Something Missing by Matthew Dicks

Find in catalogI enjoyed this book. It’s a fun, light read with a character who is both vulnerable and likeable, despite his unusual career choice. I like my literature squeaky clean, so I could have done without the occasional swear words in this novel, as well as one quite explicit scene that really didn’t contribute anything to the story. Other than that, I liked getting to know Martin, figuring out the method and logic behind his extremely detailed system. The story was a little slow getting started, but it’s very entertaining once Martin decides he’s destined to be the guardian angel of his “clients,” and determines to live up to his calling–no matter what the risks.

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Something Missing by Matthew Dicks

Find in catalogI enjoyed this book. It’s a fun, light read with a character who is both vulnerable and likeable, despite his unusual career choice. I like my literature squeaky clean, so I could have done without the occasional swear words in this novel, as well as one quite explicit scene that really didn’t contribute anything to the story. Other than that, I liked getting to know Martin, figuring out the method and logic behind his extremely detailed system. The story was a little slow getting started, but it’s very entertaining once Martin decides he’s destined to be the guardian angel of his “clients,” and determines to live up to his calling–no matter what the risks.

The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel

Find in catalogThoroughly enjoyed this book. It took me a bit to get into the rhythm of the present-tense narration, but once I did I loved the ride! This story follows Will Everett, a boy who has always longed for adventures, but never had any of his own. When he boards The Boundless, the most magnificent train in existence, all of that changes. Before long he’s witnessed a murder and is running for his life (sometimes within, and sometimes on top of the train itself). His odds of survival aren’t good–especially when you combine the threat of the murderer with the supernatural wiles of sasquatch and muskeg hags. I enjoyed the vivid descriptions of The Boundless itself, a veritable Titanic on rails, and thought the dash of magic that Oppel threw into an almost-realistic story was great–just enough to keep me on my toes. I would definitely recommend this book to older children and young teens, and of course, any other adults who haven’t outgrown stories for the young.

Words, Words, Words by David Crystal

Find in catalogLoved it! Anything by David Crystal is bound to be interesting, and Words Words Words is a great introduction to the world of linguistics–with a definite tilt towards the lover of English. This book is well-organized to allow for selective reading on topics of interest, but is concise enough to be a quick and easy read all the way through. The language is accessible enough that even older children and teenagers could enjoy it, but the subject matter is an intriguing topic for any age. I also appreciated the section on Becoming a Word Detective, for those who would like to pursue the exploration of language further. Highly recommended for anyone with even a passing interest in linguistics.

Greenglass House by Kate Milford

Find in catalogAn entertaining read in the spirit of Clue and The Westing Game, this book is a mystery/treasure hunt with a fun twist near the end. A fun story for children 10 and up.

Wildwood by Colin Meloy

Find in catalogThere is a lot in this book that is fun and creative. In many ways it reminded me of The Chronicles of Narnia, with its talking animals, evil witch, and child heroines. The author has a talent for description, but I had a hard time getting through this book. I struggled with the dialogue, and some of the humor would have been funny onscreen, but just didn’t work in literary form. I enjoy children’s literature and appreciate a lot of it as an adult, but I just couldn’t get into this one.

The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens

Find in catalogOne of the few Dickens books with a sad ending, this story is still wonderful. The Old Curiosity Shop deals with the age-old themes of love and loss, but one of its primary subjects is also the pain we can cause those we love when our desires for our loved ones are not the same as their desires for themselves. As in all Dickens’ novels, there are serious, even heart-wrenching scenes, but also plenty of humor, presented with the minute description and sardonic irony that are hallmarks of Dickens’ style. And, of course, none of his stories would be complete without his strikingly defined villains, which run the gamut in this story from the merely foolish, to the craven, to the eminently spiteful. The characters are memorable and the story is inspiring. I highly recommend it.

What Makes a van Gogh a van Gogh? by Richard Muhlberger

This book is written for children, which makes it an easily accessible overview of the life and works of Vincent van Gogh. Simple, informative prose is accompanied by twelve beautiful reproductions of van Gogh’s work.

This is a great book that provides an hour’s worth of art appreciation and a peep into the life of one of the world’s great artists.

Reviewed by Samantha

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Anything by Dickens is a delight to read, and Oliver Twist is no exception. Like all his works, this book is all about human nature. Good and bad are contrasted strongly in this book, particularly in the characters of Rose Maylie on the one side and Fagin and Bill Sikes on the other, and individual characters seem to personify certain aspects of human experience in general, while losing none of their appeal as complex individuals in their own right.

Whether you’re looking for a thought provoking take on the human condition, or just a great story written by a master of the English language, Oliver Twist is sure to deliver.

Reviewed by Samantha

The Numbers Game: the commonsense guide to understanding numbers in the news, in politics, and in life by Michael Blastand & Andrew Dilnot.

I am not much of a math person, but I really enjoyed this book. It’s all about numbers we encounter in everyday life, (things like averages, statistics, percentages, etc.) and how we can better understand them.

I have always felt a little wary of numbers. This book explains why we feel that way and how we can use the knowledge we already have to interpret numbers, make sense of them, and make intelligent decisions concerning them.

This book was both informative and entertaining, with short chapters and fun examples so it didn’t lose me at any point. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who has even a passing interest in numbers, or anyone who would like to understand them better.

Reviewed by Samantha