Book List, Staff Picks

Fall Into Our Latest Staff Favorites!

Today we’re sharing our latest staff picks! These are our “regular” staff picks, books staff members pick every two weeks to feature on the shelves by the cash register. Each book is followed by the staff member’s blurb and then the synopsis of the book from the publisher.

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

Elantris is a fantastic novel that turns one of the main concepts of fantasy on its head. It asks the question what happens to a magical society when magic suddenly stops working. When all of the people who were once all-powerful wizards are now beginning to fall apart and decay. Set against the backdrop of a brewing religious conflict (which is masterfully written) Elantris is at its heart a story about healing and hope.

In 2005, Brandon Sanderson debuted with Elantris, an epic fantasy unlike any other then on the market. To celebrate its tenth anniversary, Tor is reissuing Elantris in a special edition, a fresh chance to introduce it to the myriad readers who have since become Sanderson fans.
This new edition begins with a preface by author Dan Wells, the first person to read the completed novel, and a new afterword by Sanderson explaining how he came to write the book and its place in the Cosmere, the unified universe of all his Tor novels.
Also included is an expanded version of the “Ars Arcanum” appendix, with more of the technical details of the book’s magic that fans can never get enough of.
Elantris was truly a milestone both for Sanderson and for the genre of epic fantasy. It deserves this special treatment, something Tor has done only once before, with Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game. Sanderson fans old and new will be excited to discover it.

The Forgotten Kingdom by Signe Pike

We’ll be doing a virtual event with Signe on Sept 22nd!

This series just gets better and better! I loved getting more POVs in this second book of the series and I fell even more into the world of Langoreth’s Britain! I absolutely cannot wait for the sure-to-be epic next book!

Sequel to The Lost Queen
AD 573. Imprisoned in her chamber, Languoreth awaits news in torment. Her husband and son have ridden off to wage war against her brother, Lailoken. She doesn’t yet know that her young daughter, Angharad, who was training with Lailoken to become a Wisdom Keeper, has been lost in the chaos. As one of the bloodiest battles of early medieval Scottish history scatters its survivors to the wind, Lailoken and his men must flee to exile in the mountains of the Lowlands, while nine-year-old Angharad must summon all Lailoken has taught her and follow her own destiny through the mysterious, mystical land of the Picts.
In the aftermath of the battle, old political alliances unravel, opening the way for the ambitious adherents of the new religion: Christianity. Lailoken is half-mad with battle sickness, and Languoreth must hide her allegiance to the Old Way to survive her marriage to the next Christian king of Strathclyde. Worst yet, the new King of the Angles is bent on expanding his kingdom at any cost. Now the exiled Lailoken, with the help of a young warrior named Artur, may be the only man who can bring the Christians and the pagans together to defeat the encroaching Angles. But to do so, he must claim the role that will forever transform him. He must become the man known to history as “Myrddin.”
Bitter rivalries are ignited, lost loves are found, new loves are born, and old enemies come face-to-face with their reckoning in this compellingly fresh look at one of the most enduring legends of all time.

One Year at Ellsmere by Faith Erin Hicks

This is also a favorite of Marielle as well!

This atmospheric boarding school story has it all—a creepy setting, a mysterious history, an endearing friendship, and snooty villains. You’ll cheer the main character Juniper on as she navigates through her bumpy first year at Ellsmere Academy with the help of her quirky and friendly roommate Cassie. Previously published in 2008 as THE WAR AT ELLSMERE, this new edition is more colorful as it has been redrawn, reimagined, and reinked.

With revamped art and now in full color, One Year at Ellsmere is an endearing—and surprising—middle-grade friendship story from beloved author Faith Erin Hicks!
Was boarding school supposed to be this hard?
When studious thirteen-year-old Juniper wins a scholarship to the prestigious Ellsmere Academy, she expects to find a scholastic utopia. But living at Ellsmere is far from ideal: She is labeled a “special project,” Ellsmere’s queen bee is out to destroy her, and it’s rumored that a mythical beast roams the forest next to the school.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

As a personal challenge, I decided to read a novel outside of my typical genre which is fiction. Therefore I selected this horror novel and it did not disappoint. The author uses descriptive language to slowly establish a well thought out story line which weaves a tale of an evil home called High Point and its disturbing residents.

