Tuesday, March 30, 2021

March 30, 2021 - Staff Reviews


By Harlan Coben
Release Date: March 16, 2021
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

4.5 Stars - Like many, I've waited almost 5 years after the cliffhanger that ended Home and the Myron Bolitar series. Fortunately, this lived up to all my expectations! Win has always been so intriguing and getting his point-of-view, a story all his own was awesome. This, of course, is slightly dark murder mystery laced with plenty of dry humor and twists and turns.

Win's always been one of the many interesting characters in Myron Bolitar's life. But oddly enough, this story is completely separate from that series. I couldn't recommend starting here. Definitely dive into Myron's series first and you won't be disappointed. Win's always been not entirely likable in a surprisingly likable way. He is rich, snobby, pretty self-absorbed, and violent. But he's always been intriguing and getting his perspective of his own life and lifestyle, etc was really fun. He deplores relationships like family and friendship but none-the-less figures out how to navigate them. Plenty of side characters are here to enjoy as well like his assistant Kabir, his father, Ema, grisled FBI man PT, and more.

I admit the only real disappointment was the lack of Myron and his character's circle of friends. Most, if not all, of those loose ends were tied up in Home. But, it still feels like Myron was missing. The plot is dark and twisty of course. With Win's huge, rich family drama is almost has a Southern Gothic vibe to the mystery. Only every now and then are we subjected to sort of dull info dumps. And guessing who did what crimes is sure to leave a few head scratchers. Win's a very skilled investigator who holds nothing back, and it was kind of refreshing how apologetic he is on his search for the truth. He travels easily, trying to blend in always, but sometimes sticking out like a sore thumb. One of the admirable traits of his, though they are somewhat admittedly lacking, is his way of using his resources to avenge or protect those without the same capabilities. All in all, this was a thrilling addition to Harlan Coben's book list. I was disappointed by his new thrillers the past two years but Win definitely reminded me why I'm such a big fan.


Monday, March 29, 2021

March 29, 2021 - New Arrivals

March 29, 2021

Adult Fiction

Assassin’s Strike by Ward Larsen.
"In a Syrian palace, the presidents of Russia and Syria undertake a clandestine meeting. No staff or advisors are permitted in the room. No records are kept. By necessity, however, there are two witnesses: the interpreters. The Russian, Ludmilla Kravchuk, returns to her hotel room burdened by what she has heard. When her Syrian counterpart is murdered before her eyes, Kravchuk fears she is next and goes into hiding in Syria. The CIA gets word of the defection. Desperate to uncover the purpose of the meeting, they task their newest off-the-books operator-legendary assassin David Slaton-to undertake a daring rescue. A thousand miles south, in the lawless reaches of Darfur, a cattle herder and his son stumble upon a deadly cache of chemical weapons. Their horrible deaths are soon uncovered, and evidence ties the tragedy to Slaton's mission. Behind the conspiracy is a shadowed figure: he claims to be the fifth Rashidun of Islam, but his true identity is even more stunning. The spectacular attack he is planning will tear the Middle East apart and return a notorious clan to power. Only one person stands in his way - Slaton. An assassin without peer."-- Provided by publisher.


Amnesty by Aravind Adiga.

Danny--formerly Dhananjaya Rajaratnam--is an illegal immigrant in Sydney, Australia, denied refugee status after he fled from Sri Lanka. Working as a cleaner, living out of a grocery storeroom, for three years he's been trying to create a new identity for himself. And now, with his beloved vegan girlfriend, Sonja, with his hidden accent and highlights in his hair, he is as close as he has ever come to living a normal life. But then one morning, Danny learns a female client of his has been murdered. The deed was done with a knife, at a creek he'd been to with her before; and a jacket was left at the scene, which he believes belongs to another of his clients--a doctor with whom Danny knows the woman was having an affair. Suddenly Danny is confronted with a choice: Come forward with his knowledge about the crime and risk being deported? Or say nothing, and let justice go undone? Over the course of this day, evaluating the weight of his past, his dreams for the future, and the unpredictable, often absurd reality of living invisibly and undocumented, he must wrestle with his conscience and decide if a person without rights still has responsibilities.


Immortal Life: A Soon to Be True Story by Stanley Bing.

Immortal Life. A fantasy. An impossible dream. For now, maybe. But as we speak the moguls of Big Tech are pouring their mountain of wealth into finding a cure for death. Don't tell them they won't succeed. None of these titans is richer than Arthur Vogel. This inventor, tech tycoon, and all-round monster has amassed trillions (with a T) and rules over a corporate empire stretching all the way to Mars. The newest--and most expensive--life extension technology has allowed him to live to 127 years, but time is running out. His last hope to escape the inevitable lies with Gene, a human being specifically created for the purpose of housing Arthur's consciousness. The plan is to discard his used-up old carcass and come to a second life in a young, strong body with all appropriate working parts. But there's a problem: Gene. He may be artificial, but he is a person. And he has other ideas. As Arthur sets off to achieve his goal of world domination, Gene hatches a risky plan of his own. The forces against him are very, very rich, extremely determined, and used to getting what they pay for. The battle between creator and creation is joined as the two minds wrestle for control of one body.


