Tuesday, September 29, 2020

September 29, 2020 - Staff Reviews

Drive Me Crazy
By Samantha Chase
Release Date: March 17, 2020
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3 stars - A fast and fun book with a likable couple. Runaway bride Grace finds herself on a road trip, luckily with good-guy Finn. I enjoyed both characters but I found the storyline didn't read as much like a road trip as I imagined. This was a sweet story that got better as it went along though and a perfect short, easy read for a few hours of distraction.

The first few chapters quickly grabbed my attention, though they weren't any super original. Both hero and heroine are double-crossed and end up arguing at a rental car agency Planes, Trains, and Automobiles style. We quickly veer away from that motif, however, and our couple is paying for their own beds. They're taking in casinos, shopping for clothes, and sight-seeing. Grace is a bubbly blonde who goes for all the feels. Finn's her polar opposite of course who likes being an Average Joe and doesn't get excited about anything. They're cute together, but I couldn't say they were especially memorable or outstanding in any way.

A little of the bickering came off as annoying verses funny to me, like trying a bit too hard to establish antagonism. For instance, there wasn't need for Finn to question Grace if she would split costs and driving. As Grace pointed out, the answer is obviously yes. His bro Dave didn't deserve anything but a long stretch in jail to knock the careless and stupid out of him. Side note: here's a book that came out the week the world as we knew it ended and somehow certain activities feel out of place. Like they hit up Vegas for a Lady Gaga show as a small detour. It had me longing to go to a concert again. I digress though. Chase does an excellent job of making a little steam go a long way. I used to read her Montgomery family series and I'd especially recommend her to fans of Layla Hagen or Sydney Landon. A little over halfway through the trip was ending but I felt like their relationship was really just getting started. Naturally then they take some time apart. The flying thing didn't really click for me and seemed a big exaggerated so the grand gesture at the end fell flat after all the push/pull. But I still enjoyed this little romance and would happily return to this series down the road.

Monday, September 28, 2020

September 28, 2020 - New Arrivals

September 28, 2020

Adult Fiction

The Darwin Affair by Tim Mason.

London, June 1860: When an assassination attempt is made on Queen Victoria, and a petty thief is gruesomely murdered moments later--and only a block away--Chief Detective Inspector Charles Field quickly surmises that these crimes are connected to an even more sinister plot. Was Victoria really the assassin's target? Are those closest to the Crown hiding something? And who is the shadowy figure witnesses describe as having lifeless, coal-black eyes? Soon, Field's investigation exposes a shocking conspiracy in which the publication of Charles Darwin's controversial On the Origin of Species sets off a string of murders, arson, kidnapping, and the pursuit of a madman named the Chorister. As the investigation takes Field from the dangerous alleyways of London to the hallowed halls of Oxford, the list of possible conspirators grows, and the body count escalates. And as he edges closer to the Chorister, he uncovers dark secrets that were meant to remain forever hidden.


Speaking of Summer by Kalisha Buckhanon

On a cold December evening, Autumn Spencer's twin sister Summer walks to the roof of their shared Harlem brownstone and is never seen again, the door to the roof is locked, and no footsteps are found. Faced with authorities indifferent to another missing woman, Autumn must pursue answers on her own, all while grieving her mother's recent death. With her friends and neighbors, Autumn pretends to hold up through the crisis. She falls into an affair with Summer's boyfriend to cope with the disappearance of a woman they both loved. But the loss becomes too great, the mystery too inexplicable, and Autumn starts to unravel, all the while becoming obsessed with murdered women and the men who kill them. -- Provided by publisher


Miss Julia Knows a Thing or Two by Ann B. Ross.

In this latest installment of the Miss Julia series, Miss Julia has decided to stop meddling in other peoples' lives. But soon she is called on to help when Mildred's grandchild, whom she has never met, shows up unexpectedly. Miss Julia has experience dealing with children dropped on doorsteps, and sweeps in to lend a hand. But there's something just a bit strange about the child, and Miss Julia can't quite put her finger on what it is. -- Provided by publisher.


