Book Reviews from the Grimsby Library’s Summer Reading Raffle


We received tons of thoughtful book reviews this summer on the ballots of our Summer Reading Raffles. We thought we would share some so everyone can benefit from the literary insights, and maybe even get some recommendations for fall reading lists (or ones to avoid). Check out the reviews from your fellow library-goers below:

A Legacy of Spies by John Le Carre
“Smiley and others are sued by children of Cold War spies who were killed in action.” – V.W.

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
“A woman’s life of her troubled marriage, different relationships, and with lots of different twits (very good).” – J.S.

The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart
“A story about a woman carver in the early/mid 1900s, who helped carve the Vimy Monument.” – M.B.

All Our Wrong Todays by Elon Mastai
“Sci-fi, time travel, and consequences.” – V.W.

The Child by Fiona Barton
“Emma, Angela, and Kate are all connected to a dead baby that was found buried in their town. Kate is a reporter who’s determined to get to the bottom of the crime.” – A.G.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
“This is almost a ‘twin’ story of a concierge and a preteen girl living in the same building in Paris. Both are very intelligent and form a friendship. Lovely reading.” – C.W.

Kickback by Ace Atkins
“Robert B. Porker’s ‘Spenser’ investigates corrupt judges sentencing kids to corporate prisons in a pay-for-pay scheme.” – J.M.

First Snow Last Light by Wayne Johnston
“A fascinating family story in NFL, involving a mysterious disappearance of a couple and their car. Their son never gives up looking for them.” – C.W.

The Accidental Further Adventures of the Hundred Year Old Man by Jonas Johansson
“The character of the 100 year old man engrossed in his black tablet had me laughing out loud thinking of my own father (who is nowhere close to a 100) but has many of the same tendencies. It took me a while to get into it, but once I did, I couldn’t put it down.” – J. J.

Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles
“This was the final book in a trilogy and it didn’t disappoint. The characters are complex and human. The story is written with great attention to detail. Greg Iles is a master with the pen. He is a phenomenal storyteller. This series leaves nothing out: murder, action, history, romance, corruption…you name it, this story has it. A very real ending to a great trilogy.” – R. V.

The Visitors by Catherine Burns
“This book reminds me of the book The Room – I like this book a lot I would have liked to learn more about the girls. The author told us a little but would have liked a little more. I did enjoy the twist at the end did not really see that coming that switched who I thought was the one doing all the “accidents”” – K. E.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
“Girl meets boy on a plane. He’s going to a funeral, she’s going to a wedding. They don’t exchange contact information. They eventually find each other.” – V.H.

The Whiskey King by Trevor Cole
“Bootlegging in Hamilton area, 1920–30s.” – V.W.

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien
“China, 1940s, 1980s, and 2016. Three generations of a family.” – V.W.

True Betrayals by Nora Roberts
“After being told her mother is dead, a woman finds out her mother is alive and they slowly build a mother/daughter relationship.” – H.K.

Bake with Anna Olson by Ann Olson
“Great tips with each recipe. The essential section is an essential read.” – G.V.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
“Mia Warren and daughter Pearl arrive in Shaker Heights, Cleveland. She is an artist with secrets. They rent a house from the Richardson’s and become entangled in their lives.” – V.W.

Montana Sky by Nora Roberts
“Father tries to pit three daughters against each other for his estate in his Will, but there is an unknown brother who feels cheated.” – H.K.

One Drawing A Day by Veronica Lauslor
“Great ideas for painting and drawing.” – C.B.

Be Ready For the Lightening by Grace O’Connell
“This novel had some interesting turns during the plot, as the beginning was explosive and the ending unpredictable. The middle of the novel ran a little dry at times, but overall was a good read. I liked the Canadian references and how this influenced the main character’s actions.” – J. J.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
“It is a turning pages book. End of the book has really surprised find. Rachel is a strong character even though she is an alcoholic.” – F.A.

Full Disclosure by Beverley McLachlin
“Good to the very last word.” – V.W.

Outlander by Dianna Gabaldon
“Time travel, Scottish setting, and historic fiction. Read read!” – M.B.

The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce
“Loved it!” – C.B.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
“Returns to her hometown for work, but more unfolds.” – L.S.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
“WWII, France. Two sisters. The French Resistance. Lots of tears.” – M.B.

