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Staff Reviews

Cover: 'The Real Boy'

"The Real Boy" by Anne Ursu

★★★★★ The massive walls around the protected island city of Asteri writhe with enchantment.  The wizards’ powerful magic protects the city from illness and harm.  A devastating worldwide plague many years ago killed numerous people from the island. “The boy”, Oscar, works as a lowly “Hand” for Caleb, the most powerful magician in the city. His job is to...

Cover: 'New York Jackie, Pictures from Her Life in the City'

"New York Jackie, Pictures from Her Life in the City" by Nan Talese, Bridget Watson Payne

★★★★ NEW YORK JACKIE is a photo-history of the years Jackie Kennedy lived and worked in the big Apple. Taken by a number of photographers, the pix capture her strolling down streets, biking, talking with friends, at work, walking with Caroline and John Jr., attending a Broadway musical, etc. The images date from the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s. Whatever the...

Cover: 'Villains, Scoundrels and Rogues'

"Villains, Scoundrels and Rogues" by Paul Martin

★★★★ Paul Martin's book introduces readers to 30 Americans of dubious character. Included in this line-up are killers, cannibals, gangsters, confidence men, traitors, spies, crooked cops, witch hunters, quack doctors, gold-diggers and the world's most inept bodyguard, John Parker; just ask President Lincoln! Martin's book is an entertaining and informative look...

Cover: 'An Illustrated Dictionary of the Third Reich'

"An Illustrated Dictionary of the Third Reich" by Jean-Denis Lepage

★★★★ Jean-Denis Lepage's book is a wide-ranging dictionary to 1,650 major and most important German terms associated with Nazism and the Second World War. The book defines/describes various laws, medals, badges, weapons, equipment, persons, organizations, slogans, songs, events, etc. The German-language term is given first followed by its English equivalent and...

Cover: 'Union Infantryman vs Confederate Infantryman, Eastern Theater 1861-65'

"Union Infantryman vs Confederate Infantryman, Eastern Theater 1861-65" by Ron Field

★★★★★ Civil War buffs will enjoy this well-illustrated guide to the soldiers - Billy Yank and Johnny Reb - who waged war from 1861 to 1865. The book describes the weapons, equipment and training each received and then relates how they fared in three separate battles. The text is interesting and informative. Then too the 80-page book features many full-color maps...

Cover: 'Paul'

"Paul" by Tony Scherman

★★★★ In the 50th Anniversary year of the Beatles' conquest of America, LIFE Magazine offers up this breezy photo-guide to the life and times of the most famous member of the Fab Four, Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE. It traces Macca's life, the beginnings of the Beatles, their subsequent fame & fortune and McCartney's post-Beatle career. The book is...

Cover: 'Child Labor in America'

"Child Labor in America" by Chaim M. Rosenberg

★★★★★ During much of America's history, children were employed as workers in factories, mines and sweatshops, on farms, etc. They worked punishing hours in horrendous conditions for scant pay. In part, America's great industrial growth in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries was built on the backs of child laborers, some as young as five years old. Rosenberg's...

Cover: 'The Great War'

"The Great War" by Mark Holborn, Hilary Roberts

★★★★★ 1914 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. 'The War to End All Wars" was like no conflict before, embracing many nations worldwide and resulting in horrifying casualties. THE GREAT WAR, A PHOTOGRAPHIC NARRATIVE commemorates that epic struggle, offering up almost 400 photographs depicting all aspects of the war. The pix depict a myriad of...

Cover: 'Too Cute Puppies'

"Too Cute Puppies" by Animal Planet

★★★★ Viewers of the Animal Planet TOO CUTE television show will welcome this charming collection of adorable puppy pix. Among the breeds found in the book are Labs, Shih Tzus, Terriers, Collies, Dalmatians, Spaniels and Pugs doing what puppies do best - playing, sleeping, eating and being generally adorable. Even cat lovers will enjoy this slight but pleasing...

Cover: 'The Winter of the Robots'

"The Winter of the Robots" by Kurtis Scaletta

★★★★★ It’s science fair time but Jim’s best friend Oliver always wants to build robots so he chooses a girl partner named Rocky.   He “borrows” cameras from his father’s security business and places them in a hidden junkyard in an attempt to study otters for their project.  They don’t find any otters, but discover strange noises and movement coming from...

Cover: 'Rooftoppers'

"Rooftoppers" by Katherine Rundell

★★★★★ Charles, an eccentric, erudite bachelor with a heart full of love finds a baby floating in a cello case in the middle of the English Channel. He takes her home, names her Sophie, and notifies the proper authorities who reluctantly agree to let him keep her.  Charles and Sophie have a wonderful life together until she turns 12 when the National...

Cover: 'Spark'

"Spark" by Kallie George, Geneviève Côté

★★★★ Spark is a small, young dragon with a mighty flame.  In other words, he has problems controlling his flames.  He turns marshmallows to a crisp and cracks dishes while trying to dry them.  His family and friends encourage him and try to help him.   This is a cute first chapter book with engaging illustrations for beginning readers....

