Back to top


Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

The distaff side

Cover of Our Woman in Moscow
A review of Our Woman in Moscow by Beatriz Williams

In 1951 two British government officials, Donald Maclean and Guy Burgess, left on a boat sailing from Southampton to France and then disappeared. Though there were suspicions that they had defected to the Soviet Union, this wasn't confirmed until five years later when they appeard at a press conference in Moscow. In the years after this it became clear that they were not the only two British "gentlemen" to have been recruited by the KGB, there were at least 3 others and they all became known as the Cambridge Five.

Mar 10, 2021

Dreaming in powwow

Cover of Bowwow Powwow = bagosenjig
A review of Bowwow Powwow = bagosenjige-niimi'idim by Brenda Child

Bowwow Powwow  by Brenda Child (Red Lake Ojibwe), is about imaginative Windy Girl, and her dream of an amazing powwow. Her dream melds stories from Uncle with her own powwow memories. Under the beat of the drum, Windy Girl dreams about traditional dancers “dancing their style” and grass dancers “treading the northern earth”. She also dreams about swirling colorful costumes and powwow fast food stands – selling things like blueberry sno-cones, fry bread, and popped maize. Her dog friend, Itchy Boy, wakes her from the dream so she can enjoy the real powwow right in front of her.

Mar 8, 2021

Start at the beginning

Cover of Saint's Gate
A review of Saint's Gate by Carla Neggers

I have been meaning to read the Sharpe and Donovan series by Carla Neggers for a long time, but somehow just didn't get to it. Well, now that I have read the first one (free e-book from the library) I will positively be getting more.

Mar 4, 2021

Detecting and derring-do

Cover of Murder in Old Bombay
A review of Murder in Old Bombay by Nev March

Jim Agnihotri can’t shake the image of the two women falling from his mind. A former captain in Her Majesty’s forces, Agnihotri has read of the case while recuperating from terrible injuries to mind and body from a skirmish in 1891 Karachi, but it is the perplexing mystery surrounding the deaths of two wealthy Parsee women who apparently jumped from a Bombay clock tower on their own accord that haunts him. Why would the Framji women jump at such an interval apart? And why would two young women seemingly happy with their lives choose to end them so violently?

Mar 3, 2021

Making the most of your gifts

Cover of When Stars are Scattered
A review of When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed

This is the true story of how Omar Mohamed and his younger brother Hassan spent their childhood as refugees at the Dadaab camp in Kenya* separated from their mother and longing to return to their home in Somalia. Life is difficult in Dadaab. The many long years of waiting without enough resources along with thousands of other refugees wears the residents down and dashes their hopes and dreams for the future.

Mar 1, 2021

Returning to a favorite world

Cover of Witness for the Dead
A review of Witness for the Dead by Katherine Addison

I'm frequently asked to name my favorite book or to list my top ten, and mostly I just get stumped by that question. I love so many books for so many different reasons and they shift in my estimation as this one moves up or that one moves down and all fully dependent on what has wowed me recently. But there is one book I read seven years ago that has consistently been a go-to for me when asked for a favorite.

Feb 25, 2021

Celebrating families

Cover of We Are Little Feminists
A review of We Are Little Feminists by Aarcha Shrivastav

The 2021 *Stonewall Award-Winning board book, We Are Little Feminists: Families, features photographs of families with children aged 0-5 with their siblings, parents, grandparents, and more. The broad representation sets this (and the other two books in the series) apart. Candid-style photos show children and parents playing, laughing, sharing snacks and smiles, and bring readers into the lives of LGBTQ+ families from a variety of races, ethnicities, and family structures as well as being inclusive of various disabilities.

Feb 24, 2021

Cat and mouse to the death

Cover of The Jigsaw Man
A review of The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson

In her debut thriller (though not her 1st written work), Matheson dives right into the goriest of serial murders and the angsty-est of protagonists. Our angsty hero is Detective Inspector Anjelica Henley who, on her first day back to active duty after a severe injury, finds herself confronted with dismembered body parts - parts that are clearly not all from the same body. And if that's not bad enough, the way in which the victims are found is all too similar to the pattern set by Peter Olivier, a serial murderer known as the Jigsaw Man, who has been in prison for the past two years.

Feb 23, 2021

The power of Booker T. Washington's voice

Voices of Black America
A review of Voices of Black America: Historical Recordings of Speeches, Poetry, Humor & Drama by Naxos Audiobooks

This audiobook provides a treasured portal to the past. It features original recordings from 1908-1946 of speeches by Booker T. Washington, the poems of Langston Hughes and Paul Laurence Dunbar recited by the poets, comedy routines, and more. All told, there's approximately 1 hour and 47 minutes of content.

To hear these famous voices is very special. The sound quality is on par with other historical recordings I've heard. That takes a moment to get used to, but feels intimate, like you've gone back in time and are witnessing the moment. 

Feb 22, 2021


Subscribe to MADreads