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The Selector’s Selections: April 2020

Posted on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 by Brianna

I just want you all to know that the library is still buying books for you! I’m focusing on eBooks and downloadable audiobooks these days, and we have some really great options. The best part is that it’s easy to keep up with holds since there’s no processing time on these, so hopefully you won’t have to wait too long for anything. Anyway, here’s some books I’m excited about!

The Fire Never Goes Out” by Noelle Stevenson

You guys. I love Noelle Stevenson, and have ever since her Pokeymans and Marvel days. When I saw that she had a memoir coming out I got very excited. Of course it’s illustrated, and I can’t wait to read it. Continue reading “The Selector’s Selections: April 2020”

The Selector’s Selections: May 2022

Posted on Wednesday, May 25, 2022 by Brianna

Summer is almost here! I hope that means you’ll have some more time to read for fun. Or maybe you already have lots of time to read for fun! Or maybe you’re like me and read while you’re walking to your car because you don’t actually have time to read but still really want to. Anyway. These May new releases are books you’ll want to make time for!

Love Radio” by Ebony Ladelle

Dani Ford is a senior in high school, focused on her dreams with no time for love. She wants to be the next great Black writer, but lately, she’s been struggling to write anything. After a traumatic experience at a party last year, Dani has closed herself off from everything and everyone—which doesn’t bode well for finishing her college essays. Prince Jones is also a senior, with dreams of working professionally as a radio DJ. He has his own segment on the popular “Love Radio” where he gives relationship advice to listeners. But with a little brother and mom with advanced multiple sclerosis to take care of at home, Prince hasn’t had time for his own romance. He’s had a crush on Dani since middle school though, so when he gets the chance to ask her out, he has to follow his own advice. Prince bets Dani that he can get her to fall for him in just three dates. It could be that this support is just what they each need to tackle the problems in their lives. This is a heartwarming and genuine love story, with a focus on family and self-love as well as romantic love.

Continue reading “The Selector’s Selections: May 2022”

The Selector’s Selections: April 2022

Posted on Friday, April 15, 2022 by Brianna

As promised, I’ve got a nice mix of titles for you this month! We’ve got comedic horror, romance, thrillers, fantasy and straight sci-fi. April always feels like an interminable month to me (even though it’s my birthday month), so hopefully these books can help you make it to May!

Scout’s Honor” by Lily Anderson

Prudence Perry is a Ladybird Scout, just like her mother and grandmother before her. The Scouts are known for knitting, tea parties, and community service. What isn’t widely known is their most important community service: slaying interdimensional monsters that feed on human emotions until they evolve and feed on human flesh. Three years ago Pru lost her best friend on a hunt and is still suffering from PTSD and anxiety about it. She wants out, but the only way is to drink the Tea of Forgetting, which Pru doesn’t have access to until she graduates to be a Ladybird Dame. All she needs to do to graduate is train a batch of new recruits—and help them survive. This book is full of fun, campy horror, but what I really love is the discussion about mental health. Continue reading “The Selector’s Selections: April 2022”

The Selector’s Selections: March 2022

Posted on Wednesday, March 9, 2022 by Brianna

I’m back y’all! After a maternity leave immersed in board books and picture books, I’m excited to talk about some new YA titles! I must admit, the titles this month are all things on my TBR…so historical fiction or fantasy. I promise to be more well-rounded for next month’s blog!

One for All” by Lillie Lainoff

I was looking forward to this book even before I saw it was recommended by my favorite author! This historical fiction is a gender-bent take on “The Three Musketeers.” Tania de Batz’s father, a former Musketeer, trained her to love fencing, despite her disability. With her blood circulation disorder (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) causing frequent dizzy spells, she’s a bit of an outcast in her small town. When Papa is suddenly killed, it’s his dying wish that Tania attend L’Académie des Mariées, a finishing school in Paris. Confused and grieving, Tania discovers that L’Académie actually trains young women in espionage and swordplay, to be a new kind of Musketeer. When Tania begins to fall for her first target, her Musketeer sisters support and keep her focused on finding her father’s killer. I already love a good gender-bent classic, and the fact that this book centers the experience of a girl with a disability so genuinely is beyond refreshing. An author’s note gives more information about POTS, and her own experience with it.


