Joyful June Staff Picks

Joyful June staff picks are here, try not to jolt out of your jumpers!

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Take My Hand Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780593337691
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - April 12th, 2022

This fictional story was inspired by a real-life situation that occurred in 1973, Alabama. Author Perkins-Valdez was appalled by the reproductive injustice imposed on poor women of color, who had been sterilized under a federally funded program without their consent or knowledge. The author, curious to determine how this could have taken place in plain sight, conducts three years of research and writes this story, which clearly parallels the 1973 practice. This story broadened my knowledge, or should I say lack of knowledge, concerning medical ethics and racism, within the realm of reproductive rights. It’s a story every American should know. It will surely raise our “alarms” to understand what poor women of color have endured and of current practices that do not stray too far from the past.

-Virgie

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Normal People: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781984822185
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hogarth - February 18th, 2020

Based in Ireland, the characters Marianne and Connell develop a liking for one another in secondary school. The book follows them through college and describes their lives together and apart. Both people are highly perceptive and intelligent individuals, their thoughts and feelings are intriguing. Themes in the book include money, entitlement, emotional intensity, identity, depression, and love. The story is written beautifully and recently the book came out as a show on Hulu (I recommend you watch it). The accuracy of real-life depictions, the character depth, and the complexity make this book a worthy read. 

-Liesel 

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The Angel of Rome: And Other Stories Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062868114
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Harper - June 28th, 2022

This book, written by Jess Walter, NYT bestselling author of Cold Millions and Beautiful Ruins, reminded me just how enjoyable a collection of short stories can be! Walter presents creatively brilliant stories, a “mixed bag” of heartfelt, stimulating, inspiring, and refreshing tales. I loved the diverse subjects and the laugh-out-loud humor.  I read one story each day, for twelve days, which gave me time to absorb and contemplate the nuggets of wisdom within! 

-Virgie

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Book of Night Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250812193
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - May 3rd, 2022

Charlie Hall has known nothing but trouble her whole life. She started young, pretending to be a medium in order to manipulate her mother into leaving her abusive stepfather. Then she ran a fake spiritualism gag with one of her mother’s skeezy friends until a job went wrong and the “friend” wound up dead in a car without most of his blood. Then there was her career as a professional thief, specializing in stealing magical artifacts from people with too much money. 

But she swears she’s on the straight and narrow now, working as a bartender and trying to scrape up enough cash for her little sister to go to college. Charlie is abruptly yanked back into the world of shadows and gloamists when she gets roughed up for information by a hitman’s shadow. Suddenly, she can’t be sure of anything (certainly she can’t be sure about her boyfriend Vince, who she had thought was the one normal thing she had going). 

Charlie is a character you can’t help but root for, even when she makes all the wrong decisions. This one had me reading late into the night!

-Megan

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Remarkably Bright Creatures: A Novel Cover Image
$29.99
Special Order Only (subject to availability) - Email or Call for Price
ISBN: 9780063242401
Published: HarperLuxe - May 3rd, 2022

If you’re looking for a “feel-good” read and enjoyed A Man Called Ove, then this is the book for you. The cast of characters is diverse; an elderly widow, a middle-aged orphan, and even a Giant Pacific Octopus! The charming plot will immediately snag your attention, and the mystery will entice you until the end! 

-Virgie

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Malice Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781984818676
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - February 1st, 2022

In a wealthy kingdom where magic is commonplace, there lives a shunned and despised halfbreed named Alyce. Unlike her fellow magic-wielders, her abilities are much more sinister due to the dark fairy blood in her veins, making her an outcast in their bright world. She doesn’t seem to care what anyone thinks of her until she meets Aurora, the only heir to the throne and the cursed princess doomed to die on her 21st birthday. 

A fun and creative take on the classic tale of ‘Sleeping Beauty, this addicting book is a treat for all sapphics out there!

