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Staff Picks February 2018

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


The Girl Before by JP Delaney

Every thriller claims to be a Gone Girl read-alike, but this one actually is. One Folgate Street, London is architect Edward Monkford’s masterpiece. Living in such a wonder requires a few sacrifices – ones Jane is prepared to make. Moving in after a personal tragedy, Jane soon becomes intrigued by the untimely death of Emma, the house’s previous tenant. Interest turns to obsession until Jane may suffer the same fate as the girl before.



Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
A young adult fantasy novel about the conflicts between those with Red blood and those with Silver. The Reds are the common people, while the Silver are the magical ruling class. But it turns out that Mare Barrow, the protagonist, has power as well. Problems and romance ensue.  An entertaining, well-written, and fast-paced read. It’s fairly lightweight – not heavy literature by any sense – but just so much fun. Full of adventure with plenty of twists and turns.

Recommended for readers of The Selection by Kiera Cass, the Game of Thrones series, and there’s a touch of the Hunger Games in there too.



Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers, art by Shawn Harris

Lady Liberty is covered with a copper sheath that is as thick as 2 pennies. She was first assembled in France, disassembled and shipped, and then reassembled in the United States. She stands 150 feet tall, wears a size 879 shoe, and weighs 450,000 lbs. The spikes on her crown represent Earth’s seven seas, seven continents, and the rays of the sun. But have you noticed her right foot? With playful and informative text and brightly colored illustrations, Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris bring us an insightful story about the Statue of Liberty and the symbolism behind the Statue of Liberty’s right foot.



Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

This book is one of my recent favorites!   A short, somewhat simplistic, yet beautifully written novel about aging, second chances, and companionship.  In this story septuagenarian widow, Addie, reaches out to her neighbor, a widower, to ward off loneliness at night.   It is a wonderful book; touching, beautiful, sad – full of grace and truth.

This book was edited posthumously by Haruf’s wife.  I am sad that we won’t have any more books from Kent Haruf, but this, his last, is a true treasure.  Read if for yourself, your parents, or grandparents, it is both thought provoking and important.  It is a story that will linger.



New Boy by Tracy Chevalier

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if Shakespeare’s Othello took place in a sixth grade classroom in the 1970s? This book explains just that. The characters from the famous play are aged down and given all new backstories as they work their way through a day of school. Featuring Othello as Osei the son of a Ghanaian diplomat, Desdemona as Dee the classic “good girl” with a crush on the new boy, and Iago as Ian the good-for-nothing bully with a king-like hold on the playground. Osei faces racial discrimination from his white classmates and teachers, Dee discovers a forbidden love, and Ian finally learns what it means to stand up for something, even if it’s pure evil. This novel shows that children have the ability to hate, love, and act the same way adults do. They can be cunning and wicked or loving and naive. Though fast-paced, this book takes in a diverse range of characters and produces a story that no one would ever believe unless it was told by Shakespeare himself.

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

Staff Picks January 2018

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


Better than Before: Mastering the habits of our everyday lives by Gretchen Rubin

Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin

I personally love to start in January with a whole bright list of New Year’s resolutions. Gretchen Rubin is a best-selling author and pod-caster who “studies happiness, good habits, and human nature.” In this book she discusses forming, changing, and keeping habits and why what works for one person may not work for someone else. If you find this kind of topic as fascinating as I do, you may want to also try authors who publish similar works such as Susan Cain, Angela Duckworth, Malcolm Gladwell, or anyone shelved in the 150s in our non-fiction section.




And I Darken
And I Darken by Kiersten White

And I Darken by Kiersten White
Very interesting. Strong characters who are sympathetic despite major flaws (such as being rather ruthless and vicious). Historical fiction is kind of a loose term for it – it takes many liberties with history, the major one being imagining Vlad the Impaler as a teenage girl.  Nevertheless, it’s very engaging and kept me up til 2 am. There’s lots of rich detail in the setting, but the plot keeps moving.  Features drama, intrigue, romance, you name it.  An excellent choice for fans of Game of Thrones.  Just don’t expect vampires – this isn’t that Dracula.



Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

Ginny Moon is an unlikely and unique narrator! Placed in the foster care system from a young age and diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Ginny is finally in her forever home but something is still not quite right! Ginny has memories of leaving behind something or someone very important, but no one will believe her, so she carefully plans a mission to set the record straight. Ginny Moon was very hard to put down – it had both lovable and unlikable characters that brought so much intrigue and tension to Ginny’s journey and story. If you enjoyed Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, or books with themes of family, quirky narrators, and are mildly suspenseful then this book might be for you! The author, Benjamin Ludwig, lives in New Hampshire and adopted a teenager who has ASD. His journey with his adopted daughter and his time spent with families at the Special Olympics provided his inspiration for the story.


Under the Dome by Stephen King

Under the Dome by Stephen King

This was a very interesting read! Under the Dome has many twists and turns that will surprise you until the end. The story reveals how some small town people have very big secrets and how much they will do to keep those secrets and to keep the power that they have.




American Gods by Neil Gaiman

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Shadow Moon has been released from prison due to the death of his wife; Laura. On his journey home he meets a man that’s just like everyone else, apart from the small detail that he’s a god. “Mr. Wednesday” offers a job to Shadow, a “don’t ask any questions and do what I tell you” kind of job. He takes the offer, not yet knowing he’s joining a war of epic proportions. He’s fighting on the side of the Old Gods, brought over by hundreds of years worth of immigrants. His target? The New Gods of America, like Media and Technology. Alongside Mr. Wednesday and a whole cast of other godly powerhouses, Shadow must find his own path and learn what (and who) he stands for. Though not for the weak of heart, this novel takes everything we think we know about world mythology and turns it on its head.

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Staff Picks December 2017

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


Winter Storms by Elin Hilderbrand

Elin Hilderbrand writes mostly about Nantucket in the summer, but the Winter Street series is about Nantucket at Christmas. The Quinn family – patriarch Kelley owns the Winter Street Inn – is in for a rough few years over the series of four books. There’s fraud and drug abuse, a missing soldier, love triangles and tested relationships, and a whole lot of drama. I like this series because of the beautiful setting and warmth of family love in changing times.

For fans of: Nancy Thayer, Dorothea Benton Frank, Jennifer Weiner, and Susan May Warren.



Jane, Unlimited
Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

Fantasy fiction, with an intricate plot and diverse, likable characters. I loved it! This book is magic. Not just about magic, it is magic. Also, I love books with magical houses in them. Kristin Cashore’s writing is the best. Welcome to the multiverse, where each choice brings you to a different story.

For fans of Maggie Stiefvater (fantasy, similar writing style) & Connie Willis (idea-driven speculative fiction)

Already read it? Try Redshirts by John Scalzi or The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater




Matchless: A Christmas Story by Gregory Maguire

Matchless takes the traditional tale of the “The Little Match Girl” written by Hans Christian Andersen and intertwines the tale of a young boy, Frederik, and his mother, a seamstress to the Queen. Frederik unwittingly crosses paths with the little match girl before she dies. The original story, often considered a bit dismal, is elevated to a new height with Gregory Maguire’s rendition. The symbolism of the light cast by the matches subtly suggests the connectedness of humanity and the kinship of spirit. This illustrated novella is a tale to be read aloud and shared.  Matchless honors life’s hardships while remaining both heartwarming and hopeful.

For fans of: short stories, novellas, and folktales, hopeful tales, bittersweet stories, and Christmas books.



Going into Town: A Love Letter to New York by Roz Chast

This book is AWESOME! It’s entertaining and cute. It is also knowledgeable. I had no idea about streets and avenues and their directional meanings. This book makes me really want to visit Manhattan!

For fans of: contemporary graphic novels, travel memoir, and anyone dreaming or planning to go to NYC! Highly recommended in general – many staff members have read this and enjoyed it!





The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Set in the middle of the American Civil Rights Movement, this story follows the journey of Lily Evans, a young white girl. Lily lives with an abusive father and the knowledge that she accidentally killed her own mother rests on her shoulders. Using her mother’s belongings (that she keeps a secret), she escapes her cruel life to seek out the truth. She and her housekeeper Rosaleen travel to Tiburon, South Carolina together, hoping to get answers. They find them alongside the boisterous Daughters of Mary, forbidden love by the name of Zach Taylor, and a group of bee-loving, motherly, black women nicknamed the Calendar Sisters.

