Book Bites: Bed of Proses

Not to sound like a broken record over here, but it's been the same story for weeks: It's way too hot outside to do much of anything except lounge around with a cold beverage and a stack of new books. This week, we're serving up a refreshing mix of cozy mysteries, romance, middle grade, and more to help keep your mind off of the 100+ degree heat. Stop by and see us if you need to freshen up your shelf — the shop A/C is marvelously cool, and we can't wait to talk books with you.

Ages 4-8

When Rubin Plays by Gracey Zhang

Rubin loves the sounds made by his local orchestra and wants to learn to play the violin.  When it's clear that his playing is less than perfect, he fervently practices under a vibrant forest. Once there, he finds a unique audience that boosts his confidence. A reminder to us all to keep our creative souls shining — and that you don't have to play perfectly to be a musician. 
— Cathy & Liz

Read because this is another winner from one of our favorite up-and-coming picture book creators. 
Pass if you don't believe in the power of words or the power of music.
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The Worry Balloon by Monica Mancillas

As the first day of school nears for Isla, her worries grow. With the help of her mom, she learns how to leave her worries behind and remembers that there is nothing she can't handle. A perfect read for back to school!
— Ayah

Read because this is a sweet and sensitive story with a powerful message for anxious young readers.
Pass if you're in denial that back-to-school season truly is right around the corner.
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Ages 8-12

The Bellwood Game by Celia Krampien

Ever since Abigail Snook disappeared in the woods years ago, the 6th graders at Beckett Elementary play the Bellwoods game every Halloween. Three are chosen to race through the woods and ring the bell to protect the town for another year, but they must bring something to sacrifice if they are caught by Abigail's ghost. The one who finally rings the bell and wins the game is said to be granted a wish. This year, it's finally Bailee's turn to play, and she is determined to win and make a wish for things to return to normal in her life. After a health scare with her grandmother, she was seen speaking to the principal and disappearing for the rest of the day, and the kids at school all thought she had turned in her friend Fen before he attempted a dangerous stunt in the woods. She must race against her former friends and the evil spirit in the woods to ring the bell, protect the town, and hopefully clear her name and get her friends back.
— Aerie

Read because this is a high-stakes, atmospheric thrill ride. What's not to love?
Pass if you're saving all your creepiest reads for October.
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Adult Fiction

Charlotte Illes Is Not a Detective by Katie Siegel

Charlotte is a former famous child detective, but is now in her 20s and feeling more than lost. Hiding from her best friends and brother because she feels like they are more successful than she is, and embarrassed by her lack of direction in life, she is struggling. Her brother and her friends concoct a plan to lure her to them for a visit by coming up with a mystery she needs to solve. When she arrives, everyone finds out there's a real mystery for Charlotte to solve, one involving a missing employee trying to help unionize the workers against the management's wishes. Will Charlotte be able to dust off her detective skills and let her friends and family back into her life?
— Aerie

Read because this is a delightful story perfect for those of us who grew up loving Nancy Drew or Harriet the Spy.
Pass if the biggest mystery in your life is your bad taste in books.
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To Have and to Heist by Sara Desai

When Simi receives a panicky call from her best friend, Chloe, she knows she must help her. Chloe is being accused of stealing a $25 million necklace and the only way to clear her name is to steal it back from the true criminal. There is no better person to help than Jack, another criminal lurking in the museum garden, who also planned to steal the necklace. With both eyes set on one target, Simi and Jack unite to plan a heist. A fun and engaging two-in-one novel for fans of romance and cozy mysteries!
— Ayah

Read because this rom-com caper has shades of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Ocean's Eleven.
Pass if you tend to avoid fun romps with multiple starred reviews.
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Business or Pleasure by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Chandler Cohen is a ghostwriter who has just attended a signing for her latest book. Unfortunately, the author does not recognize Chandler's name which makes her feel bummed out after all the work and communication she put into the book. Deciding to get a drink at the shop's bar, she meets a guy, who she discovers is here on business. Suddenly, Chandler finds herself offering him a tour of the city before they head to his place for a one night stand. What she didn't expect was to have a horrible experience, and she had to quietly walk out once he was asleep. As she tries to put the previous day behind her, Chandler receives a last minute meeting opportunity to ghostwrite for actor, Finn Walsh. What she does not expect is to find last night's hookup waiting for her when she arrives. Tempted to pass up the opportunity, she realizes this is a good deal that she cannot afford to miss. It begins as a professional deal but quickly picks up as they discuss the big elephant in the room. A steamy romance that is worth a read!
— Ayah

