Thursday, December 30, 2021

December 30, 2021 - Staff Reviews

Image courtesy of WV Reads

All American Boys
By: Jason Reynolds & Brendan Kiely
BCPL Book Club September 2021 Book
YA Fiction

A great book that touches upon, unfortunately, a still relevant topic. The book was written by two authors. And the structure of it is seamless in my opinion. I would highly recommend this book as the authors paint a very vivid and relevant picture in to the differences yet connection that people in society have. I also thought the characters were well rounded enough to understand their stances and decisions. They were very likable and very relatable at the same time. Their families characters were also solid in knowing more of what had shaped these two young men. I listened to this book as an audiobook and enjoyed that they had two actors reading the differing main characters (two main young males), and the life that they brought to the characters was something that pulled you in. They slanged the words at the right time, and made you think you were listening to the two young adult men themselves tell their stories. A relatable read would most definitely be "The Hate U Give."


Wednesday, December 29, 2021

December 29, 2021 - WV Author of the Month

Hello, readers! Brooke County Libraries are excited to present our last West Virginia Author of the Month. For December 2021, we are featuring prolific writer Denise Giardina.

Denise Giardina´s novels have won the American Book Award, the Lillian Smith Award for fiction, and the Boston Book Review fiction prize. Her roots run deep in the coal mines of Appalachia and stories about coal miners, companies and unions are at the center of two of her books. Her words may be fiction, but they describe the true experiences of underground coal mining in West Virginia.

Giardina was born October 25, 1951 in Bluefield, West Virginia, and grew up in the small coal mining camp of Black Wolf, located in rural McDowell County, West Virginia, and later in Kanawha County, where she graduated from high school. Like the rest of the community, her family's survival was dependent upon the prosperity of the mine. Giardina's grandfather and uncles worked underground and her father kept the books for Page Coal and Coke. Her mother was a nurse. When the mine closed, her family moved to the state capital of Charleston. As a member of a coal-mining family, and growing up with a 1960s social consciousness, Giardina often found herself in political conflict with the people and culture around her.

Her book Storming Heaven was a Discovery Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club and received the 1987 W. D. Weatherford Award for the best published work about the AppalachianSouth. The Unquiet Earth received an American Book Award and the Lillian Smith Book Award for fiction. Her 1998 novel Saints and Villains was awarded the Boston Book Review fiction prize and was semifinalist for the International Dublin Literary Award. Giardina is an ordained Episcopal Church deacon, a community activist, and a former candidate for governor of West Virginia.

Giardina tells her stories using multiple narrators who speak in local dialect and offer different points of view. The Unquiet Earth reveals the blatant disregard of the miners and their families, by the coal companies; black Lung disease and unsafe working conditions play a part in the book.

As well as being a writer, Giardina has been an activist for environmental justice since the 1970s. She made a bid to be governor of West Virginia in 2000 as a third-party candidate, using her campaign to raise awareness about the devastating and toxic effects of mountaintop removal coal mining (MTR). MTR blows off the tops of ancient mountains, exposing layers of coal. It makes mining easier, yet destroys forests and plant life, and pollutes streams. Toxic runoff from the mining process leach into communities (where people have lived for generations), forcing them to leave their homes. West Virginia´s progressive, Mountain Party, affiliated with the Green Party, sprang from Giardina's gubernatorial run.

In 2004 Giardina was the Writer-In-Residence at Hollins University and taught a course in Virginia and West Virginia fiction.

Giardina lives in Charleston and taught at West Virginia State University until 2015. In 2007 she was reinstated as an ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church.

Denise Giardina's pride in her Appalachian background informs her writing and helps drive her fight to protect the mountains and people she loves. 

Interested in some of the titles mentioned here? Check out some this author's work in our ebook collection on WV Reads!

Images and info are courtesy of Google, Wikipedia, WV Reads, and author web pages.


Tuesday, December 28, 2021

December 28, 2021 - Staff Reviews


Engagement and Espionage
By Penny Reid
Release Date: July 14, 2020
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

1.5 Stars - Penny Reid's branching out like many romance authors into the cozy mystery realm but you have to be a fan of hers I think to enjoy this wacky romp. I couldn't say this checked all the book boxes I was hoping for unfortunately. It wasn't particularly sexy, suspenseful, or mysterious enough to grab my attention.

For a short book, this felt very long. Especially for a cozy mystery. Do not make my mistake of thinking this is a standalone cozy mystery. I was completely lost and quite irritated. This book is pretty highly acclaimed but I feel like those awards and reviews came from people who knew a lot more than I did going in. I was intrigued despite the vague and crazy blurb. This was a cozy that's supposed to both romantic and small town country. I've enjoyed plenty of the "sharper" cozy series like Stephanie Plum and Lexi Graves mysteries. Jennifer's a baker with the Southern twang and overbearing mama I can relate to. She's already with Cletus, which is refreshing in a genre filled with endless love triangles. 

