FDL Reads: The Kill Switch: A Tucker Wayne Novel

Cover image for The kill switchThe Kill Switch: A Tucker Wayne Novel by James Rollins

Reviewed by: Diane Soffietti, Reference Assistant

Genre: Adventure

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: Tucker Wayne and Kane are partners, who work for an elite organization, called Sigma Force.  Kane is an intelligent Belgian Malinois: and with his handler, partner and friend, they see hazardous operations together. In this mission, a Russian biochemist has found a South African Boer’s record of a plant that dates back to prehistoric times and has a significance to modern issues. Smuggling the Russian out of the country and searching the diary of the South African botanist becomes the mission for Tucker and Kane. Will they both survive?

My review: The plot of the story was somewhat far-fetched with a menacing plant found during the Boer War at the end of the nineteenth century. Many villains and plot twists make for a fast read. I thought the most intriguing passages were with Kane working to help with the mission. The author included the dog’s mindset while doing his job to please his handler, Tucker. James Rollins has written other Sigma Force novels, but this is the first written with Grant Blackwood in a new series that feature a working dog and his handler. If you are interested in reading about military special operations type of adventure fiction, this one might be good for you to try. It is also a great choice for people who enjoy reading about how dogs are used to help soldiers.

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: Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story

Cover image for Jerry Lee Lewis : his own storyJerry Lee Lewis: His own Story by Rick Bragg

Reviewed by: Sylvia Shults, Circulation Assistant

Genre: Non-fiction, Biography

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: This is a biography of the rocker Jerry Lee Lewis, a star of the early rock ‘n roll era who had such hits as Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On and Great Balls of Fire. Lewis was one of the greats, who clawed his way up from poverty to become a sizzling performer, making both his piano and his audience shriek. Scandal followed him, not that he didn’t invite it sometimes. Failed marriages (including one to his young cousin) and the death of a son haunted him. But he still rocked the house, and no matter what his personal life was like, he’s still a legend in the world of rock and roll.

My review: I read this book solely because of who wrote it, so, full disclosure, this review will be less about the book’s subject and more about the writing that went into it. I have been hearing good things about Rick Bragg’s writing for a very long time, but all I’d read of his, prior to this, was his column in Southern Living magazine. I saw this biography on the shelf, and thought to myself, now that I’m a nonfiction writer myself, I should read a book-length work of Rick Bragg’s. He did not disappoint. I had zero interest in Jerry Lee Lewis, to tell the truth — I just read the book for Bragg’s writing. And it is gorgeous. It’s a southern boy writing about a southern boy, a hero to many, a demon to some. But Bragg neither lionizes nor demonizes — he just lets his subject speak for himself, and lets his audience draw their own conclusions about the man. He sat with Lewis for hours, listening to his stories so he could pass them on to us. There’s one sentence that just dropped me to my knees in sheer admiration for its beauty: “In time I came to understand that remembering, if you are him, is like playing catch with broken glass.” Bragg’s writing drew me in and MADE me care about Jerry Lee Lewis, and that is the mark of a great writer.

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 Reads: The Supernatural Enhancements

Cover image for The supernatural enhancements : a novelThe Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero

Reviewed by: Carey Gibbons, Reference Assistant

Genre: Horror, Suspense, Slipstream

Suggested Age: Adults and Teens

What is the book about?: A young man, known only as A, has inherited a mansion from a second cousin twice removed. A didn’t even know he had a second cousin. But he and his companion, a mute teenager named Niamh travel to America anyway to take possession of both the house and A’s cousin’s considerable fortune. The circumstances of A’s cousin’s death are bizarre. He committed suicide by jumping out of a window – the exact same window his father had also jumped out of, and died. A and Niamh explore the house and the town of Point Bless, Virginia and find more than a little weirdness. Is the house haunted? What’s with the labyrinth out back? What’s behind that creepy door in the basement? And what exactly goes on during the yearly midwinter party held at the house? A and Niamh find the answers to these questions and a lot more – but that’s just the beginning of the story.

