Announcing Flipster!


We are happy to announce that the Library now has a subscription to the digital magazine service Flipster! A product of EBSCO Information Services, Flipster allows library patrons to read high quality digital versions of popular magazines on a computer or mobile device.  The service is free to use with a Red Wing Public Library card. Download apps, which allow users to read content later when offline, are available for both Apple (iTunes) and Android (Google Play) tablets (an iPhone app should be available soon).

Magazines now available for online reading from the library’s subscription are Beer Connoisseur, Climbing, Cooking Light, Cosmopolitan, Dwell, Prevention, Real Simple, Rolling Stone, and US Weekly.

Flipster is easy to use and has been very popular in other public libraries. If you have any questions, check out our FAQ page or their help section (or please give us a call!)

The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim by E.K. Johnston

The Story of Owen is the third of the five 2015 Morris Award nominees.  An alternate history of the world featuring a teen dragon slayer and his bard slaying dragons in rural Canada?  Okay, I totally would have picked this up on my own even without the Morris nod – but I sure am glad to see it on the list!

story of owenListen!  For I shall tell you a tale of Owen Thorskard, the last in a long line of dragon slayers, and the story of how he came to save the town of Trondheim from dragons.  So settle in, relax, and try to ignore the sound of the dragons eating your sheep outside the walls of your (hopefully) fireproof dragon shelter.  I’m sure the government sanctioned slayers will get there, eventually – as soon as the traffic on I-94 clears up.

After the world-famous dragon slayer Lottie Thorskard, who also happens to be Owen’s aunt, fell from the bridge in suburban Toronto trying to save an idiot civilian videoing her battle with a rather large dragon on his iPhone, her injuries forced her into semi-retirement in small town Trondheim, along with her nephew, brother, and wife.  Which is how musician, composer, and high school student Siobhan met Owen – on the first day of school, more than a bit lost on his way to algebra.

When it turns out Owen is not that great at algebra (or English), Siobhan is enlisted as his tutor – but Lottie has other plans for Siobhan as well.  Owen, it seems, needs a bard to sing songs of his (due to the fact that Siobhan prefers to spend dragon attacks in a fireproof shelter, mostly made up) glory if the Thorskards are going to successfully encourage other slayers to move out of the cities and into rural areas.  Lottie feels that protecting farmers and lone motorists from dragon attacks, not just leaving them to wait for government slayers for hours, by which time their fields, homes, and livelihoods are usually burned to a crisp, is just as important as protecting the government’s oil reserves and military outposts in the Middle East.

As Siobhan spends more and more time with Owen and the Thorskards, training in dragon evasion and defensive sword fighting, patrolling on weekends, and trying to find the time to squeeze some homework in, she realizes that the dragon attacks are increasing in frequency – and in number of dragons.  But with only the damaged Lottie, her inventor/swordsmith wife Hannah, one full-time dragon slayer (Owen’s father), an extremely enthusiastic history teacher, Siobhan’s friend Emily, who also happens to be a conspiracy theorist, hacker, and master manipulator of the media (see: hacker), a sixteen-year-old slayer and his bard, and a high school soccer team fully trained in dragon evasion, how can the Thorskards prevent Trondheim from going the way of Michigan (i.e., fiery annihilation)?  You will have to read Siobhan’s tale to find out!


Where has the time gone?  It seems like just yesterday we were awarded a grant to expand our romance collection and developed a whole year of programming to help promote it.  We kicked off our Year of Romance last February, and next month will draw our promotion to a close.  Therefore, if you haven’t entered to win new romance books signed by the authors who wrote them, now is the time to do so!  All January long we will be highlighting New Adult romances.  This genre is characterized by young protagonists, typically in the age range of 18-25.  Read any romance book this month and enter to win autographed books by Jay Crownover, Cora Carmack, and Jay McLean amongst others.  Add some romance to your new year with one of these popular, new books!

The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos

Every year I eagerly await the announcement of the five William C. Morris Award (for best debut YA novel of the year) nominees and then try to guess which one I think will win the award at the end of January.  Often, it means I read some pretty awesome books that are totally outside of my reading box I never would have stumbled upon on my own. This year, I was totally stoked to see The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender (A book about a girl born with wings?  Yes, please!) make the cut, but the other four weren’t on my to-read list (yes!! new books!!).  I’m going to try to read and review them all – so here’s the second of the five 2015 Morris picks!

scar boysWhen Harbinger Robert Francis Jones was a kid, some neighborhood bullies left him tied to a tree in his New York suburb during a thunderstorm.  He wasn’t struck by lightning, not exactly, but the tree was, and when his mother found him, he was barely alive.

Flash forward past years of surgeries, missed school, physical therapy, more than a lifetime supply of parental guilt, and a lot of psychotherapy sessions with Dr. Kenny, and you’ve got scarred, shy, ostracized Harry, who has no friends and a future he just can’t get interested in.  Enter Johnny, popular, confident track star, who, for some reason, sits down next to Harry and starts talking to him.  And suddenly, everything changes.

Harry is definitely nowhere near the top of the social ladder, but at least now he has somewhere to sit at lunch.  And when a misguided attempt by Johnny to set Harry up with a girlfriend ends only in disaster (painfully shy boy with scars + girl + Halloween = fail), no one would guess that that one unfortunate incident would lead to The Scar Boys, the single greatest rock band you’ve probably never heard of.

Written as a college admission letter, Harry’s story of his rise to fame (sort of) with Johnny, Richie, the drummer, and Cheyenne, their punk rock pixie of a bass player is heartbreaking, hilarious, and just as awesome as you might expect.  Through breakdowns, basements, garages, dive bars and clubs, diners and sketchy motels and down the East Coast, Harry and The Scar Boys will rock their way first into your head and then into your heart.  I’m always a sucker for a good band book, and this one is no exception.  If you’ve got music in your soul (or even just on in your car sometimes), don’t miss this first book by ex-rocker Len Vlahos!