Far Far Away by Tom McNeal

November 21, 2014

Teenager Jeremy Johnson Johnson (yes, his middle and last names are both Johnson) lives in the offbeat town of Never Better, which can only be located by those searching for it (but if you find it once, you’ll never lose your way when you try to return). He and his father run the Two Book Bookstore, which stocks just two books. And Jeremy’s best friend is the ghost of Jacob Grimm. This quirky setting is the backdrop for one of the most unique books I’ve read in a while – part ghost story, part dark fairy tale. Like many fairy tales, the good characters are truly good, the villains are shockingly evil, and the magic is unexplained but ever present.

Jacob doesn’t know why he has a duty to look after Jeremy, but he knows he does. He knows that he must find and protect Jeremy from a mysterious figure known only as the Finder of Occasions. Jeremy is the only one who can hear Jacob, and Jacob has become his constant companion as he struggles to cope with his mother having left the family and his father sinking into depression as a result. Jeremy is focused on his schoolwork, his one man lawn business, and planning for a better future – until the day he and the daring, beautiful Ginger Boultinghouse meet and she takes an interest in him. Much to his surprise, he and Ginger become fast friends. But soon, an innocent enough prank goes wrong and the town turns on Jeremy. Soon, Jeremy is at risk of losing the bookstore and his home. As Ginger tries to help Jeremy figure out a way out of his dilemma, they start to uncover dark secrets about Never Better: the town has had a mysterious string of disappearances of children and teens, and they may be in danger of something far worse than being shunned by the townspeople.

Jacob continues to fret about the danger Jeremy is in from the Finder of Occasions as more and more ominous signs appear – but the truth about the missing children is darker than anyone in Never Better suspects. As things start getting more twisted, the story gets more and more gripping. McNeal writes the kind of fairy tale that grabs you and won’t let your imagination go – and the kind of story that makes you want to leave the light on if you read it late at night!

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Mrs. Pollifax and the Golden Triangle by Dorothy Gilman

November 20, 2014

The author Dorothy Gilman is the author of several popular Mrs. Pollifax novels. The first in the series is The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax. Mrs Pollifax is a grandmother and a free-lance CIA agent too!

Mrs. Pollifax (Emily) was recovering from a torture situation which occurred in Mrs. Pollifax and the Hong Kong Buddha. Emily and her husband had planned a vacation in Thailand. But, at the last minute Bishop from the CIA came to their home with a small request. Would they detour a little and go to Chiang Mai? All they have to do was very simple, they had to find Ruamsak and exchange a solid gold Buddha votive tablet for his important info on an Asian coup. Emily agreed to do this small job for CIA while on her vacation.

But when she went in the hut to meet Ruamsak, she found him dead with a big knife in his belly! On top of that she could not find her husband Cyrus with her. She runs out of the hut to see Cyrus being kidnapped by some strange men. Now she has to trust a self-appointed guide named Bonchoo and travel with him in the Thailand countryside to rescue her husband. Two strange men on motorcycle were following them and they tried to kill Bonchoo twice. They had to abandon Bonchoo’s truck and travel on foot in the forest. In the forest they meet Mr. Monarjay, a Buddhist holy man who helps them to find her husband. She meets teak smugglers, generals with warlord attitudes and secret shun encampments. She almost gets killed trying to get out of a dangerous forest. This is a cozy mystery to enjoy.

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Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews

November 19, 2014

Bloom owner, Cara Kryzik is a talented florist slowly making a name for herself with Savannah’s elite. Bloom is doing steady business and she has a great reputation in Savannah for being creative and cutting edge.

Cara and her assistant, Bert are making great progress on the arrangements and other decor for the Fanning wedding, the most high profile wedding she has secured and everything must go accordingly. In spite of a major obstacle, Cara’s ability to pull off The Fanning wedding opened many doors for her, and lands her the biggest wedding of her career. Brooke Trappnell has requested that Cara not only do the floral arrangements for her wedding, but also serve as the wedding planner. Obtaining the contract for the Trappnell-Strayhorn wedding will put her in a position to take care of some urgent financial obligations. Cara is busy at work trying to get everything in place for the wedding but she still finds time to pursue a courtship with Jack Finnerty, a handsome contractor that she keeps bumping into at weddings.

As Cara starts working out the details for the Trappnell-Strayhorn wedding, life starts to spiral out of control. Her assistant starts pulling no shows, a new florist in town is trying to sabotage her reputation, her romance with Jack fizzles, and her bride may be coming down with a case of cold feet.

Save the Date has just the right dose of suspense, wit, romance and southern charm. In her usual fashion, Mary Kay Andrews paints a colorful story and introduces you to a great cast of characters.

