April Staff Picks to Warm You Up this Spring!

"Books are a uniquely portable magic." - Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

 

Books: 
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Red Sparrow (Red Sparrow Trilogy #1) Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781501168918
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Pocket Books - February 20th, 2018

This is the first of a trilogy, the next being Palace of Treason.  Dominka Egerov is a Russian national treasure who can intuit, without others’ knowledge, their essences, ie: honesty, goodness,  evil; she is a synesthete. This tale of a beautiful Russian girl groomed by her father to be compliant, and her mother to resist, finds her own way to understand what life, and Russia, can offer her.  Her uncle is a manipulative, power-seeking high ranking officer in the Russian SVR, who has no compunction in throwing her to the various wolves. Dominika’s life is a double-edged sword; her mission is to engage with a CIA agent, Nate Nash, and HIS mission is to recruit her.  This story kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. This is Jason Matthews’ first novel.

  • Recommended by Katie D.


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Winter Sisters Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780399564253
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking - February 27th, 2018

Frankly, I’m not much one for “historical fiction”, and was happily surprised to find this tale of two sisters and their extended family (the Sutters, whom you may already know) very engaging.  The story is set in Albany, New York, in the late 19th century; where lumber was a premiere commodity.

In 1879, there was a blizzard of epic proportions, and the sisters’ parents were engulfed and didn’t survive.  The sisters, ages 10 and seven, disappeared. Dr. Mary Stipp (nee Sutter) and her husband and her niece bonded and banded together to find the two young girls; albeit without the support of the community. When the Hudson River finally breaks up after the snow, and massive flooding ensues, more secrets come out than were even suspected .  Tension, plot twists, mystery and redemption all find their way into this book.

  • Recommended by Katie D.


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Tangerine: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062686664
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - March 27th, 2018

Alice Shipley and Lucy Mason seemed to have known one another forever; they were roommates during college, during the 50’s; one can’t think of living without the other.  This is true until Alice, from a well-to-do family, finds a young man with whom she is smitten. Tiny things start happening that Alice is unsure of (she’s never very sure of herself) that makes Lucy seem emotionally further away. When Alice and her beau are in a car accident and the young man is killed, Alice is sure, SOMEhow, that Lucy is involved, though she is dissuaded from this notion by her aunt, who has raised her.  Some years hence, Alice has moved to Morocco with her husband. Alice has never been comfortable in her own skin, but here she is even more out of her element; and then Lucy arrives; no word of the past, no word on how she found Alice, just her love for Alice becomes more and more evident. As Alice descends both closer and further from reality, Lucy’s love becomes more and more twisted. This is Christine Mangan’s debut novel.

  • Recommended by Katie D.


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All Things Bright and Strange Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780718090289
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Thomas Nelson - January 30th, 2018

Bellhaven, South Carolina is an unusually tolerant town in a time when racial and religious tensions are high in America. Despite the tragedy that has devastated the place, the townsfolk are close and look out for one another. And everyone knows the most important rule: Do not go into the Bellhaven woods.

 

Ellsworth Newberry is an elderly widow, ravaged physically and mentally by his time spent at war, trying to piece the rest of his life together. When news arises of a mysterious chapel in the woods that is supposedly healing people, and allowing them to talk to loved ones who have passed on, Ellsworth is initially just as excited as the next man - but him and his crew quickly realize that even the most beautiful of things are not always what they seem. As the people of Bellhaven being to turn on each other, Ellsworth must find the root of this supernatural evil, and destroy it.

 

This is not only a wonderful work of love, loss and redemption. It is a powerful tale of tolerance, of vanquishing generalizations to come together despite our differences, and of the consequences we must face when the past comes back around to bite us.

  • Recommended by Marissa


The Shape of Water Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781250165343
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Feiwel & Friends - March 6th, 2018

There are many books that I love. There are fewer books that have become a part of me, and even fewer that I feel have changed me in one way or another. For reasons that I still don’t quite entirely understand, this book was instantly one of them.

