River Readers

  • The Secret Horses of Briar Hill

    There are winged horses in the mirrors of Briar Hill that only Emmaline can see. Briar Hill used to be the home of a princess, but is now a hospital for kids sick with TB during WWII. Emmaline spends her days quietly drawing with her friend Anna and trying to convince the other children that the horses are real. Then one day she goes into one of the off limit gardens and finds a wounded winged horse. It appears the Horse Lord has sent her to this world to recover but she is being hunted by the black horse. Emmaline must build a rainbow shield to protect Foxfire in the garden.

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  • The Book of Essie

    A captivating novel of family, fame, and religion that tells the story of the seventeen-year-old daughter of an evangelical preacher, star of the family's hit reality show, and the secret pregnancy that threatens to blow their entire world apart.

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  • The Water Cure

    Aptly named patriarch King repairs to an island with his wife and daughters to escape an unnamed cataclysm. Even though for a time they welcomed castaway women, the daughters are taught to fear strangers, especially men, who are considered toxic. This insular, hothouse environment, though meant to protect the girls, also sequesters them from being able to adjudge their parents' stringent "exercises" as little more than torture. When King disappears, the daughters' carefully crafted world begins to crumble, and emotions (which the exercises were meant to curb) bubble up.

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  • We Cast a Shadow

    *Starred Review* I liked my java so black, the police planted evidence on it, says the wry, self-aware, yet ultimately self-defeating narrator of this trenchant satire. Hired (after a humiliating competition) as the black face of a racist corporation, he embarks on a relentless, single-minded quest to medically demelanize his biracial son, Nigel. Nothing, not the contempt of his wife and mother nor the physical and psychological anguish of his child, will deter him from rescuing the teenager from life as a black man.

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  • Looker

    Recently divorced after a long struggle with infertility, the unnamed narrator of poet Sims' first novel clings to Cat, her ex-husband's pet that she never even liked. Sadly, work doesn't distract her from her misery. As a non-tenure-track lecturer at an overpriced, second-rate city school, she has only one class this semester, a poetry survey for a handful of students (one of whom seems to be hitting on her).

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  • Little Girl Blue - The Life of Karen Carpenter

    Little Girl Blue is an intimate profile of Karen Carpenter, a girl from a modest Connecticut upbringing who became a Southern California superstar. Karen was the instantly recognizable lead singer of the Carpenters. The top-selling American musical act of the 1970s, they delivered the love songs that defined a generation.

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  • The Tea Dragon Festival

    Rinn meets a real dragon in the woods while gathering supplies for her village. The dragon, Aedhan, was supposed to be the protector of the village but fell asleep for 80 years. Uncle Erik and his partner Hesekiel arrive to find what has caused the sleeping spell. The village is also preparing for the tea dragon festival. This is a story of friendship and community and it is lovely.

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  • Pilu of the Woods

    Willow is angry and sad a lot but tries to hide it. After a rough day at school, she blows up at her big sister. She runs away to the woods and finds Pilu who has also run away. Pilu is mad at her mother. Willow is also mad that she made a promise to her mother she can't seem to keep. Together they figure out that the angry monsters following them are of their own making. It is a story of acceptance and forgiveness and family. Simply lovely.

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  • The Parker Inheritance

    Candice finds a letter in her grandmother's things. The letter leads to a treasure hunt through the history of Lambert, South Carolina and what happened to the Washington family in the 1950s. Candice is helped along the way by her new friend Brandon as they discover the dark history of racism in their town. 

    I enjoyed this mystery treasure hunt. I liked the Westing Game aspect of the book and the flashbacks to the 1950s. I also appreciate the fact that the author showed modern day racism and the fact that things have not changed that much since the pre-Civil Rights days. 

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  • When Friendship Followed Me Home

    Ben Coffin has had a hard life. His parents died when he was young and he spent several years in foster care. He was finally adopted by Tess whose partner died. Tess promises they are going to leave New Jersey and move to Florida one day, so Ben is careful about becoming attached to people. Then he meets Flip, an abandoned dog. Flip steals Ben's heart and the two become instant friends. Ben starts training Flip to be a therapy dog with the help of his friend Halley who he met at the library. Ben is bullied at school and spends a lot of time in the library reading scifi books.

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  • Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy

    This was an interesting twist on the original story. A mixed race, blended family is at the heart of this rendition appropriate for a 150th anniversary. The graphics are good and the modernization doesn't take away from the original.

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  • Click

    This was a nice story about a young girl's journey to find her place among her friends. Olive has lots of friends which is great for a fifth grader, but when a talent show is scheduled, relationship change quickly. At such an awkward age, finding the right spot is never easy, but when Olive does, she goes for it with a gusto.

    A debut graphic novel about friendship and finding where you "click" in school.

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  • Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin

    This was an intriguing listen and nothing like the story I grew up hearing. However, with the "evils" of gold, this telling makes perfect sense. The fact that Red is tied in to this story too, makes it a nice addition to the series.

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  • Demigod Diaries

    It was fun to re-listen to this additional book in the Heroes of Olympus series. I had forgotten how funny Hermes snakes were and I am still intrigued by the story that was written by Haley, Rick's son. I think it would make an interesting series of stories.

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