Mon, 10/25/2021 - 9:46pm by muffy
Payback's a Witch * * * by Lana Harper is the first in The Witches of Thistle series, (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook) and her adult debut (after four YA novels written as Lana Popović), “a queer rom-com that bewitches from the very first page.”(Publishers Weekly)
Emmy Harlow is heading home to Thistle Grove (IL) after fleeing with a broken heart almost a decade before. She plans to stay only long enough to carry out the familial duty of being her generation’s arbiter, overseeing the magical tournament that pits the 4 founding families against each other... that is, until she sets eyes on the devastatingly gorgeous, wickedly charming Talia Avramov; reconnects with her childhood besties Linden Thorn; and witness first hand, the mechanization of the despicable sleazeball Gareth Blackmoor who broke her heart (and that of almost every other woman in town).
As heir to the most powerful magical family in town, Gareth is favored to win the tournament but the three scorned women have something up their sleeves. As they team up and Emmy’s magic returns, she begins to wonder if leaving would mean giving up what she wants most.
“The love story between Talia and Emmy develops beautifully, but the true romance is with the town and the community. The bonds of both family and friendship shine from start to finish, and Harper balances the different clans and captures how, together, they make Thistle Grove the magical place that it is.“ (BookPage)
Nine years ago, little witch Vivi(enne) Jones fell hard for Rhys Penhallow, a Welsh exchange student whose family founded the town of Graves Glen and the local college, and promptly broke her heart when she found out he was engaged. Now he is back, reluctantly, to represent his family at the annual fall festival, and to recharge the town's ley lines, a necessity every 100 years.
But as soon as he sets foot in the town, one calamity after another strikes Rhys. Could it be the curse the young and broken-hearted Vivi put on him, fueled by vodka, weepy music, bubble baths? Soon, mysterious affliction begins affecting the town as well, forcing Rhys and Vivi to get over their mutual mistrust, ignore their chemistry, and work together to break the curse before it kills everyone.
“Sterling writes a fun, sexy romantic comedy with a compelling plot, fantastic worldbuilding, twists that give the story depth, and engaging primary and secondary characters. The novel wraps up plenty of loose ends, but readers will be eager for sequels.“ (Library Journal)
In Nightbitch* by Rachel Yoder (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook), an unnamed sleep-deprived “de-facto single mom” of a demanding toddler (her tech husband travels for work every week), becomes convinced she's turning into a dog. As the dense patch of hair in the back of her neck grows thicker, and her canines look decidedly sharper, she is bewildered by her metamorphosis, and struggles to keep her alter-canine-identity secret. Online searches are no help, she seeks answers at her local library. There she finds the mysterious academic tome A Field Guide to Magical Women: A Mythical Ethnography which validates her experience and encourages her to embrace the freedom of her new animal nature. She also finds common ground with a group of other mommies involved in a multilevel-marketing scheme who may also be more than what they seem.
“Bursting with fury, loneliness, and vulgarity, Yoder's narrative revels in its deconstruction of the social script women and mothers are taught to follow, painstakingly reading between the lines to expose the cruel and downright ludicrous ways in which women are denied their personhood. An electric work by an ingenious new voice, this is one to devour.” (Publishers Weekly)
Already optioned for film.
* * * = 3 starred reviews
* = Starred review
Wed, 10/06/2021 - 7:46pm by muffy
Battle Royal * by Lucy Parker (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook) is “(b)rimming with pop culture references and quick wit, (an) enemies-to-lovers romance that kicks off the Palace Insiders series. (Publishers Weekly)
Four years ago, Sylvie Fairchild was voted off the most popular television baking show Operation Cake due to an unfortunate mechanical malfunction with her glittery unicorn cake. Now she is to return to the show as a judge. The publicity would not only help her business Sugar Fair but might just get her shortlistedfor HRH Princess Rose's wedding cake.
