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March 2009
In This Issue
The Hour I First Believed
Cockatiels at Seven
After You've Gone
The Believers
Cream Puff Murder
Handle with Care
Mutiny on the Bounty
Night and Day
Under the Radar
Paths of Glory
The Second Opinion
Blackstrap Hawco
The Girl with No Shadow
Fool
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The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb
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Publisher: Harper
Pub  Date: Nov 11, 2008
ISBN-10: 0060393491
ISBN-13: 978-0060393496
Literary Fiction
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When forty-seven-year-old high school teacher Caelum Quirk and his younger wife, Maureen, a school nurse, move to Littleton, Colorado, they both get jobs at Columbine High School.

In April 1999, Caelum returns home to Three Rivers, Connecticut, to be with his aunt who has just had a stroke. But Maureen finds herself in the school library at Columbine, cowering in a cabinet and expecting to be killed, as two vengeful students go on a carefully premeditated, murderous rampage. Miraculously she survives, but at a cost: she is unable to recover from the trauma.

Caelum and Maureen flee Colorado and return to an illusion of safety at the Quirk family farm in Three Rivers. But the effects of chaos are not so easily put right, and further tragedy ensues.
While Maureen fights to regain her sanity, Caelum discovers a cache of old diaries, letters, and newspaper clippings in an upstairs bedroom of his family's house. The colorful and intriguing story they recount spans five generations of Quirk family ancestors, from the Civil War era to Caelum's own troubled childhood. Piece by piece, Caelum reconstructs the lives of the women and men whose legacy he bears. Unimaginable secrets emerge; long-buried fear, anger, guilt, and grief rise to the surface.
Cockatiels at Seven by Donna Andrews
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Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur
Publication Date: July 8, 2008
ISBN-10: 0312377150
ISBN-13: 978-0312377151
Mystery
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When her old friend Karen drops by with two-year-old son Timmy, Meg Langslow reluctantly agrees to babysit "just for a little while." But when nightfall comes, the toddler is still in residence and Karen isn't answering any phone calls. Meg decides she must find out what's happening, so the next morning, with Timmy in tow, she retraces her friend's footsteps---and begins to suspect that Karen's disappearance is tied to at least one serious crime. Has Karen been killed or kidnapped? Is she on the run from the bad guys? Or is she one of the bad guys? The police don't seem to care, so Meg once again plays sleuth---this time with a toddler as her sidekick.

As usual, Meg's extended family adds to the complications in her life. What covert animal welfare project are Dad and the curmudgeonly zoologist Dr. Montgomery Blake working on---and will Meg have to make another late-night trip to bail them out of jail? Why does Meg's brother keep disappearing---is he merely trying to avoid babysitting, or is he involved in something more mysterious? Will taking care of Timmy dampen newly married Meg and Michael's enthusiasm for starting a family of their own? And are any of Meg's relatives reliable enough to be trusted with a two-year-old---especially a two-year-old whose whereabouts might be of interest to some very dangerous people?
Ater You've Gone  by Jeffrey Lent
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Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Publication Date: March 1, 2009
ISBN-10: 0871138948
ISBN-13: 978-0871138941
Literary Fiction
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A widower, suddenly bereft, finds an unexpected future when he goes to Amsterdam looking for his past in Lent's intricate and rewarding fourth novel. Henry Dorn is an upright college professor whose relatively tranquil existence is upended when his wife and son are killed in a car accident in the 1920s. As the novel follows Henry in flashbacks to before and after the crash, we get a closeup view of the loss of innocence of a person and a world. Henry's relationship with his son, a morphine-addicted WWI veteran, had grown deeply fraught, while glimpses of Henry's childhood in Nova Scotia reveal a hardscrabble fishing family torn apart. After the accident, Henry travels to Amsterdam to research his family history, and an unexpected affair kicks off a period of indulgence on a continent whose need for postwar recovery matches his own psychic wounds. At times, the dialogue can feel wooden, but the narrative's course back and forth through time and across the Atlantic creates an aura of mystery and tension that's amplified by Lent's vivid depiction of the era. It's a nice contrast to the aimless youngsters often associated with the lost generation canon.
The Believers by Zoe Heller

