Monday, December 16, 2013

Books for kids and adults

Check out the books that are in the children’s sections, but would appeal to many adults. The first one is The journey that saved Curious George : the true wartime escape of Margret and H.A. Rey. It is quite a trip this couple took on their way to safety. They have experienced many things and lived in several countries.

The second book is titled Temple Grandin. It relates the remarkable story of a woman who is autistic and how cows saved her. She is now a scientist of great acclaim. We also have the movie by the same title. The movie is in the adult section and the book is in the junior nonfiction area.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a vampire story.  I'll put that right out there.  However, don't just write it off as a Twilight knockoff or something of the like.  It is a completely original story...for the most part.  I would say I spotted traces of Interview With a Vampire by Anne Rice in there, but only the faintest of ideas.

Tana is a pretty average high school student who goes to a high school party and wakes up in the bathroom the next afternoon.  She's not surprised, everything is as it should be..until she realizes that everyone else that was at that party is dead.  During the night, they were attacked by vampires and Tana is the only survivor..until she finds her ex-boyfriend, Aiden, and a vampire, Gavriel, both tied up separately in the bedroom...and Aiden has been bitten...and it's getting dark...and there are other vampires hiding in the basement waiting for that dark.

What follows is an exciting, tense story.  For me to got into all the details and explain the rules of this vampire world (because they all have different ones) would probably get boring and would take away from Holly Black's book.  She does an excellent job of weaving the story of Tana, Aiden and Gavriel with that of Tana's past, Gavriel's past and what happens to a person that is bitten by a vampire.  

Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  I thought it was original and exciting.  Of course, I have some minor issues with some aspects of the plot and some of the characters, but overall it was a great read.  

You can find The Coldest Girl in Coldtown in the YA section of the library.  For more information on this book, check out:


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

How do I describe Across the Universe and the feelings that I have about it?  I'm going to try and do the best that I can.  I will loosely define it as book 1 in a YA science fiction series.  I have a hard time just limiting to YA readers, the story is for mature readers who are ready to think.

Revis tells this story by alternating chapter viewpoints between Amy and Elder.  Amy is a 16 year old from our time (or in the very near future) who is cryogenically frozen with her parents to travel 300 years in space to reach a distant planet, meant to be a new colony for Earth.  She is understandably reluctant to leave everything she knows on Earth for an unknown future, but does so because she can't bear the thought of leaving her parents.

Elder is the leader-in-training on the same ship that Amy is frozen in.  People live on the ship, breeding animals, growing crops, keeping the ship running, etc.  Every generation has a different leader- the Eldest with someone in training to take his spot when he dies.  This has been the way of things since "The Plague" long ago caused so many deaths and panic.  Elder does what Eldest says, but there a lot of questions that he doesn't get the answers to and he's frustrated and nervous about the role he is going to play in the future without these answers.

Then, Amy is unplugged on a lower level that Elder didn't even know existed until very recently.  She almost dies without Elder's assistance.  When she is brought to, she finds out that they are still 50 years from reaching the new planet and she can't be refrozen to join her parents.  And others are being unplugged with unfortunate results.  Who is unplugging this people and why?  Why is this area of the ship a secret to all people except for a select few?  What's really going on with this ship?

I can't really go into much more detail, partly because it would give things away and partly because I really don't know how to describe what happens.  It's exciting and interesting.  I was almost immediately curious as to what was going on and how society on this ship worked.  (I will tell you's weird.)  It did take me a while to get through the book.  It got a little bit slow in the middle and I wanted answers now!  Plus, I will also admit- I get a little scared by space so I couldn't read it at night.  However, overall, I found the people, the place and the ideas thought provoking.  I really look forward to reading the second book in this trilogy.

You can find Across the Universe in our YA section.  For more information and other reviews, check out:


Monday, August 26, 2013

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

I loved this book.  I'm just going to say that right out front.  The writing is fantastic.  The characters are well developed and interesting.  The characters, the setting, the whole book just continues to stay with me two days after I finished it.

