In the Kingdom of Ice is a well-crafted, non-fiction story told by the amazing Hampton Sides. I usually don't read a lot of non-fiction, but I was really intrigued by the subject matter.
In 1879, throngs of people watched as the USS Jeannette left San Francisco to attempt to reach the North Pole in order to confirm that the area north of the Bering Sea was ice free. The ship was under the command of George Washington De Long, and the expedition was funded by wealthy James Gordon Bennet Jr, who is known for sending Stanley to Africa to find Livingston.
Two years into the expedition the ship’s hull hit ice and sank, leaving the crew thousands of miles away from civilization. De Long then led his crew safely over the icy landscape in conditions that punished the body and the mind.
Using letters, journals, newspaper articles, and other archives Sides has written a book that reads literally like a novel, complete with adventure, hope, and the humans need to make discoveries.
Saturn has a limited amount of autographed copies available...would make a great Christmas present.
Garth Stein has written another beautiful, insightful novel, which is part multigenerational family saga, part ghost story, and part coming of age story in A Sudden Light.
Narrated by adult Trevor Riddell as he recalls the summer in 1990 when, as a bookish, curious 14 year-old, he visits the family's ancestral estate. He has heard stories about this grand, majestic place that was built by his timber baron great, great grandfather Elijiah and has heard all about the Riddell curse. During this visit Trevor's father Jones and his Aunt Serena plan to have their father sign a power of attorney so that the two siblings can sell the property to a developer. Trevor starts to roam Riddell House and uncovers long forgotten journals, secret passageways and the presents of the ghost of Ben.
This is where the writer adds another layer to the novel, weaving together the contemporary story line with a trip into 1900s, and promise that Elijiah gave his conservationist son, Ben, to return the estate back to the wilderness. When that doesn't happen for generations, Ben's spirit is there to guild that next generation into doing what he feels needs to be done.
When I finished reading this novel I sat back and took a long, deep breath. It was entertaining, sad, and thought-provoking. The ties of family can connect family, both during their lifetime and the lifetime of generations to come.
Winter Street is the first Christmas novel by Elin Hilderbrand, and I had a great time drinking my coffee and snuggling in a blanket to read this book.
Nantucket's Winter Street Inn is all ready for Christmas; the nutcrackers are on the mantle, the Christmas village is set up, the tree in decorated, and the Santa has been hired. Inn owner Kelly Quinn is looking forward to getting the family together. What he doesn't expect is to see his second wife, Mitzi kissing Santa Claus. Utter chaos descends upon the Inn after Mitzi runs away with Santa leaving Kelly to handle the holiday by himself.
Over mulled wine the dysfunctional Quinn family, which includes Kelly, his sons Patrick and Kevin, his daughter Ava, and his ex-wife Margaret, try to be happy and jolly. This is hard with another of Kelly's sons unreachable in Afghanistan, a federal crime, an unplanned pregnancy, and a love triangle disrupting the Christmas carols and the standing rib roast.
Churchill's Angels is the first book in a series that has recently been published in the United States by English writer Ruby Jackson. The series follows the lives for four young women whose lives are changed forever at the start of World War II.
It is 1939 and the English town of Dartford is the home of twins Daisy and Rose and their two friends Grace and Sally. When the nation goes into war with Germany all four girls are determined to do their part.
Grace leaves her unloving home for Scotland and the Land Army, doing what she loves most, working in the garden to help feed the military. Sally's stage school dreams are shattered, but she uses her talents to entertain the troops. Rose works in the local munitions factory, and Daisy is still needed at home to help with the green grocer shop.
When Daisy meets Rich, aristocratic flying ace, Adair, she just thinks he is being nice to her because she knows how to fix engines. Adair changes her life’s direction when he gives her flying lessons and encourages her to become a pilot with the ATA. It seems that all her dreams will come true, but war has a way of thwarting dreams.
I'm already starting the next book in the series, Wave Me Goodbye, watch for that review soon.
Get your cameras ready, L.A. paparazzi, as everyone’s favorite British shopaholic Becky Brandon crosses the pond and lands in Hollywood. When Becky’s husband Luke relocates the family to work with an A-List star, Becky just knows that she can use her shopping talents to become a celebrity stylist. She keeps telling her family and friends that her multiple shopping trips to Rodeo Drive are all for the stars that she knows will be clamoring to use her fashion sense. With her lifestyle full of yoga retreats, red carpet premiers, a cool preschool for her daughter Minnie, and bodyguards, Becky is starry-eyed and has everything she’s always wanted...or does she? Shopaholic to the Stars features Becky at her finest: witty, funny, and fabulous.
