First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

Reviewed by Kelsey (Library Staff)

Charley Davidson is a part-time private investigator and a full time Grim Reaper. The first book of the on-going supernatural series follows her as she tries to do her job and convince the dead to “go into the light,” only sometimes they have some unfinished business they need her help with first, usually having to do with how they died. I like this series because it makes you laugh, leaves you questioning what you know about the characters, it is a fun and interesting twist on the grim reaper persona, and has a supernatural romance thrown in to top it all off. Plus it is light enough that you could binge read the whole set. It would be a great series for anyone who enjoyed the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris, or Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC JONES)

The Florida Project (2017)

Reviewed by Anonymous 

The Florida Project is poignantly tragic drama, that takes place during summer in a low rent sleazy motel just outside of Disney World. The film is from the viewpoint of six-year-old Moonee who lives with her rebellious, driftless mother, Halley. Moonee is a carefree kid not fully aware of the conditions she lives in. She gets into all sort of mischief with her group of friends, but mostly destruction of property and using her vast repertoire of curse words. She is able to get away with most of it because her mom gives very little supervision during the daytime. Willem Dafoe plays Bobby Hicks, the hard-nosed manager of the motel, who constantly has to hound Halley for her rent and often catches Moonee and her friends in troublesome situations.

This film has many carefree moments that captures what it’s like to be a kid in summer, playing outside. But it is balanced with the crushing poverty from Halley’s bad behavior and the depths she will go to make ends meet. The only real thing that felt out of place and disjointed was the very last scenes of the movie. I won’t spoil what happens but I wonder if the director wasn’t sure how to finish it and ended it in some metamorphic, dream like, happier/lighter tone.

Besides the disjointedness of the last scene think this film was well worth the watch. From what I could find, with the exception of Willem Dafoe, the cast is comprised of mostly first time actresses and actors. But I never would have guessed from their performances especially Brooklynn Prince who plays six-year-old Moonee does a fantastic performance.

Located in Adult DVDs (DVD FLORIDA)

If you liked Downton Abbey…

Then try one of these other series!

Call the Midwife

Call the Midwife follows the nurses, midwives and nuns from Nonnatus House, who visit the expectant mothers of Poplar, providing the poorest women with the best possible care.

 

Foyle’s War

As World War II rages on, criminals try to take advantage of the resulting chaos. In Hastings, they aren’t having much luck, thanks to Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle. As Foyle’s son Andrew, a fighter pilot in the RAF, fights the enemy at war, Foyle battles the black market, profiteering and murder on the home front.

Lark Rise to Candleford

Laura Timmins leaves the Oxfordshire hamlet of Lark Rise for a job in the market town of Candleford, where her mother’s cousin, effervescent Dorcas Lane, is postmistress. Farm workers, craftsmen and gentry make up the community of families, rivals, friends and neighbours.

 

Mercy Street

Inspired by real events, Mercy Street takes viewers beyond the battlefield and into the lives of a distinctive cast of characters — doctors, nurses, contraband laborers and Southern loyalists — realizing the chaotic world of Union-occupied Alexandria, Virginia and the Mansion House Hospital in the early years of the Civil War.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

Fledgling detective Phryne Fisher is known for her sharp wit and pearl-handled pistol, which she uses to fight injustice in Melbourne during the 1920s. The glamorous sleuth makes her way through the city’s alleyways and jazz clubs while she fights crime as part of a larger mission — making sure that Murdoch Foyle, who she believes is responsible for the disappearance of her younger sister, stays behind bars. She fights for justice for people who can’t help themselves, including exploited workers and missing girls.

Mr. Selfridge

Selfridges & Co., erected in the early 1900s, is the setting of “Mr. Selfridge,” and tells the story of imaginative American entrepreneur Harry Gordon Selfridge, his family, and his department store on Oxford Street in London. In a time when women are discovering a new sense of freedom and modernity, Selfridge attempts to indulge and empower their lives by creating a theatrical and fantasylike environment.

The Paradise

A small-town girl with big ideas moves to the city and takes a job at The Paradise — the nation’s first-ever department store.

 

A Place to Call Home

A mysterious woman is perched between the harsh legacy of World War II and the hope of a new life in Australia.

 

Poldark

Ross Poldark returns home after American Revolutionary War and rebuilds his life with a new business venture, making new enemies and finding a new love where he least expects it.

 

Victoria

The monarch’s life is chronicled as the story begins with the death of King William IV in 1837, her accession to the throne at the tender age of 18 and her relationships with the influential forces around her. With the advice of the prime minister Lord Melbourne and the support of her husband Prince Albert the young queen flourishes and establishes herself in her newfound role.

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel

Reviewed by Amanda K (Library Staff)

Brave Girl Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel is a fabulous picture book about young girl name Clara Lemlich. Clara immigrates to the United States 1903. She doesn’t speak English and her family is poor. Like many poor immigrant families, Clara takes job sewing in a factory instead of going to school. She works from dust to dawn sewing. At night, she goes to the library to learn to read. The factory conditions are horrible and factory workers are locked inside. Clara only gets a few hours a night to sleep. She makes friends with the other factory girls and urges them to strike and they do! Clara faces many obstacles, like being arrested and beaten but she persists. She fights until they win right to unionize and improve the condition of the factory workers.
The last page is uplifting and pulls on the heartstrings. Brave Girl Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 is a beautiful book about hard work, dedication and civil rights. The illustrations are mixed media highlighted with little scrapes of cloth or ribbons.

Located in Children’s Nonfiction (J 331.89 MAR)

Spotlight On: Princess, Vroom, Dino

Princess, Vroom, Dino: This collection is located in the children’s area and it has picture books that contains some of the most popular subjects: Princess, Cars and Trucks, and Dinosaurs. These books all have bright neon labels on them, denoting which subject it belongs to. The collection is located in the children’s area, to the right when you walk in, on the bookshelf against the right wall, near the board books, Parent’s collection, and the Inspiration Station.

Princess:

The Princess and the Pony / Kate Beaton

Princess Pinecone would like a real war horse for her birthday, instead of which she gets a plump, cute pony–but sometimes cuteness can be a kind of weapon, especially in a fight with dodgeballs and spitballs and hairballs and squareballs.

Cinnamon / Neil Gaiman

The parents of pearl-eyed princess Cinnamon offer a reward to anyone who can help their daughter speak, a plea answered by an exotic tiger who arrives at the palace, armed with knowledge of the world.

 

The Worst Princess / Anna Kemp

Lonely Princess Sue longs to leave her castle tower, but when her prince finally rescues her, she realizes she is destined for a less traditional partner.

 

Vroom:

Little Excavator / Anna Dewdney

When Little Excavator, who is eager to help, arrives at the construction site, he is told he is not quite ready for the jobs done by the larger vehicles, but they eventually find the job that is just right for him.

 

Truckeroo School / David Kirk

Little monsters and the trucks they have built attend school together in Monster Town.

 

 

ABCs on Wheels / Ramon Olivera

Illustrated in a retro, cartoony style with wonderfully rich colors and angular graphics, cars, limos, buses, and even a stagecoach fill the pages, accompanied by captions that display uppercase and lowercase letters.

 

Dino:

The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy / Martha Brockenbrough

Polishing her collection of fangs in a museum, the last Dinosaur Tooth Fairy is very lonely and longs for a new tooth, so when she spots a loose one she will do almost anything to get it–even face modern-day monsters.

Samanthasaurus Rex / B.B. Mandell

Samanthasaurus Rex is not like her fellow fearsome Tyrannosaurus rexes, which worries her family, until one day, disaster strikes and it’s Samanthasaurus Rex who saves the day–in her own unique way.

 

Dinosaur vs. School / Bob Shea

Fearless Dinosaur takes on new challenges as he starts preschool, from meeting new friends to pasting glitter and googly eyes, but one task requires assistance from everyone.

 

“Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card.” ~Marc Brown

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

Isobel is a portrait artist often in the service of the fair folk, gorgeous immortal beings who crave human Craft of any type–cooking, writing, sewing, visual arts, etc. Isobel finds herself traveling through the forest on her way to the fairy court with the autumn prince, Rook, amidst danger and forbidden attraction.

