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.

Innocents and Others by Dana Spiotta

innocentsMeadow and Carrie are best friends.  They both grew up in L.A. in the 80’s and both became successful filmmakers. Their story uses the old, “rich girl/poor girl”, and “nice girl/ bad girl” tropes, but defies turning the women into stereotypes. They make very different types of films and have very different outlooks on life. Meadow makes raw, experimental documentaries while Carrie takes her cue from sitcoms, making funny films with strong women protagonists. Both are narrators. Carrie’s story is predominately about Meadow and their friendship. Meadow’s story is about Meadow and her films. This is not a 50/50 relationship, not especially warm and fuzzy, but it is real and solid. Interspersed is the story of Jelly and Jack, the subjects of one Meadow’s documentaries. Their relationship plays out completely over the phone with heartbreaking results. Innocents and Others is a book that challenges the reader to consider what real friendship is and what you should expect from it.  I recommend this book highly if you like fiction about ideas and art.
Sherri Mc


Bookmark and Share

Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz

orphan xUrban legends exist about a man, a Nowhere Man, who will help those who have no other help. He doesn’t ask for money, rather, he provides his help with only one condition: that you pass along his phone number to one other person in need. Except this Nowhere Man is no urban legend. Taken off the streets as a child, Evan Smoak has been trained in a government black ops program given the code name Orphan. Evan is Orphan X. He has mad skills, and uses them for good by killing bad people. But when he helps a young woman named Katrin, somehow he himself ends up in the cross-hairs. The attention means that his secure, hidden life as an unknown agent is threatened. His heart, also secure and hidden, is threatened by his neighbor Mia and her adorable son Peter. Can Evan save Katrin, save Mia and Peter, and save himself? Plot twists and turns keep the pages turning. The body count mounts and the action is fast and furious as Evan battles to outwit his clever adversaries. This is a book that might keep you up all night; you have been warned!

First book of what looks to be a promising series, Orphan X will appeal to those who like Jason Bourne, James Bond, and Jason Statham movies. Already this book looks to be heading to the big screen. An excellent read.


Bookmark and Share

Honky Tonk Samurai by Joe Lansdale

honkyHere I go again in love with another Joe Lansdale book.  I still remember when his work was new to me and I read Vanilla Ride and it knocked my socks off.  Honky Tonk Samurai is part of his same Hap and Leonard series and like previous books in the series is violent, hilarious, and decidedly NOT politically correct.   In this installment Hap and Leonard are doing surveillance for their periodic employer (The Marvin Hanson Agency) when they witness a guy kicking his dog.  Hap and Leonard jump out of the car and confront him and insist he apologize to the dog and give it to them.  He refuses so Leonard beats him until he sees the error of his ways.  Meanwhile, their boss Marvin pulls up in a police car and informs them he has just come out of retirement and is now the police chief so he needs to sell the detective agency.  Hap’s girlfriend is tired of being a nurse so she buys it.  They get a case right off the bat and craziness ensues.  Between the three of them they are also able to take great care of the doggy-in fact, she probably thinks she has died and gone to heaven as she gets to go on frequent trips to Dairy Queen for a vanilla cone and no-one is kicking her anymore.  I do not know why I enjoy these books so much because I generally like them violent and gritty with absolutely no humor involved but his brand of humor hits the right spots for me.  A must read.

Stacy W


Bookmark and Share

Be Frank with Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson

be frankAlice Whitley has loved “Pitched,” a book by reclusive writer M. M. Banning, for years.  The book is the author’s singular and much lauded title, a modern classic in the same way “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a classic. Alice, who works for M. M. (Mimi) Banning’s agent, is sent to help the author as she works on a new book–the first one she’s written in years. When Alice arrives, she is immediately put in charge of Frank, Mimi’s son. Frank is nine years old, but inside, he’s an old soul who loves old movies, dresses in old movie fashions, and is smarter than almost everyone else. What Frank can’t do is get along in public schools, handle his reactions when people don’t follow his rules, and understand normal, everyday situations. As Alice begins to understand more about Frank, she begins to wonder about Frank’s father, and she also begins to wonder if Mimi, who types like a fanatic every day in her room, is actually writing a novel. When a handsome, mysterious man named Xander arrives in the household, Alice becomes more deeply involved with the family. Can Alice help Frank adjust to school, figure out how Xander fits into the picture, and help Mimi finish her book, all before Mimi’s finances run out? She is certainly determined to try, at the same time, she hopes to satisfy her insatiable curiosity about the secrets of Mimi and Frank’s life.

