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Jody reads an eclectic mix of non-fiction, cozy mysteries and southern fiction...and, well, just about anything else.  Come pick her brain...

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Olivia the Spy Cover Image
By Ian Falconer, Ian Falconer (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781481457958
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atheneum Books - April 4th, 2017

Olivia KNOWS how to do everything – use the blender, wash a load of laundry – so she is shocked to hear her mother tell her aunt about having to clean up an explosion of blueberry smoothie, and deal with the white-shirts-turned-pink because Olivia put her red socks in with them. What else could they be saying about her? Olivia decides to become a spy and find out. But spying is more difficult than she imagined, and, as she finds out, it’s easy to misinterpret what she partially hears. Olivia is as sassy and charming as ever in this delightful new addition to the Olivia books.

Banana Cream Pie Murder Cover Image
ISBN: 9781617732201
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Kensington Publishing Corporation - February 28th, 2017

Newlywed (!) Hannah Swenson is fresh from her lavish honeymoon cruise and ready to settle into married life – but she can’t escape the excitement of sleuthing for long when famous actress Victoria Bascomb turns up dead. Victoria hadn’t been in Eden Falls for long, but she’d had time to make plenty of enemies and Hannah’s list of suspects is even longer than usual. And also as usual, Fluke’s this latest in Fluke’s sweet cozy mystery series contains several mouth-watering recipes, including (of course) Hannah’s Banana Cream Pie….

The Hope Chest Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250105073
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Published: Thomas Dunne Books - March 21st, 2017

Mattie's mind is still sharp, but ALS is quickly shredding her body. Her husband Don maintains a cheerful facade, but is dreading a future without her. Rose is their affectionate caretaker, but single motherhood and economic worries leave her feeling trapped. However, shared love of Rose's delightful young daughter Jeri, the rediscovery of Mattie's hope chest, and the stories that unfold with each treasured item gently awaken new hope within each of them.

Set in the village of Saugatuck, which is tucked into the dunes of Lake Michigan, this novel feels as though memoirist Wade Rouse - writing under his grandmother's name - is sharing his own home and family. He writes from the heart, and The Hope Chest is sure to enter the reader's heart, too.

Argyle Fox Cover Image
By Marie Letourneau (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781939100092
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Published: Tanglewood - March 14th, 2017

Argyle Fox lives in a tree in the forest. It's early spring. He is kind of tired of winter and wants nothing more than to play outside, but the strong winds keep foiling every game he can think of...until Mama Fox encourages him to create a clever idea that is perfect to play in the wind. The illustrations in this new picture book are charming, and even adults will relate to Argyle's spring fever...especially this month!

Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief's Tribute to America's Warriors Cover Image
By George W. Bush, Laura Bush (Foreword by), Peter Pace (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9780804189767
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Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - February 28th, 2017

I certainly had no idea that former president George W. Bush could paint, and in the forward, Laura Bush says that she didn’t either. This lovely book says differently. It is a collection of Bush’s portraits of U.S. soldiers and veterans, and includes their quotes and stories of struggle and triumph and honor. Net proceeds from sales of the book benefit the George W. Bush Presidential Center, a nonprofit helping post 9/11 veterans and their families. There is also a deluxe version of this book – slip-cased and signed and available in limited quantities for $250. It’s gorgeous…

4 3 2 1 Cover Image
ISBN: 9781627794466
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Henry Holt & Company - January 31st, 2017

Rose and Stanley Ferguson’s only son was born on March 3, 1947, at Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey. From that moment, the novel gets complicated, as Ferguson’s life takes four paths – independently and simultaneously.  To say much more would spoil the story, but this is a gorgeous, complex novel of circumstance and choices, and the ways they can cause very different journeys. 

Wedding Cake Murder Cover Image
ISBN: 9781617732188
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Published: Kensington Publishing Corporation - January 31st, 2017

Hannah Swenson has been trying to decide between suitors Norman and Mike for almost twenty-five books. And since it says so right on the cover, it’s not a spoiler to say that Hannah – finally, FINALLY – says, “I do!” I say it’s about time. First, however, she must win the Food Channel’s dessert chef contest. The Hometown Challenge takes the contest to Lake Eden from New York, but before Hannah can win over celebrity chef and judge Alain Duquesne – whose reputation is as nasty as his criticism – she finds him stabbed to death inside the walk-in cooler. He had the bad form to be killed before he even tasted her Butterscotch Sugar Cookies, and so Hannah must not only somehow regain her advantage in the competition but solve the mystery before her quickly approaching wedding day. This is a fun series, and includes lots of recipes to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth. 

Late Bloomer: How to Garden with Comfort, Ease and Simplicity in the Second Half of Life Cover Image
ISBN: 9781943366057
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Lynn's Press - November 17th, 2016

I used to love to garden - that is, until we moved to northern Michigan, where I've found it frustrating and intimidating. This book should go a long way toward solving those problems. It's subtitled How to Garden with Comfort, Ease, and Simplicity in the Second Half of Life, and it is geared - as it says - more toward enjoyment and less toward perfection. It contains a lot of really practical tips, but also gorgeous photographs and a "Late Bloomer's Credo," and as author Jan Coppola Bills is a landscape designer and advanced master gardener, her combination of  expertise and laid back approach are especially welcome. This is a terrific little book to read-and-dream before spring actually comes...

Desperation Road Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316353038
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Lee Boudreaux Books - February 7th, 2017

Russell has served his societal debt after eleven years in prison and is anxious to start his life again, but finds that revenge is not easy to escape. Maben is just trying to get home again with her young daughter Annalee. Exhausted from their walk from Louisiana to Mississippi, she spends her last few dollars on a hotel room for the night, but instead of a good night's sleep, Maben instead finds herself running through the the dark with a gun in her hand and a dead sheriff's deputy behind her. And when Russell and Maben's worlds collide, Russell is left with the decision of whose life he'll save - his own, or Maben and Annalee's. This thought-provoking and well-written novel is a true slice of rural Mississippi, and appealed to me on the level of John Grisham's A Time To Kill.

At the Edge of the Orchard Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143110972
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Published: Penguin Books - January 31st, 2017

Robert Goodenough was born in Ohio's Black Swamp. The youngest of ten children, he was the only one with any interest in his father's obsession for buying seedlings from John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, and trying to cultivate and perfect his apple orchard in the inhospitable black muck. Family tragedy sends Robert running west to California and the Gold Rush, where he finds solace in the redwoods and sequoias and meets a naturalist who recognizes his love of botany. But Robert is reluctantly forced to face his past and must decide to either claim it or set out on his own path. Chevalier's tale is a thoughtfully crafted and vivid slice of pioneer life.

Staff Pick Logo
Brooklyn Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501106477
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner Book Company - September 8th, 2015

Eilis Lacey had never been away from the tiny Irish village where she lived a quiet life with her mother and her charismatic sister Rose. But when an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor her move to America, Eilis chooses to embrace a new life, learning about bookkeeping and love, and confidence in her self and her choices, until a family tragedy in Ireland threatens her new independence. Toibin weaves this lovely story almost gently, and I found myself drawn into Eilis' story and really caring about her challenges and successes.