Tuesday, December 29, 2020

December 29, 2020 - Staff Reviews

 Have You Seen Me?

By Kate White
Release Date: April 28, 2020
Audiobook Available from WV Reads!

3 Stars - Haunting tale from the viewpoint of a slightly amnesiac financial planner and frustrated wife. This was an easier read than many twisty mysteries and the plot flowed so that it was easy to just keep turning pages. Allie was also one of the more likable heroines in this dark genre, though she did come off helpless at times. A must I think for fans of domestic thrillers.

This book is very straighforward in some ways, and I found that refreshing. There's only Allie's perspective and a small circle of characters, not too difficult to keep track of for the reader. I admit there's no romance, no down time, pretty much non stop franticness from Allie. The times we do take a breather are a bit dull. There's a lot of food mentions, like where coffee or takeout is from. Allie's past of course comes out to play but she despite a somewhat rough childhood, her relationship with her brother and her father was sweet.

The narrator was very good, minimal complaints. Distinguishing character voices but the Boston accent for one felt over the top, and Allie's voice was a little monotone. It's hard to say much about the plot of this one without spoilers. And I found the settings mostly unremarkable. But the beginning was downright chilling. I was spooked thinking of showing up at an old office like I still worked there. How many times do we 9 to 5s do that stuff on autopilot? I actually really liked the PI as well, was glad to see someone in a mystery of this kind finding help and taking charge. On the other hand, I hate using therapy as a plot device in novels. At the same time I listened to this, I read Ghost by Sawyer Bennett and drew the same conclusion. It's so much telling/not showing and vagueness. Overall, I was even guessing the next twist as I went along but surprised almost every time. I wasn't in love but the biggie twists but I admit I didn't have it all figured out even bt the end. The last couple hours of listening I was on the edge of my seat. 


Monday, December 28, 2020

December 28, 2020 - New Arrivals

December 28, 2020

Adult Fiction

All In by Shelley Shepard Gray.

Meredith Hunt is content with her solo life. She owns and runs a successful Pilates studio, volunteers at the high school every week, and recently bought a house. She can take care of herself, which is good because she has a hard time relying on other people. When she's mugged and a handsome man comes to her rescue, she doesn't know how to accept his help -- or how to stop staring into his chocolate-brown eyes.


The Bitter Season by Tami Hoag.

As the dreary, bitter weather of late fall descends on Minneapolis, Detective Nikki Liska is restless, already bored with her new assignment to the cold case squad. She misses the rush of pulling an all-nighter and the sense of urgency of hunting a desperate killer on the loose. Most of all she misses her old partner, Sam Kovac. Kovac is having an even harder time adjusting to Liska's absence, saddled with a green new partner younger than most of Sam's wardrobe. But Kovac is distracted from his troubles by an especially brutal double homicide: a prominent university professor and his wife, bludgeoned and hacked to death in their home with a ceremonial Japanese samurai sword. Liska's case--the unsolved murder of a decorated sex crimes detective--is less of a distraction: Twenty-five years later, there is little hope for finding the killer who got away. Meanwhile, Minneapolis resident Evi Burke has a life she only dreamed of as a kid in and out of foster homes: a beautiful home, a family, people who love her, a fulfilling job. But a danger from her past is stalking her idyllic present. A danger bent on destroying the perfect life she was never meant to have. As the trails of two crimes a quarter of century apart twist and cross, Kovac and Liska race to find answers before a killer strikes again. -- Amazon.com


Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

For years, rumors of the "Marsh Girl" have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life--until the unthinkable happens.


Adult Non-Fiction

Don’t Tell ‘Em You’re Cold by Katherine P. Manley.

Don't Tell 'Em You're Cold: A Memoir of Poverty and Resilience is an uplifting story of survival from abject poverty, set in the hills and coal camps of southern West Virginia. Katherine Manley and her family faced extreme challenges and struggles with ingenuity and traditional Appalachian stoicism. Beyond the poverty, other obstacles compounded Katherine's life: a severely disabled father, and a mother who struggled with the day-to-day survival. On a cool October morning, she left in a taxi and never returned, leaving 14-year-old Katherine to take care of her father and raise her siblings in her mother's stead. Katherine went on to become an award-winning teacher, paying forward her hard-learned lessons to thousands of lucky students. This is a story of triumph that encourages everyone to never give up.


Just Smile and Say Hello by Trang Moreland.

