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Book Reviews

The Woman in the Window
A. J. Finn
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5 Stars

This intricately plotted thriller is like Rear Window meets Defending Jacob wrapped up in a story of emotional healing for the main character, Anna. Set in New York City, Anna is recovering from a terrible accident and is losing her grip on reality, or is she? It was riveting, consuming and impossible to put down.

-Michelle
Posted 4/10/2019

An American Marriage
Tayari Jones
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3 stars

With a plot driven story line, the reader is taken on an issue-oriented journey through the lives of Roy and Celestial.  Bleak and emotionally intense, the novel gives us the believable story of a man wrongly accused of a heinous crime and how it destroyed his life and marriage.  Dramatic and racially charged, these flawed characters navigate through a sobering world.

-Michelle
Posted 3/12/2019

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African childhood
Trevor Noah
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4 Stars

Born in South Africa, Trevor Noah tells his story of what it was like to grow up during and after apartheid.  Inspiring and often self –deprecating, the reader laughs along with him as he relays some of his childhood antics.  Though his story is laced with humor, it is a very touching story of his relationship with his mother and the important influence she had on his life.  His story is a beautiful and authentic narrative.

-Michelle
Posted 3/4/2019

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
Erik Larson
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3.5 Stars

Erik Larson relays to the reader the story of an American ambassador’s family stationed in Berlin, Germany at the start of Hitler’s reign.  This is a different kind of story than we are used to, as it is told from the perspective of this family who remained on the outskirts of German society and politics during one of the most volatile times in the history of the world.  After reading this book with the benefit of historical hindsight, I find it sad that although Ambassador Dodd foresaw the disaster that was eminent in Germany,  the American people and government refused to take him seriously in his predictions. Drawing from the diaries of both Ambassador Dodd and Martha and extensive historical research, Larson gives the reader a bird’s eye view of the rise of Hitler. Regardless of your knowledge of this period in history, this book has something for everyone.

-Michelle
Posted 2/22/2019

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer
Michelle McNamara
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5 Stars

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is a look into the crimes of the serial rapist and killer the author has dubbed “The Golden State Killer.” More than just an excellent true crime novel, it is also the story of the author, Michelle McNamara and her obsession,with finding the killer and getting justice for his victims. Michelle sadly did not live to see out the completion of her work or the capture of the killer. Her knowledge on the subject is evident and her ability to take a grueling subject and make it understandable and accessible is remarkable. Her prose is powerful and haunting. A must read for all true crime and non-fiction fans. The audio book is an excellent enhancement of the written text with the forward read by Gillian Flynn and the afterward by Michelle’s husband, Patton Oswald.

-Lesley
Posted 2/22/2019

The Paris Seamstress
Natasha Lester
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4 Stars

Taking the reader on a compelling journey, this nonlinear and plot driven historical fiction novel is centered on the fashion industry in the 1940’s and 2015.  A heart wrenching, yet hopeful story, about family and the secrets that are sometimes needed in order to survive features strong female characters that are both courageous and well-developed.   Set in both Europe and the United States, pick up this beautiful novel and get swept away.

-Michelle
Posted 2/15/19

Station Eleven
Emily St. John Mandel
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4.5 stars

What an experience.  Station Eleven is leisurely paced, nonlinear and beautifully written.  A richly detailed, post-apocalyptic novel follows five characters as their lives overlap before, during and after a viral pandemic ends civilization as they know it. Filled with believable characters, the author gives us a haunting and compelling look at what it means to survive, the new meaning of humanity, and deciding to find beauty in the face of collapse.  A great read that will totally absorb the reader.

-Michelle

Posted 1/9/19

Bird Box
Josh Malerman
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4 Stars

Without ever opening her eyes outside the safe walls of her house, Malorie navigates a post-apocalyptic and terrifying world.  An intensifying novel with a menacing and suspenseful tone, Malorie and her 4 year old children are running from an enemy they will never see.  A disturbing yet hopeful novel, Bird Box, will keep you on the edge of your seat.

-Michelle

Re-posted 1/9/2019

Lethal White
Robert Galbraith
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Audiobook: Hachette Audio, 19 CDs (22 hours 30 minutes), Unabridged. Read by Robert Glenister.

4.5 Stars

J.K. Rowling, using the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith, returns with this fourth work in the Cormoran Strike series. When a troubled man comes to Strike insisting he had seen a murder as a child, there is something about his plea that Strike can not ignore. His investigation into the alleged murder takes Strike and his partner Robin, on a trail that includes blackmail, undercover operations, and ministry officials. Robert Glenister returns to continue his narration of the series, with a wide array of voices and the perfect gruff representation of Strike. Rowling’s ability to present a rich plot and excellently executed characters that never compete with each other is remarkable and proof she is clearly well suited for the adult mystery genre. A book and a series not to be missed!

-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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