I picked this one up because of the library part in the title. It doesn’t have a whole lot to do with books. It was a very good story that was more of a historical novel really. Students in a Chinese university must evacuate inland when the Japanese invade mainland China in 1937. Stored at the university is the remaining volumes of a book about Chinese myths and each student is given a copy to transport inland. We follow Lian, a young woman, as she discovers the magical truth behind the volume she carries—the spiritual guardians of China are leaving. I didn’t know about this little piece of history (the student evacuations) or that China was fighting a two-front war against the Chinese communists, so this was really interesting to me. Very well written, with a nice love story subplot.
I Lost My Girlish Laughter, by Jane Allen
Madge Lawrence is new to Hollywood and she lands a job as personal secretary to one of the biggest producers in town. What follows is a months long back-and-forth trying to get his next big hit made. And it is hilarious. This book was written in 1937, but it could have been written today it was so fresh. The insight into not only Hollywood egos but also human nature makes this a true classic. A not-quite-epistolary novel, written in letters, memos, and diary entries, I Lost My Girlish Laughter is just plain fun. Highly recommend it.
Take a Hint, Dani Brown, by Talia Hibbert
The second book in Hibbert’s presumed trilogy about the Brown sisters. This one follows last year’s Get a Life, Chloe Brown, which I loved. This is about Chloe’s second sister—a PhD candidate in literature who likes to have sex but wants no strings attached. Enter Zafir, a former rugby player turned security guard. They have a friendship that turns into something more when they’re caught on camera looking like lovers during a fire drill. It’s good marketing for Zafir’s charity, so Dani can’t turn down his plea for a fake relationship. And you can guess how it ends. Sweet and fun, Hibbert makes both main characters so full of history and personality you can’t help but want to hang out with them.
Kerry & the Knight of the Forest, by Andi Waston
A graphic novel. I’ve been behind on reading comics/manga/graphic novels lately, but am making up for it. This is a tale about a big-hearted boy trying to get through an evil forest in order to save his parents from an illness. The guide is a sentient, mobile rock that used to be a guardian of the forest before the forest was taken over by an evil spirit. The boy and the Knight have to battle evil trees, ghosts, and monsters to get to the other side. There were a surprising number of twists and turns in the story and the art is awesome, but the story didn’t dig deep enough into the characters to make this anything other than a nice read for a couple of hours.
The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal
A reread of one of my favorites from the last few years. You can’t go wrong with Elma’s story, following a meteorite that takes out Washington, D.C. in 1952 and triggers a rise in temperature that means that all life will be gone in a hundred years. The space program is accelerated to get people off Earth and into space and math genius, expert pilot Elma means to be one of the first astronauts. Such a good book! I read it in anticipation of the release of the third book in the series, The Relentless Moon.
Every Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire
Seanan McGuire is a beloved author of fantasy, but I hadn’t read any of her work before. This was a great introduction. The first of six (so far) novellas in the Wayward Children series, Every Heart is about a school for children who have visited one of myriad of fairylands and have returned home. Nancy is new to the school, having spent several years in the land of the dead, and is soon involved in searching for a murderer at the school. Surprising at every turn, this was a well-written story that was as engrossing as it was imaginative.
The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea, by Maggie Tokuda-Hall
Imperial colonials desperate to own the world, pirates who don’t abide by the code, the sentient sea and her mermaid daughters, memory and loss, a girl disguised as a boy, and a witch that lives on the side of an enormous cliff. Seriously, why wouldn’t you want to read this? Add in a lovely romance and a truly satisfying ending (though a little sad) and you will have a delightful read. This young adult novel is getting a lot of buzz and deservedly so. Highly recommended.