This is a marvelous book. At first, it seems like a breezy, light tale, full of comedic antics, mostly performed by Frank. But the story has hidden depth as we come to understand Frank and Mimi, and fully realize the dynamics of their relationship. This story is less about Alice’s growth as a character, and more about her learning to appreciate the personalities and needs of others. And if you don’t fall in love with Frank while you read this book, there is something seriously wrong with you. Be Frank With Me is a funny, charming tale, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Annette G.


Bookmark and Share

The Tudors : The Complete Story of England’s Most Notorious Dynasty by G. J. Meyer

tudorsThe Tudors : The Complete Story of England’s Most Notorious Dynasty is what I believe they call “history for the general reader.”  The book reads as if it were fiction, but it’s chock full of facts and stories on each member of the Tudor dynasty starting with Henry VII and ending with Elizabeth I.

I really felt like I learned a lot of things I hadn’t known before, especially about Mary and Elizabeth.  For those of you who want to hear something new, you won’t be disappointed!  G. J. Meyer seems to make a point of approaching his subjects in ways most historians do not.  I cannot stress enough how much G. J. Meyer packs into his books.  You’ll learn so much and it’s presented in such a natural tone that you should really enjoy this if you love Tudor history.

Michael W.


Bookmark and Share

The Killing Lessons by Saul Black

killing lessonIf you are in the habit of leaving your doors unlocked, you might turn over a new leaf after reading the first couple chapters of The Killing Lessons by Saul Black.  Rowena Cooper and her kids Nell and Josh live out in the middle of nowhere in Colorado.  Rowena’s baking cookies, Josh is upstairs with headphones on and Nell is outside by the woods feeding wildlife.  Rowena walks out of her kitchen to find two men in her hallway and they are not there to burglarize the house-in fact they have no interest in theft unless it’s the theft of life and dignity.  When Nell comes inside, Rowena ‘s life is slipping away but she is able to whisper “run” to her daughter.  Fortunately, Xander, the alpha killer, is upstairs busy with Josh and his accomplice Paulie is the only one who sees Nell.  He takes off after her but is unsuccessful and is too scared to tell Xander that there is someone they missed.  The Cooper family is not the only victims of these ruthless killers who roam the West.  Detective Valerie Hart and her team have been on the case for a long time and are not really making progress.  An FBI agent is brought in to help and she comes with a secret hatred of Valerie.  Meanwhile Nell makes it to a hermit’s cabin and he does his best to help but he has back problems that make him have to crawl on the ground.  He has no phone or electricity.  Did I mention the raging snowstorms going on or that the hermit’s cabin lies across a deep ravine whose bridge fell after Nell crossed?  And that Nell herself is suffering from broken bones?  The tension just keeps ratcheting up and Nell is not safe staying where she is.  Great debut novel – would love to read more from Saul Black.

Stacy W.


Bookmark and Share

George by Alex Gino

George-200x300George is a boy with a secret: on the inside, George is a girl. She manages to hide her secret most of the time, but it makes her miserable. Her class is planning a play of the classic story, Charlotte’s Web, and George wants nothing more than to audition for the part. She loves Charlotte, feeling a special connection to the character. But the role of Charlotte is a girl’s part, and George isn’t even sure she will be considered. Family, friends, classmates, teachers, and school administrators all play a role in the drama that is George’s life as she tries to become a part of the class play. This is a beautiful story, delicately told from George’s point of view. The message is not heavy handed or preachy, rather, this story is like any other story of a young person trying to figure out who they are and how they fit into the world. Which, I believe, is exactly the point.

George by Alex Gino is a book on a sensitive subject, but it is very well handled. Suitable for grades 4 and up, this is a book I highly recommend.

Annette G.


Bookmark and Share

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


Bookmark and Share

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.


Bookmark and Share

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


Bookmark and Share

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