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December 2017 Picks

John recommends:

Barnaby Volume One by Crockett Johnson

In Barnaby Volume 1, Crockett Johnson presents a young boy, Barnaby, and his “imaginary fairy Godfather”. The subtle writing, drawing, and philosophy (especially of Mr. O’Malley, the Fairy Godfather) are reminiscent of an earlier time, a simpler time and as a wartime cartoon, it has many anti-fascist moments. Definitely worthwhile. Enjoy.

Peggy recommends:

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (author of The Girl on the Train)

This gripping tale of psychological suspense sweeps readers away to a small town where one woman’s death dredges up a dark history of secrets, scandals, and murder. Winner of the Goodreads Choice 2017 Award for best mystery, Into the Water is intriguing. It grabs you up and pushes you along for the ride. A hard-to-put-down read.


Artemis by Andy Weir (author of The Martian)

Part space adventure, part exhilarating heist tale, Artemis follows young smuggler Jazz Bashara as she lands in the middle of conspiracy on the first and only city on the moon. I love this book more than I loved The Martian and that’s saying a lot.


Dan recommends:

Please see Dan’s review for this month here

Jen recommends:

Pandemic by Zman Games

Yes! We have board games!

An exciting cooperative board game that requires you and your team to find cures for four different diseases that have broken out all over the world! Work together to keep the outbreaks under control.

Kim recommends:

Invisible Emmie by Terri Libenson

Invisible Emmie is a funny, sweet, and surprising graphic novel about finding your true self in middle school.  Recommended especially for girls ten and older, although boys and grown-ups will enjoy it, too.

Amie recommends:


The Shining by Stephen King

During the holidays, you should always remember—your family may be jacked-up, but it will NEVER be “Torrance family” jacked-up.

November 2017 Picks

Dan recommends:

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe lying on their backs in the bed of a pick-up truck, looking up at the Texas stars. This is a memorable coming of age and coming out novel where two friends– Dante and Ari–talk, fight, combat family secrets and deal with reversals in their friendship–leading to an amazing resolution. Ari is a lovable anti-hero whose journey toward self-confidence is full of humor and angst. It’s the central characters and plain-spoken poetry that have earned this novel a permanent place in YA literature.  Learn more about the author, Benjamin Alire Saenz, at

Amie recommends:

People I Want to Punch in the Throat by Jen Mann (currently available as an eBook, soon to be available in paperback)

From the politics of joining a playgroup to the thrill of mothers’ night out at the gun range, to the rewards of your most meaningful relationship (the one you have with your cleaning lady), nothing is sacred or off-limits. So the next time you find yourself wearing fuzzy bunny pajamas in the school carpool line or accidentally stuck at a co-worker’s swingers party, just think, What would Jen Mann do?

This author is my hero.

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris

“David Sedaris lifts the corner of ordinary life, revealing the absurdity teeming below its surface. His world is alive with obscure desires and hidden motives – a world where forgiveness is automatic and an argument can be the highest form of love. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is another unforgettable collection from one of the wittiest and most original writers at work today.”

What they said.

Carole recommends:

Apex (Hunter series)by Mercedes Lackey

Being a member of the Elite Hunter Command imperils Joy in more ways than one. In their latest clash with Othersiders, the army of monsters nearly wiped them out. Apex City is safe for now. But within the city barriers, Joy must wage a different kind of war. The corrupt and powerful PsiCorps is determined to usurp the Hunters as chief defenders of Apex City and Joy is now squarely in their crosshairs. This is the third book in this tale and the story is just getting very interesting.


Kim recommends:

Grover Cleveland, Again! By Ken Burns

The historian provides a kid-friendly look at the presidents, each one getting two pages (well, four for Grover Cleveland). Burns discusses important events of each administration and gives the names of siblings, wives, children, and pets. The book is serious when it needs to be but with a funny, positive approach overall. Most recommended for grades 3 to 5.


Peggy recommends:

Mother Bruce by Ryan T Higgins

Bruce is a grumpy bear who likes no one and nothing but cooked eggs, but when some eggs he was planning to boil hatch and the goslings believe he is their mother, he must try to make the best of the situation. Sometimes even grumpy bears can make good mamas.


My Absolute Darling by (locally raised author) Gabriel Tallent

A fourteen-year-old girl raised off the grid with a harsh, abusive survivalist father, struggles for the survival of her very soul in this gripping, disturbing narrative set in our own backyard. This book is not for the purists or the squeamish. But if you go into it knowing the world harbors many a dark place then you’ll love this book.


