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Staff Reviews by Bettina Peters

Cover: 'Pete the Cat and the New Guy'

"Pete the Cat and the New Guy" by Kimberly Dean, James Dean

★★★★★ Pete the Cat is easily one of my favorite children's book characters. In this story, Pete meets Gus the Platypus and tries to help him fit into his new neighborhood. When Gus has a hard time trying out everyone's favorite activities, Pete tries to cheer him up. What they learn is that Gus has a special talent that is unique to him that he can share with his...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction, picture book, easy reader

Cover: 'Spots in a Box'

"Spots in a Box" by Helen Ward

★★★★★ This fun book is about a guinea fowl who doesn't have any spots. When he orders them in the mail, they arrive as something quite unexpected. As he explores the unexpected assortment of spots, he comes to realize that not all spots are created equal just like no two individuals are exactly alike. What he discovers is that it is more important to be happy...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction, picture book, read-alouds

Cover: 'Smick!'

"Smick!" by Doreen Cronin

★★★★★ This adorable book of few words is perfect to share with beginning readers and older kids too. Smick is irresistibly cute as he does what dogs do, chases, fetches, and looks huggable. Smick is happy when a stick shows up, but how will he react when a chick appears? Actions, rhymes, and wordplay make this a fun and quick read that will help kids discover the...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction, picture book, easy reader

Cover: 'Goodnight Football'

"Goodnight Football" by Michael Dahl, Christina E. Forshay

★★★★★ This bedtime story will bring back sweet memories of football season. Told in rhyme, it follows a little boy as he attends a Friday night game with his family. From concessions, to the players, to the roar of the crowd, you'll remember why we love this game so much, and the satisfaction we feel as our team wins and we head home to snuggle into bed. This is...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction, easy reader, picture book

Cover: 'The Magician's Lie'

"The Magician's Lie" by Greer Macallister

★★★★★ When I saw the comment that this book was compared to a cross between "Water For Elephants" and "The Night Circus", I knew that I had to read it. It did not disappoint! The Amazing Arden is a rarity, a female illusionist whose signature illusion has become the act of sawing a man in half. On one fated night in Waterloo, Iowa, Arden suddenly changes her...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Good Night Yoga: A Pose-By-Pose Bedtime Story'

"Good Night Yoga: A Pose-By-Pose Bedtime Story" by Mariam Gates, Sara Jane Hinder

★★★★★ You don't have to be a yogi to love this book. This pose-by-pose bedtime story takes children through gentle yoga poses and focuses their breathing while telling the story about the world getting ready for bed. Complete with beautiful illustrations, this book can be enjoyed by the whole family. Following the story, there is a complete list of the yoga poses...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction, picture book, health

Cover: 'The Darkest Part of the Forest'

"The Darkest Part of the Forest" by Holly Black

★★★★★ This young adult novel takes us deep into the world of Faerie. Hazel and her brother Ben live in the town of Fairfold where humans and Folk live side by side in an uneasy form of peace. In the woods lies a horned boy in a glass coffin. Tourists come to gawk and debunk him as a myth and the locals adore him. His grove has become the party hangout for...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, fantasy

Cover: 'Texts from Jane Eyre'

"Texts from Jane Eyre" by Mallory Ortberg

★★★★★ If you are looking for a funny, witty, quick read, this book may be for you. Mallory Ortberg, co-creator of the website The Toast, has taken our favorite literary characters, authors, and heroes and created hilarious text message conversations from their perspective. From Scarlett O'Hara to Edgar Allan Poe and from Plato to The Hunger Games, this book is...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Inside the O'Briens'

"Inside the O'Briens" by Lisa Genova

★★★★★ Joe O'Brien is a tough, respected, Boston police officer, born and raised into a tough Irish Catholic family in Charlestown. He is the proud father of four and a husband to his beautiful wife Rosie. When Joe starts to experience some odd quirks in his memory, mood, and physical health, he attributes it to middle age and the stress of his job. As things...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'At the Water's Edge'

"At the Water's Edge" by Sara Gruen

★★★★★ From the author of "Water for Elephants" comes another captivating novel. Madeline Hyde's life is pampered and privileged. She spends all of her time living the good life beside her husband Ellis and his constant companion Hank. New Year's Eve 1944 will change her world. Ellis and Hank were rejected for service in WWII because of medical conditions. Now...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Dovekeepers'

