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Staff Reviews

Cover: 'Raging Heat'

"Raging Heat" by Richard Castle

★★★★ Nikki Heat’s latest case starts with the remains of a man that fell from the sky and crashed into the glass façade of Hayden Planetarium. Intrigued by the case, which leads a powerful political figure, her reporter boyfriend, Jameson Rook, joins the investigation only to find threads that do not fit into Nikki’s theory. Unsettled by the friction in her...

Cover: 'Dancing with Myself'

"Dancing with Myself" by Billy Idol

★★★★ Billy Idol's memoir is a candid recollection of his life as a bad boy rocker in the 80s and 90s. Unlike some other rock star memoirs, Billy Idol doesn't make excuses for his behavior. He admits fault for the hurt he caused to his longtime girlfriend Perri and his family because of his drug use and infidelity. Idol also discusses his musical influences, and...

Cover: 'The Book of Unknown Americans'

"The Book of Unknown Americans" by Cristina Henriquez

★★★★★ Maribel Rivera is a happy, beautiful girl living with her family in Mexico when a tragic accident resulting in a traumatic brain injury changes everything. The Riveras must make the tough decision to uproot their family from their comfortable life in Mexico in order to give Maribel her best chance in an American school in Delaware. After making the 30-hour...

Cover: '500 Optical Illusions'

"500 Optical Illusions" by Keith Kay

★★★★★ This is a really fun book! I have loved optical illusions since I was a kid and this book is full of some of the best. You'll have fun trying to figure them out while you train your eyes and brain to process the images in different ways. Also, the author provides the answers to the puzzles in the back so you don't get too frustrated. Go ahead and take some...

Cover: 'Anatomy of a Misfit'

"Anatomy of a Misfit" by Andrea Portes

★★★★★ This book tells us the story of Anika, a tenth grader who is experiencing high school at it's greatest. She is trying to remain in the popular hierarchy, live with a unique family situation, and is torn between two boys who are vastly different. Anika has to decide to follow the crowd or to stay true to herself as she tries to fit in. The author did an...

Cover: 'Dish Do-Over'

"Dish Do-Over" by Joanne Lusted

★★★★★ Do you wish that you could still eat some of your favorite meals but with less fat? This cookbook has all of that plus helpful hints on substitutes for your household recipes as well. The recipes are organized in an easy way and explained in clear step-by-step instructions to make it as simple as possible. The pictures of the final result look just as...

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...

Cover: 'Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands'

"Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands" by Chris Bohjalian

★★★★★ This beautiful, tragic, heart-wrenching book tells the story of Emily, a teen who finds herself orphaned and homeless following a nuclear meltdown at the plant where her parents worked. Fearing that she will be blamed for the mistakes of her father, Emily runs away, assumes a new name, and struggles to survive on the streets. We sit helplessly by as she is...

Cover: 'Little One-Yard Wonders'

"Little One-Yard Wonders" by Patricia Hoskins

★★★★ This is an excellent addition to the other books in the One-Yard Wonders series. There are 101 sewing project ideas that you can make with just one yard of fabric! Find all of that scrap fabric you have at home at put it to good use making all sorts of useful things for babies to toddlers. One of my favorite projects is the car organizer! Any beginning...

Cover: 'Vegan Desserts'

"Vegan Desserts" by Hannah Kaminsky

★★★★★ This is an excellent source of delicious vegan desserts, for vegans and non-vegans alike! Recipes are separated into the four seasons and every one is beautifully illustrated, which makes preparing many recipes quite easy! Just like Kaminsky's other excellent vegan dessert resource, "Vegan a la Mode" (which everyone should check out as well), this...

Cover: 'Carsick'

"Carsick" by John Waters

★★★ John Waters, eccentric director of the original Hairspray and Cry Baby, hitchhikes from Baltimore to his apartment in San Francisco, and lives to write a book about his journey! About two-thirds of the book are novellas. The first one details all of the horrible things that Waters thought would happen to him. The second novella describes a best-case...

Cover: 'Flea Market Fabulous'

"Flea Market Fabulous" by Lara Spencer

★★★★ Anyone who loves a good flea market, looking at projects on Pinterest, or up-cycling different things will enjoy this book by Good Morning America's Lara Spencer. Lara walks you through updating different rooms in your house by using different vintage finds in miraculous ways. Along the way, she gives you tips and tricks to help you think about updating a...

