Monday, February 21, 2022

Staff Recommendations, Week of February 22, 2022

Great staff recommendations are coming your way this week. 

First it's Jason Kennedy for The Paradox Hotel by Rob Hart. Jason says: "January Cole works at the Paradox Hotel across the way from a time terminal. Yes, the super-rich can now travel back in time (though not to the future, for various reasons). January used to monitor the timeline to make sure that nobody tried anything disruptive, like maybe trying to kill or help Hitler. Or bring dinosaurs back. She had to stop when she began displaying symptoms of becoming 'unstuck,' meaning at random times she would be thrown back into her own timeline to relive random events. So now she runs security at the hotel, while the government is trying to sell it. Sadly, her disease ramping up, she thinks there is a dead body that only she can see. So many moving parts, this was one fantastic time travel mystery."

Daniel Goldin for The Family Chao, by Lan Samantha Chang. "In a Chinese restaurant in Haven, Wisconsin (maybe standing in for Appleton?), a family prepares for a grand celebration. The oldest son, Dagou, has returned to town, tail between his legs (though still with two women fighting over him), to work at the family restaurant. His brothers Ming, a successful tech executive, and James, a medical student, are on their way home, too. The family is already on edge because of their parent’s separation, but when Leo reneges on a deal to give Dagou a piece of the restaurant and a recently discovered cache of money disappears, the family explodes. You absolutely don’t have to have read the inspirational source for this sharp-witted and passionate tale to enjoy it, but if you aren’t fluent in Dostoevsky, you might want to read The Brothers Karamazov Wikipedia entry afterwards."

Chris Lee for Off the Edge: Flat Earthers, Conspiracy Culture, and Why People Will Believe Anything, by Kelly Weill. Chris says: "It’s weird! It’s wild! It’s full of cranks and cooks, utopians and grifters (and recently, Nazis. Yikes.). It’s the flat earth movement, and it’s back, baby! Kelly Weill’s fantastic book traces the history of flat earth, from utopian English communes to a cabin in the California desert to its resurgence online, and it’s totally not what you think it is. An example: if you ever said, “that’s back when people still thought the earth was flat,” you were probably wrong – we’ve known the world is round for well more than two millennia. Flat earth is a surprisingly young movement, as timelines for conceptions of basic facts go, surviving in fits and starts over just two centuries. So how then, in the last decade, has such an absurdly stupid, baldly false idea become a pet cause of pro athletes, white supremacists, and a fast-growing number of otherwise average normies? As American society further atomizes, the fringe is no longer the fringe. Weill offers an insightful examination of the way conspiracies, from flat earth to QAnon, untether believers from the reality. She details the sad necessity of methods for breaking believers away from conspiratorial ideologies, be they heinous and hateful or just plain dumb. Cult rescue specialists are involved. What a great book - a fascinating hidden history story and an investigation of a subset that sheds eye-opening light on the ways fringe ideas can take hold of entire cultures."

And let's wrap with up Parker Jensen for Delilah Green Doesn't Care by Ashley Herring Blake. Parker says: "Delilah Green wants nothing to do with Bright Falls, the town she grew up in. She doesn't care for the small-town people, the businesses that close at 6pm sharp, and she certainly is not interested in seeing her step mother. Or her recently engaged step sister, Astrid, for that matter. But after finding herself short on cash, she finds it impossible to say no to a good paying job doing the photography at Astrid's wedding - plus her Dad would have wanted her to go. All Claire wants in her life is a little extra stability, as she has been dealing with an unreliable ex, the father of her daughter, for years, while managing the bookstore she has taken over for her mother. So, the last thing she needs is unpredictable Delilah Green strutting into her life with her beautifully tattooed arms, tight black jeans, and gorgeous unruly hair. Not to mention, she has never been there for her best friend Astrid! But, as Claire and Delilah begin to know each other during the wedding events, the sparks are undeniable, and maybe neither of them are who the other thinks. Ashley Herring Blake delivers a rom-com full of life about the meaning of forgiveness, women's friendships, and how to let go of the past (not to mention grin worthy flirtatious banter!). I fell head over heels for this book, all of the characters were loveable and the story was the kind of multilayered romance I love. Delilah Green Doesn't Care is a heartfelt queer romance perfect for fans of Casey McQuistion."

Like our paperback picks? We've got one for you!

Jen Steele recommends The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner. Jen says: "Reeling from the discovery of her husband's affair, Caroline Parcewell decides to go to London on what was supposed to be an anniversary vacation. One afternoon she takes part in mudlarking and discovers a curious vial which reignites a long-buried passion for history. As Caroline embarks on uncovering the vial’s secrets, she discovers more about herself and her marriage. Meanwhile, in 18th century London, there's a hidden apothecary dealing in poisons. Nella is the heir of the apothecary. What used to be a place where all could go for health and healing is now something more sinister. Nella now works in the shadows, helping women right the wrongs done to them by men. The rules are simple: the poison must never be used to harm another woman, and the names of the murderer and her victim must be cataloged in the apothecary's register. A definite page turner that kept me up late just to find out what happens next!!"

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