Publisher: Knopf Canada
Publication Date: March 3, 2009
ISBN-10: 0676978053
ISBN-13: 978-0676978056
Literary Fiction
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Audrey and Joel Litvinoff have attempted to pass on to their children their lefty passions-despite Audrey's decidedly bourgeois attitude and attorney Joel's self-satisfied heroism, including the defense of a suspected terrorist in 2002 New York City. When Joel has a stroke and falls into a coma, Audrey grows increasingly nasty as his secrets surface. The children, meanwhile, wander off on their own adventures: Rosa's inherited principles are beleaguered by the unpleasant realities of her work with troubled adolescents; Karla, her self-image crushed by Audrey, has settled into an uncomfortable marriage and the accompanying pressure to have children; and adopted Lenny, the best metaphor for the family's troubles, dawdles along as a drug addict and master manipulator. Though some may be initially put off by the characters' coldness - the Litvinoffs are a severely screwed-up crew-readers with a certain mindset will have a blast watching things get worse.
Cream Puff Murder by Joanne Fluke
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Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: March 1, 2009
ISBN-10: 0758210221
ISBN-13: 978-0758210227
Mystery
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Winter in Lake Eden, Minnesota, is the perfect time to curl up by a cosy fire with something - and someone - sweet. But while bakery owner Hannah Swensen can provide herself with the confections, cuddling will have to take a back seat to sleuthing when her sometime-squeeze becomes a murder suspect...With the launch party of her mother's novel around the corner, Hannah has a dress to fit into and a date with her sister, Andrea, at Lake Eden's new health club, Heavenly Bodies. Dragging herself out of bed on a frigid Minnesota morning for exercise, of all things, is bad enough. Discovering a dead body floating in the gym's Jacuzzi? Okay, that's worse. Nor does it help that there's a plate of The Cookie Jar's very own cream puffs garnishing the murder scene. The fact that they were purchased by none other than Hannah's part-time flame, Detective Mike Kingston, is simply the icing on what's shaping up to be one very messy cake...Mike may be the prime suspect in the murder of man-eating bombshell Ronni Ward, but he's by no means the only one. Ronni, a fitness instructor at both the Sheriff's department and Heavenly Bodies, made a nasty habit of throwing her own heavenly body at every man, eligible or not, who crossed her path. Plenty of Lake Eden's ladies won't miss Ronni, including her ex-fiance's former girlfriend, the angry mother of one of her would-be conquests, and even the mayor's wife. Could any of them have wanted her gone badly enough to make it happen? Mike's recruited Hannah to find out, and, as any suspended, suspected detective would, he's micromanaging her every step of the way...Between trying to narrow the list of Ronni's enemies down to fewer than half the town's female population and resisting the urge to remove Mike from the running by throttling him herself, Hannah has her plate full. Trouble is, when it comes to cookies - and to murder - there's always room for one more.
Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult
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Publisher: Atria
Publication Date: March 3, 2009
ISBN-10: 0743296419
ISBN-13: 978-0743296410
Literary Fiction
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Every expectant parent will tell you that they don't want a perfect baby, just a healthy one. Charlotte and Sean O'Keefe would have asked for a healthy baby, too, if they'd been given the choice. Instead, their lives are made up of sleepless nights, mounting bills, the pitying stares of "luckier" parents, and maybe worst of all, the what-ifs. What if their child had been born healthy? But it's all worth it because Willow is, well, funny as it seems, perfect. She's smart as a whip, on her way to being as pretty as her mother, kind, brave, and for a five-year-old an unexpectedly deep source of wisdom. Willow is Willow, in sickness and in health.
Everything changes, though, after a series of events forces Charlotte and her husband to confront the most serious what-ifs of all. What if Charlotte should have known earlier of Willow's illness? What if things could have been different? What if their beloved Willow had never been born? To do Willow justice, Charlotte must ask herself these questions and one more. What constitutes a valuable life?
Mutiny on the Bounty by John Boyne

Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Publication Date: February 17, 2009
ISBN-10: 0385666357
ISBN-13: 978-0385666350
Historical Fiction
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An action-packed fictional telling of the events on the HMS Bounty from the author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

Fourteen-year-old John Jacob Turnstile has gotten into trouble with the police on one too many occasions and is on his way to prison when an offer is put to him - a ship has been refitted over the last few months and is about to set sail with an important mission. The boy who was expected to serve as the captain's personal valet has been injured and a replacement must be found immediately. The deal is struck and Turnstile finds himself onboard, meeting the captain, just as the ship sets sail.

