Book Review – I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn


I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn

I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn is an underrated coming-of-age young adult book that has a hint of a sweet romantic comedy. I’ll admit seeing the word “mochi” in the title caught my interest because it is one of my favorite desserts to have. Who can turn down a book title that mentions one of your favorite things!

Kimi Nakamura loves fashion so much that she creates original designs for friends and for herself but her mother disapproves of her love for fashion. Kimi’s mother expects her to become a well-known painter. Kimi does not feel the same way about painting as her mother does. Her mother questions what Kimi wants to do with her future? A question that Kimi could not answer herself.

A letter arrives unexpectedly from her estranged grandparents who live in Kyoto, Japan. They invite Kimi to visit them for spring break. She decides to embrace the opportunity to escape the pressure she faces from her mom. When she arrives in Kyoto for the first time she experiences different parts of Japan’s culture that is both familiar and unfamiliar to her. As she absorbs the beauty and joy of this city, she meets Akira. Akira is an aspiring med student who is helping his uncle to promote his business by being a mochi mascot. Little did they know that both of them would inspire each other.

This trip for Kimi turns into so much more than an escape. She begins to discover more about herself through her mom’s past and what her mom left behind in Japan. Everything that she discovers in Kyoto, meeting Akira and spending time with her grandparents. She will soon understand what lies within her heart.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes reading a romantic comedy or is a fan of self-discovery. It is a kind of book that could be finished within a day. The pace does move quickly. However, I took my time reading this book because I wanted to enjoy every minute.

Enjoy these read-alikes:
Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
American Panda by Gloria Chao
This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan


Review by Kendra Ellison, Lead Circulation Librarian and Young Adult Consultant

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Book Review: A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik


A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

In the start of an all-new series, the bestselling author of Uprooted and Spinning Silver introduces you to a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death–until one girl begins to unlock its many secrets.

Enter a school of magic unlike any you have ever encountered: There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate . . . or die. The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere. El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out untold millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students. So El is trying her hardest not to use her power . . . at least not until she has no other option. Meanwhile, her fellow student, the insufferable Orion Lake, is making heroism look like a breeze. He’s saved hundreds of lives–including El’s–with his flashy combat magic. But in the spring of their junior year, after Orion rescues El for the second time and makes her look like more of an outcast than she already is, she reaches an impulsive conclusion: Orion Lake must die. But El is about to learn some lessons she never could in the classroom: About the school. About Orion Lake. And about who she really is. — Provided by publisher.

A Deadly Education was such a surprise! At first, I had a hard time getting into the flow of the book and I was confused with the way the author just drops you into the story with so little information, but once I realized what she was doing, I. Was. Hooked.

Novik starts A Deadly Education with no introduction and no explanation. She uses invented words and terms you’re unfamiliar with and begins the story in the middle. You, as the reader, are left flailing and stressed and unsure of what’s happening – much like many of the students who attend. It’s such a powerful technique that really brings you right into the world and minds of the characters and creates an emotionally charged atmosphere that has you looking over your shoulder, scrutinizing the dark for nightmares hidden in the shadows.

This book was everything I was hoping for and more. The characters were whole and complex, with little of the stereotypical broodiness and cheese that I often find in YA books. I can’t wait for the follow-up to see what fresh, new horrors await senior year. This would be perfect for readers 14 and older and contains a lot of monsters that eat students, discussions of students and magicians who do dark deeds or kill others for magical powers, and a little language.

Review by Sara, Support Librarian

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Book Review – The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths

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The Lantern Men (Ruth Galloway #12) by Elly Griffiths

I’ve yet to read a Ruth Galloway novel that I didn’t love immensely, this one included. It was a pleasure to re-join Ruth Galloway at her new university and tag along as she works with DCI Harry Nelson to solve a string of murders and cold cases.

In this twelfth installment of Elly Griffith‘s Ruth Galloway series, we join forensic archaeologist, Ruth, at her new teaching position in Cambridge, England, where she just completed her newest book at a peaceful writer’s retreat. Back in Norfolk, DCI Harry Nelson is pleased to hear that notorious murderer, Ivor Marsh, is convicted in the deaths of two women. Ivor agrees to talk about two other missing women and Nelson and Ruth team up again. When a local cyclist is found murdered and Ivor in jail, Nelson and Ruth ask themselves, is Ivor innocent? Is there a copycat at large?

Elly Griffiths is a natural storyteller and a talented writer. She rarely overwrites, her characters are fresh and alive, and the pacing is quick enough to keep you deep in the mystery from the start. I feel such loss after finishing one of the Ruth Galloway books that I find myself re-reading many in the series several times over. I already want to start this latest installment all over again.

While you can jump in and begin the series here with the 12th installment, it will be so much more enjoyable if you start with The Crossing Places. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed no matter where you start.

Review by Sara McEachern, Support Librarian

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Book Review: Open Book by Jessica Simpson


Open Book by Jessica Simpson

I came for the juicy details and stayed for the heartfelt reflections. Open Book by Jessica Simpson was a wonderful memoir of a woman who has overcome a lot. From childhood trauma to tumultuous relationships to struggles with alcoholism, Simpson’s life has been about way more than making it in the music industry.

Simpson moved around when she was younger, because of her dad’s job. She grew up in a religious home and relied immensely on her faith to get her through tough times. The death of her cousin and abuse when she was younger continues to impact her to this day. She grew up singing in the church setting but dreamed of breaking into the pop world. Her commentary on her early experiences really sets the tone for later on as she details her various relationships and opinion of herself.

By going through various “scandals” in her career and personal life, the reader gets an inside look at what really happened. From her acting jobs to her entry into the pop music industry, this behind the scenes perspective dismantles any preconceptions of Jessica Simpson from over the years. While she felt in on the joke, it was also difficult to not appear intelligent in the public eye. Simpson is very forthcoming regarding her relationships with Nick Lachey, John Mayer, Tony Romo, and Eric Johnson. By divulging her experiences, you get a front-row seat of how she has been affected by and grown from her past partners as well as her current husband.

Simpson talks about getting sober, starting her own business, and becoming a mother. She is not afraid to go into the embarrassing or hard moments of the past few years. Given the fact that she has been through her share of rough patches, Simpson remained devoted to her family, faith, and standards she set for herself beginning at a young age.

I was left feeling moved and entertained. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves a well-written celebrity memoir, grew up in the early 2000s and loves the nostalgia, or simply wants to become immersed in the life of someone who has put herself out there. Open Book does not disappoint!

Review by Cathy Liebenau

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