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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Amber Ruffin's sister looks nothing like Harriet Tubman

Cover of You'll Never Believe What
A review of You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories about Racism by Amber Ruffin

This is the best/worst book featuring outrageous stories of racist things that have happened to comedy writer and talk show host Amber Ruffin's sister Lacey Lamar. Most of the stories take place in Omaha, Nebraska. A fair number take place across the state border in Iowa. All of them take place in the modern-day and a vast majority take place at work. At work!  

Dec 7, 2021

The science of love

Cover of The Love Hypothesis
A review of The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

I've been hearing about Ali Hazelwood's STEM-based debut for months and I'd been vacillating on reading it. If you read my reviews, you know I do read romance, but I read far more paranormal, historical, heck, aliens, then I do contemporary. When I think of the why of that fact I think it comes down to what I can let slide. Tropes that work for me in most other romance are a little harder to just go with in a realistic contemporary setting. But I kept hearing about how good this particular contemporary romance was, so I decided to take the plunge.

Dec 6, 2021

Cold cases and basket cases

Cover of The Awkward Squad
A review of The Awkward Squad by Sophie Henaff

Anne Capestan knew she’d be punished for her itchy trigger finger, but the sentence is like no other she’d ever heard of. After firing one too many bullets, the Parisian police commissaire was lucky to still have her job, but is stunned when she learns that she is to lead a new police squad in charge of cold cases. But Capestan’s squad consists entirely of the police officers that have run afoul of the police judiciare, and since they cannot be fired, they can at least be relegated to some brigade, starved of funds and support until they quit in frustration.

Dec 2, 2021

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

So much bookish goodness

Cover of Best Books Lists
Best Books Lists

With the announcement of NPR's Books We Love I realized it's that time of year. The lists of best books are pouring in and I know that not only are we interested in them as readers ourselves, they also give us great ideas for books to gift to the other readers in our lives. So for those of you searching for your next read or even more desperately searching for that perfect gift, here is a by-no-means-comprehensive best lists to give you a start.

Nov 29, 2021

Who was Peggy Smith?

Cover of The Postscript Murders
A review of The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths

There’s nothing particularly unusual about Peggy Smith. She’s an old lady living in an assisted living facility beside the sea, spends her days noting passersby in her notebooks and reading her beloved crime novels that fill her apartment. Even her death isn’t out of the norm--sudden and apparently peaceful in her chair overlooking the sea. But something about the death unsettles her carer, Natalka. How could a woman who was still spry enough to climb flights of stairs die of heart failure when her pills were within reach? Why are so many of the books in Peggy’s apartment dedicated to her,

Nov 23, 2021

Here be ghosts

Cover of Ghostly Reads for Kids
Ghostly Reads for Kids

Longer nights have returned, so what better time to indulge with a gripping ghost story, or THREE!

If your family dares to read these three fantastic chapter books (suitable for most 9-10 year olds and older), you'll not only enjoy satisfying supernatural encounters, you'll also bravely face the uncomfortable truths revealed as past and present collide!

Titles are listed in order of both increasing length and thematic complexity.

Nov 19, 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

Turn back now

Cover of The Collective
A review of The Collective by Alison Gaylin

Camille Gardner's life ended five years ago when her daughter died. The loss alone devastated her. But the lack of justice for her daughter has filled her with so much anger she doesn't have any room for anything else. And she has no outlet for all that rage. Until now. Alison Gaylin explores the depths to which someone might go in order to get justice (or is it revenge) and brings the reader along for the thrilling ride.

Nov 16, 2021


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