• Reviewed by Antoinette West
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This small book, easily read in an afternoon is the story of a tragic love triangle that will haunt the reader long after the last page. First published in France in 1937, it is set in in the 1930s, near Liège in the French speaking part of Belgium where the author spent her childhood.

  • Reviewed by Susan Ferguson
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Being a Fannie Flagg fan, I was excited to read this novel and wasn’t the least bit disappointed. Her characters are very real and the story was both humorous and entertaining – an all around great tale.

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  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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In this brief, but exquisite book, A. S. Byatt begins her musings with an account of her visit to the Museo Fortuny in Venice. Captivated by the beauty of Fortuny’s textiles and the aquamarine color of the canals, she begins to associate these sights with the works of William Morris.

  • Reviewed by Monica Holtmeyer
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Today we welcome a new reviewer, Monica Holtmeyer, a junior at Washington High School. Monica loves to read romance, mystery, horror, historical fiction and poetry books.

  • Reviewed by Madysen Jones, Washington High School
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“The Rift: Uprising,” by Amy S. Foster, was a phenomenal book. Foster has a way of writing that will absolutely blow your mind. Every page leaves readers wanting more, and on the edge of their seats. I tend to stay away from the fantasy genre, but this book was one of the greatest books I ha…

  • Reviewed by Spencer Johnson
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Gamers often enjoy the “Assassin’s Creed” series’ action-packed gameplay but spend little time exploring the lore behind it. New York Times bestselling author Christie Golden has created an incentive to change that; her new novel, “Assassin’s Creed Heresy,” recounts a thrilling, adventurous …

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  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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How do we as a nation engage in civil public discourse in the digital age with its 24-hour news cycle? United States citizens have never had more information readily available to them or more opportunities to debate current issues. However, the relationship between politicians, the media and…

  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell, Staff, Washington Public Library
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Writing a novel that covers the lives of real people requires some neat literary skill. Life doesn’t always follow a dramatic curve that creates tension and resolution at the required intervals. In her new novel, “Valiant Gentlemen,” Sabina Murray flashes her considerable literary talent and…

  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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Historians typically date the beginning of the Reformation as 1517, the year Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Imperial Church in Wittenberg, Germany. The Reformation, however, did not gain momentum until Luther was interrogated at the Diet of Worms and then declared a he…

  • Reviewed by Brynn Jankowski, St. Francis Borgia Regional High School
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Today we welcome a debut review by Brynn Jankowski, a sophomore at St. Francis Borgia Regional High School. Her favorite hobby is reading, and she appreciates the opportunity to write reviews for MO Books.

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  • Reviewed by Stephanie Monzyk, Missourian staff
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Today’s blog post features a debut review by Stephanie Monzyk, a proof reader at The Missourian, and a mom with two little girls. While Stephanie “loves exposure to any and all genres,” she says her favorites are horror, historical fiction and literary fiction.

  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell, Washington Public Library
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In Robert Repino’s entertaining novella, “Culdesac,” the author revisits the apocalyptic future he created in his first novel, “Mort(e).”

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  • Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider, Book Editor
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A memorable toy slunk into baby boomers' lives in the 1950s. What fun to read about how Slinky got its start in “The Marvelous Thing That Came from a Spring,” a book that celebrates happenstances and toys of old, written and illustrated by Gilbert Ford.

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  • Reviewed by Issy Volmert, St. Francis Borgia High School
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The year is 2118. Soaring high above New York City is the Tower, a skyscraper 1,000 stories tall. This colossal structure contains everything needed for those who live in it, from schools to public transport to Central Park.

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  • Reviewed by Susan Ferguson
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This story is about a multigenerational Jewish family from Middletown, Connecticut. It’s a beautifully written novel told through the memories of 12-year-old Molly Leibritsky. Molly’s mother Ada and her sisters, Vivie and Bec, grew up spending the summers at their parent’s cottage in Woodmon…

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  • Reviewed by Bill Winkler
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Welcome to our newest reviewer, Bill Winkler. A retired family physician, Bill admits he’ll read “almost everything,” his favorite book of all time, “Catch-22.” He’s especially found of travel books by Paul Theroux, historical fiction and 20th century American fiction, especially books by Jo…

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  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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When I travel far from home, nothing is more exhausting to me than trying to communicate with someone who speaks a different language. An unfamiliar language creates a feeling of exile within me. It disrupts my orientation to the world; it presents a chasm I find almost impossible to bridge.

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  • By Chris Stuckenschneider, Book Editor
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Celebrate Veteran’s Day with the stirring survival story, “Lost in the Pacific, 1942,” by Tod Olson. It’s the first book in the “Lost” series published by Scholastic. And quite a start it is – Olson has a gift for writing heart-thumping action scenes that create vivid pictures in the mind. S…

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  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell, Washington Public Library
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Written with wisdom and wit, Ruth Whippman’s “America the Anxious” scrutinizes American happiness culture from the refreshing perspective of an outsider.

  • Reviewed by Maria Brady-Smith
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In her recent book of essays, “Upstream,” poet Mary Oliver talks about how, as a child, she found two things that could take her beyond her own difficult circumstances – the natural world and the world of literature. “These were the gates through which I vanished from a difficult place,” she…

  • Reviewed by Sophie Kriete
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Today we welcome a new teen reviewer, Sophie Kriete. She’s a junior at Washington High School and an avid reader. Sophie is open to all genres of books, tending to be most interested in realistic fiction, psychological thrillers and poetry. Her favorite authors include J.K. Rowling, Stephen …

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  • Reviewed by Diane Lick
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Many novels have been written about the Civil War, but there are far fewer about the reconstruction. Robert Hicks has now covered both in his well-researched books. In “Widow of the South” we were transported to Franklin, Tennessee and the Carton Plantation where a bloody battle took place. …

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  • By Chris Stuckenschneider, Book Editor
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It’s a text rich book – coming in at 476 pages, not counting the bibliography, a non-fiction title that’s going to take some time to read –but one I’m committed to finish after hearing author Peter Cozzens discuss its content.

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  • Reviewed by Susan Ferguson
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This is a story about relationships, family dynamics and friendship. The story begins with an unusual friendship that develops between 104-year-old Ona Vitkas and an 11-year-old Boy Scout who has been assigned to help Ona on Saturdays in order to earn a badge.

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  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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For decades, nations have envied the United States for having a prosperous, large middle class. Immigrants from all over the world have flocked to the States seeking the American dream of joining this successful socio-economic group. But the middle class is dwindling and the nation’s wealth …

  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell
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In Shaun Tan’s striking and original art book, “The Singing Bones,” Tan takes stories from the Grimm folktales and provides artwork that both illuminates and deviates from the folktales. In doing so, Tan creates something new and different that is completely its own thing.

  • By Chris Stuckenschneider, Book Editor
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Readers take to book giveaways like ducks to water. On Tuesday evening at Scenic Regional Library’s Union Branch, book lovers were treated to advance reading copies following a presentation by Brad Simpson, Regional Sales Manager at Penguin Random House Publishing.

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  • Reviewed by Katie Farrell
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Today, we welcome a new reviewer from Washington High School, Katie Farrell, a senior at WHS. A recent book that Farrell enjoyed was “The Trials of Apollo, Book One: The Hidden Oracle,” by Rick Riordan.

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  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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Attica is only a muddled memory for most people, but for 5 days – September 9-13, 1971 – the United States citizenry turned its attention to this western New York state prison. There, 1300 inmates took control, held hostages and demanded changes. The prisoners charged they received inadequat…

  • Reviewed by Spencer Johnson
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Today we welcome a new reviewer, Spencer Johnson, a senior at Washington High School. While he says he doesn’t “strictly follow one author or genre, he gravitates toward sci-fi and fantasy; his favorite authors include Stephen King, Rick Riordan and J.K. Rowling.

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  • Reviewed by Maria Brady-Smith
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One of the reasons that I love reading fiction is that so many times I am transported to a place and time in history that is completely unknown to me. I learn through the characters what it was like to live during that era.

