Book Reviews from Deena

Check out these book reviews from Deena, a member of the Library’s Patron Service Team.  Let us know if you would like any titles added to your book list or head over to BARD to download the titles now.

Stars Over Clear Lake by Loretta Ellsworth
Lorraine Kindred has lost her husband of many years.  The book switches back and forth from present day to the 1940’s when Lorraine met her husband as a young girl. The iconic Surf Ballroom figures into the story where Lorraine attended many dances. Lorraine’s son-in-law is very intrigued with the history of the Surf Ballroom.  He has done some research and found that the original Surf Ballroom was destroyed by fire in 1947.  It was later rebuilt. Knowing that Lorraine had attended dances about that time, he asks her about the fire.  Lorraine remains evasive. This is great love story with an Iowa setting and a little bit of mystery.  DBC15165

The Day Donny Herbert Woke Up by Rich Blake
This is the true story of Donny Herbert, a Buffalo, New York fire fighter who was injured on the job and went into a coma in December 1995. He woke up from his coma in April 2005 and talked to his family for 16 hours straight.  Was it the family’s faith in God, the doctor’s drug cocktail or Donny’s own determination to come back to his family or a combination of those things? Soon afterwards, Donny slipped back into his comatose state and died in February 2006 of pneumonia.  A wonderful story of a miracle, faith, and courage.  DB64976

Link to Title on BARD

Tisha by Robert Specht
Based on the true story of Anne Hobbs who traveled to Alaska in 1927, on horseback to become a teacher in the small town of Chicken, Alaska.  Anne faces harsh weather and has some harrowing experiences as she finds love in this in this isolated wilderness.  She takes in two children when their mother dies of tuberculosis.  The boy calls her “Tisha” instead of teacher. She and her husband, Fred, adopt the two children along with several others. This is one of 100 Favorite Novels Recommended by Librarians.  DB41798

Link to Title on BARD

The All-American Murder: The Rise and Fall of Aaron Hernandez, the superstar whose Life Ended of Murderer’s Row by James Patterson
Aaron Hernandez was an extremely talented young man drafted by the New England Patriots.  He was a rising star on the team. On June 18, 2013, for unknown reasons he killed his friend, Odin Lloyd who was the boyfriend of his fiancée’s sister.  All evidence pointed to Hernandez and he was convicted and sentenced to death row.  While on trial for Lloyd’s murder he was charged with shooting two men in their car.  Almost two years to the day of Odin Lloyd’s murder, Hernandez hung himself in his prison cell.  Recommended for football fans and readers of true crime.  DB90220

Link to Title on BARD

Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance
J.D. Vance grew up in a poverty-stricken area in Ohio. His mother was a drug user and abusive. When things got too bad at home he would go to his grandparent’s house.  Despite his situation, J.D. grew up and joined the Marines and eventually graduated from Yale Law School. This is a touching memoir of overcoming the odds and becoming an inspiration to others.  DB85796
Link to Title on BARD

Three Bookish Wishes

What if you could rub a lamp and a Book Genie appeared offering you three wishes….three bookish wishes?  Wishes that had to deal with books and reading.  Maybe you want to meet a certain author?  Wish that your favorite author would write a sequel to your favorite book?  See a character come to life?  Have the time to read all the books you want?

Here are three bookish wishes from Leslie, the Special Services Librarian:

  1. Stephen King is one of my favorite authors.  I wish I could love to travel to Maine where most of his books are set and visit his home and surroundings.
  2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is one of my favorite books.  I wish to be able to step into that world filled with magic, love, and spell-binding intrigue.
  3. My last wish is a little more basic.  I wish I could remember all the books I read as a child, teen and now an adult with greater clarity.  I tend to forget the details of the books I’ve read and it would be great to remember every last detail of every last book I have ever read!

I have many more bookish wishes.  But I will keep it to three for now!

What would you wish for if the Book Genie visited you?

