Books on App

Thanks to Goodreads, our Books on App monthly book discussion is the next best thing to meeting at the local tap house to share thoughts on the pick of the month.

Goodreads is a free social media site that allows readers to connect with each other and share book recommendations, ratings and reviews. Each month we will select a book to read and post discussion questions related to the book on Goodreads.

The discussions are open until the end of each month, so you can read the book and contribute to the discussion on your own time. Books are available digitally through Hoopla or OverDrive/Libby with your WPLD library card. Non-members can participate but will need to secure the book through other sources.

All you need to participate in the conversation is a Goodreads account. Once you have created a Goodreads account, search for “WPLD Books on App” or simply follow this link to join: WPLD Books on App. 

Our book for July is Coraline by Neil Gaiman. Get more information about Books on App in our Events Calendar. Find Coraline in our catalog.

Make Books on App a part of your summer reading adventure—in July and August you can add these titles to your reading logs and participate in our Read for a Cause summer reading event.

August’s Books on App selection is Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt.

We hope to see you in Goodreads!

Strange Weather by Joe Hill

Book – Full disclosure, I suffer from attention deficit disorder so I’m always on the lookout for books that I’m actually able to finish from start to finish. I had little issue with this collection of short novellas.Cover image for Strange Weather

In Strange Weather, Hill presents a collection of four odd stories of varied length that entertain and disturb. In “Snapshot,” a young boy faces his nightmares, the menace of dementia, the challenge that is the tattooed Phoenician, and a thug armed with a Polaroid camera. “Loaded,” is an extremely relevant story with the capacity to emotionally tear you apart. “Aloft,” moves us into more supernatural territory, as Aubrey Griffin’s finds himself landing on a weird cloud in the sky. “Rain,” is a dystopian, post-apocalyptic imagining with a terrifying and killer rain that penetrates skin. Hill’s collection will please readers who are looking for a sampling of introspective horror.

If you’re looking for even more creepy books by Joe Hill check out Heart-Shaped Box and NOS4A2. Hill’s titles are available in print, audiobook, eAudiobook, eBook on Hoopla and Overdrive.

Fresh Ink: An Anthology edited by Lamar Giles

Books – Twelve authors. Twelve diverse stories. As editor Lamar Giles, cofounder of We Need Diverse Books wrote, “In these pages are all sorts of heroes.” From a one-act play about gun violence by Walter Dean Myers, a first-love story by Newbery Medal winner Jason Reynolds, a graphic story by cartoonist Gene Luen Yang, to a superhero story by Nicola Yoon, there is something for everyone here.

This book is part of We Need Diverse Books’ mission to ensure that young people find authentic stories that resonate with their lives and experiences. This book is for people who identify as minority–whether in race or sexual identity or popularity–to find positive representations of themselves. It is also a book for readers who want to try to gain a better understanding of the perspectives and experiences of others.

There are love stories. Some of the stories offer social commentary. Some may hold your attention; others may not. I found the collection very readable, but if I’m being honest, I did skip one story because the genre didn’t interest me. Months later, several of the characters stick with me. I highly recommend young adults and adults check out this collection.

What Book Changed Your Life?

Can you remember a book that changed your life? Perhaps you read something that gave you hope or answered a burning question. Maybe you related to a quirky character or a memorable setting. Or at some point in your life you got lost in a book that simply spoke to you in a way you can’t describe.

Prior to the onset of this worldwide crisis we all find ourselves in, we asked our library visitors to tell us what book changed their lives. This list might look a little different in a few months when people tell us what they’ve read during periods of self-isolation, but for now here is our list of books that changed someone’s life. It includes Youth, Teen and Adult content. The title under the book image links to our catalog. Many of these books are available for free digital download through the OverDrive or Hoopla apps.

If you search our catalog and your only option for a title is to place a hold for a digital download, you will need to establish an account on the app in order to be notified when your “hold” becomes available. For help getting started on Hoopla or OverDrive, visit eBooks & eMedia.

We hope you find a book that changes your life, too!

Once our library reopens and we resume full services, you will be able to place a hold on a book to pick up or request something from our interlibrary loan system.

