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Staff Reviews

Cover: 'The Nest That Wren Built'

"The Nest That Wren Built" by Randi Sonenshine, Anne Hunter

★★★★★ In imitation of the classic poem “The House That Jack Built” this book’s text begins: “These are the twigs, dried in the sun,/that papa collected one by one/to cradle the nest that Wren built.” The rhythmic tone continues in the text while on each page a different natural scene unfolds. More and more elements are added to the nest—even a snakeskin and...

Cover: 'The Better Liar'

"The Better Liar" by Tanen Jones

★★★★ If you are a fan of suspenseful thrillers, this debut novel by Tanen Jones is a must read!  This novel races through twists and turns, alternating between chapters told by three unreliable narrators: Leslie, Robin, and Mary.  Leslie has spent the last few years taking care of her father as he dies from cancer. After he dies,...

Cover: 'Wicked Saints'

"Wicked Saints" by Emily A. Duncan

★★★★★ When I picked up Wicked Saints I thought I knew what I was getting into, boy was I wrong. This novel follows three main characters, introduced as A Girl, A Prince, and A Monster. Full of twists and surprises, this book blew me out of the water and into someplace dark and unsettling. Set amidst a war between two neighboring countries, the...

Cover: 'Copperhead'

"Copperhead" by Alexi Zentner

★★★★ For a high school senior, Jessup Collins has a lot on his mind. He’s focused on leading his football team to state. He’s hoping to secure a collegiate scholarship that will take him far away from his hometown of Cortaca, New York. And he’s heavily weighing how the people in town will view him and his family now that his stepfather has been released from...

Cover: 'Small Spaces'

"Small Spaces" by Katherine Arden

★★★★ After the recent loss of her mom, Ollie is just trying escape into a world of books. When she stumbles upon a woman trying to throw a book into the river, she rescues it and becomes entranced by what she soon discovers is a journal that spins quite the creepy tale. On a school field trip, the haunting pages of the journal suddenly seem only too real, and...

Cover: 'Queen & Slim'

"Queen & Slim"

★★★ A forgettable first date quickly turns tragic for a black woman and her companion, a black man who kills a police officer in self-defense during a traffic stop. Rather than risk immediate arrest over the killing, the man and woman (played by Daniel Kaluuya and newcomer Jodie Turner-Smith, respectively) are forced to flee the scene and drive across the...

Cover: 'American Prison'

"American Prison" by Shane Bauer

★★★★ Investigative journalist Shane Bauer spent four months making $9 an hour as a guard at a privately-run prison in Louisiana and documented his experience - and the history of the for-profit prison industry - in this interesting book. Bauer used his real name to work at the prison but was otherwise "undercover" because no one knew he planned to write about...

Cover: 'Things You Save In a Fire'

"Things You Save In a Fire" by Katherine Center

★★★★★ This story is about an old-school firehouse in Boston that has a few issues with the new female firefighter on staff. Not only is there a new female on the C shift, but a new rookie. With budget cuts for the fire station, only one of the newbies can stay.  Who will get to keep their job - the rookie (whose dad was a fire chief, and quite...

Cover: 'Dear Girls'

"Dear Girls" by Ali Wong

★★★★ Comedian Ali Wong is perhaps best known for her Netflix comedy specials Baby Cobra and Hard Knock Wife, or for her romantic comedy Always Be My Maybe. In this hilarious, side-splitting memoir, Wong recounts her youth, getting started as a comedian, and her adventures in parenting through a series of letters addressed to her two young daughters (with the...

Cover: 'A Long Time Ago in a Cutting Room Far, far Away...'

"A Long Time Ago in a Cutting Room Far, far Away..." by Paul Hirsch

★★★★ Oscar-winning editor Paul Hirsch breaks down his career movie-by-movie, and in the process provides an inside look at an integral part of making movies, but one that seldom receives much attention. Directors, actors, score composers and even cinematographers receive praise (or criticism) for movies they make, but the editor is the one responsible...

Cover: 'Acid for the Children'

"Acid for the Children" by Flea

★★★★★ Flea, a musician and actor best known as the bassist for the rock/funk band Red Hot Chili Peppers, has written a memoir covering his early years growing up in Australia, New York City and eventually Los Angeles. His love of literature had a positive impact on Flea's own writing abilities, and his memoir is well-written, funny, sad, moving, poetic and...

Cover: 'The Music of the Deep'

"The Music of the Deep" by Elizabeth Hall

★★★★★ Alex Turner escapes from an abusive relationship by fleeing to a small town and taking on a job with a local marine biologist, who researches the orcas that pass through the area. While the locals are attached to the local group of orcas that swim through, the town is also known for being one of the most haunted towns in Washington. The more Alex stays, the...

