The Lighthouse Road by Peter Geye

lighthouse

Reviewed by Pat P (Library Staff)

I started this book not knowing entirely if I would like the 1890’s Minnesota lumber camp setting. As the setting moved to the 1920’s and back again, and the characters were developed, I couldn’t put the book down. Odd is introduced as he is born to Thea, a young Norwegian who immigrated to Minnesota to live with her aunt and uncle, only to find that situation was no longer available to her. Thea finds shelter and work thanks to a local merchant, Hosea. As the book progresses in both time frames, the impact of Hosea’s influence on Thea, and in time on Odd, is far-reaching. Geye’s characters in this book are built to face the troubles they encounter head on and cluster together to fight against them. The last chapter pulls the events together and puts a worthy end to the book.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC GEYE

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy Reichert

coconut

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

Full disclosure, I love the state of Wisconsin. In my nonfiction creative writing class at Iowa, I wrote an essay on my love of all things Wisconsin. The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy Reichert is like the essay I wrote, a love letter to all things Wisconsin, specifically in Milwaukee. Everything is there, cheese curds and frozen custard, brewery tours and the Milwaukee Brewers, Summerfest and State Fair.
The basic premise of the book is similar to the movie You’ve Got Mail. Lou, a Wisconsin native, owns a small French restaurant in Milwaukee. Al, a British transplant, is the local food critic, just staying in Milwaukee until something bigger and better comes around. When they meet, they decide to forgo any talk of work and Lou shows Al all the sights, sounds, and tastes that Milwaukee offers. In the beginning, unbeknownst to both of them, Al is responsible for the horrible review that partially ruins Lou’s restaurant.
While the drama unfolds around Lou and Al, the star of the novel is clearly Milwaukee and the wonderful, delicious food. But be warned, you might not want to read this book on an empty stomach!

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC REICHERT)

It’s All Your Fault by Paul Rudnick

fault

Reviewed by Judy B (Library Staff)

A laugh out loud YA novel, that connects at the hip for a long weekend, a pair of cousins that come from very opposing lifestyles: one an anxious, stay-at-home goody-two shoes; the other a dysfunctional rising movie star.
While the two main characters are drawn in broad stereotypes initially, the story draws you into the evolution of the teens into mature young women through laugh-out-loud situations.

Available through the BRIDGES Library System

The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse

winter

Reviewed by Pat P (Library Staff)

Do you know about the history of Cathar? Do you know what it is? I didn’t even know I was learning about it in this absorbing story; mystery, really. I liked this book. I was drawn in by the story of a man greatly saddened by the loss of his brother in WW I, and what truly happened to him. The story soon turns to another person also mourning a loss from a different conflict at a very different time. Mosse painted the scenes with her words in a beautiful way, allowing the reader to see this story clearly.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC MOSSE)

The War that Saved my Life by Kimberly Burbaker Bradley

war

Reviewed by Jane Oliver-Purton (Library Staff)

A beautifully written story of Ada, a club footed child, hated by her mother and forced to stay in their dingy London flat. She and her little brother, Jamie, through grit and determination get themselves to the train taking children out of London to temporary homes in Kent to keep them safe from the expected bombing of London. Here, they are placed with sad, proper, Susan Smith, whose patience, determination and growing love for them changes their lives. There is much sadness in this story, wonderfully read by Jayne Entwistle, and much joy, as well. Ada is justifiably prickly in her dealings with “Miss”, but her undying spirit and never-ending stubbornness serve her well, and help her see how she has been gently turned from her mother’s hate to Susan’s love. 2016 Newbery Honor Book.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC BRADLEY)

The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson

dribbling

Reviewed by Katy Zignego (Library Staff)

The newest travel book from Bill Bryson was hot off the press when I snapped up my copy at Books & Company. I am an inveterate Bryson fan, and I could barely wait to read this follow-up to Notes From a Small Island, my all-time favorite.

The premise is the same as any other Bryson travel book: crotchety middle-aged man travels around observing the locals, relating interesting anecdotes, and drinking excessive amounts of beer. In this case, he is touring Britain, just as he did twenty years ago for Notes From a Small Island.

I think one of the reasons I particularly enjoy Bryson’s writing is that he likes history. Some travel writers like to talk about food, or scenery, or whatever je ne sais quoi makes anyplace someplace. Bryson’s schtick is history–the stranger, the better. He loves nothing more than a monument to a long-forgotten personage, like the plaque commemorating the site where the first person to be killed by a train perished in 1830. I, too, love those kinds of esoteric historical details.

For everyone who is not a history buff, Bryson’s inimitable sense of humor is his main selling point. The man is a hoot. He is unfailingly polite to everyone he meets, but in his mind (and on the page), he berates them for every infraction from slow service to poor grammar. I found myself chuckling fewer times during Little Dribbling than I have with other Bryson books, but there were still chortles aplenty. Maybe he’s getting a little gentler in his old age.

The final segment of the population to whom this book will appeal are the Anglophiles. Bryson is an American by birth, but he has lived in Britain for most of his adult life. His affection for the British people, their way of life, and the land itself shines clearly through all his grumbling. If you, like I, believe you are a British soul trapped in an American body, you and Bill will get along famously.

Located in Adult Nonfiction (914.1048 BRY)

Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess

pretty girl

Reviewed by Jen Bremer (Library Staff)

To say I enjoyed Such A Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess would be something of a misnomer. To say it grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go until hours after I finished the final page would be far more accurate.

Meredith Shale’s bubble of safety is shattered when her father is released from prison six years early for “good behavior.” But Meredith isn’t fooled into believing her father has changed. She know’s her father’s reign of terror will only begin again now that he’s free just as clearly she knows only she can stop him from hurting anyone else, even if she has to play the sacrificial lamb to bring him down.

Honest, heartbreaking, and startlingly vivid, this novel is a YA masterpiece.

Available through BRIDGES Library System

Home by Nightfall by Charles Finch

nightfall

Reviewed by Pat (Library Staff)

Home by Nightfall, I realized, is part of a series, however it stands alone as a great mystery. Set in 1876 England, Markethouse village and London, a murder in the small village and a disappearance from London involves the main character, Lenox. I loved the mental picture Finch paints of this small village and its inhabitants. The twist to the mystery is clever; it’s the kind of book you can’t wait to get back to continue reading.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC FINCH)

Ruckus

ruckus

Reviewed by Pat (Library Staff)

Delafield Library has a card game that has been a great fun to play with my grandchildren. I had never heard of it before but checked it out to give it a try. Ruckus became the favorite. My grandsons are 5 & 7 and love playing it. Collecting card sets is the aim of the game and involves matching, counting, keeping score and paying close attention. The rounds go quickly and the games are short. Note: I looked into purchasing a deck of the Original Ruckus card game, and for $20, it’s great to check out from the library for free!

Located in Games (GAME RUCKUS)

The Awakening (2011)

awakening

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

In post-World War I England, the dead are suddenly being channeled back to life to communicate with the anguished and lost they left living, but at a great price. Rebecca Hall stars as Florence Cathcart, a saucy woman with no qualms about debunking myths, hauntings and regularly exposing money-making hoaxes hoping to save those being duped from more pain. Florence travels through beautiful scenery to a boarding school where she encounters things even she has never seen before.

Available through the BRIDGES Library System