• Reviewed by Bill Schwab
  • ()

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
  • Updated
  • ()

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.

spotlight featured
  • By Chris Stuckenschneider, Book Editor
  • Updated
  • ()

A shell-shocked solider who’s a wandering “vagabond,” a girl who wrote the book on bullying, and an 11-year-old with a heart of gold. These three characters, Toby, Betty, and Annabelle interact with dire circumstances in “Wolf Hollow,” a riveting read by Lauren Wolk, historical fiction perfe…

spotlight
  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
  • ()

In a time when waves of immigrants are on the move and millions of displaced persons seek asylum as war ravages their homelands, Sanjeev Sahota presents a timely novel about four illegal Indian immigrants who set out to make a new life in Sheffield, England in the early 2000’s.

  • Reviewed by Susan Ferguson
  • ()

“Blood Defense,” by Marcia Clark, is a suspenseful murder mystery, actually a double murder mystery. Samantha Brinkman is a criminal defense lawyer who agrees to take the case. She is hoping that this high profile case, in which one of the victims is a television star, will help boost her sm…

spotlight featured
  • By Chris Stuckenschneider, Book Editor
  • ()

When Colson Whitehead took to the stage at St. Louis Library Headquarters on Wednesday to talk about “The Underground Railroad,” he had no idea the following day would bring even better news about his ingenious new novel than the rave reviews it’s been receiving.

spotlight featured
  • Reviewed by Issy Volmert
  • ()

“The Reader,” by Traci Chee, takes place in Kelanna, where there is no such thing as writing, or reading, or books. Such a thing is unheard of. All history is passed down through oral tradition and messages carried word of mouth. In this vast land of pirates, royalty, and kingdoms, Sefia is …

spotlight featured
  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
  • ()

Alyson Foster has compiled seven short stories in her latest book “Heart Attack Watch.” Each story is based on a disaster: the car wreck, the extended power failure, the diagnosis, the heart attack.

spotlight featured
  • Reviewed by Bailey Kitchell
  • ()

Amy Schumer has created a hilarious escape for anyone who enjoys a good laugh… well, almost anyone. “The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo” is her first book and full of clever stories that would take most of a lifetime to amass.

  • Reviewed by Antoinette West
  • ()

I have long thought that Monet’s “Water Lilies” suffered the fate of the rich and famous, namely that of overexposure. Faced with the aggressive merchandizing that accompanies some museum exhibits and the commercialization of his iconic symbols, one wonders how Monet would react to the appea…

spotlight featured
  • Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider, Book Editor
  • ()

It’s a delight to happen onto a new author/illustrator who’s completely captivating. That’s how I felt when I saw Hannah E. Harrison’s debut book, “Bernice Gets Carried Away,” published in 2015, and a past Book Buzz Pick. The picture book was embraced by reviewers, as was her next contributi…

spotlight featured
  • By Chris Stuckenschneider, Book Editor
  • ()

They’re lined up on my bookshelf, all the goodies for September, October and November, more serious than summer fluff they call to me – advance reading copies of new books set to be released in the coming months.

spotlight featured
  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
  • ()

A new residential college currently under construction at Yale University will bear the name of Anna Pauline Murray, the “firebrand” portrayed in Patricia Bell-Scott’s latest book. Don’t recognize the name? Well, Murray was a cofounder of the National Organization for Women and the first Afr…

spotlight featured
  • Reviewed by Amy Bolte
  • ()

I want to visit Castellamare, but unfortunately it isn’t a real place. It is author Catherine Banner’s fictional Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea, and the setting for “The House at the Edge of Night.”

spotlight featured
  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell
  • ()

Within minutes of sitting at my computer I can study clear, high-resolution images of star clusters hundreds of light years from the Earth- so far away, in fact, that I don’t have a suitable metaphor that can help me grasp how amazing this is. This ability is worlds away from the amateur and…

spotlight featured
  • Reviewed by Karen Cernich, Missourian Features Editor
  • ()

It’s spring 1888 in New York City when a young attorney, Paul Cravath, witnesses a Western Union workman being electrocuted “in the sky above Broadway” while trying to untangle some electric wires that had been newly installed around the city from the older telegraph wires.

spotlight featured
  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
  • ()

Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Dillard has selected a stellar collection of 22 previously published essays for “The Abundance.” In all these writings Dillard sensitizes the reader to become more aware of the wonder that is all around. Her depictions of the natural world are poignant and inspiri…

spotlight featured
  • By Chris Stuckenschneider, Book Editor
  • ()

You’ll be barking up the right tree with “Maggi and Milo Make New Friends,” by Juli Brenning, a charming picture book to share with young readers, especially on National Dog Day, which is today. That’s no woof!

