A Murder in Time
By Julie McElwain
This was my first time reading a book by this author. A Murder in Time is a very interesting and had me on the edge of my seat. I could not figure out who the murderer was and it kept me guessing through the whole book. The characters were funny and engaging.
By Rick Yancy
The story starts out very action packed which originally made me very confused; however, it backtracks throughout the book, explaining each character's perspective, and explaining the plot thoroughly. Once I understood the story line, it instantly became a fast read and motivated me to finish the trilogy within a week. I would recommend this series to anyone who is into alien invasions.
To Beguile a Beast
By Elizabeth Hoyt
A quick, light read. This romance proceeds along the expected path, with (given the genre) likable and believable-enough characters. The problems that arise in the main couple's relationship are quickly dealt with rather than drawn out in fanciful plot twists. Overall, a fun read with no surprises.
by Brandon Sanderson
Review by patron Frances F.
I read Elantris, a novel by fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson, based on recommendations from several friends. Although my friends had actually recommended Sanderson's Mistborn series, I was too daunted by that kind of commitment, so I decided to cut my teeth on Elantris. This story, which begins with the fall of the magical city Elantris and its residents, details Elantris' resurrection, led by the prince of a neighboring kingdom.
Although this book was on the long side, it was a very fast read. In Elantris, Sanderson combines watertight, original worldbuilding with compelling characterization. This is sometimes a difficult-to-find mix in fantasy novels, but Sanderson pulls it off really well. This was a great, quick summer read.
By Richard Russo
Review by patron Lori C.
If you only read one book this summer, Everybody's Fool by Richard Russo should be your pick! This book continues the story of Sully and the other characters in Russo's prequel entitled Nobody's Fool. You do not have to read the books in order to become immersed in the small town of North Bath located in upper New York state. The story is written from the heart and Russo's insight and humor will make you want to meet these fictional people in real life.
By Jo Baker
Review by library patron Lex P.
As someone who reads Jane Austen novels and their variations often, I have to admit this was something completely different. Jane Austen’s characters take the backseat while the Longbourn staff are the stars of the show, especially Hill. This version truly demonstrates the less glamorous life of the Regency era and how hard domestic staff needed to work to keep the house in order. Normally, we don’t think "Oh, while Hill is taking care of Mrs. Bennet's nerves, she must not be able to get any of her chores done!" or "Gosh, a maid is going to have to scrub hard to take out all those mud stains out of Elizabeth's petticoat." I really enjoyed this different perspective.
Many of the characters are likable and I had a hard time putting the book down. My only complaint is that Elizabeth is a bit of a drag in this book. She comes off as selfish, self-centered, and a bit insecure, not at all like the Elizabeth we all know and love. Of course, from a maid’s point-of-view, this may more realistic.
What I liked most about this book is that it is like taking apart a beautiful functional clock to see how all the grimy gears move. We get to peek behind the stage curtains and observe the stagehands, the theatrical illusion gone.
by RJ Palacio
Review by library patron Helen O.
I work in an elementary school – how have I not read this book by now?! This novel is an absolute gem, and has been extremely popular among elementary school-aged children since its release in 2012. In my library, there’s rarely a copy available to check out due to demand.
In the story, August “Auggie” is a 10-year-old about to enter fifth grade. He’s going to a real school for the first time – up until now, he’s been homeschooled. Auggie isn’t like the rest of the kids, he’s a wonder. He’s intelligent, funny, kind, talented, tough, brave, and a major Star Wars expert. Oh yeah, and he has a rare facial deformity. This is why he’s been homeschooled for so long, but he’s more than ready for middle school when his parents make this decision.
Even though the principal arranges three students to show him around the school and “hang out” with him, one of the kids, Jack Will, sticks around well after they fulfill the principal’s request. Also, a quirky girl named Summer sits with Auggie at lunch – that was her own decision. Summer is my third favorite character next to Auggie and Auggie’s sister Olivia. Via, as they call her, is such an interesting character. If there’s one thing about the book I wish were different, it’s that we learn more about her. It’s not easy growing up with such a unique brother: the ongoing medical trauma, the bullying, the constant attention from parents. Via is academically gifted, but often feels overlooked in the family next to her brother. She’s sympathetic toward her brother and sticks up for him each time he’s bullied, but she admits to these struggles too.
Speaking of perspective, the edition of Wonder I enjoyed included “The Julian Chapter,” a section at the end of the novel written from the point of view of the fifth grade’s biggest bully. It doesn’t exactly make him any more likeable, but it’s interesting to see how crazy his parents are, especially his mother, who pretty much single-handedly tries to kick Auggie out of school because she disagrees with the way he looks. What a beautiful story. Despite incessant bullying, mostly from Julian, Auggie overcomes obstacles to graduate with honors and a special award. Turns out, everyone realizes what a wonder he’s always was.