Book Bites: Extra, Extra!

Folks, the shipments of new books are coming in fast and thick, so we're back ahead of schedule with another batch of staff reviews highlighting a more of our recent favorites that have hit our shelves in the last... 20 minutes or so. There's something below for everyone — sweet read-alouds, gripping YA, rom-coms, thrillers, and weighty nonfiction. Grab a stack and dig in — quick, before another new shipment arrives and we do this all over again!

Ages 4-8

Every Dreaming Creature by Brendan Wenzel

Brendan Wenzel returns with a gorgeous picture book celebrating the interconnectedness of the natural world. This is a perfect book for bedtime or to celebrate the world around us!
— Cathy

Read because this stunner might just become your new nighttime ritual.
Pass if you'd like to be the last to know about this classic-in-the-making.
Order Your Copy 
Attend Our Event with the author on October 4!

Something, Someday by Amanda Gorman; illustrated by Christian Robinson

This stunning picture book comes from two rock stars: Amanda Gorman and Christian Robinson. A little boy is sad about a patch of dirt outside his apartment building where people throw trash. He is determined to clean it up and plant flowers. He says that he knows that small ideas can turn into good things. With the help of friends, he brings a spot of joy to the sidewalk.
— Valerie

Read because this inspiring picture book respects and empowers its young readers.
Pass if you've been inspired to action just from reading this book's description.
Order Your Copy

Ages 8-12

Oliver's Great Big Universe by Jorge Cham

Oliver is starting middle school and wants to be an astrophysicist one day. This is the book Oliver is writing, part chapter book, part graphic novel, making observations from middle school life and tying it to explaining a scientific fact or theory about outer space or astrophysics. A cute, STEM-focused book for young readers ready to learn more about our universe.
— Aerie

Read if you're looking for your next obsession after tearing through all the Wimpy Kid books.
Pass if you think that middle school and the cosmos don't have any kind of mystery at all.
Order Your Copy

Ages 12 & up

Thieves' Gambit by Kayvion Lewis

A highly recommended debut for fans of The Hunger Games and The Inheritance Games. When Rosalyn (Ross) Quest tries to abandon her family for a taste of life outside of her family, she finds everything going wrong. Ross helps her mom plan their next heist in addition to her hidden escape to run away. Things fail and her mom is held captive with a ransom of one billion dollars. With no other option, Ross finds herself joining the Thieves' Gambit. The winner is granted one wish and Ross is determined to earn it. Will she be able to stick to the number one rule: trust no one? 
— Ayah

Read if you're looking for a twisty, propulsive book to binge in one sitting.
Pass if you have plans in an hour — once you start, you won't want to put this one down!
Order Your Copy

Adult Fiction 

You, Again by Kate Goldbeck

Stand-up comedienne Ari and master chef Josh start everything out on the wrong foot when John unexpectedly arrives to cook dinner for his girlfriend and finds annoying roommate Ari there instead. Fast forward several years and a few infuriating encounters later, and Josh and Ari are both nursing their wounds after serious heartbreaks. A chance meeting leads them to finding real friendship with each other, getting over their break ups and forming a real bond. But when sparks begin to fly, both become spooked — can they both heal their hearts and give themselves a chance at finding something real? Inspired by When Harry Met Sally, this snarky and witty rom com will keep you turning the pages and rooting for the main characters.
— Aerie

Read if you schedule your entire autumn social calendar around your annual viewing of When Harry Met Sally.
Pass if you prefer rooting against a novel's protagonists.
Order Your Copy

Night Watch by Jayne Anne Phillips

The new state of West Virginia is still slowly recovering from the Civil War in 1874 when a young girl named ConaLee and her physically and mentally traumatized mother are taken by a Confederate veteran con man to the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. ConaLee pretends to be her mother's maid so she can stay. She has taken care of her mother for the past year or so since the aforementioned Confederate vet turned up at their mountain home and began abusing them. ConaLee's father had joined the Union army as a sharpshooter and the two have not heard from him since 1864, but in a jump back to 1964, we learn his story. The title of the novel refers to the wounded Civil War veteran who has served as the night watchman at the Asylum for the several years prior to 1874. His story and that of ConaLee and her mother merge in a final tragic denouement. Phillips focuses on the history of the Asylum and includes actual photographs and documents from this time period. Especially fascinating is the list of maladies for which inmates were admitted, including "hysteria, asthma, laziness, religious enthusiasm, dissolute habits, vicious vices, women trouble." Recommended.