Read because this Indie Next List pick is all kinds of flirty fun.
Pass if you're looking for a chemistry-free, sex-negative snooze fest.
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You, With a View by Jessica Joyce

A charming love story that focuses on Noelle as she tries to learn as much as possible about her grandmother's past lover. She never expected this journey to reunite her with Theo, her high school nemesis, or taking a road trip with him and his grandfather. Full of banter, mixed emotions, and spice. Recommended!
— Ayah

Read if you love Ali Hazelwood or Rachel Lynn Solomon.
Pass if you're the one person on the planet who doesn't enjoy the reluctant-roadtrip-companions trope.
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The Summer of Songbirds by Kristy Woodson Harvey

This precious book tells the story of three friends, Daphne, Lanier and Mary Stuart, who met as songbirds as the age of six and how their friendship in their 30s is just as strong. The camp they love is in financial crisis so they set out to raise money and save their beloved safe place. In the midst of their saving the camp campaign, first loves that got away are questioned, demons from the past rise up and try to take hold, and their love for each other holds them together as they continue to do the “hard things” for each other. Great strong female characters who lift each other up not knock them down. Woodson Harvey’s new book causes readers to remember the magic of summer camp with best friends made and first loves. This is cherry on top as far as books that make you feel warm and fuzzy go! Loved it!
— Christina

Read because nothing can beat a good sleepaway camp story.
Pass if it's just too hot to think about anything warm and fuzzy right now.
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Ripe by Sarah Rose Etter

Cassie has left behind a life of verbal and physical abuse from her parents and ascended to the enviable Silicon Valley start up life. But all is not what it is made out to be — life in San Francisco is impossibly expensive, she works long hours, has few friends, and the black hole that has followed her for her whole life seems to beckon her to let go and disappear into its depths. Resorting to using drugs to keep up with the pace of work, she is asked to do the unthinkable by her mercurial boss while facing a life-changing decision outside of work. A dark and compulsively readable look at the tech start up world, the stark line between the wealthy and the growing unhoused population of the Bay Area, and the lies we tell the outside world to blend in.
— Aerie

Read because this is another sharp, bingeable read from the author of The Book of X.
Pass if the cover of this one is making you hungry.
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Mrs. Plansky's Revenge by Spencer Quinn

Mrs. Loretta Plansky is a recent widow in her seventies living in Florida and settling into retirement, keeping busy with her elderly father, children and grandchildren. Aside from missing her husband, an occasional lapse in memory, and a hip that reminds her it has been replaced, she manages her affairs well and plays a mean game of tennis at the club. Late one night she receives a phone call, from a caller claiming to be her grandson Will, who desperately needs her help — he has gotten a DUI and needs money get out of jail. Loretta is happy to help, supplying her bank account number and password. By morning she discovers she has been scammed, and has been completely cleaned out. When the local officials offer little hope in recovering her funds, she decide to take the investigation on herself.
— Jean

Read because this is a delicious series-starter from a mystery master.
Pass if you prefer dull and unmemorable heroines.
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The Bookbinder by Pip Williams

Twin sisters Peggy and Maude Jones live together on a narrow boat in Oxford and work in the bindery at the Oxford University Press in England. Daughters of an unwed mother who died at a young age, they are alone in the world except for a few close friends and neighbors. Maude has some intellectual challenges and speaks only in echoes of what has been said to her. Peggy longs for more, to be able to read the books she can only bind, and to continue her education at the prestigious college across the street from where she works. Her responsibility for Maude and her station in life (a “Town” vs a “Gown”) keep her from these goals. When World War I breaks out and men leave for war, new possibilities emerge. Peggy’s role as a volunteer at the hospital leads to romance with a wounded Belgian soldier named Bastiaan, a Belgium refugee named Lotte provides relief as a companion for Maude, and a friendship with fellow volunteer Gwen, a young woman with a privileged background, opens doors for Peggy at Oxford’s Somerville College.
— Jean

Read because this is a great piece of historical fiction that doubles as an ode to the power of books.
Pass if you need to catch up on Williams's earlier companion book, The Dictionary of Lost Words
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Adult Nonfiction

Random Acts of Medicine by Anupam B. Jena and Christopher Worsham

An informational and thought-provoking look into the data collected in various studies that help explain why certain groups/individuals are more likely to catch the flu, the chances of surviving a heart attack during annual heart conferences, and much more.
— Ayah

Read because this is entertaining and eye-opening in equal measure.
Pass if you prefer to think that the American health care system functions with flawless efficiency and optimal care.
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