  • Reviewed by Susan Ferguson
  • ()

“Reader, I murdered him,” so begins the captivating novel “Jane Steele.”

spotlight
  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
  • ()

“Americans call them hillbillies, rednecks or white trash. I call them neighbors, friends and family.” J. D. Vance is a hillbilly and a Yale Law School graduate. His memoir begins with a description of his birthplace, the poor Appalachian community of Jackson, Kentucky. In this touching chro…

spotlight featured
  • Reviewed by Maria Brady-Smith
  • ()

Brad Watson’s novel, “Miss Jane” is a treasure. It is a simple story, beautifully written.

spotlight
  • Reviewed by Moe Godat
  • ()

Hannah Dexter didn't really care when Craig Ellison killed himself, even though she felt like she should have. As her small town dealt with the aftermath of his suicide, Hannah continued on as if nothing had happened. And to her, nothing really had. That is until she met Lacey.

spotlight featured
  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell
  • ()

I was a few chapters into “The Heavenly Table,” and I wasn’t sure if Donald Ray Pollock was aiming for a dark drama, or if he was writing a comedy. The dialogue was so Coen-esque I was chuckling aloud as I read, but I was laughing about desperate people living desperate lives.

  • Reviewed by Susan Ferguson
  • ()

‘The Railwayman’s Wife” is a story of love and of loss. The book takes place in 1948, in post-war Australia. The main character, Anikka Lachlan, has just lost her husband Mac to an accident and must learn how to continue living without him. Anikka takes a job at the Railway Institute's local…

spotlight featured
  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
  • ()

When I took an anthropology course 50 years ago, one of the assigned readings was Robert Redfield’s book “The Primitive World and Its Transformation.” In it, Redfield proposed that modern, technologically oriented societies lose something that preliterate societies enjoy – connectedness and …

  • Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider, Book Editor
  • ()

Looking like a modern-day Pippi Longstocking, a pint-sized cutie with a peck-sized problem is back in “Sophie’s Squash Go to School,” by Pat Zietlow Miller, a book about friendship.

  • Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider, Book Editor
  • ()

August heralds a myriad of emotions, as unique and individual as students beginning their journey into the land of the 3 R’s. A group of 20 children is the focus of this adventure in “The Class” a picture book by Boni Ashburn that celebrates the start of school.

spotlight featured
  • Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider, Book Editor
  • ()

With the Olympics in full swing, balance watching the action by sharing a book with a young reader about a past gymnast who captured hearts around the world.

spotlight featured
  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell
  • ()

“Arabella of Mars,” by David Levine, had me convinced and thrilled from the wonderful cover art to the end of the novel. Reading like a cross between Edgar Rice Burroughs’ tales of Mars and Patrick O’Brien’s seafaring war stories, “Arabella of Mars” is intelligent, inventive and exciting fun.

spotlight featured
  • Reviewed by Issy Volmert
  • ()

Five years ago, Elsie Main's twin brother Eddie was lost to the sea in an accident that she can't remember. Her family has never recovered, and each member deals with the tragedy in their own twisted way. No one in the broken family ever touches salt water and they don’t talk about it.

spotlight featured
  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
  • ()

Jim Lynch’s fourth novel tells the story of three generations of the Johannssen family. The patriarch, Bobo, a.k.a. Grumps, maintains they are descendants of the Icelandic explorer, Leif Erikson. The Johannssens live near Puget Sound, off the coast of Washington. For two generations they hav…

spotlight featured
  • Reviewed by Reed Eschmann, age 12
  • ()

Overall, I would say that the best part about “The Outcasts,” the first book in “The Brotherband Chronicles” is the characters. They are like most characters you will find in books; Tursgud, the bully, is much stronger and bulkier than the main character, Hal.

