The Island by Adrian McKinty

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

Heather Baxter recently married a widowed doctor who has a young son and teenage daughter, and while they live in Seattle, they all decide to go on vacation to Australia. While out searching for some native animals, they stumble upon Dutch Island which is off-limits to outside visitors. Somehow they talk their way onto the ferry and head to the island but after an accident occurs, the family is thrust into an absolute nightmare with no way to escape. Heather must use all her childhood knowledge of surviving in the outdoors to stay one step ahead of the locals and make it off the island.

This was a suspenseful novel full of terror around every corner. Heather originally came off as weak and naïve, but as the story continued you were able to see how she is smart, strong, and capable. This book kept me on the edge of my seat and I would recommend it for the perfect summer/fall quick read!

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC MCKINTY)

Deal Breaker by Harlan Coben

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

I’ve always enjoyed Harlan Coben’s standalone novels, but for whatever reason I was always hesitant to read his Myron Bolitar series. After multiple people told me I had to read them, I decided to take the leap and try the first one, and I am so glad that I did.

Myron Bolitar is a sports agent, and while he can be hotheaded, he is also compassionate. In Deal Breaker, Myron’s client, Christian Steele, is entangled in the disappearance and suspected death of his ex-girlfriend. Myron attempts to find out the truth of what happened and who is responsible while dodging the underbelly of the crime and sports world.

Clearly I should have read this series sooner because I’ve already finished the second one, and I’m about to start on the third! So if you are looking for a new series that has some mystery, action, sports, and memorable characters, try the Myron Bolitar series.

Available through the Bridges Library System

Love and Saffron: A Novel of Friendship, Food, and Love by Kim Fay

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

Joan Bergstrom of Los Angeles sends a fan letter to Imogen Fortier, a monthly columnist living outside of Seattle. What follows is a charming novel of friendship, food, and love, told through letters between the two characters.

I love epistolary novels (works of fiction that are written in the form of letters or other documents), and this one was short and charming. I loved seeing how the relationship between the two characters grew as time went on, and I also loved all the references to different types of food. This was the perfect, quick read for a warm spring evening.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC FAY)

Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

My aunt and I love to give book recommendations to each other, and she kept telling me I should read the book Nothing to Envy. So I finally picked it up and I’m glad I did because it gave me some small insight to the very secretive world of North Korea.


The author, Barbara Demick, follows the lives of six North Korean citizens over fifteen years, including when Kim Il-sung dies and the famine that kills 1/5 of the population. She shows their everyday life, from working jobs where they don’t get paid, to scrounging for any scrap of food they can find, and from falling in love to getting sent to prison camps. Since she is interviewing these people after they have defected, we are able to witness how each one encounters the disillusionment needed in order to decide to try and leave the only country they have ever known.


I’ve always enjoyed learning about different countries and cultures, and while I’ve read a few books about North Korea, I definitely learned a lot from this one, because it spanned over fifteen years and featured normal people. I definitely recommend reading this book if you are interested in how the normal North Korean citizen lives.

Available through the Bridges Library System

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

Red (Taylor’s Version) by Taylor Swift

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

I’ll admit I always enjoy Taylor Swift’s music, so when I heard she was starting to remake her old albums, and add new songs to them, I was very curious. When I originally heard her album “Red” many years ago, I have to admit it wasn’t my favorite. But after listening to it many times, it really grew on me, so I was excited to listen to Red (Taylor’s Version).

I loved this new version of Red, and while all the additional songs are great, my favorite was the 10 minute version of “All Too Well.” “All Too Well” is probably my favorite song of hers, so when I heard the fabled 10 minute version would be released, I was very excited. It did not disappoint and I will admit I’ve listened to it many times already (I’m currently listening to it while writing this review!) So if you are a fan of Taylor’s music, I would suggest listening to her version of “Red”.

Available through the Bridges Library System

Hostage by Clare Mackintosh and Falling by T.J. Newman

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

I’ve read two books in the last few months that have very similar plots. They both involve family members being held hostage so that their loved ones will crash a plane (a pilot in one book, a flight attendant in the other). In both there are unknown assailants on the plane, plucky flight attendants and passengers trying to help (and maybe hinder), and difficult choices to be made.

Hostage by Clare Mackintosh and Falling by T.J. Newman are both exciting thrillers that keep a fast pace throughout the entire book. But if I had to pick one that I enjoyed more, it would be Falling because I found the characters more likeable and the action better.

Hostage available through the Bridges Library System

Falling in Adult Fiction (FIC NEWMAN)

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)

Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen by Alison Weir

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

I’ve always had a fascination with Henry VIII and his six wives, and I’ve been interested in this series by Alison Weir, where she writes about one wife in each book. But the books are long, so I’ve never picked them up before. When I saw the first audiobook available on Hoopla, I knew I had to dive in and start listening!

The first book follows Henry’s first wife, Katherine of Aragon, from when she first arrives in England at age 16, to her first wedding with Arthur, and finishes with her tumultuous marriage to Henry. I knew a some of her life story, but through this book I learned a lot more and I enjoyed getting to know Katherine (even though she frustrated me with her decisions at times). If you like Philippa Gregory, or other historical fiction novels about real people, I would highly recommend starting this series!

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC WEIR)

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

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