Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor

By Krystal Stanich,

Favorite Moment: 

[Queen Eleanor] :“I wonder…will this world always belong solely to men?” 

[Hope]: “No, Your Grace. Not always.”

[Queen Eleanor]: “I shall, of course, not live to witness such a thing. But perhaps…to help sow the seeds of that glorious harvest?”

Krystal’s Review: 

This book was bloody fantastic! ANOTHER book set in Scotland–that’s it, I’m packing my bags and heading to Scotland. What originally caught my eye about this book was the blurb on the front cover from Diana Gabaldon, the author of Outlander– “Instantly engaging, constantly suspenseful, ultimately poignant and satisfying.”  After finishing the book, I completely agree with her. I’ve not read too many time travel books, but the ones I have read were pretty terrific, so this book needed to measure up…which it definitely did. 

Things I loved about this book: Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, the massive quantities of action, the attention to time travel rules and Tesla, the historical focus on King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine (historical figures that I’ve never read about– must do more research! From my quick search, the author was pretty historically accurate), Phoebe and Bran (Phoebe reminded me of Alice in Twilight), the underlying theme of feminism, a love triangle, and the character development we see in Hope. 

I was THRILLED to discover that there is a sequel, Sparks of Light, which I will be checking out from the library forthwith.

Check out this book if you like: Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren, Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, or Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier.

The Art of Not Breathing by Sarah Alexander

By Krystal Stanich,

The Art of Not Breathing

Favorite quote from the book:

“Diving. Every dive is different, and two people doing the same dive will have different experiences. And if you dive in the same spot at a different time of day, it will be different. It’s the same with a painting.” (p128).

Review:

Sarah Alexander has done an excellent job with her first novel. I went into this book with no expectations; I’d never heard of the author or the book. This book is so hard to write about because it emcompasses so much–it’s part mystery as the main character tries to piece together her fragmented memories of her twin brother drowning when she was 11 (five years before the story starts), part grief–as we see how each character deals with this traumatic loss, and part family–the family is literally falling apart as they each drown in their own grief. The symbolism of not being able to breathe is woven around both the brother’s drowning and all of the family’s grief.

Although there is a romantic element to the story (and an ALMOST love triangle, but we’ll just chalk that up to confused hormones), it’s nowhere near as important as Elsie’s desire to get closure for her dead twin. This one traumatic experience has impacted more lives than you’d think, and the way they’ve all dealt with their grief is unique to each character:  Elsie’s compulsive stealing and obsessive desire to learn to free dive, her older brother’s eating disorder, her mother’s alcoholism, and her father’s anger.

This was one of the more “real” realistic fiction books I’ve read in quite a long time. I typically don’t like unreliable narrators (actually…still don’t), but I really appreciated (I’m not going to say enjoy because this is NOT a happy read) this book. I’m absolutely terrible at solving mysteries, and my attempts to guess where these types of stories are going are always so far off the mark it’s laughable. I particularly love a lot of foreshadowing that the author does that you have no clue is foreshadowing until the ending…in which case you have to immediately flip back to those scenes with an “Ah ha!” mentality. Another realistic element of the story is its setting–Fortrose, Scotland. Alexander’s imagery is fantastic, and if you pair that up with Google Maps, you can literally walk around the story. 

Read this book if you like: I’ll Give you the Sun by Jandy Nelson, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, or Postcards for a Songbird by Rebekah Crane.

Krystal S.

Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee

By Krystal Stanich,

Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee

Krystal’s Review:

Favorite quote from the book:

“You really have no choice in this life but to believe with all your heart that you’re extraordinary. You have to hold this conviction against all evidence to the contrary. Living is too sad otherwise” (p3).

Everyone, this book is gorgeously written. Zentner’s imagery and attention to writing authentic characters makes me fall in love a little more after every book he finishes. After reading his first book, The Serpent King, I was worried to read this one–that book gutted me so much that when I met Zentner at the recent PLA Conference, I made him sign an apology for making me cry. Don’t get me wrong, I still cried during this book, but I didn’t UGLY CRY…

My favorite part of this book is how Zentner portrayed all of the relationships. Josie and Delia have the perfect best friendship. I would’ve loved hanging out with them in high school– Josie and Delia’s candidness with each other, their families, and everyone they meet was so refreshing. I hate reading books where the characters are all hiding things or lying to each other to build up the plot.

