Allied (2016)

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

In this World War II tale of espionage a Canadian intelligence officer (Pitt) and French Resistance fighter (Cotillard) pose as a couple madly in love, their first date spent assassinating the German ambassador. The couple soon fall in love, move to London and have a baby in an effort to leave all the double-dealing, risky espionage in their past. When commanding officers reveal Cotillard is suspected of being a German spy, Pitt is left with 72 hours to question whether she ever really loved him and to verify her innocence once and for all… or kill her.

Located in DVDs (DVD ALLIED)

The Love Goddess’ Cooking School by Melissa Senate & Simple Bolognese

“The next morning, as Holly checked the Bolognese sauce simmering on the stove and kept an eye on the timer for the tagliatelle, one of her favorite pastas, she realized no one had come in during the three weeks since she’d been making all the takeout foods…” ~The Love Goddess’ Cooking School by Melissa Senate

Simple Bolognese


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped

1 carrot, coarsely chopped

1 pound ground chuck beef

One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped

8 fresh basil leaves, chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano


  1. In a large skillet heat the olive oil. When almost smoking, add the onion and garlic and saute over medium heat until the onions become very soft, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the celery and carrot and saute for 5 minutes.
  3. Raise heat to high and add the ground beef. Saute, stirring frequently and breaking up any large lumps and cook until meat is no longer pink, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes, parsley and basil and cook over medium low heat until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper. This will take approximately 1/2 hour.
  5. Finish bolognese with Pecorino Romano.

Sad Animal Facts by Brooke Barker

Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

Brooke Barker’s hilarious illustrated fact book leaves you both smarter and sadder. Each page contains a simple cartoon animal drawing with a fact and a thought bubble, such as the fact on the title page, “Red squirrels live alone,” and that squirrel’s thought, “My one-member book club will love this one.” I breezed through this entertaining book and spewed animal facts for days afterward. Highly recommended.

Located in Teen Graphic Novels (TEEN GRAPHIC BARKER)

Weekly Book List: Week 17 (Horror)

Something Wicked This Way Comes / Ray Bradbury

Story of two young boys who begin to encounter evil secrets when a lightning rod salesman gives them one of his contraptions covered with mystical symbols. (FIC BRADBURY)


The Silence of the Lambs / Thomas Harris

FBI trainee Clarise Starling is assigned to interview a brilliant, imprisoned psychopathic killer, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. She needs him to bring in a psychotic serial killer. (FIC HARRIS, THOMAS)


Heart-Shaped Box / Joe Hill

A collector of obscure and macabre artifacts, unscrupulous metal band musician Judas Coyne is unable to resist purchasing a ghost over the Internet, which turns out to be the vengeful spirit of his late girlfriend’s stepfather. (FIC HILL, JOE)


The Woman in Black / Susan Hill

Arthur Kipps, a young solicitor, travels to the north of England to settle the estate of Alice Drablow, but unexpectedly encounters a series of sinister events. (FIC HILL, SUSAN)


The Haunting of Hill House / Shirley Jackson

Anthropologist and ghost hunter Dr. John Montague invites three strangers to stay in haunted Hill House for the summer. One of the guests is 32-year-old Eleanor, for whom three months in a haunted house is preferable to caring for her invalid mother. Soon, Eleanor begins to see and hear things that the other guests cannot. (FIC JACKSON)

The Trial / Franz Kafka

Narrates the experiences and reactions of a respectable bank functionary after his abrupt arrest on an undisclosed charge. (FIC KAFKA)


It / Stephen King

They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they were grown-up men and women who had gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But none of them could withstand the force that drew them back to Derry, Maine to face the nightmare without an end, and the evil without a name. (FIC KING, STEPHEN)

Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus / Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Victor Frankenstein, working with salvaged body parts, succeeds in animating his creation, but its appalling visage so disgusts the scientist that he abandons it immediately. The creature suffers dreadfully; all his attempts at human contact are brutally rebuffed. When Victor realizes that his monster is responsible for a series of murders of his loved ones, he agrees to meet with his creation, who demands that Victor craft a companion for him. After Victor reneges on his promise, the result ensures doom. (FIC SHELLEY)

Ghost Story / Peter Straub

Questions arise concerning the connections between a strangely detached young girl’s captivity in a seedy Florida motel, a death that occurs at a party for a visiting actress, and a young California instructor’s obsession with one of his students. (PBK STRAUB)


A Head Full of Ghosts / Paul Tremblay

The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when 14-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of what at first seems to be acute schizophrenia, a condition which only gets worse, leading them believe its actually demonic possession, as they become the center of a reality TV show. (FIC TREMBLAY)

Blue and Lonesome by The Rolling Stones

Reviewed by Stephanie Ramirez (Library Staff)

A raucous and triumphant return to their roots, this album features Mick, Keith, and the boys at their best. A cover album, yes, but so much more: it’s fun, rollicking, and like you are witnessing a private concert at an after-hours club. You can tell their love of the blues genre here and if you weren’t already a blues fan, you will be now. The problem with a band that has been around for as long as the Stones have been is a sense of stale-ness and sameness. “Blue and Lonesome” changes all that. A must-listen for all fans.

Available through the BRIDGES Library System

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquirel & Oxtail Soup

“She poured the seasoned broth with the potatoes and beans into the pan where she had placed the ox tails to cook. One that is done, all that is necessary is to let the ingredients simmer together for half an hour. Then, remove from the heat and serve piping hot.” ~Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquirel

Mexican Oxtail Beef Soup


2 tablespoons olive oil

2 pounds beef oxtail, cut into pieces

1 pound cubed beef stew meat

1 cube beef bouillon

1 onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

salt and pepper to taste

4 ears corn on the cob, broken in half

3 carrots, coarsely chopped

2 russet potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/3 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed

1/3 cup long grain rice

1 cup frozen mixed vegetables (optional)

1 head cabbage, cored and cut into 8 wedges

8 corn tortillas (optional)


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat, and brown the oxtails and beef stew meat on all sides. Add water to cover the meat, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes. Skim off and discard any foam that collects at the top.
  2. Drop in the bouillon cube, onion, celery, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and corn ears, stir to combine, and simmer the soup until the meat is very tender, about 2 hours.
  3. Stir in the carrots and potatoes, simmer for 30 more minutes, then stir in the lentils, rice, mixed vegetables, and cabbage.
  4. Simmer until the rice, lentils, and cabbage are tender, about 30 more minutes.
  5. Serve with a half ear of corn in each bowl, with hot steamed tortillas for dipping in the broth.

Take the Key and Lock Her Up by Ally Carter

Reviewed by Jen Bremer (Library Staff)

Ally Carter’s third and final installment in the Embassy Row series is YA gold. Carter spins a solid wrap up of the series while still packing in the twists and turns that make up a perfect YA thriller. What I love the most about this series is the varied nationalities represented and the imperfectly perfect heroine. While there is a romantic storyline intertwined with the main story, it takes a backseat and really lets the heart stopping action take the forefront. If you like stories full of conspiracies and secret societies, you’ll love the Embassy Row series!

Available through the BRIDGES Library System

Weekly Book List: Week 16: Water on the Cover

One Way or Another / Elizabeth Adler

Ellen is enjoying a summer’s eve on a yacht when she’s discreetly stabbed and pushed into the water, as everyone on board stands around acting oblivious. Even as she fights the waves, she plots revenge. (FIC ADLER)


The Adventuress / Tasha Alexander

Emily and husband Colin have come to the French Riviera for what should be a joyous occasion – the engagement party of her lifelong friend Jeremy, Duke of Bainbridge, and Amity Wells, an American heiress. But the merrymaking is cut short with the shocking death of one of the party in an apparent suicide. Not convinced by the coroner’s verdict, Emily must employ all of her investigative skills to discover the truth and avert another tragedy. (FIC ALEXANDER)

The Far End of Happy / Kathryn Craft

After enduring years of a struggling marriage, Ronnie Farnham has decided to divorce her husband and is beginning to hope for a happy future–until the morning Jeff is supposed to move out, when he locks himself in their barn with a rifle. When a massive police presence arrives to control the 12-hour stand off, the women in Jeff’s life are pushed to their breaking points. (FIC CRAFT)

Shelter / Frances Greenslade

The relationship of two daughters with their missing mother is traced through family stories. (FIC GREENSLADE)


Snow Falling on Cedars / David Guterson

Presents a tense courtroom drama, a poignant love story, and a haunting reflection on the delicate balance between the mind and heart. (FIC GUTERSON)


Swimming / Joanna Hershon

When Aaron Wheeler brings his girlfriend, Suzanne, home for the weekend to meet his family for the first time, Suzanne unleashes a fierce conflict between Aaron and his brother, Jack, a clash that has tragic long-term repercussions for the entire family. (FIC HERSHON)


People of the Whale / Linda Hogan

Raised in a remote seaside village, Thomas Witka Just marries Ruth, his beloved since infancy. But an ill-fated decision to fight in Vietnam changes his life forever: cut off from his Native American community, he fathers a child with another woman. Whenhe returns home a hero, he finds his tribe in conflict over the decision to hunt a whale, both a symbol of spirituality and rebirth and a means of survival. In the end, he reconciles his two existences, only to see tragedy befall the son he left behind. (FIC HOGAN)

The Rocks / Peter Nichols

Two honeymooners, Gerald and Lulu, abruptly split in 1948, and despite residing on the same island for more than sixty years, they live separately, never interacting until children from their rivaling families fall in love. (FIC NICHOLS)


Pretty Girls / Karin Slaughter

After Claire Scott’s millionaire husband of almost 20 years is killed by a mugger, she’s devastated. Paul was her rock, and the happiness she felt with him was unlike anything she’d ever known. When an attempted burglary during the funeral brings cops and an FBI agent to their house, Claire discovers Paul may have been hiding something. (FIC SLAUGHTER)

Starlight on Willow Lake / Susan Wiggs

Working as a caregiver for a sharp-tongued woman to rebuild after a painful loss, Faith McCallum unexpectedly falls for her client’s charismatic son, who questions his fast-paced lifestyle in the wake of a chilling revelation. (FIC WIGGS)

No Cats Allowed by Miranda James

Reviewed by Judy B (Library Staff)

Even though this is Book 7 of the “Cat in the Stacks” mystery series, I had no difficulty jumping right into the cast of regular characters. While the solution to the murder mystery is predictable (as it is with most “cozy” murder mysteries), the fun is in the location and cast of quirky characters.
A good series to add to your list of authors if you are a cozy mystery fan.

Located in Adult Large Print (LP JAMES)