Friday, July 21, 2017

The Pact by Jodi Picoult

Chris Harte has known Emily Gold since the day she was born, and from that time on, they were inseparable, forever linking the Harte and the Gold families as more than just neighbors. Sharing dinners, family parties, and holidays together the Hartes and Golds were a significant portion of one another's lives. When Chris and Emily began to date, it had always been assumed that they were meant to wind up together as soulmates. Aside from having a love like no other, Emily and Chris had everything going for them. Chris was an excellent student and Emily a gifted painter, both applying for colleges.

So imagine the surprise of the Harte and Gold families when they receive late-night calls from the hospital stating that Emily is dead at age 17 from a single gunshot wound to the head, most likely coming from a gun Chris took from his father's gun safe. When there's still another bullet in the chamber of the gun and Chris tells police that it was intended for a suicide pact, Chris Harte suddenly becomes the primary suspect.

Jodi Picoult's The Pact is full of intrigue, suspense, and legal drama that will keep you turning the page.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Badger Boneyards: The Eternal Rest of the Story by Dennis McCann

From Bayfield to Madison, Door County to Milwaukee, and everywhere in between, former Milwaukee Journal Sentinel author Dennis McCann's Badger Boneyards: The Eternal Rest of the Story tells the tales behind some of the most fascinating cemeteries and gravestones in the dairy state. While McCann gives attention to many of famous Wisconsinites like the Milwaukee beer barons and former governor "Fighting Bob" La Follette, perhaps the most interesting tidbits of information are of the lesser known individuals who have made Wisconsin their final resting place. From Wisconsin's first public school teacher to "the boy who would not tell a lie" and paid the ultimate price to the woman whose headstone names her murderer, Badger Boneyards is filled with often humorous, sometimes sober, historical anecdotes about this those who are at eternal rest in this great state.

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Mother's Promise by Sally Hepworth

Alice Stanhope and her daughter Zoe have only ever had one another to rely on. Poor Zoe struggles with crippling social anxiety and is reliant upon her mother, who fiercely protects her. With no family left and Zoe's father out of the picture, they're all the other needs. That's until Alice is diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer.

Like any mother desperate to make sure her child is well cared for, Alice turns to the only two women she knows. Though they're practically strangers, Alice turns to Kate, her oncology nurse and Sonja, the social worker on her case, to help make sure that Zoe is cared for after Alice is gone. As these four strong female characters come together, they are forced to face their deepest fears--those of abandonment, physical and emotional abuse, estrangement, and infertility. 

Filled with the perfect combination of love, humor, and sadness, Sally Hepworth's The Mother's Promise is an unforgettable novel illustrating the immeasurable amount of love a mother has for her child. 

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

Lane Roanoke is only fifteen years old when her mother commits suicide. With nowhere else to go, Lane moves in with her maternal grandparents and cousin Allegra on their farm in rural Kansas. Knowing little about her extended family, Lane is excited at the prospects of having a family to care for her. Lane quickly embraces life as a Roanoke, but it isn't long before Lane realizes that the Roanoke family has a dark secret to keep; one that sends her running far away from the small farming town in Kansas.

Years later, Lane still figuring out her life, receives a phone call from her grandfather telling Lane that her cousin Allegra has gone missing. Has Allegra run away like the Roanoke girls before her or is it something more sinister? Unable to get Allegra out of her mind, Lane returns to help ease the guilt she feels after having left Allegra behind. While Lane's homecoming means a chance for second chances, it also means that she must face the Roanoke secret that made her run.

Weaving between now and then, The Roanoke Girls is filled with twists and turns, exploring the lengths at which families will go to keep their deep, dark secrets and the love that they share.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Open Heart by Elie Wiesel

Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel is best known for his reflections on life in Auschwitz in his best-seller Night. Open Heart, though also a reflection, doesn't focus solely on the Holocaust; rather it's Wiesel's thoughts when at eighty-two years old, the writer and scholar was faced with emergency heart surgery and quite possibly his own mortality.

Though this is a brief book at only seventy-some pages, it is one filled with sincerity and honesty. Open Heart (so aptly named), focuses on Wiesel's family, many of whom perished during the Holocaust. The Nobel Peace Prize winning author questions whether or not he did his family justice by keeping their memory alive. He argues that the measure of a man can be determined by the love he has for his wife, children, and grandchildren. And most importantly he writes of the hopes he has for mankind, in a world that is often cruel and unjust.

Though Elie Wiesel has since passed away, the words of the most eloquent Holocaust spokesperson live on in this book and his other works.

Friday, June 16, 2017

LaRose by Louise Erdrich

National Book Award Winner Louise Erdrich begins her new novel, LaRose, with a punch to the gut: a hunting accident involving Landreaux Iron results in the death of his neighbor’s five-year-old son Dusty Ravich.  The two families had been close; the mothers were half-sisters, the five-year-old sons best friends.  Grief works in different ways on the two families and soon the Irons decide to honor an ancient tradition in order to make up for the Ravichs’ loss.  The Iron’s give their five-year-old son LaRose to the Ravich family.  Between a sweeping history of the four previous generations of LaRoses, and the story of Landreaux Iron’s past, Erdrich weaves a tale of loss and love.  LaRose grows to be a bond between the two families, helping them process their grief.  This deeply emotional read is another powerful novel from a talented award-winning author.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

Lucy Knisley was born the daughter of a chef and a gourmet food connoisseur, so it should come as no surprise that this talented cartoonist and author of several graphic novelist would write and illustrate a memoir of her obsession with food. As hilarious as her other work, Lucy uses this book to frame many important life events around what delicious food she was eating, learning to cook alongside her mother, and what it means to thoroughly enjoy a meal with those one loves.

Each frame of Relish: My Life in the Kitchen is adorned with adorable illustrations, including the recipes Knisley shares at the end of each chapter, many of them for well-loved family dishes. For Knisley food is more than just survival, it's a large part of who she is and where she's come from.