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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Wading through

Cover of Blood on Their Hands: Murd
A review of Blood on Their Hands: Murder, Corruption and the Fall of the Murdaugh Dynasty by Mandy Matney and Carolyn Murnick

True crime books, tv shows, and podcasts are everywhere, but every now and then a crime, or series of connected crimes, breaks out of one format to overtake them all. The tale of the Murdaugh family in a rural part of South Carolina is one of those. From the first stirrings about the boat crash that killed a pretty young teenager, to the deaths of a mother and her son, to the father claiming to have survived an assassination attempt and then the revelation that there were two deaths that preceded all of this? This was a crime story that had everything and then some.

Mar 14, 2024

Chilling truths

Cover of All the Sinners Bleed
A review of All the Sinners Bleed by S. A. Cosby

When you set a book in place named Charon County, you’d better be prepared to go to some dark places. S. A. Cosby’s latest thriller, All the Sinners Bleed, does not disappoint in that respect. Mixing strong characterizations and engrossing action with stories rooted in America’s racial reckoning, Cosby again proves why he’s become a must-read among crime readers.

Mar 13, 2024

Political palate cleanser

Cover of Party of Two
A review of Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory

If the current state of politics in the world is stressing you out, then have I got the book for you. Not only is the politician in this book hard-working and honorable (though certainly not perfect), but there is also deep discussion of cakes and pies and pastries and pizza and tacos! I'm getting hungry just writing about it.

Mar 12, 2024

A big idea... for a big problem

Cover of Fox has a Problem
A review of Fox has a Problem by Corey R. Tabor

Fox has a problem - their kite is stuck in a tree! And unfortunately, this is the not first time this has happened, as we zoom out to see a forest filled with kites. Fox drags out a giant fan, but that just leads to a problem for Bear, when their house is filled with leaves. Fox's fix for this leads to a problem for Rabbit, and pretty soon all the animals have a problem! Finally, thanks to Elephant, all the problems are resolved and all the friends are happily flying kites. 

Mar 8, 2024

Tribute to the women whose lives were cut short

Cover of Bright Young Women
A review of Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll

On a Saturday night in 1978, a man enters a Florida sorority house and systematically attacks women from room to room, leaving them for dead. He flees the sorority down the main staircase and out the front door as the sorority president Pamela Schumacher stands in the shadows, frozen in fear. She sees the killer's face and haunted by that night and the aftermath of the attack, she's determined to find justice. She's obsessed with finding the killer and eventually earns a law degree with the intention of facing him in court one day.

Mar 5, 2024

A treasure

Cover of Henry, Like Always
A review of Henry, Like Always by Jenn Bailey
Mika Song

Henry, like many children on the neurodivergent spectrum, loves routine. He likes knowing what to expect and things always being the same. But this week isn’t like always. On Friday, there will be a parade. A parade means a change in schedule, loud music, and no share time like always. Henry’s days this week just feel orange - his least favorite color. This sweet book is full of the small ups and downs of kindergarten life, told through Henry’s unique perspective. Follow Henry as he navigates these changes with the help of this teacher and friends to a reassuring conclusion.

Mar 1, 2024

Race against time

Cover of The Infinite
A review of The Infinite by Patience Agbabi

Children born on February 29 are rare, but what if some "Leaplings" could also travel in time? Elle Bíbi-Imbelé Ifíè and her best friend Big Ben are about to find out what happens when the future touches the present, and they'll have to hope their first time-travel won't be their last!
Contemporary and futuristic settings, neurodiverse characters, and time travel add up to a really interesting read for upper elementary readers that may challenge you!

Feb 29, 2024

Wondrous world

Cover of A Letter to the Luminous D
A review of A Letter to the Luminous Deep by Sylvie Cathrall

Sylvie Cathrall's debut is an epistolary novel - a novelistic style that sometimes works for me and sometimes does not. Here it mostly does. I was immediately drawn in by the dreamy, carefully anxious letter that E. is writing to Scholar Henerey Clel. E. (you'll learn her full name later) lives alone in an underwater abode called The Deep House. She writes to Henerey and her sister Sophy and an array of others to stay in contact with the world. This world is one that is about 99% covered in water and most abodes are on floating islands.

Feb 26, 2024

Warmth and friendship

Cover of Birdsong
A review of Birdsong by Julie Flett

When a young girl moves to a new home, she befriends her elderly neighbor. Together they share a love of crafts and nature. As seasons pass, how will the girl deal with her friend’s failing health? Enjoy the beautiful pictures and backgrounds from award winning illustrator Julie Flett as you settle into this warm story that celebrates inter-generational friendships and finding connection.

A brief glossary and pronunciation guide to Cree-Métis words that appear in the text is provided.

--reviewed by Melissa

Feb 23, 2024


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