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Riley Heruska
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This month, communities throughout America are highlighting the importance of vaccinations, which keep us all safe from dangerous and potentially deadly diseases.

Now is the time to promote vaccines at your organization and remind your loved ones to stay up to date on their shots. Keep in mind that everyone over the age of six months can receive certain shots, but it's always best to talk to a doctor about which immunizations should be prioritized at specific ages. 

To see what shots you need to be a healthy, safe adult, click here. There are also vaccine checklists for pregnant women and children under the age of six

Important Questions to Ask in Your Family: 

1. Is everyone up to date on their vaccines? If you're not sure, ask your family doctor for records. 

2. Are you waiting to vaccinate young children or babies? Make sure you're following the guidelines provided by a pediatrician and sticking to the vaccination schedule. 

3. Do your school-aged children need any required vaccines before they return to an academic setting? 

4. Do you have plans to get the flu shot this year? Doctors recommend getting vaccinated before flu season begins in October. 

5. Is anyone planning to travel outside of the United States? Double-check to see what vaccines you should receive before departing. 


Use this nationally-recognized month to promote awareness and safety throughout your local community. Together, we can work to prevent the spread of serious diseases and share vital knowledge. To learn more about National Immunization Awareness Month, visit the CDC website

Riley Heruska
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It's a new month, which means plenty of new content to stream on your favorite services like Hulu and Netflix. Here are some of the top new shows that you can binge-watch throughout August. Which one are you most excited to speed through on a Friday night? 



Disenchantment
 - August 17

If you're a fan of Matt Groening's work on The Simpsons, then you need to check out this adventurous story about an alcoholic princess and her feisty companions as they travel through a mythical world. Geared towards adults, the show captures the same irreverent, witty humor you've come to love in Groening's shows, so if you've been missing your weekly dose of animated comedy, jump in when it hits Netflix on August 17. 



The Good Place Season 2 - August 23 

Technically this show isn't "new" since it aired last fall, but this is the first time it will be available to stream on Netflix, which means plenty of people probably haven't caught up on Eleanor Shellstrop's adventures in the afterlife. Enjoy all of the dark humor and ingenious plot twists in this second season starting August 23. 



The Innocents 
- August 24

This twisted take on the classic tragedy of Romeo and Juliet follows June and Harry, who live in a strange supernatural world. Follow along as their secret passions force them to run away from home and June inherits a powerful gift. You might have heard Shakespeare's version of the story a thousand times, but you've never seen it told quite like this. Start streaming The Innocents on August 24. 



Ozark 
Season 2 - August 31 

Season one of this gripping Netflix Original show documents the life of a financial advisor who moves from Chicago to the Missouri Ozarks. Once there, Marty struggles to keep his family safe while money laundering. People have anxiously awaited season two, and starting August 31, you can find out what happens next in the lives of the Byrde family. 



Jack Ryan
- August 31 


If you're a fan of John Krasinski, then you'll definitely want to check him out in this new show about CIA secrets and terrorism. Krasinski plays an analyst, Jack Ryan, who is thrust into a field assignment that places him in the middle of a terrifying kind of terrorism. It's deadly, it's smart and it's downright addictive. Tune in on Amazon Prime Video on August 31 to see Jim from the office take down some bad guys. 

Riley Heruska
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July is almost over and summer is in full swing, which means there's no better time to plop down by the pool with a good book.  We've narrowed down five of the most well-reviewed books that came out over the past few weeks so that you can find your next favorite novel. Which ones will you be tossing in your beach bag? 

No One Tells You This by Glynnis MacNicol 

In this memoir, MacNicol examines her biggest hopes and fears throughout her life. The book is a reckoning with modern womanhood, and don't worry; this woman's crazy adventures and struggles will keep you entertained for hours. 

"Sharp, intimate... Unapologetic in her embrace of the ups and downs of the improvised solo life, MacNicol offers a refreshing view of the possibilities -and pitfalls- personal freedom can offer modern women. A funny, frank, and fearless memoir." - Kirkus

Eagle & Crane by Suzanne Rindell 

Picture this: two brave flyers in a circus, aka Eagle and Crane, are the stars of the show during the Depression in California. The two young men have a complicated relationship due to their family histories, and when they both meet the beautiful Ava Brooks, things get even more heated. Follow along as the book explores Japanese internment camps, a mysterious plane crash, and a truly terrible part of American history. 

