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Book Reviews

Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine
Gail Honeyman
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4 Stars

This fictional, character-driven novel is a moving story about a girl’s survival of an unspeakable act, and her journey into adulthood. Eleanor should not have survived, but she did and is now coping the best way she can. It’s a moving and disturbing with a heartwarming ending. Eleanor’s character was well-developed and her compelling story makes this book well worth reading.

-Michelle
Posted 11/12/2019

A Gentleman in Moscow
Amor Towles
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4 Stars

Sentenced to house arrest, Count Alexander Rostov, learns to adapt and become purposeful in his limited world.  A likeable and well-developed character, the Count takes the reader not only on a journey of his personal growth, but also a historical and sweeping journey of Moscow in the mid-1900s. Full of elaborate descriptions, the story had a little bit of everything:  historical fiction, intrigue, coming of age, suspense and romance all rolled into one compelling book.

-Michelle
Posted 10/14/2019

This Tender Land
William Kent Krueger
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4 Stars

An emotionally intense coming of age novel, it was well worth the time.  It’s a story of four orphans and their journey one summer to find their home.  It’s best described in the prologue by the author through the character of Odie, “There will be courage in this story and cowardice.  There will be love and betrayal. And, of course, there will be hope.  In the end, isn’t that what every good story is about?”

-Michelle
Posted 9/28/2019

The Underground Railroad
Colson Whitehead
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4 Stars

Leisurely paced and character driven, The Underground Railroad is a fictional depiction of a slave, Cora, and her escape from a plantation in Georgia.  A courageous character, the reader is taken through her haunting and moving journey, and those of her supporting characters.  Broken up into individual characters’ stories and how they cross paths with Cora, the story was both reflective and thoughtful.

-Michelle
Posted 9/16/2019

Jim Henson: The Biography
Brian Jay Jones
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3 Stars

Jim Henson: The Biography is the thoughtful telling of Jim Henson’s life. Jones engages the reader by chronicling the life of the creative mind behind the Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, and the Labyrinth and how Henson wanted to elevate the status of puppetry to more than just “kids’ stuff.” In doing so, Jones paints Henson as an immensely creative, hardworking optimistic artist who wanted to create quality work and leave the world a better place than he found it.

-Sean
Posted 9/11/2019

 

City of Scoundrels: The 12 Days of Disaster That Gave Birth to Modern Chicago
Gary Krist
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4 Stars

City of Scoundrels is the meticulously researched history of twelve days during the summer of 1919 Chicago. Krist details how an aviation disaster, a race riot, a transit strike, and a sensational child murder transformed Chicago from an adolescent city into a modern metropolis under Big Bill Thompson’s political machine. Readers who have liked Devil in the White City have also like this one.

 

-Sean
Posted 8/29/2019

Daisy Jones & The Six
Taylor Jenkins Reid
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Audiobook: Random House Audio, 8 CDs (10 hours), Unabridged. Read by Jennifer Beals, Benjamin Bratt, Ari Fliakos, Judy Greer, January LaVoy, Robinne Lee, Pablo Schreiber, and Julia Whealan.

5 Stars

Rock and Roll, drama, drugs, love and fame, it’s all part of Daisy Jones & The Six.  The audio book features a full cast making the interview format seem real and believable.  I was completely swept away by the lives of the band members and was sorry when the book ended.  It was raw, character driven, haunting and emotionally intense.  Even if you are not a music fan, don’t let that stop you from picking this up.  The story is more about the people and their experiences than the actual music.  It was the best audio book I’ve ever listened to and will stay with me for quite a while.

-Michelle
Posted on 7/24/2019

Kindred
Octavia E. Butler
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4 Stars

Character driven, issue-oriented and beautifully written, this is a historical fiction story about Dana, an African American woman, who is drawn back to antebellum time to save and ensure her ancestral line. The story is brutal, but it is so much more.  Not only is Dana forced to navigate and survive during slavery in the South, but she is also forced, through her relationships with complex characters, to confront her own feelings while protecting the person she should hate.  Kindred is a moving and meaningful novel that will stay with me.

-Michelle
Posted 7/9/2019

The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra
Vaseem Khan
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4 Stars

On the way to his last day of work at the Mumbai police force, Inspector Ashwin Chopra receives a letter informing him that he has inherited a baby elephant from his long lost uncle. He doesn’t have time for such nonsense, so he stuffs the letter into his pocket and heads to the station. So begins a colorful story with two mysteries: the death of a young man (which has been deemed an accident by police officials), and the mystery of why Chopra is now in possession of a baby elephant. This leisurely paced story is set in modern day Mumbai, a bustling city filled with auto rickshaws, poverty, and corruption. Somebody doesn’t want the young man’s death investigated, and the newly retired Inspector Chopra is left to dig into this case on his own, with a baby elephant in tow. Author Khan fills the story with characters and details that evoke the excitement of a city that many Westerners may not yet be acquainted with. This is the first book in the Baby Ganesh Detective Agency series, with four more novels following, and two novellas. I’m looking forward to reading more about the adventures of Chopra and Ganesha, his elephant sidekick.

-Denise
Posted 6/12/2019

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

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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