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Staff Reviews by Bettina Peters

Cover: 'Neverhome'

"Neverhome" by Laird Hunt

★★★★ Ash Thompson is not all that he appears to be. In fact, he is not a man at all, but a woman serving in the army in her husband's stead. She is surrounded by mystery and intrigue. She is brave, strong, and faithful. Through her journey she is a soldier, a legend, a woman locked up for insanity and rumors of traitorous behavior, and a puzzle. This novel is an...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Book of Unknown Americans'

"The Book of Unknown Americans" by Cristina Henriquez

★★★★★ Maribel Rivera is a happy, beautiful girl living with her family in Mexico when a tragic accident resulting in a traumatic brain injury changes everything. The Riveras must make the tough decision to uproot their family from their comfortable life in Mexico in order to give Maribel her best chance in an American school in Delaware. After making the 30-hour...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: '500 Optical Illusions'

"500 Optical Illusions" by Keith Kay

★★★★★ This is a really fun book! I have loved optical illusions since I was a kid and this book is full of some of the best. You'll have fun trying to figure them out while you train your eyes and brain to process the images in different ways. Also, the author provides the answers to the puzzles in the back so you don't get too frustrated. Go ahead and take some...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands'

"Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands" by Chris Bohjalian

★★★★★ This beautiful, tragic, heart-wrenching book tells the story of Emily, a teen who finds herself orphaned and homeless following a nuclear meltdown at the plant where her parents worked. Fearing that she will be blamed for the mistakes of her father, Emily runs away, assumes a new name, and struggles to survive on the streets. We sit helplessly by as she is...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Enchanted'

"The Enchanted" by Rene Denfeld

★★★★ The enchanted place is not what you might expect. In fact, it is a prison, and its story is being told by a death row inmate. We are given a front row seat to viewing what goes on in this world and we are pulled along as the lady tries to save the life of a prisoner who simply wants to die. We are also able to glimpse a little of the life of the lady, the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Euphoria'

"Euphoria" by Lily King

★★★★★ A surprising find, this novel takes us deep into the world of three young anthropologists working in the territory of New Guinea in the 1930s. When they meet by chance, their lives become intertwined in a treacherous love triangle. Beautifully written and deeply emotional, this is a tale of adventure, danger, romance, and a fierce battle to be the best in...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'A Man Called Ove'

"A Man Called Ove" by Fredrik Backman

★★★★★ Ove is not an easy man to love. At age 59, he has lost his job because he is "outdated." He is cranky, opinionated, and gruff. On the other hand, Ove is someone that you can't help but like. He uses his thick emotional wall to hide great personal loss. When new neighbors with little respect for Ove's personal boundaries move in, his whole world begins to...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Under the Wide and Starry Sky'

"Under the Wide and Starry Sky" by Nancy Horan

★★★★★ This novel recounts the epic and unconventional love story of Scottish literary master, Robert Louis Stevenson and American divorcee, Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne. Fanny heads to Europe with her children to escape an unfaithful and miserable marriage and to develop her skills as an artist. In 1875 she meets Lois in the south of France. She thinks he is too...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Museum of Extraordinary Things'

"The Museum of Extraordinary Things" by Alice Hoffman

★★★★★ Set in New York in the early 1900s, this fascinating novel explores the world inside a museum of oddities. Professor Sardie fills his museum with human miracles and wonders at the beginning of each season in hopes of attracting the crowds that flood the city from spring to fall. Competition is fierce among summer attractions and his desperation for a star...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Bees'

"The Bees" by Laline Paull

★★★★★ When I first picked up this book, I was intrigued by the idea of a book that had honeybees as the characters. I wondered if it was possible to make this work. What I discovered was not only does this work, but the book was so captivating that I couldn't put it down! We are drawn into the life of the hive as Flora 717 emerges from her cell in the Arrivals...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Land of Love and Drowning'

"Land of Love and Drowning" by Tiphanie Yanique

★★★★★ Set in the beautiful and enchanting Virgin Islands, this is a story of love, loss, family, and magic. We begin in the early 1900s when the Bradshaw children are small and tragedy leaves them orphaned. They must face poverty and hardship together in order to survive. Their lives tangle around those of lovers, family members, children, and strangers. They...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Life After Life'

