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.

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

Yours Cheerfully – Staff Review – Haley

Yours Cheerfully by AJ Pearce (Request)

As the daunting Mrs. Henrietta Bird has taken leave from Women’s Friend magazine, can Emmeline Lake finally become the wartime journalist she has always longed to be?  For anyone who was a fan of Dear Mrs. Bird, this sequel will not disappoint.   Immediately following the conclusion of the first novel’s story line, we join our same group of characters into a whole new adventure.  Emmeline, still working on the advice column at Women’s Friend Magazine, gets a enormous surprise and boost in her career.  


I loved this book just as much as the first one.  The story is a bit heavier in topic, but not in delivery.  There is an excellent balance in serious content vs. comedic delivery. For a fun, feel good read, you can’t go wrong with AJ Pearce.  

4 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,

Who is Maud Dixon? – Staff Review – Maddie

Who is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews (Request)

After her job at a New York publisher doesn’t work out, aspiring novelist Florence Darrow lands a job as the assistant to Maud Dixon- a mysterious but acclaimed writer. This appears to be the perfect opportunity in which Florence can work and form a mentorship. But when the two women venture on a research trip to Morocco for Maud’s next book, a car crash sets in motion a series of events that have Florence wondering who is Maud Dixon? Did she ever really know her boss?

Who is Maud Dixon? is a well written thriller that will leave readers wondering how far one woman will go to achieve her dreams. I enjoyed the way the story unfolded over time but recommend paying attention to the prologue.

3.5 stars

The Anthropocene Reviewed – Staff Review – Maddie

The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green (Request)(CloudLibrary)

A collection of personal essays by John Green on items, places, and phenomena that have taken place during the Anthropocene, the current geological age we are living in. These range from Dr. Pepper to sunsets to a hot dog stand in Iceland. The book stems from the podcast John creates with his brother under the same name, The narration has the feel of a conversation, making it an easy nonfiction read, and has a similar writing style to his other books, which is what I liked about it. I also enjoyed the personal anecdotes John Green throws in each section.

4 stars

Survival of the Friendliest – Staff Review – Terry

Survival of the Friendliest: understanding our origins and rediscovering our common humanity by Brian Hare (Request)

Ever wanted a pet fox? Turns out they are fast-tracked for domestication! This and other sociology and biology studies are outlined and analyzed in Survival of the Friendliest. Authors Hare and Woods discuss the theory that instead of survival of fittest and needing to compete, that human success may be the result of the natural behavior of cooperation with both other humans and other animals that have been domesticated. The book does go into a fair amount of detail but keeps things to a popular science level that is enjoyable to read for general audiences.

4 stars.

Shadow and Bone – Staff Review – Maddie

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (Request)(CloudLibrary)

The once great nation of Ravka is surrounded by enemies and cut off from other parts of the world by the Fold- an enveloping darkness in which flesh-eating monsters hide in waiting for ships that try to pass through it, making any attempts fruitless.

Alina Starkov grew up an orphan and with no other prospects, joined the army . When her regiment is attacked while trying to cross the Fold, her dormant power emerges in time to save her friend from imminent harm. Once her power reveals itself, Alina is whisked off to court to train with the Grisha, other magically gifted warriors. But not everything in the Grishaverse is as it seems and with great power, comes even greater responsibility.

Without going too much into detail about this book for fear of spoiling details, I really enjoyed Shadow and Bone. Bardudo quickly pulls readers into the world of the Grishaverse and leaves you on the hook at the end of the novel, setting the scene for the sequel in a way that has similar elements to other dystopian novels but is also unique to Shadow and Bone. As a bonus, if you like this book and its sequels, Leigh Bardugo has other series set in the Grishaverse and Netflix recently made Shadow and Bone into a t.v. series on their site.

4 stars

A Pho Love Story – Staff Review – Maddie

A Pho Love Story by Loan Le (Request)

Linh and Bao’s parents have owned competing Pho restaurants across the street from each other for years. The two teens and their families have avoided each other at all costs. That is until a chance encounter brings Linh and Bao together and sparks start to fly. They wonder why it took them so long to connect before remembering their family feud.

A Pho Love Story is a fun ya rom-com with hints of a modern-day twist on the Romeo and Juliet-esk story.

3 stars

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