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November 2018 Staff Picks

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
Li-yan lives with her family in a remote Chinese mountain village. Ritual shapes her entire life – until she makes a startling choice to give her illegitimate baby up for adoption. Li-yan’s daughter, Haley, grows up in California with a tea cake as her only clue to her origins. “Despite her privileged childhood, Haley wonders about her origins, and across the ocean, Li-yan longs for her lost daughter.” – Book flap 

 

Katherine

convenience store womanConvenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
Keiko is not “normal.” She thinks in a very logical/literal sort of way, and feels pressured to fit into society, despite not understanding society’s expectations. So she fakes it. Her job as a convenience store worker suits her well, but she is worried about what will happen if she doesn’t meet society’s expectations that she either marry or get a better job.
I enjoyed this book mainly because it was so interesting. Keiko does not think like I do, and her exploration and experience of the world is just so different. I was hooked. It is also a short book and doesn’t drag on.

 

Sarah

The Tomten Astrid LindgrenThe Tomten by Astrid Lindgren
This warm and inviting picture book is by Astrid Lindgren, the famed children’s book author of the Pippi Longstocking series. The Tomten is a little gnome-like fellow who discreetly watches over the farm in the woods during the cold dark of winter. With lulling repetition he visits the farm animals and the family to reassure them that he is watching over and caring for them. This book is a gentle exploration of the promise of spring during the depths of winter. A charming, quiet story to share with your little ones.

 

Cheryl

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

With colder days upon us, and flurries that remind us of the urgency to “put summer to rest” I’ve gathered up the last of the seeds and pods to tuck away for spring’s rebirth. ‘Til then, after a summer of the garden’s resplendent bloom, I will need to settle for bulbs and books! The Language of Flowers, a novel written by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, tells us of the Victorian custom of communicating messages via flowers. It gives us a detailed look at the ‘language of flowers’ through the eyes of an emancipated from foster care eighteen year old girl.  Victoria is a young woman consumed by fear, anger, and hostile behavior. Raised in multiple placements, Victoria is unable to place her trust in relationships, and is unable to give what she does not have within her. Through the broken, yet committed determination of a woman who is willing to love just a little bit more, she is taught about flowers and our fragile lives. The Language of Flowers is a story of foster care, told in past and present, beautifully interspersed with the magic of flowers. Short chapters with deep themes!  A fascinating read on a quiet afternoon with a cozy fire and some bulbs growing on the window sill!

 

Kelly H.

The Summer of Broken Things by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Kayla Butts is sad, if Avery has anything to say about it. She’s chubby, weird, and doesn’t hang with the right crowd. Avery Armisted is awful, if Kayla has anything to say about it. She’s spoiled, mean, and too caught up in her social media. The two clash; societal reject verses spoiled brat. However, Avery’s father doesn’t see this. Mr. Armisted decides that his daughter would benefit from a trip to Spain alongside her former best friend Kayla. After a perilous plans journey (including a lost passport and a lot of running) they arrive. Mr. Armisted expects to get work done and Kayla and Avery anticipate beautiful views and even more beautiful Spanish boys. What they actually find, could be more groundbreaking: a family secret.

 

Kelly R.

The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller

A great, lighthearted, and engaging pre-holiday read with a dab of drama thrown in for fun. The main character, Olivia, is a pastry chef in a big city restaurant with a penchant for dying her hair crazy colors when she is stressed out. After an unfortunate incident at work that involves a flaming dessert she escapes to a little town in Vermont with her giant dog Salty and stays with a good friend, intending to stay only for a short time.  She finds a small town full of quirky characters who make her feel right at home.  She also finds a job and a place to stay as a baker at the local country inn run by a rather cranky owner. The cherry on top with this book is the recipes sprinkled throughout the story and included in detail in the back of the book because, of course, the author Louise Miller is a professional pastry chef herself. Louise is also New Englander making her home in Massachusetts.