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult
“Loved all the information about elephants. Storyline was good, too.” – R.D.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyer
“Story about a simple girl, who is taking care of Will, a quadriplegic, and started loving him.” – J.S.

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
“So well written and an astonishing, gut-wrenching story.” – H. P.

The Widow by Fiona Barton
“Jean’s husband was accused of killing a little girl, but she couldn’t believe that and stood by him. After he dies, she finally finds out the truth and tells the press.” – A.G.

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
“A girl’s aunt passed away, but she left 13 envelopes with instructions to go on a little treasure hunt adventure around the world to experience different cultures, etc. Great book.” –J.A.

The Shape of Water by Guillermo Del Toro & Daniel Kraus
“Great love story.” – C.B.

Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand
“Teen car accident on Nantucket, how it effects the families, and some of their secrets.” – M.H.

The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be by Farley Mowat
“Funny.” – C.B.

Give Me The Child by Mel McGrath
“Dr. Cat Lupis’ husband has been lying to her from day one. He has another child, Ruby Winter, which turns up on her doorstep one night and tears her whole life apart.” – A.G.

Maggie May by Lyn Andrews
“Daughter who was mistreated by her parents tries to make a better life for herself and her brother.” – H.K.

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton
“Her account of events/facts that led to losing 2016 Presidential election.” – J.F.

A Higher Loyalty by James Comey
“A very interesting memoir by ex-FBI Director, James Comey. What an interesting life!” – S.D.

That Summer by Lauren Willig
“I just picked up this book for something to read while camping and could not put it down. A tale of current day and 1800s and a house that links it all together. I’ve already picked up other books by this author.” – L. Z.

The Woman in Cabin Ten by Ruth Ware
“A fantastic thriller involving a small group of adults on a private yacht. Someone goes missing and the group determines who did it.” – M.L.

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig
“A great story about life and love!” – S.H.

Precious Cargo by Craig Davidson
“An extremely heartwarming story. Taught me a lot about how we should give everyone a chance and not be quick to judge. This title is amazing and I highly recommend it!” – N.J.

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopalo
“Love, loss, fate, or freewill. All combined to make a beautifully written heart aching novel.” – T.T.

Just One Kiss by Susan Mallery
“Patience still loves her first love, Justice, but this time she is not sure to love him again.” – J.S.

The Switch by Joseph Finder
“Mild-mannered businessman swaps laptops at TSA with a Senator’s laptop, secrets she will kill to get back. Action ensues.” – J.M.

The Bell Between Worlds by Ian Johnstone
“Sylas discovers he is able to travel to another world.” – K.B.

Love You More by Lisa Gardner
“An interesting look at a local police force and how far one of their own will take their oath. Hard to distinguish between what are lies and what is truth.” – C.W.

The Great Reckoning by Louise Penny
“Captivating, my favourite so far. So well written!” – D.D.


See photos from the Phelps Homes Building Literacy Fair at the Grimsby Library

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Families played and learned together at the Grimsby Library’s 6th annual Building Literacy Fair sponsored by Phelps Homes Ltd. There was seed planting, balloon animals, yummy freezies, crafts, green screen photoshoots, sidewalk chalk, fun literacy games & activities, plus so much more.

Guests included Fun School of Music, Speech Services NiagaraWaste Management of Niagara, Therapy Tails and Parka the Parks Canada Beaver. All of our friends had TONS of fun and educational things for kids to try. We were so excited to have Play Project Parkour course here for the first time, too, as part of the Power Off and Play initiative with Healthy Kids Community Challenge. What a way to kick off summer in Grimsby!

Check out photos below:


Here are some photos from the Green Screen too!


Paula McLain and Katherine Ashenburg at the Grimsby Author Series last Friday

What better way to kick off summer than a late spring Grimsby Author Series event? Last Friday we had our last ‘At the Library’ event of the 2017-18 season with acclaimed authors Paula McLain and Katherine Ashenburg. Peller Estates provided delicious tastings of two of their wines, the aromatic and full bodied 2016 Private Reserve Cabernet Franc 2016 and the fresh and lively 2016 Private Reserve Sauvignon Blanc.