Just Smile and Say Hello is an inspirational autobiography from poverty in my homeland, Viet Nam, to successful businesswoman of modern America. You’ll be swept far away to a little hut with a dirt floor where my family and I lived for many years. You will venture into our rice paddy where I would swim in a bomb crater left over from the war while not knowing what it was. You’ll learn in detail how rice is really grown. You can see, smell, and hear as if you were actually there. You’ll learn about my brother and sister’s arranged marriages. You’ll learn about our school system and how difficult it was to be able to get to school on a daily basis. You’ll visit the local village, the market, the city… You will go everywhere with me for my first 21 years. You will meet my mother, and learn of her struggles, and hear stories such as how she could only afford to buy a spoonful of sugar at one time, and how she was able to survive when she never made one paycheck her entire life or received any government assistance. Then, you’ll journey with me to America, a strange place far away that spoke a language I did not know. You will learn how, with very little money, I was able to go to trade school and become a successful business owner, first of a restaurant and then a beauty salon. You will learn so much about the Vietnamese culture, history, and much more… You will have a difficult time putting this book down! -- From Amazon.com


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

Heroes Reborn: The Avengers by Rob Liefeld, Jim Valentine, Jeph Loeb, Scott Lobdell, Jim Lee, Brandon Choi, et. al. (GN)

In 1996, the hottest creators of the day teamed up to reimagine and reinvigorate Marvel's greatest heroes. The Avengers and Fantastic Four were reborn with bold new looks on a brave new world, their origins re-envisioned with a raw vitality and contemporary sensibility! Captain America, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Hawkeye, Hellcat and more: The Avengers lineup is both new and classic - but will Thor assemble alongside them? They'll need him against revised versions of Kang, Ultron, the Enchantress, the Masters of Evil and more -but as Ant-Man and Iron Man enter the fray, what is Loki up to in the shadows? Plus: The Avengers and Fantastic Four take on the Hulk - and Galactus!


The Science of Fortnite by James Daley. (J NF)

This book will discuss how many of the game's most fantastical weapons might actually work, how the player-made structures would or wouldn't stand up to the stress of battle, and what the deal is with that huge purple storm! Whether you're a fan of Battle Royale, Save the World, or Creative play, The Science of Fortnite will entertain and enlighten you with the scientific truths behind this amazing game.

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

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

December 23, 2020 - A Book & Recipe

Happy Holidays, All!

We at Brooke County Libraries are excited to share with you a recipe straight from Joanne Fluke's "Apple Turnover Murder". It's sure to liven up your kitchen this Christmas or any other day of the year. 

Use commercial/frozen puff pastry dough.

Images are courtesy of Google and Bookbub.

One Batch makes 8 turnovers from a 17.5 oz package of Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry dough. Pie crust dough is also usable.

The Crust
One 17.5 oz pack of dough
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
White granulated sugar

Apple Filling
4 and 1/4 cups cored, peeled, sliced, and chopped
1/2 cup of sweetened dried cranberries
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/3 cup of white granulated sugar
1/4 cup of flour
1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp of cinnamon
1/4 tsp of cardamom
1/4 tsp of salt

Thaw your dough on a floured board.

While thawing, prep apples. Core and peel. Slice as you would for pie. Place is large mix bowl and add cranberries. Sprinkle with lemon to keep apples from browning. Toss the mix around by hand.

Mix the sugar, flour, spices, and salt in a small separate bowl. Then dump on top of the apples and coat.

Preheat over to 400 degrees F, rack in middle row.

One dough thaws, roll half out to 12 sq in on floured board. Use knife to make one horizontal line through square middle and then vertical to create four squares.

Break the egg into cup. Add 1 tablespoon of water and whisk.

Line cookie sheet. Transfer squares to sheet one at a time and coat with egg wash.

With a slotted spoon pick up approx. 1/2 cup of filling and place in square's center.

Pull one corner of square over the filling to opposite corner and form a triangle. Firmly press edges together with fork. Coat the top of the turnover with egg wash, using a pastry brush. 

Cut two slits in turnovers with a sharp knife, approx one inch long slits.

Roll out second sheet of pastry dough and repeat. When all turnovers are ready, sprinkle the tops with white sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden on top.

Cool for 5 minutes.

So if you're looking a perfect evening at home holiday recipe this one will make your mouth water!

Be sure to let us know you tried it or give us additional tips either in the comment section below or on any of our social media pages. We love to hear from you!

Check out Joanne Fluke's murder mystery on our Ebook site WV Reads for more details!

