Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer Review

Departing from her usual science fiction and fantasy offerings, Marissa Meyer has released her first YA contemporary romance with a hint of magical realism and it is delightful.

Prudence Barnett is the stereotypical overachiever. She’s judgmental and difficult to like at times, especially when she’s lashing out at her horrible lab partner, Quint Erickson, the well-liked slacker who is dragging her and her final grade down. After an accidental head injury, Pru discovers she has the ability to bestow instant karma on those around her. The only problem is that Quint seems immune to her new power, much to her dismay. She and Quint have been given a second chance to improve their grade, but he continues to frustrate her.

Things aren’t all fluff, teen angst, and typical romance tropes. The story has real meat to it as both teens deal with family issues. Pru is also forced to confront her own assumptions about her friends and classmates and make some tough decisions regarding how to use her unusual gift. Throw in some environmentalism, an aquatic animal rescue, and some karaoke, and you have fun, refreshing, and thoughtful cautionary tale. The queen of retellings has struck gold with this one.

As the weather grows colder and the days get shorter, treat yourself to this sunny beach read. You won’t regret it.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy of this book.

~Megan

Virtual Book Club – Beachy Reads for Winter

Despite what the weather outside may be telling us, it is in fact the winter season. The dropping temperatures plus the looming threat of another lockdown may have you dreaming of warmer climes, and you’re not the only one! Thank goodness books can take us away. Try any of the authors below to be whisked away to places where the temperature is hotter – whether that’s because of a beach setting or a hot romance.

Click any of the book covers below to be taken to our catalog, where you can request a copy of the book with your library card number and PIN. We’ve also included links to our e-media services Overdrive and Hoopla where available.

An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole catalog link

Alyssa Cole

Alyssa Cole writes smart, steamy historical and contemporary romances featuring an array of diverse characters. Her heroines are intelligent, independent women who have rich, full lives although are a bit reluctant to open their hearts to romance. The men who ultimately win them over are strong, thoughtful partners who respect the heroines and their choices. Her rich detail and intricate plots add depth and dimension as the characters find their way to happily ever after.

Start with An Extraordinary Union. Overdrive link. Hoopla link.

Sweet Salt Air by Barbara Delinsky catalog link

Barbara Delinsky

Barbara Delinsky began by writing contemporary Romances, but now writes fiction focused on contemporary women and their lives and relationships. Delinsky’s skillfully developed characters are central to her stories, as they struggle to resolve difficulties in their lives. Plots reflect universal themes, such as compromise and reconciliation, and there is a romantic tone throughout. Delinsky’s novels unfold at a leisurely pace, in part because they are set in small towns, as readers are pulled into these sensitive stories.

Start with: Sweet Salt Air. Overdrive link.

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory catalog link

Jasmine Guillory

Jasmine Guillory writes modern romantic comedies featuring smart, capable heroines who excel in their careers and lead full lives surrounded by supportive friends and families. When a romantic partner enters the picture, the protagonists view the relationship as a life enhancement rather than a requirement, and the resulting relationship stars a pair who are on equal footing intellectually and emotionally. Guillory doesn’t shy away from examining the relatable issues her multicultural couples face but never sacrifices sexiness or humor.

Start with: The Wedding Date. Overdrive link.

The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand catalog link

Elin Hilderbrand

While Elin Hilderbrand’s characters change from novel to novel, her setting remains consistent – the historic island of Nantucket. Using the island as a jumping off point, Hilderbrand’s works offer the hallmarks of an ideal summer vacation read: romance, friendship, a beautiful setting, conflict and characters facing personal challenges. While rife with tales of people living privileged lifestyle, Hilderbrand grounds her stories in topics that will feel familiar to all women – love, illness, friendship, and family relationships.

Start with: The Rumor. Overdrive link.

Moon Shell Beach by Nancy Thayer catalog link

Nancy Thayer

Nancy Thayer’s women’s fiction revolves around women’s families and friendships, and varies in tone from her more serious first novels to her sassy and humorous Hot Flash Club series. Her characters are realistic, everyday women, and she employs a sense of humor (from snappy to gentle) in her novels. There is often an element of romance as well.

