Archive for the ‘Readers Corner’ Category

Just added to the Bestseller Express:

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Hurry in to the library – we have the hottest bestsellers!

Just added to the Bestseller Express:

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear

Leaving Before the Rains Come by Alexandra Fuller

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

World Gone By by Dennis LeHane

The Whites by Richard Price writing as Harry Brandt

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

A Blink of the Screen: Collected Shorter Fiction by Terry Pratchet

NYPD Red 3 by James Patterson

Sponsored by Curtis Friends, Bestseller Express titles are available on a first-come, first-served basis and can be checked out for 7 days.

Exclusively for Curtis cardholders, they cannot be reserved or renewed so you’ll have the best access to new titles, but you will have to read fast.

The Bestseller Express books are located in the New Books Room, across from Lending Services.

Click on titles to check current availability and then come in to the library today!

Unmistakable and invulnerable, a floating village in steel, the Lusitania glided by in the night as a giant black shadow cast upon the sea.
— Erik Larson, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

Mystery Review: Janet Evanovich’s “Explosive 18”

Friday, March 13th, 2015

explosive 18In Janet Evanovich’s, “Explosive 18”, Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum’s life is on its normal course, with mayhem, murder, good guys and definitely some bad guys.

The difference this time is that the murder has an international twist to it.

Returning from her nightmare Hawaiian vacation Stephanie learns that her seatmate on the plane has been murdered in Los Angles and an assorted collection of thugs, psychos and the FBI are looking for a photograph the dead man was supposedly carrying.

Everyone thinks Stephanie has the photograph, Stephanie has seen it, but no longer has it.

Now she’s become a target. If that’s not enough, the bonds bus, Vinnie’s temporary office, goes up in smoke, Lula falls in love with one of the skip clients, Joyce Barnhardt moves in with Stephanie, Stephanie can’t decide between Morelli and Ranger, and everyone wants to know what happened in Hawaii, “it’s complicated”, is the only response Stephanie will give.

“Lucille must have fed him a Vallium smoothie this morning.”
― Janet Evanovich, Explosive Eighteen

Book Review: What The Dead Know

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

what the dead knowIn award winning author Laura Lippman’s stand-alone mystery, What the dead know, a middle-aged woman is involved in an accident on the Baltimore Beltway and flees the scene.

Later she is picked up wandering on the shoulder of the Interstate.

In the hospital the woman refuses to reveal her name but claims that she is Heather Bethany one of two sisters who disappeared from a shopping mall 30 years ago.

For years Heather, if she is Heather, has been living under different assumed names.

Why has she decided to reveal herself?

And why does every clue Heather gives the police wind up in a dead-end — an incoherent dying man, a house that is no longer there and a missing grave.

With her usual skill Laura Lippman unravels the layers of Heather’s past until the reader is finally told what really happened to Heather and Sunny on that fateful day 30 years ago.

Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. Edgar-winner Lippman, author of the Tess Monaghan mystery series (No Good Deeds, etc.), shows she’s as good as Peter Abrahams and other A-list thriller writers with this outstanding stand-alone.

Deftly moving between past and present, Lippman presents the last day both sisters, Sunny and Heather, were seen alive from a variety of perspectives.

Subtle clues point to the surprising but plausible solution of the crime and the identity of the mystery woman.

School Library Journal: The narrative threads unravel into the various accounts of that Saturday’s events, the aftermath of the disappearance, the investigation, and Heather’s own increasingly desperate attempts to evade further disclosure.

This novel is a page-turner. Tantalizing revelations are dropped at chapter ends before veering into another part of the narrative, back and forth in time.

Characters are well defined and varied, each with a different perspective on the nature of grief. Ultimately, after all of the half-truths and deceptions are played out, unexpected but moving forgiveness wins out.–Jenny Gasset, Orange County Public Library, CA

There are, of course, an infinite number of places where one is not, yet only one place where one actually is.
— Laura Lippman, What the Dead Know

Mystery Review – “A Test of Wills”

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

todd-a_test_of_willsIn Charles Todd’s first mystery, A TEST OF WILLS, set in 1919 England Inspector Ian Rutledge is returning from the Great War suffering from shell shock.

Rutledge is also carrying the heavy burden of being forced to have a young Scot executed for refusing to fight.

Hoping to salvage his sanity Rutledge returns to Scotland Yard.