“Rindell joins the ranks of popular historical fiction authors Kristin Hannah and Kate Quinn with this fast-paced, gripping novel that compellingly explores a tumultuous era of 20th-century history.” - Library Journal (starred review) 

All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover 

Known for her poignant, heart-wrenching stories, Hoover returns to the stage with a brand new novel. This one takes a realistic look at how a married couple can move through difficult times and fight for each other when things matter. You'll be flipping through pages at lightning speed as characters Quinn and Graham struggle to repair their broken relationship. 

"What a glorious and touching read, a forever keeper. The kind of book that gets handed down." - USA Today 

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager 

This novel begins with a game most of us have played since we were young: Two Truths and a Lie. Four little girls played it, but three slipped out the door and were never seen again. The last remaining girl, Emma, has grown into a successful artist living in New York. When she stumbles across an opportunity to find out what really happened to her friends so many years ago, she must face lies from both the past and present. 

“The author delivers the kind of unpredictable conclusion that all thriller readers crave—utterly shocking yet craftily foreshadowed.” - The New York Times Book Review

The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan 

Twenty years after he discovered a woman's body behind her home in Georgia, detective Cormac Reilly is faced with a new investigation set in the heart of Ireland. He must look into the "accidental" overdose of a mother that took place nearly two decades ago, and when he stumbles upon a hidden piece of evidence, he realizes everything is about to change. 

“Compelling, unexpected twists and a hold-your-breath standoff... Hand this one to readers of Tana French and to police-procedural fans.” - Booklist 

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With so many online recipes and cooking apps at our fingertips, the thought of cracking open a real cookbook might sound a little outdated. However, there's something to be said for tried-and-true recipes that have been published on paper pages. That's why these five cookbooks have all received raving reviews from chefs of all levels. Give one of them a try to see if you can spice up your meals at home. 

The Weeknight Dinner Cookbook: Simple Family-Friendly Recipes for Everyday Home Cooking
by Mary Younkin

Let's be honest: who among us really has the time or energy to whip up impressive meals on weeknights? Between balancing social commitments, work, school and extracurricular activities, making complicated dishes is pretty much impossible. That's where this cookbook comes in. Younkin has developed tons of recipes that can be followed in under half an hour. You can find instructions for everything from Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork to Chicken Parmesan meatloaf, and they're all sure to please the whole family. If you end up loving this cookbook, you can also check out Younkin's companion publication, The Weekday Lunches & Breakfast Cookbook

Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat by Chrissy Teigen and Adeena Sussman 

You've probably seen Teigen's book praised across social media, but surprisingly, her recipes are far from overrated. Teigen has spent much of her life collecting recipes from various sources, and now, she's brought them all together with Sussman in one book packed with spice and salt. Her down-to-earth voice and simple instructions appeal to any kind of cook, and the food itself is impressive. Some of her best recipes include her Skillet-Charred Fish Tacos, Literally Stovetop Pork Chops and Buttery Glazed Green Beans. If you've been skeptical of this cookbook because of the ridiculous hype that's surrounded it, try to step past your initial impressions and give it a shot. After your first meal, you're sure to be wowed (and full). 

The Home Cook: Recipes to Know by Heart 
by Alex Guarnaschelli 


There are some dishes, like Roasted Beef Brisket or Chicken Marbella, that everyone should know how to make. Guarnaschelli approaches tons of great meals in a friendly, easy-to-follow manner while ensuring that you'll use her recipes time and time again. She was trained at La Varenne Culinary School in France and lived in Paris while working at Guy Savoy. Now, she's been on multiple Food Network shows and is bringing her best concoctions right into your kitchen. Try a few of her humble but classic dishes and you'll be recommending this cookbook to everyone with an oven and a stove. 

