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An avid reader since the age of three, Heather proudly displays an "ENGMJR" license plate and Sparky the Sun Devil sticker on her car as some proof she graduated from Arizona State University with her B.A. in Literature. When she isn't reading or scouring used bookstores for vintage etiquette books, Heather can often be found watching hockey or baseball, or jotting in one of her many notebooks. A self-proclaimed book addict who will read just about anything (though young adult, literary fiction and memoirs are her favorites), Heather usually carries no less than two books on her person, just in case. Come find her at Changing Hands Tempe, and she will gladly chat with you about all things book related.
Addie LaRue has made a deal with the devil: one that curses her to be forgettable in the wake of her immortality. Turn away for a second, and you are bound to have her erased from your mind. 300 years after she makes her deal, however, one person does what Addie previously thought impossible: he remembers her. While Addie may be doomed to be forgotten throughout the pages of this book, V.E. Schwab has created a story that in and of itself is unforgettable. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a powerful meditation on life and its fragility, and how we never know who we might impress on, even though we may consider ourselves not enough.
Those of you that know me might know I'm a huge Jeopardy fan. Like many Americans, I grew up on the lauded quiz show and it became a nightly ritual that my family would watch and compete against each other. The figurehead of that ritual was, of course, Alex Trebek. Trebek, a notoriously private person, had been approached many times to either write a book or allow for an authorized biography - both types of requests vehemently denied. After his stage IV pancreatic cancer diagnosis, however, Trebek had a change of heart, and the result is this book. The Answer Is... is laced with humor, heart, and some unexpected revelations from the Jeopardy host. Whether you're a fan of Jeopardy or not, you'll be able to glean some life advice, and if you're like me, much needed comfort from Trebek's anecdotes.
We Are Never Meeting in Real Life was HILARIOUS. Samantha Irby is no holds barred on topics like introversion, mental health, dating, sex, and queerness, just to name a few. If you're not squeamish and don't mind a little raunch and bathroom humor with your essays, it's just the perfect kind of book if you're in your late twenties or early thirties and perhaps feeling a little unmoored. I think that's why it hit so close to home for me, and I'm definitely going to read the rest of Samantha Irby's work so that perhaps, I feel a little less alone in this crazy world.
Agnes, a member of Red Creek (based on a real life cult), has grown up knowing nothing but the teachings of a man claiming to be a prophet. Extremely sheltered, Agnes' only contact with the outside world is obtaining medicine for her diabetic brother, Ezekiel once a month. Agnes' faith is soon put to the test, however, as she realizes that the so-called prophet has been hiding a global pandemic from his people - a pandemic that now threatens the people of Red Creek. Will Agnes resign to her Red Creek faith, or will she find the strength to escape? Compelling and beautifully written, Agnes at the End of the World is one of those books you'll find yourself unable to put down.
Something about Late to the Party really struck a chord with me. I remember getting to the latter part of high school and feeling lost and confused - like I hadn't done anything worth mentioning. Unlike Codi, however, I didn't do much to change it. What I loved about Codi's character was that she didn't just flip a switch and decide to change. Her evolution starts with one chance encounter, sure, but it still felt natural and more like one coming out of their shell, rather than this drastic 180 spin move that leaves everyone confused and asking "who is that person and what body snatcher got them?" Codi's story is timeless, and Late to the Party is for anyone who's ever felt alone, questioned who they were, or doubted where they were in life.
If you need a little brightness in this chaotic time, read You Should See Me in a Crown. A brilliant #ownvoices novel featuring a Black queer MC, You Should See Me in a Crown has touches of all the fun teen romantic comedies of the 90s and 00s (with much less of the problematic content). It made my own queer heart all warm and fuzzy and I can absolutely not recommend it enough.
Lyssa Kay Adams has done it again! Continuing her genius Bromance Book Club Series, Adams has delivered with my personal favorite installment to date (seriously, I laughed until I cried more than once). The shenanigans continue as Noah, a computer genius, and Alexis, owner of ToeBeans cat cafe come to realize there may be something more to their friendship. Can the Bromance Book Club help their newest inductee woo the girl of his dreams? Or will Alexis' cat Beefcake have something to say (or rather, meow) about it? Find out for yourself!
Stamped is such an important book. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE should read it. It doesn't matter if you're young or old, black or white--you need to read this book. Reynolds takes care in his adaption of Ibram X. Kendi's history of racism and his remix is sure to make you think and reassess your own ideas on racism and the inherent biases you may hold. Buy a copy for yourself, your kids, your students, your friends, your family, and anyone else you can think of - you'll be glad you did.
