Friday, May 7, 2021

May 7, 2021 - Book Club Preview

We at Brooke County Libraries are excited for the May 2021 Book Club Pick! 

The True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey. 

Meeting Thursday May 27th at 5pm. Available for virtual discussion!

Ned Kelly begins his autobiography with a description of his father, John "Red" Kelly, an Irishman transported to Van Diemen's Land and eventually settling in the colony of Victoria, Australia. After marrying Ned's mother Ellen (née Quinn), the Kellys settle in Avenel, a rural area northeast of Melbourne. Red Kelly is shown to have numerous brushes with the colonial police forces, resulting in his imprisonment and death when his son Ned was twelve years of age.

Peter Philip Carey AO (born 7 May 1943) is an Australian novelist. Carey has won the Miles Franklin Award three times and is frequently named as Australia's next contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Carey is one of only five writers to have won the Booker Prize twice—the others being J. G. Farrell, J. M. Coetzee, Hilary Mantel and Margaret Atwood. Carey won his first Booker Prize in 1988 for Oscar and Lucinda, and won for the second time in 2001 with True History of the Kelly Gang. In May 2008 he was nominated for the Best of the Booker Prize.

Images and info courtesy of Google, Wikipedia, and Author webpage.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

May 5, 2021 - Staff Reviews


Ride the Tide
By Julie Ann Walker
Release Date: November 24, 2020
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

2.5 Stars - My first forray into another military romance series. I wouldn't call this novel just a pleasant read but it's easy and interesting, if a bit unoriginal. Alex is a smart, pretty sassy little heroine ready to take on not just adventure but tough guy Mason, who is determined to dodge her. Walker's writing flow took some getting used to for me, and I'm not sure I really settled into it by the end. 

The dialouge is a bit too quirky for me. Even some of their inner thoughts were weird. The overexplanations and some unusual word choices here and there came off a bit disjointed as well. But I liked Alex even if her main purpose early on seemed to just be a late bloomer virgin bookworm out to tempt the hero. Of course, Mason has a cool name to match his cool personality and skills. He has more baggage than an airport and is too damaged for Alex and her innocent state. They make for a cute eventual couple though, him with his alpha side and her ready to give him a challenge.

This book probably would have been a lot more fun for me if I didn't feel like I'd read it so many times before. Or maybe if I'd been tempted more by the first two books in the series and started there. This is probably somewhere in the middle steaminess meter. And the suspense side is a little higher. About the last quarter of the book was where the excitement really rolled. But for me personally, there was a bit too much talk and not enough action. No one was even in danger to start with, and the whole sunken ship search didn't get enough attention early on to get me on board. I will say it's got a slightly better military atmosphere than some romance authors use, even though Mason and his friends are technically retired. We've also got obvious plugs here for potential future couples. I can't say I'm excited to grab the night one, but I'd keep it in mind for a time filler read. I'd say fans of Susan Stoker, Pamela Clare, and the military romance set may find a new author to love here. 


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

May 4, 2021 - Beach Reads

Ready for a walk on the beach? These titles will transport you there if you can't travel there yourself this Summer! All titles are available from Brooke County Libraries.

Orchid Beach by Stuart Woods
A riveting thriller that introduces his first female protagonist, Deputy Chief of Police Holly Barker. Forced into early retirement at thirty-seven, smart, attractive, and fiercely independent Major Holly Barker trades in her bars as a military cop for the badge of deputy chief of police in Orchid Beach, Florida. But below the sunny surface of this sleepy, well-to-do island town lies an evil that escalates into the cold-blooded murder of one of Holly's new colleagues. 

A Walk Along the Beach by Debbie Macomber
The Lakey sisters are perfect opposites. After their mother died and their father was lost in grief, Willa had no choice but to raise her sister, Harper, and their brother, Lucas. Then, as an adult, she put her own life on hold to nurse Harper through a terrifying illness. Now that Harper is better and the sisters are living as roommates, Willa has realized her dream of running her own bakery and coffee shop, bringing her special brand of caretaking to the whole Oceanside community. 

Beach House Reunion by Mary Alice Monroe
Cara Rutledge returns to her Southern home on the idyllic Isle of Palms. Comforting in its familiarity, it is still rife with painful memories. Only through reconnecting with family, friends, and the rhythms of the lowcountry can Cara release the hold of the past and open herself to the possibility of a new career and love. Meanwhile, her niece Linnea, a recent college graduate with an uncertain future, leaves her historic home in Charleston, with all its entitlement and expectations, and heads to her aunt’s beach house. On the island, she is free to join the turtle team, learn to surf, and fall in love.

