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2009 Summer Readers' Book Reviews

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In 2009 we offered our Summer Reading Program participants the opportunity to earn tickets for a drawing for a gift bag. Every time they completed a book review form for their age-group, they received another ticket for a chance to win the drawing.
Below are the reviews we received, arranged alphabetically by title.

2010 Summer Readers' Reviews

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Reviewer: Mary Hunt
Date: July 14, 2009

Category: Adult fiction

Title: 1st to die    Author: James Patterson   ISBN: 0316666009

Synopsis: San Francisco Homicide Detective Lindsey Boxer must solve a series of murders that center around brides and grooms. With three friends, she forms the Women’s Murder Club” to solve the crimes.
Review: I enjoyed this book. It read very quickly and had all the elements—murder, a quick-thinking female detective, and even a bit of romance. I also enjoy the fact that this is not a last book about this character, as there are several more in the series. I hope each one keeps me guessing right up to the end as this one did.
Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding: 4
Would I recommend this book?  Yes- chapters are short, allowing a busy person to be able to stop at the end of the chapters. But as it is a quick read--you want to keep reading to see what happens next.

Available in local libraries – click here to search Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System holdings

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Reviewer: Mary Hunt
Date: July 14, 2009

Category: Adult fiction

Title: 2nd Chance     Author: James Patterson     ISBN: 0316693200

Synopsis: Once again, the “Women’s Murder Club” meets. This time they try to solve a series of possible hate crimes. But Lieutenant Lindsay Boxer discovers that the murders are not necessarily all about race, and that a police cover-up from years ago is behind them.
Review:  Second in a series, the characters that are involved in Lindsay Boxer’s life take more depth. The story line is well-developed without being gruesome at the murder scenes. It kept me reading so I would find out who did it in the end.
Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding: 4
Would I recommend this book? Yes, Again, easy to read, and it continues the story of the main character. 

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Reviewer: Mary Hunt
Date: July 14, 2009

Category: Adult fiction

Title: 3rd Degree   Author: James Patterson  ISBN:  0316603570

Synopsis: This time, Lindsay Boxer must solve a series of crimes involving political activists out to stop a meeting of economic powerhouses. Unfortunately, this crime touches close to home when it personally  involves Lieutenant Boxer, and those close to her.
Review:  I enjoyed this book also, and can’t wait to read the next to see what happens to Boxer. I was upset with what happened to one of the characters though. This book almost takes you back to the turbulent 60’s at Berkley at times.
Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding): 4
Would I recommend this book? Yes, If nothing else, to find out what happens romantically with Boxer and the head of Homeland Security, because you know the “crime” parts will be good.

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Reviewer: Mary Hunt
Date: July 16, 2009

Category: Adult Fiction-Police Mystery

Title: 4th of July   Author: James Paterson & Maxine Paetro
ISBN: 0316710601  Pub. Date: 2005

Synopsis: Lieutenant Lindsay Boxer is on trial herself for killing a teen-age girl and wounding her brother in self-defense. While staying at her sister’s house during the trail, she is drawn into a murder investigation as well.
Review: I am enjoying this series. Just when I think things are going one way with the characters, I’m thrown for a loop and taken in a different direction. With two story lines to follow, I couldn’t put it down.
Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding): 4
I would recommend this book because it keeps your interest all the way to the end.

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Reviewer: Mary Hunt
Date: July 16, 2009

Category: Adult Fiction-Police Mystery

Title: 5th Horseman    Author: James Paterson & Maxine Paetro
ISBN: 0316159778       Pub. Date: 2006

Synopsis: A fear we all have-what if something happens to me in the hospital? Lieutenant Boxer starts to make the connections and track down a killer who believes he/she is helping people he/she is killing.
Review: A page-turner! I couldn’t wait to get to the end to find out who would be so sick. It almost makes you afraid to go into hospitals!
Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding): 4
I would recommend this book because it is an easy, quick read, and it keeps you wondering. . .

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Reviewer: Dorothy Titus
Date: July 17, 2009

Category: Adult Fiction-Police Mystery

 

 

Title: 8th Confession    Author: James Paterson & Maxine Paetro
ISBN: 9780316018760    Pub. Date: 2009

Synopsis: The Women’s Murder Club searches for the murderer of Bagman Jesus, a preacher of hope for the homeless and the mysterious murders of rich high society members. Detective Lindsay Boxer and her partner, Rich Conklin, are joined by Medical Examiner Claire Washburn, Reporter Cindy Thomas, and Assistant District Attorney Yuki Castellano.

Review: When Detective Lindsay Boxer and her partner Rich Conklin start their search for Bagman’s killer, they are informed that the Baileys, a high society couple, have been killed and their efforts should be turned to this murder. Reporter Cindy Thomas believes that a huge story could develop and she continues her own investigation. As she digs deeper into his life, she soon discovers that Bagman may not have been quite the saint that everyone believed him to be. Soon other high society bodies are found and the autopsies reveal no cause of death. Sparks fly between Rich and Cindy, much to Lindsay’s distress. What is the connection between all the victims? Who is “Pet Girl?” This investigation by the Women’s Murder Club takes many twists and turns before the conclusion.

Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding): 4
I would recommend this book because I  love a good mystery and James and Maxine tell a good story that leaves you guessing who the real murderer is.

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(No Picture Available)


Reviewer: J. C. (age 4)
Date: July 1, 2009

Category: Easy, Picture book 

Title: Baby Rowlf finds the Clunker    Author: Kathy Spahr/Barry Keating
Publication Date: 1986

My Rating of this Book: * * * * (4 out of 5 *’s)
Why do I feel this way? Because of the Clunker—he is funny.
This picture book has eye-catching pictures and they follow the story: I like them because they are funny.
I would recommend this book: Because it is my favorite book.

