Sunday, May 19, 2019

Natalie Recommends Batman: the Court of Owls


This is based off of the first arc of the New 52's Batman run, of the same name.  However, that's where the similarities end, since this has it's own story that takes place after the events of the comics.  The villains are already established.

What you will need to know about the kind of villains that Batman is facing off against (in the event you are not familiar with this particular arc) is that they are an age old organization called the Court of Owls.  They are an organization made up of aristocrats, known as the parliament, who's plan is to have control and power from the shadows.  They were once considered to be a myth.  A grim nursery rhyme in fact.  That was until they made themselves know to Bruce Wayne and by extent Batman and the Robins (current and former), Batgirl, and some associates/friends of them.  The Court of Owls has a group of assassins under their control, known as Talons, who are essentially immortal (with s and are the ones that do the Parliament's bidding.  which includes "silencing" people who they no longer have use for or wish to dispose of.  It's also worth noting that one of these Talons is the great-grandfather of Dick Grayson ,the original Robin and the original (and current) Nightwing, and it was intended that he would be come one as well.  Had his parents not been murdered and Dick being placed in Bruce's care that is. 

This book starts off with the brutal murder of a college professor and the theft of some files on his students.  As Batman begins to investigate, he finds that one student, Joanna Lee, has apparently gone missing.  Bruce knew her since he was a sponsor her for college after saving her one night that ended in the death of her parents.  And on top of that, the same Talon behind the murder of the professor attempted to abduct her roommate Claire Nesko in order to get some information.  As Batman continues to investigate Joanna's disappearance, and why the Court of Owls is so interested in her, as well as what caused the victim's to spontaneously combust, he does decided to do some investigating on Percy Wright (who Joanna was doing her project on) and how he ties into it.  We also get a few chapters that give a glimpse into the Percy's past and how his work relates to the present day (in the book).

The Court of Owls arc was one of my favorite arcs set during DC's New 52 run, mostly for the characters, the history of this organization, and how it affected the Caped Crusader and his extended family. But even if it wasn't, I would still think this is a good book.  It had a well written story and the mystery mixed with the included history/flashbacks I found really interesting.  It also had good action in it and the characters were well written.  

This is a book meant for a more Adult audiences given it's content, but could also be read by older teens. 

Monday, May 13, 2019

Ellen Recommends "A Mind Unraveled"

Husband, father, journalist, author, epileptic.  Kurt Eichenwald’s epileptic seizures started freshman year in college and he fought unbelievable obstacles to find the proper treatment and complete his education.  Some of the things that happened to him were of the ‘truth is stranger than fiction’ type, too bizarre to be believed.  Throughout his career he fought to overcome the stigma and handicaps associated with epilepsy and persevered to have as normal of a life as possible.  Because he knew his memory was not reliable, he kept diaries and tape recordings.  This gives validity to his recall of events in the distant past and helped him in his fights for justice.  If it hasn’t affected you personally, it makes you realize how important health insurance (with pre-existing conditions) and the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) are.  Everyone deserves an equal chance.  This should be recommended reading for all adults & teens.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Meghan Recommends Hallmark Audiobooks

If you love a feel-good story, you’ll love Hallmark Audiobooks!

These new audiobooks are adapted from Hallmark movie storylines, capturing  “the timelessness and emotion of a Hallmark story in audiobook form,” according to the publisher. Three titles have already arrived at the library: “The Secret Ingredient,” by Nancy Naigle, “A Dash of Love” by Liz Issacson, and “Moonlight in Vermont” by Kacy Cross. Additional titles will arrive throughout the summer. See the list of all these stories, and check out a happily-ever-after!

Miss Lynn recommends "A Story About Cancer With a Happy Ending"

As the mom of a teenager with cancer, this YA graphic novel really hit home for me.  It is a short but very realistic read that made me cry but left me with hope.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Michelle recommends "The Overdue Life of Amy Byler"

From the publisher: Overworked and underappreciated, single mom Amy Byler needs a break. So when the guilt-ridden husband who abandoned her shows up and offers to take care of their kids for the summer, she accepts his offer and escapes rural Pennsylvania for New York City. Usually grounded and mild mannered, Amy finally lets her hair down in the city that never sleeps. She discovers a life filled with culture, sophistication, and—with a little encouragement from her friends—a few blind dates. When one man in particular makes quick work of Amy’s heart, she risks losing herself completely in the unexpected escape, and as the summer comes to an end, Amy realizes too late that she must make an impossible decision: stay in this exciting new chapter of her life, or return to the life she left behind. But before she can choose, a crisis forces the two worlds together, and Amy must stare down a future where she could lose both sides of herself, and every dream she’s ever nurtured, in the beat of a heart.

