Memory Jars by Vera Brosgol

Reviewed by Diane Basting (Library Staff)

Berry season is upon us and with it putting up jars of jam to remember summer with in the dead of winter. Memory Jars is about a little girl who wants to save all the things she loves the same way her Grandmother saves summer blueberries, in jars. Brosgol leads us around Freda’s neighborhood with powerful illustrations; we soon learn that, although we would all like to save the things we love, we can really only save memories and stories we share with those around us forever, everything else has a season.

Located in Children’s Picture Books (E BROSGOL)

Every Vow You Break by Peter Swanson

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

Every Vow You Break is the first novel I’ve read by Peter Swanson and I liked it enough to pick up another of his mysteries to try next. This book begins with a freshly married couple who travel to a private island to celebrate their honeymoon. However, new bride Abigail Baskin feels immediate unease upon arriving at the ostentatious resort which is overstaffed with creepily attentive workers, 99% of which are men. Her nerves are frayed when she encounters the same man she’d been intimate with on the eve of her bachelorette party and all chances of an enjoyable honeymoon vanish when the only other woman on the resort vanishes unexpectedly.

This book heaps the eerie on early but I want to encourage you to keep up with it because you don’t get that I-can’t-put-this-down pull to the title until you’re about a third of the way though. But when it came, it hit me hard. If you have a more of a psychic eye than I do, you may have a guess at the ending, as my good friend did, but I myself didn’t see it coming. That might be why I love mysteries so much, I can see a hundred threads of possible outcomes trailing off like shooting stars but seldom pick the one it turns out to be. I’m always surprised that way!

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC SWANSON)

Darling by K. Ancrum

Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

Darling turns the classic Peter Pan story into a mind-blowing and fast-paced dark thriller.

New to Chicago, Wendy Darling is enticed out of her bedroom window by the sexy and sinister Peter, who invites her to a warehouse party. What follows is a treacherous adventure through the city where Wendy must navigate the shifting dynamics of a large cast of characters and their relationships to the protective and predatory Peter. Ancrum imposes the familiar elements of the Peter Pan story so thoughtfully and brilliantly into modern times–for example, the Mermaid Lagoon is a drag club and the pirates are the police force taking liberties with their power, helmed by ruthless Detective Hook.

The bright spark of dangerous glamor drew me into the story, but the ever-unexpected and continually rising stakes propelled me through to the end. Absolutely astonishing.

Available through the Bridges Library System

Moriarty The Patriot by Ryosuke Takeuchi

Reviewed by Jess H (Library Staff)

Before he became Sherlock Holmes’ rival, James Moriarty was a crime consultant hellbent on destroying the unfair class system of England in the 1800s. In this manga, we see James begin his quest as an underclass orphan who had been taken in by the Moriarty noble family alongside his younger brother, Louis. Only Albert, the eldest Moriarty son, treats the boys with dignity. Together, the three of them decide to pursue their ideal world by punishing the corrupt nobles and creating a more balanced world.

The concept and characters are interesting and the episodic nature of the chapters make for a quick read.

Located in Teen Manga (TEEN MANGA TAKEUCHI)

How to Be Cooler Than Cool by Sean Taylor, illustrated by Jean Jullien

Reviewed by Andrea Bisordi (Library Staff)

Everybody wants to be cool, right? So what does it take to be cool? Cat, Cockatoo, and Pig are pretty sure that the sunglasses they found on the playground are their ticket to being amazing, groovy, and just generally awesome. But showing off in the sunglasses leads to some outcomes they don’t expect, and they don’t end up looking as cool as they thought they would. Happily, Chick helps them see that what we wear on the outside isn’t the key to being cool.

Located in Children’s Picture Books (E TAYLOR)

Black Widows by Cate Quinn

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

The husband is dead, and one of his three wives killed him. Blake is a polygamist and lives with his three very different wives in Utah. After he is found dead on his property, the police look at all three wives as potential suspects, and the women themselves also start questioning each other. They all have reasons to have wanted him dead, but as secrets are revealed, the women realize they don’t know who to trust.

This book kept me interested because I wanted to know who killed Blake. I enjoyed the short chapters from each wife’s perspective, which kept the story moving. This is a good book for anyone who like’s a domestic thriller.

Available through the Bridges Library System

American Royals by Katharine McGee

Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

With a fabulous cover and a premise like “What if America had become a monarchy with George Washington as its first king?” I was looking forward to seeing what this book had to offer. It ended up not what I expected and yet I was not at all disappointed.

We had four narrators: Bea, the duty-bound future (and first!) queen of America; Sam, the wild “spare” to Bea’s “heir”; Nina, Sam’s best friend who likes Sam’s twin brother, Jeff, but does not like the spotlight; and Daphne, the picture-perfect ruthless ex-girlfriend of Jeff who still has her eye on the crown. American Royals explores the concepts of duty, celebrity, and being true to yourself, all with witty banter, steamy romance, and wish-fulfillment glamor.

If you go in expecting a probing exploration of an alternate history, you will be let down–the American monarchy angle turned out to be merely fancy set dressing that didn’t penetrate into the fabric of the story. However, if you go in expecting less history and more histrionics, even the most hearty appetite for drama will be satisfied. This book is not going to change your life but it sure is fun.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC MCGEE)

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

What better setting for a mystery/thriller than a hotel that used to be a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients? Sarah Pearse’s debut book nods to Shari Lapena’s An Unwanted Guest, both novels set in a hotel in the middle of nowhere, with a dangerous blizzard isolating the main characters who are slowly meeting deadly ends. The short chapters contained just enough creepy mystery to keep me reading and ignoring the adulting I should have been doing. My only criticism is that Pearse wrote a sentence uttered by the main character on a few too many occasions. Something along the lines of, “a look passed quickly across his/her face that she couldn’t quite place.” Other than that bit of repetition, I enjoyed this chilly suspense novel and can guarantee you’ll feel it too, even during these hot summer days.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC PEARSE)