Thursday, April 29, 2021

April 29, 2021 - Staff Reviews

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, April 28, 2021

April 28, 2021 - WV Author of the Month

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

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

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

About Jo from Jo...

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

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

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

Monday, April 26, 2021

April 26, 2021 - New Arrivals

April 26, 2021

Adult Fiction

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly.

On a September day in Manhattan in 1939, twenty-something Caroline Ferriday is consumed by her efforts to secure the perfect boutonniere for an important French diplomat and resisting the romantic advances of a married actor. Meanwhile across the Atlantic, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish Catholic teenager, is nervously anticipating the changes that are sure to come since Germany has declared war on Poland. As tensions rise abroad - and in her personal life - Caroline's interest in aiding the war effort in France grows and she eventually comes to hear about the dire situation at the Ravensbruck all-female concentration camp. At the same time, Kasia's carefree youth is quickly slipping away, only to be replaced by a fervor for the Polish resistance movement. Through Ravensbruck - and the horrific atrocities taking place there told in part by an infamous German surgeon, Herta Oberheuser - the two women's lives will converge in unprecedented ways and a novel of redemption and hope emerges that is breathtaking in scope and depth.

Someone Like Me by M. R. Carey.

Liz Kendall wouldn't hurt a fly. Even when times get tough, she's devoted to bringing up her two kids in a loving home. But there's another side to Liz -- one that's dark and malicious. She will do anything to get her way, no matter how extreme. And when this other side of her takes control, the consequences are devastating.

Greenwood by Michael Christie.

It's 2038 and Jacinda (Jake) Greenwood is a storyteller and a liar, an overqualified tour guide babysitting ultra-rich vacationers in one of the world's last remaining forests. It's 2008 and Liam Greenwood is a carpenter, sprawled on his back after a workplace fall, calling out from the concrete floor of an empty mansion. It's 1974 and Willow Greenwood is out of jail, free after being locked up for one of her endless series of environmental protests: attempts at atonement for the sins of her father's once vast and violent timber empire. It's 1934 and Everett Greenwood is alone, as usual, in his maple-syrup camp squat, when he hears the cries of an abandoned infant and gets tangled up in the web of a crime, secrets, and betrayal that will cling to his family for decades.


Adult Non-Fiction

The Unofficial Disney Parks Cookbook by Ashley Craft.

Stroll right down the middle of Main Street USA, journey from Adventureland to Infinity and Beyond at Pixar Pier, and explore every avenue in between to taste the flavors of the Disney Parks...all without leaving your kitchen. With The Unofficial Disney Parks Cookbook you can bring the magic of Disneyland and Walt Disney World snacks and treats right to your home. Recreate favorites like the classic Dole Whip and Mickey Pretzels to new favorites like blue milk from Star Wars land and Jack Jack's Cookie Num Nums from Pixar Pier. These 100 recipes inspired by iconic yummies are perfect whether you are a forever Disney fan or just love a good snack. Now you can feel as if you shared a snack with Mickey himself right from the comfort of your own home!

Just Us by Claudia Rankine.

As everyday white supremacy becomes increasingly vocalized with no clear answers at hand, how best might we approach one another? Claudia Rankine, without telling us what to do, urges us to begin the discussions that might open pathways through this divisive and stuck moment in American history. Just Us is an invitation to discover what it takes to stay in the room together, even and especially in breaching the silence, guilt, and violence that follow direct addresses of whiteness. Rankine's questions disrupt the false comfort of our culture's liminal and private spaces--the airport, the theater, the dinner party, the voting booth--where neutrality and politeness live on the surface of differing commitments, beliefs, and prejudices as our public and private lives intersect. This brilliant arrangement of essays, poems, and images includes the voices and rebuttals of others: white men in first class responding to, and with, their white male privilege; a friend's explanation of her infuriating behavior at a play; and women confronting the political currency of dying their hair blond, all running alongside fact-checked notes and commentary that complements Rankine's own text, complicating notions of authority and who gets the last word.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

A Wild Winter Swan by Gregory Maguire.  YA

Following her brother's death and her mother's emotional breakdown, Laura now lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, in a lonely townhouse she shares with her old-world, strict, often querulous grandparents. But the arrangement may be temporary. The quiet, awkward teenager has been getting into trouble at home and has been expelled from her high school for throwing a record album at a popular girl who bullied her. When Christmas is over and the new year begins, Laura may find herself at boarding school in Montreal. Nearly unmoored from reality through her panic and submerged grief, Laura is startled when a handsome swan boy with only one wing lands on her roof. Hiding him from her ever-bickering grandparents, Laura tries to build the swan boy a wing so he can fly home. But the task is too difficult to accomplish herself. Little does Laura know that her struggle to find help for her new friend parallels that of her grandparents, who are desperate for a distant relative's financial aid to save the family store.

