Friday, May 28, 2021

Sixteen Scandals

Sixteen Scandals
By Sophie Jordan
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2021. 235 pages. Young Adult Romance

The youngest of four daughters, Primrose Ainsworth is used to getting lost in the shuffle. But when her parents decide to delay her debut into English society, Prim hatches a plan to go rogue on the night of her sixteenth birthday. Donning a mask, Prim escapes to the infamous Vauxhall Gardens for one wild night. When her cover is nearly blown, a mysterious stranger intercedes, and Prim finds an unexpected partner in mischief…and romance. But when it's revealed her new ally isn't who he says he is, her one night of fun may last past dawn.

If you like Sixteen Scandals, you may also like:

Of Curses and Kisses
By Sandhya Menon
Simon Pulse, 2020. 361 pages. Young Adult Romance

East Indian Princess Jaya Roa and Grey Emerson, an English lord, are part of a centuries-old feud between their two families. When they meet at an elite boarding school, Jaya plans to exact her revenge by making Grey fall in love with her and breaking his heart. But, not everything goes to plan. Can Jaya and Grey find their fairy-tale ending or will they be torn apart by family loyalty?

Verona Comics
By Jennifer Dugan
Putman's Sons, 2020. 327 pages. Young Adult Romance

Jubilee has it all together. She's an elite cellist, and when she's not working in her stepmom's indie comic shop, she's prepping for the biggest audition of her life. Ridley is barely holding it together. He's the black sheep of his family who can never do anything right. His parents own the biggest comic store chain in the country, and Ridley can't stop disappointing them. They meet one fateful night at a comic con prom, and they can't help falling for each other. Too bad their parents are at each other's throats every chance they get. As Ridley's anxiety worsens, Jubilee tries to help him cope on his own. But what if love can't conquer all?


Sapiens: A Graphic History

Sapiens: A Graphic History. The Birth of Humankind. Volume One
By Yuval N. Harari
Harper Perennial, 2020. 245 pages. Graphic Novel. 

One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited the Earth. Yet today there is only one: homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us? In this first volume of the full-color illustrated adaptation of his groundbreaking book, renowned historian Yuval Harari tells the story of humankind's creation and evolution, exploring the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be "human." 

If you liked Sapiens: A Graphic History, you may also like: 

By Chris Stringer
Henry Hold and Company, 2012. 320 pages. Nonfiction. 

Outlines a reassessment of human evolution that draws on recent fossil findings. Challenges current theories to say that humans coexisted and competed across the African continent while exchanging genes, tools, and behaviors. 

By Michael Keller
Rodale, 2009. 192 pages. Graphic Novel. 

A stunning graphic adaptation of one of the most famous, contested, and important books of all time: "On the Origin of Species." Includes sections about Darwin's pioneering research, the book's initial public reception, his correspondence with other leading scientists, as well as the most recent breakthroughs in evolutionary theory. 

By Steven M. Nadler
Princeton University Press, 2017. 180 pages. Graphic Novel. 

A graphic narrative that charts the birth of modern thought during the 17th century, a time where thinkers challenged authority to lay the foundations of modern philosophy and science and help usher in a new world. Tells the story of these early philosophers' ideas, lives, and times. 


Love Your Life

Love Your Life
By Sophie Kinsella
The Dial Press, 2020. 432 pages. Romance

While visiting an anonymous writers' retreat in Italy where names and personal information can't be shared, Ava shares an idyllic love affair with a fellow romantic before they return to London.  Back on their home turf, they share their true identities and learn how different their lives are.  They must decide if opposites not only attract but if they can make a life together.



If you like Love Your Life, you might also like:

The Garden of Small Beginnings
By Abbi Waxman
Berkley, 2017. 368 pages. Fiction

Lilian Girvan has been reeling ever since her husband died in a car accident three years ago.  Now raising her two daughters herself, aided and cheered on by her sister Rachel, Lilian makes ends meet working as an illustrator of textbooks.  When her company takes on a commission to do all of the illustrations for a new gardening book, Lilian's boss signs her up for a vegetable gardening class to become more familiar with flora and fauna.  Spending her Saturdays tilling and planting isn't exactly Lilian's idea of fun, but when she meets the patient instructor and quirky fellow students in her class, she can't help it when they start to worm their way into her heart.

By Rainbow Rowell
Dutton, 2011. 323 pgs. Fiction

Lincoln O'Neill took a job at as an "internet security officer" at a newspaper, but he didn't realize that he would basically be reading other people's email.  He imagined building firewalls and installing security software, not checking for gamblers and inappropriate workplace language.  When Lincoln comes across Beth and Jennifer's emails, he knows their conversation is just a harmless (but hilarious) discussion of their personal lives.  But he can't help being drawn in by their stories.  By the time he realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.



Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Come, Sweet Day

by Julianne Donaldson
Ensign Peak, 2021. 89 pgs. Poetry

Julianne Donaldson is best know for writing the romance novel Edenbrooke. In this short collection of poems and essays, she shares her thoughts and feelings from an unsettled time of despair and suffering in her own life, so that women can know they are not alone and that there is hope even in the hard times.

If you like Come, Sweet Day, you might also like: 

Deseret Book, 2014. 56 pgs. Nonfiction

Emily Freeman starts her book by talking about how people usually only talk about after they have made it through a trial. We tend to focus on the end, when an answer has been given, or the illness goes away. Very rarely does anyone offer help or advice while we are still stuck in the middle. When we are still struggling and it doesn't seem like there is ever going to be an end. She uses her personal experiences and scriptures to share six lessons that can help us make it through the middle moments in our lives.

By Brené Brown
Spiegel & Grau, 2015. 301 pgs. Nonfiction

The author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection tells us what it takes to get back up, and how owning our stories of disappointment, failure, and heartbreak gives us the power to write a daring new ending. Struggle, Brene Brown writes, can be our greatest call to courage, and rising strong our clearest path to a wholehearted life.


Wednesday, May 5, 2021

The Bear

The Bear

by Andrew Krivak 2020, Bellvue Literary Press. 221 pages. Science Fiction 

In an Edenic future, a girl and her father live close to the land in the shadow of a lone mountain. They possess a few remnants of civilization: some books, a pane of glass, a set of flint and steel, a comb. The father teaches the girl how to fish and hunt, the secrets of the seasons and the stars. He is preparing her for an adulthood in harmony with nature, for they are the last two left. But when the girl suddenly finds herself alone in an unknown landscape, it is a bear that will lead her back home through a vast wilderness, which offers the greatest lessons of all, if she can only learn to listen. A cautionary tale of human fragility, of love and loss, The Bear is a stunning tribute to the beauty of nature's dominion. 

If you like The Bear, you might also like: 

by Michael Crummey. Doubleday, 2019. 290 pages. General Fiction
A brother and sister are orphaned in an isolated cove on Newfoundland's northern coastline. Their home is a stretch of rocky shore governed by the feral ocean, by a relentless pendulum of abundance and murderous scarcity. Still children with only the barest notion of the outside world, they have nothing but the family's boat and the little knowledge passed on haphazardly by their mother and father to keep them. 

by Michael Christie, Hogarth, 2019. 504 pages. General Fiction

It's 2038 and Jake Greenwood is a storyteller and a liar, an overqualified tour guide babysitting ultra-rich vacationers in one of the world's last remaining forests. It's 2008 and Liam Greenwood is a carpenter, fallen from a ladder and sprawled on his broken back, calling out from the concrete floor of an empty mansion. It's 1974 and Willow Greenwood is out of jail, free after being locked up for one of her endless series of environmental protests: attempts at atonement for the sins of her father's once vast and violent timber empire. It's 1934 and Everett Greenwood is alone, as usual, in his maple syrup camp squat when he hears the cries of an abandoned infant and gets tangled up in the web of a crime that will cling to his family for decades. And throughout, there are trees: thrumming a steady, silent pulse beneath Christie's effortless sentences and working as a guiding metaphor for withering, weathering, and survival. A shining, intricate clockwork of a novel, Greenwood is a rain-soaked and sun-dappled story of the bonds and breaking points of money and love, wood and blood--and the hopeful, impossible task of growing toward the light.


