Birds of the Photo Ark

By Joel Sartore
Rated by LeeAnn B.
Jul 5, 2018

Birds inhabit every corner of our planet and represent freedom to many people throughout the world.  In this impressive book, photographer Joel Sartore shares images of captive birds from his work with the National Geographic Society on the Photo Ark project—an undertaking to document every living species in the world’s wildlife sanctuaries and zoos.  His photographs inspire wonder as you flip through these pages.  The accompanying text by Noah Strycker offers fascinating information about the world of birds.  The diversity---10,500 species of birds at last count; the speed of some birds---the

May 10, 2016

Bitterblue is the queen of Monsea. Her kingdom has finally escaped the terrible reign of her father, a violent psychopath able to control minds. But his influence has had lasting effects on the hearts and minds of the people. Her advisors plan to pardon everyone who worked for the former king, and forget every bad thing that happened. Monsea's past has become shrouded in mystery, and only once Bitterblue begins sneaking out of the castle at night does she begin to learn the truth. Her kingdom has been under a decades long spell of a madman, and now their only chance to move forward is to

Apr 8, 2019

The book itself reflects the central idea of what it is like to be young and a person of color in today's world. It is a collection of stories from black and brown young people of all shapes and sizes that speak on the importance and brings awareness to the fact that there are still racial issues in one's friend group and the education system. The diversified book speaks on behalf of all young people. During the first or second chapter, they discussed the comment "you are white". Which is when a fellow black person is called white because how he or she may carry himself or talk, or what music

Black Rabbit Hall

By Eve Chase
Rated by Catherine G.
Apr 8, 2016

The mansion, Black Rabbit Hall, at times feels like the main character of this story. It's a second home for the Alton family in Cornwall, England in the 1960's. It's much loved but crumbling; an aging home with wings and turrets and windows that seem to watch you while you're outside. Set near the water with its own private cliffs and beaches, it also has a path that leads into the woods and seems purposely designed to get you lost.  

Two alternating stories reveal the secrets at Black Rabbit Hall. The first, Lorna and Jon, present day, are searching for a place to have their wedding

Black River

By S. M. Hulse
Rated by Roxanne B.
Mar 22, 2015

Black River is a debut novel by S. M. Hulse. The Montana landscape is a major player in this story of damage, redemption and forgiveness. Wes Carver returns to Black River with his wife's ashes and a letter from the parole board that a prisoner that held him hostage twenty years ago during a prison riot was being considered for release.

May 30, 2015

Bless This Food is a collection of graces from many traditions - Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, etc. I came across this title in my quest to find dinner prayers that were more resonant with my family than the standard one I had been taught as a child or the simpler ones that I had prayed with my own children when they were younger.  Adrian Butash begins by beautifully describing the intimate relationship that humans have with food and the God or gods who are the source of that food and explains why saying grace and giving thanks is a universal phenomenon.  Bless This Food is

Jun 20, 2016

After all of Jacky’s family dies from a disease outbreak, she is forced to dress as a boy and work as a ship’s boy to survive. Now she no longer has to scavenge for food or fight for survival in the streets. As she becomes a skilled and respected member of the crew, she must use every ounce of her wit and courage to keep the crew from discovering her secret.

Excellent story! I tend to like those gender-bending characters in general, but Jacky was especially well done. She proves herself worthy in combat, but doesn't relish it. She plays a boy because it will secure her food and freedom. She

Blue Heaven

By C.J. Box
Rated by Helen H.
Nov 17, 2010

When Annie and William Taylor witness an execution in the woods they run to the safety of the first passing car. But the driver isn’t just a passerby; he is one of the executioners. They escape and are on the run again, this time knowing they can’t trust anybody. Eduardo Villatoro, a newly retired detective, just happens to be in town following up on some unlikely clues to the only unsolved murder of his career. As Villatoro gets closer to solving the crime, he also gets closer to Annie and William. But will he get there in time? Alternating viewpoints over a single weekend make the bulk of