Cover: 'The Enchanted'

"The Enchanted" by Rene Denfeld

★★★★ The enchanted place is not what you might expect. In fact, it is a prison, and its story is being told by a death row inmate. We are given a front row seat to viewing what goes on in this world and we are pulled along as the lady tries to save the life of a prisoner who simply wants to die. We are also able to glimpse a little of the life of the lady, the...

Cover: 'Euphoria'

"Euphoria" by Lily King

★★★★★ A surprising find, this novel takes us deep into the world of three young anthropologists working in the territory of New Guinea in the 1930s. When they meet by chance, their lives become intertwined in a treacherous love triangle. Beautifully written and deeply emotional, this is a tale of adventure, danger, romance, and a fierce battle to be the best in...

Cover: 'My Salinger Year'

"My Salinger Year" by Joanna Rakoff

★★★★ Dictaphones and typewriters in 1996? After graduate school, Joanna takes a job as an assistant to the literary agent who represents J.D. Salinger. The office appears stuck in the 1950s, despite the introduction of computers and email to the rest of the world. Joanna's duties include typing out a generic form letter to Salinger's fans, since Salinger will...

Cover: 'Make Ahead Paleo'

"Make Ahead Paleo" by Tammy Credicott

★★★★★ Interested in the new, popular Paleo diet? Try this cookbook out to help you learn more about it! Not only does this book give you good advice about how to approach trying a Paleo diet with tips of swapping ingredients but also useful kitchen tools to use, and how-to ideas on food storage. Not only that, but the recipes in this cookbook look really...

Cover: 'My Brother's Shadow'

"My Brother's Shadow" by Tom Avery

★★★★ Eleven-year-old Kaia is frozen in time, a horrendous, unimaginable time; the day she found her brother Moses in his bloody bed, dead.  Her mother, who has lost her job, numbs herself with booze, Kaia with not talking, withdrawing from everyone at school where she’s known as "the freak", not even daring to read any books at a higher reading level than...

Cover: 'Every Day'

"Every Day" by David Levithan

★★★★ Meet A, a 16-year-old who wakes up every day in a new body. Life has always been this way for A where every day brings a new family, school, town and even gender. A wakes up in the body of Justin, where he meets his girlfriend Rhiannon and instantly falls for her. Read how A struggles with wanting to stay with Rhiannon every day and not being able to...

Cover: 'The Make-ahead Cook'

"The Make-ahead Cook" by America's Test Kitchen

★★★★ If you're looking for tested dinner recipes that you can trust, this is your cookbook! It includes tips and over 150 recipes, most of which are easy casseroles, freezer meals, slow cooker recipes, or ready-to-serve entrees. Also included are 'One Grocery Bag, Three Meals'; one grocery list is provided and three different recipes you can make using the...

Cover: 'Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well'

"Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well" by Nancy Atherton

★★★★ If you're looking for a cozy mystery set in the English countryside with a cast of likeable characters and an ending that will make you smile, this is your next read! In the 19th Aunt Dimity mystery, Lori Shepard and the tight-knit village of Finch are burying one of the townsfolk when they meet Jack MacBride, the surprise nephew of the gentleman who passed...

Cover: 'The Secret Place'

"The Secret Place" by Tana French

★★★★★ Tana French is my favorite mystery author, so I highly recommend the fifth book in her Dublin Murder Squad series! St. Kilda's, a boarding school for girls outside of Dublin, has a bulletin board called "The Secret Place" where the girls can express their deepest secrets anonymously. It is usually a place for gossip and rumors, but one day a photo shows up...

Cover: 'The Good Girl'

"The Good Girl" by Mary Kubica

★★★★ If you were a fan of the twists and turns of Gillian Flynn's "Gone Girl", this is the perfect book for you! Colin Thatcher is paid to abduct Mia Dennett, the free spirited daughter of a prominent Chicago judge, and hand her over to his employers. However, once Mia is in his custody, he has a change of heart and decides to hide Mia in a secluded Minnesota...

Cover: 'The Cuckoo's Calling'

"The Cuckoo's Calling" by Robert Galbraith

★★★★★ I usually don't read many crime or mystery novels but I thought I would try this one since it was written by J.K Rowling. To my surprise, it was an excellent read about a beautiful, mega-celebrity named Lulu Landry, also known as Cuckoo. After Lulu falls off her balcony to her death, the police quickly rule it a suicide. However, months later, the private...

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