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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #830, Regency Cozies

Thu, 09/28/2023 - 9:06am by muffy


The Benevolent Society of Ill-Mannered Ladies * * *  by Alison Goodman (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook), the YA author’s first adult historical mystery, set in Regency London.

At 42, by all society standards, unmarried twins Lady Augusta Colebrook, "Gus," and Julia are well past their prime - yet with a secured income, a fashionable London address and well connected friends, they are far from docile, and in fact, they strain at all the rules society imposes on well-mannered ladies. 

When one of their friends is blackmailed for her indiscretions, they do not hesitate to confront the blackmailer in a secluded park after dark.  Soon, other women are seeking their services. On their way to rescue a young woman poisoned and imprisoned by her brute of a husband, Gus accidentally shots the highwayman holding up their carriage, only to discover he is Lord Evan Belford, charged with murder and exiled to the Colonies twenty years ago. Feeling responsible for his injuries, Gus takes him along on their mission. Before long, they become comrade-in-arms, and the chemistry between them is undeniable. .

“Fans of Georgette Heyer's Regency novels will savor this mystery…Well-developed characters, a touch of romance, and cases involving social issues of the period enhance the experience.”(Library Journal)

“Fierce, funny, and often dark, this is an eye-opening portrait of a colorful yet misogynistic period in English history. “ (Publishers Weekly)

most_agreeable_murderA Most Agreeable Murder * *  by screenwriter Julia Seales (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook).

Set in Swampshire, England, a respectable town located between London and Bath, this Regency murder mystery introduces 25 year-old Beatrice Steele, the eldest of three daughters born to a marriage-scheming mother and a prankster father. While she allows her family to think she is holding up in her turret room dreaming of romance, she is actually reading about solving crimes like her favorite "gentleman detective," Sir Huxley.

When the family is invited to the annual autumn ball at Stabmort Park, home of the Ashbrooks, to welcome eligible (and wealthy) bachelor Edmund Croaksworth, Mrs. Steele hopes that beautiful Louisa will steal his heart and save the family from ruin as Martin Grub, their disgusting cousin, is to eventually inherit the family’s estate. 

“By the end of the evening, secrets will have been revealed, false identities exposed, missing persons found, and murder committed (twice!). The character types are endearingly familiar to anyone who has ever read a Jane Austen novel, and the dialogue crackles with wit, outrage, subtext, and pluck. Beatrice, a true Sherlock Holmes within her restrictive social world, is a delight, and while the characters may be familiar, Seales' over-the-top caricatures succeed in being humorous rather than cliché…The result is a deliciously dark delve into a world that seems genteel on the surface and teems with sex and violence and greed just underneath--not so unlike Austen's but with a morbid, rather than domestic, bent. Irreverent, satirical, and oh so much fun! “ (Kirkus Reviews)

"A delightful cocktail that mixes elements of the Bridgerton series, Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice and Agatha Christie's Miss Marple mysteries . . . The payoff is a wealth of wit, hilarity and suspense." (People)

* * * = 3 starred reviews

* *  = 2 starred reviews

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Staff Picks: Spotlight on Hispanic Heritage Month

Fri, 09/15/2023 - 10:05am by eapearce

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated every year from September 15 to October 15! Celebrated in the United States for over 50 years, you can learn more about Hispanic Heritage Month here. One excellent way to participate in this month-long celebration of Hispanic and Latin cultures is by reading books by Latinx authors! AADL has a wide variety in our collection, but below are a few suggestions to get you started. ¡Vive tu cultura!

¡Hola, Papi!, by John Paul Brammer | Request Now

Hola Papi!Brammer is the author of the wildly popular queer advice column on Substack by the same name as his new book. He grew up in rural Oklahoma, where he struggled as a biracial and closeted gay person. Brammer always dreamed of writing, and started his career in journalism writing for various outlets, then transitioned to Condé Nast while also focusing on his advice column. He also works for Netflix on a small team promoting and curating LGBTQ+ materials. !Hola, Papi! is a combination of his memoir, his advice column and is simply the story of a man taking stock of his place in the world, as we all do from time to time. As Brammer says, his book is “for everyone–gay, straight, and everything in between.” His unique story is well worth the read!

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #829, Secrets of the Golden Age of Hollywood

Sun, 09/10/2023 - 5:51pm by muffy

kitty_karrDid you Hear About Kitty Karr? by Crystal Smith Paul (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook).

When the three St. Johns sisters, Elise, Giovanni, and Noele find themselves heirs to Kitty Karr Tate’s immense fortune, they were as surprised as the rest of Hollywood. The St. Johns, a prominent Bel Air family is Kitty’s neighbor as well as a mentor to Elise who is up for an Academy Award for Best Actress. Apart from planning Kitty’s memorial services, navigating the contentious dynamics between her sisters and their mother,  Elise is tasked with sorting out Kitty’s affairs, and among her journals, what Elise discovers will rock her world and might explain why a successful white actress would bestow her immense inheritance on three Black girls.

The narrative winds back to Kitty's hardships in 1930s North Carolina; and mid-century Hollywood glamor; the harshness of the studio system, with all of its attendant misogyny and racism.

