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Staff Book Reviews

Cameron, Claire
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

When 2 young children have to survive after a bear attacks and kills their parents you wonder if this could really happen. How long could they survive and how the whole experience will effect the rest of their lives.

Reviewer's Name: Jennie
Genres:
Kidd, Sue Monk
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is a book that captures you immediately and you can't put it down. I loved this book. I truly cared about the 2 main characters, one of whom is based on abolitionist and suffragette Sarah Grimke.

Reviewer's Name: Trish
Genres:
Angelou, Maya
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I find that sometimes I give 5 stars to what are clearly very good books, but then something like 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings' comes along and I realize that there are very few books I've read that are as important and wonderful as this one. I wish I could give it more than 5 stars. Maya's voice is beautiful, honest, and so very observant and wise. I recommend this book to everyone in the world, period.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Woodrell, Daniel
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I loved the way that Daniel Woodrell puts words together, his writing is so lyrical! That said, I had a hard time getting through this very slim book with the jumps in time and the amazingly large cast of characters. The story would have been a bit more enjoyable to me had it been linear, and without quite so many side stories of this small town.

Reviewer's Name: Krista
Genres:
Gaynor, Hazel
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Wavered between 3 1/2 and 4 stars on this one. I actually liked the end very much, and didn't know it was based on a true story, which made it much more poignant. I have read TONS of books about the Titanic over the years, both fiction and nonfiction, and this is one of the better novels, in my opinion.

Reviewer's Name: Krista
Genres:
Wiseman, Ellen Marie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Wow. This is easily one of my favorite books of the year so far. I highly enjoy books with dual storylines, but sometimes one story is much, much stronger than the other. I actually think these two stories of girls close to the same age but in very different time periods could have each stood fantastically on their own, and work even better together. Clara's story of being forcibly committed due to her falling in love with the "wrong" type of man was heartbreaking, and the look inside the psychiatric asylum of the early 1900s was truly painful. The author mentioned that the story came together after hearing about the Willard Suitcase Exhibit, and there is a book based on it - "The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic" by Darby Penney and Peter Stastny. Already have it on hold at the library - I am completely fascinated. Wonderful book.

Reviewer's Name: Krista
Genres:
Gilman, Susan Jane
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I expected kind of a "fluff" book based on the cover, but this was anything but. For one, we go through the entire span of Lillian's life, from her and her family coming over from Russia when she was a child, up through her 70s. I do have to say I loved the main character - she was a tough woman! She was flawed, she was very stubborn, she drank too much and was incredibly angry at the world and suspicious of everyone (understandable when you read what she went through). But for all of that, I actually really liked her! I thought it would take me forever to get through this thick book, but I actually flew through it - I couldn't wait to see what she would come up with next!

Reviewer's Name: Krista
Genres:
McNeil, Gil
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Gil McNeil has a way of creating characters that make you want to climb in their world and be their friends. I loved this kooky cast of characters, and enjoyed spending time with them! If you like this book, give her other book a try: The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club.

Reviewer's Name: Krista
Genres:
Heller, Peter
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Is Jim Stegner an artist with a violent streak? Or just a violent ex-con with a talent for art? In his second novel, Peter Heller explores this intriguing question with prose both lyrical and muscular. Stegner, a Santa Fe painter with a stint in prison for assault is struggling with deeply embedded grief over the murder of his daughter, Alce. In an attempt to assuage this grief, he flees the New Mexico art scene for a remote cabin in Paonia Colorado where he can paint and also indulge his passion for fly-fishing. Unfortunately, fishing leads him to a situation that explodes in violence that will cause him to question who he is and what he believes. Heller has created a memorable character and, with the first person narrative, never lets the reader lose sight of Stegner's humanity - even when he's engaged in activities more suited to the lawless Old West than the current civilized scene. A great sense of place (I grew up in Paonia, so I should know), and fascinating descriptions of the artistic process and the Santa Fe art world are added bonuses. This is literary writing with a capital L, but also a great suspenseful page-turner. My pick for next year's APPR book!

Reviewer's Name: Alan
Genres:
Bragg, Georgia
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is hilarious, clever, disgusting, educational, and all-around awesome! I read it during my lunch break at work which I don't recommend as the content is really gross. But seriously, read this awesome disgusting book!

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Genres:
Kelly, Clinton and London, Stacy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This was more of a 3.5 stars. It was very enlightening, but the clothes choices were pretty much way too dressy for my situation. I mean, a blazer for weekend wear? I live in Colorado. Jeans are the norm. But there was welcome advice on fit for my body type.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
London, Stacy
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I'm not sure I got a lot out of this book. I did like that it had a list of stores in the back of the book that specialize in specific needs. I also liked Stacy's voice. It was warm and honest. It seemed like this book was aimed at city dwellers, which is fine. My style needs aren't that, though. Oh well, I'm still going to read her other book.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Riggs, Ransom
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The story of Miss Peregrine's children just keeps getting better! I enjoyed the first book, but Hollow City, in my opinion, was a more finely tuned and intense story. So many beautiful and unusual images, and I love how the characters continue to grow and reveal hidden aspects of themselves. I can't wait until the final book come out!

Reviewer's Name: Cassie
Ajvide Lindqvist, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Though, it was a very rare situation that I actually preferred the film to the novel, this horror story was very well written and kept my interest the whole way through. Oskar is a 13 year old boy with very few friends and broken home. When along comes the mysterious Eli, who says she's been 13 years old for a very long time. It's unexpectedly touching, terrifying, and psychologically fascinating. I feel that it could've done with fewer chapters, however, focused more on the the primary characters.

Reviewer's Name: Cassie
Gladwell, Malcolm
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book was very good. I learned a lot about the mindset and behaviors of the underdog and the necessity of power to promote legitimacy. My favorite part was about the Civil Rights movement and how the leaders used their underdog situation to it's full advantage. So interesting! However, the book ended very abruptly. I would have loved to have seen one more chapter that summed everything up. Oh well.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Genres:
Harkness, Deborah
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

A friend came to the library looking for the third book in this trilogy. It doesn't come out until July 15, 2014. She told me that she really liked the series. I checked out A Discovery of Witches not knowing what to expect, but I love it! It's very well-written and the 579 pages read quickly. I don't want to spoil the plot for you, but there are witches, vampires and demons, lots of interesting history and a "political" (if you are a witch, demon or vampire) issue that make for a spell-binding story. Can't wait to read the second in the series.

Reviewer's Name: Susan
Mackler, Carolyn
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

The thing about teen books, especially 'chick-lit' style books, is they all seem to run together. As I was reading this book, I realized that somewhere in my hazy pre-baby past, I'd already read this book. I could just barely remember it. It was like having deja vu while reading. But still it was good, even for the second time around.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Genres:
Burnett, Carol
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I listened to Carol Burnett read this on audio and it was very good. I didn't watch her show as it was before my time, but I liked hearing stories about her life in show business. Thumbs up, especially on audio.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Close, Jennifer
2 stars = Meh
Review:

This was the blandest book I've read in awhile. The characters and situations were so similar and uninteresting that they were basically interchangeable. By the end of the book I couldn't have told you which character did what. Nothing of interest happened in the entire book. The writing was good enough, but man, boring!

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Genres:
Murakami, Haruki
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Went into it with little expectation and came out of it with my mind completely blown. It left me pondering, wondering what would I do if somehow I was left with such a decision as the main character had to deal with. The narrator speaks from two different points of view, one from his ordinary life in Tokyo and the other from the End of the World. Murakami brilliantly brings it all together with beautiful imagery and such a down to earth voice.

Reviewer's Name: Cassie

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