Bridey Kelly, a recently fired and disgraced WWII nurse trainee, takes a position as a nurse for 10 evacuated children being sent to Agatha Christie's holiday estate, Greenway. Bridey is a good nurse but she's young and lacks confidence, especially when she compares herself to fellow nurse, Gigi. Even though she is totally incompetent in child care, Gigi is beautiful, self-assured and intriguing. When a body washes ashore on the estate, Bridey and Gigi are pulled into solving the murder. Death at Greenway is filled with rich characters, many of whom are hiding dark secrets. It's a must read for anyone who enjoys a period piece that keeps you guessing until the very end. While Christie is not a featured character in this book, her estate and grounds are a shining star providing the perfect backdrop for the mystery.
Ellen Adams is newly sworn in as Secretary of State when a series of bus bombs in Europe put the entire globe on high alert, waiting for the next attack. Meanwhile a young foreign service officer begins receiving cryptic messages and Secretary Adams begins to fear the European attacks were a dress rehearsal for a much more devastating and far-reaching attack, this one on American soil. This political thriller takes you on a dizzying ride that will keep you turning pages long into the night and leave you thankful for the many dedicated public servants who keep us safe every day from terrors we will hopefully never know. The origin story of the book and the friendship between Penny and Clinton was the icing on the cake for me--don't skip the Ackowledgements!
Sleeping Beauty, the worst and least feminist of fairy tales, gets a modern, multiversed, feminist update in a sharp-as-a-spindle little novella. Zinnia Gray is celebrating her 21st, and probably last, birthday. She's had a fatal illness for years and has put aside her childish hopes of escaping its curse to reach 22. Still, she's secretly happy to indulge in the Sleeping Beauty-themed surprise party her best friend is throwing for her. She used to be obsessed with Sleeping Beauty — in a way that only dying girls could be. Maybe she still is. Why else would she press her finger to the sharp spindle of the party-prop spinning wheel, drawing blood and a path into another Sleeping Beauty's tale? She can't have her happily-ever-after, but maybe she can find a better once-upon-a-time...
I loved last year's Magic Lessons SO MUCH that it's a little hard to top for me; BUT, if you have been a fan of the Practical Magic series, as I have, this is a very satisfying conclusion to a long journey. All of the Owenses are reunited in a quest to save Sally's youngest daughter, Kylie. The family curse has found her and she's about to lose the love of her life. Blind with rage and numb with grief, her desperation leads her to the dark side of her family's history and it will take the entire clan to bring her back from the edge... if they can find her before it's too late. In true Hoffman style, the magic is in the love that holds these characters together. One way or another, everyone finds their way home — wherever, whatever, or whomever that may be.
Dedicated to the librarians "then, now, and in the years to come," Cloud Cuckoo Land is a love letter to books and stories, to the people who carry, protect and pass them on to others, to the beauty and brutality of humanity, to the endurance and fragility of the planet. In 15th century Constantinople, two children prepare for the end of the world on different sides of the city's famed walls. In present day Idaho, a group of librarians lead children through play rehearsal while a teenage gunman holds a hostage downstairs. Somewhere in the future, a girl who has never set foot on Earth travels to a distant planet on an interstellar ship with her family and hundreds of other refugees hoping to give humanity a second chance. All of these young characters are journeying towards something that feels inevitable and completely outside of their control, but each of them is stronger and more capable than they think. Ultimately, their lives, which seem so far apart and so different, are connected in ways that are both beautiful and tragic. This is expertly crafted, genre-bending literary fiction from a writer at the top of his game.
In her debut novel, Shanna Miles creates a masterful blend of genres in an epic YA romance. Historical fiction, sci-fi, fantasy and romance? It's all there. Fayard and Tamar, two South Carolina teens, share a connection bigger than your average short-lived teenage love story. Rather it's the kind of love that is rarely found; enduring, gentle and true. The catch, they have been reliving their story over and over throughout time, always with a tragic ending. In order to break the cycle they must learn from their past and make decisions about their future, one without memories to guide them. I would have read an entire book about each telling of Fayard and Tamar's love story. Every memory was vivid, compelling and original. I could not put this book down.
A girl-powered, family-hearted Ghostbusters story set in St. Augustine, Florida! "Cracking jokes, kicking ghost butt, and being charming," 12-year-old Lucely and her best friend, Syd, battle long-dead villains. Will Lucely's firefly family spirits, Syd's bruja grandmother Babette, and a suspiciously intelligent cat named Chunk (yes, a Goonies reference, and not the only one!) be enough help or will Lucely lose her home, her family, and the lives of everyone in her city? This is a classic ghost-hunting buddy adventure that's perfect for upper elementary, pre-teen fans of Coco, Moana, etc. Lots of fun, witchy pop culture catnip, including retro movies and Harry Potter references throughout. Excellent on audio!