My review: This is a story told in scraps and pieces. You find out information little by little through A’s diary entries, his letters to Aunt Liza, audio and video recording transcripts, telephone bills, Niamh’s notebook, and other random documentation, including ciphered puzzles. The Supernatural Enhancements begins as a ghost story and then turns into a million other different things, including a bizarre global and subconscious scavenger hunt. I enjoyed this book a lot and related to both A and Niamh. My only complaint is that the book ended on a pensive note. Throughout, we learn the story of A’s second cousin twice removed but I feel like that needs a separate novel unto itself. I also want a novel about Aunt Liza. This book was weird and wonderful and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good mind bender – a haunted mind bender.

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 *Barb’s Bonus Book Review Edition!*: Red Queen

Cover image for Red QueenRed Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Reviewed by: Barb Rude, Reference Assistant

Genre: YA Fantasy

Suggested Age: Teens and Adults

What is the book about?: Silver-blooded people control magic and thus the world, crushing the red-blooded under their heels. As a Red, Mare will be conscripted to the War and either come back broken or in a box. In the meantime, she steals to leave her family with rations to get by.

When she manifests the ability to call lightning at the most inopportune time ever, the royal family scrambles to come up with a story to explain how a Red could have Silver powers. Thus, she ‘becomes’ Silver and is plunged into noble intrigue. One wrong move and she could die. Anyone can betray her.

My review: Readers who enjoy fantasy intrigue will like Red Queen. Initially, Mare reminded me of Katniss from The Hunger Games but as the story develops, their paths diverge. Mare is compassionate and naïve, though she is always struggling to learn savvy. There’s a definite dystopian vibe with the class wars, but also magic and enough world-building to promise room to grow into a series.

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 Age of Dignity

Cover image for Age of Dignity : Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing AmericaThe Age of Dignity by Ai-jen Poo with Ariane Conrad

Reviewed by: Barb Rude, Reference Assistant

Genre: Non-Fiction

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: Millions of Baby Boomers are about to become Elder Boomers. They will live longer than their parents and need more extensive care. The author argues that our current geriatric institutions are completely unsustainable, undesirable, and unaffordable—we need change on many levels to prepare this huge demographic shift. Infrastructure. Cooperation. Organization. A new and much-needed respect for caregivers, the people who will allow our parents and grandparents to age with dignity.

My review:  This is an important subject, and I’m relieved to see these kinds of discussions happening. Poo and many others are working hard to provide the future they want for their parents and ultimately themselves, as well as championing the rights of caregivers to improve the quality of life for both givers and receivers of home care. Poo suggests solutions to impending problems and describes programs running successfully today. This book is short yet powerful.

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!

Spring Newsletter Available

The latest issue of Community Connection, Fondulac District Library’s quarterly newsletter, is now available! It is mailed to residences within the library district and also is available for download and printing from our website.

We’re gearing up for a busy spring and summer at the library. Saturday, April 11, marks the return of Star Wars Day, our most popular one-day event. Summer Reading is all-new this year, with prize and fun for readers of ALL AGES. Registration for the program begins June 1. These events are just a few of the many (like, 8-pages-many!) events and services discussed in the newsletter. Please take a moment to review it and mark your calendars. Enjoy!

Please note that in the paper copies mailed to residences and available at the library, there is an error. Star Wars Day takes place on Saturday, April 11, from 10 am to 3 pm (not 4 pm as printed). We have corrected the digital versions on our website. We apologize for the error and hope you’ll forgive us. After all, we’re human – not droids.

Download this file. (PDF, Unknown)

FDL Reads: Get in Trouble

Cover image for Get in Trouble : StoriesGet in Trouble by Kelly Link

Reviewed by: Carey Gibbons, Reference Assistant

Genre: Short Stories

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: Get in Trouble is a short story anthology of weirdness. The stories in this collection all start out fairly normally, but then little things that turn into big things indicate that the characters involved don’t quite live in the same world that we do. Link writes about secret identities, superhero sidekicks, Egyptian religion of the future, people who have two shadows, clockwork monkey eggs, pocket universes, haunted spaceships, haunted life size dolls, and haunted nudist colonies. Are these stories connected? Link’s characters never say yes, but they also never say no. Part of what makes this collection intriguing is trying to figure out that puzzle for yourself.

