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Children's Summer Reading

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The Summer Reading Program is HERE!

The theme this year is "A Universe of Stories". The Friends of the Belmond Public Library sponsor the activities.
The programs are available to children ages three through youth who have just completed 12th grade.

Call the Belmond Public Library at 641-444-4160 for more information. 

Enhance your Reading Experience

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Seven Online Resources to Enhance your Reading Experience

Technical Services Librarian, Mandi Rink


I often find myself suggesting certain websites to patrons that I feel would really enhance their reading life. The World Wide Web offers endless options for websites that pertain to books but here are a few that I really find helpful in my bookish endeavors.


This website is perfect for the reader who knows what they like to read about, but are not quite sure where to start. The slider located on the left side of the homepage allows the user to choose what subject matter, mood, plot shape, type of main character and even what country the book is set in. A changing team of seventy has read the books included in these suggestions. People who care about books create the reviews that the user sees. If you are looking for books that not everyone has read, this website is for you.

Goodreads is a favorite of mine! I recommend it to everyone who likes to keep track of the books they have read or want to read. I love Goodreads mainly because you can read honest reviews from all over the world on mostly any book you can think of. Since Goodreads is not a retailer of books, you know the users are not being paid for their review. There are suggestions based on what you have read in the past. Goodreads has the option of following others so you know what everyone is reading.

FREE EBOOKS! Need I say more? Well, just in case you are still reading and not rushing right over to this website I will continue with my description. Read Print mainly hosts classic books for a free download. This site would be great for students, teachers and lovers of classic literature.

This site is just for comic book lovers! Articles about new releases, TV recaps, and reviews. This website is fun for comic enthusiast.

Book Riot is a resource I use often to share fun bookish news with the masses. The blog style website offers new release information, podcasts and essays on reading life.

Cover spy is a Tumblr blog that highlights what New Yorkers are reading in public. This blog tells you what book is actually popular with the general public. 

Bookish is a fantastic reader’s advisory site. The content collaborators include author interviews, essays, book club recommendations and reading challenges. Bookish’s about me section includes these words that I find to be true of the curators: “We believe in the power of reading, the importance of literacy, and the fact that books should be as inclusive and diverse as readers are.”

Recommended by the Librarians

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Abandon by Blake Crouch
Library Clerk, Sonya Trager

Genre: Thriller

Synopsis: On Christmas day in 1893 the residents of the town of Abandon disappeared. Every resident, from adult to child, disappeared with all of their belongings left behind leaving the town almost frozen in time. In 2009, two guides, a history professor, a journalist, psychic and paranormal photographer make a trip to the town on rumors of hauntings. The group soon discovers that the sins of the past weigh heavily on the future. Jumping back and forth between the history of Abandon and the present group, the author leads the reader on a twisting and turning historic adventure.

My Impressions: This is my second review of a Blake Crouch book. Earlier I reviewed “Dark Matter”. Check it out! I mean, literally, we have it here at the library. One of the librarians will hook you up. It is mind blowing!

On to “Abandon”, another thriller by Crouch. I really enjoyed this book. The writing is strong and keeps the reader engaged from the very beginning. Generally, I struggle with books that jump between time lines, but I had no difficulty following this story. The transitions were smooth and they kept me entertained, even if I did feel eager to read on in the other timeline. While the synopsis hints at this being a ghost story, I assure you that while it has elements and suggestions of the paranormal the story, over all, is a pure thriller. Without giving too much away, I will mention that all sorts of haunting exist, not all of them are of the ghostly kind.


