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Staff Reviews by Bettina Peters

Cover: 'The Dressmaker'

"The Dressmaker" by Kate Alcott

★★★★★ Tess longs to escape a life of servitude. She knows that her talent should make her more than just a maid, but her beautiful dressmaking skills go unappreciated and unrewarded by her current employer. On impulse, she grabs her few belongings and runs for the docks where she has heard there are jobs available on a fancy new ship that is about to set sail....

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, historical fiction

Cover: 'Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe'

"Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe" by Lisa Small, Stefano Tonchi, Caroline Weber

★★★★★ Shoe lovers, this is the book for you! Based on the information gathered for an exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, this beautiful book is a photographic and short essay history of the high heel. From its fascinating origins to its present day art form, the high heel has been a status symbol for men and women, functional footwear, and a highly controversial...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, fashion, beauty

Cover: 'Pegasus'

"Pegasus" by Danielle Steel

★★★★★ Nicolas von Bingen and Alex von Hemmerle live in a world we can only imagine. As titled members of the German aristocracy, they are free to spend their time hunting, training horses, enjoying their friends and family, and living the good life. Their world of privilege comes to a screeching halt as Hitler rises in power. Nicolas discovers an old family...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Humans of New York'

"Humans of New York" by Brandon Stanton

★★★★★ Chances are if you are on any type of social media, then you've probably been exposed to the fabulous photography of Humans of New York. While working as a bond trader in Chicago in January 2010, Stanton discovered a passion for photography. When his job ended, he decided to do something crazy and take up photography full time. He decided to go from city to...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, travel, photography

Cover: 'Some Luck'

"Some Luck" by Jane Smiley

★★★★★ This engrossing novel brings us into the lives of the Langdon family living on a farm in Iowa. We are swept along as their lives unfold and their world changes from the 1920s to the 1950s. We begin when Walter, a WWI veteran, and Rosanna are young newlyweds, expecting their first child. Each chapter brings with it a new year and more changes as the family...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Half Broke Horses'

"Half Broke Horses" by Jeannette Walls

★★★★★ I loved this book! This is the story of the author's grandmother and her amazing life, told from a first person voice. We follow Lily Casey Smith as she grows from a tough little girl, breaking horses on her father's ranch at the tender age of six, to a strong and independent woman. Lily trains as a teacher, works as a maid when she tries out city life, and...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'The Daring Ladies of Lowell'

"The Daring Ladies of Lowell" by Kate Alcott

★★★★★ In 1832 Massachusetts, there are not a lot of opportunities for young women. Alice is young and headstrong. She works hard on the family farm but her father controls her life and her future. Alice wants more. She moves to the mill town of Lowell where young women can find employment in the cotton mills and freedom from their families. Alice loves her new...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Sedition'

"Sedition" by Katharine Grant

★★★★ In 1794 London, four merchant class fathers who have made their way and their fortune find themselves faced with the problem of marrying off their coming of age daughters. They of course want their daughters to marry up, so they devise a plan. Their daughters will learn to play the newly invented pianoforte and then give a concert, invitation only, to the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Her Brilliant Career: Ten Extraordinary Women of the Fifties'

"Her Brilliant Career: Ten Extraordinary Women of the Fifties" by Rachel Cooke

★★★★ A fascinating look at the role of women in the 1950s, this book shows us that there were definitely exceptions to the stereotypical housewife we've been shown. This book gives mini biographies of some of the extraordinary women who forged careers in a man's world and paved the way for the opportunities that women enjoy today. From race car drivers to...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history

Cover: 'Best Mug Cakes Ever'

"Best Mug Cakes Ever" by Monica Sweeney

★★★★★ I thought it was brilliant when a friend e-mailed me a recipe for making cake in a mug a couple of years ago, so when I found this book I was ecstatic! This book is filled with fun recipes that can be used for a quick dessert anytime. They are ready start to finish in about five minutes. There is a little bit of guesswork when you first start out, depending...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'The Boy Who Drew Monsters'

"The Boy Who Drew Monsters" by Keith Donohue

★★★★★ Looking for a creepy read? Then look no further. This book plays on some of our darkest childhood fears; monsters in the closet, vicious dogs, losing our loved ones, and drowning. Ten-year-old Jack Peter has suffered from agoraphobia since he nearly drowned 3 years ago. The only time he sets foot outside is when his parents wrap him in a blanket and stuff...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, horror, supernatural, paranormal

Cover: 'Pen & Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them'

"Pen & Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them" by Isaac Fitzgerald

★★★★★ People have been tattooing their bodies for thousands of years. Some tattoos are thought about for years and others are spur of the moment decisions. I have always been fascinated by the stories behind the art and so this book was a perfect find. Each tattoo is artistically recreated and accompanied by the person's story. Some stories are funny, others...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, beauty, fashion

Cover: 'The Rosie Effect'

"The Rosie Effect" by Graeme Simsion

★★★★★ I was anxiously awaiting this sequel and it did not disappoint. Geneticist Don Tillman is living in New York with his new wife Rosie. He has settled into a new university and Rosie is working on her MD and PhD simultaneously. Everything in his world seems right, until it is turned upside down by an unexpected pregnancy. On top of that, Don's friend Gene has...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Dollbaby'

"Dollbaby" by Laura Lane McNeal

★★★★★ This engrossing debut novel pulls us into the eccentricities and secrecies of the Bell family living in New Orleans. When Liberty Bell's father is lost to a tragic accident, her mother deposits her on the doorstep of a grandmother she's never met. Ibby's (Liberty's) mother has filled her head with terrible stories about Fannie Bell and life in the south....

