Saturday, October 30, 2021

October 30, 2021 - 13 Horror Short Stories for Halloween Night

Halloween is finally here! What better way to spend Halloween night than by reading horror short stories? Novels are great, but not everyone has the time to finish one in a night. Besides, you’d be missing out on the spooky variety that makes Halloween so much fun! It’s better to read a bunch of shorter stories than be stuck with one long book during such a fun holiday.

With thousands of titles to sift through, it’s hard to know where to begin. If you need help getting started, this handy list of 13 different short stories should get you in the Halloween spirit. Happy reading!


“The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe (1843)

Honestly, Poe’s entire catalogue deserves to be read on Halloween night. He isn’t called the ‘Master of the Macabre’ for nothing.

In this classic, an unnamed man explains in detail how and why he committed murder. Why would he do such a thing? Well, to convince us that he’s not crazy, of course! There’s a reason why this is Poe’s most famous short story. Its writing style and psychological insights are mesmerizing.


“The Signal-Man” by Charles Dickens (1866)

Charles Dickens’ second most popular ghost story is about a railroad signal-man who explains to a visitor why he is so nervous all the time. Anytime a tragedy is about to strike, a ghost gives him an emergency signal.

If you don’t know any of Dickens’ stories, read this and you’ll understand why he’s considered a master of the written word.


“The Boarded Window” by Ambrose Bierce (1891)

Why did that man keep his window sealed up after his wife died? Odds are you won’t be able to guess.

Before Ambrose Bierce disappeared in 1913 he left us dozens of intriguing stories, all containing a “wild west” flavor. He had a knack for writing bite-sized stories with jaw-dropping endings. If you’re new to his work, this is a good place to start.


“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1892)

One of the best psychological horror stories ever written also happens to be a feminist classic.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman crafted this tale of an ill woman driven to madness by drawing from her own personal experience. In doing so, she paved the way for other genre greats like Shirley Jackson.


“The Monkey’s Paw” by W. W. Jacobs (1902)

An elderly couple and their son are given a magical monkey’s paw that grants three wishes. But, of course, those wishes come with strings attached.

This spine tingler is responsible for popularizing the “be careful what you wish for” trope. Since there have been so many retellings and parodies of this story, you may think the original would no longer be effective. You’d be wrong. The whole story still packs a punch, but the final act alone is enough to warrant “The Monkey’s Paw” a spot in the horror hall of fame.


“Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad” by M. R. James (1904)

There’s no better way to spend Halloween night than by reading a good old-fashioned British ghost story, and this is one of the greatest.

A rational gentleman is suddenly dogged by spooky visions after blowing an ancient whistle he dug out of the ground. If nothing else, you should read this story for the amazing dialogue. M. R. James was a marvel at writing organic conversations.


“Caterpillars” by E. F. Benson (1912)

In this story a man has a horrifying late night encounter with a swarm of caterpillars; but surely it was just a dream, right?

If you’re not a fan of bugs, this one is guaranteed to freak you out.


“The Dunwich Horror” by H. P. Lovecraft (1929)

Old “Wizard” Whatley’s daughter gives birth to a very unusual boy who grows and matures rapidly. Meanwhile, the townspeople get suspicious about whatever it is the family is hiding in their house.

Lovecraft was the king of weird fiction. Like Poe, all of his stories deserve to be read every Halloween, and it was difficult to pick just one. “The Dunwich Horror” represents the period when Lovecraft’s style had fully gelled. It’s an unsettling yarn full of shocking turns and slimy details.


“The Graveyard Rats” by Henry Kuttner (1936)

A cemetery caretaker likes to do some grave robbing on the side, but a humongous infestation of rats is getting in his way.

Are you afraid of rats? Are you afraid of tight spaces? If so, you will not sleep for weeks after reading this one. It’s one of the most terrifying, sweat-inducing short stories ever written.


“Notebook Found in a Deserted House” by Robert Bloch (1951)

An adolescent boy leaves behind an account of what became of him and his family, and pleads for the reader to stop “them ones” before someone else disappears.

Robert Bloch and H. P. Lovecraft were good friends, so it’s no surprise that they influenced one another’s work. In this story Bloch expanded Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos by introducing a new race of supernatural monsters for you to worry about while you’re trying to sleep.


“The Landlady” by Roald Dahl (1959)

We all know the children’s books written by Roald Dahl had a creepy edge to them. His adult fiction did, too.

A teenage boy decides to stay at a local woman’s bed & breakfast instead of the motel. That’s all that can be said about this story without ruining the whole thing. You’ll just have to read it. What’s interesting about “The Landlady” is how it forces you to piece together what’s happening for yourself. Dahl doesn’t spoon feed the answers to you.


“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates (1966)

A teenager girl is home alone when a mysterious fellow named Arnold Friend pays her a visit. Who is he? What does he want? Where did he come from? Who’s that guy with him? What do those numbers mean? Why did he choose her? We don’t know; that’s the point.

Not all horror stories need explicit details to scare you. Sometimes the scares come from what you don’t know. Joyce Carol Oates understood that concept when she wrote this unique psychological thriller.


“The Jigsaw Puzzle” by J. B. Stamper (1977)

Who says children’s stories can’t be scary? Years before Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark traumatized schoolchildren, J. B. Stamper released her horror anthology Tales for the Midnight Hour. Each story is effective, but “The Jigsaw Puzzle” might be the most memorable.

This campfire tale about a girl putting together a mysterious puzzle in her room is remarkable for its escalating tension, and you don’t have to be a tween to be frightened by it!


Thursday, October 28, 2021

October 28, 2021 - WV Author of the Month

Brooke County Libraries are proud to present one of West Virginia's best little known authors - Meredith Sue Willis! This October we are featuring work and life in the Mountain State.

