Welcome to What’s Hot & What’s Not, a new weekly collaboration between the Revelstoke Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library and The Revelstoke Current intended to foment both readership and opinion sharing about books. If you have something to say about a book you are reading please feel free to share it with Community Librarian Kendra Runnalls, Lucie Bergeron, Zoe Knuff, Susan Knight or any of the staff at the public library. The Revelstoke Current is pleased to welcome submissions by school children at Columbia Park, Arrow Heights and Begbie View Elementary Schools.
Adult Book Reviews for July 26, 2014
Guilt by degrees by Marcia Clark — “Yes, it’s the Marcia Clark of the OJ Simpson trial! Many will remember her as the head prosecuting lawyer in the much publicized trial. Guilt by degrees is Clark’s second novel in a series featuring prosecutor Rachel Knight as the main character. I am eager to read her other three because I found this one so entertaining. It was utterly compelling and I liked knowing that the courtroom scenes and the investigative procedure were written by an expert!” Comment by an anonymous patron.
Saving Lucas Biggs by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague — “I really enjoyed this junior fiction book by this wife/husband team (Marisa de los Santos writes for adults too). Thirteen-year-old Margaret’s father is sentenced to death by the cruel Judge Biggs. Margaret is sure her father is innocent and knows the only way to save him is to change the past by using her family’s secret ability to travel through time. Margaret finds out there are strict rules to time travel and that history resists change.” Comment by Assistant Community Librarian Susan Knight.
Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively — “This winner of the 1987 Booker prize, is an excellent story. The main character recounts her past from her deathbed. She wants to write a history of the world, she says, but she knows that all histories can only be told from the narrow perspective of the writer; Lively rises to this challenge and many events in the novel are written from two (sometimes three) characters’ points of view. I found it extremely entertaining to read the narrative of a woman at the end of her exciting life; the narrative of a young and fascinating woman in the midst of life; and the omniscient narrative of several characters involved in a single event.” Comment by Community Librarian Kendra Runnalls.
Europe at Midnight by Alan Furst — “This is a fast-paced and intelligent historical espionage novel set in Paris, New York, Spain and Berlin 1in 1938. Furst is the acknowledged master of this genre. Midnight in Europe is the 13th of his series. Beautifully written, it tells the story of Cristian Ferrar, an emigre Spanish lawyer living in Paris. Ferrar is drawn into the dark world of espionage, gun-running and anti-fascist activity as the Nazi threat to civilization solidifies. This is Furst at his finest. The mood is noire and misty — almost melancholy. And the sense of dread that afflicts his vibrant and believable characters is almost palpable. I couldn’t put this novel down.” Comment by David F. Rooney.
Adult Book Reviews for July 12, 2014
A Stolen Life by Jacee Dugard — “A very difficult book to read but anyone with young children should read it. A book depicting a young girl’s tremendous courage. A great deal of courage to write!” Comment by patron L. Lundquist.
The girl who saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson — “Definitely not as good as his previous bestselling book The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared.” Comment by an anonymous patron.
The Mountain of Light by Indu Sundaresan — “Born and raised in India, the author of this book moved to the United States to attend graduate school. In this novel, she tells the tale of a fabulous gem in a series of connected vignettes. The subtlety and wistfulness of the social commentary leaves you feeling thoughtful, and the many characters are interesting and often endearing. Fascinating historical fiction, backed up by well researched fact, this a satisfying and entertaining read.” Comment by staff member Lucie Bergeron.
Saville by David Storey — “Winner of the Booker prize in 1976; this novel reminded me of How Green Was My Valley which I loved. Both novels explore the lives of the members of a poor mining family in Britain. Saville focuses on the life of the oldest son in the family who is given the opportunity to escape the poor mining community in which he is raised, but fails to do so for reasons which he fails to understand. An excellent story which I was utterly compelled to keep reading…” Comment by staff member Kendra Runnalls.
Adult Book Reviews for July 5, 2014
Sweet Mandarin: the courageous true story of three generations of Chinese women and their journey from East to West by Helen Tse — “I really enjoyed this book; I found it to be very well written. The story flowed along and was pleasantly easy to follow. It is a true story about a family who, although they must persevere under difficult circumstances, remain good, sweet, and extremely likeable.” Comment by patron Yvonne Moore.
Best Laid Plans by Christine Hart — “I enjoyed this young adult story about a high school student who lives on an orchard in a small Okanagan community. Robyn wants to go to university but her family is struggling financially and they cannot help her with the tuition. Robyn’s parents want her to stay home and work in their orchard after she graduates. Robyn is passionate about her dream but can she leave her family behind to achieve it?” Assistant Community Librarian Susan Knight.
In the Moors by Nina Milton — “Milton’s most recent novel (2013) is an easy read. The author talks to you AND it is available in large print! It is quite an incredible tale. I got hooked and lost sleep finishing it! Comment by patron Margaret E. Blayney
Something borrowed, someone dead by M.C. Beaton — “An enjoyable mystery. It kept me guessing until the very end. Available in large print too!” Comment by patron E. Daniels
John Wayne: The life and legend by Scott Eyman — “Not for the faint of heart – this large book goes into very great detail. The author writes not only about ‘The Duke’ but the history of Hollywood as well.” Comment by patron E. Daniels
Adult Book Reviews for June 29, 2014
Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese — “An Ojibway boy is torn from his dying grandmother’s arms and sent to residential school in Northern Ontario. He finds outdoor hockey as a focus – something he excels at into adulthood. However he must deal with issues he has “drowned” to find some peace. What a storyteller! Although not a hockey fan, I was riveted!” Comment by patron Lynn Meulendyk
The Magus by John Fowles — “I love this author’s style of writing. I liked The Magus almost as much as The French Lieutenant’s Woman. He is one of those writers who make you shake your head in disbelief that someone can put their thoughts into words so brilliantly. His knowledge of religions, cultures and psychology add so much to his fascinating plots. Plots that have a bit of mystery, suspense, and terrific and interesting characters!” Comment by Librarian Kendra Runnalls
Adult Book Reviews for June 22, 2014
Never Trust a Liberal Over 3 – Especially a Republican by Ann Coulter— “This was a terrible book! I have seen this author as a guest on many television talk shows and thought she was extremely unintelligent and un-interesting. I thought I would give her book a chance, but she was just as terrible in print as she is in person! Comment by an anonymous patron.
