October Staff Picks
In the Company of Witches by Auralee Wallace
Recommended by Rebecca
When a guest dies in the B&B she helps her aunts run, a young witch must rely on some good old-fashioned investigating to clear her aunt’s name in this magical and charming new cozy mystery.
For four hundred years, the Warren witches have used their magic to quietly help the citizens of the sleepy New England town of Evenfall thrive. There’s never been a problem they couldn’t handle. But then Constance Graves–a local known for being argumentative and demanding–dies while staying at the bed and breakfast Brynn Warren maintains with her aunts. At first, it seems like an accident…but it soon becomes clear that there’s something more sinister at work, and Aunt Nora is shaping up to be the prime suspect.
There’s nothing Brynn wants more than to prove Nora’s innocence, and it hurts her to know that even two years ago that might have been easier. Brynn, after all, is a witch of the dead–a witch who can commune with ghosts. Ghosts never remember much about their deaths, but Constance might remember something about her life that would help crack the case. But Brynn hasn’t used her powers since her husband died, and isn’t even sure she still can. Brynn will just have to hope that her aunts’ magic and her own investigative skills will lead her to answers–and maybe back to the gift she once thought herself ready to give up forever.
Available as a book,and e-audio.
The Good, The Bad, and The Spooky by Jory John
Recommended by Denise
When Bad Seed cannot find an amazing costume for Halloween night, he postpones trick-or-treating for everyone else until he finds the perfect one.
Yelloface by R. F. Kuang
Recommended by Hope
Authors June Hayward and Athena Liu were supposed to be twin rising stars. But Athena’s a literary darling. June Hayward is literally nobody. Who wants stories about basic white girls, June thinks.
So when June witnesses Athena’s death in a freak accident, she acts on impulse: she steals Athena’s just-finished masterpiece, an experimental novel about the unsung contributions of Chinese laborers during World War I.
So what if June edits Athena’s novel and sends it to her agent as her own work? So what if she lets her new publisher rebrand her as Juniper Song—complete with an ambiguously ethnic author photo? Doesn’t this piece of history deserve to be told, whoever the teller? That’s what June claims, and the New York Times bestseller list seems to agree.
But June can’t get away from Athena’s shadow, and emerging evidence threatens to bring June’s (stolen) success down around her. As June races to protect her secret, she discovers exactly how far she will go to keep what she thinks she deserves.
With its totally immersive first-person voice, Yellowface grapples with questions of diversity, racism, and cultural appropriation, as well as the terrifying alienation of social media. R.F. Kuang’s novel is timely, razor-sharp, and eminently readable.
Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Young Adult Sci-Fi
Recommended by Sarah
The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the academy would touch . . .
A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass tech whiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger-management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering
And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem–that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline cases, and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.
September Staff Picks
Vacationland by Meg Mitchell Moore
Recommended by Hope
Louisa has come to her parents’ house in Maine this summer with all three of her kids, a barely written book, and a trunkful of resentment. Left behind in Brooklyn is her husband, who has promised that after this final round of fundraising at his startup he will once again pick up his share of the household responsibilities. Louisa is hoping that the crisp breeze off Penobscot Bay will blow away the irritation she is feeling with her life choices and replace it with enthusiasm for both her family and her work. But all isn’t well in Maine. Louisa’s father, a retired judge and pillar of the community, is suffering from Alzheimer’s. Louisa’s mother is alternately pretending everything is fine and not pretending at all. And one of Louisa’s children happens upon a very confusing and heartfelt letter referring to something Louisa doesn’t think her father could possibly have done. Louisa’s not the only one searching for something in Maine this summer. Kristie took the Greyhound bus from Pennsylvania with one small suitcase, $761, and a lot of baggage. She’s got a past she’s trying to outrun, a secret she’s trying to unpack, and a new boyfriend who’s so impossibly kind she can’t figure out what she did to deserve him. But she can’t keep her various lives from colliding forever. As June turns to July turns to August, secrets will be unearthed, betrayals will come to light, and both Louisa and Kristie will ask themselves what they are owed and what they owe others.
Don’t Let Her Stay by Nicola Sanders
Recommended by Rebecca
Joanne knows how lucky she is-Richard is a wonderful husband, Evie is the most gorgeous baby girl, they live in a beautiful house-life couldn’t be better. But then Richard’s twenty-year-old daughter Chloe turns up. Chloe hasn’t spoken to her father since the day he married Joanne two years ago. But with the arrival of her baby sister Evie, Chloe wants to make peace. Richard is delighted, and since Joanne is struggling with the new baby, he suggests Chloe could move in and help. It sounds like the perfect solution, even if Chloe doesn’t seem to like Joanne very much. But Joanne understands it’s not easy for her, and she’s prepared to give her time. But then things happen that make Joanne feel like she’s losing her mind. She misplaces things, misses important appointments, gets dates wrong…
Could Joanne be going mad, just like her own mother? Or is something more sinister happening? Is Chloe really here to help? Or has Joanne made a terrible mistake by letting her move in? And is it too late to ask her to leave?
Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult
Recommended by Kris
Olivia McAfee knows what it feels like to start over. Her picture-perfect life-living in Boston, married to a brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon, raising a beautiful son, Asher-was upended when her husband revealed a darker side. She never imagined she would end up back in her sleepy New Hampshire hometown, living in the house she grew up in, and taking over her father’s beekeeping business. Lily Campanello is familiar with do-overs, too. When she and her mom relocate to Adams, New Hampshire, for her final year of high school, they both hope it will be a fresh start. And for just a short while, these new beginnings are exactly what Olivia and Lily need. Their paths cross when Asher falls for the new girl in school, and Lily can’t help but fall for him, too. With Ash, she feels happy for the first time. Yet at times, she wonders if she can she trust him completely . . .
Then one day, Olivia receives a phone call: Lily is dead, and Asher is being questioned by the police. Olivia is adamant that her son is innocent. But she would be lying if she didn’t acknowledge the flashes of his father’s temper in him, and as the case against him unfolds, she realizes he’s hidden more than he’s shared with her.
The Cool Bean by Jory John and Pete Oswald
Children’s Picture Book
Recommended by Denise
Everyone knows the cool beans. They’re sooooo cool. And then there’s the uncool has-bean … Always on the sidelines, one bean unsuccessfully tries everything he can to fit in with the crowd–until one day the cool beans show him how it’s done.
The Rise of Kyoshi by F. C. Lee
Young Adult Fantasy
Recommended by Sarah
In continuing the all-thriller, no-filler nature of the wider Avatar: The Last Airbender franchise, this book is worlds better than your average TV tie-in. Exploring for the first time the adventures of one of Aang’s previous incarnations, The Rise of Kyoshi deepens your knowledge of the world of Avatar and tells a terrific story to boot. In this story, you find out where the legendary founder of the Kyoshi Warriors came from and meet a wonderful new cast of characters to capture your heart. And even if you don’t know the Earth Kingdom from the Water Tribe, The Rise of Kyoshi is a rousing story of a young woman coming of age in a rich, convincing world.