Start with: Moon Shell Beach. Overdrive link.

Author information courtesy of Novelist.

Join us next week for another installment of the virtual book club!

Virtual Book Club – Readalikes for 28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand

28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand catalog link

Just because the weather’s cooling down and turning to autumn doesn’t mean that we can’t still read beach reads! We know that a lot of you are still on the holds list for 28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand, so we thought we’d recommend some similar authors and titles for you while you wait. 

Elin Hilderbrand is the queen of the beach read, as her books are always set on the island of Nantucket, and her newest novel is no different. 28 Summers presents a tale inspired by the film, Same Time Next Year, that follows a man’s discovery of his mother’s long-term relationship with the husband of a Presidential frontrunner. 

Click any of the readalike book covers below to be taken to our catalog, where you can request a copy of the book with your library card number and PIN. We’ve also included links to our e-media services Overdrive and Hoopla where available. You can find 28 Summers on Overdrive here

Map of the Heart by Susan Wiggs catalog link

Map of the Heart by Susan Wiggs

Accompanying her aging father on a trip to his native France, a widowed photographer is led by his memories of World War II to unexpected revelations about their family’s history at the same time she bonds with a handsome American historian. 

Map of the Heart Overdrive link

Map of the Heart Hoopla link

Sweet Salt Air by Barbara Delinsky catalog link

Sweet Salt Air by Barbara Delinsky

Two childhood friends reunite at a summer retreat, each harboring a horrible secret that would test the bounds of their longtime relationship if revealed. 

Sweet Salt Air Overdrive link



Secrets in Summer by Nancy Thayer catalog link

Secrets in Summer by Nancy Thayer

Spending her days at the library and her nights stargazing and contemplating a new relationship, Darcy is unexpectedly drawn into the summertime dramas of three families including those of her recently married ex, a situation that compels Darcy to consider what she truly wants. 

Secrets in Summer Overdrive link

Same Beach, Next Year by Dorothea Benton Frank catalog link

Same Beach, Next Year by Dorothea Benton Frank

Reconnecting on one of Charleston’s most beautiful barrier islands, a pair of former sweethearts rediscover their feelings for one another while their jealous spouses pursue an unexpected attraction of their own over more than 20 years also marked by financial catastrophes, family tragedies and devastating heartbreaks. 

Same Beach, Next Year Overdrive link

Same Beach, Next Year Hoopla link

Where We Belong by Emily Giffin catalog link

Where We Belong by Emily Giffin  

Marian Caldwell is a thirty-six-year-old television producer living her dream in New York City. But one night, Marian answers a knock on the door…only to find Kirby Rose, an eighteen-year-old girl with a key to a past that Marian thought she had locked away forever. From the moment Kirby appears on her doorstep, Marian’s meticulously constructed world will be shaken to its core, resurrecting memories of a passionate young love affair that threatens everything that has come to define her. 

Where We Belong Overdrive link

All plot summaries courtesy of Novelist. 

Join us next week for another installment of the Virtual Book Club! 

New and Upcoming Romance Reads

Sometimes, we all just need to read something light, fun, with a happy ending, and maybe a little spice for good measure, especially during times of turmoil and stress. Enter- the romance genre! Whether you want your literary escape to be sexy and scandalous or wholesome and heartwarming (or something in-between!) romance has got your back.

Check out some new and upcoming romance titles that are sure to give you some much deserved reprieve or serve as your next beach read.

What are some of your favorite romance novels or beach reads of the summer? Share in the comments! Happy reading!

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

In this week’s special picks there are new exciting romance, mystery, fantasy, and many more genres for you to choose from! Enjoy!

The Black Swan of Paris by Karen Robards – A celebrated singer in World War II occupied France joins the Resistance to save her estranged family from being killed in a German prison. By the award-winning author of The Fifth Doctrine. A world at war. A beautiful young star. A mission no one expected.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager – Twenty-five years after her father published a wildly popular non-fiction book based on her family’s rushed exit from a haunted Victorian estate, naysayer Maggie inherits the house and begins renovations only to make a number of disturbing discoveries. Is the place really haunted by evil forces, as her father claimed? Or are there more earthbound and dangerous secrets hidden within its walls?