The only problem is Dominic De Vere, her fellow judge on the show, His Majesty the King’s favorite baker, brilliant, talented, hard-working, an icy grouch who would never let Sylvie live down the unicorn experience. The bride adores Sylvie’s quirky style. The palace wants Dominic’s classic perfection. In this royal battle, can there be room for two?
“From the zippy dialogue and humorous banter exchanged between the book's perfectly matched protagonists to the delectable descriptions of sweet treats that would not be out of place in Willy Wonka's factory, this deliciously sexy love story whips up everything romance readers crave.” (Booklist)
Ghosts (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook) is memoirist (Everything I Know About Love, 2020) Dolly Alderton’s debut novel. From a columnist for The Sunday Times Style and co-host of the weekly pop-culture and current affairs podcast The High Low comes this “smart, sexy, laugh-out-loud romantic comedy about ex-boyfriends, imperfect parents, friends with kids, and a man who disappears the moment he says "I love you."
32 years-old London food writer and author Nina Dean is in a good place - her second book is about to be published, she loves flat ownership, and she is on good terms with her ex, Joe. But with most of her friends married, having kids, and moving to the suburbs, she tries a dating app. Seemingly impossible, she meets Max - handsome, dishy, an accountant with an adventurous spirit, and they have chemistry.
And if Max seems too good to be true, he is, forcing Nina to deal with everything she's been trying so hard to ignore: her father's Alzheimer's, her mother's denial, trouble with her editor; and being ghosted by her childhood best friend.
“Alderton's fiction debut delivers a refreshing and clever meditation on a single British woman's late coming-of-age...Full of quirky characters, sardonic commentary, and millennial ruminations, Ghosts is for fans of the show Fleabag, Sally Rooney's Normal People (2020), and Lily King's Writers & Lovers (2021).” (Booklist)
Away at uni from her strict Muslim family, Soraya drinks, wears short skirts and talks to boys, never mind at 21, she has never been kissed. As she is about to graduate with no job prospect, she knows she will be heading home. At a party, she sees her chance in Magnus Evans - rugby player, a notorious man-about-town, just the person with whom to get her first kiss "over with”. There is no risk of falling in love since Mangus is exactly whom her family would not approve of.
Soraya's shocked to find that Magnus is nothing like she expected, and despite their wildly different backgrounds, they discover they have a lot in common.
“Jafari's authentic portrayal of the complexities of interracial dating is deeply emotional and her characters are refreshingly flawed: Magnus is charming and patient, but initially clueless about navigating cultural difference, while endearing Soraya feels intense emotion but bottles it up. Each scene of this moving love story reveals new depths.” (Publishers Weekly)
* = Starred review
Wed, 10/06/2021 - 12:58pm by mrajraspn08
You may have heard about the upcoming Orionoids Meteor Shower or December’s complete lunar eclipse. While you’re checking out the Telescope, check out some other out of this world tools for learning about space!
If your child dreams of reaching for the stars, check out The History of Space Travel Puzzle. While you're putting it together, you can start talking about the various space missions that have occurred. Look at the ways the technology has evolved over the years, from the first launch to the most recent. How has this improved our space travel? How do these tools work? How do they compare with some you may have seen or read in sci-fi books and movies? How do you think they'll improve by the time you'd be starting your own space adventure? Older kids might want to watch the streaming video Functions and Relations, showing how to use advanced math principles as we plan space travel. See if you can apply those same principles to travel to a different planet in our solar system. Check out other videos on space travel in our streaming collection!
Now let's blast off on a journey of our own to visit the planet Venus with the Venus Globe! Venus is often compared to Earth. What similarities do you see between the planets? What differences? Do you think we’ll be able to live on Venus one day? Why or why not? Who knows--maybe you'll get the chance to some day!
Fri, 09/17/2021 - 3:40pm by mrajraspn08
Last year, many parents found themselves unexpectedly homeschooling. Over a year later, some of us still are, by choice or necessity. Whether you’re an experienced homeschooler or a complete novice, the library is here to help make lessons fun with our great tool collection!
