Tuesday, December 27, 2022

December 27, 2022 - BCPL Young Adult Author of the Month

Thanks for checking in at the end of this year, readers! We're excited to share the last, but not least, of our young readers spotlight picks.

This December, we're sharing the works of Mike Lupica, who has written a variety of stories, mostly sports themed, for readers of all ages. He also has adult fiction titles on his resume as well! But today we're focusing on his works for young readers.

Mike Lupica is one of the most prominent sports writers in America. His longevity at the top of his field is based on his experience and insider's knowledge, coupled with a provocative presentation that takes an uncompromising look at the tumultuous world of professional sports. 

His young adult novels, Travel Team, Heat, Miracle on 49th Street, and the summer hit for 2007, Summer Ball, have shot up the New York Times bestseller list. Lupica is also what he describes as a "serial Little League coach," a youth basketball coach, and a soccer coach for his four children, three sons and a daughter. He and his family live in Connecticut.

He began his newspaper career covering the New York Knicks for the New York Post at age 23. He became the youngest columnist ever at a New York paper with the New York Daily News, which he joined in 1977. For more than 30 years, Lupica has added magazines, novels, sports biographies, other non-fiction books on sports, as well as television to his professional resume. For more than fifteen years, he has been a TV anchor for ESPN's The Sports Reporters. He also hosted his own program, The Mike Lupica Show on ESPN2. 

Lupica was born in Oneida, New York, where he spent his pre-adolescent years, having attended St. Patrick's Elementary School through the sixth grade. In 1964, he moved with his family to Nashua, New Hampshire, where he attended middle school and subsequently Bishop Guertin High School, graduating in 1970. In 1974 he graduated from Boston College. He first came to prominence as a sportswriter in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Lupica wrote "The Sporting Life" column at Esquire magazine for ten years beginning in the late 1980s, and currently writes a regular column for Travel + Leisure Golf. He has also written for Golf Digest, Parade, ESPN The Magazine, and Men’s Journal, and has received numerous awards including, in 2003, the Jim Murray Award from the National Football Foundation.

Lupica's sports series and standalones have touched on many sports, bringing the thrill of the game to life in characters of all ages and talent levels. He always brings his real life experience and knowledge to the story while incorporating characters young readers can relate to as well.

Are you or your children fans of Mike Lupica's stories? Let us know in the comment section below or on any of our social media pages! We'd love to hear from you.

Many of Mike's best titles are available from our ebook collection on WV Reads!

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

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

December 21, 2022 - Staff Reviews

By William Bernhardt
Release Date: March 22, 2022
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3 Stars - A fast-paced read that's part mystery and part courtroom thriller. I was new to the Splitsville series and found a lot to like in this entry. This was both dark and humorous at times, and the storyline regarding the human trafficking industry was engrossing. But I'm not sure I ever really connected with this entire plot or cast of quirky characters.

Bernhardt's work is hit and miss for me, and this one was somewhere in between. I liked to see him branch out from the Ben Kincaid series, and Kenzi is a strong female lead. Her backstory opens up a lot of possibilities for great stories. I liked her relationship with her sister and potential boyfriend Alex. She's clever and determined. But somehow, her relationship with her family and daughter felt more like filler to me, which was a disappointment. I needed a bit more everyday woman, softer side or something like that, to relate to her.

This started off on the wrong foot a bit, and I'm not sure I truly clicked with this one because of it. I loved the realistic dialouge and the sharp scene and location descriptions. And the violent opening is also almost trademark Bernhardt. Plus, it's important to the plot in ways you don't imagine until later. But I felt a little unsettled by it, maybe it left me off-kilter. The original ideas with Kenzi's firm handling mostly civil and divorce cases, dealing with her dad's, etc. might really grab some readers. It just didn't hold my attention as a subplot. The human trafficking angles were fascinating but a bit hard to take too. And I didn't appreciate that the political jabs started early. As an independent, I don't like fictional characters having such strong opinions in the way of making opposite party people look like clowns. It's better left out or mostly off the pages. While this was entertaining, I don't think I'm eager to hop into the rest of this particular series. But the aspects that didn't work for me may be enticing for other readers.


Friday, December 16, 2022

December 16, 2022 - A Book & A Recipe

Welcome back and Merry Christmas!

