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Book Reviews

Tenth of December
George Saunders
Tenth of December

This collection of short stories was my introduction to acclaimed writer George Saunders. Many of the stories in the book are somewhat humorous in tone, but can have an underlying sadness to them. (One recurring theme is the disparity between the Haves and the Have-Nots). Saunders gets inside the heads of his main characters by telling some of the stories in a first-person point of view, taking the form of an interoffice memo or a diary, and in other instances he uses multiple narrators in order to give us a glimpse into the internal motives of the characters. Saunders’ stories are sometimes a tough read emotionally, but they are well worth the effort. Highly recommended.


The Girl Before
JP Delaney
The Girl Before

The Girl Before is as if a Mary Kubica book meets  50 Shades of Grey meets Girl on the Train. This work is a somewhat creepy, engaging thriller with a bit of obsessive romance thrown in. The audio is excellently narrated by three different readers, allowing the main characters to shine and truly speak for themselves. This is a book you won’t want to put down or forget anytime soon!


Conan. [Volume 1], The frost-giant's daughter and other stories
Kurt Busiek and Cary Nord

This is one of the best comic representations of a novel ever created, if you like sword and sorcery stuff.  And I am a comic snob, so that’s saying a lot.


Z : a novel of Zelda Fitzgerald
Therese Fowler
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Although this is historical fiction, I felt it was a good look into the personal lives of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald through the eyes of Zelda. It is well written, and I was unable to put it down. I was not familiar with the Fitzgeralds, and even though this is a work of fiction, I feel like I have a good look into their fast paced and exotic lives as they travel through Europe and the US. It is more often than not a sad story, and the author enables the reader to be able to truly empathize with the trials Zelda goes through.  There is also a new television series based on this novel on Amazon Prime.

– Michelle

A Trace of Smoke
Rebecca Cantrell
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This well-written historical novel had me hooked from the first chapter. The novel boasts strong character development along with a fast paced and suspenseful story line. It presents a look into the personal life of prominent Nazi soldiers and Nazi Germany that is not often depicted. Though this novel is fiction, it weaves enough nonfiction facts into the story, to make it very easy for the reader to forget it is fiction and take what is being read as fact. I highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in crime/murder mysteries and Nazi Germany. I look forward to the continuing story with her next novel.


Wife 22
Melanie Gideon
Wife 22

A thought provoking debut novel. It’s a story about Alice who is struggling with the anniversary of her mother’s death along with defining who she is within her marriage and homelife. The story is presented in the format of social media which is relavent to today’s readers. The author has really let the reader in to the feelings and nuances of the main character. We empathize with her, sympathize with her and maybe even find parts of ourselves within her.


Trigger Warning
Neil Gaiman
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Published in 2015, Trigger Warning is the third collection of short stories from writer Neil Gaiman. The book is comprised of traditional short stories (including fantasy, horror, science fiction, and more), a few fairy tales, a story in verse, and a new story written especially for this collection. Fans of Neil Gaiman, and short story lovers in general, are sure to enjoy this book of diverse literary styles. An added experience is listening to the audiobook, read by Gaiman himself.

– Denise

Big Data Baseball
Travis Sawchik

How does a small market baseball team compete in the post Moneyball era? The Pittsburgh Pirates, unlike the Cubs who were able to supplement their re-build with high priced free agents, had to find value elsewhere. Sawchik chronicles the 2013 season when the Pirates put an end to longest consecutive stretch of losing seasons in North American professional sports history with the use of “big data.”



Readers Advisory Staff

Looking for that great new read? The Villa Park Public Library has a fantastic Readers Advisory staff that is happy to recommend novels. Whether you’re looking for new authors like your old favorites, or you’re ready for something completely new, our RA staff is here to help. They run reading groups and book discussions to help make reading a more social experience. These folks know their stuff!

Looking for a Recommendation?

If you’re looking for a recommendation you can contact one of the readers advisory staff.



Favorite Genres:
Mysteries, Fantasy

dan c


Favorite Genres:
Primary Source Historical Texts, Horror

Favorite Genres:
Mysteries, Graphic Novels
 heidi gHeidi
Favorite Genres:
Historical Non-Fiction, Fairy Tales


Favorite Genres:
Historical Non-Fiction, Women’s Literature

jean cJean
Favorite Genres:
Romantic Suspense, Scifi-fantasy
jean j_finalJean
Favorite Genres:
Books about animals that lose their hats, Mysteries
john bJohn
Favorite Genres:
Alternate History Fiction, Suspense
Favorite genres:
Fantasy, Science Fiction

kandice kKandice

Favorite Genres:
Chick Lit, Suspense, and Mysteries

Favorite Genres:
Animal fiction

lesley cLesley

Favorite Genres:
Mysteries, Audiobooks, History


Favorite Genres:
Historical Fiction, Psychological Thrillers


nancy gNancy
Favorite Genres:
Literary Fiction, Regional American History


Favorite Genres:
True-life biographies, Non-fiction