February 2023

It’s February! Fall in love with one of our Staff Picks!

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Marissa – Circulation

Life and Death in Shanghai, by Nien Cheng, Biography 921 Cheng

This is an autobiography depicting the author’s experience in China during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960’s. It details her confinement, persecution, and torture under false charges of being a British spy. During her time in prison, her daughter was murdered by the same group that had arrested and imprisoned the author. Eventually, she is able to escape to the United States. I found this book incredibly interesting and equally terrifying to read. It was interesting to learn about another country’s history, especially from an individual’s perspective and experience, but terrifying to read all the difficulties that the author endured and realize that this actually happened.

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Cathy – Circulation

Unforgotten, starring Sanjeev Bhaskar, Nicola Walker, and Jordan Long, TV Series DVD Unforgotten

Four seasons of great British mysteries. Interesting characters with excellent development. If you like mysteries and British scenery, this is the show for you! As each episode unfolds, they link seemingly unrelated characters to the main theme of the mystery. It kept me guessing – the show is not a traditional police procedural drama, it is way more evolved. The ending is one of the best I’ve ever watched. Have a tissue handy!

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Karen – Reference

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Fiction Reid

Sometimes the lives of others aren’t as glossy as they appear. Evelyn Hugo is a glamorous actress and producer, and lives her life in the tabloids of the early 50’s Hollywood. She rises to fame due to her looks, her love life, and her acting abilities. Was it all worth it? Would she do it all again? Does she have regrets? And which of her husbands was the love of her life? These are all answered within the book, along with the themes that our lives are what we make them and family is how we define it.

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Laura – Circulation

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Fiction Reid, also available as an audiobook on Libby

I listened to this audiobook, and the narration was fantastic. I binged it in less than a week….I imagine the book is hard to put down as well! Evelyn Hugo is an aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life…and she chooses a virtual nobody to write her story. Magazine reporter Monique Grant jumps at the opportunity to write Evelyn’s story, even though she has no idea why Evelyn would possibly choose her. Whether you love Evelyn or hate her, you can’t help but become enamored with her larger than life character as you hear her story unfold.

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The Violin Conspiracy, by Brendan Slocumb, Fiction Slocumb

As a kid, young Rayquan has a dream to become a world class violinist. His mother is….less than supportive. But his grandma shows him love and support, and gifts him his PopPop’s old fiddle. Then in college, he discovers his beat-up family fiddle is actually a priceless Stradivarius worth $10,000,000. Ray and his violin take the world by storm, until the violin is stolen for a five million dollar ransom. As Ray preps for the biggest competition in the world, he must also try to find his most prized possession. While I did finish up the book in a few short days, I solved the mystery half way through the book. 

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Michelle – Administration

Fairy Tale, by Stephen King, New Fiction King

I can’t say enough good things about this book – I LOVED it! I didn’t want it to end. King created a fairy tale in a way that only he can. The story follows Charlie, a 17-year-old boy whose life changes forever when he hears the cries of a dog calling for help for his fallen owner. That simple act of kindness leads Charlie on a grand adventure to a world full of the fairy tale archetypes we have known since childhood. While this is a fairly long book, I just could not put it down. I needed to know what happened next. I have long been a fan of the way King creates a whole world for the reader while keeping the story moving along at a brisk pace and this book is no different.

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Spare, by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, New Biography 921 Harry, also available as an ebook and audiobook on Libby

Like a lot of people, I have always been intrigued by the Royal Family and was excited to dive into a real behind-the-curtain look. Prince Harry’s side of the story is quite different from the story presented by the press or even by the family as a whole. He debunks so many of the themes that we have been led to believe over of the years. He shares quite a few personal stories and while he has had a number of difficult events in his life, he presents his story with humor and does not devolve into self-pity. He also shares some truly funny stories. I listened to the audiobook, read by the author, and to hear him tell his own stories gave it a more personal feeling. I would recommend this audiobook to anyone with any interest in the Royal Family or in stories of military service. It was certainly eye-opening.

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Paula – Circulation

Don’t Worry Darling, starring Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, and Olivia Wilde, New DVD Don’t Worry Darling

Alice and Jack live the perfect lives in their perfect 1950s experimental town. All of the husbands leave in the morning at the same time for their secret job that’s supposed to make a difference for the town, while the wives stay home and do the housework, enjoying the luxuries their lives have to offer. Alice doesn’t have any reason to question her perfect life, but when one of the wives starts making accusations, she starts to have her doubts. What are the men really doing when they go to work? Why do all of the residents share similar experiences and memories from their pasts? Alice makes it her mission to convince her husband and the rest of the town that something dark is going on and nothing is as it seems. I enjoyed this movie a lot more than I thought I would. The acting is phenomenal, as are Florence Pugh and Harry Styles because they naturally are. The ending is a great plot twist that I did not see coming. And, well, it’s Harry Styles, so you should just watch it anyway.

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Hubbell – Circulation

Take Me Out to the Ballgame: A History of Baseball in America, from The Modern Scholar series, Lecture CD 796.357 SHU

Pitchers and catchers report soon! This Great Courses lecture chronicles America’s true national sport from its inception (no, not Abner Doubleday) to the present. Baseball was so intertwined with American public life for more than 100 years until it ceded popularity to American football over the last 30 years or so. This lecture from Kenyon College professor Timothy Shutt covers the origins of the sport, the beginnings of the professional era, the Negro Leagues, integration, and the heydays of the 50’s and 60’s. You can almost smell the grass and hear the buzz of the crowd.

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Nancy – Reference

Less and Less is Lost, by Andrew Sean Greer, Fiction Greer and New Fiction Greer

Less, by Andrew Sean Greer, has received numerous starred reviews and awards, including the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. I loved it when I first read it five years ago and still smile every time I see it on the shelf. The protagonist, Arthur Less, embarks on an escapist trip around the world and lands in unbelievably hilarious situations. 

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In the sequel, Less is Lost, Arthur Less is on the move yet again. This time, his adventurous spirit takes him across the United States. If you’re looking for a romantic comedy with a quirky, loveable character, give Arthur Less a try.

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Forget My Name, by Zerocalcare, New Adult Graphic Novel Zerocalcare (Graphic) 

Zerocalcare, an Italian cartoonist, created an unforgettable character of the same name with great eyebrows and an armadillo for a conscience. In Forget My Name, Zerocalcare suffers the loss of a loved one. As he struggles to deal with his emotions, he explores his relationships with the help of his armadillo. Zerocalcare sprinkles this heavy topic with humorous anecdotes, much like the wildly entertaining Netflix series Tear Along the Dotted Line. I’ve read the book and watched the Netflix series twice. Love the eyebrows!

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Jean – Reference

Meredith, Alone, by Claire Alexander, New Fiction Alexander

So what if Meredith hasn’t left her house in over 1,000 days? Her home is her safe haven and in today’s world, she can order in anything she needs. She has a good job and good friends who regularly visit, so really, what’s the problem? But when Tom McDermott from a befriending charity shows up at her doorstep, and not long after, her estranged sister shows up, the tightly controlled environment she has created to help her feel safe begins to fray. With the help of good friends, Meredith begins to confront the traumatic memories of the past that have kept her walled off from the world at large. With a moving storyline and a cast of interesting characters that will leave you thinking about them when you put the book down, this is a feel-good story not to be missed!

 

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January 2023

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It’s January! Spend the new year with one of our Staff Picks!

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Marissa – Circulation

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries series, starring Essie Davis, Nathan Page, and Hugo Johnstone-Burt, TV Series DVD Miss Fisher’s…

This series follows a strong, independent female character in the 1920’s named Phryne Fisher, who fashionably moonlights as a private detective in Melbourne, Australia. The mysteries are incredibly intriguing and captivating, and include the classic components of blackmail; twists and turns; numerous, viable suspects; and the obvious, murder, all while incorporating issues of the 1920’s. The crimes occur at a multitude of locations such as a dance hall, the docks, a clothing factory, and the circus.

