13 Hours (2016)

13 hours

Reviewed by Jennifer Rude Klett (Library Staff)

Aside from this 2016 movie being a heart-pounding thriller, I thoroughly recommend spending two hours watching it because I finally have a good idea of what went on in Benghazi, Libya at the American Embassy on September 11, 2012, a topic of heavy discussion for several years. This film is a well-acted, directed, and edited depiction of what happened that night and leaves politics aside. Watch it and form your own opinions. Pay close attention because things move quickly. It also was an eye opener concerning the conditions in Libya and about how horrible life can be when governments fail. Thank God I live in the USA.

Located in DVDs (DVD THIRTEEN)

The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson


Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

Jackson Greene may have scheming in his blood but he doesn’t do that anymore. The punishment for his last infamous prank has convinced him to embrace the straight and narrow…that is, until his closest friend need his help in rigging the student council election.

An Ocean’s Eleven-style heist for the middle school set, The Great Greene Heist is outrageously fun, clever and fast-paced, with a team of wonderful characters who refer to themselves as “Gang Greene” (ha!) bringing heart to this smart caper.

I also highly recommend the sequel, To Catch a Cheat, and will continue to follow the antics of Jackson Greene.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC JOHNSON)

Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz


Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

The Nowhere Man is rumored to be a myth, an amalgam of the world’s most notorious assassins’ skill sets and deadly resources. The man is said to find those in desperate straits whose life he proceeds to save while seeing to the end of their trouble. He only asks one thing in return; whomever he assists must seek one other person in dire circumstances and pass his number along. A Hezbollah arms chief, a dealer in fissile material and a serial rapist quickly meet their ends after crossing paths with the Nowhere Man who hides and conducts his vigilante justice in plain sight. Trouble comes in the form of other, less skillful, freelance triggermen seeking to tie up remaining loose ends from their shared past in the Orphan Program.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC HURWITZ)

The Visit (2015)


Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

No, it’s not weird at all that you’re traveling to a remote Pennsylvanian farm to spend an entire week with the grandparents you’ve never met. Nor is it bizarre that Grandma is walking around vomiting and scratching all the furniture. This spooky thriller directed by M. Night Shyamalan is segmented into days where the brother and sister are relatively safe. It is when darkness falls that they must amass courage enough to keep themselves alive.

Available through BRIDGES Library System

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell


Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)


Carry On is a fantasy novel that follows powerful mage Simon and his nemesis Baz during their last year at Watford School of Magicks. Unlike their occasional snippets in its sort-of-companion novel Fangirl, Simon and Baz are center stage here and it is GLORIOUS.

Where Rainbow really hits it out of the park on this one is with the characters. They are fully-dimensional and crackle with life, especially our “villain,” Baz, who is simultaneously caustic and vulnerable and filled to the brim with laugh-out-loud wry wit. Comparisons to another “Chosen One” (whose name maybe rhymes with Gary Fodder) are inevitable but Rainbow knows and cleverly plays with our expectations.

CONFESSION TIME: I’ll be honest—when Carry On came out last year, I wasn’t all that keyed up to read it. I had read (and adored!) Fangirl but kind of skimmed past the Watford passages in favor of what I considered the “real” story. What I failed to realize, however, is that Carry On is written by the inimitable Rainbow Rowell (duh!) and therefore guaranteed to hold a mirror up to your heart and coo reassuringly, regardless of the presence of dragons.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC ROWELL)

Expect the Unexpected: Five Favorite Picture Books reviewed by Jane Oliver-Purton


Skunk on a String by Thao Lam

What can I say? How can one ignore this title? This entirely wordless choice begins easily enough with a skunk getting its tail wrapped up in the dangling string of a helium balloon at a parade. The skunk’s ensuing experience takes it into all kinds of situations a skunk could not imagine. Just as we begin to wonder if the bobbing skunk will ever become earthbound again, he does. And what happens next is unexpected.