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Reviewer: B. M. (age 7)
Date: July 20, 2009

Category: Easy, Picture book

 

Title: Backbeard and the Birthday Suit  Author: Matthew McElligott
ISBN: 9780802780652
   Publication Date: 2007

Summary: Backbeard went to town to buy a birthday suit. He went to the ship and his crew was surprised. His ship became colorful.
Three things that most interested me about this book: 1) His name was Backbeard, not Black Bear. 2) He had a pig not a parrot in the end. 3) Matthew McElligott used texture.
This picture book has eye-catching pictures and they follow the story: I like them because the pictures are colorful.

My Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=disliked it to 5=really liked it): 5
I would recommend this book: because I liked the illustrations.

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Reviewer: Alex Hunt    
Date: July 8, 2009
Category: Juvenile fiction
 Title: Bad Kitty Gets a Bath        Author:Nick Bruel     ISBN: 9781596433410

Synopsis:  The book is about a kitty getting a bath, but cats HATE baths! She gets tricked into taking a bath.
Three things that most interested me about this book: 1) The look on kitty’s face. 2) The list of cat sounds and what they mean. 3) The kitty being puffy after her bath.
This picture book has eye-catching pictures and they follow the story: I like them because they are funny.
I would recommend this book:
because it’s a funny book.
My Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=disliked it to 5=really liked it): 5

Available in local libraries – click here to search Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System holdings

Reviewer: Barb Knight
Date: July 16, 2009

Category: Adult Fiction-Christian

Title: The Betrayal (Abram’s Daughters, Bk.2) Author: Beverly Lewis
ISBN: 0764223313   Pub. Date: 2003

Synopsis: Sadie is still suffering the backlash from a relationship with an Englisher and the resulting birth of an illegitimate son. Her entire family and those in Gobbler’s Knot will also be made to suffer.
Review: I did not like this book. I was very upset at the way everything was left unsettled and everyone betrayed each other.
Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding): 2
I would not recommend this book because it was a very disappointing ending.

 Available in local libraries – click here to search Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System holdings


Reviewer: Dorothy Titus 
Date: July 1, 2009

Category: Adult Contemporary Fiction

Title: The Birthday Present     Author: Barbara Vine    ISBN: 0307451989
Synopsis:
This is adult fiction about politics, power and scandal in Parliament. Ivor Hamilton Tesham celebrates his 33rd birthday with a dinner. The birthday present is not what he received, but what he proposed to give.

Review:  Ivor proposes to give his married mistress Hebe a string of expensive pearls and plans to have her kidnapped for a rendezvous. Jane is to be alibi lady. Things go terribly wrong and death happens instead. Ivor is threatened with anonymous letters of exposure for his treacherous deeds. His status as a MP (Member of Parliament) is at risk and Ivor tries to keep his secrets hidden.

Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding): 3

I would recommend this book because it gives insight into British politics, behind-the-scenes.

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Go to "By Reason of Insanity" page
 

Reviewer: Laura Tatlow
Date: July 22, 2009

Category: Adult Fiction

 

Title: By Reason of Insanity  Author: Randy Singer
ISBN:  9781414316338   Pub. Date: 2008

Synopsis:  A newspaper reporter has an informant from the police department who swears her to confidentiality. She is never to give his name. She ends up in jail as she seems to have inside information that only the criminal would know. She ends up believing she may be committing these crimes as an alter personality.
Review: I could not put this book down. Even though it is written from the reporter’s view, at times even as the reader, I found myself questioning if she was insane. Could it be possible she was committing the crimes unaware? I found myself siding with the reporter and hoping for her innocence. 

Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding): 5
I would recommend this book—an Awesome read!!

Available in local libraries – click here to search Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System holdings

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Reviewer: Brandy Joslyn
D
ate: July 14, 2009

Category: Young Adult Mystery Fiction

Title: Cold as Ice (Nancy Drew Files)   Author: Carolyn Keene ISBN: 0671700316
Publication Date: 1990 Number of chapters: 16

Book’s Apparent Purpose:  Entertaining—to make you want to read more.
Outline of contents: Nancy goes to Emerson with Bess and George to go to the Winter Carnival and to be with Ned, but she get wrapped up in a case.
Book’s Weaknesses- Nancy almost fell through the thin ice as it cracks.
Book’s strength.- Nancy didn’t die and she solved the case.
A Particularly Vivid Passage which impressed me:  When Nancy and George were going through the dorm they shared with Suzan and found the fake jewelry.
Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=disliked it to 5=really liked it): 4
Would I recommend this book? Yes, because if you like a little romance with a huge mystery that’s how this whole series is.

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(No Picture Available)

Reviewer: Brandy Joslyn
Date: July 8, 2009

Category: Young Adult Mystery Fiction

Title:  Danger for Hire   Author: Carolyn Keene  ISBN: 0671700294
Publication Date: 1990    Number of chapters: 15

Book’s Apparent Purpose:  Entertaining—keeps you reading.
Outline of contents: Nancy helps a security system man named Tom figure out who’s stealing from the people’s stuff he is protecting.
Weaknesses:  Neil’s little daughter might have suffered if he couldn’t pay the hospital bills.
Book’s strength: She solved the case and Tom and Adam get in trouble.
A Particularly Vivid Passage which impressed me:  When Tom saved her when he really wanted her dead.
Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=disliked it to 5=really liked it): 4
I would recommend this book because the series will make you smarter.  

Available in local libraries – click here to search Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System holdings

Reviewer: GHB
Date: July 1, 2009

Category: Adult Biography

Title: Dewey: the Small-town Library Cat who Touched the World
Author: Vicki Myron & Bret Witter  
ISBN: 9780446545167

Synopsis: An eight-week old kitten in left in the book drop box at the Public Library in Spencer, Iowa on the coldest night of the year. Librarian Vicki Myron and the library staff adopt him and nurse him to health. His story and personality make him friends in the local community and around the world. He touches and changes the lives of the staff and the library users.
Review: I am a cat lover, so I found the descriptions of Dewy and his interactions with the library staff and patrons heart-warming. The additional biographical snippets from Ms. Myron’s life filled out the work. Like Dewey, she faced many trials and challenges. She survived and came through a stronger person as a result.
Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding): 4
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys animals and people-watching; they will enjoy this book.

