The Missing Season, by Gillian French (2019)

Mystery | 13-16

The Missing Season, by Gillian French

Here’s another title chosen after appearing in an e-newsletter from the Grand Forks & District Public Library. If you aren’t subscribed yet, give it a go! It’s a great way to discover new titles as well as others in the collection that might interest you but have escaped you so far. This is the first book by Gillian French I’ve read, but she’s got a couple of other YA titles under her belt. It’s October in Maine, and school has been in session for a month when Clara arrives in town with her parents as she starts her final year of high school. Her dad has a job helping to close down the mill, so this is a town on the slide. She’s hesitant about making friends, but quickly finds allies when a bully zones in on her.

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Backyard Foraging, by Ellen Zachos (2013)

Nonfiction | Adult

Backyard Foraging: 65 Familiar Plants You Did Know You Could Eat, by Ellen Zachos (2013)

This handy guide to finding food on your walks and hikes was featured in one of my library’s newsletters, on nonfiction. I’m subscribed to several of these great newsletters from the Grand Forks & District Public Library that let you know about new titles on various topics, and also occasionally feature interesting gems you might not know about. This is one of them. The book is a few years old, but offers some great guidance in finding edible shoots, leaves and berries all around you. There are 65 entries, many of them quite familiar, such as the well-known dandelion for its many edibles, from flower petals to roots and leaves, as well as surprising discoveries like the annoying Japanese knotweed (aka false bamboo) that is so difficult to eradicate from your home garden. Turns out its young shoots are a great alternative to those canned bamboo shoots called for in many Asian recipes. While the author is from the American east coast, she has chosen plants that are commonly found across North America, many of them recognizable from the garden, such as bee balm and spiderwort. On hikes, you will probably come across wild garlic and hawthorn berries. Our common saskatoons here in the Boundary Country are also listed, under the new-to-me moniker “juneberries,” Each entry is typically four pages long, and includes lots of full-colour photos. There is information on when to harvest, where to find it, and what parts of the plant are edible, along with helpful guidance on recognizing the plant, what and how to harvest, and how to use the bounty in a meal. There is a helpful introduction that addresses tools for harvesting, offers tips on where to forage, reminds readers to beware of sprays and herbicides in parks and to ask for permission on private property, and how to generally make sure you are making good food choices when foraging. I learned that fruits with a five-point crown (like apples, saskatoons, and even rosehips) are always safe to eat, and to stay away from mushrooms with gills. Appendices include some preserving guidance and basic recipes, resources for further research, and a very good index. My thanks to the Grand Forks & District Public Library for including this title in its nonfiction collection, and grabbing my attention in the newsletter!
More discussion and reviews of this book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16192356

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Storm Rising, by Sara Driscoll (2018)

Thriller | Adult

Storm Rising (series FBI K-9 #3), by Sara Driscoll (2018)

This is the third entry in the FBI K-9 series by Sara Driscoll, but the first one I’ve read. Meg Jennings and her rescue dog Hawk, a superbly trained black lab, are sent from Washington D.C. to help find missing people when a hurricane devastates the Virginia Beach shore. Partners in the FBI’s Human Scent Evidence Team, the two searchers and their colleagues work hard to find live victims, not than bodies. But when Meg and Hawk find a terrified young woman in the Great Dismal Swamp, they are diverted into a criminal investigation into a human sex trafficking ring that was disrupted by the storm. The chaos gives police an opportunity to break up the ring and save even more young lives, but promising leads fade as the evidence they need is washed away.

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Creating the Vintage Look: 35 Ways to Upcycle for a Stylish Home, by Ellie Laycock (2013, 2018)

Nonfiction | Adult

Creating the Vintage Look: 35 Ways to Upcycle for a Stylish Home, by Ellie Laycock

This is a brand-new addition to our Grand Forks & District Public Library, and I can’t get enough of the ideas! With the growing emphasis on keeping our discarded stuff out of the landfill and even the recycling chain, we need to think about how to reuse things that are no longer useful in their original design. That’s what upcycling is about – taking something you no longer need/want/use and giving it a new life with a new purpose. Creative folks are hard at work giving us inspiration for what to do with old bedboards, pop bottles and whatnot, and Ellie Laycock has created a terrific little tome to get you started.

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Summer, by Wenxuan Cao, illustrated by Rong Yu (2015, 2019)

Picture Book | 3-7

When a hot summer day on in the grasslands leaves a group of animals squabbling over the only spindly tree, it takes the simple scene of a father and son walking to give them a good solution – have each animal create shade for the next smaller one. Sure, the elephant ends up in full sun, but that’s exactly where he started anyway! This is a sweet story with big bold illustrations that will appeal to young readers, who will want to linger on the pages and study how each animal reacts to the changing storyline.

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We All Fall Down, by Daniel Kalla (2019)

Thriller | Adult

We All Fall Down, by Daniel Kalla (2019)

Daniel Kalla is a Vancouver emergency room doctor who writes medical thrillers. I’ve read a couple by him and enjoyed them so I was looking forward to this one, the story of a reemergence of the deadly bubonic plague that decimated Europe in the middle ages. Dr. Alana Vaughn is an infectious disease expert with NATO, specializing in bioterrorism. A former soldier, she worked an Ebola epidemic in Africa with the WHO, but resigned when the bureaucracy left her helpless against the deadly rampage. A former WHO colleague and lover, the gorgeous and now-married Dr. Nico Oliva, asks for her help in Genoa, Italy, when a woman shows up at the hospital with symptoms of the plague.

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All the Winters After, by SerĂ© Prince Halverson (2016)

Fiction | Adult

All the Winters After, by Seré Prince Halverson (2018)

This is a really tricky novel to classify – it’s a bit of a thriller, a romance, a family saga, and in some ways a mystery. Most importantly, though, it’s set in Alaska. Kachemak Winkel finds himself home again 20 years after he left, a young man deeply mourning his mother, father and brother when they were all killed in a plane crash. He is called home by his Aunt Snag, his father’s sister, who tells Kache (pronounced catch) that his grandmother has not long to live. While there, he goes to the family homestead, expecting to find the place in ruins as no one has even visited since he left. Instead, he finds it exactly as he left it, except for the Russian woman who is living in the house.

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