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Staff Favorites

Patrons often ask our staff to suggest books to read. The titles on this list were compiled by asking our staff to recommend their favorite books and describe great books they have read and enjoyed.

 

 

September 2009


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Central Park by Debra White-Smith
Fiction                                                                                     Call #: LP F SMIT DEB
When Ethan goes to Paris for a missions trip, Francine realizes affection has transformed into love. She dreams of the day Ethan will arrive home and share her love. But when Ethan returns, he brings the beautiful and wealthy Carrie Casper, who has obviously captured his heart, and her flirtatious brother, Hugh. Francine is torn between remaining true to a love that will never be or settling for a marriage of convenience.
Submitted by Kristen Barnes 9/09


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A Child Called "It" : One Child's Courage to Survive by Dave Pelzer
Non-Fiction                                                                                                   Call#: *
This book chronicles the unforgettable account of one of the most severe child abuse cases in California history. It is the story of Dave Pelzer, who was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother: a mother who played tortuous, unpredictable games--games that left him nearly dead. He had to learn how to play his mother's games in order to survive because she no longer considered him a son, but a slave; and no longer a boy, but an "it."
Submitted by Dawn Ewing 9/09


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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Science Fiction                                                                        Call #: SF BRAD RAY
Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which book paper burns. This short novel set in the (perhaps near) future when "firemen" burn books forbidden by the totalitarian "brave new world" regime. The hero, according to Mr. Bradbury, is "a book burner who suddenly discovers that books are flesh and blood ideas and cry out silently when put to the torch."
Submitted by Sol Manzano 9/09


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Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron
Mystery                                                                                     Call#: M BARR STE
A mystery novel that casts Jane Austen as a sleuth who is called upon to investigate the suspicious death of the Earl of Scargrave, but the matter becomes urgent when the widow is accused of orchestrating her husband's death because of her love for his nephew.
Submitted by Jackie Thornhill 9/09


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The Kite Runner by Geraldine McCaughrean
Young Adult Fiction                                                               Call #: YA MCCA KITE
In thirteenth-century China, after trying to save his widowed mother from a horrendous second marriage, twelve-year-old Haoyou has life-changing adventures when he takes to the sky as a circus kite rider and ends up meeting the great Mongol ruler Kublai Khan.

Submitted by Cori VanMorkhoven 9/09


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Like water for chocolate : a novel in monthly installments, with recipes, romances, and home remedies by Laura Esquivel
Fiction                                                                                           Call#: F ESQU LAU
What would make Prince Roger a better king? The court wizard seems to think a quest starting in the Forever Forest would do the trick. Join Roger in a silly quest that teaches him about life and love.
Submitted by Eva Holloway 9/09


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The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Fiction                                                                                         Call #: F WILD OSC
A remarkably handsome youth, Dorian Gray, meets Lord Henry Wotton and is corrupted into a life of terrible evil.
Submitted by Georgia Smith 9/09


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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance -- Now With Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem! by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith.
Fiction                                                                                                Call#: F GRAH
As a mysterious plague falls upon the village of Meryton and zombies start rising from the dead, Elizabeth Bennett is determined to destroy the evil menace, but becomes distracted by the arrival of the dashing and arrogant Mr. Darcy.
Submitted by Hannah Wilkins 9/09


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A Rose in Winter by Kathleen Woodiwill
Fiction                                                                                                         Call #: *
The fairest flower in Mawbry is Erienne Fleming, the daughter of the village mayor. She is beset on all sides by suitors, but Erienne's heart belongs to one, Christopher Seton. But marriage for love is not to be. In an attempt to end his gambling debts Erienne's father auctions her off to the mysterious, tragic figure adorned in a mask and cloak, Lord Saxton. The passage of time reveals a gentle and adoring husband, and Erienne vows to be a loyal wife. But Seton returns, and Erienne is torn between her sense of honor and irresistible draw toward Seton's passion. Entangled in intrigues Erienne will soon have to make a devastating choice between love and honor... between her duty and her heart.
Submitted by Mechelle Wittler 9/09


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There is a Bird on Your Head by Mo Willems
Juvenile Easy Reader                                                                           Call #: E Will Mo
Gerald the elephant discovers that there is something worse than a bird on your head-- two birds on your head! Piggie will try to help her best friend.
Submitted by Megan Mabe 9/09

 

August 2009


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Sunrise Lands by S.M. Stirling
Science Fiction                                                                      Call #: NEW SF STIR SM
Two decades after the Change brought about the end of advanced technology and thrust the world into a new dark ages, Clan Mackenzie and the Bearkillers have forged a peaceful and prosperous civilization in what was once Oregon. A stranger from the unknown lands to the east requests assistance from Rudi Mackenzie, son of the clan head and, apparently, the fulfillment of a prophecy for the newcomer. As Rudi journeys east with Ingolf, the visitor from Nantucket Island, he sees with his own eyes the badlands that lie to the east of his peaceful home. The fourth installment in the author's postapocalyptic novels of The Change series (Dies the Fire; The Protector's War; A Meeting at Corvallis) sheds light on heretofore unexplored regions of a terribly altered world.
Submitted by Pat Wike 8/09


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Victoria's Daughters by Jerrold Packard
Non-Fiction                                                                                                    Call#: *
Packard closely examines a generation of royal women who were dominated by their mother, married off more for political advantage than for love, and finally passed over entirely with the accession of their brother to the throne.
Submitted by Kristen Barnes 8/09


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The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman
Young Adult                                                                             Call #: YA CUSH KAR
In medieval England, a nameless, homeless girl is taken in by a sharp-tempered midwife, and in spite of obstacles and hardship, eventually gains the three things she most wants: a full belly, a contented heart, and a place in this world.
Submitted by Hannah Wilkins 8/09


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Murder, with Peacocks by Donna Andrews
Mystery                                                                                      Call#: M ANDR DON
Three Weddings...And a Murder So far Meg Langslow's summer is not going swimmingly. Down in her small Virginia hometown, she's maid of honor at the nuptials of three loved ones--each of whom has dumped the planning in her capable hands. One bride is set on including a Native American herbal purification ceremony, while another wants live peacocks on the law. Only help from the town's drop-dead gorgeous hunk, disappointingly rumored to be gay, keeps Meg afloat in a sea of dotty relatives and outrageous neighbors. And, in whirl of summer parties and picnics, Souther hospitality is strained to the limit by an offensive newcomer who hints at skeletons in the guests' closets. But it seems this lady has offended one too many when she's found dead in suspicious circumstances, followed by a string of accidents--some fatal. Soon, level-headed Meg's to-do list extends from flower arragements and bridal registries to catching a killer--before the next catered event is her own funeral...
Submitted by Sara Hanks 8/09


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The lost boy : a foster child's search for the love of a family  by Dave Peltzer
Non Fiction                                                                                   Call #: 362.76 PELZ
"The Lost Boy" is the harrowing but ultimately uplifting true story of a boy's journey through the foster-care system in search of a family to love. This is Dave Pelzer's long-awaited sequel to "A Child Called "It". The Lost Boy" is Pelzer's story--a moving sequel and inspirational read for all.
Submitted by Dawn Ewing 8/09


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Tears of the Moon by Nora Roberts
Fiction                                                                                                            Call#: *
Brenna O'Toole hopes to win the heart of Shawn Gallagher -- the man she's secretly been in love with for years -- with a little sprinkling of Irish magic.
Submitted by Michelle Wittler 8/09


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Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland
Fiction                                                                                          Call #: F COUP DOU
After making love for the first time, high school senior Karen Ann McNeil confides to her boyfriend Richard of the dark visions she's been recently suffering. It's only a few hours later on that snowy Friday night in 1979 that she descends into a coma. Nine months later she gives birth to a daughter, Megan, her child by Richard, the protagonist of this disturbingly funny novel. Karen remains comatose for the next seventeen years. Richard and her circle of friends reside in an emotional purgatory throughout the next two decades; passing through careers as models, film special effects technicians, doctors, and demolition experts, before finally being reunited on a conspiracy-driven supernatural television series. Upon Karen's reawakening, life grows as surreal as their television show. With apocalyptic events occurring, Karen, Richard, and their friends explore the essential mysteries of life, faith, decency, and existence. Amid the world's rubble they attempt to restore their own humanity.
Submitted by Georgia Smith 8/09


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Toxin by Robin Cook
Fiction                                                                                           Call#: F COOK ROB
Cook cooks up another medical thriller, with a bunch of E.coli bacteria as villain, an underdone hamburger as murder weapon, and a little boy as victim. His doctor-father soon discovers that something far more sinister than bad hygiene is the cause. A Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club, and Mystery Guild main selection.Copyright 1997 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Submitted by Veronica Saa-Pabon 8/09


