July 15

Rango – Johnny Depp

Rango, a kooky pet chameleon, accidentally winds up in the gritty, gun-slinging town of Dirt, a lawless outpost populated by the desert’s most wily and whimsical creatures. Welcomed as the last hope the town has been waiting for, new Sheriff Rango is forced to play his new role to the hilt, until he starts to become the hero he once only pretended to be.

 Arthur – Russell Brand, Helen Mirren

Lovable billionaire Arthur Bach has always relied on his limitless fortune and nanny Hobson to keep him out of trouble. Now he faces his biggest challenge. He must choose between an arranged marriage that will ensure his lavish lifestyle or an uncertain future with the one thing money can’t buy: Naomi, the only woman he has ever loved. With Naomi’s inspiration and some unconventional help from Hobson, Arthur will finally learn what it means to become a man

 July 19

Limitless – Bradly Cooper, Robert De Niro

Eddie Morra, a burnt-out writer, discovers a top-secret pill that unlocks 100% of his brain’s capacity. He instantly acquires mind-bending talents and mesmerizing visions that bring him big money, beautiful women, and limitless success. But his dream life soon becomes a waking nightmare, as the drug’s brutal side effects take their toll and Eddie finds himself entangled with a cunning Wall Street power broker who wants everything Eddie has and more.

July 26

Source Code – Jake Gyllenhaal,  Michelle Monaghan

When Captain Colter Stevens wakes up in the body of an unknown man, he discovers he’s part of an experimental government program that enables him to cross over into another man’s identity in the last eight minutes of his life. In order to identify the bomber of a Chicago commuter train, he must relive the incident over and over again, gathering clues to prevent an even deadlier second terrorist attack.

What’s with all the numbers lately?  Recent releases by several popular authors all feature numbers in their titles, as evidenced here:  


Connelly’s newest is actually the fourth in this series, which began with The Lincoln Lawyer.  Movie-goes may have seen the recently released film (same title)  with Matthew McConaghey playing the lead role of lawyer Mickey Haller.  Haller’s reputation comes from managing his L.A. criminal defense practice out of his Lincoln Town Car. 

Baldacci’s newest book stars characters Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, both former Secret Service agents who are now security consultants for hire.  As in the other books in this series — the first being Split Second — there’s lots of dialogue and fast-paced action.  The investigators seem to be constantly on the move, seldom sleeping or eating, yet still able to ward off professionally hired assailants with maximum efficiency. 

Patterson’s 10th Anniversary is his tenth novel in the Women’s Murder Club series, which began with 1st to Die.  If you haven’t read any of them,  perhaps you caught some of the made-for-TV-movies featuring Angie Harmon in the lead role of Lindsay Boxer, a tough San Francisco detective who works alongside other professional women (an attorney, a coroner and a journalist) to solve high-profile murder cases.  The books are quick, easy reads with short chapters.  

All of the above make great choices for summer reading, so come check out some  — by the numbers!

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.

Recently, I met best-selling author Brad Meltzer in a Chicago book store.  Naturally, I picked up an autographed copy of his newest novel, The Inner Circle.  (He had a large following — I had to wait in line a long time!)

The book revolves around Beecher White, a young archivist who loves his job at the National Archives.  When his childhood crush, Clementime, shows up seeking help in tracking down the father she never knew, he takes her on a private tour, and even shows her the secret vault used only by the  President.  Within moments ( is it by accident or plan?) they discover a priceless artifact hidden under the President’s chair.  Minutes later, the security guard who admitted them to the vault is found dead.  In hours,  Beecher is on the run, unsure who he can trust,  yet frantically trying to stay one-step ahead of his pursuers by successfully decoding concealed messages.

This is a fast-paced read and those interested in political conspiracies or action-packed thrillers will be entertained with all the unexpected twists and turns.  Initially, I wasn’t certain about the ending, but then it made more sense when I read that  Meltzer has a sequel planned, using  Beecher again as the primary character.  He is a rather lovable archivist, after all.

For those who may be further intrigued by the mysteries of symbols and codes, check out the author’s show on the History Channel, Brad Meltzer’s Decoded.

Looking for a good mystery?  We’ve got you covered!

Besides having one of the best website names ever, Stop, You’re Killing Me! is the best place to go if you’re a fan of mystery, crime, suspense, thriller and spy novels. Indexing the works of over 3.500 authors, you’ll find lists of books set in specific locations, during historical time periods, by diversity (for instance, Native Americans or Gypsies or Disabled detectives), by job title (such as wedding planners or pet sitters) and genres (vampires anyone?) New titles are listed each month, including new Large Print and new Audio Books. And there are extensive lists of mystery book award nominees and winners.

This site is fairly minimal – no fancy graphics or distracting ads. Titles are linked to amazon.com for further information (and where you can find a picture of the book cover), but this is mostly a presentation of lists, brief descriptions and links. It’s up to you to uncover your next favorite mystery – and with these tools, it should be an open and shut case!

