Everything, Everything (2017)

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

This movie is based on a book by Nicola Yoon which I reviewed last year. I loved the book so I was skeptical that I would enjoy the movie. I’m happy to say that the movie lived up to the book’s reputation.

The movie follows 18-year-old Maddy, who is stuck inside her house due to an illness that would cause her to die if she went outside. When Olly moves in next door, they start communicating and eventually fall in love. They decide to risk everything to be together, but will it be the end of them?

This movie is a cute, fun, yet poignant movie about two teens willing to risk everything for love. The actors were wonderful in their respective parts, Amandla Stenberg as Maddy (you might recognize her as Rue from The Hunger Games) and Nick Robinson as Olly. While I still think the book was better (as I often do), I do recommend this movie as well.


The Heist by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg & Chicken and Shrimp Skillet Dinner

“Nick was barbecuing shrimp and chicken on the built-in grill that sat beside a fully stocked minibar and a sink, all within serving reach of the aft dinette area.” ~The Heist by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

Chicken and Shrimp Skillet Dinner


1/2 pound chicken, sliced thin

1 pound (16-20) extra-large shrimp, cleaned

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 cup diced white onion

2 cloves garlic, chopped

3/4 cup short grain white rice, rinsed

3 cups chicken stock

Salt and pepper

Fresh parsley, for garnish

Lemon slices, for garnish

  1. Slice chicken into thin 2-inch strips. Peel shrimp, leaving the tail on, and clean shrimp by running a paring knife down the back and rinsing out the shrimp vein with cold water.
  2. In a large skillet, add 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken. Season chicken with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 6 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
  3. Remove chicken from skillet. Add butter, onion, and garlic. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until vegetables are soft.
  4. Add rinsed rice to skillet and pour in chicken stock. Stir together and bring mixture to a simmer. Turn heat down to low. Add chicken back to mixture, cover, and cook for 15 minutes on low heat.
  5. After simmering for 15 minutes, add cleaned shrimp to skillet. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes.
  6. Uncover skillet and taste rice. Season with salt and pepper if needed. If the skillet has too much liquid, cook uncovered for a minute to thicken.
  7. Finish chicken and shrimp skillet by garnishing with fresh parsley and lemon slices. Serve skillet while warm.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Reviewed by Stephanie Ramirez (Library Staff)

A timely, thought-provoking by debut author Thomas, “The Hate U Give” is already wracking up well-deserved accolades. Starr is an African American teenage girl who feels like she straddles two worlds: one of the upper middle class white neighborhood where she goes to school and the other the self-described “ghetto” of (fictional) Garden Heights. Her worlds collide when her best friend Khalil is murdered by a police officer in a routine traffic stop. Tackling the difficult subjects of institutional racism and police brutality is not the usual MO of teen novel but Thomas’ work is transcendent and is incredibly needed right now in our culture. (A movie adaptation is currently in the works.) “The Hate U Give” is a work that will stay with you long after you turn the last page.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC THOMAS)

Weekly Book List: Week 39 (Banned Books)

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian / Sherman Alexie

Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. (TEEN FIC ALEXIE)


Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic / Alison Bechdel

An unusual memoir done in the form of a graphic novel by a cult favorite comic artist offers a darkly funny family portrait that details her relationship with her father, a historic preservation expert dedicated to restoring the family’s Victorian home, funeral home director, high-school English teacher, and closeted homosexual. (GRAPHIC BECHDEL)

The Chocolate War / Robert Cormier

Jerry Renault is forced into a psychological showdown with Trinity School’s gang leader, Archie Costello, for refusing to be bullied into selling chocolates for the annual fund raising. (TEEN PBK CORMIER)


Looking for Alaska / John Green

Sixteen-year-old Miles’ first year at Culver Creek Preparatory School in Alabama includes good friends and great pranks, but is defined by the search for answers about life and death after a fatal car crash. (TEEN FIC GREEN)


Brave New World / Aldous Huxley

Cloning, feel-good drugs, anti-aging programs, and total social control through politics, programming and media–has Aldous Huxley accurately predicted our future? With a storyteller’s genius, he weaves these ethical controversies in a compelling narrative that dawns in the year 632 A.F. (After Ford, the deity). When Lenina and Bernard visit a savage reservation, we experience how Utopia can destroy humanity. (FIC HUXLEY)

Boy Meets Boy / David Levithan

When Paul falls hard for Noah, he thinks he has found his one true love, but when Noah walks out of his life, Paul has to find a way to get him back and make everything right once more. (TEEN FIC LEV)


Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth’s Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa / Mark Mathabane

A Black writer describes his childhood in South Africa under apartheid and recounts how Arthur Ashe and Stan Smith helped him leave for America on a tennis scholarship. (968 MAT)


Eleanor & Park / Rainbow Rowell

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits–smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. (TEEN FIC ROWELL)


Saga: Volume 1 / Brian Vaughn

Two soldiers from opposite sides of a galactic war, fall in love and risk everything when they decide to start a family. (GRAPHIC VAUGHN VOL. 1)


The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq / Jeanette Winter

Presents the true story of how Alia Baker, the librarian of the Basra library, and her friends managed to save the books of the library before the library was burned to the ground during the 2003 Iraq War. (E WIN)

The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

In the peaceful wake of the first freshly fallen snow of the year, a killer leaves his hideously grinning calling card, a snowman. A decade long pattern emerges where wives and mothers disappear without a trace after winters first snow, some are eventually found but most are not. Oslo’s detective Harry Hole races against the season and an increasing body count to catch a serial killer who seems intimately familiar with him. Mystery lovers will devour this novel just in time to catch its film adaptation released this October starring Michael Fassbender as the dogged, haunted detective Hole.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC NESBO)

Anastasia: The New Broadway Musical (2017)

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

One of my favorite movies when I was a child was the animated film Anastasia. When I heard that a Broadway musical was being created based off of that story, I was extremely excited. But I quickly realized that I probably would not see it for years, and only if a touring production started. So when I saw that the original Broadway cast recording was out, I had to put it on hold and try it out.

Using some of the classic songs from the movie, including “Once Upon a December”, “A Rumor in St. Petersburg”, and “Journey to the Past” plus many brand new songs, this cast recording captures the essence of the film, while also introducing new memories and feelings to the timeless story.

Available through the BRIDGES Library System

Double Fudge Brownie Murder by Joanne Fluke & Salted Cashew and Milk Chocolate Whippersnapper Cookies

“‘Those whippersnappers sound a lot better than takeout fortune cookies and almond cookies…I’ve never met one of your whippersnapper cookies I didn’t like.”‘ ~Double Fudge Brownie Murder by Joanne Fluke

Salted Cashew and Milk Chocolate Whippersnapper Cookies


1 box chocolate cake mix

1 large egg

2 cups Cool Whip, thawed

1 cup milk chocolate chips

1/2 cup salted cashews, finely chopped

1/2 cup powdered sugar

18 to 24 maraschino cherries without stems, drained and cut in half


  1. Place approximately half of the cake mix in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk the egg in a medium-size bowl. Stir the 2 cups of thawed Cool Whip into the egg mixture. Add the egg and Cool Whip mixture to the cake mix in the large bowl. Stir only until everything is combined.
  3. Sprinkle the milk chocolate chips on top. Sprinkle the 1/2 cup of chopped cashews on top of the milk chocolate chips. Gently stir until they’re combined.
  4. Sprinkle in the rest of the cake mix and fold it in with a rubber spatula, stirring only until everything is combined.
  5. Chill the cookie dough for one hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick baking spray or line with parchment paper. Use a teaspoon and drop the dough by rounded teaspoonful into the bowl of powdered sugar.
  7. Press half a cherry, rounded side up, on top of each cookie.
  8. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes.


The Lost Book of the Grail by Charlie Lovett

Reviewed by Katy Zignego (Library Staff)

Charlie Lovett’s books are books for people who love books. (Say that three times fast.) They are constructed on what I think of as the Da Vinci Code model: a mystery must be solved using clues hidden in art and literature, in dim galleries and dusty libraries, by a bookish antihero, usually with a fetching female sidekick. Instead of Dan Brown’s worldwide evil conspiracies, though, Lovett’s characters are uncovering long-lost secrets about great books. Lovett has tackled Shakespeare and Austen in his previous novels, and in The Lost Book of the Grail he takes on the King Arthur legends.

I was particularly pleased that Lovett chose the fictitious town of Barchester, invented by author Anthony Trollope more than 150 years ago, in which to set The Lost Book of the Grail. In doing so, he was able to create his own “history” of the Holy Grail without being constrained by the host of other legends that place it at Glastonbury, etc. I also just love it when the worlds of fiction sneak into each other!