Author Tasha Alexander writes my favorite Victorian mysteries, the Lady Emily Mysteries. I love her lavish period details, her dashing and daring characters, and her well-crafted murders that always have twists and turns before the murderer is uncovered. The newest installment, The Counterfeit Heiress, doesn't disappoint.
During a grand soirée, a masked and costumed guest is found murdered. Lady Emily and her husband soon uncover that the victim was impersonating the heiress Estella Lamar. The investigation leads them to France to find the elusive Estella, but they find that the only contact that Estella has had with those who knew her has been through letters and an occasional blurry photograph the newspapers would print.
With two mysteries to investigate, more questions are uncovered than answered. Who was the intended victim? Estella or the imposter?
Find a comply chair and enjoy reading this historical mystery.
This young-adult/historical-fiction novel is part witch folklore, part young love and part northeastern whaler history.
Avery Roe has always wanted to claim her birthright to be the witch for Prince Island. She wants to be like the women in her family that have been witches and have kept the island's whalers safe with spells and charms. The only thing in her way is her mother, who wants Avery to leave the island and be a proper Victorian woman.
When Avery has a dream that she is to be murdered, she knows her time to become the witch is running out. She finds an ally in Tane, a handsome tattooed boy who has magical powers of his own. When she has another dream she realizes that the price of becoming the island witch requires an unimaginable sacrifice that will change the lives of those she loves.
Author Julia Mary Gibson was at Saturn Booksellers in August to promote her novel, Copper Magic, Gibson is a new voice in crossover young adult/adult, historical-talismanic fiction. Copper Magic is based on an incident that happened to the author when on vacation with her family on the shores of Northern Michigan. They found scattered human bones that her grandfather pieced together to exhibit to others, but her wise grandmother said the bones should be buried and prayed over.
Set in the early 1900s on the shores of Northern Michigan, the story follows Violet, a young girl who has said goodbye to her mother and younger brother as they board a train for a place unknown to Violet, leaving her alone with her father.
When Violet finds an old copper hand buried by a small lake she knows that it holds magic. She decides to make a small wish, for a new dress, which comes true. Knowing that the copper hand has power she hides it way from everyone. Violets life then takes a turn. She becomes the helper to a visiting photographer, she meets a new friend, and the copper hand is stolen.
This novel has wonderful characters, magic, folklore, and will be enjoyed by any age.
It is the Christmas season and not only does Lieutenant Eve Dallas have to plan a big party and shop for presents, but she also has a new murder to solve, that of personal trainer Trey Ziegler. Not only is he murdered but the killer uses one of the victim’s knives to attach a note to his chest that reads: Santa Says You've Been Bad!!!! Ho. Ho. Ho.
Digging deeper into Trey's life, Eve finds that almost everyone that was affiliated with Trey has a motive, which is going to make solving the case long and hard. While investigating she uncovers Trey's use of drugs to rape women and then blackmail them. Her distaste for the victim grows with each clue that she uncovers and she wishes that he was still alive so that he could be charged for his many crimes. She might feel compassion for those that were wronged, but nobody has the right to commit premeditated murder. Which of the handful of suspects could have committed this crime, and will Eve solve the case before Christmas?
I had so much fun reading Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits by Mary Jane Hathaway. The book is a sweet, hilarious, and witty Southern retelling of one of classic literature's favorite couples, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.
Shelby Roswell enjoys her position as a Civil War historian and professor and has just published a new book, which receives a negative review from famous historian Ransom Fielding. When Fielding takes a visiting professorship at her small Southern college, Shelby starts to think that her tenure is in danger.
While these two Southerners find themselves fighting over the history of local Battles the college becomes a battlefield between them, both with students and staff. With hurt pride, long standing prejudice and some true Southern cooking will these two find love?
Powerful. Amazing. Emotional. Compelling. These are just a few words to describe one of my absolute favorite books of 2014. Five Days Left is a bittersweet novel full of love, loyalty, and loss. The book follows two separate characters: Mara, who is an accomplished lawyer with a wonderful family life and a fatal neurological disorder, and Scott, who is a middle school teacher and coach who has been a foster father to an eight-year-old boy named Curtis for the last year while his mother has been in jail. Both of their lives will change in five days.