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

December 22, 2020 - Staff Reviews

 Never Love A Highlander

By Maya Banks
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3.5 Stars - This one gets a few extra points for no dull moments. Banks' historical romance trilogy comes to a close with a fast-paced finish. Although it could be read as an entertaining standalone. Strongwilled heroine Rionna and brash hero Caelen clash as they fight not just against their enemies but often each other.

Sometimes a quick and slightly different book breaks things up, and this one was refreshing for me. The first two entries in the series were good, likable stories but this one admittedly hooked me. Finally we have the big bad Laird Cameron looming over the story, poised to strike at any time.  While Rionna wasn't an completely unique heroine, she sure was fun. She was so spirited without being unbearably headstrong. Caelen was constantly torn between his need to keep her safe and helping her to be all she wanted to be. It was quite the dynamic. 

Rionna truly struggled to find a balance between her own expectations for herself and others. The fact she was so out of touch with her feminine side at times was cute. I think a lot of tomboys and Daddy's girls will relate. Caelen was her perfect counterpart, a tough guy for his own part. But he wasn't oblivious to others and truly smart and caring. Now, this is a historical romance from Banks so the action is pretty much broken up only by steaminess with a few tender moments. Probably a little heavy handed at times, enough to generate an eye roll or two but all good entertainment. There's plenty of excitement otherwise in the story as well. Banks' series may not have the historical depth of a vintage Catherine Coulter or maybe even a Susan Wiggs but it's got all the romance and heart for a fun page-turner.


Monday, December 21, 2020

December 21, 2020 - New Arrivals

December 21, 2020

Adult Fiction

Noel Street by Richard Paul Evans.

The year is 1975. Elle Sheen--a single mother who is supporting herself and her six-year-old, African-American son, Dylan, as a waitress at the Noel Street Diner--isn't sure what to make of William Smith when his appearance creates a stir in the small town of Mistletoe, Utah. As their lives unexpectedly entwine, Elle learns that William, a recently returned Vietnam POW, is not only fighting demons from his past, but may also have the answer to her own secret pain--a revelation that culminates in a remarkable act of love and forgiveness.


The Noel Letters by Richard Paul Evans.

After nearly two decades, Noel Post, an editor for a major New York publishing house, returns to her childhood home in Salt Lake City to see her estranged, dying father. What she believed would be a brief visit turns into something more as she inherits the bookstore her father fought to keep alive. Reeling from loneliness, a recent divorce, and unanticipated upheavals in her world, Noel begins receiving letters from an anonymous source, each one containing thoughts and lessons about her life and her future. She begins to reacquaint herself with the bookstore and the people she left behind, and in doing so, starts to unravel the reality of her painful childhood and the truth about her family. As the holidays draw near, she receives a Christmastime revelation that changes not only how she sees the past but also how she views her future.


Forever by Your Side by Tracie Peterson.

After years of schooling on the East Coast, Constance Browning returns to Oregon and the reservation where she grew up with her missionary parents. She is accompanied by Thomas Lowell, her best friend and colleague, and together they embark on a project to catalogue the native peoples of Oregon for the Bureau of American Ethnology. But Connie and Tom have another purpose--to prove her parents are not involved in a secret conspiracy to goad the oppressed tribes into a doomed war. Connie finds life on the reservation much bleaker than she remembered, and she is glad to have Tom by her side. But she also becomes reacquainted with Clint Singleton, the government agent on whom she had a crush as a girl. Now that she's back, Clint finally seems interested in her, but Connie is no longer sure of her feelings. As tensions on the reservation rise and war looms ever closer, Connie and Tom search for whoever is truly behind the uprising. With danger unfolding amid shocking revelations, Connie will also have a revelation of the heart.


Adult Non-Fiction

On Beyond Leatherbark: The Cass Saga by Roy B. Clarkson.

One hundred years ago the community of Leatherbark, in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, consisted of three farm houses located at the mouth of Leatherbark Run on the Greenbrier River. At the turn of the century this site became the location of one of the largest lumber mills in the Eastern United States, and eventually, the area became one of the best tourist attractions in West Virginia, The Cass Scenic Railroad. In 1899, The West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company, now WESTVACO Corporation, purchased 136 acres of land at Leatherbark and established the town of Cass. They built a large band sawmill and constructed a railroad up the face of Back Allegheny Mountain to reach the vast stands of red spruce growing on Cheat Mountain. This book depicts a lumber town in detail not found in any other source. It presents not only details of company formation and operations but also a dedication of life in the lumber woods, on the log train, in the mill, and a long chapter on the town, its people, and their daily lives.