Karen recommends:

The Gatekeepers by Jen Lancaster

Known for her funny memoir books, Jen Lancaster has written an amazing YA book that delves into the world of suicide in a privileged community. Well written, this book keeps you hooked.



Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes

I listened to the audio version which was extremely well done. Very funny and new twist to the story of a middle-aged woman who is told by her business partner to lose weight. The main character, Janey, explores all the new approaches to losing weight among the rich and famous and discovers some insights into her own self along the way.


John recommends:

A Voice in the Night by Andrea Camilleri

In this book Salvo’s girlfriend, Livia is subtly redirected from cooking because of her inability to make pasta al dente.  Trust me, it’s funny.  The mystery of a loan shark murdered twice is unusual.


Jen recommends:

Helter Skelter: the true story of the Manson murders by Vincent Bugliosi

Vincent Bugliosi was the prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial, and this book is his enthralling account of how he built his case from what a defense attorney dismissed as only “two fingerprints and Vince Bugliosi.”

What I enjoyed about this book was the deep look into the Manson Family; including their movements, motives, and lives before and after the infamous murders. An exciting true crime that you may have to read more than once!

Ethos recommends:

The Amazing Spider-Man “Dying Wish” by Dan Sloatt

A tragic, and fairly morbid story from the more recent story arcs of Marvel’s The Amazing Spider-Man. Dying wish focuses on the uplifting social life of Peter Parker, however not is as it seems, during one of his last encounters with Peter’s more infamous villains “Doctor Octopus,” Peter’s consciousness has been swapped, and he is now left in the dying body of his mechanical limbed rival. With little time left, Peter must find a way to reverse his consciousness back before it’s too late.
This book serves as a great re-telling of one of Marvel’s most beloved superheros, however, it not only gives more look into the social life of our web-slinging underdog but gives sympathy to the members of Spider-man’s rogues’ gallery.

October 2017 Picks

Amie recommends:

The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub

“12-year-old Jack Sawyer quests through parallel worlds, ours and the ‘Territories,’ to retrieve a mystical talisman that will save his dying mother and her ‘twinner,’ the Queen of the Territories. As Jack ‘flips’ back and forth between worlds he is forced to face the evils of the past and present.”

I read this when my brother was 12: picturing him as Jack broke my heart. There is a scene where Jack must walk through a long, dark tunnel that scared me nearly to death. I had to drive with my dome light on to my friend’s house just to calm down. It was fantastic!

The Laughing Corpse by Laurell K Hamilton

“Harold Gaynor offers vampire hunter and necromancer Anita Blake a million dollars to raise a 300-year-old zombie. Anita turns him down knowing it means a human sacrifice would be necessary for such a feat. When dead bodies start popping up, Anita infers that someone else has raised Harold’s zombie—and it is a killer. Anita is forced to pit her power against the zombie and the voodoo priestess who controls it.”

Normally, I hate vampire-y novels, but Anita Blake ROCKS! The Anita Blake stories are one of the original “creature” cross-overs, and they do not disappoint. I remember my friends describing a scene where Anita is chasing a monster through a hospital nursery as it snacks on the newborns, and how animated they were just telling me the story. I don’t think it is a scene in this novel, but don’t worry, you’ll get there. If you like True Blood, don’t read this, True Blood is lame compared to Anita Blake.


Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

“A Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts, but, upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.”

Everyone thinks Frankenstein is all about horror, but I think it is all about love. And acceptance. If Frankenstein’s monster were a feral creature, I would tame him and let him sleep by my fire with my cats.

Karen recommends:

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan

An interesting book that doesn’t really involve a bookstore other than a tragic event happens that leads Lydia, the bookseller, on a trail to solve the mystery behind the tragedy and her own tragic event.



Kim recommends:

High school senior Eliza is the anonymous author of an extremely popular online comic, but her real life isn’t as successful. Eliza has to decide how much she wants her worlds to overlap, and how to befriend her monsters.



Peggy recommends:

Glass Houses by Louise Penny

By far, the best Inspector Gamache Ms. Penny has written. A mysterious black-clad figure stands in the center of Three Pines for days and when the figure disappears, a body is found in the church basement. What does the figure represent and how does it tie-in with the Surete’s investigation of opioid smuggling?

If you love Inspector Gamache and all of the quirky Three Pines characters, you’ll LOVE this novel! Copies will be available to check-out at our New Book Festival, Oct 15, from 1-4 pm. Quantities are limited so get there early.


John recommends:

Christmas Curiosities by John Grossman

This book provides a look at odd Victorian alternative images of Christmas such as Krampus, and other strangeness.  Very unusual.


Carol recommends:

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. He finds out about his grandfather’s past and about himself in this fast and fun read.


Jen recommends:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing by Marie Condo

An interesting new approach to decluttering and simplifying your home. While sifting through your entire home category-by-category, Marie suggests considering whether or not an item brings you joy. If you are ready to take the plunge, this book is a must-read.

September 2017 Picks


John recommends:

An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear

An Incomplete Revenge is about the rivalry between odd Kentish villagers, seasonal hop pickers from London, and itinerant gypsy hop pickers.  When two boys are accused of a theft (and seem to have been well framed), Maise Dobbs steps in to investigate.   Stay tuned.   Part of the mystery is why the village spirit and attitude are so odd.  It relates to a World War I zeppelin attack, from which the village apparently never recovered…


Kim recommends:

One Gorilla by Atsuko Morozumi

One Gorilla, an old favorite, is a counting picture book about the things the narrator loves, especially one friendly gorilla.  Lush, beautiful but gently humorous illustrations, with a seek & find aspect for all the animals.


Karen recommends:

The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller

A delightful story filled with great characters and a beautiful setting of rural Vermont. Makes for a great weekend read as we enter into Fall and gives the reader a strong desire to bake.



Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick

Such an interesting look at what it is like to live in North Korea and the horrific conditions and suffering that people have to endure living under an evil regime.



Jen recommends:

Van Gogh; a pictorial biography by M.E. Tralbaut

The author describes the whole of the painter’s life, with its crises and defeats, its doubts and certainties; and illustrates his story with over 100 pictures of paintings, drawings, photographs and documents. I really enjoyed seeing Van Gogh’s life in pictures and paintings. A truly fascinating subject!


Amie recommends:

Norma Watkins’s first memoir is a humorous yet heartbreaking look at growing up in the south with a brilliant mind needing the north. Her second memoir That Woman from Mississippi hits us in October and will make us laugh and cry and laugh again, if you haven’t read The Last Resort it’s perfect timing, and if you have read it, time to refresh yourself!


Peggy recommends:

The Seagull by Ann Cleeves

The newest Vera Stanhope edition has Vera investigating a long cold missing persons case where her own, deceased father may be implicated in the disappearance, leading old memories and self doubts to stifle the investigation.

If you love BBC’s Vera, you’ll love reading about her from the source. Copies will be available to check-out at our New Book Festival, Oct 15, from 1-4 pm. Quantities are limited so get there early.

August 2017 Picks

Peggy recommends:

The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

I loved Miranda’s debut novel, All the Missing Girls. It was unique in its backward approach to telling a story of two missing girls and kept me intrigued throughout. While The Perfect Stranger is told in the traditional, straightforward sense, it is still an intriguing story of another missing girl, this one a page turner because you’re not really sure if this missing girl actually exists. Another good thriller from Megan Miranda. I highly recommend The Perfect Stranger.


Karen recommends:

Staff PicksAll Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

Amazing book, everyone should read James Herriot. Fabulous storyteller. This was my version of a superhero and who I wanted to be when I grew up.



Kim recommends:

Owly & Wormy: Friends All Aflutter! by Andy Runton

Owly and Wormy are best friends who want to become friends with butterflies but instead meet two little green bugs.  A sweet, funny, almost wordless book, with “dialogue” using pictures, like a four-leafed clover to wish good luck.  The emotions here are big but relatable.  Although it’s a picture book, older children and even adults will enjoy it as much as little kids.

Amie recommends:

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

One last summer romance that doesn’t make you want to throw up.



Jen recommends:

The Pout, Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen

A fun children’s book with clever rhymes and repeat verses that your kids will love to sing for you!



John recommends:

Mr. Pratchett first: The Shepherd’s Crown is about magic. Tiffany Aching, the new informal head witch is succeeding Esmeralda Weatherwax, whose demise starts the book. She (Esme) died of natural causes and will be missed but her values live on.

July 2017 Picks

Dan recommends:

Of Love and Other Demons by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The novel is disturbing but fascinating; its characters suffer the fevers of real life. There are many sicknesses in the book: a possible case of rabies from a dog-bite, suspected “demon-possession,” various sexual passions disrupting family life and the religious order, and—a persistent theme in the greatest novels—the societal sickness of owning and coercing The any to serve the needs of The Few. Like the struggling Father Delaura, Gabriel-Marquez doesn’t preach or condemn. The novel’s protagonist is asked if he is afraid of being damned for falling in love with a young woman he has been sent to exorcise. Delaura answers “without alarm. ‘I believe I already am, but not by the Holy Spirit. I have always believed He attributes more importance to love than to faith.’” The novel studies the psychology of compulsion, tracing the ways we make the love of another person into something it is not—to serve ourselves, to satisfy our “demons,” rather than discovering the “Holy Spirit” of the other person and finding mutual love. This book is not a glib self-help book, but it does show people struggling to be healed. Since love-sickness is so widespread and the search for healing is universal, many readers will recognize their own struggles in this novel.