The Ash Family by Molly Dektar
Technical Services Librarian, Mandi Rink

“Thrilling and profound, The Ash Family explores what we will sacrifice in the search for happiness, and the beautiful and grotesque power of the human spirit as it seeks its ultimate place of belonging.” - Goodreads

The Ash Family is the debut novel from Molly Dektar. Dektar’s writing is beautifully poetic. It is not very often these days you can read a book and appreciate the writing as well as the story. Dektar writes of a young woman, Berie, who is in search of a simple life. While on her trek to college, Berie meets a curious man with promises of the life she would like to live. Berie soon meets The Ash Family, a small community living off grid in the mountains of North Carolina. The family respect their leader, Dice, and follow various rules. Being a member of the Ash Family, you must also follow the rules that are undeclared and often hard to navigate. Berie, who is later renamed Harmony, tries her hardest to fit into this family and begins to form ties of her own. Harmony is finally finding her place in “the real world” and soon after starts to notice things are not as they seem with the Ash Family…

The Ash Family is a wonderful debut novel. At times it was hard for me to understand what decade Harmony and the main ensemble were living in and I feel this was on purpose. While other reviews mention hating how indecisive Harmony is it is important to remember, she is in a cult and is undoubtedly being brainwashed from the start. Bay, the elusive man who led Harmony to the ‘family’, is clearly an abusive man. Harmony does not have a lot of life experience and the members of the ‘family’ use this to their advantage. While I did enjoy this book, I felt there could have been more background on the cult and the members. There was a lot to wonder about after finishing this novel. I would recommend this novel not because it is absolutely riveting and addicting but because the writing is wonderful and it will make you think.

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips
Library Clerk, Sonya Trager

Genre: Thriller

Synopsis: The zoo is nearly empty and getting ready to close as Joan and her son, Lincoln, play in the dinosaur pit. Their perfect play day turns to terror as they make their way to the exit. Shots ring out through the park and Joan soon discovers the gravity of the situation. She and her son must run and survive if they will make it out alive.

My Impressions: I really enjoyed this intense nail biter of a book. From the beginning, I felt an attachment to Joan as a mother. I felt her frustration, anger and most of all fear all of which she felt for the situation, herself and her son. The novel reads very much like an action flick. The author introduces the reader to the main characters in the beginning and then offers up a disastrous situation. The author then takes the reader on an action-filled ride for survival. I found myself eagerly turning each page to find out what would happen next. I am a fast reader, but the energy with which I devoured this book surprised me. I read the entire novel in three hours! I just could not stop until I finished this book.


After by Anna Todd
Technical Services Librarian, Mandi Rink

Tessa is a cliché nice, innocent woman attending her first year of college when she runs into British bad boy, Hardin Scott. Hardin is more than a bad boy, he is cruel to Tessa. One day Tessa is beautiful to Hardin and the next day he ignores her and belittles her. Tessa cannot understand why she has such an attraction to him, especially when she has a perfect boyfriend waiting back home for her. During this push and pulling match, Tessa must admit to herself, she is falling desperately in love with Hardin. Does Hardin feel the same?

I started “After” by Anna Todd because I knew everyone would be asking my opinion on the book with the movie coming out soon. This book highlights how very little experience Tessa and Hardin have with relationships as new adults. I did not expect to like this book. I honestly felt a bit sheepish admitting that I did! I felt that way not because it is a romance novel for mature adults, I felt guilty admitting that I enjoyed it because it is a very problematic introduction to a series. As a culture, we tend to romanticize controlling and borderline abusive men. Hardin Scott is a very stereotypical bad boy in the sense that he is a young man who has many romantic connections, drinks, has an uncontrollable temper, troubled past, and does not seem to care about university but does exceptionally well. I am sure this is all sounding very familiar to you. There is a constant tension between Hardin Scott and Tessa Young. At the end of the book, you find out why Hardin was so controlling to Tessa. Honestly, though, finding out why he was controlling makes his behavior even worse.
Since the first book ends in such a cliffhanger, I had to continue to read the series. I was so invested in this damaged couple. There were times I screamed at Tessa to leave Hardin because of his abusive nature. The character development that happens in the third and fourth installments is absolutely this series’ redeeming quality. Women do not have a respsonsibility to fix damaged men and this series highlights that. Reading these books as a mature adult with the life experience to see this theme, and to know that Hardin’s, and sometimes Tessa’s, behavior is deplorable, is key to appreciating the emotional roller coaster Anna Todd takes you on. After finishing the last book in this series, I was able to express I enjoyed the story and no longer felt embarrassed for it. I recommend this book not as a learning tool for relationships but to highlight that there is always light at the end of a dark time.