My child’s favorite tool is the Bagimals. Even this simple tool can be used to inspire a lesson plan. Check out several Bagimals with your grade school kid and look at the animals and the environment they live in. Get one of the Early Learning Globes and figure out where each animal lives in the world. Talk about the environment in each place; for older children, you can talk about how each animal evolved to be suited to its environment. Could a polar bear live in the desert? Why or why not? How might the animal have evolved if they lived in another environment? How do they co-exist with other animals and even people living in this environment?
Mon, 09/06/2021 - 2:20pm by muffy
Voted one of the 50 Favorite Sci-Fi And Fantasy Books Of The Past Decade by NPR readers, A Master of Djinn * * * (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook), is Nebula, Locus, and Alex Award-winner P. Djeli Clark’s first full-length novel after a number of novellas, also set in an alternate Cairo universe.
1912 Cairo is a bustling metropolis with commerce, intrigue, and steampunk technology. Fatma el-Sha’arawim, the youngest and only female agent of the Egyptian Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments, and Supernatural Entities is brought in to investigate multiple murders at the home of a wealthy British merchant.
Ever since the mystic and inventor Al-Jahiz pierced the veil between realms decades ago, djinns, magical beings and humans have been living together in relative peace. Now someone claiming to be Al-Jahiz has murdered members of a secret brotherhood dedicated to his legacy at the eve of an international summit of major European powers that is likely to have global ramifications. Together with her clever new partner, Agent Hadia Abdel Hafez, and her mercurial, half-djinn girlfriend, Siti, Fatma sets out to uncover the truth behind this self-professed prophet, and save the world from destruction.
“The fantastical worldbuilding highlights the thematic issues of colonialism, spirituality, and race relations, while Clark's prose provides a cinematic lens to issues of gender and class viewed through Agent Fatma's investigations and relationships.” (Library Journal)
The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook), the first in the Dangerous Damsels series, is “a treat for readers who enjoy supernatural historical romances, wordplay, and quirky situations.” (Booklist)
Miss Cecilia Bassingwaite, a junior member of the Wisteria Society, a crime sorority of thieves, pirates and assassins is eagerly anticipating induction into the highest rank (and a place at the high tea table) now that she has robbed a bank, mastered the skills of piloting flying battlehouses, and foiled an assassination attempt on her life.
Before she could claim her seat at the tea table, all the members of the Society were kidnapped by the dreaded Bronte-obsessed, self-proclaimed poet Captain Morvath, Cecilia has no choice but to team up with her devilishly handsome would-be assassin Ned Lightbourne, who may be a pirate employed by Captain Morvath, or a royal agent assigned to protect her.
“In this joyride of a debut, Holton draws us into a madcap world of courtly corsairs, murderous matrons, and pity-inspiring henchmen. Familiar romance tropes appear but as if in a fun-house mirror, with broad winks at their origins, while characters make sarcastic references to passionate novels in the Victorian canon… As if The Parasol Protectorate series met The Princess Bride and a corseted Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.” (Kirkus Reviews)
* * * = 3 starred reviews
Wed, 08/25/2021 - 6:56pm by muffy
“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” ~ Charles W. Eliot
“The pleasure of all reading is doubled when one lives with another who shares the same books.” ~ Katherine Mansfield
The Reading List * * by Sara Nisha Adams (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook). 17 year-old Aleisha, a summer desk clerk, is the first to find the list between pages of a returned book at the Harrow Road Library. It reads JUST IN CASE YOU NEED IT, followed by eight titles: To Kill a Mockingbird, Rebecca, The Kite Runner, The Life of Pi, Pride and Prejudice, Little Women, Beloved, and A Suitable Boy.
Just then, grieving widower Mukesh approaches the desk, intent to return a much-overdue copy of The Time Traveler’s Wife he found among his wife Naina’s things. Never a reader, he nevertheless enjoyed the story and the opportunity to honor Naina's memory, he asked for Aleisha’s recommendations. Caught unprepared, Aleisha remembered the list. Intrigued, and a little bored, stuck at home, unable to reach her mentally-fragile mother, she impulsively decides to read every book on the list as well. Slowly, the shared books create a connection between them.
