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Staff Reviews by Anna Conrad

Cover: 'The Soup & Bread Cookbook'

"The Soup & Bread Cookbook" by Beatrice Ojakangas

★★★★★ 'Whether you love hearty stews and warm bread in the winter or cold soups in the summer, this is the book for you. This cookbook is subdivided into chapters for Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter based on what fresh produce is available. The soups are impressive and sophisticated (like my favorite the apple-brie soup) but may not appeal to everyone; children...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'The Boleyn Deceit'

"The Boleyn Deceit" by Laura Andersen

★★★★ In this sequel to “The Boleyn King,” Minuette, a lady in waiting to the future Elizabeth I, is caught between her love for Dominic Courtenay and William (the fictional King Henry IX of England), who becoming increasingly obsessed with her and wants to make her his queen.  Treasonous plots add a political undercurrent to the love triangle. Andersen...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, historical fiction

Cover: 'Jack The Ripper: The Terrible Legacy'

"Jack The Ripper: The Terrible Legacy" by The Whitechapel Society

★★★★★ Many know of the five women brutally killed by Jack the Ripper in London in 1888. However, the failure to bring the killer to justice left many unintentional victims in its wake. Conspiracies abounded about who was responsible for the crime. Numerous men were falsely accused of being Jack the Ripper. Many more were tainted by connections, however tenuous,...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history, true crime

Cover: 'Superfood Snacks: 100 Delicious, Energizing, & Nutrient-Dense Recipes'

"Superfood Snacks: 100 Delicious, Energizing, & Nutrient-Dense Recipes" by Julie Morris

★★★★★ If you are looking for snacks that are both delicious and super-healthy, this is a great book to pick up. I have made the cookie dough protein bites, the mocha energy bites, and the chocolate whip dip. There are also savory dip and kale chip recipes. I appreciated the first chapter, called "The Superfood Treatment," which outlines the items to stock in your...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'The Japanese Lover'

"The Japanese Lover" by Isabel Allende

★★★★★ Alma Belasco's lives at Lark House Retirement Home in San Francisco. As a child, and then as a young woman, she fell in love with the son of her uncle's Japanese gardener. Now in old age, her grandson and her caretaker, who are falling in love themselves, discover their love letters. Her story spans from her fleeing Poland as a child refugee to her lover's...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Career of Evil: A Cormoran Strike Novel'

"Career of Evil: A Cormoran Strike Novel" by Robert Galbraith

★★★★★ When a severed leg is sent to Cormoran Strike’s assistant Robin Ellacott, the private detective immediately knows of three individuals from his past that could be targeting them and has murdered a young woman in the process. As the two coworkers search for the killer, they delve into each other’s personal lives and become closer than ever before. While the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Enchantress of Paris: A Novel of the Sun King's Court'

"Enchantress of Paris: A Novel of the Sun King's Court" by Marci Jefferson

★★★★★ This novel follows Marie Mancini, the niece of a powerful cardinal in the court of French King Louis XIV. As Marie and Louis fall in love, she becomes the target of her uncle's wrath because her relationship with the king threatens to unravel his carefully laid political plans. Marie also has to contend with the king's mother and competition from her own...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, historical fiction

Cover: 'Mademoiselle Chanel'

"Mademoiselle Chanel" by C. W. Gortner

★★★★★ This novel follows the life of famed fashion designer Coco Chanel from her early years in a convent to the debut of her 1954 collection. For lovers of fashion, there are numerous descriptions of her famous pieces as well as a subplot about development of her still popular scent, Chanel No. 5. Her social circle, which included artists, aristocrats,...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'The Accidental Empress'

"The Accidental Empress" by Allison Pataki

★★★★ At just fifteen years old, Elisabeth "Sisi" of Bavaria travels to Austria to meet Franz Joseph, the emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, who is to marry her sister. Instead, the emperor falls in love with Sisi and makes her his empress. However, Sisi is ill-prepared for the rigors of court life and for dealing with her domineering mother-in-law Sophie....

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

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 collection of short and absolutely hilarious anecdotes that will appeal to both library workers and library users. The stories range from cute encounters with children and confusion over e-books and computers to a few entries that moved this reviewer to tears. There is even an entire chapter dedicated to one eccentric library patron. As a library staff...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'An Abundance of Katherines'

"An Abundance of Katherines" by John Green

★★★★★ Colin Singleton is a highly intelligent child prodigy who finds himself repeatedly dumped by girls named Katherine. While on a road trip with his best friend, Colin seeks to prove a theorem that will help predict the future of any relationship. A wild boar, ten thousand dollars in cash, and other escapades add to the adventure of this coming-of-age tale....

