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Staff Reviews

Cover: 'Fly Away'

"Fly Away" by Patricia MacLachlan

★★★★★ Newbery award-winning author Patricia MacLachlan has done it again. She has written an easy-to-read story for children with sparse, well-chosen words and conversation that eloquently speaks volumes on what it means to be a family. Lucy is traveling with her mother, father, sister Gracie and her little brother Teddy in a beat-up Volkswagen bus to her Aunt...

Cover: 'A Gift From Bob'

"A Gift From Bob" by James Bowen

★★★ A continuation of James Bowen’s memoir that began in his popular book “A Street Cat Named Bob", this book focuses on the last year that James spent as a recovering person trying to make a living on the bitterly cold, frozen streets of London selling the magazine “The Big Issue” and playing guitar with his adopted cat Bob. It depicts the hand-to-mouth...

Cover: 'Dollbaby'

"Dollbaby" by Laura Lane McNeal

★★★★★ This engrossing debut novel pulls us into the eccentricities and secrecies of the Bell family living in New Orleans. When Liberty Bell's father is lost to a tragic accident, her mother deposits her on the doorstep of a grandmother she's never met. Ibby's (Liberty's) mother has filled her head with terrible stories about Fannie Bell and life in the south....

Cover: 'Christmas at Tiffany's'

"Christmas at Tiffany's" by Karen Swan

★★★★★ Once in a while a novel comes along that completely takes you by surprise, taking you on a momentous journey along with the characters that leaves you sitting in stunned, happy silence after you read the last words. This brilliant, heartwarming novel was one I almost missed, because I admittedly shun novels that even mention Christmas in the title. I needn'...

Cover: 'Cities of the World: Extreme Spot the Difference'

"Cities of the World: Extreme Spot the Difference" by Richard W. Galland

★★★★★ Do you love to travel (or wish you could)? Are you ready for a challenge? Then this book is perfect for you! Forty beautiful cities are represented in the photographs contained in these pages. From Sydney to London and Hong Kong to Rio de Janeiro, you will be transported around the globe from the comfort of your home. Travel broadens your mind and so do...

Cover: 'The Art of Adventure: Outdoor Sports from Sea to Summit'

"The Art of Adventure: Outdoor Sports from Sea to Summit" by Ian Shive

★★★★★ This beautiful book is full of amazing adventure photographs that will inspire you to get up and have an adventure of your own. From water to snow to summits, this book offers a wide variety of adventures for all tastes. These breathtaking photographs capture the spirit and thrill of hurtling over a waterfall in a kayak, skiing down an unknown mountain...

Cover: 'What the Dog Saw'

"What the Dog Saw" by Malcolm Gladwell

★★★ This book is from the same author of "The Tipping Point" and "Outliers", books I very much enjoyed. In "What the Dog Saw", Gladwell provides a collection of his writings from the "New York Times". The chapters provide overviews of newsworthy topics and issues, in essence their "back story". He examines the facts, history and interesting details of a wide...

Cover: 'My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories'

"My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories" by Stephanie Perkins

★★★★★ This compilation of twelve holiday stories written by well-known young adult authors will not disappoint this holiday season! Authors such Rainbow Rowell, Holly Black and David Levithan will make you love the winter season even more. Each of the stories is very different and carries its authors' distinct voice, therefore making each story a true delight....

Cover: 'Invisible Murder'

"Invisible Murder" by Lene Kaaberbøl, Agnete Friis

★★★★★ 5 stars for this Danish novel! When it comes to murder-mysteries I rank them according to how far into the book I read before I figure out who did it, and the freshness of the developing plot. This one kept me in the dark until the very end without losing me along the way. The Scandinavian mysteries are really a wonderful challenge for the reader because...

Cover: 'Mood Indigo'

"Mood Indigo" by Boris Vian

★★★★ Originally published in 1947, this book was translated into English and released with the opening of the new film version. I had never read this classic but I was intrigued. Touted as a love story gone tragic, it is indeed that and so much more. Vian's world invites you in with its soft edges, beautiful scenery, and mood inspired ambiance. We can't help but...

Cover: 'The Swedish Christmas Table'

"The Swedish Christmas Table" by Jens Linder, Johanna Westman

★★★★★ Looking for a unique and quirky Christmas cookbook? Look no further because The Swedish Christmas Table is what you seek. Covering all things Scandinavian, this book is chock-full of recipes from drinks to desserts to candy to feasts! There are so many recipes in this book that it would take a lifetime to make it all! The graphics and pictures are...

Cover: 'Scandinavian Christmas'

"Scandinavian Christmas" by Trina Hahnemann

★★★★ Since marrying into a Norwegian family, I have looked for traditional foods to prepare around the holiday season. "Scandinavian Christmas" does a great job of giving basic recipes for the Christmas season while also providing ideas for Advent, Christmas parties, and the popular Smorgasbord. This cookbook is well thought out and presented in easy-to-follow...

