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Read It!

Review of "The Last to Die" by Kelly Garrett
Review by Janelle H.

"The Last to Die" by Kelly Garrett

It all started out as a game. Just a way to have fun. We figured as long as we had rules, it wouldn't be a problem.
RULE #1: Only break into one another's houses.
RULE #2: Only take stuff that can be replaced.
It worked for a while. Whoever's turn it was to break in got a rush, and the rest of us laughed over the trophies they brought back. But then someone went too far. Lives got ruined. Someone is dead. And I might be next.

Janelle's Review:
This book starts out as a typical "bored youth needing some excitement"; what it ends up being  is a plot-twist thriller. You meet several characters that are all intertwined, whether it be by family, friendship or romance. While set mostly in a character’s basement or school, it keeps moving forward at a steady pace. As the book progresses, the red herrings are vast, especially after the death of a main character. Following along with prejudiced clues and teenage logic , you find yourself knowing they are wrong, but wondering who it could possibly be. When the end of the mystery is revealed, you do have a slight aha moment, but also a “well done, author" moment. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a surprise ending with a touch of drama.  

This book reads like: 
"One of Us is Lying" by Karen McManus  
"Ten" by Gretchen McNeil

Ready to read?
Check out the audiobook version of this book instantly with your library card from hoopla digital

Need a library card? Sign up for a virtual library card here!

Have you read this book? Tell us what you thought of it in the comments below! 
Posted by  On May 01, 2020 at 3:07 PM
Create It!

APL Staff member Dominga gives a step-by-step tutorial on how to make your own face mask!
This mask design follows a pattern from Kaiser Permanente. Detailed instructions can be found here: Fabric Face Mask Instructions 

Utilizing sewing machines from our Sewing Labs and practicing safe social distancing, APL and other city staff are making masks for hundreds of frontline workers in the city of Aurora, including the Aurora Police Department, as well as for people experiencing homelessness.

In order to broaden our reach, we are looking for donations of the following items:
• Fabric that adheres to CDC guidelines 
• Thread
• Completed masks

If you have items to donate, or would like more information about this project, please contact us at
Posted by  On Apr 30, 2020 at 9:37 AM
 Want to read along and join the discussion? Check out "A Snicker of Magic" by Natalie Lloyd on Hoopla Digital!

A Snicker of Magic

Share your answers to the questions below in the comments and tell us what you thought of the book! 

Chapters 20-27 + epiloge
- When Felicity and her mama eat the Blackberry Surprise ice cream, they talk about factofabulous memories. Will you share one of your factofabulous memories?
- Aunt Cleo says that only fools run away from what they fear. Do you agree?
- What did Felicity forget at the Duel? What did she do instead?
- What happened at the Duel to break the curse?
- Did you enjoy this book? Why or why not? Give your opinion of the novel!

Vote for the May book!
Vote for the book you would like to read in May by leaving a comment below with the title you want to read! All titles are available instantly from hoopla digital!

"Because of Winn Dixie" by Kate DiCamillo
The summer Opal and her father move to Naomi, Florida, Opal goes into the Winn-Dixie supermarket—and comes out with a dog… named Winn-Dixie. The dog is big and ugly but with a sterling sense of humor. Winn-Dixie is better at making friends than anyone Opal has ever known and she spends all that sweet summer collecting stories about her new friends and thinking about her mother. But because of Winn-Dixie or perhaps because she has grown, Opal learns to let go, just a little, and that friendship—and forgiveness—can sneak up on you like a sudden summer storm.

"The Willoughbys" by Lois Lowry
Abandoned by their ill-humored parents to the care of an odious nanny, Tim, the twins, Barnaby A and Barnaby B, and their sister, Jane, attempt to fulfill their roles as good old-fashioned children. However, it is an unquestionably ruthless act that sets in motion the transformations that lead to their salvation and to happy endings for not only the four children, but their nanny, an abandoned baby, a candy magnate, and his long-lost son too. 

"Pax" by Sara Pennypacker
Pax was only a kit when his family was killed, and “his boy” Peter rescued him from abandonment and certain death. Now the war front approaches, and when Peter’s father enlists, Peter has to move in with his grandpa. Far worse than being forced to leave home is the fact that Pax can’t go. They leave Pax behind but Peter can’t stand the guilt; he packs for a trek to get his best friend back and sneaks into the night. This is the story of Peter, Pax, and their independent struggles to return to one another against all odds.

Posted by  On Apr 27, 2020 at 12:45 PM 2 Comments
Read it!

