Aurora Public Library Blog

Welcome to Aurora Public Library’s blog. A place where our library staff share their thoughts, insider knowledge and overall love of all things book and community.

Feel free to comment on posts, re-blog and enjoy. To ensure a civil and focused discussion, comments will be held for a brief period before being published.



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May 2020 - Posts
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 svanholb@auroragov.org  On May 15, 2020 at 10:53 AM
  
Create It!

Library Assistant Stacy demonstrates the second method for making watercolor art - without using watercolors! Stacy shares how to give new life to your old markers by making watercolors with them! Tune in next Wednesday for Stacy's video showing how to use these new colors to create art!

Supplies:
Dried washable markers
Jars or Cups
Water



Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On May 13, 2020 at 2:37 PM
  
Learn it!

A Yarn About the World - Berlin
with Tyler

It's #TravelTuesday! Our resident globetrotter Tyler shares his travel experiences. This time, take a trip to Berlin! Tyler shares the important role Berlin has played in world history while sharing photos of modern Berlin.

Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!



  Music: http://www.bensound.com/royalty-free-music
Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On May 12, 2020 at 2:31 PM
  
Read It!

May Family Book Club
with Tess

In this club we read middle grade fiction appropriate for ages 6-12, but anyone is welcome if you enjoy children's literature! I will be posting discussion questions weekly based on the book we are reading and I will also provide activities that relate. Please comment on the discussion questions so we can stay connected through reading!

May's book is "Pax" by Sara Pennypacker! Available instantly through hoopla digital as an eBook and an eAudiobook.

Pax by Sara Pennypacker
Discussion Questions - Chapters 1 - 11
1. Pax and Peter have a close relationship. Do you have a pet that you feel close to? Would you travel to find them if they were lost?
2. Do you like that the chapters take turns between Peter and Pax's point of view? 
3. What do you think of the other foxes that Pax meets? Can he trust them?
4. Do you understand why the vixen does not trust Pax?  
5. There is a war starting between the humans, which is why Peter has to go live with his grandfather. Do you think this will be a major theme in the book? Do you think it will keep Peter and Pax apart?

Share your answers to the questions below in the comments and tell us what you think of the book so far! 
Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On May 11, 2020 at 2:11 PM 2 Comments
  

Game on!
Game Reviews by Brandon, Elizabeth, Kristin & Stacy

Hello everyone! We hope you’ll enjoy these reviews for free games to amuse you during this time. These are a mix of browser and smartphone games - none of them will cost you anything to play.

Today's theme
Relaxing games to help you de-stress.

Game One

Alto’s Adventure
A game available on your app store for iPhone, Android and Windows

Alton's Adventure

Plug in your headphones, because this game will deserve all of your attention. For my fellow Coloradans out there, we have been missing our sweet, sweet mountain time. Bring the serenity and beauty of the mountains with you, everywhere you go. Your goal is simple, last as long as you can shredding through the slopes. Pits and rocks are scattered about, but a simple tap or click will result in your character jumping and flipping over any peril that may come their way. Upgrades are unlockable such as a wingsuit and characters with unique skill-sets are available as you progress through the game with no microtransactions required. I would highly recommend the Zen Mode where your progress does not reset after making a mistake. You can endlessly continue on your  adventure. It should be noted that you can compare how far you’ve made it with other players on the online leaderboards, but that will not be what brings you back to this game. The captivating visuals and soothing music will put the worries of your world on hold as you fall into the trance that is "Alto’s Adventure". - Brandon

Game 2
Winter Bells
A browser-based game available here

Winter Bells

A soothing game where you play as a bunny who jumps on bells to climb into the sky. You get more points the higher you jump, but with the calming music and the cute design, it's hard to feel punished for falling. Click initially to move, but after that you can control the bunny just based on mouse movements. Pro tip: Birds double your current score, so they're definitely worth going for. - Kristin


Game 3
Lieve Oma
Available free through itch.io here

Lieve Oma

It’s mushroom season, and your grandmother has asked you to help her pick penny buns. Except, of course, this isn’t about mushrooms: it’s about walking through the woods in the early autumn with your grandmother, who loves you whether you find one penny bun or a hundred. Unlike the other games in this blog post, Lieve Oma doesn’t have a high score chart or a leaderboard. You don’t have to jump or climb, just walk using the arrow keys or WASD. Soft piano music plays as you trundle along in your grandmother’s footsteps: you’ve been lonely and sad, you see, but she’s here to listen and promise that  everything is going to be okay. Nothing bad happens in this game. I walked and found a few mushrooms, and then my character went home to have hot cocoa and mushroom risotto. This game's pure comfort food. - Elizabeth


Game 4
Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector
A game available on your app store for either iPhone or Android.

Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector

A passive game where you collect photos of as many different neighbor cats as you can! It’s simple: you buy new cat toys and food with in-game money given to you by your friendly kitties, place them in your house and/or yard, close the app and when you check in later you’ll find a many variety of kitties enjoying your snacks and toys! With 60+ cats to collect, there are so many different personalities to meet and collect – starting with your first visitor, a cute white cat named Snowball, to my personal favorite, a cardboard train-conducting, hat-wearing, whistle-blowing cat name Conductor Whiskers.  - Stacy

Tell us what you think!

What are your comfort food games? Did you net a high score playing Winter Bells or enjoy a few hours of Zen Mode in Alto’s Adventure? Let us know in the comments!

Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On May 11, 2020 at 10:26 AM
  
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