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The Most Popular Books

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The Most Popular Books of 2019 in little ole’ Belmond, Iowa
Mandi Rink, Technical Services Librarian

The year is slowly winding down. Many patrons around me have finished their reading goal for 2019 and are unrestricted in their holiday cheer. If you are one of the many who have not finished a reading goal of reading a certain amount of books, a personal goal of reading newer novels by unheard of authors, reading fewer books but with more depth or insert other unrealistic goal here, look no further for reading suggestions to finish off those reading goals! Your trusty local Technical Services Librarian has compiled a list of the most checked out books from the various areas of your local library. While I do not know who borrowed what, I do know how many times our lovely patrons have borrowed the books. This data may look a lot different from statistics from other online sources.
I am not stating these books are the ‘Best Books of 2019’ but they are
‘The Most Popular Books of 2019 in little ole’ Belmond, Iowa’. Have you read any on the lists?
Happy Holidays from all of us at the Belmond Public Library! We wish you a joyous New Year full of exciting and memorable reading!! 



1. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
2. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
3. Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks
4. The Light over London by Julia Kelly
5. No Exit by Taylor Adams

1. Educated : A memoir by Tara Westover
2. Girl, Wash your Face by Rachel Hollis
3. This Blessed Earth by Ted Genoways
4. The First Conspiracy by Brad Meltzer
5. Girl, Stop Apologizing by Racheal Hollis

Inspirational Fiction:
1. A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner
2. The Seekers (Amish Cooking Class #1) by Wanda Brunstetter
3. Waiting for Spring (Westwards Winds #2) by Amanda Cabot
4. Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray by Dororthy Love
5. Plain Promise by Beth Wiseman

1. Lost and Found by Danielle Steel
2. No Exit by Taylor Adams
3. Hello, Darkness by Sandra Brown
4. The Cold Moon by Jeffery Deaver
5. The Fifth Column by Andrew Gross

Young Adult:
1. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
2. Snow like Ashes by Sara Raasch
3. The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
4. What goes up by Katie Kennedy
5. Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

Juvenile Fiction
1. The Land of Stories : The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer
2. The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan
3. Over the Net by Jake Maddox
4. Hello, Nebulon! by Ray O’Ryan
5. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

Graphic Novels (JR)
1. Space Boy by Stephen McCranie
2. Dog Man: Unleashed by Dav Pilkey
3. Dog Man: Brawl of the Wild by Dav Pilkey
4. Iron Man and the Armor Wars by Joe Caramagna
5. Dog Man and Cat Kid by Dav Pilkey

Picture Books
1. Go Sleep in your Own Bed by Candace Fleming
2. Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey
3. Sloth at the Zoom by Helaine Becker
4. Don’t Blink by Tom Booth
5. Franklin Wants a Badge by Paulette Bourgeois



Recommended by the Librarians

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The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
Mandi Rink, Technical Services Librarian

“Don’t be ashamed for liking them. The backlash against the PSL [pumpkin spice latte] is a perfect example of how toxic masculinity permeates even the most mundane things in life. If masses of women like something, our society automatically begins to mock them.
Just like romance novels. If women like them, they must be a joke, right?”

Gavin Scott, Nashville Legends second baseman, has magnificently messed up his marriage. After the biggest blow out with his wife, Thea, she asked for a divorce. Determined to win Thea back, and give his daughters the childhood his wife never had, Gavin joins a top-secret romance book club full of Nashville’s manliest men. “The first rule of book club, you don’t talk about book club.”  The men refer to the romance novels as manuals, and use the words to gain understanding about the females in their lives. Gavin, and Thea, realize what it really takes to make a marriage work in this steamy romance novel.
First, I would just like to say more men should openly read romance novels. There is nothing better than a man secure enough in his ‘masculinity’ to own his love for ‘feminine’ things. That is my opinion and I am sticking to it! If you want to hear more about my opinion about “The Bromance Book Club”, continue reading. I put a hold on this book on Bridges (
our elibrary, and where this book is available) and honestly forgot all about the hold. I got an email about it and was very excited because I needed something short and sweet with all of the holiday madness going on. This book is the first in the series Bromance Book Club. I highlighted quite a few passages that I found insightful. Mrs. Adams is a gifted writer and really makes it easy to lose yourself in Gavin and Thea’s relationship and family dynamics. I give “The Bromance Book Club” four stars for its readability, insightfulness, relatability, awesome characters and all around contemporary views on the gender roles.


A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones
Sonya Trager, Library Clerk

Genre: Mystery

Available at the Belmond Public Library in the future (release date April 2020). Check with one of our librarians to add your name to the hold list.

Synopsis: (from Sheriff Sunshine Vicram finds her cup o’ joe more than half full when the small village of Del Sol, New Mexico, becomes the center of national attention for a kidnapper on the loose.

My Impressions: I am a huge fan of Jones and her Charley Davidson series. When I heard she was departing from the paranormal romance/urban fantasy genre to write a mystery novel, I knew I needed to read it. Thankfully, I got my hands on an advance copy through Netgalley. I really enjoyed this book. The book included the same humor and feel as the other books she has written. I loved Sunshine’s relationship with her daughter, Auri. The sarcasm and quips between the two felt natural. I found myself laughing aloud in several places and eagerly reading parts of the book aloud to my husband (who simply looked at me confused). I like that the characters in the book are quirky and flawed. The story is engaging despite a few plot holes here and there. I think if you want a fun little mystery with a lot of humor and pep, this would be perfect. Readers of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series and other like books would absolutely devour this fun little novel.


Full Throttle by Joe Hill
Mandi Rink, Technical Services Librarian

I picked up Joe Hill’s writing because his father, Stephen King, is one of my favorite authors. I continue to read Joe Hill because his work is awesome. There is clearly something in the DNA makeup of this family because they can all write excellently.
“Full Throttle” features thirteen short stories that range in topic and genre.  My two favorites were of course ‘Throttle’ written with King and ‘Late Returns’, being a librarian motorcyclist will do that. I would recommend these stories to anyone who enjoys sleepless nights, thinking outside the box and can appreciate something well written.

“Throttle” stuck with me because I often find myself thinking how horribly automobile drivers are around motorcycles and how easily anyone riding a motorcycle could lose their life due to vehicle driver error. Unless you have rode a motorcycle, you do not often consider motorcycles and the people on them. I started this story and thought of an older movie I had seen before, Joy Ride, staring the late Paul Walker. The story begins introducing a seedy motorcycle gang with a gruesome background at the beginning of a questionable journey.  Once the truck driver realizes the ‘small world’ connection he has with this meth dealing motorcycle gang, he plans to right their wrong his own way. I loved this story and the ‘ah-ha’ connection at the end.

“And you’re not an envoy from the Lord? You’re not an angel?”
“Nope. Just a librarian.”
“Ah, well,” she said. “That’s close enough for me.”

“Late Returns” was my favorite because books. I do not really feel like I need to say more but I suppose I will because I want everyone to know how much this will resonate with book lovers. We follow a man who recently was fired from his semi-driving job after the unexpected death of his parents. He returns to his hometown to clean out his parents’ home. He finds a very overdue book and decides to return the book to the library. While at the library, he finds himself taking a job driving the very interestingly painted bookmobile. I will just get this bias out of the way…My husband is a truck driver; I am a librarian. That part of the book is real life. Of course, time travel could be real and just be kept under lock and key really well by the government. I hope it is a thing by the time I pass on because it would be the ultimate afterlife if I could continue to read new books…even more so if it is by Joe Hill.


Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death by Caitlin Doughty
Sonya Trager, Library Clerk

Genre: Non-fiction

Synopsis: Caitlin Doughty, mortician, factually answers questions posed to her by children over the years. She uses a blend of facts, casual language and humor to take the scary out of death and replace it with knowledge and education.

My Impression: Like many parents, my kids asked both thought-provoking and difficult unnerving questions for which I never really had answers. I spent a lot of my 20’s and 30’s searching books and the internet to answer these questions while gaining an almost obsessive desire to find the answers for myself. I loved this book. Doughty does not hold back at all in answering such thought-provoking questions about death like “Can I be buried in the same grave as my hamster?”, “If I died making a stupid face, would it be stuck like that forever?”, and “Will I poop when I die?” She uses facts, hypothetical situations, analysis, and humor to educate readers about what generally seems a dark and difficult subject. I wish this book had come out when my kids were younger and when I needed help with the difficult talks about the physical realities of death. My children are grown now, but I plan to recommend they read this book.


