FDL Reads: Sharp Objects


Cover image for Sharp objects : a novelSharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Reviewed by: Laura Warren, Reference Assistant

Genre: Suspense

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: Camille is a newspaper reporter living in Chicago, where she covers some of the darker cases that plague the Windy City. Almost a year ago a young girl was killed in the small town of Wind Gap, Missouri, and now another young girl has vanished. Wind Gap just happens to be Camille’s hometown, where the rest of her family still resides. Camille’s editor, sends her back to her hometown, to investigate the murder and disappearances of the girls. As Camille returns to Wind Gap, so do the demons, which she fled to Chicago to escape. Her memories of this town are not fond, and history already haunts her emotionally and physically. As Camille digs deep into the case, Wind Gap’s skeletons refuse to remain in the closet, and they may just lead Camille back to her childhood home.

My Review: When I began reading this book I felt that it was a little formulaic. I was enjoying it, but it seemed like a typical murder mystery. What I was not expecting was the character study that would follow. Though the mystery in this book is interesting, and has some twists, it was the main character that kept me turning the pages. When reading, I long for a flawed main character, and if you love a flawed main character, Flynn definitely delivers. Camille takes us to sinister, dangerous, deep places, we are not certain she will ever truly escape. Sharp Objects explores the experiences which create dreadful behavior as the protagonist navigates the dark side of Wind Gap. This book fearlessly delves into the dark and shame-filled places few people are comfortable going. It not only discusses the dark place the killer resides, but it also drags us kicking and screaming to that dark place that resides in all of us.

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!

FDL Teen Reads: Half Bad

Cover image for Half badWelcome to another edition of FDL Teen Reads, brought to you by the Teen Advisory Board!


Half Bad by Sally Green

Reviewed by: Katelyn Kern, Teen Advisory Board

Genre: Fantasy

Suggested Age: Teens

What is the book about?: There are two kinds of witches. There are the Whites Witches that are supposed to be all sugar, spice, and everything nice. Then there are the Black Whites that are said to go around eating people’s hearts and killing babies and they’re just the worst…not really. Nathan is a black witch on his father’s side and his mother was a white witch. He lives with his Grandmother, his sister Jessica, his brother Aaron, and his other sister Deborah. Everyone tells him he is a black witch, not a white witch, simply because he is a half of each. He is also the only one said to be able to kill his father, Marcus, the most Black of all the Black Witches who eats the heart of other witches to gain their abilities. On your seventeenth birthday witches have to be given three gifts, one of which has to be the blood of a relative to receive your ability. If you do not receive the gifts you will die. Nathan’s only living relative that he can safely get in touch with is his father. Half Bad tells the story of Nathan going through his torment, of him growing up and being victim to cruel white witches one of whom he has fallen in love with, and him on his journey to find a way to escape the path that has been laid out before him.

My review: I want to give this book a solid 5 so bad, but Nathan is so focused on his “immeasurable love” for the white witch unbearably annoying. All of his choices go back to her, and how the outcomes might affect her. If he only thought about her half as often I would give this book a six.

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!

FDL Reads: The Little Prince

Cover image for The little prince.The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Translated by Richard Howard

Reviewed by: Mike Joseph, Reference Assistant

Genre: Adventure

Suggested Age: All Ages

What is the book about?: The Little Prince is told through the eyes of an unnamed pilot.  The pilot has crashed his plain in the dessert and is trying to repair his downed aircraft.  With only 8 days of water the pilot begins work on his plane, and at the end of the first day he falls asleep.  He is suddenly awakened by a little boy.  “Please…draw me a sheep.”  The pilot draws several different sheep that don’t suit the boy.  In frustration he draws a box and says that the sheep the boy wants is inside.  The boy is delighted.  The pilot returns to work on his plane, while the boy asks numerous questions, but doesn’t answer any questions the pilot has for the boy.  Little by little the pilot pieces together where the boy comes from, an asteroid named B-612. The pilot works for the next several days, listening to the little prince, learning where he came from.  He learns that the little prince has a flower on his planet that talks to him.  He learns that the little prince has to carefully uproot baobab trees or his planet will fall apart.  He learns that the little prince left his home because he was sad, but being away from his home has only made the little prince realize how important his little planet was. The Pilot leaves his aircraft and begins walking, hoping to escape or be rescued.  The little prince returns home, having changed the pilot’s life.

My review: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery is quite possibly the best book I have ever read. It isn’t a grand saga or an epic tale. The author didn’t invent whole languages or build a detailed universe for his story. However, any man who can make me feel so moved in such a short amount of time, make me fall in love with his characters and cry after only 85 pages is an author that everyone should read.

The Little Prince is sold as a children’s book, and it can certainly be read as one.  On the surface the content is simple and easy to digest.  However, if you read The Little Prince as an adult you will see deeper meaning behind the story, and you will reflect on your life.  The watercolor illustrations are not expertly done, but are enjoyable and pleasant to look at in addition to fitting in with the story. It is short and simple, and very impressive.