Adult Non-Fiction

The Hope of Glory by Jon Meacham.

For Jon Meacham, as for believers worldwide, the events of Good Friday and Easter reveal essential truths about Christianity. A former vestryman of Trinity Church Wall Street and St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, Meacham delves into that intersection of faith and history in this meditation on the seven phrases Jesus spoke from the cross. Beginning with "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do" and ending with "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit," Meacham captures for the reader how these words epitomize Jesus's message of love, not hate; grace, not rage; and, rather than vengeance, extraordinary mercy. For each saying, Meacham composes an essay on the origins of Christianity and how Jesus's final words created a foundation for oral and written traditions that upended the very order of the world. Writing in a tone more intimate than any of his previous works, Jon Meacham returns us to the moment that transformed Jesus from a historical figure into the proclaimed Son of God, worshiped by billions.


A Man Named Dave by Dave Pelzer.

Dave Pelzer's incredible and inspiring life story has already captured the interest of more than one million readers. A Man Named Dave is the long-awaited conclusion to his trilogy in which he describes how he triumphed over years of physical and emotional abuse from his parents to become a self-accepting and confident adult. Readers of Pelzer's previous two bestsellers await this book--the first of Pelzer's books to be available in hardcover--to learn how he finally confronts his pathologically abusive mother and his neglectful, alcoholic father in an effort to turn a childhood marked by rejection and emotional abuse into an adulthood filled with love and acceptance.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

What is Nintendo? by Gina Shaw. J NF

Founded in 1889, Nintendo started out as a small playing card company in Japan. Though the cards sold well, Nintendo really became popular when it began creating toys in the 1960s, and then became internationally renowned after developing video games and consoles in the 1970s and '80s. After introducing the world to some of the best-known and top-selling video game franchises of all-time, such as Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Animal Crossing, and Pokémon, it's clear to see why Nintendo is beloved by parents as a company that creates nonviolent, family-friendly entertainment for kids.


Caleb & Kate by William Steig. E

When Caleb finds himself transformed into a dog and is unable to tell his wife his true identity, he decides to become her companion.

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

Friday, March 26, 2021

March 26, 2021 - WV Author of the Month

This month Brooke County Libraries are featuring one of our state's most prolific authors - Homer Hickam Jr.

Homer H. Hickam, Jr. was born on February 19, 1943, the second son of Homer and Elsie Hickam, and was raised in Coalwood, West Virginia. He graduated from Big Creek High School in 1960 and from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech) in 1964 with a BS degree in Industrial Engineering. A U.S. Army veteran, Mr. Hickam served as a First Lieutenant in the Fourth Infantry Division in Vietnam in 1967-1968 where he won the Army Commendation and Bronze Star medals. He served six years on active duty, leaving the service with the rank of Captain.

Images courtesy of Wikipedia, Google, and Homer Hickam's webpage.

In 1998, Delacorte Press published Hickam’s second book, Rocket Boys: A Memoir, the story of his life in the little town of Coalwood, West Virginia. It became an instant classic. Rocket Boys has since been translated into eight languages and also released as an abridged audio book and electronic book. Among it’s many honors, it was selected by the New York Times as one of its “Great Books of 1998” and was an alternate “Book-of-the-Month” selection for both the Literary Guild and Doubleday book clubs. Rocket Boys was also nominated by the National Book Critics Circle as Best Biography of 1998. In February, 1999, Universal Studios released its critically-acclaimed film October Sky, based on Rocket Boys (The title October Sky is an anagram of Rocket Boys). Delacorte subsequently released a mass market paperback of Rocket Boys, re-titled October Sky. October Sky reached the New York Times # 1 position on their best-seller list.

The Coalwood Way (2000), a memoir of Mr. Hickam’s hometown he calls “not a sequel but an equal,” was published by Delacorte Press and is available in abridged audio, eBook, large print and Japanese. It was an alternate “Book-of-the-Month” selection for Doubleday book club. His third Coalwood memoir, a true sequel, was published in October 2001. It is titled Sky of Stone (2001).  An associated book about Coalwood was published in 2002, a self help/inspirational tome titled We Are Not Afraid: Strength and Courage from the Town That Inspired the #1 Bestseller and Award-Winning Movie October Sky.

His latest work, published in October, 2015, is the critically acclaimed novel Carrying Albert Home: The Somewhat True Story of a Man, his Wife, and her Alligator

Check out our ebook collection available on WV Reads! Homer Hickam Jr's works are also available at Wellsburg and Follansbee libraries. Let us know some of your favorites or also you've also enjoyed. We love to hear from you in our comment section or on any of our social media pages!


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

March 24, 2021 - Staff Reviews

The Boyfriend Effect 
By Kendall Ryan
Release Date: October 13, 2020
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3.5 Stars - Start to a light, fun new series from Kendall Ryan. Childhood friends Maren and Hayes start out commiserating over their lives and relationships but begin to recognize their feelings for each other quickly. The humor in this one is over the top sometimes here but it's an enjoyable brother's best friend romance. Shout-out to Hayes' grandmother who is a lovely addition.

