Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The League of Beastly Dreadfuls: The Dastardly Deed by Holly Grant, 333 pages

Join the League . . .

After their narrow escape from a NEFARIOUS kidnapping ring, Anastasia, Ollie, and Quentin (a.k.a. The League of Beastly Dreadfuls!) are looking forward to a relaxing vacation from DANGER! INTRIGUE! CATASTROPHE! Sadly, they’re not going to get one.

Because Anastasia makes the SHOCKING discovery that her family is at the heart of a centuries-old scandal—a SCANDAL that began with THE DASTARDLY DEED. Before you can say “Bob’s your uncle,” the Dreadfuls have another MYSTERY to solve: the Case of the Missing Grandfather. Can our INTREPID LEAGUE track down Anastasia’s Vanished Gramps? Gentle Reader, BEWARE! The trail of clues leads to spine-tingling surprises. (Catastrophe! Magic! Opera! Stinky cheese! Science fairs!) Read on if you DARE!

Grave Consequences by Dana Cameron, 357 pages

Archaeologist Emma Fielding is beginning to doubt the wisdom of spending her vacation in England helping friends excavate a twelfth-century abbey, especially when they uncover an all-too-modern skeleton in a nearby medieval graveyard. But it's the second discovery--of a murdered graduate student recently missing from the dig--that suggests to Emma that Marchester isn't exactly the quiet riverside town that it appears to be. There are dark passions and lethal secrets buried here, heinous crimes that shake the conflicted community to its core. And it's up to Emma, an outsider far from home, to delve into a past that too many people--including her friends--would do anything to hide.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Tales Behind the Tombstones by Chris Enss, 207 pages

A crumbling headstone in the cemetery at Bodie, California, memorializes Rosa May, a prostitute still known for caring for the sick. In Deadwood, South Dakota, Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok, infamous to the end, lie interred side by side, per Jane's last request. And at the top of Lookout Mountain in Colorado lies the greatest western showman of all time, Buffalo Bill Cody, his grave site visited by thousands every year.
Simple stones, roadside crosses, and grand monuments commemorate the lives of those ordinary citizens and larger-than-life characters who tamed the Wild West and exemplified its greatest myths. In Tales Behind the Tombstones, author Chris Enss shares the stories behind their lives, deaths and burials.
Every college break, my daughter comes home, picks out library books that she never reads but I end up enjoying. This break was no different.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Tulipomania, The Story of the World's Most Coveted Flower & the Extraordinary Passions it Aroused by Mike Dash, 297 pages

In 1630s Holland thousands of people, from the wealthiest merchants to the lowliest street traders, were caught up in a frenzy of buying and selling. The objects of the speculation was not oil or gold, but the tulip, a delicate and exotic bloom that had just arrived from the East.
Over three years rare tulip bulbs changed hands for sums that would have bought a house in Amsterdam. Fortunes were made overnight, but then lost when, within a year, the market collapsed-with disastrous consequences.
Mike Dash recreates the bizarre episode, tracing the tulip's story from its origins on the Turkish steppes to its arrival in Europe. He follows the hysterical boom and devastating bust, beautifully evoking Holland's Golden Age.
This was an interesting read but I now compare these type of books to Kurlansky's books and this didn't quite measure up. But I'm still glad I picked it up.

Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander, 272 pages

Taran has been both Assistant Pig-Keeper and warrior, but his heart is troubled. Who are his parents? Where does he come from? In a quest to learn who he truly is. Taran travels Prydain seeking secrets long buried by time and silence.
Accompanied by his loyal friends, Taran begins his search. Maybe, if his parents are noble as he hopes, Princess Eilonwy with the red-gold hair will think as often and as fondly of Taran as he finds himself thinking of her.
I've read this series once before years ago and was compelled to read it again after one of my book clubs read the first one. I've enjoyed it, but with with overtones of apprehension because I know what's coming in the last book.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Crossing the Heart of Africa by Julian Smith, 325 pages

In 1898 the dashing British adventurer Ewert Grogan fell head-over-heels in love---but before he could marry, he needed the approval of his beloved's skeptical, aristocratic stepfather. Grogan, seeking to prove his worth and earn his love's hand, then set out on an epic quest to become the first man to cross the entire length of Africa, from Cape Town to Cairo, " a feat hitherto thought by many explorers to be impossible."
A little more than a century later, American journalist Julian Smith also found himself madly in love with his girlfriend of seven years...but he was terrified by the prospect of marriage. inspired by Grogan's story, which he discovered by chance, Smith decided to face his fears of commitment by retracing the explorer's amazing---but now forgotten---4,500-mile journey for love and glory through Africa.

The Many Reflections of Miss Jane Deming by J. Anderson Coats, 278 pages

High-spirited young Jane is excited to be part of Mr. Mercer’s plan to bring Civil War widows and orphans to Washington Territory—but life out west isn’t at all what she expected.

