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Staff Reviews by Sarah Moscatello

Cover: 'The Dress Shop of Dreams'

"The Dress Shop of Dreams" by Menna van Praag

★★★★★ What a beautiful, enchanting read! This is a book you will fall in love with, and characters that you feel as if you know from the very beginning. Studious and unfeeling Cora, after the death of her parents, splits her life between trying to continue her parents' scientific work and keeping her grandmother company in the beautiful dress shop she owns in...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'By Book or By Crook'

"By Book or By Crook" by Eva Gates

★★★★★ I stumbled upon this brand new cozy mystery series by happy accident, and am thankful I did! Set along the beautiful Outer Banks, Lucy has just escaped from her chaotic Boston life to start a job in the quaint local lighthouse library. Set to host first editions of Jane Austen's work, the library hosts a party commemorating the temporary additions. But when...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'The House of Memories'

"The House of Memories" by Monica McInerney

★★★★★ What an amazing, moving journey this book took me on! Ella has just tragically lost her young son. Unable to deal with the grief or look her husband or step-sister in the eye, both of whom she blames for her son's death, Ella escapes to London. There, she stays with the only family she has ever really loved, her beloved Uncle who has secrets of his own....

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Secrets of Midwives'

"The Secrets of Midwives" by Sally Hepworth

★★★★★ Are you a fan of "Call the Midwives" and are looking for something similar? Or are you just interested in novels with strong female characters? This novel centers around three generations of midwives, each with a startling secret that will alter their lives and the lives of their families. When Neva, a third generation midwife learns she's pregnant, she...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'life.love.beauty'

"life.love.beauty" by Keegan Allen

★★★★ This is a thoughtful collection of photographs, poems, journal entries, and thoughts from Keegan Allen. Most readers will recognize him from the ABC Family TV show "Pretty Little Liars." Fans will enjoy moments and photos taken on and off the set featuring many of the actors from this show, as well as other productions important to Keegan Allen. He also...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, photography

Cover: 'Healthy Pasta: The Sexy, Skinny, and Smart Way to Eat Your Favourite Food'

"Healthy Pasta: The Sexy, Skinny, and Smart Way to Eat Your Favourite Food" by Joseph Bastianich, Tanya Bastianich Manuali

★★★★ Who doesn't love pasta? This cookbook has a plethora of new and traditional ideas. All 100 recipes are under 500 calories for those focused on healthy eating, although with the tempting photos, you'd never think this cookbook was focused on flavorful but healthy recipes! I can't wait to delve into a few of these!  

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'My Perfect Pantry: 150 Easy Recipes from 50 Essential Ingredients'

"My Perfect Pantry: 150 Easy Recipes from 50 Essential Ingredients" by Geoffrey Zakarian, Amy Stevenson, Margaret Zakarian

★★★★ For those of us who cook frequently, we almost always have a stocked pantry. But even if it isn't, pantry items are easy to shop for and keep on hand. This cookbook highlights 50 valued pantry items, from honey to canned chickpeas to some of the most essential spices, and includes beautiful recipes that use them. Everything looks delicious, original, and...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'The Ultimate Allergy-Free Cookbook'

"The Ultimate Allergy-Free Cookbook" by Judi Zucker, Shari Zucker

★★★★ Allergic or intolerant to milk, eggs, wheat, nuts, soy, or fish, and looking for easy recipes to make? I qualify for 3 of the allergies mentioned in this cookbook, and it was very helpful having a whole cookbook devoted to recipes I can safely have! Although I was disappointed that no photos were included, the amount of recipes and tips included were...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination'

"Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination" by J. K. Rowling, Joel Holland

★★★★★ I wish someone had read these inspiring words to me on my graduation day! This is a beautiful commencement speech formatted into a beautiful book that helps a beautiful cause, J.K Rowling's charity, Lumos. Told with humor and unquestionable wisdom by (in my very biased opinion) one of the best authors in the world, this is a commencement speech for the...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'At the Drop of a Hat'

"At the Drop of a Hat" by Jenn McKinlay

★★★★★ This was probably my favorite book in the Hat Shop mystery series, the third book in a fantastic series set in London. It follows Scarlett and Viv, two loveable characters that run a hat shop they inherited from their grandmother. Their newest customer, Ariana Jackson, comes in hoping to get her mother's wedding hat restored by Scarlett and Viv, since it...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'The Seafront Tea Rooms'

"The Seafront Tea Rooms" by Vanessa Greene

★★★★★ This was the coziest, most heartwarming novel I've read this year! Set mostly in a beautiful English seaside town, we follow three woman on a journey of friendship, discovery, and life altering decisions. Seraphine, who travels from France to be an au pair and practice her English gets a moment to relax in a quaint, seaside tea room. Charlie, at the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Pluto'

"Pluto" by R. J. Palacio

★★★★★ This is another fantastic addition to the "Wonder" story, told from the viewpoint of Chris, the childhood best friend of August Pullman. Truly heartwarming, this short story adds another layer to the wonderful story surrounding a severely disfigured boy named August. Chris, the boy who grew up beside August, faced his own set of challenges being best...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen: 150 Pizzas, Pastas, Pestos, Risottos, & Lots of Creamy Italian Classics'

"Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen: 150 Pizzas, Pastas, Pestos, Risottos, & Lots of Creamy Italian Classics" by Chloe Coscarelli