"Life After Life" by Kate Atkinson

★★★★ Ursula Todd is born in England on a cold February night in 1910, with a very unique ability, to live, die, and be born again in a continuous cycle. Ursula falls into this pattern unaware at first, then with a sort of permanent deja vu, and eventually with acceptance. It is a tale of love, loss, war, and the power to take control of one's life. This novel...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'I am Malala'

"I am Malala" by Malala Yousafzai

★★★★★ This fascinating and thought provoking memoir takes us into the world of schoolchildren in the Swat Valley of Pakistan; a world not often experienced by outsiders since the takeover of the Taliban. Malala faces adversity, including the brutal attack in which she was shot in the face by the Taliban, with the courage that comes from being passionate about...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, memoir

Cover: 'The Medici Boy'

"The Medici Boy" by John L'Heureux

★★★★ Set in fifteenth century Florence, this novel is written as a confession and memoir by Luca Mattei, a devoted assistant to the great artist Donatello. Luca writes about living in the infamously sinful city of Florence and about the intimate details of life in Donatello's workshop. A collision of politics, art, and forbidden passions, this is a tale full of...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Allegiant'

"Allegiant" by Veronica Roth

★★★★★ The intriguing conclusion to the Divergent series, this book will be hard to put down. Tris and Four continue to search for answers and a way to put the pieces of their broken lives back together. What began with a choice that changed their lives forever continues to be a journey of choices and tough lessons in love, courage, truth, and sacrifice.  

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, dystopian, science fiction

Cover: 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane'

"The Ocean at the End of the Lane" by Neil Gaiman

★★★★★ A haunting tale of evils both real and supernatural, this story follows our narrator as he remembers the events that changed his world as a 7-year-old child. When a lodger commits suicide in the family car, evil powers are unleashed that quickly threaten his life and those of the people he loves. In order to survive, he must become brave enough to face this...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, horror, fantasy

Cover: 'Insurgent'

"Insurgent" by Veronica Roth

★★★★★ The second book in Veronica Roth's Divergent series continues to follow 16-year-old Tris Prior as she struggles to make sense of her world as it crumbles around her. Tris has finally embraced her divergence but must now figure out what to do about the danger it places on those closest to her. She must make peace with herself as she battles guilt, grief, and...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, dystopian

Cover: 'The Rosie Project'

"The Rosie Project" by Graeme Simsion

★★★★★ This quick and entertaining read follows geneticist Don Tillman, as he devises a plan to find the perfect wife while bypassing the social awkwardness of actual dating. Just when Don has it all figured out, he meets Rosie. Although Rosie meets none of Don's wife criteria, she quickly becomes his friend as they work together to find her biological father. A...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Painter'

"The Painter" by Peter Heller

★★★★★ Peter Heller brings us a beautifully written novel about a famous New Mexico artist names Jim Stegner whose life seems to spiral around in destructive chaos. Jim has a history of violence and loss, but is trying to move forward as he finds a new home that offers him peace and quiet, a place to paint, and great fishing. However, Jim's peaceful existence is...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Monkey Wrench Gang'

"The Monkey Wrench Gang" by Edward Abbey

★★★★★ While not a new release, this 1975 classic is well worth a revisit. Ex-Green Beret George Hayduke returns from war to find that his beloved southwestern desert is being threatened by rampant industrial development. Joined by an unlikely group of allies, Hayduke sets out to save the natural landscape that he loves as he rages against men and their machine-...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, nature

Cover: 'Divergent'

"Divergent" by Veronica Roth

★★★★★ The first book in Veronica Roth's wildly popular series does not disappoint! We meet 16-year-old Beatrice Prior on the eve of the most important decision of her life. She must chose one of five factions to belong to for the rest of her years. Will she choose to stay with her family or find a new one? Her decision is complicated by her test results and her...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, ya fiction with adult appeal, dystopian

Cover: 'The Untold'

"The Untold" by Courtney Collins

★★★★★ This brilliantly told story of Jessie Hickman, a female horse thief, set in 1920s Australia is a darkly captivating must read. Based on the real life Jessie Hickman, the story unfolds as the tough and free-spirited Jessie tries desperately to procure her freedom from her abusive husband and captor Fitz. This novel will rope you in and hold your attention to...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction