Book Review

Our staff has been working from home like many of you are at this time. We asked them to let us know what books they have been reading from home and we thought we would start sharing with you!


My recommendation in this scary category, is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.  Scary because of the length of the book.  But, so glad I read it; it’s definitely one of my top 10 favorites!

Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher 700+ Pages.  Pilcher is one of my favorite authors who writes light hearted family stories often set in England, Scotland, and Ireland.  This book is not scary in the true sense of the word but would be best enjoyed by a fire with a cup of tea.

I absolutely loved this book. What a fun, gory, thrilling read. Mid-90s conservative Southern housewives have to turn warrior to save their tight-knit community from the vampire who's preying on their children. 
the southern book clubs guide to slaying vampires

Another great Riley Sager thriller. This is the second book I've read of his, and it's even better than the first. It's a creepy ghost story/thriller that alternates between the past, from the father's book detailing how the family had to flee their haunted house, to the present 25 years later when their skeptical daughter returns to fix it up and sell after her father's death. Maggie's parents refused to talk to her about the events that happened the night they fled when she was five, and now strange things are happening again. The twists and turns at the end I never saw coming. This one was a real page-turner that I couldn't put down.
home before dark

"Calico Joe" by John Grisham....anyone who loves baseball will enjoy this book. It is fiction, however, he references actual players from back in the day and quotes stats from those same pros. It is well written and the storyline, while a little sad sometimes, is a wonderful read (in my opinion!). ~ Wendy

I enjoyed the rural diaries: love livestock and big life lessons down on Mischief Farm by Hilarie Burton Morgan.  It's a cute biography and I thought fun to read. ~Patti
The Rural Diaries

Just finished this book by Riley Sager, and I will be reading more of his. An excellent thriller with lots of twists and turns, set at a girl's summer camp. Find out what happened when 3 girls vanished from the camp 15 years ago, and the guilt carried by their lone surviving cabin mate as she returns to investigate. This book kept me guessing to the surprise ending. I highly recommend it for thriller/mystery lovers.
the last time i lied
 



The 2nd book in the Victorian series Scotland Yard Murder Squad. I didn't enjoy it as much as I did the 1st book The Yard, but it still was a good read. I also like the main characters. It's a  mystery surrounding the disappearance of 3 members of a local family, the town's local superstitions, and a look at the conditions of a coal mining town in the late 1800s.
the black country
 

Jennifer Niven wrote Holding Up the Universe, a very enjoyable Young Adult book. The story has two main characters, Jack and Libby, each dealing with very big health issues, one very public and one very private.  We go with them on their journeys as they deal with their issues, their pasts, their unexpected feelings,  all while trying to navigate high school.  Jennifer Niven is a talented writer. She also wrote All the Bright Places, another great book.
Holding up the universe

A true-crime writer returns to her small hometown to write about her sister's murder 20 years ago. Her old high school flame is glad she's back, but the rest of the town is not too happy she's digging up old wounds. This murder mystery, romance, thriller was hard to put down. But I also loved the main characters, and the themes of second chances, family, and finding your place. 
in the waning light


The Narcissism of Small Differences is a funny, yet moving portrait of a local Detroit couple, set in 2009.  It is written by Michael Zadoorian, who is one of my faves and a well-known Detroit-based author.  Joe and Ana are closing in on 40 and are still trying to find their place in this world as far as jobs, relationships, friends, hobbies, and all the things that fulfill us.  The characters are rich and complete and I found myself cheering for them every step of the way.  I loved it!
The narcissism of small differences

Between the World and Me was written as a letter to the author's teenage son about the feelings, symbolism, and realities associated with being Black in the United States. It made quite an impression on me. As a parent, I understand the importance of preparing our children for the world. The author shares advice with his son as it has been shared for hundreds of years. This is not a feel-good book but thought-provoking. I recommend it; it enabled me to stand in another's shoes and view the world from another's perspective. 
~Donna

Shelby has been busy with online classes and exams, however, she started reading "All the missing girls" by Megan Miranda. It's a mystery thriller about a story told backward, from the very beginning this novel had her on the edge of her seat. An investigation that turns into shocking news with so many twists and turns.
Shelby holding a book

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead is hard to read but well worth reading.  It’s the story of the injustices at a boy’s reform school in Florida in the early 1960s. It’s based on true incidents.  It’s very timely because of what is going on in our nation right now. Not a feel-good story but it’s a story that will make you think about the issues that are still troubling our nation and what actions we need to take to change things.
The Nickel Boys

Tami just finished Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty. I decided to give it a try as she is also the author of Big Little Lies, which I enjoyed. 
This book is about 9 people who go to a health and wellness retreat, but they get more than they bargained for, in many different ways! The many personalities and subject matters are diverse and intriguing. Relationships, health, and personal ethics are just a few of the things that are explored in this quick read. 
It surely gave me something to think about, even after I was finished with the book. 
Nine Perfect Strangers

