The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – Staff Review – Haley

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes By Suzanne Collins

This prequel to the Hunger Games Trilogy, Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes follows eighteen year old Coriolanus Snow in the dystopian world of Panam during the time of the 10th Hunger Games.

This book, unlike the trilogy, is not action driven but rather a philosophical look at the choices of morality, politics, and power the main characters make in regards to their world. While I can see why many thought it was a slow read, I very much enjoyed learning the history which created the Panam and President Snow I am familiar with as a fan of the Hunger Games books. Collins did a wonderful job of showing readers how society and the choices we are forced to make can ultimately shape who we can become as an individual.

4 Stars

The Tenant – Staff Review – Maddy

The Tenant by Katherine Engberg

In Copenhagen, Denmark, a young woman, Julie Stender, is  murdered in her apartment by a killer who drew intricate patterns on her face.The crime is eerily similar to a scene in the manuscript written by the victim’s landlady, who is trying to publish her first book. 
Detectives Korner and Werner are unsure if Ester de Laurenti is a suspect in this murder investigation, or a pawn in a larger game of revenge the police have yet to fully understand. The detectives must act quickly to solve the case before another person is harmed. 
The Tenant started off a little slow, but gradually picked up as the story went on. I liked the changing plot twists as the author kept readers guessing about who the killer was and where the story would lead. 

3 stars.

Black Panther and The Crew – Staff Review – Terry

Black Panther And The Crew #1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates

We are the Streets by Ta-Nehisi Coates is a well written and beautifully illustrated graphic novel featuring Marvel’s Black Panther as well as a host of other prominent Marvel characters, all who are persons of color.  The narrative of the story mostly follows Misty Knight with T’Challa (Black Panther) as more of a supporting role despite the title and this particular perspective is where the book really shines, featuring a black female police detective with no real super powers of her own other than a few high tech gadgets and her own wits and skills dealing with a crisis in New York City and the resulting fallout, which is very reminiscent of current social and political affairs.  An entertaining read with a strong social message.  

5 Stars

No Longer Human – Staff Review – Terry

No Longer Human by Junji Ito

No Longer Human adapted to manga format by Junji Ito is a cathartic story of the spiraling downward of a man’s life in early 1900s Japan. This book is not for the faint of heart as it deals with some very heavy subject matter, often with the use of some very grotesque and morbid imagery. A great find for anyone into body horror or gothic horror, as well as anyone who likes a good story that goes into the fractured mind of a broken soul.

5 stars.

As long as we both shall live – Staff Review – Maddy

As long as we both shall live by JoAnn Cheney

Matt told park rangers his wife was dead- she fell off a high cliff when hiking into the river below. A rescue search ensues, but rangers are skeptical of what the outcome will be. But when a body turns up, it creates more questions than answers.

Matt’s first wife died under mysterious circumstances as well. Detectives Loren and Spengler have a lot of questions for Matt as they delve into the case and the couple’s past.

As long as we both shall live is a psychological thriller novel in which the author keeps readers guessing who did what and who’s guilty to the very end. Not everything or everyone is what they seem and the married couple in this story have much to hide. This book was a quick read and is good for those who enjoyed Girl on the Train and Gone Girl.

3 stars.

Evvie Drake Starts Over – Staff Review- Maddy

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

In a small coastal Maine town, Evvie Drake barely leaves her house. Her best friend Andy and most the town think her seclusion has to do with her husband’s death. Andy’s best friend Dean Tenney, a major league baseball pitcher in New York is struggling with the ‘yips’- he can’t throw straight anymore. Andy invites Dean to Maine, thinking the vacation and fresh air might do him some good. So Dean moves into Evvie’s apartment under the condition that he won’t ask about her husband and she won’t ask him about baseball. This doesn’t last long however, as the two become friends and help each other overcome their demons.

Evvie Drake Starts Over was a cute, fun read that was hard to put down. I enjoyed the relationship between the two main characters and how they helped each other through hard times.

4 stars.

Landline – Staff Review- Izzy

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Landline by Rainbow Rowell is an engaging, funny, and reflective novel about a marriage gone wrong and a magic phone that could be the answer to everything. Georgie McCool loves her husband Neal, of course she does, and Neal loves her, no question. So then why does she find herself home alone and working over Christmastime while her husband and kids fly off to visit his family in Omaha without her? And why has her own family started to tiptoe around her like she is going through a divorce? As Georgie begins to unravel with worry that Neal is more than just his usual upset with her this time, she discovers something different about her landline phone in her old bedroom at her mom’s house – it connects her to Neal from before they got engaged. Staying up late and talking on the phone with her husband’s younger self, she begins to wonder if this is her second chance to make things right before they went wrong. But what does making things right even look like and what will it do to the life and family she has come to build? Read if you don’t mind a book that can bring you to tears and laughter simultaneously and if you ever wished you had a phone that could connect you to the past!

4 Stars

The Adventures of Thor the Thunder God – Staff Review – Terry

Retold by Lise Lunge-Larsen, Illustrated by Jim Madsen

This collection of Norse mythology is a nice set of tales beautifully illustrated by a well known children’s book illustrator. A few of the tales will be commonly known to adults reading this to a child, but a few are lesser known tales such as Stolen Thunder. A great read for children and adults alike.

5 Stars

Banned Book Club – Staff Review – Terry

Banned Book Club by Kim Hyun Sook

Banned Book Club is a great true story about a subject I was initially unfamiliar with, the censorship of books in South Korea. The story is autobiographical, but still very in depth on the other characters and their lives, as well as the political climate around the characters. The story is honest, as a book written for the young adult crowd, it does keep the violence non-viserial, and much of the other trauma as implied without detracting from the seriousness of the risks they take to fight censorship.

5 Stars

The Black Mage – Staff Review – Terry

The Black Mage by Daniel Barnes

The Black Mage is a fun but thought provoking foray into the subject of white privilege especially in the area of private academics. Set in a wizarding school the book has an action based plot without being predictable, there are a few nice plot twists that the reader will not feel led into while still linking back enough to the previous parts of the story that will have you thinking “I should have seen that coming”. Overall, a great read and has a message, one that can resonate with all ages of readers.

5 stars.

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