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  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell, Staff, Washington Public Library
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Alexander Weinstein’s superb collection of short stories, “Children of the New World,” takes us to a near future that is both strange and quite familiar. Some science fiction stories transplant us to worlds and situations so bizarre and strange that they feel truly alien. Weinstein stays clo…

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  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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Stephen Harrigan’s latest novel begins with Cage Weatherby standing in front of the coffin to pay his last respects to his longtime friend and assassinated 16th President, Abraham Lincoln. The story, however, does not linger there but quickly flashes back to when Lincoln met the fictitious p…

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  • By Chris Stuckenschneider, Book Editor
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The tale of a horse with extraordinary intelligence, and the bond he shared with his doting owner, is an inspiring must-read. “Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness,” by Donna Janell Bowman, is a true tale that’s amazing with bold, detailed illustrations by Danie…

  • Reviewed by Susan Ferguson
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“Imagine Me Gone,” by Adam Haslette, is a book about love, family, despair and the effects of mental illness. The story begins with Margaret visiting her fiancé John in the hospital for depression in London during the 1960s.

  • Reviewed by Diane Lick
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In “Small Great Things,” just released this week, author Jodi Picoult once tackles an issue of controversy in today’s world: prejudice against people who are different, and in this case outright racism.

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  • Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider
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The bond between a grandparent and grandchild is a wonder, providing both generations with sweet memories to last a lifetime. Words can seem paltry when faced with a loss, but sometimes a picture book will serve as a solace for a young child who has lost a grandparent.

  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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Of all the books I have read about members of the Roosevelt family, this one is the most touching. “The Golden Lad” by Eric Burns is a poignant recounting of the parallel lives of Theodore and his youngest son Quentin, or Quenty-Quee, as Roosevelt liked to call him.

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  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell
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I enjoyed Jonathan Crown’s charming fable-like novel, “Sirius: The Little Dog Who Almost Changed History,” translated from German by Jamie Searle Romanelli. I’m not sure how the book reads in the original German, but in English he channels the playful and ironic spirit of Kurt Vonnegut to te…

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  • Reviewed by Diane Lick
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A love story in an exotic setting, with a hint of mystery thrown in makes for an entertaining afternoon of reading. That is what you will experience with “The Tea Planter’s Wife.”

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  • Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider, Book Editor
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We don’t always get what we want. So goes the theme of “Who Wants a Tortoise,” a catchy picture book by Dave Keane.

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  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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I rediscovered how fleeting fame is when I recently asked a mixed-age group, “Who knows anything about Mary Martin?” Only a handful of people indicated familiarity with her and they were all from my generation; those 20-30 years younger did not recognize the name at all. Fortunately, author …

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“Behave” is the story of Rosalie Rayner Watson, the wife of John B. Watson, the founder of behaviorist psychology. Written by Andromeda Romano-Lax, the story begins with Rosalie’s graduation from Vassar College in 1920 and follows her life and career until her death in 1935.

  • By Chris Stuckenschneider, Book Editor
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We all have them. Days when we’re out of sorts and can’t put our flipper on what’s bothering us. Such is the plight of a penguin in “Grumpy Pants,” a delightful book readers of all ages will be able to identify with by author/illustrator Claire Messer.

  • By Bill Schwab
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German forester Peter Wohlleben has written a persuasive and stimulating re-imagining of trees. The author draws on new research to explain how trees are like human families with tree parents nurturing their young, communicating with them, sustaining them as they mature and sharing nutrients…

  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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Peter Geye has skillfully created two fascinating interwoven tales in “Wintering.” The first story is about the special bond that grows between Harry Eide and his 18-year-old son Gus. In the autumn of 1963, the two men leave their small town of Gunflint, Minnesota for the boundary waters spa…

  • Reviewed by Antoinette West
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In August 1962, seven months pregnant with my third child, I boarded a London city bus with my 4-year-old daughter. Near the rear door and facing us, an older woman gently wiped her adult son’s lower lip and protruding tongue and held his arm down to prevent it from flailing about.

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