Wednesday, November 30, 2022

November 30, 2022 - BCPL Children's Series of the Month

Looking for a quirky and fun series for young readers? This month we've got a great pick at Brooke County Libraries! We're featuring the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series this November, written by Jeff Kinney.

Filled with laugh-out-loud hilarious text and cartoons, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series follows Greg Heffley as he records the daily trials and triumphs of friendship, family life and middle school where undersized weaklings have to share the hallways with kids who are taller, meaner and already shaving! On top of all that, Greg must be careful to avoid the dreaded CHEESE TOUCH!

The first book in the series was published in 2007 and became instantly popular for its relatable humor. Today, more than 250 million copies have been sold around the world!

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series has been a permanent fixture on the USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. The series has remained on the New York Times bestseller lists since the publication of the first book, for more than 775 weeks total, and more than 350 on the series list. The books are currently available in 79 editions in 65 languages.

Since initial publication in 2007, the series has gone on to win many regional and national awards around the globe including two Children’s Choice Book Awards and six Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards for Favorite Book. Jeff Kinney was also named one of Time magazine’s most influential people in the world.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney didn’t grow up wanting to be a children’s author. His dream was to become a newspaper cartoonist but he wasn’t able to get his comic strip syndicated.
Jeff Kinney was born in 1971 in Maryland and attended the University of Maryland in the early 1990s. It was there that Jeff ran a comic strip called “Igdoof” in the campus newspaper. He knew he wanted to be a cartoonist.

However, Jeff was not successful getting his comic strip syndicated after college, and in 1998 he started writing down ideas for Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which he hoped to turn into a book. Jeff worked on the book for six years before publishing it online on in daily installments.

In 2006, Jeff signed a multi-book deal with publisher Harry N. Abrams, Inc. to turn Diary of a Wimpy Kid into a print series. The first Diary of a Wimpy Kid book was published in 2007 and became an instant bestseller. Just a year later, more than 100,000 copies were in print in the United States alone. With each subsequent book, in-print numbers continue to grow exponentially both in the U.S. and abroad. There are now more than 250 million copies of the series in print worldwide.

A spin-off series has been published, written from Rowley's perspective. The first installment, Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson's Journal, was released on April 9, 2019, and is a series of anecdotes about Greg and Rowley's friendship. The second, Rowley Jefferson's Awesome Friendly Adventure, is in the style of a fantasy adventure and was released on August 4, 2020. The book's original release date was April 7, 2020, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The third, Rowley Jefferson's Awesome Friendly Spooky Stories, was released on March 16, 2021.

Interested in giving this series a try? Check out the titles we have available from WV Reads!

Don't forget to check in next month, readers! We've got one more young reader spotlight to share before 2022 is over.

Are you a big fan of the Wimpy Kid adventures? Maybe you know of a similar series for middle schoolers? Let us know in the comment section below or on any of our social media pages!

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


Tuesday, November 29, 2022

November 29, 2022 - Staff Reviews

The Bedroom Experiment
By Kendall Ryan
Release Date: Feburary 11, 2020
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3 Stars - This novella was entertaining but not as much fun as it could have been. Morgan and Isla make a cute couple and they're really just getting started. This quick and mostly dirty little read makes a nice addition for fans of these lovable hockey players but is also basically a standalone.

This is a short story that's heavy on the steamy scenes and light on substance. Kendall Ryan has a way with characters and this story is no exception. Morgan and Isla's little fling feels like the tip of an iceberg. I do wish we'd gotten Isla's point of view as well. Morgan's got a bad boy vibe but he's a good guy at heart. Isla's a bit of a mystery cause she's part girl next door and part siren.

We get a few mentions and some love from Morgan's teammates, but otherwise this could have been a completely separate story. It's not obvious where the idea came to tie this in here. Although, it could have made for a great little Christmas novella. I'm not sure these two's back and forth would have filled a whole novel. Their only conflict is that as teenagers, they became step siblings. No creepy vibes though because they never lived together or anything. But I wasn't really a fan of the ending. I wasn't sure what the purpose was to spending a year completely apart and then deciding to be together. There was no indication either one of them really pined away for the other. Why didn't they just stay together after hooking up the first time? I think a few more pages or chapters would have rounded these two out more and the story would have felt more complete.


