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Staff Reviews - Books, Movies, Music & Online Courses

Book
Reviewed by Mary Anne 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...
Book
Reviewed by Mary Anne on Friday, September 25
LeCarre’s greatest spy is George Smiley, who led the British Secret Service Intelligence operations during the Cold War. Smiley is absent for most of this novel, but the story is all about him. Operation Windfall was a key covert operation that led to the deaths of agent Alec Leamas, from LeCarre’s famous book, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. Peter Guillam, another retired agent is called on...
Book
Reviewed by Mary Anne on Friday, September 25
Astrid Strick is a 68 year old widow with three grown children and three grandchildren.  She witnesses a school bus accident that kills an old friend, Barbara Baker, and it makes a huge impression on her, causing her to take a close look at her life and family.  Astrid resolves to let her children know about the relationship she has been having for quite a while with her longtime hairdresser and...
Book
Reviewed by Jen on Tuesday, September 22
If you’d like an inspiring story, read Troop 6000 by journalist Nikita Stewart. When Giselle Burgess and her children were evicted from their home, they found themselves living in a temporary shelter in Queens, New York. Burgess, a former Girl Scout, recognized an opportunity to create a community within the shelter and established the first Girl Scout troop to be based in a homeless shelter. By...
Book
Reviewed by Jen on Tuesday, September 22
For an utterly absorbing tale of science and obsession, pick up Why Fish Don’t Exist by Lulu Miller. Miller explores the life and work of taxonomist David Starr Jordan, who has been credited with discovering nearly a fifth of the fish known to humans today. His collection of specimens was destroyed over time, by lightning, fire, and ultimately, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Instead of...
Book
Reviewed by Jen on Tuesday, September 22
For fans of old Hollywood, More Than Love is a must read. First time author Natasha Gregson Wagner has penned a lovely, intimate tribute to her mother, acclaimed actress Natalie Wood. Wagner was 11 when Wood died in a tragic boating accident in 1981. Here, she shares sweet anecdotes about her childhood, recounts her mother’s glamorous celebrity life, and explores the searing grief of losing a...
Book
Reviewed by Colleen on Monday, September 21
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hope of Glory presents a timely portrait of veteran congressman and civil rights hero John Lewis that details the life experiences that informed his faith and shaped his practices of non-violent protest.
Book
Reviewed by Niles on Monday, September 21
An insightful, multidimensional portrait of the powerful Holy Roman Emperor describes how Charlemagne served as a bridge between the ancient world and modern Europe by uniting the nations of Europe to bring the continent out of the Dark Ages, detailing his life, character, and military and political accomplishments.
Book
Reviewed by Niles on Monday, September 21
Draws on first-person testimonies and forensic records to document the events surrounding the 1666 Great Fire of London that destroyed more than 13,000 homes, numerous buildings, and St. Paul's Cathedral, in an account that considers the roles played by such figures as Charles II, Samuel Pepys, and Christopher Wren.
Book
Reviewed by Mary Anne on Monday, September 21
Longtime Jeopardy! host and television icon Alex Trebek reflects on his life and career. The book uses a novel structure inspired by Jeopardy!, with each chapter title in the form of a question, and features dozens of never-before-seen photos that candidly capture Trebek over the years.
Book
Reviewed by Colleen on Monday, September 21
The outlandish, hilarious, terrifying, and almost impossible-to-believe story of the legendary, dangerous amusement park where millions were entertained and almost as many bruises were sustained, told through the eyes of the founder's son. Often called "Accident Park," "Class Action Park," or "Traction Park," Action Park was an American icon. Though it closed its doors in 1996 after nearly twenty...
Book
Reviewed by Jen on Monday, September 21
Finding unexpected support from a new friend while collecting stories from her rapidly vanishing Brooklyn community, Sydney uncovers sinister truths about a regional gentrification project and why her neighbors are moving away.
Book
Reviewed by Jen on Monday, September 21
Sheltering in a New York beach house with a couple that has taken refuge during a massive blackout, a family struggles for information about the power failure while wondering if the cut-off property is actually safe.
Book
Reviewed by Mary Anne on Monday, September 21
Investigating a new client's suspicions about an unfaithful spouse, iconoclastic detective Jackson Brodie is catapulted by a chance encounter into a sinister network of secrets and lies. By the award-winning author of Case Histories.
Book
Reviewed by Mary Anne on Wednesday, September 02
This is a wonderful, heartwarming story by a master of characterization. This is a short novel, but a great summer book and can be read almost in one sitting.   Micah Mortimer is our protagonist. Micah is a 40ish bachelor, and is a building superintendent, living in the basement apartment of the building. Micah also runs a very small (1 person) computer repair and fix-it business called “Tech...
Book
Reviewed by Mary Anne on Wednesday, September 02
From the award-winning author of Station Eleven, a captivating novel of money, beauty, white-collar crime, ghosts, and moral compromise in which a woman disappears from a container ship off the coast of Mauritania and a massive Ponzi scheme implodes in New York, dragging countless fortunes with it
Book
Reviewed by Jennifer on Wednesday, September 02
Princess Delia must marry in order to secure an alliance and save her failing planet but, hoping for true love, she steals a spaceship and finds Aidan, a handsome stowaway, aboard in this retelling of Cinderella. Princess Delia's duty is to choose a prince to marry, secure an alliance, and save her failing planet. She secretly dreams of true love, and feels there must be a better way. So she...
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