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

Holiday Book Guide

We have taken the guesswork out of your holiday book-buying!

Take a look at some of our top circulating & recommended fiction and non-fiction for all ages from 2017!












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

Staff picks November 2017

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


The Invention of Fire by Bruce Holsinger

London, 1886. John Gower, a friend of Geoffrey Chaucer, is summoned to investigate a mass murder within city walls. I like this series for its detailed and authentic history as well as a compelling plot. Recommended for fans of Alison Weir’s fiction and non-fiction books, and Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth.






The Bear and the Nightingale (The Winternight Trilogy #1)
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The atmospheric writing of this book draws you into a magical world.  Set in medieval Russia, it is both fairy tale and fantasy.  Vasya, the main character, was deeply sympathetic. The story was very satisfying and nourished my soul.

For fans of: Fairy tales, historical fantasy, Naomi Novik

Already read it? Try: Uprooted by Naomi Novik, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness




by Kiersten White
And I Darken by Kiersten White

Looking for a book to keep you up late? Look no further (and it’s the first in a series!)

Set against the backdrop of the Ottoman Empire during the 15th century, this book re-imagines the infamous Vlad the Impaler as a girl, Lada Dragwlya.  The story traces Lada’s rise to power, the grittiness of her life as a young woman struggling with finding power in a world run by men, and her love affair with a powerful future-sultan. In addition to Lada, her brother Radu plays a central role. Lada and her brother Radu are extremely close but the trials of loving the same man (Radu’s closely held secret), and finding a place at court could break them. The book is packed with atmosphere, romance, political subterfuge, and intriguing relationships. I would recommend it for anyone interested in Transylvanian history, the Ottoman Empire, Dracula, and because of the intrigue, subterfuge, and romance…the Game of Thrones series.


A post-apocalyptic novel set in a bleak, ashy world. A story of love (and questionable hope) and the will to go on. Check this out if you liked Stephen King’s The Stand or Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as We Knew It series.




Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz


Set in 1987, this story details the lives of two best friends living in El Paso, Texas. The two Mexican-American boys are Aristotle, who can’t swim, and Dante, who loves art. They become fast friends at the public pool, bonding over their ancient names. As they become closer, they meet the other’s family. Before long, Aristotle finds himself in a car accident, leaving him without use of his legs. At the same time he finds his best friend is moving away to Chicago. Aristotle ages, occasionally receiving letters from his friend that detail his biggest secret, one that could possibly get him killed.

book reviews · Uncategorized

Katherine’s favorite YA books

In honor of Teen Read Week (October 8 – 14), I’ve decided to collect all my favorite teen reads we have at the Belmont Public Library! Ok, maybe not all of them, because that would be a lot, but here’s some good ones:

The Girl Who Drank the Moon

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill: This book is pretty amazing. It wasn’t quite what I expected-I was expecting more of a kid’s book, and while it’s found in the children’s section, it reads like a YA fantasy. It’s not lightweight, the story is complex, and the themes are subtle. It’s the kind of book that at the end you want to cry a little, but not in a bad way, and just sit with it and absorb it. It’s about magic, and love, and loss. The story is nourishing and heartwarming. So glad I read this.

The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: This is a strong, powerful book, and the writing is excellent. The writing style and the emotional punch reminds of The Book Thief, although unlike the Book Thief it didn’t make me cry and feel all sad. Is it about sad, heavy stuff? Yes, but along with heartbreaking, The Hate U Give is also empowering and hopeful.
Also this is an important book, and more than just “timely.” I’ve seen this stuff on the news, I’ve read about the Black Lives Matter movement… but nothing else I’ve seen has brought the understanding and emotional connection reading this book does. This really just puts you there, puts you in her shoes, and lets you understand in a very personal, visceral way.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2 (Harry Potter, #8)Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling & Jack Thorne: I didn’t care that this was a script for a play and not actually written J. K. Rowling! I loved getting to read about the adventures of Harry’s children.

