The Renunciations by Donika Kelly

Reviewed by Taylor H (Library Staff)

The Renunciations by Donika Kelly is a powerful book that deals with trauma, heartbreak, and healing. It was a difficult read at times, but the poems in this collection are beautifully written. The poems depict nature and relationships, while also carrying and undercurrent of mythology. The “oracle,” in addition to the speaker and the speaker’s father, is a prominent figure throughout. The poems are divided into different sections: three sections are titled “Now,” one is titled “Then,” one is titled “Then—Now,” and one is titled “After.” This helps a reader move through the collection with a distinct awareness of the timeline.

My favorite poems in the collection include “Dear—” on page 45, “Self-Portrait in Labyrinth” on pages 56-57, “Dear—” on page 76, and “The moon rose over the bay. I had a lot of feelings.” on page 89. I have never read a collection quite like this before. It is a necessary exploration of trauma, and it seems like it may have even been a vessel for the poet herself to start healing. There is pain, struggle, and grief. But the poems are also a story of survival.

A word of caution: Many poems do explicitly discuss the abuse at the hands of the speaker’s father, which could be upsetting for some readers.

Available through the Bridges Library System

Demon Slayer, Part 1

Reviewed by Stephanie Ramirez (Library Staff)

This anime TV show follows the journey of Tanjiro, a kind boy who comes home one day to find his family slaughtered by demons. Even worse, the lone survivor, his sister Nezuko, has become a demon herself. Determined to avenge his family and save his sister, Tanjiro sets out on a journey to become a demon slayer. His path is dangerous and filled with nightmarish demons to conquer, both inwardly and outwardly. Tanjiro overcomes hardships with grace, training and grit. While not for a young audience, this anime is flawless, the story compelling and the artwork gorgeous. Very bingeable, highly recommend!

Located in Blu-Ray (BLU-RAY DEMON PART 1)

Eternals by Neil Gaiman

Reviewed by Jess H (Library Staff)

Before the announcement of the new Eternals movie from Marvel, I hadn’t really heard of these characters before. I decided to read Neil Gaiman’s Eternals run as a way to get a little familiar with the characters.

The overall story is that the Eternals lost their memories and have been living their lives as regular human beings. The Eternals need to find each other, figure out why their memories are gone, and also deal with the resurgence of the Deviants.

I enjoyed the lore and worldbuilding of Eternals and overall the art by John Romita Jr. is solid and exciting.

Though I did enjoy the story, I wouldn’t say this was a perfect introduction to the characters. If you’re already familiar with the Eternals, then you’ll probably get more out of this book than I did.

Available through the Bridges Library System

Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP by Mirin Fader

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

I’m a big Wisconsin sports fan (except for the Badgers, but that’s another story!) So this year, when the Bucks had their championship run, I was all in and excited to cheer them on. And then they won and it was fantastic! Then I saw there was a book coming out about Giannis and I knew I had to read it.

Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP follows the life of Giannis, as a young boy in Greece selling trinkets on the streets to an NBA superstar, and everything in between. The book shows how much he loves his family, the racism he has had to deal with, and his journey to America.

I loved this book so much and I enjoyed learning even more about Giannis. He truly is one of my favorite athletes, and this book just affirmed that fact. My only complaint with the book (which was just due to timing) is that the book was finished/sent to print before the Bucks championship win this summer, so there was no information about the championship and what it meant to Giannis and the city of Milwaukee. But I urge anyone who is a fan of the Bucks, Giannis, or just good athletes in general should read this book right away!

Located in Adult Nonfiction (796.323 ANT)

The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo, illustrations by Sophie Blackall

Reviewed by Andrea Bisordi (Library Staff)

We shall all, in the end, be led to where we belong.

We shall all, in the end, find our way home.

These words are the first words that Beatryce writes in the presence of the brothers of the Chronicles of Sorrowing, but they bring only questions rather than sweet answers. Who is this Beatryce, who came to them sick and alone? Why did she make such easy friends with the goat Answelica, who seems to despise all of the brothers? How did a girl learn to write? (It is, after all, forbidden by the law.) And, what should happen to her next?

Kate DiCamillo has once again given us a beautiful story with surprising twists and turns, wonderful characters, and sparse text that sparks our imagination. If you have enjoyed her other stories, such as The Tale of Despereaux or The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, you are sure to be delighted by this one.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC DICAMILLO)

Hakumei & Mikochi by Takuto Kashiki

Reviewed by Jess H (Library Staff)

Take something like the Borrowers or The Secret World of Arrietty and you’ll get a pretty good sense of what Hakumei & Mikochi is like. The manga details the day to day lives of two small people, Hakumei, an adventurous tinkerer, and Mikochi, a reserved tradesperson. The two live together in a tree hollow where they share adventures and good food.

Hakumei & Mikochi is laidback and sweet. The characters are likable, the art is wonderfully rendered, and the world building is a treat. I highly recommend the series if you’re looking for a quick read to unwind with.

Located in Teen Manga (TEEN MANGA KASHIKI)

Breaking Creed by Alex Kava

Reviewed by Diane Basting (Library Staff)

Ryder Creed believes in three things, his dog, his intuition, and finishing the job you start regardless of where it leads. Breaking Creed is the first installment of the series that introduces us to Ryder and his dog Grace. Grace is a multi trained scent dog; her main focus is drugs and she has been getting some major headlines recently which leads a teenager who is running away from a drug cartel to recognize an opportunity to be rescued. What follows is an action packed thriller with many twists and turns, not all of them plausible, but if you stick with it to the end I believe you will find yourself at the start of a four book weekend featuring a retired marine, a K-9 scent dog, an FBI agent, and plots that will keep you guessing what could be on the next page.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC KAVA)

StrangeWorlds Travel Agency by L.D. Lapinski

Reviewed by Andrea Bisordi (Library Staff)

We usually use suitcases when we travel to other places. But what if we could use them to travel to other worlds? 12 year-old Flick doesn’t think there is anything special about her until she meets Jonathan. He shows her how to jump inside his special suitcases and explore amazing new societies. Slowly she comes to realize that there are more places to explore than she ever knew or imagined, and some of them are endangered. Can she prevent a tragedy that she didn’t know existed?

If you liked The Land of Stories, The Mysterious Benedict Society, or the Story Thieves books, you will likely enjoy this story as well.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC LAPINSKI)

I Don’t Forgive You by Aggie Blum Thompson

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

Allie Ross has put considerable distance between herself and her past. Although that’s where she’d like to keep it, it rears its ugly head threatening to ruin her marriage, job and relationship with her son. Allie steadily unravels as she slides quickly into suspect number one. Her neighbors believe she is guilty and she faces insurmountable odds in an effort to clear her name.

I seem to be a pro lately at picking debut books and although this is Aggie Thompson’s first novel and you can’t have more from her yet, it’s a fast-moving and chilling mystery novel worth picking up.

Available through the Bridges Library System

Westering Women by Sandra Dallas

Reviewed by Holly (Library Patron)

This was a wonderful book. It was set in the mid-1800’s. And the basic premise is a wagon train of women who answered a poster announcement regarding a journey to California in search of a husband. The author did a great job with both plot twists and character development. Granted some of the plot twists were unbelievable but somehow you wanted to believe. And the characters were so strong. The contrast between the present and when the story took place, will make readers think how very different life was then and how much things have changed. This was an excellent book choice for a Book Club!!!

Available through the Bridges Library System