Breaking Creed” is the first novel in a new series by best-selling author Alex Kava.  Kava introduced Ryder Creed in a previous novel in her Maggie O’Dell series. Creed, an ex-marine, suffers from PTSD.

Creed owns a business (K9 CrimeScents) with his business partner, Hannah.  He uses his dog handler skills learned as a marine in Afghanistan in his present job of training dogs. He and Hannah rescue stray and unwanted dogs and turn them into K9s capable of undertaking a variety of search-and-rescue operations.

He and his dogs made national headlines for intercepting drugs being smuggled through Atlanta’s airport. Because of this, they have captured the unwanted attention of a major drug cartel.

When the story opens, Creed (along with Grace, his beloved Jack Russell terrier) is working with the Coast Guard to search a commercial fishing vessel for drugs; however, instead of drugs, Grace discovers human cargo.  Small, frightened children, hidden beneath the fishing boat’s floorboards, are evidence of a human trafficking operation.

Matters worsen for Creed when he helps one of the cartel’s “drug mules” escape — a 14-year-old girl who reminds him of his younger sister who disappeared 15 years ago without a trace.

Meanwhile, FBI profiler Maggie O’Dell is investigating a series of vicious murders with victims not only killed but brutally tortured. Her case leads her to the drug cartel and Creed. When she discovers Creed’s name on the cartel’s hit list, Maggie and Creed join forces in a race against time to investigate who is trying to destroy him and those close to him.

In “Silent Creed,” the second novel in the series, Creed and his Rhodesian Ridgeback, Bolo, are hired for a search-and-rescue operation in North Carolina. Torrential rains have led to devastating mudslides burying everything in their paths.

Upon arriving at the scene, Creed and Bolo immediately get to work, attempting to find survivors in the face of Mother Nature’s deadly forces. As rain continues to fall, debris and toxic household substances pose hazardous for Creed and Bolo.

A top-secret government research facility is believed to be one of the casualties from the disaster. It is feared that deadly toxins from the facility may have been released during the mudslides.

Meanwhile, there are congressional hearings taking place in Washington, D.C., regarding the government’s secret experiments and use of biological and chemical weapons on military personnel and innocent civilians during the Cold War years. Project 12 and Project Shad are two such secret tests mentioned by Kava.

When dead military medics from the government facility are discovered, each with a bullet to the head, the search takes on a new twist. Questions arise about the real purpose of the mission. Is this an attempt at a cover-up by certain government
politicians?

The FBI sends Maggie O’Dell to investigate the murders. She and Creed team up in order to discover what has been taking place at this research facility. A month has passed since they last worked together to break the drug cartel. Chemistry exists between the two, and both are happy to be working together again. Maggie plays a major character in the Ryder Creed series despite having her own series.

Kava provides detailed accounts of the ways in which canine handlers train air-scent and multi-task dogs to locate survivors and corpses, and distinguish smells such as viruses, cancer and different types of illegal drugs. Not only is the author a terrific storyteller, it’s obvious that she had done a lot of research for her writing.

Both novels provide great storylines with well-developed characters, both human and canine. Dog-lover or not, I think you will enjoy these brave, talented and lovable canine characters.

The descriptive settings are great, and the two action-packed thrillers are both intriguing and engrossing. Both can be read as stand-a-lone novels; however, I did read them in order and was grateful to have the back-story. I’m already looking forward to the next installment in the series. The Ryder Creed novels are available at the Joplin Public Library.

On a personal note, this is my last review. I am looking forward to retirement after working for the Joplin Public Library for 33 years.  By the time you read this review, I will have already worked my last day. Thank you for reading!

I was mildly curious when I saw The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House by Kate Andersen Brower, so I had a look. It was a New York Times bestseller, so apparently I’m not the only curious one.