Meredith Sue Willis, born and raised in West Virginia, is a novelist and teacher. She teaches novel writing at New York University's School of Professional Studies.

Her mother's family has lived in North Central West Virginia for several generations, and her father's family, from Appalachian Lee County, Virginia, followed jobs with Consolidation Coal Company through Virginia, Kentucky, and finally West Virginia.

Meredith Sue was educated in the public schools of Shinnston, West Virginia,where her father was her science teacher. Her mother was also trained as a teacher, and all four of her aunts and uncles on both sides of the family were teachers. Her Willis grandparents operated a country store in Wise County, Virginia, and her Meredith grandfather witnessed the Great Monongah, West Virginia, mine explosion of 1907, in which hundreds of miners were killed. Her Meredith grandmother was a mining camp midwife.

After attending Bucknell University for two years, MSW spent a year as a Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) in Norfolk, Virginia. She fictionalized this experience in the second book of her Blair Morgan trilogy, Only Great Changes (Scribner's 1985; Hamilton Stone Editions, 1997).

After the year in VISTA, she transferred to Barnard College in New York City where she was involved in work against the Vietnam War as a member of the Students for a Democratic Society. She participated in the 1968 Columbia University anti-war sit-ins, fictionalized in Trespassers (Hamilton Stone Editions, 1997)

She graduated from Barnard College Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude, and went to work as a so-called recreation therapist for a year at Bellevue Hospital. This job included calling a lot of bingo games and a newsletter for the long term patients in the vast, un-air-conditioned rehab wards of the old old Bellevue.

She then took a Master of Fine Arts degree from Columbia University, studying with Anthony Burgess, Lore Segal and others. The most important connection she made during her time at the Columbia School of the Arts was a program formed by Phillip Lopate at P.S. 75 that included Karen Hubert, Terry Mack, and others. This program, through Teachers & Writers Collaborative (see below for names of people in photo at left), was one of the earliest of the arts-in-education organizations.

At the end of the nineteen-seventies, MSW had her first novel accepted for publication: A Space Apart  (Scribner's, 1979) . It was followed by Higher Ground (Scribner's, 1981; Hamilton Stone Editions 1996) and Only Great Changes (Scribner's, 1985; Hamilton Stone Editions1997). The final book of the trilogy, Trespassers, was published by Hamilton Stone Editions in 1997.

MSW married Andrew B. Weinberger in 1982--only twelve years after they began living together, and their son Joel Howard Willis Weinberger was born in 1985, twenty years to the day after their first date.

Andy has just retired as a medical specialist in rheumatology, and Joel (a graduate of Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey) is a Ph.d software engineer for Snap, Inc. in Los Angeles. He is married to Sarah Zakowski Weinberger, a specialist in the delivery of health care. They are the parents of Shira (four) and Eli (one and a quarter).

MSW has given many workshops and performances of her writing and won many prizes including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. She has participated in the Circuit Writers program of the West Virginia Humanities Council and presented at many workshops and conferences.

Her writing about the Appalachian Region was the subject of the Fourteenth Annual Emory & Henry Literary Festival in Emory, Virginia, in 1995, and the proceedings of that festival were published in a special issue of The Iron Mountain Review. She was also the featured writer in the Fall, 2006 issue of Appalachian Heritage.

She received the Literary Award of the West Virginia Library Association and was the 1990 West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival Non-Italian Woman of the Year. In May 2004, she received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from West Virginia University.

Currently living in the City of Orange, New Jersey, near New York City, teaching at New York University's School of Professional Studies and working on her own writing, MSW is also the chair of the Social Action Committee of the Ethical Culture Society of Essex County and is co-chair of the Coalition on Race's Schools Committee.

In her spare time, she tries to support the Garden State by keeping a four season organic garden in her backyard.

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

Ms. Willis loves to blog and keep in touch with her readers and aspiring writers! Check out her webpage: Meredith Sue Willis Author and Teacher

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

October 27, 2021 - Staff Reviews

Rock With Me
By Kristen Proby
Release Date: March 10, 2014
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3 Stars - Fun and exceptionally steamy early entry in the Seattle series. Leo and Samantha's story was surprisingly unique. There's plenty of push and pull as they learn to navigate their own hang ups and the fame that comes with his rockstar status and her well-known relatives. A quick but substantial little romance that's I think is great for series fans and casual readers.

Kristen Proby is a go-to for me when I know I won't have time to really sink into something new. I just love her writing style, and it's an easy flow for me jump back in to. Admittedly, this entry into the Seattle clan series, was not one that appealed enough to buy. But the right day and right library copy came along. And I liked this one way more than expected! Samantha was a little cold but she had a soft heart hiding under her icy attitude. Leo was the epitome of a bad boy with a hard of gold. Rockstar lovers won't want to miss out on him.

There were just a few times in this entry, I felt like Proby went with the "everything but the kitchen sink" approach. Examples would be an ugly fight between these two in the beginning where Sam was a complete jerk, and Leo handled it badly. Somehow it resulted in make up sex, of course. And toward the end Sam's former boy toy shows up professing his love for no reason. It's all brushed under the rug really fast. Huge points, however, for letting Sam and Leo not be in baby fever. It's nice once and a while to read a novel where the main couple isn't set on having kids. Usually, a lot of side characters can be a pet peeve for me but it worked here, in my opinion. All Leo's bandmates and crew are interesting. Naturally, Samantha's huge and mostly famous family have plenty of scenes. Be sure to consult the character glossary for the series if you start here. But this is a more than worthy entry to this series, even if at times it feels like more of a filler book between other couples.


Monday, October 25, 2021

October 25, 2021 - New Arrivals

Adult Fiction

Bloodless by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child.