**Video may contain spoilers**
Join APL staff each week for a discussion of some of their current reads! Each week they will discuss a book from a different genre. Join the discussion live on at each Friday at 1 p.m. (MST) and leave your thoughts in the comments below! 

The next discussion will be at 1 p.m. on May 1, 2020 on our Facebook page and will feature "We're Going to Need More Wine" by Gabrielle Union (available instantly on

Other upcoming titles, all available instantly from hoopla digital, include:
- May 6, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" by J.K. Rowling (available on hoopla through April 30)
- May 8, "The Wild Geese" by Mori Ōgai
- May 15, "The Hidden Life of Trees" by Peter Wohlleben
- May 22, "All Out: the No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages" by Saundra Mitchell
- May 29, "A Princess in Theory: Reluctant Royals  #1" by Alyssa Cole
Posted by  On Apr 26, 2020 at 9:28 AM
Game On!

"Animal Crossing: New Horizons" Review
by Justine

Around the beginning of March (and perhaps long before), if you logged in to any of your social media accounts, there is a good chance you saw a meme or article relating to a game called "Animal Crossing". On March 20, 2020, Nintendo welcomed the fifth game in the franchise, "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" for the Nintendo Switch, much to the delight of longtime fans who indeed waited a very long time for this installment.  

Animal Crossing New Horizons (Nintendo)
Image from

"Animal Crossing: New Leaf" for the 3DS family of systems came out a whopping eight years ago and fans of the series like myself have been chomping at the bit ever since, waiting for our next foray into the village. I myself was in college then, playing between studying sessions and essay writing, and as I entered the workforce I kept checking every day to see if a new game was in the works. Would we be getting a new "Animal Crossing" for Nintendo’s new console the Switch? Imagine my excitement when it was finally announced! But the wait... The wait was grueling.  

A question I get a lot, and the question on your mind right now, is why this game in particular is so popular. Why was there such anticipation surrounding its release, why is everyone and their mom playing it, and what is the point? Picture this. You’re invited to be a founding member of a brand new (deserted) island. With nothing but the clothes on your back you begin your life anew, no career, no friends or family. You strike out into this new world with a tent gifted to you... by a raccoon. Yes, a raccoon. His name is Tom Nook, thank you for asking. And right now he’s the internet’s favorite mascot and the memes are endless surrounding him and his protégés, Tommy and Timmy, who help you adjust to your new island life.  

Along with these three kind raccoons, you also meet and befriend two other animals who come to stay on the island with you. For every player they’re different, but I was lucky enough to have Phoebe the peahen and Kid Cat the kitten join me on my journey to make the island habitable.

Animal Crossing New Horizon characters

You start off owing a large debt to Tom Nook for all the moving fees and the plot of land where you’ll eventually build your house, which probably already sounds boring, but hear me out. For some reason I found it so charming to be thrown into this new world where I had to earn everything myself. I hate paying rent every month in real life, but Tom Nook is the best landlord there is. I was grateful to a virtual raccoon for giving me a chance to meet new animal friends and catch all the butterflies and fish my pockets could carry. Isn’t that the dream? To get back to nature, to nourish the earth with your own two hands, to be responsible for your destiny? "Animal Crossing" lets you do just that. It lets you live your best virtual life the way you want to.  

I think one of the main reasons "Animal Crossing" is so appealing is because there’s no one way to play it. You can be an archeologist and spend your time digging up fossils to give to a knowledgeable owl named Blathers to display in the island’s museum. Maybe you love fishing and just want to spend hours on end collecting one of every species. And in case you were worried, yes, you can totally fish for sharks. And when you catch one you can bet everyone will be asking you how, because it takes as much patience as fishing takes in real life. As for me, I personally enjoy gardening in the game (I’m a black thumb in real life; everything I touch dies, even hardy cacti). I plant flowers of all kinds, in specific arrangements, so new ones will blossom in beautiful new colors they don’t normally come in. I was ecstatic when my black roses began to bloom and I told all my friends about it (and my grandpa, but he didn’t seem that impressed). There aren’t many games out there that give you the chance to be whatever you want to be with the lowest stakes possible. Usually you’re a hero trying to save the world, a detective trying to solve crimes, a plumber trying to save Princess Peach for the eightieth time. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with those games, but my point is that Animal Crossing doesn’t have a linear storyline and doesn’t shoehorn you into a specific role like games you may have played before. It is incredibly freeing to play at your own pace with nothing dictating how you play or what you do in the game. Your only limits are those you impose on yourself.  