I could write up a little quick summary of The Shape of Water, but you can find that on the cover or on the internet. I could also go on an hour long tangent about every little splendid thing about this book, complete with crying my eyes out in public and blubbering everywhere like I did while reading it, but I can’t do that here, either. What I will do is tell you, fellow reader, that you should just do yourself a favor and pick up this book. As someone who has never before enjoyed the romance genre, this book ripped into my chest, pulled out my heart, and slammed it repeatedly into a brick wall. And I loved every moment of it. The writing is like water - fluid and lovely and heavy - and these characters are some of the most fleshed-out and enjoyable characters I have ever encountered.

 

At the time of writing this, I have still not yet watched the movie. But whether you’ve seen it or not, I have to say, to everyone, everywhere, READ. THIS. BOOK. (Jenna Lamia also reads a wonderful version of this title as an audiobook - I would highly recommend it.)

  • Recommended by Marissa


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The Girl with All the Gifts Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780316278157
Availability: Backordered
Published: Orbit - June 10th, 2014

If you currently know nothing about this book other than what the cover gives away, I highly suggest that you keep it that way. It slowly dawned on me exactly what this story is about, and by the time I worked out what type of world M.R. Carey has created here, I was already hooked. This book is an incredible revamp for this subject matter, and a fantastic read for all fans of the horror genre. Carey so beautifully explores the question of what it means to be human. Melanie, the protagonist, is a very odd and fascinating narrator, and choosing to tell this story through her perspective was a great decision by the author.. I also strongly recommend Finty Williams’ audiobook performances for both this title, and its prequel, The Boy on the Bridge.

  • Recommended by Marissa


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Every Note Played Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781476717807
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gallery/Scout Press - March 20th, 2018

I know a good story when it causes me to cry, and this story took me by surprise! Lisa Genova, author of bestseller Still Alice, is a neurologist who travels the world to speak about the neurological diseases she writes about. Every Note Played illuminates the fast-paced debilitating and devastating disease of ALS. This creatively crafted story begins when Richard, a famous concert pianist is diagnosed with ALS. The only person to care for him is his ex-wife. I now have a deeper understanding well beyond the ice-bucket challenge, of what it means to live with ALS, and a reminder of what it means to be alive!

  • Recommended by Virgie


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The Brightest Sun Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780778331278
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Park Row - March 20th, 2018

Many aspects revolve amidst the joys and perils of motherhood. This book examines the complex lives of three mothers living in Kenya, Africa; Leona is an American anthropologist living in a Maasi community which considers her pregnancy out of wedlock taboo. Simi is an indigenous Maasi woman who defines herself as of no importance being a wife with no children. Jane, an American working for an elephant foundation, defines herself by her daughter Grace. The lives of these three women become interconnected through Adia, the child born out of wedlock. I loved the vivid description of life in Africa. It began to feel like home! If you are a mother or a daughter you will love this book.

  • Recommended by Virgie


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Mr. Rochester Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781455569816
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing - March 20th, 2018

Rochester has always been a figure of mystery, from his intriguing, sometimes baffling personality to his mad, secluded wife. But how did he come to be the man that  innocent Jane Eyre would come to love and marry? Sarah Shoemaker dives deep into Edward Rochester’s past, all the way from his isolated childhood deprived of familial love, to Jamaica with its hot weather and languid lifestyle, to his life afterwards as a wealthy, disaffected man driven to find distraction wherever he could. It was delightful to see Jane through Rochester’s eyes, to see his motives and his adoration of Jane’s honest character. If you’re like me, you’ll get to the end and immediately want to go read (or watch) the original story.