On the evening of November 24, 1971, D. B. Cooper hijacked Flight 305--Portland to Seattle--with a fake bomb, collected a ransom of $200,000, and then parachuted from the rear of the plane, disappearing into the night. Fifty years later, Agent Pendergast takes on a bizarre and gruesome case: in the ghost-haunted city of Savannah, Georgia, bodies are found with no blood left in their veins--sowing panic and reviving whispered tales of the infamous Savannah Vampire. As the mystery rises along with the body count, Pendergast and his partner, Agent Coldmoon, race to understand how--or if--these murders are connected to the only unsolved skyjacking in American history.


The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel.

After being stolen from her wealthy German parents and raised in the unforgiving wilderness of eastern Europe, a young woman finds herself alone in 1941 after her kidnapper dies. Her solitary existence is interrupted, however, when she happens upon a group of Jews fleeing the Nazi terror. Stunned to learn what's happening in the outside world, she vows to teach the group all she can about surviving in the forest--and in turn, they teach her some surprising lessons about opening her heart after years of isolation. But when she is betrayed and escapes into a German-occupied village, her past and present come together in a shocking collision that could change everything.


Halloween Murder by Laurien Berenson.

With just a few days left before Halloween, everyone at Howard Academy is anticipating the guaranteed sugar high they'll experience from gorging on Harriet Bloom's famous marshmallow puffs. The private school's annual costume party revolves around the headmaster's assistant and her seemingly supernatural batches of gooey goodies. So, it's a shock when Harriet's elderly neighbor is suddenly found dead with the beloved dessert in his hand. In a snap, police start questioning whether Harriet modified her top-secret recipe to include a hefty dose of lethal poison... Melanie knows her tenured colleague would never intentionally serve cyanide-laced puffs to a defenseless old man. But as explosive neighborhood gossip reveals a potential culprit, it also brings her closer to sealing her own doom. Because on an evening ruled by masked revelers, bizarre getups, and hidden identities, Halloween might just be the perfect opportunity for a cold-hearted killer to get away with murder once again - this time sending a nosy, unsuspecting sleuth to an early grave!"-- Publisher's description.


Adult Non-Fiction

O, Mountaineers! Volume II by Danny Kuhn.

African-American West Virginians, whether by birth, residence, or death, have reached the pinnacle of success in almost every field, including entertainment, business, the military, medicine, and sports. They include generals and aviators, an artificial heart pioneer, the world's most prolific jewel thief, a victim of John Brown's infamous raid, the builder of Mother Emmanuel Church, and the actual inspiration for Johnny B. Goode. There were inspired educators born into bondage, and dark tales of discrimination and mob violence. These seventy stories, told with the ease of back-porch conversation, remind us that, from John Henry to Steve Harvey, Mountaineers are Always Free!


How We Do Family by Trystan Reese.

Trystan and Biff had been dating for just a year when the couple learned that Biff's niece and nephew were about to be removed from their home by Child Protective Services. Immediately, Trystan and Biff took in one-year-old Hailey and three-year-old Lucas, becoming caregivers overnight to two tiny survivors of abuse and neglect. From this unexpected start, the young couple built a loving marriage and happy home--learning to parent on the job. They adopted Hailey and Lucas, tied the knot, and soon decided to try for a baby that Trystan, who is transgender, would carry. Trystan's groundbreaking pregnancy attracted media fanfare, and the family welcomed baby Leo in 2017. In this inspiring memoir, Trystan shares his unique story alongside universal lessons that will help all parents through the trials of raising children. How We Do Family is a refreshing new take on family life for the LGBTQ community and beyond. Through every tough moment and touching memory, Trystan shows that more important than getting things right is doing them with love.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

At the Old Haunted House by Helen Ketteman.  E

Many creatures live at the old haunted house with their children, including one small witch, two little monsters, three kittens, four goblins, five werewolves and more. When the neighborhood children come trick-or-treating, they are invited inside for a fun party with all.


The Ghoul Next Door by Cullen Bunn & Cat Farris.  J GN

Eleven-year-old Grey lives in the legend-haunted New England town of Ander's Landing, and he can't help but feel like a pair of eyes is watching his every move. He discovers odd, gruesome bits and pieces from the graveyard that are left for him as gifts like art carved from bones or jewelry made from (hopefully not human) remains. Soon Grey is caught up in something bigger than he could ever have imagined. He finds himself drawn into a strange mystery involving a race of reclusive subterranean creatures--ghouls, the eaters of the dead! Turns out, his secret admirer is a ghoul named Lavinia. An unlikely friendship forms between them. The only problem is, their friendship breaks traditions--and the punishment is a fate worse than death.

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

Friday, October 22, 2021

October 22, 2021 - A Book & A Recipe

Welcome back readers and aspiring bakers and chefs! Brooke County Libraries are excited to feature a recipe for "Eat Me" Cookies from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll.

October's recipe is a fun treat to try in time for Halloween!

Can you tell me these honestly didn't look delicious when you watched Disney's Alice in Wonderland?

Now, this recipe didn't come straight from Mr. Carroll. This is actually courtesy of Here is the original post:

Images and info are courtesy of Google, Wikipedia, WV Reads, and of course In Literature.

Enough keeping you waiting! You might be late for a very important date. Here's the details:

Sugar Cookies
3 cups plain flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking soda
227g | 1 cup room temperature butter
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
Checkboard cookies
2 heaped tsp cocoa powder
1 egg
1 tbsp of water
Royal Icing
2 large egg white, room temperature
2 tsp lemon juice
3 cups sifted icing sugar
gel food colouring

Sugar cookie
  • In a mixer, beat together the butter, then add in the sugar.
  • Mix in the eggs and vanilla extract next.
  • Then add in the flour, baking soda and salt.
  • Set aside a bit (tennis ball size) for the checkerboard cookies.
  • Roll the rest into cling wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Once chilled, preheat your oven to 175C or 350F.
  • Bring out the dough, and take off another tennis ball size of dough for the checkerboard cookies.
  • With the rest, roll to about 1 cm thick and cut out the shapes.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.

Checkerboard cookie
  • The first tennis ball sized dough you've set aside for the checkerboard cookies, place back in the mixer, and add in 2 heaped tsp of cocoa powder. Mix until combined.
  • Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • When chilled, roll out both the chocolate and light coloured dough until 1 inch thick.
  • Cut into long strips, where the ends look square.
  • Whisk together the egg and water to create an egg wash.
  • Wipe down the edges of the dough with the egg wash, and alternate the dark and light dough strips, pressing them together. So on the bottom layer, alternate- light, dark, light. On the next layer- dark, light, dark. On the top layer-light, dark, light. You can continue to make more of a rectangle if you wish.
  • You should have a square ended rectangular box.
  • Slice the cookie dough through so you cut off cookies that show the checkerboard pattern.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Royal icing
  • Whisk your egg whites in a mixer with the lemon juice.
  • Then add in your sifted icing sugar. You'll want to start with a thicker icing so you can pipe your edges first.
  • Once mixed, scoop them into individual bowls, and add the colours you want.
  • Take small piping bags, and scoop part of the icing into their own bags.
  • Snip off the top and edge the cooled sugar cookies. Let dry for a bit.
  • Keep the icing in the bags, as you'll need the same consistency for the final decorating.
  • To the additional royal icing in the individual bowls, add in a tsp of milk to each, and mix to make the icing smoother and runnier.
  • Using either a piping bag or a small spoon, pour and help manoeuvre the icing so the cookie is flooded within the edges you've piped.
  • Let dry.
  • Finish off with piping extra designs on top.
  • Let dry completely before serving.
We want to hear from you if you tried this recipe out! Let us know in the comment section or on any of our social media pages. Or even in person! Feel free to drop by one of our locations. We love sampling cookies.

 Need to get your fix on the book and the sugar at the same time? Check out our ebook copy on WV Reads: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass - West Virginia Reads - OverDrive

Thursday, October 21, 2021

October 21, 2021 - Staff Reviews

Dare to Stay
By Carly Phillips
Release Date: January 26, 2021
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3 Stars - Another light and fun love story in the Dare family, but this time it's a second chance romance. As always, there's cameos from the Dare clan and likable side characters but our couple takes center stage. Braden's pursuit of Willow to rekindle their sadly short lived relationship is a worthy read.

If you enjoy books where the guy does all the chasing, this one's for you. Braden knows he has fallen hard for Willow and his two years away have only made that clearer to him. They made it less clear to Willow who has a history of abandonment. She'll drive some readers crazy with her level of reluctance because she comes off wishy-washy. But I thought she was really sweet and actually reasonable. Not to mention, she and I share a love of plain black leggings which bonded us instantly.

There were two interesting side stories going on outside of all the steaminess between Braden and Willow. Warning: there was a lot of steam. First, Willow's got some drama with a coworker she was dating prior to Braden's return. Cole's role added some juicy material but I thought his part was kind of left hanging at the end. Also Braden befriends a pregnant girl who has a foster care background similar to Willow who added some sparkling moments to the story. She's going to be in a spin off series about her newly discovered family, which already looked interesting when I read the blurb. So as always, a fun and easy to read romance from Carly Phillips here with more to look forward to. I won't say that Braden and Willow's path was all smooth-sailing but if you're looking for intensity or angst, save this for a light read day instead.


Monday, October 18, 2021

October 18, 2021 - New Arrivals

Adult Fiction

High Stakes by Iris Johansen.

Logan Tanner lives the exhilarating life of a professional gambler, taking risks with nerves of steel. From casinos in Macau to Monte Carlo to Milan, he's racked up a fortune and become a living legend.  But all the glitz and glamor hide a dark and violent past as an extractor--a world that comes rushing back to him when the beautiful and innocent Lara Balkon enters his life. Soon Logan is drawn into the conflict between two Russian mafia bosses over Lara, whose life now hangs in the balance. Logan has been offered something more valuable to him than money--information he desperately needs--in exchange for getting Lara out of Russia and to safety. Once together, Tanner discovers that Lara is a force to be reckoned with in her own right.  Tanner's search for the truth leads them to the bright lights of Las Vegas. Where the person who was hunting Lara now lies in wait for them. With the stakes climbing with each deadly confrontation, Logan and Lara are soon catapulted into a game against pure evil. The odds are stacked against them, but it's a game they know they must play...even if it may cost them their lives.


A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins.

When a young man is found gruesomely murdered in a London houseboat, it triggers questions about three women who knew him. Laura is the troubled one-night-stand last seen in the victim's home. Carla is his grief-stricken aunt, already mourning the recent death of yet another family member. And Miriam is the nosy neighbor clearly keeping secrets from the police. Three women with separate connections to the victim. Three women who are - for different reasons - simmering with resentment. Who are, whether they know it or not, burning to right the wrongs done to them. When it comes to revenge, even good people might be capable of terrible deeds. How far might any one of them go to find peace? How long can secrets smolder before they explode into flame?


The Preacher’s Daughter by Patricia Johns.