My friends and I usually vary pretty greatly in the types of games we play. Some like fighting and sports games while I’ll sink 90 hours into Japanese RPGs. But I can’t name one friend on my list who hasn’t bought "Animal Crossing". Every single one has it and with the online feature to visit one another’s islands, during this government-mandated quarantine, I’ve been able to play with them. We visit each other’s homes, compliment one another’s gardens, fish together, dig for clams on the beach, and share fruit that the other doesn’t have yet. I’ve finally got all the peaches and oranges I can handle when I started out my game with only pears. I love seeing all my friends living their best island lives, decorating their homes in such creative ways and gushing about how their favorite animal villager (there are over 400 for reference) just agreed to move in. The communal aspect of the game is a huge pull for many gamers, and I think that’s just another reason people from 8 to 80 love it and keep coming back for more 19 years later. The first "Animal Crossing" game was released only in Japan back in 2001, but when it was localized for North America I’m not sure they knew how much it would resonate with fans of all ages, genders, and races not just here, but globally. 

This is technically a review, so I’ll get to the point. Why do I love "Animal Crossing: New Horizons"? I think back to one of my favorite poems, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” by William Butler Yeats:  

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree, 
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made; 
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee, 
And live alone in the bee-loud glade. 
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow, 
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings; 
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow, 
And evening full of the linnet’s wings. 

I will arise and go now, for always night and day 
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; 
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey, 
I hear it in the deep heart’s core. 

Now I’m sure you weren’t expecting a poem in the middle of a video game review, but humor me here. I promise its relevance will be made clear hastily. As I said above, getting back to nature is something so many of us desire. It’s in our human nature, almost hardwired in our DNA, to want to connect with the natural world and live a simple life with something we’ve cultivated on our own. In these modern times, and especially with the coronavirus forcing us indoors, this want for the outdoors is stronger than ever. I live in a cramped townhouse in Aurora. I don’t hear Yeats’ lake water lapping or cricket song or honeybees. The fact of the matter is, my life is not a pastoral one, and I’ve been robbed of the opportunity to have that right now. As silly as it might sound, "Animal Crossing" lets me live that life virtually until it’s safe again to go into the mountains and enjoy a day of sunshine and the sound of something other than refrigerator buzzing and traffic noise. I can hear the sound of the ocean in the game and the striking visuals make me feel like I really did catch a sea bass and planted a gorgeous rose or tulip. It might pale in comparison to the real thing, but it feels real enough right now. The game encapsulates everything in Yeats’ poem and what so many of us feel and desire for ourselves. 

If you’ve stuck it out this long, I want to sincerely thank you. I know this was a lot just to explain why I love a video game so much, but in these uncertain times, I think finding something that you love and keeps your mind off of the state of the world is a rare and beautiful thing. "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" is worth every penny and I hope you’ll consider joining me and millions of others if you’re at all curious what the hype is about. I’d sure love to see what you make of your island adventure, and so many other fans would too.  


Posted by  On Apr 24, 2020 at 12:29 PM
Check it out!

Into the Unknown with Brandon F.

A repetitive day-to-day routine can be great for some, but quite mundane for others. Some people want mystery and intrigue. Some people want lively debate and to be challenged. Finally, some people want to delve, Into the Unknown.

Join your local Aurora Public Library librarian Brandon as he brings his club to the virtual space for the very first. Some of you may have already attended a session in person but for many, this is an exciting first-time experience. If you have an interest in the paranormal, extraterrestrial, unsolved and all things fantastic, then this club is for you. Enjoy a narrated presentation from Brandon with visual material and links to fascinating video footage.

Brandon does not claim to be an expert in any of these fields, but he is a dedicated fan going on 15 plus years of all these subjects. He values an open-mind mixed with an analytical approach. Debate and discuss with Brandon and fellow members. This is not a program to prove or disprove any subject. This is a program to discuss the merits of both sides and to see the perspective of others. 

Brandon will first be presenting recaps of his previous in-person sessions, and will then go into new material for those long time club members at home.

See below links for additional footage (video matches title of related slide)
- What’s in the mist
- Fallen Angel 
- Slowdown
- Julia
- That’s a big fish
- Rumble in the Jungle
- Icy Waters 
- 8 out 10 for form
- Get them doggies rolling 
- Thunderbird
- Ocean Noodle

Share your thoughts in the comments and let us know what other topics you would like to explore!
Posted by  On Apr 23, 2020 at 4:10 PM
Create It!

