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November 17, 2015
THE THEORY OF DEATH by Faye Kellerman. A male body, nude and nameless, is found deep within the local woods of Greenbury, New York. It appears to be a suicide—single shot to the head, gun by his side—but until the coroner makes the final decision, police lieutenant Peter Decker must treat the scene as a suspicious crime. The first thing he must do is identify the body—no easy task because of the small size of the police department and lack of personal effects found with the body. But when the body is finally identified, Decker must penetrate into indecipherable upper echelons of mathematics and mathematical prodigies at Kneed Loft College. It turns out to be a dangerous sphere of scheming academics, secret ciphers, and hidden corruption where even harmless nerds can morph into cold, calculating geniuses. Decker will have to employ all of their wits and gray matter to penetrate enigmatic formulas and codes to solve a dark, twisted tale created by depraved and evil masterminds.
THE GOLEM OF PARIS by Jonathan Kellerman. It’s been over a year since LAPD detective Jacob Lev learned the remarkable truth about his family, and he’s not coping well. He’s back to drinking, he’s not talking to his father, the LAPD Special Projects department continues to shadow him, the memory of a woman named Mai haunts him day and night—and his own mother remains a stranger to him, imprisoned inside her own tattered mind. Then he comes across the file on a gruesome unsolved murder that brings the two halves of his life into startling collision. The hunt for a prolific, vicious killer will take him halfway around the world, to Paris—a city of both romance and gritty, dark streets. It’s a life-threatening search for truth the plunges him into the past. And for Jacob Lev, there is no place more frightening.
THE WOMAN WHO WALKED IN SUNSHINE by Alexander McCall Smith. Business is slow at the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, so slow in fact that for the first time in her estimable career Precious Ramotswe has reluctantly agreed to take a holiday. The promise of a week of uninterrupted peace is short-lived, however, when she meets a young boy named Samuel, a troublemaker who is himself in some trouble. Once she learns more about Samuel’s sad story, Mma Ramotswe feels compelled to step in and help him find his way out of a bad situation. Despite this diversion, Mma Ramotswe still finds herself concerned about how the agency if faring in her absence. Her worries grow when she hears that Mma Makutsi is handling a new and rather complicated case. A well-respected Botswanan politician is up for a major honor, and his reputation is now being called into question by his rivals. The man’s daughter has contacted the agency to investigate these troubling claims, but, as in so many cases, all is not as it seems. In the end, the investigation will affect everyone at the agency and will also serve as a reminded that ordinary human failings should be treated with a large helping of charity and compassion.
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November 10, 2015
TEXAS BRIDES by Cathy Marie Hake. Equipped with their father’s blessing and meager gifts of inheritance, three brothers from the hills of Scotland enter the land of possibilities and settle on the plains of Texas. Dr. Robert Gregor opens an office in town. Mere days before Mercy Stein is to be wed, her world falls apart. The doctor can tend her, but only God can heal a battered soul. Duncan Gregor’s quiet counsel and practical views draws people to the unassuming cobbler. Carmen Rodriguez wallows in loneliness, believing no one wants a crippled wife, so she resolves to be content serving others. The two neighbors ought to get along, but Duncan unnerves her. Will the Bible his father bequeathed him bring the neighbors together…or drive them apart? The pocket watch his father left to him ticks off time for Christopher Gregor. Driven to capture the man who killed his friend, Chris becomes a Texas Ranger. The last thing he needs is to be sidetracked by a helpless woman. Kathryn Regent finds almost everything she ever dreamed of with Christopher—but will her secret tear them apart? Can their father’s gifts help these brothers lead three hurting women to healing faith and love?
