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The Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland


The Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland (2004)
Turn of the century historical novel about the life and paintings of Emily Carr. Emily Carr has been compared to Georgia O'Keefe and other female painters who have a distinguished artistic style. Emily Carr's subjects are the primitive British Columbia native tribal cultures, which her paintings preserved as the cultures disappeared. Emily lived until 1945: long enough to know her bold, huge, impressionist paintings were hung in Canadian museums and recognized as works equal to the male impressionists of the same period. The author creates interesting characters which are the backdrop for Emily Carr's history. The first third of the story starts out slowly, but becomes interesting so that the last two thirds make the book an interesting, educational, good ending read.

 



Preview this book and check out the reading guide and author's interview.

 

The Painter from Shanghai by Jennifer Epstein


The Painter from Shanghai by Jennifer Cody Epstein (2008)
Reminiscent of Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha, this novel is a re-imagining of the life of Pan Yuliang and how she went from prostitute to post-Impressionist artist. Pan Yuliang was actually one of the most talented and provocative Chinese artists of the twentieth century. The background of historical events make The Painter from Shanghai an irresistible story.

Visit the author's website, read an interview with the author, and check out the reviews.

Foul Matter by Martha Grimes

Foul Matter by Martha Grimes (2003)
Foul matter is the name given by editors to an unedited manuscript. In this tongue-in-cheek caper, a best selling author agrees to change publishers if said publisher will drop their best, most literary writer. The publisher’s solution? To hire two hit men to knock off their talented but slender-selling writer.

Visit Book Reporter to read an excerpt and an interview. Check out the San Francisco Chronicle author interview.

Red Leaves by Thomas H. Cook

Red Leaves by Thomas H. Cook (2005)
A father suspects that his son may have committed a terrible crime. Good character development; hard to put this one down!

Find out more about the author and other Alabama writers or read an excerpt from the novel.

Straight into Darkness by Faye Kellerman

Straight into Darkness by Faye Kellerman (2005)
It’s 1929, and the Nazis are causing daily trouble in Munich at the time that police inspector Axel Berg searches for a serial killer.

Before you come to the library, preview the book. You can also visit the author's website.

Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo

Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo (2007)
This is a travel book and an enlightenment book with very funny moments. The two diametrically opposed personalities encounter forced togetherness on a road trip from the East Coast to a family Midwest farm. The author carves out two distinct men, one who is patient about the differences in people and one who is not tolerant of different people. Fast, laugh-out-loud read which provokes reflection on one's own personality traits.

The Broken Window by Jeffery Deaver

The Broken Window by Jeffery Deaver (2008)
This book is vintage Lincoln Rhyme. In this thriller, Deaver graphically portrays murder(s) via computers. The concept really blows the reader away. We are all vulnerable in cyberspace. As the plot twists and turns, the romantic team of Lincoln and Amelia face the ultimate amoral mastermind. This reader was breathless and involved until the last word of the last page.

Visit the author's website for an excerpt and interview. Watch a video on Amazon.com.

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen (2008)
Twenty-six year old Josey still lives with her mother in the family mansion in the mountains of North Carolina. Acting as her mother’s cook, caregiver, and chauffeur, Josey has no life of her own until she wakes up one morning and finds local waitress Della Lee hiding in her closet. Through Della Lee, Josey meets and befriends Chloe, becomes involved in Chloe’s romantic problems and goes on a date with the man of her dreams. A charming romance with a touch of magical realism and maybe a touch of just plain magic.

Visit the author's website for an excerpt, deleted scenes, tidbits, discussion questions, and a preview of all of the candy mentioned in the book.

Girls in Trouble by Caroline Leavitt

Girls in Trouble by Caroline Leavitt (2003)
Caroline, a pregnant teenager, makes the decision for an open adoption and ends up losing all contact with her baby. We “grow-up” with Caroline during her quest to be reunited with her now teenage daughter. Leavitt has written a touching, realistic story.

Visit the author's website for book discussion questions, interviews with the author, and essays about the novel.

The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe

The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe (2008)
This novel is a “first in a series” serial mystery that takes place in rural Ontario. Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef, flawed, middle-aged, divorced, is herself a walking trauma unit. What hasn’t happened to her yet is just a matter of time.

Our killer creatively dispatches his victims with a tad too much gore for my taste, but I often skim the gut wrenching details. However, overlooking that point, the plot gathers momentum until the final scene reaches a pretty exciting ending.

Through the story, we empathize with Hazel because she is “us.” We want her to survive almost as much as we want to stop the killer. The contrast between the rural police force and the urban police force is just another bonus along the way.

Before you get the book from the library, read an excerpt.

Something from the Nightside by Simon Green

Something from the Nightside by Simon Green (2003)
ATTENTION MYSTERY LOVERS -- don’t let the “science fiction” sticker on the spine scare you away! This book is just as much a mystery as a work of fantasy. A private detective, with a few special powers, works in London’s other-world, the Nightside. Take the adventure. You won’t regret it!

Eva Moves the Furniture by Margot Livesey

Eva Moves the Furniture by Margot Livesey (2001)
Different in tone from her alarming psychological tales (Homework, The Missing World), this novel is a deceptively simple coming-of-age story set in Scotland in the early 1900s. Eva’s mother dies giving birth to her and she is raised by her father and her practical Aunt Lily. Eva is a woman whose life is accompanied by invisible "companions" whose “guidance” is both helpful and harmful. Eva’s relationship with them is colored by both humor and melancholy. This isn't a ghost story, but rather a love story of the best kind.

Savannah Blues by Mary Kay Andrews

Savannah Blues by Mary Kay Andrews (2001)
Savannah Blues is a light, fun read with a touch of learning about antique pickers. Follow Eloise "Weezie" Foley as she deals with a huge estate sale, eccentric relatives, a sexy ex-boyfriend, and her ex-husband. Love can be better the second time around.

Check out an interview with the author, read an excerpt, and glance over discussion questions. Also visit the author's website to learn more.

Before the Storm by Diane Chamberlain

Before the Storm by Diane Chamberlain (2008)
This is an interesting novel that shows the complexities of human relationships. Laurel Lockwood is a mother who is trying to help and protect her special needs son after he is accused of arson. The author shifts from past to present so you really get to know the characters. Very enjoyable read!

Goodbye, She Lied by Russ Hall

Goodbye, She Lied by Russ Hall (2007)
In a tiny Texas town, Esbeth Walters enjoys her vocation as amateur detective. The local police find her an annoying, old busybody. In this zippy adventure, Esbeth takes on conmen and scams. A particular rest home loses guests a little too predictably, a murder is ruled a suicide, and two mean Vegas hitmen give Esbeth visions she’d rather not see.

As a retired schoolteacher, Esbeth has been well-trained in dealing with problems and problem children. Such an offbeat character makes reading mysteries down home fun.