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The Fall

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Griffin, Bethany(2014)Recently Added Review
The Fall
Young Adult

Madeline Usher and her twin, Roderick are cursed--just like everyone else in their family. The Usher twins live in a house they cannot fully escape because of an evil curse put upon the family due to their ancestor’s terrible actions against others. Madeline is stuck in the house, day in and day out. She tries to escape, but can she? This dark and spooky tale is a retelling of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher; it is not just for a young adult audience. It is also reminiscent of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s eerie tale, `The Yellow Wallpaper.` This reimagined tale will have you sleeping with the lights on!

Reviewed by Maeve C., University City Regional

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Through the Perilous Fight: Six Weeks That Saved a Nation

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Vogel, Steve(2013)Recently Added Review
Through the Perilous Fight: Six Weeks That Saved a Nation

In 1814, the United States was two years into an unwise and unwinnable war. The summer after burning Washington, British forces marched on Baltimore to do the same. You know the rest of the story (or you should). There was a night bombardment of the main fort and a heavy rainstorm. And as the sun broke, a very large flag was hoisted over the ramparts. An American hostage watching from a nearby ship set his feelings to verse. Said poem was set to the melody of an English drinking song, working its way into the national consciousness. Author Steve Vogel demonstrates how close to disaster the siege of Baltimore could have been, and how poem and song despite all objections have remained with us as our National Anthem.

Reviewed by John C., Main Library

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The  Boy Who Drew Monsters: A Novel

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Donohue, Keith(2014)Recently Added Review
The Boy Who Drew Monsters: A Novel

Warning: This is not the ghost and monster story of your childhood. Jack Peter has obsessions; his newest is drawing the horrifying monsters that he sees. Jack Peter is able to see the monsters because he has Asperger's syndrome. Holly, his mother starts hearing things, while his father, Tim starts chasing a ghost he is seeing. Nick, Jack Peter’s only friend, is strangely obsessed with the monster drawings. Only Jack Peter knows the truth behind all of the strange disturbances in his small Maine town. This book is sure to give you chills that will creep up your spine; the twist at the end is truly a surprise. If you like ghost stories and The Twilight Zone, this is the book for you.

Reviewed by Maeve C., University City Regional

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The Hypnotist's Love Story

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Moriarty, Liane(2012)Recently Added Review
The Hypnotist's Love Story

Everyone knows that embarking on a new relationship brings joy, compromise and lots of baggage. Ellen suddenly finds herself enjoying a great career as a hypnotist while dating a boyfriend who has an adorable son. To top it all off, he has his own stalker! Things get even more interesting when Ellen decides to start looking into her new boyfriend’s life and finds out who the “stalker” is. But what she doesn’t expect is the biggest surprise of all. Told by both Ellen and the deranged stalker, this story will both amuse and baffle you as you begin to wonder why you’re rooting and sympathizing with “the bad guy”! Part comedy and part romance with a few twists, this book is an entertaining light read.

Reviewed by Alex O., Main Library

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Little Brother

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Doctorow, Cory(2008)Recently Added Review
Little Brother
Young Adult

When the Golden Gate Bridge is bombed, leaving scores dead and injured and chaos in the streets, the city comes under military siege in the name of Homeland Security. Marcus Yallow, a teen hacker who is targeted as a security threat by paranoid and/or power-mad shadow-figures, leads a movement to take back the city. This story is about the battle waged between the subversives and a corrupt power, with the battlefield occurring in the streets, the media and on the Web. The message is clear: we must take an active stand in our governance; otherwise, the power-hungry few will terrorize the majority and marginalize the powerless. Taut, suspenseful and completely plausible, Little Brother will appeal to the tech-savvy and the forward-thinking.

Reviewed by Sarah K., Morrison Regional

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Homeland

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Doctorow, Cory(2013)Recently Added Review
Homeland
Young Adult

Picking up where Little Brother leaves off, Marcus Yallow is now an unemployed college dropout, following the collapse of the US economy and his parents’ job loss. He’s trying to leave behind the brutality, but chance meetings at the Burning Man event leave Marcus with a lead on a job and with a USB drive chock full of documents that expose widespread government and corporate treachery. Doctorow takes the themes from Little Brother and adds the events that have arisen in the five years since: economic collapse, collusion between government and corporations, and damning documents that expose that collusion. For those who believe in watching their government with both eyes open, this powerful thriller will inspire action.

Reviewed by Sarah K., Morrison Regional

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Your House Is On Fire, Your Children Are All Gone

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Kiesbye, Stefan(2012)Recently Added Review
Your House Is On Fire, Your Children Are All Gone

Linde, Martin, Christian and Alex grew up together in the insular, deeply spooky German village of Hemmersmoor and have returned as adults to attend the funeral of their friend Anke. In alternating narratives, the four friends tell the story of their intertwined childhoods, revealing brutal tales of incest, murder, witch hunts, infanticide, and supernatural events rumored to be caused by demons, curses, and ghosts. Despite the horrifying nature of Hemmersmoor’s secrets, the author’s subtle writing style and atmospheric tone work to create a literary novel that appeals less to fans of the horror genre and more to fans of psychological fiction, particularly authors like Shirley Jackson and Susan Hill. While not a novel for everyone, this memorable, slim book will haunt you like a Grimm’s fairy tale.

Reviewed by Bobbie M., Independence Regional

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Diary of the Fall

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Laub, Michel(2014)Recently Added Review
Diary of the Fall

A group of boys bully another boy on his birthday, leaving the victim seriously injured. One of the boys, as an adult, recounts the events leading up and including the act, and its impact on the rest of his life. In compact undated diary entries, the unnamed author purges himself of the demons that have plagued his family, from his grandfather surviving Auschwitz, to his father surviving his grandfather, and the narrator surviving childhood. Each succeeding generation has its own demons and desperation to escape and find their identity, without the knowledge of how or why. Laub’s unpretentious, meditative prose examines what it means to truly live and be alive. A great read for fans of Marilyn Robinson or Jonathan Safran Foer.

Reviewed by Sarah K., Morrison Regional

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The Housemaid's Daughter

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Mutch Barbara(2012)Recently Added Review
The Housemaid's Daughter

Young Catherine Moore leaves Ireland to travel to South Africa for an unknown future with her fiancé Edward Harrington, who she has not seen in five years. We come to know her through her diary, and through the eyes of Ada, the daughter of her housemaid and friend, Miriam Mabuse. Ada becomes like a daughter to Catherine, despite the differences in their “skin” and she shares with Ada her love of music, a gift that gives Ada a future that would have been impossible for her. Their relationship weathers the storm of the apartheid movement, and we see how their strength of character and love for each other overcome the historical events and tragedies that result. This story is a captivating and touching read.

Reviewed by Annette N., Independence Regional

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Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: a Memoir of Food and Love From an American Midwest Family

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Flinn, Kathleen(2014)Recently Added Review
Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: a Memoir of Food and Love From an American Midwest Family

Kathleen Flinn’s previous memoirs, The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry and The Kitchen Counter Cooking School, recalled her time at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and what she did with her skills back in the US. In this memoir she explores her family history and you can see how her love of cooking and food can be traced back to generations of wonderful home cooks who expressed their love through food. Kathleen’s parents didn’t have much money when they started out, but they always had a big vegetable garden and Kathleen and her four older siblings grew up eating great homemade food. Family gatherings always centered around food and spending time with their large extended family. This is a wonderful memoir of food, family, and love.

Reviewed by Jessica B., Mint Hill Branch

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