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Staff Picks

July/August 2022

It Happened One Summer
by Tessa Bailey

After a wild night that lands her in jail, Hollywood socialite Piper Bellinger, is sent to Westport, a small fishing town in Washington to learn responsibility and the value of a dollar. When she arrives, she feels like a fish out of water, and this is confirmed by boat captain, and Westport’s unofficial mayor, Brendan Taggart. While there, she learns more about her biological father’s life and where she comes from. She also learns more about herself, her own strength and resilience. A burgeoning romance with the captain, and a growing love of Westport causes her to question if the lavish lifestyle she left is really for her. This book is a great read for rom-com lovers and a fun summer tale!

~ Macy

Defy the Night
by Brigid Kemmerer

In a kingdom ravaged by a deadly disease, the Moonflower is the only known cure – which complicates matters as its supply is limited and the poor cannot afford it. After the assassination of their parents, young King Harristan and his brother, the King’s Justice, Prince Corrick, are tasked with maintaining order in the kingdom, which they do by ruling with an iron fist. Tessa, a common girl and apothecary’s daughter, and her friend Weston steal, Robin-Hood style, medicine from the rich and give to the poor.  From there, things can only get messy… Defy the Night is an easy read and a promising start to a new YA Fantasy series filled with unexpected twists, betrayal, politics, and romance.

~ Danielle H.M.

The Chanel Sisters
by Judithe Little

“People thought they were buying Chanel, glamour, Parisian sophistication. But what they were really buying were the ornaments of our childhood, memories of the nuns who civilized us, the abbey that sheltered us. An illusion of riches sprung from the rags of our past,” Antoinette, The Chanel Sisters

An inspiring fictionalized story about the real-life sisters, Antoinette and Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel and how they overcame their challenging childhood in the search for “something better” and built a fashion empire. A true “from rags to riches” story and historical fiction gem that I really enjoyed.

The story is written from Antoinette’s perspective, the far less famous sister of “Coco Chanel. In this inspiring novel, the author brings the story of these two sisters to life and reveals how each sister fulfills her lifelong desire to be accepted, wanted and loved.

~ Roseann

The Atlas Six
by Olivie Blake

The Atlas Six is dark academia tying in magic, romance, and mystery. Caretaker Atlas Blake recruits six magically powerful young adults to compete for five spots in the elite and mysterious Alexandrian Society. The reward: knowledge and power beyond any of their wildest daydreams. However, the initiates soon discover things aren’t as they seem when the ‘elimination’ process takes a more sinister turn.

~ Jenny

The Book Woman’s Daughter
by Kim Michele Richardson

The sequel to The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek picks up about a dozen years after the first book ends.  We follow Cussy Mary’s daughter, Honey, as she picks up her mother’s old pack horse librarian route after her parents are sent to prison for their illegal bi-racial marriage.  Honey’s father is white and her mother is a startling blue from head to toe. Honey needs to navigate becoming a woman, old Kentucky prejudices, and avoid the law while hiding her blue-tinged hands and feet.  Suspenseful at times, heartwarming at others, this story shows the power of community, a girl’s determination, and mule loaded with good books can transform the world.

~ Lisa

The Diamond Eye
by Kate Quinn

Fascinating historical fiction based on the life of Lyudmila (Mila) Pavlichenko, a Russian female sniper famous for hunting down and killing Nazis invading Ukraine and Russia during World War II.  Mila is a young mother of a small son, working in a library, with the goal of becoming an historian.  Her life goes in a completely different direction when Hitler invades her motherland.  She takes up a rifle and joins the fight.  Her natural ability for aiming and hitting her target, coupled with determination and patience for stalking the enemy, results in over 300 kills, earning her the title of Lady Death and making her a national heroine.  Despite her protestations, she is sent to the United States on a good will tour, resulting in death threats on her life, an unexpected friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt, a romance, and a surprising conclusion.

The author balances the atrocities of war with hope for her son’s future through the eyes of Mila, a plucky heroine whose sharp wit, intelligence, and courage enable her to withstand abuse from an estranged husband, war injuries, and the chauvinism of her male comrades.  Hang on – you will enjoy this ride!

~ Mary D.

The Last Green Valley
by Mark Sullivan

This is an historical fiction book that is based on a true story.  Adeline and Emil Martel and their two young sons were caught between two brutal powers at the end of World War 2.  The family was forced to make the difficult choice of staying in Ukraine and face certain persecution from the Soviets or travel with the murderous Nazis and be repatriated in Germany.  Caught between Stalin and Hitler, the family faced horrendous conditions of starvation, sickness, imprisonment, freezing weather conditions, and torture.  Their dream to immigrate west to the United States and to finally be free drives this family forward through many setbacks.

This is ultimately a story about faith, optimism, and the power of determination.  The author concludes the book with a description of his meeting with the real Martel family, and his visits to sites we read about in the book.  Given current events in Ukraine, I appreciated learning more about how the people of Ukraine were treated before, during, and after the war.

~ Noreen