Hank the Cowdogby John R. Erickson — “This is a wonderful series! My family and I have been listening to the audiobooks during our recent car trips and have been enjoying them enormously. The author has a ranch and was a cowboy in his younger days. My family and I have live on acreage as well and have started calling our own dog ‘Hank!’” Comment by patron Lynn Des Mazes.
Canadian Short Stories edited by Robert Weaver — “I didn’t realize there was such a rich variety of Canadian writers. It makes me proud to be Canadian!” Comment by patron Linda Lundquist.
Strangers by Anita Brookner — “Paul Sturgis, 72-years old and never married, reflects upon his solitary life and his difficulty in connecting with other people. Paul wonders if he should pursue a relationship with one of the two women he is friendly with—one an old flame and the other a pushy mysterious woman he met on a holiday. You will want to read to the end to find out what he decides and if he makes any big changes in his life.” Comment by Assistant Community Librarian Susan Knight.
Adult Book Reviews for June 10, 2014
Great Food, All Day Long by Maya Angelou. “I found this cook book in our library a couple of weeks before Maya Angelou died and thought it would be fun to try one of her recipes. I choose an easy recipe (because that’s how I like them) and made her California Green Chile and Cheese Pie. If 3 out of 4 of my family members like a meal I call it a success and that it was. Dr. Angelou, poet, author, activist and cook, wrote this book in her eighties — amazing!” Comment by Assistant Community Librarian Susan Knight
Outliers: The story of success by Malcolm Gladwell. “Gladwell’s presentation of the research about what makes successful people successful is written in a very engaging style. He intersperses descriptions of the research that supports his theory (environment – everything from the year you were born to the type of people your parents are – plays the most crucial role in success) with true stories of both amazing success and failure. The most interesting stories are those of two people who have a very similar start in life, but because of very different environmental experiences, end up leading extremely different lifestyles.” Comment by Community Librarian Kendra Runnalls
Feed Zone Portables by Biju Thomas and Allen Lim. “This is a cookbook for on the go athletes. The recipes are all for small, portable and extremely palatable foods that can be eaten on the run. Great alternatives to all the weird gels, bars and blocks that are on the market at the moment. The authors have supported athletes at the Olympic level with proven results. The recipes are simple, and the nutrition information is comprehensive, to say the least! Worth having a look at if you are an athlete in endurance events, or a parent who is regularly on the road with young athletes”. Comment by Assistant Community Librarian Lucie Bergeron.
Adult Book Reviews for May 27, 2014
The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart — “Very interesting information about the Vimy Ridge site in France and the building and design of the impressive Vimy Ridge Memorial — all told within a beautifully moving story about a family and their loves and losses.” Comment by patron Georgia Sumner
Giant by Aga Maksimowski — “A Toronto Book Award finalist in 2013, Giant is, amongst many other things, a poignant and complex portrayal of the immigrant experience in Canada. It also delves into the world of adolescence from the point of view of a protagonist who has grown out of all proportion to everyone around her, with consequences that are hilarious and tragic at the same time. This book is set at the time of the rise of the Solidarity party in Poland, and the fall of the Berlin wall. These events take on an amazing depth when viewed through the eyes of the Polish family portrayed in this book. Amazing characters, spare and clever writing, and a very satisfying plotting make this book one of my current favourites.” Comment by Lucie Bergeron
The Orenda by Joseph Boyden — “Well written and I call it the book of the year for historical facts that could be true but it is like a mystery story that you have to keep reading to the end to see what is going to happen next.” Comment by patron Merle Jones
What is Stephen Harper Reading? By Yann Martel — “Yann Martel, who won the Booker prize for Life of Pi, has produced a book of recommended reading for Prime Minister Stephen Harper in particular, and book lovers everywhere in general. Every two weeks since April 16th, 2007, Yann Martel has sent PM Stephen Harper a book along with a letter explaining what he might gain from reading the book. An amazing reader’s advisory that is thought provoking and inspiring, with some gentle and carefully considered political commentary.” Comment by patron Lynn Meulendyk
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel — “As a British citizen, I was raised to believe that Thomas Cromwell was an unquestionably immoral man I therefore found it very interesting to hear another side of his story — a side that persuades us that he wasn’t without some virtue. This is a wonderful book; I can’t wait to read the 2nd and 3rd books in the trilogy.” Comment by an anonymous patron
Student book reviews for May 15, 2014 by the Arrow Heights Elementary School Grade 2/3 Class
Diary of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days By Jeff Kinney — Review by by Adelaide, Grade 3, AHE
I read Diary of A Wimpy Kid and really enjoyed it. I would recommend this book because I love the characters in this book. The book is really funny especially when it includes cartoons. In the story the kids get a dog the little one names it. This story takes place in Greg’s house and town. The main character in the story is Greg and his family. Greg needs to take care of the dog and he does not like doing it. The problem in the story is when Greg’s family gets a dog and they try to get rid of it. The three year old wants to keep it.
Benjamin Bear in Bright Ideas by Phillipe Coudray — Review by Ryder, Grade 2, AHE
I would recommend this book because it is very funny. This is a good fit book for ages 6 to 10. This is an awesome book! It is about a rabbit and a bear and they are best friends. Lots of funny things happen in this book. It is a graphic novel which I really like! I would give this book 10 out of 10 stars!
Bone – Rock Jaw by Jeff Smith — Review by Nolan, Grade 3, AHE
I would recommend this book because it is a graphic novel, but at the same time, it is very, very funny! This story takes place in the Eastern Mountains and a rat creature temple. The main characters in the story are fone bone and smiley bone. The bone cousins are funny and serious. Fone bone and smiley bone try to return a baby rat creature to the mountains when they meet yet another adversary, the sly and mighty mountain lion, rock jaw. As I said before, it is very, very funny!
