Imagine your Story – Books



by Imogen Kealey


I thoroughly enjoyed Liberation, a joint venture between screenwriter Darby Kealy and novelist Imogen Robertson. Australian-born Nancy Wake, nickednamed “The White Mouse” by the Germans, is the subject of the novel. Major Bohm, a Gestapo agent, has captured Nancy’s husband Henri Fiocca. Henri is tortured assuming he will eventually give up information about his wife who joined Britain’s Special Operations Executive. Nancy quickly rose to the top of the organization training others to undermine the Nazis in France. The Gestapo wants her stopped.

After reading this novel I look forward to reading Nancy Wake’s autobiography The White Mouse. Nancy Grace August Wake died on August 7, 2011 at age 98.




Check out our updated Cowan Pottery Museum Page!

Our Library’s webpage for the Cowan Pottery Museum has been updated! Go to to see a gallery of highlights from our collections and stay up to date on all the Museum offers. Right now we are featuring the activities we have planned this month to celebrate 100 years of Cowan in Rocky River.

Make sure to check back this up coming Monday August 17th when the Museum’s first virtual exhibitions go live! These two exhibits feature a selection of historic photos from the Museum’s archives and give viewers the chance to see how these pieces were made and marketed.

The Studio on Lake
Cowan Pottery Studio in Rocky River

Cowan Style
The Photos that Sold Cowan Pottery

Strange Times, New Skills

It’s been a while since I wrote a pandemic post and since I am tried of writing book reviews I thought I’d muse on the strangeness of the times again. I don’t need to tell any of you that things have changed. Our lives are so different today and I have to say, it’s not all bad. Social distancing has forced us at the library to reimagine how we offer programs to our patrons. It’s been challenging and at times uncomfortable, but reframe that discomfort as part of the growth process, you are now talking about professional development! I have picked up some new skills and gotten to think outside the box a lot over these past months. Here are a few things I am especially proud of:

Pre-Covid we had an in person cooking club, but I figured out how to make that a no-contact program. Cooking kits! Each kit included all the ingredients, a recipe, and instructions on how to properly use a knife to cut the onion and pepper. I am currently brainstorming a fall cooking kit. Any suggestions?

Pre-Covid my colleague and I had a True Crime Book Discussion Group. Early on offered to have a Zoom meeting with our regular attendees. They were not keen on the idea, but we were so excited about our book that we decided to talk about it ourselves! Interested in our discussion of Israel Keyes? Here’s the video!

We also created a new Facebook Group. It’s been a lot of fun interacting with patrons in this way. Feel free to join us!

Finally, the project that took the most time to complete and required me to learn new skills is my virtual escape room. I had planned to offer an in-person, after-hours escape room for our teens this summer. Instead, I had to make it all online. If you are up for a challenge, please give it a try. You can find it on the teen page of our website.

What new skills have you acquired during this pandemic?


Imagine Your Story – Books


Mrs. Lincoln’s Sisters

by Jennifer Chiaverini

After the death of three of her sons and a decade after the assassination of her husband, Mary Todd Lincoln is declared legally insane and is committed to an asylum. After watching his mother’s erratic behavior, irresponsible spending and hoarding for years, Mary’s son Robert takes responsibility for pursuing this arrangement. In alternating chapters Mary’s sisters attempt to explain the family’s history and Mary’s behavior. Eventually Mary is invited to recover at Elizabeth Edwatds home in Springfield. (Elizabeth was one of Mary’s sisters.) Mary never recovers and is forever alienated from her son.

This is a treat for fans of historical fiction. It provides an interesting look into Mary Todd’s family, her unusual  interest in politics, the courtship and marriage of Mary and Abraham along with the triumphs and tragedies they faced.



Imagine Your Story – Unplugged

Do you feel like if you might scream if you have to read one more email, attend yet another meeting online or answer another group text message? If so, then I feel your pain. I was right there with you a week and a half ago. I managed to complete my workdays without taking anyone’s head off, but then I realized, for me, it was time to unplug.

I’ve heard that unplugging for just 24 hours can be beneficial and can help people feel more centered and grounded in the present moment. But gosh, it seems harder than ever to unplug, right? We are in the middle of a pandemic. We are being forced to attend more virtual meetings than ever, order online more, stream everything, and text everyone that it seems impossible to avoid technology. But maybe this is the perfect time to do it.

A 2011 study from the University of Maryland demonstrated that when students unplugged from technology, they spent more time with friends and family, got more exercise, and cooked and ate healthier foods. That all sounds pretty good.

This past weekend, I left my phone alone, chose a paper book over my e-reader, avoided the video game console, and just let my brain relax. It wasn’t easy. I had to bow out of my weekly family Zoom meeting, miss an installment of a TV show I’ve been watching, and (sigh) put on my reading glasses to read, but think I ultimately benefited from it. I got lots of spouse and cat-time and some daydreaming in, got a bit of extra sleep, and crossed a few chores off my list. It was worth it.

So, how about it? Unplug for a day and see how it makes you feel. I won’t even be mad if you read my blog post a day late.



Life is enough of a dystopian novel right now–I don’t need to read one.

It’s been a strange summer, to say the least.  And it looks like it’s gearing up to be a strange fall with kids going back to school, fall sports, restaurants being open or not all up for grabs.  It’s a time of uncertainty, and although I usually like a good dark thriller with a twisty, unpredictable ending; for now, I think it’s time for some good, old-fashioned humorous books to make me laugh.  Hope you enjoy some of these!  Sara


Imagine Your Story – Books


Katheryn Howard, The Scandalous Queen

by Alison Weir

Manipulated by her uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, and her step-grandmother, the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, 19-year-old Katheryn Howard deceived King Henry VIII  when the couple married. Katheryn assured Henry that she had no lovers before marriage which was untrue. Katheryn was unfaithful even after she married Henry. Katheryn loved the idea of being queen along with the beautiful jewels and clothing gifted her.  Katheryn does develop an affection for Henry, but her past soon catches up with her. Katheryn’s royal life implodes and she eventually pays the ultimate price.

A tale of passion, betrayal, murder, and intrigue well worth the time if the historical fiction readers time.






Imagine Your Story – Toughen Up

Lately it’s a challenge to feel strong enough to handle what life has been throwing at us. In order to do that for myself, I’m striving to step up my physical and mental fitness games in order to be ready for anything. But, I find that it’s harder and harder to focus on the “love” part of the love/hate thing I’ve got going on with my treadmill and actually get motivated!

In the past couple of weeks, to mix it up, I’ve started adding to my consistently, inconsistent virtual boxing routine and aforementioned treadmill relationship by investigating what the library had to offer me. I was reminded, when searching the catalog, of the vast collection of exercise DVDs our library owns. Additionally, through our digital services, I can find ways to motivate myself even more. For example, using Hoopla I am able to borrow access to some really great yoga classes. My current favorite is “Gaiam: Athletic Yoga, Yoga For Flexibility with Kevin Love.” And, yes, you read that correctly. Our very own Cleveland Cleveland Cavaliers player Kevin Love is available to do yoga with you, in your home…and for that, you are welcome.

When I need strength building of the mental health variety, I usually find myself turning to Lynda Hudson’s guided meditations which I check out through the library’s Overdrive page. Lynda’s calming voice always get me to relax or to fall asleep faster. She’s even got an eBook for exercise motivation. Perfect timing, Lynda!

Are you looking for ways to change up your routine? I bet you’ll find something that will strengthen, entertain or at least surprise you when you check out our Digital Library.

Looks like it is time for me to go “move it” and spend 20 minutes with a certain Cavs player. Don’t worry, my husband is just in the next room.                     ~Carol

Imagine Your Story – Books


Above the Bay of Angels

by Rhys Bowen

(one of my favorite authors)

After her mother dies, 15-year-old Bella Waverly leaves school to become a servant to support her alcoholic father and younger sister. Bella witnesses the accidental death of  Helen Barton. She opens the envelope Helen was holding which is an invitation to apply as an under-cook at Buckingham Palace. Bella assumes Helen’s identity, interviews for the job, and is immediately hired. Willing to learn everything she can, Bella’s scones quickly become a favorite of Queen Victoria.

Bella is allowed to travel with the Queen’s entourage to Nice where her ability to speak French comes in handy. Many are in attendance when Princess Sophie’s fiance, Count Wilhelm, dies. It’s assumed he died from food poisoning. possibly from a mushroom Bella purchased from a local market. Bella works to figure out what really happened.

A little mystery/romance cozy fans will thoroughly enjoy.