Friday, March 28, 2014

2014 RITA Finalists Announced!

Romance Writers of America (RWA) has announced their shortlist of outstanding published novels in the romance genre. On July 15 winners will be announced and each will receive a RITA Award named after RWA's first president, Rita Clay Estrada. Take a look below for a selection of the best romance novels of 2013 according to the Romance Writers of America.

Contemporary Romance Finalists
Beach House No. 9 by Christie Ridgway

Half Moon Hill by Toni Blake

Home to Whiskey Creek by Brenda Novak

Homecoming Ranch by Julia London

It Had to Be You by Jill Shalvis

Rumor Has It by Jill Shalvis

The Second Chance Cafe by Alison Kent

The Sweet Spot by Laura Drake

Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts

Historical Romance
Darius by Grace Burrowes

Duke of Midnight Elizabeth Hoyt

The Lady and the Laird by Nicola Cornick

Love and Other Scandals by Caroline Linden

The Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean

A Rake's Midnight Kiss by Anna Campbell

Paranormal Romance
The Devil's Heart by Cathy Maxwell

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

Shadowdance by Kristen Callihan

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What Reader Services Is Reading

As you might expect, we in the Reader Services Department are avid readers with a wide variety of reading interests that often go beyond the latest bestsellers. To give you an idea of what we've got perched on our reading tables or nightstands, I asked my coworkers to tell me what they're reading right now. So here's a peek into the exciting off-hours lives of your librarians!

The Round House by Louise Erdrich  

When his mother, a tribal enrollment specialist living on a reservation in North Dakota, slips into an abyss of depression after being brutally attacked, fourteen-year-old Joe Coutz sets out with his three friends to find the person that destroyed his family.        

The Goldfinch by Donna Tart

The author of the classic bestsellers The Secret History and The Little Friend returns with a brilliant, highly anticipated new novel. A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Alone and abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by a friend's family and struggles to make sense of his new life. In the years that follow, he becomes entranced by one of the few things that reminds him of his mother: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the art underworld.

The Girls From Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow

As children, they formed a special bond, growing up in the small town of Ames, Iowa. As young women, they moved to eighth different states, yet they managed to maintain an extraordinary friendship that would carry them through college and careers, marriage and motherhood, dating and divorce, the death of a child, and the mysterious death of the eleventh member of their group. Capturing their remarkable story, The Girls from Ames is a testament to the enduring, deep bonds of women as they experience life's challenges, and the power of friendship to overcome even the most daunting odds.
The girls, now in their forties, have a lifetime of memories in common, some evocative of their generation and some that will resonate with any woman who has ever had a friend.

The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson

The son of a singer mother whose career forcibly separated her from her family and an influential father who runs an orphan work camp, Pak Jun Do rises to prominence using instinctive talents and eventually becomes a professional kidnapper and romantic rival to Kim Jong Il.

Still Foolin' 'Em by Billy Crystal

Nearing age 65, Billy Crystals acknowledges his accomplishments -- hosting major award shows, appearances on TV series like Soap and Saturday Night Live, and roles in blockbusters like When Harry Met Sally, and more -- with all the wry and quirky charm for which he is famed. Fans will find that Crystal still sparkles as he shares private disappointments along with details of those public successes, and fellow baby boomers will relate to Crystal's humorously catalog of the indignities of aging.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story.

Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West by Dorothy Wickenden

A captivating book derived from a widely read and much beloved New Yorker piece about Wickenden's grandmother and her grandmother's best friend who left their affluent East Coast lives to "rough it" as teachers in the wilds of Colorado in 1916.

Monday, March 24, 2014

And the 2014 Abe Lincoln Readers’ Choice Award winner is….

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Each year the Illinois School Library Media Association (ISLMA) sponsors the Abraham Lincoln Reader’s Choice Award, in which high school students vote for their favorite book on a list of nominees. The results for the 2014 nominees were announced on Friday, March 21, and The Fault in Our Stars won! The Fault in Our Stars, inspired by the real life story Esther Grace Earl, is available in our young adult collection.

