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Staff Reviews

Cover: 'A Snicker of Magic'

"A Snicker of Magic" by Natalie Lloyd

★★★★★ Natalie Lloyd's book is one of those rare, special books that grab you from the beginning and you don’t want to be released because the journey is quite simply, “splendiferous.” Our extremely likable narrator is Felicity Juniper Pickle, a 6th-grade girl as unique as her mother’s hometown, Midnight Gulch, where she, her mother, little sister Frannie Jo and...

Cover: 'White Space'

"White Space" by Ilsa J. Bick

★★★ Blurred realities, terrifying monsters, and a protagonist who "blinks" into the lives of others set the tone for the first installment of the YA "Dark Passages" trilogy. I've never read a YA book like this before, and I really wanted to like "White Space" more than I did. Bick's story is very creative, and she is a descriptive and engaging writer, but this...

Cover: 'City Cat'

"City Cat" by Kate Banks

★★★★★ This is an adorable picture book that features a family cat that secretly follows his family as they travel around Europe. It features landmarks in some of the greatest cities, such as London, Amsterdam, Paris, and Venice, and information at end of the book on each. As someone who's been to many of the cities featured, I thought the pictures were authentic...

Cover: 'What I Know For Sure'

"What I Know For Sure" by Oprah Winfrey

★★★★★ This was a profound read for me. While I started this somewhat with trepidation, as I'm not one to usually read something like this, it struck me from the very beginning. As someone who has had a scary and difficult year, I found a lot of truth and connection to the stories told in this that deeply struck a cord with me. Oprah recounts some of her biggest...

Cover: 'Aarti Paarti: An American Kitchen with an Indian Soul'

"Aarti Paarti: An American Kitchen with an Indian Soul" by Aarti Sequeira

★★★★★ This cookbook is a beautiful celebration of Indian food and the author's past, present, and future. I really loved how personal the stories she included along with the tempting recipes were. She explains the most common ingredients in Indian recipes and how to use them, and her recipes look gorgeous and tasty! This is a must read if you love Indian food....

Cover: 'Close to Home'

"Close to Home" by Lisa Jackson

★★★★★ This novel is about Sarah, a single mother of two girls starting over by moving back to her family's old, run down, estate in a small town alongside the Columbia River. Planning to remodel and bring the house she grew up in back to its old glory, Sarah is unprepared for all the memories and unanswered questions surrounding her family that the remodeling...

Cover: 'The Pizza Bible'

"The Pizza Bible" by Tony Gemignani

★★★ Written by the eleven time world pizza champ, this book features recipes for an assortment of pizza types, like deep dish, wood fired, and Sicilian styles, as well as pizzas native to certain areas like New York, Chicago, and more. It even includes "My Ten Commandments of Pizza", such as "thou shalt not rush the rise". Alongside tempting pictures of all the...

Cover: 'Libraries'

"Libraries" by Bjarne Hammer

★★★★ This gorgeous new book features beautiful libraries around the world, such as the Library of Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt and Trinity College Library in Dublin. Each of the captivating photos feature a snippet of interesting information about each location (in multiple languages) and highlights the unique architecture and accommodations of each beautiful...

Cover: 'Yes Please'

"Yes Please" by Amy Poehler

★★★★★ Are you ready to laugh, learn, and cry? Amy delivers all of this and more in her debut book. Anyone who is a fan of Amy from her television work and comedy will definitely appreciate her humor and stories about trying to make it in the business. She covers her childhood through her time on "Parks and Recreation." What I found to be the best part of this...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Cover: 'The Book With No Pictures'

"The Book With No Pictures" by B. J. Novak

★★★★ How can a book be a picture book if there are no pictures? B.J. Novak, best known for his writing and acting on "The Office," shows that a book can be fun without illustrations. But how? Well, the person reading the book has to say everything the words say...no matter what. Even if the words have no meaning or are down-right ridiculous, the reader still has...

Cover: 'Blythewood'

"Blythewood" by Carol Goodman

★★★★★ At only seventeen Avaline Hall is now an orphan. Never knowing her father, Ava grew up with a mother who weaved her love of Blythewood, the boarding school she was suddenly expelled from, into every story she told her daughter. But after Ava's mother abruptly commits suicide, and then Ava herself almost perishes in a terrible factory fire, Ava finds herself...

Cover: 'Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking)'

"Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking)" by Christian Rudder

★★★★ Mr. Rudder is a Harvard-educated mathematician and co-founder of OkCupid, an online dating service. If you want to explore the world of number crunching in the modern world of media and technology, this book is it. He shows through multiple examples, graphs and analysis what numbers reveal (that sometimes people are loath to). Much of the book uses OKCupid...

Cover: 'Nightmares!'

"Nightmares!" by Jason Segel

★★★★ Twelve-year-old Charlie Laird has big problems. His mom died, his dad remarried, and now together with his younger brother Jack they must move into his new "stepmonster’s" (that’s what he calls her) odd-looking purple mansion with a tower. Positive that his new "stepmonster" is a witch, he barricades himself inside his new bedroom where he can’t sleep...

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...

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...

Cover: 'A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey'

"A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey" by Jessica Fellowes

★★★★★ Full of gorgeous photographs, behind-the-scenes information about the show, and fascinating historical details, this book is a must-read for any Downton Abbey fan! The author breaks the chapters into months of the year, describing events that occurred each month and interviewing cast members and crew. She also focuses on a unique aspect of production on the...

Cover: 'The Boundless'

"The Boundless" by Kenneth Oppel

★★★★★ After three long years, teen-aged William Everett is dropped off at the train tracks in a town without a name to meet up with his father who is helping build the Canadian Pacific Railway.  The train they will be boarding is called "The Boundless" because of its size and magnificence.  After accidentally witnessing a murder and finding a train car...

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