Bill Nye The Science Guy Appreciation Post

If you’ve read some of my other posts, you know I’m developing a real love for non-fiction books about cool science. Recently, I combined that love with a taste of nostalgia by reading an informative and often funny book by one of my childhood icons, Bill Nye (The Science Guy). Bill Nye became iconic in the 90s with his TV show about science for kids, and he remains a beloved source of science and inspiration to many today. This post is not only to recommend you read one of his enthusiastic, fascinating, and inspiring books, but to highlight how much Bill Nye you can get from your local library (or at least the Rivershare library system as a whole).

For Adults: 

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There are three books for adults that Nye has published in the last few years. To catch some of his general enthusiasm, check out Everything All At Once, an energizing look at how to identify your passions, strengthen your critical thinking, and solve ‘unsolvable’ problems. Embrace your inner nerd! If one of your passions turns out to be scientific causes, try one of his other two books: Undeniable and Unstoppable, about evolution and climate change, respectively. In these books, it’s obvious how much Bill Nye cares about kids and wants them to love science, create a better world, and have a fantastic time. And, he gets his message across with humor, which I always appreciate.

If those aren’t for you, you may appreciate his sense of wonder; he wrote the preface for both Earth + Space and The Planets, collections of breathtaking photographs from NASA’s archives.

For Kids (or Kids-At-Heart)

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Of course, this is where Bill Nye shines as a passionate educator and enthusiastic science nerd: he’s created a number of nonfiction titles including Bill Nye’s great big world of science, Bill Nye the science guy’s big blue ocean, Bill Nye the science guy’s big blast of science, AND a fiction series called Jack and the Geniuses.

Even better, you even can check out DVDs of some vintage Bill Nye the Science Guy content including Bill Nye the science guy. Electrical current, Bill Nye the science guy. Dinosaurs, Do-it-yourself science, and much, much more.

In any case, whether it’s a walk down memory lane or a call to action, I really do recommend you look at some Bill Nye for a wholesome dose of lifelong learning, can-do spirit, and hope for the future. 

New Mystery Titles at Eastern

Let’s talk about new mystery titles! Below you will find a list of new mystery titles available at our Eastern Avenue Branch.  All descriptions have been provided by the publishers.

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A Spell for Trouble by Esme Addison

Alexandra Daniels hasn’t set foot in the quiet seaside town of Bellamy Bay, North Carolina in over twenty years. Ever since her mother’s tragic death, her father has mysteriously forbidden her from visiting her aunt and cousins. But on a whim, Alex accepts an invitation to visit her estranged relatives and to help them in their family business: an herbal apothecary known for its remarkably potent teas, salves, and folk remedies.

Bellamy Bay doesn’t look like trouble, but this is a town that harbors dark secrets. Alex discovers that her own family is at the center of salacious town gossip, and that they are rumored to be magical healers descended from mermaids. She brushes this off as nonsense until a local is poisoned and her aunt Lidia is arrested for the crime. Alex is certain Lidia is being framed, and she resolves to find out why.

Alex’s investigation unearths stories that some have gone to desperate lengths to conceal: forbidden affairs, family rivalries, and the truth about Alex’s own ancestry. And when the case turns deadly, Alex learns that not only are these secrets worth hiding, but they may even be worth killing for.

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Murder in the East End by Jennifer Ashley

A new upstairs, downstairs Victorian murder mystery in the Kat Holloway series from the New York Times bestselling author of Death in Kew Gardens.

When young cook Kat Holloway learns that the children of London’s Foundling Hospital are mysteriously disappearing and one of their nurses has been murdered, she can’t turn away. She enlists the help of her charming and enigmatic confidant Daniel McAdam, who has ties to Scotland Yard, and Errol Fielding, a disreputable man from Daniel’s troubled past, to bring the killer to justice. Their investigation takes them from the grandeur of Mayfair to the slums of the East End, during which Kat learns more about Daniel and his circumstances than she ever could have imagined.

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Howloween Murder by Laurien Berenson

As the town of Greenwich, Connecticut, counts down to a spooky celebration on October 31st, a horrifying murder leaves Melanie Travis pawing for clues in a hair-raising game of trick-or-treat . . .

With just a few days left before Halloween, everyone at Howard Academy is anticipating the guaranteed sugar high they’ll experience from gorging on Harriet Bloom’s famous marshmallow puffs. The private school’s annual costume party revolves around the headmaster’s assistant and her seemingly supernatural batches of gooey goodies. So, it’s a shock when Harriet’s elderly neighbor is suddenly found dead with the beloved dessert in his hand. In a snap, police start questioning whether Harriet modified her top-secret recipe to include a hefty dose of lethal poison . . .

Melanie knows her tenured colleague would never intentionally serve cyanide-laced puffs to a defenseless old man. But as explosive neighborhood gossip reveals a potential culprit, it also brings her closer to sealing her own doom. Because on an evening ruled by masked revelers, bizarre getups, and hidden identities, Halloween might just be the perfect opportunity for a cold-hearted killer to get away with murder once again—this time sending a nosy, unsuspecting sleuth to an early grave!

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Guilt at the Garage by Simon Brett

Carole Seddon’s trusty Renault is one of her most treasured possessions. So when it is vandalised, there’s only one person she will entrust with its repair: Bill Shefford has been servicing the vehicles of the good citizens of Fethering for many years. But how could something like this happen in Fethering of all places? Then the note is shoved under Carole’s kitchen door: Watch out. The car window was just the start. It would appear that she has been deliberately targeted. But by whom . and why? Matters take an even more disturbing turn when a body is discovered at Shefford’s Garage, crushed to death by a falling gearbox. It would appear to be a tragic accident. Carole and her neighbour Jude are not so sure. And the more they start to ask questions, the more evidence they uncover of decidedly foul play.

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The Outcast Girls by Alys Clare

Private investigators Lily Raynor and Felix Wilbraham get more than they bargain for when they take on a case in a girls’ boarding school, in the latest World’s End Bureau Victorian mystery.