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Ms. Fisher’s Modern Mysteries series, starring Geraldine Hakewill, Catherine McClements, and Joel Jackson, TV Series DVD Ms. Fisher’s…

While this series is a sequel to Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, it can easily be watched as a standalone show. Similar to the original, it features a strong, independent female character solving crime as fashionably as possible. However, in this sequel, Peregrine Fisher, Phryne’s niece, is supported by the “Adventuresses’ Club” during the era of the 1960’s. The mysteries are quite unique and clever involving a dog show, pigeon racing, a bowling alley, and a culinary school.

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Chris – Technical Services

Murdoch Mysteries Season 15, starring Yannick Bisson, Helene Joy, and Thomas Craig, New TV Series DVD Murdoch Mysteries Season 15

The 15th season of Murdoch’s Mysteries is out and it is still going strong. If someone is looking for a great series to get them through the winter, start watching!!

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The Greatest Beer Run Ever, A Memoir of Friendship, Loyalty, and War, by John Donohue, Nonfiction 959.7043 DON

Epic adventure set in 1967 Vietnam based on a true story and is now a motion picture with Zac Efron and Russell Crowe. A must-see!

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Faces of America, by Henry Louis Gates Jr., Nonfiction DVD 929.2 Faces…

This documentary is by Henry Louis Gates Jr. of Finding Your Roots fame. He illustrates the history of the American experience in a four part series.

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Jean – Reference

Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting, by Clare Pooley, Fiction Pooley

Like the author’s previous book, The Authenticity Project, this story is set in London and revolves around several quirky characters who ride the same train line to and from work each day without interacting (which is Iona’s Rule #1: Nobody ever talks to strangers). That is, until an incident forces them to, and before you know it, their lives become entwined and the rules go out the window. A heartwarming, feel-good read that shows that if you open yourself up to unknown possibilities, sometimes you may just be pleasantly surprised.

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Paula – Circulation

Paper Girls, by Brian K. Vaughan, Graphic Novel YA Vaughan (Graphic)

This sci-fi adventure graphic novel series is perfect for fans of Stranger Things. In 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls wake up to go on their normal morning delivery route. Seemingly out of nowhere, they are thrown into an epic battle between time-travelers from the future. Utterly confused as to what is going on, the girls band together as they are thrust through multiple different time periods in the past and in the future. I really enjoyed reading this series. There is so much nostalgia from the 80s, 90s, and 2000s. The relationships between the girls definitely have the same feel to them as the ones between the kids from Stranger Things. Full of humor and witty comments, Paper Girls is a great series focusing on the end of childhood and what we choose to do with our futures.

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Michelle – Administration

Home for Christmas, by Courtney Cole, New Audiobook CD Cole, also available as an ebook on Libby/OverDrive

If you are looking to hold on to the holiday season just a little longer, I highly recommend this book. Courtney Cole has created an engaging and moving story that I could not put down. The story focuses on Piper, who is dealing with the recent death of the grandmother who raised her. She is trying to uncover her future path when she gets lost in an Alaskan snowstorm and wakes up in the 1940s where she comes face to face with her young grandmother. The story is full of love, family, romance, and a mischievous reindeer calf.

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December 2022

It’s December! Enjoy the holidays with one of our Staff Picks!

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Laura – Circulation

The Holiday, starring Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, and Jack Black, DVD Holiday

Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz star in this romantic comedy. Each woman has had relationships that have gone wrong, and each decides they need a break. They decide to do a house swap over the holidays, spending two weeks in the other person’s home, which just happens to be in another country!  As they adjust to the culture shock, each woman finds themselves….you guessed it! In a relationship with a local. How does this happen in just two weeks? What will they decide to do when they need to leave their house swap? You’ll have to watch to find out. Cute and quirky, I love this movie and watch it every couple of years during the holidays.

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The Noel Letters, by Richard Paul Evans, Fiction Evans

I usually like anything written by Richard Paul Evans. He is easy to read and I love the warmth and charm that his books offer. This book is no exception. After nearly two decades, Noel returns to her childhood home in Salt Lake City to see her estranged, dying father. She had believed this would be a brief stay, but it turns into so much more as she inherits the bookstore her father fought to keep alive. Reeling from loneliness, a recent divorce, and unanticipated upheavals in her world, Noel begins receiving letters from an anonymous source, each one containing thoughts and lessons about her life and her future. She begins to reacquaint herself with the bookstore and the people she left behind, and in doing so, starts to unravel the reality of her painful childhood and the truth about her family. As the holidays draw near, she receives a Christmastime revelation that changes not only how she sees the past but also how she views her future.

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Marissa – Circulation

Christmas Cupcake Murder, by Joanne Fluke, Fiction Fluke

This book is part of the Hannah Swensen mysteries series but can easily be read as a standalone book. I’m a huge fan of cozy mysteries, and this particular series is my favorite in the genre with relatable characters and tasty recipes. In this particular book, bakery owner, Hannah Swensen, helps out a man who has lost his memory after being nearly killed. The recipes in this book include White Chocolate Eggnog Cupcakes and Holiday Cheer Cherry Cupcakes among many other holiday themed desserts.

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Arthur Christmas, starring James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent, and Bill Nighy, J DVD Arthur Christmas

This is one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies. It’s a battle between generations of Santas (Grandsanta, Santa, and potential Santa-to-be) all trying to deliver a toy that was forgotten to a little girl while proving that their method (old school vs. new school) is the best. Needless to say, as they race against the clock to make the delivery before Christmas morning, countless things go wrong in the delivery process, threatening to ruin the magic of Christmas.

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Michelle – Administration

Moose Springs, Alaska series, by Sarah Morgenthaler, available as ebooks on OverDrive/Libby

I recently stumbled upon this series and enjoyed the easy, light, romantic stories that all take place in Moose Springs, Alaska. Technically, only the second book in the series is a Christmas story (that features a decoration destroying moose nicknamed the Santa Moose), but all three books in the series so far conjure very chilly, winter feelings. This series focuses on a group of quirky friends who live in a small town in Alaska that caters to the ultra-wealthy due to the large resort located in town. The relations between the locals and the tourists provides much of the tension and the humor. This series is great for those looking for something outside the traditional Christmas romance stories.

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Melissa – Technical Services

James Taylor at Christmas, by James Taylor, CD 781.72 Taylor

This review is a two-fer. James Taylor’s album is mellow, warm, and soft; everything that Christmas (& Christmas music) should be. His renditions are both rich and relaxed, and my personal favorite song is featured in the aforementioned movie.

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The Holiday, starring Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, and Jack Black, DVD Holiday

The Holiday is cozy and adorable, and features two main characters and two romantic interests: Jack Black and Jude Law. Truly, this is the movie that allowed me to see Jude Law’s appeal. He’s lovely. And Jack Black? Just as great. He doesn’t usually do romantic roles, but should do more because he is charming. One setting is a quaint English cottage, and with James Taylor in the background, a fire in the hearth, and a bespectacled Jude Law at your door, there will NEVER be a better Christmas.

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Love Actually, starring every UK actor ever, DVD Love Actually

Love Actually features an ensemble British cast. It’s one of the top rom coms OF ALL TIME. It runs several different storylines, and each one is relatable. It’s cute and lovely, and if for some ungodly reason you have gone the last twenty years without seeing this film, I genuinely feel sorry for you.