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 Great Zoo of China

Cover image for The great zoo of ChinaThe Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly

Reviewed by: Dawn Dickey, Reference Assistant

Genre: Adventure/Thriller

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: Reptile expert Dr. Cassandra Jane (CJ) Cameron, her photographer brother, Hamish, and a small group of VIPs have been invited to a mysterious, hidden location in southern China to preview a new take on theme parks:  The Great Zoo of China. The park – secretly built over a 40 year period at a cost of billions of yuan – hopes to become the destination of choice for tourists from around the world. The main attraction? Several species of dragons that by chance were found hibernating in the hills of this remote area of China!

My review: If the idea for this book reminds you of the novel and film Jurassic Park, you’re on the right track! Beginning with the prologue, there are hints of the disaster to come:  19 people have met a tragic end due to encounters with the dragons. The suspense builds because you, as the reader, know this before reptile expert CJ finds out. CJ soon learns that the Chinese zookeepers have seriously underestimated the dragon’s hunting and problem-solving skills. In the chaos that follows, will CJ and her brother and the other VIPs escape? With dragons hunting and chomping on humans, it’s a gory read but also a get-your-heart-pumping and thrilling read. I especially liked the maps and diagrams of the theme park – they are interesting additions to the book. Available in print or as an eBook.

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 Teen Reads: Blue Plate Special

Welcome to another edition of FDL Teen Reads, brought to you by the Teen Advisory Board!

Cover image for Blue plate specialBlue Plate Special by Michelle D. Kwasney

Reviewed by: Kayelyn Kern, Teen Advisory Board

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Suggested Age: Teens

What is the book about?: Blue Plate Special is about three different girls that each have their own terrible story to tell. There’s Madeline who was severely obese and then got in shape and became healthy for a McDonald’s counter boy, Tad, who became the best part of her life. Then there’s Desiree who just wanted to be able to make her own choices and grow up and hang out with her boyfriend Jeremy, but accepted a ride home from the wrong person while drunk. And lastly there’s Ariel who has always made the good choices, always stayed out of trouble and just tried to make her mom happy. But then she meets Shane who wants to do anything but good. Each girl had decisions to make and lessons to learn. Ariel is still able to make her own decisions but will she be able to make them in time.

My review: Blue Plate Special really just makes you think when you’re done and has a major surprise that you would never see coming. It makes you wonder about whether or not one thing would have happened if something else hadn’t. If one small detail had been changed, would the entire outcome be different?

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!

Attn: local organizations

Library staff is planning an outdoor “Summer Reading Finale Fun Fair” for all ages to take place Saturday, August 1, from 11 am to 5 pm and is seeking East Peoria non-profit organizations to sell concessions. This is a community event open to anyone that celebrates music, the library, and the readers of all ages who have completed our summer reading program. Organizations must provide the items to sell, any setup (table, tent, etc.), and any permits needed and get to keep all profits. We still have some spots available. If your organization is interested, please contact Genna Buhr at genna@fondulaclibrary.org or 309-699-3917 x2181.

FDL Reads: Heartbreak Hotel

Cover image for Heartbreak hotelHeartbreak Hotel by Deborah Moggach

Reviewed by: Diane Soffietti, Reference Assistant

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: Buffy, a senior actor, who at the moment is alone in his London digs, receives a shocking gift from a dear former lover, Birdie. Birdie bequeathed Buffy her Bed & Breakfast in a quaint small town in Wales. Although, Buffy has grown children and quite a few ex-wives, he is lonely and tired of the bustle of modern London. He decides to start a new life. With the help of some locals and his children, he tries to make ends meet by offering week long courses for the public. Romantic liaisons occur, and everything seems to be going well for a motley crew of locals and lonely seniors, who place their trust in Buffy’s hands at the Heartbreak Hotel.

My review: Judi Dench and Maggie Smith are two of my favorite actresses, and I loved the movie Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. When I saw that Heartbreak Hotel was written by the screenwriter of that movie, I decided to try it. And I really, really liked it. It has a similar format to many of Maeve Binchy books, in that there are quite a few characters, and each chapter has that person’s point of view. The main character, Buffy, was the center study of another book called Ex-Wives, in which his complicated love life was revealed.  Heartbreak Hotel is a very honest look at the feelings of people who are trying to make a go at life in general and their love life in particular. Moggach is a very popular British author, and hopefully her works (other than her screenplays, such as Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth and the Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel with Richard Gere) will become popular here in the States, as well.

The book deals with romantic and sexual activities, but is not explicit or graphic in its tone. Some might be ‘put off’ by British slang and popular culture references, but this is also true of American chick lit that has its name dropping and brand identities. This is a lovely, funny romance novel with hope eternal for the older generation, who might be interested in second, third or fourth chances at love.

Rating: 4.5/5

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 Teen Reads: If I stay and Where She Went

Welcome to another edition of FDL Teen Reads, brought to you by the Teen Advisory Board! Today, we have a two for one!

Cover image for If I stay : a novelIf I Stay by Gayle Forman

Reviewed by: Katelyn Kern, Teen Advisory Board

Genre: Realistic fiction

Suggested Age: Teens

What is the book about?: If I Stay is about a girl, Mia, who loses her whole family in one day to a car crash. During the entirety of the book Mia’s body is comatose while her conscience observed the events unfolding around her in the hospital. The book flips between the present and influential pieces of her past. Mia grew up in a family of “rockers”. Her father had had a band of his own that she went to as a baby with mufflers headphones and her younger brother Teddy was just getting into the tradition by playing the drums. But Mia took a different track and chooses to play the cello and applied to Julliard before the accident. Adam, Mia’s boyfriend, is a guitarist and songwriter in his own band Shooting Star. Many of Mia’s flashbacks are centered around Adam. Of them shyly meeting, falling in love, and their fights small to large about their future together. Mia has to decide if she should leave and join those that she lost, or stay with those that are left.

My review: If you love romance and having a book bring you to tears, then you should differently read If I Stay. I personally just didn’t absolutely love this book because sometimes it got too sappy, too predictable. Look, we all know by now that she does stay, but the book makes it seem like she stayed because Adam asks her to. Not because her grandparents were there and would have lost everybody. Not because she still had so much to do, for example Julliard.

Rating: 3/5

Find it at the library!

Cover image for Where she wentWhere She Went by Gayle Forman

Reviewed by: Katelyn Kern, Teen Advisory Board

Genre: Realistic fiction

Suggested Age: Teens

What is this book about?: Where She Went is in the point of view of Adam a few years after Mia leaves for Julliard. Adam’s band, Shooting Star, has become almost as famous as The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. With a famous band being known worldwide, being fabulously wealthy, and having a movie star girlfriend, you would think Adam’s life was perfect. But Adam is falling apart in the aftermath of Mia and is barely standing upright. With an upcoming major tour looming over him he wonders how he can go on and thinks about quitting the band. But one night while out walking he spots a poster for a concert scheduled that night for a cellist, Mia. Where She Went tells the after story of the accident and tells what happened from Adam’s view.

My Review: I liked Where She Went much more than I did If I Stay. It has the same set up with the present and flashback lay out.  I have a hard time liking romances, which is what I assumed this book was , but I actually really enjoyed this one. It wasn’t too romancy and really just kind of fills in anything that Mia hadn’t seen in her coma and helps you see Mia from the outside. Sometimes in books I can see things unfolding from a mile away, which usually makes me dislike the book, but in Where She Went nothing came too slowly or too fast.

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!

FDL Reads: The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride

Cover image for The indifferent stars above : the harrowing saga of a Donner Party brideThe Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride by Daniel James Brown

Reviewed by: Sylvia Shults, Circulation Assistant

Genre: Non-fiction

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: This is a very thorough look at the tragedy of the ill-fated Donner Party. In the mad rush West before the Civil War, it was imperative for the travellers to stick to a tight schedule, in order to make it across the mountains before the snow fell, making travel next to impossible. The Donner Party left about six weeks behind schedule, and paid dearly for the mistake.

My review: I didn’t know much about the Donner Party before I read this book, just the basics. I learned quite a lot from reading this — just to start with, I had no idea that one of the families in the party came from Lacon, just north of us on the Illinois River. That gave the story an immediacy for me, and made the characters much more human. The reading is tough going at times, just because of the horrendous subject matter. But the author treats the story with compassion. He did quite a lot of research for the book, including travelling in the same path the Donner Party took West. This lends a lot of realism to the story.

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 Teen Reads: Rot and Ruin

Cover image for Rot & RuinWelcome to another edition of FDL Teen Reads, brought to you by the Teen Advisory Board!

Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

Reviewed by: Alex Roby, Teen Advisory Board

Genre: Horror, Science Fiction

Suggested Age: Teens

What is the book about?: I recently finished the book Rot and Ruin the first book in a series of four. The story is centered around the main character Benny, who lives in post-apocalyptic California. In the town of Mountainside, surrounded by the undead, he is forced to grow up and decide what career he wants to pursue. If he can’t find one, he will face starvation. However the one obvious choice of a job is too horrific for Benny to stomach. His brother Tommy works as a bounty hunter, he ventures out into the burnt husk of the USA and seeks out a specific zombie, and then he eliminates it. While many in the town see Tommy as a hero, his brother holds a grudge against him for his actions in the past.

My review: I personally loved the story, I just finished the second book and now i’m moving on to the third. The book does have a few slower moments, but otherwise the story kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. The book is also a part of the Abe Lincoln’s award list. Jonathan Maberry, the author, has setup a great series which might be one of the greatest series ever written.

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!

imagine, inform, inspire