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Recent Book Reviews

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Finding Audrey

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Kinsella, Sophie(2015)Recently Added Review
Finding Audrey
Young Adult

Audrey was a normal fourteen-year-old until a school incident left her with an anxiety disorder that has put her life on hold. She wears dark sunglasses, stays at home from school, and can’t look anyone in the eye--not even her family. That is, until she meets her brother’s friend Linus who adds to her recovery, along with Dr. Sarah. Soon, a romantic relationship starts, and Audrey is coming to terms with her wild family and recovery as well. This is Sophie Kinsella’s first book for young adults, but it should not be missed. Like her Shopaholic series, this book is quirky, fun, but also has a story of true redemption. It is light-hearted, but brings to light the effects that can happen to someone that is relentlessly bullied by their peers.

Reviewed by Maeve C., University City Regional

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The New Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook

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Brown, Ellen(2014)Recently Added Review
The New Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook

The New Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook is an idea cookbook for anyone just starting out in cast iron cooking! The book’s 150 modern recipes are prefaced with clear, detailed instructions on how to care for and season your pan, and a few common troubleshooting tips. The recipes span the day from breakfast to desserts. They contain common or easy-to-find ingredients, none with a long list of ingredients, and many are featured in full color photographs. Throughout this book, the reader will get a thorough introduction to the many methods of cooking in cast iron pans, including stovetop, oven, and mixtures of both! While the author has an impressive resume, which included serving as the USA Today food editor, most readers will find this an incredibly accessible cookbook.

Reviewed by Marie H., ImaginOn

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Finding Jake

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Bryan Reardon(2015)Recently Added Review
Finding Jake

Stay-at-home dad Simon Connolly is more than happy to stay home with the kids while his high-powered attorney wife `brings home the bacon`. But when a school shooting is blamed on his 17-year-old son Jake, Simon`s life starts to unravel. He struggles to understand the things he knew about his son, and what he just didn`t see coming. Told in a familiar narrative reminiscent of tragic school shooting news reports, the story is at once illuminating and terrifying, giving us an in-depth look at what really happens when parents are not as closely observant and rest in the comfort that they know their children.

Reviewed by Alex O., Main Library

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The Chatham School affair

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Thomas H. Cook(1996)Recently Added Review
The Chatham School affair

Set in the idyllic town of Chatham at a prestigious all boys’ school, master crime writer Thomas H. Cook weaves a story fraught with romance, regrets, and hope for the future and murder. When the exotic Ms. Channing arrives in Chatham School to head the newly created arts-- program, the atmosphere shifts. The men begin to long for different lives and reminisce upon missed opportunities while jealousy for Ms. Channing runs rampant among the faculty wives. As the story unravels through the eyes of one of the students we are taken down a dark path nobody could have predicted. And as his imagination struggles to imagine an epic romance, the tale is in fact filled with tragedy and murder.

Reviewed by Alex O., Main Library

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The End of Innocence

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Jordan, Allegra(2014)Recently Added Review
The End of Innocence

Set amidst proper Boston society, within the halls of Harvard, and inevitably the battlefields of Ypres two young people come together as the world falls apart. In 1914 American is not yet in the war though allegiances are clear and Harvard is not a peaceful place. Helen Windship Brooks starts her studies at Radcliffe, delighted to be away from her mother’s embarrassing cause of the day and persistent penchant for social suicide. When a prominent professor invites her to join his Harvard poetry class Helen meets a talented German student, Wils Brandl. Allegra Jordan devoted 21 years of research to this beautiful, heartbreaking book which surely belongs beside All Quiet on the Western Front as a classic of The Great War.

Reviewed by Rita L., Independence Regional

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Master thieves : the Boston gangsters who pulled off the world's greatest art heist

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Kurkjian, Stephan(2015)Recently Added Review
Master thieves : the Boston gangsters who pulled off the world's greatest art heist

They stare pleadingly out at the visitor, those empty frames. They await the return of the paintings so brutally stolen from their rightful homes. On March 18, 1990, 13 paintings valued at 500 million were taken from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in what could be described as an amateurish smash and grab. Since then, no trace of the paintings has been found despite some tantalizing leads and mystery sightings. Stephen Kurkjian takes the reader through the murky corners of Boston’s underworld and posits the possible culprits and their reasons for the heist. The FBI has two theories to the artworks’ fate neither of which is encouraging. This reviewer could only look at the empty frames and think of the pieces “wish you were here.`

Reviewed by John C., Main Library

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  Spring 1865 : the closing campaigns of the Civil  War

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Jamieson, Perry F(2015)Recently Added Review
Spring 1865 : the closing campaigns of the Civil War

The final volume of the Great Campaigns of the Civil War takes the reader through the first six months of 1865 as the war grinds to its conclusion. Most know of the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia in early April but other Confederate forces were still very active. Two of the major events happened here in North Carolina; (the assault on Fort Fisher near Wilmington and the surrender of the Army of Tennessee at Bennett Place). The final surrenders were in Texas and Oklahoma ironically after the last battle at Palmito Ranch a Confederate victory. Although this reviewer would have to include the cruise of CSS Shenandoah, the author has given us an excellent account of the Civil War’s final days

Reviewed by John C., Main Library

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Prey

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Howard, Linda(2011)Recently Added Review
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Prey

A woman determined to keep her wilderness guide company afloat. A business rival determined to win her heart or sink her career. A deranged bear determined to eat everyone. So goes the story of Angie Powell and Dare Callahan, two residents of a small Montana town whose professional and personal lives become entangled during the course of a hunting expedition that goes very wrong. This action-packed romantic thriller will keep you hooked to the end as the pair pits their wits and survival skills against two beastly killers on the loose - one animal and the other human.

Reviewed by Jori F., Steele Creek Branch

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The Big Book of Sides: More Than 450 Recipes for the Best Vegetables, Grains, Salads, Breads, Sauces, and More

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Rodgers, Rick(2014)Recently Added Review
The Big Book of Sides: More Than 450 Recipes for the Best Vegetables, Grains, Salads, Breads, Sauces, and More

This cookbook, as the subtitle states, is chock full of recipes. Over 450! Many of the recipes call for 10 or less ingredients, and are not complicated to prepare. The author is a chef who often caters special holiday meals, and he includes a few sample menus at the beginning of the book. Even for the sides not included in these sample menus, he gives tips at the beginning of the recipe as to which meats or other sides would pair well together. While not every recipe is photographed, many are, and they are gathered together in full color at two places near the middle of the cookbook. With this many recipes to choose from, every palate is sure to find something to love!

Reviewed by Marie H., ImaginOn

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Saint Anything

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Dessen, Sarah(2015)Recently Added Review
Saint Anything
Young Adult

Sydney always felt invisible next to her older brother Peyton. He was always the center of attention and now he’s the focus for a different reason. After a series of increasingly serious incidents of crime and drug use, Peyton is involved in a drunk-driving accident and is now facing jail time. While Sydney is dealing with Peyton’s fallout, she meets the Chatham family and their fun-loving, loud, crazy family is the polar opposite of her family, but they are just what Sydney needs. She finds a much-needed close friend in Layla and she is also drawn to Layla’s older brother Mac. Through the Chatham family Sydney is also able to find a way to reconnect with her family in her own way.

Reviewed by Jessica B., Mint Hill Branch

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