This month we at Brooke County Libraries are excited to bring you a cool and frosty dessert recipe that's perfect for the Christmas season. This December we are featuring Fairy Drop Cookies from Mary Kay Andrew's Blue Christmas. It's a light and modern romance classic.


4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup softened butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 tsps almond extract

1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/3 - 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsps of milk
Food coloring of your choice


1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the first three dry ingredients.
3. Cream butter into flour mixture.
4. Add both kinds of sugar and beat until fluffy.
5. Add oil, eggs, and almond extract to mixture and beat until well mixed.
6. Chill cookie dough in fridge for 30 minutes.
7. Pinch off teaspoon-sized bits of cookie dough, roll between fingers, and place on greased cookie sheet - approx. 1/2 inch apart.
8. After all cookies are on sheet, use back of a teaspoon to flatten cookie and make impressions on top.
9. Bake 10-12 minutes, until cookies are pale shade of yellow. Makes about five dozen cookies.
10. Onto the frosting! Beat butter into powdered sugar, then add almond, milk, vanilla, thinning until frosting is thick.
11. Separate into bowls for tinting with food coloring. Mix and color as desired.
12. Place a dab of frosting on each cookie.
13. These keep well in a sealed container.

What a fun one to try with the kiddos for a Christmas afternoon activity! Be sure to let us know if you try it out. We'd love to hear about it in the comments or on our social media pages.

Looking for a good Christmas read? We've got the audiobook available from WV Reads! You could listen as you do some wrapping and baking.

Thanks for checking in with our recipe posts! We will see you back with more recipe ideas next year.

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


Tuesday, December 13, 2022

December 13, 2022 - Staff Reviews

Out of the Blue
By BJ Daniels
Release Date: January 1, 2022
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3 Stars - For being a short read, there sure was a lot going on in Buckhorn, Montana. Daniels' long running series moves right along here. This time bartender Davey is the hero. Who will steal this big heart of his? There's a little suspense as well, worth the quick read.

I'm not really a follower of this series, but this was a great short story. I think that fans of the Buckhorn romances probably find plenty to like in this, or perhaps it's just not enough. Daniels really fills the pages! Davey's a bit naive but he's a good guy so it'd be hard not to want the best for him. He's considerate and hardworking. Melissa and Tanya are both sort of vying for his attention, in VERY different ways. Mel is a darling and they've got a great friends-to-lovers storyline. But Tanya was more sympathetic than I expected too.

I liked that Tanya was shady but it was actually kind of hard to hate her. I could see why Davey was blinded by her. Although, he's definitely not my usual favorite type of hero. I wanted him to wake up and see what was right in front of him. Melissa could have stepped up a little too but she was shy and quiet also. There were fun supporting characters as well like the comical Ralph and Wilbur, bar patrons and amateur thief trackers. Plus, we had a sufficiently grim background villian too. The steam levels were low, perfect for romance readers who prefer a little less heat and more sweet. I couldn't believe this little story was packed with romantic tension, multiple POV, dialouge, plus some mystery as well. There was a little frustration and suspension of disbelief needed from the main characters. But overall, this exceeded my expectations. I don't want to spoil the ending, but it's also sufficiently wrapped up too. I don't think anyone would have to read this series to enjoy killing a little time one afternoon. It might even get one hooked!


Thursday, December 8, 2022

December 8, 2022 - BCPL Resume Tips

Welcome back, resume warriors! We like your dedication - checking in with us during the holiday season. Brooke County Libraries have one last tip to share this year on how to make your resume shine!

Resume Tip #26 - Leave out personal details.

While it's tempting to include on your resume why you took two years off or have been looking for steady work for six months - resist!

Potential employers will ask about your personal life and/or any gaps in your resume during your interview. Don't confuse a job profile with a dating profile, though it's easy to get confused with all the online updates nowadays! "Single mom of three searching for part time receptionist work!" is not a good idea.

There may be a small section called a summary at the top of your resume template that the only acceptable place to include any personal details of your life history. Those should even so be kept short and sweet such as "Work at home mom looking to rejoin workforce at a full time capacity" or "Long time student and lover of learning ready to share my knowledge with a hand-on full time position". Make sure you make it about why you're ready for the next (or maybe even first) big job!

Yes, understanding that you took time off to care for a sick relative, nurse your own injuries or illnesses, or to raise children is an important component of who you are! 

