Tuesday, August 31, 2021

August 31, 2021 - Staff Reviews

 Somebody to Love

By Sharon Sala
Release Date: February 23, 2021
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

2.5 Stars - Possibly I was a bit harsh on this book but it felt chopy, and I struggled to really get invested. That said, Shala crafts a sentimental tale here of family struggles and a slow-blossoming romance. Ava and Hunt's relationship is a sweet, less than steamy, affair that is only a chunk of this drama.

This isn't a book to end a slump, and I've been in a bit of one. It drew obviously parallels to The Forever Girl, which I also didn't much enjoy. There's nothing wrong with the plots per se. But having a huge multi family perspective that does a lot of dwelling on a member's death is not as uplifting as a writer may hope. Hunt's a likable hero but he lacks a unique personality to make him really memorable. He's a vet and a pilot, done wrong by his family. But the remarkably kind Ava steps back into his life to try to draw him out of his shell. Ava I had no issues with at all, a classic romance heroine, equal parts sweet and determined.

The hot mess Hunt and his siblings have "off-page" to start just isn't intense enough to draw a lot of interest. Readers who perfect a soothing pace and just a hint of mystery will appreciate this background plot more than ones like me that prefer excitement (most days) in fiction. Sala's got a heartfelt writing style I've sampled in a few novels. But here, she's paced things awkwardly. The multi-POVs were hard to get invested in because sometimes we only got a couple paragraphs from one person before a switch. And Hunt and Ava suffer from a lot of wishy-washiness on Hunt's part early on, sometimes in a single day/scene. Ava had more patience than I did. Also, I was a bit disappointed in the Southern small-town atmosphere. But it was hard to picture for me. Blessings just didn't quite come alive. And accents were pretty non-existent (also they said 'pop' for soda which is not usually a Georgia thing?). Overall, if you're looking for suspense or sultry Southern nights, skip it. But if you're a fan of Sala, sweet and devout romances or moving family dramas, give it a go.


Monday, August 30, 2021

August 30, 2021 - New Arrivals

August 30, 2021

Adult Fiction

What the Devil Knows by C. S. Harris.
"Magistrates are being murdered and a case once thought to be closed might be wide-open in this gripping new historical mystery from the USA Today bestselling author of Who Speaks for the Damned. It's October 1814. The war with France is finally over, Europe's diplomats are convening in Vienna for a conference that will put their world back together, and London finds itself in the grip of a series of terrifying murders eerily similar to the shocking Ratcliffe Highway murders of three years before. In 1811, two entire families were brutally murdered in their homes. A suspect--a young Irish seaman named John Murphy--was arrested. But before he could be brought to trial, Murphy hanged himself in his cell. The murders ceased, and London slowly began to breathe easier. But when the lead investigator, Sir Edwin Pym, is killed in the same brutal way, suddenly everyone is talking about the heinous crimes again, and the city is paralyzed with terror. Was the wrong man arrested for the murders? Has a vicious serial killer decided it's time to kill again? Bow Street magistrate Sir Henry Lovejoy turns to his friend Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, for assistance. Pym's colleagues are convinced his manner of death is a coincidence, but Sebastian has his doubts. The more he looks into the three-year-old murders, the more certain he becomes that the hapless John Murphy was not the real killer. Which begs the question--who was?" -- Provided by publisher.


The Topeka School by Ben Lerner.

Adam Gordon is a senior at Topeka High School, class of '97. His mother, Jane, is a famous feminist author; his father, Jonathan, is an expert at getting "lost boys" to open up. They both work at a psychiatric clinic that has attracted staff and patients from around the world. Adam is a renowned debater, expected to win a national championship before he heads to college. He is one of the cool kids, ready to fight or, better, freestyle about fighting if it keeps his peers from thinking of him as weak. Adam is also one of the seniors who bring the loner Darren Eberheart--who is, unbeknownst to Adam, his father's patient--into the social scene, to disastrous effect.


The Saboteurs by Clive Cussler & Jack Du Brul.

Detective Isaac Bell's wife has said that he is always in the wrong place at the right time. This is certainly the case when Bell thwarts the assassination of a U.S. Senator shortly after meeting the man. This heroic rescue is just the start of the mystery for Bell, who suspects that the would-be assassins have a much larger and more dangerous agenda--one involving the nearly-constructed Panama Canal. While the senator supports the building of the canal, there are many, including a local Panamanian insurgency known as the Red Vipers, who never want to see its completion. With millions of dollars and the fates of two nations at stake, Bell heads to Panama to find answers. After a deadly bombing at the canal's construction site, he is determined to stop the insurgents--or whoever is funding them--before they can attack again.


Adult Non-Fiction

Bicycle Repair Manual by Chris Sidwells.

Whether you're a mountain biker, cycling commuter, or road racer, with this up-to-date reference guide at your side, you'll know how to keep your bicycle running smoothly for years. This is your complete maintenance guide to bicycle servicing and repairs! From improving its performance to getting your hands dirty with emergency repairs, learn everything you need to know about your bicycle and how to keep it trouble-free and on the road.


Emeril Lagasse Pressure Cooker & Air Fryer Cookbook by Cooker William.