I just finished reading  Second Street Station by Lawrence H. Levy. It's the first book in a series recommended by Karin C, and the first book I read on my tablet with Overdrive. It wasn't the most perfectly written book. Sometimes too many details, and unrealistic situations, but I like the heroine. She's ambitious, spunky, and determined to break through the barriers that men have over women in the late 1800s NYC. Overall despite its flaws, I enjoyed the book as it was a nice diversion from what's going on today.
Second Street Station

Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil was written by John Berendt.  I had no idea what Savannah, Georgia, society life was like, but I sure didn’t expect this!  This book is filled with the wildest stories and the most eccentric characters you’re ever going to come across.  And the crazy thing… it’s a true story!   If someone wrote a fiction book like this, people would say that it’s too unbelievable and nobody would read it.  What a wild ride!
Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil

New, Free J.K. Rowling Online Story
First two chapters released today, Tuesday, May 26. Subsequent chapters to be released daily until July 10.

Donna finished reading American Dirt. It is a gripping story, an Oprah pick that became quite controversial: "it wasn't the author's story to tell". I was riveted by the fast pace and easy to read the story, understanding that this is a fictional account of a mother and son running from the drug cartel after they massacred their family. 
 

Patti has been reading Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid.
"This is an interesting read about a fictional rock band in the '60s. It is written a bit differently from each point of view. It feels like it's non-fiction!"
This book is available on CloudLibrary, Hoopla, and Overdrive.
Daisy Jones & The Six, taylor jenkins reid

I just finished Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult on the recommendation of my daughter Emma. It was a challenging subject to read about but Picoult doesn't disappoint. I kept turning pages to find out what was going to happen next. This book can be found in both Cloud Library and Libby. 
Jodi Picoult Ninteen Minutes a novel

The Making of Us by Lisa Jewell is a very good, interesting story about several different people who seem to have nothing in common. Then we find the link that could connect them all. An easy, interesting read that I enjoyed. It’s available on Hoopla.
the making of us

Jan just finished reading, Sold on a Monday, by Kristina McMorris.
Inspired by an actual newspaper photograph that stunned the nation,
Sold on a Monday is a powerful novel of love, redemption, and the unexpected paths that bring us home.
jan

Illustrated Shawn Harris sharing a how-to paper art video from Candlewick Press. #CandlewickClassroom

I recently finished A Dark Lure, and Loreth Anne White is becoming one of my favorite thriller/suspense authors. This was a real page-turner with cat and mouse games, where a cop sets a trap to catch a serial killer, and the killer sets a trap for the one victim that got away. Emotional and suspenseful, I highly recommend it.
a dark lure

Amazing Accents
These amazing audiobook narrators will transport you across the seven seas!

Australia: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, read by Caroline Lee. Available through OverDrive. (Drama/Dark Comedy)
Ireland: The Witch Elm by Tana French, read by Paul Nugent. Available through cloudLibrary and OverDrive. (Mystery/Suspense)
England: The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey, read by Finty Williams. Available through cloudLibrary and OverDrive. (Post-apocalyptic Science Fiction)

Voice Like Velvet
Will Patton is my favorite audiobook narrator. If he read the phone book, I’d be the first person to download a copy.  His voice is like smoky molasses.

Nightwoods by Charles Frazier, read by Will Patton. Available on OverDrive. (Rural Noir)
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, read by Will Patton. Available on cloudLibrary, hoopla, and OverDrive. (Young Adult/Fantasy)
Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King, read by Will Patton. Available on cloudLibrary and OverDrive. (Suspense/Thriller)

Marvelous Memoirs
Take a walk in someone else’s shoes with these marvelous memoirs:

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. Available on cloudLibrary and OverDrive. (Growing up during apartheid in South Africa)
Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman. Available on cloudLibrary and OverDrive. (Life in a women’s prison)
Over the Top by Jonathan Van Ness. Available on cloudLibrary and OverDrive. (Overcoming abuse and addiction and finding self-acceptance)

Anyone else finding it difficult to get some quiet reading time during Stay at Home???  There seem to be more dishes, more laundry, more time allotted to homework . . . . . more, more, more of everything, except free reading time.  American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson is a great CIA spy novel, but for some reason, I just can't seem to get through it   Maybe you can find time for this 2019 Barack Obama Summer Reading List title.
Quarantine reading laundry     Quarantine reading outside (2)

Quarantine Reading from bed     Quarantine reading - Distance Learning (2)

Ms. Kelly is excited to revisit one of her FAVORITE books "Fortunately, the Milk" by Neil Gaiman. This book is a 2nd-4th grade reading level but a funny story for the whole family. If you like audiobooks, it is one of the best audiobooks, it is a laugh out loud story.
Kelly holding book tablet

SYNC is a free summer audiobook program that provides free audiobooks aimed at teens. Returning April 30, 2020, SYNC will give away two complete audiobooks a week - pairs of high-interest titles, based on weekly themes. Sign up for email or text alerts and be first to know when new titles are available to download at www.audiobooksync.com. You will need to register at www.audiobooksync.com and download the Sora app.