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Always Human

Always Human 
by Ari North Yellow Jacket, 2020. 150 pages. Young Adult Graphic Novel 

In the near-future, people use technology to give the illusion of all kinds of body modifications-but some people have "Egan's Syndrome," a highly sensitive immune system that rejects these "mods" and are unable to use them. Those who are affected maintain a "natural" appearance, reliant on cosmetics and hair dye at most to help them play with their looks. Sunati is attracted to Austen the first time she sees her and is drawn to what she assumes is Austen's bravery and confidence to live life unmodded. When Sunati learns the truth, she's still attracted to Austen and asks her on a date. Gradually, their relationship unfolds as they deal with friends, family, and the emotional conflicts that come with every romance. Together, they will learn and grow in a story that reminds us no matter how technology evolves, we will remain . . . always human. 

If you like Always Human, you might also like: 

My Riot 
by Rick Spears Oni Press, 2020. 179 pages. Young Adult Graphic Novel
Set in the early '90s, My Riot is about a trio of teen girls who team up to form a rock band and shake off society's expectations of what it means to be a young woman coming of age in the modern world. Both 

Austen and Val learn to live their lives by their own values and ideas. Val discovers that there is a world outside of ballet and her oppressively conservative family. Austen lives without mods and learns that there is value for and in her in a mod-ern world. 

Carry On 
by Rainbow Rowell St. Martin’s Griffin, 2015. 522 pages. Young Adult Fiction 

Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who's ever been chosen. He just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him -- not his girlfriend, not his best friend, not his mentor, and not his roommate. Plus, there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. 

 Always Human is a story about two people finding one another, almost by accident, and really learning to care for one another. There is a similar storyline in Carry On. Simon and Baz are drawn to one another because they are so different, and that difference end up being the basis for their friendship and their relationship. Both are very sweet LGBTQIA+ stories.

Cosmic Queries

Cosmic Queries: StarTalk's Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We're Going
By Neil deGrasse Tyson
National Geographic, 2021. 309 pages. Science

Tyson and coauthor James Trefil, a renowned physicist and science popularizer, take on the big questions that humanity has been posing for millennia—How did life begin? What is our place in the universe? Are we alone?—and provide answers based on the most current data, observations, and theories. Populated with paradigm-shifting discoveries that help explain the building blocks of astrophysics, this relatable and entertaining book will engage and inspire listeners of all ages.

If you like Cosmic Queries, you might also like:

Fundamentals: Ten Keys to Reality
by Frank Wilczek
Penguin Press, 2021. 254 pages. Science

Nobel Prize winner Frank Wilczek's Fundamentals is built around a simple but profound idea: the models of the world we construct as children are practical and adequate for everyday life, but they do not bring in the surprising and mind-expanding revelations of modern science. To do that, we must look at the world anew, combining clear thinking with an openness to wonder. This "born again" world is in many ways larger, fuller, and much stranger than it appears.

by Emily Levesque
Sourcebooks, 2020. 313 pages. Science

Award-winning astronomer Emily Levesque shares the stories of modern-day stargazers, the people willing to adventure across high mountaintops and to some of the most remote corners of the planet, all in the name of science. From the lonely quiet of midnight stargazing to tall tales of wild bears loose in the observatory, The Last Stargazers is a love letter to astronomy and an affirmation of the crucial role that humans can and must play in the future of scientific discovery.


