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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Worlds at war

Cover of There Before the Chaos
A review of There Before the Chaos by K. B. Wagers

Hail Bristol is back. If you follow my MADreads reviews (and really, you should <g>) you'll know that I loved K. B. Wagers Indranan War trilogy. In that trilogy Hail was introduced as the last remaining heir to an empire she wasn't sure she wanted. Events conspired to force her to take on the responsibility, and once taken there was no going back. Hail is the Empress of the Indranan Empire and she's hoping that now that the civil war is over, she and her people can take some time to regroup and rebuild.

Sep 10, 2018

All girl "Empire Records" plus vigilante fight club

Cover of Heavy Vinyl
A review of Heavy Vinyl by Carly Usdin

I am a proud Gen X-er and the 1995 film Empire Records is part of my lexicon. This graphic novel replicates the independent record store vibe, the staff is all female and it's set in 1998, so for me, it's the coolest. It's also about a girl fight club hiding underneath the record store. And the girl vigilantes must save missing rock stars. Like I said. The coolest.

Sep 5, 2018

Partnering one another

Cover of A Rogue of Her Own
A review of A Rogue of Her Own by Grace Burrowes

There are a few tropes that will always hook me when it comes to historical romance. One of those tropes, the marriage of convenience, is the underpinning for Burrowes' latest in her Windham Brides series. What starts out as an attempt by the heroine, Charlotte Windham, to have a brush with scandal so that she can avoid further London seasons, turns into a marriage to Lucas Sherbourne, her unwitting accomplice.

Sep 4, 2018

Margaret in a fun-house mirror

Cover of Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Pr
A review of Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown

Thanks to the recent popularity of Netflix’s series The Crown, there has been a resurgence of interest in the series’ most fascinating character, Princess Margaret. Younger sister of Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret has to be arguably the most polarizing royal figure of her era. Alternative portraits present her as a woman frustrated by royal constrictions which denied her any real purpose in life and marriage to the man she loved versus a mean, manipulative society maven who never failed to remind people of her superior rank in a world that viewed her as a camp figure.

Aug 31, 2018

Is there ever an acceptable reason to "ghost" someone?

Cover of Ghosted
A review of Ghosted by Rosie Walsh

"Ghosting" according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication. Several recent reports tout it as the new toxic behavior. It's cowardly, it's destructive and it doesn't resolve anything.  

Aug 29, 2018

Magical steampunk

Cover of The Clockwork Witch
A review of The Clockwork Witch by Michelle Sonnier

In this first of a series Sonnier offers a vibrant and fast-moving tale that melds steampunk and magic to great effect. Arabella is the seventh daughter of the seventh daughter of England's most powerful family of witches. As such she was expected to do great things. But Arabella has aged past the point where her powers should have been revealed with nary a spark of talent showing, much to the dismay of her mother and delight of some of her more competitive sisters.

Aug 27, 2018

Wisconsin Book Festival

Pieces of Her book cover
Lineup Announced

The Wisconsin Book Festival released its 2018 festival schedule on August 21. The four-day festival will take place October 11-14, 2018, in and around Madison Public Library’s Central Library in downtown Madison, Wisconsin. The festival will feature more than 60 events over four days with plenty of opportunities to meet authors, discover new books or favorite writers, and have books signed. See the full festival lineup at

Aug 24, 2018

Free Access to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Cover of Harry Potter and the Sorce
A review of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling

Everyone’s favorite boy wizard is turning twenty this year! Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone first hit shelves in 1997, sparking a cultural phenomenon that’s still going strong. To celebrate, Overdrive is offering free access to the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone ebook between August 27 and September 10.  Enjoy reconnecting with favorite characters or take the opportunity to introduce a new generation to the series.

Aug 23, 2018

Nurturing friendships and traditions

Cover of The Tea Dragon Society
A review of The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill

A young blacksmith's apprentice named Greta discovers a lost tea dragon at the market and uncovers the forgotten world of the Tea Dragon Society. The book follows a year of seasons starting with spring and the developing friendships between Greta, the tea dragon masters, Hesekiel and Erik, and a mysterious and shy girl named Minette.

Aug 21, 2018


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