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Allie is a born and raised desert dweller who wishes she was somewhere on the coast. She is often found sipping a craft beer or copious amounts of espresso around town at some of her favorite local haunts. Mental health and spirituality are some of her favorite topics to engage with and read up on, but you’ll also find a plethora of dystopian Sci-fi and YA novels in stacks around her room. If you ever want to geek out about superheroes, sustainability, or need a local food rec, come find her!
It's been 20 years since we first visited the land of Alagaesia and were immersed in the stories of lives found in the Inheritance Cycle. In this new addition, we follow Murtagh and Thorn as they wander as travelers, uncovering hidden secrets and discover a hidden danger in the outskirts and furthest reaches of the continent. This story is one of hardship, of coming to terms with trauma, of putting the pieces back together once the war is behind you. Paolini's reentry into the world of his youth is a steely adventure story and I for one cannot wait to see what other stories he will bring us in years to come.
Ali Hazelwood fans rejoice! For her first foray into YA, Check & Mate wins the game. It's sexy but not smutty, it's smart, it's heartfelt, and the characters embody all of that and more. And as a paperback original, the price point makes this an instant buy in a genre of increasingly expensive hardcovers. If you loved Queen's Gambit, if you're a fan of Hazelwood's other works, or you're looking for a swoony romance, look no further!
A modern, contemporary retelling of Persephone that is as lush as it is devastating. When an 18 year old wide eyed and wild woman is whisked away by a larger than life pharmaceutical mogul to a private island to be a nanny for his children, her life begins to spin out of control. Rachel Lyon weaves a delectable story of sex, drugs, temptation, and finding your strength. Told through a duel perspective of a daughter lost to a world she cannot comprehend and a mother fraught with grief and rage to find her daughter and bring her home, it's a razors edge between delectable indulgence and devastating ruin and each page turned feels as though you'll too be tempted to fall. I read this in one sitting and can't stop thinking about going back for more.
Percy is BACK baby!!!! Going into his senior year of high school, we see Percy's life post-war, post battles, post saving the world. He is settling into a semi-normal life, while getting sucked in to help the gods with their problems. What is the catch for him entering back into dealings with the gods? Letters of recommendation to get into college in New Rome. While Percy is thinking about college, this is very much still a middle grade book, with Rick coming in strong with Percy's signature humor, dry wit, and unabashed moon eyes for Annabeth. CHALICE OF THE GODS is set up as a new extension to the Percy universe and I cannot wait to see what other adventures await!
This has skyrocketed to top 3 favorite Rick Riordan Percy Jackson related content. While this is not a Percy POV book, Nico and Will have my whole entire heart. Rick Riordan and Mark Oshiro work brilliantly together, their writing styles and humor matching while creating characters so polar opposite. This book is a harder, sadder read than what it first appears, one could say it is almost therapy in a book. I cried, I cheered, I kicked my feet in delight, and fell in love with the love these two boys have for each other.
Elena Armas keeps coming with absolute wins with her books! THE LONG GAME is Ted Lasso meets your favorite Hallmark movie and I am obsessed! Cameron Caldani is very Roy Kent coded, but we never got the steamiest pottery scene with Roy that we got with Cameron. Armas' ability to make everything flirtatious and sexy while not being over the top spicy is incredible and leads to the sweetest slow burn between Cameron and Adalyn. I am in dire need of a whole swath of stories set in the beautifully wooded town of Green Oak immediately, as there are plenty of other pairs whose stories I am now just as invested in!
Post pandemic, we have entered into a “reading crisis” with many young kids reading below level and failing to meet benchmarks. Of those struggling, the hardest hit are those kids that were in kindergarten when the pandemic started. Kids between the ages of 7-10 are reading far below level, most not above a beginning reader level. Where the rub comes in is what to give these kids to read. They are intimidated by chapter books and gravitate towards easier to consume media: graphic novels and picture books. Yet these stories are either geared towards parents at bedtime or still intimidating due to their length in the case of graphic novels. Across the board, what we are seeing is a need for stories told in larger fonts, in shorter formats, while matching the humor and age range of an elementary child. It’s a tough sell but there are a few authors I think hitting that target dead on that we should be looking to for inspiration. Maddie Frost is one such author, with characters that get into hijinx and mayhem, while building upon themes of friendship and personal discovery. Her upcoming picture book SHARED SPACE has the makings of a playground favorite, if it gets into the hands of actual children and librarians. It has story elements kids will tell their friends about, laughing at the annoyance Mouse has towards Pak-Rat, similar to the gold that was Spongebob and Squidward’s dynamic that made Spongebob so entertaining to watch. I want to give a copy to every librarian in the country.
A beautiful nod to the time fathers spend with their kids. It's time spent swimming in the pool and having your dad toss you so you get to cannon ball, or when bath time turns into dad making the bath toys into an entire underwater adventure, or you're at the beach playing mermaids and diving under waves together. I wholeheartedly believe water kids (you know the ones, the pruny fingered, living in a towel), adults who had a mermaid dad, and the dads who are actively living these moments will read this story and find themselves in it.
When I think back to the books I loved as a kid there is a common factor: weirdness. Whether it was a superhero running around in underwear or a sickness that gave you rainbow stripes, the stories I wanted needed to be a little odd and off the walls to draw me in. SPIDER IN THE WELL grabbed my attention with the film poster stylized art and kept me with the off-colored dark humor. Kids can suss out the truth better than any adult I know, and the boy in this story is exactly that. I'm all in favor of more weird books written with kids in mind, not the adults buying them. Perfect for fans of Klassen, Barnett, and the Fan Brothers.
Tully takes a stroke, then another, then another. She has to keep her body moving through the water, never stopping. If she stops, then the marathon is over. If she stops, she has to deal with the consequences of doing this swim across Lake Tahoe without permission. If she stops... the emotions could be too much if she thinks about her mom. The current of the lake and the pain in her heart would be too much. Jamie Sumner captures the ups and downs of the turbulence of water and of life in this emotional novel in verse.
Welcome to the Grand Hotel of Feelings, here all guests are welcome! Whatever feeling you are, we have a room for you and we will try to make you feel seen, heard, known, and loved! This book captures Wes Anderson's vibes, mixes them up with a dash of Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends, and creates something wholly wonderful. This may be my favorite book I read this year, and I have since read it aloud to kids and adults alike and we have all agreed it is therapy within gorgeous, illustrated pages.
Let me tell you the story of this book. A cookie jar breaks. The cookies are gone. And Mouse has a good reason why it happened. That reason could be an alien named Georgette needed them for a cookie fueled space ship. It could also be because the cookies wanted freedom from their jar prison and we should just be happy for them, okay? What is the real story? The world may never know, we just want it to be good. A hilarious mystery, this had me laughing uproariously.
In this day in age when everything in society is pushing us towards a binary of us versus them, Harvard sociologist Michèle Lamont urges that the solution could be coming to the table with empathy, participation, and mutual respect for those across the aisle. This isn't political, this is humanist. This is an ask of society to look critically at the lines we draw around ourselves or others and erase them. It's a simple premise, do you truly SEE everyone? Or are our biases, social settings, cultural lenses blurring the image and value we place on people? Added this to my list of "should be required reading to be a human."
Sometimes an adventurer gets injured, the quest is halted, and life comes to a standstill. No battles, no swords, no glory... well at least until you heal up and get to go back out there. This is a story of that in-between time. When your body is broken, you are forced to rest, and the beautifully unexpected side-quest you get to have. Set as a prequel to Baldree's beloved LEGENDS & LATTES, we find Viv in a scenic beach town recovering from battle and finding more than she expected. Comfort bookstore, warm pastries, sapphic joy, and a community atmosphere make this just as joyful and cozy as L&L.
This one goes out to all you rockers and rollers!! Do you have a love of classic rock? Are you raising a young metalhead? Is your closet full of band tees? Do you perhaps need a break from the tiny tyrant who refuses to sleep? Well then do I have the book for you! Bonus content at the back of the book: a whole discography featured within the book so you can rock out to AC/DC and the Rolling Stones with your favorite toddler. All of this and more coming to a naptime near you!