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.   
Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom. 
Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness. 
And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

One Time by Sharon Creech

This is a truly beautiful story. The writing is like colors painting pictures of Gina’s life in my mind and I love it. ONE TIME is a story about imagination, childhood, friendship, growing up, and still being a child inside. The characters are wonderful and the story is heartwarming and relatable to anyone who has ever felt like the odd one out. Everyone should read this book.

Marielle, featured in the Fall Kids Indie Next brochure

From Sharon Creech, Newbery Medal winner and New York Times bestselling author, comes a powerful coming-of-age story of a girl who discovers the endless possibilities her future may hold, with help from a brilliant teacher and a boy with a generous smile.
Perfect for fans of Love That Dog, this tale is about the transformative power of imagination and the journey to becoming who you are meant to be. This middle grade novel is an excellent choice for tween readers in grades 5 to 6, at home or at school. It’s a fun way to keep your child entertained and engaged while not in the classroom.
Gina Filomena has been told she has an overactive imagination. With her bright clothing and artistic spirit, she’s always felt different from the other kids in her class. That is, until she meets her new neighbor, a mysterious boy named Antonio with a wide, welcoming smile.
Add in a creative new teacher, Miss Lightstone, and a world of possibilities opens up for Gina, Antonio, and their classmates. With the help of Antonio and Miss Lightstone, will Gina find the answers to the questions Who am I? and Who do I want to be?

Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson

This book was simultaneously distressing yet impossible to put down. I was very upset while reading it, but I feel like that is what the author intended. She needed to get this story out to an audience who needs to hear it the most. Enchanted reacted the way most young people would have if they had the chance to work with their celebrity idol, and she really didn’t know better and didn’t comprehend that she was putting her life into the hands of a predator. This book has a very important message for people of all ages.

Award-winning author Tiffany D. Jackson delivers another riveting, ripped-from-the-headlines mystery that exposes horrific secrets hiding behind the limelight and embraces the power of a young woman’s voice.
When legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots Enchanted Jones at an audition, her dreams of being a famous singer take flight. Until Enchanted wakes up with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night. Who killed Korey Fields?
Before there was a dead body, Enchanted’s dreams had turned into a nightmare. Because behind Korey’s charm and star power was a controlling dark side. Now he’s dead, the police are at the door, and all signs point to Enchanted.

Cucumber Quest: The Doughnut Kingdom by Gigi D. G.

Originally a webcomic, the Cumber Quest series is stuffed full of humor, charm, and wonderful art – making it my favorite graphic novel series! What appears at first to be a standard fantasy adventure quickly turns into a colorful and light-hearted parody of classic video game and fantasy tropes. An easy and entertaining read that has a little something for everyone, Cucumber Quest is one of the most memorable tales I’ve ever read!

What happens when an evil queen gets her hands on an ancient force of destruction?
World domination, obviously.
The seven kingdoms of Dreamside need a legendary hero. Instead, they’ll have to settle for Cucumber, a nerdy magician who just wants to go to school. As destiny would have it, he and his way more heroic sister, Almond, must now seek the Dream Sword, the only weapon powerful enough to defeat Queen Cordelia’s Nightmare Knight.
Can these bunny siblings really save the world in its darkest hour?
Sure, why not?
Adapted from Gigi D.G.’s popular webcomic series, Cucumber Quest, The Doughnut Kingdom is the first graphic novel of a clever, adorable, and hilarious four-volume heroic adventure that is sure to make you hungry for sweets and action.

Tomorrow we’ll be sharing some of Marielle and Sarah’s favorite books for reading with Grandparents for Grandparents Day!

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