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Archived Staff Picks - December 2014

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Archived Staff Picks - December 2014

Not My Daughter
By: Barbara Delinsky
Recommended by Krista

"Not My Daughter" is the story of Susan, a high school principal and single mother, who finds out her teenage daughter, is pregnant.  While she is still reeling from the news she finds out two of the girl's friends are also pregnant.  Her daughter's decision affects all aspects of Susan's life and she is forced to make difficult decisions and choose between the conflicting loyalties of her daughter, her job and her friends.

The book takes the serious subject of teenage pregnancy and weaves a moving story about family, connection and consequences.  There were many thought provoking ideas that came out of this book including the definition of a good mother and how bad choices can result in good consequences. 

This title is available in Regular print, Book on CD, Downloadable Audiobook and eBook formats.

One Day in August
by David O'Keefe
Recommended by Robert

The Dieppe Raid, Canada's worst military disaster has always been a subject of bitterness, recrimination and controversy. Those who lamented the tragic and what appeared to be the needless waste of Canadian lives on the beaches of a former beach resort blamed callous and ineffective British leaders for throwing inexperience troops into certain death. Others justified the raid as a necessary probing exercise which prepared the Allies the D-Day invasion of June, 1944. Survivors and some historians blamed the egotistical and well-connected Lord Mountbatten for a poorly organized attack upon a well-defended target.

Based on an award winning documentary aired on the History Channel, 'One Day in August" will likely change how we perceive the Dieppe Raid. Newly unearthed documents reveal what appears to be the real reason for the raid. (I will not be a spoiler and tell you the reason). It is only fair to say that Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, a highly trained group of British Royal Marines and raw, but trained Canadian troops were brought together to find something that would greatly reduce shipping losses in the North Atlantic. If located, needed resources would flow steadily to embattled Britain and change the course of the War.

O'Keefe provides an excellent portrayal of British naval intelligence, its amazing personalities and the efforts at Bletchley Park outside London in bringing together great minds to uncover German methods of subterfuge.  German U-boats were exacting crippling losses on the supplies that Britain required to remain in the War. Churchill and the British government would do anything it could to turn the tide.

The author reserves the last part of his book for the description of the raid. We discover that poor coordination and support along with bad decisions gave the German defenders the opportunity to break the back of the Canadian assault. The British commandos were unable to reach their target, their ranks also devastated. We see an Ian Fleming standing on a support ship, realizing that the raid would never accomplish its true objective. Those few participants who knew the true reason for the raid were bound by secrecy. It would take many years and the efforts of a nosy researcher to learn the truth. O'Keefe ends his expose by informing a few Canadian Dieppe veterans of his discoveries. What always appeared as a meaningless Canadian military disaster has given better meaning to the loss of those who paid the ultimate price.

This work of military nonfiction is fascinating, informative and easy to follow. Recommended.

This title is available in Regular Print format.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
By:  Gabrielle Zevin
Recommended by Yvonne

"But there must be a reason you don't like me.  Be honest."  She picks one. "Do you remember when I said I worked in publishing and you said you weren't much of a reader?"   This is a book about books, readers, writers, bookstores... a "must-read" to every person with passion for reading and love for books.

THE STORIED LIFE OF A.J. FIKRY tells the charming, bookish, funny, and touching tale of A.J., the cantankerous owner of Island Books, and the two people who turn his quiet life upside down - Amelia; the idealistic sales rep from Knightley Press and Maya; the "package" left in A.J.'s bookstore: who quickly becomes his heart and home.  This novel interweaves curious characters in a subtle way that, in the end, is surprising and moving.

"We read to know we're not alone. We read because we are alone. We read and we are not alone. We are not alone.
My life is in these books. Read these and know my heart.
We are not quite novels.
We are not quite short stories.
In the end, we are collected works."

This is a quick read, interesting things start happening right from the beginning and it's different from any other book I've read.  It is a novel about second chances and the power of love. There were poignant moments and giggle out loud moments - sometimes you just need a feel good story and this one delivers that and so much more.

This title is available in Regular Print, Large Print, Book on CD and Downloadable eBook formats.

Big Little Lies
By: Liane Moriarty
Recommended by Marilyn

Sometimes it's the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal. . . .
A murder... . . . a tragic accident... . . . or just parents behaving badly?  
What's indisputable is that someone is dead.   But who did what?
"Big Little Lies" follows three women, each at a crossroads:   Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She's funny and biting, passionate; she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline's youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline's teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline's ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).
 
Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn't be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.   New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

"Big Little Lies" is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive. (Goodreads Review)

This title is available in Regular Print and Downloadable eBook formats.

The Heroes of Olympus Book Five: The Blood of Olympus
By: Rick Riordan 
Recommended by Pauline

"The Blood of Olympus" is the fifth and final installment of Rick Riordan's Heroes of Olympus series, and it begins where the previous book, "The House of Hades," ended. Our Greek and Roman demigods (Jason, Percy, Annabeth, Leo, Piper, Frank and Hazel), with the aid of other semi-divine kids like Reyna and Nico, must find a way to bring the Athena Parthenos statue back to Camp Half-Blood in order to prevent a war between the Greek and Roman camps - and also must find a way to stop Gaea, the Earth Mother, from rising and destroying every living thing on the planet. And they only have a week to do it all....

"Blood" features the trademark breakneck pace of Riordan's writing, with plenty of action. A great YA novel!

This title is available in YA Fiction and Downloadable Audiobook.

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