"Who doesn't want their meals all tasty and delicious while achieving a seventy percent calorie reduction? The Emeril Lagasse Pressure Cooker & Air Fryer is a cooking miracle and the ultimate answer to juicy, crispy, and healthier family-sized meals. The Emeril Lagasse Pressure Cooker & Air Fryer Cookbook for beginners and advanced users will teach you how to wield the appliance to achieve the best. The cooker works in two remarkable ways to produce five-star meals that take you beyond the boundaries of taste. It is designed to work with two lids; the pressure cooker lid and the air fryer lid. The Emeril Lagasse Cooker & Air Fryer replaces the function of twelve separate cooking appliances and boasts of up to fourteen in-built safety mechanisms." -- From Amazon.com.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

Oh, Rats! by Tor Seidler.  J

Phoenix is a pretty big deal in his neck of the woods: The biggest in his litter with the most lustrous fur and by far the bushiest tail, he's one of the most sought-after squirrels in New Jersey--which makes his kidnapping by hawk even more dramatic. Luckily, the hawk doesn't have the best grip. Unluckily, he drops Phoenix on a freshly-tarred street in downtown Manhattan. Now stripped of his gorgeous golden-brown coat, Phoenix looks like nothing more than a common sewer rat. Fortunately for Phoenix, it's not a pack of sewer rats that find him (they're a notoriously surly bunch), but rather wharf rats. Taken in by siblings Lucy and Beckett, Phoenix is welcomed into a rat pack living in abandoned piers on the Hudson. But when they learn of plans to demolish the piers, Phoenix is swept up in a truly electrifying scheme to stop the humans from destroying his new friends' home.


The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh.  YA

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans is a safe haven after she's forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent in the middle of the carnival season, Celine is quickly enraptured by the vibrant city, from its music to its fancy soirées and even its danger. She becomes embroiled in the city's glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group's enigmatic leader, Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in Sébastien's own lair--the second dead girl to turn up in recent weeks--Celine battles her attraction to Sébastien and suspicions about his guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret. After a third murder, New Orleans becomes gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose--one who has now set Celine in his sights. As the murderer stalks her, Celine finally takes matters into her own hands, only to find herself caught in the midst of an age-old feud between the darkest creatures of the night, where the price of forbidden love is her life.

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

Thursday, August 26, 2021

August 26, 2021 - WV Author of the Month

Brooke County Libaries are excited to present our August 2021 WV Author of the Month - Jeannette Walls.

Jeannette Walls is a writer and journalist. Born in Phoenix, Arizona, she graduated with honors from Barnard College, the women's college affiliated with Columbia University. She published a bestselling memoir, The Glass Castle, in 2005.

Jeannette Walls is an American author and journalist widely known as former gossip columnist for MSNBC.com and author of The Glass Castle, a memoir of the nomadic family life of her childhood. Published in 2005, it had been on the New York Times Best Seller list for 421 weeks as of June 3, 2018. She is a 2006 recipient of the Alex Awards and Christopher Award. For decades, Jeannette Walls hid her hardscrabble past as the child of two rebellious, nonconformist parents who led a family that was at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. 

Walls moved to New York at age 17 to join her sister Lori (at that point a waitress and soon working as an artist for Archie Comics). She married fellow New York writer John J. Taylor in 2002, and the couple now lives outside Culpeper, Virginia, on a 205-acre farm. In 2009, Walls published her first novel, Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel, based on the life of her grandmother Lily Casey Smith. 
Jeannette Walls was awarded New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year in 2009

Walls' latest novel, The Silver Star, was published in 2013.

Let us know if you've read any of her moving novels! We love to hear from our readers either in the comments below or on any of our social media pages.

Images and info courtesy of Google and author/publisher webpages.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

August 25, 2021 - Staff Reviews

The Paladin
By David Ignatius
Release Date: May 5, 2020
Audiobook Available from WV Reads!

2 Stars - A well written but problematic spy story. I was new to this author and admittedly drawn in by the blurb and short running time. I have a handful of complaints but I honestly can say I enjoyed the book overall, so it's possible this just wasn't suiting my mood or I needed to mix it up. Poor agent Dunne just cannot catch a break but his life story is an interesting ride.

I couldn't quite call this a thriller as there's little action and most of the mystery is intellectual in nature. Ignatius has a style that I enjoyed, despite spending a little too much time here and there on details and an absurd timeline. The characters and dialouge felt real, if a bit dry. Michael Dunne is sort of a sorry hero. He's got a tattered past and is not the brightest bulb. Some readers will easily sympathize with his personal and professional issues and other will roll their eyes. I can't get much into details without giving away the whole plot.

Things that really worked for me first. I liked  the characters were written like real humans with flaws and quirks. I enjoyed the Pittsburgh area settings especially, as he gave history and context to a city that's always been underused in movies and fiction. Guidall's audio performance was excellent as always. Plotwise I just needed to be actually busy while I listened to this book instead of wishing it kept me on the edge of my seat. There's different books for different times. What didn't work at all was the time hopping. The stories did not feel separate enough to justify not telling in order to add entertainment value. At times, I already knew what was coming so I didn't care to listen to the scene. As I stated earlier, Dunne comes off less James Bond and more Maxwell Smart. I get he's a more analytical hero than an action one. But I'm not actually a spy so it was hard to appreciate his skill set here. Clancy always did a much better job of this concept in his Jack Ryan novels, in my opinion. Overall, this is a good road trip or work day audiobook but don't expect it to keep you focused while cleaning or commuting. You might feel like it's dragging or get easily distracted.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

August 24, 2021 - A Book & A Recipe

Welcome back again! 

Brooke County Libraries August dinner and a recipe features Tate & Gina's Brunswick Stew. It's from the novel Deep Dish by Mary Kay Andrews and is perfect for a crisp fall day or a chilly football Sunday. Let's goooo!


1 whole chicken, cut up

1 onion, chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

1 bay leaf

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

1 pound of cooked pork (any kind of roast, chops, etc)

2 cups of frozen or fresh corn, cut off the cob.

1 pound cubed small red potatoes, unpeeled

1 small bag baby peeled carrots

1 pound fresh or frozen green beans

2 cans of Ro-tel original recipe tomatoes

1 cup barbeque sauce

1-2 cups of chicken broth

Place chicken, celery, and onions in large pot. Add enough water to cover. 

Add salt and pepper then cover to simmer until meat is falling off bones/apart.

Remove the chicken pieces and let cool.

Add veggies and cooked pork to broth and cook for approx. 2 hours or until tender.

(Stir frequently to avoid burning tomatoes)

Remove the chicken from bones and add it to stew, along with BBQ sauce and more chicken broth if desired to make a soupier consistency.

Serve with corn bread and tangy coleslaw!

