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Staff Picks 2015

December 2015 Picks

Karen recommends:

eight hundred grapesEight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave

Georgia Ford, after learning a shocking secret the week before her wedding, heads back to her family’s Sonoma vineyard to hide but learns the rest of her family has secrets of their own they all have to deal with. A really great story about relationships, family and connection to the land that takes place in nearby Sonoma that made for an intriguing read. Fort Bragg Branch Library has a copy of this book for check out.

the heirThe Heir by Kiera Cass

For fans of the Selection series by Kiera Cass, this is the latest in the series that tells of the next Selection process with the newest generation. I really enjoy the main character and appreciate the reversal of roles in book. If you liked the Selection series, you will enjoy this but for new readers I recommend reading the first three books in the series first.

bitter is the new blackBitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster

If you are looking for a fun, sassy and sarcastic memoir, then look no further. Jen Lancaster is hilarious as she gives us an insight into her life and the encounters along the way. Highly recommend any of her books which can all be found in our library catalog.

Carole recommends:

watchersWatchers by Dean Koontz

From a top secret government laboratory come two genetically altered life forms. One is a magnificent dog of astonishing intelligence. The other, a hybrid monster of a brutally violent nature. And both are on the loose. The explosive story of a man and a woman, caught in a relentless storm of mankind’s darkest creation and the fight between good and evil.
You will get caught up in this book.

Elizabeth recommends:

For Teens:

gathering stormThe Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges.

In St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1888, royal debutante Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, tries to hide a dark secret–that she has the ability to raise the dead–but when she uses her special skill to protect a member of the Imperial Family, she finds herself caught in a web of intrigue.  Great historical fantasy set at the end of Imperial Russia.  Romance, political intrigue, and magic all combine to make for a great read.

For Kids:

Year Perfect Christmas TreeThe Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston.  Illustrated by Barbara Cooney.

Ruthie and her father have picked out the Christmas tree of the church in the spring.  This year it is their family’s turn to provide it.  However, when Ruthie’s father must go off to war, things get harder.  Most folks believe that there won’t be a Christmas tree this year, but Ruthie and her mother have a few tricks up their sleeves.  This story is set in the Appalachians, and it is beautiful both in its text and illustrations.  It is one of my all time favorite Christmas stories, and I try to read it every year.

HershelHershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel.  Illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman.

Hershel arrives in a village on the first night of Hanukkah, but there are no candles light any where and no one is celebrating.  He soon learns that goblins have taken over the synagogue and have stopped anyone from celebrating the holiday.  Herschel volunteers to defeat the goblins.  To do so, he must spend all eight nights in the synagogue and light the candles for each night, and on the last night, he must get the king of goblins to light the candles.  So with a number of tricks up his sleeves, Hershel sets off to face the goblins in their den.  This is my all time favorite Hanukkah story.  Everything about it is absolutely wonderful, and the text and illustrations work together perfectly.  Even if you don’t celebrate Hanukkah, this is a great read.

For Adults:

twelve cluesTwelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen.  On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me—well, actually, my true love, Darcy O’Mara, is spending a feliz navidad tramping around South America. Meanwhile, Mummy is holed up in a tiny village called Tiddleton-under-Lovey with that droll Noel Coward! And I’m snowed in at Castle Rannoch with my bumbling brother, Binky, and sourpuss sister-in-law, Fig.   So it’s a miracle when I contrive to land a position as hostess to a posh holiday party in Tiddleton. The village is like something out of A Christmas Carol! But no sooner have I arrived than a neighborhood nuisance, a fellow named Freddie falls out of a tree, dead…. Dickensian, indeed.  Freddie’s merely a stocking stuffer. On my second day in town, another so-called accident turns up another mincemeat pie—and yet another on my third. The village is buzzing that a recent prison break could have something to do with it… that, or a long-standing witch’s curse. I’m not so sure. But after Darcy shows up beneath the mistletoe, anything could be possible in this wicked wonderland. A great holiday mystery for any fans of historical mysterious.  This one especially has a great combination humor, romance, and dead bodies.

