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FDL Reads: River of Teeth

Cover image for River of teethRiver of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

Reviewed by: Sylvia Shults, Circulation

Genre: Fantasy

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: In the early 20th century, the United States government actually had a plan to release hippos into the swamps and bayous of Louisiana as an alternative meat source. (It’s a good thing this never historically happened, because hippos are a whole lot meaner and nastier than most people realize.) This book is set in the late 1890s, in an America that DOES have feral hippos wandering southern Louisiana. Hippo wrangler Winslow Houndstooth has a mission to deal with these hippos. He’s also out for revenge.

My Review:  Wow, what a fun, FUN book! This book has the action and careless disregard for personal safety of a really well-written western. (Probably because of the time period and the action.) It’s a believable piece of alternative history, and oh my goodness, it has teeth. The characters are completely original and completely unexpected. And the author leaves the ending wide open for a sequel. (In fact, that’s my only beef with the book: it’s very short, and it has the feel of an unfinished longer novel.)

Three Words That Describe This Book: Bloody exciting adventure!

Give This a Try if You Like… Westerns, adventure

Rating: 4/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

Study Rooms at the Library

Fondulac District Library has two study rooms that seat 4 people each. Please call the library at (309) 699-3917 to reserve this space.

  • Study rooms can be reserved up to 4 weeks  in advance and are available for walk-in requests if no reservations exist.
  • The library reserves study rooms on a first come, first served basis, and a patron may have up to 5 reservations at one time.
  • A library card or photo ID must be left with staff at the Second Floor Information Desk while the study room is in use.
  • Patrons must be 13 years of age or older to reserve a study room.
  • For larger groups, Fondulac District Library and the City of East Peoria, as part of the Civic Complex, share spaces for their common use.  As a part of their public purpose, the City and Library do provide a means by which the atrium and meeting rooms may be provided for use by the public. Please visit or call the library for details.

 

 

FDL Reads: Strange the Dreamer

Cover image for Strange the dreamerStrange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Reviewed by: Dave Gibbons, Volunteer

Genre: Fantasy

Suggested Age: Teens, Adults

What is the book about?: Moths that invade dreams, a nameless city, trapped ghosts and blue skinned gods all await Lazlo Strange as his legend unfolds. Seemingly trapped at the bottom rung of the world’s social ladder in a dull grey library monastery, the orphaned boy’s world erupts into color as mystical barbarians from ancient stories march into town looking for people to go on a long journey to a place besieged by the magic. Sarai’s people have been brutally wiped out. She and a few traumatized survivors are living atop a tower that looms above the very home of the man who perpetuated this violence. These characters’ stories intertwine to create an interesting narrative.

My Review:  The world that Laini Taylor has created is lush and vibrant, full of original and relatable people and creatures. It is truly a well thought out world that is not only filled with vibrant color but also several shades of grey morality. Her world-building and character are unparalleled. The pacing and plot however are not. While absolutely gorgeous the prose is also very slow. A quarter of the book passes before anything starts to happen, and when it does the flow is either racing or crawling with little in-between. The plot does rely on tropes and clichés at times. From star crossed instant romance to the blatant hero’s journey set up – while interesting, these plots are still predictable.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Exotic, Beautiful, Epic

Give This a Try if You Like… Stardust by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess, Seraphina by Rachael Hartman, The Mighty Thor by Walt Simonson

Rating: 4/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

New & Upcoming Titles for Autumn 2017

An updated list of New & Upcoming Titles at Fondulac District Library has been added to the website! The books on this list are available to check out or place on hold.

Here is a sampling of a few of the latest titles:

Download this file. (PDF, Unknown)

FDL Reads: The Ninth Wife

Cover image for The ninth wife : a novelThe Ninth Wife by Amy Stolls

Reviewed by: Dawn Dickey, Reference Specialist

Genre: Romantic Contemporary Fiction

Suggested Age: Adult

What is the book about?: Rory and Bess have known each other only a few months before Rory proposes. Bess wants to know more about the man she is deeply in love with. She knows that his wife died and encourages Rory, on the day he proposes marriage, to tell her more about his wife:

“Wives,” [Rory] mumbles.

Bess takes a moment. “Wives?” she cries. “Plural?”. . .  “And what does that mean, anyway? Two? Two wives?”

Rory doesn’t answer.

“Rory? How many?”

“Eight.” . . .

“You’ve been married eight times?” . . . Now she’s hyperventilating. The room is spinning. She has to sit down. . . . “I just want to be sure I get this right: I’d be your ninth wife.”  

What is she supposed to do now? Run out? Wouldn’t any sane woman do that?

My Review:  I was intrigued by the title and premise of this book, and author Amy Stolls delivered an intriguing read. Stolls deftly and realistically changes voices from Irish-born Rory to folklorist Bess, with Rory explaining the history of his multiple marriages to Bess and the fact that he is, at heart, a romantic:  “I dream of everlasting love. I dream of that with you.” Stolls also deftly brings out Bess’s pragmatism and caution, which are balanced against the not-so-harmonious 65-year-long marriage of Bess’s grandparents. This caution leads her to contact some of Rory’s ex-wives. The book is an interesting and amusing look at the ups and downs of relationships and how relationships both mirror who we are and force us to grow. I loved the story and the characters!

