Archive for April, 2020

The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton

April 24, 2020

[Recommended by both Vero and Mary-Ellen]

Mary-Ellen:  I’m not sure what drew me to read The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton.  I typically find it hard to read books centered around World War II, due to the heart-wrenching pain and horror of that time. I am, however, so glad I chose to read this book. Although historical fiction, it centers on the true story of Truus Wijsmuller, who risked her life to smuggle endangered children out of Germany and other Nazi-occupied countries. It brings to light this amazing woman and demonstrates how seemingly ordinary people can perform great acts of courage and kindness. 

Veronique:  Tante Truus’ s selfless actions saved countless young Jewish lives before most people realized the danger of the rise of Adolf Eichmann’ s “ Final Solution Of the Jewish Question” in Eastern Europe. Truus, a Dutch resistant, Zofie-Helene and Stefan are all heroes of this novel, and represent the thousands of bigger than life real heroes of these dark times. I’ ve read countless books about this time in history in multiple languages, and am always wary at first of a fiction novel, as too many always tend to romanticize real history. I feel it is more important than ever to disseminate the truth about history. I felt this novel accurately depicted facts that took place while at the same time making it easy to read and kept you wanting more.

You can read The Last Train to London on Hoopla and on Libby/Overdrive.

The Last Train to London

Staff Picks Hall of Fame Author: Alafair Burke!

April 24, 2020

Did you know that suspense author Alafair Burke has been recommended by 3 different staff members on this blog? Back in 2016 Cindy recommended The Ex, saying “A great courtroom thriller/mystery.  I read a review of this book and was intrigued and plunged in.  This book is inhabited by some very interesting characters and not many of them are that likable!  Even so,  the story is so well told and fast paced, you just can’t put it down.  This was the first novel I read by this author and will definitely be back for more.”

Mary-Ellen recommended The Better Sister as one of the best books she’s read in the past few months, and Karen included The Wife as one of her favorites this year.

You can find The Ex on Hoopla and Libby/Overdrive.

Title details for The Ex by Alafair Burke - Wait list

Find The Better Sister on Hoopla and Libby/Overdrive.

The Better Sister

Find The Wife on Hoopla and Libby/Overdrive.

Title details for The Wife by Alafair Burke - Wait list

Did you know that Alafair Burke is the daughter of suspense author James Lee Burke? You can find James Lee Burke’s on Hoopla and Libby/Overdrive too!

INTERNMENT, by Samira Ahmed

April 22, 2020


Ahmed invites us into a parallel universe, one in which, after the 2016 election, anti-Muslim sentiment grows so large that Muslims are forced into internment camps in the desert, much like what was done to Japanese-Americans in WWII. The main character, Layla, is strong-willed and spirited, a leader to the teens in the camp. The  camp’s evil director operates above the law (or at least, very nearly), and Layla quickly becomes his primary target. I found the writing a little heavy-handed, and the romance between Layla and her boyfriend David feels a little flat. But, I liked some of the relationships Layla makes in the camp and I appreciated that while her parents appear cautious or even a little weak, it’s clear that they are dealing the best they can. I think there’s no right way to handle the circumstances depicted in the book, and Ahmed does a good job of illustrating the different ways people handle collective trauma. I found it to be thought-provoking; the reality is that thousands of people on any given day are currently being held in detention camps here in the U.S., including children and teens, and the author is  clearly drawing inspiration from current affairs as well as the ugliness of the past to paint a realistic and disturbing picture of a U.S. “fifteen minutes in the future.” Definitely recommended for any teen interested in history or dystopian fiction.

Available as an ebook and audiobook on Libby/Overdrive.

Title details for Internment by Samira Ahmed - Available

Author Spotlight: Marie Benedict

April 22, 2020


Marie Benedict is a former NYC lawyer turned historical fiction author. As her website says, her focus is “unearthing the hidden historical stories of women.” I have read 2 of the 4 titles by Marie Benedict and plan to read the others.

The Other Einstein (2016) is about Albert’s first wife, Mileva Maric, herself a physicist. It is available as an ebook on Libby/Overdrive and on Hoopla.

The Other Einstein

Carnegie’s Maid (2018) tells the story of Clara Kelley who may have spurred Carnegie toward philanthropy. Available as an ebook on Hoopla and as an ebook and audiobook on Libby/Overdrive.

Carnegie's Maid

The Only Woman in the Room (2019) tells the story of Austrian-born Eva Marie Kiesler (Hedy Lamar) who escaped the Third Reich to land in California.  She was both a movie star and scientist who, with George Anthiel, invented technology which benefited the U.S. military then and led to development of fax transmission and cell phone technology of today. It is available as an ebook on Hoopla and Libby/Overdrive.

The Only Woman in the Room

Lady Clementine (2020)—About Clementine Churchill, the spouse of Winston Churchill was described as “the steady force” beside him in WWII. Available as an ebook on Hoopla and Libby/Overdrive.

