Staff Picks on

Greetings!  You might have noticed that we have lots of great new resources on our web site for recommending books, including a monthly page of staff picks organized by our lovely webmistress, Jen (another Jen).  With these new editions, it is our thought that the content of this blog overlaps that of these new fabulous resources we’ve implemented.  Therefore, at the end of this year, we’ll be shutting the RANTINGS blog down.

Questions? Objections?  Please drop me a comment!  If I have some die-hard fans who are devastated by the loss of my witty commentary, I might reconsider 🙂  In the meantime, visit our staff picks and see what my colleagues are reading.  You won’t be disappointed.


December 15, 2008. 1. 1 comment.

Attention, Alexander McCall Smith Fans…

Alexander McCall Smith, author of the famous No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series, will be online with the Washington Post on Friday, September 19, at 11a.m. (ET).  He will discuss his novels, his career as a lawyer and law professor, and the new T.V. series.  Don’t miss your chance to get your questions answered LIVE! 

Visit (whew!) and submit your questions and comments at any time before the discussion.  And don’t forget to leave us a comment about your experience!

September 18, 2008. Alexander McCall Smith, Author Discussions, Crime Fiction. Leave a comment.

Reminisce with local author Jack Stephenson

Morningside Murders by Jack Stephenson

Morningside Murders: More than a Legend (2007)

by Jack Stephenson

Local author Jack Stephenson has created a delightful tale of suspense and nostalgia with his debut novel, Morningside Murders.  Harold Jackson, the main character, returns to his childhood hometown to face the consequences of a 50-year-old horrific crime.  His investigations take him back to 1950’s Morningside, where he relives not only the mischievous wanderings of himself and his young comrades, but also the horrors of abuse which did not become entirely clear to him until adulthood. 

The reader will not only be enthralled with this suspenseful story but will also enjoy the many references to streets, stores, and restaurants that made up mid-twentieth century Muncie.

Author Jack Stephenson kicks off MPL’s fall author series, Sundays with an Author.  Don’t miss your chance to meet Stephenson, along with two other notable authors with local roots, this September and October.

August 26, 2008. Author Discussions, Crime Fiction, Fiction, local author. Leave a comment.

Lisa Unger’s new thriller

Black Out: A Novel by Lisa Unger (2008 )

Genre:  Psychological/Suspense Fiction

Lisa Unger is back again with another white-hot thriller.  As with her previous books, Beautiful Lies and Sliver of Truth, Unger will pull you in from the first page, and you may not get any sleep until you finish it.

Annie Powers leads an idyllic life in a ritzy part of Florida with her husband, Gray, and their four-year-old daughter, Victory.  Very few people know that five years earlier, Annie was Ophelia March, a teenage runaway who was also the accomplice of a serial killer named Marlowe Geary. Ophelia barely escaped from that situation alive with the help of Gray, who had been tracking the killer and subsequently rescued and fell in love with Ophelia; with Gray’s help, Ophelia became Annie, a sweet housewife who suffers from blackouts and panic attacks and has a sketchy memory of events of the past.

But soon Annie starts to see signs that Geary has returned. She becomes petrified and will do anything to protect her new life, and her daughter. Has Geary really returned? Or has Annie/Ophelia finally lost her mind?

Unger unfolds Annie’s story slowly with each chapter going backward and forward through time, keeping the reader on a painful edge. Though Unger is a relative newcomer, she’s quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. Her stories aren’t always realistic, but her imaginative scenarios are compelling and emotional. She’s on her way to becoming one of the great ones.

Reserve Black Out today.

June 12, 2008. Crime Fiction, Thrillers. 1 comment.

Heartwarming and funny…

remember-me.jpgRemember Me? (2008 )

by Sophie Kinsella

Sophie Kinsella is back with another hilarious tale!  This one involves a serious case of amnesia that has main character Lexi Smart’s head spinning.

It’s 2004, and Lexi’s having a bad life.  She’s been stood up by her loser boyfriend, she’s been passed over at work in the bonus category, and she’s standing in the pouring rain outside a nightclub with her inebriated friends in a not-so-savory part of downtown London.  When it seems she’s finally getting the attention of an approaching cab, she slips and falls down some stairs, and everything goes black.

 When she awakens in the hospital, it’s 2007.  She hasn’t been in a coma; she’s just had a car accident that has erased the last three years of her memory.  The mystifying part is that she hardly recognizes herself–she’s thinner, obviously wealthy, a top exec at her company, and married to a gorgeous man!  How did this happen?  And how does Lexi navigate this new life when the last time she checked, she was nowhere near this fast-track?

Sophie Kinsella’s stories are not always the most realistic.  Rather, they’re humorous takes on average, everyday problems we all have.  Lexi learns that there are more important things in life besides appearances, and she learns that she had strength within herself that she never knew existed.

If you haven’t tried Sophie Kinsella’s novels before, pick one up today.  They’re quick reads, and very entertaining.

March 7, 2008. 1, Comedy, Sophie Kinsella. Leave a comment.

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