Staff Reviews - Books, Movies, Music & Online Courses

Book
Reviewed by Mary Anne on Friday, January 15
As guests gather for a getaway weekend at a resort in the Catskills, a snowstorm is gathering also, cutting the travelers off from the outside world. Having such a luxurious shelter against the storm should be about relaxing in front of the fire, and snuggling up with a good book and a glass of wine. Alas, it is not to be. Soon the power goes out and when the first guest dies, the rest of the...
Book
Reviewed by Mary Anne on Wednesday, January 13
The “Wonder Boy” of the title is Bud Threadgoode, who grew up in Whistle Stop, Alabama, and whose mother, Ruth, and Aunt Idgie, ran the Whistle Stop Café, famous for Fried Green Tomatoes (Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, 1987). This book will update all Whistle Stop lovers on the lives of all of those well-known characters, alternating between live action scenes, and the Christmas...
Book
Reviewed by Jane on Wednesday, January 13
This story begins and ends in Stoneybridge,  a small town on the West Coast of Ireland. The Ryan family is a large group of boys and girls. Geraldine, known as Chicky, watched as her siblings got jobs or moved away and finally took a job in a knitting factory office. One day a handsome American named Walter Starr came in looking for an Aran sweater. The attraction between them was mutual and...
Book
Reviewed by Mary Anne on Saturday, January 09
The Guest List takes place on a small island off the Irish Coast, at a destination wedding for an “Influencer”, a bride who is a magazine publisher and trendsetter, who sets up an extravagant wedding in an exotic location for the publicity she can squeeze from it. The groom is a very handsome rising television star, with a group of friends from his days in boarding school attending the wedding,...
Book
Reviewed by Mary Anne on Thursday, January 07
Ruth Ware has been called the modern Agatha Christie, and in *One by One*,Ware demonstrates she is worthy of the comparison. Topher, the CEO of asmall but rising tech company called Snoop, invites eight people to acorporate retreat at a luxury chalet high in the French Alps. The idea isfor the group to decide whether to take a buyout offer that will make themall rich or hold out a little longer...
Book
Reviewed by Jane on Tuesday, December 22
This story begins when a young police officer is promoted to detective sergeant. He and his team are assigned to the drug squad and tasked with the apprehension of Khalil Rashidi, a notorious drug dealer operating in South London. As the investigation progresses, Detective William Warwick is faced with a challenge of turning an old enemy from his school days that is now a street dealer into an...
Book
Reviewed by Mary Anne on Wednesday, December 16
The Gift of the Magpie by Donna Andrews is the newest installment in the Meg Lanslowe mystery series. Meg volunteers to run the Helping Hands for the Holidays project in her town, where neighbors pitch in to help other neighbors with projects they can’t do or can’t afford to hire someone to do for them. Her team’s biggest project is to help Harvey the Hoarder clean out his house and declutter....
Book
Reviewed by Mary Anne on Tuesday, December 08
The Noel Letters by Richard Paul Evans follows the story of Noel Post, who leaves her job as editor at a major New York publishing house to say goodbye to her estranged father. Although she is too late, her father will speak to her in many ways throughout the story. While she is in Utah, dealing with her father’s estate, Noel loses her job and apartment, but inherits her father’s bookstore. A...
Book
Reviewed by Mary Anne on Wednesday, December 02
Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella is a delightful, funny and heartwarming story; another rollicking installment in the life of Becky Brandon, formally Becky Bloomwood. In the weeks leading up to Christmas in England, Becky is, of course, trying to shop for the perfect present for her husband Luke,  leading her to her usual extreme lengths to get her hands on a one of a  kind “portmanteau”....
Book
Reviewed by Jane on Monday, November 23
This is the story of a young lawyer named Shelly Trotter. Shelly has an estranged relationship with her family as a result of problems in her youth. She spends her teen years living with her grandmother to avoid being in the spotlight of her father’s political career. She graduates college and law school with help from scholarships. After Shelly passes the bar, she becomes a children’s rights...
