Hot June Titles We’re Excited About!!!

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

(recommended by Kelsey)

I could not get enough of ‘The Library at Mount Char’! One of those rare books where 500+ pages is not enough. ‘The Library at Mount Char’ is a creation myth for the 21st century — just as complex as ancient mythologies but with even more surprises. This book defies all genres and encompasses all genres at the same time. I wish I could read it for the first time all over again and I envy those of you who still have this book ahead of you. (Allison seconds all of this, adding that it was a damn fun ride.)

The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

(recommended by Allison)

This reminded me most of Robin LaFevers’ “His Fair Assassin” series, and as I’ve been searching for a replacement for those books, “The Witch Hunter” really tickled my fancy. A great addition to my inner circle of YA historical fantasy.

I enjoyed Elizabeth as a heroine, but the secondary characters were also well-fleshed out and likeable/hateable. I found myself especially fond of Fifer. I was intrigued by some of the finer points of Boecker’s world-building, such as the inclusion of knot magic and the reference to a revenant being the seventh son of a seventh son (not something brought up much in conjunction with vampires/revenants anymore).

Very fun, very brisk; finished it in a couple of sittings.

Second Life by S.J. Watson

(recommended by Teresa)

S.J. Watson is a master at dark psychological thrillers!!! When Julia’s sister is murdered, Julia is determined to find the truth. Her search leads her to the online world of hook-ups; and her life changes drastically. What starts as innocent chatting with a man she meets online, soon evolves into a full blown affair. This affair threatens her husband, her son, but most of all her life. Wildly complex, fast paced novel that explores how far one will go to get the truth. Will highly recommend!!

The Rival Queens by Nancy Goldstone

(recommended by Allison)

I’ve yet to be disappointed in a Nancy Goldstone book and “The Rival Queens” is Goldstone at her narrative nonfiction best. I love her ability to analyze the relationships between historical women (her last book was about Joan of Arc and her queenly patron Yolande of Aragon), and she couldn’t have chosen a more dysfunctional pair than Catherine de’ Medici and her daughter Margot. As usual, there is a wealth of historical detail and the information is presented in an engaging, almost novel-like way.

Highly recommended for fans of Maurice Druon, Peter Ackroyd, or anyone who has seen the amazing film, Queen Margot.

(recommended by Teresa)
Henry Hayden has it all; loving wife, faithful dog, money, fame and respect of those lucky enough to be called friends. Henry Hayden is a pretense for someone who will go to extreme lengths to protect the one thing that truly matters to him, himself. When his mistress tells Henry she is pregnant, this sets off a chain of events that will cause Henry to commit the biggest mistake of his life, and force him to stay one step ahead of the law. Sascha Arango’s novel is twisty, cynical and brilliant.

Review of the Notorious Pagan Jones by Nina Berry

Allison Senecal-

Pagan Jones was a FUN FUN FUN heroine. She was also a very sad heroine (recovering alcoholic, responsible for the deaths of her father and younger sister), but she’s, as one character puts it, “clever, brave, and extremely determined”. This is a spy story, sure, but also a story of a Hollywood starlet seeking redemption for past mistakes. Berry did some impressive research into 1961 pop culture and Hollywood and Berlin, and the time period was well-fleshed out. I even went onto Google and pulled up the entertainment magazines and cover articles she referenced Pagan reading on the plane. I’m always super over the moon about the little details like that.

Why You Have to Buy This Book!

The book is Outlandish Companion, by Diana Gabaldon,  which for many readers is enough information to run to the nearest bookstore.  I am continually amazed at how many and how loyal her readers are, although I was hooked on the first book.  But this is a reprint, so why do people need to buy this book?  If you do not have a copy of the first edition you will have trouble getting a copy.  Those of us who read Diana Gabaldon tend to hang on to the books.  The series is continually growing and it is easy to forget exact details.  This book is invaluable for that problem since it contains full synopses of the first four books, a complete listing of characters, genealogy, and several essays about eighteenth century medicine and magic.  All written by Diana.  Bliss.