A perfect desert Christmas story! This little cactus brought me such joy and wonder! This would be a fun holiday story time tradition to start with little ones. You could even buy a Christmas cactus to have for the season and experience the surprise of it's bloom together!
I have never been more positive I was reading an instant-classic than when I started this book. Otilla runs away to the forest and befriends a skull who lives in the house. What transpires is Klassen's enigmatic take on a folktale that is ghostly and dark, while maintaining a humorous understory. Klassen is a master storyteller and one of the best to do it.
When Covid hits and one man loses his job and is down on his luck, a secret government organization brings him on to be the guy who lifts heavy things. What the job entails? All he knows is they deal with "large animals". What they actually do? Protect and study kaiju's on an alternate Earth only reachable through a nuclear reactor in Greenland. What follows is part Jurassic Park, part Andy Weir's The Martian. I was laughing every other paragraph, Scalzi is a genius writer of wits and this is a romp of a story. Easy, quick read that will enthrall any Sci-Fi reader!
Fans of the Tea Dragon Society, Nimona, and Girl From the Sea will LOVE Taproot! A story about love, nature, grief, and what it means to be alive, while illustrated like a jaunt through a Ghibli film or the lands of Hyrule.
Twin sisters and indie pop sensations Tegan and Sara Quin have found the sweet spot in Middle Grade graphic novels. A memoir of sorts for the sisters, the story follows their junior high experiences of friend drama, navigating sexuality, and finding music and standing together. This graphic novel also stands alone and stands tall next to the likes of Raina Telgemeier’s books and the Emmy and Friends series. The book is illustrated by Tillie Walden who brings her signature style which fits perfectly on the shelves in middle grade. This is THE graphic novel to get this year!
Here's to the Word Makers, the ground breakers, the earth shakers, the groove chasers. Jason Reynolds is the greatest voice of this generation and he took his craft with words and rhyme to pay homage to Langston Hughes, THE original Word Maker. and Maya Angelou and Amiri Baraka, the legends themselves who were inspired by him. This is a party steeped in legacy and no one other than Jason Reynolds could have brought it to life.
Avatar: The Last Airbender fans, listen up! This gorgeous story is as if Uncle Iroh is talking to you as Leaves From the Vine is playing and you're meandering through a Studio Ghibli movie as you take in the world around you and our place in it. One part generational wisdom and the power of shared stories, and another part an imploring declaration to take more care in the world around us.
Stickler loves his sticks. He also loves the busy bees, the colors of the sunset, the puffballs that grow in fields, and pretty much everything else about the world that is beautiful and special. He just cannot wait to show them all to a new friend, and to us as the reader. The illustrations and the Stickler himself lend to a world that is as if Dr. Seuss, Tim Burton and the Brother's Grimm all came together. to see the beauty around us.
An ode to the power of the cat distribution system. The fearless, finnicky, felines that find homes within our hearts, often arrive in the least expected way at the exact time we need them. Strays may be temperamental, but so are their owners. Strays may be flighty, but still want the love we have to share. They are their own tiny tigers, waiting to call out the roar within their owners. Cat owners of feisty strays, specifically orange cats, will find their emotions a bit wrecked after reading this lovely story.
This was a challenging read due to the seriousness and harsh reality of the stories told, but they are stories worth telling, and ones you cannot turn away from reading. Allende takes a sweeping view of decades connected by genocide, borders, and those in power. This was a masterclass in connecting stories and turning a light on systemic problems plaguing communities daily.
A neurotic vacuum, a sadistic nurse machine, a dad-droid, a Hysterically Angry Puppet, and a human named Vic walk out of their treehouse home.... and into the coziest and kookiest tale TJ Klune has written yet. In this story you'll find laughs on every page (also cry a bit) in a post-apocalyptic world where scraps and castoffs get a new life, and find that family can be found, even if it has strings attached.
The combination of Caldecott Winner Michaela Goade's stunning illustrations and Poet Laureate Joy Harjo's lyrical poetry, this picture book is an immediate classic that should be cherished and bought for future generations to hold. Goade’s illustrations pull from her Tlingit heritage while also highlighting the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, to which Harjo a part of. Harjo's poem REMEMBER, adapted for the book, reminds us all that we are connected to each other and the world around us and to sit and ponder where we fit into it all. Picture books are not just for kids, they are beautiful reminders of the complexities of life told in a medium available to all.