Brower spoke to former White House staff, primarily the “backstairs” folks, including staff who served from the Kennedy administration up to and including the Obama administration or parts between. She had her work cut out for her, given that the White House staff is legendary for their discretion. They could certainly tell a lot more stories than appear here, and almost all of them are given to putting the best light on things, even the less sunny incidents. That said, there is certainly some interesting domestic material on First Family members here. You might not be surprised to find that Nancy Reagan is a fearsome taskmaster, but you might be surprised to read how she spoke to her husband on occasion. The Clinton White House, not to wonder at, was more contentious than most.

While the main interest in the book for most is probably the personal stories about presidents and their families, a substantial portion of the book is really about how things work at the White House and what it’s like to work there. The enormous pride that the staff take in their jobs is the biggest payoff they get. Given the cost of living in Washington, the long and often peculiar hours worked, and the ever-present threat of possible attacks from terrorists or other assassins, I’m sure I would find the salary insufficient for the task, but about 96 full-time and 250 part-time staff (ushers, chefs and other kitchen staff, maids, florists, butlers, doormen, painters, carpenters, electricians, engineers and, Iest we forget, calligraphers) manage to make it work.

I had never given much thought to the transition of the White House between one administration and the next, but it was rather mind-blowing. Evidently, about 95% of the move out of the White House and the move in occur between about eleven in the morning when the outgoing First Family departs for the inauguration and about five in the afternoon when the incoming family arrives to prep for the evening’s festivities. Since it would take too much effort to run security checks on moving company staffs, the White House staff takes care of everything, down to the last toothbrush. Having nearly recovered from a move of my own that took place a year and a half ago and for which I had several days, I can hardly imagine what kind of ordeal that must be, particularly if you have to do it every four or eight years!

The emotional toll, however, seems to be the greatest challenge most of the staff face. Knowing that the current family will only be there, at the most, eight years does not seem to soften the blow felt when they do leave. Politics don’t seem very important to most of the long-term staff. Those who are partisan tend to leave (of their own volition or otherwise) fairly early on.

To sum up, The Residence is a very interesting look at both the operations of the White House and the foibles of some of the residents who have lived there over the last 50 years. You can read it yourself to find out all about Lyndon Johnson’s shower obsession, Jackie Kennedy’s response to her sudden widowhood, and what chaos ensued at the White House on 9/11. It’s an interesting and little-covered piece of American history.

Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne

Teen Fiction

Kyra is a thief. And she’s a pretty good one. She’s incredibly stealthy and can climb better than anyone in the city of Forge, which means she can get by on her own even though things aren’t always easy.

Despite her early beginnings living on the streets, she has made a relatively nice life for herself. She rents a room in the Drunken Dog and has a makeshift family consisting of her friend Flick and Bella, their quasi-surrogate mother, who works as the cook at the Drunken Dog. Kyra is determined to help two young girls living on the street in the same way that Flick helped her, but her devotion to these girls makes it more and more difficult to make her coin last from job to job.

The promise of a steady and lucrative income from the mysterious and handsome James makes an offer to work for the Assassins Guild impossible to resist. Once Kyra joins the Assassins Guild, she is eager to prove herself. She performs each job–breaking into the Palace undetected and stealing information–quickly and well, not thinking about the repercussions of her actions.

Meanwhile, Tristam, a young Palace knight, has made it his life’s goal to rid the city of Forge of the Demon Rider barbarians whose giant cats wreak havoc and terror with every new attack. As the Demon Rider attacks increase and their complex pattern is revealed, Tristam realizes he must also thwart the Palace thief who is sharing information with the enemy.

Told from the alternating third person perspective of Kyra and Tristam, “Midnight Thief” is an action-packed series opener. Descriptions of Kyra’s exploits, Tristam’s encounters with the Demon Riders, and life in Forge are vivid and compelling. Blackburne’s character development is a strong-point in the book. Kyra’s status and struggle in Forge are fully realized. Once she and Tristam meet, the juxtaposition of their lives gives both characterizations strength and credibility.