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Paula – Circulation

White Christmas, starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Cloony, and Vera Ellen, DVD White…

White Christmas is a classic holiday movie that everyone can enjoy. Starring the father of Christmas himself, it’s the movie Bing Crosby is probably most known for. His team-up with the hilarious Danny Kaye, crooner Rosemary Cloony, and dancer Vera Ellen to help save their former general’s country inn by putting on a Christmas show is a comedy of errors full of laughs and romance. And who doesn’t love the iconic soundtrack from the film? Everyone knows the “Sisters” duet, the call-back to the army days in “Gee, I Wish I was Back in the Army,” and the title track itself, “White Christmas.” It’s a cozy, feel-good movie that everyone needs to see at least once in their life.

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Evergreen, by Pentatonix, CD 781.72 Pentatonix

Evergreen is Pentatonix’s sixth Christmas album. SIXTH. And that’s not even the last one. Their seventh Christmas album just came out this fall. If anyone loves Christmas, it’s Pentatonix. Once again they put together a wonderful collection of Christmas and other holiday/winter related songs that will leave you playing the album on repeat. From the upbeat “I Saw Three Ships” that will surely be stuck in your head, to the beautiful and emotional “River” and “Evergreen” that will leave you teary eyed, to the banger that is “Over the River” with violinist Lindsey Stirling, this album is a must-listen for the holiday season.

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Katie – Circulation

Tiny Reindeer, by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros, Picture Book JE Naylor-Ballesteros

A new holiday favorite for your kiddos! This beautifully illustrated book follows the ups and downs of a diminutive reindeer who is sure his size will keep him from being of any help or fulfilling his Christmas purpose. But when he focuses on helping others, he finds he had a very important role to play after all.

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Margaux – Youth Services

Twelve Dinging Doorbells, by Tameka Fryer Brown, New Picture Book JE Brown

A lively family dinner starts when family members begin ringing the doorbell, each bringing a different dish and personality trait. Throughout the story, as more and more family arrives, everyone becomes increasingly annoyed with their loved ones. Now listen, I come from a very large family and I can tell you that every family get-together I’ve had resembles this bunch after a few hours, uncensored conversations, and arguments about who was supposed to bring the sweet potatoes. This could stand up for Thanksgiving or any December holiday. If you can get through it without humming the tune of “The 12 Days of Christmas,” you’ve got more will power than I do.

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Amari and the Night Brothers, by B.B. Alston, Caudill Awards J Alston #1

I’ve known for a while that I needed to read this one because it’s a Rebecca Caudill Award Nominee. I was so pleasantly surprised to discover that it’s a high fantasy middle grade book with an actual diverse cast. Amari Peters’ brother Quinton used to be the golden boy of their low-income neighborhood. Six months ago, that all changed when he went missing and became just another faceless missing black kid. Keeping hope alive with Amari is their mother, who just wants Amari to succeed in school and get out of their neighborhood. When Amari receives a message from Quinton with strange instructions, she’s shocked to say the least. She soon finds herself at a summer camp for paranormal investigations, masquerading as a fancy hotel. Now on top of trying to find out what happened to Quinton, Amari must navigate a confusing social realm she’s just now finding out about while trying to learn how to fight paranormal crime. I really had fun reading this book, and am already on the second which came out earlier this year. Yes, I know that Riordan and Rowling both did fantasy boarding school stories, but I suggest adding Alston to that list of names. He brings a whole new dimension to the fantasy realm with this series opener set in the South. 

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November 2022

It’s November! Give some thanks and enjoy our Staff Picks!

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Paula – Circulation

Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch, Fiction Crouch

Y’all, this book was trippy. It definitely put the “thrill” in thriller. Jason is just a normal dude with a wife and son that he loves more than anything. He is content with his job as a college physics professor and the life he has made with his family. One day, that all goes away. On his walk home one night, he is kidnapped at gunpoint and forced to drive to an abandoned warehouse, where he is knocked unconscious. When he wakes up, he is in a completely different world. He’s not married, never had a kid, and is an award winning scientist on the brink of a major discovery. Jason then embarks on a journey to return to his real home, if that is even possible. He gets lost in his own mind, not being able to remember what is real and what is a dream, if it’s even a dream at all. How can he cope with this new reality if he can’t get back home? I was not expecting to love this book as much as I did. I felt for Jason and had so much anxiety throughout the whole book, even though I’ve obviously never experienced something like this. It does get very science-y at some points, which can be confusing, but it’s not completely necessary to understand to enjoy the book. It’s a heart-pounding thriller that will leave you questioning the decisions you’ve made in your own life.

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Laura – Circulation

The Codebreaker’s Secret, by Sara Ackerman, New Fiction Ackerman

I love WWII historical fiction, and this book is at the top of my list. Full of romance and mystery, I was captivated from the beginning. In 1943, Isabel is a young female codebreaker, brilliant at her craft. Assigned to Pearl Harbor, she dreams of avenging her brother’s death. She meets her brother’s best friend, and with him she learns the details of the last years of her brother’s life. In 1965, Lu Frietas is a journalist assigned to cover a story about Rockefeller’s newest hotel. She makes a bond with a photographer also assigned to the story, and together they break an amazing story and find connections in the past. Weaving between two time periods, you are pulled into this story of intrigue.

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Marissa – Circulation

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, by Agatha Christie, Fiction Christie

Roger Ackroyd is found murdered in his study shortly after discovering the identity of the person blackmailing his fiancé, who committed suicide. For Agatha Christie fans, this is a must read since it is considered to have significantly influenced the crime/mystery fiction genre. Besides including her famous detective, Hercule Poirot, this story is full of dead ends, red herrings, and a surprising reveal of the killer.

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Schoolhouse Rock!, by the American Broadcasting Company, J DVD 371.33 SCH

I am a huge fan of musicals and was definitely that kid who actually liked school. I remember loving Schoolhouse Rock because it made things fun and easy to learn. Subjects that I already liked (grammar), I loved more, and subjects that I didn’t like (history), I actually enjoyed for the first time. I still remember many of the songs today such as “I’m Just a Bill,” “American Melting Pot,” “Conjunction Junction,” and “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here.”

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Melissa – Technical Services

The Maid, by Nita Prose, Fiction Prose, also available as an audiobook on OverDrive/Libby

Molly. Molly the Maid. She’s quirky and endearing, and almost definitely on the spectrum. She is meticulous in her cleaning and also in following through on ethical and polite behavior. And now she has found one of the wealthy hotel guests dead. Dead in his bed. She becomes the prime suspect and endeavors to clear her name. This book (and Molly herself) was just so warm and adorable. I listened to the audiobook version, and highly recommend that as some of the quirky behavior was performed way better than I would have done so by reading. Five cozy stars.

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Margaux – Youth Services

I’m Glad My Mom Died, by Jennette McCurdy, New Nonfiction 921 MCCURDY, J.

I realize this book doesn’t need any more hype or press. McCurdy really ran the book-hype-circuit before publication. However, I still have to say that my favorite read of October was IGMMD. I vividly remember my younger brothers (now in their early 20’s) watching iCarly, the show that gave McCurdy her big start. So hearing about her trauma, from her perspective, that she was subjected to as a result of being a child actress was really unsettling for me. I benefitted from her work because it got my brothers out of my hair for just a little while, and yet all that time she was being put through the ringer at home with her mother. She also touches on her upbringing in the Mormon faith, and there is a trigger warning for substance abuse and sexual abuse.

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School of Rock, starring Jack Black, Joan Cusack, and Miranda Cosgrove, DVD School

Let’s lighten things up a bit, shall we? I re-watched this classic recently, and thought to myself “Yep. It’s still a great movie.” Dewey Finn (aka Jack Black aka Nedd Schniebly) is a washed up musician that takes advantage of his roommate’s substitute teaching job to make a little extra cash. Chaos ensues. Note especially the scene where Dewey tells the kids all about the song they’ll be performing for their school project, “Legend of the Rent.” It’s recently gone viral on TikTok.

