Reuniting for Love: Second-Chance Romances

by Jocelyn (SnoIsleLib_JocelynR)

Tropes, commonly used themes or storylines, are the backbone of many romance novels. This isn’t a bad thing; use of these tropes gives readers an idea of what they’re getting into before they even crack open a book. Alternately, it lets them know to steer clear if it’s a trope they don’t care for. Today, let’s talk about the second-chance romance trope. In a second-chance romance, the main characters had a past romantic relationship that failed. Maybe they were young lovers who were separated, a couple whose romance faded away, or perhaps it was the wrong time, wrong place…These stories explain why the couple broke up, and show us how they face their issues to mend their relationship.

Why are these novels appealing? They tend to be deeply emotional reads, although some still manage to have a light tone. Second-chance romances also remind us that people and circumstances can change, that sometimes life gives us a chance to learn from the past and grow into the person we’d like to be. One idea that often runs through these novels is that the time the couple spent apart allowed them to gain wisdom and maturity, which makes their relationship even better (and helps them to forgive past transgressions and issues). While it could take years (or centuries if it’s a paranormal romance), the happily-ever-after from these books leaves readers feeling satisfied.

If you’re ready to give a second-chance romance a try, take a look at the titles below or at this list.

Dark Skye – Kresley Cole
Though centuries have past since Thronos, Lord of Skye Hall, lost the one woman meant for him, nothing can cool his never-ending need for Melanthe. She was the girl he loved and lost as a boy, the girl who nearly destroyed him. Lanthe, a once-powerful sorceress struggling to reclaim her gifts, searches for love and acceptance with all the wrong immortal suitors. But she’s never forgotten Thronos, the fallen angel who protected her until she was ripped from the shelter of his arms. Friends to enemies to . . . lovers? With their families at war and the world burning around them, will they succumb to the brutal chaos that threatens everything they cherish? Or can the two rekindle their childhood love in time?

Rock Redemption – Nalini Singh
Kit Devigny could have loved rock guitarist Noah St. John but he deliberately shattered her heart. He knows he destroyed something precious when he chose to betray her, but he’d rather she hate him than learn his darkest secret.

Not Quite a Husband – Sherry Thomas
Their marriage lasted only slightly longer than the honeymoon–to no one’s surprise, not even Bryony Asquith’s. A man as talented, handsome, and sought after by society as Leo Marsden couldn’t possibly want to spend his entire life with a woman who rebelled against propriety by becoming a doctor. Why, then, three years after their annulment and half a world away, does he track her down at her clinic in the remotest corner of India?

This Heart of Mine – Brenda Novak
Unable to prove her innocence, Phoenix Fuller was sent to prison for running down a romantic rival. Now, after serving her 17-year sentence, Phoenix wants to return to Whiskey Creek and get to know her son, Jacob. But Jacob’s father, Riley, isn’t exactly welcoming.

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OverDrive Big Library Read

by Marina

OverDrive‘s next Big Library Read (BLR) starts on Monday, June 12. For the next two weeks there will be no-wait checkouts of The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict.

Mitza Maric has always been a little different from other girls. Most twenty-year-olds are wives by now, not studying physics at an elite Zurich university with only male students trying to outdo her clever calculations. But Mitza is smart enough to know that, for her, math is an easier path than marriage. And then fellow student Albert Einstein takes an interest in her, and the world turns sideways. Theirs becomes a partnership of the mind and of the heart, but there might not be room for more than one genius in a marriage. –from the publisher

Touted as the first global eBook club, OverDrive facilitates BLR forums for discussion on the book as a way to connect millions of readers around the globe. The author, Marie Benedict, will be participating in the discussions and there is also an interview with her by the Professional Book Nerds.

Check-out and download your copy today. And join in the online discussion through June 26.

In case you’re curious about any of the past Big Library Reads, OverDrive has an archive of the titles.

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Urban Fantasy Spotlight: Fever

by KP

Big City Life with a Side of the Supernatural.

Have you ever been curious about urban fantasy? Exactly what is it? In general, urban fantasy novels are set in contemporary times, and contain supernatural elements. One Friday out of each month, I’ll highlight an urban fantasy book for the interested.

Welcome to another edition of Urban Fantasy Spotlight. It’s nearly summer, and I’m due for a much needed vacation. With all our supernatural creatures roaming America, why not discover what paranormal delights our international friends have to offer?

We trade in zombie rumbas for sexy sidhe and Irish mystique with Karen Marie Moning’s Darkfever.