London, 1881. Lily Raynor, owner of the World’s End Investigation Bureau, is growing increasingly worried. Work is drying up, finances are tight and she cannot find enough for her sole employee, Felix Wilbraham, to do. So when schoolteacher Georgiana Long arrives, with a worrying tale of runaway pupils, it seems like the answer to her prayers. The case is an interesting one, and what could be less perilous than a trip to a girls’ boarding school, out in the Fens?

Disguised as the new Assistant Matron, Lily joins the Shardlowes School staff, while Felix – suppressing his worries about his cool, calm employer – remains behind. But there are undercurrents at Shardlowes, and the shadowy, powerful men who fund the school’s less fortunate pupils loom larger as Felix’s own investigations unfold. Felix can’t shake off his fear that Lily is in danger – and soon, his premonitions come frighteningly true . . .

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One Last Lie by Paul Doiron

A sudden disappearance reveals a startling connection to a 15-year-old cold case in the new thriller from bestselling Edgar Award finalist Paul Doiron.

“Never trust a man without secrets.” These are the last words retired game warden Charley Stevens speaks to his surrogate son, Warden Investigator Mike Bowditch, before the old man vanishes without explanation into a thousand miles of forest along the Canadian border. Mike suspects his friend’s sudden disappearance has to do with an antique badge found at a flea market — a badge that belonged to a warden who was presumed dead fifteen years ago but whose body was never recovered. On a mission to find Charley before he meets a similarly dark fate, Mike must reopen a cold case that powerful people, including his fellow wardens — one of whom might be a killer — will do anything to keep closed.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Young Blood by Tricia Fields

Dr Oscar LeBlanc is close to a medical breakthrough to cure dementia and other degenerative diseases . . . but in order to succeed he needs to illegally obtain plasma from prepubescent children. He believes the ends justify the means and two young girls are abducted. The disappearance of the girls causes a lockdown of the area and, when one of the girl’s parents prove uncooperative with the police, former homicide cop turned radio presenter Maggie Wise offers to help. Maggie quickly forms a connection with the family just as the girls are recovered. LeBlanc is quickly suspected, but after he is questioned he’s found dead from an apparent suicide. However, the circumstances are suspicious and Maggie finds herself conflicted when the family become the prime suspects.

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Bryant & May: Oranges and Lemons by Christopher Fowler

When a prominent politician is crushed by a fruit van making a delivery, the singular team of Arthur Bryant and John May overcome insurmountable odds to reunite the PCU and solve the case in the brainy new mystery from acclaimed author Christopher Fowler.

On a spring morning in London’s Strand, the Speaker of the House of Commons is accidentally killed by a van unloading oranges and lemons for the annual St. Clement Danes festival. It’s an absurd way to die, but the government is more interested in investigating the Speaker’s state of mind just prior to his accident.

The task is given to the Peculiar Crimes Unit–the only problem being that the unit no longer exists. Its Chief, Raymond Land, is tending his daffodils on the Isle of Wight and senior detectives Arthur Bryant and John May are out of commission; May is undergoing surgery for a bullet wound and Bryant has been missing for a month. What’s more, the old unit in King’s Cross is being turned into a vegetarian tapas bar.

Against impossible odds, the team is reassembled and once again what should have been a simple case becomes a lunatic farrago involving arson, suicide, magicians, academics and a race to catch a killer with a master plan involving London churches. Joining their team this time is Sidney, a young woman with no previous experience, plenty of attitude–and a surprising secret.

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Funeral for a Friend by Brian Freeman

You’re safe, Stride. I found the body at the Deeps. I buried him.

Jonathan Stride’s best friend, Steve Garske, makes a shocking deathbed confession: he protected Stride by covering up a murder. Hours later, the police dig up Steve’s yard and find a body with a bullet hole in its skull.

Stride is pretty sure he knows who it is. Seven years ago, an out-of-town reporter disappeared while investigating anonymous allegations of rape against a prominent politician. Back then, the police believed that the reporter drowned at a dangerous swimming hole called the Deeps but the discovery of the body changes everything. Now Stride’s partner, Maggie Bei, is forced to ask Stride an uncomfortable question: Did you kill him?

Stride is obviously hiding things. He was the last person to see the reporter alive. And he admits lying to Maggie about that meeting, but won’t tell her why. With suspicion in the murder pointing at him, Stride finds himself off the case and on leave from the Duluth Police.

His only ally in clearing his name is his wife, Serena, who retraces the reporter’s investigation into the explosive allegations. The clues all point to a hot Duluth summer years earlier that everyone in town would prefer to forget.

Someone was willing to kill rather than let those long-ago secrets come out, and the suspect with the strongest motive is Stride.

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Auntie Poldi and the Handsome Antonio by Mario Giordano

All the beloved, irascible Auntie Poldi wanted from her Sicilian retirement was time to enjoy the sunshine, a free-flowing supply of wine, and a sultry romance with Chief Inspector Vito Montana. But then her idyll is rudely disrupted by the last person she wants to see on her doorstep: John Owenya, detective inspector with the Tanzanian Ministry of Home Affairs, who is also her estranged lying cheat of a husband.

Not only is John’s sudden reappearance putting a kink in Poldi’s dreamy love affair with Montana, but his presence also comes with a plea for help—and unwanted clashes with the Mafia.

Where is John’s half-brother? What is the ten-million-dollar “it” that John’s brother was last seen with, which has both the Sicilian and theTanzanian mobs in a frenzy? With only a postcard that has a phone number and a name, “Handsome Antonio,” on the back, Auntie Poldi hops begrudgingly (albeit with a great deal of gumption and panache) back into the saddle (in this case, an immaculate red Maserati Cabrio from the eighties with cream leather upholstery). The faster she finds Handsome Antonio, the sooner she can get John Owenya out of her hair and her love life. But the people Poldi discovers along the way may very well knock her immaculate wig askew.