No Exit by Taylor Adams

Technical Services Librarian, Mandi Rink

Darby Thorne is on her way to see her dying mother in the middle of a snowstorm when the interstate closes and she has no choice but to stay at a rest stop for the rest of the night. While trying to make a phone call, she spots a little girl locked in a cage, in a van.  Someone at this rest stop has kidnapped this girl. Darby must fight for this child’s life, and her own. She will learn the ultimate lesson in only being able to rely on herself.
After finishing this book, I had to recommend it to all of my friends. It was the wildest ride an author has taken me on in a very long time. This was the first book I have read by Taylor Adams and I have no doubt I will pick up another one of his as soon as I can. This book is one plot twist after another. Your heart will be racing, your mind will be speculating, right until the last paragraph. Half ‘who-dun-it’, half thriller, with a little dash of horror… equals five stars to this librarian.




Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Library Clerk, Sonya Trager

Genre: Thriller

Synopsis: Jason Dessen, husband and father to a teenage son, is kidnapped one night. He wakes to a place surrounded by strangers, but they all seem to know him. He desperately searches out parts of his life. The search does not go as planned. Soon he discovers that things are not as they seem. 
Can he get back to his life and find his way back to his wife and son? Jason embarks on a thrilling and mind bending adventure home. Blake Crouch is the bestselling author of the Wayward Pines trilogy.

Review: Two words easily describes this thriller: MIND BLOWING. Crouch hooks the reader immediately as throws the reader directly into the action and Jason’s thrilling search for his ‘normal’ life. The book does have a science element, which added greatly to the story. Dark Matter is the BEST BOOK I have read so far this year! It ranks up there with my top 10 favorite books of all time. If you love a good thriller, drop what you are doing, and get yourself this book!




Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Library Clerk, Sonya Trager

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Synopsis: (excerpt is taken from Goodreads) When her daughter, Bee, claims a family trip to Antarctica as a reward for perfect grades, Bernadette, a fiercely intelligent shut-in, throws herself into preparations for the trip. After a school fundraiser goes disastrously awry at her hands, she disappears, leaving her family to pick up the pieces--which is exactly what Bee does. Bee and her father set out on a trip to find Bernadette to gain answers and closure.

My Impression: When tasked with giving my impression of the book, I struggle. After finishing, I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude for having read the book. The story actually evoked emotions from me that I have not experienced in many books I have recently read. I felt genuine anger and frustration at the actions of various characters, hope and sorrow for Bernadette, and compassion for Bee. I think this is one of those books where the mindset, background, and the personality of the reader really has a large effect on what the reader gets out of it. I enjoyed the novel immensely, but I am unsure that I enjoyed it enough to read it more than once. I really recommend this for people who enjoy personal narratives, fiction that takes a creative format, young adult fiction, or even “chick lit”. For the most part, I think anyone could read this book and get something from it, even if it’s only gratitude for having read it.




The Disasters by M.K England
Library Clerk, Sonya Trager


Books reviews tote this as a great book for people who are fans of the TV show, "Firefly". I have to agree completely! I truly think that the author might be a fan of the show, especially given the author introduced a planet by the name of “Serenity” to the plot.

Synopsis: Nax Hall, hotshot pilot, is kicked out of the Ellis Station Academy. While waiting at the station to leave the academy and return to Earth, Nax meets up with three other Academy washouts. The four end up in the middle of a terrorist attack on the academy and make a quick escape only to find themselves as suspects. The four have been witness to one of the largest crimes and conspiracies in history. Nax and his friends work to spread the truth of the incident and clear their own names.

My impression: I love young adult novels and have a fondness for Sci-fi. This book fell comfortably onto my “must read” list. I was not disappointed. This book was a lot of fun to read. The story pacing was great and kept moving along. The action and humor kept me entertained. If you are looking for a deep, meaningful read, this is probably not the book for you. If you want a lighthearted space adventure, jump right in! Definitely a coming of age story worth reading.





Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Technical Services Librarian, Mandi Rink

I really enjoyed Hendricks’ and Pekkanen’s book, “The Wife Between Us”, so it was really a no brainer that I would pick up and devour their latest book, “The Anonymous Girl”. I liked that the book got right into the guts. The authors do an amazing job at keeping the reader guessing. You really do not know what is going to happen until it does. Most books in the thriller category these days tend to be alike, or at the very least predicable. “The Anonymous Girl” will not fall into the category predicable or like others.
The book starts with the main character, Jess, finishing up her day working as a makeup artist. She overhears her two clients talking about entering a study about ethics. The study will pay participants just to answer a few questions. Jess ends up fooling her way into the study and soon forms a relationship with Dr. Shields unlike one she has ever had before. She is able to talk with Dr. Shields and reveals a lot about herself. Soon the ethical tests Dr. Shields sends Jess on seem odd. Jess does a bit of digging and finds Dr. Shields is not who she puts herself out to be. Is Jess being paranoid or should she trust her instincts?
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys books with a bit of mystery with a thriller aspect. 
The authors are perfectly paired to each other and I am already looking forward to their next book, let’s hope they announce it soon.

Trigger Warning: Suicide, sexual assault, death and drug use.

Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand
Technical Services Librarian, Mandi Rink


Irene Steel is a sixty something magazine editor, recently demoted, mother of two boys and a loving wife, living in Iowa City. Her life seems idyllic and uncomplicated. She is shocked to get a phone call that her husband, Russel Steel, has passed away unexpectedly and tragically in a helicopter crash over the Caribbean islands. She is even more shocked to find that her husband had a woman with him in the helicopter, who is later found out to be his lover. Irene and her two adult sons fly out to the Caribbean for more information while they wait for Russ’ remains to be delivered to Russ’ villa. While at St. John’s Island, the brothers fight, secrets are exposed, and Irene begins to question her entire life. It sounds like a very cliché, predictable book when you read the synopsis, but it is not. I was surprised that I enjoyed it so much and that I am actually looking forward to the next two in the trilogy. If you enjoy a good mystery with plenty of romance and humor, I recommend this. The characters are relatable and written in third person allowing you to see into all their heads. At the end of this book, you will no longer think Irene Steel lives an uncomplicated, idyllic life. You, I believe, will want to know more about the complicated life she has uncovered after her husband’s death.



Library Extension

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Hey everyone, It is Mandi, your Technical Services Librarian!  I was surfing my regular Librarian Tech pages when I ran across this handy extension for Firefox and Chrome internet browsers.
The extension is appropriately named “Library Extension”. You can download this extension at,
Once you download this extension, it will link to various websites such as Amazon and Goodreads to let you know if a book you are thinking about buying or putting on your “to be read” list
is in the Belmond Public Library’s catalog. There will be an icon on your toolbar where you can change permissions, add certain libraries and websites.
While you can always look up a book on our online catalog ( this conveniently reminds you what the library currently has.
Below you will find photos, using the internet browser Firefox, you to help navigate this extension.
I feel it is very user friendly, once the extension and library have been added…it does all the work for you!


As you can see, the stack of books is where you can locate your settings for Library Extension.
Make sure to select Belmond Public Library.



Here you can select what websites you would like notifcations on. 


Here is an example of the Library Extension doing the work for you on Amazon. 

Here is an example of the Library Extension doing the work for you on Goodreads. 

Please contact Mandi at the Belmond Public Library at 641-444-4160 for any questions. 


Belmond's Online Book Club

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Introducing Belmond Public Library's first Online Book Club! Registration is ongoing.

If you have any other questions please contact the Belmond Public Library at 641-444-4160.

Belmond's Book Club

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Thu Jun 27 – Fri Jul 26, 2019
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