family

Cover of The Cafe By the Sea: shows scene of outdoor cafe seating in European village

The Café By the Sea

By Jenny Colgan
4
Rated by Emily D.
Oct 13, 2020

London based paralegal, Flora, has desperately pined over her American boss for years. He doesn’t know she exists. Flora has all but resigned herself to unrequited love, until one day he calls her into his office. But the love affair of her dreams doesn’t start there, instead she is sent on assignment to the island of her origins, Mure. The Scottish island is not somewhere she planned on returning, but maybe she’ll get a love affair after all.  


Continue Flora’s story along with her brothers and friends in Colgan’s sequel: The Endless Beach. The story just gets sweeter in this follow-up to 

Dec 16, 2019

You’ve heard of Dungeons and Dragons.  Right?
It’s been around for 45 year and been in everything from Simpsons to Stranger things. 
What is it? 
It’s a pen and paper Roleplaying game.  A set of rules to tell a shared story with friends and family with a backdrop of classic sword and sorcery in the vein of The Lord of the Rings.


 


Pretty simple right?  Well that’s what Tales from the Loop is.  A very rules-simple pen and paper Roleplaying Game!  Only it ditches the old tropes of Dwarves, Elves, Dragons, and Goblins for a more contemporary setting.


 


You and your friends play

Virgin

By Analicia Sotelo
5
Rated by Emma F.
Jul 15, 2018

"We're all performing our bruises"


It’s eighty-two degrees and I sit on sun drenched concrete, hot pink book in hand, pebble- small crimson strawberries staining my left hand and right knee. Suddenly, a fluttery brown butterfly wiggles between my thigh and the ground, crouching against my skin. I shriek- being the put together young woman i am- and then quiet, carefully shifting to stare at this beautiful thing that has chosen me to rest against. It flutters upwards too quickly, shooting straight into my neck where its wings rustle kisses much too softly against the most intimate sections

Ramona Blue

By Julie Murphy
5
Rated by Becky C.
Sep 5, 2017

Hurricane Harvey in the news raises the relevance of this novel to a category five. The fact that we're bringing Julie Murphy--one of the best contemporary realistic fiction authors in the country--to town for a Meet the Author visit means you must put this book on your radar. I listened to the audio version. It's fantastic. The narrator is a perfect fit for Ramona's voice. Ramona is a high school senior living with her overworked and underpaid father and her nineteen-year-old pregnant sister in a too-small trailer in Eulogy, Mississippi, right off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. When Ramona

Kubo and the Two Strings

By Laika
5
Rated by Rachel C.
Jun 20, 2017

"If you must blink, do it now. Pay careful attention to everything you see and hear, no matter how unusual it may seem. And please be warned, if you fidget, if you look away, if you forget any part of what I tell you, even for an instant, then our hero will surely perish."


Thus begins the saga of Kubo.


I don't want to give away plot details, so I'll talk about themes. There is exploration of family, both good and bad. Well-meaning relatives can want what they feel is best for you, but still be hurting you. But the ones who shelter you, no matter how flawed, will do their best by you

May 4, 2017

Janner, Igiby, Tank, and their disabled sister Leeli are gifted children living in a cottage above the Dark Sea of Darkness. But even with their gifts and the help of their mother and former pirate grandfather, they still struggle to survive as the evil Fangs of Dang pursue them and take over the land by killing anyone who stands in their way. For these children are not only special, but the Fangs believe they hold the secret to finding the legendary jewels of the former king.


This book drew me in with the humor and creativity of names and phrases and situations. Some of it was the silly

Apr 6, 2017

In Ponyboy’s world, there are only 2 kinds of people: greasers and socs. A soc has money, power, and privilege, and can get away with practically anything. But a greaser always lives on the outside, and needs to watch his back if he doesn’t want to get beat up by a group of socs. Ponyboy is a greaser, and has always been proud of it, and fights against gangs of socs to help his fellow greasers. But one terrible night, his friend Johnny accidentally kills a soc in self defense, and their ensuing escape causes his entire world view to change and learns that pain feels the same whether you are a

This Is How It Always Is

By Laurie Frankel
5
Rated by Cheryl M.
Mar 30, 2017

This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel is a powerful story about a mother and father faced with making a life-altering decision concerning their youngest child: how do they support their son, Claude, as Claude transitions to become their daughter Poppy?  This is a question that involves the whole family because a whole family transitions, not just the trans-son or trans-daughter, when one family member changes.  What are the ripple effects for the whole family?  What is the cost of truth? And whose truth?


In the Author's Note, Frankel says parenting involves a "balance between what you

Jan 21, 2017

Mia, "Rabbit", Hayes is a fighter and the very heart of her adoring family. But so is the cancer slowly taking over her body. Rabbit, however, refuses to acknowledge that her diagnosis has just rapidly plummeted or share the news with her 12 year old daughter, Juliet. Neither of them is ready to say goodbye. Rabbit's family is amazing, particularly her strong tough Irish "Mammy" Molly, who fights like a tiger for her daughter's life. Rabbit's father, Jack, and her siblings, Grace and Davey, are believably drawn characters. At times, the imminent loss of Rabbit threatens to push the family

My Struggle: Book One

By Karl Ove Knausgaard
4
Rated by Matt C.
Dec 7, 2016

This is the first in a six book series, totaling some 3,000 pages, about a quiet man from Norway reflecting on parts of his life. It is boring and breathtaking at the same time. The author ruminates on the death of his father and his own mortality as he shuffles through memories of his childhood and then the more recent past. Day-to-day events such as making breakfast, working at a computer, and making phone calls take center stage. We all do things like this every day and then forget about them. Somehow, Karl Ove Knausgaard makes them memorable.