Twins by Varian Johnson & Shannon Wright.  J GN

Maureen and Francine Carter are twins and best friends. They participate in the same clubs, enjoy the same foods, and are partners on all their school projects. But just before the girls start sixth grade, Francine becomes Fran -- a girl who wants to join the chorus, run for class president, and dress in fashionable outfits that set her apart from Maureen. A girl who seems happy to share only two classes with her sister! Maureen and Francine are growing apart and there's nothing Maureen can do to stop it. Are sisters really forever? Or will middle school change things for good?

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

Friday, April 23, 2021

April 23, 2021 - Staff Reviews


Thick as Thieves
By Sandra Brown
Release Date: August 25, 2020
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

2 Stars - Lukewarm thriller from Sandra Brown featuring tragic heroine Arden and grisled hero Ledge. While I was hoping for a tense Southern Gothic mystery with a sultry touch, I found myself struggling to get immersed in this flat, cold albeit spooky story. Neither half of this couple is really relatable or likable, and sadly the plot wasn't very exciting. Brown's writing style is sharp as ever though.

I'm not the most contemporary of contemporary romance readers. I've whiled away hours reading oldies but goodies by Anne Stuart and Linda Howard. At times, the hero almost mean and the heroine can be aloof or brisk. Sandra Brown is hit and miss for me, from her "classics" to her modern thrillers but I've seldom had such trouble getting into her books. For the first quarter, all we know about Arden is that she had a terrible miscarriage. And we know Ledge went to juvy and then served in the Army. I couldn't feel anything resembling a connection, outside of Arden's fraying relationship with her older sister Lisa.

The house is what brings these two together. And I would have hoped for some real Southern charm here but my head kept picturing it like a haunted mansion from Scooby Doo. It takes too long to get to any real information or intriguing pieces/scenes. There's no action, no danger in the beginning. Never the less, every chapter tries to end on a cliffhanger, a teasing bit of foreshadowing. The flashbacks didn't add much interest either, being we barely know these people and they barely know each other. If a reader can hang with this, ready for the juicy backstory to reveal itself or just genuienely enjoy Brown's writing style, it may be more worth the significant page-count. 


Thursday, April 22, 2021

April 22, 2021 - A Book & A Recipe

This month's Dinner and a Recipe feature is from Chopping Spree by Diane Mott Davidson. This quick and easy salad is perfect for a night in.

This title is available at BCPL libraries in ebook or print for those mystery/food lovers out there!

Chopping Spree Salad

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large head romaine lettuce, out leaves removed
4 canned hearts of plam, well rinsed
Nonstick cooking spray
1/4 cup pine nuts or blanched, slivered almonds
1/2 cup diced fresh jicama
1 cup seeded decided tomato (about 2 medium tomatoes)
1/2 cup trimmed, thinly sliced scallions (about 3 scallions)
Tangy Lime Dressing (recipe follows)

How to prepare
Place the chicken breasts between sheets of plastic wrap and pound them with a mallet to a 1/3 inch thickness. Slice each breast in half lengthwise.

In a 9 x 13 inch glass pan, mix the juice with the oil and place the chicken into this marinade while you prepare the rest of the ingredents and dressing. About 15 to 20 minutes.

Wash the romaine lettuce well. Cut an inch off the top to make edges even. Should have approx. 8 cups of lettuce. Rinse and chill.

Place hearts of palm once rinsed into a bowl of cold water and brine 5 minutes.

Lightly spray a small saute pan. Toast pine nuts over medium low heat and stir frequently until golden, allow to cool on a plate to the side.

Remove hearts of palm from water and pat dry. Cut into 4 inch discs. Wrap and chill until ready for salad.

Dice jicama and tomatoes. Slice and set scallion to the side as well. Spray grill with nonstick. Preheat.

Grill chicken on medium high to high for about 4 minutes per side. Remove to cool and then slice into bite size pieces.

Toss and then sprinkle pine nuts on top. 

Makes 4 large servings.

Tangy Lime Dressing

1/2 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried fines herbs
1 tsp minced parsley
1 tsp minced cilantro
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tablespoon lime juice
1/3 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons of heavy cream
1 tablespoon of fine grated parmesan cheese with reggiano
Salt and pepper for taste

Whisk or food processor for less than a minute before adding buttermilk, lime, and mayonnaise until smooth. Add spice mix with cream and cheese. Blend. And salt or cheese to cut flavor if too tangy.

Of course let us know if you try this recipe (or this mystery novel)! We love to hear from you.


Tuesday, April 20, 2021

April 20, 2021 - Staff Reviews


The Kingmaker
By Brian Haig
Release Date: December 27, 2016
Audiobook Available from WV Reads! 

