Rules of Civility
Synopsis: This sophisticated and entertaining first novel presents the story of a young woman whose life is on the brink of transformation. On the last night of 1937, twenty-five-year-old Katey Kontent is in a second-rate Greenwich Village jazz bar when Tinker Grey, a handsome banker, happens to sit down at the neighboring table. This chance encounter and its startling consequences propel Katey on a year-long journey into the upper echelons of New York society—where she will have little to rely upon other than a bracing wit and her own brand of cool nerve. With its sparkling depiction of New York’s social strata, its intricate imagery and themes, and its immensely appealing characters, Rules of Civility won the hearts of readers and critics alike.
Amy Says: On the surface this is a fun retro read set in 1938 Manhattan. Towles does a wonderful job of capturing the Gatsby like atmosphere of art deco, gin and jazz, and the distinct social classes and the “rules of civility” they seemingly follow. On another level, readers will follow the three main characters as they wrestle with issues of deception, reality, and justice. Shake up a martini and enjoy!
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Synopsis: Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe. Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise.
Crystal Says: Patricia Briggs delivers again with the newest book in her Mercy Thompson urban fantasy series. (I couldn't put it down!) Mercy pits her intellect and survival instincts against vampires, conspiracies and all kinds of supernaturals who easily out-class her strength. New to Mercy Thompson? No worries! Start from the beginning with book one: Moon Called.
Crystal's Past Staff Picks
The Impossible Fortress
Synopsis: The year is 1987 and Playboy has just published scandalous photographs of Vanna White, from the popular TV game show Wheel of Fortune . For three teenage boys Billy, Alf, and Clark- who are desperately uneducated in the ways of women, the magazine is somewhat of a Holy Grail: priceless beyond measure and impossible to attain. So, they hatch a plan to steal it. Failed attempt after failed attempt leads them to a genius master plan they'll swipe the security code to Zelinsky's convenience store by seducing the owner's daughter, Mary Zelinsky. It becomes Billy's mission to befriend her and get the information by any means necessary. But what starts as a game to win Mary's affection leaves Billy with a gut-wrenching choice: deceive the girl who may well be his first love or break a promise to his best friends.
Donna Says: If the thought of spring and summer puts you in the mood to hum Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves, then indulge yourself and pick up this light, quick read filled with ‘80s nostalgia.
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A Scot in the Dark
Synopsis: Miss Lillian Hargrove has lived much of her life alone in a gilded cage, longing for love and companionship. When an artist offers her pretty promises and begs her to pose for a scandalous portrait, Lily doesn't hesitate until the lying libertine leaves her in disgrace. With the painting now public, Lily has no choice but to turn to the one man who might save her from ruin. The Duke of Warnick loathes all things English, none more so than the aristocracy. It does not matter that the imposing Scotsman has inherited one of the most venerable dukedoms in Britain he wants nothing to do with it, especially when he discovers that the unwanted title comes with a troublesome ward, one who is far too old and far too beautiful to be his problem.
Elizabeth Says: A fun regency romance that deals modern issues like privacy and body shaming. This is the second book in Sarah MacLean’s Scandal & Scoundrel series.
Elizabeth's Past Staff Picks
The Invisible Library
Synopsis: Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it's already been stolen. London's underground factions are prepared to fight to the death to find the tome before Irene and Kai do, a problem compounded by the fact that this world is chaos-infested--the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic to run rampant. To make matters worse, Kai is hiding something secrets that could be just as volatile as the chaos-filled world itself.
Megan Says: The Invisible Library is a Sherlock Holmes/Steampunk mashup adventure. It really does have everything to stimulate the imagination all wrapped up in a magical library setting. The main characters Irene, Kai and Vale are interesting, formidable and endearing. I am thrilled with Genevieve Cogman’s writing and I am very excited to continue with this series.
Megan's Past Staff Picks
Pride & Prejudice
Synopsis: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s witty comedy of manners—one of the most popular novels of all time—that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues. Renowned literary critic and historian George Saintsbury in 1894 declared it the “most perfect, the most characteristic, the most eminently quintessential of its author’s works,” and Eudora Welty in the twentieth century described it as “irresistible and as nearly flawless as any fiction could be.”
Nina Says: Before there was Jaime Fraser or Sherlock Holmes or Heathcliff, there was Mr. Darcy. Read the original that launched the brooding hero, 1,000 witty quips, and as many adaptations, from Bride & Prejudice to Bridget Jones’ Diary. Read More Challenge Alert: This book covers a few categories, including Book You Read in High School, Book Set Before 1900, and Book with a Female Protagonist.
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Powers of Darkness: The Lost Version of Dracula
Synopsis: Powers of Darkness presents the first ever translation into English of Stoker and Ásmundsson’s Makt Myrkranna. With marginal annotations by de Roos providing readers with fascinating historical, cultural, and literary context; a foreword by Dacre Stoker, Bram Stoker’s great-grandnephew and bestselling author; and an afterword by Dracula scholar John Edgar Browning, Powers of Darkness will amaze and entertain legions of fans of Gothic literature, horror, and vampire fiction.
Randall Says: Powers of Darkness is the long-lost Icelandic version of Dracula. Published in 1901 (as Makt Myrkranna), it was assumed to be a strict translation of Stoker’s novel. It was not until 2014 that closer inspection revealed a very different version of the classic tale, with new characters and some big plot changes. Recommended for readers of Gothic horror and Dracula fans.
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