Below are the staff picks from 2022.
Current Staff Picks
2020 Staff Picks
2021 Staff Picks
1. As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner
In February of 2020, I was looking under Historical Fiction and found this book. It is about the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. Little did I know that a month later our world would be experiencing a similar situation.
The book is set in Philadelphia that was hit particularly hard by the flu. It is about the family of a mortician and the difficulties they all endured being so close to the horrors of the sickness and the long and tiring extra work. Susan Meissner is so good at storytelling. I always enjoy her books.
2. One Summer by David Baldacci
When I saw One Summer was going to be made into a Hallmark movie I hurried and read the book before seeing the movie. I'm glad I did because the book is definitely better. It is quite a change from the usual writing of David Baldacci.Terminally ill Jack is preparing to say goodbye to his wife Lizzie and their 3 children. On Christmas Eve, Lizzie is killed in a tragic accident . With Jack unable to care for them, the children are separated and sent to live with relatives. Then, miraculously , Jack recovers and learns to deal with the loss of his wife and regaining custody of his children.
3. To Wake the Giant by Jeff Shaara
In the early part of 1941, no one in the U.S . Military believed Japan was a real threat. In the months leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor, Jeff Shaara gives us a look into the events that unfolded before the deadly attack from the perspectives of the U.S Secretary of State, Japan's Ambassador to the U.S., The Japanese Admiral who planned the attack, an American Intelligence officer and a 19 year old sailor aboard the USS Arizona.
To Wake the Giant is a great book for history buffs. .
4. The Judge's List by John Grisham
I love John Grisham and have read most of his books. The Judge's List features a character from a previous book, The Whistler.
Lacy Stoltz works for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct. An anonymous woman claims a sitting judge in Florida is a serial killer. The woman's father was one of his first victims and she has spent most of her life trying to get enough proof to have him arrested. With Lacy's help, she hopes to get the police involved and put him in prison. It is a riveting thriller with many twists and turns.
5. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
I'm ashamed to say I had never read this book. My granddaughter wanted to show me how her reading had improved and the Giving Tree was the book she picked.
Now I understand why it is such a beloved book. It is cute for a child to see the little boy talk to the tree and evolve into an old man but adults will see a touching story of true love and devotion.
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein should be on everyone's list of books to read.
Library Assistant | January 2022
1. Little Critter Books by Mercer Mayer
These are a favorite of mine from childhood. I vaguely remember my father bringing some of them home for me and there were always several in my pile of books to choose from. I now enjoy reading them to my son as well.
2. Hooked on You by Kathleen Fuller
This is the first book in the Maple Falls Romance series that I found on the Hoopla app. It was under the "recommended for you" banner so I gave it a try. I very much enjoyed the book and am (im)patiently waiting for the other books in the series to release. I was surprised to find that this author typically writes Amish Fiction so this series seemed to be a change of pace for her.
3. Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo
I grabbed this book because of the 2022 Reading Challenge the Library does through Beanstack. The January activity was to read a book adapted to screen and this book series is now a series on Netflix. At the time of this writing I am about halfway through the book and I only put it down because I fell asleep! .
4. Susan May Warren
Keeping with my Christian Suspense/Romance authors, I started reading some of her series in 2021 and enjoyed them. As happens with some of these series, the outcome can be predictable but the writing is good and I enjoyed them.
5. The Christmas Pig by J.K. Rowling
This is a cute book about a boy and his favorite 'thing' that gets lost and needs to be found again. The boy gets help from some unexpected friends to track down his lost toy. Though I don't usually read Juvenile Fiction, occasionally it is nice to read something fun. Since I love the Harry Potter books, reading another by Rowling seemed a good choice and she did not disappoint..
Library Assistant | March 2022
1. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
Blink entirely changed the perspective I had on decisions I made in my everyday life. Galdwell explores our innate ability to make some decisions quickly, and how the decisions we make in the blink of an eye may be more reliable than decisions we make after more thought. Gladwell presents information from several studies and explores the processes behind making the decisions we make daily.
2. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
The Outliers completely changed my view of success and how successful people achieve what they do. Through exploring the lives of the most successful people,Gladwell seeks to answer the question… What makes high achievers so successful?
3. Lightning Falls in Love by Laura Kasischke
Lightning Falls in Love includes poems and short stories. Kasischke incorporates short stories about her life struggles she has faced, including assault and abuse. I loved that Kasischke's poems throughout the book allow for a deeper emotional understanding of the short stories. .
4. Losing Earth: A Recent History by Nathaniel Rich
I chose this book because it was one of the most eye opening books that I have read about climate change and global warming. This book focuses on our understanding of climate change through the decades, and also the fossil fuel industry's efforts to spread misinformation regarding humans' effect on our climate. It also tells the story of two unlikely heroes who risked their careers in order to convince the world of the need for urgent action regarding our climate before it was too late.
5. Controlling Women: What We Must Do Now to Save Reproductive Freedom by Kathryn Kolbert & Julie F. Kay
Kolbert and Kay share the accounts of women and health care providers at the center of decades of legal battes concerning women's rights to abortion. Kolbert and Kay propose new strategies inspired by medical advances, state-level protections, human rights models, and activists across the globe in order to protect women's right to reproductive freedom. This book inspired and informed me on the future of reproductive rights and steps everyone can take to ensure this right is protected.
Young Adult Services | April 2022
1. The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
The Four Winds tells the story of Elsa Wolcot and her family living in the Great Plains. Elsa watches the land around her crack and become hopeless during the Dust Bowl following the Great Depression. Elsa has to make a decision to stay and fight to strengthen her land or move to unfamiliar places in order to save her family.
2. Summer Sisters by Judy Blume
Summer Sisters is a coming of age story of two best friends, Caitlin and Victoria. The story follows the best friends together and separate from childhood through adulthood. I first read this book in high school and it is still one of my favorite books.
3. Room by Emma Donoghue
This story is told from the perspective of a five year old boy, Jack, who is being held captive in a small room with his mother. To Jack, their Room is his entire world, but to his mother, Room, is a prison. .
4. White Oleander by Janet Fitch
This book is about a child named Astrid who is taken from her mother's care and placed in foster care. The novel follows Astrid and her experiences, some good, some awful, in foster homes.
5. Out of My Heart by Sharon M. Draper
I wanted to pick a book that I am currently reading which is Out of My Heart. This book is the sequel to Draper's previous novel, Out of my Mind. Melody, who has cerebral palsy, cannot speak or walk. Now she is a teenager and is wanting to experience more in life. This is the story of her attending summer camp and meeting new people.
Library Assistant | May 2022
1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
This book is about African Americans working in white households in the 1960's. I really enjoy this book due to the insight that it gives on how racial discrimination was a part of every social conversation, especially during the 1960's. The plot is alluring and I really couldn't put this book down once I started it.
2. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Most people often think that successful individuals are "self made", but Gladwell explains that what lies behind the myth is often a series of lucky events, rare opportunities and external factors, which are out of our control. This really made me think about the extremely successful individuals we see today and what they went through to get to where they are now.
3. Eragon by Christopher Paolini
This is a great book for slightly younger readers to teenagers. If you love fiction, fantasy, and mystical elements, then you'll love this series. Eragon is book one of the Eragon series. A boy named Eragon finds an egg that hatches a dragon, and together they plot to stop an evil king from taking over their beloved home..
4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I grew to love this book after doing a deep dive into it for a high school class. Set in the roaring 1920's, this book explores the lives of an extremely wealthy man, a woman who is the social belle, and many others.
5. Rocket Boys by Homer Hickman Jr.
A unique American memoir, Homer Hickman Jr., better known as Sonny, reflects back on his high school age in the 1960's. He and his friends developed a love for designing, building, and setting off rockets, but not without some external and internal troubles along the way.
