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Staff Reviews - Books, Movies, Music & Online Courses

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...
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.
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