A beautiful, warm, old-fashioned, timely, medieval tale of bravery and love and the power of stories. And of a wise and very cranky goat.
Picking up right where A Deadly Education left off, our sensible, snarky, powerful, damaged, thundercloud of a young witch, El, is trying to survive her senior year at the Scholomance — a magical, sentient boarding school that's deadly but not as deadly as existence outside the Scholomance. Book 2 expands the scope of the action, the cast of characters, the depth of intrigue, El's perspectives... But it doesn't expand it into a different kind of story. If you liked the first book, you'll be happy with this one. Except the ending. No one is happy with that ending, Naomi MiddleName Novik! (Still... can't wait for book 3!)
What a trip! Both fast-paced and thoughtful, this is fun, well-written superhero fiction. A young adult mutant is coming into her powers. A vaguely French and very arrogant super-soldier/thief is coming to grips with loss of power and identity. Sentient tech is continuing to evolve. And they're all converging at the Xavier Institute in this adventurous and touching heist story with themes of second chances, found families, self-discovery, and the choices that define us.
Oh my goodness. Chainani skillfully spins familiar stories into fresh dangerous and delightful tales that are both beautifully written and wickedly smart with lessons that resonate with today's readers. These tales will haunt you in all the best ways.
In an alternate London in 1983 (not so alternate that we don't get Boy George and Doc Martens), Susan Arkshaw is on a pre-college quest to discover the identity of her father when she gets swept up in an adventure that is larger, stranger, and far more magical than she anticipated. She seems to be at the center of this adventure — along with an outrageously attractive, fashion-forward, magical sword-wielding bookseller named Merlin and his magically talented, intellectual bookseller sister Vivien. I was sold at "magical sword-wielding bookseller Merlin" but there's plenty more to like in this classic-feeling, plot-driven fantasy where deep Old World magic exists side-by-side with the modern world.
This is the intro to white privilege that every white kid, parent, teacher, librarian, aunt, uncle, friend, and human has been missing in their lives. Engaging and conversational, refreshingly honest and personal, verified white guy Brendan Kiely gives us a great starting point for understanding how white privilege saturates our society, for examining how it affects our individual lives, and for starting a conversation about it with our kids and each other. Plus: intro by Jason Reynolds! plenty of dumb teen shenanigans! excellent on audio (find it at our audio partner Libro.fm)!
Charmingly fanciful, melancholic, heroic, and hopeful. If empathy were a superpower, I would expect to find the cape and mask for it hanging in TJ Klune's bat cave. In Under the Whispering Door, a terrible excuse for a human gets the chance to reflect and become more while ghosting around at a teashop in the woods that's actually a way station for whatever comes after this life. Is it a book about death? Yes. But of course it's really a book about life… and loss and empathy and second chances and letting go and holding on and family. It's lovely and painful and goofy and pure.
The Death of Francis Bacon is a fictionalized story of Artist Francis Bacon's last moments, using the paintings as narrators. Seven short chapters lay out a glimpse into the delusions of Bacon's art, specifically his final seven paintings. Porter's word choice paints a vivid picture (pun intended) of the ending moments of Bacon's horrifically frustrating past. Art history lovers that have prior knowledge of Bacon's life will love this fictionalized conclusion of his life.
On the surface, Mizuki has a beautiful life: a hardworking husband, two children she adores, and a beautiful Tokyo high-rise apartment, but Mizuki is drowning in the realities of motherhood and feeling disconnected from her life before becoming a wife and mother. Then she meets Kiyoshi, and her relationship with him brings her back to herself and helps her see a way forward. Itami's beautifully written debut novel is a realistic portrayal of the universal conflicting emotions of motherhood, and it is also a fascinating peek into modern Tokyo.
The reality TV dating story I didn't know I needed! In "The Charm Offensive," an unexpected story of affirming love — from both self and others — emerges from the toxic trash heap that is reality TV dating shows. With lovely complex main characters, broad representation and inclusivity, support for mental health, and an shakeable theme of loving and deserving love, this is a refreshing #OwnVoices contemporary romance that doesn't sacrifice personal health and development for the sake of a tidy, shoe-horned romance plot. And yet! You'll absolutely find the romance tropes you adore. Perfect for fans of Boyfriend Material and anyone who loves to hate-watch The Bachelor!