Sugar Falls by David A. Robertson, illustrations by Scott B. Henderson, and colours by Donovan Yaciuk

Elder Betty Ross from Cross Lake First Nation has a story to tell. It may have taken her decades to tell her truth, but with the help of David A. Robertson, she has introduced the world to her resiliency and abuse at Canadian residential schools in the graphic novel, Sugar Falls: A Residential School StoryThe hidden history of the Canadian Residential School System is shocking and needs to be talked about more than it has been in the past.

Betsy Ross was abandoned by her family at a young age. Betsy was eventually rescued and adopted by a loving family. Her world changed a few years later when, at the age of 8, she was taken away to a residential school against both her and her adopted family’s wishes. Her father made her promise to remember the strength of her relationships in order to survive. Those relationships would help light up any dark time she ran up against in the future.

When Betsy arrives at the school, she has no idea what to expect. She undergoes unspeakable abuses and indignities while at the school. She and other students are constantly berated and belittled by the priests and nuns. Her father’s words echo in her brain over and over filling her with hope, strength, determination, and resiliency she needs to survive this ordeal.

Betsy ended up changing her name to Betty in honor and remembrance of her friend, Helen Betty Osborne. Elder Betty Ross wrote this book with the help of David A. Robertson as a way to tell the truth about the residential schools.

 

Online Reading Challenge – November

Welcome Readers!

This month the Online Reading Challenge travels to Africa. Our Main title for November is Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Here’s a quick summary from the publisher.

Ghana, eighteenth century: two half sisters are born into different villages, each unaware of the other. One will marry an Englishman and lead a life of comfort in the palatial rooms of the Cape Coast Castle. The other will be captured in a raid on her village, imprisoned in the very same castle, and sold into slavery.

One of Oprah’s Best Books of the Year, Homegoing follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. Yaa Gyasi’s extraordinary novel illuminates slavery’s troubled legacy both for those who were taken and those who stayed—and shows how the memory of captivity has been inscribed on the soul of our nation.

This title is also available in large print, CD audiobook, and as a Libby eBook.

Looking for some other materials set in Africa? Try any of the following. As always, check each of our locations for displays with lots more titles to choose from!

Fiction Picks

Nonfiction Picks

New and Upcoming Romances

Looking for a new romance? Our romance selector, Michelle, has gathered up a list of new and upcoming romances for you to check out! All of these titles can be found at a Davenport Public Library location.

Rock Bottom by Fern Michaels

Rock Bottom is the 35th book in Fern Michael’s Sisterhood series and finds wrongs that need to be made right by the Sisterhood.  In this installment, friends Isabelle and Yoko join forces to take on a large scale café project that will be the anchor of a new and trendy development.  Isabelle turns to her college roommate, Zoe, who has years of construction experience.  Zoe can’t hide her concern over building materials and inferior construction techniques with a host of buildings which she has been the project lead. Zoe questions the building integrity and quickly learns that someone wants her to stop asking questions and leave the issue alone, so she turns to the Sisterhood for assistance.

Silver Lady by Mary Jo Putney 

Silver Lady kicks off a new series by Mary Jo Putney and takes the reader to the rugged coast of England and seamlessly intertwines romance with historical fiction. Bran Tremayne has been told stories as a child that he is of a noble lineage and leaves city life for the coast of Cornwall to find answers.  Alone in the countryside he meets Merryn, a woman who is suffering from amnesia and is in danger.  Bran knows he needs to protect her after he discovers her life is a risk from rival rogue groups.  Can their newfound love face the dangerous challenges to come?

Out of Nowhere by Sandra Brown

Sandra Brown does not disappoint with her latest standalone thriller, Out of Nowhere.  Two strangers, Elle and Calder, could not have come from opposite worlds.  After the unspeakable tragedy of an act of violence at a Texas county fair, their paths collide as they are putting the pieces of their lives back together.  After an initial attraction, the two face the difficult journey of dealing with the past and wondering if they have a future.  Their road to happiness becomes more complex as the suspect remains at large and could potentially threaten their happiness.

