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|Jill is one of our store managers and events coordinator at Horizon. She is dedicated to bringing in all the local authors and musicians Traverse City has to offer.|
This Kalamazoo-based author is one of my favorites! And the main character in this book, Margo, is one of my favorite fictional characters. Although the novel takes place in the late 1970's and early 80's, it feels very timeless, and Margo feels like a pioneer woman. While bad things happen to Margo, and she sets off on her own on the Kalamazoo River, her strength of character and determination to make her way no matter what makes her the best heroine I know!
First of all, it's a book by Ken Follett, so you know you can't go wrong. This is my favorite of his books, with the adventure and thrills of the Danish resistance during World War II. The Hornet is an old biplane that the 18 year old hero manages to resurrect and learn to fly, in order to help the British with important information about the Germans! There is romance as well!
This is the first in a charming series of four books so far, written by a local author, and I can't wait for her next one to come out! The three sisters are very different, as the three sets of shoes indicates, and the chapters bounce back and forth between each of their perspectives, which makes the plot develop in a fun manner. The one sister, is a retired lawyer and grammar fanatic! She and Faye, a mostly stay-at-home mom, join up together to form a detective agency in the town of Allport (think Alpena) and eventually their sophisticated, man-hunting sister, Retta, forces her way into the agency!
Whether or not you like Shakespeare, you will love this mash-up of characters from Othello, characters from The Merchant of Venice, and for some strange reason the story of Poe's The Cask of Amontillado. The main character, the Fool, is a presence in most of Shakespeare's tragedies and comedies, and here he is a wise-cracking , too smart allecky for his own good, Fool with apparently nine lives. There is bawdy humor, and love stories, and strong female characters and evil - all bound up in this absurd novel.
This is the second in the Sleuth Sisters mystery series, by a Michigan author, and I love it as much as the first one! 3 sisters who are each unique live in the small fictional town of Allport (which I think of as Alpena) on Lake Huron, and run a detective agency. The sisters work together, argue together and usually end up in some precarious situations. Since this one takes place in winter, with plenty of action in the frozen wilderness, this seems like a good book to read during the last of our winter storms this month.
Take Lake Huron and Mackinac Island in the 19th Century, add a ship full of of passengers and sailors, and stir in the magic of Manitou the great spirit of Mackinac Island. This book is mysterious, romantic, and full of exciting action. It is a great combination for readers of all kinds. Cora seems to have powers from the spirit of Manitou, Jean Luc is a kind but haunted soul, and Nicholas has a past that he now has to face. The author, Alexandria Nolan, is fast becoming one of my favorite authors.
Julie and her brand new husband decide to paddle from Lake Superior north along the Voyageur's route on a year long honeymoon. While this is not my idea of a honeymoon, her descriptions and stories along the way make me want to make a similar voyage. The beauty and the dangers that they encounter along their path make this an adventure of a lifetime and change the two paddlers tremendously.
This is one of my favorite thrillers, and Ian Caldwell now has a second book out (The Fifth Gospel) in this genre. Two seniors at Princeton are on the trail of a Renniassance text that is 500 years old and has stumped scholars for centuries. The trail leads through a murder and to a long-lost diary and to Italy! If you love this, The Fifth Gospel is coming out in paperback in February!
This book is aimed at intermdediate readers (3rd to 6th graders) but everyone shoud read it because it is so humerous, so heart-warming, and it has a great message about the environment! When one squirrel gets lost, his friends set out to find him and bring him home. On the way they meet other squirrels ( one with an Australian accent) and find out that lots of trees are being cut down along the electric lines. This funny story has messages about friendship and working together, too!
If you have read Glass Castle and Half-Broke Horses, then you know what a fabulous writer Jeannette Walls is. This is her first fiction, but it doesn't stray all that far from her non-fiction subject matter. In The Silver Star, two young girls are left basically homeless when their dysfunctional mother deserts them. Luckily, Bean and Lizare tough.