Fablehaven by Brandon Mull — Review by Mimi, Grade 3, AHE
I read Fablehaven by Brandon Mull. I would recommend this book because Fablehaven is mystical and full of adventure. When Seth and Kendra go to a magical preserve full of magical creatures at grandma and grandpas house. Will Kendra and Seth survive all the dangerous monsters? The main characters in the story are Kendra and Seth. Kendra is a nice girl that doesn’t like breaking rules. But Seth loves to break the rules. This story takes place near a forest and in a mansion on a magical preserve. It’s a thrilling book that will leave you in suspense. I enjoyed this book so much it’s a good book for everybody ages 8 to 80.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney — Review by Corbin, Grade 2, AHE
I read Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days. I would recommend this book because it is funny it has funny pictures and it makes you laugh. This story takes place on Greg’s summer vacation which is silly. The main characters are Greg and Rowley. Greg is crazy and Rowley is not very smart. Greg’s summer is ruined. Read the book to find out why! I give this book 5/5 stars, you have to read this book! It is good for ages 5-19.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Hard Luck by Jeff Kinny — Review by Cooper, Grade 2/3, AHE
I would recommend this book because it is funny and exciting. I like this book because it is partly a graphic novel. This story takes place at home and at school. The main character in this story is Gregory. The story is about when Gregory goes to school and his best friend Rowley gets a girlfriend. Gregory has to find a new friend. This is really hard because the only other kid he knows is Fregly, and he is a nerd! I really enjoyed this book because its funny and entertaining!
Dork Diaries #1 by Rachel Renee Russell — Review by Lauryn, Grade 2/3, AHE
I know you are going to love Dork Diaries because it is an amazing book! Have you ever read Diary of a Wimpy Kid? Well then you won’t be able to put this book down! This book is so stupendous! How can Nikki’s life be so terrible? How can she deal with her life? This book is great for ages 8 – 25! The book is so hilarious you will laugh your feet off!
Spirit Animals by Brandon Mull — Review by Jade, Grade 2/3, AHE
I read Spirit Animals Wild Born by Brandon Mull. I would recommend this book because it is adventurous and very, very exciting!!!! This story takes place in Erdes. The main characters in the story are Conor, Abeke, Meilin, and Rollan. They are all friends. They are all tryng to save Erdes. The story is about four kids summoning Spirit Animals. What do you think they are? I give this book 5 out of 5 stars because it is really cool.
Deep Snow by Robert Munich — Review by Kurtis, Grade 3, AHE
I would recommend this book because it’s funny. Two sisters boots get stuck in a hole. The Dad gets them out of the hole. A Funny Book! 🙂
Big Nate on a Roll by Lincoln Peirie — Review by Reed, Grade 3/3, AHE
I read Big Nate on a Roll. I would recommend this book because it is funny and is adventurous. If you start reading it, you can’t stop! Big Nate takes place at school and his house. The main character is Nate. He earns a lot of money for troop scout. He is a hilarious and he is always getting in trouble at school. Big Nate is about Nate earning money for his troop scout and Arthur and Nate have a tie for 1ST place. Arthur invites all the troops to a party and Nate rides his skateboard. You will like to read this book because it is funny and it is full of adventures!
Gregor The Overlander — Review by Mitchell, Grade 2/3, AHE
This is an awesome and yet emotional book. The story takes place in a world under a world were creatures are giant. Gregor and Boots are the main characters and they take place in every prophecy. Gregor and Boots go down to the underland and the prophecies say that Gregor is the warrior. I would recommend this book because it is amazing and moving. READ THIS BOOK!
Bella the Bunny Fairy by Daisy, illustrated by Georgie — Review by Lillian, Grade 2/3, AHE
It is magical and it has goblins. It all happens at a little girl’s b-day. Bella is a bunny fairy. She can make animals have special powers! Bella the bunny fairy is friends with two girls named Racheal and Kirsty. I recommend this book to young kids!
Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling — Review by Clara, Grade 2/3, AHE
I read HARRY POTTER book 4. I recommend it because it is thrilling! I give it 5 stars! The main character is Harry Potter. In the story Harry is having a miserable time at his Aunt and Uncle’s house. Not for long!! What do YOU think will happen next? I think you should read this book because it is awesome!
Kikia by Kyla May — Review by Meya, Grade 2/3, AHE
I recommend this book because Kiki is writing in a journal. This story takes place in a neighborhood. The main character in the story is Kiki. She is important because you are reading her diary. The story is about Kiki who is a nice girl and is getting bullied by Mika the girl who moves in next door. Will they make friends? You will want to read this book! I give it 100 stars!
Adult book reviews for May 14, 2014
Crow Lake by Mary Lawson — “I really enjoy this Canadian author’s books. The focus of this particular book was families. It is set in a small rural community in northern Ontario.” Comment by patron Merle Jones
The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan — “A book about how family fates can be intertwined, set in Shanghai between the two world wars. I had difficulty understanding where the author was going with this novel, and therefore found some of the premises that drove the plot a little difficult to believe. However it does all get tied together in the end, the writing is beautiful, and I really enjoyed the characters.” Comment by Lucie Bergeron
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese — “A compelling and heartfelt novel about love gained, love lost, and unrequited love. A sweeping family saga set in Africa and America.” Comment by an anonymous patron
Night by Elie Wiesel — “A shocking account of the last few months in the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau before the liberation. This new translation by Elie Wiesel’s wife accurately captures his beautiful poetic style. The language is straightforward and descriptive. It is the diary of a teenage boy who has experienced horrible events and is determined to tell us everything.” Comment by Kendra Runnalls
Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson illustrated by E.B. Lewis — “A beautiful picture book that explores social dynamics in childhood with amazing depth and understated simplicity. This book makes an eloquent argument for the need to include everyone and accept differences.” Comment by Lucie Bergeron
Student book reviews for May 3, 2014 by the Arrow Heights Elementary School Grade 2/3 Class
Beastologistby R.L Lafevers. Review by Maeve, AHE Grade 3 I read Beastologist. I would recommend this book because it is adventurous and who doesn’t like adventures? In the book there is a magical creature and he is very funny! This story takes place at Arabia in the desert! The main characters are Nathan and Aunt Phil. Nathan is very short and smart, Aunt Phil is tall and loves going on adventures. This story is about a boy named Nathan and his Aunt Phil and they try to find the phoenix, but can you guess what happens along the way? I really enjoyed Beastologist because it is so exciting. I really hope you read this superb book!
