Book Reviews From Deena

Check out these book reviews from Deena.  Deena was a member of the Library’s Patron Service Team who recently retired.  She has generously continued to share book reviews with us.  Thank you, Deena! 

Let us know if you would like any titles added to your booklist or head over to BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) to download the titles now.  Need more information about BARD?  See our BARD Page

The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck  DB68511
This is a good book for anyone who wants a heartwarming story. At first, I disliked 12 year old Eddie, he was such a brat,
even when those he loved reached out to him.  Once I understood where all the anger was coming from, I felt sorry for him.  It makes you think.

Murder in Little Egypt by Darcy O’Brien  DB31046
A true story about John Dale Cavaness, Dr. Dale.  He was a beloved doctor in southern Illinois, in a poor area called Little Egypt.  He often treated patients without requesting payment, but to his family and co-workers Dr. Dale was a tyrant.  He took no interest in his wife and four sons.  He threatened co-workers and forced them to sign forms saying treatment was received by patients who had never entered the office.  Dr. Dale was particularly embarrassed and upset with his oldest son, Mark and his third son, Sean whom he felt lacked direction. In 1986, Mark was found shot to death, near his truck.  Six years later, Sean was found shot to death along a road.  Investigators found shortly before Mark and Sean’s deaths Dale had taken out insurance policies on both boys.  Witnesses were able to place Dr. Dale with Sean just hours before he was shot who was accused of his own son’s murders.

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware  DB85729
Laura “Lo” is on a cruise ship for her job as a travel writer.  She is awakened in the night and believes she sees a body being thrown overboard in the cabin next door. She was told that cabin was empty.  She phones security, and they do not believe there is anything to her story because she had been drinking that evening.  Lo sets out to prove what she saw was real.  She anxiously awaits the moment the ship docks, so she can tell the authorities what she saw. There are several other people on board, who want to prevent Lo from informing the police.  Lo keeps digging to find out the truth, despite the danger to herself.  This is a thriller with several twists and turns.

Book Reviews from Deena

Check out these book reviews from Deena.  Deena was a member of the Library’s Patron Service Team who recently retired.  She has generously continued to share book reviews with us.  Thank you, Deena!  Let us know if you would like any titles added to your booklist or head over to BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) to download the titles now.  Need more information about BARD?  See our BARD Page

The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline  DB100662
1840: Evangeline becomes a governess in England.  She is seduced by the lady of the house’s stepson and is then accused by the maid, Agnes, of stealing a ruby ring.  However; the ring was given to her by the stepson. Agnes continues to harass and threaten Evangeline and she becomes angry and pushes Agnes down the stairs. Evangeline is charged with attempted murder and sentenced to 14 years and transport to Australia. Evangeline has a daughter aboard ship and other prisoners help to take care of the baby.  The life in Australia is hard and prisoners are punished and treated harshly for infractions such as talking to each other.   If they are lucky, they get to work for the new settlers in the nearby town. If you are interested in life in Australia or this time period you might enjoy this book.  Today, nearly 5 million people in Australia are descended from prisoners transported from England to that area.

The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom  BR20357, DB77804
The people of Coldwater, Michigan are receiving phone calls from those who have passed on.  Sully Harding, who lost his own wife in a terrible accident, is out to prove that this an elaborate hoax.

The Shadows We Hide by Allen Eskens DB93580
Joe Talbert is now a reporter for the Associated Press.  He learns a man with his same name has died in a small town in Minnesota.  Joe, knowing he was named after a father he never knew, goes to investigate.  Once there he learns his possible father was murdered and many town’s people are not sorry to see he is gone.  As Joe gets to know the people of this area a tangled tale is revealed, and if this is indeed his father, could stand to become a very wealthy landowner.
This is the sequel to The Life We Bury (BR21515, DB79908),but could be read as a standalone.  I highly recommend both books.

Book Reviews from Deena

Check out these book reviews from Deena.  Deena was a member of the Library’s Patron Service Team who recently retired.  She has generously continued to share book reviews with us.  Thank you, Deena! 