“What is less obvious, by design, are the steps many people took to create new lives for themselves once they reached LA from less hospitable places. Against an origin story of sexual violence and systemic roadblocks, Kitty and her California cohort survive a series of excruciating trials in order to live their dreams. The results of their choices, made in order to succeed and survive in the Hollywood machine, echo for generations throughout Paul's meandering yet page-turning narrative…With a plot worthy of a miniseries, an extensive cast, and a historical sweep, Paul succeeds in entertaining as well as enlightening.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Readers of Taylor Jenkins Reid and Piper Huguley will be enthralled.” (Booklist)


Do Tell (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook) by debut novelist Lindsay Lynch,  is “(g)amorous, tawdry, and human. A rich portrait of the lives of early Hollywood's beautiful puppets and those holding their strings." ~ Emma Straub  

1940s, Los Angeles. Edie O'Dare‘s contract with FWM Studios is about to end and with renewal unlikely, she needs to find a new gig.  While her career in pictures has been undistinguished at best, she is a fixture at all the parties and premiers and has long supplemented her income by passing on salacious dirt to the reigning gossip columnist. When a small kindness to 16-year-old rising starlet Sophie Melrose at a party gives her an exclusive to Sophie’s claim of being sexually assaulted by one of the biggest names in the industry, Freddy Clarke. The subsequent tabloid coverage lands Edie her own column at The Los Angeles Times (christened as "Do Tell”), Freddy being charged, and eventually strains her relationships with everyone she once considers a friend. 

“Although the plot lags when Lynch describes clothing, hairstyles, and makeup in too much detail, she doesn't lose sight of a salient theme: Edie's success depends on others' vulnerability. Lynch's characters--clad in designer gowns, inhabiting sumptuous mansions, and drinking champagne at lavish parties--are replaceable cogs in a powerful industry. An intimate look at Hollywood's dark secrets.” (Kirkus Reviews) 



The Brightest Star by Gail Tsukiyama (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook). This historical novel is based on the life of Anna May Wong - the first and only Asian American woman to gain stardom in the early days of Hollywood.  Born Wong Liu Tsong, to Chinese immigrants who own a laundry, she was taunted and bullied growing up, finding joy only at the local nickelodeons. At 16, she left home to pursue her Hollywood dream. “She longed to play characters who weren't concubines, prostitutes, or evil dragon ladies. As one of the first Chinese American actresses, she often struggled to get movie roles for two reasons: Hollywood protocols and anti-miscegenation laws prevented her from starring as a love interest to a white man, and Asian roles often went to white actors in yellowface. She was determined to take the roles she could get and never give up on acting.” (Library Journal) 

“For greater freedom, Anna travels to Europe, where she befriends Marlene Dietrich and Josephine Baker. With its rich supporting cast, the novel emphasizes the friendships and family relationships that help Anna thrive, while her many disappointments (like losing a leading role in The Good Earth to a German actress in "yellowface") catch at the heart.” (Booklist)  


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Staff Picks: All About the 'Shrooms

Mon, 09/04/2023 - 3:21pm by lucroe

Mushrooms have become a big part of our diet with sales according to one report up 32% from previous years. Not only is there culinary interest, but the therapeutic (micro dosing), the ecological (nutrient sharing), and environmental uses (restoring contaminated soil after an oil spill and breaking down plastics) are remarkable. Mushrooms have been used in medicine for thousands of years and Western medicine is just now discovering the benefits, like studies that show some varieties may help fight inflammation in the body. So, drink your mushroom coffee then take a walk in the woods to spot all the amazing fungi proliferating there.

Complete Mushroom Hunter by Gary Lincoff | Request Now

Complete Mushroom HunterAre you just beginning your journey into mushroom foraging? Here’s a great guide for the newbie! Lincoff goes over some varieties of mushrooms, those edible vs poisonous, best places to look and what to look for, and facts about each one. Although he doesn’t cover every variety, he focuses on those easier to identify in the wild, it is still a worthwhile book for someone to start their foray into the fungi world.

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Staff Picks: Level-Up Your Lunch!

Thu, 08/24/2023 - 4:25pm by emjane

Whether the start of the school year means you’re packing lunches for the kids in your life or if you just want to get out of a packed lunch slump yourself, I’ve got great news. There are books that can help! And we have a LOT of them! Here are four favorites:

Lunchbox by Marnie Hanel and Jen Stevenson | Request Now

A yellow background with red and blue scalloped borders across the top and bottom and a photo of a kids lunch container filled with fruit, veggies, cheese, and a sandwich cut into the shape of a bear. Above this photo in white bold text reads, "Lunchbox". Under this in black text reads, "So Easy, So Delicious, So Much Fun to Eat."It’s so easy to get in a rut with packing kids’ lunches; heck, once that responsibility got passed on to me as a student, I literally packed the same peanut butter crackers, apple, and carrots every single day. So often, you just need a reminder of other items that pack easily, and Hanel & Stevenson are the perfect duo to remind you! Their basic lunchbox formula is “Fruit, Vegetable, Main, Crunchy Snack, Protein Snack, Tiny Treat” and they give enough suggestions of these to make 478! different lunches (that’s 478 factorial, not merely 478 options). Their photos of colorful lunches serve as a great inspiration, and if you’ve got a kid in your life who might have fun helping to pack their own lunches, going through this book together could be a fun project to last all the way through the school year!  

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Reimagining Classic Tales

Sun, 08/20/2023 - 6:49pm by lucroe

For centuries, in every corner of the globe, people have shared fairy tales, myths, & legends. It is not surprising that these stories still generate so much interest with the plethora of modern retellings and reimaginings available today. Here are just a few of the many books in our collection in which contemporary writers retell some classic tales.

My Mother she Killed me, my Father he ate me : Forty new Fairy Tales | Request Now

My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate MeHere is a great anthology of 40 contemporary retellings of fairy tales and legends from around the world written by some well-known authors, like Neil Gaiman and Joyce Carol Oates, as well as some not as known in the U.S., like Hiromi Itō and Ilya Kaminsky. While some are obvious in the tale they are retelling, like Oates’ Blue-bearded Lover or Francine Prose’s take on Hansel & Gretel, others are not. Luckily an afterword is provided following each story that sheds some light on the story itself and the choices the author made when writing it. Other retellings include the Baba Yaga character from Russian lore to folktales from Vietnam and Mexico.