Sepetys writes another great historical fiction.  This time she moves from 1940's Europe (Between Shades of Gray)  to 1950's New Orleans.  She sets up the story nicely with a wonderfully described setting.  I honestly felt like I was walking the streets of New Orleans with the characters. Josie Moraine is the daughter of a prostitute and an unknown father.  Her mother moves them from Detroit it 1940 to return to her work in a brothel.  Josie's mother is not a nice woman.  There is no implication that all women who work as prostitutes are terrible people.  In fact, most of the women described that work in this brothel, are caring, unique individuals who just happen to be prostitutes by trade.  Josie's mother is not a sympathetic person in the least and you do get frustrated with Josie for still caring for her mother like she does, but she is her mother after all and she's somewhat of a minor character in the story of Josie.

Josie hasn't lived with her mother for about 6 years.  Instead, she lives upstairs of the bookstore where she works in exchange for rent.  She also works cleaning up the brothel where her mother works, saving all her money to get the heck out of this town.  She wants nothing more than to escape New Orleans and head to college out East.  A difficulty with little money and her unseemly background.

The story that unfolds is about Josie, the people in her life and the town of New Orleans.  It can't really be defined as a mystery, thriller, romance, or historical fiction.  It is all of those things.  It's about a girl discovering who she is, where she came from and what it all means.  The characters fill up the pages.  It is much like sitting down and watching a movie.  I enjoyed this book so much.  I highly recommend it.

You can find Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys in our new YA section.  For more information on this book, check out:


Monday, August 19, 2013

Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown

This is my second book read by Jennifer Brown and it was a very though provoking read, just like The Hate List.  In this story, Ashleigh is a junior who makes the very poor decision of texting a nude photo of herself to her soon to be ex-boyfriend.

Ashleigh has hardly seen her adored boyfriend Kaleb that summer.  He is about to head off to college and she is afraid she's losing him.  Under the influence of alcohol and peer pressure, she takes a nude photo of herself and sends it via text to Kaleb.  It gets her the attention she desires from him...until school starts.  Once he heads off to college, he becomes more distant and she becomes more paranoid of him cheating and/or sending the photo to someone else.  Eventually, they break up and her friends, seeking "justice", perform some juvenile pranks on Kaleb's house and truck.  Kaleb, seeking revenge, spreads the photo around.  It quickly makes its way around the whole school.  Parents and the law become involved.  Due to her distribution of child pornography she is sentenced to community service.  Kaleb, as an adult, is brought up on charges and could potentially be labeled a sexual predator for the rest of his life.  If all this wasn't enough, Ashleigh's father is the superintendent and may be forced to resign.

This story, as Brown's last book, is also told in alternating times.  One as she steps into her community service everyday, where she works on making informational pamphlets about the danger of "sexting."  The other timeline is back when she makes the unfortunate decision and deals with the fallout afterwards.  Through these two timelines, you see this girl maturing and coming to terms with her humiliation, anger and shame of what has happened.  

"Sexting" has become a real issue among teens and adults with how quickly images and information can find its way to many people.  It has led to problems with young people facing charges of distribution of child pornography, which would significantly impact the rest of their lives.  It has also led to serious problems of bullying and suicide.  Ashleigh feels the full weight of a hastily made decision.  She is harassed at school, through her phone and on websites where her photo is posted.  Her photo is never going away.  Ashleigh seems to be a strong enough person to handle this, but there have been cases of the bullying being so severe that young people have taken their own lives.  

This is an excellent novel to give to young adults that needs some discussion.  Two people made terrible decisions at the beginning and then more bad decisions were made as the photo was spread and people talked about it and harassed her for it. Not only should "sexting" be talked about, but bullying, spreading lies, gossip, friendship, trust and forgiveness.  All of these subjects are brought up in this book.  Worth the read. 

You will be able to find this book in our New YA section, soon.  For more information, check out


Monday, August 12, 2013

The Hate List by Jennifer Brown

The Hate List by Jennifer Brown is a powerful novel about school violence, love, forgiveness, understanding, loss and healing.