This series is centered around a "F.R.I.E.N.D.S"-esque group who happen to co-own an erotic toy company. This business isn't front and center but made a contribution to the hot-ness level overall. Fortunately for me, some of the kinkiness that Ryan's used in the past was relatively quiet here. I just don't need all the '50 Shades' games mixed in all my romances. Maren is likable nursing home worker and advocat with a medium confidence level that makes her very relatable. Hayes is an adorable hero, who has a strange commitment problem. He's just not able to really throw his heart into his relationships.

Hayes won me over with his chivalry and sweet bond with his grandmother. I applaud Ryan included seniors in her cast of characters here. Although Rosie and Don's budding romance on the side was a bit much for me personally. But I never like when a short book has side couples also going through their dating life, just a preference. Holly was one character that was a week point for the story, introduced for some potential other-woman controversy and a bit ridiculous. The sexiness level is on-par with most of Ryan's other novels and not for the readers who prefer a clean romance. By the time the book was ending, it did wish it wasn't over just yet, like we could have gotten more chapters out of this couple. That said, the rest of the series can be looked forward to, probably Maren's curious and quiet brother Wolfe is a worthy next hero.



Monday, March 22, 2021

March 22, 2021 - New Arrivals

March 22, 2021

Adult Fiction

Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde.

Brooke is a divorced single mom, financially strapped, living with her mother, and holding tight to the one thing that matters most: her two-year-old daughter Etta. Then, in a matter of seconds, Brooke's life is shattered when she's carjacked. Helpless and terrified, all Brooke can do is watch as Etta, still strapped in her seat, disappears into the Los Angeles night. Miles away, Etta is found by Molly, a homeless teen who is all too used to darkness ... As unpredictable as her life is, she's stunned to find Etta, abandoned and alone. Shielding the little girl from more than the elements, Molly must put herself in harm's way to protect a child as lost as she is.


Davey’s Daughter by Linda Byler.

Sarah Beiler grows increasingly concerned about Ashley, her friend who also works at the farmers market. Ashley acts strange, even nervous, when anyone talks about the rash of fires. When Sarah asks her what she knows, Ashley only heightens Sarah's suspicions. But that not Sarah's only trouble. She remains distracted by Matthew Stoltzfus, who says that God is calling him to leave the Amish community. When he begs her to join him, Sarah's heart is torn in two.


All Out War by Sean Parnell.

Badly injured while stopping a rogue agent from obtaining weapons of mass destruction, elite warrior Eric Steele is drawn back into service before he's ready when unknown assailants break into his home near Pittsburgh, injuring his mother and stealing his father's pistol. An Alpha--an elite soldier under the direct command of the president of the United States--Steele is hell-bent on finding the attackers and bringing them to justice. While tracking his foe, Steele discovers he's become entangled in a far more sinister plan that's already been set in motion. A terrorist named Zakayev, once locked away in a maximum-security prison in Russia, has escaped and joined forces with Hassan Sitta, a man who's shown his prowess and ingenuity with a spectacular bomb planted somewhere in the Middle East that hasn't been ignited--and no one can find. But that is only the beginning of a horrifying plan that, if it succeeds, will shatter international alliances and bring the world to the brink of war. Now, the hunted must turn the tables on the hunter--Steele must find a way to stay alive and stop Zakayev before innocent lives are lost.


Adult Non-Fiction

Fireside Folklore of West Virginia Vol. 4 by Sherri Brake.

Fireside Folklore of West Virginia, Volume 4 features 24 chapters of ghost stories, both old and new, folklore, haunted locations and Appalachian strangeness. Journey with paranormal researcher, Sherri Brake as she takes you thru the woods, into old buildings, across the valleys and ancient lands that make up the Mountain State.


The Ultimate Book of West Virginia Lists by Rick Steelhammer.

Much has happened in the Mountain State since Sutton bookseller Richard C. Weigen and his New Jersey friend and crime writer, Gerald Tomlinson, produced the first The West Virginia Book of Lists in 1994. The state has produced a new generation of noteworthy actors, athletes and authors, and built an abundance of new buildings, bridges and businesses. There has also been a new series of high-profile crimes, natural disasters, mining explosions and political scandals. Some things never change, like the longest rivers, biggest lakes, highest peaks and towns with odd names including Odd in Raleigh County.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong. YA

The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery. A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang--a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette's first love...and first betrayal. But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns--and grudges--aside and work together, for if they can't stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.


The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen. YA GN

Real life isn't a fairytale. But Tiến still enjoys reading his favorite stories with his parents from the books he borrows from the local library. It's hard enough trying to communicate with your parents as a kid, but for Tiến, he doesn't even have the right words because his parents are struggling with their English. Is there a Vietnamese word for what he's going through? Is there a way to tell them he's gay? A beautifully illustrated story by Trung Le Nguyen that follows a young boy as he tries to navigate life through fairytales, an instant classic that shows us how we are all connected. The Magic Fish tackles tough subjects in a way that accessible with readers of all ages, and teaches us that no matter what--we can all have our own happy endings.