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Cities of the World: Extreme Spot the Difference'

"Cities of the World: Extreme Spot the Difference" by Richard W. Galland

★★★★★ Do you love to travel (or wish you could)? Are you ready for a challenge? Then this book is perfect for you! Forty beautiful cities are represented in the photographs contained in these pages. From Sydney to London and Hong Kong to Rio de Janeiro, you will be transported around the globe from the comfort of your home. Travel broadens your mind and so do...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'The Art of Adventure: Outdoor Sports from Sea to Summit'

"The Art of Adventure: Outdoor Sports from Sea to Summit" by Ian Shive

★★★★★ This beautiful book is full of amazing adventure photographs that will inspire you to get up and have an adventure of your own. From water to snow to summits, this book offers a wide variety of adventures for all tastes. These breathtaking photographs capture the spirit and thrill of hurtling over a waterfall in a kayak, skiing down an unknown mountain...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Mood Indigo'

"Mood Indigo" by Boris Vian

★★★★ Originally published in 1947, this book was translated into English and released with the opening of the new film version. I had never read this classic but I was intrigued. Touted as a love story gone tragic, it is indeed that and so much more. Vian's world invites you in with its soft edges, beautiful scenery, and mood inspired ambiance. We can't help but...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Good Luck of Right Now'

"The Good Luck of Right Now" by Matthew Quick

★★★★★ Bartholomew Neil's world has centered on his mother for 38 years. When she dies suddenly, Bartholomew is left alone to try to figure out what to do with his life. When he finds a form letter from Richard Gere in his mother's dresser, he begins to write very detailed and intimate letters to the actor about his life. We follow along as Bartholomew struggles...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Longest Ride'

"The Longest Ride" by Nicholas Sparks

★★★★★ Two love stories, one that is three quarters of a century in the making and one that is brand new are told side by side in this beautifully written novel. When Ira is trapped in his car following an accident in a remote area, he recounts the stories of his life with his one true love, his wife Ruth. He describes their story as it unfolds decade after decade...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, romance

Cover: 'Before amen : the power of a simple prayer'

"Before amen : the power of a simple prayer" by Max Lucado

★★★★★ Prayer can be a daunting task for many of us. We may feel unskilled, unworthy, or unsure of how to even begin. This little book offers insight, comfort, and instruction when it comes to learning how to pray effectively. Max Lucado breaks through all of the complication and doubt about how to pray, where to pray, who can pray, and what to pray for. He makes...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, spirituality

Cover: 'Egg & Spoon'

"Egg & Spoon" by Gregory Maguire

★★★★★ From the bestselling author of "Wicked" comes an enchanting new tale of mistaken identity, unlikely friendships, adventure, and magic set in 1905 czarist Russia. When the private train of Ekaterina Ivanovna de Robichaux is stranded in a peasant village she meets Elena Rudina, a girl who has lost her father, cares for her very sick mother, and longs to find...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, fantasy

Cover: 'Still Life With Bread Crumbs'

"Still Life With Bread Crumbs" by Anna Quindlen

★★★★★ Rebecca Winter, a once world-famous photographer, finds herself at a crossroads. She is stuck in a rut. With the stress of caring for aging parents, helping her adult son financially, and maintaining the New York lifestyle to which she is accustomed, Rebecca is broke. Her art is no longer selling and she is not sure if it ever will again. On top of her...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Wonder of All Things'

"The Wonder of All Things" by Jason Mott

★★★★★ An ordinary day turns tragic as the local air show ends in a fiery crash. 13-year-old Ava and her best friend Wash are trapped underneath the rubble of the observation tower. When Ava discovers that Wash is mortally wounded she does the impossible and heals him. In the age of technology, the whole thing is caught on video and quickly goes viral sending the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Book of Night Women'

"The Book of Night Women" by Marlon James

★★★★★ This captivating novel pulls us deep into the world of Lilith, born into slavery on a Jamaican sugar plantation at the end of the eighteenth century. We begin when she is just a child born of a too young mother who didn't survive her birth, and the white slave driver. Lilith has been afforded a certain amount of protection as a child but quickly learns what...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, historical fiction

Cover: 'The Invention of Wings'

"The Invention of Wings" by Sue Monk Kidd

★★★★★ Sarah Grimke is just a child when she is given the ten-year-old slave girl Hetty 'Handful' Grimke as a present on her eleventh birthday. Sarah knows in this moment that she cannot be a part of the slave owning lifestyle of her southern aristocratic family. Sarah tries to free Hetty and is quickly put in her place by her powerful mother. Hetty’s equally...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, historical fiction