Table for Thirteen

Have we got a treat for you on our shelves. Or treats, rather — our latest round of staff picks is full of favorite authors and fizzy delights. Stick around to read about the latest from folks like Gillian McDunn, Jamie Sumner, Abby Jimenez, Amor Towles, and Leif Unger... or head straight to the store to stuff this baker's dozen into your sturdiest tote bag. We've even tossed in a topical baseball book just in time for the start of the Astros season. Play ball!

Ages 3-7

The Book That Almost Rhymed by Omar Abed; illustrated by Hatem Aly

To rhyme or not to rhyme? A boy's story is spontaneously altered by his sister, which makes for a silly-voiced, imaginative adventure. Tons of layered illustrations showing teamwork and creativity. I'm a fan of this clever picture book!

Read because sharing something makes it twice as nice.
Pass if you're a frustrated poet and are jealous of this book's starred reviews.
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Ages 8-12

Trouble at the Tangerine by Gillian McDunn

Simon is tired of moving around. His parents work remotely and love adventures and have a popular social media account called "The Hydes Go Seek." But Simon has a plan to get them to stay put and let him put down roots — he's found a fun town, close enough to beaches and mountains for his parents to feel like they can get away, and they are moving into a quaint apartment building called the Tangerine Pines. But when a valuable necklace is stolen from a neighbor on their first night there, Simon is worried his parents won't want to stay. He teams up with his new friend Amaya to solve the mystery, and learns some lessons about friendship along the way. A great cozy mystery for kids!

Read if you love the Vanderbeekers and can't resist a good mystery.
Pass if you're too busy right now solving your latest case.
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Meet Me on Mercer Street by Booki Vivat

Kacie loves hanging out with her friend Nisha on Mercer Street where they do everything together! When Kacie comes back from a trip, Nisha and her family are gone, and no one will say where they've gone. In solving the mystery surrounding Nisha's family, Kacie makes a new friend, realizes her neighborhood is changing, and recognizes that she and her neighbors can change things about where they live.

Read because this community-focused story is full of heart.
Pass if you think everyone should become a hermit and fend for themselves.
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Ages 10 & Up

Deep Water by Jamie Sumner

In this story told in verse, a young girl is attempting the swimming portion of a triathlon. It's hard. Her best friend Arch is trying to be supportive, but she is dealing with the loss of her mother who was her biggest fan. As she negotiates the water (and impending storm), we negotiate as well. For fans of Holly Goldberg Sloan and Sharon Creech, Sumner brings to us a very serious novel about recovery.

Read because this is a powerful novel in verse for aspiring Nyads.
Pass if you don't mind missing an unforgettable voice.
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Adult Fiction

The Rule Book by Sarah Adams

The last thing college exes Derek and Nora want to do is spend time with one another. When Derek is in need of a new agent following a sports injury, he must accept that Nora is going nowhere and is determined to do whatever is needed, especially when he creates fake tasks for her. I immediately knew I wouldn't want to put this down. I loved everything about this book!

Read if you can't help but fall for enemies-to-lovers, second-chance stories.
Pass if you're saving this for football season.
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Just for the Summer by Abby Jimenez

Imagine that every past date that you have gone on immediately results in your date finding their soulmate the moment you break up. For Justin and Emma, they share the same curse. If this were you, wouldn't you agree to test out the curse with one another? A cute and tender read; recommended!

Read because you know you can't resist Abby Jimenez.
Pass if you can't bear to think about July and August temperatures just yet.
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Nosy Neighbors by Freya Sampson

The tenants of Shelley House are forced to come together when an effort to save their building leads to a number of attacks. Dorothy Darling, the oldest tenant, is hesitant to join the efforts, but when a rumor begins that a tenant may be behind everything, she finds herself becoming involved. Recommended if you're looking for a feel good mystery!

Read if you can't wait to binge the next season of Only Murders in the Building.
Pass if you're too busy spying on your neighbors to read.
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The Good, the Bad, and the Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

The story begins when Meddy and Nathan travel to Jakarta to celebrate Chinese New Year with Meddy's extended family. Celebrations take a turn when the lover of one of the family members arrives with gifts, including one meant for a business rival that is accidentally misplaced. What should have been a fun, regular family gathering quickly becomes a spectacle that kept me hooked from start to finish.

It has a mix of humor and entertainment as the characters confront unexpected twists and turns, making seemingly impossible tasks part of a journey filled with suspense and heartwarming family moments!