Check out the Ebook available with your library from WV Reads!


Please let us know if you try this recipe out! We'd love to know how delicious it is in real life. Or we can swap cooking horror stories too. Either way!

Monday, August 23, 2021

August 23, 2021 - New Arrivals

August 23, 2021

Adult Fiction

Choose Me by Tess Gerritsen.

Taryn Moore is young, beautiful, and brilliant...so why would she kill herself? When Detective Frankie Loomis arrives on the scene to investigate the girl's fatal plunge from her apartment balcony, she knows in her gut there's more to the story. Her instincts are confirmed when surprise information is revealed that could have been reason enough for Taryn's suicide--or a motive for her murder.

To English professor Jack Dorian, Taryn was the ultimate fantasy: intelligent, adoring, and completely off limits. But there was also a dark side to Taryn, a dangerous streak that threatened those she turned her affections to--including Jack. And now that she's dead, his problems are just beginning. After Frankie uncovers a trove of sordid secrets, it becomes clear that Jack may know the truth. He is guilty of deception, but is he capable of cold-blooded murder?


All That Fall by Kris Calvin.

"Emma Lawson must race against the clock to rescue a kidnapped child and stop a killer whose master plan only begins with murder. When Emma Lawson, the youngest lead government ethics investigator in California's capital, takes a day off to help her best friend, Kate, prepare for the opening of her new business, Rainbow Alley Preschool, the morning takes a shocking turn. The school's most high-profile enrollee--Vivian Lange, the governor's granddaughter--is kidnapped, at the same time Kate's teenage son, Luke, goes missing. Emma is quickly drawn to a web of clues that point toward sordid secrets and a cold-case murder in a shadow world of bigotry and hate. Over a desperate and harrowing forty-eight hours, Emma races against the clock to solve the most important investigation of her life. But will she be in time to bring the child to safety and to stop a calculating killer whose plan threatens all that Emma holds dear?" -- Provided by publisher.


Sustaining Faith by Janette Oke & Laurel Oke Logan.

So much has been accomplished. Lillian Walsh has stepped out courageously beyond what she'd ever dreamed of being able to achieve. She and her newly rediscovered sister, Grace, have settled three children from England into new Canadian homes and are prepared to place two more just after the New Year, when it happens--another painful disruption. A white lie the sisters used to protect some orphans has resulted in an official complaint and a letter revoking the sisters' permission to manage their little children's home. And unexpectedly, Walter, the young man who has won Lillian's heart, departs for a job in the oil industry without leaving any hope for their future, making her confused and lonely. With more children on their way from England needing caring homes, Lillian and Grace must use every ounce of gumption to keep their mission alive. But when startling information about the past surfaces and a new arrival comes via suspicious circumstances, they'll have to decide what is worth fighting for and what is better left in God's hands.


Adult Non-Fiction

The MeatEater’s Guide to Wilderness Skills and Survival by Steven Rinella.

"For anyone actually spending time outside, The MeatEater Guide to Wilderness Skills and Survival is the perfect antidote to the sensationalism of today, filled instead with advice you'll actually use. Along with lessons from the real-life experiences of renowned outdoors expert and host of the Netflix Original Series MeatEater Steven Rinella, its pages are packed with tried-and-true tips, techniques, and gear recommendations from Rinella and his trusted crew of expert hunters, anglers, emergency room doctors, climbers, paddlers, and wilderness guides who've learned from their own mistakes. Among other skills, readers will learn about old-school navigation and essential satellite tools, how to build a basic first-aid kit and apply tourniquets, how to repel grizzly bear charges, and how to effectively purify water using everything from ancient methods to cutting edge technologies. This essential guide delivers the hard-won insights and know-how, garnered from Rinella's own experiences and mistakes, that will make any reader feel comfortable and competent while out in the wild. Throughout, survival stories will highlight the real dangers that can arise in nature, from hypothermia and frostbite to encounters with the world's most dangerous animal--the mosquito." -- Provided by publisher.


The Calcium Connection by Brunde Broady.

Did you know that one single enzyme impacts your odds of contracting most deadly diseases and health conditions? An enormous body of reputable research into this enzyme has been isolated, ignored, and misunderstood by medical experts. The importance of this enzyme simply cannot be overstated. The Calcium Connection: The Little-Known Enzyme at the Root of Your Cellular Health delivers a clear explanation of this enzyme's function and outlines the steps you can take to gain optimal enzyme health. The accessible, information-packed format teaches you all about Calcium ATPase: how it works, what happens when it goes awry, and easy, practical methods to bring it back into balance and protect it--and your overall health. Whether you're a health enthusiast, environmentalist, parent, or just want to be better informed, this book will help you boost your health now and into the future. Brunde Broady recounts her tireless quest to find a cure for her son Knute's compromised health since being whisked away and kept in ICU after birth. The medical establishment could only help manage his condition, but not diagnose or cure him. Doing her own research and documenting everything Knute ate and his reactions to certain foods, she came across two ubiquitous food additives. Diving deeper, she learned how Calcium ATPase, a fundamental regulator of intercellular calcium, is negatively impacted, not only by these additives, but by a torrent of other inhibitors. Knute's health is a testament to Brunde's discoveries, and The Calcium Connection gives readers a front-row seat to understanding how to maintain optimized cellular health.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

What is Congress? by Jill Abramson.  J NF

Whether Congress is in session or not, here is an enthralling overview about the branch of our government closest to average Americans. Explaining clearly and concisely what exactly Congress does, this book is peppered with fascinating stories, including the bloody beating in the Senate of a lawmaker in pre-Civil War days, the Watergate hearings, and Senator Joe McCarthy's shameful "witch hunt" of Communists. Kids may start considering a career in Congress themselves when they learn fun facts, such as the special "candy desk" in the Senate, and the fact that all lawmakers can bring their dogs to work!


