Tuesday, December 27, 2022

December 27, 2022 - BCPL Young Adult Author of the Month

Thanks for checking in at the end of this year, readers! We're excited to share the last, but not least, of our young readers spotlight picks.

This December, we're sharing the works of Mike Lupica, who has written a variety of stories, mostly sports themed, for readers of all ages. He also has adult fiction titles on his resume as well! But today we're focusing on his works for young readers.

Mike Lupica is one of the most prominent sports writers in America. His longevity at the top of his field is based on his experience and insider's knowledge, coupled with a provocative presentation that takes an uncompromising look at the tumultuous world of professional sports. 

His young adult novels, Travel Team, Heat, Miracle on 49th Street, and the summer hit for 2007, Summer Ball, have shot up the New York Times bestseller list. Lupica is also what he describes as a "serial Little League coach," a youth basketball coach, and a soccer coach for his four children, three sons and a daughter. He and his family live in Connecticut.

He began his newspaper career covering the New York Knicks for the New York Post at age 23. He became the youngest columnist ever at a New York paper with the New York Daily News, which he joined in 1977. For more than 30 years, Lupica has added magazines, novels, sports biographies, other non-fiction books on sports, as well as television to his professional resume. For more than fifteen years, he has been a TV anchor for ESPN's The Sports Reporters. He also hosted his own program, The Mike Lupica Show on ESPN2. 

Lupica was born in Oneida, New York, where he spent his pre-adolescent years, having attended St. Patrick's Elementary School through the sixth grade. In 1964, he moved with his family to Nashua, New Hampshire, where he attended middle school and subsequently Bishop Guertin High School, graduating in 1970. In 1974 he graduated from Boston College. He first came to prominence as a sportswriter in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Lupica wrote "The Sporting Life" column at Esquire magazine for ten years beginning in the late 1980s, and currently writes a regular column for Travel + Leisure Golf. He has also written for Golf Digest, Parade, ESPN The Magazine, and Men’s Journal, and has received numerous awards including, in 2003, the Jim Murray Award from the National Football Foundation.

Lupica's sports series and standalones have touched on many sports, bringing the thrill of the game to life in characters of all ages and talent levels. He always brings his real life experience and knowledge to the story while incorporating characters young readers can relate to as well.

Are you or your children fans of Mike Lupica's stories? Let us know in the comment section below or on any of our social media pages! We'd love to hear from you.

Many of Mike's best titles are available from our ebook collection on WV Reads!

Images and info are courtesy of WV Reads, Google, Goodreads, and author web pages.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

December 21, 2022 - Staff Reviews

By William Bernhardt
Release Date: March 22, 2022
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3 Stars - A fast-paced read that's part mystery and part courtroom thriller. I was new to the Splitsville series and found a lot to like in this entry. This was both dark and humorous at times, and the storyline regarding the human trafficking industry was engrossing. But I'm not sure I ever really connected with this entire plot or cast of quirky characters.

Bernhardt's work is hit and miss for me, and this one was somewhere in between. I liked to see him branch out from the Ben Kincaid series, and Kenzi is a strong female lead. Her backstory opens up a lot of possibilities for great stories. I liked her relationship with her sister and potential boyfriend Alex. She's clever and determined. But somehow, her relationship with her family and daughter felt more like filler to me, which was a disappointment. I needed a bit more everyday woman, softer side or something like that, to relate to her.

This started off on the wrong foot a bit, and I'm not sure I truly clicked with this one because of it. I loved the realistic dialouge and the sharp scene and location descriptions. And the violent opening is also almost trademark Bernhardt. Plus, it's important to the plot in ways you don't imagine until later. But I felt a little unsettled by it, maybe it left me off-kilter. The original ideas with Kenzi's firm handling mostly civil and divorce cases, dealing with her dad's, etc. might really grab some readers. It just didn't hold my attention as a subplot. The human trafficking angles were fascinating but a bit hard to take too. And I didn't appreciate that the political jabs started early. As an independent, I don't like fictional characters having such strong opinions in the way of making opposite party people look like clowns. It's better left out or mostly off the pages. While this was entertaining, I don't think I'm eager to hop into the rest of this particular series. But the aspects that didn't work for me may be enticing for other readers.


Friday, December 16, 2022

December 16, 2022 - A Book & A Recipe

Welcome back and Merry Christmas!

