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MADreads

Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Facing the past

Cover of Someone to Wed
A review of Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh

Mary Balogh is a hit or miss author for me. I always admire her writing, but she doesn't always grab me emotionally. Her newest is definitely a hit. A lovely, warm story that strikes all the right notes.

Dec 26, 2019

Hoot-a-riffic, wingtastic, owl-dorable, I could go on and on

Cover of Owl Diaries
A review of Owl Diaries by Rebecca Elliot

The Owl Diaries young reader series by Rebecca Elliot is officially the nicest and the cutest. Eva Wingdale lives with her owl family in Treetopolis. Eva's best friend is Lucy Beakman and her frenemy is Sue Clawson. The level of clever owl and bird word play in this series is spectacular. But what's really notable is the recognition and practice of thoughtfulness throughout all of the stories.

Dec 20, 2019

Taking back their nights

Cover of Women Talking
A review of Women Talking by Miriam Toews

Based on a real events, Toews' slim, powerful novel is true to its name. One evening eight Mennonite women living in an isolated community in Bolivia meet to discuss and make a choice that will change their lives irrevocably - whatever they decide. These eight women, along with more than a hundred other girls and women in their community have been suffering repeated sexual violations for years. And while that is devastating, and it has been devastating to them, the fact that it's members of their own community who have perpetrated these horrors makes their situation that much worse.

Dec 16, 2019

Tempered glass

Cover of Face It
A review of Face It by Debbie Harry

Debbie Harry's autobiography Face It is a beautifully packaged book. The cover and paper stock are exceptionally high quality and the pages are filled with photographs and fan art never before shared with the public. I loved all of this. I have happy memories of dancing around in my cousin's bedroom to Blondie's Autoamerican in 1981 and thought "Rapture" was the best thing I'd ever heard. Almost 40 years later and I still think that's true.

Dec 12, 2019

Love and suffrage

Cover of Bringing Down the Duke
A review of Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

I've been hearing the buzz about this debut romance for a while and though I was skeptical it could live up to the hype (as I would be with any hyped piece), my skepticism proved to be unfounded. Funny and sparkly and complicated and lovely are all adjectives that fit.

Dec 10, 2019

The enormity of life

Cover of Red at the Bone
A review of Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson's third adult novel explores the role of history and community in shaping the lives of family. It is a stunner and heartbreaker, starting with the title, Red at the Bone. Imagine the point at which the human body is at its most raw and hurt state. That's what red at the bone is described as by one of the main characters, Iris, like there is something inside of her undone and bleeding.

Dec 6, 2019

Gritty (and not just the sand)

Cover of Hearts of the Missing
A review of Hearts of the Missing by Carol Potenza

Winner of the 2017 Tony Hillerman Prize, this debut mystery lives up to the buzz. Potenza's gritty police procedural is set in the American Southwest and gives the reader an interesting detective and a multi-threaded story involving drugs, gambling, missing people, undercover FBI agents, and more. It's readable and also deeply imbedded in Native American culture. Looking forward to more by this author.

Dec 5, 2019

Challenging beauty

Cover of Horizon
A review of Horizon by Barry Lopez

A dense but often lyrical book of many levels. In one sense it is one man’s retracing his life’s journeys to remote and far flung points on earth. In another, it is a contemplation of human kinds' significance and insignificance in the history of our planet, and the concern that our hubris dooms not only our species but earth itself. Does our ability to create sublime beauty such as the music of Beethoven or the art of Manet supplant our equally ugly creations such as the many prisons built over the ages and the despicable ways we treat our own kind?

Nov 25, 2019

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