While I didn’t give a fig for the romance, I loved the exploration of Craft and how it relates to our humanity. Filled with beautiful language and lush settings vibrant with rich color and glamour, there is plenty to take away from this fantasy romance, even if it’s not the romance.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC ROGERSON)

Wonder (2017)

Reviewed by Jen Bremer and Lily the Kid (Library Staff)

My daughter, Lily (age 9), and I watched the beautiful new film adaptation of “Wonder” for our weekly Family Movie Night. Below is her critique of the film.

Augie is super nice. He’s the main character and has an illness that scarred his face. He lives with his mom, dad, sister, and dog.

Augie teaches everyone in his life how to be kind just by being kind to them. Its super important to be kind to people and never be a bully. Bullying is bad and makes people sad. Don’t be a bully. Ever.

Oh, and Augie’s teacher is played by the actor who was Lafayette in Hamilton! HE’S SUPER AWESOME! (Lily insisted this must be in CAPS.)

You should totally watch Wonder and read the book. They’re both really, really, really, really great!

*Mom Note: As a mom, I welcome any film that I can enjoy just as much as my kiddo, and has a positive message. This film is brilliantly done and shows not just Augie’s life, but rounds out those of his sister, her best friend, Augie’s friends, and the ensemble cast of adults. It’ll have you laughing and crying. Definitely add Wonder to your Family Movie Night and don’t forget the popcorn!

Located in DVDs (DVD WONDER)

If You Liked the Nightingale by Kristin Hannah…

Then try one of these books!

The Zookeeper’s Wife / Diane Ackerman

Documents the true story of Warsaw Zoo keepers and resistance activists Jan and Antonina Zabinski, who in the aftermath of Germany’s invasion of Poland saved the lives of hundreds of Jewish citizens by smuggling them into empty cages and their home villa.

 

Sarah’s Key / Tatiana de Rosnay

On the sixtieth anniversary of the 1942 roundup of Jews by the French police in the Vel d’Hiv section of Paris, American journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article on this dark episode during World War II and embarks on investigation that leads her to long-hidden family secrets and to the ordeal of Sarah, a young girl caught up in the raid.

All the Light We Cannot See / Anthony Doerr

Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.

At the Water’s Edge / Sara Gruen

Set in Loch Ness, right in the middle of WWII, a foolish group of rich Americans arrive in search of the famous monster. Narrator Maddie must make sense of the circumstances that have brought her to this wild locale. Only then can she discover the strength she needs to make her own decisions.

Lilac Girls / Martha Hall Kelly

Kelly’s compelling first novel follows three women through the course of World War II and beyond. Caroline, a wealthy New Yorker, volunteers at the French consulate in New York, assisting refugees and raising funds. She meets Paul, a charming, married French actor, and sparks fly. Kasia, a young woman living in Poland during the Nazi invasion, works for the resistance until she is captured and sent to Ravensbruck, the women’s concentration camp. There, she encounters Herta, a doctor hired to help execute inmates and perform experiments.

The Ship of Brides / Jojo Moyes

World War II has ended, and four Australian women are about to embark on the trip of a lifetime. They are joined by 650 other women who will make the six-week trip to England aboard the HMS Victoria to be reunited with the men they married just prior to or during the war. These “war brides” are in a perilous position: leaving behind everyone and everything they know to start a new life in a new country, unsure whether they will be welcomed by their new in-laws and able to handle life married to men they barely know.

The Invisible Bridge / Julie Orringer

An unforgettable story of three brothers, of history and love, of marriage tested by disaster, of a Jewish family’s struggle against annihilation, and of the dangerous power of art in a time of war.

 

The Lost Wife / Alyson Richman

During the last moments of calm in prewar Prague, Lenka, a young art student, and Josef, who is studying medicine, fall in love. With the promise of a better future, they marry–only to have their dreams shattered by the imminent Nazi invasion. Like so many others, they are torn apart by the currents of war.

The Women in the Castle / Jessica Shattuck

Three German women’s lives are abruptly changed when their husbands are executed for their part in an attempt to assassinate Hitler. They band together in a crumbling estate to raise their children and keep each other standing.