This month we at Brooke County Libraries are excited to bring you a cool and frosty dessert recipe that's perfect for the Christmas season. This December we are featuring Fairy Drop Cookies from Mary Kay Andrew's Blue Christmas. It's a light and modern romance classic.


4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup softened butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 tsps almond extract

1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/3 - 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsps of milk
Food coloring of your choice


1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the first three dry ingredients.
3. Cream butter into flour mixture.
4. Add both kinds of sugar and beat until fluffy.
5. Add oil, eggs, and almond extract to mixture and beat until well mixed.
6. Chill cookie dough in fridge for 30 minutes.
7. Pinch off teaspoon-sized bits of cookie dough, roll between fingers, and place on greased cookie sheet - approx. 1/2 inch apart.
8. After all cookies are on sheet, use back of a teaspoon to flatten cookie and make impressions on top.
9. Bake 10-12 minutes, until cookies are pale shade of yellow. Makes about five dozen cookies.
10. Onto the frosting! Beat butter into powdered sugar, then add almond, milk, vanilla, thinning until frosting is thick.
11. Separate into bowls for tinting with food coloring. Mix and color as desired.
12. Place a dab of frosting on each cookie.
13. These keep well in a sealed container.

What a fun one to try with the kiddos for a Christmas afternoon activity! Be sure to let us know if you try it out. We'd love to hear about it in the comments or on our social media pages.

Looking for a good Christmas read? We've got the audiobook available from WV Reads! You could listen as you do some wrapping and baking.

Thanks for checking in with our recipe posts! We will see you back with more recipe ideas next year.

Images and info are courtesy of Google, WV Reads, author web pages.


Tuesday, December 13, 2022

December 13, 2022 - Staff Reviews

Out of the Blue
By BJ Daniels
Release Date: January 1, 2022
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3 Stars - For being a short read, there sure was a lot going on in Buckhorn, Montana. Daniels' long running series moves right along here. This time bartender Davey is the hero. Who will steal this big heart of his? There's a little suspense as well, worth the quick read.

I'm not really a follower of this series, but this was a great short story. I think that fans of the Buckhorn romances probably find plenty to like in this, or perhaps it's just not enough. Daniels really fills the pages! Davey's a bit naive but he's a good guy so it'd be hard not to want the best for him. He's considerate and hardworking. Melissa and Tanya are both sort of vying for his attention, in VERY different ways. Mel is a darling and they've got a great friends-to-lovers storyline. But Tanya was more sympathetic than I expected too.

I liked that Tanya was shady but it was actually kind of hard to hate her. I could see why Davey was blinded by her. Although, he's definitely not my usual favorite type of hero. I wanted him to wake up and see what was right in front of him. Melissa could have stepped up a little too but she was shy and quiet also. There were fun supporting characters as well like the comical Ralph and Wilbur, bar patrons and amateur thief trackers. Plus, we had a sufficiently grim background villian too. The steam levels were low, perfect for romance readers who prefer a little less heat and more sweet. I couldn't believe this little story was packed with romantic tension, multiple POV, dialouge, plus some mystery as well. There was a little frustration and suspension of disbelief needed from the main characters. But overall, this exceeded my expectations. I don't want to spoil the ending, but it's also sufficiently wrapped up too. I don't think anyone would have to read this series to enjoy killing a little time one afternoon. It might even get one hooked!


Thursday, December 8, 2022

December 8, 2022 - BCPL Resume Tips

Welcome back, resume warriors! We like your dedication - checking in with us during the holiday season. Brooke County Libraries have one last tip to share this year on how to make your resume shine!

Resume Tip #26 - Leave out personal details.

While it's tempting to include on your resume why you took two years off or have been looking for steady work for six months - resist!

Potential employers will ask about your personal life and/or any gaps in your resume during your interview. Don't confuse a job profile with a dating profile, though it's easy to get confused with all the online updates nowadays! "Single mom of three searching for part time receptionist work!" is not a good idea.

There may be a small section called a summary at the top of your resume template that the only acceptable place to include any personal details of your life history. Those should even so be kept short and sweet such as "Work at home mom looking to rejoin workforce at a full time capacity" or "Long time student and lover of learning ready to share my knowledge with a hand-on full time position". Make sure you make it about why you're ready for the next (or maybe even first) big job!

Yes, understanding that you took time off to care for a sick relative, nurse your own injuries or illnesses, or to raise children is an important component of who you are! 

