Ages 18+.

Fabulous Fiction First #595 “Because the greatest part of a road trip isn’t arriving at your destination. It’s all the wild stuff that happens along the way.” ~ Emma Chase

Picked as one of the top 10 crime novels of the year by Booklist, Dodgers * * a debut by Bill Beverly (a Kalamazoo native) is "a dazzling crime novel that’s equal parts coming-of-age tale à la Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye and travelogue à la Kerouac, that is sure to appeal to fans of Richard Price or The Wire."

15 year-old East(on) runs a crew of look-outs for a drug gang in LA. He is quiet, watchful and respected until an innocent by-stander is killed in a police raid. In the aftermath, he is sent, with three other young men (one of them his younger brother Ty), to kill a witness set to testify against the big boss.

Dressed in LA Dodgers' gear to better fit in with the surroundings, they head to Wisconsin where the witness is hiding. The journey takes East out of a city he has never left and into an America that is entirely alien to him, while calling on his cool resolve to handle problems and personalities both inside and outside the van. Eventually, this bloody journey becomes one of self-discovery and, ultimately, salvation for East.

"...a searing novel about crime, race, and coming-of-age, with characters who live, breathe, and bleed" that is surprisingly, utterly engaging. Check out the New York Times book review.

Daredevils * * by Shawn Vestal, the winner of 2014’s PEN Robert W. Bingham Prize is an unforgettable story of desire and escape.

Set against the backdrop of Evel Knievel's famous Snake River Canyon Jump, 15 year-old Loretta, brought up in a strict Mormon household in Short Creek (AZ), is caught on one of her nocturnal trips slipping out of her bedroom window for boys and booze. Promptly married off as a "sister wife" to Dean Harder, a feed-store owner, she catches the eye of Jason, Dean’s 17 year-old nephew, a Knievel-worshiper, who longs to leave his close-minded community.

Together, they make a break for it, with Boyd, Jason's friend tagging along. Dizzy from a burst of teenage freedom, things take a decidedly dicey turn when they meet someone that might be the Daredevil himself. But greed - Loretta's for Dean's cache of “Mormon gold” might prove to be their ultimate undoing.

"(A) fascinating, wide-angle portrait of a time and place that’s both a classic coming of age tale and a plunge into the myths of America, sacred and profane."

"Vestal's narrative is punctuated with imagined monologs from Knievel, raucous addresses that at first seem random but come by the thrilling conclusion to enrich the scope of this heartfelt and finely observed debut." For those who enjoyed The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff and The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall.

* * = 2 starred reviews

New adult fiction for Adriana Trigiani fans: Rare Objects

Kathleen Tessaro, bestselling author of 2013’s The Perfume Collector, presents readers with a compelling new novel in a fascinating setting: Depression-era Boston. In Rare Objects, first generation Irish immigrant Maeve Fanning is determined to better herself despite the hardships that surround her due to the Great Depression. She’s smart, curious and imaginative, but also has a fondness for strange men and bootleg alcohol, vices which ultimately lead her to a stint in a psychiatric hospital. While there, she strikes up a friendship with a woman who—like Maeve—cannot quell her desire for unladylike freedom.

When Maeve is released from the hospital, she starts over again in Boston, working at an antique shop patronized by the city’s wealthiest and most unusual citizens. One of these customers is none other than Diana, the woman that Maeve befriended at the hospital. Reunited, Maeve becomes increasingly entwined in the life of Diana and her family, and she is drawn into a world of deceit and moral ambiguity. How far is she really willing to go to “better” herself?

Tessaro paints an enticing and accurate picture of 1930s Boston, and her characters are vivid and alluring. Fans of Anita Diamant’s The Boston Girl and Adriana Trigiani’s The Shoemaker’s Wife won’t want to miss Rare Objects.

Fabulous Fiction First #594 “The true cost of war can't be measured in dollars, infrastructure, or body counts. It is tomorrows, wrung out of hope by yesterdays that refuse to retreat, vanish into the smoke of memory.” ~ Ellen Hopkins

The Translation of Love * * * by Lynne Kutsukake is a story of loyalty and identity, family and friendship, love and loss set in American occupied Japan at the end of World War II.