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Reviewer: Brandy Joslyn
Date: July 16, 2009

Category: Young Adult Mystery Fiction

Title: Don’t Look Twice (Nancy Drew Files #55) Author: Carolyn Keene
ISBN: 978-0671700324    Publication Date: 1991   Number of chapters: 17

Book’s Apparent Purpose:  Entertaining
Outline of contents: Nancy goes to Ned’s basketball game to surprise him. After the game when they are going out to dinner, she’s kidnapped.
Book’s weaknesses: She’s said to be the wrong person and is knocked out and left on the beach.
Book’s strength: She saves Denise from the kidnappers that had kidnapped both of them.
A Particularly Vivid Passage which impressed me:  She didn’t freeze on the beach and she managed to unroll herself.
Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=disliked it to 5=really liked it): 4
I would recommend this book because it’s good.

Available in local libraries – click here to search Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System holdings

Reviewer: GHB
Date: July 5, 2009

Category: Adult Contemporary Christian Fiction

Title: Double Minds   Author: Terri Blackstock   
ISBN: 9780310250630 Pub. Date: 2009

Synopsis: Parker Kelly writes songs that praise God and lead the hearers into worship. Her best friend, Serene Stevens, has recorded many of them and made them into hits on the Christian charts. Now a secular record label wants Serene to take a contract with them, to cross over into the secular music market. It means Parker will have to rewrite the lyrics to tone down or wash out the Christian message. This is her big chance to get national recognition. At the same time, a young girl filling in at Parker’s workplace is murdered and it looks like Parker may have been the intended target—but why?
Review: Laced with the conflicts Christians face everyday—to boldly speak out for Christ or to please the world, Blackstock does it again. Readers will find it hard to put this book down as the plot twists and turns in unexpected directions. Along the way, they will marvel at how well Blackstock weaves the soul-searching conflicts the main character tackles in her day-to-day quest to follow God’s plan for her life. The book also gives insights into the behind-the-scenes nuances of the Christian music industry.
Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding): 4
I would recommend this book to anyone who looking for something to read that entertains, while also offering some spiritual insights and challenges. 

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 Reviewer: Laura Tatlow
Date: July 21, 2009

Category: fiction

Title: Double Minds   Author: Terri Blackstock   
ISBN: 9780310250630 Pub. Date: 2009

Synopsis: Parker, the main character, finds herself caught up in a murder mystery as she tries to break into the Christian music industry. She discovers that the intern who was murdered stole a song Parker had writer and Parker has to pursue the reason for the theft and the murder.
Review:  Blackstock does an amazing job developing her characters and story line. It was easy to feel a part of the story as I read each chapter. There are so many twists and turns that I had to deep reading to find out what would happen next.

Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding: 4
I would recommend this book:
Enjoyable read and values are stressed in and through the story.

Available in local libraries – click here to search Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System holdings

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Reviewer: Taigan Lavrey (age 9)
Date: July 13, 2009

Category: Juvenile Fiction

Title: Drums at Sartoga   Author: Lisa Banim
ISBN: 1881889203
   Publication Date: 1993

Summary: Eleven-year-old Nathaniel Phillips wants to fight with the British. He gets captured by the Americans. He becomes an American spy.
Three things that most interested me about this book: 1) He gets captured. 2) He is a Torie. 3) He likes the British.
This picture book has eye-catching pictures and they follow the story: No pictures.
I would recommend this book: because it is very much like the real thing.
My Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=disliked it to 5=really liked it): 5

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(No Picture Available)

Reviewer: Brandy Joslyn
Date: July 3, 2009

 

Category: Young Adult Mystery Fiction

 

Title: False Impressions   Author: Carolyn Keene  ISBN: 0671674951
Publication Date: 1990  Number of chapters: 17

Book’s Apparent Purpose:  Entertaining--to keep you reading.
Outline of contents: Somebody is pretending to be Nancy, so she goes undercover as the reporter Brenda Carlton, who has disappeared, to crack the case.
Book’s weaknesses: She’s always in trouble, but if she wasn’t, it wouldn’t be Nancy.
Book’s strength: Always keeps you wanting to read more.
A Particularly Vivid Passage which impressed me:  When she got the car out of the way of the lumber truck.
Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=disliked it to 5=really liked it): 4
I would recommend this book because it keeps you reading.

Available in local libraries – click here to search Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System holdings

Familiar Vows (Harlequin Intrigue Series) 

Reviewer: SAB
Date: July 23, 2009

Category: Adult Fiction

Title: Familiar Vows (Harlequin Intrigue Series) Author: Caroline Burns
ISBN: 9780373693740   Pub. Date: 2009

Synopsis:  This story involves one great feline detective.
Review: This is a great book for people like a good mystery with a feline twist.

Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding): 3

I would recommend this book because of the enjoyable feline characters.