Adult Non-Fiction

Sigh, Gone by Phuc Tran.

In 1975, during the fall of Saigon, Phuc Tran immigrates to America along with his family. By sheer chance they land in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, a small town where the Trans struggle to assimilate into their new life. In this coming-of-age memoir told through the themes of great books such as The Metamorphosis, The Scarlet Letter, The Iliad, and more, Tran navigates the push and pull of finding and accepting himself despite the challenges of immigration, feelings of isolation, teenage rebellion, and assimilation, all while attempting to meet the rigid expectations set by his immigrant parents. Appealing to fans of coming-of-age memoirs such as Fresh Off the Boat, Running with Scissors, or tales of assimilation like Viet Thanh Nguyen's The Displaced and The Refugees, Sigh, Gone explores one man's bewildering experiences of abuse, racism, and tragedy and reveals redemption and connection in books and punk rock. Against the hairspray-and-synthesizer backdrop of the '80s, he finds solace and kinship in the wisdom of classic literature, and in the subculture of punk rock, he finds affirmation and echoes of his disaffection. In his journey for self-discovery Tran ultimately finds refuge and inspiration in the art that shape--and ultimately saves--him. -- Provided by publisher.


Your Indoor Herb Garden by D. J. Herda.

The complete how-to guide for growing herbs indoors for health, vitality, and culinary zest

Growing herbs indoors leads the list of the healthiest and most useful indoor activities we can do. Herbs can clean the air of toxins, provide oxygen and humidity, and help vanquish our psychoses. And they're tasty! Learn how to grow herbs for health, for taste, and for life with Your Indoor Herb Garden, a comprehensive guide to growing herbs indoors. Featuring all the tips and guidance you'll need to grow and harvest organic culinary and medicinal herbs right in your own home.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

The Gryphon’s Lair by Kelley Armstrong. J

Rowan is now the Royal Monster Hunter, and her twin brother, Rhydd, is destined to be king. But her mother's cousin Heward is still determined that his children be the ones to inherit the titles, and will stop at nothing to show that Rowan and Rhydd are too immature to properly lead. After the gryphon that Rowan captured in Book One gives birth but then dies, Rowan is left with a baby gryphon she knows she cannot keep. And it grows faster than anyone can imagine ... In order to save face after an accident involving the troublesome gryphon, Rowan, with the help of her friends Dain and Alianor, along with an entourage of monstrous companions, must make a journey to the mountains to release the gryphon back into the wild. What starts off as a simple enough task soon becomes a dangerous quest, as the group encounters numerous rare and deadly monsters along the way, including wyverns and ceffyl-dwrs. Nothing is easy when you're a "monster magnet" like Rowan. Can she prove herself worthy of the title of Royal Monster Hunter? -- Provided by publisher.


The Storybook Knight by Helen Docherty & Thomas Docherty. E

Even dragons love a good story...Leo was a gentle knight in thought and word and deed. While other knights liked fighting, Leo liked to sit and read...When Leo's mom and dad pack him off to fight a dragon, he takes a shield, a sword--and a pile of his favorite books. But can a story be as mighty as a sword?

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

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

September 23, 2020 - Staff Reviews

Guilty Minds
By Joseph Finder
Release Date: July 20, 2016
Audiobook Available from WV Reads!

3 Stars - This political thriller made for a quick read. While this definitely has plenty of D.C. drama going on, party politics and elections were on the fringes. I enjoyed the quick and changing pace throughout the novel. An easy audiobook listen for any action fan starring everyday man hero Nick Heller. While I found the story a bit generic, it was exciting all the way to the end.

