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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Caught betwixt and between

Cover of A Disappearance in Figi
A review of A Disappearance in Figi by Nilima Rao

Fiji in 1914 would appear to be a perfect island paradise. For constable Akal Singh, it is at is best a purgatory, hopefully a temporary one. Far from the turmoil of the Great War, far from the desperately poor regions of the British Empire, for Singh, it is just far from everything; far from his family in the Punjab, far from his beloved billeting in Hong Kong. But one thing that is uncomfortably close is racial prejudice, particularly as Fiji is an island divided. At the top sits the small British elite, owners of the sugar cane plantations that forms the colony’s economic backbone.

Jun 6, 2023

Politics of love

Cover of A Strange and Stubborn End
A review of A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows

I recently finished the second book in a fantasy romance series and wanted to buzz about it here - connecting to my review of book one of course - only to realize that I hadn't reviewed book one! Amazing. And a serious lapse on my part. One that likely happened for the same reason I'm now not going to talk about book two - it wasn't in LINKcat yet. So backing up, here is the first. A Strange and Stubborn Endurance is a marriage of convenience romance contained within the political plotting in a a fully-realized and lush fantasy world.

Jun 5, 2023

The power of pockets

Cover of A Dress with Pockets
A review of A Dress with Pockets by Lily Murray, illustrated by Jenny Lovlie

This librarian is obsessed with this new book by Lily Murrary and illustrated by Jenny Lovlie. When I was a little girl, my favorite book was about a little ballerina. Not because I particularly loved to dance, or because the story was so wonderful, but because of the illustrations of the tutus. I wish that younger me could have had a story like A Dress with Pockets, a book that not only has whimsical illustrations of “Sundresses, fun dresses, blue dresses, green. Swishy dresses, witchy dresses, very very itchy dresses!

Jun 2, 2023

Behind the gates

Cover of Lavender House
A review of Lavender House by Lev Rosen

In 1952 San Francisco, police detective Evander "Andy" Mills has been able to keep his sexual orientation, as a gay man, under wraps, until now. A raid on a gay nightclub has caught him in its web and he's lost his job and every "friend" he thought he had on the force. At a loss as to what comes next, he's contemplating a very bad decision while half-tanked in a bar, when he's approached by a glamorous woman named Pearl. She offers a deal he can't pass up. Pearl tells him that her wife, soap magnate, Irene Lamontaine has died and Pearl thinks her death was murder.

Jun 1, 2023

Explorando juntos / exploring together

Cover of Milo + Niko
A review of Milo + Niko by D Guzman

Milo está aburrida en la tienda de plantas de su abuela, deseando jugar con alguien. Cuando su abuela le sugiere que busque tesoros que no espera, Milo va a explorar con curiosidad. De repente, ¡una cola anaranjada con negro aparece entre las plantas... es un tigre! Milo le da el nombre de Niko a su nuevo amigo y juntos exploran la selva todo, buscando, navegando, y vigilando todo el día. Se divierten tanto que ni siquiera se dan cuenta cuando abuela cierra la tienda, y ella tiene que gritar, "Miloooooooooo."

May 31, 2023

Love and broccoli

Cover of Mrs. Nash's Ashes
A review of Mrs. Nash's Ashes by Sarah Adler

"Rose McIntyre Nash died peacefully in her sleep at the age of ninety-eight, and now I carry part of her with me wherever I go. I do not mean that figuratively. She's inside a small wooden box tucked away in my backpack as we speak. Not all of her, of course. Geoffrey Nash wasn't about to hand over his entire grandmother to the weird girl who lived in her spare bedroom. But Geoffrey was kind enough to give me three tablespoons of her ashes (again, not figurative; he portioned her out with a measuring spoon from the kitchen)."

May 23, 2023

Stepping into the story

Cover of Once Upon a Book
A review of Once Upon a Book by Grace Lin and Kate Messner

Step into this colorful book adventure! Authors Grace Lin & Kate Messner pull us into the pages in Once Upon a Book. A young girl wishes it wasn’t “so frozen and gray” and – suddenly! – finds herself stepping into the pages of a tropical wonderland. Flamingos, colorful flowers and more greet her. In exploring each new world (from riding a camel through the desert to swimming in an underwater reef to soaring with the clouds in the sky) she realizes that what she wants most of all is to be back in her cozy home with her mom and dad.

May 19, 2023

Do you really want to know?

Cover of My Murder
A review of My Murder by Katie Williams

In this near-ish-future novel cloning has become possible. And the cloning is such that if someone has died as an adult their "person" can be put into a fully formed version of themselves and all they lose is a few days of memory from around the time of their death. Okay, I know that sounds kind of impossible, but for the sake of this dark, sharp novel, just go with it. 

May 17, 2023


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