But the reasoning behind your job history, schooling, or time off is usually irrelevant in the face of other candidates. Everyone has a personal story! Maybe your competition spent a full year backpacking through Europe whereas you extended your maternity or paternity leave. Neither possibility will convince a potential employer to call for that interview, and you can always talk about your dreams, goals, and personal life briefly at the face-to-face meeting.

That's all for today! Have a healthy, happy, holiday season; and here's to hoping for all our followers to find great jobs in the new year! 

Remember, your local library is always available for job hunt tips, resume help, and more!


Wednesday, December 7, 2022

December 7, 2022 - Staff Reviews

The Heat Is On
By Jill Shalvis
Release Date: June 25, 2013
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

4 Stars - This fun little beach read had surprising intensity! Bella and Jacob both had major commitment phobia but were adorable together. When Bella's dates come under attack, Jacob's determined to get to the culprit before he gets to them. 

Shalvis has a cute message at the beginning of this about having fun writing for HQ Blaze series. I think the level of fun she had showed with this one. This isn't an angsty read though there's plenty of drama. Jacob's a great hero, especially fun to see with Bella and his brothers. Bella was a bit more difficult to understand. She's baker and traveler, not one for settling down. Her list of real friends is small so it makes her instant connection with Jacob extra sweet. Both of these two do a lot verbal pushing away while pulling each other closer. It got to be a bit much here and there.

I find it interesting how many times in romances, the woman is the one with one foot out the door. Girls can be reluctant to give up their freedom too, and not just in regards to dating. More like, they don't always want to buy a house, pets, and give up traveling. It's always refreshing. The side characters were cool but not particularly funny or memorable except for Jacob's brothers. Now, for the mystery. This is not a whodunit on the level of Agatha Christie of course. But I admit I didn't know who the bad guy was until he revealed himself. There was quite a series of suspenseful moments in this one, making it easy to not put it down. I wouldn't say there were any fabulous action sequences or explosive scenes. But there was just enough intrigue to keep this one exciting. This would be a perfect paperback for romance readers to grab for a weekend trip or rainy day on the couch.


Friday, December 2, 2022

December 2, 2022 - Christmas Romance Reads

In the mood to read a little Winter romance? We've got a great selection of holiday season romances at Brooke County libraries.

Let's get into some of our favorite romance reads perfect for December! All titles are available from one of our locations or as ebooks from our collection.

Christmas Bliss by Mary Kay Andrews
Christmas is coming, but Savannah antique dealer Weezie Foley is doubly distracted both by her upcoming wedding to her longtime love, chef Daniel Stipanek and also by the fact that her best friend and maid-of-honor BeBe Loudermilk is due to give birth any day and is still adamantly refusing to marry her live-in-love Harry. 

Christmas At Timberwoods by Fern Michaels
It's the most wonderful time of the year. . .and for Heather Andrews, security manager at Timberwoods Mall, undoubtedly the busiest. But this Christmas, Heather has more to contend with than frazzled parents and disgruntled Santas. Angela Steinhart, a young woman who designed the mall's spectacular holiday displays, has had a premonition that tragedy will strike on Christmas Eve. And Angela's visions have a habit of coming true.

Candlelight Christmas by Susan Wiggs
A single father who yearns to be a family man, Logan O'Donnell is determined to create the perfect Christmas for his son, Charlie. The entire O'Donnell clan arrives to spend the holidays in Avalon, a postcard-pretty town on the shores of Willow Lake, a place for the family to reconnect and rediscover the special gifts of the season.

A Christmas Caroline by Kyle Smith
This Christmas Eve, she's stuck in Manhattan, embarrassingly boyfriendless, while her fabulous designer mother jets off to a mysterious place called Branson. But things are about to get even worse, thanks to a hideous pair of furry boots, a conniving redheaded assistant named Ursula Heep, and a totally random visit from the ghost of her ex-roommate, Carly. Carly's ghost warns that three more spirits are on the way. If Caroline doesn't make things right with all the people she's sneered at on her way to the top, she could wind up facing a fate worse than an outfit from the Salvation Army.

