Tuesday, January 17, 2017

[Book Review] As I Descended by Robin Talley

Fiction/Horror/Young Adult

Allison reviews AS I DESCENDED by Robin Talley (HarperTeen, 2016)

Maria and Lily are roommates at Acheron, an exclusive private school on the grounds of an old Southern plantation. They’re also head over heels in love with each other, even though they’re keeping their relationship under wraps. Both girls want to continue their relationship in college, but the only way they can do so is if Maria wins the coveted Kingsley Prize - a scholarship that will let her attend the college of her choice at no cost.
Maria is second in the class, and Delilah, ranked number one, is just slightly better than Maria in every way possible: more popularity, more extracurriculars, better grades. Even with all the extra credit in the world, Maria’s GPA won’t top Delilah’s.
So the girls have to get rid of Delilah. And they know no bounds.
Lily buys an old wooden Ouija board off eBay and holds a seance with Maria, whose belief in spirits was instilled by her Hispanic nanny. The girls use the board to open the door to the spirit world - then forget to close it.

This twisted retelling of Macbeth is delightfully creepy and unsettling. The atmosphere the story creates is dark and spooky, and the suspense builds while the reader wonders what havoc the spirits will wreak on campus next. The history of the slave plantation on which the school is built adds depth to the story.
Allison R., Staff member

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Thursday, January 05, 2017

[Book Review] El Deafo by Cece Bell

Library staff members attend Reader’s Advisory classes throughout the year to learn the characteristics of different book genres. By developing their reader’s advisory skills, library staff help customers find books they may like to read.

After each session, participants select a book from that genre to read and profile. Take a look at the Reader’s Advisory Annotations posted on Memphis Reads to discover what you can read next. 

Non Fiction/Memoir/Graphic Novel

Allison reviews EL DEAFO by Cece Bell (Amulet Books, 2014)

El Deafo is a graphic novel memoir by Cece Bell. Using bright illustrations, Bell tells the story of the illness that caused her to lose her hearing at a young age, and how she coped with being different from everyone else. Bell used her bulky hearing aid, also known as her Phonic Ear, to transform into her superhero alter ego, El Deafo! She deals with learning to use a complicated hearing aid, as well as how this visible disability isolates her from her classmates.

Bell uses the graphic novel format to her advantage; the illustrations move the action along and really make her autobiography enticing. The panels read left to right, top to bottom, so it’s a great book to serve as an introduction to graphic novels. The book’s target audience is ages 8-12, but everyone can relate to the story of adaptation and acceptance.

Allison R., Staff member

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016


Visit memphislibrary.org to request materials and to browse our online collection of e-books, e-audio books, magazines, and more.  

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

[Author Obit] Richard Adams 1920 - 2016

Richard Adams, British author best known for his 1972 novel, Watership Down, passed away at the age of 96 on December 24, 2016. 

Requiescat in Pace - The Official website of Watership Down

Obituaries from the web:

Watership Down author Richard Adams dies aged 96 - BBC 

"Watership Down" author dies - CNN

Richard Adams, Whose Novel 'Watership Down' Became a Phenomenon, dies at 96 -  The New York Times 

Suggested title from the library catalog: 

The Day Gone By: an autobiography by Richard Adams 

Search the library catalog to revisit or discover more books by Richard Adams

*Adams photo credit: "The novelist Richard Adams in 1974. Credit Tom Smith/Daily Express/Hulton Archive, via Getty Images"

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

[Book Review] The Ugly Duckling by Iris Johansen

Susan reviews THE UGLY DUCKLING by Iris Johansen (Bantam Books, 1996)
The Ugly Duckling is a Cinderella story with a twist.
Nell Calder is plain, ordinary, and the wife of a financier with a lovely daughter named Jill. On the night of an elegant party for Richard, her husband, hosted to advance his career, the unthinkable happens. Nell thinks she is hearing firecrackers, but they are gunshots. Nell is attacked and thrown over the balcony. She wakes to a shattered face and a dead husband and child. She should not be alive, but with a reconstructed and beautiful face along with anonymity, she is plotting her revenge.   
Enter Nicholas Tanek, who helps Nell despite her wanting and moving on revenge on her own. His keeping her identity a secret and her reluctantly accepting his help move the plot forward.  Tanek was at the party; he believes he could have prevented the deaths of Richard and Jill, but what all he knows he keeps close and slowly reveals to Nell and the reader why he was involved at all. For Nell, her new-found physical beauty is but a means to an end. She toughens physically and mentally to face the murderer.
Nell Calder really never was plain and ordinary; she is a woman of exceptional inner strength.
Susan B., Library staff

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Thursday, December 15, 2016


All locations of the Memphis Public Library & Information Center will be closed Friday, December 23 through Monday, December 26, 2016.

Customers have the option of reserving or renewing books by going to www.memphislibrary.org or calling 452-2047. 

The Library’s website also offers several resources customers can use anytime—24 hours a day—seven days a week.   E-books and downloadable audio books, magazines, and music can be checked-out for free; online databases contain searchable newspaper and magazine articles, reference books and more; and blogs and newsletters on everything from fiction bestsellers to travel can be read on the web.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


This is a reminder that all library locations are closed Thursday and Friday, November 24 - 25, 2016 for Thanksgiving. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

[Book Review] Pretending to be Erica by Michelle Painchaud

Fiction/Young Adult

Andrea reviews PRETENDING TO BE ERICA by Michelle Painchaud (Viking, 2015)
Violet is not your average good girl. She is one of the most intelligent con artists this side of Las Vegas. Adopted and raised by single guy Sal, he taught Violet every scam and hustle he knew and some Violet was able to learn on her own.
Sal has been grooming Violet her entire life for this major hustle. The two of them, with lots of help from doctors and specialists paid under the table, are going to transform Violet into Erica Silverman, the golden child who was abducted when she was in preschool.

It’s been nearly a decade since young Erica was taken from her very affluent family. Her father is grieving in a mental institution but her mother never gave up hope she would see her daughter alive again. The Silverman family also owns a very special and expensive oil painting that Sal must get his grubby little paws on; therefore, the heist was put in motion.
Sal and Violet know there have been two other “Ericas” who have tried and failed, so their plan must be fine-tuned to the nth degree. They also know the FBI, reporters, and detectives will be watching Violet’s every move. People are skeptical this is the real Erica, but as long as Mrs. Silverman believes, Violet and Sal are that much closer to stealing the painting.
Violet knows the risks of this endeavor but losing Mrs. Silverman’s trust and maternal love for her saved daughter is going cost Violet more.
Full of twists and turns, Ms. Painchaud has given her readers quite a thriller that questions what is really important in life. Would you rather have love and protection or material possessions to make you happy? And what would you sacrifice for either?

Andrea Bledsoe King, Cordova Branch Library

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