Cover: 'Recipe for a Perfect Wife'

"Recipe for a Perfect Wife" by Karma Brown

★★★ Leaving Manhattan was never part of Alice Hale's life plan. Yet she finds herself, on the verge of 30, moving to the sleepy suburbs with her husband, Nate. Recently fired from her public relations job (though Nate thinks she left on her own accord), Alice plans to keep busy by writing her first novel, making renovations to the outdated property...

Cover: 'The Plant Based Diet for Beginners: 75 Delicious, Healthy Whole Food Recipes'

"The Plant Based Diet for Beginners: 75 Delicious, Healthy Whole Food Recipes" by Gabriel Miller

★★★★★ Looking for healthy and plant-based options for your next meal? Or are you interested in the reasons why many are choosing to eat more plant-based meals? This cookbook is packed with delicious recipes along with information on the the health, environmental, and ethical reasons to eat more plant-based meals.  It has all your favorites in it,...

Cover: 'BISH BASH BOSH!'

"BISH BASH BOSH!" by Henry Firth, Ian Theasby

★★★★★ Are you looking for plant-based recipes that are guaranteed to be absolutely delicious? Looking to impress others or provide for those in your life that eat plant-based, or have food allergies? This is a must read!  Henry Firth and Ian Theasby, the two behind the popular video channel and previous Bosh cookbook, bring yet another cookbook packed...

Cover: 'Unfollow'

"Unfollow" by Megan Phelps-Roper

★★★★ From the time she was five years old, Megan Phelps-Roper would stand alongside her parents, siblings and other members of the Westboro Baptist Church and protest various parks, government buildings and religious institutions around the city of Topeka, Kansas. As she got older, the church grew in notoriety thanks in part to its controversial picket signs,...

Cover: 'Long Bright River'

"Long Bright River" by Liz Moore

★★★★★ Born to drug-addicted parents, sisters Kacey and Mickey find themselves on very different paths in their adult lives. Mickey is a cop trying to help addicted women living on the streets, while Kacey is one of these women, willing to do anything for her next fix. This family drama traverses Kacey and Mickey's childhood, the bond they form being raised by...

Cover: 'The Dark Lord Clementine'

"The Dark Lord Clementine" by Sarah Jean Horwitz

★★★★ Being evil has never come naturally to Clementine, the daughter of the Dark Lord Elithor. Clementine, who prefers flowers and sunshine to darkness, wakes up one morning to find her father literally whittling away. Clementine needs to keep the family farm running, while her father locks himself away in his laboratory to find a cure for the curse put...

Cover: 'Saturday'

"Saturday" by Oge Mora

★★★★★ Today will be special. Today will be splendid. Today is Saturday! Ava's mother works Sunday through Friday, so their Saturdays together are precious. Saturdays are filled with fun activities the mother-daughter duo partake in together: story time at the library, visits to the salon, and picnics in the park. When Ava and her mother have a not-so-great...

Cover: 'Our House is on Fire'

"Our House is on Fire" by Jeanette Winter

★★★★★ After learning about climate change in school, Greta couldn't eat, sleep, or think about anything else. Like any good student, Greta decided to do some research. She saw polar ice caps melting, animals' habitats changing, and wildfires running rampant in documentaries and in scientific books. Greta realized the planet - our house - is on fire and that...

Cover: 'Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao'

"Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao" by Kat Zhang

★★★★★ Amy Wu is good at a lot of things, but one thing she is not good at is creating the perfect bao, a Chinese steamed bun her family loves to make and eat. Amy, along with her little white cat, are determined to master this difficult recipe. Amy helps her dad mix and knead the dough while her mom cooks the meat filling. Then, it is time to get to assemble...

Cover: 'The Lions at Night'

"The Lions at Night" by Jessica M. Boehman

★★★★★ Take an adventure through New York City in this wordless picture book!  The famous sculpted lions outside of the New York Public Library, Patience and Fortitude, take an adventure one summer evening as they leave their usual post outside the NYPL. The lions ride the subway, visit Coney Island, and more. The black and white illustrations with pops of...

Cover: 'Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA and the Secret History of the Sixties'

"Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA and the Secret History of the Sixties" by Tom O'Neill

★★★★★ Most true crime fans like a new Charles Manson book. Often, they tell the same story. Creepy-crawly. Sharon Tate. The Family. Drugs and Helter Skelter. But so often, those books have a timeless, placeless kind of quality; the crimes shrouded in a haze of smoke and lies. Meet Tom O’Neill. As a freelance journalist, he was approached in 1989 to write an...

Cover: 'The Library of the Unwritten'

"The Library of the Unwritten" by A. J. Hackwith

★★★★★ All unfinished, unwritten books are held in Hell's library in the "Unwritten" wing (a neutral place within Hell). The books are sentient and want terribly to escape to their author, to beg to be finished. It's the job of the Head Librarian to keep them contained.  This novel is refreshing, wonderfully written, and is a great read for bibliophiles...

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