-Isabella

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Something Wilder Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781982173401
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gallery Books - May 17th, 2022

Lily Wilder has been on the run from her past ever since her heart broke at 18. Her boyfriend Leo never called her back after he left for New York and her dad, the famous treasure hunter Duke Wilder, sold her beloved childhood ranch. Imagine Lily’s surprise - and anger - when Leo shows up for one of her outlaw tours in the Utah desert, along with 3 of his buddies on a guys' trip. After a couple of days in the outback, it becomes clear that there’s still something between Leo and Lily, something strong enough that they just might be willing to patch things up 10 years later. Things start heating up when it turns out one member of the group is more interested in hunting after Duke Wilder’s ghost, and the “guys trip” turns out a bit more outlaw than anyone expected. This one had me racing to solve the treasure hunt right up until the end! 

-Megan

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Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780451499783
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown - April 5th, 2022

According to Susan Cain’s extensive research, our culture is like no other in the world, and not necessarily in a good way. Americans, striving to “put on a happy face” are neglecting an important aspect of living … sorrow. We tend to “stuff” our feelings, rather than accept, express, and FEEL them! Ironically, Cain demonstrates in her book that accepting the bitter parts of life can make life even sweeter! 

Brene Brown promotes this book, and I can understand why. Atlas of the Heart identifies the many emotions we have, and Cain’s Bittersweet explains the necessity of expressing these emotions. In my opinion, these two titles complement each other, providing a rich framework that can make a difference in your life!  

Cain’s book Quiet was a NYT Bestseller for7 years. I dare to say that Bittersweet will follow the same path! 

-Virgie

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How to Keep House While Drowning: A Gentle Approach to Cleaning and Organizing Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9781668002841
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: S&S/Simon Element - April 26th, 2022

Depression leaving you too exhausted to fold a shirt or take care of those dishes slowly growing mold in your sink? Are you a neurodivergent individual infuriated by those people who just say “clean as you go”? 

KC Davis is here for you! This short book is full of compassionate tips written in an easy-to-understand format. The most important tip? Be kind to yourself, and remember that your space exists to serve you - not the other way around. 

-Megan

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Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780399588600
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - March 1st, 2022

This emotional memoir is a testament that life, as you know it now, can change in an instant! Suleika was diagnosed with life-threatening leukemia at the age of 22, and for the next four years, her life became a nightmarish medical carnival. Once she survived, Suleika realized she was stuck in the canyon of two kingdoms, (before cancer and after) and had no idea who she was and how to move forward. This memoir, full of metaphors for living, not only provides perspective on life but also valuable insight into the mind of the exhaustion, guilt, anger, fear, and pain of a life-threatening disease. This is a powerful memoir that has stopped me in my tracks, making me think of my trivial complaints and my need to give unsolicited advice.

-Virgie

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Love Poems for Married People Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780525540007
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - December 31st, 2018

I’m a “seasoned” wife - married for 50+ years, and found this book to be hysterical, but oh, so true! The poems reflected my own feelings and experiences and reassured me that I’m not the only married person in the world to feel this way. Whew! I hope you enjoy this read as much as I do. Share it with your significant other, as it will enhance your conversations and result in a lot of laughs! 

-Virgie

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Valentina Salazar is Not a Monster Hunter Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781338712711
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Scholastic Press - June 28th, 2022

The first thing you have to know is that monster rescuers and monster hunters are different. The Salazer siblings are rescuers. So when a monster egg pops up in a viral video, Valentina convinces her siblings that it is time to go on a mission. A secret mission, considering they’ve been retired ever since their dad was killed and mom decided to hang up her monster rescuing coat. But someone has to go after the egg, or it’ll cause problems and hunters will go after it. What follows are madcap adventures and magical experiences that’ll keep even the most reluctant reader satisfied.  I cannot recommend this enough.  If you’re a Rick Riordan lover, this should definitely be your next pick.

