Magnetic May Staff Picks
What happens when you reach your 40’s, contemplate your life, and decide you’ve lived it all wrong? Micah, a self-employed “Tech Hermit” is a perfectionist, a real fuss budget, who has to have everything “just so.” There is absolutely no mess in his life, but when he looks around he realizes he’s missing out, he’s not really happy.
As Micah looks around with a new perspective, he finds that life can be much different!
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This is Steadman’s 2nd novel and if we thought Something in the Water was a one-off because it was a best seller and optioned for a movie as a debut, she has proven herself in this second novel. When an attractive, magnetic man is found on a British beach unable to speak and clearly with amnesia, expert psychoneurologist Dr. Emma Lewis is brought into the case. With long-buried secrets of her own, does this stranger have the ability to unearth all those secrets? Steadman proves in this novel that she is an exciting new author adept in mystery and thriller.
Have you ever been to a city and felt like it was alive? The City We Became takes that feeling and grows it into a striking story. When a city matures, it chooses an avatar, a person who embodies every aspect of that city. During the city’s birth and enemy attacks it. The enemy is either vanquished or the city dies. But New York’s birth is going a bit pear-shaped. The enemy is looming, even after losing the fight, and the avatar has disappeared.
Jemisin gives voice to cities with the artistry she practiced in her Broken Earth Trilogy. Her storytelling and character work always leaves me feeling delighted.
It took me two days to read this book and I realize that I’ve been holding my breath so long that I’m now out of breath! What a psychological thriller, full of suspense, twists and turns. The story captures the emotions of obsession, betrayal and lost love. Who is the crazy one here; the silent patient or the therapist who tries to get her to speak? I need explain no more. Just read it, if you want to lose yourself for a few days! A word of advice; choose your therapist well!
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This is the writing team of Pekkanen and Hendricks’s 3rd novel and they seem to have mastered the ability to team write. Shay Miller begins the novel by witnessing a woman that looks similar to herself throw herself in front of a subway. Deeply affected by what she witnessed she goes to the woman’s memorial where she meets her friends. Soon she finds she would do just about anything to be friends with this beguiling group of women. The twist and turns, secrets and deceptions don’t stop until the very end. This novel will keep you guessing.
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This story left me with a deep sense of sorrow that I just can’t shake! What a refugee must endure to leave their beloved country behind after witnessing horrendous acts of violence is difficult to comprehend. Those refugees who are fortunate enough to afford it can be smuggled into other countries, but their problems do not stop there. They’ve left behind their home, their dreams, their culture, their family. The peaceful beekeeper from Syria endures this refugee nightmare and can find no comparison between bees and humanity. It appears that bees have a better sense of a greater good.
The author wrote this novel from all the stories she experienced while working in a refuge center in Greece.The story provides a much-needed look at refugees who are trapped in their own hell!
Emily St. John Mandel is one of my favorite authors so I was very excited to read her latest book. Station Eleven was so good she had high expectations to live up to. The Glass Hotel did not disappoint. Richly drawn characters, mystery, morality, memory, money are all topics beautifully delved into in this compelling new novel. Get swept up in various timelines, settings and situations that just pull you in. Mysterious disappearances of two women, mother and daughter around water. A massive Ponzi scheme inspired by the Bernie Madoff fiasco and of course art intertwine in this wild ride.
When Claire is seven years old her college-age sister Alison, goes missing during a Caribbean family vacation. Alison is found dead and two native young men are suspected in her death but eventually cleared due to lack of evidence. This novel is more than just a mystery. It dives into race, privilege, family, culture, and in the end coming of age without being preachy. Wanting a page-turner that will leave you thinking about those topics long after you finish, check out Saint X.
Lisa Wingate, author of Before We Were Yours has gifted readers with yet another compelling story, inspired by history from the post-Civil War era in Louisiana and Texas. The story begins with; ”At the very least, we must tell our stories, mustn’t we? Speak the names? You know, there is an old proverb that says, ‘We die once when the last breath leaves our bodies. We die a second time when the last person speaks our name.’ The first death is beyond our control, but the second one we can strive to prevent.”
Told in dual timelines, Hannie, (1875) the middle of nine siblings, is an 18 year old slave who is on a journey, looking for her family who had been sold away in parcels. The other timeframe (1987) finds Bennie Silva, a first year high school teacher who is searching for a way to motivate her disadvantaged Louisiana students who have no interest in school, and don’t want to be there. Bennie Silva rediscovers the story of Hannie and its connection to her own students' lives. And yes, this passionate teacher has “lit a fire” under her students!
The Book of Lost Friends includes actual ads that were published in Southern newspapers and read to black congregations by their preachers, searching for relatives of former slaves. I found this very interesting.
I rate this as one of my very favorite historical fiction books. The two mesmerizing stories set one hundred years apart, taught me about slavery in the south, and reaffirmed the power of stories and the passion of teachers to change lives!
