Wednesday, September 29, 2021

September 29, 2021 - WV Author of the Month

Brooke County Libraries are proud to present our September WV Author of the Month (2021) - Cynthia Rylant.

Cynthia Rylant (born June 6, 1954) is an American author and librarian. She has written more than 100 children's books, including works of fiction (picture books, short stories and novels), nonfiction, and poetry. Several of her books have won awards, including her novel Missing May, which won the 1993 Newbery Medal, and A Fine White Dust, which was a 1987 Newbery Honor book. Two of her books are Caldecott Honor Books.

Rylant was born in Hopewell, West Virginia, the daughter of a U.S. Army veteran, John Tune Smith, and Leatrel Smith née Rylant. Rylant uses her mother's maiden name as her pen name. She spent her first four years in Illinois. Her parents separated when she was four years old, and she was sent to live with her mother's parents in Cool Ridge, West Virginia, while her mother attended nursing school and was able to visit her only a few times a year. Growing up in the Appalachian region of the U.S. during the 1960s, Rylant lived in a very depressed economic environment. Her grandparents, extended family and kind local townspeople provided a nurturing, safe environment, while the little girl "waited ... until someone could return for me", but they were very poor and lived a rustic life, with no electricity, running water or automobiles. As a result, she never saw children's books as a child, reading mainly comic books and enjoying the outdoors.

Four years later, she moved back with her mother, who had relocated to nearby Beaver, West Virginia. There had been no libraries or bookstores in Cool Ridge, and there were none in Beaver. Rylant never saw her father again, and he died when she was thirteen years old in 1967. She later wrote, "I did not have a chance to know him or to say goodbye to him, and that is all the loss I needed to become a writer.". When she was nine years old, Rylant fell in love with Paul McCartney and The Beatles. However, her West Virginia childhood was the major influence on her works, and many of them deal with life in the Appalachian region. As a teenager, Rylant became enchanted with Robert F. Kennedy, whom she met during his presidential campaign. She was deeply affected by his assassination. Also important to her emotional development was her relationship with a boy from school.

Rylant earned a B.A. degree from Morris Harvey College (now the University of Charleston) in 1975 and a M.A. degree from Marshall University in 1976, discovering and studying English literature and greatly enjoying her years in school. In 1977, she married Kevin Dolin. Unable to find a job in her field after completing college, she first worked as a waitress and later as a librarian at the Cabell County Public Library in Huntington, West Virginia, where she finally became acquainted with children's books. She taught English part-time at Marshall University in 1979 and wrote her first book, When I Was Young in the Mountains,based on her experiences as a young child living in the country with her grandparents. The picture book, which Rylant later said took her an hour to complete, earned an American Book Award in 1982 and was a Caldecott Honor Book. Her marriage with Dolin ended in 1980, and she earned a Masters degree in Library Science from Kent State University in 1981. She lived in Kent, Ohio, for many years, working as a librarian at the Cincinnati Public Library. She later moved to Akron, Ohio, and worked at the Akron Public Library while teaching English part-time at the University of Akron. For a period she was in a romantic relationship with Dav Pilkey, author of Captain Underpants.

Rylant's 1992 young adult novel, Missing May, is a touching story about a girl who lives with relatives after the death of her mother and who must comfort her uncle after the death of his beloved wife. Beginning in the early 1990s, Rylant has published several series designed for younger readers, including the Lighthouse Family, High-rise Private Eyes, and Everyday Books series, the last of which is a series for very young children that she illustrated herself. She also illustrated several of her other books, including the playful Dog Heaven (1995), about an ideal dog afterlife. Other poetry collections have been God Went to Beauty School (2003) and Boris (2005).

Rylant has received a number of awards and honors for her work. A Fine White Dust (1987) won a Newbery Honor,[11] and Missing May (1993) won a Newbery Medal. When I Was Young in the Mountains (1982) and The Relatives Came (1985) received Caldecott Honors. The Relatives Came and Appalachia: The Voices of Sleeping Birds (1991) are each Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Books, as is Missing May, which deals with the loss of a loved one. A Kindness (1988), Soda Jerk (1990), and A Couple of Kooks and Other Stories about Love (1990) have each been named a "Best Book of the Year for Young Adults" by the American Library Association.

Check out some Ms. Rylant's work in our ebook library on WV Reads!

Are you a fan of her work already? Let us know your favorites in the comment section or on any of our social media pages!

(Images and info courtesy of Wikipedia, Google, and author's web page).


Tuesday, September 28, 2021

September 28, 2021 - Staff Reviews

By Stephen King
Release Date: March 2, 2021
Audiobook Available from WV Reads!

2.5 Stars - Interesting ghost tale and semi-mystery that fell a little short of my expectations. Told from the point-of-view of a child in the early 2000s, this was less a hard-boiled crime and more a modern period piece. There's plenty of King trademarks and references for fans and a less violent, scary story for a casual reader.

The timeline of this story didn't work for me. I'm totally cool with film noir style, first person, past tense, deep setting the stage, but this hopped around too much. I'm relatively close in age to the main character, and I had so much trouble remembering and visualing what year and what age our young hero Jaime was for the first two hours at least. (It's less than 7 hours long). He's kind of an adorable protagonist though and very well-voiced by narrator Seth Numrich. The rest of the characters with the exception of a few old guys who appears are less likable.

