An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed – Staff Review – Maddie

An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed by Helene Tursten (Request)(CloudLibrary)

Eighty-eight year old Maud is back for a sequel and trouble keeps knocking at her door. In this collection of short stories, Maud travels to Africa but is repeatedly drawn back into memories from her past including the detectives that won’t leave her alone in Sweden, teaching, and taking care of pesky neighbors. As we all know, Maud is not a woman to be taken lightly, despite her fragile appearance.

The interconnected stories in An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed have some dark humor mixed with warmer moments in which Maud shows her softer side. These do tie into the stories from the first book so I recommend readers start with that one, which we do have at the Auburn Library. The stories and book itself are a quick and fun read.

3.5 Stars

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas – Staff Review – Maddie

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne (Request)(CloudLibrary)

This is the tale of a boy named Bruno. One day while exploring the grounds surrounding this new home, he comes to a fence and meets a boy sitting on the other side of the fence. A friendship forms that defies all odds.

Though a work of fiction, the story of two boys on either side of a fence is a common one that still occurs today all over the world. Boyne tells a moving story.

4 Stars

One of Us is Lying – Staff Review – Maddie

One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus (Request)(CloudLibrary)

5 teens serve an after school detention together. Bronwyn is a straight A student bound for Yale. Addy is the beauty queen dating the jock. Nate is on probation for selling drugs. Cooper is an all-star baseball pitcher. Simon is an outcast who created the highschool’s gossip app that everyone hates to love. When Simon dies suddenly in the middle of detention, all eyes turn to the only four people in the room with him. Everyone has a secret, but who is willing to kill over it?

Told from the alternating perspectives of Bronwyn, Addy, Nate and Cooper, this new YA thriller will keep readers on their toes until the very end. I enjoyed how the different perspectives added a level of curiosity for me especially as the book unfolded.

4 stars

The Last Guest – Staff Picks – Haley

The last guest By Tess Little (Request)

This slow burn keeps you guessing right till the end! Like the main character, you may even think the killer wasn’t human…. Actress Elspeth Bell attends the 50th birthday party of her ex-husband Richard Bryant, the famous movie director who launched her career, and during the festivities, one person ends up dead.

While not quite the same as a locked room mystery, the elements are similar. This has a deep dive into a small group of characters who are in attendance of the party and we learn throughout the novel their darkest secrets. If you are a fan of the slow burn, Agatha Christie style mystery, this would be a good choice.

3 Stars

The Shadow – Staff Pick – Terry

The Shadow by James Patterson and Brian Sitts (Request)(CloudLibrary)

The Shadow by Brian Sitts and James Patterson is an interesting use of the 1930s radio serial character “The Shadow” who ends up suddenly in a dystopian future setting.  The book follows both Lamont Cranston (The Shadow), and Maddy Gomes, a teenager who works with Lamont and serves as an interesting set of perspectives on this with Lamont being from the past and Maddy being from the current future.  Anyone familiar with The Shadow drama series will see a few other familiar characters as well as some of Lamont’s skills and abilities, but prior knowledge of the character is not necessary to enjoy the book.  Overall a good read.  

4 stars

The Whispering Pines – Staff Reviewed – Maddie

The Whispering Pines by Heidi Lang and Kati Bartkowski (Request)

A year ago, Rae’s father disappeared and while she knows what happened to him- he was actually taken- no one believes her. When her mom decided to move the family across the country, Rae wasn’t thrilled but figured it could be a chance at a fresh start and normalcy. But Whispering Pines is anything but normal, which is clear from the town’s rules.

Caden is all too familiar with the weirdness of Whispering Pines, having lived there his entire life and occasionally partaking in his mom’s paranormal business. When multiple students start to go missing only to show up again without their eyes, the two realize there may be more to the case than they realized… but can they stop whatever’s taking their fellow students before it comes for them?

The Whispering Pines is a middle grade (juvenile) fiction that can be a little scary at times for younger readers, but is a fun read overall. I liked the paranormal elements brought into the story, especially reading it so close to Halloween. If you enjoyed this book like I did, check out the next book in the series, Infestation, which just came out this year. Whispering Pines is also a 2021-2022 Maine Student Book Award nominee.

4 stars

The Wife Upstairs – Staff Review – Haley

The Wife Upstairs By Rachel Hawkins (Request)(CloudLibrary)

Looking for a fresh take on a classic? This retelling of Jane Eyre is for you then! Set among a wealthy neighborhood in Birmingham, Alabama, this thriller will have you on the edge of your seat. The story is told from the perspective of Jane, a dog walker new to the area, with a few secrets in her past. Jane meets Eddie and the two quickly begin to fall for each other, despite Jane having to live in the shadow of Eddie’s recently deceased wife, Bea.

I really enjoyed this novel and couldn’t put it down. The characters were pretty shallow and you don’t connect with them on an emotional level, however the plot twists keep you very interested until the final pages. It had been a long time since I’ve read Jane Eyre so I wasn’t constantly comparing the two novels and was able to appreciate it on it’s own. A great thriller!

3 Stars

To Be Taught, If Fortunate – Staff Review – Terry

To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers (Request)(CloudLibrary)

Would you give up the life you know to go explore other planets?

To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chamber is a novella that centers around an exploratory crew visiting exoplanets in the near future. The main focus of the story is mostly focused on the way the crew deal with the stresses and challenges of the places they visit as well as the isolation of not only being far from Earth, but that they will not return for many years and have no contact other than pre-recorded messages that take years to arrive. A very interesting read into the ethics and purpose of space exploration.

4 Stars.

War Lord – Staff Pick – Haley

War Lord by Bernard Cornwell (Request)

War Lord is the epic conclusion of Cornwell’s thirteen Saxon Stories book series. In 2004 Bernard Cornwell introduced readers to Uhtred of Bebbanburg. Over the past seventeen years fans have followed Uhtred’s journey from a young boy captured by Danes to a man long in years and battle scars. The vivid writing of this series was so well received it was adapted for television and can be seen on Netflix.

I put off reading this book for several months because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the Saxon Stories, but I shouldn’t have doubted the power of Cornwell’s writing. While bittersweet, War Lord was his perfect mix of fiction, history, humor, and battles. Our journey with Uhtred, changing as a person over the span of his life, was perfectly concluded in this final novel. The ending was fitting and tied the entire series together.

War Lord – 4 Stars
Saxon Stories Series – 5 Stars

Assembly – Staff Review – Haley

Assembly by Natasha Brown (Requests)

Do you keep an inner monologue running in your mind? Assembly gives us a brief glimpse into the inner thoughts of our narrator, a black British woman getting ready to attend a garden party at the home of her boyfriend’s parents. It is a very short and stark perspective on race, class, and gender. It’s unique structure of prose may not be for everyone, but I found once I started reading it became easier to follow. Books are all stories, this was more like opening someone’s mind to take a little peek.

3 stars

1 2 3 6