"With her preacher father in prison for fraud, Elizabeth Yoder's life in the community of Bountiful has been painfully uprooted. Mindful of wearing out her welcome with her family, she jumps at the chance to stay with elderly Bridget Lantz while the woman's daughter is away. Elizabeth has secret plans to leave for another Amish community where she might get a fresh start, but here with Bridget, she feels comfortable--until Bridget's strapping grandson, Solomon, returns from eight years with the English, and inspires feelings that shake Elizabeth's resolution... Solomon has had his own trouble with the law, after falling in with some bad influences. He's paid the price, despite his innocence, but the Amish are even more wary of him than they are of spirited Elizabeth. With good reason, he supposes--he's not sure he's ready to commit to this way of life again, especially since the Englishers are the ones offering him solutions. The only thing that seems certain is his attraction to Elizabeth. As they strive to find their places in the community, and with each other, can they open their hearts to the blessing of love?"-- Provided by publisher.


Adult Non-Fiction

Across the Airless Wilds by Earl Swift.

8:36 P.M. EST, December 12, 1972: Apollo 17 astronauts Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt braked to a stop alongside Nansen Crater, keenly aware that they were far, far from home. They had flown nearly a quarter-million miles to the man in the moon's left eye, landed at its edge, and then driven five miles in to this desolate, boulder-strewn landscape. As they gathered samples, they strode at the outermost edge of mankind's travels. This place, this moment, marked the extreme of exploration for a species born to wander. A few feet away sat the machine that made the achievement possible: an electric go-cart that folded like a business letter, weighed less than eighty pounds in the moon's reduced gravity, and muscled its way up mountains, around craters, and over undulating plains on America's last three ventures to the lunar surface. In the decades since, the exploits of the astronauts on those final expeditions have dimmed in the shadow cast by the first moon landing. But Apollo 11 was but a prelude to what came later: while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin trod a sliver of flat lunar desert smaller than a football field, Apollos 15, 16, and 17 each commanded a mountainous area the size of Manhattan. All told, their crews traveled fifty-six miles, and brought deep science and a far more swashbuckling style of exploration to the moon. And they triumphed for one very American reason: they drove.


If Ignorance is Bliss, We Should All Be Ecstatic by Fred Leavitt.

Nothing we think we know - NOTHING - is likely to be correct. “If Ignorance is Bliss, We Should All Be Ecstatic” explores the limitations of knowledge and argues that neither reasoning nor direct observation can be trusted. Not only are they unreliable sources, but they do not even justify assigning probabilities to claims about what we can know. This position, called radical skepticism, has intrigued philosophers since before the birth of Christ, yet nobody has been able to refute it. Fred Leavitt uses two unique methods of presentation. First, he supports abstract arguments with summaries of real-life examples from many and varied fields, which make the arguments much more convincing and compelling. He cites more than 200 studies from psychology, mathematics, chaos theory, quantum mechanics, evolutionary theory, history, the corporate world, politics, the military, and current news reporting. Second, Leavitt's writing is user-friendly, even when dealing with complex issues. Whether answering the telephone, turning on the TV, talking with friends, or munching on an apple, we expect things to happen predictably. These expectations, paired with radical skepticism, exemplify cognitive dissonance at the highest level.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

Aru Shah and the City of Gold by Roshani Chokshi.  J

"Aru Shah and her sisters--including one who also claims to be the Sleeper's daughter--must find their mentors Hanuman and Urvashi in Lanka, the city of gold, before war breaks out between the devas and asuras." -- Provided by publisher.


The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor by Shaenon K. Garrity & Christopher Baldwin.  YA GN

One dark and stormy night, Haley sees a stranger drowning in the river. Since her greatest passion is Gothic romance novels, she knows her moment has come. But when Haley leaps into the water to rescue the stranger, she awakens in Willowweep. It certainly looks like the setting of one of her favorite books: A stately manor. A sinister housekeeper. Three brooding brothers. There's even a ghost. Except Willowweep is not what it seems. Its romantic exterior hides the workings of a pocket universe--the only protection our world has against a great force of penultimate evil, and its defenses are crumbling. Could cruel fate make Haley the heroine that Willowweep needs?

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

Saturday, October 16, 2021

October 16, 2021 - Staff Reviews

Reckless Road
By Christine Feehan
Release Date: February 9, 2021
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

2 Stars - Branched outside my comfort zone a bit with this story that part romance, part MC, and part paranormal. Even though early on I struggled to get engaged, I was really intrigued by Zyah and Player. But I'd say it's more suited to fans of the series and author, don't start here.

The first quarter or so of the book, my interest waivered a lot. The hook up mentioned in the blurb was about the only real "thing" that happened here, and the actual sexy times were just recapped. I was hoping for suspense rather than steam with this so that was okay. But I wasn't very invested because I just kept getting told about the connection between Player and Zyah, not feeling it. Zyah was a softy and an etheral girl, while Player's immediate regrets and concern regarding her sort of undermined his tough guy persona. I mean that in a good way. But he was a real jerk to her to start off so I think we needed more.

The series obviously has a few books before this, and I learned this wasn't an easy one to jump into. A few things that bothered me early on was it felt like a lot of name dropping and so much info about characters other than the main couple, sometimes moreso. With the exception of Zyah's grandmother, none really stood out. And the passage of time between scenes/chapters felt vague. I'd never read Feehan's work before and I sensed a lot of heart under the wordiness. But I had trouble filtering through it. So maybe if a plot of hers really intrigues me or I have more attention to devote to a series I'll return to her. In theory, this book has a little something for everyone. Steaminess and romance, a touch of paranormal, some MC stuff, side couples, intrigue. I just felt like I needed more of one thing or another in particular to really ground me to the book. And it didn't hold my interest enough as a result.


Thursday, October 14, 2021

October 14, 2021 - BCPL Resume Tips

 Brooke County Libraries - Resume Tip #12

Include Computer/Technical Programs & Skills

Are you looking to fill some space in your resume? Maybe you know the exact job you're applying for and want to highlight your experience. Don't be afraid to be specific!

