Staff Book Reviews

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Sea Serpent's Heir, Book 1 Cover Image
Reviewed by: Ben S.
Posted: July 2, 2022

Full of pirates and prophecies, belonging and betrayal; Sea Serpent’s Heir: Pirate’s Daughter is a captivating start to a fantasy epic set on the high seas. The story begins with a young girl, Aella, pining for adventure as she spends her days fishing on a tiny island. When the knights of the church arrive at her village she’s thrown headlong into adventure, discovering that she’s the pirate queen’s daughter and has a fated connection with a living catastrophe that once threatened to flood the world. This graphic novel strikes the perfect balance of telling a full story while also setting up the next book in the series.

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The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches Cover Image
Reviewed by: Audrey H.
Posted: June 30, 2022

Oh my goodness. Reading this found family witchy book is the equivalent of being wrapped in a warm blanket on a cold winter's day. And, as a bonus, it's sunshine meets grump! I would love more of this world and these characters.

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If I Survive You Cover Image
Reviewed by: Audrey H.
Posted: June 30, 2022

These interconnected short stories wrap together into a full and complete picture of this complex and complicated Jamaican American family. The family goes through ups and downs, both personally and financially, while navigating hurricanes and recessions. Trelawny, the millennial, is hit especially hard since he is not the family favorite and graduates as the recession hit. My heart broke for his cousin, Cukie, as he yearned for a father that didn't care. This isn't just a gloom and doom read, there are sharp observations and sly humor, sprinkled throughout each story. This debut author is one to watch. For readers of Jean Chen Ho, Morgan Talty, Oscar Hokeah and Elizabeth Strout.

 

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The Pallbearers Club: A Novel Cover Image
Reviewed by: Christian
Posted: June 27, 2022

A very odd, very unique horror "memoir" with *two* unreliable narrators.  This is a monster story about friendship where the monster is nostalgia...and also a monster.

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Night of the Living Rez Cover Image
Reviewed by: Ilana
Posted: June 27, 2022

These 12 interconnected stories are as dark, colorful, multi-layered, and resonant as the night sky.

Little Pea's Drawing School Cover Image
Reviewed by: Ilana
Posted: June 27, 2022

Little Pea's artwork is known far beyond his tiny, and totally adorable, world. Just wait until you meet his first students and discover their incredible talents.

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Year of the Tiger: An Activist's Life Cover Image
Reviewed by: Audrey H.
Posted: June 26, 2022

Illuminating and eye opening, this book challenges all able bodied people about how inaccessible this world is for so many of us. Told through mixed media of pictures, essays and interviews, Alice Wong, with humor, how the world is not accommodating to those who aren't fully able bodied, despite the ADA and "best" intentions. While I'm aware of inaccessible access for many who aren't as physically mobile, this book made me more aware of other issues that I hadn't considered. This is one of the best kind of non fiction reads as it challenged me and made me think more deeply about my own able bodied privilege. #AccessIsLove.

My Broken Language: A Memoir Cover Image
Reviewed by: Rhonda
Posted: June 26, 2022

Quiara AlegrÍa Hudes, who wrote In the Heights, sings the body electric in this lyrical memoir. The child of a spiritual Puerto Rican mother and a Jewish atheist father, Hudes dives deep into issues of identity, class, culture, and language. The language! Striking. Alive. Gorgeous. it kept me turning the pages late into the night. 

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Tread of Angels Cover Image
Reviewed by: Audrey H.
Posted: June 25, 2022

This novella is a completely satisfying read. The world is complete and immersive. Part mystery, part fantasy with a dash of romance, this Wild West inspired world is brutal and one’s status means everything. It’s also about sister relationships with one who always protects the other, whether she wants it or not. I would love more stories from the world.

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The Bodyguard: A Novel Cover Image
Reviewed by: Audrey H.
Posted: June 25, 2022

An fun audio book to listen to on a road trip. Really enjoyed the role reversal of a woman body guard protecting a famous movie star. There were definite laugh out loud moments and this really was a sunshine of a book.

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How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water: A Novel Cover Image
Reviewed by: Audrey H.
Posted: June 25, 2022

Such a unique way of presenting a main character. Told through 12 job counselor sessions, one gets to know Cara Romero and her strong opinions as she looks for a job, after being laid off her factory job. She is honest about her relationships with her neighbors, family and son while slowly acknowledging her faults. And one begins to see how much unpaid labor is not as valued even though it's so important in family and community relationships. Cara is so flawed but she's a character that will be remembered.

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We Deserve Monuments Cover Image
Reviewed by: Audrey H.
Posted: June 25, 2022

This BOOK GAVE ME TOO MANY FEELS. Avery and her family move down to a her mom's small town to take care of Avery's sick grandmother. She has to start her senior year there and is grappling with starting over, a recent breakup and the tension between her grandmother and her mom. She realizes that she knows nothing about her black mom's side of the family and why there is such a disconnect. While beginning to make friends with two other girls, she explores reconnecting with her grandmother, and delve into mysteries of her family and her new town. And, soon, the reader sees how generational trauma is the legacy that no family should have to go through and how it effects each generation and the relationships. I loved how Avery made such deep connections with her grandmother and her new friends while also staying true to herself.

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