Always a Bridesmaid (for Hire)

By nchcpl_admin,

“. . .being a bridesmaid was truly no different from being a warrior. The only difference is that bridesmaids go to battle in a periwinkle taffeta dress.”

Jen was one of the last of the single ladies among her 160 sorority sisters, friends, and family. She was never the bride but many, many times a bridesmaid.  And with all that experience and a philosophy of always being prepared, she was good at it.

It seems that being a bridesmaid can be pretty horrific. Jen describes one wedding where, two hours before the ceremony, she stumbled over a fellow bridesmaid in hysterics because her dress has been lost by the hotel.  In search of it, Jen ran into a hysterical mother-of-the-groom who had forgotten to hire the limousine. Still in search of the dress, she stumbled over a hysterical groom whose groomsmen were so hungover they couldn’t stand up.  Confronting the concierge about the dress, she found that the hotel had an available limousine.  While reviving the groomsmen she spotted periwinkle tulle protruding from under them.  And the bride never knew how close her wedding came to disaster.

Overwhelmed by invitations to be a bridesmaid from two friends on the same night, Jen had the thought that she could be a professional at this.

More on a whim than anything else, she placed an ad as a professional bridesmaid on Craig’s List. That was on a Friday, by Monday there was a news article shared by 15,672 readers. She received so many emails it shut down her account.  There were job offers, marriage proposals, and requests for jobs.  A business? Had she started a business?  Before the end of the week Jen had an offer from Good Morning America to film her first professional gig.

What does a professional bridesmaid do? She describes it as being human Xanax. Jen is there to help people: “I fall in love, just a little bit, with almost every person I meet.” After reading the book, search for Jen Glantz  on the web to see how she is doing now.

Review by Janet T., Reference Librarian

The Lie Tree

By nchcpl_admin,

“The boat moved with a nauseous, relentless rhythm, like someone chewing on a rotten tooth” (The Lie Tree, Page 1, Sentence 1).

“It was not enough. All knowledge -any knowledge- called to Faith, and there was a delicious, poisonous pleasure in stealing it unseen.” Faith has a thirst for science and secrets that the rigid confines of her class cannot suppress. And so it is that she discovers her disgraced father’s journals, filled with the scribbled notes and theories of a man driven close to madness. Tales of a strange tree which, when told a lie, will uncover a truth: the greater the lie, the greater the truth revealed to the liar. Faith’s search for the tree leads her into great danger- for where lies seduce, truths shatter…” (Goodreads synopsis)

Krystal’s Review:

The first sentence sets the tone for the entire book. This book is dark and ominous–a murder mystery where lies are the answer to the truth.

Faith Sunderly wants nothing more than to be a female scientist in a world that tells her that female skulls are too small for intellectualism. Faith, her little brother, her mother, her father, and her uncle all move to a small island off the coast of England to get away from a scandal. While on the island, Faith’s father dies with most of the island believing it to be a suicide–and Faith knowing that it wasn’t. At the root of the mystery is a tree that Faith helped her father hide on the night of his death. This tree is Faith’s means to find out who murdered her father.

Faith manages to manipulate an entire island with a few well-placed lies. These lies serve multiple purposes. One: they help feed the tree, two: they serve revenge on specific people who have slighted her family, and three: they help flush out the murderer. If being a scientist doesn’t work out for Faith, I definitely think she’s got a future as a spy. I never even guessed as to who the murderer was, but I love how Hardinge tied everything together at the end.

Read-a-likes include: The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier; The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman; and The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters.

Let me know whether you like this book!

Krystal

Storm Runners

By nchcpl_admin,

Matt Stromsoe is a cop whose family was killed by a car bomb meant for him, ordered by his high school best friend, turned drug kingpin. Two years after the brutal bombing, Stromsoe is dragged from his drunken stupor by an old friend with the lure of a job as a PI. His first assignment is as bodyguard for local TV weatherwoman, Frankie Hatfield. It seems Frankie may have discovered a connected plot to auction off control of the rain in Southern California, and concludes every weathercast, “Rain is life.”

A ingenious opening sets up a poignant backstory for our two main characters that quickly segues and builds into detailed and clever character portraits. Parker further introduces a wide cast of morally grey characters with whom we are invited to sympathize. His spare writing does an excellent job of showing how circumstances and poor choices can drive people to a life of crime. Finally, Parker presents an unflinching look at prison life, as well as one of the largest and most violent drug trafficking gangs in the United States.

Review by staff member David D.

 

TumbleBook Library

By nchcpl_admin,

Tumblebooks

Attention homeschoolers! Parents with reluctant readers! Parents with readers who are gobbling up books! Parents with kids who complain about being bored! Parents who want something to entertain (and educate) their kids in the car! Welcome to TumbleBook Library! Check out these features:

TumbleBook Library can be accessed through Online Resources on our website. When at home, all you will have to do after clicking TumbleBook Library is enter your library card number.