Valerie Leftman is returning to her high school on the first day of her senior high school.  It should be a time of celebration, leaving high school behind and preparing for hopefully bright futures.  Valerie returns with a pain in her leg, stares, whispers and public outbursts of rage as to why she is allowed in the school at all.  This is all because her boyfriend took a gun to school the previous May, shot several students, killing some, wounding others, including Valerie, who tried to stop it before turning the gun on himself.  This is also because Valerie helped create "The Hate List" of students, staff and people who Valerie and Nick wanted gone.  As a joke, Valerie thought... a reality in Nick's mind.

The story flips back and forth in time.  One timeline is focused on the now as she struggles to make it day by day through school and a family that doesn't trust or understand her.  Another goes back to the time she spent with her boyfriend that she adored leading up to the day where he brings the gun to school.  Valerie is quite understandably a troubled and confused teenager.  She doesn't understand who she is or who her boyfriend is that it led to that day.  She never meant any of the list to bring any real harm to anybody, but it's hard for anybody to believe this.  She also faces a very hard home life where her parents fight, her mother doesn't trust her to not hurt herself or anybody else and her father seems to hate her and unable to forgive her for her part in the violence.

This book is very intense and hard to read at times.  You feel such empathy for her and so many of the characters in this book.  The reasons for this violence aren't and can't be explained.  It's really attempting to heal and learning how to forgive and move on with life after such a horrific action.  While I would argue the book ties things up a little nicely at the end, the author doesn't provide solutions.  Hate, anger, cruelty, bullying and gossip are never leaving our schools, but this books offers up the ideas of empathy and understanding to teens.  A book a lot young people could relate to on different levels.

The Hate List is located in the YA section under the author Brown.  It was on the Iowa High School Book Award List for 2012-2013, where students in 9-12 nominate and vote for the favorite books. For more information on this title, check out: 


Thursday, August 1, 2013


Liz - your book reviews are awesome!

Speaking of awesome....

I just wanted to take a moment to recognize our Couch to 5K group.  We started meeting 4 weeks ago to get to know one another and start a walking group.  We officially started our training 2 weeks ago.  This training consists of alternating walking and running.  We will finish this training in time to run the 5K at Fall Fest on September 28th.

It isn't too late to take part.  There are people who are just meeting to continue walking, others are doing what running they can and the rest are motivating everyone!  We meet Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights at 7 pm at City Park (by the bike trail).


Monday, July 29, 2013

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys is a historical fiction novel set in the early 1940's in Siberia.  It's a fascinating novel about a period of history that, I believe, is less explored- especially for young people

In June 1941, Lina is a 15 year old Lithuanian girl living with her mother, her younger brother and her father, who is a professor at a local university.  Her world is completely shattered when Soviet soldiers come and arrest her whole family for reasons unknown to Lina. Lithuania was annexed by the Soviet Union not too long before their arrest and is under the rule of Joseph Stalin.

Lina and her mother and brother are taken and forced on to train cars that take them deep into Siberia.  Their father is separated with the men and they hear little word of him for the next few years.  Lina tries to communicate her to her father through drawings she sends through backdoor channels.  Lina, her family, and many others arrested that night are forced to survive in the harsh climate of Siberia with little food, meanwhile being abused by the Soviets.

I won't tell you what happens beyond that.  It's an amazing story.  The author's own grandfather was a Lithuanian soldier, who most likely would have been arrested if he had not escaped in the early 1940's.  She did research throughout the country, looking at records and talking with survivors and witnesses to these horrifying events.  Sepetys provides an incredibly brave and empathetic character in Lina and in many of her fellow camp survivors.  A great book.

You can find this book in the YA section of our library.  For more information check out:


Monday, July 22, 2013

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave by Ricky Yancey is a science fiction tale...that's not too science fiction.  Yes, it involves an alien invasion.  Yes, there is a certain amount of futuristic technology that's a bit complicated.  But it is not a complicated story set in space that only true science fiction fans will enjoy.  In the end, it's a story about teens trying to survive in a rather impossible situation.

