Library Summer Reading has Ended

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…. ….

Everybody wins!

Thanks to all the readers who participated in Library Summer Reading. The last submission, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller was submitted by Julia Carter at 11:13pm on Saturday. Talk about getting it in under the wire. Fun fact, The Song of Achilles was the last review submitted last year.

Reviewers, keep an eye on your email for  prizes and pick-up and delivery options.. There will books old a new, including titles from 2022.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

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I put off reading this book because I thought it might not live up to the hype. I was sorely mistaken. Though The Song of Achilles has some rather dark material, the story of Achilles and Patroclus was beautiful and heart wrenching. I’m glad that the author created such a strong bond between the two characters. Even though I knew how the story goes, I was still devastated by how things turned out.

Availability: COSMOS, USMAI
Review Submitted by:  Julia Carter
Rating:  Highly Recommended

K-Pop Revolution by Stephen Lee

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I listened to the audiobook and it was a great experience. It was funny when the audiobook narrator tried to sing the songs written for the book. K-pop Revolution is vibrant, telling the story of Candace’s K-pop debut and how she balances her idol duties with school. Throughout the book it was like I was experiencing Candace’s stress along with her. The relationships between Candace and the other girls made the story so enjoyable. Candace is an incredibly well-developed character and even though the other characters aren’t as developed, they are still loveable. The book is a sequel to K-pop Confidential, and it did a great job wrapping up Candace’s story.

Availability:  COSMOS
Review Submitted by:  Julia Carter
Rating: Recommended
Challenge
: Audiobook

Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich

Lean Mean Thirteen
Nope to the nopity nope. Do not read. Just don’t. Spare yourself. My solemn vow to myself went by the wayside when I ran across this old Stephanie Plum mystery that I’d missed in the series (why won’t it end?) and I read it despite the promise that I wouldn’t this summer. Having breezed through it with enough eye rolling to merit a visit to my ophthalmologist, I am done. D.O.N.E. with this series. Well, until the next time I pick one up. It might be too late for me, but save yourself.

Availability:  COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Jane Kostenko
Rating:  Not Recommended
Challenge : A book with a number in the title

K-Pop Confidential by Stephen Lee

book coverK-Pop Confidential is the story of Candace, a Korean-American teen who is chosen to join the biggest K-Pop label in Seoul. Candace quickly realizes that the K-Pop industry is way more intense than she could have ever imagined. Bullies, strict teachers, and the no dating rule have Candace thinking that maybe Seoul isn’t the place for her.

At many times, the story became quite unrealistic. Candace, a new trainee with no dance experience or skills, was given more opportunities than the other trainees in the company. Despite those unrealistic moments, I enjoyed Candace’s story and how she progressed in the K-Pop industry. The book does a great job of explaining the nuances of the K-Pop world. Though the language was a bit juvenile at some points, I recommend this book to anyone looking for a feel-good story.

Availability:  COSMOS
Review Submitted by:  Julia Carter
Rating: Recommended

The Lion’s Den by Katherine St. John

book coverBelle is a struggling actress living in LA, and so when her best friend Summer invites her on a glamorous getaway to the Mediterranean aboard her billionaire boyfriend’s yacht, she jumps at the chance. But not all is at it seems. Belle and the other women invited quickly begin to feel like prisoners due to their controlling host. And Belle begins to realize that Summer might just be a ruthless gold digger who will stop at nothing to get what she wants.

This book is told in alternate timelines: the present on the yacht and looking back on the history of Summer and Belle’s friendship, from when they are teenagers to more recent events that have caused a bit of a rift between the two women. Based on the description which says Belle will have to keep her wits about her to “make it off the yacht alive,” I expected more of a thriller/more action on the yacht. However, much of the book is really a drama. For about half of the yacht plot line, things are definitely a little tense, but not in a slow burn way. The more compelling first half of the book, I thought, was the backstory on Summer and Belle. It takes quite a bit before things on the yacht actually tend to veer towards sinister and by then the book is almost over.