Washington Territory is just the place for men of broad mind and sturdy constitution—and girls too, Jane figures, or Mr. Mercer wouldn’t have allowed her to come on his expedition to bring unmarried girls and Civil War widows out west.

Jane’s constitution is sturdy enough. She’s been taking care of her baby brother ever since Papa was killed in the war and her young stepmother had to start working long days at the mill. The problem, she fears, is her mind. It might not be suitably broad because she had to leave school to take care of little Jer. Still, a new life awaits in Washington Territory, and Jane plans to make the best of it.

Except Seattle doesn’t turn out to be quite as advertised. In this rough-and-tumble frontier town, Jane is going to need every bit of that broad mind and sturdy constitution—not to mention a good sense of humor and a stubborn streak a mile wide.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Save the Last Dance For Me by Edward Gorman, 230 pages

As Black River Falls, Iowa, prepares for a presidential election campaign visit from Vice President Richard Milhous Nixon, Reverend John Muldaur is stirring up the town with both his anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic circulars and his snake-handling ceremonies. When Muldaur drops dead on his altar, however, it's not from a snakebite but from strychnine-laced Pepsi. With only a week before her good friend Tricky Dick comes to town, Judge Esme Whitney enlists her friend the struggling lawyer and occasional investigator Sam McCain to prevent the population of Black River Falls from looking like "a bunch of hillbillies." Once again, McCain must confront local prejudices, secrets, and dim-witted police chief Cliffe Sykes, Jr. to solve another small-town mystery in the acclaimed series launched with The Day the Music Died.

The Castle of Llyr by Lloyd Alexander, 206 pages

Princess Eilonwy has accompanied Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper, on all his adventures. But a princess needs special skills that can only be learned in a royal household, so she travels to the Island of Mona to begin her proper education. As it turns out, court life isn't as boring as it seems to the unwilling princess-friends and enemies appear in many guises, and danger hides in every corner. When Eilonwy disappears and disturbing rumors about the evil enchantress Achren surface, Tara and his companions undertake an exciting and terrifying mission to rescue their princess. But will Taran battle to save Eilonwy's life only to lose her in the end?

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth, 495 pages

"The amazing power and truth of the Rapunzel fairy tale comes alive for the first time in this breathtaking tale of desire, black magic and the redemptive power of love
French novelist Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from the court of Versailles by the Sun King, Louis XIV, after a series of scandalous love affairs. At the convent, she is comforted by an old nun, Soeur Seraphina, who tells her the tale of a young girl who, a hundred years earlier, is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens...
After Margherita's father steals parsley from the walled garden of the courtesan Selena Leonelli, he is threatened with having both hands cut off, unless he and his wife relinquish their precious little girl. Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Tiziano, first painted by him in 1512 and still inspiring him at the time of his death. She is at the center of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition.
Locked away in a tower, Margherita sings in the hope that someone will hear her. One day, a young man does.
Award-winning author Kate Forsyth braids together""the stories of Margherita, Selena, and Charlotte-Rose, the woman who penned Rapunzel as we now know it, to create what is a sumptuous historical novel, an enchanting fairy tale retelling, and a loving tribute to the imagination of one remarkable woman.

Ladyhawke by Joan Vinge, 252 pages

The spell of vengeance had been cast upon Etienne Navarre, Captain of the Guard, and the beautiful Lady Isabeau by the evil Bishop of Aquila. Etienne and Isabeau must wander the wilderness, always together yet always apart-she a hawk by day and restored to herself only with the setting of each day's sun; he a wolf by night, transformed once more into human form at break of each day's dawn. This eternal spell is their punishment for daring to love after the evil Bishop had already chosen Isabeau for his own. Then, suddenly, Etienne receives an unexpected sign of hope in the person of Phillipe, a young and cunning thief...and Navarre knows he must seize this fearful opportunity to free them from the Bishop's diabolical spell-or bring them death...

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Deadfall by Linda Fairstein, 385 pages

 A wild heart beats within New York City. Amid concrete and skyscrapers, the Wildlife Conservation Society works to preserve and protect the animal kingdom both within and beyond the borders of the
five boroughs. But dangerous creatures don't always have claws and fangs, as Assistant DA Alexandra Cooper and NYPD detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace know all too well. Predators lurk close to home, and in the aftermath of the shocking drive-by murder of an important city employee someone Alex has worked with for years the trio must discover who the bigger snake is: the killer or the victim.

Investigations into the death provide more questions than answers, as a tangled mess of secrets slowly comes to light. From bribes to secret societies, from big-game hunting to the illegal animal trade, from New York City zoos to behind closed doors in government buildings, Alex will have her work cut out for her if she wants to uncover the truth and uphold the integrity of the office she has so proudly served.

That Quail, Robert by Margaret Stanger, 128 pages

The perennially bestselling and acclaimed classic of the little bird who preferred human companionship to other quail. This was recommended by a library patron and was a sweet and interesting read.