I originally picked up this book because it’s be made into a
movie and, of course, the book is always better. If I Stay is about Mia, a cellist who will soon be on her way to Julliard.
Until, that it, one snowy day in Oregon when she and her family get into a
horrific car accident. Both of her parents die, and Mia is left in-between the
world of the living and that of the dead. It’s up to her to decide – does she
pass on to the next world to join her parents and baby brother, or does she
fight to stay alive?
Whenever Maggie Stiefvater comes out with a new
book, I get my hands on it as soon as humanly possible. Her previous
stand-alone novel, The Scorpio Races,
is a permanent staff pick of mine.
Sinner is a follow-up to her
bestselling series about werewolves. Has-been rock star Cole St. Clair has
recently moved to Los Angeles to film a reality TV show. It just so happens to
also be the city where his old flame resides. Cole struggles to balance being
on camera 24/7, his pursuits of Isabel's affection, recording a new album, and
the ever-present urge to turn into a wolf.
This is not a book about werewolves. It's a book about relationships, the
dangers of addiction, and the power music has to heal us.
Nora lives in a refurbished farmhouse with her mom. She
lives a seemingly normal high school life, until she’s stuck with the creepy
kid Patch as a lab partner. He drives her insane, and science soon becomes her
most dreaded subject because it means she has to put up with him for an entire
hour. However, as Nora begins to learn more and more about Patch, her feelings
about him change. Patch is a fallen angel – he was put on this earth to protect
her. The closer they get, the more danger Nora seems to be in. Can he really do
what he was sent here to do, or will he fail to keep Nora safe?
I remember learning all about the historical city of Lowell, Massachusetts, in my high school history classes. Francis Cabot Lowell, the city's founder, traveled to Europe in the early 1800s to memorize the blueprint for a cotton mill, and returned to the US to build one from scratch. The city of Lowell is touted as being the first opportunity for women to escape from the family farm and make their own income. The Daring Ladies of Lowell tells the fictional story of one such mill girl.
Alice finally has a chance at independence. She recently got a job as a mill girl, and moves to Lowell to begin her new life. She soon becomes best of friends with Lovey, a spirited girl whose antics have earned her a less-than-desirable reputation in town. When mill owner's son Samuel Fiske comes to check on things at the mill, Alice catches his eye, and a whirlwind romance begins. However, it is cut short when Lovey gets murdered, and the town becomes caught up in turmoil and scandal. Alice has to choose between her loyalties to Samuel and the mill girls, and both options have severe consequences.
What first drew me to Shotgun Lovesongs was the fact that one of its main characters was based on Bon Iver front man Justin Vernon (a childhood friend of author Nickolas Butler). However, I soon got sucked into the story because of the beautiful writing and the author's gift of describing Midwestern small-town life to a T.Four close-knit high school friends reconvene many years later in their hometown of Little Wing, Wisconsin, to attend a wedding. Kip, the groom, is a hotshot business executive in Chicago, Lee is an indie musician who made it big, Ronny is a bronco rider who is left slightly brain damaged by a rodeo accident, and Henry is a dairy farmer who never left Little Wing. This is definitely a must read for this summer.
Nickolas Butler is going to be at the store for an event this summer - lucky us! Click here for your ticket.
debut novel, The Thirteenth Tale, is
one of my all-time favorites. I couldn't wait to read her follow-up, Bellman and Black, and it did not
William Bellman, in a lapse of boyhood judgment, kills
a crow with his slingshot. At the moment, he can only think about how his peers
will look up to his mastering of the ultimate 13-year-old weapon, but the
consequences of such an act will follow him until the day he dies. Dark,
twisted, and mysterious, Bellman and
Black will be a title that I recommend for years.
Harry was struck by lightning as a kid - sort of. The aftermath left him with scars all over his body and incredibly low self-esteem. Things seem hopeless for Harry, until he meets Johnny. Charismatic, popular, and natural born-leader, Johnny takes Harry under his wing and declares him his best friend. The boys survive middle school and high school together, and in an effort to prevent their friendship from falling apart once they go away to college, Harry suggests that the rag-tag band he created with Johnny tour the country during their last summer together. Written as a college admissions essay, this novel was unique and heart-warming. Perfect for music lovers and all those who ever wanted to be in a band.
Usually, assigned readings for school are simply things you read and try your best to understand – rarely are they books you sincerely enjoy and even rarer do you recommend them to other people.
