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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Edwardian era magic

Cover of A Marvellous Light
A review of A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske

There are some books that make me feel like I'm smiling from the first page to the last. I finish the book and immediately want to tell everyone about the delight I had in reading it (I think I've already mentioned it to multiple co-workers). Such was the case with A Marvellous Light, a debut queer fantasy novel full of "magic, contracts, and conspiracies".

Sep 16, 2021

A part of the movement, a part of the history, a part of the change

Cover of We are Still Here! Native
A review of We are Still Here! Native American Truths Everyone Should Know by Traci Sorell and illustrated by Frané Lessec

Twelve topics related to Native Americans' experiences are represented in this picture book designed as a student information fair. The story starts in a classroom with students signing up for ten-minute long presentations. Topics range from assimilation and allotment to relocation, the Indian New Deal and language revival. In the subsequent pages, each topic receives a full spread illustration depicting the topic during the time period in which it took place, always ending with the words, "We are still here!"

Sep 14, 2021

Noir with a touch of Minnesota nice

Cover of Gone to Dust
A review of Gone to Dust by Matt Goldman

PI Nils Shapiro has seen some dirty crime scenes, but none like this. In an otherwise immaculate house in Minneapolis’s snobbiest suburb, there are heaps of vacuum bag dust—and under one of those heaps is the corpse of Maggie Somerville, freshly divorced and Edina’s first murder victim in decades. The killer obviously knew what he/she was doing—the presence of so much dust makes forensic analysis impossible and an overnight snowstorm obliterated any exterior trails. This seemly impossible case is the set up for Matt Goldman’s debut Gone to Dust.

Sep 13, 2021

Different, with love

Cover of Mila Has Two Beds
A review of Mila Has Two Beds by Judith Koppens

Mila Has Two Beds shares a story familiar to many children – going between two houses and two parents. Mila says goodbye to “Sweet Daddy” and her dog, Pepper, and returns to the “Mommy-house” and “smiling Mommy”. The illustrations are drenched in color and show happy and cozy scenes and each parent’s house. Mila has a different bed, a different toothbrush, and a different bedtime routine at each house. Even the goodnight wishes are different: “Good night, my darling,” says her Mommy, and “Nighty-night, little princess,” says her Daddy.

Sep 10, 2021

A spiritual autobiography

Cover of Earth Keeper: Reflections
A review of Earth Keeper: Reflections on the American Land by N. Scott Momaday

This is a poetic collection of short chapters of prose about taking care of the Earth. Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist, poet, and playwright N. Scott Momaday writes about what he knows best, his native ground. Born and raised as a member of the Kiowa tribe, Momaday describes Earth Keeper as a spiritual autobiography when talking about his life and the lives of his ancestors. He encourages the reader to take better care of our damaged world and to not lose sight of the wonder and beauty that surrounds us. He reminds us that we all must be keepers of the Earth.    

Sep 8, 2021

Not as they seem

Cover of No One Will Miss Her
A review of No One Will Miss Her by Kat Rosenfield

Lizzie Oullette has been found dead and no one in her rural Maine town seems to care. It's only when it becomes clear that her husband Dwayne is the one who likely murdered her that people start to show an interest. Dwayne was an admired member of the community until he hooked up with town outcast Lizzie. So if he did kill her? Maybe it's for the best. At least that's what investigator Ian Bird is able to glean from the townsfolk. That and somehow Lizzie's death is connected to a Adrienne Richards, a glamorous blonde Instagram influencer who'd been renting a house from Lizzie.

Sep 7, 2021

2021 American Book Awards

Cover of Award Winners
Award Winners

"The American Book Awards were created to provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America’s diverse literary community. The purpose of the awards is to recognize literary excellence without limitations or restrictions. There are no categories, no nominees, and therefore no losers. The award winners range from well-known and established writers to under-recognized authors and first works.

Sep 3, 2021

Singing to the sky

Cover of I Sang You Down from the S
A review of I Sang You Down from the Stars by Tasha Spillett-Sumner

This is a beautiful book from an Indigenous author/illustrator collaboration.

Through heartfelt text the author shares the anticipation and joy of a mother waiting for the birth of a child. Through the course of the patient months, the mother gathers meaningful elements form nature to create a medicine bundle for her child. Following the birth, the mother recognizes that the new baby is a medicine bundle for herself and for the community.

Sep 1, 2021

Who is hanging out in the haunted Dells?

Cover of The Kindred Spirits Supper
A review of The Kindred Spirits Supper Club by Amy E. Reichert

Have you ever taken a haunted history tour of the Wisconsin Dells? Options include a haunted trolley, haunted canyon, haunted mansion and ghost boat tours to get you started. Now imagine that the Dells is also home to a family of ghost whisperers whose job it is to help spirits with unfinished business cross over. 

Aug 30, 2021

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