Library Assistant | June 2022
1. Speak Love by Annie F. Downs
"I whole-heartedly believe that if we can teach teen girls how to use their words to speak life, we can make a lasting impact on the world. So I wrote a book to prove it. This text will tackle how we use our words towards God, how we use our words towards each other, and how we use our words towards ourselves." - Annie F. Downs
This book is such an encouragement! It talks about so many topics that young adults and teen girls need to hear. I first learned about Annie through her podcast That Sounds Fun. After listening to that for awhile, I discovered she's written quite a few books. She is such an inspiration and I love her style of writing. She tells stories while relaying important messages. I don't like a lot of non-fiction but her writing keeps me pulled in.
2. Tiger Can't Sleep by S.J. Fore
This was one of my favorite books when I was little! It's a great read aloud and brings laughter to the "monsters in your closet". A little boy can't fall asleep because there is a tiger making all kinds of noise in his closet. He tries again and again to get him to be quiet. Read the book to see how he falls asleep!
3. Strands of Truth by Colleen Coble
This is a great suspense story about secret half-sisters, sinister attacks, and unexpected romance. It's a great read if you want a main story and a love story on the side. There were lots of turns I didn't expect and it had me hooked on the first page. Plus, the main character has red hair just like me. :).
4. The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
This is another childhood favorite. This book is about a selfish fish who eventually learns to share his beautiful scales. It is beautifully illustrated and teaches a good lesson while keeping kids engaged with all the sparkles. As a little girl I loved glitter so this was a perfect book for me! Plus, it goes perfect with our SummerBASH theme: Oceans of Possibilities!
5. The Seer Series by Rachelle Dekker
"Like all citizens since the Ruining, Carrington Hale knows the importance of this day. But she never expected the moment she'd spent a lifetime preparing for—her Choosing ceremony—to end in disaster."I came across this series while shelving a Ted Dekker book! While I don't prefer his books, I thoroughly enjoyed this series by his daughter. I read the second book first (a great reminder to NEVER do that) and was completely confused. After reading them in the correct order it became one of my favorite series. It's full of suspense, friendships, and a little bit of love.
Library Assistant | July 2022
1. Cat Kid Comic Club by Dav Pilkey
Since I have grandchildren, I am exposed to their many favorite books. This series is one of their favorites. The book is a spin-off of Pilkey's Dog Man series. Li'l Petey, the main character, decides to design a club for drawing comics and enlists the help of his friends, Flippy and Molly. This is a delightful and entertaining book for young readers.
2. I have a Superpower by Stephen Curry
Most people know Steph Curry as a fantastic NBA Golden State Warrior's basketball player. He is also an author and his book inspires young readers telling them they can unlock their own "superpowers" and be successful. The book parallels Curry's own journey to the NBA which was not easy, but he prevailed and wants young readers to know they, too, can do it. (set to be released in September)
3. Cats vs. Robots #1: This War by Margaret Stohl and Lewis Peterson
This young reader's book is about robot overlords, secret feline agents, and earthling humans. It is hilarious and draws in coding and other STEM applications thus making the story fun and educational. Readers in 5th and 6th grade will especially enjoy reading this book. .
4. The Firm by John Grisham
Published in 1991, this book began my odyssey of John Grisham books. To this day, I still enjoy reading his books in my personal library. This book details the experiences of a young lawyer who recently graduated law school and became an employee of a very prestigious law firm in Memphis. Even the settings are based on actual places in Memphis. Everything starts out fine, but eventually turns suspenseful. Grisham draws his readers into the story using his own legal experience as a lawyer.
5. Livid by Patricia Cornwell
Livid is a new book by Cornwell and will be made public in October. I began reading her books many years ago and thoroughly enjoyed the main character, Kay Scarpetta, a chief medical examiner. According to previews, the book is about the shocking and suspicious death of a judge's sister.
Library Assistant | August 2022
1. Who Moved My Cheese?: An A-Mazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Spencer Johnson
This is a short, but fun book. It's a great parable centered on 4 little characters, with great names, in a maze. It's about life and its changes that you can apply to your own life. And, what does the cheese have to do with it? And what is your cheese?