What Happens in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand 
Mandi Rink, Technical Services Librarian

Last year I listened to the audiobook, “Winter in Paradise” by Elin Hilderbrand. I was forcing myself to branch out of my normal ‘thriller/horror’ genre. I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Winter in Paradise’ and could not wait for the second book in this chick lit trilogy, ‘What Happens in Paradise.” You could read this book as a standalone but I really do not recommend it. ‘What Happens in Paradise’ picks up right where we left our characters at the ending of the first in this trilogy. Irene is struggling to understand her husband’s death, her fresh feelings for Huck, and her new life on the island. Cash has decided to start over on the island, accepting a new position on a snorkeling boat. Baker, in the midst of divorcing his wife, has similarly decided to return to St. John. Both men are hopeful of a new relationship with the island’s most sought out bachelorette, Ayers Wilson.  The conclusion of the book leaves you guessing and wanting more out of these characters.
I really love Hilderbrand’s writing style. She seems to be able to construct a storyline that captivates me when most authors would bore me writing of the same subjects. The characters are not always loveable, I am looking at you Baker and Ayers, but they are always real. I was able to read ‘What Happens in Paradise’ in three days and I really wished I had paced myself. This book helps build the characters and their relationships better and, presents us with glimpses of characters that were not directly in the first volume. I really do recommend this series to many patrons that come to the library because I enjoyed it so much. I hope Mrs. Hilderbrand does not make us wait too long for the conclusion. 




The Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Library Clerk, Sonya Trager

Genre: Contemporary fantasy ficiton

Synopsis: Galaxy “Alex” Stern sees ghosts. Escaping her tragic past she is presented with a ‘too good to be true’ opportunity. Given a full ride to Yale, she has only one requirement, become a part of a group that monitors the secret societies that call Yale home. These powerful houses, known as tombs, list many of the world’s rich and powerful among their elite alumni. With magic, these alumni and members achieve success, riches, and prosperity. However, beneath the glitter and glory lies a dark and sinister reality.

My Impressions: I came to read this author by way of a suggestion by a patron and fellow book buddy. This is my first real endeavor into Bardugo’s writing. I knew she has a very popular young adult series coming to Netflix in the future, but other than that, I had no real experience with her writing. I really enjoyed her writing. The book read very much like a thriller/mystery with a conspiratorial secret society element that really piqued my interest. The addition of magic, ghosts, and all things relatively spooky really got me excited. Let us face it, I like to read a lot of unusual and rather ‘weird’ stuff. This fit nicely into my tastes, but had enough of a normality to it that I think any average reader of thrillers might enjoy the tale. I found the dynamics of the characters intelligent and well thought out. I enjoyed the writing, pacing and momentum of the story. Bardugo creates a dark fantasy atmosphere and backs it up with some strong theories and ideas. I liked the characters but found myself feeling as if I did not fully understand the main character. A lot about her remains a bit of a mystery but develops as the story progresses. By mixing the past and present, the author provides a history while keeping the story moving forward. I found myself fully engaged and guessing at the mystery elements of the story.


The Institute by Stephen King
Technical Services Librarian, Mandi Rink

Twelve-year-old prodigy, Luke Ellis, is kidnapped in the dead of the night. He awakes in a room identical to his, with just a few changes. There is no window in this bedroom, and it is located inside The Institute, surrounded by other strange bedrooms full of children with telekinesis and telepathic abilities. The children are put through rigorous, medical torture to extract their abilities for worldwide gain. While the medical doctors and caretakers believe the children are sacrificing themselves for the betterment of the world, Luke Ellis is working on an escape plan.
It is not a secret that Stephen King is my favorite. I was slightly disappointed with his less than thrilling novelette “Elevation” that was released last year. King makes an epic comeback, in my opinion, with this perfect mixture of science fiction and thriller starring an unlikely gang of heroes. The book is 561 pages long and took me a week to read. It was unputdownable. The chapters are long but King broke it down in very manageable sections within the chapters. The entire book is written in different characters point of views and that, along with the impeccable storyline, is what keeps it interesting. I highly recommend this book, even if you are not normally a fan of King’s past works but love a thrilling storyline. Pick up this five star read from Belmond Public Library today!


A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying by Kelley Armstrong
Library Clerk, Sonya Trager

Genre: Junior Fiction Fantasy

Synopsis: Rowan and her twin brother, Rhydd, have their futures laid out for them. Rowan, the oldest of the two by two minutes, will become the next leading queen while Rhydd is to take his place as the Royal Monster Hunter. Unfortunately neither one of them seem fit for the roll they will take when they grow older. After an altercation with a wild Gryphon, their roles change. While all seems well and done, Rowan must go on an adventure to learn to be a hunter and to capture and kill the monster that caused such havoc on their land. Rowan takes her leave, along with a jackalope who has become her friend, and a wolf that barely stands her, to earn her place as Royal Monster Hunter.

My Impressions: I am a fan of Kelley Armstrong’s young adult series so this book really piqued my interest. After reading the description, I knew this would be a fun little read. I really enjoyed this book. Rowan is a kindhearted, fearless, and a strong-headed main character. Her heart is as big as her courage. Through the story, Rowan deals with such issues as loss, anger, regret, forgiveness, friendship and sacrifice. She also learns the importance of being true to herself and choosing kindness. She grows through the story and learns lessons along the way that make her a better person and a more interesting character. The reader also watches her learn and grow through her interactions with the magical creatures and the new friends she meets along the way. The book ends in a way that strongly suggests it will continue as a series. This book proves a wonderful junior fiction book and introduction to fantasy.


Cast in Shadow (Book 1 in the Chronicles of Elantra Archives Series) by Michelle Sagara
Library Clerk, Sonya Trager

Genre: Fantasy

Available on Bridges

Synopsis: Children in the streets of fief of Nightshade are dying. Each of them are marked with odd markings on their skin. Kaylin Neya has returned to the streets she escaped, searching for clues to the death of these children who bear the same markings as her own. She survived, but what has come back to start the cycle again? As a private in the Hawks, a law-enforcing group led by Avians, Kaylin works to solve the mystery collecting clues the crimes but growing close to some of the truths about her own past.

My Impression: While this book is in the fantasy genre, it reads very much like a mystery novel. The plot is interesting and engaging while not leaning too heavily on remembering a lot of names, locations, and backgrounds. The pace is a bit slow and I did feel as if I was trudging through at times; however, I had no issue with the read in regards to the plot or story line. Like most fantasy novels, the first book acts to build the world and characters while engaging the reader. The series becomes more dynamic with each book.



beTWEEN The Pages Book Club

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October 24th 
November 21st
December and January - BREAK 
February 27th 
March 26th 
All meetings will be held from 6:30PM - 7:30 PM

Friends of the Library

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The Friends of the Belmond Public Library was formed in 1995.  They are an auxiliary group of the Library Foundation.  Their mission is to maintain an
association of persons interested in the library, to focus public attention on the library, to lend financial support, to coordinate volunteer efforts,
and help promote the programs and services of the Talbot Belmond Public Library. 

As a Friend, you will have the satisfaction of supporting one of our most important educational institutions, playing an important role in making books and other materials available to the community. 
You will also have the opportunity to volunteer for various events and programs.

  You can join for as little as $5.00 per year as an individual, or $15.00 as a family.
If you are already a Friend of the library, please stop by today to renew your membership. 

Please contact the library with any questions. 
The library would love to have you as a Friend!

Belmond's Book Club

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Library after Dark

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How often do you check out from your local library? At least ten times a month, maybe ten times a week? Starting January 29th until March 30th, you can turn checkouts into prizes from the Belmond Public Library! The Belmond Public Library is hosting a reading incentive program, “Winter’s Tale,” for those sixteen years of age and older.  For every ten books you borrow from the library, online or in person, your name will be entered into a weekly prize drawing and into the grand prize drawing, one of three gift baskets. You’re reading anyway, so why not be rewarded for it?

Join the librarians for “Library after Dark Book Swap & Winter’s Tale Sign Up”, January 28th at 6:30PM. At this event, you will be able to swap as many gently used books that you bring, while snacking on a sweet treat and sipping warm cocoa. While you are here, we would love you to sign up for the incentive program. By signing up you will get your name in the drawings for the grand prize and the weekly prize. Registration is ongoing if you cannot make it to the sign-up event. Snow date for “Library after Dark Book Swap & Winter’s Tale Sign Up” is January 29th at 6:30PM.
If you have any questions, please contact Mandi at 641-444-4160. We hope to see you at the library!

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Tue Jan 28 – Thu Feb 27, 2020
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