Kiki by Kyla May. Review by Sabine, AHE Grade 2 I would recommend this book because it is a chapter book and it is in diary form. This story takes place in a neighborhood. The main character in the story is Kiki. She is important because you are reading her diary. The story is about Kiki who is a nice girl. Her friends are Lulu and Coco. A mean girl named Mika moves in next door. Will they get along? I enjoyed this book. I rate it 20 stars!
Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren by Barbara Park. Review by Luca, AHE Grade 2 I read Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren. I like this book because it is really funny. The main character is Junie B. The story happens in a school, Junie keeps doing funny stuff to make him like her. The girls all fight over Warren, he likes a girl called Grace. I would recommend this book to girls at elementary school. I give it 10/10 stars!
Bone: Out from Boneville by Jeff Smith. Review by Austin, AHE Grade 2 I would recommend this book because It is very adventurous and so awesome. This story takes place in the forest. The main character in the story is Bone he is a mythical creature. The story is about Bone and his friend Thorn who go on an adventure to Ghost Circles, which is a dark cave. I hope you read this book, it is SO good!
The Flying Beaver Brothers and Fishy Business by Maxwell Eaton III. Review by Nathan, AHE Grade 3 I would recommend this book because it is fun entertaining and funny. I am sure lots of kids will love it. This story takes place in the forest by the Fish sticks factory. A factory that makes these wooden sticks called fish sticks. The two main characters are beavers named Ace and Bub. Ace and Bub fight evil almost every day as they travel through the forest. The fish sticks factory is chopping down all the trees. Can Ace and Bub save the forest?
Bone: Crown of Horns by Jeff Smith. Review by Parker, AHE Grade 3 It’s extremely exciting. You’ll never want to stop reading it! The story takes place in the valley where three Bones venture off too the Bones. The characters names are Fone bone, Phoney bone and smiley bone. Fone Bone is always trying to survive his brother Phoney bone and live on the safe side of things. In there first book they meet Thorn and her Grandma Rose. You’ll want to read this book more than once I give it five stars! 🙂
April 27, 2014 Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell — “I really enjoyed this young adult book. It is sweet, complex, moving and tragic. Once you read it you will want to pass it on to a friend.” Comment by Assistant Community Librarian Susan Knight
I shall be near to you by Erin Lindsay McCabe — “Enjoyable. The plot drew you along for an easy read. Lots of interesting history. Don’t forget the Kleenex though…” Comment by patron Roberta Skalicky
The invention of wings by Sue Monk Kidd — “Wonderfully written account of slavery and life in the early 1800’s in Southern Carolina. The beginning of change which is seemingly impossible…” Comment by patron Lisa Longinotto
The Secret Book of Grazia dei Rossi by Jacqueline Park — “A painstakingly researched historical fiction about of the life of an educated Jewish woman during the Italian Renaissance. Thoughtful, well written, with lots of action moving the plot along and a star crossed romance that spans decades and isn’t corny at all.” Comment by Assistant Community Librarian Lucie Bergeron
Wise at Heart: Children and Adults share Words of Wisdom by Brodie Hartman Dr. Richard Steckel and Michele Steckel — “With contributions by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Jane Goodall, Eric Carle and many other notable humanitarians, this book, the result of the Wise at Heart Project, is truly amazing. In it over 400 adults and children share what they believe is important in life. Read this book! Illustrated with beautiful photos of adults and children from all over the world.” Comment by Assistant Community Librarian Lucie Bergeron
April 15, 2014 Norwegian by night by Derek Miller — “Another fun read about an aging man caught up in a conundrum. He uses his formidable resources to do the right thing. Funny and moving.” Comment by patron Lynn Meulendyk
Malala by Malala Yousafzai “An amazing story of a courageous individual; however, I found that the juvenile voice of Malala, especially in the beginning chapters, was slightly off-putting. Of course, she is a young teenager and the story is hers and should be told from her point of view, but as a reader who is aware of the politics in Pakistan, I didn’t care for the naïve perspective.” Comment by an anonymous patron
Mad about the Boy by Helen Fielding and Bridget Jones — “I couldn’t read this book. It isn’t often that I dislike a book so much that I can’t bring myself to read it, but I just couldn’t read this.” Comment by patron Merle Jones
One thousand white women by Jim Fergus — “In spite of critical acclaim, this book, which was erroneously portrayed by some reviewers as a true story, is actually a completely fictional story and quite an awful book. The premise of the story, the introduction of a thousand white women into the Cheyenne nation as a means of easing their assimilation into white culture , is intriguing had it been a real historical event, but as a work of fiction it wasn’t believable.” Comment by patron Joyce Crosby
The Ocean at the end of the lane by Neil Gaiman — “Gaiman does so much with a few words! This story about a man revisiting his childhood kept me absorbed through the whole book.” Comment by patron Lisa Moore
April 6, 2014 Life on the colour line by Gregory H. Williams — “This is a true story that all humankind can relate to. No one has any control over who his (her) parents will be & where they will be born; but, we do have a choice as an adult to take control of our lives and to take responsibility for our own actions. The protagonist’s first 20 years of life is a fascinating story full of hardships. He started life in a white community in Virginia with his younger brother, mother and “Italian” dad in the early ’50s; by the age of 10 he had to deal with the news that he must go to live with an aunt in a “coloured community” in Indiana…” Comment by an anonymous patron
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain —“Believable characters, interesting and insightful. Well worth the read.” Comment by Assistant Community Librarian Susan Knight
The Girls by Lori Lansens — “A surprising and unique fictional book that reads like a true story. I really enjoyed it!” Comment by patron B. Kozek
King and Maxwell by David Baldacci — “The dynamic duo of the title make this book an exciting action-packed thriller. The “who” is the mystery, and the “why” is the best part… Comment by patron Lisa Longinotto
Come Sunday by Isla Morley — “Without being a religious novel, this is nevertheless an uplifting book about how tapping into your spirituality can give you the strength to bear even the most horrible personal tragedies and allow you to see life from a better perspective. Through spirituality, the protagonist of this novel overcomes the death of a child, her own painful childhood, and realizes that she has misunderstood her mother and can now bring herself to forgive her.” Comment by an anonymous patron
A Redbird Christmas and Can’t wait to get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg — “Both books are fun and easy reads. Ms. Flagg brings humor to some elderly characters in these books. Highly recommended by both my elderly mother and me!” Comment by patron P.K. Giesbrecht
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace — “Variously described as both a philosophical quest and a screwball comedy, this massive tome pulls off some impressive literary stunts without ever sacrificing its inherent entertainment value. Filled with complex, likeable, and quirky characters that you have the chance to get quite attached to over the course of a thousand or so pages.” Comment by an anonymous patron
The Fault in our Stars by John Green — “This Young Adult book has recently enjoyed a successful translation into film, and is getting quite a bit of attention again as a result. All I can say is: READ THE BOOK! This amazing little gem has a lot to offer readers of all ages. It is smart, literary, quirky, but never ever corny. I was frequently laughing and crying at the same time as I worked my way through this book – it is exquisitely crafted and delivers a message that feels like an epiphany.” Comment by Assistant Community Librarian Lucie Bergeron
March 24, 2014 A Reader’s Book of Days by Tom Nissley — “A literary reference for every day of the year as well as birthdays and death dates of authors. Fascinating facts and trivia from the lives of the big names in literature from the 1600’s to the present. Some really interesting and surprising biographical information. Interesting explanations about how some major works of literature came to be.” Comment by Community Librarian Kendra Runnalls
An Astronaut’s Guide to Life by Chris Hadfield — “It’s about making the most out of life – making every minute count for something. It’s also about being prepared and ready for each moment. Thoroughly entertaining – loved the episode when Hadfield is flying a fighter jet with a bee in his visor – exceptional!” Comment by patron Lisa Longinotto
Dancing Lessons by Olive Senior — “An entertaining and engaging book with good character developments. It’s about family relationships and learning new things even at an old age.” Comment by patron Susan Hoyle
Little, Big by John Crowley — “An enticing love story, uneasy at times though it is overflowing with magic. You may peak through the trees to see if their doors are open and the house described therein will make you want to move in and get lost exploring. Comment by patron M.C.S.
The Death of Santini. Story of a Father and Son by Pat Conroy — “Great read – finally the true facts about the real family of Pat Conroy. Previously Conroy has fictionalized the story of his upbringing in The Great Santini, Prince of Tides and more. Written with his usual and expected skill.” Comment by patron Ann Toelle
How to hold a Crocodile by the Diagram Group — “Filled with great instructions for all the stuff they don’t teach you in school: like how to hold a crocodile, how to repel cavalry, how to magnetize a walnut. Target audience: tween boys and girls, but fascinating for anyone who loves esoteric knowledge.” Comment by Lucie Bergeron
The Minor Adjustments Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith — “The latest installment in the Number One Ladies Detective Agency series, this book was enjoyable and much better than the previous one in the series. If you’ve become fond of the characters in this series, you’re in for treat.” Comment by Lucie Bergeron
Comment by an anonymous patron Dinosaurumpus by Tony Mitton — “This preschool level book is catchy, fun, and informative! You will know all the different types of dinosaurs by the end of the book.”
Comment by an anonymous patron The Saltmarsh Murders by Gladys Mitchell — “If you love the cozy British mysteries of the 1930-1950’s — think Dorothy L. Sayers and Margery Allingham — then you will love this author. Mrs. Lestrange Bradley is the outlandishly attired psycho-analyst-trained sleuth of these hilarious mysteries. Comment by Kendra Runnalls
The Dove Keepers by Alice Hoffman — “The story of the siege of Masada told from the point of view of four powerful female characters. This novel is imaginative and imbued with the mysticism of ancient Judaism. Entertaining, edifying, and very readable.” Comment by Lucie Bergeron
Stone Cold by CJ Box — “Joe Pickett, still officially a game warden in the great state of Wyoming, but now mostly a troubleshooter for the governor, is assigned to find out the truth behind a ranch whose owner the governor suspects of brokering assassinations for the super rich. Joe discovers a lot more than he’d bargained for. There are two other men living up at that ranch. One is a stone-cold killer who takes an instant dislike to Joe. The other is new — but Joe knows him all too well. The first man doesn’t frighten Joe. The second is another story entirely. With Box’s traditional taut pacing, excellent characterization and believable story line, Stone Cold is well worth a read. It’s available as a Quick Read at the Revelstoke branch of the ORL.” Comment by patron David F. Rooney
March 3, 2014 The Secret History by Donna Tartt — “A small tightly-knit group of wealthy undergraduates at a New England University are involved in a murder of one of their peers. The plot is absolutely riveting and addictive. Tartt is a master of suspense and the multiple red herrings are so subtle that you can’t help but guess at one outlandish solution after another!”Comment by Community Librarian Kendra Runnalls
The girl with no shadow by Joanne Harris — “This is the sequel to the novel Chocolat (which was made into a movie starring Johnny Depp as the romantic lead). This was a magical and thought-provoking story – but the character played by Johnny Depp, who re-appears in this sequel is described as having red hair which bothered me throughout the entire story!!” Comment by patron Andi Quinn
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher — “This young adult book has a little of everything: adventure, fantasy, science fiction, romance, history, dystopias,…This is book one of a series and is suitable for ages 11 and up.” Comment by patron Heather Masson
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak — “An amazing young adult book. It appears long, but I could not put it down! It has become my new all-time favorite. Zusak is a great author.” Comment by patron Chelsea Franche
Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight by M.E. Thomas — “This non-fiction book is written by a diagnosed sociopath who calls herself ME Thomas. Although she doesn’t use her real name she does state that she is a law professor by trade and she also points out that she teaches children in Sunday school. It is an interesting read and provides readers some insight into how a high functioning (or non-criminal) sociopath operates. Of course she might not be telling the truth!” Comment by Assistant Community Librarian Susan Knight
