Snappy Staff Reviews - November, 2011
Annotation:Set in Kitsilano, The Sky is Falling shifts between the present day and 1983 when Regan was president and the escalating cold war raised fears of nuclear disaster. In the 80’s, Jane a shy newcomer from Edmonton finds herself sharing a house with a group of university students who she discovers to be anti-nuclear activists. Jane is slowly drawn into their circle and agrees to become part of a terrorist action plan which will change all their lives forever.
Annotation:At the age of nine, gentle Rose Edelstein discovers she has a gift which will lead her to be an outcast. She can taste the feelings and uncover the secrets of the person who cooks any food she eats. Eating becomes a handicap and Rose life’s is greatly comprised by her gift. Using elements of fantasy, Bender writes a haunting coming-of-age story.
Annotation:Book 5 in this excellent series focusing on the members of Team Sixteen, and elite group of SEALS and their FBI counterparts. Brockmann does a great job of showing us the human side of each of these characters, while still keeping us on the edge of our seats with thrilling action.
Annotation:This book's title comes from the three witches in Macbeth .The three daughters of a Shakespeare scholar, Rosalind (Rose), Bianca (Bean), and Cordelia (Cordy) are fated to play certain roles in their family. I was drawn to this novel because I have sisters and I see how we are fated to play the roles our families assign to us when we are growing up. Besides, how could I not love a book that says: "There is no problem that a library card can't solve."
Annotation:This is a Victorian comedy of manners featuring vampires and a variety of other supernatural beings. Our "soulless" heroine, Alexia Tarabotti must tread carefully in a social world ruled by tea time etiquette. and the court sanctioned investigations of werewolf Lord Maccon. A fun read.
Annotation:Set in the small fishing outpost of Paradise Cove, Crummey presents the story of the Sellers and the Divine families. The story has much to offer: unrequited love, revenge, local myth and history, and ribald Newfoundland humour. Connecting these narrative elements, is the story of Lazarus, a man found in the belly of a whale. Magic realism Newfoundland style.
Annotation:Andie Miller is engaged to a wonderful man, but her ex-husband, North, offers to pay her $10,000 if she agrees to help him out for a month with his troubled children. Oh yes, and the house might be haunted. This light, romantic comedy is a fun read.
Annotation:While caring for her dying mother, 30-year-old Sophie Walker becomes acquainted with the keeper of a nearby safari park. Sophie is fascinated by a group of elephants living at the park and can't help but compare their exemplary behaviour patterns to those of humans.A beautiful and thoughtful novel.
Annotation:A car accident alters the lives of a family living out of their car, and a single woman, still mourning the death of her parents. Endicott explores guilt, anger, discrimination and religion in the most interesting way. She has the now homeless family move into the home of the single woman, who caused the accident. What happens is so interesting, and the characters so well drawn that the reader connects with and cares for them. Full of happiness and tragedy the rural and small town life of the prairies comes alive.
Annotation:Octogenarian detectives Arthur Bryant and John May of the Peculiar Crimes Unit mystery series, reminisce about their first case which took place during the London Blitz. They use witches’ lore, psychics, and even mummified cats as well as forensics in solving the crime. If you want a great escape to a darkly funny London populated by eccentrics, this is the book and the mystery series for you.
Annotation:Based on the sensational murder trial of Ruth Snyder and Judd Gray in 1927. The book opens with the crime scene before going back in time to tell the story of their romance, the murder, and finally their trial. Using memoirs and newspaper articles, the author does a seamless job of mixing fact and fiction – in fact for me it was hard to tell where the truth ended and the fiction began.
Annotation:This inventive novel is about a young woman, Dr. Diana Bishop - descendant of a long line of witches, who refuses to use her powers. While doing research at the Bodleian Library, Diana uncovers a long-lost manuscript. This discovery threatens to spark a war between the world of supernatural beings and mankind. Compulsively readable, a Discovery of Witches has been described as Twilight for adults.
Annotation:The main interest in this supernatural thriller, is the further developmentsof the relationship between bounty-hunters Rachel Morgan and Trenton Kalamack (Trent). Pale Demon is the ninth book in Harrison's The Hollows series.
Annotation:In the year 2027, humans have lost the ability to reproduce and society is in chaos. When a young immigrant woman, Kee, reveals that she is pregnant, many forces struggle for control of what will be the first recorded human birth in 18 years. An underground group of activists known as "The Fishes" act as Kee's guardians and attempt to escort her to safety.