DEPRAVED HEART by Patricia Cornwell. Dr. Kay Scarpetta is working a highly suspicious death scene in a historic home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when an emergency alert sounds on her phone. A video link lands in her text messages, immediately begins playing…and seems to be from her niece Lucy. But how can it be? It’s clearly a surveillance film of Lucy taken almost twenty years ago. As Scarpetta watches, she comes to grips with frightening secrets about her niece, whom she loves like a daughter. The first clip and others sent soon after raise dangerous implications that increasingly isolate Scarpetta and leave her confused, alarmed, and not knowing where to turn. She doesn’t know whom she can tell—not her FBI agent husband, Benton Wesley, or her investigative partner, Pete Marino. Not even Lucy. When a grisly gift is left in the back of a crime scene van, these videos from the past threaten to destroy Scarpetta’s entire world and everyone she loves. The diabolical presence and singularly “depraved heart” behind what unfolds seems obvious—but strangely not to the FBI. Certainly that’s the message they send when they start harassing Lucy and begin building a case that could send her to prison for the rest of her life.
FOREIGN AFFAIRS by Stuart Woods. When he’s apprised at the last minute of a mandatory meeting abroad, Stone Barrington rushes off to Europe for a whirlwind tour of business and, of course, pleasure. But from the start the trip seems to be cursed, plagued by suspicious “accidents” and unfortunate events, and some of Stone’s plans go up in flames—literally. Not a believer in coincidence, Stone sets out to learn the true source of his curious misfortune and finds that what appeared to be bad luck may, in fact, have been a warning. From the chic streets of Paris to the majestic Italian coast, Stone is pursued from all sides…but when the tables turn, the hunted may become the hunter.
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November 3, 2015
CALIFORNIA BRIDES by Cathy Marie Hake. They may share the same last name, but four Chance women couldn’t be more different. Polly Chance is the town’s healer. When Dr. Eric Walcott arrives in California, he’s stunned by her primitive practices and backwoods ways. Will a heavy dose of love cure their professional conflict? Dainty Laurel Chance is determined to show she can “rough it” alongside her rugged family on a seven-week journey to Yosemite. She soon is overwhelmed by the raw beauty of nature…and the unexpected attention from their unofficial guide, Gabriel Rutlidge. What will Laurel do when she finds out Gabe doesn’t have a relationship with the Lord? April and Kate have seen their cousins as brides, but neither thinks she will ever capture a man’s attention. April’s famed for her fine cooking, and Kate’s known for her extraordinary leatherwork—but no one is interested in them…or so they think. Peter MacPherson resorts to a ploy in order to court April; an undercover lawman has to deceive Kate in order to do his job. When the truth comes out, will loneliness or love win out?
SAINT MAZIE by Jami Attenberg. Meet Mazie Phillips: big-hearted and bawdy, she’s the truth-telling proprietress of The Venice, the famed New York City movie theater. It’s the Jazz Age, with romance and booze aplenty—even when Prohibition kicks in—and Mazie never turns down a night on the town. But her high spirits mask a childhood rooted in poverty, and her diary, always close at hand, holds her dearest secrets. When the Great Depression hits, Mazie’s life is on the brink of transformation. Addicts and bums roam the Bowery; homelessness is rampant. If Mazie won’t help them, then who? When she opens the doors of The Venice to those in need, this ticket-taking, fun-time girl becomes the beating heart of the Lower East Side, and in defining one neighborhood, helps define the city. Then, more than ninety years after Mazie began her diary, it’s discovered by a documentarian in search of a good story. Who was Mazie Phillips, really? A chorus of voices from the past and present fill in some of the mysterious blanks of her adventurous life.
THRIVE by Mark Hall. The only way to be the hands and feet of Jesus is to love him and serve others out of our love for him. But to do that we must first be deeply rooted in our life with God. Hall shows us what it really looks like to walk with Jesus. In part 1, Digging Deep, he demonstrates how to truly engage with the Word and a community of faith, worshiping and pursuing God wholeheartedly as our hearts and minds are transformed. In part 2, Reaching Out, we see the fruits of our engagement with the Word and the community, the grateful giving back of service and love. Using relatable stories, grounded teaching, and great application, Hall helps everyone who wants to take the next step of faith and see their life grow deep and strong.