The intimate crowd enjoyed a relaxing night in the air conditioning (away from the heat!) with two wonderful female authors whose books have been added to TBR piles and book club lists all over the country. Bestselling author Paula McLain read from her new book Love and Ruin, and Katherine Ashenburg, an award-winning non-fiction writer, read from her debut fiction novel Sofie and Cecilia. An evening of parallels, both talks featured powerful love stories and friendships, deeply creative people, exciting moments in history, and strong-willed women in relationships with overbearing men.


Katherine Ashenburg

Starting the night off was Katherine Ashenburg. An acclaimed non-fiction writer, lecturer and teacher, and a former CBC radio producer and Globe and Mail arts and books editor, it’s fair to say that Katherine has tried her hand at a few different careers. Debut novelist is one of her latest vocations, and it was a true privilege to have her at the Grimsby Library to talk about her first work of fiction, Sofie and Cecilia.

Writing this book, Katherine admits, was not exactly in her comfort zone. Inspired by two sets of real-life husband and wife artists in Sweden at the turn of the century, this book could have easily turned into her latest non-fiction award winner. Carl and Karin Larsson were artists living and working in Sundborn, Sweden in the late 1800’s. Katherine was always a fan of the Larssons’ work and their famous painted house, and on a trip to visit the site, a surprising discovery about their marriage planted the seed for what would eventually become this story. Learning about the couple’s friendship with fellow artists Anders and Emma Zorn, Katherine began to explore the dynamics of husband-wife relationships and the power of life-long female friendships. As the book evolved, Katherine ventured away from just investigating the facts, and the story became more about revealing home truths and insights into life and love.

This novel is beautifully researched however, and it is what gives Sofie and Cecilia a solid backbone. Katherine explores rich and sophisticated ideas against the fascinating background of the Scandinavian modernist art movement, while authentically capturing the emotions and perspectives of her characters. As a debut work of fiction, this enjoyable and thoroughly satisfying read is really something special, and we can’t wait to see what’s next for this author.


Paula McLain

As one of the only American authors to speak at the Grimsby Author Series, something about Paula McLain keeps us calling her back up north. She was in Grimsby for the second time in 3 years (third time since 2012) to speak about her latest book Love and Ruin. A follow up of sorts to her acclaimed bestseller, The Paris Wife – an evocative fictionalized biography of Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley Richardson – this book masterfully captures the life of his third wife, Martha Gellhorn. Now, before we lump her in to the category of just “one of Hemingway’s wives”, we should stop, and make no mistake, because Martha Gellhorn was a badass, and she was never just a footnote in his life.

Paula McLain has a knack for writing about badass women. Hadley in her own right earned the title, and Beryl West, the heroine in her last book Circling the Sun, was one of the best of them. But Martha Gellhorn deserves a special place in history as one of the most significant and distinguished female war correspondents of the 20th century, and was the only one who had a 60-year career into her 80’s covering almost every major conflict. Martha had real courage, intellect and ambition; a strong will that butted heads with her famous husband. With beautiful prose and rapturous style Paula pulls you into Martha’s story with her accessible writing and compelling voice. She makes history come alive through her eyes, and we can’t get enough!

Door prizes were raffled off at the end of the night as well which included fabulous items from our sponsors Cole’s FloristsObjects to Desire, and Stacy Heidman of Steeped Tea. A big thank you to all of these contributors, and to Forks Road Pottery and Peller Estates for providing our guest speakers with their wonderful gifts.

Thanks to all of our awesome volunteers, sponsors and benefactors for another amazing season! We could not do it without you, and are so appreciative of all of our support and generosity throughout the years. We look forward to next season and working with you again!



Phelps Homes Building Literacy Fair 2018 at the Library coming up June 8

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FRIDAY, JUNE 8 |  2 – 4 PM

Drop-in for an afternoon of family fun at the Library!

Families can play together while building literacy skills with all kinds of fun and educational activities. Learn all about the Grimsby Public Library Summer Reading Clubs for kids 2 years and older, too!

Join us for for raffle prizes, obstacle course, tape track, bubbles, face painting, seed planting, balloon animals, yummy freezies, crafts, sidewalk chalk, a parkour course*, fun literacy games & activities, plus so much more.

