Journey Under the Sea by R.A. Montgomery

Reviewed by Diane Basting (Library Staff)

Did you read choose your own adventure books growing up? Adventures awaited at every choice; some lead you to treasure and fun others lead to a gruesome demise. Montgomery is luring a whole new generation into these stories with a board book twist. You can now share a ‘choose your own adventure’ story with the toddler in your life. So far my great nephew and I have searched for a Yeti, dived under sea in search of treasure and are awaiting the third book in the series. To be fair I’m sure I enjoyed these stories and format a little more than the 2 year olds in my life but the well done pictures, minimal words, and quick resolutions earn these stories a chance for when you need something completely different then the stories you have read before.

Available through the Bridges Library System

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 1: Phantom Blood by Hirohiko Araki

Reviewed by Jess H (Library Staff)

In the late 1800s, a nobleman and his family suffer a carriage accident. A passerby intent on robbing them accidently becomes the nobleman’s savior. Years later, when the passerby’s son is a teen, he is sent to live with the nobleman, Lord Joestar, and his son. Little does the noble family know, the teen they welcome into their home is a conniving schemer looking to take the Joestar fortune for himself.

As someone who watches a lot of anime and reads a lot of manga, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has become a staple among fans, and for good reason. At this point in time, I’ve only read the first part of the Phantom Blood arc. I enjoy the art; it definitely feels of it’s time, the late 1980s, but it’s very expressive and detailed. The story immediately hooks you in. I see why everyone loves this series so much, because now I do too.

Located in Teen Manga (TEEN MANGA ARAKI VOL.1)

Spider Lake by Jeff Nania

Reviewed by Jayne S (Library Staff)

This is the second book of the series by a Wisconsin author. Figure Eight introduces us to John Cabrelli, a former Chicago cop who moves to northwestern Wisconsin after an on-duty tragedy.

Spider Lake picks up with John recuperating after a confrontation with a crooked local cop in Musky Falls.

The new Chief of Police recruits him to assist in finding a missing federal agent. John has found his late uncle’s secret vault of photos that include a picture of the federal agent, suitcases of cash, and an incriminating photo of a FBI agent that is currently working on the case.

This is an easy-to-read, fast paced mystery. I enjoyed it and picked up the third book of the series, Bough Cutter.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC NANIA)

Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon

Reviewed by Katy Zignego (Library Staff)

I have been reading the Outlander books for about twenty years, and I say now with the greatest affection that it’s time for the saga to end. The adventures of Jamie and Claire–and now their children and grandchildren–have been ever so entertaining, but I sincerely hope that the next book–the tenth in the series–will be the last.

The ninth book in the Outlander series, Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, seems to acknowledge that the end is drawing nigh: author Diana Gabaldon teases the idea of Claire’s eventual death right in the title. (Spoiler: She doesn’t die.) But the 800 or so pages of GTTB only advance the story about one year, plodding through the seasons on Fraser’s Ridge one meal and bear attack at a time.

The reason for the slow development is that the reader is following five major storylines: one for Jamie and Claire, one for their daughter Brianna, one for their nephew Ian, one for friend Lord John Grey, and one for William (whose connection to the family is a major spoiler and so won’t be revealed here). When you split 800 pages into 5 sections, each storyline only gets a modest 160 pages. So instead of a rushing river of pounding narrative–as it was in the days of just Jamie and Claire–Outlander has become a delta of meandering streams.

I don’t want to see this grand adventure series continue into books eleven, twelve, and fifteen, following each of the different storylines to yet more storylines. Outlander gained its popularity on the strength of Jamie and Claire’s epic love story, and they don’t deserve to become supporting cast in their own saga. My message to Diana Gabaldon, as both an adoring fan and a discerning reader, is this: Bring Jamie and Claire’s story to a close with a bang, not a whimper.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC GABALDON)

Queen Bees (2021)

Reviewed by Jayne S (Library Staff)

Ellen Burstyn’s character is a widow who accidentally sets fire to her kitchen. She reluctantly moves into a senior housing facility while her home is being repaired.

She tries to join a bridge group, but finds that she has wandered into a senior citizen version of high school mean girls.
The story revolves around her adjustment to the facility, standing her ground, and slowly accepting that she may need to sell her house.
The supporting characters include Jane Curtain, Ann-Margret, James Caan, and Christopher Lloyd. They all are in their golden years and portray well the challenges that senior citizens face.

I enjoyed the sentiment of the movie. It was a gentle film, with laughter and tears along the way to the uplifting conclusion.

Available through the Bridges Library System

Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems by Bob Raczka

Reviewed by Jess H (Library Staff)

A “t” becomes an airplane, a “p” the Big Dipper, and an “o” the sun. Concrete poetry twists and turns the words of poetry into shapes or patterns to visually represent their subjects. In Raczka’s Wet Cement, twenty-one poems are bent, scattered, and zig-zagged across the pages of this poetry collection to create visually engaging poetry that asks readers to reassess their perceptions of the genre. Are poems word paintings, like Raczka suggests? Can a single word become a picture? Reading Wet Cement right-side up, upside-down, and backwards might help you find some answers.

Located in Children’s Nonfiction (J 811.6 RAC)