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The Scourge of God by S.M. Stirling
Science Fiction                                                                              Call #: SF STIR SM
In this continuation of the bestselling author's chronicle of an alternate world, Rudi MacKenzie continues his trek across the land that was once the United States, where he hopes to learn the truth behind The Change that rendered technology across the globe inoperable.
Submitted by Pat Wike 8/09

 

July 2009


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Front Porch Prophet by Raymond Atkins
Fiction                                                                                           Call #: F ATKI RAY
What do a trigger-happy bootlegger with pancreatic cancer, an alcoholic helicopter pilot who is afraid to fly, and a dead guy with his feet in a camp stove have in common? What are the similarities between a fire department that cannot put out fires, a policeman who has a historic cabin fall on him from out of the sky, and an entire family dedicated to a variety of deceased authors? Where can you find a war hero named Termite with a long knife stuck in his liver, a cook named Hoghead who makes the worldís worst coffee, and a supervisor named Pillsbury who nearly gets hung by his employees? Sequoyah, Georgia is the answer to all three questions. They arise from the relationship between A. J. Longstreet and his best friend since childhood, Eugene Purdue. After a parting of ways due to Eugeneís inability to accept the constraints of adulthood, he reenters A.J.ís life with terminal cancer and the dilemma of executing a mercy killing when the time arrives. Take this gripping journey to Sequoyah, Georgia and witness A.J.ís battle with mortality, euthanasia, and his adventure back to the past and people who made him what he is - and helps him make the decision that will alter his life forever.
Submitted by Sara Hanks 7/09


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The Screwtape Letterse by C.S. Lewis
Young Adult Non-Fiction                                                             Call#: Y 248.4 LEW
"His letters are signed, save one, 'Your affectionate uncle', yet Uncle Screwtape's purposes in writing to his young nephew are hardly innocent. Penned in a brisk, businesslike style, old Screwtape offers the gullible Tempter Wormword fiendishly clever advice on his most pressing concern: the winning of young lives to the devil. First published in 1941, The Screwtape Letters, a perennial best seller, has earned a place in the library of classics. The truths contained in C. S. Lewis's treatise on human nature are as old as the world, but his witty observations continue to confront and challenge believers and nonbelievers alike. The outcome of Screwtape's correspondence is not known. But judging from his final signoff -- "Your increasingly and ravenously affectionate uncle" -- his appetite for evil has not lessened." - from the back cover.
Submitted by Hannah Wilkins 7/09


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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Fiction                                                                                             Call #: F LEE HAR
Lawyer Atticus Finch defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic, Puliter Prize-winning novel--a black man charged with the rape of a white woman. Through the eyes of Atticus's children, Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unanswering honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930's.
Submitted by Cori VanMorkoven 7/09


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Night by Elie Wiesel
Biography                                                                                Call#: B WIESEL WIES
"Night" is Elie Wieselís masterpiece, a candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. This new translation by Marion Wiesel, Elieís wife and frequent translator, presents this seminal memoir in the language and spirit truest to the authorís original intent. And in a substantive new preface, Elie reflects on the enduring importance of Night and his lifelong, passionate dedication to ensuring that the world never forgets manís capacity for inhumanity to man.
Submitted by Megan Mabe 7/09


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Crime Scene Jerusalem  by Alton Gansky
Inspirational Fiction                                                                            Call #: F GANS ALT
When cynical American investigator Maxwell Odom travels to Jerusalem, he leaves his hotel to discover that he's been transported back into ancient history. Allowed to return to his own time only if he can solve a crime that begins in the upper room, will he be able to unearth--and believe--the real truth?.
Submitted by Sol Manzano 7/09


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This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Fiction                                                                                                            Call#: *
Amory Blaine has been brought-up by a wealthy, idiosyncratic and alcoholic mother. Snobbish because he knows no better, he is uncomfortable with others and must learn the proper social etiquette and values that others his age already know. As he progresses to Princeton University from the Midwest, he experiences a series of flirtations with some predatory young women and a chance at friendship with some intellectual young men. His love-life culminates in a genuine but ill-fated love with a soul-mate who rejects him to marry a wealthier young man. This Side of Paradise was first published in 1920 and was considered daring and intellectual in its day. Its enormous popularity helped to launch young Fitzgerald's career as a major writer.
Submitted by Georgia Smith 7/09


