Our souls At Night

By Kent Haruf

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Aug 10, 2018

I just loved Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf.

Set in a small town in Colorado during a current time period, this book kept me think about the situation that Addie Moore, a lonely widow, and Louis Waters, a widower have found themselves in. Being old and living alone can be very lonely.

What would I do if in my later years I became widowed and tried to have a relationship with a man my age?  Would my children try to direct my life? Role reversal between parent and children is a real problem when the parents don’t need to be parented.

But it's not all sad. It is also very happy when these

Time Writing Contest Winner

By Sarah Donohoe
Star Rating

Rated by Helen H.
May 23, 2018

Johnson County Library and The Writers Place are pleased to announce that Sarah Donohue has won the open category of our writing contest on the theme of TIME with "Grounded".

Donohue has been writing a weekly column in the Estes Park News in Estes Park, CO for 12 years. In 2017, she published "Slices of Life, Estes Park; Best of The Thunker Columns," a collection of favorite columns from the first 10 years. She currently lives in Lenexa and does seasonal work in Estes Park, supervising the hiking program for YMCA of the Rockies.


Gone hiking. Back about 2:00.

She put the note on

Alone Together

By Sherry Turkle

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Oct 3, 2017

As one who did not grow up with the internet, I was interested to see what Turkle's opinion is on where we began and where we currently are concerning the internet and how it has changed us.

Turkle’s writing is wonderfully readable and she has done a great job of translating facts and statistics into tangible, real-life scenarios we can all relate to in one way or another. One of the more interesting points Turkle makes in Alone Together, is that the average person might think with the explosion of an ever increasingly sophisticated technology, coupled with sites like Facebook and Twitter

Fairytale Girl and Martha's Vineyard, Isle of Dreams

By Susan Branch
Star Rating

Rated by Hannah Jane W.
Jun 8, 2016

The Fairy Tale Girl and Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams must be read together. The two books were originally meant to be one book, but Susan Branch’s life is so packed with living and inspiration that one book quickly became two very powerful volumes overflowing with growth, play, wisdom and a hefty dose of girl power. Though the books are heavy they are equally adorable, easy to tuck into and get lost for hours in. Susan Branch quickly becomes a sister within just a few pages and makes the reader feel like they are as much a part of her life as she is. 

The Fairytale Girl is a more than

Step by Step

By Candace Calvert
Star Rating

Rated by Lisa J.
May 2, 2016

It's been three years since her husband was killed in a freak accident and Taylor Cabot is making plans to start living again.  She’s made a moving-on list and is marking items off.  She's moved home, is getting active with the help of an activity tracker, and has replaced the donuts with healthier choices. She's even started spending time with a handsome plastic surgeon from the hospital where she works as an ER nurse. When her old friend, Seth Donovan, turns up at the hospital to train the crisis team, old feelings begin to resurface.  

While in San Diego to train crisis volunteers

The House on Fortune Street

By Margot Livesey
Star Rating

Rated by Heather B.
Feb 2, 2016

The House on Fortune Street by Margot Livesey is a beautifully written novel that explores the lives of four interconnected characters, each with a very different perspective on taking control of their fate versus succumbing to what luck (or misfortune) has to throw at them. 

Sean wants to finish his dissertation on Keats but abandons it to write a commercially commissioned book on euthanasia with his old friend Valentine. His life is disrupted even more when an anonymous letter hints that his girlfriend, Abigail, might be having an affair with Valentine. 

Cameron wants to repair the

The Girl's Guide to Homelessness: a Memoir

By Brianna Karp
Star Rating

Rated by Helen H.
Dec 29, 2015

Reading Brianna Karp’s memoir of losing her job, home, and family reminded me in many ways of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. Except instead of embarking on a months-long solo hike, as Strayed did, Karp faces the challenges of living in a trailer in a Walmart parking lot. With no water or electricity. Frustration at Brianna’s “unwise” choices (surrounding her involvement with a fellow homeless gent) is always followed by a heart-wrenching family story that would have left me a gelatinous blob.

