Blood and Beauty

Blood and Beauty by Sarah Dunant gives us a new perspective on the infamous Borgia family.  Pope Alexander VI, formally Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia,  is a loving and caring father who wants his family to succeed in Italy despite their Spanish blood and illegitimacy.  History paints him as a corrupt and brutal man, but Dunant shows a different side of this powerful pope.  She creates a man who is compassionate and forgiving, but he also knows the cost of staying the most powerful man in Italy and Europe.  Playing political games is one of the many tasks that a pope must juggle.  To be successful you must know how to use your children as pawns while still keeping their happiness in mind.

I really enjoyed this book.  Dunant’s Rome is filled with conspiracies and intrigue, keeping the reader glued to the book.   It wasn’t just the Borgia’s who are corrupt, but everyone in Europe is plotting something against someone.  The story is told through the pope, his eldest son Cesare and his daughter Lucrezia, which really helped with the pace and overall plot of the story.  You are given such a complete view of the family and what motivates each of the characters. Dunant did a great job of fully developing her characters and showing not only their lust for power but also their loyalty to their family.  It was such a refreshing look and Dunant did it so well that I found myself really empathizing with the characters.  If you are need of a good historical novel filled with devious and ambitious characters, this would be a great choice.

New Releases

Here are a few new releases for the week:

Natchez Burning by Greg Iles (signed first editions available at the store)

The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonason

Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike

The Taking by Kimberly Derting

Charlie and the New Baby by Ree Drummond

Frozen in Time by Mitchell Zuckoff (paperback)

Fin & Lady by Cathleen Schine (paperback)

Sweet Reckoning by Wendy Higgins (paperback)

Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike (paperback)

May’s Book Clubs

Here are our in-store and online book clubs for the month of May:

In-Store Book Clubs

Non-Fiction Group – May 7th (7 PM):  Physics of the Future:  How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives By the Year 2100 by Michio Kaku


Mystery Group –  May 28th (7 PM):  Black Diamond by Martin Walker


Our back room is  available the second and third Wednesday of every month from 7:00 – 8:00 PM.  Please let us know if your book club would like to use our space for their monthly gatherings.  Click here for our store contact information.


Online Book Clubs – May’s Reads – Theme:  Fairy Tale Re-tellings

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Nameless: A Tale of Beauty and Madness by Lili St. Crow

Grim edited by Christine Johnson (This is a collection of short stories)

Join us on Goodreads as we chat about several different YA (young adult) books each month.  Read one of the selections or all of them, and of course everyone is welcome regardless of age.


April’s Bestsellers

Here are the bestsellers for the beginning of April:

1.  Divergent by Veronica Roth (hardback)

2.  Game of Thrones by George R R Martin (mass paperback)

3.  The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (hardback)

4.  The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (trade paperback)

5.  Spider Woman’s Daughter by Anne Hillerman (hardback)

6.  Under the Wide and Starry Night by Nancy Horan (hardback)

7.  Insurgent by Veronica Roth (hardback)

8.  A Dance with Dragons by George R R Martin (mass paperback)

9.  Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (mass paperback)

10.  Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan (trade paperback)

New Releases

Here are a few new releases for the week:

Chestnut Street by Maeve Binchy

The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore

The Target by David Baldacci

Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende (paperback)

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (paperback)

The Inventor’s Secret by Andrea Cremer

Born of Illusion by Teri Brown (paperback)

Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan (paperback)

Lost in Babylon by Peter Lerangis (paperback)

Dragon Factory

If you love Lee Child and/or James Rollins then you must read Jonathan Maberry.  His Joe Ledger character is like Jack Reacher but with a secret science military team to back him up.  He is a martial arts expert and a cop, so he knows how to handle the bad guys when them come around.  Dragon Factory is book two in the series.  Joe Ledger and his team are going up against two separate geneticists.  One creating exotic transgenic monsters and mercenaries and the other is continuing the Nazi Master Race that began with Josef Mengele.  Both groups are set on bringing down Ledger and taking over the world, but Ledger is ready to go to war in order to stop them.

What I really love about this series is how complex everything is.  It is never just one bad guy against Ledger, it’s more like one bad guy, his grown kids, plus several other creatures lurking around reeking havoc.  The science, specifically the genetic manipulation, is taken to the extreme in Dragon Factory.  It is frightening to think what people could do, but boy does it make for an intense and crazy read.  If you are looking for a new thriller author to read, Maberry is a great choice and you will be glued to the series.


Hollow City

After finishing Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children a while back, I was saddened to be left adrift along with Jacob, Emma and all the other peculiars from the island. I was ecstatic when Hollow City finally came out and thrilled that the story  picks up right where the first one left off with Jacob and his friends heading to London.

The whole world that Riggs creates for the peculiars to discover is fascinating.  I really enjoyed watching all of the children grow into their powers and discover other peculiar children as they traveled.  The photos are just as unusual as in the first book and follow the story well…almost as if Riggs sat down with a pile of bizarre photos and created stories to explain the unique children in them.

I really hate waiting for the next installment, since we discover Jacob’s hidden talent at the very end of this one. But I’m sure it will be well worth the wait. Loved. This. Book.

New Releases

Here are a few new releases for the week:

The Other Story by Tatiana de Rosnay

The Steady Running of the Hour by Justin Go

What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

To All the Boy’s I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood (book 2 in the Cahill Witch Chronicles and in paperback)

Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza (paperback)

The Berenstain Bears’ Lemonade Stand by Mike Berenstain

Hummingbirds:  A Life-Size Guide to Every Species by Michael Fogden

How to Train a Wild Elephant

How to Train a Wild Elephant and Other Adventures in Mindfulness by Jan Chozen Bays is a great way to learn how to bring mindfulness and mediation into your everyday life.  The book is comprised of simple exercises for each week of the year that are geared towards finding ways to be happier.  The activities are as simple as taking three deep breaths before answering a phone.  This book really helps you to slow your mind down and appreciate the things that we do daily.  It is also a good way to help reduce the stress that comes along with daily life.  What I loved about this book is that it works great as a reference.  I like to open the book and read a page as a  gentle reminder to bring mindfulness into my life.




New Releases

Here are a few new releases for the week:

The Collector of Dying Breaths by M. J. Rose

Keep Quiet by Lisa Scottoline

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

The Nethergrim by Matthew Jobin

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

Light by Michael Grant (paperback)

The First Battle by Erin Hunter (book 3 in the Warriors:  Dawn of the Clan series)

The Sun Trail by Erin Hunter (paperback)

Yellowfang’s Secret by Erin Hunter (paperback)

The End of Diabetes by Joel Fuhrman