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The Keeper by John Lescroart

November 18, 2014

Dismas Hardy has acquired a new client, Hal Chase. Hal is a prison guard in the Sheriff’s department in  San Francisco county. Hal’s wife Katie has disappeared , leaving their two small children alone in their house. A couple of spots of blood have been found and foul play is suspected. Since the first person people think of as the murderer is the husband, Hal decides to be pro-active and get himself a lawyer. And so starts John Lescroart’s latest book, The Keeper.

In order to find out as much as possible, Dis decides to hire his old pal retired homicide detective, Abe Glitsky to find out what he can about the lives of the Chase family. At the same time a scandal may be ready to arise out of some  mysterious prisoner deaths at the county jail where Hal Chase works. Wes Ferrell , the county DA and another friend of Hardy is about to open another ‘can of worms.’

The two stories may  intervene as Chase is one of the guards at the county jail.  Lescroart will keep you guessing with his latest page turner. I confess to being a big fan of Lescroart and this is one of his best.

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War of the Whales by Joshua Horwitz

November 17, 2014

“What if the catalyst or the key to understanding creation lay somewhere in the immense mind of the whale? Suppose if God came back from wherever it is he’s been and asked us smilingly if we’d figured it out yet. Suppose he wanted to know if it had finally occurred to us to ask the whale. And then he sort of looked around and he said, ‘By the way, where are the whales?’”

As Cormac McCarthy points out, the whales have a great deal to teach Homo sapiens. The Bible describes poetically how “the great creatures of the sea” were created before humankind (Genesis 1:20-23), and science makes the same claim: while Homo sapiens has been around for perhaps 200,000 years, the whales have roamed the oceans for tens of millions of years. The wisdom bestowed upon the whales by time is thus immense and studies of whales and other creatures have helped improve the life of human beings. When we annihilate a species, we destroy future discoveries – keys to longer life spans, cures for diseases, spectacular engineering feats – and the destruction of a species is the destruction of a resource that cannot be quantified.

So, “‘where are the whales?’” Some of them are already gone forever, others are on the brink of extinction, and many are threatened. The ruthless whale hunting took an extreme toll on their numbers, but whaling is no longer the major threat to whales. Instead, other dangers have emerged. How the documented warming of the oceans will affect whale populations is yet unknown. What is beyond a doubt is that marine traffic is a serious and constant danger, as is the pollution of the oceans – not the least noise pollution.

For marine life drowns in man-made noise, and studies indicate that sonar used by navies to track submarines can result in mass strandings of whales. Sonar also drives whales away from areas that are important to their survival, and it has been documented that these mammals abandon feeding for extended periods when sonar is in use.

War of the Whales, a deeply moving true story by Joshua Horwitz, describes the whales’ historic and current circumstances and how environmental law attorney Joel Reynolds takes the U.S. Navy to court to expose the Navy sonar program and reduce ocean noise pollution. While Reynolds is involved in this enormous challenge, marine biologist Ken Balcomb witnesses an atypical mass stranding of whales. Balcomb investigates the disaster and his hard evidence leads him to join Reynolds: the stage is set for a clash between an intrusive man-made world and the need to protect life in the ocean.

As the case travels through the U.S. legal system, Reynolds knows that a conservation battle never truly can be won: “the environment is never saved. It always needs saving. So do the whales.”

Find and reserve this book in the card catalog.



Paper To Petal by Rebecca Thuss

November 14, 2014

This book is one of those truly gorgeous craft books that are fun to browse through. Best of all, these realistic-looking flowers are easy to make—all you need is crepe paper, scissors, florist’s tape, and floral wire. I used yellow crepe paper streamers from the drugstore, but you can go to a craft store and get a rainbow of colors and different thicknesses of paper. The nice thing about crepe paper is that it stretches, so you can use this propensity to your advantage in shaping the petals—for example, forming the cup-shaped bottom of a tulip petal.  Thuss then adds whimsical centers, like pom-poms or buttons, or just twist bits of crepe paper to form realistic-looking stamens.

The book is organized into five chapters: Flowers, Materials, Skills, How-Tos, and Templates. The first chapter is filled with lush photographs of 75 different projects that make you eager to get started. The instructional pages are also illustrated with photographs and easy-to-follow text. For example, there is a page called “Anatomy of a Paper Flower” which helps you understand the terminology, and another very helpful page called “Building a Basic Flower in Layers—An Overview.”

Because of these easy-to-use features, I could jump around and attempt the projects that interested me. They are coded by difficulty level, so I went for the easiest and was very pleased by the results. I stuck a couple of them in a display at the library where I work, and several people asked me how I made them. I was delighted to tell them it only took about ten minutes, and to recommend this book!