Santa and Company by Fern Michaels 

 Longtime friends plan a winter getaway with a destination of snow and a luxurious stay in a ski lodge in Santa and Company.  When one member of the group ventures out in the snow alone, a near disaster is averted when she is rescued by a stranger and sparks begin to fly.  Another member of the group also meets a stranger who may change her life.  On the cusp of the new year, the friends say goodbye to the hardships of the past and look forward to the future.

 

Darius by J. R. Ward 

J. R. Ward returns to the beginning of the saga in the latest Black Dagger Brotherhood book, Darius, which is a precursor to the popular and long running series.  Darius. the son of Marklon, avoids disaster after nearly hitting a woman after she runs into the road on a desolate stretch of highway.  Darius become disillusioned with the reign of the king and becomes consumed with the woman with whom he had a chance encounter and changes the course of his life.  When he reveals his true identity to her, his life takes a tragic turn with unforeseen consequences for the both of them.

The Ghost Illusion by Kat Martin

In her latest standalone thriller The Ghost Illusion, Kat Martin blends romance and the paranormal with the best of a psychological thriller.  Eve has inherited a large estate from her deceased uncle and she has been unnerved at the ghostly goings on at night.  In her desperation, she locates a group that may be able to help her get to the bottom of her possible haunting.  The head of the paranormal group, Ransom King, senses that Eve may be in danger and as their relationship deepens, he finds himself doing whatever it takes to protect her from unseen forces.

 

A Christmas to Remember by Beverly Jenkins 

Beverly Jenkins returns to her popular Blessings series with A Christmas to Remember, which is the 11th book in the series.  Bernadine Brown is ready to wed her fiancé Malachi July after many ups and downs in the town of Henry Adams, Kansas.  With family and friends arriving in town for the nuptials, drama ensues and many of the attendees are dealing with emotional decisions of their own.  When the whole group gets together to celebrate, it is assured that this holiday season is one that no one will forget!

 

Additional Romance titles to be released soon

Dark Memory by Christine Feehan

Christmas in Painted Pony Creek by Linda Lael Miller

Christmas at the Shelter Inn by RaeAnne Thayne

The Twelve Dogs of Christmas by Susan Wiggs

 

Killer Chardonnay – A Colorado Wine Mystery by Kate Lansing

Author Kate Lansing’s Killer Chardonnay is the first book in the Colorado Wine Mystery series, the start to a charming cozy mystery series that features amateur sleuth and new wine shop owner Parker Valentine.  It has been Parker’s dream to open her own wine shop one day and when her beloved aunt passes away and leaves Parker with a sizeable inheritance, it seems like the right time to chase her dream.  With opening night planned and all the local VIPs invited to attend, Parker is ready to launch Vino Valentine.  On opening night, Parker gets the surprise of her life when local celebrity and renowned food and wine critic Gaskel Brown takes a seat at the bar and orders a flight of Parker’s signature wines.  Parker knows Gaskel’s reviews can set the course for the success or failure of Vino Valentine based on his opinion.

Parker isn’t having much luck winning over Gaskel with her wine selection.   He doesn’t seem to be enjoying himself and she is convinced a bad review is just around the corner.  He focuses on one of the wines that she is the proudest of  – her signature chardonnay –  and by the look on his face he is less than impressed.  Abruptly, Gaskel gets up and beelines for the bathroom, and in her desperation, Parker “accidentally” sees the notebook of his initial thoughts.  She is taken aback when she learns his initial impression is not positive.  In a daze from reading his words, Parker realizes that Gaskel has not returned to finish his glass. She knocks on the door of the bathroom to check on him and when there is no answer, she discovers Gaskel dead in the bathroom of Vino Valentine.

Authorities are convinced that Gaskel has been poisoned and the poison was lurking in Parker’s chardonnay.  To complicate things, Parker admits that she snooped in his notebook and he was about to give her establishment a less than stellar review, which doesn’t endear her to the investigating officer.

