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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Podcast of "The Girls"

Cover of Sadie
A review of Sadie by Courtney Summers

Sadie is a teenager who is missing. She's been living in an economically devastated town in rural Colorado, raising her younger sister Mattie on her own after their addict mother takes off. Their situation is stark. Then 13-year-old Mattie goes missing and is found murdered. The story follows Sadie's chase to locate her sister's killer and a reporter's race to find Sadie.

Jun 15, 2020

Happily ever after in Hollywood

Cover of Something to Talk About
A review of Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner

Jo Jones has a lot to think about. The Hollywood screenwriter and former child actress has just signed on pen her biggest project yet, a big budget action flick featuring an iconic American comic book character, while dialing back her involvement in her successful television drama series. She’s bracing for the inevitable blowback that will come when the fanboys hear their favorite comic will be written by a woman, and an Asian American one at that.

Jun 11, 2020

Criminally explained

Cover of Unspeakable Acts: True Tal
A review of Unspeakable Acts: True Tales of Crime, Murder, Deceit, and Obsession by Sarah Weinman

Sarah Weinman has been in and about the crime writing world for years. She's written for the New York Times and Vanity Fair as well as for more genre connected publications like Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and for the CrimeReads site (highly recommended if you're a crime/mystery fan). Her first full length book was about the connection between the book Lolita and the real life kidnapping of Sally Horner in 1948.

Jun 9, 2020

Different leadership

Cover of The Splendid and the Vile:
A review of The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson

A behind the scenes look at the private life and idiosyncrasies of Winston Churchill and his circle during his first year as Prime Minister balanced with a behind the scenes look at Hitler’s circle especially Hess, Goring, and Himmler. At one point Larson references a letter from a man lamenting how the press of his position and duties limit him from not doing what he would prefer to do—which is spend time in the country with his wife and children. The writer was Heinrich Himmler.

Jun 8, 2020

War and other drugs

Cover of Cherry
A review of Cherry by Nico Walker

There is a long history -- from Marquis de Sade to Jean Genet to Iceberg Slim -- of the incarcerated writing great books inspired by what got them there. Nico Walker, a former war medic turned heroin-addicted bank robber now doing time in a Kentucky federal prison, has clearly mined his own biography for his debut novel, Cherry, a nasty blister of a book that shows a lot of promise but is ultimately hamstrung by its limited point-of-view.

Jun 2, 2020

The limits of forgiveness

Cover of Heaven, My Home
A review of Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke

It’s the fall of 2016 and Darren Mathews feels like a seismic change has happened. The African-American Texas Ranger isn’t just bracing for whatever changes will be coming to law enforcement following the election, but his personal life is equally posed on the brink of change. After the events of Bluebird, Bluebird, Attica Locke’s first book in the Highway 59 series, Mathews thought he had reached a precarious sense of peace. His marriage to lawyer Lisa ha

Jun 1, 2020

Plenty of chickens

Cover of Tyrannosaurus Rex vs. Edna
A review of Tyrannosaurus Rex vs. Edna the Very First Chicken by Douglas Rees

Have you ever wondered why there are plenty of chickens and no Tyrannosaurus Rexes in the world today? The answer is Edna, the very first chicken. She is small and brave and won’t let the big and fierce T. Rex bully her or the other dinosaurs. In Douglas Rees’ fun and colorful book Tyrannosaurus Rex vs. Edna the Very First Chicken readers find that it doesn’t take powerful jaws and a roar to be brave. Filled with dinosaur antics, cluck-worthy excitement, and feathery heroics, this is read is fun for everyone (except Tyrannosaurus Rex).

May 29, 2020

Backstage at the Palace

Cover of Lady in Waiting: My Extrao
A review of Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown by Anne Glenconner

As the daughter of the Earl of Leicester the author has lived a life in a culture of social elites, in many ways a culture that has mostly vanished except for that of the British royal family. A great deal of the book looks at the author’s family, how things are done and not done in their tradition. Following a family tradition of directly working with the royal family, Anne Glenconner served as a Lady in Waiting for Princess Margaret from 1971-2002 and a good portion of the book details that period.

May 26, 2020

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