Many skilled labor positions involve use of certain tools and technology. By including specific machinery you are trained to handle in your job duties and description, you could really impress your next manager. 

This similarly true of certain office job positions as well. For example, if your career is in medical billing and coding, don't be afraid to list a few of the programs you've mastered. Maybe you worked with Medisoft or Allscripts for over ten years and that's the very computer program your next place of employment will use. That is the kind of small detail that could set you apart from other job seekers.

The most basic example would be an administrative assistant including typing skills of word-per-minute, a still relevant asset to anyone seeking an administrative or data entry position.

Of course, these are details that will no doubt be discussed or available in your job interview. So if your resume is already packed with job history and detail, don't fill like these are a must! But it's an idea to keep in mind for anyone looking to fill gaps in that one-page resume.

Until next month, job searchers!

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

October 12, 2021 - Staff Reviews

A Dark & Stormy Murder
By Julia Buckley
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3.5 - A quick and fun cozy with a lot to love for mystery fans. Lena, our heroine, is an aspiring writer slowly turning to sleuth. She kind of leaves the quirkiness to the slew of characters she meets up with in her new hometown of Blue Lake. Definitely a series worth checking out.

The story doesn't exactly start off with a bang, but Buckley's writing style and main character Lena's personality kind of sucked me in anyway. Lena's embarking on a new adventure, moving to her bestie's town, and she's getting hired by her ideal mentor as a writing assistant. Camilla is an esteemed author modeled like an Agatha Christie, Sue Grafton, or Mary Higgins Clark. She reminded me of Julie Andrews in The Princess Diaries actually. She lives in a gothic mansion I pictured from the set of a 60s movie with two adorable German Shepherds. Lena's cat is even a fan of theirs. Before Lena can really settle in, she stumbles across a dead body not far from the property.

Things continue to heat up in the plot as people start appearing to break in (or try to) at Camilla's mansion. The side characters sort of got thrown in fast here. Besides Lena, her boss, and her friend, we meet a lot of people straight off the bat. It'll be fun to see who stays in the Blue Lake circle. There's Lane, a local hardworking mother, and the housekeeper, Rhonda, who is pretty obsessed with Downton Abbey. Grouchy construction guys, restaurant workers, and a few knitters. Lots of potential favorites to choose from. Of course, most intriguing are Lena's potential beaus. First in town, she meets a hunky detective who takes an interest in her and is eager to lend her a hand. But I found Sam West more interesting, a reclusive executive type who is Camilla's closest thing to a neighbor. He has his own mystery surrounding him and his appearance in Blue Lake. A few moments got a bit over the top silly and/or dramatic. And I have to say there was some lag around the 3/4 mark. Overall, there's plenty of intrigue and excitement. 


Monday, October 11, 2021

October 11, 2021 - New Arrivals

Adult Fiction

19 Yellow Moon Road by Fern Michaels.

"Maggie Spritzer's nose for a story doesn't just make her a top-notch newspaper editor, it also tells her when to go the extra mile for a friend. When she gets a strange message from her journalism pal, Gabby Richardson, Maggie knows her services are needed. Gabby has become involved with The Haven, a commune that promises to guide its members toward a more spiritually fulfilling life. But Gabby's enthusiasm has turned to distrust ever since she was refused permission to leave the compound to visit her sick mother. Maggie wants to learn more about The Haven, and the Sisterhood is eager to help. It turns out The Haven's founders are the sons of a disgraced Chicago businessmen in prison for running a Ponzi scheme. They also have connections to a Miami billionaire with dubious sidelines. Soon, the Sisterhood gang embark on a search--and uncover a web of crime that runs deeper and higher than they ever imagined. And they'll need all their special skills to bring it down . . ." —


Falling by T. J. Newman.

You just boarded a flight to New York. There are one hundred and forty-three other passengers onboard. What you don't know is that thirty minutes before the flight your pilot's family was kidnapped. For his family to live, everyone on your plane must die. The only way the family will survive is if the pilot follows his orders and crashes the plane. Enjoy the flight.


The Return of the Wolf by Larry D. Sweazy.

"Josiah Wolfe quits the Texas Rangers and returns home to find himself in the middle of a family feud. The Langdons and the Halversons have been fighting over land as the townsfolk fled after losing out on a railroad junction. Morris Langdon has vowed revenge on Josiah and the Texas Rangers for the hanging of his older brother. The Halverson family holds a grudge against Josiah for leaving with their young grandson. The Texas Rangers are called in to end the feud after the county sheriff is murdered. Josiah is accused of the killing. Will the Rangers help Josiah clear his name, or will they treat him like a cold-blooded killer? Or is the feud nothing more than a ploy by Morris Langdon to exact his revenge and gain control of Anderson County once and for all?"-- Provided by publisher.


Adult Non-Fiction

The Barbizon by Paulina Bren.

Welcome to New York's legendary hotel for women. Liberated from home and hearth by World War I, politically enfranchised and ready to work, women arrived to take their place in the dazzling new skyscrapers of Manhattan. But they did not want to stay in uncomfortable boarding houses. They wanted what men already had--exclusive residential hotels with maid service, workout rooms, and private dining. Built in 1927, at the height of the Roaring Twenties, the Barbizon Hotel was designed as a luxurious safe haven for the "Modern Woman" hoping for a career in the arts. Over time, it became the place to stay for any ambitious young woman hoping for fame and fortune. Sylvia Plath fictionalized her time there in The Bell Jar, and, over the years, it's almost 700 tiny rooms with matching floral curtains and bedspreads housed, among many others, Titanic survivor Molly Brown; actresses Grace Kelly, Liza Minnelli, Ali MacGraw, Jaclyn Smith; and writers Joan Didion, Gael Greene, Diane Johnson, Meg Wolitzer. Mademoiselle magazine boarded its summer interns there, as did Katharine Gibbs Secretarial School its students and the Ford Modeling Agency its young models. Before the hotel's residents were household names, they were young women arriving at the Barbizon with a suitcase and a dream. Not everyone who passed through the Barbizon's doors was destined for success--for some, it was a story of dashed hopes--but until 1981, when men were finally let in, the Barbizon offered its residents a room of their own and a life without family obligations. It gave women a chance to remake themselves however they pleased; it was the hotel that set them free. No place had existed like it before or has since.