But back on the job a jealous colleague has discovered Inspector Rutledge’s secret and sets the wheels in motion for him to be assigned to a case that will ultimately spell disaster for him no matter how it turns out.

A retired military office in Warwickshire has been murdered and the main suspect is a decorated war hero who is also a friend of the Prince of Wales.

Despite the demons in his head Rutledge goes about his investigation leaving no one immune to his scrutiny. Rutledge’s main problem appears to be that his prime witness is a war ravaged ex-soldier and who Rutledge sees as himself if he ever lost control.

A Test of Wills is not only a unique psychological suspense/mystery but it has a vivid sense of atmosphere.

Click here for availability.

Todd has written a first novel that speaks out, urgently and compassionately, for a long-dead generation….A meticulously wrought puzzle.”
—New York Times Book Review

An intricately plotted mystery. With this remarkable debut, Charles Todd breaks new ground in the historical crime novel.
—Peter Lovesey, author of The Circle

You’re going to love Todd.
—Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly

Euphoria! Now on the Bestseller Express shelf!

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

euhphoriaThe new book by Lily King is now available on the Bestseller Express.

Named one of the New York Times 10 best books of 2014, Euphoria gives a fictional account of a field trip made by anthropologist Margaret Mead to New Guinea in 1933.

King has taken the known details of that event and created this exquisite novel about the rewards and disappointments of intellectual ambition and physical desire.

This is a gem of a book at 266 pages, so you know you can read it in one week!

Click here for current availability.

Other recently added titles:

Sponsored by Curtis Friends, Bestseller Express titles are available on a first-come, first-served basis and can be checked out for 7 days.

Exclusively for Curtis cardholders, they cannot be reserved or renewed so you’ll have the best access to new titles, but you will have to read fast.

The Bestseller Express books are located in the New Books Room, across from the Lending Services Desk.

Click on titles to check current availability and then come in to the library today!

The truth you find will always be replaced by someone else’s.
― Lily King, Euphoria

January 2015 Mystery Review

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

without warning coverMaine author David Rosenfelt who is most noted for his Andy Carpenter mysteries and non-fiction books about dogs notably, “Dogtripping” also writes standalone mysteries. “Without warning” David’s latest standalone deals with a long ago murder in Wilton, Maine.

Katie Sandford’s husband was convicted of the murder of Jenny Robbins the wife of the Wilton chief of police, and who subsequently died in prison. Katie, the editor of the local newspaper, and Jake Robbins, Wilton’s police chief, have been working to put life back together after the tragedy but that may be coming to an end with the aftermath of a hurricane.

Burying a time capsule every 50 years has become a tradition in Wilton but the hurricane has unearthed the latest capsule. Supervising the opening of the capsule falls to Katie and Chief Robbins but they are not prepared for what they find inside. Someone predicted Jenny’s death and there are more predictions that are still happening even after Katie’s husband’s death. Was Katie’s husband innocent after all? Together Katie and Jake attempt to prevent the next predictions from coming true but the mind games that are being played have no rules and have life and death consequences.

“The novel steps into Michael Connelly ground as Robbins learns that the savage murders he’s investigating are about him. The cop and reader struggle to figure out why. So effective is this approach that it’s almost disappointing when the air of mystery evaporates as the plot becomes clear. The novel is a tad too long, and Rosenfelt’s most engaging quality—a sense of humor in the face of growing menace—sometimes feels a bit inappropriate. Still, this is highly recommended for readers craving that elusive “something different.” –Don Crinklaw

“Riveting.”—Publishers Weekly

“Relentless.”—RT Book Reviews (4 stars)

“Creepy.” “Edgy” “Shuddery” What more could anyone want?”—Booklist

New Titles on the Bestseller Express! 1/21/15

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Boston Girl by Anita Diamant: From the Bestselling author of The Red Tent comes an unforgettable novel about family ties and values, friendship and feminism told through the eyes of a young Jewish woman growing up in Boston in the early twentieth century.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins: In the vein of Gone Girl, this dark psychological thriller is fast-paced and features some very unreliable narrators.

Deep Down Dark: The untold stories of 33 men buried in a Chilean mine, and the miracle that set them free by Hector Tobar: This gripping account provides an informative edge-of-the seat reading experience about the historic disaster and rescue operation.

The Wild Truth: The untold story of sibling survival by Carine McCandless: The sister of Chris McCandless, whose story was told in Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, provides the missing pieces to his story.

