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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Eerie season is almost upon us

Cover of The Stranger Diaries
A review of The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

October and the spooky season are just around the corner and I have the book for you. Elly Griffiths' (best known for her Ruth Galloway series of mysteries) Stranger Diaries is suspenseful and even spooky at times (there's even a ghost) and is a gothic book about a gothic story that is being written about for a book. Okay that sounds like nonsense, I know.

Sep 27, 2021

Forever Fall

Cover of Bella's Fall Coat
A review of Bella's Fall Coat by Lynn Plourde

It's fall! And Bella, like so many four and five year olds, CANNOT sit still. All she wants to do is be outside. She whirls and twirls and crinkles and crackles in the leaves, she stretches and reaches, picks and plucks fall apples, but her favorite fall coat is becoming too small. Thanks goodness for grandmas. This beautifully illustrated picture book will have your toddler whirling and twirling with it's vivid language, but also might help start a conversation about how sadly, not all things like favorite coats and seasons last for ever.

Sep 24, 2021

Dead bodies and wedding dresses

Cover of Dial A for Aunties
A review of Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Meddelin Chan's tightly knit Chinese-Indonesian family runs a full-service wedding business that provides cakes (Big Aunt), hair and make-up (Second Aunt), flowers (Meddie's mom), entertainment (Fourth Aunt), and photography (Meddie). A spectacularly rich couple hire the Chan's for their biggest event yet, a grand wedding to be held at an exclusive resort on an island off the coast of California. Things go wrong almost immediately. Some of the "wrong" includes a dead body, groomsmen too drunk to get dressed for the wedding, a major theft and an impending storm.

Sep 21, 2021

A child of grace

Cover of The Ninth Hour
A review of The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott

It may seem incongruous that The Ninth Hour, Alice McDermott’s exquisite family saga of faith, sacrifice and grace, should begin with a suicide. When Jim shoos his young wife Annie out of their Brooklyn tenement to do some shopping, locks the door behind her and turns on the gas, it looks as bleak as could be for the young widow. Early-twentieth century Brooklyn is a tough place for its many inhabitants, and particularly so for a young Irish widow with a baby on the way.

Sep 20, 2021

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

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