Dani Shapiro discovers (in her mid 50’s), through a genealogy website, that her father is not really her biological father. This finally explains why she has felt and looked so “odd” in her large Jewish family. This knowledge turns her life upside down, and what she does with this information is her story!
After reading this memoir I wonder about all the fertility treatments (sperm donors) which occurred well before the genealogy web-sites were a thing. This situation provides food for thought! What ethics surround fertility treatments and DNA analysis? What is it that one really inherits? How do we inherit and why?
I understand why Inheritance was chosen as the One Steamboat Read. It is a powerful story!
Do you love food? Like, you have a live to eat attitude? Then this book is for you. It’s not so much of a cookbook as a celebration of famous and significant dishes from restaurants around the world. It is a beautiful collection of food writing and art. It’s more of a food inspiration book than an actual recipe book, never the less I would highly recommend it for any food lover.
The Loop is a prison where no one ever gets out. Until the day the power goes out and the world as they know it changes again. Who will live and who will die? Luka just wants to keep living to see if he can find his family and find out why he lives. This is a great book for anyone who wants to be on the edge of their seat until the end!! Great for teen boys, especially in the new and ever-changing world we are living in now.
This sequel to the award winning book The One and Only Ivan features Bob, the hot-headed, street dog and his unlikely best friend Ivan, the silverback gorilla.
Their circumstances change when Ivan is moved to a zoo and Bob becomes a domesticated dog. When Bob “saves the day” in the wake of a hurricane, he becomes a hero, and Ivan gives him a new title; the one and only Bob!
The story is told through the voice of Bob, and if you want to know what a dog REALLY thinks and knows, then you will love this book. It holds so many “nuggets” of wisdom! I loved this delightful story and I’m certain kids will love it too!
Jen is stuck on a farm with her mother and mother’s boyfriend Walter, and she misses the city. As she learns the ins and outs of farm life, she gets to know Andy and Reese (Walter’s kids) and the folks at the farmer’s market. Stepping Stones is a story about a kid who is kinda just pulled along with her mother’s dream. She doesn’t want to be there, but she has to deal with it, an experience we’ve all had at some point as children. This book is fun, hard-hitting, and elegantly illustrated.
Josie hasn’t been home to her home town for years after her mom decided to run away. They have lived all over the country. But when they do come home, Josie doesn’t know what to with all her new-found knowledge of her family and Lucky the boy who used to be her best friend. This is fun summer read set in quaint New England town with a bookstore. Who doesn’t like books set in bookstores? I have read other books by this author and she does an excellent job of portraying feelings, especially at a time in our lives when it can be so hard just trying to figure out who we are.
Felix wants to fall in love. He wants to swim in the depths of love, have his heart broken, and fall in love all over again. After someone sets up a gallery of his pre-transition photos along with his deadname, he starts to doubt he will ever be worthy of love. In an effort to enact revenge on whoever set up the gallery, he starts a fake Instagram account to find the deepest secret of the person he suspects, but as they continue to communicate, Felix finds himself… falling?
This novel is written with such tenderness and love towards Felix and other folks struggling with their gender/ struggling with people’s reactions to their gender. It opens up a conversation about gender and some of our deepest and continuing questions about it.
Steeped in Irish mythology and hormones, Witches of Ash and Ruin is the story of Dayna Walsh and her coming of age. She is dealing with OCD, anxiety, her witchy destiny, her evolving sexuality, and an assassin who has been picking off witches in her area. When another coven rolls into town, she has to deal with Meiner King, the granddaughter of the coven leader and their vastly different approaches to life and magic.
This is an excellent adventure and self-discovery novel that delves into some of the most difficult parts of growing up and finding out who you are. It paints a picture of a grey world where there is good and evil as well as the many shades of grey in between.
Elizabeth Acevedo has done it again, she has written a verse novel that reads like someone is actually telling you a story. Clap When You Land is a story about sisters Camino and Yaharia. They don’t know about each other, linked only by their father. When a plane crash takes his life, they grieve both for his loss and the loss of the father they thought they knew.
If you are looking for a story about what love looks like when it is mixed up in grief, anger, and confusion, or looking for characters that are written so well you feel like you’ve probably met them somewhere, this is the book for you. Even if you are not looking for a book like that, you should read this.
While it may be almost 100 years old, A.A. Milne’s classic stories certainly stand the test of time. I rediscovered an old copy while dusting off my bookshelf, and upon cracking open the cover, I instantly fell back in love. If you’re a parent at home with small children, or a grandparent looking to connect with the kiddos, Winnie-The-Pooh is a delight to read out loud. The stories are charming, lyrical, and absurd in the best way, and the pen-and-ink illustrations remind me of the VHS tapes of Pooh and his friends me and my siblings used to watch as kids. When the whole world can seem confusing and the news is scary, a classic like Winnie-The-Pooh reminds you to take life one step at a time. Here’s a little piece of bear wisdom to take with you:
“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”