3.5 Stars - Another fun, slightly crazy entry in the life of lawyer Sean Drummond. This is Sean's first forray in awhile into Russian spies but he's no stranger to disguises, secrets, and possibly lying clients. This a shorter entry in a series that never takes itself too seriously. 

Sean's revolving door of job duties and side characters keeps things interesting. This time he is conned into defending the husband of his college sweetheart. Poor Sean. Of course he approaches the task with poise and dignity and well, actually sarcasm and cynicism. His partner against crime, sort of, is the lovely but mysterious Katrina. She has the misfortune of being a street lawyer fluent in Russian and getting attached Sean. Soon there's a target on their backs and they are off and running. This was the first book that really took Sean more of out the legal side of his profession and into the investigator.

Full disclosure: Sean rarely ends up in any type of courtroom setting. Brian Haig's work would never really be closely compared with Grisham or Lescoart in this way. Fans of the series will be pleased with the return of Imelda and General Clapper, and take a liking to Katrina. Alexei and his Russian counterparts maybe not so much. This plot relies a lot on smart people doing sort of dumb, sometimes obvious things. But it's a fun ride with a little globe-trotting, murder attempts, geopolitics, and a mystery under the surface that's just waiting to be unraveled. My only real complaint is that the pacing of this book felt just a little off. Some scenes felt long in a drawn-out for show way, but others felt a bit brusque. No doubt this was intentional as to keep the reader guessing and/or distracted but it didn't have the flow of longer novels in this series. A double-edged sword trait too is that these are basically standalone novels and not much in the way of details from one point to another is mentioned. After reading a few in a row, Sean's endless adventures can be almost tiring, but there's no requirement here to start at the beginning.


Monday, April 19, 2021

April 19, 2021 - New Arrivals

April 19, 2021

Adult Fiction

Luke Jensen, Bounty Hunter: Hired Guns by William W. Johnstone & J. A. Johnstone.

It's the kind of job Luke Jensen hates. A millionaire mine owner is willing to pay $5,000 to the man who captures the half-breed outlaw Tom Eagle. Normally, Luke would turn down an offer like this - it smacks too much of being a hired gun. But when the millionaire tells him that Eagle is responsible for killing his son, Luke agrees to take on the job. Which means he'll have to take the road to hell itself - aka Hard Rock, Montana . . . Hard Rock is supposed to be a ghost town. But when Luke arrives, the ghosts are alive and well - and gunning for his hide. They're a gang of actual hired guns - the kind of soulless killers Luke despises - and they're trying to collect the bounty, too. Luke barely makes it out of town alive when he runs in to the only man who can save him. The man he's been hired to hunt. The notorious Tom Eagle.

The Shadow Box by Luanne Rice.

After artist Claire Beaudry Chase is attacked and left for dead in her home on the Connecticut coast, she doesn't know who she can trust. But her well-connected husband, Griffin--who is running for governor--is her prime suspect. Just before the attack, Claire was preparing for an exhibit of her shadow boxes, one of which clearly accuses Griffin of a violent crime committed twenty-five years ago. If the public were to find out who her husband is, his political career would be over. Claire's certain her husband and his powerful supporters would kill her to stop the truth from getting out. When one of Claire's acquaintances is murdered, the authorities suspect the homicide is linked to the attack on Claire. As the dual investigations unfold, Claire must decide how much she's willing to lose to take down her husband and the corrupt group of elites who will do anything to protect Griffin's interests and their own.

Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan.

On her very first morning on the jewel-like island of Capri, Lucie Churchill sets eyes on George Zao and she instantly can't stand him. She can't stand it when he gallantly offers to trade hotel rooms with her so that she can have a view of the Tyrrhenian Sea, she can't stand that he knows more about Casa Malaparte than she does, and she really can't stand it when he kisses her in the darkness of the ancient ruins of a Roman villa and they are caught by her snobbish, disapproving cousin Charlotte. "Your mother is Chinese so it's no surprise you'd be attracted to someone like him," Charlotte teases. The daughter of an American-born Chinese mother and a blue-blooded New York father, Lucie has always sublimated the Asian side of herself in favor of the white side, and she adamantly denies having feelings for George. But several years later, when George unexpectedly appears in East Hampton, where Lucie is weekending with her new fiancé, Lucie finds herself drawn to George again. Soon, Lucie is spinning a web of deceit that involves her family, her fiancé, the co-op board of her Fifth Avenue apartment building, and ultimately herself as she tries mightily to deny George entry into her world--and her heart.


Adult Non-Fiction

The Caregiver’s Companion by Carolyn A. Brent.

