Opulent October Staff Picks

Oogle out our oober spooky Opulent October staff picks!

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Lucy by the Sea: A Novel By Elizabeth Strout Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593446065
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - September 20th, 2022

Oh, how I love everything about the character Lucy Barton; her vulnerability, her conversational descriptions of life as she sees it, her convictions, and never-ending love! Newly widowed, Lucy tells her story about navigating the pandemic, living far from home in a cottage with her ex-husband, William! As a reader I found it intriguing to look backward on all things pandemic, realizing all that we’ve been through, and all that we’ve learned. Don’t for a minute think that this is just another novel about the pandemic because the story holds so much more! It delivers a breath of fresh air, concerning life and relationships!

-Virgie

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The Witch and the Tsar By Olesya Salnikova Gilmore Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780593546970
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ace - September 20th, 2022

This excellent debut novel is the next book of choice for readers of Circe and The Witch’s Heart.  I will never tire of reading retellings of folktales.  This excellent debut novel is a dive into the fabled Baba Yaga, the evil wood witch who spirits naughty children away to her chicken-legged cabin only to devour them. Not so in this novel. Yaga in this novel is a reclusive healer approached by an old friend, Anastasia (now Tsarina,) for healing, only to find that the history and legacy of her country may be more tied up in the fate of Anastasia than Yaga first imagined. With a beautiful sense of place, and a writing style that had me flying through the pages, Olesya has debuted a novel that is as haunting and beautiful as a snowing landscape at dusk, with just as much bite as the cold, dry winter air. The Witch and the Tsar is a beautiful example of magical realism mixed up with historical fiction, in which powerful women are often maligned by history after a stark refusal to simply disappear. A witch is simply a woman who holds more power than society deems she should.

-Jenna

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The Matchmaker's Gift: A Novel By Lynda Cohen Loigman Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250278098
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Press - September 20th, 2022

Aside from watching “Fiddler On The Roof” I knew nothing about the Jewish tradition of the matchmaker (shadchen); the rules, culture, and beliefs surrounding this profession. This historical fiction alternates between the current-day life of a divorce attorney and her 1900’s grandmother, a true matchmaker who overcame the odds of being a female in a male-dominated profession. The story makes me wonder if matchmakers actually do have “a calling” to be able to see the light of soulmates! This is an interesting read about a long-held tradition! 

-Virgie

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Mad Honey: A Novel By Jodi Picoult, Jennifer Finney Boylan Cover Image
$29.99
ISBN: 9781984818386
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - October 4th, 2022

Jodi Picoult, once again, tackles a current topic in her new book Mad Honey co-written with Jennifer Finney Boylan. The book was born when Boylan reached out to Picoult on social media with the idea for the book. The authors take turns writing alternating chapters as the two narrators– one, Olivia, the single mother of a high school senior hockey star, Asher, and the other, his high school girlfriend, Lily. Each of the narrators are starting over in their own way to become the people they are meant to be. But when Lily is found dead and Asher is the leading suspect, Olivia is forced to reevaluate much of what she believed to be true and question her own son. There is so much more I want to say about this story, but I don’t want to give anything away!

-Danielle

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The Awoken: A Novel By Katelyn Monroe Howes Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780593185285
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dutton - August 9th, 2022

Consider this: you’re in your twenties, dying of a disease that is on the brink of being cured. You’re given the opportunity to undergo cryogenic preservation, and you can afford it. Would you take that opportunity to freeze your body? Now, consider this: You’ve taken that chance, are brought back to life 100 years later, only to find yourself illegal, hunted, feared for being different, and are supported and protected only by a handful of “resurrectionists!” This dystopian story is fast-paced, intriguing, and even involves a love story!  It causes me to think that the decisions we make today may not have the intended outcomes we had planned on!