This book is also available in the following format:

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Ghost Ups Her Game by Carolyn Hart 

After a busy morning dispatching emissaries from Heaven’s Department of Good Intentions to those in need, Bailey Ruth Raeburn is feeling flush with success. So when an urgent call for help comes through from her old hometown, she can’t resist taking on the mission herself. After all, what could go wrong? With the shouted warning of her boss, Wiggins – “Irregular! Problematic!” – ringing in her ears, she arrives to face a shocking scene: Professor Iris Gallagher leaning over the corpse of her colleague Matt Lambert, the murder weapon clutched in her hand. Bailey Ruth is only sent to help the innocent, but things are looking very black for Iris. With Wiggins breathing down her neck, and her old friend Police Chief Sam Cobb casting doubt on her every theory, Bailey Ruth must uncover the truth – or this could be the last trip to earth she’s ever allowed to make.

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The Orphan’s Guilt by Archer Mayor

In Archer Mayor’s intriguing new Vermont-based mystery, The Orphan’s Guilt, a straightforward traffic stop snowballs into a homicide investigation after Joe Gunther and his fellow investigators peel back layer upon layer of history and personal heartbreak to learn a decades-old hidden truth.

John Rust is arrested for drunk driving by a Vermont state trooper. Looking to find mitigating circumstances, John’s lawyer hires private eye Sally Kravitz to look into the recent death of John’s younger brother, purportedly from a childhood brain injury years earlier. But what was the nature of that injury, and might its mechanism point more to murder than to natural causes? That debate brings in Joe Gunther and his team.

Gunther’s efforts quickly uncover an ancient tale of avarice, betrayal, and vengeance that swirled around the Rust boys growing up. Their parents and the people they consorted with–forgotten, relentless, but now jolted to action by this simple set of circumstances–emerge with a destructive passion. All while the presumably innocent John Rust mysteriously vanishes with no explanation.

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Still Life  by Val McDermid

From internationally bestselling author Val McDermid comes a propulsive new Karen Pirie thriller that delves into a historic missing persons case, fake identities, and art forgery.

When a lobster fisherman discovers a dead body in Scotland’s Firth of Forth, Karen is called into investigate. She quickly discovers that the case will require untangling a complicated web—including a historic disappearance, art forgery, and secret identities—that seems to orbit around a painting copyist who can mimic anyone from Holbein to Hockney. Meanwhile, a traffic crash leads to the discovery of a skeleton in a suburban garage. Needless to say, Karen has her plate full. Meanwhile, the man responsible for the death of the love of her life is being released from prison, reopening old wounds just as she was getting back on her feet.

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Death on the Green  by Catie Murphy

As an American in Dublin, limo driver Megan Malone will need the luck of the Irish to avoid a head-on collision–with a killer . . .

Life has been non-stop excitement for American Army veteran Megan Malone ever since she moved to Ireland and became a driver for Dublin’s Leprechaun Limousine Service. She’s solved a murder and adopted two lovable Jack Russell puppies. Currently, she’s driving world-class champion golfer Martin Walsh, and he’s invited her to join him while he plays in a tournament at a prestigious Irish locale. Unfortunately, there’s a surprise waiting for her on the course–a body floating in a water hazard.

Everyone loved golfer Lou MacDonald, yet he clearly teed off someone enough to be murdered. Martin seems to be the only one with a motive. However, he also has an alibi: Megan and hundreds of his fans were watching him play. Now, with a clubhouse at an ancient castle full of secrets and a dashing Irish detective by her side, Megan must hurry to uncover the links to the truth before the real killer takes a swing at someone else . .

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Thicker Than Blood by Mike Omer

From Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestselling author Mike Omer comes the chilling conclusion to Zoe Bentley’s decades-long nightmare.

A murderer who drinks his victim’s blood? FBI profiler Zoe Bentley and Agent Tatum Gray thought they’d seen it all, but this young woman’s barbaric murder is especially hard to stomach.

They didn’t expect to work this case. But vampirism aside, the murderer’s MO is identical to that of Rod Glover—the serial killer who’s been pursuing Zoe since childhood. Forensics reveals the murder to be his work, but not his alone; desperate to fulfill his sick purpose, he has taken on an equally depraved partner.

Zoe’s own frustration grows after another woman turns up dead and drained—and another goes missing. Time is running out: Zoe knows her own death will be the climax of Glover’s sinister play, which has been unfolding for twenty years. To stop Glover and his vile partner, she’ll need to plunge deep into their motives; but this means drawing ever closer to becoming another casualty of a dark, dark thirst.

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Read or Alive by Nora Page

Two wrongful accusations has librarian Cleo Watkins and her loved ones booked for trouble.

It’s springtime and septuagenarian librarian Cleo Watkins is celebrating new blooms and old books. To her delight, the Georgia Antiquarian Book Society has brought its annual fair to Catalpa Springs in honor of Cleo’s gentleman friend, respected antiquarian bookseller and restorer, Henry Lafayette. But trouble rolls in with the fair when a flirtatious book scout makes the rounds, charming ladies of a certain age out of prized books.

Among the conned is Cleo’s cousin, Dot, who relinquished a signed first edition of Gone With the Wind. With no proof the scout took it, Dot is at a loss. And when he’s found dead the very next morning, without Dot’s first edition or other valuable books reported missing in his belongings, Dot’s freedom is on the line. Cleo is flummoxed in discovering too that the scout’s body is found behind Henry’s shop, and the murder weapon identified to be Henry’s bookbinding hammer.

Although books are at the heart of the crimes, Cleo feels dizzyingly out of her depths. Someone is setting up the people she holds dearest and with the authorities on the wrong trail, Cleo has no choice but to catalog the evidence herself. Along with the help of her trusty bookmobile cat Rhett Butler, it will be up to Cleo to book the real killer for good.

Key Changes: New K-pop

In case you’re not familiar, K-pop is an increasingly popular music industry based in South Korea. It features energetic tracks inspired by styles of music from all around the world, along with tight choreography. K-pop has produced a number of talented bands, including the ones highlighted below. Forming a k-pop group is taken very seriously in South Korea, with aspiring musicians becoming trainees and working hard to be chosen for a group, all while under a great deal of public scrutiny and strict rules for conduct. If this is all new to you, read on to discover your next intercultural music addiction! If you are familiar with this global sensation, you’ll definitely want to keep an eye out for the below albums, recently added to the library collection. (Side note: k-pop tracks are also highly featured in the Just Dance video games, and make for quite a good workout!)