The Beach House by James Patterson and Peter DeJonge
When New York law student Jack Mullen learns that his brother has drowned, he knows it can't be an accident. . . Jack Mullen is in law school in New York City when the shocking news comes that his brother Peter has drowned in the ocean off East Hampton. Jack knows his brother and knows this couldn't be an accident; someone must have wanted his brother dead. But the powers that be say otherwise.

Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts
 For more than three hundred years, Bluff House has sat above Whiskey Beach, guarding its shore--and its secrets. But to Eli Landon, it's home... A Boston lawyer, Eli has weathered an intense year of public scrutiny and police investigations after being accused of--but never arrested for--the murder...

The Body on the Beach by Simon Brett
Very little disturbs the ordered calm of Fethering, a pleasingly self-contained retirement town on England’s southern coast. Which is precisely why Carole Seddon, who has left behind both her husband and her career at the Home Office, has chosen to reside there. So Carole is surprised to encounter a new neighbour with one name and a colourful past. 'Jude' is not really Fethering. . . but even she is not as surprising as the body Carole finds on the beach. A body, it has to be said, that has disappeared by the time the police arrive.

The Beach Club by Elin Hilderbrand
Mack Petersen, manager of the hotel, has been working at The Beach Club for 12 summers. Only this summer is different. His boss, the owner of the hotel, Bill Elliot, shows up in the spring with a new set of demands. His girlfriend Maribel is pressing Mack to get married and Vance, the African-American bellman, who has hated Mack since the day Mack stole his job 12 years ago, threatens him in a deadly scene. Mack knows something's got to give.

Folly Beach by Dorothea Benton Frank
The incomparable Dorothea Benton Frank is back with her latest Lowcountry Novel, Folly Beach. As she has with Lowcountry Summer, Return to Sullivans Island, Land of Mango Sunsets, and so many other delightful literal excursions to this magical Southern locale, the perennial New York Times bestselling author enchants readers with a heart-warming tale of loss, acceptance, family, and love—as a woman returns to the past to find her future. Folly Beach is a constant delight from “a masterful storyteller”

Firefly Beach by Luanne Rice
Coolly sophisticated and steadfastly single, Caroline Renwick has always been the sister everyone could count on. As she and Clea and Skye gathered at Firefly Hill, their childhood home, Caroline thought that they had all put the past behind them. But as summer gets under way, a mysterious man arrives—a man who has the power to bring it all back.... Joe Connor was only six when his father died at Firefly Hill. Though he and Caroline had never met, the five-year-old girl reached out to him.

Beach Music by Pat Conroy
Beach Music is Pat Conroy's novel about Jack McCall, a South Carolina native who flees the South with his daughter Leah after his wife commits suicide. This novel explores the Vietnam War-era, the Holocaust, and coming of age in the 20th century.

Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews
Pull up a lounge chair and have a cocktail at Sunset Beach – it comes with a twist. Drue Campbell’s life is adrift. Out of a job and down on her luck, life doesn’t seem to be getting any better when her estranged father, Brice Campbell, a flamboyant personal injury attorney, shows up at her mother’s funeral after a twenty-year absence. Worse, he’s remarried – to Drue’s eighth grade frenemy, Wendy, now his office manager. And they’re offering her a job.

Rosarito Beach by M.A. Lawson
Bold, brash, and beautiful, DEA agent Kay Hamilton doesn’t always like to play by the rules, even though she’s charged with upholding them. Having recently been transferred to San Diego after a case in Miami brought her more notoriety than medals, Kay once again finds herself embroiled in an international bust. Tito Olivera, younger brother of drug czar Caesar Olivera, is within her grasp. If she takes down Tito, Kay is positive that Caesar will follow—and when Caesar falls, so does the largest and most vicious cartel in Mexico.

Have you read any of these titles? Got some favorite Beach Reads that we didn't include? Be sure to let us know! We love to hear from you.

Monday, May 3, 2021

May 3, 2021 - New Arrivals

May 3, 2021

Adult Fiction

The Robin’s Greeting by Wanda Brunstetter.

For the past two years Belinda King, along with her two grown daughters and teenage son, has been struggling to keep the family greenhouse running. Despite disconcerting events that have threatened to put them out of business, they have survived two growing seasons. And now Belinda can focus on the two suitors vying for her attention. Herschel Fisher, a new acquaintance, makes her feel relaxed, and Monroe Esh, an admirer from her past, reminds her of her youth. But just when Belinda thinks she can choose between her suitors, life throws more trials her way. Her son, Henry, becomes bitter about the idea of her dating anyone, and attacks on the greenhouse start again. When can Belinda hope to experience the peace and love her weary heart longs for?