Half Baked Harvest Cookbook: Recipes from My Barn in the Mountains
by Tieghan Gerard 


Just looking at the stunning pictures in this book will have your mouth watering. Everything from Gerard's Death by Chocolate Icebox Cake to her No-Guilt Broccoli Fettuccine Alfredo looks downright amazing. However, the dishes aren't actually that difficult to make. Gerard approaches cooking with such a friendly, fun attitude that you'll find yourself enjoying every step. Under her instruction, you'll be able to create restaurant-quality dishes at half the price. Don't think you know how to cook? Gerard will prove you wrong. 

Southern Plate: Classic Comfort Food That Makes Everyone Feel Like Family 
by Christy Jordan 

Every Texan needs to indulge in some good old-fashioned Southern cuisine every now and then. Jordan is here to help you do that with simple, time-tested recipes that will satisfy your deepest cravings. Many of her favorite dishes have been passed down to her from generations of family cooks, and you can practically taste the classic Southern flair in every bite. Be sure to try her Homemade Banana Pudding or Chicken and Dumplings as soon as your copy of Southern Plate arrives. You'll truly feel like you're right back on grandma's porch, digging into her best kinds of comfort food. 

Riley Heruska
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June is almost over, and this month, we saw dozens of popular books hit the shelves. We've narrowed down ten of the most well-reviewed books that came out over the past few weeks so that you can find your next favorite novel. Without further ado, here they are.

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Griffin 

The author of Something Borrowed is back with another romantic contemporary. This time, Nina Browning has married into Nashville's wealthy crowd and seems to have it all. However, she can't help but wonder if she's strayed too far from the person she originally was. On the other side, Tom Volpe is a single dad working several jobs just to raise his headstrong daughter, Lyla, who struggles to fit in at her rich school. Then, scandal strikes, and Nina, Tom, and Lyla find themselves in the center of a gossip whirlwind. Join them as they discover how to lead a life that's full of meaning and courage. 

“Giffin ranks as a grandmaster. [In her] bestselling novels she has traversed the slippery slopes of true love, lost love, marriage, motherhood, betrayal, forgiveness, and redemption that have led her to be called ‘a modern-day Jane Austen.’”- Chicago Sun-Times

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai 

Set in both 1980s Chicago and modern-day Paris, The Great Believers is a fierce and unique story of friendship. Yale Tishman was a director for an art gallery in Chicago back in 1985, and as his career took off, the AIDS epidemic grew in America. Several of his friends passed away, and soon, he only had his little sister for comfort. Thirty years later, that little sister, Fiona, is tracking down a daughter who has disappeared into a cult in Paris. Her story intertwines with that of her older brother, revealing that anyone can struggle to find the light during a bleak disaster. 

“Tearjerker… The Great Believers asks big questions about redemption, tragedy, and connection.” - Entertainment Weekly

The Perfect Couple
by Elin Hilderbrand 


Everyone knows that the Otis-Winbury wedding will be one to remember. The groom's parents are incredibly wealthy, and no expense has been spared for this oceanfront event. Then, tragedy strikes: a body is discovered in the harbor right before the ceremony is set to begin. Now, everyone in the wedding party is a suspect. Between the wedding drama and murder mystery, The Perfect Couple is one wild ride. 

"The must read that will be in everyone's beach bag this summer." - Brenda Janowitz, Popsugar 

A Place for Us
by Fatima Farheen Mirza 


A deep, intelligent blend of Indian-American and Muslim culture, A Place for Us follows a family who is about to celebrate their eldest daughter's wedding. Tradition and family tensions clash, leading to serious betrayals and challenges of faith. Mirza truly paints a moving portrait of Muslim families living in America, and you'll find yourself praising her talent throughout your reading experience. 

“This powerful, intricate debut is essential reading.”  - Niolet Bulawayo, author of We Need New Names 

Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson 


Dawnson's main character, Marnie MacGraw, has only ever wanted a normal life. She dreams of the whole package: kids, a loving husband, a minivan for driving to soccer practices. However, when she meets her fiance's matchmaking great-aunt, who is on her deathbed, everything changes. Marnie begins to see love in a new light as she follows in the matchmaker's romantic footsteps. 