John recommends:

cannery rowCannery Row by John Steinbeck

Greetings:  my staff pick is Cannery Row by John Steinbeck.  I loved that the character of Doc (probably based on Ed Ricketts-Google him) invented the beer milkshake.  Other zanyness ensues.

Peggy recommends:

For Kids:

best Christmas pageant everThe Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
Remember this one from when you were a kid? Older children will love this 1972 classic, in which the six misbehaving Herdman kids—the “worst kids in the entire history of the world”—take over the church pageant and reinterpret the story of Christmas. The mix of outrageous moments, hilarious hijinks and profound surprises makes this one read parents will love as much as kids.

Sorry, but I LOVE almost anything by Lemony Snicket. His frivolous sense of humor and wry storytelling make for an enjoyable (here meaning ‘an activity giving delight or pleasure’) pastime.

For Adults:

holidays on iceHolidays on Ice by David Sedaris

This was so funny I spit coffee all over myself laughing while riding Bart to San Francisco one winter morning and everyone was so intrigued by my amusement they were writing down the title of the book that had me in such stitches. Holidays on Ice (and just about anything by David Sedaris) is laugh out loud funny. This is the best book to pick up if you want to de-stress during the holidays. Enjoy.

For Teens:

dash and lilyDash and Lily’s Book of Dares by David Leviathan and Rachel Cohn

Written in alternating point of view by two well-known young adult authors, this book is clever and fast paced. Centered on the joys of the holiday season, each dare brings these two wonderful characters closer together, despite the fact that they couldn’t be more different. Everything about this book is hopeful and fun, and it’s an added bonus that it is set during the holidays, giving the reader a taste of New York City at Christmastime.

November 2015 Picks

John recommends:

First published in the United States in 1966, the novel, based largely on Fariña’s college experiences and travels, is a comic picaresque story of Gnossos Pappadopoulis that takes place in the American West, in Cuba during the Cuban Revolution, and at an upstate New York university.
Dennis recommends:
Of the six books I have been trying to find time to read, three really have been helpful. My radio assignment may eventually progress to interviewing. I am learning how to take calls and link them to broadcast. Current study materials include:
The Interviewer’s Handbook advises on interview techniques for a variety of workplace situations including recruitment interviews, performance appraisals, attendance and absence management, discipline and grievance management and accident investigation. This book offers essential advice on the use of effective questioning techniques and how to get the most out of an interviewee. It provides in-depth guidance on the role that body language plays and examines the significance of listening techniques. The Interviewer’s Handbook also shows how to encourage dialogue and avoid conflict in sensitive situations. Case studies and scenarios are provided throughout to illustrate these vital techniques and how they get the best out of the interviewee and interviewer.
This unique book gives the latest information on how to succeed in the interview process, whether as an interviewee or an interviewer. Both verbal and nonverbal skills crucial to interview success are discussed in detail in this informative and clearly written book, and many sample questions from typical interviews are provided. This book covers all topics relating to the interview process, including techniques for interviewing and the different types of interviews used by governments, business, and other organizations, with special emphasis on the selection and hiring interviews. For job placement specialists, career counselors, personnel directors, human resource department employees, executives, managers, or any person wishing to brush up on their interview skills.
In neighborhoods, schools, community centers, and workplaces, people are using oral history to capture and collect the kinds of stories that the history books and the media tend to overlook: stories of personal struggle and hope, of war and peace, of family and friends, of beliefs, traditions, and values–the stories of our lives.Catching Stories: A Practical Guide to Oral Historyis a clear and comprehensive introduction for those with little or no experience in planning or implementing oral history projects. Opening with the key question, “Why do oral history?” the guide outlines the stages of a project from idea to final product–the interviewing process, basic technical principles, and audio and video recording techniques. The guide covers interview transcription, legal issues, archiving, funding sources, and sharing oral history with audiences. Intended for teachers, students, librarians, local historians, and volunteers as well as individuals, Catching Storiesis the place to start for anyone who wants to document the memories and collect the stories of community or family.
Carole recommends:
SplinteredSplintered by A.G. Howard
In this grotesque madness of a mystical under-land story, Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together for a while.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her best friend or the suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own. To find out what happens you must read this exciting story.
Karen recommends:
The Art of Baking BlindArt of Baking Blind by Sarah Vaughan
For fans of the Great British Baking Show, this wonderful novel follows five contestants and their stories to be the next Mrs. Eaden, the queen of British Baking. A great read.
“There are many reasons to bake: to feed; to create; to impress; to nourish; to define ourselves; and, sometimes, it has to be said, to perfect. But often we bake to fill a hunger that would be better filled by a simple gesture from a dear one. We bake to love and be loved. In 1966, Kathleen Eaden, cookbook writer and wife of a supermarket magnate, published The Art of Baking, her guide to nurturing a family by creating the most exquisite pastries, biscuits and cakes. Now, five amateur bakers are competing to become the New Mrs. Eaden. There’s Jenny, facing an empty nest now that her family has flown; Claire, who has sacrificed her dreams for her daughter; Mike, trying to parent his two kids after his wife’s death; Vicki, who has dropped everything to be at home with her baby boy; and Karen, perfect Karen, who knows what it’s like to have nothing and is determined her facade shouldn’t slip. As unlikely alliances are forged and secrets rise to the surface, making the choicest pastry seems the least of the contestants’ problems. For they will learn–as as Mrs. Eaden did before them–that while perfection is possible in the kitchen, it’s very much harder in life”– Provided by publisher.
Delicious! deliciousby Ruth Reichl
The book follows Billie Breslin and her job working for a famous Food Magazine. Rich in detail and characters, the story delves into Billie’s past and the history of the magazine. Wonderful read and the November Book Club read at Fort Bragg Branch Library. Stop by the library and grab your copy.
Absolutely TrulyAbsolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick
By the author of the Mother Daughter Book Club series. A great read that tweens and adults will enjoy. A story with a mystery tied to a family bookstore , moving to a new place and family going through some hard times. A wonderful story!!
Elizabeth recommends:
For Teens:
HunterHunter by Mercedes Lackey
A great read for fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent, and the Maze Runner. It’s a fantastic dystopia, and the characters are great. It’s the first in a new series which looks to be a lot of fun.
“A teenage girl leaves home to join the legendary Hunters, who protect the people from the terrifying monsters that have overrun their world”– Provided by publisher.
CinderCinder by Marissa Meyer by Marissa Meyer
A great sci-fi take on Cinderella, Cinder is the first in the Lunar Chronicles. For fans of any sort of fairytale this is a great read as well as for sci-fi fans. The audiobook version is just as good as the book.
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
Peggy recommends:
A Banquet of ConsequencesA Banquet of Consequences by Elizabeth George
This new release in the Inspector Lynley series does not disappoint.
As Inspector Thomas Lynley investigates the London angle of an ever more darkly disturbing case, his partner, Barbara Havers, is looking behind the peaceful fac̦ade of country life to discover a twisted world of desire and deceit. The suicide of William Goldacre is devastating to those left behind who will have to deal with its unintended consequences. Could there be a link between the young man’s leap from a Dorset cliff and a horrific poisoning in Cambridge? Knowing one mistake could mean the end of her career, Barbara Havers begs Inspector Lynley to let her take on the Cambridge case, with surprising consequences.
Eat to LoseEat to Lose, Eat to Win by Rachel Beller
Diagnosed with borderline Type 2 diabetes, I was at a loss with how to eat to control my blood sugar. Although the theme of this book is weight loss (a necessary step in controlling Type 2 diabetes), it is full of amazingly delicious recipes and nutrition tips that help reduce blood sugar. I highly recommend Eat to Lose, Eat to Win for those looking for a health lifestyle eating change.
In Eat to Lose, Eat to Win, celebrity nutritionist Rachel Beller (of Biggest Loser fame) takes a basic tenet of weight loss—eat the “right” foods—and makes it easy to achieve. No more writing lists or memorizing “approved” foods—an extensive, take-it-with-you, full-color look-and-shop guide shows actual products, making purchasing healthy foods and sticking to a nutritious eating plan straightforward and undemanding. Eat to Lose, Eat to Win is sensible and real-world ready with practical tips on how to best incorporate the latest nutritional recommendations—such as fiber, Omega-3, protein, and antioxidants—into a healthy diet. Filled with recipes for simple-to-prepare meals and snacks, as well as common-sense suggestions, this is a must-have tool for anyone looking for motivation to change to a healthier lifestyle.
For Kids:
Tops & BottomsTops & Bottoms by Janet Stevens
With roots deep in European folklore and the American South, this is a modern trickster tale. The moral lesson is key–those who work hardest are rewarded and the book highlights the importance of everyone doing their fair share of the work. The illustrations are delightful, the style, unique. How can you go wrong with a bear in Wingtips? Enjoy!
Hare solves his family’s problems by tricking rich and lazy Bear in this funny, energetic version of an old slave story. With roots in American slave tales, Tops & Bottoms celebrates the trickster tradition of using one’s wits to overcome hardship. “As usual, Stevens’ animal characters, bold and colorful, are delightful. . . . It’s all wonderful fun, and the book opens, fittingly, from top to bottom instead of from side to side, making it perfect for story-time sharing.”–Booklist

This title has been selected as a Common Core Text Exemplar (Grades 2-3, Stories)

October 2015 Picks

Peggy recommends:

The BeesThe Bees by Laline Paull

Told from the point of view of a worker bee, this unique novel gives an intriguing “insiders” look into the lives of those incredible creatures, the honey bees, whose very existence is endangered due to the carelessness of humans.

For Young Adults:

FreakboyFreakboy by Kristin Clark

With Bruce Jenner’s Caitlyn revelation still fresh in the news, this novel is a great way to heighten young adult awareness to the emotional rollercoaster of transgenderism in an unsupportive world. 

For Kids:

The CrossoverThe Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Narrator Josh uses the rhythms of a poetry jam to emulate the “moving & grooving/popping and rocking” of life on and off the basketball court. This novel in verse paints an authentic portrait of a closely-knit family on the brink of crisis. (2015 Newbery Medal Book)
Great book for understanding family issues and how they affect the children.

Camilla Cream loves lima beans, but she never eats them. Why? Because the other kids in her school don’t like them. And Camilla Cream is very, very worried about what other people think of her. In fact, she’s so worried that she’s about to break out in#133; a bad case of stripes!

A fun way of showing young children that embracing their true selves and liking you for exactly who you are is healthy.

Elizabeth recommends:

For Young Adults:
While working undercover on a series of stories for her campus newspaper, college freshman Maggie reluctantly endures mixers, rites, and peculiar rules, but soon learns that members of the sorority to which she has pledged have strange powers and a terrible secret.  This book is fun and fast paced and a little like a modern day supernatural Nancy Drew.  The sense of humor is fantastic, and it has a little bit of everything for the reader.
In an alternate 1950s, mechanically gifted fifteen-year-old Aoife Grayson, whose family has a history of going mad at sixteen, must leave the totalitarian city of Lovecraft and venture into the world of magic to solve the mystery of her brother’s disappearance and the mysteries surrounding her father and the Land of Thorn.  Great spooky atmosphere and a perfect fall read.  The world of the books will definitely suck you in. 
 For Kids:
Farmer Brown does not like Halloween, but the animals hold a Halloween party in his barn.  A great Halloween story that’s fun but not too scary.
Ghouls, goblins, ghosts, witches, and other scary creatures cavort in the forest on Halloween, introducing the numbers one through ten.  A great Halloween version of the classic “Over in the Meadow” and very fun to read aloud.

Karen recommends:

My favorite British Author.  Paradise Fields tells the story of Nel who organizes the local farmer’s market in a quaint British Village town, while balancing being a single mother, and actively trying to save the beautiful fields from being destroyed by a new owner. Fun, smart, charming with a wonderful romantic story.  We have lots of her books in our library catalog, a wonderful author worth discovering.
This book is actually written by the wonderful author JK Rowling.  For any lover of good mystery/ detective stories this will be worth the read. A great character driven story. The main character Detective Cormoran Strike is the classic grisly hard detective that you immediately like. The author doesn’t waste any of the storyline with romance but fills the story with interesting characters and vivid details. A must read and if you enjoy this book, there is the second book Silkworm and coming out this month is third book Career of Evil.  Check out these books at the Fort Bragg Library.
A wonderful book for anyone who loves nature and gardening. A great look at our backyard California gardens. This is a beautiful  poetic book, rich with stories and essays on what makes California and wonderful place to garden.  Unless it is checked out, Fort Bragg has a copy on it’s shelves.
 John recommends:

Mama Makes Up Her MindMama Makes Up Her Mind by Bailey White

If you like Garrison Keillor or Fannie Flagg, you may like this. Enjoy.

 Welcome to the unique world of Bailey White. Her aunt Belle may take you to see her bellowing pet alligator. Her uncle Jimbuddy may appall you with his knack for losing pieces of himself. Most of all, you may succumb utterly to the charms of Bailey’s mama, who will take you to a juke joint so raunchy it scared Ernest Hemingway or tuck you into her antique guest bed that has the disconcerting habit of folding up on people while they sleep. White’s indelible vignettes of Southern eccentricity have entranced millions who have heard her read them on NPR. Mama Makes Up Her Mind is as sweetly intoxicating as a mint julep and as invigorating as a walk in White’s own overgrown garden.

Carole recommends:

water knifeThe Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi

An eerily relevant novel about a not so future nightmare where powerful corporate robbers control the most necessary of human needs: water. A great read!

The setting is the American Southwest, at a time in the near future when the country is plagued by climactic calamities and the Southwest’s dwindling water supply is controlled by robber barons. Hit by a “Big Daddy Drought,” a perpetual catastrophe that has become the horrifying new normal, the Grand Canyon State is the new American dust bowl — or sand bowl — where refugees crowd the ghettos of suburban Phoenix and rapacious “coyotes” smuggle people not from Mexico to the U.S., as they do now, but from Arizona to California.

The federal government has been severely weakened by corporate influence; the drought-stricken Western states have formed their own militias and shut down their borders. In the midst of this poverty and tragedy,  massive resorts are being constructed across the parched landscape, ones that flaunt their water-wealth in the face of exploited workers and gross ecological disparity.

In The Water Knife, Bacigalupi raises bigger questions, about what happens when a shrinking federal government leaves a vacuum in its wake, and what kinds of things rush in to fill that void. 

September 2015 Picks

Karen recommends:

Paris WifeThe Paris Wife by Paula McClain

Paula McClain does a wonderful job of telling the story about the marriage of Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley.  Well written with intriguing characters that look at the “Lost Generation” in Paris and the struggle to be the wife of Ernest Hemingway.

Girls of Atomic CityThe Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan

Fort Bragg Library will be reading this book for the Thursday Book club for September. A really interesting look at the town of Oak Ridge Tennessee and the role it played in World War II.

For Young Adults:

The Selection

The Selection by Kiera Cass

A fun read where 35 girls are selected to compete for a chance to change the life that has already been selected for them.  In a dystopian land that was once North America, people live according to caste systems that they are pre-destined for. A chance to compete for the love of the Prince offers a chance to change someone’s life.  A nice twist on dystopian and fairy tale love stories, a nice weekend read.

Dennis recommends:

The Crash of 2016: the plot to destroy America and what we can do to stop it by Thom Hartmanncrash of 2016

The four books I am currently reading came about because of my new radio show on KNYO 107.7 FM.
Three hours daily a morning show is broadcast by Thom Hartmann author of the book The Crash of 2016.  I found out it is not likely I will ever meet Thom as his show is syndicated out of Washington D.C  Oh well, the book is interesting and the KNYO staff was impressed I had the book.  I am also reading up on how to be an excellent interviewer because it goes with being a successful talk radio host.  So I am reading Interviewing Techniques by Carolyn B Thompson, Interviewing For Success by Arthur H Bell, and Catching Stories : a practical guide to oral history by Donna M. Deblasio.  Doing live radio is keeping me on my toes.  Lots more to learn both at library and radio.
John recommends:
McManus celebrates the hidden pleasures, unappreciated lore, and opportunities for disaster to be found in such outdoor recreations as camping, hunting, and fishing.
More humerous observations and insights into the agonies and ecstacies of hunting, fishing, and camping by the author of They Shoot Canoes, Don’t They?and other celebrations of life in the wild.
Carole recommends:

zeroesZerOes by Chuck Wendig

Hardly a day goes by without some new form of technological menace rearing its head, in science fiction author Chuck Wendig cyber-thriller, Zer0es.

Zer0es is a novel about cutting-edge tech, but at heart it’s as traditional as they come. Wendig throws together a ragtag group of hackers from a broad stretch of backgrounds, each of whom has been sentenced to hard time for their online crimes. That is, unless they agree to undertake a secret mission: From a streetwise identity thief, to a backwoods conspiracy theorist, the characters are rounded up and whisked away to a compound called The Lodge, where they’re trained for their big job — one that winds up involving a sinister, rogue cyber-entity known as Typhon. Along the way their pasts and souls are laid bare, including those of their taskmaster, a government operative whose own traumatic history continues to haunt him.

As the five hackers clash with each other, both personally and ideologically, at The Lodge, their growing awareness of the dark forces lurking behind the walls of the government — and of reality — kicks the suspense into high gear when devastating blackouts in New York and Iran’s nuclear program come into play. How does it end, you will have to read to find out.

bonesetter's daughterThe Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan

There are two subtly interconnected stories in this book. The first is that of Chinese-American “ghost writer”, a workaholic in her mid-40s who’s living with a divorced man and his two adolescent daughters while dealing as best as she can with her frail, elderly mother LuLin, whose imperfect assimilation into American culture is becoming exacerbated by encroaching Alzheimer’s. The story within it is LuLing’s written memoir of her childhood in a village near Peking; orphanhood, marriage, and bereavement under Japanese invasion during WWII before she finally reinvented herself and emigrated to San Francisco; and especially her complex relationship with her “Precious Auntie,” a victim of patriarchal oppression whose hold on LuLing’s mind and heart long outlasts her death, and proves to have been much more than the “nursemaid” who raised her. LuLing’s frustrated efforts to learn the truth about her origins is ingeniously linked to the archaeological searches that result in the discovery of “Peking Man”—a discovery later echoed by both Ruth’s and LuLing’s confrontations with confused and lost identities. This book builds slowly, and a few sequences seem inexplicably disproportionate. But the elaborate preparation pays generous dividends in the stunning final 50 or so pages: a beautifully modulated amalgam of grief, pride, resentment, and resignation—as Ruth accepts the consequences of knowing “She was her mother’s child as she becomes mother to the child her mother had become.”

Peggy recommends:

descentDescent by Tim Johnston

A family of 4 takes what they believe will be a nice respite in the beautiful Rocky Mountains prior to 18 year old Caitlin’s entrance into college when the unthinkable happens and they are thrown into a nightmare of emotions revolving around loss, family, and faith.

A gripping, thought provoking, haunting thriller you won’t soon forget.

nature of the beastNature of the Beast by Louise Penny

Nature Of The Beast is the 11th installment in the Chief Inspector Gamache series and is as intriguing a page turner as it’s 10 predecessors. Laurent LePage is a precocious 9 year old, full of stories of espionage and aliens. Many of his stories fall in the “boy who cried wolf” category until the one time he is telling the truth. When Laurent disappears it sends the whole village of Three Pines out searching and on edge for the real truth has dire consequences.

For Young Adults:

Monster by Walter Dean MyersMonster

While on trial as an accomplice to a murder, sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon records his experiences in prison and in the courtroom in the form of a film script as he tries to come to terms with the course his life has taken.

A great story about how one single decision can change our whole lives.

For Kids:

wolf's chicken stewThe Wolf’s Chicken Stew by Keiko Kasza

A hungry wolf’s attempts to fatten a chicken for his stewpot have unexpected results.

The kids in my daycare loved this book so much I had to read it every day for over a year. It’s a book even vegetarians can love.