Lady Clementine

Great Teen books for Adults

April 21, 2020


Resistance by Jennifer A. Nielsen. Available as an ebook in Libby/Overdrive and in audio on Hoopla


The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys. Available on Libby/Overdrive

The Fountains of Silence - ebook

Warcross Series by Marie Lu Available on Libby/Overdrive

Title details for Warcross by Marie Lu - Available

One of us is next by Karen McManus. Available on Libby/Overdrive

One of Us Is Next - ebook

The Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Susan McBride Available in audio on Hoopla

The Good Girl's Guide to Murder

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas Available on Libby/Overdrive

The Hate U Give - Audiobook

Staff Favorites -Lightning Round

April 16, 2020


What are the best books you’ve read in the last few months?

Long Bright River by Liz Moore Available on Libby/Overdrive

Long Bright River: A Novel by [Liz Moore]

Girl in the Rearview Mirror by Kelsey Rae Dimberg Available on Hoopla

Girl in the Rearview Mirror

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid Available on Libby/Overdrive

Such a Fun Age - ebook

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton Available on Libby/Overdrive

The Clockmaker's Daughter - ebook

The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton Available on Hoopla and Libby/Overdrive

Title details for The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton - Wait list

The Better Sister by Alafair Burke Available on Hoopla and Libby/Overdrive

Title details for The Better Sister by Alafair Burke - Wait list

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

April 13, 2020


This book has been on my To Be Read list for a very long time, but I’m so glad I waited until now to read it. During this strange COVID 19 stay-at-home time, when focusing has been a bit of a struggle, I needed a book that would completely capture my imagination, and hoo boy, was this that book. This is a dark, gothic, complex, sometimes funny, often tragic, mystery set in Barcelona in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. In many ways it is about the love, and the power, of books. It is also about resilience, in the wake of the devastation of the Spanish Civil War – making it an especially powerful read right now. The plot is way too complicated to attempt to explain here, but if you want a book that will take you far out of the here and now, this is a very good one to try.

You can find the ebook here and the audiobook here on Libby/Overdrive.

Title details for The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - Wait list

Staff Favorites – Lightning Round

April 9, 2020


Favorite historical fiction and nonfiction books?

The Radium Girls: The dark story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore Available as eBook and audiobook on Hoopla and Libby/Overdrive

The Unexpected Spy by Tracy Walder Available as an audiobook on Libby/Overdrive .

The Unexpected Spy - Audiobook

The Art of Resistance: My Four Years in the French Underground by Justus Rosenberg Available as an eBook on Hoopla .

The Art of Resistance

A Castle in Wartime by Catherine Bailey Available as ebook and audiobook on Libby/Overdrive .

A Castle in Wartime - ebook

Favorite Historical Fiction books?

Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini Available as an ebook on Hoopla and as ebook and audiobook on Libby/Overdrive.

Resistance Women

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See Available as ebook and audiobook on Libby/Overdrive.

Title details for The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See - Wait list

The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman Available on audio on Hoopla.

The Wartime Sisters

Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin Available as ebook and audiobook on Libby/Overdrive.

Mistress of the Ritz - ebook

The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton Available as ebook on Hoopla and on Libby/Overdrive.


Author Spotlight – Jacqueline Winspear

April 6, 2020


Growing up as a mystery lover (think: every Nancy Drew title—-I almost ordered a 1000-piece puzzle of Nancy Drew book cover recently), Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs character blends this love of mystery with my interest in both WWI and WWII. Set in England, Maisie is introduced as a teenaged maid (part of an in-service family) who is “taken under the wing” of Lady Rowan who arranges tutoring, leading to schooling at Cambridge, interrupted by her desire to “do one’s part” to fill the nursing shortage in WWI and then becomes a private investigator (yes, there’s lots going on for Maisie).

I have read 16 of the 17 books Jacqueline Winspear has written; 15 of which are the Maisie Dobbs series. I also read her stand-alone title, The Care and Management of Lies, (also Maisie Dobbs) a novel about the Great War, published in 2014 to coincide with the centennial of WWI (1914). I wonder if there are to be more adventures for Maisie as book#15 was set during the Blitz!

Many of these titles are available on Libby/Overdrive and Hoopla (both e-book and audiobook versions).

Imagine, I signed up for and explored Hoopla!

– Pam

Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs Mysteries Series Book 1) by [Jacqueline Winspear]

Cindy’s Favorite audiobook narrator!

April 1, 2020


Hi there!

Cindy from the library.  As some of you know I’m a big fan of John Sandford’s novels, especially the “Prey” series.  I really like the audiobook versions of these novels because of the narrator Richard Ferrone.  Did you know in Libby/Overdrive you can search for a book by the narrators name?  I did just that and found a number of other authors that Mr. Ferrone read for!  I listened to “The Good Guy” by Dean Koontz…and it was fantastic. There are also some Stuart Woods, Faye Kellerman, and others in the list.  I’m definitely going to give them a try!

You can find audiobooks narrated by Richard Ferrone on Libby/Overdrive, and on Hoopla.

Neon Prey - Audiobook
The Good Guy - Audiobook
Bone Box - Audiobook