“A delightful, light-as-air romance that successfully straddles the line between sweet and smart without ever being silly… The novel is simply captivating from beginning to end.” - Associated Press

There There
by Tommy Orange 


This novel follows a dozen characters as they travel to the Big Oakland Powwow. Each traveler has their own reason for the journey, and as you explore their poetic stories, you'll witness a shattering portrayal of America and it's Native American side. Orange's strong voice will have you laughing, crying and fuming by the time you turn the last page. 

"A gripping deep dive into urban indigenous community in California: an astonishing literary debut!" - Margaret Atwood 

The Word Is Murder by Anthony Horowitz 

Everyone needs at least one bloody murder mystery on the summer reading list, and Horowitz's page-turner is one of the best on the shelves right now. One wealthy woman arranges her own funeral and is then strangled to death. A private detective attempts to tackle the case, but he has secrets of his own. Can you figure out what has actually gone down in this brand new thriller? 

"Actually, the word is not murder, it’s ingenious... a masterful meta-mystery." - Booklist (starred review) 

The Kiss Quotient
by Helen Hoang 


If you're in the mood for something heartwarming and light, Hoang's novel is a wonderful choice. Her debut book follows Stella, a woman who believes math is the only thing that truly makes sense in this world. She has Asperger's, and as a result, she's struggled with romantic relationships. That's why she begins practicing kissing and romance with Michael Phan, a professional escort. Before long, things between them start to become a little less logical than Stella would prefer... and yet she likes it.

“In just under 24 hours I devoured The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang and it was AWESOME. Adorable, sexy, smart. Exactly the book I wanted to read!” - Christina Lauren, New York Times bestselling author 

The Book of Essie
by Meghan MacLean Weir 


Weir's first novel is surprisingly stirring and 100 percent captivating. Esther, aka Essie, is the youngest child of a family who grew up on a reality television show. She's always been in the spotlight, but when she ends up pregnant out of wedlock, her family must decide how to avoid the public eye and deal with the situation. You'll be completely intrigued by this story of religion, fame and family tension. 

"Both timelessly beautiful and unbelievably timely." - Chris Bohjalian, New York Times bestselling author of Midwives and The Flight Attendant 

The Book of M
by Peng Sheperd 


In a future that's not so far away, people's shadows are starting to disappear. The strange occurrence spreads across the globe, and those who are left without their shadows obtain new powers, but pay a price: they lose their memories. Ory and his wife have escaped the plague so far, but eventually, one of their shadow's disappears. They must then find a way to prevent their memories from being destroyed. Shepherd's novel is one fraught with sinister cults, eerie mysteries and desperate attempts to preserve what is left of the past. 

"Outstanding and unforgettable... The Book of M is a scary, surprising, sad and sentimental story that will be deeply felt by readers while capturing their imaginations and hearts." - BookPage


So, which of these fantastic releases are you going to check out first? Happy reading! 

Riley Heruska
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Maybe you live in an area that doesn't allow firework celebrations, or perhaps you simply don't like the hassle of dealing with them. Either way, there are tons of holiday activities you can plan that don't involve any dangerous explosives or fire hazards. 

Here are some great suggestions for Fourth of July get-togethers that will keep everyone safe and entertained. 

Host a Patriotic Clothing Competition

Since everyone has some red, white, and blue hanging in their closet, this is an activity everyone can participate in. Challenge your friends and family to show up wearing tons of American flair, from face paint to a shirt decked in stars and stripes. If you really want to take things to the next level, offer some sort of prize for the most patriotic outfit. Make sure to document all of the ensembles on camera! 

Cool Down With a Water Balloon Fight

As long as the weather keeps progressing like it has been, Texas is probably looking at a Fourth of July holiday that's somewhere in the 90s. Keep everyone cool with a bit of friendly competition in the backyard. Purchase red, white, and blue balloons, then see who is left dry at the end of everything. Don't leave the battle to the kids; get all of your guests involved and make some memories. 

