Meet the Reviewers


My love of reading goes back to my childhood and starting my own collection of Sweet Valley High and Babysitter books.  I flew through each title and couldn’t wait for the next one in the series.  I still have a love for reading and I am usually found with a book in hand.  My favorite genre is suspense, but I like to throw in a women’s contemporary, a light-hearted comedy, or teen fiction to mix it up.  When I am not reading, I enjoy movies, travel, and checking out the local spots around town.


I’m a TCC librarian at the TCC Virginia Beach Joint-Use Library and it is my dream job! I mostly read YA fiction and graphic novels, with a tendency toward science fiction and fantasy, but I’ll try almost anything once. I love a book with excellent secondary characters or antagonists (protagonists usually don’t impress me). I’m a creator: I like to write, cook, bake, blog, and craft, and I like to read about all of those things, too!

My name is Amanda and I write reviews with the help of my middle school aged daughter, who I will call Annie. We have always enjoyed reading the same things and then coming together to discuss them in a sort of two person, informal book club. I have been working for VBPL for almost four years and, when I’m not reading recommendations from a tween, I enjoy thrillers, graphic novels, and anything that has an engaging and changing main character. Annie loves youth graphic novels and books with characters that destroy boundaries and convention. Our mutual favorite book is Matilda by Roald Dahl. 

I have a rather juvenile, warped sense of humor and it’s hard for me to focus on anything for very long, thus why I don’t enjoy fiction titles.  I’m more of a humorous non-fiction, muscle cars, astronomy, random facts, outdoorsy reading kind of girl.  I’m also a big fan of brightly colored, silly picture books.  Enjoy! Find my reviews here.

Ever since I discovered Little Women in sixth grade, I’ve been an avid reader.  Whether there’s a mystery to solve or an adventure to be had, in order to keep me engaged a book must have a story I can get lost in and characters I can relate to. While I am partial to teen and middle grade fiction, I also enjoy mysteries, women’s fiction, and epic fantasy stories. Find my reviews here

As a child, we traveled extensively throughout the eastern U.S., but I couldn’t tell you a thing about any of it, because I always had my nose in a book. Not much has changed since then! There isn’t any genre I won’t read, and my reading taste varies a lot with my mood. Favorite genres include historical fiction and historical and classic mysteries, science fiction, fantasy, and on occasion, women’s fiction. My favorite books tend to be character driven, though I love the atmospheric setting of a good Gothic. My husband and I have six grown children, five grandchildren, three cats and a Chihuahua named Po. Find my reviews here.

This reviewer is very curious about everything and reads almost anything. Science and science fiction, history and historical fiction, mystery, fantasy, minority experiences, and children’s literature are all likely picks. She’s been a librarian since 1972 and thinks it is the best job in the world. Find my reviews here.

I am a technology librarian who loves people --- the nicer the better! I am fascinated by words and the social life of information. I read just about everything including the gossip mags. I shy away from intense horror and science fiction or my over active imagination won't let me sleep at night. Find my reviews here.

Dee Dee
Travelling the world over experiencing the rich and fascinating cultures of exotic places is how I’d rather spend my time. Alas, financial constraints preclude that. Instead I read, watch dvds and listen to audiobooks about faraway places, people and cultures—as well as those closer to home—often with a cat curled up in my lap. Find my reviews here.

I mainly read non-fiction, especially accounts of people’s lives or experiences. Real life – you just can’t make this stuff up! Find my reviews here.

I’ve always read just about anything in sight—including the proverbial cereal box.    Like Carolyn, I am curious about everything, and read widely.  Having been a librarian since 1971, I’ve been able to indulge my reading passion almost every day—but unfortunately not during work. Find my reviews here.

I’m partial to fiction, especially thrillers and horror, but I can also be drawn to nonfiction if the topic intrigues me. The important thing is to escape into a good book! Find my reviews here.