Read because this is another delightful, auntie-filled romp.
Pass if you need to catch up on Sutanto's other Aunties books first.
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How to Solve Your Own Murder by Kristen Perrin

In 1965, when Frances is 17, she visits a psychic at a fair with her friends, and fortune predicts her death. She has spent a lifetime trying to unravel the mystery of which one of her friends or acquaintances might murder her. Fast forward to the present day when a young woman named Annie is summoned to a meeting by her mysterious great Aunt Frances in the little village of Castle Knoll (somewhere in the UK). When she shows up, along with the solicitor and some other friends and relations, to Frances's house, they find Frances murdered. Annie and Saxon are tasked with solving Frances's murder and winning their inheritance. Annie is swept up in the mystery as she tries to unravel Frances' life after finding her journal, has possible feelings of interest in the detective in charge of the case, and hopefully stays safe from the actual murderer. A perfectly twisty, Knives Out-Agatha Christie-type whodunit set in the English countryside. 

Read because fun, twisty mysteries never disappoint.
Pass if your psychic told you to avoid this one.
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Table for Two by Amor Towles

The six short stories and one novella in this collection should prove to anyone still in doubt that Amor Towles is one of the best storytellers writing today. The short stories take place — or end up — in New York City and describe family dramas, questions of morality, chance encounters, and their consequences in the lives of an émigré from Moscow in the late 1920s, a young man who gets caught up in a forgery scheme, two travelers stranded in bad weather, a suspicious daughter who uncovers her stepfather's secret, a Carnegie Hall patron who exposes another attendee recording concerts, and an aging art dealer trying to make a deal. The novella is a follow-up to Towles' earlier novel, Rules of Civility, and recounts what happens to Eve when she arrives in Hollywood. Towles writes with great empathy for his characters, almost as if the stories are writing themselves and he is simply commenting on the events that occur. Recommended.

Read because being a fan of Blue Willow means being a fan of Amor Towles.
Pass if you're too busy watching the new TV adaptation of A Gentleman in Moscow.
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I Cheerfully Refuse by Leif Enger

It's been a long time since Leif Enger wrote a novel. And this one is excellent. In the near future when the USA is falling apart due to corruption, climate change, and neglect, Rainy is devastated by the death of his beloved wife, Lark. Lark had owned a subversive and amusing bookstore named Bread. Their boarder Kellan has betrayed them (he stole a valuable commodity). Now Rainy is on the run in a little boat named Flower on Lake Superior. Adventure ensues. But it is really about humanity, love, grief, and more. Read it for the journey.

Read if you're looking to scratch the itch left by Station Eleven.
Pass if you prefer your speculative fiction to be relentlessly bleak and despairing.
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Clear by Carys Davies

Clear is a short, beautifully written novel taking place during two historical events in Scotland in the 1840s: the Great Disruption in the Scottish Church and the Clearances, where rural residents were forcibly removed from their homes by landowners. I really enjoyed how the book explored both topics that I didn't know anything about going in. The story follows impoverished Scottish priest John Ferguson, who has recently split from the old church of Scotland, to a remote island in the north. John is tasked with "clearing" the island of its last resident, a man named Ivar. When John is injured, Ivar takes him in, leading them to connect over their languages. Meanwhile, John's wife, Mary, sets out after her husband, fearful that he might never make it back to Scotland. This was probably one of my favorite books I've picked up! It explores loneliness and solitude, as well as human connection. 

Read for a beautiful story of language and connection.
Pass if you prefer quiet isolation.
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Adult Nonfiction

Charlie Hustle: The Rise and Fall of Pete Rose, and the Last Glory Days of Baseball by Keith O'Brien

Growing up in Houston, my parents took my sisters and me to many Astros games in the late '70s and early '80s at the Astrodome, and I remember watching Pete Rose play on the Cincinnati Reds, aka "The Big Red Machine." He was a good baseball player who earned his nickname "Charlie Hustle'' for his unique energetic playing style. O'Brien's well-researched book about Rose's baseball career is admirable, but his personal life as a gambler is shameful. Baseball fans will enjoy reading this biography, and they can decide whether or not Rose belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Read because this one is so timely — baseball is back, and so is another big gambling scandal.
Pass if you're still mad at the 1970s Reds over the infamous Joe Morgan trade.
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Attend Our Event with the author on April 9!