Jennifer and Cletus talk to us like we already know them from the jump. (And apparently, Reid fans did, I admit.) But it didn't make me feel like I got them. The two of them aren't exactly romantic nor are they burning up the pages. I can appreciate some sexual tension, something I've heard Reid usually throws out in spades, but these two weren't always clicking. There was also a rambling quality to Reid's writing that I did not get into but others might. I knew I was getting into a book about chicken murders but even the first scene already had me sick of talking about eggs. And the country-ness didn't feel very authentic. It's like the accents, chickens, moonshine, and banjos were all just throw in to complete all the cozy setting requirements. I think unfortunately this made the mistake many authors trying this genre new to them do. This isn't really a cozy mystery. It's not really an exciting romance. Therefore, it runs the risk of disappointing fans of either or both genres. Not saying I won't circle back to Reid's work in the future but it certainly didn't make me a fan.


Monday, December 27, 2021

December 27, 2021 - New Arrivals

Adult Fiction

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman.

Looking at real estate isn't usually a life-or-death situation, but an apartment open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes a group of strangers hostage. The captives include a recently retired couple who relentlessly hunt down fixer-uppers to avoid the painful truth that they can't fix their own marriage. There's a wealthy bank director who has been too busy to care about anyone else and a young couple who are about to have their first child but can't seem to agree on anything, from where they want to live to how they met in the first place. Add to the mix an eighty-seven-year-old woman who has lived long enough not to be afraid of someone waving a gun in her face, a flustered but still-ready-to-make-a-deal real estate agent, and a mystery man who has locked himself in the apartment's only bathroom, and you've got the worst group of hostages in the world. Each of them carries a lifetime of grievances, hurts, secrets, and passions that are ready to boil over. None of them is entirely who they appear to be. And all of them--the bank robber included--desperately crave some sort of rescue. As the authorities and the media surround the premises these reluctant allies will reveal surprising truths about themselves and set in motion a chain of events so unexpected that even they can hardly explain what happens next.


Meg & Jo by Virginia Kantra.

The March sisters-reliable Meg, independent Jo, stylish Amy, and shy Beth-have grown up to pursue their separate dreams. When Jo followed her ambitions to New York City, she never thought her career in journalism would come crashing down, leaving her struggling to stay afloat in a gig economy as a prep cook and secret food blogger. Meg appears to have the life she always planned-the handsome husband, the adorable toddlers, the house in a charming subdivision. But sometimes getting everything you've ever wanted isn't all it's cracked up to be. When their mother's illness forces the sisters home to North Carolina for the holidays, they'll rediscover what really matters. One thing's for sure-they'll need the strength of family and the power of sisterhood to remake their lives and reimagine their dreams.


A Better Man by Louise Penny.

It's Gamache's first day back as head of the homicide department, a job he temporarily shares with his previous second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir. Flood waters are rising across the province. In the middle of the turmoil a father approaches Gamache, pleading for help in finding his daughter. As crisis piles upon crisis, Gamache tries to hold off the encroaching chaos, and realizes the search for Vivienne Godin should be abandoned. But with a daughter of his own, he finds himself developing a profound, and perhaps unwise, empathy for her distraught father. Increasingly hounded by the question, how would you feel..., he resumes the search. As the rivers rise, and the social media onslaught against Gamache becomes crueler, a body is discovered. And in the tumult, mistakes are made.


Adult Non-Fiction

Running on Red Dog Road by Drema Hall Berkheimer.

Gypsies, faith-healers, moonshiners, and snake handlers weave through Drema's childhood in 1940s Appalachia after her father is killed in the coal mines, her mother goes off to work as a Rosie the Riveter, and she is left in the care of devout Pentecostal grandparents. What follows is a spitfire of a memoir that reads like a novel with intrigue, sweeping emotion, and indisputable charm. Drema's coming of age is colored by tent revivals with Grandpa, poetry-writing hobos, and traveling carnivals, and through it all, she serves witness to a multi-generational family of saints and sinners whose lives defy the stereotypes. Just as she defies her own.


Family Road Trip Trivia: Genius Edition by Bradley Blake.

Everyone loves a road trip! One of the best ways to pass time on your adventure and keep the whole family entertained is to spark a little competition. Divide into teams or take these questions on one at a time, keep score, and turn your next road trip into an epic trivia match-up. You can play one chapter at a time and see who wins the most chapters, or you can go for the big win and see who wins the most questions total. It's up to you! Have fun! Before you know it, you will be pulling into your destination, and this may turn out to be one of your favorite memories from the trip.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

Bad Witch Burning by Jessica Lewis.  YA

Katrell can talk to the dead. And she wishes it made more money. She's been able to support her unemployed mother--and Mom's deadbeat-boyfriend-of-the-week--so far, but it isn't enough. Money's still tight, and to complicate things, Katrell has started to draw attention. Not from this world--from beyond. And it comes with a warning: STOP or there will be consequences. Katrell is willing to call the ghosts on their bluff; she has no choice. What do ghosts know of having sleep for dinner? But when her next summoning accidentally raises someone from the dead, Katrell realizes that a live body is worth a lot more than a dead apparition. And, warning or not, she has no intention of letting this lucrative new business go. Only magic isn't free, and dark forces are coming to collect. Now Katrell faces a choice: resign herself to poverty, or confront the darkness before it's too late.


