Staff Picks - July 2017

    • Ginny Moon
      Benjamin Ludwig

      Read the book the critics are raving about! Ginny is a recently adopted teenager with autism. She has a new home, new parents, and a new last name. But Ginny is stifled. Her voice is pushed down. Silenced. Bottled up for too long now. It's ready to burst. Ginny is desperate to get back to where she came from because something heartbreaking happened there--something that only Ginny knows--and nothing will stop her from going back to make it right. Ginny Moon is an illuminating look at one girl's journey to find her way home. In this stunning debut, Benjamin Ludwig gives a voice to the voiceless, reminding us that often we only hear those who speak the loudest, and there's much to be learned by opening up our ears and our hearts.

    • Survivors Club: the true story of a very young prisoner of Auschwitz
      Michael Bornstein

      As a four year-old Michael Bornstein survived for seven months inside Auschwitz, where the average lifespan of a child was just two weeks. This book tells the unforgettable story of how a father's courageous wit, a mother's fierce love, and one perfectly timed illness saved his life, and how others in his family dodged death at the hands of the Nazis time and again. This is a great read, and even has an Iowa connection -- he studied at the University of Iowa! It's in the teen collection but is one that would interest many adults, I think. - Sandy

    • The Adventure of the Plated Spoon and Other Tales of Sherlock Holmes
      Loren D. Estleman

      Estleman has gathered eight reprints and four original tales, ranging in composition date from Arthur Conan Doyle's day to our own. Authors include J.M. Barrie, Doyle's son Adrian, and Estleman himself among others. Excerpts from such novels as Ellery Queen's A Study in Terror and Laurie King's The Beekeeper's Apprentice will whet your appetite to read the full texts.

    • No Middle Name: the complete collected Jack Reacher short stories
      Lee Child

      No suitcase. No destination. No middle name. No matter how far Reacher travels off the beaten path, trouble always finds him. Feel bad for trouble. Grab this title for the ultimate Jack Reacher experience: a thrilling new novella and eleven previously published stories, together for the first time in one pulse-pounding collection..

    • The German Girl
      Armando Lucas Correa

      The German Girl sweeps from Berlin at the brink of the Second World War to Cuba on the cusp of revolution, to New York in the wake of September 11, before reaching its deeply moving conclusion in the tumult of present-day Havana. Based on a true story, this masterful novel gives voice to the joys and sorrows of generations of exiles, forever seeking a place called home. A stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel, perfect for fans of The Nightingale, Schindler's List, and All the Light We Cannot See, about twelve-year-old Hannah Rosenthal's harrowing experience fleeing Nazi-occupied Germany with her family and best friend, only to discover that the overseas asylum they had been promised is an illusion. It's very good in the audio format too.

    • Mindless Eating: why we eat more than we think
      Brian Wansink

      A great thing about the library is that you can find older titles still on the shelves, and still as pertinent and useful as ever! This 2006 book is by Dr. Wansink, a food researcher who knows everything about the science of what makes us eat more, or eat less. Plate size? Is the plate filled in the kitchen or at the table? What serving dishes are on the table? These are just a few of the many questions he's studied, and they all make a little bit of difference in whether we eat more or eat less, or weigh more or less at the end of another year. It's a real eye-opener, and a great deal of fun besides.  Dr. Wansink feels we might as well mindlessly eat less than more. He updated his work in the 2014 book Slim by Design (also owned by the library). How can we design our homes, restaurants and schools so we easily, mindlessly eat less? - Dawn

    • Perfect
      Cecelia Ahern

      Celestine North lives in a society that demands perfection. After she was branded Flawed by a morality court, Celestine's life has completely fractured--all her freedoms gone. In this thrilling sequel to the first book in this teen dystopian series, Flawed , Celestine must make a choice: save just herself or risk her own life to save all Flawed people.

    • Universal Harvester
      John Darnielle

      A very unusual book about a video store clerk in Nevada, IA, who discovers mysterious pieces of film on VHS movies in 1999.  Setting it in Iowa was what made it stand out for me.  It's considered horror, but it really isn't scary.  More about small-town life in Iowa.  Take a look!

    • Literally
      Lucy Keating

      What would you do if you found out your life was being written for you? That’s the situation Annabelle finds herself facing when her perfect life begins to crash and burn. Then author Lucy Keating visits Annabelle’s English class to talk about her new book; a book in which Annabelle is the main character! The ways in which Annabelle rebels against Lucy’s plotlines and tries to make her own choices make for an entertaining and thought-provoking read. A young adult novel that blurs the line between reality and fiction. - Amanda

    • The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane
      Lisa See

      A thrilling new novel from bestselling author Lisa See explores the lives of a Chinese mother and her daughter who has been adopted by an American couple. A powerful story about a family, separated by circumstances, culture, and distance, this book paints an unforgettable portrait of the little known Yunnan region and its people, the Akha, and celebrates the bond that connects mothers and daughters.

