Sunday, October 14, 2018

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, 303 pages

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.


The Husband Hunters: American Heiresses Who Married Into the British Aristocracy by Anne De Courcy, 307 pages

A deliciously told group biography of the young, rich, American heiresses who married into the impoverished British aristocracy at the turn of the twentieth century – The real women who inspired Downton Abbey

Towards the end of the nineteenth century and for the first few years of the twentieth, a strange invasion took place in Britain. The citadel of power, privilege and breeding in which the titled, land-owning governing class had barricaded itself for so long was breached. The incomers were a group of young women who, fifty years earlier, would have been looked on as the alien denizens of another world - the New World, to be precise. From 1874 - the year that Jennie Jerome, the first known 'Dollar Princess', married Randolph Churchill - to 1905, dozens of young American heiresses married into the British peerage, bringing with them all the fabulous wealth, glamour and sophistication of the Gilded Age.

Anne de Courcy sets the stories of these young women and their families in the context of their times. Based on extensive first-hand research, drawing on diaries, memoirs and letters, this richly entertaining group biography reveals what they thought of their new lives in England - and what England thought of them.


Crystal Singer by Anne McCaffrey, 311 pages

Her name was Killashandra Ree. And after ten grueling years of musical training, she was still without prospects. Until she heard of the mysterious Heptite Guild who could provide careers, security, and wealth beyond imagining. The problem was, few people who landed on Ballybran ever left. But to Killashandra the risks were acceptable....


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Dead Ringer by M.C. Beaton, 258 pages

The church of St. Ethelred in the village of Thirk Magna is renowned for its team of bell-ringers, the troupe led by identical twins Mavis and Millicent Dupin. Mavis and Millicent are lifelong residents of the remote village--or were, until their home is broken into one night, and Millicent is murdered. But who's the killer? Is it one of their co-workers, sick of being bullied to practice for a big performance? Or perhaps Joseph Kennell, a retired lawyer who was heard yelling at the sisters that he felt like strangling them? Kennell swears his innocence, and hires the ever-trusty (if often tipsy) Agatha Raisin to clear his name. Only she can find the killer--and hopefully a handsome man to buy her dinner while she's at it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman, 320 pages

Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita is one of the most beloved and notorious novels of all time. And yet, very few of its readers know that the subject of the novel was inspired by a real-life case: the 1948 abduction of eleven-year-old Sally Horner.

Weaving together suspenseful crime narrative, cultural and social history, and literary investigation, The Real Lolita tells Sally Horner’s full story for the very first time. Drawing upon extensive investigations, legal documents, public records, and interviews with remaining relatives, Sarah Weinman uncovers how much Nabokov knew of the Sally Horner case and the efforts he took to disguise that knowledge during the process of writing and publishing Lolita.

Sally Horner’s story echoes the stories of countless girls and women who never had the chance to speak for themselves. By diving deeper in the publication history of Lolita and restoring Sally to her rightful place in the lore of the novel’s creation, The Real Lolita casts a new light on the dark inspiration for a modern classic.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Aunt Dimity and the Kings Ransom by Nancy Atherton, 343 pages

On a dull and dreary October day, Lori Shepherd and her husband Bill set off for the historic town of Rye, on the southeast coast of England, for a quiet weekend together without the kids. Bill must first pay a visit to a reclusive client--but after Lori drops him off, a powerful storm drives her off course and leaves her stranded in an ancient, rambling inn called The King's Ransom. When Lori is spooked by ghostly noises in the night, Aunt Dimity reminds her rather tartly that not all ghosts intend to harm the living.

But the longer Lori is stuck at the inn, the stranger things seem. She learns that the inn was once a hangout for smugglers, and that it's riddled with secret tunnels the smugglers used to reach a network of hidden caves. Then there's the inn's cook--a brawny, gruff ex-con--who seems to have a beef with a mysterious French guest. Are the noises Lori hears made by the spirits of long dead smugglers? Or should she be more worried by the inn's living inhabitants? Joining forces with her new friend Bishop Wyndham, and guided by Aunt Dimity's wise counsel, Lori sets out to discover once and for all who--or what--is haunting The King's Ransom

The Complete Funky Winkerbean, Volume 3 1978-1980 by Tom Batiuk, 501 pages