Fantastic Lies (2016)


Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

This documentary examines the highly-charged legal case of the rich and privileged Duke University lacrosse players in 2006. Three athletes were accused of rape and the subsequent outrage from the media illustrates how often we fail to recognize one of the most sacred principles in the American criminal justice system, holding that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. Irresponsible coverage by media outlets resulted in widespread and vehement public conviction of the players long before the case was closed. False accusations, physical harassment and the intentional withholding of evidence led to lives forever changed, careers destroyed, names irrevocably smeared and a school’s reputation forever stained.

Located in Non-fiction DVDs (DVD 364.15 FAN)

Journey; Quest; Return by Aaron Becker


Reviewed by Jane Oliver-Purton (Library Staff)

The final book in this trilogy just hit my desk and I was reminded, again, how much I enjoyed the first two wordless picture books. The art in this collection is outstanding, and needs no words to convey the tale of a bored girl who uses her red writing tool to draw a door and escape to a world in which danger, adventure, and friendship await. Her exploration continues across the three books, and although each has its own satisfying conclusion, and the finale is heartwarming and leaves you with a wish for more.

Located in Children’s Picture Books (E BECKER)


Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase


Reviewed by Katy Zignego (Library Staff)

Black Rabbit Hall is a vaguely gothic family story, set in a big old house in the English countryside, jumping between two time periods a la Kate Morton. In fact, the whole book is a rip-off of The Lake House, Kate Morton’s newest offering. That isn’t to say that Black Rabbit Hall isn’t enjoyable for fans of Morton (and Mary Stewart before her), but it certainly isn’t one of the genre’s best examples. The characters are not very likable–especially the modern couple, who are downright annoying–and you can see the twist, such as it is, coming a mile away. Take it along if you are going up north for a weekend and want to read something moody and atmospheric, but easy to put down when it’s time to go out skiing.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC CHASE)

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge


Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

What a wonderfully chilling autumn read! An archaeological dig brings Faith and her family to a clammy island with sharp cliffs and churning beach shores. Soon after their arrival, tragedy strikes and scientific-minded Faith is caught up in matters of science vs. religion and feminism vs. patriarchy while exploring deep family secrets. Set in England not long after Darwin published On the Origin of Species, Hardinge spins heavy dichotomies into her gorgeous prose, making for an intensely rich reading experience.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC HARDINGE)

8: An Animal Alphabet by Elisha Cooper; Awake Beautiful Child by Amy Krouse Rosenthal; Daytime Visions: An Alphabet by ISOL


Reviewed by Jane Oliver-Purton (Library Staff)

I recently decided to add some new alphabet books to our collection, and these three stuck me as unusual offerings. Each brings a different perspective to the theme of alphabet books. 8 An Animal Alphabet features a page full of animals for each letter of the alphabet (yes, even X!) Awake Beautiful Child has pictures matching words beginning with A B and C on each page, beautiful pictures and lyrical phrases. Daytime Visions may be an alphabet book for older kids, but little ones will be intrigued by the pictures. and phrases following each letter. This trio are definitely not your grandma’s ABC books, and they are well worth the read. If you’re looking for more alphabet books, pick up an ABC bookmark at the children’s desk.

Located in Children’s Picture Books (E COOPER; E ROSENTHAL; E ISOL)

God’s Not Dead 2 (2016)


Reviewed by Jennifer Rude Klett (Library Staff)

This 2016 film rated PG is a look at our country’s religious first amendment freedoms. “God’s Not Dead 2” is based on 24 real-life legal cases where religious freedom was denied in classrooms across the United States. I recommend you watch “God’s Not Dead,” then this sequel, but it is not necessary to enjoy the film. Feel-good ending with special appearance by the Newsboys.

Located in DVDs (DVD GOD’S 2)

Game of Crowns: Elizabeth, Camilla, Kate, and the Throne by Christopher Andersen


Reviewed by Katy Zignego (Library Staff)

Any conversation about the British royal family (and I get into a surprising number of these conversations) eventually comes around to the question of the succession: who will ascend the throne after Queen Elizabeth II? This engaging book considers that question in the context of the royal women: the Queen herself, her daughter-in-law Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and her granddaughter-in-law Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Actually, he considers several questions: 1. Will the Queen die on the throne, or might she abdicate? 2. Will she leave the throne to her eldest son, the not-so-popular Prince Charles, or skip him in favor of her very popular grandson, Prince William? 3. If Prince Charles becomes king, will his wife, Camilla, become queen?

The author comes to the unsurprising conclusion that the monarchy, that most conservative of institutions, will pass to Charles, the Prince of Wales, after the Queen’s reign ends, although he leave the other questions unanswered. Perhaps the best part of the book is the author’s obvious delight in exposing royal scandal. He doesn’t necessarily bring anything new to light, but he enthusiastically delves into the details of the long affair between Charles and Camilla, as well as all the dirt on Kate and her family’s scheme to ascend the upper crust. The result is slightly more erudite than Us Weekly, but only slightly!

Located in Adult Nonfiction (941.0850 AND)

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas; Illustrated by Erin E. Stead


Reviewed by Jane Oliver-Purton (Library Staff)

Every time I read The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles, I see or read something I didn’t notice before – a bit of picture, a gently crafted phrase. The Uncorker is in charge of getting bottles containing messages to their proper recipients, and one day he is unable to do this. The writing is spare and beautiful, the illustrations made of woodblock prints, oil pastels, and pencil are soft and gentle. Read this. You won’t regret it.

Located in Children’s Picture Books (E CUEVAS)

Legend (2015)


Reviewed by Zach S (Library Staff)

When adapting real life events into the confines of a motion picture, directors are often tasked with having to find ways to turn facts into themes and people into characters. 2015’s “Legend” is an example as to how a director can blend historical facts and a well crafted story without either of those factors weighing the other one down. That, along with Tom Hardy’s double performances as the Kray brothers (Britain’s most notorious twin gangsters in the 1960’s), anchor the film. Hardy and director Brian Helgeland know when to inject their story with theatricality and when to let events unfold as they really had, often in very bloody fashion. The result is a genuinely compelling film that offers us a glimpse into the rise and fall of two men like no other. As flamboyant as they were deplorable, the story of the Kray’s is undeniably legendary.

Located in DVDs (DVD LEGEND)

The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry


Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

This refreshing historical fiction takes us to a time and situation not often represented in teen literature–1241 France, where an innkeeper and her sisters find Dolssa, a young woman branded a heretic for her religious “gift” for healing. These strong, independent sisters find themselves and their town in grave danger as they protect Dolssa from a vengeful friar looking to burn her as a heretic.

Berry does a fantastic job illuminating a dusty medieval topic with vibrant color and life. The town is full of dynamic, relatable characters and the story is steeped in historical detail and intrigue.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC BERRY)