Whip Up a Variety of Red, White, and Blue Treats 

Right now, Pinterest is ablaze with Fourth of July desserts and drinks. You can follow recipes to create anything from Firecracker Jello Shots to American Flag Berry Pies. After all, nothing feels more festive than munching on a bunch of specialty treats after a day in the sun. 

Screen an American-Themed Film 

Invite everyone inside to cool off with a movie like Independence Day. If you don't want to watch a film, you can also probably find a fireworks show airing on television and watch from the comfort of your living room. Some people even project movies or shows on screens outside so that guests can watch from the pool or porch. 

Use Confetti Shooters Instead of Sparklers 

This allows kids to enjoy the thrill of launching sparkles into the air without burning themselves (or your home). Sure, they're a pain to clean up, but the fun is totally worth the cost. You can also fill balloons with confetti and pop them to achieve a similar experience to small fireworks. 


How do you celebrate the Fourth without fireworks? Leave other suggestions in the comments! 

Riley Heruska
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Summer is here, and that means Texan families will be spending their days around swimming pools and lakes in hopes of beating the heat. Swimming is an excellent form of exercise for kids and a great way to build memories, but it's important to remember that bodies of water pose a serious threat to young swimmers. 

Already, reports have indicated that dozens of children have drowned in Texas this year due to water-related accidents. In fact, the CDC states that the leading cause of injury-related deaths in children ages one to four is drowning. 

Whether your children are playing in your backyard pool or exploring near a lakeside, there are some important steps to take to prevent life-threatening accidents. Here are the top five tips experts have shared when it comes to water safety. 

1. Start swim lessons early. 
According to most swimming instructors, the sooner you enroll your young child in lessons, the better. Many classes will teach babies as young as six-months-old. Even if your child is too young to truly start swimming on their own, they can learn to be comfortable in the water and perform basic moves. These skills could save their life in the event of an emergency. By the time your child is a toddler, it's essential that they be able to swim comfortably, hold their breath, and move around the water on their own. 

2. Secure your swimming pool with barriers when it's not in use. 
One of the best ways to avoid pool-related disasters is to invest in safety products. Consider putting a temporary fence up around the water when you're not using it, or even look into wireless gate alarms that alert you when someone goes into the pool area when they shouldn't. An extremely high percentage of childhood drownings occur in the pools of private residences, so it's important not to underestimate the dangers your own backyard can pose. 

3. Learn CPR.
 In the event of a water-related accident, you want to be as prepared as possible. Not sure how to learn CPR? Check out these video demonstrations or look into the CPR classes offered by the Red Cross. 

4. Use life vests and other floats when appropriate. 
Ask any Coast Guard member or other water safety expert: life jackets do save lives. In the Coast Guard's 2014 reports, 84 percent of the fatal boating accident victims that drowned were not wearing a life vest. When you're around open water or on a boat, err on the side of caution and keep little ones strapped in a properly-sized life jacket. Most states actually require that children under the age of 13 wear one. 

5. Make sure that at least one adult is on supervising duty. 
Although accidents can happen even when adults are watching, parents should always ensure that there is someone on child duty when around a pool. Even if you are just around the body of water and not actually swimming in it, all babies, toddlers, and young children should be watched carefully to decrease the risk of an accident. 

Riley Heruska
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We're entering another new month, and you know what that means: new shows to enjoy either on your streaming devices or on cable. From an intense historical drama to a striking feminist series, here are a handful of the most highly-anticipated June releases. Why not ring in the start of summer with a good ol' binge-watching session? 



Succession 
- on HBO June 3 


This brand new American drama series, produced by Jesse Armstrong, Will Ferrell, and Adam McKay, follows a family who controls a powerful entertainment and media company. Logan Roy, the patriarch, is going to step down eventually, and the rest of the family must decide what the future of the company will look like. Full of eccentric characters, juicy gossip, and lots of money, Succession will surely earn some attention when it hits HBO in a few days. 



