Eternals (2021)

Reviewed by Stephanie Ramirez (Library Staff)

Marvel’s first big flop “Eternals” doesn’t necessarily deserve the bashing it is taking from critics and audiences alike. The casting is star-studded: Angelina Jolie, Gemma Chan, Salma Hayak, Richard Madden are just a few big names on the ticket. The visuals are stunning and battles, as always in Marvel-world, are a highlight. However, all the bells and whistles cannot distract from a mediocre plot, an enemy that is potentially world-ending but who we’ve never heard about before in the MCU and the over-arching factor of just where the heck were these heroes in all the previous battles/movies. As always with Marvel, there is potential for sequel(s) and I admit I’m intrigued by where they left things. Still, for an audience to care about any subsequent movies, a major plot rehaul is in order.

Located in DVDs (DVD ETERNALS)

All That She Carried by Tiya Miles

Reviewed by Katy Zignego (Library Staff)
All That She Carried, winner of the 2021 National Book Award for nonfiction, is a must-read for anyone interested in American history, genealogy, or museums. Author Tiya Miles begins with a cotton sack–carried by a nine-year-old girl named Ashley and embroidered with Ashley’s story by her granddaughter 70 years later. From the sack and its five-line message, Miles traces the lives of Black women from the 1830s through the 1970s.

Miles uses almost every discipline in her quest to find out all she can about Ashley, her mother Rose, her daughter Rosa, and her granddaughter Ruth. She points out that because women–especially enslaved women–have rarely been viewed as worthy of mention in the historical record, a researcher has to get very creative when searching for clues about their lives. Genealogy, botany, art history, sewing, and literary criticism all take center stage in different chapters. In this multidisciplinary approach Miles emulates the former occupant of her Harvard office, distinguished women’s historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. (You’ll remember her from the oft-quoted line, “Well-behaved women rarely make history.”)

My only quibble with the book is Miles’s writing style. She has also written novels, and in this nonfiction book I worry that she takes too much poetic license in her descriptions. The act of writing history does require some imagination, but “hard” history should never give more detail than the author is prepared to back up with research. (I’m looking at you, Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard.)

I sincerely hope that Tiya Miles continues with her innovative approach to seeking and writing Black women’s history. I look forward to more excellent books from her in the future.

Available through the Bridges Library System

The Midnight Lock by Jeffrey Deaver

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

I picked up Deaver’s latest title accidentally thinking it was part of his Colter Shaw series- which I highly recommend- however this is the latest installment in his Lincoln Rhyme series. I wouldn’t normally jump into a series on the 15th title but the description sold me. Women are waking up in their apartments to find their things rearranged, a chair pointed right at the bed as if someone had sat there and watched them sleep, a half eaten cookie or glass of wine on the counter. Someone, somewhere is capable of picking the most secure locks in the world leaving the citizens of New York more than a little worried.

Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are called to investigate the escalating crimes but when a rift occurs with Rhyme’s prior case, the NYPD question his judgement and become overly concerned with the optics in the public eye. They respond by firing Rhyme, their best chance to solve the case of the man who has dubbed himself “the Locksmith”

I enjoyed this book so much I have checked out the first in his series and am looking forward to many more to come.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC DEAVER)

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin

Reviewed by Taylor (Library Patron)

Did you know that dragons love tacos? Well, they do! Just make sure that you don’t ever (and I mean, EVER) put anything spicy in their tacos! As long as you don’t put anything spicy in the tacos, you can invite the dragons over for a taco party. Sounds fun, right? Well, maybe not quite as fun as you expected…

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin is a funny picture book about what happens when you invite dragons over for a taco party. Nobody really knows why dragons love tacos so much, but the dragons are always ready to eat and party. The illustrations are colorful, featuring highly expressive dragons of different shapes and sizes. If you love dragons and tacos and are looking for a fun read, pick this one up! And if you like this one, there is also a sequel!

Located in Children’s Picture Books (E RUBIN)

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales by Nathan Hale

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

I was looking for some quick graphic novels to read, when I saw someone checking out these children’s nonfiction graphic novels that looked interesting. I decided to try a few of them, and I’m glad I did, because they are fun, informative, and quick reads.

