A History of Wild Places – Staff Review – Haley

A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw (Request)

Are you a fan of M. Night Shyamalan? Then this is a book for you! A well known author disappears and so does the man hired to find her…. Travis is hired as a last resort by the parents of author Maggie St. James who vanished in a place many think is just a legend. Four years later, Theo finds Travis’s abandoned truck on the edge of the hidden community of “Pastoral”.
Ernshaw has written a beautiful, haunting tale, which will keep you guessing what is going to happen until the very end. While the pace is slower than most, it is lovely and atmospheric. Well worth reading.

4 Stars

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Staff Review – Trisha

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (Request) (CloudLibrary)

A story about a young girl, Francie, growing up in Brooklyn, New York in the early 20th century, back when a penny was worth something. This book really put into perspective the value of money and the inflation that has gone on since the time period of the book. Francie knows nothing else. Her family could barely get by and when Francie was almost at age to get her working papers she had to drop out of school in order to help provide for her family. It made me stop and think about how differently families collaborate from then till now. While there were a lot of ‘real world adult problems’ there was still the tender hearted of a girl trying to find her way.

4 stars

Boys Adrift – Staff Review – Trisha

Boys adrift by Leonard Sax (Request)

If you are thinking that your son may be on the verge of failure to launch, then this is the book for you. This book really opened my eyes on the dangers of video gaming and why so many young men today aren’t launching off like they used to. There is some mention of ADHD and medications, not for or against, just factual and researched information. Sax has done his research and has given great insight on what we need to do as parents to help our sons in their futures. This book will have you wanting to parent a new way towards your son, especially if you feel he is unmotivated and has no real goals in life. Although this book was originally published in 2007 the information is even more relevant today.

The Quiet Zone – Staff Review – Terry

The Quiet Zone by Stephen Kurczy (Request)

What does a large radio telescope, Patch Adams, and a defunct Neo-Nazi compound have in common? They all exist within the Green Bank Quiet Zone. In Stephen Kurczy’s book The Quiet Zone, he explores the region around what is known as the National Radio Quiet Zone, which was established to allow the Green Bank Radio Observatory to detect radio waves from space without interference from electronic noise. Kurczy does a very good job at documenting life and history of the area without falling into novelty, simply reporting on the history of both the observatory as well as the life of the locals which, until the popularity of cellular technology, had little to be concerned with for the regulations that were kept around the observatory. Overall, it is an interesting book that looks into the nature of what it is to disconnect from our busy digital lives.

3 Stars

The Personal Librarian – Staff Review – Maddie

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray (Request)(Cloudlibrary)

Belle de Costa Greene was hired in her twenties as the personal librarian for J.P. Morgan, cataloging and acquiring valuable manuscripts and art pieces for his new PierPoint Morgan Library. Through her work Belle became one of the most important people in the art and book world, known widely for her determination and shrewd negotiations at auctions.

But Belle has one important secret she must protect at all costs- her name is actually Belle Marion Greener and she is the daughter of Richard Greener, the first black Harvard graduate and advocate for equality. Her fair complexion allows her and her family to ‘pass’ as white and explain their olive-toned complexions on Portuguese heritage. In a post-reconstruction society when Jim-Crow and Segregation were just coming into place, Belle isn’t just trying to protect herself and her family, but also a legacy she is creating.

The Personal Librarian is based on the little known story of an extraordinary young woman who defied all the odds against her to create a legacy in a racist society that wouldn’t have accepted her under truer pretenses. Marie Benedict and Victoria Murray have done a great job with this novel and I recommend it for fans of Benedict’s other books as well as readers looking for a compelling historical fiction.

4 stars

Locke & Key Vol. 1 – Staff Review – Maddie

Lock & Key vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill (Request)

Trigger warning: assault, murder, violence.

When the Lockes move to a family place out in Lovecraft, Massachusetts, the three siblings find that the house hides many unusual keys, each unlocking unusual transformations as well as doors. Lurking in the shadows is an evil being that will stop at nothing to collect all the keys and unlock the final door.

Locke & Key is an intriguing but dark adult graphic novel that pulls readers in. For fans of horror and Lovecraft, try this series- there’s six (short) volumes. If you like the first one, get the next couple because if you’re like me, you’ll fly through them. I do want to warn readers that while none of the scenes are explicitly graphic, there is some violence that may be suitable for everyone. The series has also been adapted to a television show on Netflix, which I have heard was good and have added to my watch list.

3 stars.

The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections – Staff Review – Maddie

The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections by Eva Jurczyk (Request)(Cloudlibrary)

Liesl Weiss has been working contentedly as a librarian for the rare books and special collections department of a large university for many years now, handling books as well as administrative tasks as the assistant director. But when the director is hospitalized with a stroke, she must step in to fill his absence only to find the library’s most prized manuscript is missing. While Liesl tries to alert the police to the missing manuscript, she is told to keep it quiet so as to not alarm the university and its donors. But when a staff member goes missing, Liesl takes matters into her own hands, looking into the circumstances around the disappearances as well as her fellow librarians’ , one of whom she suspects to be the thief.

I really enjoyed the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. The author wove the story in a way that kept introducing new facts about different characters that sort of keeps readers wondering about their pasts and whether they’d have a motive for theft. As a librarian, I also liked the setting of the book as it was different from other mysteries that I’ve read in a refreshing way. The story was also a nice medium between cozy and darker/more serious mystery books out there.

4 stars

Clammed up – Staff Pick – Maddie

Clammed up by Barbara Ross (Request)(CloudLibrary)

Julia Snowden returned home to Bushman Harbor to save her family’s struggling clambake business- not solve crime. But when a member of the wedding party turns up dead in the parlor of her family’s old mansion on Morrow Island, she has to solve the case or risk her family losing more than just their business. 
For fans of cozy mysteries or those looking for something lighter, try this first book in the Maine Clambake series. It was a nice easy read, which was a balance to some of the other books I’ve been reading. There are 7-8 books in the series, each with a new mystery to keep readers occupied as well. It’s available in large print here at the library, or as an e-book on the cloudlibrary. 

3 stars

The Awakening/The Becoming – Staff Review – Haley

The Awakening (Request) (CloudLibrary) and The Becoming (Request)(CloudLibrary) by Nora Roberts

Fairies, Ireland, and Nora Roberts? Yes Please!  The new trilogy, The Dragon Heart Legacy, is filled with magic, love, and strong female characters.  (Book 3 coming out Nov. 2022)

I love finding books that are an absolute escape from all things daily life and Nora Roberts is the queen of taking you from reality to fantasy.   Book One, The Awakening introduces us to Breen who is learning and welcoming her unknown heritage and abilities.  Book Two, The Becoming, welcomes readers back into the magical world of Talamh.

4 Stars 

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