  • Recommended by Megan


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A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780765376466
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - January 19th, 2016

Centuries ago, there were four versions of what we know as London, and the thread that tied them all together was magic. This magic wasn’t the placid sort: it had ambitions, and it would use anyone in its way to satisfy its wants. Eventually the fourth London, Black London, fell under the magic’s dark will, and so was consumed and sealed off from the other Londons. This disrupted the flow of magic between the different worlds, and divided them. Now, a young man named Kell is one of only two travelers who can go between the different Londons - Grey London, Red London, and White London - and deliver messages to their respective rulers. Disaster strikes when Kell unwittingly transports a very dangerous artifact, a relic of Black London, which unleashes a force between the three worlds that threatens to destroy the very fabric of reality. Bonus points for the gorgeous cover art!

  • Recommended by Megan


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Descent Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781616204778
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Books - December 1st, 2015

This novel takes place in the Rocky Mountains: an enticing, close-to-home setting for this creepy story to take place. At first, I found the menacing description of the Rockies to be a bit dramatic--this is my home, and I definitely do not feel fear when I’m joyously running through the woods. However, this story will really grow on you when intensity peaks (no pun intended), and this kidnapped runner fights for her life amidst snow flurries and mountain passes.

  • Recommended by Anne


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An American Marriage Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781616208776
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Books - February 6th, 2018

What a great discussion piece of race, class, and gender! As an Oprah Book Club Pick, I probably don’t need to sell you on the details, but suffice it to say that this story is made ever more enticing by the writing style and modern themes which highlight the different roles people play in society, and how they are pigeonholed, and pigeonhole themselves into these roles. Read this book if you are interested in connecting yourself to every character--Jones writes the characters into life in a way you can’t imagine!

  • Recommended by Anne


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The Martian Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780553418026
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Broadway Books - October 28th, 2014

I would recommend this in both book and audiobook format. Maybe you know the movie,, but the story of Mark Watney is forever more exciting in its original form. If you aren’t familiar, the story is of a man lost from his crew on Mars. He finds creative ways to stay alive, and the science behind what he does is accurately calculated by Weir. Although this book is fiction, the numbers behind it support an amazing feat of human endurance. You will be cheering for Watney’s safe return, and strong mind and spirit the whole way through.

  • Recommended by Anne


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Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062300553
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Paperbacks - May 1st, 2018

It’s common knowledge that there are parts of the United States where life just seems to be harder for people - try as we might to come up with social programs and revitalization projects and government assistance, it often doesn’t seem to make a dent. Vance, one of those rare specimens who managed to escape the cycle of poverty and misery, has come to tell us about what he dubs “Hillbilly Culture,” a culture which has a tendency to breed familial instability, poverty, violence, and drug abuse - but which also inspires fierce loyalty and pride in one’s home and family. Sometimes it really does take a village to raise a child, and in Vance’s case, it took his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and his sister to help encourage him and give him the stability needed to achieve goals beyond his wildest dreams. He gives some good insight on how America could try to alleviate some of the hardships he experienced as a child, such as overhauling the child welfare system to focus more on keeping families together.

  • Recommended by Megan


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Oh She Glows Every Day: Quick and Simply Satisfying Plant-Based Recipes Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781583335741
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Avery Publishing Group - September 6th, 2016

Success! My mom and I use this cookbook all the time. My greatest annoyance with cookbooks--especially vegan ones--is how much labor is required for a simple meal. Not only are Liddon’s recipes relatively simple, but they regularly turn out as delicious as they sound! She does not stop at recipes for full meals, but also provides explanations for individual components such as nutritional information and ingredient significance so that you can break down your meals and understand the flavor profiles to the maximum extent. Also, she makes the individual ingredients from scratch. No store-bought coconut oil or spice mixes for her!