Kim recommends:

Love and F1rst Sight by Josh Sundquist

A funny, insightful YA novel from the point of view (in many senses) of a teenage boy who has a chance to see for the first time in his life.



Stack the Cats by Susie Ghahremani 

An adorable picture book about cats and math and gravity.


Amie recommends:

This book tells the intimate history of a family of two men plus triplets that came together suddenly one day, and thrived for a year before being torn apart by groundless prejudice. San Francisco author Kevin Thadeus Fisher-Paulson tells his riveting story with grace, dignity, and a surprisingly generous dose of humor. “After a week of not sleeping, Papa and I got into the routine of baby care: feed the baby, burp the baby, change the baby, put the baby to bed, wash baby’s clothes, rinse out baby’s bottle, and make more formula, just about in time to start feeding the baby. Oh, and that process was in duplicate. In fact it was in duplicate with a third kid in the hospital, across the bay. I often found that I was still in my bathrobe at three o’clock in the afternoon. The witty gay couple with lots of time for canapés and cocktails had quickly turned into two sleep-deprived, middle-aged men.” A Song for Lost Angels takes the discussion of gay marriage to the next level, where the rights and struggles of gay parents and their kids can be openly recognized. This family history will make you laugh, cry, and sometimes sputter with outrage, even as it redefines what Americans call “family values.”


Carole recommends:


Beth decides to move to the other side of the country to get away from her controlling mother and live close to her artist Aunt. After a blind date set up by a new Teacher friend, Beth is in an accident that changes her life. Through many ups and downs she finds true love. Fast read for a nice, summer day.



Peggy recommends:


I loved Heather’s Weight of Silence debut novel so decided to give this one a try. Though not as good as the latter, this is still a quick, easy, good for a summer day mystery.



SNL, in Congress. What more do you need? Funny, informative, and relatively curse free. Unusual for Harvard educated Senator Franken but he promised to uphold the decorum of the office (wink). In Giant of the Senate you learn about his early life, comedy writing career and his run for office. It’s a quick, fun read.



John recommends:


My staff pick for July is Terry Pratchett’s Hat Full of Sky. In this book, Tiffany Aching apprentice witch is pursued by a demonic monster and she must be clever and resourceful to survive. She is and this book is a page turner. If you like to read about magic, witches, and little people you will love this book but schedule plenty of time because it is hard to put down.



June 2017 Picks

John recommends:

Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett

Wintersmith is about the education and trials of a new witch, Tiffany Aching. In a seasonal festival she dances with the Wintersmith, displacing the Summer Lady and wreaking all kinds of havoc with the seasons. The resolution of the situation is not easy but does reveal some truths. Worthwhile to anyone, this is a must for Pratchett fans.


Karen recommends:

Dork Diaries series by Rachel Renee Russell

Great series for kids, and adults will enjoy these, too. There are 11 books in the series and I recommend reading them in order to enjoy the adventures of main character Nikki Maxwell and the mean girl MacKenzie.


The Selection series by Kiera Cass

There are, technically, 5 books in The Selection series and some other, in-between stories to read. If you haven’t read any of these books, check them out this summer. Fantastic read, great introduction to YA books for younger teens. Adults will love the dystopian romance of a prince finding his future wife.


Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella

This series is funny, charming and addictive. If you’re looking for a perfect summer read to enjoy on vacation, this is the perfect series. The later books lack the carefree charm as the first few in the series, but are still enjoyable reads. There are 8 books in the series, the first being Confessions of a Shopaholic, and lots of crazy characters to enjoy.


Peggy recommends:

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

If you haven’t read Pulitzer Prize winner, Olive Kitteridge, you’re in for a treat. Olive is a difficult person to love, but in the end the journey is well worth the angst. Told in various voices, all of whom are associated in some respect or other with the title character. Olive Kitteridge is a well-painted portrait of a woman with many layers that will leave you pondering for days to come. PS this is not the movie version which captured nothing of the true nature of Olive Kitteridge. Read the book.


Mists of Avalon and the Avalon series by Marion Zimmer Bradley

The enchanting, mystical world of Tintagel is the setting for the legend of King Arthur as told from the female character’s perspective. Ms Bradley gives voice to Gwenhwyfar, Viviane, Morgause, and Igraine, weaving tales of the struggle between Celtic culture and the rise of Christianity in Britain. By far the best tale of Arthur this side of Mary Stewart’s Arthurian trilogy (The Crystal Cave, et. al.), which is the best this side of Le Morte D’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory.