Guardians of the Galaxy: Here We Make Our Stand by Al Ewing.  GN

The new age of space is here! As old tensions explode in the far-off Earth system, the political map of the galaxy is being radically redrawn. Meanwhile, old friends and lovers must redraw the maps of themselves - or tear them up entirely. He used to be the Human Rocket. Now he's a human wreck. Is there any coming back for Nova? And in the wake of EMPYRE, it's time for a nice, peaceful diplomatic conference. As the new ambassador for the Utopian Kree, Marvel Boy makes a solemn promise to be on his best behaviour. So how come his fellow diplomats are being murdered one by one - and it looks like he's the killer?

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

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

December 22, 2021 - Staff Reviews


The Letter Keeper
By Charles Martin
Release Date: June 8, 2021
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

2.5 Stars - After The Water Keeper surprised me by how much I enjoyed it, I was looking forward to this sequel, maybe a little too much. This picks up after its conclusion so don't read this out of order, but it didn't quite take the running start. Murphy, Bones, Ellie, and all the returning characters still have all their charm but the plot seemed bit lackluster to me.

Martin's writing style is very immersive, character driven, and vivid with settings. All of which I love about his work. But this novel seemed almost bogged down, not uncommon with the second book in a trilogy. Murphy's a fun hero, a very everyday guy even if his description at times reads like everything but the kitchen sink. Bones is a quirky semi-former priest with many talents and amazing people skills. He serves sort of as Murphy's handler as they try to save victims of human trafficking all over the world. Summer, Ellie, and some of the other girls nicely round out their little family.

In the beginning, we are sort of drifting, getting lots of flashbacks and they don't quite mesh. Surprisingly, I felt lost despite having read the first book, and I could have used a simpler refresher. Action flares through the first few chapters but then settles down quickly. More in depth looks at Murphy's past were interesting but not quite the progression of his adventures I expected to find. They felt more like a way to fill a transitional book in a series. Martin's less than subtle messaging I'll admit is engaging. He touches on a miriad of topics like second chances, trust, fulfillment, religion, guilt, and so many interpersonal relationships. But that's not my favorite part of his work. For example, he suggests that daughters need fathers to know who they are. I'm very close with my dad and do not for a minute discount his role in my life but that was overkill to me. Based on the blurb and the novel's length, I was expecting things to be hopping, and that's just not what I got. I'd have to recommend reading this directly in between The Water Keeper and the upcoming final book in the trilogy. Not just to help keep straight the characters and the stories but for a more exciting pace.


Tuesday, December 21, 2021

December 21, 2021 - BCPL Book & a Recipe

Hello all book and food lovers! Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday from Brooke County Libraries! We're excited to share a fun holiday recipe from one of our beloved mystery series today.

Santa's Thumbprints from The Christmas Cookie Murder by Leslie Meier. This is part of her beloved Lucy's cookie exchange.

1 cup shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 t almond extract
1/2 t each backing soda, salt
1 1/2 cup of uncooked oatmeal
2 cups of flour
6 ounces of semi sweet chocolate chips

All right! Let's get down to business.


Beat shortening, add sugars, until fluffy.

Add egg and extracts, mix well.

Stir in flour, baking soda, salt, and oatmeal.

Shape dough into small balls about the size of a walnut. Place on baking sheet.

Next, press hollowing in top of each cook.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Melt chocolate and spoon into center of the cookies.

Chill until firm.

*Receipe makes about 3 dozen

Can't get enough cookies?? Check out the ebook on WV Reads! Just click the link below.

 Images courtesy of Google, Hallmark, WV Reads.

Monday, December 20, 2021

December 20, 2021 - New Arrivals

Adult Fiction

God Rest Ye, Royal Gentlemen by Rhys Bowen.

Georgie is excited for her first Christmas as a married woman in her lovely new home. She suggests to her dashing husband, Darcy, that they have a little house party, but when Darcy receives a letter from his aunt Ermintrude, there is an abrupt change in plans. She has moved to a house on the edge of the Sandringham estate, near the royal family, and wants to invite Darcy and his new bride for Christmas. Aunt Ermintrude hints that the queen would like Georgie nearby. Georgie had not known that Aunt Ermintrude was a former lady-in-waiting and close confidante of her royal highness. The letter is therefore almost a royal request, so Georgie, Darcy, and their Christmas guests: Mummy, Grandad, Fig, and Binky all head to Sandringham. Georgie soon learns that the notorious Mrs. Simpson, mistress to the Prince of Wales, will also be in attendance. It is now crystal clear to Georgie that the Queen expects her to do a bit of spying. There is tension in the air from the get-go, and when Georgie pays a visit to the queen, she learns that there is more to her request than just some simple eavesdropping. There have been a couple of strange accidents at the estate recently. Two gentlemen of the royal household have died in mysterious circumstances and another has been shot by mistake during a hunt. Georgie begins to suspect that a member of the royal family is the real target but her investigation will put her new husband and love of her life, Darcy, in the crosshairs of a killer.


