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Recent Book Reviews

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In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeanette

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Sides, Hampton(2014)Recently Added Review
In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeanette

The USS Jeanette set out in 1879 through the Bering Strait to the Arctic Ocean with hopes of reaching the North Pole by water. Hampton Sides introduces the men and women of this story and discusses nineteenth-century geographical knowledge in the first third of the book, which makes for interesting and informative reading. The narration of the actual voyage begins at that point and is indeed `grand and terrible,` as the subtitle promises. The crew survive extreme conditions and physical and mental stress thanks to great leadership and ingenuity. Don`t skip to the end to see how it turned out: you`ll want to experience the full emotional impact of this story as presented by a masterful author.

Reviewed by Tom C., Main Library

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Cockroaches

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Nesbo, Jo(2013)Recently Added Review
Cockroaches

In the second Inspector Harry Hole novel, Harry is sent to Bangkok, Thailand, to investigate the murder of the Norwegian ambassador who is found dead in a brothel. Harry enlists the help of the local police and begins the investigation. Soon they discover that the ambassador may have been involved with illicit activities regarding children. But is everything as it seems? Harry is persistent in his quest to solve the murder, even when high-ranking officials want him to stop the investigation. With vivid imagery of the sights and sounds of Bangkok, Jo Nesbo writes a fast paced and thrilling novel with plenty of adventure and the typical characterization of Inspector Hole.

Reviewed by Cameron S., University City Regional

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A Night to Surrender

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Dare, Tessa(2011)Recently Added Review
A Night to Surrender

The pages of Tessa Dare’s A Night to Surrender are almost on fire with hotness. This romance novel reads more like a romantic comedy film with background conflict, great dialogue and many romantic interludes. Right from the beginning, the reader knows who the heroine and hero will be, but it is refreshing to have surprises at each turn. Miss Susanna Finch manages the small town of Spindle Cove believing she is helping young ladies recover and maintain a happy and safe life. Lieutenant Colonel Victor Bramwell would prefer to put this sleepy town behind him and return to the fighting on the Continent. How could these two possibly work? If you enjoy Sabrina Jeffries or Elizabeth Boyle, you will definitely enjoy Tessa Dare.

Reviewed by Sally W., Mint Hill Branch

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Siege and Storm

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Bardugo, Leigh(2013)Recently Added Review
Siege and Storm
Young Adult

This book is the second book in the Grisha trilogy; it starts out after the main character Alina, the Sun Summoner, and her friend Mal have run away from the evil Darkling. Eventually Alina and Mal are forced to return home. Alina is a strong girl but starts to doubt herself after she starts fighting with Mal and is forced to plan a war. Though this story does start out slow after you get into it, it is a good book. I would recommend reading Shadow and Bone first as it will help you understand the choices these characters make.

Reviewed by Beth H., 2014 Summer Teen Volunteer

Patron Review This book review was submitted on-line by a Reader's Club patron.

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The Testing

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Charbonneau, Joelle(2013)Recently Added Review
The Testing
Young Adult

If you are looking for an upbeat thriller that takes place in the future then The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau would be the perfect read for you. The Testing is about a future society in America where citizens of various colonies have to be chosen to enter an elite group of candidates. They all have to pass The Testing in order to have a chance at attending college and pursing a rewarding career, two things that are very hard to come by for citizens after the seven stages war. The Testing is a nice blend of action, thriller, competition and friendships, morals, and love. While reading this novel I constantly thought of The Hunger Games. These novels are very similar and if you enjoyed The Hunger Games then you will appreciate The Testing.

Reviewed by Savannah C., 2014 Summer Teen Volunteer

Patron Review This book review was submitted on-line by a Reader's Club patron.