Cal, ever the planner, didn't expect his life to end up this way - he was going to stay in Brooklyn, go to college, and room with his best friend Deb in a crappy apartment while continuing to pursue a career as a journalist. Instead, he's dragged against his will to Houston, Texas when his father just happens to be chosen from thousands of applicants to be a part of the latest space mission to Mars. Once in Houston, Cal in his family are put under the microscope as the latest reality show documenting the mission to Mars follows him and the other astronaut families around. Along the way, Cal meets Leon, his polar opposite, and falls hard. Perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli, this modern queer romance gave me a serious case of the heart eyes. If you're looking for a book that's sure to send your own heart into space, look no further.
What happens when you find out you have a sister you never knew about over a thousand miles away? Camino and Yahaira Rios are both about to find out. When their father perishes in a plane crash carrying him from New York City to the Dominican Republic, both girls soon discover each other's existence, kept a secret from them by their shared father. What follows is a story of love, loss, grief, and everything in between. Elizabeth Acevedo continues to wow with her words, never once letting up on the emotional gas pedal, and Clap When You Land is sure to stick with you well beyond the last page.
Creekwood's most infamous group of teens is back in Leah on the Offbeat. Picking up where Simon vs. left off, Leah Burke and her friends are just trying to survive senior year. Crushes, colleges, and cliques all test the limits of the tight knit group, causing it to fracture in unexpected ways. What happens, however, when those fractures fuse together again in a way Leah never thought possible? Becky Albertalli manages to once again capture the struggles many high schoolers face day in and day out in a ways we can all relate to. Add in the fact that Leah is a wonderfully unapologetic fat girl, and you have the perfect novel that I wish I could have had as a teen.
Furious Hours reads just like a true crime podcast sounds. Casey Cep tells the stories of two people, that not for the heinous crimes of one of them, would probably never be entwined together. Harper Lee, one of the most well known recluses in American literature, comes alive again through Cep's masterful storytelling as Lee follows the trial of the man who killed Reverend Willie Maxwell, a Deep South preacher accused of murdering several family members. Whether you're a literature nerd, a history buff, or a true crime aficionado, you're sure to find something to love in Furious Hours.
In Chase Darkness with Me, Billy Jensen, an investigative journalist and podcast host shares his story and how he came to be involved in the world of true crime. Jensen delves deep into his personal life without being overtly self-indulgent, sharing stories of his relationship with his father and his friendship with Michelle McNamara (Jensen was one of the people that helped finish her book, I'll Be Gone in the Dark after her untimely passing), and of course, the cases that stick with him to this day. Whether you fancy yourself a true crime enthusiast, or just like to dabble in the genre, Chase Darkness With Me is sure to spark your interest.
If you're looking for your next favorite romance novel, look no further than Meet Cute. Admittedly, romance is not my favorite of the genres, and this one still managed to charm my metaphorical socks off. I didn't feel like the main characters fell in love in a day (one of my least favorite tropes) or that the characters were too perfect or stilted. They had real flaws and dealt with real issues (what those are, I'll leave up to you to discover)--plus "cute" is built right into the title--you can't lose!
American Predator is one of those books that will keep you up all night, either in horror, shock, curiosity, or all of the above. It's the story of Israel Keyes, a serial killer operating as recently as 2012. I like to think I have my thumb pretty well set on the vein of true crime, but I hadn't heard of Keyes until I happened upon a podcast about his story. He largely managed to fly under the radar until being linked to a killing in Alaska and subsequently being caught in Texas. I found myself sucked in by Callahan's writing, staying up late into the night to read about Keyes' misdoings. American Predator is a book that's sure to chill you to the bone, and perhaps will leave you wondering just how many other Israel Keyes we have in our midst.
Even if you don't remember or weren't alive during the terrorist attacks of 9/11, you probably can recall seeing iconic photos that surrounded the attacks. But what would you do if you were the subject of one of those iconic photos and your whole life had been shaped before you were even old enough to talk? Abby Hope Goldstein, otherwise known as Baby Hope, was photographed on her first birthday being saved from the burning World Trade Center. Ever since that day, she has been associated with the disaster, despite her best efforts to remain anonymous. While the picture this book focuses on doesn't really exist, Hope and Other Punchlines is a gorgeous study on life and loss, celebration and grief, and joy and sorrow.
