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 Crush by Sandra Brown  DB55058
Oren asks his old, friend, Wick to join him in a search for a killer of a doctor at the hospital.  Their number one suspect is Dr. Rennie Newton.  Dr. Newton served on a jury recently that acquitted Rick Lozada of murder.  Lozada is convinced Dr. Newton is interested in him and he tries to woo her.  The lives of all the characters become tangled when a second murder follows.  This is romantic suspense at its best.

Have You Seen Luis Velez?  DB96316
On the way out of his apartment to go to school, Raymond hears someone call “Have you seen Luis Velez?” and he sees an elderly woman.  When Raymond returns he sees the same woman, and as he visits with her he learns she is blind.  She explains she is looking for Luis Velez, who used to come by weekly and help her with her shopping and banking.  She has been unable to contact him.  Raymond volunteers to help Millie by taking her to the bank and going grocery shopping with her.  As Raymond and Millie become friends, Raymond decides to try to help find Luis Velez for Millie.   As their friendship deepens Raymond’s life begins to change along with his relationship with his family. This is a heartwarming story about kindness and stepping in to help.

A Time for Mercy by John Grisham  DB102496
Jake Brigance returns with a capital murder case. Drew Gamble has shot and killed his mother’s boyfriend, who was a policeman, after he physically assaulted his mother.  Drew is only sixteen years old but looks a lot younger.  Jake becomes a pariah in Clanton, Mississippi and his income dries up as the town turns against him for taking the case. Jake masterly defends Drew and becomes involved with his family.  This is the third book in the Jake Brigance series.

Book Reviews from Deena

Check out these book reviews from Deena, a member of the Library’s Patron Service Team.  Let us know if you would like any titles added to your book list or head over to BARD to download the titles now.

Stars Over Clear Lake by Loretta Ellsworth
Lorraine Kindred has lost her husband of many years.  The book switches back and forth from present day to the 1940’s when Lorraine met her husband as a young girl. The iconic Surf Ballroom figures into the story where Lorraine attended many dances. Lorraine’s son-in-law is very intrigued with the history of the Surf Ballroom.  He has done some research and found that the original Surf Ballroom was destroyed by fire in 1947.  It was later rebuilt. Knowing that Lorraine had attended dances about that time, he asks her about the fire.  Lorraine remains evasive. This is great love story with an Iowa setting and a little bit of mystery.  DBC15165

The Day Donny Herbert Woke Up by Rich Blake
This is the true story of Donny Herbert, a Buffalo, New York fire fighter who was injured on the job and went into a coma in December 1995. He woke up from his coma in April 2005 and talked to his family for 16 hours straight.  Was it the family’s faith in God, the doctor’s drug cocktail or Donny’s own determination to come back to his family or a combination of those things? Soon afterwards, Donny slipped back into his comatose state and died in February 2006 of pneumonia.  A wonderful story of a miracle, faith, and courage.  DB64976

Link to Title on BARD

Tisha by Robert Specht
Based on the true story of Anne Hobbs who traveled to Alaska in 1927, on horseback to become a teacher in the small town of Chicken, Alaska.  Anne faces harsh weather and has some harrowing experiences as she finds love in this in this isolated wilderness.  She takes in two children when their mother dies of tuberculosis.  The boy calls her “Tisha” instead of teacher. She and her husband, Fred, adopt the two children along with several others. This is one of 100 Favorite Novels Recommended by Librarians.  DB41798

Link to Title on BARD

The All-American Murder: The Rise and Fall of Aaron Hernandez, the superstar whose Life Ended of Murderer’s Row by James Patterson
Aaron Hernandez was an extremely talented young man drafted by the New England Patriots.  He was a rising star on the team. On June 18, 2013, for unknown reasons he killed his friend, Odin Lloyd who was the boyfriend of his fiancée’s sister.  All evidence pointed to Hernandez and he was convicted and sentenced to death row.  While on trial for Lloyd’s murder he was charged with shooting two men in their car.  Almost two years to the day of Odin Lloyd’s murder, Hernandez hung himself in his prison cell.  Recommended for football fans and readers of true crime.  DB90220

Link to Title on BARD

Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance
J.D. Vance grew up in a poverty-stricken area in Ohio. His mother was a drug user and abusive. When things got too bad at home he would go to his grandparent’s house.  Despite his situation, J.D. grew up and joined the Marines and eventually graduated from Yale Law School. This is a touching memoir of overcoming the odds and becoming an inspiration to others.  DB85796
Link to Title on BARD

Top Ten Fiction Titles on BARD

Are you a BARD (Braille Audio Reading Download) user?  See below for the top ten fiction downloaded digital books on BARD this week.  Do you want to be a BARD user or learn more about BARD?  Go to our BARD page to find out more information or get signed up!