Binge Read on a Library Kindle

Join the trend of binge reading and find a new favorite author, character or genre! Our Summer Reading Challenge is the perfect time to binge read with one of our fully-loaded Kindle e-reader devices available to Warrenville Library members. You can read on a Kindle anywhere you’d read a book—the kitchen, backyard, beach or library! In just a few hours you can crank out a book, and within a few evenings or a weekend you might even be able to read an entire series.

Check out the Mystery Kindle to have all of Louise Penny’s Armand Gamache series at your fingertips, or the Science Fiction & Fantasy Kindle to catch up on the Expanse series. Kids can enjoy the first thirty volumes of the Magic Tree House series on the Elementary School Battle of the Books Kindle.

Our Kindles come with easy-to-follow instructions and charging cables. Find all the themed Kindles we offer in our catalog.

Every book you read on a Kindle between now and July 31st counts toward our Summer Reading Challenge. Log each title on a reading log. The more logs you complete, the more entries you earn for our gift card drawings. For more information on our challenge and to download reading logs, visit warrenville.com.

For more information on our Kindle devices, stop by or call our Member Services Desk at 630/393-1171.

Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovich

Book– I grabbed this audiobook for my commute to work. I was instantly hooked! The wonderfully talented, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, a Ghanaian-born Brit, brought the main character to life.

Peter Grant, Probationary Police Constable (rookie cop for us stateside) with London’s Metropolitan Police Services is having a rough time. His policing skills are found to be lacking by his superiors and is easily distracted and fancy’s hotshot PC, Lesley May who unlike Peter, is on the fast track to the Murder Team. Peter is resigned to join the pencil pushing ranks of the Case Progression Unit. Nothing can possibly make his life any worse! That is, until he is rudely introduced to a ghostly chap while on duty watching a murder site. Peter is not convinced ghosts are real; the supernatural is all just mumbo-jumbo! Yet, this ghost is real enough and Peter soon finds himself assigned to the charming C.I. Thomas Nightingale of the Economic and Specialist Crime. Nightingale takes an instant shine to Peter and his magical potential. Peter soon finds out that not only are ghosts and magic real, they have an established history in the city, and that he can have a part in this world. I won’t spoil the rest of the plot, but suffice to say this is a contemporary urban fantasy with aspects of mystery and magic, not to mention a very interesting London police procedural. Adult fans of Harry Potter will enjoy Aaronovitch’s grown up magical world.

Midnight Riot is Book 1 of the London River series.

A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney

Book – The night her father died, Alice Kingston was attacked by a Nightmare from another world. A year later she’s almost done with her training as a Dreamwalker, someone who stops the Nightmares from coming into our world where they grow even more powerful and dangerous. But Alice isn’t sure she wants to be a Dreamwalker. Sure, it’s great having superpowers and getting to fight monsters with magical weapons, and her mentor Hatta is gorgeous and wonderful, but it’s dangerous work. A girl was killed by police at a high school football game, and ever since Alice’s mom has gotten more and more protective. The choice might be taken away from her, though, when a mysterious knight appears and attacks Alice and Hatta, and may have designs on the whole of reality.

A combination of Alice in Wonderland, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and #BlackGirlMagic, this was by far the most fun I’ve had with a book in ages. Alice is a delight, and it’s great to see Black girls get to be heroes in urban fantasy. I’m not a huge Alice in Wonderland fan, but I loved the way A Blade So Black takes elements from that story – the Red and White Queens, the vorpal blade, Hatta as the Mad Hatter – and incorporates them into a fresh new fantasy. My one complaint is that this is the first book in a series, and now I’m gonna have to wait at least a year to find out what happens next!

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

BooksWishtree is narrated by the oak tree Red. He is more than 200 years old, home to raccoons, opossums, owls and Bongo, an entertaining crow, who together form a delightful community. Red also is interested in the humans around him–in no small part because each year people come to tie their wishes on his branches.

When Samar, the little girl who lives across the street, ties a wish for a friend, Red feels compelled to intervene. He and Bongo concoct several schemes to help Samar and her next-door neighbor Stephen become friends. But everything becomes complicated when Francesca, the owner of the land Red stands on, decides to have him chopped down.

