Ages 18+.

For older teen and adult fantasy fans: The Black Jewels Trilogy

Fantasy fans may be excited to learn about the Black Jewels Trilogy that was recently added to the AADL collection. Written in the late 1990s and early 2000s by Anne Bishop, this is one of only a few fantasy series that I have read that maintains a strong lead female character. The world that Bishop introduces readers to in the first installment of the series, Daughter of the Blood, is unlike any other, real or imagined. Comprised of various “realms” and controlled by female witch-queens, each creature in this world has a particular level of magical power based on the darkness and value of their “birthright jewel.”

As the series opens, the realms of this magical world have fallen into ruin due to rampant corruption and extreme distrust among their leaders. Everyone is poised, waiting for the all powerful witch-queen that has been prophesied to come and make everything right again. Daughter of the Blood introduces readers to this long-awaited heroine, Jaenelle, a girl who is a mere 8 years old at the beginning of the story. Three different, powerful men take it upon themselves to protect her from those who hope to ruin her until she comes of age, but her own powers make controlling her and keeping her safe nearly impossible.

Admittedly, the complexity of the fantasy world in this series makes the story a bit difficult to comprehend at first, but readers who battle through the first hundred pages of the trilogy will be glad they did. The trilogy packs in all the elements of a great fantasy tale: magic, love and hate, good and evil, epic battles, kings and queens, ancient castles… the works. After Daughter of the Blood, the story continues with Heir to the Shadows and concludes with Queen of the Darkness.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #480

The Frozen Dead * * by Bernard Minier is the U.S. release of an international best-seller set in the French Pyrenees. Saint-Martin-de-Comminges is a remote small town, reached only by cable car, where winters are harsh and the wind relentless. On a brisk snowy morning, workers arriving for seasonal service of the hydroelectric power station discover a horrific scene - a headless, flayed body of a horse is suspended from the edge of a frozen cliff.

The charismatic, Latin-quoting Commandant Martin Servaz of nearby Toulouse is called on to investigate this priority case since the Thoroughbred belongs to non-other than Eric Lombard, CEO of a multinational company and member of a very influential family with strong political ties to the area.

Just a few miles away on that same day, Diane Berg a young psychiatrist from Geneva starts her first job at the Wargnier Institute, a high-security asylum for the criminally insane. Uneasy with the unorthodox methods used on the patients/prisoners and some alarming behavior among the staff, Dr. Berg teams up with Commandant Servaz when DNA from one of the most notorious inmates (think Hannibal Lecter) of the asylum is found on the horse carcass.

"Complex, fast-paced, and completely absorbing. "

"The pervasiveness of evil in this tense and disturbing novel makes for very compelling reading, with the suspense bordering on horror. It should appeal to those who enjoyed Pierre Lemaitre's Alex (2013) as well as the edgier Scandinavian thrillers."

* * = starred review

Muppets Most Wanted

The Muppets are at it again! Fresh off the stage of the Mupppet TV Show, you first saw them on the big screen in 1979’s The Muppet Movie, and then saw them in slew of other movies. Well, they’re "together again" in The Muppets Most Wanted.

Criminal mastermind Constantine, who looks very much like Kermit, trades places with him. Constantine tries to run the Muppet Show and works with the silly Muppets (and secretly plots a heist), while Kermit sits in a jail in Siberia. Will the gang realize the funny talking green frog isn’t Kermit before it’s too late? Will Kermit and Piggy ever marry?

Starring the Muppets, as well as Tina Fey and Ricky Gervais, with cameos from the likes of Lady Gaga, P. Diddy and Salma Hayek, the film is full of the usual Muppet-y one-liners and song and dance numbers. It's fun to see them all together again. Again.

September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month

September is National Library Card Sign-Up MonthSeptember is National Library Card Sign-Up MonthSeptember is National Library Card Sign-Up Month. Give yourself or your child one of the greatest gifts you can give: Free Knowledge!