The new edition also has a discussion of the TV show and Diana’s usual digressions which remain part of her charm for her readers.  One of my Facebook friends follows the TV show and is great about passing on the posts.  She also posts from Diana’s web site when there are new snippets.  And every time Diana posts, the raves from her fans runs pages and pages.  There is a large number of people waiting to read the next book from the Outlander series.  What shocks me is the number of people who follow up the sentence “I love these books!”  with “I found it at the book sale for 50 cents”.  People, buying the book used may show how thrifty you are, but the author earns nothing on a used book.  You are bragging that you not paying the author for their hard work.  At the very least this is less than tactful.  If these people do love Diana Gabaldon’s work at much as they brag, then they should want to support here and encourage her.  Praise is always very nice, but we are a capitalist people and money goes a long way to impress authors and publishers.  When you purchase a book new, some one in New York is registering that sale.  They pay attention.  Now it is true that Diana Gabaldon is a big enough author, that the publishers are eager to publish any thing she writes.  Still, numbers shout loud to the publishers.  And I will follow up to say where you buy the books counts, too.  Books bought from Amazon just are books bought from Amazon.  Books bought from an independent bookstore show the publishers that they have readers in Fort Collins.  And when the publishers tour authors, they look at sales history, first last and always.  So if you like to meet authors, buy your books at an independent bookstore.  And if you like Diana Gabaldon buy this book!

Moving Abroad: A booklover’s worst nightmare

Hello book lovers.

I spent some time standing behind the counter on this cloudy Saturday afternoon trying to think of something fun and interesting for you to enjoy whilst curled up on the couch, probably in your PJs, sipping tea and checking what’s new on the interwebz between chapters. And I’ll be honest, I got nothin’.

Tired meme

It’s been a bit of a long, rather busy day here at the bookstore, and the easiest thing for me to do right is just have a nice chat with you all (a rather one-sided chat, but a chat nonetheless!). We’re all friends here, right? Bonded by our mutual love of books. What better friendship is there?

As you might have guessed by the title, I’m here to chat about my impending move abroad and how it causes me endless anxiety in regards to my many, many books. My meticulously arranged bookshelves, once a source of joy now also fill me with dread whenever I look upon them. Alas, woe is me.

If you yourself are planning a move abroad soon, or just a normal move somewhere else in the country you reside in, let me give you some tips on handling the stress.

1. First and foremost, remember that books are just things. What is really important is what you take away from them.

2. Following tip number one, you can always buy more things. Think about selling some of your books before you go to get some extra cash for the move. I know living without books is not an option, but get yourself settled first and then rebuild your library.

cold dea dhands

(Stephen and I understand how hard it is to part with your books sometimes, but it will be okay!)

3. Libraries are a thing. If you’ve been holding onto some books for a while like I have, and your still not really sure if you want to read them, make a note of the title and pick up a copy later.

Neil Gaiman: no longer on the fringe.

(Know who else loves libraries? ^^^ This guy.)

4. If you can, stash some books (storage unit, parents house, wherever) until you can come back for them or get them shipped. They will wait for you, I promise.

5. If, like me, you are trying to read as many books as you can before you go, you are probably now hyper aware of just how little time you have to read and just how often you waste time doing other things when you could be reading. Remain calm, breath. Don’t let that overwhelmed feeling cost you even more reading time! Everything will be okay.

too many books

6. Now, this may be the most important rule to follow (after rule number 1). If there is a book you own that you truly love, re-read all the time, is a memory spark for an important time in your life, was a gift from someone you love, or that you just have some unexplained attachment to DO NOT RELINQUISH IT FOR ANYTHING! Trust me, you do not want to get to the end of your life and feel the regret and frustration of letting go of a book you have never been able to remember or find again. Hold onto those special books, keep them close, and never let them go.

Moving anywhere with shelves and shelves full of books in tow is always scary and rather daunting, but you can do it. I believe in you!

keep calm



Come to an evening with Hampton Sides

On Tuesday, May 26th, Old Firehouse Books, the Poudre River Public Library District, and Colorado State University Library are joining together to bring another author to the Fort Collins literary community. This time the groups will be welcoming Hampton Sides, historian and author of various books including Blood and Thunder and Ghost Soldiers.


At his upcoming Fort Collins event, Hampton Sides will be speaking about his newest book, In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette. Through meticulous research and a riveting narrative, Sides recreates the tale of obsession and science that drove the final quest of the doomed ship.

Don’t miss this fascinating lecture on the USS Jeannette and your chance to meet Hampton Sides at the Fort Collins Hilton on May 26th at 7pm. This event is free and open to the public.