However, A Small Place is an exception. Jamaica Kincaid grew up in Antigua, an island known only for its tourist attraction, but, in fact, holds much more. Kincaid discusses the pervasive problems her island has, as well as the distaste she has towards tourists, and the pride she holds toward her homeland. This book made me rethink how I travel and to look beneath the surface of the countries we often see as simply resorts. Enlightening!
This past semester, the program I'm in at
Michigan State University held a marathon read. Yep – we sat in a circle and
read out loud to each other from cover to cover. The book this year was White
Noise, and it was fantastic! We were frequently in hysterics and often had
to pause to wipe tears of laughter from our eyes. White Noise overarchingly addresses the topic of death and
its immanency, in the most light-hearted way possible.
Another dystopian novel – surprise! However,
this is something that hasn't been done before. On the bus on the way to
school, a massive hailstorm strikes, forcing the children to take refuge in a
local super mart. When dangerous chemicals are released into the air, they seal
off all entrances and try to find a way to survive on their own. This was a
fast paced and thrilling read perfect for those thirsty for the next big thing!
Usually, assigned readings for school are simply things you read and try your best to understand – rarely are they books you sincerely enjoy, and even rarer do you recommend them to people.
However, A Small Place is an exception. Jamaica Kincaid grew up in Antigua, an island known only for its tourist attraction, but in fact holds much more. Kincaid discusses the pervasive problems her island has, as well as the distaste she has toward tourists, and the pride she holds toward her homeland. This book made me rethink how I travel and to look beneath the surface of the countries we often see as simply resorts. Enlightening!
I was summoned back to my childhood with this one! Although this is a new series and I never had the chance to read it when I was a horse crazy preteen, I read plenty of horse series. The Horse Diaries - Elska is about an Icelandic pony's adventures through her life, everything from being born to being trained how to ride, sold away from her owner and saving a young girl from a river. It's such a feel good story and the perfect series to give to any horse crazy kid – and they're great because they all teach something about history, and they have an index and fun facts in the back to teach you even more!
Parker Frost is a descendant of Robert Frost – at
least that's what her eccentric poet dad claims. Parker is the good girl
in school – valedictorian, does all of her homework, 8 hours of sleep every
night, never, EVER, skips class – until she stumbles upon the
journal of Julianna Farnetti. Julianna, along with her boyfriend Shane, drove
off a bridge a few nights after they graduated from high school and were never
seen again. That was ten years ago, and the chance to learn about the
mythical girl who died in 'star-crossed lover' fashion is too good for Parker
to pass up. And so begins a rebellious time, the last few months before
graduation where Parker is willing to do whatever it takes (including skipping
class – more than once!) to solve the mystery of Julianna Farnetti. This
was a fast-paced read, and I especially loved all the Robert Frost epigraphs at
the beginning of each chapter. Fabulous!
read just about every "dystopian-end of the world-apocalypse" book I
could get my hands on, but this one is very different from all the rest. The
Age of Miracles is about Julia, an eleven-year-old growing up in
California. One day, without anyone noticing, the Earth's axis tilts slightly and only a few days later do people start to realize that days are getting longer.
There's a slew of environmental and climactic effects, as well as
economic and political turmoil. The most interesting aspect of this book,
however, is the fact that the story is being told to you by an eleven-year-old,
and it's fascinating to see how she reacts to a drastically changing world.
This was a fabulous read!
I love reading all the new picture books that we get in the store – and I especially love when they make me laugh out loud! Cousin Irv From Mars was one of those books. Teddy is horribly disappointed when his cousin Irv visits from Mars. He spends too much time in the bathroom, eats everything in sight, and he snores. Cousin Irv could not get on Teddy's nerves more, until, one day, Irv takes Teddy to school and starts vaporizing his schoolwork. Seriously, how cool is that? This is a snarky, laugh out loud book that both kids and adults will love.
I've always loved Sedaris' laugh-out-loud essay memoirs, and I've heard such fabulous things about his audiobooks (which he reads himself), so I decided to give it a try! His latest is filled with classic Sedaris wit and perfectly delivered one-liners. The way in which he reads his book kept my mom and I laughing when very little could even coax a smile out of us. This is the perfect choice for a summer road trip!
Lemony Snicket has produced yet another brilliant children's book in The Dark. Laszlo was, like many other children, afraid of the dark – especially the dark that lived in the basement. The one place that the dark never visits is Laszlo's room – until his night light burns out. Instead of taking advantage of the situation and scaring Laszlo, the dark assists him in fixing his night light and removing the dark from his room. This is a great book for any kid who is scared of the dark – no matter how old they are!