Monday, November 28, 2022

November 28, 2022 - New Arrivals

Adult Fiction

Hellburner by Mike Maden.

When Juan Cabrillo fails to capture the leader of Mexico's most dangerous drug cartel and loses an Oregon crew member in the process, he's determined to get revenge. Little does he know that the explosion he just narrowly escaped was merely the latest flash of violence from a machine of war that has existed for decades, dating from the bloodiest episode in Armenia's history. Cabrillo's Corporation of mercenaries may have finally met its match in The Pipeline--a criminal syndicate passed down from father to son across generations. A group that sits with its finger on the trigger of a torpedo so deadly it could level entire cities. With millions of innocent civilians hanging in the balance, the Oregon's crew must unravel a tangle of drug-smuggling routes and international conspiracies spanning from the Aegean Sea to the Indian Ocean, putting their lives on the line to find the weapon before its countdown hits zero.


Next in Line by Jeffrey Archer.

"London, 1988. Royal fever sweeps the nation as Britain falls in love with the "people's princess." Which means for Scotland Yard, the focus is on the elite Royalty Protection Command, and its commanding officer. Entrusted with protecting the most famous family on earth, they quite simply have to be the best. A weak link could spell disaster. Detective Chief Inspector William Warwick and his Scotland Yard squad are sent in to investigate the team. Maverick ex-undercover operative Ross Hogan is charged with a very sensitive--and unique--responsibility. But it soon becomes clear the problems in Royalty Protection are just the beginning. A renegade organization has the security of the country--and the Crown--in its sights. The only question is which target is next in line..." -- Provided by publisher.


The Girl from Guernica by Karen Robards.

On an April day in 1937, the sky opens and fire rains down upon the small Spanish town of Guernica. Seventeen-year-old Sibi and her family are caught up in the horror. Griff, an American military attaché, pulls Sibi from the wreckage, and it's only the first time he saves her life in a span of hours. When Germany claims no involvement in the attack, insisting the Spanish Republic was responsible, Griff guides Sibi to lie to Nazi officials. If she or her sisters reveal that they saw planes bearing swastikas, the gestapo will silence them--by any means necessary. As war begins to rage across Europe, Sibi joins the underground resistance, secretly exchanging information with Griff. But as the scope of Germany's ambitions becomes clear, maintaining the facade of a Nazi sympathizer becomes ever more difficult. And as Sibi is drawn deeper into a web of secrets, she must find a way to outwit an enemy that threatens to decimate her family once and for all.


Adult Non-Fiction

The Facemaker by Lindsey Fitzharris.

From the moment the first machine gun rang out over the Western Front, one thing was clear: humankind's military technology had wildly surpassed its medical capabilities. Bodies were battered, gouged, hacked, and gassed. The First World War claimed millions of lives and left millions more wounded and disfigured. In the midst of this brutality, however, there were also those who strove to alleviate suffering. The Facemaker tells the extraordinary story of such an individual: the pioneering plastic surgeon Harold Gillies, who dedicated himself to reconstructing the burned and broken faces of the injured soldiers under his care. Gillies, a Cambridge-educated New Zealander, became interested in the nascent field of plastic surgery after encountering the human wreckage on the front. Returning to Britain, he established one of the world's first hospitals dedicated entirely to facial reconstruction. There, Gillies assembled a unique group of practitioners whose task was to rebuild what had been torn apart, to re-create what had been destroyed. At a time when losing a limb made a soldier a hero, but losing a face made him a monster to a society largely intolerant of disfigurement, Gillies restored not just the faces of the wounded but also their spirits.


Coal Camps and Castor Oil by Bob Lasley & Sallie Holt.