I enjoyed the backstory much more than the present and there was an interesting twist. Overall an enjoyable read, I just wish it was marketed less as a “juicy thriller” because I think that was slightly misleading.

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Kaylie Jasinski ’14
Rating: Recommended

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

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Gathering Blue was not what I expected at all. Marketed as a sequel to The Giver, I assumed the book would have a similar tone. However, Kira’s experience is nothing like Jonas’s. The story was a bit bland because the protagonist didn’t do much. There wasn’t much conflict at all, but I was curious to know what was up with the weird town that Kira lives in. The book was okay on its own, but as a story set in The Giver universe it doesn’t match the energy of the original or have as much spark.

Availability:  COSMOS, USMAI
Review Submitted by:  Julia Carter
Rating: Recommended with reservations
Challenge: Book with a color in the title

The Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen

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As a recovering archaeologist, I take exception to some of the rather ridiculous situations and comments attributed to archaeologists in this murder mystery (part of the Rizzoli & Isles series), but it’s an enjoyable read with enough twists and turns to keep things interesting. Decently written and fast-paced, it is certainly a good summer read.

Availability:  COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Jane Kostenko
Rating: Highly Recommended
Challenge: Book to film

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

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The narrator is Charlie, a high school freshman with strong emotions and for whom writing is an outlet. The book is told through letters written by Charlie about his high school experiences. Charlie was incredibly honest about the good and bad things he has done. He acts his age, which is hard to find in fiction about high schoolers. Some people may not enjoy the unique writing style, but I enjoyed how it was straight to the point and sounded like actual letters being written by a high school freshman.

Availability:  COSMOS, USMAI
Review Submitted by:  Julia Carter
Rating: Recommended
Challenge: Book to Film

This Is Your Brain On Food by Uma Naidoo

Tbook coverhis book talks about foods that promote mental health. Each chapter addresses a different mental health condition. Endnotes for each chapter cite the research. In the chapters, the author also gives her assessment of the quality of the research available on the topics. I like that after all the explanations, and some case studies, each chapter ends with a list of foods to embrace or to avoid, and minimal supplements. The book definitely promotes getting as much nutrition as possible from foods rather than supplements. Some but not all of the chapters suggest a general dietary approach, for which you might need other sources. There are some sample, just one-day, menus for each mental health concern, with recipes. Overall, I think this is a good, accessible book, but doesn’t really stand alone.

Availability:  COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Delilah Parks
Rating:  Highly Recommended

Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson

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This book is the sequel to A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder. Holly Jackson is a great mystery writer and does an excellent job making my heart race. The story was great, but I wish it built on the relationship between Ravi and Pip. I highly recommend the first book, and this one right after!

Availability:  COSMOS, USMAI
Review Submitted by:  Julia Carter
Rating:  Highly Recommended

Cover Story by Susan Rigetti

book coverThis was one of those books that I flew through. It is very fast paced and I had to know how it was going to end.

Told in diary entries, text messages, emails, and FBI correspondence, Cover Story follows aspiring writer Lora Ricci and con artist Cat Wolff. Lora meets Cat during an internship at Elle magazine. She’s had a rough year at NYU, she can’t pay her rent, and so Cat suggests that Lora moves into her suite at the Plaza Hotel and become her ghostwriter. At only 23, Lora can’t believe her luck but what appears to be too good to be true often is.

Because of the format of the book, it was such a fast read and it really kept me engaged. However, I had just recently watched Inventing Anna on Netflix and couldn’t help but feel like I was listening to the same story all over again. The mysterious heiress, the hotel bills, the naive woman who later writes a book…

I think I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t just watched that show because it would have felt like a fresher story. I also did not like the ending twist, but I could see how others might enjoy it.

Availability: COSMOS, USMAI
Review Submitted by: Kaylie Jasinski ’14
Rating: Recommended with reservations
Challenge: Book published in 2022