"A comprehensive, straightforward handbook to help family caregivers with sibling and parent-child communication, end-of-life decision making, and guidance for how to help a loved one medically, financially, and emotionally."-- Provided by publisher.

Guide to National Parks of the United States by National Geographic.

There's simply no better getaway in the United States than a visit to one of the country's 62 national parks from Alaska to the Virgin Islands, from Maine to America Samoa. Profiled in this all-new ninth edition of National Geographic's enduring and informative guide, you'll find expert travel advice, candid tips for hiking and wildlife spotting, and detailed maps to help navigate your way through America's great outdoors.  Updated throughout with the latest information from park rangers and National Geographic's own acclaimed travel writers, this fully revised and comprehensive guidebook includes the newest additions to the United States park system: Indiana Dunes, White Sands, and Gateway Arch national parks. Whether you're looking to explore the underground world of Mammoth Caves or make your way through the mangroves of Everglades National Park, you'll find a destination that suits your needs, and inspiration to plan your next wild adventure. In addition to park details and descriptions, this sparkling new edition features week-long regional road trip itineraries s so you can visit multiple parks in one vacation.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

Lizzie and Emma by Linda Byler.  J

Lizzie is eight years old and it's not that she wishes she weren't the kind of girl who loves hiding for hours to read a good book or racing down too-steep hills on her sled or eating lots of doughnuts. But she does wish she could make herself walk instead of running once in awhile so she wouldn't get in trouble at school, and she knows no one thinks she's as pretty or as good as Emma is. Times are hard for the Glick family--Dat's business is still not doing well and his cheerful optimism is beginning to wear thin. Lizzie and Emma are young, but they begin to understand that Dat and Mam don't have enough money and their family might be in trouble. Will the sisters be able to put aside their differences to support each other through their family's financial struggles, tragedy in their community, and yet more changes?

Who is Kamala Harris? by Kirsten Anderson.  J NF

On August 22, 2020, Kamala Harris, a senator from California, became the first African-American and South Asian-American woman to be selected as the vice presidential running mate on a major party's ticket. While her nomination was not unexpected, her rise to national prominence was one filled with unexpected turns and obstacles. After failing her first bar exam to become a lawyer, she tried again and passed. From there, she quickly rose through the legal ranks, serving as district attorney of San Francisco, then California's attorney general, and soon, senator. As a politician, Kamala Harris has been a vocal champion of progressive reforms and women's rights. This exciting story details the defining moments of what led to her nomination and all the monumental ones since that have shaped her career and the future of America.

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

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

April 13, 2021 - BCPL Resume Tips

 BCPL Resume Tip #6 - Use Order of Importance

You can bet whoever is reviewing your resume is a busy bee. Whether an HR worker or future manager is reading, they certainly have other tasks on their hands. Start with the important stuff!

With so many formats floating around today, this is an important fact to keep in mind. 

For example, your work experience should be front and center whether you have a varied or impressive job history or not. This is the meat and potatoes to your potential employer. You cannot go wrong with this as your top section and/or first words after your name and contact info.

At our resume help sessions, we recommend the following sectional order.

Intro/Summary/Objective - A quick, short overview

Work Experience - Better to include most recent jobs first and work backwards. Don't skip any for at least five years back!

Education & Certifications - Just the basic info

Skills or Volunteer History - If applicable or filling space


We hate to say someone might stop reading your resume halfway through but they might! So make sure you put the most relevant information at the top. 

Until next month!

Monday, April 12, 2021

April 12, 2021 - New Arrivals

April 12, 2021

Adult Fiction

Fast Ice by Clive Cussler & Graham Brown.

In the early days of World War II, the infamous German Luftwaffe embark upon an expedition to Antarctica, hoping to set up a military base to support their goal of world domination. Though the military outpost never comes to fruition, what the Nazis find on the icy continent indeed proves dangerous...and will have implications far into the future. In the present day, Kurt Austin and his assistant Joe Zavala embark for the freezing edge of the world after a former NUMA colleague disappears in Antarctica. While there, they discover a photo of the Luftwaffe expedition of 1939, and are drawn into a decades-old conspiracy. Even as they confront perilous waters and frigid temperatures, they are also up against a terrifying man-made weapon--a fast-growing ice that could usher in a new Ice Age. Pitted against a determined madman and a monstrous storm, Kurt and the NUMA team must unravel the Nazi-era plot in order to save the globe from a freeze that would bury it once and for all.

Lightning Game by Christine Feehan.