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

Friday, March 19, 2021

March 19, 2021 - Staff Reviews

Waiting on a Cowboy
By Jennifer Ryan
Release Date: August 18, 2020
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3 Stars - A satisfying little suspense thriller, my first read from Ryan. The plot's solid with Liz finally trying to find love outside her relationship with her best friend Tate, a rancher and part time womanizer. Her new boyfriend turns into a stalker and things get dicey. I was intrigued from the beginning but I can't say this book truly hooked me.

Ryan's writing style was good but not great for me. The dialouge and settings were a bit flat. I didn't really feel I was reading a western or a small town romance. Liz was sweet and determined, down to earth as she likes beer and tv. Her job and her home were sort of vague, but she's blessed with good friends and family. Her flaw seems to be that she's impulsive at the worst times, jumping into a relationship with Clint and bumping into him later. Tate is discovering his true feelings for Liz while trying to keep her safe.

This wasn't a short romance but I read it quickly, which is both good and bad. The stalker storyline is well executed, never going dull and never fading into the background. The whole dirty video thing didn't work for me. The issue becomes Clint never really became scary. He was wild enough the cops should have had evidence way earlier. The romance was sweet instead of hot here with a few steamy scenes. But for reading about childhood friends, I would have expected a few more fond, descriptive memories for context. There was a lot of telling, not showing. Tate and Liz both just needed a bit more boring day sides of their personality. I felt their connection but not much for each of them as individuals. This is an easy read, probably best suited to fans of Lori Wilde and Jill Sanders.


Thursday, March 18, 2021

March 18, 2021 - A Book & A Recipe

Brooke County Libraries are excited to share this month's recipe that is great for any time of year. This Baked Hot Chocolate dish was featured in The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs.

It’s crucial to use the best quality chocolate you can find. Don’t put anything in this dessert you wouldn’t eat directly. And don’t overbake. You want a delicate crust on top of a warm, silken interior.

9 ounces of dark chocolate semi-sweet chopped

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes

4 eggs

1 / 4 Cup of sugar

Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream to taste


Whisk eggs and sugar together in a mixing bowl, then set the bowl over simmering water and stir constantly until warm to the touch.

Remove from heat. Beat egg mix with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Fold eggs mix into chocolate mix.

Spoon batter into cups.

Add enough hot water to baking pan to come halfway up sides of cups.

Bake until tops lose their glossy finish, about 15 minutes

Serve warm or at room temp with a scoop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. 

Doesn't it sound amazing? Be sure to let us know if you try it out! Also check out the ebook and more on WV Reads. 


Note: Images and info courtesy of Google and WV Reads.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

March 16, 2021 - Staff Reviews

Still Knife Painting
By Cheryl Hollon
Release Date: June 30, 2020
Audiobook Available from WV Reads!

1.5 Stars - I just couldn't finish this. The writing was not awful and of the other reviews I glanced over, the majority enjoyed it. I didn't like Myranda and her POV is the only one. Plus, I was really looking forward to a cozy mystery set in Appalachia with maybe a little extra grit and atmosphere and it was clear that was not to be.

The basis of this book is heavily in the blurb. There's more detail about Myranda's business woes and painting methods, etc. than there is clever dialouge or enjoyable quirkiness. Hollon is not a new author so I think her style just does not suit me. And Courtney Patterson's voice performance came off dull as dishwater, though she did fairly well with the accents. The Mid South is a tough settings to really capture as it's definitely not the North or the Deep South. Myranda's lack of real hometown affection or roots came through much clearer than her fondness for her uncle's property. 

Myranda could be a little judgey, which is fine with me even if I'm relating to the mocked, less than the mocker. But it has to be funny, not touchy opinions. A few things really kept me from being able to finish this. I find painting boring (but art lovers will probably appreciate the finer details of painting class and locations more than I do.) We don't refer to any hillside in the mountains as a "cliff". I hail from West Virginia so I know. Hollon's bio suggests she's lived and worked all over the world and is based in Florida so likely her other settings work better. This was obviously just mismatch between my expectations and the author's writing skill set. If you like an art-themed cozy starring a shy heroine with minimal swearing and light on the romance, this short novel will probably entertain you. If you're hoping for a Kentucky girl like Stephanie Plum, I'd say to pass on this book.


Monday, March 15, 2021

March 15, 2021 - New Arrivals

March 15, 2021

Adult Fiction

Murder in the East End by Jennifer Ashley.

“When young cook Kat Holloway learns that the children of London's Foundling Hospital are mysteriously disappearing and one of their nurses has been murdered, she can't turn away. She enlists the help of her charming and enigmatic confidant Daniel McAdam, who has ties to Scotland Yard, and Errol Fielding, a disreputable man from Daniel's troubled past, to bring the killer to justice. Their investigation takes them from the grandeur of Mayfair to the slums of the East End, during which Kat learns more about Daniel and his circumstances than she ever could have imagined."-- Provided by publisher.


Cobble Hill by Cecily Von Ziegesar.