Also, the parents (outside of Delia’s dad) weren’t overly idealized or terrible parents. I think Zentner represented the parents as good, but with flaws. Like Delia’s mom. Is her mom perfect? Absolutely not. But when it counts, her mom always shows up and is there for her (as opposed to her father). Josie and Lawson’s parents weren’t quite a focal point, but they both were supportive and loving in the scenes they showed up in.

The romantic relationship of the story is usually where I really judge a book, and Zentner did a great job of making it a healthy relationship. I loved Josie and Lawson together. Josie and Lawson always treat each other with respect. A pivotal point before they start dating is when Josie has a realization about Lawson:

I never feel like I need to hide any part of who I am. Being around him feels like waking up on a Saturday morning when the whole day ahead of you is free and you’ve slept the perfect amount, and your bed is the most ideal temperature, it’s like you’re part of an experiment in human comfort. It’s so easy. So effortless” (pg 196).

Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee is like the Mariana Trench level of deepness. This book covers depression, separation anxiety caused by a parent leaving, financial problems, and so much more. On the flip side, this book made me bust out in giggles–multiple times. Zentner knows how to deliver the perfect amount of balance to keep the over-all tone of the book uplifting. You’ll leave this book with a smile on your face.

Read this book if you like: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen, Puddin’ by Julie Murphy, or Postcards for a Songbird by Rebekah Crane.

Krystal S.

The Seed Library Moon Garden

By Krystal Stanich,

As part of this year’s Summer Reading fantasy and fairy tale theme, The Seed Library has partnered with the Hancock County Master Gardeners to grow a Moon Garden. What’s a Moon Garden, you may ask? Basically, it’s an all-white flower garden that can be enjoyed in both the daytime AND the evening. We have a variety of different plants from moonflowers to white sunflowers that we are excited to watch grow over the summer months.

In addition to the garden, the Hancock County Master Gardeners are also leading two gardening programs:

6/22–Moon Gardens Join us via Google Meeting as we discuss moon garden flowers and layouts (registration is required to get meeting code).

7/22–Fairy Gardens Join us via Google Meeting as we talk fairy garden flowers and make fairy gardens in a clay jar (registration is required to get meeting code and pick up materials before the program).

“Imagine Your Story” Summer Reading 2020

By Krystal Stanich,

Summer Reading is “virtually” here! “Imagine Your Story” with us this summer from June 6-July 25, 2020 as we read, explore, and create fantasy/fairy tale themed books and programs. As in previous years, we are using the Beanstack app to log and track our minutes to be eligible for prizes throughout the summer. You can register at nchcpl.beanstack.org.

Adult and Teen Programs

For every 100 minutes read and library program attended, teens and adults will be entered for weekly drawings of $10 gift certificates to local businesses, in addition to the grand prize of their preference. 

Since the program is exclusively online this year, you’ll be choosing which grand prize you want upon registry. The adults will register into either the Adult Summer Reading Harry Potter Gift Bundle Program, or the Renaissance Themed Gift Bundle Program. The teens will register for either the Fantasy Creature Themed Gift Bundle Program, or the Fairy Tail (the popular anime/manga series) Gift Bundle Program. 

We are practicing social distancing, so most of the crafts will be available to pick up before the program, and then we’ll do them together via Google Meeting. Registration will be required for all adult and teen craft programs so that your craft supplies can be ready for you to pick up, and so that you’ll be emailed a link to the Google Meeting. The library has also started a YouTube channel, so please check out our ongoing series: Children’s Storytimes, First Chapter Fridays, and Tech Tuesdays. 

Some program highlights for this summer are: a live-streaming interview on Komodo Dragons with the Virginia Aquarium via the library’s YouTube channel on July 14th at 6pm, an outdoor family karaoke night planned for July 16th from 6-8pm, the Red Rum Pirate Band will perform for our outdoor Noteworthy Concert sponsored by the Friends of the Library on July 23rd at 7pm, and lastly we’ll be showing a free screening of This Beautiful Fantastic at the 1400 Plaza on July 24th at 8:30pm. 

Children’s Program

“Log your minutes on Beanstack (get the app for super easy logging!). The 2020 Children’s Summer Reading theme is “Imagine Your Story”.  There tons of virtual fantasy/fairy tale-themed programs we hope you can join us in this summer. This year’s grand prize is a basket filled with fairy tale related items. Once your child has read 400 minutes they are halfway done with the program and will receive a small prize and a raffle to the prize basket. After they have read 800 minutes they will have completed the program and will receive another small prize, a free book and another raffle ticket for the prize basket. If your child would like to read beyond the 800 minutes they can and will earn more raffles to the prize basket.  You can register your child (baby-6th graders) at: nchcpl.beanstack.org.”

All programs are virtual this summer. 

Seeds Now Available for Curbside Pickup

By Krystal Stanich,

Seeds are available for curbside pickup! Check out the Seed Library website to place your seed requests: http://www.nchcpl.org/services/seed-library/

How does it work? 

First, each family is permitted up to 10 envelopes of seeds per month (one packet of each type due to limited availability). 

  1. Fill out the Seed Request Form. You’ll be notified when the seed order has been put together and a date/time will be arranged for pickup during the library’s curbside hours.
  2. Plant your seeds ( try to hold on to the packets), and feel free to contact Kathie Ward if you have any gardening questions at kathiew@nchcpl.org
  3. After you’ve harvested, collect a few of the seeds and place them back in the corresponding envelope to drop off at the library. 

That’s it! You’ve now taken part in a seed library lending program. 

Kanopy Movie Spotlight: The Most Dangerous Game

By Krystal Stanich,

The Most Dangerous Game (1932) is based upon a famous short story by Richard Connell. It follows a big game hunter, Bob Rainsford (Joel McCrea), who becomes shipwrecked on a remote island. There he finds the mansion of Count Zaroff (Leslie Banks). He is made welcome and meets two other survivors of a previous shipwreck. They are brother and sister Martin and Eve Towbridge, played by Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong. Much to their fear and disgust, they soon learn that Zaroff hunts human quarry and find themselves being hunted by the insane Zaroff.

Using the same jungle set constructed for King Kong (1933), The Most Dangerous Game was a place-holder to keep key cast and crew available during Kong’s long production schedule. This included actors Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong, as well as music composer Max Steiner. Though by modern standards it’s technically primitive, The Most Dangerous Game is still well worth checking out. The strong story and no holds barred action continue to make the film solid entertainment after nearly 90 years.

-AV Staff Member, Josh D.

Staff Movie Night Pick: MARX BROTHERS DOUBLE FEATURE

By Krystal Stanich,

Staff Movie Picks

Duck Soup and Monkey Business are two classics from the legendary comedy team, The Marx Brothers. These films were made during the team’s “golden period,” which ran from The Cocoanuts, their first comedy at Paramount, to A Day at the Races, their second comedy at Metro Goldwyn Mayer. 
Let’s kick off with Duck Soup, directed by Leo McCarey. His credits include Make Way for Tomorrow, Going My Way, and The Bells of St. Mary’s. It is a political satire in which Groucho is Rufus T. Firefly, the ruler of Freedonia who declares war on Sylvania over the love of Mrs. Teasdale. Duck Soup was the Marx Brothers’ last comedy for Paramount before moving to MGM. Some critics and historians consider Duck Soup to be the team’s greatest comedy, while others argue in favor of A Night at the Opera, the Marx Brothers’ first feature for MGM. 
Next, let’s talk about some Monkey Business, directed by Norman Z. McLeod. He went on to direct the acclaimed W.C. Fields comedy It’s a Gift. Monkey Business was the Marx Brothers’ third film and marked a turning point in which they really  hit their stride. Their first two features were adaptations of their vaudeville stage plays. Monkey Business was written for the movies, fast paced and hilarious. Long-time fans and newcomers are sure to enjoy both films and we recommend making it a double feature movie night.Let us know what you think of these movies!

-AV Staff Member, Josh D.

