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Book Reviews

Little Fires Everywhere
Celeste Ng
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5 stars

It has been a while since I have felt so invested in a group of characters as I was in this fiction novel. It’s the story of a community and the families and ideas that make it up. However, it’s also a story of the aftermath of making snap judgments on people and situations that you know nothing about, it’s a story of heartbreak, it’s a story of the consequences and joys of making impossible decisions, it’s a story of love, it’s a story of making a home even without four walls, it’s a story of starting over. This novel was beautiful, touching, and wise, and will stay with me for a while.

-Michelle

My Sister's Grave
Robert Dugoni
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3.5 Stars

Twenty years ago Tracy Crosswhite’s sister disappeared. While a trial occurred and a man is behind bars, Tracy has always felt that justice was never served and has been working, even becoming Seattle’s first female homicide detective, in a never ending quest for answers. When her sister’s body is finally discovered Tracy feels she is one step closer to the truth, but little does she know she is also much closer to danger. My Sister’s Grave is the first work in Dugoni’s now six book long series featuring Tracy Crosswhite and has created a cross between a police procedural and legal thriller. Dugoni richly develops his characters and while the story begins a bit slow, the pace picks up and provides a twisted, dark ending that will have readers on the edge of their seats and wanting to see what becomes of Tracy and friends in future books.

-Lesley

The Rules of Magic
Alice Hoffman
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5 Stars

Don’t skip this book because you think it’s about magic, it’s so much more. Pick up this book because it’s richly detailed by well-developed, introspective characters. While I would describe it as leisurely paced, I could not put it down, read it quickly, and was very moved when it was over. The Owens family pulled me in with their emotionally intense and engaging coming of age story. Don’t worry if you haven’t read Practical Magic, I promise you will want to though, you will not want the story of the Owens family to be over. “Know that the only remedy for love is to love more.”

-Michelle

The King's Curse
Philippa Gregory
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5 Stars

The decline of Henry VIII, from the young, handsome, charming prince to a sick, obese, paranoid tyrant, is told through the life of Plantagenet heiress Margaret Pole. Safely wedded to a Tudor supporter, she was named the guardian to Henry’s older brother Arthur and his wife, Katherine of Aragon. Margaret became chief lady-in-waiting to Katherine when Henry married her after Arthur’s death, and guardian to the Princess Mary. Her loyalty to Katherine and Mary, her Yorkist leanings, and above all her royal blood, though, led to ever more scrutiny and harassment.

This story follows Philippa Gregory’s series, The Cousins’ Wars, but works as a stand-alone novel. Margaret is a strong woman, holding her family together and safe as long as she could, but still constantly struggling against the whims of an increasingly vain and unstable ruler.

-John

On Chesil Beach
Ian McEwan
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4 Stars

Ian McEwan writes often about love. In On Chesil Beach he writes of the love between two virgins in their early 20s, Florence and Edward, in England in 1962. Their love is never in doubt. Through flashbacks, McEwan shows the reader their courtship and how their love blossoms, up to their wedding night, where things take an awkward and afflictive turn. This short book (203 pages) is beautifully written and very serious in tone. Fans of McEwan will savor this book. Note: there are a few passages depicting frank sexual situations.

-Denise

Paper Ghosts
Julia Heaberlin
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3 Stars

Paper Ghosts follows the journey of a young woman who believes famous photographer Carl Louis Feldman kidnapped and killed her sister years ago. The only problem is that he has been diagnosed with dementia and claims to not remember anything.  The author includes photographs that are discussed in the story, which enhances the experience for the reader. Heaberlin’s characters are well written in such a way that you feel the narrator’s frustration with other characters as the plot develops. You also become unsure if Carl’s behavior is due to the dementia, or if he is playing the narrator the whole time. Fans of thrillers and mysteries will find this to be an interesting read.

-Erin

Sharp Objects
Gillian Flynn
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4 Stars

A disturbing psychological thriller that was hard to read and impossible to put down. If I were to describe the story, I would reveal too much!  Many parts were just hard to read and just when you thought there might be some type of happy ending that was salvageable, there was one final twist.  It was fast-paced and intricately plotted with complex and twisted characters, it was exhausting in the best way possible.

-Michelle

Norse Mythology
Neil Gaiman
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Audiobook: Harper Audio, 6 CDs (390 minutes) Unabridged. Read by the Author

 

5 Stars

In the book Norse Mythology, Neil Gaiman retells stories of the Norse gods: Odin, Thor, Freyja, Loki, and others. We learn of the creation myths, how Thor got his mighty hammer, and how Odin lost his eye, among other stories. As he often does, Gaiman reads his own work, which I enjoy immensely. I originally thought it would be hard to keep the names and places straight, as they are not English words, but they are repeated often enough that it’s not a problem. I found this to be a captivating book filled with compelling stories of Norse legends and lore.

-Denise

The Dry
Jane Harper
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Aaron Falk has returned to this childhood home town after nearly 20 years. Unfortunately, his homecoming is not a happy one as he has come back for the funeral of a friend, his wife, and and their young son. Despite his desire to get out of town as quickly as possible, Falk, a Federal Agent, is quickly drawn into investigating his friend’s death while his past refuses to be left behind. Jane Harper paints a vivid picture of the drought ridden Australian brush, that leaves readers feeling hot and dry.  Harper craftily created characters and crimes readers feel connected to and are invested in. The conclusion is logical but many will not see it coming, making for a satisfying mystery. A great first work in a series, the second of which was recently published in February 2018, so readers will not have to wait to spend more time in Australia with Aaron Falk.

-Lesley

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.

 

 

Denise
Favorite Genres:
Mysteries, Graphic Novels
Denise’s bookshelf on goodreads

Jean
Favorite Genres:
Romantic Suspense, Scifi-fantasy
Jean’s bookshelf on goodreads

 

Jawahir
Favorite Genres:

Historical Non-Fiction, Women’s Literature
Jawahir’s bookshelf on goodreads

John
Favorite Genres:
Alternate History Fiction, Suspense
John’s bookshelf on goodreads
kandice k

Kandice
Favorite Genres:

Chick Lit, Suspense, and Mysteries

lesley c

Lesley
Favorite Genres:

Mysteries, Audiobooks, History
Lesley’s bookshelf on goodreads

Michelle
Favorite Genres:

Historical Fiction, Psychological Thrillers
Michelle’s bookshelf on goodreads

sean_final

Sean
Favorite Genres:

True-life biographies, Non-fiction
Sean’s bookshelf on goodreads

Sandy
Favorite Genres:
Fantasy, Film

 

 

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