Navigating private spats and embarrassing secrets in their upscale Brooklyn neighborhood, four families seek purpose and meaningful relationships until a raucous party combusts in a maelstrom of ego clashes, taboo desires, and hidden cameras.


Texas Proud by Diana Palmer.

Before he testifies in an important case, businessman Michael 'Mikey' Fiore hides out in Jacobsville, Texas. On a rare night out, he crosses paths with softly beautiful Bernadette, who seems burdened with her own secrets. He hears whispers about a life-threatening condition, her solitary existence. This doesn't stop him from wanting her, which endangers them both. Their bond grows into passion--until shocking truths surface.


Adult Non-Fiction

The Builders by Joseph Fort Newton.

This history and account of Freemasonry explains the origins of the Masonic tradition, the gathering of Masons in Lodges, and the rituals, philosophies and secret doctrines practiced in this centuries-old order. Joseph Fort Newton composed and published this manual at the direction of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Iowa. In seeking to dispel myths, fancies and misconceptions about the Masons, the Iowan Lodge permitted the author full access to their libraries and collections of relevant lore. Once the final draft was completed and reviewed, the Masters approved this work, which is intended to give accurate information to young men who are considering joining the Masonic Order. Through Newton's narrative, we discover the rich symbolism and ideals that the Masons aspire to. Their philosophical ideas, the concept of a fraternal bond between Freemasons, and the various rituals of admission and advancement in rank are detailed. Owing to the author's direct access to various texts used in the Masonic Lodges, the chapters are authoritative and detailed. The beginnings of Freemasonry and development of their traditions are related, with Newton's work being a story as well as a cogent exploration of a system of morality shrouded in the symbolism of tools.


Boys & Sex by Peggy Orenstein.

Peggy Orenstein's Girls & Sex broke ground, shattered taboos, and launched conversations about young women's right to pleasure and agency in sexual encounters. It also had an unexpected effect on its author: Orenstein realized that talking about girls is only half the conversation. Boys are subject to the same cultural forces as girls--steeped in the same distorted media images and binary stereotypes of female sexiness and toxic masculinity--which equally affect how they navigate sexual and emotional relationships. In Boys & Sex, Peggy Orenstein dives back into the lives of young people to once again give voice to the unspoken, revealing how young men understand and negotiate the new rules of physical and emotional intimacy. Drawing on comprehensive interviews with young men, psychologists, academics, and experts in the field, Boys & Sex dissects so-called locker room talk; how the word "hilarious" robs boys of empathy; pornography as the new sex education; boys' understanding of hookup culture and consent; and their experience as both victims and perpetrators of sexual violence. By surfacing young men's experience in all its complexity, Orenstein is able to unravel the hidden truths, hard lessons, and important realities of young male sexuality in today's world. The result is a provocative and paradigm-shifting work that offers a much-needed vision of how boys can truly move forward as better men.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee by Tom Angleberger. J

With Dwight attending Tippett Academy this semester, the kids of McQuarrie Middle School are on their own--no Origami Yoda to give advice and help them navigate the treacherous waters of middle school. Then Sara gets a gift she says is from Dwight--a paper fortune-teller in the form of Chewbacca. It's a Fortune Wookiee, and it seems to give advice that's just as good as Yoda's--even if, in the hands of the girls, it seems too preoccupied with romance. In the meantime, Dwight is fitting in a little too well at Tippett. Has the unimaginable happened? Has Dwight become normal? It's up to his old friends at McQuarrie to remind their kooky friend that it's in his weirdness that his greatness lies.


Invisible Differences by Julie Dachez. YA GN

Meet Marguerite. She feels awkward, struggling every day to stay productive at work and keep up appearances with friends. She's sensitive, irritable at times. She makes her environment a fluffy, comforting cocoon, alienating her boyfriend. The everyday noise and stimuli assaults her senses, the constant chatter of her coworkers working her last nerve. Then, when one big fight with her boyfriend finds her frustrated and dejected, Marguerite finally investigates the root of her discomfort: after a journey of tough conversations with her loved ones, doctors, and the internet, she discovers that she has Aspergers. Her life is profoundly changed - for the better.

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

Thursday, March 11, 2021

March 11, 2021 - BCPL Resume Tips

Welcome to this month's edition of Brooke County Libraries Resume Tips! 

Tip #5 - Don't be afraid to brag!

Your resume is going to be one of many, remember that. And in this increasing digital age, you may look like just another attachment on an email. So it's important to make yourself stand out.

It's easier that we think to give ourselves a subtle shoutout. Include your accomplishments and awards, certificate completions, and projects assisting your former boss! 

Did you help your coworkers? Maybe trained newbies?
Did you review data or actions and make recommendations?
What would you have included in your spoken interview or even in your last yearly evaluation?

As long as you don't bog down your one page document with extra details like it's a storybook. Don't hold back on your triumphs. They may be what sets you apart from other candidates!


Wednesday, March 10, 2021

March 10, 2021 - Staff Reviews


Dead Watch
By John Sandford
Release Date: April 24, 2007
Audiobook Available from WV Reads!

