Tuesday, September 26, 2023

No Exit

 By Taylor Adams

Adult Fiction

Reviewed by Kieran from the Manitou Branch

    "On her way to Utah to see her dying mother, college student Darby Thorne gets caught in a fierce blizzard in the mountains of Colorado.  With the roads impassable, she's forced to wait out the storm at a remote highway rest stop.  Inside are some vending machines, a coffee maker, and four complete strangers.  Desperate to find a signal to call home, Darby goes back out into the storm...and makes a horrifying discovery.  In the back of the van parked next to her car, a little girl is locked in an animal crate.  Who is the child?  Why has she been taken?  And how can Darby save her?  There is no cell phone reception, no telephone, and no way out.  One of her fellow travelers is a kidnapper.  But which one?  Trapped in an increasingly dangerous situation, with a child's life and her own on the line, Darby must find a way to break the girl out of the van and escape.  But who can she trust?"

    This book turned out to be way different than what I had expected from reading the inside cover.  With dozens of perfectly placed plot twists and countless twists and turns in the storyline, No Exit is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.  Would I recommend this book?  Definitely, mind you there are parts of the book that get a little darker (details about injuries as they happen within the book), and a sensitive reader may have to set the book down to catch their breath, but I think anyone who enjoys a good mystery/thriller/suspense novel will love this book.  I thoroughly enjoyed No Exit and I hope those of you who choose to give it a try enjoy it just as well.

To place this book on hold, click here.

To place the large print copy on hold, click here.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Fluffy Fluffy Cinnamoroll 4

 Written and Illustrated by Yumi Tsukirino

Junior Graphic Novel

    Cinnamoroll is no ordinary pup.  He adores freshly baked cinnamon rolls and loves to eat them high up in the sky with his best friends, Cappuccino, Mocha, Chiffon, Espresso and tiny little Milk.  They all love exploring the world.

    Cinnamoroll and his besties open a crepe shop in the mystical forest.  It all sounds like a great idea to the pups but the squirrels greedily steal all the nuts for themselves.  And, every chicken wants worms in their crepes!!! This is a disaster! How will the pups solve this problem?

To place this book on hold, click here.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

The Andromeda Evolution

By Daniel H. Wilson

Adult Fiction, Techno-Thriller

Reviewed by Joshua   

    Fifty years after the first contact with the deadly microbe known as the Andromeda Strain, a mapping drone observes a mysterious anomaly rising up out of the Brazilian rainforest.

    Soon, a team consisting of the world's top scientists is dispatched to learn all they can about the microbe's second appearance.  But the Andromeda is evolving and the clock is counting down to an outbreak of unimaginable proportions with life-threatening consequences.

    The team must navigate the thick forest, reach the quarantine zone and attempt to enter the foreboding anomaly, all while trying to figure out how to stop the Andromeda Strain.  If they don't, all life on earth will die.

    The Andromeda is back...are we ready for the evolution?

    While not written by Michael Crichton himself, this novel is the sequel to his masterpiece The Andromeda Strain.  Daniel H. Wilson does a superb job of imitating Crichton's unique style by combining scientific explanation with suspenseful thrills and action.  This heart pounding novel is a phenomenal tribute to Michael Crichton's legacy as a science fiction writer.  It is a novel you will want to read over and over again.  This book will be a fantastic treat to all fans of science fiction.

To place Winkler's copy on hold, click here.

To place Altona's copy on hold, click here.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

The Martian

 By Andy Weir

Adult Fiction

Reviewed by Cathy-SCRL Director

    Imagine being stranded and left for dead on the planet Mars? Mark Watney, the engineer on the Mars mission, is left behind after a dust storm forces the crew to evacuate the planet and return to earth.  Using all his skill, determination and sense of humor, Mark tells his story.  Growing his own food to sustain him is his biggest challenge considering he had to create soil in a very "yuck" way.  Told in the first person, this story is both amusing yet intense as we follow the tremendous effort made by both Mark and the NASA team on earth trying to get him home.  

    This book is available in print, audiobook and DVD format in our libraries.  It has been rated as one of the top 10 true-to-life narratives as NASA was consulted by the author to verify the accuracy of the science behind the story.

To place the DVD on hold, click here.

To place a hold on Altona's or Miami's copy, click here.

To place a hold on Manitou or Winkler's copy, click here.