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Hubbell – Circulation

Sound of Metal, starring Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, and Paul Raci, New DVD Sound of Metal

Riz Ahmed (The Night Of, Venom, Nightcrawler) plays Ruben, who is a drummer in a metal band with his girlfriend. His most valuable asset is his musical ear, something used and damaged over his years as a musician. Ruben begins to lose his hearing and has to reinvent himself in the deaf community. What’s special about this film is also its sound design, which does a great job of showing Ruben’s gradual loss as first an annoyance and then a life-changing physical attribute. Ahmed is incredible and you buy in immediately to his rough and tumble musician personality turned a vulnerable new self.

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October 2022

It’s October! Check out our Special Edition Spooky Staff Picks for some good tricks and treats!

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Paula – Circulation

The Box in the Woods, by Maureen Johnson, Young Adult Fiction YA Johnson

Here I am again with another Maureen Johnson mystery. The Box in the Woods is the fourth book in the Truly Devious series, but almost acts as a stand-alone novel. Stevie, now somewhat famous for her work on the unsolved Ellingham Murder case, is just trying to find a way to enjoy her summer break without her friends. Working a crappy job at the local grocery store, Stevie desperately needs something to keep her entertained. An opportunity arises when a summer camp director contacts her about digging into unsolved murders that happened at the camp decades ago. As soon as she hears the word “murder,” Stevie gathers up her friends and heads to work at the camp for the summer. The famous “Box in the Woods” case involved four camp counselors who were murdered in the woods, but no one was ever able to find the murderer. Stevie comes closer and closer to solving the case, but if she’s not careful, she could be the next victim to be murdered in the woods. This might be my favorite book in the series so far. The mystery itself is creepy and chilling, and it’s perfect for the spooky season. The summer camp location is a very typical horror setting, but in a good way. And my boy Nate continues to grace us with his hilarious one-liners. It’s a great read for horror and true crime fans alike.

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Hocus Pocus, starring Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker, J DVD Hocus Pocus

With all the hype for the second movie coming out soon, I had to put this one in here. I think everyone can agree that Hocus Pocus is a Halloween classic full of 90’s nostalgia, even if the movie itself isn’t super great with all of the bad acting and cheesy dialogue. Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker are the unforgettable Sanderson sisters, back from the dead to steal your children and suck the youth from them to keep the witches young and beautiful. They are brought back by Max, the new kid in town, who stupidly lights the black flame candle in order to impress a girl. Max’s younger sister Dani then becomes a target for the Sanderson sisters, but they only have until dawn to steal the youth of children and complete the spell. Max, along with the help of a talking cat named Thackery Binx, must find a way to stop the Sanderson sisters before it’s too late. Like I said, the acting is pretty bad (it really emphasizes the 90’s cheese), but it is a fun Halloween movie for people of all ages to enjoy.

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Andrea – Technical Services

Silent Night, starring Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, and Lily-Rose Depp, DVD Silent Night

Silent Night is a 2021 apocalyptic Christmas comedy film written and directed by Camille Griffin. A chilling tale takes place on Christmas Eve where a motley gathering of family and friends at a posh English country estate celebrate their last hurrah as they await a giant, toxic cloud that is sweeping the globe. Governments around the world have distributed suicide pills to circumvent having to experience a gruesome death. The ways in which the characters face their fates make for a profoundly disturbing and thought-provoking movie.

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Hubbell – Circulation

The Black Death: The World’s Most Devastating Plague, by The Great Courses, LECTURE-DVD 940.192 ARM

I watched this Great Courses Lecture in the midst of the COVID pandemic’s early days. Whether it was morbid curiosity or just boredom, I learned a lot. Was the Black Death a virus or a bacterium, or was it even the same disease that lasted for decades? (Yes, decades; imagine that.) Did you know that the plague still tormented most of the world into the 17th century? Other parallels to our time are there too. The historical backdrop of the Black Death is so similar to ours with COVID. The world was becoming more interconnected due to intercontinental trade and the rise of long range ships. This was the first true global pandemic.

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Nikki – Youth Services

Deep Storm, by Lincoln Child, Fiction Child

The first book in a series revolving around “enigmalogist” Dr. Jeremy Logan (that doesn’t feature much of the good doctor, but whatever, that’s the author’s choice), Deep Storm combines all of the mystery and danger of the depths of the ocean (it’s primarily set 12,000 below the surface) and the hint of magic with the potential discovery of Atlantis, which is what sold me on the book in the first place. Child doesn’t really focus on Jeremy Logan until book two, however, which is where we actually figure out what “enigmalogist” is supposed to mean. In short, Logan studies the impossible, the unexplainable—ghosts, the Loch Ness Monster, aliens, and the like. It’s a thoughtful, fascinating read, but definitely a mystery that requires your full attention.

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Louisiana Longshot (Miss Fortune Mysteries #1), by Jana DeLeon, available as an ebook through Overdive/Libby

I have been slamming through this series lately. It’s your classic cozy mystery—meddlesome little old ladies, handsome deputy who has no patience for people involving themselves in police business (no matter how pretty they might be), and an undercover CIA assassin trying not to blow her cover. Fortune Redding, after a series of unfortunate events involving a Prada stiletto through someone’s heart and a dangerous leak in the CIA, gets sent undercover to a tiny little bayou town called Sinful, Louisiana until the international arms dealer trying to kill her is caught. Naturally, ten minutes after coming to town, her newly inherited dog digs up a human bone in her backyard, setting of a series of ridiculous, dangerous events. DeLeon is masterful at weaving mysteries together, and the chaotic humor she throws in is just icing on the cake!

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Mortal Kombat, starring Lewis Tan, Tadanobu Asano, and Hiroyuki Sanada, New DVD Mortal Kombat

Listen. Listen. I know the original movies were bad in like, every way, and that some would argue this movie isn’t much better (even though it automatically is because they didn’t cast a white man as Raiden) (yes I have opinions about the 90’s Mortal Kombat movies), the cinematography alone makes the 2021 movie worth watching, and the way Lewis Tan portrayed Cole Young’s growth was fantastic. Yes, there were some deeply cringey pieces of dialogue—stolen almost verbatim from the video games, I might add—but that doesn’t change the fact that lovers of the video games will NOT be disappointed with this movie. The fight scenes are also very reminiscent of the video game backgrounds, and I appreciate that the producers and director added those touches. It was definitely set up as the first in a series, though, because there are so many more characters from the video games that haven’t been introduced yet—in fact, they end the movie as they begin the search for Johnny Cage. I just hope they make the sequel they planned for—we need a halfway decent Mortal Kombat series so we can forget about the terrible 90s ones.

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Laura – Circulation

Dirty John, starring Connie Britton, Eric Bana, and Julia Garner, TV Series DVD Dirty John Season 1

This series is based on the true story of Debra Newell and John Meehan. Debra was unlucky in love and had four failed marriages. Meehan seemed to be a dream come true, but was a con artist with a violent temper and criminal history. There seemed to be early signs of trouble, but Debra shrugged them off even as her children’s suspicions grew deeper. This series will have hooked from the first episode!

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Margaux – Youth Services

The Black Phone, starring Ethan Hawke, Mason Thames, and Jeremy Davies, New DVD Black Phone

From the concept to the actual movie poster, this is one creepy film. Ethan Hawke (always the good guy, never the villain) plays “the Grabber,” a mysterious boogeyman who’s been terrorizing a Denver suburb in the 1970’s. We follow one 13-year-old boy as he first sees other boys get kidnapped, and is then kidnapped himself. The Grabber puts him in a basement where the boy starts encountering the Grabber’s past victims. The concept of this movie already has me on edge, and then the execution had me super creeped out. I thought they really hit one out of the park with the casting on this one. Mason Thomas plays Finney, the kidnapped child, and there’s a lot of conflict going on between needing to survive, being skeptical about talking to ghosts, and trusting that he can trust his own instincts on things. I’ve been recommending this movie to everyone lately, so if it’s not on-shelf, make sure you place it on hold!