Blue Lily, Lily Blue

By Maggie Stiefvater
Rated by Jennifer R.
Apr 23, 2015

Blue Lily, Lily Blue takes place shortly after the events of The Dream Thieves, with the characters recovering from their fight against Kavinsky. Summer is over and school is starting, but the raven boys and Blue have many other things on their minds, particularly Blue who has been searching for her mother lost in the tunnels following the ley line. Unlike The Dream Thieves, which was a heavily focused Ronan novel, Blue Lily, Lily Blue focuses on all the raven boys and Blue. They are closer than ever to finding Glendower, now the only questions are, who will survive and what will they wish for

Blue Lily, Lily Blue

By Maggie Stiefvater
Rated by Robin D.
Sep 20, 2015

In The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves readers were introduced to four wealthy boys of Aglionby Academy: Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah. And to Blue Sargent, an eccentric teen raised by a family of psychics who have predicted that Blue's true love will die if she ever finds and kisses him. Despite the differences in their socioeconomic backgrounds the five become comrades in the search for the elusive sleeping King of Wales, Owen Glendower, around the ley lines of their small town, Henrietta, Virginia. So far we have seen them tackle ghosts, dream manifestations that become real, and confront

Bone Gap

By Laura Ruby
Rated by Chris K.
Jul 20, 2015

The dedication:

For Steve, who sees.
And for Anne, who believes.

At its core, this is a book about perception. About seeing who a person really is at his or her core and believing in them. Most of the time when we look at others, we see a blurry picture of a person based on surface appearances and casual observations, then bring them into focus with our own assumptions and prejudices, largely defining them based on who we are, not who they are. It's a rare and valuable thing to look and really see, to let a person fully define him or herself to us without our faulty

Bones Would Rain From the Sky

By Suzanne Clothier
Rated by Helen H.
Apr 12, 2015

“Even scientists fall in love, and it is said that some even talk to their dogs.”

Not memoir, not a training manual, not quite a call to arms, Bones Would Rain From the Sky is a combination of all of these. And more. Clothier examines her own journey from a child who longed to be an animal to a person who helps people like you and me connect deeply with, and better understand, our pets.

She points out that connection is “quite literally, a matter of life and death. The leading cause of death in dogs in Western countries is behavior – unacceptable, uncontrollable, inappropriate behavior.”

Jul 7, 2014

Mary Roach strikes it big again with Bonk: the Curious Coupling of Science and Sex. Like her two previous books, Stiff: the Curious Lives of Human Cadavers and Spook: Science Tackles the After Life, Roach explores an often under-discussed yet extremely fascinating and history rich topic—in this case, sex—that proves both educational and entertaining at the same time.


Some of the various topics addressed in Bonk include self-willed orgasms, cross-cultural (cringe worthy) approaches to treating erectile dysfunction, and fetal masturbation. Roach looks at the classic sex researchers

Jul 17, 2019

Hollywood has the Oscars. Football has the Super Bowl. Political parties even have their national conventions in election years. Many industries have an event where the most influential people in that world gather together, usually around a celebration or competition of some sort. The book publishing world doesn’t have anything quite like that, but BookExpo is something very close to it. BookExpo is a yearly convention where book publishers, editors, authors, marketing people, booksellers, bloggers, book reviewers - and yes, even librarians - get together, talk about the industry, and look

Books by Karen M. McManus

By Karen M. McManus
Rated by admin
May 26, 2020

Mystery fans looking for a new author to binge will want to know the name Karen M. McManus, who hit the New York Times and International Bestseller Lists with her first three published mysteries One of Us is Lying, Two Can Keep a Secret, and One of Us is Next. Haven't heard of McManus and wondering why? It could be because her novels are published under the TEEN umbrella. But don't let that stop you from picking up a copy! McManus is a gifted mystery author who crafts top notch whodunits that are tightly plotted with gasp worthy twists! Just because her protagonists are teens, doesn't mean

Books for Living

By Will Schwalbe
Rated by Sarah A.
Aug 22, 2017

Will Schwalbe, author of The End of Your Life Book Club, the true story of Schwalbe and his dying mother reading and discussing books together at the end of her life, now shares another meaningful book. Books for Living reveals how particular books have taught Schwalbe life lessons over the years. He says these are “books that prompted me to remember something, realize something or see my life and the world differently.” The book is written in short contained chapters that are quick and easy to read one or two at a time.

