Staff Picks

The Secret Language of Stones: a novel (Daughters of La Lune)

Summary: 
This new novel by M.J. Rose is set in Paris in the summer of 1918, as the first World War rages in Europe and the monarchy in Russia is deposed. Part of a series of novels featuring the daughters of La Lune, a 16th century courtesan and witch - the main character of this story is Opaline Duplessi, a young woman who has apprenticed herself with a Russian jeweler who once worked with the famous artist Faberge. Like her mother, Opaline has the gift of second sight, in her case a form of lithomancy which allows her to translate the energy emanating from precious stones to receive messages from people who have passed on to other realms. This story is filled with romance, mystery and magic, with lots of suspense and a very happy ending.

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Dreaming the Eagle

Summary: 
This is the first in the series about the life of Boudica, the Celtic queen of the Iceni, one of the many such tribes that lived in first century England. She became the last defender of the Celtic culture; the only woman openly to have led her warriors into battle; the only British warrior to have stood against the might of Imperial Rome -- and triumphed. Manda Scott weaves an intricate story of Boudica's life, how she became a Warrior of the Iceni and of the two men in her life: Caradoc, outstanding warrior and inspirational leader; and her half-brother Ban, Roman captive, slave auxiliary and Dreamer - the Druid whose eventual return to the Celts is Boudica's salvation. This book begins in 33AD with Boudica , in her teens becoming a woman and a warrior and finishes 10 years later, fighting the legions of Emperor Claudius' Roman legions. While this book is historical fiction, it is more fiction than history, primarily because there were no written records by the Celtic tribes at time-- only Roman records, that would be biased toward their cause. It was however a good read, especially when the battles began.

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The Messenger

Summary: 
Gabriel Allon—art restorer and spy—is about to face the greatest challenge of his life. An al-Qaeda suspect is killed in London, and photographs are found on his computer—photographs that lead Israeli intelligence to suspect that al-Qaeda is planning one of its most audacious attacks ever, aimed straight at the heart of the Vatican. Monsignor Luigi Donati is the private secretary to His Holiness Pope Paul VII. A young Swiss guard has been found dead in St. Peter's Basilica, and although Donati has allowed the official inquiry to determine that it is suicide, his instinct tells him that it is murder-and that his master is in grave danger. Allon and his colleagues soon find themselves in a deadly duel of wits against one of the most dangerous men in the world—a hunt that will take them across Europe to the Caribbean and back. But for them, there may not be enough of anything: enough time, enough facts, enough luck. Another epic fast-paced thriller from Daniel Silva....couldn't put this book down. On to the next!!!!

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The Little World of Liz Climo

Summary: 
Adorable cartoon animals and 'dad jokes' to brighten your day!

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The Witch of Painted Sorrows

Summary: 
New York Times best-selling novelist M.J. Rose published this title in her Daughters of La Lune series in March of 2015. It takes place in 1890's Belle Epoque Paris, a gothic novel like no other. This book tells the story of Sandrine Verlaine who travels from New York City to her grandmother's mansion in Paris. There she meets an architect named Julien Duplessi. Together they find and open the door to the bell tower of the mansion, which reveals an artist's studio dating back to the 16th century. As Sandrine explores the studio she finds paintings and books which inspire her to take up the life of an artist as well. Love, passion, mystery and magic - this book has it all. It is a wonder-filled thriller you will not be able to put down.

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Norse Mythology

Summary: 
For someone who has never read the Norse myths, this was a wonderful introduction. I thoroughly enjoyed Neil Gaiman's rendition of these epic tales. Gaiman reshapes these stories into a novel that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants. Once, when Thor’s hammer is stolen, Thor must disguise himself as a woman―difficult with his beard and huge appetite―to steal it back. The work culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and rebirth of a new time and people. A terrific read!!!

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Exit West

Summary: 
An astonishing portrait of migrants in the world of the not-too-distant future-- and their impact. Through an at-first puzzling, and then powerful, metaphor of "doors" Hamid minimizes physical distances crossed and emphasizes connection and the trauma of displacement. Nadia and Saeed are both fully drawn characters we grow to understand and love and also Everymigrant whose story we can only glimpse. A masterful and ultimately hopeful parable that is a heartbreaking enchantment.

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It’s What I Do

Summary: 
Intrepid Addario, who stumbled into photography without training and found her life's purpose, tells the stories of women, soldiers, and others who would otherwise be unknown, to us. And she is forthright about her own journey through her thirties in combat zones, love affairs, and family life. Her honest voice and her devotion to her life's work make this an inspiring odyssey.

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Nightbird

Summary: 
Being a big fan of Alice Hoffman's novels, I recently enjoyed reading a book she wrote for a much younger audience. "Nightbird" is a winner of the Great Stone Face Award and a thoroughly enjoyable story. In her usual manner, Hoffman blends together ordinary down-to-earth living with a sense of the magical. This story takes place in the little town of Sidwell, situated in the Berkshires. The characters include a young girl and her older brother with wings, due to an age-old curse placed by a woman who was a witch. A very easy read, (it was written for youngsters) this tale nevertheless keeps the reader riveted, eagerly going from chapter to chapter, unable to put it down because one wants to find out what will happen next. And of course it has a very happy ending!

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The Arab of the Future: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1978-1984: A Graphic Memoir

Summary: 
Through vignettes, Riad Sattouf's debut English language graphic novel: "The Arab of the Future", chronicles his nomadic childhood. The book begins in France, but soon Sattouf's father, a staunch supporter of Nasser's Pan-Arab dream, accepts a job at a university in Libya. After teaching for several years, he again uproots the family to his native Syria. I think what makes this book such a delight to read is that it goes beyond a simple cartoon diary or travelogue. Sattouf is a gifted writer/cartoonist/storyteller, taking readers somewhere deeply intimate, albeit blinded by his childhood innocence. This book was hilarious, yet deeply disturbing, insightful and timely.

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