By nchcpl_admin,

Afterworlds is two interwoven stories, opening with Darcy Patel a high school senior who “wrote” Afterworlds during National Novel Writing Month and manages to get a giant book deal for it and a sequel, “Untitled Patel” as Darcy’s younger sister calls it. Darcy decides to delay college for a year so she can move to New York and complete the rewrites on her book and learn more about publishing.  The second chapter switches to Darcy’s book; a paranormal romance about Lizzie who’s caught in a domestic terror incident in the Dallas airport. As things kick off, Lizzie calls 911 and the operator, once it’s clear that Lizzie can’t get somewhere safe, suggests that she play dead. In the process, Lizzie manages to “will” herself dead. While “dead” Lizzie meets Yammaraj and his ghost sister who are helping the dead along. The two are surprised to find Lizzie because, while she is among the dead, she is still alive, like Yammaraj. The book then proceeds to alternate between Darcy story and Lizzie’s story. The two storylines reflect and influence each other in interesting and surprising ways.

This is a great book and I really enjoyed it. I think I would have liked reading it, but I listened to this and had a wonderful experience. I had tried reading it several months ago, but never got hooked for some reason. Afterworlds alternates narrators, one for Darcy and one for Lizzie. As I’ve listened to audiobooks, I’ve noticed that they are generally performed, the narrators do voices and generally emote wildly. This was not so much the case for Afterworlds. There is very little emoting and the voices are generally very slight, the performance is mostly just tone changes. It felt a whole lot more like reading a book. Listening to this was a completely different experience and has ruined me for other audiobooks for a bit. Ha! I just looked, there is a short excerpt on Westerfeld’s site for a Darcy chapter. If this sounds like something you might like, I’d recommend listening to it, but it’s a good light read if you decide to pass on the audiobook option.

-Review by David D., Circulation Manager

Lock In

By nchcpl_admin,

In the very near future, a pandemic sweeps across the globe. Ninety-five percent of those afflicted suffer nothing more than acute headaches and fevers. Another four percent develop acute meningitis, usually resulting in death. The final one percent, including the US President’s wife, find themselves “locked in,” completely paralyzed and yet fully aware. Ultimately, 1.7% of the US population is “locked in.” This spurs a medical Manhattan Project, which develops technologies and tools to allow those locked in to interact with the world. People being people, they find ways to misuse these new technologies is old ways. Thus, we open with locked in Chris Shane’s first day as an FBI agent, sent with his new partner to investigate the apparent killing by someone else locked in.

This is Scalzi at what he does best, develop interesting characters and throw them into novel and interesting situations to see what happens. While the ostensible mystery is not terribly mysterious, following the characters through their experiences is wonderfully entertaining. For the adventurous book group looking for something different, there are a number of subtle bits of world building that make for interesting discussion fodder, in particular- who is Chris Shane, the main character?

One note, the central “novel and interesting situation,” Hayden’s Syndrome, can be a bit daunting to jump right in. Unlocked: An Oral History of Hayden’s Syndrome is a prequel novella/short story giving a fascinating introduction to Lock In. The novella, Unlocked, is freely available to be read online from the publisher’s website.

-Review by David D., Circulation Manager

Find Lock In in the catalog by clicking here.

Bullspotting: Finding Facts in the Age of Misinformation

By nchcpl_admin,

My grandmother used to say, “He who’s convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” And some people don’t seem to care what the facts are. How do we arm ourselves so that we don’t indulge in this kind of thinking? While all of us have our cherished illusions, we can learn to separate fact from myth.

Loren Collins is a practicing lawyer in Georgia and publishes articles in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on misinformation and critical thinking. Collins outlines the basics of false belief systems and how to spot them. He takes on birthers, the pseudoscience of anti-vaxxers and moon-hoaxers, and a number of other conspiracy theories and logical fallacies.

In our age of lightning-fast opportunities to spread rumors, we need to develop critical thinking skills and a little skepticism. Facts, evidence based arguments, and credibility of testimony are important tools in determining the truth. For example, in the vaccine controversy these statistics are sited:

The number of illnesses from June 3, 2007 to August 11, 2012 that could have been prevented by vaccinations is 102,961; the number of preventable deaths is 1,016; and the number of autism diagnoses scientifically linked to vaccinations is 0. These statistics come from the Centers for Disease Control, Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports and National Vital Statistics Reports.

Collins also gives a number of resources for quick fact checking such as,, or So before you pass on that alarmist email, go to the source or at least check it out at and stay well-informed.

