Just released...Home Front & The Fear Index

Check out one of these brand-new books!
  • Home Front by Kristin Hannah - Struggling with a marital estrangement that is further complicated when one of them is deployed, military couple Michael and Joleen Zarkades are forced to confront their problems while protecting the security of their family.  Like reading about military families?  Also try the short story collection You Know When the Men Are Gone.
  • The Fear Index by Robert Harris - A genius hedge-fund manager finds his life unraveling after he is targeted by people who would love to get their hands on his secret computer algorithms that accurately predict the financial markets.  If you like this book, you might also enjoy Kapitoil, a thriller about a mathematician who creates a computer program to predict oil futures.

Coming soon from Danielle Steel

If you're one of Danielle Steel's millions of fans, good news - the Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library is already accepting holds on her two forthcoming books: Betrayal (premiering March 27th - here's the official synoposis) and Friends Forever (premiering July 24th - here's the official synoposis). The first examines the dark side of fame and fortune as a renowned film director confronts an act of unimaginable treachery.  The second tells the story of five children who meet on the first day of kindergarten and whose friendship is sorely tested in the years that follow.

Forever Soul Ties

Christian fiction readers looking for a heartwarming contemporary story exploring one of morality's gray areas may want to try Forever Soul Ties, the forthcoming book by Vanessa Davis Griggs.  When Butterfly runs into her high school sweetheart, what starts as innocent catching up on the years each has spent in unhappy marriages inexorably turns into adultery.  Butterfly is found out and soon realizes she's being used as a pawn to bring down a new pastor--a young man who is upsetting tradition by preaching about real-life issues real people, like Butterfly, deal with. And as Butterfly faces a challenging search for truth, forgiveness, and the real meaning of love, she may finally break out of her cocoon.

Place your holds now for The Mysterium

The Mysterium, the 8th book in the Hugh Corbett / Medieval Mysteries series, is coming soon! In 1304 London, Sir Hugh Corbett is ordered to investigate the murder of a Chief Justice in the King's Court. Each book works well as a standalone, but if you really want to read the series in order, you have to start with 1986's Satan in St. Mary's, available through inter-library loan with other Suffolk County libraries.

Become Enchanted by Romanov Russia

St. Petersburg, 1917.  As the new year dawns, a diver pulls the murdered body of Rasputin from the icy waters of the Neva River, thus beginning an unusual, gorgeously told love story set during the Romanovs' final days.  Described as "a breathtaking tour-de-force by one of our most acclaimed writers," other books by Kathryn Harrison include the true crime book While They Slept and the psychological fiction Envy and Exposure.  Harrison's The Seal Wife, a love story set in early 20th century Alaska, is the most similar to Enchantments

The Rose of Winslow Street

Check out The Rose of Winslow Street, a newly-released work of historical fiction from Christian publisher Bethany House.  In this heartwarming love story, Libby Sawyer and her father return home to Massachusetts from a summer vacation - only to find widower Michael Dobrescu and his family living in their house, claiming it had been willed to him long ago!  The ensuing legal battle is decidedly less bitter than it could be, however, as Libby and Michael slowly fall in love.  Enjoy Christian historical love stories?  You might also like the new book The Keeper, the first in a planned series set in Amish country.

Inspirational Horse Stories

Inspired in part by the success of the film adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's War Horse, both fictional and nonfictional horse stories have also experienced a resurgence in interest.  One brand-new addition to the genre is The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, The Horse That Inspired a Nation.  Similar nonfiction reads recommended by Novelist include Seabiscuit: An American Legend (also a movie) and The Horse God Built: The Untold Story of Secretariat.  For horsey fiction, try Riding Lessons and its sequel Flying Changes by the bestselling author of Water for Elephants (also a movie).  Happy reading, neigh-bors!

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

The popular 2010 novel Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is being turned into a movie, Shelf Awareness reports.  In Seth Grahame-Smith's fantastical reimagining of United States history, the 16th president turns out to have a secret life as a vampire hunter.  Vampires, in this story, played a historically unknown but crucial role in the formation of the United States.  If you enjoyed this book, also try Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by the same author.  And for the real story on President Lincoln, try the newly-published nonfictional book Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly.

Connie Willis wins SFWA Grand Master Award

Congratulations to Connie Willis, whose contributions to speculative fiction have been recognized with the 2011 Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).  Works of speculative fiction by this newest Grand Master that are available from your Community Library include Blackout and its sequel All Clear, in which time-traveling historians get stranded in World War II, or her short story collection The Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories.

With 'Friends Like Us'...

Lauren Fox's new novel Friends Like Us asks the question that most hope never to have to answer: how much (and who) would you give up for a friend?  Sharing a relationship that causes many to mistake them for sisters, best friends Willa and Jane work freelance jobs and enjoy each other's company until an old high school buddy from Willa's past unexpectedly falls in love with Jane.  Enjoy love triangles?  You might also like these other new books available at Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library: The Lost Daughter, White Truffles in Winter,  Promises, Promises, and The Stranger's Child.