3 Stars - My interest clicking on with this book took awhile, possibly in part because of the narration and/or the writing style of Sandford. This was a fast, fairly short political thriller set in the dark pool of Washington D.C scandals and murders. The good news, bad news situation with this story is that it has everything you're expecting from it. An everyday hero gets swept into a shady cover up, sorta saves damsels in distress, and sounds cool doing it all.

Sandford is a staple in the thriller and mystery reader community but this odd standalone was my first of his. His main character here is Jake Winter who has a vague yet specialized background. He was special forces, now is sort of a fixer/investigator. He ends up on the casing of a missing senator in an election year. Also the senator happens to have a hot wife in name only who is also brilliant. I liked Maddie well enough but their relationship was a bit unoriginal. I should mention I like Ferrone as a narrator, but I'm just not sure he fit well here. His voice is a bit monotone and Sandford's writing is simplistic and at times redundant.

This is a better murder mystery than political thriller in my opinion. It reminded me a lot of Josepher Finder's Guilty Minds that I read not long ago. But I liked the political and journalism sides of that one more, less the mystery. As I said, you probably get exactly what you expect here. Our hero is a smart, stable, and skilled "anti" politician. He deals with the gory-ish, violent crimes, beautiful and mysterious women, sex scandals, possible anagrams, secret suicides, and the ill behaved media. The statement dropped about the news media's perchant for speculation over facts (from 2006!) was hilarious. The plot rolls along with anyone crossing the mysterious bad guys getting hurt as they search for the truth. The Watchmen concept was creepy too! They were probably one of the more memorable aspects. The last two hours or so were the highlight for me. Overall, it's fun and quick audiobook when looking for a mystery of medium intensity.


Tuesday, March 9, 2021

March 9, 2021 - Book Club Preview

Brooke County Libraries are excited to feature our March Book Club Pick for 2021. The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman. 

Our meeting will be held and available virtually Thursday March 25th. We welcome our your ideas and remarks on the book in our comment section below as well as our social media pages. 

Over five years in the writing, The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman's most ambitious and mesmerizing novel, a tour de force of imagination and research, set in ancient Israel.


In 70 C.E., nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic and iconic event, Hoffman's novel is a spellbinding tale of four extraordinarily bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom has come to Masada by a different path. Yael's mother died in childbirth, and her father, an expert assassin, never forgave her for that death. Revka, a village baker's wife, watched the horrifically brutal murder of her daughter by Roman soldiers; she brings to Masada her young grandsons, rendered mute by what they have witnessed. Aziza is a warrior's daughter, raised as a boy, a fearless rider and an expert marksman who finds passion with a fellow soldier. Shirah, born in Alexandria, is wise in the ways of ancient magic and medicine, a woman with uncanny insight and power. 


The lives of these four complex and fiercely independent women intersect in the desperate days of the siege. All are dovekeepers, and all are also keeping secrets - about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and whom they love

Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including The World That We Knew, The Rules of Magic, The Marriage of Opposites, Practical Magic, The Red Garden, the Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on Earth, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, and The Dovekeepers. Her most recent novel is Magic Lessons. She lives near Boston. 

Images and info courtesy of Google, Goodreads.


Monday, March 8, 2021

March 8, 2021 - New Arrivals

March 8, 2021

Adult Fiction

Bloodline by Jess Lourey.

In a tale inspired by real events, pregnant journalist Joan Harken is cautiously excited to follow her fiancé back to his Minnesota hometown. After spending a childhood on the move and chasing the screams and swirls of news-rich city life, she's eager to settle down. Lilydale's motto, "Come Home Forever," couldn't be more inviting. And yet, something is off in the picture-perfect village. The friendliness borders on intrusive. Joan can't shake the feeling that every move she makes is being tracked. An archaic organization still seems to hold the town in thrall. So does the sinister secret of a little boy who vanished decades ago. And unless Joan is imagining things, a frighteningly familiar figure from her past is on watch in the shadows. Her fiancé tells her she's being paranoid. He might be right. Then again, she might have moved to the deadliest small town on earth.


Have You Seen Me? by Kate White.

The key to her missing memories could bring relief--or unlock her worst nightmares. On a cold, rainy morning, finance journalist Ally Linden arrives soaked to the bone at her Manhattan office, only to find that she's forgotten her keycard. When her boss shows, he's shocked to see her--because, he explains, she hasn't worked there in five years. Ally knows her name, but is having trouble coming up with much beyond that, though after a trip to the psychiatric ER, she begins to piece together important facts: she lives on the Upper West Side; she's now a freelance journalist; she's married to a terrific man named Hugh. More memories materialize and yet she still can't recall anything about the previous two days. Diagnosed as having experienced a dissociative state, she starts to wonder if it may have been triggered by something she saw--an accident, or worse--or if a trauma from her childhood has risen to the surface. Desperate for answers, Ally tries to track where she spent the missing days, but every detail she unearths points to an explanation that's increasingly ominous, and it's clear someone wants to prevent her from learning where those forty-eight hours went. In order to uncover the truth, Ally must dig deep into the secrets of her past--and outsmart the person who seems determined to silence her.


