Latest Hannah Swensen mystery (with recipes): 'Cinnamon Roll Murder'

Attention culinary mystery readers: the latest book in the "Hannah Swensen" series by Joanne Fluke, Cinnamon Roll Murder, has just been released.  When the keyboard player for the Cinnamon Roll Six jazz band is murdered after a tour bus accident on the way to Lake Eden, Minnesota, Hannah Swensen, after digging up several local suspects, discovers that there is nothing sweeter than catching a killer.  This book is the 15th in the series, following Devil's Food Cake Murder; the series started in the year 2000 with Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder.

The true story that inspired 'The Vow'

It sounds like a fairy tale: a couple falls in love all over again after one of them suffers memory loss from a car accident.  This is the plot of "The Vow" starring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum, a movie now in theaters.  But in fact, this film is based on real events, which are told in the couple's own words in The Vow: The True Events that Inspired the Movie.  If you want to know the whole story, place your hold on this book now!

New Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery

Fans of Donna Leon's long-running mystery series starring Commissario Guido Brunetti will soon have something to celebrate - the newest book, Beastly Things, is due out soon.  In this book, Commissario Brunetti investigates the death of an animal lover whose decomposed body was found in a Venice canal.  Enjoy mysteries set in atmospheric Venice?  You might also like Edward Sklepowich's work, including Black Bridge or The Last Gondola

Film versions of 5 bestselling books are 2012 Oscar nominees

Five of the books on the Publishers' Weekly bestseller list have film versions that have been nominated for the 2012 Academy Awards.  Winners will be announced tomorrow (Sunday, February 26).  The nominees (in no particular order) are:
  • Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Forty years after the disappearance of Harriet Vanger from the secluded island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger family, her octogenarian uncle hires journalist Mikael Blomqvist and Lisbeth Salander, an unconventional young hacker, to investigate.
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - British agent George Smiley ferrets out a mole in the Secret Service and begins his epic game of international chess with his Soviet counterpart, an agent named Karla.
  • Moneyball - Tells how the Oakland Athletics general manager, Billy Beane, tried to use statistics to find better players without resorting to the larger budgets big-market teams were able to employ.
  • The Help - Aibileen is a black maid in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, raising her seventeenth white child. She eventually writes a tell-all book about what it's really like to work as a black maid in the white homes of the South with a grown white child she has raised and another black maid.
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - Oskar Schell, the nine-year-old son of a man killed in the World Trade Center attacks, searches the five boroughs of New York City for a lock that fits a black key his father left behind.
Check out the bestselling books that inspired these Oscar-nominated films at your Community Library!

Fiction on the Emerald Isle

Everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day (which is coming up in less than 1 month).  Celebrate by checking out a few of these recently-published books set in Ireland.  Happy reading!

'Shoemaker's Wife' - new from Adriani Trigiani

The library is already taking requests for Adriani Trigiani's forthcoming book, The Shoemaker's Wife.  This intricately woven tapestry of love and family, war and loss, risk and destiny follows star-crossed lovers Enza, a practical beauty, and Ciro, a strapping mountain boy, who, after their first meeting in the Italian Alps, find their destinies inexplicably entwined as they build their lives in America.  Popular Italian-American author Trigiani is also the creator of the "Big Stone Gap" series (starting with the aptly-titled Big Stone Gap), and has written nonfiction as well: an Italian cookbook, and a book of life lessons from her grandmother.

Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine rules historical fiction

The triumphs and travails of royalty are a popular topic in historical fiction, and few queens have excited interest as much as Eleanor of Aquitaine (1124-1204 AD).  In a feature article from the March 2012 issue of Romantic Times, Eleanor is described as "a strong, feisty woman who earned a towering reputation in a male-dominated age."  Enjoy one of these fictional takes on a queen whose name has been remembered for centuries.

