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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Camelot's descendants

Cover of Legendborn
A review of Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

After Bree's mother is killed in an accident, the sixteen-year-old escapes the grief engulfing her home life by joining a program for scholarly high schoolers at UNC - Chapel Hill. While there, she stumbles into a complex world of magic and Arthurian legend that quickly takes over her life. But this is no simple re-telling of King Arthur's round table -- this story goes to much deeper and more interesting places than you might expect.

May 12, 2021

A generation lost

Cover of After Francesco
A review of After Francesco by Brian Malloy

Before there was Covid-19, the world experienced another epidemic that seemed to come out of nowhere. The first cases of what would become known as AIDS were diagnosed in June of 1981. Forty years ago. Think about that. The beginning of the AIDS crisis is now a historical time period. Mind boggling. But also so important to remember.

May 11, 2021

A girl and her mother

Cover of Me and Mama
A review of Me and Mama by Cozbi Cabrera

Me and Mama by Cozbi Cabrera, centers on the special relationship between a young girl and her mother. Starting with the morning “when the house smells like cinnamon” and the papa and little brother are still asleep, a little girl wants to be “everywhere mama is”. “Good morning to you” – her mama sings, as the little girl walks down the stairs.

May 7, 2021

Diary of a reluctant killing machine

Cover of All Systems Red
A review of All Systems Red by Martha Wells

"I could have become a mass murderer after I hacked my governor module, but then I realized I could access the combined feed of entertainment channels carried on the company satellites. It had been well over 35,000 hours or so since then, with still not much murdering, but probably, I don't know, a little under 35,000 hours of movies, serials, books, plays and music consumed. As a heartless killing machine, I was a terrible failure."

May 6, 2021

Roadkill and witches

Cover of Snapdragon
A review of Snapdragon by Kat Leyh

Local legends and lore abound in this middle grade graphic novel about a young girl named Snapdragon who befriends the town witch. It turns out the elderly witch, Jacks, is a licensed animal rehabilitator who also assembles roadkill skeletons and sells them for profit on eBay. This is wonderfully weird, but not exactly otherworldly. 

May 4, 2021

Chirli and me

Cover of The Bitch
A review of The Bitch by Pilar Quintana

If you have ever wondered what a gritty and meanly funny version of Marley and Me would look like, Pilar Quintana’s The Bitch has you covered. It is the story of Damaris, who gets a dog. Damaris lives with husband Rogelio on a Colombian hillside, surviving off fishing and keeping house for absentee homeowners. Wife and husband long for a baby that will never come.

May 3, 2021

Crossing the Rubicon

Cover of A Fatal Thing Happened on
A review of A Fatal Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum: Murder in Ancient Rome by Emma Southon

I'm a fan of true crime tv and podcasts and will listen to a wide variety of them, but when it comes to books, I'm a bit more particular. I think this choosiness has to do with being able to distance myself a bit from the content and for me, when I'm reading, it can feel so much more immediate. So for nonfiction crime books I gravitate to historical crime with the natural distancing of time making it more enjoyable. A Fatal Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum really fit that bill.

May 2, 2021

Always something to say

Cover of Nimoshom and His Bus
A review of Nimoshom and His Bus by Penny Thomas

This is the story of a kind, friendly school bus driver named Nimoshom who has something to say to the children every day on the way to and from school. Nimoshom means grandfather in Cree. Sometimes Nimoshom teaches the kids a new word in Cree. He greets the students with tansi (hello), wishes them mino kisikaw (have a good day), asks them to api (sit down) if they bounce around in their seats, and smiles and says ekosani (thank you) when the kids bring him gifts.

Apr 27, 2021

Let's read some poetry part 4

Cover of New Poetry Books
New Poetry Books

National Poetry Month was launched by the Academy of American Poets to remind "the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture and that poetry matters." To help myself (and you) out I've put together some lists of poetry from last year and some new titles from the the first quarter of this year. This is the last of four lists. Let's read some poetry!

Apr 26, 2021


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