Posts Tagged ‘Atlanta’

Best ‘New to Us’ Books in 2014: Melissa O’s Picks

December 26, 2014

I read a wide variety of books of all different genres. Ask me for a suggestion and I most likely have read something that would appeal to you. Here are five books I stumbled upon this year. Some have been out there a long time, others are more recent arrivals, but they are all worth checking out and passing along for more to enjoy!

The Devil's BonesThe Devil’s Bones by Jefferson Bass
Bill Brockton is a forensic anthropologist who founded the Body Farm at the University of Tennessee. There he and his team study of the science of decomposition. He also finds himself drawn into the danger and drama of the murders they are trying to solve. It starts out simply enough, a woman’s charred body in a burned out car. How did she die? Then he receives a package of strange cremated remains. Suddenly he is fighting for his life and trying to solve a crime so hideous you won’t want to believe it. Another reason to love this book is that the author, Jefferson Bass, is actually a pseudonym for Bill Bass, the real-life famous forensic anthropologist and founder of the Body Farm, and cowriter Jon Jefferson. How cool is that!

Pioneer WomanPioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels – a love story by Ree Drummond
I had never read her blog, watched her cooking show, or picked up one of her cookbooks when I stumbled on this autobiography by Ree Drummond. As someone who spent some time feeling lost and unsure about the future, I could relate to her feelings as she struggled with where her next steps should take her. She never thought that future would mean staying in rural Oklahoma. And she certainly didn’t think it would involve a cowboy! I became lost in the words, flowery and syrupy as they sometimes are, as she “accidently” found herself on a cattle ranch and having adventures she never could have pictured in her future. A great read about taking a chance on love and setting out on the path less traveled.

Dangerous PassageDangerous Passage by Lisa Harris
This is a new inspirational series introducing widowed police detective Avery North and medical examiner Jackson Bryant. Harris nicely intertwines a love story into a thrilling murder mystery. Young Asian women are being murdered and the only link between them seems to be a small tattoo of a magnolia blossom. The investigation seems to simply uncover more mysteries and cover ups. Can they solve the case before more women go missing, and will Avery be ready to open her heart to love again?


Stand Up That MountainStand Up That Mountain by Jay Erskine Leutze
If you love the outdoors, this book is for you. If you love gut wrenching legal battles, this book is for you. If you love to root for the little guy, well you get the picture. Jay has escaped his life as an attorney and retreated to the North Carolina Mountains. Living quietly as a naturalist and fisherman, he loves the Appalachian Trail. He learns from a family of “mountain people” that a mining company plans to dynamite Belview Mountain, which sits right beside the Trail. They have evidence of their less than ethical behavior and the fight is on. As an avid mountain hiker and lover of nature, this book captured me, especially since it is in our own backyard! It is hard to believe that we almost lost one of the great treasures of our state. Jay Erskine Leutze recounts his story of the ground breaking legal fight to save this tiny Appalachian community in a book that is as engaging as any fiction tale.

SubmergedSubmerged by Dani Pettrey
The old saying “you can never go home again” seemed to hold true for Bailey Craig. Yet home is exactly where she found herself, for better or worse. She left Yancey, Alaska in disgrace, now can she find forgiveness? Bailey returned to bury her beloved aunt her died in a plane crash. Was it an accident or was it murder? Cole McKenna has put his past with Bailey behind him, until she shows up in town again. Soon she is fighting for her own life. Can Cole accept that Bailey has changed and help her solve the murder before she becomes another victim? Dani Pettrey is a new author and anyone who loves Dee Henderson’s novels should check her out. This new inspirational suspense series is fantastic and I can’t wait to continue the journey with her characters.

Time Flies by Claire Cook

August 7, 2013

The dog days of summer are here, and if you are looking for a delightful beach or pool read that won’t melt the brain, a read similar to those from chick lit author Mary Kay Andrews, look no further. Claire Cook’s Time Flies will not disappoint!

New England small town native Melanie is persuaded by her semi-narcissistic husband Kurt to make the move to Atlanta, and years later in midlife Kurt decides to trade her in for a younger model – named Chrissy of all names, to add insult to injury. At the same time life is imploding, her high school reunion looms. Feeling like a life failure, no way in Hades is she going to attend. But, her skills as a metal artist help her get out some aggression, and after blow torching her marital bed she is a bit more positive. While flirting online with an old high school boyfriend, she decides to accompany her best friend BJ on a reunion weekend to remember. That is, if she can get over her phobia of driving and highways…

Melanie is a neurotic you’ll love, and want to cheer on as she makes her way post-marriage in the single world. The dialogue is snappy, and reads at times like a screen play. Not surprising, as Cook’s first novel was Must Love Dogs, which was made into a blockbuster movie. The characters’ antics are at times laugh aloud funny, and other times poignant. Many women will be able to relate to Melanie’s midlife coming of age. What keeps this novel from being one dimensional is Melanie’s revisiting of her first coming of age, via the high school reunion story line. Enjoyable summer chick lit!

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

Deep Dish by Mary Kay Andrews

January 14, 2013

Deep DishMeet Regina Foxton, host of Fresh Start, a local Atlanta public television cooking show. Gina is a by the book small town girl from South Georgia with superb culinary skills. Everything is going great in Gina’s world until the producer of Fresh Start, Scott does something that jeopardizes the show. Because of Scott’s actions, Fresh Start has lost their sponsor, Tastee-Town and without them on board it is next to impossible to keep the show running. Gina is furious that Scott has put their careers and relationship in jeopardy. Did I mention that Scott is also Gina’s boyfriend? When Gina’s world starts falling apart her wild card sister, Lisa and D’John, her stylist are there to give her much needed moral support.

With Fresh Start on the chopping block, Scott is working feverishly to secure his career and trying to find new sponsor s for Fresh Start. Luckily, Scott is able to land Gina an audition with The Cooking Channel, if she can wow the TCC people she could secure a spot on the popular cable network. Gina is excited about her TCC audition but it will include friendly competition from local cooking show host, Tate Moody. Tate Moody is the host of Vittles, a kill it and grill it style show. Tate is ruggedly handsome and possesses not only the skill to catch his food but he can also serve it up very nicely.

The “Food Fight” will take place on Eutaw Island, a remote South Georgia island. Gina and Tate must prepare several dishes to be judged by famous restaurateurs. The catch is that Gina and Tate can only use the very basic staples supplied to them, they are responsible for scouting the island for the remainder of their ingredients. As if having to hunt and gather their main ingredients isn’t enough, Gina has bad blood with judge, Beau and Tate is not a favorite of judge, Deidre. While each contestant is trying their best to make sure they have a surefire plan for winning there is some obvious love/hate chemistry between them. Could love be in the air? With the help of lifetime Eutaw residents, Iris and Inez, Gina and Tate are able to put together some great dishes but which of these talented cooks will rise to victory?
This tale of two cooks and their mouth-watering dishes includes a good sprinkling of romance, drama, wit and southern charm. Mary Kay Andrews easily draws you into this story and introduces you to a number of great characters who keep you wanting more.

Find and reserve this book in the catalog.

Leaving Atlanta by Tayari Jones

February 15, 2012

 “It was the end of summer, a summer during a two-year nightmare. African American children around Atlanta were vanishing, and twenty-nine would be murdered by the end of 1981.”  When I read the synopsis of this book I knew I had to listen to it.  Even though I was young, I clearly remember my parents talking about the Atlanta child murders.

This book is told through the eyes of fifth grade classmates, Tasha Baxter, Rodney Green and Octavia Harrison. When the book opens it is the start of a new school year and we are first introduced to Tasha Baxter, who is your typical preteen girl struggling to fit in with her peers while trying to cope with her parent’s recent separation.  One evening while Tasha, her mother and sister are having dinner and watching the news the faces of nine African American children flash across the screen, all of them had been abducted and possibly murdered.  The abductions hit close to home for Tasha when one of her classmates becomes the next victim.

Rodney Green is the quiet boy in class who has been feeling invisible since the birth of his 5-year-old sister. In his father’s eyes Rodney cannot do anything right. He sometimes wonders what would happen if he suddenly disappeared and if his family would miss him. Rodney‘s only sense of satisfaction comes from stealing candy from the store near his school. Rodney’s candy spree ends when his father finds out he has been stealing. Mr. Green humiliates Rodney by disciplining him in front of his classmates and teacher. Frustrated and embarrassed from the day’s events, Rodney takes an alternate route home. Will he make it home safely or wander into the company of the wrong person?

Finally, we meet Octavia Harrison, ostracized and teased by the majority of her classmates because of her appearance. Octavia has no friends and normally eats lunch alone. The only occasional friend and lunch companion Octavia has is Rodney Green. Octavia is very anxious after the recent abductions of her classmate and neighbor. Octavia ventures to the park one afternoon by herself and has an encounter with a man she thinks is the kidnapper. After this incident, Octavia’s mom is extremely afraid for her daughter’s safety and sends her to South Carolina with her father.

I thoroughly enjoyed this audio book. Author Tayari Jones paints a vivid picture of the characters, events and settings while the narrator brings it to life. I was easily pulled into the world of these fifth graders and I felt like I was one of their fellow classmates. While listening to this book I was fearful for the children and parents and hopeful that the missing children would be found unharmed.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

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