Mother Land

Mother Land by Leah Franqui

After moving from New York City to Mumbai, India, Rachel’s husband Dhruv is happy with his job, while Rachel isn’t sure what to do next. When Dhruv’s mother Swati shows up for an unannounced visit, Dhruv is sent on a long business trip and will stay with his father in Kolkata. The two women struggle to connect, and it’s fun to see Rachel from Swati’s point of view. Rachel shows only the positive side of life in Mumbai on her social media posts, not sharing her struggles, except with other expats. When Rachel gets a job doing voice over work for a soap opera, Swati is fascinated. The author is from Philadelphia and lives in Mumbai; the city is vividly described. Another fine armchair travel book for summer, this is for readers who prefer character-focused stories. Mother Land will be published in July. The author’s first book is America for Beginners, and I’m looking forward to her next book.
Brenda

 

Spindled

Spindled by Shanna Swendson

Lucy Jordan works in an ice cream shop and creates costumes for her high school’s musicals. Her friend Dawn, who loves to sing, hopes they can make a living on Broadway after graduation. But Dawn’s aunts won’t even let her attend Lucy’s party on their shared sixteenth birthday, so that dream seems unlikely. After Lucy, Dawn, and their friend Jeremy celebrate early, Lucy gets kidnapped while wearing Dawn’s necklace. Mistaken for a princess, she escapes a castle with the help of Sebastian, a young soldier. Jeremy and Dawn search for Lucy in a land with talking animals, ending up with a troupe of traveling entertainers. In a fast-paced adventure with a bit of romance, this modern adaptation of Sleeping Beauty is an entertaining read. The author’s Enchanted, Inc series is a good readalike. Spindled is available from Media on Demand, our Overdrive/Libby collection.

Brenda

 

A Memory Called Empire

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

Young Mahit Dzmare, fond of the poetry and epics of the vast Teixcalaanli empire, is the new ambassador from Lsel, a space station. She has just begun exploring the outdated memories of the former ambassador, Yskandr, when her neural implant malfunctions. Her liaison, Three Seagrass and Twelve Azalea, Seagrass’s friend, are the only Teixcalaanli she can rely on, and perhaps trust. Mahit must find out Yksandr’s fate and if recent dangerous accidents are connected and aimed at her. After Mahit meets the elderly emperor Six Direction she receives an encrypted message from Lsel with implications almost as powerful as the poetry that can rescue Mahit, Three Seagrass, and Twelve Azalea from a riot and kidnapping. With excellent world-building and an ever-intensifying pace, this is an absorbing read that’s perfect for right now; and a good readalike for Foreigner by C.J. Cherryh, The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison, Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie, and the very entertaining Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold. Mahit is viewed as a barbarian by the Teixcalaanli, but some aspects of their culture shock her. A thought provoking read, this novel is nominated for the upcoming Hugo and Nebula Awards, and the ebook is available from Media on Demand/Libby. A second book, A Desolation Called Peace, will be published next March.
Brenda

A Useful Woman

A Useful Woman by Darcie Wilde

This is the engaging first book in a mystery series set during the Regency period in London. In 1817, a few years after her family’s fortunes changed for the worse, Rosalind Thorne lives on the fringes of London society as a personal secretary for fashionable ladies, helping to organize events, shop, and plan debuts for young ladies. When Rosalind’s godmother, Lady Blanchard, is late leaving a meeting with the other patronesses of Almack’s Assembly Rooms, Rosalind finds a body in the ballroom. The dead man’s sister asks Rosalind to look into his death, along with Adam Harkness, a Bow Street Runner. A former beau reappears in Rosalind’s life, and she must balance uncovering secrets with keeping her good reputation. A pleasantly diverting read, followed by A Purely Private Matter, then And Dangerous to Know, which I plan to add to my reading list. All of these titles are available from Media on Demand, our Overdrive/Libby collection. A fourth book is expected in November.

Brenda

Light Changes Everything

Light Changes Everything by Nancy E. Turner

Readers of Turner’s historical novels These Is My Words and Sarah’s Quilt will be eager to read about Sarah’s niece, Mary Pearl Prine. Mary is 17 in 1907 and lives on her family’s pecan farm in Arizona Territory. She loves to read and draw, and is invited to study art at Wheaton College in Illinois. May’s mother would rather see her get married, and Mary does have a likely suitor. Family life on the frontier contrasts strongly with life at Wheaton College, where society girls care more about parties and dresses than studying. Mary, with her horse and pistol, doesn’t exactly fit in. She discovers a talent for photography, and a photograph of lightning becomes especially valuable to her family. A personal crisis sends Mary home straight into a ranger war, with her younger brothers in grave danger. Full of drama and adventure, Mary’s coming-of-age story is a memorable, compelling read.

Brenda

 

The Sun is a Compass

The Sun is a Compass by Caroline Van Hemert

Real life adventure memoirs can make for wonderful reading, especially during a time when we’re staying close to home. Wildlife biologist Caroline, 33, makes an epic trek with husband Patrick, a home builder, to the Alaskan Arctic in 2012. Traveling by homemade rowboats, skiing, hiking, on inflatable rafts, and in a borrowed canoe, the pair make an incredible six-month journey. Along the way they meet with unexpected kindness from strangers and Caroline regains her love of science after completing her Ph.D. mostly in a lab. Their backstory and motivation for the journey are shared, along with glimpses of happy childhoods and their loving, supportive families. Caroline’s sister has a baby as they consider parenthood. Patrick is the optimistic adventurer and builder, while Caroline is the detailed list maker, organizing most of their food drops. Part of their journey is through areas so remote that available maps show little detail and the weather forecasts are unhelpful. The pair are often awed by the magnificent landscape and the wildlife, learning to trust the trails of migrating caribou, and encountering moose, bear, and many of the birds Caroline has studied. A compelling read, and a good readalike for Lab Girl by Hope Jahren and Sarah Marquis’ Wild by Nature, along with other adventure memoirs that can be found here. I read the print book, but listened to a sample of the downloadable audiobook I’ve just added to our Media on Demand collection.

Coming soon: a list of family friendly reads that can be enjoyed by older kids, teens, and adults, including titles suggested by staff in our Children’s Department.

Enjoy!
Brenda

 

The Operator

The Operator by Gretchen Berg

Vivian Dalton, a telephone operator in Wooster, Ohio, is jealous of rich Betty Miller and hopes she’ll hear some juicy gossip when she listens in on her phone calls. Devastated to hear gossip about her husband Ed, Vivian is embarrassed but determined to find out the truth. Vivian’s daughter Charlotte is puzzled by her mother’s attitude to her father, and wonders about the poems she finds in the attic and the money tucked into a hat box. Life in small town Ohio in 1952 is vividly described in this first novel inspired by the life of the author’s grandmother. While not a very pleasant character at first, Vivian, who inadvertently finds a lead in a Wooster bank robbery, gains the reader’s sympathy as the story develops, and the heartwarming conclusion is quite satisfying, especially as the snobbish Betty Miller gets her just desserts.

Brenda