• Reviewed by John Crane
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When I began this book, I was delighted to find it set in one of my very favorite parts of the country, the northern Maine coast. It’s the story of a sometimes tense and angry, sometimes close and loving family who gather for their traditional Fourth of July vacation at their summer home on …

  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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In the disturbing but beautifully written book, “Nomadland,” Jessica Bruder reports on the tens of thousands of itinerant Americans who move “like blood cells through the veins of the country” seeking seasonal work.

  • Reviewed by Pat Sainz
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“Grief Cottage” by Gail Godwin, is a coming-of age story about an 11-year-old boy who has to face an entirely new way of living with an aunt he has never met after his mother dies unexpectedly.

  • Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider, Book Editor
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Start the New Year off right by introducing first- through fourth-graders to “The Carver Chronicles,” by Karen English, a series set in Carver Elementary School featuring a class of third-graders.

  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell, Librarian, Washington Public Library
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I love Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series. The central concept is simple and brilliant. Eleanor West runs a home for maladapted children who return from fantasy worlds but yearn to return to those worlds that feel more like home than the real world.

  • Reviewed by Emma Thomas, Union Middle School
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If you like fantasy and magic, “Beasts Made of Night,” by Tochi Onyebuchi, should be on your reading list. This book has plenty of plot twists to keep you wanting more.

  • Reviewed by Bill Winkler
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Humorist Will Rogers said, “The man with the best job in the country is the vice president. All he has to do is get up every morning and say, ‘How is the president’?” John Nance Garner, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s vice president from 1933-1941 famously said, “The vice presidency is not worth a b…

  • Reviewed by Pat Sainz
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“George and Lizzie” is a first book by Nancy Pearl, a librarian and book critic on NPR. I have long enjoyed her book reviews. (Pearl was the model for the librarian action figure designed by a company a few years ago...this is true). In writing this book, Pearl states she is writing the book…

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  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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Writing about the explosion of the 24-hour news cycle, the ever-growing number of podcasts and the challenge of separating true from fake news, Bob Schieffer and three contributors examine political news today. They provide an insider’s look at the changing media scene and ask, “Are today’s …

  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell, Librarian, Washington Public Library
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William Gibson’s first attempt at writing a graphic novel, “Archangel,” is brilliant. It packs Gibson’s usual punch. He puts a surprising amount of depth into a 5-chapter science fiction story that moves quickly and is over far too soon.

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  • By Barbara Gibbs Ostmann
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If you're still making plans on how to kick off the New Year, here's an option: Make tracks for the all-new New Year's Celebration at Silver Dollar City, on both New Year's Eve and Day.

  • Reviewed by John Crane
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My initial attraction to this book was, in a somewhat self-centered way, the fact that the New York World's Fair was held in 1939, the year I came into the world. Since I couldn't be at the former, guess which is most important to me.

  • Reviewed by Pat Sainz
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The title of the novel “The Heirs” by Susan Rieger refers to family who find themselves heirs not only to a vast amount of money but also heirs to a mysterious legacy surrounding their father, mother and their parents’ complicated past.

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  • Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider, Book Editor
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This time of year wonder abounds and young readers will find much to enjoy in “Thunder Horse” a picture book by Eve Bunting, the fantastical story of a magical horse gifted to a little girl.

  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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During a C-SPAN interview, Thomas Friedman said, “Thank You for Being Late” is about “pausing, reflecting and the need for connection. It is about practicing the Golden Rule.” To that I would add it is primarily a book about change.

  • Reviewed by Issy Volmert, St. Francis Borgia Regional High School
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In the heart of Vermont rests the Abrams Valley, home to the oldest and most notorious families in the state. The Lovegoods, a long line of proud, strong willed women have scrabbled, often violently, with their neighbors the Abrams for over 200 years resulting in multiple casualties.

  • Reviewed by Jan Eade
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“Christmas at the Little Beach Bakery” a delight to read during the holidays. Its author, Jenny Colgan, spent time in Cornwall, England as a child so the setting is wrapped around her joyful memories.