Jesus and History by Steven Waterhouse.

Jesus and History examines the historical background of the gospels, addressing questions such as: Can we identify their authors and dates, or were they later forgeries? Are the people and places in the Gospels historical or mythological? Did Jesus do the miracles or make the claims attributed to Him or did early Christians exaggerate His life? Who is He? Chapters include: The Life of Jesus in the Epistles; Gospel people also mentioned in non-Christian sources; Places in the Gospels; and Jesus, History, and Miracles. This exhaustive work includes 371 end notes, Glossary included. Also included at the appendix is rare historical research on abortion in the ancient world and the response by the first Christians.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

The Christmas Extravaganza Hotel by Tracey Corderoy. (E)

Bear is looking forward to a quiet, low-key Christmas. But as he's enjoying a book, an excited frog shows up at his doorstep. "Hello!" says Frog showing Bear a brochure. I'm ready for my Christmas extravaganza!" Bear realizes that Frog is miles away from the hotel he's looking for, and Frog is devastated. Is there anything Bear can do to help?


A Midnight Clear: Selected Family Christmas Stories by Katherine Paterson. (J)

The true meaning of Christmas can be found in this lovely gift book of twelve modern-day stories inspired by the hope and peace of the season. Over the years, the author wrote these stories for her husband, a reverend, who read them to his congregation every Christmas Eve. The stories encompass a variety of themes--from a tale of a child coping with disappointment, to a proud, lonely widow befriended by a well-meaning boy, to a couple awaiting the birth of their baby. Each story possesses a warmth and spirituality which could only come from Katherine Paterson.

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

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

December 16, 2020 - Staff Reviews

Securing Caite

By Susan Stoker
Release Date: January 15, 2019
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3 Stars - I struggled early in the story with this one, but the breathless pace and action that picked up about halfway through made me glad I finished. Rocco and Caite didn't come off the page at first as original or memorable leads. Once they got together and shared more page time though, I felt more invested. 

I wouldn't have said this was Stoker's best work from the character or the plot side, but she's talented enough that it still works. Rocco is one of the more laidback heroes of hers, unless of course Caite's in danger. Then, he can kick it into overdrive. Caite's a little dull as far as heroines go but her girl next door personality is cute. I live by lists too. And I can totally understand lacking ambition and/or being stuck with a less than popular college degree. But I sort of wanted her to be just a little more quirky or passionate about something.

Stoker's set up of this story I think is lacking, but it's probably a testament to her writing style and voice that I liked this anyway. Everyone's motivation or reasoning if you will was weak. First, Caite's in Bahrain with her French degree working as a secretary. I find it hard to believe that pay was enough. But okay, had to give her a resason to be there. Speaking of that, Rocco and the guys are in Bahrain pretending to be NCIS agents and going undercover. Maybe I watch too much tv, but couldn't the NCIS agents do that job? Anyway, the meet cute in the elevator was fun, the scenes where Caite was a target were intense, and the end wrapped up in a fairly plausable way. It was a quick read and not overly complicated. Our hero and heroine got most of the page time, only minimal references to Stoker's huge special ops universe. No one coming into the series or this author's work will be too lost to start here. And any fans I expect will consider this a solid entry.


Monday, December 14, 2020

December 14, 2020 - New Arrivals

December 14, 2020

Adult Fiction

Princess Elizabeth’s Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal.

As World War II sweeps the continent and England steels itself for German attack, Maggie Hope, former secretary to Winston Churchill, completes her MI5 training. Spirited and strong- willed, with a sharp mind for mathematics and code- breaking, she expects to be sent abroad to gather intelligence. Instead, she's dispatched to Windsor Castle to tutor Princess Elizabeth in math. Yet castle life quickly proves more dangerous than expected.


D.C. Dead by Stuart Woods.

After a shocking loss, Stone Barrington is at loose ends, unsure if he wants to stay in New York and continue his work as a partner at Woodman & Weld. It comes as a welcome relief when he's summoned to Washington, D.C., by President Will Lee. The president has a special operation that calls for Stone's unique skill set, and it's a mission that will reunite him with his former partner in bed and in crime, Holly Barker.


American Anthem by B.J. Hoff.

At the entrance to the city, an Irish governess climbs into a carriage and sets out to confront the man who destroyed her sister's life-a blind musician who hears music no one else can hear ...On a congested city street, a lonely Scot physician with a devastating secret meets a woman doctor with the capacity to heal not only the sick ... but also his heart ...In a tumbledown shack among hundreds of others like it, an immigrant family struggles to survive, and a ragged street singer old beyond her years appoints herself an unlikely guardian...