No matter how many books I've read, a main character who "sees dead people" is always interesting. I find it fascinating how different writers set up the rules for ghosts and mediums to suit their own needs. And do it with such authority. Here, King uses his weird but fun sense of humor to say this is not like The Sixth Sense in real life. And then proceeds to set it up so much like Sixth Sense, down to traffic jams and dead bike riders. This plot really kind of writes itself. But I'm not sure that aspect was doing anyone any favors. King's style makes it entertaining of course. That said, we pretty much know how it's going to go. The dead people are grisly to add some fear factor. They use Jaime's gift to try to make money and solve crimes. It's possible I just wasn't in the right mood or I needed something more intense to hold my attention. But this was a really short book that felt painfully long to me. There was so much jumping around, recapping, and foreshadowing, I was kind of ready to skip to the end, get to some action, something. Then the last hour was just weird. A short, mindlessly entertaining thriller that's probably best as a beach read or an afternoon book binge.


Monday, September 27, 2021

September 27, 2021 - New Arrivals

September 27, 2021

Adult Fiction

The Light After the War by Anita Abriel.

Spring 1946: Best friends Vera Frankel and Edith Ban arrive in Naples. Refugees from Hungary, they managed to escape from a train headed for Auschwitz and spent the rest of the war hiding on an Austrian farm. Now, the two young women are starting new lives abroad. Armed with a letter of recommendation from an American officer, Vera finds work at the United States embassy where she falls in love with Captain Anton Wight. But as Vera and Edith grapple with the aftermath of the war, so too does Anton, and when he suddenly disappears, Vera is forced to change course. Their quest for a better life takes Vera and Edith from Naples to Ellis Island to Caracas as they start careers, reunite with old friends, and rebuild their lives after terrible loss.


A Hill of Beans by William W. Johnstone & J. A. Johnstone.
"Mac Mackenzie has enough problems on his plate. He's got bounty hunters on his tail, no one on his side, and no place to hide. Just when he thinks it can't get any worse, he hears the rumbling of a cattle stampede--heading straight for his camp. Mac's got two choices: Get trampled like a weed or saddle up and help get the herd under control. At first, the trail drivers ain't too pleased to have a stranger help them out. But once they realize Mac's not a rustler, they ask him to join the team. Mac takes them up on the offer--especially after he meets the cowgirl Colleen--and quickly impresses everyone with his cooking skills. There's just a few more problems: Mac's new employers might be the real rustlers. And Mac's stepped out of the frying pan into the fire..." -- Amazon.


The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict & Victoria Christopher Murray.

In her twenties, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by J. P. Morgan to curate a collection for his newly built Pierpont Morgan Library. Belle becomes a fixture on the New York society scene and one of the most powerful people in the art and book world as she helps build a world-class collection. But Belle has a secret, one she must protect at all costs. She is the daughter of Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard and a well-known advocate for equality. Belle's complexion isn't dark because of her alleged Portuguese heritage that lets her pass as white - her complexion is dark because she is African American.


Adult Non-Fiction

Gardening Basics for Dummies by Steven A. Frowine.

Even if you've never sowed a seed nor pulled a weed, Gardening Basics for Dummies contains everything you need to know about flowers, beds, borders, trees, shrubs, and lawns to create your own private paradise. This friendly and informative guide also covers all of the tools and additives available to make gardening easier.


Home Winemaking by Jack B. Keller, Jr.

With local breweries and wineries popping up everywhere, learning how to make wine is on everyone's "to do" list. Utilize the guidance of home-winemaking legend Jack B. Keller, Jr. In the 1990s, Jack started one of the first (if not the first) wine blogs on the internet. His expertise, along with that of wine chemistry guru Daniel Pambianchi, is shared with you in Home Winemaking. It takes a fun, practical, step-by-step approach to making your own wine. The book begins with an introduction to winemaking, including basic principles, equipment needed, and exactly what to do. After the fundamentals are covered, you're given a variety of tested, proven, delicious recipes. More than just grape wines, you'll learn how to make wine out of everything from juices and concentrates to foraged ingredients such as berries and roots. There are even recipes that utilize dandelions and other unexpected ingredients. With 65 options, you can expand your winemaking season indefinitely!


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

Stingers by Randy Wayne White.  J

Marine biologist Doc Ford invites Maribel, Luke, and Sabina to a remote island in the Bahamas where lionfish, a beautiful and venomous inhabitant of the South Pacific that has invaded Florida and the Caribbean, are not just upsetting the balance of nature by damaging the coral reefs--their sting has put several people in the hospital. What Doc and Captain Hannah Smith don't mention is that the island is riddled with limestone caves, once home to a band of pirates, and stories of Spanish gold have lured outlaw treasure hunters to the area. When the trio finds precious artifacts, they agree to guard the secret until they've thoroughly explored the spot. Soon, outlaws search for the trio, hoping they will lead them to riches.


The Legend of Auntie Po by Shing Yin Khor.  J GN

Aware of the racial tumult in the years after the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, Mei tries to remain blissfully focused on her job, her close friendship with the camp foreman's daughter, and telling stories about Paul Bunyan--reinvented as Po Pan Yin (Auntie Po), an elderly Chinese matriarch. Anchoring herself with stories of Auntie Po, Mei navigates the difficulty and politics of lumber camp work and her growing romantic feelings for her friend Bee. The Legend of Auntie Po is about who gets to own a myth, and about immigrant families and communities holding on to rituals and traditions while staking out their own place in America.

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

Friday, September 24, 2021

September 24, 2021 - A Book & A Recipe

Thanks for checking out this month's Dinner and a Recipe idea from Brooke County Libraries! This month we are featuring Chicken Pot Pie Fritters from The Cookbook Club by Beth Harrison. This is a fun book with a unique set up and positively loads of recipe ideas.

From the book -
You can argue that these are cheat-y since they are, and you are welcome to get off that Clydesdale and make your own roux-into-cream-soup and cook your own chicken breasts. But if you really want fast comfort food that makes everyone think you're a culinary genius, look no further! These are pretty substantial so you really only need to have one or two per person, tops. 

Recipe makes 8 fritters.

2 tsps butter
1 small yellow onion, peeled and chopped
Pinch of salt
1 pound of rotisserie chicken breast meat, shredded
1 10.5 oz can cream of chicken soup
3/4 cup of frozen peas and carrotts
Salt and pepper to taste
1 package of crescent rolls

Onion is optional but wouldn't advise skipping it.

1. Put two tsps of butter in saucepan with chopped onions and a pinch of salt and cook over medium heat until translucent (about 8 mins).
2. Add chicken, soup, frozen veggies, and 1/2 water, and stir. Season to taste. This is the bulk of the dish. 
3. Heat Oven to 375 F.
4. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick spray. Stretch one roll into a muffin cup, then fill with 1/8 of the soup mix and pinch closed with fingers. Option to lay roll flat first and pinch seals and then cut dough into squares if easier.
5. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown on top.
6. Serve immediately.

Be sure to let us know if you gave this a try! We'd love to hear about it.

Intrigued now? Check out the ebook from WV Reads! Just click on the link below...

Images courtesy of Google, WV Reads

Thursday, September 23, 2021

September 23, 2021 - Staff Reviews

 Securing Kalee
By Susan Stoker
Release Date: September 22, 2020
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3.5 Stars - An exciting final entry in Stoker's SEAL series, one I jump around in and can be read as standalones. Stoker changes up her usual formula a bit while staying true to form. Here a determined hero rescues a spirited heroine in more ways than one.

Kalee is one of Stoker's heroines that she really put through hell. She comes out reasonably traumatized. But her attitiude is actually tolerable and her outlook reasonable. Strong but not ridiculously motivated like some damaged heroines. Phantom I didn't expect to like as much as I did. But he instantly stands up for Kalee and is perfectly supportive. He sacrificed a lot to be with her and do the right thing. And I found it refreshing that their attraction wasn't super physical. This was actually a slightly less steamy entry.

Plot wise, I think Stoker could have handled Mona better. This was almost like two different books with the first half being a rescue and the second being a stalker story. But somehow, it worked. The problem was that Mona's appearance felt so random that I was confused. That may have been intentional but it could have used some foreshadowing. One aspect I found really intriguing was that for a change, this novel was all about the hero and the heroine and their relationship. Usually with Stoker we have to revisit everyone in the series and sometimes the romance takes a backseat to the bromance. There's still some of that. But this time, Phantom was standing on his own two feet and the team wasn't a big, huge and perfect family the whole time. I think that honestly made me like it more and added a touch of realism, though I'm sure it disappointed a few devoted Stoker fans. 


Monday, September 20, 2021

September 20, 2021 - New Arrivals

September 20, 2021

Adult Fiction

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi.

Escaping from an abusive marriage, seventeen-year-old Lakshmi makes her way alone to the vibrant 1950s pink city of Jaipur. There she becomes the most highly requested henna artist--and confidante--to the wealthy women of the upper class. But trusted with the secrets of the wealthy, she can never reveal her own...Known for her original designs and sage advice, Lakshmi must tread carefully to avoid the jealous gossips who could ruin her reputation and her livelihood. As she pursues her dream of an independent life, she is startled one day when she is confronted by her husband, who has tracked her down these many years later with a high-spirited young girl in tow--a sister Lakshmi never knew she had. Suddenly the caution that she has carefully cultivated as protection is threatened. Still she perseveres, applying her talents and lifting up those that surround her as she does.


These Tangled Vines by Julianne MacLean.

If Fiona has learned anything in life, it's how to keep a secret--even from the father who raised her. She is the only person who knows about her late mother's affair in Tuscany thirty years earlier, and she intends to keep it that way...until a lawyer calls with shocking news: her biological father has died and left her an incredible inheritance--along with two half siblings.

Fiona travels to Italy, where the family is shocked to learn of her existence and desperate to contest her share of the will. While the mystery of her mother's affair is slowly unraveled, Fiona must navigate through tricky family relationships and tense sibling rivalries. Fiona both fears and embraces her new destiny as she searches for the truth about the fateful summer her mother spent in Italy and the father she never knew.


Fallen by Linda Castillo.

