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Feb 24

Series Saturday - Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Posted on February 24, 2018 at 11:14 AM by Lindsey Kult

MD Collage

This week’s Series Saturday is Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs! This series is one of staff member Debbie’s favorites. While numerous books take place during World War II or in the years after it, Winspear writes about the years between the wars. She writes about the survivors of the Great War and the suffering they endured as they tried to start over. These historical fiction mysteries are excellently written. While they aren’t cozy, they still are clean - they just address heavier issues than “cozy mysteries.”


Historical fiction, Mystery

Location in Howard Miller:



Great Britain, France, Germany, 1920s/1930s

Meet the Characters:

Maisie Dobbs is a remarkable young woman living in London during the interwar years. Most women in 1929 worked as secretaries or labourers, but not Maisie. She starts a business as a psychologist and investigator after years of being mentored by the great Dr. Maurice Blanche (see below). It was not always clear that Maisie would be successful in life. Her mother died while Maisie was still young and her father could not raise her alone. He found her work for Lord and Lady Compton. Young Maisie stood out among the other maids. She is clever and thirsty for knowledge. Lady Rowan Compton chose to sponsor Maisie’s education after she caught the girl reading in their private library in the middle of the night. Part of this education is working closely with Maurice who teaches her how to observe people fully. Maisie is accepted to Cambridge and begins her formal education as World War I (or the Great War) starts. Like many young people at the time, Maisie decides to pause her studies and join the fight. She becomes a nurse and is sent to the front lines where she witnesses more than she ever imagined. All of these events shaped Maisie Dobbs into the independent and distant woman that readers meet in the first book.

Billy Beale is Maisie’s assistant and friend. They first met in France after Billy is injured and Maisie nurses him on the front. Years later, Billy is the maintenance man for the building that houses Maisie’s office. He remembers her eyes and the kindness she showed him during the most terrifying moments of his life. Billy lacks Maisie’s natural talents when it comes to investigating, but he is willing to learn and do anything for Maisie.

Dr. Maurice Blanche is Maisie’s mentor. He is a French medical doctor. With the help of Lady Rowan, he established medical centers for the impoverished. Maurice has contacts in all areas of society. He is friends with philosophers, politicians, doctors, scientists, and military leaders. In addition to being a medical doctor, he ran his own private investigation business until his retirement in 1929. Maisie essentially took over this business, but still turns to Maurice when she needs help with a case.

Frankie Dobbs is Maisie’s father and the groom for the Compton estate. He is the only family Maisie has left.

Priscilla was Maisie’s college roommate and continues to be one of her dearest friends. She lost all of her brothers during the war and stayed in France at its conclusion. Her married life is a contrast to Maisie’s, and is always trying to help Maisie find happiness.

Number in the Series:

There are currently 13 Maisie Dobbs book available, with a 14th book expected to be released next month. These books don’t necessarily need to be read in order, but you should absolutely read the first book before any others to learn the backstory.

  1. Maisie Dobbs
  2. Birds of a Feather
  3. Pardonable Lies
  4. Messenger of Truth
  5. An Incomplete Revenge
  6. Among the Mad
  7. The Mapping of Love and Death
  8. A Lesson in Secrets
  9. Elegy for Eddie
  10. Leaving Everything Most Loved
  11. A Dangerous Place
  12. Journey to Munich
  13. In This Grave Hour
  14. To Die but Once - Expected late March 2018

Final Word:

This is a good series with a strong female lead. She is unique both in her time period and in modern literature. I (Lindsey) feel that these books are important to the mystery genre and literature in general because they cover a time period long forgotten. You can find a book about World War II on nearly every shelf of our library, but the years leading up to that war are rarely mentioned. The young men and women living in the interwar years were struggling with problems that we cannot imagine. They were recovering from the worst war in history (up to that point) and watching the world’s politicians march toward something eerily similar to that which they just escaped.

Feb 13

Happy Galentine's Day!

Posted on February 13, 2018 at 5:34 PM by Lindsey Kult

Happy Galentines Day

Today is February 13th, or Galentine's Day! The great Leslie Knope from the television series Parks and Recreation made this "holiday" popular. 
Galentines Day 
It is a simple concept - the day before Valentine's Day is set aside for lady friends to get together and celebrate their friendship! In Leslie Knope fashion, homemade gifts are given and everyone eats waffles. That is not how most women celebrate this holiday thought. A lot of friends get together for drinks or brunch and just catch up on life. It's a fun way to stay connected and remember that a romantic relationship is not a woman's only relationship. 