The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo
The tree is decorated, the cookies are baked, and the packages are wrapped, but the biggest celebration this Christmas is Gaby Summerhill's wedding. Since her husband died three years ago, Gaby's four children have drifted apart, each consumed by the turbulence of their own lives. They haven't celebrated Christmas together since their father's death, but when Gaby announces that she's getting married--and that the groom will remain a secret until the wedding day--she may finally be able to bring them home for the holidays. But the wedding isn't Gaby's only surprise--she has one more gift for her children, and it could change all their lives forever.

Hot Winter Nights by Jill Shalvis
Most people wouldn't think of a bad Santa case as the perfect Christmas gift. Then again, Molly Malone, office manager at Hunt Investigations, isn't most people, and she could really use a distraction from the fantasies she's been having since spending the night with her very secret crush, Lucas Knight. Nothing happened, not that Lucas knows that — but Molly just wants to enjoy being a little naughty for once...

My Kind of Christmas by Janet Dailey
Returning to Branding Iron, Texas, is Travis Morgan’s last resort, and the abandoned ranch he inherited isn’t much more welcoming than the prison cell where he spent the last three years doing time for a tragic accident. Completely without funds or family, Travis finds celebrating Christmas is the last thing on his mind, but there’s no escaping the holiday spirit in this close-knit little town—not with Branding Iron’s longtime Santa retiring, and sweetly stubborn Mayor Maggie Delaney determined to find a replacement. When her no-nonsense façade slips to reveal the sensual, vulnerable woman beneath it, Travis realizes Maggie just might be as lonely as he is—and that this holiday season, love could be the gift that heals them both.

Bring Me Home for Christmas by Robyn Carr
This year, Becca Timm knows the number one item on her Christmas wish list—getting over Denny Cutler. Three years ago Denny broke her heart before heading off to war. It's time she got over her silly college relationship and moved on. So she takes matters into her own hands and heads up to Virgin River, the rugged little mountain town that Denny calls home, as an uninvited guest on her brother's men-only hunting weekend. But when an accident turns her impromptu visit into an extended stay, Becca finds herself stranded in Virgin River. With Denny. In very close quarters.

1225 Christmas Tree Lane by Debbie Macomber
The people of Cedar Cove know how to celebrate Christmas. Like Grace and Olivia and everyone else, Beth Morehouse expects this Christmas to be one of her best. Her small Christmas-tree farm is prospering, her daughters and her dogs are happy and well, and her new relationship with local vet Ted Reynolds is showing plenty of romantic promise.

The Christmas Brides by Linda Lael Miller
A McKettrick Christmas - Lizzie McKettrick is on a homebound train with a Christmas Eve surprise for her family—a special young man, Whitley Carson. He might seem a little too interested in the McKettrick money, but Lizzie's certain Whitley cares for her deep down. But fate has a surprise for Lizzie—Dr. Morgan Shane. When their train is stranded by a massive avalanche on Christmas Eve the handsome doctor takes charge—with Lizzie by his side. Time's running out for the passengers. But with faith, hard work and some unexpected help, it just might be a joyous McKettrick family Christmas after all…. Also included:A Creed Country Christmas!

A Chesapeake Shores Christmas by Sherryl Woods
After years apart, Mick and Megan O'Brien are finally ready to make it official…again. Most of their grown children couldn't be happier about their rekindled love and impending marriage this holiday season. Only Connor is a holdout. Driven to become a divorce attorney after what he views as his mother's abandonment of their family, Connor's not about to give his blessing to this reunion romance.

Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas
The last thing Mark Nolan needs is a six-year-old girl in his life. But he soon realizes that he will do everything he can to make her life whole again. His sister’s will gives him the instructions: There’s no other choice but you. Just start by loving her. The rest will follow. SOMETIMES, IT TAKES A LITTLE MAGIC… Maggie Collins doesn’t dare believe in love again, after losing her husband of one year. But she does believe in the magic of imagination. As the owner of a toy shop, she lives what she loves. And when she meets Holly Nolan, she sees a little girl in desperate need of a little magic.

A Christmas Bride by Susan Mallery
Pet groomer Carina Fiore wants nothing more than to confess her feelings to the man she loves. She's drawn to veterinarian Cameron McKenzie's good looks, caring nature and especially his devotion to his young daughter. There's just one problem — he's her boss. Putting her heart on the line could cost Rina both her job and their friendship forever. But when a kiss under the mistletoe unlocks the simmering passion between them, Rina and Cameron may just find love for the holidays after all. Bonus story: The Sheik and the Christmas Bride included!