I was familiar with some of the books and I understand how he takes

Jul 3, 2017

Taken in the middle of the night, Garrett is taken to Harmony Lake, a boot camp for child delinquents. But Garrett knows he doesn’t deserve to be there. He doesn’t think he did anything wrong. He endures harsh physical and psychological abuse from both the campers and the staff. There is no way to fight back because the battle is futile. He can’t leave until he has admitted his “mistakes” and conformed to the standard of behavior. He has slowly been beaten, humiliated, and stripped of what little pride he has left, he feels he will never be able to escape. But then he hears rumors about a

Aug 24, 2017

As an avid watcher of The Daily Show, I knew Trevor Noah was born and raised in South Africa. What I didn't know was how amazing his life circumstances were growing up and just how much he had to overcome to be the person he is today. In Born A Crime, Noah chronicles his life as he remembers it, detailing not only his experiences but also the culture of South Africa just before, then after, the end of apartheid. During apartheid it was illegal for black and white people to be together, let alone have a child. Noah's birth, to a black mother and white father, made him literally born a crime.

Mar 18, 2014

This book is a combination of short stories of Niequist's life with a focus on difficulties having children. She is a woman of faith and relates her stories to spiritual lessons which she realized after each individual experience. Almost every chapter is tied to a specific dish which she cooked for a particular experience and she includes recipes at the end of the chapters. I thought that this book was interesting because it was an intimate portrait of a woman's struggle with being thankful for what she had while wanting a larger family. Her stories were well-written and provides readers with

Sep 28, 2016

Ah, if only I'd read this last summer or fall, sometime before my five-month-old was born, because I'm quite drawn to many of the ideas. Some I'd already claimed as my own, some were vague notions that have now been articulated and solidified for me, and some still feel rather surprising and foreign. I'm not one to unquestioningly adopt any model--parenting, leadership, eating, or what you will--without tweaking it and making it my own, but I believe considering and practicing these ideas will make me a more effective parent.

"Model" seems the best word I can think of to describe what

Jan 28, 2016

In Broccoli and Other Tales of Food and Love, Lara Vapnyar brings the lives of recent immigrants to New York into crystal clear focus. Using the universal language of food, Vapnyar illustrates the sadness of Nina’s wilting marriage with the broccoli in her refrigerator; Sergey’s loneliness cured, not by companionship, but by Borscht; Katya crafts her memory of puffed rice and meatballs specifically for her lover’s entertainment.

In these, and other stories, Vapnyar illustrates both experiences unique to Russian immigrants, as well as those universally shared. It’s reminiscent of Will Eisner

Broken Harbor

By Tana French
Rated by Megan C.
May 21, 2014

In a spotless suburban home in Ireland, a man and two children are found dead, and a badly-wounded woman is rushed to the hospital. They are residents of Broken Harbor, a nearly-abandoned new development left in the lurch after the housing crisis. This is how Detective Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy finds the Spain family, and has his chance to be top detective on the murder squad. In addition to taking on the biggest case of the year, he has a rookie, Richie Curran, to break in.