That said, The Lost Book of the Grail is a somewhat uneven read. It starts well, and the “flashback” chapters that describe the Grail’s history are engaging, but about halfway through the story gets bogged down. The hero, Arthur Prescott, works for about fifty pages on cracking a code the readers never see (or get a chance to try for themselves), which is about as interesting as watching Nicolas Cage drone his way through Windtalkers. Then everything rushes to the finish in the last twenty pages–code broken, secret room found, Holy Grail acquired, life decisions made, THE END.

I would still recommend The Lost Book of the Grail to the aforementioned people who love books, especially people who love books about King Arthur or English cathedrals. But it is not destined for the canon of Grail literature.

Available through the BRIDGES Library System

Weekly Book List: Week 38 (TV Shows)

Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream / Buzz Bissinger (Friday Night Lights)

Chronicles a football season in Odessa, Texas, a depressed All-American town that lives and dies with the fortunes of its high school football team (796.332 BIS)


The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes / Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock)

Presents an anthology of eighteen Sherlock Holmes mystery short stories. (FIC DOYLE)



Outlander / Diana Gabaldon (Outlander)

Hurtled back through time more than two hundred years to Scotland in 1743, Claire Randall finds herself caught in the midst of an unfamiliar world torn apart by violence, pestilence, and revolution and haunted by her growing feelings for James Fraser, a young soldier. (FIC GABALDON)


Home Before Morning: The Story of an Army Nurse in Vietnam / Lynda Van Devanter (China Beach)

Lynda Van Devanter was the girl next door, the cheerleader who went to Catholic schools, enjoyed sports, and got along well with her four sisters and parents. After high school she attended nursing school and then did something that would shatter her secure world for the rest of her life: in 1969, she joined the army and was shipped to Vietnam. (959.704 VAN)

Dead Until Dark / Charlaine Harris (True Blood)

Sookie Stackhouse is a cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana, but she keeps to herself and doesn’t date much because of her “disability” to read minds. When she meets Bill, Sookie can’t hear a word he’s thinking. He’s the type of guy she’s waited for all of her life, but he has a disability, too–he’s a vampire with a bad reputation. When one of Sookie’s coworkers is killed, she fears she’s next. (FIC HARRIS, CHARLAINE)

Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Woman’s Prison / Piper Kerman (Orange is the New Black)

Follows the author’s incarceration for drug trafficking, during which she gained a unique perspective on the criminal justice system and met a varied community of women living under exceptional circumstances. (365.43 KER)

A Game of Thrones / George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones)

The aristocratic Stark family faces its ultimate challenge in the onset of a generation-long winter, the poisonous plots of the rival Lannisters, the emergence of the Neverborn demons, and the arrival of barbarian hordes. (PBK MARTIN)


The Leftovers / Tom Perrotta (The Leftovers)

When a bizarre phenomenon causes the cataclysmic disappearances of numerous people all over the world, Kevin Garvey, the new mayor of a once-comfortable suburban community, struggles to help his neighbors heal while enduring the fanatical religious conversions of his wife and son. (FIC PERROTTA)


Déjà Dead / Kathy Reichs (Bones)

Temperance Brennan leaves a shaky marriage behind and heads to Quebec on an assignment as director of forensic anthropology that leads her to track down a killer on the loose. (FIC REICHS)


Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times / Jennifer Worth (Call the Midwife)

Reflects on the experiences of Jennifer Worth as a midwife in London’s postwar East End, including the nuns from whom she learned her craft and the interesting and challenging births she aided during her career. (921 WORTH)

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body

Reviewed by Stephanie Ramirez (Library Staff)

Author Roxane Gay, a noted feminist, is perhaps at her most vulnerable here in her latest work describing what it’s like to operate in a world that sees her “morbidly obese body” (her words) as something less than. After a traumatic and tragic incident in her childhood, Gay turns to food as a way to cope but also as a way to safeguard her body against any threats. At her heaviest, she is nearly 600 pounds and considering drastic measures, including gastric bypass, to alleviate her suffering. In the end, she chooses a different route but you the reader will be transformed by her brutal honesty and elegant prose of the struggles she faces and how in our society someone so “big” can be invisible.

Located in Adult Nonfiction (813.6 GAY)