GhostWalker Rubin Campo's rough upbringing made him into the man he is today: strong, steadfast and wary of outsiders. When he and his brother return to their family's homestead in the Appalachian Mountains, he can immediately sense that a stranger has taken up residence in their cabin--a woman who just happens to be a GhostWalker too. Jonquille looks deceptively delicate but is clearly a fighter. She also doesn't seem to care that Rubin could kill her where she stands. She sought him out, wanting to connect on their shared interest in electrical charges. As one of the first failed GhostWalker experiments, Jonquille can produce lightning with her body--but she can't control it. Their connection is magnetic, their abilities in sync. Rubin knows she's his match, the answer to a lifetime of pain and intense loneliness. But Jonquille came to him with hidden intentions, ones that threaten to destroy their bond before it can truly begin...

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey.

Georgette Castle's family runs the best home renovation business in town, but she picked balloons instead of blueprints and they haven't taken her seriously since.  Frankly, she's over it. Georgie loves planning children's birthday parties and making people laugh, just not at her own expense. She's determined to fix herself up into a Woman of the World... whatever that means. Phase one: new framework for her business (a website from this decade, perhaps?) Phase two: a gut-reno on her wardrobe (fyi, leggings are pants.) Phase three: updates to her exterior (do people still wax?) Phase four: put herself on the market (and stop crushing on Travis Ford! 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? Travis Ford was major league baseball's hottest rookie when an injury ended his career. Now he's flipping houses to keep busy and trying to forget his glory days. But he can't even cross the street without someone recapping his greatest hits. Or making a joke about his... bat. And then there's Georgie, his best friend's sister, who is not a kid anymore. When she proposes a wild scheme--that they pretend to date, to shock her family and help him land a new job--he agrees. What's the harm? It's not like it's real. But the girl Travis used to tease is now a funny, full-of-life woman and there's nothing fake about how much he wants her...


Adult Non-Fiction

American Kompromat by Craig Unger.

"American Kompromat tells the story of the unimaginably corrupt, dissolute, and decadent subculture of the most powerful people in the world and how they have orchestrated, obtained, and used kompromat--Russian for compromising information--as leverage to achieve their political goals."-- Provided by publisher.

Ida B. the Queen by Michelle Duster.

Ida B. Wells committed herself to the needs of those who did not have power. In the eyes of the FBI, this made her a "dangerous negro agitator." In the annals of history, it makes her an icon. Ida B. the Queen tells the awe-inspiring story of a pioneering woman who was often overlooked and underestimated--a woman who refused to exit a train car meant for white passengers; a woman brought to light the horrors of lynching in America; a woman who cofounded the NAACP. Written by Wells' great-granddaughter Michelle Duster, this "warm remembrance of a civil rights icon" (Kirkus Reviews) is a unique visual celebration of Wells' life, and of the Black experience. A century after her death, Wells' genius is being celebrated in popular culture by politicians, through song, public artwork, and landmarks. Like her contemporaries Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, Wells left an indelible mark on history--one that can still be felt today. As America confronts the unfinished business of systemic racism, Ida B. the Queen pays tribute to a transformational leader and reminds us of the power we all hold to smash the status quo.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

If We Were Gone by John Coy.  E

Water, air, sunlight, plants . . . we need these elements to live in this world. But does the world need us? And what would happen to the world if humans were gone? This is the premise of a thought-provoking picture book from John Coy. His insightful text explores how nature would reclaim the planet, accompanied by Natalie Capannelli's gorgeous watercolor illustrations. Back matter gives further context and discusses what kids (and all of us) can do to truly help our planet.

The Smartest Kid in the Universe by Chris Grabenstein.  J

When seventh-grader Jake McQuade mistakes the world's first ingestible knowledge pills for jelly beans, he suddenly knows all about physics and geometry and can speak Swahili (though Spanish would be a lot more useful)--but his sort-of girlfriend Grace thinks they can use his new found brilliance to save their middle school from the new principal, who is conspiring to get it shut down.

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

Saturday, April 10, 2021

April 10, 2021 - Staff Reviews

By Sawyer Bennett
Release Date: December 8, 2020
Ebook Available from WV Reads

3 Stars - Bennett's books are all pretty unique, and yet again Steele different from the rest of the Arizona hockey series. It's sentimental not sappy but also light and easy to read. This couple is trying to repair their broken relationship.

The hero and heroine aren't the usual young yet somehow bitter and baggage ridden characters of so many romance novels lately. There's angst but it's not hangs up from past heartache here. I definitely wanted more of Ella and less of Steele though at parts. Steele being a mediocre husband I could sort of forgive because it takes two to keep up a marriage in all ways. But he wasn't just a sloppy husband, he was a sloppy dad. He was willing to fight to keep his family which I totally respected but his faults were hard to take. Ella didn't get nearly enough POV time in the beginning. She's still got her heart firmly attached to Steele, but she's trying to think about her future.