Graphic novels are having their moment right now, using their captivating medium to tell stories in a way plain text sometimes lacks. I was originally drawn to Nayra and the Djinn from one glance at the stunning cover. What kept me enthralled was a thoughtful and resilient story centered on Nayra, a Muslim teenager who doesn't feel she belongs or fits at school and her unexpected friendship with Marjan, a djinn who ran away and found a kindred soul in Nayra. From the fascinating folklore to the transformative journey towards figuring out personhood when the world would try to say who you should be, Nayra and the Djinn is a story worth reading and one more relatable than you might think.
A love letter to L.A., anime, music, marching bands, chosen family, first love, and oneself. Stories have the power to drop us into a culture and perspective outside of our own. They have the power to make us cheer for people we’ll never meet, root for change we wish was real, and witness art we’ll never hear or see. This debut by Lio Min is a novel worth picking up at all times. Lyrical, emotional, heartbreaking, and true…. how is this a debut?!? Excuse me while I go read every essay and article Min has ever written. Sunshowers Forever!
Let me ask you a question? Have you ever had an imaginary friend? This is a story written by them to you. It can also be a story for those who have grown apart from friends or for little ones who are struggling after a best friend moves away. If you're a grown-up, have tissues on hand. If you're the friend left behind, have faith that new friends will be along soon, and you'll always have memories from the fun times.
Have you met Moon? She's lovely. She lights up our nights, helps make our tides go 'round, and is just genuinely lovely to look at and interact with. I think Moon may be my favorite new picture book character. And I learned something along the way! This is the perfect classroom book but also perfect for those looking to fall in love with the moon, the constant in all our lives.
Get out your coziest blanket, find your comfiest chair, and dive into this warm and fluffy winter read! I am a sucker for interconnected stories, especially ones about love. In this followup to BLACKOUT, 6 outstanding YA authors tell the stories of multiple couples in Atlanta trying to come together to help their friends make up and get together after a terrible fight. Across a blizzard stricken city, they all find their own stories of love in the process of putting someone else's back together. It's a celebration of friendship, Black joy, young love, and winter delights. OBSESSED.
What if Pokemon were shadowy spirits with glowing eyes? They are in Lightcasters! Umbra's are powerful, mystical creatures, partners with umbra tamers, who together protect the city from forces of darkness and the evil Reaper King. Follow Mia and her brother Lucas on a harrowing journey to understand why their city and their parents are under attack, and watch as she grows her umbra taming powers that might be different than she ever thought possible. For fans of Keeper of the Lost Cities and the Unwanteds.
How can I explain what this book means to me? How do I explain that a romance novel with a pink cover made me cry almost the whole way through? How does a novel bring up the perfect feeling of the best times of my life spent with people I love? I can’t find the words to do any of it justice. Emily Henry writes love stories that aren’t just romance. It’s the love you have with your college friends; lasting. It’s the complicated love you have with your parents and the life you had growing up. And, it’s the love you have to learn to have for yourself, that sometimes, you have to show up for yourself before you can show up in the lives of those you love.
For fans of Kim Stanley Robinson, Andy Weir, and Becky Chambers: if you have not already picked up an Annalee Newitz book, this is your sign to get with the program. One of the best writers in SF at the moment, they bring a planetary beauty and strikingly smart science to build a world from the ground up. I want to call TERRAFORMERS pastoral science fiction, for how connected to the environment, community, and idea of personhood the story delved into.
Look around. See your friends standing next to you, your family walking beside you, strangers milling about... how do you know if they're a living, breathing, real person.... or if they are a whatnot? What is a whatnot? Read to find out. You'll never know for sure unless you read to find out.
A play on the coming of age, found family story, but this time with pre-teen werewolves who mysteriously don't have their change and must search for the evil plaguing their pack, causing the transformation to not occur. What really astounds me about this book is how Natalie Parker has created a diverse, queer cast of characters that all strong in their own right.