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  • Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider, Book Editor
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On Christmas Even, bells jingle waking Ollie. Cuddly toy reindeer in hand, she rushes to the window, the night landscape a brilliant white with new fallen snow.

  • Reviewed by Emma Thomas
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“Patina” by Jason Reynolds is a book about an independent, argumentative girl named Patina Jones. Everyone calls her Patty. She has a little sister, Maddy. When she was six-years-old something happened. Her dad Ronnie kissed everyone goodnight and went to sleep, never to wake again. Three ye…

  • Reviewed by Susan Ferguson
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This historical fiction novel also has an element of mystery. “The Stolen Marriage,” is a book full of secrets, betrayals, prejudice and forgiveness. This page-turner has likeable well-rounded characters and plenty of family drama. Readers are immersed in a detailed account of the daily life…

  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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Violence, kidnapping and torture have regrettably become routine in Central Asia and the Middle East over the last 20 years. This is largely due to the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (Syria) whose revolutionary activities are reported daily in our mainstream media, as well as …

  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell, Staff, Washington Public Library
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“Artemis,” Andy Weir’s moon-based sophomore effort, is another entertaining novel set in a realistic depiction of life in Space. Like his first book, “The Martian,” half the fun of this novel is knowing that Weir is dedicated to making the science as accurate as possible. It’s like going to …

  • Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider, Book Editor
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With the holidays in full swing, families gather from far and near to share a meal and visit. Too often young people, and adults too, bring along an unwelcome and uninvited guest –electronic screens, video games and telephones. What’s a host to do?

  • Reviewed by Susan Ferguson
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“Shadow of the Lions,” by Christopher Swann, is a suspenseful and mysterious coming-of-age story. The tale is told by Matthias Glass who graduated from Blackburne, an elite boys’ boarding school in Virginia 10 years earlier.

  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell, Staff, Washington Public Library
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I’ve been reading Christopher de Bellaigue’s “The Islamic Enlightenment” a chapter at a time over the last few months. It is a balanced, fascinating and beautifully written account of Islam over the last two centuries when, the author argues, Islam has undergone an enlightenment.

  • Reviewed by Emma Thomas, Union Middle School
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“The 12 Dares of Christa,” by Marissa Burt, is about a 13-year-old girl named Christa. Her mom, an actress, and her dad, a travel agent, decide to get a divorce.

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  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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The setting for “American Fire” is Accomack County, a sparsely populated rural region on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. During five months in late 2012 and early 2013 this small area witnessed a spree of 67 arsons. This siege of criminal acts drew “Washington Post” reporter Monica Hesse to the ar…

  • Reviewed by Jan Eade
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If you are a fan of Debbie Macomber's novels, you will feel right at home reading "Lilac Lane." Its author, Sherryl Woods, writes about family, home and characters who find a place in the reader's heart much like Macomber does. 

  • Reviewed by Bill Winkler
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An anesthesiologist once described the practice of his specialty as “hours of boredom, punctuated by moments of sheer terror.” In his book “Counting Backwards: A Doctor’s Notes on Anesthesia” pediatric anesthesiologist Henry Jay Przybylo, M.D. offers his take on this glib (and inaccurate) de…

  • Reviewed by Pat Sainz
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Peter Manuel was a convicted serial killer of seven people (and suspected of killing more) who cut his murderous swath through the Scottish countryside in the 1950’s. He was hanged in 1958 in Scotland. The title of “The Long Drop” is a reference to this event, along with the details that led…

  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell
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“Unquiet Spirits,” Bonnie MacBird’s second novel in her Sherlock Holmes series, is a charming and suspenseful mystery which sees Holmes and Watson attempt to decipher a bizarre series of events that eventually involves an incident from Sherlock’s past - an incident Sherlock has concealed fro…

  • Reviewed by Kylie Sullentrup
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“The Light We Lost,” by Jill Santopolo, is an admirable novel that initially drew me in with its cover art. The enchanting illustrations connect to the story in two ways that caught my eye. The protagonist, Lucy, is shown looking deeply captivated by another character, which can be open to i…

  • Reviewed by Kelly Brinkmann
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In Sandra Brown’s novel, “Seeing Red” United States Army retired Major Franklin Trapper is bunkered down in his home living a quiet life, secluded from the media attention he used to enjoy.