Annotation:This excellent Vancouver-based coming of age story focuses on Danny Lim. A chance encounter with a burlesque dancer named the Siamese Kitten changes his life. Many years later, as a young, gay man living in the West End, Danny struggles to come to terms with his emotionally troubled family and establish a photographic career. Recommended.
Annotation:Musician Gram Parsons, lived a short life, but has had a profound influence on popular music. Ironically, Parsons himself saw little success during his brief career. Though considered the father of country-rock, his efforts merely paved the way for countless other bands to follow. Twenty Thousand Roads is not the first book about Gram Parsons, but it’s the best.
Annotation:When Natalie arrives in an unnamed Balkan country to provide medical aid, she encounters an atmosphere of secrecy beneath her warm welcome. Secrecy might well be the operative word in Obreht’s debut novel. Not just the secret history of past atrocities during times of conflict, but personal, family secrets as well. When Natalie’s grandfather suddenly dies, a mystery arises that forces Natalie to examine some of these secrets – especially one family legend concerning a tiger.
Annotation:When 80-year-old Anna Neshov suffers a stroke, her three adult sons meet to discuss the situation. The three estranged brothers start by discussing inheritance issues but, unexpectedly, reveal unsettling family secrets. The story is set in Norway.
Annotation:This controversial novel is about a depressed man named John whose wife has left him for a man named Peter. Matters are further complicated when John intercepts some coded messages that are actually part of a schoolboy game.
Annotation:The death of a young First nations Man, Hector Penniac, in the cargo hold of a merchant ship sets-off this tragic story. The media and the tribal council blame a loner in their community, Roger Savage. many years later, a boy who observed the events, Markus Paul, has joined the police force and struggles to resolve the mystery surrounding Hector's death. Highly recommended.
Annotation:In this massive, semi-autobiographical novel, an Australian man escapes an eighteen-year prison sentence and flees to India. He assumes the identity of Lindsay, a.k.a. Linbaba or Lin. He meets a street guide named Prabaker who initiates him into the underworld of Bombay.
Annotation:This is a well written and deeply moving fictionalized account of the 1942 Paris round ups and deportations of Jewish families by the Paris police. It follows the story of Sarah and Julia. Sarah, the 10-year-old daughter of a Jewish family who were taken that fateful night, and Julia is an American journalist and wife of a Parisian man, assigned to cover the 60th anniversary of the roundups.
Annotation:Alice, a single, travel writer has been named the legal guardian of her friend's daughter, Scarlett. When Alice's friend is killed in an accident, Alice is happy to leave Scarlett's in the care of her posh grandparents. Alice soon realizes this arrangement might not be in Scarlett's best interest. An adult coming-of-age story..
Annotation:Patti Smith offers a tender memoir about her early days in New York City and her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe. As well as a fascinating account of the life and development of an artist, Smith paints an unblinking portrait of New York from a much grittier era. The book is a must read for music and poetry fans.
Annotation:This sequel to Chanda's Secrets begins in the aftermath of her mother's death from AIDS. Still a young girl herself, Chanda struggles to raise her two younger siblings. Chanda is also under pressure from estranged relatives to accept an arranged marriage. In the midst of this domestic crisis , Civil War breaks out. Chanda's War is a rarity: a sequel that not only betters the original, but stands alone as a brilliant work of literature.
Annotation:Abraham Lincoln’s murder set off the greatest manhunt in American history. Assisted by family and others taken with his legendary charisma, John Wilkes Booth relied on guile and luck to elude the best detectives, military officers and local police the federal government could muster. With this book, Swanson has successfully streamlined the assassination's aftermath into a gripping hour by hour account. As a result, Manhunt reads like a tightly scripted crime drama that is impossible to put down."
Annotation:This wonderful story is about the childhood of an intersex child growing up in rural Labrador. Born in 1968 and raised as a boy named Wayne Blake, the child does not fit into the hunting and fishing culture of Croyden Harbour. As Wayne matures into adulthood, the pull of a “shadow self” he calls Annabel becomes stronger and stronger. If you are a fan of Jeffrey Eugenidies Middlesex you will like this beautifully written novel.
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Welcome to Vancouver Public Library's third installment of our lively Snappy Staff Reviews. A panel of staff members present a selection of their favourite books in a beat-the-clock, timed presentation.