TumbleBook Library also has a MyCloud feature that allows you to create and customize playlists that you can access from any computer in the world.

Have fun exploring the 1,000+ titles! If you have any questions, feel free ask us, we’re always happy to help.

Why Knowledge Matters: Rescuing Our Children from Failed Educational Theories

By nchcpl_admin,

When looking for a good nonfiction book to read, my eyes were drawn to this title. I was curious as to what this person thought of our educational system. Anyone with children in school wants the best education possible for them. E. D. Hirsch, Jr., writes about critical issues in our children’s  education  and child development.

The book is written around six persistent problems of our education: students being over-tested; teachers being blamed; preschool students losing educational gains; curriculum being reduced to math and reading; demographic groups achievement gaps narrowed; and the reliance on standards that are not linked to a rigorous curriculum. Tests are an everyday happening at our schools.

Hirsch says that tests are reduced to measuring skills rather than content, and that students from disadvantaged backgrounds cannot develop the knowledge base to support high achievement. I don’t agree with everything he wrote about but I do agree with a lot of the content. According to Mr. Hirsch, elementary schools have shifted toward an overwhelming emphasis on reading as a skill. Students in the early elementary grades spend hours each day learning reading techniques while time spent on social studies, science, and the arts has been reduced. Reading tests go up but progress in knowledge is leveled-off or even declining at the middle and high school level.

This book gave me a lot to think about. Mr. Hirsch makes a good stand on what we need to do about our children’s education. I believe everyone should read this book to know what our choices are and what educational curriculum means to the future of our children.

Review by staff member Denise A.

 

 

 

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

By nchcpl_admin,

Dill has had to wrestle with vipers his whole life at home, as the only son of a Pentecostal minister who urges him to handle poisonous rattlesnakes, and at school, where he faces down bullies who target him for his father’s extreme faith and very public fall from grace.

The only antidote to all this venom is his friendship with fellow outcasts Travis and Lydia. But as they are starting their senior year, Dill feels the coils of his future tightening around him. Dill’s only escapes are his music and his secret feelings for Lydia, neither of which he is brave enough to share. Graduation feels more like an ending to Dill than a beginning. But even before then, he must cope with another ending- one that will rock his life to the core (Goodreads synopsis).

 

“There were things Dillard Wayne Early Jr. dreaded more than the start of school at Forrestville High” (The Serpent King, Pg. 1, Sentence 1).

Krystal’s Review:

I went into this book not knowing what to expect–I really knew nothing about it except that I needed to read it for my book club and it had the word “serpent” in the title (which I wasn’t thrilled about). I did not like this book because books like this are not to be “liked” or “enjoyed”. This book was full of real-life sadness and horrible parenting…usually things I try to avoid in my own reading preferences. I love being in a book club because it forces me out of my comfort zone of YA fantasy.

With that being said, this book is beautifully written and I highly recommend that everybody read it. In fact, I would say it is one of the best books that I’ve read from 2016. Jeff Zentner has written characters who are so real that when you finish the book you will be emotionally traumatized–keep a box of tissues close by, I was a blubbering mess by the end. Lydia’s dad (the only father who is amazing and not terrible) has my favorite line in the entire book: “I want you to be careful in this world. My heart is wrapped up in you (pg 270).”

This book is about the power of: family, friendship, and hope. Read this book if you like: realistic fiction, books that make you cry, or books about outcasts who are trying to escape small-town life. Similar books include: Out of This Place by Emma Cameron, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, and You in Five Acts by Una LaMarche. As always, find me after you read the book to discuss! -Krystal

Make Reading Fun!

By nchcpl_admin,

It’s cold outside, the winds are blowing, and your children are “bored.” It’s time to find something to do. No matter what the weather is like outside, reading can be a fun outlet for kids. While opening a book might not be your child’s first choice of activities, it can become something they look forward to doing. Here are some ideas for fun reading experiences:

Another fun reading activity is participating in the Winter Reading program at the library. Our Candyland-themed program starts January 6. Pick up a reading log and start keeping track of what your child reads. For every 20 minutes your child reads, they color in a square on the log sheet. When they are halfway done, and when they complete the sheet, they get a prize. We’re hosting two movie showings, two STEAM events, a dance party, candy sushi making, and Winter Reading will end with a life-sized game of Candyland in the children’s department on February 18. Find full details on these events here: http://www.nchcpl.org/events-for-kids-families/

On What Grounds

By nchcpl_admin,

If you are not supposed to judge a book by its cover, why do they have such distinctive cover art? The whole point behind the cover is to get you to buy it after all. On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle has, what I have been assured is a very typical cozy mystery cover; a genre I never knew existed before. So I was skeptical but interested enough by the cover to give it a shot.