Cover: 'Ultimate Price'

"Ultimate Price" by Annemarie S. Kidder

★★★ This nonfiction book contains the testimonies of German Christians whose personal beliefs conflicted with Hitler's political ideologies. These were people not involved with the  military; common people, so to speak, also known as the resistance. Various countries had resistance groups attempting to guide citizenry away from Hitler's purification plan....

Cover: 'The Pieces We Keep'

"The Pieces We Keep" by Kristina McMorris

★★★★★ In this gripping new novel, we meet Audra, a widow still struggling after the loss of her husband. In an effort to start fresh, she takes her son, Jack, on a job interview, where he has an intense panic attack. Soon, Jack starts having violent night terrors, in which he mumbles names Audra has never heard of. Soon he shows a new obsession with World War II...

Cover: 'Laughter Still is the Best Medicine'

"Laughter Still is the Best Medicine" by Reader's Digest Association

★★★★ Here's a book that's sure to bring a smile or laugh to one and all. The folks at READER'S DIGEST have come up 1,000 of the most hilarious quips, quotes, gags, anecdotes, cartoons and jokes from past issues of their magazine.  Divided into chapters entitled 'Family Fun,' 'At Work,' 'Venus and Mars,' 'Life and Death' and 'Just for Laughs,' the book will...

Cover: 'How to Retire the Cheapskate Way'

"How to Retire the Cheapskate Way" by Jeff Yeager

★★★★ A person would not expect a nonfiction book about retirement to be a real page-turner, but the author's writing style in this one keeps you engaged chapter after chapter.  A good example is a direct quote from A Word From the Author:  "The following book is what I call "colorized nonfiction". That means it's basically true, with the exception of...

Cover: 'The Lost City of Z'

"The Lost City of Z" by David Grann

★★★★★ This is a true life adventure about searching for a lost city in the Amazon.  Does it get much better then this?!  I had never heard of Percy Fawcett and his many attempts to locate the lost city of Z.  It became an obsession for him and for many others who tried to follow.  The Amazon rainforest becomes one of his deadliest foes, and I...

Cover: 'Red Rising'

"Red Rising" by Pierce Brown

★★★★★ Sixteen-year-old Darrow is a Helldiver, one of a thousand Reds (the lowest caste of society) who live beneath the surface of Mars, mining for an element that will terraform Mars and make it habitable to the people of Earth. After tragedy strikes, Darrow learns that everything he has ever been told is a lie. Mars has been habitable for hundreds of years and...

Cover: 'Free For All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library'

"Free For All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library" by Don Borchert

★★★★ Ever wonder what it's like to work in a big city branch library? Well look no further than this short memoir by Don Borchert. He writes about all of his up and down experiences of being Branch Assistant in a California Library. He started out taking small time jobs before landing his job in the Branch. Here he learns that libraries are where anybody and...

Cover: 'Sherlock Holmes FAQ'

"Sherlock Holmes FAQ" by Dave Thompson

★★★★ Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes is probably the most widely-known and beloved character in English literature. His adventures, as chronicled in four novels and 56 short stories, have enthralled millions of people over the decades. Holmes and his faithful companion, Dr. Watson, have also been portrayed in dozens of plays, radio programs and films by the...

Cover: 'Going, Going, Gone'

"Going, Going, Gone" by Bloomsbury Natural History

★★★★★ This 2013 release showcases 100 plants and animals around the globe that are threatened with extinction. Compelling full-color images of each species is complimented by a one-page write-up with a general overview of the species, basic data on remaining numbers/lifespans/threats along with efforts underway to save it along and information on what individuals...

Cover: 'Wild Planet'

"Wild Planet" by Chris Packham

★★★★★ WILD PLANET is an enormously-entertaining book showcasing the work of various photographers who have won the 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year' award. The book features glorious, full-color images of tigers, elephants, crocs, rhinos, birds, bats, sharks, meerkats, toads, geese, cheetahs, whales, bees, gorillas, cranes, jellyfish, eagles, spiders, penguins...

Cover: 'The Museum'

"The Museum" by Susan Verde, Peter H. Reynolds

★★★★★ A little girl takes a tour of a museum, and each work of art gives her a different feeling. The rhyming lines help to evoke the feelings each work of art is meant to express. Featuring colorful re-creations of works by Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Auguste Rodin, this book also serves to introduce your child to the work of great artists...

Cover: 'The Waters of Star Lake'

"The Waters of Star Lake" by Sara Lindsay Rath

★★★★ Taking place in the great Northwoods of Wisconsin, this story focuses on 60-something widow Talie Waters, looking to escape her bustling Madison life for the quiet solitude of her family's rustic, lake-side cabin. Over the course of the summer, she is faced with many challenges to her quest of peace. First there is the danger of the area wolf packs roaming...

Cover: 'The Gods of Gotham'

"The Gods of Gotham" by Lyndsay Faye

★★★★★ Who is killing Irish children so gruesomely? Timothy Wilde, an inhabitant of New York City and one-time bartender, suddenly finds himself a police officer. This is not a situation he is happy about and yet it will be up to him to find the answer to this ghastly question. The book takes a historical look at New York when the first police force was begun and...

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