Tori wakes up on a "cruise ship" after having been shot in her dream - or did she really get shot? It eventually becomes clear to Tori that she is in a limbo of sorts and that she really was shot, but she has no clue why someone would shoot her. That's when Tori enlists Seamus, another dead soul who has chosen to stay in limbo and help solve murder cases for the deceased! They are able to travel back to the land of the living, using a live person as a host for their "spirit", and figure out why Tori was shot. This is a really fun twist on the detective novel!
For some reason, I am always reminded of this book at this time of year, even though the story takes place over several months. There are some key scenes that take place in the snowy, cold weather - so it fits January quite well. The novel takes place on "Grand Manitou Island", a fictional island that resembles Mackinac Island. It features a mystery, a ghost story, and a romance - so what more could you ask for? The main character, Hallie, was born on the island, but her father took her away when she was still quite young, claiming her mother had died. But, years later, the adult Hallie is notified that her mother has just died and left her house on Grand Manitou Island to Hallie. Confused by this news, Hallie returns to the island to find out the truth.
This book has it all: a strong and intelligent female protagonist, a strange time situation, a mystery and lots of adventure! Eleven year old Sophia lives with her famous, but distracted, uncle. He is a great map maker, and sophia is learning all about maps. But when her uncle gets kidnapped, Sophia has to set out to find him, with the aid of a young man that she has only just met and doesn't know if she can trust. They travel in this strange United States that is very unlike the nineteenth century U.S. that you and I have learned about. Also of great interest in this story is that there are all kinds of maps in this world, from 3-d, to glass, to unimaginable!
I resisted reading this book for a long time, because everytime I read the description on the back, it sounded so sad. When I finally read it, I was delighted to find out that it was hilarious! Bernadette is sarcastic, smart, and unconventional and the reader falls in love with her and her flaws! The story is told through her daughter Bee's point of view and Bee is also smart and unconventional and easy to love! In fact, Bee is a genius, and she is able to track her mother through all sorts of methods, so she is finally able to answer the question of the title.
Wendy Webb is my favorite author, but before I read her books i would never have guessed how much I liked a good romantic ghost story! Julia Bishop's life has fallen apart, with her husband's suicide after his shady business dealings. Since she was left penniless, she agrees to a strange but convenient arrangement: to become the companion of her favorite writer and be able to disappear from her former life. But strange things begin to happen, and Julia is fearful for her life, at the same time she is falling in love with Drew, the handsome man who reminds her of someone...
The premise of this book is horrifying, but the actual portrayal of the main characters of Jack and his mom is stupendous. Jack, at five years old, is the most amazing, wonderful child you will ever meet. His mom is just known as "Ma" because the story is told by Jack. Having only lived in captivity, because he was born to an abducted young lady, Jack's perspective on the world is unique. Emma Donaghue does a fabulous job of taking the reader into how it feels to only know a small space as your whole world. Jack goes through a major transition as well, and he is such a smart boy that he emerges victorious! Despite the premise, the book is an uplifting and fabulous story.
This book inspired me so much that I had to make my trip from Florida go through Big Stone Gap, Virginia, so I could check out this bookstore! If I weren't able to work here at Horizon Books, I would want to move to Big Stone Gap and work at Wendy's bookstore. It's full of camaraderie and charm, just like at Horizon Books! Ask me about my trip.
Wendy Webb is the master of suspenseful ghost stories that contain romance and a bit of history, while taking place in the present day! This is her second book, set in a small resort town on the Northwestern shore of Lake Superior. When Grace Alban returns to her childhood home to attend her mother's funeral and deal with the house, ghosts from her parent's past confront Grace and her daughter. As Grace tries to understand these occurences, Rev. Matthew Parker shows up to help.
I have never visited Grand Marais in the Upper Penninsula, but I feel like I know the community after having read this remarkable book. Madeline Stone leaves Chicago to live in Grand Marais and care for an elderly family friend. She has her own recent sadness to overcome, which quickly recedes as she gets involved in the lives of those around her. From a young boy whose mother is negligent, to a gentleman who owns and runs a diner, to her grandfather whom she never met, Madeline's life is opened up and changed in ways she had never imagined. All of the characters are so real and flawed and charming, you will find yourself loving them!
