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.

In the Evil Day by Richard Adams Carey

evilIf you are despondent about all the bad publicity you’ve seen this year about police officers, read In the Evil Day by Richard Adams Carey and you will be reminded of the thousands and thousands of officers who protect and serve us every day and what would happen to you and I if they were not there ready and willing to lay down their lives for ours.  In August 1997, an unstable man named Carl Drega went on a rampage in the small town of Colebrook NH.  Drega felt like he was  “picked on” by town officials because of code violations (which in reality he was cut a lot of slack) and was a thorn in their sides, always showing up at meetings and refusing to leave, asking for years old minutes of meetings and becoming enraged when they were not instantaneously available.  But he seemed to be just a pest.  Mix in the death of his wife and the availability of guns and bomb making materials to him and it was only a matter of time before he blew up.  When his rampage ended state troopers were dead, the newspaper editor was dead, a judge was dead.  Other officers were badly wounded.  Conservation officers, state police, and town police officers were all involved in trying to stop Drega – a lot of them weren’t even on duty, they just heard everything start over the scanner and everyone dropped whatever they were doing to go see how they could help their fellow officers.  Oh, and by the way, Colbrook police officer pay was so low at that time that officers qualified for food stamps!  This book is so sad on so many levels but should be required reading.

Stacy W


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The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Claire

ironCallum Hunt has been warned by his father to stay away from magic, but on his 12th birthday, Callum has no choice but to take the entrance exam for the Magisterium, as his family is known for their magical powers. Callum tries valiantly to fail the test, but still he is chosen to attend the magical school. Now, cut off from his father, Callum tries to learn to use his powers and make friends. He studies under Master Rufus, the most esteemed mage at the school, along with two other promising students, Tamara and Aaron. While Callum learns such exciting things as how to move grains of sand with the power of his magic, he learns more about the school, the students, and ongoing magical war that killed his mother. Soon, Callum will learn enough about himself and his powers to be pulled deep into the heart of the magical war. The stakes continue rise as Callum, Master Rufus, Tamara, and Aaron face off against their enemy in the war: The Enemy of Death!

While the magical school setting may cause readers to compare this to the Harry Potter series, The Iron Trial has its magical merits and would be the perfect book to offer an eight-year old. The maze-like underground setting of the magic school is cool, and Callum is a likeable kid. The mages of the school know more than they are saying about the magical war, and the mystery of that knowledge keeps the pages flying as readers try to figure out what is going on. The world building suffers a little in comparison to books like Harry Potter, but overall, the fast pace and sympathetic characters make for an enjoyable read. Book 2, the The Copper Gauntlet, is out now.

Annette G.


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Van Halen Rising by Greg Renoff

ironWhen I grew up in the 1980s, I didn’t like dance/pop music like Prince and Madonna I liked music like Motley Crue and Van Halen.  Every guy I knew wanted to play guitar like Eddie Van Halen.  Unfortunately, they also wanted to do a lot of other things and as Greg Renoff’s new book Van Halen Rising demonstrates, Eddie Van Halen did little else when he was a teenager except practice playing guitar.  That total obsession made him into one of the most admired musicians ever and coupled with his brother Alex on drums, the duo were unstoppable even when they were young.  The Van Halen parents had immersed them in classical music training from when they were tiny and they let the brothers play rock as long as they got their piano practices in first.  When the brothers were teenagers and started putting on performances, Eddie sang and played guitar.  Alex was on drums and they went through a few different people on bass.  They played under a few different band names but all the while Eddie hated singing and wanted to just play guitar-enter David Lee Roth.  The Van Halen brothers were poor, Roth had money, rock star aspirations, and nagged them relentlessly to let him be their lead singer.  You know how musicians and celebrities always claim they were nerds or ugly in school-not Roth.  His classmates said he was always Mr. Popular and was being swarmed by women even when he was in high school.  And probably most important of all he had confidence just oozing out of his pores. Finally stage equipment problems got the Van Halen brothers to give Roth a second glance (he had good equipment they could use).  Van Halen was now on their way because although Eddie Van Halen was a world class musician, he was not the self-promoter Roth was and he was just as happy playing a song that went on for 10 minutes and looking like a lumberjack while he did it.  Roth understood that he had to get them to look better on stage and he had to get them to whittle down their songs to lengths that radio stations would play.  This book was interesting-lots of name dropping and music controversies to sink your teeth into.  Regardless, Van Halen with David Lee Roth (not Sammy Hagar) will always be one of my favorites.