As it happens, the same list shows up at the shoe rack at the yoga studio, the bulletin board at the local supermarket, the bus stop, and the community garden, drawing lonely strangers into the library and each other’s company.
“Full of references to popular and classic novels, this debut focuses on reading as a means of processing and coping with challenging life events. The author deftly captures the quiet and listless vibe of ill-fated libraries everywhere. Told from the perspectives of both Aleisha and Mukesh, as well as a sampling of other characters, the story shows an insightful empathy for difficulties faced at divergent life stages. The author explores many difficult topics with grace, like mental illness, grief, abandonment, and self-doubt...A quiet and thoughtful look into loneliness, community, and the benefits of reading, suited for true bibliophiles.“ (Kirkus Reviews)
* * = 2 starred reviews
Tue, 08/17/2021 - 9:03pm by muffy
For the Wolf * * * * by Hannah Whitten, the first in the Wilderwood series, (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook) is “a dark, dazzling reimagining of the Brothers Grimm’s Little Red Riding Hood” (Publishers Weekly)
For centuries, the Kingdom of Valleyda kept a bargain : to hold the monsters of the Shadowlands at bay, the second daughter born to the queen would be sacrificed to the Wolf of the Wilderwood, a magical forest. Now, Red(arys), as she approaches her 20th birthday, is almost eager to embrace her fate, plagued by a secret power she could not control.
The Wolf, as it turned out, is a man - Eammon who offers to release her. But Red chooses to stay. As real danger lurks round them, Red’s magic makes her a powerful ally as Eammon struggles to repair the woods, keeping out the dark creatures from the Shadowlands.
“Whitten weaves a captivating tale in this debut, in which even secondary characters come to feel like old friends. The novel seamlessly blends "Little Red Riding Hood" and "Beauty and the Beast" into an un-put-down-able fairy tale that traces the boundaries of duty, love, and loss. A masterful debut from a must-read new voice in fantasy.” (Kirkus Reviews)
Malice * by Heather Walter (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook) is imaginative retelling of Sleeping Beauty with sly references to Cinderella.
Princess Aurora, the last in a long line of princesses cursed by a wicked Vila, an evil race of magical beings, is the last heir to the Briar’s throne. Now the Vilas have all died out, except of Alyce, called "Malyce" by the Graces she lives with at Lavender House. The Graces, gold-blooded and gifted with Fae magic, is part of an alliance between the humans of Briar and the Fae of Etheria, while Alyce, known as the Dark Grace, is rejected publicly, even as the rich and powerful solicit her dark magic in secret.
Thus, it is assumed that the invitation to Princess Aurora's 20th birthday ball does not extend to Alyce, but she attends anyway. There she meets the princess, who is desperate to break the Vila curse that will kill her on her 21st birthday if she hasn't found true love. As their friendship grows, Alyce agrees to help Aurora lift the curse, even if it would destroy her own power.
"The story grows deliciously darker at every turn, though the youthful protagonists still ensure plenty of YA crossover appeal. Fairy tale lovers of all ages will be thrilled." (Publishers Weekly)
She Who Became the Sun * * * by Shelley Parker-Chan, the first in the Radiant Emperor duology, an epic high-fantasy series, gives the historical Red Turban Rebellion a grimdark twist (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook). The author was awarded a Otherwise (Tiptree) Fellowship for a work of speculative narrative that expands our understanding of gender.
1345. In Mongol-ruled China, the Zhu family, starving peasants in the Central Plains , at great expense they could ill afford, consulted a local fortune teller who proclaimed that their eight-born son, Zhu Chongba was destined for greatness while second daughter - nothingness. Yet, when a bandit attack orphaned the two children, Zhu Chongba succumbed to despair and died while the girl assumed her brother's identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. Propelled by a burning desire to survive, She learned she was capable of doing whatever it took. When her monastery was burned for supporting a rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu threw herself into her brother's path for greatness.
In this Mulan meets The Song of Achilles, “The characters are bold and complex in this story of fealty, family, and self. Epic worldbuilding, high action, and ruthless shades of love and desire make the tale at turns tragic and inspiring. Parker-Chan's debut is forceful, immersive, and unforgettable. This inspired queer retelling of Chinese history is an exciting read.” (Library Journal) For fans of The Poppy War.
* * * * = 4 starred reviews
* * * = 3 starred reviews
* = Starred review
Fri, 07/30/2021 - 4:45pm by muffy
Songs in Ursa Major * by Emma Brodie (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook) opens at the 1969 Bayleen Island Folk Festival. When headliner Jesse Reid was injured in a motorcycle crash, local band The Breakers, instead of being the opening act, took center stage. Led by Jane Quinn, a young singer/songwriter, they delivered the performance of a lifetime.
As Jesse recuperated on the island, nursed by Jane’s aunt Grace, the two met. Sensing Jane’s raw talent and naivete about the music industry, Jesse mentored her through the production of her first record, and when The Breakers began touring with Jesse’s band, they became involved, a relationship that Jane insisted on keeping secret. “She feared that, if the world knew her as Jesse’s love interest before she’d ever opened her mouth on a national stage, that was all she’d ever be.” Then she made a shocking discovery on tour about Jesse, Jane took off for home.
“(T)his sprawling novel follows Jane and Jesse through the epic highs and lows of their careers. Moving from New York to Los Angeles to Greece to the Grammys, then always back home to the island, Brodie's debut is a furious page-turner, meditating on the glittering beast of fame.” (Booklist)
“Inspired by the folk rock scene of the late '60s and early '70s, and reputedly by the relationship between James Taylor and Joni Mitchell, this superbly crafted debut novel immerses readers in a story of family, love, and music from the first page. Brodie makes a point about the destructive force of drug abuse, and bears witness to unsavory business practices in the music industry. (Library Journal)
For fans of Daisy Jones & The Six.
* = Starred review
Fri, 07/23/2021 - 8:55pm by muffy
Once an aspiring artist, Amy Ashton now rescues and collects beautiful objects, online and from charity shops, ever since her boyfriend Tim and her best friend Chantel left her on the same day more than 10 years ago. These days, Amy is hardly able to move around under piles of trinkets and treasures, risking safety violation and eviction as she desperately try to keep the world at the door. But with the arrival of a young family next door, Amy’s carefully managed and guarded routine starts to unravel.
She finds herself charmed by the two young boys, one with a treasured collection of toy bulldozers (Amy could relate to THAT!) and their helpful sort-of single father. Then she discovers a ring hidden in a flower pot (the one Tim was going to propose with) and a sodden letter, thus throwing her into the role of amateur detective.
“Heartwarming and tender… an ideal read for anyone looking for a good-humored and uplifting story, but especially for those who enjoyed Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and Ruth Hogan’s The Keeper of Lost Things.”(BookPage)
“Mystery lovers and fans of Liane Moriarty will also enjoy the quick-paced plot and perfectly timed reveals.” (Booklist)
Lizzie & Dante * * (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook) by Mary Bly is a “poignant, character-driven novel about living, loving, and looking mortality in the eye...Fans of emotional tearjerkers, of romance, or of authors Kristin Hannah and Elin Hilderbrand will not be able to put this down.” (Library Journal)
Shakespeare scholar Lizzie Delford is spending what would likely be her last summer, on the Island of Elba, at a luxurious seaside resort as a guest of her life-long friend Grey and his boyfriend, movie-star Rohan Das. Between catching sun and lavish parties, Lizzie is to help Rohan develop an unconventional script for Romeo and Juliet, his first movie as a director.
