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Staff Reviews by Bettina Peters

Cover: 'The Two of Us'

"The Two of Us" by Andy Jones

★★★★★ This is a love story, but not exactly a traditional one. Fisher and Ivy both work in the film industry where they meet and begin their romance. When our story opens, they have had a wild and all-consuming nineteen day fling, and both of them know without a doubt, that they have finally found "the one". What they don't know is that their new relationship and...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Calling Me Home'

"Calling Me Home" by Julie Kibler

★★★★★ Based on a family secret revealed to her, Kibler turns her grandmother’s story of forbidden love into an impossible-to-put-down, page-turner of a novel. This is the story of a journey taken by eighty-nine-year-old Isabelle McAllister and Dorrie Curtis, a single mom struggling to find her way. Dorrie has taken care of Isabelle’s hair for years, first in the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, romance

Cover: 'Gratitude'

"Gratitude" by Oliver Sacks

★★★★★ It is hard to write a review on a book this brief without spoiling the contents. What I can say is that this short collection of essays, written in the two years leading up to Dr. Sacks’ death, is deeply and beautifully human. These essays show us the depth of coming to terms with death and celebrating, with gratitude, the life that you have lived. There is...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, biography, memoir

Cover: 'My Name is Lucy Barton'

"My Name is Lucy Barton" by Elizabeth Strout

★★★★★ We all have a story, and this one is Lucy Barton’s. When a mysterious reaction to a recent surgery lands Lucy in the hospital for an extended stay, she is surprised to find her estranged mother sitting at the foot of her bed. Since Lucy married and moved to New York City years ago, she has had little contact with her family and never goes to visit. With the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Silver Bay'

"Silver Bay" by Jojo Moyes

★★★★★ Romantic, charming, and full of surprising characters, this early work from a popular author is not one to miss. Mike Dormer is climbing the ladder in a prestigious land development firm in London. He has made partner, is engaged to the boss’s daughter, and lives in luxury. His entire life appears to be perfect, that is until a land deal falls through on a...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, romance

Cover: 'Wild Eats and Adorable Treats: 40 Animal-Inspired Meals and Snacks for Kids'

"Wild Eats and Adorable Treats: 40 Animal-Inspired Meals and Snacks for Kids" by Jill Mills

★★★★★ This book totally lives up to its name; it is adorable! There are some seriously cute ways to make snacks and meals for you and your family. Adults and kids will both enjoy the recipes in this fun filled cookbook. Adults, you’ll find lots of healthy recipes and treats that you can make with your kids or for them as a surprise. Kids, you will find cool...

Audience: children | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'National Geographic Rarely Seen: Photographs of the Extraordinary'

"National Geographic Rarely Seen: Photographs of the Extraordinary" by Susan Tyler Hitchcock, Stephen Alvarez

★★★★★ This book is absolutely gorgeous! From the highest mountains to the deepest caves, National Geographic brings us images from some amazingly talented photographers. These aren’t just any photos, but images of places and events that many of us will never get the chance to see in our lifetime. Some are secluded or protected places, some are once in a lifetime...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'The Drunken Spelunker's Guide to Plato'

"The Drunken Spelunker's Guide to Plato" by Kathy Giuffre

★★★★★ I picked up this book on a whim as I have a fondness for all things cave related. What I discovered was a novel that beautifully applies Plato's Allegory of the Cave to the life of a young woman named Josie. As soon as she is able, Josie hops a bus to the first promising town as a way to escape her family and find her own way. She disembarks in Waterville,...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Girl with Ghost Eyes'

"The Girl with Ghost Eyes" by M. H. Boroson

★★★★★ San Francisco's Chinatown in the late nineteenth century is a place of contradiction; old world practices mix with American ideas. Immigrants from all over China mix together in their section of the city. Gangsters run Chinatown in an odd sort of order, using vices to raise money for good works. People work hard to survive in their new world, but a...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Japanese Lover'

"The Japanese Lover" by Isabel Allende

★★★★★ Irina Bazili, a 23-year-old immigrant from Moldova, has been drifting from job to job and town to town since she was just 15. When she applies at Lark House, a progressive residence facility for seniors, she doesn't expect to stay for long. As she gains a reputation for her hard work and dedication to the residents, she also peaks the interest of one of...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Meet Me Halfway: Milwaukee Stories'

"Meet Me Halfway: Milwaukee Stories" by Jennifer Morales

★★★★★ An intriguing look at the interconnectedness of people, this book winds together stories about individuals who are all affected in some way by one boy's tragic fate. It explores the multifaceted issues that make us human and the ways that we relate to those around us. Issues of race, age, and sexual identity are all explored in this brief collection. The...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Wildflower'

"Wildflower" by Drew Barrymore

★★★★★ I loved this book! Reading it is like sitting down with a good friend over a cup of cocoa and listening to their stories. Drew writes with such emotion and honesty that you feel like she is in the room with you. This book made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me realize what a beautiful soul she is. This book is written as a collection of stories from...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, memoir, celebrities