Stacy W


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Alice by Christina Henry

aliceWhile Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is considered to be a children’s story, I have always found it to be an odd, non-nonsensical tale with more than its fair share of darkness. The Tim Burton movie version is closer to how I see this story, as many of the characters clearly show more of their unsavory inner selves on-screen. Author Christina Henry, with her version of the story, simply titled Alice, may have written my favorite Alice story to-date. But let me be clear…this is not a children’s story. This is not even a young adult story. This is an adult story full of adult themes and will appeal to those readers who like horror, magic, and the justice meted out with blood and guns in old Western stories.

When the story opens, Alice has been held in an asylum for the insane for ten long years. Her only persistent memory is of a vicious rabbit with a missing eye. When the asylum catches fire, she is helped to escape by fellow resident Hatcher, and as they run through the Old City seeking safety, they realize that something escaped with them–the Jabberwock is also free. (Beware the jaws that bite, the claws that catch!) The Jabberwock brings death, and Alice and Hatcher must try to stop it. And down the rabbit hole we go, into the depths of Old City, a place full of violence, evil, fear, magic, and just the faintest bit of hope. Hope in the form of mad Alice, axe-killer Hatcher, the cunning Chesire, and the assortment of desperate folks they meet along the way, including a giant, vindictive rabbit named Pipkin. Will the Jabberwock meet his end? Will the Vorpal blade go snicker-snack? Read, and find out. The second book in this series, Red Queen, comes out next year. Not for the faint of heart, and meant only for adults, this is still highly recommended.

Annette G.


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Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson

RosemaryRosemary Kennedy (1918-2005) eldest daughter of Joseph P. & Rose, spent her life paying for the mistakes of others, starting with a birth botched by an attendant that resulted in intellectual disability, and later a fateful decision by her father to use experimental surgery to “correct” his eldest daughter’s unpredictable mood swings and behavior.  The Kennedy family was an inhospitable place for an “underachiever,”  despite that she had grown into a lovely and loving young woman (illustrated by never-before-published photographs),  and a disastrous lobotomy at age 23 resulted in her being hidden away  for years.  Only after the patriarch’s death did other family members begin finding their way back to her.

Rosemary:  The Hidden Kennedy Daughter details that, despite the faulty decisions made on Rosemary’s behalf, her parents did explore many avenues of possible educational help for her.   Unfortunately, there was no “cure” for the damage done, and the attempt to mitigate it caused far more grave disability.  Yet Rosemary remained loved by her family and was of particular inspiration to younger sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who worked tirelessly on behalf of the mentally disabled until her own death.

The author brings the book to an effective conclusion by stressing the likelihood that it was the family’s love of Rosemary combined with knowledge of the misunderstandings, treatment and trials she suffered, that contributed to their efforts toward improved perceptions, conditions and treatment for the mentally ill and intellectually disabled in our country and in the world.    Despite Rosemary Kennedy’s tragedy, her suffering served as inspiration for such institutions as the Special Olympics, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the many other strides in treatment and attitudes toward the mentally challenged.

Alison M.


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The Searcher by Simon Toyne

searcherA plane crashes near the town of Redemption, in the Arizona desert, and out of the smoke walks a bare-footed albino without any memory of who he is. The only clue to his identity is a label in the back of his jacket giving the name of Solomon Creed. His only possession is a memoir of the Redemption’s town founder, Jack Cassidy. Uninjured from the crash, Solomon is filled with a sense of urgency to save James Coronado; a man he finds out is already dead. Undeterred, Solomon turns his attention to Coronado’s widow Holly, whose home has been burglarized. The plane crash, it seems, has started a whirlwind of events that come together to form a firestorm, one that soon centers on Solomon and Holly. The past and present tie together as Solomon comes to understand how Jack Cassidy’s life from the past ties in with James Coronado’s in the present. The tensions mount as Solomon faces a final battle for Holly’s life, and for the life of the town.

The Searcher is the first book of a new series, and Solomon Creed is a fascinating character. He is an unknown, but clearly he has abilities beyond those of mortal men. He is smart, and filled with almost endless knowledge. He has heightened senses, and seems to know how future events may play out. The story is a straight-up mystery/thriller, but hint of the supernatural adds a nice bit of spice. Very enjoyable, and I will definitely read the second book in this series.