Golden in death: an Eve Dallas novel DB98498 by J.D. Robb

Pediatrician Kent Abner received a package containing a cheap golden egg that could be opened into two halves. When he pried it apart, highly toxic airborne fumes entered his body and killed him. After Eve Dallas calls the hazmat team, it’s time to look into Dr. Abner’s past and relationships. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2020.

Hit list DB98834  by Stuart Woods

When Stone Barrington finds his name on a hit list, he plans to lie low until the culprit is caught. But when this foe shows no signs of stopping until his deadly objective is realized in full, Stone is left with no choice but to face the problem head-on. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.

Long range DB98717  by C.J. Box

When the wife of a prominent local judge is wounded on Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett’s turf, signs point to the shot having been taken from an impossible distance. Joe’s best friend, Nate Romanowski–who is adjusting to parenthood–is a suspect. Meanwhile, Joe attempts to decipher a startling grizzly attack. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2020.

Country strong DB98494  by Linda Lael Miller

Montana rancher Cord Hollister is shaken when a girl arrives in Painted Pony Creek who looks like Reba, the woman who broke his teenage heart. Even though Shallie Fletcher had an unrequited crush on Cord in school she still seeks his help starting a therapeutic riding program for kids. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.

Blindside DB98664  by James Patterson and James O. Born

New York’s mayor has a daughter who’s missing and Detective Michael Bennett has a son who’s in prison. The two strike a deal. Sources lead Bennett to a homicide in the Bronx. The victim has ties to a sophisticated hacking operation–and also to the mayor’s missing twenty-one-year-old computer prodigy daughter. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.

Desperate DB98868  by Daniel Palmer

Gage Dekker–who still blames himself for the car accident that claimed the lives of his first wife and son–now marries Anna. After a heartbreaking miscarriage, they meet young, pregnant, and homeless, Lily, who agrees to give her baby to Gage and Anna in exchange for financial support. But something isn’t right. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2014.

The passengers DB98514  by John Marrs

Eight people are riding in self-driving cars when suddenly the doors lock, the route changes and they have lost all control. Then, a mysterious voice tells them they are going to die. From cameras hidden in their cars, their panic is broadcast to millions of people around the world. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2019.

House on fire DB98500  by Joseph Finder

Nick Heller learns his old army buddy Sean has died of an overdose. Sean, who once saved Nick’s life, got addicted to opioids after returning home wounded from war. At Sean’s funeral, a stranger approaches Nick with a job, which may be a way for Nick to hold someone accountable. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.

In five years DB98798  by Rebecca Serle

Newly engaged Manhattan lawyer Dannie Kohan has a plan for the next five years. But when she goes to sleep she wakes up in a different apartment, beside a very different man. It’s the same night, five years in the future. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2020.

The numbers game DB98732  by Danielle Steel

Eileen Jackson was happy to set aside her own dreams to raise a family with her husband, Paul. But when Eileen discovers that Paul is having an affair with a younger woman, she wonders whether it is too late for her to start over. Some strong language. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2020.

Beyond the Book

If you listen to the Library News Podcast on your circulation cartridge or through this blog, you may have heard of Beyond the BookBeyond the Book is a segment we do every other month in Library News that highlights an audiobook in our collection.  We introduce the book, give readers a chance to request that book, and then readers have an opportunity to offer a review or their thoughts on the book by calling in or emailing the library.  A few select reviews or thoughts will be read in the next installment of the Beyond the Book on Library News.  In addition, we could also go Beyond the Book by discussing the author, setting of the book, or characters in the book or more!

Currently, we are going Beyond the Book with a western by Johnny Boggs titled Northfield (DB67254)Northfield is a fictional account of the 1876 robbery of the First National Bank in Northfield, Minnesota, by the James-Younger gang. The raid unfolds from various perspectives, including those of outlaws Frank and Jesse James, Sheriff James Glispin, the daughter of a murdered teller, and the gun-toting town residents. There is some strong language.

Call the library at 515-281-1323 to request this title or head over to BARD and download it.  Once you have read it, contact us and give us a review!  We would love to hear from you!  Call Leslie at 515-452-1329 or email with your opinions!  You may hear your thoughts on a segment of Beyond the Book.  You can choose to remain anonymous if you would like.