This is a fairly simple story, and I loved reading it. The personalities given to Red and the animals are amusing. The themes of friendship, inclusion, kindness, and appreciation of nature are ones many will enjoy. I highly recommend Wishtree as a family read-aloud because, even if your kids are old enough to read this by themselves–why let them have all the fun? Even if you don’t have children, you may just want to just read this sweet, little, well-written story for yourself. I certainly did.

Our collection has a number of books by Katherine Applegate, including her Newbery Award-winning The One and Only Ivan.

Grace and Fury by Tracy E. Banghart

Book – I have spent far more time thinking about Grace and Fury than it deserves, because it’s a perfect illustration of a strange truth: writers who are good at one part of their craft are not necessarily good at others, and a book can therefore be both a good book and a bad book at the same time.

A brief overview to start: Grace and Fury is a dystopian YA novel best described as a cross between The Selection Series and The Hunger Games with a topical dash of The Handmaid’s Tale. In a society where women are forbidden to read, one compliant young woman has been trained all her life for the prestigious role of “Grace,” an official mistress to the future king, while her rebellious young sister is expected to act as her servant.  Naturally, the wrong sister is chosen for Grace, landing in the middle of court politics she’s deeply unprepared for–while her elder sister is banished to a prison island where she’ll have to fight to survive.

I’ll start with the rough stuff, to get it out of the way.  The characterization in Grace and Fury is weak at best, and the plotting is downright bad.  Coincidence is allowed to drive the story far too often.  The characters are forced to change by their circumstances, but their growth usually isn’t believable or earned.  Characters are divided strictly into ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’–a particularly sad vice in a dystopian story, where there’s infinite room for complicity born of fear and similar shades of gray.  Worst of all, the story is full of moments when the audience will cotton to secondary characters’ motives long before the naive heroes do, even though we’re not given any information that the heroes don’t have.

But here’s the kicker: the worldbuilding isn’t terrible, and the pacing is actually pretty excellent.  I knew early on that this wasn’t the book for me, but I kept reading it, because the author does know how to write a hook.  It’s a quick, easy read, and I mean that as a compliment–making a book that the reader is compelled to keep reading is a skill that many authors would envy.

I think that a lot of popular books–Dan Brown’s novels and the Twilight series, for a start–excite comment and controversy for existing at exactly this intersection of high readability with weaker quality in other areas.  And I don’t mean to sound like I’m knocking anybody who enjoys those books, or this one.  Different readers read for different reasons, the same reader can read for different things at different times, and everybody has their own guidelines for which literary flaws constitute their deal-breakers.

I happen to be an intensely character-driven reader, so for me, Grace and Fury was a bust.  But I bet it’ll be popular with readers anyway, because lots of people rate pacing more highly than I do in a reading experience–and I hope those readers find this book, because they deserve a read they’ll love.

As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti

Book – In As You Wish, author Chelsea Sedoti crafts a novel about the power of wishing.  In the small, boring town of Madison, the residents have a secret.  It is a secret they work hard to keep hidden from the prying eyes of the rest of the world, lest they be made a freak attraction.

In Madison, everybody gets a wish—one wish that will come true.    On your eighteenth birthday, you are led to the cave of wishes where the deed is done.  If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is.  The residents spend their youth conjuring up the perfect wish–to be the most beautiful, the best sportsman, to have the unconditional love and devotion of their chosen mate.  Many have made wishes that they will regret for the rest of their lives.  But there are no takebacksies.  No wish can be undone.

For 17 year old, Eldon, his upcoming wish is a source of stress and despair.  He fails to relate to the giddy excitement of his fellow classmates and friends as their wishing days also draw closer.  He is pressured constantly by his mother to do the right thing, to make a wish that will help his family and support those he loves.  What Eldon desires more than anything is to just ignore the whole tradition altogether and never make his wish.  Through the stories of other wishers and their mistakes, Eldon tries to understand how to make the best decision, a decision that could change his entire life for better or worse.  He’ll do anything he can to not make the same mistakes as those around him.