Annette G.


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The Animals by Christian Kiefer

animalsI usually can’t handle reading any books in which animals die but I was able to get through Christian Kiefer’s The Animals without bawling my eyes out.  I actually hated taking breaks from it even as it was breaking my heart.  I found a kindred soul in the main character, Bill Reed, who owns and runs a wild animal sanctuary in Idaho.  All of the animals have disabilities and could not survive for long in the wild.  Bill does not have very many worldly goods and the sanctuary limps along barely making ends meet with great volunteers and Bill, who will go without if a bill pertaining to the animals needs to be paid.  He is fortunate in that his county sheriff believes in him and his girlfriend is a veterinarian.  The bad news is that there is a new game warden in his region who follows federal law to the letter and starts hassling Bill about permits that were never sought, etc. by Bill’s dead uncle who started the sanctuary.  He even says Bill will never be able to retroactively get a permit for Majer, his beloved blind bear who is over 30 and has never known anything but captivity or for Zeke, his wolf who was found so injured that one of his legs had to be amputated but is living very happily in the sanctuary with three legs.  The new warden says those animals will most likely have to be euthanized since they can’t be set free and the government won’t let Bill just take care of them until their natural death.  While Bill and Grace are gearing up to fight for the animals, an old friend shows up from Bill’s wild criminal past determined to make sure Bill doesn’t get to live a happy, good life.  Highly recommended.

Stacy W


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The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson

girl ghost eyesSet in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the 1880s, Li-Lin sees ghosts with her yin eyes. This supernatural gift is considered to be a curse by her father, a powerful Daoshi exorcist.  Li-Lin honors her father, but embraces her gift in spite of his disapproval. Now widowed, Li-Lin must make her own way in the world, without the full support of her father. When a family friend tricks her into taking a trip into the spirit world and tries to trap her there, Li-Lin is forced to take action to protect her life. The friend seems to be working with a powerful sorcerer, and soon, her father and the entire town are threatened by an ancient evil. With the help of a spirit in the shape of an eyeball, Li-Lin must embrace her own strengths to save those she loves. The Girl with Ghost Eyes is Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Kung Fu in this brilliant, vibrant debut.

Annette G.

 


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Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas

cold-hearted-rakeDevon Ravenel had no plans to become an earl, but unfortunately for him, the title falls to him upon the death of his cousin. Arrogant, charming, and more than a little wicked, Devon is a scoundrel who thinks only of himself. His new title brings with it a dilapidated country estate, disgruntled tenants, and the guardianship of his cousin’s three sisters. Devon is all for evicting the sisters, selling the estate, and moving on with his life. The only thing that stands in his way? The stubborn disapproval of his late cousin’s widow, Kathleen. And Kathleen seems to have the ability to worm her way into the new earl’s thoughts, and sway his decisions. To his great dismay, the title of “earl” seems to force a personality change. Devon Revenel begins to *care.* Not only that, but he begins to care a great deal for Kathleen.

Devon has a long list of challenges to overcome: can he save the estate, help the beleaguered tenants, provide care for the late earl’s three sisters, and find a way to Kathleen his own? Sparks will fly and tempers will flare, but perhaps, in the end, true love will prevail.

Lisa Kleypas is one of my favorite Regency romance authors. Cold-Hearted Rake is the first of a new series, and I am already eagerly awaiting the next one.

Annette G.


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Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich

bull mountainIn Brian Panowich’s Bull Mountain, Sheriff Clayton Burroughs is trying his best to be a better man than everyone else in his extended family of criminals.  He is not corrupt, he is married to a good woman, and he tries to be a good boss.  Burroughs has messed up occasionally because he loves to drink but he has not touched alcohol for a while now.  FBI agent Simon Holly comes to Sheriff Burroughs wanting his help in convincing the Burroughs family to give up their criminal enterprise in the Georgian mountains and help him make a case against a bigger set of criminals in Florida that they have dealings with.  If the sheriff can convince his family, Agent Holly says they can retire from a life of crime with no jail time and keep all their earnings.  The sheriff’s wife wants him to have no part of getting back in contact with his family but the sheriff dreams of helping them go straight.  It is almost too late when he starts to wonder If Agent Holly is being on the level with him or if he has in own motivations in this grand scheme.  Awesome debut novel.

Stacy W.


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