Current Picks: Book Reviews

Nothing to See Here

Lillian and Madison have been friends since boarding school, continuing to keep in touch through letters that have gotten scarcer through the years. Madison has married a widely successful politician and keeps busy bathing in media spotlight, while Lillian's life has been... less grand. When Lillian receives a letter from Madison, begging for her help raising her newly orphaned twin stepchildren, to say she's surprised would be an understatement. Madison offers Lillian anything she could possibly need in exchange for this arguably straightforward task. She forgot to mention, however, that the children tend to spontaneously combust under stress. Thus ensues a wonderfully heartwarming tale of found family, coping with grief, self-acceptance, and fire children. Great for fans of The House in the Cerulean Sea.

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson is available as an ebook and eaudiobook on eMediaLibrary. Also available as an ebook and eaudiobook on Hoopla. 

Survive The Night

I really enjoyed reading Survive the Night (2021) by Riley Sager. It's the story of a young college student, named Charlie. Two months earlier, her college roommate and best friend, Maddy, was the third victim of a serial killer on campus, known as the Campus Killer. Charlie feels the need to get away from school and go home to visit her grandmother in Ohio. Since she doesn't drive, she is looking for a ride share on the campus ride board and by chance meets a guy, Josh, who is looking to drive her in exchange for gas money. Josh calls Charlie and tells her he will be picking her up at 9 pm. Charlie is having second thoughts at having a complete stranger drive her home. From the moment she gets in his car, and the more they talk, she starts to get an uneasy feeling that he could be the Campus Killer. The story is what happens in the next few hours on their road trip. Should Charlie escape, should she call for help, or should she just run... is he the serial killer?

Read the eBook and eAudiobook on Libby.




The Song of Achilles

In a retelling of the Homers the Iliad, Madeline Miller spins a ridiculously sweet and heartbreaking story of the two young Greeks. The Song of Achilles (2011) is told from Patroclus perspective starting in his early childhood and continuing on through his and Achilles adventures. It really dives into the romance between the two in a really tasteful way that does not take away from the story but adds to it. It is a sad story, it's a Greek tragedy, so if you definitely do not want to cry, I would not recommend. However, my favorite types of stories are the ones that inspire strong emotions, so I loved it. It is an easier read than the original story, using modern language and grammar. So, if you like Greek mythology and epic poetry but sometimes struggle this is a good alternative. 

Visit Libby to read the ebook or listen to the eaudiobookThe Song of  Achilles is also available as an ebook and eaudiobook on Hoopla.




The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett

At 85, Eudora Honeysett believes she is done living and wants to go out on her own terms. She starts to make plans to travel from her home in London to a clinic in Switzerland to make that happen. However, when 10-year-old dynamo Rose moves in next door, Eudora finds herself enjoying spending time with her. Another neighbor closer to Eudora's age, Stanley, also joins them on their adventures. Slowly, Eudora begins to question her decision to end her life.

Interspersed throughout the novel are scenes from Eudora's life--from growing up during World War II to the loves of her life and her relationships with members of her family. Despite the somber underlying theme of one's choice to end their life, the book is quite humorous at times.

The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett (2020) by Annie Lyons is a great choice for readers who enjoyed The Story of Arthur Truluv and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Check out eMediaLibrary to read the ebook and eaudiobook.


The Ex Talk

This expertly crafted romantic comedy focuses on Shay, a radio station producer who loves her job yet despises her coworker, Dominic Yun. They constantly clash because Dominic is a know-it-all while Shay has ten years of industry experience on her side. One day, Shay proposes a new concept for their struggling station: The Ex Talk, a show where exes give relationship advice on air. Because Shay and Dominic already hate each other, their boss thinks they would be the perfect co-hosts. They both hate the idea of pretending to have dated, yet they can't afford to be fired. The audience gets hooked on their fake relationship fast, and the lies grow bigger. Can they keep up the ruse, especially when they start falling for each other? Witty, hilarious, and super swoon worthy, The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon is a must-read novel for any romance fan.

Available as an ebook and eaudiobook on eMediaLibrary.

Huck

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The artistry and the story line are so well put together I read it in a day. The story of Huck is that he is a guy with super abilities and helps out the people in his small town as much as he can. When the story of his abilities goes to the press is when everything goes awry. I couldn't put this book down. 

Huck by Mark Miller is available as an ebook on Hoopla.




Killing the Mob

If you enjoy learning about gangsters, outlaws and the Mafia, I recommend reading "Killing the Mob: the Fight Against Organized Crime in America" by Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard. This book covers the history of corruption in the U.S. from the 1930's when bank robbers, such as Bonnie & Clyde and John Dillinger were robbing banks during prohibition. This book gives insight to the rise of the Mafia with the Hollywood elite, politicians and gambling in Las Vegas. Many conspiracies theories are looked at in regards to President John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy deaths as well as the Teamsters Union boss Jimmie Hoffa. I couldn't put this book down and enjoyed learning more about the legendary mobsters and gangsters. This book is about the history of organized crime in America and the families that ruled them. 

Check out the eBook and eAudiobook on your browser through eMediaLibrary.




Exit

In this dark comic novel, widower Felix Pink is an "Exiteer." He, along with a partner, sits with someone who is terminally ill as the client takes their own life. It's all done within the law, but one day it goes horribly wrong as he and his colleague, Amanda, mistakenly aid the wrong person. Felix wonders what exactly went awry and if he'll be charged with murder. Exit (2021) recounts the tale of the police--specifically PC Calvin Bridge--unraveling the crime that was committed and arresting who's responsible. Felix, meanwhile, tries to make amends with the man mistakenly left alive. With its wide cast of characters and interesting puzzle, this book by Belinda Bauer was a real treat.

Read the eBook or listen to the eAudio now on Hoopla.



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Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo

On April 18, 1942, sixteen B-25 bombers took off from an aircraft carrier and bombed Tokyo in what would be known as the Doolittle Raid. Thirty Seconds over Tokyo (1943) is a nonfiction, firsthand account of that secret mission as told by pilot Ted W. Lawson. The mission showed that the Japanese mainland was vulnerable to attack, served as revenge for Pearl Harbor, and boosted morale. Lawson's detailed retelling of the attack brings to life this harrowing event.




Fangs

Fangs by Sarah Andersen is a really good book for people who like a little bit of sweet romance. It is about two people who are from two opposite backgrounds - she's a vampire and he's a werewolf - and how they are living together and act as a couple. This is a book I found to be really sweet and loved reading it.




The Lost Continent

It's the 22nd century and the Pan American Navy aero-submarine Coldwater is in trouble. Coldwater's antiquated engines, anti-gravity screens, and communications have all failed. The vessel heads for the English coast for repairs. Devastating war has left Europe a forbidden zone for 200 years. Nevertheless, Lieutenant Turck and a few crewmen use a small boat to find food and fresh water ashore. Instead, they find civilization living in primitive camps and wild beasts, descendants of escaped zoo animals, prowling free.

This is classic Edgar Rice Burroughs. What makes this edition special is the narrator. Finn J. D. John teaches New Media Communications at Oregon State University. He begins The Lost Continent (1916, originally titled Beyond Thirty) with a foreword that sets the background for the book and a thumbnail biography of Burroughs. His organization, Pulp-Lit Productions, features annotated editions of Blackwood, Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, Lovecraft, and Seabury Quinn.

Visit Hoopla to listen to the audiobook or read the ebook today.



The Last Garden in England

In present day England, Emma has been hired to revive the gardens at Highbury House that Venetia Smith designed in 1907 for the Melcourt family. Venetia Smith was quite famous for her garden designs, so Emma is thrilled to be working on the project and hopes that the current lady of the house, Sydney, can unearth some documents that will aid her in restoring the gardens to their former glory. A second storyline tells the story of Venetia and her time working at Highbury and falling in love while there. In addition, the novel recounts life at Highbury House in 1944, when the estate was used as a hospital for soldiers during the war. Specifically, it tells the stories of Beth (a Land Girl), Stella (the cook at Highbury) and Diana (Sydney's great grandmother). The Last Garden in England(2021) by Julia Kelly is an engaging story of several women's lives over a century. An added plus was all the descriptions of the flowers and creating the gardens.

Check out the eBook in Overdrive. If you enjoy WW II historical fiction, take a look at our curated book list.

Serena Singh Flips the Switch

This sweet story of self-discovery centers on Serena Singh, a woman who wants to live independently despite her family's harsh traditional values. She just landed her dream job working at a top advertising firm, but her parents would much rather see her married with children. Serena believes she is happiest when she's self-reliant; however, she is so career driven that her hobbies and friendships have crumbled. When she sparks a new friendship with a coworker, Serena realizes how much she misses connecting with others. She sets out to mend relationships with her family, friends, and even her ex while staying true to herself.


Serena Singh Flips the Switch by Sonya Lalli is a wonderful novel full of humor, honesty, and hope.



Station Eleven

Set in the near future, after an airborne disease has wiped out much of the population of the planet, Station Eleven (2014) follows a troupe of traveling musicians and actors as they migrate from town to town to put on shows. The plot bounces back and forth in time describing the first days of the pandemic then returning to the future, showing the evolution of the characters. Emily St. John Mandel skillfully brings these seemingly disparate storylines together as the main characters converge in the end.

Check out our list Welcome to Dystopia for similar titles. Visit Overdrive to read Station Eleven as an ebook or audiobook.



Eternal

Eternal is a historical fiction novel based in Rome, Italy during WWII and follows the lives of 3 best friends as they navigate life and love during some horrifying events. Elisabetta is a waitress struggling to make ends meet, Marco finds a job in Mussolini's government, and Sandro is a Jewish mathematician. These 3 find out a lot about romantic love (love triangle), love of country and love and loyalty of friends and family.

I enjoyed this book because I have read a lot in this genre but rarely one based in Italy during Fascism. I also think Lisa Scottoline did a great job of keeping the reader engaged and invested in all the characters, including that of the family members.

Read the ebook or listen to the audiobook on Overdrive.