Fairy Tales for Adult Readers

Everyone loves fairy tales, but we tend to think of them as something that’s only for children.  There are many adult books that are fairy tale adaptations or have fairy tale themes.  Some of these books are light hearted romances, while others use fairy tales to express more serious ideas.  If you’ve been dying to read fairy tales, but have had a hard time finding them, these books are for you.  Many of these books can also be downloaded to your phone or E-reader through OverDrive.

boy snow bird

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
Call Number: Oyeyemi

This is a retelling of Snow White that takes place in the 1950s.  Boy Novak moves to Massachusetts looking for a better life.  But she finds herself turning into a wicked stepmother when she marries a local and becomes the mother of Snow Whitman.  This especially becomes apparent when Snow has a dark skinned baby, exposing the whitmans as African Americans who were trying to pass as Caucasian.

Gretel and the Dark

Gretel and the Dark by Eliza Gain
Call Number: Gain

This novel takes place in Vienna and Germany in the late 1800s.  Joseph, who is a psychoanalyst, finds a girl in an asylum who claims she is not human, and Joseph is determined to understand her.  Krysta is obsessed with fairy tales, and when the world around her starts to change, she realizes that fairy tales hold power.

alias hook

Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen
Call Number: Jensen

Captain Hook is cursed to stay in Neverland and play the villain in a war that goes on forever.  But when Stella Parish dreams herself into Neverland she discovers that Hook is so much more than just a villain.  She must help Hook break the curse before Pan and his group of warrior boys hunt her down.

the chronicle of secret riven

The Chronicle of Secret Riven by Ronlyn Domingue
Call Number: Domingue

Secret has the power to talk to plants and animals.  When Secret’s mother dies, and the mysterious manuscript she was translating disappears, Secret must find the clue that will lead her to the manuscript.  The sequel to the Mapmaker’s War.

While beauty slept

While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell
Call Number: Blackwell (Adult and Large Print)

Elise builds a new life for herself as a servant to a royal family.  As she earns more trust and becomes a confidant, she gets to know the women of the castle; the sad queen, the brokenhearted spinster, and the princess and her ruthless sister.  

Death's apprentice

Death’s Apprentice: A Grimm City Novel by K.W. Jeter and Gareth Jefferson Jones
Call Number: Jeter

This novel is based on the Grimm’s fairy tales, and is the only novel that uses all the works of the Grimm’s.  Nathaniel is the seventeen year old apprentice of Death, and lives in Grimm City, which is situated on top of the gates of Hell.  With the help of a wraith and a giant hit man, Nathaniel must lead an uprising against the Devil.

beauty and the werewolf

Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey
Call Number: Lackey

Bella goes into the woods to consult a wise woman about escaping the usual fate of eldest daughters.  On her way she’s attacked by a wolf who is really a nobleman under a curse.  She goes to his castle, but is torn between her family and staying with him.

Authors like Diana Gabaldon

diana_gabaldon_2009

Diana Gabaldon is an author most well known for her historical fiction/ romance series “Outlander,” which has been made into a popular television show.  Her female characters are often strong willed and brave, and the novels combine historical fiction and fantasy to create a unique genre that readers can’t put down.  The Outlander series takes place in 18th century Scotland, with the main character, Claire, time traveling there from the 20th century.  There she meets James Fraser, a Scotsman who sees her as nothing but trouble.

These are some authors that that are like Diana Gabaldon, so if you’ve read all of the “Outlander” books, and are dying for more, these are a good place to start.  All of the books listed can be found here at HPL.

Auel, Jean M.

  • The Land of Painted Caves
  • The Valley of Horses

McCarty, Monica

  • Highland Warrior
  • The Recruit: a Highland Guard Novel (Paperback)

Donati, Sara

  • The Endless Forest

Willig, Lauren

  • That Summer
  • The Other Daughter

Woodiwiss, Kathleen E.