Detective Kennedy, a scrupulous man who holds fast to the rules, seems to be the one for the job. His new man, Curran

Nov 7, 2013

David Rothenberg's Bug Music is a highly readable  and eccentric investigation into an aspect of nature too easily taken for granted. Bugs produce very mathematical sounds based on natural cycles. What human ears are able to delineate is really only the tip of a very large iceberg connected to other icebergs. Delving deeply into the sounds of cicadas, crickets and katydids, Rothenberg is not afraid to suddenly go big-picture on his readers. He aims for nothing less than a direct connection between  a cricket’s chirp and jazz band’s rhythm section. There is a philosophical nature to Rothenberg

May 25, 2018

This book updates the ancient story of Theseus and the Minotaur for a new generation. This retelling of Greek mythology is hilariously told in verse. It is rough, rowdy, and tells a different story than the one you are used to hearing. It explores new ideas on what actually happened in many different perspectives, from the god Poseidon to the Minotaur himself. This book will have you reevaluate this infamous monster, maybe he is not as horrifying as you think.

I loved that each of the heroes has a unique voice and form of verse. Fun and quick read.

Warning: This is a novel in verse, if

Burial Rites

By Hannah Kent
Rated by Debbie L.
Aug 11, 2014

Burial Rites is a fiction book based on real events that occurred in Iceland in the early 1800s. Agnes Magnusdottir is charged with the brutal murder of two men and is ordered to reside with a family and serve as their maid until her execution. Agnes is treated harshly by the townspeople and the family. She is viewed as a monster and they fear her.  Young Reverend Thorvardur has been assigned to council Agnes and he is hopeful that he can steer her toward repentance before her death. It is during the many conversations with the reverend that Agnes shares her version of events that occurred

Dec 18, 2014

An excellent sequel of the book Dark Star. Audrey needs to sort out her feelings, She is torn with the decision of staying safe, as her sort-of boyfriend/guardian wants, or following what her instincts are telling her.

An excellent follow-up to the first book, Burn Bright picks up right where Dark Star left us. Audrey struggles to protect the people she cares about, and that just might be the problem. Her Guardian/sort-of boyfriend, Leon, is who she cares about the most, next to her mother, would sacrifice himself for her, but Audrey refuses to let that happen. Torn between her instincts

Dec 28, 2018

Using research from interviews, archives and declassified Stasi files, Mohr puts together a timeline from the appearance of the first East German punk up to the dismantling of the GDR.  Although world events and politics played a huge role in the fall of the wall, the East German punks’ grassroots efforts to expose the oppressiveness of their government got regular citizens involved, ultimately tipping the scales. In the beginning (early 80’s) there was only a small and scattered group of punks, but as their numbers started to grow, unlikely partnerships with progressive pastors of the

Aug 3, 2016

One day, brilliant colored spheres showed up, hidden all over the world. No one knows where they came from, but they make you have special abilities. Burn a pair and they make you a little bit better, whether making you an inch taller or better looking. The rarer a sphere, the more expensive it is, and the better improvement. When Sully teams up with Hunter, a girl skilled at finding spheres, they never expected they would find a gold, a color no one has ever seen. But when a tycoon in the business of selling them finds out, he will stop at nothing to take it away from them, using all of his

Burning Nation

By Trent Reedy
Rated by Chris K.
Aug 23, 2016

Don't be fooled by the opening battle scene and continuous conflict that drives the story into thinking this is a simple action book. It's tense and fast-paced, yes, but it is also full of moral, psychological, interpersonal, and political conflict. It is a book whose external action deeply considers complicated internal issues.

In my review of the first book in the series, I wrote: This is a gripping, thoughtful, powerful story, one deserving of many thoughtful readers interested in considering how a nation might very easily come apart as seen through the eyes of a young man during his

But I Love Him

By Amanda Grace
Rated by Jackie S.
Nov 9, 2016

Told mostly in reverse order, But I Love Him chronicles the relationship between Anna and Connor. The reader is introduced to Anna, a high school senior, who has spent the past year focused on Connor, and has slowly given up the people and things that were important to her prior to meeting him.

Through Anna’s accounts of her interactions with Connor and people in their lives, the reader gets a sense of the conflicted feelings Anna has toward him. The story being told from end to beginning is similar to viewing a mess being picked up—it starts off as a disaster, but piece by piece, things