Boy meets boy. Boy hates boy. Boy knocks over $75,000 wedding cake at a royal wedding and is forced to pretend to be friends with the boy he hates as penance. But what happens when boy maybe realizes he doesn't hate the boy as much as he originally thought he did? And what happens when one boy is the son of the first woman president of the United States and the other is an heir to the throne of England? Well, you get Red, White and Royal Blue. This book is a delightful, refreshing twist on the enemies to friends to lovers story. Heartwarming at times and sexy at others, Red, White, and Royal Blue is easily the best romance novel I've ever read--I can't wait to see what Casey McQuiston does next!
Written like an oral history of a fictional Fleetwood Mac-esque band, Daisy Jones & The Six is absolutely brilliant. I am a bonafide child of the nineties, and reading Daisy Jones was like being thrown in a time machine and being dropped smack in the middle of the seventies. Reid manages to give each of her characters that tell the oral history a distinct voice, and while these voices could very easily blend together, each one brings a unique perspective to the rise and subsequent fall of the band. Each page made me feel like I could have been sitting at one of the recording sessions or watching one of the concerts from backstage. This is easily Reid's best novel to date, and I implore you to put it on your to-be-read list.
Strictly based on the title, this isn't a book I'd normally pick up. Why would I care about a fictional Hollywood bombshell and her seven marriages? However, word about this book made its way through a few book groups that I follow on Facebook, and I picked it up reluctantly. Once I started reading, I realized I absolutely should not have judged this book whatsoever. The story is so much deeper and richer than the title may initially indicate. Each husband is indeed detailed, of course, but none of them are necessarily the true love story of this book. I won't go too much further into detail as not to spoil the plot for you, but don't make the same mistake I did. Pick up this book immediately; you won't regret it.
A coworker left Just Peachy for me, and I am SO glad she did. It's not often I can find myself laughing at the topics of anxiety and depression, but somehow, Holly Chisholm manages to make them funny. It's not to say that she undermines the feelings that come with said anxiety and depression, but makes them relatable in a way that makes one laugh. If you're a fan of Sarah Andersen or Allie Brosh, or are just looking for a book to lighten your mood, check out Just Peachy!
There's hardly words to do With the Fire on High justice. Calling this book gorgeous just doesn't seem enough, and Emoni is such a strong and well-crafted voice, I thought she might jump out of the pages and come alive right front of me. Acevedo has masterfully weaved a story of an aspiring chef and the power that food has to not only bring people together, but its power to heal old wounds as well. I cannot recommend this book enough!
Matilda was one of my favorite movies growing up (and still is to this day, if we're being honest), so naturally, when I heard Mara Wilson was writing a book, I knew I had to read it. Where Am I Now doesn't disappoint and is far from your average Hollywood memoir. Tackling subjects from her time on various television and movie sets, to the death of her on-screen dad Robin Williams, to her diagnoses and life with OCD and depression, Wilson's writing is honest, sharp, and surprisingly relatable. I sincerely hope that we see more writing from Mara Wilson, and soon!
I'm admittedly not an avid reader of Stephen King. Prior to finishing this book, the only thing I'd read was one short story of his (Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, anyone?). After reading The Gunslinger, however, I'm perhaps a little more sold on reading more of Mr. King's work, especially the rest of The Dark Tower series. I do have to put a bit of a disclaimer on this review: the first two-thirds of this book dragged on a bit for me at times, but once I got to the last third, however, I could not put this book down--and in hindsight, appreciated the world building and backstory that was set up in the prior part of the book. In the case of The Gunslinger, the end absolutely justifies the means.
When I first stumbled across The Last Message Received tumblr, I spent hours reading through them, unable to stop myself. I still continue read the blog almost daily, and have even made a submission or two of my own. To me, there's something innately fascinating about these last messages. This book compiles messages from the blog, including those from loved ones that suddenly passed on, to exes that left, to friendships that ended out of nowhere. While many are heart-wrenching in their own right, this book is also comforting in a way. At least one (if not more) of these beautifully illustrated messages is sure to resonate with you.
As an adult who has been reading Harry Potter since I was in grade school, I am admittedly always hungry for more of the Potterverse. When I heard the next story was to be in the form of a script, I was hesitant--would I still enjoy the story? Would there be enough substance to feel like I wasn't cheated out of an 8th novel? All my fears were quelled instantaneously once I started reading The Cursed Child. The characters, both old and new, are wonderfully written, and the story is just magical (pun absolutely intended) as the seven preceding novels. Tried as I might to savor The Cursed Child, I devoured it in an afternoon, and recommend it to all those who have ever enjoyed a Harry Potter book. It's a perfect conclusion to a beloved series.