  • Everlasting (Large Print)
  • Petals on the River

Ashley, Jennifer

  • Rules for a Proper Governess (Paperback)
  • The Many Sins of Lord Cameron (Paperback)

Bourne, Joanna

  • The Black Hawk (Large Print)

Harkness, Deborah

  • A Discovery of Witches (Adult and Large Print)
  • Shadow of Night

Carey, Jacqueline

  • Kushiel’s Mercy
  • Kushiel’s Avatar (Paperback)

Review of Burning Paradise

Burning Paradise

by Robert Charles Wilson

Call Number: WILSON

This is an alternate reality Science fiction novel that takes place in a very different 2015. Cassie, who is nineteen, lives in a world with no war, and very little technology.  All communications are done through the radiosphere, which is a layer of the atmosphere that enhances radio signals.  When Cassie’s parents are killed, she becomes one of the few who know about the hypercolony, which is an alien entity that can take over human bodies.  The only difference between humans and someone infected by the hypercolony is the color of their blood.  These people, who are ‘green on the inside,’ come after Cassie after a period of silence, sending her on a mission into the Chilean desert with her little brother to try to kill the colony once and for all.

The science in this book was one of the things that made it the most interesting.  Cassie’s uncle, who is an entomologist, discovers that the hypercolony is actually a hive mind, and explains the science behind this in a simple, yet detailed way.  I liked that the character would first give a complicated scientific explanation, for those readers who could understand it, and then would have that same character explain it in simpler terms to another character, for readers who are less familiar with scientific terms and theories.  

For readers who are less interested in science, there is a very exciting, adventure aspect to this book, especially when Cassie’s group is fighting the Simulacrum, which are people infected by the hypercolony.  Much of the novel involves Cassie and her family running from the Simulacrum, with gun battles and chase scenes interspersed throughout the book.  The plot also becomes more tense and exciting when the character’s realize that a person can be born a Simulacrum, and there might be one of these infiltrating their group.

Towards the end of the book, when Cassie and her uncle are reaching their destination, they must make a tough decision regarding their original plans about destroying the hypercolony.  With new information gained during their journey, they must decide if they are going to continue to seek revenge for the loss of their loved ones, or if they’re going to give up revenge for the greater good of the world.  This was an interesting twist, and I loved that the characters faced such an important dilemma after mainly focusing on their own survival and need for revenge.  It was also interesting that they faced consequences for their decision, and suffered from these consequences in deeply personal ways.  This made the ending far less pat, and showed how much all of the characters were affected by their experiences.

One thing about this book that could have made it even better, was the character development.  All of the characters were a little flat, making the story as a whole, far less gripping.  Cassie, while likable, and very loving towards her brother, often came across as boring or closed off.  The supporting characters she was traveling with were very one sided, and were only really defined by one aspect of their personality, such as anger, or a need for revenge.

Although the characters weren’t well developed, this was still an interesting read with a lot of surprise twists and an unexpected ending.  It reminded me a lot of Michael Crichton books, due to the complexity of the alien and the hard science that made the premise very believable.

Hidden Gems at HPL

There are so many great books out there, that some tend to get overlooked.  You often never hear about them, since they were never best sellers, but they’re still amazing books that are being missed out on.  Here are some of HPL’s hidden gems; books that deserve more attention then they’re getting.

The unlikely pilgrimage of harold fry

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
Call Number: Joyce

Harold receives a message from an old friend, who is dying.  He leaves his wife and begins walking six hundred miles across the English countryside to see her, convinced that if he keeps walking she won’t die.

Like Water for Chocolate

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
Call Number: Esquivel  (In the Adult Fiction Section and the Classic Section)

This novel takes place in Mexico at the turn of the twentieth Century.  Tita is desperately in love with Pedro, but is forbidden to marry him because she is the youngest daughter. Pedro instead marries her sister, so they must live together, but are unable to be with each other.

Too bright to hear too loud to see

Too Bright to Hear Too loud to see by Juliann Garey
Call Number: Garey

Greyson is a successful Hollywood studio executive that has been hiding his bipolar disorder for twenty years.  He leaves his wife and daughter to travel the world, letting his bipolar disorder hold sway.

The unchangeable spots of leopards

The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma
Call Number: Jansma

The narrator of this book desperately wants to be a writer, and this dream takes him around the world, where he has many misadventures and is always haunted by his literary rival.  

tomorrow there will be apricots

Tomorrow there will be Apricots by Jessica Soffer
Call Number: Soffer

Lorca decides to find the recipe for her mother’s favorite recipe in an attempt to not be sent to boarding school.  Victoria, who is an Iraqi Jewish immigrant, starts teaching cooking lessons.  Lorca signs up and they begin to suspect they are connected in more than one way.