A unique writing style grabbed my attention. While all the scenes moved quickly with plenty of dialouge, there was also a lot of description of people and places. The narrator Holter Graham did a good job but maybe not a great job. He is great for Nick but terrible at times with side characters' voices. This felt like the perfect road trip book. At times, I was definitely not really listening either distracted by life or zoned out. But I didn't feel like I got lost so take of that what you will. I really enjoyed the perspective of Nick who gave us first-person view. He was equal parts tough and serious then funny and laid back. 

The Nick Heller series is a short if popular one for thriller fans. This was the first time I dabbled in it but I didn't feel like missed important details. I had read Finder's work before with mixed results. I didn't care for a couple titles over the years but I loved Power Play. This plot focuses mainly on a scandal sheet story, and the details are really well fleshed out. I got enough tidbits of intrigue to keep me entertained. While I'm sure some would complain in the beginning not much is truly happening. About halfway through, we switch to a murder mystery. I didn't enjoy all the characters though. Such as Dorothy who is the hip hacker sidekick of Heller's. She got in my nerves in a chirpy/whiney way and not just the voice Graham gave her. I didn't quite understand using Nick's father, who isn't a fun addition. Overall, I would say this is a series I will probably revisit in the future but doesn't have me dying to get to the next entry.

Monday, September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020 - New Arrivals

September 21, 2020

Adult Fiction

The Safety Net by Andrea Camilleri.

Vigáata is bustling as the new filming location for a Swedish television series set in 1950. In the production frenzy, the director asks the locals to track down movies and vintage photos to faithfully recreate the air of Vigata in that time. Engineer Ernesto Sabatello, while rummaging in the attic of his house, finds some films shot by his father from 1958 to 1963, always on the same day, March 27 and always the same shot; the outside wall of a country house. Montalbano hears the story, and intrigued by the mystery of it, begins to investigate its meaning. Meanwhile, a middle school is threatened by a group of armed men, and a closer look at the situation finds Montalbano looking into the students themselves and finally delving into the world of social media. -- Provided by publisher.


The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman.

Iris Maynard lost her husband in World War II, her daughter to loneliness and, finally, her reason to live. Walled off from the world for decades behind a towering fence surrounding her home and gardens, Iris has built a new family...of flowers. Iris propagates her own daylilies and roses while tending to an heirloom garden filled with starts-and memories of her own mother, grandmother, husband and daughter. When Abby Peterson moves to Grand Haven, Michigan, with her family-a husband traumatized during his service in the Iraq War and a young daughter searching for stability-they find themselves next door to Iris, and are slowly drawn into their reclusive neighbor's life where, united by loss and a love of flowers, Iris and Abby slowly unearth their secrets. -- Provided by publisher.


The Billionaire in Boots by Julia London.

As the firstborn son, it's been drilled into Nick that he is the heir apparent to the Prince family empire. But cattle ranching has never been his true passion. Nick wants to be a pilot. However, when his father dies, leaving Nick to clean up the mess, he knows he must do his duty before following his heart. Charlotte Bailey can't believe that Nick is back to run the ranch. As the office manager, she knows it's her responsibility to help him. If only he wasn't so brooding and cranky--and so hot it's a wonder his chaps don't melt right off him. But when sparks fly between them, she's adamant about staying away from a cowboy on his way out the door. Nick knows the ranch's pretty, smart, and capable office manager is off-limits, but he needs her. And working in such close proximity to Charlotte every day is making Nick crazy. She smells good, she looks good, she makes him laugh, but most of all she makes him want to stay. --Provided by publisher.


Adult Non-Fiction

No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram by Sarah Frier.

