Group Blog Home
Group Blog Home

Recent Posts
1  2  3  4 
Read It!

Review of "Into the Water" by Paula Hawkins
by Nicole S.

As promised, I am giving you my review of the second book that was picked for my virtual book club. One of the great things about participating in book clubs is you get to know a sense of other people’s reading tastes and discover books you normally wouldn’t have picked for yourself. For our second book I got to pick the title which ended up being “Into the Water” by Paula Hawkins. 

"Into the Water" by Paula Hawkins
Check it out from Aurora Public Library here! 

Paula Hawkins was originally a journalist for 15 years before she became a bestselling author. Her most popular book, “The Girl on the Train”, ended up becoming a bestseller worldwide selling almost 20 million copies! It was then made into a movie starring Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson and Justin Theroux in 2016. Both “The Girl on the Train” and “Into the Water” are great examples of a psychological thriller. 

Into the Water tells about how a single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Not much earlier, a teenage girl was found dead in the same river – and these are not the only women to have met the same dark, watery fate. Each death brings up more and more secrets that were meant to stay hidden. Fifteen-year-old Lena Abbott is left to be cared for by her estranged aunt Julia. As Julia, fearful of her once-home, stays to care for Lena, she learns more about her sister, the residents of Beckford and the secrets they kept submerged.  

I was such a big fan of Hawkins's first novel, “The Girl on the Train”. When I found out she wrote another stand alone novel I knew I just had to read it. One of my favorite elements of a psychological thriller is the unreliable narratives. The characters telling you the story may not be entirely truthful or are only telling you the story from their perspective. As time goes on you find out more and more of the story from other characters and it is now your job to piece together the truth. That is the same with this story. The story looks at many different character perspectives (from Jules Abbott to Lena to the neighbor Louise Whittaker and so on) and each one is telling you part of the story as well as their own. It’s up to you to weave them together to find the truth. Each character has their own secrets that you discover and you learn that not every person is good or bad. You make your own judgments based on each character’s actions. You also start to identify with one or more of the characters as time goes on. One of the other elements I enjoy is the suspense and the emotions you feel during a read like this. There is the original question of whether Lena Abbott’s mother, Danielle (Nel), committed suicide or was murdered. At each chapter that question gets more and more muddled and you are just along for the ride as you find out what really happened with Nel and the other women that were found in the river. It is a real page turner that throws multiple curveballs and leaves you at the end with chills.  

For those that enjoy psychological thrillers like this, check out authors like Gillian Flynn and Megan Abbott.
Next time I will tell you about our third pick which falls into the fantasy category, “The Last Wish: Introducing The Witcher” by Andrzej Sapkowski. 
Posted by [email protected]  On Jun 14, 2020 at 9:07 AM
  
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 Facebook.com/AuroraLibrary 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 June 12, 2020 on our Facebook page and will feature "The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest" by Melanie Dickerson (available instantly on hoopladigital.com).

Other upcoming titles, all available instantly from hoopla digital, include:
- June 19, "Fire Logic" by Laurie J. Marks
- June 26, "Get a Life, Chloe Brown" (Part 1 of The Brown Sisters Series) by Talia Hibbert
- July 3, "Reclaiming Home" by Lesego Malepe
- July 10, "Desperadoes" by Ron Hansen

Posted by [email protected]  On Jun 07, 2020 at 8:41 AM
  

Fantastical Reimaginings

Fantastical Reimaginings is a blog series where APL staff explore some of their favorite fairy tales - from their classic beginnings to popular renditions to modern retellings and impact on pop culture. 

Fantastical Reimaginings: Beauty and the Beast
by Nicole S.

Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" (Image from Disney)
Image from Disney
“Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme....Beauty and the Beast.” Who else hummed the tune when they read that? Many people can spot that line or even the melody and say what it’s from - Disney’s "Beauty and the Beast"! I am a huge Disney fan and to this day when anyone asks me what my favorite Disney movie is, it’s hands-down "Beauty and the Beast". However, did you know that Disney didn’t create that story? Or that the original story is slightly different than the one Disney depicted?

History

The original "Beauty and the Beast" fairy tale was written by the French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and published in 1740 in "La Jeune Américaine et les contes marins" ("The Young American and Marine Tales"). In French, the title is "La Belle et la Bête". It was then abridged, rewritten and published first by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont in 1756 in "Magasin des enfants" ("Children's Collection") and later by Andrew Lang in the "Blue Fairy Book" , part of his Fairy Book series in 1889. Most of the later variants have been inspired by either Villeneueve or Beaumont’s versions.