It felt like I started my summer reading a bit early this year. Light weekend read, women’s fiction with just the right combination of humor and thought-provoking situations.  I found Amy Byler to be completely relatable. I know it is completely unrealistic to walk out of my real world for a summer in the city, but this story gave me pause to imagine. Kids schedules, encouraging their passions or just trying to be everything for them takes a ton of energy and this mom had an opportunity to take a break; so it was fun to read along on the adventure. Also, she is a librarian so I might have related to her professional field, too.

Recommended for Adults

Monday, April 22, 2019

Sarah recommends “Nine Perfect Strangers”

The Books on Tap book club's April pick was "Nine Perfect Strangers" by Liane Moriarty.

When nine perfect strangers arrive at a health resort looking to reinvigorate and overhaul their lives, they have no idea just how much hard work they are in for. Frances Welty, a formerly best-selling romantic novelist, happens to be one of those nine. Frances thinks she is at Tranquillum House to recuperate from a bad back and a broken heart, but as she grows more and more intrigued by her fellow guests and the mysterious and charismatic resort owner, she begins to realize that maybe the solutions she was seeking are not actually the answers she needs.

Liane Moriarty, best-known for "Big Little Lies," writes page-turning thrillers with complex and relatable characters. This, her latest novel, was no exception. I listened to the audiobook, read by Australian narrator Caroline Lee, and she did an amazing job giving each character a distinct voice.

I really enjoyed "Nine Perfect Strangers," and most of the book group did too.

If you're interested in joining a casual book club for adults that discusses new and popular fiction, please join us at our next Books on Tap meeting on May 13, 2019, at Bar Louie Partridge Creek. We'll be discussing "The Island of Sea Women" by Lisa See (which was the Popular Materials Book of the Month for March).

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Popular Materials April Book of the Month

Our April Book of the Month pick is Miracle Creek by Angie Kim!

In the small town of Miracle Creek, Virginia, Young and Pak Yoo run an experimental medical treatment device known as the Miracle Submarine—a pressurized oxygen chamber that patients enter for therapeutic “dives” with the hopes of curing issues like autism or infertility. But when the Miracle Submarine mysteriously explodes, killing two people, a dramatic murder trial upends the Yoos’ small community.

Who or what caused the explosion? Was it the mother of one of the patients, who claimed to be sick that day but was smoking down by the creek? Or was it Young and Pak themselves, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? The ensuing trial uncovers unimaginable secrets from that night—trysts in the woods, mysterious notes, child-abuse charges—as well as tense rivalries and alliances among a group of people driven to extraordinary degrees of desperation and sacrifice.

Angie Kim’s Miracle Creek is a thoroughly contemporary take on the courtroom drama, drawing on the author’s own life as a Korean immigrant, former trial lawyer, and mother of a real-life “submarine” patient. An addictive debut novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Celeste Ng, Miracle Creek is both a twisty page-turner and a deeply moving story about the way inconsequential lies and secrets can add up—with tragic consequences.

“With so many complications and loose ends, one of the miracles of the novel is that the author ties it all together and arrives at a deeply satisfying―though not easy or sentimental―ending. Intricate plotting and courtroom theatrics, combined with moving insight into parenting special needs children and the psychology of immigrants, make this book both a learning experience and a page-turner. Should be huge.” ―Kirkus (starred review)

“This stunning debut by Angie Kim is both an utterly engrossing, nail-biter of a courtroom drama and a sensitive, incisive look into the experiences of immigrant families in America.” ―Nylon

“A stand-out, twisty debut . . . Kim, a former lawyer, clearly knows her stuff . . . a masterfully plotted novel about the joys and pains of motherhood, the trick mirror nature of truth, and the unforgiving nature of justice.” ―Publishers Weekly

“[A] masterpiece of grief, hope, and recrimination . . . A complex novel of parenting, prejudice, and putting blame where blame’s due, this one is not to be missed.” ―Crime Reads