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Guests include Fun School of Music, Speech Services NiagaraWaste Management of Niagara, and Play Project Parkour*. Parka the Parks Canada Beaver will be there to talk about the HMCS Haida National Historic Site as well (don’t miss Parka at the Fort George National Historic Site, too on June 17). All of our guests will have all kinds of fun and educational things for kids to try.

*Parkour Course
As part of our Power Off and Play initiative this summer with Healthy Kids Community Challenge, kids can get some exercise in a super fun way by running the Play Project Parkour Course at the Phelps Homes Building Literacy Fair! Go to our Power Off and Play page to learn more about what’s on offer for the rest of the summer too.
Thanks to Phelps Homes Ltd. for generously sponsoring this event!

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Jennifer Robson & local author Laurie Petrou close out Grimsby Author Series 2018

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Last Monday night we wrapped up the 2017-18 Grimsby Author Series with an inspiring evening featuring Grimsby’s own buzzworthy literary talent Laurie Petrou, and bestselling historical fiction author Jennifer Robson. It was the last event of the regular season, but it was actually a night full of firsts for the series. It was our first time welcoming both authors to our stage, it was Laurie Petrou’s first ever public reading of her first published novel, and she just happened to be our first ever local Grimsby author, too. Oh, and it was our first time ever having a craft beer vendor attend! As most of you know we usually have a local Niagara winery on hand to supply libations, but this Monday it was Bush Pilot Brewing Company who kept us refreshed. On one of the first more reasonably warm days of the year, it was lovely to have some ice cold Pengo Pally Saisons (brewed with Arctic herbs) for their inaugural night with us, and we couldn’t think of a better way to mix things up!


Laurie Petrou

Local hearts were glowing with pride as Grimsby author Laurie Petrou took the stage for her debut Author Series appearance and first ever book reading. Having attended our events as a guest for years, it was only fitting that her first one should be with us! Laurie is one of the Niagara Region’s most exciting up-and-coming talents and we are so privileged to have her living and working right here in our hometown. She was the winner of the Half the World Global Literati prize in 2016 for her at-the-time unpublished book. Earlier this year it was snapped up and published by Harper Collins Canada. The team at the Grimsby Library and Author Series couldn’t be more delighted to support this local author with the release of her first novel.

Sister of Mine is a riveting and suspenseful family drama that has literary-thriller fans standing at attention. It starts with a shocking murder, but it’s not a “whodunit”. It’s a “what happens next” tale. The substance of the story is really in the aftermath. What happens in the days, months and years after the event? How do the people involved keep such a terrible and damaging secret? How do our lives get twisted when our deepest bonds are pushed to their limits? Exploring the complexities of loyalty and sisterhood by reveal snapshots into the characters’ past. Laurie writes a deeply compelling story that expertly awakens all five senses. From the first sentence, Sister of Mine hooks the reader and does not let go. It is a riveting page-turner from start to finish and is the work of a new master storyteller.


Jennifer Robson

Jennifer Robson’s internationally bestselling books have been enduring favourites here at the Grimsby Library, and we were so happy to have the chance to welcome her to the Grimsby Author Series for the first time! An academic at heart, Jennifer has a passion for researching the past, and has an innate ability to make history come alive through perspectives that often get lost in time. It is the stories of women that interest her, and exploring what their lives were like against the backdrop of some of history’s most exciting, dramatic and important moments. Her latest book Goodnight from London, accomplishes this objective perfectly.

The book follows Ruby Sutton, a reporter for an American magazine in 1940’s wartime, who gets the chance to fly to London and report on the war first hand. Women reporting on the ground in this way was almost unheard of at the time, but this character exemplifies the type of person Jennifer loves to capture in her books. It is all the more poignant as the story of the main character is inspired by her own grandmother who was a reporter. Jennifer Robson knows how to deliver the goods, and her accurate portrayal of London during the Blitz, the aftermath of the bombings, and life in a besieged city told through the eyes of ordinary people is unmatched.

Door prizes were raffled off at the end of the night as well which included fabulous items from our sponsors Cole’s FloristsObjects to Desire, Stacy Heidman of Steeped TeaElipsis Day Spa, Special Effects Art ShoppeTheatre Aquarius, and Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. A big thank you to all of these contributors, and to The Peanut Mill, Forks Road Pottery and Bush Pilot Brewing Company for providing our guest speakers with their wonderful gifts.