In 2010, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger released a photo-sharing app called Instagram, with one simple but irresistible feature: it would make anything you captured look more beautiful. The cofounders cultivated a community of photographers and artisans around the app, and it quickly went mainstream. In less than two years, it caught Facebook's attention: Mark Zuckerberg bought the company for a historic $1 billion when Instagram had only thirteen employees. That might have been the end of a classic success story. But the cofounders stayed on, trying to maintain Instagram's beauty, brand, and cachet, considering their app a separate company within the social networking giant. They urged their employees to make changes only when necessary, resisting Facebook's grow-at-all-costs philosophy in favor of a strategy that highlighted creativity and celebrity. Just as Instagram was about to reach a billion users, Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg--once supportive of the founders' autonomy--began to feel threatened by Instagram's success. Frier draws on unprecedented access--from the founders of Instagram, as well as employees, executives, and competitors; Anna Wintour of Vogue; Kris Jenner of the Kardashian-Jenner empire; and a plethora of influencers worldwide--to show how Instagram has fundamentally changed the way we show, eat, travel, and communicate, all while fighting to preserve the values which contributed to the company's success.


The Ultimate Retirement Guide for 50+ by Suze Orman.

When you think about planning for retirement--whether it's years in the future or just around the corner--you're bound to have questions. Can I ever afford to stop working? Will Social Security be there for me when I need it? Is the market a safe place for my money? How can I make my money last? Have I waited too long to start saving? Suze Orman, America's most recognized expert on personal finance, answers all the questions that keep you up at night-starting with the biggest one: it is never too late to start planning for a next act that's fulfilling and secure. With her signature blend of compassion, insight, and expertise, Suze guides you toward a plan that will put you in control of your financial future and help you to create the retirement you deserve. -- Provided by publisher.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

Voice Over!: Seiyu Academy by Maki Minami. GN

Hime Kino's dream is to one day do voice acting like her hero Sakura Aoyama from the Lovely?Blazer anime, and getting accepted to the prestigious Holly Academy's voice actor department is the first step in the right direction! But Hime's gruff voice has earned her the scorn of teachers and students alike. Hime will not let that stand unchallenged. She'll show everyone that she is too a voice acting princess, whether they like it or not!! To make matters worse, Sakura's grouchy son, Senri, is in Hime's class, and he seems determined to stomp on her dreams. He even has the nerve to call Lovely?Blazer stupid! But Hime won't be deterred by naysayers, her new nickname ("Gorilla Princess"), or even getting demoted to the Stragglers group. She's ready to shine, and nothing is going to stand in her way!


Everything’s Not Fine by Sarah J. Carlson. YA

Seventeen-year-old Rose Hemmersbach aspires to break out of small town Sparta, Wisconsin and achieve her artistic dreams, just like her aunt Colleen. Rose's love of Frida Kahlo fuels her paint brush and her dreams to attend a prestigious art school. Painting is Rose's escape from her annoying younger siblings and her family's one rule: ignore the elephant in the room, because talking about it makes it real. That is, until the day Rose finds her mother dying on the kitchen floor of a heroin overdose. Kneeling beside her, Rose pleads with the universe to find a heartbeat. She does - but when her mother is taken to hospital, the troubles are just beginning.  Rose and her dad are left to pick up the pieces: traumatized siblings, a Child Protective Services investigation, eviction. As Rose fights to hold everything together, and her dreams of the future start to slip from her grasp, she must face the question of what happens when - if - her mom comes home again. And if, deep down, Rose even wants her to.

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

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

September 15, 2020 - Staff Reviews

He Started It
By Samantha Downing
Release Date: July 28, 2020
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3 stars - Normally I wouldn't be enticed by the tale of an unhappy and dysfunctional family on a cross country trip for their inheritance. But Downing writes in fast-moving manner, scenes filled with dialouge and an air of menace. The ending could have been more satisfying after so much build up.

Here's a road trip as somber as possible as if they weren't stressful enough. We're introduced to everyone from the first-person view of Beth, the self-proclaimed villian. Downing sets her up as sort of an anti-hero, dealing with her own personal demons as she trudges through less than notable sights in the South. I was really confused at times though. The back and forth and seriously vague timeline and ages had me lost at various points. And then the change in POV was clearly intentional but it added little tension for me.

