In 1923 two sisters set off on a mission to Kashgar, located on the Silk Road, though they speak little or none of the languages in the region. Lizzie is on fire with religious conviction instilled by Millicent, who is in charge of the mission. Evangeline is not convinced of the value of their work, but is coming along to protect her sister as well as to travel and experience the world, riding her green bicycle for hundreds of miles as they travel through deathly heat in the desert, and extreme cold in the passes of the Celestial Mountains.
Captain Ivan Xav Vorpatril is a dedicated and loyal officer of the Barrayaran military. He is tall and handsome and rarely lacks female company. While his relatives may address him as “That idiot Ivan” at times, he is not stupid. He avoids controversy whenever possible and keeps a low, almost slacker, profile while efficiently analyzing top secret information. Though he appears in the previous books mostly as a sidekick to his cousin Miles (whose manic life has plenty of forward momentum, with explosions and chases--despite being crippled in utero by an poison gas at
Claire DeWitt is not your average private investigator. She has a brilliant mind and great detective skills but Claire also uses dreams, drugs and Détection—a detective manual written by mysterious French detective Jacques Silette—to find answers in her investigations. She has returned to New Orleans—a thing she has avoided since the murder of her mentor--to investigate the disappearance of prosecuter Vic Willing, known for his skill in winning convictions for homicides.
Two strong young women are traveling through the dangerous Wild West of the late 1800s. Jett came from a wealthy New Orleans family, whose wealth and home were destroyed during the Civil War, so she hates Yankees. She doesn’t believe her twin brother Philip is dead, and is traveling the West by horseback to find him. In order to be safe she dresses like a male gunslinger, and earns her way by gambling, though she longs to return to her old life.
Theodosia Browning owns the charming Indigo Tea Shop, located in the historic district of Charleston, South Carolina. Local business owners fear that a real estate developer is attempting to buy their properties for redevelopment. Then the developer is found slumped over a cup of Theodosia’s tea—dead. The police suspect that Theo and her staff of caused his demise, despite a lack of evidence, so Theo must track down the killer to clear her name and regain the excellent reputation of her shop.
The author was inspired to write this book when she was reading a biography of Alexander Graham Bell. This famous inventor, courted by people from around the world due to his invention of the telephone five years before, set aside all his other projects to try to create an instrument that would help heal President Garfield by locating the assassin’s bullet. Her research led her to discover the character of this “minor” President, shot four months into his tenure.
Dodger is a tosher, a cheeky, enterprising young man who knows the sewers of London like the back of his hand. He searches in tunnels below ground to find lost treasures like coins or rings, always hoping to find the mystical Tosharoon—a conglomeration of treasures wrapped up in mud, and worse.
As a reader with an avid interest in history, Anne Perry provides some of the most meticulously researched series I’ve ever read. Her two most famous (and intertwining) series are the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt and William Monk mysteries. They are set in Victorian England, and move from the world of the rich and famous to the hopeless poverty and dark underworld of Dickensian London. In the first book Thomas Pitt is a gamekeeper's son turned policeman, a relatively new profession.
Flavia de Luce is eleven years old, one of three motherless sisters living in 1950s England. She takes an extreme interest in chemistry--especially poisons--and fortunately is in possession of her Uncle Tar's laboratory where she can make use of the information she discovers. In the first three books she deals with a corpse in the cucumber patch, cruel pranks by her older sisters, and gets involved in mysteries involving old murder investigations, puppet theaters, and gypsies.
Jackie Hart, transplanted to small town Florida from Boston, decides she needs to be more than just a wife and mother to three children. She creates a radio persona who has a late-night show, and soon the whole town is talking about the mysterious Miss Dreamsville.
Jacob Portman loves his grandfather, who tells him fabulous stories about his childhood adventures and kids he once knew. As Jacob gets older, and his grandfather disappears on mysterious hunting trips, they start to grow apart. Jacob begins to doubt the truth of his grandfather’s stories, and asks him whether they really happened. His grandfather pulls out some faded photos of childhood friends, and they are very peculiar. After this Jacob begans to doubt the truth of the stories.
Comic books, especially superhero comics, are not a part of my daily life, but I couldn’t resist the lure of the infographics in this book. Once I started looking at the charts, I had to read every page, despite not recognizing many of the characters—especially the villains.
I love looking at cookbooks. Though many of the recipes have the same basic background, each cook or chef can give them a little twist to make them new again. Sometimes cookbooks are also art. There are even awards for artistic merit in cookbooks. Two recent additions to the Appleton Public Library cookbook collection fall into the "art + cookbook" niche.
Le Cirque des Rêves arrives without fanfare and without invitation. Dozens of black-and-white striped tents cover a local field, but no one and nothing moves during the day. The circus is only open at night, when it becomes an extraordinary wonderland of tents, each providing a fantastic magical act, animal show or acrobats performing remarkable feats. There is no color at the circus—everything is black or white, even the flames of the bonfire. One day it will disappear as quietly as it came, only to reappear somewhere else around the globe.
Hadley Richardson was a Midwestern spinster when she first met Ernest Hemingway, seven years her junior. She was naïve, having been an invalid during most of her childhood and tending her mother through her long final illness. Ernest swept her into the world of flappers, jazz and speakeasies.
Soon they moved to Paris for the atmosphere, the jazz, the nightlife—and a place where Ernest could concentrate on his writing. There they became part of the “Lost Generation”—partying with famous artists and writers such as Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein and F. Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald.
Untraceable poisons were easy to get, Tammany Hall controlled the coroner’s office while corrupt cops and politicians ruled Jazz Age New York—it had never been easier to get away with murder. This is how Pulitzer-prize winning author Deborah Blum’s fascinating story about the beginning of forensic and chemical detective work begins.
Meg Langslow is a blacksmith, an amateur detective, and now the mother of four-month-old twins. She hears a noise during a night feeding and goes downstairs to find their living room crammed with animals and birds which her doctor father, zoologist grandfather and CORSICANS (animal shelter volunteers) have rescued before they meet untimely ends, as the no-kill shelter has been forced to change its policy due to financial woes in the town.
Casey, daughter of children’s book author/illustrator Jon Scieszka, and Steven met while studying abroad in Morocco during their junior year of college. They fell in love, and after their return to the US started a long-distance relationship. After graduation they decided to pursue their joint goals for nearly two years: 1) living abroad, 2) pursuing their creative interests, and 3) being together. The first six months were spent teaching English to children in Beijing. From China they toured south-east Asia including Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.