-Virgie

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The Best Friend: A Novel By Jessica Fellowes Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781250831804
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Minotaur Books - September 13th, 2022

If you enjoyed The Mitford Murders series, or are itching for a twisty mystery, then I think you’ll like this novel. Have you had that one true friend, who has been with you through thick and through thin? Though, at times they can be so controlling and manipulative that you need to take a break? Then you’ll understand this story of Kate and Bella. It’s not always pretty, but it’s real, and it makes one wonder up until the end if a best friend is worth the price you might pay!

-Virgie

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Klara and the Sun: A novel (Vintage International) By Kazuo Ishiguro Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780593311295
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - March 1st, 2022

This novel explores a near future through the eyes of an AF, or artificial friend. Klara the AF is purchased by pre-teen, Josie, to help her get through the lonely years up until college. I loved this book because, as the title suggests, of the relationship between Klara and the Sun. Klara is powered by solar energy, so she needs the sun to operate and survive. Although I myself am not solar powered, I often feel as if I am energized by and dependent on the Sun. Not only did this book make me consider what technology might look like in the future, but also the relationships between humans and other humans, as well as humans and nature. Overall, this book told a cute story through the unconventional perspective of a non-human. 

-Lark

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Dinosaurs: A Novel By Lydia Millet Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781324021469
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - October 11th, 2022

If you’re looking for an action-packed thriller, then this is not the book for you! Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a simple, character-driven story filled with layers of metaphoric wisdom, then jump in! Gil is a middle-aged, socially anxious man, burdened by his wealth and alone, a “lone satellite” orbiting the planet! He moves into an old restored “castle,” next door to a family living in a literal glass-fronted house.  Watching this family in their “fish bowl house” Gil becomes almost one of the family. Learning to open himself up to the world of human connection, this lonely man slowly builds up his place in the world, and understands his power to make a difference!  This story is NOT about dinosaurs, but rather all the creatures that have inhabited the earth since their era. It is about extinction, preservation, and humanity. The title of each chapter is the name of a bird that outlines, metaphorically, a segment of Gil's life. I’m wondering if Gil's inherent kindness and goodness are some traits WE should preserve from extinction. If you enjoyed A Man Called Ove, you’ll find another endearing character named Gil! A word of caution; this meditative novel needs to be read slowly, or maybe more than once, to make sense of the metaphors for living.

-Virgie

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Cuba (Winner of the Pulitzer Prize): An American History By Dr. Ada Ferrer Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9781501154560
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - June 28th, 2022

It is easy to see why this book won the Pulitzer Prize.  I’ve always been fascinated by Cuba, whose history is filled with triumphs equal to its hardships, and whose people are brilliant, innovative, and resilient in equal measure. Yet, western study seems dead set on focusing only on the most horrible aspects of the rich history of a very complicated island nation. This book is a must-read for anyone who shares my interest in Cuba. It is a holistic look, not only at the well-known figures in Cuban history but also at the citizenry of Cuba. It is truly a nation defined by its people.  If you read A People’s History of the United States, or Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, this should be your next choice!

-Jenna

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Girl, Interrupted By Susanna Kaysen Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780679746041
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - April 19th, 1994

Girl Interrupted tells the story of Susanna Kaysen and her experience in a psychiatric hospital in the late sixties. Kaysen’s depiction of her own mental disorder and others surrounding her is extremely realistic. Her direct style of writing simplifies the complicated world of mental illness and the reader will shift into Kaysen's reality and begin to understand life with BPD. She writes honestly but with impact. Although a short read, it does not lack significance. This book gave me perspective. 

-Liesel

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Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President By Candice Millard Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780767929714
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - June 12th, 2012

James Garfield is one of the least known US presidents, mainly because he was in office for only six months in 1881.  Candice Millard has done us all a favor by shining a light on this brilliant man and the unfortunate circumstances that led to his death.  Millard’s style reads like fiction. The social, political, technical and medical climates of 1881 explored through Garfield’s life are both progressive and archaic at the same time, adding intrigue to this excellent book.