Early Literacy Outreach
The Virginia Beach Public Library is a driving force in early literacy! Early Literacy Outreach takes a holistic approach to literacy by serving children ages 0-5 as well as their teachers, parents, and other caregivers. Early Literacy Outreach staff visit selected childcare centers in our book van and state-of-the art bookmobile, which has been converted into an early literacy classroom. We provide age-appropriate book deposits for childcare centers, ongoing teacher training and curriculum support, and early literacy storytime classes that foster critical pre-reading skills. Early Literacy Outreach also provides early literacy parent workshops through partnerships with community organizations as well as "Literacy Lingo: Tips for Parents," the library’s weekly early literacy campaign on Facebook. If you would like more information regarding our trainings for parents, caregivers, and teachers or our services to Virginia Beach preschools, please contact Melanie Tucker, Early Literacy Outreach Coordinator, at (757) 385-0193

Few things compare to a good story! Whether fiction or not, I love to find myself immersed in a great story that challenges my way of thinking about myself or the world around me. Memoirs, biographies, science fiction, and historical fiction are my favorites. I also enjoy Science Fiction, Japanese, and Chinese films. I first found myself pulled into stories while volunteering in my elementary school’s library. As a child, I loved Bill Peet and now find his books fill me with nostalgia. When I am not glued to the pages of my books, I enjoy gardening, bird watching, and the company of hummingbirds. Find my reviews here.

Science fiction, fantasy, classic horror, and graphic novels are what I like to read. For a book to really grab me, it needs to be philosophically challenging. I need to grapple with controversial societies and outlandish worldviews to stay interested. I also love the X-Men, Batman, and Spiderman when I’m looking for something relaxing to read. So expect to see reviews of mind-blowingly epic literary journeys. Find my reviews here.

I’m a bit of a dabbler when it comes to reading, but my favorite sections are youth and teen fiction. I especially like historical fiction, fantasy, and dystopian reads. I have worked in the Virginia Beach Public Libraries for several years and I love it! My dream is to get my Masters in Library Science and become a children’s librarian. Find my reviews here.

I have been an avid reader since I was a little girl. I credit my father who took me to the library every week and also read to me at night. I grew up surrounded by books and feel very fortunate to be surrounded by books in my professional life. My reading tastes run the gamut from best seller fiction to memoirs to young adult and graphic novels, but my very favorite is to read cookbooks. I love the smell of books and the feel of turning pages and I always have a constant and steady pile of books that I am reading. Find my reviews here. 

-Prefers obscure literature
-A bit of a snoot
-Seeks novels translated from the Japanese
-Reveres The Journey to the West, Anthony C. Yu translating, as Best Read

-Adores manga and anime; Hunter X Hunter is like the pinnacle of entertainment 

A bit quirky and off-beat, I can’t help but try to find the weirdest and most innovative book to keep me intrigued. Aside from math books and enormous historical tomes, I’ll read just about anything. Unless of course, it’s an obscure math book with talking numbers! Find my reviews here.

Reading is fun, reading is cool.
I was so happy when I learned to read in school.
I read books on paper or on screens.
I like to read by any means.
I read books in my comfy chair at home.
I even read them on my phone.
I listen to books as I drive down the road.
This audiobook is exciting, yay, traffic has slowed.
So pick up a book and read I say.
Hmm, which book shall I read today?
Find my reviews here.

Kathleen Fogarty would read for days, if not for the fact that she produces programs for children and families at VBPL and occasionally creates meals with fresh produce from her husband’s organic farm in Pungo. She’s been a radio/television producer, a music teacher and a freelance writer, and hopes to publish a batch of books in the next few years. Her favorite place is Ireland, she loves shrimp and grits and anything Low Country, including home design. Her favorite library items include picture books, youth and teen fiction, and adult literary fiction, with an occasional cookbook thrown in for delight. Find my reviews here.

