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 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

Running with Sherman – Staff Review – Maddie

Running with Sherman by Christopher McDougall (Request)

When Chris McDougall was approached about taking in a donkey from a hoarding situation, he thought it would be no different than any of the other farm animals he and his family had taken in since moving to a farm in the Amish Country of Pennsylvania. Little did he know the condition the donkey-later named Sherman- was in. Chris was told donkeys’ need a job to give them purpose, which is where he came up with training Sherman to compete in a burro race* in Colorado. Little did Chris know much training and time this would involve or the amount of people whose lives would be touched by Sherman’s journey.

*Burro racing is a form of racing dating back to the 1800s mining times. It consists of racers and donkeys competing in teams. It has become a popular sport out west.

Running with Sherman was both a heartwarming and at times funny story. I loved reading about Sherman’s journey and all the people involved in making it a success. I also enjoyed learning about burro racing, which I had never heard of before and found to be an interesting sport. I recommend this book to anyone who loves animals or just needs a feel-good story. 

5 stars

Last night at the Telegraph Club – Staff Review – Maddie

Last night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo (Request)(CloudLibrary)

Seventeen year old Lily Hu is trying to come to terms with the feelings she is developing for her classmate Kathleen. Feelings that come to recognition at the Telegraph Club, a lesbian bar that opens her eyes to another world she didn’t know existed. But in 1954 with the Red Scare of communism at its height and the threat of deportation looming over her family’s shoulder, Lily has to decide how much she’ll risk for love. 
Last Night at the Telegraph Club is a sweet young adult novel that shares the narrative of a young woman trying to find acceptance in an unkind world. 

3 Stars.

Finding Freedom – Staff Review – Maddie

Finding Freedom by Erin French (Request)(CloudLibrary)

Erin French grew up in the small town of Freedom Maine, slightly north of Belfast. SHe saw her fair share of hardships, struggling with addiction, being a single mother, abusive relationships, and running a business when the cards were stacked against her. Despite everything thrown her way, she has overcome the challenges and succeeded in running a pop-up dining experience out of an air-stream trailer, and later operating a restaurant that people from all over the world come to visit.

Having grown up in, but never having heard of the Lost Kitchen until last year I was intrigued to read about how it came to be such a phenomenon. French tells a compelling story about how her dreams came to fruition in a way that keeps readers engaged throughout the story. Her memoir is well written and not at all dry as some memoirs and biographies can be. 

4 stars

Dear Evan Hansen – Staff Review – Maddie

Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich (Request)(CloudLibrary)

Based on the Broadway play which is also being turned into a movie, Dear Evan Hansen is a story about how a misplaced note can alter the lives of many people. TW: Teen suicideSeventeen-year-old Evan Hansen doesn’t have any school. When a letter he wrote to himself as a homework assignment from his therapist lands in the hands of a grieving family, he is given the chance to feel like he belongs to something. But is belonging worth secrets and lies he’ll have to keep?

3 stars.

Adobo and Arsenic – Staff Review – Maddie

Adobo and Arsenic by Mia P. Manansala (Request)

Lila Macapagal recently moved back home after a nasty break-up to help her aunt and grandmother run their restaurant, which is at risk of being closed. When an old classmate and local food critic dies suddenly at her family’s restaurant, Lila becomes the prime suspect in the investigation. She suddenly has to solve the case in order to clear her name and save her family’s restaurant.

Adobo and Arsenic is a fun cozy-mystery with a diverse cast of characters. Cozy mystery books are lighter mystery stories that don’t have a lot of violence and tend to have food or animal themes. This story was also a quick read, only taking me about two days, and is the first book in a new series. (The second book sounds like it’ll be good as well!)

3 stars

Nine perfect strangers – Staff Review – Maddie

Nine perfect strangers by Liane Moriarty (Request)(CloudLibrary)

Nine strangers sign up for a ten-day health retreat at the Tranquillum House, a resort that promises to change visitors’ lives. Some like Frances go to improve their health and lose weight, others go for the spiritual aspect or for reasons unspoken. The question guests will all be asking is whether Tranquillum House and its owner really fulfill their promises? And are these nine guests willing to pay the costs?

Though Nine Perfect Strangers started off a little slow as the author introduces all the characters and setting, it picked up as things took a turn for the darker. Moriarty sets readers up for a good psychological thriller.

3 stars,

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