May 4, 2021

Maggie's Book Haul

Each of the titles below are books that I have taken home from the library within the last six months… and have yet to read. I know how exciting it can be to hear all about the books that we have read as well as our reviews. BUT I also think it can be fun to look at the titles that intrigue us and make us take them home. Some of these I found on TikTok, others were new titles advertised in our catalog, and others were ones that I happened to see as I was walking through the shelves before closing.

See any that you have on your TBR list? 

The Inheritance Games
Jennifer Lynn Barnes

I love Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ work; I remember reading her The Naturals series and wanting to dive right into another Barnes’ novel/series. I initially saw this book on TikTok and when I saw her name, I knew I had to pick it up. 

Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why -- or even who Tobias Hawthorne is.

To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man's touch -- and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes. Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a conwoman, and he's determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather's last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive. 

Book number two, The Hawthorne Legacy, will be released in September 2021.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely 
Brigid Kemmerer

I am instantly drawn to any kind of Beauty and the Beast retelling; it is my favorite fairy tale! I also have a personal connection with this book because one of my older sister’s has cerebral palsy and people constantly underestimate her because of it. I am very excited to see all that Harper can do!

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

This is the first book in the Cursebreaker Series.

The Blossom and the Firefly 
Sherri L. Smith

Earlier this year, I read a book entitled The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough and another called Lovely War by Julie Berry. I loved both of them so much that I immediately went to Novelist to find a readalike; The Blossom and the Firefly was the first title on the list so I thought I would give it a chance.

Japan 1945. Taro is a talented violinist and a kamikaze pilot in the days before his first and only mission. He believes he is ready to die for his country . . . until he meets Hana. Hana hasn't been the same since the day she was buried alive in a collapsed trench during a bomb raid. She wonders if it would have been better to have died that day . . . until she meets Taro.

A song will bring them together. The war will tear them apart. Is it possible to live an entire lifetime in eight short days?

Tracy Deonn

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus: A flying demon feeding on human energies; a secret society of so called "Legendborn" students that hunt the creatures down; and a mysterious teenage man who calls himself a "Merlin" and who attempts, and fails, to wipe Bree's memory of everything she saw.

The mage's failure unlocks Bree's own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there's more to her mother's death than what's on the police report, she'll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.

She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society's secrets - and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur's knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she'll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down or join the fight. 

The Lost Apothecary
Sara Penner

Just the cover art on this book alone had me drawn to it! Add in the fact that it’s about a female apothecary who sells poisons to women to use against the oppressive men in their lives. The feminist inside of me was itching to get my hands on this book.

Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary’s fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious twelve-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.

Meanwhile in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London two hundred years ago, her life collides with the apothecary’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.

With crackling suspense, unforgettable characters and searing insight, The Lost Apothecary is a subversive and intoxicating debut novel of secrets, vengeance and the remarkable ways women can save each other despite the barrier of time.

Honorable Mentions:

Into the Heartless Woods by Joanna Meyer

Oh My Gods by Stephanie Cooke

Namesake by Adrienne Young

Follow Your Arrow by Jessica Verdi

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet by Laeken Zea Kemp

You Don’t Have to be Everything by Diana Whitney

The Unkindness of Ravens by M.E. Hilliard

Ms. Frogbottom’s Field Trips series by Nancy Krulik

Kisses and Croissants by Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

House of Dragons by Jessica Cluess