BTS (or the Bangtan Boys) is a seven-member pop group that first debuted in 2013, really breaking into the global music market in 2017 and quickly becoming one of the most popular Korean groups in the United States. Be is the South Korean boy band’s 5th album in Korean, and their 9th total, including their 4 albums in Japanese. It was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, featuring the band members’ thoughts and feelings during the crisis and the album’s creation. Primarily a pop music sound, the album includes influences from hip-hop, disco, synth-pop, funk, and many others. Lead single on the album is “Life Goes On”, and music critics have praised the album’s authenticity and simplicity. Previous albums available include Love Yourself: Her, Love Yourself: Tear, Love Yourself: Answer, Map of the Soul 7: Journey, and Face Yourself.

Blackpink is a four-member pop group, also based in South Korea, that debuted in 2016 and quickly rose to fame on the international charts, repeatedly setting new records for most-viewed music video within the first 24 hours of release. The Album is the group’s first Korean album (preceded by Blackpink in Your Area, a Japanese album, and their two-track debut album, Square One), their first full-length work, AND the first album by a Korean girl group to sell more than a million copies. The album’s eight tracks include collaborations with Selena Gomez and Cardi B and explore love and the complexities of growing up, highlighting the group’s mature side. Reviews have been mostly positive, complimenting Blackpink’s vocal ability and stylistic variety.

See also: Blackpink: Kpop’s no.1 girl group and BTS: Blood, Sweat, and Tears, two nonfiction works about the groups, as well as some great YA fiction featuring the industry: Shine, Somewhere Only We Know, I’ll Be The One, and K-pop Confidential.

Book Club @ Night – ‘A Woman is No Man’ on March 17

Want to join a book club? Try Book Club @ Night. On Wednesday, March 17th, Book Club @ Night will be reading A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum. Books are available at our Eastern Avenue location for patrons to borrow for this book club. Registration is not required. This program is meeting virtually using GoTo Meeting. Information about how to join is listed below.

Curious what A Woman is No Man is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher:

Three generations of Palestinian-American women in contemporary Brooklyn are torn by individual desire, educational ambitions, a devastating tragedy, and the strict mores of traditional Arab culture.

Palestine, 1990. Seventeen-year-old Isra prefers reading books to entertaining the suitors her father has chosen for her. Over the course of a week, the naïve and dreamy girl finds herself quickly betrothed and married, and is soon living in Brooklyn. There Isra struggles to adapt to the expectations of her oppressive mother-in-law Fareeda and strange new husband Adam, a pressure that intensifies as she begins to have children–four daughters instead of the sons Fareeda tells Isra she must bear.

Brooklyn, 2008. Eighteen-year-old Deya, Isra’s oldest daughter, must meet with potential husbands at her grandmother Fareeda’s insistence, though her only desire is to go to college. Deya can’t help but wonder if her options would have been different had her parents survived the car crash that killed them when Deya was only eight. But her grandmother is firm on the matter: the only way to secure a worthy future for Deya is through marriage to the right man. But fate has a will of its own, and soon Deya will find herself on an unexpected path that leads her to shocking truths about her family–knowledge that will force her to question everything she thought she knew about her parents, the past, and her own future.

Set in an America at once foreign to many and staggeringly close at hand, A Woman Is No Man is a story of culture and honor, secrets and betrayals, love and violence. It is an intimate glimpse into a controlling and closed cultural world, and a universal tale about family and the ways silence and shame can destroy those we have sworn to protect.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Book Club @ Night – ‘A Woman is No Man’ by Etaf Rum
Wed, Mar 17, 2021 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM (CDT)

Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/473317357

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To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

As someone who doesn’t read a plethora of science fiction books, it has been a while since I have read anything like Christopher Paolini’s latest release, To Sleep in a Sea of Stars. While I probably wouldn’t have picked up this book while browsing at the library, this title has been on my to-read list since it was announced due to my love of the Inheritance Cycle series, a fantasy tetralogy Paolini began writing at the age of fifteen. For anyone who has read Paolini or enjoys a good space opera, I assure you that this title will not disappoint!

Taking place in a future in which humans have established colonies on planets beyond Earth, this story revolves around Kira Navárez, a xenobiologist who studies new planets to gauge their habitability for human life and future societies. While Kira is truly passionate about studying and discovering new worlds, she and her fiancé, Alan, decide they want to begin a life of their own together in one of the established colonies. They plan to marry and settle down after their last mission on Adrasteia, an Earth-sized moon they had been surveying for a few months. Just before this mission ends, however, Kira stumbles upon an alien relic that quite literally transforms her life and world. Soon afterward, she finds herself in the middle of an intergalactic war in which she becomes humanity’s greatest hope for surviving in the face of a violent extraterrestrial species.

While this book is full of aliens and space travel and warfare, as well as a string of catastrophic events that never seems to end, this book was also full of introspection and camaraderie, capturing the true resiliency and depth of what it means to be human. I will admit that this book was intense – definitely more so than Eragon and the rest of the Inheritance Cycle series, but it truly was out of this world (pun fully intended!). It was both exhilarating and humbling to find myself lost among the stars alongside the unforgettable characters in this story. Another neat aspect of this novel was the obvious research Paolini did to familiarize himself with the scientific background of space travel and space itself. While some of the explanations went right over my head (physics class was a long time ago), it was still interesting and didn’t detract from the story at all.

Additionally, according to Paolini’s website, this book is the first of many in the Fractalverse series and it is slated to become a movie, scripted by Paolini himself. While I find that movies rarely do their respective books justice I am, nevertheless, excited at the prospect of losing myself in this story on the big screen.

Overall, I cannot wait for the rest of the series to be released and would highly recommend this book! Despite its nearly 900 pages in length, I flew through the story and didn’t want it to end upon reaching the last page.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Book on CD

Overdrive eAudiobook

Overdrive eBook

Playaway

Spanish text

Will Eisner Week — March 1-7

The first week of March is Will Eisner Week to celebrate comics and graphic novel pioneer Will Eisner in conjunction with his March 6th birthday. While Eisner died in 2005, his influence lives on in the art, content and characters he created. Here are some items to get you started in a deep-dive of Will Eisner.