    • Three Dark Crowns
      Kendare Blake

      A dark and inventive fantasy about three sisters who must fight to the death to become queen.  In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. But becoming the Queen Crowned isn't solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it's not just a game of win or's life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown. Teen fantasy that is wonderfully bleak.

    • The Chalk Pit: a Ruth Galloway mystery
      Elly Griffiths

      In this ninth book in the series, forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway and DCI Nelson investigate a string of murders and disappearances deep within the abandoned chalk-mining tunnels far beneath the streets of Norwich, England. Why do the bones found in the tunnels appear to have been boiled? Are they related to a missing homeless woman? As Ruth, Nelson and the rest of their team investigate, they hear rumors of secret societies, cannibalism, and ritual killings. When a body is found with a map that appears to be of the area known as The Underground, they realize their quest to find the killer has only just begun -- and there may be more bodies underfoot. As always the story provies an excellent blend of archaeology and crime solving with interesting personal relationships and a remarkable sense of place.

    • The Wild Iris
      Louise Glück

      Louise Gluck is considered one of the most gifted poets of her generation. Known for her well-crafted use of verse and meter, she first garnered attention with a collection of poetry from 1968. In 1994 she was named Poet Laureate of Vermont, and was elected as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. In 2003, she was named Poet Laureate of the United States. "The Wild Iris" was written during a ten-week period in the summer of 1991 and may be considered her most important and accomplished collection to date.

    • Dreamland Burning
      Jennifer Latham

      Rowan is a teenager of mixed race. While a construction crew is working on her old house one summer, she discovers an old skeleton. She researches the story of the skeleton and discovers more about herself during the process. Will’s story of growing up during the Tulsa Race Riots is told through alternating chapters with Rowan’s story. Will’s dad owns a record store and is friendly towards everyone in town. However, the neighbor across the street is very racist and threatens Will’s family and friends several times. When the riots break out, Will has to decide if he is going to defend and help his friends, or protect his family by remaining silent. Rowan and Will’s stories show how their lives are interconnected, leading the reader through many different twists and turns to guess the details. I loved how this book pulls the reader in and connects the characters’ lives together. The subject is also very relevant to many of the events happening in today’s society. - Katy

    • Lord of Shadows
      Cassandra Clare

      This is a Shadowhunters novel and is the sequel to Lady Midnight. Emma is torn between her passion for Julian and her need to protect him from the consequences of a forbidden romantic partnership, a situation challenged by her relationship with Mark and his efforts to regain his Shadowhunter capabilities. Caught between the demands of faerie and the laws of the Clave, Emma, Julian, and Mark must find a way to come together to defend everything they hold dear--before it's too late.

    • A Gentleman in Moscow
      Amor Towles

      He can't leave his hotel. You won't want to. Sentenced to life in an elegant Moscow hotel, (he'll be shot on sight if he steps out the door), Count Alexander Rostov spend his days in a static environment while the world of 1920s Russia outside the hotel encounters tumultuous change. Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count's endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.

    • Duels and Deception
      Cindy Anstey

      One of the most anticipated YA novels of 2017, this compelling and witty Regency romance is perfect for readers who like their historical fiction with a side of intrigue.

    • Devil in the White City: murder, magic and madness at the fair that changed America
      Erik Larson

      In this narrative nonfiction book, the smoke, romance, and mystery of the Gilded Age come alive as never before. Two men, each handsome and unusually adept at his work, embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized America's rush toward the twentieth century. Daniel Hudson Burnham, a renowned architect, was the brilliant director of works for the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. Henry H. Holmes, a young doctor, was the satanic murderer of scores of young women in a torture palace built for the purpose near the fairgrounds. Larson unearths the lost history of the 1893 World's Fair and the madman who grimly parodied the fair's achievements. 

    • My Lady Jane
      Cynthia Hand

      Lady Jane Grey loves to read. Prince Edward has just become King of England. G is an Eðian (a person who changes between a human and an animal). When King Edward becomes deathly ill, he declares his beloved cousin, Jane, to become Queen of England to the distaste of his older sister, Mary. However, Jane must marry as part of Edward’s dying wishes and she's forced to marry G even though she has only known him for a day. Jane and G struggle through their new relationship and the expectations of Jane being Queen of England. Then Mary, who hates Eðians, declares herself Queen and takes Jane’s throne... This teen fantasy is thick, but reads quickly with lots of humor, sarcasm, twists on history, romance, magic, and adventure. The characters are likable as they work together to stop Mary from taking over England. The authors have taken liberties with history, but have made the story fun with added humor and magic. - Katy

    • The Poet's Dog
      Patricia MacLachlan

      This children's fiction book is told from the perspective of a dog who has learned English.  How he learned words is revealed throughout the book. One day, the dog rescues two kids trapped in a snowstorm. They soon discover they can talk with him and share their story with the dog, who in turn, shares his story with them.  This book is quick to read and very heartwarming.  Dog lovers will love it. - Katy