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Posts by Molly W

At what point does a slow fire turn into a conflagration?

Cover of A Slow Fire Burning
A review of A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins

Paula Hawkin's latest mystery thriller takes the reader on a twisty tour down a London towpath full of murder and mayhem. A towpath in England is a path beside a canal or river, used by people or animals towing boats, also called a towing path. A considerable amount of action in this novel takes place on the towpath as characters travel to and from a neighborhood of houseboats. This provides a noteworthy setting. 

Nov 30, 2021

Kent State more than 50 years later

Cover of Kent State
A review of Kent State by Deborah Wiles

To this day there is argument about what happened at Kent State on May 4, 1970. What's certain is that tensions were high. America was at war in Vietnam, the nation was divided in their support of President Nixon, young men were living in fear of the draft, and students were protesting the bombing of Cambodia by United States military forces. Many students at Kent State thought the bombing escalated a war that the United States was supposedly withdrawing from and were peacefully protesting on Friday, May 1 on the Commons, a large grassy area in the middle of campus.

Nov 17, 2021

The rain brings more than water

Cover of After the Rain
A review of After the Rain by John Jennings and illustrated by David Brame

The graphic novel adaptation of Nnedi Okorafor's short story "On the Road" takes the reader on a journey that connects the mind and body with an infinite past of cultural heritage. Chioma, a young Nigerian-American police officer from New York City, visits family in a small, rural Nigerian village during a terrible storm and unleashes an unidentified power. Chioma's western sensibilities try to reconcile what's happening but she struggles, even with the help of her family.

Nov 9, 2021

Dead bodies and wedding dresses

Cover of Dial A for Aunties
A review of Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Meddelin Chan's tightly knit Chinese-Indonesian family runs a full-service wedding business that provides cakes (Big Aunt), hair and make-up (Second Aunt), flowers (Meddie's mom), entertainment (Fourth Aunt), and photography (Meddie). A spectacularly rich couple hire the Chan's for their biggest event yet, a grand wedding to be held at an exclusive resort on an island off the coast of California. Things go wrong almost immediately. Some of the "wrong" includes a dead body, groomsmen too drunk to get dressed for the wedding, a major theft and an impending storm.

Sep 21, 2021

A part of the movement, a part of the history, a part of the change

Cover of We are Still Here! Native
A review of We are Still Here! Native American Truths Everyone Should Know by Traci Sorell and illustrated by Frané Lessec

Twelve topics related to Native Americans' experiences are represented in this picture book designed as a student information fair. The story starts in a classroom with students signing up for ten-minute long presentations. Topics range from assimilation and allotment to relocation, the Indian New Deal and language revival. In the subsequent pages, each topic receives a full spread illustration depicting the topic during the time period in which it took place, always ending with the words, "We are still here!"

Sep 14, 2021

A spiritual autobiography

Cover of Earth Keeper: Reflections
A review of Earth Keeper: Reflections on the American Land by N. Scott Momaday

This is a poetic collection of short chapters of prose about taking care of the Earth. Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist, poet, and playwright N. Scott Momaday writes about what he knows best, his native ground. Born and raised as a member of the Kiowa tribe, Momaday describes Earth Keeper as a spiritual autobiography when talking about his life and the lives of his ancestors. He encourages the reader to take better care of our damaged world and to not lose sight of the wonder and beauty that surrounds us. He reminds us that we all must be keepers of the Earth.    

Sep 8, 2021

Who is hanging out in the haunted Dells?

Cover of The Kindred Spirits Supper
A review of The Kindred Spirits Supper Club by Amy E. Reichert

Have you ever taken a haunted history tour of the Wisconsin Dells? Options include a haunted trolley, haunted canyon, haunted mansion and ghost boat tours to get you started. Now imagine that the Dells is also home to a family of ghost whisperers whose job it is to help spirits with unfinished business cross over. 

Aug 30, 2021

Getting lost and finding your true self

Cover of People We Meet on Vacation
A review of People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

Poppy and Alex have been best friends since their freshman year at The University of Chicago. They share a ride back to Ohio for summer break and continue to take a trip every summer after for ten years. They visit Vancouver, Nashville, Sanibel Island, Tuscany and many other varied and beautiful places. Then something happens during the tenth trip, a trip to Croatia, and they are no longer on speaking terms. What happened to tear these two apart?  

Aug 24, 2021

Introducing Odessa Jones

Cover of A Glimmer of Death
A review of A Glimmer of Death by Valerie Wilson Wesley

Odessa Jones is an amateur crime investigator from Grovesville, New Jersey whose psychic abilities allow her to read the emotions or "glimmer" of those around her and foretell the future through the scents of spices. This first in a new series introduces "Dessa," a recently widowed caterer and reluctant real estate agent with an extraordinary talent for baking.

Aug 17, 2021

Personal Mvskoke history in poems

Cover of An American Sunrise: Poems
A review of An American Sunrise: Poems by Joy Harjo

The Mvskoke people were forcibly removed from their lands in the early 1800s. American Sunrise is a spiritual collection of poems from the first Native American Poet Laureate of the United States as she returns to the original Mvskoke lands east of the Mississippi. Harjo connects with her ancestors and the land, calling out the violence and displacement of tearing Native Americans from their homes, families, and culture. The collection also celebrates Mother Earth and the beauty of the present day. "Redbird Love" is a sweet tribute to the natural world and connection to the land.

Aug 11, 2021