Staff Picks

China Dolls by Lisa See

Set in 1938 in San Francisco just prior to the opening of the World’s Fair on Treasure Island three young women meet while seeking employment at the Forbidden City night club.  All three Chinese-American women come from different backgrounds, yet they find a common bond in the world of adult nightclubs.  Grace Lee has fled an abusive home in the Midwest and has no idea what it means to be Chinese.  Helen Fong lives with her extended family in Chinatown who tries to protect her reputation and disapproves of her working in the nightclub.  Ruby Tom has ambition that w

Vivian Maier: Street Photographer by Vivian Maier

Vivian Maier, a nanny to North Shore Chicago families, took more than 100,000 photos and slides over 5 decades, the majority of which were never developed. After her death in 2009, her negatives were discovered at auction by two people who became enraptured by her photography and began printing her work. Vivian’s stunning photography documents Chicago neighborhoods and faces of the 1960s and 70s. Her photographs are stunning and each one captures the stuff of everyday life.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Cadence Sinclair Easton comes from an incredibly privileged East Coast family, in which every member is blonde, beautiful, and wealthy. The Sinclairs own a private island, where all convene every summer. Cady, along with the other family “Liars,” have spent carefree, idyllic summers on the island…until the summer Cady turns fifteen. Summer 15 is filled with fun and first love, until the horrible night Cady is found alone on the beach.

The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley

This gritty and excellently written fantasy novel follows three siblings of the recently slain emperor of Annur. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. This is fantasy at its best, with great character development, plot, and world building. After the twist at the end of this book, I can't wait for the next one!

 

SF/F STAVELEY, B.  

Maleficent by Elizabeth Runick

And her name was Maleficent…   This is actually the thinly-veiled story of Sleeping Beauty told from Maleficent’s point of view.  Beginning with her idyllic childhood in the Moors, this story continues with her crush on Stefan and how he becomes king by betraying her, and then the curse she puts on his child, Aurora.

I Have a Bad Feeling About This by Jess Strand

Henry Lambert planned  a summer vacation filled with lazy days and plenty of video games. Sadly, his father doesn’t agree and makes his own plans for Henry. He thinks that two weeks at the Strongwoods Survival Camp is just what Henry needs to change him from a nerdy geek to a manly man. The only saving grace is that Henry’s best friend, Randy, has also signed on for two weeks in the bowels of wilderness hell with him.

Goodbye, Rebel Blue by Shelley Coriell

Rebecca Blue does not fit in at Del Ray high school.  Raised by her professional photographer mother, Rebecca (aka Rebel), she grew up on the road chasing the perfect photographic happenings throughout Central and South America.  When her mother is tragically killed, however, Rebel moves in with her aunt, uncle, and Cousin Pen… all of whom seem impossibly straight-laced and perfect.  The one constant in Rebel’s life is now detention, where one afternoon she connects with perky, passionate, civic-minded Kennedy Green.  For their detention assignments, the two

The Dinner by Herman Koch

It is summer in Amsterdam and trendy diners, pretentious managers, and snobby patrons create background noise for an incredibly tense dinner among two brothers and their wives.  Each couple has a fifteen year old son and together the two cousins have committed an unspeakable crime, caught on camera and broadcast on national television, with only their parents so far identifying the boys.

Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey

The outside is toxic and deadly; for generations, humankind has been confined to a massive underground silo.  Everyone must serve a purpose and is tightly regulated to make sure nothing goes to waste.  Step outside of the law, and you are sentenced to death by “cleaning”— sent outside with a suit designed to keep you alive only long enough to clean the exterior landscape cameras.  Why all those sentenced actually go through with the cleaning is a mystery to those in the Silo….  Juliette, a young woman from the mechanical division, is handpicked t

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

Mr. Lemoncello, the world famous game maker, has designed a fabulous,high-tech new library for his home town.  He’s also having a lock-in with the twelve children in town who win his essay contest, “Why I’m excited about the new Public Library.” Kyle Keely, average guy, loves Mr. Lemoncello’s games, and really wants to win; but his brief essay, “Because there might be balloons,” seems like a loser.

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