Did we leave out any of your Christmas Romance favorites? If so, let us know! We'd love to hear from you in person, in the comment section, or on any of our social media pages.

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

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

November 30, 2022 - BCPL Children's Series of the Month

Looking for a quirky and fun series for young readers? This month we've got a great pick at Brooke County Libraries! We're featuring the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series this November, written by Jeff Kinney.

Filled with laugh-out-loud hilarious text and cartoons, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series follows Greg Heffley as he records the daily trials and triumphs of friendship, family life and middle school where undersized weaklings have to share the hallways with kids who are taller, meaner and already shaving! On top of all that, Greg must be careful to avoid the dreaded CHEESE TOUCH!

The first book in the series was published in 2007 and became instantly popular for its relatable humor. Today, more than 250 million copies have been sold around the world!

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series has been a permanent fixture on the USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. The series has remained on the New York Times bestseller lists since the publication of the first book, for more than 775 weeks total, and more than 350 on the series list. The books are currently available in 79 editions in 65 languages.

Since initial publication in 2007, the series has gone on to win many regional and national awards around the globe including two Children’s Choice Book Awards and six Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards for Favorite Book. Jeff Kinney was also named one of Time magazine’s most influential people in the world.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney didn’t grow up wanting to be a children’s author. His dream was to become a newspaper cartoonist but he wasn’t able to get his comic strip syndicated.
Jeff Kinney was born in 1971 in Maryland and attended the University of Maryland in the early 1990s. It was there that Jeff ran a comic strip called “Igdoof” in the campus newspaper. He knew he wanted to be a cartoonist.

However, Jeff was not successful getting his comic strip syndicated after college, and in 1998 he started writing down ideas for Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which he hoped to turn into a book. Jeff worked on the book for six years before publishing it online on funbrain.com in daily installments.

In 2006, Jeff signed a multi-book deal with publisher Harry N. Abrams, Inc. to turn Diary of a Wimpy Kid into a print series. The first Diary of a Wimpy Kid book was published in 2007 and became an instant bestseller. Just a year later, more than 100,000 copies were in print in the United States alone. With each subsequent book, in-print numbers continue to grow exponentially both in the U.S. and abroad. There are now more than 250 million copies of the series in print worldwide.

A spin-off series has been published, written from Rowley's perspective. The first installment, Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson's Journal, was released on April 9, 2019, and is a series of anecdotes about Greg and Rowley's friendship. The second, Rowley Jefferson's Awesome Friendly Adventure, is in the style of a fantasy adventure and was released on August 4, 2020. The book's original release date was April 7, 2020, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The third, Rowley Jefferson's Awesome Friendly Spooky Stories, was released on March 16, 2021.

Interested in giving this series a try? Check out the titles we have available from WV Reads!

Don't forget to check in next month, readers! We've got one more young reader spotlight to share before 2022 is over.

Are you a big fan of the Wimpy Kid adventures? Maybe you know of a similar series for middle schoolers? Let us know in the comment section below or on any of our social media pages!

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


Tuesday, November 29, 2022

November 29, 2022 - Staff Reviews

The Bedroom Experiment
By Kendall Ryan
Release Date: Feburary 11, 2020
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3 Stars - This novella was entertaining but not as much fun as it could have been. Morgan and Isla make a cute couple and they're really just getting started. This quick and mostly dirty little read makes a nice addition for fans of these lovable hockey players but is also basically a standalone.

This is a short story that's heavy on the steamy scenes and light on substance. Kendall Ryan has a way with characters and this story is no exception. Morgan and Isla's little fling feels like the tip of an iceberg. I do wish we'd gotten Isla's point of view as well. Morgan's got a bad boy vibe but he's a good guy at heart. Isla's a bit of a mystery cause she's part girl next door and part siren.

We get a few mentions and some love from Morgan's teammates, but otherwise this could have been a completely separate story. It's not obvious where the idea came to tie this in here. Although, it could have made for a great little Christmas novella. I'm not sure these two's back and forth would have filled a whole novel. Their only conflict is that as teenagers, they became step siblings. No creepy vibes though because they never lived together or anything. But I wasn't really a fan of the ending. I wasn't sure what the purpose was to spending a year completely apart and then deciding to be together. There was no indication either one of them really pined away for the other. Why didn't they just stay together after hooking up the first time? I think a few more pages or chapters would have rounded these two out more and the story would have felt more complete.


