Aug 25

New Books for the Week of August 25th

August 25th, 2014

Summer brings a plethora of new books and an increased amount of reading time for many individuals. As summer winds down and we enter fall (hard to believe September is next week), here are some new books for this last week of August. If your fall is turning out to be busy, these might be good titles to keep in mind for the holiday break, or a cold winter night.

F: A Novel by Daniel Kehlmann 

F: A Novel is about three brothers whose father takes on the occult, with themes of truth, family and the power of fortune.

Harbor Island by Carla Neggers

Neggers is back with her next addition in the Sharpe and Donovan series. Sharpe and Donovan investigate the murder of a woman on a frozen island in the Boston Harbor and must also face do or die questions about their relationship. Before they focus on their relationship however they must outwit one of the smartest killers they’ve ever encountered.

 Her Last Whisper by Karen Robards








When Charlotte Stone is called upon a case involving the Cinderella killer, a predator who lures women to their deaths, she heads to Vegas to follow a lead. But in Vegas she ends up gambling with her life.

Lisette’s List by Susan Vreeland







Lisette and her husband move to Provence to care for a family member and in doing so Lisette must give up her dream of becoming a gallery apprentice. In learning from her husband’s grandfather, Lisette creates a list of vows, taking her on a journey where she learns to forgive the past, to live robustly and to love again. It is a richly imagined story of a woman’s awakening in the south of Vichy France – to the power of art, to the beauty of provincial life and to love in the midst of war.

Lock In by John Scalzi

One of the most popular authors in modern science fiction writes about a time in our near future. In 15 years, a new virus appears, leaving 1% of the population locked in – fully awake and aware but unable to move or respond to stimulus. New technologies appear in an attempt to solve this state, and certainly nobody attempts to misuse it … or do they?

Strange Shores by Arnaldur Indridason







The next installment in the Inspector Erlendur series, Strange Shores begins when a young woman disappears from the fjords of Iceland. Decades later, Erlendur is on the hunt for this woman as well as his lost brother who disappeared in a snowstorm as a child. He comes to realize that many people prefer their crimes to stay buried.

Fives and Twenty Fives by Michael Pitre







This heart-stopping debut novel follows three ex-marines as they battle with their experiences once home. As they struggle to find their place in a world that no longer knows them, they realize the war has left nothing in their lives untouched and that salvation may come from an unexpected quarter.

 Private Down Under by James Patterson and Michael White







Patterson teamed up with White to write this new paperback debut in which the world’s most exclusive detective agency opens a new office in Australia. Within days the agency’s caseload is full, but it is a horrific murder in the suburbs that stretches the team to the limit.

 The Life of Corgnelius and Stumphrey: The Cutest Corgis in the World by Susie Brooks





Corgnelius was living the good life in LA when his new brother Stumphrey came along. The two learned to share the spotlight and a blog written about them became a sensation. Known for their fasion-forward style and love of adventure, these two share their trials and tribulations as they navigate the world in this new book.

 Summer of the Dead by Julia Keller







The third novel featuring the journey of Bell Elkins and her return to her hometown, Summer of the Dead introduces a new character, Lindy Crabtree, who has secrets of her own that threaten to explode into more violence.

Shattered Secrets by Karen Harper








Tess, who was abducted and held captive as a young girl, returns to Cold Creek and is certain she put the past behind her. When she inherits the family home, she must confront the demons that still haunt her and the town. As she learns about another child in the town that goes missing, she is certain it is related to her return and she works with the sheriff to try and save the child and heal her damaged soul.

 The Poppy Factory by Liz Trenow







A captivating story of two young women bound together by two different wars. As the wars have terrible consequences for Jess and Rose, will the poppy factory that was set up to help injured soldiers rescue them both from these heartaches?

The Mill River Redemption by Darcie Chan







Darcie Chan returns to the town of Mill River in a novel of family, self-discovery and forgiveness. A young mother and her daughters move to mill River to build a new life for themselves until a shocking tragedy tears the sisters apart. The sisters return years later to read their mother’s will, which states they must work together to locate a hidden key to a box containing their inheritance. The sisters move back to Mill River for the summer to begin the search, discovering that an even greater treasure awaits them. A perfect book for fans of Maeve Binchy.

