Book Bites: Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other

The staff has been reading faster than ever here at the shop. Thank goodness, too — there have been so many great books hitting our shelves that it's been hard to keep up! This week, we've selected a whopping twelve of our favorite new releases — six for kids, and six for adults. No matter what you're looking for, we know you're going to fall for one of the staff picks below. Funny picture book? Twisty teen mystery? Historical fiction? Historical fact? You'll find all that and more... read on!

Ages 3-5

We Don't Lose Our Class Goldfish by Ryan T. Higgins

Penelope Rex is frightened of many things, including Walter the classroom goldfish. When it's her turn to take Walter home for the weekend, she's afraid to have him in the house, but when Walter goes missing, she realizes that maybe he's not as scary as she thought he was. Readers will delight in the newest book in the Penelope Rex series! 
— Cathy

Read because you should know by now that anything by Ryan T. Higgins is an automatic purchase.
Pass if you're busy helping a lost fish.
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Attend our event with the author on April 5!

Ages 7 & Up

Big Tree by Brian Selznick

Sycamore seed siblings Louise and Merwin can't wait to get roots and wings and become their own trees. After they're hurled into the air during a fire, the reader follows their journey through time and space — it starts in prehistoric times and ends in the current day. This gorgeous story of the natural world is a beautiful achievement.
— Cathy

Read this with your entire family, because this breathtaking book is unlike any you've picked up before.
Pass if you're holding out for the audiobook version... narrated by Meryl Streep!
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Ages 8-12

To Catch a Thief by Martha Brockenbrough

Urchin Beach is a lazy beach town where everyone knows everyone… and there is no crime! Every year, tourists come from miles away to have their photos taken with a lucky staff and to celebrate the Dragonfly Festival, where $1000 is awarded to the first person to spot a green darner dragonfly! The town counts on this income for the whole year. But one stormy night, the famous staff goes missing in the middle of town square and a stray dog is taken in by the MacGuffin family. This sparks a series of stolen items around town, lots of rain that cause a mudslide, and other unfortunate events. Could it be that luck was taken when the staff went missing?! Amelia and crew decide to solve the mystery to save the festival and the town. They soon discover that what you learn in a book could prove valuable in life. 
— Christina

Read because this heart-filled page-turner is an absolute delight.
Pass if the biggest mystery in your life is why you don't want to read good books.
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Ages 12 & Up

Queen Bee by Amalie Howard

Lady Ela was betrayed and banished. But now she is back and out for revenge. She has adopted a new name, and she is ready to take the London scene by storm. Her biggest obstacle: Lord Ridley (who she secretly has always loved!). The machinations add up on every page as we cheer Ela on in her plot to bring down the evil Poppy Landers. Pretty dresses, fancy balls, and more make this intriguing Regency teen romance a quick read.
— Valerie

Read because this book is delicious... and deliciously satisfying.
Pass if "Bridgerton meets The Count of Monte Cristo" somehow doesn't do it for you.
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Ages 14-18

Into the Light by Mark Oshiro

Teenage Manny has survived day-to-day for nearly a year since being thrust out of a car and out of his adoptive family. He's haunted by the last moments he spent with his sister, Elena, at a cultish community in the California wilderness. Normally, Manny keeps on the move and doesn't engage much with people he meets until he begins traveling with the Valero family. They seem to accept him and genuinely want to help. Gradually, Manny reveals his fear that a body found near the hills of Idlyllwild, CA  might be that of his sister. The Valeros have insight to similar situations and try to help him. Will Manny get the answers he's seeking by going to Idlyllwild? Can he trust the Valeros when so many others have let him down? A fast-paced and twisty read that opens your eyes to the horrors that some teens face.
— Liz

Read if you love Courtney Summers or Tiffany D. Jackson. 
Pass if you want to miss out on a truly great twist.
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Tell Me What Really Happened by Chelsea Sedoti

Five teens go camping near Salvation Creek, known for mysterious disappearances. The trip starts off rocky and only gets worse as conflicts continue to rise. Their first night comes to an end, and they all head to their tents. Hours later one of the campers disappears, leaving four confused teens behind to come up with a plan. Where could she have gone? While they do their best to search, the woods are dark and hard to get through. With no other option, they eventually meet back at their campsite and drive back to town to report their friend missing. Having been the only four people to see her, they quickly become suspects and are split up for questioning. Told through police interviews, this YA mystery/thriller is a fast-paced read!
— Ayah

Read if you can't get enough of Jennifer Lynn Barnes or Maureen Johnson.
Pass if you don't mind leaving mysteries unsolved.
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Adult Fiction

The Plus One by Mazey Eddings

After Indira finds her boyfriend cheating on her, she quickly packs her belongings and makes her way to stay with her brother and his fiancee. Due to the upcoming wedding, Indira finds her childhood nemesis, Jude, also staying at her brother's residence. Jude is a surgeon who has spent the past three years treating those injured in war. This has led to untreated PTSD that has remained a secret as it is the only way he is avoiding student debt. While he does his best to lie, Indira, a psychologist, picks up on his behavior and does her best to help him. Due to her relationship problems and her desire to help Jude, he proposes a fake dating situation to help her because her ex-boyfriend will be attending the wedding. The lines between fake and real quickly blur is this emotional and spicy romance, highly recommended!
— Ayah

Read because this one delivers big on both comedy and romance.
Pass if you don't care how delicious it is when the "fake dating" and "enemies to lovers" tropes intersect.
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The Mostly True Story of Tanner & Louise by Colleen Oakley

Louise is an 84-year-old widow in need of a driver due to a recent injury. She is not used to relying on others and has agreed to have a person live with her — not a healthcare worker, just a younger person to drive her to appointments. Enter Tanner, a 21-year-old, mad at the world after an injury ended her collegiate soccer career, and who needs a job to earn money for one more semester at school. The dialogue between these two is priceless — humor, laced with jabs — and had me laughing out loud. A phone call in the middle of the night leads to a road trip to California, which quickly falls off the rails and sees our duo running from the FBI. The clever twists that I didn't see coming make this not only funny, but very heartfelt with lifelong lessons on top! 
— Christina

Read because this is a fabulous roadtrip romp with notes of Bonnie and Clyde.
Pass if you are anti-fun.
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Hang the Moon by Jeannette Walls

Historical fiction is at its best in this 1920s family saga about an autocratic father, fraught family relationships, racism, Prohibition and bootlegging in which Sallie Kincaid survives everything to win out in the end.
— Valerie

Read because this is another showstopper of a book by a beloved superstar author.
Pass this one along to every member of your book club — you won't regret it!
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Attend our event with the author on April 10!

Sea Change by Gina Chung

Ro's life only makes sense when she's standing next to the giant Pacific octopus tank that houses Dolores. In Jersey, at the mall aquarium where she works, Ro feels closest to her long gone dad, Apa. Memories of Apa, a climate scientist, swirl in the contained waters. Turning thirty seems to highlight all of Ro's failures, and she begins drowning in self harm. Her relationship with her complicated Korean mom involves complete avoidance, and Ro's best friend becomes so irritating that their connection seems lost.  Ro's boyfriend, while ever present in her thoughts, might as well be nonexistent. When the aquarium plans to sell Dolores, the idea becomes completely unbearable and forces Ro into the deep waters where her tumultuous past resides. Unique and messy... a compact, multi-layered, wonderful read!
— Liz

Read because this is a true original — like a messier, quirkier Remarkably Bright Creatures.
Pass if you just can't handle thinking about things with tentacles.
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Adult Nonfiction

A Fever in the Heartland by Timothy Egan

Although this is primarily the story of one evil man who became very powerful in 1920s Indiana, it is also an expose of the zeitgeist of the 1920s, a decade that saw Prohibition, a harsh new anti-immigration law, and a rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan in America's midwest. D.C. Stephenson was a con-artist who became possibly the most powerful man in Indiana politics in the 1920s by attaching his personal charisma to the resurgent KKK movement and then buying judges, local politicians, police and even church leaders. As a Grand Dragon, the "Americanism" he preached was about the hatred of anyone who wasn't White, Anglo-Saxon, and Protestant. In his private life, Stephenson was a liar, a cheat, a wife-deserter, a lush, and a predator on women. One of his attempted conquests was Madge Oberholtzer. Stephenson's brutal physical attack on Oberholtzer eventually led to Stephenson's arrest for murder, followed by a trial that revealed Stephenson's true character to the public.  Whether or not this revelation led to the subsequent weakening of the Klan's hold on the minds of Indiana's population, it destroyed Stephenson's control of Indiana politics. Recommended especially to those interested in early 20th century U.S. history.
— Alice

Read because this is a gripping, necessary read in the tradition of Erik Larson or David Grann.
Pass if you think there's nothing to learn from our history.
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The People's Hospital by M.D. Ricardo Nuila

Dr. Ricardo Nuila provides a look into the healthcare field through his experience and the stories of patients at Houston's Ben Taub Hospital. It's an impactful read that sheds light on the history of healthcare in a large medical center and explores how it has become so broken. Recommended!
— Ayah

Read because this is an important and compassionate look at our flawed healthcare system, told through the lives of five uninsured Houstonians.
Pass if you're already feeling grumpy — this won't make it better.
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