This week we have some Nazis, a stalker, zombies courtesy of The Citizen, love and loss, a geneticist and a vampire, mental illness, and a giant.  And notice please, week 2 of no Paris.  Must be the heat.

As for the Harold Fry controversy of last week, more readers are weighing in on the love side of the equation.  In fact Kelly the Fabulous Hairdresser, who some of you may remember from years past, weighs in with this:  “I cannot read more than a chapter at a time because I cannot bear to have it end.  I love love love this book!”  Sorry Marianne.  You are just going to have to try it again!

Let us begin!

Barbara M. is back with one of her obsessions. “I'm reading HHhH by Laurent Binet a historic fiction book which won Binet the Goncourt Prize for a debut novel in 2010. The subject is World War II, more specifically the assassination of the Nazi Reinhard Heydrich, known as ‘The Butcher of Prague.’ The quirky thing about this book is that the narrator interrupts the story from time to time to tell you about his own life and which facts are true and which are imagined by him. I'm not finding these interruptions at all bothersome. Rather, I think it adds to the tension of the story. “

Pat T. is waist deep in summer fun!  “I am reading The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty and I am finding it to be a good beach read. It's a love story with a bit of intrigue.  The young couple, Ellen and Patrick, is being stalked by Patrick's ex-girlfriend Saskia. You gain insight into a stalker's mind set, as well as the lengths they will go to pursue their victim.”  

Citizen Asha provides no surprises this week. “I just finished ParaNorman by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel. Norman Babcock is not like the other children, in fact, he is reminded daily by his classmates, older sister, father, everyone really about how different he is. Norman can see and speak to ghosts, this does not help with his popularity but there are perks, as he is able to speak to his late grandmother. One day he is approached by his great uncle Prenderghast who informs him that he needs to use his ability to keep the Blithe Hollow Witch asleep. Seems simple, until he realizes that something has gone awry and the earth has started to shift beneath him. Enter…zombies! My favorite! I enjoyed following Norman and his cohorts battling the undead while trying to save the town from the Witch’s curse. This book was wonderful and I look forward to watching the movie in August.”

Ann has just finished a book that we are evangelists for, Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt.  “This is a beautifully written book about love and loss.  June loves her Uncle Finn who is dying of AIDS in the 1980's when people did not know much about the disease or were open to different lifestyles.  Her mother, Finn's sister, refuses to let her family be around her brother's lover who she blames for giving her brother AIDS.  Uncle Finn and June have a terrific relationship and June is devastated when he dies.  She then meets his partner, Toby, and they form a special relationship to fill Finn's void in their lives.  This book also explores sibling rivalry and family dynamics.  Tell the Wolves I'm Home is a wonderful read. “

Children’s Librarians Elisabeth and Kiera are stepping out of the world of Kid Lit this week with their mutual obsession, the sequel to the thrilling adult fantasy A Discovery of Witches.  Elisabeth says, “Deborah Harkness’ Shadow of Night is amazing! Leaving behind the modern-day setting of the first novel,  Diana (a historian and witch) travels back in time to 1590 with her  husband Matthew (a geneticist and vampire) to find someone to teach Diana how to control her magic. While immersed in the life of a 16th courtier in Queen Elizabeth’s court, they dabble in espionage, politics, and science; risk their lives in England, France, and Prague; and find friendship and enemies among the most noted scholars of the time: William Shakespear, Christopher Marlow, and Sir Walter Raleigh. The author is a history professor at USC and a Fulbright Scholar, and the historical details are so meticulously researched you feel as if you were living in the Elizabethan Age. A perfect read for anyone who loves history, fantasy, romance, danger, and adventure!”

Stephanie is heading over to Asha’s side of the street.  It is dark there.  Very, very dark. “At Asha’s recommendation I read The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips. Phew, it’s a fantastic book, but a dark and sad one. This is the story of a dysfunctional family living in rural Georgia just after the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, where racial tensions are rising. Tangy Mae Quinn is fighting to keep her sanity intact and her sisters safe in the face of her mother’s mental illness, and to imagine a future outside her small town. It’s so well-written that I can’t believe it’s a debut, but be prepared for the intensity of the story. I’m going to start a Janet Evanovich book next to give my brain a little rest!”.

I am really enjoying Life Among Giants by Bill Roorbach.  The Hochmeyers of Westport seem to have it all.  There is the beautiful tennis whiz daughter who goes to Yale, a tall handsome son who is Princeton bound, country club memberships and a lovely home across a pond from a famous rock star and his equally famous ballet dancer wife.  But when the parent are mysteriously murdered after the revelation the father’s shady business dealings, things go awry.  Told from perspective of the son, this book is full of intrigue, revenge, family relationships, and more than a little temptation.

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