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Posts by Jane J

Making the list

Cover of The Duke Who Didn't
A review of The Duke Who Didn't by Courtney Milan

The hero and heroine of Courtney Milan's newest historical romance (this one late 19th century, rather than early) have known each other since they were children. And not only have they known each other for years, they have loved as well. But their very different personalities and coping mechanisms have meant that they haven't yet figured that last fact out and have been operating at cross purposes for a few years. Until now.

Jan 4, 2021

Aghybogey life

Cover of Big Girl, Small Town
A review of Big Girl, Small Town by Michelle Gallen

Majella O'Neill lives in the small town Aghybogey in Northern Ireland that has been torn apart by The Troubles that have only recently "ended". To say that the Troubles have ended is a bit of a misnomer. Certainly the violent attacks between Catholics and Protestants have stopped for the most part, but the lingering divide between the factions continues. As the townsfolk go about their lives in this recovery period Majella observes it all from her job in a chip shop (the Catholic one, naturally).

Dec 29, 2020

Book news delivered to your mail box (digitally speaking)

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Insider Newsletters

Did you know that you can get MADreads review emailed to you weekly? Or that you can find out what new Book Club Kits have been added to the collection? Or learn what's new with the Wisconsin Book Festival? All of these, plus a whole lot of other book news, are options when you subscribe to the Library's Insider Newsletters

Big reader of mysteries? You're covered. Someone who'd rather listen than read a print book? We've got your back. 

Dec 23, 2020

No things to hate here

Cover of Ten Things I Hate About th
A review of Ten Things I Hate About the Duke by Loretta Chase

When I read that Loretta Chase's (a favorite historical romance author) newest novel would be a take-off of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, I wasn't super-enthused. Taming is not a favorite of mine and thus I came into this novel with only middling expectations. Those expectations were exceeded in pretty much every way. This is Chase's best outing in a number of years.

Dec 16, 2020

Existential angst in a superhero world

Cover of Hench
A review of Hench by Natalie Walschots

Anna Tromedlov hasn't had a gig in weeks from her temp agency so she jumps at the chance for a data entry position that might last a few weeks - even though she'll have to work on site (she prefers working from home). An offer to do some field work is unexpected but makes for a nice change of pace and she is promised that it's safe. Only it's not so much and what should have been a routine press conference by her villain boss turns into a violent attack when a hero crashes the event.

Dec 10, 2020

Best books for a not so best year

Book covers
2020 Best Books Lists

If you ask anyone they'd probably tell you that 2020 wasn't their best year. I won't get into all the ways in which it was not good and really it was probably not good for each of you in different ways. But what was good was the books that were published. It's really been a stellar year for reading as demonstrated by all the awesome "best" lists that are coming out. If you don't believe me - and I'll admit to being a bit biased as I was on a panel that helped select some of the titles on one of these lists - take a look at a few of the lists that have come out so far.**

Dec 2, 2020

Oh the angst

Cover of If His Kiss is Wicked
A review of If His Kiss is Wicked by Jo Goodman

I'm a fan of historical romances but it's getting harder and harder to find the meaty, complicated ones that I sometimes like to sink into. Current publishing trends seem to have veered more towards lighter, sparkly fare (which I also enjoy, don't get me wrong). So in order to get my angsty fix, I decided to delve into the backlist of an author I enjoy.

Nov 19, 2020

Her moment to shine

Cover of The Other Bennet Sister
A review of The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow

Jane Austen (like Arthur Conan Doyle) has had her books and characters re-imagined more times then I could possibly count. And for me I think, the retellings and re-imaginings of Jane Austen's books and characters have more often been a miss then hit. The Other Bennet Sister is that rare thing for me, not only a hit, but one that has been knocked out of the park. The titular sister is the one most often overlooked, middle-sister Mary. Granted I've always had a soft spot for the socially awkward, stern Mary, so to say I was sympathetic from the start is fair.

Nov 9, 2020

Longing to be heard

Cover of The Girl with the Louding
A review of The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare

Adunni is a fourteen-year-old Nigerian girl who dreams of finishing her education and becoming a teacher. And as she narrates her story in the colloquial English of her small village, you can feel how she yearns. Her mother wanted an education for her as it would be the only way for her to get a "louding voice". That louding voice was meant to arm her so that she could control her own destiny. But the death of her mother has left Adunni at the mercy of a spendthrift father who only sees in her a way to get money to pay the rent.

Oct 27, 2020