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October 27, 2015
PRETENDING TO DANCE by Diane Chamberlain. Molly Arnette is very good at keeping secrets. She and her husband live in San Diego, where they hope to soon adopt a baby. But the process terrifies her. As the questions and background checks come one after another, Molly worries that the truth she’s kept hidden about her North Carolina childhood will rise to the surface and destroy not only her chance at adoption but also her marriage. She ran away from her family twenty years ago after a shocking event left her devastated and distrustful of those she loved: her mother, the woman who raised her and who Molly says is dead but is very much alive; her birth mother, whose mysterious presence raised so many issues; and the father she adored, whose death sent her running from the small community of Morrison Ridge. Now, as she tries to find a way to make peace with her past and embrace a future filled with promise, she discovers that even she doesn’t know the truth of what happened in her family of pretenders.
THE WEDDING MACHINE by Beth Webb Hart. Welcome to Jasper, South Carolina, a place where Southern hospitality thrives. Where social occasions are done right. And where, for generations, the four most upstanding ladies of this community ensure that the daughters of Jasper are married in the proper manner. Friends from school days, “the gals” have long pooled their silver, china, and know-how to pull off beautiful events. They’re a force of nature, a well-oiled machine. But the wedding machine’s gears start to stick during the summer their own daughters line up to tie the knot. In the lowcountry heat and humidity, tempers flare, old secrets leak out…and both love and gardenias bloom in unlikely places.
SWEET SANCTUARY by Sheila Walsh. In tiny Cottage Cove, on the coast of Maine, Wren Evans is raising her gifted son, Charlie. A single mom, she’s fought hard to give Charlie a stable, secure home life. When a prestigious music academy in Boston expresses interest in Charlie’s talent, Wren is willing to move them again to make his dreams come true. But Wren doesn’t know that Charlie has been praying for her. And the answer to her son’s prayers will change both of their lives. As Wren plans their move to Boston, life in Maine begins to fall apart. Her job is threatened with budget cuts, and Wren’s grandmother, Ruth, arrives unannounced, with an outlandish request. Ruth wants the family gathered together one last time, at the summer home where, years before, an accident shattered Wren’s peaceful childhood. In the tumult, Wren finds a friend in a handsome, kind-hearted local, Paul Callahan. When the family gathers in Cottage Cove, old wounds will be healed, new love will blossom, and the innocent prayers of a child will be answered in a most unexpected way.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE by David Finkel. Having covered the wars of the past decade on the front lines for his previous book, award-winning journalist David Finkel did something even more extraordinary for this book. Once again, he embedded with some of the men of the 2-16 Infantry Battalion—but this time he did it at home, here in the States, after their deployments ended. He is with them in their most intimate, painful, and hopeful moments as they try to recover, and in doing so, he creates an indelible, essential portrait of what life after war is like—not just for the soldiers, but for their wives, widows, children, and friends, and for the professionals who are truly trying, and to a great degree failing, to undo the damage that has been done.
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October 20, 2015
THE FORGOTTEN QUEEN by Haley Elizabeth Garwood. First he stole her heart, then her kingdom. Empress Matilda—daughter of King Henry I of England and granddaughter of William the Conqueror—dried her tears with rage, invaded England, and with sword in hand, fought lover turned enemy. Against the turbulent backdrop of 12th Century England, Matilda had to overcome political intrigues, prejudice, and the lover who stole her crown. Matilda’s destiny sent her down an arduous path. She led the last successful land invasion of England in A.D. 1139 to wrench the throne from Stephen, the lover who betrayed her. Aided by her illegitimate half-brother, Robert of Gloucester and scores of nobility, Empress Matilda gained control of the western half of England and saved the crown for her son who ruled as Henry II, England’s greatest king.
CIRCLING THE SUN by Paula McLain. Brought to Kenya from England as a child and then abandoned by her mother, Beryl is raised by both her father and the native Kipsigis tribe, who share his estate. Her unconventional upbringing transforms Beryl into a bold young woman with a fierce love of all things wild and an inherent understanding of nature’s delicate balance. But even the wild child must grow up, and when everything Beryl knows and trusts dissolves, she is catapulted into a string of disastrous relationships. Beryl forges her own path as a horse trainer, and her uncommon style attracts the eye of the Happy Valley set, a decadent, bohemian community of European expats who also live and love by their own set of rules. But it’s the ruggedly charismatic Denys Finch Hatton who ultimately helps Beryl navigate the uncharted territory of her own heart. The intensity of their love reveals Beryl’s truest self and her fate: to fly.
