Book List, Staff Post

Time for Something New and Exciting

Who doesn’t love a fun new book, especially a hidden gem, during the summer to read during a thunderstorm? Here are some of my favorite new releases from the last few months!

Rachel to the Rescue by Elinor Lipman

An absolutely delightful and witty book of a young woman who finds herself working in the White House, calls #45 an idiot, finds herself fired, and then hit by a car. All in the first few chapters. It’s a very funny, darkly humorous read and I cannot wait to share it this summer at the store!

Rachel Klein is sacked from her job at the White House after she sends an email criticizing Donald Trump. As she is escorted off the premises she is hit by a speeding car, driven by what the press will discreetly call “a personal friend of the President.” Does that explain the flowers, the get-well wishes at a press briefing, the hush money offered by a lawyer at her hospital bedside? Rachel’s recovery is soothed by comically doting parents, matchmaking room-mates, a new job as aide to a journalist whose books aim to defame the President, and unexpected love at the local wine store. But secrets leak, and Rachel’s new-found happiness has to make room for more than a little chaos. Will she bring down the President? Or will he manage to do that all by himself? Rachel to the Rescue is a mischievous political satire, with a delightful cast of characters, from one of America’s funniest novelists.

Rabbits by Terry Miles

A compelling and thought provoking book! Perfect for fans of near future/contemporary science fiction/alternative reality books that will also find fans amongst conspiracy and true crime readers. It will make for a great summer read and can definitely be enjoyed by those who are not familiar with the author’s podcast of the same name.

It’s an average work day. You’ve been wrapped up in a task, and you check the clock when you come up for air—4:44 p.m. You check your email, and 44 unread messages have built up. With a shock, you realize the date is April 4—4/4. And when you get in your car to drive home, your odometer reads 44,444.

Coincidence? Or have you just seen the edge of a rabbit hole?

Rabbits is a mysterious alternate reality game so vast it uses the entire world as its canvas.

Since the game started in 1959, ten iterations have appeared and nine winners have been declared. The identities of these winners are unknown.

So is their reward, which is whispered to be NSA or CIA recruitment, vast wealth, immortality, or perhaps even the key to the secrets of the universe itself.

But the deeper you get, the more dangerous the game becomes. Players have died in the past—and the body count is rising.

And now the eleventh round is about to begin.

Enter K—a Rabbits obsessive who has been trying to find a way into the game for years. That path opens when K is approached by billionaire Alan Scarpio, rumored to be the winner of the sixth iteration. Scarpio says that something has gone wrong with the game and that K needs to fix it before Eleven starts, or the whole world will pay the price.

Five days later, Scarpio is declared missing.

Two weeks after that, K blows the deadline: Eleven begins.

And suddenly, the fate of the entire universe is at stake.

The Library of the Dead by T. L Huchu

I love any book set in Scotland but this one is unlike anything I’ve read before. Ropa’s voice is snarky and irreverent and I’m very excited to see where the series goes!

Sixth Sense meets Stranger Things in T. L. Huchu’s The Library of the Dead, a sharp contemporary fantasy following a precocious and cynical teen as she explores the shadowy magical underside of modern Edinburgh.

WHEN GHOSTS TALK
SHE WILL LISTEN

Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghostalker – and they sure do love to talk. Now she speaks to Edinburgh’s dead, carrying messages to those they left behind. A girl’s gotta earn a living, and it seems harmless enough. Until, that is, the dead whisper that someone’s bewitching children – leaving them husks, empty of joy and strength. It’s on Ropa’s patch, so she feels honor-bound to investigate. But what she learns will rock her world.

Ropa will dice with death as she calls on Zimbabwean magic and Scottish pragmatism to hunt down clues. And although underground Edinburgh hides a wealth of dark secrets, she also discovers an occult library, a magical mentor and some unexpected allies.

Yet as shadows lengthen, will the hunter become the hunted?

The Art of Patience by Sylvain Tesson

A vividly lyrical work, I felt like I was in the wilds of Tibet with Tesson. I would love to crawl into his writing and live there, which is also a strong testament to the translator who did an amazing job.

A journey in search of one of the most elusive creatures on the planet

Adventurer Sylvain Tesson has led a restless life, riding across Central Asia on horseback, freeclimbing the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, and traversing the Himalayas by foot. But while recovering from an accident that left him in a coma, and nursing his wounds from a lost love, he found himself domesticated, his lust for life draining with each moment spent staring at a screen. An expedition to the mountains of Tibet, in search of the famously elusive snow leopard, presented itself as a cure.

For the chance to glimpse this near mythical beast, Tesson and his companions must wait for hours without making a sound or a movement, enduring the thin air and brutal cold. Their vigil becomes an act of faith–many have pursued the snow leopard for years without seeing it–and as they keep their watch, Tesson comes to embrace the virtues of patience and silence. His faith is rewarded when the snow leopard, the spirit of the mountain, reveals itself: an embodiment of what we have surrendered in our contemporary lives. And the simple act of waiting proves to be an antidote to the frenzy of our times.

A celebration of the power and grace of the wild, and a requiem for the world’s vanishing places, The Art of Patience is a revelatory account of the communion between nature and the human heart. Sylvain Tesson has written a new masterpiece on the relationship between man and beast in prose as sublime as the wilderness that inspired it.

The King of Infinite Space by Lyndsay Faye

There are few things I love as much as a Shakespeare inspired work of fiction, particularly when the Ben in the story reminds me of my husband Ben and his great of love physics philosophy! I greatly enjoyed all the POV characters and their relationships with each other.

In this lush, magical, queer, and feminist take on Hamlet in modern-day New York City, a neuro-atypical philosopher, along with his best friend Horatio and artist ex-fiance Lia, are caught up in the otherworldly events surrounding the death of his father.

Meet Ben Dane: brilliant, devastating, devoted, honest to a fault (truly, a fault). His Broadway theater baron father is dead–but by purpose or accident? The question rips him apart.

Unable to face alone his mother’s ghastly remarriage to his uncle, Ben turns to his dearest friend, Horatio Patel, whom he hasn’t seen since their relationship changed forever from platonic to something…other. Loyal to a fault (truly, a fault), Horatio is on the first flight to NYC when he finds himself next to a sly tailor who portends inevitable disaster. And who seems ominously like an architect of mayhem himself.

Meanwhile, Ben’s ex-fiance Lia, sundered her from her loved ones thanks to her addiction recovery and torn from her art, has been drawn into the fold of three florists from New Orleans–seemingly ageless sisters who teach her the language of flowers, and whose magical bouquets hold both curses and cures. For a price.

On one explosive night these kinetic forces will collide, and the only possible outcome is death. But in the masterful hands of Lyndsay Faye, the story we all know has abundant surprises in store. Impish, captivating, and achingly romantic, this is Hamlet as you’ve never seen it before.

This Will All Be Over Soon by Ceciily STrong

I am a huge fan of Cecily’s work on SNL and while I knew she was a writer, I had never realized just how amazing she is. Having lost family right before the pandemic started, I could relate to Cecily’s guilt over being grateful that her cousin could have family around them when they passed, as well as overwhelmingly to the anxiety at the start of the pandemic with just needing to make sure everyone was okay. I was immediately drawn in and am looking forward to putting this book in the hands of readers who I know will be able to relate and appreciate it.

A powerful memoir from the Saturday Night Live cast member Cecily Strong about grieving the death of her cousin—and embracing the life-affirming lessons he taught her—amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Cecily Strong had a special bond with her cousin Owen. And so she was devastated when, in early 2020, he passed away at age thirty from the brain cancer glioblastoma. Before Strong could attempt to process her grief, another tragedy struck: the coronavirus pandemic. Following a few harrowing weeks in the virus epicenter of New York City, Strong relocated to an isolated house in the woods upstate. Here, trying to make sense of Owen’s death and the upended world, she spent much of the ensuing months writing. The result is This Will All Be Over Soon—a raw, unflinching memoir about loss, love, laughter, and hope.

Befitting the time-warped year of 2020, the diary-like approach deftly weaves together the present and the past. Strong chronicles the challenges of beginning a relationship during the pandemic and the fear when her new boyfriend contracts COVID. She describes the pain of losing her friend and longtime Saturday Night Live staff member Hal Willner to the virus. She reflects on formative events from her life, including how her high school expulsion led to her pursuing a career in theater and, years later, landing at SNL.