In January of 2009, old-timers in southern West Virginia were asked to share their memories of the “good old days”. They were invited to write letters describing interesting, humorous, unusual, exciting (and even romantic) “happenings” from the past. Most of them were born prior to 1940 and the majority grew up right here in West Virginia. They were not selected from any particular group or social class, nor were they expected to have any special writing ability or talent. From their responses, 504 were chosen to be included in this book. Their stories aren’t history in the usual sense. Rather, they entertainingly describe a way of life that will never again be seen.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega.  J GN

Marlene loves three things: books, her cool Tía Ruby and hanging out with her best friend Camila. But according to her mother, Paola, the only thing she needs to focus on is school and "growing up." That means straightening her hair every weekend so she could have "presentable", "good hair". But Marlene hates being in the salon and doesn't understand why her curls are not considered pretty by those around her. With a few hiccups, a dash of embarrassment, and the much-needed help of Camila and Tia Ruby--she slowly starts a journey to learn to appreciate and proudly wear her curly hair.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  YA

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs. for now. Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too - post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and - shockingly, to her - interested in Hazel.

Brooke County Public Libraries    Wellsburg (304) 737-1551    Follansbee (304) 527-0860

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

November 23, 2022 - Staff Reviews

A Tryst by the Sea
By Grace Burrowes
Release Date: March 1, 2022
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3 Stars - The short novel was a bit more intense than the usual historical novella. Burrowes surprised me with the sobfest potential in this little rekindled romance tale.  Gill and Penelope are struggling to find themselves and figure out their future as they revisit their past on a lovely seaside trip.

Grace Burrowes was new to me so if she's inclined to such heart wrenching work, I was unaware. This definitely is not in the company of light and flirty historical romances but it has its own appeal. The mini saga of this long married couple was a moving drama. Gill and Penelope are still in love with each other but neither seems to realize it's mutual. There has been so much heartache in their pasts that it seems impossible to overcome. But once they face old struggles and really get to know each other again, it's all sweetness.

This one was a basis of miscommunication that's hard for me to abide. Many will say these two were young, kept apart by circumstances beyond their control. How could they know each other? But the excuses for ten years of distance and partial misery felt flimsy. Maybe this is a romance best suited to readers finding themselves at crossroads or looking back. Penelope is lovely and lonely and ready to move on. She's young but feels older than her years. Gill's been devoted to her in his heart and mind but not great at showing it. They've held themselves apart for fear of additional heartache. Facing what they've lost and learning to be brave for the chance at resuming their relationship is something they manage to do though. Gill stands his ground with his family, and Penelope figures out how to forge ahead with hope rather than resignation. It's basically a short version of a tragic little love story that shows it's never too late for a happy ending.


Tuesday, November 22, 2022

November 22, 2022 - A Book & A Recipe

Happy Thanksgiving! - A little early.

We at Brooke County Libraries are very excited to share this wonderful recipe with you just in time for holiday, hopefully. This November we are sharing the recipe for Peach-Raspberry Pie straight from Pie Hard by Kristen Weiss. It's a quirk cozy mystery from the Pie Town series.

Let's get started, shall we?

2 pre-made piecrusts at room temp.
3 pounds firm-ripe peaches (about 6 large) cut into 1 inch slices.
2 tsp lemon juice, or to taste.
2 1/2 T cornstarch, divided.
9 T sugar, divided.
1/2 tsp ground ginger.
Pinch of salt.
8 oz raspberries (approx 2 cups).


1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
2. In mixing bowl, toss in cut peaches, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of sugar.
3. Let rest for 30 minutes. Then, pour off any excess juice, reserving 1/2 cup.
4. Return the reserve juice to the bowl.
5. Add ginger, salt, and 2 T cornstarch, and toss.
6. In a separate bowl, toss the raspberries with 1 T sugar and remaining 1/2 T of cornstarch.
7. Line the pie tin with one crust and poke it with a fork 4 or 5 times.
8. Pour half the peach mixture into the crust and layer on top of it half the raspberry mixture.
9. Add the remainder of the peaches and then what's left of the raspberries.
10. Cut the second crust into strips and weave it over the pie in a lattice top.
11. Trim the edges so that 1/2 inch hangs over the pie tin and crimp.
12. Place pie into freezer for 20 minutes.
13. Remove pie from freeze and dust crust with a bit of sanding sugar. Put the pie on a cookie sheet  and bake approx. 30 minutes, until the crust is slightly brown.
14. Reduce the temp to 350 Fand bake another 45-60 minutes until the crust is deep, golden brown.
15. Cool before slicing.