At the public beach, Lizzie is befriended by a bedraggled dog named Lulu, and her cantankerous owner Dante, a celebrated chef and a single father to precocious 12 year-old Etta.
“Bly, known best for the best-selling historical romances she writes as Eloisa James, deftly pivots to contemporary fiction with an emotional roller coaster of a novel that candidly explores such complicated subjects as sex and desire, love and loss, and family and friendship. Whether toothsomely describing Italian dishes, celebrating the natural beauty of Elba, or performing some literary dissection of Romeo and Juliet, Bly writes with a Prosecco-fizzy wit that is simply irresistible, but what will equally resonate with readers is her richly nuanced characters and their embrace of life in all its glorious messiness.” (Booklist)
* * = 2 starred reviews
* = Starred review
Fri, 07/09/2021 - 4:15pm by muffy
Angel & Hannah: A Novel in Verse by Ishle Yi Park (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook, performed by the author, first woman named poet laureate of Queens) reimagines Romeo and Juliet as an interracial couple in 1990s New York City.
Hannah, the daughter of Korean immigrants in Queens, meets Angel, a Puerto Rican boy in Brooklyn, at a quinceañera in the spring of 1993 and their “forbidden love instantly and wildly blooms along the Jackie Robinson Expressway.”
Told in seasons as opposed to Acts, in hip-hop sonnets and poems, we follow the blossoming of their young love to its gradual withering under the realities of poverty, racism, addiction, and the impacts of the AIDS epidemic.
“Park's intermingling of slang with fragments of Spanish and Korean electrify the free-verse lyrics that dance and slide across the pages. With an energy and attitude closer to Lin Manuel Miranda's In the Heights than West Side Story, the spoken-word style of Park's wildly creative rendition will entrance readers.” (Booklist)
A 15 year-old Louise Lovie Lloyd was abducted on her way home. A new fountain pen and ingenuity allowed her to escape and saved three other girls held in captivity. Immediately, she was hailed as Harlem's Hero by the press. Now a decade older, Louise waits tables at Maggie’s Cafe during the day and spends her nights drinking and dancing at the Zodiac, Harlem's hottest speakeasy, trying to put her notoriety and her preacher father’s disapproval behind her.
Then dead girls, elaborately groomed and posed begin turning up outside Maggie’s in the early hours. After an altercation with the police, Detective Theodore Gilbert makes her an offer: help solve the case or go to jail.
“Even as she has little choice, she doesn't know how dangerous a deal she has made until subsequent deaths bring the killer close. In this atmospheric debut mystery, with a sequel already planned, Afia ably tracks how Louise goes from reluctant hero to detective, infusing the transition with the spirit of the Harlem Renaissance.” (Booklist)
The Chosen and the Beautiful * * by Nghi Vo is “a fantastical reimagining of the world of The Great Gatsby.” (also in eBook and audiobook) from the point of view of Jordan Baker, the supposedly jaded and hollow golf pro on the sidelines of Fitzgerald's original novel. This is the author’s first full-length novel after 2 well-received novellas.
In Vo’s version, Jordan Baker, a Vietnamese adoptee brought up in the rarefied Louisville society, stays close friends with Daisy Buchanan. Though a constant fixture at some of the most exclusive parties in 1920s New York, she remains an accepted outsider, being queer and Asian. When Daisy sets Jordan up with her cousin, Nick Carraway, Jordan takes little notice of him until Jay Gatsby sets his eyes on Nick as well.
“Between magic-filled parties at Gatsby’s house and whispers of dark bargains, Jordan watches the relationship between Daisy and Gatsby unravel over the course of the summer, at the same time struggling with her own relationship to Daisy and eventually coming to question her place in their society. Vo has crafted a retelling that, in many ways, surpasses the original, adding logic and depth to characters’ motivations while still—uncannily—unspooling the familiar story. Astonishingly crafted, with luscious prose and appeal for both fans of the original and those who always felt The Great Gatsby missed the mark.” (Kirkus Reviews)
* * = 2 starred reviews