 Heroes Are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips






When she was a teenager, he terrified her. Now she is trapped on a snowy island with him off the coast of Maine. While her head says he is still the villain she remembers, her heart is telling her he has changed.



Aug 21

New Books for the Week of August 18th

August 18th, 2014

This week is a big one for releases, including some new books from well known authors.

Adultery: A Novel by Paulo Coelho

From the author of the bestselling novel The Alchemist comes a new novel about a woman attempting to overcome a midlife rut by rediscovering herself in a passionate relationship with a man from her past.

Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher

A professor of creative writing and literature at a small liberal arts college has a life full of woes – his job, his love life, etc. This novel tells his story through a series of hilarious letters of recommendations he is called to write for his students and co-workers at the college.

Haunted by Randy Wayne White

This is the third novel in the Hannah Smith series. In this installment, Smith must investigate a haunted house, finding out that some things are more dangerous than ghosts.

Mean Streak by Sandra Brown

A woman disappears on a mountain road and all eyes turn to her husband, with whom she had a recent argument with. As Emory gains consciousness, she finds herself held captive by a man who will not disclose his name. As time goes on and Emory comes into contact with others, she begins to wonder if this man is in fact her rescuer.

One Kick by Chelsea Cain

Cain is back with a new and less gruesome series featuring Kick Lannigan, a 21 year old who was abducted as a kid. When two kids in her area go missing, she is approached as the one person who can use her past experiences to help rescue the abductees.

The Language of Houses by Alison Lurie

A companion to Lurie’s previously published book The Language of ClothesThe Language of Houses explores how the architecture of buildings and the spaces within them reflect and affect the people who inhabit them.

Windigo Island by William Kent Krueger

Minnesota author William Kent Krueger is back with his 14th novel in the Cork O-Connor series. Cork must battle the rivals of the bloodthirsty Windigo, a mythical beast in the Ojibwe culture, to help find justice for a teenage girl who washed ashore on an island in Lake Superior.

The Story Hour by Thrity Umbrigar


The Story Hour is a novel about friendship, family secrets, forgiveness, and second chances. Maggie, a psychologist, befriends a patient despite the doctor/patient code when she realizes that the woman doesn’t need a shrink but a friend. Their friendship, however, is warped by conflicting expectations and is threatened when revelations come out, forcing them to confront their painful choices.

Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life by William Deresiewicz

This book, written by a Yale professor, takes a look at the direction of American society and the high pressure we place on students to achieve perfection.

A Dancer in the Dust by Thomas H. Cook








Ray Cambell must look back on his time in an African country 20 years earlier when a friend from that time is murdered in New York City. The real connection however might be to his one time lover from Africa who he was unable to keep due to her love of the country.


Aug 12

New Books for the Week of August 11th

August 11, 2014

Starting every Monday, we’ll highlight some of the new books coming out for that week. Many of these books will end up in our library system, however if they do not and you are dying to read them, we can order them through MNLINK, a database that allows patrons to request materials from other libraries in Minnesota when their home library system does not have that item. Best of all – this service is free to those with a library card. You can even order them yourself by using this website or you can stop in or give us a call and we’ll do it for you. Let us know if you’ve read any or are dying to read one by commenting on these posts.

Love Letters: A Rose Harbor Novel by Debbie Macomber

This is the 3rd book in the Rose Harbor series by popular author Debbie Macomber. Macomber celebrates the power of love to inspire hope and mend a broken heart in this new novel.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazakki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami






Tsukuru Tazaki had 4 best friends at school until they decided they didn’t want to ever see him again. Unable to form connections years later, he is encouraged by Sara to find out what happened all those years earlier.

Small Blessings by Martha Woodroof

This debut novel tells a tale of a college profession, a new woman at a bookshop and the 10 year old son he never knew he had.

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell






A captivating story of one family’s desire to restore long forgotten peace and to unearth the secrets hidden in their home.

