Saturday, July 26, 2008


Lisa Black is a Cleveland native and the author of two other mysteries under the name Elizabeth Becka. She'll be at the Hudson Library and Historical Society on August 12th at 7pm, in the first of a new series of events sponsored by the Twinsburg Library, Hudson Library, and the Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library, along with the Learned Owl Bookshop. This new consortium is called "Route 91--Readers' Row."

Takeover hits the ground running and moves along at a breakneck pace. The story follows Theresa MacLean, a forensic scientist whose fiance is taken hostage at Cleveland's Federal Reserve. There is murder, mystery, and psychological suspense, and you'll be shocked by the ending.

This is the first book in a series--the next title, Evidence of Murder, will be out in August 2009. I'm looking forward to it!

Visit Lisa at for more information about the book! Also, visit TPL's website,, for more on this new series of events. Lisa will be highlighted in the August issue of the TPL Magazine as well.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dead Until Dark

I was privileged enough to write the 200th post... now I'm also writing the 300th post!

One of the great things about the Twinsburg Library is that we have a built-in network of reading buddies. If you ever listen to the ABC Book Reviews Podcast, you can hear that Beth and I are pretty nuts about books--and our colleagues are no exception. The former director of TPL, Karen Tschudy, got me hooked on the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, and now she's got me hooked on another series. Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris, is the first in the Southern Vampire series, starring Sookie Stackhouse. Sookie is a waitress who can hear people's thoughts. In this first book, she has to clear both her brother and her boyfriend, the vampire Bill, in a series of murders plaguing her little Louisiana town, Bon Temps. I listened to it, and the reader, Johanna Parker, was fantastic. I was really drawn into Sookie's world, and the characterization dovetailed nicely with the reader's voice. I can't wait to read the rest of them now. Incidentally, this series is being turned into an upcoming HBO series called True Blood, with Anna Paquin of the X-Men movies as Sookie.

Monday, July 21, 2008

What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman

This is a unique mystery. This is one of those books that tells the story in the present and the story of the past at the same time. Lippman is an excellent writer and events are revealed slowly. The reader is left in suspense and wants to know what happened. There are major twists in the plot but the book is also rich in character development. The story involves a woman who has a hit and run accident and at the police station admits that she is the youngest of the Bethany sisters. The two sisters were abducted when they were a preteen and teenager. The book details the psychology of the fallout to the parents, the girls, and the abductors. It's very interesting but rather dark.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

By Hook or By Crook

Linguist David Crystal travels back roads of southern England in search of the origins of various idioms. As a narrative, it meanders more than a Welsh highway. Still, for those interested in how our language works and came to be, there's some neat stuff in here. Crystal is a writer of charming curiousity, though his academic sense of humor can be a touch cloying.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

This novel by David Wroblewski is a whopper, over 500 pages, but it's currently a critical darling--if you want it, you'll have to go on the waiting list for it! It's worth the wait, though. Just like the title says, this is the story of Edgar Sawtelle, a mute (but not deaf) boy who grows up on a farm, where his parents raise and train dogs. The dogs are characters in the story of their own right, so dog lovers will like this one, but be warned: it's not exactly a feel-good story, since it's loosely based on Hamlet. Edgar's father dies mysteriously, and Edgar begins to suspect that his father's brother committed the murder. The book is much more than this simple explanation--you really have to read it to get the full story--and you will savor every word. It's beautifully written, and a satisfying, heartbreaking read.


Published in 2001, this novel by Ian McEwan was selected for this Thursday, July 17th's Ladies' Night book club, which I am moderating. We're watching the 2007 movie version starting at 5:30, and then we'll be discussing both the book and the movie following. I won't ruin the discussion by revealing too much here, but I have now finished the book and watched the movie, and I must say I am haunted by this beautiful, tragic story. Briony Tallis is a thirteen-year-old girl who witnesses a bizarre series of events in the years prior to World War II. McEwan describes these events in great detail, then moves forward in time to show the events' repercussions. Both the book and the movie are slow to get started and very artful. Neither is the type of thing I would get immediately hooked on. But I'm so glad I continued both reading and watching, because the end result was that I was entranced. Even my husband ultimately liked the movie, after complaining for about an hour that nothing was happening!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

The first book in the series, Artemis Fowl, is about a 12 yr old boy genius who uses his unique talents to hatch a scheme to steal some fairy gold to add to his family's wealth. At his side is his trusty man-servant, Butler, a giant man adept at all forms of combat. The opposing side, the supernatural creatures, include fairies, dwarves, centaurs, and trolls. In particular, Holly, the only female member of the LEP squad (the equivalent to human military personnel), is trying to earn her stripes and respect of Captain Root. While performing a magic ritual, Holly is captured by Artemis and held for ransom. A battle of wits ensues between the magical creatures and the mud people (humans) for the release of Holly and ownership of the fairy gold. This modern take of fairy folklore is entertaining and fun. A must read!

Survivor, by Chuck Palahniuk

This is by the same author as the better-known Fight Club. It's stylistically and thematically similar to that earlier work, and it also shares many of the same flaws.
Survivor follows the story of Tender Branson, a refugee from a fundamentalist suicide cult, as he meanders through his unexpected life in the outside world, meets a girl, finds out he has a brother who may or may not be trying to kill him, becomes famous, loses everything, and hijacks a plane. Not necessarily in that order.
It's a fun ride from a writer with an acerbic wit, that will likely appeal to younger adults or males, or those who enjoyed Fight Club.

Monday, July 07, 2008

G.I. Joe Declassified

G.I. Joe has been around for decades, but really took off with the comic book in the early 1980s. That comic died off, but Devil's Due Publishing has revived it with a new series exploring the origins of those old characters. It's probably of little interest to those who weren't into the series as kids, but for those who were it's kind of a trip down memory lane.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Black Duck


This YA novel, written by Janet Taylor Lisle, is based on the actual story of the Black Duck, a famous rum running speedboat in the 1920's that was gunned down by the Coast Guard, killing the men on board. Many lives were lost in that tumultuous time, when liquor was sold illegally and many wanted part of the action.

In this present day story, David, a soon-to-be freshman, is vying for a job at the local paper. He does some research and locates the story of the Black Duck. Intrigued and hoping a new spin on the story would help him get the job, he interviews Ruben Hart who was a boy himself in 1929. In a series of interviews, David discovers that Ruben had not only heard the story but had witnessed more than the papers ever revealed: dirty cops, a dead body washed up on shore, murderous thugs, crime bosses, the crew of the Black Duck, and a ticket worth millions.

Historical fiction at its best!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

False Gods, by Graham McNeill

This is the second in a series based on the Warhammer 40,000 universe. It continues the fall of a near-mythic being created to protect humanity from the dangers of intergalactic space in the distant future. I wrote this about the first in the series, by a different author, but it's true of this book as well: For what are essentially tie-ins, these are remarkably meaty reads. There's very much a Christ kind of thing going on, but in reverse. Horus, a nearly unstoppable warrior, is laid low by treachery. He's brought back with the help of a handful of followers, only his time in purgatory left him with some ideas that will have dire consequences for humanity. It's a must read for fans of Warhammer, and also a great read for those into space opera in general.