The train of thought early on is much like a road trip itself, a bit rambling and seemingly disorganized. Memories surface and are detailed. This story was very much about sibling relationships and family dynamics. Even though their family wasn't huge, it seemed much bigger than mine. I struggled a bit to relate or enjoy any of the characters. That said, this is played in a very Agatha Christie fashion where everyone is sort of staged like pawns in a game of Clue (or maybe Risk). Beth and her husband just have a terrible relationship, rife with lies and strange expectations. Really the smoking? While the story was engaging no matter how ridiculous the moment in the plot was whether bickering over food or bar fights, sometimes I felt lost inconsequential details. The book probably could have been a lot shorter than it was with relatively the same pay-off. This was my first Downing novel and I think maybe fans of her work will be more impressed or perhaps someone more intrigued by the blurb.

Monday, September 14, 2020

September 14, 2020 - New Arrivals

September 14, 2020

Adult Fiction

Cartier’s Hope by M. J. Rose.

New York, 1910: A city of extravagant balls in Fifth Avenue mansions and poor immigrants crammed into crumbling Lower East Side tenements. A city where the suffrage movement is growing stronger every day, but most women reporters are still delegated to the fashion and lifestyle pages. But Vera Garland is set on making her mark in a man's world of serious journalism. Shortly after the world-famous Hope Diamond is acquired for a record sum, Vera begins investigating rumors about schemes by its new owner, jeweler Pierre Cartier, to manipulate its value. Vera is determined to find the truth behind the notorious diamond and its legendary curses-even better when the expose puts her in the same orbit as a magazine publisher whose blackmailing schemes led to the death of her beloved father. Appealing to a young Russian jeweler for help, Vera is unprepared when she begins falling in love with him...and even more unprepared when she gets caught up in his deceptions and finds herself at risk of losing all she has worked so hard to achieve. -- Provided by publisher.


The Sea Glass Cottage by RaeAnne Thayne.

The life Olivia Harper always dreamed of isn't so dreamy these days. The 16-hour work days are unfulfilling and so are things with her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when she hears that her estranged mother, Juliet, has been seriously injured in a car accident, Liv has no choice but to pack up her life and head home to beautiful Cape Sanctuary on the Northern California coast. It's just for a few months-that's what Liv keeps telling herself. But the closer she gets to Cape Sanctuary, the painful memories start flooding back: Natalie, her vibrant, passionate older sister who downward-spiraled into addiction. The fights with her mother who enabled her sister at every turn. The overdose that took Natalie, leaving her now-teenaged daughter, Caitlin, an orphan. As Liv tries to balance her own needs with those of her injured mother and an obstinate, resentful fifteen-year-old, it becomes clear that all three Harper women have been keeping heartbreaking secrets from one another. And as those secrets are revealed, Liv, Juliet, and Caitlin will see that it's never too late-or too early-to heal family wounds and find forgiveness. --Provided by publisher.


Gone with the Whisker by Laurie Cass.

It's the summer season in Chilson, Michigan, and the town is packed with tourists ready for a fabulous Fourth of July fireworks show. Minnie Hamilton and her rescue cat, Eddie, have spent a busy day on the bookmobile, delivering good cheer and great reads to even the library's most far-flung patrons. But Minnie is still up for the nighttime festivities, eager to show off her little town to her visiting niece, Katrina. But then, during the grand finale of the fireworks display, Katrina discovers a body. Minnie recognizes the victim as one of the bookmobile's most loyal patrons. And she knows she-and Eddie-will have to get to the bottom of this purr-fect crime. -- Provided by publisher.


Adult Non-Fiction

The Ultimate Hunter’s Handbook by David Holder, Karin Holder, & Larry Dugger.

David and Karin Holder, stars of the hit television show Raised Hunting on the Discovery Channel want to show you how to succeed in the outdoors and at home. What they have found is that many of the skills that lead to a great hunt-preparation, effort, patience, and determination-are the very same traits that will help you lead a more fulfilling life. Now they pass on these essential truths, tools, and tips to you for better hunting and better living in this indispensable guide. You will benefit from David's decades of experience as an avid and accomplished hunter. Join him as he embarks on his bucket list hunt for a giant whitetail buck, and the lessons he learns along the way. But the hunt is only half the adventure. Karin will share spiritual insights that will deepen your appreciation for the role our Creator plays-not just in the outdoors but in our regular everyday existence. If you want to experience the ultimate in hunting and in life, this handbook will help you achieve it! -- Provided by publisher.