Paying Guests by Sarah Waters: Readers will keep turning the pages to see just how tense things can get, and how far fear and passion can push someone.

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion: Sequel to the popular Rosie Project.

Sponsored by Curtis Friends, Bestseller Express titles are available on a first-come, first-served basis and can be checked out for 7 days.

Exclusively for Curtis cardholders, they cannot be reserved or renewed so you’ll have the best access to new titles, but you will have to read fast.

The Bestseller Express books are located in the New Books Room, across from the Lending Services desk.

Click on titles to check current availability and then come in to the library today!

Downton Abbey Selected Resources for Historical, Cultural, and Social Links

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

Behind the Scenes

book-cover-1Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey: The Official Backstage Pass to the Set, the Actors, and the Drama by Emma Rowley

The Chronicles of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes

The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes

Biographies and Memoirs

Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid’s Memoir That Inspired Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey by Margaret Powell

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by the Countess of Carnarvon
Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey
by the Countess of Carnarvon

Servants’ Hall: A Real Upstairs, Downstairs Romance by Margaret Powell

The Bolter by Frances Osborne

The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family by Mary Lovell


Inside the Victorian Home: A Portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England by Judith Flanders

Servants: A Downstairs History of Britain from the Nineteenth-Century to Modern Times by Lucy Lethbridge

The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy by David Cannadine

The Great Silence: Britain from the Shadow of the First World War to the Dawn of the Jazz Age by Juliet Nicolson

The Real Life Downton Abbey by Jacky Hyams

The Secret Rooms: A True Story of a Haunted Castle, a Plotting Duchess, and a Family Secret by Catherine Bailey

To Marry an English Lord by Gail MacColl

Twentieth-Century Castles in Britain by Amicia De Moubray

Upstairs & Downstairs: An Illustrated Guide to the Real World of Downton Abbey by Sarah Warwick



Edwardian Cooking: Inspired by Downton Abbey’s Elegant Meals by Larry Edwards

The London Ritz Book of Afternoon Tea by Helen Simpson

The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook by Emily Ansara Baines

Adult Fiction: Classics

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Howard’s End by E. M. Forster

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

book cover 5

The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

Adult Fiction: General

American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin

Ashenden by Elizabeth Wilhide

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

Longbourn by Jo Baker

Rutherford Park by Elizabeth Cooke

Snobs by Julian Fellowes

Summerset Abbey by T. J. Brown

The Children’s Book by A. S. Byatt

The Crimson Rooms by Katharine McMahon

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

The Last Summer by Judith Kinghorn

The New Countess by Fay Weldon

The Shooting Party by Isabel Colegate

The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones

While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax


DVD cover manor houseDownton Abbey

Gosford Park

Howards End

Manor House

Secrets of Highclere Castle

The Age of Innocence

The Edwardians

The House of Mirth

The Remains of the Day


Masterpiece: Downton Abbey


Wikipedia: Downton Abbey

Internet Movie Database: Downton Abbey

Book Displays

Friday, December 19th, 2014

IMG_0497CHIP – Diet & Weight Loss

Cornerstones of Science – Inventors & Inventions (which ties in with this month’s Collaboratory theme)

Nonfiction: Unamerican Activity (poetry by non-Americans)

Genre: Southern Fiction

If you like… John Sandford

If you like… Sophie Kinsella

If you like… Downton Abbey

Fiction: Don’t Judge a book by its Movie (books made into movies)

Mystery: I may be old but I ain’t dead yet

Attention Curtis Patrons: looking for something new to read?

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

These titles were recently added to the Bestseller Express collection:

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Gray Mountain by John Grisham

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

What I know for Sure by Oprah Winfrey

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel Brown

Deadline by John Sandford

Private India: City on Fire by James Patterson

Sponsored by Curtis Friends, Bestseller Express titles are available on a first-come, first-served basis and can be checked out for 7 days.

Exclusively for Curtis cardholders, they cannot be reserved or renewed so you’ll have the best access to new titles, but you will have to read fast.

The Bestseller Express books are located in the New Books Room, across from the Lending Services desk.

Click on titles to check current availability and then come in to the library today!