Just released - 'Celebrity in Death'

Love J.D. Robb's suspenseful "In Death" series?  Then you've probably heard that the newest book in the series, Celebrity in Death, has just been released.  In this 34th installment, Lieutenant Eve Dallas discovers the actress who played Peabody drowned in the lap pool at the star-studded party celebrating the premiere of a movie based on one of her cases.  She must call on all of her skills to investigate the death.  For newcomers, or those of you who think you might have missed a few books, here is the complete Eve Dallas / "In Death" series, in reading order:
  1. Naked in Death
  2. Glory in Death
  3. Immortal in Death
  4. Rapture in Death
  5. Ceremony in Death
  6. Vengeance in Death
  7. Holiday in Death
  8. Conspiracy in Death
  9. Loyalty in Death
  10. Witness in Death
  11. Judgment in Death
  12. Betrayal in Death
  13. Seduction in Death
  14. Reunion in Death
  15. Purity in Death
  16. Portrait in Death
  17. Imitation in Death
  18. Divided in Death
  19. Visions in Death
  20. Survivor in Death
  21. Origin in Death
  22. Memory in Death
  23. Born in Death
  24. Innocent in Death
  25. Creation in Death
  26. Strangers in Death
  27. Salvation in Death
  28. Promises in Death
  29. Kindred in Death
  30. Fantasy in Death
  31. Indulgence in Death
  32. Treachery in Death
  33. New York to Dallas
  34. Celebrity in Death
 And if even this 34-book list doesn't sate your reading appetite, try reading a few books by Nora Roberts (J.D. Robb is her pen name), or check out NoveList for suggested similar reads.

The original "John Carter" stories

Although The Hunger Games is perhaps the most anticipated book to be released as a movie this season, John Carter is another book-based movie that people are eagerly awaiting.  John Carter (coming to theaters on March 9) is actually based on the series of books, starting with A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Yes, THAT Edgar Rice Burroughs, the one who wrote Tarzan exactly a century ago in 1912.  Check out The Mars Trilogy to read the first three books in the John Carter series - A Princess of Mars, The Gods of Mars, and The Warlord of Mars.  Also, good news for ebook lovers - these books are old enough that their copyrights have expired, and are therefore available as free ebooks at Project Gutenberg.

Krentz's hot new series-starter: Copper Beach

Copper Beach, the first book in the new Dark Legacy series by popular author Jayne Ann Krentz, has just been released.  This paranormal romance/suspense story features pyschic Abby Radwell, whose talent at deciphering the secrets within the pages of very rare books sometimes taken her into dangerous territory. After a deadly incident in the private library of an obsessive collector, Abby receives a blackmail threat, and rumors swirl that an old alchemical text known as "The Key" has reappeared on the black market. A number of ruthless people are searching for the book. Some believe that Abby can find it for them ....

Love steamy paranormal romance with a high level of action?  You can also try Christine Feehan's Shadow Game, the first book in the "Ghostwalkers" series that is currently 9 books long.  Novelist also recommends Out of Body, the first book in the "Court of Angels" series by Stella Cameron.

Forget Romney and Santorum... re-elect Taft!

As GOP candidates fling dirt at one another in the race for the presidential nomination, it's easy to get disenchanted with politics.  Take a break with the political satire Taft 2012!  After his mysterious disappearance on the day of Woodrow Wilson's inauguration, William Howard Taft's sudden arrival in Washington nearly one hundred years later marks an expected change in the course of the 2012 elections.  This debut novel by Jason Heller follows the strange new life of a presidential Rip Van Winkle: a man who never even wanted the White House in the first place, yet finds himself hurtling toward it once more—this time, through the media-fueled madness of 21st-century America.