In this book, Clare Cosi left New York and an unhappy marriage to raise her daughter in New Jersey. Now, ten years later she returns to New York and her old job as the manager of the historic Village Blend coffeehouse. Before she even settles down, she finds her assistant manager unconscious at the bottom of the stairs to the storeroom of the shop. Was it just an accident? Or was her assistant attacked?

Coyle interleaves her story with a heaping helping of coffee related tidbits and trivia. The premise, a murder in cozy coffee shop is a bit distressing, however being a cozy mystery there was never a strong feeling of danger for any of the characters. The mystery is satisfying with many twists and turns to keep you guessing.  Outside of the central mystery, a romance brews between the main character Cleo and one of the detectives on the case, a delightful shot of espresso in this coffee flavored mystery.

In the end, this book was a pleasant change of pace for a typically non-cozy reader. I would recommend this book to people who enjoy a quick read. Personally, this was not my cup of coffee, then again I’ve always been a tea drinker. It is perfect for cozy mystery lovers and coffee addicts, particularly those looking to get into a light new series.

Reviewed by Wimberly W.

Fairest

By nchcpl_admin,

I could not put this book down! Fairest by Marissa Meyer is the prequel to the Lunar Chronicles. This is the story of Queen Levana and her bloody rise to power on Luna. Seeing how the main antagonist came to be so vile and cruel is totally awesome!!! 10/10, would read again! -Bre

Under the Stars: How America Fell in Love with Camping

By nchcpl_admin,

According to a recent TV interview, when Michelle Obama retires from being First Lady she and Oprah are going glamping. I suspect that glamping is a far cry from my own camping experiences.  Every vacation, every three-day weekend and many other weekends were spent in a tent. What was the appeal of having our camp site ravaged by a sick bear in Yellowstone, being attacked by hordes of deer fly in Glacier, or nursing blistered feet up the switchbacks of the southwest canyons? White sets out to explore the very American need to chase the wilderness, commune with nature, and escape the pressures of civilization in exchange for discomfort and even danger. He tries every experience for himself from stark (as in stark naked) survival camping to the RV community to glamping on a wild animal preserve. His vivid accounts are set against the history and literature of this national phenomenon. He was originally inspired by Thoreau’s Walden and his own adventures are interspersed with accounts of John Muir, Teddy Roosevelt and many lesser known characters.

Review by Janet T., Reference Librarian

Board Meeting Archives 2016

By nchcpl_admin,

Agenda

Minutes

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

By nchcpl_admin,

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those don’t.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin’s journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?” (Goodreads synopsis).

“Elide Lochan’s breath scorched her throat with every gasping inhale as she limped up the steep forest hill.” (Empire of Storms, Pg 11, Sentence 1).

Krystal’s Review:

“Is it here yet? Is it here yet? Is it here yet?” Yes, I turn into a not-so-patient toddler when a book series that I ADORE has a new book out. Let me begin with an apology to our Tech Services Department for my EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. check-in to see if the audiobook to Empire of Storms was in/processed yet. I HAD to have it in audio because if you’re reading this then you’ve probably (maybe? hopefully?) read another of my reviews and know that I basically do ALL of my reading via audio to keep my long commute to work not so long. Anyways, back to the review. Have I started the review yet? I should start. To the review!

Empire of Storms is book #5 in Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series (aka as my most favorite series that is currently out). I should start this review with a WARNING: This book has waaaay more adult content than the previous books. Ahem, there are rather detailed scenes that most YA books don’t detail quite so…explicitly. *Awkward throat clearing* So, now, you’ve been warned.

Aelin Galathynius is the most kick-butt of all kick-butt heroines out there. The assassin queen is the “ask questions later” type that I adore. Plus, she’s snarky. I love snarky. But Aelin is not the only point-of-view that we get in this book, and all of the side characters are just as well developed. Rowan, Manon, Dorian, Elide, Lorcan, Aedion, and Lysandra all own a little piece of my heart. If any of them die, E.Lockhart isn’t the only author I’m going to make write me an apology. This is starting to feel like a George R. R. Martin tale where I’m fearful of how many characters are going to make it out alive and I’m picking which ones I think will die so I can start preparing my heart. The book is fast-paced with loads of action (see previous warning) and fight scenes. (SPOILER ALERT) Our major characters FINALLY come together and are all in the same place at the same time (if only momentarily). As much as I hate to admit it , I definitely need at least a little romance in my stories, (SPOILER ALERT) so my heart was very happy with all of the main characters pairing up and falling in love…until, you know, it got ripped out and shredded to pieces. WHY DOES THIS SERIES ALWAYS MAKE ME CRY? At the end, you get to see what all Aelin has lined up (even from previous books), and realize that Maas really is that awesome.

Let me know what you think of the book/series!

Krystal