Book
Reviewed by Mary Anne on Wednesday, November 04
Anthony Horowitz is a British literary tour de force, but not known well in the United States.  Horowitz started as a children’s author, then became a screenwriter, writing the popular PBS series, Foyle’s War. He went on to write most of the early series of Midsomer Murders and several adult mysteries. Horowitz’s writing is fresh and fun, using a variety of literary devices to keep the reader...
Book
Reviewed by Mary Anne on Wednesday, November 04
Anthony Horowitz is a British literary tour de force, but not known well in the United States.  Horowitz started as a children’s author, then became a screenwriter, writing the popular PBS series, Foyle’s War. He went on to write most of the early series of Midsomer Murders and several adult mysteries. Horowitz’s writing is fresh and fun, using a variety of literary devices to keep the reader...
Book
Reviewed by Mary Anne on Wednesday, November 04
Anthony Horowitz is a British literary tour de force, but not known well in the United States.  Horowitz started as a children’s author, then became a screenwriter, writing the popular PBS series, Foyle’s War. He went on to write most of the early series of Midsomer Murders and several adult mysteries. Horowitz’s writing is fresh and fun, using a variety of literary devices to keep the reader...
Book
Reviewed by Mary Anne on Wednesday, November 04
Anthony Horowitz is a British literary tour de force, but not known well in the United States.  Horowitz started as a children’s author, then became a screenwriter, writing the popular PBS series, Foyle’s War. He went on to write most of the early series of Midsomer Murders and several adult mysteries. Horowitz’s writing is fresh and fun, using a variety of literary devices to keep the reader...
Book
Reviewed by Mary Anne on Wednesday, November 04
Wild Fire is the eighth and final installment of Cleeve’s Shetland series, featuring Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez, in charge of keeping the peace on the Shetland Islands, off the coast of Scotland. A young family, the Flemings, moves to one of the islands to make a new start. Daniela and Helena have two children, one of whom, Christopher, is autistic. It is Christopher who finds Emma, a young...
Book
Reviewed by Mary Anne on Wednesday, November 04
Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling, and Troubled Blood is the fifth installment in the Cormoran Strike Series, a gripping mystery series that Rowling began with The Cuckoo’s Calling. By this fifth book, Rowling’s characters are very will developed, interesting people who are not afraid of telling the truth. Cormoran Strike is a tough guy, a veteran with a troubled past, but with a...
Book
Reviewed by Jane on Monday, October 05
This is a multi-generational story of the Sullivan family that highlights their long line of Hollywood royalty that began with Irish immigrant, Liam Sullivan. He and his wife Rosemary use their talents to create careers in movies and theatre while raising their two children, Hugh and Maureen. As the story and time move on, Hugh’s son Aidan marries and has a daughter, Caitlyn. Hugh’s wife...
Book
Reviewed by Mary Anne on Monday, October 05
Colin O’Brady is an explorer and elite athlete who has set multiple world records. He has achieved many incredible physical feats in his young life, but the most punishing may be his quest to be the first person to cross Antarctica alone – pulling his own sled weighing 375 pounds across the continent in punishing conditions, completely self-supported. His journey became even more demanding when...
Book
Reviewed by Mary Anne on Monday, September 28
  Milo Weaver is a semi-retired CIA operative who is trying to keep a low profile in the WesternSahara. In the past, he was in charge of the CIA's "Department of Tourism", a hidden group ofCIA assassins. The Tourists, as they are called, were disbanded, and Milo has tried to parlay hisexperience into a new venture called "The Library", where he leads a group of peoplegathering and sharing...
Book
Reviewed by Mary Anne on Friday, September 25
Casey Peabody is 31 and her mother died recently, very suddenly.  Casey is drowning under a mountain of debt from student loans.  Casey lives in Cambridge, MA, in a (really) crummy shed and is paying too much rent for it.  She’s determined to finish the novel it’s taken her 6 years to write.  She has seen all of her writing buddies give up, and take on “normal “ jobs, except for one friend, who...
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