Three Words That Describe This Book: quirky, out-of-the-ordinary, romance

Give This a Try if You Like… romantic fiction / chick lit

Rating: 5/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

FDL Reads: The Radium Girls

Cover image for The Radium GirlsThe Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore

Reviewed by: Genna Buhr, Library Director

Genre: History, Non-Fiction

Suggested Age: Adults, Teens

What is the book about?: In the early years of the last century, young women in locations across the nation took to the working world by becoming painters of clock and gauge faces. Using paint designed to glow by the addition of recently discovered radium, the women skillfully hand-painted dials in factories using materials and techniques provided to them by the management. The women enjoyed the independence and friendships the work provided. However, many eventually started having extreme medical issues and suspected it was due to the working conditions that they were told were safe. The Radium Girls tells the stories of some of these women, the distress they experienced, and the fight they led to ensure that justice would be upheld.

My Review: The story of the radium girls wasn’t new to me. I grew up near Ottawa, Illinois, where a good portion of this book is set and also grew up hearing decades old gossip and whispers about the glowing ladies. The courthouse still stands directly across from my favorite pizza place, and as I read the book, I wondered how the lives of these women many have intertwined with my family members that came before me. One of the women was from my hometown, and my great-grandmother worked at a clock factory where many of the dials were shipped. The stories of these women have been told in bits and pieces, and I was really excited to learn that Moore was writing their story cohesively and in a way that it could be shared and consumed by a larger audience. Moore doesn’t disappoint and works hard to show the strength and resilience of these women and the depths of their struggles in fighting for their health, for their places in their communities, for their futures, and for justice. The Radium Girls presents a well-paced, personal look at those everyday women whose lives strengthened the movement for safety in the workplace and whose experiences led to labor legislation still in effect today. 

Three Words That Describe This Book: Empowering, Enlightening, Inspiring

Give This a Try if You Like… Erin Brockovich, Hidden Figures, Erik Larson’s books

Rating: 5/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

FDL Reads: Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert

Cover image for Ripper : the secret life of Walter SickertRipper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert by Patricia Cornwell

Reviewed by: Sarah Baker, Circulation Assistant

Genre: True Crime, Non-Fiction

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: We all know about Jack the Ripper.  Or rather, we know of​ him.  Being that he was never caught and no confession​ accepted as truth, he remains a fascinating subject to this day.  And author Patricia Cornwell knows that.  She has released 2 other books about Saucy Jack, and her research keeps bringing her back to one man: English artist Walter Sickert.  This volume fleshes out her theory on Jack’s true identity, and backs it up with forensic evidence.  The rapid development of technology has allowed for new testing of letters that were supposedly from Jack – handwriting, paper watermarks and composition, even the blood stains are put to the test with surprising results.

My Review: I read the first of Cornwell’s Ripper books when I was in college.  (Fun note there: I read it in one sitting while working an overnight shift in a haunted building.  I was the only one in said building, but I kept hearing voices and things moving around.  Needless to say, I didn’t sleep easy the next day.)  I found her theories about Sickert to be fascinating.  I’d never heard of him before that, but her evidence was compelling.  This book expands on that.  In the 15 years since that first book (Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper – Case Closed), Cornwell has been doing deeper research.  Thorough detective methods weren’t applied at the time, and there is little to no physical evidence remaining, but modern forensics can still put pieces together.

Cornwell’s experience as a novelist keeps this book moving at rapid, entertaining pace.  You won’t need to have read her previous books to fall head-long into this one.  I burned through the first quarter of the book in a little under three hours (with repeated interruptions from my son and cats).  Chapters are relatively short and focused, and are interspersed with photos and documents, making reference easy.  The sympathy that she gives to all concerned, excepting Sickert himself, is tangible.  This is a woman who wants to see justice for those that the Ripper killed, as well as those who were falsely accused.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Insightful, Approachable, Fascinatingly-Morbid

Give This a Try if You Like… CSI, To Catch A Murderer, Serial, Jack the Ripper

Rating: 5/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

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FDL Reads: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

Cover image for Astrophysics for people in a hurryAstrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Reviewed by: Carey Gibbons, Reference Specialist

Genre: Astrophysics, Non-Fiction

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: This book is a primer in astrophysics for people, who are, well… in a hurry. Tyson’s specialty is making science accessible to the average person. He hosted the reboot of the television show Cosmos, and currently hosts the popular podcast StarTalk where science meets pop culture. Astrophysics is a short book, where Tyson covers such topics as the beginning of the universe, regular matter and dark matter, how much stars weigh, and the role of astrophysics in every day life.

My Review: Overall, I found this book informative and interesting. However, there were times when the information went over my head. It’s difficult to get an intellectual grasp on a topic so physically and ideally huge as the universe. I often wondered how Tyson could go about his day to day life with such knowledge and not explode. Tyson’s tone tough is light and at times humorous and he explains astrophysics basics in language that works for people outside of science fields.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Fun, accessible, authoritative

Give This a Try if You Like… Cosmos (either Carl Sagan’s or Neil deGrasse Tyson’s show), The Big Bang Theory, A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Rating: 4/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

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