Start with Eisner’s ground-breaking character The Spirit. Introduced in 1940, masked criminologist Denny Colt — believed by many to be dead — secretly fights crime as The Spirit. From his home in Central City to the far-flung corners of the world and beyond, The Spirit attracts dangerous femmes fatale and wages a never-ending war against streetwise crooks and criminal master-minds with only quick wits, sharp humor and his two gloved fists. The 80th anniversary of The Spirit was celebrated with this all-new collection published in 2020.

A collection of four graphic novels originally published between 1987 and 2000, Will Eisner’s New York: Life in the Big City shows urban vitality through slice-of-life stories. We see boys fishing for treasures in a street grate, lonely shut-ins and nosy housewives, and the building of the subway system. Eisner made observations as he lived and worked in the city —  his genius was the transfer of those observations to printed page.

 

If you’re interested in learning about comics and graphic novels, Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel is a good bet. Part biography, part analysis of Eisner’s work and its impact, this book traces his evolution as an artist, showcasing both previously unpublished materials and famous work.

Celebrate Will Eisner Week, March 1-7, by indulging in your favorite comics or graphic novels. Bonus points if those materials tie back to Will Eisner himself. It’s the perfect excuse to try some of Eisner’s work and see how it has influenced modern storytelling, comics and graphic novels.

 

 

Online Reading Challenge – March

Hello Challenge Readers!

Welcome to a new month of Challenge Reading! This month’s author is: C.J. Box!

C.J. Box has written a couple of mystery series, some stand alone titles and several short stories, all set in the Western United States. He is best known for his Joe Pickett mystery series, set in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming where Joe is a game warden who often tangles with less savory people.

I’ve just recently discovered C.J. Box and quickly became a fan, reading all of his Joe Pickett series in just a few months. A blog post I wrote about one of his newest titles, Long Range, will give you a good idea of the characters and stories. I strongly recommend any of his books – interesting, complex characters, tense, exciting storylines and over it all, a stunning, untamed landscape.

For C.J. Box read-alikes, I went with titles and authors that feature the outdoors as a major element to the story. Most of these are mysteries and many are part of a series, so if you find one you like, you’re set for what-to-read-next for awhile! Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Nevada Barr writes the National Park series featuring park ranger Anna Pigeon.

Randy Wayne White has two series, both set in Florida. Hannah Smith is a fishing guide and Doc Ford is a marine biologist.

Steve Hamilton sets his PI Alex McNight series in the Upper Penisula of Michigan.

Craig Johnson writes the Longmire series about a sheriff in Wyoming.

Patricia Skalka writes about Sheriff Dave Cubiak who works in Door County, Wisconsin.

For some individual titles, check out Crazy Mountain Kiss by Keith McCafferty which follows PI Sean Stranahan, a private investigator in Montana; The Precipice by Paul Doiron about game warden Mike Bowditch searching for two hikers missing in Maine; and The Wild Inside by Christine Carbo, a novel of suspense set in Glacier National Park.

I am planning to read The Singing of the Dead by Dana Stabenow from her Kate Shugak series. I’ve heard a lot of good things about these mysteries which are set in Alaska, but haven’t read one yet. Now’s the time!

What about you? What will you be reading this month?

 

 

New Romance at Eastern

Looking for a new romance to read? This blog post is full of new romance titles pulled right from the shelves at Eastern! If you want to read any of them, click the link or contact the library. All the descriptions are provided by the publisher.

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Conventionally Yours  by Annabeth Albert

When two “big name fans” go head-to-head at a convention, love isn’t the only thing at stake.

Charming, charismatic, and effortlessly popular, Conrad Stewart seems to have it all…but in reality, he’s scrambling to keep his life from tumbling out of control.

Brilliant, guarded, and endlessly driven, Alden Roth may as well be the poster boy for perfection…but even he can’t help but feel a little broken inside.

When these mortal enemies are stuck together on a cross-country road trip to the biggest fan convention of their lives, their infamous rivalry takes a backseat as an unexpected connection is forged. Yet each has a reason why they have to win the upcoming Odyssey gaming tournament and neither is willing to let emotion get in the way—even if it means giving up their one chance at something truly magical.

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Mr. Malcolm’s List by Suzanne Allain

It is a truth universally acknowledged that an arrogant bachelor insistent on a wife who meets the strictest of requirements–deserves his comeuppance.

The Honorable Jeremy Malcolm is searching for a wife, but not just any wife. He’s determined to elude the fortune hunters and find a near-perfect woman, one who will meet the qualifications on his well-crafted list. But after years of searching, he’s beginning to despair of finding this paragon. And then Selina Dalton arrives in town…

Selina, a vicar’s daughter of limited means and a stranger to high society, is thrilled when her friend Julia invites her to London. Until she learns it’s part of a plot to exact revenge on Mr. Malcolm. Selina is reluctant to participate in Julia’s scheme, especially after meeting the irresistible Mr. Malcolm, who seems very different from the arrogant scoundrel of Julia’s description.

But when Mr. Malcolm begins judging Selina against his unattainable standards, Selina decides that she has qualifications of her own. And if he is to meet them he must reveal the real man behind…Mr. Malcolm’s List.

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To Catch an Earl by Kate Bateman

A case of secret identities finds reunited lovers on opposite sides of the law in this fun, flirty Regency romance.

There’s only one case Bow Street agent Alex Harland, Earl of Melton, hasn’t cracked: the identity of the mysterious woman who stole a kiss from him before he left for war. He’s neither forgotten–nor forgiven–her for leaving him wanting. When he starts investigating the Nightjar, an elusive London jewel thief, he keeps running into the alluring Emmy Danvers, who stirs feelings he hasn’t felt in years.

Even though Emmy’s loved Alex for years, she can’t risk revealing her heart, or her identity as the Nightjar. With Alex on her case, Emmy knows that her secrets are in danger of being discovered. Their cat and mouse game heats up with every interaction, but when Emmy’s reputation–and life–is at risk, will Alex realize that some rules are made to be broken for love?