The 5th Wave is told in alternating viewpoints picking up about 4 months after the first alien ship was spotted.  Mostly from two perspectives. One is a girl named Cassie whose family is gone, but we don't know exactly why or how.  She is trying to go somewhere because she made a promise, but we aren't really sure to where or who.  The other is a boy, without giving anything anyway, whose name is Zombie.  He lives in a tent city outside of a major military installation and he's not doing well.  He is sick.  He has got the disease of the 3rd wave: pestilence.  It has taken something like 97% of the population of the world.  The first wave was an EMP, the second was a Tsunami and the 4th wave being what Cassie calls "the silencer."

What's the 5th wave?

I don't want to give too much away.  This book has plot twists and turns.  It doesn't give everything away in the first part.  You have to be patient in finding out what has happened to these kids, the planet, their family and friends and what is going to happen.  You will probably start to figure certain things out as the story goes on and I will admit that I got a little impatient in the middle.  There are some things that happen that make you want to scream at the characters- "Don't you see what's happening?!"  But I suppose that's supposed to be part of the fun.

The ending is long as you are aware that this is a planned trilogy.  The writing is good.  The characters are interesting, flawed and ones you can relate to in life.  If you can get through the slightly frustrating parts, this book is definitely worth it.

You can find The 5th Wave in the new YA section.  For more information on this title, check out:


Monday, July 15, 2013

The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez with Jenna Glatzer

The Pregnancy Project

The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez is a memoir written by a teen girl who decides to pretend she's pregnant for 6 months for her senior project.  It is a though provoking book written for teens in the voice of a teen.

Gaby was the daughter of a teen mom.  Her brothers and sisters were teen parents.  The town she lived in has a high population of teen pregnancy rates.  Based on statistics, it was extremely probable that she would be a teen mother as well.  However, Gaby, at a very young age, realized the complications that come along with being a parent at a very young age.  She vowed never to let that happen to her, but she was very interested in what it felt like to fulfill the stereotype.  She wanted to bring a little attention to this issue and hopefully learn and teach her fellow classmates about the subject.

Starting in her junior year, she gets the approval of her mother, boyfriend, principal and vice-superintendent. Other than these individuals, a friend and one relative, no one else in her large family, the staff at the school or the student body know that she is faking this pregnancy.  She gets input from a mentor at a local crisis center, along with her doctor is able to demonstrate the symptoms that come with pregnancy.  Her mother helps create a fake belly out of a basketball and wire.  It is a daunting task...especially for someone so young.

I won't get into how it all goes for this young woman, but it is a good read.  A great discussion book, not just about teen pregnancy, but about stereotypes, family, friends, and gossip.  It definitely got me thinking about how I view people in situations.  Gaby is incredibly mature young woman and her voice shines though in this book.  I would definitely recommend this to teens and to adults.

You can find this book in the YA section of Ely Library.  For more information about this book and the author check out:

There is also a Lifetime movie.  For information on that check out:


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Iowa Children's Choice Award Reading Challenge

Earlier this summer my daughter and I challenged each other to read all 25 Iowa Children’s Choice Award Nominated books.  Of course, we have all 25 books at our library, so I challenge you to do the same!  

The Trouble with Chickens: a J.J. Tully Mystery by Doreen Cronin
This is a fun read that would be great to do as a read aloud with your children!  J.J. is a retired search and rescue dog who is used to a life of excitement and clues.  Now retired, he spends his days at the farm, where life is pretty dull.  Until some chicks go missing!  With the promise of a cheeseburger, J.J. finds himself in the middle of a case looking for clues.  The evidence doesn’t add up and things don’t smell right.  Will J.J. find the chicks?  Will he get his cheeseburger? 

