For a fun and scandalous look into the history of royal matches, pick up Leslie Carroll’s Notorious Royal Marriages: A Juicy Journey Through Nine Centuries of Dynasty, Destiny and Desire.  Carroll covers a long history of royal marriages beginning with Eleanor of Aquitaine in the Middle Ages and ending with the divorce of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.   A few of the gems in Notorious Royal Marriages include:

*King Henry VIII’s six marriages in which he had two wives, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, beheaded;

*Emperor Franz Joseph and his cousin bride Empress Elisabeth (Sisi) of Austria whose marriage started out with promise but became cold and impersonal after the tragic death of two of their children and her eating disorder;

*Tsar Nicholas and Tsarina Alexandra of Russia whose love story ended when they and their five children were killed during the Russian Revolution;

*British ruler King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson’s marriage in which the ruling monarch gave up the British crown to marry the twice divorced American.

Each couple has their own chapter so it is easy to for you to skip around the book easily, too.  You may think you know many of these stories, but Carroll adds new information that makes it difficult to put the book down!

 

 

Christina Haag, childhood friend and later longtime girlfriend of John F. Kennedy, Jr. has written a moving and beautiful memoir of her years with him, Come to the Edge, which chronicles their lives from the 1970s to the early 1990s.

After meeting him as a young girl as one member of a large circle of friends in New York City, Christina Haag becomes a close friend and confidant of John throughout their high school and later college days.  After high school they both attend Brown University and learn that they share a love of theater both at Brown and later in New York City, where they return after graduation.  After starring together in an off-Broadway play, he confesses his love for her and they embark on a five year romance.  Her memoir tells of the human and personal side of their relationship that was far removed from the prying eye of the public.

She tells of their group dinners while roommates in college, trips to Cumberland Island in Georgia, their near death experience kayaking in Jamaica and of their normal, everyday life in New York.  Her recollection of a man who lived his life on the edge is poignant and reflective.  This is both a completely satisfying and heartbreaking memoir that tells the tale of  love, loss and what could have been.

With the new EBSCO mobile app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch and for Blackberry, you can access the Davenport Public Library’s EBSCO electronic resources straight from your smart phone 24 hours a day!

Begin by visiting any EBSCO database through the Davenport Public Library’s website and follow the link at the bottom of the screen to get started.  Then, after downloading the free app from the app store, you are all ready!

Listed below are a few of the cool things you will be able to do with the app:

*Choose which databases to search

*Email results to yourself of others

*Retrieve the full text of articles

EBSCO just announced that an Android app is coming soon – stay tuned!

The three Andreas sisters, Rosalind (Rose), Bianca (Bean), and Cordelia (Cordy) grew up like no other sisters you have ever met in The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown.   Their father, a college professor who speaks to them the majority of the time by rattling off Shakespearean quotes, instilled a love of books in his three daughters.

Raised in the college town of Barnwell, Ohio, the sister’s lives took dramatically different directions after leaving their childhood home.  Their lives are as different as their personalities and although they are sisters, they realize that they truly love each other, but actually don’t like each other that much.  The three reunite back in Barnwell for a variety of reasons, most importantly, their mother’s battle with cancer.

In addition to their mother’s illness, each of the Andreas sisters has their own personal struggle to deal with whether it be running away from their past lives or struggling with their future and its choices.  The engaging characters and witty dialogue make The Weird Sisters a treat to read.  You will find yourself immersed in the lives of the sisters as a member of the Andreas family and you will find yourself caught up in their triumphs and in their failures.

After reading Swedish authors Steig Larsson, Camilla Lackberg and Asa Larssen and becoming addicted to Scandinavian crime mysteries, I came across rave reviews about Norweigan author Jo Nesbo and decided to try one of his most recent books that has been translated into English.

The Devil’s Star begins simply enough with a small trickle of water that streams down the wall of an Oslo apartment.  The Devil’s Star continues to take the reader on twists and turns to a unexpected and thrilling end with a myriad of victims courtesy of one serial killer.  Each victim has a telltale sign left at the scene – a five point diamond near each of their bodies.

Detective Harry Hole, who is still reeling from the murder of his former partner, struggles both with alcohol and his new partner (and nemesis) Tom Whaaler on this case.  Hole is convinced Whaaler has something to do with his partner’s death.  To complicate matters, Detective Hole also struggles with his on again off again girlfriend, Rakel – which makes for more drama in the Detective’s life.

If you enjoyed reading Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy, give Jo Nesbo a try – his latest book to be translated into English, The Snowman, comes out in May.

In Still Missing, the debut novel by Chevy Stevens, Realtor Annie O’Sullivan had only a few things on her mind the afternoon she finished her latest open house.  She was late to meet her boyfriend, she was still reeling from a fight with her mother and she really wanted to sell a house.  Annie was thrilled when a last minute, prospective buyer pulls up asking to see the house and introduced himself as David. 

Hope for a house buyer turns to horror when, after climbing the home’s stairs, David forces a knife in Annie’s back.  He coerces her into his van and into a nightmare of epic proportions.  Before driving away from the house he drugs her and then takes her to a remote wilderness cabin intending on holding her captive for the rest of her life.  Annie’s kidnapper, who she refers to as “The Freak” has a twisted scheme to make her the perfect submissive wife – or else.  Eventually, Annie reaches her breaking point with her captor and the outcome is deadly. 

Told in alternating chapters between past and present, Still Missing is a suspenseful journey that holds unbelievable twists and turns  culminating at its shocking end.  Chevy Stevens is definitely an author to watch – her second novel will be released this July.

 

Four close friends, Tracy, Olivia, Holly and Janis who met years earlier at St. Ursula’s High School, decide to reunite by taking a relaxing trip to the Caribbean in Jacquelyn Mitchard’s Still Summer.   At the last minute Janis cancels due to the health of her husband, so Tracy invites her nineteen year old daughter, Cammie, in the hope to salvage their fragile relationship.  After boarding a private yacht, complete with the two person crew of Lenny and Michel to navigate the waters, they set sail on their journey upon the Opus.

In the early days of their journey, Cammie develops a relationship with the young and handsome co-captain, Michel, much to the chagrin of her mother, Tracy.  When Michel and Cammie set off for a secluded part of the beach, they are discovered and head back to Opus to suffer the consequences.  When trying to dock with the boat a tragic accident ensues with both Lenny and Michel falling overboard and the women don’t know if they are dead or alive.  Quickly the foursome realize they are alone on the boat – now without a working engine.

Soon thereafter, they are discovered by a trio of modern day pirates – with deadly results.  Still Summer captures some of the turmoil between these women held over from their youth  as well as the desperation of trying to survive on the open sea.  I listened to the audiobook version of Still Summer, which made for a suspenseful and emotional journey of survival and what it means to live a fulfilling life.

Columbian-born politician Ingrid Betancourt left the comfort of her Parisian life to run for political office in her home country with the hopes of ending government corruption.  In 2002, while running as a candidate in the newly formed “Oxygen Green Party,” she and her campaign manager were kidnapped by a terrorist organization in Columbia, the FARC.  She was held in the remote jungles of the country for nearly 6 1/2 years and, while a prisoner, Betancourt attempted numerous time to escape from her captors – just to be discovered and quickly recaptured.

Even Silence Has an End tells the harrowing struggle of her life during her years in captivity as well as her interactions with the countless other prisoners she encountered daily.  In the summer of 2008 while being moved from one location in the jungle to another, Betancourt and a small group of prisoners were loaded onto a helicopter and once airborn, they were told that they had been freed in a miraculous plan orchestrated by the Columbian government.  Her story of survival is inspirational!

If you are a big fan of  scary movies, you should definitely check out  Paranormal Activity.   I saw the commercials, which were especially creepy and scary, and when a copy was available at the library I hesitated at first, but then decided to watch it.  I am glad that I didn’t watch it alone! 

A young couple, Katie and Micah, move into a new home near San Diego and are wary of strange sounds and activity in the middle of the night.  Trying to  figure out what is exactly happening when they are asleep, Micah sets up a video camera to capture what goes bump in the night.  Much of what the viewer sees is through the eyes of the camera.  The events start out small – unexplained footsteps and doors closing themselves.  But, as time goes on more ominus things start to happen to the couple.  By the end of the movie the paranormal happenings escalate so much, you have no idea what is next and the ending is definitely shocking.  The DVD contains an alternative ending which is worth watching too.  

I am normally not a fan of horror films, but Paranormal Activity was a fun watch and scary movie.  I checked out Paranormal Activity 2 which is a prequel to this movie that was just released and I will blog about it soon!

Though the recent cold and snowy weather makes us all dream of warmer places, I still can’t stop reading more Scandinavian mysteries, where the cold climate plays a major role.   The Preacher is the second mystery novel by Swedish author Camilla Lackberg – if you have recently enjoyed other Scandinavian crime fiction you may want to add her to your list.  I blogged about her first novel, The Ice Princess, a few months ago and after I finished reading this book I couldn’t wait for the next book in the series to be translated into English.

In The Preacher, again we meet Erica and Patrik who are now expecting their first child.  As a detective in Fjallbacka, a tiny fishing village in southwest Sweden, Patrik has been thrown in to a new investigation – the murder of a young tourist from Germany.  With this new case, the 30 year old unsolved disappearance of  two young women is also thrust into the spotlight – the young tourist’s body is found with the remains of these two young women.

The case takes an unexpected turn when a young girl, Jenny Moeller whose appearance is nearly identical to the murdered tourist, is kidnapped and Patrik and his fellow detectives know that time is running out to try and save her.  With Jenny’s disappearance, clues come to light that  focus the investigation on a local and radical family, the Hult’s, whose public feud only complicates the case further.  The ending is completely unexpected and shocking – definitely well worth it!