Murder in Season by Jessica Fletcher & Jon Land.

“With work on the reconstruction of her beloved home almost complete, Jessica Fletcher is in high holiday spirits, spearheading the annual Christmas pageant, supervising the Friends of the Library's toy drive, and preparing for her nephew Grady and his family to come to town. The only thing dampening the holiday cheer is the discovery on Jessica's property of two sets of bones: one set ancient, the other only a few weeks old. It's concluded they were placed there during the construction, and Jessica suspects that despite the centuries between them, the bones might be connected. Soon, tabloid reporter Franklin Joy arrives in Cabot Cove to write a story about what he calls "Murder Cove, USA." But when Franklin himself is murdered, Jessica speculates that his arrival, his death, and the discovery of the bones are all connected. As Jessica digs deeper to find the connection between the bones and the murder, everything seems to come back to a mystery that has long plagued Cabot Cove. If she wants to solve the case, she'll need to delve into her beloved town's dark history, or else this holiday season may be her last..."-- Provided by publisher.


Whispering Hearts by V. C. Andrews.

The English countryside is beautiful, but for Emma Corey it cannot compare with the bright lights of New York City. Tired of performing only in pubs and at church, she announces she's moving to America--and her conservative father disowns her on the spot. Distraught but undeterred, Emma will become a Broadway star--or die trying. Leaving the comforts of her youth is a thrilling adventure. The largeness of the city, her new friends, the boundless opportunities make everything shine with promise. However, New York has a way of chipping away at a newcomer's resolve. First a robbery. Then a low-wage job. Then the realization that such a city attracts the young and the talented--competitors all. Just when it seems like Emma might have to admit defeat and return to the UK, she is introduced to a peculiar couple: a wife that cannot bear children of her own, and a husband who would pay Emma to solve that problem. Emma's father once told her, "Money is life." But when Emma trades one for the other and moves into the couple's remote estate to participate in an elaborate ruse, there's no telling what kind of life she'll have once she's taken the money.


Adult Non-Fiction

The Absolute by Sri Chinmoy.

A renaissance man of our modern times, Sri Chinmoy was a poet, an author of essays, a composer, an artist, a sportsman, and a lover of humanity. He established a wide range of cultural, humanitarian and spiritual programs on every continent. In new ways, these projects foster the ancient and universal values which underlie all great cultures and faiths. Sri Chinmoy had offered hundreds of lectures at universities throughout the globe. At galleries worldwide selections of Sri Chinmoy's paintings and 16 million 'Dream-Freedom-Peace-Bird' drawings have given joy and inspiration to countless people.


Discover How to Eliminate the Screen Time Battle with Your Kids by Jenn Bell-Allen.

Learn how to set screen time boundaries and instill a love for reading all while positively keeping lines of communication open with your kids. Use these techniques to eliminate the screen time battle with your kids, help your children develop a desire to read, and even increase positive ways to communicate with them. Learn the right genre of books to dive in head first in beginning to build a lifelong lover of reading ... and much, much more! And best of all, this amazing book will also show you how to manage your kids screen addiction so you can ultimately spend more time together engaging in healthy and productive activities.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

The Christmas Pig by J. K. Rowling.  J

Jack loves his childhood toy, Dur Pig. DP has always been there for him, through good and bad. Until one Christmas Eve something terrible happens -- DP is lost. But Christmas Eve is a night for miracles and lost causes, a night when all things can come to life... even toys. And Jack's newest toy -- the Christmas Pig (DP's replacement) -- has a daring plan: Together they'll embark on a magical journey to seek something lost, and to save the best friend Jack has ever known...


Family Road Trip Trivia: Grade-School Edition by Bradley Blake.  J NF

Everyone loves a road trip! One of the best ways to pass time on your adventure and keep the whole family entertained is to spark a little competition. Divide into teams or take these questions one at a time, keep score, and turn your next road trip into an epic trivia match-up. You can play one chapter at a time and see who wins the most chapters, or you can go for the big win and see who wins the most questions total. It’s up to you! Have fun! Before you know it, you will be pulling into your destination, and this may turn out to be one of your favorite memories from the trip.

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

Friday, December 17, 2021

December 17, 2021 - Staff Reviews


By Sarina Bowen
Release Date: April 13, 2021
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3 Stars - A fine sports romance from a series I was unfamiliar with when I started. It's easy to jump into this little world of not just men's hockey but women's. There's plenty of humor and heart here. But I wished that the heroine Sylvie wasn't quite so wishy washy and the hero was more mature. Both are sweethearts but a little selfish.

Sarina Bowen has written some wonderful romance novels, but she kills me when the two leads hold themselves back. And in this case again, they do it while actually having some kind of fling or quasi relationship. I loved Sylvie in the very beginning. Respected her girl power, felt her struggles, especially with her parents. But the hearts in her eyes with Bryce made her seem fifteen, especially since she wouldn't let it go. Anton is very forthcoming about his immaturity. But he's trying to improve at least. He also has a major thing with Sylvie, was sort of willing to take whatever she would give him.

So basically, this is a well written novel. I liked the dialouge, the light feel. Sylvie's mom felt like one of the most memorable characters. But parts of the plot just jabbed me the wrong way. The Bryce thing... I just didn't see his appeal. There was no spark there. So it was painful to see him as an obstacle for their relationship. I really dislike love triangles and had the blurb been more honest about this one, I probably wouldn't have even tried. None of the others in this series have caught my attention like the True North and Security series. Also, the amount of guy/girls sports debate felt like a major distraction. I find it super hard to believe the team owner would be required to supply the mens bathroom with tampons and bidets because she bought them for the girls. I think this was added for humor and to sort of lightly embrace the weird gender progressions we're having today. But it honestly got more page time than Sylvie and Anton really having a healthy and happy relationship. In the end, big fans of the author and/or hockey romances will probably delight in this. For me and other readers, it will probably more of a pleasant distraction or filler read between more exciting books.


Wednesday, December 15, 2021

December 15, 2021 - Staff Reviews

Image courtesy of WV Reads

Better Than the Movies
By: Lynn Painter
YA Fiction

Recommended by a friend who noted they loved it.

If you like rom-com's, this is for you. Especially if you love the juicy world of young adult romance where there are coming of age issues, first journeys, etc.

It was not exactly predictable though it was in some instances. It followed your typical rom-com pattern which highly makes sense due to the main characters love for rom-coms. I enjoyed this light read as well. I enjoyed how it pulled you in as you literally felt like you were watching a friend get embarrassed and your were feeling embarrassed for them and often yelling at them to get their act together (just like you would to your BFF).


Tuesday, December 14, 2021

December 14, 2021 - Staff Reviews

The Kremlin Conspiracy
By Joel C Rosenberg
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

2.5 Stars - This weighty action thriller was certainly interesting. Our hero Markus Ryker as well as his Russian opponent Oleg Kraskin are well matched and have in depth, interesting backgrounds that really pulled me in fast. For anyone looking for a new political action series, this one's worth a shot.

This book starts off with a literal bang. There's a terrible fire sweeping through a residential building in Russia, terrifying many citizens. We transition into the life of Mr. Kraskin who is eagerly trying to wed his beautiful girlfriend but it's not going according to plan. He instantly came off very human and even likable. We leave him then and we're the opposite side of the globe learning about Marcus Ryker. Ryker's got one heck of a juicy backstory. Coming from a tough childhood, he decides to spend his adulthood serving his country, fulfillling his thrillseeker side. I instantly liked him as well, and I could appreciate he was a Christian family man. That's pretty rare in this genre, probably a pleasant surprise for fans of Christian fiction. Maybe at times just a bit much for those who are not.

Quite a few years back, I read the first three books in Rosenberg's Bennett & McCoy series. It was actually pretty memorable, but while I enjoyed them, I wasn't hooked. I think for me this author's style and mine just don't quite mesh. One other reviewer said they read this book expecting old school Tom Clancy but found it to be more James Patterson. Even from the first ten or so chapters, I'd have to agree. For some readers that will work out great but unfortunately, not me. I have nothing against 3rd person viewpoint but this had so many "he"s and "him"s that I got confused and needed the names used more for reference. While Rosenberg's heavy details were at points interesting, at times they added nothing to a scene. For example, early on, things are told from Marcus and then Elena's viewpoint and it was like too much info rehashed. We hear from Marcus that his father died when he was eleven and again from Elena a few pages later. Why? At nearly 500 pages, some trimming was warranted to create a sharper feel and a smoother background for the action. That said, I loved the set up. Particularly, the character introductions and flashbacks that really illustrated their lives. 


Monday, December 13, 2021

December 13, 2021 - New Arrivals

Adult Fiction

Better Off Dead by Lee Child & Andrew Child.

Reacher goes where he wants, when he wants. That morning he was heading west, walking under the merciless desert sun--until he comes upon a curious scene. A Jeep has crashed into the only tree for miles around. A woman is slumped over the wheel. Dead? No, nothing is what it seems. The woman is Michaela Fenton, an army veteran turned FBI agent trying to find her twin brother, who might be mixed up with some dangerous people. Most of them would rather die than betray their terrifying leader, who has burrowed his influence deep into the nearby border town, a backwater that has seen better days. The mysterious Dendoncker rules from the shadows, out of sight and under the radar, keeping his dealings in the dark. He would know the fate of Fenton's brother. Reacher is good at finding people who don't want to be found, so he offers to help, despite feeling that Fenton is keeping secrets of her own. But a life hangs in the balance. Maybe more than one. But to bring Dendoncker down will be the riskiest job of Reacher's life. Failure is not an option, because in this kind of game, the loser is always better off dead.