The Family Fang

The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
Call Number: Wilson

Buster and Annie Fang were raised by performance artists and forced to participate in their parents’ strange pieces as children.  When their lives begin to fall apart they go back home, only to discover that their parents are planning one last performance that they must participate in.

six suspects

Six Suspects by Vikas Swarup
Call Number: Swarup

Vivek Rai killed a bartender seven years ago in New Delhi.  Then he is murdered during a party to celebrate his acquittal.  There are six guests, all with a gun in their possession, who could be the killer.

Review of the Spellman Files – An Audio Book

the-spellman-files
2007
Call Number: CD LUTZ

This is the first book in the Spellman Files series by Lisa Lutz.  In this comedy filled mystery, Izzy, who is 28, and a private investigator with her family’s firm, must solve an old case of a missing man, and find her twelve year old sister who has been kidnapped.  In the meantime she must navigate her crazy family, which includes her sister, who can’t stop tailing random people, parents that won’t stop spying on her, and an uncle who disappears for “lost weekends,” which often last several weeks.  On top of all this, she’s fallen for a dentist, which is the one profession her mother despises, and struggles with admitting to him who she really is.

We don’t have the print version of this book (though you can order through inter library loan) so I listened to the audio book version, read by Christina Moore.  It’s 9.6 hours, which makes it perfect if you’re a commuter.  Christina Moore does an excellent job of narrating, giving each character a unique enough voice that it’s easy to differentiate between them.  Her low voice also fits the character well, giving the impression of a tough, independent woman.

This novel is much more about Izzy’s relationship with her family and her struggle to come to terms with who she is, than it is a mystery.  The two actual mysteries don’t come until the very end, and work more as devices to understand the characters better, than as actual mysteries.  I actually enjoyed this, though I did feel misled, since the synopsis on the back of the audio book focused more on the mysteries.  The mysteries themselves are still intriguing, and also a nice break from the craziness of Izzy’s home life.  They are also not obviously solvable, and will have you guessing to the very end.

The humor in this book is what made it really unique.  Izzy has a very blunt and honest voice, and openly admits her flaws, and her family’s flaws, in a funny, sarcastic way.  Her and her younger sister’s dialogue is hilarious; with Izzy often answering questions with flat sarcasm, and Rae with deadpan seriousness.  I especially loved the character of Rae, who has been working for the family since she was nine, and is extremely precocious, often visiting Izzy’s favorite bar and ordering vast amounts of ginger ale on the rocks.  While Rae is stubborn, the reader can tell how much she loves her family, making it even more devastating when she mysteriously disappears.

One of the main themes of this book is self harm, which I found really interesting.  Each member of the Spellman family is hurting themselves in some way, while the other members of the family seem to turn a blind eye.  Whether it’s Uncle Ray, who’s binge drinking and gambling leave him broke, Izzy’s self destructive way of ruining relationships before they start, or Izzy’s mother’s insistence on controlling everyone to the point of personal invasion.  The reader sees them slowly change, as they realize that their behaviors are destroying their lives and relationships.  Because of this theme, there is a surprisingly sad ending, but it is written so well that it isn’t overly depressing and doesn’t ruin the rest of the book.

This was a fun, light read, and for me, a refreshing change from horror novels.  I will definitely be checking out the next book.

Asylum – A YA Book Review

asylum

by Madeline Roux
2014
Call Number: YA ROUX

This is the first book in the Asylum series and was a New York Times Bestseller.  Dan is sixteen years old and eager to start college.  He goes to a summer College Prep program at a college in New Hampshire, hoping to meet people that are more like him.  Dan often suffers from anxiety and problems with his memory, and he tries to put this behind him as he starts a new adventure.  He meets his two best friends, Abby and Jordan, almost immediately, and the three of them become inseparable.  The only problem with his perfect summer is the creepy dorm they’re staying in, which used to be an insane asylum.  As Dan and his friends start to explore parts of the building that have been roped off, they begin to discover that the gruesome past of the asylum is linked to their own pasts.

The first thing you notice about this book are the haunting black and white photographs that illustrate parts of the story.  These are actual found photographs of asylums, but fit perfectly into Dan’s story.  The photos give the grim details of the novel an extra emphasis and do a good job of pulling the reader deeper into the plot.  While I often don’t like pictures in novels, because it changes the image I have already created in my head, these photos really make the story much creepier.

The three main characters, Dan, Abby, and Jordan, are really what makes the novel interesting.  Because they are so different, they perfectly balance each other’s personalities.  While Dan is awkward and shy, Abby is outgoing and can’t help saying what she thinks.  Jordan is a buffer for the two of them, often acting as the calm voice of reason when Dan and Abby want to do something dangerous.  They are also on very different academic paths; Abby is an artist, Jordan is a mathematician, and Dan is interested in history and psychiatry.  Because they are so different it is easy for the reader to understand why they start to drift apart, but it’s also easy to empathize with Dan, who is devastated by the thought of losing his best friends.  This friendship dynamic was very realistic, echoing what often happens with new friends in college.  The reader also gains a lot of respect for Dan since he refuses to give up on them.

The mystery of the asylum and the people who were imprisoned there is a large part of the plot.  Although some of the plot lines seemed forced, such as the connections between Dan and the asylum’s past, the storyline is strong enough that these flaws are easy to ignore.  The reader will be intrigued as the three friends plunge deeper into the depths of the asylum and uncover darker and more disturbing secrets.  There is also the problem of a serial killer that begins attacking students, which is just as fascinating as Dan’s trips into the asylum.  He must find out if this killer is somehow linked to the asylum, or if he’s losing his grip on reality.

Although the three main characters were written very well, other, more minor characters, are less well drawn.  Dan’s roommate especially, was very one dimensional, and could have been a very interesting character if the reader was given more details about his personality.

This was a fast, exciting read that had surprising character depth.  The fast pace and creepy mystery will have the reader dying to read the next book in the series.

Adult Graphic Novels

Comics and graphic novels aren’t just for kids and teens. Graphic novels add a visual element that you can’t get from just reading a book and offers a new way to interpret the story.  This new genre continues to grow in popularity as more people discover it.  HPL has many adult graphic novels with interesting storylines and beautiful art, many of them based on books.  They are all found in the Fiction section on the first floor.

Click on the pictures to be taken to the catalog listing

the dresden files

The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle
Call Number: Butcher

A brand new Dresden Files story in graphic novel form.  Harry Dresden is the only professional wizard in Chicago and is investigating a deadly mauling at the zoo.  But once he starts investigating he realizes he might be the next victim, and the creatures hunting him are not of this world.

Mercy Thompson

Mercy Thompson: Homecoming
Call Number: Briggs

Mercy is a being who has the power to transform into a coyote.  She finds herself in the middle of a gang war between two packs of werewolves when she travels to the tri-cities of Washington for a job interview.  Not only does she have to deal with werewolves, she also has to deal with her mother, who is convinced she is ruining her life.

New Spring

New Spring
Call Number: Jordan

The complete collection of the eight volume comic series that was an adaptation of the original book.  Moiraine Damodred, who is a young Aes Sedai, searches for the infant Dragon Reborn with Lan Mandragoran, who is the uncrowned king of a nation that no longer exists.

The Talisman

The Talisman: Volume 1: The Road of Trials
by Stephen King and Peter Straub
Call Number: King

13 year old Jack, with the help of his new friend Speedy, must enter the Territories in a realm he calls the Daydreams.  He must travel through the dangerous Territories to retrieve a magical talisman that can help save his mother’s life.

Riven

Riven
Call Number: Hampton

In 1997 the Harringtons are in Romania adopting a daughter, and are happy to rush her home without following the adoption regulations.  In 2007 their adopted daughter, Katie, wakes up from a coma and begins having bloody nightmares.  She must figure out what’s happening before the beast inside her breaks free.

Stephen King's N

Stephen King’s N.
Call Number: Guggenheim

Based on Stephen King’s short story Just After Sunset, this graphic novel follows “N,” who suffers from OCD and can’t seem to stop visiting the group of Stonehenge like stones in a nearby field.

Scalped Indian Country

Scalped: Indian Country v. 1
Call Number: Aaron

Dash returns to the Prairie Rose Reservation after fifteen years to discover that things have gotten even worse.  There is now a new casino and a new leader of organized crime.  He must survive in this dark world with only a set of nunchucks and a tough attitude.