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Marissa – Circulation

Haunted Hibiscus, by Laura Childs, Fiction Childs

This book is part of the Tea Shop Mystery Series but can easily be read as a standalone book. It takes place in Charleston, South Carolina and follows teashop owner Theodosia Browning as she inevitably gets roped into investigating the most recent mystery. In this particular book, it is Halloween time in Charleston, and the Heritage Society is hosting a literary and historical themed haunted house in an old mansion known as the Gray Ghost. During opening night, someone is hung out of a third-story window, and of course, Theodosia is involved in finding out who done it.

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Jean – Reference

Hide, by Kiersten White, New Fiction White

A creepy thriller about a contest where several (desperate) contestants are brought to an abandoned theme park, and the only rule for winning the grand prize is to hide and be the last one found.  Mack, who’s entire family was killed at home while she hid as a young child, is sure she can win this contest hands down.  And since social services is at their wits end with her, she can certainly use the prize money.  However, in the creepy, broken, overgrown amusement park, Mack begins to realize that the organizers of the contest have also disappeared, and she no longer knows who to trust. Who is the hunter? And what is the point of this game? And lastly, can she hide well enough again to survive one more time?

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Michelle – Administration

The Outsider, by Stephen King, Fiction King

I am not a fan of horror, but Stephen King has been my one exception since I was a kid. That being said, The Outsider gave me nightmares and I still couldn’t put it down. As usual, King creates characters that you root for and who you spend the whole novel trying to unravel and understand. The story begins with the murder of an 11-year-old boy and follows the investigation into the identity of the true killer. This book was made into a miniseries on HBO a few years ago (which you can also check out at the Library), but I have yet to build up the nerve to watch it! I have not read every King novel, but I have yet to be disappointed by any that I have picked up. He is the perfect author for the spooky season!

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Katie – Circulation

Thunderhead, by Doulas Preston and Lincoln Child, Fiction Preston

Dr. Nora Kelly, trying to recover from the loss of her husband, embarks on an archeological expedition to a remote area of Utah in hopes of finding a famous lost Anasazi city. Following clues left to her in a letter from her father who went missing sixteen years ago while looking for the city, Nora must contend with a maze of dangerous and confusing canyons, the risk of flash flooding, and something darker and more sinister that seems to be hunting her group. A fascinating tale woven of myth and historical fact that will keep you looking over your shoulder in the dark. Perfect for spooky season. And if you want to read more about Nora and who her lost husband is, start with the equally spine chilling RELIC, Reliquary, and so on, also by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.

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Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power, by Pam Grossman, available as an audiobook on OverDrive/Libby

Equal parts historical and spiritual, Pam Grossman takes the reader on a journey through the history of witches, the myths, the legends, and the facts behind them. Drawing on her own experience with witchcraft as a spiritual path, with humor and scholarship, she also details the modern rise and return to witchcraft in the current day.  She also draws interesting parallels between witchcraft as a reaction to the stripping of bodily autonomy, feminism, the “Me-Too” movement, and the way any group working for women’s empowerment tend to be vilified and label such groups as Witches by the patriarchy.

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Poultrygeist, by Eric Geron, Holiday Picture Book JE Geron

A cute children’s picture book involving an unlucky chicken who doesn’t want to haunt anyone. With a plethora of fun puns, the chicken is able to stand up to bullying peer pressure from the other road kill ghouls and choose to spend the afterlife on her own terms! I really like the color scheme, with lovely rainbows on dark black and gray backgrounds.

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Chris – Technical Services

Wait Until Dark, starring Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin, and Richard Crenna, DVD Wait

The original Wait Until Dark is a 1967 release and involves Audrey Hepburn as a young blind woman pursued by violent drug thieves. A cat-and-mouse chase where the mouse is craftier than the cat.

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The Bone Collector, by Jeffrey Deaver, Fiction Deaver

The Bone Collector is a modern day detective story (and a movie starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie) with the detective stalking a killer and trying to stay one step ahead. I like the fast moving, chilling, cat & mouse game (and I did not figure it out until near the end).

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September 2022

It’s September! Get ready for Fall with one of our Staff Picks!

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Paula – Circulation

Truly Devious Series, by Maureen Johnson, Young Adult Fiction YA Johnson

A private school in a remote location with the history of an unsolved crime. Stevie Bell couldn’t ask for anything more. Stevie is an aspiring detective, and loves everything to do with crime. So when the opportunity to solve one of America’s greatest unsolved crimes comes along, she has to take it. The Ellingham Academy was founded in the 1930’s by the great Albert Ellingham, one of America’s richest tycoons. Not too long after the school’s opening, Albert’s wife and daughter were kidnapped and presumably murdered, but the person responsible was never truly found. Stevie is accepted to the school with every intention of solving the case. Trying to navigate all of the riddles and mysteries of the school turns out to be a messy business, and another death shocks the campus. Is this new death related to the Ellingham murders? Desperate for answers, Stevie plunges herself deeper into the school’s secrets before anyone else turns up dead. I flew through this series. It’s a fantastic mystery series you can’t put down. Just when you think there couldn’t be any more riddles or secrets, another one pops up. The characters are phenomenal as well. They’ll keep you entertained just as much as the mystery itself.

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Katie – Circulation

A History of Wild Places, by Shea Ernshaw, Fiction Ernshaw

A twisting mystery that will keep you guessing! Travis Wren is a psychic detective hired by the family of missing children’s author Maggie St. James. Travis is running from his own ghosts, even as he follows Maggie’s in an attempt to locate her. The story also jumps to the story of sisters Bee and Calla, and Calla’s husband Theo and their life. How are the two connected? The author’s talent for changing the writing style with the voices of each character was very interesting and heightened the suspense of the mystery.

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The Cartographers, by Peng Shepherd, New Fiction Shepherd

All Nell has ever wanted is to follow in her father’s footsteps, to be like her long dead mother, to be the best New York Public Library Maps Department curator there is! But when she and her father have a falling out over a box of maps she finds in storage that she feels hold promise and he insists are junk, she loses her job, her reputation, her boyfriend, and her relationship with her father. She thinks she’s resigned herself and has settled into working at Classic, making maps look old and mysterious for purchase by people who want the aura of antiquity and class. Then she is summoned to the library and finds that her father has died, his office looks uncharacteristically messy, and though the police initially think the death was natural, subsequent discoveries reveal something more sinister. Why was her father keeping the junk map that he fired her over in his most secret and secure hiding place? Reluctantly, she enlists the help of her ex-boyfriend and his tech skills to try to find out.

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Michelle – Administration

People We Meet on Vacation, by Emily Henry, Fiction Henry

This perfect end-of-summer romance is all about taking summer vacations with your best friend, the people you meet along the way, and the adventures that can lead to so much more. This is the second Emily Henry book that I have read and reviewed for this blog in as many months and am greatly looking forward to reading another one! Henry creates characters that are likeable, but who also seem very real. There were times when I laughed out loud and even a scene that made me teary-eyed. I couldn’t put this book down, but also didn’t want it to end!

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Melissa – Technical Services

Night Film, by Marisha Pessl, Fiction Pessl

The daughter of a famously mysterious horror movie director turns up dead. The book is an investigation into her death and into the eerie world of her father’s films. The narrator, a journalist, ferrets around and realizes that the more he learns, the less he knows. He finds himself wondering what is real, and readers will wonder as well. What I wonder is why I continued to trudge through this book. In one chapter, the narrator finds himself to actually be in a horror film; an elongated nightmare. It is there that I lost interest and couldn’t recover. Suspension of disbelief? Never heard of it. But a Staff Pick this remains, because, well, I picked it.

