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Kate's Picks

When Stars are Scattered

Heartbreak and hope exist together in this remarkable graphic novel about growing up in a refugee camp, as told by a Somali refugee. Written by the author, Victoria, who befriended refugee Omar, this fiction graphic novel reads like a memoir. One of the most powerful middle-grade books I’ve read in a long time!

The Swimmers

The writing in the novel is absolutely beautiful ! The swimmers are unknown to each other except through their private routines (slow lane, fast lane), and the solace each takes in their morning or afternoon laps. But when a crack appears at the bottom of the pool, they are cast out into an unforgiving world without comfort or relief. I went into the book having not read the synopsis or any reviews, and I'm very glad I did. Emotional and incredibly written!

Cover Story

Holy shenanigans, what did I read? I read this in one sitting- mind blown!


Jeff Cook, now an art dealer, runs into a former UCLA classmate at the airport. When their flight is delayed, the two decide to grab drinks and catch up. What starts out as a casual, "What have you been up to since college?" quickly becomes Jeff divulging how a life-changing moment altered his path to this day. Jeff, while at the beach one afternoon, comes to the rescue of a drowning man. Unbeknownst to him, the man he saves is Francis Arsenault, world renowned art dealer.


Our narrator lives in an unnamed city and begins to take notice of an actress and her family that live on the same block. Innocent curiosity begins to fester into unhealthy obsession. She daydreams and drums up situations in which she and the actress can “run into” each other and form a friendship. Her attempts fail and the narrator becomes increasingly obsessed and agitated. Laura Sims does an impeccable job of weaving this dark and twisted personality of a person!


"I'm a bad mother but I'm learning to be good". The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan is a wild ride! Frieda, a young mother, is sentenced to a 1-year sentence at the school following an unfortunate parental lapse in judgement. What comes after is a dystopian look into a government controlled reform program. Wow- this book was intense, thought-provoking and unsettling! I listened to the audio via and the narration was superb!


Gosh darn, I LOVE Stanley Tucci. I'll be mixing a martini in celebration of this absolute "treat"- pun intended! I loved reading about Stanley's adventures through food and how, for him, cooking is a real form of self expression and love. There is no greater gift than sharing a quality meal together, in my opinion too!


So unexpectedly wonderful! Imagine: Each year, on your birthday New Year’s Eve, you are transported to a different year of your life. This is Oona’s fate. Think 13 Going on 30 with time travel and pop culture pizazz and you have Oona! I fell in love with Oona's character and was anxious to see how “age” brought her more maturity, possibly clarity and closure.


Micah Mortimer is a creature of habit. He is a self-employed tech expert and he is also the superintendent of his apartment building. He thrives on order and routine and believes things need to be just so. A young man shows up claiming to be Micah's long lost son. I really connected with Micah and his struggles to hold on to meaningful relationships. This story is subtle, quiet and just what I needed.


Astrid Strick is a witness to a school bus accident. It reignites a memory for her and she begins to realize that she may not have been the parent she thought she had been to her children all these years. Astrid is a widowed mother of three children.This was a deep look into what it means to create a family, raise them and watch them raise their own, with much hope for their success.


All the stars for this fast paced, highly suspenseful novel!It's tough to read thrillers that end up being formulaic, and this is NOT that!I can't say too much without spoiling, however, I was NOT PREPARED. I was reading this out in public and literally gasped, "OMG!" Go get this book!


Finlay is a divorced mom of two. Stressed and missing yet another deadline on her latest novel. She meets with her agent at Panera for lunch where she is mistaken for a contract killer. What transpires from there is suspenseful, hilarious, and UNPUTDOWNABLE. A darky comedy/mystery that is not to be missed!


David Heska Wanbli Weiden made a fantastic debut! A slow burn, character driven thriller that kept me engaged until the very end! I realized quickly while reading how much I did not know about Indigenous history. Not only was it an incredible thriller, but how much I learned about the Lakota nation was eye-opening.


Do you remember the first time you walked into your favorite bookstore? That warm, fuzzy, this-is-where-I'm-meant-to-be feeling? That is exactly how I felt reading The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. A grumpy curmudgeon named A J. continues to run a bookstore after his young wife's passing. An interesting encounter leaves him to care for a toddler, all while trying to keep business afloat. Throughout this beautiful story, the author shares incredible, timeless books with us as the story progresses.


If books could give you hugs, this one would be it. Linus Baker, a case worker for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, is charged with Marsyas Island Orphanage and their children. When the magical world is threatened, Linus has to decide which is more important: duty or relationships. Whimsical, heart-warming and original.


The story opens with Nuri and his wife, Afra, at a bed and breakfast location in England. From the beginning of this story, we know that Nuri and Afra have made it safely to England, having escaped Syria as refugees. What begins to unfold throughout is the story of how they reached their eventual asylum. I found myself emotional over this book hours after finishing it.


In this enchanting first novel, an irrepressibly optimistic oddball orphan is thrust into the wilds of postwar New York City after an extraordinary childhood in a theater. I got all the Dickens and Irving vibes from this incredible, debut novel!


A novel like this is the reason I am a reader! Siblings Danny and Maeve seem to have it all at first,. Their father is a wealthy landlord, having invested in multiple rental buildings. He has surprised the family with his purchase of The Dutch House, a lavish estate once owned by the famous VanHoebeek family. The portraits of family members can still be found in the home, and while they are long gone, they serve as imaginary characters for the Conroy family, a therapeutic bunch if you will.


I avoid kitchens at all costs, however, Kitchens of the Great Midwest is not to be missed! Enter Eva, a young woman who falls in love with food from a young age. This book is rich in food descriptions and my favorite part is that every chapter focuses on a person in her life and the food she associates with them.

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