-Review by Janet T., Reference Librarian

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

By nchcpl_admin,

Many people are familiar with the literary classics Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë and Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.  But there is a third, perhaps lesser known Brontë sister, Anne, whose books I actually prefer. My favorite is The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

Charlotte, Emily, and Anne were born in the early 1800s as the children of a poor clergyman. Much of their lives they lived in Yorkshire, with its windswept moors featuring prominently in some of their novels. Anne was the youngest sister, and her novels are usually read less. However, her book The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was a bestseller and considered shocking at the time of its publication. The “tenant” of the title is a widowed woman with her young son who moves into a dilapidated manor in a small town. Various rumors circulate about the new resident, and an intrigued gentleman farmer seeks out the truth. But the truth is not what he expects. It involves an impulsive marriage, alcoholism, child endangerment, a Victorian woman breaking the law, and forgiveness. If you’re familiar with a very different classics author, Jane Austen, it is a bit like if Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice had married the rake Wickham, and been trapped in an untenable situation, with the laws of the time preventing women from having their own income, or even custody of their own children if the husband did not permit it. The novel is psychologically realistic in its portrayal of the various characters, and I can understand why the Victorians found it shocking to their sensibilities. It highlights some of the darker aspects of a society that could value the appearance of respectability over actually being moral. But it isn’t unrelieved darkness; it’s also a story of endurance and hope through severe trial. If you are interested in hard-hitting historical fiction, you might give this book a try.

-Reviewed by Josephine K., Technical Services Librarian

Visiting Old (Book) Friends

By nchcpl_admin,

Dorothy Gilman is one of my friends that I enjoy spending time with. Or at least, Mrs. Pollifax, Madame Karitska, and Sister John are old friends. Dorothy Gilman is mostly known for her Mrs. Pollifax series. It is a series that you should definitely start with the first story: The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax. If you like cozy mysteries, this is a cozy spy story. Mrs. Pollifax is a member of The Garden Club and the Women’s Auxiliary where she volunteers pushing a book cart at the hospital. She also volunteers as a spy for the CIA and has lately taken up karate. With only the wisdom that comes from an ordinary life well-lived and some unexpected friends, she overcomes evil plots in exotic locations. Her adventures are full of fascinating characters, unexpected twists and humor. I particularly like the first five books in the series and always read them in order.

I find that The Clairvoyant Countess and Kaleidoscope are equally fascinating and regret that there are only two books in this series. In A Nun in the Close, cloistered nuns, hippies, and the mafia collide in a haunted house and the results are just fun.

I hope this is enough enjoyable reading to get me through a wet spring.

~Review by Janet T., reference librarian

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley

By nchcpl_admin,

For as long as I can remember I have loved reading mysteries. When I was younger, I knew exactly where the Nancy Drew and Bobbsey Twins books were located in the children’s library. As I grew older, I developed an interest in chemistry and science.  One series of books I have recently enjoyed is Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce mysteries which combine my two interests of mystery and chemistry.

I recently finished reading the seventh books in the series, As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust, which centers around the adventures of the book’s twelve year old heroine, Flavia de Luce. By the end of the previous book, Flavia has learned some pretty interesting facts about her family; her mother in particular. Just when she thinks she is beginning to understand her family, she is sent from England to Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy, the boarding school that her mother once attended in Canada.

As usually happens, Flavia is quick to find a dead body and begin the task of finding the killer. Back in England, she usually manages to solve the mystery with the help of her knowledge of chemistry and her father’s right-hand-man, Dogger. All the while avoiding being tortured by her older sisters and dishing out her own revenge when they do manage to get the best of her, and flying around the countryside on her trusty bicycle, Gladys, looking for clues. But, this time in faraway Canada, Flavia is forced to rely on her own wits.

I would suggest if you haven’t read the books before, to start with the first one, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. You won’t want to miss out on watching Flavia grow up.

Reviewed by Winnie Logan, Library Director

Get Up! Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It

By nchcpl_admin,

Get Up! is about exercise but it is not an exercise book. Dr. Levine enthusiastically demonstrates the importance of NEAT (nonexercise activity thermogenesis) for our health.  Our society has become structured for sitting, even enforced sitting.  We drive our cars, sit at desks in front of computer monitors, fixate on small cellphone screens or large TV screens.  It is not that we don’t exercise at the gym, it is that we don’t move in our daily routine. This is not only a major factor in the growing diabetes, obesity, and heart disease issues but also in depression, productivity and basic happiness.  Lethal sitting not only affects our health, it affects our productivity at work and our ability to learn at school.

We are efficiently immobile and our physical and mental wellbeing depends on changing that.  Dr. Levine gives a scientific but entertaining and guilt free explanation of the problem and a creative, motivated approach to the solution. His advice is practical and doable.

Dr. Levine is the Director of the Mayo Clinic/Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative.  He is an inventor and entrepreneur.  His apps are used by 30 million people and he has won over 50 awards in science.

Review by Janet Twigg, Reference Librarian

AR and Other School Book Test Info

By nchcpl_admin,



  • Parker Elementary
  • Riley Elementary
  • Sunnyside Elementary
  • Westwood Elementary
  • Blue River Valley Elementary (also Jr/Sr. High School)



  • Eastwood Elementary
  • Sunnyside Elementary
  • Wilbur Wright Elementary