Dietland - on AMC June 4 

Based on the novel by Sarai Walker that was published a few years ago, Dietland dives deep into the beauty industry and society's obsession with weight. The main character, Plum Kettle, is an overweight ghostwriter who spends her time daydreaming about what life would be like if she were thin. Eventually, she decides to undergo surgery for weight loss, but before she goes under the knife, she finds herself recruited by a feminist group who is determined to stop the mistreatment of women. With a riveting story and not-so-subtle themes of self-discovery and female empowerment, Dietland is poised to make some serious waves. 



The Staircase - on Netflix June 8 

Director Jean-Xavier de Lestrade is returning to the case of Michael Peterson with three brand new, hair-raising episodes. In 2001, Kathleen Peterson was found dead at the foot of her stairs. Did her husband commit the atrocious crime, or was it truly an accident? Follow his high-profile case as everyone takes a closer look at Michael's marriage and life. 



A Very English Scandal - on Amazon June 29 

This highly-awaited show stars Hugh Grant as he portrays Jeremy Thorpe, the British Liberal leader who was accused of murder and forced to stand trial in 1979 after the death of a young stable hand, Norman Scott. Full of deceit and political scheming, A Very English Scandal is one June release you won't want to miss. 


What will you be watching this month? Comment with your suggestions!

Riley Heruska
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May is always a great month for books. So many publishers have released new, exciting titles, and we're ready to dive into all of them. To narrow down your selection, we've picked ten of the most highly-reviewed novels that were published recently. Snag one of them for your next lounge by the pool. 

Love and Ruin by Paula McLain 

The woman behind The Paris Wife returns, and this time, she's diving deep into the tumultuous relationship between Ernest Hemingway and his wife, Martha Gellhorn. Follow along as Hemingway establishes his influential career and risks everything for a passionate, fiercely independent woman during the late 1930s. 

“Paula McLain is considered the new star of historical fiction, and for good reason.” - Ann Patchett, Country Living

The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy 

The May Mothers all gave birth during the same month, and as a result, they love to meet up and share their stories of parenthood. However, when one of the women's babies is abducted, they are forced to examine the most disturbing, private parts of their lives. Everything will be turned upside down in their quest to find the missing child. 

"An electrifying thriller—and a subtle, savvy skewering of the endless expectations of modern motherhood." - Book of the Week People 

Furyborn by Claire Legrand 

This first book in Legrand's exciting new YA series straddles two timelines. In one, a powerful young woman is desperate to do anything to keep her best friend, the prince, safe. In the other, a bloodthirsty young hunter struggles to survive as she navigates politics and adventures. The question is, how do these two stories connect? 

"Beautiful, brutal, heart-stopping, and epic, Furyborn is a world to lose yourself in-just bring weapons. It's dangerous there." - Laini Taylor, New York Times bestselling author 

Calypso by David Sedaris 

If you're in need of a good laugh, then snag a copy of Calypso stat. Sedaris unveils a series of personal stories that are equal parts dark and hilarious. You'll be thoroughly entertained as he discusses love, aging, mortality, and his experiences as a writer. 

"Sedaris collects 21 essays largely about family bonds and getting older in this hilarious yet tender volume...The author's fans and newcomers alike will be richly rewarded by this sidesplitting collection."?Publishers Weekly (starred review) 

The Outsider by Stephen King 

The King is back, and in his newest novel, he's telling the story of a brutally-murdered young boy and the baseball coach who is accused of the crime. The coach, Maitland, claims he is innocent, but it's no use. To clear his name and prevent another horrific murder from occurring, he must concoct a plan to reveal the true killer on the prowl. Hold on to your seat because this novel is a wild ride. 

"A juicy tale that plays at the forefront of our current phobias... [The Outsider] will remind readers of King's early novel It." - Kirkus Reviews

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware 


With a style likened to that of Agatha Christie, Ware tells the story of a tarot card reader who incorrectly inherits a large fortune. When she attends the funeral of the dead woman, she realizes that there's more to than meets the eye to this woman's death. Beware: Ware will put you on the edge of your seat and keep you there for hundreds of pages. 

