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Book Reviews

Empire of Deception
Dean Jobb
Find in Catalog

4 Stars

Everyone has heard of a Ponzi scheme, but Leo Koretz of Chicago stole much more and ended up mostly forgotten in modern times. Koretz convinced wealthy investors that he was the next John D Rockefeller. He made up fake companies and used the investors’ greed to supplement his own. He was able to keep up this con for years until he was exposed and escaped to Nova Scotia to keep up a life of lies until his capture. The author uses multitudes of sources to tell this richly detailed and compelling story of the con that touched some of the wealthiest and most influential Chicagoans of the early 20th century. There is no way to guess what happens next in this astonishing and true story.

-Caitlin
Posted 5/11/2022

The Paris Apartment
Lucy Foley
Find in Catalog

4 Stars

What would walls say if they could talk? What would their ears be privy to if they listened intently? The glamorous Paris apartment building is home to seedy dealings and one person daring enough to investigate it… until he ends up dead. Unreliable, multi-perspective narration and one sister desperate to find her last living family member makes this a gritty page-turner that grips you from the first turn of a stolen key into a locked doorknob.

-Hannah
Posted 5/4/2022

The Candy House
Jennifer Egan
Find in Catalog

5 Stars

What would you do if you could upload all your memories and they were part of a global collective for all to share?  Intricately plotted, Egan explores the pros and cons of such a scenario with her beloved Goon Squad characters along with their next generation.  Bittersweet and moving, The Candy House is filled with likeable and quirky characters wrestling with complex decisions giving the reader an unforgettable experience.

-Michelle H.
Posted 4/27/2022

We're Going To Need More Wine
Gabrielle Union
Find in Catalog

5 Stars

This moving memoir is impossible to put down. Union discusses sensitive, personal subjects with unabashed honesty, humor, and a conversational tone that leads the reader into a place of thoughtful reflection. I laughed, cried, and learned while reading this book. On top of that, Union adds plenty of interesting stories about popular movies she starred in like Bring It On and 10 Things I Hate About You.
-Caitlin
Posted 4/20/2022
The Ex Hex
Erin Sterling
Find in Catalog

4 Stars

This amusing story follows the aftermath of a witch, Vivienne, and her cousin putting a hex on her ex, Rhys, after a night of drinking away heartbreak. To her dismay, Rhys’ family runs the university where Vivienne works, so he returns to campus for the Founder’s Day celebration. Soon, the sober reality of her drunken hex is undeniable and the hex is affecting all magic, not just Rhys. The author weaves multiple dramatic subplots into the romantic storyline to keep the reader guessing about more than just the chemistry between Vivienne and Rhys.

-Caitlin
Posted 4/19/2022

Football For a Buck: The Crazy Rise and Crazier Demise of the USFL
Jeff Pearlman
Find in Catalog

4 Stars

Pearlman details the rise and fall of the USFL in this engaging account of the history of the upstart league. With its cast of characters, including Donald Trump, and many future superstars, this funny and upbeat retelling is sure to be of interest with the NEW USFL starting its season this spring.

-Sean
Posted 4/15/2022

A Bathroom Book for People Not Pooping or Peeing but Using the Bathroom as an Escape
Joe Pera
Find in Catalog

4 Stars

An oddly calming picture book and even more meditative audio book, A Bathroom Book for People Not Pooping or Peeing but Using the Bathroom as an Escape immediately delivers you to any memory you may have of a time you’ve used the restroom to hide as an adult.  Humorist Joe Pera couples the homespun charm of his television show “Joe Pera Talks With You” with the slightly off-putting illustrations of Joe Bennett in a referential nod to Pera’s Adult Swim cohorts in order to bring you dry catharsis that you’re not alone in this embarrassing act.

-Colleen
Posted 4/14/2022

Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash
Edward Humes
Find in Catalog

4 Stars

This book provides a comprehensive look at what happens to trash after it’s thrown out. The conversational tone allows the reader to absorb the detailed information and see how it can apply to one’s own life and environment. The author does this in a thoughtful way without shaming the reader for wasteful habits that near everyone in our culture shares. While things have definitely changed since its publishing 10 years ago, this book is a good tool for peeking behind the curtain of waste management.

-Caitlin
Posted 4/13/2022

The Woman They Could Not Silence
Kate Moore
Find in Catalog

5 Stars

This novel follows the story of an iconic Illinois woman named Elizabeth Packard, who changed things for women and mentally ill people across America. In 1860 she was sent to what was known then as an insane asylum by her husband simply for having the nerve to formulate and speak aloud her own opinions. Elizabeth knew she was sane, as were many of the women she became acquainted with over her years in asylum wards. Even those who were unwell, she noted, deserved much better conditions. The reader is provided with people’s voices at the time with plenty of excerpts from personal diaries. Elizabeth’s brave freedom fight and feminist spirit persisted in the face of harsh scrutiny until she forced historical change.

-Caitlin
Posted 4/5/2022

For the Wolf
Hannah Whitten
Find in Catalog

5 Stars

Redarys has always known that as the Second Daughter of Valleyda, she will be sacrificed to the Wolf of the Wilderwood, and her older sister Neverah will one day sit on the throne. It’s tradition, a way to keep the old gods imprisoned, and a fate that Red has long since accepted as the first Second Daughter to be born in centuries. A magical, atmospheric retelling of Beauty and the Beast (with elements of Red Riding Hood), For the Wolf will leave you breathless. Whitten’s lyrical writing weaves a beautiful story in a world where forests are sentient, and love is a powerful magic of its own.

-Michelle J.
Posted 3/30/2022

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.

Amity
Favorite genres:
Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult Literature
Amity’s bookshelf on Goodreads.
Caitlin
Favorite genres:
Fantasy, Thriller/Mystery, and Historical Non-Fiction
Caitlin’s bookshelf on Goodreads
Denise
Favorite Genres:
Mysteries, Graphic Novels
Denise’s bookshelf on Goodreads
Hannah
Favorite Genres:
Contemporary Romance, Mystery and Thrillers, and the occasional Young Adult novel
Hannah’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 H.
Favorite Genres:

Historical Fiction, Psychological Thrillers
Michelle’s bookshelf on Goodreads
Michelle J.
Favorite Genres:
YA, Fantasy, and anything LGBTQ+
Michelle’s bookshelf on Goodreads
Nancy
Favorite genres:
Literary Fiction and Regional American History.
Nancy’s bookshelf on Goodreads
sean_final
Sean
Favorite Genres:

True-life biographies, Non-fiction
Sean’s bookshelf on Goodreads
Sandy
Favorite Genres:
Fantasy, Film

Val
Favorite Genres:
Fiction, Non-fiction, Romance
Val’s bookshelf on Goodreads

 

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