But the reasoning behind your job history, schooling, or time off is usually irrelevant in the face of other candidates. Everyone has a personal story! Maybe your competition spent a full year backpacking through Europe whereas you extended your maternity or paternity leave. Neither possibility will convince a potential employer to call for that interview, and you can always talk about your dreams, goals, and personal life briefly at the face-to-face meeting.

That's all for today! Have a healthy, happy, holiday season; and here's to hoping for all our followers to find great jobs in the new year! 

Remember, your local library is always available for job hunt tips, resume help, and more!


Wednesday, December 7, 2022

December 7, 2022 - Staff Reviews

The Heat Is On
By Jill Shalvis
Release Date: June 25, 2013
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

4 Stars - This fun little beach read had surprising intensity! Bella and Jacob both had major commitment phobia but were adorable together. When Bella's dates come under attack, Jacob's determined to get to the culprit before he gets to them. 

Shalvis has a cute message at the beginning of this about having fun writing for HQ Blaze series. I think the level of fun she had showed with this one. This isn't an angsty read though there's plenty of drama. Jacob's a great hero, especially fun to see with Bella and his brothers. Bella was a bit more difficult to understand. She's baker and traveler, not one for settling down. Her list of real friends is small so it makes her instant connection with Jacob extra sweet. Both of these two do a lot verbal pushing away while pulling each other closer. It got to be a bit much here and there.

I find it interesting how many times in romances, the woman is the one with one foot out the door. Girls can be reluctant to give up their freedom too, and not just in regards to dating. More like, they don't always want to buy a house, pets, and give up traveling. It's always refreshing. The side characters were cool but not particularly funny or memorable except for Jacob's brothers. Now, for the mystery. This is not a whodunit on the level of Agatha Christie of course. But I admit I didn't know who the bad guy was until he revealed himself. There was quite a series of suspenseful moments in this one, making it easy to not put it down. I wouldn't say there were any fabulous action sequences or explosive scenes. But there was just enough intrigue to keep this one exciting. This would be a perfect paperback for romance readers to grab for a weekend trip or rainy day on the couch.


Friday, December 2, 2022

December 2, 2022 - Christmas Romance Reads

In the mood to read a little Winter romance? We've got a great selection of holiday season romances at Brooke County libraries.

Let's get into some of our favorite romance reads perfect for December! All titles are available from one of our locations or as ebooks from our collection.

Christmas Bliss by Mary Kay Andrews
Christmas is coming, but Savannah antique dealer Weezie Foley is doubly distracted both by her upcoming wedding to her longtime love, chef Daniel Stipanek and also by the fact that her best friend and maid-of-honor BeBe Loudermilk is due to give birth any day and is still adamantly refusing to marry her live-in-love Harry. 

Christmas At Timberwoods by Fern Michaels
It's the most wonderful time of the year. . .and for Heather Andrews, security manager at Timberwoods Mall, undoubtedly the busiest. But this Christmas, Heather has more to contend with than frazzled parents and disgruntled Santas. Angela Steinhart, a young woman who designed the mall's spectacular holiday displays, has had a premonition that tragedy will strike on Christmas Eve. And Angela's visions have a habit of coming true.

Candlelight Christmas by Susan Wiggs
A single father who yearns to be a family man, Logan O'Donnell is determined to create the perfect Christmas for his son, Charlie. The entire O'Donnell clan arrives to spend the holidays in Avalon, a postcard-pretty town on the shores of Willow Lake, a place for the family to reconnect and rediscover the special gifts of the season.

A Christmas Caroline by Kyle Smith
This Christmas Eve, she's stuck in Manhattan, embarrassingly boyfriendless, while her fabulous designer mother jets off to a mysterious place called Branson. But things are about to get even worse, thanks to a hideous pair of furry boots, a conniving redheaded assistant named Ursula Heep, and a totally random visit from the ghost of her ex-roommate, Carly. Carly's ghost warns that three more spirits are on the way. If Caroline doesn't make things right with all the people she's sneered at on her way to the top, she could wind up facing a fate worse than an outfit from the Salvation Army.

The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo
The tree is decorated, the cookies are baked, and the packages are wrapped, but the biggest celebration this Christmas is Gaby Summerhill's wedding. Since her husband died three years ago, Gaby's four children have drifted apart, each consumed by the turbulence of their own lives. They haven't celebrated Christmas together since their father's death, but when Gaby announces that she's getting married--and that the groom will remain a secret until the wedding day--she may finally be able to bring them home for the holidays. But the wedding isn't Gaby's only surprise--she has one more gift for her children, and it could change all their lives forever.