The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo, #1)

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan: Rick Riordan is one of my favorite YA authors and this new series does not disappoint. Great for fans of mythology.  Full of magic and adventure! This stars Apollo… but transformed into a teenage boy.

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)Cinder by Marissa Meyer: Fairy tale science fiction! How cool is that? This stars Cinder as a cyborg and is loosely based of the Cinderella tale.  This is a very engrossing book – be prepared to stay up late one you start this!Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1)

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater: This book was excellent! I am not usually a fan of werewolf stories, but this was a solid exception. The way the author evoked emotion and the feelings of falling in love were particularly compelling.

Some more of my favorites are:

Eleanor & Park

  • The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz
  • Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
  • Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
  • Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green
  • Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow
  • Glass by Ellen Hopkins
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore



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Staff picks October 2017

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


radium girls
Radium Girls by Kate Moore

The Curies discovered radium in 1898. By World War I girls as young as 15 were working as dial painters – illuminating watch faces with the element to make them glow in the dark. In the 1920s and 1930s, the women reported unusual and troubling medical symptoms and began a long quest to get their employers, and the courts, to acknowledge their plight. Full of personal details, courage, and tenacity. This is an inspiring read.

For fans of: Compelling, dramatic, and haunting non-fiction.

Already read it? Try: The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan, A Train in Winter by Caroline Moorehead, or Bomb Girls.


The Girl Who Drank the Moon
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

This book was pretty amazing. First off, it wasn’t quite what I expected – I was expecting more of a kid’s book. While suggested for grades 4-6, there’s more layers to get for those who are older. It’s not lightweight, the story is complex, and the themes are subtle. It’s the kind of book that at the end you want to cry a little, but not in a bad way, and just sit with it and absorb it. It’s about magic, and love, and loss. The story is nourishing and heartwarming. I’m not surprised it won the Newbury.
Recommended for middle school on up, including parents and adults who enjoyed Naomi Novik’s Uprooted. So glad I read this!

For fans of: Grace Lin, Chris Colfer, Naomi Novik, and lyrical, fast-paced fantasy fiction.

Already read it? Try: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin, Grayling’s Song by Karen Cushman, or Nightbird by Alice Hoffman.



The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

This novel takes a very strong view on modern race interactions. The story is inspired by the true life of author Sherman Alexie. The main character, Arnold Spirit (a Native American who lives on a reservation) must take on a journey to a new school consisting of all white students. He has to face being a “traitor”, physical disabilities, racism, tribalism, poverty, and his father’s alcoholism all while trying to obtain a solid education. He has to learn to work with his hindrances and make new friends along the way. This dive into culture aids in deviating from the single story of Native people. This mature, coming of age story has deep roots in reservation culture and Native American traditions and tragedy.

For fans of: Culturally diverse, coming of age stories.

Already read it? Try: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Winger by Andrew Smith, or American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang



i found you
I Found You by Lisa Jewell

A story of love and loss on many levels. Suspenseful and surprising to the end!

For fans of: Psychological suspense, Gothic fiction, suspenseful books with a strong female lead.

Already read it? Try: The Last Night at Tremore Beach bi Mikel Santiago, Into the Water by Paula Hawkins, or In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware




born a crime
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah, (a comedian and the host of The Daily Show), is the son to a Swiss father (white) and a Xhosa mother (black), this coupling rendered him a crime from birth. Trevor’s daily life included secret visits with his father, public outings in which they would walk close by together in a park but pretend not to know each other.

His trademark mischievousness, coupled with his bright, subtle, humorous, and intelligent commentary on the idiosyncrasies of growing up in a disjointed culture will transport you. Trevor’s inherited will of steel and fierce independence (courtesy of his mother), and his insatiable curiosity driven by intellect and enterprise (courtesy of his father) puts him in a variety of comical situations that he always seems to get out of.

An endearing, uplifting, and often surprisingly hilarious, (I was laughing out loud throughout the book), account of growing up in apartheid South Africa, overcoming adversity, and finding a way to make lemons from lemonade (Trevor-style) in any situation.

For fans of: Funny, candid coming of age stories, humorous family memoirs, and celebrity memoirs.

Already read it? Try: How Did You Get This Number by Sloane Crosley, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris, or Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris.