“The Very Unfortunate Wish of Melony Yoshimura” by Waka T. Brown

Melony Yoshimura has always felt different from kids her age, all because of her parents. No smartphones, no sleepovers, no talking to strangers. Melony didn’t think it was fair how her parents treated her like she was still a baby. She knows that her parents mean well but she can’t help but feel anger toward them and their cosseted ways.

On Melony’s 12th birthday, she wishes for something she wants more than anything, adventure and freedom. Little did she know that wish would be granted in a way she could have never imagined.

Melony never understood why her parents were so overprotective, but they would never share with her the real reason as to why they felt the need to watch her like a hawk. Melony was 12 now and Mrs. Yoshimura thought it was finally time to share with her daughter the reason for their overprotective ways — The Amanojaku, an evil Japanese spirit that encroached Melony’s father’s village when he was a child.

The creature preys upon children, enticing them to misbehave. Melony couldn’t believe it. Did her mother really think this old folktale would keep her from misbehaving?

The Amanojaku was just a story that was made up to scare children right? That’s what Melony thought until she was greeted by the creature in her kitchen.

In this retelling of “The Melon Princess and the Amanojaku,” we see our main character Melony Yoshimura and how she has always dreamed of one thing — independence. Starting middle school is hard but it’s even more difficult with parents like Melony’s parents who always expect the best and nothing less.

Mr. and Mrs. Yoshimura never seemed to truly understand their daughter. Other kids her age were hanging out at the mall, following each other’s social media accounts, staying up late watching scary movies but not Melony. When Melony’s wish of freedom is granted in a truly sinister way, it’s up to her to realize life isn’t always better looking through rose-colored glasses.

Temptation is always present in our lives whether that’s eating an extra cookie or sleeping in five minutes longer, we have all experienced it but some things tempt us stronger than others.

“The Very Unfortunate Wish of Melony Yoshimura” is a great book that many readers can relate to as we can all understand Melony’s desire to have more freedom at her age. This book explores horror in a way that is appropriate for its middle school audience while still being enjoyable for readers of all ages.

— Review by Krislyn Coburn

“Death By Bourbon” by Abigail Keam

Josiah Reynolds has spent the past year recovering from a fall that left her wheelchair bound. She has another year of recovery to go and the last thing she needs is another murder to solve. Unfortunately for her, life has other plans. At her best friend’s engagement party, one of the guests’ drops dead after drinking a glass of bourbon. Most write it off as an accident, but Josiah has a gut feeling its murder, and her feelings haven’t led her astray yet.

As soon as the body hits the floor, Josiah is interviewing witnesses, making connections and sticking her nose where she shouldn’t be. This novel sits at a little less than 200 pages, but it is by no means light on plot. Narrative twists and turns paired with a cast of memorable characters, give this mystery a quick pace.

In addition to the human characters, Abigail Keam puts a lot of work into making the setting stand out as a character in its own right. Josiah lives in Kentucky, and as a native herself, Keam takes care to give this state a personality that compliments her lady detective. As Josiah travels the countryside on the hunt for a killer, Kentucky is always with her demanding justice.

Those looking for a fast paced easy read ought to give “Death By Bourbon” and the Josiah Reynolds Mystery series a try.

— Review by Paul Sawyier Public Library staff

“Cradle of Conflict” by Michael Embry

As a huge fan of realistic fiction — fiction focusing on everyday people taking realistic actions in settings readers can relate to — I was delighted to encounter “Cradle of Conflict,” the latest in Michael Embry’s John Ross Boomer Lit series.

John Ross, the protagonist, is a retired newspaper writer (as is the author, who lives in Frankfort) trying to enjoy retirement
with his wife, Sally, and her mother, Geraldine (a real scene stealer — and my favorite character). However, life keeps revealing its darker side, stirring up conflict and chaos.

This novel is an honest, reflective look at the realities of modern America family life — the good, the bad and the ugly. Embry’s direct, concise prose is a perfect fit for the storyline, and he frequently adds a dash of humor which lightens up a volume that certainly has moments of grief and despair.

Like the other five books in this series, “Cradle of Conflict” provides readers with a detailed and nuanced look at the complicated relationships all families face. This series is well worth exploring, and if you’ve been searching for a straight-forward, realistic, well-crafted book to read, this novel may prove a real winner.

— Review by Chris Helvey, author of “Afghan Love Potion

“Fishing With Daniel Boone: Fly Fishing the Streams of an American Hero” by William F. Carman

Without question, Daniel Boone is one of the most famous early Kentucky explorers. His life has been the subject of numerous books, movies and a very popular television series. Why, even one of America’s national forests is named after him. In this recently-released volume, William F. Carman (a noted Kentucky fly-fishing and hunting guide) takes readers on journeys to more than a dozen rivers and streams that played important roles in Boone’s life.

Most of these streams flow through Kentucky and Carman fishes them all, providing readers with vivid descriptions of the waters and surrounding landscapes. He also provides detailed information on the various species of fish that populate these rivers and streams, providing many helpful fly-fishing tips along the way.

Perhaps most importantly, Carman shares his “visions” of how Daniel Boone fished these waters and hunted the adjacent woods. He also provides readers with numerous pertinent historical facts and a number of intriguing theories about Boone’s life, notably the many trials and tribulation this important historical figure faced. His well-crafted, light-hearted prose takes the
reader on many enjoyable and memorable “fishing trips.” A winning read for anyone interested in Kentucky’s waterways and history.

— Review by Chris Helvey, author of “Afghan Love Potion”