Cross Her Heart by Melinda Leigh.

For more than 25 years, Philadelphia homicide detective Bree Taggert has tucked away the nightmarish childhood memories of her parents' murder-suicide ... Until her younger sister, Erin, is killed in a crime that echoes that tragic night - innocent witnesses and a stormy marriage that ended in gunfire. There's just one chilling difference. Erin's husband, Justin, has vanished. Bree knows how explosive the line between love and hate can be, yet the evidence against her troubled brother-in-law isn't adding up. Teaming up with Justin's old friend, former sheriff's investigator and K-9 handler Matt Flynn, Bree vows to uncover the secrets of her sister's life and death, as she promised Erin's children. But as her investigation unfolds, the danger hits close to home. Once again, Bree's family is caught in a death grip. And this time, it could be fatal for her.


Adult Non-Fiction

Keep Sharp by Sanjay Gupta, MD.

Throughout our life, we look for ways to keep our mind sharp and effortlessly productive. Now, globetrotting neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta offers insights from top scientists all over the world, whose cutting-edge research can help you heighten and protect brain function and maintain cognitive health at any age. Keep Sharp debunks common myths about aging and cognitive decline, explores whether there's a "best" diet or exercise regimen for the brain, and explains whether it's healthier to play video games that test memory and processing speed, or to engage in more social interaction. Discover what we can learn from "super-brained" people who are in their eighties and nineties with no signs of slowing down--and whether there are truly any benefits to drugs, supplements, and vitamins. Dr. Gupta also addresses brain disease, particularly Alzheimer's, answers all your questions about the signs and symptoms, and shows how to ward against it and stay healthy while caring for a partner in cognitive decline. He likewise provides you with a personalized twelve-week program featuring practical strategies to strengthen your brain every day.


Take Heart by Grace P. Cho & Anna E. Rendell.

"In this world you will have trouble," Jesus said. "But take heart, I have overcome the world." If life hasn't turned out the way you planned, you're not alone. Cancer comes. Loved ones die. Spouses leave. Dreams slip through our fingers. Anxiety and depression steal precious seasons. But what if you knew you weren't alone in your pain, and sorrow isn't in the end of the story? In this 100-day devotional, the (in)courage community comes alongside you when your heart is grieving, your faith is shaking, or it's just one of those mundane hard days. In these vulnerable stories, you won't find tidy bows or trite quick fixes, but you will find arrows pointing you straight to Jesus. Each day includes a key Scripture, a heartening devotion, and a prayer to remind you that God is near and hope is possible. Let this book be like a trusted friend, wrapping your heart with comfort and assurance that you are seen. Together we can find ourselves and God again in one another's stories. Together we can take heart!


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

The Little Red Hen by Lucinda McQueen. E

The little red hen finds none of her lazy friends willing to help her plant, harvest, or grind wheat into flour, but all are eager to eat the bread she makes from it.


Fossils Tell of Long Ago by Aliki. J NF

What is a fossil? Sometimes it's the imprint of an ancient leaf in a rock. Or it could be the skeleton of a dinosaur that has turned to stone. With clear prose and lovely, full-color illustrations, award-winning author and illustrator Aliki describes the different ways fossils are formed and what they tell us about life on Earth long ago. This book also includes an activity guide so kids can create their own fossils for someone to find a million years from now.

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

Thursday, March 4, 2021

March 4, 2021 - Staff Reviews

The Hook Up
By Kristen Ashley
Release Date: December 19, 2017
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3 Stars - Wordy but heartfelt first in a series featuring two quirky sisters. Ashley's rambling prose is here as always but doesn't flow as well as other novels. Izzy was a cute heroine but not the easiest to connect with, in my opinion. Johnny's a hero trying to turn around his love life. Great for insta-love romance fans but a bit much for those who want more.

I think this book fell short of my expectations because Ashley has done all the things here better in other books. Izzy is an enjoyable heroine but her personality and lifestyle was a bit all over the place. She was a girly girl but she was also a farm girl and a working girl with an impressive office job. Johnny was a great hero of course, perhaps his best moments were telling Izzy about the kind of guy he was. I definitely could have done without his backstory heartbreak. That's just me but I didn't need the ex-girlfriend, father, and dog drama to make him sensitive.

Also Izzy's Kentucky home didn't feel all that different than say the Colorado home in "Play It Safe". No one really spoke with an accent, mentioned weather, or even had moonshine around. Something to distinguish this series more would have added a lot for relatively little. The messy scene with Addie and her ex and Toby also rubbed me the wrong way. It felt like such an obvious string of plugs for the next book. And almost overshadowed Johnny and Izzy at moments. I did like the sister relationship of quiet support. Deanna and Charlie were cool side characters, along with Izzy's menagerie of pets. A little excitement and suspense toward the end was a nice touch but might have been a little too late. Plenty of Ashley trademarks for long time fans and a satisfying story. While it's the first in a series, I wouldn't recommend trying this novel of hers first.


Wednesday, March 3, 2021

March 3, 2021 - Do You Feel Lucky?