Library Assistant Stacy demonstrates two methods for making watercolor art without using watercolors!

- Thick paper (cardstock, sketch paper, etc.)
- Water
- Washable markers
- Sponges
- Q-tips

Stay tuned for part two!

Show us your watercolor creations in the comments!
Posted by  On Apr 22, 2020 at 4:05 PM
"A Snicker of Magic" by Natalie Lloyd
Chapters 11 - 19

Want to read along and join the discussion? Check out "A Snicker of Magic" by Natalie Lloyd on Hoopla Digital!

A Snicker of Magic

Discussion Questions:
- Felicity’s talent is to see words; Frannie Jo seems to hear music around her; Mama used to paint and Uncle Boone can see color in music. Do you think Aunt Cleo has a talent? Can you guess what it could be? 

- We now know what "a snicker of magic" means. Do you remember what Jonah said it is?

- Can you think of someone in your life that could use some help from the Beedle? How could the Beedle make a difference? 

- Now that we know Felicity is related to the Threadbare Brothers, do you think her family is cursed? Do you think she’ll be able to figure out how to break the curse?

- Jewell Picket’s Lube & Dye is a mechanic shop AND a beauty parlor. What a weird combination! What kind of combo shop can you think up (two of your passions put together)?

- Make a prediction - do you think Felicity will be able to persuade her mother to paint the Gallery?
Posted by  On Apr 20, 2020 at 9:37 AM 1 Comment

**Video may contain spoilers**
Join APL staff each week for a discussion of some of their current reads! Each week they will discuss a book from a different genre. Join the discussion live on at each Friday at 1 p.m. (MST) and leave your thoughts in the comments below! (See discussion questions below - questions may contain spoilers!)

The next discussion will be at 1 p.m. on April 24, 2020 on our Facebook page and will feature "Truth or Beard" by Penny Reid (available instantly on

Discussion Questions for "Wuthering Heights"
- Why does Emily Bronte have so many different people telling this story? What is the effect of hearing the story filtered through so many different narrators? Are there characters that never get to tell their points of view?
- Do you continue to root for Heathcliff even knowing all of the horrible things he does? Why or why not? Do you think he is cruel? Is his cruelty justified?
- Are there any characters who are truly likable or sympathetic?

Posted by  On Apr 19, 2020 at 8:50 AM
Check It Out!
a movie review by Kristin S.

Featured movie

Ex Machina
What's the basic plot?
A programmer wins a mysterious contest and is taken to his eccentric CEO's remote mansion to complete a challenge. The challenge? To prove whether an android is sentient or not, using whatever questions he can devise.
Ex Machina scene
Why you might like it
This visually stunning sci-fi piece is both fast-paced and introspective. Like most good science fiction, it centers on the question, "What makes us human?" However, the further down the rabbit hole the movie draws you, the more you aren't sure what to expect from its answer. There's a tension in the dynamics between the three main characters that quickly leads you to wonder if something else is happening behind the scenes. 

The cinematography is stunning. Frequent wide shots leave the characters feeling lost in an environment that is both vast and uncertain. The movie makes use of visual language just as often as spoken to tell its story by framing shots on things like the cracked glass in the corner of Ava's room that allude to a darkness beneath the bright facade. The mansion's architecture is a mixture of futuristic and natural, with large slabs of stone and lush trees paired with glass walls and diffuse floor lighting, and this backdrop gives the film a distinct visual flavor. The CGI used to create Ava is both interesting and well executed, but it's used with a subtlety that doesn't overshadow the acting within the scenes.   

Overall, this movie does an excellent job of balancing philosophy and suspense, and keeps the viewer guessing throughout. If you're a fan of shows like "Westworld", definitely give this a shot. 
Ex Machina scene
Reasons you  might not like it
This movie can be dark and tense at times, which isn't everyone's cup of tea. It addresses sexuality and adult themes in ways that can be brash or vulgar. There is a creeping feeling of danger and distrust throughout the film. Don't go into this if you need a happy ending. 

There's also a painfully awkward dance scene. 
Ex Machina scene
Who's in it?
Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson
Where to watch it
Every title I recommend is available for you to watch instantly, for free, using our digital library services. "Ex Machina" can be accessed using our Hoopla service, with a direct link here:

Don't have a library card? Don't worry! You can sign up for a virtual library card from home by following these instructions.

Let us know what you thought of the movie in the comments below!

Posted by  On Apr 17, 2020 at 11:51 AM
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