Adult Non-Fiction

Heroes’ Feast: The Official D&D Cookbook by Kyle Newman, Jon Peterson, & Michael Witwer.

From the D&D experts behind Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana comes a cookbook that invites fantasy lovers to learn about their favorite fictional cultures through their unique cuisines and lifestyles. With this book, you can prepare dishes delicate enough to dine like elves and their drow cousins or hearty enough to feast like a dwarven clan or a boisterous orcish horde. All eighty dishes are delicious, easy to prepare, and composed of wholesome ingredients readily found in our world. Heroes' Feast includes recipes for snacking, such as Bytopian Shepherd's Bread, Iron Rations, savory Hand Pies, and Hogs in Bedrolls, as well as hearty vegetarian, meaty, and fish mains, such as Amphail Braised Beef, Hommlet Golden Brown Roasted Turkey, Drow Mushroom Steaks, and Moonshae Seafood Risotto. There are also featured desserts and cocktails--like Heartlands Roseapple & Blackberry Pie, Yawning Portal Biscuit, and Chultan Zombie--and everything in between, to satisfy a craving for any adventure.


The Unofficial Harry Potter College Cookbook by Aurélia Beaupommier.

Hitch a ride on the Hogwarts Express and eat just like Harry, Ron, Hermione, Hagrid, and all your favorite characters from the Wizarding World! A love of food has always been part of the Harry Potter universe, from the fabulous feasts served in the Great Hall to the sweets exchanged in the common room. Whether you're running to catch a bus or train, an eternal latecomer, or a hardworking student, you will find something in these pages to make you happy, rain or shine! Every one of these recipes has been concocted with love for occasions large and small, to be enjoyed alone or with friends, at home or on the go. Included are dozens of recipes from across the Wizarding World such as: Goblet of Fire Soup, Great Hall Shepherd's Pie, Umbridge's Pink Mug Cake, Cornelius's Fudge, Elf Wine, Ron's Usual Sandwich, Authentic Cold and Warm Butterbeer, and many, many more! Easy, step-by-step recipes are perfect for any young witch or wizard and will have you prepping feasts worthy of the Hogwarts Great Hall. So spread your wings and get cooking with The Unofficial Harry Potter College Cookbook. And whatever you do, don't forget your snack! -- Publisher's website.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

Harley Merlin and the Secret Cove by Bella Forrest. (YA)

Being an empath has its advantages. Nineteen-year-old Harley Merlin can sense people's emotions, among other things. It's how she snagged her first job pinpointing cheaters at a casino. But she has no clue where she got these freakish powers because she spent her childhood jumping from home to home in the foster system, and her father left her with nothing more than a cryptic note. Then she crosses paths with a terrifyingly real monster. Which is when a mysterious and annoyingly arrogant young warlock named Wade Crowley steps in, introducing her to a hidden world of magicals and covens riddled with secrets-as well as clues about her murky past.

Whether she likes it or not, this new world is where she belongs. But after a disturbing twist of events, Harley quickly realizes that her past is darker than she could ever have imagined. And that someone in the coven is out for her blood. With the help of Wade and her new friends, she must figure out who the traitor is and why they're targeting her... Before the human and magical worlds dangerously collide.

Mamie on the Mound by Leah Henderson. (J BIO)

Mamie "Peanut" Johnson had one dream: to play professional baseball. She was a talented player, but she wasn't welcome on the all-white Girls Pro Baseball League team due to the color of her skin. However, a greater opportunity came her way in 1953 when Johnson signed to play ball with the Negro Leagues' Indianapolis Clowns, becoming the only professional female pitcher to play on a men's team. During the three years she played with the team, her record was an impressive 33-8. But more importantly, she broke ground for female pitchers like Mo'ne Davis and women everywhere. -- Provided by publisher.

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

Saturday, December 12, 2020

December 12, 2020 - Staff Reviews

Tools of Engagement

By Tessa Bailey
Release Date: September 22, 2020
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

4 stars - An enjoyable token romantic comedy perfect for the fixer-upper crowd. Loads of banter and sexual tension between surrogate single dad Wes and razor sharp interior designer Bethany. Both leads were fun, and I was hooked from the dedication page.