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks

November 13, 2014

Cadel Piggot is a genius. Most humans cannot keep up with his super-fast mind, which makes life pretty lonely for this foster kid. Alienating one foster family after another, he finds comfort in the world of computers and hacking, the only outlet where his intellect is challenged. Eventually Cadel finds himself in a psychologist’s office as punishment for hacking, and is shocked when his therapist advises him, “Next time, don’t get caught.” Turns out, his therapist, Thaddeus Roth, is a minion of Cadel’s real father, Dr. Darkkon, an evil mastermind currently in prison. He and Thaddeus have cooked up a scheme to get Cadel into the Axis Institute for World Domination, a school where kids like Cadel can learn skills far more useful than algebra, like forgery, embezzlement, and explosives. From the outside, the Axis Institute just looks like a school for wayward children, which makes it the miracle Cadel’s social worker has been waiting for.

For Cadel, it seems like a win-win situation – he gets to leave the expectations of his never-satisfied foster families behind, and in exchange he gets to work with souped-up computers and teachers who might be almost as smart as he is… almost. It’s a new world for Cadel, one in which the very skills he’s spent years hiding are the ones he now is encouraged to cultivate. It feels like, in a school where there is a class on lying, he’s finally found a place where he can truly be himself – and that he is, in fact, the Evil Genius of the title. But is he? As time goes on, Cadel realizes that he’s not the only one who excels at deception, and it’s tiring always wondering who he can trust. When he starts to question his own assumptions about who he is and what he wants, his world starts tumbling down.  Catherine Jinks is  an acclaimed YA author currently living in Wales.

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Going Away Shoes by Jill McCorkle

November 12, 2014

Going Away Shoes is a collection of eleven short stories written by North Carolina’s own Jill McCorkle.  McCorkle has written several acclaimed novels and short story collections featuring Southern women of different ages and stages, and exploring the deeper meanings in their everyday activities and relationships.

The stories in Going Away Shoes are multi-layered and thought provoking, some of them heartwarming, and some heartbreaking. The first story in the collection is “Going Away Shoes.” It portrays a single, middle-aged, daughter who is the caregiver for her elderly mother. She ruminates about her family’s history, which she recalls by remembering her mother’s different shoes and purses, while watching soap operas and tending to her mother’s gradual decline.

Another of the stories in this collection, “Magic Words,” takes place one evening while a mother ferries her children to the movies and a party – a typical suburban weekend. She is also on her way to embark on a long-anticipated illicit affair, until she notices a young girl desperately in need of help. Meanwhile her husband is at home worrying about coyotes recently seen in the neighborhood, while another type of predator, a vengeful teen, is on the prowl in this complex story.

My favorite story of the collection is “Midnight Clear,” featuring a lonely and unsure newly divorced mother who is overwhelmed with household issues, most notably the strong smell of her septic tank which appears to be overflowing on Christmas Eve. Help and encouragement arrives with humor and grace from an unexpected source.

I especially enjoy McCorkle’s use of language and shrewd observations of character. Her writing is literary without being long and cumbersome, packing a subtle punch.

Jill McCorkle is one of several North Carolina authors visiting our regional libraries in November. You can meet her and learn about her work at the Eva Perry Regional Library on Thursday, November 13, at 2:00 p.m.  Click here to register.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

Veteran’s Day – 2014

November 11, 2014


In honor of our Veterans past and present, Wake County Public Libraries will be closed on Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Find many of our Fiction and Non-Fiction titles about Veterans in the library catalog


Big Fish by Daniel Wallace

November 10, 2014

Edward Bloom was larger than life, but now he has grown old and is sick and dying. His son, William, has come home to be with his father. William struggles to get to know his father on his death bed, as they really didn’t have much of a relationship since Edward spent most of his time traveling for work during William’s childhood. Edward was always quick with a joke, snappy one liner or often to William’s frustration, an extraordinary tale of his own greatness.

To come to terms with his father’s imminent passing, William looks back on his father’s life and retells the story as a series of myths and legends, detailing his father’s supposed epic feats. The tales are interesting and original, with quite the cast of characters. Edward was handsome, clever, and well liked. Among his many adventures Edward tames a giant, encounters a beautiful water nymph and returns a magic eye to its rightful owner.  Big Fish is a little gem of a book. It is a unique and touching story about a complicated father and son relationship.

Big Fish is written by talented North Carolina author, Daniel Wallace. It was his debut novel and he has gone on to write several other books as well. Big Fish was made into a movie directed by Tim Burton in 2003. I remember seeing the movie in the theater and really enjoying it. Even if you have already seen the movie, I recommend reading the book too. The short imaginative chapters, filled with a mix of humor and relatable poignanc combine to make this book a must read.

We are very excited to have Daniel for our “Meet the Author: Daniel Wallace” visit at the West Regional Library on Thursday, November 13 at 7 p.m. He will discuss his novels, characters, writing style and have Q & A following the discussion. Advance registration is requested. Call 919-463- 8500 to register.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.


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