Let us know if you would like any titles added to your booklist or head over to BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) to download the titles now.  Need more information about BARD?  See our BARD Page

The Return by Rachel Harrison DB99780

Four college friends are spending the weekend at a hotel.  They are with their friend, Julie, who went missing for two years and has just returned with no memory of what happened to her during that time. Julie seems changed and strange things begin happening at the hotel like noises, shadows and unexplained coldness. The hotel seemed haunted. One of the friends becomes ill and doesn’t appear to be getting any better. This is a creepy, spooky and sometimes a gory page turner that will have you on the edge of your seat.

Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris DB93331

1931: Ellis is a reporter for a Philadelphia newspaper.  He takes a picture of several children with a sign that says “Children for Sale”. The editor is enthusiastic about the picture and thinks it maybe his big break.  The picture is ruined before it can be published and the editor demands Ellis get another picture. When Ellis returns to the home, the family is gone, so he poses two other children living nearby with the sign for his picture. Later, he learns these two children were sold and he feels he needs to make things right.  He locates the mother of the children, who thought she was dying, but has since recovered and wants her children back. Ellis and a woman, Lily, who works at the newspaper, set out to find the children. They suffer several setbacks and harrowing experiences. The story in this time period gives you a sense of the Great Depression, and how desperate people were to find work and hungry. A very touching story.

Orphan #8 by Kim van Alkemade  DBC02898

This is a well-written book and a lot is based on the author’s family history.
1919: Rachel and her brother, Sam are put in an orphanage. Rachel goes to an infant home where she is experimented on with X-rays and permanently loses all the hair on her body.  Once she is moved to the orphanage where Sam is, Rachel is bullied because she does not have hair.  As Rachel gets older, she works in the infirmary where nursing becomes her goal.  After an incident at the home, Sam runs away before graduation and Rachel soon follows. Rachel eventually returns to New York and works as a nurse in 1954. The woman doctor who subjected Rachel to all the X-rays becomes Rachel’s patient in the hospital where she is working.  Rachel is torn. Should she be compassionate, or should she seek revenge?

Book Reviews from Deena

Check out these book reviews from Deena.  Deena was a member of the Library’s Patron Service Team who recently retired.  She has generously continued to share book reviews with us.  Thank you, Deena! 

Let us know if you would like any titles added to your booklist or head over to BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) to download the titles now.  Need more information about BARD?  See our BARD Page

Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles   DB105197

As soon as I saw this book, I knew I had to read it.  I grew up in a town along the Lincoln Highway and at one point in my life our kitchen window faced the highway.

1954: Emmett has just been released from a juvenile detention center and the warden brings him home due to the death of his father.  Emmett needs to take care of his precocious eight-year-old brother, Billy.  Unbeknownst to Emmett two of his ne’er-do-well friends have sneaked into the warden’s trunk and they change Emmett’s plans. Emmett and his brother have decided to go to California to find their mother who abandoned the family.

The friends Duchess and Wooley want to go to New York to claim Wooley’s inheritance.  So, the adventure begins and it not smooth sailing. Before they get out of Nebraska, Emmett is urged to make a stop.  Duchess says he will return in five minutes and when he does not return, Emmett goes after him. Wooley and Duchess take off with the car and leave Emmett and Billy stranded with no money and they have to hop a train to New York to get the car back. There are many mishaps on their journey.

This book reminded me a bit of This Tender Land only darker. If you like road trips this book might be for you. There are several famous landmarks mentioned in the book.

The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman  BR19607, DBC02517 

I loved this book! Lenka and Josef fall in love in Czechoslovakia and marry. Josef is going to America and promises to secure Visas for Lenka’s family also.  Josef is unable to get the Visas and Lenka refuses to go without her parents and little sister. Josef leaves with his parents and sister and while awaiting their visas Lenka and her family are sent to a work camp. Josef loses contact with Lenka.  As the war drags on, Josef eventually marries, but never forgets his first love. Lenka after surviving a concentration camp, marries an American soldier. They meet again 60 years later at a dinner for their grandchildren.