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Through a Glass Darkly by Karleen Koene
Fiction                                                                                           Call #: F KOEN KAR
A magnificent tapestry of a grand and glorious era As opulent and passionate as the 18th century it celebrates. Through a glass darkly kill sweep you away to the splendors of a lost era. Like gone with the wind, it is rich with characters so vivid -- from aristocrats to scoundrels--they create their own immortality Here is the story of a great family ruled by a dowager of extra ordinary power: of a young woman seeking low in a world of English luxury and French intrigue" and of a man haunted by a secret that could turn all their dreams to ashes...
Submitted by Mechelle Wittler 7/09


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Crispin the Terrible by Bob Morris
Juvenile Easy Reader                                                                  Call#: E MORR BOB
Feeling that he is taken for granted by his family, a cat imagines more exciting lives he could live, but he decides that being part of a loving family is not so bad after all.
Submitted by Eva Halloway 7/09


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The  City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
Juvenile Fiction                                                                             Call #: J DUPR JEA
In the year 241, twelve-year-old Lina trades jobs on Assignment Day to be a Messenger to run to new places in her decaying but beloved city, perhaps even to glimpse Unknown Regions.
Submitted by Veronica Saa-Pabon 7/09


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Marley and Me by Dave Peltzer
Non Fiction                                                                                                   Call #: *
Follows the life story of an exuberant Labrador retriever who gets into perpetual trouble and experiences a range of inspiring adventures, from shutting down an entire beach to guarding a seventeen-year-old neighbor after a stabbing attack.
Submitted by Dawn Ewing 7/09

 

June 2009


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The Sword of the Lady by S.M. Stirling
Science Fiction                                             Call #: NEW SF STIR SM Rudi Mackenzie ventures to post-apocalyptic Nantucket, where he discovers a beautifully made sword waiting for him in the only house that remains standing, and taking possession of it, realizes that nothing will ever be the same.
Submitted by Pat Wike 6/09


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Little town on the prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Juvenile Fiction                                                                                           Call#: *
At fifteen, Laura earns her teacher's certificate, gets a job, and starts going to parties.
Submitted by Marjorie Hagman 6/09

 


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For whom the bell tolls by Ernest Hemingway.
Fiction                                                                                                        Call #: *
The story of Robert Jordan, a young American in the International Brigades attached to an antifascist guerilla unit in the mountains of Spain, it tells of loyalty and courage, love and defeat, and the tragic death of an ideal.
Submitted by Hannah Wilkins 6/09


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Inkspell by Cornelia Funke
Juvenile Fiction                                                                           Call#: J FUNK COR
When Dustfinger finds a crooked storyteller who can read him back to Inkscape, he leaves his apprentice Farid behind. Farid seeks out Meggie and the two follow him back into the enchanted book. Although a year has passed, not a day goes by without Meggie thinking of Inkheart, the book whose characters became real. But for Dustfinger, the fire-eater brought into being from words, the need to return to the tale has become desperate. When he finds a crooked storyteller with the ability to read him back, Dustfinger leaves behind his young apprentice Farid and plunges into the medieval world of his past. Distraught, Farid goes in search of Meggie, and before long, both are caught inside the book, too. But the story is threatening to evolve in ways neither of them could ever have imagined.
Submitted by Sara Hanks 6/09


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Though None Go With Me by Jerry Jenkins
Fiction                                                                                          Call #: F JENK JER
It's 1951 and America is caught in the Korean War, but a world away in Three Rivers, Elizabeth Leroy is caught in her own personal struggle. She meets the town's new handsome and devout minister with whom she quickly falls in love and plans to marry but when he leaves for Korea to do God's work, she is heartbroken. The events that follow alter Elizabeth's life forever and truly test not only her faith and inner strength but her resilience as well.

Submitted by Sol Manzano 6/09


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Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard
Fiction                                                                                        Call#: F HOWA LIN
Four women friends whip up a playful and ongoing list of characteristics that make up the perfect man. It's all a game until one of the friends is murdered.

Submitted by Mechelle Wittler 6/09


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A Man Named Dave by Dave Peltzer
Biography                                                                                                   Call #: *
A man who suffered horrific abuse as a child speaks of his adult life and how he learned to love, trust, and pursue his dreams.
Submitted by Dawn Ewing 6/09