And don’t miss Esther Grace Earl’s, This Star Won‘t Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl, available in our collection as a downloadable eBook.

Coming in a close second was Divergent, by Northwestern graduate and Chicago author Veronica Roth.

2014 Abe Lincoln Award notable mentions:

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines--puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. 

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick. Alex, a resourceful seventeen-year-old running from her incurable brain tumor, Tom, who has left the war in Afghanistan, and Ellie, an angry eight-year-old, join forces after an electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky and kills most of the world's population, turning some of those who remain into zombies and giving the others superhuman senses.

Read On! The 2015 Abe Lincoln Award Nominees

Here are a couple of books on the 2015 Abe Lincoln Award list. To view the entire list of 2015 books, please go to the Illinois School Library Media Association webpage.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared--Lt. Louis Zamperini. Captured by the Japanese and driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity, suffering with hope, resolve, and humor.

Winger by Andrew Smith. Two years younger than his classmates at a prestigious boarding school, fourteen-year-old Ryan Dean West grapples with living in the dorm for troublemakers, falling for his female best friend who thinks of him as just a kid, and playing wing on the Varsity rugby team with some of his frightening new dorm-mates. 

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd. Dr. Moreau's daughter, Juliet, travels to her estranged father's island, only to encounter murder, medical horrors, and a love triangle. 


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Novels Set in Italy

Enjoy a selection of novels set in Italy, in honor of St. Joseph's Day.

Book Jacket

Juliet: A Novel
by Anne Fortier

Julie Jacobs inherits a key to a safety deposit box in Siena, Italy, and is told it will lead her to an old family treasure. Launched into a quest to discover the history of her ancestor Giulietta, Julie crosses paths with the descendants of the families involved in Shakespeare's unforgettable blood feud.

Book Jacket

The Borgia Bride
by Jeanne Kalogridis

Coming to Rome to marry the heir to the Borgia dynasty, Sancha of Aragon soon finds herself caught up in the complex conspiracies, intrigues, and cruelty of the Italian Renaissance as she she enters into a cautious friendship with her sensual and infamous sister-in-law, Lucrezia, and falls victim to the ruthless seductions of Cesare

Book Jacket

Mirror, Mirror
by Gregory Maguire

The story of Snow White is set in the tumultous era of Italy's quattrocento, at the height of the Renaissance. Bianca de Nevada lives with her father, Vincente, high in the Tuscan hills. In 1702, when Bianca is seven, Lucrezia Borgia and her brother Cesare come to visit. Dangerous, powerful, and corrupt, the Borgia's soon send Vincente on an impossible quest.

Book Jacket

Under the Tuscan Sun
by Frances Mayes

The poet and travel writer describes her experiences in Tuscany during the restoration of her countryside villa.

Book Jacket

Beautiful Ruins
by Jess Walter

The award-winning author of The Financial Lives of the Poets presents his most romantic and enjoyable novel yet that follows a young Italian innkeeper and his almost-love affair with a beautiful American starlet, which draws him into a glittering world filled with unforgettable characters.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Music for St. Patrick's Day - Beyond "O, Danny Boy"

If you think that Irish music starts and stops at "O Danny Boy," please think again. There is more out there than just traditional songs, there is Irish pop, rock and folk music.

Try listening to an assortment of artists with The Rough Guide to Irish Folk Music  or Women of the World: Celtic.

For more folk music try Cherish the Ladies and the Chieftains.

If contemporary pop or new age music is your interest, try Celtic Thunder, Clannad or Celtic Women for a try.

And for those who need something louder, try Gaelic StormU2,  the Corrs, Thin Lizzy or the the jazzier tones of Van Morrison.

For the traditionalist there is always the CD,
Come Fill your Glass With Us: Irish Songs of Drinking and Blackguarding by the Clancy Brothers.

Celtic music invaded many places, and traveled with it's people. You can feel its influence in Newfoundland and Spain, and well as in Bluegrass and American folk music. And many Irish artists combine all sorts of influences to have their own style. Expand your horizons at the library in the International Music section.