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Staff Picks: Great Graphic Memoirs

Fri, 08/18/2023 - 12:14pm by nicole

If you're into facts, but don't have the attention span for long nonfiction books, AADL has tons of nonfiction comics to choose from. The perfect blend of words and art, these graphic memoirs will pull you in with their vivid images and deeply personal stories:

Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands, by Kate Beaton | Request Now

DucksKatie heads out west to take advantage of Alberta's oil rush-part of the long tradition of East Coasters who seek gainful employment elsewhere when they can't find it in the homeland they love so much. Katie encounters the harsh reality of life in the oil sands, where trauma is an everyday occurrence yet is never discussed. Beaton's natural cartooning prowess is on full display as she draws colossal machinery and mammoth vehicles set against a sublime Albertan backdrop of wildlife, northern lights, and boreal forest. Her first full length graphic narrative, Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands is an untold story of Canada: a country that prides itself on its egalitarian ethos and natural beauty while simultaneously exploiting both the riches of its land and the humanity of its people. Readers should be aware this story deals with themes of sexual assault.

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Staff Picks: Read the Book, Meet the Author: A2 Community Bookfest

Thu, 08/17/2023 - 12:43pm by emjane

What’s better than reading a great book? Reading a great book and then getting to see the author IN REAL LIFE!! 

Lucky for all of us, we’ve got a wonderful slate of authors coming as part of the A2 Community Bookfest on Sunday, September 10. Read one of these books in anticipation of the event or take advantage of the chance to pick up a signed copy in September!

Lies and Other Love Languages by Sonali Dev | Request Now | Hear Sonali Speak

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Staff Picks: Anticipated Late-Summer Fiction Releases

Tue, 08/15/2023 - 2:54pm by eapearce

Late summer and early fall are great times for book publication! There are lots of highly anticipated titles from beloved authors that have either just been released or are coming out in the next month or so. AADL often pre-orders books so that you can put your name on the hold list before the title is officially published! Check out some suggestions for exciting upcoming releases below, and add your name to the waitlist.

The Fraud, by Zadie Smith | Request Now

The FraudAcclaimed and bestselling author Smith has written a new historical fiction novel based on real events. Set in 1873, a legal trial is about to divide Victorian England, and raise questions about who is allowed to tell their side of a story and who is believed. Eliza Touchet is the cousin of famous novelist William Ainsworth. Eliza has lots of interests and is well-connected to writers and artists of the time, but she is skeptical of many of them. She questions Ainsworth’s talent, she considers Charles Dickens a bully, and she thinks the literary world of England is mostly a facade. Andrew Bogle grew up enslaved on a plantation in Jamaica, but eventually finds himself in London as the star witness in a case of imposture: a lower-class butcher is claiming that he is in fact the rightful heir of a sizable estate and title. Andrew knows that his future depends on him telling the “right” story–but what is the right story? As Eliza and Andrew’s worlds collide, and the rest of England becomes enthralled with the trial, questions of self-deception and what is really true become increasingly complicated. Publisher Penguin Random House calls The Fraud, “ a dazzling novel about truth and fiction, Jamaica and Britain, fraudulence and authenticity and the mystery of ‘other people.’”

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Staff Picks: Look Up For The Perseid Meteor Shower!

Sat, 07/29/2023 - 12:25pm by lucroe

The Perseid meteor shower will peak from August 11-13. Learn about the science behind this phenomenon to enhance your viewing experience. Explore the universe, our place in it, and the wonders of the night sky with titles from the Library's collection including streaming video content which can be found here.


Impact :  How Rocks From Space Led to Life, Culture, and Donkey Kong by Greg Brennecka | Request Now

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Request for Bids: AADL Plaza Site Improvements

Thu, 07/27/2023 - 10:24pm by eli

Project: Ann Arbor District Library Plaza Site Improvements

Bid Due Date: 2:00PM - Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Location: 265 Parkland Plaza Dr. Ann Arbor, MI

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Fifth Avenue Press and U-M Press Book Cinema Ann Arbor Shortlisted for The Alice Award

Thu, 07/27/2023 - 2:56pm by richretyi

The Ann Arbor District Library’s Fifth Avenue Press publishing imprint and the University of Michigan Press are excited to announce that their recent book Cinema Ann Arbor: How Campus Rebels Forged a Singular Film Culture by Frank Uhle is one of five books that have been included in the Alice Award Short List from Furthermore grants in publishing, a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund.

Ann Arbor, long known for its political and cultural activism, has an equally compelling history of engagement with film and media. Delving into almost 100 years of rarely glimpsed history, Cinema Ann Arbor melds interviews, deep archival research, and over four hundred images into a vivid history of film in one extraordinary town. These stories, told with urgency and exquisite detail, are firsthand accounts of the unforgettable people who created Ann Arbor’s magnificent twentieth-century film scene. This beautiful, full-color book was designed by Fifth Avenue Press and published and distributed by the University of Michigan Press. 

Featuring interviews with filmmaker Ken Burns, Oscar-nominated editor Jay Cassidy, producer John Sloss, and more, this masterpiece provides insights into how a Midwestern college town developed a robust underground art film community that inspired those across the country. Variety’s Owen Glieberman says, “Frank Uhle has captured the moment when cinema became, for a new generation, a kind of religion, with its own rituals and sacred texts and a spirit of exploratory mystery that has all but vanished from the culture.”

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Staff Picks: Beach Reads For Your August

Wed, 07/26/2023 - 12:51pm by eapearce

Ah, August… we cling on to the last month of summer before school starts back up, before football season begins, before cooler temperatures start to breeze through on occasion. There’s still plenty of summer left, and what better time to grab a good old fashioned beach read, plop down in a sun chair and just relax? Here are a few suggestions for you!