Cover: 'Rose Under Fire'

"Rose Under Fire" by Elizabeth Wein

★★★★ Rose Justice, an American Air Transit Auxiliary (ATA) pilot, is captured by the Germans in late 1944 and sent to the concentration camp for female prisoners at Ravensbrück. She struggles learn the rules of the camp, whether those imposed by the guards or those of her fellow prisoners. The novel paints a vivid portrait of life in the prison camp and Rose’s...

Cover: 'Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms'

"Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms" by Katherine Rundell

★★★★★ Will (Wihelmina) loves her wonderful, wild life on the hot, dusty African farm where she is free to roam, climb trees and play with her best friend Simon and numerous animals all day long. Unfortunately her idyllic life comes to an abrupt halt after her father dies from malaria and her father’s friend and new guardian Captain Browne marries a heartless...

Cover: 'The Impossible Knife of Memory'

"The Impossible Knife of Memory" by Laurie Halse Anderson

★★★★★ Hayley Kincain, a high school senior, is trying to fly under the radar at school, particularly because she cannot afford drawing attention to her life at home. Her father, Andy, a veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, is struggling with PTSD and a severe depression, and the return to his boyhood home has not proved to be a stabilizing force....

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...

Cover: 'Lots of Dots'

"Lots of Dots" by Craig Frazier

★★★★ Author and illustrator Craig Frazier creates dots of all colors and dimensions that young readers can discover around them. There are brightly-colored floating balloon dots, big drum stick dots, oranges (dots) falling from a tree, traffic light dots, ice cream dots, pea dots, heavy dumbbell dots, light bubble dots and more. This fun “I Spy” read-alike with...

Cover: 'Salad Samurai'

"Salad Samurai" by Terry Hope Romero

★★★★ This is one creative cookbook chock full of innovative ideas for all kinds of salads, dressings, and toppings. Recipes included building very unique pasta and lettuce salads, packed full with a variety of ingredients. All are vegan, but are sure to please those who don't normally eat that way. There are sweet and savory recipes, like 'Overnight Oats with...

Cover: 'Seriously Delish'

"Seriously Delish" by Jessica Merchant

★★★★ This cookbook is truly a celebration of food, with beautiful recipes that are a great mix between delicious healthy recipes and more scrumptious treats. Half of the recipes were actually already vegan (which is great for me!), just because the author favors equal parts healthy with equal parts 'treats', which I appreciated. I also enjoyed the author's...

Cover: 'Mermaids in Paradise'

"Mermaids in Paradise" by Lydia Millet

★★★★ "Mermaids in Paradise" is a comedic book about a honeymoon gone awry. The newlywed couple, Deb and Chip, expect nothing but sand, sun, and relaxation during their trip to the Caribbean, but when they meet a marine biologist named Nancy they stumble upon a discovery no one saw coming. While snorkeling in the coral reef they sight actual mermaids! To prove it...

Cover: 'DIY Braids'

"DIY Braids" by Sasha Coefield

★★★★★ Braided hairstyles have become very popular in recent years but they can be intimidating to recreate yourself. "DIY Braids" uses photographs and step-by-step instructions to help you create beautiful braided hairstyles that can be very simple or complex. I appreciated that the models used in the book had different hair types. One had straight hair and the...

Cover: 'The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story'

"The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story" by R. J. Palacio

★★★★★ This is a fantastic addition to the book Wonder, the incredible story about Auggie Pullman, a young boy with a unique face. In Wonder, readers had a glimpse into the viewpoints of several characters in Auggie's world, except for the bully himself: Julian. Now readers finally get a chance to experience Julian's point of view, and learn why he hated Auggie so...

Cover: 'Girls Like Us'

"Girls Like Us" by Gail Giles

★★★★★ "Girls Like Us" introduces us to Quincy and Biddy, two special education students (or as they refer to themselves, “Speddies”) as they graduate from high school and start life in the real world. Their high school advisor pairs them as roommates in a small apartment above the garage of their new employer and landlady. Quincy and Biddy could not engage with...

Cover: 'Rain Reign'

"Rain Reign" by Ann M. Martin

★★★★★ The likable narrator of this book, fifth-grader Rose Howard, sees homonyms everywhere and obsessively collects them. Her mother is gone (she doesn't know exactly where) so she lives with her impatient father, is strict about her own (and everyone’s) rules, and has a diagnosis: high functioning autism or Aspergers. When her beloved adopted dog, Rain,...

Cover: 'Make It Ahead'

"Make It Ahead" by Ina Garten

★★★★ Another beautiful Barefoot Contessa cookbook! In this cookbook, Ina includes tips for making every single recipe ahead, even whipped cream and roasted turkey! Ina shows us how we can have easy and elegant food suitable for any occasion. The accompanying photographs of the food and her home are gorgeous, and will make fans envy Ina's life in the Hamptons.

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