Available in local libraries – click here to search Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System holdings

Reviewer: A. C. (age 6)
Date: July 1, 2009

Category: Easy, Picture book

Title: Guess How Much I Love You  Author: Sam McBratney; Illustrator: Anita Jeram
ISBN: 978-0763642648

Synopsis: A baby is getting ready for bed and he is trying on different ways to show his dad how much he loves him: by jumping up and down, to stretching out his arms and legs. The dad tells his son he loves him and does the same thing.
Three things that most interested me about this book: 1) The dad says, “I love you all the way up to your toes,” and swings the baby over his head. 2) When the baby looks at the man and says, “I love you right up to the moon.” 3) Baby says, “I love you as high as I can hop,” while jumping up and down.
This picture book has eye-catching pictures and they follow the story: I like them because they are neat.
I would recommend this book: because it tells how much a kid loves his dad.
My Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=disliked it to 5=really liked it): 5

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Reviewer: Rose Lavery
Date: July 22, 2009

Category: Adult Fiction

 

 

Title: The Help   Author: Kathryn Stockett
ISBN: 9780399155345   Pub. Date: 2009 

Synopsis: The Help by Kathryn Stockett is about a young white woman gathering information from black maids working for rich white people and raising their white children. Takes place in the 1960’s in the South during MLK marches.
Review: Living in the North during the 60’s kind of blinded me to the problems that the blacks were having. This story brings out the way they were treated by the “rich” white families that they worked for. There were many samples of the way blacks were treated, some good, mostly bad.

Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding): 5

I would recommend this book: Yes, I enjoyed the story so much I didn’t want it to end.

Available in local libraries – click here to search Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System holdings

Reviewer: Brandy Joslyn
Date: July 22, 2009

Category: Young Adult Mystery Fiction

 

 

Title: High Risk (Nancy Drew Files #59)  Author: Carolyn Keene
ISBN: 0689865694    Publication Date: 1991 Number of chapters: 17

Book’s Apparent Purpose:  Entertaining
Outline of contents: Ned is convinced that Toby Foyle filed a false injury claim and he asks Nancy to help him.
Book’s weaknesses: Ned is accused of killing Toby Foyle because his prints are all over the murder weapon.
Book’s strength: Nancy proved that he didn’t kill Toby Foyle and Joe Packard and Mr. Meyers did.
A Particularly Vivid Passage which impressed me:  When Brenda screeched and Nancy knocked the gun our of Packard’s hand

Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=disliked it to 5=really liked it): 4
I would recommend this book:
Because if you like romance and mystery it’s for you.

Available in local libraries – click here to search Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System holdings

High School Reunion (Harlequin Intrigue Series)
 

Reviewer: SAB
Date: July 23, 2009

Category: Adult Fiction

Title: High School Reunion   Author: Mallory Kane
ISBN:  9780373693702   Pub. Date: 2008

Synopsis:  This story involves police agencies and school reunions and how they come back home to a mess of intrigue- a great read!

Review: This is an intriguing story—read it before your class reunions!

Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding): 3

i would recommend this book--Reminds me a lot of a TV serial.

Available in local libraries – click here to search Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System holdings

Reviewer: B. M. (age 7)
Date: July 1, 2009

Category: Easy, Picture book

Title: Hooray for Fly Guy!  Author: Tedd Arnold  ISBN: 9780545007245
Publication Date: 2008

Summary: There was a fly. He wanted to try out for the football team. The coach wouldn’t let him. They won the game.
Three things that most interested me about this book: 1) at Fly Guy’s team won. 2) I like football. 3) I’ve read the other Fly Guy books.
This picture book has eye-catching pictures and they follow the story: I like them because Tedd Arnold uses texture.
I would recommend this book: because Tedd Arnold’s pictures look real.
My Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=disliked it to 5=really liked it): 5

Available in local libraries?  Click here to search Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System holdings

Reviewer: Brandy Joslyn
Date: July 22, 2009

Category: Young Adult Mystery Fiction

Title: Hot Pursuit (Nancy Drew Files Case #58)  Author: Carolyn Keene
 

ISBN: 978-0671700355   Publication Date: 1991  Number of chapters: 17

Book’s Apparent Purpose:  Entertainment.
Outline of contents: The girls go to the U.S.Virgin Island for a vacation but they get wrapped up in a case of their own.
Book’s weaknesses: Maria Angeles and Nancy almost die on the devil’s chain.
Book’s strength: Nancy finds Maria after she unties herself from the ropes.
A Particularly Vivid Passage which impressed me:  When Maria and Nancy make the signal fire and the SOS.

Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=disliked it to 5=really liked it): 4

I would recommend this book because: it shows people that everyone makes mistakes. 

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Reviewer AK (age 6)
Date:
July 14, 2009

Category: Easy, Picture book

Title: I want to be Jedi   Author: Simon Beecroft   ISBN: 978-0763642648

Synopsis: Jedis had to leave their homes. Anakin marries Padmay. Luke’s father became evil. The Jedi continue to protect.
Three things that most interested me about this book: 1) Using the force-mind powers. 2) Using the light sabers.  3) fighting.
This picture book has eye-catching pictures and they follow the story: Because they stand out.
I would recommend this book: because it is cool.
My Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=disliked it to 5=really liked it): 4

Available in local libraries? – click here to search Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System holdings

 

Reviewer: BGH
Date: July 23, 2009

Category: Adult Contemporary Christian Fiction

 

 

Title: Inside Story( Frazier Island Series, Book 3) Author: Susan Paige Davis
ISBN: 978-0736924740  Pub. Date: 2009

Synopsis: Claudia Gillette is a journalist working for an upscale magazine that sends her all over the world to cover news in many varieties. While visiting her sister and family, she meets naval officer Bill White who is involved in special ops. She goes over his head and gets permission to join his unit in order to do a story on the female member of his unit. When she meets up with them, they are in the middle of a special assignment in the Philippines and her presence couldn’t come at a worse time for their safety and hers, and for the success of the mission. There is also the undercurrent of mutual attraction between Bill and Claudia, but resistance on Bill’s part because of his faith and her lack thereof. Instead he prays for her salvation, and circumstances continue to push them together.
Review: Though tense at times, with the characters thrown into life-threatening situations, this was a good read. I have not read the first two books in this series, which involved other characters who showed up in this book. I now would like to read the other two and learn more about their stories. For the most part the details seemed very realistic, with perhaps the only flaw being the “glamour” of Claudia’s jet-set lifestyle.

Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding): 4
I would recommend this book because it was a good piece of “escape fiction,” with a well-paced story line, engaging characters, a pretty believable plot, some romance, and it made the faith of the characters honest and real, not something to be scorned or laughed at.

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Reviewer: Dorothy Titus
Date: July 22, 2009

Category: Adult Fiction-Police Mystery

 

Title: Lethal Legacy (Alexandra Cooper Novel)   Author: Linda Fairstein
ISBN: 978-0385523998  Pub. Date: 2009

Synopsis: When Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cooper is summoned to Tina Barr’s apartment on Manhattan’s Upper Eastside, she finds a neighbor convinced the young woman was assaulted. The terrified victim is a conservator of rare books and maps for the New York Public Library. When another young woman is found murdered in the same apartment clutching a rare valuable book, Alex believes it may have been stolen. As Alex pursues the murderer, she discovers the strange and privileged world of the Hunt family, major benefactors of maps and rare books to the NYPL.
Review: As Alex and her team search for the answers, it takes them on a breathtaking chase from Manhattan’s grandest apartments to the secret underground tunnels and chambers of the New York Public Library and finally to a 19th Century vault. Eventually Alex connects the rivalries of the Hunt family and the others with a priceless edition of Alice in Wonderland. Forgers, murders, thieves abound in this mystery involving the district attorney’s office, police, rival benefactors, researchers and the staff of the NYPL as the Board of Trustees.

Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding): 5
I would recommend this book: The myriad of characters, both good and bad, make this such a good read. It was a well plotted mystery with many, many facts about the NYPL itself. I didn’t realize the Library was a research and archive library only, containing a great collection of rare books and maps. No books are loaned. The  majority of its rooms were built under the City of New York.

Available in local libraries – click here to search Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System holdings

Go to "Meet Rebecca (American Girls Collection)" page

Reviewer: AK (Age 8)
Date: July 16, 2009

Category: Juvenile fiction

Title: Meet Rebecca   Author: Jacqueline Dember/ Robert Hunt 
ISBN: 9781593695200    Publication Date: 2009

Summary: Rebecca lines up her dolls. Leo gets new shoes. Ana was still sick.
Three things that most interested me about this book: 1) the time period. 2) going back in time. 3) the characters.
This picture book has eye-catching pictures and they follow the story: NA.
I would recommend this book: yes, but it’s more of a girl book, really.
My Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=disliked it to 5=really liked it): 3

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Reviewer: Brandy Joslyn
Date: July 16, 2009

Category: Young Adult Mystery Fiction

Title: Make no mistake (Nancy Drew Files #56)    Author: Carolyn Keene
ISBN: 978-0671700331     Publication Date: 1991    Number of chapters: 17

Book’s Apparent Purpose:  Entertaining
Outline of contents: One of Carson Drew’s million dollar clients is dead and a guy claiming to be the millionaire’s only son comes back wanting the money.
Book’s weaknesses: When the client’s son was killed in a skiing accident, Bess fell for the fake Matt and almost didn’t believe Nancy.
Book’s strength: Bess believed Nancy and they caught the fake Matt Glover or Gary Page in the act.
A Particularly Vivid Passage which impressed me:
 When the dogs looked fearful to Gary Page and Jake Loomis, but were really harmless dogs, but not to them because they were wet.
Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=disliked it to 5=really liked it): 4
I would recommend this book because it shows you people are greedy and some people don’t care who they hurt.

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My Sister's Keeper


Reviewer: Laura Tatlow
Date: July 22, 2009

Category: Adult Fiction

 

Title: My Sister’s Keeper   Author: Jodi Picoult
ISBN: 0743454529 Pub. Date: 2004

Synopsis:  My Sister’s Keeper is a story that causes the reader to consider the rights of the individual characters. I found myself wondering if the parents had had their third child to love her or for the benefit of the first born who is very sick. Picoult causes the reader to question the medical ethics of such a situation. Emotions run high throughout the story as fairness for each child seems sacrificed for the sick child.
Review: I enjoyed this story. It’s easy to feel sorry for Kate who was diagnosed with cancer at a young age. The parents are put in difficult situation when they have to find a related donor. They have another child, and it almost seems for the express purpose of providing for Kate’s medical needs. Often times Anna’s needs are ignored and she seeks out legal help to get medical emancipation from her parents, so that she no longer has to go through medical procedures for Kate’s well-being. The surprise is why she really seeks emancipation.

Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding): 4
I would recommend this book

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Nineteen Minutes
 

Reviewer: Laura Tatlow
Date: July 22, 2009

Category: Adult Fiction

 

Title: Nineteen Minutes    Author: Jodi Picoult
ISBN:  0743496728  Pub. Date: 2007

Synopsis:  Nineteen Minutes is about the lives of teenagers who are either popular or “geeks”. The popular students bully the “geeks”. One day a bullied boy snaps due to all the harassment and shoots up the school one morning killing and injuring students. The main character, who is the shooter, is who the story is mostly about analyzing how and why this happened.
Review: The storyline is compelling and keeps the reader turning the pages. It is interesting taking the perspective of the shooter and how his being a victim led to the shootings. However, Jodi Picoult writes many questionable unnecessary scenes of a sexual nature and uses obscene language frequently which is not needed to keep the story moving.

Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding): 3
I would Recommend this book:
with this caution--Picoult takes away from her story with unnecessary language and inappropriate scenes.

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Reviewer: Barb Knight
Date: July 8, 2009

Category: Adult Contemporary Christian Fiction

Title: Oceans Apart    Author: Karen Kingsbury  ISBN: 0310247497

Synopsis: Airline Pilot Connor Evans must come to terms with the fallout from an affair which threatens to destroy his family. Evans did not know that his affair with Khiana produced a son, who is now seven. After finding out about Max, he must make some decisions that will affect his own life and the lives of those around him. They must all learn to listen to the Lord’s voice and forgive.
Review: I enjoyed the book. The story moved along and captured my attention right from the very beginning. I also enjoy the biblical theme intertwined. I would highly recommend it!
Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding): 4
Very well written!