Meant to Be, by Emily Giffin | Request Now

Meant to BeBestselling author Emily Giffin’s latest was published last year, which makes it perfect for a beach read this summer since the hold list has gone down! Meant to Be is loosely based on the story of John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy. Giffin is a longtime Kennedy family fan and history buff, and wanted to reimagine the complicated love story between the two as well as their tragic deaths in a plane crash. In the book, Joseph S. Kingsley, Jr. inherits both the family helm and the family wealth when his father dies in a tragic accident. A free spirit, he struggles to take on his new role and meet his mother’s expectations for a life in politics. Meanwhile, Cate Cooper grew up in a challenging household, fending for herself. Discovered at age 16 by a modeling agency, she skyrockets to fame, with her face on billboards and in magazines. Yet she feels like a fraud in her glamorous new world, struggling to move beyond the trauma in her past. When Joseph and Cate meet, they have an instant connection, but there’s lots of work to be done if their relationship can survive the glare of media attention and the so-called “Kingsley curse.” This charming love story is a surprising page-turner that will really have readers rooting for John and Caroyln, er, Joseph and Cate.

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Staff Picks: Great Books from 2022 You Might Have Missed

Mon, 07/24/2023 - 2:49pm by emjane

Countless amazing and meaningful books come out EVERY YEAR and it is IMPOSSIBLE to read them all. Maybe you missed hearing about a title. Maybe you peeped at the hold-list and thought “another time.” That time is now: here are four great books that came out in 2022 that are worth circling back for!

Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson | Request Now

Shrines of GaietyThe 1920s roared in London as well, as highlighted in Kate Atkinson’s latest Shrines of Gaiety! Centered around the family and nightclubs of proprietor Nellie Coker, Shrines of Gaiety jumps between multiple perspectives, giving the reader insight into both sides of the nightclub life: the rich family that runs them and the police force that attempts to keep them in check. Throw in a mystery of a once-librarian trying to find a missing girl, and you’ve got a real page-turner! Compared to some of Atkinson’s other (beautiful) books, Shrines has a somewhat lighter tone, and I didn’t mind not having to cope with literary heartbreak! 

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Staff Picks: Shark Week Celebration

Tue, 07/11/2023 - 9:11am by lucroe

Did you know sharks have been around for 455 million years and have survived 5 mass extinction events? There are currently more than 465 known species of shark. Unfortunately, humans kill some 100 million sharks per year and one in four shark species are threatened with extinction due to human activities. It seems they have more to fear from us than the other way around. To continue understanding these predators of the sea, the library has some streaming videos here, as well as some DVDs you can check out here. To continue shark week beyond once a year, check out these books:

Shark : : why we Need to Save the World's Most Misunderstood Predator by Paul de Gelder | Request Now
Shark: Why we Need to Save the World's Most Misunderstood PredatorNoted Australian diver and shark attack survivor (he lost part of an arm & leg), de Gelder writes about the need for better understanding of sharks and the need to protect them. He often shares his love of all things shark during Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. This book covers in short bites (no pun intended!) information about a variety of sharks including their evolution, feeding habits, & anatomy as well as what needs to be done to save those on the edge of extinction. From the smallest shark to largest (lantern shark about 8 inches to whale shark about 60 ft), this is a great guide to a this misunderstood fish.


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Staff Picks: See the World This Summer with Tantalizing Travel Memoirs!

Mon, 07/10/2023 - 7:34pm by eapearce

It’s the season of travel for many, but even if you’re just “staycationing” this summer, you can travel in spirit with some of the excellent travel memoirs in AADL’s collection. Here are a few suggestions to get you going, even if “going” just means relaxing in the shade reading!

Alone Time: Four Seasons, Four Cities and the Pleasures of Solitude, by Stephanie Rosenbloom | Request Now

Alone TimeTraveling solo can seem daunting - no one to share sights and experiences with, no one to consult with if you get lost, no one to help figure out train and bus schedules. Stephanie Rosenbloom would argue that in fact, solitary travel can be both pleasurable and rejuvenating, especially in an increasingly frantic and connected world. In Alone Time, Rosenbloom focuses on four cities in each of the four seasons: Paris, Istanbul, Florence, and New York. In each city, a different aspect of solitude is considered and explored, along with the city itself. She incorporates scientific information about the benefits of solitude and talks about learning to savor time alone. Her writing is warm and gentle, and readers will surely be at least intrigued by the idea of solo travel, and potentially even ready to jump up and plan their own adventure alone.

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Staff Picks: Here's to the Dog Days of Summer

Sun, 07/09/2023 - 10:08am by denbyt

It's mid-July in Michigan. The days are long and steamy. The nights are short and...steamy. Yes, we've hit the dog days of summer. What better time to scoop up a great book, find a patch of sweet, cool shade, and sip something cold and refreshing? And why not pick a book about a dog? Sure, the expression dog days has nothing to do with canines or books. They say it's about Sirius, aka the Dog Star, and its trip across the sky. But here at the library, we love clever wordplay. And so, in honor of our canine companions--and the star named after them--we offer the following delightful reads:

 The Good Pilot Peter Woodhouse by Alexander McCall Smith

The Good PilotThis prolific author's books have been compared to ice cream: sweet, with no unpleasant surprises. I can see it. We certainly have a sweet treat here. But, this story is more than an easy, breezy read. If you're looking for it, there is a deeper message. Set in WWII Europe and written in charming, easy-to-read prose, it's the story of life and love in times of war--in short, the good, kind people that a dog named Peter Woodhouse meets in the course of his life. As heavy as you might think a story set during a war might be, the author intentionally maneuvers around darker themes, topics, and descriptions. The result is a gently-told story with a touch of philosophy, a cast of memorable characters, and a well-developed sense of place and time. And if you enjoy this title the library has plenty of others to check out next.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #828, “Piecing together a murder was much more difficult than piecing together a cake.” ~ Ellie Alexander

Thu, 07/06/2023 - 2:36pm by muffy

golden_spoonThe Golden Spoon * * * by Jessa Maxwell (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook), an “outstanding debut, where (b)yzantine chicanery seasoned with a dash of revenge greets six contestants gathered for Bake Week on the property of a crumbling Vermont manse.” (Library Journal)

“Sabotage starts slow but early. A refrigerator door is left open; salt is replaced with sugar; a burner is turned up to high; gasoline replaces orange essence in a pie. By day three, it's clear someone isn't playing by the rules… Everything escalates to an extremely dark and stormy night (including a blackout), leading to startling revelations and a jaw-dropping confession. Sweet and savory turns deadly sour in this fast-paced, entertaining romp scheduled for a Hulu miniseries. Maxwell is off to a great start.” (Publishers Weekly) 

“There's a delightful balance of baking details and intrigue as the bakers compete through different challenges and we become privy to their secret motives and how far each is willing to go to win. The contestants hit all the character types: the beautiful ingénue, the neurotic scientist, the fluffy old woman, the bored millionaire, the anxious newbie, and the rustic craftsman. We are treated to their backstories and to some of their internal dialogue, but this is a novel that also rests comfortably, nostalgically, in its sense of formula. Despite the American setting, it’s not hard to imagine these characters creeping around the halls and grounds of a moldering British manor in the tradition of the best locked-room mysteries. A delicious concoction: two shakes Agatha Christie and a cup of Great British Bake Off.” (Kirkus Reviews)

mastering_the_artMastering the art of French Murder *  by Colleen Cambridge (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook), is the first in An American in Paris Mystery Series that features Tabitha Knight and her best friend Julia Child, a student at the Le Cordon Bleu. 

With the return of able-bodied men to the homefront at the end of World War II, airplane machinist Tabitha lost her job at WIllow Run and decided to make her home with her French grandfather,  Grandpère and her Oncle Rafe in Paris. Fixing a broken radio led to fast friendship with neighbor Julia, another expat, whose husband Paul worked at the Embassy. Tutoring Americans in French during the day, Tabitha socialized with Dort, Julia’s younger sister, who ran a local theater. It was after one of these boozy parties at the Childs that the body of the theater’s hatcheck girl Thérèse Lognon, was found in Julia’s basement and the murder weapon - Julia’s prized chef’s knife. 

“Tabitha is eager to help the investigation, but is shocked when Inspector Merveille reveals that a note, in Tabitha's handwriting, was found in the dead woman's pocket. Is this murder a case of international intrigue, or something far more personal? From the shadows of the Tour Eiffel at midnight, to the tiny third-floor Child kitchen, to the grungy streets of Montmartre, Tabitha navigates through the city hoping to find the real killer before she or one of her friends ends up in prison . . . or worse. Certain to appeal to a broad readership, especially fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Rhys Bowen, and Cambridge's own Phyllida Bright series."  (Publishers Weekly) 

The Michigan Connection (from the author’s note): Colleen Cambridge grew up less than 2 miles from Willow Run where our protagonist Tabitha worked as a Rosie the Riveter, a job Cambridge’s aunt took on during the war. Additional mention of Faygo pop, Vernos, Boblo Island and all things Detroit, will delight Michiganians.



Murder at an Irish Bakery,*  the latest in the cozy series featuring Garda Siobhan O'Sullivan, by Carlene O’Connor (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook)

Kilbane, County Cork. Anticipation is high for a reality baking show is about to be filmed at Pie Pie Love, the best bakery in town, housed in a historic flour mill. Asides from the expectations of free samples, the locals, including Siobhan, are eager to get on camera, and to watch Aoife McBride (aka "the Queen baker of Ireland") at work as one of the 6 contestants.

Tension mounts as one of the anti-sugar protestors collapses and dies on site, and shenanigans among the contestants on the first day of filming put everyone on edge, but that's nothing compared to day two, when the first round ends and the top contestant is found face-down in her signature pie.

“Two accidental deaths seem a bit much, and the solicitor, who might have provided answers, has vanished. Siobhán’s husband, DS Macdara Flannery, who’s even more addicted to sweets than she is, takes over the case. The show goes on, if only to keep all the suspects in town while the married sleuths look to the past and present for motives.  Plenty of likely prospects and an endless supply of sweet treats brighten the path to the solution. “ (Kirkus Reviews) 

* * *  = 3 starred reviews

* = Starred reveiw

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Staff Picks: Binge-worthy TV Series Based on Bestsellers

Thu, 06/29/2023 - 1:08pm by denbyt

Fall TV season is in full swing at last! For television-philes, it’s the season for binge-watching new seasons of old favorites…and discovering some new ones. So of course, we library folk--with our proclivity for making lists of awesome stuff we want to share--were inspired to give you a short list of award-winning television shows that you might want to watch this fall (if you haven’t already). And no worries if you don’t pay for streaming; all the shows can be checked out on DVD/Blu-ray from your favorite library. Here's a bonus: If you’ve loved what you’ve watched, maybe you’d like to read the books that inspired them. If so, we have them for checkout too!

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

A photo of Elizabeth Moss in character, looking into the camera, covered in a red hue. In transparent bold white text across her face reads, "The Handmaid's Tale"First published in 1986, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and the TV show it inspired is a riveting, grim look at a near-future world run by a totalitarian fundamentalist regime. In Gilead, every female citizen is forced into one of three equally horrific roles: wife, handmaid, or servant. The themes both the book and show explore and the methods and voices used to describe them combine to create the compelling can’t-stop-watching/reading experience folks crave. Can’t get enough? Check out these equally un-put-downable books by Margaret Atwood.

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Staff Picks: Summer 2023 Reads for Teens

Mon, 06/19/2023 - 11:57am by eapearce

There are a whole slew of great new young adult titles available at AADL and what better time to crack open a brand new read than the upcoming hot July days? You can browse all of our most recent additions to the teen collection at AADL by clicking this link, but here are a few suggestions of buzzy new YA titles to get you started!

Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute, by Talia Hibbert | Request Now

Highly SuspiciousFormer best friends Brad and Celine have grown apart over the years. He’s a star athlete and part of the in crowd, and she’s a social-media obsessed conspiracy theorist who isn’t deemed cool enough for the popular kids’ table at lunch. What they do still have in common is a shared drive to succeed academically, which often pits them against each other in the classroom. When Celine signs up for a wilderness survival challenge that provides the opportunity to win a big scholarship, she’s shocked to see Brad has done the same when she arrives in the woods. Forced to work together to succeed in the challenging circumstances, the two start to remember why they used to be such good friends. And from there they start to wonder if there might be something more than friendship blossoming between them…. Talia Hibbert is the New York Times best-selling author of the Brown sisters trilogy, and this latest YA standalone from her is a great summer romance read!

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Staff Picks: Summer Movies

Sat, 06/17/2023 - 4:35pm by lucroe

Summer may be a time to be outdoors, but when the weather is too hot or rainy, the library is here to offer alternatives to those outdoor activities. In this blog are some movies to carry you through those days or nights. They all have some sort of summer theme, whether the last days before school lets out, a summer vacation, or just set during summertime in general, here are some gems to consider checking out.

Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) directed by Questlove | Request Now

Summer of SoulIn the summer of 1969, the Harlem Cultural Festival took place over six weeks and was filmed in Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park) in Harlem. Questlove used that footage and incorporated it along with more recent interviews with performers, attendees, and others to create this incredible documentary. Taking place at the same time in one of the weekends was the much better known, Woodstock, just 100 miles away. Questlove has brought the importance of this festival into the spotlight as it should be with such notable talent as Stevie Wonder, Mahalia Jackson, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, & Gladys Knight & the Pips, to name just a few. Largely forgotten until now, this extraordinary piece of Black history should be required viewing as much for the cultural significance as for the outstanding musical performances. Enjoy the music even more by checking out the live recordings on the CD or LP

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Staff Picks: It's Time to Grill!

Fri, 06/16/2023 - 11:40am by emjane

Kids are on summer vacation, the weather’s getting warmer, and you’re feeling the pull to grill from deep inside your bones (oh, is that just me?)! Yes, the classics of burgers and dogs and—if you’re feeling fancy—brats are great and all, but if you’re looking to up your grill game, we’ve got a TON of cookbooks to help out. Here’re just a selection!

How to Grill Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Flame-Cooked Food by Mark Bittman | Request Now

How to Grill EverythingMark Bittman is known throughout the cooking and home chef world for his clear and simple recipes that allow the ingredients to shine, and he’s got another hit with How to Grill Everything. Starting with a short, but information-dense section on Grilling Basics (that’s worth a quick read even if you’re not a novice), How to Grill Everything has an amazing assortment of recipes that won’t take much longer than popping a burger on the grill. Plus, many recipes share slight variations so you can tweak them to match your taste and the ingredients you have on hand. The book is more about the recipes than the pictures – not every recipe has accompanying photos, though sporadically through the book they are still used to demonstrate steps and show off end-products. One of my favorites is Bittman’s recipe for Garlic Shrimp on page 124 (and its multiple variations on p. 125)!

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #827, Welcome to Hollywood! What's your dream? ~ “Pretty Woman” (1990)

Wed, 06/14/2023 - 1:16pm by muffy


The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece, * a debut novel by Tom Hanks, who needs no introduction, is about the making of a star-studded, multimillion-dollar superhero action film and the comic books that inspire it. 

This is one title that you could do no wrong with either the print, eBook, or the audiobook format. 

First, the audiobook… narrated by the author and joined by an accomplished ensemble cast is simply delightful, at times laugh-out-loud funny. In the print (and eBook) formats, interspersed throughout are three comic books that are featured in the story, all created by Tom Hanks himself, including the one that becomes the official tie-in for “Knightshade: The Lathe of Firefall, a mashup of Marvel-esque superhero fare, war story, and artsy melodrama “ (Kirkus Reviews)

1947, Bob Falls, the World War II vet who served as a flamethrower in the Pacific theater, returns home to Lone Butte, California and meets his nephew Robby Andersen, then disappears for the next 23 years. 

In 1970, Robby, now an underground comic books author in Oakland, California, reconnects with his uncle and creates a comic book series titled The Legend of Firefall, inspired by his uncle's wartime experiences. 

In the present day, Bill Johnson, a successful Hollywood director acquires the Firefall property and decides to turn it into a contemporary superhero movie, and charges his small army of actors, assistants, and technicians with shooting the film in Lone Butte, to help him meet deadlines and stay on budget.  

“The writing is spot-on, bringing to the novel all the passion Hanks feels about his profession: 'Making movies is complicated, maddening, highly technical at times, ephemeral and gossamer at others, slow as molasses on a Wednesday but with a gun-to-the-head deadline on a Friday.' The whole book is like that: lovingly crafted, a wildly entertaining story beautifully told. If you love movies, you'll love this book.” (Booklist) 

* = Starred review

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Staff Picks: To Love a Duke: Historical Romance Novels with Noble Heroes

Mon, 06/12/2023 - 10:04am by denbyt

It's my humble opinion that romance fiction, especially historical romance fiction, is the epitome of fantasy. Done right, it sweeps the reader away, to a time and place where charming, impossibly-perfect characters meet, fall in love, overcome adversity, and live happily ever after. These are the worlds in which my inner dreamer just loves to find refuge, especially after a hard day spent in the real world. So, dear reader, for those who are looking for an escape, I offer four luscious historical romances, featuring a charming duke, a heroine with plenty of spine and spunk, and settings that are certain to transport you away from today’s cares and concerns.

The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

The DukeThis Regency-London set romance is the steamy novel that sparked the immensely popular Bridgerton Series, both in print and on streaming services. It leans heavily on the relationship-of-convenience trope, a personal favorite, but delivers the story with a snappy and contemporary voice. And, of course, it introduces you to the mysterious Lady Whistledown, who spills dark secrets about all of London’s high society. 

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #826, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Tue, 06/06/2023 - 7:43pm by muffy

all_this_could_bedifferent2022 National Book Award finalist, and The New York TIme Book Review Editors’ Choice, All This Could be Different * * * *  by Sarah Thankam Mathews (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook), is a “darkly witty and finely wrought exploration of the struggle to embrace one's identity, this debut also illuminates the hardships of immigrant life, the elusiveness of lasting romantic love - and ultimately the joy and belonging that can come from a 'family' of friends.” (People Magazine) 

During the mid-2000s recession, 22 year-old Indian immigrant Sneha, a recent college graduate, is fortunate to land an entry-level job in Milwaukee, “where she tries on adulthood like an ill-fitting suit.” (Kirkus Reviews)  No longer under the watchful eyes of her traditional parents, Sneha scours online dating apps for other queer women, befriends (An)Tig(one) Clay, a philosophy student, and develops a burning crush on Marina, a beguiling and beautiful older white dancer. 

But before long, trouble arrives - her boss stops paying her, the landlord threatens eviction, and a childhood trauma demands to be reckoned with. It's then that Tig begins to draw up a radical solution to their problems, hoping to save them all.

“Recounting this heady time a decade or so later, Sneha is a magnetic teller of her tale of finding love, growing up, and summoning the power to change--and choose--her life. Kindred to Brandon Taylor's stellar Real Life (2020), this novel burrows deep.” (Booklist)

skin_and_its_girlThe Skin and its Girl * *  by Sarah Cypher (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook).

Elspeth Noura Rummani is born in a Pacific Northwest hospital, the very day her Palestinian family’s centuries-old soap factory in Nablus is destroyed in an air strike by the Israeli military. An infant with impossibly cobalt-blue skin, she is refused by the lesbian couple intent on adopting her. 

With her neuroscientist mother, Tashi, emotional fragile and battling mental illness, great-aunt Nuha, the matriarch and keeper of the family lore, raises her as Betty, believing that the blue girl embodies their sacred history, when the Rummanis were among the wealthiest soap-makers and their blue soap was a symbol of a legendary love. 

Decades later, Betty returns to Aunt Nuha's gravestone, faced with a difficult decision: Should she stay in the only country she's ever known, or should she follow her heart and the woman she loves, perpetuating her family's cycle of exile? Betty finds her answer in partially translated notebooks that reveal her aunt's complex life and struggle with her own sexuality. The Skin and Its Girl is a searing, poetic tale about desire and identity, and a provocative exploration of how we let stories divide, unite, and define us--and wield even the power to restore a broken family.


Endpapers by Jennifer Savran Kelly (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook).  Frustrated artist Dawn Levit works as a conservator/ bookbinder at the Metropolitan Museum of Art while spending most of her time scouting the city’s street art for inspiration. Genderfluid, she presents as female at work and is concerned that her musician boyfriend Lukas increasingly seems to be attracted to her when she's at her most masculine.

Then, one day at work, Dawn finds something hidden behind the endpaper of an old book she is restoring - the torn-off cover of a '50s lesbian pulp novel, Turn Her About, with what appears to be a  love letter in German written on the back.

“The discovery leads to unexpected adventures as she becomes obsessed with tracking down the mysterious note's elusive author even as she questions her own complicated identity. A bookbinder herself, Savran Kelly is also a fine writer, and her debut novel is smooth and involving." (Booklist)

Endpapers will appeal to readers of queer, nonbinary, or trans fiction like Torrey Peters' Detransition, Baby as well as anyone who loves character-driven, setting-rich stories like Tell the Wolves I'm Home or The Immortalists.

* * * * = 4 starred reviews

* * = 2 starred reviews

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Staff Picks: Black & Proud—Queer Black Comics

Mon, 06/05/2023 - 11:46am by nicole

With Juneteenth approaching (and Pride Month in full swing), it's a perfect time to celebrate queer voices within the Black community. Here are some comics that feature queer black authors, artists, or stories:


Bingo Love, by Tee Franklin | Request Now

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Staff Picks: Juneteenth Reads

Thu, 06/01/2023 - 9:10pm by lucroe

The origin of Juneteenth begins in Galveston, Texas, which was the western-most area of the Union in 1865. When enslaved people there were told of their emancipation on June 19, 1865, they had technically already been freed two-and-a-half years prior, when President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Slaveholders in Texas had kept the information to themselves, extending the period of violent exploitation of enslaved African Americans. The following year, in 1866, a celebration was had in Texas, the first Juneteenth observance to recognize freedom from slavery in the U.S.

It's considered the longest-running holiday in African American and Black communities, and was often observed with community celebrations on the third Saturday in June. Juneteenth became a federal holiday in 2021 after Congress passed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act.

Here is a reading list of fiction and non-fiction titles related to Juneteenth. 

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Staff Picks: June is Pride Month—Celebrating Queer Voices in Fiction

Thu, 06/01/2023 - 10:17am by eapearce

There are thousands of fantastic books of all genres written by queer authors and featuring queer characters. Here are a few new titles to check out, in celebration of Pride Month!