When a young woman is found murdered in a Painters Mill motel, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is shocked to discover she once knew the victim. Rachael Schwartz was a charming but troubled Amish girl who left the fold years ago and fled Painters Mill. Why was she back in town? And who would kill her so brutally? Kate remembers Rachael as the only girl who was as bad at being Amish as Kate was--and those parallels dog her. But the more Kate learns about Rachael's life, the more she's convinced that her dubious reputation was deserved. As a child, Rachael was a rowdy rule breaker whose decision to leave devastated her parents and best friend. As an adult, she was charismatic and beautiful, a rabble-rouser with a keen eye for opportunity no matter who got in her way. Her no-holds-barred lifestyle earned her a lot of love and enemies aplenty--both English and Amish. As the case heats to a fever pitch and long-buried secrets resurface, a killer haunts Painters Mill. Someone doesn't want Rachael's past--or the mysteries she took with her to the grave--coming to light. As Kate digs deeper, violence strikes again, this time hitting close to home. Will Kate uncover the truth and bring a murderer to justice? Or will a killer bent on protecting a terrible past stop her once and for all--and let the fallen be forgotten?


Adult Non-Fiction

Couple Found Slain by Mikita Brottman.

On February 21, 1992, 22-year-old Brian Bechtold walked into a police station in Port St. Joe, Florida and confessed that he'd shot and killed his parents in their family home in Silver Spring, Maryland. He said he'd been possessed by the devil. He was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia and ruled "not criminally responsible" for the murders on grounds of insanity. But after the trial, where do the "criminally insane" go? Brottman reveals Brian's inner life leading up to the murder, as well as his complicated afterlife in a maximum security psychiatric hospital, where he is neither imprisoned nor free. During his 27 years at the hospital, Brian has tried to escape and been shot by police, and has witnessed three patient-on-patient murders. He's experienced the drugging of patients beyond recognition, a sadistic system of rewards and punishments, and the short-lived reign of a crazed psychiatrist-turned-stalker.


Scenic Driving West Virginia by Bruce Slone.

“Scenic Driving West Virginia features twenty-five separate drives through the Mountain State, from rock ridges and gorges to springs, spas and rustic farms. An indispensable highway companion, Scenic Driving West Virginia includes route maps and in-depth descriptions of attractions.” –


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

Nubia: Real One by L. L. McKinney.  YA GN

Nubia has always been a little bit...different. As a baby she showcased Amazonian-like strength by pushing over a tree to rescue her neighbor's cat. But despite her having similar abilities, the world has no problem telling her that she's no Wonder Woman. And even if she were, they wouldn't want her. Every time she comes to the rescue, she's reminded of how people see her- as a threat. Her moms do their best to keep her safe, but Nubia can't deny the fire within her, even if she's a little awkward about it sometimes. Even if it means people assume the worst. When Nubia's best friend, Quisha, is threatened by a boy who thinks he owns the town, Nubia will risk it all--her safety, her home, and her crush on that cute kid in English class--to become the hero society tells her she isn't.


The Very Sleepy Sloth by Andrew Murray.  E

Sloth sleeps a lot. His favorite thing to do is nap. The other jungle animals tell Sloth that he should try what they are doing. But when the animals each try to do what the other is doing, they learn that everyone does something best; and Sloth's best talent is sleeping!

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

Friday, September 17, 2021

September 17, 2021 - Staff Reviews

The Chase
By Elle Kennedy
Release Date: August 6, 2018
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3 Stars - I struggled with this hero and heroine quite a bit but still had fun. This one's light on the hockey but heavy on the push/pull between the couple. Kennedy's work is always entertaining and this was an easy, steamy read for when I needed something light on intensity.

So, Elle Kennedy just doesn't write enough books for me. But this one was one of a few I skipped over because I just couldn't get started. I couldn't really connect with the main characters right off the bat because I have like nothing in common with either of them. But I love her dual POVs. Summer and Fitz are equal stars in this romance. Summer's got this golden goddess thing going but she's actually pretty down-to-earth. Fitz is reserved for a hockey player and practically leaves the antics to his friends. They have this semi-tortured brother's friend/roommate saga going on. The book is mostly just about these two though, not much going on outside their relationship. 

We get hints early on about Summer getting into trouble with a faculty member at the school. And that becomes one of a few side plots like Fitz's job search and setting up Brenna's book. Basically, Summer's rich but struggles with ADHD and a lack of direction. None of those are problems I have, but the girl is trying her best so I give her credit. Fitz was like a slew of guy traits that I don't get too. He immediately comes off very real though. I just have gamer friends and plenty who love tattoos and art, etc. None of it is part of my lifestyle so it was a bit lost on me. His attempts to control his emotions where Summer was concerned were kinda cute at first, but his reasoning for holding back was questionable. His and Summer's way of handling things with Hunter was awful. I still wish I loved the Briar U series like I did the all the Campus ones. The Risk being the exception and spectacular. We get some cameos from that crew but this is a total standalone for anyone looking to get hooked a new adult series.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021 - BCPL Resume Tips

Hello to all our job seekers! It's nice to have you back.

Check out BCPL Resume Tip #11 - Include Your Skills.

The skills section on a resume can be awkward, but it's an excellent way to add length to a short or gapped one-pager. You know by now we love one-pagers.

The skills section is flexible and can be listed at the top or bottom of the page. Again, remember you should be tailoring your resume with the job(s) you are applying for in mind. If the position does not require specific talents and attributes you possess, include skills at the bottom of the page above your references (which should always be last).

Common skills to include:

Customer service
Computer repair and/or programming
Public speaking
Social media publishing
Typing - Words per minute
Team building
Training staff
Industrial specialties
Problem solving


Tuesday, September 14, 2021

September 14, 2021 - Staff Reviews

Still Standing
By Kristen Ashley
Release Date: February 2, 2021
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

2.5 Stars - After a pretty vague description on the book, I wasn't sure what to expect from this new series. I got a very entertaining book that probably could've just as easily been 300 pages instead of 500. Ashley's writing here is seldom dull but there's a lot of info we don't need. Overall, a fast pace but wordy romance with a lot of insta-love, foreshadowing of future couples, good-hearted bikers, and loads of drama.

Ashley's heroines are seldom street smart, even the ones that think they are. And that's okay, because in real life people do dumb things too. But Clara from the jump is almost annoying naive. She is sweet though and tries so hard to be loyal. Buck is... not really my type. He's got the complete bad boy package though and certainly tries to do right by Clara from the start. I have no doubt a bunch of Ashley fans and just hot biker lovers will be all over him. I was more intrigued by his son or the mysterious hot cop Scott. Pretty sure they have books in the series ahead.

The plot is not very clear in the blurb but it's tough to get into without spoiling things. Ashley went a bit out of her way to make Clara desperate but I still wasn't buying it. I get a degree might not do you a lot of good with a tarnished rep but there's always waiting tables or working a cash register. Their arrangement definitely makes for an intriguing set up but comes off sort of Harlequin paperback-ish with a dark side. Throw in their ex-spouse baggage and the romance was a bit meh for me. Otherwise, MC's, to me, always resembled mafia families in the way that going legit seems like a noble goal. But to be legit would make them boring and sort of pointless. This one is only sort of legit, like just enough to keep things interesting. The teenager drama, I really could have done without. Literally none of it helped spin a good story. There were just little annoying things too. Such as Clara constantly wakes up and wants to know what time it is but doesn't have a clock. Like, girl. Grab your phone or a watch or something! And I'm still trying to figure out the cover. Overall, this romance isn't for everyone but it's definitely an interesting read.


Monday, September 13, 2021

September 13, 2021 - New Arrivals

September 13, 2021

Adult Fiction

Family Reunion by Nancy Thayer.

Eleanor Sunderland loves living on Nantucket, in a gorgeous cliffside home that has been in her family for decades. Yet this year she can't help but feel a bit isolated, even as the island begins to come alive with summer tourists and travelers. Her best friend has skipped town on a last-minute cruise, leaving Eleanor feeling lonely and nostalgic about her family's weekend trips to the island, made less frequently in the years since her husband's passing. Now, her money-driven children contact her mostly to complain and to beg her to sell her beloved home for a steep payout. Hoping to kick the season off on a good note, Eleanor decides her seventieth birthday may be the perfect occasion for a much-needed reunion.


Before I Saw You by Emily Houghton.

"Alice Gunnersley and Alfie Mack sleep just a few feet apart from one another. They talk for hours every day. And they've never seen each other face-to-face. After being in terrible accidents, the two now share the same ward as long-term residents of St. Francis's Hospital. Although they don't get off to the best start, the close quarters (and Alfie's persistence to befriend everyone he meets) brings them closer together. Pretty soon no one can make Alice laugh as hard as Alfie does, and Alfie feels like he's finally found a true confidante in Alice. Between their late-night talks and inside jokes, something more than friendship begins to slowly blossom between them. But as their conditions improve and the end of their stay draws closer, Alfie and Alice are forced to decide whether it's worth continuing a relationship with someone who's seen all of the worst parts of you, but never seen your actual face."-- Provided by publisher.


Blind Tiger by Sandra Brown.

"Thatcher Hutton, a war-weary soldier on the way back to his cowboy life, jumps from a moving freight train to avoid trouble . . . and lands in more than he bargained for. On the day he arrives in Foley, Texas, a local woman goes missing. Thatcher, the only stranger in town, is suspected of her abduction, and worse. Standing between him and exoneration are a corrupt mayor, a crooked sheriff, a notorious cathouse madam, a sly bootlegger, feuding moonshiners . . . and a young widow whose soft features conceal an iron will. What was supposed to be a fresh start for Laurel Plummer turns to tragedy. Left destitute but determined to dictate her own future, Laurel plunges into the lucrative regional industry, much to the dislike of the good ol' boys, who have ruled supreme. Her success quickly makes her a target for cutthroat competitors, whose only code of law is reprisal. As violence erupts, Laurel and--now deputy--Thatcher find themselves on opposite sides of a moonshine war, where blood flows as freely as whiskey."-- Publisher marketing.


Adult Non-Fiction

The Greatest Escape by Douglas Miller.

"The Greatest Escape: A True American Civil War Adventure tells the story of the largest prison breakout in U.S. history. It took place during the Civil War, when more than 1200 Yankee officers were jammed into Libby, a special prison considered escape-proof, in the Confederate capitol of Richmond, Virginia. A small group of men, obsessed with escape, mapped out an elaborate plan and one cold and clear night, 109 men dug their way to freedom. Freezing, starving, clad in rags, they had to still travel 40 miles to Yankee lines and safety. They were pursued by all the white people in the area, but every Black person they encountered was their friend. In every instance, slaves risked their lives to help these Yankees, and their journey was aided by a female-led Union spy network. Since all the escapees were officers, they all could read and write well. Over 50 of them would publish riveting accounts of their adventures. This is the first book to weave together these contemporary accounts into a true-to-life narrative. Much like a Ken Burns documentary, this book uses the actual words the prisoners recorded more than 150 years ago, as found in their many diaries and journals." -- Publisher's website.