Word spreads quickly that it was Parker’s wine that killed him and she is desperate to save her business and lift the blame from Vino Valentine.  She, along with her group of friends, take matters into their own hands and conduct their own amateur investigation.  Their investigation takes an even darker turn when another guest from the opening night festivities dies under mysterious circumstances.  In her investigation, Parker discovers that Gaskel’s writings have left many people destitute and broke after his scathing reviews caused their businesses to fail.  Could the culprit be a ruined business owner seeking revenge?  If so, how did the poison end up in Parker’s chardonnay?  Readers will be on the edge of their seats trying to get to the bottom of the case.

Over the last few years the amount of cozy mysteries published has grown by leaps and bounds and there seems to be a theme or niche for nearly everyone, no matter your interest.  Killer Chardonnay stands out in a large field of new cozy mystery launches.  The characters are very engaging and the mystery will keep you guessing – especially how the poison got into the chardonnay.  Kate Lansing has four books (so far) in the Colorado Wine Mystery series with the most recent being published in the spring of 2023.

2. A Pairing To Die For

3. Mulled to Death

4. Til Death do Us Port

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Cozy Mysteries for Spring!

Some of the best loved cozy mystery series continue every spring with the next book in the series to enjoy.  Below are some of the most popular cozy mystery titles to read over the next few months!  

Curds of Prey  by Korina Moss

As the social wedding of the summer hears up, Cheesemonger Willa Bauer is busy preparing her famous cheese bar for the festivities at the request of the bride and groom.  All is well with the preparations until a member of the wedding party is found dead at the bridal shower and Willa is charged with finding a killer.  Curds of Prey is the third book in the Cheese Shop Mystery series.

 

Digging Up Daisy  by Sherry Lynn

Digging Up Daisy, the first book launching the Mainely Murder Mystery series, introduces us to Kinsley Clark, owner of the landscaping company SeaScapes.  Kinsley is thrust into a murder investigation after finding a mud-covered shoe while moonlighting at her aunt’s bed and breakfast.  Is this shoe linked to an infamous case from years ago that remains unsolved?  Kinsley delves into the cold case and finds herself in the thick of the investigation to find a killer.

 

Mother of the Bride Murder  by Leslie Meier 

Lucy Stone travels to France for her daughter’s nuptials and happens upon a killer in Mother of the Bride Murder, the 29th installment of this popular cozy mystery series.  While touring the French countryside, a body is pulled from the moat of a historic chateau.  Will the wedding go off as planned or will the body count continue to rise?  Lucy Stone is determined to find out and not let it ruin her daughter’s big day.

 

Death by Chocolate Marshmallow Pie  by Sarah Graves

Another chocolate shop is coming to town and is about to encroach on Ellie’s chocolate store the Chocolate Moose in Death by Chocolate Marshmallow Pie!  After the owner of Choco, the rival store, is found dead after a heated incident with Ellie.  All fingers point to Ellie as the possible culprit and she has to act fast to clear her name!  This is the sixth book in the Death by Chocolate mystery series.

 

Ashes to Ashes, Crust to Crust  by Mindy Quigley 

Set in a Wisconsin pizzeria, owner Delilah O’Leary has her sights set on winning the annual “Taste of Wisconsin” culinary contest with her crowd favorite pizza recipe in Ashes to Ashes, Crust to Crust, the second book in the Deep Dish Mystery series.  When another culinary contestant is poisoned, everyone in the contest is a suspect.  Will Delilah find the killer before they strike again?

 

Cinnamon Twisted  by Ginger Bolton 

A mundane afternoon at the Deputy Donut café turns upside down when café owner Emily Westhill takes on the nearly impossible task of trying to return an earring to a customer in Cinnamon Twisted.  She gets more than she bargained for when, after finally locating the customer, Emily finds her dead!  Things become even more complicated for her when a police officer finds the other earring with a note attached to Emily herself.  Time is of the essence as Emily works to find a connection between the victim, earring and the mysterious history of the building that houses the Deputy Donut cafe!  Fans will enjoy this seventh book in the Deputy Donut mystery series.

Death Comes to Marlow  by Robert Thorogood 

The very popular Marlow Murder Club series returns in the second book in the series!  The trio of amateur sleuths make their next appearance in Death Comes to Marlow.  Recovering from the holiday festivities, Judith is invited to a pre-wedding celebration at the home of her aristocratic neighbor.  Events then go south from a blissful festive occasion to tragedy after the groom is found dead in a locked room.  Is it an accident or murder?  The sleuthing trio will have to find out!

 

Hot Pot Murder by Jennifer J. Chow 

Hot Pot Murder, the second book in the LA Night Market mystery series, find cousins Yale and Celine Yee involved in another food stall escapade. After being invited to a gathering of local food vendors, one of the attendees doesn’t make it through the dinner and another vendor may be the culprit!  The cousins join forces to get to the bottom of the caper so the food market won’t close for good!

Online Reading Challenge – May

Welcome Readers!

This month the Online Reading Challenge travels to Ireland, nicknamed the Emerald Isle for its wide expanses of lush, green fields! Our Main title is Good Eggs by Rebecca Hardiman. Here’s a quick summary from the author.

A hilarious and heartfelt debut novel following three generations of a boisterous family whose simmering tensions boil over when a home aide enters the picture, becoming the  calamitous force that will either undo or remake them—perfect for fans of Where’d YouGo, Bernadette and Evvie Drake Starts Over.

When Kevin Gogarty’s irrepressible eighty-three-year-old mother, Millie, is caught shoplifting yet again, he has no choice but to hire a caretaker to keep an eye on her. Kevin, recently unemployed, is already at his wits’ end tending to a full house while his wife travels to exotic locales for work, leaving him solo with his rebellious teenage daughter, Aideen, whose troubles escalate when she befriends the campus rebel at her new boarding school.

Into the Gogarty fray steps Sylvia, Millie’s upbeat home aide, who appears at first to be their saving grace—until she catapults the Gogarty clan into their greatest crisis yet.

With charm, humor, and pathos to spare, Good Eggs is a delightful study in self-determination; the notion that it’s never too late to start living; and the unique redemption that family, despite its maddening flaws, can offer.

This title is also available in the following formats:

As always, check each of our locations for displays with lots more titles to choose from!

Music Selector’s Choice: Indie Pop Old and New

Many people of taste disdain mainstream, Top 40 pop music in favor of equally talented but less famous independent musicians. If that describes you, you may already know about the artists I’ll share here. But if you are like me, you may be delighted to discover them and their music – and hopefully it will open our horizons to seeking out other lesser-known artists. There’s no shame in enjoying top 40 hits, of course, but smaller creators deserve love too, especially (as you’ll read below) when their work plumbs a deep well of meaning.

Back in 2016, most everyone heard the song “HandClap” by Fitz and the Tantrums, and it may have been the first and last time they thought about the indie pop / neo soul band. It wasn’t the band’s first release, coming on their self-titled album after three previous albums (Songs for a Breakup vol. 1, Pickin’ Up the Pieces, and More Than Just A Dream). It was, however, their most notable hit. Me personally, I remember that song and “The Walker”, as well as “I Just Wanna Shine” from their next album All The Feels (this last because it was also on the soundtrack for delightful Netflix movie Yes Day). I confess I haven’t thought of them much, but I can now, because their latest release, Let Yourself Free, is out now. By all accounts it showcases what the band does best: upbeat tracks with strong hooks. If this is your thing (it definitely is mine) you’ll probably enjoy it, even though the content is strictly surface-level sentiments.