Past Beyond the Book titles have been:

Check out our BARD page for more information on how to use the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD).

Thanks for reading with us!

Top Five Fiction and Nonfiction Titles on BARD

Are you a BARD (Braille Audio Reading Download) user?  See below for the top five fiction and nonfiction downloaded digital books on BARD this week.  Do you want to be a BARD user or learn more about BARD?  Go to our BARD page to find out more information or get signed up!


Lost DB98503 by James Patterson and James O. Born

Detective Tom Moon attended University of Miami on a football scholarship before becoming a Miami PD officer. Now–as the new leader of an FBI task force–Moon discovers that two opportunistic Russian nationals have built a vast, powerful, and deadly crime syndicate throughout Europe and metropolitan Miami. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.

Blindside DB98664 by James Patterson and James O. Born

New York’s mayor has a daughter who’s missing and Detective Michael Bennett has a son who’s in prison. The two strike a deal. Sources lead Bennett to a homicide in the Bronx. The victim has ties to a sophisticated hacking operation–and also to the mayor’s missing twenty-one-year-old computer prodigy daughter. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.

Suicide run: three Harry Bosch stories DB97953 by Michael Connelly

LAPD Detective Harry Bosch in three never-before-collected stories. In the title entry, the apparent suicide of a beautiful young starlet turns out to be much more sinister than it seems. Also includes “Cielo Azul” and “One Dollar Jackpot. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2011.

The wives DB98148 by Tarryn Fisher

Imagine that your husband has two other wives. None of you know each other, and you can see your husband only one day a week. But one day, while doing his laundry, you find an appointment reminder for a woman you realize is another of the wives. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2019.

The museum of desire DB98667 by Jonathan Kellerman

Four people have been slaughtered and left displayed horrifically in a stretch limousine. None of the victims seems to have any connection to any other, and a variety of methods have been used to dispatch them. Psychologist Alex Delaware and LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis investigate a crime that stretches the definitions of evil. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2020.


A very stable genius: Donald J. Trump’s testing of America DB98392 by Philip Rucker and Carol Leonning

Washington Post’s White House Bureau Chief and a fellow investigative journalist analyze patterns in President Trump’s behavior during his time in the White House and present theories on his tactics and motivations. Draws on interviews with witnesses and members of the Trump administration. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2020.

Sizing people up: a veteran FBI agent’s user manual for behavior prediction DB98403 by Robin Dreeke and Cameron Stauth

Behavior analyst formerly with the FBI presents a guide to identifying if someone is a friend or foe and understanding the six signs of behavior prediction. The signs are: vesting, longevity, reliability, actions, language, and stability. Uses examples from his work to illustrate his arguments. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.

The third rainbow girl: the long life of a double murder in Appalachia DB98420 by Emma Copley Eisenberg

In 1980 in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, twenty-six-year-old Vicki Durian and nineteen-year-old Nancy Santomero were murdered in an isolated clearing while hitchhiking to a festival known as the Rainbow Gathering. Follows the threads of this crime through the complex history of Appalachia. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.

No encore: musicians reveal their weirdest, wildest, most embarrassing gigs DB98409 by Drew Fortune

A collection of stories spanning four decades that chronicle what can go wrong–onstage or offstage–when musicians play live. Contributors include members of The Police, Garbage, Ministry, Linkin Park, Insane Clown Posse, Ween, Van Halen, and many more. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2019.

Custer’s fall: the Native American side of the story DBC13851 by David Humphreys Miller

This is the story of the famous Battle of the Little Big Horn as told by the only ones who survived to recount it–the Indians. Based on the oral testimony of seventy-two Native American eyewitnesses, the story reconstructs the events of a battle that has become legend.

BARD and BARD Express

BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) is a free library service of downloadable braille and audio reading material provided by the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS). BARD provides our patrons access to thousands of special-format books, magazines, and music scores. The site is password-protected. All files are downloadable as compressed audio or formatted ebraille files. BARD is a partnership between NLS and its network of cooperating libraries.

BARD Express provides patrons with an easy way to access BARD. Use BARD Express to browse thousands of audio books and magazines, download them to your Windows-based computer, and transfer them to a cartridge.

For more information on BARD and BARD Express go to our BARD information page and check out these videos on our YouTube channel.  Below is one of our videos on how to sign up for BARD.