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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

A place to call home

Cover of Legends & Lattes
A review of Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree

Travis Baldree's debut novel's subtitle is a member of what's being called 'cozy SFF' in some parts of the interwebs (okay, I admit I found it on #booktok). Cozy science fiction and fantasy is just that, it's certainly imaginative and involves beings and creatures fresh and innovative, but it's also warm,  good hearted and even funny.

May 16, 2022

Warm and bright

Cover of Books of Patricia Polacco
Books of Patricia Polacco

All eyes have been riveted on Ukraine and Russia in these tense days. An author who has long used the beautiful colors and designs of Eastern Europe in her stories is Patricia Polacco. Patricia Polacco published her first children’s book in 1988 at the age of 41 and has subsequently written and illustrated over 100 titles. Many of her stories are inspired by her own life and the lives of her family.

May 13, 2022

I'd stay at this place in a heartbeat

Cover of The Paris Apartment
A review of The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley

Yes, something fishy is going on at the Paris apartment when Jess arrives to stay with her brother Ben. There's no way that Ben can afford to stay at the lavish building on his salary as a journalist. And how do the two young students on the fourth floor pay rent? And why do the inhabitants of the penthouse apartment insist the other residents attend their fancy wine parties? It doesn't add up. Not to mention, Ben is missing. Jess spoke with him on the phone before her arrival and now he's nowhere to be found.   

May 12, 2022

When gods return

Cover of Empire of Sand
A review of Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri

Tasha Suri is a librarian who studied creative writing at University and both of those facts are evident in her debut fantasy novel which is clearly well-researched and oh so creative.

May 11, 2022

Pushing boundaries and finding love

Cover of The Siren of Sussex
A review of The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews

Evelyn Maltravers had hoped she wouldn’t have to brave the ruthless London season and catch a wealthy husband, but that’s exactly where she finds herself in the spring of 1862. Her prospects aren’t ideal: with no dowry to speak of, the reputation of an elder flighty sister to overcome and a depressed London society in mourning for the recent death of the Prince Consort, Evelyn has her work cut out for her.

May 10, 2022

White elephant magic

Cover of Marshmallow and Jordan
A review of Marshmallow and Jordan by Alina Chau

This middle grade graphic novel set in Indonesia will pull at your heart strings. Jordan (named after Michael Jordan) shoots hoops like no one else at Kahawaii Multicultural School. A former star player on the basketball team, she's now the Captain after an accident leaves her paralyzed and unable to play on the team as before. Jordan misses playing basketball but remains upbeat and runs practices, attends games, and remains an integral part of the team.

May 4, 2022

Working together to solve the case

Cover of The Case of Windy Lake
A review of The Case of Windy Lake by Michael Hutchinson

Move over Boxcar Children, the Mighty Muskrats are on the case!

I highly recommend this enjoyable story and exciting mystery set in present day Canada. Realistic, multifaceted protagonists Chickadee, Otter, Atim and Samuel are inseparable cousins. They are known all over their reservation as “the mighty muskrats,” a nickname given to them by their oldest uncle.  

Apr 29, 2022

Waiting for the spark

Cover of The Other Miss Bridgerton
A review of The Other Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

I used to be a big Julia Quinn fan, gobbled up her Bridgerton books as quickly as they came out. But then, hmmm, I'm not sure what happened. Somehow they weren't feeling as fresh for me perhaps? Seemed like the last few books I read by the author were just okay and so I fell away. But I was curious, with the second season of the Netflix series (which I love) now available, whether I could recapture that sparky feeling those early books provided if I dropped back in. The answer? A resounding yes.

Apr 28, 2022

The novel that was meant to be

Cover of The Man Who Lived Undergro
A review of The Man Who Lived Underground: A Novel by Richard Wright

This novel is a spectacular case of righting a decades-old wrong in publishing. Richard Wright wrote The Man Who Lived Underground nearly 80 years ago and it was partially published as a short story. Wright believed it to be his most authentic work and desired to have the novel published in its entirety. This did not happen during his lifetime but thanks to the Library of America and Penguin Random House, readers have access to the full work as well as an essay that provides essential background information called "Memories of My Grandmother."

Apr 26, 2022

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