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The New Normal by Tracy Brogan

Since Carli Lancaster’s divorce, she’s worked hard to keep life as normal as possible for her daughters. When she lands a job as cohost of a local morning show, it looks like a fresh start. So does the arrival of a handsome new neighbor, who has more in common with Carli than just a property line.

Ben Chase is also new to single parenthood. And like Carli, he’s focused on the future.

From navigating neighborhood gossip to decorating for holidays to reaching out in times of trouble, they quickly learn to rely on each other. Just like a couple but without the complications of coupling! Sure, there’s attraction. They’re only human. But they’re also friends, and who wants to ruin a perfect relationship with romance?

They’re both thinking about adding some perks, though, and even if their new normal isn’t perfect, it’s definitely somewhere in the neighborhood.

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The Best Man Plan by Jaci Burton

Three days before Erin Bellini’s wedding, her fiancé breaks up with her–in an email! Hurt and embarrassed, she decides to have a fling with veterinarian Jason Callum, who’s both the best man and the hottest guy she knows. But Jason wants a lot more than just a one-night stand with the woman he’s cared about for years. So he’s taking things slow. And hot. And showing Erin what real love can look like.

Suddenly Erin finds herself spending a lot more time with Jason than she intended. Feelings she never planned on having again are wrapping around her heart, refusing to let go. Erin isn’t sure she can trust her instincts, though. After all, she made a terrible choice with her ex-fiancé. But Jason intends to convince her that he’s the best man for her, and that what they have together is a real love that will last forever.

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Never Look Back by Mary Burton

After multiple women go missing, Agent Melina Shepard of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation makes the impulsive decision to go undercover as a prostitute. While working the street, she narrowly avoids becoming a serial killer’s latest victim; as much as it pains her to admit, she needs backup.

Enter lone wolf FBI agent Jerrod Ramsey. Stonewalled by a lack of leads, he and Melina investigate a scene where a little girl has been found abandoned in a crashed vehicle. They open the trunk to reveal a horror show and quickly realize they’re dealing with two serial killers with very different MOs. The whole situation brings back memories for Melina—why does this particular case feel so connected to her painful past?

Before time runs out, Melina must catch not one but two serial killers, both ready to claim another victim—and both with their sights set on her.

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Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade

Olivia Dade bursts onto the scene in this delightfully fun romantic comedy set in the world of fanfiction, in which a devoted fan goes on an unexpected date with her celebrity crush, who’s secretly posting fanfiction of his own.

Marcus Caster-Rupp has a secret. While the world knows him as Aeneas, the star of the biggest show on TV, Gods of the Gates, he’s known to fanfiction readers as Book!AeneasWouldNever, an anonymous and popular poster. Marcus is able to get out his own frustrations with his character through his stories, especially the ones that feature the internet’s favorite couple to ship, Aeneas and Lavinia. But if anyone ever found out about his online persona, he’d be fired. Immediately.

April Whittier has secrets of her own. A hardcore Lavinia fan, she’s hidden her fanfiction and cosplay hobby from her “real life” for years—but not anymore. When she decides to post her latest Lavinia creation on Twitter, her photo goes viral. Trolls and supporters alike are commenting on her plus-size take, but when Marcus, one half of her OTP, sees her pic and asks her out on a date to spite her critics, she realizes life is really stranger than fanfiction.

Even though their first date is a disaster, Marcus quickly realizes that he wants much more from April than a one-time publicity stunt. And when he discovers she’s actually Unapologetic Lavinia Stan, his closest fandom friend, he has one more huge secret to hide from her.

With love and Marcus’s career on the line, can the two of them stop hiding once and for all, or will a match made in fandom end up prematurely cancelled?

This book is also available in the following format:

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You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria

Leading Ladies do not end up on tabloid covers.

After a messy public breakup, soap opera darling Jasmine Lin Rodriguez finds her face splashed across the tabloids. When she returns to her hometown of New York City to film the starring role in a bilingual romantic comedy for the number one streaming service in the country, Jasmine figures her new “Leading Lady Plan” should be easy enough to follow—until a casting shake-up pairs her with telenovela hunk Ashton Suárez.

Leading Ladies don’t need a man to be happy.

After his last telenovela character was killed off, Ashton is worried his career is dead as well. Joining this new cast as a last-minute addition will give him the chance to show off his acting chops to American audiences and ping the radar of Hollywood casting agents. To make it work, he’ll need to generate smoking-hot on-screen chemistry with Jasmine. Easier said than done, especially when a disastrous first impression smothers the embers of whatever sexual heat they might have had.

Leading Ladies do not rebound with their new costars.

With their careers on the line, Jasmine and Ashton agree to rehearse in private. But rehearsal leads to kissing, and kissing leads to a behind-the-scenes romance worthy of a soap opera. While their on-screen performance improves, the media spotlight on Jasmine soon threatens to destroy her new image and expose Ashton’s most closely guarded secret.

This book is also available in the following format:

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A Rogue of One’s Own  by Evie Dunmore

A lady must have money and an army of her own if she is to win a revolution – but first, she must pit her wits against the wiles of an irresistible rogue bent on wrecking her plans…and her heart.

Lady Lucie is fuming. She and her band of Oxford suffragists have finally scraped together enough capital to control one of London’s major publishing houses, with one purpose: to use it in a coup against Parliament. But who could have predicted that the one person standing between her and success is her old nemesis, Lord Ballentine? Or that he would be willing to hand over the reins for an outrageous price—a night in her bed.

Lucie tempts Tristan like no other woman, burning him up with her fierceness and determination every time they clash. But as their battle of wills and words fans the flames of long-smouldering devotion, the silver-tongued seducer runs the risk of becoming caught in his own snare.

As Lucie tries to out-manoeuvre Tristan in the boardroom and the bedchamber, she soon discovers there’s truth in what the poets say: all is fair in love and war…

This book is also available in the following format:

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Eighty Days to Elsewhere by KC Dyer

Born and raised in New York City, Ramona Keene dreams of attending photography school and traveling to Paris, but her reality never quite catches up with her imagination. Instead, she works at her uncles’ quaint bookstore, where the tea is plentiful and all the adventures are between the covers of secondhand books. But when the new landlord arrives with his Evil Nephew in tow, Romy’s quiet life comes crashing down. He plans to triple the rent, something her uncles can’t afford.

