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Ann's Picks

My Absolute Darling Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735211179
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - August 29th, 2017

This is a powerful, horrifying coming of age story about a girl who had to come of age way too young.

Turtle (Julia) is raised by her monster of a father outside Mendocino, CA. She's lean and mean and knows more about guns than most gun experts.  A quiet girl, with no friends, she spends alot of time in her own head trying to figure out the meaning of things. She has had to study her father and learn not to make him angry so she studies everyone else too, so she can protect her father and thus ensure her own survival.

Turtle spends the majority of her time outdoors. The beauty and rugged landscape she embraces, the ocean and tides, the insects and wildlife are her family as well. A family she can rely on and understand.

Beautifully descriptive, this is a survival story to match any I've ever read.

Manhattan Beach Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476716732
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner Book Company - October 3rd, 2017


Anna Kerrigan lives with her mother, Agnes, an ex-Ziegfeld Follies dancer, her handicapped sister Lydia and her troubled father, Eddie, in an apartment in Brooklyn. It's the depression and Eddie is happy to be employed, even if what he does is mob-related. Anna often accompanies him on his "errands" and is torn between the freedom being with her father gives her and the safety of their apartment where Lydia is mostly confined.

Years later, during the war, Eddie has disappeared and Anna goes to work at the Brooklyn Naval Yard and becomes the first female diver so she can support her mother and sister.

One night, a chance meeting at a nightclub puts her in contact with someone who may know what happened to her father.

I was hoping this would be as good as her Pulitzer Prize winning novel, A Visit From the Goon Squad, and it may, in fact, be better. 

The Night Garden Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374304522
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Published: Farrar Straus Giroux - September 12th, 2017

A magical, middle-grade novel about a girl who wants to be a writer, a magical garden, a hermit, a missing airplane, UFO's, spies, secrets, families, and maybe even a mermaid. 

Who could pull this all together and tie it up with a bow? Polly Horvath!

Loved it! 

Grief Cottage Cover Image
ISBN: 9781632867049
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Published: Bloomsbury USA - June 6th, 2017

I loved this from the first sentence! 

Marcus is eleven when his mother dies and he's sent to live with his great-aunt Charlotte, a reclusive artist living on an island off the coast of South Carolina. They get along fine but Marcus spends most of his time alone, guarding the turtle nests and exploring the abandonded cottage at the end of the island. He's fascinated by the story of a boy and his parents who vanished during a hurricane while staying in this cottage. 

His aunt's haunted past, the haunted past of the cottage and Marcus's own loss all lead him on a journey of self-discovery.

This is a beautiful novel that I highly recommend

Quiet Until the Thaw Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735223349
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Published: Penguin Press - June 27th, 2017

Don't Lets Go to the Dogs Tonight was one of the best memoirs I've ever read. Alexandra Fuller is a compelling storyteller. Her new novel, Quiet Until the Thaw, takes place on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. It's the story of two boys who take different paths in life. Again, her storytelling shines and makes this novel a really good read.

Celine Cover Image
ISBN: 9780451493897
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Published: Knopf Publishing Group - March 7th, 2017

Imagine an elegant grandmother who can shoot like a sniper and best a psychopathic biker with her steely self-confidence. A woman who stands up for the underdog at all costs. That's Celine,a private investigator/artist who specializes in reuniting families. I'm making this sound cartoonish, and it's not. Celine is such a great character I hope the author writes more episodes in her most interesting life.  



Spoonbenders Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524731823
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Published: Knopf Publishing Group - June 27th, 2017

Kooky with a big heart is how I think of this delightful novel. The Telemachus family is made up of psychics and con artists, some of them struggle with whether to use their powers for good or for cash. Then the mafia and the CIA come calling and chaos reigns except for the one person who saw it all coming......

