Brilliant Book Titles #95

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You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Blurb: 
The English language that is spoken by one billion people around the world is a linguistic mongrel, its vocabulary a diverse mix resulting from centuries of borrowing from other tongues. From the Celtic languages of pre-Roman Britain to Norman French; from the Vikings’ Old Scandinavian to Persian, Sanskrit, Algonquian, Cantonese and Hawaiian – amongst a host of others – we have enriched our modern language with such words as tulip, slogan, doolally, avocado, moccasin, ketchup and ukulele.

May We Borrow Your Language? explores the intriguing and unfamiliar stories behind scores of familiar words that the English language has filched from abroad; in so doing, it also sheds fascinating light on the wider history of the development of the English we speak today.

Full of etymological nuggets to intrigue and delight the reader, this is a gift book for word buffs to cherish – as cerebrally stimulating as it is more-ishly entertaining.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

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If you want to engage with a novel that is truly timeless in its appeal, then look no farther than this classic. Inexplicably, this work is often found in the Children’s Fiction section. This is incongruous, as Jane Eyre is very definitely a book for grown-ups. Was there ever a more resilient heroine than Jane? The device of using the first person narrative adds a sense of intimacy and insight for the reader, as we are drawn into Jane’s world, a world in which she is completely alone. Jane has no support from others and has to survive on her own resources. From a feminist perspective, there is much to admire in Jane, she has a strong sense of herself and remains true to her own beliefs and principles, regardless of the consequences. While the narrative has a very gothic trajectory, the heroine’s approach to her challenges feels very modern. Charlotte Bronte had an astonishing ability to create a story in which what matters is, not what happens to the protagonist, but rather how she triumphs over adversity, and triumph she does.

I would urge anyone who hasn’t engaged with Jane Eyre, or who hasn’t read it in years, to immerse themselves in the world of Jane; a small quiet person, whose indomitable spirit wins out over all the obstacles life throws at her.

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You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

5 Children’s Books to Watch Out For

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Daisy and The Trouble with Chocolate by Kes Gray (9 Mar 2017, ages 5-7)
Daisy is SO excited! She’s been picked to look after the class hamsters, Pickle and Pops, over the Easter holidays – AND her mum’s taking her to Chocolate Land!!!

Trouble is, the two things probably shouldn’t mix…

The totally troublesome and laugh-out-loud funny new tale from the bestselling Daisy series.

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Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky (9 Mar 2017, ages 8-12) 
A gloriously illustrated celebration of trailblazing women. Women in Science highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, from both the ancient and modern worlds. The book also contains fascinating infographics and an illustrated scientific glossary. The extraordinary women profiled include well-known figures like the physicist and chemist Marie Curie, as well as lesser-known pioneers such as Katherine Johnson, the African-American mathematician who calculated the trajectory of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. Women in Science celebrates the achievements of the intrepid women who have paved the way for the next generation of female engineers, biologists, mathematicians, doctors, astronauts, physicists and beyond …

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The Metropolitans by Carol Goodman (15 Mar 2017, ages 10-13)
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler meets The Apothecary in this time-bending mystery from bestselling author Carol Goodman!
The day Japan bombs Pearl Harbor, four thirteen-year-olds converge at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where an eccentric curator is seeking four uncommonly brave souls to track down the hidden pages of the Kelmsbury Manuscript, an ancient book of Arthurian legends that lies scattered within the museum’s collection, and that holds the key to preventing a second attack on American soil. When Madge, Joe, Kiku, and Walt agree to help, they have no idea that the Kelmsbury is already working its magic on them. But they begin to develop extraordinary powers and experience the feelings of King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, Morgan le Fay, and Lancelot: courage, friendship, love…and betrayal. Are they playing out a legend that’s already been lived, over and over, across the ages? Or can the Metropolitans forge their own story?

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My Little Cities: London by Jennifer Adams and Greg Pizzoli (11 Apr 2017, board book)
In this delightful series written by BabyLit author Jennifer Adams and illustrated by kidlit darling Greg Pizzoli, each book showcases a different city with lighthearted baby-appropriate text and ridiculously charming illustrations. Cross the pond and explore the city on the Thames: feed the pigeons in Trafalgar Square, watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, marvel at the spinning lights of the London Eye, and say good night to London’s landmark skyline.

cat-up-cat-downCat Up, Cat Down by Catherine Hnatov (15 Apr 2017, board book)
Bold and playful images engage young readers as they are introduced to the concept of opposites. Big and small. Back and front. Tall and short. Cat Up Cat Down’s simple text allows children and the adults reading with them to expand on the story, building language development.

Live By Night by Dennis Lehane

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This is a prohibition-era story of Joe Coughlin, the youngest son of a corrupt Irish-American police captain. Joe, a late addition to the family has taken a different path to his brothers and along with his childhood pal Dion, has moved from petty crime to more serious heists for local gangster Tom Hickey. On one such robbery of an illegal gambling den Joe meets Emma Gould, the mistress of a rival gang boss and their affair leads, indirectly, to prison time for Joe. Meanwhile Emma disappears, missing,  presumed dead. The son of a police officer is a vulnerable figure in jail and pressure is put on Thomas Coughlin to help out an Italian-American mobster who is threatening his son. Despite this Joe makes contacts while incarcerated which lead to a new life as a crime boss in Tampa on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

The book is a well-paced, period thriller covering the twenties to thirties era bootlegging and criminality in Boston and Florida with and also deals with our anti-hero’s complicated relationship with his father Thomas Coughlin. It’s the second part of a trilogy of novels about Joe Coughlin but the books read well as stand-alone stories.

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You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Brilliant Book Titles #94

the-only-happy-ending
You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Blurb:
Set in Tokyo, in a not-too-distant future, this novel tells the story of Shunsuke, a salaryman, and his complicated relationship with his mad poet father, Mr. Okuda, whose hobby is spying on his son. When Shunsuke falls in love with Iulana, a maelstrom of jealousy is set in motion that culminates in abduction and death. In poetic and imaginative language, Cuenca subtly interweaves reality and fiction, creating a dreamlike world whose palpable characters, including a silicone doll, leave a lasting impression. Written like a crime novel, full of odd events and reminiscent of Haruki Murakami’s work, this disturbing, kaleidoscopic story of voyeurism and perversion draws the reader in from the very first page.

Brilliant Book Titles #93

shotgunlovesongs

You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Blurb: 
“Impressively original.” ―The New York Times

“Sparkles in every way. A love letter to the open lonely American heartland…A must-read.” ―People

“The kind of book that restores your faith in humanity.” ―Toronto Star

Welcome to Little Wing.

It’s a place like hundreds of others, nothing special, really. But for four friendsall born and raised in this small Wisconsin townit is home. And now they are men, coming into their own or struggling to do so.

One of them never left, still working the family farm that has been tilled for generations. But others felt the need to move on, with varying degrees of success. One trades commodities, another took to the rodeo circuit, and one of them even hit it big as a rock star. And then there’s Beth, a woman who has meant something special in each of their lives.

Now all four are brought together for a wedding. Little Wing seems even smaller than before. While lifelong bonds are still strong, there are stressesamong the friends, between husbands and wives. There will be heartbreak, but there will also be hope, healing, even heroism as these memorable people learn the true meaning of adult friendship and love.

Seldom has the American heartland been so richly and accurately portrayed. Though the town may have changed, the one thing that hasn’t is the beauty of the Wisconsin farmland, the lure of which, in Nickolas Butler’s hands, emerges as a vibrant character in the story. Shotgun Lovesongs is that rare work of fiction that evokes a specific time and place yet movingly describes the universal human condition. It is, in short, a truly remarkable booka novel that once read will never be forgotten.

5 Gay Romances to Watch Out For

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Dearly Stalked by Allison Cassata (23 Jan 2017)
Writing crime novels catapulted Memphis native Silas Cooper to fame and fortune, but when his words backfire and he becomes trapped in what could be one of his books, he needs a hero of his own.

Silas’s publicist insists he hire a personal assistant, and Silas chooses Scott Kramer. But before Scott starts, he already has a round of steamy phone sex to hold over Silas’s head, and his interest in his boss isn’t decreasing.

Benjamin Logan joined the Army to see the world, and while deployed he read every one of Silas’s books. With his military career over, Ben is back in Memphis working for the police department—and attempting a deeply closeted relationship with fellow cop Morgan Brown.

Over coffee, Silas and Ben become friends who support each other as relationships fall apart, and the attraction between them slowly emerges. When a dangerous stalker threatens Silas, it’s up to Ben to stop him.

If Ben fails, Silas might not live to tell this story… and Ben might not be able to live with himself.

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Clean Slate by Heidi Champa (30 Jan 2017)
Wes Green keeps everyone at arm’s length, either by pushing buttons or simply pushing them away. When that doesn’t work, Wes runs, as far and as fast as he can. This time, bolting from his boyfriend also costs him his professional organizing job. His last resort is to retreat to his brother’s basement and try to pick up the pieces. The only bright spot in his new life is his niece, Kelsey.

One day, while in Kelsey’s school drop-off line, he meets Sam Montgomery, the father of Maya, Kelsey’s best friend. When Wes finds out Sam is gay and interested in some no-strings-attached fun, Wes thinks he’s hit the jackpot. With boundaries firmly in place, keeping Sam at a distance should be easy.

What starts out simple quickly gets complicated when fun turns to feelings between Wes and Sam. But the baggage both men carry threatens to stop things before they start. Can Wes stay put long enough to find real love, or will old habits be too hard to break?

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As I Am by A.M. Arthur (1 Feb 2017)
Will Madden is healing.

Thanks to therapy and a growing support system, he’s taking baby steps into a promising future. One of those steps leads him to an online chat room, where he quickly bonds with fellow PTSD sufferer Taz Zachary.

Despite their virtual connection, Taz is initially freaked out at the idea of meeting Will face-to-face. A sexual relationship may be the last thing on his mind, but his craving for human interaction—and more of the way Will makes him laugh—gives him the courage he needs to take the next step.

In person, the chemistry between them is undeniable. But Will is hurt when Taz doesn’t seem to be in any rush to get him into bed. Still, acceptance, love and happiness all seem within reach for the first time in forever—until demons from the past threaten the future they both finally believe they deserve.

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Witches of London – Eagle’s Shadow by Aleksandr Voinov and Jordan Taylor (4 Feb 2017)
What if the new love of your life also holds the keys to your past?

When Chicago journalist Tom Welsh meets British banker Sanders Templeton at a conference, Sanders insists they have a connection, though he does not know what it is. They’ve never met before—but the strangest thing is, Tom can also feel it.

Sanders Templeton is a highflier who has it all—the money, the lifestyle and a rare intellect. Only a few chosen people know that he also suffers excruciating pain since childhood, with no cure, a mystery to western medicine.

Sanders knows that meeting Tom may be the most significant event of his life. As their relationship deepens, they learn that this is not the first lifetime in which they’ve fallen for each other. This time, true love can be theirs if they find the courage to forgive.

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Shards in the Sun by Trina Lane (14 Feb 2017)
The heart of Texas beats strong, fueled by the love between two men whose lives are interwoven like the long grass of the hill country they call home.

Brandon Blackstun has spent the last decade moving on from the hellish halls of high school. With an invitation to his reunion in hand, he plans to show his former classmates that not only did the repeated occurrences of being slammed into lockers not cause brain damage, but he’s now a successful cover artist for the very books they buy off the shelves.

Tyler Synder was determined not to follow in his father’s footsteps as head of the international corporation that bears the family name. Instead, his heart is tied to the beat of his horses’ thundering hooves. He operates a breeding program for Tennessee Walkers and a guest ranch a couple of hours from the urban luxury of Dallas where he was raised.

The two men might live very different lives, but the heat between them is hotter than any Texas sun. With the help—or meddling—of an unlikely pair of friends, the two explore a relationship that stirs something deep inside them. Distance and misunderstandings force Tyler and Brandon to consider whether the fulfillment they’ve experienced in each other’s arms is worth the sacrifice of the lives they’ve built individually.

Texas may be the second biggest state in the union, but is it large enough to embrace the love between these two men, or will their deeply hidden fears shatter the boundaries of their hearts?

 

367 Days by Jessica Gadziala

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Blurb: 

I’m not crazy.
It’s not amnesia.
But I somehow lost a year of my life.

When the cops and doctors think you’re out of your mind, but you still need answers, where else is there to turn but a private investigator?

Sawyer is nothing you’d want in a friend- a little detached, cool, sarcastic, cocksure. But he’s everything you’d want in a private investigator- calm, capable, experienced, and just jaded enough by the darkness he’d seen to take a chance on some random girl who insists something more sinister must have happened to her than simple memory loss.

But thrown together, trying to get to the root of my mystery, feelings that were most definitely not client/professional start to emerge.

Review:

This story starts out with Riya waking up behind a dumpster. She is completely lost, confused and in pain. She doesn’t know how she got there or what happened to her. She then figures out she has lost the last 367 days of her memory. Fate brings her to the doorstep of a brooding investigator, Sawyer. Where she asks him to figure out what has happened to her and hopes he doesn’t think she’s crazy!

367 days was great, it kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved Sawyer and his crew. They where funny and likable. I always love a good secondary Character myself! This was hot, funny and yet series. I was kept guessing which is very unusual,  I normal guess who did it within the first few chapters.

Defintely recommend reading 367 Days!

Brilliant Book Titles #92

the-viriginity-of-famous-men

You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Blurb:
The Virginity of Famous Men, award-winning story writer Christine Sneed’s deeply perceptive collection on the human condition, features protagonists attempting to make peace with the choices–both personal and professional–they have so far made. In “The Prettiest Girls,” a location scout for a Hollywood film studio falls in love with a young Mexican woman who is more in love with the idea of stardom than with this older American man who takes her with him back to California. “Clear Conscience” focuses on the themes of family loyalty, divorce, motherhood, and whether “doing the right thing” is, in fact, always the right thing to do. In “Beach Vacation,” a mother realizes that her popular and coddled teenage son has become someone she has difficulty relating to, let alone loving with the same maternal fervor that once was second nature to her. The title story, “The Virginity of Famous Men,” explores family and fortune.

Long intrigued by love and loneliness, Sneed leads readers through emotional landscapes both familiar and uncharted. These probing stories are explorations of the compassionate and passionate impulses that are inherent in–and often the source of–both abiding joy and serious distress in every human life.

Brilliant Book Titles #91

the-secret-lives-of-colour

You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Blurb:
‘A mind-expanding tour of the world without leaving your paintbox. Every colour has a story, and here are some of the most alluring, alarming, and thought-provoking. Very hard painting the hallway magnolia after this inspiring primer.’
Simon Garfield


The Secret Lives of Colour tells the unusual stories of the 75 most fascinating shades, dyes and hues. From blonde to ginger, the brown that changed the way battles were fought to the white that protected against the plague, Picasso’s blue period to the charcoal on the cave walls at Lascaux, acid yellow to kelly green, and from scarlet women to imperial purple, these surprising stories run like a bright thread throughout history. In this book Kassia St Clair has turned her lifelong obsession with colours and where they come from (whether Van Gogh’s chrome yellow sunflowers or punk’s fluorescent pink) into a unique study of human civilisation. Across fashion and politics, art and war, The Secret Lives of Colour tells the vivid story of our culture.