This delightful sequel to Pride and Prejudice has it all! The love (and lust) of Elizabeth and Darcy, past Darcy iniquities coming to light, a robbery and kidnapping, war in France, and pregnancies galore! All the characters you loved from P & P: Jane, Bingley, Georgina, Col. Fitzwilliam, and the ones you loved to hate: Wickham, Lady Catherine, Collins, are here in their full glory. Plus, there are some new characters who you will love and love to hate! This is a great telling of "happily ever after"!
Wendy Webb is the master of the romantic ghost story that is very satisfying. This is her first book and it takes place on Mackinaw Island. Hallie James returns to her childhood home when she learns that the mother that she thought had died long ago has actually just recently died. The mother has left her home on Mackinaw Island to Hallie, and as Hallie moves into her new/old home, she learns all sorts of strange things about her mother, her own past, and why her father had led her to believe that her mother was dead. Along with all the spooky occurrences tied to the past, Hallie also has a new romance and learns alot about herself.
Wendy Webb's second book, The Fate of Mercy Alban, is just as good and her new book comes out on January 14th - The Vanishing.
Some people are strivers and some are settlers. Bret seems to be settling, instead of striving, but her mother's death shakes that up! Instead of just giving her the large inheritance that Bret expects, her mother wants her to complete the life list ( think "bucket list') that Bret had written when she was 14. The goals that Bret has to achieve, in 12 short months time, include such diverse items as own a horse and have a baby! Of course, Bret's first impulse is to circumvent the request somehow, but her deep love for her mother eventually has her striving to achieve each and every goal, even though a few seem almost impossible. You'll fall in love with Bret as she changes her life.
This collection by Michigan writers seems like the perfect read for cool October evenings by the fire. Short stories by well known local author Ann-Marie Oomen and U of M professors Eileen Pollack and Keith Taylor will give you shivers up your spine. The one that lingers with me the longest is Steve Amick's story about a thug who ammased his wealth working for Henry Ford as a strike-breaker and union organizer eliminator. Now he has retired to his hunting camp and he feels haunted by those he killed.
This is a heartwarming and thoughtful novel written by a Grand Marais, Michigan, resident, and it's one of my favorite books! The story takes place in Grand Marais, with a young woman moving there to take care of two aging women, and ending up learning a great deal about love and life. Madeline, the main character, meets the proprietor of a local diner and becomes romantically interested in him. A young boy, whose mother is rather neglectful, is taken in by Madeline, and this young boy is probably my favorite character in the book. This is a great read, and its fun knowing that Ellen Airgood (the author) is maried to the owner of a diner in Grand Marais.
Doug Swieteck and his family move to upper state New York, to the wrong side of the tracks. Here he hopes to start over as he begins 8th grade, but with his family, that's not likely. He is quickly classified as a hoodlum and troublemaker and treated poorly by many around him. Luckily, Doug has a great heart, and as he begins to help some of those around him, it helps him, too. This book is charming, goofy and a wonderful young adult book by a Michigan author who teaches English at Calvin College in Grand Rapids.
Four seniors at Princeton are hot on the trail of a 500 year old manuscript that the narrator's father was obsessed with.
There is a secret to that manuscript that is apparently important enough that this becomes life-threatening for the four college students. This book keeps you turning the pages, wanting to follow the clues as they unfold and enfold the lives of the characters.
If you like books in the vein of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, you will absolutely love this!
This was my introduction to Ken Follett and I was unable to put this book down - even though I went into labor halfway through reading it! This book has it all: action, adventure, espionage, a foreign location, and a love triangle. The sex scene in this book is worth it all by itself!
The book takes place in Afghanistan, with a harrowing escape across ice-covered mountains. The female heroine is strong and resourceful; the male hero is steadfast and courageous. The book is equally enjoyable for readers of both sexes.
Mary Neal was kayaking in Chile when she drowned, being held underwater for 18 minutes. Yet her kayaking companions were able to resuscitate her and she apparently suffered no brain damage. Her experiences during this 18 minutes, and during other crises in her life, are clearly and calmly delineated. With the miraculous nature of several events in Dr. Neal's life, it appears that this orthapaedic surgeon has been blessed with a deep spiritual faith that enhances her medical abilities. It is difficult to read her account and not be moved to believe in God and heaven.