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, award-winning, printz award winner

Cover: 'America's Best Pies 2014-2015'

"America's Best Pies 2014-2015" by Linda Hoskins, American Pie Council

★★★★★ I am someone who will use any excuse to make a pie, and this book provided me with many new recipes and flavor combinations to try. This is an excellent book for both the novice and experienced pie-maker. The recipes range from classic recipes, such as the Lattice-Topped Apple Pie to the more experimental, like the Super Grande Mochachino Pie. There are...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Sunday Casseroles: Complete Comfort in One Dish'

"Sunday Casseroles: Complete Comfort in One Dish" by Betty Rosbottom

★★★★★ If you love one-dish meals, this cookbook is for you. The photography in this book is beautiful and elevates the humble casserole from everyday dining to haute cuisine. I found all of the recipes easy to follow, and the first chapter contains useful tips and tricks for creating the perfect casserole. I have already made several of the recipes, and my...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'The Paris Winter'

"The Paris Winter" by Imogen Robertson

★★★★★ Set in Paris during the early 20th century, this novel is about art and intrigue. The central character is Maud Heighton, an Englishwoman studying painting at Lafond's Academie. To save herself from starvation during the harsh winter, Maud becomes a paid companion to a wealthy Frenchman's sister. However, the man and his sister are not who they appear to be...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, historical fiction

Cover: 'The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and The Game of Thrones'

"The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and The Game of Thrones" by George R.R. Martin, Elio M. García Jr., Linda Antonsson

★★★★★ Fans of A Song of Ice and Fire rejoice! This large and beautifully illustrated tome will answer many questions about key figures and events in the history of Westeros. Ancient history, Valyria, Aegon's conquest, the downfall of the Targaryen dynasty, and information about the key Westerosi houses are included. The book also covers Essos, including the Free...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, fantasy

Cover: 'The King's Curse'

"The King's Curse" by Philippa Gregory

★★★★★ Acting as a hinge between Gregory's Cousins' War series and her Tudor series, "The King's Curse" follows the life of Margaret Pole, the niece of Edward IV and Richard III. Through Margaret's eyes, we see Katherine of Aragon come to England, Anne Boleyn rise to power and her execution, and Jane Seymour give birth to the future Edward VI and die. We also...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Skinnytaste Cookbook'

"The Skinnytaste Cookbook" by Gina Homolka

★★★★★ The tagline says it all "light on calories, big on flavor." This debut cookbook from popular food blogger Gina Homolka contains tons of recipes for creating delicious, low-calorie, and nutrient rich dishes. Ms. Homolka's recipes rely on whole foods as well as tips and tricks for reducing the calorie content of foods. This reviewer loved the shrimp and grits...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'The Story of Land and Sea'

"The Story of Land and Sea" by Katy Simpson Smith

★★★★★ Set in coastal North Carolina during the American Revolution, this novel follows Tabitha, a little girl who loves her father's stories from his days as a pirate, and her mother Helen, who died giving birth to Tabitha years before. Using eloquent, meticulous, and at times biblical prose, the author explores loss, the love between parent and child, and what...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Silkworm'

"The Silkworm" by Robert Galbraith

★★★★★ Writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, "Harry Potter" authoress J.K. Rowling brings us this second book about private detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott. As their search for missing author Owen Quine turns into a sadistic murder, perhaps as retaliation against Quine's libelous unpublished book, Strike and Robin also grow...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Boleyn Reckoning'

"The Boleyn Reckoning" by Laura Andersen

★★★★★ In the thrilling conclusion of this trilogy about the Boleyn King who never was, Minuette finds herself caught between the king’s increasingly obsessive love and her loyalty to her secret husband Dominic. As the backdrop to this love triangle, Catholic and Protestant factions vie for power, causing families, friendships, and political loyalties to fracture...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, historical fiction

Cover: 'The Museum'

"The Museum" by Susan Verde, Peter H. Reynolds

★★★★★ A little girl takes a tour of a museum, and each work of art gives her a different feeling. The rhyming lines help to evoke the feelings each work of art is meant to express. Featuring colorful re-creations of works by Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Auguste Rodin, this book also serves to introduce your child to the work of great artists...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction, art