The ship is the HMS Bounty, the captain is William Bligh, and their destination is Tahiti. Mutiny on the Bounty is the first novel to explore all the events relating to the Bounty's voyage, from their long journey across the ocean to their adventures on the island of Tahiti and the subsequent forty-eight-day expedition towards Timor. A vivid recreation of the famous mutiny, the story is packed with humour, violence, and historical detail, presenting a very different portrait of Captain Bligh and Mr. Christian than has been shown before.
Night and Day by Robert B. Parker

Publisher: Putnam
Publication Date: February 24, 2009
ISBN-10: 0399155414
ISBN-13: 978-0399155413
Mystery / Suspense

Things are getting strange in Paradise, Massachusetts. Police Chief Jesse Stone is called to the junior high school when reports of lewd conduct by the school's principal, Betsy Ingersoll, filter into the station. Ingersoll claims she was protecting the propriety of her students when she inspected each girl's undergarments in the locker room. Jesse would like nothing more than to see Ingersoll punished, but her high-powered attorney husband stands in the way. At the same time, the women of Paradise are faced with a threat to their sense of security with the emergence of a tormented voyeur, dubbed "The Night Hawk." Initially, he's content to peer through windows, but as times goes on, he becomes more reckless, forcing his victims to strip at gunpoint, then photographing them at their most vulnerable. And according to the notes he's sending to Jesse, he's not satisfied to stop there. It's up to Jesse to catch the Night Hawk, before it's too late.
Under the Radar by Fern Michaels

Publisher: Kensington Publishing
Publication Date: February 2009
ISBN-10: 0758235232
ISBN-13: 978-0758235237
Mystery
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A Sister's work is never done - not when there are wrongs to right and underdogs to defend. Just returned to their mountaintop hideaway after their latest successful mission, the seven fearless friends enjoy a celebratory dinner and retire to bed. But within an hour, an alarm sounds, and the ladies rush into the compound in time to see Myra and their mentor, Charles, climbing aboard a helicopter. All that's left is a mysterious note, signed by Charles.

Still reeling, the Sisters receive an urgent call from retired justice Pearl Barnes. Pearl runs an underground railroad to help abused and displaced women, and she's just rescued fourteen pregnant teenagers who belong to a highly secretive and controversial polygamy sect. But keeping the girls safe will require the kind of help only the Sisterhood can provide - if they can band together and go it alone.
Paths of Glory by Jeffrey Archer

Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: March 3, 2009
ISBN-10: 0312539517
ISBN-13: 978-0312539511
Historical Fiction
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Some people have dreams that are so magnificent that if they were to achieve them, their place in history would be guaranteed. Francis Drake, Robert Scott, Charles Lindbergh, Amy Johnson, Edmund Hilary, Neil Armstrong, and Lewis and Clark are among such individuals.

But what if one man had such a dream, and once he'd fulfilled it, there was no proof that he had achieved his ambition?

Jeffrey Archer's latest book, Paths of Glory, is the story of such a man---George Mallory. Mallory once told an American reporter that he wanted to climb Mt. Everest, "because it's there." On his third attempt in 1924, at age thirty-seven, he was last seen six hundred feet from the top. His body was found in 1999, and it still remains a mystery whether he ever reached the summit.

But only after you've turned the last page of this extraordinary novel, inspired by a true story, will you be able to decide if George Mallory's name should be added to the list of legends, in which case another name would have to be removed. Paths of Glory is truly a triumph.
The Second Opinion by Michael Palmer

Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: February 17, 2009
ISBN-10: 0312343558
ISBN-13: 978-0312343552
Medical Thriller
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Dr. Thea Sperelakis, diagnosed as a teen with Asperger's syndrome, has always been an outsider. She has a brilliant medical mind, and a remarkable recall of details, but her difficulty in dealing with hidden agendas and interpersonal conflicts have led her to leave the complex, money-driven dynamics of the hospital, and to embrace working with the poor, embattled  patients of Doctors Without Borders. Her father, Petros, is one of the most celebrated internal medicine specialists in the world, and the founder of the cutting-edge Sperelakis Center for Diagnostic Medicine at Boston's sprawling, powerful Beaumont Clinic.