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Reviewer: Brandy Joslyn
Date: July 3, 2009

Category: Young Adult Mystery Fiction

Title: Out of Bounds (Nancy Drew Files, Case #45)   Author: Carolyn Keene
Publication Date: 1990   Number of chapters: 17

Book’s Apparent Purpose:  Entertaining—it’s a mystery.
Outline of contents: A friend of Bess's is fired from her job for stealing when she isn’t stealing. Bess’s boyfriend faints as he makes a touchdown and then has doctors come. Nancy tracks everything down.
Book’s weaknesses: Nancy was almost killed again.
Book’s strength: It informs you that using steroids doesn’t make you better at a sport—it makes you worse.
A Particularly Vivid Passage which impressed me:  When she revived Rob when he passed out at the touchdown.
Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=disliked it to 5=really liked it): 4
I would recommend this book because it shows how good Nancy is.

Available in local libraries – click here to search Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System holdings


 

Reviewer: BGH
Date: July 23, 2009

 

Category: Adult Contemporary Christian Fiction

 

Title: The Passion of Mary-Margaret   Author: Lisa Samson
ISBN: 9781595542113   Pub. Date: 2009

Synopsis: Mary-Margaret Fisher was born as a result of her mother, who was preparing to become a nun, being raped by a young seminarian. Complications at Mary-Margaret’s birth resulted in her mother’s death. She grew up in her grandmother’s home under the love and care of her grandmother and an aging aunt in a Maryland seashore community. When they passed away, she was sent to the nearby convent school for girls. She has always known that she would become a sister in the order and fulfill the dream her mother was never able to realize. But God has another call on her life. Just before she is to take her final vows, a misunderstood boy who was her closest friend as a child returns to her life as man, now bitter, dissolute and diseased. God asks Mary-Margaret to give up her dream of joining the holy order as a bride of Christ and instead love and care for her childhood friend.
Review: Getting into this story was a little difficult at first. It was rather like having a visit with one of my aging aunts. One minute you’re talking about the present, and the next thing you know you’re hearing a story about something that happened to them 40 or 50 years ago, then you’re back to something that happened yesterday or last week. This turned out to be an excellent device, as you realized the painful details that the character Mary-Margaret is trying to put down on paper as a sort of memoir and lesson for the sisters who will come after her. She relates the beauty and joy of her relationship with her Savior in the everyday events of her present circumstances, then takes you on treks into her past and shows how He was faithful and ever-present in the trials and difficulties, and also joyful events of her past. I came away with a determination to be more thankful to God and to try to see the people He brings into my life through His eyes and let Him love them through me.

Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding): 5
I would recommend this book because I was touched in the depths of my spirit. I laughed, I wept, and I rejoiced that I too have seen God at work in my life’s circumstances.  

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Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl

Reviewer: Barb Knight
Date: July 22, 2009

Category: DVD’s

Title: Pirates of the Caribbean DVD Trilogy   Author: Disney
Pub. Date: 2003, 2006, 2007

Synopsis: Captain Jack Sparrow, Will Turner and Elizabeth depart on adventure after adventure in the trilogy of the Pirates of the Caribbean. The series is created in a manner that only Disney could provide. The characters are put through grueling tests and meet some very interesting people along the way.
Review: I would definitely recommend the movies to those who like adventure. I have never seen the amazing amount of travel, scenery, special effects as those provided during these movies. The special effects are incredible and get better with the second and third movies. The Musical score is outstanding! The only thing that I did not like about the movies is that the second and third get “darker”, with a theme of evil intertwined.

Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding): 4
I would recommend these movies to anyone who likes adventure.

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Reviewer: Barb Knight
Date: July 22, 2009

Category: Adult Fiction Contemporary Christian

Title: Redemption    Author: Karen Kingsbury and Gary Smalley
ISBN: 0842356223 Pub. Date: 2002

Synopsis: Redemption is the first in a series of books about the Baxter family. Elizabeth and John love the Lord with heart and soul and would love for their children to do the same. This book highlights Kari, one of the children and her difficulties following her husband’s affair. Kari strength is found in the Lord and her family, but she struggles greatly with Tim’s decision and how to put it behind her.
Review: I loved the book. I was on the edge of my seat all along. The plot twisted and turned, with several sub-plots involving Kari’s parent, her four siblings and the “other woman”.

Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding): 5
I would highly recommend the book to others…especially those looking for a work which provides an accent on family values.

Available in local libraries – click here to search Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System holdings

(No Picture Available)

Reviewer: Brandy Joslyn
Date: July 8, 2009

Category: Young Adult Mystery Fiction

 

Title: Scent of Danger    Author: Carolyn Keene    ISBN: 067167496
Publication Date: 1990     Number of chapters: 17

Book’s Apparent Purpose:  Entertaining—you get to learn about Civets, which are like cats.
Outline of contents:
George asks Nancy to help with a mystery at the zoo because George’s new boy-friend Owen is accused of stealing Civets.
Book’s weaknesses: George is falling head over heels for a guy but he still seems to be OK.
Book’s strength: Nancy managed to save herself from the venomous snake.
A Particularly Vivid Passage which impressed me:  When Nancy jumped out of the way of the van that tried to hit her.
Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=disliked it to 5=really liked it): 4
I would recommend this book, it makes you want to continue on with the series.

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Reviewer: Carol Ciura
Date: July 8, 2009

Category: Adult fiction

Title: Shanghai Girls   Author: Lisa See
ISBN: 9781400067114    Pub. Date: 2009

Synopsis: This is a story of the love and sacrifice shared between two inseparable sisters in Shanghai in 1937. They share a life-changing secret and as the story unfolds the Japanese bombs fall on their city. They travel to Los Angeles and they fight discrimination. Comments hurt and they go through it all together. It is a gut wrenching story that involves many sacrifices that once you start it you will not want to put it down.
Review: I loved this book. I hope Lisa Lee does a sequel. The bond between the sisters is unbelievable and keeps you wanting more. The twists of fate of sisters keep you turning the pages and at times gasping out loud. I would highly recommend this book—a great summer read.
Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding): 5
It’s a page-turner for sure and very poignant.

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Reviewer: CK
Date: July 22, 2009

Category: Mystery

 

Title: The Sky Phantom (Nancy Drew Mystery #53) Author: Carolyn Keene
ISBN:
044809553X  Publication Date: 1976   Number of chapters: 20

Book’s Apparent Purpose:  Entertainment.
Outline of contents: Nancy starts flying lessons in the Midwest and finds out that a man named Roger Paine is missing. Nancy and her friends make a plan to capture the villain. Her part is to explore a cave with her boyfriend Ned Nickerson. They almost get captured but found Roger Paine when they escaped. Finally, Nancy’s plan that she put together with her friends works when she tries to capture the thief. The name of the thief was Rudolph Panzer, who has the same initials as Roger Paine (RP)
Book’s weaknesses: None.
Book’s strength:
A Particularly Vivid Passage which impressed me:  I especially liked the book, how exciting it was, it kept me on the edge of my seat!

Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=disliked it to 5=really liked it: 4
I would recommend this book because: It was very interesting.

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Reviewer: Duane Bartz
Date: July 9, 2009

Category: Historical fiction

Title: Soul Catcher   Author: Michael White  ISBN: 9780061340727

Synopsis: Pre-Civil War-A slave bounty hunter (known among the slaves as “soul catchers”) reluctantly contracts to find a highly prized slave, to be returned to her owner, the father of her unborn child and her father.
Review: Great way to learn history and the attitudes behind the history. Unending trail of surprises. Intriguing full-bore characters. Psychological insights. Emotionally engaging. Great sociology lesson on the nuances of the North-South conflict over slavery and upclose. It’s a gotta read! The sexual and abusive elements in the main are part and parcel of the culture-and give insight to the nature of slavery. But requires mature readership.
Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding): 5
I would recommend this book.

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(No Picture Available)

Reviewer: Brandy Joslyn
Date: July 1, 2009

Category: Young Adult Mystery Fiction

Title: The Suspect Next Door  (Nancy Drew Files: Case # 39) Author: Carolyn Keene
ISBN: 0307451989    Publication Date: 1989  Number of chapters: 17

Book’s Apparent Purpose:  To entertain and keep you reading.
Outline of contents: Nancy’s neighbor is accused of killing her boyfriend. There are many thefts at Vanities.
Book’s weaknesses: It is a little scary at times, but otherwise it is very good.
Book’s strengths: It makes you want to keep reading and not want to stop.
A Particularly Vivid Passage which impressed me:  When Nancy sneaks up on Charlene on Max and she thinks he’s going to slug her.
Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=disliked it to 5=really liked it): 4
I would recommend this book because it is very exciting, scary at times, but very good.

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Reviewer: Adam Hunt (Age 9)
Date: July 1, 2009

Category: Juvenile fiction

Title: Swindle   Author: Gordon Korman
ISBN: 9780439903448   Pub. Date: 2008

Synopsis: Griffin finds a “Great Bambino” baseball card in an old house. He takes the card to a collector hoping for some money, but he gets ripped off. Griffin and his friends steal the card back, but don’t get to use the money for themselves when the card is sold.
Three things that most interested me about this book: 1) When they stole the card back. 2) The two guard dogs. 3) When Griffin got home the police were there.
This picture book has eye-catching pictures and they follow the story: Yes.
I would recommend this book: because it’s exciting when the kids steal the card back.
My Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=disliked it to 5=really liked it): 4

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Reviewer: AC (Age 6)
Date: July 13, 2009 

Category: Easy Picture Book

Title: The Tale of Peter Rabbit    Author: Beatrix Potter
ISBN:
0723249865    Publication Date: 1993

My Rating of this Book: * * * * (4 out of 5 *’s)
Brief Summary—Peter Rabbit was told not to go into Mr. McGregor’s garden, but does not listen and gets into all kinds of trouble.
3 things that interest you:
1- He jumps into the water can to hide.
2- When he ate all the vegetables
3- The sisters ate the berries because they were good.
Pictures are eye-catching because: they show the characters
I would recommend this book: Because it is my favorite book.

(No Picture Available)

Reviewer: Brandy Joslyn
Date: July 14, 2009

Category: Young Adult Mystery Fiction

Title: Trail of Lies  (Nancy Drew Files: Case # 53) Author: Carolyn Keene
ISBN:
0671700308   Publication Date: 1990  Number of chapters: 16

Book’s Apparent Purpose:  Entertaining
Outline of contents: Nancy goes with her father to see his old friend from high school and she gets asked to help her father’s friend who is accused of smuggling elephant ivory.
Book’s weaknesses: Nancy was pushed down a flight of stairs.
Book’s strength: Nancy solved the case and didn’t die.
A Particularly Vivid Passage which impressed me:  When a half-conscious Steve tripped Craig.
Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=disliked it to 5=really liked it): 4

I would recommend this book: because it shows you can do anything if you put your mind to it. 