PRIDE V. PREJUDICE by Joan Hess. For many years, to the population of Farberville, Arkansas, Claire Malloy was known as the owner of the Book Depot and the mother of teenage daughter Caron. But Claire’s life has changed dramatically of late. She has married her longtime beau, Deputy Police Chief Peter Rosen, turned over the running of the bookstore to her very efficient employees, and Caron is inching ever closer to college. One thing, however, hasn’t changed—Claire’s ability to randomly stumble across trouble. Having been summoned for jury duty, Claire butts heads with the prosecutor on a murder case who harbors a grudge against Claire’s husband. He decides to humiliate Claire, then dismiss her from the jury pool, and he does so in such spectacular fashion that it makes the local news. Enraged, Claire decides to get revenge by hunting down the defendant in the case—a woman accused of murdering her husband—and offer to help prove her innocence, which will humiliate the prosecutor. There are only two problems. One: the defendant is looking guiltier by the minute. And two: the worst day imaginable is finally about to arrive—Claire’s dreaded new mother-in-law is coming to visit, and life in prison is starting to look good.
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October 13, 2015
THE PRESIDENT’S SHADOW by Brad Meltzer. A severed arm, found buried in the White House Rose Garden. A lethal message with terrible consequences for the Presidency. And a hidden secret in one family’s past that will have repercussions for the entire nation. There are stories no one knows. Hidden stories. I find those stories for a living. To most, it looks like Beecher White has an ordinary job. A young staffer with the National Archives in Washington, D.C., he’s responsible for safekeeping the government’s most important documents…and, sometimes, its most closely held secrets. But there are a powerful few who know his other role. Beecher is a member of the Culper Ring, a 200-year-old secret society founded by George Washington and charged with protecting the Presidency. Now the current occupant of the White House needs the Culper Ring’s help. Who buried the arm in the Rose Garden? And how did they get past White House security? And most important: What’s the message hidden in the arm’s closed fist? Indeed, the puzzle inside has a clear intended recipient, and it isn’t the President. It’s Beecher, himself. Beecher’s investigation will take him back to one of our country’s greatest secrets and point him toward the long, carefully hidden truth about the most shocking history of all: family history.
GRACE TAKES OFF (A MANOR HOUSE MYSTERY) by Julie Hyzy. A trip to Italy’s Tuscan countryside is a dream come true for Grace Wheaton, curator and manager of Marshfield Manor. At least until her boss—and benefactor of this whirlwind excursion—becomes the target of a murderer. When Grace and her boss, Bennett Marshfield, turn up at the Italian villa of one of his oldest friends, they’re troubled to discover that some of his friend’s impressive art collection—including a prized bronze skull crafted by Picasso—is fake. Someone has stolen the real deals and replaced them with skilled forgeries. Unfortunately, Grace and Bennett have to fly home the next day, so there’s no time to investigate. But their troubles are hardly over. On the plane, Grace catches a woman trying to poison Bennett. The woman, of course, isn’t talking, but by the end of the flight, there are two dead bodies. Now Grace has to wing it to find a mile-high murderer—especially since she suspects Bennett is still in danger.
SNAIL MAIL by Michelle Mackintosh. In a world of 140-character limits, oversharing and text-speak, are we losing the ability to really communicate with our loved ones? This book is here to bring back handwritten communication—and more—in a beautifully illustrated and perfectly proper little package. Inspired by Japanese stationery and letter-writing culture, Mackintosh reminds us of the charm of the handwritten letter, personalized parcels, and handcrafted stationery. Learn how to improve your handwriting (and your manners); make your own paper, envelopes, wax seals and pressed flowers; put together care packages for loved ones who need a bit of TLC; romance someone the old-school way; and craft beautiful mail art for any occasion. Isn’t it time we take back the written word and start a slow communication revolution?