February 24, 2014 Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell — “Very thought-provoking short stories by the author of Swamplandia. The stories are fun, futuristic, fantastical and bittersweet. Some stories are coming-of-age and some have themes of freedom and love.” Comment by patron Andi Quinn
Incarceron and Saphique by Catherine Fisher (Young Adult) “These two books, written in the steam punk genre style, will appeal to fans of the Hunger Games, as well as to those who enjoy books like Airborn by Kenneth Opal and Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. Set in a futuristic world where technology and progress is abhorred, this is the story of Finn who is trying to escape from Incarceron, a prison where a brutal society has evolved over generations, and Claudia, who is trying to escape an arranged marriage in a stifling life with few choices. Enjoyable, well written and thought provoking, with a great cast of characters.” Comment by Lucie Bergeron
The Carbon Diaries 2017 by Saci Lloyd — “This young adult novel is the sequel to Lloyd’s eco-thriller The Carbon Diaries. Laura, now a college student in London, continues to record her life in a carbon rationed England. Laura’s diary chronicles normal teen life— music, boyfriend issues, family and friend difficulties and education—but in a dramatically changing world due to climate change. It’s a good read with an important message.” Comment by assistant community librarian Susan Knight
The Orenda by Joseph Boyden — “This book is a must read for anyone interested in the early contact between Aboriginals and Europeans in Eastern Canada. Intertribal warfare between the Iroquois and Huron and the intrusion of Christian missionaries along with early trade contact is the setting for this book. Boyden gives a compelling portrait of day to day aboriginal life along with frequently horrific portrayals of aboriginal ” caressing” ( torture) of their enemies…which at times included the “crows” ( Jesuit priests). He also incorporates the ravages of sickness brought by the Europeans and the faith-based perseverance of the missionaries. Overall a disturbing and unsettling read. Comment by patron Eve Fisher
February 20, 2014 The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connolly — “Michael knows his business about the law and what goes on in the courtroom. I enjoyed his way of weaving the characters and plots together – with an unexpected finish – read to the end! Comment by patron Lisa Longinoto.
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton — “Winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize, this intimidating 830 page tome is definitely a literary tour de force, with intricate plotting, flawless and artful writing, and a narrative that increases its pace and intensity all the way to the end. That being said, I came away from this book deeply dissatisfied: the ending felt vague, rushed, and tacked on. With 830 pages to work with, I felt the author could have crafted a better ending. If you love literature and have time to take this kind of reading project on, this book is worth a read. Otherwise, you might just want to wait for Eleanor Catton’s next book – as an impressive young and developing writer, we can expect her to improve with experience.” Comment by Lucie Bergeron
American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett — “This novel about a what befalls a group of young friends seduced into an exploration of the occult is a first-rate piece of writing by one of the rising stars of American horror and fantasy. Bennett’s prose is flawless and he skillfully ratchets up the tension in this can’t-put-it-down novel.” Comment by patron David F. Rooney.
February 8, 2014 Espresso Tales: The new 44 Scotland Street book by Alexander McCall Smith — “ I highly recommend this book. If you would rather not read about horrible things and feel like a story that makes you feel good instead, then read this book! Absolutely delightful! Comment by patron Beatrice Schuh
‘A day in the life of a smiling woman: complete short stories by Margaret Drabble — “I am a big fan of Margaret Drabble’s novels. This collection of short stories was a pleasant surprise. The stories are so varied in plot that only her beautiful style reminds you that they are all hers. I love English writers, but all too often I find that their stories are so similar that one gets tired of them – not so with Margaret Drabble! Comment by librarian Kendra Runnalls
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman — “Why do we think the way we do? Everyone should be fortunate enough to read this explanation.” Comment by an anonymous patron The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje — “A wonderful and colorful exploration of youthful innocence and mischief! Comment by an anonymous patron
February 5, 2014 Ruby Redfort: Look into my eyes (Book 1) by Lauren Child — “This series of (soon to be) 4 books, is about a very smart and funny 13-year-old girl who has a talent for deciphering codes. She even makes up her own! Could she be even better than the famous youngest-ever 7-year-old spy that everyone talks about?? (The website is great too!) Comment by (junior) patron Eden Thomas
First Light by Bodie & Brock Thoene — “This book is definitely a “not hot” book! There were too many plot twists and too many characters – all with too similar names – making it very difficult to follow. My daughter couldn’t finish the book either. Comment by patron Jasmin Brackenbury
One heart to win by Johanna Lindsey — “If you are a fan of this author you will find that this is a typical setting in Montana with HOT cowboys, family feuds, trickery, humor, and obviously ROMANCE WESTERN STYLE. It is a great read and a lovely story with real characters.” Comment by patron Lisa Longinotto
The silver star by Jeanette Walls — “If you enjoyed The Glass Castle you will like this one. An easy read but a bit too predictable. I wonder how much is actually based on the author’s childhood…” Comment by patron Gabriella Draboczi
January 27, 2014 The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey — “An awesome, very awakening book. About Alaska, the wide wilderness, and love. A perfect book for all who love nature, the woods, and snow!” Comment by patron Annegret Meyer
The News from Paraguay by Lily Tuck — “This historical fiction takes place during the 1850’s and 60’s when there was major unrest amongst the countries of South America. The central character is a fascinating Irish woman used to the high society of Paris who moves to Paraguay and raises five of the president’s children under the threat of constant war.” Comment by community librarian Kendra Runnalls B
ad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen — ”A funny and entertaining story set in Florida – it’s always fun to see what Hiaasen has in store for the greedy and corrupt!” Comment by assistant community librarian Susan Knight
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi — “A gripping novel set in a broken world of the Future. Thrilling and entertaining. Sure to stick in your mind.” Comment by patron Hailey Christie-Hoyle
Infected and Contagious by Scott Sigler — “This well-crafted science fiction thriller about an infection deliberately sent to Earth by an alien species bent on colonization will leave you begging for more. With plausible science and excellent character development, Infected is the first in a trilogy by Sigler. The second book, Contagious, is equally good and the third, Pandemic, promises, like its predecessors in the trilogy to be a real midnight page-turner, too. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in hard science friction.” Comment by patron David Rooney
January 21, 2014 Pope Joan by Donna Wolfolk Cross — “ An interesting read about life in the 11th century when girls seeking any education at all would have had to disguise themselves as men. I was especially intrigued by Pope Joan’s knowledge of herbal medicines. I found it to be a generally well written novel if a little trite – especially the ending.” Comment by patron Toni Johnston
The Loner by Josephine Cox — “A touching story of true friendship and how faith can keep hope flowing if there is enough of it. A great ending of happiness, horses, and a lifelong reward…” Comment by patron Lisa Longinotto
The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy — “Originally published in 1918, and reprinted by Simon & Schuster in 2002 with all three volumes in one paperback edition, The Forsyte Saga attracted attention as a Masterpiece Theatre PBS television series that most will remember as a tragedy of manners depicting the fortunes, financial and romantic, of members of the formidable Forsyte family of London. The three-volume book of almost 900 pages is a perfect “slow read” for winter nights, and reveals Galsworthy as a writer whose reach was not limited to the examination of social codes for which he is widely known. An underestimated theme of the book encompasses questions of aesthetics: what is beauty, and how do we perceive it? The most compelling passages in the book are not those of plot or romance, or social critique, but are descriptions of a summer afternoon in the countryside, of a rainy evening in London as one character or another walks home, of the pleasures of the artist’s life, of hearing music, of the interior of a well-planned room. The main female character, Irene, can be read as a metaphor for beauty itself; the pursuit of Irene by the unloveable Soames represents the search, always in vain, to hold permanently, or to own, that which we deem as beautiful.” Comment by patron Leslie Savage
The Light between Oceans by M.L. Stedman — “Set in Australia after the First World War, on an island a half day away from anywhere, this book tells an unlikely story that is both compelling and believable. A lighthouse keeper and his wife discover a child and her father washed up on the shore of their island and make a choice that has lifelong repercussions. A complex and beautifully written book that explores the concept of how justice for one person can become tragedy for another. Amazing characters and a setting that feels like another character in the book.” Comment by Assistant Librarian Lucie Bergeron
Student book reviews for January 21, 2014
Conspiracy 365 days: January, by Gabrielle Lord Book review by Harley, Grade 6, Columbia Park Elementary
I love this book because this book is an action book. My opinion is that I think grades 5 to 7 and higher should read this book because it is violent. I really like the book and I think that other people should read this series. The whole series is action packed and has lots of violence. I rate this book a 10 out of 10 star book.
Conspiracy 365 is about a fifteen-year-old boy who is wanted and hunted for 365 days all year around. Some of the main characters are Callum, Uncle Rafe, Gabbi, Mum, Boges, and Dad. When I read this book I had mixed emotions and this whole book is about survival. I read this book in 1 and a half weeks because I wanted to read the book slowly and carefully. Conspiracy is the best book I have ever read. If you are someone who likes action books then this is for you.
Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull Book review by Samantha, Grade 6, Columbia Park Elementary
I love this book because of all of the adventures and exciting mysteries that start in Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star, I like this book because it’s so detailed with lots of really exciting information. This book is magical because of the main characters Seth and Kendra they are both brother and sister, I like these characters because everything starts just in one Chapter, my favorite Character I like is Seth because Seth is always looking for an exciting and magical adventure and lots of times he can be a really bad trouble maker. Another reason I liked this book because of all of the mystical creatures that live in Fablehaven and I like all the detail the author describes in all of the creatures, the author makes the mystical creatures so realistic so it makes me feel like I’m right beside the creature. I love this book because of the author because he wrote lots of magical imagination and exciting, because of what the author wrote I didn’t want to stop reading the book. Anyone who likes magical and exciting adventures should read this book.
Perfect by Natasha Friend Book review by Kyahna, Grade 6, Columbia Park Elementary I really liked the book called Perfect because the author used very descriptive words .In my opinion the characters seemed so realistic and the main character reminded me of me. She was a quiet and kind sort of girl. The book is about a young 13 year old girl who can not stop forcing herself to throw up after her father passes away. I really enjoyed how she found a solution to her problem . I also loved how I could almost imagine how she was feeling. I also enjoyed how at the end of every chapter it would give a clue what would happen in the next chapter. I got so eager of what would happen next. The author used strong words and in my opinion the strong words made the book better that was the icing on the cake. I also liked how the book was set up like a journal with chapters. I could hardly put the book down I liked it so much. So if you like books about friendship and includes a little laughter I strongly recommend reading this book.
Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling Book review by Maya, Grade 6, Columbia Park Elementary I loved this book because on one page the main characters were safe and sound and on the next page, faced grave danger. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a suspenseful and adventure filled novel with a very captivating storyline. Reading this novel took a lot of thinking, but if you are a person who likes being involved in their novel (brain wise) you will love this book. Occasionally I had to get up and clear my mind because lots of exciting events were happening at the same time. I felt like I was there with the characters every page of the book. I read this book in less than a week because I couldn’t put it down! I enjoyed this novel immensely and I can’t wait to devour the other books in the series.