"The Dovekeepers" by Alice Hoffman

★★★★★ This is a beautiful tale of four extraordinary women struggling to survive as their people are sought out for extermination by the Roman Empire. In 70 C.E. nine hundred Jews fled for their lives and sought refuge in King Herod's stronghold at Masada. Yael, born of a dead mother and rejected by her father the assassin, must survive the dessert to take refuge...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, historical fiction

Cover: 'A Touch of Stardust'

"A Touch of Stardust" by Kate Alcott

★★★★★ Julie Crawford is fresh out of college and in a hurry to escape the pressures of life in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She dreams of becoming a screenwriter and decides to take her chances in Hollywood. She finds a job instead as an errand girl for one of the most notoriously temperamental producers in the city. As the studio begins filming what will become one of...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, historical fiction

Cover: 'Wildalone'

"Wildalone" by Krassi Zourkova

★★★★★ Thea Slavin does not understand her parents' resistance to her desire to attend Princeton. Sure it is a long way from home in Bulgaria, but her heart tells her it is where she needs to be to make her dreams a reality. Her determination quickly leads her on a journey that will dig up some dark family secrets that include an eerie amount of Bulgarian legend...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy'

"The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy" by Rachel Joyce

★★★★★ Queenie Hennessy is dying. As she moves to hospice to live out the rest of her days, she decides to write a farewell letter to the man she has loved in silence for 20 years. What she doesn't expect is that her letter will spark something in him that will send him on a walking pilgrimage across England. When she discovers that he is walking to her and has...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Nora Webster'

"Nora Webster" by Colm Tóibín

★★★★★ Set in Ireland, this fascinating novel introduces us to the formidable Nora Webster. When Nora lost her husband, she lost the love of her life, her security, and the place where she belonged. Now she struggles to care for her four children and to make ends meet on her meager widow's pension. Struggling with grief, healing from her wounds, and terrified of...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Miracle at the Higher Grounds Café'

"Miracle at the Higher Grounds Café" by Max Lucado, Eric Newman, Candace Lee

★★★★★ This uplifting little novel is a quick and easy read. Chelsea Chambers is on her own, trying to put her life back together after her split from her NFL superstar husband. She finds herself inheriting not only the family coffee shop, but her mother's mountain of debt. Just when Chelsea thinks she has it covered, she discovers that her husband has not only...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Night Diver'

"Night Diver" by Elizabeth Lowell

★★★★★ The last thing that Kate wants is to leave her safety zone and reenter the world of the family treasure diving business, the same world that stole her parents from her when she was just 17. Unfortunately, her family is in trouble and desperately needs her help. Suspected of stealing the treasure they are commissioned to recover for the British government,...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'A Travel Guide to Life: Transforming Yourself from Head to Soul'

"A Travel Guide to Life: Transforming Yourself from Head to Soul" by Anthony DeStefano

★★★★★ This book is a call to be honest about your life and your search for happiness. It doesn't just focus on material wealth or shallow happiness but looks deeper into the spiritual level and the important role that a healthy spiritual life has on overall happiness. It guides us to love ourselves, treat our happiness and well-being from a holistic perspective,...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'So anyway...'

"So anyway..." by John Cleese

★★★★★ Whether you know him as a Python or as The Pink Panther's Charles Dreyfus, chances are that at some point in your life, John Cleese has made you laugh. Easily one of my favorite comedic actors, John Cleese's memoir is a book that was worth the wait. From his quiet beginnings as the only child of older parents in a sleepy English town, to his adventures in...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, memoir, celebrities, humor

Cover: 'That Part Was True'

"That Part Was True" by Deborah McKinlay

★★★★★ Eve Petworth and Jackson Cooper are strangers. They have never met and live in different countries. However, when Eve writes a letter to Jackson to compliment one of his books, a sudden friendship is developed between them over their mutual love of cooking and good food. Their correspondence continues as Jackson searches for direction in his art and meaning...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Mobile Library'

"Mobile Library" by David Whitehouse

★★★★★ This was a randomly chosen novel that quickly turned into one I couldn't put down! Bobby Nusku spends his time carefully cataloging everything in his house while waiting for his mother's return. He wants her to know every detail of the changes made since she left. He collects hair from the carpet, pieces of her clothing, and even tries to recreate the scent...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction