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FDL Reads: World Trigger Volume 1

Cover image for World Trigger Volume 1 by Daisuke Ashihara

Reviewed by: Sarah Baker, Youth Services

Genre: Science Fiction, Manga

Suggested Age: Teens

What is the book about?: Four years ago, a mysterious gate opened over Mikado City. Strange beings, eventually named “Neighbors” came through and caused massive destruction. The weapons of Earth could not harm them. An agency called Border also mysteriously appears, but are able to fight the Neighbors. Flash forward to present day. A new student, Yuma Kuga, is starting at a school in Mikado City. He becomes friends with Osamu Mikumo – secretly a trainee agent of Border! But Yuma has a secret too – he’s actually a Neighbor, and a powerful one at that. When a gate opens over the school, Osamu springs into action to stop the Neighbor and save his classmates, but he’s not strong enough. Yuma borrows his trigger and obliterates the beast. Will Osamu keep  Yuma’s secret from Border? And will he survive Border’s questions about how the Neighbor at the school was really defeated?

 

My Review: I enjoy manga, and am always looking for a new series. I’d just finished up Gundam: Origins and wanted another sci fi romp. This popped up just in time! The story moves at a rapid pace; there’s a background character that gives us most of the exposition (by explaining it to Yuma); and I’ve already found a character I don’t like. I’m worried about the whole “high school drama” aspect that this series may have, but I’m hoping that as the threats increase, we will be spending less time in the school and more time in the field.​ I have additional questions about how triggers work, and how one is selected to join Border, but I’m hoping they will be answered in following volumes.

 

Three Words That Describe This Book: Action, Intrigue, Drama

Give This a Try if You Like… Transdimensional stories, sci-fi, “the power is in you”

Rating: 3.5/5

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 Waking Land

Cover image for The waking landThe Waking Land by Callie Bates

Reviewed by: Joscelyn Lockwood, Youth Services

Genre: Fantasy

Suggested Age: Adults, Teens

What is the book about?: 

Elianna Valtai was kidnapped at the age of five years old. Raised in a rival kingdom by a King she began to care for more than her own father, her world is ripped apart when she’s accused of regicide and forced to flee. As she is brought back to the country and family of her birth, she begins to learn the truth hidden from her all these years. The neighboring kingdom that had taken her had also tried to stamp out the very soul of her people. Lands that they treated as sacred ground were trampled and scraped dry of resources. People used as slaves and their innate magic ruled forbidden, until the magic users were hunted down to near extinction by witch hunters.

But acceptance doesn’t come easy for Elianna. The kingdom she was raised in is all she really knows, even though they branded her birth father a traitor and her people nothing more than mud-covered savages. She will have to come to terms with what she learns, and the magic that she’s long hidden, in order to help save the people of her homeland.

My Review:  

Elianna is spoiled, annoying, naïve… almost everything you’d expect a teen girl with Stockholm syndrome to be. When the first part of the book unfolds and she gets accused of regicide, I, as the reader, just had the uncontrollable urge to shake some sense into her. Now that I have that off my chest, I can gush about how much I loved the story. Ms. Bates just really hooked me in from the minute I read the summary on Goodreads. The world she creates is incredibly detailed, well thought out, and definitely something I want to read more stories in. Even minor characters play big parts in this story, as small happenings always seem to have a ripple effect into something bigger later on.

To be fair, I will admit that there are some dull parts. It’s so detailed that it can’t help but be a tad bit boring here and there. However, those are far between and you get back into the action fairly quickly. 

Three Words That Describe This Book: Immersive, Long, Engrossing

Give This a Try if You Like… Druids, Earth magic, Humming along to Carole King’s “I Feel the Earth Move” as you Read.

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: Ray and Joan

29430060Ray and Joan by Lisa Napoli

Reviewed by: Genna Buhr, Library Director

Genre: Biography

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: Ray & Joan is the story of the Krocs, the couple that grew the global brand of McDonald’s. The book covers their lives before they were a couple, the story of their somewhat tumultuous relationship, and how their fortunes were made and used. While the book does speak some to the business, its focus shines a light on the private lives of the couple, their relationship with each other, and their relationship with money.

My Review:  This book goes beyond Robin Leach and the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous treatment. It gives an intriguing, investigative look into the lives that built an icon of American life and reminds us that money doesn’t equal perfection or happiness and that it can both help and complicate matters. In reading the book, I found the drama in the lives of both of these strong personalities to be palpable at times. Napoli depicts their lives with an even brush, neither villainizing or deifying.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Interesting, Encompassing, Golden (like the arches or the fries)

Give This a Try if You Like… Empty Mansions, Biography (television show), Big Macs

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: Fullmetal Alchemist vol. 1

Cover image for Fullmetal alchemist. 1Fullmetal Alchemist vol. 1 by Arakawa Hiromu (translated by Akira Watanabi)

Reviewed by: Carey Gibbons, Reference Specialist

Genre: Fantasy

Suggested Age: Teens, Adults

What is the book about?: This first volume of Fullmetal Alchemist introduces us to the Elric Brothers – Edward and Alphonse. The brothers belong to a government organization called Alchemists – those with the power to transmute substances for the purposes of war. Edward is one of the most famous government alchemists, but he appears to be awfully young and Alphonse is a suit of armor. Just a suit of armor, with nothing inside. This first volume explains how Edward came to be one of the smartest alchemists of his age and the dangerous mission he and his brother are on – why Alphonse seems to be only a suit of armor, and why Edward is knows as the Fullmetal Alchemist.

My Review:  I’m not really a manga fan, but I read this book as part of a book club and to get a better grasp on manga since people who come into the library like it so much. I didn’t expect to like it very much at all but I ended up loving it. The premise starts off in a bit of a goofy way. It’s clearly a hero’s journey/special chosen kid narrative. But little character moments throughout turn it into a story that is more driven by character than plot. I ended up really caring about the Elric brothers (who are named after Michael Moorcock’s famous albino warrior). I read the first three volumes of the series and am now invested in how everything turns out.

Three Words That Describe This Book: surprisingly sweet, occasionally grim, a little too real.

Give This a Try if You Like… the television show Supernatural, The Iron Giant, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series.

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: 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!

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!

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!

FDL Reads: Ink and Bone

Cover image for Ink and boneInk and Bone by Rachel Caine

Reviewed by: Joscelyn Lockwood, Youth Services

Genre: Fantasy

Suggested Age: Teens, Adults

What is the book about?: Imagine a future where the Great Library of Alexandria never burned down and all the books in the world are under the control of the Library. Personal ownership of books is illegal. Jess Brightwell is from a family of book smugglers, but he values the books more than most. Instead of taking his father’s place in the family business, he’s sent to go through the testing to become a Scholar within the Library. What Jess and his fellow Postulates soon discover, is that within knowledge is power, and the Library will do anything to keep a firm grip on their power.

My Review: This book captured me with a fascinating concept and by appealing to my love of dystopian fantasy. It had a bit of a slow start, but the latter half of the book had me totally hooked. Jess and his group of Postulates (aspiring Scholars of the Library) are diverse and interesting. It was especially fascinating to see them grow as people as they go through the trials and tribulations of their schooling and other unexpected situations. The climax and ending had me begging for more, with a twist that I really wasn’t expecting. I can’t wait to dive into the second book of what is definitely going to be a worthwhile series.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Adventure, Deception, Intrigue

Give This a Try if You Like… Harry Potter, Alternate History,  Dystopian Fantasy

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