This Golden State – Staff Review – Haley

This Golden State By Marit Weisenberg (Request)(CloudLibrary)

Can you imagine having to change your name?  Start over in a new town every few years? For seventeen years Poppy and her family have been on the run and she doesn’t know why.  A sudden move to California gives Poppy her first clue into her parent’s past.  Finally wanting to know the truth she submits a DNA test which cracks her world wide open. This coming of age novel is suspenseful, dramatic, with a hint of romance. It had me on the edge of my chair the entire time and I didn’t want to set it down until knowing the full story. This is definitely a good choice for both YA and adults.   

4 Stars

The Cruel Prince – Staff Review – Isabella

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (Request)(CloudLibrary)

The Cruel Prince is a YA fantasy novel that I didn’t know I needed. The novel follows Jude, a human girl who, along with her twin sister Taryn and half (faerie) sister Vivi, lives among immortal beings in the world of Faerie. Though Jude feels out of place in this world not built for her, she does all she can to fit in… possibly too much. The main thing I took away from this novel was the beautiful world-building. There are many YA fantasy novels with similar faerie-laden worlds full of mischief and intrigue, but the vivid imagery that Holly Black adopts in The Cruel Prince sets it apart. Everything from the food, to the clothing, to the landscape is described in great detail. While this novel was not my favorite YA fantasy book story-wise, the vivid imagery conveyed through the words of Holly Black kept me constantly engaged (would recommend for a pesky reading slump).

4 stars.

Razorblade Tears – Staff Review – Haley

Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby. (Request)(CloudLibrary)

Two ex-cons with nothing in common but a criminal past and the love they have for their murdered sons, join together to seek vengance upon those who hurt their boys. Ike and Buddy Lee were not the fathers their sons deserved; mean and ashamed of their sons being gay, but during their journey to set things right, they are able to confront their own prejudices about their sons and each other. 
Razorblade Tears is a gritty, emotional, and well written story of two flawed fathers out for justice.  I loved it.  However, it is also a crime, so if violence doesn’t sit well with you, I don’t recommend this book.  S.A. Crosby is masterful in his weaving of family, race, sexualtiy, and friendship.  Like its title, this book is sharp, witty, and will also bring you to tears. 
4.5 Stars 

The Verifiers – Staff Review – Haley

The Verifiers by Jane Pek (request)

Meet Claudia Lin, amature tech sleuth with a mystery she is determined to solve using dating app data she has access to from her job at Veracity. Claudia follows in the footsteps of her favorite novel detective as she cracks the case and her own life.

Going in I thought this was going to be an excellent read, however I had mixed feelings about it. The mystery plot line was convoluted with too much tech jargon a lot of the time. The personal interactions of Claudia and her family were the highlights of the book. The constant reference to the literary detective hero also disrupted the flow of the novel. Overall it was lackluster and didn’t live up to its potential.

2.5 Stars

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.

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