Castles in Their Bones” by Laura Sebastian   

For more espionage and romance, I’ve got this political fantasy for you. Daphne, Sophronia and Beatriz are triplets, daughters of Empress Margaraux, and have been trained from birth for one thing: to marry into neighboring kingdoms and take them down from within. Each sister is skilled in message-coding, poisons, seduction and court politics, and is prepared to wreak havoc in their new homes so their mother can sweep in and take over. Of course, once they begin to settle in, things no longer seem so simple or straight-forward. Romance, secrets, magic, and duplicitous princesses? There’s a lot to love in this one. Heads up, it’s first in a trilogy, so you’ll have to be patient for the next book!


Bright Ruined Things” by Samantha Cohoe

This historical fantasy is set in the 1920s, and is loosely based on “The Tempest.” Mae, orphaned daughter of the steward, has spent her whole life on the magical island of the Prosper family. Permitted to continue living there after her father died, Mae longingly dreams of training with the magic the Prospers control. Their magic is tied to the island’s captive spirits, and when Mae discovers a dying spirit she begins to investigate what—or who—is causing the spirits to die. The entire book takes place over one day and a night, the annual party called First Night, that commemorates Lord Prosper first harnessing magic. The mystery weaves through a gilded, opulent and treacherous setting, as Mae learns the cost of the life she dreams of.


The Book of Living Secrets” by Madeleine Roux 

Adelle and Connie are best friends, and love obsessing about “Moira,” a little-known period romance novel set in 1885 Boston. They know the book inside and out, and daydream about their book crushes—Adelle on the handsome Severin, and closeted Connie on the title character Moira. When a mysterious shopkeeper offers to send them into the book, they’re skeptical but agree. Landing in different points of the story line, Connie and Adelle try to find each other and make it back home. The problem is that they keep encountering things that weren’t in the book, as supernatural horrors wait in the shadows and people began to inexplicably walk into the sea. I think we’ve all wished at some point we could be transported into a favorite book, so this is some major wish fulfillment with delightful worldbuilding and character development. I’m definitely going to be picturing Moira Rose from Schitt’s Creek the whole time though.


The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea” by Axie Oh 

 This is a take on a Korean folktale. Every year, Mina’s village sacrifices a maiden to the Sea God, hoping to appease him so there will be no more natural disasters. Mina’s brother is determined to save his love, this year’s sacrifice, and prepares to fight the Sea God’s dragon servant. To spare her brother pain, Mina jumps into the sea instead, and is whisked away to the Spirit Realm. Mina finds herself tied to the apparently cursed Sea God, and severed from her voice and soul. She must navigate the dangers of the Spirit Realm and find a way to wake the Sea God and restore balance between humans and the gods. Intricately detailed and atmospheric, this folktale interpretation will satisfy fantasy lovers with its courageous heroine.


A Thousand Steps Into Night” by Traci Chee

For our last book, we’re hopping over to a Japanese inspired fantasy. Miuko is an innkeeper’s daughter, plain, loud, clumsy and utterly ordinary. Until an encounter with a demon, who curses her to slowly turn into a demon herself. In a land where humans, demons and gods exist alongside each other, Miuko is still rejected by her village and left on her own to seek a cure. She makes unexpected friends along the way, including a shape-shifting trickster spirit, and sees her society and all its issues from an outside perspective as she travels. The true question becomes not whether she will find a cure, but if she will be willing to give up the power and freedom she’s found. The author wanted this to read like a “found” book (think Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings“), so it’s filled with fascinating footnotes that provide in-world historical context and pronunciation help for the Japanese inspired language. Come for the immersive worldbuilding, stay for the fierce feminism.


And because I can’t resist, here’s my little bibliophile! He loves turning the pages by himself.

 

The Selector’s Selections: September 2021

Posted on Tuesday, September 14, 2021 by Brianna

Confession time: if it were up to me, I’d probably end up only writing about fantasy books, because I love them so much. BUT I have managed to divide my love into two fantasies, two historical fictions, and two contemporaries. Be proud of my egalitarian blog writing!

