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Book Reviews

The Perfect Nanny
Leïla Slimani
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2.5 Stars

“The baby is dead.” So begins this disturbing mystery about a nanny’s descent into madness. The narration is detached and deliberate, while the events go from blissful to tense (and worse) over the course of the novel. Employing matter-of-fact narration, the book explores the dynamic between a nanny and the family she is hired to serve, and how they come to rely on each other more and more. The novel brings up issues such as the immigrant nanny culture in Paris (where the book is set), working-mother guilt, and other societal hot button topics of today. Readers may be interested to know that this story is based on a true event that occurred in New York City in 2012.

-Denise
Posted 7/25/2019

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

The Aftermath
Rhidian Brook
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3.5 Stars

Set in Hamburg, Germany during reconstruction after WWII, this novel is a story about not only the tragedy of the people of Hamburg, but the personal tragedy of the Morgan family. A haunting and compassionate historical fiction novel, the author creates a thought provoking story about a British Colonel stationed in Hamburg for its de-Nazification and reconstruction, where he chooses to treat its citizens with compassion and dignity. It’s a story of loss, love and the power of forgiveness.

-Michelle
Posted 6/12/2019

The Kiss Quotient
Helen Hoang
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4.5 Stars

Stella is a thirty year old econometrician who thinks math is the language of the universe. She also believes she is sorely lacking in the dating department due to her Asperger’s diagnosis. Dealing with pressure from her mother, Stella decides she needs help—from male escort Michael. Told from Stella’s courageous point of view, this emotionally intense contemporary romance explores dating and taking control of one’s life under the pressures of society (and mothers who desperately want grandchildren).

-Erin
Posted 5/20/2019

The Death of Mrs. Westaway
Ruth Ware
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3 Stars

Down to her last bit of money, spunky Hal (Harriet) is hopeful when she learns she may be the heir to an estate, only to find out she is not who she thought she was.  Torn between family and finding out the truth, Hal is thrown into a world of lies and deception.  An intricately plotted storyline that will keep you guessing right until the end, it full of disturbing and twisted elements that keep you interested.

-Michelle
Posted 5/18/2019

Vox
Christina Dalcher
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4 Stars

Choose your words wisely; you only get 100 a day.  In this haunting and sobering story, women are not only limited to this shocking number, but they are stripped of their professional careers.  How do ask your children about their day, how do you ask for directions, how do you make a doctor’s appointment?  How do you not lose your self-worth; how do you teach your daughter to be strong and independent? You find your voice.  Issue oriented, plot driven, unforgettable, and impossible to put down.

-Michelle
Posted 5/18/2019

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

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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