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The Eye of Minds

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Dashner, James(2013)Recently Added Review
The Eye of Minds
Young Adult

In The Eye of Minds, everyone lives for the VirtNet. The VirtNet allows human minds to feel as if they were in an actual video game. As interesting as that may sound, this type of video game has its disadvantages. Michael and his two friends are forced to take part in a life-threatening adventure: to find and stop Kane. Kane is a VirtNet hacker who finds a way to remove player`s Cores and kill their character, which kills them in the real world. Each chapter in The Eye of Minds is fully detailed and action-packed. Once you begin reading The Eye of Minds, you will not want to stop. If you love video games and sci-fi, then this is the book for you.

Reviewed by Kelly J., 2014 Summer Teen Volunteer

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Winger

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Smith, Andrew(2013)Recently Added Review
Winger
Young Adult

Ryan Dean West, aka "Winger", is having a tough time this year. For one, he is 14 and the smartest kid in the eleventh grade and he plays left wing on his boarding school's varsity rugby team. The biggest challenge is his move to o-hall, the dorm for kids who need extra monitoring. He is completely in love with his best friend, Annie. His roommate, Chas, is a forward on the rugby team and everyone knows forwards and wings can't get along. To put it lightly, Ryan Dean has trouble fitting in. Winger is a book that paces well and tells the story of firsts, the bond of a sports team, and, above all else, what it means to love others and look over their differences.

Reviewed by Olivia R., 2014 Summer Teen Volunteer

Patron Review This book review was submitted on-line by a Reader's Club patron.

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This is What Happy Looks Like

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Smith, Jennifer E.(2013)Recently Added Review
This is What Happy Looks Like
Young Adult

When Graham Larkin, a famous young actor, mis-sends an email to Ellie O'Neill, a girl his age living in Maine, a witty flirtation begins that connects them though they are thousands of miles apart. The problem is, Ellie has no idea that Graham is a celebrity, so when he shows up on the set of his new movie in her Maine town, she is more than shocked. With a pushy costar, ice cream, and salt water everywhere, it seems impossible that their relationship will last an hour under the searing spotlight, but happily ever after is not always a fairytale. Smith crafts a well-written story that is sweet and rings true, even if a relationship with a celebrity does not.

Reviewed by Olivia R., 2014 Summer Teen Volunteer

Patron Review This book review was submitted on-line by a Reader's Club patron.

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The Wedding Gift

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Bodden, Marlen Suyapa(2013)Recently Added Review
The Wedding Gift

Bodden self-published and marketed her novel, and as a successful e-book, it appeared on the WSJ’s best seller list. Elite publishers soon took notice, and the novel has become a commendable addition to historical fiction depicting slavery in the antebellum South. An 1840s Alabama court case was seminal in Bodden’s tale narrated by a racially-mixed young woman, Sarah Campbell, who endures the abuse inflicted upon the enslaved who powered the plantation machine. Juxtaposed with Sarah’s story is that of the plantation mistress, who suffers in silence at the hands of a cruel husband. Sarah escapes – with some help from the underground network – to the Caribbean where she reveals to the reader a betrayal and a murder. An engrossing read!

Reviewed by Susanne W., Steele Creek Branch

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Ghost Soldiers: the Forgotten Epic of World War II's Most Dramatic Mission

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Sides, Hampton(2001)Recently Added Review
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Ghost Soldiers: the Forgotten Epic of World War II's Most Dramatic Mission

Hampton Sides reconstructs the experience of American POW’s in World War II from diaries, letters, memoirs and interviews of the inmates of the Cabanatuan camp in the Philippines. They experienced extreme deprivation and abuse at the hands of their Japanese captors. The survivors found small ways to endure and hoped for deliverance. US Army Rangers and Filipino insurgents eventually launched a raid on Cabanatuan, and Sides tells their dramatic story with similar attention to detail and respect for eyewitness accounts. He provides context by including Filipino and even Japanese perspectives. Readers of Unbroken will appreciate Ghost Soldiers for its psychological depth. It also shows group cohesion and the heat of battle in a way that readers of Band of Brothers will enjoy.

Reviewed by Tom C., Main Library

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