Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Last Suppers by Mandy Mikulencak, 278 pages

Many children have grown up in the shadow of Louisiana’s Greenmount State Penitentiary. Most of them—sons and daughters of corrections officers and staff—left the place as soon as they could. Yet Ginny Polk chose to come back to work as a prison cook. She knows the harsh reality of life within those walls—the cries of men being beaten, the lines of shuffling inmates chained together. Yet she has never seen them as monsters, not even the ones sentenced to execution. That’s why, among her duties, Ginny has taken on a special responsibility: preparing their last meals.

Pot roast or red beans and rice, coconut cake with seven-minute frosting or pork neck stew . . . whatever the men ask for Ginny prepares, even meeting with their heartbroken relatives to get each recipe just right. It’s her way of honoring their humanity, showing some compassion in their final hours. The prison board frowns upon the ritual, as does Roscoe Simms, Greenmount’s Warden. Her daddy’s best friend before he was murdered, Roscoe has always watched out for Ginny, and their friendship has evolved into something deep and unexpected. But when Ginny stumbles upon information about the man executed for killing her father, it leads to a series of dark and painful revelations.

Truth, justice, mercy—none of these are as simple as Ginny once believed. And the most shocking crimes may not be the ones committed out of anger or greed, but the sacrifices we make for love.

And Eternity by Piers Anthony, 378 pages

In Pursuit of the Ultimate GoodAfter an overwhelming succession of tragedies, life has finally, mercifully ended for Orlene, once-mortal daughter of Gaea.

Joined in Afterlife by Jolie -- her protector and the sometime consort of Satan himself -- together they seek out a third: Vita, a very contemporary mortal with troubles, attractions, and an unsettling moral code uniquely her own.

An extraordinary triumvirate, they embark on a great quest to reawaken the Incarnation of Good in a world where evil reigns -- facing challenges that will test the very fiber of their beings with trials as numerous, as mysterious, and as devastating as the Incarnations themselves.

The Body in the Casket by Katherine Hall Page, 238 pages

The inimitable Faith Fairchild returns in a chilling New England whodunit, inspired by the best Agatha Christie mysteries and with hints of the timeless board game Clue

For most of her adult life, resourceful caterer Faith Fairchild has called the sleepy Massachusetts village of Aleford home. While the native New Yorker has come to know the region well, she isn’t familiar with Havencrest, a privileged enclave, until the owner of Rowan House, a secluded sprawling Arts & Crafts mansion, calls her about catering a weekend house party.

Producer/director of a string of hit musicals, Max Dane—a Broadway legend—is throwing a lavish party to celebrate his seventieth birthday. At the house as they discuss the event, Faith’s client makes a startling confession. “I didn’t hire you for your cooking skills, fine as they may be; but for your sleuthing ability. You see, one of the guests wants to kill me.”

Faith’s only clue is an ominous birthday gift the man received the week before—an empty casket sent anonymously containing a 20-year-old Playbill from Max’s last, and only failed, production—Heaven Or Hell. Consequently, Max has drawn his guest list for the party from the cast and crew. As the guests begin to arrive one by one, and an ice storm brews overhead, Faith must keep one eye on the menu and the other on her host to prevent his birthday bash from becoming his final curtain.

Full of delectable recipes, brooding atmosphere, and Faith’s signature biting wit, The Body in The Casket is a delightful thriller that echoes the beloved mysteries of Agatha Christie and classic films such as Murder by Death and Deathtrap.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman, 354 pages

A hidden book. A found cipher. A game begins . . . .

Twelve-year-old Emily is on the move again. Her family is relocating to San Francisco, home of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger, a game where books are hidden all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles. But Emily soon learns that Griswold has been attacked and is in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold and leads to a valuable prize. But there are others on the hunt for this book, and Emily and James must race to solve the puzzles Griswold left behind before Griswold's attackers make them their next target.

Milk Glass Moon by Adriana Trigiani, 256 pages

Transporting us from Ave Maria's home in the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Italian Alps, from New York City to the Tuscan countryside, Milk Glass Moon is the story of a shifting mother-daughter relationship, of a daughter's first love and a mother's heartbreak, of an enduring marriage that contains its own ongoing challenges, and of a community faced with seismic change.

All of Trigiani's beloved characters are back: Jack Mac, Ave Maria's true love, who is willing to gamble security for the unknown; her best friend and confidant, bandleader Theodore Tip-ton, who begins a new life in New York City; librarian and sexpert Iva Lou Wade Makin, who faces a life-or-death crisis. Meanwhile, surprises emerge in the blossoming of crusty cashier Fleeta Mullins, the maturing of mountain girl turned savvy businesswoman Pearl Grimes, and the return of Pete Rutledge, the handsome stranger who turned Ave Maria's world upside down in Big Cherry Holler.

In this rollicking hayride of upheaval and change, Ave Maria is led to places she never dreamed she would go, and to people who enter her life and rock its foundation. As Ave Maria reaches into the past to find answers to the present, readers will stay with her every step of the way, rooting for the onetime town spinster who embraced love and made a family. Milk Glass Moon is about the power of love and its abiding truth, and captures Trigiani at her most lyrical and heartfelt.

It Came From Ohio... by James Renner, 111 pages

An investigative reporter looks into 13 tales of mysterious, creepy, and unexplained events in the Buckeye State, including:

• The giant, spark-emitting Loveland Frog

• The bloodthirsty Melon Heads of Kirtland

• The lumber-wielding Werewolf of Defiance

• The Mothman of the Ohio River

• The UFO that inspired "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"

• and more!

Lumberjanes A Bird's-Eye View, 112 pages

All Lumberjanes are on deck when the High Council comes to camp for inspection!

The High Council is coming to camp and counselor Jen is determined to make everything perfect, even though a storm is brewing and kittens from the boys’ camp are manifesting magical powers. It’s every Lumberjane on deck as the girls do their best to prep the grounds for inspection . . . but there are some storms no one can prepare for.

This New York Times bestseller and multiple Eisner Award-winning series is a story of friendship, hardcore lady-types, and kicking a lot of butt.