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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

A Fur-ever Family

Cover of Can I be your Dog?
A review of Can I be your Dog? by Troy Cummings

Arfy really wants his “fur-ever” home. He invites himself politely via mail to every resident on Butternut Street. Each invitee declines Arfy’s offer of being their dog.  Just when Arfy thinks he’s stuck in the leaky cardboard box at the end of the alley forever, he receives a letter. The mail carrier on Butternut Street is in need of a friend. Would Arfy be interested in having her as his person? Joy ensues as Arfy jubilantly accepts. The illustrations are the real treat of this story. They are large, bright and full of emotion. Kids will cheer with Arfy as his dream comes true.

May 10, 2019

Catching up with old friends and meeting new ones

Cover of New Mysteries
New Mysteries
A couple of times a year I share a list of mysteries that I am looking forward to reading. Sometimes it's a whole new character that I'm wanting to meet and sometimes it's an old friend that I'm looking forward to reconnecting with. Here are some that have caught my eye this spring.
 
May 9, 2019

In the blink of an eye

Cover of How to Walk Away
A review of How to Walk Away by Katheine Center

It’s not often that the best and worst day in your life is one and the same, but for Margaret Jacobsen the protagonist and narrator in this remarkable novel it is. To achieve your dream job and a proposal by the man you adore, makes her believe that a wonderful picture-perfect life is just around the corner. But in one moment all of that is shattered as she finds herself at the beginning of a very different reality.  All of which starts when Margaret wakes up in a hospital and slowly learns how much has changed.

May 8, 2019

Children in Chennai

Cover of The Bridge Home
A review of The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman
Eleven year old Viji and her younger sister Rukku flee their abusive father and arrive in Chennai (India) all alone.  Life on the streets is harsh and dangerous.  The girls form a friendship with two boys living in similar circumstances.  With Muthu and Arul, they make a shelter on an abandoned bridge.  Together, the four children look for work, share resources, and become a family to each other.  They even adopt a stray dog - Kutti, the best dog ever.  One night they are forced from their bridge and take up shelter in a cemetery.  There Rukku and Muthu fall ill.
May 6, 2019

London calling

Cover of Stray Souls
A review of Stray Souls by Kate Griffin

"London’s soul has gone missing. Lost? Kidnapped? Murdered? Nobody knows – but when Sharon Li unexpectedly discovers she’s a shaman, she is immediately called upon to use her newfound powers of oneness with the City to rescue it from a slow but inevitable demise.

May 2, 2019

True crime?

Cover of Conviction
A review of Conviction by Denise Mina

Anna McDonald has no idea of the double whammy that's about to hit her as she starts her day in the normal fashion; getting the kids lunches and clothing ready for school while starting a new true crime podcast. The first blow comes as she listens to the opening segment of the podcast and realizes that the true crime that's being narrated features a former friend who she is now learning is dead and may have taken his family with him on a sunken yacht in the Mediterranean.

May 1, 2019

Postmodern Hansel and Gretel

Cover of Gingerbread: A Novel
A review of Gingerbread: A Novel by Helen Oyeyemi

Helen Oyeyemi's Gingerbread is the story of three women, Margot, Harriet and Perdita Lee, how their lives intertwine with the Kerchevals, a wealthy family of landowners in the fictional country of Druhástrana, and a legacy recipe for gingerbread. It's hard to put into words all of the magic that's present in this novel. I'll tell you one thing: it was impossible for me to read this book without craving gingerbread something fierce.

April 29, 2019

Shaped by our world

Cover of Deep Creek: Finding Hope i
A review of Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country by Pam Houston

I am an urbanite to the bone, I like the bustle, noise and plethora of activities available. I do not hike, camp, fish, backpack, etc. because for one insects (one and all) appear to think I am the best buffet they have ever come across. I am allergic to wool (that natural fabric so often used in outdoor life); at best it gives me a rash—at its worst if there are loose fibers floating around, I have come close to not breathing.

April 26, 2019

Sweet Anticipation for May 2019

Sweet Anticipation May graphic
New Titles

--It’s a very good month to be a Wisconsin author. This May sees the release of three titles with ties to the Badger State. Longtime local favorite Jennifer Chiaverini continues to explore the lives of real women through a historical fiction lens with Resistance Women. Her central character, Mildred Fish-Harnack, was raised in Milwaukee before moving to Germany where she worked as a spy against the Nazis. It’s on shelves mid-month. Madison-based author Kelly Harms scored recent hits with The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay and The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane.

April 24, 2019

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