Never by Ken Follett.

A shrinking oasis in the Sahara Desert; a stolen US Army drone; an uninhabited Japanese island; and one country's secret stash of deadly chemical poisons: all these play roles in a relentlessly escalating crisis. Struggling to prevent the outbreak of world war are a young woman intelligence officer; a spy working undercover with jihadists; a brilliant Chinese spymaster; and Pauline herself, beleaguered by a populist rival for the next president election.


Victim 2117 by Jussi Adler-Olsen.

The newspaper refers to the body only as Victim 2117--the two thousand one hundred and seventeenth refugee to die in the Mediterranean Sea. But to three people, the unnamed victim is so much more, and the death sets off a chain of events that throws Department Q, Copenhagen's cold cases division led by Detective Carl Mørck, into a deeply dangerous--and deeply personal--case. A case that not only reveals dark secrets about the past, but has deadly implications for the future. For troubled Danish teen Alexander, whose identity is hidden behind his computer screen, the death of Victim 2117 becomes a symbol of everything he resents and the perfect excuse to unleash his murderous impulses in real life. For Ghaalib, one of the most brutal tormentors from Abu Ghraib--Saddam Hussein's infamous prison--the death of Victim 2117 is the first step in a terrorist plot years in the making. And for Department Q's Assad, Victim 2117 is a link to his buried past--and the family he assumed was long dead. With the help of the Department Q squad--Carl, Rose, and Gordon--Assad must finally confront painful memories from his years in the Middle East in order to find and capture Ghaalib. But with the clock ticking down to Alexander's first kill and Ghaalib's devastating attack, the thinly spread Department Q will need to stay one step ahead of their most lethal adversary yet if they are to prevent the loss of thousands of innocent lives.


Adult Non-Fiction

Writer’s Market by Robert Lee Brewer.

Want to get published and paid for your writing? Let Writer’s Market guide you through the process with thousands of publishing opportunities for writers, featuring listings for book publishers, consumer and trade magazines, literary agents, and contests and awards – including those for playwriting and scriptwriting. These listings feature contact and submission information to help writers get their work published. Beyond the listings, you’ll find articles devoted to the business and promotion of writing. Discover 20 literary agents actively seeking writers and their writing, how to develop an author brand, and overlooked funds for writers. This 100th edition also includes the ever-popular pay-rate chart and book publisher subject index!


The Primary That Made a President by Robert Rupp.

The 1960 West Virginia presidential primary is arguably the most storied contest in modern American politics. And yet John F. Kennedy traveled the path so quickly from dynamic presidential candidate to martyred national icon that many forget his debt to West Virginia in his quest for the Democratic presidential nomination. In The Primary That Made a President, author Robert O. Rupp returns to 1960 West Virginia, reviewing the momentous contest for signs of the political changes to come. Besides propelling Kennedy to the Democratic nomination, the West Virginia primary changed the face of politics by advancing religious tolerance, foreshadowing future political campaigns, influencing public policy, and drawing national attention to a misunderstood region. It meant the end of a taboo that kept the Catholic faith out of American politics; the rise of the primary as a political tool for garnering delegate support; the beginning of a nationwide confrontation with Appalachian stereotypes; and the seeds for what would become Kennedy's War on Poverty. Rupp explores these themes and more to discuss how a small Appalachian state, overwhelmingly poor and Protestant, became a key player in the political future of John F. Kennedy. The first of its kind among Kennedy biographies or histories of the 1960 election, this book offers a sustained scholarly analysis of the 1960 West Virginia presidential primary and its far-reaching significance for the political climate in the US.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

Djeliya by Juni Ba.  YA GN

Inspired by West African folklore and stories handed over centuries, this unique graphic novel follows the adventures of Mansour Keita, last prince of a dying kingdom, and Awa Kouyaté, his loyal Djeli, or 'royal storyteller' as they journey to meet the great wizard who destroyed their world and then withdrew into his tower, never to be seen again. On their journey they'll cross paths with friend and foe, from myth and legend alike, and revisit the traditions, tales, and stories that gave birth to their people and nurture them still. But what dark secret lies at the heart of these stories, and what purpose do their tellers truly serve?

Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk.  E

This beautiful bedtime poem, written by acclaimed Inuit throat singer Celina Kalluk, describes the gifts given to a newborn baby by all the animals of the Arctic. Lyrically and tenderly told by a mother speaking to her own little Kulu; an Inuktitut term of endearment often bestowed upon babies and young children, this visually stunning book is infused with the traditional Inuit values of love and respect for the land and its animal inhabitants.