Bitter over their internment at a Canadian internment camp, 13 year-old Aya Shimamura and her widowed father chose to allow the government to "deport" them to Japan once they learned that they would be barred from returning home to Vancouver. They were however, ill-prepared for what awaited them in war-devastated Tokyo.

While her father struggles to find work, Aya, the "repat girl" is bullied at school for being foreign and unable to speak Japanese. Her chief tormentor, a willful girl named Fumi Tanaka relents once she realizes Aya, being fluent in English, could be enlisted to help find her missing older sister Sumiko by writing to General MacArthur. It doesn’t take long before the two develop a tenuous friendship.

Aya's letter lands in the reluctant hands of Corporal Matt Matsumoto, a Japanese American whose job is to translate the thousands of letters the General receives each week. Meanwhile, the girls' English teacher Mr. Kondo moonlights in "Love Letter Alley" where he writes and translates letters between the Ginza bar girls and their GI boyfriends. After fruitlessly waiting for results for some weeks, Fumi and Aya decide to take matters into their own hands, venturing into the dark and dangerous underside of Tokyo’s Ginza district, where the interlocking storylines and the search of Sumiko converge.

"The Translation of Love mines this turbulent period to show how war irrevocably shapes the lives of people on both sides—and yet the novel also allows for a poignant spark of resilience, friendship, and love that translates across cultures and borders to stunning effect." An excellent choice for readers who loved Jamie Ford's The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, and When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka.

Meticulously researched, Lilac Girls * by Martha Hall Kelly is based on the true story of three women affected by the horrors of Ravensbruck, Hitler's all-female concentration camp.

Manhattan, 1939. Caroline Ferriday, a former debutante and a Broadway actress volunteers at the French consulate in New York, assisting refugees, raising funds while, against her better judgment, getting involved with Paul, a charming (and married) French actor. Across the Atlantic, as Hitler invades her hometown of Lublin, Kasia Kuzmerick (loosely based on Nina Iwanska), a Catholic teenager joins the resistance until she is captured and sent to Ravensbruck. There, she encounters Herta Oberheuser, a Nazi doctor assigned to help execute inmates and perform medical experiments on prisoners, including Kasia. These women, many permanently maimed become known as the “Rabbits.”

Caroline, tasked with keeping track of the concentration camp network for the consulate, learns about the "Rabbits" and travels to Europe after the war to strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.

"(Kelly) vividly evokes not only the horrors of the gruesome experiments but also the painful realities of trying to survive them and the difficult search for justice and closure afterward." Will appeal strongly to historical fiction readers who enjoyed Kristin Hannah The Nightingale and Anthony Doerr's All the Lights We Cannot See.

* * * = 3 starred reviews
* = starred review

New Baking Books

There are a handful of new baking books at AADL. They are all sweet, mouth-watering, and ultimately perfect for your summer potluck recipe needs.

Sweet Envy: Deceptively Easy Desserts, Designed to Steal the Show is a wide-ranging book that includes laid back and kid-friendly recipes, but also some elaborate statement makers. The book offers a lot of playful and imaginative decorating ideas for cupcakes and cakes. Some ideas are a little far-fetched though, such as the “Succulent Cupcakes”, which are modeled in fondant to resemble little potted succulent plants. They are the show-stoppers promised by the book’s title, but seem terribly time consuming. I preferred the section on boozy treats, which pairs classic dessert recipes with cocktails. There are unique flavor pairings, such as the “Old-fashioned Mini Pies,” which incorporates bourbon into a classic cherry pie filling. Imagine sharing those at a holiday picnic. Yum!

The Cookies and Cups Cookbook: 125+ Sweet and Savory Recipes Reminding You to Always Eat Dessert First is a fun book, brimming with new family favorites. It’s a great book for busy bakers who appreciate short-cuts and swaps that produce treats appropriate for special occasions without so much labor. Some recipes are loaded with sugar (I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, just saying…) including the “Fruity Pebbles Cake,” which tops a layer cake with a dusting of the brightly-colored boxed cereal. Fun, festive, and worth looking through – even if your palette is more, shall I say, refined.

