Swedish Authors

Swedish Author Invasion

Reviews by Lois Plale

I enjoy reading international authors and a few years ago, I discovered two Swedish authors, both of whom are becoming popular in this country.  They are Jonas Jonasson and Frederik Backman.  Both authors use humor and a lot of heart.  I have reviewed two books for each author. Continue reading


the-missionThe Mission: Original Soundtrack from the Motion Picture

Composer: Ennio Morricone

Review by: Michele Bolay

Awards: Academy Award nominee (Best Music, Original Score); Golden Globe winner (Best Original Score – Motion Picture); BAFTA winner (Best Score); AFI’s 100 Years of Film Scores (#23); ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards (Lifetime Achievement). Continue reading

Silent Land

the-silent-landThe Silent Land

by Graham Joyce

Review by Gretchen Chamberlin

At just under 300 pages, The Silent Land is the book to pick up if you want something you can finish in an evening, on a plane ride or on a day at the beach. It is definitely for you if you were addicted to the TV show, Lost.

The story takes you to the high peaks of the French Pyrenees on a breathtakingly beautiful early morning. Jake and Zoe have the pristine snowy slopes to themselves as they push off on their skis. In the blink of an eye, light hearted sport turns into a terrifying race against the crushing waves of a tumultuous avalanche.  Continue reading

Word Exchange

word-exchangeThe Word Exchange

By Alena Graedon

Review by Zoey Mills

In the not-so-distant future, the death of print has become a reality. Memes, or handheld “smart” devices, are seemingly taking over the world. Not only does the handheld device keep us in communication but it can also hail a cab, order take-out, or even look up definitions of words with one simple thought. Anana Johnson, and her father Doug, are editing the final printed edition of the North American Dictionary of the English Language. But, when Doug mysteriously disappears two nights prior to the publication, Anana goes into a panic in search of him, only to uncover a much more dangerous plot, than she ever imagined. Join Anana and Bart as they race against time, The Word Flu, aphasia, and so much more as they not only try to find her father, but also save the printed word.

Continue reading

Wolf by the Ears

Wolf by the EarsWolf by the Ears by Ann Rinaldi

Review by Laurie Doan

 Do you love the music from Hamilton? Want to learn more about that time?
Time is running out for Harriet Hemmings, rumored to be the daughter of Thomas Jefferson, who must choose between a life at Monticello and a life of freedom. This historical novel is told in the form of a diary.

Harriet will be turning twenty-one soon and will be forced to choose between the only home she’s ever known and true freedom. The kind of freedom which can only be bought through secrets and disguise.

Well dressed, well schooled, well fed, and well loved. Harriet Hemmings has it all. Or does she? Raised at Monticello, the daughter of Sally Hemmings, she is also rumored to be the daughter of Thomas Jefferson. Thus she is held in high esteem by the man himself and feels in her heart that he will protect her. But he is getting old and losing his money. If something happens to him, what will happen to her?

Would she be sold with the place? Or will the slaves in Virginia be set free? When the Governor of Virginia pleads with her to take her freedom she is hesitant and says, “But you’re going to free Virginia’s slaves.”

He replies, “The pro-slavery people in this state are too strong. Look at my father-in-law. He can’t make his mind up about slavery. Hates it, yes. Says it’s a wolf America has by the ears. And that we can no longer hold onto it. But neither can we let it go.”

If Harriet doesn’t take her chance when her time comes, can she count on continuing to be treated well? Or will she too be caught like a wolf by the ears?

Check availability on Wolf by the Ears by Ann Rinaldi
About the reviewer: Originally written for the LibraryKeeper’s Review of Books, Laurie reviewed this book back in 2009. She serves Tredyffrin Township as the young adult librarian at TPL.

Tea Planter’s Wife

Tea Planter's WifeThe Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies

Review by Saj Bewtra

Amazon.com describes Jefferies’ US debut novel as “set in 1920s Ceylon, about a young Englishwoman who marries a charming tea plantation owner and widower, only to discover he’s keeping terrible secrets about his past, including what happened to his first wife, that lead to devastating consequences.”

A friend of mine from Detroit read this novel while on a cruise. As soon as she came home she told me I had to read it. She knew I’d love the story. She was right. The Tea Planter’s Wife is beautifully written. A novel that kept me intrigued from beginning to end. I just couldn’t put it down. Simply put, I expect this book to be the next hard-to-get novel. Therefore, place a hold today!