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Go to "Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time" page

Reviewer: Rose Lavery
Date: July 22, 2009

Category: Adult Non-Fiction

 

 

Title: Three Cups of Tea    Author: Greg Mortenson and David Relin
ISBN: 9780143038252  Pub. Date: 2007

Synopsis: In 1992, Greg Mortenson set out to climb KZ considered the most difficult mountain in the world to climb. In his failed attempt to climb KZ he wandered into an impoverished village in Pakistan. Moved by their kindness to a stranger he promised to return to build a school. Three Cups of Tea is a true story of his successful attempt to build schools in the forbidden terrain of Pakistan and Afghanistan that gave birth to the Taliban.
Review: I enjoyed Three Cups of Tea as I read about Greg Mortenson struggling to build schools in the mountains of Pakistan, especially schools for girls. Their customs were fascination, drinking three cups of tea before any business was transacted. Maps and pictures in the book were also compelling. Greg also struggled at home in the states trying to raise money for the schools. All in all I found it to be a book that you could reflect on what a great country we live in.

Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding): 5
I would recommend this book:
Yes, I enjoy reading about other countries and their customs and trials.

Available in local libraries – click here to search Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System holdings.

Go to "Uglies" page

Reviewer: Kaitlyn Fisher
Date: July 22, 2009

Category: Young Adult Fantasy Fiction

Title: Uglies   Author: Scott Westerfield
ISBN:
978-0689865381   Publication Date: 2005  Number of chapters: 50

Book’s Apparent Purpose:  Entertaining.
Outline of contents: Tally (the main character) can’t wait to turn pretty when she turns sixteen, but her friend runs away which complicates things for Tally.
Book’s weaknesses: none, in my opinion.
Book’s strength: uses good detail, interesting, and keeps you wanting more.
A Particularly Vivid Passage which impressed me:  When Tally realizes she doesn’t want to betray her friend, Tally learns that being pretty isn’t everything and it shows that people can change.

Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=disliked it to 5=really liked it: 5
I would recommend this book, because it was a good read and very thought-provoking

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Reviewer: Jennifer Lavrey
Date: July 8, 2009

Category: Adult fiction

Title: The Venetian Betrayal   Author: Steve Berry  ISBN: 9780345485779
Pub. Date: 2007

Synopsis: After narrowly escaping with his life in a museum fire, Cotton Malone, a former US Justice Department Agent, is thrown into an adventure that will lead him across the territory formerly conquered by Alexander the Great. Supreme Minister of the Central Asian Federation, Irina Zovastina, is in search of Alexander’s lost tomb and a secret that could allow her to control Alexander’s empire through the use of biological weapons. It is up to Malone to stop her and find the secret of Alexander’s tomb.
Review: Steve Berry does an excellent job of making historical facts and his own fiction to create a fast-paced mystery, full of intrigue. The fact and fiction are so tightly woven that he has to separate the two at the completion of the novel so as not to mislead the reader. I had a hard time putting this book down as the series of events quickly unfolded and my imagination was captured. This is a “must read” for historical fiction buffs.
Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding): 5
It was very intriguing and fast-paced. I couldn’t stop reading.

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Wall-E (Single-Disc Edition)
 

Reviewer: Barb Knight
Date: July 22, 2009

Category: DVD

 

Title: Wall-E    Author: Disney 
ISBN: 0788876937  Pub. Date: 2009

Synopsis: Wall-E is the story of a little robot who works compacting trash in a junkyard. He is happy to be doing his job and very content, but lonely. One day, a robot arrives on the scene, which is sent to destroy. It takes time, but Wall-E befriends the other robot, which he names Eva. They are led on an adventure which is sometimes dangerous and sometimes fun, and this time together brings them closer.
Review: I liked the movie, especially the character, Wall-E. He is adorable! This movie provides wholesome family entertainment. The personalities of the robots and the sounds they make are extraordinary.

Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding): 4
I would definitely recommend the movie to families who are looking for something entertaining without evil, blood or any of the other nasty things on the screen.

Available in local libraries – click here to search Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System holdings

 

Reviewer: GHB
D
ate: July 1, 2009

Category: Adult Contemporary Fiction

Title: The Wildwater Walking Club    Author: Claire Cook  
ISBN: 9781401340896   Pub. Date: 2009

Synopsis: Noreen Kelly’s company, which makes walking shoes, is taken over by another company. She takes a buy-out and gets dumped by her boyfriend at the same time. On her way out she stops at the company store and uses her employee discount to buy dozens of pairs of walking shoes in her size. She has an 18-month cushion to decide what she will do with the rest of her life. She starts walking around her neighborhood and soon is joined by neighbors Tess and Rosie. She begins to redefine who she is apart from her job description.
Review: This is a very realistic piece of fiction—about a middle-aged woman who finds herself at a crossroads. She reexamines where she has come from, where she has gotten so far, and what will be her future goals. It was a gentle read, no murders or major catastrophes, though at times she did have some murderous thoughts towards the scumbag ex-boyfriend. It was interesting to see how someone who has come to a crossroads in middle life dealt with the situation. Another subplot that I could identify with, as a middle-aged female, was the role reversal of parent and child with Noreen and her mother.
Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=awful to 5=outstanding): 3
I would recommend this book to anyone who looking for a light, leisurely read.

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Reviewer: Brandy Joslyn
Date: July 1, 2009

Category: Young Adult Mystery Fiction

Title: The Wrong Chemistry  (Nancy Drew Files: Case #56) Author: Carolyn Keene
ISBN: 0671019295   Publication Date: 1989  Number of chapters: 16

Book’s Apparent Purpose:  Entertaining--to keep you reading.
Outline of contents: Nancy goes to Emerson College where Ned goes to school. She pretends to be an exchange student so she can work on the mystery of who is stealing chemicals from the lab and why.
Book’s weaknesses: There is always suspense and it gets you at times.
Book’s strength: The action that keeps you wanting to read more and not wanting to stop until you finish.
A Particularly Vivid Passage which impressed me:  When she’s down in the tunnels and her flashlight dies. She takes her map and makes it into a candle and uses it.
Overall rating of this book (scale of 0=disliked it to 5=really liked it): 4
I would recommend this book because it is really interesting and it keeps you reading.

Available in local libraries – click here to search Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System holdings

2010 Summer Readers' Reviews

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