 

The Book Thief / Markus Zusak

Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel–a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.

 

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

I found this thriller to be a puzzle of a book with pieces that click satisfyingly into place along the way, as it begins with chapter 18 and works its way backwards to chapter 1.

At the center of the story is Jule, a bold and very clever (if a bit savage and detached) character who is inventing her own life based on the source material of superhero and spy movies, as well as her observations of the obliviously privileged.

Overall, I’d recommend it. While not earth-shattering, this short book is undeniably captivating–and there are far worse ways to spend a couple of hours.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC LOCKHART)

Spotlight On: Adult Fiction

Fiction (Adult): Fiction are books that describe imaginary events and people. Adult fiction includes many different genres, from Suspense and Mystery, to Classics and Romance. Our adult fiction is located to the right of the main foyer area. The fiction books are arranged alphabetically by the authors last name.

Two Across / Jeff Bartsch

Stanley and Vera, academically precocious but awkward teenagers, form a bond when they tie for first place in the National Spelling Bee.Though their mothers have big plans for them-Stanley will become a senator, Vera a mathematics professor-neither wants to follow these pre-determined paths. So Stanley hatches a plan to marry Vera in a sham wedding for the financial freedom to pursue his one true love: crossword puzzle construction. (FIC BARTSCH)

The Passage / Justin Cronin

The latest test subject in a covert government experiment, abandoned six-year-old Amy is rescued by an FBI agent who hides them in the Oregon hills, from which Amy emerges a century later to save the human race from a terrifying virus. (FIC CRONIN)

 

The King’s Curse/ Philippa Gregory

Regarded as a threat to the volatile King Henry VII’s claim to the throne, Margaret Pole, cousin to Elizabeth of York and daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, is married off to a steady and kind Lancaster supporter–Sir Richard Pole. For his loyalty, Sir Richard is entrusted with the governorship of Wales, but Margaret’s contented daily life is changed forever with the arrival of Arthur, the young Prince of Wales, and his beautiful bride, Katherine of Aragon. (FIC GREGORY)

NOS4A2 / Joe Hill

When Charles Talent Manx, an unstoppable monster who transforms children into his own terrifying likeness, kidnaps her son, Victoria McQueen, the only person to ever escape his unmitigated evil, must engage in a life-and-death battle of wills to get her son back. (FIC HILL)

 

I’ve Got Your Number / Sophie Kinsella

After her phone is stolen during a hotel fire drill, Poppy Wyatt, discovering an abandoned phone in a trash can, crashes into the life of the phone’s owner, Sam Roxton, when she uses his phone to make her wedding preparations. (FIC KINSELLA)

 

Wolf Hall / Hilary Mantel

A detailed look into the life and times of Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII in the 1520s, in particular the events leading up to the King’s marriage to Anne Boleyn and the role Cromwell played in those events. (FIC MANTEL)

 

NYPD Red / James Patterson

Detective Zach Jordan investigates a series of brutal, public crimes that coincide with the arrival of dozens of glamorous celebrities in town for parties and premieres. (FIC PATTERSON)

 

Vision in White / Nora Roberts

Wedding photographer Mackensie “Mac” Elliot is most at home behind the camera, but her focus is shattered moments before an important wedding rehearsal when she bumps into the bride-to-be’s brother–an encounter that has them both seeing stars–and has Mac turning to her three best friends and business partners to see her way to her own happy ending. (FIC ROBERTS, NORA)

The Goldfinch / Donna Tartt

The story begins with an explosion at the Metropolitan Museum that kills narrator Theo Decker’s beloved mother and results in his unlikely possession of a Dutch masterwork called The Goldfinch . Shootouts, gangsters, pillowcases, storage lockers, and the black market for art all play parts in the ensuing life of the painting in Theo’s care. (FIC TARTT)

The War of the Worlds / H.G. Wells

The ultimate tale of Earth’s invasion, written by one of the fathers of the science fiction genre. They came from a depleted, dying planet. Their target: the riches of a moist, green Earth. With horrifyingly advanced machines of destruction, they began their inexorable conquest. The war for Earth seemed destined to be … but was it? (FIC WELLS)

“In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.” ~Mark Twain