Blog module icon

Library Blog

Jun 22

Series Saturday - Author Edition Fannie Flagg!

Posted on June 22, 2018 at 1:26 PM by Lindsey Kult

The All-Girl Filling Station Last Reunion Fannie Flagg Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

This week’s Series Saturday is not about a series at all! It’s about author Fannie Flagg and her books. These books are mostly stand alone, but occasionally they reference characters from other books. Fannie Flagg is another staff favorite, for good reason! She tends to be a perfect read for summer or vacations. She’s got humor, heart, and a touch of drama that will keep your interest from page 1 to the last page! As staff member Sharlynne said, “She covers some deep topics, but you’re enjoying her plot so much you don’t realize it until you’re done!”

Genre:

Adult Fiction, Women's Fiction, Southern Fiction

Location in Howard Miller:

Adult Fiction, AF FLAGG

Setting: 

Southern States - Often Alabama and Missouri

Books and their plots: 

I realize that "Meet the Characters" doesn't work with an author edition of this blog - whoops! So I will try to summarize Fannie Flagg's style with summaries* of her plots: 
  •  Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man - A journey to the South that only Southerners know, to a time when "Blue Velvet" was played at the Senior Prom, and into the life of Daisy Fay Harper. Daisy is a sassy, truth-telling heroine who just can't stay out of trouble. What's more, she tells us everything. 
  • Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe - It's first the story of two women in the 1980s, of gray-headed Mrs. Treadgoode telling her life story to Evelyn, who is in the sad slump of middle age. The tale she tells is also of two women -- of the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth, who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, a Southern kind of Care Wobegon offering good barbeque and good coffee and all kinds of love and laughter, even an occasional murder. 
  • Welcome to the World, Baby Girl - A novel spanning late 1940s small-town America and the New York media world of the 1970s. It tells the story of a television interviewer with emotional and drink problems who was abandoned as a teenager by her mother. Elmwood Springs Book 1 
  • Standing in the Rainbow - Meet the unforgettable residents of Elmwood Springs, Missouri, in a story that captures the humorous and complex realities of ordinary people, including Neighbor Dorothy, a radio hostess, and her wayward son Bobby, the Oatman Family gospel singers, and hotshot salesman Hamm Sparks. Elmwood Springs Book 2
  • A Redbird Christmas - A short and poignant Christmas story for all the family. Oswald T. Campbell, aged 52, down-and-out in a Chicago winter, is only given months to live unless he moves South. He finds himself in the small town of Lost River, Alabama, amongst all its eccentric but friendly residents. 
  • Can't Wait to Get to Heaven - Combining southern warmth with unabashed emotion and side-splitting hilarity, Fannie Flagg takes readers back to Elmwood Springs, Missouri, where the most unlikely and surprising experiences of a high-spirited octogenarian inspire a town to ponder the age-old question: Why are we here? Elmwood Springs Book 3
  • I Still Dream of You - Though her friends think Maggie has the perfect life, she's actually perfectly miserable. The former Miss Alabama is worried about how her life has turned out - she's given up on her dream of living in a beautiful home like Crestview, and instead is a real estate agent in Birmingham. But just when Maggie begins to wonder if there's much point in going on, her life takes a wild turn, and she finds herself catapulted into one surprising discovery after the next. As Maggie learns valuable lessons about the nature of friendship, the challenges of modern life, and the dangers of impossible dreams, she starts to see how much more there is to life than what can be listed in a Miss Alabama bio. 
  • The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion - Mrs. Sookie Pool of Point Clear, Alabama, has just married off the last of her daughters and is looking forward to relaxing and perhaps traveling with her husband, Earle. The only thing left to contend with is her mother, the formidable Lenore Simmons Krackenberry. Lenore may be a lot of fun for other people, but is, for the most part, an overbearing presence for her daughter. Then one day, quite by accident, Sookie discovers a secret about her mother's past that knocks her for a loop and suddenly calls into question everything she ever thought she knew about herself, her family, and her future. 
    Sookie begins a search for answers that takes her to California, the Midwest, and back in time, to the 1940s, when an irrepressible woman named Fritzi takes on the job of running her family's filling station. Soon truck drivers are changing their routes to fill up at the All-Girl Filling Station. Then, Fritzi sees an opportunity for an even more groundbreaking adventure. As Sookie learns about the adventures of the girls at the All-Girls Filling Station, she finds herself with new inspiration in her own life.
  • The Whole Town's Talking - Lordor Nordstrom created, in his wisdom, not only a lively town and a prosperous legacy for himself but also a beautiful final resting place for his family, friends, and neighbors yet to come. "Resting place" turns out to be a bit of a misnomer, however. Odd things begin to happen, and it starts the whole town talking. Elmwood Springs Book 4
*Summaries taken from Fantastic Fiction or GoodReads