Book Review: “The Singing of the Dead”

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

singing of the deadDirty tricks abound in Dana Stabenow’s, “The Singing of the Dead”, the 11th in the Kate Shagak series. Kate Shugak, an Aleutian private investigator living in a generic national park in Alaska is hired to act as a security expert by a Native American woman, Anne Gordaoff, who is running for the Alaskan state senate. Kate needs to protect Anne but also find out who has been sending the candidate anonymous threats.

Anne is doing her political glad handing, her campaign manager will stop at nothing to get her elected, Anne’s husband is finding other ways to interact with the voters, her campaign researcher is finding dirt on Anne as well as her opponent, and her opponent has planted a mole in Anne’s campaign.

Still recovering from a case that went very wrong, killing her boyfriend and leaving Kate with a horrible scar, Kate would rather be anywhere else. But before Kate can get started the campaign researcher is murdered and Kate learns that the researcher was in possession of damning information about both candidates’ pasts. While investigating the murder Kate finds she needs to dig into the past for some answers and the grisly murder of a “good-time girl’ during the Gold Rush days of 1915. Could this unsolved case have a bearing on a present day psychotic killer?

If “The Singing of the Dead”, the 11th novel in the Kate Shugak series, is your first introduction to Kate and the vast, unforgiving corner of Alaska she calls home, it will most likely send you scrambling for installments one through 10. If you’re already a confirmed Shugak fan, it will have you waiting impatiently for number 12. –Kelly Flynn

The novel shifts effortlessly between the present and the past, tracing the career of one of the state’s most notorious “good time girls” from the gold mining era. The author paints a strong, striking picture of the tough life in Alaska 100 years ago and the narrow choice offered women housekeeper or whore. With well-drawn characters, splendid scenery and an insider’s knowledge of Alaskan history and politics, this fine novel ranks as one of Stabenow’s best. Publishers Weekly

Out of This World Science Fiction

Monday, November 17th, 2014

New Science Fiction titles cover a variety of SF sub-genres. Find them on the display wall across from Fiction.

(Click each title to check for availability.)
book cover

Space Opera

Ancillary Justice (2013) and Ancillary Sword (2014) by Ann Leckie, the first two books in the Imperial Radch series.

Now confined to a mortal body cobbled together from interchangeable human parts as the entity called “Breq,” the Artificial Intelligence must survive as an ancillary humanoid being in a galactic empire ruled by an oppressive government — without disobeying the law that forbids AIs from harming their creators.


a-vision-of-fire A Vision of Fire (2014) by Gillian Anderson and Jeff Rovin
The first novel from iconic “X-Files” star Gillian Anderson and New York Times bestselling author Jeff Rovin is a science fiction thriller of epic proportions.

Child psychologist Caitlin O’Hara begins treating an ambassador’s daughter, who starts having violent visions and speaking in tongues right before children throughout the world demonstrate similar mystical symptoms.

The Peripheral (2014) by William Gibson
In alternating chapters, Gibson tells the stories of Flynne Fisher, master gamer in the near future, and Wilf Netherton, London publicist in a more distant future. When the self-centered but well-meaning Wilf inadvertently interferes with Flynne’s time line, Flynne must, via a flesh-and-blood avatar called a peripheral, join Wilf in his time to set things right.


clock-work-daggerClockwork Dagger (2014) by Beth Cato
Orphaned as a child, Octavia Leander was doomed to grow up on the streets until Miss Percival saved her and taught her to become a medician. Gifted with incredible powers, the young healer is about to embark on her first mission, visiting suffering cities in the far reaches of the war-scarred realm. But the airship on which is traveling is plagued by a series of strange and disturbing occurrences.

SF Mystery

The Last Policeman Trilogy: The Last Policeman (2012), Countdown City (2013) and World of Trouble (2014) by Ben H. Winters.
When the Earth is doomed by an imminent and unavoidable asteroid collision, New Hampshire homicide detective Hank Palace considers the worth of his job in a world destined to end in six months and investigates a suspicious suicide that nobody else cares about.

captain smith

Humorous SF

Chronicles of Isambard Smith, the lighthearted adventures of Isambard Smith, plucked from a desk job to save the 25th-Century British Space Empire.

The first is Space Captain Smith (2008), followed by God Emperor of Didcot (2009), and Wrath of the Lemming Men (2010).

Review of “China Trade” by S.J. Rozan

Friday, August 29th, 2014

China-Trade“China Trade” is set in New York’s Chinatown.