So Bennett has so many books and I have to give her major points for continuing to release in multiple series when so many authors (from a few years ago's popular lists) are slacking. I love mixing it up with a romance about a married or long-term couple! There are some excellent old school screwball comedy elements are work here, and I loved every bit of that. Also it was refreshing to see Lucy as a teenage girl who isn't a total brat even if she's troubled. It pains me to say I think I would have liked this a bit more without her but I think some of the back and forth with Steele and Ella wouldn't be so painful if they childless. And Steele's slacking in the past would have been easier to forgive. He does grovel though and makes a lot of effort. I think we could have used a bit more excitement. Their standard fight toward the end was pretty dull. But seeing them reunited in the end was worth the read.


Thursday, April 8, 2021

April 8, 2021 - Book Club Preview

Our BCPL book club pick for April is Don't Tell 'Em You're Cold by Katherine P. Manley! 

Meeting is Thursday April 29th 2021 at 5pm. Our discussion with be available in person and virtual (local health guidelines permitting).

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

Many times while growing up, Kathy Manley experienced the shame of poverty. Shame that kept her from inviting friends to the family’s shabby house filled with dumpster-salvaged furniture. Shame when a teacher took up a collection from classmates so Kathy could attend a football game. The real shame, however, is that any family in this wealthy country lacks adequate food. The real shame is that our social safety net is so inadequate. Don’t Tell ’em You’re Cold (Mountain State Press, 2019) is a powerful, moving memoir about growing up in southern West Virginia, one that is painful to read and, at the same time, illustrates the determination of its author to transcend poverty. Manley had an irrepressible belief that one day life would get better and the will to make it happen. This memoir was a semi-finalist in the William Faulkner Writing Competition, an honor well-deserved.

Manley’s story reads much like Jeannette Walls’s Glass Castle, yet her family differs from Walls’s in important ways.

Images and Info are courtesy of Google, Wikipedia, and Southern Lit review webpage.

Let us know if you've enjoyed this book or any other like it! We love to hear from you.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

April 6, 2021 - Staff Reviews

Shielding Jayme
By Susan Stoker
Release Date: January 5, 2021
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

2.5 Stars - Overall, this story is just too short. Stoker's Delta Team 2 series is sort of in between novellas for her other series/teams. I wasn't lost having not read all her works but this felt a little lacking in character and atmosphere. Not a bad quick read for a distracted day but probably only worthwhile as a free, fun time-filler. There's steaminess, sweetness, and a little excitment toward the end.

This is nothing like Stoker's usual action thrillers and I was disappointed as I expected more. This isn't slow-paced but it's a bit dull. Rocket (weirdly enough Stoker used this as his real, legal name this time) is a former Navy helicopter mechanic and a big, rough Texas alpha male. If older, rugged heroes are your favorites, he will appeal for sure. But while his personality is kind but gruff, there isn't much to his backstory. He's not a badass like Stoker's usual heroes, though he does kind of take care of Winnie and Jayme. Speaking of Jayme, she was pretty forgettable. She's a shy, self-concious baker with a quirky grandmother.

I think even with the story being short, more could have been done with this set up. Bakers in danger despite their innocent profession is not an unusual trope but Jayme's never in danger but for one scene. She likes to cook and bake, but up until her thirties or mid-thirties (Ages were pretty vague) she hasn't had a lot of self-willed ambition. There's a little pity party about how she developed trust issues when the bakery she used to manage didn't sell to her. And then she grumbles because Rocket does her whole business plan I guess and she wants the project to be more hers. All this is told in a few pages of info dumps as time moves at "rocket" speed. Two weeks go by, then two months, and then two years etc and it's the epilouge. The epilouge was a good chunk of the page count. Normally, I'm good with some sexy scenes but this is also far from Stoker's best work. She calls unwarranted to attention to weird thoughts about things like toes and hair, etc that was really distracting from building any passion or excitement. Skip this story unless you're looking for a few hours to kill, maybe at Christmas time.


Monday, April 5, 2021

April 5, 2021 - New Arrivals

April 5, 2021

Adult Fiction

The Affair by Danielle Steel.

When Rose McCarthy's staff at Mode magazine pitches a cover shoot with Hollywood's hottest young actress, the actress's sizzling affair with a bestselling French author is exposed. The author happens to be Rose's son-in-law, which creates a painful dilemma for her. Her daughter Nadia, a talented interior designer, has been struggling to hold her marriage together, and conceal the truth from their young daughters, her family, and the world. But Nicolas, her straying husband, is blinded by passion for a younger woman--and not only that, she is pregnant with his child. Nadia's three sisters close ranks around her, flying to Paris from Los Angeles and New York to lend support and offer their widely divergent advice. Athena, a jovial celebrity chef with her own TV show in Los Angeles, is leery of marriage. Olivia, a stern conservative New York superior court judge, is haunted by a shocking secret of her own. Venetia, a zany fashion designer, happily married with three kids, has the gentlest, most realistic point of view. Despite their well-meaning advice, Nadia needs to figure out what she herself thinks, and what to do next.

Destined for You by Tracie Peterson.

In 1869, Gloriana Womack's family is much smaller since smallpox killed her mother and two of her siblings. She lives in a modest cottage in Duluth, Minnesota, with her father and young brother, and she has dedicated her life to holding her tiny, fractured family together--especially as her father is frequently gone on long fishing trips. Their livelihood may come from the waters of Lake Superior, but storms on the lake can be dangerous, even to those who know it well. Luke Carson has come to Duluth to help shepherd the arrival of the railroad to the city's port, and he's eager to be reunited with his brother, Scott, who recently moved there with his pregnant wife. Competition for the railroad is fierce, with the neighboring city of Superior, Wisconsin, fighting for the tracks to come through their town instead. But the real danger lies in a resident of Duluth who is determined to have his revenge upon Luke. When tragedy brings Gloriana and Luke together, they help each other through their grief and soon find their lives inextricably linked. If they survive the trials ahead, could it be possible they've been destined for each other all along?

A Matter of Life and Death by Phillip Margolin.

Joe Lattimore, homeless and trying desperately to provide for his young family, agrees to fight in a no-holds-barred illegal bout, only to have his opponent die. Lattimore now finds himself at the mercy of the fight's organizers who blackmail him into burglarizing a house. However, when he breaks in, he finds a murdered woman on the floor and the police have received an anonymous tip naming him the murderer. Robin Lockwood, an increasingly prominent young attorney and former MMA fighter, agrees to take on his defense. But the case is seemingly airtight--the murdered woman's husband, Judge Anthony Carasco, has an alibi and Lattimore's fingerprints are discovered at the scene. But everything about the case is too easy, too pat, and Lockwood is convinced that her client has been framed. The only problem is that she has no way of proving it and since this is a death case, if she fails then another innocent will die.


Adult Non-Fiction

QuickBooks Online for Dummies by David H. Ringstrom, CPA & Elaine Marmel.

Perfect for small business owners, managers, and employees, QuickBooks Online for Dummies delivers the newest and most up-to-date advice based on the latest versions of QuickBooks Online. No longer will you have to struggle through your interactions with the most used bookkeeping and accounting software in the world. Master this technology with the straightforward and accessible approach made famous by the For Dummies series.

Windows 10 All-in-One for Dummies by Woody Leonhard & Ciprian Rusen.

Computer users have been "doing Windows" since the 1980s. That long run doesn't mean everyone knows the best-kept secrets of the globally ubiquitous operating system. Windows 10 All-in-One for Dummies, 4th Edition offers a deep guide for navigating the basics of Windows 10 and diving into more advanced features. Authors and recognized Windows experts Ciprian Rusen and Woody Leonhard deliver a comprehensive and practical resource that provides the knowledge you need to operate Windows 10, along with a few shortcuts to make using a computer feel less like work.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

A is for Another Rabbit by Hannah Batsel.  E

A is for . . . A rabbit. B is for . . . Bunny. C is for . . . Can you believe how many rabbits are in this book?! A rabbit-obsessed narrator makes an owl increasingly irate by refusing to play by the rules of a conventional alphabet book. Every entry is about bunnies, from "delightful, dynamic, daredevil rabbits" to "xylophone rabbits and rabbits on drums!" Readers will pore over scenes of bunnies at the circus, in a tiny town, at the museum, even in a motorcycle gang.

The Queen’s Secret by Melissa de la Cruz.  YA

Lilac's birthright makes her the Queen of Renovia, and a forced marriage made her the Queen of Montrice. But being a ruler does not mean making the rules. For Lilac, taking the throne means giving up the opportunity to be with love of her life, the kingdom's assassin, Caledon Holt. Worse, Cal is forced to leave the castle when a horrific set of magical attacks threatens Lilac's sovereignty. Now Cal and Lilac will have to battle dark forces separately, even though being together is the only thing that's ever saved them.

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

Friday, April 2, 2021

April 2, 2021 - Excited for Spring?

Spring is ready to be sprung! Are you ready? 

We've got a great collection of Spring stories at Brooke County Libraries. Check out the list below with Ebooks, Audiobooks, and print copies!

Easter Bunny Murder by Leslie Meier
Spring has sprung in Tinker's Cove, and Lucy Stone has a mile-long to-do list from painting eggs with her grandson, to preparing the perfect Easter feast, to reviving her garden after a long, cold winter, she hardly has time to search for a killer with adeadly case of spring fever.