Check availability on The Tea Planter’s Wife

About the reviewer: Saj Bewtra has put in 25+ years at Tredyffrin Public Library. When not working, she enjoys sewing, knitting, and . . . of course, spending time with her grandchildren.

A Curious Beginning

A Curious BeginningA Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

Review by Michele Bolay

Are you like me? Have you been missing the Amelia Peabody mysteries by the late, great Elizabeth Peters? Well, Raybourn’s newest mystery may just help fill that Peabody-shaped hole in your heart. Whip-smart, opinionated, forward-thinking, fearless heroine? Check. Irascible, worldly, talented, clever, sexy hero? Check. Victorian-era mystery enhanced by travel, adventure, science, danger, humor, and romantic tension? Check.

When Veronica Speedwell’s final living relative dies (or so she thinks), she doesn’t waste time or opportunity and sets out to travel the world pursuing her favorite hobby (collecting and classifying rare butterflies) and her second favorite hobby (no-strings-attached romantic dalliances). After someone ransacks her home, Veronica has a chance encounter — or is it? — with a mysterious but kindly baron, derailing her plans.

The meeting sets in motion a string of events. This sees Veronica thrown together with Stoker, a reclusive but intriguing scientist. Stoker is suspected when the baron is found murdered. He and Veronica must go on the run and join forces to clear his name and to solve the mysteries of her past.

A Perilous Undertaking, the second installment in the series,  set to be published next year. I can’t wait!

Check availability on A Curious Beginning

About the reviewer: A few years ago, Michele was lucky enough to attend a panel lecture with Deanna Raybourn and meet her. She is not only every bit as gorgeous as her author photo, she is also incredibly smart and funny. If you get the chance to hear her speak, take it!

Michele loves mysteries but, paradoxically, hates puzzles. Go figure.

Wishful Drinking

Wishful Drinking

Wishful Drinking (2010 HBO Documentary)

By and Starring Carrie Fisher

Review by Stephanie Bragg

Actress Carrie Fisher, yes Princess Leia herself, has led a wildly interesting life.  The daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and late singer Eddie Fisher, Carrie brings her unique sense of humor and wit to the facts of her life in her one woman stage production.  Fisher chronicles her life, from her parents’ separation and complicated family tree to becoming a cultural icon at age 19 and how that has affected her life and relationships. The one woman show was so popular, she developed it into her biography, also called Wishful Drinking

I really never knew Carrie Fisher had such a bold sense of humor, but I guess with all her trials in life you have to try to laugh about it.  My favorite section is talking about her family tree.  Fisher has a big board with everyone’s pictures from her parents to her spouses to her children.  The whole 76 minutes are hilarious and not without a healthy dose of “Star Wars” talk and paraphernalia.

Check availability on the documentary Wishful Drinking

Check availability on the biography Wishful Drinking

About the reviewer: Stephanie Bragg loves all things geek and tries to hit ComicCon each year.

Nervous Conditions

Nervous ConditionsNervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga

Book review by Sam Sørensen

“Quietly, unobtrusively and extremely fitfully, something in my mind began to assert itself, to question things and refuse to be brainwashed, bringing me to this time when I can set down this story. It was a long and painful process for me, that process of expansion.” 

Dangarembga’s semi-autobiographical novel Nervous Conditions presents Tambu’s experiences coming of age in post-colonial Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). The novel begins on Tambu’s jarring, unrepentant confession:  “I was not sorry when my brother died.” Immediately, Tambu immerses her audience in one of several tragedies that drive the narrative. Tambu navigates power structures, difficult relationships, and sexism, which are all competing with the main goal of her own emancipation. The novel proves compelling and timeless by engaging the interwoven oppressions of race, gender, and socioeconomic status. Unfortunately, a lot of the same injustices Tambu encounters in post-colonial Rhodesia, we still see today in various countries. Dangarembga published a sequel, The Book of Not, in 2006, but that requires a review of its own!

Check availability on Nervous Conditions

Are you participating in our YA Reading Excellence Award? Nervous Conditions would be perfect for it!

About the reviewer: Sam S. has worked as a Circulation Assistant for the Tredyffrin Public Library since 2013. She loves writing, reading, teaching, playing with her cat (Gigi!), and finding the perfect cup of coffee.