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins






The third book in the Anna and the French Kiss series by Perkins.

Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray







A debut novel of doubt, faith and preservation in the aftermath of a family tragedy.




Jul 25

Willmar Area Author Round Table

On Saturday, August 2nd from 2-4PM, we will be hosting the second annual Willmar Area Author Round Table at the library. We have 7 authors slatted to attend, all living within about an hour radius of Willmar. The books include fiction, nonfiction, mystery, and romance. This week, I will highlight a little information about the authors and their works. The event will include a panel discussion followed by a meet and greet. All attendees will be entered to win copies of the books authors have chosen to donate. Don’t miss out on your chance to meet these local authors and read their books!

Chuck Brown

 Chuck Brown is a retired corporate manager who has written three novels and numerous short stories that have been published in regional literary magazines. His novels, Barn Dance (2006), The Lake Hayes Regatta (2010), and Dunn Days (2013) are all humorous satires set in fictional Minnesota Locations.

Cynthia Coyle 

Cynthia Coyle resides in Spicer and wrote a book titled My Little “Schnook-Doodles” *A True Story (2014), a personal account of her experiences with Schnook-Doodles, an orphan fawn who lived with her for seven months.

Megan Kiffmeyer 

Megan Kiffmeyer is originally from St. Cloud and now resides with her family in Kimball, MN. Her husband is a firefighter and wrote her novel based on that experience. Her book, Moving On (2014), is about a woman whose firefighter husband dies while responding to a call. She fears finding new love but when sparks fly with a new member of the fire department, she must decide if she will take another chance on a fireman.

Doug Knick 

Doug Knick and his wife are new to the area, moving to Spicer to open up a charter school called DREAM Technical Academy that will open this fall on the MinnWest Technology Campus. His book, The Kingdom of Collectible Treasures (2013), gives the reader an inside look at the job of a pastor, taking readers inside the worship services that serve as backdrops for the stories presented.


Cinda Kohls 

Cinda Kohls is a retired teacher from Nevada who now splits her time between her hometown and her summer cottage, both in Minnesota. Her book, The Narrow Gate (2013), is written under her pen name K.L. Keith. In the book, crime reporter Sophie Stangler, diagnosed with a brain tumor, turns to God for guidance and works to solve what she believes will be her last case. The big question is whether she’ll have enough time.

Arthur Norby 

Arthur Norby is a well known sculptor from New London who has written two books. His first book, Journey – the Art of Arthur Norby (2002), focuses on his sculptors and the transformation of clay into figure. His new book, The Deadly Winter (2014), is a historical narrative about the death of a transient worker that causes one community to be rocked by subsequent tragedies.

Gene Stark 

Gene Stark lives, writes and works in rural Minnesota. He enjoys all sorts of outdoor activities when not engaged in work or writing. He has four books published, all focused on different themes. Flyover Seasons (2011) is a work of poetry that takes the reader on a journey through the seasons of the land. Tracks in the Mud (2012) is a historical memoir that tracks through the times of the wild fur trade in rural mid-America. Water and Dirt (2013) focuses on the hardships and joys of living in Minnesota in the 1960s. His latest novel, Deep Tracks to Follow (2014) is about the bond between humans and canines.


Jul 18

Local Materials

Libraries are curators of local history in addition to providing popular reading material to its users. The Willmar Public Library has a variety of materials focused on local history. Below are a few of the selections that can be found. There are many more materials that can be found and we are more than willing to help find what you are looking for so you can learn about events from Willmar’s history.

Willmar 8

This documentary tells the story of the Willmar 8, women who were driven by sex discrimination to generation a strike, turning into the largest bank strike in American history.

Sculptor in Wood: The Collected Woodcarvings of Fred Cogelow by Fred Cogelow

Fred Cogelow, a famous woodcarver from Willmar, shows his work in this book.

A Legacy of Music: A History of Willmar Orchestras, 1957-2002 by Ruth Polta

Learn about the various orchestras that have history in Willmar.

These are just some of the local history gems that can be found at the public library. Why not take the opportunity to learn about Willmar.