Carole recommends:

The Whistler by John Grisham

Lacy Stoltz is an investigator for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct. She is a lawyer, not a cop, and it is her job to respond to complaints dealing with judicial misconduct. After nine years with the Board, she knows that  most problems are caused by incompetence, not corruption. But a corruption case eventually crosses her desk. A previously disbarred lawyer is back in business with a new identity. He now goes by the name Greg Myers, and he claims to know of a Florida judge who has stolen more money than all other crooked judges combined. And not just crooked judges in Florida.

Lots of plot turns and twists in this book. Great Read!

Kim recommends:

Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper

Big Cat, Little Cat is a picture book with simple but expressive black and white illustrations. It presents the cycle of life in a gentle way small children can understand.


Jen recommends:

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. As he grows older, his sense of curiosity leads him through many interesting adventures.

I loved Gaiman’s storytelling and the world of fantasy he created. This book (or book on CD) can be found in the young adult section.

Amie recommends:

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

My June staff pick is The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. It is the first in the Flavia de Luce series. If you don’t know Flavia, you are in for a treat! Flavia is a precocious eleven-year-old living in a grand mansion with her stoic father and her torturous older sisters. Flavia is an aspiring chemist with a knack for finding dead bodies. She has a lovely, though complicated, relationship with her father. Perfect for this year’s Father’s Day.


May 2017 Picks

Kim recommends:

Quackers by Liz Wong

“Quackers is a furry duck who meows.  One day he meets a duck just like him and he learns that he’s a duck and a cat and his own special self.  Funny and sweet with adorable illustrations.”


Amie recommends:

Camel the Camel by local author James Aaron Chaves

This is Mr. Chaves’s piece for NaNoWriMo. He is ten years old and already a better writer than I am. I am not jealous. Camel the camel is hysterical. Trust me.

Excerpt from Camel the Camel:


“What the heck dude?”


“Ahhh!” The man ran away.

Camel the camel just spit on a random man’s face that he’d found in his desert. Camel laughed like it was a joke. “Th-the way he ran away! With his arms flailing and screaming ‘PFFFT!’ So hilarious!” Camel said. Camel was just a camel with two weird traits: he had no bones in his neck, so he could stretch it all he wanted, and he generated an abnormal amount of saliva (both traits he abused way too much).

Camel always spoke like nothing mattered at all, but when he spit at people for no apparent reason, he laughed so hard, he looked like he just found a good meme on the internet (which had never happened).

Just one selection of 57 of NaNoWriMo 2017. Check out the rest at Fort Bragg Library.

Carole recommends:

Saving Vegetable Seeds by Fern Marshall Bradley

Save vegetable seeds as you harvest so your favorite plants can grow again next season. In this guide, Fern Marshall Bradley covers everything you need to know to successfully save seeds from 20 popular garden vegetables, including beans, carrots, peas, peppers, and tomatoes. Learn how each plant is pollinated, where to store your collected seeds through the winter, and how to test their replanting viability in the spring. Now you can grow the delicious varieties you love year after year.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

A group of short stories about a young man’s life in Africa. Born to an African mother and a Swiss Father, Trevor could never show who his father was in public. He lived with his mother and grandmother, having mostly women in his early life. An interesting example of life in Africa for a mixed race child. A great read with wonderful stories, well written, pulls you in and keeps you reading and wanting to know more.


John recommends:

Circles in the Snow by Patrick F McManus

Greetings: my staff pick for May is Patrick F. McManus’ book, Circles in the Snow. In this Bo Tully mystery, the author seems to conclude the series about Blight County law enforcement by having Bo become a successful artist and become engaged to be married. The Blight Way has been amusing, entertaining and substantially unconventional. I sincerely hope that Mr. McManus is not retiring. At the conclusion of the book, the snow circles are explained, and they were not caused by UFO’s. John Teller

Dan recommends:

The Divided City by Luke McCallin

Berlin Police detective Gregor Reinhardt attempts to bring a serial killer to justice, however–the crimes are the work of an avenging angel who has his own dark vision of justice that does not include “the law.” Set in 1946, the writing conveys the bleakness of a city ripped apart by war, with the Germans struggling to survive and restore the legitimacy of the state. Reinhardt carries on, playing the Allied forces–France, Britain, US and USSR–against each other at great danger to his life.

Peggy recommends:

Cold Earth by Ann Cleeves

Fans of Vera Stanhope and the Shetland series will love this new one by Ann Cleeves.

When a landslide hits the island, Jimmy Perez and gang are thrown into a murder investigation involving a local solicitor, farmer, and a mysterious dark-eyed, dark-haired beauty. This newest edition of the Shetland series is a keeps-you-guessing, hard-to-put-down page-turner.

Unpunished by Lisa Black

Forensic expert Maggie Gardiner continues her uneasy partnership with vigilante homicide detective Jack Renner to investigate the murder of a newspaper copy editor.

True to form for the Jack Renner series.


 Karen recommemds:

My Not so Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

Classic Sophie Kinsella story that her fans will appreciate. Fun twist on a small farm girl trying to make it in the big city of London.



Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

This extremely popular book is worth waiting for, highly recommend requesting the book to read. Wonderful look at an extremely misunderstood and maligned culture, the author does a fabulous job of weaving a wonderful biographical tale while looking at the facts.



Breakfast at Darcy’s by Ali McNamara  

A very fun and charming book that fans of British and chick lit genre will appreciate. Darcy McCall inherits a small island, Tara, off the coast of Ireland. To gain the full inheritance and the island permanently she has one catch, she has to live on the island for a year and convince other people to join her, creating a village on the small island.  Great weekend read.

April 2017 Picks

Amie recommends:

Where I Belong by Alan Doyle

Alan Doyle is the nicest man in the world, the most energetic stage presence, and now the author of an hysterical autobiography about a boy growing up in rural Newfoundland. Yeah, Newfoudland. It is brilliant, and once you’ve read it, you will be an Alan Doyle fan and spend the rest of your life traveling around to see him in concert. I promise.



Jen recommends:

Murphy’s Law by Rhys Bowen

A quick, easy read that is set in the early 1900’s about a young Irish woman who has a knack for solving crimes. What I enjoyed about this series is the humor and wit of the main character, as well as the dialect throughout.

Karen recommends:

Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between by Lauren Graham

If you love Gilmore Girls then this will be a fun book to read!!



Temple Grandin: Voice for the Voiceless by Annette Wood

April is Autism Awareness Month.

A very interesting read into the life of Temple Grandin.



Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines

Great read for fans of the TV show Fixer Upper. Wonderful wholesome story about how the couple came to be on TV.



Carole recommends:

Earth Unaware by Orson Scott Card

This is the story about how the Formic Wars that Ender Wiggin’s ended got started. Like any story of a war it has many surprises, twist and turns. Earth Unawares is the first of three novels that tells the story of the first Formic Wars and sets the stage for the start the Ender’s Game. Things are not always what they seem.


Kim recommends:

Chemistry by C.L. Lynch

A funny, feminist, Canadian answer to Twilight, with crude and clever Stella Blunt falling for Howie the zombie. Recommended for ages 16 and up.



Peggy recommends:

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

After the fatal crash of a private jet with a wealthy media mogul, his wife and family on board, coincidences and conspiracy rumors start piling up and the two survivors, a family friend and the boy he saved, are right in the middle of the media frenzy. Mixing back stories with the crash aftermath, this is an intriguing read.


The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

A twisty, turny, psychological thriller with a sleek, enigmatic house at the heart of a mysterious death. Told from two viewpoints, Emma (before) and Jane (now), this exciting narrative is difficult to put down, especially when you near the unexpected ending.



John recommends:

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck

An amusing look at the Monterey waterfront in a past era. The principle character, Doc, is based on Steinbeck’s friend Ed Ricketts. Doc in one of Steinbeck’s books (this one?), was credited with inventing the beer milkshake. Doc’s interactions with the locals keep one’s attention. Pacific Biological (Doc’s company) was very different from the local fishing industry and quite interesting.


March 2017 Picks

Kim recommends:

Alice:Alice Roosevelt Longworth, from White House Princess to Washington power broker by Stacy A. Cordrey

Teddy Roosevelt’s daughter was the most famous teenager in the world during the early 1900s, and even into old age she was usually the most interesting person at a party. She was trend-setting, witty, intellectual, and complicated, including politically.



Peggy recommends:

Garden of Lamentations by Deborah CrombieStaff picks

While Gemma James investigates the untimely death of a local nanny, her husband, DI Duncan Kincaid looks into a series of murders with ties to the Met that puts not only his closest colleagues in danger but his family as well. Once again, Ms Crombie weaves a web of mystery with characters we’ve come to anticipate and love.


For St. Paddy’s Day:

Ma, He Sold Me For a Few Cigarettes  by Martha Long

You think YOUR childhood was rough. In the same vein as Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes, Martha Long tells her story, in the unique language of her younger, Irish self, of growing up poor in Ireland in the 1950s.



Karen recommends:

In honor of our new Children/Teen Librarian and in celebration of Teen Tech Week:

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock    

First in series. A great read for teens, really enjoyable story about a girl discovering herself. Love the rural type setting & the fact that the main character is not your typical girl.



The Selection by Kiera Cass     

First in an extremely popular YA series. Wonderful read that teens and adults can enjoy. Well written princess romance theme with a twist. Worth reading the series if you haven’t read it yet.



Goodnight Already!  by Jory John. 

Great storytime read for kids.  Children and adults will laugh out loud with how much trouble Bear has in trying to go to sleep but his friend Duck keeps interrupting him.


Dan recommends:

A Face in the Crowd and companion documentary: Facing the Past. (DVD)

Megalomania is mesmerizing to watch and terrifying to live with. Elia Kazan directed and Budd Schulberg wrote the script. Andy Griffith acted the part of Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes. Patricia Neal and Walter Matthau played the mesmerized and horrified onlookers, respectively.

Sigmund Freud loomed large in the screening room as the movie was made, pulling strings and yanking levers in the filmmakers’ minds. The female persona exerts some “mysterious control” over the power-seeking male. Very Psych-Noir.

Freud’s view of wounded egos permeates this film. Lonesome starts as Larry, a Face in the Crowd, a drunken hobo that Marcia “uncovers” in an Arkansas jail. When Marcia “outs” her media sensation, Lonesome Rhodes, by turning up the microphones as he trashes his viewers, his heat-seeking Ego crashes and falls. The Audience rejects him. Marcia is cast as the Superego, doing damage control until her creation–the Ego–self-destructs.  As in Kazan’s East of Eden, the film climaxes with reality-therapy or the breakdown of illusions about the Self.

Are we that simply made? The film is fascinating and true to life, despite its flirtation with Freud. There are unfettered egos everywhere, begging for attention. And we–the superegos–pretend we’re in control. Read more at

A beautiful, haunting story about the life of an Irish girl with a mysterious tinker mother and a missing father. McBride’s descriptions of Ireland are nearly as spectacular as the real thing.



Carole recommends:

No Man’s Land by David Baldacci

John Puller’s mother, vanished thirty years ago from Fort Monroe, Virginia, when Puller was just a boy. Paul Rogers has been in prison for ten years. But twenty years before that, he was at Fort Monroe. One night three decades ago, Puller’s and Rogers’ worlds collided with devastating results, and the truth has been buried ever since. Military investigators, armed with a letter from his mother’s friend , arrive in the hospital room of Puller’s father–a legendary three-star now sinking into dementia–and reveal that Puller Sr. has been accused of murdering his mother. Aided by his brother Robert Puller, an Air Force major, and Veronica Knox, who works for a shadowy U.S. intelligence organization, Puller begins a journey that will take him into his own past, to find the truth about his mother. An exciting, compelling, a great fast read. I read this one in a weekend.

John recommends:

This not so distant future of corporate domination and government tyranny with dossiers on any dissenters and re-education camps is chilling but don’t worry because it can’t happen here. The publisher of a small town newspaper is the target of government ire because of his editorials and when he attempts to escape to Canada he finds he waited too long. Next stop the mind laundry and reprogramming. Spooky stuff and very familiar.



Jen recommends:

The classic Beatles song comes to life with colorful illustrations and a CD with a new music recording and audio reading from Ringo himself!
I enjoy being able to share my love of The Beatles with my kids through a book. Watching them dance and sing along is so much fun!

February 2017 Picks

Dan recommends:

Please see Dan’s review for this month here


Amie recommends:

The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy

The Crossing is the second book of McCarthy’s Border Trilogy and my second favorite book ever. I fell in love with John Grady from All the Pretty Horses and moved to The Crossing only to then fall in love with Billy and his quest to free a pregnant wolf. I threw this book across the room three times and sobbed inconsolably for weeks after I finished it.


Carole recommends:

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

A thrilling romantic story set in a traveling circus in the 1930’s during the depression.  This story is so much more than just a circus tale, it is a compelling story brought to life by this wonderful writer. This story is filled with vivid characters and a narrative that will keep you up all night.


John recommends:

The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent by Susan Elia MacNeal

There was a big OOPS in the prologue in which the author had a weary traveler get jet lag from a trip from Lisbon to the US.  Pan Am Clippers were not jets! In 1941 there were no jets. But it gets better; it turns into a domestic mystery when a biological warfare agent is misused, causing casualties. There is good character development and an interesting plot. Enjoy. John


Jen recommends:

Press Here by Herve Tullet

Press the yellow dot on the cover of this book, follow the instructions within, and embark upon a magical journey! You and your children will enjoy seeing this hands-on book come to life. Children can work on learning colors, counting, and following directions.


Karen recommends:

In honor of Valentine’s Day and our Blind Date with a Book display, here are some fun romances:

Just Flirt by Laura Bowers

A fun YA summer romance story about being proud of who you are and what really matters when judging a person’s character.



To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han   

Another sweet, fun YA romance story about discovering your first love.



Peggy recommends:

How to Survive the Loss of a Love by Melba Colgrove, Harold Bloomfield and Peter McWilliams

Half psychology of loss and how to work through the 5 stages of grief and half poetry based on the 5 stages. This book helps anyone experiencing loss, of any kind (death, break-up, job, money) to understand the stages and know there is relief, in time. I give copies of this book to family and friends when they experience a loss to help them through the grieving. It’s better than a cheap card and genuinely offers insight into getting through the grief.


My Big Dog by Janet Stevens

Merl the Cat’s pampered life is turned upside down when a little golden retriever puppy moves into the house. Merl  tells the story of how he tries his best to oust the newest member of his household. Thwarted at every turn by the ever-growing puppy, he finally comes to terms with the presence of his big dog. Hilarious illustrations by Caldecott Honor winner Janet Stevens make this one story kids will ask to read again and again!

Having experienced bringing another critter into an existing, critter filled household, I totally relate to this adorable story. And Janet Stevens’ illustrations, as always, are incredible.

Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

This is a story of a boy who needed to be broken to feel, to heal, and to love.
This book captivates the heart, chews it up, and spits it out. It is raw, unadulterated, and painful, but it is also beautiful, hilarious, and witty.

A different kind of love story; a coming of age story; a broken book of broken characters. It was heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.

January 2017 Picks

Jen (our newest staff member) recommends:

Darth Vader reads a bedtime story to young Luke and Leia. My whole family enjoys Jeffrey Brown’s sense of humor and the clever twist he provides to the original story. With all our favorite Star Wars characters, this is sure to be a hit with kids and nerds alike!


John recommends:

Jingo by Terry Pratchett

Greetings: My staff pick for January is Jingo by Terry Pratchett. This book has one of my favorite Pratchett quotes; “Give a man a fire and you’ve kept him warm for a day, set a man on fire and you’ve kept him warm for the rest of his life. Not about fishing, this is about the futility and total lack of glory in war. It also redefines “Police Action” and introduces a device called the “Disorganizer”. Lots of zany, madcap humor with actual meaning. Enjoy. John Teller


Karen recommends:

Here are my two recommendations for a rainy weekend. Both of these books are at the Fort Bragg Library.

The Season by Jonah Lisa Dyer

A wonderful new YA book that is perfect for adults.  A typical story line about a tomboy who enters the world of beauty and débutantes but it is the twist and the family story that makes a really fun and entertaining read.



The All You Can dream Buffet by Barbara O’Neal

A wonderful story about four friends who meet through their blogs and meet up at the Lavender Farm for a celebration. Great friendship story where all four women overcome obstacles and rediscover themselves.



Amie recommends:

Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Høegsmillas-sense-of-snow

One of the most haunting books I’ve ever read, Smilla teaches us to trust our intuitions and follow through no matter the outcome, but that doesn’t make it less heartbreaking. Full of beautiful information about the Inuit peoples of Greenland, this is a story that will stay with you forever.



Peggy recommends:

The Bill Hodges Trilogy by Stephen King  (Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, End of Watch)

Once again, Stephen King got inside my head, read my thoughts and penned them to paper. Beginning with Mr. Mercedes, then following up with Finders Keepers and End of Watch, this trilogy tells the story of the pursuit of mass murderer, Brady Hartsfeld, after he steals a car and mows down a large group of people. Even after Brady is, seemingly, out of commission, his reign of terror continues. Chock full of surprises and interesting characters, this Stephen King trilogy reminds us just how great a writer he is.


Carole recommends:

Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot by Bill O’Reilly

A well written historical narrative of the events surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  Some new and some old facts written to give a new perspective on these events.  If you like Bill O’Reilly or not, this is an interesting read.



Dan recommends:

Delightful diversity book for small children. Fun rhymes, bright colors. The topic of different skin color comes up in school or with families and this playful book runs with that theme. Football-shaped heads seem to be an extra genetic feature of this group of kids. Really good message: “Think how lucky you are that the skin you live in, so beautifully holds the “You” who’s within.”

2016 Staff Picks

2015 Staff Picks