Obviously, the field of indie pop today is pretty wide and filled with talented performers, especially lately as TikTok helps with publicity. Through social media I’ve discovered talents like Gayle, Wet Leg, Against Me!, Brockhampton, and many more. One such talent is NoSo, whose debut release, Stay Proud of Me, is now on library shelves for your perusal. Interesting performer name, right? Well, apparently “NoSo is shorthand for North/South: A nod to their Korean heritage, and the inane origin question (“Which Korea are you from?”) that so many Korean Americans inevitably face at some point in their lives.” The same source also names the artist as LA-based singer-songwriter and guitarist Baek Hwong (pronouns he/they). “Their music grapples with the search for a sense of identity, overcoming imposter syndrome, and repressed memory” reports their record label – and NPR agrees, summing up the debut record as a “care package for someone in need –  their younger self.” Try this record if you want to support more queer artists, relate to the search for identity and acceptance, or enjoy “virtuosic, memorable guitar playing… cinematic synths and lush pop sounds…packaging heavy subject matter as a catchy hook or chorus without cheapening its sentiment” (NPR).

Share YOUR favorite indie musicians below!

Music Selector’s Choice: Dropkick Murphys

An long-standing punk band with outspoken pro-union political views, Dropkick Murphys has been an icon of the punk scene and a voice for the workers’ perspective since its founding in 1996. In all that time, however, only bassist Ken Casey has been a constant member; one of the original founders Mike McColgan left as early as 1998, reportedly because he wasn’t dedicated enough to the band’s punk movement and the causes they spoke for. In an example of the band’s continuity, the name came from an alcohol detoxification facility run by Dr. John “Dropkick” Murphy, and in 2017 their album 11 short stories of pain & glory was heavily influenced by the opiate epidemic.

If you, like me, are intrigued by this angrily activist music group but haven’t gotten the chance to discover them yet, start here — your Rivershare libraries collect 5 of their 11 albums:

Going out in style 2011

Signed and sealed in blood 2013

11 short stories of pain & glory 2017

Turn up that dial 2021

This Machine Still Kills Fascists 2022

This newest album is unique in several respects, particularly its more acoustic, country music style; it’s structured around unused material from socialist and anti-fascist singer-songwriter icon Woody Guthrie.  Even the title is from a slogan Guthrie used to write on his guitars.

If only for my own (apparently lacking) education, leave your favorite band-with-a-cause in the comments – and come grab This Machine Still Kills Fascists today to catch up with the Dropkick Murphys.

I’m with the Band

To celebrate the release of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s book Daisy Jones & the Six as a television miniseries on Amazon Prime, we have gathered a list of some of our favorite music themed novels! Let us know your favorite music novels in the comments below!

Have you read Daisy Jones & The Six ? If not, check out the previous blog written by one of our librarians about this book.

The descriptions listed below were provided by the publishers.

Music Themed Novels!

The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton

Opal is a fiercely independent young woman pushing against the grain in her style and attitude, Afro-punk before that term existed. Coming of age in Detroit, she can’t imagine settling for a 9-to-5 job—despite her unusual looks, Opal believes she can be a star. So when the aspiring British singer/songwriter Neville Charles discovers her at a bar’s amateur night, she takes him up on his offer to make rock music together for the fledgling Rivington Records.

In early seventies New York City, just as she’s finding her niche as part of a flamboyant and funky creative scene, a rival band signed to her label brandishes a Confederate flag at a promotional concert. Opal’s bold protest and the violence that ensues set off a chain of events that will not only change the lives of those she loves, but also be a deadly reminder that repercussions are always harsher for women, especially black women, who dare to speak their truth.

Decades later, as Opal considers a 2016 reunion with Nev, music journalist S. Sunny Shelton seizes the chance to curate an oral history about her idols. Sunny thought she knew most of the stories leading up to the cult duo’s most politicized chapter. But as her interviews dig deeper, a nasty new allegation from an unexpected source threatens to blow up everything.

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The Violin Conspiracy  by Brendan Slocumb

Growing up Black in rural North Carolina, Ray McMillian’s life is already mapped out. But Ray has a gift and a dream—he’s determined to become a world-class professional violinist, and nothing will stand in his way. Not his mother, who wants him to stop making such a racket; not the fact that he can’t afford a violin suitable to his talents; not even the racism inherent in the world of classical music.

