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Staff Reviews

Cover: 'On Wings of Words: The Extraordinary Life of Emily Dickinson'

"On Wings of Words: The Extraordinary Life of Emily Dickinson" by Jennifer Berne, Becca Stadtlander

★★★★★ Beautifully illustrated with just the right amount of text to a page, this picture book biography is great to share with young poets. It tells how Emily lived a secluded life enjoying her family, close friends, and the natural world. In books and in her mind she experienced much that she described in her poems. Though she published few in her lifetime, her...

Cover: 'The Ickabog'

"The Ickabog" by J.K. Rowling

★★★★ Fairy tales are often great because of the fantastical places they transport the reader to. Everyday people live among kings and queens, horse-drawn carriages and castles, and otherworldly creatures that make up a world unlike our own. "The Ickabog" is no exception, and also features a plot and life lessons that are very much relevant to our own lives....

Cover: 'South of the Buttonwood Tree'

"South of the Buttonwood Tree" by Heather Webber

★★★★★ This is a story about two women who want something different of their lives, something more. They break the rules and expectations others have of them to find their true self. Years of lies and secrets have formed the women’s beliefs of their families and of themselves. They discover that those secrets have kept them from learning who they truly are and...

Cover: 'The Flatshare'

"The Flatshare" by Beth O'Leary

★★★★★ What would you do if you had no other living option besides sharing a one bedroom flat with a complete stranger? A stranger though, that you won't actually see despite living together?  Tiffy jumps (albeit hesitantly) at the chance of an affordable flat, especially since her flatmate is not supposed to be there at the same time, per their agreement...

Cover: 'How to Be Fine'

"How to Be Fine" by Jolenta Greenberg, Kristen Meinzer

★★★★ Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer, co-hosts of the podcast "By the Book," decided to live by self-help books for two weeks each, to determine what personally worked for them and what didn't. This book is the result of that experiment, and as the authors say, readers can try some of the tips along with the authors, or just read along for pure...

Cover: 'If You Want a Friend in Washington'

"If You Want a Friend in Washington" by Erin McGill

★★★★ Explore a wackier side of life in the White House in this fun and entertaining book about presidential pets!  The President of the United States has a lot of responsibility and has to make hard decisions. Citizens and fellow politicians might agree, or disagree with these decisions, making friends hard to come by. Many presidents hoped for...

Cover: 'Woke: A Young Poet's Call to Justice'

"Woke: A Young Poet's Call to Justice" by Mahogany L. Browne , Theodore Taylor III , Elizabeth Acevedo , Olivia Gatwood

★★★★★ This is an absolutely beautiful collection of thought-provoking poems by an amazing collection of talented poets that tackles topics from discrimination to immigration to intersectionality to privilege ("What's in my Toolbox" and "A Me-Shaped Box" are both must reads on the topic of privilege and stereotypes). It is a beautifully illustrated reflection on...

Cover: 'Vegan Dessert Cookbook'

"Vegan Dessert Cookbook" by Ally Lazare

★★★★ I loved this new dessert cookbook by Ally Lazare, packed full of tantalizing vegan recipes for cookies, cakes, no bake desserts, and more. All of the recipes have food pantry staples instead of hard-to-find ingredients, and none of the recipes look too difficult or labor intensive. Recipes are marked if they fit certain dietary requirements, which I...

Cover: 'Clap When You Land'

"Clap When You Land" by Elizabeth Acevedo

★★★★★ This novel, written in verse, follows Camino Rios in the Dominican Republic and Yahaira Rios in New York City. Both are unaware that the other exists, but as Yahaira's father leaves on his usual summer flight to the Dominican Republic, Camino will soon find out her father's plane will never land. Yahaira and Camino's worlds collide when they soon find out...

Cover: 'Those Darn Squirrels!'

"Those Darn Squirrels!" by Adam Rubin

★★★★★ This is a very cute and relatable children’s book that tells the story of a grumpy and sometimes lonely old man. Mr. Fookwire has interactions with the neighborhood squirrels as they attempt to stock up their winter food supply from his birdfeeders.  The only thing Mr. Fookwire likes is painting pictures of the birds that visit his yard, but those darn...

Cover: 'The Lantern Men'

"The Lantern Men" by Elly Griffiths

★★★★★ So much has changed for forensic archeologist Ruth Galloway in the twelfth book in this fantastic series. When convicted murderer Ivor March makes a deal with police, he swears he'll tell them where two bodies are from prior cold cases, but only if Ruth is the one to dig them up. Lured back into helping the police, Ruth ends up tangled in a web of secrets...

Cover: 'The Haunting of Ashburn House'

"The Haunting of Ashburn House" by Darcy Coates

★★★★ Adrienne, desperate and desolate with few possessions and very little money left, thankfully accepts an inherited house from a relative she's never known. As she slowly wanders around the house she can now call home, Adrienne starts to notice a few things that give her a sense of unease. Why are there no mirrors in the house and strange messages scratched...

Cover: 'Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times'

"Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times" by Katherine May

★★★★ I was drawn to this book by the very title, the promise that it would give the readers ways in which we can care for our wellbeing when life is truly difficult, and how to build ourselves back up. Is there really a more fitting book to read after 2020? This book takes readers through the author's own personal journey with difficult times, where she...

Cover: 'The Willoughbys'

"The Willoughbys" by Lois Lowry

★★★★★ The four children in the Willoughby family are indeed to be pitied. Their parents "frequently forgot that they had children and became quite irritable when they were reminded of it." This left Tim, Barnaby A, Barnaby B (they're twins), and Jane feeling they'd be better off as orphans, of the old-fashioned kind. So they hatch a "perfectly despicable plot" to...

Cover: 'Deep Dark Secrets'

"Deep Dark Secrets" by Joy Ann Ribar

★★★★ This is book one in a new series called Deep Lake Cozy Mystery. The story is placed in south-central Wisconsin in a town called Deep Lakes. The main character is Francine “Frankie” Champagne. Frankie is a 40-something entrepreneur. She is the owner of Bubble and Bake, a bakery by day and wine lounge by night. She is also a pastry maker, vintner and...

Cover: 'How to Walk Away'

"How to Walk Away" by Katherine Center

★★★★★ This is the second audiobook that I have listened to by Katherine Center. This book has it all! I found some parts to be very funny and others to be sad, but the book takes overcoming tragedy and turns something negative into a positive.  Margaret Jacobsen is so excited for Valentine's Day, as she is so sure that this will be the...

Cover: 'Girls of Brackenhill'

"Girls of Brackenhill" by Kate Moretti

★★★★ 17 years have passed since Hannah has stepped foot in her family's estate, which is actually her family's castle. Ever since her sister disappeared during a summer spent with her aunt and uncle, Hannah hasn't looked back. Her fiancé doesn't even know she has a family estate steeped in ghosts and tragedy, until she's called to return after her aunt dies...

Cover: 'Oh She Glows for Dinner'

"Oh She Glows for Dinner" by Angela Liddon

★★★★ Looking for healthy recipes that will support your immune system as well as taste delicious? This is a wonderful new cookbook from Angela Liddon, full of plant based meals that will support your health while also satisfying your taste buds!  Her sneaky protein-packed mashed potatoes and creamy mushroom, green bean, and wild rice casserole were...

Cover: 'Christmas Cupcake Murder'

"Christmas Cupcake Murder" by Joanne Fluke

★★★★ With the holidays fast approaching, Hannah is busy with baking for her store, The Cookie Jar, and catering holiday parties. Her list continues to grow as her friends and family need some assistance as well, and Hannah is more than willing to lend a helping hand. Hannah meets a homeless man at The Cookie Jar and is more than willing to give him small jobs...

Cover: 'The Unsuitable'

"The Unsuitable" by Molly Pohlig

★★★★★ Victorian, Gothic, Dark Humor. Iseult Wince is getting too old. Soon, she’ll be a spinster, which everyone knows is the worst fate of all. Iseult is a bit odd, and her father dislikes her. His goal is to find her a suitable husband (i.e. any man who will take her). Iseult believes her mother died while giving birth to her, resulting in a scar on her neck...

Cover: 'To Catch A Witch'

"To Catch A Witch" by Heather Blake

★★★★ Darcy Merriweather is a wishcrafter, a witch who can grant other peoples’ wishes. She lives in a cozy Enchanted Village outside of Salem. Darcy runs a concierge company and has been hired to organize a competition called the Wicked Mad Dash by her friend Abby Stillwell. On the morning of the competition, a blizzard hits the Enchanted Village. While Darcy...

Cover: 'The Count of Monte Cristo'

"The Count of Monte Cristo" by Alexandre Dumas

★★★★★ I recently took on a rather mundane home improvement project of tearing off wallpaper and painting my dining room. Not a fan of these projects, my saving grace is listening to an engaging audiobook, one that sweeps me away to other lands and people. I found this escape in The Count of Monte Cristo, written by French novelist Alexandre Dumas. The story...

Cover: 'The Wicked Sister'

"The Wicked Sister" by Karen Dionne

★★★★★ For over a decade, Rachel has been locked in a mental institution, convinced she was responsible for the death of her parents. But when she finds out new details in the investigation that make her question everything she thought she knew, she returns to the one place she never thought she would: her family's breathtaking but haunting log cabin in the middle...

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