Winter Reads

There’s something about cold weather and dark nights that make me want to find a book full of snow and curl up on the couch. If you feel the same, check out one of these recent titles.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden – In early 1900s Russia, young Vasya roams her father’s rural estate on the edge of the forest, communing with the spirits of her house and woods. When her father remarries, her devout stepmother Anna prohibits the family from practicing the rites that honor the household spirits. As the town priest supports Anna and the townfolk follow their lead, the helpful spirits weaken and the frost-king returns, with only Vasya capable of helping. Continue reading “Winter Reads”

New fiction roundup – January 2019

Did you set a reading resolution to start the new year? If you’re looking for books to get you started, here are a crop of titles coming out in January – from explorations of near-future societies, to eerie short stories, to picaresque adventures and mystery, there’s a little something for everyone.

1/8: An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks – When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave. But as the study morphs into real life situations, Jess realizes she may have told her secrets to the wrong person… A Peak Pick! Continue reading “New fiction roundup – January 2019”

Heist Fantasy: Magic, Action & Adventure

I have realized that some of my favorite recent fantasy reads have featured an elaborate heist adventure at the center of the story. Heist fantasies offer the magic, action and adventure that will keep you turning pages while they also feature characters on the margins of society, grifters and scrappy survivors whose struggles and high-stakes schemes and scrapes propel the narrative. While these fantasies offer characters you will root for, they present the thrill and danger of life lived on a knife’s edge. Here are some examples of heist fantasies I enjoyed:

image of book cover for Six of CrowsLeigh Bardugo’s teen fantasy duology Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom introduce a motley cast of characters led by Kaz, a mysterious young man known as Dirtyhands who masterminds a den of thieves in Ketterdam’s Dregs. While the characters are teens, this is a dark fantasy world of deep class distinctions and the youth in Kaz’s crew have all encountered very adult, traumatic events in their lives. Their mistreatment by the world bonds them as they undergo a suicide mission trying to break out a man with valuable secrets from the most heavily guarded stronghold in the land. Continue reading “Heist Fantasy: Magic, Action & Adventure”

Rick Riordan Presents

In early 2017, acclaimed author Rick Riordan, of Percy Jackson fame, announced he would be leading an imprint from Disney, with the goal of publishing “great books by middle grade authors from underrepresented cultures and backgrounds, to let them tell their own stories inspired by the mythology and folklore of their own heritage.”

He had been constantly asked by fans of Percy Jackson or the Kane Chronicles, “Will you ever write about Hindu mythology? What about Native American? What about Chinese?” Riordan could have easily written books about those topics, but instead decided to use his privilege to lift up the voices of those he could have just as easily overshadowed. Rick Riordan Presents leverages his position and experience to help put a spotlight on writers “who are actually from those cultures and know the mythologies better than I do. Let them tell their own stories, and I would do whatever I could to help those books find a wide audience.”

Thus far, two books have been released:

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Twelve-year-old Aru Shah lives with her archaeologist mom at the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture in Atlanta. She hangs out in Spider-Man pjs, dreams of spending more time with her always-traveling mom, and really wants to impress her private school classmates. After lighting a supposedly cursed lamp in the museum, Aru frees an ancient demon whose job is to awaken the God of Destruction. People start freezing in place, and things don’t look great for Aru. Clearly in over her head, Aru must locate the other reincarnations of the legendary Pandava brothers, journey into the Kingdom of Death (& Costco), acquire some magical weapons, and eventually save the world! Continue reading “Rick Riordan Presents”

A trio of novels for Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month, a time designated to honor the histories, cultures, and contributions – historical and ongoing – of American Indians and Alaska Natives. You can check out a booklist of novels by Native American authors published in the past five years in our catalog. Highlighted here are three outstanding novels from 2018.

Book cover image for Where the Dead Sit TalkingWhere the Dead Sit Talking by Brandon Hobson is narrated by Sequoyah as he looks back on 1989, the year he was 15. That year, after his mother is sent to jail on a drug charge, Sequoyah finds himself in foster care with the Troutts, alongside another Native American foster kid, Rosemary. He reflects back on his friendship with Rosemary, the strangeness of that time, and the way it contributed to who he became. A masterful coming-of-age novel. Shortlisted for the National Book Award. Continue reading “A trio of novels for Native American Heritage Month”