This U/F/S title pits MacKayla “Mac” Lane, a small town Southern girl, against the devious might of the Unseelie and their powerful talismans, including a sentient book of corrupting power.

At the bequest of her murdered sister, MacKayla travels to Ireland.

She’s way out of her element. Mac’s used to sunshine and Southern hospitality, not unintelligible Irish accents and brusque manners. She’s especially not used to monsters that prey on the populace and whom everyone else ignores.

When Mac discovers that she has the rare ability to see through Fae magic, she’s marked for death. She must fight for survival–all while trying to discover who, or what, killed her sister.

The Fever series is one of those urban fantasies that keeps getting better and better. I picked up the book because, like Mac, I’m a Georgia gal.

I quickly discovered I hated her.

In the beginning, everything about Mac’s personality felt like ice against my teeth. I found her selfish and annoying. But as the book and series progresses, Mac changes. She trades her signature pink for black. Her optimism for pessimism. She sheds the Southern belle and emerges as something darker, something ruthless.

And I loved it.

Mac’s development and the darkly sexy, at times devastating plot twists, make this series one of my all time favorites.

If Darkfever sounds like the book for you, try a few sample pages. As always, feel free to drop a comment about what you’re reading!

Stay tuned for the next installment of U/F/S where we journey to the land down under to take selfies with koalas, and follow a dhampir detective as she investigates rumors of a group harvesting nonhumans in order to clone the ultimate warrior . . . .
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The Perfect Pair: Board Games and Books

By Kaley

Starting a round of Scythe.

I love reading, but I am also completely obsessed with board games. I meet up with a group of friends every week and we dive into another world. We start wars and build armies, we come up with ways to defeat a pandemic, evil monsters, and robots; or we just try to make each other laugh by creating the worst possible date imaginable.

Educators have embraced board games as a tool to help strengthen skill development. It’s a sneaky way to have fun while learning, much like getting lost in a great book. If you’re a fellow bibliophile who has a deep appreciation for tabletop games, it is officially your lucky day. Below you’ll find that I’ve picked a few popular games and paired them with a book. Get ready to explore some strange universes. I hear it’s dangerous to go alone though, so this time take a few friends.

If you like Scythe…

The Forever EngineThe game, Scythe, is wildly popular right now. Set in an alternate history 1920s era in which all players are fallen leaders. They must conquer territories, enlist new recruits, increase your popularity, farm resources, build structures, and activate huge mech-machines to gain as many points as possible. Similar to Scythe, The Forever Engine is set in alternate-history Europe but several decades earlier. Jack Fargo is sent back in time from 2018 to 1888 after a mysterious temporal explosion. Despite wanting to get back home to his daughter, Jack must stop what will surely be the end of several worlds if the Old Man in the Mountain successfully finishes his devastating device. The writer of The Forever Engine also co-created and RPG called Space:1889 set in the world of this book.

If you Like Terraforming Mars…

Red Mars Terraforming Mars is a strategy game in which huge corporations (the players) are trying to make Mars habitable. The Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson​ is a great pairing for this game! The first of the series starts with Red Mars​ when scientist have colonized Mars and bring about a new world. Since they’re completely changing this planet, there is the question of whether they’re activities there is an ecological crime or what must happen next in human evolution.

If you like Pandemic…

InfectedPerennial favorite Pandemic requires players to work as a team to defeat global pandemics to save humanity. Scott Sigler’s novel Infected features a CIA operative and epidemiologist working together to stop a disease that is turning docile citizens into murderers.

If you like Captain Sonar…

 The Mathews MenCaptain Sonar​ is an intense cooperative RPG wartime game that requires players to work together to sink an enemy sub before they can destroy you. If naval battles and moving stories are your thing, consider picking up The Mathews Men. Tasked with delivering supplies to American military, merchant marines often fought various rough conditions without protection despite being such a vulnerable target by Hitler’s U-boats. William Geroux has meticulously researched one family’s allegiance during the war by sending seven of their sons to act as marine merchants.

I could easily go on forever about these match-ups, so there’s a few more in my list below.

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Searching for John Fahey

by David

John Fahey is a mystery, a conundrum and possibly a genius — and one of my Top Three acoustic guitar players. (The other two are Tony Rice and Norman Blake — more on them in a later post.)

