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Juvenile Book Selection: All Rise For the Honorable Perry T. Cook

Eleven-year-old Perry's home life is like that of most kids his age: morning ritual, school, dinner with his mom, and games with his extended family. Unlike most kids, Perry lives in a minimum security correctional facility, where he's stayed since birth with his mother, Jessica. Jessica is up for parole, and she and Perry are eager to start a new life on the outside. The county's ambitious district attorney is outraged that a child was raised in a prison and demands that Perry live with a foster family while the case is sorted out. Perry knows he has traded a prison that feels like home for a home that feels like a prison, and resolves to reunite with his mother. 

Nonfiction Selection: Life in the Ocean - The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle

Sylvia Earle has dedicated her life to learning more about what she calls “the blue heart of the planet.” With stunning illustrations this picture book biography tells the story of Earle's growing passion for the wonders of the sea and how her ocean exploration and advocacy have made her known around the world. Includes an author's note that will motivate young environmentalists. (Ages: PreK-4th)

Juvenile Book Selection: Inside Out and Back Again

Written as a novel in verse, this beautifully crafted story tells of how 10-year old Ha and her family are forced to flee Vietnam after the fall of Saigon in 1975. Traveling by boat, then through two refugee camps, Ha and her family end up living in Alabama. Based on the author's personal memories, readers experience Ha's struggle to learn a new language, fit into a new and very different culture, and leave the memories of her homeland and start anew. This is a great book for understanding the struggle to fit into a new culture. Recommended for grades 4-8.

Juvenile Fiction Selection: The Charming Life of Izzy Malone

Izzy Malone isn't your typical middle schooler.  She's kind of a class outcast, the only girl in her school who isn't interested in clothes or boys.  Instead, she desperately wants to be part of the after school rowing team.  When her temper gets her into trouble, her parents enroll her in Mrs. Whipple's Earn Your Charm School.  She has to complete certain tasks in order to earn “charms” for her charm bracelet.  Unfortunately, her good intentions go vastly awry.  This contemporary realistic novel will leave you with a smile on your face and looking forward to the next book in the series.  Recommended for grades 4-6.

"The Hypnotist's Love Story" by Liane Moriarty

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The hypnotist has finally started dating someone that seems like he could be “the one.” He tells her on a date that he has a stalker and she finds herself fascinated rather than disturbed. This story is told from the point of view of two characters, one of whom is the stalker. The author has such a way with character development that it's easy to sympathize with the stalker and you find yourself liking her. Moriarty seems to be able to capture the most complicated of human emotions and motivations in a simple and accessible way. There are no black and white issues in her books and the truthfulness of that really shines through. This was a very enjoyable read.

This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathon Tropper

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No one is more surprised than Judd Foxman when his father passes away.  Not so much by the death, but by the nonreligious patriarch’s last wish to have the family sit Shiva, a Jewish tradition that requires his mother and siblings to spend an entire week together under one roof.  This wouldn’t be so bad if Judd’s family wasn’t so dysfunctional.  As this group of unique characters are forced to spend time together old wounds are brought to surface and they are made to deal with issues they would have rather continued to ignore.  The only family member not present is Judd’s wife who has been openly having an affair.  As Judd unwillingly reconnects with his family and struggles to deal with the reality of his deteriorating marriage what results is a novel full of biting, albeit slightly dark humor with realizations about family life and love.  

The Kitchn Cookbook by Sara Kate Gillingham and Faith Durand

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If you’ve never checked out Apartment Therapy’s website (http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/), you definitely need to ASAP! It is one of my favorite websites for home design inspiration, tutorials, and daydreaming about possibilities for future living spaces. The Kitchn, their sister website, focuses on delicious, attainable dishes as well as kitchen organization and storage. You can tour some seriously enviable kitchens on their site (http://www.thekitchn.com/).  

Anyway, I was ecstatic to finally get my hands on The Kitchn Cookbook and drool over the delicious recipes and beautiful photographs before trying some out for myself. There’s no shortage of cookbooks with beautiful photography, but I like to rate cookbooks based on the achievability of their recipes. I’m no novice in the kitchen, but there are some recipes that I just don’t have time for (or patience, or, let’s be honest, the money to shell out on super specific ingredients that will take up covetable space in my tiny galley kitchen). The Kitchn Cookbook has great recipes with ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard and spice rack. The recipes are straightforward, concise, and teach you how to set up your space in order to work the most efficiently. Definitely worth checking out if you are a total food geek like me!

The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher

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Jim Butcher is back with this first book in a new series set in a world of aristocratic families, steam-powered machinery, Victorian manners, crystal power, and etherealists. Action comes fast and furious as Francis Madison Grimm, commander of the merchant airship Predator from Spire Albion, and his crew conduct aerial attacks on cold-war enemy Spire Aurora’s cargo airships intending to disrupt their trade. While Predator is docked in Habble Landing Shipyards for repairs, Grimm and his shore party find themselves in the middle of what appears to be an attack by Spire Aurora. They make their way through the Habble rescuing inhabitants and dodging explosions while watching for enemy soldiers wearing Spire Aurora’s colors but inexplicably finding none. Both Spires enlist the aid of etherealists and when they unleash their powers, nobody is guaranteed to emerge unscathed.

For action at its best with an other-worldly twist, this book delivers.

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