Both authors answered a ton of questions from the audience after their talks from the audience and stayed after the raffles were drawn to sign copies of their books for an impressive lineup of fans. We’d like to send out a huge thank you to both Laurie and Jennifer for attending and closing out our sweet 16th season with style. Seeing as they both have new books in the works, we hope to see both cross our stage again soon!

Did you miss out on your chance to attend the regular season of the Grimsby Author Series? Well, you still have one more chance this June to go to an event! Check it out below:

At the Library w/ Paula McLain and Katherine Ashenburg

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Friday, June 1
Doors: 6:30 PM / Event: 7 PM
Tickets: $20 each

The Grimsby Public Library is welcoming two award-winning, critically acclaimed authors late this spring for a special event of the Grimsby Author Series. Paula McLain and Katherine will be here on Friday, June 1 (doors at 6:30 PM) to speak about their latest works and sign books for fans. Snacks and a wine tasting from Peller Estates will be provided. Tickets are just $20 each, and are on sale now at the Library, or you can buy tickets online.

Next season…

Buy tickets for our 3 Fall events this August. These will be held in September, October and November. Fall packages are $75 each.

No more full-season packages! The series will be split into 2 parts instead: Fall 2018 and Spring 2019. The lineup for the Spring 2019 season will be announced in the fall, tickets will go on sale before Christmas, and the events will be held in March, April and May. This allows us to invite authors who have new books being released in the spring, while avoiding the bad weather months of January and February.

Please contact the Library at 905-945-5142 for more info.

Our sponsors, benefactors and volunteers

Last but certainly not least we would like to thank all of our awesome volunteers, sponsors and benefactors for another amazing season! We 100% could not do it without you, and are so appreciative of all of our support and generosity throughout the years. We look forward to next season and working with you again!


Meridian Comic Book Day at Grimsby Library in pictures

Comic Book Day Graphic

It felt like the whole community zipped, zoomed or flew down to the Grimsby Public Library for our annual Meridian Comic Book Day! It was an awesome afternoon filled with superheroes and activities for comic enthusiasts young and old. There was face painting, green screen photo shoots, pin-making, fun mascots, and free comic books to giveaway, as well as booths and games with Speech Services Niagara, Xtreme Collectables, Parka the Beaver with Parks Canada (promoting the 75th anniversary of the HMCS Haida in Hamilton), and Smoke Free Movies. Our sponsors Meridian Credit Union in Grimsby were there in full force and had fun games and free popcorn snacks. Thanks so much to Meridian for generously sponsoring this annual event!

There were some amazing young local artists showing off their wonderful work, including Zavian Lashington-Francis (who will be doing a talk at Grimsby Library on May 16 about his graphic novel The Winds of Change), Abby Nickerson, Hope Grant, Christina Cote, Julie-Ann Bihari, Jordan Da Costa, and more. Professional illustrators Mike Cope from Cope Toons, Patricia Storms were there too with activities and examples of their work, and our special guest Casey Parsons from Comic 1 Books delivered some amazing free workshops. Thanks to all the fantastic artists who attended and to John Swinimer from True North Country Comics for covering our event for his podcast, make sure you stay tuned for the one featuring this event!

Check out photos from the event below:

Grimsby Library to show Tragically Hip documentary on National Canadian Film Day 2018

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Join fellow Tragically Hip fans at the Grimsby Library on April 18 at 7 PM for a showing of the documentary Long Time Running for National Canadian Film Day. The documentary follows the band on their last tour ever in 2016, following the announcement of front man Gord Downie’s terminal brain cancer diagnosis. Created by friends of the band, Jennifer Baichwal and Nick de Pencier, and premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival, we’re honouring the Tragically Hip’s profound impact on the cultural landscape of this country by sharing this truly unique and beautiful Canadian film with you.

See event details.

“Long Time Running chronicles the emotional and epic iconic Canadian band’s now-legendary 2016 tour that captured the heart of the nation. Viewers will be given a unique and exclusive perspective into The Tragically Hip’s world through intimate moments, behind-the-scenes and on-stage footage, personal interviews with the band and close friends, as well as reactions from their devoted fans from across the country.” –

Watch the trailer here: