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Monday, March 18, 2019

#RandomReview - Senlin Ascends

Book Title: Senlin Ascends

Author: Josiah Bancroft

Reviewed By: Lynn D.

I have to admit that it took almost half of the nearly 400 pages to catch my interest, but then, I could barely put this book down.

Senlin is an unassuming schoolteacher/headmaster who has always been fascinated by "The Tower." He saved his entire life to visit and finally, on his honeymoon, he and his bride take the trip of a lifetime to explore the fabled structure. The Tower of Babel has no relation to the biblical tower. It is a series of "ringdoms," each level different from the last, starting at the Basement and extending into the clouds. The upper reaches have not been mapped.

With guidebook in hand, Senlin and Marya arrive at the Marketplace that surrounds the Tower. It is a mass of tourists, vendors, and confusion. Marya turns aside to make a purchase... and is lost in the crowd.

Thus begins Senlin's quest to find Marya. He discovers that the Guidebook has little to do with reality as he explores the Basement and ascends through the Parlor and to the Baths, where he and Marya have reservations for their honeymoon. He hopes that she has made her way there as well. Getting to the Baths is a series of frustrations, disillusionment and finally disappointment. Marya is not there. (And this is where the story really begins to get interesting)

Why you picked it up: It was highly recommended by my daughter-in-law who shares my love of fantasy and science fiction.

Why you finished it: Although his search for his wife is the overriding theme of the story, the people he encounters and the "adventures" he endures, kept me turning the pages. I was not enthralled at the beginning, but by the end, I was definitely looking forward to following Senlin's adventures onward and upward.
This is the first book in the Books of Babel series. Book 2 is The Arm of the Sphinx.

Who you would recommend it to: People who love fantasy and adventure stories, or maybe just "strange" stories, because this one is hard to classify. I'd also recommend it to people who enjoy discovering new authors.

Find Senlin Ascends in our catalog.

Did you just read a great book that you can't wait to share? Write a #Random Review! We may publish it in the blog; people may respond; it might start a conversation.
All you have to do is fill out our online form or email a short review (at least 5 thoughtful sentences - without giving away the ending!) to news@roselle.lib.il.us.

What are you reading?

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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

#RandomReview - Kingdom of the Blind

Book Title: Kingdom of the Blind

Author: Louise Penny

Reviewed By: Lynn D.

Louise Penny is such an extraordinary author. Readers including myself, have grown to love Armand Gamache, his family, his colleagues at the Sûreté du Québec, and his friends and neighbors in Three Pines. And, along the way, we have grown to love Ms. Penny as well. She has shared her life and her husband's death with the world. The acknowledgements at the end of the book are heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time. Above it all, she is a wonderful storyteller.

If you have never read Louise Penny's books, don't start with this one. Go back and start at the beginning with Still Life, so you get to know the characters and the setting (an important character on it's own) gradually.

In the previous book, Gamache and his homicide department broke a drug ring that threatened to devastate Montréal and beyond with a deadly version of fentanyl. Unfortunately, although the cartel was stopped, large quantities of the drug were not recovered. Consequently, Gamache was suspended from the force. Now he is trying to find the drug before it hits the street. At the same time, he, Myrna, a friend from Three Pines, and a man from Montréal have been named litigators (or executors) for the will of a person none of them knew.

Why are the three of them litigators of the will? How will Gamache find the drugs and will he find them in time? Will he be reinstated as Chief Inspector? What does Clara's painting of Ruth as the Virgin Mary have to do with anything? (And what of Jean-Guy, Isabelle, Amelia, Gabri, Olivier, and Rosa the duck??) You must read this book!

Why you picked it up: I love Louise Penny's books. Could not wait to get my hands on this when it came out. Unfortunately, I had to wait my turn on the holds list, but that made it all the more enticing when I finally got it.

Why you finished it: It's a whodunit and why. I had to find out.

Who you would recommend it to: People who love mysteries and small towns (and ducks).

Did you just read a great book that you can't wait to share? Write a #Random Review! We may publish it in the blog; people may respond; it might start a conversation.
All you have to do is fill out our online form or email a short review (at least 5 thoughtful sentences - without giving away the ending!) to news@roselle.lib.il.us.

What are you reading?

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

#RandomReview - Bird Box

Book Title: Bird Box

Author: Josh Malerman

Reviewed By: Lynn D.

This is the story of Malorie and her 2 children, fleeing from a monster that is never seen and never described in the book. If you see the monster, you kill yourself and sometimes others - usually in a horrible, bloody manner. Most of the population has been decimated. Malorie and her young children have been living in an abandoned house near a river with blankets covering the windows. If they venture outside, they wear blindfolds. She has been training her children since birth to listen.

At the beginning of the story, Malorie has decided that they need to find a safe haven, if one exists. So the three of them venture out, blindfolded, in a rowboat, on an unfamiliar river.
Chapters that describe the past leading up to this point, alternate with chapters describing their present situation on the river, listening - always listening. Will they get to safety? If they get there, what will they find?

Why you picked it up: I decided to read this because I had been hearing a lot about the Netflix film. starring Sandra Bullock, and it happened to be on the shelf at the Library.

Why you finished it: I had to see how it ended. I have to say that although it was a good, suspenseful story, it was not "satisfying." There was not enough background and too many questions were left unanswered. How did this happen? What was the monster? Where did it come from? There was just so much left out and the end came a little too quickly and was a little too pat. I probably won't bother to watch the movie.