Monday, May 3, 2021


by Darcie Little Badger
Levine Querido, 2020. 360 pages. YA Fantasy/Mystery

In this award-winning contemporary fantasy/mystery, 17-year-old Elatsoe (Ellie) comes from a long line of Lipan Apache women who have a special affinity with the dead. Mostly, Ellie has used this power to train her ghost dog, Kirby, to play fetch and to warn her when he senses danger. When Ellie’s cousin, Trevor, dies suddenly in highly suspicious circumstances, he comes to Ellie in a dream and demands that she find his murderer and help protect his family. With the help of her best friend Jay, Ellie slowly uncovers a dark magical secret that could put the lives of the people she loves at risk.

If you like Elatsoe, you might also like:

by Holly Jackson
Delacorte Press, 2020, 390 pages, YA Mystery

Five years after a horrible murder happened in her hometown, Pip decides to reexamine the case as part of her senior project. The more Pip looks into the case, the more obvious it becomes that the supposed murderer is innocent, and many others in town appear to be more likely suspects. The audiobook for this book is especially worth listening to.

Although Elatsoe weaves supernatural elements into its mystery, both books follow clever teenagers as they solve a mystery with ever-increasing stakes.

by Gavriel Savit
Alfred A. Knopf, 2020, 360 pages, YA Fantasy

When the Angel of Death passes through the Eastern European town of Tupik, teens Yehuda Leib and Bluma accidentally follow him into the Far Country, the Jewish Land of the Dead. Yehuda Leib and Bluma must cross the Far Country, make pacts with ancient demons, and declare war on Death himself in hopes of getting out of the Far Country alive. The audiobook for this book is also a great listen.

Yehuda Leib, Bluma, and Ellie all share a sort of affinity with the dead that lies at the center of both of their stories. Both stories also incorporate elements of folklore and magical traditions of diverse cultures.


Saturday, May 1, 2021

Georgana's Secret

Georgana’s Secret
by Arlem Hawks
Shadow Mountain, 2021. 316 pages. Romance 

As a young girl, Georgana Woodall dreamed of beautiful dresses, fancy balls, and falling in love, but when her mother dies, she cannot face a future under the guardianship of her abusive grandmother and instead chooses to join her father on his ship disguised as his cabin boy, "George.” Lieutenant Dominic Peyton is new to the crew and strives to be an exemplary officer and leader. He decides to take the shy captain’s cabin boy under his wing only to start discovering that George is really a woman. Not wanting to put her in danger from the rest of the crew he keeps her secret as well as his growing affection for her. But life in the Navy is not easy. As both of them struggle with their feelings for one another they also have to survive battles with the enemy and rising tension among the crew. 

If you like Georgana’s Secret, you might also like: 

by Jennifer Moore

With the arrival of Captain Sir William Drake, widow and heiress Amelia Beckett's plans quickly go awry for Drake is out to prove that Amelia's marriage to his brother was a fraud. Left with no choice, Amelia joins the captain on his return voyage from Jamaica to England, and the two quickly find that ship life does not allow for evasion. Amelia and William are ceaselessly thrown together, and amidst fierce storms and ocean battles, what began as antipathy seems to be evolving quite unexpectedly. 

by Donna Hatch 

Although she longs for adventure Elise strives to be a perfect English Lady for the sake of her son. She doesn’t plan on falling in love with the impulsive and scandalous Jared Amesbury. A gentleman by day, a pirate by night, Jared must complete one last assignment for the Secret Service before he can be truly free. Elise gives him hope that he, too, can find love and belonging. His hopes are crushed when his best laid plans go awry and Elise is dragged into his world of violence and deceit. She may not survive the revelation of Jared's past...or still love him when the truth is revealed. 

by Julie Wright

Taking a one-way trip aboard the Fishing Fleet to India after a third failed London season, outcast Caroline bonds with unconventional ship Captain Thomas Scott during the voyage. Captain Scott is captivated by her fiery spirit and becomes an unlikely ally. An undeniable attraction blossoms but a relationship between them is impossible unless Caroline decides to be brave enough to love the sea captain rather than marry a man she has never met before.