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Jean – Reference

The Children on the Hill, by Jennifer McMahon, New Fiction McMahon

For those of you looking forward to Halloween, this is a great read to get you in the mood!  It’s a creepy psychological thriller with little to no gore. 13-year-old Violet and her brother Eric live with their Gran, who is a world-renowned psychiatrist, in a house on property adjacent to the treatment center for the mentally ill. Their carefree days are spent caring for pet rabbits, exploring the outdoors on the expansive property, and doing schoolwork. Until the day Gran brings home a mute girl wearing nothing but a hospital gown and a dirty beanie hat. Did she come from the treatment center? But only adults are treated there. Violet and her brother begin investigating, and we soon find out, nothing is as it seems.

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Marissa – Circulation

The Big Year, starring Jack Black, Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson, DVD Big Year

In the bird watching community, a “big year” is an informal competition where birders try to identify as many species of birds as possible within a single calendar year. This movie demonstrates what happens when this is taken to the extreme level. Three different people, played by Jack Black, Steve, Martin, and Owen Wilson, put their careers, their relationships, and their bank accounts on the line to take part in this competition and see who will come out on top. As they travel the country, they spot many rare species of birds while also learning about themselves and discovering just how far they are willing to go to become the champion of the year. Filled with comedy and a heart-warming message, this movie is sure to entertain.

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Margaux – Youth Services

Our Crooked Hearts, by Melissa Albert, New Young Adult Fiction YA Albert

If ever a book made me feel old, it was this one. Dana is a wild city girl with an interest in the occult that just might get her in trouble. Ivy is a seventeen-year-old who just survived a car wreck of a relationship (literally) and has no idea why the broody boy across the street has always been such a jerk to her. The two girls are intrinsically linked because Dana is, in fact, Ivy’s mother. Yep! She’s living in the 90’s, and Ivy is a Gen Z baby. So when Ivy’s mom goes missing she’ll have to dig deeper into Dana’s teenaged past to find her very grownup mom. Hope that’s not too confusing. I read this book at the beginning of 2022 and have been waiting patiently for it to be published so I could recommend it to you. I reveled in the 90’s nostalgia, I cringed at the teen confusion, and I rebelled against parental tyranny right along with the protagonists of this beautiful story. And if you like this one, you’ll love Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood.

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Laura – Circulation

The Woman in the Library, by Sulari Gentill, New Fiction Gentill

This is set as a story within a story, with a back and forth conversation after each chapter written between the author and an online friend who gives writing advice. The twists and turns of the story itself and the story of the author/friend run simultaneously through the book. An interesting approach that kept me reading this double mystery.

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The Messy Lives of Book People, by Phaedra Patrick, New Fiction Patrick

Liv grew up admiring author Essie Starling, reading and re-reading all of her books, dreaming of becoming an author one day. Then, Liv is hired as Essie’s housecleaner, and becomes a friend of sorts. When Essie dies, she tasks Liv with finishing the final book she was working on. As Liv researches Essie’s life, she discovers secrets from Essie’s past that will impact Liv’s future. A charming book that reminds us all to never give up on our dreams.

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August 2022

It’s August! Enjoy the rest of the summer with one of our Staff Picks!

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Paula – Circulation

Morbius, starring Jared Leto, Matt Smith, and Jared Harris, New DVD Morbius

IT’S MORBIN TIME!! Get ready to get morbed. This is the morbiest movie you’ve ever morbin seen. Jared Leto stars as Morbius, a doctor who morbs into a bat, I mean vampire. Sick with an incurable disease, Michael Morbius has spent his life looking for a cure. He eventually finds one using bat blood, and of course, he tests it on himself and gains superpowers. However, he now has to drink blood in order to survive. His best friend Milo gets angry for some reason and also takes the cure even though Morbius told him not too. Milo then becomes the villain for reasons. Morbius and Milo square off in a battle that you have no idea what’s going on in because it’s so dark and you can’t see anything. Anyway, if you’re looking for a brainless movie that’s extremely meme-able, this is the one for you. Didn’t think Matt Smith could dance? THINK AGAIN. Honestly, I think this movie needs to be put in theaters a third time (not really, it’s actually pretty bad). The actors acted (not well). The special effects were there (they were not special). It truly was a movie.

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Spider-Man: No Way Home, starring Tom Holland, Zendaya, and Benedict Cumberbatch, DVD Spider-Man No

Ok now this movie is actually really good. Picking up where the last movie left off, Peter Parker now has to live in a world where everyone knows he is Spider-Man. Keeping his life as a superhero separate from his life as a normal teenager proves to be very difficult. To try to fix things, Peter goes to Doctor Strange for help and asks him to make everyone forget that he is Spider-Man. Doctor Strange reluctantly agrees, but Peter ends up being a dumb teenager and messes up the spell, causing rifts to the multiverse to open up. With doorways now open, villains from other worlds (aka past Spider-Man movies) start to come through and wreak havoc in Peter’s world. It’s up to Peter and Doctor Strange, with a little help from SURPRISE Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Men, to close the doorways and restore order to the multiverse. This movie was so much fun, especially while watching it in theaters. It was so good to see Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield reprise their roles as Spider-Man, as well as all the villains that came back including Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin, Alfred Molina as Doc Ock, and Jamie Foxx as Electro. All of the nostalgia made my little kid heart so happy. It was definitely one of my favorite Marvel movies that has come out.

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Cathy – Circulation

Fly Girl: A Memoir, by Ann Hood, New Nonfiction 387.742 HOO

Ann Hood is a well known author and a former TWA flight attendant. This book is an excellent memoir of how things were as a flight attendant, from the interview process to training in the late 70’s and 80’s. The times were changing as deregulation opened up pricing and air travel became affordable to many. Gone were the “glamorous” days of the flying. Enjoy! And check out any other of Ann Hood’s books!

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Andrea – Technical Services

Last Summer at the Golden Hotel, by Elyssa Friedland, Fiction Friedland

In its heyday, The Golden Hotel was the crown jewel of the hotter-than-hot Catskills vacation scene. For more than sixty years, the Goldman and Weingold families – best friends and business partners – have presided over this glamorous resort which served as a second home for well-heeled guests and celebrities. But the Catskills are not what they used to be – and neither is the relationship between the Goldmans and the Weingolds. As the facilities and management begin to fall apart, a tempting offer to sell forces the two families together again to make a heart-wrenching decision. Can they save their beloved Golden or is it too late?

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Margaux – Youth Services

I’ll Go and Come Back, by Rajani LaRocca, New Picture Book JE LaRocca

Young girl Jyoti visits her grandmother in India, and is wowed by the differences between her home and her grandma’s. At the end of her trip, she is sad to leave her behind, but knows that she will see grandma again—she’ll go and come back! I loved the illustrations, and the obvious love between the two despite the language barrier.

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Love in the Library, by Maggie Tokuda-Hall, New Picture Book JE Tokuda – Hall

Set in a Japanese internment camp during WWII, Tama finds herself working in a library. Each day George is there waiting by the door when she opens up the library, and he is by far the most voracious reader at the camp. But is that really the only reason he visits each day? This story is based on true events, as evidenced by photos of the real Tama and George in the back of the book. It opens up the tough topic of Japanese internment, a very difficult topic for young readers, so I would definitely wait until kids are in elementary school before introducing this picture book.

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Michelle – Administration

Book Lovers, by Emily Henry, New Fiction Henry

I really enjoyed this sweet romance story between a literary agent who sees herself as the woman who gets dumped in every Hallmark movie and an editor who has a reputation for his cold demeanor. Of course, things are never what they seem from the outset. This book takes aim at the traditional romances in a light, funny way, while also being the thing it mocks. I found myself both laughing out loud and getting teary eyed at different points in the story and didn’t want to put it down.

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Jean – Reference

Little Sister, by Gytha Lodge, New Fiction Lodge

A page-turner thriller! While Detective Chief Inspector Jonah Sheens is sipping his drink and enjoying the sunshine at an outdoor café, a young girl emerges from the nearby woods and approaches him covered in blood. When he asks if she is okay, she replies that she is, but she’s not sure about her sister. That reply kicks off a fascinating psychological thriller. Is this young girl a sociopath? Or should the detective and his team listen to what she is telling them, even if it seems she is leading them along a far-fetched hunt? You won’t want to put this one down until the final page!

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Laura – Circulation

Have You Seen Luiz Velez?, by Catherine Ryan Hyde, Fiction Hyde

If you missed last month’s Beacon Book Club, it isn’t too late to read the book! A quick and easy heart-warming read, you won’t want to put it down. Sixteen-year-old Raymond feels lost and a bit hopeless, not fitting in anywhere – not school, his mom’s house, or his dad’s house. Millie is years old and blind, struggling since her long time helper has disappeared. Raymond and Millie form a special bond, and they both learn valuable lessons along the way.

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Hubbell – Circulation

Hable con Ella (Talk to Her), starring Javier Camara, Darío Grandinetti, and Rosario Flores, Foreign DVD Talk

A mainstay of 2022’s “Best Of” lists, Talk to Her is a uniquely Almodóvar film set in Spain and told in a weaving series of flashbacks. It follows two couples, Marco and Lydia, and Benigno and Alicia, the women of which are both in states of comatose unconsciousness. Through the flashbacks and present day experiences, the two couples’ lives become ever more intertwined in unexpected ways. In the end, tragedy leaves the couples in different states of contentment.

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Supreme Revenge: Inside the Battle for Control of America’s Highest Court, by Michael Kirk, Nonfiction DVD 347.7326 SUPREME

Frontline’s Supreme Revenge tracks how in one single act of political aggression, the nomination process for the Supreme Court has now become a ruthless personal process with no room for partisan accord. Starting with Ted Kennedy’s and Democrats’ successful attempt to block Robert Bork’s nomination in 1987, the documentary explains how this single event sparked a 30 year crusade of vengeance from Mitch McConnell and Republicans, leading to the extreme political nomination process we face now. Frontline’s documentary shows us the history of how this occurred in a detailed and non-biased way.

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July 2022

It’s July! Celebrate summer and the 4th of July with some of our Staff Picks!

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Michelle – Administration

By the Book, by Jasmine Guillory, New Fiction Guillory

Guillory knocked it out of the park with another great romance. All of her books feature likable and relatable characters and are such feel-good reads. This is a perfect beach read! She tells the story of Izzy, an aspiring author and editor who is tasked with assisting a high-profile new author complete his memoir. It’s an enjoyable story that doesn’t fall into the same generic stereotypes that a lot of romances do. And, if this story doesn’t interest you, but you are a fan of modern romance – you can’t go wrong with any book written by Jasmine Guillory.

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Margaux – Youth Services

Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Fiction Moreno-Garcia

The title says it all: if you’re a fan of the Gothic Novel, or even Crimson Peak (reviewed last October), you’ll love this. Noemi—a socialite in Mexico City– travels to a secluded crumbling mansion in 1950’s Mexico to find out what’s haunting her recently married husband. Just like the house itself, the English family that lives in High Place may not be all that they seem.

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So This Is Ever After, by F.T. Lukens, New Young Adult Fiction YA Lukens

What’s “the chosen one” supposed to do after they’ve fulfilled their prophecy? Arek is in a pickle: it seems that after he’s killed the Tyrant/Ruler of the Kingdom of Eyre, he is now the king. Which means he’s got to find a partner to share the burden with. Hopefully he’s able to marry for love. Enter his band of friends and travel companions that helped him complete his quest. A comedy of errors ensues as he tries wooing those who know him best. Read this if you’re too old for Harry Potter, if you loved Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, or if you love a good, old fashioned fantasy love story.

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Melissa – Technical Services

The Island, by Adrian McKinty, New Fiction McKinty

Heather is the new, young step-mom to two pre-teens far too quickly after the passing of their mother. The family goes on vacation, where a series of events finds them running, hiding, and fighting for their lives in the wild Australian outback. After the group is separated, it is up to Heather to save their lives and get them off the island. She may be young and never graduated high school, but her rugged past has made her resourceful.

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My Body, by Emily Ratajkowski, available as an ebook on Overdrive/Libby and Axis 360

Ratajkowski, arguably today’s most sought-after model, presents a series of essays that discuss beauty, sexuality, feminism, and power. Initially, it’s disarming how sad she seems as she correlates her own worth as a person with her appearance and desirability. She also gives her insight on ownership and gender. The experiences given to her through her beauty/looks have allowed her to see the stark reality of power in the world, and it’s both depressing and enlightening.

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Paula – Circulation

House of Gucci, starring Lady GaGa, Adam Driver, and Al Pacino, New DVD House of Gucci

Based on true events, House of Gucci tells the story of betrayal, revenge, and murder that brought down the Gucci family. When Maurizio Gucci married Patrizia Reggiani, he thought he was marrying a humble, innocent woman he could spend the rest of his life with away from the family business. Boy was he wrong. Patrizia had very different plans for her husband and his family. Aiming to be at the top of Gucci’s empire, Patrizia takes each member of the family out of the business one by one. In doing so, a rift begins to divide Patrizia and Maurizio, ultimately ending in Maurizio’s murder. Lady GaGa is absolutely exceptional as the overly ambitious Patrizia. She completely nails the transformation of sweet, innocent girl to power-hungry tyrant. Even though she is technically the villain of the story, you can’t help but root for her. Or maybe I’m just biased because of my love for Lady GaGa. Either way, it’s a great film that’ll keep you hooked to the end.

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The Lunar Chronicles Series, by Marissa Meyer, Young Adult Fiction YA Meyer

And now we return to our standard programming with another fantasy recommendation from Paula. This one is a lot of fun. The Lunar Chronicles series mixes fantasy with science fiction for retellings of classic fairytales. Each book introduces a new fairytale into the story, starting with Cinderella, then Little Red Riding Hood, then Rapunzel, and finishing with Snow White. Each of the four heroines has to go up against the evil queen Levana, ruler of the Moon Kingdom of Artemisia. Levana is as cruel and wicked as they come. Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter must team up and try to stop Levana from unleashing her army of terrifying beasts and taking over the Earth. I loved every second of this series. Two words: THE CHARACTERS. The characters are just absolutely amazing. They are so well-written, and their hilarious banter will keep you laughing from start to finish.

 

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June 2022

It’s June! Summer is just around the corner! Grab a good read and enjoy the warm weather.

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Paula – Circulation

Legendborn, by Tracy Deonn, Teen Lincoln Nominees YA Deonn

For fans of magic and the legend of King Arthur, this book is for you. After her mother dies in a tragic accident, Bree tries to distance herself from her past as much as possible. She and her best friend attend an early college program for teens at UNC – Chapel Hill where she thinks she can start over. That hope quickly fades after Bree witnesses an attack on her first night on campus, a magical attack that only she seems to see until two mysterious people show up and try to wipe her memory of the incident. However, the mind wipe fails, and instead starts to unlock some of Bree’s own hidden memories as well as her own magical powers. She is then pulled into the world of the campus’ secret society, where students are descendants of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and have a mission to protect humanity from demons of all kinds. As she digs deeper into the history of the Legendborn, Bree realizes that she and her family may have more connections to this society than she could have imagined. I absolutely loved this book. The mix of fantasy with mystery really pulled me into the story. It reminded me a lot of Leigh Bardugo’s fantastic book Ninth House, another fantasy/mystery novel with secret societies and magic. It is definitely worthy of its Lincoln Award Nomination.