From the Shadows by B. J. Daniels.

Dark secrets always come to light...Some people might dream of inheriting a hotel somewhere as picturesque as Buckhorn, Montana. To Casey Crenshaw, though, her late grandmother's property is a white elephant to be sold as quickly as possible. The place has been boarded up for years, and locals have murmured about ghost sightings ever since a young woman was murdered there. But it's not the imaginary ghosts that worry Casey--it's the flesh-and-blood man who's throwing a wrench into all her plans. Finn James intends to find out what really happened at the hotel years ago. Not even the capable, highly independent redhead who owns it will stop him. But though the quest draws Finn and Casey together, digging into the past is dangerous, especially when there are others determined to keep the truth hidden--by any means necessary...


The Wedding War by Liz Talley.

Once upon a time, Melanie Layton and Tennyson O'Rourke were inseparable-but their friends-4ever promises were shattered when an explosive secret was revealed at Mel's wedding, a secret that destroyed her family. The two haven't spoken for the past twenty-some-odd years, and they'd be happy if they never crossed paths again. But now Mel's daughter and Teeny's son have fallen in love-and announced their engagement. Which means the two women must tolerate one another and play nice long enough to plan their children's dream wedding.


Adult Non-Fiction

National Geographic Guide to Scenic Highways & Byways.

Discover America's best scenic drives--plus 25 new drives--mile by mile, in this photo-filled, detail-packed travel book. There are famous drives here, including the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Natchez Trace, and some of the prettiest sections of the Great River Road; and lesser-known drives as well, including the back roads of Pennsylvania's Dutch Country; Maryland's quiet Eastern Shore; and Michigan's remote Whitefish Bay. Some drives are jaw-droppingly magnificent--Wyoming's Centennial Scenic Byway and Oregon's dramatic Columbia River Gorge--while others possess quiet beauty, such as the lovely Flint Hills byways of Kansas. Among the 25 new drives is the Harriett Tubman Underground Railroad Byway in Maryl Scenic Byway 143--Utah's Patchwork Parkway; and Washington's White Pass Scenic Byway. Describing the scenery, history, and points of interest along each route, veteran National Geographic writers combine their regional knowledge and storytelling techniques to ensure that your next road trip is a success. Also included are 375 glorious photographs and four-color maps for every drive, along with information on road conditions, driving times, site addresses, visiting hours, admission fees, and more. It all adds up to a "must have" reference for every adventurous motorist.


Tax Savvy for Small Business by Frederick W. Daily & Stephen Fishman, J.D.

This completely updated edition of Tax Savvy for Small Business covers new tax rules under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and how those rules affect small business owners.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

The Little Shop of Monsters by R. L. Stine.  E

Are you afraid of monsters? Do they make you shiver and shake and shut your eyes really tight at night? Welcome to the Little Shop of Monsters! Do you want a SNEEZER? A TICKLER? Or one of the CREEPIEST monsters of all? Come on in and choose your favorite, if you dare (before one of them chooses YOU!).


Gone to the Woods by Gary Paulsen.  J NF

His name is synonymous with high-stakes wilderness survival stories. Now, beloved author Gary Paulsen portrays a series of life-altering moments from his turbulent childhood as his own original survival story. If not for his summer escape from a shockingly neglectful Chicago upbringing to a North Woods homestead at age five, there never would have been a Hatchet. Without the encouragement of the librarian who handed him his first book at age thirteen, he may never have become a reader. And without his desperate teenage enlistment in the Army, he would not have discovered his true calling as a storyteller. A moving and enthralling story of grit and growing up, Gone to the Woods is perfect for newcomers to the voice and lifelong fans alike, from the acclaimed author at his rawest and realest.

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

Saturday, May 1, 2021

May 1, 2021 - Staff Reviews


Sweet Cheeks
By K. Bromberg
Release Date: July 17, 2020
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3 Stars - A likable romance that's less comedy more drama. Saylor and Hayes are a cute half-celebrity couple but I'm not sure if I was expecting more or less from the plotline. If you don't mind some extra angst and questionable main character decisions, this steamy second chance romance is a worthwhile read.

Bromberg's books seem to fall just short of memorable for me. I forget that I've read a couple until I pick up another and then look back. I expect Sweet Cheeks will be more of the same looking back. She's got an excellent command of dialouge, romantic tension, and sweet characters. But their decisions and motives are never clear to me. Perhaps it's a personality thing. Saylor is upset that her ex-fiancee has converted their plans to his new wedding and invited her to boot. But it unfortunately isn't that simple. Along comes her childhood sweetheart Hayes who happens to be a famous actor and he wants to play white-knight and her wedding date all in one role. He admirably wants to make up for leaving her as a teenager.

