Staff Picks

Hatchet

Hatchet Book Cover

This is a young adult book about a teen flying to see his father in Alaska for the summer. The plane crashes and the pilot is killed. He has to use his ingenuity to stay alive and struggles with finding hope and the will to survive. We follow his struggles in the wilderness to stay alive.

Ambition and Desire: the dangerous life of Josephine Bonaparte

Ambition and Desire: the dangerous life of Josephine Bonaparte Book Cover

By This well written non-fiction history of Josephine Bonaparte reads almost like a novel. It follows Josephine as a young, somewhat lazy and not particularly educated, girl through her adulterous years in which she develops her political skills and charms that become her essence of survival through adulthood. She strengthens through an unhappy first marriage and divorce, France's political turmoil, and as a prisoner watching her friends die by guillotine almost meeting the same fate. Upon first meeting, Napoleon is pulled to Josephine like an addiction. As life progresses marriage occurs, wars are won, and more power is gained by Napoleon. Josephine, in turn, becomes deeply attached to Napoleon. She is everything Napoleon is not. Napoleon is brash, rude and socially inept. After years of marriage and as crowned Emperor, Napoleon needs an heir that Josephine cannot deliver most likely due to health effects from being a prisoner. The divorce was painful for both Napoleon and Josephine. Although their tumultuous relationship reveals flawed traits of both Josephine and Napoleon the reader will be brought to realize why their relationship continues to intrigue us to this day. (If you like this you may be interested in reading Saundra Gulland's fictional trilogy on Josephine. You will be pleased with how closely it follows this non-fiction writing.)

The Prince of Venice Beach

The Prince of Venice Beach Book Cover

If you’re a street kid who lives in a tree-house & spends your time surfing, skating & playing basketball what kind of job could you hope to get? What are your assets & strengths? And, what are your weaknesses? You’re officially “missing” until you turn 18 (unless you want to get shipped back to Nebraska) so that means no driver’s license & no car. But, let’s focus on what you do have…

Lost Lake

Lost Lake Book Cover

Lost Lake the newest book of Sarah Addison Allen is another wonderful tale of second chances. "Worlds of regret and missed opportunities and lost loves found again" was one reviewer's thought of the book. This story has wonderful character development and it was a book that I did not want to end. If you are familiar with her other books, you know each one contains a bit of magic. This is a beautiful tale of a widowed mom, Kate, and her young daughter who escape their life in Atlanta for an adventure in a remote area of Southern Georgia called "Lost Lake".

Coyote Wind

Coyote Wind Book Cover

COYOTE WIND is the first in a series of mysteries based in rural Montana. Gabriel DuPre, a brand inspector who's heritage is French Indian, is reluctantly drawn into crime solving. In his spare time he plays fiddle in the local bar and juggles his lover, two teenage daughters and an assortment of eccentric friends and neighbors. Bowen's books are fast paced and full of humor and history.

The Power of One

The Power of One Book Cover

This is the story of Peekay, a South African boy of British origin, whose childhood is marked by trials and abandonment. His experience in a Dutch boarding school gives him the determination he later needs to become Welter Weight Champion of the World. Set after WWII, this story shows the many ways in which people affect our lives, but that ultimately it is the power of one that changes the world.

Let Him Go

Let Him Go Book Cover

Rural, North Dakota, early 1950's -a retired sheriff returns home one day to find his wife packing for a trip. She is hoping that her husband will accompany her as she sets off to find her widowed daughter-in-law, who has remarried and taken their only grandson away. The new husband is abusive and part of a psycho family who have no intention of letting either of them leave. A well-written story of love and tragedy that will haunt you long after you have finished.

The Valley of Amazement

The Valley of Amazement Book Cover

Lulu owns and runs a courtesan business in Shanghai. Her daughter, Violet, lives there too and is fascinated by the lives of the glamorous women. When she is abandoned by her mother, Violet has no choice but to become a courtesan too. Luckily for her, she is taken under the wing of an older woman who helps her survive some very difficult times. Amy Tan brings China in the early 20th century to life, while presenting mother-daughter issues and the position and options of women at that time.

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness Book Cover

This book brought the realities of madness right to the forefront. I couldn’t put it down. Miss Cahalan is a journalist who retells the story of her diagnoses and treatment of a form of autoimmune encephalitis which attacked her brain. I couldn’t help but think “this could happen to anyone”. Her experience was terrifying and she shows selflessness in sharing her story with others. An unbelievable telling of an incredible journey back to wellness both mentally and physically.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the Lane Book Cover

Another Gaiman book I did not want to put down! As the narrator travels back to his childhood lane, he is mysteriously drawn to the house at the end, the one with the Ocean, or as he calls it the little duck pond. His memories take us back to a time he spent with Lettie Hempstock, and two ladies she calls her mother and grandmother, which was so peculiar and magical yet almost believable. After a freak accident involving the family’s car, he meets the three magical Hempstock ladies, and the journey is full of strange happenings. Everywhere you look the unbelievable becomes believable, what seems like a normal pond is really a magical Ocean, and those who seem like a normal family living at the end of the lane are actually witches who have each lived through may lifetimes. The accident brings trouble, and the Hempstock women are just the people to take care of the vermin trouble.