Jan and Oscar just finished reading The Dutch House by Ann Patchett via download from Libby.
jan and oscar

Hi everybody! It’s Kathy V and I just wanted to check in to see how everybody’s doing. I hope you’re all staying healthy and safe and filling your days with good things. I sure miss seeing everybody and I’m looking forward to things getting back to normal again. I wanted to tell you about a book I just finished.  I checked it out from the Libby app. It’s called Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey. It’s a cute story about a young woman who loves romantic comedies, and she’s hoping that her life will become a romantic comedy. There’s a lot of references to romcom movies so if you’re familiar with the movies she talks about, it makes it even more fun.  It’s a cute,  lighthearted story, which is just the kind of thing I need to be reading right now.  A helpful hint about the Libby/Overdrive app…You can do an “advanced search” and search for “available now.”   Those items will be available for immediate check-out.  I hope you’re enjoying this downtime and I look forward to seeing you soon.
kathy V holding a tablet book

facebook book review collage

The Boys of Summer
by 
Roger Kahn
This is a book about young men who learned to play baseball during the 1930s and 1940s and then went on to play for one of the most exciting major-league ball clubs ever fielded, the team that broke the color barrier with Jackie Robinson. It is a book by and about a sportswriter who grew up near Ebbets Field, and who had the good fortune in the 1950s to cover the Dodgers for the Herald Tribune. This is a book about what happened to Jackie, Carl Erskine, Pee Wee Reese, and the others when their glory days were behind them. In short, it is a book about America, about fathers and sons, prejudice and courage, triumph and disaster, and told with warmth, humor, wit, candor, and love.
The Boys of Summer is available as an ebook through HOOPLA.

Shoeless Joe
by
W.P. Kinsella
“If you build it, he will come.”
These mysterious words inspire Ray Kinsella to create a cornfield baseball diamond in honor of his hero, Shoeless Joe Jackson. What follows is a rich, nostalgic look at one of our most cherished national pastimes and a remarkable story about fathers and sons, love and family, and the inimitable joy of finding your way home.
The movie "Field of Dreams" is loosely based on this book.  
Shoeless Joe is available as an ebook and audiobook through HOOPLA and as an ebook through Cloud Library. 
Missing baseball chalkboard and sports equipment

So in true book lover fashion, I just finished a book and am also listening to a book on cd.
 
The book I just finished reading is The Red Hunter. It is a thriller involving 2 women who are connected to the same house.  Major tragedies have happened to both of them. An ongoing theme of the book is that some people are still able to find the good in those types of situations and still live a full life. Most people are not just either good or bad. They can move forward and embrace helping others and making a difference in the world. There are many twists and turns, murder, revenge, but love and good too. The characters are interesting and multi-faceted.  A good read. 
 
The book I am listening to on cd is The Ruin.  I am just a few chapters into it. I decided to give it a try because the blurb on the front said fans of Tana French would enjoy it, and I do like her books. The book is a murder mystery involving an apparent drug overdose death 20  years ago, that may now be linked to a current death.  I am listening to it instead of reading it, because a co-worker said that when she listens to a book while cleaning and doing projects in the house it keeps her going on those projects longer because she wants to find out what will happen in the book, haha!
Tami holding the red hunter          Tami holding the audiobook the ruin

We checked in with Patti and she was kind enough to send us a picture of her! She gave us a peek at what she has been reading lately.
"The Beatles, A Hard Day's Write" by Steve Turner.
"It is pretty interesting, I grew up with the Beatles, and yes, Paul was my favorite!". Thanks, Patti.
patti holding books         the beatles a hard days write


Karen S has been reading "The Lady and the Highwayman" by Sarah M. Eden, as well as "The wolf and the Watchman" by Niklas Natt Och Dag.

"First I read The Lady and the Highwayman, a delightful Victorian mystery and romance set in London. A little lighter than what I usually read but still had some of the darker themes of Victorian London society, such as Penny Dreadfuls, secret societies, and orphaned street children. And if you're not a big fan of romance (which I'm not) it's not overpowering."

"Currently I'm reading The Wolf and the Watchman, a murder mystery set in 1790s Stockholm, Sweden. It is a very dark story and not for everyone, certainly not the faint of heart.  Gruesome, intense, and focuses on the horrible conditions of slum living. If you liked The Alienist you'll probably like this."
 
The Lady and the Highwayman (Proper Romance Victorian): Sarah M ...         The Wolf and the Watchman