Dec 23, 2021

Black Wings Beating is the first book in Alex London’s young adult fantasy series, Skybound. This novel follows twins Kylee and Brysen as they find themselves in the middle of a war between the sky and the earth. Together, the twins will venture into the treacherous mountains to find the deadly Ghost Eagle that could help their people win the war. I enjoyed the complex relationships that London presented, but I hated how Kylee kept dimming herself to fuel Brysen’s arrogance. Furthermore, the world-building had great potential, but it was detailed to the point of confusion at times.

Dec 7, 2021

The story of the men of the Alpha Company during the Vietnam War. During this story, we learn the stories of these men, and their lives before, during, and after the war. It is not told through one specific person, but instead takes turns in telling the stories of each member through their perspectives, or their fellow soldiers’.

I was honestly blown away by this book. I am usually not one for war stories, but my friend spoke highly of it so I decided to give it a read, and I sure am happy I did. O’Brien does a brilliant job of telling the story of these men and the Vietnam. Told through

Oct 21, 2021

The Things They Carried is a work of fiction; however, it was based on actual events from the author, Tim O’Brien’s time in Vietnam. In a collection of short stories about soldiers in the Vietnam War, O’Brien tells a story that reveals Vietnam’s effects. The best thing about this novel is the author’s writing style; he writes like he’s sharing memories. There are time jumps and events that take place out of order to convey this unique type of storytelling. This novel leaves the reader feeling like they, too, carry a piece of Vietnam.

Oct 21, 2021

Ender’s Game follows a brilliant 6-year-old kid named Andrew “Ender” Wiggin. Set in the future, humans are fighting a war with an alien race called “buggers”. The humans win the war, but are fearful of another attack, and so they train gifted children in a satellite called the “Battle School” to become future commanders against the buggers. Ender is born as a third child in a world where only two children are allowed due to the giftedness of his siblings, Peter a sociopath and Valentine, a caring sister. He gets into a fight at school, and his promise is seen by Colonel Graff, a commander of

Oct 21, 2021

Kestrel lives in an empire that relishes in violence and war. They enslave others they conquer and show no mercy. Kestrel is the general’s daughter, and as such she is aware of the methods of her empire. As a seventeen-year-old young woman, Kestrel has a decision that could alter the rest of her life: she can join the military or get married. A strong, independent woman, Kestrel battles for another option.

Her first act of rebellion commences with her decision to befriend a slave she bought at the auction. This man is no ordinary slave, and Kestrel is quite confused at the whirlwind of

Oct 19, 2021

Red shouldn’t have picked up the letter. Shouldn’t have betrayed her people. Shouldn’t have replied. But she did, and now nothing will ever be the same again. Red is a time traveler working for the Agency, a technotopia, while Blue is an agent for the Garden, a vast, organic entity rooted in nature. As rivals, they travel through strands of alternate realities and dimensions, influencing them to guide the path of the future in an all-encompassing war. They were made to be enemies — so why does it feel so right when they craft the words that bridge the untraversable gap between them?


Sep 6, 2021

How do you repair a world torn apart by the horrors of war? Karou might have an answer to this impossible question. Working as the new resurrectionist, Karou has built a formidable army of chimaera from teeth and souls. But things are far from over — the ruthless emperor of the Seraphim prepares to march on the human world with his soldiers dressed as angels, ready to receive a welcome fit for kings. With no choice left, Karou forms an uneasy alliance with Akiva and his army of renegade Seraphim — one that just might change the course of the war.

This was a fantastic conclusion to the

Jun 2, 2021

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin is about two main characters, Malik and Karina. This book is fantasy fiction with a little bit of West African culture as inspiration for key parts of the book. The point of view shifts from Malik and Karina throughout the book to show two very different perspectives, one a poor refugee, and the other a princess. Unfortunately, both Malik and Karina need the other to die in order to save someone they love. Throughout the entire book, the reader can see Malik and Karina grow together, while simultaneously trying to work up the nerve to kill the other.

I thought

Apr 27, 2021

Lone Survivor is a true eyewitness account of Operation Redwing written by SEAL Marcus Luttrell. In it, he tells the remarkable and tragic story of how he became the only surviving member of SEAL team ten. Near the beginning of the book, to help explain the phenomenal stamina, strength, and courage SEALs have, the author describes his experiences in SEAL training. Both the physical and mental capacity of those who make it through must be enormous, as only six percent of those who attempt to pass the extremely physically demanding exercises, sleep deprivation, and stressful environment actually

Women's Voices Writing Contest Winner

By Virginia Brackett
Rated by Helen H.
Jan 11, 2019

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Virginia Brackett has won the open category of our writing contest on the theme of WOMEN'S VOICES with "Mrs. Cross".

Virginia Brackett, Professor Emeritus of English, retired in 2016 from Park University where she directed the Honors Academy and received varied teaching and service awards, including Faculty Member of the Year, 2013 for Exceptional Services to Student Veterans. She served as a discussion facilitator for the 2017 NEH-funded initiative for veterans and their families, Planting the Oar. Brackett serves on the Kansas City


Rated by
Apr 27, 2017

Life on Hayling Island seems isolated from the outside world for 14 year old Alix. Problems like terrorism, wars, and refugees seem worlds away. But one day at the beach, Alix and her friend find a drowning illegal immigrant who was tortured by the rebels in Iraq for helping the allied forces. Mohammed is desperate to not be deported and now his life falls in her hands. She must face this moral dilemma on her own, one mistake and they will be discovered.