Thea's rewarding life in Africa is turned upside-down when Petros is severely injured by a hit-and-run driver. He is in the Beaumont ICU, in a deep coma. No one thinks he will survive. Thea must return home. Two of Petros' other children, both physicians, battle Thea and her eccentric brother, Dimitri, by demanding that treatment for their father be withheld. As Thea uncovers the facts surrounding the disaster, it seems more and more to be no accident. Petros, himself, is the only witness. Who would want him dead? The answers are trapped in his brain . . . until he looks at Thea and begins slowly to blink a terrifying message.
Blackstrap Hawco by Kenneth J. Harvey
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Publisher: Random House Canada
Publication Date: September 2, 2008
ISBN-10: 0679314296
ISBN-13: 978-0679314295
Literary Fiction / Historical Fiction
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Fifteen years in the making, this book is the one Canada's "heavyweight champ of brash and beautiful literature" was meant to write. An epic masterwork about Newfoundland's working class, Blackstrap Hawco spans more than a century in gorgeous and widely varied prose, reminding us that even when writing about the degradation of identity and language, Harvey does it magnificently.

Named in a moment of anger, Blackstrap Hawco is heir to an island dominion picked over by its adoptive nation. From the arrivals of the indentured Irish to the Victorian drawing rooms of the English merchants, from the perilous seal hunt to the raucous iron ore mines, from a notorious disaster at sea to the relocation of outport communities, the family legend might be all his people have left to live for. But as Blackstrap Hawco - a novel that will consume you in its dazzling swirl of voices, legends and beautiful hearsay - testifies, a story this haunting, this powerful, might just be enough.
The Girl with No Shadow by Joanne Harris

Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: April 8, 2008
ISBN-10: 0061431621
ISBN-13: 978-0061431623
Literary Fiction
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Harris revisits characters from 1999's bestselling Chocolat in this equally delectable modern fairy tale published in the UK as The Lollipop Shoes.

More than four years have passed since Vianne Rocher pitted her enchanted chocolate confections against the local clergy's interpretation of Lent in smalltown France; since then, Vianne has renounced magic, changed her name to Yanne Charbonneau and moved with her two daughters to Paris's Montmartre district. There, Yanne embraces conformity and safety, much to the dismay of her increasingly troubled older daughter, Anouk. When Anouk becomes entranced with Zozie de l'Alba, an exotic itinerant who happens upon a job at the new shop, and the relationship grows increasingly sinister, Yanne must call up all of Vianne's powers, culinary and mystical, to save her family. Harris again structures the narrative (told in alternate chapters by Zozie, Yanne and Anouk) around a liturgical season (in this case Advent). Harris gives fans much to savor in this multilayered novel, from the descriptions (including Yanne's mouthwatering chocolate confections, Zozie's whimsical footwear and Anouk's artistic efforts) to the novel's classic, enduring theme of good vs. evil-and the difficulty of telling the difference.
Fool by Christopher Moore
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Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: February 10, 2009
ISBN-10: 0060590319
ISBN-13: 978-0060590314
Humour / Satire
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A man of infinite jest, Pocket has been King Lear's cherished fool for years, from the time the king's grown daughters-selfish, scheming Goneril, sadistic (but erotic-fantasy-grade-hot) Regan, and sweet, loyal Cordelia-were mere girls. So naturally Pocket is at his brainless, elderly liege's side when Lear-at the insidious urging of Edmund, the bastard (in every way imaginable) son of the Earl of Gloucester-demands that his kids swear their undying love and devotion before a collection of assembled guests. Of course Goneril and Regan are only too happy to brownnose Dad. But Cordelia believes that her father's request is kind of . . . well...stupid, and her blunt honesty ends up costing her her rightful share of the kingdom and earns her a banishment to boot.

Well, now the bangers and mash have really hit the fan. The whole country's about to go to hell in a handbasket because of a stubborn old fart's wounded pride. And the only person who can possibly make things right...is Pocket, a small and slight clown with a biting sense of humor. He's already managed to sidestep catastrophe (and the vengeful blades of many an offended nobleman) on numerous occasions, using his razor-sharp mind, rapier wit...and the equally well-honed daggers he keeps conveniently hidden behind his back. Now he's going to have to do some very fancy maneuvering-cast some spells, incite a few assassinations, start a war or two (the usual stuff)-to get Cordelia back into Daddy Lear's good graces, to derail the fiendish power plays of Cordelia's twisted sisters, to rescue his gigantic, gigantically dim, and always randy friend and apprentice fool, Drool, from repeated beatings...and to have every luscious wench who's amenable to being had along the way.

Pocket may be a fool...but he's definitely not an idiot.

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