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Book Review | The Season by Sophia Holloway

From the publisher: Henrietta Gaydon is making her debut in London society for the Season, but her popularity and apparent ease disguises the fact that she is out of her depth and that she dreads the objective of finding a husband. She longs for home, her father and Lord Henfield, who she has always treated as an older brother. Charles Henfield stopped thinking of Henrietta like a sister when she was sixteen. And he is determined to try his luck with her in London. Mistakes and misunderstandings, the complication of a feud between mamas, and Henrietta’s no longer fraternal feelings for Henfield, all conspire to make this a Season to remember. Main character Henrietta is young and sheltered, but she is sensible and a good conversationalist who has benefitted from her close relationship with her father. Her father’s godson Charles has long treated her as a sister, but although his Read more »

Book Review | Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley

From the publisher: A dazzling, unforgettable novel about a young black woman who walks the streets of Oakland and stumbles headlong into the failure of its justice system—a debut that announces a blazingly original voice.

Nightcrawling is good. Really good. Gripping, heart wrenching, sick to your stomach good. It’s a novel, but it feels like the diary of a real teenager. Kiara. Her father is dead. Her mom is in a halfway house. She’s trying to take care of a neighbor child whose mother neglects him. Her brother is too busy trying to make it as a rapper to bring in money in any way besides dealing drugs. The rent is going up. Kiara is a high school dropout who is too young to get a job. So she starts selling herself – first to anyone on the street, then to the cops who pick her up. Sometimes they pay her, sometimes they just tell her she’s lucky they…

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Book Review | A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari

From the publisher: London, 1923. Saffron Everleigh is in a race against time to free her wrongly accused professor before he goes behind bars forever.

If you love historical fiction with a touch of mystery and romance, A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poison might just be a book for you. Main character Saffron is an intelligent and talented woman constrained by the limits on women in the 1920s. Alexander Ashton, her companion in investigating a mysterious poisoning at a party, is a scarred and handsome veteran of the Great War coping with PTSD.

I’m no expert on England in the 1920s, but nothing in the narrative struck me as outlandishly out of touch with the times. An author’s note discusses the research the author did in her attempt to be historically accurate…

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Book Review | Trailed by Kathryn Miles

From the publisher: In May 1996, Julie Williams and Lollie Winans were brutally murdered while backpacking in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, adjacent to the world-famous Appalachian Trail. The young women were skilled backcountry leaders and they had met—and fallen in love—the previous summer, while working at a world-renowned outdoor program for women. But despite an extensive joint investigation by the FBI, the Virginia police, and National Park Service experts, the case remained unsolved for years. Trailed is a riveting, eye-opening, and heartbreaking work, offering a braided narrative about two remarkable women who were murdered doing what they most loved, the forensics of this cold case, and the surprising pervasiveness and long shadows cast by violence against women in the backcountry.

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Book Review | Don’t Cry For Me by Daniel Black

From the publisher: A Black father makes amends with his gay son through letters written on his deathbed in this wise and penetrating novel of empathy and forgiveness, for fans of Ta-Nehisi Coates, Robert Jones Jr. and Alice Walker.

Don’t Cry for Me is a sad, slow story told in a series of letters written by a man who is dying to his son. The history covered in the letters is very believable. The father insists that his son understand the family’s past, and visit the family land. He acknowledges how slavery has damaged them, and how Black people have learned to despise themselves instead of those who enslaved them. He tries to explain how expectations were different for straight adult men in the past, how he loved his son’s mother but why he was not a good father or…

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Book Review | Nine Lives by Peter Swanson

From the publisher: If you’re on the list, someone wants you dead.

Creepy yet oddly mesmerizing mystery with an unusual narrative style. Nine people are on a list that is mailed (or in one case, hand-delivered) to them. Then it becomes clear that someone is killing the nine people on the list. There is a lot of jumping around in point-of-view. We hear not just from the people on the list but from law enforcement and a hired killer. Some of the people on the list are not nice people. Some are. Two form a relationship because of the list. And then their points of view stop adding to the story as each is killed in turn.

It’s kind of a weird way to tell a tale, but it worked for me as a reader. The book pays homage to Agatha Christie’s classic mystery And Then There Were None. I’ve read it before…

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Book Review | The Valet’s Secret by Josi S. Kilpack

From the publisher: A passionate kiss from a handsome valet becomes a Regency Cinderella story when he is revealed to be an earl. What a delight! It’s not often that a historical romance leaves me guessing as much as this one did. There are big obstacles to the romance, and I wondered how the author would work through them. But she did so in a way I found charming and satisfactory. Kenneth has unexpectedly become the heir to an earldom. Rebecca is an educated woman but the daughter of an artist and a former servant in a great house. They meet when he nearly runs her down on a rented horse. He is in disguise as his valet so he can ride with abandon without being scolded by his uncle the earl. After an unpleasant interaction with her abusive father, Rose is out enjoying a simple walk. Their attraction is Read more »

Staff Picks — Jane E.

I love a good series. If I find a series I love, I will reread it. Here are the first books in some of my favorite fantasy series. Jane, Assistant Director, Head of Adult Services

Visit the library, give us a call or search the catalog to put one of these great books on hold today.

A DEADLY EDUCATION by Naomi Novik
If you like stories about schools for the magically gifted, I recommend A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik. The school has no teachers and terrible food, but it is full of monsters trying to kill the students. (Including monsters hiding in the food.) Lots of snark from the main character and really fascinating world

Book Review | Bone Deep: Untangling the Betsy Faria Murder Case by Charles Bosworth Jr. and Joel J. Schwartz

From the publisher: The explosive, first-ever insider’s account of a case that continues to fascinate the public—the shocking wrongful conviction of Russell Faria for his wife’s murder—a gripping read told by New York Times bestselling true crime expert Charles Bosworth Jr. and Joel J. Schwartz, the defense attorney who battled for justice, and ultimately prevailed.

I am not much of a True Crime reader, but something about being in a pandemic has me reading more True Crime than usual. Despite how all facts are already known about the case covered in Bone Deep, I was riveted by the narrative. I personally knew nothing about the case before picking up Bone Deep, although there has apparently been extensive media…

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Book Review | Mickey7 by Edward Ashton

From the publisher: Mickey7 is an Expendable: a disposable employee on a human expedition sent to colonize the ice world Niflheim. Whenever there’s a mission that’s too dangerous—even suicidal—the crew turns to Mickey. After one iteration dies, a new body is regenerated with most of his memories intact. After six deaths, Mickey7 understands the terms of his deal…and why it was the only colonial position unfilled when he took it.

Mickey7 is a fun but thought-provoking read about a group of humans in the distant future trying to settle on an inhospitable planet. Mickey Barnes is the unfortunate volunteer Expendable. He is intentionally placed in dangerous situations because if he dies, his old…

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