The Thud by Mikael Ross.  YA GN

This graphic novel is told entirely from a developmentally impaired boy's perspective. Noel had always lived with his mother in Berlin, until one day tragedy strikes and he finds himself alone for the first time. A man with a beard tells him he can't stay in the apartment anymore and takes him to a place with so many strangers -- Who can he trust? Who does he like? Who loves him?

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

Friday, August 20, 2021

August 20, 2021 - Staff Reviews


The Forever Girl
By Jill Shalvis
Release Date: January 12, 2021
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

2.5 Stars - If you can get past the murky start or really enjoy intriguing family dynamics, this is a likable story. I could tell from the start it wouldn't be a favorite of mine personally. But there's plenty to sink your teeth into as this could have been not just a novel but a saga really. Lots of different POVs and drama and cute puppies thrown in of course. But I wouldn't call this a light or easy read, even for fans of the author.

This book started off... clunky. It's the best word I can come up with. Maze and Cat alternate POVs and this is a strange family of people who don't really know each other. And only some of them are biological family.  It had a very "This is Where I Leave You" vibe but with a wedding and foster siblings in the mix. Maze is a hot mess of emotional entanglements that you'll either relate to immediately or scratch your head at her. Caitlin is supposedly the put-together oldest sister but we know right away that's a sham too. She's just more rational and mature. Heather comes off as the wild card. And Walker is the hero and also the brother, who is the broody, silent alpha male type with a sense of humor hidden in there.

I've read something like 24 of Shalvis' books but apparently never a Wildstone before. (I'm more of her Accidentally On Purpose type reader.) Maybe I should have but this book didn't come off like more than a standalone. Normally I talk a little about every character and the best scenes, etc. But there are literally too many people and things happening. There was little romance here, Maze and Walker mostly had inner thoughts and sidelong glances. I think to emphasize the points of all families have issues and blood relatives do not make a family is admirable. And everything is told in a very sweet way. But maybe the two concepts just don't mesh very well in the same plot? Shalvis does dangle the tragedy backstory carrott for quite awhile, which was an interesting if heartbreaking situation. I just keep coming back to this novel was unimpressive and full of characters and details we didn't need. I kept mainly reading as a fan of Shalvis and without much else to do at the time. It's almost 400 pages but it's sadly lacking a dynamic that made me want to keep reading.


Wednesday, August 18, 2021

August 18, 2021 - Staff Reviews


A Court of Frost & Starlight
By Sarah J Maas
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3 Stars - The Night Court's story continues in this brief but entertaining interlude between trilogies that will make up an entire series. Rhys and Feyre's adventures continue but things are relatively quiet over their holiday. Definitely not a standalone, a nice time-filler or refresher for fans of the series looking forward to reading a Court of Silver Flames.

I'm not a huge paranormal/fantasy reader, maybe a few a year. So I'm in the small camp of people who didn't love or hate this entire series it seems. Maas has a bad habit of trying to throw in everything but the kitchen sink. This goes for description, plot, scenes, you name it. Feyre took a long time to warm up to, and I'm not sure I have that patience in me for Nesta. Rhys was easier to like and I think after getting lota of POV in this entry, the other heroes will be the same. Having his perspective in this one, particularly those scenes with Tamlin, was one of the most entertaining parts.

This reads very much like a Christmas novella from a contemporary romance author with everyone making an appearance for the Winter Solistice, buying gifts, cooking, drinking, and decorating. But there's little to no action. We get a definite sense of foreboding for the upcoming books but also a profound sense of hope for the future that was sort of lacking in A Court of Wings & Ruin. Rhys and Feyre are much more connected here, and that was refreshing after some disatisfaction with the turns in there relationship in the last book. However, I think the other characters relationships were still a bit too thin here and might be disappointing for anyone really excited for them. It's more of a tie-up for Rhys and Feyre, less a great introduction to the the many other possible couples that are going to be explored. But that's probably just to leave us wanting them more.


Tuesday, August 17, 2021

August 17, 2021 - BCPL Resume Tips

Brooke County Libraries - Resume Tip #10

Bullets Vs Paragraph

With so many resume and CV templates floating around on the internet today, it had be hard to find a format that works for you. One of the biggest differences are bullet points verses paragraphs.

Here's our advice: If your work history is short, use bullet points, but if you have a lengthy job history, use paragraphs.

The difference lies in trying to keep your resume one page. Employers always gravitate to page that looks full but not cluttered. Bullet points for your job duties, responsibilities, certifications, or skills will not do you any favors unless you need to expand to fill your page. 

If you have worked at only one or two places perhaps because you just graduated college or spent several years as a stay-at-home parent, bullet point your job duties to expand your information. If you have twenty plus years of job positions, put your responsibilities in paragraph form so you can fit more employers.

Monday, August 16, 2021

August 16, 2021 - New Arrivals

August 16, 2021

Adult Fiction

The Bone Code by Kathy Reichs.

On the way to hurricane-ravaged Isle of Palms, a barrier island off the South Carolina coast, Tempe receives a call from the Charleston coroner. The storm has tossed ashore a medical waste container. Inside are two decomposed bodies wrapped in plastic sheeting and bound with electrical wire. Tempe recognizes many of the details as identical to those of an unsolved case she handled in Quebec years earlier. With a growing sense of foreboding, she travels to Montreal to gather evidence. Meanwhile, health authorities in South Carolina become increasingly alarmed as a human flesh-eating contagion spreads. So focused is Tempe on identifying the container victims that, initially, she doesn't register how their murders and the pestilence may be related. But she does recognize one unsettling fact. Someone is protecting a dark secret--and willing to do anything to keep it hidden.


Forever My Own by Tracie Peterson.
"While caring for her grandmother, Kristin encounters the brother she long thought dead. In shock, she volunteers to care for her brother's injured friend, Ilian. As Ilian recovers, an attraction sparks between them, but both are dealing with problems that have no easy answers. With no clear way forward, can love ever thrive and the past be forgiven?" -- Provided by publisher.


The Badlands Trail by Ralph Compton.