Final Word: 

Fannie Flagg's flare for humor and just enough drama comes from a lifelong affair with the written word. Fannie Flagg has been writing, acting, and producing plays/films since she was 19! She didn't write her first novel until she was 37 - that's when her career actually took off. Fannie Flagg has a talent for weaving past and present in her plots. So while these books are exactly historical fiction, you get a taste of that genre while you read. All of her books feature strong female heroines who are experiencing some crazy stuff, but are still relatable! 
Jun 15

Series Saturday: Darkness Rising

Posted on June 15, 2018 at 4:17 PM by Lindsey Kult

Darkness Rising Collage The Gathering, Calling, Rising

Series Saturday is back with a young adult science fiction series! Kelley Armstrong writes science fiction about supernatural humans living among the rest of us. Her main series is “Women of the Otherworld” and is an adult science fiction series. Armstrong writes strong female characters who can take care of themselves - but they tend to attract strong men who help them, but never have to save them. This series is similar, but without the adult romance and language. It takes place after the conclusion of Women of the Otherworld and references some characters from that series, but it’s not vital that you know the names.


Genre:

Young Adult, Science Fiction, Supernatural, Romance


Location in Howard Miller:

Young Adult, YA ARMSTRONG


Setting:

Salmon Creek, a town on Vancouver Island in Canada


Meet the Characters:

Maya is a 16 year-old Native American who was adopted as a baby by the Delaneys. Her parents moved out to Vancouver Island so her father could take the parker ranger position there. She’s always been athletic and has a special connection to animals, but all the children of Salmon Creek have some kind of special talent.

Maya’s best friend, Serena, was the captain of Salmon Creek High’s swim team and was born for the water. Unfortunately, Serena passed away in a freak accident while swimming with Maya in the lake by Salmon Creek. Maya still blames herself at the beginning of the series.

Daniel was Serena’s boyfriend and is the natural leader of the group of high schoolers in town. He’s the wrestling champion on the island and tends to be protective of Maya. Daniel is still Maya’s best friend, but is constantly being remembered as Serena’s grieving boyfriend. His mother ran away from his abusive father when he was younger and his brothers left for college. Now Daniel must try to keep his dad safe while surviving the abuse himself.

Rafael or “Rafe” is new to the island. He and his sister Annie are also Native Americans and have been on their own since their mother died. Annie is only twenty and has some mental health problems that put a lot of pressure on Rafe. He’ll do anything to protect Annie. Rafe is immediately drawn to Maya and his mysterious background leads to her falling for him as well.

Nicole is the daughter of Salmon Creek’s mayor. She’s small in stature, and introverted. She wants to be a part of the group, but is so shy that she really is only friends with Maya and Daniel. She was close with Serena, but after Serena’s death Nicole is forced into a deeper friendship with Maya.

Sam lives with Nicole after her parents died in a car crash. She’s an outsider to the community and is fine with that. She gives off a bad-girl vibe and doesn’t want any friends besides for Daniel. People can’t quite believe that she’s actually related to Nicole, but the mayor insists that Sam is Nicole’s second cousin.

Corey is Daniel’s best male friend. He’s also a wrestler, but suffers from devastating headaches. His father is the chef of police, so between Nicole, Maya and Corey the little group has some powerful parents.

Hayley is the only person who really doesn’t want to be in a small town. While everyone else is fine with just having each other, she wants to move past Salmon Creek. No one really likes her because of her behavior when they were children. Now she openly despises Maya, making her even less likeable to the rest of the group.


Number in the Series:

This series takes place after Women of the Otherworld and along the same timeline as Darkest Powers. You definitely want to read these books in order!


  1. The Gathering

  2. The Calling

  3. The Rising


Final Word:

This young adult series is an exciting read for fans of supernatural stories! The characters in this series are not your usual supernaturals - vampires, witches, or werewolves. Instead, they’re taken from ancient myths and folklore. This series is full of adventure with enough betrayals and plot twists to keep you guessing! If you like the first two* Darkness Rising books you’ll want to try Kelley Armstrong’s other series too!

*The conclusion of Darkness Rising ties in Darkest Powers’ plot, so you might want to read Darkest Powers before finishing this series.



May 29

Series Saturday - Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Armand Gamache

Posted on May 29, 2018 at 8:01 PM by Lindsey Kult

Gamache Series Collage with the book covers up until glass houses

You might have already heard of this week’s Series Saturday from Susan or Mary - it’s Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series (originally was called Three Pines series, but changed when she expanded past the little village). These books are excellent mysteries that both cozy-mystery and classic-mystery readers will enjoy! There is not much violence or sex, but there is strong language. Speaking of language... these books are set in Québec, where there is still tension between English-speaking Canadians (Anglos) and French-speaking Canadians. You will frequently run across simple French sentences. After book 6, Penny includes the translations for these sentences in the dialogue; but don’t let that discourage you from reading the first 5 books! Nothing vital to the plot is in French, and can easily be understood through context. Due to the sprinkling of French, you might want to listen to the audiobook versions of these books (We have all of these books available on OverDrive as well). The narrator is excellent and adds further context to the dialogue.

?Genre

Mystery

Location in Howard Miller:

Mystery, MYS PENNY Setting: Quebec and Three Pines in Canada

Meet the Characters:

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec is a kind, complex man who isn’t ashamed to say, “I’m sorry.” “I don’t know.” and “I need help.” He is an enjoyable character who embraces his flaws and you care for him even more because of these flaws. Despite this, Gamache has made many enemies during his years in the Sûreté. Luckily, those who stand with him are incredibly loyal. Gamache tries to see the good in everyone he encounters and takes the troubled and frustrated under his wing.

The village of Three Pines is a character as much as it is a setting. Penny describes the small and quiet village in such loving terms that you can’t help but love it as well. It has a rich history, and a very ...unique population (see below).

Jean Guy Beauvoir has been Gamache’s second-in-command for many years and sees Gamache as a father figure. Beauvoir is not exactly likeable. He’s surly and quick to judge. As a reader, you won’t necessarily dislike him - but you will see the contrast between Beauvoir and his supervisor.

Yvette Nichol is a troublemaker. You’ll never fully understand where she’s coming from or her intentions. She’s been wronged numerous times and doesn’t trust easily.

Peter and Clara Morrow are married artists living in Three Pines. Peter has always been the more successful of the pair; but Clara is finally finding her talent and it has created tension.

Ruth Zardo is a hilarious, cranky, nasty old woman who is secretly one of the world’s greatest poets. She hides her soft side under layers of anger and sarcasm. She is one of Gamache’s favorite residents of Three Pines because he understands her emotional pain. Like Gamache, she collects the troubled and needy and protects them. Unlike Gamache, she only does this if the troubled and needy are not human, but animals.

Myrna Landers, Gabriel Dubeau, and Olivier Brulé are business owners in Three Pines. They’re best friends with Ruth, Peter, and Clara. Gabriel and Olivier are a married gay couple. Gabriel is a sassy firecracker who likes to stir up trouble. Myrna is a retired psychologist who now owns the local bookstore. Gamache occasionally visits her for insight.

Number in the Series:

There are currently 13 books in the series. Some fans of the series say that you can start reading at #8, but we think they’re best read in order. We cannot guarantee that they are all available in the library, but they are all on OverDrive

  1. Still Life
  2. A Fatal Grace
  3. The Cruelest Month
  4. A Rule Against Murder
  5. The Brutal Retelling
  6. Bury Your Dead
  7. A Trick of the Light
  8. The Beautiful Mystery
  9. How the Light Gets In
  10. The Long Way Home
  11. The Nature of the Beast
  12. A Great Reckoning
  13. Glass Houses

Final Word:

This series is excellent for all mystery lovers! It has the small town feel that cozy mystery lovers crave with the detective work that classic mystery readers enjoy. The characters are addictive and real. As one of our patrons put it in their Monday Book Review - the characters are living. You are pulled into their world and don’t want to leave.