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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

A little chill for a hot summer day

Cover of North of Boston
A review of North of Boston by Elisabeth Elo

Pirio Kasparov is a medical and biological anomaly. She survived for more than four hours in 40 degree water in the North Atlantic when the small fishing boat she was on was hit by a larger ship. Her survival in waters that would generally kill others within a short period of time is newsworthy, but for Pirio the much bigger issue is the fact that her friend Ned didn't survive the crash and she's beginning to suspect that his death was not an accident. The authorities conclude that the collision was an accident, but Ned's young son Noah is relying on Pirio to figure things out.

Jul 24, 2020

Things get ugly in the City of Brotherly Love

Cover of Such a Fun Age
A review of Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

What is the road to hell paved with? Such a Fun Age is like that. Over and over again.

Emira is 25 years old and about to age out of coverage from her parents health insurance. Her B.A. in English from Temple University in Philadelphia holds zero interest for her and her college friends are moving on to jobs with 401(k) plans, dental coverage and larger apartments with adult furniture. Emira works two part-time jobs that are okay but she's kind of lost and doesn't know what to do with her life.

Jul 23, 2020

The Fest goes on

Wisconsin Book Festival logo
A review of Wisconsin Book Festival by

The pandemic has put the kibosh on the library being able to offer in person events - something we've been missing in a major way - and this is true for the Wisconsin Book Festival as well. Though they hold events all year long, they've had to come up with a new way of doing things. So if getting to the Central library, finding and paying for parking, and then finding a seat for a popular event were often just too much or just not feasible, here's your chance.

Jul 22, 2020

Manga man with talent

Cover of The Man Without Talent
A review of The Man Without Talent by Yoshiharu Tsuge, translated by Ryan Holmsberg

One of my favorite things lately is Japanese cartoonist Yoshiharu Tsuge.

Active from the 1960s-1980s, Tsuge has had a lasting influence on Japanese culture. Among other accomplishments, he helped pioneer manga’s “I-comics” genre, creating fiction out of his personal life, domestic strife and declining mental health included. Big in Japan for decades, Tsuge is finally getting an American roll-out.

Jul 16, 2020

Perfectly imperfect

Cover of The Perfect Match
A review of The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins

Honor Holland thinks she's about to have the best night of her life. She's decided to propose to her lover, Brogan, and finally make their relationship official. Problem is, Brogan has always considered Honor to be a 'friend with benefits' rather then a true romantic partner. And to add serious insult to injury, after crying on her best friend's shoulder, Honor finds out that that same best friend is who Brogan plans to marry. Honor is not only devastated, she's also a little desperate. She's 35 years old and truly wants a family.

Jul 13, 2020

Colette is missing

Cover of Tornado Brain
A review of Tornado Brain by Cat Patrick

Neurodiverse thirteen-year-old Frankie has more than her share of challenges. She is learning to cope with multiple issues and manage her impulses. Meanwhile, Frankie’s twin sister, Tess, is handling the challenges of having a neurodiverse sibling.

Jul 10, 2020

I'm a business, man

Cover of Jay-Z: Made in America
A review of Jay-Z: Made in America by Michael Eric Dyson

This book has been checked out to me since winter and I kept waiting to read it until my brain was ready to absorb all its Michael Eric Dyson-ness. I realized that day might never arrive and decided to go for it. Reading something academic stretched my brain to its limits but this book was the perfect thing to read right now.

Jul 9, 2020

Reading makes you smarter?

Cover of Ancillary Justice
A review of Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

Recently someone asked me for recommendations for "intelligent" mysteries. Her description for these was "a combination of a dense, resonant setting with character and plot development that grab you but that are new and thought provoking; characters, attitudes, thoughts, insights you haven't read before but which strike a chord and reveal something about the world." That description helped me to help her find some books, but it also fits a science fiction title I read. Ancillary Justice is very well-written and complex.

Jul 7, 2020

A bothersome dilemma

Cover of Scandalous Sisterhood of P
A review of Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry

What are seven young ladies to do when the headmistress and her brother abruptly falls over dead during dinner? They don't want to go back to their homes and there may be a killer amongst them. The solution: bury the corpses in the garden and dress up one of the students as their headmistress. The mystery thickens as the young ladies, each with her own unique characteristic, tries to keep up this farce and deal with meddling neighbors, a lovestruck admiral, long-lost relatives, and inquisitive constables.

Jul 3, 2020

Playing the part

Cover of The Impersonator
A review of The Impersonator by Mary Miley

In 1917 fourteen-year-old Jessie Carr disappeared from her Pacific Northwest home near Portland. She's the heir to the vast Carr fortune and if she is not found before her twenty-first birthday, now only months away, the fortune will be dispersed to other relatives. Now her uncle, Oliver Beckett, thinks he's found Jessie when he sees her performing on a vaudeville stage. The problem is the young woman insists her name is Leah and though she is the spitting image of Jessie, Oliver soon realizes his error. Though she is not Jessie, Oliver has a back-up plan.

Jul 2, 2020


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