The Last Days of John Lennon by James Patterson  DB101366

I was not a big fan of John Lennon or head over heels for the Beatles, but this was interesting story about how the group evolved and their relationships with each other. If you are true Beatles fan and have read a number of things about them, I am not sure that this book uncovers any new details.

Book Reviews from Deena

Check out these book reviews from Deena.  Deena was a member of the Library’s Patron Service Team who recently retired.  She has generously continued to share book reviews with us.  Thank you, Deena! 

Let us know if you would like any titles added to your booklist or head over to BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) to download the titles now.  Need more information about BARD?  See our BARD Page

Unorthodox: the Scandalous Rejection of my Hasidic roots by Deborah Feldman  DB74459
Deborah grew up in the Hasidic community of Williamsburg, Brooklyn New York. Even as child she longs for the freedom her religion prevents her from experiencing such as dressing fashionably and reading books.  Deborah was raised by her religious grandparents.  Her father suffered from mental illness and her mother abandoned her family.  She attends a private Jewish school and all of her classmates seem to have more than she does.  When she graduates, she becomes a teacher in a Jewish school teaching sixth grade. After about a year, she is matched with a religious Jew and they marry.  There are many problems in the marriage as Deborah still longs for being able to read what she wants and to get an education. To find out more about Deborah’s story read the book and watch the movie “Unorthodox” on Netflix.

The Homecoming by Earl Hamner  BR1474, LT8270
For those of you old enough to remember this is a trip down memory lane.  This was the pilot for the Waltons TV series, although most of the names are different from the TV series, this has the same folksy, family-oriented feel.

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult  DB76311
Like a lot of Picoult’s books this book has several story lines.  The present day is of Sage Singer, a baker, who works nights in a bakery. Sage meets and befriends, Josef, an elderly gentleman who was in the bakery. Sage’s only family nearby is her grandmother, a Holocaust survivor.  As Sage gets to know Josef, he confides in her he was an SS officer in the German military. Sage has mixed feelings about this as she likes Josef and he is respected in the community, but her grandmother survived being in a concentration camp. This book has many twists and turns and typical of Picoult a surprise ending. Very well-written, excellent story.

Library Chat Podcast: April 2022

Clip art image of headphonesIn April’s Library Chat Podcast, we continue our new format where we invite a different library staff members to join us as a special guest.  They will choose the topic to be discussed during Library Chat and we will talk about what they do on the library team, as well as books and podcasts around their chosen topic.  For April’s Library Chat Leslie Heinzler, Special Services Librarian joins us to talk about the 2022 All Iowa Reads titles.  For more information about the library and our podcasts go the library’s blog.

Podcast Discussed:

Unlikable Female Characters Episode 57

Books Discussed:  2022 All Iowa Reads Book Lists

Winners

Adult Title
The Butterfly Effect by Rachel Mans McKenny  BRN28392, LT13353, DBC19960

Teen Title
What I Carry by Jennifer Longo  YA BR Lon, YA LT Lon, DB103425

Children Title
The Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane by Kate O’Shaughnessy  JBR O’Sh, JLT O’Sh, DBC19978

2022 All Iowa Reads Shortlists (other titles considered)

Adult Titles
How Much of These Hills is Gold by C. Pam Zhang  DB99144
Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore  DB99620
The Monsters We Make by Kali White  DBC19959
Barn 8 by Deb Olin Unferth  DB98859
The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal  DB95922
Love, Zac: small-town football and the life and death of an American boy by Reid Forgrave  DB101188

Teen Titles
Slay by Brittney Morris  DB99185
Displacement by Kiku Hughes
Camp by L.C. Rosen
Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore  DB93530
The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf  DB94195

Children Titles
Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte  BR23598, DB102083
Stand up, Yumi Chung! By Jessica Kim
Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez  BR22981, DB94118
From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks  JRB Mar, DB98670
Itch by Polly Farquhar