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Staff Reviews

Cover: 'Iron Widow'

"Iron Widow" by Xiran Jay Zhao

★★★★★ Action-packed and brimming with righteous fury, the plot of this novel will take the reader through a unique blend of Chinese mythology, modern anime themes and superhero-like action sequences. The narrator Zetian is a young, spirited powerhouse bent on destroying the unfair patriarchal systems that caused the death of her sister at the start...

Cover: 'The Song of Achilles'

"The Song of Achilles" by Madeline Miller

★★★★★ This is a beautifully-written romantic interpretation of the tragedy of Achilles and Patroclus, this time told from Patroclus' perspective. It tells of his childhood, how he met Achilles, and their time growing up together. The classic story sees new life in the form of modern prose adorned with heaps of beautiful imagery that pays homage to Homeric...

Cover: 'Firekeeper's Daughter'

"Firekeeper's Daughter" by Angeline Boulley

★★★★★ Daunis Fontaine is an 18-year-old living in her hometown of Sault St. Marie, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. While she should be headed to the University of Michigan to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor, she decides to stay home to help her mother after a series of family tragedies. Daunis is also highly connected to her Firekeeper roots: she is...

Cover: 'The Classics Veganized'

"The Classics Veganized" by Doug McNish

★★★★★ The tantalizing vegan fish and chips on the cover persuaded me to check out this cookbook, and I'm so glad I did. All your favorites are packed in here, and all are vegan. From biscuits and gravy to blueberry pancakes to scones, your breakfast plans are set. Chickpea pot pie, Salisbury "steak", and even a NY strip "steak" are options for dinner, and special...

Cover: 'The Proven Winners Garden Book'

"The Proven Winners Garden Book" by Thomas Christopher, Ruth Rogers Clausen

★★★★★ This nonfiction book was a perfect fit to spark ideas for the gardening season, and I loved the format as well. There are introductory sections for beginner gardeners who need help picking a spot and deciding on what plants to use, as well as sections on soil preparation, pruning, and maintenance like pest and weed control. My favorite sections were the...

Cover: 'The Year We Learned to Fly'

"The Year We Learned to Fly" by Jacqueline Woodson, Rafael López

★★★★★ This is a beautiful picture book with gorgeous pictures and a wonderful and impactful message.  A young brother and sister are stuck inside their apartment when their grandmother shares with them words of wisdom to help them spark their imagination and help them deal with their emotions. When they get frustrated at being stuck inside, their...

Cover: 'Stacey's Extraordinary Words'

"Stacey's Extraordinary Words" by Stacey Abrams, Kitt Thomas

★★★★★ This is a heartwarming story for all lovers of reading, about a little girl who loves to discover new words and loves how words help her express herself. When Stacey's teacher signs her and a fellow student up for a spelling bee, Stacey's knowledge and courage are put to the test. I absolutely adored this picture book and the lessons it'll teach the...

Cover: 'Unbelievably Vegan'

"Unbelievably Vegan" by Charity Morgan

★★★★ Private chef to athletes and from the excellent documentary "The Game Changers", Charity Morgan packs a punch with this new vegan cookbook. I have so many recipes I want to try from this, from garlic ramen noodles to the spicy crab dip to the no-bake peanut butter cheesecake. I also really appreciated the opening chapter on sauces and dressings to add to my...

Cover: 'New from Here'

"New from Here" by Kelly Yang

★★★★★ When COVID-19 hits Hong Kong, one family is forced to separate and span two countries in an effort to protect each other.  Based on the author’s own experience during the start of our current COVID-19 pandemic, the author tells the story of Knox and his siblings when they’re forced to travel from Hong Kong to California in a matter of days. Thinking...

Cover: 'Lost and Found Cat'

"Lost and Found Cat" by Doug Kuntz, Amy Shrodes, Sue Cornelison

★★★★★ This heartwarming and true story about the beloved cat of a refugee family is sure to tug on the heart strings of any reader.  Readers meet an Iraqi family who is forced to leave their home to the safety of another country. After a perilous journey through mountains, forests, and the Aegean Sea, the fluffy white cat called Kunkush is terrified at...

Cover: 'Love in the Library'

"Love in the Library" by Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Yas Imamura

★★★★★ This picture book has readers meet Tama and George, two Japanese Americans being held in a prison camp called Minidoka. Based on the true story of the author's family being held in a similar camp after the attack on Pearl Harbor, readers follow Tama as she struggles with the unjust and cruel conditions of the camp. Working in the camp's library, she meets...