Cover: 'One Plus One'

"One Plus One" by Jojo Moyes

★★★★★ I'm not much for a fluffy romance, but who can resist a story about a single mom, her quirky kids, their enormous dog, and an unsuspecting stranger trapped together in a tiny car on an impromptu road trip? This story is about Jess, an eternal optimist who will do anything to give her kids the life that they deserve. Unfortunately, fate has a way of knocking...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, romance

Cover: 'Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide'

"Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide" by Nicholas D. Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn

★★★★★ This book was amazing! It brought the issue of oppression to the forefront and made doing something to combat it attainable. Women make up half of the global population and yet they still face daily oppression and adversity. While many across the globe are standing up, there is still much work to be done. From big activism like fighting for education...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, gender issues

Cover: 'The Longest Ride'

"The Longest Ride" by Nicholas Sparks

★★★★★ Two love stories, one that is three quarters of a century in the making and one that is brand new are told side by side in this beautifully written novel. When Ira is trapped in his car following an accident in a remote area, he recounts the stories of his life with his one true love, his wife Ruth. He describes their story as it unfolds decade after decade...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, romance

Cover: 'The Flying Circus'

"The Flying Circus" by Susan Crandall

★★★★★ Henry is running for his life. He is trying desperately to escape his past, his identity, and the darkness lurking in his lost memories. But escape is not so easy; disaster has been Henry's constant companion. As Henry flees from his past he encounters a rather unusual sight, a motorcycle recklessly racing an airplane across a field. When the motorcycle...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Boys in the Boat'

"The Boys in the Boat" by Daniel James Brown

★★★★★ This book is amazing! A great mix of technical explanation and the personal journey of the rowers, this is one book I couldn't put down. Throughout the book, we follow the story of Joe Rantz as he grows from a boy abandoned, to a resourceful teenager, to the young man who will struggle and do anything to make the Washington rowing team. His story will tug...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history, sports

Cover: 'The Royal We'

"The Royal We" by Heather Cocks

★★★★★ If you enjoy the drama and intrigue of royal couples, you'll love this book. Based on the world's favorite royal couple, Will and Kate, the authors have created a romance that will twist and turn and leave you wondering if their fictitious royal couple will indeed make it to the alter. Bex is a smart and sassy American studying abroad when she runs into...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, romance

Cover: 'Amherst'

"Amherst" by William Nicholson

★★★★★ Alice Dickinson, an aspiring screenwriter, has found the perfect story. Love, scandal, passion, intrigue, and art. Who could ask for more? In 1880s Amherst, Massachusetts, Austin Dickinson, a pillar of his community and brother to the famous poetess, Emily Dickinson, is stuck in a loveless marriage. There is no comfort, no passion in his life. When the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'God Help the Child'

"God Help the Child" by Toni Morrison

★★★★★ Deeply thought provoking, Morrison weaves a tale that takes us deep into the understanding that childhood shapes who we are. Bride, a beautiful, successful, vibrant young woman has it all, but is left seeking more when she cannot escape the scars of her past. Booker, the man she loves is also caught up with his own demons. Their secrets will tear them apart...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Hausfrau'

"Hausfrau" by Jill Alexander Essbaum

★★★★★ This haunting debut explores the world of an emotionally fragile housewife. Anna is an American living with her Swiss husband, Bruno, and three children in Zurich, Switzerland. Bruno works as a banker and Anna is responsible for the home and children. While she has lived in the country for 9 years, Anna has never learned the language. She has no real...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Orion and the Dark'

"Orion and the Dark" by Emma Yarlett

★★★★★ This adorable picture book is about a little boy named Orion who is afraid of everything, especially the dark! He tries and tries to find ways to not be afraid but nothing works. One night, he decides to tell the dark to go away. When the dark slips through his window and invites him to have an adventure, Orion learns that he doesn't need to be afraid with...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction, picture book, read-alouds

Cover: 'Cat & Bunny'

"Cat & Bunny" by Mary Lundquist

★★★★★ This adorable book tells the story of Cat and Bunny, two of the very best of friends. Cat and Bunny are inseparable. That is until the day that they are playing in the park and the other kids ask to join their game. Bunny says yes but Cat doesn't want to share her friend. Cat storms off and ends up alone until she meets a kitten and starts a new game....

Audience: children | Genre: fiction, easy reader, picture book

Cover: 'I Love Dogs!'

"I Love Dogs!" by Sue Stainton

★★★★★ This rollicking book is filled with the exuberant joy of a boy who loves dogs. While spending the day at the park, the boy meets every type of dog imaginable. There are dogs that are spotty, dotty, wrinkly, crinkly... and many, many more! Will this little boy ever find the perfect dog for him? I highly recommend this book for all dog-loving kids!  

Audience: children | Genre: fiction, picture book, read-alouds