Who you would recommend it to: Adults that enjoy horror stories or psychological suspense would like this story.

Did you just read a great book that you can't wait to share? Write a #Random Review! We may publish it in the blog; people may respond; it might start a conversation.
All you have to do is fill out our online form or email a short review (at least 5 thoughtful sentences - without giving away the ending!) to news@roselle.lib.il.us.

What are you reading?

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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

#RandomReview - Of Blood and Bone

Book Title: Of Blood and Bone

Author: Nora Roberts

Reviewed By: Laraine P.

The second book in a series by Roberts does not fail to take the reader's imagination straight into a different world. One continues the journey with the survivors as they await the coming of THE ONE. It's a little slow at the start but picks up as it moves along the way. It does not disappoint!

Why you picked it up: I read Year One and couldn't wait for the second book to see what would happen to the people who suffered through so much. As people patiently await the coming of THE ONE who is to save them, many stories come out about their experiences. You will want more by the end of this one!

Why you finished it: Once I got to the last 50 pages I couldn't put the book down. What would happen? Would THE ONE be accepted as a leader? Would they be successful in their quest of light against dark?

Who you would recommend it to:  Junior high and up would enjoy this book. There are teens in the story that they would identify with and enjoy.

Did you just read a great book that you can't wait to share? Write a #Random Review! We may publish it in the blog; people may respond; it might start a conversation.
All you have to do is fill out our online form or email a short review (at least 5 thoughtful sentences - without giving away the ending!) to news@roselle.lib.il.us.

What are you reading?

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Thursday, November 22, 2018

#RandomReview - The Girl with the Red Balloon

Book Title: The Girl with the Red Balloon

Author: Katherine Locke

Reviewed By: Lynn D.

I was surprised to find this an interesting and engaging story. I wasn't sure I could be onboard with people using magical balloons to escape Soviet oppression in East Berlin but, not only was I onboard, I couldn't put it down. The element of time travel always gets me, but there was a lot more to this novel.

Ellie is a teenager, visiting Berlin on a school trip when she sees a red balloon floating nearby. Touching the balloon she travels back to East Berlin in 1988. She becomes involved with an underground guild that uses magic (and balloons) to transport people over the Berlin wall to freedom - but they cannot figure out how Ellie got there or how to send her home. When more time travelers are found dead in the streets of Berlin, it becomes clear that someone is trying to use the balloon magic to change history, but who?

Why you picked it up: The Girl with the Red Balloon was the featured title for Overdrive's The Big Library Read in October. To be honest, I was between books and decided to download it because it was available.

Why you finished it: This story had it all - time travel, magic realism, mystery, romance, history. I was surprised by how much I learned about East Germany after WWII, the Romani (gypsies) in Europe, the Holocaust and so much more.
I was 30 when the Berlin wall came down in 1989, so this was not history for me, and I knew that people were literally dying trying to escape East Berlin, but this story just brought it all to life for me. In a story about a depressing period of history, this story was all about hope.

Who you would recommend it to:  It is billed as a YA book, so people that like YA, historical fiction, time travel and fantasy, mystery, magic...  you should read it.

Did you just read a great book that you can't wait to share? Write a #Random Review! We may publish it in the blog; people may respond; it might start a conversation.
All you have to do is fill out our online form or email a short review (at least 5 thoughtful sentences - without giving away the ending!) to news@roselle.lib.il.us.

What are you reading?

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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

#RandomReviews - Vox

Book Title: Vox

Author: Christina Dalcher

Reviewed By: Lynn D.

In a near future dystopian America, speech is an instrument of control. Women's rights have been gradually repressed for years, but after the election of a conservative president with a strong religious advisor, scripture and politics unite to force women to limit their words to only 100 per day. Without voices, women can no longer hold jobs, have bank accounts, or even read or write - all words count toward their allotment. Jean, a former cognitive linguist studying aphasia, watches in virtual silence and horror as her young sons are indoctrinated and her six-year-old daughter learns not to speak.

When the president's brother is diagnosed with aphasia, Jean's area of expertise, she is asked to help cure him in exchange for a reprieve from the speech limit. Can she use this temporary respite as an opportunity to fight the establishment? It turns out that there is more at stake...

Why you picked it up: I had heard it compared to Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale plus it sounded very contemporary.

Why you finished it: I had to find out how it ended.

Who you would recommend it to: I would recommend it to people who liked The Handmaid's Tale and to anyone concerned with women's rights.

Find Vox in our catalog.

Did you just read a great book that you can't wait to share? Write a #Random Review! We may publish it in the blog; people may respond; it might start a conversation.
All you have to do is fill out our online form or email a short review (at least 5 thoughtful sentences - without giving away the ending!) to news@roselle.lib.il.us.

What are you reading?

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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Model Railroad Showcase Returns to the Library!

The trains return on Saturday, November 3 & Sunday, November 4 for Roselle Public Library's Model Railroad Showcase! Enjoy an entire weekend of model railroading at the Library! 

 















View layouts operated by:
Midwest Division of Train Collectors Association
Northwest Trainmasters
British Train Society and
The Illinois Railway Museum

Take in the exhibits and collections from:
Milwaukee Road Historical Association and
Chicago and North Western Historical Society
 














Talk to local hobbyists about building and maintaining layouts.

Enjoy train crafts for kids, refreshments and door prizes.

Many thanks to Model Railroad Showcase donors:
America's Best Train & Hobby Shop, Itasca 
2Toots Restaurant, Bartlett 
HobbyTown USA, Schaumburg

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