"The drovers of Circle K ranch have to drive the herd of beautiful longhorn cattle five hundred miles northwest to Missouri if they hope to make it through the next year. Toby Bishop, a jack-of-all-trades and drifter, will have to work with the mixed group of drovers, whether they are white, black, Hispanic, lifelong cowboys, drifters, or shamed preachers. On the trail, drovers must set aside their differences in favor of a common goal. As they go north, Bishop finds himself tested: physically by the rigors of the trail; and mentally, by the grim memories evoked by the violence necessary to protect the herd. But if they are to make it all the way to St. Louis, he'll have to call on every skill and ounce of knowledge he's acquired in his checkered and violent past to overcome the unexpected obstacles threatening the drive." -- Provided by publisher.


Adult Non-Fiction

Paracord Projects by Bryan Lynch.

Whether you're camping, hiking, or simply on a walk, cordage is one of the most useful and important items a person can have. Not only is it crucial to have close by, but it's also a lot of fun to discover the endless possibilities! From the same author who wrote the Victorinox Swiss Army Knife Camping & Outdoor Survival Guide, Bryan Lynch teaches readers the basics of survival, 7 ways to carry paracord, and over 60 functional uses, from creating fire, collecting water, and repairing gear to keeping clean, navigating the area, making tools, and more! Learn the history of how paracord is made, what it was originally used for in the military, why it's so popular and useful, and why you'll always want to have it on you. Trust us, you'll want to know!


Hunt, Gather, Parent by Michaeleen Doucleff.

When Dr. Michaeleen Doucleff becomes a mother, she examines the studies behind modern parenting guidance and finds the evidence frustratingly limited and the conclusions often ineffective. Curious to learn about more effective parenting approaches, she visits a Maya village in the Yucatán Peninsula. There she encounters moms and dads who parent in a totally different way than we do--and raise extraordinarily kind, generous, and helpful children without yelling, nagging, or issuing timeouts. What else, Doucleff wonders, are Western parents missing out on? In Hunt, Gather, Parent, Doucleff sets out with her three-year-old daughter in tow to learn and practice parenting strategies from families in three of the world's most venerable communities: Maya families in Mexico, Inuit families above the Arctic Circle, and Hadzabe families in Tanzania. She sees that these cultures don't have the same problems with children that Western parents do. Most strikingly, parents build a relationship with young children that is vastly different from the one many Western parents develop--it's built on cooperation instead of control, trust instead of fear, and personalized needs instead of standardized development milestones. Maya parents are masters at raising cooperative children. Without resorting to bribes, threats, or chore charts, Maya parents rear loyal helpers by including kids in household tasks from the time they can walk. Inuit parents have developed a remarkably effective approach for teaching children emotional intelligence. When kids cry, hit, or act out, Inuit parents respond with a calm, gentle demeanor that teaches children how to settle themselves down and think before acting. Hadzabe parents are world experts on raising confident, self-driven kids with a simple tool that protects children from stress and anxiety, so common now among American kids. Not only does Doucleff live with families and observe their techniques firsthand, she also applies them with her own daughter, with striking results. She learns to discipline without yelling. She talks to psychologists, neuroscientists, anthropologists, and sociologists and explains how these strategies can impact children's mental health and development. Filled with practical takeaways that parents can implement immediately, Hunt, Gather, Parent helps us rethink the ways we relate to our children, and reveals a universal parenting paradigm adapted for American families.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom.  E

Water is the first medicine. It affects and connects us all...When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth and poison her people's water, one young water protector takes a stand to defend Earth's most sacred resource.


When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller.  J

When Lily and her family move in with her sick grandmother, a magical tiger straight out of her halmoni's Korean folktales arrives. The tiger offers Lily a deal- if Lily will open her grandmother's star jars and return what she stole, the tiger will heal her grandmother. But deals with tigers are never what they seem! With the help of her sister and her new friend Ricky, Lily must find her voice . . . and the courage to face a tiger.

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

Thursday, August 12, 2021

August 12, 2021 - Staff Reviews

By Mark Greaney
Release Date: February 16, 2021
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3.5 Stars - A really exciting addition to this long-running spy series. Court Gentry is a black ops solider/assassin but he's not at full capacity due to an injury. He gets called back in too early and soon finds himself on a mission of his own making. A wordy but fast-paced adventure in a series worth a try for any fans of espionage thrillers.

I skipped more books in this series than I thought, honestly. I lost interest somewhere around Dead Eye and finally circle back. A few details I was confused about but I was easily able to jump back into this particular spy game world. In this one, Court is hampered by an injury that has turned into a near death infection. Now, Court getting hurt is nothing new because The Gray Man needs struggles and is human too. But this time it's a bit extreme. Like they keep saying he's "half" Court Gentry but it's maybe more like "quarter". Zoya, his Russian spy counterpart, makes for quite a match up.

One of the reasons, I found myself a little bored with this series back in the day was that Court's not boring but he's a bit dull. Greaney goes through plenty of small details to keep the guy seeming like an average dude at the end of the day. But he still comes off like a robot most of the time. It was fun now that he had a personal stake in the game. He's on this mission of his own free will, operating under his own set of rules. It just added a layer of tension that's missing when he's trying to rescue strangers or helping people he could care less about. Greaney's an excellent writer, if a bit wordy. He can make it tough at times to keep track of who is who and where they are, etc. Like sometimes, he uses four people where three would probably do. But even side characters come with a personality and background which is refreshing in the action thriller genre. I wouldn't recommend starting with this entry but it might be the best to grab a new reader's attention. Readers like me will still enjoy going back through the previous books.


Wednesday, August 11, 2021

August 11, 2021 - Book Club Preview

Brooke County Libraries book club pick for August 2021 is Never Caught: The Washingtons Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave Ona Judge.

Meeting will be held on Thursday August 26th at 5pm. Our discussions are also held virtually!

