Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Mr. Tender's Girl by Carter Wilson


Quite possibly there's no worst feeling than be watched, scrutinized or stalked. Mr. Tender's Girl captures the nightmare of being observed by a group of online "fans." 

At fourteen, Alice Hill is a victim of a horrible crime. Her father's creation, Mr. Tender, the devious hero of the eponymous graphic novel, has inspired two of her friends to stab her. 

To escape the media and the sensationalism of the crime, Alice, who is British, changes her name and goes to America. 

She thinks this is enough to protect her anonymity until a strange package arrives--the last book in the Mr. Tender series.

Her father, who died in London, never finished the Mr. Tender series. In fact, he never penned another drawing after the vicious attack on his daughter occurred. So, where did the package, postmarked from England, come from? 

The graphic novel is mostly blank but a few frames depicted her apartment in Manchester, MA convince Alice someone is watching her. 

She discovers that she is the "star" of an underground online community that have been discussing her case for years. They have been collecting and posting photographs of her, her house, her coffee shop.

But that's not all. Alice is also being stalked by an associate of an ex-boyfriend who tries to extort money from her. The associate comes to the coffee shop demanding cash or he will implicate Alice in her ex's crimes.

This is a taut, psychological thriller that was inspired by two true life events--the Slenderman stabbings and the Theo Van Gogh killing in Amsterdam.

What I liked best about this novel was the character development of Alice. Though she is a victim and isolated in the beginning, she emerges as a self-aware protagonist who is in charge of her own life.

Friday, June 1, 2018

June is Audiobook Month

Digital audio books may be checked out with a library card from Overdrive and Recorded Books. 

To find digital audio books you can check out, go to the library website, http://www.rockwallcountytexas.com/library

Choose Resources
Choose Databases and Downloads
Choose Overdrive or RBDigital Audiobooks

Audio books are a good way to try new genres and authors. Try this audio book which was named Audio book of the year, Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders, narrated by Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, and others.





More award winning audio titles can be found on the Audio Publisher Association's website, https://www.audiopub.org/winners/2017-audies-1







Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Photo Sharing Sites and Apps

Best sites and apps for sharing pictures online are Flickr, Instagram, SmugMug, Google Photos, 500px.com, Wix.com. 

Though there is a free level, some of the sites--Flickr, SmugMug, 500px, and Wix.com--have a paid plan as well. 

Decide if you need a basic or paid plan. An excellent article on this topic called "Best Ways to Share Your Spring Flowers Pictures" can be found at TechBoomers.com.




unsplash-logoBrooke Lark

Monday, May 21, 2018

Book Review: Mother, Mother

Mother Mother by Koren Zailckas


After a drug-fueled night that Violet has trouble 
remembering, she is sent to a mental health clinic. 
Her mother, Josephine, insists that she has tried to hurt her brother, Will.

Though she can't remember the incident, Violet thinks she has been framed. 
She does not believe she would intentionally hurt Will.

What happened that night is slowly unfolds through the eyes of two of the novel's 
characters, William and Violet. 

Rose, who ran away from home before the incident, has her own emotional problems. 
Though readers never get her point of view, she blames her mother for pressuring 
her to have an abortion--a decision that has left her emotionally scarred. 

Trapped in lock down, Violet has a hard time discerning what is happening at home. 
She tries to contact Rose because she thinks her sister is on her side.  

Violet's yearns to be emancipated from her psychopathic mother, Josephine. 
This wish becomes even stronger when she learns the depth of her mother's deceit. 

Zailckas is a writer to watch; this novel unfolds slowly and the
though the characters are deeply flawed, they ring true. 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Going on a trip?


Going on a trip this summer? Don't forget that you can use your library card to checkout digital audiobooks from Overdrive or Recorded Books (RBDigital).

Audiofile prints a list of exceptional audiobooks, Earphones Award winners. https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/earphones-awards/

If you're going on a family trip, you can find award-winning audiobooks for children and young adults.
http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/odysseyaward

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Dark Matter is an unforgettable novel with a horrifying premise. Kidnapped at gunpoint by an unknown assailant, Jason Dessen is forced to drive to an abandoned power station. He is given a drug that knocks him unconscious.

Later, Jason wakes to find that his assailant has hijacked his life.  Jason finds himself questioned by a room full of strangers. 

Years ago, Jason had abandoned his scientific research to become a professor at an average university and have a family. Waking up in this aberrant world, Jason realizes that none of the life he knows and loves has ever happened. 

In this parallel world, Jason pursued scientific research. He ended his relationship with his girlfriend before she had his son, Charlie. 

Using a device (a "box") his alternate self created, Jason escapes. He hopes to find his previous life, even if it means looking for one life among infinite lives. While taking a trip through the multiverse, Jason is met with danger, heartbreak, and surprises.

The novel asks several philosophical questions that are chilling in their implications. Overall, this is an entertaining thriller, even if there are a few quibbles and unanswered questions.  

Dark Matter will soon become a feature film. 

If you like Dark Matter, you may also like Connie Willis' Cross Talk, Audrey Niffennegger's The Time Traveler's Wife, Ursula LeGuin's The Lathe of Heaven, Mike Dellosso's Centralia.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Lariat Reading List

This past Thursday I attended the Lariat Book Roundup at Texas Library Association. Authors Benjamin Ludwig, Matt Goldman and Lisa Wingate were there.

Each of the presentations was warm, funny, and inspirational. Ludwig who has won many awards for Ginny Moon said he wanted to write about a kid looking for her own voice. 

Ludwig is a teacher and he comes across many kids who don't speak out in class because of their troubling circumstances. 

For reasons that make sense only to her Ginny tries to get her biological mother to kidnap her from her foster family. 

The second presenter used to write television screenplays for Seinfeld but has since turned his attention toward murder mysteries. 

His mystery, Gone to Dust, features Nils Shapiro who is faced with an enigmatic situation--a body covered in vacuum dust.

Goldman admits that one of the main reasons he added this detail to his crime novel was he hoped to baffle fans of CSI.

Though he no longer writes comedies Goldman makes his characters relatable and quirky.

Before We Were Yours has been on the New York Times best seller lists since August 2017. Lisa Wingate explained that she first ran across the story of Georgia Tann while watching a history documentary. 

Wingate brings the character of Rill and the other "river rats" to life as only she can. Since Rill is the oldest, she feels responsible for the plight of her siblings. She feels doubly devastated when she and the others are taken to the Tennessee Children's Home Society.

The story of these siblings and the later generation that reconnects with them is a rare achievement.

For more books on the Lariat Reading list, please go to,

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