  • Recommended by Anne


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The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780399185045
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Avery Publishing Group - September 20th, 2016

I initially bought this book right after the presidential election in 2016, when I couldn’t find a way to smile, or to walk without the weight of the universe on my shoulders. When I saw these men’s faces on the cover, I probably yelled “THOSE GUYS CAN HELP ME!!!”, and bought it.  By that evening, I was closing away that part of me that was in such agony. Here are two of the wisest men on the planet in conversation for five days; the questions are asked by Doug Abrams, and all relevant to living in a state of joy on this planet in these times. It’s not a how-to book, it’s non-clerical, non-preachy. This book is filled with these mens’ wisdom, and the values that I have treasured since time began. Love, empathy, forgiveness, humility, a sense of humor, gratitude - all the things I’ve prayed for.  I recommend this book to everyone on the planet, frankly, and have given it to more people than I can count. These guys make fun of one another, they joke, they dance; they bestow a gift to all of us. I’d say that anyone of any religion, or no religion, will treasure this.

  • Recommended by Chris


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The Night Diary Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780735228511
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dial Books - March 6th, 2018

This historical fiction book for juvenile readers tells the story of the plight of India when they gained their independence from British rule in 1947. One would think that independence would bring freedom, yet India  had never been less free.

The story is told through the journal of 10 year old Nisha, who is writing to her mother (who died in childbirth.) Nisha and her family find themselves in a civil war between the Muslims and Hindus. The story is told with heart and soul, a perfect way to learn about a difficult part of history.

  • Recommended by Virgie


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I've Loved You Since Forever Cover Image
By Hoda Kotb, Suzie Mason (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062841742
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins - March 6th, 2018

Hoda Kobt is a well-known journalist, television personality, and new mother.  She adopted a little girl in December of 2017, and wrote this inspired picture book.  This book is for every parent, adopted or otherwise, who has felt a connection with his/her/their child(ren) for eternity.  Beautiful illustrations by Suzie Mason are heartwarming, as is the message.

  • Recommended by Katie D.


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Elmore Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781524718633
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - January 30th, 2018

Elmore is a porcupine.  Most of time he is ok with being by himself, but sometimes Elmore would like to have friends.  But he is too pokey. Or so he thinks. So he learns to think outside the box and use what he has to make friends.  Holly Hobbie does a beautiful job of showing how to make friends with this book. The illustrations are soft and sweet.  This is just a pleasure to read.

  • Recommended by Chris


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Harriet Gets Carried Away Cover Image
By Jessie Sima, Jessie Sima (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781481469111
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - March 6th, 2018

Harriet is like most other little kids who love to play dress up.  She does it everyday as a different character and goes everywhere like this. Until one day when she gets mixed up with some penguins that were shopping.  Did this really happen or was this her imagination? This book is funny, imaginative and a great read.

  • Recommended by Chris


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Wordy Birdy Cover Image
By Tammi Sauer, Dave Mottram (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781524719296
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday Books for Young Readers - February 6th, 2018

Wordy Birdy LOVES to talk.  But she needs to learn how to listen too.  Otherwise she will get herself in trouble. This book is so much fun to read aloud, with so many word bubbles, and colorful illustrations.  

  • Recommended by Chris


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The Bad Guys Cover Image
$5.99
ISBN: 9780545912402
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Press - December 27th, 2016

The Bad Guys series of books is a wonderful way to get boys to read more.  There are currently 5 in the series. They are full of fun characters that look like bad guys but want to change their ways to be good guys and help others.  These are funny, with short chapters and engaging illustrations.

  • Recommended by Chris


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If the S in Moose Comes Loose Cover Image
By Peter Hermann, Matthew Cordell (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062295101
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins - March 13th, 2018

The moose is in a state of panic! The letters of his name have come apart. Whatever can he do? Young readers can experience the manipulation of letters to make new words. This is the perfect book for emerging readers!

  • Recommended by Virgie


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Happy Birthday to You! Cover Image
By Nosy Crow, Nicola Slater (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780763699437
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Nosy Crow - April 3rd, 2018

This orchestral masterpiece would make anybody smile; you don’t have to be a little kid to enjoy it! I would probably play with this all day if I did not have a job.

  • Recommended by Anne