunnel: glitches with their supplies.  Day two in the tunnel :glitches with their supplies.  Day three: deaths.  If you thought I was going to say day three, plans were scrapped and the planners went back to the drawing board you’d be wrong.  The heroes of this project weren’t cutting the ribbons to open it, weren’t on TV or in the news, they were the workers, several of whom the author gets to know very well.  Riveting and hard to forget.

Stacy W.


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Tippecanoe County Public Library * 627 South Street * Lafayette, IN * 47901 * 765 429-0100