Staff Picks - March 2017

    • Seven Minutes in Heaven
      James, Eloisa

      Go ahead – read it!  Who knew Romance books could be this fun?  But be warned - it’s hard to put this book down once you get started! This book is beautifully written by Shakespeare professor, Eloisa James - who is one of our Authors Visiting in Des Moines (AViD) authors coming to the Central Library on March 21st!  Extensive research went into this historical romance of a strong willed redhead and an and “arrogant bastard son of an earl”.  Come hear the story from the author herself! - Sue

    • Mistborn: The Final Empire
      Brandon Sanderson

      In The Final Empire, the truth is as elusive as the mists that dominate its land. I enjoyed the slow release of information as the cast of characters work to understand their own strengths, magical or otherwise, and the strange powers that keep the tyrannical Lord Ruler in control. With a complex female protagonist and well-focused plot, the Mistborn series is becoming a favorite. - Michelle

    • Seven Women: and the Secret to Their Greatness
      Eric Metaxas

      Biography of seven women from history who changed the world. It includes women as famous as Rosa Parks and Joan of Arc as well as lesser-known but equally fascinating figures like Hannah More and Saint Maria of Paris.  Metaxes offers a brief section on each of these women, outlining their contributions to history and making the world a better place. Engaging and inspiring. - Carrie

    • Lab Girl
      Hope Jahren

      Who knew science narratives could be tear-jerkers? Jahren presents a very personal look at her journey as a female research scientists in paleobiology. The narrative meanders between her struggle with health and relationships, her scientific work, and scrutiny of academia. Jahren narrates the audiobook making for an emotionally impactful story. - Michelle

    • Magician: Apprentice (Riftwar bk 1)
      Raymond E. Feist

      This book captured my interest from page 1!  I just started the journey with Pug, a young magician’s apprentice.  He doesn’t understand his power and is totally entranced with the Princess of his land. I can’t wait to see where his journey leads.

    • The Dry
      Jane Harper

      A small town hides big secrets in The Dry , an atmospheric, page-turning debut mystery. After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets. Highly recommended!

    • The Travelers
      Chris Pavone

      After being seduced by a woman while on assignment overseas, travel writer Will Rhodes is forced to become a CIA asset. What follows is a thrill ride of secrets, intrigue, and a fast-moving plot as Will begins to question everything around him. He wonders…who are his friends, who are his enemies, and who he is really working for? -Stephanie

    • As Good As Gone
      Larry Watson

      I couldn’t help but picture Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino as Calvin Sidey, Watson’s off-the-grid, cowboy grandfather who returns to the small town and family he abandoned years ago to care for his grandchildren while his daughter-in-law is hospitalized.  A man accustomed to a solitary existence, Sidey is forced to become part of the family, and of the community, as urgent circumstances emerge with his teenage grandchildren. As the events of the week rush toward a violent end, Sidey, equipped with the essentials he’s packed — a book of Latin poetry, a bottle of whisky (though he’s decades sober), and a gun — must protect his family from those who threaten it, and from himself. 

    • Lost Tudor Princess: the Life of Lady Margaret Douglas
      Alison Weir

      From acclaimed historian Alison Weir comes the first biography of Margaret Douglas, the beautiful, cunning niece of Henry VIII of England who used her sharp intelligence and covert power to influence the succession after the death of Elizabeth I. ~~The life of Margaret Douglas spans five reigns and provides many missing links between the Tudor and Stuart dynasties. Drawing on decades of research and myriad original sources--including many of Margaret's surviving letters--Alison Weir brings this captivating character out of the shadows and presents a strong, capable woman who operated effectively and fearlessly at the very highest levels of power.

    • Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
      Trevor Noah

      Has been a #1 New York Times bestseller. It is the compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man's coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.  Trevor Noah's unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth.  This is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man's relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother. The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother's unconventional, unconditional love.

    • Hidden Figures
      Margot Lee Shetterly

      The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA at the leading edge of the feminist and civil rights movement, whose calculations helped fuel some of America's greatest achievements in space. ~~Starting in World War II and moving through to the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement and the Space Race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden, four African American women who participated in some of NASA's greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades they faced challenges, forged alliances and used their intellect to change their own lives, and their country's future.

    • Death's Mistress
      Terry Goodkind

      It is the first book in the Nicci Chronicles.  A character from the Sword of Truth series that have been given her own series.  I thought it was pretty good.  It is best, though, to have read the prior books, since it references them quite a lot.  I recommend it. 

    • Fresh Romance. Vol. 1
      Various authors

      Fresh Romance is a graphic novel anthology by a myriad of authors and illustrators who have created four unique stories of romance.  Each story explores the different ways love manifests itself between two people. I enjoy this anthology because it is diverse and touches on multiple genres to create refreshing stories. These characters all are different ages and ethnicities and have varying social backgrounds and sexual orientations. This is a great way to jump into the romance genre or even into graphic novels without too much commitment, but I will caution that these are adult comics with adult themes.

    • Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School FootballTeam
      Steve Sheinkin

      An astonishing underdog sports story--and more. It's an unflinching look at the U.S. government's violent persecution of Native Americans and the school that was designed to erase Indian cultures. Expertly told by three-time National Book Award finalist Steve Sheinkin, it's the story of a group of young men who came together at that school, the overwhelming obstacles they faced both on and off the field, and their absolute refusal to accept defeat.  For readers aged 10 and up.

    • My Struggle
      Karl Ove Knausgard

      My Struggle by the Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard is a six-book series of autobiographical fiction in which the writer exposes his private thoughts and feelings, and candidly discusses his family and personal relationships. Although not much happens plotwise, I found that the writer's honestly and skill at describing his personal conflicts made for compelling reading. I eagerly await the final and sixth book of the series to be published in English.