I am a Teen Librarian with a fondness for romance novels. I am drawn to quirky memoirs, teen fiction, women’s lit. and historical or paranormal romance. I also enjoy a good non-fiction account of hauntings. The running joke is if a novel has pirates, time travel or time traveling pirates then I am going to read it. You will also find my favorite new picture books scattered through my reviews. Find my reviews here.

My basic motto when it comes to books is pretty simple: never apologize for your reading taste! I try to make sure to read widely and diversely, outside of my normal go-to authors and series; I’ve found some of my favorite new-to-me books that way, and best yet, I’m better equipped to talk to all  our library customers about their own favorites and help them find new ones too. As a librarian for over a decade now, focusing in that time mostly on readers’ services for adults, I’ve found it to be a rewarding and satisfying job, and I look forward to decades more.

I have been working with books for over 10 years and despite that I still like them.  I mostly read snooty, award-winning fiction…to make me feel better after reading sports and picture books.  I have several scraps of paper with long lists of books to read and then something grabs my eye and jumps in front of a book that has been waiting for five years.  I guess I’m really saying that I like books but I’m not sure that they like me. Find my reviews here.

I enjoy quilting, fine crafts, woodworking, sailing, gardening, and dogs. These activities lead me to the non-fiction how-to books with great illustrations. When I read for fun, I gravitate toward quirky characters like Stephanie Plum, Julie Roseman, and Zippy Kimmel. Find my reviews here.

The summer after I finished third grade, my mom handed me a copy of Ramona Quimby, Age 8. I proceeded to read all of Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books that summer and have had an unquenchable thirst for good books ever since. While I have graduated to adult books, I am still drawn to strong characters like Ramona. Books with a strong sense of place also appeal to me so I love a good historical novel or a memoir of someone from another time or culture. I enjoy books that teach me something new so you will see reviews from me on a variety of topics, including knitting, running and cooking. Find my reviews here.

I guess there’s still a bit of this child left in me. I love picture books, youth chapter books, and teen novels. You’ll find a lot of these in my reviews, especially picture books that parents and teachers can use to advantage since children enjoy them so much they don’t even realize that they’re learning! I also share as many early literacy enhancements as I can in the reviews. One of my greatest successes is the fact that all three of my children (now college-aged) love reading, and passing that joy on to other families means a lot to me. For my own reading, you will way more often than not find me deep in another era through historical fiction with well-drawn characters and a story worth telling. Find my reviews here.

Matthew A.
Fantasy, science fiction, YA, fiction, and graphic novels are my go-to genres, but I will read anything that challenges me and introduces me to an incredible realm. I have worked as a bookseller previously and I volunteered at my school library, so VBPL is simply where I belong. When I’m not at the library, I can be found in my home library working on my immense backlog of books, playing piano, hiking, running, or biking. I’m also a bit of a nerd, but this likely doesn’t surprise anyone.

No matter the genre, fact or fiction, I need well-written characters to hold my interest. A great plot with a one-dimensional protagonist soon finds its way out of my hands. I'm mostly drawn to literary fiction with occasional forays into science fiction, fantasy and nonfiction. Music and film reviews will occasionally be sprinkled throughout my week of posts. Find my reviews here.

As a Teen Library Program Specialist, my nightstand is piled high with YA titles. I also enjoy funny picture books, weird nonfiction, and graphic novels, though I am willing to give any book a chance. 

I can’t resist splashing in the current of words. It’s all about the language for me: rich, rhythmic, glistening, grabbing. I read with my ears and voice is paramount in a choice pick. Next come characters that beckon and environs that breathe. And when the word-puddles grow deep, I shake off my cares with children’s picture books and Python-esque dry humor. Long live early literacy and Killer Rabbits! Find my reviews here.

I love young adult books, graphic novels, and non-fiction books that help me improve my cycling skills. Some of my favorites include The Color Purple by Alice Walker, Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore, and Illusions by Richard Bach. I love hanging out with my son who took my lovely picture. Find my reviews here.