AADL is full of books to read and explore, graphic novels and magazines to escape into, and movies and music to transport your imagination to new places. But that is not all! We have a growing collection of unusual stuff to borrow which includes music tools, home tools, games, art prints, telescopes, and activity passes for many statewide attractions, to name a few.

AADL also offers services like homework support and resources for job-seekers and small business entrepreneurs. There are also on-going, drop-in ESL conversational groups.

Getting a library card is a rite of passage; many adults have never forgotten when they first received "the keys to the castle" as a child. Maya Angelou, a great supporter of public libraries once said, "The best candy shop a child can be left alone in, is the library." And if you are an adult without an AADL card, remember, it's never too late! Stop into any location to get your card, there is no fee if you live within Ann Arbor District Library boundaries. To see the details of what you will need to bring, click here.

We would love see pictures of new cardholders with their cards. Tweet them to @aadl or share them on Instragram at @aadlgram and use the hashtag #MyFirstAADLCard.

Now Available at AADL: Instant Streaming of 'The Michigan Beer Film' and Podcast of Ann Arbor Brewing History

Michigan craft beer has taken off in recent years, developing hoards of dedicated followers and providing some truly amazing beers to our local communities. In fact, the Michigan beer scene is experiencing rapid growth and what better way to explore this fascinating (and fun) local craft industry than with The Michigan Beer Film?! Produced by Rhino Media, a Kalamazoo based visual media production company with lots of talent, The Michigan Beer Film is a top-notch documentary about the beer that our great state is crafting and the people behind it.

AADL is proud to be partnering with Rhino Media to make this film available through instant stream directly from our catalog! Just click on this link or search the catalog, sign in to your library account (linked to your AADL library card), and – voila! – watch the movie. Watch it instantly online without worrying about setting up apps, or going through a third party. Easy!

And if that’s not enough, check out this podcast interview with local beer historian and author of “Ann Arbor Beer” David Bardallis. He discusses the history of brewing in Ann Arbor for a fresh and entertaining perspective on our town’s important role in the making of Michigan beer.

South African Crime (and Fabulous Fiction Firsts #479)

The Sunday Times Fiction winner Andrew Brown introduces tormented Detective Inspector Eberard Februarie, in Coldsleep Lullaby * *, an intelligent and compelling police procedural set in Stellenbosch, in the heart of South Africa's wine region. Just released in the U.S., this series opener involves the murder of a young woman in the underworld of an old university town fraught with prejudice and sexual hedonism.

Melanie Du Preez, daughter of a prominent law professor is found floating in a river. DI Eberard Februarie, recently reinstated after an emotional meltdown is called to investigate. Eberard discovers a scrapbook of lullabies that Melanie had collected over the years, which could hold a clue to unlock the case. In alternating chapters, the readers learn of the Dutch East India Company's colonization of the region in the 17th century that ultimately plays a role in the current murder. Two other victims will die in rapid succession before the volatile case is solved.

"With its lush, detailed descriptions, Brown's debut successfully captures both the beautiful landscapes and the violent textures of South Africa's racially charged history."

Cobra (an October release) by Deon Meyer - the "King of South African crime", again probes the social and racial complexities of post-apartheid South Africa. The bodies of three people are found at an exclusive guest house in the beautiful Franschhoek wine valley. Two of them were professional bodyguards, but the renowned mathematician David Adair they were protecting is nowhere to be found. Detective Benny Griessel of Cape Town's elite Hawks found spent shell cases at the crime scene bearing a chilling engraving: the flaring head of a spitting cobra, trademark of an international assassin team.

Meanwhile, a small-time pickpocket Tyrone Kleinbooi who steals to put his sister through med school, inadvertently winds up as the Cobra next target. With the help of his colleagues, Detective Benny Griessel rushes to untangle a case that only grows more complex. From Cape Town's famous waterfront to a deadly showdown on a suburban train, Cobra hurtles towards a shocking finale and someone may not make it out alive.

