The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

Kate Turner, a resident of Blexford, England, is having a hard time finding a lasting relationship. While she has a great career designing fabric, and runs a side business baking for her old friend Matt’s café, she is unlucky in love. So with only twenty-three days until Christmas, she signs up for a dating agency that promises 12 dates before Christmas with 12 different men. Some of the dates turn out better than others, but maybe love might be found where she least expects it.

This book was the perfect Christmas romance for these trying times. The dates and the men were fun and imaginative, and I couldn’t help rooting for Kate to find her love. If you like Hallmark and Lifetime Christmas movies, try this book. Reading this book with a warm fire, and a cup of cocoa might just be the perfect night in!

Available through the Bridges Library System

Extraordinary Birds by Sandy Stark-McGinnis

Reviewed by Jane Oliver-Purton (Library Staff)

Eleven-year-old December knows a lot about birds, and believes she is truly a bird, and waits for the day she transforms. The other thing she knows is everything about getting kicked out of foster homes. December clings to the hope of her transformation because she has two clues that she’s sure will prove it: the message left for her by her mom: “In flight is where you’ll find me.” and the scar on her back where she is certain her wings will sprout. When she’s placed with foster mom, Eleanor, who runs a taxidermy business and volunteers at a wildlife rescue (kind of opposites!), December begins to see a new idea for what home really can be. Will she be able to let go of the past she’s believed all this time and is it time to let go and begin to live a new life?

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC STARK-MCGINNIS)

The Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar

Reviewed by Holly (Library Patron)

If you like the WWII era and you are a fan of Hallmark movies then this book is for you. The main character, Audrey, faces several internal struggles. She has a dream/goal that doesn’t include marriage. As predicted she meets someone and then she meets a second someone. That sets up a choice between three doors…….Guy #1, Guy#2, and Dream #1. If this type of inner choice peaks your interest you should read to find out Audrey’s decisions and how her life turns out. I did feel the pace of the story was slow. The book does highlight the importance of females in the service of our country during WWII.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC SALAZAR)

Nowhere Boy by Katherine Marsh

Reviewed by Jane Oliver-Purton (Library Staff)

Newly arrived in Brussels, Belgium, fourteen-year-old Ahmed is stuck in a city that doesn’t want him. He has fled his home in Syria to escape the suffering of his people, but has now lost his father on this perilous journey toward Europe and freedom. Now, Ahmed is struggling, alone and homeless, and he is beginning to lose hope. Then, he meets Max, a thirteen-year-old American boy who has been repeatedly bothered by a bully at school, and is struggling to find his way in a land where he doesn’t speak a word of French, the local language. Ahmed and Max’s lives collide and they realize they have found the help they need in each other, and learn what it means to be brave and believe in oneself. This poignant story is set against the backdrop of the Syrian refugee crisis, and Katherine Marsh has done a brilliant job with this story of resilience and friendship, and produced for us two everyday heroes.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC MARSH)

The Kinder Poison by Natalie Mae

Reviewed by Taylor H (Library Staff)

Something about this book fell a little flat for me, which was a bummer because I really wanted to love it. It was interesting and I wanted to know what would happen, but I wasn’t all that attached to the main characters. I actually was more interested in Marcus, Melia, and Maia—some of the various side characters. I also liked the setting and the magic system on which the world operates. I was intrigued by the book’s premise. However, the story as a whole felt underdeveloped. Many of the character relationships felt rushed and a little unrealistic (it is a fantasy novel, but I still expect the relationships to make sense). The big reveal surrounding one of the royal siblings was creative and interesting, but I didn’t feel like there was enough of a foundation established for that reveal to feel organic. There is supposed to be a sequel, so maybe this book was more about setting the stage for the main event. I will probably pick up the next book to see how everything comes to and end, but it won’t be high on my list of reading priorities.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC MAE)

Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dog Did What? by Amy Newmark

Reviewed by Jayne S (Library Staff)

With craziness of the world right now, I needed to read some light-hearted fluff. This book was perfect! All the stories – 101 of them – were one to three pages long, with no COVID or politics anywhere to be found.

I recommend this book or any of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series for a relaxing read. Enjoy!

Available through the Bridges Library System

Time Killers by Kazue Kato

Reviewed by Jess H (Library Staff)

Time Killers is Kazue Kato’s first collection of short stories. These manga one-shots span Kato’s career, from when she started at nineteen to her late twenties. Some of the stories are definitely better than others, the ones that are longer than five pages are especially entertaining reads. That said, reading the shorter, sometimes only one page long, stories never felt like a waste of time. The art is wonderful and the writing dips into several genres without being bogged down by tropes. Time Killers is a great read if you’re looking for literally anything to read. It’s fast-paced, slick, and perfect for killing time.

Located in Teen Manga (TEEN MANGA KATO)

Judy Moody: Around the World in 8 1/2 Days by Megan McDonald

Reviewed by Jayne S (Library Staff)

I decided to read some children’s books since I’m not familiar with the latest titles.

The Judy Moody series, according to Amazon, is geared for 6-9 year olds.

Judy is a precocious third grader that has a big school project coming up. There are some mishaps along the way, but the adventure is a fun read. There is a cute cast of characters, silly rhyming, and nice illustrations that will get young readers eager for more.

If you’re a grandma like me, you’ll need to put this one on your to-do list!

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC MCDONALD)

Hurricane Season by Nicole Melleby

Reviewed by Jane Oliver-Purton (Library Staff)

Fig, a sixth grader, wants desperately to see the world as her father sees it, but she’s unable to do so. Her dad is a once-renowned pianist, who hasn’t composed a song in years, and whose unpredictable good and bad days keep Fig on her toes. Her mother left the family the day she was born, so it’s always just been Fig and her dad. She’s a science and math nerd, but to try and understand her father better, takes an art class to experience life the way an artist does. Unfortunately, Fig’s dad shows up at school one day, disoriented and desperately searching for Fig, and she’s afraid that life as they know it will come crashing down around them. Before we know it, though, Mark, a neighbor from across the street, intervenes to help with her dad, and for the first time she can remember she’s not on her own. This is a powerful story fueled by a daughter’s love for her father, and what she’ll do to keep him safe.

For ages 10-14

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC MELLEBY)

Caste: The Origins of our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

Reviewed by Jayne S (Library Staff)

A Nigerian-born playwright told the author, “You know that there are no black people in Africa.”

I read that, paused, and thought huh?

And then I understood.

America is a nation that puts people in castes by skin color. In Africa people are people, not sorted by a color code.

This was a sobering and powerful read. Her well researched history of this country’s unspoken caste system was fascinating.

Everyone should read this book.

Located in Adult Nonfiction (305.5 WIL)