Lincoln in the Bardo Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812995343
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Published: Random House - February 14th, 2017

My favorite book of the new year, crazy good!! For a review far better than I could write, please look at Ann W.'s staff picks. She's written a concise description of this book which is very hard to describe. We are both excited to share this quirky, literary and we think, award winning novel with you all.

The Gargoyle Hunters Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101946886
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Published: Knopf Publishing Group - March 21st, 2017

What a great read! A coming of age story about a 13 year old boy who helps his father steal architectural antiques from buildings in New York City in 1974. Adventure, hijinks, young love and wonderful, wise writing had me turning down pages so I can go back and savor them again. Ultimately a love letter to New York City. I'll never visit there again without looking up.

The Excellent Lombards Cover Image
ISBN: 9781455564200
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Published: Grand Central Publishing - April 4th, 2017

Mary Frances (Frankie) Lombard is my new favorite character. She's reminds me of Harper Lee's Scout - funny, fierce, determined and loyal to a fault. She loves the farm where she lives and worries that extended family will move in on her turf. All the kooky characters that inhabit her world make this novel a joy to read. That and Frankie's growing pains, of which there are many. Funny, rich, heartwarming, a feel-good story for all.

The Afterlife of Stars Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316308113
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Published: Little Brown and Company - January 10th, 2017

Two boys, brothers, flee Hungary in 1956 with their family, bound for Paris. Life is bewildering, terrifying, brutal and at times hilarious. Loved it!

Grief Is the Thing with Feathers Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555977412
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Published: Graywolf Press - June 7th, 2016

Grief is a giant crow that bursts in to your home and follows you around and won't go away. It mocks you and embarrasses you and tries your patience. This tiny novel is a slap in the face and then a warm snuggle. A gem of a book that you can read in an hour or so but that will stick with you for a long time.

The book is being adapted for the stage and will debut in Ireland, spring of 2018 and then tour in 2019. Fingers crossed that it comes to Minnesota.

History of Wolves Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802127389
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Published: Grove Press - November 7th, 2017

This is a dark, twisty story set in a cold and bleak northern Minnesota. A lonely girl is hired as a babysitter for a sickly boy. The warmth of this new little family is different from her own harsh life. When you are young and looking for love, signs of disfunction may be overlooked. 

This is a good read for a cold winter night.

A Gentleman in Moscow Cover Image
ISBN: 9780670026197
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking - September 6th, 2016

In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol Hotel by a Bolshevik tribunal. A man who never worked a day in his life is forced to live in attic rooms and watch the world around him change forever. In his quest to keep from going insane he meets and befriends many people from different classes and situations and as a result his world is opened to him in ways he never dreamed. Count Rostov makes the best of a bad situation and learns that often the most inconvenient things are the most worthwhile. Loved it!

Wild Bird Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101940440
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Published: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - September 5th, 2017

This is the story of a smart, troubled girl who needs a nudge in the right direction. Eight weeks in a desert wilderness camp should do the trick. No cooked food or companionship until you can make fire. Everything you need is in your pack. Chip on your shoulder so you don't ask for help? Figure it out. Eight weeks of tough love prove inspirational for this wild bird. Loved it!

All the Crooked Saints Cover Image
ISBN: 9780545930802
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Published: Scholastic Press - October 10th, 2017

Maggie Stiefvater has blown me away with this new novel filled with love and radio waves, owls and miracles. Her writing is so lyrical and magical that she had me turning down pages and reading passages aloud. Also, I want to go out at night with an AM radio and listen for magic!

All the Crooked Saints takes place in Bicho Raro, a tiny southern Colorado village in the early 1960's. A young man arrives, falls in love with the desert, and the desert falls in love with him. He is taken in by the Soria family, a family who perform miracles for pilgrims who come to the desert for help. Only he doesn't need a miracle, he needs a truck.  As he labors to pay for the truck he witnesses the struggles of the pilgrims and the darkness with which the Soria's are coping.

With warmth and understanding and love, miracles happen in Bicho Raro.