What a fun, unique pie to bring for Thanksgiving! Forget the classic apple and pumpkin, mix it up with a new dessert maybe. 

Let us know how it goes too. We love to hear from our readers in the comments or on any of our social media pages.

Don't forget - check in next month for a Christmas recipe!

Intrigued by the story? Check out our ebook copy on WV Reads!

Images and info are courtesy of WV Reads, Google, etc.

Monday, November 21, 2022

November 21, 2022 - New Arrivals

Adult Fiction

Under the Starry Skies by Tracie Peterson.

Sensible and independent, Cassie Barton never anticipated being on her own at thirty-two. But after the death of her father and the marriage of her sister, she's found joy in her work as a seamstress. When a minor accident leaves her unable to sew, she decides to use her time to compile a book of stories about the men working on the Santa Fe Railroad. But worry begins to grow in San Marcial as Mexican revolutionaries set out to destroy the railroad--and put many lives in danger. With Europe at war and his longtime friend Cassie injured, railroad worker Brandon DuBarko is burdened by his troubles. He promised Cassie's father he would watch over her, but as their comfortable friendship slowly transforms into something deeper, he feels trapped by a secret from his youth. When a vengeful man reappears in Brandon's life, intent on causing conflict, Brandon must face his past before he can move forward. As the danger intensifies, Cassie and Brandon must rely on God to overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of a brighter future.


A Truth to Lie For by Anne Perry.

It is the summer of 1934, and Hitler is nearing the summit of supreme power in Germany, his eyes set on European domination. When Britain's MI6 gets word that a pair of German scientists have made breakthroughs in germ warfare, they send Elena Standish on a dangerous mission to get one of them out of Germany before he's forced to share his knowledge and its devastating power with Hitler's elite. But the British soon learn that it's more than just time that Elena is working against. The new head of Germany's germ warfare division is an old enemy of Elena's grandfather Lucas, the former head of MI6. And he's bent on using any means at his disposal to avenge his defeat at Lucas's hands twenty years before. What starts as an effort to save Europe from the devastation of disease soon becomes an intensely personal fight. As Elena and the scientist make their way across Germany, from Berlin to Bavaria and beyond, they confront not only the Gestapo but also a ragtag group of unpredictable Nazi supporters.


The Women’s March by Jennifer Chiaverini.

Twenty-five-year-old Alice Paul returns to her native New Jersey after several years on the front lines of the suffrage movement in Great Britain. Weakened from imprisonment and hunger strikes, she is nevertheless determined to invigorate the stagnant suffrage movement in her homeland. Nine states have already granted women voting rights, but only a constitutional amendment will secure the vote for all. To inspire support for the campaign, Alice organizes a magnificent procession down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, the day before the inauguration of President-elect Woodrow Wilson, a firm antisuffragist. Joining the march is thirty-nine-year-old New Yorker Maud Malone, librarian and advocate for women's and workers' rights. The daughter of Irish immigrants, Maud has acquired a reputation--and a criminal record--for interrupting politicians' speeches with pointed questions they'd rather ignore. Civil rights activist and journalist Ida B. Wells-Barnett resolves that women of color must also be included in the march--and the proposed amendment. Born into slavery in Mississippi, Ida worries that white suffragists may exclude Black women if it serves their own interests. On March 3, 1913, the glorious march commences, but negligent police allow vast crowds of belligerent men to block the parade route--jeering, shouting threats, assaulting the marchers--endangering not only the success of the demonstration but the women's very lives.


Adult Non-Fiction

Lily’s Promise by Lily Ebert & Dov Forman.

On Yom Kippur, 1944, fighting to stay alive as a prisoner in Auschwitz, Lily Ebert made a promise to herself. She would survive the hell she was in and tell the world her story, for everyone who couldn't. Now, at ninety-eight, this remarkable woman--and TikTok sensation, thanks to the help of her eighteen-year-old great-grandson--fulfills that vow, relaying the details of her harrowing experiences with candor, charm, and an overflowing heart. In these pages, she writes movingly about her happy childhood in Hungary, the death of her mother and two youngest siblings on their arrival at Auschwitz, and her determination to keep her two other sisters safe. She describes the inhumanity of the camp and the small acts of defiance that gave her strength. Lily lost so much, but she built a new life for herself and her family, first in Israel and then in London. Dov knows that it is up to younger people like him to keep Lily's promise. He and Lily bridge the generation gap to share her experience, reminding us of the joy that accompanies the solemn responsibility of keeping the past--and our stories--alive.


