Book Bites: Twelve Good Books and True

Anyone else hoping to never hear the phrase "heat dome" ever again? The silver lining in all of this is that nobody can blame you for lounging around and reading all day — after all, what else is there to do? Stop by and see us if you're in need of a fresh stack. The shop A/C is working great, and we have plenty of new temptations to distract you from the weather or keep you company by the pool. If the dozen new titles below don't catch your eye, fret not — we've got plenty more where that came from. 

Ages 4-8

The Red Jacket by Bob Holt

A lonely seagull accepts a red jacket on the shore from a songbird who no longer needs it. He becomes the "bird" of the hour with all sorts of new friends — until he gives the jacket to a lonely sea turtle. The idea of passing on our good fortune to those in need is a sweet theme told in a humorous way that parents will enjoy reading many times.
— Valerie

Read if you're looking for a fun and sweet read-aloud.
Pass if red is just not your color, even in books.
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Ages 6-9

The Skull by Jon Klassen

Otilla has escaped a great danger and is running through the woods. She seeks refuge in a house on a hill and finds companionship in its keeper, a talking skull. Soon, the skull confides in Otilla that her brush with danger is not over yet: Each night, something terrible comes to the house, and it is up to Otilla to save them both. Klassen’s signature ink-and-graphite illustrations lend equal portions of chills and charm to his sparse and sturdy text. Subversive, foreboding, sublime.
— Noah

Read because Jon Klassen can do no wrong.
Pass if you can't stop looking at the gorgeous illustrations long enough to read the words on the page.
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Ages 13 & Up

Sing Me to Sleep by Gabi Burton

I adored this book because of its captivating writing, genius plot, rich characters, and witty dialogue. The constant rise of tension through the book kept me reading at every possible moment. Saoirse's journey is as dazzling as it is treacherous, and you'll want to throw your book across the room by the end of it.
— Sofia, Blue Willow Teen Advisory Board

Read because you're in the mood for an enchanting fantasy.
Pass if you need to look up how to pronounce Saoirse first (just wait until you hear about Caoimhe).
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Adult Fiction

Will They or Won't They by Ava Wilder

Three years after she left her TV show, Intangible, Lilah returns for one final season. Despite their on-screen chemistry, Lilah and Shane can't seem to stand one another. Will they be able to set aside their differences for one last season? Recommended for fans of celebrity romances and second chances!
— Ayah

Read if you're an Emily Henry or Christina Lauren fan.
Pass if you're all about first chances and fast burns.
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Days at the Morisaki Bookshop by Satoshi Yagisawa (trans. Eric Ozawa)

Takako is a somewhat sheltered and naive young woman in a relationship with a young man that for her is based on love but for him on dalliance. When her boyfriend reveals that he is going to be married — to someone else — Takako falls into a deep depression, quits her job, and starts sleeping a lot. Unable to afford her apartment, she accepts an invitation from her eccentric Uncle Satoru to live above his bookstore in exchange for some help in the shop. Being around books and connecting with other people through an enjoyment of reading seems to be the prescription for a meaningful life offered in this short novel. 
— Alice

Read if you're looking for a charming and whimsical story.
Pass because now you're in the mood to hang out at our shop all day. (Come on in, you can read it here!)
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The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

Vanessa has been the PA for Aiden Graves, the top defensive back in the National Football Organization, for two years. She can handle the mundane tasks, the creepy fans, working at odd hours. But she can't tolerate his grumpiness and lack of communication and quits. A few weeks later, Aiden is on her doorstep, begging her to return and to marry him so he can remain in the US to continue his career. Marriage of convenience meets grumpy vs. sunshine? Yes, please! 
— Cathy

Read if you need something fun to binge-read.
Pass if you try to avoid smiling while reading.
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The Quiet Tenant by Clemence Michallon

Aidan is a seemingly wonderful guy, an ex-Marine, a perfect community member adored for his willingness to help others. Little does everyone know that he has a big secret: He's a serial killer and currently has a potential victim, Rachel, as a hostage in a shed. After his wife's death, he is forced to give up his home and move to a new house, and he decides to take his captive with him, explaining to his daughter, Cecilia, that Rachel is a friend of a friend who needs a place to stay. Rachel and Cecilia gradually become friends of a sort, and after five years in isolation, Rachel starts thinking about finding an opportunity to escape. This is a well-written edge-of-your-seat novel that will keep you turning the pages. 
—  Ayah and Alice

