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Staff Book Reviews

Book Review: Natchez Burning
Iles, Greg
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book was outstanding and I could not put it down. I have never read Greg Iles' work before and his book is a very suspenseful and interesting historical fiction involving past civil rights atrocities and current day efforts to uncover those crimes. A very believable account and page-turner to boot!

Reviewer's Name: Mary Kay
Book Review: House of Echoes
Duffy, Brendan
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

A great Gothic grabber! Struggling writer Ben Tierney flees New York city with his troubled family - bipolar wife Caroline, strange eight-year-old son Charlie, and baby Bub - for a tiny upstate village where his ancestors fought through the Revolutionary War. Before long, things start going downhill. The family encounters strangely obsessed villagers, a creepy, crumbling mansion, and SOMETHING IN THE WOODS that leaves dismembered animals everywhere and watches Charlie's every move. Kind of like The Shining meets Village of the Damned. It's an old formula, but Duffy makes it work well. I would have given it five stars save for a lapse in logic at the end. Still well worth the read.

Reviewer's Name: Alan
Book Review: When Fraser Met Billy
Booth, Louise
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is a very heartwarming book about the relationship of an autistic boy, Fraser and his rescued cat, Billy. Louise Booth, who is Fraser's mother as well as the author, describes the impact of Billy in terms of helping Fraser overcome many of his physical and emotional challenges.
Fraser comes out of his shell and Billy is a tremendous part of this positive change. Sometimes cats are portrayed as being standoffish, but Billy disproves this stereotype with his friendship with Fraser. A wonderful story!

Reviewer's Name: Lisa
Book Review: The Terrible Two
Barnett, Mac
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I just loved this book. It was so funny - both the story and illustrations! It is about Miles Murphy who is a new student in Yawnee Valley (which is only known for lots and lots of cows and they are very proud of that). Miles' goal is to be the best prankster at his new school, but someone keeps coming up with better pranks than Miles - who could that be?

Reviewer's Name: Lisa
Book Review: The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend
Santat, Dan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

My daughter and I just LOVE this book. Beekle is beautifully illustrated, it's the 2015 Caldecott Award winner, but even more so, the story is wonderful. You feel for Beekle as he searches for his person, and rejoice when he finds her. Little details in the book make it interesting for adults when read multiple times. Beekle is sweet and beautiful, bittersweet and inspiring. A must-read picture book.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Awards:
Book Review: The Book With No Pictures
Novak, B.J.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is HILARIOUS!! My 5 year old loved it. Goofy, silly, and a laugh-fest all around. A definite must read to your child. Thumbs way up! As an aside, the author of this book is one of the creators of the televison show, The Office, so you know it's going to be good.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Book Review: Crazy for God
Schaeffer, Frank
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I grew up in the evangelical world. I witnessed first-hand the fanaticism of the believer. This book was interesting to me because it pulled back the curtain on the religious right, particularly in the 80s. Frank Zappa was right, there was indeed "50 million dollars in his heavenly bank account". I just wish there had been more pages devoted to this time in the author's life. Nonetheless, the author was honest and forthright about his upbringing and wrote with charisma.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Book Review: The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories
Hemingway, Ernest
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I really enjoyed "The Snows of Kilimanjaro", "A Clean Well-Lighted Place", and "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber". Overall, the subject matter was a bit too macho for me, but the writing, of course, was excellent.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Genres:
Book Review: Lord of the Flies
Golding, William
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Jesus, this was a horror story! A bloodbath! A children's book! I was kinda hoping it would end differently, but the ending was still good. Especially the adult perspective at the end. Chilling.

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

A very unique perspective of North Korea. Kim's descriptions are hauntingly beautiful and poignant. I found this book hard to put down once I started, the suspense of Kim's situation will pull you through her story. I became so attached to the student's stories that it made this book both gut wrenching and heartfelt.

Reviewer's Name: Mary N.
Hartman, Rachel
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Seraphina is the music mistress living at court, but she has a secret. Beneath the layers of her carefully tied sleeves and around her waist are the scales of a dragon. Dragons and humans barely tolerate each other--despite their treaty--except when they fall in love. Seraphina's shape-shifting-dragon mother died in childbirth and Seraphina's human father tried to keep his daughter out of the public eye. As Seraphina becomes a teenager her intelligence, musical talent, and curiosity plunge her into the intrigues of the royal court and into the arms of a prince. How long will she be able to hide her true nature from the prince?

Reviewer's Name: Renee
Genres:
Rothfuss, Patrick
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

For fans of his series, this novella may be a disappointment. It does not continue the main storyline, but focuses on Auri and her life in The Underthing instead. It is a short, quick read, but is beautifully crafted. It really lets you into the broken mind of Auri as she goes about her life, one day at a time. Rothfuss fully admits this book isn't for everyone, but I think his fans should at least give it a shot.

Reviewer's Name: Becca
Genres:
Cain, Susan
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

As an introvert, reading this book felt like coming home. There were many times when I so identified with the feelings and behaviors Susan describes it was like looking into a mirror. Cain examines different facets of personality and why we as a society value certain traits over others. She also looks at what introverts can offer to businesses and in leadership positions. Great read for introverts and extroverts alike!

Reviewer's Name: Becca
Evison, Jonathan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

From the technical aspect, it was fantastic. The prose was warm, conversational and casual, yet intelligent. The characters were well developed and complicated, yet relatable and amiable. The plot was marvelously weaving in and out within itself and came together seamlessly. It was an easy read, yet I took so much away from it. From a personal and emotional aspect, it hit every human emotion so directly and so real, I fell in love with the narrator and every person he encountered during the story.

Many times, I felt I was seeing so clearly from Ben's eyes and connecting so well, and the same with many of the other characters. They were all so human.

When I finished, I almost felt like keeping a secret so that I could have the experience all to myself, but I feel like many other people could find something within this story to help them through whatever life is throwing at them.

Reviewer's Name: Cassie
Genres:
Book Review: God'll Cut You Down
Safran, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I am a fan of true crime, but I have never actually read a true crime book. I just watch alot of Investigation Discovery! I read several reviews of "God'll Cut You Down" and they were all positive. So I had to read it. What an intriguing story about a murder in Mississippi. John Safran was able to convey what living in Mississippi is like - the haves, the have-nots, politics,etc. It made me sad and afraid to realize that people are still upset over the Civil War. That really stuck with me. But the story of Richard Barrett and Vincent McGee is still a mystery as to what really went on and what lead to murder. I just wish we could know about their secret lives and if that was the real motive behind the murder. A really great true crime book! I couldn't put it down!

Reviewer's Name: Melissa M.
Christie, Agatha
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

A classic whodunit. Campy but fun. I'm not really a mystery person, which is probably why I didn't give it 5 stars. I found myself getting bored with the whole process about 2/3 of the way through. But I really liked the ending.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Barry, Kevin
2 stars = Meh
Review:

Once I finally got a hold of the Irish dialect, it just ended, leaving much to be desired. I don't feel like there was any resolution, or even a point to the entire story.

Reviewer's Name: Cassie
Genres:
Palahniuk, Chuck.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Glad to have stuck with Palahniuk after reading the Pygmy atrocity. This one was classic Chuck. Shocking, slightly disturbing, darkly humorous, unexpected.

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

Murakami's quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. This story was exactly what my soul needed. It was so human and it kept me out of my head. When it ended, it left me with so many questions, but as much as that usually bothers me, it was the most perfect of an ending as it could be. Because that's what life does, it leaves you with unanswered questions.

Reviewer's Name: Cassie
Genres:
Darnielle, John
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

It was an easy read, very down to earth language and kept me interested the whole book through. But when I finished it, I didn't feel accomplished at all. I don't think I really took anything away from it. And that was a little disappointing. I do love how Darnielle's songwriting style transfers over to a novel; Darnielle is a great writer and I loved lyrical way that his story came together.

Reviewer's Name: Cassie
Genres:

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