Your Daily Phil by Phil Robertson.

A daily dose of truth, morality, and biblical wisdom from A&E Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson in this 100-day devotional.

There is a war being waged on the soul of America, but Phil Robertson believes there is hope. In this compilation of 100 days of readings taken from his bestselling books The Theft of America's Soul and Jesus Politics, now with newly added prayers and Bible verses, he shows how Americans can turn away from the lies of the devil and embrace the life-giving, healing, and wholly transforming love of God, helping to bring the kingdom of heaven to our homes, neighborhoods, churches, communities, and country.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

Loyalty by Avi.  J

Newbery Medalist Avi explores the American Revolution from a fresh perspective in the story of a young Loyalist turned British spy navigating patriotism and personal responsibility during the lead-up to the War of Independence.

When his father is killed by rebel vigilantes, Noah flees with his family to Boston. Intent on avenging his father, Noah becomes a spy for the British and firsthand witness to the power of partisan rumor to distort facts, the hypocrisy of men who demand freedom while enslaving others, and the human connections that bind people together regardless of stated allegiances. Awash in contradictory information and participating in key events leading to the American Revolution, Noah must forge his own understanding of right and wrong and determine for himself where his loyalty truly lies.


Unretouchable by Sofia Szamosi.  YA GN

Olive is spending the summer before art school at a coveted internship, helping one of the fashion industry's elite digital-imaging specialists. After a glamourous New York photoshoot, she learns that taking pictures is only the first step. She discovers the "violent verbs" (cut, crop, slice, lasso) of image retouching software and the secrets behind "virtual models." Soon Olive is fixating on her own appearance and pondering the ethics of her work behind the scenes. As college gets closer, she'll try to get out of her own head, attempt to quit the Internet, and finally embrace image-making on her own terms.

Brooke County Public Libraries    Wellsburg (304) 737-1551    Follansbee (304) 527-0860

Thursday, November 17, 2022

November 17, 2022 - Staff Reviews

Thunder Point
By Jack Higgins
Release Date: September 1, 1994
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3.5 Stars - Escapist fiction at its best. Sean Dillon is at the start of his lengthy book series and intriguing as ever. He's got that broody bad boy side down to an art and it's hard to tell what he's thinking. Half this book takes place on the island of St. John which makes it perfect for a day at the beach or on the couch. While a bit plodding and repetitive, this old-fashioned little action thriller was a lot of fun.

Jack Higgins is up there with Clancy, Cussler, and Ludlum as some of the most noteworthy globe-trotting story authors of the late 20th century. I've read the fewest of Higgins books but he still has a great style all his own and a fascinating main man in Sean Dillon. Dillon's background is uniquely crafted to make him stone cold yet likable. Every great assassin has a backstory that makes him already suited to the spy game and his is acting. But he wasn't an actor for long before the IRA managed to snatch him up. Now he's in a bind and forced to work for the government. 

The side characters here are simpler but fun as well. Poor Henry is a diver in the wrong place at the right time. He finds a remarkable discovery in the clear Carribean waters that sets everything in motion. It's not a treasure per se. But a lot of people want it. Enter his friend Jenny, a roommate he more less rescued that fills the heroine roll. Her part probably leaves a bit to be desired by modern feminists but I thought she was likable and had a redeeming grit. Ferguson and Carney end up as Dillon's crafty and amusing sidekicks for most of it, even if Dillon isn't technically the boss. This isn't a mystery as much as a straightforward treasure hunt, fight, and race type of story. Some aspects of the plot you can see coming but are none the less entertaining. Despite it being a relatively short book, there is a little skimming and it wouldn't made a great audiobook. For example, Dillon lights up a cigarette for something to do countless times and a few sections are more info dumps than research discoveries. Overall all though, it's an exciting little sea worthy tale that's worth the trip into the past.