  • By Chris Stuckenschneider, Book Editor
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Many of us recall the allure of a rippling stream and the activities it spawned —from skipping rocks, to nabbing crawdads, and diverting the creek’s flow with a dam that would make a beaver envious.

  • Reviewed by Bill Winkler
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If asked to describe a Norwegian many Americans might conjure up a Garrison Keillor-inspired image of a stoic, practical, somewhat doughy individual whose approach to life is, “Well, it could be worse.”

  • Reviewed by Susan Ferguson
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“The Wilding Sisters” by Eve Chase is a lyrical dual narrative – a gripping coming-of-age story about a family of four, the Wilde sisters. The narratives are separated by 50 years and play well off each other. This is a story of secrets, sisters and unsolved mystery.

  • Reviewed by Emma Thomas, Union Middle School
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In “Landscape with Invisible Hand,” aliens called vuvvs come to a future version of Earth. They wanted to share their advanced technology with humans. A teenager named Adam thought it would be fine to share their world with the vuvvs, but their technology took over almost everyone’s jobs, in…

  • Reviewed by Bruce Crane
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There aren’t many people around today who lived through the Great Depression, which started with the stock market crash in 1929. The Depression left attitudes and ways of thinking in the generation before mine. In particular, even those with adequate incomes, and more, were reluctant to spen…

  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell
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In the early 1900’s, Congress debated the possibility of introducing the African Hippopotamus to the bayous and marshes of the Southern United States. Hippos solved two problems: they would consume the invasive hyacinth plants choking the waterways and in return provide a tasty protein sourc…

  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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On April 12, 1945, President Franklin Roosevelt died suddenly and Vice President Harry S. Truman assumed the highest office in the land. By Truman’s own assessment, he was unprepared for the presidency and remarked to a Vermont senator, “I’m not big enough for this job.” This newcomer to nat…

  • Reviewed by Madysen Jones, Washington High School
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“The Ex,” by Alafair Burke, is a hair-raising novel. In the book we meet Olivia Randall, a defense attorney, not known for making the best decisions. Her life is going fairly well until she answers an ‘unknown’ call. It turns out to be Buckley Harris, calling on behalf of his father, who has…

  • Reviewed by Pat Sainz
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The title of this psychological thriller by Australian writer Michael Robotham could pertain to either of the two main characters in the book, Agatha Fyfle and Meghan Shaughnessy. One is privileged and married to a local television star; the other is poor, abused, and perhaps pregnant by a m…

  • Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider, Book Editor
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Candy’s sweet but short lasting. Why not give a book to your little goblin or princess on Halloween? Here’s one that might appeal to the spookster set, not scary, but totally entertaining.

  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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James Atlas, author of award-winning biographies about Saul Bellow and Delmore Schwartz, delves into his inner self to explore the source of his attraction to the profession of biographer. He stresses that biographers have a hallowed responsibility to present their subject’s life so that it …

  • Reviewed by Susan Ferguson
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Gaynor has written a lyrical historical fiction novel based on the Cottingley fairy photographs taken by two cousins during World War II. The story weaves the old legend of the Cottingley Fairies with the present day character Oliva Kavanagh. The novel is told in dual story lines between the…

  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell
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“Down Among the Sticks and Bones” is Seanan McGuire’s brilliant, heart-rending prequel to her award-winning novella, “Every Heart a Doorway.” From the first novella, we know that children occasionally find doorways to fantasy worlds, enter, and leave their old lives behind for a while. After…

  • Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider, Book Editor, The Missourian
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Unique undies in eerie green terrorize Jasper the bunny in “Creepy Pair of Underwear!” by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated with zany pictures by Peter Brown.

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