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 

Go Tell The Bees That I Am Gone – Staff Review – Haley

Go Tell The Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon (Request)

The wait is finally over! Book 9 in the Outlander series is now available after a seven year drought. Now… was it worth the wait? Well, yes, and no.

Some may not appreciate this novel spanning over 900 pages but to me that wasn’t a drawback. I’ve missed all the characters and loved having that much time with them. However, it meanders through their lives, but there wasn’t much of a plot line. If you’re a fan of the series of course you’re going to read it, but just know going in, it’s a 70/30 love and hate.

3 Stars

This Is Me – Staff Review – Haley

This Is Me by Chrissy Metz (Request)(CloudLibrary)

Anyone else sad that This Is Us is almost over? Why not get to know the wonderful actors who keep us entertained each week.

Chrissy Metz gives an open, honest, and witty look at her life from childhood to stardom. This memoir is a wonderful example of a strong woman overcoming obstacles to reach her goals. The only drawback from me are the few “Bee Mindful” sections scattered throughout the book. I felt that it took away from the overall appeal.

3 Stars

Black Nerd Problems – Staff Pick – Terry

Black nerd problems by William Evans and Omar Holmon (Request)

Want to hear a pair of poets talk about their favorite geeky pastimes in both serious and playful tones?  Black Nerd Problems by William Evans and Omar Holmon is for you!  Black Nerd Problems is a great series of essays on race and racial identity in geek culture.  The different essays run the range of serious social issues to playful rants about characters making for a well rounded body of work.

5 Stars

The Paris Apartment – Staff Review – Haley

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley (Request)(CloudLibrary)

Are you ready for more twists and turns than a rollercoaster?  Then you need this book.  Told through multiple perspectives we follow the story of Jess who arrives in Paris to stay with her brother but when she arrives he has gone missing.

Lucy Foley has done it again with The Paris Apartment.  This psychological crime thriller was one I couldn’t put down.  Even with the multiple characters telling the story it wasn’t too much to keep track of the narrative.  Lots of eerie and sinister descriptions and make you want to leave on a lamp.

4 Stars

The Devil in the White City – Staff Review – Maddie

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Eric Lawson (Request)(CloudLibrary)

Larson writes an intriguing tale of the Chicago World Fair and a notorious serial killer using its city as his hunting grounds. Daniel Burnham was the architect behind the World Fair, a daunting task to undertake considering the many obstacles he would face along the way, not to mention international scrutiny. The United States hadn’t seen a fair of this sort and for many it would be an educational experience, housing exhibitions from around the world; that is if Burnham met his deadlines. Holmes was a charismatic but sinister man who built the World Fair Hotel, which hid his more nefarious operations.

One of the things I really enjoyed about The Devil in the White City is how well Larson combines all the different elements into a cohesive story. Not only does he switch smoothly between the two worlds of H.H. Holmes and the World Fair, but he goes into great detail about the tremendous efforts that went into creating the fair and all the parties that helped make it a success without overwhelming the reader. He really highlights how the fair was a product of ingenuity at the time and made a name for Chicago internationally. Not knowing much about H.H. Holmes, it was interesting to learn a little about him and how he took advantage of the fair as well as certain practices that were common at this time to operate under the radar for so long both as a businessman and serial killer.

4 stars

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

Women of the Dawn – Staff Review – Terry

Women of the Dawn by Bunny McBride (Request)

A historical and ethnographic account of 4 Wabanaki women, based on the research done by both Bunny McBride as well as Molly Dellis, who is one of the women that is also featured in this book. This book pays true homage to the importance of women, especially native women, and their stories at a time when colonial powers saw them and treated them as barely human. A great read on a time and place as well as a people that can sadly be often overlooked.

5 Stars

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