Hot Winter Nights by Jill Shalvis
Most people wouldn't think of a bad Santa case as the perfect Christmas gift. Then again, Molly Malone, office manager at Hunt Investigations, isn't most people, and she could really use a distraction from the fantasies she's been having since spending the night with her very secret crush, Lucas Knight. Nothing happened, not that Lucas knows that — but Molly just wants to enjoy being a little naughty for once...

My Kind of Christmas by Janet Dailey
Returning to Branding Iron, Texas, is Travis Morgan’s last resort, and the abandoned ranch he inherited isn’t much more welcoming than the prison cell where he spent the last three years doing time for a tragic accident. Completely without funds or family, Travis finds celebrating Christmas is the last thing on his mind, but there’s no escaping the holiday spirit in this close-knit little town—not with Branding Iron’s longtime Santa retiring, and sweetly stubborn Mayor Maggie Delaney determined to find a replacement. When her no-nonsense fa├žade slips to reveal the sensual, vulnerable woman beneath it, Travis realizes Maggie just might be as lonely as he is—and that this holiday season, love could be the gift that heals them both.

Bring Me Home for Christmas by Robyn Carr
This year, Becca Timm knows the number one item on her Christmas wish list—getting over Denny Cutler. Three years ago Denny broke her heart before heading off to war. It's time she got over her silly college relationship and moved on. So she takes matters into her own hands and heads up to Virgin River, the rugged little mountain town that Denny calls home, as an uninvited guest on her brother's men-only hunting weekend. But when an accident turns her impromptu visit into an extended stay, Becca finds herself stranded in Virgin River. With Denny. In very close quarters.

1225 Christmas Tree Lane by Debbie Macomber
The people of Cedar Cove know how to celebrate Christmas. Like Grace and Olivia and everyone else, Beth Morehouse expects this Christmas to be one of her best. Her small Christmas-tree farm is prospering, her daughters and her dogs are happy and well, and her new relationship with local vet Ted Reynolds is showing plenty of romantic promise.

The Christmas Brides by Linda Lael Miller
A McKettrick Christmas - Lizzie McKettrick is on a homebound train with a Christmas Eve surprise for her family—a special young man, Whitley Carson. He might seem a little too interested in the McKettrick money, but Lizzie's certain Whitley cares for her deep down. But fate has a surprise for Lizzie—Dr. Morgan Shane. When their train is stranded by a massive avalanche on Christmas Eve the handsome doctor takes charge—with Lizzie by his side. Time's running out for the passengers. But with faith, hard work and some unexpected help, it just might be a joyous McKettrick family Christmas after all…. Also included:A Creed Country Christmas!

A Chesapeake Shores Christmas by Sherryl Woods
After years apart, Mick and Megan O'Brien are finally ready to make it official…again. Most of their grown children couldn't be happier about their rekindled love and impending marriage this holiday season. Only Connor is a holdout. Driven to become a divorce attorney after what he views as his mother's abandonment of their family, Connor's not about to give his blessing to this reunion romance.

Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas
The last thing Mark Nolan needs is a six-year-old girl in his life. But he soon realizes that he will do everything he can to make her life whole again. His sister’s will gives him the instructions: There’s no other choice but you. Just start by loving her. The rest will follow. SOMETIMES, IT TAKES A LITTLE MAGIC… Maggie Collins doesn’t dare believe in love again, after losing her husband of one year. But she does believe in the magic of imagination. As the owner of a toy shop, she lives what she loves. And when she meets Holly Nolan, she sees a little girl in desperate need of a little magic.

A Christmas Bride by Susan Mallery
Pet groomer Carina Fiore wants nothing more than to confess her feelings to the man she loves. She's drawn to veterinarian Cameron McKenzie's good looks, caring nature and especially his devotion to his young daughter. There's just one problem — he's her boss. Putting her heart on the line could cost Rina both her job and their friendship forever. But when a kiss under the mistletoe unlocks the simmering passion between them, Rina and Cameron may just find love for the holidays after all. Bonus story: The Sheik and the Christmas Bride included!

Did we leave out any of your Christmas Romance favorites? If so, let us know! We'd love to hear from you in person, in the comment section, or on any of our social media pages.

 Images and info are courtesy of WV Reads, Google, Goodreads, and author web pages.