Thursday, June 16, 2011

Romance in the Stacks: The Librarian's Secret Scandal

The Librarian's Secret Scandal (2010) by Jennifer Morey.
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Like so many who come to the library profession, Lily Masterson was a bad girl in her youth.  But 15 years after she left her hometown of Honey Creek, she has put her bar fights and affairs behind her and is a reformed lady.  She's now a mother to teen-aged May and takes care of her dying father.  However, the rest of Honey Creek still continues to gossip about her and her daughter.  And she's got even bigger problems, the man who raped her 15 years ago is up for parole.  In fact, she runs (literally...with her car) into hunky Sheriff Wes Colton in the prison parking lot after testifying for the parole hearing.  Lest you think there is not nearly enough drama going on, Colton's brother was just recently acquitted of a murder after severing several years in prison...and the real killer is on the loose.

Quibbles:  I wish there was more moral ambiguity with the characters.  Lily may have been a bad girl in her past, but now she's downright stoic.  She puts up with her father treating her like mud, even though she's taking care of him instead of sending him to a nursing home.  She tells her daughter May not to defend herself from the gossip mongers.  And she tries to keep her residual pain from her rape a secret from everyone, including Wes.  Likewise, Wes is very honorable and is the only person who doesn't judge Lily on her past.  Meanwhile, the rest of the townsfolk come off as mean and petty.  Also, I found Lily to be frustratingly stubborn, though that's probably supposed to show her strength of character. 

The novel's plot takes a long time to develop and doesn't quite wrap up in a satisfying way either.  I honestly don't even remember who the real killer is, granted the suspense storyline is less important than the romance one.  Also, it is mentioned several times that Wes mysteriously left the Navy SEALS, but that plot line is kind of dropped.  This book is part of a series, so it's possible these loose ends are tied up in another book.  

Praise:  I prefer my leading men to be more quirky, but until Harlequin publishes a series about sensitive hipsters with beards or neurotic intellectuals, I guess I'll have to make do with typical hunky sheriff who probably wears flannel shirts unironically.  That being said, Wes is pretty dreamy. First, his name sounds super manly (seriously, say "Wes Colton" out loud...Manly).  Second, he's good at taking charge of a situation.  Third, he's the only sheriff from Montana who refuses to wear a cowboy hat in public. And fourth, he's probably better at defending you from an attacker than a Jesse Eisenberg type.  Also, in my brain, Paul Schneider played him.

The Librarian's Secret Scandal was a quick and easy read.  The librarian angle doesn't play too much into the plot, once and a while Lily will shelve books or read a trashy romance.  The book probably works better within the context of the whole Coltons of Montana series.  On it's own, I would recommend it to fans of romantic-suspense novels, small town life, and hunky sheriffs.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Romance in the Stacks: What the Librarian Did

 What the Librarian Did (2010) by Katrina Bliss
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I first became aware of this book from Awful Library Books, so my expectations weren't super high when I checked out.  Especially since I'm not really a romance reader (I prefer romance's neurotic sister- chick lit).  But I actually liked the book, even though the plot was a little bit overstuffed.

The book takes place at Auckland University in New Zealand, where former rock star turned student Devin Freeman has just enrolled (James Franco style).  Freeman has just quit his band (Rage) and his life of hard partying.  While at Auckland U, he keeps on running into librarian Rachel Robinson, who has just turned down a marriage proposal despite being 34 and wanting a family.  She has her own secret, though, which we'll get to later.  Naturally, being a librarian, and therefore totally unaware of popular culture, Rachel is the only person who doesn't know Devin is famous.  Therefore, he feels slightly more comfortable around her.

Devin also befriends a 17-year old kid and aspiring musician, Mark, while at the university . Mark is adopted and looking for his birth mother, who is 34 and works at the university (gee...I wonder who that could be!). Rachel worries that Devin might be a poor influence on Mark, but also uses her flirtation with Devin so she can be a part of Mark's life.

Quibbles:  There's a lot going on in the plot.  Rachel has her secret child to deal with and a strained relationship with her mom.  Devin has family problems of his own- his brother (and Rage's lead singer) might have stolen money from him.  Also, his mom, who had health problems, might be falling in love again.  There's also a lot of conflict between Rachel and Devin; they always seem to assume the worst about each other.  

Praise:  The characters are all fairly enjoyable here.  I have a soft spot for bad boys with a heart of gold (at least in fiction; in real life they almost never look like Taylor Kitsch), so naturally I liked Devin right away, even with his purple boots.  Rachel might come off as prim and proper at first, but she's totally cool.  She is funny when she verbally spars with Devin and she's a vintage clotheshorse to boot!  The book is lighthearted and funny, and fairly tame as romances go. Also, the characters have refreshingly normal names for a romance! 

Overall, What the Librarian Did is a fun, humorous and quick read.  It should appeal to fans of chick lit as well as romance readers.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fortress of Bookitude

In accordance of this year's summer reading theme, A Midsummer Knight's Read, two of our library's gentry, Sir Readsalot and Lady Lorelai, assembled a castle tower made of library books. Be sure to check it out in person and enter our contest to guess the number of books it contains! 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hear ye, hear ye: Sign up for summer reading!

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Summer reading at the Dundee Library runs today through Saturday, July 30 for children, teens, and adults. This year's theme is A Midsummer Knight's Read.

In order to finish the program, teens must read at least 4 books and adults must read 5. But you don't have to stop at the required number of books. The more you read, the more chances you will have in both our weekly prize drawings and the grand prize drawing. We'll start drawing weekly winners at the end of week 3 of summer reading (June 25).

The grand prize for teens is a $100 Target gift card. Weekly drawings will be for $15 gift cards from GameStop or Barnes and Noble. For more information on prizes for teens click here.
The grand prize for adults is a $100 Target gift card. Weekly drawings will be for $15 gift cards from Target.

We will also post on the blog recommendations that come in from summer reading participants. Check back to see what your fellow readers are enjoying!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell

Looking for a quirky idea for a summer vacation? Sarah Vowell took one of her own in Assassination Vacation. She details her trip to famous political assassination sites in America and her sister and nephew tag along for most of the ride. Vowell's trip is an excellent vehicle (pardon the pun) for presenting a bit of history, political and cultural education, and droll humor. It's also a great read for any true crime buffs, and possibly, armchair travelers. It would be hard to not find this book interesting on some level.

Better than high school history class, there's some interesting tidbits: For example, Vowell discusses the Robert Todd Lincoln "curse" in the book: Robert (Abraham's son) was present at his father's deathbed and two Presidential assassinations (Garfield and McKinley). After the death of McKinley, Robert declined to spend time with any other presidents.

Vowell has written several other history-related books and you may recognize her as a former contributor on Public Radio International's This American Life, and interestingly, the voice of daughter Violet in The Incredibles.

Assassination Vacation
Sarah Vowell
973.099 VOW
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