Sweeter Off the Vine: Fruit Desserts for Every Season offers a breadth of recipes featuring fresh fruit, and is helpfully organized by season. The Spring and Summer recipes utilize rhubarb, berries and stone fruits in their prime. Recipes such as “Blueberry Skillet Cobbler with Whole Wheat Biscuits” and “Raspberry Sorbet with Pink Peppercorns” elevate simple fruits into lovely, share-worthy desserts. The book is rustic, and very stylish, with beautiful photographs accompanying each recipe. Each turn of the page is more tempting than the last, really.

Happy Baking!

Fabulous Fiction First #593 “Death never comes at the right time, despite what mortals believe. Death always comes like a thief.” ~ Christopher Pike

The A to Z of You and Me by debut author James Hannah will quickly bring to mind Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. Ah, a tearjerker to be sure, but surprisingly beautiful and unflinchingly honest about the "raw unraveling of a life lived loud and hard."

Ivo, a 40 year-old diabetic with kidney failure, plans to spend his last days in hospice care quietly, and on his own terms. Having withdrawn from friends, and estranged from his sister Laura, lethargy takes over, if not for Sheila, his spunky and take-no-prisoners nurse.

At her urging, he plays the A to Z game - listing parts of his body from A to Z, and a memory associated with each: the terrible choices of his youth, friendships made and cracked, especially those of Mia, the love of his life.

For readers who enjoyed Rachel Joyce's The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and its follow-up The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy.

Just-released is Charles Bock's Alice & Oliver * *, drawn from this award-winning author's (Beautiful Children, 2008) own experience. Listen to his interview with Terry Gross on NPR, where he talked about the devastating period in his life that eventually inspired this heart-breaking, page-turning, life-affirming novel about love, marriage, family, and fighting for your life.

* * = 2 starred reviews

Fabulous Fiction First #592

Spill Simmer Falter Wither * * by Sara Baume, the winner of the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature; short-listed for the Costa First Novel Award; and also a March 2016 Indie Next Pick, is praised as "unbearably poignant and beautifully told... (a) captivating story follows, over the course of four seasons (echoed in the title), a misfit man who adopts a misfit dog."

57 year-old Ray lives alone at the edge of the Irish sea. Once a week on Tuesdays, he goes into the village for supplies, and it is on one of these trips in the spring that he saw a notice about a dog up for adoption. With a back story equally heartbreaking, Ray and One-Eye (injured severely while badger baiting), forge an unlikely connection.

With each other as company, they venture out and explore their surroundings, and their small, seaside town suddenly takes note of them. A mishap on the beach brings the dog warden to their door. Desperately and ill-prepared, the pair takes to the road as autumn turns into winter.

"Fans of Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain (2008) will adore this glimpse inside a very unusual relationship between two very unusual creatures."

Suggested read-alikes: Mirian Toews' All My Puny Sorrows - "rich with deep human feeling and compassion..., (where) observations are knife-sharp"; and All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld, the story of an isolated life in all its struggles and stubborn hopes, unexpected beauty, and hard-won redemption.

* * = 2 starred reviews

New Tolkien Book!

It is a marvel that a tale spun simply as a writing exercise, and certainly left unfinished (the ending is a series of notes, and several sentences have alternative phrasing in the drafts), emerges nonetheless as an emotionally captivating, and deftly woven, if simple, fiction. But, what else would you expect from John Ronald Reuel Tolkien? Tolkien’s previously unknown work, The Story of Kullervo, follows Kullervo's tragic life from his young enslavement in captivity, to a self-provoked curse which incurs his Oedipus-like demise. Laced with magic throughout, including a magic dagger, this was the foreground for Tolkien's Middle Earth, with its protagonist as the fore-runner of Túrin Turambar. This brand new publication includes images of Tolkien’s original drafts, as well as two essays he wrote on the myth that inspired his creation—the Finnish Kalevala. Though an accessible read for anyone, those who have read the Silmarillion, and/or are interested in Tolkien’s process as a writer will be especially fascinated. For those interested in Tolkien but intimidated by his lengthy prose, this very short story offers a pleasurable introduction to his writing voice. A provocative tale tugging at questions of fate and personal responsibility, Kullervo may break your heart, and will certainly transport you to another reality.

New Adult Fiction: The Ramblers

There are times in our lives to travel a straight line. And then there are times to ramble, to explore what might be as we accept what is.