Cover: 'Friends Are Friends, Forever'

"Friends Are Friends, Forever" by Dane Liu , Lynn Scurfield

★★★★★ The beautiful cover of this new picture book instantly grabbed my attention, and I'm so glad, because this was a wonderful story about the power of friendship, the beauty of tradition, and a great celebration of the Lunar New Year. In this story we meet Dandan, who is moving away from her best friend Yueyue the next day. On their last night together, they...

Cover: 'Bathe the Cat'

"Bathe the Cat" by Alice B. McGinty, David Roberts

★★★★★ This new picture book captured my attention by the bright cover and title that made clear it'd be an entertaining read (because every cat owner knows most of them definitely do not want to be bathed!) Inside, we meet a family who's just realized Grandma is on her way, and the house is a mess. Chaos ensues as chores are dished out, and when the cat sees a...

Cover: 'Every Vow You Break'

"Every Vow You Break" by Peter Swanson

★★★★ Abigail Baskin never thought she'd fall in love with a millionaire until she met Bruce Lamb.  He's a good guy, stable, level-headed and kind, but right before the wedding, Abigail has a drunken one-night stand on her bachelorette weekend. She puts the incident - and the handsome man who wouldn't give her his real name - out of her mind. ...

Cover: 'Southern Vegan'

"Southern Vegan" by Lauren Hartmann

★★★★★ Just looking at the cover of this plant-based cookbook is enough to get your taste buds excited, and I wasn't disappointed once I opened it! Between tantalizing brunch items like the giant toffee cinnamon roll and the super fluffy buttermilk sheet pan pancakes to main meals like cheesy biscuit vegetable pot pies, one-pot vidalia onion pasta, and smothered...

Cover: 'Later'

"Later" by Stephen King

★★★★ The son of a struggling single mother, Jamie Conklin just wants an ordinary childhood. But Jamie is no ordinary child. Born with an unnatural ability his mom urges him to keep secret, Jamie can see what no one else can see and learn what no one else can learn. But the cost of using this ability is higher than Jamie can imagine—as he discovers when an NYPD...

Cover: 'Dear Little One'

"Dear Little One" by Nina Laden, Melissa Castrillon

★★★★★ This beautifully-illustrated picture book celebrates nature through the eyes of a little girl and her dog. Written as a letter from Mother Nature, this book encourages children to observe the world around them and appreciate everything the earth provides, from tiny insects to tall mountaintops. The lilting rhymes and dreamy illustrations present an...

Cover: 'The Goody'

"The Goody" by Lauren Child

★★★★ The Goody is a story about two siblings—one is always good and the other is always bad. They have even been labelled as good and bad by their parents. Then Chirton, the good one, starts questioning whether this is really fair. Why should he have to do all the chores while his sister Myrtle gets away with anything? Suddenly, Chirton is behaving badly while...

Cover: 'Crashing Through'

"Crashing Through" by Robert Kurson

★★★★★ “To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.”---Soren Kierkegaard. This quote embodies this suspenseful and highly insightful look in to the inspiring life of Mike May. At three years of age, May’s sight is instantly taken from him in an explosive accident. From the beginning, he doesn’t let that stop him from...

Cover: 'Vegan At Times'

"Vegan At Times" by Jessica Seinfeld

★★★★★ Looking for healthy recipes for you and the planet? Classics like flaky biscuits for breakfast, sloppy joes for lunch, bolognese for dinner, and chocolate pudding for dessert? This new cookbook is packed with all your favorite classics, along with recipes I already know will be new favorites for me, like the potato and caramelized onion tart and the peanut...

Cover: 'Losing Eden'

"Losing Eden" by Lucy Jones

★★★★ This book was not only a powerful call to action, but also a memoir of one women’s experiences in nature, and really, the author Lucy Jones wrote a love letter to the natural world itself. I found so many fascinating tidbits throughout, like how interaction with soil or walking through a forest actually raises the immune system. Or how looking at ferns has...

Cover: 'Little Kid, Big City!'

"Little Kid, Big City!" by Beth Beckman

★★★★★ If you could travel through London for a day, where would you go? Would you visit the London Zoo? Or peruse the toys at Hamleys? Don't forget to grab a bite to eat at Borough Market! In this fun and interactive new children's book, kids get to learn all about one of my favorite cities in a unique way. Kids can decide where they want to visit next...

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