Morning Glory by Sarah Jio

Morning Glory Book CoverFirst Impressions
What normally draws me into a story are good characters.  As is often the case with good characters, the lives of the individuals will intersect in mysterious ways.  In Morning Glory, the lives of Ada and Penny connect to one houseboat on Boat Street, an amazing feat considering the fifty year timespan between the protagonists. Who are these two women?  What tragedy befell Ada’s family that causes her to run away from New York, to start anew in Seattle, Washington.  What happened to the kind hearted Penny who disappeared one night, resulting in a vow of silence for the occupants of Boat Street for half a century?

Drive-By Summary
Haunted by her past, Ada flees New York to a houseboat on Lake Union in Seattle.  While there she comes in contact with many of Boat Street’s residents, some who have been there for many years.  They make cryptic references to a woman who used to live in Ada’s new home, one who just vanished without a trace. From the moment Ada spotted Penny’s trunk, it was only a matter of time before the curious journalist opened it to investigate the mystery behind Penny’s disappearance. Penny, doting homemaker with the heart of an explorer, was loved by all who knew her, well, most anyway.  Ada, a broken woman with a penchant for truth, didn’t know that she was to embark on a journey that would put her back together.  With help from Penny, and a man named Alex, she would find hope and love once again.

My Favorite Character
I would have to say Jimmy.  We see this kindly man as a child in Penny’s point of view, and both are quite endearing.  He’s a supporting character, but it doesn’t make him any less important.  As a child, he’s whimsical and imaginative, longing for his mother’s affection.  He finds a kindred spirit in Penny, a woman he longs to call Mom.  The man is kind and sad, yet we can still see the child within.  It is my hope that this man returns to his childhood love of comic strip creating.  By the end of the story we long to see him happy.

Words to Live By
“I watch as the vine drifts away on the lake.  The little flowers bob up and down as if gasping for air.  I consider that the vine might find its way to shore and wash up on a patch of soil, where it will start a new existence, maybe sink its roots and thrive. Maybe Naomi has set it free.” – Ada speaking of the Morning Glory plant.

Recommended For
Anyone who has risen above tragedy, and goes where the sea takes them.

Final Say
Morning Glory grows with wild abandon, despite it deceptively being called a weed, it zealously overcomes all obstacles.  Allow it to draw you into this beautiful tale.

Morning Glory is available at the Bellingham Public Library.

— Laura

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Staff Picks of 2013: Fiction

It has been a great reading year and the Bellingham Public Library staff has had a lot of fun coming up with their favorite titles of 2013.  15 members of our staff came up with a veritable bounty of selections that are sure to please readers of all ages.

Each day this week here at Read More! we will share our thoughts on the best items in each category: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Teen, Children, and Miscellaneous.

So, with our further ado, here are our picks for the best adult fiction of 2013:

Shining Girls book coverThe Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
The story involves a time-traveling serial killer who always gets away until one of his victims manages to survive. The killer and the victim then hunt each other throughout time. I like the book because it was such a strange assortment of genres all mixed into one.  – Madeline

 

Night Film

Night Film by Marisha Pessl
Different from what I usually read but I really liked it.  – Stacy

 

The Ocean at the End of the Lane book cover

Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
This haunting fairy tale is Gaiman’s most personal and powerful work to date.  It grabbed my attention immediately and I couldn’t put it down until I was finished.  Beautiful, creepy, and lingering, Ocean at the End of the Lane is not to be missed. – Katie

 

Doctor Sleep Book Cover

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
This sequel to The Shining is like a beautiful nightmare . . . I loved it.
– Danielle

Stick around this week – we have more great picks coming your way!

 

A Tap On the Window by Linwood Barclay

A Tap on the Window book coverFirst Impressions
The cover of Linwood Barclay’s, A Tap On the Window, alone is enough to grab the attention of a bookshelf browser.  The picture on the cover has just a hand touching a car window, with a smattering of rain to suggest a dark, rainy night.  I can see why the saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” is remarkably accurate.  This wasn’t the spooky genre I was expecting, it was more of an edge of your seat mystery.  Just who is this teenage girl, Claire, who was hitching a ride so late at night?  Can she help Cal Weaver find the answers he’s looking for regarding his son’s suicide?

Drive-By Summary
The protagonist’s name is Cal Weaver, a private investigator.  He’s introduced as the driver who picks up Claire Saunders.  She knew Scott, his son, and Cal is hoping to find out if she knew anything about who sold his son the drugs that lead to his death.

What started out as an innocent trick on Claire’s part ended in her friend, Hannah’s murder.  To top everything off, Claire disappears, leaving Cal to investigate.  Still grieving over the loss of his son,  and his strained relationship with his wife, he throws himself into the case.  Where was Claire Saunders? Was she kidnapped, or did she need to escape from something sinister?

My Favorite Character
This may not sound very original, but I would have to say, Cal Weaver.  He could be seen as an anti-hero, and yet any guy you could cross paths with in line at the coffee stand.  He has a quick wit, and he pays sharp attention to details, which makes his a good P.I.  Despite his sarcastic remarks and seemingly distant exterior, he is a caring person, which I believe he hides because he doesn’t think he deserves happiness.  Most importantly, his character experiences much growth, and you will see a major difference in his choices from beginning to end.

Words to Live By
Cal Weaver: “You’ve been through this horrendous storm … But then the storm’s roar fades away and you think it’s safe to venture outside.  The sun is coming out.  You’ve lost a few trees, the power’s out, half the shingles on the roof have been blown off.  But your still standing.”

Recommended For
If you like a good mystery with twists and turns, this book is for you.  In the background there is some attention to the protagonist’s relationships, a strained one with his wife, and an antagonistic one with his brother-in-law.  Verbal sparring is the game between the latter two; I know I enjoyed that immensely.  So, if you like a few tears, smirking, and nail biting with your reading experience, read this book.

Final Say
So, you can either answer that tap on the window, or drive off and miss out on this amazing story.  The choice is yours.

You can pick up a copy of A Tap On the Window at the Bellingham Public Library.

— Laura