One by One by Ruth Ware

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

An off-site company retreat at a mountain chalet sounds like a great time. Skiing, delicious food, drinks by the fire, and beautiful scenery should create a great atmosphere for team-bonding and collaboration. But when an avalanche hits, and bodies start appearing, the idyllic setting turns in to a nightmare for those left. They all must try to stay alive, while also figuring out who is killing the coworkers.

This atmospheric novel by Ruth Ware is written in a similar vein to Agatha Christie, and I enjoyed trying to figure out who was the murderer. If you are looking for a suspenseful thriller to get you in the mood for winter and snow, look no further!

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC WARE)

Parks and Recreation and Arrested Development

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

This review will be posted for a while so, for context, Covid is still very much a concern right now and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. During stressful and challenging times, even just the theme song of a favorite show will help put me at ease. I’ve been rewatching Arrested Development and Parks & Recreation for the umpteenth time. If you are seeking brief, light-hearted shows where you can count on comedic relief, I recommend both of these. Arrested Development in particular has a lot of masked humor, foreshadowing and jokes that grow from one episode to the next. Even though I’ve seen it so many times, I continue to notice things I’ve somehow haven’t picked up before, it really just keeps giving. If you’d like another reference, BuzzFeed calls it, “The Cleverest Program on Television.”

Available through the Bridges Library System

Naked Mole Rat Saves the World by Karen Rivers

Reviewed by Jane Oliver-Purton (Library Staff)

Eleven-year-old kit was so tiny at birth that her mother deemed her “too small for capital letters.” Since that day she’s been told two things of importance: that diagnosed with alopecia (baldness) she actually “looks like a naked mole rat,” and her birth saved her mother, diagnosed with acute anxiety, because now kit can go out and do the things her mother is unable to leaver her home to do. Kit declares her name stands for “keep it together,” which she does, especially when her best friend, Clem, is hurt while performing on television with her acrobat family, and kit believes she turned into a naked mole rat to protect her friend. I’ll admit, this is a strange book, but the friendship between kit and Clem is strong, as it will need to be as they work through their friendship’s odd happenings.

Ages 10-12

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC RIVERS)

Spy x Family by Tatsuya Endo

Reviewed by Jess H (Library Staff)

The father is a spy, the mother is an assassin, and the only one who knows both their secrets is the daughter, a telepath. Spy x Family is the perfect blend of comedy and drama. Every character is lovable and distinct; Tatsuya Endo is a master at writing and drawing intriguing and memorable characters.

Spy x Family is one of the best manga I’ve ever read. It’s fun and funny and hard to put down. And with only four volumes released so far, it’s easy to pick up too.

Available through Wisconsin Digital Library

The End of Her by Shari Lapena

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

What would you do if the life you’ve worked so hard to achieve with your significant other is suddenly t-boned by a woman from his past with heavy accusations? You’ve just been blessed with the adoption of colicky twin girls, sleep is a concept you no longer know, accidents are happening that might or might not be due to your sleep-deprived state and you think you’re going crazy as objects in your house disappear only to reappear days later in a new location. Surely, you know your husband better than this stranger who alleges he killed his first wife on purpose. He’d never do that…right? Stephanie begins the novel resolute in his innocence but her faith in her husband is about to be put to the test, again, and again and again. Full of twists, Shari Lapena’s latest novel is thought-provoking and too thrilling to easily set back down!

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC LAPENA)

Banjo by Graham Salisbury

Reviewed by Jane Oliver-Purton (Library Staff)

For ages 10-14

Seven years ago, Border collie, Banjo, was adopted by Danny and his family. Lately, though, he has been accused of joining wild dogs in their attacks on local livestock, and local neighbors say he must be euthanized. Danny knows Banjo wouldn’t attack livestock, but when he comes home, dinged by a bullet, Danny knows he must find another home for Banjo or do the deed himself. Danny takes him into the wilderness where he is found and cared for by a fellow dog lover. Although Banjo’s placement is eventually resolved and he is found innocent, this will keep readers pondering what other course could have been taken by Danny and how they might consider “fixing” this kind of situation.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC SALISBURY)

Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation by Stuart Gibbs

Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

Certifiable genius Charlie is too clever for her own good, but she finally meets her intellectual match (so to speak) in Albert Einstein.

Despite being just 12 years old, Charlie is reluctantly recruited by a set of stumped CIA agents tasked with securing Einstein’s one last dangerous and world-changing equation before it falls into the hands of a terrorist sect. What follows is a deadly chase around the globe filled with clever clues, high stakes and non-stop action.

I raced through this thrill-ride of a book. It felt like The Da Vinci Code, but with more 12-year-old snark (yes, please!). I obviously loved Charlie, and her daredevil streak served her as well on this covert government mission as her elevated IQ. Not trained as an agent, it was fascinating to watch her get herself out of life-threatening situations by “seeing the numbers”–mathematically calculating how an action will play out before it happens.

Charlie is set to embark on her next adventure in March 2021 and I know I’ll be right there with her.

Just FYI – This one is more appropriate for older elementary and middle school readers, as the guns rarely stay holstered.

Available through the Bridges Library System

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

As a lover of mystery, I picked this title up thinking it would be similar to Shari Lapena’s An Unwanted Guest. It is in that both are set in exotic lodge retreats, in the dead of winter and with shifting narration between characters. This novel however is about a group of seven old friends who come together every year to celebrate the New Year. I liked this book in particular because it is clear early in the novel that one guest dies though you don’t know which until the very end. On the surface, the guests enjoy spending time reminiscing about their pasts but beneath, old secrets bubble ominously like hot tar, threatening to seep through the thin connections the friends still maintain. Short chapters made it too easy for me to say, “Just another few pages,” and if you love mystery, you’ll feel the same way!

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC FOLEY)

The Big Finish by Brooke Fossey

Reviewed by Jayne S (Library Staff)

Duffy Sinclair is 88 years old and living at an assisted living facility, trying to avoid the dreaded nursing home. I assumed there would be some tearful moments, but what a wild ride Duffy and his roommate, Carl, go on, even though they use a wheelchair and a walker!

Carl’s long lost granddaughter shows up, desperately in need of help. It’s senior citizens to the rescue. Friendship and love abound in this novel. Duffy’s wit shines throughout the book as he becomes the good man he always wanted to be.

This book was funny, insightful and life affirming. It was a wonderful book, I recommend it.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC FOSSEY)