Jul 11

Powerful Books

Powerful Books 

In this article, readers were polled about the most powerful books they’ve read. While we often think of books in terms of likes and dislikes, powerful books are those that leave an impression whether we enjoyed them or not and tend to change our lives. These books tend to be classics and whether you have read them or haven’t, if you are looking for a book with a profound message, check these out. As with classics, I will leave the summary to be found elsewhere as no one can completely summarize the plot and themes of these important books. Many of these have movie adaptations, which might have helped with the powerful component that people were voting on.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

1984 by George Orwell

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood




Jul 03

Whisked Away by a Book

Summer is here is full swing and for many that means spending time outdoors and vacations. Maybe you have vacations planned or maybe, like me, you are staying in town this summer. Fret not! Enjoy one or more of these reads and you will be whisked away to new lands, enjoying the plot or real story of someone else’s vacation. There is nothing better than to live vicariously through someone else, so why not let it be with a great book?

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

This popular book turned movie follows Gilbert as she searches for happiness through Italy, India and Indonesia. The book will have you wishing you were on a vacation that explores the ways of other cultures.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

This book explores the story of Christopher Johnson McCandless, the man who hitchhiked to Alaska and walked into the wilderness near Mount McKinley. He was found dead four months later, and Krakauer explores this bizarre yet fascinating story. Not an upbeat vacation read by any stretch of the imagination but a book you will not want to put down.

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

Mayle moved into his 200-year-old farmhouse with his wife and dogs, realizing a long time dream. He details the experiences he went through and things he learned during this year. This book will transport you to Provence and make you wish you lived in this culture.

Blue Highways: A Journey into America by William Least Heat-Moon

In this book, the author takes the reader on a journey through America’s back roads. Leaving home with nothing but a sense of adventure, Heat-Moon details his journey through the little towns on maps that no one seems to know about. Maybe this will  inspire your next vacation to go visit an unknown town, one of which can’t be too far away.

Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard

Elizabeth sat down to lunch with a Frenchman and never returned home. In this memoir, she details her experiences in France falling in love with a man and French food. This book includes recipes which means you can cook French food right here and feel transported to Europe.


Jun 27

Print to Screen

There have been a plethora of movies based on books that have come out this year and many more are expected in the second half of 2014. While many movies that are derived from books disappoint due to the time constriction of movies, movie adaptations of books are extremely popular, one reason why Hollywood capitalizes on these. For this week, I’ve listed some books that are slated to hit the big screen in the coming months, providing you with some to-read choices to consider before you see the movies.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

This popular Young Adult novel about a utopia will hit the big screen in August. In this community, everyone receives a role and must adhere to that job. Jonah, a 13 year old, is picked to be the next Giver, an extremely important role in society that he must study in order to perform correctly.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Another August Young Adult release, If I Stay follows the life of teenager Mia who is badly injured in a car accident that killed her family. She must make a tough choice, whether to live with the grief or join her family in death.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Most known for her novel Gone Girl (which will be mentioned later in this post), Flynn focuses on a young girl who witnessed the murder of her parents and siblings and helped put her brother behind bars. With individuals seeking to get him out, she is being pumped for details. The movie will be released in September.

This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

This novel, hitting the big screen in September, focuses on a family who hasn’t been together in years but following a death in the family, they spend 7 days together to honor his wish. During this time, things spiral out of control and secrets are revealed, leading to an entertaining story about love, marriage and family.

 The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Another Young Adult book being made into a movie this year, The Maze Runner focuses on a 16 year old boy who wakes up in the middle of a maze and must work with the community in order to escape. The first book in a trilogy, this popular series will sure be a hit at the box office when it comes out in September.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

 On the morning of their anniversary, Nick’s wife Amy goes missing and Nick is the prime suspect. With conflicting evidence, the search continues as the question of what really happened to Amy looms over the heads of all who knew her.

Many of these books are available as audiobooks or ebooks if you prefer a different format. Happy reading and watching!