 

 

 

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belmont · Book Blogs · book recommendations · book reviews · Christmas Book Buying Guide · Christmas Book Guide · Holiday Gift Guides · Holiday Shopping Guide · library · Library Books · Library Reads · new hampshire · New Hampshire Books · readers' advisory · what to read

2018 Holiday Book Gift Guide

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October 2018 Staff Picks

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe
If you have ever been asked by a child to explain some common science fact, come here before asking Google. It uses line drawings and very simple words to explain concepts like the solar system, locks, and microwaves. The author is the creator of the web comic XKCD.

 

 

Katherine

Head On by John ScalziHead On by John Scalzi
An interesting book set in the near future that combines mystery and science fiction. I like John Scalzi’s writing. Humorous, fast-paced, and intriguing concepts make this an engaging read. There is a previous book (which we don’t have here) but this is a stand alone novel, so no worries if you haven’t read the first – this is more “set in the same universe” than “direct sequel.” If you like this, try Crosstalk by Connie Willis.

 

 

Sarah

Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
London is infested by malevolent spirits and kids are the only ones who can sense them and, therefore, hunt them. The secretive Lucy Carlyle, the brave Anthony Lockwood, and the brilliant but clumsy George Cubbins team up to form Lockwood & Co., a ghost-busting agency. Together they use their wits, senses, swords, iron chains, and magnesium fire to banish the evil spirits and keep others safe. Not only do they have to fight off ghosts but they also have to run a business and that business needs money, especially when their competitors are bigger and wealthier. After a failed exorcism in a haunted house, Lockwood & Co. gets sued, so Anthony signs the team up to ghost-bust at one of the most haunted and dangerous mansions in England. Will they survive the night? Will they able to find the source of the Screaming Staircase? This book is a fun, fast read with lots of thrills, creepy hauntings, and supernatural action. It is perfect for fans of scary movies, slightly scary books, and anyone who loved The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman or the Ghostbusters movies. A just-right-spooky read for Halloween! It’s also the first in a series, so if you love it…read on!

 

Cheryl

Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin
It was a bright Saturday in April, a day that was full of sunshine and warmth. I grabbed a bucket of chalk and headed for the library. There, outside, I placed the bucket and a simple sign announcing “Chalk On The Walk” and an invitation to stop for a moment to draw, color, or leave a message.  Soon the walk was in full color, resplendent with stick figures, flowers, rainbows, and writings.  Off to the side, a message in yellow gave me pause – “I MISS YOU MOM.”  It was this poignant message that brings me to my staff pick this month, Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin. The story takes place in Korea, when a mom, en route to visit her adult children, becomes separated from her husband and goes missing in a busy Seoul train station. The family begins a frantic search, and this engrossing novel is a shared telling of remembrances and relationships as told by each person. It is a family story of love and regret that exposes how little we may know of the dreams, hopes, and sacrifices of our loved ones. Finally, if you let it, it is an admonition to pay attention to those we love and the lives we share. I found it a beautiful story.

 

Kelly H.

Want by Cindy Pon
In the city of Taipei, there are the yous and the meis; the haves and the have nots. Jason Zhou is a mei, sucking in polluted air, consuming low quality food, and kidnapping rich girls for money. These girls are all yous; rich girls who go to parties wrapped in perfectly tailored, stylish suits that protect them from the world of disease and pollution that their ancestors created. On one unlucky day, Jason has to infiltrate this world of glamor and ignorance after the leader of the revolution is killed. He must suit up in order to find and befriend Daiyu Jin, daughter of the founder of JinCorp. This company makes the suits that the rich hide away in to avoid meis and the sick, dying world they live in. This is the company Jason plans to absolutely destroy.

 

Kelly R.

index

Back to Basics: A complete guide to traditional skills by Abigail Gehring

If you are wondering how to do basic household skills and crafts such as soap making or canning produce from your garden, raise livestock, generating your own energy or even buying and working land this book is a wonderful resource.  This is the fourth edition and I have to say I have enjoyed this book since its first edition was published decades ago.  Great book for old and young alike.

