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Staff Reviews by Ashley Colstad

'The Last One'  by  Alexandra Oliva

"The Last One" by Alexandra Oliva

★★★★ Imagine being a contestant of a survival type of reality television show. Now imagine a world that encounters a deadly virus that wipes out much of the Earth's population the same time you become a contestant of a survival reality show. That is the exact scenario that the author of The Last One has conjured up.  The story starts out...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction

'The Travel Atlas'  by  Lonely Planet

"The Travel Atlas" by Lonely Planet

★★★★★ If you love to travel the world, you will love this book!  This travel atlas covers the entire globe, providing highlights for each country or region, along with sample itineraries to help jump start a trip. As an atlas, there are maps and pictures provided for a reference point as you go through the book. I found the book to be half...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

'Elevation'  by  Stephen King

"Elevation" by Stephen King

★★★ "Elevation" was my very first Stephen King novel due to the fact that I had heard a lot of buzz surrounding this book. In this story we meet Scott Carey, who seems to be in a predicament. He keeps losing pounds on the scale; however, his body composition never changes. It seems that no matter how much he eats or wears, Scott simply cannot stop losing...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction

'Delish: Eat Like Every Day's the Weekend'  by  Joanna Saltz, the Editors of Delish

"Delish: Eat Like Every Day's the Weekend" by Joanna Saltz, the Editors of Delish

★★★★★ Total honesty?  I judged his book by it's delicious looking cover and boy am I glad that I did!  I had never heard of the online sensation that is Delish, but will now start to follow them on social media.  Their recipes don't cater to a special diet, nor do they require special skills in the kitchen.  All of the ingredients are easy to...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

'Becoming'  by  Michelle Obama

"Becoming" by Michelle Obama

★★★★★ Would you like to learn how a little girl from the South Side of Chicago rose above her circumstances to attend Princeton, become a successful lawyer, and eventually the First Lady of the United States?  Michelle Obama did a great job writing her first book about her upbringing, who made her who she is today, and how she stays true to herself through...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Biography And Memoir

'The Greatest Love Story Ever Told: An Oral History'  by  Megan Mullally,  Nick Offerman

"The Greatest Love Story Ever Told: An Oral History" by Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman

★★★★ Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman, stars of Will and Grace and Parks and Recreation respectively, open up about their successful Hollywood relationship.  This is an opportunity to learn about Megan and Nick's upbringings, morals, what brought them together, as well as what keeps them together.  They share advice on life and love...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

'Are You Scared, Darth Vader?'  by  Adam Rex

"Are You Scared, Darth Vader?" by Adam Rex

★★★★★ Is Darth Vader scared of anything?  This fun children's book asks just this question!  Darth Vader is asked about many Halloween-related characters, such as; vampires, ghosts, witches, wolfmen, and children.  Kids will love this Halloween-themed Darth Vader story as he interacts with all of these creatures for the first time. The...

Audience: Children | Genre: Fiction

'Fitness Junkie'  by  Lucy Sykes, Jo Piazza

"Fitness Junkie" by Lucy Sykes, Jo Piazza

★★★★★ Fitness Junkie is the story of Janey Sweet and her search for a leaner body after a lifelong friend and boss told her that she could lose her job if she didn't shed 30 pounds. Janey throws herself into the ultimatum with gusto by trying all of the fad diets, strange cult-like workouts, and self-searching.  Ever hear of eating clay as a...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Contemporary Fiction

'Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering'  by  Joanna Gaines

"Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering" by Joanna Gaines

★★★★★ This is a cookbook straight out of the very real kitchen of Joanna Gaines with recipes you know that she has made many times!  I am, in general, a fan of the Gaines Family and have watched several installments of their TV show Fixer Upper.  I picked up this cookbook more out of curiosity than anything else.  These days I have found that many...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Cookbook

'My Oxford Year'  by  Julia Whelan

"My Oxford Year" by Julia Whelan

★★★ American Ella Duran has won a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University for one year.  This has been a lifelong dream of hers that she has realized at the age of 24.  In addition to being a student there, she is also a key political advisor to key candidates back in the U.S.  Her expectations of Oxford are surpassed and more as she...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Contemporary Fiction

'How To Walk Away'  by  Katherine Center

"How To Walk Away" by Katherine Center

★★★★★ Margaret Jacobsen is a normal young woman with a master's degree, a serious boyfriend, and all of a great life to look forward to. That is, until one day she and her new fiance are in a horrible accident that leaves Margaret paralyzed. In an instant her life takes a dramatic turn as her career hopes and life expectations fizzle, and all that remains is...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Contemporary Fiction

'What to Do When I'm Gone: A Mother's Wisdom to Her Daughter'  by  Suzy Hopkins,  Hallie Bateman

"What to Do When I'm Gone: A Mother's Wisdom to Her Daughter" by Suzy Hopkins, Hallie Bateman

★★★★★ No one is ever really ready to lose a loved one, and this book tries to help with that in it's own unique way.  As the title states, the author's mother provides preemptive advice on how to function in the event of her death. The advice walks her daughter through day-by-day instructions on what to do, days, even years, after her passing.  As...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

'Dear Girl'  by  Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Paris Rosenthal

"Dear Girl" by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Paris Rosenthal

★★★★★ Written like a letter from a mother to a daughter, this children's book is one of my new favorites. I would recommend anyone to read this to the young girls in their lives; daughters, granddaughters, nieces, and friends. This is the perfect story to give girls permission to be themselves, love themselves, and express themselves. The story is fun and...

