Staff Picks

Staff recommendations for the best of what to read, listen to and view in our collection.

The Pharaoh's Secret by Marissa Moss

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Talibah, age 14, and her younger brother, Adom, travel with their father on a business trip to his native land of Egypt.  Strange dreams and visions, mysterious carvings, and people with golden snake bracelets begin to trouble Talibah as soon as she arrives.  Visits to museums and Ancient Egyptian temples soon reveal a mystery over 3,500 years in the making.  Talibah learns about Hatshepsut, the Pharaoh Queen and is commissioned beyond the grave to find Senenmut, Hatchepsut's missing advisor and tutor for her daughter, and learns about her own family history as well.  A fascinating read that combines Ancient Egyptian history, legend, and the timeless love of family.  Recommended for Gr. 6 and up.

The Penny Pinchers Club by Sarah Strohmeyer

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Kat is a housewife with a big spending problem. When she discovers that her husband is planning to leave her after their daughter's upcoming high school graduation, she goes on a quest to save up the $15,000 she'll need to retain a divorce attorney. At the suggestion of her housekeeper, Kat joins a group called the Penny Pinchers Club which meets in the local library basement to start learning how to be more thrifty. Well-written and charming, the story has some interesting twists and turns, with themes of mid-life reinvention, old flames, some dumpster-diving espionage and crummy bosses who need to get what's coming to them, all explored while giving helpful hints on living well for less.

A Fatal Grace: A Three Pines Mystery by Louise Penny

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A Fatal Grace coverThis is the second book in the mystery series set in the small town of Three Pines, Quebec, and featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surete du Quebec. (Smart, experienced, and patient - he's just what you want in a chief inspector).  A woman nobody likes is electrocuted in the middle of a frozen lake while watching a game of curling, and Gamache and his team have to figure out who the murderer is.  The characters of the townspeople are interesting and appealing and well developed - you really get to know them and their individual personalities.  Three Pines just seems so pleasant and cozy. The first book in the series is Still Life.  These are great books, especially if you like your cozy mysteries with a little French mixed in.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

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The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls takes the reader on an incredible journey through the lives of the Walls family told by the middle child Jeanette who by her own strength of character and persistance leaves an abusive family environment to thrive in New York as a successful journalist. Wall's memoir exposes startling neglect within a context of humor and irony as the family consisting of four children and two clueless parents falls deeper and deeper into debt, neglect and abject poverty. You will find yourself rooting for Jeannette throughout this well told story. I loved this book.

The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King

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The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King is a well drawn historical novel that makes the assumption that Sherlock Holmes is real and that he takes on an apprentice by the name of Mary Russell. The relationship between Holmes and Russell developes slowly throughout the book and by the end, the characters, including Dr. Watson and Mrs. Hudson provide enthralling escape for the reader into the world at the turn of the century. King is up to her 10th installment in this well written series. Fans of Conan Doyle will be pleased.

Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Devil in the White City by Erik Larson is an incredibly layered experience that includes art, architecture, madness, murder and remarkably detailed biographies of some of the most influential people of the 19th and 20th centures. Larson sets out to connect the history of the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 with that of a series of murders by a monster that went by the name of Henry H. Holmes. This a very intense and enjoyable book that broadens your understanding of modern American history while simultaneously entertaining you with a murder story that disturbs and fascinates with equal measure.

The New Yorkers: a novel

Polly has just broken up with Chris and moves out of his apartment into an apartment with a curious history. Jody falls in love with Everett but Everett falls for Polly. Simon loves Jody but seems to love his hobbies more. Dog love. People love. City love. It's all here and it's brilliant! The New Yorkers by Cathleen Schine is the new Jane Austen in my opinion. She writes about the relationships between people and their animals all the while commenting on society and manners with great subtlety and insight. Funny and touching!

 

Nanny Returns by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

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It's 10 years later and Nan is back in New York after living abroad with her husband Ryan (aka Harvard Hottie). She's trying to get her consulting business off the ground and dealing with the renovations on the apartment they purchased upon returning to the city. Ryan has started pressuring her to start a family, but Nan isn't sure it is something she wants. When Grayer X, her former charge, shows up on her doorstep needing her help, she realizes she still feels guilty after all these years for leaving him. As much as she doesn't want to, she finds herself getting sucked back into the X family drama.  If you find yourself forgetting what happened in the first book, the authors have a great refresher on their website!

A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck

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Grandma Dowdel is back.  It's the 1950's and the country is still working it's way out of the effects of the Great Depression and WWII.  Twelve-year-old Bob and his family move in next door to Mrs. Dowdel.  As they fight bullies and prejudice, they learn that people and things aren't what they seem to be, and the toughest person in town has the biggest heart.  An excellent companion book to A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder.

The Secret History of Tom Trueheart by Ian Beck

Tom Trueheart is the youngest of seven brothers whose job it is is to find exciting endings for "The Story Bureau." When his six brothers, all named Jack, fail to return home, it's finally Tom's turn to have his own adventure. He must follow the clues in each brother's story to determine what happened to them so they can finish their stories and return home. Readers will have a fun time with the humorous spin on traditional fairytales.

Check our catalog for the children's book: The Secret History of Tom Trueheart