My review:  I liked this book a lot, but also found it delightfully frustrating. It *is* a puzzle, and I haven’t yet figured out how all the pieces fit together. Even though Link never expressly says that the stories in this anthology are connected, I think it’s important that they are all in this one collection together. They’re like tracks on a CD – separate entities yet also a cohesive whole. At times, I wished that each story was an entire novel so that I could explore Link’s world building. At other times, I thought each story was perfect just the way it was. At any rate, I loved the weirdness of this collection. I loved that the worlds Link introduces us to are just enough like ours to make you think twice about what you’re reading. This is a really great collection.

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!

Star Wars Day 2015

Star Wars Day 2015Fondulac District Library announces Star Wars Day, which celebrates reading and the stories of one of the most popular sagas of all time. The all-ages event will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 11, 2015, at Fondulac District Library in East Peoria, Illinois.

Free activities and programs for all ages will run throughout the day and include Jedi training, a costume derby, crafts, a Star Wars Science Station, games, prize drawings, and much more. Special guests from the 501st Legion, the Rebel Legion, and the Mandalorian Mercs costume clubs will be in attendance and available for photographs. Additionally, members of the East Peoria Robo Raiders, a local First Tech Challenge (FTC) team, will participate in a presentation and demonstration of the real-life “droids” they design, build, and take to competition. The library also offers Star Wars-related books and movies on display and available for check out to library cardholders.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE DAY’S AGENDA.

Big Library Read

Shakespeare Saved My LifeBig Library Read hath returned with a true Shakespearian tale! We’re excited to announce that the latest Big Library Read is now live, offering you the opportunity to join the largest global book club in the world. For the next two weeks, Shakespeare Saved my Life by Laura Bates will be available to borrow electronically without any wait lists or holds through Alliance Digital Media Library. Sign in with your FDL library card and get immediate access! http://alliance.lib.overdrive.com

FDL Reads: All the Truth That’s In Me

Cover image for All the truth that's in meAll the Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry

Reviewed by: Dawn Dickey, Reference Assistant

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian

Suggested Age: Teens and adults

What is the book about?: At the beginning of this novel, we meet Judith, who is traveling at a young age with her family and friend Lucas to a new settlement called Roswell Station. Jump forward a few years in time, and we find that Judith has undergone significant trauma and is unable to communicate what happened to her. And rather than treating Judith with compassion, her family and the other residents of the village are frightened of Judith, ashamed of her, and treat her as an outcast. Judith’s mother can’t even call Judith by her name, instead saying “You” when she needs to talk to Judith. Interactions between the villagers are equally dysfunctional, filled with restrictive rules, harsh judgments, and undercurrents of sorrow, fear, suspicion, and even hatred.

Only Judith’s memories of her father and her friendship and love for Lucas lighten her heart. Sadly, Judith must endure another cruel blow of fate when she learns that Lucas is engaged to marry a girl from the village. How can she survive yet another loss?

Judith’s fortunes begin to change – for the worse – when the Homelanders, enemies of the citizens of Roswell Station, attack. And with that attack, the suspense builds. Can Judith do anything to help save Roswell Station? Will Lucas survive the deadly attack, only to marry Maria? What will become of Roswell Station if the Homelanders win the battle?

My review:  Judith’s story is told in the first person, with frequent flashbacks – rather like reading a diary. This makes her the story of her trauma and will to survive it even more heart wrenching. Author Julie Berry’s first Young Adult Novel is at the same time gruesome, terrifying, and exciting. The novel is a Kirkus Best Teen Read (2013) and a School Library Journal pick for Best of 2013. It’s unique and fascinating!

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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