Monday, November 28, 2022

November 28, 2022 - New Arrivals

Adult Fiction

Hellburner by Mike Maden.

When Juan Cabrillo fails to capture the leader of Mexico's most dangerous drug cartel and loses an Oregon crew member in the process, he's determined to get revenge. Little does he know that the explosion he just narrowly escaped was merely the latest flash of violence from a machine of war that has existed for decades, dating from the bloodiest episode in Armenia's history. Cabrillo's Corporation of mercenaries may have finally met its match in The Pipeline--a criminal syndicate passed down from father to son across generations. A group that sits with its finger on the trigger of a torpedo so deadly it could level entire cities. With millions of innocent civilians hanging in the balance, the Oregon's crew must unravel a tangle of drug-smuggling routes and international conspiracies spanning from the Aegean Sea to the Indian Ocean, putting their lives on the line to find the weapon before its countdown hits zero.


Next in Line by Jeffrey Archer.

"London, 1988. Royal fever sweeps the nation as Britain falls in love with the "people's princess." Which means for Scotland Yard, the focus is on the elite Royalty Protection Command, and its commanding officer. Entrusted with protecting the most famous family on earth, they quite simply have to be the best. A weak link could spell disaster. Detective Chief Inspector William Warwick and his Scotland Yard squad are sent in to investigate the team. Maverick ex-undercover operative Ross Hogan is charged with a very sensitive--and unique--responsibility. But it soon becomes clear the problems in Royalty Protection are just the beginning. A renegade organization has the security of the country--and the Crown--in its sights. The only question is which target is next in line..." -- Provided by publisher.


The Girl from Guernica by Karen Robards.

On an April day in 1937, the sky opens and fire rains down upon the small Spanish town of Guernica. Seventeen-year-old Sibi and her family are caught up in the horror. Griff, an American military attaché, pulls Sibi from the wreckage, and it's only the first time he saves her life in a span of hours. When Germany claims no involvement in the attack, insisting the Spanish Republic was responsible, Griff guides Sibi to lie to Nazi officials. If she or her sisters reveal that they saw planes bearing swastikas, the gestapo will silence them--by any means necessary. As war begins to rage across Europe, Sibi joins the underground resistance, secretly exchanging information with Griff. But as the scope of Germany's ambitions becomes clear, maintaining the facade of a Nazi sympathizer becomes ever more difficult. And as Sibi is drawn deeper into a web of secrets, she must find a way to outwit an enemy that threatens to decimate her family once and for all.


Adult Non-Fiction

The Facemaker by Lindsey Fitzharris.

From the moment the first machine gun rang out over the Western Front, one thing was clear: humankind's military technology had wildly surpassed its medical capabilities. Bodies were battered, gouged, hacked, and gassed. The First World War claimed millions of lives and left millions more wounded and disfigured. In the midst of this brutality, however, there were also those who strove to alleviate suffering. The Facemaker tells the extraordinary story of such an individual: the pioneering plastic surgeon Harold Gillies, who dedicated himself to reconstructing the burned and broken faces of the injured soldiers under his care. Gillies, a Cambridge-educated New Zealander, became interested in the nascent field of plastic surgery after encountering the human wreckage on the front. Returning to Britain, he established one of the world's first hospitals dedicated entirely to facial reconstruction. There, Gillies assembled a unique group of practitioners whose task was to rebuild what had been torn apart, to re-create what had been destroyed. At a time when losing a limb made a soldier a hero, but losing a face made him a monster to a society largely intolerant of disfigurement, Gillies restored not just the faces of the wounded but also their spirits.


Coal Camps and Castor Oil by Bob Lasley & Sallie Holt.

In January of 2009, old-timers in southern West Virginia were asked to share their memories of the “good old days”. They were invited to write letters describing interesting, humorous, unusual, exciting (and even romantic) “happenings” from the past. Most of them were born prior to 1940 and the majority grew up right here in West Virginia. They were not selected from any particular group or social class, nor were they expected to have any special writing ability or talent. From their responses, 504 were chosen to be included in this book. Their stories aren’t history in the usual sense. Rather, they entertainingly describe a way of life that will never again be seen.