Read because anything that gets the coveted "recommended" from Alice is well worth your time.
Pass if you don't mind missing out on something that everyone from Tayari Jones to Ken Burns are recommending.
Order Your Copy

Three Holidays and a Wedding by Uzma Jalaluddin and Marissa Stapely

It is the year 2000 and it just so happens that Christmas, Hanukkah, and Eid all fall on the same day. Anna is traveling to Canada to spend Christmas with her boyfriend and his family. Meanwhile, Maryam is traveling with her family to Canada for her sister's wedding. Unfortunately for them both, the even crazier holiday season along with plenty of snow is enough to redirect them to the small town, Snow Falls. While this seems like the worst thing to possibly happen, Snow Falls brings a magical feeling and the community makes things a little better. A perfect example of a Hallmark movie in a book!
— Ayah

Read because "a Hallmark movie in a book" is just as much fun as it sounds.
Pass if you're saving your winter reads until the end of spooky season!
Order Your Copy

Love, Holly by Emily Stone

Holly's life changes one Christmas Eve when she gets into a car accident with her sister. Holly's connection with her family is no longer the same, so she resorts to sending letters to other lonely pen pals every holiday season. Despite the program keeping pen pals anonymous, Holly notices specific details in her most recent letter and decides to find her pen pal. One decision leads to many hidden connections in this heart touching read. Recommended! 
— Ayah

Read because this is a mug of hot cocoa in book form.
Pass if you have green hair and live just north of Whoville.
Order Your Copy

Museum of Failures by Thrity Umrigar

Umrigar's latest novel about India tells the tale of an immigrant returning home to Mumbai for a visit that turns into a much more intense and moving experience than he anticipated. Remy left Bombay to attend college in the U.S. and has not been back to India since his father died three years ago. Now in his mid-thirties, he is a successful business owner in Columbus, Ohio, married to a busy doctor. He and his American wife have decided to adopt a baby from India, so Remy return to Mumbai to meet the pregnant niece of a friend. His short visit turns into a much longer stay when he discovers that his mother, with whom he has always had a fraught relationship, is in the hospital. As he waits for her to recover, Remy discovers some long-hidden secrets about his family that change his view of both of his parents and leads him to an understanding of the need to forgive.

Read if you can't get enough of Megha Majumdar or Jamie Ford.
Pass if you think secrets hurt no one and families are easy.
Order Your Copy

Devil Makes Three by Ben Fountain

Fountain's adventure tale explores in vivid detail the violence and corruption in the chaotic aftermath of the 1991 military coup in Haiti. The novel is stuffed with a large cast of characters and story lines focusing on an American ex-pat named Matt who owns a scuba diving business. When the political upheaval and U.S.-backed embargo after the coup dries up his business, he approaches some American who are interested in looking for treasure in Haiti's coastal waters. A second story line follows Shelly, a tough and beautiful undercover CIA agent who is involved in the arms-for-drugs trade. And then there's Misha, sister of Matt's Haitian business partner Alix, who takes a break from her PhD program in the U.S. to work at a hospital in Port-au-Prince. When Matt and Alix are arrested during their dive to salvage a cannon from a suspected 15th century galleon, an already fraught situation gets even more exciting. The author wades deeply (sorry) into the technical aspects of salvage diving and provides a revealing description of a country in the throes of political and economic upheaval. Well-researched and smartly written, it's a compelling novel worth the time it takes to read.

Read because 544-page page-turners don't come along often.
Pass if you aren't curious about all the Graham Greene and John le Carré comps this book is getting.
Order Your Copy

The Wake-Up Call by Beth O'Leary

Christmas a year ago, Izzy is head over heels for a Lucas, a colleague at the Forest Manor Hotel. Going out on a limb, she writes him a Christmas card declaring her crush and asks him to meet her under the mistletoe. He did go to to the mistletoe, only to kiss Izzy's flatmate — ouch! Hurt and furious, Izzy has vowed to make him miserable since... until they have to work together to save their beloved hotel from financial ruin. Working closely together, they realize that maybe they misjudged one another? This sweet story is told by the main characters in alternating chapters, giving the readers an insight to their thoughts and feelings. My favorite kind of meet-cute.

Read because this one could charm even the most cynical reader.
Pass if you need to catch up on your Beth O'Leary — start with The Flatshare!
Order Your Copy

Adult Nonfiction 

Fear Is Just a Word by Azam Ahmed

We have read about the drug cartels in Mexico. This highly personal account of one family's fight against a ruthless cartel that consumes their pastoral town is compelling in a way that everyone who cares about violence against humanity should read. Miriam is a middle class wife and mother who owns a boot shop on the town square. When the Zeta cartel takes over her town, she begins a crusade. But when her daughter Karen is kidnapped and killed by the Zetas, Miriam fights back with every thing she has. She goes up against corrupt regimes, careless policing, and more. New York Times reporter Azam Ahmed brings the family, the town, and the daily sadness to life. A must read for our times.
— Valerie

Read because this powerful and gripping story will stay with you for a long time.
Pass if you need something light and fluffy right now.
Order Your Copy