Valentine's Day Reads

Check out these Valetine-y reads, but be warned - not all of these are fluffy happily-ever-after stories.
  • Death of a Valentine - Announcing his engagement to associate Josie McSween, police sergeant and once-confirmed bachelor Hamish Macbeth struggles with prenuptial jitters while investigating the murder of a woman whose increasingly complicated case introduced him to his fiancĂ©e. 
  • Brava, Valentine - A once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity takes shoe designer and businesswoman Valentine Roncalli from the winding streets of Greenwich Village to the sun-kissed cobblestones of Buenos Aires, where she finds a long-buried secret hidden deep within a family scandal.  
  • Bloody Valentine - Presents three tales of love, passion, and heartbreak featuring various Blue Blood vampires and the Red Blood humans who keep them alive, including Oliver, Allegra, and Schuyler.
  • Tycoon's Valentine Vendetta - Back home in New Zealand to regroup when her high-fashion modeling career slides into oblivion, Lily Fontaine is drawn once again to successful Jack Dolan, her teenage love, unaware not only that she doesn't know the entire truth about their decade-old breakup but that Jack is out for revenge.
  • My Nerdy Valentine - Aspiring psychologist Amanda Rykowsky is delighted to receive anonymous love notes, until the messages begin to take a sinister turn, and enlists stockbroker William Sloan to masquerade as her lover to uncover the culprit.

Saxon Tales continues with 'Death of Kings'

The 6th book in Bernard Cornwell's popular "Saxon Tales" series is now available.  In  Death of Kings, the fate of a young nation rests in the hands of a reluctant warrior.  As Alfred the Great lays dying, the future of all--Angles, Saxons, and Vikings alike--hangs desperately in the balance.  New to the series?  Start with The Last Kingdom, followed by The Pale Horseman, then The Lords of the North, followed by Sword Song, and finally The Burning Land.  Enjoy historical fiction?  Sign up for the library's monthly NextReads newsletter on this topic (as well as many others) here.

'Moby Duck' didn't float this reader's boat

Ouch!  A Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library Winter Reading Club member recently posted a scathing review of Donovan Hohn's Moby Duck: the true story of 28,800 bath toys lost at sea and of the beachcombers, oceanographers, environmentalists, and fools, including the author, who went in search of them.  The post is republished below:

"THIS BOOK IS TERRIBLE! Caution: if you dont want to fall asleep after reading two pages then I suggest that you do not read this book. Hohn is WAY too descriptive in the way that he takes two pages to describe what a piece of seaweed looks like. I found his book incredibly hard to read because of the marine biology terms and I would not recommend this to anyone I know. Do not waste your time reading this because there is no reason for Hohn to have written it in the first place, I am just warning you that you will regret it!" 

Not yet a Winter Reading Club member?  Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library cardholders can sign up here - it's free & for every book review you contribute to the site, you'll be entered to win the raffle prize of the week!

Book to movie alert : Revisit the 2008 election with 'Game Change'

In a presidential election year, politics is on everyone's minds.  John Heilemann and Mark Halperin's Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime is a nonfictional work published in 2010 that examines the 2008 presidential election.  Capitalizing on 2012's election season energy, HBO is has turned this book into a movie premiering on March 10, with a recently released trailer available here.  Read the book first - like many other great titles, it's available at to cardholders at Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library.

High-Demand New Autobiographies

Borrow one of these new personal stories from your Community Library:
  • Worth Fighting For - The wife of the late Patrick Swayze presents an account of grief, loss, caregiving and moving on while sharing stories about their final months together and discussing their teenage romance, dance careers, and thirty-four-year marriage.
  • Through My Eyes - One of the best quarterbacks in the history of college football traces his path to success, discussing his childhood as the son of Christian missionaries and how his faith combined with his drive to succeed have made him the person he is today.
  • American Sniper - A member of Navy SEAL Team 3 describes his life as a father and husband, and as the serviceman with the most confirmed sniper kills in the history of the United States military while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

New from Evanovich: 'Love in a Nutshell'

Adore Janet Evanovich?  You're not alone.  Evanovich's wildly popular Stephanie Plum series, now on its 18th book Explosive Eighteen, has just made the jump to the big screen with One for the Money.  Meanwhile, Evanovich's newest book, Love in a Nutshell, has rocketed to the top of the New York Times bestseller list.  Love in a Nutshell tells the story of unlucky Kate Appleton, newly divorced and newly fired.  She plans to convert her parents' Michigan summer home into a bed and breakfast, but to finance this dream she will have to take on the unappealing assignment of spying on Matt Culhane's brewery employees, whom their attractive boss suspects of stealing from his company.  Love and laughter ensues.

Just out.. 'Kill Shot' and 'Left for Dead'

Love suspense?  Get your hands on one of these brand-new books, just released this week:
  • Kill Shot: An American Assassin Thriller by Vince Flynn - Young Mitch Rapp sets out on a deadly mission to hunt down the men responsible for the Pan Am Lockerbie terrorist attack.
  • Left for Dead by J.A. Jance - Ali Reynolds becomes involved in two mysteries seemingly connected to the Mexican drug trade

Momentum building for dystopian 'Pure'

Looking for a new dystopian novel?  There are plenty of books out there that would love to ride on the success of stories like The Hunger Games and The Road, but one to watch for is Pure, by Julianna Baggott.  Even before its release, this book has already had its film rights purchased by the producers of Twilight.  In the story, an apocalyptic event known as the Detonations has scarred all the survivors except for the Pures, people who were protected inside the Dome.  Partridge, a teenaged Pure, has just learned that her mother might be alive outside of the Dome, and teams up with another teen from the outside in order to find her.  Place your hold now for this book, which is sure to be a much-discussed new release.

If you like Stephen King...

If you enjoy Stephen King's suspenseful masterpieces, try one of these other books available to cardholders at Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library:
  • Books of Blood by Clive Barker - From a power-invested ancient Roman statue that steals souls to long-dead movie stars resurrected to serve the forces of evil, these three collections of short stories combine the extraordinary with the ordinary, to create a nightmarish world of terror and the macabre.
  • Sandman: Season of Mists by Neil Gaiman - Arguably one of fantasy's most famous graphic novel series, this installment of the Sandman saga tells the story of an attempt to summon and imprison Death, which instead results in the capture of Morpheus, the Sandman, who must regain the tools of his powers.
  • Watchers by Dean Koontz - Two creatures, the end result of experiments in genetic engineering and enhanced intelligence, escape from a government laboratory and bring either death and destruction or a touching new kind of love to those they encounter.
  • Horns by Joe Hill - After his childhood sweetheart is brutally killed and suspicion falls on him, Ig Parrish goes on a drinking binge and wakes up with horns on his head, hate in his heart, and an incredible new power which he uses in the name of vengeance.
  • House of Reckoning by John Saul - Outcast by an injury sustained from her father, foster child Sara Crane befriends a former mental patient and her art teacher and soon creates paintings of long-ago violent crimes committed by the inmates of a local asylum.
  • Darwin's Blade by Dan Simmons - An expert on uncovering the cause of unnatural disasters, Darwin Minor investigates a seemingly random series of fatal car crashes, suspecting foul play and fraud.
  • Ghost Story by Peter Straub - A collection of chilling stories.
These books and other other related titles will be on display (and available for check-out) in the downstairs Fiction section through the end of February.

Award-winning romance for Valentine's Day

Romance is read year-round, but for many, Valentine's Day marks its special season.  Treat yourself to a book from your community library's February display of award-winning romance, located at the foot of the stairs in the Fiction section.  Books on display range from The Three Weissmanns of Westport, a modern-day retelling of Jane Austen's classic Sense and Sensibility, to the steamy historical romance Barely a Lady, in which Olivia nurses her wounded ex-husband back from the brink of death only to discover he has no memory of their divorce.  Click here for the full list, created by librarian Noreen O.  Got any romance must-reads you'd like to suggest?  Please comment!

Revisit Pride and Prejudice with 'Death Comes to Pemberly'

Revisit Jane Austen's beloved classic Pride and Prejudice with Death Comes to Pemberley, a mystery set six years after the marriage of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.  All is well until Elizabeth's disgraced sister Lydia arrives at Pemberley, claiming that her husband Mr. Wickham has been murdered.  Looking for more mysteries involving literature's favorite couple?  Try the Mr. & Mrs. Darcy series by Carrie Bebris, which starts with Pride and Prescience and most recently came out with The Deception at Lyme.