Mallory Goes Green by Laurie B. Friedman
Mallory is an elementary student who is passionate about an upcoming school wide project which is to challenge all of the students to “Go Green”.  She volunteers to be her class’s committee chair for this initiative and attends a workshop for the class leaders.  During the workshop she comes up with the project she intends for her class to do.  Excited to tell the class her great idea, she is upset when discussion is leading toward other ideas and not her project.  In her overly ambitious (and somewhat annoying) tactics to get her family, friends and class on board, she ends up making a mess of things.

Willowood by Cecilia Galante

Lily and her mother have just moved from the quiet countryside to a big city.   Lily is struggling to adjust to a new school, a new set of bullies, and trying to make a friend.  She also misses her best friend Bailey terribly, and when Lily calls Bailey, she realizes that Bailey has moved on.  Her single mother is working extra hours to support them and hires the next door neighbor, Mrs. Hiller, to watch Lily after school.  Mrs. Hiller introduces Lily to her friend who owns a pet store, and his adult son, Nate, who has Down syndrome.  Lily loves the pet store and soon finds herself with an unofficial part time job.  Just as Lily is making new friends at school and with Nate, past secrets and misconceptions are revealed that threaten to change everything.

~ Sarah

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

June 24 - 27

Help!  The Library is under attack by DINOSAURS!!!
Can you find all 19 dinosaurs  to save the Librarians?

Monday:    Story Time @ 10 is "Roar, Roar, Dinosaurs!"
                   Movie @ 2 is "Ice Age Dawn of the Dinosaurs"
Tuesday:    Geocaching @ 2
Wednesday:  Excavation @ 2
Thursday:   Join Dinosaur Jack @ 10 to talk all about Dinosaurs!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Beautiful Creatuers by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl is a fantasy, romance YA book.  I enjoyed this book.  I listened to it years ago and it was a great audiobook, but decided to actually read it this time because the movie recently came out on DVD.

This is a love story about Ethan and Lena set in a small town in South Carolina.  This is a town where they don't take to outsiders or people who are different than everyone.  Ethan has lived there his entire life and can't wait to escape.  Then, Lena Duchannes comes to town.  Lena is the niece of the town recluse, Macon Ravenwood.  Lena and Ethan have an almost instant connection, which puts him at odds with his friends and town members.  Saying they don't like Lena is an understatement.  Parents and class members go to great lengths to try and remove Lena from the school.

Weird things, like mysteriously shattered windows, occur around Lena and she warns him to stay away, but of course he doesn't.  What kind of story would that be?  We come to learn that Lena has magical powers and is part of a family of what are called Casters and on her 16th birthday she will be claimed for light or dark.

There is a lot that happens in this beginning book of a 4 book series.  There are some very interesting characters that really come alive in the writing.  The love story is sweet.  Some of the story and characters may seem a bit stereotypical of what we expect a small, southern town to be like, but overall it's a good story with some complexity.

Now, just as a warning, the movie is very different than the book.  If you are or become a fan of this book at all, I would stay away from the movie.  Characters and plot points are combined or omitted from the movie.  Other parts are added that were never in the books.  It was somewhat confusing and disappointing for the book lovers.

You can find Beautiful Creatures in the YA section under Garcia.  For more information on this title check out:


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Awesome quote from a patron today:  "You must be doing something right because look at all the young faces in here!"

So tomorrow - Thursday, June 6, come prepared for all things WORM!  Kristin Simon is presenting "Earl the Earthworm Digs for His Life!" at 10 am.  This presentation is following Toddler Time at 9 am.  See you then!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

'Twas the Night Before Summer Reading

'Twas the Night Before Summer Reading
Adapted from the poem 'Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clark Moore
By Becky Cheesman and Sarah Sellon

‘Twas the night before summer reading when all through the Library,
Not a book was stirring, not even a dictionary.
The posters were hung by the shelves with care
In the hopes that summer reading would soon be there. 

The children were nestled all snug in their beds
While  visions of prizes danced in their heads
Books, magazines and DVD’s all shelved in a row
Had just settled down in hope of being loaned.