Born into a life of slavery, Ona Judge eventually grew up to be George and Martha Washington’s “favored” dower slave. When she was told that she was going to be given as a wedding gift to Martha Washington’s granddaughter, Ona made the bold and brave decision to flee to the north, where she would be a fugitive. 


From her childhood, to her time with the Washingtons and living in the slave quarters, to her escape to New Hampshire, Erica Armstrong Dunbar, along with Kathleen Van Cleve, shares an intimate glimpse into the life of a little-known, but powerful figure in history, and her brave journey as she fled the most powerful couple in the country.

About the author...

Erica Armstrong Dunbar is the Charles and Mary Beard Distinguished Professor of History at Rutgers University. She was born and raised in Philadelphia, reads all things related to African American History, and loves old school hip-hop.

Images and info courtesy of Google, Amazon, and author web page.


Monday, August 9, 2021

August 9, 2021 - New Arrivals

August 9, 2021

Adult Fiction

Nine Lives by Danielle Steel.

After a carefree childhood, Mary Margaret Kelly came of age in the shadow of grief. Her father, a dashing daredevil Air Force pilot, died when she was nine. Maggie saw her mother struggle to put their lives back together. As the family moved from one city to the next, her mother warned her to beware of daredevil men and avoid risk at all cost. Following her mother's advice, and forgoing the magic of first love with a high school boyfriend who was too wild to feel safe, Maggie instead sought out all the things her mother had lost--a predictable partner, a stable home, and a regular paycheck. She chose to marry a dependable, kind man who was a reliable husband and successful accountant. Together they had a son and found happiness in a conventional suburban life. Until tragedy struck again. Now on her own, feeling a sense of adventure for the first time, Maggie decides to face her fears, setting off on a whirlwind trip from San Francisco to Rome, Paris, and Monaco. But when her travels reconnect her with the very same irresistible, thrill-seeking man she's spent thirty years trying to forget, Maggie becomes terrified that rushing into love and sharing his life may very well end in disaster. But ultimately, while Maggie tries to outrun her fears and painful memories of her past, fate will surprise her in the most astounding of ways, as she walks the tightrope between danger and courage, and between wisdom and love.


Out of Hounds by Rita Mae Brown.

Spring is peeking through the frost in Virginia, and though the hunting season is coming to a close, the foxes seem determined to put the members of the Jefferson Hunt Club through their paces. Sister and her friends are enjoying some of the best chases they've had all season when the fun is cut short by the theft of Crawford Howard's treasured Sir Alfred Munnings painting of a woman in hunting attire riding sidesaddle. When another painting goes missing five days later -- also a Munnings, also of a woman hunting sidesaddle -- Sister Jane knows it's no coincidence. Someone is stealing paintings of foxhunters from foxhunters. But why?


False Witness by Karin Slaughter.

Leigh Collier has worked hard to build what looks like a normal life.  She's an up-and-coming defense attorney at a prestigious law firm in Atlanta, would do anything for her sixteen-year-old daughter Maddy, and is managing to successfully coparent through a pandemic after an amicable separation from her husband Walter. But Leigh's ordinary life masks a childhood no one should have to endure...a childhood tarnished by secrets, broken by betrayal, and ultimately destroyed by a brutal act of violence. On a Sunday night at her daughter's school play, she gets a call from one of the firm's partners who wants Leigh to come on board to defend a wealthy man accused of multiple counts of rape. Though wary of the case, it becomes apparent she doesn't have much choice if she wants to keep her job. They're scheduled to go to trial in one week. When she meets the accused face-to-face, she realizes that it's no coincidence that he's specifically asked for her to represent him.  She knows him.  And he knows her.  More to the point, he may know what happened over twenty years ago, and why Leigh has spent two decades avoiding her past. Suddenly she has a lot more to lose than this case.  The only person who can help is her younger, estranged sister Callie--the last person Leigh would ever want to drag into this after all they've been through.  But with the life-shattering truth in danger of being revealed, she has no choice...


Adult Non-Fiction

Vibrant by Stacie Stephenson.

Today's view of wellness is far too often fragmented, focusing on specific symptoms rather than the whole person. In Vibrant, Dr. Stacie Stephenson introduces readers to a new and empowering way of looking at health. A recognized leader in functional and integrative medicine, Stephenson has helped thousands by focusing not on treating disease, but on creating health-by giving individuals the knowledge, confidence, and inspiration they need to do so for themselves. By the end of this life-changing book, readers will have the tools to transform their energy, weight, fitness, and general wellness, tackling everything from enhancing sleep quality to building an iron-clad immune system. Beginning with basics such as the truth about the best diet, the critical role of exercise in vitality and longevity, and the importance of human connection, Vibrant also dives deeper to give a holistic picture of health and how to achieve it. With helpful breakdowns on supplements, detoxification, and how to think about disease, this is much more than just another wellness book. With Stephenson's candid and conversational voice, Vibrant is like having a friend who also happens to be a leading health authority take you under her wing. Along with practical advice, she shares powerful insights that will change the way you think about everything from exercise to relationships, and sends readers off with an inspirational chapter on how health has a ripple effect that can change your family, your community, and help to create a more vibrant world. With a step-by-step program for making foundational lifestyle shifts, Vibrant shows you how to reclaim your health and energy, reverse aging, and glow-not just on the outside, but from deep within yourself.


Kamala’s Way by Dan Morain.