To place a hold on the playaway audiobook, click here.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Beyond the Gender Binary

 By Alok Vaid-Menon

Young Adult Non-Fiction

Reviewed by Britany from the Winkler Branch

Favourite Line: "This is not about erasing men and women but rather acknowledging that man and woman are two of many--stars in a constellation that do not compete, but amplify one another's shine." This line was very powerful to me.  It shows that no one wants to invalidate what makes someone feel the most themselves, we (as gender nonconforming people) just want the ability to do the same and exist the same within society, without shame, hate or judgment.

Additional Comments: I really enjoyed this read.  It was a rapid read, however, an extremely informational one.  I recommend this book to everyone!  I have done quite a bit of reading into this subject myself, and I still found information that I wanted to look up later to dive into further.  I also think this book  would be good for someone who needs somewhere to start! It's not overwhelming on information and gives you a really good insight on a gender non-conforming person's typical daily life/thoughts.

To place this book on hold, click here.

Friday, August 25, 2023

Back to School

 It's that time of year again.  Summer is almost over and school will soon be starting again for another year. To celebrate, here is a list of school related books for all ages to get you in the back to school spirit. As always, click on the book title to place the book on hold or contact your local branch for more information.

Hello School!

A cozy introduction to what makes school so much fun features a diverse group of students who share first-day milestones, from getting a cubby and making new friends to taking a nature walk and participating in arts-and-crafts activities.


Homeschooled by his hippie grandmother, Capricorn (Cap) Anderson has never watched television, tasted a pizza, or even heard of a wedgie. But when his grandmother lands in the hospital, Cap is forced to move in with a guidance counselor and attend the local middle school. While Cap knows a lot about tie-dyeing and Zen Buddhism, no education could prepare him for the politics of public school.

High School

This is the revelatory and unique coming-of-age story of Sara and Tegan Quin, identical twins from Calgary, Alberta, growing up in the height of grunge and rave culture in the 90s, well before they became the celebrated musicians and global LGBTQ icons we know today. Written in alternating chapters from both Tegan's point of view and Sara's, the book is a raw account of the drugs, alcohol, love, music, and friendships they explored in their formative years.

Off to School

Papa Smurf sends all of the Smurfs back to school. At 100 years old, they really need to brush up on their reading skills!

Rock Your School Stuff

Provides step-by-step instructions to crafty projects to make yourself the coolest school stuff.

Training School

Spud he's scatty and accident prone - but good with gadgets star she's super-smart and ready to pounce... Together they're Spy Pups, following hot in the paw prints of mum LARA (that's Licensed Assault and Rescue Animal to you). Spud and Star can't wait. They're in New York training with the FBI - America's very best spies.

Tool School

Told in rhyming text, five tools--Hammer, Screwdriver, Pliers, Saw, and Tape Measure--learn to work together on their first day of school.

School Trip

Eighth grader Drew Ellis recognizes that he isn't afforded the same opportunities, no matter how hard he works, that his privileged classmates at the Riverdale Academy Day School take for granted, and to make matters worse, Drew begins to feel as if his good friend Liam might be one of those privileged kids and is finding it hard not to withdraw, even as their mutual friend Jordan tries to keep their group of friends together.

Spy School

Twelve-year-old Ben Ripley leaves his public middle school to attend the CIA's highly secretive Espionage Academy, which everyone is told is an elite science school.

Kitty School

When it's time for kitty school in the Dollhouse, Gabby and the Gabby Cats get ready for a super-fun learning adventure!

School Rules!

Cassandra LOVES school so much that she never, ever wants to leave! One Friday, Cassandra decides she is going to stay at school. She stays after the nice teacher leaves. She stays while the janitor with a tattoo mops the floors. She stays after the mean principal turns off all the lights and goes home. She plays with the plasticine and the unit blocks until after dark, when her mom and dad realize she is not at the dinner table. They go to the school and take her back home. The next day, Cassandra gets up and puts her school clothes on. Her parents explain that it's Saturday and there is NO school on Saturday. But Cassandra takes her bike and heads off anyway but the school is locked. On her way back home she goes by the School Store and places an order. The next day is Sunday, and Cassandra looks out the window to find a brand-new red-brick school with a nice teacher, a mean principal, and a janitor with tattoos in her back yard. She runs out the door, into her new school, sits down at a desk in the classroom with the nice teacher, and plays with the unit blocks and plasticine!

Rachel's back in school in Lancaster County! And that's where trouble finds her once again! Except this time, trouble is spelled O-R-L-I-E. That's the name of the new boy-the freckle-faced kid with a nasty cowlick-who has an ornery attitude when it comes to Rachel. From mixed-up school lunches to playground high jinks, these two Amish kids are off on the wrong bare foot. Will nine-year-old Rachel be able to survive Orlie's constant teasing? Can anything good come from this mayhem and madness?

School Buses

Simple text and full color photographs introduce young readers to school buses. Intended for students in kindergarten through third grade.

It's the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary and everyone's just a little bit nervous, especially the school itself.

In an alternate England of 1851, spirited fourteen-year-old Sophronia is enrolled in a finishing school where, she is surprised to learn, lessons include not only the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also diversion, deceit, and espionage.

A young monster with no manners goes to a new school and learns from another student the manners she should use at school.

One spring night in 1998 the beautiful Cressida Strauss plunges from a fourth-floor balcony at the Lycée Internationale Suisse with catastrophic consequences. Loath to draw negative publicity to the school, a bastion of European wealth and glamour, officials quickly dismiss the incident as an accident, but questions remain: Was it a suicide attempt? Or was Cressida pushed? It was no secret that she had a selfish streak and had earned as many enemies as allies in her tenure at the school. For her best friend, scholarship student Kersti Kuusk, the lingering questions surrounding Cressida's fall continue to nag long after she leaves the Lycée. Kersit marries and becomes a bestselling writer, but never stops wondering about Cressida's obsession with the Helvetian Society - a secret clue banned years before their arrival at the school - and a pair of its members who were expelled. When she is invited as a guest to the Lycée's 100th anniversary, she begins probing the cover-up, unearthing a frightening underbelly of lies and abuse at the prestigious establishment. And in one portentous moment, Kersti makes a decision that will connect her to Cressida forever and raise the stakes dangerously high in her own desire to solve the mystery and redeem her past.

Every image in this beautiful picture book for young readers speaks to the importance of education, and the physical commitment children are willing to make each day to attain it.

The most important investment parents can make is finally simplified, Gail-style.

This updated classic gives students the tools they need to successfully transition from high school to college, avoid rookie mistakes, and set themselves up for academic success from day one.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

The Rosie Trilogy

 The Rosie Project

By Graeme Simsion

Adult Fiction

Reviewed by Heidi from the Winkler Branch

    The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is about a man named Don Tillman.  A Professor of Genetics who is highly intelligent but socially awkward, Don is embarking on a mission to find a wife.  As a scientist, he decides a comprehensive questionnaire is the most efficient route.  As you can imagine, this doesn't go very well.  Along the way he meets Rosie, who is not a Wife Project candidate, but somehow, they fall in love.  I found this book equally funny and heartfelt, hopeful and realistic.  If you're looking for a quirky, fun read, I'd highly recommend this series.

To place this book on hold, click here.

To place the audiobook on hold, click here.

The Rosie Effect

By Graeme Simsion

Adult Fiction

Reviewed by Heidi from the Winkler Branch

    The Rosie Effect picks up with Don Tillman and Rosie living in New York, the city of strange and wonderful people, where no one feels weird for being themselves.  Rosie finds out she's pregnant, unexpectedly, and Don doesn't know what to do.  This book explores themes of marriage, pregnancy, friendships and love through the eyes of someone who is neurodiverse, which makes it both extremely funny and thought provoking.  I picked this book up on a whim and I'm very glad I did, Graeme Simsion may just be my favourite author of the month.

    This is the second book in the Rosie Series, although it can be read as a stand alone, I'd recommend reading them in order for the full experience.

To place this book on hold, click here.

The Rosie Result

By Graeme Simsion

Adult Fiction

Reviewed by Heidi from the Winkler Branch

    This is the third and final book in the Rosie Series, which follows Don Tillman, Professor of Genetics, as he journeys from socially awkward and alone to socially awkward and loved.  This book explores themes of parenting, autism and stepping into the unknown.  Don and Rosie's child Hudson is 10 years old and struggling in elementary school.  The school wants him assessed by a psychologist and labeled autistic.  Don and Rosie are resistant to labels that may negatively impact their child.  This book does an excellent job of exploring both sides of the argument in a humorous yet heartfelt discussion that ends in an unexpected conclusion.  If you have someone in your life who is neurodivergent, I'd highly recommend this series as a way to see through their eyes and get a glimpse into their life, taking into consideration that everyone experiences autism and neurodiversity differently.

To place this book on hold, click here.

No Exit

  By Taylor Adams Adult Fiction Reviewed by Kieran from the Manitou Branch     "On her way to Utah to see her dying mother, college stu...