Scrappy Little Nobody
E-Audiobook by Anna Kendrick
Review by Stephanie Bragg
Anna Kendrick, star of Pitch Perfect and Up in the Air, has written a book. Her autobiography starts in her young childhood through her rise to stardom and all the awkwardness in between. Enter Anna’s brain and follow along with her completely honest and charming tales from her middle school double life through personal relationships to what it’s like to pick out a butt double. Continue reading
Ask Me by Bernard Waber, illustrated by Suzy Lee
Review by Kelly Shea
Picture books are NOT just for children, and certainly not limited to children under a certain age, either. Granted, certain picture books are meant only for the very young to enjoy. Ask Me, by Bernard Waber, illustrated by Suzy Lee, is not one of those books. The beloved author of the Lyle the Crocodile stories tells a new tale about a conversation between a father and a daughter.
The illustrations of their walk together are gorgeously rendered in vibrant fall hues. The love between father and daughter is never explicitly stated, but instead resonates through the pair’s adoring looks, mirrored body language, and sweet dialogue. The girl’s inexhaustible enthusiasm and her father’s enduring patience adds to the charm of this everyday adventure. Ask Me is a story guaranteed to win over anyone striving to focus on life’s little moments. Parents of grown-up children will especially appreciate this romp down memory lane.
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About the reviewer: Kelly Shea is a children’s librarian at Paoli Library. She has fond memories of taking long walks with her father in the fall, and she drinks approximately three cups of tea daily.
The War that Saved My Life
By Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Review by Kelly Shea
With amazing depth and insight, The War that Saved My Life tells the wartime story of nine-year-old Ada and her little brother, Jamie. Ada has spent her entire childhood inside her mother’s apartment, with only the view from her window and her little brother’s stories to help her understand the outside world. Her mother is verbally and physically abusive and blames Ada for her clubfoot. However, the Second World War brings new and exciting changes to Ada’s life. When the opportunity arrives, Ada learns to walk as best she can. She sneaks away from her imprisonment with Jamie in tow. The pair end up joining many other children evacuating London to travel to the countryside.
Ana of California by Andi Teran
Review by Kelly Shea
Ana of California is a modern interpretation of the beloved classic, Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery. The heroine, Ana Cortez, transitions from the crowded group homes and troubled foster homes of Los Angeles to Abbie and Emmett Garber’s country farm in Northern California. In typical Anne-style, Ana quickly weasels her way into the hearts of the brother-sister duo. She also has a knack for unintentionally getting into a fair amount of scrapes! Continue reading
Review by Kate Shaw
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is a visually stunning series with high production value. Based on the Phryne Fisher (pronounced Fry-knee) mystery series by Kerry Greenwood (up to 20 adventures as of Murder and Mendelssohn in 2014), this series follows the Honorable Miss Fisher and her companion Dot from mystery to mystery. Phryne is a wild character: a flapper-style, brazen, forward-thinking, wealthy eccentric. She returns to Australia after the Great War, having risen from poor beginnings to being a titled lady of leisure. The disappearance of her sister Janey when she was a child, along with a penchant for tripping (sometimes literally) over dead bodies, spurs Miss Fisher to try her hand at being a lady detective, much to the chagrin of Detective Inspector Jack Robinson.
Review by Angie Andre
“Aren’t you afraid something will happen to you? A neighbor asked upon seeing me pack the trunk of my car.
“I certainly hope so,” I answered defensively. “That’s the whole point.”
This autobiographical memoir explores one woman’s journey from mother and wife to a resilient and distinct woman. Joan Anderson finds herself lost in her roles as wife and mother. Her children are grown and they are creating new lives of their own. When Joan’s husband receives an out of state job promotion Joan makes a life changing decision. She is not going with her husband. Joan decides to spend a year in Cape Cod in a small cottage they own and re-examine her life. Joan finds an extraordinary mentor, a job in a fish market, and contentment walking the shores of the beach of Cape Cod. Continue reading
Review by Amelia Falcone
Blue Valentine follows Dean and Cindy, a couple five years into their marriage who decide to take a night away from their daughter in order to rekindle their relationship. Integrating clips from their romantic past, this film details the difficulties that come when transitioning from being a young couple into married parents. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams give stellar performances as they show you what it takes to truly be someone’s “valentine.”
Beginning this movie, I had thought I was walking into the typical, happy, romantic film. However, Blue Valentine provides realistic insight into the struggles that accompany a long-term relationship. The film seamlessly combines themes of joy and love with the depression that too often worms its way into a relationship. Continue reading
Review by Mike Packard
Things are not always as they seem. Perceptions of advantage are often challenged when an underdog takes the cake. Malcolm Gladwell explores the dynamics of remarkable individuals who clearly had to overcome extreme odds to achieve success in David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants.
Review by Angie Andre
Natalie Barnes, divorced and seeking a new beginning, leaves her home and job in Texas for the salty air of Maine and her newly purchased Bed & Breakfast called the Gray Whale Inn and finds herself in a compromising situation. If getting her new business off the ground isn’t tough enough, Natalie is on the front lines of an environmental debate over an endangered species of sea birds called terns. Bernard Katz, a balding and bullying land developer, wants to turn the habitat for the endangered terns into a golf course. Shortly after the town board approves this development one of Natalie’s B & B guests is found dead at the bottom of her cliff. Police and islanders suspect Natalie. Amid her baking and running her new B & B, Natalie must clear her name and find the real killer.