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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Escape from Hollywood

Cover of Marilyn in Manhattan: Her
A review of Marilyn in Manhattan: Her Year of Joy by Elizabeth Winter

In November 1954 Marilyn Monroe escaped from Hollywood, leaving behind the very public end of her marriage to Joe DiMaggio and the humiliations forced on her by Zanuck and Fox Studios. Leaving with her friend and photographer Milton Greene, Marilyn was determined to recreate herself in New York City as something more than a blonde bombshell.

Nov 4, 2021

More data needed

Cover of The Mother-in-Law
A review of The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth

The Lakeview Mystery Book Group had been meeting in person over the last few months but decided to go back to meeting on Zoom now that the nights are longer and are getting colder. Last week was our return to Zoom and given how the online platform can change the shape of meetings, I was wondering if our talk would be as comfortable and free-wheeling as it had been for our in-person meetings. The answer? It certainly was a relaxed, energetic discussion. But was that the group or the book?

Nov 2, 2021

Strange and wild songs

Cover of Matrix
A review of Matrix by Lauren Groff

Early in Matrix, Lauren Groff’s stunning new novel, Marie of France recalls a nightingale that Queen Eleanor had raised by hand, caged among the ladies of the English court. She despises this bird, which sings the same song, unlike the wild birds that Marie knew from her days when her mother and aunts were alive, free and fierce to pursue a life away from the strictures of court and the stringent roles of the ladies there. Marie herself defies easy categorization, as both bastard and royal, the product of rape from the lanky Plantagenet king and her Amazonian French mother.

Nov 1, 2021

Bedtime beats

Cover of Hip-Hop Lollipop
A review of Hip-Hop Lollipop by Susan McElroy Montanari

Two girls, Lollipop and her sister Tasha are both dancing to their favorite tunes as their parents remind them it is time to slow down, settle and get ready for bed. The language of Montanari’s Hip-Hop lullaby dances across the page in perfect meter. Pinkney’s soft, fluid illustrations provide pitch perfect movement as he depicts this warm family moment as simultaneously universal (how to get energetic youngsters to bed) and unique (to hip-hop, techno and dance fans). This is a wonderful read-aloud for any time of day including tuck-in time.

Oct 29, 2021

All recommendations welcome

Cover of Blacktongue Thief
A review of Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman

I just finished the Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman and I have to say that it was a pretty fun & clever book, with adventure to spare. There are WAR COVIDS! Bigger than a person! And goblins and giants, and magical tattoos and an assassin...on the craziest road trip ever. And it was funny, which is something I feel is missing in many fantasy settings.

Oct 25, 2021

At the corner of...

Cover of American Street
A review of American Street by Ibi Aanu Zoboi

So many exciting twist and turns! An endearing adventure all the way to the end. I was awed at the varied facets the main character endured from the very beginning, like witnessing her mother's detainment after her first flight to the United States to her less than celebratory introduction to meeting her new family members. I enjoyed her innocence of learning Western culture through the eyes of her cousins and new friends.

Oct 21, 2021

Saving Godzilla?

Cover of The Kaiju Preservation Soc
A review of The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi

I've been waiting to tell you about John Scalzi's forthcoming title for a while now as it was just the antidote I needed for a reading slump. At the time most things I'd been reading were eliciting a tepid, 'ah it was fine' response. And then came the Kaiju. Not only were they a saving grace for me, but based on the author note included in the book, were one for Scalzi as well. He'd been struggling with another book as the pandemic worsened and just couldn't make progress when the idea for this story popped into his head.

Oct 19, 2021

A new meaning for moonshot

Cover of The Apollo Murders
A review of The Apollo Murders by Chris Hadfield

Kazimieras “Kaz” Zemeckis was bound for the stars.  At least, that was the plan before a bird strike on a routine fighter training flight left him with a glass eye and a job shepherding astronauts through the sort of space flights he was supposed to be on himself. By 1973, the Apollo missions are winding down as budget cuts take their toll, but the Apollo 18 trip promises to be like no other.

Oct 18, 2021


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