This is a novel that you will still be thinking about months after you have read it and will have you asking yourself, "What would I do?"
Like the main character Annie, heroes are my weakness, especially when that hero is just a little bit dark and brooding. I had a great time reading Susan Elizabeth Phillips' newest novel, which is part romance, part mystery, and all fun. This novel has a gothic feel since it is set on a remote island off the coast of Maine during the deepest part of winter. Annie comes back to live at the cottage of her youth, which has the dark and mysterious Harp House Manor hovering over it. Living on the island and seeing Theo Harp again brings back all the memories that she wants to keep out of her mind, mostly the memory of loving Theo and the memory of him trying to kill her. When Annie's cottage is trashed and someone tries to shoot her, she starts to question if Theo is the monster that she remembers or a hero of today.
The Actress is a literary saga that gives the reader a look into the world of Hollywood. This novel is full of all things that make page six and the grocery store tabloids so juicy: sex, secret relationships, closed-door deals, and Hollywood backstabbing.
When Maddy Freed stars in an independent movie that she helped write with her director boyfriend, she shoots to fame after she wins a special acting prize at the film festival. Her success gets the attention of agent Bridget Ostrow who knows she could put Maddy's career on the fast track and cast her in an even bigger role – that of the wife of Hollywood heartthrob Steven Weller.
Steven's sexual orientation has been whispered around the tabloids for years, but a relationship with Maddy could just put a stop to those rumors. After a whirlwind marriage, and problems on sets and secrets behind closed doors, Maddy starts to question her fairy tale romance and leading role...as Steven's wife.
This novel was addictive to read and had me guessing who some of the characters in the book were based on.
The past comes back to haunt a group of friends in the newest novel in the Kate Burkholder series, The Dead Will Tell. Again, author Linda Castillo has written a powerful, suspenseful thriller that has Painters Mill chief of police Kate Burkholder solving murders that effect both the Amish and the Englishers.
In 1979, an Amish father and four of his children are dead after a robbery in their home, the Amish wife is missing and fourteen-year-old Billy Hochstetler is the only family member left after the unspeakable act of violence.
Fast forward to 2014, only a handful of people hide the terrible secrets that happened that fateful night at the Hochstetler farm, and they are turning up dead, one by one.
I read this chilling, compelling thriller well into the night. I'm already excited for the next in the series even though I know that I have at least another year to wait.
Author Jennifer Weiner goes darker in her new novel All Fall Down, a story of the growing epidemic in our society: the abuse of prescription medication by the middle and upper class.
Allison Weiss has what she has always wanted, a loving husband, a beautiful daughter, and a profession as a blogger that has taken off overnight. What she needs to keep all these things manageable are the pain pills she started taking after an injury. Allison likes how they help with the physical pain but also how they help her emotionally maintain her idyllic life. Soon one pill every four hours isn't enough to help her cope with her life, and it becomes five pills, then ten pills. She rotates getting pills from different doctors and then, eventually, from the internet.
Her life starts to spiral out of control, both with her family and her professional life. She keeps telling herself she isn't like the addicts around her, she got her pills from a doctor not the street corner. She can handle anything; her emotional daughter, her husband sleeping in the spare bedroom and her sick father, the drugs just make the day easier.
I'm a huge fan of Jennifer Weiner and I'm glad she has written about a subject that is growing within all communities, usually behind closed doors.
With each new novel, author Emily Giffin grows as a writer. The One and Only proves again that she can come up with a fresh story to tell with compelling characters and complex, engaging storylines.
Shea Rigsby is an unconventional heroine. She has spent her entire life living in Walker, Texas, the home of not only Walker University, but the Walker University football team. Shea grew up next to head coach Clive Carr's daughter Lucy and knows football better than most men.
When tragedy strikes the small community, Shea must examine everything that she trusts and knows. With her life upended, she realizes that she must follow her heart, even if that means giving up almost everything she loves and believes in.
I stayed up until 4:00 a.m. reading this novel that had secrets unfolding, desires unleashing and friendships tested.
I know all of you who read my book reviews notice that I don't read a lot of non-fiction. This week is different. 50 Children, by author Steven Pressman, is the true account of Gil and Eleanor Kraus's mission to save 50 Jewish children in 1939 Nazi occupied Austria.
Drawing from Pressman's wife's grandmother’s journals, historical documents and interview with some of the surviving children, this is the remarkable story of courage and heroism in the face of a hostile social and political environment.
I was amazed with what this couple was able to accomplish, especially with the United States immigration laws and the social backlash from other Jewish organizations.
Save the Date, by the belle of beach reads, Mary Kay Andrews, is a novel that you will want to pack in your beach tote and read while your toes are in the warm sun.
When Savannah florist, Cara Kryzik, books the wedding of the century, she realizes that she could now be the florist the members of old money Savannah turn to for all events. But, this wedding does have a down side, a bridezilla and a mother of the bridezilla. Luckily, Cara has always been able to keep calm under pressure, that is, until her dog goes missing on the day of the wedding and she travels every street to find her. What Cara finds, instead, is the very dashing Jack Finnerty cuddling up with her dog and saying that it’s his.
What follows is miscommunication, ruined relationships, missing family heirlooms, hot and steamy kisses and Savannah gentry trying to one up each other. This all makes for a fun and delightful novel that you will want to save a date to read.
I really enjoyed all the period references of the city of Detroit in 1912 while reading the book, Detroit Shuffle – from the architecture to the clothes to the lifestyle of those who lived in the motor city.
In the forth installment of the Will Anderson mystery series, Will just wants to keep the love of his life, Elizabeth Hume, safe while she fights for the women’s right to vote with the suffrage movement. After a gunshot goes off during a movement rally, Will says that he saw a man in a grey suit flee the scene, but nobody believes him. They think it is his imagination, a side effect from radium treatment that he received at Eloise Hospital for the insane.
While protecting Elizabeth , Will unearths a web of corruption within the government and the police force. Before the next movement rally, Will must deal with a murder, backroom conspiracy and shady dealings.
The storyline had twists and turns, non-stop action, and great characters, including two of Will’s friends from Eloise Hospital of the insane, Francis and Robert.
Author D.E. Johnson will be at Saturn Booksellers on Thursday, June 26th. If you don't already have your free ticket for the event, just give us a call 989-732-8899 or get you ticket on the web site. See you there!
I didn't see the twists and turns at the end of this book coming.
Have I got your interest? I should. The Secret Life of Violet Grant, by Beatriz Williams, is an uniquely crafted story that is full of information that has you thinking one direction when you should be going in the other direction.
The story starts in 1964 when recent Bryn Mawr graduate Vivian Schuyler receives an unexpected package in the mail. The package contains a suitcase, not her suitcase but a suitcase that belonged to an Aunt that she never knew about.
The storyline then switches to 1914 and the life of Violet Schuyler, the original owner of the suitcase. Violet has left America to study under scientist Dr. Walter Grant and then becomes his wife.
But why doesn't the Schuyler family talk or acknowledge Violet, and what ever happened to her?
Written from both the voices of Vivian and Violet, this is a story of ambitions, independence, betrayal, and love that crosses generations.
When disgraced magazine writer Kitty Logan receives a plea from her dying mentor, Constance, to write the story she has been unable to write, she accepts and embarks on writing a story that Constance would be proud of. Sadly, all that Constance has left Kitty after her death is a list of one hundred names. No contact information, no storyline idea, only the mystery of what links these people together.
What follows is a roller coaster ride of dead ends, unearthed secrets, new relationships and impacting discoveries. This story has something for everyone, and you will stay up long into the night to finish.
Author Tobin Buhk has written an interesting historical true-crime mystery that is set not too far from Gaylord, in the small town of Fife Lake, in Kalkaska county during 1903.
In his book, Michigan's Strychnine Saint, The Curious Case of Mrs. Mary McNight, Buhk tells the story of the Murphy family and their mysterious deaths. First baby Ruth dies in her crib, then within hours her mother Gertrude dies, followed by John Murphy's death ten days later. The one person who was there for each death was John's eldest sister Mary.
The physicians didn't know what could have caused their deaths, and the small community said a curse was on the family.
Sheriff John W. Creighton and Prosecuting attorney Ernest C. Smith know a dark deed was the cause. After taking statements and looking into backgrounds, they arrested Mary McNight, knowing she was behind the murders.
This true-crime book gives the reader an interesting look into practice of law in 1903, along with pictures of the area and those involved with this case.
Author Tobin Buhk will be at Saturn Booksellers on Saturday, June 21st, 11:30 am - 1:30 pm. for a Sit-and-Sign event. Hope to see you there...or if you're an out of town friend, we can have the book autographed and sent to you.
