The Book Shelf: Back to School Reads

Now that school is back in session, life can easily turn into a whirlwind. Between work, family, and activities, it can be difficult to find time to relax or even fix dinner. If you are lucky enough to find a few minutes of down time, check out these books to help you de-stress and manage your life.

The Weekenders

By: Mary Kay Andrews

If you are already longing for the return of summer, The Weekenders, just might be the book for you. Set in the island community of Belle Island, South Carolina, the members of the Nolan family explore love and friendship as they try to keep their secrets hidden from each other. For one member of the Nolan family, in particular, the summer is filled with the unexpected. Riley Nolan had it all, looks, money, and an attractive husband, until her life started to unravel. Just before memorial day, Riley’s marriage begins to fall apart. Wendell, who seemed like the perfect husband to the rest of the Nolan family, moved out of the family home and began to be increasingly secretive about the family business dealings. Just as Riley is prepared to sue for divorce, someone saves her the trouble. The day after the family arrives on the island, Wendell’s dead body is discovered near the dock. The investigation into Wendell’s death starts turning up many unpleasant details about the past. Riley’s saving grace in this tumultuous time is a former boyfriend, Nate who is back on the island after making his fortune in a California tech firm. Sparks fly as Nate and Riley renew their former acquaintance amidst the murder investigation, financial difficulties, and family drama.

Despite the novel’s setting being the perfect vacation spot for sun, sand, and southern charm, the plot contains all the elements of a riveting murder mystery with a little romance thrown in to lighten the mood. The Weekenders is an easy to read novel that touches upon the elements that are necessary for a strong and supportive family environment. This novel will keep you guessing about the next Nolan family revelation, and readers will be intrigued by the down to earth characters.

Pure Delicious: more than 150 delectable allergen-free recipes without gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, or cane sugar

By: Heather Christo

This cookbook is a quintessential guide to allergen-free cooking. It contains appealing dishes, recipes that are easy to make, and are adapted to fit a variety of allergies. Christo, the author of this work, is a chef and mother who experienced food allergies first hand when she and her children were diagnosed with a variety of allergies. After struggling to find answers to their health concerns, they realized that many foods seemed to cause inflammation. During the family’s path of discovery, they developed an 8-week program that is designed to cleanse the body of inflammatory food sources and common allergens. Many people are unable to stick to a strict diet that excludes gluten, sugar, dairy, nuts, and shellfish, because it is boring and repetitive. To help combat the dullness of an elimination diet, Christo, includes many delicious recipes to help readers put this plan into practice. The recipes include salads, pizza, pasta, desserts, soups, breads, and main dishes. Some of the tastiest and easy to create dishes are zucchini chickpea fritters, quinoa tabbouleh, kale pesto pasta, roasted halibut with strawberry-basil salsa, and banana bread.

If you are looking for a cookbook that is kid friendly and includes adaptations for many of common allergies, this is the book for you. The recipes are easy to follow, include ingredients that are obtainable, and are very tasty. Pure Delicious, is exactly as the title describes, filled with luscious recipes that contain wholesome foods.

If you like these books and would like to find similar titles, check out NoveList Plus. This online resource, available through the Mid-Continent Public Library, will help you find fiction books that appeal to your personal reading style. For non-fiction titles, check out Books & Authors.


Stacy Hisle-Chaudri is the Assistant Branch Manager at the Parkville Branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library. Stacy has worked in library and archival environments for ten years, and is a native of the Kansas City area. She has a Master of Library and Information Science from Wayne State University and a Master of Arts in History from the University of Central Missouri. Her areas of expertise are reader’s advisory, technology instruction, and genealogy research.