When a scene didn't grab me I was rolling my eyes. I found the script-reading and the storm scene over-the-top, for example. Also I got whiplash sometimes. Saylor is a new, struggling baker but she already worked from home to fill orders. She loved Mitch but left because he ignored her. He was a bad guy but only because she still loved Hayes. Hayes left for Hollywood knowing he hurt Saylor. Haynes never meant to leave for 10 years though. They want to go to the wedding to shut down gossip and save her bakery from scandal but create scandal by going. The wedding was Saylor's but planned by Mitch's mom. I couldn't see Mitch as a villian. In fact, with the exception of one near sexual-assault flashback (which is never again mentioned), there's no clear moment in this book of Hayes rescuing Saylor at all. But he's got a good heart and is crazy good in bed (the steamy scenes are R rated in this one). Saylor's confused but some people never got over teenage relationship trauma and she's got a spitfire attitude. So just hang on for the ride with this one.


Thursday, April 29, 2021

April 29, 2021 - Staff Reviews

The Unwilling
By John Hart
Release Date: February 2, 2021
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3 Stars - A rare, slight disappointment for me from John Hart. This dark story is half coming-of-age tale and half historical-ish murder mystery. Set in the south in the 1970s teenager Gibson French and his cop father try to solve the murder of a local girl in very separate, different ways. Hart's excellent storytelling skills are here but I honestly wasn't enjoying the story much. But I like it had more to do with my taste in plot lines.

I can list all the things I expected and usually like from a Hart novel that fell just short here. Gibby isn't a very likable lead nor is is brother or father. There's anti-heroes and surprising heroes out there but I found it hard the first half to root for any of these guys. Usually I can feel the North Carolina setting but this story seemee like it could have been set in any small town. And finally the mystery took so long to really present itself and got so violent. He transitions well from sweet swimming holes and flower fields to ominious nights and criminal hideouts. But neither grabbed me. 

The 70s are not my favorite fictional time period. This is the decade my parents grew up in. It's too recent for me to find it fascinating but I wasn't born yet so I have no nostaglia for it. Hart struggles with writing strong and likable females here, the women are particularly unrelatable. The mother is a neurotic jerk in most scenes that I found unsympathetic. And the girls are basically enjoying the braless, wild world 70s America had to offer them. They aren't very bright or sweet or supportive. I'm not much for prison stories, which was a lot of the second half. Everything got a bit convulted toward the end. The thread of the plot I found most intriguing and held strong for me was Gibby's relationship with Jason. His desire to support his big brother despite his mistakes, the bonds between siblings regardless of age difference. This book is simply not for everyone, and it turned out to be not for me. There's a lot to enjoy for anyone really intrigued by the unique plot and the heart Hart infused into it.


Wednesday, April 28, 2021

April 28, 2021 - WV Author of the Month

We're really excited to feature our April WV Author of the Month - Jo Goodman! She made her home right here in Brooke County.

Jo Goodman is a licensed professional counselor working with children and families in West Virginia's Northern Panhandle. Always a fan of the happily ever after, Jo turned to writing romances early in her career as a child care worker when she realized the only life script she could control was the one she wrote herself. She is inspired by the resiliency and courage of the children she meets and feels privileged to be trusted with their stories, the ones that they alone have the right to tell. Once upon a time, Jo believed she was going to be a marine biologist. She knows she is lucky that seasickness made her change course. She lives with her family in Colliers, West Virginia.

We have a lot of her titles available on our EBook catalouge through WV Reads!

About Jo from Jo...

To find characters to illustrate my first family saga, I cut out models from the Sears catalogue. I was in fourth grade, but it was a start. In seventh grade I wrote a melodrama about two orphan sisters, one of whom was pregnant. There was also a story about a runaway girl with the unlikely name of Strawberry and one about mistaken identities and an evil blind date. My supportive, but vaguely concerned parents, sighed with relief when I announced I was going to write children's books. They bought me an electric typewriter and crossed their fingers, but somehow PASSION'S BRIDE came out. No one was really surprised.

I graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a major in biology and a minor in chemistry and some notion that I would do marine research. Years of competitive swimming didn't help me anticipate seasickness. A career change seemed in order. I began working with adolescents and families, first as a childcare worker and later, after graduating from West Virginia University with a master's degree in counseling, as a therapist. I am currently the executive director of a child caring/mental health agency and find my work and my writing often compliment each other. One grounds me in reality and the other offers a break from it.

Are you a fan of Ms. Goodman's work? Let us know!