Bring It!: Tried and True Recipes for Potlucks and Casual Entertaining by Ali Rosen, recommended by Leah & Megan C.
Have you ever been stumped with what to bring to a potluck? This cookbook really brings it! If you’ve ever thought potlucks only included crusty casseroles and jiggly Jell-O molds, “Bring It!” will help you rebrand. Ali Rosen compiles a book full of easy, yet impressive dishes that are meant to be “make and take,” with helpful advice for effortless packaging and transporting. Bring a creative, unique touch to your next potluck with mini lemon meringues (as seen on Biblio Bites) instead of a typical cake or pie. Picnic season is around the corner, so check this book out today!

Answers in the Pages by David Levithan, recommended by Megan C.
Banned Books Week (September 18th-24th) acts as the perfect backdrop to read “Answers in the Pages.” This juvenile fiction brings the far-off idea of censorship right into our hometowns and schools, making the intensity of a book challenge even more personal. Donovan has barely picked up his schoolbook, but after his mother picks it up and begins gathering like-minded parents, the whole town is in an uproar about its “questionable” content. As Donovan gets caught in the middle, he learns the importance of bravery and standing up for your beliefs. This meta book combats censorship by simply existing because its subjects could in fact be challenged. “Answers in the Pages” acts as a bold book for younger kids to better understand censorship, and an important book for adults to consider their biases.

The Stranger in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom, recommended by Tracie
Struggling with guilt and depression, Benji writes to his wife in a notebook about his experiences in the lifeboat of a wrecked pleasure yacht. The people with Benji, the few supplies, the conversations, the dos and don’ts of survival at sea, the events leading up to the writing, and how much he misses his wife are all recorded. I will be reading this book a second time.

Ten Steps to Nanette: A Memoir Situation by Hannah Gadsby, recommended by Megan S.
Ten Steps to Nanette is both a memoir and a companion book to Hannah Gadsby’s “comedy” show Nanette, which took Netflix by storm in 2018. If you’ve watched “Nanette” you’ll know there’s a lot left unspoken, and while Hannah still keeps some things close to her chest, this book is an enlightenment. Her stories of growing up in Tasmania, her struggle to find something to do with her life, and her difficulties relating to other people are related with honesty and a little bit of humor. This isn’t an easy read, but it’s an important one.

Sugar and Salt by Susan Wiggs, recommended by Trish
Margot is dealing with multiple traumatic events and part of the healing process to realize her dream of owning her own restaurant. What she doesn’t expect is to fall in love with Jerome — the business owner next door. Both struggle with finding true love and trust, but love prevails.

Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore, recommended by Vicki
The lives of four women become tangled in the harsh West Texas landscape when young Gloria Ramirez stumbles to a remote ranch house, beaten close to death and begging for her mother. Mary Rose, seven months pregnant and “heavy as a Buick,” shields the girl from her attacker and presses the district attorney to file charges. But it’s 1976. Oil erupts from the grazing ground in Odessa, cattle make room for oil derricks, and if that blond boy from a good family was all junked up on amphetamines, folks said he was “fighting OPEC prices and Arabs.” So it’s no surprise when he gets off with probation and a fine — but for months the town picked Mary Rose clean and she is set on a reckoning.

Wetmore’s debut novel is a measured, intimate look into the souls of women living in a man’s world where bigotry, greed and violence is as commonplace as dust storms. Her unflinching portrayal will linger long after the last page.

“Valentine” is a “Southwest Book of the Year” Top Pick. The review originally was published in its 2021 publication.

The Other Emily by Dean Koontz, recommended by Diana
A decade ago, Emily Carlino vanished after her car broke down on a California highway. No remains were found, and Emily was presumed to be another victim of a known serial killer. Her boyfriend David Thorne still struggles with her tragic death. Wanting answers David visits the serial killer in prison. As time passes David meets Maddison Sutton. Maddison is attractive and has several characteristics that eerily resemble Emily. As David spends more time with Maddison he becomes more fascinated with her resemblance to Emily. Is she Emily or just David’s desire to have Emily back even if it’s wishful thinking?

Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark by Cassandra Peterson, recommended by Meg
A must read if you know and love Elvira. Cassandra Peterson is a larger than life individual and has lived an even larger and eventful life. From kissing Elvis to meeting Jimi Hendrix, Cassandra has done it all with style while never giving up on her dream. It is a very honest and empowering story of a woman who did things her way and “made it.”