★★★★★ This is another fantastic vegan cookbook! Countless pasta, soup, and pizza recipes, as well as delicious desserts had me hooked. You no longer have to give up on the idea of alfredo sauce, gelato, biscotti, or any other of your Italian favorites. Coming from an Italian who can't have any more soy, dairy, or egg, (but who's favorite food is authentic gelato...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'First Frost'

"First Frost" by Sarah Addison Allen

★★★★★ In this enchanting novel we meet the Waverly family, an odd but close knit family in Bascom, North Carolina, who are gifted with mysterious and magical talents. Among a few, Claire can make food that affects the emotions of others while her niece knows where people and things belong. At the heart of this novel is the love of two sisters who are fighting to...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'But I Could Never Go Vegan!: 125 Recipes That Prove You Can Live Without Cheese, It's Not All Rabbit Food, and Your Friends Will Still Come Over for Dinner'

"But I Could Never Go Vegan!: 125 Recipes That Prove You Can Live Without Cheese, It's Not All Rabbit Food, and Your Friends Will Still Come Over for Dinner" by Kristy Turner

★★★★★ This is a fantastic and entertaining cookbook for anyone looking to begin or add to a vegan (or similar) diet! Not only are the recipes eye-catching, but the author even titles her chapters after common misconceptions against a plant based diet (such as "I could never give up cheese!", "Where would I get my protein?", and "It's all rabbit food.") and then...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink'

"Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink" by Gail Carson Levine

★★★★  Ever been thinking about writing but don't know where to start? Or there's a step in the process or question that you're dying to ask an author? This was a new children's nonfiction book about writing that I found even applicable to me. I thought it was a great exploration of the process and the questions that arise when you're trying to write!  

Audience: children | Genre: nonfiction, writing

Cover: 'Little House in the Suburbs: Backyard Farming and Home Skills for Self-Sufficient Living'

"Little House in the Suburbs: Backyard Farming and Home Skills for Self-Sufficient Living" by Deanna Caswell, Daisy Siskins

★★★★ Looking to make your own homemade skin care or cleaning products, or start a co-op, or want tips on gardening? This is a great resource for those wanting to be more self-sufficient in any setting, or those who want to make cheaper homemade products free of chemicals. It includes sections on raising animals (like bees and goats), gardening, starting your own...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Cloche and Dagger'

"Cloche and Dagger" by Jenn McKinlay

★★★★★ This is an excellent new series that takes place in London. We meet Scarlett, a woman who becomes an overnight Internet sensation when she very publicly runs into her boyfriend celebrating his anniversary with his (surprise!) wife. Fleeing to London to join her cousin and claiming her half in a hat shop store she inherited, Scarlett finds even more...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'City Cat'

"City Cat" by Kate Banks

★★★★★ This is an adorable picture book that features a family cat that secretly follows his family as they travel around Europe. It features landmarks in some of the greatest cities, such as London, Amsterdam, Paris, and Venice, and information at end of the book on each. As someone who's been to many of the cities featured, I thought the pictures were authentic...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction, picture book

Cover: 'What I Know For Sure'

"What I Know For Sure" by Oprah Winfrey

★★★★★ This was a profound read for me. While I started this somewhat with trepidation, as I'm not one to usually read something like this, it struck me from the very beginning. As someone who has had a scary and difficult year, I found a lot of truth and connection to the stories told in this that deeply struck a cord with me. Oprah recounts some of her biggest...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, celebrities

Cover: 'Aarti Paarti: An American Kitchen with an Indian Soul'

"Aarti Paarti: An American Kitchen with an Indian Soul" by Aarti Sequeira

★★★★★ This cookbook is a beautiful celebration of Indian food and the author's past, present, and future. I really loved how personal the stories she included along with the tempting recipes were. She explains the most common ingredients in Indian recipes and how to use them, and her recipes look gorgeous and tasty! This is a must read if you love Indian food....

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Close to Home'

"Close to Home" by Lisa Jackson

★★★★★ This novel is about Sarah, a single mother of two girls starting over by moving back to her family's old, run down, estate in a small town alongside the Columbia River. Planning to remodel and bring the house she grew up in back to its old glory, Sarah is unprepared for all the memories and unanswered questions surrounding her family that the remodeling...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'The Pizza Bible'

"The Pizza Bible" by Tony Gemignani

★★★ Written by the eleven time world pizza champ, this book features recipes for an assortment of pizza types, like deep dish, wood fired, and Sicilian styles, as well as pizzas native to certain areas like New York, Chicago, and more. It even includes "My Ten Commandments of Pizza", such as "thou shalt not rush the rise". Alongside tempting pictures of all the...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Libraries'

"Libraries" by Bjarne Hammer

★★★★ This gorgeous new book features beautiful libraries around the world, such as the Library of Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt and Trinity College Library in Dublin. Each of the captivating photos feature a snippet of interesting information about each location (in multiple languages) and highlights the unique architecture and accommodations of each beautiful...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Blythewood'

"Blythewood" by Carol Goodman

★★★★★ At only seventeen Avaline Hall is now an orphan. Never knowing her father, Ava grew up with a mother who weaved her love of Blythewood, the boarding school she was suddenly expelled from, into every story she told her daughter. But after Ava's mother abruptly commits suicide, and then Ava herself almost perishes in a terrible factory fire, Ava finds herself...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

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