The Savage Garden by Mark Mills

The Savage GardenLinked murders 400 years apart create the suspense and intrigue in this literate novel of family secrets, loyalty, and betrayal. Adam Strickland goes to Tuscany to write about a famous memorial garden, but the garden hides secrets – was Flora Docci actually murdered and why? As Adam delves into the mysteries of the garden he is also drawn into a more recent wartime murder involving the son of the matriarch of the villa, putting his own life in danger.

If you liked The DaVinci Code with it’s mysteries wrapped in ancient texts, or are intrigued by twists and turns of wartime loyalties, you’ll love The Savage Garden.

The Armchair Traveler – A Day at the Beach

Day at the Beach

Beaches by Iris Rainer Dart

Heartwrenching and funny, this is a story of a friendship between two very different women. One is a loud, outgoing, aspiring actress and the other is shy, meditative homebody. They meet in the 50’s, then reunite periodically throughout their lives – at beaches in Florida, California and Hawaii.

Summer Reading by Hilma Wolitzer

Centered around a summer book discussion group in the Hamptons. Young socialites struggle to impress each other and, in the end, are influenced by books such as Madame Bovary and Jane Eyre that are assigned in their book club.

Killer Summer by Lynda Curnyn

Set on New York’s Fire Island, three 30-something friends share a house for the summer. Each character is given a chance to narrate and give their own point-of-view, as their plans for a fun escape are derailed when a dead body is found on the beach.

Mary Emmerling’s Beach Cottages

What is more relaxing than flipping the pages of one of our many decorating books and remodeling the house in your head? Cheaper and easier than actually going to Home Depot.

Beach Boys Classics CD

Need some music to get in the mood to get to West Lake beach or at least the back yard? How about “Don’t Worry Baby,” “Busy Doin’ Nothin’ and “The Warmth of the Sun?”

Grace from the Garden: Changing the World One Garden at a Time by Debra Engle

Grace from the GardenGrace from the Garden by Debra Engle talks about gardening of course, but really it’s about how people pulling together can make a difference. These graceful essays show how gardening and gardeners, in all their wide diversity, affect lives and make the world a little friendlier. Some of the projects described include:

-An inner city community garden run by an former professional basketball player

-“Garden Angels”, a group of volunteers who install and maintain small gardens for elderly who are no longer physically able to

-Juvenile offenders who work off community service hours in a local vegetable garden where they learn to give back

-A doctor in the United States who has built greenhouses for hospitals in famine-threatened North Korea

-The story of the Portland Memory Garden, built for people suffering from Alzheimer’s and their caregivers

Gardens, whether big or small change, heal, and draw people together making the world better for all of us.

Friday Night Lights on DVD

Friday Night Lights season twoGreat acting, brilliant writing, innovative cinematography and multiple compelling story lines combine to create one of the best – maybe the best – show on television. And let me be very clear about this – it’s not about football. Yes, yes, I know, the show revolves around the ups and downs of the football team from Dillion, Texas and high school football reigns supreme in this small town. But in reality it’s about people, the choices they make and the consequences these choices have on them and the people around them.

Now is your chance to get caught up – the Davenport Library has both season one and season two available for checkout. Don’t miss out!

Omaha Steaks The Great American Grilling Book

The Great American Grilling BookFinally! Warmer weather! Time to fire up the grill and cook some meat! Omaha Steaks The Great American Grilling Book is just the book to get you started (and salivating!) The emphasis here is on – duh – beef, but there are also loads of recipes for pork, chicken, lamb, fish and seafood. A whole chapter is devoted to gourmet burgers and kabobs. Vegies also get their share of attention as well as starters, rubs, sauces and marinades; there’s even a section on desserts.

No more excuses for the same old burgers and chicken – try something new!

A Poisoned Season by Tasha Alexander

A Poisoned SeasonYoung and wealthy, a secure position in society and recently widowed, Lady Emily Ashton enjoys a degree of independence that many Victorian women do not. She spends her time studying Greek literature, avoiding marriage proposals and traveling. Set in the late-Victorian era, this deft historical mystery is peopled with interesting, complex characters, witty conversations and an engaging mystery involving the theft of items once owned by Marie Antoinette. Fun and clever with just a touch of romance, this book will keep you turning the pages a fast as you can read.

A Poisoned Season is the second in the series, following And Only to Deceive. The third title, A Fatal Waltz arrives later this month.

Beach Cottages by Mary Emmerling

Beach CottagesThere is something about water, the ocean in particular, that draws people. We want to explore it, watch it, live near it. With Memorial Day past, and summer unofficially here, now is a great time to plan/fantasize about that vacation home on the beach.

You might want to start with Mary Emmerling’s Beach Cottages. Filled with gorgeous photos, the houses featured range from formal to casual, historic to modern with a wide variety of decorating styles. The common denominator throughout though is water – crystal, sparkling blue water. It’s not hard to imagine the gritty feel of sand underfoot, the salty tang of the ocean in the air, the call of gulls overhead.

It’s almost as good as being there.

Decoration Day

PeoniesTo many people, the last Monday in May signals the unofficial start of the summer season, but its origin is somewhat more serious. First observed to honor the fallen soldiers of the Civil War, Memorial Day has evolved to honor all men and women who have died in military service. Its original name, Decoration Day, reflects the purpose of the day – to decorate, with flags and flowers, the graves of soldiers and family.

I still remember tagging along with my grandparents as they would load up the car with clippers, trowels, jugs of water and pots of geraniums and drive to two or three tiny rural cemeteries where various members of the family have been buried. Memorial Day was an ideal time to neaten up the gravesite, add some colorful flowers and take a few minutes to remember. Many of the graves in these old cemeteries were decorated with plantings of iris and peonies. In fact, peonies used to be called Decoration Day flowers, they are such reliable late May bloomers.

Peonies are easy to add to any garden, big or small. They’re beautiful, fragrant, easy to grow, virtually care free. And they have the added bonus of making excellent cut flowers. Find out more about the breathtaking variety available and get lots of ideas of how to add them to your landscape in Peonies by Pamela McGeorge which is loaded with beautiful photos and excellent advice. (And no, ants aren’t a problem with peonies. Don’t get me started!)

Now, let’s get on with summer!

New DVD’s for June at the Library

Bucket List – Corprate billionaire Edward Cole and working class mechanic Carter Chambers have nothing in common except for their terminal illnesses. While sharing a hospital room together, they decide to leave it and do all the things they have ever wanted to do before they die according to their bucket list. In the process, both of them heal each other, become unlikely friends, and ultimately find the joy in life. IMDB

The Other Boleyn Girl – A sumptuous and sensual tale of intrigue, romance and betrayal set against the backdrop of a defining moment in European history: two beautiful sisters, Anne and Mary Boleyn, driven by their family’s blind ambition, compete for the love of the handsome and passionate King Henry VIII. IMDB

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