Beasts of Prey” by Ayana Gray

I had to start with the fantasy! Utilizing Pan-African mythology, there is some lush world-building in this jungle-set fantasy. Koffi is an indentured servant at the Night Zoo, home to exotic magical creatures, and dreams of earning her freedom. Ekon hopes to join the elite warrior class, as a Son of the Six in their city of Lkossa. When a fire at the Night Zoo alters both their plans, the pair reluctantly team up to pursue the deadly Shetani—a creature that has been preying on Lkossa for nearly a century. While mistrustful at first, each dangerous encounter in the Greater Jungle leads them to rely on each other more and more. As they uncover secrets about the Shetani, they realize the stakes are much higher than just their own personal quests for redemption and freedom.


Continue reading “The Selector’s Selections: September 2021”

The Selector’s Selections: August 2021

Posted on Wednesday, August 18, 2021 by Brianna

For my picks this month, I thought I’d start light and transition into some darker options. Something for everyone I hope!

Cheer Up: Love and Pompoms” by Crystal Frasier and Val Wise

First up, we’ve got a graphic novel that will be perfect for fans of “Heartstopper” and “Check, Please!” Annie is academically driven, and not interested in interacting with others much. However, when she realizes she needs extracurriculars to round out her college applications, she begrudgingly tries out for the cheerleading team. Bebe is the first transgender cheerleader in her state, and is constantly trying to please others while avoiding the spotlight. The two girls were friends before Bebe’s transition and subsequent popularity, and they slowly begin to rekindle their relationship as friendship evolves into something more. Bebe helps Annie with learning how to trust and be part of a team, and Annie helps Bebe stand up for herself to well-intentioned friends and family. Refreshingly, this graphic novel is about the experience after coming out and transitioning, not about the difficulties of the process itself. Enjoy this graphic novel if you’re in the mood for a sweet, queer romance. Continue reading “The Selector’s Selections: August 2021”

The Selector’s Selections: July 2021

Posted on Friday, July 23, 2021 by Brianna

Hello everyone! The summer stretches gloriously onward, and I’ve got some new books to fill your days. Some of these aren’t out yet, so if you prefer your books digital, make sure you check the catalog again later! I don’t purchase the ebooks or downloadable audiobooks until the book actually releases, but they should appear online for you once it does.

Six Crimson Cranes” by Elizabeth Lim

This folktale may seem familiar, but with a delightful blend of Asian and European traditions, you’ll never be quite sure what will happen next. Princess Shiori possesses magic, which is forbidden in her kingdom. She successfully hides her abilities for years, but in her desperation to escape an unwanted betrothal she slips up and reveals her magical powers to her stepmother. Her stepmother is guarding secrets of her own, and transforms Shiori’s six brothers into cranes, and warns Shiori that for every word she utters, one of her brothers will die. Cast out from her home, Shiori must find a way to rescue her brothers and restore stability to her kingdom. Fair warning, this is a duology, so you’ll have to wait a minute for book two!


Where It All Lands” by Jennie Wexler

Next up I’ve got a romance, with dual alternate timelines, for you. Stevie Rosenstein is used to being the new girl in town, as they’re constantly moving for her dad’s job. She’s used to keeping other people at a distance, and plans to just focus on school and marching band. Drew and Shane have been best friends for years, supporting each other through everything life throws at them. Then Stevie moves to town, and they both immediately have a crush on her. Sounds like a messy love triangle right? Instead, the two boys decide to flip a coin to determine who gets to ask Stevie out, and the book separates into two different timelines following the outcome of the coin toss. The friendships and relationships are all well developed, and the author deftly explores themes of romance, identity, bullying and grief.


The Right Side of Reckless” by Whitney D. Grandison

Guillermo Lozano is fresh out of juvie and determined to make some changes in his life. He definitely was not planning on falling for the daughter of his community service supervisor. Regan London is feeling trapped in her outwardly perfect life, and is struggling to meet everyone’s expectations. When reformed bad boy Guillermo is the only one to truly listen to her, the sparks fly despite their best intentions. This may sound like a cheesy opposites-attract romance, but their relationship is so well-written—absolutely swoonworthy and based on mutual respect.


