Review: Much Ado About Mean Girls by Ian Doescher

Review by Stephanie P.


Overall 9/10

Summary: Much Ado About Mean Girls is a beautifully written Shakesperian version of the original movie. It follows Cady Heron and her friends through high school as she goes from Mathlete to Plastic and finds out what really matters in life or high school for that matter.

Review: This is an amazing reboot of Mean Girls. I loved the way it was written and will be a great asset to teens learning about Shakespeare while still being interesting to that age group. I highly recommend this book to anyone. A fun and easy read that does teach an important lesson. High school is tough and you have to find yourself through it all.

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Review: A Better Man by Louise Penny

Review by Marla D.

9781250066213 Order today!

Overall 8/10

Summary: In the latest installment of the Chief Inspector Gamache series, Armand Gamache returns with a tarnished reputation and a demotion from his position as the head of the Sûreté. While his character is being publicly assassinated on social media, he must navigate the awkward dynamics of sharing the head of homicide position with Jean-Guy Beauvoir, his former second-in-command. Amid the crisis of historic spring flooding, which is threatening Montréal and the surrounding areas, Gamache and his colleagues find themselves investigating the disappearance of a young woman. As the residents of Three Pines come together to protect their town from the raging waters of the Riviѐre Bella Bella, the missing person hunt becomes a homicide investigation. Gamache finds himself working to solve a case that has him asking himself some tough questions, even as the threat of natural disaster and a social media firestorm loom over him.

Review: Although Still Life, the first in the Chief Inspector Gamache series, and the latest installment, A Better Man, are my only experience with Louise Penny’s books, the elements that drew me into Penny’s first book are the same ones that kept me reading this one. The mystery that is central to the plot was engaging, but it’s Armand Gamache, his Sûreté colleagues, and the residents of Three Pines that I find the most compelling. The world that Penny has built around Three Pines and it’s quirky residents, while not as prominent in this book, is still a fascinating part of the story. Anchored by Gamache, and the thoughtful way he approaches his interactions with everyone from colleagues to murder suspects, I especially appreciated the exploration of the relationship between Gamache and fellow Sûreté officer Jean-Guy Beauvoir in A Better Man. While I thought Penny was a little heavy-handed with the continued references to why the case in this story was so personal to both Gamache and Beauvoir, it wasn’t egregious enough to keep me from becoming immersed in the story. A Better Man left me wanting more Chief Inspector Gamache- anticipating both the next installment and the opportunity to catch up on the rest of Penny’s backlist.

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Review: The Long Call by Ann Cleeves

Review by Darlene G

978-1-250-20444-8 On Sale September 3rd

Overall rating a 10/10

Summary: Ann Cleeves, the author of The Long Call is well-known for her mysteries set in England. This time the setting is North Devon, a place she herself lived. A new detective is introduced, VI Matthew Denn who resides in North Devon with his spouse in a beach cottage. Vi Denn was raised in a strict religious cult, The Brethern who are featured throughout the book. The murder of a mystery man occurs along with the disappearance of two developmentally delayed young women who attend a center run by VI Denn’s spouse. Additionally, the social worker at the center is the daughter of one of its contributors. The who-dun-it unrolls slowly as we are given insight into the town, the characters, and The Brethern.

Review: At the opening, Matthew Denn is observing his father’s funeral from afar. Matthew has been shunned by the cult-like Brethern for having a husband. DI Venis not allowed at the funeral and cannot even speak with his mother. He is called to investigate a murder with links to his husband’s place of employment, the Brethern and two developmentally disabled teenage girls. As Ms. Cleeves develops the characters they become very real as does the town and the workings of the Brethern. There are some unexpected twists and turns of course and the ending was a surprise to me. A good read. A study of society. Highly recommend it. Review:

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Review: Mother Knows Best by Kira Peikoff

Review by Darlene G.

On Sale September 10, 2019

Overall Rating 6/10

Summary: In today’s society technology enters almost every area of our lives from our cellphones to our entertainment equipment and even our bedrooms. Technology has greatly improved medical science. However, the application of specific technologies medical issues but also social, moral, religious, and individual rights concerns which are presented to the reader of Mother Knows Best by Kira Peikoff to decide. Presented in the first person, the main characters of a family reveal how they are facing such dilemmas. It is up to the reader of Mother Knows Best by Kira Peikoff to decide whether decisions made by the main characters are correct.

Review: Mother Knows Best, an easy to read book, is jumbled a bit in the beginning until the reader understands somewhat from what standpoint it is written. The reader then starts to understand the character’s position in the family and other central characters and their motivations. A family of three is center stage but there is a mystery that the parents keep from the 12-year-old daughter and their community. In the beginning, we know that she had had an older brother that somehow died and they are making a pilgrimage to his favorite place. We can tell the family dynamics are skewed. Neither Mom nor Dad will answer questions about the boy. This is the only time Mom will leave the house. She appears to have a mental health issue. We wonder why Mom is concerned about a dead son to the exclusion of providing emotional care to her daughter. The daughter is remarkably well. In fact, she is never sick. She is attractive, intelligent and precocious like any other child would be in this situation. We are lead through the world of in vitro fertilization, the creation of embryos from various sources. Most of this is well known to us. The twist is who, what, why and what are the consequences. Not my favorite sci-fi thriller but it’s a good summer read.

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Review: Black Death at the Golden Gate; The Race to Save America from the Bubonic Plauge by David K. Randall

Review by Amy H.

Overall this book was rated a 7/10

A detailed account of the bubonic plague outbreak in California during the early 1900’s. Includes a history of the public health of the United States, political cover ups and early bacteriology.

Review: Very well written with very detailed explanations of the plague and the country’s response. Written for the general reader to understand. Sometimes reads like a good mystery rather than a non fiction book. As I read the book it was interesting to note that the United States response to unfavorable circumstances has remained almost unchanged. The political world sought to cover up the possibility of the plague spreading throughout California just as it directs attention away from certain current day issues. Anyone interested in medical mysteries or a general US history interest will enjoy this read.

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Review: Lost Roses by Marth Hall Kelly

Review by Karen B.

Overall this book got an 8/10

Lost Roses is the Sequel to Lilac Girls

Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly takes place in the years just before, during and after World War I. The book follows 3 women- Eliza, a New York heiress, Sofya a cousin of Tsar Nicholas II and Varinka a Russian peasant. Friends Eliza and Sofya are in St Petersburg just before the war breaks out. When Eliza leaves to return to New York Sofya and her family are unable to leave Russia and are forced to retreat to their country home outside St Petersburg. While there Sofya hires Varinka to work for the family and care for her young son, Max, a decision that has unforeseen consequences. Meanwhile, Eliza works in New York to assist Russian’s who have managed to escape the war torn country. When all contact with Sofya stops, Eliza is worried for her safety and works to uncover the mystery of what happened to Sofya and her family. Lost Roses travels from the court of Tsar Nicholas II to the wilderness of the Russian forests and from New York society to the streets of Paris. Eliza, Sofya and Varinka all deal with personal challenges, difficult decisions and heartbreak as they face the many casualties of war and find their lives intertwining in unexpected ways.

Lost Roses is the story of 3 young women during World War I. It is a prequel to Lilac Girls and is the story of Eliza Ferriday, the mother of Caroline, a character in Lilac Girls. The other 2 main characters are Sofya, a relative of the Tsar, and Varinka, a young Russian peasant girl. Lost Roses was slow to get started as each of the 3 characters’ stories are developed. However once the story starts to unfold it was a quick read. The book has a strong sense of place that contributes to each of the 3 main story lines. The setting includes the Russian royal court, Southampton and the streets of New York and Paris. This book would be perfect for fans of historical fiction and of course for the many readers who loved Lilac Girls.

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Review: Miracle Creek

Review by: Amy H.

This book launches April 16th! Please contact to preorder.

The book follows several families during a court trial. The story centers around the murder and arson trial. The mother of one of the patients undergoing treatments in a hyperbaric chamber is accused of setting fire to the chamber and the explosion kills her son and others. As the trial unfolds questions emerge about what exactly happened and is the right person on trial. Secrets are uncovered, dreams shattered and an entire community begins to question everything.

The information about the hyperbaric chamber to treat children and others with mental and physical disorders is interesting. Finding a book with a new idea to center a mystery and conflict around is tough. The author achieved it in this book. I didn’t know what was going to happen in the end although I wasn’t exactly surprised. The author did a great job exploring the honest and not always pleasant thoughts of her characters. Fans of Jodi Picoult and Chris Bohjalin will really enjoy this novel.

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Review: The Whispers

Reviewed by Austin K. Age 10

The Whispers is a book about Riley. Riley’s mom disappeared and Riley had to face the emotional problems about losing her. Needing to get her back, Riley set off to find the whispers, the magical creatures that Riley was told about. Will he find his mom? Read to find out.

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Review: The Age of Light

By Miranda K.

This book was released TODAY February 5, 2019. I have 2 copies in the store if you’re interested in reading for yourself.

            Whitney Scharer’s first novel “The Age of Light” follows the life of Lee Miller and her passion for photography and independence.  After being the one in front of the camera since she was a little girl, Lee decided she needed a change in her life.  That change would take her on a journey I don’t believe she expected but one that put her on the map as a woman in history who pushed against the beliefs of the time period.

            In the late 1920s, Lee decides to take control of her life, move to Paris and challenge herself behind the camera lense. Moving to Paris she met a much older man, Man Ray, with whom she begins to have a professional and romantic relationship with. He initially teaches her about photography but as she begins to thrive and surpass him in the photography world he becomes possessive of her and her work. Over the years her interest in her relationship declines and eventually she breaks away. She wanted to challenge herself in her art and in doing so became most known for her photography during World War II.  Her journey shows the struggles and success’ of a woman trying to succeed on her own in a time period when the norm was being known as a housewife.

            Scharer’s writing is absolutely brilliant in her debut.  Jumping between historical events in time, including easier times in Paris to World War II, it helps create a very detailed picture of how historical events affected Lee’s life. Scharer makes you want to continue reading until the very end. I absolutely enjoyed this book and would recommend it not just to historical fiction fans but to anyone looking for a great read!

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Review: Stay Up with Hugo Best By Erin Somers

Review by Lee. E

Stay up with Hugo Best, by Erin Somers, is a tale of a young wanna-be comedienne (June) who gets tangled up with her former boss and TV-icon, Hugo Best.  He spies her doing stand-up in a dank club after his retirement party, invites her to his house in Connecticut, and she agrees to go.  They spend the long Memorial Day Weekend together in his glass house that overlooks acres upon acres and hangar full of cars, with his teenage son, and their housekeeper, Ana. After a fateful night on his boat, June learns that she’s no different than any other woman who has ever been in Hugo’s life…other than his mother.

          This novel left something to be desired…like a moving plot.  The tale was so stagnant that it gave me a headache each time I tried to get into it.  The reader is bombarded with so much minute detail about every scene that the natural dialogue and minimal forward motion of the story get lost.  Connecting with a character never happened, so I found myself not really caring what happened between June and Hugo.  Not being able to get into the book, I skipped to the end and was not at all surprised by it.  Typical “crush on your boss, he uses you, you get tossed aside” novel with no heartstrings attached…for the reader or for Hugo. 

Have you read this title? What did you think? Leave your comment below. If this is something you’d like to read let me know and I can order it for you or you can check out the links in the shop tab for audio/e-book versions.

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