The Truth According to Us

By Annie Barrows
5
Rated by Katie S.
Aug 1, 2016

It's the summer of 1938 and Layla Beck is a well-off, young Senator's daughter who has just had the rug pulled out from under her. Because she won't marry her father's choice of a husband, she is forced to find work for the first time in her life. Her uncle sends her to Macedonia, West Virginia through the Federal Writer's Project to help the local government write their town's history for their sesquicentennial celebration. Shocked and horrified, Layla tries desperately to get out of it to no avail. She can't possibly imagine living in West Virginia and what on earth will they have to talk

The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963

By Christopher Paul Curtis
4
Rated by Becky C.
May 31, 2016

Told from the point-of-view of 10-year-old Kenny, it's really his big brother Byron who's the hero of this funny, emotional sucker-punch of a novel. Byron, thirteen, is a juvenile delinquent--a black sheep--according to Kenny, and pretty much everyone else in the so-called "Weird Watsons" family. But in the end it's Kenny who helps Byron overcome his depression over witnessing tragic events during a trip to visit their grandmother in Birmingham, Alabama during the height of the struggle for Civil Rights. 


I came *this* close to giving up on the book after reading chapter five, which is way

May 20, 2016

Lacy believes that magic and science can work side by side. She is a skilled botanist that can harness the power of plants. When her father dies, she tries to stay with her step-mother that believes in good and healing magic. But she always feel the pull of her persuasive and powerful mother who brings out the darkness in her, stripping everything light and kind. Her mother forces Lacy to accompany her to Sacramento, and it is not long before the old darkness resurfaces.


This book is definitely not for everyone. I was very confused and a little disgusted by the plot overall. It didn't have

My Name Is Lucy Barton

By Elizabeth Strout
4
Rated by Cheryl M.
Feb 25, 2016

My Name Is Lucy Barton by Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout is a novel to be read slowly and savored for its richness of story. At less than 200 pages, it is a novel with a simple plot: a woman, Lucy, is in the hospital for a prolonged stay, and her mother is visiting her. Lucy has been estranged from her mother since her marriage. She is grateful for her mother's presence, while at the same time she wants more than her mother is capable of giving her. In other words, the novel is rich in family dynamics and the complexities of the human heart.


What we as readers learn over the course

When I Was the Greatest

By Jason Reynolds
4
Rated by Helen H.
Feb 21, 2016

It’s a tale as old as time: teens going to parties far beyond their years. For this Johnson County reader, the interest in Jason Reynold's When I Was the Greatest lies in the microclimate of Bed-Stuy in New York City.


For Ali and his friends Needles and Noodles, an invitation to one of MoMo’s infamous parties must be accepted, for it may never come again. At fifteen, the boys don’t belong there, and they realize it in short order when a fight breaks out and they all, but especially Ali, end up on the most wanted list of some dangerous dudes.


The ensuing events bring Ali and his family

The Bone Clocks

By David Mitchell
4
Rated by Hope H.
Nov 20, 2015

Audiobooks are my preferred method of distraction during my daily commute, and while The Bone Clocks didn't grab me immediately, eventually its clever interlinking story arcs lured my mind away from the surrounding river of taillights and exhaust.* Like Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, this novel hops through various time periods, each time switching to a different main character and point of view. The result is a multifaceted story told across many generations and narratives, but all connected to independent and resilient Holly Sykes.


Her story begins in 1984, when she leaves home in a fit of

The Nightingale

By Kristin Hannah
5
Rated by Katie S.
Sep 18, 2015

Viann Rossignol is a loving mother and wife who lives in a small, country town. She has a best-friend who has a daughter the same age as hers and even though she has experienced loss with multiple miscarriages, she still remains content with her life. Her younger sister Isabelle is a rambunctious young woman living in Paris. She always looks for a battle and is not afraid to stand up for herself. Since she and Viann were given up as children by her distant father, Isabelle has always gotten herself thrown into and out of boarding schools across France. Unable to think of anything further to do

Wide-Open World

By John Marshall
5
Rated by Robin D.
Sep 15, 2015

Do you ever dream of working with monkeys in the Costa Rican rainforest?  How about teaching English in Thailand, or helping orphans in India?  Well John Marshall did and in a radical move to connect better with their teenage son and daughter, he and his wife quit their jobs and took a six month voluntourism break from life.  Wide Open World is the story of how six months moving around the globe volunteering changed all of their lives forever. 


As someone who loves to travel, I really appreciated Marshall’s honesty about the difficulties of the family’s trip, as well as, the wonders they

Jul 27, 2015

The two narrators alternate chapters telling the story of the splinters of their individual families melding into a new one. Eighth-grader Stewart and Ninth-grader Ashley are on their way to becoming step-siblings, with Stewart and his widower dad moving in with Ashley and her divorced mom--though Ashley's recently out-of-the-closet dad is still living in their backyard laneway house. They are a complete contrast of personalities and styles. As Stewart describes:


Our house--I mean, the house where I lived until today--was old. It was built in the 1940s, and it was a bungalow, and the

Shadow Spell

By Nora Roberts
4
Rated by Lisa J.
Dec 2, 2014

Book Two of the Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy finds the cousins and their friends planning their next move against the evil Cabahn.  This time the story focuses on Connor and his sister's best friend, Meara.  Following a surprise kiss which awakens unacknowledged feelings the two have for each other, things get interesting as each tries to deny the feelings they have and Cabahn uses their emerging romance to try to come between them.  Will love triumph over evil?  Don't miss this installment of  Shadow Spell. Also check out  Book Three, Blood Magick, which wraps up this trilogy.