I read both the bound book and the audiobook. The audiobook version of “Midnight Thief,” narrated by Bianca Amato, is well done, though it took me some time to get used to (and like) her narration. Amato differentiates character voices well especially considering half of the book is from Tristam’s perspective. I appreciated her talent with accents since Kyra and Tristam have lower and upper-class accents (respectively) and the Dragon Riders’s speech is described as “slightly accented.” This helped me visualize the events and the characters even better.

“Midnight Thief” is recommended to fans of fantasy set in a feudalist society. Readers of Tamora Pierce’s Beka Cooper series will like this one as well.

Sixteen-year-old Lottie’s home life is not the same since her father died. She is desperate to keep anyone from knowing and joins the school baking club to ‘get back on track’ and keep the school from visiting her home.

She finds her love of baking, that others in the group also have secrets, and a rebel named Mac. Can her budding romance with Mac survive the big bake-off and all the lies Lottie must tell to keep her home life secret? Katy Cannon’s first young adult novel, Love, Lies and Lemon Pies, is a fun summer read and can be found in the Ebsco eBook Collection.

Before offering the MoLib2Go Overdrive collection of eBooks the Library had a small collection from Ebsco. Through our affiliation with the state consortium, MoreNet, that collection just got bigger and better.  Library users now have an additional 41,783 titles in the Ebsco collection.

These titles will check out for 21 days and unlimited simultaneous use means you will never have to wait to use one.

To highlight the diversity of titles available I did a keyword search for lemon. In addition to Lottie’s story my search brought up a list of diverse titles. Here are a few of the results.

Lemons Into Limoncello by Raeleen Mautner is a self-help book with an Italian twist. After the death of her husband Mautner used the habits and rituals of her Italian upbringing to not only cope with his death but to emerge stronger. Find out about arranglarsi, the Italian ability to cope by elevating ordinary events to the extraordinary.

The next title is perfect for any of you who like me have a tendency to take less than perfect pictures. When Life Gives You Lemons: Turning Sour Photos Into Sweet Scrapbook Layouts by Sherry Steveson shows you how to take those blurry, dark, poorly famed photos and turn them into perfect layouts for your scrapbook.

If you like biographies Come Home Charley Patton by Ralph Lemons documents southern culture and the Civil Rights Era. Family remembrances, anecdotes and his account of the making of a dance tell the story in this memoir. He visits the sites of lynchings and Civil Rights marches and with descendants of early Southern musicians to pen this final book in his Geography trilogy.

Womanist Forefathers: Frederick Douglass and W.E.B. Du Bois is both biography and social commentary. Gary Lemons uses the memoirs and political writings on women by both of these men to show them as early proponents of female equality.

As you might suspect the search resulted in lots of cookbooks. For those expecting a baby, Tara Desmond’s Full Belly: Good Eats for a Healthy Pregnancy offers recipes and nutritional advice for all 9 months of pregnancy. For those looking for a healthy diet, The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook has more than 200 recipes. Denise Hazime’s easy to follow recipes cover breakfast though dessert.

The book with the most mouth watering cover is Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Desserts. Vegans and even those who don’t following a vegan lifestyle will find a lot to love in Fran Costigan’s all things chocolate recipes.

If you like novels there are plenty in the collection. The Lemon Grove by Ali Hosseini is the story of identical twins Ruzbeh and Behruz who fall for the same woman. Rather than compete with his brother Behruz goes to America. Left behind Ruzbeh becomes involved in the Iran/Iraq War. Behruz’s return to care for shell-shocked Ruzbeh sets off a chain of events that change their lives.

Science Experiments with Food is for the kindergarten through grade 3 ages. Alex Kuskowski uses easily available ingredients with lucid explanations of scientific principles in these fun experiments.

These titles and the other 43,700+ became a part of the library collection on July 1st. You can download any title by creating a free Ebsco account and using Adobe epub.  The books are available in the epub format or as a PDF.

I encourage you to explore this collection found under Reference then Online Resources on the library webpage. There is something for everyone and if you have questions call the Reference Department, we are happy to help.

Summer is traditionally a time for travel.  Now that the summer reading program is finished, some of us

at the library are ready for a trip.  Others here have already gotten a few days of rest and relaxation

earlier in the summer.

There have been road trips to see grandkids and family, quick trips to Branson, or even escapes to the

British Isles.  Time away from work is good for the body and soul.

We try to make planning these trips easier by providing a wide variety of travel guides and books

featuring specific parts of the United States and world.

The travel publishing industry has changed, however, in recent years.  No longer do the “big” travel

publishers publish a new version of their destinations each year.  It is increasingly difficult for Linda, our

Collection Development Librarian, to find to up-to-date travel books.

That may explain why you may find some older travel books on our shelves – the ones there are the

most recent we’ve been able to find!

Frommer’s, Fodor’s, Rick Steves and Lonely Planet are the biggies in travel industry publishing, but even

the “Dummies” series are in on the action!  In each of their books you can find treasures and warnings

about what sites are “must sees” and what sites you can safely skip out on.

These travel experts have published about any area you can think of.  They write on everything from

“the big picture” (i.e., continents) to individual countries, even on specific towns (think London, New

York, Montreal).

I’m reading a couple of Rick Steves’ books on London and Great Britain right now.  I now know in Great

Britain to use ATMs that are in front of banks, not freestanding ones not with a bank – those charge

exorbitant service fees.

I know the tips on cell phone usage within a county.  Steves just takes an unlocked cell phone, purchases

a SIM card in-country and uses it minimally by turning off data and cell service except when he needs to

make a call.

Steves is giving me suggestions on lodging (hostels or hotels?).  And what is the difference?  It turns out

hostels aren’t only for those under 25 years old who are wandering around the world with no idea

where they are headed next.  Hostels are for families, couples or seniors, too!

The books I’m now reading have introduced me home-sharing through a network of B & B’s or folks just

renting out their extra bedroom.  (I’ll tell you how that one works out after my next trip …)

We also have a selection of travel guide available in e-book format.  Think how easy that will be to just

take your e-reader along.  Not only do you have leisure reading for those non-sightseeing hours, but

believe me, my reader weighs less that Steves’ books.

Besides this, we have a subscription to a travel database called “Global Road Warrior.”  Accessible from

within the library or from home, GRW gives information on 175 nations and territories, including

geography, demographics, culture, society and religion. The database also contains information

travelers would need such as money, security, health, technical and electrical connections, and essential

terms.

There’s a display of travel books up at the library now.  Our book display guru has not only included

travel guides, but also books with tips on traveling with kids and dogs, fiction travel books, travelogues

of others’ travels, and even Steinbeck’s classic, “Travels with Charley: in search of America.”

Come in and find a book that tells of your dream destination.  Just don’t do what Rick Steves suggests

with the copy you check out.  Don’t tear out the pages that interest you the most so you don’t have to

tote the book on your trip.  That sort of thing might make us cranky.

Now, to decide – should it be Morocco or New Zealand???

lost

Seven months ago Trent Zimmerman accidentally hit Jared Richards in the heart with a hockey puck. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to anyone, Jared had a heart defect and the rogue hockey puck killed him. Trent feels solely responsible for the accident and even after working with a school counselor for the remainder of his fifth grade year, he is still carrying around a lot of baggage at the start of his sixth grade school year. Baggage that manifests into unbridled rage that frightens his family and the few friends he has left.

He would like to try to play sports again, especially baseball since it is his favorite game, but every time he tries his arms go clammy and he starts to have trouble breathing. He has not told anyone about these panic attacks and prefers to let people think that he is not interested in participating.

At the suggestion of his elementary school counselor, he tries to deal with some of his emotions by writing and sketching in a journal, but even that offers little relief from the constant thoughts rattling around in his brain. He is sure that most everyone in town hates him and he cannot stop blaming himself for Jared’s death.

He is hopefully though that sixth grade will be the year for a fresh start, however, once he starts school, he is unsure how to make that “start” happen. And then, Fallon Little steps into his life.