Read because no one should ever resist an Ayah-and-Alice double review.
Pass if you're still creeped out by the last thriller you read.
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The Beach at Summerly by Beatriz Williams

It is 1946 on Winthrop Island (a fictional island off the coast of CT) and the war is finally over. Emilia Winthrop's family are locals, caring for the wealthy families' summer houses and serving them when they come for the summer season. She is especially close with the Peabody family, and her father is caretaker of their house called Summerly. The Peabody family is back for the summer with sons Amory and Shep, and Aunt Olive and her three young children, who move into the guest cottage, and Emilia becomes their nanny for the summer. Emilia, Amory, and Shep grew up together and spent every summer running around the island, but now Shep has grown up and is a war hero, and the attraction between Emilia and Shep is growing. It is also the start of the Cold War, and Emilia is approached by an FBI agent undercover and asked to help capture a Russian sleeper agent transmitting secret information from the island. Told in alternating timelines between 1954 and 1946, the book follows Emilia's story as she remembers the eventful summer of 1946 and grapples with the fallout she still deals with in 1954. 
— Aerie

Read because this tale is full of fantastic dialogue, wit, and suspense.
Pass if you prefer to books that don't hook you until page 100 — this one will have you from page 1.
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The Seven Year Slip by Ashley Poston

Imagine unexpectedly meeting someone only to discover that they are living seven years in the past while you're living seven years into their future. Will time be able to keep them apart? Read to find out in this fun and unique story!
— Ayah

Read because you love a little magic in your romances.
Pass if you prefer your reads — or your life — predictable and flat.
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The Librarianist by Patrick deWitt

Bob Comet, retired librarian, gives the appearance of a standard-issue curmudgeon. He putters around his mint-green house in Portland, Oregon and generally avoids the world outside of the pages of his books. But when a chance encounter with a confused older woman upends Bob’s routine, his world starts to expand. Slowly, deWitt peels back layers of Bob’s hardened exterior, taking the reader back in time through Bob’s earlier heartaches and adventures, which all come full circle in the book’s bittersweet ending. This is a funny and moving character study celebrating the hidden quirks that enrich a seemingly ordinary life. The dialogue sparkles with an Ephronesque wit and charm. Recommended.
— Noah

Read because this is a great book about a book lover that you'll want to share with friends.
Pass if you actually *are* a standard-issue curmudgeon and don't have any patience for fiction.
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Zero Days by Ruth Ware

Jack and her husband, Gabe, are pen testers. In other words, they are hired by companies to test their security. After a late job, Jack is ready to get home, but she did not account for the security guard at her car. Following questioning at the police station, Jack is finally able to head home but is welcomed to a scene she never would have imagined — her husband, murdered. When all signs lead to her, the police are quick to make Jack their number one suspect. Jack soon finds herself on the run, hoping to dig up as much as she can about the true murderer. Will she be able to outrun the police before she has the chance to clear her name?
— Ayah

Read if you're an Agatha Christie fan. (And who isn't?)
Pass if you like to read a few pages of something, set it down, and forget about its existence altogether.
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Adult Nonfiction

The Art Thief by Michael Finkel

Art has been stolen for centuries. None have succeeded as art thieves as much as Stéphane Breitweiser. In almost 10 years he had pulled off more than two hundred thefts of art from many kinds from museums, cathedrals, and castles with the help of his girlfriend and lookout, Anne-Catherine Kleinklaus. The two of them stole more than three hundred items until they were caught. Breitweiser was an unusual thief — he didn’t steal for profit. He stole for passion. This passion turned into an addiction, and ulitmately led to his downfall. This is a true story of how Stéphane and Anne-Catherine came to be a couple, their near decade-long crime spree, and how it all fell apart.
— Katherine

Read if you love gripping narrative nonfiction in the vein of Erik Larson or Susan Orlean.
Pass if you prefer to think of all thieves as charming and debonair... and now you're distracted thinking about Peter O'Toole and Audrey Hepburn in How to Steal a Million.
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