Christmas Open House

By Krystal Stanich,

What does The Nutcracker, Santa, and an Arctic fox all have in common? They are going to be at this year’s Christmas Open House on Saturday, December 7th! Join us from 10am to 4pm for a full day of events!

We’ll kick off  at 10am with the Muncie Ballet Studio performing a preview of their upcoming Nutcracker Performance at Cornerstone Center for the Arts in Muncie. You don’t want to miss this–the kids look adorable in their costumes! Registration is available if you’d like to take part of the craft after the show.

After the show, run upstairs to hear library staff do a reading of The Night Before Christmas at the main fireplace (by the Information Desk) at 11:30. We also have a LIVE TRAIN DISPLAY happening in front of the AV area, also on the second floor. The train display is up from 10-2, so you should have plenty of time to marvel at the intricate railways!

At 12pm, Santa will arrive in all his holiday glory to meet little ones by the main fireplace. Due to a few too many cookies last year, Mrs. Claus has informed us that Santa isn’t to arrive DOWN the fireplace this year, but will just meet us there in front of it. This is a perfect photo opportunity, so don’t forget your cameras!

Santa seems to be a popular guy around this time, so make sure to swing by the Friends of the Library cookie and punch station downstairs for sustenance before coming up and waiting in line–they’ll be set up in front of the auditorium from 12-2!

Have a favorite Christmas song? Then swing by the Main Circulation Desk from 1-4pm and request it from DJ Euil! If you ask nicely, he may even play it twice!

The Raintree Children’s Choir performs at 1:30. If you’ve been at the library on a Monday evening any time in the last six months, you’d have heard how fantastic these kids are as they practiced… so make sure you get registered! This is always a packed concert, so registration is ABSOLUTELY required for this one. This is a ticketed event, so once you register online, you can swing by and grab your ticket from Krystal before the show.

And last, but most assuredly not least, we have our LIVE ARCTIC FOX animal program from 3-4pm in the library’s auditorium. Hedgehog Hannah is bringing not only an Arctic Fox (whose name, by the way, is JON SNOW! Jon Snow is attending the Christmas Open House!), but is bringing eleven of his animal friends to amaze and astound us. The kids aren’t going to be the only ones excited for this program. I know a few library staff members (I won’t mention names) who are beside themselves excited to meet Jon Snow.

Hope to see you all there!

Krystal

 

 

There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

By Krystal Stanich,

THE EGG-SHAPED TIMER was on the welcome mat when she came home” (Pg 1, Sentence 1).

Goodreads Synopsis: Love hurts…Makani Young thought she’d left her dark past behind her in Hawaii, settling in with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska. She’s found new friends and has even started to fall for mysterious outsider Ollie Larsson. But her past isn’t far behind.
Then, one by one, the students of Osborne Hugh begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasingly grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and her feelings for Ollie intensify, Makani is forced to confront her own dark secrets.

Krystal’s Review:

The fact that this book was written by the same author as Anna and the French Kiss is mind boggling. Stephanie Perkins is an amazing author for being able to cross genres as far as she has. As the October Forever YA: Adult Book Club selection, this book forced me WAY out of my comfort zone. Gory, gruesome, brutal: all the synonyms to make me say, “Ewww…”. In fact, I literally said that word out loud while reading this book. I then had to explain to the person giving me a questioning look that the scene I was reading was particularly gross, and proceeded to read the part out loud about ears being cut off. Yeah…still grosses me out just thinking about it.

This book is basically a YA book adaptation of the movie Scream. One fascinating aspect of the book is that you find out, and the whole town finds out, who the killer is about midway through. My “whodunit” theories were cut short, and predictably wrong. I’m just terrible at figuring out who the killer is. I’m giving this one three out of five stars. The killer’s motives just felt flat to me, and the way the book finished left me unsatisfied. I liked it, and it was plenty creepy–definitely a  good book to get you in the Halloween mood!  Although, maybe leave the lights on and make sure all the doors and windows are firmly shut and locked. I left a kitchen drawer open this morning and had a: “was that my forgetfulness, or is there a killer in the house?” moment.

If you’ve read the book, or want to hear more about it, join the Forever YA: Adult Book Club discussion on October 28th at Applebee’s,6pm.

 

Running with Lions by Julian Winters

By Krystal Stanich,

“Bloomington High School Lions’ star goalie, Sebastian Hughes, should be excited about his senior year: His teammates are amazing and he’s got a coach who doesn’t ask anyone to hide their sexuality. But when his estranged childhood best friend Emir Shah shows up to summer training camp, Sebastian realizes the team’s success may end up in the hands of the one guy who hates him. Determined to reconnect with Emir for the sake of the Lions, he sets out to regain Emir’s trust. But to Sebastian’s surprise, sweaty days on the pitch, wandering the town’s streets, and bonding on the weekends sparks more than just friendship between them” (Goodreads synopsis).

Krystal’s Review: This book reminded me of the movie She’s the Man…and I L.O.V.E that movie. Probably my favorite Amanda Bynes movie of all time. Both are full of adorable awkwardness, feature nondiscrimination (be it gender, sexual orientation, or religious), and show that sports teams are a type of family.  The Lions are an all boys soccer team built up around the idea that who you’re attracted to doesn’t matter–how well you play the game does (think of that speech Coach Dinklage gives at the end of She’s the Man–“We do not discriminate!”). One player is Muslim and multiple players are LGBTQIA+–including the main character, Sebastian. Actually, now that I think of it, Sebastian is the name of Viola’s twin brother in She’s the Man…coincidence? Hmmmm…

For all it’s lightheartedness, one thing that struck me during the book is Sebastian’s body-image issues. As a popular, athletic boy, you wouldn’t think that he would have those insecurities. I know that our society doesn’t highlight that “jocks” have body insecurities, so this book was refreshing for that aspect. Sebastian used to be bullied for his weight, and the mental damage is still there. One scene particularly highlights these insecurities.Sebastian’s having a rough day and staring into a mirror:

“His eyes spot how soft the skin around his belly is. His shaky hands grab at it. Christ. The familiar sting at the corner of his eyes only exacerbates his hyperventilating. A balloon is expanding in his chest. Every word in his head is ‘Bastian the Trashcan’ in those haunting bullies’ voices. Why?” (194-195).

I loved that Winters wrote such a multifaceted main character–almost as if he was an actual teen boy.

Read this book if you like: Odd One Out by Nic Stone, I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver, and Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg

 

 

 

Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard

By Krystal Stanich,

“Maybe today will be different” ( Bloodwitch, Page 1, Sentence 1).

Fans of Susan Dennard’s New York Times bestselling Witchlands series have fallen in love with the Bloodwitch Aeduan. And now, finally, comes his story.
High in a snowy mountain range, a monastery that holds more than just faith clings to the side of a cliff. Below, thwarted by a lake, a bloodthirsty horde of raiders await the coming of winter and the frozen path to destroy the sanctuary and its secrets.The Bloodwitch Aeduan has teamed up with the Threadwitch Iseult and the magical girl Owl to stop the destruction. But to do so, he must confront his own father, and his past” (Goodreads synopsis).

Krystal’s Review:

I love, love, LOVE this series. Just to be clear, this is the THIRD book in the series, but there is a prequel story that came out between this and the second book!

For current YA fantasy series, I think I may only love Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series more. Dennard’s world building is phenomenal, her characters are fierce (particularly the female ones), and her action scenes leave you biting your finger nails wondering what’s going to happen next. With Dennard’s books, you literally have no clue how she’s going to twist the plot. If you are a fan of Lord of the Rings, I think you’d love this book. Dennard has weaved together such an intricate plot, I almost suspect she’s a threadwitch herself.

This book hits all the notes of an epic fantasy novel–her action scenes are perfectly timed, the language is so vibrant that you can almost see the world shimmering just beyond the pages, and you get swept along on each character’s adventure. Just as a warning, this book is STRESSFUL to read. I was an anxious mess every time a set of characters would have to run for their lives (and it happened a LOT).

Read this series if you like high fantasy series like: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, Remnant Chronicles by Mary Pearson, and the Lotus War Trilogy by Jay Kristoff.