War on the Border by Jeff Guinn.

The “Punitive Expedition” was launched in retaliation under Pershing’s command and brought together the Army, National Guard, and the Texas Rangers—who were little more than organized vigilantes with a profound dislike of Mexicans on both sides of the border. Opposing this motley military brigade was Villa, a guerrilla fighter who commanded an ever-changing force of conscripts in northern Mexico. The American expedition was the last action by the legendary African-American “Buffalo Soldiers.” It was also the first time the Army used automobiles and trucks, which were of limited value in Mexico, a country with no paved roads or gas stations. Curtiss Jenny airplanes did reconnaissance, another first. One era of warfare was coming to a close as another was beginning. But despite some bloody encounters, the Punitive Expedition eventually withdrew without capturing Villa. Today Anglos and Latinos in Columbus, New Mexico, where Villa’s raid took place, commemorate those events, but with differing emotions. And although the bloodshed has ended, the US-Mexico border remains as vexed and volatile an issue as ever.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

Who is Tom Brady? by James Buckley, Jr.  J NF

On February 7, 2021, Tom Brady lifted the Vince Lombardi Trophy into the air for the seventh time in his career. After winning the Super Bowl six times with the New England Patriots, this was Brady's first win with his new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The record-breaking win further solidified what many people had already believed for two decades: Tom Brady is the GOAT: Greatest Of All Time. This moving story details the life of Tom Brady and the victories that led him to become the 264-game-winning NFL quarterback we cheer for today.


An Occasionally Happy Family by Cliff Burke.  J

"There are zero reasons for Theo Ripley to look forward to his family vacation. Not only are he, sister Laura, and nature-obsessed Dad going to Big Bend, the least popular National Park, but once there, the family will be camping. And Theo is an indoor animal. It doesn't help that this will be the first vacation they're taking since Mom passed away. Once there, the family contends with 110 degree days, wild bears, and an annoying amateur ornithologist and his awful teenage vlogger son. Then, Theo's dad hits him with a whopper of a surprise: the whole trip is just a trick to introduce his secret new girlfriend."-- Publisher's description.

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

Friday, October 8, 2021

October 8, 2021 - Book Club Preview

Brooke County Libraries are excited to present our October 2021 Book Club Pick - The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin. 

Our meeting will be in-person/virtual option on Thursday October 28th at 5 pm! For more details, please call BCPL.

About the book... 
In the spirit of Loving Frank and The Paris Wife, acclaimed novelist Melanie Benjamin pulls back the curtain on the marriage of one of America’s most extraordinary couples: Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

When Anne Morrow, a shy college senior with hidden literary aspirations, travels to Mexico City to spend Christmas with her family, she meets Colonel Charles Lindbergh, fresh off his celebrated 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic. Enthralled by Charles’s assurance and fame, Anne is certain the aviator has scarcely noticed her. But she is wrong. Charles sees in Anne a kindred spirit, a fellow adventurer, and her world will be changed forever. The two marry in a headline-making wedding. In the years that follow, Anne becomes the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States. But despite this and other major achievements, she is viewed merely as the aviator’s wife. The fairy-tale life she once longed for will bring heartbreak and hardships, ultimately pushing her to reconcile her need for love and her desire for independence, and to embrace, at last, life’s infinite possibilities for change and happiness.

About the author...
Melanie is a native of the Midwest, having grown up in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she pursued her first love, theater. After raising her two sons, Melanie, a life-long reader (including being the proud winner, two years in a row, of her hometown library's summer reading program!), decided to pursue a writing career. After writing her own parenting column for a local magazine, and winning a short story contest, Melanie published two contemporary novels under her real name, Melanie Hauser, before turning to historical fiction.

Melanie lives in Virginia with her husband. In addition to writing, she puts her theatrical training to good use by being a member of the Authors Unbound speakers bureau. When she isn't writing or speaking, she's reading. And always looking for new stories to tell.

Images are info are courtesty of Google, Goodreads, and the author's webpage.

Let us know in the comment section or on any of our social media pages if you enjoyed this book or audiobook! We love to hear from readers.

 Intrigued? Check out the ebook copy available from WV Reads!

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

October 6, 2021 - Staff Reviews

Eddie's Boy
By Thomas Perry
Release Date: December 1, 2020
Audiobook Available from WV Reads!

3 Stars - An interesting story that's both a prequel and an epilouge rolled into one. Perry's enigmatic hero Michael is a fascinating former hitman with a set of skills that rivals any action movie star. His latest run for his life is worth a read.

While I'd read Thomas Perry before, I made a mistake here not reading the original trilogy of The Butcher's Boy. This story revisits a lot of Michael's past which will no doubt bring back fond memories for readers who started in the right place. I hop around in series all the time and can't think of a series I did so wrong as this one when I didn't start in the beginning. Michael's childhood was morbidly entertaining. And his present (which really reminded me of one of my faves The Bourne Ultimatium - book not movie version) was not quite action packed but very suspenseful as he tries to figure out who is trying to kill him.

