Wednesday, July 31, 2013


The Night Gwen Stacy Died is the story of two young runaways who are modeling their lives after Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. Sheila is 17 yrs old and works at a gas station in Coralville Iowa. She dreams of moving to Paris one day, but then comes to realize how unrealistic that dream is. Peter Parker is a 20-something taxi driver who often stops in at the gas station where Sheila works. He lives with his mother and is still haunted by his brother's suicide many years before. Though Peter and Sheila rarely talk, she finds herself oddly attracted to him.

One night Peter Parker comes in with a gun. He wants Sheila to run away with him. She agrees and they make it look like he robbed and abducted her. They drive to Chicago. Peter has prophetic dreams and feels that they were supposed to come to Chicago. Sheila takes the name Gwen Stacy and they find jobs while Peter tries to figure out why they are there.

The book is kind of hard to explain because there is a lot of symbolism and different themes-- Peter has prophetic dreams, Sheila takes on Gwen's persona, she also has a strange connection to the taxidermy coyote in the University of Iowa's Natural History Museum, and coyotes show up numerous times throughout the book. You can interpret that as you will.

I found the story compelling though I felt it needed a bit more character development. I didn't always understand Sheila's actions. The books switches between voices and I enjoyed hearing situations from both Sheila's and Peter's perspectives. The pacing of the book is a bit slow in the middle but it really picked up near the end and I found the ending to be satisfying, yet I want to hear more of their story.

It's a little offbeat, and won't appeal to everyone. I found it to be a satisfying mix of Jennifer Egan and of Spider-man.      

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


The Astronaut Wives Club tells the story of the wives of the first astronauts in the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions. Being the wife of an astronaut was not easy. The men were often gone for long periods of training, many were unfaithful while away, and they had terribly dangerous jobs. In the meantime, the women were left to take care of their children and homes, all alone. They also faced tremendous pressure from NASA to present themselves as wholesome happy housewives. Due to the stress and common worries, the wives bonded together for socialization and support.

Each of the first missions were detailed as the wives recalled how they felt when their husbands were blasted off into space and, once they got home and became heroes.

Not only is this book a fascinating look into what life was like for astronaut wives, but it's also a look at what American life was like during the decades of the space race. (Geez, everyone chain smoked). I found it fascinating and very readable.

Monday, July 1, 2013


Grace Grows is a meandering love story centered on Grace Barnum. Grace is a textbook editor in NYC who lives with her reliable yet boring boyfriend Stephen. One day she meets Tyler, a man who is walking her neighbor's dogs for extra cash. They keep running into each other and Grace finds out that Tyler is trying to make it as a musician. She starts attending his gigs with her friend Peg. Tyler starts to become a celebrity but he still always makes time for Grace. Well eventually she realizes that she is in love with him but doesn't think they can be together. Suddenly her whole life is uprooted and Tyler starts touring around the country as a huge star. I don't want to give away what happens in the second half of the book because it was really surprising to me.

I enjoyed the first half of the book. I enjoyed seeing how Grace and Tyler fell in love and how their relationship evolved. Both were likeable interesting characters. The book could have just ended with them being together at that point and I would have been happy with that. The second half of the book, Grace completely changes her life for the worst. Though the title implies that she was growing and maturing, she really became very unlikeable. While Ty was off touring, she was in New York starting a new life. She cried and whined all the time. She loved Tyler, but completely ignored him and just sat around feeling sorry for herself. There were a lot of misunderstandings and even a lot of hatred between the two of them just because she wouldn't open her mouth and talk to him. Even at the very end of the book she was still very hard headed and whiny and I didn't like her character at all. She did not really seem that much happier. Also, There is a scene near the end of the book that was completely unbelievable and kind of bizarre.