Top Ten Fiction Titles on BARD

Are you a BARD (Braille Audio Reading Download) user?  See below for the top ten fiction downloaded digital books on BARD this week.  Do you want to be a BARD user or learn more about BARD?  Go to our BARD page to find out more information or get signed up!

Golden in death: an Eve Dallas novel DB98498 by J.D. Robb

Pediatrician Kent Abner received a package containing a cheap golden egg that could be opened into two halves. When he pried it apart, highly toxic airborne fumes entered his body and killed him. After Eve Dallas calls the hazmat team, it’s time to look into Dr. Abner’s past and relationships. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2020.

Hit list DB98834  by Stuart Woods

When Stone Barrington finds his name on a hit list, he plans to lie low until the culprit is caught. But when this foe shows no signs of stopping until his deadly objective is realized in full, Stone is left with no choice but to face the problem head-on. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.

Long range DB98717  by C.J. Box

When the wife of a prominent local judge is wounded on Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett’s turf, signs point to the shot having been taken from an impossible distance. Joe’s best friend, Nate Romanowski–who is adjusting to parenthood–is a suspect. Meanwhile, Joe attempts to decipher a startling grizzly attack. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2020.

Country strong DB98494  by Linda Lael Miller

Montana rancher Cord Hollister is shaken when a girl arrives in Painted Pony Creek who looks like Reba, the woman who broke his teenage heart. Even though Shallie Fletcher had an unrequited crush on Cord in school she still seeks his help starting a therapeutic riding program for kids. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.

Blindside DB98664  by James Patterson and James O. Born

New York’s mayor has a daughter who’s missing and Detective Michael Bennett has a son who’s in prison. The two strike a deal. Sources lead Bennett to a homicide in the Bronx. The victim has ties to a sophisticated hacking operation–and also to the mayor’s missing twenty-one-year-old computer prodigy daughter. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.

Desperate DB98868  by Daniel Palmer

Gage Dekker–who still blames himself for the car accident that claimed the lives of his first wife and son–now marries Anna. After a heartbreaking miscarriage, they meet young, pregnant, and homeless, Lily, who agrees to give her baby to Gage and Anna in exchange for financial support. But something isn’t right. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2014.

The passengers DB98514  by John Marrs

Eight people are riding in self-driving cars when suddenly the doors lock, the route changes and they have lost all control. Then, a mysterious voice tells them they are going to die. From cameras hidden in their cars, their panic is broadcast to millions of people around the world. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2019.

House on fire DB98500  by Joseph Finder

Nick Heller learns his old army buddy Sean has died of an overdose. Sean, who once saved Nick’s life, got addicted to opioids after returning home wounded from war. At Sean’s funeral, a stranger approaches Nick with a job, which may be a way for Nick to hold someone accountable. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.

In five years DB98798  by Rebecca Serle

Newly engaged Manhattan lawyer Dannie Kohan has a plan for the next five years. But when she goes to sleep she wakes up in a different apartment, beside a very different man. It’s the same night, five years in the future. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2020.

The numbers game DB98732  by Danielle Steel

Eileen Jackson was happy to set aside her own dreams to raise a family with her husband, Paul. But when Eileen discovers that Paul is having an affair with a younger woman, she wonders whether it is too late for her to start over. Some strong language. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2020.

Latest D-List: Plants in Name Only

We are announcing our latest D-List (Digital List Including Special Titles)!  Summer is a time for planting, flowers blooming and time spent outdoors.  So to celebrate summer, our staff member, Deena, has put together a D-List titled “Plants in Name Only.”  This list includes books with a kind of plant or flower in the title.  The variety of genres in this list is remarkable. Call (515-281-1323) or email (library@blind.state.ia.us) the library today to request the newest D-List, “Plants in Name Only” and we will send you special cartridges with those books included.