Some books have all the luck!

Brooke County Libraries are excited to share a list of "luckiest" books for the month of March 2021. 

Also feel free to check some out and let us know what you think! We love to hear your thoughts in our comment section or on one of our social media pages. All titles are available either as Ebooks or at one of our locations.

McKettrick's Luck by Linda Lael Miller

A new generation of McKettrick men stake claim to their land -- and the women they love . . . Like his celebrated ancestors who tamed the wilds of Arizona, Jesse McKettrick's Indian Rock ties run deep. The triple M Ranch is in his blood, along with the thrill of risk. But with his land at stake, Jesse won't get involved in Cheyenne Bridge's scheme -- despite the temptation she brings.

So Damn Lucky by Deborah Coonts

Lucky O’Toole—Head of Customer Relations at The Babylon, premier mega-resort on the Vegas Strip—thinks it’s just another night in Las Vegas. But then a magician pulls a disappearing act, right under Lucky’s nose. Is it a stunt? Or something worse?

Lucky Shot by BJ Daniels

When hotshot reporter Max Malone gets a rare shot of Buckmaster Hamilton with a blonde woman near Beartooth, Montana, he chases down one of the senator's daughters to verify that the woman is his supposedly long-dead first wife. But Kat Hamilton won't give him the time of day, let alone any information about her mother.

Somewhere Between Luck and Trust by Emilie Richards

Cristy Haviland served eight months in prison, giving birth behind bars to the child of the man who put her there and might yet destroy her. Now she's free again, but what does that mean? As smart as she is, a learning disability has kept her from learning to read. And that's the least of her hurdles. Georgia Ferguson, talented educator, receives a mysterious charm bracelet that may help her find the mother who abandoned her at birth. Does she want to follow the clues, and if she does, can reticent Georgia reach out for help along the way? Both women are standing at a crossroads, a place where unlikely unions can be formed.

The Cavendon Luck by Barbara Taylor Bradford

It is 1938 in England, and Miles and Cecily Ingham have lead the family in bringing the Cavendon estate back from the brink of disaster. But now, with the arrival of World War II, Cavendon Hall will face its biggest challenge yet. It is a challenge that will push the Inghams and Swanns to protect each other and the villagers, and reveal their true capacity for survival and rebirth.

Good Luck with That by Kristan Higgins

Emerson, Georgia, and Marley have been best friends ever since they met at a weight-loss camp as teens. When Emerson tragically passes away, she leaves one final wish for her best friends: to conquer the fears they still carry as adults. For each of them, that means something different.

Lucky Penny by Catherine Anderson
To support her orphaned niece, impoverished Brianna O'Keefe accepts work with a Colorado rancher. To guard herself from the unwanted attention, she resorts to a harmless little lie: that she's married to a Denver gold miner named David Paxton. When her boss forces her to write her "husband," hoping he'll take Brianna off his hands, she can only pray that there is no real David Paxton who can expose her.

Lucky You by Carl Hiaasen

Virtually unnoticed, JoLayne Lucks stops by the Grab'n'Go to play the same numbers she's played every week for five years. Each lotto number marking the age at which she dumped a tiresome lover. She doesn't know it yet, but the discarded men in JoLayne's life have finally amounted to something.


Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child

From a helicopter high above the empty California desert, a man is sent free-falling into the night…. In Chicago, a woman learns that an elite team of ex–army investigators is being hunted down one by one.... And on the streets of Portland, Jack Reacher—soldier, cop, hero—is pulled out of his wandering life by a code that few other people could understand. From the first shocking scenes in Lee Child’s explosive new novel, Jack Reacher is plunged like a knife into the heart of a conspiracy that is killing old friends…and is on its way to something even worse.

The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks

When U.S. Marine Logan Thibault finds a photograph of a smiling young woman half-buried in the dirt during his third tour of duty in Iraq, his first instinct is to toss it aside. Instead, he brings it back to the base for someone to claim, but when no one does, he finds himself always carrying the photo in his pocket. Soon Thibault experiences a sudden streak of luck—winning poker games and even surviving deadly combat that kills two of his closest buddies. Only his best friend, Victor, seems to have an explanation for his good fortune: the photograph—his lucky charm.

Lucky Us by Amy Bloom
Brilliantly written, deeply moving, fantastically funny, Lucky Us introduces us to Eva and Iris. Disappointed by their families, Iris, the hopeful star, and Eva, the sidekick, journey across 1940s America in search of fame and fortune. Iris's ambitions take them from small-town Ohio to an unexpected and sensuous Hollywood, across the America of Reinvention in a stolen station wagon, to the jazz clubs and golden mansions of Long Island.

The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick

A funny and tender story about family, friendship, grief, acceptance, and Richard Gere—an entertaining and inspiring tale that will leave you pondering the rhythms of the universe and marveling at the power of kindness and love. For thirty-eight years, Bartholomew Neil has lived with his mother. When she gets sick and dies, he has no idea how to be on his own. His redheaded grief counselor, Wendy, says he needs to find his flock and leave the nest.