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Staff Reviews by Sarah Moscatello

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: '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

Cover: 'Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die'

"Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die" by Diane Kochilas

★★★★ This was a great, new book to stumble upon! This cookbook focuses on the life and recipes of the small Greek island of Ikaria. Between recipes unique to this area, the author shares stories of the people, culture, and food of this beautiful island, alongside fantastic pictures. This cookbook is a great opportunity to delve into the lives of the locals, and...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Skinny Dinners: 200 Calorie-Smart Recipes that Your Family Will Love'

"Skinny Dinners: 200 Calorie-Smart Recipes that Your Family Will Love" by Better Homes and Gardens

★★★★ Looking for a healthy dinner recipe? This cookbook has a varied collection of healthy and appetizing options. Included are slow cooker, 30 minute, side dish, casserole, and dessert recipes, as well as 5 ingredient recipes for when you need a quick and easy option. They even include your favorite comfort food dishes tweaked to make them better for you, plus...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Chloe's Vegan Desserts'

"Chloe's Vegan Desserts" by Chloe Coscarelli

★★★★★ This is a fantastic vegan resource for desserts! Instead of containing substitutions and harder-to-find ingredients, Chloe relies on science instead of substitutions in order to keep the ingredient list and recipes from getting confusing (or expensive). These are recipes that won't make you feel like you're missing out on anything, whether being vegan was a...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Salad Samurai'

"Salad Samurai" by Terry Hope Romero

★★★★ This is one creative cookbook chock full of innovative ideas for all kinds of salads, dressings, and toppings. Recipes included building very unique pasta and lettuce salads, packed full with a variety of ingredients. All are vegan, but are sure to please those who don't normally eat that way. There are sweet and savory recipes, like 'Overnight Oats with...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Seriously Delish'

"Seriously Delish" by Jessica Merchant

★★★★ This cookbook is truly a celebration of food, with beautiful recipes that are a great mix between delicious healthy recipes and more scrumptious treats. Half of the recipes were actually already vegan (which is great for me!), just because the author favors equal parts healthy with equal parts 'treats', which I appreciated. I also enjoyed the author's...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story'

"The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story" by R. J. Palacio

★★★★★ This is a fantastic addition to the book Wonder, the incredible story about Auggie Pullman, a young boy with a unique face. In Wonder, readers had a glimpse into the viewpoints of several characters in Auggie's world, except for the bully himself: Julian. Now readers finally get a chance to experience Julian's point of view, and learn why he hated Auggie so...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Christmas at Tiffany's'

"Christmas at Tiffany's" by Karen Swan

★★★★★ Once in a while a novel comes along that completely takes you by surprise, taking you on a momentous journey along with the characters that leaves you sitting in stunned, happy silence after you read the last words. This brilliant, heartwarming novel was one I almost missed, because I admittedly shun novels that even mention Christmas in the title. I needn'...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, holiday

Cover: 'I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks'

"I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks" by Gina Sheridan

★★★★ This is a collection of short snippets from the daily interactions at a public library. From entertaining to disturbing to heartwarming, anyone who has worked in a public library will surely find this book entertaining and most likely, oddly familiar. Conversations are cataloged by theme, such as curiosities and wonders, reference work, and even human...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Circle of Stones'

"Circle of Stones" by Catherine Fisher

★★★ Sulis, a teenage girl being handed off to another set of new foster parents, arrives in Bath, England, ready to leave the past behind her. Within minutes, she is already nervously looking over her shoulders at every opportunity. Linked with her story is that of Zac, the assistant to the man who aims to invent the world's first circular street, King's Circus...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, fantasy

Cover: 'A Midwinter's Tail'

"A Midwinter's Tail" by Sofie Kelly

★★★★★ In this cozy new mystery in one of my favorite series, Kathleen, the head librarian of a small Minnesota town, is gearing up for a fundraising event and the holiday season. What starts out as a great fundraising event turns into two people sent to the emergency room and one dead body. As Kathleen tries to leave the detective work to her detective boyfriend...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery, holiday

Cover: 'Backyard Style'

"Backyard Style" by Matthew Mead

★★★★ Although looking through this outdoor style guide as you see snow right outside your window may not be the best feeling, this is packed full of beautiful illustrations and ideas for when the snow is gone! Included are entertaining tips and a few recipes and decorating ideas as well for each theme and style. I found myself longing for, not only a backyard of...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, gardening, outdoors, nature

Cover: 'The Wishing Tide'

"The Wishing Tide" by Barbara Davis

★★★★ In this atmospheric novel set along the North Carolina coast, Lane Kramer moves away from her ex-husband and memories of a miscarriage to a quaint inn she decides to run. During the off season and in the middle of a violent storm, a professor stumbles upon Lane's inn asking to stay. What Lane doesn't realize is that Michael has arrived under false pretenses...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'By the Book'

"By the Book" by Pamela Paul

★★★ Have you ever wondered what your favorite author's favorite book is? Or what book they just couldn't get through and even finish? Or even what their reading and writing habits are? This book features short interviews by sixty-five of the world's top writers, from J.K. Rowling to Michael Connelly to Khaled Hosseini. I found it to be full of interesting and...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction