Staff Picks

October 2019

A Dash of Trouble

by Anna Meriano

Leonora loves her big family and their family bakery. Every year, her family takes pride in crafting beautiful pastries for the town’s annual Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead celebration and certainly this year Leonora will be invited to help out in the kitchen. After a frustrating day at school and being told by her mother that she’s still too little to help, Leonora decides to borrow the old family cookbook from the bakery. She’s determined to show everyone how great she is in the kitchen, but it turns out the cookbook is not just a cookbook. It’s a book of magic spells! This story of families, holidays, and magic is a real treat. If you want a story with magic, but find the world of Harry Potter a bit too much, this book is a great choice.

Recommended by: Kara DeCarlo, School Liaison  

Posted in: Youth Fiction

Tumble and Blue

by Cassie Beasley

For generations, members of the Montgomery family have received supernatural gifts, some lucky others not so lucky. There’s only one day in a century when a Montgomery can change their luck, under the blood moon deep in the Okefenokee swamp. Only one member of the family knows how to get to the island where luck can be changed. The one person is Granny Eve, who is grandmother and sole caretaker of our hero, Blue. Blue knows that his gift is pure bad luck, and he’s determined to be the one who gets the location out of Granny. But he has to contend with countless other cousins, Aunts, and Uncles who have arrived with the same goal in mind. One afternoon, he slinks out of the house, looking for some peace and meets his new neighbor, Tumble Wilson. Always ready for adventure, Tumble promises to help Blue explore the swamp and reverse his luck. This book is great for fans of adventure, spooky stories, and weird tales.

Recommended by: Kara DeCarlo, School Liaison      

Posted in: Youth Fiction

Wild and Crazy Guys: how the comedy mavericks from the ’80s changed Hollywood forever

by Nick De Semlyen

I stumbled on this book randomly on our new nonfiction shelf.  It was so interesting.  The author walks the reader through the careers of so many great comedians of the 1980s including Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Dan Ackroyd, Billy Murray, Eddie Murphy, and more.  Wild and Crazy Guys gives you a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the actors’ personal and professional lives, from TV to the big screen.  If you’re a movie fan like me, you’ll wait with anticipation for Ghostbusters or The Blues Brothers to get mentioned.  One side effect from reading this book is an increased DVD watch list.

Recommended by: Brandi Smits, Youth Services Manager    

Posted in: Adult Nonfiction

The Biggest Little Farm

This uplifting documentary warmed my heart to its core. The narrator’s soothing voice paired with shots at an equal caliber to “Planet Earth” made the entire viewing experience a wholesome one. Sure, it is mindless idealism at its finest, but I didn’t care and neither should you! This lovely couple followed their dream, built a farm and created an entire community dedicated to getting in touch with Mother Earth, and what’s to dislike about that?

Recommended by: Lisa Stemmons, Patron Services Clerk   

Posted in: Documentary


Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut has all the makings of an outstanding coming of age film: whip-smart dialogue, captivating teenage performances and a killer soundtrack. The unrealistic elements and some downright absurd dramatics may make some roll their eyes at first, but when you view it as a metaphor for the craziness of growing up it is fitting. Plus, it makes the more authentic scenes that hone in on the nitty gritty realities of high school senior woes that much more enjoyable.
Recommended by: Lisa Stemmons, Patron Services Clerk

Posted in: Movies/TV

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

On the continent of Fódlan, three mighty nations coexist in an uneasy peace. The best and brightest students of each land are sent to the Officers Academy at Garreg Mach Monastery, an elite school of swords, sorcery, and statecraft. As a new professor, you are tasked with leading one of the three Houses and preparing your students to excel while also uncovering a sinister plot taking root at the Academy. With an easy to learn but intricate battle system, a huge cast of colorful and complex characters, and multiple story lines to choose from, this game will satisfy veterans of the series and newcomers alike.

Recommended by: DeAnna DeHoff, InterLibrary Loan Assistant   

Posted in: Video Games

The Call

by Peadar O'Guilin

A long time ago, the people of Ireland banished the fae known as the Sídhe to another world. Now the Sídhe are back, and taking revenge by kidnapping teenagers to take part in a brutal hunt known as The Call. If they can survive twenty-four hours, these young men and women can return home. But if they’re caught, only horror awaits. Nessa Doherty knows she could be Called at any time, but unlike the others she is determined to survive. An engrossing mix of thrills, horror, mystery, and fantasy, this book is perfect for fans of dark fairy tales or those looking for a haunting read for Halloween.

Recommended by: DeAnna DeHoff, InterLibrary Loan Assistant   

Posted in: Young Adult Fiction

With the Fire on High

by Elizabeth Acevedo

Life has never been easy for Emoni Santiago. Raised by her loving abuela since her mother died and her father left the family behind to return to Puerto Rico, Emoni must now make it through her senior year of high school while also looking after her young daughter Emma. Juggling unpaid bills, family drama, and a potential new romance, Emoni finds refuge in the kitchen where creating new recipes and experimenting with food has always given her solace. But when she joins a new cooking class at her school and is confronted with the pressure of deciding her future, Emoni must choose between what’s best for her daughter or following her dreams. Can she find a way to balance her responsibilities with her dreams of being a chef? Equal parts sweetness and tears, this book is perfect for those looking for an inspiring story of finding happiness doing what you love (and includes delicious recipes too!)

Recommended by: DeAnna DeHoff, InterLibrary Loan Assistant   

Posted in: Young Adult

Bone’s Gift

by Angie Smibert

One part historical fiction, one part mystery, one part supernatural tale: this book adds up to a real page-turner.  Set in a coal mining town in West Virginia  just as the United States is entering World War II, you may think our main character has enough to deal with.  12 year-old Bone Phillips comes from a family with peculiar gifts; an Uncle who can heal animals, a Grandmother who speaks to plants. Bone can see the stories in everyday objects, just by picking them up. One day Bone finds a note that says her mother died as a result of using her own gift. Bone is determined to solve the mystery of her mother’s death and bring her father home from training to go to the front lines. A beautifully written tale that draws you into a world where ghosts may be real and there’s no problem that can’t be solved with a little help from some friends.

Recommended by: Kara DeCarlo, School Liaison 

Posted in: Youth Fiction

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

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