There's very little that's conventional about Kamala Harris, and yet her personal story also represents the best of America. She grew up the eldest daughter of a single mother, a no-nonsense cancer researcher who emigrated from India at the age of nineteen in search of a better education. She and her husband, an accomplished economist from Jamaica, split up when Kamala was only five. The Kamala Harris the public knows today is tough, smart, quick-witted, and demanding. She's a prosecutor--her one-liners are legendary--but she's more reticent when it comes to sharing much about herself, even in her memoirs. Fortunately, former Los Angeles Times reporter Dan Morain has been there from the start. In Kamala's Way, he charts her career from its beginnings handling child molestation cases and homicides for the Alameda County District Attorney's office and her relationship as a twenty-nine-year-old with the most powerful man in the state: married Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, a relationship that would prove life-changing. Morain takes readers through Harris's years in the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, explores her audacious embrace of the little-known Barack Obama, and shows the sharp elbows she deployed to make it to the US Senate. He analyzes her failure as a presidential candidate and the behind-the-scenes campaign she waged to land the Vice President spot. Along the way, he paints a vivid picture of her values and priorities, the kind of people she brings into her orbit, the sorts of problems she's good at solving, and the missteps, risks, and bold moves she's made on her way to the top. Kamala's Way is essential reading for all Americans curious about the woman standing by Joe Biden's side.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

Who Would Win? Jaguar vs. Skunk by Jerry Pallotta.  J NF

What if a jaguar and a skunk had a fight? Who do you think would win? This nonfiction reader compares and contrasts two ferocious animals. Readers will learn about each animal's anatomy, behavior, and more. Then compare and contrast the battling pair before finally discovering the winner!


Renegade Flight by Andrea Tang.  YA

Viola Park's life is over. She's gone from planning her future as a pilot-in-training to resigning herself to life on the ground. And it's all because she made one tiny, not-altogether-legal maneuver on the prestigious GAN Academy's entrance exam. It's bad enough that she didn't get into the Academy, but getting caught cheating? It's probably the worst thing Vi could imagine. Still, there are perks that come with Vi's family legacy at the school, and when Vi learns that recent pilot disappearances have left the Academy desperate for recruits, she does what any good Park would do--uses her connections to wiggle her way back in. But instead of matriculating with the regular class of future Peacekeepers, Vi is forced to enter as a probationary student, which means she'll have to work twice as hard to prove herself worthy of a place in the cockpit of one of the legendary dragon mechs. Lucky for Vi, the Academy has set up a combat tournament for all students, and the prize is a guaranteed spot in the Peacekeeper corps. Unlucky for Vi, she'll have to compete against her probie classmates, including Nicholas Lee, a mysterious boy prone to throwing Vi off her game. And as more Peacekeepers go missing, what starts out as a ploy to save her reputation turns into a fight for the future of Peacekeepers everywhere, and if Vi can't master her mech combat skills, she might not survive the battle.

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

Friday, August 6, 2021

August 6, 2021 - Staff Reviews

The Firebrand
By Susan Wiggs
Release Date: September 1, 2020
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

1 Star - I loved the first book in this trilogy years ago, but this one is a weaker story by far. I couldn't find a good reason to actually like either Lucy or Rand, which was a shame because I thought the plot had a lot of potential. Wiggs does her best to infuse feminist ideals into the novel and a level of quirkiness but it falls short of memorable.

Normally, I dislike to write an all negative review because they feel like a waste of time and only sound mean. But I had a lot floating around in my head about this book. I glanced at a few other reviews to see if I was just in a slump and resentful this wasn't breaking it. But I did see others that called this preachy and dull, both apt descriptions. Lucy is a feminist and a book lover but she has the personality of cardboard. She is snide, even in her thoughts, and I have no idea why anyone would want her as a wife anyway. Rand doesn't really want her. He's just intrigued by her. To start off, he has a little charm and good humor about him but that more or less fades quickly. 

I was anticipating the beginning of the book to be sort of an epic escape or race for safety amid the fire. Other than the death of Lucy's father, which passes by without much effect, it just sort of fizzles. Soon, Lucy has her ward and Rand thinks his baby daughter has died. There's no excitement, no rescue. The problem with Lucy is that she's pretty much a feminist by word only, ends up marrying Rand to make life easier. Way to stick to your morals, honey. The dialouge concerning her principles and the possibilities of life outside social norms are obviously an attempt to be "modern" or "stimulating". It just comes off odd. And there's nothing that makes this fun as a period romance as a result. Wiggs could have set the same book in 1999. And where was the romance, the love story? I really expected to enjoy this tale but found myself only slogging through it. 


Tuesday, August 3, 2021

August 3, 2021 - Need a Summer Story?

Summer is starting to wind down. Not ready for it to end yet? Check out some of these Summer Reads available from Brooke County Libraries!

The Barefoot Summer by Carolyn Brown
Leaving one widow behind is unfortunate. Leaving three widows behind is just plain despicable. Oil heiress Kate Steele knew her not-so-dearly departed husband was a con man, but she’s shocked that Conrad racked up two more wives without divorcing her first. The only remnant of their miserable marriage she plans to keep is their lakeside cabin in Bootleg, Texas. Unfortunately, she’s not the only woman with that idea. Fiery, strong-willed Jamie wishes Conrad were still alive—so she could kill the scoundrel herself. But for their daughter’s sake, she needs that property. As does Amanda—twenty-eight, pregnant, and still weeping over the loss of her true love. On a broiling July day, all three arrive in Bootleg…with a dogged detective right behind who’s convinced that at least one of them conspired to commit murder. 

Killer Summer by Ridley Pearson
Sun Valley sheriff Walt Fleming returns in this high-intensity thriller from New York Times- bestselling author Ridley Pearson. Sun Valley, Idaho-playground of the wealthy and politically connected-is home to an annual wine auction that attracts high rollers from across the country, and Blaine County Sheriff Walt Fleming is the one who must ensure it goes off without a hitch. The world's most elite wine connoisseurs have descended on Sun Valley to taste and bid on the world's best wines, including three bottles claimed to have been a gift from Thomas Jefferson to John Adams. With sky-high prices all but guaranteed for these historic items, it's no wonder a group of thieves is out to steal them. Walt is responsible for all aspects of the glitzy event, from security of the dignitaries to the physical safety of the auction site to the transportation and safeguard of the wines themselves. 