Audience: Children | Genre: Fiction

'Leave Me'  by  Gayle Forman

"Leave Me" by Gayle Forman

★★★★ "Leave Me" is the debut adult novel by popular young adult author Gayle Forman. The story follows Maribeth, a woman who experiences a heart attack at a young age and how that event makes her evaluate her life and how she lives. In an instant she decides to leave her family to help herself heal. What happens after this decision, how Maribeth heals, and the...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction

'An Ember in the Ashes'  by  Sabaa Tahir

"An Ember in the Ashes" by Sabaa Tahir

★★★★ This is the story of Elias, a soldier for the Martial Empire, and Laia, a slave for the Martial Empire. Their lives are separate and lived with separate purpose until their paths cross. They begin to realize that they are much more similar than they once had thought and destiny seems to lead them to one another. As a debut novel by this newcomer to the...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, YA Fiction With Adult Appeal

'A Lowcountry Wedding'  by  Mary Alice Monroe

"A Lowcountry Wedding" by Mary Alice Monroe

★★★★ This book is another installment in the Lowcountry Summer series by Mary Alice Monroe. Much like the others in the series, we continue following the journey of three half-sisters who are not only learning to love themselves, but are also delving into love and marriage in this book. We get to read about, what I imagine to be, the beautiful and magical South...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Romance

'The Love That Split the World'  by  Emily Henry

"The Love That Split the World" by Emily Henry

★★★★★ Natalie has just graduated high school and has experienced visits throughout her childhood from a woman she calls "Grandmother" that no one else can see. Her last visit with Grandmother carries a foreboding warning about saving someone in the upcoming summer break. As Natalie tries to piece together what Grandmother's warning might mean, she starts to see...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction

'Rosie Revere, Engineer'  by  Andrea Beaty

"Rosie Revere, Engineer" by Andrea Beaty

★★★★★ Meet Rosie, the great-great-niece of the heroine Rosie the Riveter, who enjoys building different gadgets and gizmos. Rosie wants to become an engineer when she grows up! She is always trying to make new things, however when people laugh for joy at her inventions she mistakes that for people laughing at her inventions instead. Rosie wants to give up every...

Audience: Children | Genre: Fiction, Picture Book, Read-Alouds

'Baking with Mary Berry'  by  Mary Berry

"Baking with Mary Berry" by Mary Berry

★★★★★ If you have ever watched the popular British cooking show, The Great British Bakeoff, you will know the treasure that this cookbook holds! Mary Berry is a British baking superstar who has made an easy to follow cookbook that will help us all master a sponge cake or a choux pastry. For me, this cookbook has just want I would want to learn and master from...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Cookbook

'Vincent Paints His House'  by  Tedd Arnold

"Vincent Paints His House" by Tedd Arnold

★★★★★ This book transports us to Vincent's house on the day he decides to paint it. This book pays homage to the artist himself, Vincent van Gogh. As Vincent begins painting his house he encounters various animals who also live on his house that have differing opinions as to which color to paint it. Not only are all the colors of the rainbow mentioned as options...

Audience: Children | Genre: Fiction, Picture Book, Read-Alouds

'What Is Punk?'  by  Eric Morse, Anny Yi

"What Is Punk?" by Eric Morse, Anny Yi

★★★★★ Did you grow up listening to Punk music and wish to share it with your kids or reminisce about it? "What Is Punk" covers the rise of the Punk movement, the various bands associated with it, and its fashion. Experience this book in all its glory as you learn all about the Ramones to The Slits to the Descendents in a fun story that rhymes and is illustrated...

Audience: Children | Genre: Nonfiction

'Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World's Most Amazing Places'  by  National Geographic Society

"Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World's Most Amazing Places" by National Geographic Society

★★★★★ This book will give you more than enough ideas and inspirations to feed your wanderlust. National Geographic lives up to their reputation by giving you amazing destinations to visit broken down into categories of things to see around the world: nature unbound, hand of man, sea & shore, mountain majesty and town & country. As if that isn't enough,...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Travel

'A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat'  by  Emily Jenkins, Sophie Blackall

"A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat" by Emily Jenkins, Sophie Blackall

★★★★★ This is one of the best picture books that I have read in a long time! Just as the title suggests, the book follows one recipe for Blackberry Fool through different centuries and families. The recipe is generally made the same in each family, however, the technology used and family preparing the recipe are vastly different. Historically this book shows...

Audience: Children | Genre: Fiction, Picture Book, Historical Fiction

'The Great British Bake Off: Christmas'  by  Lizzie Kamenetzky

"The Great British Bake Off: Christmas" by Lizzie Kamenetzky

★★★★ Who doesn't love a Christmas cookbook? This particular Christmas cookbook comes with recipes from participants of a British reality TV cooking program. The food is somewhat different that what we are used to seeing here in the United States, however it is not too different that you would not enjoy all of the recipes. The Shepherd's Pie looks great, as well...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Cookbook, Holiday

'The Best of America's Test Kitchen 2016: The Year's Best Recipes, Equipment Reviews, and Tastings'  by  America's Test Kitchen

"The Best of America's Test Kitchen 2016: The Year's Best Recipes, Equipment Reviews, and Tastings" by America's Test Kitchen

★★★★★ Straight from the America's Test Kitchen comes their newest collection of recipes from the last year. They are known for their precise recipes, having tested each recipe a variety of ways in order to get the best possible outcome for each dish. This book does a superb job explaining why you make each dish a certain way and includes illustrations for more...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Cookbook

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