When I read the first few lines of the back of this book, I was already sold. These comics are for the twenty-something introverts still trying to figure the world out. With situations ranging from spending habits to seeing that dreaded photo a friend tagged you in on social media, Andersen manages to capture the seemingly mundane happenings in life and make them hilarious. Perfect for fans of Allie Brosh's Hyperbole and a Half, Adulthood is a Myth is a must read!
Have you made your way through the saga that is The Walking Dead and are now looking for something else to satiate your graphic novel need? Or perhaps zombies aren't your thing, but you're still wanting a Robert Kirkman penned story? Look no further than Outcast. Through his main character, Kyle Barnes, Kirkman explores what its like to wrestle with your demons, both literally and figuratively. This graphic novel is sure to grab you right from the get-go with its compelling story line and simple, yet striking illustrations from Paul Azaceta. Just be sure to have your holy water handy while you read.
This is a case where I absolutely judged a book by its cover. I spotted it sitting on our front table and was immediately intrigued. Rest stops may not sound all that interesting, but believe me when I say that this book is fascinating. Inspired by a road trip of her own, Ryann Ford catalogues unique rest stops from California to Louisiana (there’s even a few photographs of rest stops here in Arizona) with a keen eye for detail. Perfect for travel and photography buffs alike, The Last Stop is just glorious.
Want to get your kiddo into the world of Hamilton without exposing them to the adult language of the Broadway cast recording? Look no further than Aaron and Alexander. This book gives a history of both the men’s lives and the incident that lead to the now famous duel, as well as the aftermath of said duel. Perfect for an elementary school history lesson or just for an entertaining and historical read, Aaron and Alexander is already one of my favorite books this year!
If you were to ask me, there are not many more satisfying sounds than the smack of a 90-plus mile per hour fastball against the leather of a catcher's glove. But at what price does that fastball come to a pitcher? In The Arm, Yahoo baseball writer Jeff Passan takes a comprehensive look at one of the most baffling epidemics in all of sports: the Tommy John surgery. Following two pitchers (one of whom is Diamondbacks player Daniel Hudson) in their return to the major leagues from the grueling surgery and subsequent rehabilitation period, The Arm serves as a wake-up call to all ages and ballplayers, young and old, amateur and professional. This is easily one of the best and well-researched sports books I've ever read, and I implore anyone that calls themselves a baseball fan to read it.
Warning: this book is likely to devastate you. Don't write it off so quickly, however. As heartbreaking as this book is, A Little Life is also a book that is not likely to leave your thoughts while you're reading it or after long after you've finished. Hanya Yanagihara has crafted her characters in a masterful--yet flawed--manner. Her prose alone will keep you hooked through all 800+ pages and you are sure to be kept on your toes as you progress through the lives of four friends who met in college. A Little Life explores what it is to be human, and although treacherous, is well worth the read.
I'll be honest with you, I'm a sucker for anything with a dog on the cover. When I opened this picture book, however, I was immediately blown away by the mixed media inside. Combining photographs, pencil drawings, and paintings, Stead illustrates a day in which he takes his dog Wednesday for a walk because he has no ideas to write about. Perfect for kindergarten through second grade, Ideas Are All Around is sure to capture your imagination!
From the very first lines of this book, I knew Harold the fox would be an instant favorite of mine. I mean, really, how could you not love a fox whose greatest love is Swiss cheese? With whimsical artwork and the most adorable detective fox that you'll ever meet, Outfoxed is a wonderfully engaging story that makes a perfect addition to any picture book library.
This is a book everyone who calls themselves an introvert should read. Seriously. Rhimes, a member of the introvert clan, gets you. Before her "year of yes," she avoided social events at all costs, got panic attacks at the prospect of doing public speaking, and if she did commit to any event, would often try to get out of it. If you've ever experienced any of these things, Year of Yes is sure to resound with you. It's a stretch to call this a self-help book, especially when it reads like a letter from your best friend. Give Year of Yes a try; you might be surprised at what it inspires you to do.
This book. This. Freaking. Book. As soon as I finished it, I took it to another coworker, shook it in her general vicinity and proclaimed to her just how good it was. Whaley is an exceptional storyteller, weaving together two different perspectives into one seamless plot. While this is the story of a boy with agoraphobia and panic disorder, Whaley does not use these character traits as crutches to further his plot--rather, this is a story about friendship and trust in the face of adversity. Read it, and you will absolutely not be disappointed.
Warning: this is a book that you are not going to be able to put down. Michael Punke's vivid descriptions of the 19th century wilderness are likely to make you shiver as you follow fur trapper Hugh Glass on his quest to exact revenge on those who robbed him and left him for dead following a bear attack. Based on real life occurrences, The Revenant is sure to please anyone who is looking for an good, old-fashioned adventure coupled with some wonderfully brilliant prose.