When he discovers that his beat-up, family fiddle is actually a priceless Stradivarius, all his dreams suddenly seem within reach, and together, Ray and his violin take the world by storm. But on the eve of the renowned and cutthroat Tchaikovsky Competition—the Olympics of classical music—the violin is stolen, a ransom note for five million dollars left in its place. Without it, Ray feels like he’s lost a piece of himself. As the competition approaches, Ray must not only reclaim his precious violin, but prove to himself—and the world—that no matter the outcome, there has always been a truly great musician within him.

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Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell

Utopia Avenue is the strangest British band you’ve never heard of. Emerging from London’s psychedelic scene in 1967, and fronted by folk singer Elf Holloway, blues bassist Dean Moss and guitar virtuoso Jasper de Zoet, Utopia Avenue embarked on a meteoric journey from the seedy clubs of Soho, a TV debut on Top of the Pops, the cusp of chart success, glory in Amsterdam, prison in Rome, and a fateful American sojourn in the Chelsea Hotel, Laurel Canyon, and San Francisco during the autumn of ’68.

David Mitchell’s kaleidoscopic novel tells the unexpurgated story of Utopia Avenue’s turbulent life and times; of fame’s Faustian pact and stardom’s wobbly ladder; of the families we choose and the ones we don’t; of voices in the head, and the truths and lies they whisper; of music, madness, and idealism. Can we really change the world, or does the world change us?

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Songs in Ursa Major by Emma Brodie

A scintillating debut from a major new voice in fiction, Songs in Ursa Major is a love story set in 1969, alive with music, sex, and the trappings of fame.

Raised on an island off Massachusetts by a mother who wrote songs for famous musicians, Jane Quinn is singing in her own band before she’s old enough to even read music. When folk legend Jesse Reid hears about Jane’s performance at the island’s music festival, a star is born–and so is a passionate love affair: they become inseparable when her band joins his on tour. Wary of being cast as his girlfriend–and haunted by her mother’s shattered ambitions– Jane shields her relationship from the public eye, but Jesse’s star power pulls her into his orbit of fame. Caught up in the thrill of the road and the profound and lustful connection she has with Jesse, Jane is blind-sided by the discovery she makes about the dark secret beneath his music. Heartbroken and blackballed by the industry, Jane is now truly on her own: to make the music she loves, and to make peace with her family Shot through with the lyrics, the icons, the lore, the adrenaline of the early 70s music scene, Songs in Ursa Major pulses with romantic longing and asks the question so many female artists must face: What are we willing to sacrifice for our dreams?

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The Ensemble by Aja Gabel

Jana. Brit. Daniel. Henry. They would never have been friends if they hadn’t needed each other. They would never have found each other except for the art which drew them together. They would never have become family without their love for the music, for each other.

Brit is the second violinist, a beautiful and quiet orphan; on the viola is Henry, a prodigy who’s always had it easy; the cellist is Daniel, the oldest and an angry skeptic who sleeps around; and on first violin is Jana, their flinty, resilient leader. Together, they are the Van Ness Quartet. After the group’s youthful, rocky start, they experience devastating failure and wild success, heartbreak and marriage, triumph and loss, betrayal and enduring loyalty. They are always tied to each other – by career, by the intensity of their art, by the secrets they carry, by choosing each other over and over again.

Following these four unforgettable characters, Aja Gabel’s debut novel gives a riveting look into the high-stakes, cutthroat world of musicians, and of lives made in concert. The story of Brit and Henry and Daniel and Jana, The Ensemble is a heart-skipping portrait of ambition, friendship, and the tenderness of youth.

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Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau

In 1970s Baltimore, fourteen-year-old Mary Jane loves cooking with her mother, singing in her church choir, and enjoying her family’s subscription to the Broadway Showtunes of the Month record club. Shy, quiet, and bookish, she’s glad when she lands a summer job as a nanny for the daughter of a local doctor. A respectable job, Mary Jane’s mother says. In a respectable house.

