Wednesday, June 21, 2017

#ComicsWednesday Compass South by Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock

If you're looking for an old-fashioned, fast-paced, riveting adventure story, look no further than Compass South by Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock. Our story opens when Alexander and Cleopatra Dodge's father goes missing. Alex and Cleo join a gang to make ends meet until he returns, but a bungled burglary forces the twins into hiding. They assume new identities and head to New Orleans. Alex and Cleo get separated. Each makes their way to San Francisco, unaware that the compass and pocket knife left to them by their father hold the keys to a lost pirate treasure. The pirates want their treasure back.

I loved this book. It had all the hallmarks of an enjoyable family-oriented action movie, but in graphic novel form. Rebecca Mock's illustrations are the perfect fit for this story. If you're a fan of Treasure Island, Indiana Jones, or The Pirates of the Caribbean, you'll definitely enjoy Compass South. I didn't want to stop reading, even when the book ended. Luckily for me, there's a sequel coming out in June. Read Compass South and then look for Knife's Edge later this summer!

- Libby, Youth Services.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Staff Review: "The Day I Died" by Lori Rader-Day

If you were one of the lucky folks who got to meet award-winning mystery author Lori Rader-Day when she visited Carnegie-Stout Public Library back in May, you already know about her most recent book, The Day I Died. A compelling novel of psychological suspense with a Midwestern setting, this novel is a great summer read for anyone on the waiting list for the latest books by Paula Hawkins, Mary Kubica, and Heather Gudenkauf.

The Day I Died starts a bit slow as our narrator and main character, Anna Winger, is not very forthcoming with the personal details. Anna and her 13-year-old son are recent arrivals to the small, rural town of Parks, Indiana, and it's quickly obvious that Anna has spent most of her adult life (literally) running from a dark and abusive past. She makes a living as a handwriting analyst helping the FBI and law enforcement in their investigations, the HR departments of large companies, and people who have questions about prospective romantic partners.

Anna's precarious balance begins to topple when she's asked to consult on a missing persons case for the Sheriff's department of Parks. A very young boy has disappeared along with his mother, a likely victim of domestic abuse. A scenario far too familiar for Anna, who is also feeling pressure from Josh, her barely teenage son. Josh resents their constant moving and has questions about their lack of family.

Mild spoiler to follow. As a native Wisconsinite who has spent some time in the North Woods, I enjoyed how real Anna's fictional hometown of Sweetheart Lake felt.

~Sarah, Adult Services

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

#ComicsWednesday: Pyongyang by Guy Delisle

Guy Delisle is a French-Canadian cartoonist who has made a career creating biographical comics, building on the strong foundation of his first book, Pyongyang. First published more than 10 years ago, Pyongyang gives readers an interesting glimpse into the secretive and highly controlled world of North Korea. Many things have changed in the past decade, but Delisle's often funny observations of life as a western outsider in North Korea are still fascinating today.

Delisle first came to Pyongyang, the country's capital, to supervise the production of an animated film that had been outsourced to a North Korean company. His job lasted for two months and when he was not working he socialized with other foreigners and went on highly supervised visits to local tourist attractions.

Delisle's black and white drawings are minimalist and cartoony, which suits the immediacy of a travel guide created by an animator. This isn't a sketchbook, though, and you can see the thought he puts into his panels. The people are distinct and expressive, and the often empty backgrounds draw your focus to his characters' humanity and the intense pressure of life under a totalitarian regime.

~Sarah, Adult Services

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Staff Review: Ready, Set, Rogue by Manda Collins

Like a lot of people, I enjoy a good romance novel. And, also like many others, I have my preferences about what I want those novels to be like. When I look for a romance novel I'm usually looking for a historical romance with strong female characters and plenty of humor. Manda Collins's Ready, Set, Rogue was just the kind of book I wanted.

Miss Ivy Wareham has received word that she is one of four women scholars to inherit the home of Lady Celeste Beauchamp, with its magnificent library. Lady Celeste's nephew, the Marquess of Kerr, Quill Beauchamp, is determined to keep the house in the family and drive the bluestockings out. When Lady Celeste's death is revealed to be murder, Ivy and Quill work together to find out what really happened and fall in love along the way.

This is the kind of romance novel I really enjoy. The Regency England setting, the strong and opinionated female characters, and the jokes and hijinks made this a recipe for success as far as I am concerned. There were plot points romance readers will be familiar with, but they didn't feel tired or overdone.

The fact that this is the first in a new series is all the better. I enjoyed the minor characters and am excited to read their full stories in due time. The next book in the Studies in Scandal series, Duke with Benefits, comes out in June.

-Libby, Youth Services.