Recent Reviews

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Pixie Pushes On Cover Image
Pixie Pushes On

Told in the title character’s spunky voice, Pixie Pushes On is the tale of a young farm girl whose life never seems to go right.  It’s the 1940’s in the heartland; Pixie’s mother recently died, and her sister, Charlotte, has been in the hospital with polio for months.  The worst part—Pixie is convinced that it was her bad luck that got them sick. When a neighbor offers an infant lamb rejected by his mother, she finds a new sense of purpose in caring for him.  Although Pixie’s heart breaks over and over again, she learns many valuable (and bittersweet) lessons and finds family where she least expects it. Recommended by Mary

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Birdie and Me Cover Image
Birdie and Me

After their mother dies suddenly, siblings Birdie and Jack must leave home to live with their uncles.  When sweet Uncle Carl proves unreliable, gruff Uncle Patrick takes over.  A practical stranger, Patrick struggles to understand gender non-conforming Birdie and introspective Jack, and they him.  As the whole family copes with loss, Birdie and Jack somehow remember how the ordinary can be extraordinary, how relationships can be lost and found, and how they can each find a place in the world.  Delicate moments heavy with meaning are left for the reader to discover, and when they are found, they’ll stay with readers long past the last page. Recommended by Mary.

 

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Laetitia Rodd and the Case of the Wandering Scholar (A Laetitia Rodd Mystery) Cover Image
The Case of the Wandering Scholar

DUE IN DECEMBER: British mystery lovers rejoice! Letitia Rodd is back to solve her second conundrum in Kate Saunders' The Case of the Wandering Scholar. Widow Rodd  blends propriety with keen wit, which disarms foe and ally alike. Reminiscent of Miss Marple, she quietly unravels each case while maintaining the "utmost discretion." Saunders' rich portrayals of 19th London and rural England are the icing on this sweet cake. Recommended by Kelly

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Winter Grave (An Embla Nyström Investigation #2) Cover Image
Winter Grave

DUE IN DECEMBER: In Winter Grave, Helene Tursten  is back with the second blockbuster mystery featuring Swedish detective inspector Embla and just in time for a Christmas read. A village schoolgirl goes missing during St. Lucia celebrations, and a local teen with learning disabilities who was last to see her is unfairly accused of abducting her. Embla and her fellow investigators are drawn into a series of deaths and disappearances that, though seemingly linked, are much more complicated and dangerous than they appear. An eerie cliffhanger at the novel's conclusion show that the deeply satisfying Embla series is far from over! Recommended by Kelly

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A Long Petal of the Sea: A Novel Cover Image
A Long Petal of the Sea

DUE IN JANUARY: Isabel Allende's latest novel, A Long Petal of the Sea, couldn't come at a better time for American readers heading into an election season. With immigration and desperate people seeking asylum as its central narrative thread, the novel reminds us of the uncanny resiliency of the human spirit and the power of love--both of others and of country--to restore and heal. From his gasp-inspiring feat in the novel's opening pages to his triumph and persistence in the face of a lifetime of adversity, cardiologist Victor Dalmau will live long and well in readers' minds. Recommended by Kelly

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Itch Cover Image
Itch

Polly Farquhar embodies the voice of Isaac, an eleven-year-old boy stricken with an unpredictable psychosomatic disorder, with genuine sweetness and heart. The sixth grade is a confusing time of change in the lives of kids and we often forget how difficult it was once we have become adults. Itch reminds us of how cruel children can be to each other and themselves while they are trying to figure out the transitional periods of their lives. Farquhar, speaking through the mouths of babes, demonstrates how much we will always have to learn from the resilience and kindness of the children in our lives. Recommended by Jack

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Diana: Princess of the Amazons Cover Image
Diana: Princess of the Amazons

DUE IN JANUARY: Not yet Wonder Woman, eleven-year-old Diana needs a friend. The only kid on her island, she doesn’t feel belonging among her Amazon warrior relatives. Struggling to live up to the expectations of her mother, Diana wonders if she’s even an Amazon at all.  When her miracle best friend becomes her worst enemy, Diana’s identity is put to the test. Will she have the strength of a true Amazon, or will she fail to save her homeland from destruction?  An endearing graphic novel about the power of believing in yourself, Diana: Princess of the Amazons is an inspiring tribute to the original feminist princess. Recommended by Mary.

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On Swift Horses: A Novel Cover Image
On Swift Horses

DUE IN NOVEMBER: Shannon Pufahl's new novel, On Swift Horses, is a stunner. Set in the 1950s, its gritty yet nonetheless lyrical writing is reminiscent of the 20th century's best tales of the era. The novel's two queer narrators, Muriel and Julius, remind readers just how harrowing living their truth must have been for thousands of closeted Americans. Transplants to the new racetracks, gambling halls, and sawdust-strewn suburbs of California from rural Kansas, both walk a dangerous line of chance that threads throughout the narrative. For people in their situation, embracing moral ambiguity in both ambition and love proves the only possible way forward. Highly recommended by Kelly

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Running with Sherman: The Donkey with the Heart of a Hero Cover Image
Running with Sherman

DUE IN OCTOBER: I defy anyone to put Running with Sherman down once they've started reading about beloved long-shot, Sherman, the donkey. McDougall's skill as a journalist lends this tale of Sherman's rescue from an animal hoarder's barn to a position in a national donkey race a lift into the magical. Not only will readers thrill to read of Sherman's amazing recovery, but they also will be reminded once again of the miraculous power of interspecies connection to both heal and redeem. Highly recommended by Kelly

 

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The Body: A Guide for Occupants Cover Image
The Body

Imagine Bill Bryson with tongue firmly in cheek: Of course, he couldn't include everything known about the human body. The resulting book would be too heavy to lift, but he deftly manages to condense an impossibly huge topic into something the average reader can fit neatly on a coffee table or beside the bed. Think of The Body as you would the wise-cracking crib sheet for the medical textbook Gray's Anatomy. It will answer most questions you had and many you didn't about each part of these marvelous vessels we call home. Recommended by Kelly