The house may look respectable on the outside, but inside it’s a literal and figurative mess: clutter on every surface, Impeachment: Now More Than Ever bumper stickers on the doors, cereal and takeout for dinner. And even more troublesome (were Mary Jane’s mother to know, which she does not): the doctor is a psychiatrist who has cleared his summer for one important job—helping a famous rock star dry out. A week after Mary Jane starts, the rock star and his movie star wife move in.

Over the course of the summer, Mary Jane introduces her new household to crisply ironed clothes and a family dinner schedule, and has a front-row seat to a liberal world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll (not to mention group therapy). Caught between the lifestyle she’s always known and the future she’s only just realized is possible, Mary Jane will arrive at September with a new idea about what she wants out of life, and what kind of person she’s going to be.

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The Unsinkable Greta James by Jennifer E. Smith

Right after the sudden death of her mother—her first and most devoted fan—and just before the launch of her high-stakes sophomore album, Greta James falls apart on stage. The footage quickly goes viral and she stops playing, her career suddenly in jeopardy—the kind of jeopardy her father, Conrad, has always predicted; the kind he warned her about when he urged her to make more practical choices with her life.

Months later, Greta—still heartbroken and very much adrift—reluctantly agrees to accompany Conrad on the Alaskan cruise her parents had booked to celebrate their fortieth anniversary. It could be their last chance to heal old wounds in the wake of shared loss. But the trip will also prove to be a voyage of discovery for them both, and for Ben Wilder, a charming historian, onboard to lecture about The Call of the Wild, who is struggling with a major upheaval in his own life. As Greta works to build back her confidence and Ben confronts an uncertain future, they find themselves drawn to and relying on each other.

It’s here in this unlikeliest of places—at sea, far from the packed city venues where she usually plays and surrounded by the stunning scenery of Alaska—Greta will finally confront the choices she’s made, the heartbreak she’s suffered, and the family hurts that run deep. In the end, she’ll have to decide what her path forward might look like—and how to find her voice again.

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The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

It is 1988. On a dead-end street in a run-down suburb there is a music shop that stands small and brightly lit, jam-packed with records of every kind. Like a beacon, the shop attracts the lonely, the sleepless, and the adrift; Frank, the shop’s owner, has a way of connecting his customers with just the piece of music they need. Then, one day, into his shop comes a beautiful young woman, Ilse Brauchmann, who asks Frank to teach her about music. Terrified of real closeness, Frank feels compelled to turn and run, yet he is drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with eyes as black as vinyl. But Ilse is not what she seems, and Frank has old wounds that threaten to reopen, as well as a past it seems he will never leave behind. Can a man who is so in tune with other people’s needs be so incapable of connecting with the one person who might save him? The journey that these two quirky, wonderful characters make in order to overcome their emotional baggage speaks to the healing power of music—and love—in this poignant, ultimately joyful work of fiction.

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If you have any favorite music books, let us know below! We can’t wait to see what you’ve read and what you plan to read!

Music Selector’s Choice: Lindsey Stirling

If you see a violin and think “classical music is boring”, then you need to discover more artists like Lindsey Stirling. While she may lose points for technique (according to some other musicians I know) she definitely gets top marks for showmanship, enthusiasm, genre-bending, and creativity. If nothing else, her social media presence showing behind-the-scenes looks at her stunts, rehearsals, concerts, and more is funny, fascinating, entertaining and informative.

Intrigued? All these Lindsey Stirling albums are available for checkout:

Lindsey Stirling: 2013

Shatter Me: 2014

Brave Enough: 2016

Warmer in the Winter: 2018

Artemis: 2019

Snow Waltz : 2022

Looking for more unconventional players of classical and string instruments? Try the four-cello rock group Apocalyptica, rock violinist David Garrett, or creative instrumentalists The Piano Guys (though if you haven’t yet checked out this powerhouse group, what are you waiting for??)