John Fahey collected 78’s, and he drew a great deal of influence from the blues, rags and country music he found. Fahey isn’t a flashy picker — he wouldn’t win Fastest Guitar in the West — but it’s the way he combined these disparate musical elements of American folk with hints of Indian ragas and classical music that makes him unique.  Further left of field, he released several albums of Christmas music on acoustic guitar. Strictly traditional — not a Rudolph or a Frosty in the bunch. It was very original at the time, but the deluge of Solo Everything began. Fahey was adamant that he was in no way responsible for the Windham Hill industry of “new age” music.

A good introduction to Fahey’s world are “The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death” and “Death Chants, Breakdowns and Military Waltzes” (ever one for the catchy title was our John). These are more traditional, less experimental than later releases.  “The Best of John Fahey Volume One” collects similar pieces.

By the time of John’s 4th album, “The Great San Bernardino Birthday Party and Other Excursions“, he was beginning to stretch the folk boundaries — there’s a bit of backwards guitar on this one. Further down the road, we get “Of Rivers and Religion” (additional musicians, Dixieland flourishes) and “America” (much longer pieces, classical transcriptions).

John’ s personal story took a darker turn (diabetes, divorce, Epstein-Barr syndrome) but “The Best of John Fahey, Vol. 2” is still a fine collection, including some rare and previously unreleased songs. John died in 2001 after a sextuple-bypass operation, but I like to think his unfettered approach to classic American styles lives on.




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Television Spies and Spooks

by Michelle C.

There is something incredibly fun and romantic about the notion of spies (although I imagine the reality is a lot less exciting). Unlike with a James Bond film, in television there is so much that can be developed with the spy thriller. Some of my favorite spy shows use humor and absurdity to bring a breath of fresh air to the genre. Shows like Chuck, Get Smart, Burn Notice, and Archer do not get bogged down in the seriousness of espionage. They delight in the humor.

Other shows like La Femme Nikita, Alias, and Dollhouse show the power of strong female leads. James Bond isn’t the only spy who gets to show off his cool gadgets, cars, and personas.

Still more shows develop the psychological and physical effects of being a spy. The Americans and The Game are intense and plot driven, but also give time to developing the characters. They show how relationships can falter or grow stronger based on what is happening within the spy universe.

What are some of your favorite spy movies and TV shows? Check out the ones mentioned on the list Television Spies and Spooks.




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LibraryReads List June 2017

by Marina

Well, the trend of books about parents losing their kids continues in June’s collection of LibraryReads titles. Not to continue to bring the list down, there’s also a requisite World War II historical novel on there. But this list has some beautiful book covers!

In keeping with the new format introduced last month we’ve got the book with the highest number of votes in the first spot–Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz. The rest of them follow in a particular order–alphabetical. I hope you find something that suits your taste . . . or maybe there’s one that inspires you to move outside your reading comfort zone.

What’s on the top of YOUR list?

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Armchair Travel: Inspiration and Memories

by Denise 

Last month, I shared my thoughts on travel guides. But what if you don’t know where you want to go? Or can’t easily travel? The library can still help. We have materials that let you travel without leaving your couch.


Photos are a traditional media for armchair travel. Postcards, vacation slideshows, travel photo albums, Facebook posts, Instagram shares, Snapchat snaps– technologies change, but the transporting power of photographs remains. One of the newest ways to take photos is by drones. These small, lightweight quadcopters offer aerial views once limited to birds and planes. Quadcopter photography enthusiasts share their art on the website Dronestagram. You, however, don’t need to be a quadcopter enthusiast to get a birds’ eye view of the world. Just check out this groundbreaking book.

National Geographic


If you’ve ever cracked open a National Geographic publication, you probably agree with Director of Photography Dan Westergren’s description of their photographers as “experience collectors” who “find the true essence of a place.” Add their writers’ travel expertise and you get some top-quality armchair travel. Destinations of a Lifetime takes you to 225 of the world’s most amazing places. What is your ideal travel destination? Wild nature, human-made wonders, seashores, mountains, or towns that mix cultural offerings with beautiful scenery? Whatever your preference, you’ll find plenty of travel inspiration inside!



Not up for arduous travel to remote locales on the off chance you might see something truly remarkable? Luckily for you, National Geographic photographers have done all the hard work. Super storms, two-headed frogs, 138 skydivers holding hands, microscopic insects, out-of-this-world trees, and hidden gems of indescribable beauty. It’s all here. A delight for the curious armchair traveler.




Want more National Geographic? We have guidebooks, magazines, DVDs and a whole database of National Geographic insight.

…and Memory Recollection

As a librarian for older adults, one of the things I like about National Geographic is the fact that older adults often remember it from their younger days. The iconic yellow-framed magazine (once wrapped in brown paper) has been bringing the world to curious readers since 1897. Then president Alexander Graham Bell demanded that the magazine appeal to a wide range of readers, not just scientists.