A self-proclaimed book nerd, I approach books like I do food: voraciously, but picky according to my whims. I enjoy most types of genre fiction, especially romance. But I can and will read almost anything. And probably have. Find my reviews here.

I am a May baby, born in Indianapolis, Indiana; I checked out my first book from a school library at age 8; I have had an enduring obsession with all things fantastical and science fiction since childhood; As a veteran world traveler and mom to three readers, I am delighted to write about my first love--genre fiction-- on VBPL Recommends. Find my reviews here.

Rami Yoakum is a Library Program Specialist at the Wahab Public Law Library. Originally from Ohio he now lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and daughter, while his sons are married and also living in Virginia Beach. An avid reader, he self-published a book about the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. 

Get me outdoors (no bugs, please) with my dog and my family, and I'm happy. Add a book and a comfortable camp chair, and I'm in heaven! I've been reading since I was at least four, and I haven't stopped! The many books on my desk and on my nightstand are for pleasure, curiosity, and for sharing. Multi-dimensional characters are important for a good story, but being immersed into a different time and place rounds a tale out nicely. Biography, romance, mystery, history, children's literature - I'll read it in any form. I have a voracious appetite for learning and delve deep into many topics (including bugs). Find my reviews here.

My background in art gives me a unique perspective on picture books: I believe picture books are for everyone, regardless of age! Poetry, stories with strong visual imagery and creative non-fiction inspire me. I had the opportunity to record a couple of books for the National Assemblies Center for the Blind in Missouri so I especially enjoy audio books and characters with distinctive voices. Find my reviews here.

As you can probably tell from my picture, there is nothing I love more than being totally engrossed in a good book. I started reading teen fiction when I was 11 years old and a volunteer at the Great Neck Library, and despite the fact that I’m now 25 and a reference librarian, this is still my favorite genre. I also read some romance, chick-lit, fantasy, and the occasional youth book, and I especially love finding novels with multicultural characters. Find my reviews here.

I am a midwest transplant that loves reading, writing, and gaming. I read without borders but especially enjoy and gravitate to teen lit, fantasy, and true crime. I also love and respect the graphic novel format. Find my reviews here.

As a super busy mom of two small, precious, demanding children, I need a book that will grab my attention fast. Complicated plots and in-depth character development are for single women in their early twenties. I’ve lived in New Orleans, Austin and New York and enjoy books that sort of take me back to those places. I read across all genres, but I particularly enjoy the escapism offered in scintillating biographies of rock and roll giants. Maybe I missed my calling or something. I also love YA and New Adult fiction and anything really truly funny.  Find my reviews here.


My earliest memories of reading are days spent at the library, checking out every book I could find from the Reading Rainbow list. As an adult, romance is my favorite genre to read. I also enjoy a wide range of other genres, including psychological fiction, true crime, and biographies. Find my reviews here.

As a self-published author, I read with the writer in mind. I like to examine how their words affect me (laugh, cry, shout, throw book across the room or curse the fictional characters within the story). This approach has helped me find many favorite authors. My reading taste is ever changing. My first love is romance, though you probably couldn’t tell by looking at my book reviews. I dabble in supernatural, sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction, biographies, young adult and anything else that catches my eye. I truly enjoy a good story. I especially love to find undiscovered treasures to share. My book entitled, This Time Around: A Virginia Lovers Romance is available in Virginia Beach Public Libraries as well as  Find my reviews here.

An “about me” or list of hobbies is never complete without mentioning that I like to read! Ever since I read my first “big” book in second grade (Ramona and her Father by Beverly Cleary), I have always enjoyed reading. No surprise then that I majored in English. I read books that interest me with their characters, their plot, or the concept (or all of the above)! Though I do have a preference for science fiction, fantasy, and manga, I try not to limit myself to reading only certain types of books because it is the story that draws me in regardless of its genre, and it would be a shame to miss out on a story because it does not fit my type. Find my reviews here.