Wear, Repair, Repurpose by Lily Fulop.

Reclaim your clothes and reduce fashion waste with illustrated instructions for mending and more Replacing buttons, darning socks, and other mending skills have largely been lost to the decades. Yet, as the eco-conscious are ditching fast fashion, thesetechniques are being rediscovered as easy methods to revamp closets with personal flair-hello, visible mending-and sustainability. In Wear, Repair, Repurpose, Lily Fulop welcomes beginner and experienced makers with projects to refresh their closets, makethe most of thrift store finds, and give worn-out cloth new life. Illustrated step-by-step instructions demystify mending techniques, and skill-based projects will inspire readers to embrace their own personal style. -- Provided by publisher.

Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

Urban Legendz by Paul Downs, Nick Brund, & Michael Yates. GN

After his mother's death, teen Dwayne is forced to uproot himself and move into the home where his mother grew up: a shabby apartment in Brooklyn. Overshadowed by his socially salient older brother, and pressured by his policeman father, Dwayne often feels out of place, a sentiment that is only intensified in these unfamiliar surroundings. Before too long, however, his personal problems are cast aside when he gets suckered into joining a new crew of young vigilantes, devoted to solving a series of sinister cases surrounding mysterious monsters that have been wreaking havoc throughout the city.


Monster Itch: Ghost Attack by David Lubar. J

This was one monster of an itch...When Alex and his cousin Sarah are visiting their grandparents, Alex gets terrible red, itchy hives. Yikes! He's allergic to a ghost! Even worse, the ghost won't leave him alone -- he wants Alex and Sarah's help. Can they solve the ghost's mystery and get rid of Alex's awful rash before it ruins everything?

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

Thursday, September 10, 2020

September 10, 2020 - Staff Reviews

After All
By Kristen Proby
Release Date: July 14, 2020
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

2 Stars! - This was a rare miss from the author for me. The characters did not feel very original and it's a short, quick read. I think with more depth and/or a little higher page I would have enjoyed it more. Anyone looking for a short and sweet single dad or friends to lovers or office romance, it's all here and mostly light and fluffy goodness. But getting drawn in maybe takes longer than expected.

Normally, I'm a huge fan of Kristen Proby's novels from suspense to just contemporary stories. But this fell flat for me. The beginning failed to grab me. Dropping us into Nora's day in first person wasn't a bad way to start but the execution didn't catch my attention. My first impression of Carter was that he was a jerk. If he didn't want Nora involving herself with Gabby, then he should have picked her up from school himself. But at least he apologized quickly. Then we awkwardly fast-forwarded four months and are told the romantic tension between these two has SUDDENLY blossomed since that day. They're both sweet characters though and have a cute friends/coworkers-to-more thing. And Proby never fails to write some sparkling chemistry.

Gabby is the hero's daughter, and at first I struggled to figure out her age. Writing a child character realistically is for some reason a big point for me, can either make or break a book depending on how important the child is to the story. Christopher, Nora's BFF, just provides a filler/sounding board. Also the cover had me thinking I was in for a sweet and splashy summer read but it was mostly cold, old Manhattan there. The snowstorm and forced proximity didn't really spice things up. There's heat and power in the office plus a couch AND a bed. Really. And they don't use it for fun. It's basically a half scene. Both sides of our couple are rusty with dating after being off the market so long and it makes for some funny and quirky moments. And the steamier scenes are well-written. But then after everything is chill and perfect, drama rears its ugly head. This is clearly a standalone but maybe if I'd read the rest of the series (which hadn't much appealed), I would have had more to get excited about in this story. 