The Ramblers, the brand new novel by Aidan Rowley, is being hailed as “exquisite.” Taking place over one fateful week during Thanksgiving, the book follows three friends whose lives change profoundly in this short period. Clio Marsh had a difficult childhood, and uses her hobby of quiet birdwatching in Central Park to escape. After years of avoiding her memories, she is only now beginning to take the first tentative steps out of her shell. Smith Anderson, the privileged daughter of a wealthy New York family, makes her living organizing the lives of others, despite the fact that her life is in shambles after a broken engagement and the anxiety caused by her sister’s society wedding. Tate Pennington has returned to New York City after working in the West Coast tech world, licking his wounds after an imploded marriage and determined to pursue his artistic dreams.

As the trio’s lives intersect and they sort through their daily trials and tribulations, they learn the valuable lesson of letting go of the past to make room for the future. Reads the book jacket: “Part love letter to New York City, part tour through the wilderness of the human heart and mind, [The Ramblers] asks, ‘Maybe that is the point after all? To be lost?’”

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #591 Spotlight on Women's Fiction

Paris is Always a Good Idea is the first novel in our collection by Parisian Nicolas Barreau that one reviewer called "(e)ndlessly charming... (with) a delightful, sparkling yet still relatable heroine".

33 year-old artist Rosalie Laurent is the proud owner of Luna Luna, a charming little post-card shop in St. Germain where she produces one-of-a-kind "wishing cards" that delight her clientele. Then one day, an elderly gentleman trips up in her shop and knocks over a post-card stand. More embarrassed than hurt, he turns out to be the world-renown children's author Max Marchais, there to offer Rosalie the opportunity to illustrate his new book, first in decades.

Just when all of Rosalie's wishes seem to be coming true at last, a clumsy American professor Robert Sherman stumbles into her store with accusations of Max's plagiarism. A search for the truth leads Robert and Rosalie down a path that will bind them together, affirming that Paris is always a good idea when one is looking for the truth and finding love.

An Indie Next Read, The Charm Bracelet is the debut novel by Wade Rouse who adopted his grandmother's name Viola Shipman as a pen name to honor the woman whose charm bracelet and family stories inspired the novel.

On her birthday each year, Lolly’s mother gave her a charm, along with the advice that there is nothing more important than keeping family memories alive. Now seventy and experiencing memory issues, Lolly knows there is little time left to reconnect with daughter Arden, and granddaughter Lauren distanced by the demands of busy lives.

For Memorial Day weekend, Arden and Lauren travel from Chicago to make a long-overdue visit home to Scoops, MI, a small resort town where growing up, Arden has always been embarrassed by her mother's eccentric behavior and unconventional dress. Over the course of the summer (they have decided to stay and help Lolly sort out her situation), Lolly shares the stories which the charms on her heirloom bracelet represent, and the women begin to reconnect and discover more about themselves and one another.

"Shipman's charming story of finding peace in oneself, listening to your heart, and remembering all those who came before you will be welcomed by fans of Cecelia Ahern and Debbie Macomber. "

Dear Emma is Katie Heaney's debut novel where Harriet, as "Dear Emma", is great at dispensing wisdom for the lovelorn and lonely on her college newspaper's student advice column while she can't seem to take her own advice. She is obsessed with Keith who blows her off after one date but when she discovers that he has started seeing her beautiful and intimidating coworker Remy, she is devastated. Then Remy writes to "Dear Emma" asking for romantic advice. Harriet rejoices in the perfect opportunity to take revenge on the person who broke her heart.

But as Harriet begrudgingly begins to befriend Remy, she is forced to re-evaluate the way she views guys, friendship, and the integrity of her column.

Poetry on the Bus!

To celebrate National Poetry Month, AADL has joined with the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority for poetry on the bus!

In the spirit of the 2006 Poetry Bus and following in the footsteps of Vancouver's Poetry Moves and the Poetry Society of America's Poetry in Motion campaigns, AADL and AAATA have introduced two placards in each AATA bus with excerpts from great poems by John Keats, Li Po, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Claude McKay and others.

See if you can read them all! There are 8 placards and they will be up all month

Then head over to the library to check out more poetry!

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