Staff Reviews - Books, Movies, Music & Online Courses

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Reviewed by Mary Anne on Friday, April 16
The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett By Annie Lyons   Life has not been kind to Eudora Honeysett. At 10 years old, during World War II, her father marched off to war. Just before he left, he asked Eudora to promise that if anything happened to him, she will take care of her mother and baby sister. This is a heavy burden for a 10 year old, and when Eudora’s father is lost in the war, she takes...
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Reviewed by Jane on Monday, March 22
While visiting a friend’s home for dinner she witnessed her friend’s brother spill his milk at the dinner table. Her immediate response was to grab the boy and rush him outside to protect him against what she thought his father would do to him based on her own experience at home. She saw for the first time that not all people lived like she did. The mother of her friend becomes a mentor to Brooke...
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Reviewed by Jane on Wednesday, March 10
Elin Hilderbrand brings us back to the beautiful Caribbean for the final and dramatic conclusion to the Paradise trilogy. After Irene Steele is left with the nightmare of her husband’s death and the discovery of his second life, she and her two sons, Cash, Baker, and Baker’s son Floyd fly to the island of St. John tofind out what happened to Russell Steele. While visiting the island they each...
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Reviewed by Jane on Wednesday, March 10
Billy Jenson is a crime journalist that has devoted his life in pursuit of helping to solve unsolved murders.  This non-fiction book is a frightening realization of just how many murders go unsolved every day. In spite of police departments' best efforts, many families do not find closure. In this book, Jenson uses skills that he used in his day job as a digital executive. The book describes...
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Reviewed by Mary Anne on Tuesday, March 09
The Celtic Tiger was a period of intense economic growth in Ireland, only to lead to economic collapse in 2008 with the Global Financial Crisis. This is the climate when the reader is introduced to Tristram St. Lawrence, who lands back in his native Dublin only because his flight to Florida makes an emergency landing. He is quickly pulled into the crazy building schemes of his childhood friend,...
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Reviewed by Mary Anne on Tuesday, February 23
The Coopers Chase Retirement Village is an upscale retirement village in England, and the home to some fairly unusual seniors. The Village has clubs for everything, and yes, some seniors do play bingo and take place in other mainstream retirement activities, but then there is the Thursday Murder Club. The Club meets to dissect old cases gathered by a retired detective. The Club members are...
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Reviewed by Mary Anne on Monday, February 22
Cody Hoyt is a cop who is struggling with his new-found sobriety when his close friend and sponsor is found dead in a burned out cabin. Although it looks like a suicide, Cody has reason to believe it is murder. This begins Cody’s pursuit of a killer. Clues at the scene point to an outfitter’s business that leads groups on adventure trips in the back country of Yellowstone National Park. Although...
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Reviewed by Jane on Tuesday, February 02
Elin Hilderbrand brings us back to the beautiful Caribbean for the final and dramatic conclusion to the Paradise trilogy. After Irene Steele is left with the nightmare of her husband’s death and the discovery of his second life, she and her two sons, Cash, Baker, and Baker’s son Floyd fly to the island of St. John to find out what happened to Russell Steele. While visiting the island they each...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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,...
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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...
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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...
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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....
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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...
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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”....
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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...
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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...
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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...
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