Monday, September 7, 2020

September 7, 2020 - New Arrivals

September 7, 2020

Adult Fiction

The Geometry of Holding Hands by Alexander McCall Smith.

In Edinburgh, rumors and gossip abound. But Isabel well knows that such things can't be taken at face value. Still, the latest whispers hint at mysterious goings-on, and who but Isabel can be trusted to get to the bottom of them? At the same time, she must deal with the demands of her two small children, her husband, and her rather tempestuous niece, Cat, whose latest romantic entanglement comes--to no one's surprise--with complications. Still, even with so much going on, Isabel, through the application of good sense, logic, and ethics, will, as ever, triumph. -- Provided by publisher.


Deadlock by Catherine Coulter.

A young wife is forced to confront a decades-old deadly secret when a medium connects her to her dead grandfather. A vicious psychopath wants ultimate revenge against Savich, but first, she wants to destroy what he loves most-his family. A series of three red boxes are delivered personally to Savich at the Hoover Building, each one containing puzzle pieces of a town only FBI agent Pippa Cinelli recognizes. Savich sends in Cinelli to investigate undercover but someone knows who she is. Savich and Sherlock are up to their eyebrows in danger, but can they figure out the red box puzzle and the young wife's secret before it's too late? -- Provided by publisher.


The Evil Men Do by John McMahon.

A hard-nosed real estate baron is dead, and detectives P.T. Marsh and Remy Morgan learn there's a long list of suspects. Mason Falls, Georgia, may be a small town, but Ennis Fultz had filled it with professional rivals, angry neighbors, and a wronged ex-wife. And when Marsh realizes that this potential murder might be the least of his troubles, he begins to see what happens when ordinary people become capable of evil. As Marsh and Morgan dig into the case, it becomes clear that Fultz's death was not an isolated case of revenge. It may be part of a dark web of crimes connected to an accident that up-ended Marsh's life a couple years earlier, and that now threatens the life of a young child. Marsh veers dangerously off track as his search for clues becomes personal and brings him to a place where a man's good deeds turn out to be more dangerous than his worst crimes. -- Provided by publisher.


Adult Non-Fiction

Wandering in Strange Lands: A Daughter of the Great Migration Reclaims Her Roots by Morgan Jerkins.

Between 1916 and 1970, six million black Americans left their rural homes in the South for jobs in cities in the North, West, and Midwest in a movement known as The Great Migration. But while this event transformed the complexion of America and provided black people with new economic opportunities, it also disconnected them from their roots, their land, and their sense of identity, argues Morgan Jerkins. In this fascinating and deeply personal exploration, she recreates her ancestors' journeys across America, following the migratory routes they took from Georgia and South Carolina to Louisiana, Oklahoma, and California. Following in their footsteps, Jerkins seeks to understand not only her own past, but the lineage of an entire group of people who have been displaced, disenfranchised, and disrespected throughout our history. Through interviews, photos, and hundreds of pages of transcription, Jerkins braids the loose threads of her family's oral histories, which she was able to trace back 300 years, with the insights and recollections of black people she met along the way--the tissue of black myths, customs, and blood that connect the bones of American history.


Selling Naked by Jesse Horwitz.

A revolutionary blueprint to help aspiring entrepreneurs, startups, and global enterprises alike sell directly to consumers, from the cofounder of the wildly successful e-commerce business Hubble Contacts. -- Provided by publisher.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

Treasure Hunters: The Plunder Down Under by James Patterson. J

The Kidd family is on their way to Australia to find Lasseter's Gold when they are challenged by fellow treasure hunter Charlotte Badger, who challenges them to a race to the gold! But when the Kidds pull into port in Australia, their parents are suddenly arrested -- they've been framed! It turns out Charlotte Badger is a pirate, and she's planted a priceless stolen black opal on the Kidds' ship, The Lost! Now Bick, Beck, Storm, and Tommy have seven days to traverse the Australian Outback, find Charlotte Badger and her pirate cronies, and bring back the evidence that will prove their parents innocent. If they fail, their parents will be found guilty and thrown in prison . . . forever!