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Vector by Robin Cook
Fiction
                                                                                       Call#: F COOK ROB
New York City cab driver Yuri Davydov is a disgruntled Russian emigre poised to lash out at the adoptive nation he believes has denied him the American Dream. A former technician in the Soviet biological weapons system, Biopreparat, Yuri possesses the knowledge to wreak havoc in his new home. But before he executes his planned piece de resistance of vengeance, he experiments first on his suspicious live-in girlfriend, then on a few poor-tipping fares....Dr. Jack Stapleton and Dr. Laurie Montgomery (both last seen in Chromosome 6) begin to witness some unusual cases in their capacity as forensic pathologists in the city's medical examiner's office: a young, healthy black woman dies of respiratory failure, a Greek immigrant succumbs to a sudden, overwhelming pneumonia. At the same time, the pair are pressured from above to focus on a high-profile string of suspicious deaths of prisoners in police custody. When an unexpected breakthrough persuades Jack that these seemingly unrelated deaths are really connected murders, his colleagues and superiors are skeptical. Only Laurie is somewhat convinced. But the question soon becomes whether the pair will solve the puzzle before Yuri unleashes into the streets of New York the ultimate terror: a modern bioweapon.
Submitted by Veronica Saa-Pabon 6/09


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Plague of the Dead: the morningstar strain: a zombie novel by Z.A. Recht
Fiction
                                                                                             Call #: RECH ZA

Submitted by Pat Wike 6/09

No picture.
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A History of Civilization, 8th ed. Vol. I Prehistory to 1715 by Winks, Brinton, Christopher, Wolff
Non-Fiction                                                                                                                                Call #: *
Submitted by Marjorie Hagman 6/09

 

May 2009

No picture.
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UnChristian: what a new generation really thinks about Christianity--and why it matters by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons
Religion                                                                                                          Call #: *
Contents: The backstory -- Discovering unChristian faith -- Hypocritical -- Get saved! -- Antihomosexual -- Sheltered -- Too political -- Judgmental -- From unChristian to Christian.
Submitted by Hannah Wilkins 5/09


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Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke

Young Adult Fiction                                                                                  Call#: YA F FUNK COR
As Bluejay, Mo's fictitious double, tries to keep the Book of Immortality from unraveling, Adderhead kidnaps all the children in the kingdom, asking for Bluejay's surrender or the children will be doomed to slavery in the silver mines.
Submitted by Sarah Hanks 5/09


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My Sisterís Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Fiction                                                                                           Call #: F PICO JOD
Conceived to provide a bone marrow match for her leukemia-stricken sister, teenage Kate begins to question her moral obligations in light of countless medical procedures and decides to fight for the right to make decisions about her own body.
Submitted by Cori VanMorkhoven 5/09


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Ageless Love by Lauralee Bliss
Romance                                                                                    Call#: PB F BLIS LAU
Submitted by Sol Manzano 5/09

 


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Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk
Fiction                                                                                                           Call #: *
The career of a model ends when she is disfigured in an accident. Suspecting the accident was the work of her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend, she takes revenge by slipping him a drug to grow breasts.

Submitted by ?? 5/09


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Beast by Judith Ivory
Fiction
                                                                                                            Call#: *

An exquisite American heiress, Louise Vandermeer is beautiful, brilliant. . . and bored-which is why she has agreed to a daring adventure: to travel across the ocean to marry an aristocrat abroad. Rumor has it her intended is a hideous cad-a grim prospect that propels her into a passionate, reckless affair with a compelling stranger she never sees in the light of day. THE BEAST Though scarred by a childhood illness, Charles d'Harcourt has successfully wooed Europe's most sophisticated beauties. For a lark, he contrived to travel incognito on his own fiancee's ship-and seduce the young chit in utter darkness. But the rake's prank backfired. It was he who was smitten-while the hot-tempered Lulu, now his wife, loves only her shipboard lover, unaware it was d'Harcourt all the time! And Charles will never have her heart-unless he can open her eyes to the prince who hides within.
Submitted by Mechelle Wittler 5/09


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I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb
Fiction                                                                                         Call #: F LAMB WAL
The phenomenal #1 "New York Times" bestseller and Oprah's Book Club( pick is now in mass market paperback. This spellbinding novel of responsibility and family, betrayal and redemption is an exquisitely written, profoundly human masterpiece.
Submitted by Veronica Saa-Pabon 5/09


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Blue Castle by LM Montgomery
Fiction                                                                                                             Call#: *
At 29, Valancy had never been in love, and it seemed romance had completely passed her by. Her only consolations were the "forbidden" books and her daydreams of the Blue Castle. Then, Valancy suddenly took charge of her life and discovered a world full of surprises and adventures. Copyright #169; Libri GmbH. All rights reserved.
Submitted by Kristen Barnes 5/09

 

 

*This title is not at the Winter Haven Public Library. However, it is available at other libraries in Polk County.

 

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