Lydia Chin, a Chinese American detective, has been hired by the Chinatown Museum to quietly find some precious stolen porcelain.

With her sometime partner, Bill Smith, Lydia follows a trail of clues that send her from high-end art dealers into the world of Chinese gangs.

The case becomes even more complex when the case takes them outside of Chinatown and a killer is set on the loose.

Mysteries have had other Chinese detectives but this mystery novel is the first to feature a Chinese American female detective.

Rozan shows a knack for characterizing Chinatown’s denizens, apothecaries, shops and food.” –“Publishers Weekly”

“Rozan’s Chinatown setting has the ring of authenticity, and Lydia is a true original. A very promising start to what shapes up as a top-flight series.”–“Booklist”

S. J. Rozan is the author of many critically acclaimed novels and has won most of crime fiction’s greatest honors, including the Edgar, Shamus, Anthony, Macavity, and Nero Awards. She lives in New York.

— Carol Briggs

Review of “Maisie Dobbs: The Mapping of Love and Death” by Jacqueline Winspear

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

mapping-of-love-and-death-final-1If historical mystery is what you are interested in you may want to read the Maisie Dobbs‘ series by Jacqueline Winspear.

The year is 1914 in the opening of book 7 of the Maisie Dobbs series, “The Mapping of Love and Death”. Michael Clifton, a cartographer, is in California mapping land that he has just purchased, certain that oil lies underneath the soil.

On Michael‘s return to his home in Boston he learns that war has been declared in Europe.

Michael feels it‘s his duty to help and because his father is an expatriate Englishman Michael is allowed to join the British army.

Three years after joining the army Michael is declared missing in action.

We fast forward to 1932. Maisie Dobbs, a London psychologist and investigator, is visited by Michael‘s parents who have recently learned that their son‘s remains have been found in France.

They want Maisie to find the unknown nurse who wrote the love letters that were found among Michael‘s belongings.

Unbeknownst to them Michael‘s autopsy will give Maisie another task.

It is discovered that Michael Clifton was murdered.

Now she must not only find the unknown nurse but also find out who murdered Michael Clifton 18 years ago.

During her investigation Maisie exposes a web of intrigue and violence that threatens to ensnare Michael‘s family as well as herself.

Maisie must not only find a killer but she must also face the impending loss of her mentor, Maurice Blanche, and the unsettling awareness that she is once again falling in love.

Following the critically acclaimed bestseller Among the Mad, The Mapping of Love and Death delivers the most gripping and satisfying chapter yet in the life of Maisie Dobbs.

— Carol Briggs

Review of “Through the Evil Days” by Julia Spencer Fleming

Monday, August 25th, 2014

evil-days-new-lgIn Julia Spencer Fleming’s latest New York Times bestseller, "Through the evil days," Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne and Reverend Clare Fergusson are called to the scene of a fire that soon turns into something just a bit more.

The couple found in the ashes has been shot execution style and a young girl who was staying with them has been kidnapped.

Russ doesn’t need a double homicide right now as he is not dealing well with his impending fatherhood.

Added to that, Clare, who is 5 ½ months pregnant, is not happy that Russ has decided they will spend their honeymoon week at a remote cabin at an Adirondack lake ice-fishing.

There is dissension at St. Alban’s church because of Clare’s 5 ½ month pregnancy and 2 ½ month marriage.

Because of Clare’s unpriestly actions she is not sure if the bishop will decide on a simple scolding, censure, or permanent suspension after his investigation.

She is also worried what affect her previous alcohol and drug use will have on their unborn child.
Hadley Knox is having a terrible January as well.

Her on-again off-again boyfriend, Officer Kevin Flynn has been offered a job at the Syracuse Police Department and he has 7 days to make his decision.

Not only that, Hadley’s ex-husband is in town threatening to take custody of their children if she doesn’t give him the money he wants.

Add to all this, a raging January blizzard. As with Ms Spencer-Fleming’s other mysteries in the series, this is no walk through the woods in Miller’s Kill, New York.

Booklist (starred review) — This novel….is among the best in the series, combining steady action with complex, sympathetic characters and an immersive setting

“It’s amazing Spencer-Fleming manages to carry off a layered plot that opens with an arson, a double homicide and a kidnapping and expands into a broader picture of the drug use, domestic violence and desolation squeezing the life out of this small town.” —Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

— Carol Briggs