(Check out this photo of The National Geographic Magazine from February 1921. We found this gem during a bookmobile stop at a retirement community.)

When older adults recognize things from their younger days, it might help with dementia care. Books with colorful photographs, especially photographs of familiar places and things, could stimulate and engage customers with dementia.

One in three older adults dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. More than 15 million Americans provide uncompensated care for those with dementia. For these people, armchair travel can be more than fun. It can be therapy.

What inspires you to travel? Have you ever used books to connect to the older adults in your life? What engaged them?

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Plague-Ridden Reads

by Lindsey

“Bring out yer dead!” Who can forget this classic scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail?

History has shown us that humanity does not fair well during times of plague and pestilence. I don’t know why I love reading about pandemics and epidemics. It’s a morbid subject. The decimated populations, the crime stemming from the chaos, the horrific descriptions of the afflicted. I have always enjoyed reading about survival and loss, but since my tastes run toward historical fiction rather than apocalyptic science fiction, I prefer reading about events that actually took place. Even when it’s not the primary subject of a story, infectious disease adds color and context to an historical setting, helping readers better understand it.

Company of Liars by Karen Maitland

This book reads like a darker version of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. A band of nine people – among them a peddler, a minstrel, and a cranky magician – in 14th century England cross a bleak landscape as they attempt to outrun the Black Death. Each of them are outcasts for one reason or another. Each of them possesses a dark secret. Like “Canterbury Tales,” this suspenseful novel is structured as a series of interwoven tales. The details of medieval life are rich and well-informed, and the ending is a surprise!

The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer

This is a new novel in which a neurosurgeon is ripped out of time and transported to 14th century Italy. Her rare literacy skills (for a woman of that time) earn her the role as scribe for the local monastery and hospital. It is both a time travel romance (she falls in love with an artist but the physics of time travel are not important in this novel) and a captivating, realistic portrait of a medieval city beset by the bubonic plague. This engrossing read may appeal to fans of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

This one takes us back to 1666 England where a bolt of infected cloth ravages an isolated country village. Through the eyes of young housemaid Anna Frith we see the devastation caused by the bubonic plague, which not only claims lives but turns neighbor against neighbor. Anna manages to find a reason to persevere through the catastrophe. The prose here is exquisite. Brooks captures so well the feeling of isolation and superstition in this decimated village. She does historical fiction really well, so check her out!

Wickett’s Remedy by Myla Goldberg

The Wicketts are a married couple (Irish immigrant Lydia and shy medical student Henry) who concoct an elixir in early 20th century America, a time when hypochondriacs were clamoring for cure-all potions. The elixir is a tasty placebo; what makes a difference is that Henry writes a personal letter to each suffering patient. Right around this time, America enters World War I and the influenza epidemic hits even harder. A Greek chorus of the dead offers commentary and the book is filled with newspaper articles and letters, but this stylistic format doesn’t detract from the compelling story.

These are just a few fiction highlights. I created a longer list of additional titles on this theme. My co-worker Jennifer created a different list for nonfiction books about diseases. I hope you find them… infectious.

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Exploring Washington

by Liz

Rain or shine, we are not at a loss for natural beauty here in Washington state. I would even go so far as to say we live in the most beautiful state in the nation. Now as a life-long Washingtonian I may be a bit biased, but seriously…have you looked outside lately? Mountains, water, city skylines, and all those shades of green…Beautiful! And with the weather warming up, many of us are putting our winter hobbies on hold and venturing out to enjoy the sights. The library has many hiking, climbing, and camping guides to help you on your way. Being surrounded by trees not really your thing? Or are you simply looking for a different way to experience the Evergreen State? The library also has numerous guide books for that too!

Washington Curiosities by Harriet Baskas

Squirrel bridges in Longview…Outhouse Races in Conconully…Troll Haven in Gardiner…This is your guide to all things weird (and fun!) in Washington state! Looking for a strictly urban experience? There is a Seattle volume too!


Beer Lover’s Washington by Logan Thompson

A guide to the best breweries and brewpubs from all over the state, complete with tasting notes. Visit one, or use the included city itineraries and pub crawl maps to plan a beer-cation!



Ghosts Towns of the Pacifc Northwest by Philip Varney

Need more history in your life? Check out a ghost town or two! Once the boomtowns in our region, these now abandoned towns are rich in history. Includes sites in Oregon and British Columbia as well.

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