Come Spring by Time Lahaye and Gregory S Dinallo
Dylan Cooper, a Scotsman, an immigrant, and a gifted photographer, discovers that photographs are not his only calling when he meets and falls in love with Grace MacVicar.

Bleak Spring by Jon Cleary
When local solicitor Will Rockne is found in his car by his wife - shot through the head - it seems a baffling and motiveless murder. However, Scobie Malone, newly assigned to the case, has his suspicions. Despite his daughter Claire's shy romance with young Jason Rockne, Scobie and his wife Lisa's encounters with Will and Olive Rockne at school functions have always been a little disconcerting...Will had been determined to convince them that he was more than just a suburban lawyer. But when a huge amount of cash is found in a safe in Rockne's office, Scobie discovers that he wasn't just boasting; he would seem to have been caught up in something big - big enough to involve Bernie Bezrow, Sydney's largest bookmaker

Spring Brides by Various Authors
Happily ever after begins today. The honor of your presence is requested at three spring weddings . . .

Come the Spring by Julie Garwood
Adam, Douglas and Travis Clayborne are each happily married, and their beloved Mama Rose is overjoyed with the wonderful ladies who have joined the family. But all the Claybornes wonder on which side of the law their restless brother Cole will land. Now, Julie Garwood brings her irresistible mix of heartwarming wit and thrilling sensuality to a memorable Clayborne reunion...and at last we meet the elusive stranger who has slipped in and out of their lives, a man who lured Cole Clayborne into a shadowy chase, and who will now bring unexpected turns to Cole's uncertain future.

The Hope of Spring by Wanda E. Brunstetter
A Lancaster County Saga, Meredith Stoltzfus is trying to piece her life back together, while in a hospital miles away, a young man is fighting for his life and remains in a coma. . . . Weeks away from the baby being born, Meredith has never been so scared. She aches for Luke and knows her baby will need his father. She’s nearly out of money; can she somehow manage to provide for herself and her baby—alone? 

Come Spring by Jill Marie Landis
Love's tender kiss turns a harsh frontier winter into spring when Bostonian Annika Storm heads West to seek adventure--only to be mistaken for a mail-order bride and abducted by rugged Buck Scott. ...

The Spring Cleaning Murders by Dorothy Cannell
Ellie Haskell has a bout of spring cleaning fever. But she also has an assortment of problems facing her, not the least of which is her char, Mrs. Malloy, giving notice and going off to London to babysit her new granddaughter.

The Spring at Moss Hill by Carla Neggers
Kylie Shaw has found a home and a quiet place to work as an illustrator of children's books in little Knights Bridge, Massachusetts. No one seems to know her here—and she likes it that way. She carefully guards her privacy in the refurbished nineteenth-century hat factory where she has a loft. And then California private investigator Russ Colton moves in.

Spring Fever by Mary Kay Andrews
Annajane truly believes she is over her ex-husband, Mason. They've been divorced for four years, she's engaged to a terrific new guy, and she's ready to leave the small North Carolina town where she and Mason had so much history. She is so over Mason that she has absolutely no problem attending his wedding. But when fate intervenes

Spring Forward by Catherine Anderson
When a favorite customer on his delivery route needs a favor, Tanner Richards agrees to help without a second thought. The last thing he expects is to face off against the man's spitfire granddaughter. Crystal Malloy is near her breaking point. Her beloved grandfather constantly skirts the rules at the retirement center where he's recovering from surgery. She's caring for his escape artist dog, even if it means abandoning her salon customers, and she has no time for a romantic attraction to the handsome new stranger.

It Happens Every Spring by Catherine Palmer and Gary Chapman
Meet the characters that live, work, dream, and love in the community of Deepwater Cove. Best-selling authors Gary Chapman and Catherine Palmer team up to show how four married couples, all in different stages in life, experience the joys and hardships of marriage

Spring Collection by Judith Krantz
It's the hottest thing that's ever happened to Loring Model Management. Threeof its unknown models have been chosen to star in the debut spring collectionof bad-boy designer Marco Lombardi--and one of them will win an exclusive, multimillion-dollar contract. But the agency's owner, Justine Loring, isfurious. Only she knows that Lombardi's billionaire backer, Jacques Necker, has set her up, hoping to manipulate her into chaperoning her models to Paris, and meeting him face-to-face.

April Fool Dead by Carolyn Hart
Someone is playing a rather nasty April Fool's prank on mystery bookstore owner Annie Darling. A felonious forger on the idyllic -- if rarely tranquil -- South Carolina island of Broward's Rock has made it appear as if Annie is accusing some of her neighbors of murder.

Let us know if any of these are favorites of yours or you have additional suggestions! We'd love to hear from you in our comment section or on any of our social media pages.

Images and info are courtesy of Google, Goodreads, and WV Reads.