In order to earn the money to help save the bookstore, Romy applies for a job at ExLibris Expeditions, a company that re-creates literary journeys. Romy snags the oddest internship ever: retrace Phileas Fogg’s journey from Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days and plan a suitable, contemporary adventure for a client. The task is close to impossible; sticking to the original route means no commercial aircraft permitted, and she’s got a lot less than eighty days to work with. Shaking off her fear of leaving home, Romy takes on the challenge, only to discover she’s got competition. Worse, Dominic Madison turns out to be the – unfortunately hot – nephew of her family’s worst enemy.

Can Romy win the race and circle the globe in time to save the bookstore? And what happens when she starts to fall for the very person who may just be the death of her dreams?

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The Secret Ingredient by KD Fisher

Two amazing chefs. Two very different restaurants. One recipe for love.

For single mom Adah Campbell, the executive chef job at a posh restaurant in quaint South Bay, Maine is a dream come true—and the perfect opportunity to start over, far away from a home that’s never felt entirely hers. But fitting in has never been easy, and between a new town, a new boss, and the unexpectedly attractive owner of a rival café, things get off to a rocky start.

Never did free-spirited Beth Summers think she’d still be in Maine. Travel the world gathering delicious recipes and finding friends and lovers? Absolutely. Step in to run her family’s small-town café? Not so much. However, once Beth commits to something, that’s it. Soon, The Yellow House is the hottest spot in town, but Beth’s out of energy—and out of ideas for moving forward.

Until Adah Campbell walks into her life. As sparks fly, both chefs have to decide if they are willing to make sacrifices…or if it’s really too many cooks in the kitchen.

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Tangled Up in Texas by Delores Fossen

Their past never faded—and neither did their passion.

Between running his family ranch and dealing with far too many needy relatives, Shaw Jameson doesn’t have time for more trouble. But when his first love, former-child-star-turned-businesswoman Sunny Dalton, returns to Lone Star Ridge, Shaw senses things are about to get a whole lot more interesting.

Shaw isn’t prepared for the memories that come flooding back now…or the reignited spark between them that turns into a raging inferno. Still, this gorgeous cowboy will do everything he can not to get burned a second time. Because Sunny never promised this visit was permanent and Shaw has no intention of giving up the land he loves. Letting Sunny go again is certain to leave a Texas-sized mark on his soul—and a permanent wall around his heart. Unless he can prove their small town holds the promise of the future they both always imagined.

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Breathe the Sky  by Michelle Hazen

Two strangers start out saving animals and end up rescuing each other in this heartwarming romance from the author of Unbreak Me.

Mari Tucker is a wildlife biologist who scoops bunnies and endangered tortoises out of harm’s way on construction sites. Still haunted by her past, she takes the most remote jobs in the Mojave Desert to avoid people and hide from her ex. It’s a simple, quiet life filled with sweet animals and solar-powered baking until she ends up assigned to Jack Wyatt’s crew.

Construction foreman Jack Wyatt’s loud, foul-mouthed temper keeps even the most rugged of men on his crew in line. No mistake is overlooked, because out in the desert it could mean life or death. In his opinion, the job site is no place for sensitive biologists, especially one as shy as Mari. But instead of wilting from the heat and hard work, Mari wins over Jack and his crew one homemade brownie at a time.

Jack and Mari find a comfortable rhythm, building a friendship that’s rare for both of them. After Jack’s rocky childhood, they have more in common than they’d imagined. But even the Mojave sun can’t chase away the shadows when the past is determined to track them down…

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Take a Hint, Dani Brown  by Talia Hibbert

Talia Hibbert returns with another charming romantic comedy about a young woman who agrees to fake date her friend after a video of him “rescuing” her from their office building goes viral…

Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom.

When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out, his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse?

Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf’s secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his… um, thighs.

Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?

This book is also available in the following format:

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Nowhere to Hide by Leslie A. Kelly

A cold case is suddenly too hot to handle

Police officer Rowan Winchester wants nothing to do with his family’s A-list Hollywood legacy. Working with the LAPD is his way of atoning for the Winchesters’ dark and secretive past. And, right now, the last thing Rowan needs is true-crime novelist Evie Fleming nosing around the most notorious deaths in Los Angeles – including the ones that haunt his own family.

To make things worse, he’s torn between wanting the wickedly smart writer out of his city… and just plain wanting her.

While researching her latest book, Evie suspects that a dangerous new killer is prowling the City of Angels. Now she just has to convince the devastatingly handsome cop that she’s right. Soon Evie and Rowan are working together to try to find the killer, even as their attraction ignites.

But when the killer hones in on Evie, she and Rowan realize they’ll have to solve this case fast if they want to stay alive.

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Love Sold Separately  by Ellen Meister

Dana Barry’s life is a mess, until she hears The Shopping Channel is auditioning new hosts. She dives right in and is stunned when she lands the job. Her keen eye for detail, knack for knowing what makes people tick and sheer bravado make her perfect for the role.

Then the star host is found shot to death in her office. Dana can’t help but involve herself in tracking down the killer. Never one to mind her own business, she winds up at the center of every drama. She also knows the prime suspect is innocent–they happened to have been together on the roof for some “alone time” when they heard the gunshot. His record may not be perfect, but she can tell the single father has a heart of gold. He may even be marriage material–something she’d focus on more if only Detective Marks wasn’t so handsome and their chemistry so electric. Dana is so close to having it all if, just this once, she doesn’t screw up. But trouble usually comes easier and is always a lot more fun…

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Wyoming True by Diana Palmer

An opposites-attract love may be in store for a gruff rancher and a small-town beauty in a brand-new Wyoming Men romance

Jake McGuire has worked hard to earn his success, with holdings that include ranches and a private jet. The only threat to his comfortable existence is the last woman he should ever want. He knows Ida Merridan by reputation only, but the stories he’s heard are enough for him to keep her at arm’s length, until the day fate puts her in his path under circumstances only the most heartless cowboy could ignore. Now, realizing the truth Ida’s been keeping, he’s powerless to give her up.

