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Recent Book Reviews

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Blood and Thunder: An Epic of the American West

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Sides, Hampton(2006)Recently Added Review
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Blood and Thunder: An Epic of the American West

Historian and adventure writer Hampton Sides tells of tragedy and heroism in the New Mexico Territory, where Native Americans, Mexicans, US, and Confederate forces all fought. Sides makes the life of explorer Kit Carson the unifying thread of his book. Carson settled in Taos with a Hispanic wife and much knowledge of the surrounding lands and peoples. He advised territorial governors and generals, while Native leaders tried strategies of resistance and accommodation to maintain their peoples’ independence. Notable women in the story include Sarah Magoffin, a diarist, and an unnamed Navajo woman who suicidally resisted an invading army. A great read.

Reviewed by Tom C., Main Library

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The Wizardís Promise

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Clarke, Cassandra Rose(2014)Recently Added Review
The Wizardís Promise
Young Adult

Adventure will never come for Hanna; she is apprenticed to the world’s grumpiest fisherman. Whistling the winds down to calm the seas isn’t what she dreams of doing. But when Hanna looks at her life, there is only catching fish or living on the island . . . forever. Everything changes after a freak magic storm at sea. Hanna discovers that regaining trust is a sick and slippery thing, but being part of a promise that you didn’t make is even worse. Bringing readers back years after Pirate Ananna’s adventures, this fresh installment in their magical world is just as thrilling.

Reviewed by Amanda D., University City Regional

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I Don't Care If We Never Get Back: 30 Games in 30 Days on the Best Worst Baseball Road Trip Ever

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Blatt, Ben and Eric Brewster(2014)Recently Added Review
I Don't Care If We Never Get Back: 30 Games in 30 Days on the Best Worst Baseball Road Trip Ever

Many baseball fans have dreamed of seeing all 30 MLB stadiums in their lifetime. However no one could imagine doing it all in 30 days. Well college friends Ben and Eric, decide after graduation they are going to try it. For the 22,000 mile trip they use no other form of transportation except their car. After crunching the numbers many times, they decide to give it a try. They vouch to not miss a second of the game or it would not count. Sit back, strap in, and enjoy the ride.

Reviewed by Chris D., Mountain Island Branch

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Girls in White Dresses

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Jennifer Close(2011)Recently Added Review
Girls in White Dresses

Jennifer Close writes a very humorous and relatable book about three women coming to terms with heartbreak, new loves, family pressures, friend’s weddings, and bridal showers. The three friends, Isabella, Mary, and Lauren are living very different lives, but come together in this coming-of-age novel about life after college. This is a time when friends are getting married, careers are being developed, dating is more difficult, and a good cocktail seems to fix everything--which they do not. Everyone seems to be on a different, better path than the girls and they cannot get around this fact. This is a hilarious, snarky, must-read for anyone. The characters are relatable, as are their experiences with life after college.

Reviewed by Maeve C., University City Regional

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The Steady Running of the Hour

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Justin Go(2014)Recently Added Review
The Steady Running of the Hour

Tristan Campbell receives a mysterious letter from a solicitor located in London about a mysterious inheritance from Ashley Walsingham, who died while trying to summit Mt. Everest in 1924. The fortune was originally supposed to go to Imogen Soames-Andersson, the woman Ashley loved, but she went missing. If Imogen could not be found, the fortune would go to the next of kin according to the will. Thus, begins Tristan’s adventures across Europe trying to desperately prove he is the true heir to Imogen’s inheritance. At the same time Tristan is traveling through Europe, the reader is introduced to Ashley and Imogen. This is an adventurous novel filled with regret, longing, bravery, and love. It’s a must read for anyone who loves adventure and history.

Reviewed by Maeve C., University City Regional

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That Summer

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Lauren Willig(2014)Recently Added Review
That Summer

The year is 2009 and Julia Conley has just inherited a house in London from her great-aunt. Soon, bits of Julia’s blocked memories come back when she starts going through the house at Herne Hill. Through her investigation, she finds a hidden painting in the wall, which leads her on a historical investigation to find out the painting’s story. The author also refers back to 1849, when Imogen Grantham was living at Herne Hill. She is married to an unfriendly, older man and is not very happy in her dull life. One day, she meets the pre-Raphaelite painter, Gavin Thorne and falls in love. Lauren Willig combines two-time periods into one hard-to-put-down story that flows effortlessly.

Reviewed by Maeve C., University City Regional

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China Dolls

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Lisa See(2014)Recently Added Review
China Dolls

It’s 1938 and Ruby, Helen, and Grace could not be more different. They meet while trying out to be dancers in an Oriental nightclub in San Francisco. Ruby is Japanese passing as Chinese. Helen is from a traditional Chinese family living in Chinatown. Grace fled an abusive father from the Midwest. Although they are different, their friendship has it’s ups and downs during World War II. Lisa See has written a novel that sheds new light on San Francisco and America during World War II. See opens your eyes to what happened to Chinese-Americans and Japanese-Americans during the war. This is an interesting and enthralling historical fiction read. If you like See’s other books, you will enjoy this book.

Reviewed by Maeve C., University City Regional

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The Fever

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Megan Abbot(2014)Recently Added Review
The Fever

The Nash family consists of Tom, teacher, and father to Eli and Deenie. Eli is the handsome, popular athlete and Deenie a good student and friend. Life is normal until Deenie’s best friend, Lise, has a sudden seizure and ends up in the hospital. Soon, other girls are coming down with, what seems, the same sickness. What is making these girls have fits? Could it be the HPV vaccination they were made to take for school, drugs, or underage sex? Megan Abbott writes another mean girl book with a twisted ending. The tale is reminiscent to the Salem Witch Trials, but with a modern twist. This is a great and chilling read.

Reviewed by Maeve C., University City Regional

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Murder on Astor Place

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Thompson, Victoria(1999)Recently Added Review
Murder on Astor Place

Sarah Brandt is a midwife in New York City in the late 1800s/early 1900s. After arriving in the middle of the night to help with a birth at a boarding house, she sees a young girl in the hallway who looks familiar. This young girl is later found dead. NYPD Sergeant Frank Malloy investigates. An unlikely pair, Sergeant Malloy and Sarah team up to try to solve the crime. They discover the young girl is the daughter of the wealthy VanDamm family, who seem uninterested in solving her murder. At a time when cops are corrupt and bribery/payoffs are common practice, Malloy works to solve the mystery, even when he is taken off the case after pressure from the VanDamm family. This will appeal to fans of cozy and historical mysteries.

Reviewed by Cameron S., University City Regional

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A Life of Joy

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Clipston, Amy(2012)Recently Added Review
A Life of Joy

This is the fourth book in the Kauffman Amish Bakery series and finds two sisters devastated from losing their parents and coming to live with their Aunt Rebecca in Bird-in-Hand, an Amish community. One sister returns to family friends in Virginia to live and go to college, while Lindsay decides to stay in Lancaster with her aunt and family. Many of Lindsay's girl friends are deciding to take classes to enter the Amish church. She is undecided and her sister pressures her to at least study for the GED and not enter the Amish faith now. The strong characters, tension and the clash of cultures draws you into Amish world, where you see things through the eyes of an eighteen year old girl coming to grips with the decision for the direction of her life.

Reviewed by Gay Ann L., Independence Regional

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