A Michigan writer and professor at Delta College, Jeff Vande Zande knows how to create characters that are real and recognizable. This tome is comprised of a novella and five short stories that all take place in Michigan (or at least start out in Michigan) and deal with the "threatened species" of parent/child relationships due to divorce, death or drugs. Each situation is very real, as in the divorced father who is afraid of losing his son, or the widow who has discovered a new lifestyle, which the dead husband's mother disapproves of. Also of interest is the "threatened species" of fish known as the grayling, which Grayling is named for!
This Michigan author has me waiting impatiently for her next book! This one really grabbed me, with its characters and plot.
Marissa has always played second fiddle to her best friend, Julia, who seems to demand the spotlight. When Julia has a traumatic brain injury, it turns things a bit upside down, and changes the dynamics of their relationship. In the process, Marissa learns some things about herself and those around her that she really had needed to learn a long time ago. Marissa is human and flawed, but very lovable and compelling.
What a terrific novel! I just finished reading it, and I want to share it with everyone.
Three sisters, whose father is a Shakespearean scholar, come home when their mother is ill with breast cancer. Cordy, the youngest, named for Cordelia in King Lear, has wanderlust. Bean, actually Bianca, as in the sweet sister in The Taming of the Shrew, just has lust - for men, clothes, and alcohol. Rose, the oldest, who is Rosalind from As You Like It, is fearful of anything that isn't on her regular schedule. As each deals with her issues, you learn to love the whole family.
I love this author! This is the second book she wrote, and her fourth book is coming out in June.
In each of her books, she uses first person narrative, with several characters' perspectives explored. So, you get to see a particular event in the story from several characters' point of view.
Here, Cami, Anna and Amy were best friends in high school, but now they are in their late twenties and each is struggling with how she expected life to be and how it is actually turning out. Also, Maeve, Anna's mom, has her own problems - a small store she owns that is barely scraping by and a husband who has been "missing" for many years.
Kristina Riggle knows how to make you care about each character as if she were your best friend!
Kristina Riggle is my favorite Michigan author. This is her first book, and her fourth one comes out June 26.
In Real Life & Liars, which takes place in Charlevoix, Mira has been diagnosed with cancer, but doesn't want to do any treatments. When her "adult" children come home to help celebrate Mira and Max's 50th Anniversary, all of their problems spill out all over each other and their parents. Add Mira's secret to all these family problems and the week-end promises to break some hearts, though love found at the same time.
I loved this book! It is humorous, insightful, full of detailed and vivid explanations and some great stories to entertain and enlighten. The title sounds goofy, but when you start into the book, you will quickly see how accurate it is. Men are like waffles, because they prefer to deal with one thing at a time (one waffle square at a time) and like to keep things fairly simple and straightforward. Women are like spaghetti, because they have all their ideas and emotions all tangled together and touching each other (like spaghetti noodles on a plate), and they are natural multi-taskers. Yes, this is a simplified version of their explanation, but it's so true!!!
Wendy Webb writes wonderful "ghost stories" that take place in the present with the past hanging over her characters and a little love story thrown in to make the whole read very satisfying. This one is set in northern Wisconsin on Lake Superior on a beautiful estate.
The main character, Grace Alban, returns to her childhood home for her mother's funeral, and gets caught up in a mystery from her mother's young womanhood. Grace's daughteris also with he, so three generations are involved.
This book is recommended for anyone - male or female - to read. If you understand your spuse, son, boyfriend, father, etc. then you shoud read this. And for men, this is the answer to all your pain and fears. If you are a wounded man, which most men are, or you know a wounded man, then this book is a must read!
This was my favorite book that I read in 2010 and it has haunted me ever since reading it. It takes place in Ethiopia from the 1950's up through the twentieth century and ending in the twenty first century - but it's so timeless in its messages. Twin boys are born to an Indian nun/nurse who dies in child birth, and when the father who is a surgeon abandons the twins due to his grief, the boys are raised by a couple that work in the hospital their parents worked in. The lives of the boys are followed throughout and it is achingly poignant.