Modern High Seas Adventure

Nick Dybek's new novel When Captain Flint was still a Good Man tells the story of a boy whose parents make morally questionable choices in order to keep their livelihood.  Cal's father is an Alaskan fisherman, braving the frigid and dangerous sea catching king crab; Cal's mother stays home with Cal, who is just old enough to wonder about her relationship with John Gaunt, the fishing fleet owner.  When John Gaunt dies, the whole family has choppy waters ahead.  For a lighter take on boyhood high seas adventure, try Michael Ondaatje's The Cat's Table.

Priest struggles with faith in debut 'Variations'

John Donatich's The Variations is "a powerful debut novel about a priest who has lost his church, his mentor, and, most upsetting, his ability to pray." How can Father Dominic guide his parish, counsel a troubled teen, or inspire a budding pianist when everything he loves falls away?  Reserve a copy of this new release using your Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library card, the smartest card in your wallet.

Love Downton Abbey? Check These Out

Love the popular television series "Downton Abbey" about a troubled family of English aristocrats and their loyal but meddling servants?  This article in the New York Times shares its book recommendations for "Downton" fans, who also tend to be avid readers.  Here are a couple highlighted titles that are available through your Community Library.

Magical Realism Meets Frosty the Snowman

In Eowyn Ivey's just-published debut novel The Snow Child, homesteaders Jack and Mabel build a child out of snow in 1920s Alaska.  The next day, the snow child is mysteriously missing, and the couple discovers a strange girl living in the Arctic wilderness with only a red fox for company.  As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about their snow child will transform all of them.

Debut novel The Orphan Master's Son

Start the year off with a newly-published debut novel that's been generating serious buzz.  In The Orphan Master's Son, Pak Jun Do, the son of a singer mother whose career forcibly separated her from her family and an influential father, 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. By the author of Parasites Like Us.  Enjoy stories set in Korea?  You can also try the 2011 bestseller Please Look After Mom.

His Steadfast Love

Enjoy Christian novels with a historical twist?  The fourth book in the "Darkness to Light" series, His Steadfast Love, has just come out.  It's the spring of 1861 on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Amanda never thought she would marry because of a promise she made to her dying mother, but her attraction to Captain Kent Littlefield is undeniable. When Texas secedes from the Union, her brother Daniel aligns with the Confederate States, while Kent remains with the Union troops. Her heart is torn between the two men she is closest to and the two sides of the conflict. Amanda prays to God for direction and support, but hears only silences. Where is God in the atrocities of war- and whose side is He on? Amanda senses her life is at a turning point. She must trust God to deliver her family through the chaos of war with her heart and her faith intact.  This book stands well alone, but sticklers for series order should start with In the Shadow of the Sun King.

Food Shortage Dystopias

What if the only food available came from a single source of climate-resistant seeds?  That's the question asked in Rob Ziegler's new dystopian novel Seed.  In 22nd-century America, a hyper-intelliigent living city named Satori controls the production of this sole food source, at least until Secret Service agent Sienna Doss is tasked with finding a rogue seed designer, an assignment that she sees as an opportunity to take down Satori.  Enjoy worst-case scenarios involving genetic engineering and a fragile food supply?  You might also like Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl, in which an AgriGen agent is sent to Thailand to investigate rumors of black market fruits not created or controlled by the calorie companies.

On the financial crisis

How exactly did it all come to this?  Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World by Michael Lewis (author of The Big Short) is a new book presenting a darkly humorous look at the effects of the financial crisis on other countries and accusing greedy debtors in California and Washington, DC.  Ron Suskind's Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President also examines the financial crisis by drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews and in-depth research, from the trading floors of lower Manhattan to the power corridors inside the Beltway.  If this topic interests you but you find these books too heavy, you can also check out the new documentary Inside Job, which traces the rise of a rogue industry and unveils the corrosive relationships which have corrupted politics, regulation and academia.

Wit and Wisdom from Princess Leia, Kelly Kapoor, and Bill Cosby

If you're looking for a few good laughs, try these three new releases:
  1. Is everyone hanging out without me? by Mindy Kaling - The writer and actress best known as Kelly Kapoor on "The Office" shares observations on topics ranging from favorite male archetypes and her hatred of dieting to her relationship with her mother and the haphazard creative process in the "Office" writers' room.
  2. Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher - In a book infused with her trademark incisive wit, the author of Wishful Drinking takes readers on a rollicking, behind the scenes tour of the Star Wars phenomenon.
  3. I didn't ask to be born (but I'm glad I was) by Bill Cosby - In his first humor book since Cosbyology the legendary entertainer and funnyman provides insights on life including how to handle a teenage daughter who refuses to clean her room and a discussion of his antique bible collection.

The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares

Looking for a suspenseful collection of short stories that will have you shivering under your covers (and not just because it's January)?  Try The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares, a new book by Joyce Carol Oates.  These six stories/novellas by the National Book Award-winning author of We Were the Mulvaneys includes the title story, in which the disappearance of a sweet blonde-haired child is linked to her mother's indiscretions, a too-obvious schoolteacher, and an older student with a fascination for a Native American legend.