In the spirit of Galentine's Day here are some great books that celebrate friendship! 

For Children: 

Ivy and Bean
Ivy and Bean

A case of opposite best friends - Ivy is quiet and has lots of good ideas, while Bean is loud and mischievous. Ivy immediately disliked Bean until Bean plays a trick on Ivy's sister. Nothing brings friends together like a common enemy! ;) Now they're best friends and get into all kinds of trouble together! 

Year of the Dog
The Year of the Dog (and other Pacy books) 

This is the first book in a series focusing on Pacy, a Taiwanese American who is struggling to find herself. Her parents are Taiwanese, but she views herself as Chinese. At school she uses her American name, Grace, but the other kids pretty much ignore her. She's too Chinese for them and too American for other Chinese people. She's feeling really lost until she meets Melody, a new Taiwanese American girl in her class! Together they navigate life as Asians in a Caucasian community, trying to fit in and having each other to lean on when they are feeling down. 

For Tweens: 

babysitters Club
The Babysitters Club

A classic that women of all ages remember fondly! These girls are brought together by a business idea. Whenever someone in the neighborhood needs a babysitter they know they can hire a trustworthy girl through the Babysitters Club. But the club becomes more than just a business, these girls go through big life changes together and support each other in ways that only friends can. 

Friendship Code
The Friendship Code

This is a great new age version of the Babysitters Club (which is still relevant and featured above!). This group of friends use their coding talents to solve problems! This is especially important for young girls as computer programming has become a man's job. Let these smart friends show your daughter that coding is for everyone! 

For Young Adults: 

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

This is another classic story of friendship. Four friends go their separate ways over the summer and stay in touch through a seemingly magic pair of jeans. Somehow the jeans fit all of the girls. So they make a pact to send the jeans to each other over the summer and update their friends on what's been happening. It's an incredible story of friends living through new love, new family members (and drama), and new heartbreak. 

Its All About Us
Glory Prep Series

This book is about the new girl at Spence Academy - Lissa Mansfield - who has to find out who her real friends are and whether she can still be true to her Christian faith while being a preppy teenage girl. Lissa was always the popular girl at her old school and never had to compromise her faith to stay at the top, but that's not how Spencer Academy works. To become the girlfriend of the most popular boy in school, she has to ignore her Christian morals. Her roommate and other Christian friends pressure her to become a "hit you over the head" Christian, while her boyfriend pressures her to give him more than she's comfortable with. 

Just as long as were together
Just as Long as We're Together

Stephanie and Rachel have been best friends since 2nd grade. They share everything and it’s perfect ...until Alison moves into the neighborhood. Stephanie really wants Rachel to accept Alison into their tight group, but is a group of three best friends going to be too tricky to navigate? This book is about 7th grade girls. It could be a tween or YA book.
For Adults: 

Firefly Lane
Firefly Lane

“In the turbulent summer of 1974, two very different teenage girls enter into a friendship that will be the anchor of their lives for the next three decades. As they grow into women and pursue divergent dreams, their friendship remains strong until a single act of betrayal puts their friendship to the ultimate test.” (Publisher’s Blurb)

Fried Green Tomatoes
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

“It's first the story of two women in the 1980s, of gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode 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 Cafe Wobegon offering good barbecue and good coffee and all kinds of love and laughter, even an occasional murder.” (Publisher’s Blurb)

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

“No one explores the often rocky relationship between mothers and daughters, and what it means to be lifelong friends, better than Rebecca Wells. Poignant, funny, and outrageous, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood is a classic you’ll want to read again and again.” (Publisher’s Blurb)

Secret Life of Bees
The Secret Life of Bees

“In 1960s South Carolina, Lily Owens confronts the trauma of her mother’s death with the help of her “stand-in mother” Rosaleen and an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters. This remarkable and mesmerizing story of survival, secrets, and divine female power is a tale that women will continue to share and pass down to their daughters for years to come.” (Publisher’s Blurb)