Big Sky Summer by Linda Lael Miller
With his father's rodeo legacy to continue and a prosperous spread to run, Walker Parrish has no time to dwell on wrecked relationships. But country-western sweetheart Casey Elder is out of the spotlight and back in Parable, Montana. And Walker can't ignore that his "act now, think later" passion for Casey has had consequences. Two teenage consequences! Keeping her children's paternity under wraps has always been part of Casey's plan to give them normal, uncomplicated lives. Now the best way to hold her family together seems to be to let Walker be a part of it-as her husband of convenience. Or will some secrets-like Casey's desire to be the rancher's wife in every way-unravel, with unforeseen results?

Summer Nights by Susan Mallery
Horse whisperer Shane Stryker is done with passion. This time around, he's determined to meet someone who will be content with the quiet life of a rancher's wife. And the fiery, pint-size redhead who dazzles him at the local bar definitely does not fit the bill. Small-town librarian Annabelle Weiss has always seen herself as more of a sweetheart than a siren, so she can't understand why Shane keeps pushing her away. Shane has formed the totally wrong impression of her but only he can help her with a special event for the next Fool's Gold festival. And maybe while he's at it, she can convince him to teach her a few things about kissing on hot summer nights, too—some lessons, a girl shouldn't learn from reading a book!

One Summer by David Baldacci
It's almost Christmas, but there is no joy in the house of terminally ill Jack and his family. With only a short time left to live, he spends his last days preparing to say goodbye to his devoted wife, Lizzie, and their three children. Then, unthinkably, tragedy strikes again: Lizzie is killed in a car accident. With no one able to care for them, the children are separated from each other and sent to live with family members around the country. Just when all seems lost, Jack begins to recover in a miraculous turn of events. 

Secrets of the Lost Summer by Carla Neggers
A wave of hope carries Olivia Frost back to her small New England hometown nestled in the beautiful Swift River Valley. She’s transforming a historic home into an idyllic getaway—picturesque and perfect, if only the absentee owner will fix up the eyesore next door… Dylan McCaffrey’s ramshackle house is an inheritance he never counted on. It also holds the key to a generations-old lost treasure he can’t resist any more than he can resist his new neighbor. Against this breathtaking landscape, Dylan and Olivia pursue long-buried secrets and discover a mystery wrapped in a love story…

The Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux
Have you ever wanted to rewrite your past? Three best friends, all with the same birthday, are about to turn forty. Celebrating at a summerhouse in Maine, Leslie Headrick, Madison Appleby, and Ellie Abbott are taking stock of their lives and loves, their wishes and choices. But none of them expect the gift that awaits them at the summerhouse: the chance for each of them to turn their "what-might-have-beens" into reality. . . Leslie, a suburban wife and mother, follows the career of a boy who pursued her in college wonders: what if she had chosen differently?

The Summer That Made Us by Robyn Carr
Mothers and daughters, sisters and cousins, they lived for summers at the lake house until a tragic accident changed everything. The Summer That Made Us is an unforgettable story about a family learning to accept the past, to forgive and to love each other again. That was then… For the Hempsteads, two sisters who married two brothers and had three daughters each, summers were idyllic. The women would escape the city the moment school was out to gather at the family house on Lake Waseka. The lake was a magical place, a haven where they were happy and carefree. All of their problems drifted away as the days passed in sun-dappled contentment. Until the summer that changed everything.

The Summer Deal by Jill Shalvis
Brynn Turner desperately wishes she had it together, but her personal life is like a ping-pong match that’s left her scared and hurt after so many attempts to get it right. In search of a place to lick her wounds and get a fresh start, she heads back home to Wildstone. And then there’s Kinsey Davis, who after battling serious health issues her entire twenty-nine years of life, is tired of hoping for. . . well, anything. She's fierce, tough, and she’s keeping more than one bombshell of a secret from Brynn -- her long-time frenemy. But then Brynn runs into Kinsey's best friend, Eli, renewing her childhood crush. The good news: he’s still easy-going and funny and sexy as hell. The bad news: when he gets her to agree to a summer-time deal to trust him to do right by her, no matter what, she never dreams it’ll result in finding a piece of herself she didn’t even know was missing.

Summer of the Dead by Julia Keller
High summer in Acker's Gap, West Virginia—but no one's enjoying the rugged natural landscape. Not while a killer stalks the small town and its hard-luck inhabitants. County prosecutor Bell Elkins and Sheriff Nick Fogelsong are stymied by a murderer who seems to come and go like smoke on the mountain. At the same time, Bell must deal with the return from prison of her sister, Shirley—who, like Bell, carries the indelible scars of a savage past. In Summer of the Dead, the third Julia Keller mystery chronicling the journey of Bell Elkins and her return to her Appalachian hometown...

Summer Rain by Barbara Freethy
Action, suspense, romance and family secrets lead to an explosive conclusion! Danielle Monroe is determined to use her new job in DC as a stepping-stone to a high-powered political career. But the secrets surrounding her father's death continue to overshadow her goals. Her family thinks she holds the final piece of the puzzle, but she doesn't even know what the puzzle is…until an attractive and possibly dangerous stranger shows up in her life. Patrick Kane is searching for answers about his own dark tragedy, not realizing that the beautiful Danielle may not just hold the key to his mystery but also his heart. 

The Summer House by James Patterson and Brendan DuBois
Once a luxurious southern getaway on a rustic lake, then reduced to a dilapidated crash pad, the Summer House is now the grisly scene of a nighttime mass murder. Eyewitnesses point to four Army Rangers -- known as the Night Ninjas -- recently returned from Afghanistan. To ensure that justice is done, the Army sends Major Jeremiah Cook, a veteran and former NYPD cop, to investigate. But the major and his elite team arrive in sweltering Georgia with no idea their grim jobs will be made exponentially more challenging by local law enforcement, who resists the Army's intrusion and stonewall them at every turn. As Cook and his squad struggle to uncover the truth behind the condemning evidence, the pieces just won't fit -- and forces are rallying to make certain damning secrets die alongside the victims in the murder house.

Are any of these your favorites? Did we leave out some good ones? Let us know! We love to hear from our readers in our comment section, on any of our social media pages, or even in person.

Images courtesy of Google.