Looking for a light new read?

Not a diet book or a self-help title, Ada's Rules: A Sexy Skinny Novel will entrance chick-lit readers, particularly those who have ever set unrealistic weight-loss goals in preparation for an event.  That's what happens when preacher's wife Ada Howard receives an invitation to her twenty-five-year college reunion from an old flame.  In the process of working on a strict new health regimen, Ada develops a new perspective on life.

New memoir: 'Gypsy Boy' by Mikey Walsh

Here's a new memoir that got a starred review in Library Journal: Gypsy Boy by Mikey Walsh. Walsh, the son of a Romany Gypsy champion bareknuckle boxer, shares the story of his upbringing in England, his realization of his sexual orientation, and how his circumstances were shaped by his culture's absolute beliefs.  A good bet for fans of dysfunction memoirs and LGBTQ themes.

Cover art trend: Bare backs

A new trend in cover art?  These 5 books all came out in the last few months, even though they cover widely different topics, all five feature women's bare backs and necks as seen from behind.
  • Unruly Passions of Eugenie R by Carole DeSanti - A tale set in France's Second Empire period finds young Eugâenie left pregnant and penniless by a man she thought she loved before struggling to reclaim the daughter she is forced to give up.
  • All Woman and Springtime by Brandon Jones - Having grown up in a North Korean forced-labor camp, mathematical genius Gi and her friend Il-Sun escape to South Korea, only to be forced into the sex-worker industry there and in the United States.
  • In One Person by John Irving - A tale inspired by the U.S. AIDS epidemic in the 1980s follows the experiences of individuals torn by devastating losses and political upheavals whose perspectives on tolerance and love are also irrevocably shaped by awareness of what might have been.
  • I am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits - A novel spanning four decades, from pre-World War II Transylvania to contemporary New York, looks at the cause and effect of both belief and non-belief within the Jewish religion, in a tale that focuses on the relationship of two sisters within a Hasidicsect.
  • The Stonecutter by Camilla Lackberg - The mysterious drowning of a little girl threatens to tear apart the resort town of Fjallbacka, as Patrik Hedstrom's investigation begins to uncover dark secrets of past generations.

New Beach Reads

Plan on heading to Smith Point Park this weekend?  Stop by the Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library on your way to check out one of these great new beach-bum reads.
  • I Couldn't Love You More by Jillian Medoff - Enjoying a fulfilling if precariously balanced life with her partner, daughter and two stepdaughters, Eliot Gordon finds her children and everything she has worked for threatened by the arrival of her long-lost first love and a shocking chain of events.
  • The Cottage at Glass Beach by Heather Doran Barbieri - Humiliated by her husband's infidelity, forty-year-old Nora Keane, married to the youngest attorney general in Massachusetts, takes refuge with her maternal aunt on Burke's Island off the coast of Maine.
  • Skinnydipping by Bethenny Frankel - A tale loosely based on the author's early adulthood follows the experiences of a struggling actress and outspoken businesswoman whose ambitions lead her through several high-profile relationships.
  • Beach House Memories by Mary Alice Monroe - A tale set in the 1970s American South shares the story of Lovie Rutledge, who reflects on a summer during which a beach vacation to escape her unfaithful, disdainful husband culminates in a fateful romance with a handsome biologist.
  • Barefoot in the Sand by Roxanne St. Claire - When she decides to build a hotel on Mimosa Key after a hurricane destroys her home, Lacey Armstrong is distracted from her goal by architect Clay Walker, who is in desperate need of a job as he tries to get his life back on track.

Ancient alt-history in 'Pillars of Hercules'

Why is it that alternate history stories so often focus on recent history?  The Pillars of Hercules is a refreshing departure from this trend.  In this steampunk fantasy, Prince Alexander of Macedon leads an army to the Pillars of Hercules, near the fabled ruins of sunken Atlantis.  Meanwhile, a group of adventurers races his host for the prize.  Looking for more fantasy set in or inspired by the mythic past?  Try Jim Butcher's "Codex Alera" series (starting with The Furies of Calderon), or David Drake's The Legions of Fire.

2012 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence

These 6 books (3 fiction, 3 nonfiction) have made the shortlist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence. Winners from both categories will be announced on June 24, at the American Library Association's annual conference.  Care to weigh in on which should win?

Best Cozy Cat Mysteries

Looking for some cozy mysteries featuring felines?  Try the new book Cats Can't Shoot, in which animal psychic Pru Marlowe investigates the possibility that a white Persian cat accidentally killed her owner with an antique dueling pistol.  You can also try a book from the "Joe Grey" mystery series by Shirley Rosseau Murphy or the "Midnight Louie" series by Carole Nelson Douglas.  Other mystery series involving cats are Lillian Jackson Braun's "Cat Who" series and Rita Mae Brown's "Mrs. Murphy" series.

New Carol Higgins Clark: 'Gypped'

Following in the footsteps of her mother, mystery author Mary Higgins Clark, writer Carol Higgins Clark again strikes a balance between humor and thrills in her new book Gypped.  Vacationing in California while her new husband, Jack, attends a business conference, private investigator Regan Reilly checks out a vegan family friend's concerns about an unscrupulous investment manager and uncovers a vast scam extending throughout the California coast.  Loved it?  Hated it?  Leave a comment!

Spenser lives on in 'Lullaby'

Robert B. Parker may be dead, but his character Spenser lives on.  Although you might not know it from the cover, Ace Atkins has taken over this iconic mystery series, the newest installment of which is called Lullaby.  In the story, street-smart teenager Mattie Sullivan asks Spenser to look into her mother's murder, claiming that the police investigation four years ago was botched. Spenser isn't convinced, but Mattie's need for closure and her determination to make things right are enough for him to take the case.  What do you think of the post-Robert B. Parker "Spenser" novels?  Comments are welcome!

New fantasy trilogy opens with a 'Vengeance'

Looking for a new series opener?  Try Vengeance by Ian Irvine, in which Tali, the subterranean slave of a brutal race, escapes to the surface, where she teams up with the nobleman Rix.  Library Journal gave this book a starred review, saying that the book is "a compelling tale of vengeance, loyalty, and the search for a place in the world."  This is the first book in the planned "Tainted Realm" trilogy, so fans have two more volumes to look forward to.

50 Most Influential Books

What would make it on your list of the 50 most influential (not necessarily the 50 greatest) books of the past 50 years?  Compare your list to the one at superscholar.org.  Intrigued by some of their selections?  Read these books (and many more) at Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library.

Popular Book Club Books

Not sure what book to pick for your book club?  Here are some popular discussion-worthy books, many of which have multiple copies available at your Community Library:
  • Hunger Games - In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through a televised survival competition pitting young people against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss's skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place.
  • The Paris Wife - Follows the life of Ernest Hemingway's first wife, Hadley, as she navigates 1920s Paris.
  • The Night Circus - Waging a fierce competition for which they have trained since childhood, circus magicians Celia and Marco unexpectedly fall in love with each other and share a fantastical romance that manifests in fateful ways.
  • The Weird Sisters - Unwillingly brought together to care for their ailing mother, three sisters who were named after famous Shakespearean characters discover that everything they have been avoiding may prove more worthwhile than expected. 
  • The Fault in Our Stars - Sixteen-year-old Hazel, a stage IV thyroid cancer patient, has accepted her terminal diagnosis until a chance meeting with a boy at cancer support group forces her to reexamine her perspective on love, loss, and life.

First in a new fantasy series: 'The Killing Moon'

Looking for an inventive new work of epic fantasy?  N.K. Jemisin's new book The Killing Moon is the first in the planned Dreamblood series, in which priests are tasked with policing their territory through the use of healing dreams.  When one priest is sent to collect the dreams of a diplomat from abroad, he is pulled into a web of intrigue from which he will not easily escape.  The book's desert setting, loosely inspired by northern Africa and the Middle East, is part of a larger trend in fantasy fiction.  Try Kingdoms of Dust or Desert Spear for more books that draw on the desert for inspiration.

'Habit'-forming books on nuns

Escape into richly detailed historical fiction with Simonetta Agnello Hornby's newly-translated book The Nun.  In 1839 Italy, young Agata falls in love with a most unsuitable man.  To prevent the match, Agata's mother sends her on a long and perilous journey to a convent in the south.  As Agata settles into the rhythm of her cloistered existence, she realizes that her feelings for one man may have become eclipsed by her feelings for another, and that her new life in the convent is incompatible with both.  Want more fiction featuring nuns?  Try the thriller Angelology by Danielle Trussoni, or the "Sister Fidelma" mystery series by Peter Tremayne. 

Olympic reading in debut novel 'The Games'

Ted Kosmatka's debut novel The Games has gotten a lot of buzz, earning a starred review in Library Journal, which also featured it as a "debut of the month."  In the story, a near-future Olympic sport reminiscent of gladiator fighting in ancient Rome pits genetically engineered monsters against human athletes.  With the 2012 London Olympics coming up, this book might be just the thing to get into the spirit of the Games!  Got any other Olympics-themed reading suggestions?  Comment!

19, 20, 22 Wives

In the new book Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon, Alice bares her soul in an anonymous survey for a marital happiness study, cataloging her stale marriage, unsatisfying job, and unfavorable prospects as she begins to question virtually every aspect of her life.  Interestingly, two additional unrelated library books include numbers and the word "wife" in their titles: The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff and The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan.  Would-be authors take note: there seems to be room in the market for a book involving wives and the number 21.

John Grisham read-alikes

Looking for books like John Grisham's The Confession, or his many other legal thrillers?  Try:
  • Grudge Match by Jay Brandon - Questioning the legal system when DNA evidence clears a police officer of a crime for which he was imprisoned eight years earlier, San Antonio district attorney Chris Sinclair wonders who is telling the truth after two additional murders occur.  Also try Running with the Dead by the same author.
  • Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly - Representing some unsavory characters in his work as a defense lawyer, Mickey Haller takes on his first high-paying and possibly innocent client in years, but finds the case complicated by events that suggest a particularly evil perpetrator.  This book has a film adaptation, available on DVD and on blu-ray at your Community Library.
  • Bodily Harm by Robert Dugoni - Attorney David Sloane is back seeking vengeance for the death of a young boy, in a thriller by the best-selling author of Wrongful Death.
  • Letter of the Law by Tim Green - After defense attorney Casey Jordan gets her client, a brilliant but arrogant professor, acquitted of the murder of a law student, she discovers that her client is guilty and is forced to make a choice between justice and the law.
  • Moment of Truth by Lisa Scottoline - Mary is a lawyer with an unusual problem. Her new client, Jack Newlin, is an innocent man claiming to be guilty. Now she finds herself risking her own life to discover why a man would frame himself for his wife's murder.
  • Reversible Errors by Scott Turow - Corporate lawyer Arthur Raven defends the reopened case of a death-row inmate who may be innocent, while prosecuting attorneys Muriel Wynn and Larry Starczek fight for a conviction they still believe is deserved.

A.J. Jacobs tells it like it is in 'Drop Dead Healthy'

A.J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically, tackles a different challenge in his new book Drop Dead Healthy.  To achieve his goal of optimal health, he consulted with various experts who offered differing opinions on everything from his diet to his sex life, and now he tells his readers all in his trademark funny style.  For another humorous look at health, readers can also try Trust me, I'm Dr. Ozzy: Advice from rock's ultimate survivor.  Novelist, one of your Community Library's online discovery tools, also recommends Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity by Joel Stein and Exercises for Gentlemen by Alfred B. Olsen.  Try Novelist for yourself - log in with your library card to search for similar reads by your favorite authors.

Disney's 'Graveyard Book' project

If you haven't read Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book yet, here's another reason to do so soon: Disney is turning the book into a movie, according to this article from Deadline.  Henry Selick, who directed the film adaptation of Coraline by the same author, will be directing this project as well.  Drawing inspiration from Kipling's The Jungle Book, Gaiman's bestselling novel and past Newbery Award winner tells the story of an orphaned boy raised by ghosts in a graveyard.  Check it out from Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library today!