Current Picks: Book Reviews

100 Bullets. Book 1

In the first story, Mr. Graves takes a seat next to Isabelle on the train taking her home after her release from Statesville. She doesn't know him but he knows every detail of her life. He shows her proof of who murdered her husband and child while she was in prison. He offers her revenge.

A gun and 100 untraceable bullets. Police will immediately drop any investigation of a crime committed using one of these bullets. Will she take him up on it?

Each of the ten stories have that same premise: proof of some kind of outrageous wrong and 100 untraceable bullets. You won't see superheroes, dragons or sorcery. You will get gripping noir drama.

Read 100 Bullets. Book 1 (2014) by Brian Azzarello in Hoopla today.



Gone by Midnight

Once again, I enjoyed my trip back to the croc-infested region of Crimson Lake, Australia.

Four eight-year-old boys are left in a hotel room while their parents are downstairs enjoying dinner. When one of the parents returns to check on the boys, one of boys is missing.

In the third book of this great series, Ted Conkaffey and Amanda Pharrell, the two intriguing investigators with very complicated backgrounds, are on the hunt for a child and kidnapper. This thrilling, suspenseful and yes, sometimes funny, mystery kept me guessing to the very end.

Check out Gone by Midnight (2020) by Candice Fox today. Listen immediately via Hoopla. Check out my review of Crimson Lake, the first book in the series.



The Silent Wife

The story alternates from the perspectives of Todd and Jodi, a couple that has been together for 20 years. They have a common-law marriage and lead an affluent life in a waterfront condo in Chicago. Todd is a hedonistic cad who thinks cheating on a partner is perfectly fine. You can't help but hate the guy. Jodi lives in a fairytale world, choosing to deny what is going on right under her nose. She takes good care of Todd, even though he hardly deserves it. To make matters more intriguing, the reader knows early on that one of the main characters is planning to kill the other one.

The Silent Wife by A. S. A. Harrison (2013) is a great psychological thriller and definitely a fun read. We've got lists of more domestic thrillers and psychological suspense on our website.

This book is available to read or listen to on Overdrive—check it out today.



The Mountains Sing

This beautifully written multi-generational family saga brings to life the last 100 years of Vietnam's tragic history. This country and its people have been through so much, and author, Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai, showcases their strength, resilience, and courage in the face of so much violence and loss.

The story follows Diệu Lan, the matriarch of the family, as she desperately tries to keep her family together through famine, occupation, and war. The author gives you a vivid sense of what it was like to be in Vietnam during that time and manages to weave a thread of love and hope throughout the traumatic history.

This captivating book really drew me in with its expressive, lyrical writing and strong characters, while also teaching me about the history and culture of Vietnam.The Mountains Sing (2020) is a good choice for readers who enjoyed Pachinko and A Long Petal of the Sea.

Read or listen to The Mountains Sing on Hoopla today.



Good Omens

Good Omens (2011) is the brainchild of two legendary authors Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, who created a fun, humorous story of an unlikely duo. An angel from heaven and a demon from hell must work together to stop the apocalypse. Going against orders, they are trying to maintain the status quo so they can maintain their current lives and friendship. The unlikely duo bounce off each other with their dialogue, making it a joy to see on page how the story will unfold.

Visit Overdrive to read the ebook or listen to the audiobook.

The book has been turned into a TV show on Amazon Prime. Sign up for a free trial or place a hold on the dvd or our Roku with Amazon Prime to see the adaptation.



Me

I really enjoyed reading the book Me by Elton John (2019). It was incredibly interesting learning about his entire life, from his humble beginnings to his extravagant rock star life. There are many twists and turns along his life's journey. He describes in detail the many places and people he encountered along the way.

Elton writes about how and why certain songs were written and the meaning behind many of them. He recalls the many famous friends he had from rock stars to royalty, to average people that he met along the way. The stories he lived are unbelievable and are a joy to learn about. I found this to be very inspirational in finding love and a purpose in life.

Check out the autobiography on Overdrive—you can read or listen to the memoir today.



Make Your Bed

This book will motivate you to demand more from yourself. Admiral William H. McRaven will show you how the ten principles he learned during Navy SEAL training helped him overcome challenges throughout his life. He talks about never giving up, dealing with bullies, and realizing that life isn't fair. He helps us to understand that we must accept both success and failure, because we learn valuable lessons from both. He will also inspire you to apply these principles to your own life.

Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...And Maybe the World (2017) is available to borrow on Overdrive—start reading or listening today.



Oona Out of Order

It's 1982 and 19-year-old Oona is deciding whether to go to the London School of Economics or on tour with the band she's in with her boyfriend, Dale. However, on New Year's Eve, Oona faints and wakes up in 2015 in her 51-year-old body, but feeling like she's still 19, with those years' memories. While Oona is stunned, her personal assistant, Kenzie, and her mother, Madeleine, explain that every New Year's Eve, Oona jumps backwards or forwards in time to a different year.

