A Book You’ll Love-Love

Were you among the 6.9 million people who watched Serena Williams play her probable-last tennis match at the U.S. Open last week? If so, you helped break a record. It was the largest audience of any tennis match in ESPN’s 43-year history! And, while this year’s action wrapped up at Arthur Ashe Stadium yesterday, fear not, you can still get your tennis on. Just pick up this winner of book, Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

Carrie Soto is a tennis legend who rises to fame in the 1980s under the coaching of her father Javier. She is fierce and unrelenting, and her determination to win and unapologetic style of play have earned her the nickname, “the Battle Axe” and made her unlikable to most of her competitors and plenty of fans. But by the time she retires from tennis, she is the best player the world, having shattered every record and claimed twenty Grand Slam titles. Now, it is 1994 and at age 37, Carrie has been retired from tennis for six years. When she learns that seasoned-player Nicki Chan is attempting to break her record, Carrie decides to come out from retirement to defend her status. Will she be able to reclaim her place in tennis history against the odds?

Carrie Soto Is Back is more than just a book about a fictional tennis player. This novel explores the ups and downs that accompany celebrity and the double standard that exists between how men and women are treated in the world of sports. It is also a story of personal growth that features a beautiful father/daughter relationship, a slow-building romance, and a complex protagonist who struggles with how she presents herself and is seen. Readers of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Daisy Jones and the Six and Malibu Rising will recognize some cross-over characters in Carrie’s story, finishing the author’s “quartet” on women and fame. Carrie Soto is Back, like those others, can be read independently, but why not deep dive into all of these smart and compelling novels that put women front and center?

-Carol

New Historical Fiction

The Manhattan Girls: A Novel of Dorothy Parker and her Friends

It is the Jazz Age in New York City when Dorothy Parker and three other prominent professionals form a bridge club. Jane Grant is the first woman reporter at the New York Times. She is determined to launch a new magazine she calls The New Yorker. Winifred Lenihan is a beautiful and talented Broadway star. Peggy Leach is a magazine assistant at Conde Nast by day and a brilliant novelist by night. These four women form a firm friendship and part of their friendship includes keeping Dottie safe from herself. She attempts suicide twice.

Name-dropping and drama are important parts of this novel. Wild drinking parties despite Prohibition and infidelity also play a main role in this fast-paced book.

~Emma

“Live long and prosper!”

Fifty six years ago, Star Trek made its television debut on NBC. Featuring William Shatner, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Leonard Nimoy, and a host of other formidable actors, the original show has spawned numerous iterations, including spin-off television series, films, magazines, exhibitions, and books. Love of Star Trek spans generations, creating communities with each new release. Even if you’re not a “Trekkie”, there’s no getting around the fact that Star Trek has had quite the impact on popular culture.  

I’ve compiled a few books that are sure to interest any Trekkie, and hopefully reach the non-Trekkies too! 

The Last Best Hope by Una McCormack 

Interested in the newer generations of Star Trek but not sure how to get started? Try this prequel novel about Star Trek: Picard, from 2020. You’ll be introduced to Picard and a new cast of characters, bringing your Star Trek knowledge up to par.  

Leonard: My Fifty-year Friendship with a Remarkable Man by William Shatner  

William Shatner expounds upon his professional and personal relationship with Leonard Nimoy in this biography, published about a year after Nimoy’s death.  

Live Long and …: What I Learned Along the Way by William Shatner 

Shatner also wrote an autobiography that goes beyond just his experiences as Captain Kirk. From motorcycle trips to stage productions to grappling with the uncertainty of life, Shatner explores it all in reflections full of humor and vulnerability. 

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei 

George Takei is well-known for his acting roles in Star Trek and as a fierce LGBTQ+ activist. Born to Japanese-American parents, their family was forcibly imprisoned in a Japanese interment camp during World War II. This graphic novel memoir depicts Takei’s experiences in the camp, as a young child trying to make the most of the situation and grappling with horrific atrocities. A must-read for anyone, Trekkie or otherwise. 