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

Thursday, December 9, 2021

December 9, 2021 - BCPL Resume Tips

 Hello again, job seekers!

Welcome back to resume tips presented by Brooke County Libraries. This month's tip is #14.

Keep Simple Formatting

You want the highlights to your resume to be front and center, as we have advised previously. Today's resume templates have boxes and sections EVERYWHERE. Be mindful that prospective employers like to simply read down through a single page.

Consider just using sections that flow top to bottom. That makes for easy reading. And you ensure a future manager doesn't miss your certification because it was off in a side tab. Remember your work history should always be front and center or your education as it pertains to your experience.

Don't get caught up in fancy-looking templates. Being eye-catching is great. But employers will always value content over presentation.

Thank you as always! Remember your local library is a great place for help with your job search.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

December 8, 2021 - Staff Reviews

Mistletoe in Paradise
By Jill Shalvis
Release Date: December 2020
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3 Stars - A short Christmas novella that surprised me with how much I enjoyed it. Pretty much only the set up in Christmasy though as the setting itself was wonderfully tropic. Hannah a smart, loyal heroine, who has a pretty witty viewpoint. She's stranded with James, her rascally ex, and their story of rekindling romance was easily entertaining.

I hadn't been all that intrigued by the Wildstone family saga by Shalvis before. Either the blurbs didn't grab my attention or the books I tried disappointed me. They didn't seem to have usual level of fun. But this little story had a lot of charm. I admit to being lost as far as the family tree went but the beginning did a far job of explaining everyone. Hannah's seems a bit immature at first, sort of flighty yet overly committed to her job. James is a bit less obvious, though he admits to having a wild side. He's anything but carefree as he is still mourning the loss of his brother.

Like the previous Wildstone book I read, there's almost too much grief hanging over the characters. It makes for sort of an awkward vibe at times, given Shalvis' usually light-hearted writing style. She even occassionally goes for steamy. It just seems like some blurry lines here. Also, I wasn't really an advocate for how Jimmy's untimely death came to be. Yes, health insurance companies make mistakes and often don't put their customers first. But we never acknowledge the times they, particularly here in America. I really think Jason should have just died in a tragic accident but I get this was supposed to serve as Hannah's connection to her work. Underneath all the drama packed into this little romance though, is quite a lot of heart and heated connection between James and Hannah. They had some cute banter, trying to resist each other. But their chemistry was easy to spot, and they had a wonderful rekindling an old flame relationship going on. This is an easy, lovely island holiday read for anyone looking to fill a few hours.


Monday, December 6, 2021

December 6, 2021 - New Arrivals

Adult Fiction

2 Sisters Detective Agency by James Patterson & Candice Fox.

Attorney Rhonda Bird returns home after a long estrangement when she learns her father has died. There she makes two important discoveries: her father stopped being an accountant and had opened up a private detective agency, and she has a teenage half-sister named Baby. Baby brings in a client to the detective agency, a young man who claims he was abducted. During the course of the investigation, Rhonda and Baby become entangled in a dangerous case involving a group of overprivileged young adults who break laws for fun, their psychopath ringleader, and an ex-assassin victim who decides to hunt them down for revenge.


The Book of Magic by Alice Hoffman.

The Owens family has been cursed in matters of love for over three-hundred years but all of that is about to change. The novel begins in a library, the best place for a story to be conjured, when beloved aunt Jet Owens hears the deathwatch beetle and knows she has only seven days to live. Jet is not the only one in danger--the curse is already at work. A frantic attempt to save a young man's life spurs three generations of the Owens women, and one long-lost brother, to use their unusual gifts to break the curse as they travel from Paris to London to the English countryside where their ancestor Maria Owens first practiced the Unnamed Art. The younger generation discovers secrets that have been hidden from them in matters of both magic and love by Sally, their fiercely protective mother. As Kylie Owens uncovers the truth about who she is and what her own dark powers are, her aunt Franny comes to understand that she is ready to sacrifice everything for her family, and Sally Owens realizes that she is willing to give up everything for love.


A Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz.

When Ex-Detective Inspector Daniel Hawthorne and his sidekick, author Anthony Horowitz, are invited to an exclusive literary festival on Alderney, an idyllic island off the south coast of England, they don't expect to find themselves in the middle of murder investigation--or to be trapped with a cold-blooded killer in a remote place with a murky, haunted past. Arriving on Alderney, Hawthorne and Horowitz soon meet the festival's other guests--an eccentric gathering that includes a bestselling children's author, a French poet, a TV chef turned cookbook author, a blind psychic, and a war historian--along with a group of ornery locals embroiled in an escalating feud over a disruptive power line. When a local grandee is found dead under mysterious circumstances, Hawthorne and Horowitz become embroiled in the case. The island is locked down, no one is allowed on or off, and it soon becomes horribly clear that a murderer lurks in their midst. But who?


Adult Non-Fiction

Noise by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, & Cass R. Sunstein.

