Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell

100 sideways milesLast night before I went to bed, I sat down to read a few pages of Traitor’s Blade, perhaps even a few chapters. Today, I am very tired because I could not put the book down, staying up way past my bedtime and finishing it in one sitting (and immediately texting my nephew in California, telling him he had to read this book!). Castell has put himself on my short list of must read fantasy authors, along such names as George R. R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, Jim Butcher and Robin Hobb.

Traitor’s Blade follows the adventures of Falcio val Mond and his companions Brasti and Kest. This group of Trattari, or “tatter-cloaks”, were once members of the legendary “Greatcoats”, who traveled the land enforcing the King’s justice, protecting people from those who would prey upon them. The villainous Dukes overthrew the King and the Greatcoats became the Tattari: branded traitors by nobles and commoners alike. Falcio and his companions are left trying to fulfill a a cryptic mission given to him by the King: find the mysterious Chariotes of the king no matter who or what stands in the way.

This book is pure swashbuckling fun: fast paced, full of action and great fight scenes (Castell has worked as a fight choreographer), truly wicked and scary villains (and some heartbreaking tragedy), tremendously appealing if somewhat damaged protagonists, and most of all (for me) fabulous dialog and humor throughout the book. Did I mention I liked this book? Did I mention you should read it? I did and you should!

A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott

touch of stardustWhen small town Midwest girl Julie Crawford walks onto Brian O. Selznick’s movie lot in December of 1938, she knows what she’s seeing is going to make history.  Margaret Mitchell’s sprawling Civil War epic doesn’t even have a Scarlett yet, but the famed producer is burning Atlanta to the ground, and Julie is there to watch it turn to ash.

With dreams of becoming a Hollywood scriptwriter (not an actress, like so many of the other wide-eyed girls in her boarding house), Julie knows she’s in the right place at the right time.  Selznick is creating the biggest movie that has ever been made, even if he’s tossing away writers and directors faster than he razed Atlanta.  When a series of chance encounters lands Julie the job of actress Carole Lombard’s assistant, the door to a glittering new world is opened for Julie.

Julie’s job is to keep the rumors quiet about Clark Gable and Carole’s torrid affair – after all, Clark is still married, and Selznick doesn’t need bad press or the censors messing with his Rhett, or his movie.  What he needs is for his star to stay happy, which means keeping the carefree, roguishly incorrigible Carole happy too.  Besides, Selznick has a difficult enough time managing the young, lovely, and tempestuous Vivien Leigh’s complaints about her corset, not to mention the British actress’s own affair with Laurence Olivier.

But as the stately Tara, Rhett and Scarlett, Mammy, Ashley and Melanie, and all the other beloved characters come to life in front of Julie’s eyes, her own world is shifting and changing.  A romance with Selznick’s right hand man Andy Weinstein, fresh opportunities to write, and her new friendship with the irrepressible Carole and shy Clark are overshadowed by the tenacity of sexism and racism, her parents’ refusal to accept her new life, and the growing Nazi threat in Europe.  In a world poised on the brink of war, can one girl – and one movie – really make a difference to it all?

This sprawling, messy, deliciously fun read is for anyone who loves Gone with the Wind!   Full of Golden Hollywood insider gossip, this lush historical novel will make you feel like you, too, are sitting in a dark screening room watching Rhett and Scarlett fall in love for the first time.  A great readalike for The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty and Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures by Emma Straub, don’t miss it!

Dead of Night by Jonathan Maberry

100 sideways milesWith still 2 months to go before season 6 of The Walking Dead debuts, what’s a gore loving zombie fan to do? Well, I’ve got just the book for you: Dead of Night by Jonathan Maberry. A prison doctor – and former Soviet biological weapons researcher – injects a condemned prison inmate with a concoction that will keep the man’s brain alive while his body deteriorates. After the execution, the body is shipped off to his only living relative in a small Pennsylvania town. As it turns out, the dead man isn’t so dead after all. Can a couple local cops halt the outbreak or is this the beginning of the zombie apocalypse?  This is not a book for the faint of heart (or the squeamish of stomach!) but any fan of The Walking Dead will love it!

All Good Things…

drum playerWow!  What an amazing summer we’ve had here at the library!  A spectacular sidewalk chalk party kickoff, one live Chutes & Ladders game (complete with a balloon party at the finish!), American Girl fashion and fun, 20 story times, 4 family movies, 2 Wii tourneys, 6 Writer’s Camps sessions, and tons of fun programs (music and animals and science, oh my!) have brought us to the close of July.

We’ve been super impressed with all the kiddos who’ve completed the entire summer reading program and read all 7 (seven!!) weeks of summer, not to mention the veritable flood of teen reading logs I’ve seen.  And all you grown-ups who not only have been participating in our inaugural year of adult summer reading, but been getting just as excited as the kids to read read read for fun – thank you!

For those of you still reading, this is just a reminder that this Saturday, August (August?! Where has the summer gone?) 1st is the final day to turn in all reading logs – children’s, teen, and adult.  The children’s and adult raffle and drawing will be held early next week and the winners contacted, and the teen drawing will be held at the End-of-Summer Reading party on Thursday, August 6th.

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who has been reading, logging, and supporting the library this summer – we love books, and we love our library patrons!