Phasers on Stun!: How the Making (and Remaking) of Star Trek Changed the World by Ryan Britt 

Whether you’ve been with Star Trek since the beginning or you’ve never seen a single episode, Ryan Britt’s in-depth look into the Star Trek phenomenon will provide insight into this illustrious franchise.  

The City on the Edge of Forever: The Original Teleplay That Became The Classic Star Trek Episode by Scott Tipton 

One of the most beloved episodes of Star Trek, with the original script by Harlan Ellison, adapted into a graphic novel. Fans will love being able to see how the script changed into what is seen on screen. 

-Linnea

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

Take a look at some of the exciting new releases coming to our shelves in this week…

Clive Cussler’s Hellburner : When Juan Cabrillo fails to capture the leader of Mexico’s most dangerous drug cartel and loses an Oregon crew member in the process, he’s determined to get revenge. Little does he know that the explosion he just narrowly escaped was merely the latest flash of violence from a machine of war that has existed for decades, dating from the bloodiest episode in Armenia’s history.

All the Women in My Brain: And Other Concerns : Like Jenny Lawson and Caitlin Moran, Emmy-nominated actress and writer Betty Gilpin delivers a lightning-strike dispatch of hilarious, intimate, and luminous essays on how to navigate this weird and wondrous life.

The Wuhan Cover-Up: How US Health Officials Conspired with the Chinese Military to Hide the Origins of COVID-19

The Wuhan Cover-up : From the New York TimesWall Street JournalUSA TodayPublishers Weekly bestselling author of The Real Anthony Fauci comes an explosive exposé of the cover-up behind the true origins of COVID-19.The Wuhan Cover-up unveils a US/Chinese conspiracy of epic proportion and lethal consequence.

The Ways We Hide : A sweeping World War II tale of an illusionist whose recruitment by British intelligence sets her on a perilous, heartrending path. Inspired by stunning true accounts, The Ways We Hide is a gripping story of love and loss, the wars we fight—on the battlefields and within ourselves—and the courage found in unexpected places.

The American Roommate Experiment : From the author of the Goodreads Choice Award winner The Spanish Love Deception, the eagerly anticipated follow-up featuring Rosie Graham and Lucas Martín, who are forced to share a New York apartment. Rosie Graham has a problem. A few, actually. She just quit her well paid job to focus on her secret career as a romance writer. She hasn’t told her family and now has terrible writer’s block. Then, the ceiling of her New York apartment literally crumbles on her.

On the Rooftop : A stunning novel about a mother whose dream of musical stardom for her three daughters collides with the daughters’ ambitions for their own lives—set against the backdrop of gentrifying 1950s San Francisco.

The Rising Tide : For fifty years a group of friends have been meeting regularly for reunions on Holy Island, celebrating the school trip where they met, and the friend that they lost to the rising causeway tide five years later.

It’s Not Me, It’s You : Two therapists analyze their own relationship to help untangle the common and frustrating barriers many individuals face on the road to a happy, loving, rewarding partnership.

Court of the Vampire Queen : All Mina ever wanted was to escape her father’s control. Half human, half vampire, she lived eternally torn between two worlds, never fully experiencing the pleasures of either—until her father chose her as the pawn in his latest political move, gifting her to the darkly powerful and dangerously seductive Malachi Zion.

~Semanur

A Coastal Cozy Mystery

A widow in her seventies, Nonna Maria has never strayed far from her home island of Ischia, off the coast of Naples, Italy. She has no phone or car or TV, is known by all for her kindness and generosity, and is an expert on local history. Nonna Maria’s real skill lies in her ability to solve problems, and when things go wrong, her fellow islanders look to her for guidance.

When a local young woman confesses that she is unsure how she wound up engaged to a stranger, Nonna Maria offers to hide the bride and look into her new fiancé’s dark and mysterious past to discover how he tricked her into the promise of marriage.