Thank you, Tessa Bailey, for dedicating this book to us over-analyzers. I started this book with a smile. I've enjoyed probably 90% of Bailey's work going back to her new adult days. Her new rom-coms make me miss some of her grittier work, but they're high quality chick lit. Wes was great though, so adorable with his little niece and all her babysitters. Better yet, he had Bethany's back from the start. The whole sexy southern gentleman thing was a bonus. Bethany wants to spread her wings with her family business, but her family's so real with all their hang-ups and quirks. They're afraid to let her branch out. I confess I keep getting this trilogy mixed up with Lauren Layne's newest due to the tone and the setting. 

Fix-Her-Up was first and while it took me awhile to warm up, I liked it by the end. I tried Love Her or Lose Her but skipped it. My only gripes though are small ones. Sometimes the banter is over the top. For example, Bethany says "Did you sit here just to poke me all night?" Cue Wes thinking like a middle school boy. Wouldn't she have said "annoy" or "irritate" in real life? But a little past the halfway point, this book completely won me over. I am certain the push/pull here will drive some readers insane. Bethany can be bratty and Wes can be wishy-washy. The language and steam levels are probably somewhere between PG13 & R. And know this certainly comes off as a slow burn. But once these two stubborn people committed to not just each other but the directions they wanted their lives to go, I was all in. I was cheering them on, like waving a foam finger and whistling levels. My only major complaint was the little monkey wrench thrown in the last 10% that was just absurdity. If you haven't read Tessa Bailey before, I'd consider this a decent place to start.


Thursday, December 10, 2020

December 10, 2020 - Resume Tips

BCPL Resume Tips


Tip #2 – Change up your resume to suit the job.


Resumes are flexible! Keep the reader in mind and change the format and wording to benefit the job application. Unless you're applying for multiple positions in the same company, likely the future boss will never know you tweaked your attributes listed to suit the specific position. Include the most relevant parts of your work experience and most applicable references and volunteer history.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

December 8, 2020 - Staff Reviews

Carolina Breeze

By Denise Hunter
Release Date: May 19, 2020
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3 Stars - A cute romance that wasn't quite as country as I expected. We follow the adventure of recently semi-graced Hollywood star Mia while she's staying at the hero Levi's quaint BlueBell Inn. There's a hint of excitement and mystery. The story honestly felt a little drawn out but I wasn't bored. An easy read perfect for relaxing.

Mia's thankfully not a diva/bombshell and surprisingly down-to-earth. Although, I find myself always a bit unsympathetic toward runaway celebrities. Plenty of stars have moved to small towns and lead fairly happy lives so it's not like that isn't an option. And Mia's a bit too naive, and sometimes I disliked being so in her head. Levi's admirably put his big career on hold to take care of his practically grown sisters and run the inn. The way he tries to jump in and keep Mia's presence at the inn a secret was sweet too.

This was my first read from Denise Hunter, and I admit I was drawn in a little by the cover and setting. But the South here didn't feel very vivid. A couple conversations about the lack of an uber/taxi and fried bologna weren't enough for me. Also Hunter's word choices got a little redundant at times and I wished she would mix it up a little. There were so many droll and wry looks. But for being a simple story, I was always engaged. The dialouge wasn't corny and this was obviously part of a sweet series. I'd say readers of Nora Roberts, Debbie Macomber, and maybe even Christian romance would enjoy her work. Pacing wise, the scenes with Molly and her boyfriend bogged me down. Though I admittedly came to the series late, maybe it was more exciting for Molly fans. But I would have preferred those trimmed from the book to keep things moving along more.


Monday, December 7, 2020

December 7, 2020 - New Arrivals

December 7, 2020

Adult Fiction

Miracle at Augusta by James Patterson & Peter de Jonge.

A year ago, unknown golfing amateur Travis McKinley shocked the world by winning the PGA Senior Open at Pebble Beach. Now he's famous, he makes his living playing the game he loves, and everything should be perfect. Still, Travis can't shake the feeling that he's a fraud, an imposter who doesn't deserve his success-and after a series of disappointments and personal screw-ups, he might just prove himself right. A shot at redemption arrives in an unexpected form: a teenage outcast with troubles of his own . . . and a natural golf swing. As this unlikely duo sets out to achieve the impossible on the world's most revered golf course, Travis is about to learn that sometimes the greatest miracles of all take place when no one is watching.


Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal.

London, 1940. Winston Churchill has just been sworn in, war rages across the Channel, and the threat of a Blitz looms larger by the day. Maggie Hope graduated at the top of her college class and possesses all the skills of the finest minds in British intelligence, yet her gender qualifies her only to be the newest typist at No.10 Downing Street. But working for the prime minister affords her a lot of access, and Maggie is soon ensnared in a web of spies, murder and intrigue.


The Prisoner’s Wife by Maggie Brookes.

Czechoslovakia, 1944 In the dead of night a farm girl and a British soldier creep through abandoned villages. Izabela and prisoner-of-war Bill have secretly married, and are on the run, searching for Izabela's brother and father, who are fighting the Nazis. The husband and wife have evaded capture in the countryside for a week, but when their luck runs out, they are delivered into the hands of the occupying enemy. But they have prepared for this moment, disguising Izabela as a man. The pair are transported to a POW camp and faced with living conditions far worse than those experienced by any animal on Izabela's farm. They will need the help of their fellow POWs to maintain their deception, and the gravity of the situation becomes chillingly apparent; if they are discovered, Izabela will have put not just herself and Bill in great danger, but also all the men around them. -- Provided by publisher.


Adult Non-Fiction

In the Shadow of a Badge by Lillie Leonardi.

Former law enforcement professional Lillie Leonardi has always lived with her feet planted in two separate worlds-the metaphysical and the physical. In the Shadow of a Badge, her previously self-published spiritual memoir, takes you on a dramatic journey of what happens when Leonardi's two very distinct realities become dangerously intertwined. During her work at the crash site of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, surrounding the fateful events of September 11, 2001, Leonardi is forced to confront her connection to the divine-something she has struggled with since her youth. Her gripping personal account of the 12 days she spent acting as an FBI liaison between the law enforcement and social service agencies carries you into a world that combines the factual and logistical with the angelic and mystical. After witnessing what she describes as a 'field of angels' during her first minutes at the crash site, Leonardi must finally reconcile the opposing sides of her life. We walk with her through the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, experience the guilt and fear that grip her, and witness the remarkable transformation of her soul as she discovers that forgiveness, of self and others, can be the best remedy. As an inspiring example of what it really means to be called to service, Leonardi shows that it's never too late to find your spiritual path and life's purpose.


Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty.

Jay Shetty, social media superstar and host of the #1 podcast On Purpose, distills the timeless wisdom he learned as a monk into practical steps anyone can take every day to live a less anxious, more meaningful life. -- Provided by publisher.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

The House Children by Heidi Daniele. (YA)

In 1937, Mary Margaret Joyce is born in the Tuam Home for unwed mothers. After spending her early years in an uncaring foster home, she is sentenced by a judge to an industrial school, where she is given the name Peg, and assigned the number 27. Amid one hundred other unwanted girls, Peg quickly learns the rigid routine of prayer, work, and silence under the watchful eye of Sister Constance. Her only respite is an annual summer holiday with a kind family in Galway. At the tender age of thirteen, Peg accidentally learns the identity of her birthmother. Peg struggles with feelings of anger and abandonment, while her mother grapples with the shame of having borne a child out of wedlock. The tension between them mounts as Peg, now becoming a young adult, begins to make plans for her future beyond Ireland. Based on actual events, The House Children is a compelling story of familial love, shameful secrets, and life inside Ireland's infamous industrial schools.


Running Overload by Jake Maddox. (GN)

Eighth-grader Nimo Mohamed has made the varsity cross-country team and she's determined to keep up with the older girls. So she's training harder than ever, maybe too hard. Soon the runner's grades are tumbling, her times are slipping, and her body is completely exhausted. Can Nimo learn to pace herself and stop this running overload?

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

Friday, December 4, 2020

December 4, 2020 - Staff Reviews

Iron House

By John Hart
Release Date: June 23, 2011
Audiobook Available from WV Reads!

4 Stars! - This was actually my second time through this story but first audio version. I admit I thought the audio performance was a let down of my expectations. Hart's breathless pace and fascinating characters made up for the long and less than engaging narration. Almost non-stop action here in the dark tale of two orphaned boys in North Carolina and the hands dealt by fate.

The hero Michael is an anti-hero in so many ways. His life was rough and violent since childhood, and he's not entirely sorry. I'll be honest that the set up is half the intrigue. One brother adopted by a senator's family and the other a mobster's. Both families become huge components of the story. Some might find younger brother Julian more compelling than Michael or others less. Elena is Michael's girlfriend suddenly facing commitment to a man she is realizing she hardly knows. And while she doesn't make the best choices, it's hard not to sympathize with her as well.