Trent has always known of Fallon, they have gone to the same school since first grade and she sports a mysterious scar that slices through the center of her face, but it is not until she stands up to bullies for him that he really takes note of her.
At first Trent resists Fallon’s friendship, but she is not one to be easily put off and soon they are spending afternoons together. It is through this friendship that Trent starts to heal, grow, and eventually realize that while he cannot change the past, he can make better choices for his future.

Author Lisa Graff has knocked it out of the park with this tragic, yet hopefully tale of boyhood. While readers may not identify with such a life altering event, many will be able to empathize with Trent and his flawed decision-making process.

By tackling the subjects of youth rage, anger, and the general feeling of being out of control,Graff has created a noteworthy and welcome addition to today’s chapter book collection. Males, even teenage ones, are supposed to be tough and not show emotions or weakness and Graff illustrates how detrimental this can be with Trent’s character. Thankfully, she allows for some redemption, too, and with the addition of Fallon’s quirky, also damaged character, readers are sure to che

Since I’m a librarian you are probably not surprised that I very much prefer a physical book when reading. The feel, heft and smell are part of the pleasure I get from reading.

However, despite my preference, I cannot deny the convenience of eBooks. Joplin Public Library offers a pretty good selection and it just got bigger and better. Through our affiliation with the state consortium, MOREnet, library users now have an additional 41,792 titles to read and checkout.

Added to the Ebsco eBook Collection already available these titles will check out for 21 days and unlimited simultaneous use means you will never have to wait to for one.

Given the holiday we are celebrating this weekend I searched the collection using “July 4th”. This isn’t a good search to find Fourth of July materials but it’s a great search to highlight the diversity of titles available. Following is a sample of the results from my search.

For children, The Case of the July 4th Jinx by Lewis B. Montgomery, is one of the Milo & Jazz mysteries. Milo and Jazz, detectives in training, find that things are going wrong at the town’s Fourth of July Fair. They will have to follow the clues to find out if it’s a jinx or sabotage!

History scholars can get Slaughter on the Somme, 1 July 1916: The Complete War Diaries of the British Army’s Worst Day by Martin Mace. The Battle of Somme was fought from July 1 to November 18, 1916 between the British and German Empires . An estimated 60,000 British soldiers died on the first day of battle. In this one volume, Mace has assembled the diaries from each of the Corps along the British front who “went over the top” that fateful day.

‘Old Slow Town’: Detroit During the Civil War by Paul Taylor gives a social and political view of the rebellion. Though removed from the battlefields Detroit became a city nearly torn apart by the division between pro-Union and antiwar sentiments. This book explores the effects of this division on the city and the role of the media, including the Detroit Free Press.

Adventurous cooks might enjoy Bake Me I’m Yours ..: Seasonal Push Pop Cakes. Katie Deacon has created some impressive, fun desserts using mini cupcakes and frosting. You’ll get recipes, instructions, and ideas to create push pop cakes for holidays and events throughout the year.

Fans of biographical fiction will find Shame On the Devil: A Novel fascinating. Fanny Fern was a remarkable 19th century novelist, journalist and feminist. Debra Brenegan’s novel is based on her life and includes other historical figures of the era.

If music is an integral part of your life, try Walk Like a Man: Coming of Age with the Music of Bruce Springsteen. Bookstore owner and author Robert Wierseman explores the influence and meaning of music in his life. Songs by Bruce Springsteen take center stage in this autobiographical work.

Poor Folk is the first novella by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Written as letters between the two main characters the author highlights the life of poor people and their relationship with the rich.

The final title is a reference work you may choose to just use and not check out. Holy People of the World: a Cross-Cultural Encyclopedia by Phyllis Jestice spans all the major religions. Over 1100 biographical sketches are included of holy people from around the world.

These titles officially became a part of the library collection on July 1st. The download option was turned off. Our request to allow downloads and for records to add to our catalog may take a few days to fill. So if you don’t see a download link it will be there soon.

I encourage you to explore this collection found under Reference, Online Resources on the library webpage (www.joplinpubliclibrary.org). There is something for everyone and if you have questions call the reference department at 624-5465, we are happy to help.

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