Here is a taste of what you might expect:
Violets of March by Sarah Jio
Picture of flowersBlue Dahlia by Nora Roberts
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Crime by Tamar Myers
Peony in Love by Lisa See
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Adichie

Past D-Lists are also still available to receive on cartridge.  Just let us know which ones you would like.

  • The Great American Reads – features 100 books from the Great American Read list featured on PBS.
  • VOICE (Voices of Iowa Connecting Everyone) – features the library’s volunteer narrators and the books they have recorded for our collection.
  • Bookmark Series – if you are a fan of Hallmark movies this list is for you.
  • Staff Picks – comprised of 60 books, all filled with our staffs’ all-time favorite books.

Cozy Mystery and a Scone

Detective magnifying class with finger printsOne of the IDB Read groups has been reading cozy mysteries by H.Y. Hanna. What is a cozy mystery you ask? According to Wikipedia, “cozy mysteries, also referred to as ‘cozies’, are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence occur off stage, the detective is an amateur sleuth, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community.”

The Oxford Tearoom Mysteries by H.Y. Hanna center around Gemma Rose and her tearoom near Oxford in England. Gemma is trying to get her newly established tearoom off the ground, but trouble and dead bodies keep getting in her way. This series comes with a fun, interesting set of characters, a pesky, entertaining cat and of course, a love interest or two. Your mouth will water as the author describes delectable scones, muffins and delicious dinners. You’ll soon want to start baking your own pastries. Well, we’ve got you covered. Below is a recipe for a classic English scone from Plated Cravings (www.platedcravings.com).

The IDB Read Cozy Mystery group meets every Monday and Wednesday from 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm via a conference call to listen to one of our volunteer narrators, Christine Mach, read live. If you would like to be a part of the group, please call the library 515.281.1323 and we will give you the conference call number.

ENGLISH SCONES RECIPE

Ingredients
• 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 3/4 stick cold butter
• 3 tbsp granulated sugar
• 3/4 cup milk
• 1 tsp lemon juice
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 egg beaten
Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
2. In a large bowl mix flour with the salt, baking powder, and sugar. Add the butter, then rub it in with your fingers until the mixture looks like fine crumbs.
3. Heat up the milk on the stove until warm, but not hot. Add the vanilla and lemon juice, then set aside for a moment. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat and put it in the oven.
4. Add the milk mixture to the dry mixture and combine them quickly with a fork.
5. Scatter some flour on the work surface and tip the dough out. Dredge the dough and your hands with a little more flour, then fold the dough over 2-3 times until it’s a little smoother. Don’t overwork the dough. Pat into a round about 1.5-inch (4cm) high.
6. Use a 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter and plunge into the dough, repeat until all the dough is used. You should get 8 scones.
7. Brush the tops with egg wash, then carefully place onto the hot baking tray.
8. Bake for 10-15 mins until risen and golden on the top. Eat just warm or cold on the day of baking generously topped with jam and clotted cream.
Notes
If freezing, freeze once cool. Defrost, then put in a low oven for a few minutes until warm.
Nutrition
Calories: 259kcal

Reading With a Purpose

Heart shape filled with books on shelvesMany writers and readers would agree that reading or getting lost in a good story CAN be so powerful and essential to life. But why read? The reasons are endless…

IMAGINATION
By reading, you are exposed to so many wonderful things. This helps your imagination when it comes to creating and thinking. By reading, you are painting those pictures of the story in your mind. Books can take you anywhere you want to go!

FOCUS AND CONCENTRATION
When you are reading, you are focusing and concentrating on one thing. Almost as if you are mediating. Did you know that meditating for just 30 minutes a day helps create a healthier you!

IMPROVES MEMORY
When you read you are using your memory muscle which lies in the Cerebrum part of your brain. Using this muscle helps your memory long term.

READING MAKES YOU SMARTER
Readers display greater knowledge of how things work, vocabulary and language development, as well as information on people, places, and things.

Our library is brimming full of books just waiting to be read.

Thank you for allowing us to fulfill your craving for a good book!