When Jean Vison forms a book club after the death of her husband, Wayne, she doesn't realize that the group of six women are more than a club meeting every month to discuss books, but a group that offers lifelines to each other.
To further complicate Jean’s life, her only daughter, Laura, is forced into rehab and Jean takes on the responsibility of her very troubled granddaughter, Bailey. What Jean realizes is that Bailey’s rude behavior and outburst are all to get attention. Daily, Jean struggles with trying to make inroads with Bailey, but the angry teen has only known hardship and disappointment and lashes out.
When the book club meets to discuss the newest ‘it’ book, Blame, Bailey's hard shell starts to chip away. Books have always been a constant in her life, and listening and commenting during the book club makes her feel free.
The book group bands together to offer support, a listening ear, comfort and friendship to each other, not only during the monthly meeting, but also anytime when needed. This is a wonderful story that shows the power that a club, and especially a book club, can offer.
Fans of Debbie Macomber have fallen in love with the characters who live and work on Blossom Street. Her cast of characters are back again with some new faces in her newest book, Blossom Street Brides.
Lauren Elliott has waited years for an engagement ring from her long-time boyfriend, Todd. When she thinks a special dinner is going to lead to a ring, she is crushed when Todd tells her that he loves her but wants to wait. She makes a bold choice to drop Todd from her life.
She decides to visit the Good Yarn store and start a new project. What she doesn't expect is to be drawn to a motorcycle man who walks into the yarn shop with a friend.
Bethanne and her new husband Max are in love, but they have a long distance marriage: She lives in Seattle and Max lives in California. The distance is starting to take its toll, especially with Bethanne's first husband trying to win her back. At the yarn shop talking with friends, she is delightfully surprised when her husband shows up after riding his motorcycle from California with his friend Rooster.
All of the characters of this series have found a way into my heart. They deal with the good and the bad, and they are like friends to me. Pick up any book in this series and let the characters become your friends, too.
When you LOVE a novel, you want to talk about its many merits. You want to go on and on and on. When you have to write about said novel, it becomes difficult to put your adoration into words. There is so much to write, but you find yourself struggling to narrow the review to just a few sentences.
The Pink Suit, by author Nicole Mary Kelby, is a book that I LOVED. The novel is based on the true story behind the famous pink suit that Jacqueline Kennedy wore the day her husband was assassinated.
This Chanel-style suit and much of the First Lady's wardrobe came from the New York boutique Chez Ninon, where a young Irish immigrant named Kate was the seamstress who crafted memorable outfits.
Kate worked in a world full of excess, glamour and artistic style, but lived within a traditional working class neighborhood. While never meeting the First Lady in person, Kate is able to sew exquisite outfits for the world to adore.
From the impactful beginning to the poignant ending, The Pink Suit, tells a story that will leave you falling under the spell of the world of haute couture and those unknown people behind the scenes.
I special ordered the children's picture book, A Perfect Day For Digging, for my cousin William’s daughter, Ella Anne. She loves to help plant vegetables, but we all know that she really likes to dig in the dirt.
This book features Nell and her dog Rusty who are excited that spring is here, and that the snow has melted and the green grass is starting to grow. Goodbye snow shovel, hello trowel! Nell decides it is a great day to plant some flowers and knows it is time for some digging. When her friend Norman comes over, she offers him a trowel, but he doesn't want to get dirty and says he will just watch.
Both Nell and Rusty start with one hole, having so much fun they start digging more and more holes that uncover marbles, acorns and worms. They make dirt angels and decorate dirt hills with rocks. Seeing how much fun they are having, Norman joins in.
This is a great book for spring and having fun with dirt.
Shadow Spell is the second magical installment of the Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy. The lore of Ireland runs deep in the O'Dwyer family, and Connor O'Dwyer embraces that lore and legend.
With his sister Branna and cousin Iona, they form a circle of magic, a magic that is made stronger with three friends that stretch the circle even larger.
When Connor steals a kiss from his sister’s best friend, Meara, his whole world turns upside down. She has always been around and is counted as part of the circle, but after that kiss, she opens herself up to dark magic. As the dark witch Cabhan is hiding in the shadows and fog, evil tries to settle into the lives of the O'Dwyer family, but they have been working on spells to get Cabhan away from Ireland and all that they love.
I'm looking forward to the third book, Blood Magick, and have already pre-ordered a copy.