Her Last Flight by Beatriz Williams – The beloved author returns with a remarkable novel of both raw suspense and lyric beauty – Investigating the fate of a forgotten aviation pioneer, a 1947 war correspondent tracks down the pilot’s former student before learning the remarkable story of their complicated and passionate relationship. By the best-selling author of The Golden Hour.

All the Broken People by Leah Konen – Moving to rustic Woodstock to escape an unhappy past, Lucy bonds with an alluring couple, Vera and John, who embroil her in a plot to fake John’s death, before Lucy finds herself framed for the man’s actual murder. She bargained for in this twisty and addictive domestic thriller for fans of The Couple Next Door.

The Dilemma by B. A. Paris – Organizing a lavish birthday party after decades of hardship, a woman hiding a secret about a daughter who cannot attend is forced to confront a devastating truth when her husband arranges a surprise. NYT and USA Today bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors, The Breakdown, and Bring Me Back.

Daring and the Duke by Sarah MacLean – New York Times bestselling author Sarah MacLean returns with the much-anticipated final book in her Bareknuckle Bastards series, featuring a scoundrel duke and the powerful woman who brings him to his knees.

Holding Out for Christmas by Janet Dailey – A demure kindergarten teacher with dreams of Nashville stardom makes a difficult choice when she reunites with a smitten and wildly attractive rancher during an annual western-themed Christmas ball that launches a holiday season of romance and promise.

Word to the Wise by Jenn McKinlay – It’s no-holds-barred murder. Lindsey Norris is finally getting married to the man of her dreams but it’s not all roses for Briar Creek’s beloved library director, as town newcomer Aaron Grady gives the term “book lover” a whole new meaning. Inappropriate looks and unwelcome late-night visits to Lindsey’s house have everyone from the crafternooners to Lindsey’s fiancé, Sully, on edge.

The Empire of Gold by S. A. Chakraborty – In this final installment in the critically acclaimed trilogy, Nahri and Ali are determined to save both their city and their loved ones, but when Ali seeks support in his mother’s homeland, he makes a discovery that threatens not only his relationship with Nahri, but his very faith.

The Chicken Sisters by K. J. Dell’Antonia – Three generations. Two chicken shacks. One recipe for disaster. The last thing Brooklyn-based organizational guru Mae Moore, Amanda’s sister, wants is to go home to Kansas. But when her career implodes, helping the fading Mimi’s look good on Food Wars becomes Mae’s best chance to reclaim the limelight. When family secrets become public knowledge, the sisters must choose: Will they fight with each other, or for their heritage?

One Last Lie by Paul Doiron – When his beloved mentor disappears amid the discovery of an antique badge,Mike Bowditch investigates the presumed death of an undercover warden before the cold case is upended by dangerous secrets and a daughter’s return.

Firestick by William W. Johnstone & J. A. Johnstone – In this exciting new series, bestselling authors pay homage to America’s trail – hardened backwoodsmen who, like a fine grain whisky, only get better with age. Firestick is the town marshal. Beartooth and Moosejaw are his deputies. And when a hired gunman shows up with bullets blazing, these three hard-cases are ready to prove they aren’t getting older.

Nacho Average Murder by Maddie Day – While looking forward to her high school reunion back in California, Robbie’s anticipation is complicated by memories of her mother’s untimely death. But then she gets wind of rumors that her mother, an environmental activist, may not have died of natural causes. With the help of friends, Robbie starts clearing the smoke surrounding the mystery; but what she finds could make it hard to get back to Indiana alive . . .

Selfcare by Leigh Stein – Have you ever scrolled through Instagram and seen countless influencers who seem like experts at caring for themselves from their yoga crop tops to their well-lit clean meals to their serumed skin and erudite-but-color-coded reading stack? Self Care delves into the lives and psyches of people working in the wellness industry and exposes the world behind the filter.