The series is Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales by Nathan Hale. The premise of these books is the spy Nathan Hale (from the Revolutionary War) is about to be hung by the British, when a giant history book eats him and he comes back and persuades his captors to stall his execution by telling stories of historically important events, kind of like the 1,001 Arabian Nights. I know this premise sounds weird, but it actually works really well because each graphic novel has Nathan Hale telling the story to both the British Officer and the hangman himself (who is probably the funniest character throughout)!

Some of my favorite books from this series are Raid of No Return (about World War II fighter pilots in the Pacific), The Underground Abductor (about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad), and Big Bad Ironclad (about ship battles during the Civil War, with a starring role for William Cushing who is from Wisconsin). I really like these books because even though they are marketed towards children, I still learn new things I never knew about interesting history events. I hope Nathan Hale continues to make these, because I will continue reading them!

Located in Children’s Nonfiction Graphic Novels

Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict

Reviewed by Holly (Library Patron)

This historical fiction was a pleasant quick read. If you liked Downton Abbey, this book would be a must read. Downton Abbey provided me with a great deal of background knowledge of the historical period and the life experience of a servant. Some of the events seem kind of coincidentally unbelievable. But if you like historical FICTION this might be a good book for you!

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC BENEDICT)

Playing the Cards You’re Dealt by Varian Johnson

Reviewed by Andrea Bisordi (Library Staff)

Secrets can be tricky things. They can make you feel powerful, like you are on the inside of something special, or they can make you feel powerless, because sometimes you can’t do anything to help someone who has sworn you to secrecy. Ant (short for Anthony) is so focused on winning the spades tournament that he’s willing to take on some secrets, including the fact that his new card partner is a girl. I love how Ant wrestles with himself as he tries to figure out what to do about his best friend, his brother, this new girl, and his dad. Another fun thing about this story is the all-knowing narrator – just who is telling this story, anyway?

Kids (and grown-ups!) who like well-developed characters, stories about friendships, humor, or who have ever felt conflicted about a secret will enjoy this book.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC JOHNSON)

The Bloodless Boy by Robert J. Lloyd

Reviewed by Katy Zignego (Library Staff)

The Bloodless Boy is the very compelling title of Robert J. Lloyd’s debut historical mystery novel. Set in Restoration London among the lights of the fledgling Royal Society, The Bloodless Boy sparkles with historical detail and page-turning action. The author’s website says he is hard at work on a sequel, and I cannot wait to read it.

The story does begin a bit slowly, taking several chapters to introduce the characters and set up the mystery. Three men are summoned to the bank of London’s River Fleet to inspect the body of a young child who has been drained of his blood. Justice Sir Edmund Bury Godfrey, Curator of the Royal Society Robert Hooke, and Hooke’s assistant Harry Hunt then embark upon an investigation into the murder. Harry Hunt eventually emerges as the main character, and develops into a regular Indiana Jones of intellect and action. Any fan of Dan Brown or Bernard Cornwell will instantly recognize the type.

Sometimes Harry’s escapes seem a bit far-fetched–can one really use pitch to seal a doorway so tightly that a raging fire can’t get through?–but it’s all in good fun. And as a romp through the colorful Restoration period and the checkered history of early modern science, The Bloodless Boy is quite fun.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC LLOYD)

Queen Bee by Dorothea Benton Frank

Reviewed by Holly (Library Patron)

This book sweeps the reader into an everyday life on a seemingly quiet island off the South Carolina coast. The characters are well developed and each takes the readers on a journey of twists and turns that provide for an entertaining plot. The twists and turns most likely will touch the reader base with some sort of relatability (at least they did for me). As with most good fiction novels, the three main characters all change as a result of the passing of time and events described in the book. I recommend this book and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC FRANK)

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Reviewed by MJ (Library Patron)

The Hate U Give is a book by Angie Thomas follows a girl named Starr Carter in her fight against racism. She works to bring justice to her childhood friend, Khalil, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Garden Heights. In addition, she struggles with the feeling that there are two versions of herself, one at the white majority high school she attends, the other in the black neighborhood where she lives in. To win the justice Khalil deserved she must overcome her internal conflict and find her voice to speak out against the racism only she witnessed.

I enjoyed this book very much because of the meaningful storyline it has. Every event contributes to the plot, and the whole story really makes you think. I am not very familiar with this genre, however, this book really stuck out to me. I recommend it to people around the age of 13 or older.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC THOMAS)