Elizabeth recommends:

For Kids:
The queen is devoted to her cats and they know they are loved, but when they try to win the king’s affection, they drive him right out of the castle–at least for a while.
Meet Little Bear, and Mother Bear, who is there whenever Little Bear need her. When it is cold and snowy outside, she finds just the right outfit for Little Bear to play inches When he goes to the moon, she has a hot lunch waiting for him on his return. At night, she helps him get to sleep. And, of course, she never forgets his birthday.
Seven very proper Victorian young ladies conspire to hide a murder from the authorities at their boarding school.
For Young Adults:
In an alternate world where industrialization has caused many species of carbon-eating dragons to thrive, Owen, a slayer being trained by his famous father and aunt, and Siobahn, his bard, face a dragon infestation near their small town in Canada.
Gwyneth Shepherd’s sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon—the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.
I Am Princess X by Cherie PriestI Am Princess X – Years after writing stories about a superheroine character she created with a best friend who died in a tragic car accident, sixteen-year-old May is shocked to see stickers, patches, and graffiti images of the superheroine appearing around Seattle.
For Adults:
Lady Kiera Darby helps solve a murder at her sister’s isolated country estate, especially since she’s the main suspect. But Kiera is determined to both protect her family and prove her innocence, even as she risks becoming the next victim.

August 2015 Picks

Karen recommends:

A J Fikry

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

When his most prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, is stolen, bookstore owner A. J. Fikry begins isolating himself from his friends, family, and associates before receiving a mysterious package that compels him to remake his life.

Carole recommends:

Kitchen God's WifeThe Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan

Helen and Winnie have kept each other’s worst secrets for more than fifty years. Now that Helen believes she is dying, she wants to tell everything.  Winnie is angry with Helen’s decision and believes she should be the one to tell her own daughter, Pearl, about the past, a past that includes a secret even Helen doesn’t know. The Kitchen God’s Wife is Winnie’s story of her life from a small island outside of Shanghai in the 1920s, through several places in China during World War II, and ending with the desperate events that led to Winnie’s coming to America in 1949.

Dennis recommends:

master and commanderMaster and Commander by Patrick O’Brian

This, the first in the splendid series of Jack Aubrey novels, establishes the friendship between Captain Aubrey, R.N., and Stephen Maturin, ship’s surgeon and intelligence agent, against a thrilling backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. Details of life aboard a man-of-war are faultlessly rendered: the conversational idiom of the officers in the ward room and the men on the lower deck, the food, the floggings, the mysteries of the wind and the rigging, and the roar of broadsides as the great ships close in battle.

John recommends:

Hollow Chocolate BunniesThe Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse by Robert Rankin

A psychopath is on the loose. He must be stopped at any cost. It’s a job for toy Town’s only detective–but he’s missing, leaving only Eddie Bear, and his bestest friend Jack, to track down the mad killer. A hilarious, very irreverent fantasy from the cult creator of Web Site Story, The Sprouts of Wrath, and the five-book Brentford Trilogy.

Elizabeth recommends:

For Adults:

Her Royal SpynessHer Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen

The Agatha Award winner debuts a 1930s London mystery series, featuring a penniless 20-something member of the extended royal family. When an arrogant Frenchman, who wants her family’s estate for himself, winds up dead, Victorias most important job is to clear her family name.

For Young Adults:
FangirlFangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cath struggles to survive on her own in her first year of college while avoiding a surly roommate, bonding with a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words, and worrying about her fragile father.

Peggy recommends:

For Adults:

Raven BlackRaven Black (a Shetland Island mystery) by Ann Cleeves

When murder strikes a remote hamlet in the Shetland Islands, and the body of a teenage girl turns up in the winter snow, Inspector Jimmy Perez launches an investigation into the killing that takes him into the heart of sinister secrets from the island’s past.

For Kids:

How to Speak DolphinHow to Speak Dolphin by local author, Ginny Rorby

Since her mother died, twelve-year-old Lily has struggled to care for her severely autistic half-brother, Adam, in their Miami home, but she is frustrated and angry because her oncologist step-father, Don, expects her to devote her time to Adam, and is unwilling to admit that Adam needs professional help–but when Adam bonds with a young dolphin with cancer Lily is confronted with another dilemma: her family or the dolphin’s freedom.

Other Favorites for 2015:

sixth extinctionThe Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert

Provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as a concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind’s most lasting legacy, compelling us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.  Winner of the 2015 Pulitzer for General Non-fiction.

All the LightAll the Light We Cannot See by Andrew Doerr

A stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.  Winner of the 2015 Pulitzer for fiction.

given worldThe Given World by Marian Palaia

A sweeping portrait of post-Vietnam America seen through the eyes of a young woman searching for the courage to go home again.