Science of Strength Training by Austin Current.

Whether you want to tone and sculpt, lose weight, gain an athletic edge, or support mobility, strength training will help achieve your goals. This book reveals the mechanics of each movement in detail, identifying the muscles and joint actions working below the surface, so you can maximize your workouts and feel you're getting it right.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

The World Needs Who You Were Made to Be by Joanna Gaines.  E

"Author Joanna Gaines follows up her #1 New York Times bestselling We Are the Gardeners with The World Needs Who You Were Made to Be. This children's book, beautifully illustrated by Julianna Swaney, celebrates how creativity and acceptance can come together in a bright and beautiful adventure."--Provided by publisher.


My Very First Cookbook by Danielle Kartes.  J NF

"Watching mom or dad in the kitchen is usually a child's first introduction to cooking. And when that inevitable question pops up ("Can I help?"), now you can say, "Yes!" These delightful and delicious kid-friendly recipes are the perfect introduction to cooking for little chefs just starting out. Step-by-step instructions are written directly to the child reader with clear indications for when they need a grown-up's assistance."-- Provided by publisher.

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

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

September 8, 2021 - Staff Reviews

The Bounty
By Janet Evanovich & Steve Hamilton
Release Date: March 23, 2021
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3 Stars - Mixed feelings abound for the characters as well as me as a reader here as this series makes a slight pivot to a new style. Kate's not sure how to deal with Nick anymore when he veers off their project's course to help out his scheming dad. And I enjoyed the subtle switch from less comedy but more action.

I was really excited for this because I enjoyed both Alex McKnight and Stephanie Plum so these authors together were something I couldn't pass up. Anyone new to this series won't feel completely left out starting here. We start off with a good recap of Kate's relationships, life, and personality. I know this is a "Fox" and O'Hare novel but it's mostly about Kate. She has about 100 thoughts for Nick's 10 or so. Kate's got a total tomboy personality, that's maybe a bit overdone at times. But her family dynamic with her dad and her sister cracks me up because they remind me of my own family, minus the actual cool skill set for destruction and hobby of globe-trotting to fight crime of course.

There's so much about this series I grew to enjoy. That keeps me coming back to it despite thinking they were boring at first. The premise is basically the tv show White Collar but with the will they/won't they thing going on with Nick and Kate. This time there's more action, and I smell Hamilton's influence here. There's still some humor from Evanovich's main line and the weird thing she has about throwing in endangered species. Two things about the plot I think readers should know though is that it lacks the romance and adventure vibe it seems to be marketed as. Evanovich recently seems to have had here interest in the Indiana Jones movies rekindled, but I wasn't getting that feel. And despite Nick and Kate doing less of the belligerent sexual tension thing, it's still not romantic but for one or two paragraphs. What this book does extremely well though is an overall fun dynamic with a convulted treasure hunt with Nick, Kate, and their dads. Everyone's easy to like and the excitement is paced beautifully. I was never bored and it was an easy book to pick up and not put down until the end.


Tuesday, September 7, 2021

September 7, 2021 - Book Club Preview

Welcome back to our Book Club Previews! For September 2021, the club has selected All American Boys, a novel by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely.

Our meeting will be held virtually and in person (safety/weather permitting) on September 30th at 5 pm. Please contact us for further details regarding the meeting room at Wellsburg or the Zoom site.

Reynolds, who is black, and Kiely, who is white, met on a Simon & Schuster book tour in 2013. Around that time, they heard the news that George Zimmerman had been acquitted of the murder of Trayvon Martin. Reynolds and Kiely began to share their feelings and developed a friendship. After the a white police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, Reynolds and Kiely began writing a novel addressing police brutality and racial profiling, which led to All American Boys.

The book follows two characters, Rashad Butler and Quinn, as they navigate racism. Rashad is a 16-year-old who is assaulted by a white police officer in a convenience store. Quinn is a witness to the incident.

he book won the inaugural Walter Dean Myers Award from the We Need Diverse Books organization. All American Boys also won the a Coretta Scott King Award.

The book is available from our ebook catalouge on WV Reads! Click for to be taken to the title...

Did you enjoy this story? You don't have to wait for book club to let us know! We'd love to hear from you in our comment section.

(All images and info courtesy of Wikipedia, Google, WV Reads)


Monday, September 6, 2021

September 6, 2021 - New Arrivals

September 6, 2021

Adult Fiction

Billy Summers by Stephen King.

"When Billy Summers was twelve years old, he shot and killed his mother's boyfriend after he kicked Billy's sister to death. At 17, he enlisted in the army. At 18, he was a sniper in Iraq and involved in the deadly battle to recapture Fallujah. For nearly twenty years, he's worked as a paid assassin. He's a good guy in a bad job, and he wants out. He takes on a very complicated, very lucrative job that he hopes will be his last. He's got a perfect new identity lined up and a scrupulously orchestrated, flawless escape plan. And then something happens that changes everything for Billy. A stranger needs rescuing, and Billy sacrifices the safety of his own perfectly devised new life to offer her protection. And then the two of them-the most compelling and surprising duo in King fiction-set out on one last mission, to rectify the injustices of one extraordinarily evil man."-- Provided by publisher.