I took Descent for some entertainment on a plane ride, and almost couldn't get off the plane because I could not put this book down! A well crafted mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat, Descent's pages flew almost as fast as my plane was. What fascinated me most--and kept me reading--was how Johnston artfully weaves multiple perspectives together within his story and delves into the ripple effect caused in a family when a loved one suddenly goes missing. Whether you read this during travel or curled up at home, Descent is a book that will not disappoint!
What a fascinating collection of poetry! Through her poems, Amber Tamblyn explores the lives of actresses whose lives were cut short by tragic occurrences. Featuring women such as Brittany Murphy, Marilyn Monroe, and Jean Harlow, the poems in Dark Sparkler will catch your attention and likely have you researching the names you may have forgotten or don't know at all. I spent hours reading about virtually every actress featured in this book long after I had finished it. If nothing else, Dark Sparkler is sure to pique your curiosity. Regardless of whether you are a fan of poetry or not, I highly, highly recommend this book!
I'll refrain from any Fight Club cliches and just tell you that you are going to love this audiobook--Expedition is a prequel to the famed novel. The packaging features artwork from Cameron Stewart (he worked on the Fight Club 2 comic books). Even better, the audio for this particular title is read by Chuck Palahniuk himself--if you've ever heard Palahniuk speak in any regard, then you know that the man knows how to tell a story (and even if you haven't heard his storytelling before, you're in for a treat)! Don't just take my word for it though--check out Expedition for yourself.
Before I picked up this book, I was REALLY struggling with the basics of crochet (I blame my knitter's mind). I had watched multiple videos and consulted several different books, but for the life of me, I just couldn't get the hang of it. This was the guide that helped break through the cloudiness of getting my crochet projects started. With helpful pictures and step by step guidelines, The Crochet Workshop is a perfect guide for beginners, or makes a handy reference book for experienced crocheters as well. Beginners and experts alike will also have fun with the included patterns--I can't wait to try the striped bolster pillow!
Travis Barker is someone I grew up with. Blink-182 was one of the bands that fueled my musical obsessions in high school and beyond. When I heard that the drummer from one of said musical obsessions had written a memoir, I was intrigued. Can I Say did not disappoint. Barker chronicles everything in his life from his humble childhood in California to his two marriages to that infamous plane crash. A fascinating look at a musician's life, Can I Say will keep you hooked until the end.
The hilarious and adorable Liz Climo is at it again! Her latest collection of heartwarming and whimsically drawn comics showcases best friends of all shapes, sizes, and species. All of them are sure to make you laugh just as much as her previous collection, The Little World of Liz Climo (which if you haven't checked out yet, I highly recommend!). Lobster is the Best Medicine is the perfect gift to give to your best friend to let them know just how much you love them.
Mosquitoland is a book I had been meaning to read for some time, and now that I have read it, I wished I had done so sooner! Once I had finished it, I immediately wanted to read it again. David Arnold has created one of my favorite female protagonists in existence--Mim is snarky and blunt, with an air of honesty and fearlessness about her that will make you wish she was your best friend. You won't regret joining Mim on her on her journey from Mississippi to Ohio!
When it comes to pictures of abandoned buildings: the creepier, the better, if you ask me. This book is by far one of the creepiest. From insane asylums to old malls (my favorite kind of abandoned building), Antiquity Echoes has some of the most haunting pictures I've seen in a long time. These photos make you feel like you could be standing right along side the photographers as they traverse along and through the landscape of abandoned America. Descriptions of the abandoned areas flank the photographs, giving a general history of the sites photographed and how they came to be abandoned, making this book exceptionally well rounded and worth more than just a casual flip through.
I first fell in love with the Harry Potter series when I was nine years old and have been in love ever since. Now, many years later, this new and beautiful illustrated edition has elicited the same kind of love I first felt when my dad read the original version to me. Jim Kay's illustrations highlight J.K. Rowling's text and bring it to life in a way that is sure to excite any Harry Potter fan, whether they're reading The Sorcerer's Stone for the first or the five-hundredth time.
I flew through The Great American Whatever in a single sitting, as it was one of those books that was so well executed, I didn't want to put it down. Tim Federle is an author that knows his characters well. I was immediately engaged and wanted to know more about them. On top of his wonderfully crafted characters, Federle's dialogue is as authentic and realistic as it gets. For fans of Perks of Being a Wallflower and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, The Great American Whatever is sure to strike a chord with anyone who reads it.