The Rough Guide to Irish MusicFor more of the story and history of music and the Celts, try this book title The Rough Guide to Irish Music by Geoff Wallis or head up to Milwaukee's Irish Fest in August. You will have fun discovering new artists and new songs.

Friday, March 14, 2014

In honor of Pi day..

Here's some titles with the other "Pie". (No calories in these pies!)

Pie Town by J. Lynne Hinton
(Domestic Fiction) When new priest Father George Morris and a young hitchhiker named Trina arrive in Pie Town, New Mexico the townsfolk are resistant to welcoming newcomers, until Trina and Father George unwittingly transform the town and its people.

World of Pies  by Karen Stolz
(Young Adult Fiction) In a small town in Texas in the 1960s, young Roxanne journeys toward adulthood as she copes with a pie-baking contest that becomes a lesson in racial politics, a crush on the new female postal worker, and the death of her father and her mother's remarriage, in a novel that features recipes following each chapter.

Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by C. Alan Bradley
(Mystery) Eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is propelled into a mystery when a man is found murdered on the grounds of her family's decaying English mansion and Flavia's father becomes the main suspect. (First in a series)

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
(Historical Fiction) In 1946, writer Juliet Ashton finds inspiration for her next book in her correspondence with a native of Guernsey, who tells her about the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a book club born as an alibi during German occupation.

Some Days There's Pie by Catherine Landis
(Domestic Fiction) Follows the adventures of Ruth, a woman who has run away from her life, with the help of Rose, an elderly, kindly reporter suffering from a terminal illness.

Blackberry Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke
(Cozy Mystery) Hannah Swensen thinks she killed a former high school football hero with her car, until an autopsy reveals the victim was dead before Hannah even hit him, his shirt covered in stains from a blackberry pie. (Part of the Hannah Swensen series) 

Downloadable eBooks:
Like Sweet Potato Pie by Jennifer Rogers Spinola
(Christian Fiction) Witness as Shiloh's new life in Virginia crumbles around her. The house she inherited from her mother is much more than a place to live--it represents Shilohs changed life and what little financial security she has. But her half sister is contesting their mothers will and the IRS is threatening to take it for back taxes. She's also discovering Gods ideal when it comes to love and romance. When Mr. Right shows up will she recognize God's hand or let circumstances and prejudices blind her heart to the love of her life?

White Christmas Pie by Wanda E. Brunstetter
(Amish Fiction) In this bittersweet holiday romance set in Amish country, Will Henderson, a young man tortured by his past, meets Karen Yoder, a young woman looking for answers as they both become involved with a desperate father searching for his son.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Books to Movies

If you are the kind of person who wants to read a book before the movie comes out, you may want to check out a copy of one or more of the following books:

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
Four people come together on New Year’s Eve on the roof of Topper’s House, a London destination known as the last stop for those who are ready to end their lives. The story is told from four distinct points of view, filled with second chances and regrets. In spite of the topic, the book balances the provocative and the humorous.
(Movie release in the UK in March, US release TBA)

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand 
Relates the story of a U.S. airman who survived when his bomber crashed into the sea during World War II, spent forty-seven days adrift in the ocean before being rescued by the Japanese Navy, and was held as a prisoner until the end of the war.
(Movie release in December)

The Giver by Lois Lowry
Everything is perfect; diseases have been eradicated, everyone is equal, and society is under control. Each person is assigned a position by the Community, and 12-year-old Jonas has been picked as the “Receiver of Memories.” Only “The Giver” knows the truth of the past, and he must now pass that information down to Jonas. This book has often been described as the first Young Adult dystopian novel.
(Movie release in August)

This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
Judd Foxman’s father just died, and on top of that, his wife Jen had an affair with his boss, which recently became painfully public. Judd is forced to sit Shiva and spend seven days and nights with the dysfunctional Foxman clan, facing confrontation and dealing with old grudges.
(Movie release in September)

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
It’s Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary when Amy mysteriously disappears. Nick is oddly evasive and evidence is slowly going against him, but did he really kill his wife? Gillian Flynn’s novel is packed with suspense and twists.
(Movie release in October)

Serena by Ron Rash
The book is a thrilling story that follows newlyweds George and Serena Pemberton on their journey to create a timber empire and ruthlessly kill all who fall out of favor. George fathered an illegitimate child, and when Serena discovers that she cannot bear children, she sets out to kill the son George fathered without her.
(Movie release this year, TBA)

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson
An amnesiac attempts to reconstruct her past by keeping a journal, but discovers dangerous inconsistencies in the stories of her husband and her secret doctor.
(Movie release later this year, TBA)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Forthcoming Fiction for April

Here are some titles coming out in April. You can reserve them by clicking the links to our Online Catalog.