Siren Queen, by Nghi Vo | Request Now

siren queenLuli Wei is a queer Chinese-American girl who comes of age in pre-Code Hollywood desperate to become a star. Though she knows how limited roles are–and how dangerous the business can be–for someone who looks like her and loves who she loves, her determination remains steadfast. That being said, she doesn’t want the small roles that are often offered to her, parts as maids or serving girls. She does whatever it takes to get her big break, including blackmailing a predatory director. When her break finally comes, it’s in a role as a siren, and she goes on to have a career portraying various monsters. The dark side of Hollywood encroaches on her, though, and soon Luli struggles to separate her roles as monsters from the monster inside herself. Throughout the story, she loves and loses many female costars, and manages to stay a step ahead of all the men who try to outsmart her. Vo has written a stunning work of speculative fiction, weaving accurate historical detail with magical realism so seamlessly that readers will begin to believe the impossible as they sink further into the story.

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Staff Picks: Light (but not empty) Reads

Tue, 05/30/2023 - 2:49pm by emjane

I love a good candy book. And by that, I mean a book that I am read purely for enjoyment without getting anything other than entertainment from it. But what I love even more than a light, candy read is one that has their fast, breezy pace, but also has a hint of depth to it. These “light but not empty” books are perfect to take to the beach, but also have enough something to them that you could have a good discussion with a friend about the story. Here are a few of my favorites!

Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple | Request Now

Where'd You Go BernadetteBernadette Fox is revered in the architecture field—even if it’s been a long time since she’s done any work—but in the world of her daughter Bee’s private school, she’s the weird mom who just can’t manage to play nice and fit in. Things only get worse when Bernadette has a mental break and disappears, leaving Bee to search for her. Told from the perspective of Bee, Where’d You Go Bernadette paints fully-formed mother and daughter characters, and though the description sounds heavy, the writing is fast-paced and the book doesn’t leave you depressed. Told primarily in emails, letters, fliers, and other ephemera, Where’d You Go is a page-turner with many laugh-out-loud moments.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #825, Spotlight on the Michigan Connection

Mon, 05/29/2023 - 3:05pm by muffy


Wade in the Water * (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook) by Nyaneba Nkrumah (MFA, University of Michigan) is the unlikely friendship between a precocious black girl and a mysterious white woman in rural, segregated Ricksville, Mississippi in the early 1980s. 

11 year-old Ella, the product of a fling between her mother and a black man is ignored by her mother, abused by her stepfather - her only friend being the blind old Mr. McCade. Love-starved but wise beyond her years, she is fascinated by Katherine St. James, a white graduate student, newly arrived from Princeton on a research project, who chooses to rent in the Black half of town. Curious and suspicious, most of the Black folks stay away except for Ella who eagerly befriends Katherine.

In a series of flashbacks, we learn that Katherine St. James used to be Kate Summerville, daughter of a notorious Mississippi Ku Klux Klan leader in nearby Philadelphia, Mississippi, in the early 1960s. The family fled north after the killings of three voting-rights activists, and the case remains unsolved. 

“What looks like it could be a narrative of atonement and redemption is turned completely on its head in the final chapters, as more details on Katherine's involvement with her father are presented - some to the community, some only to the reader. Nkrumah seems to agree with Faulkner, who said, "The past is never dead. It's not even past…. A furious look at the long tail of Jim Crow, with lively writing and a well-drawn setting. A promising debut.” (Kirkus Reviews) 


Moonrise Over New Jessup * (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook) by Jamila Minnicks (UM), the winner of the 2021 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, is a period novel set in the all-Black town of New Jessup, Alabama, and “brilliantly presents the Black struggle through an anti-integration lens that is equally powerful and persuasive.” (Booklist) 

1957. Alice Young steps off the bus in New Jessup, on the way to Chicago to reunite with her sister, in hope of starting a new life. In this unique settlement founded by a coalition of Black families who believed in the ideas of separation espoused by Booker T. Washington, Alice finds warm welcome, lodging, and a job sewing in a dress shop, and soon falls in love with Raymond Campbell, son of one of the town’s founders. 

As they marry and raise a family, Alice becomes aware of Raymonds clandestine involvement with National Negro Advancement Society, ideals that the town frown upon, believing it will draw unwanted and dangerous attention from the white side of town and the law.  Alice must find a way to balance her undying support for Raymond’s underground work with her desire to protect New Jessup from the rising pressure of upheaval.

Based on the history of the many Black towns and settlements established across the country, “(a)n outstanding writer, Minnicks excels at capturing the atmosphere and issues of a specific locale at a particular time, the Deep South at the dawn of the civil rights era.” (Library Journal)


The One by Julia Argy (MFA in fiction from the UM Helen Zell Writers' Program, 2021) (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook) is a razor-sharp and seductively hypnotic debut novel about the very fantasy of falling in love.

20-something Emily Boylan just lost her job as an adm. assistant, never mind she does maybe 10 mins of real work every day, and she is determined to move forward. So when she is approached on a Boston street by Miranda, a TV producer for the hit reality dating show The One, to join the cast after a contestant backed out at the last minute, she's on board. But the moment Emily arrives on location, it becomes clear she's been tapped to win it all, after meeting Dylan Walter and the other 29 women vying for his proposal.  And as Emily's fascination with another contestant grows, both Emily and Miranda are forced to decide what it is they really want--and what they are willing to do to get it. A brilliant send-up of our cultural mythology around romance, The One examines the reality of love and desire set against a world of ultimate artifice and manipulation. 

“Fans of reality TV will appreciate the insider feel first-time novelist Argy creates for her version of a very famous dating show, with the addition of cheeky suggestions of the secret motivations of some contestants that have nothing to do with love or marriage. The characters are flawed and likable, utterly convinced of the rightness of their participating in the unhealthy behaviors encouraged by the producers…A pop-culture send-up bound to inspire lively discussions.” (Booklist)  

 * = Starred review