The Original

Beauty and the Beast (Image from SurLaLane)
Image from SurLaLune 
In Villeneuve’s version, both Belle and the Beast had a backstory to go with their tale. The Beast was a young prince whose father had died while his mother waged war to defend their kingdom. The prince was to be taken care of by an evil fairy who attempted to seduce the prince when he came of age. However when he refused her, she turned him into a beast. Belle was in fact the daughter of a king and a good fairy. The evil fairy had tried to murder Belle so her father placed her in the care of a merchant who’s own daughter had passed. The merchant had 6 sons and 6 daughters (Belle being the youngest). All the daughters were beautiful and cruel except Belle, who was kind-hearted. When the merchant asked each of his daughter’s what they would like him to bring them back from his trip to port, the eldest daughters wanted clothing and jewels and Belle asked for nothing. When prompted, she asked for a rose as there were no roses in their part of the country. On the way back the merchant loses his way in a storm and stumbled upon a castle. Seeing it empty, he sneaks in to find food and spends the night. The next day he sees a rose garden and remembers Belle’s request. As he goes to pluck the loveliest rose he can find he is confronted by the hideous Beast who attempts to kill him for stealing one of his most prized possessions. The merchant begs him to spare his life explaining the rose is for his youngest daughter. The beast agrees to let the merchant return home to give Belle the rose but only if the merchant brings back one of his daughter’s to take his place. Whoever he brings back must be fully aware of the predicament when she accepts. Belle returns to the castle to take her father’s place. The rest of the tale you have heard before. 

Beaumont’s version is shorter by excluding the backstories of the Beast and Belle, with the beginning of the story the same. However the merchant only has 3 sons and 3 daughters, including Belle. She ends up in the castle and is instead told she is the mistress and that the Beast must obey her. 

Beauty and the Beast Re-tellings
So, how much has this classic fairy tale changed over the years? Are the re-tellings similar or impossibly different? Find out more about similar tales below!

***
Disney's "Beauty and the Beast"
Disney’s "Beauty and the Beast"
Available as picture book on Hoopla

This is the story that most people are more familiar with. In this story, Belle is an only child to the wacky inventor, Maurice. Everyone in her village thinks she is odd and longs for an adventure. The Beast was originally a spoiled prince who was transformed into this hideous form by an enchantress who he refused to give shelter in exchange for a beautiful rose. The beautiful rose is enchanted and entwined with the Beast’s human life. Each petal that falls brings him closer to his 21st birthday and once the last petal falls he will die. 
Much of this tale bares a close resemblance to the original - minus some characters and Belle’s background. However, for those that have watched the live action version of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, both Belle and the Beast are given a backstory. 
***
 A Court of Thorns and Roses
"A Court of Thorns and Roses" by Sarah J. Maas
Available on Overdrive/Libby
In "A Court of Thorns and Roses", 19-year-old Fayre is forced to hunt in the woods for her family’s survival. Humans and fae don’t get along. So much so that there is a wall that borders the human lands and the fairy lands. Fayre has a strong hatred towards Fae as there are some who travel across the wall and hunt down humans. Fayre sees a wolf and knows it is no ordinary wolf - it is Fae. Without a second thought she pierces the wolf with her arrow, killing it. Finding out one of his own was killed with no regrets by a human, Tamlin, one of the High Fae, kidnaps Fayre and brings her to the fairy land Prythian in exchange for the fae life she killed. Fayre sees Tamlin as nothing but a hideous beast, but there is more to him than meets the eye.
The premise for this story, exchanging a human life for another and forcing them to live in a castle with a “beast”, makes it very similar to the original. However, this story continues as a series and involves mythical creatures like the Fae. This is one of my favorite re-tellings!
***

Beastly
"Beastly" by Alex Flinn
Available on Hoopla
Beastly turns the fairytale into a modern story taking place in New York City. Kyle Kingsbury is the most popular boy in school and always gets what he wants, which makes him arrogant and cruel. When he is voted homecoming prince, Kendra, the outcast, protests his victory due to it being because of his "physical beauty.” Kyle publicly humiliates Kendra and other unattractive classmates which prompts Kendra to curse him and physically transform him into everything he despises. The only solution to the curse is to find someone that will love him as he is.
This retelling is incredibly similar to the originals tales except that it is modern day in a high school in New York City. The plot involves an arrogant, attractive young man (the prince of his school) being cursed by a witch/enchantress and becomes a hideous “beast.” He must find someone sees the beauty from within. This book was later adapted to film that stars Alex Pettyfer and Vanessa Hudgens.
***
For more retellings of this beloved story check out these titles available in our digital collection through Hoopla!
o "Beauty" by Robin Mckinley
o "Rose Daughter" by Robin Mckinley
o "Bryony And Roses" by T. Kingfisher
o "Beauty & the Billionaire" by Jessica Clare
o "Beauty and the Clockwork Beast" by Nancy Campbell Allen

Beauty and the Beast is a great fairy tale that teaches you to see the beauty within a person and to not judge based on appearance. There have been many versions of this story but the theme stays the same. Check out some of these titles above for yourself and let us know in the comments which re-telling is your favorite!
Also enjoy the pictures of my Beauty and the Beast shrine below! 😊 

Nicole's "Beauty and the Beast" Collection

Posted by [email protected]  On Jun 05, 2020 at 2:24 PM
  
**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 Facebook.com/AuroraLibrary 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 June 5, 2020 on our Facebook page and will feature "The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet" by Becky Chambers (available instantly on hoopladigital.com).

Other upcoming titles, all available instantly from hoopla digital, include:
- June 12, "The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest" by Melanie Dickerson
- June 19, "Fire Logic" by Laurie J. Marks
- June 26, "Get a Life, Chloe Brown" (Part 1 of The Brown Sisters Series) by Talia Hibbert
Posted by [email protected]  On May 29, 2020 at 2:36 PM
  
**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 Facebook.com/AuroraLibrary 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 29, 2020 on our Facebook page and will feature "A Princess in Theory: Reluctant Royals" by Alyssa Cole (available instantly on hoopladigital.com).

Other upcoming titles, all available instantly from hoopla digital, include:
- June 5, "The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet" by Becky Chambers
- June 12, "The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest" by Melanie Dickerson
- June 19, "Fire Logic" by Laurie J. Marks
Posted by [email protected]  On May 22, 2020 at 4:37 PM
  
Read It!

APL Reader's Corner with Tessy & Justine

**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 Facebook.com/AuroraLibrary 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 22, 2020 on our Facebook page and will feature "All Out: the No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages" by Saundra Mitchell (available instantly on hoopladigital.com).

Other upcoming titles, all available instantly from hoopla digital, include:
- May 29, "A Princess in Theory: Reluctant Royals  #1" by Alyssa Cole
- June 5, "The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet" by Becky Chambers
- June 12, "The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest" by Melanie Dickerson
- June 19, "Fire Logic" by Laurie J. Marks
Posted by [email protected]  On May 15, 2020 at 3:53 PM
  
Read It!

Review of "The Winter People" by Jennifer McMahon
by Nicole S.

After moving to Colorado earlier this year my friends back in Wisconsin still wanted to keep in touch and what better way than a book club! Thanks to technology I have been able to virtually attend the meetings and we catch up and of course talk about what we thought of the books we picked for the meeting. I decided to also share my thoughts of these books to the awesome readers like you!  

The first book we kicked off for our 2020 book club was “The Winter People” by Jennifer McMahon. I am a big fan of thriller/suspense novels so I was very pleased to find a thriller/ghost story novel on our list of books. 
Jennifer McMahon is a New York Time’s bestselling author of works like “Promise Not To Tell”  and “Island of Lost Girls”. The majority of her books could be categorized under thriller/suspenseful fiction with some elements of paranormal activity.  

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

“The Winter People” takes place in West Hall, Vermont, which seems to be a place where strange happenings occur. It all seems to start with a woman named Sara Harrison Shea. In 1908, she is found dead behind her house not long after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Then, in present day with 19-year-old Ruthie who happens to live in Sara’s old farmhouse with her mother Alice and younger sister Fawn. One day Alice vanishes without a trace. While Ruthie and Fawn try to gather clues about their mother’s whereabouts, they happen upon a copy of Sara Harrison Shea’s diary. The story jumps back and forth between the diary entries in 1908 and present day where similarities may come to pass and history may be doomed to repeat itself.  

I greatly enjoy narratives like this that jump back and forth. At first it may be a little hard to keep track of all the characters in play in the story but once you get going you find it easier to sort out the events in 1908 with Sara, her husband Marty and their daughter Gertie, and present day which includes Ruthie and Fawn. McMahon does a great job of weaving the separate stories but ultimately entwining them. Add in the chilling ghost stories and the missing people and you get hooked. I found myself wanting to keep reading Sara’s diary entries more than Ruthie’s accounts in present day because that seemed to be where the real story is. 

You feel for these characters, especially Sara, due to the loss of her child, Gertie. You sympathize with her actions and justify her means of coping with the sudden loss. The story twists and turns because you wonder whether ghosts really exist in this town and if it’s “cursed.” However, the one flaw I found was that the ending seemed to be underwhelmed. The story wraps up rather quickly and the decisions made by some of the characters didn’t seem to be realistic. All in all, if you enjoy multiple narratives from different points in time with a thriller and suspense feel to it – this is your book! If you have read "The Winter People," tell us what you thought of it in the comments!

Also, if you enjoy the Vermont setting like McMahon seems to, check out her other novels, “The Invited” and “The Night Sister”.
Click here to view McMahon's works and place a hold with your library card.

Check back for my next review of our second book club pick, “Into the Water” by Paula Hawkins.  
 
Posted by [email protected]  On May 15, 2020 at 10:53 AM
  
Read It!

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

"The Last to Die" by Kelly Garrett

Synopsis:
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 [email protected]  On May 01, 2020 at 3:07 PM
  
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 Facebook.com/AuroraLibrary 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 hoopladigital.com).

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 [email protected]  On Apr 26, 2020 at 9:28 AM
  

**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 Facebook.com/AuroraLibrary 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 hoopladigital.com).


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 [email protected]  On Apr 19, 2020 at 8:50 AM
  
1  2  3  4