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!

January 4

Dinner for Schmucks –  Steve Carell, Paul Rudd

Tim is a guy on the verge of having it all. The only thing standing between him and total career success is finding the perfect guest to bring to his boss’ annual Dinner for Extraordinary People, an event where the winner of the evening brings the most eccentric character as his guest. Enter Barry, a guy with a passion for dressing mice up in tiny outfits to recreate great works of art. When the duo shows up to dine, the lunacy kicks into high gear.

Catfish– Henry Joost

In late 2007, filmmakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost sensed a story unfolding as they began to film the life of Ariel’s brother, Nev. They had no idea that their project would lead to the most exhilarating and unsettling months of their lives. A reality thriller that is a shocking product of our times, Catfish is a riveting story of love, deception, and grace within a labyrinth of online intrigue.

Big Love – Season 4 – Bill Paxton, Jeanne Triplehorn

For years, Bill Henrickson wished for a world free from the corrupt ‘Prophet’ of Juniper Creek, Roman Grant. Now that Roman appears to be out of the picture, Bill and his family can breathe easily, or can they? Season 4 continues the Henricksons’ story, as Bill launches another business venture: a Mormon-friendly casino. At the same time, Bill eschews a chance to seize the Prophet mantle at Juniper Creek in favor of an even more high-profile calling: running for State Senate in Utah.

January 11

Piranha – Jerry O’Connell, Elisabeth Shue

A group of strangers on Lake Victoria must band together to survive after a sudden underwater tremor sets free prehistoric man-eating fish

January 18

Justified – Season 1 – Timothy Olyphant

Due to his old-school style, U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens is reassigned from Miami to his childhood home in the poor, rural coal-mining towns in Eastern Kentucky. Lawman Givens is a tough, soft-spoken gentleman who never gives an inch. Contained are thirteen episodes, such as: Fire in the Hole; Riverbrook; Fixer; Long in the Tooth; and more.

January 25

The Girl that Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (Swedish) – Noomi Rapace

The final installment of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy. Lisbeth Salander is fighting for her life in more ways than one. In an intensive care unit and charged with three murders, she will have to not only prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce the same corruptgovernment institutions that nearly destroyed her life. Once upon a time, she was a victim. Now, Lisbeth Salander is fighting back.

Secretariat –  Diane Lane, John Malkovich

Behind every legend lies an impossible dream. Witness the spectacular journey of an incredible horse named Secretariat and the moving story of his unlikely owner, a housewife who risked everything to make him a champion.

More personal Best Books from our Blogging Librarians!

Lexie loved Graceling by Kristin Cashore : “This is a fantasy novel about a world where some people are gifted with a “grace”, an extreme skill. It tells the story of Katsa, a girl who has been graced with killing, and her unlikely friendship with a young prince. When the two discover a disturbing secret about a nearby ruler, they must work together to bring peace to their land. It has action, drama, romance and an interesting and well-developed new world.”

Michelle’s favorites were some of the hottest books of the year : “My favorite book(s) that I read this year are actually two books that have to be read together, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by the late Stieg Larsson. The second and final installment of the Millennium Trilogy are a tour de force that pack a powerful punch of intrigue, scandal, corruption and mystery in present day Sweden. The first tow films with English subtitle are now available at the library with the final film’s release in the United States coming in January. There is even an English version that will be released sometime near the end of the next year!”  Michelle blogged more about “Fire” here and about “Hornet’s Nest” here.

I feel a little bit silly now realizing that Alias:  Season One began airing almost ten years ago, and yet I am only now getting into this awesome series.  It stars Jennifer Garner as Sidney Bristow, a grad student who is part of what she thinks is a covert branch of the CIA called SD-6.  After getting engaged, she decides she has to come clean to her fiance about being a spy.  Unfortunately, since her status has now been compromised, the head of SD-6 orders that Sidney’s fiance must be killed.  This is when Sidney learns the horrible truth about SD-6:  they’re not really part of the CIA.  Rather, they’re part of an organization that the real CIA has been fighting for years.  At the end of the pilot episode, Sidney goes to CIA headquarters and offers to be a double agent and help them bring down SD-6 once and for all.

So far I’ve only gotten through season one, but I’m definitely interested in seeing more (I just checked out Alias: Season Two and I’m dying to go home and watch it!).  It’s hard to not keep watching, especially since almost every episode ends with a cliffhanger!  One of the things I have found most interesting about the series is the relationship between Sidney and her father, Jack Bristow.  After finding out that her father has also been working for SD-6 for years, she is surprised once again to find out that he’s also a double agent for the CIA.  The two have never had a close relationship, so through their double agent work, they’re getting to know each other once again.  It’s a really interesting dynamic and I’m enjoying watching it develop.  The cast is great and gels together well, and the series is well-written and has a lot of exciting action sequences.  I highly recommend it, especially if you like other J.J. Abrams series such as Lost or other dramas where women kick butt, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer.