Friday, February 26, 2021

February 26, 2021 - Staff Reviews

 Staff Reviews

Camino Winds
By John Grisham
Release Date: April 28, 2020
Audiobook Available from WV Reads!

1 Star - Honestly, I hadn't been able to get into Camino Island so I was a bit behind with this sequel. Bruce's bookstore makes for an intriguing set piece for the unfolding mystery. His quirky life in South Florida is avoiding hurricanes and holding writer parties and groups worthy of the 1920s. But I have to admit, it was all just a little too weird for me from the start.

Grisham's characters here are interesting but I couldn't call them relatable. I pretty much only sank into Bruce's life, not the other cast of misfits. Maybe Grisham knows a lot of wacky writers but I don't know any real people like this. Or maybe he just had too much fun making them up. While I think his intention was that these unbelievably hilarious and wonderfully non-judgemental people are writing stories for the world to enjoy, I felt like they were mocking us average and less eccentric types.

I will say that there's something so enjoyable about getting immersed in a warm setting while reading in a cold winter. Grisham's trademark prose and style are here. And that part is also enjoyable. Like so many Grisham fans, I guess I just long for his old courtroom thrillers. Michael Beck, in my opinion, is a poor choice of narrator for Grisham's work. His Southern accents are deplorable, hard to understand and garbled, and the dialouge is overdone. He does a decent job with the descriptive half of the story. The book itself might have been a 2 star read but the audio is definitely lower. Now, I won't say there isn't some good stuff here for another reader to like. This little writer world he's created is vivid and the story could be lots of fun for fans of Ernest Hemingway and Agatha Christie. But anyone who is fan of Grisham's older work and looking for a gritty mystery I doubt will be impressed by more than the atmosphere.


Thursday, February 25, 2021

February 25, 2021 - WV Author of the Month

Brooke County Libraries have popular author Jennifer L Armentrout (AKA J. Lynn) in our WV Author Spotlight. 

Info and images courtesy of Google and Jennifer Armentrout's website.

Jennifer lives in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, hanging out with her husband and her Border Jack Apollo, six judgemental alpacas, two rude goats, and five fluffy sheep. In early 2015, Jennifer was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a group of rare genetic disorders that involve a breakdown and death of cells in the retina, eventually resulting in loss of vision, among other complications.  Due to this diagnosis, educating people on the varying degrees of blindness has become of passion of hers, right alongside writing, which she plans to do as long as she can.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Tor, HarperCollins Avon and William Morrow, Entangled Teen and Brazen,Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her Wicked Series has been optioned by PassionFlix. 

Jennifer has won numerous awards, including the 2013 Reviewers Choice Award for Wait for You, the 2015 Editor’s Pick for Fall With Me, and the 2014/2015 Moerser-Jugendbuch- Jury award for Obsidian. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA. Her adult romantic suspense novel TILL DEATH was a Amazon Editor’s Pick and iBook Book of the Month. Her young adult contemporary THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER is a 2017 RITA Award Winner in Young Adult Fiction. Her novel STORM AND FURY was chosen for the 2020-2021 Florida Teens Read List. She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn.

Please share with us your favorites from the list of Jennifer L. Armentrout's many series and standalones. Finally below check out the gorgeous cover and description of her latest novel below. Released September 2020.

 A Betrayal…


Everything Poppy has ever believed in is a lie, including the man she was falling in love with. Thrust among those who see her as a symbol of a monstrous kingdom, she barely knows who she is without the veil of the Maiden. But what she does know is that nothing is as dangerous to her as him. The Dark One. The Prince of Atlantia. He wants her to fight him, and that’s one order she’s more than happy to obey. He may have taken her, but he will never have her.


A Choice….


Casteel Da’Neer is known by many names and many faces. His lies are as seductive as his touch. His truths as sensual as his bite. Poppy knows better than to trust him. He needs her alive, healthy, and whole to achieve his goals. But he’s the only way for her to get what she wants—to find her brother Ian and see for herself if he has become a soulless Ascended. Working with Casteel instead of against him presents its own risks. He still tempts her with every breath, offering up all she’s ever wanted. Casteel has plans for her. Ones that could expose her to unimaginable pleasure and unfathomable pain. Plans that will force her to look beyond everything she thought she knew about herself—about him. Plans that could bind their lives together in unexpected ways that neither kingdom is prepared for. And she’s far too reckless, too hungry, to resist the temptation.


A Secret…


But unrest has grown in Atlantia as they await the return of their Prince. Whispers of war have become stronger, and Poppy is at the very heart of it all. The King wants to use her to send a message. The Descenters want her dead. The wolven are growing more unpredictable. And as her abilities to feel pain and emotion begin to grow and strengthen, the Atlantians start to fear her. Dark secrets are at play, ones steeped in the blood-drenched sins of two kingdoms that would do anything to keep the truth hidden. But when the earth begins to shake, and the skies start to bleed, it may already be too late.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

February 24, 2021 - Staff Reviews

 All the Way
By Kristen Proby
Release Date: August 21, 2018
Ebook Available from WV Reads

2.5 Stars - Just about anything I read from Kristen Proby I enjoy. However, this series is far from my favorite. Her heroine London is trying to find a new life for herself and admirably struggling to recover from recent events. In the meantime, she meets Finn Cavanaugh. He's her charming and considerate next door neighbor. All the hang ups here are London's though and Finn was admirably patient. This book felt a bit one-sided.

I felt this book had three parts to it. In the beginning, London is a former dancer trying to bounce back from an injury, and I admit she had my support and showed a real soft side. But then she became harder to like as we went. Finn was everything a hero should be. He was sweet, caring, and cool. But... I thought he was a bit boring. I'm still not sure why he was a lawyer other than the opening scene and some cheesy dialouge. The second third of the book moves into really steamy scenes, but also there's random travel and some whining from London. The final third morphed into suspense which was a pleasant surprise.

I think I needed more from Finn's viewpoint as the majority was London's. This book started off like it was about three people, including his niece. Gabby was also an issue for me in the 2020 release "After All". Truthfully it felt like Proby couldn't decide which age this girl should be. I thought she was 12 or 13 until the end of Chapter 3 revealed she was only ten. I get kids are growing up faster today but Finn's time with her didn't give me the warm and fuzzies. Their relationship and London's connection with her was a lot of early page time. Refreshingly, there was little push/pull between Finn and London, their relationship growing at a steady pace. The bickering actually felt forced, like they were just too perfect together. London's brother's role could have been fleshed out much better. Dealing with a close relative with addiction isn't a topic often tackled in fiction though it is suitably dramatic. Everything got resolved so hurriedly that I was yearning for the good times earlier in the book. 



Tuesday, February 23, 2021

February 23, 2021 - Staff Reviews

Staff Review

Three Single Wives
By Gina Lamanna
Release Date: October 21, 2020
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3 Stars - Prior to this book, I'd only read a few of Lamanna's cozier, funnier mysteries. And I was pleased to find her crisp writing style translated well to domestic thrillers. The group of women the story centers on are probably relatable more than likable. From the opening scene to the foreshadowing trial transcripts there's this book has powerful levels of intrigue from the get-go.

The book starts out with sharp contrasts and descriptions of Eliza, Anne, Olivia, and Penny's lives. While I had an accurate picture of their roles and homes, I could have liked seeing a bit more personality. Eliza was like an onion with layers and layers. Penny was sympathetic but a a bit too naive. Anne and Olivia were tough to figure out for me. Lamanna uses a broken up timeline and point of view that really grabbed me but might be confusing for a distracted reader. I saw shades of classic murder mysteries like those by Agatha Christie and John D MacDonald. There were plenty of twists and dark motives. But it's hard to specify without spoilers.

One trait of domestic thrillers that I applaud is central female characters. And they aren't all the same adorable, sweater wearing, plucky heroines. But often the author seems to scrub them of casual traits for a mysterious effect. These women are constantly and exhaustively questioning themselves. Eliza putting cheap shampoo into expensive brand bottles in her own shower? Anne gets zero enjoyment out of mothering four children? I understand that one of the traits of the genre is to break down the family unit and create a sense of unease. And that doesn't fit with rainbows and unicorns but confidence out of the heroine(s) would be refreshing. This plot has a little of everything but I'm keeping it vague. It's got pregnancies, stolen money, and courtroom drama. The breathless pace toward the end is enthralling but may be tiring for some.



Monday, February 22, 2021

February 22, 2021 - New Arrivals

February 22, 2021

Adult Fiction

Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory.

"A chance meeting with a handsome stranger turns into a whirlwind affair that gets everyone talking. Dating is the last thing on Olivia Monroe's mind when she moves to LA to start her own law firm. But when she meets a gorgeous man at a hotel bar and they spend the entire night flirting, she discovers too late that he is none other than hotshot junior senator Max Powell. Olivia has zero interest in dating a politician, but when a cake arrives at her office with the cutest message, she can't resist--it is chocolate cake, after all. Olivia is surprised to find that Max is sweet, funny, and noble--not just some privileged white politician she assumed him to be. Because of Max's high-profile job, they start seeing each other secretly, which leads to clandestine dates and silly disguises. But when they finally go public, the intense media scrutiny means people are now digging up her rocky past and criticizing her job, even her suitability as a trophy girlfriend. Olivia knows what she has with Max is something special, but is it strong enough to survive the heat of the spotlight?"-- Provided by publisher.


Korea Strait by David Poyer.

United States Navy officer and Medal of Honor winner Dan Lenson's mission is to observe an international military exercise involving the navies of South Korea, Japan, Australia, and America. It should be routine duty for Dan, but old alliances are unraveling, as North Korea threatens the U.S. and China expands its influence. Acting as both adviser and adversary to a ruthless South Korean task force commander, Dan must stop a wolfpack of unidentified submarines, armed with nuclear weapons, which is trying to elude Allied surveillance and penetrate the Sea of Japan. Is it the start of an invasion...or an elaborate feint, to divert attention from a devastating attack? Battling faulty weapons, a complacent Washington establishment, and a fierce typhoon season at sea, Dan must act on his own - even if doing so means the end of his career, the lives of his observers, and the risk of nuclear war.


Always the Last to Know by Kristan Higgins.

Barb and John Frost are testy and bored with each other after fifty years of marriage. At least they have their daughters - Barb's favorite, Juliet; and John's darling, Sadie. The girls themselves couldn't be more different, but at least they got along, more or less. Until the day John has a stroke, and their house of cards came tumbling down. Now Sadie has to come home to care for her beloved dad-and face the love of her old life. Now Juliet has to wonder if people will notice that despite her perfect life, she's spending an increasing amount of time in the closet having panic attacks. And now Barb and John will finally have to face what's been going on in their marriage all along.


Adult Non-Fiction

Soul Full of Coal Dust by Chris Hamby.

Decades ago, a grassroots uprising forced Congress to enact long-overdue legislation designed to virtually eradicate black lung disease and provide fair compensation to coal miners stricken with the illness. Today, however, both promises remain unfulfilled. Levels of disease have surged, the old scourge has taken an aggressive new form, and ailing miners and widows have been left behind by a dizzying legal system, denied even modest payments and medical care. In this urgent work of investigative journalism, Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hamby traces the unforgettable story of how these trends converge in the lives of two men: Gary Fox, a black lung-stricken West Virginia coal miner determined to raise his family from poverty, and John Cline, an idealistic carpenter and rural medical clinic worker who becomes a lawyer in his fifties.  Opposing them are the lawyers at the coal industry's go-to law firm; well-credentialed doctors who often weigh in for the defense, including an elite unit Johns Hopkins; and Gary's former employer, Massey Energy, a regional powerhouse run by a cantankerous CEO often portrayed in the media as a dark lord of the coalfields. On the line in Gary and John's longshot legal battle are fundamental principles of fairness and justice, with consequences for miners and their loved ones throughout the nation. Taking readers inside courtrooms, hospitals, homes tucked in Appalachian hollows, and dusty mine tunnels, Hamby exposes how coal companies have not only continually flouted a law meant to protect miners from deadly amounts of dust but also enlisted well-credentialed doctors and lawyers to help systematically deny much-needed benefits to miners. The result is a legal and medical thriller that brilliantly illuminates how a band of laborers -- aided by a small group of lawyers, doctors and lay advocates, often working out of their homes or in rural clinics and tiny offices - challenged one of the world's most powerful forces, Big Coal, and won.


The Third Rainbow Girl by Emma Copley Eisenberg.

In the early evening of June 25, 1980 in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, two middle-class outsiders named Vicki Durian, 26, and Nancy Santomero, 19, were murdered in an isolated clearing. They were hitchhiking to a festival known as the Rainbow Gathering but never arrived; they traveled with a third woman however, who lived. For thirteen years, no one was prosecuted for the "Rainbow Murders," though deep suspicion was cast on a succession of local residents in the community, depicted as poor, dangerous, and backward. In 1993, a local farmer was convicted, only to be released when a known serial killer and diagnosed schizophrenic named Joseph Paul Franklin claimed responsibility. With the passage of time, as the truth seemed to slip away, the investigation itself caused its own traumas--turning neighbor against neighbor and confirming a fear of the violence outsiders have done to this region for centuries. Emma Copley Eisenberg spent years living in Pocahontas and re-investigating these brutal acts. Using the past and the present, she shows how this mysterious act of violence has loomed over all those affected for generations, shaping their fears, fates, and the stories they tell about themselves. In The Third Rainbow Girl, Eisenberg follows the threads of this crime through the complex history of Appalachia, forming a searing and wide-ranging portrait of America--its divisions of gender and class, and of its violence.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

What is the Civil Rights Movement? by Sherri L. Smith.  J NF

Even though slavery had ended in the 1860s, African Americans were still suffering under the weight of segregation a hundred years later. They couldn't go to the same schools, eat at the same restaurants, or even use the same bathrooms as white people. But by the 1950s, black people refused to remain second-class citizens and were willing to risk their lives to make a change. Author Sherri L. Smith brings to life momentous events through the words and stories of people who were on the frontlines of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.


Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy by Melissa de la Cruz.  J

Nothing ever happens in Filomena Jefferson-Cho's sleepy little suburban town of North Pasadena. The sun shines every day, the grass is always a perfect green, and while her progressive school swears there's no such thing as bullying, she still feels bummed out. But one day, when Filomena is walking home on her own, something strange happens. Filomena is being followed by Jack Stalker, one of the heroes in the Thirteenth Fairy, a series of books she loves about a brave girl and her ragtag group of friends who save their world from an evil enchantress. She must be dreaming, or still reading a book. But Jack is insistent--he's real, the stories are real, and Filomena must come with him at once! Soon, Filomena is thrust into the world of evil fairies and beautiful princesses, sorcerers and slayers, where an evil queen drives her ruthless armies to destroy what is left of the Fairy tribes. To save herself and the kingdom of Westphalia, Filomena must find the truth behind the fairytales and set the world back to rights before the cycle of sleep and destruction begins once more.

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

Friday, February 19, 2021

February 19, 2021 - Staff Reviews

Stone Cross
By Marc Cameron
Release Date: March 31, 2020
Audiobook Available from WV Reads

3 Stars - Likable and gruff US Marshall Arliss Cutter takes on a few tough cases here. The story is full of Alaskan, rural atmosphere. And Cameron has a slew of interesting characters from heroes to villians to victims. I'm not sure I could classify it as an action thriller but it's going to appeal to fans of the genre.

Cameron's writing style is so blatantly masculine that sometimes I get a bit disconnected listening to it. There's just something so straight forward and unromantic, it doesn't quick stick with me. But never-the-less, he is crafty with both the mystery angles and suspense. My big complaint was the sexual assault details that felt entirely wrong to me. He does try to infuse some worldiness too, throwing in Kipling references and mystery fan favorite Occam's razor, etc. Cutter's a good lead character. He's pretty much the Chief Deputy US Marshal you picture, but in a satisfying way. He is older and griseled and basically righteous. He does have a family but it's more so one he has adopted. Also, his coworkers at the marshal's office are unique and cool, all quite enjoyable to read about but not stand-out memorable. 

We're all sucked into protecting a frustrating, self-absorbed judge. And then this victim couple attacked by shady bad guys and held hostage. These people and scenarios are well set up. Simple and easy to picture. This book was just a little dull, I have to admit. I'm not sure how when there was a lot going. At one point over halfway through, characters actually point out all the crimes/craziness and said basically no one noticed or cared because they were isolated up in small town Alaska. Like oh well, just another day in the life for these people. I can't say I'd ever gotten that vibe from law enforcement characters before this. I'd say this series is a good fit for Stephen Hunter fans, maybe even Ace Atkins or Brad Thor. As for myself, I'll probably only return to this series if something in the description really appeals or I'm looking to fill some time.


Wednesday, February 17, 2021

February 17, 2021 - BCPL Resume Tips

Brooke County Libraries Resume Tip #4

There's no need to include company's full addresses on your resume.

Some people try to cram the entire street address of their former employers onto their CV. And that's mostly a holdover from the days of mail and hometown contacts. Including a general location is plenty of information in today's age of internet maps. Just throw on the City and State instead of the full details.

If there is the space to include full employer addresses or maybe your work history is sparse, by all means. Including them does not hurt but it's important to make your best use of a one-page summary of yourself.

What if the location is important? Maybe you moved recently? Maybe you quit your last job because of the commute? Never fear. Your employer is sure to ask about your commute concerns and you can better represent them in conversation than on page. Your past job locations are easier to explain or even brag about with your voice.

If you have any resume questions or need job application help, your local library is here to help!


Monday, February 15, 2021

February 15, 2021 - New Arrivals

February 15, 2021

Adult Fiction

The Saboteur by Andrew Gross.

February, 1943. Both the Allies and the Nazis are closing in on attempts to construct the decisive weapon of the war. Kurt Nordstrum, an engineer in Oslo, puts his life aside to take up arms against the Germans as part of the Norwegian resistance. After the loss of his fiancée, and with his outfit whittled to shreds, he commandeers a coastal steamer and escapes to England to transmit secret evidence of the Nazis's progress towards an atomic bomb at an isolated factory in Norway. There, he joins a team of dedicated Norwegians in training in the Scottish Highlands for a mission to disrupt the Nazis' plans before they advance any further. Parachuted onto the most unforgiving terrain in Europe, braving the fiercest of mountain storms, Nordstrum and his team attempt the most daring raid of the war, targeting the heavily-guarded factory built on a shelf of rock thought to be impregnable, a mission even they know they likely will not survive. Months later, Nordstrum is called upon again to do the impossible, opposed by both elite Nazi soldiers and a long-standing enemy who is now a local collaborator--one man against overwhelming odds, with the fate of the war in the balance, but the choice to act means putting the one person he has a chance to love in peril.


Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid.

Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living, with her confidence-driven brand, showing other women how to do the same. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains' toddler one night, walking the aisles of their local high-end supermarket. The store's security guard, seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make things right. But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix's desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix's past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.


Reaper: Ghost Target by Nicholas Irving & A. J. Tata.

American hero, or unhinged vigilante? In Reaper: Ghost Target, Vick "The Reaper" Harwood is an esteemed sniper with a record kill count--33 kills in 90 days--when he is knocked out under mortar attack in Afghanistan. He wakes up back in the United States with little memory of what happened, his spotter and gun both unrecovered from the battlefield. Harwood has resigned himself to slowly picking up the pieces of his life, training Special Forces snipers in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and starting a promising relationship with an Olympic medalist named Jackie. But when a series of assassinations start occurring in the area, Harwood can't explain why he just happens to be nearby for each killing--or how a sniper rifle that matches the description of the one he lost seems to be involved. His memory of the past few days is hazy and full of blackouts, and even he has to wonder, is he being framed? Or is he the killer? As Harwood runs from the authorities, his girlfriend falls off the radar, his missing spotter resurfaces, and the assassinated men are outed as drug and sex traffickers. Nothing is adding up. Harwood realizes he has to unravel this mystery, and fast, or find himself paying the ultimate price for crimes he may not have committed.


Adult Non-Fiction

Real West Virginia Hauntings, Vol. 1 by Dave Spinks.

West Virginia. Beating heart of the Appalachians. Rugged, pristine mountains. Legendary woods rife with rivers and wildlife. But there’s more. Dark hollows deep in the woods hold secrets: Tales of ghosts and specters, legends of bizarre deaths, and whispers of wayward, wandering spirits. In the first volume of his new series, Dave Spinks digs deep into a host of dark tales that abound in his native state. Dim the lights, sit a spell and settle in for some Real West Virginia Hauntings.


Marvel: Eat the Universe by Justin Warner.

Prepare to eat like a Marvel Super Hero with Marvel Eat the Universe: The Official Cookbook. Chef Justin Warner invites you to pull up a chair and explore the Marvel Universe through these creative dishes inspired by Marvel's heroes. Based on Marvel's hit digital series hosted by Warner, this ultimate compendium of recipes will feature dishes that span a variety of skill levels. With sixty recipes inspired by Marvel Comics' rich history, Marvel Eat the Universe: The Official Cookbook offers something delicious for fans from every corner of the multiverse.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

Class Act by Jerry Craft.  J GN

Eighth grader Drew Ellis is no stranger to the saying "You have to work twice as hard to be just as good." His grandmother has reminded him his entire life. But what if he works ten times as hard and still isn't afforded the same opportunities that his privileged classmates at the Riverdale Academy Day School take for granted? To make matters worse, Drew begins to feel as if his good friend Liam might be one of those privileged kids. He wants to pretend like everything is fine, but it's hard not to withdraw, and even their mutual friend Jordan doesn't know how to keep the group together. As the pressures mount, will Drew find a way to bridge the divide so he and his friends can truly accept each other? And most important, will he finally be able to accept himself?

X-Men Vol. 2 by Jonathan Hickman.  GN

"MUTANTS ARE FOREVER! The Resurrection Protocols have changed everything for mutantkind. No more can humans' hate and fear take their lives from them. But...what else has it changed?" -- Amazon.

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

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

February 10, 2021 - Staff Reviews

 The Return

By Nicholas Sparks
Release Date: September 29, 2020
Audiobook Available from WV Reads!

2 Stars - This is more the story of Trevor the man than a romance of Sparks' usual caliber. And readers should really go in knowing that. He's a doctor, former military, and struggling to piece together the last moments of his beloved grandfather's life. He returns to small town North Carolina for this new mission. He meets the beautiful deputy sheriff Natalie and connects with a few other quirky residents. I can say expect Spark's classic writing style to stay strong but maybe not the storyline.

Trevor was an interesting and likable hero. He wasn't quite laidback or outgoing, but he seemed to make a solid effort always to reach out to people and put them at ease. Natalie was the mysterious side of the couple, as we did not get her point of view. The plot twist with her past is terrible, and it completely knocked down my opinion of the book. Her personality was practically non-existent. Her decisions questionable. I could sympathize a little with her situation but not much if I'm being honest.

Trevor would ask Natalie about herself constantly, trying to pry open her shell. Then inwardly, he would think she wasn't sharing important stuff about her life. I wondered if he would prefer she write a bio and hand it over to him. Like dude, she really just met you. I'd like to note, this cover was somewhat marketed as a Christmas novel but was really not Christmas-y at all. A couple points from me that kept this good, not great. I have nothing but respect for injured war heroes like Trevor but I generally avoid the scarred-hero trope. Also, the background is sometimes presented in "info-dumps" here and we get some dull paragraphs of unexciting details. And there was so much about bees. Kyf Brewer is a great narrator, but his characters could use a little work. He has an excellent voice I but I struggled at times to recognize different people. This book has a lot of potential but was just not destined to be a favorite of mine. If you're new to Nicholas Sparks, read an older one first. And if you're a fan of his like me, know you might want to skip this one.


Tuesday, February 9, 2021

February 9, 2021 - A Book & A Recipe

Brooke County Libraries are pleased to present to our February Dinner & A Book!

We'll are sharing a recipe straight from cozy mystery series author Isis Crawford. 

Mary's Fudge Brownies with Symphony Bars

4 1 oz squares unsweet chocolate

2 sticks unsalted butter

2 c granulated sugar

1 c all-purpose flour

4 eggs

2 tsps of vanilla extract

3 Symphony bars


Melt chocolate over hot water with butter. Cool, then add to remaining ingredients.


Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add sugar to butter mix and mix until creamed. Add flour and mix until well incorporated. Add 1 egg at a time. Then add vanilla and mix all until incorporated.


Turn half mixture into a well-buttered 8 inch by 8 inch pan, then lay bars on batter and finish by pouring other half over bars.


Bake for 25 minutes, cool to room temp for about an hour, cut into squares.

Please share your stories, photos, and experiments with this recipe with us! We'd love to hear from you in our comment section here or on any of our social media pages.

Check out A Catered Valentine's Day on WV Reads!


Monday, February 8, 2021

February 8, 2021 - New Arrivals

February 8, 2021

Adult Fiction

Twenty by James Grippando.

It is the message every parent of a school-age child fears: "Active Shooter on Campus." Jack Swyteck is at his office when he receives the emergency text from Riverside Day School. Both his daughter, Righley, and his wife, FBI agent Andie Henning, are in danger. Andie is in the school's rec center when she hears the fire alarms, then loud popping noises and screams coming from the hallway. A trained law-enforcement officer, Andie knows she's supposed to stay locked down inside the room. But Righley is in her kindergarten classroom and Andie must get her to safety. The tragedy prompts mass hysteria--and dangerous speculation. The police haven't identified the shooter, but they find a handgun on the school grounds registered to a parent, a Muslim man named Amir Khoury. News of the gun and its owner leaks and quickly goes viral. Within minutes Al Qaeda claims responsibility. Andie is shocked--Amir is married to her friend, Lilly, a WASP whose bloodline goes back to the American Revolution. When Xavier, Amir and Lilly's oldest child and an eighteen-year-old senior at Riverside confesses to the crime, the local community's anti-Muslim fervor explodes to levels unseen since 9/11. Terrified for her son's life, Lilly asks Jack to step in. A seasoned defense attorney with a passion to see justice done, he's taken on plenty of complicated cases. Xavier's, however, is not one he's inclined to take--until an old friend who lost his daughter in the shooting tells him that he must. With the public calling for blood and prosecutors confident their case is air tight, Jack must unearth the Khourys' family secrets in order to expose the shocking truth and save his client from certain death. But he may not be able to save everyone--including himself.


Endless Mercy by Tracie Peterson & Kimberley Woodhouse.

Madysen Powell has always been a forgiving person, but when her supposedly dead father shows up in Nome, Alaska, her gift for forgiveness is tested. With the recent loss of her mother, she searches for answers, leaning on Granny Beaufort, a neighbor in town, who listens with a kind heart. Still, Madysen is restless and dreams of performing her music around the world. The arrival of a traveling show could prove just the chance she needs, and the manager promises more than she ever dreamed. Daniel Beaufort arrives in Nome, searching for his own answers after the gold rush leaves him with only empty pockets. Still angry about the death of his loved ones, he longs to start fresh but doesn't have high hopes until he ends up helping at the Powell dairy making cheese. Drawn to the beautiful redhead with big dreams, will deceptions from the past tear apart any hope for the future?


Beach House for Rent by Mary Alice Monroe.

When Cara Rutledge rents out her quaint beach house on Isle of Palms to Heather Wyatt for the entire summer, it's a win-win by any standard: Cara's generating income necessary to keep husband Brett's ecotourism boat business afloat, and anxiety-prone Heather, a young artist who's been given a commission to paint birds on postage stamps, has a quiet space in which to work and tend to her pet canaries uninterrupted. It isn't long, however, before both women's idyllic summers are altered irrevocably: the alluring shorebirds--and the man who rescues them--begin to draw Heather out of the shell she's cultivated toward a world of adventure, and maybe even love; at the same time, Cara's life reels with sudden tragedy, and she wishes only to return to the beach house that had once been her port amidst life's storms. When Heather refuses to budge from her newfound sanctuary, so begins the unlikeliest of rooming situations. While they start out as strangers, as everything around the women falls apart they learn that the only thing they can really rely on is each other. And, like the migrating shorebirds that come to the island for the summer, these two women of different generations must rediscover their unique strengths so by summer's end they, too, can take flight in ways they never imagined possible.


Adult Non-Fiction

Genderqueer by Allan D. Hunter.

Derek is a girl. He wasn't one of the boys as a kid. He admired, befriended, and socialized with the girls and always knew he was one of them, despite being male. That wasn't always accepted or understood, but he didn't care--he knew who he was. Now he's a teenager and boys and girls are flirting and dating and his identity has become a lot more complicated: he's attracted to the girls. The other girls. The female ones. This is Derek's story, the story of a different kind of male hero--a genderqueer person's tale. It follows Derek from his debut as an eighth grader in Los Alamos, New Mexico until his unorthodox coming out at the age of twenty-one on the University of New Mexico campus in Albuquerque. This century's first decade saw many LGBT centers and services rebranding themselves as LGBTQ. The "Q" in LGBTQ is a new addition. It represents other forms of "queer" in an inclusive wave-of-the hand toward folks claiming to vary from conventional gender and orientation, such as genderqueer people. People who are affirmatively tolerant on gay, lesbian and transgender issues still ask "Why do we need to add another letter to the acronym? Isn't anyone who isn't mainstream already covered by 'gay' or 'lesbian' or 'bisexual' or 'trans'? I'm all in favor of people having the right to call themselves whatever they want, but seriously, do we need this term?" Derek's tale testifies to the real-life relevance of that "Q." This is a genderqueer coming-of-age and coming-out story from an era long before genderqueer was trending.


Sorry I Barfed on Your Bed Again by Jeremy Greenberg.

From the author who brought you Sorry I Pooped in Your Shoe and Sorry I Slept on Your Face comes a new collection of hilarious letters from sassy kitties to the humans who love them, paired with adorable cat photos.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

Teen Titans: Beast Boy by Kami Garcia & Gabriel Picolo.  YA GN

Garfield Logan has spent his entire life being overlooked. Even in a small town like Eden, Georgia, the seventeen-year-old with green streaks in his hair can't find a way to stand out--and the clock is ticking. Senior year is almost over. If Gar doesn't find a way to impress the social elite at Bull Creek High School, he will never know what it's like to matter. Gar's best friends, Stella and Tank, can't understand why he cares what other people think, and they miss their funny, pizza-loving, video game-obsessed best friend. Then Gar accepts a wild dare out of the blue. It impresses the popular kids, and his social status soars. But other things are changing, too. Gar grows six inches overnight. His voice drops, and suddenly, he's stronger and faster. He's finally getting everything he wanted, but his newfound popularity comes at a price. Gar has to work harder to impress his new friends. The dares keep getting bigger, and the stakes keep getting higher. When Gar realizes the extent of his physical changes, he has to dig deep and face the truth about himself--and the people who truly matter--before his life spirals out of control.


Avengers: Road to A-Day by Jim Zub, Paul Allor, & Christos Gage.  GN

"Before you play the video game, get to know the heroes of MARVEL'S AVENGERS! The stage is set with all-new stories leading directly into the events of the highly anticipated game - featuring all your favorite heroes! Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Thor and Hulk are the Avengers, but when the Lethal Legion strikes, it's going to take more than their usual teamwork to save the day! When Tony Stark discovers his enemies have co-opted his technology for nefarious purposes, it's up to him to stop the leak. But can his teammates be trusted - or is something more sinister at play? And can Captain Marvel help set things right? Avengers Assemble!" -- Provided by publisher.

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

Friday, February 5, 2021

February 5, 2021 - Book Club Preview

 Brooke County Libraries are excited for their February 2020 Book Club Pick! We'll be discussing Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng.

Our meeting and virtual discussion will be held Thursday February 25, 2021 at 5 pm. Please reach out to us at 304-737-1551 for details to join. All are welcome!

About the book:

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.

So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. 

A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

About the author -

Celeste Ng is the author of the novel Everything I Never Told You, which was a New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book of 2014, Amazon’s #1 Best Book of 2014, and named a best book of the year by over a dozen publications. Everything I Never Told You was also the winner of the Massachusetts Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, the ALA’s Alex Award, and the Medici Book Club Prize, and was a finalist for numerous awards, including the Ohioana Award, the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award, and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award.

Celeste grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Shaker Heights, Ohio, in a family of scientists. Celeste attended Harvard University and earned an MFA from the University of Michigan (now the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan), where she won the Hopwood Award. Her fiction and essays have appeared in One Story, TriQuarterly, Bellevue Literary Review, the Kenyon Review Online, and elsewhere, and she is a recipient of the Pushcart Prize.

Currently, she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

February 3, 2021 - Staff Reviews

 Staff Reviews

Sweet Temptation
By KC Lynn
Release Date: April 29, 2014

Audiobook Available from WV Reads!

4.5 Stars - This book is such a sweet treat for romance readers, and perfect for new adult genre fans. Grace is such a kind, shy, but spunky heroine and Sawyer is absolutely perfect for her. Lynn's Southern small town almost becomes real. And the suspense isn't on every page, but it's there from start to finish.

KC Lynn's books always have a chunk of everything I'm looking or hoping for, from a cute couple who can pull off some banter to that creepy, lurking sense of danger around the corner (or next page). Grace is almost too sweet, and I'm sure it's possible she can get on a reader's nerves. But Grace hasn't let the struggles of her recent years dampen her spirit too much or her adorable personality. Sawyer I'm certain could get on MORE readers nerves, but he is a great partner for Grace. He is flawed but funny and caring. To start off, Grace is hiding in Sunset Bay where former SEAL Sawyer has recently moved to start a hardcore gym. Both are there basically because of their awesome friends who make up the rest of the series.

I'm a little biased as I have read this story before but the audio version was new to me. I thought the narrators did well with numerous accents, voices, and difficult scenes they had to pull off. Full disclosure, this book is closer to a gritty military thriller with the violence and language. Also, the steaminess hits pretty high levels toward the middle of the book. Sawyer does a terrible job at first trying to put his class flirt style reputation away and convince Grace he's the man for her. Grace is understandably reluctant but finds herself drawn to the self-assured jerk anyway. He's not perfect, but that's what makes him so real. And Sawyer steps up to keep her safe and bring her out of her shell. I won't say the pacing is perfect, either with the love story or the handling of Grace's past coming back to haunt her. It's a bit choppy. But I just love KC's writing style and these two memorable character's alternating points of view. I'm sure I'll be reading it and the sequels again.


Tuesday, February 2, 2021

February 2, 2021 - Ready for Romance?

With Valentine's Day approaching, we wanted to share some of our favorite romances from our collection! One of the best things about romance novels is they can have a little bit of everything from comedy to suspense. 

We're showcasing some old and some new 
in hopes of finding a new favorite to share with you. 
Now without further adieu...

Love in a Nutshell by Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly

Kate Appleton needs a job. Her husband has left her, she’s been fired as a magazine editor, and she only wants to go to her parents’ summer house, The Nutshell, in Keene’s Harbor, Michigan, and make a Bed and Breakfast inn. Matt Culhane needs a spy in his brewery for a saboteur, and Kate is new in town. But Kate despises beer and nobody trusts her.

The Witness by Nora Roberts

the woman known as Abigail Lowery lives on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she designs sophisticated security systems -- and supplements her own security with a fierce dog and an assortment of firearms. She keeps to herself, saying little, revealing nothing. But Abigail's reserve only intrigues police chief Brooks Gleason. Her logical mind, her secretive nature, and her unromantic viewpoints leave him fascinated but frustrated. He suspects that Abigail needs protection from something -- and that her elaborate defenses hide a story that must be revealed.

Sundays at Tiffany’s by James Patterson & Gabrielle Charbonnet

As a little girl, Jane has no one. Her mother, the powerful head of a Broadway theater company, has no time for her. She does have one friend-a handsome, comforting, funny man named Michael-but only she can see him. Years later, Jane is in her thirties and just as alone as ever. Then she meets Michael again-as handsome, smart and perfect as she remembers him to be. But not even Michael knows the reason they've really been reunited.

Beyond Eden by Catherine Coulter

Lindsay Foxe is a successful model in New York, a woman who hides behind a new name to protect herself from a past of betrayal and treachery and a present that becomes fraught with danger. The product of old San Francisco wealth, the daughter of a man who despises her, her life is forever changed when she is brutally assaulted by her sister's husband, and then rejected by her family. Lindsay is finally forced to face up to her past when she meets S.C. Taylor, a tough ex-cop, turned private investigator and computer troubleshooter. He is hired to protect her; but can he both win her trust and discover who is trying to kill her and why?

The Hostage by Susan Wiggs

October 8, 1871 -- One small spark ignites the entire city of Chicago, sending its residents into panic. But amid the chaos, a chance encounter leads to an unexpected new love. Unaware of the fire sweeping toward them, Deborah Sinclair confronts her wealthy, powerful father, determined to refuse the society marriage he has arranged for her. Suddenly, out of the smoke and flames, a stranger appears -- gun in hand, intent on avenging an unforgivable crime. As fire consumes the elegant mansion, the ruthless man takes the fragile, sheltered heiress hostage.


The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard

Team leader Levi, call sign Ace, doesn’t have much confidence in Jina—who he dubbed Babe as soon as he heard her raspy, sexy voice—making it through the rigors of training. The last thing he needs is some tech geek holding them back from completing a dangerous, covert operation. In the following months, however, no one is more surprised than he when Babe, who hates to sweat, begins to thrive in her new environment, displaying a grit and courage that wins her the admiration of her hardened, battle-worn teammates.

True Believer by Nicholas Sparks

Jeremy Marsh is the ultimate New Yorker: handsome, almost always dressed in black, and part of the media elite. An expert on debunking the supernatural with a regular column in Scientific American, he's just made his first appearance on national TV. When he receives a letter from the tiny town of Boone Creek, North Carolina, about ghostly lights that appear in a legend-shrouded cemetery, he can't resist driving down to investigate. Here, in this tightly knit community, Lexie Darnell runs the town's library, just as her mother did before the accident that left Lexie an orphan


The Sweetest Thing by Jill Shalvis

Tara has a thousand good reasons not to return to the little coastal town of Lucky Harbor, Washington. Yet with her life doing a major crash-and-burn, anywhere away from her unfulfilled dreams and sexy ex-husband will do. As Tara helps her two sisters get their newly renovated inn up and running, she finally has a chance to get things under control and come up with a new plan for her life. But a certain tanned, green-eyed sailor has his own ideas, such as keeping Tara hot, bothered…

The Water Keeper by Charles Martin

Murphy Shepherd is a man with many secrets. He lives alone on an island, tending the grounds for a church with no parishioners, and he’s dedicated his life to rescuing those in peril. But as he mourns the loss of his mentor and friend, Murph himself may be more lost than he realizes. When he pulls a beautiful woman named Summer out of Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway, Murph’s mission to lay his mentor to rest at the end of the world takes a dangerous turn. 


The Somerset Girls by Lori Foster

When they’re running the animal-rescue farm they inherited from their grandparents, Autumn and Ember Somerset are perfectly in sync. At all other times, not so much. Dependable Autumn would rather curl up with a good book than paint the town red with Ember. After the disaster that was Autumn’s last relationship, it’s pure self-protection. But when her high school crush comes back to town with his adorable young daughter, igniting memories best left forgotten, there’s only one person Autumn can turn to… Beneath Ember’s free-spirited facade is a layer of deep hurt. She’ll gladly nudge Autumn toward a second chance. But risk her own heart? Not likely.


The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancĂ© is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Cross My Heart by Carly Phillips

Lacey Kincaid is a classic New York success story. As the owner of Odd Jobs, she's gone from rags to riches...sort of. Because Lacey's harboring a secret -- she was born Lillian Dumont, and spent her childhood with a silver spoon in her mouth, until the deaths of her wealthy parents and the evil schemes of an abusive uncle forced her to take drastic measures. She'd never planned to return to her former life or her abandoned identity -- but when her childhood sweetheart, Ty, resurfaces and urges her to claim her rightful inheritance, she decides that maybe being the Dumont heiress wouldn't be so bad. Lacey's uncle doesn't see it that way, though -- and he's willing to do anything to stop her.

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

Living her best life means facing the truth: Georgie hasn’t been on a date since, well, ever. Nobody’s asking the town clown out for a night of hot sex, that’s for sure. Maybe if people think she’s having a steamy love affair, they’ll acknowledge she’s not just the “little sister” who paints faces for a living. And who better to help demolish that image than the resident sports star and tabloid favorite?

Check out any of these fun and flirty romances either in print, audio, or ebook from Brooke County Libraries! And let us know any of your favorites too.