Class Act by Stuart Woods.

"After a rocky jaunt in Maine, Stone Barrington is settling back in New York City when an old client reaches out for help with a delicate matter. A feud they thought was put to rest long ago has reemerged with a vengeance, and reputations—and money—are now on the line. As Stone sets out to unravel a tangled web of crime and secrets, his mission becomes even more complicated when he makes an irresistible new acquaintance. In both the underbelly and upper echelons of New York, everyone has something to hide—and if Stone has learned anything, it’s that history has a way of repeating itself…"--


The Children’s Blizzard by Melanie Benjamin.

The morning of January 12, 1888, was unusually mild, following a punishing cold spell. It was warm enough for the homesteaders of the Dakota Territory to venture out again, and for their children to return to school without their heavy coats -- leaving them unprepared when disaster struck. At the hour when most prairie schools were letting out for the day, a terrifying, fast-moving blizzard blew in without warning. Schoolteachers as young as sixteen were suddenly faced with life and death decisions: Keep the children inside, to risk freezing to death when fuel ran out, or send them home, praying they wouldn't get lost in the storm?


Adult Non-Fiction

Way Out in West Virginia by Jeanne Mozier.

“The latest edition of this very popular guidebook features 72 new pages, making it a must-have for all Way Out devotees. In case you hadn’t heard, author, star-gazer and entrepreneur Jeanne Mozier has compiled the ultimate insider s guide to all that is wild, wacky and wonderful about West Virginia. Way Out takes you on an incredible tour of the Mountain State, whether in an armchair as a great read or on the ultimate WV road trip. Enjoy a slightly skewed look at the state’s best bathing, best driving, best dining, best pool halls and best shopping. Visit sites of UFO activity, moldy mummies, and ancient Indian curses. Learn about the state’s incredible geology, amazing history, white water rafting, remarkable collections, and fun festivals. Travel with her on her quest for WV s best pepperoni roll, five-star restaurant and ramp dinner. With Jeanne s help, you too can visit the baths and spas where George Washington took his historic soaks. Open Way Out in West Virginia to almost any page and find strange and strangely useful information, in this case about a state whose borders, not to mention its voting residents, consistently defy straight-edged rulers.” –


The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode.

A thoroughly revised and updated third edition of this essential and groundbreaking reference gives a comprehensive overview of one of the most fascinating, important, and controversial trends in the world of wine: the scientific and technological innovations that are now influencing how grapes are grown and how wine is made. Jamie Goode, an authority on wine science, details the key scientific developments relating to viticulture and enology, explains the practical application of science to techniques that are used around the world, and explores how these issues are affecting the quality, flavor, and perception of wine. The only complete and accessibly written resource available on the subject, The Science of Wine engagingly discusses a wide range of topics including terroir, the influence of soils on wine flavor, breeding new resistant grape varieties, the effects of climate change on grape growing, the role of yeasts and bacteria in winemaking, and much more. A must-have reference for a wide audience of students, winemakers, wine professionals, and general readers interested in the science of wine.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

Key City on the River by Greta Gorsuch.  YA

On a cold November afternoon in 1833, two wagons are about to cross the dark Mississippi River into Iowa Territory on a tiny boat. Penny Cooper, Nate Tilden, Aunt Sunday, and Jonathan and Ella Butterman are full of questions. Aunt Sunday just wants to know if they're going to drown. Jonathan and Ella wonder if they will succeed in the new Territory. And Penny and Nate are eager to learn if they are going to be free--to marry, to prosper, to live as free people. Aunt Sunday, Penny, and Nate were slaves in Kentucky, not a year before. What will the new Iowa Territory decide on the question of owning human beings? No one yet knows. The little group survives the Mississippi crossing and settles in Key City. There isn't much to the town: a few log cabins and modest buildings in a forest opening. And very rough, very tough lead miners, including the mad Ginn brothers who hate Nate and his dark skin. They can't forget he stopped them from stealing Jonathan's horse. Storm clouds are brewing. Key City on the River is based on fact and takes place in a real town. It explores a little known time in early American history as well as the timeless issue of otherness mixed with hope for the future.


The Story of Kamala Harris by Tonya Leslie, Ph.D.  J NF
"Kamala Harris is the first woman, Black American, and South Asian American to become vice president of the United States. Before she made history, Kamala was a passionate kid who enjoyed traveling and attended civil rights protests with her family. She always wanted to help people, so she worked hard to become a lawyer, then a U.S. senator, and now, vice president! Explore how Kamala went from being a young girl to an American leader and role model. Watch Kamala progress from a little girl to vice president of the United States with a visual timeline marking the major milestones in her life."-- Provided by publisher.

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

Thursday, September 2, 2021

September 2, 2021 - Staff Reviews


Devil in Spring
By Lisa Kleypas
Release Date: February 24, 2017
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

4 Stars! - This charming historical romance was so easy to like, at least for me. Pandora is possibly too quirky or too strong-willed, but we clicked. And her accidental courtship of sorts with Gabriel was light, adorable, and fun. There's hardly a dull moment though a slew of characters to keep track of, some from early entries in the series.

Sometimes in period romances, the characters seem quite cookie cutter. But even with all the side characters and recurring characters here, everyone has a believable story and personality. Pandora may off whiny to some readers, I'll acknowledge. But I found her persistence and sort of prickly personality to be on top of a sweet heart. Gabriel at first is sorry he is "stuck" with her but before long he is trying win her over. He felt so honest and genuiene, even with his flaws, that I just wanted him to convince her so badly. They were a perfect match, and the story loses none of its steam (either way you want to define that) once they're together.

Kleypas manages to write historicals in way that is both refreshing but comfortingly familiar with each story. She reminds me so much of Catherine Coulter this way. I'm not sure if her attention to period detail is as accurate but it manages to be curious, sound factual, and not be smothering all the same time. And she knows how to write a few standout moments or scenes, which I love. In particular here, I was enchanted by the beach scene both for its interesting mentions of antiquated bathing suits and sparkling dynamic between all the characters. Also the waltz lesson absolutely enthralled me, and I'm not even entirely sure why because it was so simple. Anyway, I don't want to rehash too many details for fear of spoilers, particularly toward the end. I will say it was a perfectly paced read for me, and I didn't want to put it down. The end was maybe a touch extra dramatic. But overall, I would think this one is sure to please historical romance readers, fans of Kleypas, or anyone looking for a solid weekend read.


September 2, 2021 - Take a Trip to Paris

BCPL is inviting you on a free trip to Paris! - A fictional one. Got the travel bug but stuck at home? Always enjoy a good story set abroad? Check out of one these titles available from Brooke County Libraries then....

Letters from Paris by Juliet Blackwell
 the story of a mysterious work of art and the woman inspired to uncover its history in the City of Light.After surviving the accident that took her mother’s life, Claire Broussard has worked hard to escape her small Louisiana hometown. 

Mission to Paris by Alan Furst
For their purposes, Fredric Stahl is a perfect agent of influence, and they attack him. What they don’t know is that Stahl, horrified by the Nazi war on Jews and intellectuals, has become part of an informal spy service being run out of the American embassy in Paris.

Five Days in Paris by Danielle Steel
Danielle Steel rewards her fans yet again with this magical story of two people from very different worlds who, by chance, meet in Paris, and are forever changed. 

Paris Match by Stuart Woods
Stone Barrington has returned to Paris to attend to some business concerns, and finds himself embroiled in high-stakes trouble on both sides of the pond. An old enemy is still in hot pursuit, and this time he might have a powerful local resource...

The Black Swan of Paris by Karen Robards
When her estranged mother, Lillian de Rocheford, is captured by Nazis, Genevieve knows it won’t be long before the Gestapo succeeds in torturing information out of Lillian that will derail the upcoming allied invasion. The resistance movement is tasked with silencing her by any means necessary—including assassination. But Genevieve refuses to let her mother become yet one more victim of the war. Reuniting with her long-lost sister, she must find a way to navigate the perilous cross-currents of Occupied France undetected—and in time to save Lillian’s life. 

Three Weeks in Paris by Barbara Taylor Bradford
Four successful former students of a prestigious decorative arts school in Paris reluctantly meet for the instructor's eighty-fifth birthday. The invitation stirs up complicated feelings of nostalgic memories colored by poignant regrets, a curiosity about their former friends, and their desire to deal with unfinished business.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
The Paris Wife is a 2011 historical fiction novel by Paula McLain which became a New York Times Bestseller. It is a fictionalized account of Ernest Hemingway's marriage to the first of his four wives, Hadley Richardson. 

All the Flowers in Paris by Sarah Jio
One mother's desperate hope for survival. 1943: In occupied Paris, Celine creates bespoke bouquets at her father's flower shop on rue Cler, whilst trying to shield her young daughter from the brutal reality of war.

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles
Based on the true World War II story of the American Library in Paris, an unforgettable novel about the power of books and the bonds of friendship—and the ordinary heroes who can be found in the most perilous times and the quietest places.

The Golem of Paris by Jonathan Kellerman and Jesse Kellerman
Jacob comes across the file for a gruesome unsolved murder that brings the two halves of his life into startling collision. Finding the killer will take him halfway around the world, to Paris—the city of romance, but also of gritty streets, behind the lights. It’s a dangerous search for truth that plunges him into the past.

The Last Time I Saw Paris by Elizabeth Adler
Paris, the most romantic city on earth, is a place of second honeymoons and newly discovered passions. It lures us with a banquet of tastes, sound, sights, and smells. And for Lara Lewis, it is the place where she and her husband once experienced love at its best.

Paris by Edward Rutherford
Paris is a historical novel by Edward Rutherfurd published in 2013, which charts the history of Paris from 1261 to 1968. The novel begins during the Belle Époque period and follows six core families set in locales such as Montmartre, Notre Dame and Boulevard Saint-Germain.

Private: Paris by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan
When Jack Morgan stops by Private's Paris office, he envisions a quick hello during an otherwise relaxing trip filled with fine food and sightseeing. But Jack is quickly pressed into duty after a call from his client Sherman Wilkerson, asking Jack to track down his young granddaughter who is on the run...

Did we leave out any of your favorite Paris set romances and thrillers? Let us know! We love to hear from our readers in the comment section below and our on social media pages.

(All images and descriptions courtesy of Google, Goodreads, and WV Reads)