-Mike

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Drawn Together: Illustrated True Love Stories By Olivia de Recat Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780316703680
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Voracious - July 5th, 2022

After reading this book, I found myself wishing that we had a “take a minute and breathe in the absolute gloriousness of the world and remember that you are deserving and love happens in all forms and at any time and then cry a little bit” section. Because this book was so much more than a simply illustrated gift book. Olivia is a published cartoon artist and writer who puts her own hilarious, pointed spin on a book about the mess, beauty and engulfing nature of love. This book is brilliant, cheesy, poignant, critical, and hysterical, with fantastic illustrations on every page--Olivia interviews some of her favorite couples about their experiences and then inserts her own observations with the help of her anthropomorphized heart, Glenn. This is a book of hope for anyone who needs a reminder that love is constant, and can be right where you least expect it. 

-Annali


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From Blood and Ash: A Blood and Ash Novel By Jennifer L. Armentrout Cover Image
$31.99
Special Order Only (subject to availability) - Email or Call for Price
ISBN: 9781952457463
Published: Blue Box Press - May 25th, 2021

I really enjoyed the storyline of this book. It's about a maiden chosen from birth because she has the touch. An ability to feel physical and emotional pain. Her fate has been decided for her. She will be given to the gods to ensure the prosperity of her kingdom. But she doesn't want this life and would rather be fighting the Craven who killed her family. This book is filled with plot twists and heart-wrenching moments. There were multiple times my jaw fell open and I had to take a couple of seconds to recover. The plot takes many unseen twists and turns. It's also an enemy to lovers and is written very well. The magic system is intriguing and makes you think. The series continues with “A Kingdom Of Flesh And Fire”, “The Crown Of Gilded Bones” and “The War Of Two Kings”.

-Eva

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Love on the Brain By Ali Hazelwood Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593336847
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - August 23rd, 2022

As someone who is not usually a romance fan, I really enjoyed this book! I loved the contemporary, fun characters, and the intelligent overall story. This is an easy, light read–one of the final twists was pretty easy to guess in the first few chapters of the book, but I thoroughly enjoyed getting there, so it didn't really matter to me! Bee and Levi are grad school nemeses…or so Bee thinks. When they are hired as co-leads on a huge project for NASA, it takes about two seconds for things to go horribly wrong–and not just between Bee and Levi! They have to learn to work together to make a scientific miracle happen, but can they do it in time?? 

This book is “You’ve Got Mail” mixed with a science-based mystery/romance. I also loved learning about Marie Curie through the main character’s obsession! This book is incredibly similar to Ali Hazelwoods “The Love Hypothesis”, so if you enjoyed that, this book is for you!

-Annali

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Belladonna By Adalyn Grace Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780316158237
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - August 30th, 2022

I love everything about this book and couldn’t put it down for days! Grace has brought a stunning paranormal gothic fantasy to life with a little sprinkle of forbidden romance within its pages. Full of ghosts, murder, deception, and Victorian clothing, this novel is a perfect Autumn read. If you enjoyed The Secret Garden and love spooky themes, I couldn’t recommend this book enough. 

-Isabella

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Holes (Holes Series #1) By Louis Sachar Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780440414803
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Yearling - May 9th, 2000

The book Holes is a coming-of-age story with an excellent plot line. The story includes Stanley Yelnats and his experience at a correctional boot camp after being falsely accused of theft. Stanely develops compelling relationships with the boys at camp and deep dives into his family's past. From beginning to end the story is extremely captivating. I highly recommend that you read this book. 

-Liesel

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Howl's Moving Castle (World of Howl #1) By Diana Wynne Jones Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780061478789
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Greenwillow Books - April 22nd, 2008

I loved this story. I am a big fan of Studio Ghibli movies and was super excited when I found out that Howl’s Moving Castle was based on a book. This story is super creative and has the silliest magic ever. The story follows Sophie, the eldest sister in her family. At the beginning of the book, she gets cursed by the Witch Of The Wastes. She then seeks refuge in the mysterious moving castle in the hills, owned by the Wizard Howl. This book has a very Alice In Wonderland theme. Things aren't what they seem and they are often the opposite of what you think. I love the characters in this book! The story has a simple but entertaining plot. This is one of my favorite books!