When you read the book, you'll find out.
You'll find it in our nonfiction section.
2. A Few of the Girls by Maeve Binchy
Ireland's Maeve Binchy was a masterful storyteller. Her stories hit all the emotions. This book is a fantastic collection of 36 of her best tales. It's a book that's hard to put down once you start.
3. Home to Harmony by Philip Gulley
This is the first of the Harmony series. Location = small town America. The whole series is loaded with humor and warmth. You'll enjoy visiting this little town and meeting some of its residents. It might be small but there's always something happening in Harmony. Sometimes harmony is a bit short.
4. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
This is book one of a terrific series. It's mystery with an added mix of war and romance. The setting is England, WWI. A young Maisie, 13, is a maid. Then WWI hits and changes everything. Maisie evolves into an amazing private investigator. The storyline is excellent. So well written. You can envision the scene , almost like being there.
5. Still Life by Louise Penny
I am a HUGE fan of this Louise Penny series.Come to the picturesque snowy village of Three Pines in Quebec. The villagers will become real to you in no time.
This is the best mystery series I have ever read.
It is the Chief Inspector Gamache series.
Start at the beginning, with Still Life.
You won't want to miss a moment.
Louise Penny's books have been read around the whole globe. Translated into numerous languages. I can understand why.
Youth Services | September 2022
1. But No Elephants by Jerry Smath
This book has been one of my all time favorites since I was a child. I remember my mom reading it to me and how she would read it louder and more animated with each page. It's a great read aloud that I use in Story time even now.
2. Popcorn by Frank Asch
On Halloween night, Sam invites all of his friends to his house for a costume party. As his guests arrive, each one brings the same treat—popcorn! They make it all, and soon the house is overflowing with popcorn. What will Sam and his friends do with it all? Well...they pop it all! This book definitely got my imagination going and I even tried to fill my house with popcorn once but without much luck.
3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling
Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. That's because he's being raised by his miserable muggle aunt and uncle who are terrified Harry will learn that he's a wizard, just as his parents were. But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny.
I don't think that a fantasy book ever held my attention like this one did...and wow did it! I was completely hooked on the series and now am reading it to my daughter.
4. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
I was well out of my teen years when this book was published but it sent me right back to the time where I was no longer a young girl but was maturing to someone completely different.
This is the story of Belly who measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer—they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one wonderful and terrible summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.
5. Author: Kristin Hannah
When I read a book written by Kristen Hannah, I feel like I am sitting with a good friend. She has this incredible ability to write stories that speak to your heart and take you to a completely different place at the same time.
Some of my favorites: Firefly Lane, Distant Shores and Home Again
Library Assistant | October 2022
1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
As a huge fan of the classics, (Austen, Dickens, the Brontë sisters) I can easily say that this book is quite possibly my favorite classic of all time. no matter how many times I reread it, the complex storyline and structure never fail to draw me in. Brontë is extremely talented in highlighting the chaos of the time she lived in. If you're looking for a short escape into the past, I highly recommend!
2. A Wounded Name by Dot Hutchison
YOU KNOW HOW THIS STORY ENDS.
A retelling of Shakespeare's Hamlet in Ophelia's point of view
Sixteen-year-old Ophelia Castellan will never be just another girl at Elsinore Academy. Seeing ghosts is not a skill prized in future society wives. Now, in the wake of the Headmaster's sudden death, the whole academy is in turmoil, including Ophelia. At the center of her crumbling world is Dane, the Headmaster's grieving son. He, too, understands the power of a promise to a parent- even a dead one. To him, Ophelia is the only person not tainted by deceit and hypocrisy, a mirror of his own broken soul. And to Ophelia, Dane quickly becomes everything. Yet even as she gives more of herself to him, Dane slips away. Consumed by suspicion, rage, and madness, he spirals towards his tragic fate- dragging Ophelia, and the rest of Elsinore, with him.
The name "Ophelia" is as deeply, painfully, tragically real as you first read in "Hamlet"
3. Smoky Mountain Rose: An Appalachian Cinderella by Alan Schroeder
My sister raised me on this book, it is ,to me, one of the biggest staples of my childhood. I was read and reread and read this book up until it was time for my sister to move out, and surprisingly…I never grew tired of it. The most striking characteristic of this book is undoubtedly the gorgeous artwork illustrated on all of the pages. I like to think that this book gave me an early mindset of the fierceness and persistence I still possess today :) This book is terribly underrated, and I highly recommend picking up this book for your kiddos, especially if they're obsessed with Cinderella!!
4. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer Trilogy by Michelle Hodkin
This fast-paced psychological—or is it paranormal?—thriller will leave you breathlessMara Dyer doesn't know if she is crazy or haunted—all she knows is that everyone around her is dying in this suspenseful and strong, inventive tale
Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. It can. She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed. There is.
After Mara survives the traumatizing accident at the old asylum, it makes sense that she has issues. She lost her best friend, her boyfriend, and her boyfriend's sister, and as if that weren't enough to cope with, her family moves to a new state in order to give her a fresh start. But that fresh start is quickly filled with hallucinations—or are they premonitions?—and then corpses, and the boundary between reality and nightmare is wavering. At school, there's Noah, a devastatingly handsome charmer who seems determined to help Mara piece together what's real, what's imagined—and what's very, very dangerous.
5. Author: Alex Michaelides
This young and fresh author is EXTREMELY talented! His slow-burn psychological thrillers are impossible to put down once started. His books have a unique chill to them, which is perfect for this spooky month!! Any fans of thrillers will not be disappointed!
Library Assistant | November 2022
1. Author: W Bruce Cameron
I cannot recommend his books enough, he has written both fiction and juvenile fiction. As hard as it is to pick a favorite, I would have to say A Dogs Journey sequel to A Dogs Purpose. They always manage to bring tears to my eyes and are a must-read for dog lovers.
2. Ranger in Time: Rescue on the Oregon Trail by Kate Messner
This early chapter book is a wonderful book for kids to learn about the Oregon Trail while also being very entertaining and enjoyable to read. I haven't gotten to reading the other books in the series but I am looking forward to following Ranger on more adventures.
3. Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover
Where to start with this one. I absolutely love this book and can't recommend it enough to romance readers, Tate and Miles are such wonderful characters, I didn't want the book to end since I knew I wouldn't be able to move on from them. The mystery kept me turning pages and had me crying once it was explained. I am very excited to read more Colleen Hoover books.
4. Me and a Guy Named Elvis: My Lifelong Friendship with Elvis Presley by Jerry Schilling with Chuck Crisafulli
If you are a fan of the King or just want to learn about him, this is the book. The author Jerry Schilling was friends with Elvis from the time he became famous until his passing in 1977. It is a breath of fresh air to read a book about Elvis that is all facts. I'm currently halfway through reading it and I feel like I know Elvis from all of the wonderful stories.
5. Elvis (2022 motion picture)
If you couldn't tell already, I'm an Elvis fan. This movie perfectly captured the legend himself, the acting and cinematography is absolutely beautiful. If you are looking for a new movie with a great soundtrack and cast, this is the one for you!
1. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Great book covering many of the Viking legends and lore of the Norse gods. Interesting picture of the Characters we think of in the movies versus their legends.
2. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Good book about the gods of old mythology being involved in the lives of everyday humans.
3. The Templar Revelation by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince
The authors begin an investigation into Leaonado da Vinci and his strange belief in the importance of John the Baptist and the Templar belief that he was superior to Jesus
4. Fall (DVD)
Heart pounding movie about getting stuck on top of a radio tower in the desert. Forcing the characters to face their own mortality and fears.
5. Scrooged (DVD)
Modern version of Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Bill Murray is excellent in this film and it is always a must watch during the holidays.
2023 Staff Picks