Fablehaven by Brandon Mull Book review by Julia, Grade 6, Columbia Park Elementary I definitely enjoyed this book because of its magical mysteries and journeys the characters take along the way. The main characters in this book are Seth and Kendra. I liked that the main characters were brother and sister. My favorite character is Seth because he is always getting into trouble. On the other Kendra never gets into trouble, she is a straight A student. The plot in this story is amazing because when Seth and Kendra visit their Grandpa and Grandma that they rarely see, they find out that they live on a magical preserve. It has fairies and magical creatures. The preserve is called Fablehaven. The author Brandon Mull has such a creative imagination and uses persuasive language that doesn’t make me want to put the book down. Whoever picks up this book will not stop reading until they’re finished. If you love mysteries and magical adventures you will absolutely love this book as much as I did
January 11, 2014 An Astronaut’s Guide to Life by Chris Hadfield. “The best read in a long time…I am in awe of what can be achieved….with the right attitude. Not space fiction and all the more compelling because it is real! Incredible achievement in bringing some understanding of what life on the ISS and the journeys to and from , is really like. Comment by patron Eve Fisher
Missing Matisse by Jan Rehner. “A very good read. Based on historical facts, the novel is a bit of a detective story, but mainly focuses on a woman who cared for and modelled for Matisse and about whom not much has ever been discovered.” Comment by patron Sandra Flood
The first phone call from heaven by Mitch Albom “Very interesting story – engaging a whole new dimension for stretching the imagination. The double sworded question of, “Do you or do you not believe in the afterlife” is tackled with both sides well represented. A nice finish helps this book stay original and memorable.” Comment by patron Lisa Longinotto
The Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda “This is a story with great depth about a family in India forced to give up their daughter due to their extreme poverty. The daughter is then adopted by an American family with ties to India. The two disparate cultures become tied together through her, in a story that is beautifully descriptive as well satisfying in its emotional depth.” Comment by assistant librarian Lucie Bergeron
The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict, by Trenton Lee Stewart Book review by Caleb, Grade 6, Columbia Park Elementary
In my opinion, The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict was one of the best books I’ve ever read. With the plot constantly changing, you never know what’s going to surprise you next. One of the reasons I loved this book was because of the way that the author, Trenton Lee Stewart, wrote it. He used great vocabulary and always used the right words to describe a situation. He’s also written other books, and I’ve read almost all of them, and they are awesome too. This proves that he is very good at crafting stories. I enjoyed the twisting and turning of the plot, and the way that everything was always different than what is seemed. The book is about a boy, Nicholas, who’s been relocated to a new orphanage, Rothschild’s End. There he learns of Mrs. Rothschild’s missing inheritance. With the help of his friends, he races to find the treasure before Mr. Collum, the orphanage director does. It is in my opinion that Nicholas Benedict, the main character, is the most well thought up individual ever. He’s a nine-year-old boy who struggles with narcolepsy, a sleeping disorder that causes him to drift off to sleep unexpectedly. He also has a secret: he is incredibly smart for his age. This book is outstanding and I would recommend it to everybody who enjoys a good mystery. I would give this book a rating of 5 out of 5. This is the best book ever!
Percy Jackson and The Olympians, by Rick Riordan Book review by James, Grade 6, Columbia Park Elementary
I really enjoyed this book because it’s an action packed trill ride that you’ll never want to end gods, demigods, spirits and monsters that live in one country.
I loved this book because of its plot. It was a mysterious action packed fun filled adventure, the plot is that Zeus’s master bolt was stolen and Percy is the prime suspect and he needs to return it by the summer solstice. I just love how mysterious and misleading this book is because you think its this person then this person who has the bolt which is cool. Another reason I liked it is because of the friendships Percy, Annabeth and Grover (a satire) make because Percy and Annabeths parents (Presidion, Athena) and don’t like each other but they do and they don’t know who to trust or who has the bolt but they trust each other which is great because everybody wants a friendships like that and it’s awesome that they do. Without a doubt one of my favorite things about this book is the gods and monsters. Monsters are super-dangerous and unpredictable. Right when you think your safe bam a monster is there on your tail, which is exiting and scary. And the gods are the same but they could be good or bad and you don’t want to cross them, which is confusing and exiting. I enjoyed this book with is over all mythical theme which made me want to read it over and over. All book lovers need to read this book!
Eragon by Christopher Paolini Book review by Kaeson, Grade 6, Columbia Park Elementary
By far this has to be the greatest book I have ever read. Eragon is full of action, emotion, and traveling. It is exquisite in explaining detail and very thrilling in all. I recommend Eragon since it is a very strong wording and non -forgetful book. Eragon is just a poor farm boy living with his brother Roran and his father, Garrow on the outskirts of a small town called Carvahall. Eragon starts off in the Spine. A dangerous forest where almost everyone in Carvahall is afraid of. Eragon is hunting in the Spine alone. He has been tracking a moose that he has been following ever since he was tracking. When he is about to shoot the moose an explosion happens suddenly and a blue stone appears. Soon the blue stone starts peeping like a small bird and cracks eventually and a bird like creature appears. Soon Eragon finds out it is a dragon and he finds out its chosen him as the dragon’s rider. Eragon asks a so-called storyteller Brom about dragons he asks the names of some of the dragons and tries to name his dragon and settles on Saphira after bickering on it for hours. Another thing I extremely like about this novel is that he explains the traveling, the mountain ranges, the flats, the plains, and the oceans in the uttermost detail. He explains the frustration, the hard aches, and the pain that happens during this novel. This book has been the best I have ever read. It is a four part series, with every book with as much exiting features and drama the detail he has put in the book I have not seen matched in any other book. I would not recommend primary students to read this book for there is much bloodshed, gore, killing.
The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan Book review by Matthew, Grade 6, Columbia Park Elementary
I would recommend you read The Lightning Thief because it’s full of excitement, adventures, and mythological creatures and It’s also a five book series and I can honestly say it’s the best series I’ve ever read.
It was really exciting because Percy Jackson has been accused of stealing Zeus’s master lightning bolt and he has only ten days to return it while he is being hunted by monsters. I liked all the monsters that he had to fight, such as the Minotaur, which if you didn’t know is a half man and half bull creature and a Fury, which is a grey vampire bat that is more than 6 feet tall. I also really liked the characters because they are mostly half bloods, which mean’s they are half-human, and half-god. There’s a camp where they can go to train so they can protect themselves from monsters and to use their godparents powers. And this is why I would recommend you read The Lightning Thief.
Hatchet by Gary Paulson Book review by Stephanie, Grade 6, Columbia Park Elementary
This book was good because, it was very interesting, adventurous, and a very gripping book that you wouldn’t want to put down! I would really recommend this book! The story is about a boy named Brian who gets stranded on an island in the middle of nowhere. I enjoyed the problems the main character Brian faced in the story. The author used the problems to encourage his readers. The book made me feel worried and a little scared for Brian. I liked how the plot kept on changing and I didn’t know what was going to happen next! I admired the setting on the island in the story because the author detailed the vocabulary a lot and it made me feel like I was on the island with Brian. I connected with Brian, the main character because the author made me feel like I wanted to help Brian and try to get him out of the situation. If you ever got stranded on an island how would you feel? I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone who likes to be held in suspense I give this book a 5/5 star rating!