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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Poetic plays on words

Cover of Marshmallow Clouds: Two Po
A review of Marshmallow Clouds: Two Poets at Play among Figures of Speech by Ted Kooser and Connie Wanek

Step into this wonderland of words! Marshmallow Clouds: Two Poets at Play among Figures of Speech by Ted Kooser & Connie Wanek, illustrated by Richard Jones, definitely feels playful, fun – and so delightful! Poems are grouped into four sections featuring the four elements (fire, water, air, and earth). They offer unique spins on everyday objects like trees, marshmallows, and flyswatters. Some poem titles include “Butterfly Luck,” “Why Pets Don’t Write,” and “Winter Ponies.” Softly painted illustrations add a dreamy feel to the collection.

May 27, 2022

Space western done very right

Cover of Ten Low
A review of Ten Low by Stark Holborn

In a recent review I made mention of how cozy fantasy novels have been a soothing mental escape in recent months (years?). Totally true. Also true is that I am finding mental solace in darker fare as well. The common thread for both of these forms of reading relaxation are places and stories that can transport me and protagonists with a strong sense of self and their own code of honor.

May 26, 2022

One angry casa

Cover of The Hacienda
A review of The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas

Ghosts may make their unwelcome presence in a house for any variety of reasons, but the specter haunting the Hacienda San Isidro is there for reasons so deeply rooted in the land that it might never be fully purged. In Isabel Cañas’ assured debut The Hacienda, the ghost of the eponymous home is meant to be a sanctuary for Beatriz, a young woman trying to piece some security together after her general father is killed as a traitor following Mexico’s brutal War of Independence.

May 24, 2022

Bittersweet goodbye / adiós agridulce

Cover of Evelyn Del Rey is Moving A
A review of Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away / Evelyn Del Rey se muda by Meg Medina

The 2022 Charlotte Zolotow Award winner for best writing in children’s picture books, this new book by Meg Medina is a gem. Evelyn is Daniela’s best friend and they do everything together. Even as Evelyn’s family is packing boxes and loading the truck, these two besties don’t waste a single minute of their time together, playing together until the very last second of having to say goodbye.

May 20, 2022

30 takes on the talk

Cover of The Talk: Conversations ab
A review of The Talk: Conversations about Race, Love & Truth by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson

Thirty award-winning authors and illustrators share stories and discussions about "the talk" - the conversations they have with their children about race and racism, identity, and self-esteem. For some parents it's a way to prepare their kids, for others it's a way to protect them, for still others it's a way to explain. All of the talks and the reasons for the talk are varied, just like humans are varied. 

May 19, 2022

The need to belong

Cover of Belonging in YA (Teen) Gra
Belonging in YA (Teen) Graphic Novels

Belonging is a common theme in many young adult stories. Graphic novels provide an excellent visual of capturing the experiences and emotions as characters grow and find themselves. It’s as if we’re dropping in or hovering over a character’s shoulder to see a slice of  their life. Here are three insightful and at times, humorous graphic novels to check out:

May 18, 2022

A place to call home

Cover of Legends & Lattes
A review of Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree

Travis Baldree's debut novel is a member of what's being called 'cozy SFF' in some parts of the interwebs (okay, I admit I found it on #booktok). Cozy science fiction and fantasy is just that, it's certainly imaginative and involves beings and creatures fresh and innovative, but it's also warm,  good hearted and even funny. Sample titles, in case you need more of an idea, All Systems Red by Martha Wells or The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J.

May 16, 2022

Warm and bright

Cover of Books of Patricia Polacco
Books of Patricia Polacco

All eyes have been riveted on Ukraine and Russia in these tense days. An author who has long used the beautiful colors and designs of Eastern Europe in her stories is Patricia Polacco. Patricia Polacco published her first children’s book in 1988 at the age of 41 and has subsequently written and illustrated over 100 titles. Many of her stories are inspired by her own life and the lives of her family.

May 13, 2022

I'd stay at this place in a heartbeat

Cover of The Paris Apartment
A review of The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley

Yes, something fishy is going on at the Paris apartment when Jess arrives to stay with her brother Ben. There's no way that Ben can afford to stay at the lavish building on his salary as a journalist. And how do the two young students on the fourth floor pay rent? And why do the inhabitants of the penthouse apartment insist the other residents attend their fancy wine parties? It doesn't add up. Not to mention, Ben is missing. Jess spoke with him on the phone before her arrival and now he's nowhere to be found.   

May 12, 2022

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