Sensible Shoes
Sensible Shoes Series

Four strangers with their own issues arrive at the same retreat center. They’re backgrounds are very different, but they share a faith in God. “You’re invited to join these four women as they reluctantly arrive at a treatment center and find themselves drawn out of their separate stories of isolation and struggle and into a collective journey of spiritual practice, mutual support and personal revelation.” (Book summary from publisher)

Jan 30

Series Saturday - Jill Shalvis Heartbreaker Bay Series

Posted on January 30, 2018 at 6:27 PM by Lindsey Kult

Heartbreaker Bay Collage

This week's Series Saturday is Jill Shalvis's Heartbreaker Bay series! We thought a romance series would be perfect with Valentine's Day around the corner. This is Shalvis's most recent series. It is full of loveable characters, outrageous situations, laughs, and heartwarming moments. We should say off the bat that this series would be rated PG-13 to R if it was a series of movies. It's certainly not as graphic in language as other series (you know which one we mean), but you can tell by the covers that this series is meant for adults. 


Romance, Fiction, Contemporary, Women's Fiction

Location in Howard Miller: 

Adult Fiction, AF SHALVIS


San Francisco
The Pacific Pier Building whose courtyard houses a legendary fountain is a main character in this series. Each character either lives in the building, works in one of the storefronts on the street level, or both! The fountain is said to bring true love to those who make a wish in it. 

Meet the Characters: 

Each book revolves around a couple, but there is a core group of friends that will be described here: 
Flynn O'Riley owns the local pub with his brother Sean. They were orphaned after a car crash killed their parents -and Flynn's dreams of becoming a major league baseball player. But Flynn isn't a normal jock. He doesn't seem to care that he had to return home to take care of his knucklehead brother after the accident. He keeps a table open for his friend group, but lets Sean be the fun bartender for the public. Flynn is too busy running a business and getting Sean out of trouble to be the friendly bartender. 
Willa Davis runs a pet shop in the building. She performs dog weddings, pet grooming, boarding and pet daycare, and runs a pet bakery. She is quirky and an eternal optimist, but is getting tired. Despite her positive attitude, Willa has been wronged before and doesn't give second chances easily. She's a classic redhead with a lot of personality and spunk to go around!
Archer Hunt is Flynn's best friend and the muscle of the group. He's very, very quiet and reserved. He's the type of person you would notice as soon as you walk into the room, but hope that he didn't notice you (P.S. he did.). He's ex-military and has transferred the skills he gained in combat to his security agency business. This agency is run out of the Pacific Pier Building. Archer is not the type of man to get emotionally attached. He's much better at building walls and protecting the very few people lucky enough to be considered his friend. 
Elle Wheaten is one of those few. She's very good at building walls too. Unlike Archer, who can you off with a look; Elle uses her unpleasant attitude to push people away. She is the least likely to accept a person into the core friend group. She had a hard childhood and was rescued by one of the group members (I'll let you figure out who it was). She lives in and manages the Pacific Pier Building with an iron fist and stiletto heels. Very few are brave enough to challenge her authority. 
Spence Baldwin is a hot nerd. No one is quite sure what his day job is, just that he has enough free time to help everyone else with their businesses. He is the building's resident computer whiz and puzzle solver. He is great at being funny and avoiding serious situations - especially serious relationships. Even as everyone else finds love, Spence is content being a bachelor and the fun guy. 

Number in the Series: 

There are currently 5 books, 2 novellas, and 1 book set to be published later this year in this series. You absolutely do not need to read these books in order. The only reason you would want to is to learn more about the characters in the group. 

  1. Sweet Little Lies
  2. The Trouble with Mistletoe
  3. Accidentally on Purpose
  4. Chasing Christmas Eve
  5. About that Kiss
  6. Slow Winter Nights - Should be released 09/2018
One Snowy Night is between books 2 and 3. Holiday Wishes is between books 4 and 5. 

Final Word: 

This series is first and foremost a romantic series. These books aren't clean and wholesome. That being said, the books are light, fun, and quick reads (many would even call them fluff reading). They're perfect to read when you want some romance in your life. You'll grow attached to the characters and can enjoy their cameos in the later books. However, like most romantic comedies, Jill Shalvis tends to follow the same basic plot in each book. These books are excellent recovery books after reading a "heavy" book. You can trust Shalvis to tell you a heartwarming story with a happy ending.