Located in Children’s Picture Books (E LAM)


Bear & Hare: Where’s Bear? by Emily Gravett

Bear and Hare are back again, and are still among my favorite picture book friends. They decide a game of hide and seek is in order, so Hare counts while Bear hides, but, to be truthful, Bear is fairly terrible at the concept of hiding. He is equally bad at finding, but soon the tables turn, and the result is, indeed, unexpected.

Located in Children’s Picture Books (E GRAVETT)


Frankencrayon by Michael Hall

The purple, orange, and green crayons making up the tall, patched together Frankencrayon are stunned right from the start at the cancellation of the book which was to feature them. Other crayons, Teal, Lime, Amber, Yellow and Black with Pencil helping, too, tell the story about what caused the cancellation: an unexpected scribble that frightens them away. No one realizes Frankencrayon has entered the scene with a roar, providing the second unexpected event of the day.

Located in Children’s Picture Books (E HALL)


The Night Gardener by The Fan Brothers (Terry and Eric)

A tree, pruned into the shape of an owl, is the first unusual appearance on dusty Grimloch Lane, and William is entranced by it. Night after night a new animal topiary appears, and the lane begins to take on color and purpose as the days go by. Young William, who has viewed each day’s new animal with growing fascination, makes a discovery on his way home one evening: the Night Gardener at work! The appearances of the beautifully shaped trees changes the townfolk, none more so than young William.

Located in Children’s Picture Books (E FAN)


Sad, the Dog by Sandy Fussell

A somewhat sad tale of a sad little dog, unwanted, unloved, unappreciated, and left behind, and how his name progressed from Sad to something else entirely by a determined little boy. Unexpected? No, but gratefully accepted.

Located in Children’s Picture Books (E FUSSELL)

All books were reviewed by Jane Oliver-Purton (Library Staff)

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell


Reviewed by Anonymous (Library Patron)

Sketched with lively narratives by a gifted storyteller, the argument of this book is that instinctive judgments are valuable and reliable, given the right conditions. Gladwell supports his points with anecdotes, drawing on the research of thinkers such as John Gottman, illustrating his ideas with tales of everything from ancient statuary to car salesmen. Throughout the whole, though, Gladwell writes with the rhetorical force of a journalist and is clearly not himself an expert in neuroscience or psychology. He explores human decision-making with a focus on finding the truth, making this book a eye-opening read for anyone interested in the reality of human perception.

Located in Adult Nonfiction (153.44 GLA)

Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook by Dana Gunders

waste free

Reviewed by Judy B (Library Staff)

Most of us throw away too much of the food and leftovers that we acquire each week. This book does an admirable job of discussing the amounts, causes and cures of food waste. As an added bonus, the last portion of the book has recipes to help the reader utilize a variety of leftovers. I had no idea that one could saute lettuce.

Located in Adult Nonfiction (641.552 GUN)

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway


Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

Emmy and Oliver are best friends forever…until Oliver’s dad kidnaps him. Years pass with no sighting of Oliver, until one day, Emmy hears that Oliver is coming home. Will he be the same? Will they get back to being friends? Will the spark that was there when he disappeared, still be there? When he comes back, Emmy tries to pick up the pieces of their lost friendship, but she also struggles with living her own life away from her parents, who got very strict after the kidnapping.

Emmy and Oliver must decide where their friendship goes, in this lovely and heartwarming teen novel. For fans of Sarah Dessen, or just warm stories, this is a book for you!

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC BENWAY)

A Good Month for Murder: The Inside Story of a Homicide Squad by Del Quentin Wilber


Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

Submerge yourself in this engrossing account of the lives of detectives in Prince George’s County, Maryland’s homicide unit. These men and women are the first investigators called to work violent and gruesome deaths and do so laboring in inclement weather, dangerous conditions and often while pulling double or triple overtime. This book chronicles only the month of February 2013 and the eleven homicides the unit works, diligently seeking answers for both the dead and family left behind. Many of these detectives astonishingly manage to retain a sense of humor and lightness, even as they revolve daily in horrendous circumstances. We owe a great debt to the souls strong enough to bear this line of work, those who as the author aptly appreciates on his dedication page, “toil in the heart of darkness so the rest of us don’t have to.”

Located in Adult Nonfiction (363.25 WIL)