Staff Picks

September 2019

Becoming Superman

by Michael Straczynski

A writer’s journey from poverty to Hollywood with stops along the way at murder, madness, mayhem, movie stars, cults, slums, sociopaths, and war crimes.

I’m a few pages from finishing this but a very inspiring memoir from the author that wrote Marvel’s Thor and Babylon 5. This guy had an absolutely horrendous life and still managed to become a marvelous writer. One of the first memoirs I have read and truly enjoyed, cheering him on all the way.

Recommended by: Carol Maresh, Cataloger II

Posted in: Adult Fiction

Gods of Jade and Shadow

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Set in Mexico during the Jazz Age, this story combines elements of fairy tales, a hero’s journey, and Mayan folklore into an unforgettable read. Cassiopeia Tun lives in the home of her wealthy grandfather, scrubbing floors and polishing boots to make up for her mother’s marriage to a poet-nobody. In his grand house, grandfather keeps an old wooden chest at the end of the bed and forbids anyone to open it. One sweltering afternoon, when the family travels to partake in the cool waters of a healing spring, Cassiopeia decides that she’s had enough. She unlocks the forbidden chest and unknowingly releases the Mayan God of Death, Hun Kame, who was deposed and decapitated by his brother. Together, the pair must travel the world to recover what was stolen and reinstate Hun Kame to his throne in the underworld. If you love mythology, mystery, and magic this book is for you!

Recommended by: Kara DeCarlo, School Liaison 

Posted in: Adult Fiction

Grave Mercy

by Robin LaFevers

Ismae was born marked by death, a side effect from her mother’s failed attempt to end the pregnancy.  When her father marries her off to a violent and cruel suitor, she escapes and finds a new home at the convent of St. Mortain, the god of Death.  It’s here that she learns the skills of an assassin, excelling especially with poisons.  Ismae soon finds herself deep undercover in the court of Princess Anne of Brittany trying to discover and eliminate all threats toward the princess.  If you are looking for your next series featuring strong female characters, this first book of the “His Fair Assassin” series should find itself a home on your to-read list.

Recommended by: Brandi Smits, Youth Services Manager

Posted in: Young Adult


by Alan Gratz

Refugee tells the story of three refugee families from three different points of history. Josef is a Jewish boy escaping with his family from Germany in the 1930s on a ship set for Cuba.  Isabel and her family set out on a raft from Cuba hoping to start a new life in Miami in the 1990s.  Finally, in 2015, Mahmoud and his family leave Syria for Germany, one of the closest countries accepting refugees. All three stories share the theme of hope and freedom.  The book is written in alternating chapters which help in the connections between three characters, each from different times but living somewhat similar lives.

Recommended by: Brandi Smits, Youth Services Manager

Posted in: Young Adult

Lovely War

by Julie Berry

Who better to tell a love story than Aphrodite?  When Aphrodite is caught having an affair with Ares by her husband Hephaestus, she tells the tale of two couples experiencing the unpredictability of love.  Told through alternating perspectives through the eyes of several Greek gods, Lovely War tackles romance but also explores music, PTSD, and race relations during WW1.  I’m not usually a romance fan, but the unique structure and compelling characters hooked me immediately and now I’m recommending this book to everyone who will listen.

Recommended by: Brandi Smits, Youth Services Manager

Posted in: Young Adult

August 2019

Long Shot

The pairing of Rogen and Theron may seem odd on paper, but they have a natural chemistry on-screen where you can tell they enjoyed making this film just as much as you enjoyed watching it. The parallels to our current political climate are done in a playful way and it’s never too blatantly in your face. “Long Shot” finds this sort of balance throughout and that’s why it is a step above what you would expect from a typical rom-com. 

Recommended by: Lisa Stemmons, Patron Services Clerk

Posted in: Movies/TV

Far From The Tree

A documentary featuring the stories of those deemed “abnormal” by society is at once heart wrenching and deeply extraordinary. Rather than 93 minutes of spoon-feeding us sadness about the black sheep of the family, “Far From The Tree” manages to provide a poignant look with a tinge of humor at what it means to be human. You will cry, you will be reminded of your privilege and then you will rejoice and revel at the depths of familial love.

Recommended by: Lisa Stemmons, Patron Services Clerk

Posted in: Documentary

The Woman in the Window

by A.J. Flinn

Dr. Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day consulting online with patients, drinking way too much wine, watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.  Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble.  What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.

Recommended by: Emily Meszaros, Reference Librarian

Posted in: Adult Fiction


In a nutshell, it’s a thriller about a good deed gone wrong due to the crossings of a naive young adult and unstable elderly woman. “Greta” features a lot of standout sequences full of suspense and empathetic elements, as well as vibrant performances from Chloe Grace Moretz and Isabelle Huppert. If you were hooked on the Lifetime to Netflix series “You,” this film is very reminiscent of that.

Recommended by: Lisa Stemmons, Patron Services Clerk

Posted in: Movies/TV

The Pet Project: Cute and Cuddly Vicious Verses

by Lisa Wheeler

What is the perfect pet for me: pony, tiger, bear, monkey? A girl takes a serious, research-based approach to finding the ideal pet for her and her family. Each poems shows the struggles of owning each type of different pet in amusing ways as our young scientist learns about each type of animal. Told in poetic verse, each report and its rhyme scheme has a great flow to present the girl’s humorous findings on each potential pet. Wheeler’s verses will often teach some small lessons about animals to get kids enthused about certain pets to do more research. Illustrator Zachariah OHora’s adorable illustrations on each animal will make this a favorite for before-bed storytime. Perhaps along the way, the girl in this book will inspire budding scientists to conduct their own animal research!

Recommended by: Alex Pappas, Reference Librarian

Posted in: Youth Fiction

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