 

 

 

 

belmont · Book Blogs · book recommendations · book reviews · library · Library Blogs · Library Books · Library Reads · new hampshire · readers' advisory · staff picks · what to read

September 2018 Staff Picks

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

pride and prejudicePride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
“It is a truth universally acknowledged” that Jane Austen wrote six delightful domestic novels which broke new ground in their portrayal of universal themes of love, family, happiness, morals, manners – and yes – pride and prejudice. Elizabeth Bennett is the heroine so many wish to be and Mr. Darcy is the ideal romantic hero for millions of readers for over two hundred years. You may think you know the story but really – read the book.

Katherine

The Apprentice WitchThe Apprentice Witch by James Nicol
A richly imaginative middle-grade novel of magic and courage. I very much enjoyed this. It was very fun and as charming as the reviews promised. For those who love Harry Potter and other stories of magic.

 

Sarah

nevermoorNevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
This is a thrilling, magical, back to school tale of courage and believing in yourself. It is also the start to a series with a second book to come this Fall!
Morrigan Crow is not just unlucky, she is cursed! Terrible things happen she is nearby. And, like all cursed children, she was born during the season of Eventide and is doomed to die on her 11th birthday.  But, before Eventide, the bidding ceremony happens – a time when all of the powerful adults bid on young apprentices and Morrigan is surprised with 4 bids! Who would bid on a cursed child? Before she has time to accept she is mysteriously whisked away by a man named Jupiter North. They escape in a giant mechanical spider while being pursued by the evil Hunt of Smoke and Shadow. Jupiter takes her through the face of a large clock to Nevermoor, a country she has never heard of. In Nevermoor, Morrigan finds out that Jupiter North knows more about her “curse” than she does, and he believes she is the perfect person to compete in a series of trials to gain entrance into the super-secret Wunderous Society. This book has magic, gigantic cat housemaids, and is set in a hotel that has its own personality, reminiscent of Hogwarts but wholly original. This book is perfect for fans of Harry Potter and the Lemony Snickett series, and anyone who has ever felt the excitement of a fresh new school year or harbors secret dreams of being whisked away to a magical other-world full of possibility.

 

Cheryl

the fall of freddie the leafThe Fall of Freddie the Leaf by Leo Buscaglia, Ph. D.
Belmont prepares for winter.  Throughout the town we see and hear the powerful saws that would remove trees away from the power lines.  I, too, have ribbons fastened as markers around tree trunks, and soon saws will set into motion. Once thin saplings, these mighty trees have offered us decades of shade and beauty, and been the home for the busy living of birds and squirrels. Early morning the branches come alive with the calls of the Mourning Doves.  There is sadness in our shared loss.
So it is that my staff pick this month is The Fall Of Freddie The Leaf. This is a timeless classic, written by Leo Buscaglia in 1982, with a tender message of loss for children and adults alike. As Freddie experiences the changes of the seasons among his leaf friends, Ben, Alfred, and his BLFF (best leaf friend forever) he comes to learn that loss is a part of life. Nature photography conveys this message softly. This is a little book that should always be there to bring ready solace to our losses, be they trees, goldfish, pets, or family.  A small space on the shelf will take a big space in your heart.

 

Kelly

Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton

Cliff “Neanderthal” Hubbard is big, burly, brainy, and really likes Pop-tarts. He’s also the victim of bullying at the hands of high school superstar Aaron Zimmerman. In this novel, his bullying comes to an abrupt stop when Aaron gets into a boating accident and sees God. He tells Cliff that God made him and Cliff a list to make their high school better. Cliff gives in and agrees to help Aaron meet his goals. Together they must take down the school’s biggest bully, change the ways of a drug dealing gang, remind a teacher of his passion for education, demolish the oppressive Christian youth group that rules the school, and shut down a dangerous hacker named HAL. Sounds easy, right? Luckily, Aaron and Cliff have help in the form of Teagan the pot-smoking cat-caller, Jack and Julien who geek up the whole school, and Noah the good boy who just wants people in his GSA to feel safe.