Corduroy Goes to the Library by B. G. Hennessy. E

Corduroy is excited-today he is taking a trip to the library. First he returns his books, then he heads to the children's section for story hour. The librarian reads stories about farms, and Corduroy and his friends make animals masks. Before he leaves, Corduroy picks out some books to take home. He can't wait to come back to the library next week!

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

Saturday, September 5, 2020

September 5, 2020 - Staff Reviews

Securing Avery
By Susan Stoker
Release Date: May 19, 2020
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3 stars - This story is filled with danger and drama, plus just enough down time to get to know the main characters. Fans of the author or series won't be disappointed. But it makes a good standalone as well with a capable heroine and a caring hero anyone can like. The suspense was layered on thick, and my only hang up really was a few too many far-fetched moments.

The book starts off with a bang. Avery and Cole have a loosely established romantic connection, and she's been kidnapped and left to die. Avery shows a backbone of steel with her level of determination and survival skills. I enjoyed her spirit. I think some of the physical exertion went beyond reality, but then she's not the only one who apparently can manage to overcome nasty wounds in the worst of circumstances. She has a surprisingly good attitude with her rescuers and a willingness to help. Cole was sweet and protective, devoted to Avery from the start. There's little angst here, no lies or secrets or failures to communicate. He takes care of Avery and sticks with her in spite of her stubborn streak and recent trauma.

The set up Stoker used is not entirely original. Avery's a nurse trying to help some women in the Middle East with female medical advice which naturally the men nearby resent and retaliate against her for. But it does start a compelling adventure. This author definitely has a way with words that keeps many of us readers coming back to her, despite a bit of repetiveness. I don't think I could read more than two of her books in a row. But I know I can grab of hers for a enjoyable read. One of my pet peeves is the nicknames, which are beloved by a lot of her devoted readers. I dislike reading about someone called "Phantom" in regular fiction but the nicknames are a trademark of hers. More background story was his than Avery's or Cole's for much of the book. Things get better when we get a big bad villian finally in the picture halfway. Despite a lot of name-dropping this can be read as a fast paced standalone with a cute couple to root for easily.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

September 1, 2020 - Staff Reviews

Twelve Days
By Alex Berenson
Release Date: February 20, 2015
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3 stars - Another exciting politcal thriller featuring the capable John Wells. Picking up the action from the previous entry takes a little while to resume. By about halfway through, Wells is set to find the real terrorists in time to stop a war between the US and the Middle East. I'd recommend this series to fans of David Baldacci or Lee Child looking for something just a bit different.

While the John Wells series can frequently be read as standalones (such as The Night Ranger), this is like Part 2 of 'The Counterfeit Agent' in many ways. That previous book sort of ended on a cliffhanger. Wells is a excellent spy in the same category as Jason Bourne or The Gray Man. He is typically cold and unemotional but every now and then there are cracks in his armor. We start this book with him choosing his commitment to his career over starting a family with his younger girlfriend. He is all in and the stakes are high. 

I took a few years off before recently returning to this series. But it was either better than I remembered or gets better with age. Berenson uses a nice balance of detail between the globe-trotting action and geopolitics. Sometimes, Wells' skills are a bit overblown but not in a way that goes beyond a little eye roll. The side characters, while not always likable, always have a vivid background and personality. Shady senator Duto, crabby bossman Shafer, and even the new villian, the subtly evil Salome are all memorable. A few parts of the plot were almost too similar to previous entries. They just felt a bit too familiar and maybe didn't add much tension. I found myself thinking like "oh, and John will of course get himself out of here again." But at points in this story the pace was a little slower and I think I actually enjoyed it. Wells had more dialouge with other characters and some of the tension was nicely drawn out. Everyone seemed to have something on the line by the last several chapters. And I am looking forward to the next few books.