Staff Favorites

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe)
Neal Shusterman
Reviewed by Michelle
Scythe

In the future everyone is immortal and an omnipresence that started out as your everyday computer cloud, now known as the Thunderhead oversees all and has created a perfect world, where no one wants for anything. The only thing the Thunderhead does not control is the Scythedom. In order to control population, scythes (socially sanctioned killers), select people for gleaning. There are very few ways a person can die in this futuristic society, except if you are gleaned by a scythe, then you are permanently dead. Scythes undergo rigorous training and must adhere to a moral code. Scythe Farady selects 2 teenagers as apprentices and they are set in a mortal competition together. Rowan and Citra must set aside their feelings for each other and fight for their lives. To make things worse, corruption seems to be running amuck in the Scythedome. And things are changing in a big way. 

Neal Shusterman captivates his audience with a plot that moves forward at a fast pace, with a lot of twists and turns to keep the reader interested. At times you'll be rooting for one character, and then by the next chapter you're championing another. The story, the characters, and the settings are all enough to keep the reader wanting more. It is highly recommended that you not only read this book, but as soon as you're done you check out its sequel Thunderhead

Where We Belong
Lynn Austin
Reviewed by Andrea

The following book review was submitted by patron Janice Visser

Where We Belong by Lynn Austin brings the reader on a worldwide tour for much adventure with the sisters Rebecca and Flora based on Scottish sisters, Agnes and Margaret Smith born in 1843. The sisters live out their faith as they wrestle with questions that most women have regarding marriage, children or adoption, finances and finding out God's purposes for their lives. The sisters have a favorite saying "God knows when the end of our days will be. We have nothing to fear." Austin wove that motto into their worldwide adventures and causes the reader to think about how we spend our time on earth now and how to face the present and future. The book constantly had flashbacks to the past to explore the background of the sisters and 4 other main characters: Edmund Merriday, Kate Rafferty, Soren Petersen, and Professor Timothy Dyk. This novel wove in some important historical events such as the discovery by Constantin von Tischendorf of the Sinaiticus text, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and the discovery of the "hidden Gospels." As always, Austin does a beautiful job of describing her characters and making the reader yearn to find out more what happens to all of the characters and the relationship they have with one another. I highly recommend this book!

Ghost of the Innocent Man: A True Story of Trial and Redemption
Benjamin Rachlin
Reviewed by Andrea

The following book review was submitted by patron Janice Gintzler:

I just finished Ghost of the Innocent Man, by Benjamin Rachlin. In 1988, Mr Willie Grimes, of Hickory, North Carolina, is imprisoned after the real culprit of a rape gets off free and eventually attacks a dozen others.

If there is a moral to the story, it is that any District Attorney, police district, or prosecutor who does not act with justice in mind, and sloppily does not test evidence in a national database, nor gives fingerprints in evidence may be putting the community at great risk, by taking the easy way out and summarily fingering an innocent person.

The trial is a sham, the defense attorney is not provided any evidence that police collected, which was not much at all. But two fingerprints are recovered. They match the real real culprit, but are never analyzed to figure out to whom they belong. The main "evidence" is an ID of Willie by the raped woman's neighbor, who gets $1000 for IDing a person she thinks did the rape.

Willie has a watertight alibi, but the jury focuses instead on the paid ID, and convicts Willie.

A woman who was a juror at Willie's trial later becomes a lawyer. Clerking for a judge, she sees evidence of injustice in the court system. So she begins the North Carolina Innocence project. It takes a while, but eventually, the commission she creates turns to those already in jail. Willie Grimes writes to any and all organizations he can to get help with his fake conviction. Chris Mumma, the innocence lawyer, finally hears about Willie. Meanwhile, in prison, Willie joins a Bible Study organized by Jehovah's Witnesses. He is baptized into the religion. This helps him immensely to deal with his life in prison for a crime he never committed. Willie keeps getting penalized for never "coming clean" about his crime in prison.

After 25 years, an investigation begins by the Innocence Project. The investigation is thorough.

Please read this mesmerizing book.

Cylin Busby
Reviewed by Michelle
The Year We Disappeared: A Father-Daughter Memoir

  John Busby's VW beetle was infamous because of all the bullet holes it was riddled with after a life-changing incident. An off-duty copy, John was ambushed and shot in the face while in his car. The harrowing story of one family trying to hold it together, and seeking justice is told in alternating viewpoints. 

  John tells his story of recovery, and wanting revenge, while Cylin gives her persepcitve of a 9 year old on the situation. Fearing for their safety, we get a sense of a family on the verge of falling apart. We also see how strong they are together.  Will John and his family get justice for what was done to them? Read this book and find out! It is a fast-paced story you won't be able to put down. 

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