Jun 20


Mysteries are an extremely popular genre, checked out very frequently. Mystery writers are among the most popular in history, including James Patterson in the present day and Agatha Christie from the past. Mysteries have made their way into popular culture, such as the Sherlock Holmes series. So why are these so popular?

There are many reasons people read mysteries, just like there are a host of reasons people read in general. Here are a few reasons people read mysteries, and feel free to comment and add why you read them if your reasons isn’t listed.

- They provide a safe thrill and adventure.

- In the end, good always overcomes evil.

- The reader becomes part of the solution and is immersed in the experience.

- People like to solve puzzles and mysteries require people to think about what happened and put the clues together.

- Death is explained in a rational way, making death make sense for once.

Many people agree that there are a few basic categories of mysteries. I will break mysteries down into 5 main categories and list popular authors, with links to their books in our catalog, so you can see which type you like to read and authors you may want to explore. As always, if you are looking for other authors in these categories stop by or contact us.

1. Hard Boiled Mysteries – these are tough and gritty and tend to include graphic crime scene descriptions. Authors in this category include James Patterson, Michael Connelly, and Robert B. Parker.

2. Soft Boiled Mysteries – these have realistic stories but the violence and blood is not explicit; they tend to include light humor. Authors include Janet Evanovich and Tana French.

3. Cozy Mysteries – these mysteries are very light and involve an everyday person or amateur detective solving the crime. Popular authors are Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers and Hannah Fluke.

4. Police Procedural – these mysteries include a police officer or private detective (a professional) solving the cases and focus heavily on the methods. P.D. James and Tony Hillerman are two popular authors in this category.

5. Locked Room Mysteries – the crimes in these novels are committed under impossible circumstances. While many authors have written one or two of these books, John Dickenson Carr and Edward Hoch are two that made careers out of locked room mysteries.

6. Thrillers – Thrillers put ordinary heroes against villains and tend to include high stakes; the books have nonstop action and many plot twists. Famous writers in this area include Michael Crichton and David Morrell.


Jun 13

Liked The Fault in Our Stars? Try These!

The much anticipated The Fault in Our Stars movie came out last weekend, making big bucks at the box office. When movies of book adaptations come out, they always become popular, gaining many holds at the library. Although a young adult novel, The Fault in Our Stars is being read by those of all ages. In a recent article in Slate magazine, a woman criticized adults who read YA novels and defended her position in a recent NPR interview. Readers reacted strongly to this, mentioning many reasons adults read YA novels. Among these are the following:

- great literature challenges us, no matter if it was written for adults or young adults

- literature increases empathy and forces us to question the truthfulness of our own personal experiences, and young adult novels bring us back to times we were teens and lets us look back at our own experiences that made us who we were today

- people read for a variety of reasons (seeing the world in new ways, the feeling of the ending of a story, to experience nostalgia, to experience joy, etc.) and if young adult novels fit into the reason people read, why not read them

So we say, read the books you want if they fit into your reason for reading. Whatever that reason is, we don’t have time to read the books that don’t fit into our reasons. Below are some books that people have recommended for those who enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars, both adult and YA novels. Didn’t read that book or want to find other books like one you loved? We’re here to help! Stop by the library or shoot us an email ( and we’ll find suggestions for you.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Two individuals who experience different kids of loss enter into each other’s lives and change them for the better.

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

A teenager fighting leukemia relies on her sister who was conceived strictly to be a bone marrow match for her sister, but when forced with the decision, she has to decide if she wants to help her family or not.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Enzo, a dog nearing death, recounts everything he and his family has been through. A heartwarming tale told from the perspective of a pet, creating empathy for the human characters.

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

A soldier returning from war is left with memories of a girl he met years earlier and fell in love with, until one day she reappears in his life. The story of the two unfolds, leaving a tale of miracles and emotions. Most people are familiar with the movie version of this story.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Rowell, a popular YA author, writes a love story of two individuals who couldn’t be more different and their path of teenage love. This is another YA novel that has become popular with adults.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Written by the same author as The Fault in Our Stars, a teen attends a boarding school, entering into an unsafe world and getting pulled in with other teens that were not expected.