spotlight featured
  • Reviewed by Abigail Tippin
  • ()

Today we welcome a review by Abigail Tippin, a member of the Bourbeuse River Book Club at Scenic Regional Library in Union.

spotlight
  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell
  • ()

Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s “The Silence of the Sea,” published in Icelandic in 2011 and now available in English due to an elegant translation by Victoria Cribb, is a fascinating slow-burn mystery of what happened to the passengers aboard an empty luxury yacht that crashes into a pier in Reykjavi…

spotlight
  • Reviewed by Natasha Douglass
  • ()

“The Inside of Out,” by Jenn Marie Thorne, is a progressive book in a new era, one of the first of its kind. Shattering the traditional walls defining what “should” be discussed in teen fiction, this book addresses real and relevant issues that the modern young adult deals with daily.

spotlight featured
  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
  • ()

John Hart’s “Redemption Road” is a riveting crime thriller that draws the reader in from the very beginning. Throughout the spellbinding 417 pages, the plot and subplots take many twists and turns before “whodunit” is eventually revealed.

spotlight featured
  • Reviewed by Moe Godat
  • ()

Moving is never easy. But for Pip and Grace, the main characters in “The Girls in the Garden,” by Lisa Jewell, moving is a different experience than most would expect. With their father locked away in a hospital for a schizophrenic break, and all of their possessions burnt to a crisp by his …

spotlight featured
  • Reviewed by Maria Brady-Smith
  • ()

I have always enjoyed reading Anne Tyler’s books. She is a prolific writer, having written 20 novels, and some of my favorites are “Breathing Lessons,” which won a Pulitzer Prize, “The Accidental Tourist,” “Ladder of Years,” “The Amateur Marriage,” and “A Spool of Blue Thread.”

spotlight featured
  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
  • ()

ISIS is the timely subject of Daniel Silva’s latest spellbinding novel, “The Black Widow.” As current as today’s headlines, it is well-researched and authenticated with data collected from working intelligence officers.

featured
  • By Teen Reviewer, Natasha Douglass
  • ()

“The Fall of Butterflies” by Andrea Portes, is a beautifully written novel about culture shock and teenage adjustment. Willa Parker, a social outcast from Iowa, heads east to the prestigious Pembroke boarding school to start a new life.

featured
  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell
  • ()

Set during the wartime atmosphere of 1942 New York, and featuring two likeable heroes, Dan Fesperman’s “The Letter Writer” is a complex, smart and suspenseful mystery. Basing the novel on a real incident, the burning of the SS Normandie, Fesperman depicts the suspicions, politics, and nation…

spotlight featured
  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
  • ()

Justice Stephen Breyer’s new book reveals his perspective on how the role of the Supreme Court has changed over the last 20 years. “The Court and the World” is an insightful argument, supported by countless court cases, that we now live in a global community that calls for the Supreme Court …

spotlight featured
  • Reviewed by Amy Bolte
  • ()

Sometimes there are books you are happy to share with your friends because the book is so good that you can’t imagine anyone not liking it. Then there are those books that fall under the “guilty pleasure” category – they are fun reads, but since they may be a little on the “light” side you w…

spotlight featured
  • Reviewed by Morgan Hammer, Age 13, Immaculate Conception School
  • ()

“The Penderwicks in Spring,” by Jeanne Birdsall, is a story about Batty, a girl with a large family. Her family is made up of her dad and stepmom, three older sisters, one younger sister and one younger brother.

spotlight featured
  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell, Staff, Washington Public Library
  • ()

Curtis C. Chen’s first novel, “Waypoint Kangaroo,” has a solid premise, a zippy plot, and some intriguing world-building. This is a promising debut. Chen writes with a breezy, cheeky style that reminds me of John Scalzi. Fans of Scalzi’s “Old Man’s War” Universe novels should seek this one out.

spotlight featured
  • Reviewed by Maria Brady-Smith
  • ()

Today we welcome a new MO Books reviewer, Washingtonian Maria Brady-Smith. She recently retired from the School District of Washington where she worked 16 years as a parent educator with Parents as Teachers, and 13 years as a School Psychological Examiner in Early Childhood Special Education.

We're always interested in hearing about news in our community. Let us know what's going on!