Through Oona Out of Order (2020), the reader is with Oona in many different decades of her life and gets to see both the highs and lows. This novel by Margarita Montimore is a clever and entertaining page turner.

Visit Overdrive to read or listen to Oona Out of Order today.



Front Desk

Mia Tang is 10 years old, and the new front desk clerk at the Calivista Motel in California. Mia and her family are immigrants to America from China. Her parents have worked many years at many tough jobs since arriving in America, but believe their dream has come true when they get jobs managing the Calivista. The only trouble with their dream is their new boss Mr. Yao, who is mean and keeps finding ways to take money from Mia's family's paycheck.

Mia finds out at school about a chance for her family to win their own motel, but she must write an essay explaining why she and her family would be the best choice. Mia has to balance her life with school, work, and friends, all while trying to keep Mr. Yao happy. It is a tough job, but Mia thinks she can do it all.

Check out Front Desk (2018) by Kelly Yang, geared toward kids in grades 4-6. It's the first in a series, with the second novel expected to be released in September 2020.

This book is available to read or listen to on Overdrive—check it out today.


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Bad Blood

A fascinating account that proves sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. In Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup (2018), investigative journalist John Carreyrou details the incredible rise and fall of Theranos. Charismatic founder Elizabeth Holmes, a Stanford dropout, started the company at 19 with a promise to revolutionize blood tests and healthcare. Nothing went as planned, other than the company's incredible ability to raise ridiculous amounts of funding.

Filled with narcissistic personalities, delusions, shady dealings, fraudulent claims, and a propulsive plot, Bad Blood is a book that you won't put down (I recommend the audiobook for a riveting listen). If you want to learn more about the story of this biotech company and the personalities involved, check out the documentary The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley.

This book is available to read or listen to on Overdrive.

Schoolgirl Missing

On a boating trip, 14-year old Poppy, a child with special needs, disappears in the night. Kit, her biological father, is in anguish.Her stepmother, Neve, appears to be very worried. However, she is hiding quite a few secrets from her mysterious past. As the frantic search for Poppy continues, the police are becoming more and more suspicious of her parents.

Schoolgirl Missing by Sue Fortin (2019) is a great page-turner. It will keep you guessing until the very end. Listen to the novel via Hoopla or read the book via Overdrive.



Carry On

You've read and re-read all the Harry Potter books, watched all the movies, maybe even tried to find some magic in Narnia or Middle Earth, but you're still looking for more… Rainbow Rowell is here for you. Carry On (2015) tells the story of Simon Snow, the worst Chosen One who's ever been chosen. Somehow, even as things are falling apart around him (sometimes even catching on fire), things always work out, much to the dismay of his roommate and mortal enemy, Baz (who happens to be a vampire and maybe also the love of his life?).

Come and visit the Watford School of Magicks for a very Harry Potter-esque story with maybe just a bit more sarcastic humor. Enjoy the audiobook on Hoopla or the ebook on Overdrive, and then look for book two:Wayward Son.



The Week

Use Flipster to access issues of The Week online. This magazine creates news articles by bringing together different sources and viewpoints in single topic articles. Thus, a story about homelessness might include conflicting quotes from The Slate, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and others in one concise article. The reader gets to read differing viewpoints and form their own opinion. There is a section on U.S. news, world news, and a page titled "How They See Us" with articles containing viewpoints from foreign publications. My favorite section is "Good Week Bad Week," highlighting this week's winners and losers.

Download Flipster on your smartphone or tablet, or read the magazine via Flipster on your computer. You'll have access to the current issue as well as back issues



The Girl with the Louding Voice

Prepare to fall in love with the Adunni, the plucky heroine of The Girl with the Louding Voice (2020). Adunni is a 14-year-old girl living in rural Nigeria where child marriage, polygamy, and jungle justice are still common and a girl has no worth but for her bride price. But Adunni is a delightful character and despite all the hardships that come her way, she manages to find joy in her life and see the good in people who hurt her. All she wants is to get an education, as she believes this will allow her voice to be heard, to allow her to speak up and have a say in her future.

Abi Daré's debut novel is both heartrending and heartwarming—and full of wonderful characters. Written in Adunni's voice and dialect, it may take reading a few pages to get used to the writing style, but it is well worth it. A riveting and inspiring book.

You can also read or listen to this book on Overdrive.



Check, Please

Hockey, baking, vlogging, and romance… I never would have thought such things would go together quite as perfectly as they do in Check, Please, a webcomic series by Ngozi Ukazu. From start to finish, this story will warm your heart like a good apple pie and have you laughing out loud with every page turn.

Even the most sports-averse will come to love the Samwell University Hockey team and wish to be a part of their 'dude-bro' bonding. Bonus points for the seamless inclusivity and acceptance of LGBTQ values.

Read the full webcomic here.

(The first 2 seasons were also made into a graphic novel: Check, Please! Book 1: Hockey is available on our shelves. The next graphic novel, Check, Please! Book 2: Sticks & Scones, will be released in print in April.)