Needing no introduction is the latest in the award-winning series by Malla Nunn Present Darkness *. With Christmas approaching, Detective Sergeant of the Johannesburg major crimes squad, Emmanuel Cooper's much anticipated vacation plan evaporates when a white couple has been assaulted and left for dead in their bedroom. A witness identifies the attacker as Aaron Shabalala, the youngest son of Zulu Detective Constable Samuel Shabalala -- Cooper's best friend and a man to whom he owes his life.

Readers might also explore the David Bengu series by Michael Stanley; the Jacob Tshabalala series by Richard Kunzmann; and the Heat of the Sun mini television series.

* * = 2 starred reviews
* = starred review

Unique New Adult Historical Fiction: The Miniaturist

Jessie Burton’s brand new The Miniaturist is a fascinating and unusual tale set in Amsterdam in the late 17th century. The story opens with the arrival in the city of Nella Oortman , who is prepared to begin her new life as the wife of wealthy merchant Johannes Brandt. She feels unwelcome in her new home; despite its beauty, Johannes is distant and she knows no one else in the city. Nella is fascinated, however, by the wedding gift that Johannes gives her: a miniature replica of their home that Nella may furnish as she chooses. When Nella hires a renowned miniaturist to construct and paint the furnishings of her tiny house, the small creations shockingly begin to mimic the pieces that they are based on in real life in amazing and unsettling ways.

As the miniaturist works to complete the replica of the Brandts’ home, Nella learns more and more about her husband and about the secretive world of their household. It seems as though the miniaturist can foresee the future, but as the book progresses, Nella begins to wonder if the unusual man is really there to help or… or to ruin her.

“Enchanting, beautifully written, and exquisitely suspenseful, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth,” reads the book jacket. The dramatic backdrop of pious 1680s Denmark only adds to the mystery and intrigue that Burton has created for readers in this book. The UK Observer calls The Miniaturist a “fabulously gripping read” and accurately recommends it to fans of Girl With a Pearl Earring and The Goldfinch. This fast-paced read is perfect to put as number one on your autumn reading list.

An Amazing Assembly of Alphabet Books

I love alphabet books, and am always on the lookout for ones I haven't read. Thankfully, new and interesting alphabet books are being published all the time. Check out some of our new arrivals that will delight adults and kids alike.

The ABC of Fabulous Princesses by Willy Puchner presents readers with twenty-six fabulous bird princesses, one for each letter of the alphabet, along with their interests, favorite foods, and gifts for the prince. Readers are invited to decide which princess is best for the prince. Apart from being a delightful read aloud, this book invites audience participation!

S is For Salmon- A Pacific Northwest Alphabet by Hannah Viano gives each letter an emblem of the Pacific Northwest. The illustrations, made using a papercut technique, are breathtaking, and one gets a sense of the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest. One wonders what alphabet we would have for Michigan- S is for Sleeping Bear Dunes, perhaps?

Last, but certainly not least, we have the noisiest of the new alphabet books. Adam Watkins' R is for Robot follows a colorful cast of robots as they assemble the alphabet, accompanied by beeps, clangs, and whirrs. If you like robots and making silly noises, this one's for you!

Join us Tuesday evening for "Using Yoga for Stress Reduction!"


This Tuesday, August 26, at the Pittsfield branch of the AADL, yoga instructor Victoria Duranona will host a Kundalini yoga program from 7:00 to 8:30pm. With an emphasis on the use of yoga to reduce stress, this program will teach participants how to be aware of stressors in our lives and about how these stressors influence us, our communication and our relationships. Victoria will then lead the group in some meditation and yoga exercises.

Wear comfortable clothing and bring your own mat to this program.

Easy English News For You

Are you an adult who is learning to read or is becoming an English Language Learner? AADL has a couple magazines that should get your attention.

The Easy English News is available at all of our branches. It contains current events written at a fourth grade reading level. It's written in a way to build your vocabulary and help you read for meaning. There's also News for You, which you can find at our downtown location or put a hold on a copy and have it sent to the location most convenient for you. Both publications have vocabulary words, puzzles and interactive websites. Spread the word!

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