Posts Tagged ‘Farida B.’s Picks’

Best ‘New to Us” Books in 2014: Farida B’s Picks

December 24, 2014

I love a variety of books in adult and children’s collection. I love reading Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery, Humor, Romance and gentle clean reads. Here are “New to Me” books that inspired me most this year. I hope you can include some of these books in your 2015 reading list.

Death of a Travelling ManDeath of a Travelling Man by M. C. Beaton
This is Beaton‘s eighth mystery featuring Scottish police constable Hamish MacBeth. Hamish has been promoted against his will and as Sergeant, he makes more money, but must suffer more work as well, as well as the enthusiasm of his new helper, Police Constable Willie Lamont. Willie Lamont has less talent for police work and more talent for cleaning, polishing, and scrubbing. His insistence on keeping the police station spotless and super clean is driving MacBeth crazy. It all starts when a suspicious drifter Sean and his girlfriend Cheryl park their van behind the minister’s manse. This “devastatingly handsome” drifter Sean charms four women out of their money and harasses Hamish’s ladylove, Priscilla. If you like to read light mysteries filled with humor and action then this is definitely going to be your choice!  See my full review.

Murphy's LawMurphy’s Law by Rhys Bowen
Murphy’s Law is the first book in the Molly Murphy mystery series. Molly Murphy, the main character in this story, is a spunky, 19th-century Irish heroine. Molly always ends up in trouble no matter where she goes. She is outspoken, strong independent lady. She commits a murder in self-defense, so she has to leave her cherished Ireland and her identity for the unknown shores of America. In London she meets Kathleen O’Connor. Kathleen has two small children and tickets for a ship to America, where she plans to join her husband. But she has tuberculosis, so she knows that she will not be allowed on the ship to America, so she persuades the desperate Molly to take her children to America instead of herself and use her identity on the ship. Molly agrees to this plan since she wants to be in a new place and start a new life. After the landing at Ellis Island, O’Malley is found stabbed to death. Police detective Daniel Sullivan questions Molly about it since lots of people had seen Molly slap O’Malley on the ship. Molly becomes the prime suspect along with a young man whom she had befriended. See my full review.

Running Out of TimeRunning out of Time by Margaret P. Haddix
Jessie lives in the frontier village of Clifton, Indiana in 1840. When diphtheria strikes the village and the children of Clifton start dying, Jessie discovers that Clifton is actually a 1996 tourist site under secret observation by heartless scientists. Jessie’s mother sends her on a dangerous mission to bring back help. But outside the walls of Clifton, Jessie discovers a world even more alien and scary, and soon she finds her own life in danger. Can she get help before the children of Clifton and Jessie herself run out of time? This is a young adult book which is appealing to adults as well. It is one of my favorite books, written by a good author.  It has won multiple awards, including the YALSA Best Book for Young Adults.

Miss Julia Speaks Her MindMiss Julia Speaks her Mind by Ann Ross
This book is the first in the series. Miss Julia is a strong willed, independent, proper church-going lady. Recently widowed, she is trying to settle down with her new life, including the substantial estate left by her late husband, Wesley Lloyd Springer. Everything is peaceful until Hazel Marie Puckett arrives at her doorstep with her 9 year old son Little Lloyd. Guess what? Little Lloyd is Wesley’s son. Miss Julia receives a shock of her life! After 44 years of marriage to pillar of the church and community Wesley Lloyd Springer, she discovers that he was having an affair with Hazel Marie Puckett. She had assumed he was working late at the family bank, but instead he was engaged in more carnal pursuits. The worst thing was that the whole town knew about this affair. Read my full review.

UnwindUnwind By Neal Shusterman
In America after the Second Civil War the “Bill of Life” permits the parents to get rid of a child between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, through a process called “unwinding.” Unwinding ensures that the child’s life doesn’t really end by transplanting all the organs from the child’s body to different important recipients who quote the highest bid. This is a story about three teens – Connor, Risa and Lev – who become runaway Unwinds. Their escape and survival stories interweave as they struggle to avoid harvest camps. All the characters live and breathe in the story. Neal Shusterman’s Unwind has won many awards and honors, including being included on ALA’s Top Ten Picks for Reluctant Readers and Best Books for Young Adults lists. It is a book written for young adults, but I really enjoyed it and I am sure lots of adults will like reading it too! It has breathtaking suspense and is a sure page turner to find out if the three teens avoid their untimely ends.

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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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Murphy’s Law by Rhys Bowen

August 28, 2014

Murphy's LawMurphy’s Law is the first book in the Molly Murphy mystery series. Molly Murphy, the main character in this story, is a spunky 19th-century Irish heroine. Molly always ends up in trouble no matter where she goes. She is an outspoken, strong, independent lady. She commits a murder in self-defense, so she has to leave her cherished Ireland and her identity for the unknown shores of America.

In London she meets Kathleen O’Connor. Kathleen has two small children, and tickets for a ship to America where she plans to join her husband. But because she has tuberculosis and knows that she will not be allowed on the ship, she persuades the desperate Molly to take her children to America, using her ticket and her identity on the ship. Molly agrees to this plan since she wants to be in a new place and start a new life.

The ocean trip is not comfortable, and on top of that, she has to fend off unwelcome attentions of the mean troublemaker O’Malley, who seems to have known the real Kathleen. He threatens to expose Molly’s true identity in America.

After the landing at Ellis Island, O’Malley is found stabbed to death. Police detective Daniel Sullivan questions Molly about the stabbing since several people saw Molly slap O’Malley on the ship. Molly becomes the prime suspect along with a young man whom she has befriended. She decides to investigate the murder case of O’Malley to clear herself and her friend.

Finding her way through a vivid, Tammany Hall-era New York, Molly struggles to prove her innocence, facing one dangerous situation after another. She becomes a house help for a big politician to solve the mystery. She almost gets killed after finally discovering the true identity of the murderer.

This is a historical mystery, fast paced and richly detailed. Rhys Bowen has also written some other cozy mysteries series including Constable Evan Mysteries and Royal Spyness mysteries. Constable Evan Mysteries are very similar to Hamish Macbeth mysteries written by M. C. Beaton.

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Are You Afraid of the Dark? by Sidney Sheldon

June 19, 2014

Are You Afraid of the Dark?Sidney Sheldon,  known as a legendary storyteller, novelist and screenwriter until his death in 2007, was the world’s top bestselling author who has won an Oscar, a Tony and an Edgar award.  He was the creator of TV’s classic hit programs like: The Patty Duke Show, I Dream of Jeannie. The Guinness World Records 2004 heralds him as the most translated author in the world. All his novels have such gripping plots; you just do not want to put the book down till it is finished.

All around the world people are reported missing or dead. In Berlin a woman vanishes from the city streets. In Manhattan a body washes ashore, in Denver a small plane crashes into the mountains without any reason, In Paris a man falls from the Eiffel tower. At first the police think they are random incidents. But soon they discover that all four victims are connected to the largest think tank in the world: Kingsley International Group (KIG).

Two main characters of the story are Kelly Harris and Diane Stevens. They are recent widows of two of the victims. Diane is the elegant artist, who just testified against a Mob boss, and Kelly is the gorgeous model from Paris.  They meet in New York when they come to meet Tanner Kingsley the head of KIG. Tanner assures them that he is going to do his best to find out who is behind the murder of their husbands. Tanner’s brother Andrew is a genius who wins the Nobel Prize for science while trying to guide KIG into saving Third World countries from their various disasters. Tanner prefers to use the think-tank to become a world power and to become the richest man on earth. But in the meantime someone is intent on killing both women. Diane thinks it must be the Mob boss who is trying to kill her because she testified in court against him.

Initially both women do not like each other. They just tolerate each other since they are forced together for protection to stay alive. As the story progresses we see that both women have unusual talent to avoid being captured. They have to use their wits at every corner to keep alive.  It looks like the whole world is out there to kill them. They cannot trust anyone, not even their old friends. The story is full of suspense and plot.

If you like an entertaining, quick read, then read this book. And if you do like this Sidney Sheldon’s book, you will continue to read all his bestseller books because you will be hooked. Another author, Tilly Bagshawe, continues the Sheldon drama now, writing sequels to some of the original novels, but they don’t quite have the master’s touch or style like the Sheldon originals.

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Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind by Ann Ross

May 15, 2014

bookcover.phpThe Author Ann Ross starts a new series of Miss Julia. This book is the first in series. Miss Julia is a strong willed, independent, church going proper Lady. Miss Julia had just become a widow, and she was trying to settle down with her new life with substantial estate left from her late husband. Everything is peaceful until Hazel Marie Puckett arrives at her doorstep with her 9 year old son Little Lloyd. Guess what? Little Lloyd is her husband’s son. Miss Julia receives a shock of her life! After 44 years of marriage to pillar of the church and community Wesley Lloyd Springer, she discovers that he was having an affair with Hazel Marie Puckett. She had assumed he was working late at the family bank, but instead he was engaged in more carnal pursuits. The worst thing was that the whole town knew about this affair.

So after Little Lloyd comes in her life a series of surprising events take place. It involves a hypocritical minister, a violent beating, a crooked televangelist. Miss Julia also goes thru a high speed car chase. But when Little Lloyd was kidnapped, Miss Julia had to take matters to herself and find out what exactly was going on. She finds out a surprising revelation in her late husband’s will. Miss Julia not only speaks her mind but also comes to a deeper understanding of the meaning of love, friendship, and trust while living with Little Lloyd. If you would like to know what happens next than do check out this book. If you like reading some light, fun and entertaining story then you should read all of Miss Julia’s books.

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Deception Point by Dan Brown

March 27, 2014

Deception Point is a novel written by the famous author Dan Brown. His bestsellers The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons were made into movies. President Zach Herney is fighting for his life in an upcoming election against the slick and sly Senator Sedwick Sexton. Herney is a supporter of NASA, while Sexton is not. Sexton has been using the expensive, nonprofit agency as a convenient way to fight against Herney. Rachel Sexton is the senator’s daughter. She works for the National Reconnaissance Office, where she uses information into reports used by the White House. The fact that she works so closely with the president create a lot of tension between her and her father.

NASA is struggling to rebound from a series of embarrassing blunders that have jeopardized its political life. Then NASA makes an astounding discovery. There is a meteor embedded deep within the arctic ice. Inside the huge rock, which crashed to earth in 1716, are fossils of giant insects which is proof of extraterrestrial life. Now with NASA’s slipping reputation, the question arises: Is the meteor real or a fake? So Rachel is sent somewhere near the Arctic Circle where NASA is trying to recover this meteor. Trying to determine the truth are intelligence agent Rachel Sexton and popular oceanographer Michael Tolland. They both suspect something is amiss when the meteor is pulled from the ice. Their doubts quickly make them the targets of a mysterious death squad controlled by someone that doesn’t want the public to hear the meteor may be a fraud. Together, Sexton and Tolland scramble across arctic glaciers, taking refuge on ice floes. They are finally rescued by a nuclear submarine, but then find themselves trapped aboard a small research vessel. All the while, the nation’s capital is buzzing as to whether NASA has engaged in deception.

Deception Point is an excellent thriller. You will not want to put this book down till the end. It is a big yet believable story unfolding at a quick pace; it has just the right mix of likable and hateful characters. Brown has also done his research well, putting in sophisticated scientific and military details that make his plot far more fulfilling than the norm. If you are a fan of Dan Brown you will love this novel. It is totally different from his usual theme.

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Death of a Travelling Man by M. C. Beaton

February 18, 2014

M.C. Beaton is the author of bestselling Hamish Macbeth mystery series which has won international acclaim. She is also the author of the Agatha Raisin series. She also writes romance and mystery stories under the name Marion Chesney.

This is Beaton’s eighth mystery featuring Scottish police constable Hamish MacBeth. It is charming, humorous, and clever as the first seven. Hamish has been promoted against his will. As Sergeant, he makes more money, but must suffer more work as well, and the enthusiasm of his new helper, Police Constable Willie Lamont.   Willie Lamont has less talent for police work and more talent for cleaning, polishing, and scrubbing. His insistence on keeping the police station spotless and super clean is driving MacBeth crazy. But Hamish has other troubles too.  His lady friend Priscilla, is being standoffish too.

It all starts  when a suspicious drifter Sean and his girlfriend Cheryl park their van behind the minister’s manse. This “”devastatingly handsome”” drifter Sean charms four women out of their money and harasses Hamish’s ladylove, Priscilla. Reports of stolen drugs, money missing from church funds, and Cheryl’s sudden departure are preliminaries to the discovery of Sean’s battered corpse.  Hamish seeks out the young man’s girlfriend and unhappily discovers a blackmailing scheme that incriminates some locals.  Hamish finds plenty of motives as he tries to protect the reputations of several village matrons until he traps the killer. To find out more read this interesting book.

As usual, Beaton makes Lochdubh and its inhabitants come alive in this story. The characters are wonderfully original, the plot is cleverly crafted and intriguing to the end. There’s lots of humor and even the darker, bleaker parts of the story adds to its appeal. If you like to read light mystery filled with some humor and action then this is definitely going to be your choice!

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Greatest Hits: The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

January 7, 2014

We’ve kicked off the new year with The Book-A-Day Blog’s most popular posts of 2013!
Mythical and mystical, The Mistress of Spices is reminiscent of fables, magic, realism and fairy tales. The storyDivakaruni tells is transporting, but it is her gift for metaphor that makes this novel live and breathe. You feel like you are involved with the characters; its pages as redolent as any freshly ground spice. The themes revolve around the age-old magic of spices, which are imbued with powers as complexly spiritual as India itself, the birthplace of Divakaruni and her fearless heroine, Nayan Tara (Tilo). Born ugly and unwanted in a tiny village in India, Tilo is discarded by her family for the sin of being a girl. Resentful at being treated so shabbily, young Tilo throws herself on the mercy of the mythical serpents of the oceans, who deliver her to the mystical Island of Spices. There, she is initiated into the priestly sisterhood of Spice Mistresses, sent out into the world to help others by offering magic potions of fennel, peppercorn, lotus root, etc. She works her gentle magic in a tiny, rundown shop in Oakland, California, hidden within the body of an old woman. Here, Tilo devotes herself to improving the lives of the immigrant Indians who come to buy her spices–including an abused wife, a troubled youth, a chauffeur with dreams of American wealth, and a grandfather whose insistence on Old World propriety may have cost him his relationship with a beloved granddaughter. The spices are harsh taskmasters, and Tilo’s life is limited until her rebelliousness reasserts itself, and she becomes involved in the lives of her troubled customers. Tilo is forbidden to step out of her little shop or get involved with anyone, but of course Tilo goes out and gets involved with her customers. She falls in love with Raven, the quintessential romantic hero–dashing, handsome, rich, and brooding–but Raven actually embodies nothing less than the great spirit of the American Indian. Find and reserve this book in the catalog.

Best ‘New to Us’ Books in 2013: Farida B’s Picks

December 19, 2013

I love a variety of books in the adult and children’s collection, including Fantasy, Mystery, Humor, Romance, and gentle clean reads. My picks for the 5 best new to us books in 2013 – presented in no particular order, certainly reflect my reading tastes.

The Innocent by David Baldacci
The Innocent is David Baldacci’s first novel in Will Robie Series. This is a fast paced, plot driven suspense story. Will Robie is a stone cold ruthless hit man. He always kills his given targets without asking any questions.  The story starts with Robie traveling to Scotland to kill his assigned target. On each job he has to plan and memorize each step he will have to make to do his job and stay alive. If he makes one mistake, he will lose his life.  When he gets his target, he heads back home.  Next Robie is assigned to eliminate a target close to home, which is unusual – normally he has to travel far away to do his job. When he enters the home of the target at night, he finds that it’s a woman, who is sleeping with a small child.  Unable to shoot the woman with the child so near, he defies orders and leaves without completing his mission.  He has just made the biggest mistake of his life. Now, he is the target and has to escape from his own people.

Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni 
Mythical and mystical, Mistress of Spices is reminiscent of fables, magic, realistic and fairy tales. The story Divakaruni tells is transporting, but it is her gift for metaphor that makes this novel live and breathe, you feel like you are involved with the characters, its pages as redolent as any freshly ground spice. It revolves around the age-old magic of spices, which are imbued with powers as complexly spiritual as India itself, the birthplace of Divakaruni and her fearless heroine, Tilo. Born ugly and unwanted in a tiny village in India, Nayan Tara (“Flower That Grows by the Dust Road”) is virtually discarded by her family for the sin of being a girl. Resentful at being treated so shabbily, young Nayan Tara throws herself on the mercy of the mythical serpents of the oceans, who deliver her to the mystical Island of Spices. There, she is initiated into a priestly sisterhood of Spice Mistresses sent out into the world to help others, offering magic potions of fennel, peppercorn, lotus root, etc.  Read my full review.

Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg
Fannie Flagg takes readers to Elmwood Springs, Missouri, where the most unlikely and surprising experiences of a high-spirited lady Mrs. Elner Shimfissle inspire a town to ponder the age-old question “Why are we here?” If you have read any of her books, they are full of southern warmth, emotion and funny episodes. She is the author of the famous book turned into movie Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café. Elner is up on a ladder again picking figs when she accidentally pokes a wasps’ nest in her fig tree and falls down.  Waking up in the hospital emergency room, she wonders how she got there. Elner’s nervous niece Norma faints when she hears of Aunt Elner being in hospital. This is not the first time that Aunt Elner has fallen from the ladder. Now Aunt Elner is worried about facing Norma since she had promised not to climb the ladder again.  But what can she do? All she wanted was to make a jar of fig preserves for the nice woman who had brought her a basket of tomatoes.

The Man You’ll Marry by Debbie Macomber
Debbie Macomber writes Contemporary romance which is heartwarming and engaging. If you like to read some clean cozy romance than this is the author you should pick. This title contains two different stories of the Wedding dress. The first part is called “The First Man you Meet.” The second part is called “The Man You’ll Marry.” The wedding dress was made many years ago, and it came with a promise: “The First Man You Meet will be the Man you will Marry!” Shelly Hansen did not want to get married to anyone. She was happy to stay single and work on her career.  She was horrified when her great-aunt’s wedding dress arrived, according to family legend, she was destined to marry the next man she met. On the same day when she tripped on an escalator and fell into Mark Brady’s arms, she told him and herself that she wasn’t interested in marriage. But then she started seeing him everywhere. She met him at a lawyer’s office, at the beach. It was almost like she was following him. Read my full review.

The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen
The Surgeon is a top-grade thriller from Gerritsen, a former internist who gave up the stethoscope to raise kids and chills. ER trauma surgeon Catherine Cordell first met the killer, called “The Surgeon” by Boston newspapers, down in Savannah, where she was his last victim. Luckily for Catherine, after being raped she got a hand free from the cord binding her to the bed, cut herself loose with a scalpel, reached under her bed, grabbed a pistol, and seemingly killed Andrew Capra, the inept medical student about to pluck out her womb. Unable to bear Savannah, where everyone seemed to know she’d been raped, Catherine transferred to Boston, holed up for nearly two years, then took a job as a trauma surgeon without disclosing her past.  Good grief! More wombless bodies start showing up in Boston. Did she really kill Andrew? This is the first book in Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles series. Read my full review.

The Man You’ll Marry by Debbie Macomber

August 13, 2013

Debbie Macomber writes contemporary romance that is heartwarming and engaging. If you like to read some clean cozy romance, then this is the author you should pick. This title contains two different stories about a special wedding dress. The first part is called The First Man you Meet. The second part is called The Man You’ll Marry. The wedding dress was made many years ago, and it came with a promise: “The First Man You Meet will be the Man you will Marry!”

Shelly Hansen did not want to get married to anyone. She was happy to stay single and work on her career. She was horrified when her great-aunt’s wedding dress arrived, because according to family legend, she was destined to marry the next man she met. On the same day when she tripped on an escalator and fell into Mark Brady’s arms, she told him and herself that she wasn’t interested in marriage. But then she started seeing him everywhere. She met him at a lawyer’s office, at the beach. It was almost like she was following him. It was weird the way they both kept meeting in spite of both not wanting to see each other. Mark was engaged to someone, and he was soon getting married. But at the end they both fall in love with each other, even though they were so different from each other. Mark was a very organized person who would plan every little move, while Shelly was totally unorganized, would act on the spur of the moment, a spontaneous person.

The second story is about her friend Jill who wants to get married, but maybe has not found Mr. Right yet. Jill does have a steady boyfriend who is dependable and nice. After her own wedding, Shelly sends Jill the dress. It is delivered to Jill’s hotel in Hawaii where she is on vacation. She knew it would not be the man she sat beside on the plane going to Hawaii. Jordan Wilcox was a grouch. She met him before she got the dress so she was safe from him. Find out what adventures Jill goes through to get married.

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