~Semanur

What We’re Reading Now…

magic

Magic For Liars by Sarah Gailey

An introspective murder mystery set at a school for magic, where non-magical private investigator Ivy must find the killer while trying to ignore years of built-up resentment for her magical prodigy of a sister. Shannon

 

 

 

strange

 

Strange Frequencies: The Extraordinary Story of the Technological Quest for the Supernatural by Peter Bebergal

I chose this book from a recommendation of a podcast I listen to and it did not disappoint. An exploration of how technology has historically been used to explore and interact with the supernatural, this book covers a wide range of time periods and topics. The author’s addition of a personal narrative of his own efforts to make and use the discussed technology helps to structure the text. The author is thorough in his research and presents the information in a clear and concise tone. Recommended for readers who enjoyed Real Magic by Dean RadinOccult American by Mitch Horowitz, or Netflix’s new show Midnight Gospel.  Greg

rodham

 

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

Curtis Sittenfeld’s Rodham is the Hillary Clinton fan fiction you didn’t know you wanted.  Hillary and Bill meet at Yale law school and share a strong intellectual, emotional, and physical connection.  Well, we know that story of what happened, but Sittenfeld chooses her own adventure in Rodham.  Hillary decides against marrying Bill, instead going on to blaze a different trail. Beth

 

good

 

Good Kids, Bad City: A Story of Race and Wrongful Conviction in America by Kyle Swenson

In Good Kids, Bad City: A Story of Race and Wrongful Conviction in America journalist Kyle Swenson weaves the personal stories of three young men who were sentenced to grow up in prison with detailed accounts of corruption and injustice that plagued the city of Cleveland and the Cleveland police department. Swenson’s narrative is a scathing indictment of systematic discrimination that continues to this day.

On May 19, 1975, Harry Franks, a white salesman, was robbed, assaulted, and murdered in broad daylight in Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood. Three black youth were sentenced and spent a combined 106 years in prison for the crime. The murderer was never caught. The entirety of the prosecution’s case against Wiley Bridgeman, Kwame Ajamu, and Ricky Jackson was based on the eye-witness testimony of 12-year old Ed Vernon. Nearly 40 years later Vernon recanted his story, revealing that the police used fear and coercion to convince him to tell the story they wanted him to tell. Megan

 

american

 

American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson

Marie, a Black woman, languishes in the New York FBI counterintelligence offices during the height of the Cold War.  Grieving her sister’s mysterious death and frustrated that she  continuously overlooked for high profile assignments, Marie lets herself be recruited when a CIA agent approaches her to infiltrate the entourage of Thomas Sankara, the visiting Burkina Faso president.  John le Carré styled spy fiction that combines intrigue and examines issues of family, loyalty, what it is to be a good American. Trent

 

mrs

 

Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner

This is a story of two sisters’ lives, beginning in their childhood in the 1950’s to present day.  The story begins in Detroit, with Jo and Bethie Kaufman, two sisters who could not be more different from each other.  Jo is a tomboy. intelligent and a rebel bent on making the world a more fair place to live in.  Bethie is the feminine good girl, with dreams of a traditional life of marriage and “happily-ever-after”.  From a young age, the girl’s world is shaken with surprise and tragedy, and they learn to lean on each other for support in order to navigate an ever-changing and evolving world around them.  This is historical fiction, and you will experience a trip down memory lane with Weiner’s descriptive writing. I grew close to these sisters as the novel progressed, and by the end, did not want to let them go.  Their life journeys were compelling & bittersweet.  I strongly recommend this book to shelve on your summer reading list, trust me, you will not be disappointed. Mary

 

jake

 

Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon

I have to admit that when I started this book, I thought it was the book with a popular miniseries based on it, but that’s Defending Jacob —oops! This book has a similar theme. Stay-at-home father, Simon, has tried to do a good job raising his two children while his wife works as a successful lawyer.  He has doubts as to whether he’s done everything right even now as his kids are teenagers, and his son Jake is not as friendly and outgoing as his sister.  One warm November day, Simon receives a text that there has been a shooting at the high school.  As he rushes to his children, he discovers that Jake is nowhere to be found.  As the story unfolds and suspicion is cast upon Jake, Simon must face his demons about what kind of father he really was, and whether or not he knew his son at all.  It was a riveting read, and I enjoyed it all the way through.  Sara

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

We have some new releases picked out for you to dive in for the following week. There is more adventure, humor, romance and suspense for you to enjoy!

