‘So Long, Chester Wheeler’ by Catherine Ryan Hyde is an exploration of what lies underneath our outward personas

We all know that how we present to the outside world is not how we necessarily feel about ourselves inside; in "So Long, Chester Wheeler," veteran author Catherine Ryan Hyde explores just that concept. Lewis Madigan is a young software developer who, instead of receiving the generous raise he had been told to expect, receives … Continue reading ‘So Long, Chester Wheeler’ by Catherine Ryan Hyde is an exploration of what lies underneath our outward personas

‘Christmas in Blue Dog Valley’ by Annie England Noblin is a charming story of small town values, friendship, and finding love where you least expect it

Author Annie England Noblin brings us the Christmas spirit with her newest novel, "Christmas in Blue Dog Valley." As in her other novels, she offers not only a sweet story of a woman trying to find her place in the world, but also the joy of having a companion animal by her side as she … Continue reading ‘Christmas in Blue Dog Valley’ by Annie England Noblin is a charming story of small town values, friendship, and finding love where you least expect it

‘Wildwater Walking Club: Walk the Talk’ by Claire Cook is still another witty and wonderful novel

Author Claire Cook’s fourth and latest entry in her Wildwater Walking Club novel series is “Walk the Talk,” and this one is every bit as imaginative, thought-provoking, and witty as each of the previous entries. The  Walking Clubs’ adventures, featuring protagonist Noreen and her club partners, Rosie and Tess, offer generous samples of Cook’s salient … Continue reading ‘Wildwater Walking Club: Walk the Talk’ by Claire Cook is still another witty and wonderful novel

‘Before You Knew My Name’ by Jacqueline Bublitz is a reflective story of breaking free

"Before You Knew My Name" is an unusual novel, not quite a murder mystery and certainly not a love story. Alice and Ruby, the two protagonists, are women who arrive in New York City on the same date. Alice arrives by bus from Wisconsin with a stolen camera and money she took from her former … Continue reading ‘Before You Knew My Name’ by Jacqueline Bublitz is a reflective story of breaking free

‘A World of Curiosities’ by Louise Penny is a brilliant and gripping mystery with many twists

Louise Penny's latest entry in her Chief Inspector Gamache series is brilliant and addictive. While it begins slowly as Penny is creating the backstory, that narrative becomes all-important later in the novel when the action and the connections are so fast and furious that it's almost impossible to put the book down. We feel compelled … Continue reading ‘A World of Curiosities’ by Louise Penny is a brilliant and gripping mystery with many twists

Two must-read middle grade novels are ‘Attack of the Black Rectangles’ and ‘Island of Spies’

Two books published in 2022 that on the surface seem quite different, but share an important theme, are "Attack of the Black Rectangles" by Amy Sarig King and "Island of Spies" by Sheila Turnage. Both are about children who are determined to deal with problems that they are told are best left to adults. One … Continue reading Two must-read middle grade novels are ‘Attack of the Black Rectangles’ and ‘Island of Spies’

‘A Ghost of Caribou’ by Alice Henderson is the third suspense novel about wildlife and our world

What do you get when you combine a wildlife researcher's knowledge with a gripping plot and an admirable and likable protagonist? You get the books in this new series by Alice Henderson, the latest of which is "A Ghost of Caribou." In each title, she cleverly uses the group noun for the animal that the … Continue reading ‘A Ghost of Caribou’ by Alice Henderson is the third suspense novel about wildlife and our world

‘Big Chicas Don’t Cry’ by Annette Chavez Macias is about family, forgiveness and following your path

"Big Chicas Don't Cry" by Annette Chavez Macias is a sweet tale about four cousins who were once as close as sisters, but through life experiences, romantic relationships (or lack thereof), and professional pursuits have lost a bit of that closeness. One of them, Marisol, is not speaking to her cousins. Erica was just dumped … Continue reading ‘Big Chicas Don’t Cry’ by Annette Chavez Macias is about family, forgiveness and following your path

‘The Matchmaker’s Gift’ by Lynda Cohen Loigman transcends generations to share a lovely story about true love and fate

"The Matchmaker's Gift" by Lynda Cohen Loigman is an engaging love story that isn't a romance. It isn't a thriller, it's not an angsty romance with ups and downs in every chapter, and it's certainly not a mystery with twists and turns jumping out to stymie readers. Yet I found myself so engaged with the … Continue reading ‘The Matchmaker’s Gift’ by Lynda Cohen Loigman transcends generations to share a lovely story about true love and fate

Two pop-up books for children about animals and dinosaurs would make great holiday gifts

Almost all kids love pop-up books, and pop-up books about animals are sure to be a hit. "Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Creatures" by Arnaud Roi and illustrated by Charlotte Molas and "The Pop-up Guide: Animals" by Maud Poulain and Peggy Nille are two picture books that entranced my six-year-old grandson, and he did think that … Continue reading Two pop-up books for children about animals and dinosaurs would make great holiday gifts

For young mystery lovers: a picture book and beginning readers series for using clues to solve puzzles

When I was teaching, I loved using picture books as teaching materials. The students were so entertained by the stories that they didn't realize I was sneaking in important concepts! With these mysteries for young readers, teachers can show students how to pay attention to details and how to use organized problem-solving methods to get … Continue reading For young mystery lovers: a picture book and beginning readers series for using clues to solve puzzles

‘Bake’ and ‘Bliss on Toast’ will keep you baking the Great British Bake Off way this winter

Fans of The Great British Bake Off love Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith and their encyclopedic knowledge of all things baking, and with their new cookbooks, "Bake: My best ever recipes for the classics" by Paul Hollywood and "Bliss on Toast" by Prue Leith, we can join in on the baking and fill our homes … Continue reading ‘Bake’ and ‘Bliss on Toast’ will keep you baking the Great British Bake Off way this winter