The first half of the book was enjoyable but you can just skip the second half and read the last few pages to find out what happens. Nonetheless, I think the concept of this book is really cool. You can go to the author's website and hear the songs that Ty wrote in the book, and they are actually really good songs.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Popped Off is a cozy mystery starring Deuce, a stay-at-home dad and sometimes private investigator. He teams up with Victor, a little person with a snarky attitude, which makes for some hilarious exchanges.
In this book, Deuce is approached by the local soccer league because their President, has taken off with all their money and, for some odd reason, all their trophies. He begins his search at the church where Moises works and discovers that they are missing a large chunk of money as well. His search leads him to a casino, a farm house in the middle of nowhere, and even a sorority house. Along the way, he meets some interesting characters and still finds time to be super dad to his five-year old daughter and doting husband to his demanding wife.

This series sets itself apart from other cozies because there is a lot of innuendo and off color humor. I did not read the first book in the series but I was able to pick this one up with no problem.

My only issue with the book is that Deuce didn't seem to be that great of a detective. He relied a lot on Victor. I feel like he needs to be a smarter and better detective to be the star of a mystery series. Nonetheless, I plan on continuing the series.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


I have never thought much about the history of running as a sport, but, because I'm a runner, I decided to give this book a try. Kings of the Road is the story of how running became such a popular sport. I hadn't realized that, prior to these three men, Shorter, Rogers, and Salazar, running wasn't a huge American sport.
The story begins by introducing and giving brief descriptions of the three men, how they grew up, what their running style was. Runners weren't big name athletes, most could barely live on their paltry earnings. These men ran because they loved it, not for fame or fortune. He also talks a bit about the history of Falmouth Road Race, the NY Marathon, and the times these men competed against each other. The only time all three ran against each other was once, in Falmouth.
You wouldn't think that reading about someone running would be terribly interesting, but Stracher does a great job describing the race in a way that makes it exciting. He also really brings the "characters" to life, describing their personalities and lifestyles.
I recommend this book to readers of sports non-fiction. Doesn't matter if you are a runner, the writing, suspense and competitiveness will appeal to all.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


If you're looking for another exciting YA series to try, check out the Maze Runner by James Dashner.  It's the first in an exciting thriller series and is a finalist for the Iowa Teen Book Award. 

In the Maze Runner, we meet an unnamed character who wakes up in an elevator.  He has no memories of his previous life, and no idea how he got in the elevator.  When the doors open, he finds himself outdoors crowded by a group of men about his same age, which he guesses is 16.  He slowly learns that all of them are in the same predicament.  Some have been there for several months, but no one really knows where they are or why.  Various supplies and food is sent up in the elevator for them.  They were able to build a farm and a small house but they are enclosed by giant walls.  Every day the walls open to reveal a path that leads to a giant maze.  Several of the boys enlist as maze runners to try to map the maze and see where it goes.  If they get stuck out there at night, they are stung by giant mechanical beasts.

Okay, so it sounds kind of weird but it will really pull you in.  The mystery will keep you turning pages.  The book has two sequels and a prequel, so you won't learn all of the secrets in the first one.  Check this out if you enjoyed Hunger Games!

Friday, December 14, 2012


Here is a list of e-books that we have bought exclusively for our patrons!  This means more availability and shorter wait lists.


4 Bodies and a Funeral by Stephanie Bond

10 Lessons from a Former Fat Girl by Amy Parham (Non-Fiction)

101 Breakfast and Brunch Recipes (Non-Fiction)

101 Soup, Salad, and Sandwich Recipes (Non-Fiction)

1105 Yakima Street by Debbie Macomber

2gether 4ever by Dene Larson

All Summer Long by Susan Mallery

Already Home by Susan Mallery

The Amazing Bible Adventures for Kids by  Josh McDowell (Juvenile)

And Thereby Hangs a Tale: What I Really Know About My Devoted Life I Learned From My Dogs by David Teems  (Non-Fiction)

Angel Falls by Kristin Hannah

Ape House by Sara Gruen

The Aztec Code by Stephen Cole

Bake Sale Murder by Leslie Meier

Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand

Best Bake Sale Ever Cookbook by Barbara Grunes and Susie Cushner (Non-Fiction)

Body of Evidence by Stella Cameron

Boomer’s Big Day by Constance McGeorge (Juvenile)

Cake Pops Holidays by Bakerella (Non-Fiction)

Camel Club by David Baldacci

Carnage of Eagles by William Johnstone

Carrie by Stephen King

Catching Fireflies by Sherryl Woods

Central Park Rendezvous by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Cinderella: Ninja Warrior by Maureen McGowan (Young Adult)

The Collectors by David Baldacci

Comfort and Joy by Kristin Hannah

Cross by James Patterson

Cujo by Stephen King

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Deck Z: The Titanic ( a zombie story) byy Chris Pauls

Deep Down by Lee Child

Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard (Non-Fiction)

Divine by Karen Kingsbury

A Dog is a Dog by Stephen Shaskan (Juvenile)

Double Cross by James Patterson

Ever Running Man by Marcia Muller

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James

Forks Over Knives by Gene Stone (Non-Fiction)

Found by Karen Kingsbury

A Game of Thrones George RR Martin

Girl Meets Boy by Kelly Milner Halls (Young Adult)

The Girl Who Disappeared by Andrea Kane

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Going Organic Can Kill You (mystery) by Staci McLaughlin

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

The Goodbye Quilt by Susan Wiggs

Growing Up Amish by Ira Wagler (Non-Fiction)

The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn

The Haven by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Heartbroken by Lisa Unger

Heartwood by James Lee Burke

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo (Non-Fiction)

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Heron’s Cove by Carla Neggers

Hide and Seek by James Patterson

Hot Dog and Bob 1-3 by L Bob Rovetch and Dave Whamond (Juvenile)

Imposter by Davis Bunn

In Plain Sight by Tara Taylor Quinn

An Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff (Non-Fiction)

Is Everyone Hanging Out without Me? by Mindy Kaling (Non-Fiction)

It Takes a Cowboy by Gina Wilkins

Keeper of the Bride by Tess Gerritsenn

Kiss the Girls by James Patterson

Knitting (Non-Fiction)

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey by Countess Fiona Carnarvon (Non-Fiction)

Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Living in Harmony by Mary Ellis

The Lost City of Z by David Grann (Non-Fiction)

The Maze Runner by James Dashner (Young Adult)

The Mist by Stephen King

The Murder of King Tut by James Patterson (Non-Fiction)

MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche (Non-Fiction)

Naturally Pain Free by Letha Hadady (Non-Fiction)

Never Say Never by Lisa Wingate

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstein

Presumed Guilty by Tess Gerritsenn

The Quickie by James Patterson

The Racketeer by John Grisham

The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks

Rest in Pizza by Chris Cavender

The River of Doubt by Candice Millard (Non-Fiction)

The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

Season of the Machete by James Patterson

Secret Treasure Box  (Ivy and Bean 1-3) by Annie Barrows (Juvenile)

The Shack by William Paul Young

Sharpshooter by Nadia Gordon

Shoveling Smoke by Austin Davis

Still LoLo by Lauren Scruggs (Non-Fiction)

Strike of the Mountain Man by William Johnstone

Sundays at Tiffany’s by James Patterson

Talk of the Town by Lisa Wingate

A Time to Run by Barbara Boxer

To Love and Cherish by Tracie Petersen

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (Non-Fiction)

Unlikely Friendships: 47 Stories from the Animal Kingdom by Jennifer Holland

Unlikely Friendships for Kids by Jennifer Holland (Juvenile)

The Unspoken by Heather Graham

A Visit from the Goon Squad  by Jennifer Egan

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Werewolves/Zombies by Chris Lane

What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff (Non-Fiction)

When Love Comes My Way by Lori Copeland

Where Azaleas Bloom by Sherryl Woods

World War Z by Max Brooks

Worst Case Scenario Survive-O-Pedia by David Borgenicht (Juvenile)