28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand – The best-selling author of Summer of ’69 presents a tale inspired by the film, Same Time Next Year, that follows a man’s discovery of his mother’s long-term relationship with the husband of a Presidential frontrunner.

Stranger Planet by Nathan W. Pyle – The sequel to the #1 New York Times bestselling phenomenon Strange Planet, featuring more hilarious and poignant adventures from the fascinating inhabitants of Nathan W. Pyle’s colorful world. In this eagerly awaited sequel, Nathan takes us back to his charming and instantly recognizable planet colored in bright pinks, blues, greens, and purples, providing more escapades, jokes, and p h r a s e s.

American Demon by Kim Harrison – When the magical acts her friends and she committed to save the world inadvertently unleash a zombie epidemic, witch-demon Rachel Mariana Morgan considers a wrenching sacrifice in the wake of baffling murders and the arrival of a new demon. A thrilling return to the #1 New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series, continuing Rachel Morgan’s story.

Hunted Again by Heather Graham – Feel the thrills and chills of this heart-pounding romantic suspense from New York Times bestselling author Heather Graham. A love rekindle or a deadly reunion? Even after a decade, Sarah Hampton is haunted by the night that nearly ended in a bloody massacre and destroyed her high school romance with handsome Tyler Grant. Now the horror has returned. It’s a reckoning from the events of that terrifying night and a love they never let go. Only this time Tyler must protect Sarah from the killer hiding in the darkness or lose her forever.

The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton – In 1935 three women are forever changed when one of the most powerful hurricanes in history barrels toward the Florida Keys. For the tourists traveling on Henry Flagler’s legendary Overseas Railroad, Labor Day weekend is an opportunity to forget the economic depression gripping the nation. But one person’s paradise can be another’s prison, and Key West-native Helen Berner yearns to escape.

Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks – A modern retelling of the Bigfoot legend is presented as a gripping journal by a woman from a high-tech Pacific Northwest community who becomes cut off from civilization by a volcanic eruption before witnessing the flight of starving humanoid beings. The #1 bestselling author of World War Z returns with a horror tale that blurs the lines between human and beast, and asks, What are we capable of when we’re cut off from society?

The Half Sister by Sandie Jones – Approached by a secret half-sister they never knew, two close sisters turn against the stranger before uncovering difficult truths about their beloved late father. From Sandie Jones, the New York Times bestselling author of the Hello Sunshine Book Club pick The Other Woman, comes The Half Sister; a compelling new domestic suspense novel about a family who is forever changed when a stranger arrives at their door.

Stephen King’s the Dark Tower the Drawing of the Three 4: Bitter Medicine by Stephen King/ Robin Furth/ Peter David/ Jonathan Marks/ Lee Loughridge – Enter once more the world of Roland Deschain and the world of the Dark Tower presented in this stunning fourth graphic novel of The Drawing of the Three story arc that will unlock the doorways to terrifying secrets and bold storytelling as part of the dark fantasy masterwork and magnum opus from #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephen King. 

New world sourdough : artisan techniques for creative homemade fermented breads; with recipes for pan de coco, bagels, beignets and more by Bryan Ford – New World Sourdough is your go-to guide to baking delicious, inventive sourdough breads at home. Learn how to make a sourdough starter, basic breads, as well as other innovative baked goods from start to finish with Instagram star Bryan Ford’s (@artisanbryan) inviting, nontraditional approach to home baking.

Fast. Feast. Repeat.: The Comprehensive Guide to Delay , Don’t Deny Intermittent Fasting: Including the 28-Day Fast Start by Gin Stephens – Diets don’t work. You know you know that, and yet you continue to try them, because what else can you do? You can Fast. Feast. Repeat. After losing over eighty pounds and keeping every one of them off, Gin Stephens started a vibrant, successful online community with hundreds of thousands of members from around the world who have learned the magic of a Delay, Don’t Deny® intermittent fasting lifestyle. Change when you eat and change your body, your health, and your life!

~Semanur