Death Come Quickly by Susan Witting Albert
Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well by Nancy Atherton
The Target by David Baldacci
Chestnut Street by Maeve Bincy
Trans/Human by Ben Bova
Cavendon Hall by Barbara Taylor Bradford
Peacemaker by C.J. Cherryh
I’ve Got You Under My Skin by Mary Higgins Clark
Worst.Person.Ever. by Douglas Coupland
A Wanted Woman by Eric Jerome Dickey
Natchez Burning by Greg Iles
Live to See Tomorrow by Iris Johansen
The Last Bride by Beverly Lewis
Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid
A Family Affair by Fern Michaels
Shipstar by Larry Niven
Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick
Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers
The Collector by Nora Roberts
Keep Quiet by Lisa Scottoline
Carnal Curiosity by Stuart Woods

Monday, March 3, 2014

On Your Mark…Get Set…Mush!

The Iditarod -- “The Last Great Race” -- began on March 1, 2014 with the ceremonial start that included 69 mushers and their pumped up dogs. The ceremonial start is a fun showy event when each of the teams runs through the streets of Anchorage, Alaska for 11 miles to Campbell Air Strip. The official timed race begins today, March 2, and will continue for approximately 10 days, depending on when the first dogsled team crosses the finish line in Nome. 

The Iditarod race celebrates the 1925 dogsled run from Anchorage to Nome that carried diphtheria serum to save the lives of many patients who contracted the illness. It’s an adventurous trek across brutal terrain, with all kinds of dangerous, exciting encounters and life-threatening situations. The Iditarod is the perfect backdrop for captivating reading. Grab one of these books and experience the Iditarod from the warmth of your home – unlike the mushers who are out there in -30 below temperatures! Oh, wait…we’ve had the same winter as Alaska this year! Bundle up!

Famed children’s author, Gary Paulsen, recounts his first experience running the race. His story is compelling, dangerous, and hysterically funny at points. He captures the danger and excitement – and sometimes boredom – of running 1,200 miles with only his dogs for company. They survived moose attacks, frostbite, sleepless hallucinations and much more. Enjoy this page-turner! 

Photographer Jeff Schultz captures the essence and thrill of the men and women mushers who work with their dogs to cover the incredible 1,200 mile territory from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska.

The Boy in the Snow by M.J. McGrath
Half-Inuit Edie Kiglatuk finds herself in Alaska with Sergeant Derek Palliser, helping her ex-husband Sammy in his bid to win the famous Iditarod dogsled race. The race takes a grim turn when Edie stumbles upon the body of a baby left out in the forest. The state troopers are keen to pin the death on the Dark Believers, a sinister offshoot of a Russian Orthodox sect, but Edie's instincts tell her otherwise. Her investigations take her into a world of corrupt politics.

On Thin Ice by Cherry Adair
For veterinarian Lily Munroe, running in the grueling 10-day, 1,110-mile Iditarod was challenging enough without having to compete against tall, dark, and annoying playboy-rancher Derek Wright. But flirtatious Derek is determined to prove that he is the only man for Lily. Of course, once Derek wins Lily over, he has to tell her about his other career as a secret agent for T-FLAC, a privately funded black ops antiterrorist group. When Lily becomes the victim of several mysterious, potentially deadly mishaps during the race, Derek must find a way to keep the adorably stubborn woman he loves safe--and convince her that they belong together. (Downloadable ebook, visit our Downloadables page for more information) 

For more information about the Iditarod, go to:

Got kids? There are numerous books about the Iditarod for children. Please use our online catalog to search.