-Jenna

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Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781665900706
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - May 10th, 2022

If you love history, magic, and a good quest, you will love this book. This book brings me back to my days of reading Rick Riordan and wishing I could go on a quest into a sea of monsters. This story follows Zack and his quest to save his mom after she was stolen by demons from Chinese mythology. He is led by the first emperor of China and is joined by two other friends, also led by other emperors. If you love mythology, adventure, and a bit of funny magic, you will love this book.

-Hallie


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Loveboat, Taipei Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780062957283
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperTeen - August 24th, 2021

Loveboat, Taipei really led me by the hand through every single emotion a person can experience. This is a genuinely phenomenal book. Our story’s protagonist is Ever Wong, and you follow her through a summer at a camp she never wanted to attend, with strangers she didn’t expect to like, and into a love that seems as unlikely as flying pigs.  The entire cast of characters will worm its way into your heart and you find yourself loving them all despite very human failures. This contemporary teen romantic drama is a beautiful, honest, at times heartbreaking, sometimes embarrassing story of identity, family, and first love that I couldn’t get enough of.  If you’re an audiobook person, the narration is terrific.

-Jenna

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Bravely Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781368071345
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Disney Press - May 3rd, 2022

I am once again asking you to read Maggie Stiefvater. This is her take on the story that happens after the curtain drops on Disney Pixar’s movie Brave, although if you haven't seen the film you can absolutely enjoy this book. Merida’s world is so atmospheric you can feel the stones under your feet and the mist on your face.  This is the perfect book to pull you out of your head and into the remote Scottish Highlands.  This story is all about family, the inevitability of change, and the love of place.  Throw in just a hint of romance and a spoonful of mysticism, and I think you have the recipe for your next favorite book.  As per usual, I think any of Maggie’s books are guaranteed to satisfy.

-Jenna

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Little Fairy Can't Sleep Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781782507673
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Floris Books - April 5th, 2022

A short and sweet tale of a little fairy named Faith who can’t sleep and discovers that no one else in her forest can either! Follow along as she talks to all manner of creatures from elves to foxes trying to get to the bottom of everyone’s restlessness. The illustrations in this book are so magical and had me wishing to go dance in the woods with the animals and fairies!  

-Isabella


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Layla, the Last Black Unicorn Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780063113879
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins - May 10th, 2022

This book is perfect for anyone who is nervous about being different.  Layla the unicorn has to find her courage and learn to believe in her inner magic as she navigates a new school where she doesn’t quite fit in.  When all the other unicorns find themselves lost on a field trip one day, it’s Layla’s turn to shine! Everyone will finish this book ready to do a little dance and know they can overcome any challenge they face. You’re ready! 

-Jenna

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Kick Push Cover Image
By Frank Morrison, Frank Morrison (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9781547605927
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury Children's Books - April 19th, 2022

For kids moving to a new neighborhood, it’s hard to find a group to fit in with. Even a rad skateboarder like Epic struggles to find other shredders. Epic tries all the other stuff in town, but nothing compares to a 50 grind down the five stair rail. This book teaches the importance of being yourself and doing what you are passionate about. Sometimes it just takes a little push.

-Jonah


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I'm Terrified of Bath Time Cover Image
By Simon Rich, Tom Toro (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316628334
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - April 5th, 2022

For any kid that has fear, anxiety, or reluctance around bathtime.  The main character of this book is…THE BATHTUB! Turns out they’re a little scared of bath time too. Getting kicked in the face and splashed in all the wrong places is enough to make anybody nervous. But in this book kids can learn to help the bathtub feel less scared! Give it a makeover, or sing it a song. Songs make everything more fun.  Together, a kid and a bathtub can get through anything!

-Jenna

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Miss Twiggley's Tree Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781930900172
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Purple House Press - November 1st, 2002

Miss Twiggley was my absolute favorite book while I was growing up. It still brings delight every time I see the beautiful illustrations. This story follows funny old Miss Twiggley who lives in a tree. She’s terrified of other people and sends her dog out to run errands, but when a flood threatens the whole town, she finds that her compassion is stronger than her fear. If you love a good story about someone who might feel a little different than everyone else, you will love this book!

-Hallie