Reviews

Staff Review
Cover of Yellowface by R.F. Kuang

Yellowface by R. F. Kuang

By R. F. Kuang
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Allison M
May 11, 2023

R. F. Kuang is known for her fantasy novels but steps outside of the genre in this satirical, unreliable-narrator novel. Yellowface is, if nothing else, a compulsively interesting read. Some of the Goodreads reviews are pretty divided on it, which I think is testament to the complexity of the satire that R. F. Kuang has introduced. Kuang, who is Chinese-American, writes from the perspective of a white woman whose friend is a successful Asian writer.

Staff Review
bald man with glasses in long sleeved shirt looking pensive

Cycles Writing Contest Winner

By Steve Brisendine
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Helen H.
May 4, 2023

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Steve Brisendine has won our writing contest on the theme of Cycles with his piece "Cyclone/cyclic."

Staff Review
Book Cover

You Feel It Just Below the Ribs

By Jeffrey Cranor and Janina Matthewson
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Chris K.
Apr 25, 2023

What a perfectly sinister, unsettling little book. Well, not so much a "little book," more a little amount of unease. A mildly sinister and unsettling book--in the best possible way. It is subtle. A tickle. Something not quite right gnawing at the edges, never openly stated, never resolved. Ambiguous and open to interpretation, with no interpretation feeling like a good one.

Staff Review
headshot blond woman smiling

Cycles Writing Contest Winner

By Claire McMurray
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Helen H.
Apr 12, 2023

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Claire McMurray has won our writing contest on the theme of Cycles with her piece "In And Out of Our Lives."

Claire is a former academic who now writes about special needs parenting. You can her find posts, articles, and winning non-fiction essays on her blog, I Don't Know How You Do It (www.idontknowhowyoudoit.org).

Staff Review
cover of The Seventh Wish, has a goldfish with green eyes under the water

The Seventh Wish

By Kate Messner
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Kristen R
Apr 3, 2023

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

 

The Seventh Wish, by Kate Messner, interweaves fantasy and real life.  This middle-grade fiction novel focuses on magic, empathy, overcoming obstacles, and family/friend relationships. 

Charlie Brennan, twelve-years-old, is ice fishing when she catches her first fish.  The fish offers her a wish in trade for its freedom. 

Staff Review
Young smiling woman with long curly hair parted in middle in a white shirt and dark jacket

Cycles Writing Contest Winner

By Theresa Kopper
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Helen H.
Mar 30, 2023

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Theresa Kopper has won our writing contest on the theme of Cycles with her piece "Someone Forgotten."

I am just beginning my creative writing quest. I write as a hobby, in between taking care of my two children, and working as an environmental engineer. This story is about the harmful cycle of beauty, and how it impacts those most vulnerable. As well as, how our society rewards those who continue this cycle.

Someone Forgotten

Staff Review
Book Cover

Land of the Dead: Lessons From the Underworld on Storytelling and Living

By Brian McDonald
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Chris K.
Mar 20, 2023

I was, I think, 18 years old when I saw the movie Flatliners; just the right age for it to make a vivid impression on me even though it has never been thought of as a particularly good film. The characters are medical students who agree to take turns temporarily dying ("flatlining") before being revived by the others. They hope to experience a moment of the afterlife to gain insight and wisdom. They wanted, in the parlance of this book, to learn from a visit to the land of the dead.



Staff Review
image with black background and a golden spoon

The Golden Spoon

By Jessa Maxwell
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Jesseca B.
Mar 16, 2023

Six contestants compete to win the Golden Spoon in a baking competition TV show, but nobody can guess the outrageous events in store for them. There's an unspoken rivalry between the established baking judge Betsy Martin (and owner of the grand Grafton Manor house where the TV show is filmed) and the smarmy new judge, Archie Morris. Tensions rise as the pressure to create the best bake and keep the show relevant are all on the line. Some contestants have secret reasons for wanting to be on the show, and someone seems to be tampering with competitor's ingredients (Gasp! Sabotage!).

Staff Review
A white house on a hill with a woman on a broomstick flying above. There is a yellow car in the driveway and a man in yellow standing in the lower right corner looking up at the woman.

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches

By Sangu Mandanna
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Michelle H
Mar 13, 2023

I loved The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches sooooo much! Everything about it sparkles with stardust. Found family, sweet romance, slow-smile humor and magical mayhem are all here for your enjoyment. The main characters are wonderfully developed and even with their secrets and flaws you want to serve them tea, give them hugs and wrap them up in soft blankets.