Meanwhile, Pasquale, an Ischia tour boat captain and friend to Nonna Maria has drowned while piloting his boat. The local police chief believes it was a drunken accident. Nonna Maria knows that Pasquale, a lifelong sailor, could swim regardless of being drunk on wine. She decides to look into who might benefit from the man’s early demise.

Nonna Maria’s relies on her friendships with locals, including a crime boss, a priest, and a local mechanic to help her to get to the bottom of most matters, but she also has a sixth sense that tells her when something or someone is just not quite on the level. As she investigates these dangerous characters who are willing to trick innocent women or commit murder in order to get what they want, she begins to wonder if she has taken on too much this time.

Nonna Maria is like a breath of fresh air, whose recipe for happiness includes her home brewed coffee, a glass of good wine, and sharing her delicious home-cooked meals with her neighbors and family. With Nonna Maria and the Case of the Missing Bride, Lorenzo Carcaterra has gifted readers with a delightfully cozy mystery that will leave you yearning to travel to Italy or, at the very least, eagerly awaiting the next installment in this new series.

-Carol

New Historical Fiction

Pilot Ward Millar makes a last-minute decision to bail out over North Korea. Unfortunately, even with a parachute, Ward breaks both of his ankles and is easily captured by the North Koreans and Chinese. Ward needs medical attention which his captors provide haphazardly if he shares information, mostly false information, with them.

At home when Ward’s wife, Barbara, receives notification that her husband is missing in action, she believes he still alive. Barbara is a woman of deep and sustaining faith and refuses to believe that Ward is dead despite what family and friends have to say.

North Korean soldier Kim Jae Pil is a Christian. He and his family have kept their faith secret to survive. Kim is forced to serve as a solder but wants to and plans to escape from the army and reunite with his family. Ward and Kim eventually meet and together plan their escape.

This novel is based on the true story of an American POW during the Korean War and a North Korean soldier who became unlikely allies. They were united in their shared faith in God during a daring escape to freedom. The novel is a story of courage, determination, unlikely friendship, and enduring faith.

~Emma

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

Check out this selection of new releases for your enjoyment coming this week!

The Ink Black Heart (A Cormoran Strike Novel) by [Robert Galbraith]

The Ink Black Heart : The latest installment in the highly acclaimed, internationally bestselling Strike series finds Cormoran and Robin ensnared in another winding, wicked case. A gripping, fiendishly clever mystery, The Ink Black Heart is a true tour-de-force.

The House of Fortune : Alive with the magic of Amsterdam, the enchanting new historical novel from the author of the sensational New York Times bestseller The Miniaturist, which has sold more than two million copies. A feat of sweeping, magical storytelling, The House of Fortune is an unputdownable novel about love and obsession, family and loyalty, and the fantastic power of secrets.

The Thread Collectors : 1863: In a small Creole cottage in New Orleans, an ingenious young Black woman named Stella embroiders intricate maps on repurposed cloth to help enslaved men flee and join the Union Army. Bound to a man who would kill her if he knew of her clandestine activities. Loosely inspired by the authors’ family histories, this stunning novel will stay with readers for a long time.

Lady Joker, Volume 2 by Kaoru Takamura

Lady Joker : This second half of Lady Joker, by Kaoru Takamura, the Grand Dame of Japanese crime fiction, concludes the breathtaking saga introduced in Volume I. Inspired by the real-life Glico-Morinaga kidnapping, an unsolved case that terrorized Japan for two years, Lady Joker reimagines the circumstances of this watershed episode in modern Japanese history and brings into riveting focus the lives and motivations of the victims, the perpetrators, the heroes and the villains.

Feeding Littles and Beyond : An inspirational, accessible family cookbook that offers everything a parent needs to bring joy and love back into the kitchen, by the baby and toddler feeding experts behind Feeding Littles and the New York Times bestselling cookbook author of Inspiralized.

Number One Fan : Terrifying and timely, set against the backdrop of convention culture and the MeToo reckoning, Number One Fan unflinchingly examines the tension between creator and work, fandom and source material, and the rage of fans who feel they own fiction.

~Semanur

A Spellbinding 17th-Century Saga

The Swift and the Harrier
by Minette Walters

In 1642, England is on the brink of civil war between Royalists, who support King Charles I and his right to absolute rule and Parliamentarians, who believe that Parliament should represent the people. Jayne Swift is a daughter of the Dorset gentry, and much to her parents’ dismay, has thus far in life resisted any offers of marriage. Instead, Jayne has trained as a physician and is devoted to healing others, regardless of their political beliefs.

When Jayne first meets William Harrier, she is led to believe that he is a footman to a Dorchester neighbor and Parliamentarian. As war rages on, Jayne remains neutral and just wants the senseless killing to stop.  Each time she encounters William, however, he appears in a different guise and Jayne is left wondering which side of the war he is fighting for.

Throughout it all, including battles that result in Jayne managing hospitals on the front lines, and up to the war’s end in 1649, Jayne and William find themselves in each other’s orbits and in each other’s hearts. But can Jayne ever have a future with the mysterious William Harrier, who presents himself as pauper one moment and a lord the next?

If you are a fan of meticulously researched historical fiction, you’ll want to put The Swift and the Harrier by Minette Walters at the top of your reading list. This sweeping tale of adventure, war, loss, and love stars an unforgettable and non-traditional heroine in Jayne and a dashing man of mystery in William. Well-paced and totally captivating, The Swift and the Harrier is historical fiction at its best.

-Carol

A Cozy Mystery from 1993

Lori Shephard is having a tough time. She is recently divorced and working a temporary job for minimum pay. Her mother has just passed away. Lori receives a letter from Willis & Willis, a prestigious Boston law firm, informing her that Dimity Westwood has left her a large inheritance. Lori thought that Dimity was a figment of her mother’s imagination when sharing bedtime stories making Aunt Dimity the hero.

The stories have been compiled into a book and Lori is given the assignment to write the introduction before being submitted for publishing. Lori must travel to Dimity’s Cotswold’s cottage in England and has a month to complete the introduction. Bill, the younger partner of the law firm, is her traveling companion. Upon arrival, the pair discover the ghost of Dimity haunts the cottage, and she is willing to communicate only with Lori.

Lori discovers 40 years’ worth of correspondence between her mother and Dimity. The women met by pure happenstance in London and became fast friends and confidants. There is a mystery to the story Lori attempts to uncover surrounding Dimity and a pilot during WWII.

The book is more than a mystery or a fun ghost story. It is the beginning of a tender romance. The first book in the Aunt Dimity mystery series was published in 1993. Since then, there have been twenty-five titles in the series.

~Emma

Happy National Secondhand Day!  

The interest in buying secondhand, upcycling, and reducing our spending has risen in recent years. There are plenty of reasons to shop at thrift stores and do our own mending. With the constant changing of trends and being surrounded by new all the time, it can be extremely gratifying to find that diamond in the rough and make it one of a kind. No matter your ability level, anyone can find great pieces by shopping secondhand and learn tricks to jazz up thrift store gems, from home décor to clothing. 

Flea Market Fabulous: Designing Gorgeous Rooms with Vintage Treasures by Lara Spencer 

The Whimsical Home: Interior Design with Thrift Store Finds, Flea Market Gems, and Recycled Goods by Sania Hedengren 

The Refashion Handbook: Refit, Redesign, Remake for Every Body by Beth Huntington 

Make Thrift Mend: Stitch, Patch, Darn, Plant-dye & Love Your Wardrobe by Katrina Rodabaugh 

Re-bound: Creating Handmade Books from Recycled and Repurposed Materials by Jeannine Stein (As a librarian, I would be remiss to not include a book about books!) 

Wise Craft: Turning Thrift Store Finds, Fabric Scraps, and Natural Objects into Stuff You Love by Blair Stocker 

The next time you pass a garage sale or find a hole in your favorite socks or want to redecorate, you’ll have plenty of inspiration to create or mend or design while saving money.

-Linnea