Twice married and independently wealthy, Ida did nothing to deserve her bad reputation—except choose the wrong husbands. Live and learn in a small town, but after everything life has handed her, she’s in no hurry to make any more mistakes or be anyone’s object of pity. Being rescued by Jake throws a wrench into her plans for a solitary existence when one sizzling kiss leads to another, but her past is catching up with her, and there’s only so much she can do when Jake is determined to prove there are still some heroes left in the West.

This book is also available in the following format:

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Loathe at First Sight   by Suzanne Park

Melody Joo is thrilled to land her dream job as a video game producer, but her new position comes with challenges: an insufferable CEO; sexist male coworkers; and an infuriating—yet distractingly handsome—intern, Nolan MacKenzie, aka “the guy who got hired because his uncle is the boss.”

Just when Melody thinks she’s made the worst career move of her life, her luck changes. While joking with a friend, she creates a mobile game that has male strippers fighting for survival in a post-apocalyptic world. Suddenly Melody’s “joke” is her studio’s most high-profile project—and Melody’s running the show.

When Nolan is assigned to Melody’s team, she’s sure he’ll be useless. But as they grow closer, she realizes he’s smart and sexy, which makes Melody want to forget he’s her intern. As their attraction deepens, she knows it’s time to pump the brakes, even with her Korean parents breathing down her neck to hurry up and find a man.

With her project about to launch, Melody suddenly faces a slew of complications, including a devastating trolling scandal. Could the man she’s falling hard for help her play the game to win—in work and in love?

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The Boyfriend Project   by Farrah Rochon

Samiah Brooks never thought she would be “that” girl. But a live tweet of a horrific date just revealed the painful truth: she’s been catfished by a three-timing jerk of a boyfriend. Suddenly Samiah-along with his two other “girlfriends,” London and Taylor-have gone viral online. Now the three new besties are making a pact to spend the next six months investing in themselves. No men, no dating, and no worrying about their relationship status . . .

For once Samiah is putting herself first, and that includes finally developing the app she’s always dreamed of creating. Which is the exact moment she meets the deliciously sexy, honey-eyed Daniel Collins at work. What are the chances? When it comes to love, there’s no such thing as a coincidence. But is Daniel really boyfriend material or is he maybe just a little too good to be true?

This book is also available in the following format:

Online Reading Challenge – February Wrap-Up

Hello Readers!

How did your February reading go? What wonderful, magical, mind-twisting book did you discover this month? Or was it the opposite and nothing caught your fancy?

I’m afraid I fell into the second category, somewhat. I failed to finish The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – it just wasn’t working for me. It felt very dark and very sad to me and I just couldn’t finish it (it doesn’t help that a kitten was killed early in the book) Harm/abuse of children or animals will keep me away from any book, no matter how good it’s supposed to be. I also have no trouble not finishing a book if it’s making me unhappy – there are too many good books out there that add value than to continue to read just for the sake of finishing!

However, I did finish a book that fits very neatly into the Neil Gaiman magical-realism read-alike category – my reserve for The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab came in and I couldn’t put it down. Thoughtful, intriguing and surprising with a twisting storyline that keeps you guessing (and hoping). One of our librarians, Stephanie, wrote a blog post about it last month with an excellent summary and examination of it’s appeal. Go read it for more details!

So, while I might not have read what I had planned to, I still finished this month’s challenge!

What about you – did you finish this month’s challenge? (Remember, no judgement if you didn’t – there are no Library Police!)

Late Adopter Video Games for Nintendo Switch

Your favorite newbie gamer is back with some new recommendations for you! The theme of this post: late to the party. Not only am I discovering gaming later in life than most, I’m discovering the most popular video game genres later than most people. Read on to discover which iconic video game universes I finally tried and loved in 2020. (Not mentioned: Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild — see Wes’ great post about that one.) The second theme of this post is: never too late! If I can achieve my childhood dreams through gaming as an adult, you can too. So don’t be afraid to give these games a try; they’re tested and approved by the clumsiest new gamer there is — me.

First: I heartily recommend Zumba: Burn It Up as a fun exercise game. Yes, I’m definitely late to the Zumba trend, but it was worth the wait. What I really liked about it was the ability to practice Zumba moves and get comfortable with them in the privacy of my own home, on my own schedule. With the video game format, there’s even a degree of feedback that you get to help you improve. Maybe someday I’ll drag my hermit self into a Zumba class, but right now I love being able to do fun things on my own without having to schedule it in and survive crowds and awkwardness. If you’re like me and you’ve always wanted to try Zumba but never had the time, check out this game for a nice intro.

Second: I’m not proud of this, but it’s taken me until now to finally break into Pokémon. Again, I always wanted to be a part of the fandom, but could never figure out how. Well, now I’ve found at least one way to experience it: with Let’s Go Pikachu or Let’s Go Evee for Nintendo Switch. It’s an accessible game for those new to both video games and the Pokémon universe, with good tutorials and fairly intuitive gameplay. It’s low-pressure with achievable goals, and for that reason fairly addictive! Also, as I always suspected, the Pokémon are incredibly adorable and fun to interact with, which never hurts. If you want to finally achieve a childhood dream (like me), relive your fond childhood memories, or introduce someone new to a cute and fun world of training and battles, I definitely recommend one of the Let’s Go games.

Finally, as a bonus for anyone who’s super bored with my newbie enthusiasm for established games, I want to share a quick summary of a fun genre I’ve discovered that hopefully is new(er) to you: the visual novel game. In my opinion it’s a great fusion of video game and novel. The story is engaging, the visuals are good, the mood is restful, but you have to take action to move the story forward, immersing you in the narrative. My favorite from the library is Arcade Spirits, a romantic comedy visual novel where your customized character finds purpose, friendship, love and fun working at the local arcade.

Another type of visual novel game is the murder mystery. As a big reader of murder mysteries, especially historical or classic murder mysteries, these games’ style and story are a great fit, and the gameplay gives me good practice working through puzzles. For a version of this game genre available from the library, try Deadly Premonitions: Origins, where you help a detective investigate the murder of a young woman in a small town.

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