As I said emphatically, I'm not sure what fans of the series are expecting here exactly. But while Michael's wife Meg quickly disappears off page, his American espionage counterpart Elizabeth returns prominently. She's still working her detective skills and trading barbs with Michael when they cross paths again. I feel it's really worth mentioning, I think Michael Kramer's performance in the audio version does more harm than good. Perry's not an emotional writer. It's not his style. But this was so monotone that my mind wandered easily, and it squashed some of the humor and personality. The female voices are awful and the males are almost indistinguishable. Also, ladies be aware this definitely has a lot of "guy" book aspects. Not saying girls won't enjoy it but there were some eye rolls. There's a lot to like in this book though for thriller fans, from those who prefer psychological thrillers to Mob stories.


Tuesday, October 5, 2021

October 5, 2021 - Magical Reads

This month we're featuring "Magic" titles available at Brooke County Libraries! These titles are either at one of our locations or part of our ebook catalogue. 

Get into the Halloween spirit with some of this magical stories!

Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah
To Julia, nothing is more important than saving the girl she now calls Alice. But Julia will need help from others, including the sister she barely knows and a handsome doctor with secrets of his own. What follows will test the limits of Julia's faith and strength, as she struggles to find a home for Alice . . . and for herself.

That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo
Griffin has been tooling around for nearly a year with his father’s ashes in the trunk, but his mother is very much alive and not shy about calling on his cell phone. She does so as he drives down to Cape Cod, where he and his wife, Joy, will celebrate the marriage of their daughter Laura’s best friend. For Griffin this is akin to driving into the past, since he took his childhood summer vacations here, his parents’ respite from the hated Midwest. And the Cape is where he and Joy honeymooned, in the course of which they drafted the Great Truro Accord, a plan for their lives together that’s now thirty years old and has largely come true. 

Magic City by James Hall
It was a simple black–and–white photograph taken during the 1964 Clay–Liston fight in Miami Beach — but when the last remaining copy falls into Thorn's hands‚ he and everyone he loves become the target of madmen and trained killers who are determined to see the photograph destroyed — and its secrets along with it. 

Simply Magic by Mary Balogh
From the moment they meet, Peter is drawn to Susanna’s independence, dazzled by her sharp wit—he simply must have her. But the more he pursues, the more Susanna withdraws . . . until a sensual game of thrust-and-parry culminates in a glorious afternoon of passion. Now more determined than ever to keep her by his side, Peter begins to suspect that a tragic history still haunts Susanna.

The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker
During a miserable weekend at a friend’s wedding, eager to forget about her disastrous breakup and stalled dissertation, Nora Fischer wanders off and somehow finds herself in another realm. There, she meets glamorous Ilissa—who introduces Nora to a decadent new world—and her gorgeous son Raclin. But when the elegant veneer of this dreamland shatters, Nora finds herself in a fairy tale gone incredibly wrong. And the only way she can survive is by learning real magic herself. 

Calypso Magic by Catherine Coulter
Diana Savarol vowed to stay away from her cousin, the rakish and hot-tempered Lyonel Ashton, during her visit to London—for she knew that Lyonel, the sixth Earl of Saint Leven, was a rogue who used women as playthings, and she would not be one of them. But she was homesick for the West Indies, and with only Lyonel to escort her on the perilous journey home, Diana's destiny became one with his as they braved the war-torn seas on a journey that would take them from glittering London to the tropical shores of Calypso Island.

The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson
A young New York civil rights lawyer, working for Thurgood Marshall, Reggie stumbles across a letter asking her boss to investigate the case of a young black soldier whose body has been found floating in the river in Mississippi. 

Magic by Danielle Steel
The White Dinner is a love poem to friendship, joy, elegance, and the monuments of Paris. And each year it is an unforgettable summer night, especially for Jean-Philippe Dumas, a longtime participant, and the three couples he’s carefully selected to attend this exclusive and cherished event. Interweaving the stories of seven individuals, lives will be forever changed on the eve of one such White Dinner; a night that will lead to new friendships, new love, and of course, magical possibilities. 

Magic Street by Orson Scott Card
In a peaceful, prosperous African American neighborhood in Los Angeles, Mack Street is a mystery child who has somehow found a home. Discovered abandoned in an overgrown park, raised by a blunt-speaking single woman, Mack comes and goes from family to family–a boy who is at once surrounded by boisterous characters and deeply alone. But while Mack senses that he is different from most, and knows that he has strange powers, he cannot possibly understand how unusual he is until the day he sees, in a thin slice of space, a narrow house. 

A Little Magic by Nora Roberts
Three Irish stories on the power of love by a master of romantic suspense: Spellbound, Ever After, and In Dreams. 

Seduced by Magic by Cheyenne McCray
Copper Ashcroft is an accomplished D'Anu witch, but the magic she wields is a potent force—strong enough to hurl her into a mysterious Otherworld when a spell backfires. Before Copper can escape, another being is pulled into her realm—Tiernan, a powerfully virile Tuatha D'Danann warrior.

That Old Black Magic by Mary Jane Clark
Aspiring actress and wedding-cake decorator Piper Donovan has barely arrived in New Orleans to perfect her pastry skills at the renowned French Quarter bakery, Boulangerie Bertrand, when a ghastly murder rocks the magical city. Intrigued by the case, Piper can't help but look for the "Hoodoo Killer" among the faces around her. Could it be the handsome guide eager to give her special private tours? 

Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman
The prequel to the classic Practical Magic - When Maria is abandoned by the man who has declared his love for her, she follows him to Salem, Massachusetts. Here she invokes the curse that will haunt her family. And it’s here that she learns the rules of magic and the lesson that she will carry with her for the rest of her life. Love is the only thing that matters.

Did we leave out any of your favorite magical reads? Are there any of these you can't wait to try? Let us know in the comment section or on any of our social media pages. We love to hear from you!

Images and info courtesy of Google, Goodreads, and author web pages.