Murder Lo Mein by Vivien Chien

book coverAnother new author of a murder mystery, with the main characters all being Asian and set in Cleveland–rather interesting perspective. A bit slow and bloggy, but it does have a decent ending. Just don’t expect too much!

This is the first in a new series (copyright 2016) that is enjoyable but not remarkably clever. As murder mysteries go, this is likeable and I will seek out other books in the series. The recipes at the end all sound tasty, too!

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Jane Kostenko
Rating:  Recommended

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Moon Witch, Spider King, by Marlon James

book coverThis is a sequel to Black Leopard, Red Wolf. It follows the same overarching narrative as the first book, but this time from the point of view of Sogolon, a woman with the power to change the air around her into a great force of destruction. Marlon James continues to be a great storyteller, I really enjoyed this sequel. As with Black wolf, I found it refreshing how James plays with gender stereotypes and the fluidity of gender while also showing how socially constructed it really is. This is also a great book post metoo as a lot of the time Sogolon is just doling out justice for mens’ violence against women, it’s pretty awesome and badass. It’s a great reading experience in audio book form.

Availability:  COSMOS, USMAI
Review Submitted by: Emily Nelson Ringholm, ’07
Rating:  Highly Recommended
Challenge: Audiobook

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

Firefly Lane

I just finished reading Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah. This was the second book I’ve read by this author (other was The Nightingale and I wasn’t disappointed! It was a fun read and I got really pulled into all the characters. Would definitely recommend.

Availability: COSMOS, USMAI
Review Submitted by: Kate Jakuta
Rating:  Recommended
Challenge: Book to Film

The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson

Seed Keeper

The Seed Keeper is a multi-generational story that primarily follows Rosalie Iron Wing and her journey to reconnect with her Dakhòta heritage. This book does allude to the generational trauma and abuse that occurred at residential schools, however it is not explicitly described. I found this book to be hopeful, heartfelt and sometimes quite sad but I still highly recommend it.

Availability:  COSMOS
Review Submitted by:  Joanne Hoppe
Rating:  Highly Recommended

The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford

Pursuit of LoveIf you enjoyed Downtown Abbey, you would probably get a kick out of this book. It tells the story of the Radlett family in England: the blustering, wacky patriarch, the doting mother, and the seven children all eager to grow up. Their cousin Fanny is the narrator, but the main character is Linda, the most beautiful and wayward of the Radlett children who is desperate to fall in love. The writing style is so charming and at times satirical – I was immediately drawn in to this unusual family and couldn’t wait to see what happened next for Linda and Fanny, who come of age prior to World War II. I thought the ending was a bit abrupt but as disappointed as I was for it to be over, I thought it fit with the general laissez faire tone of the book. Bonus: there’s an Amazon Prime show which I thought was a very good adaptation of the story with a few fun liberties.

Availability: USMAI
Review Submitted by: Kaylie Jasinski ’14
Rating:  Highly Recommended
Challenge: Book to film

Ice by Linda Howard

Ice

Maybe this would be a good beach read (set during an ice storm)–quick, not at all challenging to any brain cells, etc. A bit too edgy for my tastes, but stopped short of being too graphic (hence “with reservations”.)

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Jane Kostenko
Rating:  Recommended with reservations

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Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Book LoversI thought Emily Henry’s latest book was her best one yet. It was such a fun, quick read with major You’ve Got Mail vibes, and just a hint of Pride and Prejudice. Nora is an intense literary agent and Charlie is brooding book editor, and both have crossed paths occasionally in New York City, though they’ve never particularly gotten along. But when Nora agrees to a sisters trip to a small town in North Carolina, she has another run in with Charlie, and another, and another and you can probably guess the rest. Setting aside the fact that I thought it was a huge coincidence that two New Yorkers would both end up in the same small NC town, I found myself really enjoying this book. I thought the author did a great job at developing both characters and they had more depth than a lot of others I’ve seen in traditional “rom-com” novels. It was just the book I needed to get me out of a little reading slump and I was only sorry to have finished it so soon.

Availability:  COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Kaylie Jasinski ’14
Rating:  Must Read

You’ll be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus

You'll be the death of meYou’ll be he Death of Me is a mystery that features three high schoolers who reunite for the first time since middle school to skip school together. However, they encounter a crime scene and their day becomes chaotic as they try to solve the murder of their classmate. I found the characters to be realistically flawed. I think that Cal and Mateo had convincing motivations, but Ivy’s story felt flat. The story takes place over the span of a day, making the mystery feel rushed and less nuanced. The narration of the audiobook was entertaining. Each chapter was set from one of the three main characters’ points of view and each character had their own narrator.

If you want to read a quick, amusing mystery I would recommend this book.

Availability:  COSMOS,
Review Submitted by:  Julia Carter
Rating:   Recommended
Challenge: Audiobook

Calamity Cafe by Gayle Leeson

Calamity

This is the first in a new series (copyright 2016) that is enjoyable but not remarkably clever. As murder mysteries go, this is likeable and I will seek out other books in the series. The recipes at the end all sound tasty, too!

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Jane Kostenko
Rating:  Recommended

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Butchers Hill by Laura Lippman

Butchers Hill

Dated, certainly, but an interesting mystery set in Baltimore’s recent past. Tess Monaghan is the main character and she moves the story along at a decent pace.

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Jane Kostenko
Rating:  Recommended

Explore additional reviews of Laura Lippman mysteries.

The Big Reveal by Jen Larsen

Big Reveal

The Big Reveal broadcasts empowerment on every page. It is the story of Addie, a fat dancer, who reclaims her body and sexuality through dance. Addie decides to put on a secret burlesque show to raise funds for a dance program. The show is initially a hit, until people start to spread their hate. The characters battle sexism and fatphobia, but also get to explore love and what it means to be women.

Availability:  COSMOS,
Review Submitted by:  Julia Carter
Rating:  Highly Recommended

Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera

Never Look BackA successful modern adaption of Greek mythology, Never Look Back is a unique story about love and trauma. Based on the tragic story of Orpheus and Eurydice, the story follows Pheus and Eury as they fall in love in the Bronx.

However, there is evil trying to take hold of Eury. Pheus must use his voice to take on the forces separating him from Eury. The book explores mental health, spirituality, and cultural identity.
The author incorporates Afro-Latino culture into her retelling of a classic tragedy. The story shows what it is like to be haunted by the past, yet to still feel love and appreciation for home.

I love how the story features magic and divinity yet makes it feel so real. Pheus and Eury are both imperfect but their love and resilience brings the story to life.

Availability:  COSMOS, USMAI
Review Submitted by:  Julia Carter
Rating:  Highly Recommended
Challenge:
YA book with diverse characters