“Spaghetti Smiles” by Margo Sorenson. Pelican Publishing, 2014. $16.99.

Upon learning that his Uncle Rocco’s Italian restaurant may have to close unless he finds another tenant to move in next door, Jake sets about the neighborhood to help save the restaurant and in the process find the perfect solution to his favorite pastime of reading books to his uncle.

Beautifully illustrated by David Harrington, “Spaghetti Smiles” is a sweet book for any child and encourages them to spend time with family and help them when in need!

— Anna Guerra, Denham Springs

“The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery” by Sam Kean. Little, Brown and Co., 2014. $27.

Long before the invention of MRI, the study of neuroscience, particularly the way the brain functions, relied heavily upon observing patients after trauma to the brain. Through observation, physicians and scientists discovered the importance of the brain and mapped out specific areas responsible for language, memory, emotions, speech and personality.

Written in an entertaining manner, Kean’s book provides intriguing, and at times, gruesome, neurological cases of significance of the last several centuries. Beginning with the case of King Henri II of France, whose jousting accident in the 16th century proved that injury to the brain without damage to the skull can be deadly, and closing with the case of Phineas Gage, a railroad worker who survived an iron rod piercing his brain only to have his personality forever changed due to damage of his frontal lobe, Kean’s book is filled with engrossing tales of neurological science and history.

— Laura Acosta, Baton Rouge

“With This Ring” by Celeste Bradley. St. Martin’s Paperbacks, 2014. $7.99.

Elektra Worthington feels responsible for the poor financial state her family is in. Believing it is all her fault, Elektra goes on a mission to find a husband with a good title that can bring her family back to good standing.

Lord Aaron Arbogast took the blame for a scandal from an old friend, meaning that in order to inherit his title he needs to convince his grandfather that he has changed. On the way to his grandfather’s though, he gets kidnapped by Elektra Worthington.

Aaron quickly decides to pretend to be his sick manservant, Hastings, in order to convince Elektra that he is not a lord. While she believes him, she still convinces him to accompany her and her cousin as they make their way back to the Worthingtons’. Will Aaron be able to leave in time to convince his grandfather he should inherit the title or will he become distracted by the jealousy that overcomes him when he sees Elektra trying to find another suitable husband?

Celeste Bradley is a star, her characters are larger than life and the ones in this novel are no exception. This book brings more Worthington craziness and can be read on its own. If the reader has read other books in the series though, this installment will bring a few more developments to some secondary characters. The writing is quick and fast-paced and makes the reader eager to continue reading to see what happens next. This is a must-read for any historical romance fan.

— Juliette Brandt, Baton Rouge