“Ware’s fourth novel is her best yet, with steadily increasing tension, a complicated twisty mystery, and a sharp, sympathetic heroine who’s up to the challenge of solving it… well-crafted, gothic-tinged suspense.” - Library Journal (starred review)

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center 

It seems like Margaret Jacobsen has it all: a promising career, a wonderful relationship with her dream man, and plenty of joy. Then, tragedy strikes and Jacobsen is forced to face the life she never dreamed of having. Nothing will ever be the same again, and yet she must learn to be brave in the face of such pain. 

"A heartbreak of a novel that celebrates resilience and strength." - Jill Santopolo, bestselling author of The Light We Lost

When Never Comes by Barbara Davis 

Christy-Lynn didn't have an easy childhood; she was born to a drug addict and forced to hit the road at a young age. Eventually, she married a bestselling novelist, but her life is shattered when his body is pulled from Echo Bay. Now, she's surrounded by more fear and mysteries than ever before. Will she ever be able to love and find happiness again? 

“Brimming with compassion and a refreshingly grown-up romance, Barbara Davis’s story of a woman who has left herself behind in more ways than one is imbued with grace, patience, and hope." - Emily Carpenter, author of Burying the Honeysuckle Girls and The Weight of Lies

Not That Bad: Dispatches From Rape Culture by Roxane Gay and Others 

Edited by Roxane Gay, the author of Bad Feminist and Hunger, this anthology contains several essays about assault, rape, and the harassment in today's society. It's not an easy read, but it's an important one that will leave you with much to think about. 

"The lauded social critic and provocateur curates a diverse and unvarnished collection of personal essays reckoning with the experiences and systemic dysfunction that produced #MeToo." - O: The Oprah Magazine

The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar 

This moving debut details the survival story of two young Syrian girls. One is a modern-day refugee, the other is a medieval adventurer who lived long ago. As the story progresses, the reader witnesses how courage and exile are two common themes in the lives of these young women. 

"Nour’s family constantly endures hardship. . . but her young, honest voice adds a softer, coming-of-age perspective to this story of loss, hope, and survival. . . This imaginative yet very real look into war-torn Syria is a must." - starred Booklist review 

Riley Heruska
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There are a lot of great things that accompany summer's arrival, like long sunsets and warm weather. However, there's one huge problem that always pops up once May rolls around: mosquitoes. 

In fact, Texas is reportedly in the top 20 percent of U.S. states when it comes to people getting bitten by mosquitoes and acquiring diseases. Spending your days outside in the North Texas area is a surefire way to wind up at home with red bumps on your arms and legs, and maybe even dangerous illnesses like the Zika and West Nile viruses. 

To prevent you and your family from being exposed to harmful diseases and annoying bites, here are five ways you can avoid mosquitos and keep them away from your home. 

1. Get rid of any standing water on your property. Mosquitoes love to hang out around shady or stagnant puddles and other bodies of water. If you can, make sure that the standing water gets cleaned up and that fountains, pools, and other water features are turned on and running. This will prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs on the water and gathering in the area. Remember that even an inch of still water can provide a perfect breeding ground for the insects. 

2. Keep a bottle of heavy-duty bug spray in your car and house. You never know when you'll find yourself taking a stroll down a forested path or sitting by the lakeside during a Texas summer, so it pays to be prepared and always have bug spray on hand. Permethrin-based bug sprays tend to be the most effective, especially against mosquitos, chiggers, tics, and other blood-suckers. 

3. Wear light-colored, loose clothing while you're outside. For some reason, mosquitoes are more attracted to dark colors (black, dark blue, red) than they are to light colors. Also, wearing baggier clothing can leave more of your skin protected, which adds another level of protection against the bugs. 

4. Turn your porch fan on. If you want to sit outside and enjoy the weather, keep an oscillating fan on your patio so that the air is constantly moving. This will blow away some bugs and deter others from landing on your skin. 

5. Wear long pants when walking around at dusk. Mosquitoes are most active when the sun goes down because the exposure dehydrates them. Texas has 85 different kinds of mosquitoes, and almost all of them will seek out blood at dawn, dusk, or during the night. Therefore, when you're walking around as the sun sets, the mosquitoes are likely to be on the hunt. Make sure to take extra protective measures during the worst parts of the day.