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Before I go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

“My life, I thought, is built on quicksand. It shifts from one day to the next.”

Christine wakes up every morning wondering who the guy is sleeping in the bed beside her. Sometimes she feels like she’s in her twenties and other times she feels like a child. It is only when she goes to the bathroom and sees an older woman staring back that she begins to panic. Every day, her husband Ben gently calms her down and reminds her of her life. Christine has amnesia and forgets everything she’s been told each day when she falls asleep. When a doctor calls and tells her to read her journal hidden in her closet and to not tell Ben-Christine has to decide who to believe and how much she can unravel before she falls asleep again.

This book is getting a lot of press, including a rave review from Dennis Lehane comparing it to the movie Memento. A classic thriller it is full of fast paced suspense that will keep the reader hooked. What makes it memorable is the engaging depth of character in Christine-who can remember nothing of her life day to day. The plot is tightly written and does not fall into too many cliches. The twists and turns are fun and thoughtful. If I am any example of a typical reader, I was throwing theories around in my head throughout the whole novel. Only a few of them came true. For that, I tip my hat. 2011, 358 pages.

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2011 in General Fiction

 

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Pinocchio Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater (vol. 2) by Dusty Higgins & Van Jensen

“Come now, puppet, let’s settle this.”

Volume two opens with the realization that Master Cherry is dead and has become one of the vampires. However, he protects Pinocchio and an uneasy alliance with Cherry is formed as the gang from the Great Puppet Theater join the group to help. Only problem is Pinocchio is so full of hurt, loss and rage that he is one vampire stake away from exploding. When he finally does Cherry is truly dead and Fairy gave her life to cast her final spell-making Pinocchio human. How is he going to fight the vampires now?

I’m tired of vampires. There I said it. Whew. But, this series is such a quirky mixture of fairy tale mixed with evil vampires with a good dose of sarcastic wit and humor. I started reading because the premise made me laugh. I keep reading because the characters are engaging and sympathetic; the story sweet and the drawings are creatively full of life. 2010, 176 pages.

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2011 in Graphic novels

 

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Black Belt Librarians: Every Librarian’s Real World Guide to a Safer Workplace by Warren Graham

I’ve read Graham’s books before and we’ve even had him talk at our staff development day, but I’ve never reviewed them and it was time to refresh my memory. Graham worked security but did not know libraries until he talked with the director of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Library in North Carolina. What happens next is my favorite thing to watch-the initiation of the unknowing to the knowing about public libraries and what we all deal with on a daily basis.

A small practical book, Graham shares his knowledge about handling different situations and feeling empowered to deal with the public. It’s easy-going tone laced with humor will set many readers at ease-even those who are not at all certain they have what it takes to play security guard librarian. My only complaint is that I would have liked to see more real examples followed through with how they were handled. Visuals can be very helpful. 55 pages, 2006.

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2011 in Leadership, Nonfiction

 

She Loves You, She Loves You Not… by Julie Anne Peters

Alyssa has always been pretty confident in who she is, even if she hid that from her family. What mattered most was that she had Sarah and nothing could come between them. So when Alyssa’s father discovers she’s a lesbian  in the worst possible way (in flagrante delicto) she is stunned to find herself disowned and living across the country with a mother she barely knows. Oh, and Sarah refuses to talk to her.

This is a strong coming of age story that doesn’t stick with the typical teen plot line. Instead it dives into the real and often conflicting and sometimes just crazy feelings of being a teen. Alyssa is obsessed with Sarah and is just starting to recognize that behavior in herself. The plot is moderate and her growth is steady throughout the book. In a young adult market full of angst and dark topics, Peters seems to have a knack for ferreting out the topics others don’t touch. 2011, 288 pages

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2011 in GLBTQ, Young Adult

 

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What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

“I’ll know when you get your memory back.”
“How?” said Alice.
“The way you look at me. As soon as you remember, I’ll see it in your eyes.”

Alice wakes up after a fall from her bike in Spin Class (boy have I been there) believing she is 29 and about to have her first child. Life couldn’t be grander with her adoring husband Nick and the new fixer upper they just purchased. Trouble is, Alice soon discovers that she is actually 39, the mother to three children she doesn’t remember and is in the middle of a horribly nasty divorce from Nick. Every single memory of the last ten years of her life is gone.

This could easily have been a fairly light chick lit book. Instead it is a unique take on the midlife crisis. What if everything you’ve become in the last ten years is wiped away and you are dealing with the present with your past mentality? How does that help you or harm your growth as a person? A strong character study with a touch of mystery as the reader hangs on wondering what really happened with Nick and how it will all play out. Two side stories-journal entries from Alice’s sister about her troubles having a child and letters her Aunt Fannie writes to a mysterious man-add to the journey of discovery the book provides. 2011, 432 pages.

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2011 in General Fiction

 

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Smokin’ Seventeen by Janet Evanovich

Meh. You know the drill. Someone is killing people and sets his target on Stephanie. Stephanie is surrounded by crazy people including the lovable and feisty Grandma Mazur, the not fat but fluffy packed into a size two Lula and of course the two guys in her life Ranger the mysterious and Morelli the cop. Both hot, both in some kind of love/lust with Stephanie. Killer is found, no decision is made and boom-the end. Only this time-you get stickers!

I know my reviews are not Library Journal quality-I like them this way.Still, this might be my harshest review yet. This is the seventeenth book in the series. Every single book follows the same plot device above. Enough already. I almost feel guilty when I get a customer hooked on the series because despite the funny and light read offered-eventually they get that glazed look. You know the one. 2011, 307 pages.

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2011 in Mystery

 

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Horns by Joe Hill

“He threw the Bible into the trumpet case as well. There had to be something in there, some useful tips for his situation, a homeopathic remedy you could apply when you came down with a bad case of the devil.”

Ignatius Perrish is having a rough year. Merrin, the love of his life, was brutally murdered and while there is nothing linking him to the crime most of the town is certain he did it. So, when he wakes up in a drunken stupor with no memory of the night previous, Ig is certain he’s just imagining the horns growing out of his head. Soon he discovers that with his new head accessories comes new powers. People start telling him things-how they really feel about him and also, what they really know. Determined to find the real killer Ig starts a journey of revenge and personal transformation. For, as we all know, the devil is in the details. (oh, you knew I was going there.)

Joe Hill is also on my short list of authors that are automatic purchases. Feel free to analyze me-it is great fun. He has said that horror is rooted in sympathy…in understanding what it would be like to suffer the worst. His books have that gift of touching that base humanity in the reader while scaring the bejesus out of you. Horns is a character driven novel told mostly from the viewpoint of Ig with flashbacks to his life growing up as well as flashbacks told from the viewpoint of other characters. Part mystery, part horror, part commentary on life, love and religion, Horns is the kind of read that will make you wax poetic about the nature of good and evil with your best friend at the bar on a Saturday night. 2010, 370 pages.

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2011 in Horror

 

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