Well, I wasn't sure about the book to begin with but in all it was a great read and I really learned something about what immigrants have

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

May 4, 2016

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is a historical fiction set mainly in 1996 and 2004. The novel opens with Dokka, a villager in the town of Eldar in Chechnya is kidnapped by the Feds, leaving behind his daughter Havaa. A kind neighbor, Akhmed takes it upon himself to care for her and brings her to a local hospital where he hopes she can find refuge. This novel is beautifully written with gorgeous intertwining storylines.

The cover is beautiful and the novel is wonderfully and lyrically written. Everything is described in detail and in the end it was well worth the read. I'm glad I stuck

When the Moon is Low

By Nadia Hashimi
Rated by Katie S.
Sep 27, 2015

Imagine that food is scarce, money is even scarcer, education is not an option for women and freedom of anything - speech, religion, choice - no longer exists. This is Afghanistan in the 1990s, the world in which Fereiba now lives and she is desperately seeking a way out. She grew up in a better time where she was able to go to school, teach and live a respectable but free life. She recounts her childhood and growing up in a middle-class family while remembering her first love and how heartbroken she was when he married her sister. But now she is married herself to a wonderful man who supports

Maisie Dobbs

By Jacqueline Winspear
Rated by Katie S.
Jun 3, 2015

Maisie Dobbs' first case as a private detective is not what she expected nor wanted. But in the spring of 1929 in her new London office her first client walks through her door and asks for her assistance with a love triangle. Maisie, who was born into a working class family, is aware of her status and sex and is trying to make her mark in the detective world and so takes on the case as professionally as she possibly can. She has an inherent intuition about people and situations as well as a skill for attention to detail which she honed through years of reading, attending university and finally

The Fifth Wave

By Rick Yancey
Rated by Jennifer R.
Apr 17, 2015

On a day like any other day, the Others arrived. Their mothership lit up the sky and the human race was forever changed. The Others came in waves taking away electricity, bringing upon the world a plague, sending out evil drones to take care of the survivors, and now, they have taken on the form of humans. The idea of trust (or lack thereof) and the depths that humans will sink to survive are constantly replayed over and over through the actions of the multiple protagonists that Yancey introduces in the story. We meet the main protagonist, Cassiopeia “Cassie” Sullivan when she is at her lowest

Ender's Game

By Orson Scott Card
Rated by Hope H.
Nov 25, 2014

Confession #1: I shy away from Science Fiction.Confession #2: I checked this out because the audiobook was readily available... Confession #3: And maybe because there was a lot of buzz about the movie.

And you know what? I liked it. A lot. So much that I immediately started listening to another book in the series because I couldn't compel myself to finish my weekend housework unless my mind was in the universe of Ender Wiggin.

Admittedly, it took awhile getting used to young children conversing in such a mature tone, but the characters drew me in. Ender is unrealistically pure, a type of

The Farther Shore

By Matthew Eck
Rated by Helen H.
Nov 5, 2014

Just as powerful as Kevin Powers’ The Yellow Birds, The Farther Shore is the story of what happens to our military men and women when we send them to hostile countries for reasons no one really understands.

Joshua Stantz is monitoring the bombing of a city in Somalia when things go horribly wrong. And they continue to go wrong, for how could they go anything but wrong? As Stantz and his company make their way across the warring city, searching for the army that has abandoned them, the reader is given a clear view into the hearts and minds of men thrown into a multitude of conflicts with no


By Alejandro Amenábar
Rated by Katie S.
Aug 15, 2014

Based in Roman Egypt, Agora is about a female professor and philosopher, Hypatia, who teaches young men about science. Encouraged by her father, she surrounds herself with information in the great library of Alexandria and is constantly testing new scientific theories. She is quite content to live her life researching but several men would like to marry her, including Orestes, one of the disciples that she teaches, and Davus, her slave. Love, however, is not the only thing that Hypatia has to worry about. Although their world seems calm and peaceful, an uprising by Christians begins to brew

Feb 3, 2014

The War of 1812 is one of the “forgotten wars” of the United States. It is, however, the conflict that helped to create the nation we have and provided the inspiration to our national anthem. In Through the Perilous Fight, Steve Vogel skillfully weaves together a narrative highlighting an eight week period of Washington D.C.’s history. Despite poor decisions, bad tactics, and the demoralizing burning of the city, the United States managed to survive and end the war that came very close to destroying the fledgling country. The only thing that I would have added is a back story to the War of

Nov 30, 2010

WarIn Sebastian Junger’s latest non-fiction adventure War, the author spends parts of 15 months embedded with American soldiers in one of the deadliest locations in Afghanistan.  This is not a history of Afghanistan, not a commentary on US foreign policy, or a romanticized look at combat.  Politics and culture are far removed from the daily lives of the young men Junger observes and emotionally bonds with in the Korengal Valley.  Junger did almost everything with the 2nd Battalion: he patrolled with them, went through fire fights, ate military rations, interviewed them during the down times, and