Most compelling are Karp’s explorations of her own potential racism, degree of homelessness, family history

The Bone Clocks

By David Mitchell
Star Rating

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 Heart Goes Last

By Margaret Atwood
Star Rating

Rated by Heather B.
Oct 28, 2015

The Heart Goes Last takes place somewhere in the near future, after a catastrophic economic crash. Most people are unemployed. Many are homeless. Young married couple Stan and Charmaine are reduced to living in their car, barely surviving on the money Charmaine makes at her waitressing job. Things are desperately bleak and seem unlikely to improve at any point in the future, which is why Stan and Charmaine sign up without much hesitation for a new social experiment: The Positron Project offers the guarantee of a job and a place to live; the catch, however, is that all residents must spend


By Dee Henderson
Star Rating

Rated by Lisa J.
Aug 10, 2015

Matthew Dane was a police officer until his daughter was kidnapped and missing for years.  He then left the force and started a private detective service so he could continue the search for his daughter.  Once his daughter was found, he was able to help her adjust to life outside of captivity and then help other families in the same situation.  

Shannon Bliss went missing at the age of 16.  Now, almost 12 years later, Matthew finds a woman waiting for him outside his hotel room claiming to be Shannon Bliss.  She is seeking his assistance in reuniting with her family and bringing down the

About Time (DVD)

By Richard Curtis

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
May 31, 2015

Starring Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson, About Time is a sentimental movie about a unique family with a special gift. At twenty-one, Tim learns from his father that all the men in the family can travel in time, back to any moment in their own life.  Tim becomes determined to make the most of his talent and use it to find true love. It doesn't work out great at first but a chance meeting with Mary starts a journey of a lifetime. About Time is charming, clever, intelligent and very funny. In the end, Tim learns to appreciate life and cherishing the people around him. It's a great date movie

The Five Love Languages

By Gary Chapman
Star Rating

Rated by Caitlin P
Apr 20, 2015

Quality time. Words of affirmation. Physical touch. Receiving gifts. Acts of service. These are the five ways that people give and receive love according to relationship counselor Dr. Gary Chapman. This book guides you in how to “fill the love tank,” as Chapman words it, of your partner by learning how to assess the way your partner wants to receive love. By knowing which love language your partner speaks (i.e. which way they want to receive love), you can improve even the healthiest of relationships.

Originally written in 1992, the book still remains relevant today. The success of this work


By Spike Jonze

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Sep 8, 2014

This 2014 Academy Award Winning movie for Best Original Screenplay written and directed by Spike Jonze is your typical boy meets girl, boy falls in love, girl is an advanced computer operating system....wait, what? Actually, Her is anything but a typical love story. It is instead a very interesting exploration of the increasing role that technology plays in our everyday lives and where that might take human relationships in the future. Joaquin Phoenix has the starring role as Theodore Twombly, a man recently separated from his wife, who installs a new advanced operating system (voice played by

Asterios Polyp

By David Mazzucchelli
Star Rating

Rated by Helen H.
Mar 21, 2014

Asterios Polyp is a self-assured, domineering, wind-bag of a paper architect. A paper architect being one “whose reputation rests on his designs, rather than on the buildings constructed from them. In fact, none of his designs had ever been built.”

When we meet Asterios, his Manhattan apartment, where he wallows in self-pity while riding out a mid-life crisis, has just burned to the ground. So he takes the last of his money, hops on a bus, and “give[s] up on the one thing [he] thought defined him.” And it “prove[s] to be a lot less difficult than [he] could have imagined.”

Asterious Polyp is

The Good House

By Ann Leary
Star Rating

Rated by Sarah As
Dec 5, 2013

When I picked up this book, I thought the title was reflective of a "good" house as opposed to a "bad" house, but actually the lead character and narrator of the novel is named Hildy Good. Hildy is a successful real estate agent in Wendover, Massachusetts, a town along Boston's north shore, where she "makes it her business to know everybody's business." She is the mother of two grown daughters and is an ex-wife to a husband who revealed to her he was gay after 20-plus years of marriage. This darkly comic story revolves around the fact that she is also a not-so recovering alcoholic, adept at

May 2, 2013

Whenever I’m asked for a “gentle read” my go-to author is Maeve Binchy. Her novels are standalone, not a series; so the order in which they are read doesn’t matter. There is no sex, language or violence in Binchy’s books. They are about the dramas of daily life: relationships with parents, children or spouses; your place in a community; identity and what you want to do with your life.

The characters in Binchy’s stories are very likeable. They are real people with flaws, who make mistakes and are easy to root for. The problems and issues they grapple with are believable, with a twist. Binchy

Apr 8, 2013

A modern-day fairy tale with some teen drama and angst thrown in!  A 15-year-old girl brings a storybook character to life as she struggles with her own real-life issues. My 12-year-old daughter and I both really enjoyed this book! It would make a great mother/daughter read. The audiobook provides three different voices which added to my enjoyment of the story.  Another fun fact is that it is co-written with Jodi Picoult’s daughter.

Feb 15, 2013

Can’t decide between team Edward and Team Jacob? Try Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan. The town of New Whitby was founded by vampires. While there’s not a lot of mingling between vampires and humans, they have mostly co-existed peacefully. But when Mel’s best friend Cathy seems to be falling for the courtly, old-fashioned vampire who just enrolled at their high school, Mel knows she has to intervene. As it says on the cover “Friends don’t let friends date vampires”.

Then there’s the troubling mystery of what happened to the father of Anna, another close friend of Mel


Rated by Rachel N.
Feb 14, 2013

What would you do if you were given the option to know when you would meet your soul mate? Would you want to find out? Oona (Emma Caulfield) desperately wants to know the answer to when and who. In her world you can find out by having a timer embedded in your wrist. There’s a catch, your soul mate also has to have a timer for the countdown to begin. Oona’s timer is blank. She dates people who are timer-free and when things start to get serious, she takes them to get timers. Unfortunately this results in the termination of the relationship, as the newly embedded individual is not her match

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

Rated by Jennifer R.
Sep 11, 2012

In this dystopian/alternate world novel, The Pledge by Kimberly Derting, the country of Lundania is on the brink of war. The Queen, whose magical powers pass down through generations, is growing old and does not have a female heir. In Lundania, and the surrounding countries, a Queen must be on the throne in order to be recognized as a country. Lundania, and its class system, is slowly falling apart. Language is the tool used to determine what class a person is in, and if one tries to go outside their class the immediate punishment is death. Seventeen year old Charlaina (Charlie) has the

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Star Rating

Rated by Jennifer W.M.
Jun 6, 2012

The setting is San Francisco, current day.  A wayward teen never adopted has maxed out on state help and is forced out into the world.  As the story unfolds the back story of Victoria’s life is revealed, including the many mistakes she has made.  She has a gift with flowers and shares that gift with others.    The reader watches her develop and grow and yet continue to make mistakes.  A frustrating read, though engaging.  Victoria is not particularly likeable yet I found myself rooting for her.  Appropriate for teens and up.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Star Rating

Rated by Jennifer R.
Feb 15, 2012

Juliette has not been touched for over three years. She has not seen a single soul, except for the hand that brings her food once a day, if she is lucky. Juliette can never be touched. It is her curse that she has borne since her infancy, and it is the cursed ability that landed her in an asylum and torn away from a life where she was shunned by everyone, including her parents. Juliette is immediately turned upside down when she is re-introduced to the only kind soul she has ever known, the soldier Adam, and the only person who can ever touch her without dying. Juliette is then thrown in the

Triangles by Ellen Hopkins

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Nov 23, 2011

Ellen Hopkins is one of the most frequently challenged young adult authors of the 21 century. She is known for not being afraid to tackle controversial issues and taking on topics such as drug addiction, sexual abuse or teen prostitution. Her novels have been very popular among teens and adults alike. Ellen Hopkins recently visited the Johnson County Library to talk about her books. It was at her event, where I learnt about Triangles, Hopkins’ first novel for adults. As soon as I started reading the novel, I was captivated and blown away.

In Triangles, Hopkins offers a powerful realistic

Timer DVD

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Oct 21, 2011

Even if you are not a big fan of “chick flicks,” you should give this one a chance.  The plot of the movie is little more than that of two people falling in love after overcoming several obstacles.  This comedy has a twist of a futuristic nature.

The love candidates live in a time when a special digital watch-like implant was invented to do all the matchmaking.  The implant shows an exact time when one is supposed to meet their soul mate.  The timer turns on the minute ones true love receives an implant.  And if the watch turns up blank, one’s soul mate does not have an implant yet.

 In this

Jul 7, 2011

 As Cathi Hanauer, the editor of The Bitch in the House, explains, “This book was born out of anger…which stemmed from a combination of guilt, resentment, exhaustion, naivete, and the chaos of my life at the time.”  Sharing her thoughts and feelings about her situation in late night e-mails to friends brought her to the realizations that a) many women were facing the same struggles and that b) she was gaining comfort and insight from these conversations.   These realizations led her to approach women she knew and knew of, with the idea of writing essays about their own personal choices and

May 31, 2011

As a non-Christian reader, I found Isaacs’s memoir more whiney than snarky. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy some aspects of the book. But I found myself wondering why Isaacs repeatedly makes bone-headed personal and professional choices based on what she thinks God wants her to do. And then claims to have been “torched by God”.

 I was especially put off by Isaacs’s therapy sessions, where she engages in couples counseling in order to divorce God. Her counselor makes her imagine what God and Jesus say in their defense to all her whining. I mean snark. Again, why is she trying to second

The Radleys a novel by Matt Haig

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
May 6, 2011

The Radleys is a story of an all American disfunctional family with 2 parents 1 daughter and 1 son. The parents want to deny who they truly are, and so do not tell the children who they really are.
Trying to be something they are not causes the children a lot of physical sickness and mental stress. The daughter is attacked by a classmate and she reacts in a way she never dreamed of. She killed the boy and drank his blood. Yes, they are a family of vampires.
I found The Radleys a fun read but a little bloody. Just the way I like it.

Mar 1, 2011

When Jonell Richardson McLain falls in love with a diamond necklace far outside her price range, she gets the brilliant idea to gather a group of women who, with combined purchasing power, can share the $32,000 necklace. That she could gather thirteen women, all willing to commit to the project is amazing, but she was able to cut a deal with the owner of the jewelry store if she included his wife in the group.

At their first meeting they hadn’t even decided how they would share the necklace, but soon decided that the necklace would pass to a new group member every 28 days. She could then do

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

Rated by Diane H.
Feb 17, 2011

The Luxe, by Anna Godbersen, reminds me a little of a Jane Austen novel in that the rules of society can be imprsioning and can cause much tragedy and heartache. The story takes place in Manhattan at the very end of 1899. It is the story of the elite, the upper class, the wealthy. They live in their own world, filled with dancing, parties, social visits, the opera,  lavish dinners, and rules. The rules determine what one can and cannot do, say and not say, at least in public. It is a world where a few words spoken to the right person can ruin a woman’s reputation, and hence, her future as the

Feb 11, 2011

Follow Lenny and Eunice as they try to find their way in this futuristic novel set in New York City approximately 60 years in the future. This cautionary political satire depicts a world where technology and the information age have taken over and no one knows how to communicate in person anymore, no one reads books anymore, and any semblance of values, morals, or modesty is out the window. Lenny, a near 40 year old, born of Russian immigrants, falls for a 20-something Korean girl who has been abused by her family and is struggling to find herself. Both struggle to make sense of the chaos