When out on Dows Street there arose such a clatter,
The librarians sprang from their beds to see what was the matter
Away to the window to turn on the sign,
Open the doors and then it was time.

With registrations and reading logs ready to go
They looked all around, it was time for the show!
More rapid than eagles the patrons they came
And whistled and shouted calling librarians by name.

On Ali, on Carolyn, on Paula, on Becky
On Liz on Sarah, and Friends of the Library.
To the coffee pot, to the children’s spot
Now, check out, check out, check out the whole lot.

The librarians were all dressed in shirts of bright color
 That  shouted “Read”  to every girl and boy who came with each other.
 A bundle of prizes they were giving out
And they all give a whopping big shout.

Their eyes how they shined, their demeanor how merry,
Their smiles were contagious, they were not even scary!
They were busy keeping track of all the books being read,
While handing out prizes and trying to keep ahead.

They spoke kind words while going straight to work,
And filled all their bags and turned with a jerk
While handing out bookmarks to also be used
So to keep the page and not get confused.

The patrons they left with all they did need
And away they all ran with great, great speed
But they heard the librarians exclaim as they ran out of sight,
“Happy reading to all, may your books be a delight!”

Please dig into reading,
Don’t waste any time,
 Dan Wardell wraps it up July 25th

1:30’s the time!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

I really enjoyed this book... so much so, that we didn't even have it in Ely and I recommended that we get it. It is a YA title, but I think anyone could enjoy it.

The Madman's Daughter is based off the story of The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells, written in the late 1800's and set during the same time period.  I have not yet read the story by Wells and this book made complete sense to me.  It's told from the perspective of Dr. Moreau's daughter- Juliet.

Juliet's life is in the gutter.  Her father was ran out of town based on horrific rumors.  We don't know any of the specifics as to what the rumors are, but you start to get a picture as the story progresses.  Her mother has died and Juliet is forced to work as a maid in the hospital her father once ran.  While working at the hospital, she encounters some truly despicable people and is forced to flee London.  Luckily (maybe) she has run into an old servant and playmate, the now handsome and mysterious, Montgomery.  She decides to go with him to an island near Australia, where Montgomery works with her father.  There she finds out why her father left and what kind of man he really is.

This book is creepy.  From the beginning, Shepherd sets a tone of horror and darkness that causes you to squirm with discomfort at times.  The book moves along quickly and while you might suspect what is happening fairly early on (if you don't know the story by Wells at all), it is still a great thriller.  There is your somewhat standard love triangle that appears in YA, but what a twist!

This is the first book in a planned trilogy and I am very interested to see where these books will go in the future.  You can find this book in the new books section of YA.  For more information check out:


Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Storyteller

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult is a new way of thinking about the Holocaust and how it affects peoples lives for years. It also brings up the idea of forgiveness. How do we deal with that. Is there good and bad in all? How do we respond?

Find this book in the new fiction section.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Welcome to the Ely Public Library blog!

We hope to provide reviews, reader's lists, pictures, program information, storytime activities you can do at home and much more!  We hope that you will stop by frequently!

Currently, we are working hard to get everything ready for the Summer Reading Program.  This year the theme is Dig Into Reading.  We have all kinds of programs, activities and prizes for all ages.  Registration starts June 1.  Programs begin Monday, June 3 and will end on July 25 with Dan Wardell from Iowa Public Television at 1:30!  Planned events will be posted on the website very soon (, or you can always stop in and pick up one of the pamphlets on the front desk.

An exciting change for the program this year is that we have a Little Diggers program, aimed at children ages birth- 24 months.  Caregivers can do all sorts of things with their little ones to help promote literacy at a young age.  We also have our usual programs for children (geared for children ages 3 through children completing 5th grade), young adult (6th grade-12th grade) and adult (18 and up).  All programs have levels with prizes for reading a certain amount and grand prizes for those who complete the levels.

We are planning on a great summer, so stop in and check out all of the wonderful things happening in Ely!