The Secret by Rhonda Byrne


Reviewed by Emi Weiss (Library Staff)

This self help, new age book has been around for awhile, and I didn’t have an interest in it until I heard a patron talking about it at the library. I thought I would listen to the audio book mainly to get feel for the genre from a professional standpoint. Some of the information seems to fall into a “wishful thinking” or “magical thought” label. However, the power of positive thoughts, exercising feelings of contentment, and having faith in the power of the universe to provide what we really need are all constant, helpful themes that I enjoyed hearing about.

Located in Adult Nonfiction (158.1 BYR)

Learning to Swim by Sara J. Henry

Reviewed by Pat Plamann (Library Staff)

Troy is riding the ferry across Lake Champlain when she sees a horrific site of what she believes is a child falling from the back of another ferry. She does what we hope we would do, and dives in. Did he fall? Where are his parents? Why is no one looking for him? Give it a read to find out what danger Troy has put herself in as she unravels this mystery. A promising start for this first time author.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC HENRY)


Inferno by Dan Brown

Reviewed by Katy Zignego (Library Staff)

It’s official: Dan Brown has gone to the well one time too many. The formula worked so well in Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code: handsome professor and clever Girl Friday foil evil world-domination plot by solving riddles in art and history while racing through a lovely European capital. (The Lost Symbol was okay, too, although I thought its U.S. setting made it a tad less appealing.) But Inferno falls flat. What happened?

It all comes down to the plot. The evil world-domination plot, that is. In Brown’s previous novels, Robert Langdon was up against real, shadowy organizations of the past and present that use symbols and riddles as a means of communication–the Illuminati, the Priory of Sion, Opus Dei, and the Freemasons. The plots had a delicious tang of plausibility about them. In Inferno, the riddles are the work of lone mad scientist who simply felt like creating a treasure hunt based on Dante’s Inferno. Plausible? Not so much.

Inferno is still passable as a thriller, and I’m sure Dan Brown still has plenty of good straightforward thrillers to write. But he needs to put the Robert Langdon series to rest. It’s better to burn out than to fade away (cough, Peyton Manning, cough).

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC BROWN, DAN). Also available in CD Book, Playaway and Large Print form.

How We Got to Now: Six Innovations that Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson

Reviewed by Marcy (Library Staff)

You may have seen Steve’s PBS series that chronicles the book. The available DVD version is a great short-cut.
I found the book engaging, akin to the interesting discoveries you read about in Devil in the White City sans story line.

The six innovations are Glass – What would we do without lenses, fiberglass, medical equipment?, Cold, Sound, Clean – Plumbing anyone?, Time – Time wasn’t always synchronized, and Light. Steve brought us in awe of the discoveries and their development as I grew in appreciation of the garage inventors. It reminded me of the classic book Future Shock in which the author feels creativity must grow hand in hand with technology or we will be overcome by tech.

Great DVD to watch with family. Clap hands to the curious and determined!!!

Available through the CAFE library system.

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

Reviewed by Marcy (Library Staff)

What is really significant when you or a loved one is seriously ill or aging? Gawande examines our medical process and how we have progressed in science and medicine but not in the “sustenance of the soul.” He shares how some have improved nursing homes to include well-being. We need to have shared decision making and hopefully to have answered dire questions before the “Breakpoint Discussion.”

Professionals need to ask questions like “What is most important to you?”, “What is your understanding of the situation and its potential outcomes?” and “How do you want to spend your time if your health worsens?” Geriatric Physicians are declining in number and Gawande feels every GP should have training.

If you have an aging parent or someone seriously ill this is definitely a must-read. It also gives pause for thought about one’s own eventual demise.

Located in Adult Nonfiction (362.175 GAW)

Poppet by Mo Hayder



Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

Poppet is a sinister thriller set in a high-security mental health ward where the sanity of the patients is tested by a menacing creature called the Maude. Accidents and misfortune grow and what is initially dismissed as superstition becomes too real to be ignored. This edge-of-your-seat thriller would suit anyone who likes a nail-biting mystery and the challenge of deciphering reality from fantasy. It is one of a series too (though it’s not necessary to read them in order) so if readers enjoy it, there is more to be had!

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC HAYDER)

Jersey Boys (2013)

Reviewed by Judy (Library Staff)

This is director Clint Eastwood’s excellent adaptation of the Broadway show “Jersey Boys”, loosely based on the life of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Before watching it, I couldn’t think of a single Four Seasons song, but recognized every one in the movie (I didn’t start listening to pop music until the 60’s). The final production number is worth watching over and over again.

See if you can spot Clint in his brief cameo role….

Located in Adult DVDs (DVD JERSEY). Rental also available!


Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Reviewed by Melissa Rader (Library Staff)

I found this book to be spine-tingling in the best possible way (for a scaredy-cat like me, anyway). A gothic thriller through and through, Marina is filled with action and danger amid crumbling mansions and grotesque madness. Lyrical language makes the creepy imagery delicious and captivating. Set in Barcelona, Spain in 1979, Marina follows Oscar, who befriends the vibrant titular character in order to unearth a decades-old mystery (the unraveling of which is extremely satisfying). In my opinion the contemporary components weren’t as strong as the past mystery, but overall that is a minor quibble in a breathtaking book.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC RUIZ ZAFON)

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

Reviewed by Marcy (Library Staff)

Formidable, yes! Insanely witty, VERY! The story has its roots in the main character, Holly, who was contacted in childhood by the Radio People. At first the novel flows like a regular novel and halfway through develops seriously into the unsolved mystery and reveals the unwinding of a plot that a great sci fi novel should reveal. At times I was engrossed. Sometimes laughter sprouted from nowhere. Other times I felt if I took a breath I might lose the connection.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC MITCHELL)