-Eva

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The Door of No Return By Kwame Alexander Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316441865
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - September 27th, 2022

I love the words of “life-living wisdom” that Kwame Alexander imparts to young readers! (Maybe that’s one reason he’s won the Caldecott, Newbury, and Coretta Scott King awards!) This brilliant story, told in eloquent prose, is inspired by the history of the Asante people, who were shipped from their native Ghana, to become slaves in other countries. It’s a story about 11-year-old Kofi Offin, whose suddenly upended life finds himself fighting for his life!  The author was compelled to acquaint young readers with the African side of the slavery story! It’s a story everyone should know and understand! It’s deep and full of terrifying, life-changing events! The wonderful thing about this story is that it’s a trilogy based on real-life events, but the miserable truth is that this is a heartbreaking story, yet I CAN NOT WAIT to see where the next books lead me! 

-Virgie

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Over My Dead Body By Sweeney Boo, Sweeney Boo (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Sweeney Boo, Sweeney Boo (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780063056305
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperAlley - August 30th, 2022

If you are a fan of Harry Potter or Sabrina the Teenage Witch, I have your next recommendation! Sweeney Boo’s fast-paced magical mystery is filled with her gorgeous illustrations and loveable characters, keeping me glued to the pages for hours. The story takes place right before the witches’ holiday of Samhain (pronounced saw-win), so the pages are covered in pumpkins and fall colors, making this an ideal Halloween read! 

-Isabella

 


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Green Mountain Academy By Frances Greenslade Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780735267848
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tundra Books - September 27th, 2022

Do you love adventure, risk-taking, and danger, yet wonder why there aren’t more books with female heroes? Then let this be your next read! Thirteen-year-old Francie’s life has been upended by her own family tragedy, and is sent to the Green Mountain Academy, a wilderness boarding school located on the side of a mountain, deep in the woods. She is one of eight students at this diminishing school, so the girls get to know each other well and aren’t afraid to speak their minds. When a plane crashes in the middle of a snowstorm, several students set out in search of the plane and find they must put their survival skills to first-hand use! If you liked the book Hatchet, then I know you’ll love this adventure! 

-Virgie

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The Mouse Who Carried a House on His Back By Jonathan Stutzman, Isabelle Arsenault (Illustrator) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781536216790
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick - August 30th, 2022

This book was so wonderfully sweet, it made my heart hurt and my soul feel fuzzy. A mouse named Vincent carries his house on his back, traveling to places he simply knows he needs to be. When he stops in each place, he welcomes other animals into his house who need a place to rest and food to eat. Every time a new friend comes in need of help, his house opens up and magically has plenty of space. The colorful illustrations and the unfolding pages make this book a perfect read-aloud for the family! This book is a beautiful reminder that kindness is truly the greatest gift of all. 

-Annali

 


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Bessie the Motorcycle Queen By Charles R. Smith Jr., Charlot Kristensen (Illustrator) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781338752472
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Orchard Books - September 20th, 2022

This wonderful book chronicles a small portion of the life of Bessie Stringfield, who began riding motorcycles as a teenager before taking off on a series of cross country trips in the 1920s and 30s.  She was famous for letting a coin flip decide her next route. Not only did Bessie routinely beat her male counterparts in races and endurance competitions, as a black woman, Bessie found herself courageously riding through the Jim Crow south, where black people were often met with violence.  Bessie became a highly respected WWII dispatch rider, where she served as the only woman in a unit composed of all black motorcyclists. Her spirit of adventure and courage in the face of adversity make her one of my personal heroes, and I think everyone should know about her.  Also make sure to read Girl on a Motorcycle!

-Jenna

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