Foodie Fiction Treat: White Truffles in Winter

Gourmets, Francophiles, and historical fiction fans may find N.M. Kelby's new book White Truffles in Winter to be a delicious treat.  The book opens near the end of famous French chef Auguste Escoffier's life. He has witnessed a tumultuous sweep of history from a unique position, and he recounts his days as a cook in the Franco-Prussian War, a chef for the beau monde in Paris and at London's Savoy, and a confidant of royalty and world leaders. The heart of Escoffier's story, however, lies in his love for two very different women: the famous, beautiful, and reckless actress Sarah Bernhardt and his wife, the independent and sublime poet Delphine Daffis. Now Escoffier has retired and returned to Delphine. She requests just one thing: that he produce a dish in her name. Yet how does one recreate the complexity of love in a single recipe? Escoffier must rediscover food's emotional capacity, its ability to communicate passion, regret, grief, forgiveness and love.  Intrigued?  Check out this tasty treat of a book from your Community Library!

If you give a girl a viscount

Looking for some lighthearted chick-lit?  Try the newly-released If You Give a Girl a Viscount by Kieran Kramer.  Tired of his wealth-seeking female admirers, Viscount Lumley falls victim to his meddling godmother's latest matchmaking scheme when she introduces him to the lovely Ella.  The book's title is a nod to the children's classic If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, which young people and the nostalgic are equally welcome to check out from your Community Library.

Concluding Paolini's Inheritance Cycle

By now, fantasy fans have probably heard that Inheritance, the final book in Christopher Paolini's 4-book "Inheritance Cycle," has been released.  As of this writing, the library's seven copies of this book are all checked out, but library cardholders are welcome to place a hold on Inheritance here by clicking the red "request" button.  With each epic volume topping 800 pages, the series is popular with fans of intricately plotted fantasy stories like J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" or George R.R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire," the latter of which has experienced a resurgence in interest since its television adaptation in "Game of Thrones."  If you've already read all of the above, try Sherwood Smith's less well-known four-book fantasy series "Inda," which is also characterized by vivid world-building and intricate plots.

Arctic Adventures

Recently, the library's monthly Historical Fiction NextReads e-newsletter (subscribe here) featured three Arctic adventure stories:
  1. The Voyage of the Narwhal by Andrea Barrett - In the mid-19th century, explorers were obsessed with discovering a northwest passage through the Arctic Ocean. In The Voyage of the Narwhal, award-winning author Andrea Barrett depicts scholar and naturalist Erasmus Darwin Wells as he and the crew of the Narwhal search for traces of Sir John Franklin's lost Arctic expedition. During their voyage, they endure a brutal winter, encounter Eskimos, and make surprising discoveries about themselves and each other. The New York Times calls this "gripping adventure" a "marvelous achievement."  
  2. The Cloud Atlas by Liam Callanan - During WWII, Louis Belk, an 18-year-old American sergeant trained in bomb detection and disposal, is dispatched to Anchorage, Alaska. There, far from the fighting, he confronts an unusual weapon: hot air balloons launched by the Japanese, carrying both deadly germs and the explosives required to disperse them. As Belk carries out his top-secret mission, he falls under the spell of Lily, a beautiful half-Russian, half-Yup’ik Eskimo fortune teller, whose spyhunting lover, Captain Thomas Gurley, is Belk's superior officer. Not to be confused with David Mitchell's similarly titled Cloud Atlas, author Liam Callanan's debut illuminates a little-known event in American military history.  If this plot sounds familiar, it's probably because the book is currently being turned into a movie.
  3. The Rope Eater by Ben Jones - To escape the bloody Civil War battlefields, 17-year-old Union Army deserter Brendan Kane joins the ragtag crew of the Narthex and prepares for a voyage of Arctic exploration. However, once the ship sets sail, Brendan and his fellow crew members learn that their captain's intended destination is actually a mythical Garden of Eden that he believes exists somewhere in the depths of the polar regions. As they venture through the frozen Arctic, their search for paradise turns into a horrific battle for survival. If you enjoy reading about extreme survival scenarios in frozen climes, you might also want to try Dan Simmons' The Terror, a fictionalized account of the 1840s Franklin expedition.
And if you don't mind mixing your Artic and your Antarctic fiction, another amazing read on this topic is Geraldine McCaughrean's White Darkness, in which fourteen-year-old Symone's vacation to Antarctica turns into a dangerous adventure when her uncle becomes obsessed with seeking Symme's Hole, a mythical opening that may lead to the center of the earth.  Happy reading!

Start the New Year right

Looking to finally quit smoking, lose those extra pounds, de-clutter your home, reconnect with a loved one, finish your degree, supercharge your career, or achieve another goal in 2012?  Your Community Library has lots of great resources to help you on your way.  Here are a few new motivational/self-help titles that might be a good place to start.