Faith Erin Hicks has written a graphic novel entitled "Friends with Boys" that is quite enjoyable. The main character is Maggie, whose life is fraught with change, weirdness and loneliness. As the book begins, she is starting high school after a life of home schooling. Her mother recently abandoned the family which consists of Maggie, her father, her oldest brother, Daniel, and her twin brothers, Zander and Lloyd. As she goes into high school, Maggie's only friends are her brothers. Making friends is an important part of the plot.
The only unchanging element in Maggie's life seems to be a ghost she met seven years ago. She tries to get the ghost to leave, but her efforts fail. She gets in big trouble late in the book when she hatches a scheme that she thinks will send the ghost on its way.
Jacob is a 16-year-old teetering on the edge. After witnessing his eccentric grandfather's murder by a monster he can't explain, he's in and out of hospitals searching for the right words to get his anxious parents off his back and out of his overly analytical shrink's office. Clues found in his grandfather's house lead him on a journey to Wales that test his abilities and his grasp on reality. Jacob finds that sometimes the monsters that go bump in the night are real...and he's the only one who can see them.
"Cheaper, better, faster: over 2,000 tips and tricks to save you time and money every day" by Mary Hunt is an excellent book to help with spring cleaning, organizing or saving money on household repairs. The author is the creator of the "Debt Proof Living" newsletter. This book is an updated version of a book published in 1997 under the title 'Tiptionary." It is a fascinating hodgepodge of tips to make your life cheaper, better and faster.
On April 7 men and women throughout America will cheer as we celebrate an end to the tyranny of housework - at least for a day. Put down your brooms, forget dusting, let your clothes sit in the hamper, and save it all for the day after tomorrow. What could you do on a beautiful day like today? Go to the St. Louis County Library!
---Anna H., Jamestown Bluffs
"Cold Mountain" by Charles Frazier is not a new book, but I downloaded and listened to the eAudiobook version for the first time recently. I can't say enough good things about this title. It is read by the author who gives a wonderful rendition with his smooth, Southern accent.
This book has something for everyone. Set in the South when the Civil War's outcome was inevitable, there are murders, raids, romance, wilderness, history, hope, despair, goats, hideous injuries, homeopathy, agriculture and wonderfully drawn characters. The chapters alternate between Inman, who is trying to escape the war and return to the woman he briefly courted before the war; and Ada, the woman he loves, who has been made destitute by the death of her father.
"Breaking Point" is the latest Joe Pickett thriller by C.J. Box. For those of you unfamiliar with series, Joe Pickett is a Wyoming Game warden with a sense of honor and justice. He is caught up in a rigid bureaucracy that doesn't see the gray areas that make up life. Consequently, he has a reputation for questioning authority.
The book opens with Joe Pickett being drafted to assist in a manhunt for a local businessman, Butch Roberson, who has disappeared into the mountains. Butch had his retirement land declared a wetlands area. He is accused of murdering the two EPA officials who delivered the verdict on his appeal.
"Breaking Point" is a plot/action driven story that is a reader's delight. C.J. Box is able to juggle the various storylines masterfully as the book rushes to a fiery climax. Joe Pickett's life will never be the same after his latest brush with his agency's bureaucrats.
"The Silence of Our Friends" by Mark Long, Jim Demonakos, and Nate Powell is a graphic novel that takes place in Houston, Texas in the late 1960s. The plot centers on the uncharted waters individuals ventured into as a result of the civil rights movement.
The novel depicts the chaotic nature of the times well. A TV journalist tries to overcome the race barrier by inviting an African American family to his home. Unfortunately, the neighborhood is among the most intolerant in Houston. He also tries to cover the local civil rights demonstrations accurately, but is pressured to "go with the official version." The tension between telling the truth and staying safe is a central part of the plot.
The book also deals with the discomfort that comes from getting to know people you've been taught to hate. The words and drawings communicate the awkwardness that comes from ignorance as the two families come together.
"Frost Burned" by Patricia Briggs is the seventh book in the Mercy Thompson series. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this series, Mercy is a mechanic by trade and a Native American "walker," a shapeshifter who shifts to the form of a coyote.
The book opens with Mercy still adjusting to her new role as the wife of the local werewolf pack's Alpha. Mercy and her stepdaughter, Jesse, are involved in a car accident on a Black Friday shopping trip. Mercy and Jesse are alarmed when they can't contact any of the pack members for assistance. Using her mate bond, Mercy knows that Adam is in pain but alive. Mercy puts together a team of unlikely allies to rescue the pack.
As I was browsing the books headed for library shelves, I noticed two books with the title "Fever." The books could not be more different.
Mary Beth Keane's "Fever" is a historical novel about the Irish immigrant Mary Mallon who became known as "Typhoid Mary." She was the first person to be diagnosed as a healthy carrier of typhoid fever, and was eventually imprisoned to keep her from spreading disease. Keane attempts to give depth to the infamous legend by recreating Mallon's world and exploring her possible motivations.