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Mary – Circulation

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Saenz, Young Adult Fiction YA Saenz

Ari has a habit of getting lost in his own thoughts, since his family doesn’t talk about a lot of things. Not his brother, who is in prison. Not the war, which his father served in. And definitely not how Ari has no friends. But one day, Ari meets Dante, who is self-assured, open, and challenges Ari to think about the world in a different way. The bond between them causes pain and guilt, but also deep love and growth. Told in a stream-of-consciousness narrative, this simple love story and complex questioning of the universe deserves each of its multiple awards.

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Laura – Circulation

The Vow, starring Channing Tatum, Rachel McAdams, Sam Neill, and Jessica Lange, DVD Vow

Based on a true story, this film follows the journey of Paige and Leo Collins. A young married couple has their world turned upside down when a car accident leaves Paige with amnesia and the inability to remember her husband. Now, as strangers once again, Leo must try to win his wife back before it is too late.

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Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson, by Mitch Albom, Biography 921 Schwartz Alb

In this quick read full of life lessons, your heart will be warmed by the rekindled relationship between Mitch Albom and his mentor, Morrie Schwartz.

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When We Left Cuba, by Chanel Cleeton, Fiction Cleeton

If you were a fan of Next Year In Havana, you will love this book! Beatriz Perez was forced to leave Cuba with her family when Fidel Castro came into power. In Florida, Beatriz dreams of a day when she can return home, and she vows to do what she can to bring down Fidel. Working with the CIA, Beatriz risks it all for her cause.

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Greenlights, by Matthew McConaughey, Biography 921 McConaughey, also available as an audiobook on Overdrive/Libby

Alright, Alright, Alright!! If you are a Matthew McConaughey fan, you will love listening to this book. Quirky and comical, you will have a few laugh out loud moments as you hear Matthew describe the life lessons he’s learned over the course of keeping 40 years of journals and diaries.

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The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, by Michael Pollan, Nonfiction 394.12 POL

Have ever wondered about where your food comes from? Does it really matter if you buy organic or not? And if you do, what is the real impact of that globally? What about fast food? What about commercial feed lots? Regenerative farming? What about growing your own food? Pollan takes a deep dive into the history of food: where we have been, where we are now, where we are going, and the impact our choices make. Intriguing and well written, the wealth of information in the book will have you rethinking our whole food system.

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Margaux – Youth Services

Red, White, and Royal Blue, by Casey McQuiston, Fiction McQuiston

First son Alex and Prince Henry have always been rivals. So when a tabloid scandal threatens British/American relations, the two are forced to fake a friendship for the sake of diplomacy. Romance ensues. I could not put this book down the first time I read it, and my little heart was sending me back to reading Meg Cabot’s All American Girl as a teenager. The heart-fluttering romance is so sweet and pure, and you can’t help but root for these guys.

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Camille – Reference

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, Graphic Novel YA Tamaki (Graphic)

An excellent queer “coming-of-age” story about teen relationships, heartbreak and true friendship. Freddy loves cool, popular Laura Dean. But, Laura Dean is not a great girlfriend-she cheats on Freddy, and is manipulative and inconsiderate of Freddy’s feelings. Their destructive break-up/make-up pattern is trying Freddy’s friend’s patience. A touching story centered on contemporary topics like bullying, homophobia, and toxic relationships, Freddy finds her footing in the end.

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Hubbell – Circulation

Pig, starring Nicolas Cage, Alex Wolff, and Adam Arkin, DVD Pig

Nicolas (Kim Coppola) Cage is like pizza. He’s not always great, can be overdone or paired wrong, but he’s always good enough. But in Pig, he gives a great performance as a reclusive truffle hunter in the Oregon wilderness. His hermit lifestyle is upended when drug addict back-of-the-house kitchen staff steal his beloved truffle pig. He exorcises his past demons in Portland in his quest to find his pig. The film is all Cage and he plays the part disarmingly well.

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May 2022

It’s May! Enjoy the warm weather with one of our Staff Picks!

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Mary – Circulation

Free Guy, starring Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, and Taika Waititi, DVD Free Guy

Guy is just a regular guy who works at the bank that is robbed daily, and is perfectly content with his life. The only thing missing? True love of course! Once he meets the woman of his dreams, and gets some new glasses, he begins to see the whole world in a different way. But things are not at all what they seem, and Guy has a lot to learn about the world around him – and the woman he thinks he loves! With Ryan Reynolds as the leading man, and Taika Waititi as the evil multimillionaire, this movie is guaranteed to lift your spirits.

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Hubbell – Circulation

Downton Abbey, starring Maggie Smith, Dan Stevens, and Hugh Bonneville, TV Series DVD Downton

It took this librarian about 10 years to finally watch this gem. It has literally everything – intrigue, the collapse of centuries old aristocrats, cars, lords, and class traitors. American TV dramas live on the slow burn with a big payoff. For Downton Abbey and the like, there is no wait. Each episode and season rifles through plot points and leaves equal parts devastated and pleased. And you’ll love when the Americans make an appearance. It truly feels like you yourself have entered into their fantasy land. WARNING: Do not get attached to any of the characters because they will die.

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Chris – Technical Services

Murder in Canaryville: The True Story Behind a Cold Case and a Chicago Cover-Up, by Jeff Coen, New Nonfiction 364.1523 COE

Goes in depth about the murder of John Hughes and how many people in Chicago covered it up. If you didn’t think Chicago was crooked, you will now!

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Paula – Circulation

Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series, by Rick Riordan, Juvenile Fiction J Riordan

Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson has a hard time being a normal kid. He has ADHD and dyslexia, and always seems to find himself in trouble or getting kicked out of school. One fateful day during a school field trip reveals the reasons for all of Percy’s troubles: Percy is a demigod, half human and half god. Percy is then whisked away into a world where Greek mythology isn’t a myth; it’s reality. Gods and goddesses still rule the world, and, as Percy finds out, have children with mortal humans. These demigods then attend a camp, called Camp Half-Blood, where they train and learn how to be heroes in order to protect the world. As Percy attends camp and goes on dangerous quests, he makes many meaningful friendships and learns what it means to be a true hero. I absolutely loved this series. Though it is geared towards younger readers, it can be enjoyed by people of all ages. I just read it for the first time as an adult and I couldn’t put it down. The sense of humor is one of my favorite parts of the series. The witty banter between Percy and his friends is absolutely hilarious. And who doesn’t love Greek mythology? I had a general knowledge of the gods and goddesses before reading this series, but afterwards I had learned so many new and interesting facts about the ancient myths and legends. There were two movies made for the first two books, but don’t watch those. They were awful. Here’s to hoping that Disney+ will do the books justice when their TV series is available to stream!

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Laura – Circulation

Don’t be trashy: A Practical Guide to Living with Less Waste and More Joy, by Tara McKenna, New Nonfiction 640.286 MCK

In honor of Earth Day, here is another sustainable book pick. This quirky little book meets you wherever you are in your journey to live with less waste. This book has some great take-aways without being over the top. Cheers to the Earth!

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Send Down the Rain, by Charles Martin, Fiction Martin

I love the way Charles Martin write. Interweaving stories of the past and the present, ultimately this story is of love, loss, loyalty, and second chances.

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Margaux – Youth Services

The Love Hypothesis, by Ali Hazelwood, Fiction Hazelwood

A fun romance novel with a STEM twist. The protagonists in this book find themselves in one of my favorite romance tropes: the fake relationship!

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Homicide and Halo-Halo, by Mia P. Manansala, New Fiction Manansala

A cozy mystery for the foodie set, the whole gang from Arsenic and Adobo is back for more sleuthing. When Lila Macapagal’s fellow beauty pageant judge is found dead, there are more motives and suspects to wade through than she can muck through alone. Luckily, she’s got some good friends and good food to help get her through.

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