Imagine that two doctors in the same city give different diagnoses to identical patients--or that two judges in the same courthouse give markedly different sentences to people who have committed the same crime. Suppose that different interviewers at the same firm make different decisions about indistinguishable job applicants--or that when a company is handling customer complaints, the resolution depends on who happens to answer the phone. Now imagine that the same doctor, the same judge, the same interviewer, or the same customer service agent makes different decisions depending on whether it is morning or afternoon, or Monday rather than Wednesday. These are examples of noise: variability in judgments that should be identical. In Noise, Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, and Cass R. Sunstein show the detrimental effects of noise in many fields, including medicine, law, economic forecasting, forensic science, bail, child protection, strategy, performance reviews, and personnel selection. Wherever there is judgment, there is noise. Yet, most of the time, individuals and organizations alike are unaware of it. They neglect noise. With a few simple remedies, people can reduce both noise and bias, and so make far better decisions.


The Premonition by Michael Lewis.

Fortunately, we are still a nation of skeptics. Fortunately, there are those among us who study pandemics and are willing to look unflinchingly at worst-case scenarios. Michael Lewis's taut and brilliant nonfiction thriller pits a band of medical visionaries against the wall of ignorance that was the official response of the Trump administration to the outbreak of COVID-19. The characters you will meet in these pages are as fascinating as they are unexpected. A thirteen-year-old girl's science project on transmission of an airborne pathogen develops into a very grown-up model of disease control. A local public-health officer uses her worm's-eye view to see what the CDC misses, and reveals great truths about American society. A secret team of dissenting doctors, nicknamed the Wolverines, has everything necessary to fight the pandemic: brilliant backgrounds, world-class labs, prior experience with the pandemic scares of bird flu and swine flu...everything, that is, except official permission to implement their work. Michael Lewis is not shy about calling these people heroes for their refusal to follow directives that they know to be based on misinformation and bad science. Even the internet, as crucial as it is to their exchange of ideas, poses a risk to them. They never know for sure who else might be listening in.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

Trouble with a Tiny t by Merriam Sarcia Saunders.  J

Twelve-year-old Westin Hopper gets in trouble--a lot. At home, at school, at his grandparents' house....His ADHD always seems to mess with his brain, making him do impulsive things. So when Westin finds a magic bag that makes his thoughts come alive, he thinks it's the ticket to fixing his life. Instead, his wandering brain strikes again, conjuring up a mini T. rex, an army of headless plastic men, and a six-inch Thor. Now they all live in his bedroom, eating lunchmeat, wreaking havoc, and growing. And Westin doesn't know how to make them go away. He enlists his fellow social outcast, Lenora, to help him make things right. Lenora helps Westin realize that his talent for drawing could be the key to solving his problems. If Westin can focus while drawing, maybe he can learn to control the magic and get rid of the creatures in his room. But he'd better learn quickly. Tiny T is growing--and fast.


Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues: Johnny’s Story #1 by Denton J. Tipton.  J GN

Thirty years after the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament, Johnny seeks redemption by reopening the infamous Cobra Kai karate dojo and tells his students about his rise to fame and how a new kid in town stole his ex-girlfriend.

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

Friday, December 3, 2021

December 3, 2021 - Staff Reviews


Basil's War
By Stephen Hunter
Release Date: May 4, 2021
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3 Stars - A fun, quirky little WW2 thriller that was a pleasant surprise. My expectations weren't that high as I don't regularly read Hunter's new releases but suitable for his fans as well as new readers. This piece of historical fiction was easy to fly through and quite the quick ride.

This is quite the departure from Hunter's Swagger series, and it had been years since I'd read those novels. I was pleased to discover has quite a talent for historical fiction. And there's a lot of good humor about the craziness in the book. So if there's some technical defects a reader notices or detail out of place, it almost doesn't matter. Basil himself seems on every other page to silently say "if you can believe it". Comparisons to James Bond and even Indiana Jones aren't all that far off for his particular skill set and mission. Of course, I wouldn't quite say this womanizer and adrenaline junkie is exactly relatable but he's certainly entertaining.

In Basil's War, Hunter managed to work in a lot of true to life details. Oddly enough, a few so wild that don't actually add much realism. This is a quick book, and it was sort of refreshing to not get bogged down in details, particularly so for a WW2 era story. We had a nice balance of fact and fiction. And the pace was easy to keep up with throughout the story. Some of the dialouge was a bit too heavily British and antiquated for me, like maybe I missed some of the meaning here and there. This had a few little goofs too. Not on major plot lines that I noticed or have knowledge of historically speaking. But for example, Basil stops in a bathroom at one point, planning to discard some papers subtly and secretly. He thinks he doesn't have time to tear them up and flush them. But then he stops at the sink, splashes water on his face, and generally dallies for a minute. So why not tear up the papers? Some flaws aside, this was a pretty wild and sometimes weird mini thriller. It's sure to help pass the time on a plane or cold evening or a fill a vacation day.