Blogs

Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors

Katrina is a self-described ordinary teenage girl (yeah, she's a bit hard on herself), but when she leaves some leftover pastries and coffee for the handsome homeless guy she finds sleeping in the alley behind her grandmother's struggling coffee shop, her hitherto boring life becomes a series of unexpected wacky events and emotions. It turns out that “homeless” guy is actually a teenage guardian angel on a break, and he’s determined to repay Katrina’s kindness by granting her heart’s deepest wish. Now, if she could only figure out what that is.

How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature by Scott D. Sampson

“Dr. Scott the Paleontologist” from PBS Kids’ Dinosaur Train has written a great guide for parents, grandparents, teachers, and caregivers to help kids get outdoors! Kids today spend up to ninety percent less time outdoors than their parents did. With all of the emotional and social benefits kids receive from getting out into nature, Dr. Scott emphasizes the importance of our role as adults in getting kids the outdoor time they need. 

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man who Left Newark for the Ivy League by Jeff Hobbs

A fascinating look at the life of Robert Peace, a young black man born to a poor single mother in Newark who worked hard and graduated from Yale with a degree in microbiology. Yet he ends up dead in a drug-related shooting. How could this have happened? The author, Rob’s Yale roommate, offers us a look at the lure of drugs and money even to the smartest in the class. Book discussion groups will find lots to talk about.

Biography PEACE, R. 

Descent by Timothy Johnston

A distressing phone call from local law enforcement propels Grant and Angela Courtland bedside to fifteen-year old son, Sean, injured during an accident during a family vacation to the Rocky Mountains. At the hospital, the Courtland’s learn Sean’s injuries are the result of an early morning hit-and-run; though, even worse, is the news that eighteen-year old daughter, Caitlin, is missing. Sean, meanwhile, groggy from surgery, remembers almost nothing about the accident besides biking behind Caitlin jogging the trail.

A Fireproof Home for the Bride by Amy Scheibe

A genre defying novel, this story’s premise is the spiritual and emotional awakening of 18-year-old Emmy growing up in 1950s Minnesota. Emmy lives on a rural farm in a conservative Lutheran family outside Minneapolis. Her mother is a harsh taskmistress; her father is kind but distant. Emmy’s mother has forced her into an engagement to Ambrose, a stern man 10 years her senior whose family owns the farm next door.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.A. Schwabe

For years, the doors between worlds have been closed to all except a few, including Kell, whose magic allows him to travel to and from the different Londons occupying these worlds. When Kell acquires a magical artifact from a dangerous world long sealed off from the others, he and a rogue thief named Lila set out on a desperate journey to protect their worlds from treachery and dark magic. 

SF/F SCHWAB, V. 

The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp

Nighttime travelling in mid-19th century England is risky thanks to highwaymen. One in particular, Whistling Jack, has become quite notorious with a large bounty on his head. Kit Bristol, a former circus stunt rider and current servant to Master Rattle, wakes in the middle of the night to discover his master fatally injured, dressed as Whistling Jack, and the authorities close on his heels. To draw them away, Kit costumes himself as the highwayman and takes off on his master’s horse, Midnight.

Permadeath

In the 1999 action film The Matrix, our protagonist Neo is awakened from the computer-simulated reality of the Matrix into a desolate world ruled by machines. The only way to fight back is by infiltrating the Matrix with his liberator and mentor, Morpheus. Before Neo’s first expedition into the Matrix, Morpheus famously warns him that his actions in the digital reality have real-world consequences: “If you die in the Matrix, you die in real life.”

Some Luck by Jane Smiley

Beginning in 1920 and covering a span of thirty years, this novel tells the story of Rosanna and Walter Langdon raising their family on a farm in Denby, Iowa. During these thirty years much social and economic change has drastically affected life in America. Smiley has a true sense of family life in a small town on a farm and she develops her characters in a realistic way going through real-life events and consequences. This novel is the first in a trilogy that will span 100 years of the Langdon families’ stories.

Fiction SMILEY, J.

San Miguel by T. C. Boyle

While many books focus on a compelling character or family, this novel revolves around a particular place – a tiny, windswept island off the coast of California. Beginning in the 1880s and then shifting to the 1930s, Boyle traces the lives of two families that inhabit San Miguel, people in search of freedom and escape from sometimes troubled pasts. In addition to a stark and captivating place, this memorable tale offers compelling characters, heartbreaking circumstances, and the beautiful storytelling that readers have come to expect of T. C. Boyle. 

The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick

In this brilliant new novel from Printz-award winner Marcus Sedgwick, four short stories center on the theme of spirals. The spiral shape is fascinating for its repetition in history and nature, and for its perfect mathematical ratios. In the prehistoric era, a young girl draws the spiral shape in the dirt and on the wall of a cave to create magic, recognizing the form as one found in snail shells and fern fronds. The same form proves ominous for an 18th century young woman who is accused of witchcraft.

Redeployment by Phil Klay

An award-winning, powerful collection of stories that tackle the many difficult struggles (moral, psychological and physical) our American soldiers faced during deployment and upon their return home post-war. An affecting, strong addition to the unique body of literature centering around the military experience in Iraq and  Afghanistan. 

Fiction KLAY, P.

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

While we know the story—a German submarine sunk the large cruise ship Lusitania on May 7, 1915 leaving 1,198 people dead—there are still many questions being asked about it one hundred years later. Did the British Navy know about the submarine and still allow the ship to sail near it unescorted? Were there munitions on board the Lusitania? Why did it take only 18 minutes to sink?

Tesla's Attic by Neal Shusterman

Nick’s family moves to Colorado Springs, into a new home.  The attic is full of clutter and Nick decides to have a garage sale to make space for a bedroom.  After he sells all the items, Nick learns they have strange powers and a sinister group of scientists wants them back.  It’s up to Nick and his friends to get the stuff out of the wrong hands so they can figure out exactly what power this mismatched pile of junk holds.