I have to mention the disappointing narration by Scott Sowers. He is excellent at the descriptions in Hart's sharp prose. But his accents and female voices were terrible. And he would be better suited to a story with fewer people in each scene. His voice does not change much between the male characters and it makes it hard to draw the picture. I'd recommend reading this one instead of listening. Finally, I'd like to mention that Hart usually brings in a touch of Southern spirits. He doesn't really write paranormal or religious stories but they usually factor in here and there. He's a master of the Southern gothic feel though complete with shady family dynamics and settings vivid enough to almost feel the muggy heat. This should probably come with a warning about the violence level. It's definitely brutal. And wildly enough, it feels like the edge of your seat finale comes with still 3 hours left. But there's hardly a dull moment in the entire book, filled with mystery, action, romance, and relationship dynamics.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

December 2, 2020 - Christmas Reads to Get in the Spirit

Brooke County Libraries December 2020 Theme – Christmas Stories


Are you feeling the Christmas Spirit? Got a little holly in your heart? Then, check out one of these titles available from Brooke County Libraries. 

The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson

From the blurb - 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.


Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

From the blurb - Imagine a year without Christmas. No crowded shops, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents. That's just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they'll skip the holiday altogether. 

Candlelight Christmas by Susan Wiggs

From the blurb - 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.

Christmas Letters by Debbie Macomber

From the blurb - As the days -- and nights -- move closer to Christmas, Katherine and Wynn both discover that love means accepting your differences. And Christmas is about the things you share . . .

A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas

From the blurb - It’s Christmas time in London and Rafe Bowman has arrived from America for his arranged meeting with Natalie Blandford, the very proper and beautiful daughter of Lady and Lord Blandford

Candy Cane Murder by Joanne Fluke

From the blurb - 'Tis the season for trimming the tree, caroling, baking cookies, and curling up by the Yuletide waiting for Santa to drop down the chimney. But in this festive collection of holiday whodunits, murder is also paying a visit . . .

The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen

From the blurb - So it’s a miracle when I contrive to land a position as hostess to a posh holiday party in Tiddleton. The village is like something out of A Christmas Carol! But no sooner have I arrived than a neighborhood nuisance, a fellow named Freddie, falls out of a tree dead

A Snow Country Christmas by Linda Lael Miller

From the blurb – It’s a Christmas affair to remember as a Hollywood mogul discovers his inner cowboy--and the woman of his dreams--amid the rugged beauty of Wyoming.

The Beloved Christmas Quilt by Wanda Brunstetter

From the blurb - One quilt binds three generations of Amish women in these three stories of family, romance, and Amish fath by bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter, her daughter-in-law, Jean, and granddaughter, Richelle.

Christmas on my Mind by Janet Dailey

From the blurb - The little town of Branding Iron, Texas, keeps an annual tradition that makes the holidays especially festive—the Cowboys’ Christmas Ball. But Sheriff Ben Marsden, busy with work, joint custody of his son, and caring for his aging mother, has no plans to attend.  Not until a pretty newcomer to his small town gets involved in the planning. Suddenly Ben finds himself wanting to keep a close eye on Jessica Ramsey.

A Texas Hill Country Christmas by William Johnstone & JA Johnstone

From the blurb - While most folks are busy preparing for Christmas, the tightknit Jensen clan can only hope they’ll make it home. Luke Jensen is in San Antonio tracking down a dangerous outlaw. But when he finds the man leading a wholesome life—as a charity-working Hill Country pastor—Luke agrees to wait until after Christmas to bring him to justice.

A Christmas Escape by Anne Perry

From the blurb - Lonely Charles Latterly arrives at his small hotel hoping that the island’s blue skies and gentle breezes will brighten his spirits. Unfortunately, there’s no holiday cheer to be found among his fellow guests, who include a pompous novelist, a stuffy colonel, a dangerously ill-matched married couple, and an ailing old man.

Christmas Carol Murder by Leslie Meier

From the blurb - It's Christmas in the small town of Tinker's Cove, Maine, and Lucy Stone - newspaper reporter and mother of three - is excited about her acting debut in the town's production of A Christmas Carol.

Christmas on 4th Street by Susan Mallery

From the blurb - DescriptionAfter Nicole Perkins opens her store, The Christmas Attic, in Fool's Gold, California, business is booming. When recuperating army doctor Gabriel Boylan offers to help out during the holiday rush, she discovers his memories of Christmas past contain more sour grapes than sugarplums.

 The Spy Who Came for Christmas by David Morrell

From the blurb – It is Christmas Eve in Santa Fe, but among the revelers on Canyon Road, a decidedly unholy scene is taking place. A desperate man, dressed all in black, feverishly seeks refuge for himself and the squirming bundle he holds tightly