belmont · Book Blogs · book recommendations · book reviews · library · Library Blogs · Library Books · Library Reads · new hampshire · readers' advisory · staff picks · what to read

August 2018 Staff Picks

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

unbrokenUnbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
You may think you know this story, but you’d be wrong. Louis Zamperini, former Olympian, spent 47 days drifting on an open raft in the Pacific Ocean in 1943, and 2 years as a Japanese prisoner of war. But an even greater trial awaited at home. Laura Hillenbrand battled her own debilitating illness to bring us this story of endurance and grace.

 

Katherine

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1)Scythe by Neal Shusterman
An engaging, fast, interesting read. Death has been conquered – but the people still need to die on an Earth with limited resources.  While a benevolent AI oversees a nearly perfect society, “reaping” human lives is left solely in the hands of a group of people called Scythes. Scythes are supposed to be of the highest moral fibre, but they are not immune to corruption. This book aimed at teens and is a nominee for the NH Flume Award, but has enough depth and action to satisfy adult readers. Extremely well written, this is recommended to anyone who enjoys sci-fi and/or action novels.

 

Sarah

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” So begins the haunting tale of Rebecca. Told from the perspective of an unnamed 2nd wife, referred to only as Mrs. de Winter, who has been married to the mercurial Mr. Maxim de Winter and moved to his estate, Manderley. Before she becomes the second Mrs. de Winter, she is an orphan from modest means who is employed to a well connected, but tactless old woman who comes from wealth. While on a trip they run into Maxim who is a friend of the woman’s nephew. Maxim finds himself charmed and ends up proposing a quick marriage to the young girl. Once established at his estate, she realizes that she is most unwelcome. The housekeeper continues to be loyal to Rebecca although she is deceased. As the new Mrs. de Winter begins to try to sort out what caused Rebecca’s demise and experiences what she thinks is Rebecca haunting her, she starts to question her sanity and her role as wife and lady of the house. This is a true gothic, replete with an easily-influenced heroine, volatile lover, crumbling mansions, and ghostly mysteries. Don’t let our old copy turn you off, the writing is so vivid you won’t forget it. If you like Kate Morton, Diane Setterfield, Henry James, or the Brontë sisters you might just get swept away by this edge-of-your-seat classic. 

 

Cheryl

pure seaglassPure Sea Glass by Richard LaMotte

Feet in the sand, wind in the hair, both delightful prerequisites for an early morning hunt for beach glass! In his book, Pure Sea Glass, author Richard LaMotte shares with us a detailed look at sea glass finds, from chunks of bottles to tiny shards of blue and green glass all tumbled and tossed by ocean waves for years beyond our ages!  The book is an informative guide to the possible history of the shards and fragments the author has collected, as beautifully photographed by Celia Pearson.  You will most certainly enjoy the richness and beauty of this book.  See you at the beach!

 

Elizabeth

vinegar girlVinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

This book is an absolutely charming read with interesting, every-day, characters with flaws and funny quirks that end up in a very peculiar situation. The story is written as a retelling of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” and brings the brilliant old tale back to life and into more modern times. With this new version Anne Tyler takes a look into the life of Kate, a woman, stuck in a “dead-end” assistant teaching job, and boring repetitive life with a widowed father who is brilliant but absent-minded, and a pretty boy-crazy, but less than intelligent little sister who she now has to care for. Kate ends up on a sort of voyage of self-discovery and emotion as she finds her way through the new complicated situation of helping her father and his treasured research assistant with an expiring visa, and maybe creating a new life that she wants to be a part of along the way. The comedic and touching journey this book brings to life in its pages is sure to light up any free summer days you have, rain or shine!

 

Kelly

meet cuteMeet Cute by Jennifer Armentrout, et. al. 

“A scene in which a future romantic couple meets for the first time” is the definition of a “meet cute”, and this novel is full of them. From two girls falling in love over a delayed flight, to a boy finding love on his way to Mars, to a girl statistically calculating the chances of meeting a boy on the street, this novel has something for everyone. Maybe you need a reminder that even after heartbreak, you can find love or that you deserve to feel beautiful in whatever you wear or that your identities are valid. This novel will be that sign. Finally, the collection of authors each have their own way of telling their love stories that will keep you entertained until the last page.

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July 2018 Staff Picks

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

The Guest Cottage by Nancy Thayer
The Guest Cottage was my introduction to the wonderful world of Nantucket summer fiction. You get all the amazing descriptions of the play places of the wealth and semi-wealthy. I could almost take you on a tour! Sophie Anderson is on an island for the summer with her two teenagers, contemplating divorce. Trevor Black and his young son are mourning the loss of wife and mother. Sophie and Trevor have accidentally rented the same house. As the summer goes on, they wonder if a guest cottage is all they want to share.

 

Katherine

Death Watch (The Undertaken, #1)Death Watch by Ari Berk
After his father’s sudden disappearance, Silas is forced to take on his role as an Undertaker, with the responsibility of bringing peace to dead souls still trapped on Earth. This entrancing YA novel is both fantasy and mystery: Silas has many secrets to uncover about his father’s work and disappearance. Creepy and beautiful, this is recommended for those who want to get lost in a dark, magical world.

 

 

Sarah

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
If you were told the date of your death, what would you do with your life? Set in 1969 New York, the Gold Children are coming of age and have heard rumor of a fortune teller who can tell anyone the date of their death, so the siblings sneak out and seek their fortunes. Years later, they have traversed life into adulthood but the memory of their shared secret and what was said still haunts them. In alternating chapters their lives, choices, and fortunes play out. Will they be able to change what was predicted for them? Can they save each other? A moving exploration of beliefs, familial bonds, and love spanning the backdrop of decades of social change.

 

Cheryl

How to Raise Monarch Butterflies by Carol Pasternak

Wings aflutter, I delight in the seemingly carefree flight of the butterfly in the garden. She pauses from flower to flower, in search of the most flavorful nectar. Her time with us is limited to a brief few weeks, but her beauty in the garden is majestic and magical.

I am reminded of the many butterfly releases I have enjoyed with children over the years, and wanted to bring this book to mind. It is a delightful and informative book that teaches young and old how to raise Monarch Butterflies. In New Hampshire it is the late summer generation of Monarchs that hatches in September and October, and prepares for its migration to Mexico, a place it has never been. Such is the wonder of nature!

For young and old, from searching for the milkweed plants, to the awe of the hatch and release, this experience is a most memorable family experience, and will delight all.

If this book ignites your interests (and I hope it does) you may want to mark the following on your calendar:  The 6th Annual Monarch Festival will be held on 9/8/18, rain or shine, at Petals In the Pines in nearby Canterbury.  A great family event!

 

Elizabeth

The Vampire is Just Not That Into You by Vlad Mezrich

The Vampire is Just Not That Into You is a ridiculous and comical read made from the sort of joining of “He’s Just Not into You” and “Twilight” with a quiz book format twist. It’s full of all of the ever important do’s and don’ts of dating a vampire, and has guidelines for the hard moments, like initially identifying real vampire’s profiles from the posers, and introducing them to your parents. If you are looking for a quick and funny read this book just might be for you!

 

 

Kelly

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

“Hello. I’m calling from Death-Cast. I regret to inform you that sometime in the next twenty-four hours you’ll be meeting an untimely death. On behalf of everyone here at Death-Cast, we are so sorry to lose you. Live this day to the fullest, okay.”

Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio both received this message from the death predicting service “Death-Cast” while in rather different scenarios. Mateo gets his while lying in his bed, thinking of his father who is in a coma. Rufus gets his while beating his ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend into a pulp. Mateo accepts his call filled with anxiety and Rufus accepts his with rage. The two spend half of their days doing what they would do normally; Mateo cleaning his house and exploring CountDowners, (a website for Deckers, those predicted to die), and Rufus hanging out and celebrating with his loving friends, The Plutos. In a random stroke of luck, the two boys meet on an app called Last Friends that specializes in finding a final friend for people on the verge of death to share their last day with. The boys meet up and begin to explore their town with fresh eyes, going to restaurants, parks, and clubs, and visiting friends and family. As the day winds down to their eminent demise, the boys begin to realize that “It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live” (Marcus Aurelius).

belmont · book recommendations · book reviews · library · Library Books · Library Reads · readers' advisory · staff picks · what to read

June 2018 Staff Picks

Log on to the catalog with your library card # and the last 4 digits of your phone number and reserve your copy! 

Eileen

Falling Into the Mob by Steve Zousmer
Like Oceans 11? This dark comedy of life in the mob is intriguing. Phil Vail is 59 years old and almost resigned to his humdrum existence – until he meets the daughter of a mob boss on a train. Phil is pitchforked into an impossible situation and learns he has a knack for the criminal life. Meanwhile, his respectable speech-writing job suddenly changes as his client contemplates a run for President. A throwback tale for fans of Donald Westlake and Lawrence Block.

 

Katherine

One of Us Is LyingOne of Us is Lying by Karen McManus
Inspired by The Breakfast Clubwith the addition of a dead body. Very well done! Full of secrets and intrigue. One of those books that are hard to put down, and you can’t wait to find out what happens next. Recommended if you like teen dramas or mysteries.

 

 

Sarah

The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
Serabai, an upper-middle class Parsi woman, and Bhima, Serabai’s Hindu servant have built an unlikely friendship based on decades of trust, devotion, and shared secrets as women in troubled marriages. Thrity Umrigar deftly explores the notions of gender, class, marriage, and power through their relationship and the relationship of their children and grandchildren. I just finished reading this for the second time and it was as good as the first time! The sequel is coming out in June. I would highly recommend this book to fans of Jodi Picoult, Jhumpa Lahiri, Anne Rivers Siddons, Lisa See, and Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie.

 

Cheryl

Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer
Addiction is…just like love – in the early moments, you don’t see the potential for it to bring you pain-it’s something you slide into between laughs and smiles and moments of bliss.  It’s something that feels like a shield, until you realize it’s actually a warhead, and it’s pointed right at you.

This is a beautiful novel about two sisters; one a successful physician and the other sister homeless, pregnant and addicted to drugs. Through parallel views of Lexie and Annie, Lexie in the present and Annie by journal entries, we learn of a heartbreaking story of addiction, and of a family love that is stretched. We are challenged to widen our views of addiction, and learn of Alabama’s tough drug laws that disproportionately target pregnant women who are addicted. Annie risks up to 10 years in prison should she seek urgent medical assistance for a pregnancy at risk, and Lexie again anguishes over the care and love for her sister and the unborn child.

I loved this book from beginning to end!  The author writes a captivating story that found me in my favorite chair by the window, with a “please do not disturb” post nearby!

 

Kelly

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
Alice Crewe is anything but normal. With a past of moving from city to city chased by bad luck, she has learned that she is destined for a life of misfortune. Adding to her abnormality is a lady by the name of Althea Proserpine, a niche celebrity author who happens to be Alice’s grandmother. When news of her death hits Alice’s family of two (featuring Alice and her story-less mother, Ella), things begin to change. Firstly, her mother, stepfather of a few weeks, and stepsister go missing with only a storybook page left as a clue. The page? A title page from Althea’s only book Tales From The Hinterland, “Alice-Three-Times”. With no idea where to turn, she approaches rich boy, superfan, Ellery Finch. The two set off to discover what happened to Alice’s family and along their way, discover that Althea’s stories of murder, magic, and bloodshed may have been truer to life than once thought.