Yet the heart of the book is Owen. Strong offers a poignant account of her cousin’s life, both before and after his diagnosis. Inspired by his unshakable positivity and the valuable lessons he taught her, she has written a book that—as indicated by its title—serves as a moving reminder: whatever challenges life might throw one’s way, they will be over soon. And so will life. So make sure to appreciate every day and don’t take a second of it for granted.

Battle Royal by Lucy Parker

Royals! Baking! Reality TV! Witty characters! Female relationships that pass the Bechdel test! What more could one want from a British rom com? I adored this book and was happy to spend a weekend lost in its pages!

Beloved author Lucy Parker pens a delicious new romantic comedy that is a battle of whisks and wits.

Ready…

Four years ago, Sylvie Fairchild charmed the world as a contestant on the hit baking show, Operation Cake. Her ingenious, creations captivated viewers and intrigued all but one of the judges, Dominic De Vere. When Sylvie’s unicorn cake went spectacularly sideways, Dominic was quick to vote her off the show. Since then, Sylvie has used her fame to fulfill her dream of opening a bakery. The toast of Instagram, Sugar Fair has captured the attention of the Operation Cake producers…and a princess.

Set…

Dominic is His Majesty the King’s favorite baker and a veritable British institution. He’s brilliant, talented, hard-working. And an icy, starchy grouch. Learning that Sylvie will be joining him on the Operation Cake judging panel is enough to make the famously dour baker even more grim. Her fantastical baking is only slightly more troublesome than the fact that he can’t stop thinking about her pink-streaked hair and irrepressible dimple.

Match…

When Dominic and Sylvie learn they will be fighting for the once in a lifetime opportunity to bake a cake for the upcoming wedding of Princess Rose, the flour begins to fly as they fight to come out on top.

The bride adores Sylvie’s quirky style. The palace wants Dominic’s classic perfection.

In this royal battle, can there be room for two?

Maiden Voyages by Sian Evans

I knew I was going to love this book as soon as I saw Martha Gellhorn’s name in the beginning pages. I love a great work of nautical stories and even more so when they are decidedly feminist in nature. I lost myself completely in this book and did not want it to come to an end.

In an engaging and anecdotal social history, Siân Evans’s Maiden Voyages explores how women’s lives were transformed by the Golden Age of ocean liner travel between Europe and North America.

During the early twentieth century, transatlantic travel was the province of the great ocean liners. It was an extraordinary undertaking made by many women, whose lives were changed forever by their journeys between the Old World and the New. Some traveled for leisure, some for work; others to reinvent themselves or find new opportunities. They were celebrities, migrants and millionaires, refugees, aristocrats and crew members whose stories have mostly remained untold—until now.

Maiden Voyages is a fascinating portrait of these women as they crossed the Atlantic. The ocean liner was a microcosm of contemporary society, divided by class: from the luxury of the upper deck, playground for the rich and famous, to the cramped conditions of steerage or third class travel. In first class you’ll meet A-listers like Marlene Dietrich, Wallis Simpson, and Josephine Baker; the second class carried a new generation of professional and independent women, like pioneering interior designer Sibyl Colefax. Down in steerage, you’ll follow the journey of émigré Maria Riffelmacher as she escapes poverty in Europe. Bustling between decks is a crew of female workers, including Violet “The Unsinkable Stewardess” Jessop, who survived the Titanic disaster.

Entertaining and informative, Maiden Voyages captures the golden age of ocean liners through the stories of the women whose transatlantic journeys changed the shape of society on both sides of the globe.

The Royals Next Door by Karina Halle

I greatly enjoyed Karina’s Scandinavian royals series and was very excited to see that her latest book is with Berkley! Her characters are witty and relatable and as a former teacher, I appreciated the realistic portrayal of working with second graders! It’s great fun and I’m excited to have it on the shelves at the store!

An ordinary summer goes royally awry when a prince and princess move next door, bringing their handsome bodyguard with them, from New York Times bestselling author Karina Halle.

Piper Evans: elementary school teacher by day–avid romance reader and anonymous podcaster by night. She has a quiet, reclusive life, taking care of her mother, who lives with mental illness, avoiding her regrettable ex, who bartends in town, and trying to make inroads in the tight-knit island community that still sees her, five years in, as an outsider.
And she’s happy with how things are–really–until British royals rent the property next to hers and their brooding bodyguard decides she’s a security threat. Piper quickly realizes that one person’s fairy tale is an ordinary woman’s nightmare as a media frenzy takes over the island and each run-in with Harrison Cole is hotter and more confusing than the last. But beneath Harrison’s no-nonsense exterior lies a soft heart, one that could tempt a woman who’s sworn off attachments into believing in white knights.

But when Piper finds herself smack in the middle of a royal scandal that rocks the island she’ll need more than Harrison’s strong arms to shield her–she’ll have to do a little rescuing herself. With careers, hearts, and friendships on the line, Piper and Harrison will have to decide what they’re willing to give up for a chance at their own happily ever after.

Two Sequels!

Yours Cheerfully by A. J. Pearce
Sequel to Dear Mrs. Bird

Falling into the pages of Yours Cheerfully is what I imagine it will be like when I can go over to my best friend’s house once we’re vaccinated – reassuring, cozy, and full of catching up with those you love spending time with, but full of stories of the struggles of the past year. I love Emmy and Bunty and their friendship – it makes me feel like I’m hanging out with my own friends. And while a war and a pandemic aren’t the same thing, this was the perfect book for alleviating the feeling of ennui that has settled in after 13 months of pandemic life. I absolutely cannot wait to share it will my fellow readers who love Emmy and Bunty and new readers alike!

From the author of the “jaunty, heartbreaking winner” (People) and international bestseller Dear Mrs. Bird, a new charming and upliftingnovel set in London during World War II about a plucky aspiring journalist.

London, November 1941. Following the departure of the formidable Henrietta Bird from Woman’s Friend magazine, things are looking up for Emmeline Lake as she takes on the challenge of becoming a young wartime advice columnist. Her relationship with boyfriend Charles (now stationed back in the UK) is blossoming, while Emmy’s best friend Bunty, still reeling from the very worst of the Blitz, is bravely looking to the future. Together, the friends are determined to Make a Go of It.

When the Ministry of Information calls on Britain’s women’s magazines to help recruit desperately needed female workers to the war effort, Emmy is thrilled to be asked to step up and help. But when she and Bunty meet a young woman who shows them the very real challenges that women war workers face, Emmy must tackle a life-changing dilemma between doing her duty and standing by her friends.

Every bit as funny, heartwarming, and touching as Dear Mrs. BirdYours Cheerfully is a celebration of friendship—a testament to the strength of women and the importance of lifting each other up, even in the most challenging times.

Paper & Blood by Kevin Hearne
Sequel to Ink & Sigil

A great follow.up to last year’s Ink and Sigil – Hearne is a natural successor to the late great Terry Pritchett in both humor and character development. I loved catching back up with Al and Buck and I can’t wait to share this satisfying sequel with those who enjoyed the first!

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Druid Chronicles comes book two of an “action-packed, enchantingly fun” (Booklist) spin-off series, as an eccentric master of rare magic solves a supernatural mystery Down Under

There’s only one Al MacBharrais: Though other Scotsmen may have dramatic mustaches and a taste for fancy cocktails, Al also has a unique talent. He’s a master of ink and sigil magic. In his gifted hands, paper and pen can work wondrous spells.

But Al isn’t quite alone: He is part of a global network of sigil agents who use their powers to protect the world from mischievous gods and strange monsters. So when a fellow agent disappears under sinister circumstances in Australia, Al leaves behind the cozy pubs and cafes of Glasgow and travels to the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria to solve the mystery.

The trail to his colleague begins to pile up with bodies at alarming speed, so Al is grateful his friends have come to help–especially Nadia, his accountant who moonlights as a pit fighter. Together with a whisky-loving hobgoblin known as Buck Foi and the ancient Druid Atticus O’Sullivan, along with his dogs, Oberon and Starbuck, Al and Nadia will face down the wildest wonders Australia–and the supernatural world–can throw at them, and confront a legendary monster not seen in centuries.

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