Easy/Juvenile/Young Adult/Graphic Novel

Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega.  J GN

Marlene loves three things: books, her cool Tía Ruby and hanging out with her best friend Camila. But according to her mother, Paola, the only thing she needs to focus on is school and "growing up." That means straightening her hair every weekend so she could have "presentable", "good hair". But Marlene hates being in the salon and doesn't understand why her curls are not considered pretty by those around her. With a few hiccups, a dash of embarrassment, and the much-needed help of Camila and Tia Ruby--she slowly starts a journey to learn to appreciate and proudly wear her curly hair.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  YA

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs. for now. Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too - post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and - shockingly, to her - interested in Hazel.

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

November 23, 2022 - Staff Reviews

A Tryst by the Sea
By Grace Burrowes
Release Date: March 1, 2022
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

3 Stars - The short novel was a bit more intense than the usual historical novella. Burrowes surprised me with the sobfest potential in this little rekindled romance tale.  Gill and Penelope are struggling to find themselves and figure out their future as they revisit their past on a lovely seaside trip.

Grace Burrowes was new to me so if she's inclined to such heart wrenching work, I was unaware. This definitely is not in the company of light and flirty historical romances but it has its own appeal. The mini saga of this long married couple was a moving drama. Gill and Penelope are still in love with each other but neither seems to realize it's mutual. There has been so much heartache in their pasts that it seems impossible to overcome. But once they face old struggles and really get to know each other again, it's all sweetness.

This one was a basis of miscommunication that's hard for me to abide. Many will say these two were young, kept apart by circumstances beyond their control. How could they know each other? But the excuses for ten years of distance and partial misery felt flimsy. Maybe this is a romance best suited to readers finding themselves at crossroads or looking back. Penelope is lovely and lonely and ready to move on. She's young but feels older than her years. Gill's been devoted to her in his heart and mind but not great at showing it. They've held themselves apart for fear of additional heartache. Facing what they've lost and learning to be brave for the chance at resuming their relationship is something they manage to do though. Gill stands his ground with his family, and Penelope figures out how to forge ahead with hope rather than resignation. It's basically a short version of a tragic little love story that shows it's never too late for a happy ending.


Tuesday, November 22, 2022

November 22, 2022 - A Book & A Recipe

Happy Thanksgiving! - A little early.

We at Brooke County Libraries are very excited to share this wonderful recipe with you just in time for holiday, hopefully. This November we are sharing the recipe for Peach-Raspberry Pie straight from Pie Hard by Kristen Weiss. It's a quirk cozy mystery from the Pie Town series.

Let's get started, shall we?

2 pre-made piecrusts at room temp.
3 pounds firm-ripe peaches (about 6 large) cut into 1 inch slices.
2 tsp lemon juice, or to taste.
2 1/2 T cornstarch, divided.
9 T sugar, divided.
1/2 tsp ground ginger.
Pinch of salt.
8 oz raspberries (approx 2 cups).


1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
2. In mixing bowl, toss in cut peaches, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of sugar.
3. Let rest for 30 minutes. Then, pour off any excess juice, reserving 1/2 cup.
4. Return the reserve juice to the bowl.
5. Add ginger, salt, and 2 T cornstarch, and toss.
6. In a separate bowl, toss the raspberries with 1 T sugar and remaining 1/2 T of cornstarch.
7. Line the pie tin with one crust and poke it with a fork 4 or 5 times.
8. Pour half the peach mixture into the crust and layer on top of it half the raspberry mixture.
9. Add the remainder of the peaches and then what's left of the raspberries.
10. Cut the second crust into strips and weave it over the pie in a lattice top.
11. Trim the edges so that 1/2 inch hangs over the pie tin and crimp.
12. Place pie into freezer for 20 minutes.
13. Remove pie from freeze and dust crust with a bit of sanding sugar. Put the pie on a cookie sheet  and bake approx. 30 minutes, until the crust is slightly brown.
14. Reduce the temp to 350 Fand bake another 45-60 minutes until the crust is deep, golden brown.
15. Cool before slicing.

What a fun, unique pie to bring for Thanksgiving! Forget the classic apple and pumpkin, mix it up with a new dessert maybe. 

Let us know how it goes too. We love to hear from our readers in the comments or on any of our social media pages.

Don't forget - check in next month for a Christmas recipe!

Intrigued by the story? Check out our ebook copy on WV Reads!

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