If You, Then Me” by Yvonne Woon

This next book is more a coming-of-age novel with a touch of romance. Xia loves tech and coding, and has developed her own app that earns her a place at the prestigious Foundry school in Silicon Valley. But when she gets there, she’s facing misogyny and racial discrimination in her classes as well as in the tech industry as a whole. In the midst of navigating a glitzy and toxic culture while pursuing her career dreams, Xia also has to decide between an anonymous boy she met on a programmer forum, and an arrogant but charming boy in her class. This book is perfect for readers intrigued by coding and apps, and explores the challenges facing women in tech, but it’s also written very accessibly for those like me who barely know the difference between Java and HTML.


You & Me at the End of the World” by Brianna Bourne 

Switching to a dystopian romance this time. Hannah has spent the last five days in utter isolation, after waking up one morning to discover her hometown of Houston is deserted. She hasn’t seen another person anywhere, so when she hears guitar music playing, she is relieved to finally encounter another human. Leo has been distressed and confused by the isolation as well, but has been using the time to try out guitars for his ’80s hair metal cover band. While the two had seen each other at school, they never interacted much. Now they’re the only two people left in the city, and start to depend on each other more and more. Leo helps over-achieving ballet dancer Hannah to loosen up, and Hannah helps Leo think about people other than himself. But as they’re falling for each other, things keep getting stranger, from sudden winds and heatwaves to randomly flooding buildings. Between the slow-burn romance and dystopian mystery elements, this is a book you won’t want to put down.


Red Wolf” by Rachel Vincent

Alright, we’re going dark for this last one. Adele lives in a small village surrounded by dangerous woods filled with monsters. Despite that, she’s happy with her life, and looking forward to marrying her betrothed—though her mother has never approved of him. When Adele goes to visit her grandmother in the woods, she’s attacked by a vicious werewolf, and her entire understanding of her life changes. Adele instinctively shape-shifts into a red wolf and slays the white werewolf, awakening to her lineage as a lycanthropic guardian of her village. The problem is that the villagers, including her betrothed, are extremely suspicious of anything supernatural and would sooner see Adele burned at the stake as a witch than accept her help. The other problem is Adele discovers that years ago her mother arranged a marriage for her with a guardian boy from a neighboring village. Now Adele is torn between duty and love as she fights against monsters in both beast and human form. Like the original Grimm fairy tales, this book is full of atmospheric horror and plenty of gore.

The Selector’s Selections: June 2021

Posted on Thursday, June 24, 2021 by Brianna

Summer is great, but this weather has been so hot that I honestly just want to sit inside in the air conditioning and read. If you’re like me, here’s some delightful books to try as you avoid the heat and humidity!

The Darkness Outside Us” by Eliot Schrefer

So science-fiction and fantasy tend to get lumped together as genres, but this book is a straight sci-fi. Ambrose and Kodiak are two teenagers who wake up on a ship headed to Saturn’s moon Titan for a rescue mission. The problem is that neither has any memory of how he got there, and the two of them are from countries that are at war with each other. Warily, they join forces as they attempt to discover what the ship’s controlling and suspicious AI isn’t telling them, and slowly they begin to fall in love. Part mystery, part romance, this space opera is intricately plotted and perfect for Pride Month. Continue reading “The Selector’s Selections: June 2021”

The Selector’s Selections: May 2021

Posted on Thursday, May 20, 2021 by Brianna

We may still be a month away from real summer, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s time to break out the delightful summer reads. You made it through the school year, now turn your brain off for a bit and enjoy some books for fun! If you don’t want to turn your brain all the way off, I understand—I’ve got a very important literary fiction book at the end, just for you.

Tokyo Ever After” by Emiko Jean

First up, we’ve got a delightful cross between “Princess Diaries” and “Crazy Rich Asians.” Japanese-American Izumi lives with her single mom in a small town in Northern California, and she’s used to feeling like an outsider as one of only three Asian girls in her community. While she loves her life, she’s always wondered about her father—a man her mother refuses to discuss, beyond saying he was a one-night stand in college. When Izumi accidentally discovers his name, she and her friends do a little digging and learn that he is the Crown Prince of Japan. Before she knows what’s happening, Izumi is invited to spend her summer in Tokyo with him. Continue reading “The Selector’s Selections: May 2021”